“Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the
absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”
Although Russia’s economy seems ok, based on news reports, a paper from the Yale School of Management makes some pretty stark observations and predictions for the Russian economy. :
- Russia’s strategic positioning as a commodities exporter has irrevocably deteriorated, as it now deals from a position of weakness with the loss of its erstwhile main markets, and faces steep challenges executing a “pivot to Asia” with non-fungible exports such as piped gas
- Despite some lingering leakiness, Russian imports have largely collapsed, and the country faces stark challenges securing crucial inputs, parts, and technology from hesitant trade partners, leading to widespread supply shortages within its domestic economy
- Despite Putin’s delusions of self-sufficiency and import substitution, Russian domestic production has come to a complete standstill with no capacity to replace lost businesses, products and talent; the hollowing out of Russia’s domestic innovation and production base has led to soaring prices and consumer angst
- As a result of the business retreat, Russia has lost companies representing ~40% of its GDP, reversing nearly all of three decades’ worth of foreign investment and buttressing unprecedented simultaneous capital and population flight in a mass exodus of Russia’s economic base
- Putin is resorting to patently unsustainable, dramatic fiscal and monetary intervention to smooth over these structural economic weaknesses, which has already sent his government budget into deficit for the first time in years and drained his foreign reserves even with high energy prices – and Kremlin finances are in much, much more dire straits than conventionally understood
- Russian domestic financial markets, as an indicator of both present conditions and future outlook, are the worst performing markets in the entire world this year despite strict capital controls, and have priced in sustained, persistent weakness within the economy with liquidity and credit contracting – in addition to Russia being substantively cut off from international financial markets, limiting its ability to tap into pools of capital needed for the revitalization of its crippled economy
Looking ahead, there is no path out of economic oblivion for Russia as long as the allied countries remain unified in maintaining and increasing sanctions pressure against Russia, and The Kyiv School of Economics and McFaul-Yermak Working Group have led the way in proposing additional sanctions measures.
Defeatist headlines arguing that Russia’s economy has bounced back are simply not factual – the facts are that, by any metric and on any level, the Russian economy is reeling, and now is not the time to step on the brakes.https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4167193
I think this is my favorite picture of all time. A Victorian couple trying not to laugh during a slow exposure photograph:
Source is apparently a GCP Grey video, but I can’t seem to find it.
Because yesterday, San Francisco voters decided to turn their district attorney, Chesa Boudin, out of office. They did it because he didn’t seem to care that he was making the citizens of our city miserable in service of an ideology [to allow homeless people everywhere] that made sense everywhere but in reality. It’s not just about Boudin, though. There is a sense that, on everything from housing to schools, San Francisco has lost the plot—that progressive leaders here have been LARPing left-wing values instead of working to create a livable city. And many San Franciscans have had enough.
walking these streets awakens me to how bad San Francisco had gotten even before the coronavirus hit—to how much suffering and squalor I’d come to think was normal.
Stepping over [homeless] people’s bodies, blurring my eyes to not see a dull needle jabbing and jabbing again between toes—it coarsened me. I’d gotten used to the idea that some people just want to live like that.
I’d gotten used to the crime, rarely violent but often brazen; to leaving the car empty and the doors unlocked so thieves would at least quit breaking my windows
people addicted to drugs come from all over the country in part for the services San Francisco provides.
Under Boudin, prosecutors in the city could no longer use the fact that someone had been convicted of a crime in the past to ask for a longer sentence, except in “extraordinary circumstances.” Boudin ended cash bail and limited the use of gang enhancements, which allow harsher sentences for gang-related felonies. In most cases he prohibited prosecutors from seeking charges when drugs and guns were found during minor traffic stops. “We will not charge cases determined to be a racist pretextual stop that leads to recovery of contraband,” Rachel Marshall, the district attorney’s director of communications, told me.
It was under Clinton that the Harvard Institute for International Development let professor Jeffrey Sachs propose the economic “shock therapy” for Russia. This directly lead to hyperinflation and the give away of major industries to the lucky few who became Russia’s oligarchs. This was a f**k up on a historical scale. This chaos became associated with Westernization leading to the rise of strong man Putin to restore stability:
in 1991 there was a sense among many Russians that the USSR was not so much defeated as it folded under its own weight. Too many refused to accept that the Soviet collapse was the outcome of years of economic mismanagement and imperial hubris – and so they looked for traitors instead
Ukraine has punctured a big, gaping hole in the narrative of Russia’s ‘greatness’. Russia is poor, corrupt and authoritarian, and now we also know that it is weak and pathetic. Russia’s ‘greatness’ has crumbled in an orgy of murder and rape inflicted by brutal occupiers in Ukraine. Tainted by the blood of the innocents, and beaten in honest combat, the bully has been reduced to size. It’s about time. Thank you, Ukraine, for serving this bitter medicine. Russia needed it badly.
Russia needs proper humiliation. It needs a humble recognition of its diminished status, an acceptance of guilt, and a slow, painstaking effort to rebuild the trust of those it has wronged. Russia did not learn this lesson in the 1990s. It must learn it now.Sergey Radchenko
Putin’s weird concept of Ukraine being an essential part of the ancient greatness that is Russia was his motivation for invading Ukraine. Here are the words from Putin’s own mouth:
The funny thing is, Putin is completely wrong on the facts. Ukraine was around for 1000 year before they allied with “Muscovy” (the nation that became Russia). For details, read:
https://www.newyorker.com/news/essay/the-war-in-ukraine-is-a-colonial-war (paywall if you read too many articles in newyorker.com for free)
Can we just skip to the part where Putin kills himself in a bunker?