Archive for the ‘Technology’ 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?

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?

Interesting Links: May 3, 2017

Here are links to three interesting posts which I came across recently. At first glance, they appear to be about three different topics. However once you read them it is obvious that they are describing various aspects of the same basic problem- namely, what happens when you let capitalism and legalism run amock. To be more precise, all of them describe the disastrous (but very predictable) consequences of celebrating the gaming of proxy measures of reality by greedy people aka credentialed “meritocrats”.

The first link is about how the “healthcare” system in USA ends up providing quite shitty and ridiculously expensive medical treatment. The second one is about “innovation” in Silly Valley is now largely about trying to DRM everything, extract even more rents and working precariously employed people to a slow death- all without providing any added value to rest of society. The third link talks about the real motivation behind establishment democrats blaming Putin for Trump’s “surprising” electoral victory. As some of you might know, one of my older posts said something very similar.

Link 1: How Economic Incentives have Created our Dysfunctional US Medical Market

In my new book “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back,” I began with a list of 10 Economic Rules that seem to govern the Dysfunctional U.S. Medical Market. Some readers reacted with disbelief: How could such seemingly callous and absurd-sounding principles form the underpinning of something as precious as our healthcare? So here, I’ve illustrated each of the 10 rules with some real-life examples from the book to show you how they do, indeed, come into play. What you’ll see is that the economic forces and incentives that motivate our health system often lead to medical practices that are not especially good for our health — or our wallets.

Link 2: The Three Hot Trends in Silicon Valley Horseshit

The purpose of these companies is to take whatever tiny sense of social responsibility businesses might still feel to give people stable jobs and destroy it, replacing whatever remains of the permanent, salaried, benefit-enjoying workforce with an army of desperate freelancers who will never go to bed feeling secure in their financial future for their entire lives. These companies are for people who think temp agencies are too coddling and well remunerative. The only service they sell is making it easier to kill minimally stable, well-compensated jobs. That’s it. They have no other function. They valorize Doers while killing workers. They siphon money from the desperate throngs back to the employers who will use them up and throw them aside like a discarded Juicero bag and, of course, to themselves and their shareholders. That’s it. That’s all they are. That’s all they do. They are the final logic of late capitalism, the engine of human creativity applied to the essential work of making life worse for regular people.

Link 3: The Anatomy of Liberal Melancholy

Liberals see no such system. Instead, they see more or less qualified individuals who either have the right ideas or not, in government or business: cultural diversity, a fervent belief in incremental rather than structural change, and a firm commitment to meritocratic success. Rather than thinking historically—and preferring to avoid the whole idea of neoliberalism—they profess an ethos. And since they cannot recognize neoliberalism as a system, they cannot acknowledge its political and economic dissolution, its steady descent into incoherence. They cannot acknowledge the loss of the historical soil of their selfhood.

Enjoy! Comments?

On the Desire of Democrats to Believe in Myth of Russian Interference

April 26, 2017 4 comments

While I would have preferred to not write about this topic, it is clear that the democratic elite and MSM are still flogging what is obviously still a very dead horse. As some of you might remember, my previous post on this topic was about how the narrative surrounding Russia hacking the 2016 election demonstrated the intellectual bankruptcy of the democratic establishment and their MSM lapdogs. At that time, I had hoped that the passage of a couple of months would lessen the desire of the democratic establishment to peddle this ridiculous narrative, especially since it was not gaining any traction among voters who were not already highly partisan democrats.

Well.. we are in late-April 2017, and the democratic establishment is still busy pushing this comical narrative, while simultaneously ignoring the many other unpopular actions taken by Trump since he assumed office on Jan 20. Consequently, the democratic establishment and party are now widely seen as an ineffectual opposition to Trump at best and an irrelevant, if entertaining, freak show at worst. It is therefore not surprising that all substantive and successful opposition to Trump’s many brain-farts have come from places other than the official opposition. For example, it was pressure from pissed-off voters rather than concerted actions by the democratic establishment which scuttled his first attempt to repeal ‘Obamacare’. Similarly, it was the judiciary rather than the democratic establishment has taken the lead in opposing Trump’s many executive orders.

Moreover, the democratic establishment has been more than eager to support Trump’s ill-advised saber-rattling against Syria, N.Korea and Iran. It is also establishment democrats who cheer the loudest when Trump breaks yet another one of his populist campaign promises. It is therefore not surprising that the democratic party brand has become less popular with voters since the election. It is also no secret that their massive and sustained loss of power at multiple levels of elected government over last 8 years has not helped the situation. You might have also noticed that the losses of 2016 and prior years have not resulted in any real change in the general direction or strategy (if they had either to begin with) of the democratic party. I should also add that the most popular politician in USA is Bernie Sanders, who still rightly calls himself an independent.

My point is the democratic establishment has more in common with a cult in terminal decline than a functional political party with a future- unless they want to be the nominal opposition in perpetuity. But what does any of this have to with the core reason behind the desire of the democratic party to continue believing in the myth of Russian interference in the 2016 election. As you will soon see.. a lot. Let us start by trying to list all the main reasons that most people give for the seeming obsession of the democratic establishment with finding some evidence, however weak and phony, to link Trump with Russia and Putin.

There are those who point out, quite correctly, that democrats obsession with finding a Russian “connection” to Trump have their roots in a modernized version of cynical red-bating such as that practiced by McCarthy in the 1950s. While that analysis is generally correct, I see it as a second order symptom of a much deeper systemic problem. Another possibility is that democrats are so desperate and short of ideas to get rid of Trump that they are literally grasping on straws and tweets of an unstable performance artist like Louise Mensch. Once again, there is a lot of truth in that view but it is at best a second order symptom rather than the root cause. Still others see the whole “Russian interference” sideshow as a way for the deep-state to control Trump, and they too have a point but not the root cause.

The root cause (in my opinion) stems from the fact that establishment democrats are still unable to understand, let alone come to terms with, the loss of HRC in the 2016 election. I am sure that, by now, some of you must have read or heard undeserved hagiographies of HRC by establishment liberals and wondered if the authors in question actually believed a single word of what they wrote or said. Here is what I think.. In most cases, all those “liberal” celebrities and intellectuals who peddled those HRC hagiographies did (and do) actually believe most of what they said or wrote. But why would that be the case? Why would supposedly smart and credentialed people be so blind to the many glaring flaws of HRC as a presidential candidate?

I think that is comes down to their professed religion aka neoliberalism. HRC was the perfect neoliberal candidate in that her public profile put a checkmark on every point in the neoliberal scoresheet. She was white, female, rich, from a well-known family, “credentialed”, had a full resume, center-right on all issues except a few social ones, fiscally conservative, hawkish on foreign policy, in favor of stealth privatizing everything, capable of endless empty platitudes. In other words, HRC was a neoliberal wet dream- even more so than Obama. Furthermore, she hired mostly ivy-league people for her campaign team, invested in big data and every other fashionable bullshit scam and presented a very “polished” and “professional” public image.

And yet she lost to a reality TV host with a bad comb who had the hots for his own daughter and a style of speaking that made more in common with pro-wrestling than “serious” politics. Her loss to Trump, you see, is totally baffling to all those who believe in the religion of neoliberalism. They are simply incapable of mentally processing the idea that there might be people who do not want to vote for this living breathing epitome of american neoliberalism. It is as if the greatest saint of their religion was defeated by an underling of the Devil before their very eyes. They are therefore doing what most people whose belief system has been thrashed and defeated do.. find a scapegoat and then blame it on the devil.

As far as establishment democrats are concerned, Bernie Sanders is the scapegoat and Putin is the Devil. Thinking in this manner is far easier than admitting that their belief system was defective and prone to failure. You might recall that in the middle-ages, Christians in Europe blamed Jews and the Devil for massive plague epidemics. Oddly enough, they were never able to come up with a convincing rational explanation for why either of the two alleged culprits might be the cause of their misfortunes. I guess it was just easier for them to think like that than consider alternate possibilities which would question their existent belief systems.

What do you think? Comments?

Why was USA Unable to Win Korean War in the 1950s: Apr 22, 2017

April 22, 2017 11 comments

Events in the previous few weeks have shown, with unusual clarity, that the conflict between N.Korea and USA which started in 1950 is still ongoing. While it is true that there has been no large-scale fighting between the N.Korea and USA (or its proxy S. Korea) since an armistice was signed in 1954, it is fair to say that things have never gone to back to normal in that part of the world. Between the annual military exercises by S. Korea and USA and counter mobilizations by N. Korea, the situation in that part of the world is still potentially volatile, and has been so for a long time. It certainly does not help that leaders of all countries involved have a habit of speaking past each other.

While it is highly unlikely that either N. Korea or S. Korea will ever resume that war on their own accord, persistent meddling by USA in that part of the world (as in many others) make it far more likely than otherwise. As many of you also know, such an event would be disastrous for both N. Korea, S. Korea and potentially Japan- basically all involved countries within the range of older and well-tested N. Korean nuclear tipped missiles. Even the USA would not be able to come out well, since any use of nukes by USA would ensure that every country capable of building nuclear weapons would do so immediately. To put it another way, such a war would be an epic disaster on multiple levels and for all parties involved.

But have you ever asked yourself- how did things in that part of the world get so crazy in the first place? Why did the Korean war start and why did countries such as USA, China, Russia and many others get involved in it? But perhaps most importantly.. why was USA unable to win the Korean war just a few years after it was able to win WW2 against Japan and to a lesser extent against Germany?

To better understand the many reasons USA was unable to win the Korean war in the 1950s, it is necessary to first appreciate that the Korean war was the beginning of the end for white-majority countries being able to dominate the rest of the world via military force. It is no exaggeration to say the “west” has never since been able to win against a determined and mobilized non-white adversary since that time. But why not? Was it because the “west” became softer and more humane.. or any other bullshit reasons peddled by CONservatives and other assorted jingoistic idiots in USA?

Let us look at facts about the Korean war as they have been acknowledged by official sources in USA. It is known, for example that USA dropped more tons of bombs on N. Korea during early stages of Korean war than they did on Japan during the entirety of WW2. It is also a fact that USA bombed and destroyed every building in almost every single N. Korean city. It is also a fact that bombing by USA killed somewhere between a third and fifth of the N. Korean population. Here is an article with a slightly longer explanation of what USA did in the Korean war.

In other words, the inability of USA to win the Korean war was not due to it being ‘soft’ or ‘humane’. In fact, USA did something lost the Vietnam war in spite of doing something similar in Vietnam and Cambodia during the war. Another more recent example of this phenomenon is the USA losing the Iraq war even after directly and indirectly killing over a million Iraqis between 1991 and today.

So, why was the USA unable to win the Korean war? There was certainly no shortage of bombs, aircraft, tanks, soldiers, guns or even large staging areas and bases close to the theater of conflict. Yet, for reasons I shall get into soon, the best they could achieve was an armistice where the new boundary between the two Koreas was almost identical to the pre-war one. Why didn’t bombing N.Korea heavily in the first few months of war and killing people at higher percentages than in Germany and Japan during WW2 translate into a decisive military victory? Why did the military strategy behind american success in WW2 fail so quickly after that war was over? And why has it subsequently failed and in every war since then?

Well.. here are the reasons, in no particular order, behind the inability of USA and other western countries to win a war against non-white countries since the end of WW2. Regular readers of my blog might realize that some of my older posts have briefly touched on a couple of them.

1] Wars in which the local population of a country or region have a personal stake are very different from wars pursued by elites in those countries. For example, Saddam Hussein’s habit of promoting his own ethnic group in Iraq and getting into unwinnable wars with huge human costs had greatly diminished his popularity among most Iraqis a few years before 1991. That is why the Iraqi armed forces gave up fighting and mass-deserted so readily in 1991 and 2003. Contrast this to the unremitting armed resistance by Iraqis (especially Sunni Arabs) to american occupation from 2003 onward which were only temporarily suppressed between 2007-2009 by bribing Iraqis on a massive scale to not kill american soldiers.

My point is that, the Korean war was largely seen by the local population (especially in N.Korea) as an attempt to reintegrate the country and expel foreigners who had humiliated and almost enslaved them for a couple of generations. In case you do not know what I am talking about.. read a bit about all the wonderful stuff that went on in Korea under Japanese rule between 1910 and 1945. Koreans had, and have, every right to be angry about their treatment under Japanese colonization. Perhaps more importantly, the post-1945 occupation by USA of southern regions of Korea and their multiple attempts to install puppet governments within a short period while making no attempt to help rebuild the country made them look just like the previous Japanese colonizers of that country.

It is therefore no surprise that Kim Il-Sung and his followers had far less trouble convincing his own people to fight foreign occupiers of their country than getting China and Russia to provide military and other assistance for doing so. In many ways, this situation is very similar to what occurred in Vietnam a decade or two later. While we can certainly argue about whether the elder Kim was a “good guy” or “bad guy” it is clear that he had extensive popular support within the northern half of Korea in the early 1950s. In other words, the Korean war was about USA fighting an entire people rather than a system of governance- like they had in Germany and Japan.

2] The american strategy of leveling N. Korean cities by massive aerial bombing was ineffective and supremely counterproductive. As mentioned previously in this post, the USAF was involved in bombing N. Korean cities on a massive scale in the first few months of the war. However, unlike in Germany and Japan during WW2, massive and indiscriminate bombing of cities was not effective in disrupting the N. Korean war effort- largely because all their supplies and weapons were coming in from adjacent countries such as China and Russia. These mass bombing raids did, however, make many more N. Koreans willing to fight to the bitter end. To put it another way, mass bombing of cities and heavy casualties made it impossible for N. Korea and USA to reach a negotiated end to that war.

You might recall that the USA did something similar in Vietnam and Cambodia a decade or so after the Korean war and the end results were rather similar. In other words, aerial bombardment by conventional weapons is incapable of winning wars against adversaries who are not centralized and have the ability to keep on importing weapons and other supplies. Aerial bombardment, if anything, creates more popular support for the cause for which they are being bombarded. This is borne out by the continued inability of USA to win against the Taliban in Afghanistan, various tribal groups in Yemen, Iraq.. the list goes on and on. Bombing non-white people in faraway places does however create millions of jobs in USA and massively enrich a very small number of people. But that is a topic for another post.

3] Thirdly, the level of weapon technology of countries and groups fighting USA is within the same bracket. Colonial wars in 18th and 19th century typically saw Africans with spears mass charging white men with rifles and machine guns or Asians with far inferior gunpowder weapons and tactics fighting against people with better technology and organisation. Somewhere between WW1 and WW2, this started changing as “western” weapon technology and tactics diffused through the rest of the world. Consequently, white soldiers of a western power now face non-whites who posses weapons in the same technology bracket and tactics to match them. Furthermore, their non-white opponents have a much better understanding of their environment and motivation to keep on fighting.

The overall point I am trying to make in this post is a number of large-scale and systemic changes have made it impossible for USA, or any other western country, to win a military confrontation that is not on their own soil. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the population of western countries, especially the USA, still harbor the delusional belief that they can win military victories in other countries. More regrettably, if predictably, the military-industrial complex in countries such as USA keep on fueling the popular delusional idea that their extra shiny toys can win wars against people with more of the less shinier toys. I just don’t see it ending well for USA as a country or other governments stupid enough to support them.

What do you think? Comments?