Archive for the ‘Skepticism’ Category

On the Probability of Trump Completing His Term as President: 2

July 16, 2017 6 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how overt attempts by the establishment and its MSM stooges to invalidate Trump’s victory in the 2016 election by connecting him to a largely made-up “russian conspiracy” are not gaining support among the general population. Now.. this does not imply that Trump is becoming more popular. In fact, he probably has the worst levels of public support for a president in living memory. However, his low approval ratings are due to his general incompetence in combination with numerous poor policy and personnel choices, rather than most people seeing seeing him as a traitor or usurper.

When I wrote the previous, and first, post in this series we still had not heard much about the latest development in this darkly funny shit-show. As almost every single one of you must have heard many times by now, one of his son (Donald Trump Jr.) had a metting with a mediocre but semi-connected Russian lawyer and a few other people who were supposed to provide some ‘dirt’ on HRC related to some of the Clinton families dealings with a few shady rich Russians. You might have also heard that the meeting in question, which occurred in mid-summer 2016, was attended by an odd cast of characters. Anyway.. as far we know, no money changed hands and very little of what was discussed concerned HRC.

Of course, the MSM is having a field day with this most recent “scandal”. In fact, they have gone so far as to greatly exaggerate the positions, abilities and power of the Russians who attended that meeting. For example- the MSM is portraying Natalia Veselnitskaya (the Russian layer) as some sinister genius when it well-known that she was, at best, a mediocre lawyer who happened to marry a semi-powerful prosecutor in her home country. Rinat Akhmetshin (lobbyist) is being portrayed as a “soviet” counter-intelligence sleeper operative while, in reality, he was just another semi-ambitious guy who joined the soviet army in late-1980s to get out of Kazakhstan and then moved to USA after the collapse of USSR in 1991.

My point is, the people attending that meeting were not especially smart or competent. I would go even further and say that this meeting and its cast of attendees had more in common with a sub-plot in “Arrested Development” than anything which could pass for half-competent espionage and skulduggery.

Nonetheless, establishment democrats are busy promoting this alleged scandal as the “smoking gun” which will finally allow them to impeach Trump and make him resign or remove him from office. Of course, doing so would result in an outwardly normal looking religious nutcase, also known as Mike Pence, becoming the President. Then again, establishment democrats have not displayed much ability to think strategically. I mean.. they have lost almost 1,00 state legislature seats and dozens of governor races in the previous 8 years, in addition to losing the house and senate at the national level. Their only major “success” has been stopping Bernie Sanders from winning the party nomination in 2016- though that one turned out to be a really bad idea.

Having said that, let us consider the short (weeks) and medium (months) term consequences of the establishment democrat obsession with somehow connecting Trump to Putin and Russia. Firstly, they seem to forget that the american electorate has heard this same basic fairy tale for almost a year now. Guess what.. Trump won the election even after democrats started pushing this story and his approval numbers, while low, are still a bit between than their own. Note to self- write a post on how democrats were able to achieve lower approval ratings than a reality TV star who has reneged on almost all of his electoral promises.

Secondly, their obsession with this made-up scandal has prevented them from focusing on his many real failures and fuckups. You would think that democrats would focus on Trump’s failures on issues such as preventing outsourcing or maintaining funding levels for popular government programs like social security, medicare and medicaid. But no.. democarts are busy pushing “Trump-Putin”, “Trump-Russia” and “Russia Hacked Our Sacred Elections” 24/7- regardless of the lack of solid evidence to support such connections and conclusions. Establishment democrat obsession with Trump-Putin-Russia (and simultaneous neglect of issues which most voters care about) is eroding their credibility with the broader electorate at an alarming rate.

Thirdly, making the MSM incessantly push this made-up scandal is corroding whatever residual credibility those outlets used to have- even six months ago. Think about it.. average people now know that CNN and MSNBC will spend multiple hours each day talking about the newest chapter of this obviously made up scandal while simultaneously ignoring their real and very serious concerns. They know that supposedly prestigious newspapers like the NYT and WP (and pretty much every other MSM paper) will almost certainly write a dozen pieces about this obviously made-up scandal every single day. Do you think they will care if and when they publish a genuine negative story about Trump?

Will write more about the general issue of credibility loss by establishment due to their numerous unsuccessful attempts at unseating Trump in a future post of this series.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Probability of Trump Completing His Term as President: 1

July 11, 2017 14 comments

One of the funny, if somewhat ironic, effects of persistent attempts by establishment democrats (and their media underlings) to delegitimize Trump’s victory in 2016 election by connecting him to some cartoon-ish “russian conspiracy” is that it has not increased their own popularity among the general population. It has, if anything, made them less popular than Trump- which is a most impressive feat. Curiously, the inability of establishment democrats to improve their approval ratings has occurred in spite of Trump doing his best to screw over the very people who voted for him by making a load of generally unpopular decisions on issues such as healthcare.

More than a few commentators on twitter have been baffled by the desire of establishment democrats to flog the dead horse of “russian conspiracy” while simultaneously ignoring issues which animate average people such as healthcare, jobs, education and other concerns based in real life. In my opinion, it comes down to the sad fact that they (and other “traditional” parties in the west) have become the willing and enthusiastic tools of multinational neoliberalism. In other words, supposedly “traditional” political parties have become intellectually bankrupt cults which lack the ability to perceive the world around them thorough anything other than a neoliberal filter.

But what about the question posed in the title of this post? Will Trump complete, or be able to complete, his four-year term as the president? Or will he be impeached before his term is over? Or will something, which will render both those options moot, occur before his term is over?

As many of you know, impeccably credentialed, coiffed and dressed presstitutes employed by main-stream media outlets (and their equivalents in the entertainment sector) have been busy trying to grab onto any piece of evidence and hearsay, ok.. mostly hearsay and fabrication, that Trump is a traitor who did something “bad” which will lead to his impeachment. As you know, I am no defender of Trump and expect his presidential term to be one giant shitshow. Having said that, I think it is incorrect to say that Trump’s behavior and actions are especially unusual for somebody who has been elected as president.

USA has had more than a few presidents who had behaved worse and done far more fucked up shit. If you don’t believe me, read a bit about people like Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and yes.. even Barack Obama. Clearly.. being a child-fucker, genocidal racist, paranoid asshole, demented moron, corrupt piece of shit and obfuscating neoliberal is no barrier to getting elected and re-elected as president. Only a true believer in the dying cult of american exceptionalism would believe in the bullshit story that Trump is somehow uniquely damaging to the dignity of the “office”.

As things stand today, there is insufficient evidence that Trump did something illegal enough to make him resign or impeach him in a manner that looks impartial. Does that mean that Trump has not done anything illegal or made poor and questionable decisions? No.. it does not. For all we know he could be getting a blowjob from by his adult daughter under the table while eating well-done steak seasoned with tomato ketchup and accepting legal contributions from the Saudi crown prince. But you see.. none of those highly questionable decisions are sufficient to impeach him in an open trial.

If there was anything sufficient to impeach him in an open trial, we would have heard it on every mainstream media outlet by now.

So, what about the other establishment democrat plan- making him resign by harping on the alleged “russia conspiracy”? Well.. we kinda already know how that will turn out. As many of you might have noticed, most people in USA have tuned out of that farce. And why wouldn’t they? Every day brings yet more unsubstantiated claims about some connection between Trump and “Putin” that will definitely sink the former’s presidency and.. it all falls apart after a few days, or sometimes, even after a few hours. Meanwhile Trump is still president and playing golf on every single weekend.

I would go so far as to say that harping on the “russia conspiracy” now makes establishment democrats look like bungling idiots or bitter losers- depending on your viewpoint. There is therefore a better than 85% probability (my educated guess) that Trump will complete his term as a president. But what about the other 15%? What else could happen?

Here is where it gets a bit dark, but not in an unexpected manner. As many of you also know, some hyper-partisan democratic voters have bought into the narrative that Trump is somehow a traitor who is sullying the office of presidency. Given the secondary effects of many of Trump’s ill-advised policies and decisions, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that there might more than a few hyper-partisan democrats who will attempt to remove Trump from the presidency. We have already seen a teaser trailer of that particular movie, in the form of the recent shooting of Steve Scalise.

I would not be surprised if in a country of over 300 million people, more than a handful come to the conclusion that Trump has to be removed from office by any means possible. And one such attempt might actually succeed. Even more problematically, a successful attempt will result in lots of covert and not-so-covert celebration by establishment democrats and their hyper-partisan supporters. The point I am trying to make is that there is no good way out of this shitshow. Indeed, letting Trump complete his term might be the least worst option- especially for democrats. Will write more in a future part of this series depending on feedback from commentators.

What do you think? Comments?

A Quick Analysis of the First North Korean ICBM Test: July 5, 2017

July 5, 2017 9 comments

One of the joys of blogging is the ability to point to one of your older posts and say- “I told you so”. As some of you might recall, a little less than three months ago I had written a post about how the narrative about USA disrupting North Korean missile tests through cyberwarfare was fake news. At that time, one credulous or delusional commentator spent lots of time trying to prove otherwise. Well.. we know who was right.

As it turns out, I am also right about the reason why some of the missile tests by that country in the first few months of this year were unsuccessful. To refresh your memory, I has put forth the idea that North Korean scientists and engineers were experiencing issues with using potent hypergolic fuels since they had very limited experience with them in the past. It now appears that they have mastered the use of rocket engines which use those more potent fuels. Don’t believe me? Well just look at the first picture below.

The combination of a clear, almost transparent, rocket plume and that yellow-orange clouds surrounding the rocket as the engine starts up is the signature calling card of hyperbolic propellants- specifically an engine that uses UDMH + N2O4, as opposed to IRFNA and Kerosene or solid propellants like HTPB-based mixtures. To put it another way, they have mastered the use of modern hypergolic rocket fuels including the ability to build engines (and associated plumbing etc) to handle them.

And this brings us to the second question, namely, what is the range of this missile? As late as yesterday evening, the delusional officialdom of USA was unwilling to definitively call it an ICBM. Perhaps they were having some trouble accepting the reality that yet another non-white country had successfully mastered the tech to build an ICBM. It seems that they have now accepted that it was an ICBM but are still trying to make the bullshit claim that the missile can only hit Alaska as opposed to the Alaska and the west coast of mainland USA. So here is another picture to help you understand the next point I am going to make.

While this photo might appear somewhat ordinary, it gives two important characteristics of the missile in question- apart from the obvious fact that it is road mobile and hence very hard to destroy in any preemptive strike. Note that the missile is about 13-16 meters long and 1.5-1.8 meters wide (first stage). As it turns out, those dimensions, having a hypergolic first stage and the fact that it is road mobile tell me that it weighs somewhere between 30 and 50 tons. My best guess is about 35-40 tons. So why are those figures important?

Well.. as it turns out, these dimensions and weight are very similar to a family of submarine-launched ICBMs developed and deployed by the former USSR in the early 1970s. SLBMs of R-29 Vysota family, specifically the first (and oldest) version of that series have a very strong resemblance to the North Korean ICBM which was tested yesterday. Interestingly, unlike hypergolic fuel using ICBMS of other countries, those developed by USSR (and now Russia) can be stored in their fueled and ready condition for years.

Here is why I think they chose to base their ICBM on the R-29 (aka SS-N-18 “Stingray”). Firstly, they probably had access to the technology, blueprints and consultants who developed that missile series. Secondly, it is a relatively light and proven design that can be stored in the ready condition for a few years at a time. Thirdly, though neither highly accurate or capable of carrying especially heavy warheads, it can easily project a single warhead with a combined mass of over 1.5 ton to about 8,000 km (you can convert that number to miles, if you want to).

It does not take a genius to figure out that building a slightly larger (10-15%) version of the R-29 with a slightly lighter warhead (700-800 kg) allows it to reach the 10,000 km mark. I strongly suspect that the North Korean ICBM is a slightly larger version of the R-29 with similar, but not identical, flight characteristics. Moreover it is pretty easy to adjust engine burn times, propellant loading etc to increase the maximal velocity by the few hundred meters per second necessary to make it go a couple thousand extra km.

To make a long story short, that North Korean ICBM can most certainly put a warhead on Seattle, Bay Area or maybe even Los Angeles-San Diego urban aggregation. Of course, we can always get many smartly dressed and hair-styled “experts” on TV to say otherwise, but then again these same idiots were also telling us that it would be many years before North Korea would successfully test an ICBM. Of course, it is unlikely that North Korea is going to use such ICBMs unless provoked to do so by the USA. Then again, it is USA you are talking about.

What do you think? Comments?

An Explanation for the Proliferation of Superhero Movies and TV Shows

July 2, 2017 10 comments

The previous decade has seen a large and unprecedented increase in the number and relative percentage of movies and TV shows made in USA which are centered around one or more superheroes. In fact, it is now possible to find critiques of this seemingly endless glut of superhero-based movies in allegedly “respectable” magazines as well as on clickbaity sites. In other words, the belief that too many superhero movies are being made is now a mainstream viewpoint.

But how did we end up here? And more importantly, why? Sure.. superhero movies have been around since pretty much the dawn of cinema. However for many decades, especially until the late-1970s, the number of superhero movies was rather small. The first significant increase in the number of superhero movies came in the late-1970s and early-1980s. But even then, it was unusual for more than 2-3 superhero movies to be released per year.

The current glut of superhero movies can be traced to a few hugely profitable movies of that genre made in the early-2000s. It also helped that the same time period saw huge improvements in the quality of computer-generated special effects as well as a steep decrease in the cost of creating them. Since then, there has been a never-ending avalanche of movies and, increasingly, TV shows based on some superhero or the other- as well as tons of sequels, “prequels” and reboots.

But why? Why would movie studios and TV show production companies devote so much of the budget and resources to churning out even more productions full of men and women in tights and tons of computer-generated effects but without memorable characters or coherent plots? What is in for them? And why now?

Before we go to my explanation, it is worth quickly recapitulating the conventional explanations which have been put forth to explain this phenomenon. One popular explanation is based on the idea that such movies make more money around the world, especially in large non-western markets like China. To be fair, predominantly visual movies or shows are likely to sell better in countries that are linguistically and culturally different from those of their origin.

However, that does not explain why so many of these productions are set in the USA. I mean, would you not make even more money by creating superhero movies tailored to individual market like China? Another explanation is based on the ever decreasing cost of using high-quality computer generated special effects. Once again, there is some truth to the idea that reductions in cost of computer generated special effects being responsible for part of the increase in this genre of movies and shows. But that does not explain why movie studios and TV production companies seem to now favor this genre over other previously profitable ones.

Then there are those who point out that a significant number, and percentage, of superhero based production (including sequels and reboots) make a decent amount of money and more importantly- profit. Now.. it is no secret that any success of a new genre in the entertainment sector always results in tons of imitators as well as attempts to milk the original success to the limit. But we are now in 2017, not 2007 when the imitation hypothesis would have been sufficient. Furthermore, the number of superhero- based movies and TV shows has kept on increasing rather than stabilizing, let alone decreasing.

But perhaps even more importantly, none of these conventional explanations even attempt to answer the main question- which is as follows: Why do movie studios and TV production companies keep on making an ever-increasing number of superhero movies and shows while simultaneously cutting back on other genres including those which were responsible for the majority of their profit in the past and still appear to be capable of delivering it?

My explanation for this phenomenon is based on a somewhat unconventional analysis of the current zeitgeist, especially as it relates to changing patterns of general belief in society. To make a long story short, it is increasingly hard for people in USA to mentally associate themselves with traditional protagonists in films and TV shows. As you might recall, the protagonist in most films and TV shows made in USA has traditionally been somebody who (or willing to be) part of institutions that were once considered to be respectable or otherwise desirable.

That is why the protagonists of so many movies and shows are either in (or associated with) the army, police, FBI, CIA, medical profession, legal profession or some other american institution. Even movies or shows set in other eras (historical movies), domains of alternate reality (LOTR, Star Wars, Matrix, Harry Potter movies) or the future (Star Trek, back to the Future movies) end up replicating that institutional structure. To put it another way, the superhero movie genre is the only major one that ‘works’ without the presence of functional and recognizable american institutions.

In fact, the superhero genre requires conventional american institutions to be dysfunctional, incompetent or absent. And this brings me to what I think is the real underlying reason behind the proliferation and continued success of superhero-based films and TV shows in the previous decade. Simply put, it has become hard to sell protagonists who are connected with discredited american institutions- all of them. And that is why superhero- based movies and TV shows have taken off in such a big way over the previous decade.

I mean ask yourself.. what are the first images that pop up in your mind when you think of police in USA? People who protect the innocent or roid-driven murdering racists? What about somebody who is part of the CIA, FBI or any similar three-letter agency? Patriots or greedy power-crazy asshole of dubious competence? What about doctors or lawyers in USA? Pillars of society providing important services or greedy extortionists of questionable competence? I could go and on.. but you get the point.

That is why, for example, we see few (if any) highly profitable movies or TV shows that glorify mass murderers depicted as such or slave owners depicted as such. Human beings, even evil ones, like to believe that they are good and moral. They, therefore, do not want to associate with protagonists who are severely tainted or otherwise discredited. Superheroes are, by definition, not really a part of the institutions they belong to- even in their respective fictional universes. Hence it is far easier for audiences in the post-2008 era to mentally associate themselves with such protagonists.

To summarize- it has become much less profitable to sell movies and TV shows in USA (especially to younger audiences) in which the protagonists are somehow positively connected with any of the many american institutions which have been publicly discredited within the previous decade. And that is why we now have an avalanche of superhero-based movies and TV shows.

What do you think? Comments?

An Alternate Explanation for Murders of Black Men by Police in USA

June 24, 2017 22 comments

As many of my long-term readers know, more than a few of my older posts have touched on the issue of systemic racial discrimination in USA, especially as it concerns what is frequently described as the “criminal justice” system. In fact, I even wrote a short series about this issue in 2014. In that series, I made the point that murdering black men and women is, and always has been, one of the main functions of the “law and order” apparatus in USA.

In that series, I also made the point that USA as a country and society is simply too dysfunctional to fix the problem of extra-judicial (and judicial) killing of black people. The simple, if tasteless, reality is that a large percentage of white people are quite OK with treating black people as less than human. Of course, this won’t be a big problem in a couple of decades from now when the numbers and relative position of whites has irreversibly declined to the point that few will even care what they think or believe.

But the ongoing and irreversible decline of whites as a group in USA and rest of the world does not by itself solve the problem of “law enforcement” killing black people in USA. It is well-known that the race and gender of police has little connection with their willingness to kill or otherwise brutalize black people in USA. In other words, replacing a white cop with a black, brown or asian cop is unlikely to eliminate or even reduce the rates of extra-judicial executions of black people in USA.

But why has large-scale public exposure of numerous instances of police murdering black people in USA had little, to no, effect on their propensity to continue doing it? Why have all those large public protests had no worthwhile effect on the rate of police murdering black people, except perhaps to ensure that the family members of at least some of the murdered get monetary compensation? Why have all those appeals to the conscience of whites had no worthwhile effect on the status quo?

There are many reasons for public exposure having little effect on the continued predilection of police to murder black people in USA- but it mainly comes to the lack of adverse consequences. Police who murder, torture or otherwise abuse black people do not face any adverse consequences for those actions. Choking a black guy to death, murdering a black guy in front of his family, shooting an unarmed black guy from the back, murdering a black kid etc does not adversely affect the lives of police who did those things even if it is recorded on camera- sometimes from multiple angles.

To understand what I am getting at, here is a thought experiment. Do you think police would dare to murder Muslims of middle-eastern descent in USA at anything even remotely close to the rate they do for Blacks? And if not, why not? What makes police in USA and other western countries so hesitant to pull that shit on Muslims of middle-eastern descent?

Well.. there are two components to the answer for that question. Firstly, Muslims of middle-eastern descent are very highly organised AND they do not see their lives as less valuable than whites. Even Muslims from the poorest and most deprived countries in the middle-east do not see themselves as less human than whites in the west. In contrast to that, a majority of the native-born black population in USA appear to see their own lives as less valuable than their white counterparts.

But there is a second reason, which we don’t like to talk about. Whites in western countries understand that murdering Muslims from the middle-east has consequences, even if white western courts exonerated them. There is a reason why white Americans could not walk freely in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, even at the peak of their now failed invasions of both those countries. Turns out that people from that part of the world are more than willing to avenge the death of their relatives in any manner possible.

To make a long story short- it is very likely that police murdering Muslims from the M-E at even a fraction of rate of Blacks in USA would severely compromise the personal safety of themselves and their families. In contrast to that, police murdering black people in USA will at most result in more marches, prayers at some church and tearful interview with relatives on TV.

European whites did not get kicked out for good out of Asian and African countries after WW2 because they feared peaceful marches, prayer assemblies and tearful testimonies. American whites did not get kicked out of North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan because of nonviolent resistance by the local population. They had to leave those countries because the human and material costs inflicted on them by the local population (sometimes at great cost to themselves) was beyond their own ability to sustain those occupations.

What do you think? Comments?

More Thoughts on the Congressional Baseball Shooting: 17 Jun, 2017

June 17, 2017 19 comments

In a previous post on this topic, I made three observations about the incident in question. They can be summarized follows: (1) The shooting will leave Steve Scalise impotent and incontinent for years, perhaps for the rest of his life; (2) This shooting incident was politically motivated and has no real precedent in living memory, as far as the USA is concerned; (3) The Scalise shooting has elicited far more popular approval than condemnation.

But what does any of this mean for the future, especially in near term (weeks to months)? Is this incident the start of a new trend or an once-off aberration? And how will it shape, if at all, the political course of the country?

Let me begin by reiterating my prediction, from the previous post, that we are likely to see more of such incidents in the near future. Also, it is entirely possible that the next such incident might not even involve the use of a firearm. Furthermore, these future incidents are likely to affect elected democrats in addition to their republican counterparts. Having said that, let me now expand on the likely course of events that will lead down that path.

Throughout human history, a strong possibility of imminent death is the most important factor that will result in people targeting their rulers. As a corollary, highly autocratic regimes can remain in power as long as most people in that country are relatively safe and otherwise well taken care of. Most humans lack the willingness to fight for abstract causes like justice, liberty or honor- if they understand those concepts in the first place. They will however fight tooth and nail if they are, or perceive themselves to be, in mortal danger.

That is why almost every single large-scale uprising, revolution and civil war in history occurred in the aftermath of widespread and prolonged shortage of essential goods or something which imperils life of the average person. In other words, such movements (centralized or decentralized) occur only once it is plainly obvious to a significant percentage of the population that the status quo is beyond unsustainable. In other words, the previous order starts to collapse when people realize that their very survival and any hope for the future is dependent upon the old system (and its elites) dying out.

Major uprisings in recent history from the French Revolution of 1789-1799, European Revolutions of 1848-1850, Taiping Rebellion of 1850-1864, Russian revolution of 1917-1923, the many post-WW1 revolutions in Eastern and Central Europe, the rise of Fascism in post-WW1 Western Europe etc were precipitated by severe and prolonged crisis- from natural and artificial food shortages to expensive prolonged wars that were bad for everyone except, perhaps, the elites. Conditions necessary for rebellion, revolution or just plain chaos require a prodromal period where the old system is exposed as utterly inadequate in facing new challenges while still capable of immiserating most people.

Based on what I have seen over the previous 18 odd years, it is my opinion that USA (in its current form) has entered that prodromal period sometime between 2005 and 2010.

Many of you might also have noticed that the previous decade has seen the widespread loss of any reasonable hope for a better future in USA. Pretty much every aspect of the lives of most people from education, jobs, housing, economic security has kept on going down. At the same time, the system has been unable to tackle emergent challenges from winning wars to protecting people from new threats. In other words, the status quo in USA has been revealed to be simultaneously immiserating and unable to face new challenges.

It is therefore not surprising that unorthodox political figures such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have been able to quickly gather very large and fervent followings. The flip side this phenomenon is a rapid loss of any residual public belief in the competence and ability of traditional political figures. Indeed, one can make a case that the public now sees the very existence of traditional political figures as a useless and dangerous obstacle to making things work for them again.

To make a long story short, it is very likely that a very small percentage of the many millions of people in various types of dire situations in USA will start taking out their frustrations on those believed to be responsible for causing their problems. While many classes of people will be at the receiving end of this rage- from managers and administrators to bureaucrats, it is likely the high visibility and name recognition of elected representatives might make them more likely to receive it.

Elected representatives are also very likely to be seen as especially culpable for things such as cutting healthcare benefits, cutting social security and similar benefits and facilitating corporate abuses. It is therefore very reasonable to expect more incidents like that Scalise shooting in the near future. Also, it is quite apparent that most people have now come to enjoy seeing conventional politicians get their just deserts. To put it another way, the times we live are about to get a whole lot more exciting.

Might write more about this topic in a future post- based on reader feedback.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Thoughts on the Congressional Baseball Shooting: 15 Jun, 2017

June 15, 2017 16 comments

As almost all of you must have heard by now, a guy opened fire on some republican members of congress and lobbyists at a practice session for a “charity” baseball match yesterday. The shooter, named James Hodgkinson, was a 66-year man from Belleville in Illinois. While we do not yet know about the combination of circumstances which led him to shoot up republican members yesterday, it is very obvious that Hodgkinson had a long-term dislike for republican policies and ideologies. Idiots from both parties and their media surrogates are trying to paint him as some sort of violent leftist radical, even though there is not much to suggest that he was any more violent than tens of millions of other men in USA.

Some of you might wonder.. were his actions justified? My answer to that question is as follows: What you, or I, think about a particular action does not matter to someone who is determined to carry out that action. Hodgkinson had come there to shoot and kill as many republican lawmakers as possible regardless of whether he would survive such a course of action- which he did not. He was not seeking external justification or validation, so what we think about his actions is irrelevant to his carrying out those actions. It is therefore best to see this event, and other like it, as an example of one person finally going through a series of actions which they they had almost certainly contemplated in private for many years before acting on them.

I can almost hear some of you say.. but, aren’t you dodging the question of whether what he did was morally “right” or “wrong”? To which I say- morality is highly subjective. Consider the fact that one of the severely injured, a republican lawmaker named Steve Scalise, was involved in the recent vote to repeal “Obamacare” in the lower chamber of congress. As you know, repealing even something as shitty as “Obamacare” will result in the loss of medical insurance coverage for over 20 million people in USA- resulting in tens of thousands of excess deaths per year due to lack of timely and adequate medical care. He also voted against a bill to apologize for slavery in 1996 in addition to having a following among some of most regressive parts of the Louisiana electorate.

In other words, Hodgkinson is not a hero and Scalise is no MLK Jr. Incidentally, Scalise has in the past voted against making MLK Jr Day a national holiday, which is now ironic since both the cops who intervened to save him yesterday from a white guy shooting him were black. But enough of talk about an event which has already occurred. Let us now consider the likely future effects of the congressional baseball shooting on 2017.

1] As far as Steve Scalise is concerned, he is likely to be in a world of hurt for a long time to come. Though he was hit by only one bullet (most likely a 5.56×45mm), it went through his pelvis- from left to right. Given the wounding characteristics of that cartridge, it is safe to say that organs and tissues in that part of his anatomy have likely suffered severe damage- even if the projectile was a FMJ. To put it in simpler language, he likely has suffered considerable damage to his urinary bladder, rectum, prostate and a host of blood vessels and nerves in that area.

It is therefore a matter of speculation if he will ever experience normal functioning of organs in that region of his anatomy, or those connected to them. While medical technology, including the treatment of projectile injuries, has seen considerable advances over the last few decades- there are limits to what can be done- especially for injuries in certain regions of the body.

2] While Scalise is not the first congress person to be shot or even killed (in living memory), every single one of the prior attacks were perpetrated by people who were either in religious cults or not mentally stable. Congress critters at federal level in USA have, until now, not been shot or killed for their professed ideologies, voting record or policy positions. Such accidental immunity from facing the consequences of their actions, combined with an unnaturally high rates of incumbency, have allowed them to believe that they can get away with anything. The Scalise shooting is the first in what I suspect is a trend of “elected” officials in USA having the face the consequences of their beliefs and actions.

I am sure that some of you have seen YouTube clips depicting extreme levels of hostility towards politicians at recent townhall meetings across the country as well as the conditions which allowed Trump to defeat all of his numerous and far better funded professional politician opponents in the republican presidential primary. My point is that the era of apparent immunity of elected politicians in USA to popular outrage for their actions is now drawing to a close. In the future, it is likely that we will see more republican and democratic politicians at the wrong end of a gun wielded by a pissed off voter. Of course, congress critters will try to increase security levels for them, but that might prove less than effective and result in a further backlash against them.

3] Many of you might also have noticed that most of the MSM, alternative media and a lot of people on multiple social networks have not expressed any real concern about that event. In fact the prevailing sentiment seems to be almost one of surprise that it took so long to occur. Moreover, unlike previous incidents including the one in 2011 there are far fewer people expressing any real sympathy for the congress critter who got shot up. You can interpret this apparently odd public reaction in many ways. My personal favorite interpretation is that this apparently anomalous public reaction is based in the simple reality that USA has ceased to be a united and functional society.

While there are many reasons and much blame to go around for this current state of affairs, it is nonetheless clear that it mostly comes down to the system being unable to provide a decent life and environment for most people in USA. People simply don’t care about beliefs or systems which do not, or are unlikely, to improve the lives of those who care about them. Overt patriotism and the somewhat civilized politics in USA was predicated on the system delivering a decent life (or a realistic promise thereof) for most of its citizens. This also means that the outcome I alluded to in the previous point (2) is more likely than most people realize or are willing to accept.

To summarize, the shooting of Steve Scalise is a far more consequential event than most people realize right now. It is also an indicator of a pretty major shift in how many people in USA relate to the system of governance they live under. I also think that this event is likely to first of a new class rather than an unfortunate anomaly. While nobody really knows where all this will ultimately lead to, it is equally clear that the post-WW2 system/ consensus/ order in USA is on its way out- one way or the other.

What do you think? Comments?