Category Archives: Uncategorized

LIV Golf and the Saudis: Sportswashing

I’m not a golfer and could care less whether LIV golf is successful. But I do think we should understand the motivation of the Saudi government sponsor. In the case of LIV, the Saudis are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to buy, I’m told, top golfers and to sponsor golf tournaments. Yes, the same government involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Turkey is bringing us LIV. (a bit ironic to say the least)

“Saudi officials said the journalist was killed in a “rogue operation” by a team of agents sent to persuade him to return to the kingdom, while Turkish officials said the agents acted on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi government.”

Now, just a few years later the oil-wealthy Saudi’s are attempting to distract the world from it’s past by sponsoring sports events, and golf is not their only target.

Saudi Arabia has proved to be an alluring hub for sports events over the past few years, having signed a 10-year, $650m deal for a Formula One motor racing event, having invested millions in a Saudi International golf event, and hosted some of the biggest boxing showdowns in recent memory. The kingdom has also hired the Boston Consulting Group to help lobby its interest in hosting a World Cup event in the not-so-distant future.”

But the assassination of Khashoggi was not an isolated killing for the Saudis. It’s more the tip of an iceberg of killings and disappearances within Saudi Arabia.

Medicynical Note: it’s depressing. Sports icons such as Messi and Ronaldo and the prominent golf pros sell themselves and participate in events sponsored by an amoral and murderous regime. We watch and participate. We think nothing of going to the World Cup in Russia or Qatar. If we have no conscience we might even watch an obscure LIV golf event. We watch as the icons of world sport sell themselves and while they’re playing, people die.

COVID: The Vaccine Works

In case you wondered:

Unvaccinated have 6 times the risk of dying if they contract COVID

Medicynical Note: The vaccine may decrease your chance of contracting COVID and does decrease your risk of death.

De-regulation’s Consequence— Arizona’s Water

When deregulation allows the payments to legislators and judges in various forms, and sale of literally everything including resources such as water,problems follow. (Psst, bribery everywhere else in the world)

“Arizona’s water is running worryingly low. Amid the worst drought in more than a millennium, which has left communities across the state with barren wells, the state is depleting what remains of its precious groundwater. Much of it goes to private companies nearly free, including Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy company.”

Medicynical Note: Over the years a segment of our country influenced by greed and a form of I’ll-conceived idealism became convinced that privatization would lead to efficiency and cost savings. After all, in capitalism, competition forces all players to compete and be ruthlessly efficient.

As we’ve watched this fantasy play out over the last 40 years (since Reagan) it’s fallacies have become obvious. We forgot that unstated goal of capitalists is not competition but monopoly. When services are privatized and unregulated, profits become more important than services. Short term revenue generation to stockholders takes precedence over the quality of outcomes, sustainability, or the well being of a local population or individual.

This thinking has led us to become an armed camp influenced by the NRA and gun manufacturers; a country in which health care is unaffordable and whose prices increase yearly by multiples of the inflation; a country in which resources are sold off to the highest bidder; and a country in which our legislators and judges are legally influenced by payments (made legal by those same judges).

Arizona is just one example.

Catholicism: No Shame

As they have done in the past these folks seem unable to show contrition. To them it appears to be simply a matter of saying they have sinned and all is forgiven.

Medicynical note: As an organization the Catholic Church has harbored more abusers of women and children than almost any other currently active organization. It would seem to lack credibly on moral issues.

This is not just ancient history. During WWII while there were heroic individuals, the church seemed to tolerate Nazis and ignored the holocaust both in Italy and elsewhere. Later in the 20th century they aided and abetted atrocities against indigenous peoples on almost every continent (not Antarctica), they shielded abusive priests in the U.S., and to their everlasting shame participated in the atrocities of the dictators in Argentina, Chile and Franco’s Spain.

Now while still paying off previous victims they offer advice on morality.

Addendum: And this on November 18 2022. Our Supreme Court is dominated by this group’s “theology.” Unbelievable.

More Guns=More Gun Deaths

This time it’s two policemen who were shot. The U.S. leads industrialized nations in this statistic as well. The US leads the industrialized world in literally every reportable gun death statistic. A dubious distinction.

Medicynical Note: Once an idyllic place with the highest standard of living and overall great satisfaction with the quality of life (unless of course you were African-American or indigent). The U.S. with it’s “conservative” values has become a country of increasing income disparity, guns everywhere, mediocre health care (we lead the world in COVID deaths), systemic racism, white angst, and gun deaths. Not a pretty picture.

We owe this to Vladimir Putin, one of the worst Supreme Courts in history, a congress increasingly manned by incompetents and a clueless citizenry. We’re in a national libertarian/conservative/faux religionist downward spiral to who knows what.

Guns….My Morning Reads

Medicynical Note: The other fatal epidemic in America. Guns terrify everyone and in the U.S. they are everywhere. A uniquely American problem (we lead the world in ownership and deaths) in a once civil society that absurdly maintains that it values life.

It should also be noted that in the other epidemic the U.S. also leads the world in deaths. What the hell is wrong with us?

Religionists Can’t Resist : Hindu vs Christian

There is something about the preschool level “mine is better” than yours fundamentalist religion mentality that brings out the worst in man.

“To many Hindu extremists, the attacks are justified — a means of preventing religious conversions. To them, the possibility that some Indians, even a relatively small number, would reject Hinduism for Christianity is a threat to their dream of turning India into a pure Hindu nation. Many Christians have become so frightened that they try to pass as Hindu to protect themselves.”

In this case it is Hindus suppressing Christians living in their midst. Under Modi religious myopia has been been reinvigorated and been more the rule than the exception.

In this behavior India is not unique. Throughout the world religion the so-called force for “good” is the rational for supression and persecution of followers of other beliefs. Most religions, except perhaps for Quakers and the Baha’ and a few others, seem unable to resist attacking and discouraging others. That appears to be their nature.

Medicynical Note: And yes the U.S. that “paragon” of virtue in the world also suffers from religious sourced anarchy. The notion of separation of Church and State protected us from religious hegemony for 250 years. But now there are U.S. religious fundamentalists who maintain that their beliefs should be supreme and that government should be based on often ridiculous, highly ambiguous, vague, and medieval biblical interpretations.

Israel’s Absurdity

No irony and no mulligans in the world of nuclear armaments.

But former Israel security officials are increasingly critical of the role Netanyahu played in opposing the original agreement and urging Trump to abandon it. These officials say the accord was imperfect but that the alternative has been worse.”

“This approach enabled “Iran to accumulate a lot more material, work on advanced centrifuges, and maybe other things that we don’t know about, all which brought Iran closer than ever before” to acquiring a nuclear bomb, said Yoel Guzansky, former head of the Iran desk at Israel’s National Security Council and a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). “The nuclear deal was flawed, but at least it put a lid on Iran’s advancement, which we don’t have now.”’

Medicynical Note: The only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons accuses Iran of nuclear blackmail for trying to develop it’s own nuclear weapon (denied by Iran).

The shadow world of Middle Eastern intrigue reveals an incompetence a little like MAD Magazine’s spy against spy feature…….except that we are talking real people and real lives at risk.

Guess Who Pays for COVID Vaccine— Not Elon!

Elon Musk is famous for being one of the wealthiest people in the world. He’s also famous for his tax avoidance. He recently sold out his California interests and home and moved to Texas just so he could avoid paying taxes in California.

“Musk is not exactly gracious in victory. He recently harassed (on Twitter, of course) the head of the United Nations food program, after the official suggested that billionaires devote some of their resources toward ending worldwide hunger. When Wyden posted that whether billionaires should pay taxes isn’t policy that should be determined by a Twitter poll, Musk’s vulgar response was so inappropriate The Post won’t print it and I won’t link to it here.”

So it comes as no surprise that as we consider who is paying for the COVID vaccine and the hospitalizations of COVID paitents that Elon has not stepped up to help pay for this burden. Just you and me folks.

Religion: I’ve Never Understood….. Superstition

Religious beliefs conflicting with civil society is a constant issue in today’s Supreme Court mediated America. This court has found that guns everywhere is a desirable part of society; created unequal citizenship rights favoring the wealthy and corporations; and endorsed the supremity of religious belief over rationality as the controlling force in American life. I don’t get it.

Sure, in broad strokes religious belief creates cliques (closed clubs if you will) in society that mutually support each other; it offers a set of rules for life, many based on common sense, but also many solely on medieval beliefs and ‘thou shaltism”, not rationality. I’ll never understand why.

Medicynical Note: In the case of Maplewood (I once liver there) I have no idea if there was a significant transgression of “rights” but am more concerned by the global somewhat disproportionate response to what appears to be at worst a very minor “transgression”.

Where I end up is that we are forced to tolerate religious idiosyncrasies such as the Hijab but we really don’t have to adopt the beliefs behind them…… More here https://scottaaronson.blog/?p=6088