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.
So far, the dreams of 1,000-year empires and stable world domination have eluded the ruling elites throughout history and across the globe. Empires arise, sustain themselves for a century or two and then rapidly decay and collapse. The collapse may appear relatively fast and obvious in hindsight, but in reality it spans decades, may appear as a series of temporary crises and only become obvious very late into the slow-motion train wreck. Continue reading
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
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
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“.
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
In the aftermath of last week’s Brexit referendum many denounced the English vote with a mix of derision and indignation: the old and the uneducated crowds destroyed the European dream for everyone else. But would democracy be better if it were restricted to the best educated segment of the population? Let’s consider the idea of “wisdom of crowds.” This mysterious and utterly fascinating concept suggests that humanity evolved to be collectively intelligent and that the crowds tend to be more intelligent than the most intelligent of its members. If you have not yet come across this, prepare to be amazed (and keep an open mind): Continue reading