Indictment of Donald Trump

Punditry will shortly observe that the indictments make Trump virtually unelectable. Already anathema to independents, he becomes doubly anathema.  If Biden adopts a tough immigration policy, he may even peel off a few liberal  Republicans.

New York  is one of the few remaining states that use grand juries to return indictments. This makes it hard to blame the event on prosecutorial whimsy.

Republican messaging will be difficult:

  • Trump is not a disgrace to the party; he’s a credit.
  • Thank you for your service. We have to choose  an electable candidate.
  • DeSantis is the ideal Trump Mini-Me.

Perhaps it’s time to build that Trump Tower Moscow. I hear Ed Snowden is looking for some altitude with attitude.


Nashville Elementary School Shooting; The Mind Virus Spreads

(CNN) The latest on the Nashville elementary school shooting.

In  Highland Park Shooting; I had a Bad Feeling the Night Before, I wrote,

I had a bad feeling the night before. It wasn’t clairvoyance, insight, or prediction. In another time, it would be misplaced neuroticism. Now, strangely appropriate. A mind-virus, a meme, afflicts vulnerable young males, incubating in near silence like the rabies virus, fulminating to a state of calculated rage.

In Facebook, I wrote,

We begin with reality of the group mind, not as  the helpful superintelligence of (Wikipedia) collective consciousness, but of the atavistic human, the crowd run amok, the groupthink of hatred, of awakening the Beast in Five Million Years to Earth.…Facebook is a distributed computing entity with biologic and nonbiologic elements.

Facebook is a cyborg. Long anticipated by science fiction, the dystopian future has arrived.  Scores of movies had us choking on popcorn. Now that the rising waters of a dystopian future are soaking the carpet, our responses are loudly indignant, ineffectual, and trivial in comparison with the threat.

There is the mistaken confidence that as sentient, living beings, we cannot be seriously challenged by social media, “computer  programs”, AI or otherwise,  or combinations of ourselves with such entities. Crucially, we assume democracy will continue to thrive.

Though “mind virus” may seem a literary trope, Audrey Hale, murderer, was infected by such a virus. His access to guns enabled the deed, but the idea of murder with a gun was the proximal cause. This mind virus hijacked his free will, and disarmed his antibodies of social conscience. The disease vector, the entity which transmitted the virus to a new host, was social media.

The mind virus challenges the uniqueness of a package of DNA or  RNA which infects cells of a carbon based life form with malicious instructions.  The definition of life itself expands. Quoting (Wikipedia) Life,

Alternative definitions based on the notion of life as a phenomenon and a living individual have been proposed as continuum of a self-maintainable information, and a distinct element of this continuum, respectively. A major strength of this approach is that it defines life in terms of mathematics and physics, avoiding biological vocabulary…

This is also  a description of immaterial life. Computer viruses approach life as closely as nucleic acid viruses, which is to say, not quite. Both require physical systems to infect; living organisms or machines. The next morph is an immaterial virus that infects a victim verging on immateriality: the mind.

Though Audrey Hale was under the care of mental health professionals, mind viruses are resistant to treatment. Malaria and yellow fever are hard to treat; eradication of the disease vectors — mosquitoes, is paramount. A crucial difference with social media: No one advocates for mosquitoes.

Responses to mass shootings deplore the events, while failing to acknowledge the interconnections between events. “This has to stop” sounds like an argument; there is no arguing with a virus. Statisticians will discover that in the overwhelming majority of shootings, mass media  is accessory to the crime. In the minority which are not, indirect connection is likely. No one schemes in a vacuum. Social media  is killing people.

Unlike the nearly impossible eradication of mosquitoes, the social media disease vector can be mitigated by statute. Political will is absent. A very old saying predicts a dire future:

A house divided against itself cannot stand.









(CNN) Putin says Russia plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus

(CNN) Putin says Russia plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus.

For close similarity, see Russia to use Dirty Bombs in Ukraine?

Xi’s nuclear admonition may have been deprecated consequent to the lack of material support from China.

A warning to Vladimir Putin: What goes around comes around. See

Note to China re Russia; Dmitry Medvedev Threatens to Use Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine.





Putin, Xi, and the Mandate of Heaven

The past lives on in each of us, in what is known as culture. One such element, autocracy, had only occasional challenge  until revolutions of 1848. Vladimir Putin, in collaboration with the Russian Orthodox Church, has latched onto the divine right of kings.

With the demise of Communism  in China except in name, elements of Confucianism fill the ideological gap: good government, social harmony, work ethic, and respect for authority. Confucianism is not a religion; it is a system of thought with some vague religious elements, such as Tian, – Heaven.  This is Xi Jinping’s own cultural heritage from China’s past: a system of thought incomparably advanced compared to most Western manifestations, predating modern, that followed the Golden Age of Greece.

We  oppose authoritarian systems. Yet it is important for us to realize that they come in many  grades of quality. Some provide good government. Some start well, though they appear time limited. Some start well and end badly.  Some slip into monstrosity. Confucianism, which co-evolved with autocratic dynasties,  holds that a ruler is deposed when he has lost the Mandate of Heaven.

Xi was met at the airport in Moscow by the Minister of Tourism. He met with an obviously ill Putin, who used ambiguous language to reject his peace plan. Xi left early, skipping a last day of meetings. It is likely that in Xi’s cultural reference, Putin has lost the Mandate of Heaven. Accordingly, provision of military aid  would go against the will of Tian. Putin’s end is so ordained.

Many in the West are surprised by the outcome of this meeting. Some may anticipate Xi will prop up Putin to prevent Russia from entering the Western orbit. We should prepare  ourselves for further surprise. Xi may realize that to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.

The immediate post Putin period will not resemble the post-Soviet breakup, which featured profound ennui. It will be hyper-charged with violence among the elites. This may spread into the masses through those in the elite with followings, or the lower echelons of the security apparatus. A Terror will follow, a prolonged process that will result in fracturing, by the efforts of local authorities to keep the Terror out. It will end in exhaustion, but without the political evolution of rapprochement with the West. That may come later.

What Xi wants is described in Reply to China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang; (CNN) China’s new foreign minister warns of conflict with US, defends Russia ties It will be crucial for Xi to identify the moment to act.

At that moment, the Russian Federation’s sense of common identity will be superseded by multiple identities of small states without common purpose. The Russian nuclear deterrent will be void, except for Russia itself.

Economic unions  with the Asian remains of Russian Empire will be the first steps, followed by actual abrogation of the Unequal Treaties.




Reply to China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang; (CNN) China’s new foreign minister warns of conflict with US, defends Russia ties

(CNN) China’s new foreign minister warns of conflict with US, defends Russia ties. Quoting,

“Why does the US talk up respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity on the Ukraine issue, but does not respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity on the issue of Taiwan? Why does the US ask China not to provide weapons to Russia while keeps selling arms to Taiwan?” Qin said.

There are two classes of reason for “not”, harms and benefits. Harms:

  • Further erosion of the principle of national sovereignty.
  • Complicity in massive loss of life and possible genocide.
  • Europe would forever hate China. Despite recent trade blockages, there is much potential in the future.
  • Tipping the ground situation towards Russia would tempt use of nuclear weapons.
  • During the Brezhnev period, in 1969, the Soviets asked the U.S. for permission to conduct a nuclear first strike against China. We refused.   See (pdf) Department of State, Memorandum of  Conversation.
  • During the period of Putin’s rule when Russian foreign policy searched for partners in the West, we were asked to identify China as the common main enemy. We refused.
  • You fought the Sino-Soviet border war in 1969, preceded by the Sino-Soviet conflict of 1929.
  • A Russian victory in Ukraine would strengthen the hand of the militarist nationalists, who dislike China.

Benefits. In contrast to the conquest of a small rocky island full of truculent people, great benefits may accrue to China if Russia is defeated in Ukraine. It would disarm the ideological basis of Russian imperialism. A body of opinion holds that this would result in the disintegration of the multi ethnic federation into a purely Russian component surrounded by smaller states free to choose alignments.

This may happen literally or figuratively. In either case, it affords China the opportunity to extend its sphere of influence, and possibly, dominion.  At a minimum, the states of central Asia would seek Chinese protection against  the remnants of Russian imperialism.

Even  if a formal breakup does not occur immediately, the Russian far east would be vulnerable to the strategies so successfully used by China before the 16th century to manage the barbarian tribes of central Asia, to corrupt their wills with provision of luxuries. In modern terms, the Russian Federation, away from Moscow, can be uniquely bought. This has been the bedrock of Putin’s strategy to govern the otherwise ungovernable. It worked for Putin, and it can work for you.

This is your opportunity to rectify those Unequal Treaties which are still in force with Russia. Vladivostok was ceded by  by the Treaty of Airgun, forced on the Qing Dynasty in 1858. The flag of China can fly over Vladivostok. The mineral wealth of Siberia can be yours.

Unlike the small rocky island, devoid of natural resources and full  of truculent people, the event of the above would raise very few complaints.

See also CNN: Trump’s biggest nightmare? China and Russia’s new friendship Part 2 and Vladimir Putin, Child of History.