Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

13 February 2018. The Bear Sez…

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The USA is strutting about, boasting, and beating its own drum. They’re “exceptional”… “indispensable”.. “the sole superpower”… they’re “the envy of the world”, dontcha know. The reality is somewhat different. Most people throughout the world consider the USA the greatest threat to world peace and Anglo Americans juvenile feral little horrors. The bear ain’t foolin’… do ask the Teutonic Knights, the Tatars, the Poles, the Swedes, the French, and the Germans… they all came looking for a piece of the bear, too. The puffed-up American ninnies fit an old Russian saying:

They divide the bear pelt before the bear is dead.

I’d remind the ignorant hubristical Anglo brats that the bear is very much alive… he intends to stay that way…

BMD

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Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Next Crash: Or, Why a Stock Market Booming While Life Craters is a Social Ponzi Scheme, Not an Economy

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Oh, no, friends… the Dow crashed… cue hysteria over everything from gold to retirement accounts to Bitcoin to Trump. Hold on a minute. What does it really mean? Here’s something to bear in mind. Investing in a collapsed society, where people have little left to be preyed upon for (and even those meagre morsels of returns an authoritarian could snatch away in a heartbeat) is a foolhardy bet. If it’s opaque, we’ll get to what that means.

Let’s start with what you probably know. The stock market isn’t the economy. The market boomed… but real incomes stagnated for decades. However, even that’s not really “the economy”. The economy is how well people’s lives are doing, and on that score, America’s in uniquely bad shape among rich nations… falling life expectancy, rising mortality, mass killings, stress, rage, misery, loneliness, and distrust. Therefore, ironically, it appears to me that Americans speak of The Market like the Soviets spoke of The Party. Just as Soviets said, “The Party’s in fine shape!”, so, today, Americans say, “Comrades! The stock market’s booming!” Both are myths that deflect from reality, protecting us from the harder work of seeing things as they are. Just as the Party wasn’t Soviet society… just a twisted caricature of it… so the stock market isn’t the American economy… it’s a bizarre upside-down mirror image.

While I’m sure you’ve had similar thoughts, here’s what you might not have gotten to yet. This shell game… a stock market booming while an economy and the lives in it crater… can’t go on forever. An economy based on such is a Ponzi Scheme of prosperity conducted on a massive social scale. One day, the bill must come due. Perhaps, you think… what could be better for capitalists than a nation of neo-peasants? However, the truth is a little more subtle. The stock market booming while life falls apart reflects a real economic transfer… the average person’s quality of life, stability, security, opportunity, and (of course) his income and savings dissolve into the future profits of predatory entities, whether they’re banks, corporations, hedge funds, etc. Where a truer capitalism… if such a thing exists… might focus on providing value, these self-evidently don’t… hence, life falling apart.

How long can all that go on? There must be something to prey on. However, the average American doesn’t have much left to give. His income is shrinking. He has less than 1,000 USD (58,366 Roubles. 6,290 Renminbi. 64,220 INR. 1,258 CAD. 1,280 AUD. 817 Euros. 723 UK Pounds) in savings. He has no real vacation or leisure time, working longer and harder hours than his peers anywhere else. He’ll never retire, be able to educate his kids, or afford decent healthcare. He’s even given his life… to the point where his longevity is now declining. Is there anything left for monopolistic predatory capitalism to take? Not much. This game can’t just go on forever… it can’t go on much longer at all. What happens when markets understand all that? They fall hard and fast. The market isn’t the economy… at least until there’s nothing left to syphon off, and, then, suddenly, kaboom. Markets must ultimately reflect the economic, social, and political reality of a failing nation, too… just as they had to before the Depression, reflecting inequality, stagnation, and predation.

What does that all mean, at the root? Markets must price in risks. However, the greatest risk of all for America is one that we haven’t yet priced in… one not considered, valued, and accounted for. That’s political risk. For example, markets discount perpetually chaotic Latin American or Eastern European economies; now, they’ll have to do the same for America. You see, not only is American life falling apart… American democracy is too. A (literal) Nazi is running unopposed for Congress in Illinois. That’s a tiny example of the trends that daily headlines reveal all too well… America is imploding from an imperfect democracy to an authoritarian kleptostate. The nearest parallel is probably Russia. Nevertheless, one doesn’t put one’s money into Russian investments without carefully considering political risk.

What does “political risk” of “autocracy” really mean? Why do markets care? Think of it as a country run by and for mafias. Mafias run protection and extortion rackets for small enterprises… the same is true for kleptocrats on a national scale. They grant favours to whoever will pay them off the most. They give shares in privatised industries to their cronies. They use every trick in the book to make already-tilted playing fields ones that players can’t enter at all unless there’s money paid out, whether in soft or hard bribery. They’ll mercilessly extort whoever isn’t part of the organisation or the family. Let’s say you’re an investor, looking at America. How far away is it from such a scenario? Already, nationalist sentiments have gone all the way to the top. They’re ripping up trade deals. They’re choosing favourites. Instead of doing business, CEOs try to curry favour… although they hold their noses at the stench. Going forward, you’d be very foolish not to begin pricing in all this risk… that one day, at the whim of a single authoritarian leader, all your money might simply disappear, be expropriated, be seized… the first step in most such situations is that you must give a portion of it to his family, friends, allies, just to do business at all.

There’s a steep political risk now for money flowing into America, just as there is and has been for other fallen states. However, the difference is that markets haven’t priced in this risk yet. They’ve coasted on two comfortable illusions:

  • American democracy will magically fix itself
  • The gains from preying on its imploded middle class outweigh the rising costs of autocratic politics

Nonetheless, those gains are drying up… all that’s left now are the costs… strongmen, extremism, and authoritarianism. That points to a very simple conclusion. The American stock market is in for a historic crash. It can’t go on being a perverse mirror image of economic reality forever. It goes up; it goes down. However, at some point, it’ll fall and fall mightily, as investing in a collapsed society where people have little left to even be exploited for (even those dwindling returns an authoritarian could snatch away from you in the blink of an eye) is a foolhardy bet. Of course, that isn’t a “prediction”. Markets always suffer crashes. It’s only a way of understanding the next crash. Perversely, the market boom of the 2000s was due to riches gained from the implosion of American life. However, the crash to follow will be about what happens after a society implodes… the loss of American democracy, prosperity, confidence, and growth, replaced by despair, cruelty, authoritarianism, and collapse.

5 February 2018

Umair Haque

Eudaimonia

https://eand.co/the-next-crash-254816fbbeb7

Monday, 22 January 2018

Last Respects to Late Russian and Soviet Composer V Ya Shainsky Today

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Here’s Krokodil Gena’s famous birthday song

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Here’s another of Shainsky’s sweet songs…

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Today, friends and relatives will pay last respects to the late Russian and Soviet composer V Ya Shainsky before his burial later today at Troyekurovskoye Cemetery in western Moscow. Widely known in the world of animation as the composer of the soundtrack for the famous Soviet cartoon series about Cheburashka and Krokodil Gena, Shainsky died at the age of 92 in San Diego CA USA on 25 December 2017. The Ministry of Culture quoted Deputy Minister A V Zhuravsky:

Due to the lengthy holidays, his relatives in the USA were unable to promptly obtain documents verifying his death. Moreover, relevant documents were also required to obtain permission for taking the body from the USA, and that required time.

Shainsky excelled in writing songs and music for children, marked by unpretentious but catchy tunes that very often enticed a child to sing along. He scored stunning success in composing songs for movies, and the multifilms about Cheburashka and Krokodil Gena, which now have versions in languages as different as Hebrew and Japanese, offer a shining example of it. Kid’s music wasn’t the only popular part of his output. Some of his songs for grownup audiences, like A Soldier’s Walking through the Town, surprisingly spilt over Russia’s borders. Shainsky lived in San Diego since 2007.

22 January 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/society/986182

Saturday, 13 January 2018

13 January 2018. V V Putin on Russians and “Ukrainians”

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The post-1991 “Ukraine” is a fictive and notional entity with no real existence in the real world. The Soviets merged three very different major regions… Malorossiya, Novorossiya, and Galicia into a fanciful “Ukrainian SSR”. This is not to mention the Crimea, which was never “Ukrainian” at all, but was only made part of the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 by the drunkard Khrushchyov. Another region with a separate and distinct history is Podkarpatskaya Krai… which never was part of Galicia or Little Russia (it was part of Hungary, not Austria, in the Dual Monarchy; it was never under Polish occupation, as were Galicia and Malorossiya). There’s no unified “Ukrainian” nationality nor is there a “Ukrainian” language… the modern construct called “Ukrainian” comes from the Galician subdialect, which is a creole mixing elements of Polish and Russian. Most people in Malorossiya speak Surzhik, a dialect that mixes Russian and “Ukrainian” elements… it’s distinct from so-called “Ukrainian”. In Novorossiya and the Crimea, the language is Russian, and that’s that. That’s why the Crimea and Novorossiya were strongholds of the Party of Regions prior to the coup, as they opposed Ukrainian Nationalism and Galician cultural imperialism. Rusins have their own dialect (distinct from that of Galicia) written in the Latin, not the Cyrillic, alphabet.

In short, there’s no “Ukrainian” language or people per se. “Ukrainian” isn’t a nationality… it’s an ideology… a vicious fascist ideology of the most feral sort. The world will be safer when it breathes its last. By the way… “Ukrainians” would revert to what they truly are… Great Russians, Little Russians, and Galicians (along with Rusins in Podkarpatskaya Krai and some Tatars in the Crimea). They’d be what they always were… separate and distinct peoples, worthy of respect and dignity.

BMD

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