I just received ballot for primary elections. Now, time to do a bit of “research” into the background of the candidates as well as the election system in general. Truth is of course that primaries are given far less attention by the media (I sure hope I’m correct on this one) than the final election pitting Democrat vs Republican. Enough that I’ve also paid scant attention to it so far. I haven’t found American politics all that interesting, but that may change. In any case, I found myself looking briefly at the backgrounds of superdelegates of the Democratic and Republican National Committees.
There was also that I read a bit more about the background of Ron Unz, whose site I comment on now, who actually won 30+% of the votes in the California Republican gubernatorial primary back in 1994, as a 32 year old financial software entrepreneur. The winner of that got 60+% of the votes, so he wasn’t exactly close, but regardless, 30+% of the votes means you were actually taken seriously. Not bad for a smart as fuck Jewish weirdo who studied theoretical physics, who, according to this article, was still eating half his meals at Burger King despite being a multimillionaire at age 37. I don’t think he married or had kids. Maybe because he only saw his father, an EE professor, three times in his life, and was afraid that he would end up like that too, who knows. What can I say, his maverick, non-conformist streak certainly has relation to such a background, for reasons of both genes and environment. Honestly, I can’t believe a guy like him managed to be as successful as he was in the game of American politics, which, as far as I can tell, tends to select inverse to merit, past a certain, not terribly high filter at least.
There is much criticism over the election system in America, obviously, especially with regard to the electoral college, which one can think of as a layer of indirection in the voting process. Think of them as virtual votes, which correspond to electors apportioned based on state population (via number of House of Representatives plus two Senators). They actually correspond bijectively to the members of Congress of each state but are not those. They are nominated by the political parties per state, and they vote for the representative of their party in the presidential election, with the exception of cases of faithless electors. There were quite a few in the controversial 2016 election. The one who stood out most was a Native American who instead of voting for Hillary Clinton voted for some Native American activist. On that note, that other smart and weird as fuck Jewish Ron who studied theoretical physics is Ron Maimon, and he once spoke of America as a culturally rotten nation founded on white supremacy and dispossession. This is what I was reminded of when I learned of that faithless elector.
Of course, what’s been the most controversial about the 2016 election is alleged Russian interference. Just a few days ago, there was quite some media backlash there with regard to Trump’s denying it in his summit with Putin in Helsinki, to the extent that Trump was pressured to publicly take back his statement, framing it as an accident of word. I learned of this incident after I started seeing these Facebook posts on Putin/Russia, and I was like, huh, what just happened.
As for Russian interference, they say, among many other things, that Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee computer network. I would believe that is real. I guess Russian government is doing that for revenge against Ukraine. Reading Andrei Martynov’s book reminded me of the Ukraine coup back in 2013-14 and consequent sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea. It seems like Russia has pretty much lost hope in trying to make peace with the United States and is going direct confrontational now. I guess Russia might also want revenge for their banning from the Winter Olympics earlier this year for doping, which many there believe was pressured and manipulated by the US.
There were also Russian internet trolls, on Twitter and Facebook especially. I hate to say it, but that’s part of the game of manipulating public opinion. In the US there are these election campaigners who essentially play it professionally. The only way to fend this off would be to have these sites block Russian IP addresses, which I’m sure these sites would be very reluctant to do, as it would mean loss of business for them. Again, the conflict between private interest and “national interest.” Of course, this won’t stop Russians from using proxies in the US to do the same, just as the Great Firewall of China doesn’t stop people from bypassing it via VPNs. There are, I’m sure, companies in the US acting as covers for Russian intelligence activity. Those would be difficult to eliminate, unless America chooses to go full anti-Russian domestically, meaning that the smart Russians with a lot to contribute will come here less and less, and instead make Russia better at home. In any case, Russia has succeeded in undermining public faith in America’s democratic process. My question now is when will the American public wake up and realize that “democratic” is a meaningless political buzzword with a positive connotation artificially manufactured and promoted by the US mass media?
In any case, this shows that Russia is still really politically formidable, *in spite* of her big fall in the 90s. At the core, Russia is still the world’s number two. It’s not China, which I don’t think could have interfered in a US presidential election enough to get as much blame for it even if she really wanted to. Of course, this has to do with that Russians are physically and culturally much closer to the US than China, making it easier for them to blend in when necessary. There is also that Russia is still more technologically advanced than China. Even in computer security, Russia has Kaspersky. Nginx, a real rival of Apache, was created by a Russian in Russia. What does China have there? No web server from there that I know of. In anti-virus, I know of Qihoo 360, but I would not bet on them vs Kaspersky. On this, I’ve written the following:
China is still way behind
Buys its best military gear from Russia. S-400 surface-to-air missile system. Su-35 fighter jet along with Russian engines for its own planes because its own aren’t good enough. Its Comac C919 passenger plane is taking longer than it should, and it’s collaborating with Russia on a better one (CR929). Still not self-sufficient in CPUs/semiconductors. Russian military technology may well be the best in the world now: https://www.unz.com/tsaker/book-review-losing-military-supremacy-the-myopia-of-american-strategic-planning-by-andrei-martyanov/. China is still junior partner just like back in the 50s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg8Zd-IPHYg.
On the plus side, China has mostly completed its Beidou satellite navigation system (though Russia’s GLONASS still came first), and it’s being incorporated into Chinese defense industry and tech companies. Baidu Maps probably uses it now.
It’s not just technology of course. It’s also the political posture, though surely, that part is hard if you don’t have really strong indigenous military technology to back it up. In that respect, everybody else is still << United States and Russia. And maybe Martyanov is right that there, as far as quality is concerned, we are having Russia > United States. Though perception wise, I don’t expect that for a while.