Archive

Archive for the ‘Dystopia’ Category

How the Democratic Party Could Lose in 2020 Elections and Beyond: 1

August 31, 2019 11 comments

As regular readers know, I have written a series about why the Democratic party does not have a bright future– to put it mildly. To be clear, I am not suggesting that the Republican party is going to fare any better. It will be interesting to observe which one becomes irrelevant first. As things stand today, my money is on democrats becoming irrelevant few years before their republican compatriots suffer a similar fate. While there are many reasons behind this particular guess, one stands out because of its connection to the ongoing clown car show of presidential candidates. It seems that the democratic establishment, and almost every single candidate in the fray, has not learned any useful lessons from the 2016 debacle when their candidate lost to that orange troll.

There are those who believe that the democratic party will ultimately prevail because of changing demographics, aka “coalition of the ascendant”. I am old enough to remember this bullshit idea was floated, in its current form, over 10 years ago when democrats briefly won the house, senate and presidency. Of course, as we all know, things did not quite work out that way. Between 2008 and 2017, democrats lost multiple governorships, over a thousand seats in state legislatures, the house, senate and finally the presidency. I am sure some of you (MikeCA?) will try to portray the slight majority in house won by democrats in 2018 as a harbinger of further electoral victories. I for one, am not sure that this will be the case and here are the reasons.

The electoral victories of democrats in 2018 had far more to do with the incredibly inept handling of “healthcare reform” by Trump and republicans at state as well as national levels. The level of tone-deafness exhibited by orange man and his fellow republicans towards the concerns of tens of millions of voters about their healthcare coverage was the deciding factor in them losing the house and numerous governorship and seats in state legislatures to democrats. I am sure that there are more than a few partisan democrat voters who believe that the Mueller sideshow or newer disclosures about Trump’s extramarital liaisons had an effect. But who are we kidding? The popular image of Trump as a lecherous conman with mediocre business instincts hasn’t changed since 2015. Everyone who voted for him did so in spite of all his public shortcomings.

The real question we should be asking ourselves is: why did so many voters in many states either vote for a orange troll or, more importantly, not vote for HRC. And let us clear about something else, the number of non-voters in USA has exceeded those of the winning presidential candidate for many decades. Indeed, in at least 3 of the last 8 elections, the number of non-voters came real close to being larger than all candidates combined. The percentage of people who vote in USA, especially at national level, has historically been lower than other democracies. But why? Well.. there are many reasons, but most can be summarized in one sentence- majority of voters correctly believe that voting has no real positive impact on their lives. But, once again, why is that so? What makes the USA a Potemkin democracy as opposed to a real one?

To understand what I am talking about and how it relates to the subject of this post, let me ask you another question. Why is the democratic party today unable to win elections in many states which used to be its strongholds in the recent past. The conventional explanation invoked by idiots aka “political pundits” involves something about post-1965 (voting rights act related) political realignment. And there is a sliver of truth in that explanation. The democratic party did pay a considerable electoral price for all the civil rights related laws passed in 1960s. However the damage was largely restricted to ex-slave owning states in the deep south. Democrats actually gained seats in the house in 1968, 1976 and 1988. They also held the house in 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1992. Heck, democrats were competitive in states such as Texas, West Virginia, Kansas etc into the late-1980s.

My point is that while passage of civil rights laws damaged democratic party prospects in deep south, things were pretty OK for them in rest of country for over twenty years. In other words, sorry state of democratic part in the post-1994 era has little to do with legislation passed in the mid-1960s. So what caused voters in many states, especially non-coastal ones, to abandon the democratic party? In a post from about two years ago, I pointed out that ascendancy of issues such as ‘gun control’ in democratic party started at around the same time as its leadership and upper echelons were increasingly populated by the credentialed professional class who tends to be concentrated in large coastal cities. While there are, once again, many reasons why this shift occurred, it resulted in the needs of working class (especially white) being ignored. Consequently, these voters either started voting republican or simply stopped voting altogether.

But why would many white voting class voters start voting republican, even though doing so was not in their own interests? Well.. we can blame a small part of this on sheer stupidity. But a much larger reason was that there wasn’t much difference between the two, politically speaking. Both parties were controlled by the same big corporations and super-rich who wanted to impoverish the working class and suck them dry. Even today, establishment democrats cannot stop talking about ‘bipartisanship’ aka passing laws and rules to fuck over everybody other than their rich campaign donors. But this still does not explain why people who seemingly gain nothing from voting republican continue to vote them into office.

In my opinion, it comes down to how each party treats the majority of its voters. The republican party, while busy fucking over their voters, provides lip service to ‘social issues’ (abortion, church, guns etc). More importantly, they don’t treat most of their voter base with the disdain with which democratic party treats its own. Confused.. see, unless you are a member of the credentialed professional class, you are a deplorable nobody to the democratic party. It does not matter if you voted for them or not, being anyone other than a member of the credentialed class makes you an object of contempt, derision and neglect. That is why they have kept focusing on ‘gun control’ since the 1980s, even though it has been electorally disastrous since early 1990s.

To put it another way, they see people who are not credentialed professionals as nothing more than undeserving retards whose beliefs don’t matter. Democratic politician and candidates, in turn, remind most voters of the shitty middle managers who make their working lives miserable and the HR harpies who fire them. To summarize, many working class voters in flyover states vote republican because it does not insult their beliefs while fucking them over. The democratic party, in contrast, believes that it has a god-given right to harangue and insult it voters while also fucking them over. In the upcoming part, I shall go into the many reasons why the much hyped “coalition of the ascendant” has turned out to be a damp squib and will likely remain so for the future. We shall also talk about how democratic party positions on issues such as “anthropogenic climate change”, “gun control” and “LGBTQ issues” are insulting to most voters.

What do you think? Comments?

Electric Cars and “Renewable Green Energy” as Virtue Signalling Scams

August 25, 2019 9 comments

As some of you might have heard, the autistic girl promoted by globalists aka Greta Thunberg is making news for taking an ultramodern yacht to cross the Atlantic and publicly demonstrate her commitment to a supposedly “zero carbon” lifestyle. Just do that you know, most of her handlers and promoters are flying to NYC. Any ya.. once her fake sanctimonious speeches in NYC are over, she too will quietly fly back to Sweden. While I could write a lot more about how this delusional and mentally-ill girl is being promoted as the face of environmental activism, it is best to leave that for another time. Instead I will talk about how electric cars and “renewable green energy” are nothing more than virtue signalling scams. Yes.. you heard that, they are scams.

Readers might remember that I have written a (still ongoing) series about how anthropogenic climate change is a form of secular apocalypticism. Some might also remember my thoughts on Tesla Motors being an image driven scam. This is not say that electric automobiles are somehow impossible. Indeed, electric vehicles with performance equivalent to their internal combustion powered equivalents have been technologically feasible since the late 1990s. My objection to the popular delusion that the future of automobiles being electric is based on factors other than technological feasibility. To put it very briefly, the electrochemistry which underlies rechargeable battery technology puts an upper limit on the amount of energy stored by this method.

Long story short, the amount of energy stored in carbon-carbon or carbon-hydrogen bonds (fossil fuels) will always be at least a magnitude greater than that possible with an battery utilizing the most optimal electrochemistry. But that, by itself, is not the Achilles heel of electric automobiles. As you know, it is easy to build electric vehicles with pretty decent performance using currently available battery technology. The far bigger and related problem is as follows: how do you get all that lithium, cobalt etc to build batteries on a large enough scale to displace internal combustion engine powered vehicles. This becomes tricky rather quickly, even if we assume better than 95% recycling of all metals used in such batteries. Then there is the issue of obtaining enough of those pesky lanthanides aka ‘rare earth elements’ for their electric motors.

But the electric car scam gets truly exposed once you consider how the electricity used to power and recharge it is generated. As things stand today and in near future, most of that electricity is going to come from coal/gas fueled power stations. Some will come from hydroelectric or nuclear powered stations. My point is that only a small minority of the power used to recharge those vehicles is going to come from “renewable energy sources”. In other words, using electric cars instead of normal ones merely shifts the location where carbon fuels are being burnt, not the amount. And it gets worse. Let me ask you another related question. How big is the “carbon footprint” of the industrial and transportation infrastructure necessary to build, install and maintain all those solar cells and windmills? Are you starting to see the problem?

And it just keeps on getting worse. Ever wondered why hydroelectric power has long been the dominant way to generate renewable energy? Well, think about it this way.. the amount of water which flow through a river, while varying from season to season, is reasonably constant over a period of several decades. Furthermore, it can be easily stored for future use, and over multiple years. To make another long story short, generating a constant and predicable amount of power is far easy if your source of renewable energy is water rather than wind or sunshine. The same is true for power plants using coal, oil, gas or nuclear fission. In contrast to this, the two most touted sources of “green energy”, namely wind flow and sunshine, are fickle and dependent on weather.

Do you think it is possible to run massive power grids based on the whims of weather? Some will say- why not build “green energy” power plants with.. say.. 10x the capacity you need? Well for starters, it starts becoming far more expensive and maintenance intensive than conventional power plants. But more importantly, building even 10x capacity doesn’t give you the same level of confidence in power grid stability as conventional power plants have been known to provide for many decades. Imagine running an electric grid which will fail on a massive scale at least a few times per year and during extreme weather events when such power is necessary. But couldn’t we store this energy?

Well.. sure, we can store energy from fickle sources and release it in a more gradual manner. But doing so introduces even more complications. Building huge rechargeable batteries of any known electrochemistry is expensive and they not as reliable as many want to believe. To make matter worse, if that is possible, their malfunctions can be far more catastrophic and harder to repair than is the case for conventional peak power plants. The other way to store excess energy or moderate its fluctuations involves the use of pumped storage. While this particular technology is very mature and routinely used in hydroelectric plants for providing extra juice for certain times of the day, constructing such an installation requires certain topographical features in addition to lots of water. In other words, you can’t set them up in most locations.

But what about a “smart” grid? Wouldn’t having a “smart and connected” grid solve the problem? Well.. not really. Leaving aside the part where you actually have to first possess enough energy to distribute it properly, there is the issue of whether these “smart” grids are robust enough to deliver power without massive and frequent failures. You don’t have to a genius to figure out that anything connected to a large network or the internet can and will be hacked. And even if does not get hacked, a “smart” grid is far more sensitive to cascading failures due to component malfunctions than your old-fashioned “dumb” grid. Of course, you can always use coal, gas, nuclear and hydropower plants for generating the base load and backup. But then, how much “renewable green energy” are you actually using and more importantly- WHY?

If your use of “green energy” is not sufficient to reduce your sins.. I mean carbon dioxide output.. by over 80%, what is the point of spending all that money on building and maintaining these white elephants? Did I mention the part where most countries in Asia and Africa do not go much further than giving lip service to the cause of “renewable green energy”. Yes.. you heard that right. For all the noise the leaders of some developing countries make about “green energy”, when push comes to shove they simply build more conventional power plants. For them, “green energy” is, at best, a way to provide some peak energy and keep a few more people employed.

Electric cars and “green energy” are solutions in search of a problem which does not exist. Sure, they have some good niche applications. For example, using electric cars in densely populated cities would certainly improve air quality. Similarly using solar panels to augment peak power usage for air-conditioning and refrigeration in warm countries with lots of sunshine makes sense. But let us not pretend that people are going to give up a comfortable life to perform penance.. I mean, pay much more and get far less.. to please the insatiable gods of environmentalism. Moreover, attempting to do so via rules and regulations is guaranteed to piss of the majority and result in the election of more right-wingers nutcases such as Trump.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Poor Career Prospects for People with Postgraduate Degrees : 2

August 21, 2019 7 comments

In the previous part of this series, I went into some detail about the careers of those who studied or worked alongside me during my MSc. To make a long story short, the majority are either no longer involved in scientific research or have menial unstable jobs with some vague connection to what they studied or used to do for a living. Some of you might say that this is to be expected since the biomedical sciences produce many times more graduates than the number of available jobs. While that may be true now, it wasn’t always the case. Indeed, until the early 1990s, those who studied or worked in that sector could either find decent to acceptable jobs or simply move into related areas with considerable ease.

Now let us now talk about another sector which, for over 50 years, provided highly stable, well compensated and intellectually engaging employment. I am talking about pharma. From the end of WW2 in 1945 to mid-1990s, pharmaceutical corporations (large and medium) provided some of the best and most interesting jobs and careers in western countries. And it worked both ways, since those who worked in them came up with the most important advances in medicine we have ever seen. There is a very good reason why this period is often referred to as the ‘golden age’ of drug discovery. And then it started going wrong and is now a mere shadow of its former self. Years ago, I linked to a spoof by somebody else about how things went to shit in pharma.

To be fair, this fall was not instantaneous and it was only after 2008 that the whole sector was irreparably damaged. But ya.. things had been on a downward slope since the mid-1990s. In retrospect, the true beginning of end started in late 1980s, when certain large corporations (Pfizer, Merck etc) decided to recruit ivy-league MBAs. The first signs of this rot manifested as gradual consolidation within that sector. While I could write multiple books on why consolidation in the pharma sector was so disastrous, here is the very brief version. Monopolization and oligopolization always results in counterproductive centralization, destruction of real innovation, greatly increased rent-seeking and is bad for everyone other than the upper management of those corporations in addition to their lawyers and bankers.

It should be noted that corporate monopolization has been much more disastrous in the West than Asian countries because corporations in the later are answerable to their governments to an extent unimaginable in the former. But why are we talking about how the pharma sector used to be about 20 years. Well.. because it is relevant to my choice of career. One of the main reasons for me taking the educational path I took was that working in pharma was an excellent career option with long-term stability and a pretty decent work environment. Sure.. nothing is perfect, but for someone with my interest and talents, it was as good a match as realistically possible.

Also, the pharma sector used to be fairly conservative in both hiring and firing people. Until early 2000s, mass layoffs and multiple site closures for the purpose of “corporate reorganization” were unknown in pharma. Many larger corporations even had defined benefit pensions until mid-2000s. Yes.. you heard that right. To make a long story short, those who stayed out of corporate politics and had generally satisfactory job performance could reasonably expect lifetime employment, and this was widely expected by employers and employees right upto early 2000s. You were not expected to work beyond normal work hours unless necessary due to nature of experiments and there was tons of autonomy at the site and group level. And in spite of all this, vast majority of pharma corporations were profitable businesses and remained so over multiple decades.

But how is any of this linked to my story? As it turns out, I ended up working in pharma for a few years and through direct experience and observing the career trajectories of acquaintances had a ringside seat to the beginning of final collapse of employment in pharma sector. Here is a post from 2011 in which they document that almost 300k jobs in that sector were lost between 2001 and 2011. And those layoffs did not stop in 2011, though they have sorta run out of people to fire- especially in past 4 years. The total is now closer to 400-450 k jobs and even if we assume that 60-70% were in sales and administration, it is fair to say that ivy-league MBAs have finally killed the goose which used to lay golden eggs. Far more problematically, it has altered the career course for many who would have otherwise gone into pharma.

In other words, their short-termism not only destroyed decades of institutional knowledge but also their ability to rebuild in future. And it shows! And before I explain you how, it is important to quickly explain the process of drug discovery and approval. It all starts with either the discovery of a new drug target (usually protein) or some effect of a chemical compound in cell-based or animal assays. From there it enters the pre-clinical development phase where chemists make hundreds and thousands of chemical cousins of the initial lead compounds and test them in a number of assays, animal models of some disease and extensive toxicity testing in multiple animal species. Only after it has cleared that phase can it be even considered for human trials. Small phase I trials are usually the first (dozens of people), followed by larger Phase II trials (hundreds) culminating in Phase III (hundreds to thousands and often) over a few years.

To make another long story short, the system was designed such that drugs which entered Phase III trials were unlikely to fail, and this was the case for most of modern history. Sure.. you did encounter situations where testing in larger populations (P III) revealed some rare but nasty side effects or the drug was not as efficacious as previously expected. But outright failures of efficacy in Phase III trials was really rare. Then something changed and nowadays the majority of drugs which enter Phase III trials fail, and they usually do so for lack of efficacy. Curiously, this often occurs when Phase I and Phase II data was either very good or pretty promising. So.. what is going on? While many industry insiders have tried to explain this deeply troubling trend by invoking all sorts of clever sounding bullshit, there is a simpler and more rational explanation.

A large percentage, likely overwhelming majority, of drug development in past two decades has been based in two types of fraud. The first involves manipulating metrics to make something look far better than it is in real life. Examples of such frauds involve cherry-picking patients, burying negative data, changing criteria for success, playing around with data and statistics and other stuff which is not technically illegal. The second type involves falsification of data, deliberately deleting data, kicking non-responders out of trials to improve responses rates etc. But what does any of this have to do with the downward career trajectory of people working in that sector?

Well.. since we have already exceeded 1200 words in this post, I will leave that discussion for the next part of this series. In it, I hope to go into some more detail about how neoliberalization and financialization of pharma destroyed its older and much more successful business model and institutional structure- all to make a handful of people on wall street and upper management far richer than they otherwise would have been. You will also see how stuff such as pushing opioids, antidepressants, antipsychotics etc to doctors and constantly jacking up prices of old and new drugs replaced developing newer ones as the main source of corporate growth. And ya.. I will also go into what happened to all those middle-aged and older people who lost their jobs and, in many cases their entire, careers after decades of relative stability.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Poor Career Prospects for People with Postgraduate Degrees : 1

August 17, 2019 33 comments

A few years ago, I wrote a post about how the defined and stable career trajectory is now dead in west and west-aping countries such as Japan and South Korea. Some months after that, I wrote about how the hiring practices of corporations in west have shortened the length of semi-stable career for most people to about 15 years. Then, about a year ago, I wrote a series on the long term social, economic and cultural effects of career insecurity. While they don’t make cheerful reading, it is interesting to note that these and my other older posts (pre-2016) on this general area (link 1, link 2, link 3) anticipated the rise of pseudo-populists such as Trump, the alt-right and popularity of socialism among “Millennials”. Also, have a look at my post on why rich and well-off (even in USA) are barely having any kids.

But let us get back to the topic of this post, and talk about something which I have often hinted to in previous posts on this topic. Ever wonder about the real career prospects for those with proper postgraduate education in the sciences and other related areas such as engineering. And yes.. this is relevant to issues other than the immediate future of western countries. What I am now going to describe, based on personal observations, is going to vindicate many of your darkest suspicions but also make you feel depressed. But before we talk about my observations, you should know a couple of facts about me. Longtime readers are probably aware that I came here and started my MSc when I was 20 years old in the later half of 1990s. After finishing it, I worked a couple of jobs in my field and then started my PhD in a proper STEM subject in mid-2000s and finished at the beginning of this decade. The point is, I have seen a lot more change than many others have seen.

To be more precise, I had a ringside seat to the demise of career security for smart people with postgraduate education in western countries. And don’t worry about me, I am still doing OK and will (knock on wood) continue to do so. But back to the topic at hand- What do my personal observations about the career trajectories of others who graduated a few years before myself, or alongside me, say about the overall situation. The very short answer is that it is already very bad and getting worse- if that is possible. While there are many ways to describe what I have witnessed, a chronological account of the careers of people who graduated a few years before me provides the best (if somewhat disturbing) insight into how things have gone to to shit.

While biomedical sciences have notorious for overproduction of graduates, until the mid-1990s most of them could get some half-decent jobs or at least transition into careers where their skills were useful. Somewhere between mid-1990s and 2000, that became much harder or no longer possible. To make a long story short, only those who went into to medical or dental school now have anything approaching “normal” careers. And even for them, things are pretty dismal. For starters, most are single, divorced or unhappily married with a single child. Out of the ten or so guys I know who took that route, only one has more than 2 children- and half have none. Almost every woman who went to medical school (around my age or younger) has either zero kids or just managed to squeeze one out in their late-30s. And they all look older than they should.

But at least they have some semblance of a career trajectory, because most of the rest (aka the majority) who did not get into medical school have none. Sure.. there are a few who have done OK in either academia or industry (usually the later) but most of them just seem to disappear. Confused? Let me explain. Over the years I have followed the careers of many PhD students who were smart, liked by their supervisors and generally expected to do OK in later life. But things did not work that way and many of them after promising starts and careers lasting for a decade or so, just disappear. To be clear, I am not suggesting they are dead or have commited suicide (though the later cannot be ruled out). It is just that their career in science seem to end and they stop updating their LinkedIn profiles. In almost every case, detailed internet searches failed to reveal much more than their current addresses and some more recent photos.

While I am sure that most are still alive, it is clear that they do not have well-paid or marginally prestigious jobs. Maybe they are bagging groceries at the supermarket, driving for Uber, delivering Pizza, tutoring kids or in one of those mediocre administrative positions which have proliferated in past 15 years. My point is that most of them are now doing jobs that require nothing more than an undergraduate degree. Isn’t that a terrible and cruel waste of human potential and hope? But wait.. it gets worse. Let me talk about the fate of a few people I used to know well in the late 1990s and early 2000s. And it gets depressing real fast..

When I was just finishing my MSc, there was a new postdoc from UK in the adjacent lab who had come here with his then-GF (also a postdoc). The guy was bright and competent, because within a couple of years he got a decent academic position back in UK. So far so good. Based on mutual acquaintances and PubMed, it seemed he was doing well for a decade or so. Sure.. his GF dumped him after a few years, but he seemed set for an OK career. Somewhere in 2012, his research output just stopped. My guess is that his job loss might have something to with post-2008 austerity politics in UK. Anyway.. he reemerged a few years later as proprietor of a small businesses selling dietary supplements. So a guy with a PhD, over 30 papers in decent journals and an academic career lasting almost a decade ended up hawking supplements like one of those scummy Instagram and FakeBook influencers.

Another person who did his MSc in an adjacent lab ended up running cell-phone kiosks in malls and is now selling insurance. Yet another PhD student who was considered to be very smart ended up moving to his home-city for a postdoc. He then regressed to working as a lab tech and eventually as a freelancer, the last I heard. At least, he lives in a place where his parents own a house. Another ambitious PhD student, after a couple of stints at prestigious labs as a postdoc, seems to have ended as a part-time freelancer at some research institute in another large city. The women seemed to have done a bit better, and more than a few ended up as scientific writers or mediocre administrative positions in corporations with varying degrees of stability. But in almost every case, there had no defined career with the degree of stability expended by their parents generation. Also, many of them either have no kids or one token child squeezed out in their late-30s.

To be clear, all of this occurred to people who studied, or worked, at prestigious research groups in one of the top two universities in that state. But wait.. it get worse. In the next part, I will tell you what happened to the careers of people who worked in the pharma sector between 2001 and 2008-2009. It is really bad.. to put it mildly. In future posts, I will also go in some detail about the dismal career prospects of people with postgraduate degree from well-regarded universities in subject such as Chemistry and Physics. Also degrees in engineering (various disciplines) from well regarded universities are no longer the ticket to a stable career. I hope to show you how all of this ties with rise of neoliberalism, de-industrialization and increased financialization of economy in western countries- and the death of hope.

I have a feeling that some of you might say something the lines of these people being lucky since they are still employed in jobs which pay more than median wage. Funny thing.. that is not the way things work in countries which harbor any hope for a better future. What I have described is how things typically unfold in countries that are in a steep and likely irreversible decline.

What do you think? Comments?

Quick Thoughts on Trump’s Upcoming Order About Internet Monopolies

August 13, 2019 3 comments

A few days ago, I started seeing articles about people within the Trump administration leaking various drafts of an upcoming executive order which would allegedly “break the internet”. Other presstitutes have written pieces about how this order would “censor” the internet, and still others claim it would be “illegal” or something along those lines. As usual, my thoughts on this topic are nuanced and about the larger picture as opposed to most clickbait-type ‘hot takes’ found on the internet. Also, I am not going to pretend knowledge about the final version of that executive order nor will my views on this topic be popular with everyone.

So let us start by talking about the real reason why we are even having this discussion. It is no secret that the public image of internet monopolies, tech companies and basically anything they touch has suffered an irreversible decline during the past decade. Remember how you used to believe about Google, Amazon, FakeBook, Twitter, Apple etc were “innovators” in 2008-2009? Remember that time when most of you believed that Google could make no mistake and how their search engine used to just work. It might be hard to believe, but there was a time when Google did not deliberately crappify their products through generations of bad design or shove unpopular and monopolistic changes down their user’s throats. They once even had OK customer service. I know the previous sentence is hard to believe.. but it is true.

While Google has gone down the proverbial shitter to become an inferior version of IBM from the 1960s, it is clearly not the only tech company which taken that route. Indeed, I cannot think of a single internet or tech company which has not become an unpopular, inferior and shittier version of itself over the past decade. Adobe, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, FakeBook, Cisco, Twitter, Apple and even Intel have become sorry excuses of what they used to be a decade ago. Sure.. they have become more profitable and made their upper management much richer, but have lost the battle for their public image. But why would this matter? After all, monopolies and oligopolies don’t have to care about what their customers think.. right?

Regrettably for their autistic founders and sterile drones.. I mean workers, public image matters- even if you are a monopoly or oligopoly. That is why totalitarian governments in “communist” eastern bloc countries fell so quickly in the late 1980s to early 1990s. That is also why ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ works so well in China. The ability to deliver adequately, on time and fulfill public expectations is the most important predictor of whether an organization or institution retains public trust and good will. But why is it important to retain good will, if (as some autists at Google believe) one can manipulate perceptions at will. Well.. for starters, you cannot manipulate public perception over any significant length of time. Isn’t that obvious by now?

The second reason is more important and, as you will soon see, goes to the heart of the issue. Turns out, popular legitimacy is extremely important for medium- to long- term survival of any institution. Without such legitimacy even the most tyrannical institutions become fragile and implode under the slightest external stresses. Ever wonder why people in China have a far higher opinion of their government than people in USA. Here is a clue.. look at photos of the same part of any city in China from 1990 and today. Now do the same for USA. It is important to note that people who grew up in USA between 1933 and 1974 have a far higher opinion of government because they saw it largely deliver what was promised.

But how is any of this relevant to a proposed executive order which would gut legal protection to large social media platforms currently granted under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. See.. if something like this had been proposed by even an allegedly popular president like Obama in 2008, 2012 or even 2014, it would have elicited massive public outrage. There would have a series of large movements against such an idea, and a groundswell of popular support for tech companies. Do you see anything like that now, and don’t forget that Trump is an unpopular president by historical standards. So what changed between 2012-2014 and 2019? Well.. a lot, and none of it has helped the public image of internet and tech monopolies.

The precise moment when people started hating internet and tech monopolies varies from person to person, but here are some important milestones. For some, it was the progressive crapification of google maps and email starting sometime in 2012. For others, it was the SJW-led censorship in the wake of Gamergate in 2013. Many detested the underhanded tactics used by Microsoft to push Windoze 10 (aka spyware as operating system) on its customer base starting 2015. Others were mortified by Snowden’s disclosure about the nexus between large tech corporations and government surveillance agencies in 2013. Others started hating them after learning about how most smartphone apps spy on their users without explicit consent.

Still others got tired of a seemingly endless series of hostile site redesigns. Some got burned by interactions with Amazon, Paypal, Yelp, Uber and other “darlings” of tech sector. Many others have come to hate these corporations because of how they constantly mistreat and abuse their customers and this includes everyone from Microsoft and Apple to all those “voice assistants” which spy on you 24/7. Then there is Internet of Shit.. I mean Internet of Things, an idea so horrendous from a security viewpoint that I am still not sure whether anybody who buys “connected” and “smart” devices has any capacity for rational thought. And we haven’t even talked about arbitrary censorship etc on social media and sites such as YouTube.

To make a very long story short, internet and tech monopolies are now so hated and despised that a significant minority would vote for a presidential candidate whose sole campaign promise was to torture and kill anybody and everybody associated with this deeply tainted sector of the economy. And this is the environment in which Trump is going to sign his executive order about regulation internet monopolies in the near future. Regardless of how bad a solution his stupid flunkies come up with, it will be widely seen as good- if only because it shits on the aspy losers in Silly Valley and Seattle. And we have seen this dynamic before.. in 2016.

As some of you might remember, I was able to predict Trump winning the republican nomination and presidency because of my ability to sense the depth of hatred, contempt and disgust most people felt towards all those establishment parasites.. I mean politicians. It was this popular hatred for, and lack of trust in, certain institutions which allowed that orange conman to defeat 16 republicans and then HRC. We are likely to see a repeat of this, where even the most ineffectual and counterproductive legislation by Trump will be welcomed by a majority of people just because they enjoy seeing somebody finally kick Silly Valley types in the balls.

I cannot resist pointing out that the democratic party had multiple opportunities over the last decade (and even past 2 years) to start reigning in internet and tech monopolies. But they did no such thing, given how much Silly Valley contributes to their party. In fact, Obama went further than doing nothing and encouraged consolidation in tech sector and turned a blind eye to their ever increasing abuses. Let me make another prediction.. most people are going to get boners watching the aspy losers of internet and tech monopolies squeal like a pig after such an executive order is passed- even if its bad, stupid and dangerous in the long-term.

What do you think? Comments?

Possible Medical Explanation for Joe Biden’s Obvious Cognitive Decline

August 11, 2019 3 comments

If you have watched more than a couple of Joe Biden’s recent public appearances where he had to speak extemporaneously, you might have noticed something peculiar. He often rambles about a topic without focus and also says stuff that highlights his inability to properly recall recent events. While everyone of us, regardless of age, will occasionally talk like that- Biden’s recent behavior is odd because it is far more frequently than would be the case for an otherwise healthy person of his age, especially one who has spent his life as a public figure. Compare him to Bernie Sanders, who is an year or two older than him, but still very sharp and in command of the facts. So this is not just about Biden’s age, something which becomes more obvious as we look deeper.

Compare his public speaking ability in 2019 to 2008 or even 2012. Go ahead and watch the entire vice-presidential debates from 2012 where he performs very well against Paul Ryan. Or watch his earlier speeches, debates or townhalls. My point is that Joe Biden was verbally adept (albeit ‘politically incorrect’) and mentally sharp for decades, even if he occasionally flubbed up things. Now see how he performed during the first two DNC debates and at numerous recent events since (link 1, link 2, link 3). Saying that poor kids are just as bright as white kids before hastily correcting himself, confusing Theresa May with Margaret Thatcher and claiming that he was VP during the Parkland school shooting in 2018 in spontaneous speeches during the past few days, combined with his performance during those debates is hard to dismiss as simple gaffes.

While I am no fan of diagnosing illness without properly examining a patient in person, there is a a plausible explanation for Joe Biden recently obvious cognitive decline. To understand what I am getting at, we have to first talk about an interesting but little known aspect of his medical history. In 1988, Joe Biden had surgery to treat a couple of aneurysms in his brain. The surgeries were apparently successful and after a 7-month absence from public life, he was back to normal and has had no more large aneurysms since then. All of this is good.. but have you ever wondered what causes cerebral or intra-cranial aneurysms? The short answer is that most are caused by certain cardiovascular conditions (hypertension, smoking, cocaine use etc) or they are genetic in nature. But a decent number of them are idiopathic aka without any apparent cause.

Regardless of the cause, the general mechanism of aneurysm formation in blood vessels is fairly similar and involves a section of some artery or arteriole becoming mechanically weaker than its neighbor because the underlying vascular wall is not being properly maintained by the body’s repair system. These weak segments usually develop in parts experiencing especially high blood pressure, near bifurcation points, within tight loops etc. The key point is that people who have one aneurysm have a significantly higher risk of getting another one, even if it is smaller. Emilia Clarke from ‘Game of Thrones’ suffered something like this years ago when she was in her 20s. To be clear, I am not claiming that Joe Biden has a large aneurysm in his brain right now.

What I am suggesting is a bit different. See.. people with one or more brain aneurysm, even after successful treatment, are at a significantly higher risk for microaneurysms, small subarachnoid bleeds and often have other cerebrovascular issues as they age. And this where things start get interesting or bad. The way your body reacts to small internal injuries and bleeds changes as you age. In the brain, even small and asymptomatic but repeated bleeds in old age leads to the increase in levels of soluble beta-amyloid and hyperphosphorylation of tau protein in neurons, which are calling cards of Alzheimer’s-type brain damage. The thing is.. most cases of Alzheimer’s display mixed vascular and neuronal pathology and there is tons of evidence that those processes feed into each other. Most cases of dementia in people over 75 are of the mixed type.

It is therefore likely that Biden is displaying symptoms of cerebrovascular dysfunction with a bit of classical Alzheimer’s type pathology. To reiterate, this is not unique to him, as those who have experienced mechanical cerebrovascular trauma (bad car accidents, aneurysms and other head injuries)when they were young or middle-aged have a significantly higher risk of senile dementia or impaired cerebrovascular function as they reach their 70s and beyond. In fact the same is true for any other organs or parts of the human body, from kidneys to bone joints, where damage or trauma in youth can often manifest itself as significantly reduced function in old age- even if the initial damage was treated and healed satisfactorily.

But why does any of this matter? Isn’t Trump not much better and probably on Adderall? Well.. here is why. At this moment, Biden is still the front-runner among those seeking the democratic party nomination for 2020 and older black primary voters are solidly behind a guy whose actions ruined the lives of their children and grandchildren, by the millions. At this moment, his handlers are shielding him from unscripted appearances and keeping his public exposure to a minimum. However keeping him away from unscripted appearances is going to become increasingly harder as we near the real campaign and election day. While other democratic contenders have, so far, not made his cognitive decline an issue- it is going to come out, one way or the other.

To make matters worse, if Biden ends up as the presidential nominee of democratic party, Trump is going to make his cognitive decline an issue for rest of the campaign. Between his obvious cognitive decline, inability of democarts to motivate voters beyond their base and sad obsession with ‘gun control’, it is likely we might see a repeat of 2016- where Trump loses the popular vote by somewhere between 3 and 5 million but ends up winning the electoral college and thus gets reelected. The question, then, is how do we avoid that outcome. In my opinion, Biden in 2020 is the equivalent of HRC in 2016, but with far more disastrous consequences.

What do you think? Comments?

Initial Thoughts on Jeffrey Epstein’s Suicide While Under Suicide Watch

August 10, 2019 8 comments

Just over a month ago the mysterious and reclusive billionaire, Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in NYC and charged with sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. At that time, I wrote a post about my thoughts on Epstein’s interactions with teenage girls. Anyway, there has been a lot of drama since he was re-arrested for something he was initially arrested, convicted in 2008 and released after 13 months of minimal jail time. Yes.. I am aware that it was in Florida, not NYC, but he was effectively charged with the same crime two times. Since then, a bunch of “moralistic” losers who thought his previous sentence was too light were trying to get him charged for those same ‘crimes’ for almost a decade. As you might also know, what Epstein was alleged to have done was no worse than what many famous rockstars did in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Since Epstein was rearrested and some previously sealed documents were released, the internet speculation mill had been in high gear. The names of his many famous and powerful “friends” who allegedly participated in certain activities on his private island in the Caribbean and various cities in USA had been the subject of discussion in many parts of the internet. These include people such as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, Marvin Minsky, Bill Richardson, George Mitchell, Glenn Dubin and many more. One could go further and say that many super-rich people in USA from backgrounds as diverse as finance, business, politics and Hollywood have likely enjoyed the company of under-18 girls supplied by Epstein. And yes.. a rather high percentage belong to a certain minority ethno-religious group.

I was therefore not surprised when, earlier today, the news of Epstein’s suicide in jail while under suicide-watch started making the round on Twitter. It is very clear that too many famous and “powerful” people had a lot to lose if his case went to trial and resulted in the disclosure of even more evidence. In fact, this particular turn of events was predicted by many people on Twitter since the day he was re-arrested in NYC just over a month ago. I am sure many of you have heard theories about how Epstein was an intelligence asst for the Mossad or CIA. Frankly, this is unlikely for a number of reasons from the risk involved in such an operation to the sheer lack of creativity and competence in both those agencies. Yes.. you heard that right.

There is, however, a far more likely alternate explanation for why Epstein was “friends” with so many celebrities who shared his interests. Ever considered the possibility that Epstein operated an enterprise which procured under-18 teenage girls and over-18 but still young attractive girls for his rich and famous friends? These people in turn paid him by providing money for investing, which he likely did in safe and reliable index funds. Since such investments are very safe and perform as well as other targeted strategies over the long-term, his clients were perfectly fine with it. Moreover, their payments to him were perfectly legal and impossible to associate with the real services provided by his enterprise. In other words, Epstein was a pimp who provided a certain type of pussy for his rich “friends” in a manner that was discrete and not risky, for them.

So what do I make of his suicide in jail while on suicide watch? Was it really a suicide? While it is hard to rule out foul play, especially given the stakes for his and famous “friends” if they were exposed further, it still might still technically have been a suicide. Let me explain.. It is possible for his death to be due to suicide, even if the act was strongly encouraged and facilitated by his rich “friends” and their flunkies. Maybe they conveyed to him that he would be prosecuted to the full extent of law and end up in a nasty prison for the rest of his life. Maybe they told him that he would be imminently murdered in jail. So while they technically did not get him murdered to make it look like a suicide, it is still possible that he encouraged and facilitated the act.

What happens next? Nobody knows for sure, but is very likely that Epstein must have put plans to release incriminating information about his “friends” if something was to happen to him. you know.. a dead man’s switch. I would not be surprised if evidence of sexual encounters between under-18 girls and his famous “friends” starts being leaked at random on the internet. We have already seen his apparent suicide being tied to Bill and Hillary Clinton on Twitter. But this is just the beginning of this phase of the Epstein saga. It is going to get more interesting, to put it mildly. Finally let us talk about two stupid clowns associated with the Epstein saga, Alan Dershowitz and Mike Cernovich.

Given his unusually strident but most peculiar denials, Dershowitz almost certainly partook in the services provided by his friend and client. Sooner or later, we are very likely to see independent evidence implicating Dershowitz. As for Sternovich, his desire to be close to this case as well as previous history with PizzaGate, the alt-right, numerous dietary supplements scams and his own history with accusations of rape are very likely to catch up with him- regardless of whoever is paying him right now. His utility to foreign governments and intelligence agencies is over and Cernovich has now become a huge liability rather than an asset. I would not be surprised if some “mentally unstable” person goes after him in the upcoming months. It does not help that Cernovich cannot afford the type of personal security he could have, if he was really rich.

My prediction is that the Epstein saga is not over, and the next few months could be far more interesting than the past one. And ya.. and it is unlikely to end with Epstein’s death. And here is Michael Tracey’ take on Epstein’s “suicide”.

What do you think? Comments?