Economics, Eurasia, Media, Policy, Politics, Social development, Truth

Vladimir Putin’s 17 years in power: the scorecard

Mr. Putin can’t seem to get a break in the western media. I watched his recent interview with CBS’s Megyn Kelly with her tiresome, boring questions like, “did Russia interfere in our election,” “did your ambassador meet with Trump’s election officials,”  “isn’t it true that you’re a corrupt murderous thug,” etc. Only in response to Kelly’s last question did Mr. Putin get to name a handful of his achievements in Russia. But someone ought to better prepare his talking points on this score. The below excerpt from my upcoming book summarizes how Russia has changed during the 17 years since Mr. Putin has been at helm.

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Policy, Politics, Social development

Surveillance state: it ain’t about your privacy

We should be very concerned about the surveillance state in the west – but our privacy is not the main reason why.

Wikileaks’ latest dump of CIA documents confirmed what many of us suspected all along, especially after the Edward Snowden revelations: that the NSA (and GCHQ…) use our computers, mobile devices, and even internet-connected TV sets to spy on us. Some people feel they have nothing to hide, so they aren’t bothered about it. Others feel outraged on the grounds that it violates our civil liberties and our right to privacy. But there’s a much more important reason to be concerned about mass surveillance, and it isn’t about the privacy of the vast majority of us. Continue reading

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Economics, Policy, Politics, Social development

Meet the riff-raff Trump supporters!

Donald Trump and his administration have been at the receiving end of passionate denounciations and scorn from many opinion leaders in the media. At the same time Trump’s approval rating among American voters has ranged between 50% and 60%. Here’s a statistical sketch of this American riff-raff and why they may support Trump.

Fully 35% of Americans do not have enough money to live comfortably (english: they can’t make ends meet). That’s more than 110 million people. These Americans have to supplement their cost of living with credit card debt. The Urban Institute reports that this same proportion of Americans (35%) have debt in collections (180 or more days past due). On average, the households that carry credit card debt are over $16,000 in the hole, paying an average interest rate at 16.1% (that’s $2,600 per year just in interest). Continue reading

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Media, Policy, Politics, Psychology, Truth

Zika hype and how the media fail to serve us

Noam Chomsky wrote that, “Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for meaningful democracy.”

Any time the mainstream media latch onto an issue and make it a big story you can be sure that it’ll be spun, doctored and distorted so that the public can’t take a well-informed position on the subject. Examples of this are countless and pervasive. About a year ago, the Zika virus story suddenly burst forth, seemingly out of nowhere, linking the mosquito-borne virus with frightful birth deformities in infants of affected mothers, including microcephaly. The story led to mass trip cancellations, abortions, unnecessary carpet-spraying against mosquitoes (which killed millions of bees), and much hysteria in general. As it turns out, the virus is harmless. Continue reading

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Policy, Politics, Something completely different

Ex UK Ambassador Craig Murray after visiting Julian Assange: it wasn’t the Russians…

After visiting with Julian Assange, former UK Ambassador Craig Murray reported on his blog: “I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is not any Russian state actor or proxy that gave the Democratic National Committee and Podesta material to WikiLeaks.” The full article is here: How to Really Really Upset the Foreign Office and Security Services.

Alex Krainer is an author and hedge fund manager based in Monaco. Recently he has published the book “Mastering Uncertainty in Commodities Trading“.

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Eurasia, Policy, Politics

Send them to east Aleppo

Yesterday, the British parliament held an emergency three-hour session to accuse Russia of war crimes and to discuss Britain’s involvement in establishing a no-fly zone and possibly sending troopos into Syria. The debate was initiated jointly by Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell and Labour’s Alison McGovern, a co-chair of the so-called “Friends of Syria” group. Their initiative was supported by the former US Iraq commander and CIA director General David Petraeus.

In his interview with the BBC radio, Andrew Mitchell submitted that, “the international community has an avowed responsibility to protect and that protection must be exerted. If that means confronting Russian air power defensively, on behalf of the innocent people on the ground who we are trying to protect, then we should do that.” Continue reading

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Monetary reform, Policy, Politics, Social development

Our choice: wealth or GDP growth? It’s not the same.

Suppose you lived in a community where an old but well maintained bridge connected two river banks, enabling people and goods to move across. The bridge would represent a piece of community wealth, although its existence would only marginally impact the community’s ‘GDP’. Now suppose someone proposed to boost the community’s economic activity (GDP) by blowing up the bridge and building a new one. Continue reading

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