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Monday, Feb 17, 2020 - 21:04 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Wuhan Clan Interruption

*breathes deeply* FFFFFUUUUUUUU- massive, MASSIVE plot twist in Kengan Omega! Ah yes, coronavirus too. *pulls out giant foam finger* Singapore #1 (outside of China and Cruise Ship)! Oh, this is one ranking list we don't wanna top for once?


COVID-19

The coronavirus has finally been officially christened as COVID-19 by the WHO a few days ago, superseding previous popular descriptors such as the Wuhan/China Flu. This omission of location/ethnicity-specific terms was intended to fend off unwarranted stigma, as was the case for the Spanish flu, which got named as such due to the Spaniards being honest enough to report it (but as far as nationality-based associations go, it could probably have been worse). Taiwan for one will be retaining the Wuhan naming, but given they're being shut out of the WHO due to PRC pressure, it's easy to see why.

Dumping a bunch of resources, before continuing:

As to what's known about the virus thus far (information subject to change; I'm no authority on it, and there have been plenty of walkbacks no thanks to the rush to publish in medical journals, with Science for example critiquing no less than NEJM for a letter that posited asymptomatic transmission... which however now appears very possible, according to the US CDC director): it's pretty contagious, with the WHO estimating that each infected person will spread it to something like 1.4 to 2.5 additional people (R0=1.4-2.5), with CAS researchers having the R0 as high as 4.08. The mortality rate (from destruction of lung tissue) has been about 2% within China, which doesn't seem too bad until one considers that this is orders of magnitude above that for the common flu (~0.05%). The death toll has long surpassed that of SARS from 2003; further, it can be transmitted as an aerosol, through feces, and maybe even farts and the Emperor knows what else.

In short, COVID-19 looks like very, very bad news.

But it won't result in a zombie apocalypse, or so the Malaysian government has reassured, so we have that going for us.

Diagnosis-wise, production of test kits seems to be ramping up (if of variable accuracy; A*Star's appear reliable though, and they've shipped a bunch to China), with accompanying improvements in detection speed. However, despite optimistic reports such as that from Thailand on combining flu and HIV medications for treatment, and the rather unorthodox recommendation of cow dung lotion from a Hindu swami, there is as yet no recognized cure. Vaccine development is likely to take months or years - time that the world in general, and China in particular, might not have.


China SitRep


Ominous splatter there...
(Source: gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com [16 Feb 2020])


Over to the epicenter of the Bad News Breakout, it's not looking mighty good. The latest tally has over 68,000 confirmed cases in China, with over 1,600 deaths, and that's after wielding the directed power of the behemoth uniparty state, and enacting quite draconian measures.

The more-benign side of China's production capabilities was on display in their rapid conversion of an exhibition centre and construction of the thousand-bed Huoshenshan facility, which was raised in just ten days using prefab structures; so the rooms aren't the cheeriest, and there remain some minor defects, but how many other nations could have managed such a feat of coordination at short notice?

The darker side of China's repressive habits however came to the fore as the spread of COVID-19 showed few signs of abating, and large population centres were mercilessly quarantined, one after the other. Before the Chinese New Year, eight cities close by Wuhan, comprising some 23 million people, had already come under curfew and lockdown. By the seventh of February, the quarantine had been extended to Guangzhou and elsewhere, for a total of about 700 million souls by today, or 10% of the entire world population/two Great Americas.

In perhaps the surest sign of how serious the threat was, the Chinese Communist Party actually caved to the Hong Kong protestors on closing all crossings to the mainland after being faced with a mass strike by hospital workers, despite the obvious symbolism of separation inherent in that act. Of course, given that Guangzhou is literally on Hong Kong's doorstep, and Hong Kong had been near the top of the transmission charts moreover with a first reported death, this was probably the sensible path to take, disregarding the politics of it all.


Dispell popo with this one weird trick!
(Source: r/HongKong)


Speaking of quarantine, the mainland definitely isn't playing around - there have been multiple attested reports of citizens being confined to their own apartments, with the aid of metal bars and heavy chains. The official stance on what to do if there's a fire appears to be to call one's designated contact, and hope that they arrive before it's too late; such measures haven't been good for the mental health of some residents, at least one of whom has started his own fire, alongside heartrending tragedies such as a disabled teenager starving after being left behind. Happily, most seem to be coping okay, with the more productive taking classes, running marathons and watching free "special" high-definition videos (one of the measures also taken by cruise lines), while being cooped up indoors.

These punitive policies have only increased in severity, what with banknotes getting in on the quarantine (and not the American civil forfeiture way), cough medicine being withheld to flush out recalcitrant isolation ward dodgers, and the ultimate late stage socialism penalty of death for breaking curfews, as also implemented in Best Korea. The sad realization however remains that almost all of this suffering was for the best, in an epidemiological sense. What other major country could have effectively enacted such a comprehensive lockdown? In Great America and other mostly-liberal democracies, you'd have a buncha Karens going muh rights, clearly I can't be infected and I wanna speak to your manager and/or I sue, because freedom. One shudders to imagine the absolute state of India or Africa if the virus gets there, and that's before the ongoing locust plague in the latter. For other places such as Indonesia and the Philippines, there seems a wilful refusal by the authorities to even consider that they might be involved, despite their many travel links with China. Can't have it if you don't look too hard for it, though not all of their citizens are remaining convinced.

There are indeed some very good economic reasons to ignore the threat, even in China where the virus is apparently dropping people on the streets. The work stoppage has essentially ground their markets and industry to a halt, with Paramount Leader Xi (fresh out of a slightly-suspicious hibernation) faced with an unpalatable choice: maintain the total lockdown, and have an already-vulnerable economy crater and hasten the departure of manufacturing, or resume normal business, risk the gradually-snowballing virus spreading out of all control, and eat perhaps a few percent loss of the population. They have apparently decided on the latter, if with the very-understandable concession of requesting flexibility on the fulfilment of their Phase 1 trade deal terms with Great America, while again banning selling and injecting huge liquidity into the moribund stock market. Myself, I'm pretty eager to find out what the massaged GDP numbers will be (then again, it might be considered that nations such as Germany and us truly have just avoided recession with extremely-convenient 0.1% growth rates, so take it as you will)


First win the War on Cold, *then* resume Cold War II
[N.B. That's if the debt situation and possible austerity can be resolved]
(Source: r/singapore)



Trust Issues

Amongst all the morbid fascination and undercurrent of mounting disquiet lies a lingering concern: can China be trusted? After all, there seemed to have been a fair chance that all this could have been nipped in the bud, had the Wuhan local authorities simply been more forthcoming at the outset. Instead, with over a third of China mothballed, and numerous towns and villages very sensibly BUILDING THE WALLS internally, the Foreign Minister somehow kept on admonishing other countries for enforcing travel bans, even warning that it would hurt goodwill and cooperation in the future; well, not as if all those smart students aren't hacking the system with third-party transits to get where they want to, anyway.

But let's trace the cover-up from the beginning. Like Singapore, China has instituted POFMA-type laws that purport to combat "fake news" through hefty penalties - up to seven years in prison, in the case of China. Such laws were applied against medical personnel who discussed COVID-19 abnormalities in a WeChat group, with eight of them arrested for misinformation because there were obviously zero concerning cases, comrade, and sure as day follows night, zero cases got reported. Anyway, one of the admonished doctors would catch the officially-nonexistent virus, and the doctor's death would spark a seldom-seen level of fury at the CCP, who had to transition from mass-banning WeChat accounts, to mass-banning Weibo hashtags demanding freedom of speech. A number of brave and principled journalists have attempted to provide on-the-ground updates, and have quite predictably gone entirely missing.

Of course, in an era of ubiquitous smartphones and free VPNs, an information quarantine towards controlling the narrative was never gonna work, and a deluge of data and video would continue pouring out of Wuhan and greater China. Some of it was merely reasonable speculation: if COVID-19 was "merely" another SARS/MERS/H1N1 (it's not), why are the quarantine measures on another scale altogether? Did the CCP know something the public wasn't supposed to know about the virus from the beginning, and are mostly out to save their own necks?

Despite the powers that be censoring material on WeChat, Weibo & Toutiao as quickly as they could while running the usual disinformation playbook, there were simply too many alternative channels to police, with plenty of authentic-seeming video clips making it to Youtube and Twitter - and not a few of open discontent at the government. When there's broad evidence of bodybag stockpiles, entire communities being abandoned to their fate and crematoriums working at a rate far above that expected from official death tolls, people have got to expect that something's up, even if there's some exaggeration mixed in.


Exactly as projected!
(Source: i.redd.it)


And on the official transmission & mortality numbers. The CCP's relation with statistics has long been kinda functional - the GDP aside (famously disbelieved by their own Premier), what is one to make of a province of 80 million people claiming a poverty rate of 17? No, not 17%, seventeen people (to be fair, Singapore has long refused to even propose a figure, while the response for pretty basic employment statistics had been stonewalled by a minister's motherhood statement once again, just last month). Now, it's easy to understand why a country might want to fudge the numbers - with all the suffering that comes with a recession, finding a way to drop the minus sign seems the proper thing to do - but would it hurt them to at least try to make it believable? Roughly 50 deaths from the flu annually, from a population of over a billion? Why not just go full Best Korea and report a big, fat, zero then?

It didn't take much scrutiny for various dataphiles to sense that China's official COVID-19 numbers were far too neat, and a talented Redditor soon found a predictive near-perfect fit for the number of confirmed cases, which moreover seemed immune to policy impacts. This quite remarkable lack of noise was confirmed by professional statisticians, with disease modellers and supposed insiders positing that the true numbers could be at least ten times higher, as supposedly briefly leaked by Tencent. The kindest explanation, then, would be that the too-regular figures arose from a lack of test kits and non-standard cause of death definitions, alongside internal political jostling.

Internationally, the WHO has been perhaps curiously pliant on accepting that China has it all under control, even as the CCP's fiddling with definitions against WHO's own guidelines, while doubling down on silencing whistleblowers. Of course, it's not like the WHO has the heft to get China to do anything the CCP doesn't want to happen, and it was left to America - thankfully under GEOTUS's impeccable leadership - to flat out accuse them of lying. Nonetheless, America has pledged US$100 million towards China's good fight, and China is finally allowing (maybe) an international team in, after weeks of refusing help and driving in circles. Given their dawdling here, it's hardly a surprise that the WHO is next on TRUMP's chopping board.


Conspiracy!

The refusal to admit outside observers and general censorship throughout has only fed the many conspiracy theories floating about, and the most popular by far is that COVID-19's an engineered bioweapon, with a Harvard epidemiologist more or less going "I'm not sayin' that it is, but this stuff ain't natural". On this, the main driver was the discovery of a Level 4 virology lab (a similar one coincidentally featured in a Dean Koontz thriller), located not twenty miles from the wet market getting blamed for the spread without actual evidence.

The bioweapons theory has been lent some credibility from being investigated by the White House, a week after a U.S. senator pointed out that many of the original cases, including the supposed Patient Zero, had no contact with the wet market. Admittedly, this sounds somewhat circumstantial, but there have been no lack of tasty indicators cropping up, such as the ACE2 receptor-based viruses being messed about on bats by the Wuhan Institute of Virology back in 2014, an implicated Canandian scientist getting offed in Africa, and said lab suddenly coming under PLA control. Adding fire to the fuel, a paper from the South China University of Technology has just raised the possibility of the virus escaping from another nearby research facility. Brave lads.

It starts to get extremely messy when we get into the motives, all the more with the spectre of Unit 731 hanging over China, coupled with hints that COVID-19 might be particularly deadly to Asian males (this typically vehemently explained away by correlations with smoking). Proponents of China's mischief have posited the creation of an intentional pandemic for which only they hold the cure towards gaining power, or more cynically for use against Hong Kong/Taiwan and/or the unproductive elderly.

China has expectedly disavowed any such biowarfare objectives, and their apologists have (not entirely without foundation) pointed the finger at the CIA, for spreading it with the aim of destroying China's economy in the build-up to Cold War II (which, truthfully, isn't exactly outside the ballpark of CIA nastiness). Russia, recognizing major troll lulz to be had, has thrown their weight behind China on this one. Either way, I'm suspecting it won't matter by the time the truth emerges.

As to how it's affected Singapore, that'll be for the next post...



[N.B. The Sabaton cover]

For a hill men would kill, why? They do not know
Stiffened wounds test their pride
Men on fire, still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know




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Monday, Feb 10, 2020 - 20:43 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Geonotes (Part II)

Well, that went just as expected.

The historic forever-acquittal too (obviously played down by the salty FAKE NEWS), certainly, but in all seriousness, who didn't see that coming?! The spectacular Superbowl half-time show lifted the curtain on what was perhaps TRUMP's best week in his GOD-EMPERORACY thus far (observe closely Shakira's technical supremacy in her lifelong commitment to truth and all that is good), perhaps best enjoyed alongside His Himperial Majesty's own spicy savage takedowns.

One could hope that the Democratic not-very-leadership could have learnt a thing or two from this absolute shambles of an impeachment hoax, given it's lifted THE DONALD's and the Republican Congressional Polls to unprecedented heights, but then they wouldn't have started it had anyone left in that party possessed any strategic sense. Instead, by all appearances, their gameplan's to cycle back to bogeyman Russia, with Schiff now moaning that TRUMP "could offer Alaska to the Russians" [?!?!], seemingly in prep for another losing effort.

Look, my fellow sapiens, I get it that logic might not work the same way on your side of the hall, but do you lot really, honestly, think that'll work? I do understand that you're saddled by a foaming-at-the-mouth far lefty faction that'll back-and-frontstab any sane member who dares to muse that it's maybe not a good idea, but a cursory glance at the real world would suggest that a huge chunk of the very many independent voters are getting sick and tired of this shit. This presumption is supported by the response to GEOTUS's upbeat and unifying State of the Union address, which garnered an overwhelming 82% Independent approval whilst honouring such American icons as the Tuskegee airmen, young female scholarship winners, military Gold Star families, and beloved media titan Rush Limbaugh.

So, what does the Speaker of the House do at the end?
Kudos to Facebook for resisting censorship pressure on such


I do get it, GEOTUS rubs you chaps the wrong way somehow, but the unfortunate reality is that the achievements presented during the SOTU were broadly true - and that's CNN speaking (for the failing NYT, read "Basically true, but we can't admit it or we'll lose our remaining subscribers" for "Misleading/This needs context"). Great America is now indeed the world's top producer of crude oil; unemployment for minorities and the disabled is indeed at an all-time low, with seven million new jobs created; a net 72,000 factories have indeed returned since the previous administration; the wall is coming up, and illegal immigration's fallen throughout. All this is true. Sure, maybe one might not care about all those points, but surely one can accept that most of them are pretty big plusses to most people?

Not the Dems, as it appears.

Pelosi's stunt might be interpreted in at least two ways. The first is that it was a spontaneous outpouring of frustration and other uncontrolled negative emotions, partly brought on by a supposed handshake snub, à la Warren (but if you inspect the video, he didn't do it with Vice President Pence either, and had mostly turned away by the time her hand was proferred); in this telling, Pelosi's ripping up of her copy of the speech would be akin to a goalkeeper flinging the ball back into his own net after being nutmegged by Messi, or a Wimbledon challenger smashing his racquet after getting bested by an impossible Federer backhand - pure disgust at being completely outdone by a superior playa.

While plausible, this isn't the right explanation, because as noted last week: this lady is calculative. Please note, I'm not saying this is a bad thing! I can admire sorta-competent women that try to have tactics, and can sympathize with Pelosi having to deal with the my-way-or-the-highway socialists that have infested her organization, and who're moreover doing it under a facade of inclusiveness; it's enough to make anyone vomit blood. Look, I'm totally in support of her doing a trial run by surreptitiously making a rip beforehand! That's highly responsible planning, folks, you don't see much of that with Democrats nowadays (of which more later). Imagine how it would have looked, had she flubbed the theatrics: "Weak-ass Speaker can't even tear piece of paper properly". No, she demonstrated an excellent pinch grip, exactly on either side of the pre-rip, and got the timing more or less spot-on with a flowing follow-through. Well done!

Unfortunately, fine technical execution does not wise strategic decision make, and Pelosi's now facing calls from the more respectable elements of her own party to resign over the undignified spectacle, with the ever-hilarious lads over at 4chan and r/the_donald thoughtfully gearing up to flood her office with replacement hardcopies, to make up for her loss. Happily, TRUMP will probably pardon her if she asks, or so the 4chan /pol prognosticators have it, because he's nice like that.


All hail the new king of political media wokeness!
[N.B. The general populace's getting increasingly-informed on mainstream media manipulation, so the same old tricks ain't gonna work]
(Source: mangakakalot.com)



Iowa

The establishment Dems have far bigger (self-inflicted) problems to agonize over, in any case. Which so happens to bring us to last week's pre-election prediction of "the chaos that will be the Democratic primaries". To be clear, it was mostly an educated guess, based on the facts that:

  • Bernie Sanders had grabbed the momentum going into the Iowa caucuses
  • Early primary victories could well translate into a significant advantage entering the rest of the election, so FiveThirtyEight confirms, and while I think they remain exceedingly biased on their political leanings, their statistical modelling remains worthy of consideration
  • The Democratic Establishment really, really, really doesn't want Bernie to win - and not only because he's extremely unlikely to be electable in the general elections

We'll justify and expound on that last point in much more detail, in the still-forthcoming Dem candidate roundup, but if we accept the above points as accurate, one contingent outcome presents itself unavoidably - the Democratic National Committee is gonna mess with the Iowa caucuses in favour of their preferred stool pigeons one way or another, as they did for Hillary 2016. That it happened was a given; the shock was how bad they were at it.

Just to give some background, part of why Iowa holds a caucus - which as far as I can figure out is some form of live mob intimidation session - is so that they can be ahead of New Hampshire, who enshrined in state law that they had to hold the first primary elections (which begs the question, what happens if another state does the same? Do they both send a champion to duel it out?). Anyway, thanks to the widespread anti-Bern fuckery in 2016, the Commie collective insisted on all four metrics to be made public: the first alignment, which is where any sensible election would have stopped; the final alignment, which comes after an intervening round of passive-aggressive threats, private bribery and small-unit clashes; the state delegate equivalency, supposedly mumbo-jumboed into existence using the final alignment numbers; and the actual national pledged delegates, in which the local Dem mafia ignores the previous results and pushes whoever they've been told to by the puppetmasters.


Practising what you preach!
(Source: stonetoss.com)


Berniebros were rightly ebullient entering the caucus, with surveys generally giving Sanders a comfortable lead, however with the most-up-to-date Des Moines poll kept under wraps ostensibly due to Mayor Pete being left off, though it also coincidentally had establishment favourite Biden running a distant fourth. On hindsight, this should have been taken as a sign of things to come. Now, despite the four-step process, one would have expected the tabulation of results to be relatively trivial. There're usually at most a few hundred voters per precinct, with maybe four or five viable candidates, and about the same number of also-rans. This comes out to, like, ten multiplications, ten divisions, and ten rounding operations. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Countries with millions of votes tend to manage to count them all and report the results in hours. Further, the Iowa Dems had commissioned a spanking new smartphone app that would do the calculations automatically.

So, the hours passed, with Berniebros eagerly awaiting the first bloom of their socialist revolution. Early returns were indeed promising, despite Buttigieg somehow declaring victory before any results were released. Mayor Pete did surprisingly lead narrowly with 62% of the vote counted, but the remainder would be expected to favour Sanders. Then... nothing. Huh?

Uh, guys? The Shadowy Soros-funded app developers finally responded. We think something's gone wrong with the SQL.

Now, as a coder myself, getting it all bug-free may not be easy, but leaking the PIN numbers too?! And fine, technology fails sometimes, but where's the backup plan? Couldn't the caucus ICs have just emailed headquarters a photo of the whiteboard figures with them holding up a previously-arranged password? And if it was the math that was the problem, couldn't they have just popped over to the nearest Chinese takeout place, and borrowed the kid doing his homework by the counter?


Standard rate, $5/hour, return by 10 p.m., no nego
(Source: theoutline.com)


The sheer stink of this dumpster fire couldn't be hidden for much longer, as concerned citizens understandably mused at how these fellas wanted to run the country, but apparently couldn't manage to have a small crowd in a school gym put pieces of paper into boxes without running into utter incompetency or outright cheating. As the second and third days passed, even the most trusting supporter had to suspect that something was very wrong, and the steady trickle of irregularities became a veritable torrent of fecal matter. Why was Hillary's Crowdstrike and Buttigieg behind the app?! And who the hell flips a coin, looks at it, turns it over, and only then reports the call?! You don't need a Chomsky to tell you Bernie is being robbed, but he did anyway.

Quite expectedly, the mainstream media was all nothing to see here, as they mostly dutifully sold the Mayor Pete Wins! narrative, with The Washington Post going as far as to suggest that everybody should just forget the sorry spectacle. Considerate Pepes would kindly dispense advice to Berniebros on seeking medical attention if their election lasted for more than four days, and not to get too hung up on size. Thankfully, the uncertainty wouldn't last too much longer, as CNN stuck their head out and declared TRUMP the winner of the Iowa Democratic caucuses - quickly confirmed by The Week. This meant that the GOD-EMPEROR had won both the Republican and Democratic caucuses, surely an unprecedented achievement, yet surely only a footnote in his burgeoning legend. In other news, all the Democratic hopefuls somehow lost, including Pelosi (as previously predicted), who wasn't even running! They should have plenty of time to get used to that feeling.


[To be continued...]



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Monday, Feb 03, 2020 - 21:13 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Geonotes (Part I)

This year's not letting up, folks! The dank news' flowing in thick and fast; the twin blows of Acquittal and Brexit were however arguably overshadowed by surprise Coronavirus, and we're not even talking about the chaos that will be the Democratic primaries (which seriously deserves a post devoted all to itself)


Washington D.C.


Rising media outlet The Babylon Bee slays it yet again
[N.B. There's rumours of friction with a jealous CNN, after the Bee earned Pulitzer plaudits with their comprehensive coverage of "Democrats Grasping At Straws To Impeach Trump Now Regret Banning Straws"]
(Source: babylonbee.com)


And what does a GOD-EMPEROR OF THE UNITED STATES have to do, to get wearisome domestic opponents off his back? Fresh off trolling the Iranian leadership, preserving life, initializing the Star Trek timeline and cranking the American economy yet higher with the glittering new USMCA trade agreement to boot, the guy can't catch a break from either the FAKE NEWS or the Dems, who were about to string him up for making a perfect phone call. Where is the justice in this world?

So, back to how it all started - supposed "Russian collusion" even before he was done getting elected in 2016; of course, if you think about it, has any major election not come under some degree of "foreign interference", given that any state actor proxy can simply fling Facebook or Google a few million to buy some ads, 'cause it's a free market?! But no, you had the previous POTUS siccing the FBI on the mere shadow of a pretext - moreover serving up invalid spy warrants. But GEOTUS got so totes cleared after two years of the witch hunt, so all's well, eh?

Thus GEOTUS got back to draining the swamp, with a focus on possible corruption in Ukraine - because if there's one thing those Democrats have always preached, it's that you have nothing to fear from an investigation if you're not guilty - but apparently a US$600k annual retainer for someone with no relevant experience wasn't worth an audit, not even when Daddy (and current Democrat frontrunner) boasted about - get this - withholding aid to get the investigating proscutor fired.

Say what you want about Nancy Pelosi, but she was probably a canny enough political operator to figure out how the impeachment process would likely go, especially when her eventually-submitted articles under Gal Qaeda pressure amounted to "unspecified high crimes" (seriously, what happened to Russia?); now, it should be noted that impeachment is a political process, not a judicial one, which means that one can entirely validly impeach a President for eating a ham sandwich, if they had a majority in the House of Representatives. Which the Democrats, as it happened, had.

Unfortunately, actually winning the trial required a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which they certainly didn't have.


And thus the age-old struggle of bat vs. bad continues
[N.B. Also, get in on the new rising Dolly Parton meme format!]
(Source: reddit.com)


Thus, Pelosi was stuck in something of a bind - she had the oh so urgent impeachment articles in hand, but to actually hand them over to the Senate would merely kickstart the process of total and irredeemable defeat. Her efforts at bargaining for concessions were doomed from the outset, given that the House had already dangerously abandoned past precedent by refusing the defendant his right to counsel, to summon witnesses and to cross-examination, in the initial sham hearings. Obviously, two could play at the same "technically valid" game. In Hitchens' immortal words, "that which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."

And thus, the final chapter of the utter farce began: Pelosi formally started the extremely sombre trial by handing out commemorative pens - engraved with her own name, no less. The Senate Majority Leader, who happened to Republican, then exercised his entirely valid right to give everyone their say. As for witnesses, it appeared that the Democrats were unwilling to allow the Bidens to appear (wise move, actually) in exchange for a disgruntled fired employee seeking book sales, all the more as their other star witness wasn't cleared to attend due to his ankle monitor from an ongoing indictment. His acquittal all but assured despite biased FAKE NEWS selective coverage, it was then the turn of the all-conquering GEOTUS to hand out his own USMCA souvenir pens, to keep those troll levels up.

It is unknown whether Pelosi recalled her pens.

That said, while Pelosi might sound slightly idiotic for not understanding the definition of "acquittal", she hasn't got as far as she has, without knowing how to raid the lemonade stand. Remember the holding-out on sending the impeachment articles over, with some clueless (or complicit) FAKE NEWS pundits positing that she had "gambled and lost" on the delay? No, siree, that lady's nothing if not calculating; the delay just so happened to push the trial into the pivotal Iowa caucus, which would leave Bernie tied up in the Capitol, while establishment favourites such as Biden and Buttigieg were free to campaign.

Well, neither she nor Bernie are likely to ultimately get what they want out of this, but that telling's for another day.


London


Sovereignty Reclaimed!
(Original source: r/the_donald)


The Brits can sure move fast when they want to, and after a complete blowout of Labour socialists in the general election (which might just yet again be a hint for how the situation in America's gonna unfold), they were officially out of the European Union, on the 31st of January. Flag recovered, hankies waved, Wikipedia page updated. It's done.

Definitely, there remains much furious shaking of fists by the globalist NPC set, but really, the many quite valid arguments in support have been given short shrift by the FAKE NEWS. Chief among them was probably the opposition to unfettered immigration, with the official line towards locals who were understandably unhappy at losing their jobs and otherwise being displaced by new arrivals being that they were racist or lazy. Moreover, there was the ever-present question of what the E.U. truly was - a benign trading bloc of independent equals, or some Frankenstein superstate bossed by unelected bureaucrats?

Now, I ain't gonna lie, Great Britain's hardly going to be fully independent, what with their Great American relations unlikely to be wholly equal (and indeed, the squeezing's started); however, as pointed out in our recent coverage here, the chances for a rather more compatible CANZUK-plus-US alliance are good, and what's a bit of chlorine in your chicken anyway, especially with that H5N1 bird flu again making its rounds?

But yeah, Big Ben's bonged, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle (who really got the short end of the stick with the tabloids) have decamped to Canada, and BoJo's right-hand man has put out a call for data scientists and other assorted boffins, as Great Britain enters a new Euro-less era. They'll be fine, probably, especially if the GOD-EMPEROR doesn't claim too much of their financial sector as tribute. I think he likes them, though.


Kobe


Black Mamba Over Black Mambas
(Original source: r/nextfuckinglevel)


I'll be frank, I'm not a super-super huge basketball fan (in fact, I sometimes wonder why I even stay up to watch United play nowadays; Bruno Fernandes looks promising tho) but Kobe Bryant was solidly in the pantheon of legit household names, where ignorance thereof - even in faraway China - marked a lack of cultural knowledge rather than respectable non-wonkdom. Additionally, he was just forty-one, so it was probably safe to say that nobody was even thinking of the possibility.

But well, things happen, so it's perhaps best to remember him for his undeniable virtues, such as his work ethic and level-headedness, and it was these that were eulogized by the foremost warrior-poet of our generation.


Houston

There are ends, and then there are re-beginnings, and yes, that's Edge coming out at #21 in the WWE Royal Rumble! I'm unsure how many imagined he would one day return, after having retired due to an injured neck in 2011, but damn if his entrance and theme song hasn't stood the test of time.


Tokyo

It all started when Ariana Grande got a tattoo in Japanese to commemorate her new single; the kanji would probably be interpreted as "seven wheels" in Mandarin, but those familiar with Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings classic would figure that 輪 can indeed mean "ring" in Japanese. Sadly, it seems that this particular combination more commonly means "small charcoal grill", and an attempt to fix the ambiguity apparently resulted in "Japanese BBQ finger".

Anyway, with the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo, I had to wonder whether they would try to work Musashi's magnum opus in somehow (five rings, geddit?), or whether they had done so the last time they hosted it. As it happens, there has been an initiative on anthropomorphising participating countries as (anime) samurai and such, with Singapore/Gokensui not looking too shabby there. Bio from Google Translate follows:

"He is a pacifist and sees everyone equally. I like super clean.

Basically silent, but occasionally mumbles overwhelming the surroundings.

He is also in charge of the nature of Masusei-an (ASEAN).

I was so happy that I pulled out the Holy Sword Merlion, and I started swinging on the spot and destroyed the city.

No matter what is going on, it's my own pace to go to bed at the same time as the sun goes down, and my habit is to be a captain who always challenges everything in front of me.
"


Eh, not sure if that "in charge" line's going to be well-received by our larger neighbours, but okay.



It was just one ring a decade ago, has inflation got this mad?


[To be continued...]



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Thursday, Jan 30, 2020 - 23:18 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Whose Year Is It?

Mr. Robo: Human, human! Mr. Ham is lying on the floor, and he is motionless!

Me: Yeah, well, he doesn't usually move. Here's a toothpick, poke him somewhere with it.

Mr. Robo: Oh. Alright then.

*Mr. Robo leaves. Distant yelp*

Me: Good morning, Mr. Ham.

Mr. Ham: You know, I'd be a lot angrier about this, if it weren't a very special day and year.

Me: Indeed; the Lunar New Year coincided with my birthday on the 25th, something that won't happen again until 2096; it may be a bit late, but I still appreciate the best wishes...

Mr. Ham: Uh, no, who cares about that? It's the Year of the Hamster, human! My year!

Me: Actually, it's the Year of the Rat, and when did you begin considering yourself one? Why, I distinctly remember you criticizing their long tails as an atavastic throwback...

Mr. Ham: Whoa, whoa, you sayin' I'm some kind of a bigot, are you, human? For shame! Why, I... hey, what are you doing?

Me: Um, scratching my head?

Mr. Ham: Yes, I can see that; but with your...

Me: My... hand?

Mr. Ham: Yes, hand - not your foot, like we all do?

Me: To begin with, I can't reach quite that far with it.

Mr. Ham: Oh my goodness, you're disabled! I am so, so, sorry! I never realized! Ah, and now you're reaching for the snacks?

Me: ...so?

Mr. Ham: You lot don't have built-in cheek pouches to store your food and other essentials? *retrieves bak kwa from mouth, to make point*

Me: Nope.

Mr. Ham: I mean, that's just, sad, man. But do not be overly despondent, human, although you are of an inferior species, we still like you fairly much.

Me: Gee, thanks, I suppose.

Mr. Ham: But our theology is irrefutable, human. It is clear that any Creator would favour the only uniquely flawless shape, the sacred geometry of the sphere, with all points equidistant from its centre.

Me: I see how that kind of makes some sense.

Mr. Ham: Of course it does, human. And the Creator thus started with a sphere, and then covered it with fur, because fur is soft and warm and nice to touch, and all was Good.

Me: Uh huh.

Mr. Ham: *without missing a beat* And then, the Creator placed eyes and ears and whiskers and mouth on the ball, and paws and feet, and unrolled it, and saw that it was extra Good. And this divine being was named the Hamster, and given dominion over the material world and all within it.

Me: Yes, theological reasoning tends to go this way.

Mr. Ham: Shush, human. And the Creator saw that His favoured species would need servants and friends, and therefore He then created the humans. Who were, it happens, gangly, obscenely hairless and frankly kinda ugly, but they were good at dispensing sunflower seeds and pets. See, human, it's not so bad! Your kind are Number Two in our reckoning, out of all the other birds and beasts of the Earth!

Me: ...I have absolutely no idea what to say, so I'm going to end this conversation right here.



Mr. Ham wishes all a prosperous Ham Year!




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Sunday, Jan 26, 2020 - 16:54 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

A Study In Memes

Alright, geopolitics' skipped for a bit, for some lighter stuff. Remember the Woman Yelling At Cat meme (dimensions now coming under restrictions in Germany, as they go full National Socialist) first featured here last November? It's only... grown since then. First, there's getting into the angpow game:


(Source: mustsharenews.com, reddit.com)


And in Ukiyo-e style (available as a pair!):


(Source: reddit.com)


But my favourite thus far is probably The Greatest Troll in The Three Kingdoms, starring 2010 Cao Cao as Cat (N.B. the tradition lives on to the present day, compare Merkel/Pelosi yelling at a Donald again):


(Source: reddit.com)




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Monday, Jan 13, 2020 - 00:13 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

A Reordered World

It's certainly been an eventful second week to 2020, eh? Allow us to work through it systematically, by sorting through the immediate aftermath of Great America's strike. As the world teetered on the edge of World War III, at least amongst the badly-informed Reddit set, there was a lot of wailing, gnashing of teeth and "Death To America"-ing from Iran, i.e. nothing at all out of the ordinary. The leadership however faced an inextricable quandary - they had to retaliate in some capacity to satisfy their constituents, but they also wanted to do it in such a way that they wouldn't be scheduled to explode in the same manner as their recently-departed general. You have to understand, Iran were up against a guy that wanted to nuke a fucking hurricane. Sure, they might be true believers in Allah and all, but this realization had to give them pause.

It didn't help that the assassinated general had been their top brain for just these kinds of situations, as the Iranian leadership flailed about between multiple very bad options, at one point threatening to attack Israel and Dubai (cue Dubai: "wtf buddy, I no do shit buddy wtf?"); anyway, they rationally settled for peppering an emptied U.S. base in Iraq (sadly, nobody seems to care about them at the moment) after being very careful to inform the Iraqis to tell the Americans to please go out back for a while, and falsely claiming 80 casualties where there were actually none (to the great disappointment of the Democrats), and claiming victory (pls no hit back pls)

Over to the diplomatic end. So, Iran's foreign minister went to the United Nations to complain... sorry, tried to go to the U.N., because the U.N. is located in New York, which is in America, who unfortunately had just run out of visas for Iranian officials (recall the observation on this blog last month that "perhaps the United Nations being based in New York actually means nothing, but I doubt it"). They then went to the Europeans, but were essentially told "Bad Iran, sit down, be quiet, behave, stop hitting yourself; why are you hitting yourself?" - seriously, read the official U.K./French/German and NATO statements, that didn't even dare to mention TRUMP or America, and tell me that's not what the gist of their message was.


Overview of the U.S.-Iran "tussle"
(Source: tvtropes.org)


But no, Iran weren't prepared to be pliable just yet, and the beating thereof self would continue until morale improved. The dearly-departed general's funeral would first take fifty-plus more of his own countrymen, and the news would soon come that an Ukrainian passenger airplane had just crashed near Tehran, reportedly containing another 82 Iranians, but also citizens of six other countries (mostly Canada). The initial insistence from Iran that it was due to "technical difficulties" would belatedly morph into "technically we hit the plane with a missile, so it had difficulties", as their propaganda efforts were crushed under the weight of incontrovertible video evidence (not applicable to Epstein, though), right as Rouhani tweeted about IR655. Latest updates have thousands of enraged Iranians spontaneously out on the streets demanding the Ayatollah's head due to the failed deception, cementing the GOD-EMPEROR's complete victory, though I'm unsure if the FAKE NEWS will present it as such.

This declaration of so much winning isn't just (warranted) trolling, either - consider GEOTUS's long-term objectives:

Objective Outcome
Withdraw from Iraq, and the Middle East in general Iraq now requesting America to leave, on their own initiative (don't be fooled by the current refusal, it's just a show since they can't be seen to depart on Iran's demand)
Not get into a new fruitless Middle Eastern war De-escalated after feeling bad watching Iran slap themselves, settled for scrambling 52 F-35 jets without bombing 52 sites
Involve the do-nothing Democrats Europeans in ensuring their own security NATO agrees to get off their butts and take a greater role in the Middle East (i.e. NATO+ME, coincidentally as Mediacorp hops onto the ME train in Singapore
Delegitimize the Iranian leadership, in support of regional allies Abovementioned Iranian protests against the Ayatollah and IRGC (eh, some props for at least accepting responsibility, unlike Russia)
Reduce Iranian military and asymmetric warfare acumen and assets Key commander removed, heavy sanctions piled on, a dozen Iranian missiles pounded sand ineffectually
Reassure the world (including hypocritical "allies") about Great America's willingness to deter opponents Red line drawn on American lives - recall, TRUMP had been very patient even after Iranian proxies got off with attacking tankers & Saudi oil fields, and assassinations in spineless Europe, but kill an American linguist? Yer ass is grass
Retain mastery over the memes of production Tweet for the first time in Farsi, immediately becomes the most liked Persian tweet in Twitter history


I continue to be constantly amazed, whenever the GOD-EMPEROR's achievements are objectively presented (unlike in the FAKE NEWS) - were Zhuge Liang to be reincarnated, would he even be comparable in terms of strategic genius? No, the reigning GEOTUS has already set a standard for presidents that most mortals won't be able to meet.

I mean, just try to reason clearly about the situation: honestly, why does Iran need to spam centrifuges for uranium enrichment? Scientific curiosity? Electrical power generation? It's one place where "do think think cheap oil for power plants just flows out of the ground?" can be answered with "Yes, yes it does"! Does anybody seriously believe that the mullahs turned to nuclear research because Greta Thunberg how-dared-them? Nah, the nuclear program was obviously a ransom, the JCPOA was being flouted anyhow, with France now admitting that Iran's perhaps a year from the bomb despite the agreement, which is exactly why GEOTUS wants it renegotiated before it's too late.

Of course, you wouldn't expect China to agree, given they're next in the firing line, but Europe being Europe and dithering even after attacks on their own soil is extremely disappointing, to say the least. However, consider the reality of the situation: previous traitorous efforts to bypass American sanctions on Iran by opening a financial backdoor (INSTEX) have proven largely useless (much like the current state of Europe, for that matter); the sad and bitter truth is that Europe simply can't save the existing Iran nuclear deal - if Great America wants the deal dead, it's dead (like Suleimani), because the other parties can't fulfil their side of the bargain under U.S. sanctions (now extended to any INSTEX users). While Europe are keeping a collective brave face for now, it should be remembered that BoJo had already called for a new TRUMP DEAL back last September, after strongly backing the initial strike and also now pursuing a "special relationship" with Hungary, as predicted in last week's outline of an Alliance of Greats. The world turns.


Maybe slightly disrespectful, but mostly very accurate
(Source: straitstimes.com)



Background: Europe

Some of my more prim and proper readers might be aghast here, at what appears to be outright bullying by Great America. What have Europe done to deserve this? About this, can I tell you a secret? The deep, dark hidden conspiracy behind NATO and the European Union? Let's begin with the history.

Not so long ago, there was this charming neighbourhood, which we'll call West Eurasia - plenty of pedigree, post-gentrified, you know the sort. It also happened to be a perpetual warzone that would make today's Middle East look like a kid's playground. The Holy Romans whacked the French, the French whacked the Holy Romans and themselves, the Brits whacked everyone, the Spanish and Dutch came home just to join in the whacking, numerous small states were birthed, struggled mightily, and expired, and in the middle of it all, the Swiss counted gold bars in their mountain bunkers - not a bad gig if you can get it.

Sometime in the middle of it all, one of Tommy's sons Sammy wisely moved out from this abusive environment, and settled over in the next street. He did pretty well for himself too, and when things got serious - and in this neighbourhood, serious means serious - Uncle Sam was able to wade back into the fray, crack a few heads to end the pub brawl, and retire to his own house because, frankly, why would anybody sensible want to get permanently entangled in that tribal crap? Anyway, Uncle Sam thought - quite reasonably - that he had done enough for his old mates for a bit, and after some quality alone time in which he smooched up some flapper girls and lost most of his savings in the stock market (but not to worry, he made most of it back), Uncle Sam would pop back to his old neighbourhood with pizza and beer to check up on how things were going...


WHAT THE EFF IS GOING ON HERE?!
(Source: community-sitcom.fandom.com)


So, it seemed that Uncle Jerry had gone on another of his berserk rages after one pilsner too many and decked Uncle Pierre as usual, that bloody Ivan had egged them on and scooted, Papa Tommy had tried to separate them but failed because he's not what he once was, and the various other usual suspects were lying around nursing conditions between broken limbs and vegetative comas. With a sigh, Uncle Sam clipped the still-squabbling Jerry and Pierre on the ears, and addressed them: "Look, Jerry, I've seen your browser history, I know you are into some sick shit, but you've gone too damn far this time. And Pierre, what have I told you about walls? You want to build a wall, you complete the job, and not leave a big stonking hole through the middle! And you lost again with a handicap?!"

Well, Pierre was still screaming about how he should be allowed to suckerpunch Jerry, but Uncle Sam was like "No, no, you two total fuck-ups, there will be no more of that while I'm here, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". And Uncle Sam got Pierre and Jerry and gang to hand over all their guns and other sharp objects, because they clearly couldn't be trusted to behave in an adult manner. Uncle Sam then realized that he had forgotten something, said "excuse me", went the next street down, nuked the Nipponese, came back, and was like where were we again? And peace returned to the land.

So, just to sidetrack a bit, Uncle Sam then went back to the Nipponese, who were all (inspired by Zeihan's telling) "alas, we have lost, we have dishonoured our ancestors, without raw materials our empire is finished, let half of us commit seppuku and the other half become your serfs"; and Uncle Sam was all, are you lot mental or what, look, let's make a deal - all you have to do is chant "Soviet bad, Commies bad", and we will help you import all the commodities you need, and protect you from the invading U.S.S.R & Communist China into the bargain. And the Nipponese were very confused, because they had never much liked the Russians or Chinese anyway, and they had to confirm whether they had mistakenly won the war instead.


When Great America friend-friend, prosper-prosper!
(Source: old-tokyo.info)


So, back to the present and the secret. Now, if you ask the layman about what NATO and the European Union are about, chances are that he'll say something about countering the Soviet Union (today, Russia) and stemming Communism and the like. Now, this is not wrong, just that if push comes to shove, I'd say that even the U.S.S.R at the peak of its powers was at most a secondary motivation for maintaining NATO and the E.U.

Yes, clever reader, the primary foe, the bête noire, of NATO and its European members has always been... themselves.


Paying A Fair Price

At the heart of the European alliance crisis, then, lies a very simple contradiction. GOD-EMPEROR TRUMP thinks that, as it stands, America contributes far more to Europe through NATO than it receives. Some of the Europeans, most prominently France and Germany, don't seem to think so. Honestly, the unvarnished truth is that TRUMP is correct, as usual.

Sure, if you read the wrong brand of FAKE NEWS, you'll find crazy articles such as "Why Europe hates TRUMP more than Iran", but let's get real here: Europe have been the beneficiary of an insanely-good deal for the past three decades or so, with America doing all the heavy military lifting. And, in return for America slogging it in the Middle East (which is geographically far closer to Europe than America, note), manning frozen outposts in the Arctic, and joining in their personal vendettas in Libya (where France and Italy were on opposing sides to boot), the Europeans have been so, so ungrateful.

You may know that kind of person; Pierre drops his kids over for baby-sitting every Friday, gets used to it, then one fine day you inform him that you won't be in, and he goes all side-eyed and spreads gossip about you; Jerry, pay his bar tab most every meet-up, forget your wallet one fine day, and he will self-righteously go on about how stingy and transactional you are, and how real friends don't make friends pay... wait, what? Have all these "world leaders" adopted Aladdin's Princess Jasmine as their professional role model?

No, none of this is going to fly under GEOTUS TRUMP. Recall, TRUMP is first and foremost a businessman. Unlike your run-of-the-mill no-skin-in-game socialist or civil service bureaucrat (but I repeat myself), TRUMP has an unparalleled nose for value, he knows who's getting the better end of a deal, and when it comes to NATO, it's definitely Europe. Now, through history, empires have almost always diverted wealth from its vassals to its core - think Rome, China, the bunga mas tribute from Malaysian states to Thailand, closer to home. Great America has been perhaps unique in how much of a discount they have given, which ties into TRUMP's consistent grand strategy. Recall the slogan, "Greedy for America", from the previous election? The Donald has a great memory, and frankly, he doesn't lie. Not about such.

Oh, some countries have been quicker on the uptake than others; South Korea, for example, understood how it was to be, and basically caved in their trade negotiations in 2018. They're now haggling over an additional US$5 billion to help support American forces in Seoul, which I consider still a tremendous bargain. Same for Japan, premier Shinzo Abe gifted TRUMP golden golf clubs and then very carefully lost to the GOD-EMPEROR over eighteen holes, and got off relatively easy. Saudi Arabia are coughing up the odd billion or so extra, and TRUMP should be ashamed because he's not giving the shop away for free?! The Europeans, in contrast, seem relatively naive after basement-dwelling and having chicken tendies served to them, and their piss jars removed on the regular, since 1946.


Return Of The Shitshow


*Verdun intensifies*
(Original source: bloomberg.com)


If any of those prim and proper readers yet remain, they might be horrified at the above assertions. But the Europeans are so cultured and civilized! Not like the warmongering Americans (which, actually, furthers the point about popular propaganda)! No, truly I tell you, perhaps these guys can get together for Eurovision contests and stuff, but consider that Europe has basically been fractured throughout its history. Take China - yes, it's fallen into chaos every century or two, but at the end, most everybody kowtows to the winning warlord and new Emperor, because they all acknowledge a shared culture. Not Europe. Without a beneficent force holding them together from outside (hint hint, Great America), there will be blood.

Just look at the French - see, I can appreciate a certain level of romance in a guy, but I still have to gasp at Macron proposing the expense of a full-fledged European army (led by yours truly, it goes without saying), when his own citizens are burning his own capital down every weekend because of not enough money. Faced with this, what does Fräulein Merkel do? Cozy up to Putin, of course (and this was going on well before the Iran situation, with Germany bent on importing gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from their "supposed enemy")! Can you now blame the Polish for waking up with a cold sweat at night, haunted by the ghosts of Molotov-Ribbentrop? Especially when polls have consistently affirmed that the majority of Germans aren't keen on defending NATO allies in the first place, not that they could if they wanted, while somehow, inexplicably, believing they can? Personally, there is a mad amount of delusion going on here.

Ok, fine, Germany's not gonna do shit, so Great America prepares to move their forces to Poland, and Poland very responsibly puts in a US$400 million order for American rocket launchers and tanks. Surely France and Germany would be happy at this contribution towards securing the Eastern front? Nope, "Europe is worried about Poland's plans to buy a large batch of tanks"! And wait, does this imply that Poland is not a part of Europe now (to be honest, when the FAKE NEWS says "Europe", they tend to mean "France & Germany, maaayybe Italy")?

Honestly, the way I see it, Europe has two outs:
  1. France & Germany continue with their puffery. Great America & Great Britain detach Poland, Hungary, essentially Europe's entire right flank. The Union immediately begins to crumble into more natural spheres of interest. The French leader suddenly gets visions of cavalry charges, starts rearming. The German leader reflexively goosesteps, orders Hugo Boss uniforms and armbands. Both eventually collapse under the arms race. GEOTUS wins

  2. France & Germany see the light. Cut a deal that more fairly reflects Great America's contributions to the cause. GEOTUS wins

Myself, I'd hope France & Germany see the light and save themselves a lot of pain, but I fear they have become too brainwashed by liberal propaganda to do so...

[To be continued...]



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Sunday, Jan 05, 2020 - 22:52 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

It Begins With A Bang!


A Pentagon drone operator queries the GOD-EMPEROR
(Source: Lucifer #30)


Well, it was never gonna be a boring decade, was it? The New Year fireworks were barely done with, when GEOTUS kindly donated an impromptu display at Baghdad's international airport, for Iran's Number Two in-charge; dazzling drone shows have been all the rage in recent years, after all, and after Shanghai put up a slightly-fake exhibition, surely TRUMP's Middle Eastern friends couldn't be left out? A very unfortunate mishap however resulted in the sad demise of the Quds Force (i.e. Iranian CIA) commander, coincidentally together with the leader of the Iraqi militia responsible for the breach of etiquette at the U.S. embassy. The Golden Don sends his regards.


The Realities of International Law

The Ayatollah doesn't seem to be taking the accident very well, but before proceeding, it may be instructive to delve into the build-up to the event:


Never missing an opportunity to troll, bluff called!
[N.B. Also: tweet shit, get hit (guy has loooong memories)]


Like it or not, there's something about Great America's style. Recall Putin playing coy about whether they employed polonium-tipped umbrellas to deal with dissidents abroad, with Russia never quite admitting responsibility? Nope, Great America under GEOTUS doesn't skulk around, no sirree; they'll simply guide a care package down the ass of whoever they don't like, then raise their hand, stand up, and declare that yes, they did that, and would do it again - and what are you gonna do about it?

Indeed, what is Iran going to do about it? The online experts over at the geopolitics subreddit have considered Iran's options in some depth, and the broad consensus appears to be:
  • If Khamenei and company are logical - which we might find out soon enough - they'd see that they can't really win a conventional war; sure, they could try to make it a Vietnam-type guerrilla quagmire, but the odds of the existing regime surviving... ain't good. It should be understood that the Islamic theocracy in charge isn't that widely popular at all, and surely the Ayatollah can't have missed the ignominious fates that awaited his fellows that had pushed the faith, and their luck, a tad too far: Saddam (hanged), Gaddafi (too horrible to contemplate)

  • There's proceeding with the nuclear programme - either openly or covertly - but despite common opinions on nuclear deterrence with respect to North Korea, it might not be applicable to Iran. Note, they're smack-dab in the centre of the most crazy and fanatical plot of real estate on God's green earth, next door to a certain jumpy state known as Israel. Recall when Iraq bought a nuclear reactor from France, back in 1976? Yea, Israel blew it up. If anyone believes they'll sit idly by as Iran gains the bomb, whatever Macron or Merkel or TRUMP HIMSELF says, I think they might be sorely mistaken...

  • They could close the Strait of Hormuz while prosecuting a new Tanker War, and/or escalate attacks on Saudi oil refineries (somewhat lower-risk since America is advising its nationals to leave the region), though neither really hurts the U.S., which is now a net oil exporter, or at least very close to it. This would however piss off a host of countries that do depend on oil imports, and raise the odds of support for some good ol' coalition action

  • There's going directly for Israel, instead of Saudi Arabia, but yeah, instant full-blown conventional war

  • Going further into irregular warfare, there's arranging a 9/11-type attack on American soil, but frankly, this is essentially a national-scale suicide bombing. I don't see any American politician, Republican, Democrat or Bernie, who can be for anything other than immediate all-out vengeance, were this to happen with Iran claiming responsibility (note that even now, leading Democrats have broadly agreed that Soleimani was a baddie who deserved to be offed - just not at the moment). It's slightly iffier if a proxy terrorist group did the dirty, but it would remain an existential risk for the Iranians

  • Eh, there's always cyber attacks, but it's not like everybody doesn't do it already. Kinda a weak response, "like Obama after Benghazi"; indeed, GEOTUS has pledged to strike 52 Iranian sites if Iran retaliates, one for each American hostage taken in 1979, because he understands the power of symbolism, unlike previous weak U.S. POTUSes that brought further pain by soft responses (recall the great LKY fearlessly disrespecting Carter for his lack of backbone then: "My name is Jimmy Carter, I'm a peanut farmer, I'm running for president. The next thing you know, he was the president!")

  • And finally, there's recourse to international law, by appealing to The International Court of Justice at The Hague - which is what Iran has indeed begun to pursue

It should be reiterated here, by the way, that Great America's standing doctrine with regards to the International Court of Justice is to invade it, were it to have the gall to try American citizens (passed Congress with a Democrat majority vote, no less). So, back to the question posed last month on "rule of international law" - what do you think it amounts to, in practice? And before TRUMP gets raged on, it might be respectfully pointed out that the previous POTUS bombed a charity hospital in Afghanistan, perhaps the first occurrence of a Nobel Peace Prize laeurate bombing another Peace Prize laeurate, and got away with an "oops my bad". Let's be honest: "rules-based global order" is an illusion, a useful fiction, when there is no threat to the reigning hegemony. As seen throughout history, it goes out of the window when A New Challenger Appears, as observed with the WTO effectively being abandoned given that it no longer serves its intended purpose properly (well, we did try by pledging not to use "developing country" rules, but too bad)


The New Axis Of Evillll *ba dum*

You know how popular rock bands tend to get reformed, possibly with new members, once the money runs low? Hold on to your hats, boys, the iconic Axis of Evil is making a comeback! Originally formed way back in the 1930s by madlads Germany, Italy and Japan, it took the world by storm for a decade or so, before burning out and only getting resurrected in 2002 by a trio of dashing new rogues, who put a new spin on the theme. Former leader Iran's raring to go, but with Iraq incapacitated from a couple of freak "falls", and North Korea in rehab thanks to supportive pals, new members were required. And have Iran got some seriously big names into the refreshed lineup:


Industry observers predict an *explosive* debut
(Source: zerohedge.com)


Yes, that's China, Russia and Iran conducting a joint naval exercise just last week, from the Taiwan Strait to the Sea of Oman, culminating in a naval war drill - right on the heels of NATO confirming China as a "challenge" alongside Russia. Really, it shouldn't be too hard to realise what's developing, what with Great America continuing the full-spectrum decoupling by limiting exports of A.I. software, starting Monday.

First off, it should be noted that this grouping is basically reactive, defined as it is by being America and allies' not-very-friends. Honestly, do China, Russia and Iran have much if anything in common otherwise? Russia for one is likely to still be nursing not-too-distant memories of getting backstabbed by Comrade China via their American tag-team, though geopolitical necessities have certainly made far stranger bedfellows.

Anyhow, it's only natural for Iran to try and tap China and Russia, under the age-old adage of "enemy of my enemy is my friend"; problem for Iran is, I really can't see either China or Russia joining in with actual military assistance. Sure, they'll be happy to sell Iran all the weapons they can afford (which isn't much, nowadays), but if it goes tits up for real in Tehran, it's far easier to imagine Putin waving and shouting while using the distraction as cover to reintegrate some former Soviet territory.


Cleaning Out The Friend List


This one sparks joy
(Original source: independent.co.uk)


While elements of the establishment FAKE NEWS are attempting to sell the lie that GEOTUS has little support on this bold action (much as the desperate "impeachment" gambit has instead contributed to his approval ratings reaching a three-year high), in particular that this threatens relations with America's traditional European allies, the reality is rather more subtle; GEOTUS is probably simply just scrolling through his Facebook contact list and confirming who's Great America's true allies, and who are just "allies", before the shit goes down.

Because, let us try to view this objectively from GEOTUS's perspective for once - you have a bunch of hangers-on, who are more than happy to call themselves your friends; which is alright, I suppose, big men naturally attract an entourage. In return, Great America broadly upholds the system that sustains them all: stupidly-expensive aircraft carriers that keep the sea lanes open and international trade flowing, drones and soldiers to nip terrorists and criminals in the bud upon request (for some reason, the FAKE NEWS doesn't like to remind the general populace about how a cartel openly slaughtered government troops in the failed state of Mexico, and forced the no-wall government to submit, proving TRUMP, alas, right yet again), medical innovations subsidized by the American taxpayer...

So, now picture GEOTUS going to his "friends", and informing them that in view of Great America's many intangible benefits, they might lower their tariffs (which were generally far higher in aggregate than America's to begin with, which is again very seldom emphasized by the FAKE NEWS). His "friends", however, refused, and then had the cheek to complain when he merely gave them a taste of their own medicine! The logic goes as follows: these people aren't real friends, because they have no intention to reciprocate transparently; they are however too proud to be subordinates, because they have their own interests. Instead, they plan to free-load and run up the tab, by offering nebulous "soft influence" that is no influence at all.

What then is the civilized response? For Great America to politely walk away where they're not appreciated, obviously.


A Comment On Reliability

Certain misunderstandings about TRUMP should be cleared up, before continuing. It has become standard practice in the FAKE NEWS to describe him as "unpredictable" and "unreliable". This is far from the truth, as analyzed here in 2017: "President TRUMP is one of that rarest and most precious class of men - a man of his word". He has not wavered from his major electoral pledges: Build a wall, well in progress. Confront China (a consistent stand from the 1980s), trade war plus decoupling, baby. End illegal immigration, lowest numbers in a decade. Middle class jobs and tax relief, lowest unemployment since 1969, highest stock market ever. Repeal all previous unconstitutional executive actions, Obama cancelled. Clean up corruption in Washington, Bidens (very rightly) investigated, only to be held up by a House of Representatives coup.

From all this evidence, it might be reasonably surmised that: if TRUMP says that he is going to do something towards a major policy direction, he will do it, whatever other politicos think (details are flexible, though). This is diametrically opposed to establishment/deep state politicians, who will promise changes, but revert back to usual business at the first opportunity. The man, you see, has the same aura as LKY, as we have explained.

The GOD-EMPEROR subscribes to the same tenets: "...if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul-de-sac... If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no other way you can govern!" Thus, all the games of chicken, but as also noted, it's a rather rational game when you own the most massive vehicle (i.e. the metaphorical TRUMP TRAIN). Sure, China has maybe an unloaded eighteen-wheeler, Russia a vintage ZIS-5, Iran a second-hand Chevy, North Korea a looted Volvo and France a Renault Zoe (but GEOTUS wouldn't do it, because they're still friends, kinda), but do you think any of them are actually eager to see the game of chicken out to its extremely predictable conclusion?

No, the GOD-EMPEROR is one of the most reliable guys on Earth: flatter him, go along with him on his very reasonable demands (e.g. drop European tariffs, don't cross borders illegally, don't attack U.S. embassies), and he will be your true and loyal friend. Oppose him, and he will consistently tit-for-tat (e.g. in the Chinese trade war; tit-for-tat is by the way a proven winner's strategy), he'll never ever back down, and always, forever, hit back harder. In all his interactions and negotiations since taking office, whether domestically with the Democrats, with so-called allies, or the likes of the new Axis of Evil, I have yet to observe the GOD-EMPEROR wavering from his core beliefs - this most fundamental of principles.


Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku captures his soul perfectly
[N.B. Even the famously-nationalistic mangakas had to respect TRUMP, unlike for example Hillary, Bush II or Sarkozy, because they recognize real men]
(Source: mangakakalot.com)


No, all the ivory tower political analysts have badly misread this lion of a man, when they slammed him for not involving "allies" such as France and Germany in his economic smackdown of China. TRUMP's attitude towards adversaries has been unchanged throughout his life: either they bend the knee, or they are defeated and broken. 2016 saw the entire Republican party bend the knee, with some of his most bitter rivals such as Ted Cruz having entirely converted to TRUMP's cause; the Democrats were, of course, defeated. Well, Great Britain's well on the way to bending it (though he wouldn't frame it that way, because it would be slightly crass); France, Germany, China and Russia are simply next in line to kiss the ring because, as explained above, all Great America needs to know is where they stand - do they accept U.S. hegemony and world order, or not? Declaring either way is fine - only the consequences differ.


The Greatest Alliance

While the mainstream FAKE NEWS might pounce on this as some diplomatic failure, most signs are instead merely pointing to a realignment (recall when we accurately called the American domestic political realignment, back in 2016), the creation of a new and better European alliance for Great America. The playbook is exceedingly straightforward - with Great Britain's exit from the failing European Union, the stage is set for an expanded emphasis on the major Anglophone nations - The U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand; their relative intimacy is already underlined by the longstanding Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which self-important continental wannabes such as France and Germany are not privy to.

The next developments are quite easy to imagine. The rising Alliance of Greats will find more than a few willing applications, chief among them Great Hungary and Great Poland, who have had it up to there with Merkel's liberal immigration policies, but not unlikely also Great Italy and various Scandinavian and minor Eastern European states, because they're on the frontlines against Russia, and know who has the better record of sending boots on the ground when shit happens. While this doesn't necessarily spell the end of the E.U. or NATO, it will definitely raise scrutiny as to what France & Germany actually bring to the table, other than siphoning riches from the common currency.

Before FAKE NEWS establishment commentators splutter that this undermining of the E.U. and NATO is irresponsible, it might be noted that overt security measures against designated foe Russia is most appropriately enforced on the eastern border (i.e. mostly Poland & Hungary), unless France wants to admit that they view those countries mainly as useful speedbumps, as was the case in previous World Wars. And lest deluded globalists view France as some sort of responsible unity figure, it should be remembered that France withdrew from NATO in 1966, and only rejoined in 2009, long after the Soviet Union had crumbled (this fact is also, for some reason, almost never mentioned by the misleading FAKE NEWS in contemporary commentary on NATO, though Macron has already hinted at another break)

No, France is merely reviving old Napoleonic/Gaullic fever dreams of re-establishing themselves as the preeminent European power by leading their own army, as Germany understands only too well - against this backdrop, joining the fold of Great America/Great Britain must seem quite palatable, especially given that Great America/Great Britain by themselves consititute a bigger trade bloc than the entire European Union (Italy's already being openly courted, by the way); all it takes is a couple more dominoes to fall. Here, we must mention the incomparable wisdom of the great LKY, who foretold the doom of the European Union back in 2012 (like him or not, he tends to be very accurate on such matters), with NATO possibly going the way of SEATO. Fortunately, the GOD-EMPEROR will forge something stronger and more lasting from the ashes.


High and mighty alone we are kings
Whirlwinds of fire we ride
Providence brought us the crown and the ring
Covered with blood and our pride


[To be continued...]



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