Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Choice of Equestrians?

The Book of Revelations (the last book in the Christian Bible) briefly mentions some Seals and four horsemen. In the original Greek, the first, on a White Horse, is never identified (my commentary says he is probably a Parthian, which was an old word for Iranian; so one suspects the author of the book felt he had been cheated by an Iranian, possibly in a card game or a real estate deal). The second, on a Red Horse is identified as War. The third, on a Black Horse, is a merchant who charges a day's wages for a kilo of wheat. The fourth, on a Pale Horse, is Death.

In the 19th Century, the New Revised Standard version came out with a new translation, and suggested the Four Horsemen might be Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death (it's not clear from the translation that's what the author or the translator really had in mind).

The Chapter in Revelations is Chapter 6, which is actually called the Chapter of Seals, but at the turn of the previous century, someone introduced the Four Horsemen as the title of the Chapter. And the name of the book used to be the transliteration of the original Greek name of the book, Apocalypse, so there were lots of English essays about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (there might have been essays in other languages, but I wouldn't know). The White Horseman was Pestilence, some kind of pandemic like the plague, the Red Horseman was War, the Black Horseman was Famine, and the Pale Horseman was Death. Except for the Red Horseman and the Pale Horseman, this doesn't match the Bible, but it will do.

Back in the '30s, someone wrote a novella, Pale Horse, Pale Rider about the Flu Epidemic of 1918-1919, a book that might be relevant again with CoViD19 (although that was about the White Horseman and the flu pandemic).

Now it looks like we have a choice between the White Horseman and the Red Horseman. As it says in the Bible, 'Sufficient unto the Day...'.


The White Horseman

The new virus, CoViD19, spreads rapidly. Everyone who has it passes it on to about 3 others on average. The only good news is that the rate of increase peaked at 70% in China and is now down to 8% in China, and about 5% outside of China.

Inside China, it's killed 2.5% of those diagnosed with the virus by a real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test. Part of this (the Chinese say) is that 75% recover without medical intervention, all that's needed is to isolate them for 4 to 6 weeks. But 25% die without an ICU, and China is overwhelmed, so most of those who died lacked access to an ICU.

Outside China, only one died, and that was in the Philippines, so it's not clear how good the ICU was. About 525 cases outside China, and only 1 death, so a fatality rate of 0.2%, but it's still spreading rapidly, and if it spreads to just about everyone, only a very few will have access to an ICU, and the fatality rate will rise to 2.5% or more (since most of the world lacks China's resources for fighting epidemics: the Chinese can build 1,000-bed hospitals in just 10 days, and can send 10,000 doctors and nurses to regions with a high infection rate to help out until the disease is under control).

The other 'good news' is that China only counts those diagnosed with that real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test that identifies the virus, and many with mild cases who never report to the health authorities are undercounted, so the real fatality rate in China is somewhere between 0.2% and 2.5%, with no idea what it really is. A fatality rate of 0.2% is the same as the flu that breaks out every year, and next year, CoViD19 will be in every flu shot worldwide. But it's spreading rapidly, and we might not have a year.

The Red Horseman

Then we have the Thucydides TrapThucydides was a Greek historian who wrote about the war between Athens and Sparta, about a hegemon seeing a rising power who feel they are compelled to go to war with the rising power to stop the rise. There have been many, many Thucydides Trap wars, and another one, resulting in WWIII, is looking more and more likely.

The Powers that Be in the US figure it's getting long past time for WWIII. The US is tearing up all the antinuke treaties it signed back when it knew the USSR had MAD. Today, the 'experts' say no one has MAD any more, the US can totally destroy any other nation without the slightest threat that they can retaliate, because the US military is so much more advanced than anyone else, but that won't last much longer, so the sooner we nuke Russia and China and the DPRK (and Iran prophylactically), the better. There is no proof that Russia interfered in the last election, but the establishment media all agree it's irrefutably proven that they did. They also say that, fortunately, all Putin's nukes are just Photoshop, but we need to strike now before he gets any real ones, and China is still a backward country that might become advanced if we don't do something now.

The plan is that Russia and China know they do not have MAD, so, when ordered to hand control over to the US, both will meekly comply. The US appointed administrators will break up both Russia and China into a bunch  of small, unarmed, powerless states who will never be able to threaten the US.

Sadly, Russia and China still have MAD, would much, much rather not have to use it, but will if forced. 

The establishment media all agree that the Mueller report proved that Russia stole the election and Trump helped. The report does say Russia stole the election, but that there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump helped. The media agree that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is an unbelievably high standard of proof, and there is more than enough proof to convince a civil jury if not a criminal jury, and Mueller was probably being polite, when he really had more than enough evidence to convince an honest criminal jury of #NeverTrumps (and everyone who isn't a #NeverTrump is obviously not honest).

Mueller's 'proof' that Russia was guilty was page after page of computer code. Since computer code is as readable as Russian or Chinese to most Americans, they are convinced that Russia was guilty and must be punished. The code actually proves nothing at all, but it's impossible to convince the 50% of American voters who are rabid #NeverTrumps that the code doesn't say 'RUSSIA DID IT!!!'

Democrats and Republicans disagree about some minor stuff, but not about the importance of the US spreading democracy* to the entire world.


*Democracy - a government that does what the US tells them and hands over all the country's natural resources to US corporations in exchange for a little baksheesh for the 1% and nothing at all for the 99%.
 


Net: I have no idea if it'll be the Red Horseman or the White Horseman. Both seem far too likely. Heck, maybe we'll have both working together to wipe us all out and solve the problem of climate change. And with all the disruption, maybe the Black Horseman will join them, and the Pale Horseman will have more work cut out for him than he's ever had before.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Death of a General

General Soleimani flew from Iran to Baghdad on a scheduled flight to meet the Iraqi prime minister, something Trump had encouraged him to do, making the drone strike very easy.

The General was a terrible enemy of the US, having been responsible for killing thousands of members of the best US ally in the region.

In 2009, Camp Bucca was emptied. The prisoners were given a chance to swear an oath to go to Syria, overthrow the evil elected dictator, and never return to Iraq, and all those who did were released, given money and weapons, and shipped to Syria, where no one heard much  about them until 2011, when they began demanding the removal of the elected dictator. Then, in 2014, they noted that an oath not to cross a fake line drawn by the infidels Sykes and Picot was not binding, and they came back into Iraq, where Obama bombed and killed a very few of them, so they made several very popular and well-viewed YouTube videos with American and British stars.

The peaceful, pro-democracy freedom fighters call themselves IS, the West call them ISIS or ISIL, and Arabs call them Daesh. And the evil General Soleimani kept killing them, and has made it very difficult for them to liberate Syria from the evil dictator and fly their dignified Black Flag over Syria and Lebanon, as the US fervently hopes they will be able to do very soon now that the General who was stopping them has been removed on Trump's orders.

The US fervently hopes that their Black Flag will fly over the Levant and Iran, and maybe Pakistan and Afghanistan, but has said it can never fly over Iraq, because Iraq has too much oil, all of which belongs to the US, so no need to pay Iraqis for oil they do not own, and ISIL has a nasty habit of taxing the places it controls, so it can never have Iraq. But the US will support them strongly to gain full control of the Levant and Iran, which should be very easy now that the US has removed the evil General Soleimani who was the main person stopping ISIL from completing the goals the US set them.