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Posts Tagged ‘China’

Inept Western Response to COVID-19 Will Result in Public Backlash: 1

March 22, 2020 23 comments

Initially, I considered making this the next post in my previous series about how the coronavirus pandemic will cause the most damage to USA. But upon further thinking, I realized that while the USA is going to suffer the most direct and indirect damage from this pandemic, so would most other western countries- if on a smaller scale. Then it hit me.. the most important reason behind why the western countries would suffer far more damage than east-Asian counterparts has a lot to do with differences in how government is structured (and works) in those two systems. The west, especially in past four decades, have become truly capitalist in that the needs and demands of those who have capital (corporations and very rich) supersede those of everybody else. In contrast, east-Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan etc are not capitalist in the same way as western counties, because the demands and needs of society will frequently supersede those of their moneyed classes. Let me explain..

1] Initially, the provincial administration in Hubei tried to first minimize and then cover-up the impact of this outbreak, but failed. Once this became obvious, the central government in China just stepped in put and put incredible amounts of physical and monetary resources to control the outbreak. Most importantly, they did it without any concern to the cost of doing so or potential economic losses which their own moneyed class might suffer. To make a long story short, they put the welfare of majority above the needs and demands of their moneyed class. Their ability to marshal resources to get personal protective gear to affected areas, stop price gouging, maintain law and order, ensure people are fed and taken care of during the ensuing lockdown, remove affected people into quarantine, start dozens of clinical trials is very impressive. Most importantly, they let people who understood the problem (medical experts in infectious diseases) make all important decisions rather than let commercial interests and local capitalists hinder or dilute their recommendations for controlling the outbreak.

But they did not stop at just epidemiological measures to control this outbreak. Soon after the central government got involves, it ordered banks to stop collecting mortgage and loan payments and well as made sure that utilities stopped collecting bills. They made sure that people did not have to worry about pay rents or not having enough money for food and other necessities. To that end, they poured hundreds of billions (at least) into their economy to make sure that people kept getting paid even when they could not work due to being under lockdown. They went so far to make sure that food was regularly delivered to apartment buildings in areas under lock-down and that important functions such as garbage collection, food transport etc were not interrupted. My point is that the Chinese government did a lot to make sure that its own people (at least the majority) did not suffer from the consequences of not being able to work or move about freely when under lockdown because of the outbreak. To summarize, they did everything a competent government which cared for its own citizens would have done.

2] Now compare this to the shitshow currently playing out in western countries. First, they were delusional enough to believe that the outbreak would not spread to the west. This was also when their presstitutes were busy writing editorials about how China’s response was either too much, too little or otherwise “not correct”. They also spent the next two months doing almost nothing useful such as developing and distributing diagnostic tests etc. Then some of these idiots were spending time fantasizing about how this outbreak would destabilize China or Iran. Of course, China has never cared about what some idiots in declining western countries have been saying about them for decades. I remember how even two weeks ago, many credentialed losers in the field of biomedical research in west were busy writing editorials about how China’s approach to testing any drug which might have some therapeutic effect in those patients was a bad idea. We now know who was right, don’t we?

But it gets worse. When it became obvious that the virus had reached and was spreading in parts of northern Italy, governments in the EU were more concerned with potential losses suffered by their capitalist minority than the health of the majority. It does not take a genius to figure out that a sharp but brief shutdown of northern Italy along with a simultaneous massive increase in testing (perhaps with kits imported from South Korea) could have prevented much of the spread we are now seeing in Europe. While Italy, Spain and some other European countries have since implemented such socialist ideas such as freezing mortgage, utility, loan and in some cases rent payments, along with income support, it took them much longer than China to take these obvious steps. My point is that they could done this much earlier and with far better outcome, but a combination of magical racist thinking, obsession with interests of capitalist minority and general lack of competent people in their bureaucracies prevented them from making the right decisions at right time. But, at least, they are finally catching up with reality.

3] The response in USA has, thus far, been the biggest shitshow of them all. And let us be honest about something else- Trump’s contribution to this farce is minor, at best. Many features of the american system which contributed to this farcical response predate Trump, in many cases by a least a couple of decades. The current round of downsizing in public health institutions began under Obama- not unlike putting brown children in cages. Similarly, many governmental programs for developing drugs to treat emerging infectious diseases have been downsized for almost a decade now. Also, institutional sclerosis which prevents the government or companies from trying out new ideas under extreme circumstances has been a feature of biomedical research in USA for over two decades. We also cannot forget how concentrating research money into a few “prestigious” universities filled with mediocre credentialed but highly politically connected researchers has destroyed the quality of research in this country.

The response in USA to this pandemic has similarly been pathetic and comically inept. They have closed down the livelihood of over 100 million people (most of whom live paycheck to paycheck) without offering them prompt economic relief in the form of no-strings attached governmental money. They are still pretending that young people have the same risk of death from infection as boomers- something, which is going to backfire real soon. They are trying to bail out corporations without making sure that average people are bailed out first. They have offered no timeline for the return of normalcy. They have offered no hope to people in the form of of-label use of drugs which might reduce mortality in high-risk groups. Trump promoting Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine + Azithromycin to reduce viral loads and thus mortality is the probably the only good thing that has come out of the government, so far. And ya.. there is enough evidence that these drugs have some therapeutic effect- especially if given early in course of disease.

In the next part, I will write about how the poorly thought out shutdowns in combination with inadequate income and other support for most people will likely cause epically bad public reactions all over USA in the next two weeks. And yes, I am willing to bet that the legislative critters in Washington DC won’t be able to get their shit together and pass something that will stave off the beginnings of widespread social unrest in about two weeks. FYI- two weeks is about the length of time most people in USA can go without a paycheck. Did I mention that public trust in institutions (governmental or private) has never recovered since global financial crisis of 2008.

What do you think? Comments?

An Unusual Observation about Ongoing Coronavirus Outbreak in China

February 8, 2020 18 comments

As mentioned in the previous post on this topic, it is my opinion that the coronavirus outbreak in China is far more hype than reality. To be clear, I am not denying that a bit over 700 people are dead from this particular outbreak at the time of writing this post. Then again, a few thousand people die from influenza and its many complications in USA every single year- in a ‘good’ year. My point is that we should look at the actual evidence to make decisions and prognostications rather than let racism and stupidity make them. With that in mind, here is an odd feature of this current outbreak which sorta validates my initial assessment. It began with an observation about the prognosis of 2019-nCov infections outside China.

As some of you might have heard there are over a couple of hundred confirmed infections of this specific virus outside China, but only one death- thus far. So what is going on? Why is the death rate of patients outside China less than 1%? After posing this question on twitter, I got an interesting reply in the form of an attached table- based on available data from two days ago. Have a look at highlighted row- specifically the low death rate of patients in China (0.21 %) outside Wuhan and the province of Hubei. Note that this rate is rather close to that of cases outside China (0.39%). So, what is going on? Why does the fatality rate for this outbreak drop depending on your distance from Wuhan (4.11%), even in the province of Hubei (0.81%)?

Now let us consider and go through a few hypothesis which might provide an explanation for this unusual pattern. But before we do that, let me say something that is obvious but has to be stated for the benefit of delusional white racists. The numbers provided by Chinese government seem to be as accurate as those which would be provided by the american government under similar circumstances. This is bolstered by the fact that this outbreak seems to noticeably less deadly (on a percentage basis) than SARS. Let me remind you that SARS killed 43 people or almost 20% of the people who got infected in Canada and almost all nations with more than 10 cases ended up with mortality rates over 10%. On to the hypotheses..

1] Are people of Chinese ancestry more susceptible to infection by 2019-nCov and die from it? While the overwhelming majority of those infected and dead, so far, are of Chinese ancestry, the significantly lower death rates outside city of Wuhan (but still in Hubei) suggest that ethnicity and race are unlikely to be an important factor. Also, the majority of 2019-nCov cases outside China (to date) have occurred in travelers of Chinese ancestry from China. In other words, there is no real evidence that people of Chinese ancestry are somehow more susceptible to infection by 2019-nCov or die from it. They were just at the wrong place at a bad time.

2] The virus strain inside Wuhan is different, and more lethal, than the one outside that city? While its certainly possible that more than one strain of 2019-nCov is in circulation, the evidence we have so far suggests that all known isolates are extremely similar and have jumped into human hosts very recently. Having said that, it is common for RNA-based viruses such as Coronaviruses to mutate from more lethal strains into less lethal ones which spread more easily. Need I remind you that some species of coronaviruses are among the many which cause the common cold. In other words, it is possible – but there is a much more likely explanation.

3] In my opinion, the most likely explanation is as follows: there are far more milder infections in Wuhan than have been acknowledged. Imagine that only 1 in 10 or 20 patients have symptoms bad enough to seek medical attention. Now this will result in a 10-20 fold concentration of the worst cases in hospitals. If the infection has a death rate of 0.5%. and only the most ill 10% seek medical attention, the recorded mortality rate at hospitals will immediately jump from 0.5% to 5%. It is therefore likely that, over the next few weeks, we will find out that majority of infections caused by 2019-nCov are mild or asymptomatic and only a small percentage get ill enough to seek medical attention. Not sure if this soothes existing worries, creates new ones or both.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Initial Thoughts about the Recent Coronavirus Outbreak in China

January 31, 2020 12 comments

More than one commentator on my previous post wanted me to write something about the recent Coronavirus outbreak in China, especially regarding how bad it really is or might become in the near future. Since useful and concrete information about this outbreak has been overshadowed by a lot of racist mental projections in the declining west, I thought it was a good idea to write down my initial thoughts about the situation. FYI, one of my degrees is in microbiology. So let us talk about about this outbreak, starting with what we know for sure about the virus in question.

1] The Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) behind this outbreak is fairly close in its sequence to one which caused the SARS outbreak in 2003. And yes, it is closer to some known bat coronaviruses, but not others. Also, both SARS and 2019-nCoV almost certainly jumped from bats to human hosts. The odd thing, though, is that most bat species in Wuhan are currently hibernating and the initial outbreak occurred at a seafood market, suggesting that another mammalian species acted as an intermediate host between bats and humans.. perhaps a sick cat, dog etc.

2] Initial sequence analysis of virus samples from multiple patients and comparing them to each other strongly suggests that the jump from bats to humans occurred very recently, mostly likely within the past 2-3 months. Interestingly it seems to bind to the same human protein (for entry into cells) as the coronavirus which caused SARS. Given the fairly high similarity in sequence, same protein used for entry into cells and similar clinical disease produced by 2019-nCov and SARS we can make an educated guess that many other characteristic (infectivity etc) are also similar. Think of 2019-nCOV as a sibling or cousin of SARS.

3] It therefore follows that 2019-nCov is likely to be similar in its infectivity to the one which caused SARS in 2003. While some preliminary analysis by western scientists pretend that the former is more infectious than the later, everything we know about viruses tells us that they are very similar viruses which use the same protein to gain entry into human cells. I do not expect 2019-nCov to be significantly harder to control than SARS. The key word is ‘harder’ as 2019-nCov might end up infecting more people than SARS- but ease of control will be similar.

4] So far, the percentages of 2019-nCov infections ending in death is around 10%, and is similar to what we saw over the entirety of SARS outbreak. It is well known that viral strains which cause severe infections and high rates of mortality evolve into ones that cause mild infections and low rates of mortality because the former burn themselves out due to lack of new hosts. We can therefore expect the mortality and morbidity rates due to this virus to drop over the course of time due to better quarantine (corrals more aggressive strains) and treatment (lower mortality). Some of you might have noticed that the increase in number of deaths is now far slower than the number of confirmed infections- which is a good sign.

5] It is highly unlikely that 2019-nCov was developed by China as a biological weapon for the simple reason that biological weapons are, for the lack of better words, stupid and dangerous. See.. unlike nuclear weapons (which China posses), biological weapons cannot be controlled once unleashed and are likely to kill as many on your side as the other side. This is especially so, if there is no readily available vaccine or decent drugs to treat that infection. Furthermore, modern scientific techniques allow us to track back their creation to a degree that was unimaginable in even as late as the 1980s. Being greedy is not the same as being stupid.

6] Most hype about 2019-nCov has a lot to do with the increasingly rapid decline of the dying west. To make matters worse, it is now obvious that the western system of corporation-controlled capitalism is vastly inferior to the Chinese system of state-controlled and directed “capitalism”. In case you think otherwise, tell me how people similar to Trump (fraudulent right-wing populists) are increasingly getting elected in western countries. Every white idiot (and non-white idiot from subservient countries) expressing public alarm about 2019-nCov outbreak is subconsciously or consciously driven to do so because of a combination of racism and the unspoken recognition that their own system is in terminal decline with no realistic hope of recovery.

7] To be clear, I am not minimizing the potential problems this outbreak could cause. Having said that, the Chinese system is probably the most capable of actually stopping such an outbreak. As mentioned above, having a state-controlled system of governance not beholden to corporations and other short-sighted moneyed interests allows you to get things done and devote resources in ways that are impossible for corporation-controlled “democracies” such as USA, not to mention semi-functional anarchies such as India. You can be certain that Chinese government will things done, regardless of the financial cost and suppression of worthless “human rights”.

What do you think? Comments?

How and Why China Has Succeeded Where USSR Failed

June 13, 2019 11 comments

A few days, I started writing a post about why China will defeat USA in any long-term trade or ‘cold’ war. However, it quickly became obvious that many concepts in that post had not been well explained in previous ones. I then realized that an older draft post (abandoned over a year ago) contained enough elements for a prequel post. Readers should, therefore, see this post as a partial explanation for why the challenge posed by China to the terminally-ill american empire is fundamentally different from anything the later has encountered in the past, and indeed beyond what the anglo- mind is capable of imagining. As you will see in a future post, there is a reason why I chose to say that it is beyond the comprehension of “western” minds.

Let us now get back to the topic of this post, namely why China succeeded in spades at what the erstwhile USSR failed. USA, since its inception, has faced only two semi-credible threats, the first being Japan during WW2. However, as any person with a half-decent map and some basic stats about the two countries in 1940 can figure out, the manufacturing base of USA at that time was about 10 times larger than Japan. Moreover it’s land area was about 1/20th of contiguous (lower 48) USA and hence had far fewer natural resources. And ya, I am aware that Japan had occupied Korea and some parts of China- but it was never a close fight. Even Isoroku Yamamoto (of Pearl Harbor attack fame) was quite open about USA being the inevitable winner if the war lasted over one year. In other words, neither pre-WW2 nor post-WW2 Japan was ever a real threat to USA.

USSR, on the other hand, was land and resource rich (about twice the area of lower 48). While its population was a bit less than USA, especially in the immediate aftermath of WW2, it rivaled and often surpassed USA in areas ranging from high technology to the manufacturing and deployment of large numbers of diverse weapon systems. Furthermore, it was able to build its own sphere of influence in eastern Europe after WW2. So why did a country with more natural resources than USA, about the same population (in aftermath of WW2), tons of very smart scientists and military tacticians finally implode in 1991. Many Americans attribute it to all sorts of solipsistic bullshit, ranging from “socialism”, “Reagan”, “Afghanistan” to even more ludicrous ones such as “race” and “people yearning for human rights”.

In my opinion, the real reasons why USSR finally collapsed in 1991, but China just kept going and went on to become the world’s largest economy in real terms about a decade ago has to do with reasons which the vast majority of Americans are either unwilling or incapable of understanding. So let us start listing them, though not necessarily in order of importance.

1] China had both the size and population advantage. While is has about half the area of USSR, China is a bit larger than the lower 48 of USA. Moreover, unlike USSR (or Russia) it’s population has been at least 3-4 times larger than post-ww2 USA. Possessing a large enough landmass and population translates into a very respectable amount of natural resources and enough people to properly exploit those resources. With the exception of oil and a handful other minerals, China is large and populous enough to be internally self-sufficient. It also helps that most of China is neither too hot nor cold and the only limiting factor for human habitation is availability of water in its western half. But that is no different from the South-Western quadrant of USA being either a desert of semi-arid region. In other words, China is more than the equivalent of USA in Asia.

2] Issues surrounding race and culture. One of the most infrequently talked about, but important reason, why USSR seemed like a follower to the “West” and generally susceptible to its influences has to do with how most people in that country (and in Russia today) saw themselves. For a number of historical reasons, Russians have always seen themselves as white and western, perhaps a bit distinct from the “western” mainstream- but still white and western nonetheless. In my opinion, this inability to create a distinct cultural identity led to many other pathologies and bad decisions which shall be partially enumerated later in the post. Chinese, for obvious reasons, did not have that option and neither were they interested in being white (at least most of them).

3] Many of you might have noticed that post-1980 China seems to have stable and good to OK relations with a very diverse range of nation states all over the world. Contrast this to USSR, whose relations with countries in Africa and Latin America were colored with racial paternalism- though not as bad as USA. But why was that so? Well.. USSR (and Russia today) unfortunately bought into the whole white racial supremacy bullshit- which is ironic since we all know what Hitler thought of Slavic people. To be clear, I am not implying that Chinese people are not racist- just far more pragmatic and not so obsessed with race.

4] One of the other visible differences between China of erstwhile USSR concern administration. It is no secret that China, and east-asian countries in general, seem to have this bureaucracy thing figured out far better than the west. The most relevant differences between the two, in this area, concern how responsibility is delegated. More specifically, east-asian bureaucrats have far more latitude and autonomy to get things done- as long as they didn’t fuck up too badly and embarrass the central government. This translates into a far more robust, flexible and innovative system run by fairly competent people with skin in the game. There is a reason why China achieved in 20-30 years what took many other nations over a century.

5] Pragmatic and flexible ideology. Unlike USSR, China (except between late 50s-late 60s) was never obsessed with ideological purity. They just tried to solve problems facing them in the most optimal manner, given their resources and ability. That is why, for example, China was fine with people becoming rich after 1980s. They, correctly, saw the influence of capitalists on governance rather than its mere presence as the real problem. One of the reasons why things went so bad in Russia between 1991 and 2000 was that the system was run by capitalists at the expense of everybody else. China, on the other hand, focused on curtailing the political power of capitalists rather than making sure nobody got rich. We can all see who got it right.

6] China never really bought into western ideas of money, finance and “austerity”. Many of you heard about how material conditions for average citizens in USSR weren’t that good and quality of consumer goods were bad. But why was that so? Why couldn’t USSR spend enough to ensure that the quality of life for its citizens was good. Well.. it comes down to how they saw money and finance in general. Long story short, they bought in the “western” idea of money as a limited resource over which the government has little to no control. China simply decided to go down the MMT route, before it was even a thing. That is why China never seemed to be short of money to build new cities, apartment blocks, roads, airports, high-speed railways, factories, shopping malls, universities, research institutes etc. It is profoundly ironic that an allegedly communist country displays the best practical understanding of economics.

7] China understands censorship far better than USSR and the supposedly “free West”. One of the other realities of life in USSR, as told to me by former inhabitants, was that open humor and mockery of the establishment was not a good idea. Contrast this with how the Chinese system works, where polite criticism of the government (especially as far its ability to solve problems) is not especially problematic. While making off-color jokes about the government on the internet might get you temporarily banned or a visit from the authorities, very few end up in prison for being loud on social media. Also, unlike USSR, the Chinese government is not interested in regulating the private lives of its citizens beyond what is necessary to keep up external appearances. But by far the best censorship of dissent involves making sure that people have enough jobs, opportunities to make more money, reasonably good and affordable consumer goods and no persistent shortage of essentials.

And now I can write up the rest of that post about why China will prevail over USA in any long-term trade or ‘cold’ war.

What do you think? Comments?

2019 and 2020 Will be Much Bigger Shitshows than 2015 and 2016

May 30, 2019 17 comments

As regular readers know, I often make predictions on a number of topics which later turn out to be right (or pretty close) with a high rate of success. More importantly, I am able to accurately identify the underlying dynamics, trends and forces responsible for the ultimate outcomes. Now let me make another seemingly obvious prediction, but with far greater insight and details than possible for quacks.. I mean credentialed “experts”. My prediction is that 2019 and 2020 will be far larger and more problematic shitshows than 2015 and 2016. Some of you (MikeCA?) might argue that every day since the election of Trump has been a shitshow.. and that is technically sorta true. But if you think that 2017 and 2018 were shitshows, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

There are many reasons why this period of 1.5 years will be an epic meta-shitshow of the likes we haven’t witnessed in living memory. However, it is not simply the sheer number or magnitude of individual shitshows that will make this period memorable, but how one shitshow will feed into another and so on.. you know, synergy. But before we go there, let us talk about why 2015 and 2016 marked the beginning of our current era of shitshows. It all began with an orange Buffoon riding down a gaudy escalator alongside a trophy wife with a face pumped full of cosmetic Botox. Initially it seemed that his campaign for the republican presidential nomination was just another publicity stunt to obtain a larger payout from the reality show in which he was starring.

However it became obvious to me within 4-6 weeks that his outrageous and colorful persona had far more public support than effete Washington DC ‘insiders’ realized. And yes.. I never changed my opinion on that issue and turned out be right. And ya.. I also predicted he would win against Hillary in early 2016, even at times when even the most radical presstitues.. I mean journalists.. thought that HRC might somehow prevail against him on election day. I also explored the real reasons why HRC would lose to that buffoon– before the election took place. FYI- majority of my accurate predictions have been about issues and topics other than Trump. But enough about the orange buffoon. Let us now talk about Brexit- more precisely, why the ‘remain’ side lost.

MSM news outlets in that rapidly decaying country (UK) want you to believe that Brexit was due to the stupidity of poorly educated people in that country. However a simple look at the geography of that vote tells you all you need about Brexit. Long story short, post-2008 austerity measures in UK hit parts of the country that are not London pretty hard. People who live in those regions, aka most of that country, got progressively disillusioned with the shitty status quo. They expressed their discontent by voting against something which stood as a placeholder for the widely reviled status quo. You know.. just like people in the Mid-West finally got tired of Obama’s 8-year long lie about “Hope and Change” voted for Trump over the symbol of continuity aka HRC.

But both these shocks to the Establishment, their aftermath and colorful rhetoric accompanying both those changes are nothing compared to what we will witness in 2019 and 2020. While I will restrict my predictions to USA, things are also likely to get interesting in other parts of the world- maybe a bit too interesting. But before we go to the list, a word of caution. The most obvious reasons are unlikely to be the most consequential. The less glamorous reasons, further down the list, carry far more weight than the shiny but superficial ones which are obvious. So let us start by listing them in order of apparent obviousness.

1] Ever since Trump won the republican nomination in mid-2016, democratic establishment and deep state types have been trying to find enough dirt to stop his victory in the 2016 presidential election (which they failed) or impeach him. As things stand today, they have not uncovered anything more scandalous than Trump getting his disgraced lawyer to pay hush money to two women he had sex with while married to his current wife. While this revelation does provide fodder for supermarket tabloids, it is totally unsurprising and in line with Trump’s past behavior. More importantly, the Mueller investigation has not uncovered evidence of “collusion” between Trump and Russia or Putin. Nor has it shown any definitive evidence for obstruction of justice by Trump. And I know MikeCA will have something to say about my characterization of that report.

But these severe setbacks have not stopped an increasing number of democrats from demanding his impeachment, because face it.. they always knew he was “guilty” of something impeachable. Today, the patron saint of pro-impeachment brigade aka Robert Mueller came out and all but openly encouraged democrats to start the impeachment process, even though his report does not contain enough evidence to prosecute Trump for either “collusion” or obstruction of justice. And ya.. I am aware of the legalese bullshit about not being able to exonerate him- but let us get real, people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It also helps to be rich and white, but that is a topic for another post. My prediction is that democrats will initiate pre-impeachment proceedings against Trump, irrespective of potential negative effects it might have on their electoral prospects in 2020. But how does this translate into a nasty shitshow?

Well.. for a few reasons. Firstly, it is unlikely Trump will be impeached, tried and made to resign before November 3, 2020. Secondly, the pre-impeachment investigation is going to be long and highly contentious. It will also overshadow democratic primaries and possibly the presidential election to such an extent that other issues will be effectively sidelined. So be prepared for a democratic primary in which candidates offer endless paeans to bipartisanship, civility in politics, reestablishing “norms” and impeaching Trump at the expense of all the other stuff most voters in the general election actually care about. You know.. stuff like antitrust action against various monopolies and oligopolies, medicare for all, doing something about student debt etc. Think of HRCs “what will the children think” 2016 campaign on steroids. But in some ways, this will be smallest shitshow of them all.

2] Stupid old losers who constitute a majority of democratic primary voters in large states seem to be enamored by “gun control” aka banning civilian ownership of guns. Given that everyone in the packed clown car of democratic candidates is expected to appeal to them, one should expect increasingly shrill and strident anti-gun ownership rhetoric. While appealing to these losers might help one win the primary and a few coastal states in general, it is almost guaranteed to backfire in swing states- especially those with large rural and semi-urban populations. Now add in a few random mass shootings (almost inevitable?) between now and Nov 3, 2020 and you can imagine how nutty this could get. Expect the Democratic house to pass one or more atrociously written anti-gun ownership laws and a few high profile court cases.

To make matters worse, if that is possible, we have seen a recent trend by private corporate monopolies/ oligopolies based in heavily democratic states to deny services based on ideology. Here are a few recent examples.. Software Maker Salesforce Tells Gun Retailers to Stop Selling AR-15s, YouTube Alternatives for Gun Videos & Content Creators and Bank of America to Stop Financing Makers of Military-Style Guns. I, for one, don’t see how pissing off millions of well-armed and single-issue voters who live in gun-ownership friendly jurisdictions is a smart idea when your party has to win their votes in 2020. Then again, this is the same party which think that Joe Biden in 2020 would make the best general election candidate. Or maybe the Democrats don’t want to really win national elections. Who knows..

The large number of democratic candidates vying for the party nomination will make things even weirder than the republican field in 2016. We have all seen how small campaigns which use far less costly traditional advertising and advisers can prevail over larger “mainstream” operations. Between this and the proliferation of small donors, expect far more candidates to remain in the race even after the first major primaries are over. And the DNC and other party establishment are going to try hard, and ineffectually, to stop Bernie by hook or crook. Don’t be surprised if the 2020 democratic convention is held under even more acrimonious circumstances than 2016. And there will be anonymous leaks, just like last time. It is going to get real ugly by mid 2020.

3] Let us now turn to the less obvious, but far more consequential, trends which promise to make 2019 and 2020 the biggest shitshows in living memory. Long story short, we are due for at least three independent nasty blowbacks from Trump’s foreign and trade policies. Let us start by talking about Iran or more precisely how his stupid policy towards that country has the potential to backfire in a spectacularly disastrous manner. It is no secret that idiots such as Pompeo and Bolton, urged on by Zionists and Saudis, are trying to start a war. What they don’t understand, or are willing to understand, is that any war with Iran in addition being unwinnable would make the Iraq misadventure look like quaint in comparison. The outcome of such a war would include Iran finally developing nuclear weapons (perhaps with Chinese assistance), prolonged and massive oil shortages with resultant price hikes and many other bad long-term effects (on USA).

Moving on.. Kim Jon-un has repeatedly conveyed to USA that unless economic sanctions are at least partially removed by end of 2019, he will restart testing ICBMs. My guess is that DPRK will demonstrate an entirely solid-fueled ICBM in early 2020, unless Trump and the idiots running “foreign policy” in USA openly abandon the idea of DPRK giving up its nukes and ICBMS- because the later ain’t going to happen. Which means that sometime in 2020, Trump will have to decide on how to respond to new ICBM and perhaps even nuclear tests by DPRK. To make matters even more interesting, this escalation will likely occur around the same time as Iran is likely to finally leave the JCPOA and restart its uranium enrichment program at maximum capacity. But wait.. it gets even better, or worse, depending on your viewpoint.

As most of you know by now, Trump is involved in an unwinnable trade-war with China. And here is why.. China’s economy and manufacturing capacity is far larger than USA in real terms. While the american economy and system will implode without Chinese imports, the converse is not true. There is also no other country in the world that has as large, varied and sophisticated a manufacturing base as China. Did I mention that USA and rest of the “West” are economically stagnant, demand saturated and in overall decline. China is not going to compromise on Huawei, give in to demands of american corporations or basically change anything significant about how it works or does business. It is the USA and rest of “West” that will have to ultimately eat crow. And they will start hurting USA by screwing over Boeing and make life interesting for every american corporation which does significant amounts of business there or dependent on its exports.

Tensions with Russia could exacerbate further given the current political climate in USA and provide opportunity for yet another shitshow. Did I mention how conflicts between internet monopolies and right wingers could spill into the real world with potentially disastrous results for the former. To summarize, the rest of 2019 and whole of 2020 will almost certainly witness far larger and problematic shitshows than anything in living memory. Even worse, many of these shitshows could feed into each other to create meta-shitshows.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Inevitability of Iran Acquiring Nuclear Weapons Within 5 Years

May 26, 2019 5 comments

The idea that Iran will, one day soon, develop and test nuclear weapons is not new. Losers such as Netanyahoo have been telling anybody willing to listen that ‘Iran will develop nuclear weapons within six months’ for, at least, the last 15 years. But for some reason, this never came to pass. In this post, I will give you my analysis on why Iran did not build and test nuclear weapons for past 15 years, but is almost certain to do so within next 5 years. And yes.. the reasons for that change are linked to my choice of word to describe that opportunistic nutcase. It is also important that you understand that I have no horse in this race, and have pretty negative views about all parties involved in this slow-motion train wreck.

So let us start with the first and most obvious question- why hasn’t Iran already developed and tested nuclear weapons. They certainly spent a lot of resources building their nuclear program. Other countries who devoted similar resources to developing nukes such as Pakistan and DPRK managed to develop them within a decade of serious effort. Given the number of competent engineers Iran produces every single year, they certainly do not lack human capital. Iran also does not lack ingenious sources of Uranium ore. Economic and technology sanctions are totally ineffective at stopping nations from developing nuclear weapons- look at China, India, Pakistan and DPRK. We have to look elsewhere to understand why Iran hasn’t yet developed nukes.

Some of you might think that Israel’s use of Stuxnet or paying idiots to assassinate a few Iranian scientists stopped Iran from developing nukes. Here is the sad reality.. Stuxnet did not even slow down Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The idea that it was effective is something impotent computer geeks, blusterous Israelis and few western think-tanks want (you) to believe. Even worse, Stuxnet spurred Iranians to build bigger, more secure and more efficient centrifuges. Talk about a counterproductive effort. Similarly, a few highly publicized but minor bombings of Iranian nuclear scientists ended up giving their government the excuse to crack down on internal dissent- much more harshly than otherwise possible. Way to go, Bozos!

So why hasn’t Iran developed nukes yet? The simple answer is that, for a long time, the utility of such weapons to Iran was marginal- at best. Iran is a pretty big country, with a large population and army competent in many overt and covert forms of warfare. It dominates its middle-eastern neighbors to such an extent that no country within a couple of thousand kilometers, including Israel, has a prayer of winning a land war against it. Even an unstable Iran, such as existed in early 1980s, could hold its own against an Iraq supplied with almost unlimited amount of conventional weapons and money by the West and, curiously, USSR. More importantly, only Iran and Turkey are natural states in the Asian part of Middle-East. To make a long story short, Iran did not require nukes to defend against its neighbors.

While Iran dabbled in developing nukes in decades following the 1979 revolution, it went down that path only after the failed american occupation of Iraq in 2003. That is right.. Bush43 is the real reason Iran decided to seriously pursue development of nuclear weapons. Think about that for a second.. it was the actions of USA, not Israel or Saudi Arabia, which led to the current situation. To make matters even more.. interesting.. Iran did briefly stop its nuclear program in 2003 and offered Bush43 administration a rare chance at normalizing relations. Bush43’s administration, however, was full of delusional ‘muricans who thought they could get a better deal and effect regime change in Tehran. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? By 2005, Iran figured out that american occupation of Iraq was doomed to end in humiliation and restarted the program.

However, this time they decided to ramp up the scale and resources devoted to nukes. However, unlike DPRK, they were still non-committal. In my opinion, replacement of the ailing Kim Jong-il by his son, Kim Jon-un, after 2011 was the biggest reason for DPRK decision to build nukes and ICBMs at scale. And let us face it, KJU was correct in pursuing such capabilities. Iran, on the other hand, thought they could use their nuclear capability as a bargaining chip to normalize relations with the west. Some famous western idiots may claim it was economic sanctions which brought Iran to negotiating table in 2013, but who are we kidding.. an Iran with nukes that could hit anywhere within 2000 kms can block the strait of Hormuz without sending a single extra patrol boat or firing a single shot. If Iran had developed nukes by 2012, they would not have to sign that worthless agreement in 2015. So why didn’t they develop nukes?

The thing is.. one faction in the Iranian government was extra-greedy and thought it could make tons of money by using the nuclear program as a bargaining chip. And that was the case- at least in the short run. Of course, they did not anticipate a weak, greedy and stupid man such as Trump to be elected in 2016. And mark my words, Trump will be the reason why Iran finally ends up developing, testing and deploying nukes. The orange buffoon with a Zionist son-in-law and Bush43 administration rejects such as Pompeo and Bolton, thought that he could do what Bush43 also thought he could but failed miserably. By now, you might have noticed that I have not mentioned Gulf state monarchs such as MBS. Here is why.. hereditary rulers in that region are at best, comic sideshows, of little consequence to the larger strategic picture. They don’t matter.

Getting back to the change in situation with Iran since Trump was elected in late 2016.. the orange buffoon is apparently stupid enough to think that he can win multiple military and non-militarily conflicts by empty bluster and economic sanctions. Which is why he has antagonized many countries, from Russia and China to Venezuela and Cuba. As I wrote in a previous post, it won’t end well and Trump will be remembered as the guy who presided over second act of american imperial collapse. We have already seen the idiot and his old delusional advisers try and flounder repeatedly even against such supposedly easy ‘targets’ such as Venezuela. Trump’s hare-brained schemes have, however, exposed a fundamental flaw of the “western” system.

Any treaty or agreement between two or more countries is possible only if both parties believe there is a reasonable chance for things to work out in a half-reasonable manner. This is especially true when both parties are real countries and not fake ones such as those found in Central and South america or Gulf region. Since 1991, USA has consistently shown that it is unwilling to fulfill its obligations in any agreement or treaty. While they might have gotten away with such behavior prior to 2003-2005, things have changed a lot since then. USA is no longer the largest economy in world since 2008-2009, it makes little of global importance other than CPU chips and one family of airliners- and even that will be over within five years.

Did I mention the part where most of its citizens are now a paycheck or two from ruin and have to beg others to cover their “healthcare” costs. Or how its people would rather overdose or drink themselves to death or how its “heartland” is a poor and de-industrialized shiscape. My point is that USA is simply not in the same position it was in between 1991-2003. Its leadershit, however, still thinks it is 1997. The rest of the aging, shrinking and dying “west” is in similar shape, but still think the 1990s never ended. The net result of these senile western delusions is that they still think they can get away with behavior which they cannot. While this was not that obvious before Trump’s election in 2016, many of the decisions he has made since then have exposed the unwillingness of USA and its vassal states to stand behind agreements and treaties as well as a highly misplaced belief in their ability to influence events.

DPRK, under KJU, has demonstrated the inexorable impotence of the dying west. He has also shown that negotiating from a position of open and obvious strength is the only realistic way to deal with the senile west and its delusions of past grandeur. Until 2016, Iran had (for reasons largely linked to monetary gains) played by the decrepit West’s rules- which did not ultimately get them what they wanted. Now their leaders can no longer pretend it was a good deal. Regardless of whether there is any military action against Iran in near future, it is now almost inevitable that Iran will develop, test and deploy nukes within next five years. And guess what.. they will get help from China who would like to make things interesting for USA and its vassals.

In case you are wondering, China has done this twice before- directly in the case of Pakistan and by looking the other way in case of DPRK. While I keep mentioning a five year timeline, it is likely that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran might happen much sooner. Regardless, my point is that the process is now inevitable even if the ongoing tensions between that country and USA and its vassals are resolved in a peaceful manner. A return to the previous order of things is now simply not possible. One way or other, Iran is going to end up developing nukes in near future.

What do you think? Comments?

Inclusive One Party Systems Outperform Democratic Counterparts : 1

April 7, 2019 5 comments

In a previous series about post-1945 divergence in outcomes between India and China, I made the point that China is today the world’s largest industrial power while India is a stunted dwarf which cannot even project its power into small neighboring countries. This divergence has much to do with fundamental differences in the type of elites and systems of governance in those two countries. India ended up with a bunch of spineless and incompetent elites who were ashamed of being Indian and constantly sucked up to white guys in expensive suits. Chinese elites, unlike their Indian counterparts, did not hate themselves for being non-white and understood that their fortunes were intrinsically linked to those of their fellow countrymen. In other words, they cared about their own country- even if they did so for pragmatically selfish reasons.

But the much larger difference between these nations comes down to their respective systems of governance. Indian elites retained the super abusive and exploitative colonial administrative system they “inherited” at the time of independence. In contrast, their Chinese counterparts went on quite the house-cleaning spree after 1949. While you may, or may not, agree about the large number of bureaucratic eggs broken by the Chinese elites during the first 30 years after regaining independence, the end product is clearly superior to its Indian counterpart. But why is that so? Is it because the Chinese have a long history of bureaucracy, racial and cultural homogeneity or are the real reasons more straightforward- if rather unpleasant to accept.

In the rest of this post, I will show you how the superior performance of the Chinese system is intimately linked to its design, rather than quality of its employees. So let us begin by asking a few simple questions: Why is the Chinese administrative system far less dysfunctional than its Indian counterpart? Do they have smarter employees or more natural resources at their disposal? Or.. is it something else? Now let me flip that question around. Why is the Indian administrative system so incompetent, short-sighted and generally incapable of getting stuff done. While some idiots might want to assign blame to everything from race, “IQ”, lack of cultural homogeneity or other bullshit explanations- the real reasons behind the Indian system’s poor performance are rather obvious and surprisingly basic- starting with lack of accountability.

Anyone who has ever interacted with the administrative system in India at any length will be aware that there is basically no accountability for its employees. They can cause endless disasters and suffering through their incompetence and stupidity without any of it having real negative effects on their job security. At most, they will be disciplined by being transferred (for a couple of years) to some undesirable locale or position. More importantly, since advancement in the system is determined by age and colonial-era rules rather than performance, there is little incentive for them to learn from their mistakes or change for the better. But why is this still the case in 2019? Why did Indian political leaders never try to reform this shitty system since 1947?

Well.. there are many reasons why Indian political elites kept the manifestly bad administrative system which they “inherited”. As I wrote in previous posts, they never cared about the plight of their fellow countrymen because they saw themselves as brown versions of their erstwhile colonial white masters. But there is another and perhaps more important reason- India went down the path of becoming a parliamentary multi-party democracy. But what is the connection between becoming a multi-party democracy and administrative dysfunction? It comes to the number of competing power centers. In India, and almost every other democracy, the executive branch of power is in direct competition with the bureaucracy. But why is that problematic? After all, don’t “famous public intellectuals” constantly tell us that separation of powers is a good thing?

Though separation of powers might sounds good in theory, its real world performance is sketchy- at best. Some of you might counter this by pointing out regimes led by strongmen, dictators and other types of totalitarian leaders do poorly in the long term and I agree with that observation. There is however another model for totalitarianism- one based in a single political entity which allows for some diversity of people and views. While this might sound like something out of ‘1984’ by Orwell, the real world performance of many east-Asian countries suggests otherwise. China.. you see.. is not the only single-party country in east-Asia. For most of it modern history (1868-1947 and 1955 onward) Japan has been effectively a single-party system. The same is true for South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

There is, therefore, no evidence for single broad-based political party system in power for decades having any worthwhile negative influence on the social and economic well-being of average citizens of said country. In fact, the converse appears to be true- especially when you compare them to India. But didn’t India have something similar under its first prime-minister (Jawaharlal Nehru) from 1947 to 1964? Why didn’t things work out nicely under him , as they did in those other Asian countries? Well.. for two reasons. Firstly, his tenure as the undisputed prime-minister of India quickly became a personality cult and he did not groom anybody other than his daughter to take over after his death. Secondly, all those other Asian leaders used their long tenures to destroy the previous colonial administrative systems.

Nehru and his successors were only interested in maintaining power in addition to appearing deferential and respectable to the ‘whites’. They did almost nothing to upgrade or reform the administrative system, let alone break it down and remake it serve Indians. Nothing was done to eliminate all those pesky multiple competing centers of power and bureaucratic fiefdoms. Almost no new unitary institutions with real power were created by him or his successors. In other words, they retained the same system and mindset which was previously used to exploit and impoverish India during the era of British colonialism- and it shows, to this day. After his death in 1964, things went from bad to worse and the rise of regional parties, formed due to inability of his national party to deliver on promises, made a bad situation worse.. much worse.

And this how you end up an administrative system full of essentially sinecured employees with zero accountability, no motivation or appetite for any improvement or the ability to think outside the box. That is why India still uses a criminal code written about 150 years ago which often irrelevant to the contemporary world. That is also why Indian cities look like poorly laid-out and crowded hovels. That is also why India was so late and inefficient at building power plants or even using its large coal resources. That is why cities in China look and function in ways which would shame their western counterparts- while those in India, sorta function. That is also why cities, towns and villages in India have far more uncollected garbage, sewage and filth than their counterparts in Vietnam or Indonesia. This is why the public health system in India sucks.

In the next part of this (hopefully short) series, I will talk about why the problem of multiple power centers did not seem to affect western countries from mid 1800s till the 1970s. Here is a hint: the “west” was largely non-democratic during that period and colonial exploitation of other people + post-WW2 growth provided enough surplus resources to paper over deficiencies.

What do you think? Comments?