Archive for the ‘Philosophy sans Sophistry’ Category

Fake Moral Outrage by Establishment against Trump will Benefit Him: 2

October 16, 2016 2 comments

As I mentioned in the previous post of this series, there are three main reasons why the attacks on Trump by the establishment and mainstream media have failed to have any lasting effect on his standing in the supposedly “objective” polls and, perhaps far more importantly, his popularity as measured by size and enthusiasm of his rallies. Moreover you can see large numbers of his non-paid supporters routinely hitting back in the comments section of numerous negative propaganda articles put out by the mainstream media. As some of you might remember, mainstream media presstitutes have been writing articles about his campaign “melting down” or “in disarray” for almost a year now.

Even supposedly “good” presstitutes like Matt Taibbi have written more than one article on the downfall of Trump. Don’t believe me? Here is a link to an article he wrote on September 6, 2016 – How Donald Trump Lost His Mojo and here is a link to one he wrote on Oct 14, 2016 – The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump. Though both articles pretend to be different, they have an almost identical basic theme- namely that Trump is imploding. But there is a problem with them in that they do not reflect observable reality. The point I am trying to make is that all mainstream media articles predicting the imminent demise of Trump’s presidential campaign are almost totally based in wishful thinking rather than an objective analysis of events.

So what is going on? Why are even supposedly “objective” presstitutes like Matt Taibbi writing the journalistic equivalent of ‘Letters to Penthouse’ than anything vaguely resembling journalism? Why has wishful thinking and make-believe replaced anything vaguely resembling journalism? Why are so many journalists willing to believe something is happening when there is no worthwhile evidence of it happening? Why are so many journalists unwilling to see Trump supporters as anything other than stupid and racist whites? And perhaps most importantly- why do these journalists exhibit so much hate and contempt for people who support Trump?

Well.. there are many reasons for the way in which the mainstream media is treating Trump and his supporters. Some of these reasons are linked to the corporate consolidation of mainstream media outlets that has occurred in the previous three decades. Other reasons have to do with pressures linked to diminution of employment opportunities in mainstream media due to the spread and ubiquity of the internet. Still others have to do with the extreme geographical and socio-economic separation of well-known journalists and the people and subjects they write about. But the single biggest reason behind the biased reporting by mainstream media presstitutes has to do with false consciousness– as defined by Engels.

The vast majority of presstitutes who still work in mainstream media owe their jobs to their social connections and access to the establishment elite rather than their merit or ability. Furthermore, the career stability and prospects of almost all well-known or wannabe well-known presstitutes are linked to extent that they will prostitute themselves to the establishment elites. Consequently they see themselves as loyal servants and defenders of the status quo which allows their patrons to keep on screwing the majority of people. Many presstitutes also believe that cultivating subservient relationships with the establishment elite will result in them being invited to join the group. While that does work out for a select few- the vast majority of mainstream media presstitutes who toil away to impress their elite patrons are seldom rewarded with anything beyond a regular paycheck and occasional invitations to elite gatherings and similar small favors.

It is now quite easy to understand why mainstream media presstitutes will uncritically support and defend the most outrageous mistakes and behavior of their patrons- from supporting the war in Iraq, supporting the housing bubble, supporting various financial bubbles to supporting war with “insert name of country”.. you get the picture. It is therefore a mistake to see the mainstream media in supposedly democratic countries like the USA as anything more the flunkies and stenographers of the establishment elite.

Trump and his supporters (especially his supporters) present the single largest internal challenge to american establishment elite in living memory. It therefore follows that all flunkies and stenographers of the establishment (aka presstitutes) believe that he and the movement behind him must be defeated and demoralized. Unfortunately for them, we live in 2016- an era where they have irreversibly lost their previous monopoly in controlling flow and dissemination of “news” and information. It also does not help them that a very small percentage of the population believes in what they have to say. I see their futile attempts at undermining Trump as being the final major attempt of their failing and decaying vocation to influence the course of events for the benefit of the establishment elite.

What do you think? Comments?

Fake Moral Outrage by Establishment against Trump will Benefit Him: 1

October 15, 2016 15 comments

The previous week, or two, has seen the mainstream media being involved in the coordinated release and promotion of one (or more) audio recording of Trump making some allegedly lewd comments about women. They have also solicited and promoted the personal testimonies of women who have mysteriously remember instances of Trump groping them many years ago. Needless to say, these stories are poorly sourced and look very suspiciously timed. I should also point out more than a few of the accusers have direct, or indirect, links to the Clinton political machine.

It is most peculiar that the mainstream media is promoting these suspiciously timed stories about Trump while simultaneously ignoring the still ongoing releases of John Podesta’s hacked emails by WikiLeaks. As some of you know, the emails released so far by WikiLeaks contain many revelations relevant to the electability of Hillary Clinton in the general election. Also,if you do not know who John Podesta is or need to refresh your memory of him- here is a link about him.

These leaked emails, among other things, highlight the extremely close relationships between her and large corporations and financial institutions- thereby justifying the commonly held belief that she is a tool of corporations and the elite. Other emails from the same leak have shown her disconnectedness and contempt for non-elite americans, especially if they are white and resident in non-coastal states. We now finally have full transcripts of at least three paid speeches given by her to Goldman Sachs (at about 230k per speech) and damaging excerpts from many similar speeches given to other banks and corporations.

Perhaps more disturbingly, these speeches have revealed that she admits (public positions vs private position)that she will say anything to get elected. It certainly does not help her credibility to privately say that Saudi Arabia and neighboring gulf Emirates fund and support ISIS/ISIL and then accept millions of dollars from them- including a million dollar check birthday check for Bill Clinton. There are others where she privately calls “common core” a failure, defends fracking, is against legalizing marijuana, is still totally for gay marriage.. you get the picture.

However almost none of these important revelations about HRC are being discussed in the mainstream media. The mainstream, or more properly the establishment, media is full of endless interviews of poorly aging white women who claim that Trump sexually molested them years ago. Oddly enough, none of these women made a formal or informal compliant about his alleged behavior at that time. Infact, many of these accusers continued to be on very good terms with him until he announced his intention to run for the presidency. Furthermore, there is no way to verify the veracity of their claims via third-party testimony or other forms of objective evidence.

The endless promotion of such news items about Trump while simultaneously refusing to cover the Podesta leaks strongly suggests that the mainstream media (in collusion with the Clinton campaign) is deliberately running a massive fake news operation against Trump to stop his democratic election to the presidency.

While there are those who think such negative coverage by the media will hurt Trump over the long-term, I think otherwise. And here is why.. How many of you remember the attacks on Trump’s emotional stability from three months ago, or the attacks originating from the Khan family a couple of months ago or those by Alicia Machado from three weeks ago. In every single case, these attacks had no real lasting effects on Trump’s standing in the polls. At best, these attacks appeared to have some negative effect in some polls for a few days followed by a rebound. In a future post, I will also share my thoughts on the apparently odd behavior of major pre-election polls.

So why are all these attacks on Trump by the Clinton campaign and mainstream (old) media failing to have any real effect on his popularity? Well, there are many reasons.. but they can be broadly classified into two categories. Firstly, it comes down to credibility or the lack thereof. It is no secret that constantly repeating stories and allegations with the same themes in absence of support from events in real life hurts credibility of those sources. The mainstream media have been crying wolf for so long that very few people (as a percentage of the population) still believe them.

Moreover, the internet allows Trump to issue his rebuttals and make counter-accusations to an audience that is far larger and more engaged than that now available to mainstream media. Some of you might know that many of Trump’s recent campaign speeches have between 200-300k YouTube views (per speech) within 48 hours of uploading them. Furthermore the footprint of people who believe him, or follow him, on various social media platforms is in the tens of millions. Between that and his very well attended rallies, he has a far larger non-traditional media presence than HRC.

Secondly, the public image he has cultivated over three decades is such that controversies that would sink conventional politicians have no negative effect on him. Everybody knows that he is brash and rude rich guy who likes the company of attractive women. That is part of his image and appeal. Nobody expects him to speak like Obama or anybody else from an east-coast ivy league university. His lack of pretense about enjoying fast food or wearing ill-fitting suits makes him look normal and real in comparison to politicians with HRC who are incapable of anything approaching spontaneous or normal human behavior.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, people have grown to associate the media image of politicians like HRC with greed, corruption, lying and systemic decay. It does not help that public trust in institutions, from the medical establishment to journalism, is at an all time low- and still going down. In this environment, a candidate like Trump appears more viable and reasonable than all those credentialed expert-types whose only apparent skills seem to be finding new ways of scamming and looting the majority of people. We also cannot discount the possibility that some of his supporters want to elect him for the express purpose of destroying the status quo- one in which they have no worthwhile future.

What do you think? Comments?

Why Hillary Clinton is Losing in Polls to Donald Trump: 3

October 6, 2016 10 comments

In the second post of this series, I put forth the idea that a significant part of popular support for Trump’s candidacy is a reaction to the almost unanimous support of HRC by establishment elites and their upper-middle class enablers. It is no secret that a rapidly growing majority of the population has lost faith in the competence and ability of establishment elites and their flunkies (aka “credentialed experts and Professionals”) to keep the system from imploding on itself. As some of you might know, this issue has been the subject of many posts on this blog- including some of the first ones I wrote in 2010.

It is also no secret that the establishment media and “objective credentialed experts” are trying very hard to persuade people to not vote for Trump.. and it is not working. But why is that the case? Why are most people ignoring the constant stream of distortions, lies and scams put forth by the mainstream media, “celebrities” and “credentialed experts”? Why did people appear to trust and believe them in the past but now ignore them? What makes people today so much less likely to believe in what “opinion leaders”, “celebrities” and “public intellectuals” say? While I have covered some of the interlocking reasons for the now irreversible decline in public opinion about them in previous posts, there are a few issues especially relevant to the rise of Trump that could use some more illumination.


About 2-3 weeks ago, an angry HRC asked “Why am I not 50 points ahead?” during a televised interview. While that rhetorical question has since become a subject of much amusement to people throughout the country, I believe that an honest answer to that question highlights one of the major problems facing establishment elite in the USA- and indeed throughout the west. As many of you probably know, the mainstream media and “public intellectuals” blame everything from sexism to her multi-decade presence in national politics for her unpopularity. However the surprise and frustration expressed by HRC in that interview has far deeper roots than mere unpopularity. The question she is really asking is as follows- Why are so people willing to trust a political novice like Trump over a “credentialed expert” like her?

The answer to that question goes something like this.. “credentials” and “experience” are, at best, proxy markers for real-life ability and competence.

Let me illustrate that point with a couple of examples. Consider a population which believes that their health-care system is the “best” in the world because it looks, sounds and feels impressive and “professional”. Most readers will immediately realize that the way a system looks, sounds and feels has no real link to it being excellent or even good. But let us imagine that the population of said country is delusional or stupid enough to buy such associations and lacks an external frame of reference to suspect otherwise. Now ask yourself- How long can this charade continue without the population openly losing faith in the system and its “credentialed professionals”? Based on my observations about the healthcare system in USA, repeated negative experiences with the system are the single biggest contributor to loss of faith in it. While external reference frames and decentralized flow of information definitely speed up the process, personal experiences are by far the largest and most powerful drivers for loss of faith in any given system.

Another example of this phenomenon can be seen in the generally negative perception of corporations capitalism among the under-40 age group in USA. Many “public intellectuals” believe that such perceptions in that age group has to do with them being entitled or spoiled. But as we know, it is the “public intellectuals” who are full of shit. Baby boomers (and older generations) have a more positive perception of corporations and capitalism largely because both appeared to largely deliver on their promises at some point in their lives (mostly between 1950s-1970s). In contrast to that- neither of the two have delivered anything about stagnation, misery and precariousness to anyone born after the very early 1970s. Consequently propaganda, regardless of scale or extent, is incapable of making most non-retarded people born after 1970 see corporations and capitalism in positive terms.

The willingness to vote for a political novice like Trump over a “credentialed” system insider like HRC in 2016 is, therefore, largely a consequence of many tens of millions of people having had multiple and sustained negative experiences with voting for the political status quo. To put it another way, no amount of hand wringing and scare mongering by the elites and their enablers will change the actual levels of popular support for Trump’s presidential campaign.

What do you think? Comments?

Why Hillary Clinton is Losing in Polls to Donald Trump: 2

September 25, 2016 4 comments

In the previous post of this series, I put forth the idea that HRC’s continued downward slide in polls against Trump is largely due to unanimous support of her candidacy by elites and their upper-middle class enablers. I also mentioned that widespread loss of public faith in elites and their flunkies is not unique to USA and infact is one of the major trends that has arisen throughout the west in the previous decade. You might remember that I first predicted the rise of Donald Trump in a post on Aug 31, 2015– when the vast majority of journalists, talking heads and other elite flunkies thought it was a joke or a ploy to get a new reality show. I also subsequently wrote more than a few posts about the factors that have made Donald Trump’s remarkable success possible.

And all of this brings us the inevitable question- Why is HRC such a remarkably unpopular politician? While more than a few of you will list a litany of reasons behind her lack of popularity, a close look at her public record and persona make her lack of popularity kinda odd. There is nothing about her public record or persona that makes her especially despicable compared to your average successful establishment politician in USA or anywhere else in the west. She is certainly not any more slimy or corrupt than other big name politicians such as Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Bush43, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio.. well you get the picture. She also compares very favorably to hucksters like Ted Cruz and pretty much any other republican governor.


By all counts, her nomination as the democratic candidate and subsequent win in the presidential election should have been ridiculously easy. But as many of you remember, it has anything but easy for her to win the democratic primary against Bernie Sanders, a 74-year old independent senator from Vermont. Infact the DNC had to rig the entire primary process for her to “win” the democratic nomination. It is also noteworthy that Bernie Sanders was able to raise almost 250 million dollars in small donations from democrats and independents in order to campaign against HRC. So why were democrats and democrat-leaning independents willing to put so much money and energy to stop the coronation of a candidate who was not that much worse than other establishment democrat politicians and, at least on paper, much better than establishment republican politicians.

The establishment narrative and explanation for the remarkable fragility of her presidential campaign is based on the idea that people hate her because she is a woman. But is that really the case? Is her gender anything more than peripherally involved in her remarkable unpopularity among the democratic base and democratic-leaning voters? I should also point out that she was not always seen as an especially corrupt and dishonest politician. As late as 2008, she was seen as a very viable if moderately flawed candidate for the presidency. She also had far lower negative ratings during the 2008 democratic campaign than she has now. So what happened in the intervening 8 years? How did a reasonably well-regarded and fairly popular politician become somebody with extremely high negative ratings?

So, what changed?

Let us start by talking about what has NOT changed since 2008. HRC, you see, has not changed since 2008.. 2000.. 1996.. 1992.. who knows. She is acting like an establishment politician was supposed to in the early-1990s to early-2000s timespan. Her executive style and worldview are also deeply rooted in the late-1980s-early-2000s era when it was cool and very profitable to be an establishment neoliberal. Infact for most of the 1990s, many in the west seriously believed that neoliberalism was the only way. Moreover, the relative peace and high growth rates enjoyed by people in the 1990s (especially in the USA) were able to paper over the many systemic flaws and defects of that ideology. The first large-scale problems with the neoliberal status quo (9/11, Invasion of Iraq etc) only started becoming obvious in the early 2000s, but a credit and real-estate bubble was able to keep the lid on things till 2008.

But that by itself was not sufficient to make HRC, and others like her, so unpopular. I believe it was the response of the establishment (specifically the government) in USA to the 2008 financial crisis that put the proverbial ‘nail in the coffin’ for popularity of neoliberal politicians. As many of you know, Obama (and the democrats) promised a lot of reform in legally deniable language during the 2008 presidential campaign. We all know how that worked out for the 90-99%. The government in USA (and other western countries) used the 2008 financial crisis to bail out their financial backers and transfer the costs of doing so on everybody else. The post-2008 era has also seen corporations using “laws” and “rules” to speed up the financialization-driven exploitation of people in areas that were traditionally regulated or moderated to prevent that outcome. Furthermore, they also sped up the rate of replacing well-paying with low-paying precarious jobs often with no benefits- all thanks to various secret “free trade” treaties.

Consequently most people in USA (and other western countries) have increasingly come to view establishment politicians as irredeemable and incompetent liars who are incapable of improving the lives of the vast majority of those who voted them into office. While the public image of politicians throughout history has always been a bit sketchy, their voters did expect them to.. for the lack of a better expression.. not piss on them. Which brings us to the most important reason behind Hillary Clinton’s abyssal favorability ratings. Most voters, you see, expect her to renege on every single promise she made about making their lives better. They expect her to work only for her extremely rich donors (domestic and foreign) and further enrich them while pauperizing everybody else. It does not help that her lawyerly parsing of words, or as I call it “anodyne” communication, is now seen as one of the main indicators of systemic and irredeemable dishonesty.

What do you think? Comments?

Why Hillary Clinton is Losing in Polls to Donald Trump: 1

September 24, 2016 7 comments

One of the more interesting aspects of the 2016 presidential election is that Donald Trump is now either very close to Hillary Clinton, or beating her in battleground “swing”states, in multiple recent polls. Hillary’s widespread slide in poll numbers in September has caused much consternation and hand-wringing among establishment democrats and their financiers- not to mention many white middle-aged women with desk jobs living in coastal cities. The HRC campaign has been in full panic mode since the first week of September.. and that was before her collapse at the 9/11 memorial service. Her campaign is now trying desperate tactics such as sending the cast of the preachy “west wing” TV to campaign for her in Ohio, more pathetic attempts to appeal to hip millennials and appearing with Zach Galifianakis on ‘Between Two Ferns’.

Many democrat faithfuls are now openly starting to wonder why Hillary Clinton is almost tied in multiple polls with Donald Trump in late September, especially after supposedly besting him by 8-10% percentage points barely a month ago. I mean.. how can an intelligent woman with such a long history of “public service” and “policy experience” lose against a person who, in their eyes, has more in common with your used car salesman alcoholic uncle than anything approaching “presidential material”. Hillary’s supporters in the media, who are legion, have spent much effort trying to find factors for her seemingly irresistible downward slide in the polls. They have so far identified a number of potential culprits ranging from millennial idealism, Bernie Sanders, the low intelligence of the average american voter, white racism… you get the picture.

Now, I do not deny that some of these factors have had a negative impact on her poll numbers. It is however clear to me that her downward slide has occurred despite her campaign and supporters spending almost 250 million dollars (to date) on media ads against Donald Trump. It has also occurred despite HRC having almost unanimous support from the media in her campaigns attempt to denigrate Trump and simultaneously minimize the spread of negative information about her. In other words- massive amounts of negative advertising directed at her opponent AND the unanimous support of elites, mainstream media and pretty much every semi-famous person in good standing with the ‘system’ has not helped her poll numbers. Infact, this very high level of establishment support seems to have had a negative effect on her standing vis-a-vis Donald Trump.


But why is this happening? Isn’t the USA full of conformist people who blindly follow authority while pretending to be rebellious and individualists? Shouldn’t all these highly paid pundits, opinion manipulators, focus group experts and other assorted credentialed assholes be able to sell HRC to the american public- especially when the other option is supposedly a used car salesman who was lucky enough to be born to rich parents? And to be fair, while Trump has plenty of street smarts and media savvy- he isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the room. Why are so many people willing to give Trump a chance? Conventional theories about the popularity of, and momentum behind, Trump are based on one or more of three core beliefs: 1] His supporters and perhaps half of the american electorate are racist and stupid- aka the “basket of deplorables” 2] HRC is a really bad candidate for the presidency, especially at a time when establishment types have become unpopular throughout the west. 3] Trump is a master psychological manipulator – aka the Scott Adams theory.

Personally, I think that Trump’s popularity is partly due to a combination of 1] and 2] plus economic insecurity. However the major part of Trump’s successes is due to a much larger phenomenon that has to do with general loss of trust in institutions and professionals both public and private that has been going on for previous two decades. This trend was barely perceptible even in the late-1990s, and it started becoming obvious only in the early-2000s. However, even then, it was not exactly a major trend. It started accelerating around 2005-2006 and has now become one of the dominant trends of our times. While there are many reasons for its acceleration and spread, especially the growth of the internet, the single biggest factor propelling its growth is that people can no longer ignore evidence that western elite are incompetent, fraudulent, malicious and supremely corrupt.

It does not take a genius to figure out supposedly useful, objective and trustworthy institutions from universities and schools to hospitals and large corporations are run by people who are incompetent, short-sighted and frequently malicious. Similarly it is obvious that supposedly respectable professions from teachers, professors, doctors to people running non-profits and governments are full of barely competent and incredibly greedy people- frequently with some version of the ‘god complex’. It is therefore no surprise that people distrust ideas and people supported by elites and their upper-middle class enablers. In other words, the waning of public support for HRC is mostly due to the fact that she is strongly supported by elites and their upper-middle class flunkies. The failure of her attempts to paint Trump as a dangerous idiot is largely due the fact that people simply do not care for the opinions of those they actively distrust.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Thoughts about the Recent Shooting of Cops in Dallas: 2

July 10, 2016 11 comments

In the previous post of this series, I pointed out that Micah Xavier Johnson’s (MXJ) profile was remarkable for being unremarkable. In other words, there is nothing about him which would predict that he was going to shoot up a dozen cops on July 7. In my opinion, the plainness of his profile is by far the most problematic part of that shooting since it raises the possibility that many (potentially millions of) other people in USA are capable of doing similar things.

As many of you know, the difference between fringe rebellions and full-blown insurrections is that those who do the former are far more ideologically driven than the later- which is a fancy way of saying that insurrections are usually done by people who are average in every sense of that word. The profile of MXJ strongly suggests that what he did is better categorized as part of a wider decentralized insurrection than due to membership of fringe group or belief in a fringe ideology.

And this brings me to the use of a bomb disposal robot by the police to kill MXJ. In my opinion, it was a terribly stupid idea to kill him with an explosive carrying robot. My objections to that action by the police are based in long-term consequences of such an action- both intended and unintended.

It does not take a genius to figure out that use of such technology, primitive as it is, in the USA opens the door to its use in far more routine circumstances. What is going to stop local police departments, filled as they are with “people” who feel they are above the law, to start bombing people in far more mundane situations? What about bombing innocent people living in some house that was incorrectly identified as the hiding place of some “suspect”? What about due legal process? Well.. you get the picture. However, cops killing people in USA is by the far the least problematic aspect of using bomb carrying robots.

The far more problematic aspect of legitimizing and normalizing such behavior by cops is the potential for serious and unending blowback. Do you think that people who are being killed by bomb carrying robots will not use similar devices and methods against cops? I mean.. what is now going to stop some black or brown guy from using an improvised robot bomb, remote-controlled device or even the suicide vests you see in the middle-east against them or their families? Think that is too far-fetched? Look what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan after the USA unsuccessfully tried and failed to occupy them. Do you really think it cannot happen here? How much money would bet on there not being a similar blowback in the USA?

It is well-known that people in Iraq and Afghanistan had no worthwhile history of using IEDs and suicide bombs against “soft” targets (non-active combatants and supporting civilians) prior to the invasion and failed occupation of their countries by the USA. As many of you might also remember, all that changed very quickly after the invasions and explosive devices (IEDS and suicide bombs) eventually caused more casualties among american soldiers and their civilian supporters/ helpers than pretty much any other weapon system. Then, as now, the american response was to increase harassment and murder of potential terrorist sympathizers and try to find technological fixes. We all know how that worked out or not. In any case, both occupations ended in american defeat- despite massive technological and material superiority.

Will write about some other aspects of this incident (especially the tone-deaf response of politicians and cops) in future posts on this topic.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Thoughts about the Recent Shooting of Cops in Dallas: 1

July 9, 2016 11 comments

I am sure that all of you have seen, heard and read a lot about the July 7 shootings that killed a few cops in Dallas. It is also not exactly a secret that this shooting has a peculiar linkage to a couple of extensively documented extrajucidial killings of two black men (Alton Sterling, Philando Castile) in the previous two days. As some of you know, more than a few of my previous posts have been about how the hubris associated with unaccountable power (or perception thereof) ultimately creates the conditions for the rise of its nemesis.

It does not take a genius to see that, throughout human history, institutions and systems that seem invulnerable at their peak inevitably implode under the strain of their hubris- which principally manifests itself through unaccountability, overreach and inability to adjust to the changing reality. Even systems capable of incredible levels of repression and surveillance over decades fail- frequently because of doing exactly that. It is also no secret that the status quo in the USA (especially since 2008) has more in common with a slowly imploding system than one with any chance of a better future.

Having said that, I will now make some brief observations about the July 7 incident.

1] The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, was a black veteran. It is noteworthy that he had no worthwhile criminal record and grew up in a middle-class family. There is also no evidence to suggest that he was particularly shy, angry or had an otherwise unusual personality. In other words, there is nothing to suggest that he was destined to do what he did on July 7.

2] Ideologically, he did not seem to be especially partisan or religious. He certainly had an interest in black nationalist groups and was not exactly enamored by the behavior of white people (especially cops) towards blacks. Then again.. it is hard to blame him for having a fairly negative view of white cops in USA. However none of this rises to a level which would foreshadow what he did on July 7.

3] It is now obvious (based on his journal entries) that he was planning to go on a shooting spree for some time. However, it is not clear why he chose to do it on July 7. While he was fairly systematic in planning the shooing, the motive is unclear. I mean, we know he hated white cops.. but why now? What was the final event which pushed him into action?

4] Unlike most spree shooters who prefer venues where people are unarmed, he chose to shoot up an area with hundreds of cops. Also he was pretty accurate for a spree shooter as only two protesters were hit by stray bullets and neither died. In contrast, he was able to shoot 12 cops killing 5 of them. Perhaps most interestingly, all 5 dead cops were white men- which is pretty impressive when you consider that particular police department has many non-white cops.

5] One of peculiarities of the July 7 shooting was his choice of weapons. Why would he use a SKS carbine as his main weapon? As some of you know, the SKS is an older, but rugged, semi-auto carbine chambered for the same cartridge (7.62×39mm) as the AK-47. This is especially odd since a person who was in the US army would be more familiar with using an AR-15 derived semi-auto carbine.

6] He knew how to milk the fear of potential IEDs to cause maximal disruption and fear among his opponents. I mean.. think about it- one determined guy with a SKS, handgun and basic bullet-proof jacket was able to make hundreds of armed cops take shelter behind cars, garbage cans and pretty much anything they could find. Even if you do not agree with his actions- that is a pretty impressive result.

I will write about other aspects of this incident in future posts on this topic.

What do you think? comments?