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956 Worldwide

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956 Worldwide last won the day on April 16

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  1. I honestly don’t know. This is a pain point that the Kremlin understands very well. There’s going to be some real pressure on central and Western Europe especially. In the medium term Putin, with control over his media, repressive instruments, no accountability and a population accustomed to hardship can buckle down. The West needs to be working to help Ukraine win NOW.
  2. It’s important to understand the constraints on Russia. It spends a comparatively large percent of GDP on its military, but that’s a GDP a bit smaller than New York state’s economy. Imagine the strain it would put on Albany to keep a degraded carrier afloat and rebuild a destroyed dry-dock while also trying to be a major air and land power in Eurasia. Also consider that the Kuznetsov is mostly a vanity item that is useful mostly to prove that they are a power projecting blue-water navy. It’s a smoke belching rust bucket that would be worse than useless against a peer competitor and is absolutely useless in the actual war that Russia is in and has been planning for. Then factor in persistent corruption and graft across the entire process. The state of the Kuznetsov speaks powerfully to what Russia actually can do as a major power.
  3. Carriers are not allowed in the Black Sea in any case (rather, they aren’t allowed through the Dardanelles or Bosporus). The Kuznetsov is mostly a loss simply because it’s not trying down any NATO assets to watch it.
  4. Right now there are about 500 Roma sleeping in Prague’s main train station. Many of them say they are Ukrainian and they present an issue for rehousing for the local authorities because Roma travel in large extended family groups (think 15 plus people) and local Czech emergency housing isn’t designed for big groups and the Roma families will not split up. Whats really interesting is that many if not most of them hold Hungarian passports. A chunk of them are Hungarian speaking Podcarpathian Ukrainian Roma. Orban handed out a bunch of Hungarian passports to “Hungarians abroad” and then paid them to vote Fidesz. A bunch more are just Hungarian Roma who got sent West and told they’d qualify for refugee benefits. The Czechs have tried to send Hungarian citizens to Budapest— as EU citizens of one nation, they are not eligible for welfare benefits in a different country— but the Hungarians won’t even let them off the trains. These are the people that American conservatives are in bed with.
  5. The food shortage is going to hit hardest in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Europe will be staring down another migrant wave like the one in 2015-16. This is really good for Putin, it will spark populist backlash and fracture Europe. You’ll have lots of voices arguing that the migrants are a far larger threat than Russia in Ukraine. This is going to be compounded by a struggling economy and inflation and it’s going to resonate. Putin is playing a really long game here.
  6. I should lay out why I think pushing or even making a “negotiated settlement” is inadvisable for us and the West strategically. - Food security and energy blackmail will be a demonstrated, proven weapon in Putin’s arsenal. We would need to expect that it will be deployed early and often in subsequent clashes as Putin will ALWAYS use weapons he believes works. It is far better to absorb the pain now and build systems that are not subject to Russian manipulation, THEN negotiate. - If we give the green light to push for concessions, wavering Allies in Europe will go further. They will seek to ease rising inflation by blaming Ukraine for not conceding enough. And they will use Ukraine’s failure to negotiate quickly enough as an excuse to unwind pressure on Russia. This is as much an exercise in keeping Europeans focused as it is an exercise in pressing Russia. It needs to be publicly unthinkable for responsible European leaders to suggest that Ukraine concede because the next logical step is “and if they don’t, they’re being unreasonable and we are justified in dealing with Russia.” - There is no reason to believe Putin would accept a negotiated settlement as a win he is satisfied with even in the short term. He failed in his primary aims and we should expect him to revisit those in the near future. The Russian experience in Chechnya is illustrative, the Russians got mauled in the first war, negotiated a settlement no one was happy with, then came back with a vengeance under Putin. Any agreement with Putin should be viewed as a pause in the war and it it’s conclusion. - Ukrainians do not want to surrender or concede and doing so will be a heavy blow for democratic governance in that nation. Whoever signs away Ukrainian land will be disgraced and whomever comes next a likely demagogue, irresponsible populist with a bone to pick with the West. We need to get it through our heads that selling out our friends to placate our enemies usually blows up in our faces.
  7. The Russians don’t really need to sink anything. Marine insurers and shippers are insisting that the ships in Ukraine stay there and won’t let new vessels try to run the blockade. I think it’s far more likely that the Russians would target port infrastructure and lay more mines as opposed to merchant shipping as such. I don’t think Putin would want the image of Russian forces actually sending a third country ship full of grain to the bottom while there are better ways of doing this. Rail is an option but again the Russians will target rail hubs and other key points. Russia has figured out that this particular issue is a real pain point for the West and will do whatever they can to maintain that pressure as invisibly as possible.
  8. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/20/mcconnell-ukraine-republican-isolationist-00034110 Keep connecting those dots, Mitch….you’re almost there on what needs to be done to make the GQP respectable…..
  9. The New York Times goes Chamberlain: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2022/05/19/opinion/america-ukraine-war-support.amp.html This is duplicitous language. There is an argument here but the NYT does not want to make it. They need to outline what the “difficult decision” is. “Ukraine should give up more of its territory and surrender its citizens to Russian occupiers who will torture and murder them.” And what kind of “relationship” with Russia does the NYT propose? “Vladimir Putin was right. His poor, frozen, oppressed nation can simply wait out democracies. It’s time to admit his strategy of sparking a food and energy crisis is a good one and it’s the way for him to get what he wants, now and in the future.”
  10. In the EV category, Elon’s most brilliant innovation wasn’t lithium-ion, it was packaging it. EVs till the Tesla Roadster provoked a collective sigh from anyone who wasn’t a committed environmentalist because they were packaged as ultra-efficient automotive hair shirts. Sacrifice for the environment. The roadster got you to sacrifice practicality and comfort and range for image and fun. No one gives a shit about the range of their two door sports car, it needs to be fast and fun and to look great. Turning the EV into an impractical exclusive toy gave it more cachet and market acceptance than any effort to make a practical commuter EV could have. I do think that Tesla is going to get its lunch eaten if they don’t get into PR and if they don’t work on quality control now that legacy automakers are diving into EVs feet first. I also think that Musk’s real money in the future is in StarLink and the space military industrial complex, which has China fuming and Space Command fully enamored.
  11. I read the ADL report where the chart comes from and will link below. A lot to think about and I haven’t fully formulated my thoughts. Scattershooting a bit: - Extremist related killings have been going down since 2016. Good news! In 2021, 17 murders nationwide were extremism related. 2013 and 2014 were really bad. Theory: Right wing extremists were frustrated at eight years of Obama and these were also pretty angry times when it came to GWOT issues. Perhaps right wingers especially cooled out a bit, ironically, when they believed their Orange Man was advancing their agenda. Stay tuned. - Before 1980, extremist related police officer killings were almost entirely a phenomenon of the political left. Since 2000, almost entirely the right. Fascinating. - ADL lists all killings BY extremists regardless of motive. In 2021, there were a number of killings by White Supremacist prison gang members of other gang members/criminal associates/people they knew. These gang members are obviously racist pieces of shit but I think we have to tackle this differently than political-motivated violence. I am unaware of any violent prison gangs open to white prisoners that are NOT ostensibly tied to supremacist ideologies, and so to me this is sort of “violent criminals are violent pieces of shit.” They pose a bigger threat to other white supremacist criminals and criminals of different races in prison than they do to civilians of different races. Obviously the existence of these groups is not OK, but you have very different motivations for joining and very different targets. - No domestic Islamist related murders in 2021. Nevertheless, 20 percent of all killings in a decade is significant and is even more so when considering that probably fewer than 2 percent of Americans are Muslim. - Basically, political and ideological violence in America in the 2010s is exclusively male and is almost entirely a feature of angry conservatives/MRAs/White Supremacists/Islamists. https://www.adl.org/media/15825/download
  12. Sweet beans are an abomination unto the Lord. Their sole virtue is they they are sticky and gloppy and won’t soak through or slide off a paper plate at a picnic or outside party. Peppery and savory, or just charro beans are superior with any form of barbecue.
  13. Some context is always lacking in Tweet news. Croatia is a parliamentary republic that more or less functions as such, their president is of a different bent that the parliament and government. It’s the parliament that approves the Finnish and NATO bids. They will almost certainly do so and the figurehead president can’t really stop it. He’s posturing for some local political points. Turkey remains the long pole in the tent.
  14. The fundamental tension at the heart of BTC is that if it ever ends up becoming what IV says it will (money), then the people who are HODLing will take a bath. Money is useful only if it its value remains relatively stable (either up or down). Money is useful when it is being spent and circulated. Simply— I don’t mind spending two bucks on a bunch of bananas. I feel pretty confident that when things are functioning normally, I can come back six months later and get about the same bananas for my two bucks. You want to have savings but in general it makes little sense to treat your dollars like an investment. If you’re a BTC bro, then every time you exchange even a bit of BTC for a good or service, then you’re doing a very foolish thing. In several months, I am assured, my BTC will be worth three or even five times as many bananas as it’s worth today. So I’m better off hanging onto as much BTC as I can and using the much maligned “fiat currency” as, you know, “actual money” to buy bananas or haircuts. The argument eats its own tail. BTC is a great investment because it’s allegedly the future of money but the moment it becomes a good substitute for money, it stops being a good investment. And perversely, the people hoarding this shit have every incentive to make sure it never actually becomes money.
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