Posts Tagged ‘unrest’

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

June 12, 2020 16 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think? Comments?

Theory about Why White Protesters Discovered Police Brutality in 2020

June 10, 2020 18 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think? Comments?