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Some Older Posts about the Problem of Police Murdering Black People

June 1, 2020 24 comments

As some readers will remember, I have been writing for many years about what state-approved lynching of black people, especially men, by cops says about american society. Needless to say, my observations about this phenomenon go beyond blaming the cops (who are guilty, of course) to issues such as the intersection of racism and capitalism in a rapidly declining empire. And yes.. what we are seeing now (in post-1965 era) has a much more to do with maintaining the cosmetic appearance of a terminally declining order than actually achieving anything substantive. Think of it as the cosplay accompanying the ongoing final decline of an empire- and read the above-linked short series if you interested in my reasoning for that specific conclusion.

In the past, I have also addressed issues such as why police are much more likely to kill unarmed black men than say arab or somali men. Long story short, the second worst thing to happen to black people in this country was Christianity which ensured their mind was as enslaved as their bodies. Therefore they do not react to the lynching of other black people with the same deadly ferocity as say arabs, somalis or any other ethno-linguistic group. Here is a quote..

It is very likely that police murdering Muslims from the ME at even a fraction of rate of Blacks in USA would severely compromise the personal safety of themselves and their families. In contrast to that, police murdering black people in USA will at most result in more marches, prayers at some church and tearful interview with relatives on TV. European whites did not get kicked out for good out of Asian and African countries after WW2 because they feared peaceful marches, prayer assemblies and tearful testimonies. American whites did not get kicked out of North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan because of nonviolent resistance by the local population.

Belief in Christianity and consequent self-hatred is also why many older and even some young black people seeking respectability are unwilling to openly say that cops are murderers even when the evidence for that assertion is very clear. Here is a quote from that post..

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 the 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.

As mentioned in previous paragraph, there is also the issue of the ‘black mis-leadership class‘. To make another long story short, the vast majority of black political leadership since the 1970s is made up of frauds and hucksters who will throw their supporters under the bus at the slightest chance of personal profit. These CONmen and CONwomen have no real interest in the betterment or upliftment of the people who vote them into office. Here is a quote from that post..

Over the past few years, I noticed something interesting about the response of almost all of the so-called ‘black leadership’ types to large protests about police brutality against black people. To make a long story short, even though they acknowledged the existence of this problem almost every single one of them did nothing beyond push for a few cosmetic measures and make long speeches. And this includes that black neoliberal president aka Obama.

In other words, they took great care not to upset the status quo while using those events to cynically get more black people to vote for them in elections. When I looked at this issue in more detail, it became obvious that we have not gone past the level of change achieved by the civil rights moment of 1950s-60s. Which is a nice way of saying that black ‘leadership’ since the 1970s has largely been about pretending to fight for equality for their constituency while simultaneously supporting the status quo and getting rich.

Finally there is the issue of ‘black respectability politics’, which is regrettably still a thing among older black people– especially older black women. There is a reason why aneoliberal CONman such as Obama, whose policies as a president did a lot of damage to his own group, still has high approval ratings among older black people- even though he is the political equivalent of Bill Cosby. In summary, this is much deeper problem than many would like to believe.

What do you think? Comments?

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

May 31, 2020 23 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think? Comments?

Quick Method for Determining the Demographic Destiny of Any Group

May 27, 2020 22 comments

Here is one of those posts which I started writing years ago but did not finish till today, because it was.. well.. so short. Yes, one of the two reasons I kept delaying its publication was my inability to find something extra or deeply significant about the basic concept. The other being that this post will almost certainly attract some traditional and socially CONservative types- a group that I don’t care about.. to put it mildly.

So without further ado, here is how you determine whether any group (racial, ethnic, economic, religious etc) will grow or shrink in the near future. Ready.. if the median age of first birth in women of said group is under 26, then it has a bright demographic future. If the median age of first birth in women is over 28, that group is headed for a rapidly shrinking demographic future.

But wait.. there is more. The father’s age is equally important. Groups where the father’s age at time of birth of his first child is under 30 are expanding. Conversely, groups where the father’s age at time of first child’s birth is over 30 are aging and contracting. The above two observations hold regardless of factors such as historical era, race, ethnicity, religion, culture etc.

Confused? Let me explain the concept with a few examples and also tell you how I first stumbled on this observation. Looking back at my ancestors, I realized something peculiar about changes in number of children per woman. While both sides of my family tree were always well off, the number of kids per women (fertility rate) dropped sharply after the 1940s. This occurred irrespective of level of education for women or whether they had jobs outside the house.

The point I am trying to make is that the drop in fertility had nothing to do with ability to afford having more kids. Sure.. medical developments after 1940 ensured that almost all kids born to parents who can afford them will live to adulthood and beyond. But then again, the majority of kids born to my ancestors in previous eras made it to adulthood.. so survival of genetic legacy was unlikely to be a consideration.

So what was going on? Well.. while overhearing conversations among the older members of my family I realized that around that time, the average age of marriage of women went up rather steeply- from late teens to early 20s. We can certainly debate the social, economic and cultural shifts which caused that change- but it does not matter, because the outcome does not change. Years later, I noticed a very similar pattern when looking at chronological demographic data for countries such as UK and France.

By then, I had also noticed something else. The median number of children per woman drops below 2 once the age of having first child for women exceeded 28. Also, this observation holds regardless of country or social class. While this shift first occurred in the more “educated” and moneyed classes of every country, it has since spread much further- especially in westernized countries. The most curious part of this shift is that it has little to do with ability to financially support more children. And it gets even weirder..

While some of you might think that the correlation of male age at birth of first child with fertility rates is simply an artifact of men being a few years older than women in most marriages or relationships, it is a much more complicated than that. See.. men who haven’t had kids by 30 are much less likely to seek relationships where they want to have them. Moreover, even if they have kids after 30, it is seldom more than two- and usually one or one.

Now I am sure some of you will tell me about counterexamples they know in person. To that I say.. sure.. but I am talking about the correlation of parental age with average and median number of children. I am sure that somebody like a sports star, famous rapper, movie celebrity or somebody that is very interested in having many kids might have more. But they are the minority and face it.. very few people have a half-dozen or more kids.

To summarize, the total number of kids a woman has starts dropping sharply once her age at birth of first child is over 22, approaches replacement (IFR ~ 2) if her age is between 24-26 and goes below replacement (IFR < 2) once her age exceeds 28. As far as men are concerned, those who haven't become first-time fathers by 30 are unlikely to have more than two- usually one or zero. This occurs regardless of their financial ability to support more children.

I am sure that many of you will have a lot to say about my observations and potential reasons behind these socio-economic-cultural shifts.

What do you think? Comments?

Controversy over Hydroxychloroquine Exposes Emptiness of LIEbralism

May 22, 2020 14 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?

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?