The fate of Russia

If war is the normal state, the thing that the government is permanently adjusted to, then it follows that during times of peace a certain restlessness would pervade. Russia has been invaded so many times that it can not avoid a policy of self preservation above all else. The cost of controlling buffer states such as Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia during the mid to mid-late twentieth century was absorbed by the massively resourced country.

Since nobody was about to invade Russia after the second world war, these costs were wasted and could be the reason that the Soviet Empire eventually collapsed. Communism was a more convenient reason for the West, as Capitalism went from a way to build businesses that employed the bulk of populations, into the high gear of empire building. Russia rose from the ashes of empire but did not, could not, let go of the reins, the very trap of history and reinforcements that the West found useful, until Russia tried to rebuild the Soviet level of control.

Government by paranoia was inevitable as the Kremlin was inherited by the KGB and secret police state. The Cold War did nothing to dispel the idea that the West was poised to invade. Nor did Hollywood’s escalating portrayal of violence and war. You can not reassure a badly bruised victim and Hitler and Napoleon certainly tried to take Russia by force. Russia would find it difficult to accept, after Reagan, that America was not actually about to try and force Russia off the edge of the map. Russia’s perception of being surrounded by enemies may be justified, but it is not useful. It wastes lives and the energy that could have made Russia the richest country in history: instead it struggles with an aging, massive military infrastructure, an arsenal of too many nuclear weapons that must be very expensive to maintain and now it has earned the ire of most of the world with its illegal aggressive and flawed military strategy in Ukraine.

Ukraine fights Russia with the West’s weapons. The fear of escalation by involving NATO in the war is a fear held by both sides. There are no winners in a nuclear exchange. There is no benefit to anyone if the lands destroyed are not inhabitable. And, although Russia has more nuclear weapons, it can not prevent the retaliation even with hypersonic delivery of its firepower. And that retaliation would be the end of Russia. The state of its nuclear arsenal must be a concern to the Kremlin: have they been maintained? Or is it possible that too many red buttons will result in detonation in silos instead of rockets firing? The West may not need to retaliate if Russia destroys itself, first.

The hope is not that Russia destroys itself. It is a wonderful country and culture. But so are the emerging cultures of the former Soviet states and Russia must learn the lesson of history: maintaining a buffer zone is a path to failure as there is no economic rationale for it and destruction of, or even control of your neighbours is economically unsound.

A future treaty between the West and Russia under rational leadership may involve a simple guarantee that the West is not interested in invading Russia any more. Russia gave those guarantees to Ukraine in exchange for the nuclear arsenal and Russia has betrayed that trust. It would be hard for Russia to trust as it has abused trust. It is therefore necessary that Russia chooses a new destiny, not the one that the current leadership has doomed Russia with, this path to economic destruction, extreme poverty and early death.

Russia, it is not too late to change the course of your own history.

Leaders who go insane

The actions of the Vladimir Putin are murderous criminality. That much seems obvious to those not subjected to the traditional propaganda served to the citizens of Russia. During the Soviet times, this was standard fare for the KGB where Putin grew his claws. And now that he has had too much power for too long, his perspective is one that can only be described as rampant insanity. Or cruel evil at its worst.

What is pursuit of ‘purity’? The intolerance of difference? It may be a difficult lesson to learn for the racist, but differences between people provide the richness of life. Because your neighbour does not think the same thoughts as you, there is absolutely no rational reason for thinking that gives you the right to kill them, let alone murdering their babies.

Putin has been in power for too long and the power has disassociated him from any humanity. He is insane. A danger to the rest of humanity and there is nothing that he could now do to be forgiven. It is not my personal philosophy to wish a person dead, but Putin has crossed so many lines of decency, there seems no reason for him to continue to destroy the lives of others. He quotes The Bible to explain the sacrifice of Russian soldiers. When they meet God or the Devil, they may realise that they have been brutally lied to. There is no honor in slaughter, there is no relief in genocide.

Dangerous leaders who have too much power are labelled ‘mad’ or ‘insane’. It seems that too much power corrupts the mind, creating a false sense that there is a philosophy to be followed due to a set of beliefs that history has passed down. The role of a leader is to bring about positive change.

Putin, it is time to stop. Your leadership will destroy Russia.

UK Covid Strategy

The UK Covid strategy has been led by hesitancy and populism rather than an understanding of the long term effects of early action, creating space for the NHS to breathe.

And now the ex-head of the Covid Strategy task force is asserting more nonsense suggesting that the mass vaccination programme should be abandoned in favour of ‘treating Covid like the flu’. There are an estimated 1.2 million suffers of ‘long Covid’ which is a permanent strain on stretched medical facilities and staff. Even if the NHS were privatised (which is the real intention of the most dishonest administration since before the Magna Carta) the actual hospitals and staff are the same pool of skills and as an investable or insurable proposition, it would be a disaster for the British population. The pandemic has multiplied the problem from being critical to ridiciously dangerous.

The Covid Strategy of this Government has been a disaster with the exception of the vaccination programme. The PM in particular has set a brazen and stupid example from shaking hands with Covid patients (and then surviving the disease) to hesitating and then applying lockdown thus a) reducing the positive effect of reducing strain on the NHS by locking down too late, and b) increasing the damage of the resultant wave’s strength and persistence. A two week lockdown at the very start of a wave suppresses the R number so can be lifted more quickly. Wait for that two weeks, and the lockdown must be extended for months. And that has now happened three times. Boris Johnson and his Covid Strategy Task Force have been a catastrophe to the UK economy. The Chancellor’s programme to save jobs and businesses cost more than it should as a direct result.

And then there is the Test and Trace debacle. £37B wasted on a useless app that has a ridiculous principle as its raison d’être – trusting people who would violate lockdown to be traced on their mobile phone to log in to venues and spending so much money on an app that is essentially three simple technologies combined is not only tragically unbelievable but corruption of the worst kind.

The disturbing trend is the Government is working against the voters by using sound bites, tricks and outright lies to gaslight the population. It is time for honest Government and it is time for this PM to be sacked by his MPs for turning the serious business of Governing into a terrible record of death and reactive stupidity purely and nakedly to maintain popular support. He has failed. Recent by-elections have proven that. Why do the cowardly backbenchers stay invested in this fraudulent menace?

Nuclear Agreement

The members of the Permanent Security Council have agreed to not use Nuclear Weapons as there is no advantage from using them.

One hopes that the other four countries that have nuclear weapons also do not use them.

See Guardian article

Five of the world’s most powerful nations have agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” in a rare joint pledge to reduce the risk of such a conflict ever starting.

The pledge was signed by the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, the five nuclear weapons states recognised by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) who are also the five permanent members of the UN security council. They are known as the P5 or the N5.

Such a common statement on a major issue of global security has become a rarity at a time of increasing friction between Russia, China and the west. With Moscow threatening to invade Ukraine and China signaling its readiness to use military force against Taiwan, the joint statement represents a renewed commitment to prevent any confrontation turning into a nuclear catastrophe.

The Future

The end of any year is a great time to reflect and predict but this year instead of trying to nail short term events to consequences, looking at the longer term is more interesting.

The old forces, the old empire, the republic or the forces of evil are in their final decline to zero influence and the new progress and a new society is upon us.  Finally.

How? Progress is evolution. The human animal has risen beyond hunger and greed, through altruism, charity, organisation, consumption and arrived at a pivot point.  We have to change how we progress to continue to survive.  Climate change was always an extinction event until we understood that it was.  It is an event we thought we could leave until tomorrow but that tomorrow is passing by more quickly than we could predict.  Now we have to think differently to survive at all. We have to find new ways to adapt and find another planet to infect with our waste, our pollution, our greed.  Or we can change our way of living within the nature of the environment we inhabit.

We have found our political structures to be spinning out of the control of reason.  There is little to differentiate political fanatics from religious fanatics.  Insanity is what it is.  Political binary opposition provides us with the friction to stimulate discussion.  We seem to feel that conflict is a necessary component of movement.  We seem to believe that opposition synthesises better thinking.  Of course it is merely a stage of evolving.  It is not an end unto itself.  China with its totalitarian control is able to sustain a very large population, dynamic progress and will soon outdo the USA for economic dominance. Does that mean that the remainder of the world should suffer from poverty as they had a different political belief?

That is the American model being displaced.  Oppositional democratic switching, Left vs Right, every measure of progress requires an equal and opposite force to defeat it or reverse it or we do not feel safe in our construction.

The new world does not require political dominance of one form or another. Self sustaining households can effectively isolate themselves from needing trade to exist.  The Metaverse is simply a virtual space in which we can ‘do business’ (whatever that means).  Our homes can be constructed to be self-sustaining, requiring no external source of energy or hydrocarbons for warmth or light, and excavation under our houses or in our attics can provide environments to grow food for our families.  Why do we need the ‘Outside’?  We do not.  And if there is no need for trade, no need for efficiency and a place to compete and play, to educate and attend to health: we can effectively live anywhere.  On spaceships endlessly traveling to another home.  On another home.  If our internal philosophy of life is self-sustaining we no longer need political leaders, parties or any philosophy that underlies wars or famine.  Or creates unnatural disasters.  We can become at one with nature.  We can be far happier.

American-Qaeda

Another attack on the US Capitol, this time by a single terriorist in a car with a knife attacking police https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/02/us-capitol-lockdown bears remarkable similarities to the pointless but disturbing attack on the UK Houses of Parliament in 2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_London_Bridge_attack.

Both were suicide missions, both involved an attack that was aimed at the police and both garner media coverage and reaction. The London attack was inspired and designed by ISIS, the child of Al-Qaeda ruthlessly pursued and eliminated as an evident threat through war, now taking the path of the ‘freedom fighter’ – terrorism. The point is to exact revenge and drive the Government mad. Al-Qaeda was more successful in that goal than ISIS, the Government had learned the golden rule: do not negotiate with terrorists – the Obama principle was to kill 60,000 ISIS militants that had taken half of Iraq, and the Trump administration mopped up what remained of the broken forces (and VP Mike Pence gratuitously took credit for what ‘Obama had failed to do’). ISIS was probably conceived and born after the Bush Doctrine thinking it had defeated Al-Qaeda in fact had driven the children of the cruel and desperate Mujahideen forces under the black banner of ISIS and their indoctrination of the ‘abandonment of cooperation by America in Afghanistan’ following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from that country created a ‘caliphate’ that became a focal threat to the American Government after 9/11.

Fighting the madness that is Q-Anon may lead the US Government down a similar path but this is a more insidious threat. The snake has grown a new set of heads who are affiliates of the Q-Anon cult, the likes of the Proud Boys, and other extreme right-wing groups appear to be the grandchild of Al-Qaeda.

Q-Anon has all the features of an American-Qaeda – the irrationality, racism and extreme violence, the ever present threat, even down to excessive facial hair and beliefs in cosmic stupidity, the worship of a destructive and evidently criminal figurehead (Trump and Osama bin Laden, both billionaires able to raise money and influence Government) in whose name terrorism is inspired to attack the US Government.

The affiliates of Q-Anon should think about this. The founder of the movement is a mystery, shifting in dark shadows and the philosophy tells flagrant lies about their destiny. The founder of Q-Anon is Osama bin Laden. The evil infecting the American Republican Party is the third act of Al-Qaeda.

The only path out of this war is to offer a compelling philosophy of love and peace. The same thing seemed to happen in the 1960s, America buried itself in a hopeless war and the Love Revolution, the Woodstock Generation of baby boomers were given license to take over. Another such moment is in the making, military action may final, but real justice is more permanent. Finally, the exposure of inhumanity and injustice under the Trump era may change the path. Joe Biden at least has experience of dealing with such threats. The US Government is not innocent. But Justice is the path to Freedom for all.

Q-Anon is the grandchild of Al-Qaeda, and it’s defeat requires something far better for the people drawn in and seduced by its irrationality and terrorist conspiracy theories.

Conservative Decay

Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson are undermining the political philosophy of conservatism. By seeking populism and a constituency of idiocy because ‘public opinion’ that follows the proportionality of a bell-shaped curve can match policy to mad conspiracy theories (philosophy for idiots) and manipulating people to capture votes with false promise, empty rhetoric and self-interest.

Undermining conservatism should be ringing alarm bells in the Republican Party and the UK Conservative party. The characterisation of conservatism with distortions of extreme right-wing rhetoric is a danger to the entire concept of conservative government. The US Presidential election is an example of the consequences. The public may turn against the GOP if it continues to support the corruption and self-aggrandising narcism of Trump.

These petty dictators are pathetic. Stalin and Hitler at least worked for their terribly misguided nationalistic aims while they slaughtered millions deliberately: whereas Trump is more lazy. He plays golf while he presided over the deaths of over 250,000 Americans (a daily rate now over 2,000) and created conditions that have daily infections approaching 200,000 people potentially becoming a drain on the health system. He ran his ridiculous ego-tour of Covid spreading rallies, he made non-mask wearing into a cult. He is the worst leader America has ever experienced. He has constantly attacked his enemies with blatant lies and conspiracy nonsense, supporting racists and Q-Anon.

Boris Johnson is driving the UK over the cliff. His record of mismanagement of the epidemic now has deaths edging over 500 per day. He is pursuing an insane policy of removing the UK from the EU, so far without a trade deal, has already removed the human rights and freedom of movement that citizens of the UK have enjoyed across the EU to limit the access to the UK market of EU citizens. He has passed laws to violate his own agreement that threatens Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement.

Bolsonaro has presided over nearly 170,000 deaths, and 6 million infections and the terrifying destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest, wiping out the habitats of creatures and threatening all life on Earth.

Human leaders. Barack Obama is a very human being, see his interview with Jimmy Kimmel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUed6Ug4Cgo. It is a huge relief, a cure for the droning fear of the dying days of the Trump dictatorship.

US Election

Predictions made in July, how did we do?

Predictions

Biden will choose Warren or Klobuchar. WRONG: Biden picked Kamala Harris.

Trump will go with Pence CORRECT

Biden will win the popular vote by about 4 or 5 million CORRECT

Biden will win the Electoral College with the usual razor edge calls in Florida but the Southern states badly affected by Corona complacency will turn away from Trump. Trump will get less than 45% of the popular vote and may loose states like Delaware, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona (and possibly even Texas). PARTLY CORRECT

Kanye West will take votes from both sides, but will declare his boredom with politics before 2022. Rather than Kanye – a female populist like Kim Kardashian or Ivanka Trump will attempt to enter the Republican machine but will have a difficult task of winning any election. NOT RELEVANT

Trump will be seen as the person who lost the election. His son, Donald Trump Jnr will not enter the political arena. It will be the end of the ‘Trump dynasty’ in politics. CORRECT

New Predictions

Trump will proceed with fruitless assertions of fraud and not make any traction in the courts. If Republicans read this result they will see Trump has a huge following, but it is limited. If he refuses to concede he will appear desperate and if he continues to assert massive fraud without evidence he is showing signs of his malignant narcism deteriorating into paranoid fantasy. The Republicans would do well to vote for Amendment 25 to draw a line and prevent further damage to the Republican Brand and to move forward from Trumpism to a new era. The Trump base is not a stable political equation. I predict that the Republicans will not do that, they will want to retain that 70 million votes. Ultimately if they do not enact Amendment 25, that number will decline and the political future will start to falter badly.

Trump will attempt to overturn the ACA but will fail.

Trump will fail to concede. And keep ranting about how unfair the media is.

A new light will start to shine in the Republican party, Mitt Romney will attempt to grab the spotlight but it seems unlikely that he will lead the Republicans to the next election.

Bill Barr will end up with criminal charges and have to be pardoned or found guilty. Trump will pardon him.

Trump’s entire cabinet, Rudy G, his family, Mark Meadows, Barr, Pence – will be poisoned by the Trump brand and many will publish tell-all books and exit from politics.

Biden and Harris will take office with a huge inauguration.

The Senate will be a thorn in the side of the adminstration but the run off elections will be 1:1 leaving the senate balanced.

The house will be controlled by the Democrats.

Nuclear Proliferation Illegal

50 countries have ratified a UN treaty declaring nuclear weapons illegal. This makes it international law from 22 January 2021.

No nuclear nation that has used the threat of annihilation over other nations signed the treaty although negotiations between Russia and USA continue, while the Trump administration has written to the signatories saying that their stand is a ‘strategic error’. It maybe that from the view of the 5 members of the UN Security Council, permanent power over the course of international relations granted to them as nuclear weapon states, a status that perhaps motivates nuclear proliferation as India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, and Iran have proven: joining the club that could trigger complete devastation is a source of international sway. Weapons that you can not use as it ensures the destruction of your own society: MAD and madness.

The new treaty means that nuclear states will gradually be seen for what they are: pariahs. They prey on fear and threat as the currency of their domination. They take funding away from progress as they lumber about on the international stage, dinosaurs who seal their own fate. Once you have a button you have to keep your finger on it, making you a criminal state.

This moment is a corner to turn toward safety. It will take generations for it to have meaningful effect. Its undoing could take minutes. I think the doomsday clock has been reset by just a few seconds, but every year that now passes may continue that progress. It is a win in a battle for sanity, but may make no difference for hundreds of years.

US Election Outcome Calculator

Predict the result with the Electoral College built in, courtesy of the FT.

Our prediction based on – well we are guessing – is Trump 234, Biden 304.

Assumptions are no Democrat to Republican losses, the states that Trump won with small margins in 2016 return to Democrat, solid red states stay with Trump except Nebraska District 2 (which is only 1 vote). Texas, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina stay with Trump.

A real upset and rejection of Trump could mean Trump 163, Biden 375. Current poll predictions point at that sort of result.

Factors considered: Sympathy for the devil, appeal to racists, wealth factors, rural ingrained support for GOP, Biden was Obama’s VP (I think this is more significant than the media has implied) and therefore already has a track record, Trump’s track record, Trump’s tax cuts only benefitted the wealthy, economic precipice uncertainty (the stock market expectations are very high for the real life economic consequences of the pandemic, real growth vs enthusiasm in a bubble market); the Democrat won the House, impeached the President and the hypocrisy of the GOP senate; more GOP hypocrisy with the Supreme Court stacking.

The outcome of the Senate elections appear to be leading to a split vote that may result in the balance of power being held by Independents. That is probably a good result for the US democracy if the other two branches of Government are in the hands of the Democrats, there will be some pressure to pass laws that have a consensus. A GOP dominated Senate would be a disaster for the Democrats. The Democrats in control of the House, the Senate and the Executive Branch may give the Democrats a focus on undoing Trumpism and this may restrict them to a 2 year window with the swing back to a more moderate GOP in the mid-terms taking away their power, as happened to Obama.

If the Democrats achieve power, then the quality of their Governance will come under the spotlight and how good they are at this will provide a measure of the ultimate effect of their actions. They will have to be smart, firm and resolute as well as fair, measured and even handed.