Archive for the ‘Skepticism’ Category

My Opinion about the ‘Ancient Astronaut’ Theory: 1

In the previous post, I wrote about my thoughts on why tv shows about “ancient astronauts” are still popular and what that says about the popular mood in the west. The main point I was trying to make is that belief in “ancient astronauts” is the secular version of belief in existence of traditional gods and other mystical/ mythical beings in a previous era. But what about the central question.. you know.. is the “ancient astronaut” theory correct or even feasible?

My short answer is: Yes, but with certain caveats.

The longer version is a bit more complicated and will not make people on either side of the issue happy. But then again, I do not write this blog to make people happy. I simply give you my opinion about issues- whether it is about how to use escorts, the nature of “civilization” and human beings or some recent controversial event. Also unlike many others (especially credentialed morons) I explore a number of alternate possibilities in a systematic manner- even if I do not care about them.

Let us start by trying to answer the first major question: Do extraterrestrial species capable on interstellar travel exist?

The answer to the first major question starts with estimating the likelihood of life (of any kind) on planets other than earth- either in our galaxy or in neighboring galaxies. If you regard life as a series of complex chemical process which can arise under some set of environmental conditions and with a certain probability, then our galaxy (and the rest of the universe) is full of planets which harbor life in some form or the other- even if it is largely in the form of single-celled organisms.

I am not, therefore, claiming that the universe is full of planets hosting life forms with self-awareness and the ability to travel between star systems. Having said that, it is very likely that given enough time, a small minority of planets harboring life (in any form) will go on to host more complex multi-cellular and differentiated forms such as those seen in fossil record of earth.

To make a long story short- if you believe that life is a chemical process based in probability, given sufficient time a small (but not insignificant) number of planets will eventually host intelligent and self-aware species. If we take this idea to its logical conclusion, it is almost certain that there have been multiple independent instances of self-aware species attaining levels of technology which make it possible for them to travel between stars.

Provided they do not subsequently destroy themselves through war, ego or greed- such species could end up becoming very long-lived. It also goes without saying that extraterrestrial species capable of interstellar travel would also have the technology to be basically immortal- for all practical purposes. In other words, extraterrestrial species capable on interstellar travel are an inevitable consequence of life being a chemical process whose creation and evolution are governed by chance and probability.

But would such extraterrestrial species want to visit earth and chill with human beings or somehow influence our evolution?

This particular question has two parts. Firstly, would they explore or visit earth or other planets in the first place? Secondly, would they take a special interest in human beings to the point of deliberately interacting with them or influencing their evolution?

It goes without saying that any species which has developed the capability for interstellar travel will use it to explore their stellar neighborhood. Over time, such species will end up exploring a larger and larger volume of their (and our) galaxy. It is almost inevitable, given sufficient time, that one or more spacefaring species will come across the solar system and discover earth.

Now, this could have occurred 2 billion years ago or it could happen tomorrow morning. My point is that, the discovery of earth by such spacefaring extraterrestrial species is also almost inevitable. Also, my hunch is that such a discovery is far more likely to occur via indirect means (space probes) than direct ones (actual visits).

But would they want to intentionally interact with human beings or influence their evolution or technological development?

Well.. let me ask you a counter question. Would you try to communicate with termites in some termite hill you came across when you were on vacation in some exotic part of the world? Sure, you might take a few photos of the mound and perhaps even briefly study a very small percentage of its inhabitants. But at the end of the day, you simply wont’t care about some species on the other side of your world that poses no challenge or possibility for genuine interaction with yourself.

Similarly, it is very unlikely that extraterrestrial species capable of interstellar travel would demonstrate serious interest in human beings unless we reach a technological level where worthwhile and genuine interaction is possible. This is not to say that there would be no interaction whatsoever. However it is very likely that such interaction would be sporadic and somewhat accidental rather than sustained and methodical.

In other words, accounts of extraterrestrial contact which fit the sporadic and accidental contact pattern are far more credible than those which recall extended contact between extraterrestrials and human beings. So the Sumerian myth of Adapa is much more likely to be based on an actual instance of such contact than extraterrestrial being involved in building of Giza pyramid complex. The description of Vimanas in ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts are pretty close to what one might expect for spacecraft capable of landing on, and taking off, from planets such as earth.

It is also worthwhile to note that instances of non-natural objects flying in a controlled manner in the sky have been reported since the 2nd millenium BC. More than a few of these accounts contain details that are just too peculiar to be explained as natural phenomena or hallucinations. Moreover, these accounts document sporadic and very brief contact with appear to be probes capable of flying in the atmosphere.

To summarize, I think that extraterrestrial species capable of travelling between star systems are almost inevitable. Furthermore, if such species exist (very likely) they are almost certainly aware of the existence of earth and have likely visited it in some manner on more than one occasion. It also likely that some instances of such brief visits or encounters have been documented, albeit in a distorted form, within the mythological narratives of multiple tribes or nations. I am however very skeptical of accounts which suggest extraterrestrials making extended or systemic contact with humans.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Continued Popularity of “Ancient Aliens” Type TV Shows

May 24, 2017 7 comments

A couple of months ago, I decided to write more posts about things other than current political developments. Well.. as many of you can see, so far, I have not been too successful with doing that for a number of reasons- some of which have to do with a lot of developments in the political arena of many countries including the USA. So let us get back to the topic at hand.

I first considered writing this particular post about 3-4 months when flipping through channels on my TV sometime very late at night. While not a fan of most TV channels or their “programming”, the less conventional ones can be sometimes interesting. Anyway, while flipping through all those channels I came across yet another rerun of some episode of “Ancient Aliens“. While I don’t remember the specifics of that particular episode, it was produced sometime in 2015.

A look at the imdb webpage of that show revealed that this show was being still produced and had completed 12 seasons in 7 years. The next thought that came to my mind was.. why? Why was a show like this still in production? And why are people still watching it? Have we not had enough of shows based on people looking for monsters, ghosts, spirits, bigfoot etc? The answer to one of those questions came rather quickly when I looked at the content on other channels. Let me explain..

The idea underlying this series, and other similar ones, is that intelligent extraterrestrial species visited earth in the past and interacted with human beings- aka the Ancient Astronauts theory. While “skeptics” and other assorted credentialed morons who take scient-ism too seriously might want to believe otherwise, the idea that intelligent extraterrestrials species might have visited earth in the past (including human pre-history) is an idea that is highly feasible as well as more likely than not.

More than a few scientists, including people like the late Carl Sagan, have seriously entertained the possibility that a small percentage of the weird stories found in traditional religions might be a distorted account of encounters with extraterrestrial intelligence visiting earth. I mean.. unless the evolution of life and evolution are somehow unique to earth, it is virtually guaranteed that there are more than a few intelligent species capable of inter-stellar travel in our galaxy alone. My point is that the idea underlying that series is highly feasible and likely.

But coming back to that series.. Why do so many people still watch it? Aren’t most episodes of that show full of really tenuous and speculative stuff. Then again, why don’t we ask that question about all those “crime procedural” shows or sitcoms full of outlandish characters and situations? How many viewers of popular sitcoms from Seinfeld and Friends (in the past) to BBT and HIMYM (now) believe that are based on anything approaching reality? What about “reality” shows? How many actually believe that “Real Wives of insert name of some large city” or some “survival” show believe that they are watching something real?

My point is that connection to reality has nothing to do with the success of a show, whether it is on TV or the Internet.

But this still does not explain why people watch such a show in the first place. Let me explain that point a bit more clearly. See, some people watch sitcoms because they like the story or somehow want to identify with one or more of the characters. The appeal of ” reality” shows is based on their ability to titillate and grab the viewers attention- kinda like watching the aftermath of a really bad traffic accident. But what about a show like “Ancient Aliens”? What emotional need does watching such a show satisfy?

The answer to that question can be best understood by posing a counter question- why were such shows not successful in the era between the 1950s-1990s? There are a few factors behind that. The media market, for one, was far more of an oligopoly than it is today. The cost for entry into the field of producing show for TV etc was also much higher than today. But there is a still bigger reason..

The west, especially USA, was a far more hopeful place as late at the 1990s.

But was does hope for a better future have to do with the lack of general interest in shows about aliens visiting the earth during human pre-history? To better understand what I saying, ask yourself the another question- Why were shows and movies based in science fiction so popular during that era and why were they hopeful instead of gritty, dark and dystopic? We,.. for one, this was also the era when the application of science and technology provided massive increases in the quality of life as well as making affordable what can previously considered luxurious.

Since then.. things have not been going too well in the west. Today science and technology is associated with corporate abuse, social atomization, decreasing standards of living, neoliberal technocracy and scient-ism. It is worth noting that the actions and behavior of scientists and academics have also contributed to the rather dismal public image of science. To put it another way, science and technology are no longer connected to hope for a better future and there is no traditional religious bullshit to fall back on. Moreover many other entertainment options, from traditional sitcoms to “reality” shows, contain reminders (direct or indirect) about how the world around you is generally shitty and becoming more so with every passing day.

In such an environment, shows which promote the idea that human ancestors once interacted with space-faring aliens is uniquely positive. Furthermore these shows also promote the idea that human beings, too, could one day in the future become another universally affluent and comfortable space-faring species. As you might have noticed, that particular belief was once the focal point of many successful and optimistic sci-fi shows and films as late the mid-1990s. Then neo-liberalism assumed its full form (after the demise of USSR) and things simply have not been the same since that time. To summarize shows like “Ancient Aliens” are popular because they fill the gap left by the demise of a hopeful future based on science and technology improving the lives of average people.

What do you think? Comments?

How Trump has Screwed Himself Since his Inauguration: May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017 23 comments

A few months ago, I wrote a brief post about how the establishment would try to depose trump via a procedural coup. While I had initially planned to write a couple more posts in that series, the speed of unfolding events made me put that series on the back-burner. Well.. in the last few days, we have seen the first serious attempts to depose Trump via some combination of investigation committee and legal maneuvers. While it is too early to say where this series of interconnected clusterfucks will lead, one thing is for sure- this won’t be the last attempt by the establishment to depose Trump via less-than-democratic tactics.

To be clear, I have never been a supporter of Trump. However, I was able to accurately predict his victories in the republican primaries and 2016 presidential election many months before both events occurred. You might also remember about a subsequent series of posts which predicted that his administration would rapidly degenerate into some combination of dysfunction and towing the establishment republican line thus slowly destroying whatever popular support he had when he was elected in early Nov 2016.

As you also know, I am of the opinion that Trump’s connection with Russia is similar to the Clinton’s connection to China or the Bush family connection to Saudi Arabia. In other words, Trump is just another corrupt transnational plutocrat who will return favors to those who have funded his business ventures.. basically garden variety legalized political corruption. It is also telling that democrats have seized on such a banal issue to go after Trump when they could have done far better by opposing his various policies from a left-wing populist angle, but that is a subject best left for a subsequent post.

Coming back to the central theme of this post, let us talk about how Trump has screwed himself since his inauguration in late Jan 2017. Some of you might think that firing Comey was his biggest mistake. Others might think that Trump using Twitter after assuming office was his biggest mistake. Well.. I think otherwise. See, the biggest and most consequential mistakes Trump has made since his inauguration have nothing to do with single issues. To put it another way, his biggest and worst mistakes are systemic in nature.

1] Trump hired many establishment republicans and #nevertrump republicans in his administration.

A large part of Trump’s current problems can be traced to his decision to fill the ranks of his administration with establishment republicans including many #nevertrump types. People like Betsy Devos, Nikki Haley, H. R. McMaster and a host of ex- GoldmanSachs types and their underlings were never going to be loyal to Trump. If anything, most of them should be expected to actively undermine his presidency. And yet he hired them.. Frankly, hiring willing democrats would have been a safer option.

2] Trump also hired people who are despised by people other than his hardcore supporters.

Hiring highly unlikable people like Jeff Sessions, David Clarke and more than a few other law-and-order types was one of the other bad hiring decisions made by his administration. While such people might play to his shrinking core constituency, they have cost a lot of support from other groups who were previously ambivalent about his administration. The reality is that many who did not vote for HRC were quite OK with democratic policies and campaign promises. In other words, hiring people who really like persecuting women, blacks and hispanics is not a good branding decision.

3] Trump has been unable to give up on the MSM.

The relationship between Trump and the MSM is usually seen as one in which both parties hate each other. However, for most of Trump’s life, that was not the case. Indeed, the MSM (in all its forms) loved to cover Trump- often in a fairly positive light until he won the republican ticket. However since the late summer of 2016, the MSM has done nothing but attack Trump- often using made up “news”. While Trump has been able to counter that by, inadvertently, embracing alternative internet based news outlets- he has never been able to give up on the MSM. Consequently he is still trying to please what he still thinks is the “respectable” MSM.

4] Trump has hitched his wagon with unpopular causes promoted by republican establishment.

Trump has wasted too much of his political capital by promoting republican attempts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something even more shittier, if you can imagine such a thing. As many of you know, Obamacare (previously known as Romneycare) was always a pretty shitty neoliberal attempt to solidify their grip on healthcare in USA. It was, however, an improvement over whatever existed prior to its passing in 2010. Repealing Obamacare, without replacing it something superior like single payer healthcare, therefore runs the risk of pissing of a lot of Trump voters- especially the non-traditional republican types who helped him win supposedly ‘blue’ and ‘purple’ states in 2016.

5] Trump has tried to become a boiler-plate republican.

One of the major reasons behind Trump’s victory in the republican primary and presidential election was his willingness to question traditional republican establishment positions such as “free” trade agreements, overseas military engagements and social conservatism. However he has flip-flopped on all those issues since he was elected. While voters expect politicians to break most (if not all) of their campaign promises, they expect them do so after pretending to try fulfilling them. Trump has simply acted as if he never campaigned on those positions in the first place. While pulling off such a reverse can work if your political future is secure, that is not the case for Trump. He needs continued popular support if he wants to complete his 4 year term in office.

In summary, Trump has been successful at making a series of mistakes whose combination is very likely to doom his presidency. Hiring back-stabbers and wildly unpopular assholes, attempting to make nice with MSM and screwing over the voters whose support led to his victory is not helpful when you want to win against an establishment campaign to get rid of you. Then again, the ability to think strategically was never his strong point.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting YouTube Channel: This is Dan Bell

May 15, 2017 3 comments

A few weeks ago, I came across a YouTube channel detailing the sorry state of malls and non-4/5 star hotels in USA. The videos on this channel might, at first sight, just seem entertaining- if a somewhat odd way. They do however hint to a much bigger problem underlying problem, namely, that things in many parts of USA are going downhill at a pretty alarming rate.

It is worthwhile to note that many of the malls and motels/hotels featured on this channel were not always places full of decay and abandonment. In fact, even a bit of googling reveals that more than a few of the malls and hotels covered in these videos were once very functional if somewhat unremarkable places filled with people who had money to spend and fulfilling lives to live.

Today they are either empty and decaying or used by marginalized people who once had “normal” jobs and lives. In other words, these videos show (if somewhat inadvertently) how far things have fallen for the majority of people in USA- especially outside a few nice coastal enclaves and other islands of relative affluence.

Here is a link to the YouTube Channel: This is Dan Bell

Clip 1: Dead Mall Series: Hickory Ridge Mall, Memphis, TN

Clip 2: Another Dirty Room Ep. 9: Regal Inn and Suites, Rosedale, MD

Enjoy! Comments?

Initial Thoughts on Firing of Comey by Trump: May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017 7 comments

Many of you might by heard by now, especially in this age of Twitter and FaceBook, F.B.I. Director James Comey was fired by Trump earlier today afternoon. Predictably, many national-level politicians (both democrats and republicans) have expressed surprise over Trump firing Comey so abruptly. It is also odd, and somewhat peculiar, that Trump allegedly sent his letter of dismissal to Comey via his long-time personal bodyguard. In any case, it is easy to see this particular action by Trump and reactions to it is going to fill up the news cycle in USA for the next few days.

Having said that.. what does it all mean for the future of the Trump45’s “administration”.

Some of you might remember that a couple of months, or so, ago I had posted a short series on how things would turn out in the Trump45 “administration”. I am glad to say that a lot of what my predictions, from crippling levels of infighting and power struggles within his “administration” to missteps and reversals on key campaign promises, have come true. I also predicted that the screw-ups by Trump45 would end up making Bush43’s second term look positively rosy by comparison.

So what can we say about the somewhat unexpected firing of Comey by Trump?

Well.. for one, it looks extremely shady for Trump to fire a career guy with broad establishment credentials like Comey- especially when there is a perception that Comey was investigating Trump or people associated with him for legally dubious activities. To be clear, I am not suggesting that Comey is some paragon of humanity or decency. Indeed, there is tons of evidence that he is just another fairly racist white law enforcement guy. However, firing a guy who worked at high levels in the FBI under republican and democratic presidents for very questionable reasons and under circumstances that look rather suspicious is really bad optics.

This is doubly so given the many conflicts of interest concerning dealings by Trump’s many businesses after his election, the recent antics of his son-in-law and his family and the general stench of illegality surrounding his post-election activities. While Comey got a lot of flack from establishment democrats for briefly reopening and then closing the investigation about HRC’s emails a few days before the election, his activities can be explained away by the unusual circumstances under which those new emails were found. Also HRC made the decision to set up a private email server to handle her official state department emails on her own.

My point is that, even after the whole HRC email investigation saga, Comey still looked pretty honest and professional- especially in comparison to the people who he was investigating. And that you see is the core of the problem.. Regardless of whatever calculations made Trump (or someone in his inner circle) want to fire Comey, it is Trump who now looks guilty as hell. I would go so far as to suggest that he has now reached or exceeded the level of shadiness that people associated with post-Watergate Nixon. Needless to say, this won’t lead to a good outcome for him.

It remains to be seen how the fallout from this firing, the anti-populist healthcare bill being promoted by the republicans and reversal on pretty much every single one of his populist pre-election promises will affect the electoral fate of the republican party in the 2018 mid-term election. Or maybe we might have an ever bigger event, like his impeachment, before then. Who know? At this moment, everything is possible..

What do you think? Comments?

Some More Thoughts about Macron Leaks: May 6, 2017

May 6, 2017 14 comments

In my previous post on this topic, I wrote about some oddities concerning ‘MacronLeaks’. To recap, the main point I made towards the end of that post concerned the most peculiar timing of their release. As many of you might have heard, releasing them so late in an election superficially reeks of bad timing- especially when Macron looks like the favorite to win this election. Also, releasing it so close to the date and even time of legally enforced election silence in France seems a bit odd- especially since it carries the small risk of making that asshole look sympathetic.

So what is going on? Who is behind the leak? What is their likely calculation and motivation? And most importantly, who benefits from such a leak?

As I have said in many previous posts on similar topics, there are two paths to analyse such events. You can look at such events as part of some elaborate, choreographed and large-scale conspiracy OR you can see them as marginally interconnected scams perpetrated by conmen of average intelligence. I find the later path usually provides a far more accurate and realistic explanation for such events and occurrences. Explanations based on 11th dimensional chess moves are almost always wrong, while those based in human arrogance, greed, stupidity and hubris always turn out to be correct.

Having said that, let us look at the most likely parties involved in these leaks and their motivations- in no particular order of likelihood.

Possibility #1: Macron’s camp leaked those emails and other associated materials to make him look more sympathetic and increase electoral turnout for him.

The idea that Macron’s staff leaked those communications might, at first sight, seem odd. However they had the ability and motive to do it. The ability part is self-explanatory but the motive part might seem a bit confusing, especially since most polls show Macron winning the upcoming french presidential election. However, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that somebody in the Macron camp had the bright idea that doing so might make him look more sympathetic and perhaps increase turnout for people who would vote for him.

History is replete with instances of campaign managers and underlings with such “bright” and usually disastrous ideas. You might remember that Robby Mook decided that HRC should not campaign in states such as Michigan and Wisconsin during the 2016 presidential in USA because it might give Trump the idea that they were not so strong in those two states. You might also remember how Donna Brazile screwed up Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign even more than that centrist hack could have done by himself.

Possibility #2: Somebody from within the old establishment of one of the two major political parties in France decided to teach Macron a lesson.

Macron’s rise in the french political scene has made him many enemies, both with the Socialist Party and Republicans. It is within the realm of possibility that somebody loyal to the establishment of one of the two was part of his campaign or has access to the leaked materials. While such an actions might look rather petty and vindictive to most people, it is squarely within what is considered acceptable behavior within the political sphere of any country. This is especially so since elections for the french national assembly occur just over a month from now.

Perhaps this is a case of settling old political scores or hobbling Macron after he assumes office and has to work with the newly elected National Assembly. Maybe this leak could be a warning shot from the old establishment to keep them happy after election. Or it is a quick glimpse into the dirt others in the french political establishment have on him. As I said before, this particular possibility is feasible as well as within the range of acceptable political intrigue.

Possibility #3: A state or non-state actor external to France decided to screw over Macron by releasing these leaks.

While this is the most popular possibility at this moment, I am not sure that it is the most likely. I mean.. sure, hackers employed by the Russian government could certainly hack into Macron’s emails and leak them to the world. But what is in it for them, given that polls show Macron having a significant lead over Le Pen. What would a leak released so late in the electoral campaign achieve? Especially since whoever obtained it had it for over a month before releasing it. To put it another way, if the “Russians” wanted to smear Macron they would (and could) have released this leak a few weeks ago when it would have caused more damage to his campaign. A more likely possibility is that countries such as USA or Ukraine hacked into Macron’s email and are leaking them to smear Russia.

We cannot also discount non-state hackers, either truly independent or partially allied with some country, hacking into those emails and releasing them- just for the lulz. Indeed, that is by far the most likely scenario if those leaks are due to actual hacking as opposed to some hare-brained campaign idea or internal french political intrigue. The timing of their release is however rather odd, since the only way they can really hurt Macron is by depressing voter turnout for him. It is an open secret in France that many who voted for Macron in the 1st round of election did so out of considerations of social respectability rather than agreeing with his policies. In other words, his support among the electorate is usually fragile. Perhaps the hackers know this and are using these leaks to reduce electoral turnout for him.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Initial Thoughts about Macron Leaks: May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017 6 comments

You might have heard by now that somebody has leaked about 9 GB of emails, photos and attachments which either originated from, or are somehow connected to, Emmanuel Macron. As many of you already know, Macron is the neo-liberal ideology professing “front-runner” candidate in the 2nd (and final) round of the french presidential election of 2017. He is running against Marine Le Pen, who is.. depending on whom you ask.. either a Nativist or Nazi-lite type of candidate. In other words, the 2nd and final round of the french presidential election is between an unabashedly neo-liberal ex-banker who does not care about most french people and one who hates non-white people in France. Quite a choice, I must say.

But before I get into my initial thoughts on this particular leak, let me quickly tell you a bit about how the french electorate ended up with these two delightful creatures on their presidential ballot. It comes down to the ongoing collapse of center-right and center-left parties in France.. and much of the “west”. You might have seen something very similar happen during the Brexit referendum in UK and 2016 presidential elections in USA. The thing is.. since the end of WW2 (but especially since the early 1980s) most western countries have been governed by a rotation of political parties that were either center-right or center-left. This arrangement was functional till the global financial crisis which started in 2008.

This game of musical chairs between center-right and center-right parties in western countries came to a rude end in the aftermath of that crisis when most voters in those countries realized that both types of parties were almost identical entities run to facilitate neoliberalism. It certainly did not help that, in the aftermath of 2008, these parties supported and implemented unpopular and counterproductive policies such as austerity for the masses, increased privatization and other measures which enrich the rich at the expense of everybody else. To put it another way- it became obvious that these so-called ‘mainstream’ political parties were basically shell entities meant to provide the illusion of legitimate governance in those countries.

Consequently, there has been a surge of public interest in, and support for, ‘non-mainstream’ political parties and candidates. We saw it in UK when the “yes” campaign vote the Brexit vote, we saw it in the incredible popularity of Bernie Sander’s bid for democratic ticket for presidential elections in USA and we saw it in Trump’s surprising win over HRC in the actual election. This phenomenon is also obvious in other western countries such Italy (Five-star movement), Spain (Podemos) and Austria (Freedom Party). The rise of non-traditional political candidates in the french presidential election is therefore part of a much larger trend. It should, therefore, not surprise anyone that candidates of two main-stream parties in 1st round of french presidential election got less than a third of total votes cast.. combined.

Now coming back to the main topic at hand.

It is no secret that the french establishment, including its main-stream media, prefer Macron over Le Pen. He after all, was a loyal and high-ranking member of one of the two main-stream parties, before deciding to contest this election as an “outsider”. Marine Le Pen, on the other hand is a bit of a wild card. While she has been in politics for a couple of decades, it is far from clear that she would go along with the neoliberal agenda- especially since her public positions and support are strongly based in right-wing populism.

To make a long story short, the french establishment (and its mains-stream media) have gone to great lengths to belittle and demean her and her loyal voter-base. Consequently, french MSM is full of stories about how macron will win with a huge margin over her- like how the MSM in USA was full of stories about the inevitability of HRC defeating Trump by massive margins in 2016.

Of course.. the french establishment and MSM forgot about the existence of (or ignored) the internet- specifically its ability to let non-mainstream political candidates and their supporters bypass and subvert the MSM. They also forgot that hackers, freelance and state-sponsored, were more than capable of obtaining and releasing very embarrassing documents about certain candidates on the eve of important elections. They also forgot that trans-national social media platforms can spread information very fact and without much regard to the wishes of the elites in any given country. And then, the inevitable happened..

A few days ago, I first came across postings on multiple forums and social media platforms which said that somebody had been able to obtain emails and documents showing Macron’s involvement in some scheme to park the bulk of his money in overseas tax shelters. To be clear, there was no hint that what he did was illegal.. and as we all know laws don’t apply to the rich. The story, however, was not helpful to the electoral prospects of Marcon in the 2nd round- especially since many voters in France see him as another rich neoliberal con-artist. The story also would not help his chances with voters who had voted for candidates other than him in the 1st round.

At that time, I was not sure if it was just another rumor or a sign of things to come. Well.. as it turns out, there is a lot of material supporting the claims that macron hid (perhaps “legally”?) a considerable amount of his millions in Caribbean tax havens. The leaked documents also show Macron to be an establishment insider involved in the execution of many deeply unpopular economic policies which he had previously blamed on the incumbent president. In other words, these leaked documents provide proof that Marcon is a consummate insider liar and hypocrite- two qualities which do not auger well for winning elections in an era where most voters want leaders who are outsiders and, at least, somewhat honest.

The added wrinkle in this particular saga is that French election law, made in the age of old mass media, makes it illegal to distribute news which would affect results so close to the election. While these laws might stop the already discredited french MSM from reporting on it, it is certainly not going to stop others doing it on Twitter, Facebook and a host of other media and communication platforms. I should point out that trying to filter and censor on the internet and social media is a fool’s errand since users will just keep on spreading the news by changing the digital signatures of their wording or graphics.

So, will this leak affect the french elections on Sunday? Probably. What we don’t know is- by how much. Macron, you see, consistently had problems getting over 50% support in many recent telephone and internet based polls. Even more worrying is the fact that between 10-20% of potential voters have refused to indicate their choice for president in recent opinion polls. My best guess is that the french presidential election on Sunday might turn out be far closer than most establishment types want to believe.

What do you think? Comments?