• The Future Climate of My Hometown
    Never underestimate how tolerant of difficulties people are.

    Let's take for example unemployment: now you would think that high unemployment would make people revolt. Actually it isn't so, in this society unemployment is a stigma for the individual, that something wrong with him or her. And so with financial difficulties. As long as there is a majority that holding on somehow, there won't be a problem. Above all, Canadians (as other people in OECD countries) think that instability, political upheaval and so on happen in other countries, not in Canada. Hence people will be in denial. It happens also here in the Nordic countries too.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I don't see how that's a 'tragedy'.Isaac
    Oh you don't see this war and the Russo-Georgian war of 2008 etc. as a tragedy? Well, objectives like containing NATO for Russia would have been easy without any war. Just as easy as kicking out the US from Central Asia. Assuming that would have been the only objective.

    The problem likely is that then Putin would have had to face the problem of Russia's economy directly. But because he didn't have answers to that, then I guess empire building was an answer. And it did make him popular in Russia, no denying of that.

    the US's approach to 'modern' imperialism takes a far greater toll on human well-being than Russia's version.Isaac
    I'm happy at least that you aren't denying Russian imperialism. And naturally the actions of the US have far more reach than the actions of Russia. The US has had a real trainwreck of a policy in the Middle-East for sure, which has brought death and misery there even if there would be instability and wars even without an active US there. Yet the policy failure is obvious: first from CENTO (Iran, Iraq and Pakistan as allies with Saudi-Arabia) to "Twin pillars" (Saudi-Arabia and Iran as US allies), then to "Dual containment" (of Iran and Iraq) and now troops on the ground still fighting the "War on Terror", which Americans have forgotten about. But that's another topic we could discuss. Yet when it comes to European security, the desire to join NATO in North and East Europe has happened because of Putin's actions.

    Air pollution kills more people in a few weeks than the war has so far. The West's 'imperialist' habit of offloading it pollution, labour, waste, and extraction costs to its modern 'colonies' kills whole orders of magnitude more people than Russia's border skirmishes.Isaac
    There's a climate change thread on the Forum among others, which would be better for this topic. And you think India and China are still colonies of the West? And I don't know if it is tactful to compare any war to something that actually has been killing people for a long time (as cooking food with an open fireplace creates an air pollution hazard).

    ... We're hurtling toward global war not because of Russia's petty border disputes. We're hurtling towards global war because hawks see an opportunity to profiteer from crisis and it seems to take so little now to convince gullible idiots to cheer-lead the whole process.Isaac
    If you disregard the politics (just as the actors in this conflict) and stick to Smedley Butler's line "that war is a racket", that answers far less than you think. But it's one point.
  • The US Economy and Inflation
    I mean, does anyone actually defend a system where a billionaire can go years without paying income taxes?Count Timothy von Icarus
    Some real estate investors are like Trump: anything they get, any money, they put into new buildings and take as much debt as they can. Then when the building is finished and the sell it and they would basically make that profit that would be taxed, they can deduce their interest and debt and basically start a new project. Hence they can make no profit ever, but increase their assets with billions.

    When there is a housing shortage, it automatically will become less attractive to buy up real estate, curbing the positive feedback loops that keeps leading to bubbles.Count Timothy von Icarus
    Now I don't understand this. If there is a housing shortage, why discourage renting flats / investing in real estate?

    Then revenue raised from this tax goes to a special fund used for building housing units.Count Timothy von Icarus
    Even if this would be the case, even if the tax would go to a special fund, it would be peanuts and very inefficient to have any effect on housing. After all, profits are only taxed, and profits are a small cut from the actual investment to real estate. If the incentives for building apartments or renting them is nonexistent, then no matter where the taxes would go will not matter. There will continue to be a housing shortage.

    Housing markets work if investing in housing is simply made easy and profitable enough for people and possibly companies to investment in real estate. Usually government micromanagement doesn't work. It is the ground rules and the effectiveness of the institutions that governments should be concerned about.

    Housing bubbles happen because of loose monetary policy and because usually some smaller banks or alternative financial institutions try to grow "aggressively" by ditching all caution on just who to shovel money at: if anybody that can walk into the bank (or go to the website) can get a mortgage, .
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Arguments have been made that the invasion was an attempt to retain power (in a region Russia previously had power over)Isaac
    Oh they want to retain it.

    That's what Putin has been talking about all the time: how illegal it was for the Soviets to make Ukraine a republic and then to give Crimea to Ukraine. How Ukraine should be part of Russia, or at least Novorossiya (which is now part of Russia).

    And that's the whole problem. That's why my country is joining NATO. And that's why the Baltic States have been so lucky that they were able to join NATO. All these countries are pretty upset because for Russia retaining that power means literally being part of Russia (at least for former Soviet Republics). We Finns know what kind of world it is to live in the sphere of influence of the Kremlin. It really sucks.

    Once the Soviet Empire collapsed, Putin didn't choose the softer approach like France did with it's colonies. France granted it's colonies independence, but France has pretty much stayed in it's colonies (except Algeria and Vietnam, for obvious reasons). But France has accepted that these countries are not it's colonies, not part of it, and understand such rhetoric would basically cut the friendly ties it can enjoy now.

    That's were Russia differs and that's why all the fuss. Putin really sees the collapse of the Soviet Union as a mistake, an accident, something he has to be repair. No other former imperialist power, UK, France, Austria etc. have such delusional ideas that their old empire could be repossessed and put back together. Once some territory gets independence, that's a divorce for life.

    The real tragedy is that if only Russia would have had leaders that accepted that the empire was lost and the states given independence weren't coming back, it would have all the tools to continue with the "modern" approach to imperialism. Sweden and Finland would have never joined NATO and the EU would have continued to disarm itself.
  • The US Economy and Inflation
    Thanks for good commentary, @Count Timothy von Icarus

    Every time they have begun to eclipse that number there has either been massive tax cuts or a recession.Count Timothy von Icarus
    I think the recessions haven't happened because of tax increases, but lowering taxes in hope of increasing economic activity can happen and has happened. Just as lowering the price of money (the interest rate).

    Also, it is somewhat spurious when marginal rates are represented only for income taxes, not the regressive payroll tax or effectively regressive capital gains tax.Count Timothy von Icarus
    Income from a job may be important to many ordinary people, but for the rich it is the capital gains. And this presents a problem with taxation. Let's say for some reason the Leftist party would win here and would triple the capital gains tax here (that would be then a tax percentage of 99%). My reaction would to F-them and not sell anything before those crazies are out of office and the capital gains tax are normal again. For the rich, well, their assets can suddenly be then in a tax haven.

    I only bring this up because it is sometimes claimed that much higher levels of migration to developed countries from the developing world can fix the pensioner crisis and relieve global inequality. This is highly unlikely to work.Count Timothy von Icarus
    Well, at least those countries that have a steady inflow of educated young working emigrants don't have problems, if these foreigners are accepted. And they basically are accepted, if it is perceived that they bring more to the economy than they take. I mean, nobody hates tourists, even if there are those foreigners all the year around. Now if those tourists wouldn't spend anything, just hang out on the streets, people in any country wouldn't like them.

    * * *

    The fundamental problem in economics is that however preposterous the spending spree and debt bubble we have, it's always the normal, the "new economy", and we simply don't accept the natural market correction that would happen if we would let free markets to roam. And I'm not talking here about the little guy, who usually get's trampled, but a severe short recession, a deflationary correction, isn't accepted as it would transfer wealth from those having it now. And those who have the wealth usually have also the power and the strings to influence the government in their desperation.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Great, that's a lot of definitions in many replies.

    And what doesn't fit aptly to the actions of Russia?
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Yes. good Isaac.

    And oh, look how it starts, which you haven't put to bold: The extension of a nation's authority by territorial acquisition.

    So, I think we should agree that Russia is imperialistic in it's actions? The other actions, trying to influence and so on also are on the mark...
  • Ukraine Crisis
    an land invasion to take territory is not a very good example of modern imperialism,Isaac
    But it is a perfect example of classic 19th Century and earlier imperialism, which Russia has gone back to. This makes it so obvious. The annexation of land territory, is indeed something that isn't something much seen in post-WW2 history, but hence this should make obvious and quite clear the fact that Russia is imperialistic. The rhetoric coming from the Kremlin is surprisingly similar to the kind of attitudes you could hear in the start of the 20th Century in Imperial Russia, starting from the exceptionality of Russia and the threat that Western culture and Western style democracy poses Russia.

    You just carry on...Isaac
    And you should accept the definition that dictionaries give for the word imperialism, for starters. :wink:
  • Ukraine Crisis
    So you won't give own reasons, why you think as you said above?

    And yes, in many ways there is this longue durée in Russia security policy thinking starting from basic facts about Russian geography. Would there be a sea between Europe and Russia, or the Ural mountains between Poland and Russia, then there would be logical defensible border for Russia, a place easy to define where Russia stops. But on a steppe, you can easily travel with a horse or a tank.
  • The US Economy and Inflation
    Some remarks on the good comments made by @Count Timothy von Icarus:

    We also need austerity. It is trivial to cheat Medicaid and Medicare right now and attempts to recoup costs are arbitrary. $500,000 worth of heart surgery at age 85, step right up, that's the right sort of ailment. $500,000 worth of long term care for Alzheimer's? We need to liquidate all your assets to pay for things.Count Timothy von Icarus

    The US simply should look just why it's health care costs are so insanely more than in any other country. When this has been discussed on PF, very obvious and clear reasons, like with people without proper medicare then being first treated at the ER. Among other obvious problems.


    And of course there's the military spending. But the problem is that I cannot see any other way for these to be dealt than a huge crisis.

    The reason you need to mostly target the income and taxes of the wealthy isn't ideological or moral. I think framing it this way hurts attempts to deal with the structural deficit, making reforms less politically palatable. You go after high networth households for the same reason you rob banks, "that's where the money is."Count Timothy von Icarus
    If the bank gets robbed too many times, people will not put money into the bank. The basic problem is that even if tax rates have varied, the tax income hasn't change as much as you would think. So doubling the tax rate will increase your revenues, but won't double them.


    Overall price level increases can't be wholly due to growing wages for the the bottom half of the income distribution, since they only account for 12-14% of all income and their wage gains only outpaced inflation for a few months. Their real wages have since experienced negative growth.Count Timothy von Icarus
    Wages are the perfect culprit for central banks and governments. Anything else than loose monetary policy is given as the reason for inflation.

    The problem is that when the proper understanding of how our debt-based monetary system works is limited in public to basically to nearly conspiracy theories, it is no wonder that the people do not understand where the inflation really comes from. In schools, in universities, the example given is the wage increases etc. Not the financial sector controlled by the central banks.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Would you want to give us the reason why you think this isn't an imperialist war and why it is incompatible with imperialism?
  • James Webb Telescope
    But they're all so distant that their existence has no real significance, other than as scientific data.Wayfarer
    And earlier have had to be really big ones very close to a star or then have been in the perfect angle towards us (going in front of the star).
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I've yet to read something more presumptuous in this thread.Tzeentch
    How about
    This is clearly not an "imperialist war".


    Do you think that's incompatible with imperialism?jorndoe

    In this context, yes.Tzeentch

    It only shows you've not read much about Russian history, Russian politics or Russian security policy.

    Like the fact that in Russian military doctrine no.1 threat has been, hence obviously an "existential threat", NATO enlargement far longer than from the year 2008. So that idea that only in 2008 was this so is misinformed, even if obviously someone has said that in an interview etc.
  • James Webb Telescope
    JWT spots dust storm on exoplanet.Wayfarer
    And just how few years ago exoplanets were a hypothesis? I guess some 30 years ago, but I'm not sure just when it was generally accepted that we had proof. Now we have evidence of dust strorm on exoplanets.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Now Russia is fighting a classic imperialist war of aggression. Empire nostalgia is rife in the Russian public sphere, and Putin likes to compare himself (favorably) to Catherine and Peter, and revels in his territorial conquests.SophistiCat
    And this is the reason why you get a country like Sweden to throw away it's 200 year neutrality, that it has avoided both WW1 and WW2. Finland tried long and hard to keep good relations with Russia, but that doesn't matter to Putin.

    This is clearly not an "imperialist war".

    The Russians have stated from 2008 onward that they considered Ukraine joining NATO to be an existential threat. They were promptly ignored, and the US only intensified their efforts to incorporate Ukraine.

    It takes some special tunnel vision to simply ignore that.
    It takes extreme tunnel vision and lack of reading comprehension not to understand that Russian imperialism has always been defined as a defensive measure. And not understanding that nearly all imperialist actions are sold as defensive measures. Catherine the Great's so apt saying that "I have no way to defend my borders but to extend them." puts in a nutshell the deeply internalized Russian thinking of empire and security, that hasn't changed for hundreds of years. Also to simply ignore the militaristic imperialism of Russia is quite a feat to do. But of course, one can simply skip everything that happens in Russia.

    Anyway, to "defend Russia against Western attack" goes perfectly with joining Novorossiya to the country where it belongs to.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Or countries on Russia's border wanting access to NATO? Right now in particular, apparently. NATO can't colonize (like land grab), it's a defense pact among member countries, not a country. Countries may or may not apply for NATO membership.jorndoe
    Some just absolutely love the rhetoric coming from the Kremlin.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The point is simply one about the varied nature of modern imperialism.Isaac
    Best example of it being Russia's attack on Ukraine. :smirk:
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    You didn’t mention that Trump spoke with Abdul Ghani. That’s because the propaganda you dine on doesn’t tell you these things.NOS4A2
    What??? That's your counter line?

    If he spoke with the ghost of Mullah Omar, the deal he made was really a surrender.

    The propaganda tells you the deal is bad; you think it’s bad.NOS4A2
    Yeah, right.

    Listening to the WHOLE news conference that Putin and Trump made seems to you propaganda. Well, that's how I came to the conclusion that Trump has some perverse relationship with Putin, because that wasn't normal.

    Or the actual written document of the "peace" with Taleban. Have you read the actual terms? Likely not.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Interesting to that all the NATO countries wanting access to Russia's border, are all post-colonial countriesboagie
    Finland or the Baltic States, or Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechia, Slovakia, Crotia etc. have not had colonies.

    The other half of the world, the BRICS, are post-colonies and are now saying no to their past masters.boagie
    Russia has been and one can argue is still a colonizer: there are parts that it annexed through force in the 19th Century just as other European colonizers were doing (starting with Chechnya, that was occupied as late as 1859). China has had some ports colonized, but never has been colonized (the Mongol Horde didn't have colonies).
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Not en vogue?jorndoe
    Well, we've finally seen the ugly head of inflation come up and take a place in the World economy. Hence the monetary policy and the spending during the pandemic, even without the war in Ukraine, has made it that natural resources have gone up in price, which then is good for the producing countries. Hence the Saudi's, Kuwaitis and others having their economies grow isn't just because of the Ukraine war. (Although the real estate boom in UAE does have something to with rich Russians leaving their country.)
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    And to say something positive about Trump, he did scare the Europeans into thinking of raising the defense expenditure (far more better than Obama had) and warned correctly the Germans about trusting the Russians with their energy needs, but it was only Putin on Feb 24th 2022 who accomplished the turnaround.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    Effectiveness is no measure for leadership, for me anyways, unless one adheres to some statist or collectivist foundation. Hitler was effective. Who cares?NOS4A2
    Uhh... the German people and others too, I guess. So much, that they still have these Hitler-Welles of every generation asking just what the hell hapened with them.

    Honestly it was just nice to have someone who wasn’t an utter coward, for a change.NOS4A2

    Personally I've never seen such a humiliating performance of fawning and spinelessness from an American President when Putin and Trump met in Helsinki. Trump had to immediately afterwards back away from what he said in the press conference. On the same day afterwards. It was like the leader of the Soviet Union meeting a Warsaw Pact member country leader. Have to say that it was one of the best performances of Putin, he really enjoyed the whole spectacle.


    He reasoned with the Taliban leadership.NOS4A2
    LOL! :rofl:

    Trump surrendered to the Taliban. Have you ever read the "peace-deal" done with the Taliban? It basically goes like this: Oh, please, please PLEASE...don't attack us and we will leave you in peace and you can do whatever you want with Afghanistan. If you just put on a charade that you would talk to the government we installed, but that's it and anyway it's not so important.

    I bet Kim Il Sung would have accepted a similar peace-deal to end the Korean War, and we wouldn't have been surprised that in a few months South Korea would have collapsed! But hey! Kim Il Sung would not have attacked the US!

    And here the best issue is that Biden then continued on with this policy, so obviously people shut up over this as it cannot be taken as an partisan issue to attack the other side. Yes, obviously the Afghan war was a mistake from the start, it was a disaster and the whole reasoning to go to Afghanistan was in error. But really, reasoning with the Taliban???
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The T-54 has finally shown up in Ukraine. I suppose a tank from 1948 is better than no tank. The inexhaustible supply of Russian tanks seems to be getting exhausted. It can't be that they are out of more recent tanks, it must be that some more modern ones are in too rough of a condition to repair.

    I also saw a video of a Ukrainian using a Maxim Gun. I wonder if it was pulled from a WWI museum.
    Count Timothy von Icarus
    I saw on a Finnish fortress island in 2002 maxim machine guns still in stock, and now they have been finally taken away. If you have water and bullets, you can continue firing a maxim for hours... it won't heat up or stop functioning. The whole thing is very heavy and difficult to move, yet on an island you simply cannot have movement so much. And warfare on islands and in the archipelago means that normal supply routes by road don't exist and everything has to be moved either by ship or by air. So if you have very reliable weapon system that you can fire all day along, why not use them, if you don't have anything else to place on a forgotten remote piece of land surrounded by water?

    Same is with the thinking of using a T-54 in Ukraine today.

    If the Ukrainians have basically infantry in trenches and bunkers in the countryside, then a movable armoured gun is quite useful. Using an old tank like T-54 is preferable to an unarmored truck having some gun installed to it. That T-54 is useful if you don't have anything else, as long as you don't think that the old tank could go and face up an modern MBT.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    What exactly have you 'understood' differently to how you came into this discussion 450 pages ago?Isaac
    Look above your post the post I write. Nice to know something new. I think that's enough of an answer to your ad hominems etc.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    It doesn’t make him a bad one, either.NOS4A2
    The leadership qualities of Trump can be seen just how effective he was when he had also the legislative branch in control, with both houses with a Republican majority. Or how much wall he actually got built.

    Abraham accords? Well, Morocco is happy to get a green light for the annexation of Western Sahara and Sudan is happy to get out of the list of states sponsoring terrorism (let's remember that OBL used to be in Sudan earlier). Yet UAE and Bahrain aren't the biggest players on the bloc.

    Perhaps keeping the Saudis and other GCC members from invading Qatar, a country with one important naval base for the US, might actually have been far more important than the Abraham records.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Thanks for very interesting links!

    In the first graph about military personnel, this refers to peacetime and not the present. I've heard that basically Ukraine has a pool of 700 000 somewhat trained people to complement it's armed forces. How many can be given equipment and put into a combat unit is the real question. This is basically a well guarded secret, I guess.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    What do you expect to happen?

    If Russia's so "bad" ok well that would explain why their our enemy, but why would we expect anything other than bad things from our enemy?

    If Russia isn't so bad, Putin not literally equivalent to Hitler, then clearly we've made an enemy for no reason and have brought about the destruction of Ukraine for no purpose while, especially in Europe, harming our own interests in the process.

    Now, I've consistently asked that, ok, assuming Russia is so bad, what's the actual plan to "defeat" the baddies?
    How have we made an enemy "for no reason"?

    Putin chose to annex territory from Ukraine when Ukraine was suffering from a revolution. Then last year he went all in to annex a lot more with the plan to install a puppet government. To sideline the "Make Russia Great again" and just to think this is only reactionary development to the West is simply ignorant of the facts. If Russia wanted to stop US spreading it's control, it could do so just like it did in Central Asia. Just by waiting and not being openly hostile to the countries (like annexing territories). Imagine how different the World would be without Putin annexing Crimea in 2014. Europe wouldn't be rearming, likely it would have continued to disarm itself and there would be far more friends of Russia than now. The whole idea of an European country invading another would seem as pure fantasy.

    And plan to "defeat the baddies"? Why is this such a problem?

    How about the treaty of Portsmouth of 1905?

    How about the peace of Riga 1921?

    How about the treaty of Brest-Litovsk 1918?

    I could go on, but in all above Russia / Soviet Union existed afterwards, and was OK accepting peace terms that it originally wasn't ready to submit. And was defeated or fought to a stand still on the battlefield. So what on Earth is the problem??? History shows clearly that when faced with a disaster on the battlefield, Russia will bow down in wars of aggression that it itself has started.

    It's a bit different if you are trying to take Moscow as a foreing invader...
  • Ukraine Crisis
    By that time Germany had already reduced its dependence on Russian gas from ~50% to ~9% and was on course to eliminate it entirely. And it wasn't getting any gas from Nord Stream anyway, since the Russians had already shut it down indefinitely in an apparent attempt to cause as much pain for Europe as they could before they lost their leverage entirely.SophistiCat
    And thus the decision to do this would be just bizarre.

    I use pretty clear language that it's a primary responsibility what we actually have power over.boethius
    First and foremost, we discuss these issues here to understand them. We discuss here a lot of issues to understand them better, to have insights and to get the feel what others think. To know and understand what is happening in international politics is very important. To have feedback on what total strangers think of your ideas is good, because people in this Forum aren't totally clueless.

    Responsibility? We are going to have elections, so you could say that to vote in a democracy is a responsibility. If you talk about responsibility, well, I have the responsibility to train myself and my fellow reservists well if there would be a conflict between my country and one neighboring country of ours. Keeping That would have even more effect on my life than this crisis already has.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    Voting for Trump meant at least trying to improve things.frank
    Unfortunately that's one of the saddest reasons incompetent populists do get elected. People will fall for the boisterous guy who declares the "He can fix everything" and are for them "against the evil elites" and in the end just make a mess.

    And even if the guy doesn't leave behind him a disaster zone like Trump and is a mediocre to OK leader, people can simply put too much hope on an elected leader at a specific time. Just think of Obama. I remember when he was first elected, there was much eager hope that he could do something huge. Starting with the Nobel peace prize given as an option for future merits, I guess. Because his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" are a bit vague for me.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    Reasons for voting Trump are like these. Yeah, he was a protest vote. And it doesn't count to vote for Donald Duck. (A fictional cartoon duck might be a great POTUS for some: won't do anything worse)

    I remember one of best reason given by some guy to vote Trump: with Trump as president the press will do their job. With Hillary they will be her lap dog.

    I guess that specific Trump-voter was satisfied:

  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    For me he is the demagogue I’ve been waiting for, the kind Murray Rothbard defended. His mere presence has lead the establishment, Washington, the 4th estate, the political dynasties, and their stooges on the world stage to overplay their hand, and I don’t think there is any going back.NOS4A2
    OK, so you don't like the establishment the establishment, Washington, the 4th estate, the political dynasties, and their stooges on the world stage. So Trump irrated them.

    That still doesn't make him a good US president, because just irritation isn't good leadership.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    So what's the angle there. Trump helped Russia invade unopposed by... giving Ukraine weapons his predecessor wasn't prepared to give...?Isaac
    Apart from Trump personally adoring Putin, the pro-Russian stance of the Trump team was actually very brief and basically when Trump was running for office and had Paul Manafort at the helm.

    In the Republican convention in Cleveland 2016 the only thing the Trump team change about the policies was not to give arms to Ukraine. Nothing else.

    (Washington Post, July 18th 2016) The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

    Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

    Manafort and all the pro-Russian in Trump team were quickly whisked out, and then when Trump was in office, Trump filled his administration with former generals, so then the honeymoon of the administration with the Russians was over. Of course, Trump himself continued adoring Putin with one of lowest events being the press conference in Helsinki, where Trump said he believed Vlad more than his intelligence services. A bit strange coming from the US president.

    Then of course there was the case of not giving the aid decided by Congress to Ukraine, but that was a way for Trump to pressure the Ukrainians to give information about Hunter Biden, which lead to the first impeachment of Trump:

    (ABC, Jan 16th, 2020)The Trump administration broke the law by withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine last summer “for a policy reason,” a top government watchdog said Thursday in a scathing report.

    The Government Accountability Office’s report came a day after the House of Representatives sent articles of its impeachment of President Donald Trump to the Senate for conduct related to holding back that aid.

    Trump refused to release the funds to Ukraine at the same time he was pressuring that country’s new president to announce investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and of Biden’s son Hunter, who had served on the board of a Ukraine gas company. Joe Biden is the current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    It should be said that after February 24th 2022 Trump has changed his stance.
  • The US Economy and Inflation
    No more bail outs and no more money printing.Tzeentch
    This would be the proper antidote. And politically it's totally impossible.

    Perhaps the money that people have in banks should be secured. That actually isn't a huge amount. But the outcome would be basically a deflationary collapse, assuming the market mechanism would be let sort things over. Prices would collapse, companies would go over, government would have to fire a lot of employees, huge unemployment, it would basically suck for a year and a half and then things would be far better.

    And prices falling isn't actually so bad... to people that don't have debt, but savings.

    Yet as long as the ruling classes make their money through having debt, then inflation is and will be the answer.
  • The US Economy and Inflation
    Good! Fuck 'em.Mikie
    Just who?
    The people have something in the bank? Or have debt to a bank?
  • The US Economy and Inflation
    I don't think that was the Fed, if you're talking about 2008-2009. It was Congress and the Treasury.frank
    Oh it was the Fed.

    A 2011 study by the Government Accountability Office found that "on numerous occasions in 2008 and 2009, the Federal Reserve Board invoked emergency authority under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to authorize new broad-based programs and financial assistance to individual institutions to stabilize financial markets. Loans outstanding for the emergency programs peaked at more than $1 trillion in late 2008."

    Broadly stated, the Fed chose to provide a "blank cheque" for the banks, instead of providing liquidity and taking over. It did not shut down or clean up most troubled banks; and did not force out bank management or any bank officials responsible for taking bad risks, despite the fact that most of them had major roles in driving to disaster their institutions and the financial system as a whole. This lavishing of cash and gentle treatment was the opposite of the harsh terms the U.S. had demanded when the financial sectors of emerging market economies encountered crises in the 1990s.
    It simply wasn't in the news. Only later we found out that the whole financial system had been close to collapsing. And just how much was given to banks and corporations.

    You see, Wall Street banks are de facto behind of the Fed. They are the ones who wanted a central bank. They understood that no individual or individual banks cannot save the whole system. But it should be absolutely clear that the Fed works for Wall Street.

    Hence in the Savings & Loans crisis the banks were rural Hillbillies, and hence that crisis was dealt totally differently, starting from that many bank managers went to prison. Not so in 2008-2009. Which ought to have been an outrage, btw.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Those calculations make sense but whether Russia can really find a work around to the sanctions is the big strategic question.Paine
    Russia is a police state and has firm control of it's citizens. If it's GDP actually goes down 15%, it doesn't matter for Putin. Sanctions and economic problems aren't your biggest problem when you are fighting a large conventional war. Just look at Ukraine: every tenth Ukrainian is out of the country and not producing to the GDP. There is a mere trickle of wheat and grain exports from Ukraine, Russia is bombing it's infrastructure every day. Ukraine's GDP shrank by -30% or so last year.

    Is Zelensky going to be fired because of the bad economic situation? No.

    And neither will the hidden recession (caused by the tough sanctions) be an existential question for Putin's survival. Russia accounts for 10% of the worldwide oil output. The world cannot go on chugging along with 90% of global oil production, hence Russia will find buyers for it's oil. And if it can sell it for the lower price that it has to sell it, then it's OK.

    I think the reason why we believe so much on sanctions is because if we would get similar treatment, the recession it would produce would likely make the present administration be the past administration after the next elections. But Russia cannot elect their leaders, not by democratic elections.

    I follow the general idea that time is not on Ukraine's side.Paine
    That's the worrying part.
  • The US Economy and Inflation
    That cannot go unpunished.Mikie
    I think the Fed is now busy saving the banking system... again. And with that of course, it doesn't have to be worried about the money having the same effect as those covid-dollars put into the pockets of Americans that were forced to stay home. During these times the banks will hold on to that money like Scrooge McDuck.

    Also, our state university economics department regarded the University of Chicago economics department as an econ policy mecca. I seem to remember this trivia as more important than the content of the course.Mark Nyquist
    Economists are only people, and when people come together, there's usually the the "in crowd" and those would like to be in the in crowd. I think in the 1980's was the peak for the Chicago School.

    Also I've picked up a long the way that institutions such as George Washington University and U of Pennsylvania's Wharton school have close ties with covert US Federal economics policies and personal.Mark Nyquist
    Economics as a profession have deep ties with Central banks. After all, few of the most lucrative positions are held there and Central Banks (not just the Fed) do sponsor economic research. So for example the very long and interesting history of the US opposing a Central Bank is very much put aside to the conspiracy theorists to argue about.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    One interesting remark came from retired Lt. General Ben Hodges in an interview. His thought was that assuming Ukraine gets enough support from the West, it can in this year even take Crimea. Not by a methodical push by through the narrow routes to the peninsula, but by making it difficult to supply the troops there. Yet he continued his remark saying that next year this would be far more difficult.

    The reason why in 2024 it would be so is that the Russian defense industry has then had enough time to get it's act together and transform to the wartime economy Russians are obviously preparing. Perfect example of this is Iran. Iran had all it's military bought and brought from the West and after the revolution there was no support for these weapon systems and sanctions have basically continued up until to this day. And now Iran is selling Russia unmanned areal vehicles. All the talk about Russia not having chips and all the problems that have been countered in the Russian arms manufacturing lines won't be a problem year after year. When there's a will, there's finally a way.

    Countries don't transform the arms manufacturing from peace-time to wartime in an instant. The small expensive batches cannot be turned into cheaper and sustained mass production in an instant. The pledges of the German chancellor to dramatically increase military speding last year is a great example of this: it simply hasn't happened what he promised a year ago. Yet if this large scale conventional war slogs it's way to 2024, then there has been years to adapt to the new normal.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    For my part, I wasn't all that interested in fact-checking Hersh's story, because I didn't take it seriously in the first place.SophistiCat
    In the examples what @neomac gave about the Bellingcat critique on Sy Hersh, I noticed the following.

    Until July 26th, both Welt and Hersh have been quiet about the obvious contradictions between their claims and the OPCW FFM report. This changed when Charles Davis, editor at, emailed Hersh and asked him to comment on the fact the OPCW FFM report contradicted his claims published in Welt. Hersh offered no defence of his work, stating that he had “learned just to write what I know, and move on”, and recommended that Davis contact two individuals: Ted Postol, and former UNSCOM inspector Scott Ritter.

    Small world, isn't it.

    Well, I think Sy Hersh, after reporting about My Lai and Abu Grhaib, is simply a journalist whose career won't get bulldozed over if he makes contrary articles that the US government hates. Hence basically Sy is the guy to go when you have a really explosive news to publish. Yet knowing how leaky the US system is, if the issue is true, then it's going to be difficult to hide the operation for decades from historians, at least.

    I assume that it will become at least something like the USS Liberty Incident if it really was a CIA operation. And if it was as Hersh says it was, it's really a panicky bad choice for Biden to make: Germany wasn't going to go for Nordstream gas anyway as there was no energy Armageddon or even one blackout in Germany this winter.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    You should understand that this thread is the general thread about the war.

    So I'll rephrase my point that you understand. We others can talk about what decision the nation states are doing, you can repeat your narrative of the military-industrial complex and the proletariat. If you don't care about actors like European coiuntries or Russia's objectives in this war, let others talk about them.