Archive

Archive for the ‘Skepticism’ Category

On the Necessity of Being a Multi-Millionaire under Late Capitalism: 3

August 8, 2020 20 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about how housing polices of countries in anglosphere are optimized to benefit those who have lots of money rather than satisfying the housing needs of everybody. That is why, in the past 40 years, housing prices and costs have gone up far faster than the “official” rate of inflation. This is also the reason why developed countries outside the anglosphere have a far wider range of housing and why anglosphere countries have unusually high number of homeless compared to other developed countries. Now let us talk about the cost of education under late capitalism where, once again, we see a very similar trend. FYI- I plan to cover the effects of late capitalism on medical costs in future parts of this series, however that subtopic is almost certainly going to require more than one post.

Anyway.. back to the topic at hand, have you ever wondered how the cost of higher education rose so much in certain “developed” countries during past four decades? Some of you might not believe it, but there was a time when attending public universities in this country cost very little. Boomers such as MikeCA could attend well regarded public universities for the equivalent of less than five thousand dollars in today’s money, while doing so right now would cost approximately 20-40 thousand per year. But there is a even bigger question- namely, why hasn’t attending universities in other developed countries (especially outside anglosphere) become similarly expensive during the past 40 years? What explains this most peculiar difference?

While I encourage you to confirm it (with Google, or even better- Bing), the yearly fees at public universities in countries ranging from Italy, France, Germany to Japan, South Korea, China are between 1-5k dollar equivalent (or adjusted for purchasing power). They are even lower in most central and east European countries. In other words, university fees in rest of world retain the same relation to income as was the case in USA between 1945 and mid-1970s. And let’s face it, the quality of undergrad education at a decent public university in one developed country is pretty much identical to that in another. To put it another way, the student who spends 20-40k per year for attending an undergraduate program at UCSD or Berkley is not learning anything different or better than his or her equivalent attending a similar university in France, Germany, Japan or in any other developed country. So what is the ‘murican student paying extra for?

1] The first reason for the higher fees at universities in USA (and anglosphere in general) comes down to the changing employee composition of universities in these countries. Forty years ago, the number of teaching (and research) employees at these universities were almost always larger than the rest, and administration-types were typically outnumbered 2:1 by faculty. Today, almost every single university in ‘murica has anywhere between 2 to 4 times more administrative-types than faculty. To make matters worse, these parasites typically get paid almost as well or better than faculty. So how do universities try to control costs? Well.. by not hiring faculty positions and increasingly replacing them with temporary sessional “instructors” who are often paid wages below the poverty line. Universities in anglosphere are, nowadays, run as employment schemes for administration-type parasites. Providing higher education is, at best, a very secondary goal.

While universities in non-anglosphere European countries have also seen some administrator bloat, it is noticeably smaller. Moreover, the differences in pay-scales between them and faculty combined with the generally higher degree of government funding for higher education in those countries have kept things far more reasonable in those countries. But how is administrator bloat in anglosphere universities related to late capitalism? One of the distinguishing features of late capitalism aka neoliberalism aka financialism is its very strong emphasis on performative bullshit rather than actual results. There is a reason why LIEbrals in this country think Obummer was a great president, when at best he was a failed mediocrity. That is also why companies in the anglosphere are constantly talking about “empowering women”, “elevating black voices”, “celebrating trans” etc rather than paying their employees a decent wage.

Administrator bloat is about creating the optics of doing something rather than actually doing anything useful. It is about creating the illusion of work through endless meetings, conferences, seminars and reports by people with borderline parodic job titles. It is also about late capitalism obsession with “metrics” and other minutiae that are irrelevant in real life. So why does this administrator bloat keep growing. Well.. how many of you would refuse an office job which paid well, had a nice pension plan etc even if it required you to perform totally useless “work” and maintain ideological conformity at the workplace. Also, administrator-types hire more underlings to enhance their status even if it means destroying the original institutional mission.

2] The second reason why the cost of universities in the anglophone (especially USA) has gone up a lot in past forty years is also linked to late capitalism. See.. in late capitalism, government’s main function shifts from maintaining an equilibrium between money and labor to facilitating the looting of everybody else for the benefit of a select few super-rich people. Part of this process involves the government cutting taxes for the rich while simultaneously funneling more money towards them. One of the main reason why government support for universities has declined over past 40 years in certain countries has to do with reduced taxation of large corporations and the rich. Guess how universities in those countries make up for that funding shortfall..

But there is more. As part of their acceptance of the cult of neoliberalism, governments in the anglosphere have also privatized many services which once helped universities make some money. These range from meal plans for students in residence, management of residences, maintaining and renting out sports and other facilities etc. So, not only have neoliberal governments in the anglosphere reduced their contribution to the budget of universities but they have also crippled their ability to make some extra money from services which they used to provide in the past. But wait.. there is more.

Another feature of late capitalism is the strong desire to extract ‘value’ from things which either should never be treated that way or look for alternative sources of money for continuous growth once they have depleted the surrounding environment. This is where all those overseas students, especially from some Asian countries, come into the picture. It is no secret that universities in the anglosphere have aggressively recruited students from well-off families in Asian countries to fuel the latest stage of their pyramid scheme. And why not.. those students pay far more in fees as well as live in the more expensive new residences. Increased “diversity” of the student body, therefore, is not about combating racism. Instead it is about collecting lots of money from Asian students wanting to get credentialed from a university in the anglosphere.

In the next part, I hope to write about how late capitalism has created a dysfunctional and very expensive “healthcare” system in this country.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Necessity of Being a Multi-Millionaire under Late Capitalism: 2

August 2, 2020 8 comments

In the previous part of this series, I made a point that over the past 30 years, living standards of almost everybody in west have diminished considerably. This has occured due to the convergence of two factors. Firstly, the cost of the basics such as houses, automobiles, higher education and in case of USA- healthcare, have increased far faster than “official” rate of inflation. To make things worse, wages have either remained stagnant or decreased and in an increasing number of cases- the jobs have been shipped overseas without being replaced by anything comparable. Even the few well-paying jobs left in this country have become far less stable than they used to be just two decades ago. Furthermore, these changes have impacted those under 40 or 50 much harder than those above that age. So it is not just a “Millennials”, “Gen Y” or “Gen Z” thing.

So now let us talk about the role of financialism aka late capitalism aka neoliberalism in creating this terminal dystopia. Make no mistake, the situation the west (especially USA) has gotten itself into is, for all practical purposes, terminal. It has also fucked over the 99% to enrich the 0.01%.. and yes, there is a reason I wrote that sentence the way I did. To better understand what I am going to talk about, let us compare USA (the most afflicted country) with others such as Japan, South Korea and Germany (among least afflicted). How is life different for the median person in the least afflicted countries compared to the most afflicted one? Let us start by talking about the relative affordability of decent quality housing in nice or even OK neighborhoods.

If you have seen vlogs of expats in Japan and South Korea, one thing becomes obvious rather quickly. While many of their less expensive apartments are small- almost every single one of them is reasonably well built, adequately furnished and in areas that are not sketchy. Note that apartments in these countries come in a range of sizes allowing even somebody in a menial job to have an OK place of their own. More curiously, unlike in the anglosphere, East-Asian countries have been able to ensure that the rents and prices of these apartments are strongly linked to real income of the people. Even somebody living in Tokyo or Seoul, two of the largest megalopolises on earth, can easily find safe and affordable housing that is not too far away from their place of work and other amenities. Oh.. and they have excellent public transit systems.

Now compare this to the situation in Bay Area, where even a shitty bachelor suite within some century old building in the Tenderloin district of SF is somewhere between 2500-3000 $ per month. The same holds true for NYC, where anything that affordable in a non-sketchy area is both rare and rent controlled. Without going into too much detail, the same holds for other metropolitan areas in this country such as the LA megalopolis, Boston and its suburbs, Chicago and its suburbs, DC and its suburbs… you get it, right. But why is it so? Why can you find very affordable and OK apartments in two of most urbanized countries on earth with very little flat land suitable for building cities but not in one of more sparsely populated countries with tons of open areas suitable for expansion of cities?

But why restrict our comparison to East-Asian countries? Even more USA-influenced western countries such as Germany, Czech Republic or less-influenced ones such as Italy or Spain have no shortage of decent and affordable housing in their largest cities- with some exceptions like Frankfurt. My point is that the disproportional increases in cost of housing in Anglosphere and closely associated countries (Netherlands, Switzerland) during past 30 years is an aberration among developed countries. But why? Well.. the short answer is that this has occurred due to deliberate government policies, just as the relative inexpensiveness of housing in East-Asian cities is also due to government policies.

The slightly longer answer is that government policies in the Anglosphere have consistently favored the interests of who have capital and land over everybody else. In contrast to that many other countries, especially in East-Asia and continental Europe, have decided that the well-being of the majority is more important than extra enrichment of a minority. And let me remind you that it was not always like that. For the first three decades after WW2, any white person with even a mediocre job could afford to rent or buy a pretty decent place to live in almost any part of the country. Sure.. those places did not have 5 bedrooms and a man-cave, but they were quite acceptable and in OK neighborhoods. Even as late as mid 1990s, the median person with a job in SoCal or the Bay Area could afford an OK house in a non-sketchy neighborhood.

But what does any of this have to do with neoliberalism aka late capitalism aka financialism. Well.. everything! See.. the high and rising costs of housing in the Anglosphere has nothing to with the natural constraints on the ability to build more housing etc. Instead, it is about creating artificial scarcity via rules and regulations to extract an increasingly larger proportion of income from most people to line the pockets of those who already have tons of money so that they can use that extra money to play ever more elaborate sterile financial games which yield no return in the real world. Financialism is a form of parasitism that is too incompetent to even reproduce itself- just look at the poor fecundity of the so-called “elites” and “masters of the universe”.

In the next part, I hope to go into how financialism has fucked up healthcare, education and a whole lot more. We will also go into why boomers were cheering for deregulation in 1990s and early 2000s, which led to the rise of financialism.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Many Potential Real-Life Problems with Any COVID-19 Vaccine

July 23, 2020 24 comments

Most of you might have recently heard something about progress in the development of one (or more) of the many vaccines being developed for COVID-19. While I don’t want into a lot of detail about the types of vaccines being developed, two are getting most of the attention. One is the ‘RNA-based’ one such as those from (Moderna, Pfizer etc. The other type is adenovirus-based ones such as that Oxford-AZ and CanSino vaccine. Even with the initial results of these, and many more, vaccines- I predict that even the most successful vaccine will have to overcome tons of real-life problems. And I am not the only one to hold that opinion. Here is why..

1] RNA-based vaccines of the type developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are problematic for more than one reason. Firstly, no RNA-based vaccine has yet been approved for human or animal use. Sure.. this is partly due to the reason that the technology, injecting encapsulated mRNA to make you own cells produce the antigen you want to stimulate an immune response against is fairly new technology. But there is a second reason- specifically, mRNA based vaccines are notorious for causing grade 3 and higher reactions in a small percentage of individuals. Though Moderna is trying its best to obscure the data, more than a few people in their relatively small phase I trial developed reactions serious enough to require prompt medical attention.

Why does this matter? Well.. let us consider how things will play out if they have a 5% incidence of such reactions during a mass vaccination drive against COVID-19. Imagine you vaccinate a million people and 5% of them develop such reactions. Even if they are can be easily treated in the hospital or a clinic, you have 50,000 fairly ill people who wouldn’t be there if they had not taken this vaccine. Also, if there are 50,000 people ill enough to require medical attention, you can bet a few of them will end up becoming much more ill or even dying. Let me remind you that the mortality due to COID-19 in people under 50 is less than 1 in 1,000. What are the chances that the vaccine kills and hospitalizes as many people as the infection in younger age groups?

This is not to say that vaccines with such high rates of side-effects are useless. The vaccine for smallpox and older versions of the rabies vaccine also had rather high rates of side effects. But there is the thing.. smallpox, when it existed, was a very contagious illness with 30% mortality rate. Rabies has a mortality of almost 100% once the infection has reached the central nervous system. Most people will be fine with a vaccine for smallpox or rabies that kills one in a few thousand people, because of the high fatality rates of those infections. The same cannot be said about COVID-19. To make matters more interesting, we don’t know if mRNA based vaccines are more likely to induce auto-immune diseases than other, more conventional, vaccines.

2] The other main type of COVID-19 vaccines use fairly harmless adenoviral vectors that express some proteins from the virus in question. In contrast to mRNA based vaccines, we have a decent amount of experience with such vaccines in both animals and humans trials. Also vaccines that use a similar strategy- where one fairly harmless virus expresses proteins of a far more harmful virus to induce immunity to later have been used to develop a few vaccines used in animals and at least one for humans (Ebola vaccine). We can, therefore, be a bit more certain that the safety of vaccines in this category is not as unknown as those mRNA-based vaccines. Also, the rate of complications for such viral-vector based vaccines is noticeably lower than mRNA vaccines.

The initial data from the Oxford-AZ vaccine trials also suggest that they do a much better job at stimulating immunity to the virus among CD4 and CD8 T-lymphocytes. It is known that immunity to Coronaviruses in animals is more cell-based than antibody based. In other words, the Oxford-AZ vaccine is likely to produce better immunity under real-life conditions with noticeably fewer side-effects than mRNA based vaccines. The CanSino vaccine, which uses a human adenoviral vector, seems to be a bit less effective than the Oxford-AZ vaccine which uses a chimpanzee adenoviral vector- perhaps, because of pre-existing immunity to human adenoviruses. Between mRNA and adenoviral-vector based vaccines, I would put my money on the later.

3] The next issue concerning COVID-19 vaccination comes down to the logistics of producing, distributing and actually giving the vaccine. Having the best vaccine means shit all if you cannot produce it on a large scale without breakdowns in quality control. Once again, the adenoviral-vector based vaccines are a bit better than mRNA-based ones in that regard, especially with existing infrastructure. Distributing the vaccine, even if effective will however pose quite a few problems. For starters, who do you vaccinate first- the groups most likely to die from infection or those most likely to transmit it? How do you vaccinate hundreds of millions in a very short time without a huge number of people ending up in hospitals due to side-effects, even if temporary.

And what are you going to do about all the people who would rather wait and see what happens to initial bunch of vaccine recipients? What if there is a large wave of hospitalizations from first widespread use of whichever COVID-19 vaccine ends up being approved. Remember even a 2% incidence of severe reactions is a large number once you are talking about millions of recipients. How will you convince people to keep getting vaccinated if initial use of COVID-19 vaccine causes tens of thousands of hospitalizations? This is especially likely for mRNA-based vaccine such as those being developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Then there are issues of efficacy. What if the approved vaccines prove to be only 80-90% effective. While this is a perfectly acceptable for many existing vaccines- dumbfuck “ivy-league experts” have promised the sky to masses.

I can think of many other issues, but we are already past a thousand words. Might write more in a future post on this topic, depending on responses to this one.

What do you think? Comments?

Funny YT Spoof about Similarities between ‘Woke’ Leftists and Racists

July 20, 2020 13 comments

So.. famous journalist, Matt Taibbi, has been writing and speaking out about how ridiculous and dangerous “woke” culture has become. Here is his recent and epic dissection of Robin DiAngelo’s bullshit aka “White Fragility”. Also have a look at this posts on how the left has become the very thing they allegedly despised, as late as 2010. In that vein, here is a YT spoof about the disturbing similarities between the beliefs of the “woke” left and plain old racists like Richard Spencer. I am sure some of you might it especially funny.

What do you think? Comments?

Thoughts on Trends in New Automobile Sales and Neoliberalism in USA

July 19, 2020 10 comments

While trying to write the next part of my series, about the necessity of being a multi-millionaire under late capitalism, I had an interesting insight which didn’t fit in that series but was, still, very important. In some ways, this is a much belated sequel to one of my older posts about how the increased cost of cars is about late capitalism in action. In that post, I made the observation that the much diminished interest of Millennials, Gen Y etc in car ownership has a lot to do with the deleterious effects of late capitalism aka neoliberalism (specifically its american variant) on their lives. Also, I am not hopeful about late capitalism disappearing without causing far more damage and misery to almost everybody. Things are going to get far worse.. I mean.. interesting.

The first time I considered writing this post was about three years ago when we started hearing about how american automobile manufacturers were going to end the manufacture of everything other than pickup trucks, crossovers and a few high-margin car brands. At that time, the most common explanation floated for this shift centered around how american consumers had fallen out of love with cars and gone for pickup trucks and crossovers. Even at that time, I though this explanation sounded highly dubious- but was just not interested in following it, as this occurred at around same time as election of Trump. But I seldom stop thinking about an idea or topic, even if it is on the backburner.

A few days ago, a number of random occurrences made me seriously revisit this topic. It started with a seemingly random search about the number of automobiles sold in USA by year from 1978 and 2019. It yielded this graph, which displayed some rather interesting information. Note that 16 million vehicles were sold in 1986, when the population of USA was 240 million. Interestingly, 2019 saw the sale of only 16.9 million vehicles at a time when population is 328 million. Do you see the problem? Let me explain.. having an automobile is necessary if you live in almost any part of USA except perhaps NYC, Boston, parts of the Bay Area and a few other cities with OK public transit. Therefore, the ratio of vehicles to population should remain relatively constant.

But it hasn’t! Now somebody like MikeCA might say this has something to do with automobiles lasting much longer nowadays as compared to the mid 1980s. Well.. the increased quality and longevity of cars (especially Asian ones) definitely plays into the lower demand for new cars- but it, as best, can only explain part of the current situation. So what are the other factors I am alluding to? Well.. for starters, truck-chassis based SUVs and pickups increasingly became the main revenue generators for automobile manufacturers- especially american ones after the early 1990s. Then something odd happened after 2009.. old-style SUVs were very quickly supplanted by crossovers, pickup sales remained about constant and car sales after recovering for a few years between 2010-2015, entered a steep decline after 2016.

But what happened in rest of the world. Let us start by talking about countries in the European Union. Long story short, nothing similar occurred in the same time span. Sure.. sales were kinda low in the very early 2000s and between 2008-2012, and there has been a slight overall trend toward decline- but one that is linked to much larger demographic trends. But whichever way you look at it, the overall sales numbers were in same ball-park as USA (12-16 million/year) but there was no equivalent change in the types of vehicles sold. In other words, Europeans kept buying the type of cars they have been buying for decades. The same held for markets such as Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries except China.

China is an interesting case in that it has become the largest market for automobiles for the past decade. Yet, even in this still unsettled market, cars and a small to medium sized crossovers dominate the market. My point is that people in every large market for automobiles, other than USA (and Canada) are buying the same categories of the automobiles they have been buying for decades. So what is so different about USA that it is the only large market to have experienced an actual shift in the type of vehicles sold over past two decades? And what any of this have to do with late capitalism aka neoliberalism?

To understand what I am getting at, we have go back a couple of decades. See.. when I first came here a bit over two decades, I noticed many patterns. The one most relevant to this post concerns who bough new vehicles, which types and at what stage in their life. The brief version is as follows: buying a new car (frequently something from a compact hatchback to medium sedan) was almost like a ritual for most adults after they had got their first decent and somewhat stable job. so, while most people started with hand-me-downs or used cars, they would start buying new cars once they hit one of the supposed markers of “real” adulthood aka a decent job. I never saw anyone buying a new pickup unless their job required it.

While SUVs were a thing in the late 1990s, they were almost always bought by well-off people with kids who lived in McMansions and/or in certain expensive suburbs or exurbs. Almost nobody bought a new SUV as their first new automobile. It also helped that new compact to medium sized cars could be purchased for somewhere between 10-20k, and Japanese ones offered very good value for money. Even a few american ones were perfectly OK, as long you sold them off by the 6th year. My point is that new entry- to mid- level cars of decent to good quality were quite affordable- even for the median incomes of that era. According to most inflation calculators, 1k $ in 1999 is supposedly equal to about 1.5k $ in 2019. You will see why this matters soon.

Today the median car in those categories costs somewhere between 15k-30k, which sorta tracks inflation- but is a bit more than what it would have been in a perfect world. But what about incomes? Well.. as it turns out median and mean incomes adjusted for inflation have not really changed between 1999 and 2019- which is a fancy way of saying that a job that paid 30k/year in 1999 would pay 45k today. But there are two problems with this simplistic assumption. Firstly, many of the job which were available to a person in 1999 do not exist today. To make matters worse, people who had a decent stable job in 1999 no longer have a stable job that pays the same, even if they managed to stay in that field. The situation is even worse for new entrants who are stuck in an endless series of low-paying and unstable jobs unlike previous generations.

And it gets even worse. The real cost of living during the intervening two decades has increased far more than the 50% claimed by governmental agencies. Take rents for example. Rents today are somewhere between 2-3 times what they were in 1999, even if the apartment building has been standing there since the mid 1970s. The same is true for house prices. Note that the situation is far more dire in certain coastal metropolitan areas. Then there is the issue of rising costs in higher education. The student loan load of a person graduating from university in 1999 was a fraction of what it is 2019- and those have to be paid. We also cannot forget the insanely high costs of health insurance and high copays of most “healthcare” plans- once gain much higher than in 1999. Long story short, most people between 20-40 are broke or close to it.

And this is why the demand for new average-priced cars aka one of the signifiers of adulthood in USA have dropped so sharply. But what about the continued demand for new pickups and crossovers? Well.. guess who is buying them. Yes, it is almost exclusively Boomers and older Gen-Xers. These are the only two major groups who still have the financial capacity to buy new automobiles and like older people tend to, they buy large and bulky vehicles. Also, part of pickup truck demand is driven by people who have to actually use them for work in flyover country.

In summary the drop in demand for new (average) cars is driven by the same factors responsible for younger generation not having kids, marrying late or never, not buying houses, not eating out in expensive restaurants, not going on expensive vacations etc. They are fucking broke, overstretched, overworked and have no job security. The reason we do not see similar trends if change in automobile type preferences in Europe is that costs of living (housing etc) approximate income much better + healthcare is inexpensive and universal + higher education is inexpensive. The same is true of East-Asian countries such as Japan, South, Korea etc and yes, even China. But murican exceptionalism feels good, on the hole, doesn’t it..

What do you think? Comments?

Why Forcing People to Wear Face Masks is an Incredibly Stupid Idea

July 16, 2020 43 comments

As readers know, I often take positions that are contrarian and unpopular but eventually turn out to be right. Consider this article to be another one in that line. You might have heard or read that many politicians in this country and a few others are trying to force people to wear face masks in public for the alleged purpose of reducing or eliminating COVID-19 transmission. My thoughts on this turn of events is best summarized in the title of post, and ya.. I think it is an incredibly stupid idea. The longer version is however more nuanced than the title might suggest, and people who want to comment should first read the entire post completely. You will see there are a number of converging reasons, many of them not obvious, for my contrarian position.

So let us begin by talking about the three categories of face masks and what they are, and aren’t, capable of. The type of ersatz facemasks you see on people all over the country are.. well.. not good at preventing infection by respiratory pathogens. There.. I said it! Masks made of normal fabric (natural or synthetic) are too porous to stop anything smaller than clumps of bacteria or viruses in droplets of saliva or mucus. The only thing they are somewhat good at is reducing the amount of aerosols generated by a person suffering from a viral or bacterial infection. In other words, they have some efficacy at preventing an already infected people from spreading it, but are close to useless for preventing it in an uninfected person.

The second category include the so-called medical/surgical masks worn by medical professionals under certain situations. While somewhat better than ersatz masks, they are also most efficacious at stopping the wearer from infecting others which is very important when performing a surgical procedure or interacting with very sick or immuno-compromised patients. Do they have some efficacy in preventing the wearer from catching a respiratory infection? Perhaps.. if they are interacting with many people within a short time. However their effects on prevention infection of wearer appear to be mostly related to reducing the inoculum of the infectious agent- which is a fancy way of saying that getting infected with a smaller dose of the bug in question will cause a much milder disease than with a large dose. Moving on the the third category..

Masks that are rated N95 or N100, in contrast to the previous two categories are capable of preventing infection of wearer by a number of respiratory pathogens. This is possible because the masks form a tight seal around the nose and mouth while running all exhalations and inhalations through filters capable of retaining particles down to 0.2 micrometer or 1/5,000th of 1 mm. To make a long story short, only masks in the third category are actually capable of preventing the wearer from getting infected. The other two reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of already infected people from transmitting their infection. As you will soon see, this distinction matters far more than most people realize and is very relevant to this discussion.

Now let us talk about who benefits, and who doesn’t, from using all three mask categories. But before we go there, let us quickly revisit something I had mentioned in previous posts- namely, that mortality in people under 50 is less than 1 in 1,000 and hospitalization (not ICU) rates are less than 1%. It also happens to be the case that most people who get infected by COVID-19 are from this age-group. To put it bluntly, only people with chronic disease conditions and serious obesity in the under-50 age group benefit from using masks, specifically N95s as N100s are too bulky. Masks from other two categories give very little protection against infection, with surgical grade ones being marginally better than the ersatz ones.

One could certainly make the argument that providing surgical grade masks to people in certain occupations such as store clerks and cashiers, USPS and other delivery-people, airline stewards, people working in crowded environments and those working with older people would be helpful in reducing spread of infection to vulnerable populations. Other than that, the benefit of otherwise health people under 50 using ersatz or surgical-grade face masks is minuscule. But what about people between 50 and 70. Well.. once again, the risk of death for those between 50-60 is less than 1 in 500 and about 1 in 300 for those between 60-70. For such people, wearing surgical-grade masks could potentially reduce the size of inoculum would potentially reduce mortality. However their maximal effectiveness would still be restricted to crowded environments, rather than.. say.. walking your dog or getting a coffee from Starbucks..

The high risk groups aka people with multiple chronic diseases or in their 80s and beyond, are the only category who would benefit from using N95 type masks in most social situations. Note that these people will benefit very little from wearing ersatz or surgical-type masks. I say.. we should just give them a free supply of such masks and hand sanitizer until the COVID-19 epidemic is over. It would also be a good idea to provide such masks to people who take care of them, in institutions or otherwise. And this brings me to why so many politicians are pushing these stupid mask laws. It is.. you see.. about giving the appearance of action aka public theater. Demanding people wear masks outdoors is the 2020 version of TSA employees searching and scanning grandmothers and children for bombs and weapons after 9/11.

Which brings us to the next set of issues concerning mask laws. Who pays for masks, especially since a lot of people in this country are struggling to feed their families after losing their income due to the COVID-19 shutdown. More importantly, how do you enforce such laws? Haven’t we seen enough of how laws are disproportionately enforced against minorities and poor people? Do we want to see more video clips of black people being shot and strangled by cops for not wearing masks? Given the abysmally low trust of people in institutions and credentialed “experts”, why do you think people will obey such laws- especially since these same “experts” were claiming marks to be useless as late as early May of this year.

But wait.. it gets worse. Did you notice how voters behaved in 2016 when they were lectured by the so-called “elites” that Trump was not fit to be president. That is right.. they voted him in office. The same occurred with Brexit and the rise of many right-wing parties in western Europe due to public backlash against the refugee flood of 2014-2015. Most people hate busybodies, especially of the self-righteous variety, doubly so if there are members of the so-called “elite”. That dynamic combined with degree of political polarization in this country is going to cause some pretty ugly reactions and.. well.. situations. This is especially relevant since the same busybodies pushing for forced masks are the same ones who want to keep schools and universities closed indefinitely + cause millions of small businesses to go bankrupt.

And there is the other big question.. what happens if COVID-19 does not disappear in spite of forced mask laws and shutdowns? The so-called “elites” have tried to sell these measures as a guaranteed pathway to eliminate the disease, but have they even considered how most people will react if the promised end to new infections does not occur, in spite of these measures. Who are they going to blame? More importantly, will the already desperate and impoverished public care about their latest round of excuses? Sustained real unemployment rates about 20% seldom lead to a nice and orderly outcome, to put it mildly.

Finally, there is the issue of symbolism. Will retail and service sector business (employing numerical majority of population) go back to normal if everyone is wearing face masks a few months from now? Aren’t they a very visible reminder that things are not normal? Do you think that shops and malls are going to previous levels of commercial activity? What about restaurants and bars? Let me remind you that hotels, restaurants and bars + allied business in NYC or SF employ more people than the largest financial institutions in NYC or the biggest silly-valley corporation in the Bay area.

What about other small businesses or even larger business that depend on smaller ones? Do you have any idea about the magnitude of social disruption such a situation will cause? Do you have any clue about the amount of permanent job losses this will cause? Have you done some basic math about how this will crater tax revenue in cities and states all over this country? Well.. you should, because a situation where 1/3rd of people cannot make their rent or mortgage payment for month of July is far more scary than the consequences of people not wearing some stupid ersatz face mask of dubious efficacy.

What do you think? Comments?

Non-Woke Left Leaders are as Delusional as their ‘Woke’ Counterparts

July 12, 2020 10 comments

As regular readers know, I have a strong distaste and contempt for all ideologies- both traditional and secular. It is my opinion that every ideology, at its core, is a simplistic incomplete worldview which only serves to enrich its own priestly classes and maintain the status quo. Having said that, some ideologies are worse and more dangerous than others. For example, every single religious ideology which pretends to worship the “one true god” has caused far more unnecessary death and suffering than others which don’t pretend to care about such bullshit. Similarly, innocuous sounding ideologies such as LIEbralism are behind an incredible amount of evil- from genocide, race based slavery, colonialism, eugenics etc. And yes.. I can show that LIEbralism has caused many times more deaths than all forms of communism combined.

I have also made it quite clear that I detest all forms of CONservatism and LIEbralism, especially as they exist in western countries. With than in mind, let us talk about the contemporary “left”, specifically its two main branches- the “woke” left and non-woke left. It is, again, no secret that I have never had a great opinion about the “left”- for a number of reasons, ranging from their true motivations and biases, their political impotence, their addiction to virtue display and tendency to repeatedly adopt policies without carefully thinking through their consequences. It is therefore not surprising that center-left parties have lost power and their share of votes in many countries during past 20 years even though the population of those countries detest the right-wing parties currently in power. That is why, for example, Republicans are dominant political party in USA even though most people don’t care their ideology. But try telling that to MikeCA.

Anyway, for a long-time it was possible to believe that a significant part of the left’s failure in this and other western countries was due to contemporary LIEbralism aka “woke” left. And yes, again, there is no real difference between modern LIEbralism and “woke” left. It has however become apparent over the past few years that the non-woke left is as delusional, impotent and protective of status quo as the “woke” left. If this division of the left into “woke” and “non-woke” confuses you, here is a quick explanation. The “woke” left is almost entirely made up of people who pay lip service to a few leftist ideas such as reduction of inequality, worker rights, anti-racism etc but have no interest in changing the status quo. For them, racial equality is achieved when a black transgender “woman” murders a child in Afghanistan instead of some white “cis” man. Similarly sexual equality is reached when a woman CEO screws her employees as badly as her male version. You get what I am saying.. right?

For these scammers, it is all about identity politics on steroids combined with throwing some crumbs to collaborating oppressed minorities and organizing useless symbolic protests such as “pussy hat” marches- along with supporting causes such as “gun control, “environmentalism” etc. They have zero interest in changing the system and would be very unhappy if the problems they rail about (racism, inequality, poverty etc) were actually solved. If you think that this describes the democratic party in this country and center-left in most other western countries- you would be correct. But, some of you might ask.. why do these people persist at playing such a sad and pathetic game if they are not winning power? Well, there are two reasons. Firstly, people in this group are almost exclusively the product of social bubbles and a few educational institutions which demand ideological conformity for its own sake.

The second reason is more interesting and goes something like this.. in most western countries, members of a losing but main-stream party still retain most of the goodies of being in power. Therefore, most of them do not have to worry about trivial stuff as winning or losing elections. Let me remind me you that people like Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer or Darrell Issa, Kelly Loeffler, Greg Gianforte will always keep becoming richer (in the current status quo) irrespective of whether they win or lose future elections. And ya.. people such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren are duplicitous grifters just like their established counterparts. With that out of the way, let us talk about the non-woke left. Who are these people and are they even a thing? And where can you find members of this mythical tribe?

The non-woke left is best defined by what they allegedly focus on. For example, the non-woke left cares far more about issues such as reducing income and wealth inequality, universal healthcare, inexpensive higher education, worker’s rights, corporate monopolies and oligopolies rather than stuff like “trans” rights, “cultural appropriation” and “cancellation”. While they may pay lip-service to fashionable “progressive” causes such “tans” rights etc, it is very superficial. A good way to separate the non-woke left from the woke left is to ask whether racial inequality in this country is a race issue or a class issue. Those who say it almost all racism are of the “woke” variety while those who claim it is a class + race issue are of the non-woke left persuasion.

Another favorite question to separate them is as follows: does Immigration depress wages and benefit corporations at expense of workers? If they answer in the affirmative, they are non-woke. Some of might say.. but this does not appear so bad. In fact, these non-woke leftists seem to be fairly reasonable people. A lot of what they want seems very similar to what occurred in this country after FDR pushed the New Deal and similar programs. And you are right, the non-woke left is actually far more reasonable and realistic than phony “woke” left. So why am I saying that they are as delusional as their “woke” counterparts? Well.. it comes down how the non-woke left (more specifically, its leadership) has evolved over past ten years.

Some of you might remember a time when Bernie Sanders (who is currently busy licking the DNC’s soles) stood for policies such as restrictive immigration, opposition to “gun control” etc along with ideas such as higher minimum wages, socialized housing for the poor, singe-payer healthcare, drug decriminalization, corporate monopoly busting etc. So what happened to him and others like him? To make a long story short, leaders of the non-woke left found if far more profitable to be adjunct members of the “woke” left than strike out on their own- regardless of the consequences. The election of Trump in 2016 further sped up the process of non-woke left leaders pretending to be “woke”. But why does any of this matter in 2020 or after that?

A pretty significant minority of voters in this country have positions of the non-woke leftist type. They are often described as socially conservative but economically liberal voters or the opposite of coastal baby-boomers. In most elections, these people will either abstain or vote for democrats. However it has been clear to this group (which is also demographically younger than most) that voting for democrats is not a winning strategy for them. This is why Obama in 2012 (and HRC in 2016) could not get as many votes as he did in 20008. To make matters worse, the democratic party has embraced more and more “woke” positions and performative politics rather than actually delivering even a fraction of what they promise during campaign season.

And here is why it matters.. many younger people (irrespective of race) are not enthusiastic for voting for parties who have no interest in making their lives better. But they will vote for anybody who poses a credible threat to the grim status quo. That is why Trump won all those mid-western states in 2016. To make matters more interesting, recent polls show that even a grade A moron such as Trump has higher popularity among Black and Hispanic people than he had in 2016. It does not take a genius to figure out that this will translate into votes for Trump or, more likely, those people not voting for democratic candidate. Between this, economic fallout from COVID-19 and the fact that Joe Biden has dementia, we might see a far different result on Nov 4, 2020 than what many media pundits are pretending. But it gets worse..

A few republicans such as Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio and Tucker Carlson have already figured out that promising a notionally right-wing but welfare state is an excellent strategy to win future elections. Sure.. it might be just as racially discriminatory as USA during 1940s-1970s, but clearly there is a large audience for that sort of thing. The thing is.. people want to keep their big cars, plastic drinking straws and guns but are also very OK with single-payer healthcare, corporate monopoly busting, inexpensive university education etc. I would not be surprised to see such politicians pushing such policies get the support of a pretty large percentage of the traditional non-voters and disgruntled democrats- and win national elections.

See.. most people want universal healthcare, good jobs and careers, affordable housing and universities, limits on corporate power etc. They do not care about “trans” rights and other fashionable issues, environmentalism which hurts their lifestyle, people pushing new labels like ‘latinX’, cancel culture wars etc. They are tired of performative politics that delivers nothing concrete. Any politician or party faction which appeals to this silent majority (even a little) will win future elections in this country. Based on what I am seeing, it won’t be the democrats, but leaders of the non-woke left are too busy licking the soles of democratic party to figure that out or even care. I am sure that MikeCA has a convoluted rationalization for why it will be different.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Necessity of Being a Multi-Millionaire under Late Capitalism: 1

July 5, 2020 31 comments

A few years ago, I wrote about how the Simpsons show was a marker for demise of middle-class in USA. The point I made in that post was that the Simpson family’s lifestyle, as depicted in that show, was not only possible, but considered normal as late as the early 1990s- when that show debuted. However, today the idea of a guy who barely completed high school having a stable job which pays enough to support a wife and three kids, own a modest house along with a couple of second-hand cars would be considered fantasy. So what happened between the early 1990s and today? How did we go from a point where a stable middle-class existence was the unquestioned norm in western countries to one where most people are heavily indebted precariats with zero chance of a better life in less than three decades- but especially in the anglosphere.

To better understand what I am talking about, let me tell you a little story. See.. there are two reasons why I took the educational trajectory which I ended up taking. Firstly, I liked my area of study and was very good at it. However, there was a second reason- employment in that area provided a guaranteed stable upper-middle class lifestyle for many decades (starting from end of WW2 to the mid-2000s). Even academics in that area could expect a very nice and stable upper-middle class, albeit a bit less well compensated than those in industry. For example, one of my academic mentors (born in 1945 or 1946) became a tenured professor by 30, got married, had three kids, was able to buy a nice house and expand it, buy a second vacation home, decent cars etc, take long vacations, a few sabbaticals, got a steady stream of OK grants and ultimately retired with a decent guaranteed pension.

The important thing is that he was able to all of that with an income equivalent to somewhere between 70-120k/yr adjusted for current levels of purchasing power. Sure, his wife worked too for some years, but she made probably 40% of what he made even in the best years. In other words, it was possible to enjoy a very nice and stable upper-middle class lifestyle for somewhere between 100-150k/yr even if you had three children who had to be put through university. Sure, it helped that the city in question was not coastal California or NYC level expensive. But still.. my point stands, and he was not the only one. As late as end of 1990s and early 2000s, this lifestyle was considered normal for someone in academia- at least in the parts where I lived. Industry paid better, and starting salaries of 80-90k after a PhD were fairly common even in late 1990s. A good number of them ended up making the equivalent of somewhere between 120-150k for most of their careers. Did I mention that the jobs were far more stable then?

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is as follows: it was perfectly possible for a couple making about 200k/year with one or both in pharma or allied sectors to live a very comfortable and nice lifestyle in certain places in NE USA (MA, NJ, non-NYC NY) or west coast (Bay Area, San Diego, Seattle). Also, these jobs came with excellent healthcare packages and defined-benefit pensions. Of course, this has not been the case since 2009- but that is another story. Now ask yourself a simple question, how was the pharma sector capable of providing such nice working conditions for many decades and why did this start coming to an end by middle of early 2000s? It is not as if pharma suddenly became a far less profitable industry, did it? So why did that sector change its business model after decades of it working nicely, starting in the 1990s. Yes.. the rot began a decade or so before things went to shit.

To understand what went wrong in that sector and many others all over the west, you have to begin by asking a simple question- who are corporations run for and by whom. Well.. as it turns out, for many decades after end of WW2, corporations in the west were run to achieve two ends- personal profit for owners of capital AND well-compensated stable employment for the rest. The idea was that a high standard of living would keep people from getting interested in more ‘radical’ ideologies such as socialism and even full-blown communism. But once state communism fell in Eastern Europe by 1989, the west (especially anglosphere) had no reason to balance the interests of capital AND employees. It is therefore not surprising that neoliberalism, which started in the late 1970s, did not really take off until 1991. Yes.. that is why a lot of the deregulation of western economies started after 1991. But what is neoliberalism anyway?

Well.. if I had to define neoliberalism, here is how I would do it. Neoliberalism is an ideology that pretends to profess belief in “free markets”, “free trade” and other totems of classical liberalism such as individualism while transferring power and money from elected government to unelected corporations using excuses based in the bullshit lies of pliant economists and other so-called “social scientists”. For examples, government deficits and ‘printing money’ are very bad if they are used to fund the needs of average people but very smart and correct if they are used to make corporations and a few people very rich. Here is another example- according to this ideology, allowing monopolies and oligopolies to exist is a great idea as long as you can pretend to show that they don’t overcharge customers. Here are a few more examples..

Pretending to care about black lives and diversity is the right thing to do, even if you are actively involved in trying to suppress wages, steal wages and otherwise screw your employees- many of who might be black and non-white. There is a reason why corporations are so enthusiastic about supporting “woke” activism. It is all about maintaining a fake image that nobody but their own inner circle believe in- not unlike Nazis pretending that they were committing ethnic genocide to make the world ‘a better place’ or Zionists pretending that they are on a civilizing mission in the Middle-East. Same crap, different bottle- rinse and repeat. As I have said many times, the difference between LIEbralism and CONservatism is that the former are more vain about their public image, while the later are clueless.

Anyway.. let us get back to the topic at hand, specifically the part about how it is necessary to be a multi-millionaire to enjoy living under late capitalism aka financialism aka Neoliberalism. A few months ago, I decided to calculate the amount of income and wealth necessary for somebody in 2020 to live like an OK paid professor in 2000- in the same city. After some calculations I arrived at an interesting range of numbers. See.. to do everything he did and live with same margin of comfort, a person would require around 300k. But wait.. some of you might say, haven’t you accounted for inflation. Yes, I have and that is why I listed his pay range as 70-120k/yr (over career) adjusted to current levels of purchasing power. And you know something else, that is very close to the current pay range for positions he occupied in that university over his career.

To make another long story short, he simply could not have enjoyed the lifestyle he did had he joined the same university 25 years after he did (so, in the late 1990s) or today. And this is true not just for him and other academics but for most people in pharma, biotech, law and even programming. While Google and FB reputedly pay 200-250k for some of new hires in the Bay Area, I would like to ask you to have a look at living costs in said area. Try finding a modest but decent house within a 30 minute drive of workplace that is less than a million. Have a look at the costs of houses in areas with “good school districts” (an insanity most peculiar to USA). Calculate the costs of sending kids to university even if you get a few scholarships.

And we are not even getting into issues such as age discrimination, poor job AND career security, risk of divorce leading to financial ruin etc. It is so bad that only types of professions currently make enough money to live a secure upper-middle class lifestyle as it existed twenty years ago- medical practitioners and established lawyers. I am sure that some silly valley fuckwit will jump in now and say something about “learning to code” or some other inane bullshit about getting the right credentials. But it doesn’t matter anymore. We have already reached a stage where entire professions from academia, scientists, engineers, accountants, mid-level managers and many many more have gone down from solidly upper-middle class vocations to working class.

And they are the “lucky” ones since professions that once used to solidly middle-class such as assembly line workers, retail staff, construction workers etc have gone from middle and working class to precariat, while those that were working class such as delivery drivers, truckers, hotel and restaurant workers etc have become the working poor. It is no wonder that more than half the people are a couple of paychecks away from irreversible financial ruin. In the next part, I will go further into how financialism aka neoliberalism destroyed affordable housing, healthcare, education and a whole lot more while boomers were cheering for deregulation in 1990s. You will also see more examples of how being a multi-millionaire is a necessity under late capitalism.

What do you think? Comments?

Case Fatality Rates for COVID-19 are Now Decreasing Across the World

July 3, 2020 10 comments

Since I am feeling a bit lazy today, here is a quick post that is nonetheless quite interesting and topical. Many of you have might have heard about the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases in USA- especially on the lying corporate media. Well.. I noticed a trend too, and not just in USA. Have a look at the first figure and see if you can spot an interesting change in the trends for positive cases vs ICU admissions vs deaths due to COVID-19 in Sweden during past month. In case you can’t see the obvious, let me spell it out..

While Sweden has experienced a large increase in number of people testing positive for COVID-19, this increase has not translated into an increase in people admitted to ICU with COVID-19 or people dying from it. In fact the number of people dying from COVID-19 has gone down a lot in the past month despite a large increase in number of diagnosed cases, to say nothing about undiagnosed cases. This is even more obvious when you compare those trends and figures to what was happening 2-3 months ago.

Clearly, something big has changed. Perhaps we are testing for it more widely, the median age of cases is lower, maybe our symptomatic treatment regimes have gotten better or the virus have mutated into a less lethal version. It could also be a combination. But whichever way you look at it, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) for COVID-19 has dropped considerably over past month in that country. And yes.. I did factor in the 1-2 week lag between diagnosis and adverse outcomes.

Moving on to this country, we see a similar trend. While there has been a huge spike in number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 over past few weeks, number of people admitted to hospital (most are not in ICUs) has increased very modestly while number of deaths keep on declining. Once again, a number of things might have changed- lower median age of cases, better medical management, newer virus strains being less lethal etc. But once again, it is hard to ignore that the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) has COVID-19 has gone down considerably in past few months.

Of course, it always possible that the real Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) for COVID-19 was always much lower than what discredited institutions such as CDC and FDA were pretending.

BTW, Case Fatality Rate (CFR) = percentage of people who die due to diagnosed cases of an infection while Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) = percentage who die in all people with that infection- both clinical and subclinical. IFR rates are often calculated after CFR rates as they are based on retrospective analysis of samples and data.

What do you think? Comments?

Do Democrats Have a Contingency Plan if Trump Cancels 2020 Election?

June 26, 2020 17 comments

As many of you know, I have a tendency to think about scenarios which initially appear unlikely but often come to pass later. Today, I am going to talk about the possibility of Trump cancelling the 2020 election or otherwise rigging it in a very blatant manner. I also have a feeling that our resident partisan democrat aka MikeCA is going to have something to say about this in comment section. FYI- I first explicitly considered this possibility in Mid-April but have kept quiet about it until now because, unlike corporate media presstitues, I prefer to make speculations which are solidly grounded in reality rather than wild fantasy.

So here are a few, and not mutually exclusive, scenarios in which Trump either cancels the 2010 election on blatantly rigs it..

1] Trump cancelling the 2020 election is the most dramatic scenario. While anything is possible in 2020, I would consider this to be the least likely one. For starters, Trump is too full of himself and stupid to be any good at subverting democratic processes, a fact that MikeCA still hasn’t grasped. But if he were to do it, this is how he would do it.. Imagine a second or third wave of COVID-19 and Influenza in the fall causes another round of shutdowns. A combination of massive increase in unemployment rates and stingy financial assistance by government forments widespread social unrest. BLM type protests intensify into street battles all across the country between leftists and right-wingers leading to many people start expressing concerns about their safety on election day. And yes.. everything I have mentioned here could occur by late-September.

Under these circumstances, Trump could make a plausible case that the 2020 election has to be postponed for a few months. Some of you might mumble something about the constitution, but face it.. if the situation mentioned above came to pass it would be very hard to make the counter case- namely that free and fair election can be held on “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November” or “the first Tuesday after November 1”. While democrats have demonstrated that they can organize a million-woman ‘pussy hat’ march, they have also shown themselves to be incapable (or unwilling) to wield any real power. In other words, Trump has seen them repeatedly fold like a cheap suit under the slightest pressure and his supporters have guns while LIEbrals don’t. So.. ya, he could get away with it.

2] A second possibility is that Trump and the republicans could use such a scenario to truncate the electoral process. This one is much more likely because republicans have already shown themselves to be capable of doing it on smaller scale. I am sure some of you might have heard about the various shenanigans being pulled by Republicans in southern states after key parts of the voting rights acts were invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2013. You might also be aware of attempts to suppress votes by requiring complex ID requirements in Wisconsin, a couple other mid-western States (and also Texas?). There is also the issue of republicans legislating to reduce the number of days and places for early voting, challenging mail-in ballots and a host of other “legalistic tricks” to suppress the vote. It is perfectly rational to assume that these tactics will go into overdrive and reach unprecedented levels during the 2020 election.

I could write a lot more on this particular sub-topic, but I do not want to bore you and lets be realistic- this is almost certain to occur. Keep you eye on how states handle the issue of mail-in ballots accessibility subsequent to the COVID-19 crisis and the almost inevitable and prolonged legal challenges. So, let us move on to the 3rd scenario- which is a sequel to the 2nd one.

3] Trump could contest the electoral results after the election is over. If more than the usual number of people vote by mail-in ballots, it is inevitable that any concrete results (especially in battleground states) could take at least 2-3 weeks to be finalized with any degree of confidence. Meanwhile Trump could declare victory on election night or the day after and create a popular narrative that he had won the electoral college. MikeCA might say.. but, 50% of country won’t believe him. My response is the other 50% will, and that is the problem. The closest we came to such a scenario was in 2000, where Al Gore won popular vote and almost certainly the electoral college but was unable to find the popular support to force his case. MikeCA might say that the Supreme Court stole the election. Here is my reply.. if there were even a hundred thousand people burning down parts of DC in support of Al Gore, the Supreme Court would have chosen differently- if only to ensure their own safety.

The thing is.. given the number of CONservative judges appointed by Trump since assuming office, it might be an even harder task to litigate this matter in a speedy and satisfactory manner. We then end up in a nightmare scenario where Trump wins the electoral college by initial vote count (first 2-3 days), declares victory, subsequent counting of mail-in ballots show a Biden win leading to Trump and republicans contesting validity of mail-in ballots at various levels. This leads to prolonged litigation and fiascoes that make the ‘hanging chad’ controversy of 2000 seem almost quaint by comparison. Then Trump asks his supporters to demonstrate in Washington DC and other cities across country, causing clashes and riots with antifa types, leading to even more civil unrest- especially if real unemployment rates remain above 20-25% at that time. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out whoever emerges from his confrontation will not be seen as legitimate by one half of the country. It will be an epic shitshow to round up an epic year.

So here is my question to MikeCA and other comfortable coastal partisan democrats- Do you, or your party, for have a feasible contingency plan (or two) to prevent or mitigate these scenarios. And don’t tell that this will be dealt through the legal system etc.. because we know, based on past occurrences, that the legal system is not behind people such as yourself. So what are your plans? Another few ineffectual million-women ‘pussy hat’ marches? More toothless protests on highways? More scolding articles in the NYT, WP or on NPR? More chest beating by Chris Cuomo and Rachel Maddow? More snarky late-night jokes by Stephen Colbert? Any ideas about how confrontations between Trump supporting hicks with guns and anti-gun leftists will end? Also, how many people will actually fight for Dementia Joe to assume office in the aftermath of a contested election? These are serious questions about very consequential events whose impact will last much longer than four years of either clown- Trump or Biden.

What do you think? Comments?

Trump is Still the Favorite for Winning the 2020 Presidential Election: 2

June 22, 2020 13 comments

I wanted to start writing a new series about why there have been no worthwhile advances in the field of computers, software, IT etc for the past 10-20 years and how the current crop of geeks is busy pretending that this is not the case. Then I got a bit lazy and decided that a follow on to my previous post about why Trump is still the favorite to win in 2020 would take far less effort and generate more clicks and “buzz”. Sad.. isn’t it. With that in mind, let us talk about the many other reasons why Trumps is still by far the favorite to win in 2020. But before we go there, here is a quick recap of that previous post. In it, I pointed out that the factors which led to the rise of Trump in 2016 and his victory are still there and in many cases have become more dire. This is analogous to how the socio-economic consequences of WW1 and the Great Depression ensured the rise of fascism and similar ideologies in Europe. If it wasn’t Hitler, Mussolini, Franco etc.. there would have been someone else very similar to them.

I went on to show how the democratic party, since late-1970s, gradually became the party of Professional Managerial Class (PMC), a transformation which was complete by 1992. Democrats like to bemoan how the white working class left them, when it is they who abandoned that group to the vagaries of deindustrialization, job outsourcing, credentialism while supporting the growth of a shitty and expensive “health care” system, over-policing of minorities and poor people, high levels of income equality etc. In other words, establishment democrats have not only lost a good portion of their previous base but have managed to piss off a good portion of the voters who allegedly have no option but to vote for them. HRC lost all those mid-western states because the white working class went for Trump while the black working class (especially those below 45) could not be bothered to show up on election day. It does not help that establishment democrats haven’t learnt a single thing from the humiliation by Trump in 2016.

1] In the previous post, I wrote about how all that incessant talk about RussiaGate, UkraineGate, Mueller Report etc by democrats and their allies in the dying corporate media have not had any measurable effect on Trumps’ popularity or lack thereof. But have you wondered why democrats keep trying to pull off crap like that, even when they know it is ineffective at best, and more likely counterproductive? The naive (willingly or otherwise) among you might think that this has something to do with democrats being interested in promoting civility, order or some other lie. Based on my observations over the years, I think otherwise. It is my opinion that democrats are actually intellectually bankrupt and unable to think beyond whatever they have learned from participating in incestuous circle jerks at “prestigious” universities and isolated social bubbles. To be fair, so are their republican counterparts- but it is easier to conceal intellectual bankruptcy when one is also in power. Now some of you might say.. what is the proof?

Well.. in addition to their utter inability to get Trump impeached or entangled in any legal scandal that would result in reliable criminal prosecution, democrats spend almost every waking moment of the day trying to find a way to “diss” Trump. These idiots keep doing all this while Trump (and his cronies) are busy electing right-wing federal judges, passing large tax breaks and bailouts for corporations, weakening laws related to voting etc, rescinding regulations on corporations and a whole lot more. Here is the most recent example.. yesterday, Trump had a campaign rally at Tulsa, Oklahoma with about 40% of the number of supporters he expected. Instead of seeing this in the correct context of it being first large campaign gathering since mid-March in USA and under the shadow of riots across country, I woke to see talentless “celebrities” such as Amy Schumer try to “diss” Trump over number of people at his first rally since COVID-19 shutdown was lifted.

Here are my thoughts, 6,200 is much more than than 100- which is the maximum size of crowds at Biden’s rallies- if you can call them that. If I were an establishment democrat, the thought that a moron who has screwed up so much could still get thousands to attend his first campaign rally in some city in a flyover state under the shadow of COVID-19 and race riots, while Biden cannot get 100 people (non-paid) even if his life depended on it would scare me about the outcome of 2020 presidential election.It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is only going to make Trump redouble his efforts and successfully arrange much larger political rallies. To make matters worse, these liberal shitheads have once gain succeeded in making the orange buffoon look like a sympathetic person under constant attack from the very class most american hate with a passion. And guess what, I bet they can’t see this because their head is so far up their ass.

2] Talking about people with heads up their rears.. let us move on Joe Biden aka Dementia Joe. As many of you know, I have written more than a couple of posts about his senile dementia (link 1, link 2, link 3). Some of you might also remember his very poor performance in the very tame democratic debates. It does not take much of imagination to see how bad he would perform in even a single debate against Trump, let alone three. You might have also realized by now that Biden’s cognitive status (or the lack thereof) has already been one of the main pillars of attack ads against him. These very effective line of attacks against Dementia Joe are only going to to get far more harsher, frequent and overt once the incestuous dummies aka establishment Democrats officially select him as their presidential candidate in the next few weeks. So what is the democrat plan to defend Dementia Joe from such attacks? Well.. I don’t think they have a plan, because if they had any brains they would replaced him with someone without dementia.

But even if Trump did not go after Joe Biden’s obvious dementia (which is highly unlikely), he still has tons of ammo against Biden- given that the later has been involved in everything from militarization of police, increase in mass incarceration, preventing discharge of student loans during bankruptcy, making bankruptcy difficult, PNTR with China, NAFTA and a host of things that are super unpopular with the democratic electorate in 2020. It is very revealing that most (2/3rds) of people who claim they will vote for Joe Biden list not liking Trump as their main reason. In my opinion, this implies he has very soft and easily destructible support. In contrast to this, the majority who say they will vote for Trump will do it because they want him to win the election. That is why any pretend poll which shows Dementia Joe with a 10% lead over Trump almost 5 months from election day under such an unusual and rapidly evolving situation is not worth the paper on which it was printed. I have a feeling that MikeCA might think differently.

In the next part of this series, I will go further into why Joe Biden is an especially bad candidate for this moment in history. Will also discuss possibility of economic conditions and second wave of COVID-19 depressing or altering long-held patterns of electoral turnout.

What do you think? Comments?

Thoughts on the Economic and Cultural Factors Behind Instagram Girls

June 20, 2020 15 comments

This is one of those posts which I first started writing years ago, but never got around to finishing until now. In previous incarnations of the draft, I considered title such as “Instagram is the latest platform for mediocre women to find simpletons”, “Existence of Instagram girls shows that most men are sad losers” and “Instagram allows mediocre white chicks to pretend they are beautiful”. You can kinda see where this post is headed.. right? Now I am not claiming that Instagram girls are the biggest scourge on that particular social media platform. Spammers trying to sell designer handbag knockoffs or dubious supplements, idiots posting “inspirational quotes”, losers updating the world about their latest restaurant outings are probably more annoying than Instagram girls.

There are, however, are two major differences between these self-anointed “models” and other scammers peddling junk. Firstly, the former have an organic followers unlike the later. Secondly, it is not immediately obvious what product these women are selling. As you will see, exploring these differences casts some interesting light on how white men in anglo countries behave when opposed to their counterparts in other parts of world. A few years ago, I remember writing a post or tweeting that men in anglo countries leave too many overtly complimentary and otherwise pathetic comments to every non-obese chick posting photos of herself on Instagram and other picture and video-centric social media sites. This was especially obvious when you started making comparing social media accounts of non-ugly chicks in USA vs say.. Brazil, Italy or Germany.

So.. what is going on? What makes white men in anglo countries far more likely to be simps than their counterparts in countries such as Brazil, Italy, France and Germany. One simple explanation is that countries and cultures with legalized or free availability of prostitution as a sexual outlet have far fewer simps than countries that do not have such readily available outlets. But 4 out of 5 anglo countries (Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand) have far significantly higher availability of prostitution than the USA.. and yet, men from these countries are only slightly behind USA in terms of posting pathetic and cringeworthy comments to Instagram girls. But why am I am still calling them ‘Instagram girls’ rather than ‘Instagram whores’ or ‘Instagram sluts’? As you will see soon, there is a good reason for that decision.

Some of you might think that my greater familiarity with English could explain preferentially noticing cringeworthy comments by men from anglo countries. Well.. I considered that too and made extensive use of online translating tools to read the comments section of posts by girls from Brazil, Italy, France, Germany etc. The thing is.. whichever way you look it, comments left by men from anglo countries display far more pedestalling and pathetic thirsty behavior than those from other European or Latin countries. And then I noticed something else. See.. a lot of these Instagram models from anglo countries or with predominantly anglo followers (even those with pretty small number of followers) seemed to be living pretty OK lifestyles that were.. should we say.. hard to reconcile with their real-life occupations and money-earning prospects.

It was hard to ignore that many “Instagram models” (even very minor ones) had no problems obtaining tons of new sexy outfits, going on vacation to expensive resorts and hotels, living in pretty nice apartments and houses.. not to mention finding somebody willing to professionally photograph them all the time. Now some of you might say- but.. but.. quality digital cameras have become quite inexpensive, nice new clothes are also not as expensive as they used to be, maybe they got some really good package deal for airfare and posh hotels. Perhaps.. maybe they get good deals on clothes, travel etc because they are seen as social media influences. But here is the problem with that line of thinking. Thing is.. this can certainly explain why the top 5% or maybe 10% of these chicks get some of the stuff and services they flaunt. But it is hard to explain how chicks with less than 2-5k followers can get such largess.

To make matters more interesting.. the conspicuous consumption patterns of chicks with less than 2k followers are often as ostentatious as those with more than 100k. Clearly, something else is at work. Some of you might now say.. maybe they are turning tricks on the side, maybe they have a sugar daddy etc. Well.. based on what I know about escorts, the last thing many of them want is to be recognized as such in real life. Sure.. some of them might have one or more sugar daddies. But I think something else is at work. Many years ago, I knew more than one chick who used their looks and sweet talking to get men to repeatedly pay for stuff such as fancy dinners, vacations, clothes etc without giving them sex in return.

At that time I found it fascinating how so many white men in anglo countries were willing to keep on repeatedly paying for small to medium sized gifts etc for girls who never gave them sex. So here is my theory about how even mediocre chicks on Instagram often seem to live lifestyles far beyond their ability to earn such money. Long story short, I have a very strong feeling and a decent amount of proof that these mediocrities get far more gifts (solicited and unsolicited) from sad and pathetic beta white men (aka the majority) than most of you would believe. Social media platforms make this parasitic behavior far more easier and lucrative than in previous eras because it is far easier to get 2-5k followers on Instagram than it is to meet and flirt with the same number of people in real life.

As to why this is far more common for such simps to be white men.. the short answer is that most of them are thoroughly beta. Also there is a peculiar correlation between colonial racism beliefs and pedestalling white (also Asian or light-skinned Hispanic) women. The funny thing is that the vast majority of those spending money on these parasites gets nothing substantive in return- unlike those who pay for OnlyFans type stuff. There.. I said it, even OnlyFans patrons are less pathetic than those who spend money on Instagram girls. And yes, that is why I said in earlier part of the post, that most were neither whores (sex for money) nor sluts (sex for free)- though in my opinion, being a parasite is far worse than either.

What do you think? Comments?

Trump is Still the Favorite for Winning the 2020 Presidential Election: 1

June 17, 2020 13 comments

Many of you might have seen a slew of recent polls which claim that Dementia Joe currently has a 10-point lead over Orange Man. These polls have elicited a bunch of reactions from the “properly credentialed pundit” class. Some see them as the first definitive sign that Trump will finally lose in 2020, others as validation that 24/7 smearing by corporate MSM finally working. Yet others see them as evidence that the country is finally moving in the “right direction”, whatever that means. You might notice that one word keeps popping up in these reactions.. finally. But is that really the case or are these pundit reactions just more wishful thinking? Well, in my opinion these reactions are the later aka more wishful thinking. Here is why..

1] As late as 7 pm ET on November 8th 2016, every “serious” person was certain that HRC was going to win the presidential election. Any suggestion to the contrary was met with a haughty laugh of the type usually associated with “credentialed experts” educated at “elite universities”. Wonder how did all of that work out? Trump won by the only measure which matters according to the constitution aka the electoral college and became president. But have you ever wondered how so many polls could be so wrong? Now, sad pedants such as MikeCA will try to tell you that the polls correctly predicted the popular vote which HRC won by 2-3 million or about 3%. Let us dissect that defense of polls a bit further.. shall we.

Almost all of HRCs margin in popular votes came from two states with a large population (NY and CA). In other words, Tangerine Man won more votes in you add up the other 48 states than HRC. But let us ignore this trivial issue right now and ask a much bigger question- how does a reality show clown with a very public scandal-ridden past become the presidential nominee of one of the two parties in this country- and why would so many people vote for such a sketchy guy over the ultimate “credentialed diversity” candidate? While many are still in deep denial (MikeCA?), the majority of those who voted for Trump did so despite his numerous shortcomings because they preferred him over somebody who represented everything they hated about the system.

But.. but.. some might say, just because every pundit of any fame was wrong in 2016 does not mean they will be wrong again in 2020. Surely these “credentialed experts” must have learned something from their utter humiliation in 2016.. right? Also, wasn’t Trump positioning himself as an outsider in 2016- something he cannot do in 2020 after being a pathetic president for the past four years.. right? Well.. if you think that most people who voted for Trump did so because he was outsider with great promise, I have a bridge to sell you. And no.. the “experts” haven’t learned a damn thing, otherwise they would not be so certain and giddy about Dementia Joe 2020 prospects almost five months before election day.

So let me repeat the obvious.. again.. most people voted for Trump because he sounded, looked and behaved like them and was therefore a giant ‘FUCK YOU’ to an incestuous political system which ignored and immiserated them for the past 40 years. The conditions which led to his rise are still there and in some areas have worsened considerably since 2016. This is also why the 24/7 smear jobs by corporate media outlets, bullshit reports and impeachment hearings have had very little effect on his popularity ratings- which, face it, have always hovered around the mid-40s. Trump’s ratings are bulletproof because the majority of Americans (voters and non-voters) have lost faith in ability of current system to deliver a better future for them. And one more thing.. most people hate the Professional Managerial Class (PMC) with a passion.

2] Since we are talking about the PMC, let us also talk about the political party that represents them in modern american politics aka the Democrats. As I have written repeatedly in numerous older posts, the biggest difference between democrat and republican politicians is that the former tries to portray itself as more enlightened and of “superior breeding”. However other than such superficial differences between the two parties, they are identical and interchangeable for all practical proposes. Now this was not always the case, and upto the late-1970s, the democratic party (both pre- and post- civil rights) was a different beast from the republican party. Then the great realignment of 1968 and rise of neoliberalism occurred.

To make a very long story short, since late-1970s the upper echelon of democratic party have been increasingly populated by people who even a decade prior to that time would have identified as staunch republicans. Yes.. I am talking about the PMC, especially their coastal versions. These are the type of people who say they are fiscally conservative, but socially liberal and pretend to have a “black friend”. But why do the PMC and wannabe-PMCs matter? Well.. because the ideology and apparatchiks of democratic party (even non-white ones) are almost exclusively drawn from this class. Their ascendance in ranks of democratic party and society began in late 1970s and their stock kept rising until GFC of 2008 after which their fortunes have taken a increasingly steep downward turn. But why does these McMansion dwellers matter?

Well.. because almost every major problem facing this country from deindustrialization, job outsourcing, a shitty and expensive “health care” system, over-policing, high levels of income equality, widespread loss of institutional competence etc can be traced back to the rise of this class in american society. Remember when I said that one of the reasons many people voted for Trump over HRC even though she was the ultimate “credentialed diversity” candidate. The thing is.. HRC reminded people of the generic PMC drone who humiliated them in real life, destroyed their livelihood and profited from it. Interestingly, that is also why Romney lost to Obama in 2012. As I said before in this post, most people just hate.. hate.. PMC types.

But what does any of this have to do with Trump likely winning in 2020? Well.. for starters the VP candidate of Dementia Joe is almost certain to be a member of the PMC. Now this would not be totally disastrous if Dementia Joe did not have senile dementia, because most people who vote in presidential elections tend to focus on top of ticket. But as we all know, Joe Biden has.. should we say, serious and progressive neurological issues.The man is a shadow of what he was as late as 2016, and his declining cognitive status will become a major campaign issue and point of attack by Trump’s campaign. But as you will see in the next part of this short series, choosing Dementia Joe as their presidential candidate is a proverbial tip of the iceberg as far as the deliberate incompetence of democratic party is concerned.

In that part, I will go into how the democratic party squandered 3.5 years on fake scandals like RussiaGate, UkraineGate, Mueller Report etc while quietly going along with traditional republican (in reality, corporate) agendas. I will show you how democrats have acquiesced to almost every corrupt move by Trump and republicans- from appointing conservative judges, approving massive increases in military spending, further gutting the already threadbare social safety net, increasing militarization of police and much.. much.. more. But why does any of this matter? The very short answer is- the democratic party can only win elections at all levels in this country decisively IF they exhibit a concrete and sustained desire to differentiate them from the other party in a manner that actually matters to the average voter. I will also go into why Joe Biden is a uniquely bad candidate for 2020, albeit in a different way than HRC was in 2016.

What do you think? Comments?

Potential Consequences of 200-300k COVID-19 Deaths by Election Day

June 12, 2020 16 comments

In the midst of nationwide protests against police brutality, most mainstream media outlets seem to have conveniently forgotten that the COVID-19 pandemic is still killing (mostly old people) in this country at a pretty constant rate. While we are no longer at the peak of about 3k deaths per day, the plateau of about 1k per day does not seem to be decreasing further. Sure.. most people in NYC have probably been exposed to the virus and recovered from it, but most people in flyover country, the deep south and west coast are just now starting to be exposed to it on a large scale. And this brings up an interesting question.. what if COVID-19 ends up killing 200k-300k more people between now and November 3, 2020 aka election day?

To be clear, I am not restricting my analysis to the political implications of such a scenario- which will be considerable. It goes without saying that 200-300k more deaths (even if most are elderly) will throw a massive wrench in the process of reopening the economy in addition to destroying millions more jobs and small businesses than the original shutdown. While I am sure that the stock market will continue booming in response to trillions more dollars for large corporations in the event of such a scenario, it is clear that everybody else will be poor, angry and desperate- especially since political leaders of both parties have shown themselves to be grossly inadequate for the job. Let us now talk about a few obvious effects of such a scenario playing out..

1] A couple hundred thousand more deaths due to COVID-19 will deplete the older (and largely conservative) voter-base of both parties in more than one way. Firstly, there is direct attrition due to the disease in the form of voters who are dead or unwell from post-infection complications (much more likely in 65+ age group). But the indirect effect of such a large number of deaths among the elderly might keep many more in that age range from coming out to vote in person. While this isn’t that big an issue in states with a robust system for voting by mail, it could be spoil a lot of electoral calculations in states where such systems aren’t already in place.

2] Since neither of the two parties have demonstrated the ability, competence or willingness to help the average person most affected by the shutdown.. who is under 45 and increasingly non-white, it would be presumptuous to count on their votes. While it is unlikely that republican will vote for democratic candidates or vice-versa, it is possible that an unusually large number of voters below 50 will just stay home and note vote by election day. This scenario is especially likely if the economy does not pick up by election day, an almost certain outcome if there an additional 200-300k deaths by election day. So we now have a situation where electoral turnout among under-45 and over-65 is likely to be significantly lower than the previous election.

3] But wait.. there is more. As mentioned in previous paragraph, an extra 200-300k deaths by 3rd of November would pretty much negate all the efforts to reopen economy- even if it was not shut down once again. Think about it.. how many people would go to restaurants and bars again even if they were open. What about movie theaters, concerts, sporting events or even malls and offices. What about the effects of such a prolonged and rolling disruption on millions of small businesses, most of whom operate on fairly small profit margins and do not have access to trillions in bailout money unlike large corporations. To make matters worse, both political parties have exhibited a strong unwillingness to bailout both the average person and small business.

4] Which leads us the likelihood of widespread civil unrest, of a scale that will make ongoing BLM protests seem almost quaint by comparison. It is no secret that a pretty significant percentage of those under 40 have jobs or gigs which either disqualify them from unemployment insurance or restrict their access to such benefits. To make matters worse, many financial institutions and rent-seeking outfits have decided that they will not defer or forgive recurring payments from such people- in spite of already having received trillions to cover their potential losses in the event this occurs. So what do you think these people are going to do when they are being evicted from their residences, chased by loan repayment sharks and unable to maintain necessities such as cars.

Did I mention that most of these people are in good physical shape, more educated than their parents and have nothing to lose. Oh.. and one more things, a high percentage of them are white or something other than black- which means the rioting, unrest and other fun will not be restricted to downtown and ‘urban’ areas of large cities. To make matters even worse.. there is very likely to be another wave of mass layoffs over next few months even if the excess 200-300k deaths due to COVID-19 don’t materialize as many business that seem to have survived the initial shutdown have to either shutdown permanently or lay off a good percentage of their current employees. In my opinion, widespread civil unrest, over next few months, by the under-45 due to the economic consequences of this shutdown is now almost inevitable.

5] A further fly in the ointment has to do with the many ongoing standoffs by dying american empire against a host of countries from Iran, Syria and Venezuela to DPRK, Russia and China. Given that Tangerine man’s closest advisors are neocons and the idiot-in-chief seems to think that this voter-base respect “shows of strength”, it is likely that he will decide to intensify these standoffs or even start a war with Iran or DPRK. It does not take a genius to figure out that such military conflicts are unwinnable for USA and will only worsen the domestic situation, especially if the bozo does this after widespread unrest has already started in this country.

To summarize, an extra 200-300k deaths due to COVID-19 by November 3, 2020 are more likely than not, and will worsen a host of large problems and negative trends that we are are already seeing in this country. 2020 promises to even more ‘exciting’ that we anticipated..

What do you think? Comments?

Theory about Why White Protesters Discovered Police Brutality in 2020

June 10, 2020 17 comments

One of the most interesting feature of current nationwide protests against police brutality in this country concerns their racial demography. Many of you might have noticed that the majority (in many cases over 90%) of people protesting against police brutality in cities all over this country are.. well.. white. To be clear, I am not claiming that all previous protests against police brutality in this country have been overwhelmingly black. We do know, for example, that similar protests in the 2012-2017 had a significant minority of white protesters. But the widespread protests we are seeing all over this country now is the first time that the overwhelming majority of protesters at most locations are white. So what has changed between the last time we saw such protests? How did so many young white people suddenly reach the conclusion that “legalized” lynching of black people in this country by police was wrong and unacceptable?

As it turns out, I am not the only person to have noticed this unusual trend- especially given the peculiar history of race and racism in this country. As late as mid-1990s, the parents of most white people who are now protesting against police brutality towards black people were highly enthusiastic supporters of laws and regulations that dehumanized black people and saw them as irredeemable “feral animals” and “super-predators”. Even as late as 2012-13, protests against instances of “legalized” lynching of black people in USA were an almost exclusively black affair. Even multiple instances of similar videotaped instances of police brutality such as the murder of Eric Garner by NYPD, Philando Castile by MPD, Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery by GCPD and many more did not elicit such a large, strong and nationwide response. Isn’t it odd that it took until late-May 2020 for a similar incident to finally cause the appropriate reaction.

So.. what is going on? How did a significant minority or maybe even majority of younger white people suddenly develop the firm conviction that systemic racism and “legalized” lunching of black people by cops was unacceptable? Many presstitutes on Twitter have put forth a range of theories to explain the sudden interest in racial equality among younger white people. One of the most popular suggests that this has something to do with the COVID-19 lockdown which cooped up too many people in their homes for almost two months.. aka ‘cabin fever’. Perhaps.. by why did it manifest itself as an newfound interest in racial equality rather than say people flouting the stupid lockdown orders on a large scale? As many of you know, people were already flouting lockdown orders all over the country and more than a few of the previous cycle of protests to open the economy had a pretty decent numbers in attendance.

Another popular theory suggests that this newfound interest in racial equality has something to do with ‘virtue display’ under late-capitalism. While it is true that the willingness of corporations to go along with these protests has everything to do with empty virtue signalling- it is equally clear that majority of people who are protesting are not there because some corporation paid them. Even if we accept that some protesters are there to show off their liberal and progressive credentials, it is equally clear that the majority aren’t in it for virtue display. Some others have compared these protests to a new religious movement often humorously referred to as the “great aWOKEning”. While many mass movements do have quasi-religious overtones, these arise after the movement has become big rather than cause its growth and popularity.

Here is my theory. Regular readers might remember that I repeatedly alluded to the possibility of the widespread civil unrest due to gross mishandling of COVID-19 crisis by the governments of many countries- but especially in USA. If you have read those posts, you might also remember that I said something about the governments bailing out large corporations while throwing just a few crumbs to average people and small business will very likely be what precipitates such a reaction. Well.. as we know now the unemployment and underemployment numbers in this country are through the roof- even if Trump tried to massage them. It is also noteworthy that rates of unemployment and underemployment are especially high among those under 40-45, which is the same group that also suffered the maximum long-term damage from the 2008 GFC.

To put it another way, the majority of people under 40-45 (regardless of race) have seen a continual decline in the material quality of their lives and experienced little advantage of being white- unlike boomers of older- Gen-Xers. AS I said in a previous post, there was a lot of dry tinder on the ground before the perfect spark of George Floyds’ lynching by the MPD. The point I was trying to make is the fuel for this fire was created over a long time by continually declining living standards for people under a certain age. But there is more.. the COVID-19 pandemic was the proverbial straw which broke the camel’s back by exposing the sheer incompetence of many supposedly respectable institutions both national (CDC, FDA etc) and international (WHO). It also exposed the inability and unwillingness of political leadership in this country, at all levels, to help the very people who they were supposed to represent and voted them into power.

What we are seeing now is the manifestation of people expressing widespread, and potentially irreversible, loss of faith in the institutions and systems of governance under which they currently live. But how does this get transformed into protests against racism and police brutality? Well.. because the police along with those involved in taxation are the two most visible enforcers of the coercive state authority. In other words, police are the most visible public face of a failed system in which a lot of people have now lost all trust and hope. Given these connections between the police and authority of a system that is rapidly losing popular legitimacy, it is no wonder that so many white people under 40-45 have suddenly discovered racism and police brutality against black people. It also does not help the overpaid, militarized and arrogant losers who populate police departments thought USA do not cut a sympathetic figures among those who have either lost their job or have seen substantial reduction in their income stream.

What do you think? Comments?