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Initial Thoughts on Novichok Agents, Sergei Skripal, Russia and UK: 2

April 6, 2018 2 comments

About two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter by an organophosphate compound– allegedly by “russian agents” in UK. At that time, corporate MSM outlets in the west were busy concocting increasingly outrageous stories about that incident. As it turns out, pretty much every single story promoted by the MSM about that incident turned out to be unsubstantiated by evidence. For example: initial reports of twenty other people being accidentally exposed to that compound proved to be incorrect. The only other person allegedly exposed to that compound has since recovered and we still are not sure about how he got exposed to it in the first place.

More tellingly, none of the first responders and medical personnel got ill from handling Skripal and his daughter. Initially, British authorities had claimed that the poison was found in the car ventilation system, then they claimed it was on the door handle and now they are considering the possibility that it was in a gift brought over by his daughter from Russia. They also initially said that Skripal and his daughters had little to no chance of recovery and we now learn that his daughter is recovering and will leave the hospital soon. Today, we are told that Skripal will also make a ‘miraculous’ recovery.

In other words, the “official” narrative put forth by the British government about that incident has been unusually vague, ever-changing and too dependent on having uncritical belief in their honesty. Some of you might recall how similar and totally made up claims by British “intelligence” services at the core of’Iraq Dossier‘ were used by Tony Blair’s government to justify support for the failed american invasion of Iraq in 2003. There is also a strong parallel between this incident and the attempt by German intelligence agencies in 1994 (with approval by USA) to implicate the then Russian government in a fake plot to smuggle plutonium into the west.

To make matters even more peculiar, the British government still has not been able to provide evidence that it knows the identity or structure of the compound involved in that incident. As I wrote in my previous post, indirect identification of organophosphate compounds by their ability to inhibit cholinesterases and other related esterases is pretty straightforward. Definitive identification of the compound, though easy nowadays compared to 30 years ago, is substantially more complicated. Having said that, the apparent inability of multiple government labs in nearby British biological and chemical warfare laboratories at Porton Down to provide objective data to support their claims of identifying the compound is odd.

Based on the many peculiarities and oddities of this case in addition to the past history of those making the accusations, it is worthwhile considering another possibility. Maybe the British government, or some faction within its “deep state”, is behind the poison attack on Skripal and his daughter. False flag attacks to generate public sympathy for, or unity behind, a cause are not unknown. Similarly, there is a rich history in the “west” of using false flag attacks to demonize another country. It is also hard to ignore that the “deep state” in UK and USA is the biggest beneficiary of such an attack. Let me explain that point in some detail..

Skripal was an ex-Russian spy who betrayed his fellow officers in the KGB for purely financial reasons. You probably know that he was caught and tried in 2004 and imprisoned for a few years (2004-2010) in Russia before being part of a spy swap deal with UK and USA in 2010. If the government in Russia really wanted him dead, he would not have lived long enough to be part of the spy swap deal in 2010. Then there is the question of why this incident occurred days before the presidential election in Russia. Think about it.. how does such an incident benefit Putin in his reelection campaign? The simple fact is that it does not help him.

Such an incident does however provide the “deep state” in UK and USA with more ammo in their ineffectual campaign to demonize Putin. It is no secret that the USA and its old crippled prison-bitch aka UK are not adjusting well to the emerging world order- an order in which they stand to further lose whatever real or imagined global influence they possessed. It is no secret that the many recent global military misadventures by USA (and UK) such as the failed invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan have been humiliating and expensive failures. Their attempts to extend NATO right upto Russian borders and generally behave as if the world is still stuck in 2000 have not gone as planned.

The pathetic attempts by USA, UK and France (waning western powers) to interfere in other parts of the world such as Syria and part of Africa has been unsuccessful. Furthermore, their dream of turning Russia into some vassal state ruled by west-friendly oligarchs has been a miserable failure. It does not help that the financial crash of 2008 has exposed the many failures of western neoliberalism to their own domestic populations. It is no wonder, therefore, that average people in the west have in the recent past voted for concepts such as Brexit and people such as Trump and other fake right-wing populists. To make a long story short, the traditional elite in the west (especially the USA and UK) are feeling their power slip away irreversibly.

It is therefore not surprising that these mediocrities are trying to reboot the Cold War. The general thought process behind their actions is as follows.. The cold war was good for establishment elites as it allowed them to consolidate their power in western countries and suppress dissent and challenges to their undeserved power. Perhaps, rebooting the Cold War (they think) would let them use the same playbook and turn back the metaphorical clock. Of course, any objective person can see that this hare-brained scheme is going in failure since the underlying conditions across the world have changed a lot since the late 1980s.

Then again, establishment elite have never been the sharpest tools in the shed (link 1, link 2). I mean.. look at how they are reacting to Trump’s election in USA. Not a minute goes by when these idiots are not breathlessly talking about another leak from the “Mueller team”, another “new” link between Putin and Trump or some other similar absurdity. In fact, I have written more than one post about this in the past, including how this obsession is a symptom of a much deeper intellectual bankruptcy among establishment elites in USA.

All of this in addition to the “deep state” fondness for hare-brained schemes which look amazingly impressive on paper strongly suggest that the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in UK was a false flag operation, which did not work out as originally planned.

What do you think? Comments?

On Linkage Between Nasim Aghdam and YouTube’s Monopolist Policies

April 5, 2018 5 comments

I am sure that, by now, most of you heard about the shooting at YouTube’s headquarters by Nasim Aghdam. Regardless of what you think about her personality, the unintentional meme-friendliness of her videos or her general mental stability- its is clear that the incident in question was triggered by YouTube’s (and by extension, Google’s) completely unaccountable behavior towards its content creators and users. In that respect, Google is part of the general trend of Silly Valley corporations being monopolistic, autocratic and totally unaccountable. Given the amount of online hate about YouTube’s corporate behavior, policies and decision-making, I am surprised that such an incident did not occur sooner.

Amazon, Paypal, Facebook and pretty much every other large Silly Valley corporation have, in recent years, displayed very similar behavior when it comes to acting like autocratic monopolies. I hope to, soon, write a more detailed post about my views on the effect of such behavior as well as the kind of pushback it will eventually engender. Having said that, I am sure that this little incident is unlikely to change the attitude at Google anytime soon. Many of you must also be aware that YouTube is soon going to ban channels about guns. Surely such a move will be hailed by the public as an uncontroversial “common sense” decision without any pushback..

Link 1: Tragic YouTube shooting casts new light on creators’ “adpocalypse” complaints

As news unfolded about Tuesday’s YouTube shooting, a chilling motive emerged. Ahead of the incident, the alleged shooter had posted videos maligning the service—doing so as a former money-making user of the site. “I’m being discriminated [against] and filtered on YouTube, and I’m not the only one,” alleged shooter Nasim Aghdam said in a video that was shared after her identity as the shooting’s current, sole fatality was revealed. “My workout video gets age-restricted. Vegan activists and other people who try to point out healthy, humane, and smart living, people like me, are not good for big business. That’s why they are discriminating [against] and censoring us.”

YouTube’s automatic filters have wreaked demonetization havoc through a wide swath of video types, including those about conservative politics and LGBTQ issues. However, keeping track of which videos are impacted (and for how long) is itself quite difficult, owing to how many channels may be temporarily hit only to have those strikes reversed after an inefficient reviews process. The above-linked video about LGBTQ videos, for example, was itself demonetized when it was uploaded; it has since been whitelisted for ads.

One video made by alleged YouTube HQ shooter Aghdam, which was successfully archived before most of her online presence was wiped, focused primarily on YouTube flagging a video she’d recently made. Her complaint video included footage of the demonetized video, which showed a fully clothed Aghdam working out via sit-ups and leg lifts, as well as an allegation that YouTube rejected her appeal, telling her that the video was “inappropriate.”

Link 2: Livid over site’s policies, YouTube shooter trained for attack, shot randomly

Barberini provided a few more details about the incident, confirming that she was upset with the company’s “policies and practices.” Earlier videos—which have been removed from YouTube and Facebook but remain scattered in other places across the Internet—include clips of Aghdam railing against perceived grievances concerning age restrictions and demonetization. Last year, Google overhauled its age restriction rules and enforcement policy. This resulted in a wave of videos being demonetized, which angered YouTubers who could no longer attach money-making ads to their videos. Ruchika Budhraja, a Facebook spokeswoman, confirmed to Ars that the company had deleted Aghdam’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and wrote that the company would also “delete content that praises or supports the shooter or the horrific act as soon as we are aware.”

Link 3: YouTube shooter IDed as woman angry at site’s “age-restricted” policies

The San Bruno Police Department has identified the suspect in Tuesday’s shooting at the YouTube campus as Nasim Aghdam, a 39-year-old woman from San Diego. The confirmation came hours after numerous media sources had initially named Aghdam as the suspect. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Aghdam’s car was towed from the YouTube parking lot. Aghdam seemingly had a website in which she promotes numerous YouTube channels, including ones in English, Turkish, and Farsi. All of her social media channels appear to have been deactivated or removed. The woman seemed to be upset at YouTube over what she called “age-restricted” policies.

Link 4: YouTube Attacker’s Complaints Echoed Fight Over Ad Dollars

While the police did not specifically say what those policies were, they likely had to do with a concept called “demonetization.” In response to pressure from advertisers and consumers, YouTube has been pulling ads from thousands of videos that it decides do not meet its standards for content. That has sparked an outcry from many of the people who post videos to the service. One of those creators was Nasim Najafi Aghdam, the woman the police said had shot YouTube employees in San Bruno, Calif. She frequently posted videos to several YouTube channels and had become increasingly angry over the money she was making from them.

When YouTube pulls ads, it tells creators which videos violated the standards, though it doesn’t elaborate very much on what they did wrong. It’s unclear whether YouTube pulled ads from Ms. Aghdam’s videos.The anger around demonetization has been growing for more than a year. One of YouTube’s most popular personalities, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, who goes by PewDiePie, posted videos with Nazi imagery, including a sign that called for “Death to Jews.” As a punishment, YouTube demonetized some of his videos in early 2017, though it didn’t outrightly bar him. Mr. Kjellberg, now calling himself “family-friendly,” still posts regularly and has a booming business on the platform.

A wide spectrum of YouTube creators, from the conspiracy-minded to the most popular stars, have been vocal about what they see as censorship on YouTube. After a popular video blogger who posts about news, Philip DeFranco, saw his videos demonetized, he called demonetization “censorship with a different name.” On Twitter, he wrote: “Producer just got off the phone with Youtube and it wasn’t a mistake. Feels a little bit like getting stabbed in the back after 10 years.” Luke Rudkowski, an independent journalist who describes conspiracy theories to his more than 500,000 subscribers on YouTube, has repeatedly complained about the site pulling ads from his videos.

In August, he posted a video criticizing news that YouTube would start removing more terrorist content. “We are seeing the purging, the cleaning of this major online institution to be more favorable towards corporations and governments,” Mr. Rudkowski said. “Now that’s why I think we’re finally reaching the end time of this beautiful and amazing platform.” A few days later, he said YouTube had pulled ads from 660 of his videos, “basically eviscerating my main source of revenue for this news organization.”

What do you think? Comments?

Why Don’t Most Black People in USA Publicly Say Cops are Murderers?

April 1, 2018 30 comments

As I wrote in a previous post, smartphones have provided us far more proof of police murdering unarmed black people in USA than the existence of UFOs. Regular readers might also recall a short series about my thoughts on what the response to legalized murder of black men says about USA. To summarize it, legalized murder of black people by “law enforcement” is really just business as usual in USA. This peculiar state of affairs has (and always had) the support of a significant majority of white people in USA, for reasons that have nothing to with their own safety or comfort.

Of course, doing things based on conditions prevalent in previous eras tend to start failing once the underlying factors which allowed things to work in the past, undergo irreversible change. We no longer live in the pre-19th century era or the mid-20th century, even if some in USA would like to go back to those eras. Furthermore, the USA as a socio-economic system is no longer in the ascendant.. to put it mildly. There is also the issue of younger generations of black people in USA not being obsessed with acceptance by “white society” unlike their parent’s generation.

Some of you might wonder why I use the word ‘black’ rather than ‘African-American’. Well.. black people are the target of systemic racial discrimination in USA because they are perceived as such by the majority of ‘white’ people in USA. The fact that their ancestors were brought over from some part of Africa is, at best, a historical footnote. Also, a white guy born in South Africa who ends up living in USA is unlikely to ever be treated as shoddily as the average black person even though he would, technically, qualify as African-American.

And this brings me to an observation about the many frequent popular protests in response to even more frequent incidents of legalized murder of black people by police. By now, I am sure that all of you have seen many photos and videos of such marches and protests, not to mention the disturbing video recordings which caused each instance of such protests. So.. did you notice anything unusual about the signs carried by protesters or demands verbalized by them? Here is a clue.. the most commonly seen slogans seem to be very bland and rather vague. Examples: ‘black lives matter’, ‘don’t shoot’, ‘no justice no peace’, ‘we won’t be silenced’, ‘stop police brutality’ etc.

While these and similar slogans are perfectly reasonable, they do not address the real reason why all those marches and protests had to occur in the first place. Let me spell out the fucking obvious.. the fundamental reason why unarmed black people are routinely murdered by the police comes down to the simple, but unpleasant, fact that they are black. While there have been a few recent publicized instances of cops killing some “economically-challenged” white guys, let us not pretend that race is the single most important factor why unarmed black men are routinely murdered by the police in USA.

Did you notice that I just used the word ‘murder’ to describe the killing of unarmed black men by police but ‘killing’ to describe something similar if the victims were white men? Why is that so? And what is the difference between those two terms? Well.. for one ‘murder’ always implies a degree of premeditation and targeting by the perpetrator. In contrast to that, ‘killing’ does not imply premeditation. For example, if the actions of a drunk or fatigued driver result in the death of one or more person, its is classified as manslaughter or wrongful death rather than a murder since the perpetrator in such cases almost never deliberately targets the victims.

But is that really true in the case of police shooting and ‘killing’ unarmed black people in USA? Think about it.. how many white people have been ‘killed’ by the police because their cellphones were mistaken for handguns? How many white men were ‘killed’ running away unarmed from a police stop? How many white men were ‘killed’ because they disclosed they had a legally obtained concealed firearm? How many unarmed white men were ‘killed’ because the police officer in question felt threatened? I could go on and on.. but you see the trend, don’t you?

Now combine this trend with the well-known history of how black people have been subject to systemic and pervasive racial discrimination in USA. Any half-intelligent person with a decent level of objectivity would correctly connect the dots and conclude that the ‘killing’ of unarmed black men by police in USA is an official policy rather than a series of unconnected unfortunate events. The ‘killing’ of unarmed black people by police in USA is therefore murder, more specifically state-sanctioned murder.

So, why don’t most black people in USA openly say that cops are murderers? What do they have to lose by publicly pointing out the fucking obvious? Why do most signs at protest marches against murders by police always talk about abstract concepts like “justice” or “reform”. Isn’t the whole purpose of the “law and order” apparatus in USA to terrorize most people into allowing themselves to be exploited and enrich a very few, rather than provide anything approaching “justice”? Have you ever seen CEOs who ran large corporations into the ground being prosecuted for their actions? What about bankers who defrauded millions of people?

My theory about the reluctance of black people to publicly say that cops in USA are state-sanctioned murderers comes down to a couple of major points.

1] Too many of them (especially in older generations) still believe in concepts such as “gaining respectability and acceptance” from ‘whites’ in USA. The sad reality about that belief is that something which has not occurred over many decades is unlikely to happen in the near future. Tied to this problem is the fact that too many of them (especially in older generations) have bought into the idea that they are somehow to blame for how they are treated by ‘whites’.

Not enough of them ask questions such as how white men who kill innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Vietnam in Cambodia in the past) are seen as good people while desperate black guys who rob a gas station or sell pot are considered to be dangerous criminals. Too many black people still see black guys who sell crack and heroin as criminals while ignoring all those white guys making billions each year by pushing prescription amphetamines and opioids.

2] At the risk of being even more controversial, it is fair to say that the effect of Christianity and its institutions on black people in USA has been largely negative. Religions with their focus on the “next life”, false “morality” and victim-blaming have always been the opiate of the masses. It is telling that black people are among the most devout followers of Christianity in USA. Moreover, their strong belief in Christianity is an important part of why so many in the older generation believe in bullshit concepts such as “respectability” and “acceptance” by whites.

There is also the problem of most black “leaders” still coming from he background of organized religion. It also does not help that most all them are scam artists who are too happy to play the house slave for monetary rewards. To put it another way, the religious convictions of black people and the type of people who end up becoming their “leaders” has a lot to do with why there has not been progress in the field of civil rights since the 1970s. It is also why the black community has been unable to respond to problems such as mass incarceration, continued systemic racial discrimination and frequent state-sanctioned murders of its members.

What do you think? Comments?

Using Children as a Front for Deceptive “Causes” is No Longer Viable

March 26, 2018 21 comments

By now, most of you have seen or read something about the new astroturfed campaign to ban guns known as “March for Our Lives”. Leaving aside a host of inconvenient facts such as school shootings are less common today than during the 1990s, most “gun deaths” in USA are suicides, many countries with strict gun control have a higher incidence of suicide than USA and so on, we are still left with the reality that there is co-ordinated campaign by democrats to use non-black children as a front to ban private ownership of guns in USA.

So what do I think about the chance for this campaign to succeed in achieving its objective? The very short version of my answer is that this campaign will fail in a spectacular fashion- especially if the corporate media attempts to keep on pushing it over the next few months. In fact, it might very likely end up costing democrats their potential victory and control of the house in the mid-term elections of 2018. The much longer version of my answer and explanations for my predictions can be found in the rest of this post.

So, let me start by pointing out something that is obvious but appears to have forgotten by most people. Using children as a front for advancing deceptive “causes” has ceased to be a successful electoral strategy in USA since the late-1990s. However, establishment democrats dependent on their highly paid and out-of-touch political “consultants” seem to believe that we are still in the 1990s. Even worse, they have not learned anything from recent history. You might recall that HRC campaign in 2016 ran an unbelievably large number of TV and internet ads which were some version of “Trump is a bad, bad man” and “Oh.. won’t somebody think about the children”.

We all know how that one ended.. and while many “pundits” and “experts” were shocked by the election results- it was clear to observers on the ground that the 2016 election was always far closer than “official polls” predicted. One might think that such a humiliating loss might have caused establishment democrats to go through a process of introspection and analysis. However it is hard to see problems when your paycheck or sinecure depends on pretending that there are no problems. Consequently, establishments democrats just doubled down on the “Trump is a bad, bad man” theme with the addition of “Russia hacked the election for Trump”.

As I have said in previous posts (link 1, link 2 and link 3), blaming Russia and “Putin” for why a candidate such as HRC lost to a reality show clown like Trump is a sign of intellectual bankruptcy and rapidly approaching irrelevance on the part of accusers. This is not to say that Trump is a competent president. As some of you might recall- after predicting his victory in the 2016 election, I wrote a short series about how he was almost certain to fuck up badly regardless of whether he tried to keep his election promises or not.

Now, let us turn to how all of this and more is linked to the futility of using children as fronts for pushing deceptive “causes” after the late 1990s. Which brings us the question.. why was using children as a front for pushing deceptive “causes” a workable strategy until the late-1990s? Also, why did it start losing effectiveness after that and become virtually useless by 2016?

To understand what I trying to explain you next, ask yourself the following question- would you kill and eat a dog or cat unless you were in some extreme circumstances? If not, why not? And how is killing and eating a dog or cat different from doing the same for pigs or goats- two animals that are as intelligent as dogs and cats. The simple answer to that question is that dogs and cats are widely kept as pets unlike pigs and goats. In other words, extensive familiarity with dogs and cats is what allows most people to humanize and care about them. Now apply the same logic to understand why most people USED to care about the future welfare of children as a group.

Long story short- it comes down to the fact that in previous eras, most people had their own children with whom they had better-than-decent relationships. Empathy and caring for children is not instinctual for most people, especially men. The flip side is that people without their own children or those who have little contact with them simply don’t have an deep-seated desire to care for them or their future prospects. While they may be perfectly competent baby-sitters or otherwise normal in their interactions with the children of other people, they do not have any real attachment to them.

Perhaps more importantly, they are unwilling to sacrifice something which matters to them with the vague expectation that it might “help the children”. With that in mind, think about how many 30- and 40-something men today have a biological offspring with whom they enjoy a good and strong relationship. More importantly, how many men in those and younger age groups have a reasonable expectation of having children with whom they will enjoy a good relationship. And now think about how much this has changed since the 1990s.

The same is true, to a lesser extent, for women. How many highly educated women have maybe just one child in their late-30s to show others that they are “normal”? How many either postpone it indefinitely or just choose to have none? To be clear, I am not pushing traditionalism or any similar bullshit ideology. My point is that the percentage of people with kids of their own is directly proportional to how many would give a flying fuck about some “cause” which might “help the children”. And that, you see, is why deceptive advertising campaigns based on “won’t somebody think of the children” have failed so miserably after the late-1990s.

What do you think? Comments?

Recap of Previous Posts on Futility of Attempts at “Gun Control” in USA

March 25, 2018 1 comment

As more regular readers of this blog know, I have written more than a few posts on why attempts to implement “gun control” in USA are doomed to failure in addition to being worse than useless. While I often link to 2-3 older posts in each newer one on that topic, I thought it was a good idea to create a more comprehensive link list for the major ones. Also, it is Sunday and I am trying to finish up another post on a related issue.

Mass Shootings Occur in USA Because It is a Third-World Country (from February 2018)

First world countries are defined by the quality of life enjoyed by their median resident, as are third world countries. For example- Japan, South Korea, France, Germany etc are seen as first world countries because of the high quality of life for their median residents. Living in such countries is characterized by things such as excellent universal healthcare, fairly stable and well-paying jobs for the majority of its residents, reasonably good formal and informal social safety nets and an overall lack of extremely poor and desperate people. In other words, life for the median resident in these countries is very good and even the less fortunate are doing better than treading water.

Now contrast this to the overall quality of life in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India and yes.. USA. While these countries have no shortage of billionaires and lesser rich people with fabulous lifestyles- things are pretty shitty for their median residents. Most people in these countries have precarious jobs and livelihoods which often do not pay enough for the ever-increasing costs of sub-standard housing, healthcare and education. The government in these countries work solely for the benefit of the rich minority and does not provide adequate social goods such as healthcare, education, housing, sanitation or a usable social safety net.

On the Democratic Party’s Unfortunate Obsession with Gun Control (from August 2017)

And that is why the credentialed professional class, which is the 2nd most important constituency for democrats as well as the source of most of their party establishment cadre want to disarm “less deserving” poorer people. Parasites, you see, prefer hosts who are unable to stop the party. Credentialed professionals perceive the widespread ownership of guns as a threat to their cushy livelihoods which depend on theft and extortion via laws and regulations. However, unlike corporations, they are not powerful or singularly important enough to get special protection by the state.

Attempting to ban widespread ownership of guns, then, appears to be the second best option. And that is why the democratic establishment keeps on pursuing a policy that has brought it repeated electoral failure in parts of the country that are not New York or California. On a side note, I do not think that their obsession with gun control is going to change even if they perform poorly in the 2018 and 2020 elections. As long as they can still win a few coastal states, they will keep shooting themselves in the foot.

On the Futility of Attempts at Gun Control in the USA (from July 2015)

And this brings us to the second issue- namely, that a significant minority of people do not perceive the current government system as being legitimate. But why does that matter? Don’t people in other developed countries have similar views about their governments? Well.. it does matter, because people in other developed countries do perceive their governments to be significantly more legitimate than people in the USA see their own. But why? What makes people in Japan, Germany or even the U.K feel that their government is legitimate? The simple answer is that the perceived legitimacy of a government is directly proportional to the consistency and effectiveness of its efforts to maintain the quality of life for the median citizen.

It is therefore no surprise that gun control measures seem to work in countries where the government directly or indirectly intervenes in favor of the median citizen. I should also point out countries with such government systems always had very low rates of deaths by individual acts of violence- especially in the post-WW2 era. In contrast to that, countries in which governments routinely and overtly abuse the majority to benefit the rich minority always had rather high rates of non-state sanctioned homicides. That is why certain countries such as Mexico, Brazil and South Africa have rather high rates of non-state sanctioned homicides despite highly restrictive gun ownership laws. My point is that the USA has always been more like Mexico, Brazil and South Africa than Japan, Germany or the U.K.

LIEbrals push for more gun control laws because they do not want to acknowledge that the USA has always been an affluent third-world country and that they have greatly benefited from this situation.

Non-Gun Mass Killings Will Become the Next New Trend (from August 2012)

It seems that we can hardly go a week without some quiet, lonely and otherwise law-abiding guy shooting up a few people. Such mass shootings have created an outcry among morons who think that guns kill people. There is however considerable evidence that killing lots of people without guns is actually quite easy, if the persons doing it is so determined. Moreover there are excellent contemporary examples, such as the ongoing drug wars in Mexico, that show the inefficacy of legal gun control in preventing people from acquiring guns.

Now I don’t know whether these weekly mass-shootings will become more frequent (likely) or deadlier (somewhat less likely), but that discussion is best saved for another post. But there is another and far more interesting trend that I predict will emerge regardless of whether lawmakers try to pass more restrictive laws about gun ownership. I have partially tackled this issue in a previous post. People who are unhappy with the system, and see no viable future, will increasingly kill others through means that are not gun or explosive linked.

Why (New) Gun Laws Won’t Prevent Mass Killings (also, from August 2012)

Attempts to control the legal ownership of guns are superficial “do something” acts which so not address the underlying causes of the malady. The reality is that there is really no way a failing society can stop such acts. Do you really think that people who have nothing to lose will follow laws and regulations? Do you think they won’t get firearms through extra-legal channels? Do you think a failing government can control the system? Do you think James Holmes would have done less damage with a couple dozen Molotov cocktails and a few matches in a crowded theater? Are you going to regulate gasoline usage next? The only way to effectively reduce the incidence of mass killings is through the creation of a socio-economic system which treats people with a basic level of human dignity.

But I don’t think that will happen. The whole modus operandi of the USA as a society has been to abuse, steal and murder others to get rich and impoverish those who survive. For a long time, they mostly did it to outsiders and minorities, but they eventually ran out of them as far as profit is concerned. That is when they turned to (and on) each other. While it looked fairly harmless in the beginning (early 1980s), things have got worse with each passing year. The reality is human beings, especially the so-called clever ones, are too short-sighted to appreciate the effects of their own actions.

What do you think? Comments?

John Bolton is a Dangerous, but Standard, NeoCon Idiot: Mar 23, 2018

March 23, 2018 6 comments

I am sure that, by now, most of you must have heard the news about Trump deciding to replace HR McMaster with John Bolton as his National Security Adviser. The reaction of media, both mainstream and alternative, to this appointment has been one of dismay and premonitions of doom. And you cannot blame them.. as some of you might remember- John Bolton as the guy who was too toxic for Bush43 to defend in 2006, which says a lot. Then again, “respectable mavericks” like John McCain and Lindsey Graham have expressed very similar views in the recent past.

So.. how did we reach the point where a guy who was considered too extreme to serve in the Bush43 administration is going to become the national Security Adviser? While it is easy to blame this particular decision on Trump being a demented idiot, the reality is unfortunately far more complicated. In the remainder of this article, I will try to show you that the policies and mindset of those who preceded him in that post for at least the last two decades made his rise almost inevitable.

In a way, this is similar to the concept that Trump’s rise was almost inevitable given the policies, actions and rhetoric of presidents and ‘mainstream’ presidential candidates who preceded him. I believe that it is important to realize that John Bolton is not an aberration or defect in a “great democratic experiment”.. aka the lies most Americans like to tell themselves about their country. The only difference between him and most people who have held that post before him is that Bolton cannot keep his mouth shut and act “civilized” and “proper”.

Think about it.. How many in the MSM were appalled by or shunned people like Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Condoleezza Rice and H. R. McMaster. In case some of you don’t remember, Kissinger is a war criminal who was responsible for death of a few millions in South-East Asia and for some “inexplicable” reason is considered a respectable commentator on international affairs in USA. You may know Zbigniew Brzezinski at the person responsible for the rise of Taliban and the post-1979 destabilization of the Middle-East which led to most of the subsequent conflicts and wars in that region. And yet, Brzezinski lived the rest of life in great comfort and prestige in addition to being proclaimed as a great statesman after his death.

Condi Rice was a rubber-stamp who supported the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 which ultimately led to a particularly humiliating defeat for USA a few years later. Even the less well-known sociopaths and failures who have occupied that position presided over a long string of unnecessary wars which the USA lost, but only after causing much death and suffering. Then there all those less famous but equally dangerous dummies whose actions almost caused full-scale nuclear war in the early 1960s and 1980s. And who can forget the more recent boneheads who went along with the creation of ISIS by Saudi Arabia and trying to destabilize Syria by cooperating with Islamic extremists.

John Bolton for all his obvious stupidity and incompetence is ideologically very similar to previous National Security Advisers. The unpleasant reality is that every single person who has occupied that post since it was created has operated with a mindset and worldview which are, for all practical purposes, identical to those of Bolton. If you don’t believe me, name two people who have occupied that post but did not push for more counterproductive wars, more defense spending and more hostile “diplomacy”. Alternatively, tell me how Kissinger, Brzezinski and Rice were “better” than Bolton.

To put it another way, the main reason for the establishment outcry against his appointment comes down to him being too stupid to keep his mouth shut or act “dignified”. Now.. this does not mean that he is harmless or that his actions won’t cause destructive wars and other assorted “problems”. Indeed, his appointment could very likely result in all of us finally finding out the true range and accuracy of DPRK’s ICBMs, not to mention the yield of their fusion warheads. It is also likely that this idiot will get USA involved in a war with Iran which will result in the former’s humiliation and final loss of status as a “superpower”.

In summary, Bolton is a symptom and product of American hubris, like Trump. It is just that he represents the ridiculous end-product of that mindset, again like Trump. While we can all agree that John Bolton is a dangerous idiot, let us not pretend that he is somehow fundamentally different from all the other National Security Advisers who preceded him.

What do you think? Comments?

Initial Thoughts on Novichok Agents, Sergei Skripal, Russia and UK: 1

March 20, 2018 13 comments

About a couple of weeks ago, a former Russian military intelligence officer named Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter were found unconscious on a public bench in Salisbury by a passing doctor and nurse. They were taken by paramedics to a nearby hospital where their condition was determined to be the result of exposure to an organophosphate compound, most likely a nerve agent. Within a day or two of the event, the British government was openly blaming Russia for this incident. The Russian government has, so far, officially denied any involvement in whatever caused Skripal and his daughter to end up in the hospital.

While there is no shortage of alternative narratives, speculation , trolling and changing stories by all sides involved in this incident, especially UK, we are still not close to anything approaching a somewhat reliable account of how Skripal and his daughter got exposed to whatever chemical they were exposed to on that day. To complicate matters further, a lot of scientifically illiterate liars who happen to write for supposedly “respectable” news outlets such as the NYT, WP and Guardian have muddied the waters even further with their bullshit and.. face it.. propaganda.

In this post, I will try to de-convolute a lot of the bullshit, lies, exaggerations surrounding this incident and the chemicals allegedly used. I will also talk about some of the peculiar, and largely glossed over, facts of this case.

1] While definitive diagnosis of poisoning by cholinesterase inhibitors such as organophosphates is relatively quick and easy, identifying the compound responsible for that intoxication is often difficult- especially if the compound is present in minute quantities. But why? Well.. it comes down to the nature of tests necessary for reaching each endpoint. It is fairly easy to run a small sample of blood and plasma through an assay which measures RBC and serum cholinesterase activity. While not identical to neuronal acetylcholinesterase, these enzymes are similar enough to each other as a family that compounds which inhibit one will inhibit the others.

Ready-to-use kits for measuring both red blood cell and plasma cholinesterase are available in the diagnostic laboratories of almost every major hospital. In contrast to that, rapid and definitive identification of an organophosphate compound is harder- especially if the compound is present in very small quantities or is uncommon. While modern mass-spectroscopy based methods can detect minuscule amounts of any chemical compound, preparing samples for testing can often take more than a couple of days- especially if you do not know which test specimen contains the compound of interest.

2] While the government in UK still maintains that the compound they identified is a Novichok agent‘, we still have not seen any of the evidence which led to their conclusion. You might remember that in 2002, the UK government made a similarly bold claim that they were certain about Saddam Hussein possessing large stockpiles of WMDs. We all remember how that one played out. It does not help that their stories about where Skripal and his daughter might have gotten exposed have kept on changing. Also, we do not have any definitive evidence about the extent of exposure to other people in their vicinity or those involved in their subsequent medical treatment and investigation.

Similarly, their contention that this compound must have come from a “Russian chemical laboratory” is not supported by available evidence. The structure of more than a few of these compounds is readily available and while their synthesis would be highly risky, a large corporation or government program in any country with a half-decent chemical industry could synthesize them without much difficulty. Furthermore, these compounds were developed to be especially easy to synthesize- in addition to being highly toxic. Unless they can show that isolated samples contain some signature reaction side-products or they apprehend those who poisoned Skripal and his daughter- definitive attribution to Russia is basically impossible.

3] There is also the question of why Russia would target Skripal and his daughter in 2018, as opposed to anytime after the 2010 spy swap with UK. Why wait eight years to do something that is certain to get negative international attention? Sure.. Skripal was seen as a traitor by the Russians, but that has been the case since he was arrested by them in 2004. It is actually somewhat odd that he did not die in a Russian prison sometime between 2004 and 2010. Also, why go after him when there are other more target-worthy Russian expats living in UK.

And then there is the vexed question about why his daughter was still working in the US embassy in Moscow. Think about it.. why would a person whose father was imprisoned for high treason in a country continue to work in the embassy of an adversary nation in that country? Why did she not work in a similar position in another country? Why flaunt her presence in Moscow by working at the US embassy, when the government there saw her father as a traitor. Clearly, there is a lot more to this story than has, so far, been made public.

Will write another post on this topic based on future developments and comments.

What do you think? Comments?