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Posts Tagged ‘USA’

On the Jingoistic Delusions of Arstechnica Fanboys about SpaceX: 1

July 11, 2018 5 comments

As regular readers know, my longer posts are usually about large-scale trends, systemic issues and other ‘meta’ phenomena. This one is about something far more specific and kinda obscure. However, as you will see, it does eventually connect with a few meta- trends. So what is it about, anyway? Well.. I am going to cast the harsh light of reality onto absurd and delusional fanboy-ism displayed by “journalists” at technology oriented websites (especially ArsTechnica) towards SpaceX and Elon Musk.

In case you require a quick refresher, here are a couple of links to my previous posts on SpaceX (link 1, link 2). Also, as many of you know, my cynicism about Elon Musk is largely due to the outrageous claims mabe by him about future of his enterprises as well as his P.T. Barnum-esque PR efforts. As I have said before, the dreams of endless profits, market monopolization and “disruption” which he is selling to rubes are also darkly funny. But enough about him, let us talk about his fanboys (paid or otherwise) in american “journalism”.

To understand what I am talking about, have a look at some of the fanboy-type articles posted on ArsTechnica about SpaceX. While I am no stranger to the concept of “journalists” promoting and pimping whatever product or ideology their corporate masters require of them, the sheer amount and degree of magical thinking, fake positivity and informercial-level promotion of SpaceX by alleged “journalists” working at ArsTechnica is reminiscent of supermarket tabloids (the ones only old people seem to read nowadays).

Some of this “journalistic” booster-ism is extreme enough to become unintentional parody (example 1, example 2). The articles which pissed me off, and were the reason for writing this post, concern their willingness to lie about the space programs of other countries- often displaying no understanding of the geo-political and historical considerations underlying the funding of national space programs. While ArsTechnica “journalists” (metaphorically) sucking Elon Musk’s dick might be “normal”, lying and making up bullshit to massage the delusions of its more jingoistic readers is a bit too much.

A few recent articles such as ones about the “inevitable collapse” of the Russian space program and its future prospects are particularly illustrative of what passes for “journalism at ArsTechnica. Let us first talk about their “journalistic” posts about the Proton launcher- which for many years was a cheap, if inherently problematic, commercial launcher. For example- if you read this piece of propagandist bullshit without knowing enough of the background, you might be led to believe that there was something newly wrong with the Proton launcher system. Unfortunately for the presstitutes at ArsTechnica, the reality is quite different. On a side note, feel free to browse some of their other recycled jingoistic posts which pass for “journalism” at ArsTechnica.

The Proton launcher family was always the red-headed stepchild of Russian space program. To make a long story short- the fact that it used hypergolic fuels and was promoted by Vladimir Chelomei, made it particular unpopular with Sergei Korolev and his faithful proteges. In fact, it would never have been developed if Korolev had not died in 1968. Well.. he died unexpectedly and Chelomei ensured that it got developed. And yes, it had tons of teething problems and failures in its early years. Eventually they were able to make it work reliably. But there is more..

The two main reasons USSR did not develop a RP-1/LOX equivalent of the Proton was because the later was cheap to manufacture and quite reliable after 1972. So there was no point in spending more money to develop, test and validate yet another new launcher system which was not significantly better or cheaper than the Proton. It also helped that the launch sites used by the Proton were situated in regions where an occasional catastrophic failure was not a big deal. Why fix something that is not broken?

Anyway.. after the dissolution of USSR and commercialization of space launch facilities by Russia, it became a fairly popular launcher because it was reliable enough and cheaper than equivalent Ariane launchers. FYI- Commercial launches by Boeing and others in USA had been almost dead since mid-1980s because of their exorbitant prices. So Russia just kept on cranking out more launchers inspite of many looming problems, especially Kazakhstan’s increasing reluctance to let them keep using the Baikonur launch site.

To make matters worse, they made the decision to transition from Proton to Angara launchers without first properly developing and validating the later system. To make a long story short, poor management (and graft) by those in charge of the Angara program in combination with mismanagement (and graft) of those in charge of the now deprecated Proton program predictably caused issues with reliability and costs of the later. Furthermore, Chinese rockets were already competing with the Proton for low-end of the launch market. The entry of SpaceX in the launch market merely sped up the process.

To quickly summarize this part, the Proton launcher family is Russia’s equivalent of the Titan III rocket family. In other words, good and important enough to last far beyond when it was meant to be replaced, but always fundamentally problematic. To claim that issues relating to half-hearted attempts at winding down its production and replacing it with Angara are somehow different from similar delays and screw-ups experienced by USA while transitioning from Delta-2 and Titan III to Delta-4 and Atlas-5 is intellectually dishonest.

And this brings me to another bullshit story being peddled by the presstitues at Arstechnica. As I briefly mentioned earlier, they are trying to push the claim that Russia somehow lacks the money and will to keep funding its space program. I see this one as an index example of how many jingoistic americans are incapable of thinking in addition to being severely deficient in their knowledge of history. The development and funding of pace launch systems, you see, have always been primarily about strategic prerogatives- not “free market” bullshit.

The development of space launchers by USSR (now Russia), USA, EU, China and India is largely driven by considerations such as maintaining and developing technological capabilities, employing their own people, developing related industrial sectors and nationalistic pride. I cannot think of any space program which has consistently turned a “profit”. And for good reason.. capability in projects and programs related to national security and strategic capability is far more valuable that any arbitrary monetary value.

To put it another way, no large country with any degree of strategic independence is going to shut down its space program and outsource it to SpaceX. And they all have far deeper pockets and infinitely more staying power that SpaceX. It is also worth mentioning that almost everything developed by Russian space program in the past has been about strategic considerations and national pride. I should also mention that in the 1990s, many “respectable” western news outlets were full of endless stories about how Russia would lose ability to make nuclear weapons, ICBMs, nuclear submarines, would be invaded from east by China etc.

So what happened since then in the real world? Well.. it turns out that it was USA which got involved in and lost wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria. It was USA that got de-industrialized through “free trade agreements” and now has serious problems fielding reliable next-generation military aircraft and aircraft carriers. It is people in USA who keep on getting screwed over by rapidly rising costs in the education, health and housing sector. It is USA that is now experiencing record low fertility rates in native-born women and a rapidly increasing number of deaths from drug overdoses, alcoholism and deferred medical care. It is cops in USA who now behave like their power-crazed versions in other countries were supposed to behave.

To put it another way, it is the USA (not the rest of the world) which is now in terminal decline. And this brings us to the issue of who is the real audience for this laughable propaganda and fanboy-ism from american technology “journalism”. Spoiler: It is meant for an American (and perhaps British) audience, who might be delusional and desperate enough to believe that ‘their team is still winning’. The thing is.. most people in countries which matter haven’t believed in anything coming from western (mostly american) “news” outlets for over a couple of decades- at the very least.

In the next post of this short series, I will focus on how “journalists” at ArsTechnica and other american “news” outlets write about other countries.

What do you think? Comments?

Initial Thoughts on Novichok Agents, Sergei Skripal, Russia and UK: 2

April 6, 2018 2 comments

About two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter by an organophosphate compound– allegedly by “russian agents” in UK. At that time, corporate MSM outlets in the west were busy concocting increasingly outrageous stories about that incident. As it turns out, pretty much every single story promoted by the MSM about that incident turned out to be unsubstantiated by evidence. For example: initial reports of twenty other people being accidentally exposed to that compound proved to be incorrect. The only other person allegedly exposed to that compound has since recovered and we still are not sure about how he got exposed to it in the first place.

More tellingly, none of the first responders and medical personnel got ill from handling Skripal and his daughter. Initially, British authorities had claimed that the poison was found in the car ventilation system, then they claimed it was on the door handle and now they are considering the possibility that it was in a gift brought over by his daughter from Russia. They also initially said that Skripal and his daughters had little to no chance of recovery and we now learn that his daughter is recovering and will leave the hospital soon. Today, we are told that Skripal will also make a ‘miraculous’ recovery.

In other words, the “official” narrative put forth by the British government about that incident has been unusually vague, ever-changing and too dependent on having uncritical belief in their honesty. Some of you might recall how similar and totally made up claims by British “intelligence” services at the core of’Iraq Dossier‘ were used by Tony Blair’s government to justify support for the failed american invasion of Iraq in 2003. There is also a strong parallel between this incident and the attempt by German intelligence agencies in 1994 (with approval by USA) to implicate the then Russian government in a fake plot to smuggle plutonium into the west.

To make matters even more peculiar, the British government still has not been able to provide evidence that it knows the identity or structure of the compound involved in that incident. As I wrote in my previous post, indirect identification of organophosphate compounds by their ability to inhibit cholinesterases and other related esterases is pretty straightforward. Definitive identification of the compound, though easy nowadays compared to 30 years ago, is substantially more complicated. Having said that, the apparent inability of multiple government labs in nearby British biological and chemical warfare laboratories at Porton Down to provide objective data to support their claims of identifying the compound is odd.

Based on the many peculiarities and oddities of this case in addition to the past history of those making the accusations, it is worthwhile considering another possibility. Maybe the British government, or some faction within its “deep state”, is behind the poison attack on Skripal and his daughter. False flag attacks to generate public sympathy for, or unity behind, a cause are not unknown. Similarly, there is a rich history in the “west” of using false flag attacks to demonize another country. It is also hard to ignore that the “deep state” in UK and USA is the biggest beneficiary of such an attack. Let me explain that point in some detail..

Skripal was an ex-Russian spy who betrayed his fellow officers in the KGB for purely financial reasons. You probably know that he was caught and tried in 2004 and imprisoned for a few years (2004-2010) in Russia before being part of a spy swap deal with UK and USA in 2010. If the government in Russia really wanted him dead, he would not have lived long enough to be part of the spy swap deal in 2010. Then there is the question of why this incident occurred days before the presidential election in Russia. Think about it.. how does such an incident benefit Putin in his reelection campaign? The simple fact is that it does not help him.

Such an incident does however provide the “deep state” in UK and USA with more ammo in their ineffectual campaign to demonize Putin. It is no secret that the USA and its old crippled prison-bitch aka UK are not adjusting well to the emerging world order- an order in which they stand to further lose whatever real or imagined global influence they possessed. It is no secret that the many recent global military misadventures by USA (and UK) such as the failed invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan have been humiliating and expensive failures. Their attempts to extend NATO right upto Russian borders and generally behave as if the world is still stuck in 2000 have not gone as planned.

The pathetic attempts by USA, UK and France (waning western powers) to interfere in other parts of the world such as Syria and part of Africa has been unsuccessful. Furthermore, their dream of turning Russia into some vassal state ruled by west-friendly oligarchs has been a miserable failure. It does not help that the financial crash of 2008 has exposed the many failures of western neoliberalism to their own domestic populations. It is no wonder, therefore, that average people in the west have in the recent past voted for concepts such as Brexit and people such as Trump and other fake right-wing populists. To make a long story short, the traditional elite in the west (especially the USA and UK) are feeling their power slip away irreversibly.

It is therefore not surprising that these mediocrities are trying to reboot the Cold War. The general thought process behind their actions is as follows.. The cold war was good for establishment elites as it allowed them to consolidate their power in western countries and suppress dissent and challenges to their undeserved power. Perhaps, rebooting the Cold War (they think) would let them use the same playbook and turn back the metaphorical clock. Of course, any objective person can see that this hare-brained scheme is going in failure since the underlying conditions across the world have changed a lot since the late 1980s.

Then again, establishment elite have never been the sharpest tools in the shed (link 1, link 2). I mean.. look at how they are reacting to Trump’s election in USA. Not a minute goes by when these idiots are not breathlessly talking about another leak from the “Mueller team”, another “new” link between Putin and Trump or some other similar absurdity. In fact, I have written more than one post about this in the past, including how this obsession is a symptom of a much deeper intellectual bankruptcy among establishment elites in USA.

All of this in addition to the “deep state” fondness for hare-brained schemes which look amazingly impressive on paper strongly suggest that the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in UK was a false flag operation, which did not work out as originally planned.

What do you think? Comments?

Recap of Previous Posts on Futility of Attempts at “Gun Control” in USA

March 25, 2018 1 comment

As more regular readers of this blog know, I have written more than a few posts on why attempts to implement “gun control” in USA are doomed to failure in addition to being worse than useless. While I often link to 2-3 older posts in each newer one on that topic, I thought it was a good idea to create a more comprehensive link list for the major ones. Also, it is Sunday and I am trying to finish up another post on a related issue.

Mass Shootings Occur in USA Because It is a Third-World Country (from February 2018)

First world countries are defined by the quality of life enjoyed by their median resident, as are third world countries. For example- Japan, South Korea, France, Germany etc are seen as first world countries because of the high quality of life for their median residents. Living in such countries is characterized by things such as excellent universal healthcare, fairly stable and well-paying jobs for the majority of its residents, reasonably good formal and informal social safety nets and an overall lack of extremely poor and desperate people. In other words, life for the median resident in these countries is very good and even the less fortunate are doing better than treading water.

Now contrast this to the overall quality of life in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India and yes.. USA. While these countries have no shortage of billionaires and lesser rich people with fabulous lifestyles- things are pretty shitty for their median residents. Most people in these countries have precarious jobs and livelihoods which often do not pay enough for the ever-increasing costs of sub-standard housing, healthcare and education. The government in these countries work solely for the benefit of the rich minority and does not provide adequate social goods such as healthcare, education, housing, sanitation or a usable social safety net.

On the Democratic Party’s Unfortunate Obsession with Gun Control (from August 2017)

And that is why the credentialed professional class, which is the 2nd most important constituency for democrats as well as the source of most of their party establishment cadre want to disarm “less deserving” poorer people. Parasites, you see, prefer hosts who are unable to stop the party. Credentialed professionals perceive the widespread ownership of guns as a threat to their cushy livelihoods which depend on theft and extortion via laws and regulations. However, unlike corporations, they are not powerful or singularly important enough to get special protection by the state.

Attempting to ban widespread ownership of guns, then, appears to be the second best option. And that is why the democratic establishment keeps on pursuing a policy that has brought it repeated electoral failure in parts of the country that are not New York or California. On a side note, I do not think that their obsession with gun control is going to change even if they perform poorly in the 2018 and 2020 elections. As long as they can still win a few coastal states, they will keep shooting themselves in the foot.

On the Futility of Attempts at Gun Control in the USA (from July 2015)

And this brings us to the second issue- namely, that a significant minority of people do not perceive the current government system as being legitimate. But why does that matter? Don’t people in other developed countries have similar views about their governments? Well.. it does matter, because people in other developed countries do perceive their governments to be significantly more legitimate than people in the USA see their own. But why? What makes people in Japan, Germany or even the U.K feel that their government is legitimate? The simple answer is that the perceived legitimacy of a government is directly proportional to the consistency and effectiveness of its efforts to maintain the quality of life for the median citizen.

It is therefore no surprise that gun control measures seem to work in countries where the government directly or indirectly intervenes in favor of the median citizen. I should also point out countries with such government systems always had very low rates of deaths by individual acts of violence- especially in the post-WW2 era. In contrast to that, countries in which governments routinely and overtly abuse the majority to benefit the rich minority always had rather high rates of non-state sanctioned homicides. That is why certain countries such as Mexico, Brazil and South Africa have rather high rates of non-state sanctioned homicides despite highly restrictive gun ownership laws. My point is that the USA has always been more like Mexico, Brazil and South Africa than Japan, Germany or the U.K.

LIEbrals push for more gun control laws because they do not want to acknowledge that the USA has always been an affluent third-world country and that they have greatly benefited from this situation.

Non-Gun Mass Killings Will Become the Next New Trend (from August 2012)

It seems that we can hardly go a week without some quiet, lonely and otherwise law-abiding guy shooting up a few people. Such mass shootings have created an outcry among morons who think that guns kill people. There is however considerable evidence that killing lots of people without guns is actually quite easy, if the persons doing it is so determined. Moreover there are excellent contemporary examples, such as the ongoing drug wars in Mexico, that show the inefficacy of legal gun control in preventing people from acquiring guns.

Now I don’t know whether these weekly mass-shootings will become more frequent (likely) or deadlier (somewhat less likely), but that discussion is best saved for another post. But there is another and far more interesting trend that I predict will emerge regardless of whether lawmakers try to pass more restrictive laws about gun ownership. I have partially tackled this issue in a previous post. People who are unhappy with the system, and see no viable future, will increasingly kill others through means that are not gun or explosive linked.

Why (New) Gun Laws Won’t Prevent Mass Killings (also, from August 2012)

Attempts to control the legal ownership of guns are superficial “do something” acts which so not address the underlying causes of the malady. The reality is that there is really no way a failing society can stop such acts. Do you really think that people who have nothing to lose will follow laws and regulations? Do you think they won’t get firearms through extra-legal channels? Do you think a failing government can control the system? Do you think James Holmes would have done less damage with a couple dozen Molotov cocktails and a few matches in a crowded theater? Are you going to regulate gasoline usage next? The only way to effectively reduce the incidence of mass killings is through the creation of a socio-economic system which treats people with a basic level of human dignity.

But I don’t think that will happen. The whole modus operandi of the USA as a society has been to abuse, steal and murder others to get rich and impoverish those who survive. For a long time, they mostly did it to outsiders and minorities, but they eventually ran out of them as far as profit is concerned. That is when they turned to (and on) each other. While it looked fairly harmless in the beginning (early 1980s), things have got worse with each passing year. The reality is human beings, especially the so-called clever ones, are too short-sighted to appreciate the effects of their own actions.

What do you think? Comments?

Mass Shootings Occur in USA Because It is a Third-World Country

February 22, 2018 15 comments

Regular readers of my blog would be aware that I have written numerous posts on the causes of mass shootings in USA (link 1, link 2, link 3) as well as the futility of gun control (link 4, link 5) in this country. While I encourage you to read the above linked posts, as well as others on related topics, we often keep coming back to the same question- Why are mass shootings and incidents of gun-related violence common in USA but almost unheard of in other first-world countries? Why is the USA so.. exceptional?

Well.. the headline of this post does provide a very brief answer to that question. Moreover, I am not the first to make the connection between socio-economic conditions in this country and mass shootings. Over a decade ago, Mark Ames wrote a reasonably well-known book on that topic. To make a long story short, he makes the case that social atomization and alienation combined with extreme capitalism, an inadequate social safety net and a system which takes pride in crapping on its arbitrarily chosen “losers” are the perfect conditions for creating spree killers with nothing to lose.

One of my older posts on this topic (link 6) put forth the idea that post-1980 USA is far closer to being a third-world banana republic that most supposedly “serious people” are willing to acknowledge. In the remainder of this post, I will develop that idea further and show you how USA is a third-world country, in all but name, for its median citizens. But before we go there, let us briefly talk about what I mean by terms like ‘first-world country’ and ‘third-world country’. While some believe that those labels correlate with skin pigmentation of people who reside in those countries, the reality is rather different.

First world countries are defined by the quality of life enjoyed by their median resident, as are third world countries. For example- Japan, South Korea, France, Germany etc are seen as first world countries because of the high quality of life for their median residents. Living in such countries is characterized by things such as excellent universal healthcare, fairly stable and well-paying jobs for the majority of its residents, reasonably good formal and informal social safety nets and an overall lack of extremely poor and desperate people. In other words, life for the median resident in these countries is very good and even the less fortunate are doing better than treading water.

Now contrast this to the overall quality of life in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India and yes.. USA. While these countries have no shortage of billionaires and lesser rich people with fabulous lifestyles- things are pretty shitty for their median residents. Most people in these countries have precarious jobs and livelihoods which often do not pay enough for the ever-increasing costs of sub-standard housing, healthcare and education. The government in these countries work solely for the benefit of the rich minority and does not provide adequate social goods such as healthcare, education, housing, sanitation or a usable social safety net.

Then there is the issue of state-sponsored or abetted repression and murder of its residents. First world countries tend to have very low rates of incarceration, favor restorative justice over revenge-based version and are not full of militarized police who go about robbing, raping and shooting the people they are supposed to protect. In contrast to that, third-world countries often have high rates of incarceration (for non-rich people), a justice system that is basically useless to average people and cops who act as if they are the law. Channeling money and power from everyone else to a few rich people is the main function of legal systems in third-world countries.

But what does any of this have to with the unusually high frequency of mass shootings in USA? And how is it connected to the certain failure of attempts at gun control in USA.

Let us compare rates of homicide by guns in USA versus other countries. If you follow this link, and go to the column titled ‘Homicides’ you will see that most first-world countries have very low rates (below 1 per 100,000 persons/ year) of such incidents compared to USA (almost 4 per 100,000/ year). Some of you might see this as an argument for gun control. But wait.. have a look at the rates of homicide by guns for Mexico (6-7 per 100,000/ year) and Brazil (20 per 100,000/ year). I should remind you that both of these countries have far stricter regulations for gun ownership than USA, and yet.. both have very high of rates of gun-related homicides. But why?

Why do tough gun control laws in first-world countries seem to correlate with low rates of gun-related homicides but have basically no effect on that rate in third-world countries? Also where do people in those countries get their guns from? The answer to the first question is linked to understanding why anybody would kill someone else, in the first place. The vast majority of people with stable, comfortable and secure lives have too much invested in maintaining the status quo to go around killing other people. People living precarious lives with little to no hope for a better future, on the other hand, have nothing to lose by breaking the rules.

Now apply that concept to attempts at gun control in USA. Do you really think that passing inane laws restricting scary-looking guns is going to change the overall downward trajectory for the average person in USA? Is it going to provide them with freedom from worrying about medical bills, housing costs, student loans etc? Is it going to provide them with stable, well-paying jobs or livelihoods? Is it going to change how american social system treats its non-rich members? To summarize, creating socio-economic conditions similar to third-world countries will always results in replication of other less savory statistics from those countries.

And by the way, most privately owned guns found in those countries were either “lost” from government arsenals or procured from some place half-way around the world. Are you so sure that something along those lines would not occur in USA in the aftermath of attempts at gun control?

What do you think? Comments?

On the Rise of NeoLiberalism in West During the 1968-2008 Era: Part 2

February 15, 2018 14 comments

A few months ago, in the first part of this series, I wrote about a confluence of factors responsible for very high rates of support for neoliberal ideas and policies among whites in USA during the 1968-2008 era. To make a long story short, white support for neoliberalism (in USA) was largely due to a combination of post-WW2 prosperity, desire for continuing racial discrimination as well as a delusion that people in the ‘rest of the world’ could never catch up with them. As we all know, things did not turn out as expected towards the end of that era- and it has been clearly downhill for them since the early 2000s.

Neoliberalism, did however, spread past the boundaries of USA into other countries- especially those in western Europe. However, most popular accounts of neoliberalism tend to ignore, or give very little attention to, its spread in European countries (other than in UK). But why? Well.. there are some reasons. Firstly, the spread of neoliberalism into the institutions and popular psyche of those countries was never as thorough as in USA. Even today, people in those countries enjoy universal healthcare coverage, a largely functional social safety net, affordable higher education and many other things which CONservative idiots in USA believe to be ‘pipe-dreams’.

So why did neoliberalism spread, albeit in a limited manner, in western Europe? But perhaps more importantly, why was it never able to gain the sort of popular following it achieved in USA (except, maybe in UK)? Why were politicians, elites and capitalists in those countries never able to successfully push for neoliberal changes of the magnitude seen in USA? Why did neoliberalism fail to change the belief systems of a majority in those countries, unlike the USA? How could corporations in those countries remain relevant and profitable without jumping on the Anglo-American neoliberal project? What, exactly, was different over there?

1] The first reason for the relative inability of neoliberalism to spread in Western Europe comes down to a simple, if very unpleasant, fact about the nature of USA as a society and nation-state. Modern west-European nations states, unlike USA, have never been racially segregated societies. Also, unlike USA, they never allowed race-based slavery to occur on their own soil. Consequently, one of the most important boosters for public support of neoliberalism based policies such as shredding the social safety net, job precarization and union busting (in post-WW2 era) never existed in those countries. USA until 1968, in contrast, practiced legalized race-based Apartheid in a form identical to the now defunct pre-1994 state of South Africa.

Now, some of you might say that it has something to do with “racial diversity causing low trust societies”. But was that really the case? Widespread public acceptance of neoliberalism in USA came in the era before large-scale non-white immigration. That is right! The population of USA was somewhere between 85-90% white as late as the early 1980s. Reagan was elected in 1980 by an electorate that was close to 90% white. So why did they vote for him? In case you do not remember, he won because he promised to restore law and order (screw over “uppity” blacks) and make america great- like “it used to be”.

Which brings us to an odd question.. why was a self-identified and dominant (at that time) group making up almost 9/10ths of the population so concerned about the quest for equality by a historically marginalized group making up the other 1/10th? While it is possible to come up with many clever sounding reasons to explain this behavior, the most straightforward, if tasteless, explanation is that a significant percentage of 9/10ths enjoyed screwing over the 1/10th for reasons that had nothing to do with self-interest or money. Maybe they were getting off by screwing more vulnerable people- which leads to the next reason for Europe’s partial immunity to neoliberalism.

2] Most people looking at Europe today forget that it was once a hotbed of nationalism, racism and support for mass murder at a level that makes USA today look tame in comparison. But then WW1, numerous conflicts after WW1 and WW2 happened. While these wars and conflicts killed tens of millions of people in that part of the world, they really cut down the numbers of young CONservative minded men (also known as ‘useful idiots’) in those countries. Many of you might have noticed that the strongest non-rich supporters for neoliberalism in USA are almost always white men of average intelligence and mediocre ability who are delusional enough to believe that they too can become rich by following and defending the rich.

In contrast to that, american casualties in WW1 and WW2 were (sadly) minimal and too many men of a CONservative mindset, average intelligence and mediocre ability were left alive after those wars. It certainly did not help that post-WW2 economic growth and prosperity reinforced their beliefs about things “ought to be”. That is why USA as a society embraced neoliberalism so thoroughly when it was near the peak of its relative prosperity in the 1960s and 1970s. It was easy money, not hard times and non-white immigration, which made white american society embrace neoliberalism. Remember, Reagan was elected as governor of a very prosperous California in the 1960s, before he was elected president in 1980.

Even today, older white voters who grew up during the “good times” in USA are far more likely to vote for republican or establishment democrat candidates (aka neoliberals). The point I am trying to make is that the lack of large-scale casualties in WW2 along with immediate post-WW2 prosperity for even the most average and mediocre cannon-fodder is why neoliberalism took such firm roots in USA. That is also why even larger west-European countries which took heavy casualties in both world wars, such as France and Germany, ended up becoming and remaining more socialistic after WW2.

In the next part of this series, I will share my thoughts on why neoliberalism in European countries took off in the private sector after the late-1980s, but was not able to start dominating it till the early 2000s. Will also write about why UK went neoliberal about a decade earlier, and far more systematically, than neighboring countries.

What do you think? Comments?

Three Erroneous Assumptions Made by Most Americans about DPRK

October 25, 2017 7 comments

As regular readers know, I have written more than a few posts about the current situation caused by DPRK aka North Korea testing nuclear weapons and ICBMs. The gist of those posts is as follows: Accepting DPRK as a bonafide nuclear weapon state with a rational foreign policy and acting towards it accordingly is infinitely better than pretending otherwise.

Having said that, I have noticed that a lot of americans keep on making a number of erroneous, and unrealistic, assumptions about DPRK and the current situation. While we certainly cannot go over every one of them in a single post, I thought it would be a good idea to cover the three most important erroneous assumptions (or beliefs) about that country and the current situation.

Erroneous Belief # 1
: Current situation between DPRK & USA can be resolved by military force.

While jingoists, keyboard warriors and many west-point educated generals might want to believe that the USA could resolve its current situation with DPRK through military force, even a basic reality check and some knowledge of relevant history suggests otherwise. Let me remind you that the decision by USA to not attempt a Korean War 2.0 after the 1953 armistice was based in military calculations, rather than humanitarian considerations- to put it mildly.

As many of you know, DPRK has hundreds (if not thousands) of artillery pieces capable of bombarding Seoul on a moment’s notice- not to mention the tens of thousands of rocket artillery and swarms of short-range missiles. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by DPRK in the later half of 2000s makes the destruction of Seoul Capital Area (about 25 million people) almost inevitable if a serious war was to break out between DPRK and USA. To make a long story short, Korean War 2.0 = No Seoul

Then there is the question of whether large urban aggregations in Japan, specifically the Greater Tokyo Area, would get nuked in the event of such a war. It is no secret that DPRK has a number of liquid and solid fueled SRBMs which could deliver a few nukes on top of such large urban aggregations. While Japan claims to have many types of “effective” anti-ballistic missiles, it is highly doubtful that they can do much against a swarm of dozens of warheads within a 2-3 minute window, especially if only 5-6 of them were nuclear.

My point is that even the most optimistic projections of casualties caused by DPRK’s response to a military strike by USA involve millions of dead and dying people in South Korea and Japan plus long-term (potentially irreversible) damage to two of the largest and most prosperous urban areas in the world. And we have not even started talking about the effects of a few nuclear weapon tipped ICBMs going off over large cities in mainland USA.

Erroneous Belief # 2: DPRK is a vassal state of China.

One belief constantly resurfacing in regards to the current situation with DPRK is that China is somehow the real power behind the show. Another version of this belief is that China possess extraordinary leverage over DPRK. The reality is, however, quite different. While China has always been the most important trading partner for DPRK and was its most important weapons provider in the past, its actual leverage over DPRK has been rather limited. Even worse, the political relationship between them has never been especially warm.

China’s support for DPRK has to be understood through the lens of history and pragmatism. To put it bluntly, China intervened in the Korean war because it did not want an american puppet state on its eastern border- which is also why it got involved in the Vietnam war. Of course, China is quite happy to let DPRK poke and prod South Korea, Japan and generally undermine the rationale for american military presence in that region. But let us clear about one thing, Beijing does not control Pyongyang. Nor do they want, or can afford, the current regime in DPRK to fail.

A related delusion still popular among americans is the belief China will help the USA secure DPRK after a “successful” invasion of DPRK. Even if we discount the possibility that major urban centers in South Korea and Japan will be nuked within the first few minutes of a serious armed confrontation, we have to contend with the reality that DPRK’s leadership (or their population) do not see China as their master and will not hesitate to use their weapons against China. Yes.. you heard that right. If DPRK feels that China is cooperating with USA to invade it, there is a pretty high likelihood that some of their nukes will go off over Chinese cities.

Erroneous Belief # 3: DPRK will agree to give up its nuclear weapons.

Another popular delusion harbored by the establishment in USA is that they can somehow convince DPRK to give up its nuclear weapons. While this delusion is especially funny, it is worthwhile to point out that “denuclearization” of DPRK is still the main and only focus of any talks USA is willing to have with DPRK. Let us be clear about one thing, only one nation (namely, South Africa) has ever voluntarily gave up its arsenal of self-developed. Also they had less than a dozen of very primitive nuclear weapons- so it wasn’t exactly a big sacrifice to begin with.

In spite of all the sanctimonious talk about global denuclearization, no other nuclear weapon power has seriously considered giving up its nuclear weapon arsenal. In fact, all nuclear weapon powers have kept on improving their weapons even if two of them (Russia and USA) did reduce the absolute numbers in their inventory in the 1990s. However the total number of nuclear weapons in the world had remained largely constant since those early post-cold war reductions. It is not realistic to expect any nuclear weapon power, let alone one who needs such deterrent capability, to give up nuclear weapons- especially if they were developed indigenously.

Furthermore, the experience of DPRK of negotiating with USA in the mid-1990s, and then again in the early-2000s, has left them with the correct impression that any treaty with the USA is not worth the paper on which it was printed. They correctly recognized that credible lethal force is necessary for any future talks with USA. In other words, DPRK now rightly believes that acquisition of a credible capability to launch a nuclear attack on american cities is a prerequisite to any worthwhile talks between the two parties. The recent fiasco over Trump decertifying a multinational nuclear deal with Iran has simply demonstrated that their strategy towards USA is correct.

In this situation and environment, it is supremely delusional to believe that a regime whose survival is predicated on possessing a credible nuclear deterrent will give it up to satisfy another country which has consistently demonstrated its unwillingness to respect the terms of any agreement it has ever signed. In other words, DPRK (and many other countries) will require a credible nuclear deterrent as long as the USA continues to exist in its current form. Also, USA is no longer seen as an omnipotent military power- especially after its recent humiliating defeats in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

What do you think? Comments?

USA Lacks Realistic Strategy Towards DPRKs Nuclear ICBM Program: 3

September 28, 2017 8 comments

In the previous post of this series, I talked about the ludicrous levels of racially motivated underestimation of DPRK’s nuclear and missile building capabilities among “credentialed” elite in USA. My point was that the course of events has exposed that these sinecured non-proliferation and arms-control “experts” hailing from “ivy-league” universities and working at “world renowned” think-tanks are.. for the lack of a better expression.. fucking clueless. Then again, such jobs have always been about providing clever soundbites and writing scholarly-sounding articles to satisfy the psychological needs of jingoistic white retards in USA and the west.

But a bigger problem is that the american establishment wants to believe different, but equally delusional, stuff about DPRK. For example, many west-point idiots seem to be operating under the belief that DPRK will not use nukes even if attacked with them.They also seem to believe that it is possible to overcome what is likely a fairly decentralized system for DPRK using nukes when push comes to shove. I see these and other popular delusions of the military planner class as examples of wishful thinking because of a lack of feasible options.

But let us now talk about the other american allies involved in this shitshow.. specifically South Korea and Japan. Are they equally delusional? Do they have strategies for dealing with this situation which do not involve believing in the magical efficacy of american boondoggles such as anti-ballistic missiles? Do the “leaders” and major political parties in both countries lack the proverbial balls to stand up to USA? Do they fully grasp that their major cities and tens of millions of their citizens will be dead or dying within a few minutes of an all out nuclear exchange between DPRK and USA?

Since South Korea is the geographically closest american “ally” to DPRK, let us start with that country. As many of you know, South Korea started out as an american puppet state meant to halt the global spread of communism in the aftermath of WW2. This is not meant to demean the its many impressive achievements since that time, but it sadly relevant to the subject of this post. The point I am trying to make is the foreign and defense policy of South Korea has been largely dictated by USA. In other words, South Korea is a dependent vassal of USA.

Now, we can certainly argue if being a defendant vassal of USA has been a good or bad for South Korea. Clearly, this arrangement has been very economically favorable for South Korea- specifically since the 1970s. However, a consequence of this arrangement has been that South Korean foreign and defense policy (specifically towards DPRK) is largely rooted in supporting whatever the establishment in USA demands of them. While this was not a liability during the cold war era or even the first decade following it, that is no longer the case.

I would go so far as to say that it became actively counterproductive after the second nuclear test by DPRK in 2009. The thing is.. the entire defense posture of South Korea (and USA) towards DPRK was always based in any potential conflict being fought with conventional (and maybe, some chemical) weapons. They thought that a rapid destruction of DPRK’s old-fashioned air-force plus intense bombardment of artillery positions could keep South Korean casualties under a couple of hundred thousand.

Nuclear weapons, especially H-bombs, change that picture completely. As few as 5 or 6 H-bombs would kill millions in the Seoul metropolitan area in less than a couple of minutes and render it uninhabitable for a few years. Given the concentration of population and infrastructure in South Korea, that would translate in an unrecoverable blow to the South Korean state. Furthermore, even the best missile defense would be useless against a barrage of missile in only a few actually carry nuclear warheads.

Almost every single South Korean government has, historically, taken a hard-line stance against DPRK. It is however telling that those stances have not changed much in response to DPRK successfully developing nuclear weapons within the previous decade. It is as if their political leaders and military planners are deliberately operating under the assumption that nothing as changed since 2009. More worryingly, many public predictions made by South Korean “experts” about an imminent collapse of DPRK after Kim Jong-un took over in 2011 have turned out to be wishful thinking.

In other words, a significant percentage of the establishment in South Korea seems to be as willing oblivious to reality as their counterparts in USA. To make matters worse, even the recently elected moderate South Korean leader (or his advisers) appear to believe that they have to keep playing the discredited old game and align themselves even more closely with delusions of american establishment. It is especially troubling to watch the South Korean establishment believe that more american anti-ballistic missiles (perhaps imbued with ‘white’ magic in their minds) will somehow magically protect them from DPRK nukes if the proverbial shit hits the fan.

It is clear that South Korea requires an alternative and realistic policy to deal with DPRK. While such a policy does not preclude continued military co-operation between South Korea and USA, they may have to do something about those biannual military exercises aimed at DPRK. Perhaps they might want to develop and deploy their own nuclear weapons as a deterrent against DPRK. The ‘Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’ has proven to be a worthless piece of paper which has done nothing except try to perpetuate nuclear apartheid and disadvantage who have signed it in good faith. Did I mention that at least four countries have developed and deployed nuclear weapon arsenals since 1968?

In an upcoming post of this series, I will talk about how the current policies of Japan towards DPRK are based in equally bizarre (but different) combination of delusion and make-believe.

What do you think? Comments?