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Here is how the cliodynamician Peter Turchin, in his book War and Peace and War (which I reviewed here), describes the outcomes of different pit-fight scenarios between the Romans and the Gauls:

Romans held no physical or technological advantage over the peoples they conquered. An average Roman was smaller and weaker than an average Gaul. In a one-to-one duel, an average Roman would most likely lose to an average Gaul. On the other hand, a hundred Romans could hold even against a hundred of Gauls, and ten thousand Romans would easily defeat a Gallic army many times their number.

Upon inquiry, it emerged that this assessment wasn’t backed up by statistical evidence:

Even so, the stereotype that Northerners are stronger than Southerners seems to be widespread in both fiction and more serious works:

Harry Turtledove - Give Me Back My Legions!:

Arminius smiled. “Well, maybe we would have.” He didn’t feel like arguing. But he also didn’t believe Chlodevegius. One German had an excellent chance against one Roman. Ten Romans had the edge on ten Germans. A hundred Romans would massacre a hundred Germans.

Stephen Williams – Diocletian and the Roman Recovery:

With the primitive, wandering farmer-warrior ethos in which each tribe was ready to expand into the space of its nearest neighbour, the Germans could recover quickly from all but the most punitive defeats. Man for man they were physically stronger than the Romans and certainly as brave: Their fierce fighting qualities had long compelled admiration: Tacitus, prophetically, saw in their warlike freedom a new reservoir of enormous energies which could have profound consequences for the Roman future.

But is it actually true?

This post is a quick survey of physical strength differences from an HBD perspective.

Race Differences in Physical Strength

1. Araujo, Andre et al. – 2010 – Lean mass, muscle strength, and physical function in a diverse population of men

strength-blacks-whites

Black diamonds – Blacks; Black triangles – Whites; Gray squares – Hispanics

Physical strength of Whites and US Blacks are really similar.

2. Dodds, Richard et al. – 2016 – Global variation in grip strength, A systematic meta-analysis

strength-grip-national

There are obvious “Flynn” effects with respect to strength as well as IQ – the developed countries are a lot stronger than Africa (which was represented by Nigeria), which suggests that possible Flynn gains to strength are on the order of 1-1.5 S.D.

3. Leong, Darryl et al. – 2015 – Prognostic value of grip strength

physical-strength-countries

physical-strength-regions

This is more interesting, and really quite striking. It would appear that the weakest men (South Asians) do not have a stronger hand grip than the strongest women (Europeans).

PS. So much for the Pakistani martial race theory…

Though seldom used in today’s context, it has been alleged that Pakistan Military believed in the concept of martial races, and thought that they would easily defeat India in a war, especially prior to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Based on this belief in martial supremacy, it was popularly said that one Pakistani soldier was equal to four to ten Hindus or Indian soldiers, and thus numerical superiority of the foe could be overcome… Defence writers in Pakistan have noted that the 1971 defeat was partially attributable to the flawed ‘martial races’ theory which led to wishful thinking that it was possible to defeat the Indian Army based on the theory alone.

4. Andersen Ranberg, Karen et al. – 2009 – Cross National Differences in Grip Strength among 50yo Europeans

strength-hand-grip-european-males

strength-hand-grip-european-females

Moreover, the Germanics really are significantly stronger than the Mediterraneans. The average Germanic seems to be around 15 years “younger” than the average Italian or Spaniard in terms of hand grip strength. These are remarkably big differences, around 1 S.D.’s worth. Average German, Swede, or Pole might have a 15 SQ (strength quotient) advantage over the average South European.

OTOH, the Italians and Spaniards also happen to be the two longest-lived European nations. (This is something of a pattern, too).

5. Mathieson, Iain et al. – 2015 – 8000 years of natural selection for height in Europe (see Razib Khan’s blog post)

europe-height-selection

Note that Central Europe Neolithic to Bronze Age and especially the Steppe strongly selected for height.

Even today, based on personal experience, you will observe many taller, burlier men in Germanic and Slavic Europe than you would in the Mediterranean.

Sex Differences in Physical Strength

For context, there is a ~2.5 S.D. difference in male and female grip strength.

1. Leyk, D. et al. – 2007 – Hand-grip strength of young men, women and highly trained female athletes (see Razib Khan’s blog post)

strength-male-female

2. There is also this famous graph which was making the rounds on Reddit a year ago.

male-female-grip-strength

Women have around 60% of the hand grip strength of men. Huge difference… but remarkably, seems to be about equal to the difference between developed Anglo-German/Slavic Europe and the Indian subcontinent!

PS. Why do so many of these studies focus on grip strength? Because it is easy to measure, changes the least as people age (hand grip is the last to go), and is exercised more or less universally.

The Strength of Nations

My best guess is that in terms of S.D.’s it goes something like this in terms of hand grip strength (Flynn! denotes members of those ethnicities that dwell in First World environments).

  • +1 Icelanders
  • +0.5 Steppe!East Asians (i.e.Mongols)
  • 0 Balto-Slavic-Germanics, Flynn!WestAfricans
  • -.5 East Asians
  • -1 Mediterraneans, Flynn!Indians, WestAfricans
  • -2 Indians

Explanations of Icelanders, Mongols, and Indians follow below.

Prominent Outliers

Two nations in particular seem to be superlative in terms of physical strength relative to their racial groups:

björnsson-clegane

Hafþór Björnsson (better known as The Mountain): World’s strongest man ever?

1. Icelanders, with a mere 300,000 people, dominate the world strongman competitions. They have won 9 Gold medals, more than any other country other than the US, which has won 11 (and has ONE THOUSAND times its population).

In January 2015, at the World’s Strongest Viking competition held in Norway, Hafþór carried a 10-metre-long (33 ft), 650-kilogram (1,430 lb) log for five steps, thus breaking a 1,000-year-old record set by Orm Storolfsson.

Unfortunately, Orm Storolfsson broke his back performing this feat. Still, considering that the Icelandic population one millennium ago was ten times lower at 30,000, and they had yet to be supercharged by bodily Flynn Effect, perhaps the human race was at its genomic peak of physical strength in Iceland 1,000 years ago.

Agriculture is more of an aerobic activity, so explosive physical strength may have been selected against ever since.

Icelandic women have also won four years of the past decade’s worth the Crossfit Games.

2. The Mongols, with just three million people, dominate sumo wrestling in Japan. (In fairness, the Japanese seem to be physically smaller than other East Asians, so they are probably weaker than Koreans and northern Chinese).

There is also the historical record of their military achievements.

Although these factors were mainly logistical and political, one consideration that is often neglected is that the ketogenic, steppe-forged Mongols may have also been physically stronger and more vital than their grain-eating bugman foes.

Jack Weatherford – Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World:

The Chinese noted with surprise and disgust the ability of the Mongol warriors to survive on little food and water for long periods; according to one, the entire army could camp without a single puff of smoke since they needed no fires to cook. Compared to the Jurched soldiers, the Mongols were much healthier and stronger. The Mongols consumed a steady diet of meat, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products, and they fought men who lived on gruel made from various grains. The grain diet of the peasant warriors stunted their bones, rotted their teeth, and left them weak and prone to disease. In contrast, the poorest Mongol soldier ate mostly protein, thereby giving him strong teeth and bones. Unlike the Jurched soldiers, who were dependent on a heavy carbohydrate diet, the Mongols could more easily go a day or two without food.

3. Conversely, the Indians really might be the physically weakest race:

Only 5 medals. Record-setting (3 in Beijing, 0-2 in all previous Olympics) but that’s still atrocious for a country of 1.2 billion people – even a poor and malnourished one. Michael Phelps alone has won almost as many Gold medals as India has done as a nation for as long as the Olympics existed.

But the reasons for this become clearer when you consider that the average Swedish or Polish woman is probably about as strong as the average Indian male. And the average Icelandic woman might even be outright stronger…

The Indians also accumulate the most body fat for every unit of BMI.

Of course malnutrition is still a factor. Once that is solved and India gets its bodily Flynn effect, the average Indian male will surpass the Swedish and probably the Icelandic woman. And given the much higher S.D. of men, the stronger Indian men will of course be much stronger than the European women.

 
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My Romania post will hopefully be up in a few days.

In the meantime, I’ll share my impressions of the Sukhoi Superjet 100, which I flew for the first time on the way back from Bucharest.

Overall impressions: Meh. As densely packed as any Airbus, and way more vibrations and creaking sounds than the average flight (though I suppose I can’t extrapolate too much from n=1 flights). My favorite plane by far remains the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which at least on Norwegian Airlines comes packed with individual monitors for entertainment and ordering food and drinks, and has free WiFi on many of its flights (and this was a couple of years ago). The Superjet 100 didn’t even have sockets to charge your cell phone or laptop with, which I consider to be a disgraceful omission in this day and age.

The next Kholmogorov translation from Fluctuarius Argenteus is going to be this one: Николай II становится для нас анти-Сталиным (“Nicholas II is becoming an anti-Stalin for us”).

***

Featured News

* Trump. Canada. Kim meeting. Etc. I gather nothing very interesting happened.

* Syria will probably start cleaning up Daraa in a matter of days. As I understand it, the Israelis are cool with it, so long as the Iranians aren’t involved.

* All football discussions go here.

* James Thompson: Who are the IQ experts?

iq-experts

I do wonder how the rankings would have changed since 2013 – probably not in my favor, since I have started writing much less about HBD/IQ stuff (in fairness, so has Sailer).

***

Russia

* Police search the apartment of a guy involved in the Dissernet project to detect plagiarism (of which at least 1/9 Duma deputies are guilty of). He might be charged under Article 282 (extremism).

This is great news, helping discredit that law even further.

* Ukraine comes dead last out of eight in Strong Europe Tank Challenge 2018 (an explanation from AP). Germany wins as usual.

* Another big corruption investigation [in Russian] from Navalny about Gazprom, based on the fired Sberbank analyst’s report.

***

World

* Sane nationalities/language policy:

***

Science & Culture

* Bernt Bratsberg & Ole Rogeberg (2018) – Flynn effect and its reversal are both environmentally caused (summary via James Thompson)

* Emil Kirkegaard & Bryan Pesta (2018) – An S Factor Analysis on the Provinces of Vietnam: Relationships with Cognitive Ability, Ethnicity, and Latitude

map-vietnam-iq

* Angela Nagle, who wrote Kill All Normies, is a plagiarist.

***

Powerful Takes

* /r/politics reaching levels of ROG that shouldn’t even be possible (via Greasy William):

levels-of-rog

* Einstein was waycist.

* Taleb goes full #frogtwitter:

* This entire thread, with me providing several of them: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/stalin-is-not-great/

***

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Airports, Open Thread 
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Untold billions of dollars spent on new football stadiums. Lavish spending on football players. The hiring of some of Europe’s most expensive and prestigious coaches.

Results?

The Russian team has never been weaker in its entire history.

russia-football-elo-2018

My guess is that Russia will probably eke out second place in its laughably weak (and hilariously improbable) group, and will be put out of its misery by Spain or Portugal as soon as it’s out of the group stages.

However, we can’t exclude that Russia will fail to beat laughably weak Egypt and/or Saudi Arabia. 538 gives a 27% chance that Russia will fail to even pass the group stage.

There’s no reason to be mad about this. Climatic factors mean that Russians are simply not cut out for football, as I explained in Why Is Russia Bad at Football?

Still, the kremlins are obsessed with big sporting events, because (in their cargo cult minds) it helps raise the country’s “prestige”, and perhaps more importantly, helps fatten their friends’ wallets. At almost $10 billion, Russia spent more on stadium construction than any previous FIFA World Cup host – Korea/Japan in 2002, South Africa in 2010, and Brazil in 2014 all spent around $6 billion on stadiums. This overspending comes on the heels of the most expensive Olympics in history, the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 – a vanity project that has only been rivaled by the white elephants in the Gulf Arab monarchies in the 21st century.

Robbie Williams is going to be performing at the opening ceremony, and no doubt getting paid millions if not tens of millions for “selling his soul” to the “dictator Putin.” Meanwhile, FIFA has banned pro-Donbass singer Yulia Chicherina from performing at the opening ceremonies in Rostov on Don, with official Russia not uttering a word of complaint about that.

In short, this is not Russia’s World Cup.

It is the World Cup of Putin, of the Rotenbergs, of Robbie Williams and sundry washed up foreign celebrities, of the Russian bureaucracy, of the FIFA bureaucracy, and of the Western media that symbiotically feeds off all of them.

Russia will probably fail humiliatingly, and I couldn’t care less.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Corruption, Football, Russia 
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Vladislav Pravdin – GREAT STALIN (1949). It is our joy that during the hard years of the war the Red Army and the Soviet people were led by the wise and experienced leader of the Soviet Union – the GREAT STALIN.

Translator’s Foreword (Fluctuarius Argenteus)

And now for something completely different. Instead of snippets from larger works, here’s Egor Kholmogorov’s two-part takedown of the notion of “Stalin as a Russia national hero” merged into a single text.

The relationship of Russian nationalism and Neo-Stalinism is a torturous one. Modern Neo-Stalinism emerged in the early 2000s as one aspect of an anti-Yeltsinist and anti-Liberal consensus, an attempt to reconcile the Imperial and Soviet past under the banner of a broadly defined Russian patriotism and do away with the kind of historical nihilism that painted Stalin as the ultimate expression of a “millennium-old Russian yearning for slavery”. Many, including the author of the article and its translator, paid lip service to this movement in their younger years.

By approximately 2005, the movement had gone mainstream, and by 2012, it completely morphed into a cancerous outgrowth. The nerve of early Neo-Stalinist rhetoric was the belief that Stalin had made a U-turn from (((Old Bolshevik cosmopolitanism))), legalised some forms of Russian national consciousness, and generally put Russian history back on track (i.e., was not true Marxism, and it was good). The Neo-Stalinism of The New Tens is virulently hostile towards the slightest hint of Russian patriotism and a positive appraisal of pre-1917 Russia, going as far as to condemn liking Alexander Nevsky and Peter the Great (both lionised under Stalin) as “Vlasovism” (oh the sweet irony).

Needless to say, this text provoked some gnashing of teeth in the Neo-Stalinist camp.

AK’s Foreword

After my takedown of Lenin, some people suggested that I extend it to Stalin. But what point is there when we have Kholmogorov? I agree with this 90%, down to the biographical details of my own modest (if still regrettable) quasi-Stalinophile sentiments a decade ago.

This is something that afflicted many Russian patriots of that time, being part of a general rejection of the Russophobic narratives of the liberal elites. Support for Stalin became intensely tribal, and a means to troll those people. However, it has now gone on for far too long. That particular culture war is no longer relevant, and lingering Stalinophilia now only serves to distort Russian history and Russia’s self-image of itself. It is time to put that mustachioed, medals-bedecked Halloween costume back into the cupboard.

Although we may quibble with some details – I had quite a few myself as I edited this – this piece may be considered to be as close to a Russian nationalist statement on Stalin as any.

If you appreciate these translatinos, please feel free to give Kholmogorov a tip here: http://akarlin.com/donations-kholmogorov/

***

Part I: Pharaoh of the Plow and Atom

Original: https://tsargrad.tv/articles/faraon-sohi-i-reaktora_71311

38% of Russian citizens polled by Levada Center put Joseph Stalin at #1 among the greatest heroes of Russian and world history. He is followed by Putin, Pushkin, Lenin, Peter I, Gagarin, Leo Tolstoy, Georgy Zhukov, Catherine II, Lermontov, Lomonosov, Mendeleev, and even Brezhnev and Gorbachev. The only non-Russians who made it to the top are Napoleon, Newton, and Einstein.

Well well well… This is an obvious disgrace. If trustworthy, it reveals than the average Russian doesn’t have the vaguest idea about the course of Russian and world history and the true importance of historical figures. To be fair, sociologists aren’t that far from the masses, mixing in the same poll politicians, generals, writers, and scientist, whose relative importance just can’t be measured by the scale. Essentially, this a list of the best-advertised personalities.

The absolute disaster here is that, in 2017, almost a good half our citizens are confident enough to place Stalin at #1 in Russian and world history. Of course, the Generalissimo here is playing the part of an epic or even mythological hero; the details and real achievements do not matter. For our people, Stalin is a byword for “a strong Russia to be reckoned with in the global arena”. And this strength acts as an acceptable rationale for everything else: millions of murdered Russians, from great scientists to common villagers, demolished churches and martyred priests, a completely fleeced countryside… Everything is pardoned and justified, following Isaac Deutscher’s formula: “He found Russia working with wooden plows and left her equipped with atomic piles” (which is frequently misattributed to Winston Churchill instead of this obscure Trotskyite and has “atomic piles” replaced with the “atomic bomb”).

In other words, Stalin is seen by the Russian consciousness as the architect of our incredible grandeur, which was enabled by the tremendous industrial leap forward and Victory in the Great Patriotic War. This grandeur is enough to excuse his transformation of Russia into a hellish bloodbath of terror.

If we put mythological and epical thinking aside and deal with historical facts, is Stalin’s #1 place among the greatest personalities in world history, afforded by our compatriots and sociologists, in any way justified?

I have never been into anti-Stalinist hysterics. I even published multiple articles calling to refrain from cartoonish nihilism while evaluating Stalin’s contribution to our country’s Victory in the Great Patriotic War. I am an even stauncher opponent of identifying Russia with Stalin, of using Stalin’s horrifying atrocities as a pretext to erase our national heroism and demand “reparations”, “territorial concessions”, and other vile nonsense. I couldn’t care less about Stalin being distasteful to other countries and nations – the Russians are blameless before them.

What really concerns me is Stalin’s place in the history of the Russian people. And it is in this domain, no thanks to meddlesome “National Stalinists” who go as far as to put Stalin on icons, where the role of this historical figure is inflated to infinity and beyond. It now turns out that it wasn’t Stalin’s good fortune that the Russians stayed loyal to him during the military debacle of 1941, as he claimed himself in his famous Victory Toast. No, it was a great honor and mercy for the Russians on Stalin’s part, because he condescended to rule them, shoot them, exile them where they could plow permafrost, let them get slaughtered in Nazi encirclements, and starve them with famines. It turns out that we Russians are allegedly unworthy of Stalin, our Messiah.

This boundless and hypertrophied propaganda poisoning the minds of our countrymen is sometimes even more obscene than the cult of the Great Leader as it existed in his lifetime. To heighten Stalin’s pedestal, they keep placing more and more falsehood at its base, be it myths of a pathetic backward Tsarist Russia or new slander against victims of the regime, long rehabilitated by state security and never held in contempt by the nation or history. Even the greatest of victims, such as Nikolai Vavilov, are now dragged through the mud, and the most despicable of rogues, such as Trofim Lysenko, are now lionized, for the sole purpose of keeping Stalin’s halo intact.

That is why we have to return to the question of Stalin the historical figure and not Stalin the myth, and enquire into the degree and character of his greatness.

The first foundation stone of Stalin’s pedestal is the Industrialization. Allegedly, the very Russia that languished in backwardness under the pathetically incompetent Tsars made a huge industrial leap under Stalin, storming into global industrial leadership, beating Hitler, and becoming a superpower.

This claim is false in several respects. First, Tsarist Russia wasn’t backward either in industry or in military technology. The country was developing dynamically, and there is no reason to suggest she would have reached a lower level of industrial progress than the one attained by the USSR in 1939. When we were little kids, Soviet textbooks hypnotized us with diagrams of industrial development compared to “Russia in 1913”. And no one would pose the question: “Wait, if the revolution hadn’t happened, Russia would have simply frozen at 1913 levels forever?”. And here’s another naïve question no one came to ask Soviet history teachers: “If Tsarist Russia was so industrially backward, where did her working class come from, with the Bolshevik Party as its self-proclaimed leadership?”

Russian industrialization began in the 1890s mostly thanks to the efforts of Count Sergei Witte, who was a follower of the great German economist Friedrich List, the theorist of the forces of production (a term later plagiarized by Karl Marx) and protectionism. An active ally of Witte’s was Dmitry Mendeleev, not only a famous chemist but also an economist who organised the Russian oil industry and also followed List’s principles of economic protectionism.

Enjoying the complete support of Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II, Witte achieved an impressive surge in industrial development. However, he was often criticised for overstraining the Russian peasantry to achieve said surge, which backfired with the unrest of 1905-06 that coincided with a cyclic crisis in world economy. In 1909, Russia saw the start of a new economic boom and a new wave of industrialization overseen by Peter Stolypin.

Stolypin’s approach was much more merciful to the peasantry than Witte’s. The countryside stopped being an economic donor and became a full-fledged partner, reaping the benefits of industrialization together with urban areas. The Great War, despite extreme conditions, gave an even greater boost to Russia’s military and industrial development. It was was the Bolshevik Revolution, as well as the ensuing “War Communism” and Civil War, which caused the terrible desolation that almost plunged the country into a new Stone Age. As a member of the Bolshevik leadership, Stalin was directly responsible for that.

Evidently, to endure as a Great Power (and, consequently, protect the Bolshevik dictatorship from being deposed by a foreign invasion), Russia couldn’t stay at the rock bottom where Bolshevism had flung her. Hence the idea of resuming industrialization, now under a new Communist management and based on Communist ideas. Stalinism didn’t attempt anything new here, because industrialization had already been running for a quarter of a century under the Tsars and was in any case supported by all rival Communist factions. Stalin’s contribution to industrialization is limited to inventing a new method, not based on strong-arming the countryside (as with Witte) or robbing it blind (as proposed by Trotsky and Pyatakov).

Stalin’s industrialization was powered by the physical eradication of the Russian countryside via forced collectivization, punitive expeditions, mass exile, famine, and terror. Yes, this method of industrialization had been previously unknown to the wider world and could be perfectly dispensed with, as demonstrated by Tsarist Russia. But can the invention of cannibalism be considered a contribution to the culinary arts? Probably not.

To Stalin’s credit, he was very successful in simultaneously bleeding the country dry to gain funds for industrialization with exploiting the vicissitudes of the global market. The Great Depression engulfed the entire world, flooding the market with cheap imported machinery and tractors, as well as jobless American engineers. In this respect, Stalin’s industrialization turned out to be cheaper for the USSR than if it had happened at the peak of the global business cycle. But let’s not forget that Russian bread and Russian exports also became cheaper cheaper. To turn a profit, Soviet industrialization needed not just cheap labor, but a slave-like one, spurred by a famine stemming from Stalin’s 1930-31 attempts at monopolizing global grain exports. As grain prices kept falling during the Great Depression, the Soviet Union was forced to increase export volume and thus physically decimate its own citizenry with starvation and terror.

In 1929, the Soviets exported 1.3 million metric tons of grain worth $68 a ton, earning $88 million. In 1930, the exports amounted to 4.8 million tons worth $45 to $60 a ton, netting a marvelous $288 million in profits. However, in October 1930, grain prices on the world market collapsed. After completely fleecing the peasantry and exporting 5.2 million tons, Stalin earned a paltry $72 million. At the same time, a mass urban exodus from the countryside required greater grain procurements for the domestic market as well. Combined with plummeting grain harvests in 1931-32, this would lead to a terrible famine, now appropriated by Ukrainian nationalists under the name of “Holodomor” and “genocide” (in reality, the Kuban and Volga regions didn’t suffer any less).

Stalin’s great contribution to industrialization consisted in employing slave labor not in a Bronze Age or plantation economy, but in an economy of the Industrial Age, a feat hitherto unknown to human history. Stalin surpassed the kings of Egypt because the Pharaohs used slave labor to build the Pyramids only in Soviet textbooks. In reality, the work teams of peasants that took part in those colossal construction projects were well remunerated and had decent working conditions by Ancient Egyptian standards. Stalin demonstrated that Southern slave owners could compete with the industry of the Union if only they had abandoned their paternalistic views of their slaves and sent them, overseen by cruel taskmasters, to build factories, roads, and mines…

Low labor costs, achieved through extreme coercion and terror, did make the USSR capable of undertaking projects that hadn’t been considered economically viable in Tsarist Russia, such as the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, dependent on both Kuznetsk coal and Urals ore. When capital was the main factor of production, such projects wouldn’t have made a profit. The historical Russian model of industrialization was capital-intensive: the Morozovs, Ryabushinkys, Tereschenkos, Putilovs, Konovalovs and other tycoons invested in costly machinery, often more advanced than in neighboring Germany. Based on this trend, the Russian-American economist Alexander Gerschenkron wrote of the advantages of “economic backwardness”, that is, a belated industrialization.

The Bolsheviks blew the old Russian industry to smithereens. However, the Great Leader and the Great Teacher successfully triumphed over the laws of economics. The leading economic factor in Soviet industrial projects, in Soviet circumpolar canal-digging and railroad construction, was labor. Slave labor. The profitability of most industrial projects soared, as a train full of Gulag convicts acted as a replacement for costly machinery, which was doubly economical: money was saved on both expensive equipment and maintenance for the workers themselves.

Stalin sought to apply the same principle of making labor the main industrial factor while lowering the importance of capital everywhere, including science. Sharashkas and threats of arrest turned out to be a better stimulus for scientific progress, in the short run at least, than German sausages and American mansions with swimming pools. Alas, biology is different from mechanics: Vavilov couldn’t get wheat chromosomes to vernalize even at gunpoint, which ended in his elimination and the rise of Lysenko, who promised to impose Stalinist labor discipline even on plant life…

Is enriching global economic thought with the principle of forced labor superiority to the capital enough to make Stalin the greatest person in history? I don’t think so. Russia used to have its own model of industrialization, which had produced excellent results and created an industrially developed economy integrated into the global economic system. Of course, it wasn’t without its failings, and had patent elements of financial dependence. But didn’t the USSR have the same kind of dependence on foreign credit, both during and after the industrialization, though only working harder to conceal it? Professor Katasonov’s calculations reveal that all profits from Soviet exports, all the gold pillaged from the Church and the general populace, all the money made from art sales couldn’t pay for the equipment imported by the USSR. This meant that the Soviets were systematically dependent on foreign loans, which Stalin himself acknowledged on multiple occasions in his correspondence. In this respect, the Great Leader merely differed from the Tsar in hiding his debts from the masses.

World War II caught Stalin’s Soviet Union in the midst of an incomplete industrialization, dependent on foreign imports in many types of machinery, up to the eyes in debt, with a part of the populace – oftentimes the intellectually and economically superior one – exterminated or jailed, and with a unique slave-labor driven industrial economy. Any organic path of Russia’s development, especially Stolypin’s, would have given Russia much better historical prospects.

But perhaps the Stalinist Soviet Union developed some kind of unique technology that was beyond the powers of old Russia? Nope. Stalin did bequeath us the proverbial atomic piles, using slave labor and nuclear espionage to save the billions of dollars spent by the USA on the Manhattan Project, which the Soviets simply didn’t have. God forbid me from chastising Stalin for that act of espionage – actually, it was one of his greatest and most innocent achievements that cost only two human lives (the Rosenbergs) and saved millions of them.

However, Stalin kept dreaming of Soviet battleships for the entirety of reign, but the USSR never managed to complete its large warships program. The naval contribution to the defense of Leningrad in WWII consisted of Gangut and Petropavlovsk, two Tsarist battleships built by Admiral Grigorovich and paid for by a Duma browbeaten into submission by Stolypin. Soviet aircraft carriers at that time were also a complete impossibility.

The story of Stalin’s fighter planes turned into a tale of endless anguish for engineers, constructors, and pilots, which the Great Leader himself confirmed by mass imprisonment of the apparatchiks responsible for the wartime aircraft production (the so-called “Aviation Affair”). The same thing happened with bombers: It would suffice to mention that the Soviet Tu-4 was a reverse-engineered copy of the American B-29.

These examples have nothing to do with the myth of Russia’s backwardness. Quite to the contrary: Russia, by virtue of NOT being a backward country and having amassed a huge intellectual and technological potential, could survive the emigration and mass murder of scientists and engineers and the savagery of the slave labor system, and advance to new technological horizons. However, almost all of these new horizons were revealed to us by “old-schoolers”. The most prominent of the Soviet scientists involved in the nuclear and missile projects came almost exclusively from the ranks of the “enemy class” of the pre-revolutionary intelligentsia, receiving their education either before the Revolution or in the 1920s, when the old foundations of education hadn’t been completely ruined. Without these human resources, Stalin wouldn’t have had a shot at leaving Russia with atomic piles. The same atomic piles, however, could well have be developed by the same date by a Tsar Alexey Nikolayevich or Mikhail Alexandrovic h…

By the way, about those plows that Stalin “found Russia” with. Indeed, Stalin took Russia with wooden plows… from Lenin. And Lenin had grabbed Russia by the neck after she had lost her Tsar, under whose rule she had been a country with automobiles, armored cars, Sikorsky airplanes, early aircraft carriers, battleships and tank blueprints. And the truth is that Stalin took Russia from Lenin with plows and left her with the same implements. The plow was in use in 1953 just as in 1924, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (the sokha, the Russian light wooden plow, is better suited to certain soil types than heavier plows). All in all, measuring the trajectory of Stalinism in terms of plows and atomic piles is a gross oversimplification.

However, let us not lapse into slander and calumny by claiming that all Stalin’s achievements came only as a result of cannibalism and mass destruction of his own citizens. After the war, many residential and industrial objects in the Soviet Union were erected by German POWs, following the same slave labor model. Some select citizens of the USSR whirled around Moscow in an Opels (rechristened Moskvitch) while sporting nice Carl Zeiss glasses. Stalinist industrialization got a new a material and moral resource: Victory. And that Cictory is what our compatriots deservedly count as one of Stalin’s greatest achievements.

Can the victor in the greatest war in history not be named the greatest man in history? This is a story for our next article.

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Part II: Stalin’s Toxic Gifts

Original: https://tsargrad.tv/articles/otravlennye-podarki-stalina_71529

So, let’s go back to Stalin as the “greatest person in Russian and world history”. This reputation – to the degree that it actually exists among the populace and wasn’t engineered by sociologists – dwells mostly upon the Soviet Victory in the Great Patriotic War. World War II being the greatest war ever waged by mankind, it seems reasonable and justified to hail the victor in this war as the greatest man ever.

There can be a lot of objections to this. First, the Great Patriotic War was just one part of World War II, won fair and square by the United States. The Americans, having lost the least amount of people by dint of replacing them with guns and dollars, using the Russians to do the bloody work, and stealing the thunder of their British allies, went on to become the masters of the postwar world order.

Even during the Cold War, the USSR was, for a long time, a mere challenger to American supremacy and not an equal contender. And we all know how this war ended for us. The US victory in WWII under President Roosevelt is undisputed. He died when their victory was a fait accompli, and President Truman took no new decisions of his own (Roosevelt would have probably nuked Hiroshima, too). But is Roosevelt the greatest person in history? Not quite! He keeps getting flak from the left and the right, even for his New Deal, even for his meagre concessions to the Soviets in Tehran and Yalta. Even in the US proper, his ranking among top US presidents never rises above #2, and usually he occupies the #3 spot.

Regarding Russia, her greatest pre-1941 war was the Patriotic War of 1812, greatest by the stature of the enemy (Napoleon, one of the greatest characters in history), by the size and the power of his Army of the Twelve Nations, the tragedy of the fall of the Russian capital, the charity and sacrifice of the nobility, the merchant class, and the peasantry, the complete destruction of the adversary – in all these respects, the “thunder of 1812” was historically unparalleled. Who won this war? Alexander I the Blessed. To quote Pushkin’s lines, “he conquered Paris, he founded the Lyceum”.

But is this Emperor counted among the all-time greats of Russian history, according to Levada or whatever other poll? No. He is half-forgotten, his reputation destroyed by ignominious military settlements (still less outrageous than the Gulag), the infamy of Arakcheevschina (still not quite the Yezhovschina), the sin of patricide[1] (is it worse than Patria-cide?), the ridicule of other, much less flattering Pushkin poems[2]. And if it is ever to be proven that he was already been canonised by the Orthodox Church as a saint and revered by the common folk under the name of Feodor Kuzmich[3], this glory and grace would only be bestowed upon his second life, granted to expiate the sins of the first.

Stalin founded no Lyceum, he created the sharashkas, and, to paraphrase Saltykov-Schedrin’s History of a Town, “torched public schools and abolished (some of) the sciences”. He didn’t reach Paris but quite definitely conquered Berlin, a feat unseen since the days of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, God bless her memory. He lucked out with his enemy – Hitler wasn’t as great as Napoleon, but he was extraordinary vile towards the Russians and brought Russia untold of devastation. Before the invasion, his generals fulminated with very clear instructions: “war crimes in the East are not to be considered as such”, “any cultural assets in the East do not matter”. Anyone who would stand between Hitler and the Russians and organize resistance was deserving of great praise.

Stalin is deserving of such praise, too. He managed to collect himself and lead the struggle, distributing his forces so that Hitler’s onslaught got bogged down in Russia’s expanse and failing to reach any Russian capital except Kiev. He evacuated and thus preserve the bulk of Soviet industrial production. The army that he assumed supreme command of experienced almost no defeats after November 1942 and led an unstoppable march to the Elbe. Stalin was prudent enough to make peace with the Russian people and unfurl the banner of Russian patriotism – quickly furled back up after the war but not as completely, since no one dared to derogate the Russians as brazenly as in the 1920s and 1930s. Stalin was shrewd enough while dealing with the Alleis that the USSR ended the war with large, even somewhat excessive gains. It is historically disingenuous to deny Stalin these achievements, and it would be nothing but a parallel falsehood to the rising tide of diehard Stalinist lies, which provoked this essay in the first place.

If we are to speak of Stalin’s greatness in world history and Russian history, his halo needs to be knocked down a couple of notches. Who is to blame but the country’s political and military leader for allowing the claws of the German eagle to sink so deep into the chest of our eagle-turned-red-star? Who is to answer for the unthinkable casualties sustained by our army in the 1941 encirclements?

Of course, these losses can’t be deemed “excessive”. Modern calculations place Soviet and German irrevocable military losses at 11.5 million vs. 8.6 million, a ratio of 1:3 to 1. But what are these 3 million “surplus” dead if not the price paid for the chaos and incompetence reigning in 1941, especially in September and October, when the tide of the Blitzkrieg seemed to have been stemmed?

Yes, June 22, 1941 was a case of the Wehrmacht’s military luck, intensified by a vile sneak attack. Luck has its place in warfare. But the encirclements near Kiev and Vyazma, the siege of Leningrad, to say nothing of the crushing 1942 defeats, were less a case of German good luck than our own failures.

The more one reads documents and memoirs, the clearer it is that Stalin’s interference in warfare was incompetent, arbitrary, and short-sighted. He was intelligent, driven, obstinate, obsessive about details, and despotic, all great qualities for a general, but his mind was corrupted by Bolshevism, a belief that applying enough pressure is all it takes to achieve a result, and a resulting utopian mindset. His meticulousness often turned into nitpicking, and he would obsess over trivial details. In spite of the Neo-Stalinist mythology, his views were ideologically blinkered in many important questions. Given the conditions of a hyper-centralized system of military management, all of the Commander-in-Chief’s foibles, all of his idiosyncrasies and fantasies took their greatly magnified toll on the real command of warfare. Yes, Stalin was smarter than Hitler, but setting the bar for greatness so low would be embarrassing even for the Generalissimo himself.

“It is all well and good”, some might say, “and a lot of what you say might be true – but don’t forget, the winner takes it all.

Perhaps a winner does take it all, but it doesn’t make him immune to criticism for misusing his spoils of victory. An untold loss of life, devastation, suffering, the horror of POW camps, occupation, and terror should have given the Russian a right to sizeable reparations. Did Stalin give its due to the nation he called “great” in his Victory Toast? Let’s give an objective rundown of military gains and talk about Stalin’s diplomacy.

When you hear any talk of Stalinism as an era when Russia was a Great Power to be reckoned with, you should realize that World War II started, and started the way it did, only because the pre-war Stalinist USSR was a pariah state, a rogue state written off by everyone. Through Foreign Affairs Commissar Maksim Litvinov, Stalin kept proclaiming a policy of collective defense, trying to cobble together anti-Fascist coalitions. He waged a “proxy war” with the Nazis in Spain, which was such an ideological trash fire that many past Republican sympathizers had to admit that Franco, a rational nationalist with a strong vision of unity, was better than bloodthirsty Red psychos. Nothing revealed the truth about Red methods for the European Liberal Left and pitted former fellow travelers against the Soviet Union quite like the Spanish Civil War.

When, in 1938, an agreement regarding the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia was reached in Munich, no one bothered to ask the opinion of the USSR, an alleged “Great Power”. This pushed Stalin towards a reasonable and prudent idea: if you can’t side with hyenas against a wolf, you pit the wolf against the hyenas. In his 1939 pact with Hitler, Stalin attempted, without a major war or sometimes without a single shot fired, to restore the territorial losses of 1918: the Baltics, Western Ukraine and Belarus, and Bessarabia. He bungled with Finland but at least got Vyborg back. He also grabbed what hadn’t belonged to Russia but should have: Galicia and Bukovina (the latter would be cited by Hitler as a pretext for the invasion on June 22, 1941).

Was this return to imperial borders justified? It was. Did Stalin do well by this? Probably yes. Did those returned territories do any good for the Russians? Not at all. Stalin fixed the crimes and mistakes of Lenin, a fellow Bolshevik. He pushed the balance of Russian history from “in the red” to “zero”. Doesn’t sound much for a “great leader”.

But what happened to the regathered lands? They were turned into ethnic republics that easily “de-occupied” themselves in 1991. Only tiny tracts of borderlands were annexed to the Pskov oblast. A once heavily Russified Vilna, recaptured from Poland, was given to the Lithuanian SSR. A Moldovan Republic was merged from Bessarabia and Transnistria, which is now on its way to fusing with Romania and dragging the Transnistrian Russians with it. However, Stalin’s most toxic and jinxed gift of all was Galicia. The entirety of Ukrainiznig potential accumulated there over the course of Austrian and Polish dominance engulfed Soviet Ukraine and dragged it into the abyss of “anti-Moskalism”. Stalin could fight the Banderites however he wanted, but, in the national absence of a Russian idea in the USSR, with Ukrainism propped up by all means possible, it became inevitable that Ukrainian identity would crystallize according to Galician precepts. Petro Poroshenko owes an enormous debt to Stalin, who enabled the Ukrainization of Ukrainizers.

All of these toxic gifts came with a terrible price, paid for by our people during the war. This price gave the Russians the right to expect even greater gifts, now destined only for the Russian people and no one else.

So what happened in reality? Pechenga, once the scene of St. Tryphon of Pechenga’s ascetic devotion, became Russian once again. Another restoration of what had been ours before. Carpathian Ruthenia, however, despite the pleas of Rusyn delegates to incorporate their land into the RSFSR, was not united with Russia and sacrificed on the altar of Ukrainization.

The rest was a gift to Poland, that backstabber who managed to reap three harvests from the same field. In exchange for restoring to Russia what Lenin had given away with the Riga peace treaty, they occupied, with Stalin’s consent, all of Eastern Germany, and expelled its ethnic German population, and gained highly developed industrial regions, and received the lion’s share of East Prussia, and got the Augustów district back from the USSR, and kept running around the world for 80 years complaining about the “Russian occupation” and demanding Lvov and Grodno back. Talk about stuffing the goose! And who kept feeding that pocket monster as a ploy to appease the British? Stalin, that’s who.

If there’s ever a World War III, it will start with a NATO blockade of Kaliningrad. And Stalin would be to blame for that, because he stripped the Augustów district from Belarus and carved up East Prussia in such a way that our communications with Kaliningrad stretch through Lithuania, always eager to block them entirely. Another toxic gift, because Stalin didn’t even believe that Prussia would not stay with the Russians forever. He wanted to trade it in exchange for German neutrality, which is why the first wave of Russian settlement there mainly consisted of exiles. As a result, it wasn’t really Stalin’s gift to the Russians but Adenauer’s: the West German Chancellor wasn’t swayed by the prospect of neutrality.

The same happened in the Far East. Stalin did the barest minimum of what every government of nationalist Russia would have done in a military grudge match against Japan: restoring the losses of the Russo-Japanese War and grabbing the Kuril Islands “for the trouble”. However, even those gains were left in a suspended and toxic state. Instead of strong-arming Japan into accepting the totality of our gains without further delay, the peace treaty question was dragged out until it blossomed into the mythical problem of the so-called Northern Territories. Toxic gifts, here we go again.

Let’s not forget the assets in Manchuria sacrificed in the name of solidarity with Red China – the Chinese Eastern Railway and Dalniy/Dalian, all the more frustrating because Manchuria’s specificities made it possible to give it a sui generis status profitable to the Soviets.

map-russia-plans-ww1

What could have been: Map of the “Future Europe” (not like Wilhelm II would have liked it!)

For the USSR, WWII resulted in lesser territorial gains that would have been plausibly claimed by Russia at the end of the Great War, which was “surrendered” by the Bolsheviks in Brest-Litovsk. Almost everywhere he would go, Stalin only picked up what had been squandered by Lenin. He failed to gain from a crushing German defeat even a half of what could have and would have been acquired by the Tsar. Under the Tsar, Galicia would have been incorporated into Russia under a Russian banner (to say nothing of the Turkish Straits). The few acquisitions of the Soviet Empire actually beneficial for the Russians, such as Kaliningrad, turned out to be this way almost by pure happenstance.

As part of a package deal involving these gains, the Russians got a bunch of freeloaders that had to be schooled in the ways of Communism and kept in line at gunpoint (East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia). And they had to be fed, fed, and fed once again. Exhausting the Russians under the burden of hangers-on in an incomprehensible Communist experiment is hardly a solid basis for greatness.

If we calculate the war losses of our nation and our more than modest gains, our victory was indeed Pyrrhic – as great as it was unprofitable. If it was indeed a historical comeback, it remedied not the historical faults of Tsarist Russia but those of Stalin’s mentor Lenin, who had wrecked historical Russia both morally and territorially.

Let’s give Stalin his due. He knew very well that he had started the war and had been rubbish at managing it. The Russians had every reason to give him the boot. He explicitly mentioned this in the Victory Toast: “A different people could have said to the Government: “You have failed to justify our expectations. Go away. We shall install another government which will conclude peace with Germany and assure us a quiet life.”

However, Stalin also considered the Russians’ understanding that “running away” from a world war, failing to complete it for a second time would be tantamount to ending our history as a great nation. This was evident to both people of intelligence and the national instinct of the masses. Even such a fervent anti-Communist as Ivan Ilyin wrote that a desertion similar to the one of 1917 was impossible, that one had to fight on and win. Stalin harnessed this resource of Russian prudence and patience to reap the laurels of victory. However, he failed to repay most of his “debts” to the Russians.

The war was barely over, but Marxist historians wasted no time in trampling all over the academic defenders of Russian Imperial legacy led by Academician Tarle. By Stalin’s and Zhdanov’s decree, the term “Russian nation-state” was almost completely purged from the historical idiom. Orthodox hierarchs were still needed for reasons of international diplomatic representation, but the persecution of the Church would make a comeback, including the closure of churches (bear in mind that most of the churches “opened under Stalin” were churches that reopened by themselves under German occupation, and churches reopened in Stalin-held territories were a drop in the ocean). Barely four years after the victory, state security boss Viktor Abakumov would torture those few Soviet apparatchiks who dared to have but a smidgen of Russian identity. Stalin would destroy his incredibly talented assistant Nikolay Voznesenskiy, ruining all chances of the USSR being led by an intellectually developed Russian person. In the USSR, a prison of the Russian people designed by Lenin and built by Stalin, they briefly opened a fresh-air shutter and then slammed it shut.

We, Russians, cannot elevate this man to the rank of the greatest genius in history while keeping a straight face. We cannot sell our memory – mutilated national livelihood, demolished churches, massacred priests and murdered scientists, engineers, and poets, our forefathers exiled to Siberia for refusing to give their last horse to Red activists – for a minute of Stalin’s “Victory Toast”.

Yes, we should be fair in our historical judgement and shouldn’t defame Stalin with the fantasies of the “children of the Arbat”[4]. But we also should, with even greater force and rage, be fair in the opposite respect: never cutting Stalin any slack for his horrifying sins, mistakes, cruelties, and injustices, never forgetting just how many eggs he broke to make his omelet.

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[1] Alexander I is widely accepted to have been complicit in the palace coup that led to the death of his father Paul I.

[2] For instance, in the so-called Chapter X of Eugene Onegin Pushkin described Alexander I as “a feeble and conniving ruler, a bald fop, the enemy of all work, crowned with glory by happenstance”.

[3] Legend has it that Alexander I, remorseful of his past misdeeds and faced with a profound religious crisis, feigned his own death in 1825 and fled to Siberia, where he lived as a starets (mystic hermit) under the name of Feodor Kuzmich (died 1864). The Orthodox Church officially canonized Feodor Kuzmich as a saint in 1984 but rejects his identification with the Emperor.

[4] Reference to Anatoly Rybakov’s 1987 novel Children of the Arbat (referring to a central Moscow street populated by high-ranking “Old Bolsheviks” after the revolution), a hallmark of Perestroika anti-Stalinism, where Stalin was portrayed as a one-dimensionally diabolical and sadistic figure.

 
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transylvania-morning

Transylvanian Morning.

I have been unable to follow most of the last week’s comments, and probably won’t catch up. But FWIW, I enjoyed the gearhead debates at Thorfinnsson’s Take on Tesla, the Dmitry vs. Polish Perspective debate on who was or was not in Israel, and reiner Tor’s instructions on cold showers.

Now that I am in Bucharest and have a good, reliable Internet connection, I will put up another Kholmogorov translation tomorrow. Hopefully this will suffice until regular poasting can resume on June 12.

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Featured News

bronze-age-mindset* Long awaited BAPbook is out!: Bronze Age Mindset is now a bestseller in Ancient Greek history.

Some say that this book, found in a safebox in the port area of Kowloon, was dictated, because Bronze Age Pervert refuses to learn what he calls “the low and plebeian art of writing.” It isn’t known how this book was transcribed. The contents are pure dynamite. He explains that you live in ant farm. That you are observed by the lords of lies, ritually probed. Ancient man had something you have lost: confidence in his instincts and strength, knowledge in his blood. BAP shows how the Bronze Age mindset can set you free from this Iron Prison and help you embark on the path of power. He talks about life, biology, hormones. He gives many examples from history, both ancient and modern. He shows the secrets of the detrimental robots, how they hide and fabricate. He helps you escape gynocracy and ascend to fresh mountain air.

* Julien Dehlez: Reflections on the London Conference on Intelligence (see also James Thompson’s take)

* Ron Unz: American Pravda: When Stalin Almost Conquered Europe.

Suffice to say I disagree with Rezun’s theory, and can also commend the comments by Thorfinnsson, Ivan K., and most of the ones by Arioch. Perhaps I will do a post on this eventually (Ron has urged me to in the past), but it would mostly just be a restatement of the “WHO PLANNED TO ATTACK WHOM, AND HOW?” chapter of Absolute War by Chris Bellamy.

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Russia

* Moon of Alabama: The Babchenko Hoax Was Part Of A Corporate Raid. I had speculated this might be the case a day earlier, and I think MoA has basically proven this.

* Putin mumbled some things on the national Q&A. I didn’t even notice it was on until after the fact.

* The Ukraine is trying to appropriate Igor Sikorsky for its own. He actually identified as Russian, and indeed was a monarchist and a nationalist.

* Like meets like:

laura-southern-dugin

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World

* Audacious Epigone

* Fred Reed takes exception to a comment I made on one of his posts. My reply here.

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Science & Culture

* Heiner Rindermann, David Becker (2018) – FLynn-effect and economic growth: Do national increases in intelligence lead to increases in GDP?

• National historical changes in IQ were related to changes in GDP per capita.
• IQ growth is positively correlated to economic growth.
• The correlations are the largest for a 5 to 15 years time lag (r = .25 to .77).
• Preceding intelligence increases lead to later production and income increases.
• Control for wealth show catch-up and robust cognitive effects.

* Emil Kirkegaard: Nobel prize winners are very unlikely to be religious

scientists-atheism

* Portuguese regional politics & culture.

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Powerful Takes

* [non-ironic] This comment by Kratos the Gluemaker is interesting, and appreciated. Also this one by ImmortalRationalist on why primitivism is a dead end.

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• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Alt Right, Open Thread, Romania, World War II 
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DEMANDRED. HOW FARES THIS WORLD?

 
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About a year ago, I was conversing with a demographics student at the Higher School of Economics who wants to work at Rosstat after his graduation.

One of the things we discussed stuck out in my mind: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was an Albion’s Seed for Russia?”

That is, an exhaustive ethnographic survey of the various Russias in the spirit of Hackett Fischer’s classic, but informed by modern population genetics.

At this point in time, I have neither the time, nor frankly the expertise, to embark on such a project. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, a fine-grained map must surely be worth even more, and I conveniently have many of them lying around on my hard drive.

So consider this a preliminary sketch of what such a book might look like.

Though one can detect many obvious patterns, I am going to forego commentary so that my readers could look at the data through fresh eyes. Maybe there’ll be some novel observations.

***

Population

map-russian-population-2016

Source: mikhed.ru
Map of Russia adjusted for population.

map-russia-population-density

Source: ?
Map of Russia’s population density.

map-russian-language-in-russia-1897

Source: ?
Prevalence of the Russian language in the Russian Empire as of the 1897 Census.

map-russians-in-russia-2010

Source: N. Avdeev
Percentage Russians as of the 2010 Census.

Population Genetics

europe-genetic-distances

Source: Balanovsky, Oleg et. al – Two Sources of the Russian Patrilineal Heritage in Their Eurasian Context (2006)
MDS Plot of the Y Chromosomal Variation, Grouping Regional Subpopulations and Averaged Ethnical Populations of Europe

map-genetics-northern-russians

Source: генофонд.рф.
Map of genetic distances from Northern Russians (based on Y-chromosome haplogroups)

Health & Crime

map-russia-male-life-expectancy-2011

Source: M. Ukolova
Male life expectancy in Russia in 2011.

map-russia-murder-rate-2011

Source: N. Avdeev
Murder rate in Russia in 2011. (Note: Link contains maps for 2005-2015 period).

map-russia-alcohol-problems

Source: temur25 (based on Trezvaya Rossiya data)
Index of alcoholization in Russian regions.

map-russia-drugs

Source: Republic.ru (based on the Atlas of Justice)
Most commonly confiscated drugs in 2014: Brown = amphetamines; Light purple = heroin; Purple = desomorphine; Light green = cannabinoids; Light orange = Opium poppies; Orange = opiates; Dark green = synthetic cannabinoids; Light gray = no data; Dark gray = Other.

Literacy and Human Capital

map-russia-medieval-birchbark-documents

Source: gramoty.ru
Quantity of birchbark documents found in medieval Russian towns.

map-russia-literacy-1897

Source: ?
Historical map of Russian Empire literacy rates as of the 1897 Census.

map-russia-iq-2015

Source: Anatoly Karlin
PISA-adjusted IQ of Russian regions according to PISA 2009 and PISA 2015. See full article [in Russian] at Sputnik & Pogrom.

Politics

map-russia-constituent-assembly-election-1917

Source: @welections
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Brown = Social Revolutionaries; Red = Bolsheviks; Green = Regional SR’s; Yellow = Local parties.

map-russia-constituent-assembly-election-1917-bolsheviks

Source: parol6342190
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Bolshevik share of the vote (total: 22.5%).

map-russia-elections-1996-1st-round

Source: Alexander Kireev
“The Red Belt”: Russian Presidential elections of 1996, First round: Blue = Yeltsin; Red = Zyuganov (communists).

map-russia-elections-2011-fraud

Source: Alexander Kireev
Russian Duma elections of 2011, assessment of degree of electoral fraud.

map-russia-elections-2011-united-russia-real

Source: Alexander Kireev
Russian Duma elections of 2011, estimate of ruling party United Russia’s “real” result.

map-russia-elections-2012-zyuganov-vs-prokhorov

Source: Alexander Kireev
“The Red Belt” survives: Russian Presidential elections of 2012, relative performance of: Red = Zyuganov (communists) vs. Blue = Prokhorov (liberals).

map-russia-elections-2016-kprf-vs-ldpr

Source: Alexander Kireev
Russian Duma elections of 2016, relative performance of: Red = KPRF (communists) vs. Blue = LDPR (nationalists).

Civil Society

map-russia-bribery-2011

Source: FOM
Percentage of Russians in 2011 saying a government official had requested or expected a bribe from them in the past one or two years.

map-russia-debt-2017

Source: RIA
Percentage of overdue bank loans in Russian regions as of Jan 1, 2017.

map-russia-money-vs-card

Source: markswebb.ru
Percentage of card money withdrawals that accrues to cash withdrawals.

Society & Culture

map-russia-unregistered-marriages-2010

Source: Alexander Kireev
Share of unregistered marriages in Russia as per the 2010 Census.

map-europe-nonmarital-fertility-1910

Source: Klüsener, Sebastian – 2015 – Spatial variation in non-marital fertility across Europe in the 20th-21st centuries
Non-marital fertility ratio in 1910.

map-russia-saunas-2010

Source: Alexander Kireev
Share of individual houses in rural areas with a banya/sauna (vs. a bath/shower) as per the 2010 Census.

map-russia-knowledge-of-english-2010

Source: Alexander Kireev
Share of Russians with knowledge of the English language as per the 2010 Census.

 
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Arpad Virag – Eastern Europe and the Swine Right

Although I am the furthest thing from a Croatia/Balkan expert, all his observations strike me as true in… well, pretty much every country I have looked at (from the US, to France, to Germany, to Russia, intelligence favors liberalism and discriminates against nationalism), so I assume they are true in general.

Core theses:

  1. Eastern Europe is already far more ruled by progressives (Blue Empire, Cathedral, Polygon, George Soros…) than most on the Right are willing to admit;
  2. The Left holds a monopoly on respectable intellectual positions partially because of the miserable state of the Right;

In support for #1:

How do Croats feel about gay marriage and LGBT rights? Nominally, they resist, but the gay pride parade in Zagreb is not only huge, but even the most fearless football hooligans were easily convinced not to give any resistance to the new wave of human rights. Everyone hip in Zagreb has a gay friend. …

And how are the rest of the countries around doing? Guess .

These are all individual, anecdotal evidence, dealing with only one small country – you may take them seriously or not, but don’t forget the good ol’ Moldbuggian wisdom – trends among the tiny elite is what shapes the future, not the bleating of millions of sheep. Tea Party movement is nonexistent today, while the editors of NYT aren’t exactly dealing with plummeting readership.

All of this is backed up by opinion polls.

One of my frequent arguments has been is that Eastern Europe was essentially kept in an ideological “freezer” for half a century under Communism. This opened the floodgates for the seepage of American soft power and values.

The coming decades there will basically involve a dynamic struggle between continued cultural Americanization, and resurgent nationalism based on observing the increasingly evident failure of the multiculturalism experiment in Western Europe.

In support for #2:

Definition of the Swine Right:

The rightist Swine is a nominally conservative type who is openly promoting traditional values such as God, homeland and family but in reality he’s a treacherous calculated Machiavellian type of low moral virtue, high time preference and low loyalty. The same way a leftist activist is constantly talking about the oppressed proletariat and while raising his own political power and enriching himself with other people’s money, the Swine of the Right is constantly talking about the virtue of raising a family, the depth of his faith and the love of his homeland, and at the same time using every possible opportunity to raise his political power and wealth in the most corrupt and criminal way possible, regardless of the consequence to the things he nominally holds dear. The Swine usually has very little manners, and behaves like a brute despite of his education. In short, The Swine is a swindler and a charlatan who successfully uses right wing rhetoric to expand his wealth and political power. In a way, he is either a communist apparatchik who successfully replaced the hammer and a sickle with the cross or the village brute who finds it very convenient to sit in the first row on a Sunday mass.

The author illustrates this behavior using a number of Croatian political figures, necessarily obscure to non-Croatians, but I think we all know their equivalents in our own countries

And even at the highest levels – Trump, Orban, Putin… one can’t deny that this describes all of them to at least some extent.

Imagine some smart college kid watching all this. On one hand, he sees The World League of Whores and Sodomites, but on the other fanged IQ90 swine who would gladly conscript him and have him die in trenches for a cause such as the glory of our national being, while their cousins are making millions selling weapons to the state. Some of them are lucky enough to be raised in an intellectually healthy environment and to see a possible alternative to progressive madness. However, a lot of them are simply not. If you’re a bookish guy from the countryside and came to the capital as a talented STEM student, there’s quite a large possibility that your new college friends are much nicer and much more intelligent than your village chief, parish priest or your high school history professor.

The Left often paints a picture of the Swine as a rural brutish chief, a member of HDZ or HSP with a fake high school diploma who wants to push his son through some joke of a private college and in the local government, and arrange sweet deals for his best mate just happens to own a construction company. While that is not so far from the truth, his leftist counterpart differs only in speaking fluent English, having a liberal arts college diploma and arranging sweet deals for his friends in NGOs. One will be ripping buttons off his shirt while drinking brandy and listening to turbo-folk, while the other one will be sipping craft beers while swinging hips to Depeche Mode. As you may or may not notice from my description, the latter is much much more high status. And although the level of criminality is roughly equal, the latter type is a far smoother criminal.

Some say we should simply apply the very well known leftist policy of no enemies to the left, no friends to the right – and they couldn’t be more wrong. Switching to no enemies to the right, is a classical fallacy of trying to imitate leftists policy (entropy) in order to create right wing results (order).

After a couple of beers the other night, a thought about this occurred: the classical no enemies quote is referring to the political spectrum, however it’s much more applicable to the IQ distribution: no loyalty to the left, no enemies to the right sounds like a viable Machiavellian solution. You cannot make friends with IQ80 people, regardless of them being Stormfront or BLM, because their time preference is way too high. And you should not make enemies out of IQ140 people because they will see to it that IQ80 crowd can crush you, see you driven before them and hear the lamentation of your women. Loyalty requires both sides to cooperate.

But the Right’s human capital problem makes it very hard to attract the high IQ, which results in Swine leaders, which lowers the prestige associated with being on the Right, exacerbating the human capital problem even further, etc.

So here’s a terrible thought for ya – from the perspective of a young man in Eastern Europe who wants peace, prosperity and order, the rule of the Cathedral might be a healthy alternative to the powers surrounding him. As long as a significant part of the Right acts like the above mentioned Swine, the Left will be even more than secure in it’s picture of intellectual and moral superiority.

Which is why I’m pretty skeptical about nationalism’s prospects in the long-term.

Note that neoliberalism.txt is good at weathering shocks. There are still many, many decades before the West turns into some combination of Beirut and Port-au-Prince, even under the most pessimistic scenarios.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Eastern Europe, Nationalism 
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imperial-russian-bliny

Rediscovering the Russian Imperial traditions.
Bliny on sour dough of buckwheat flour and sour dairy, served with sour cream, salmon, and red caviar at the apartment of a Finn whose family maintained the Imperial traditions.

I will be departing for Romania very early tomorrow. Any last tips/recs? I’ll be two days in Ploiesti for two days, in Transylvania for three (castles & hiking), and in Bucharest for five.

Before anyone asks, I am traveling to the wedding of one of my best friends (who also happens to be a recognizable name amongst Alt Right intellectuals). So no, I’m not going just because I have nothing else to do with my money, which is unfortunately rather limited.

But reminder that you can help change that: http://akarlin.com/donations/

***

Featured News

* Alexander Mercouris: Italy’s crisis and the crisis of democracy in Europe (best take on Italy)

* How Worried Should We Be about an Italian Debt Crisis?

In related news, gap between Italian and German bond yields widest since 2013:

germany-italy-spreads

* Ron Unz: Why The American Conservative Purged Its Own Publisher. I outlaid some of my thoughts in the comments. Found little surprising about it, though its good to be reminded not and then of the depths of cuckservative mendacity.

* PEW: Being Christian in Western Europe

Based Portugal. SWEDEN YES!

poll-national-identity-by-countrry

PS. Eastern Europe polls on religion here.

* Gregory Hood – Why Aztlán Matters. Interesting observations on the building of a new nation. How prevalent? (h/t Thorfinnsson for the tip that Gregory Hood is now at Amren).

* Gregory Hood: Steve Bannon: Quit Boosting Martin Luther King. Will cuckservatives take this advice? A rhetorical question.

* Jonathan Anomaly – 2008 – Defending eugenics

* Audacious Epigone: Hear, O Israel. Generation Zyklon much less Israelophilic than the boomers. So are the Latin immigrants.

generation-zyklon-on-israel

The Epigone in the comments:

One of my first experiences with the ADL was a report they put out in the early 2000s highlighting the high levels of ‘anti-semitism’ among foreign-born settlers in the US from Latin America. But even in the very report there was no anti-immigration sentiment expressed–they just need more education!

* Longtime readers will now I am positive on Ethiopia (relative to Africa in general).

Tyler Cowen was there and has some comments: Will Ethiopia be the next China?

Ethiopia also had a relatively mature nation-state quite early, with the Aksumite Kingdom dating from the first century A.D. Subsequent regimes, through medieval times and beyond, exercised a fair amount of power. Most important, today’s Ethiopians see their country as a direct extension of these earlier political units. Some influential Ethiopians will claim to trace their lineage all the way to King Solomon of biblical times.

In other words, the process of organized, national-level governance has been underway for a long time. It was this relative strength of Ethiopian governance that allowed the territory to fend off colonialism, a rare achievement. It is also why, when you travel around the country, a lot of the basic cuisine doesn’t change much: Dishes are seen as national and not regional…

Like many Iranians, they think of themselves as a civilization and not just a country. They very self-consciously separate themselves from the broader strands of African history and culture. And, as in China, they hold an ideological belief that their country is destined to be great again.

My impression is that Ethiopians have less Afrocentric svidomism than e.g. Nigerians.

Also: Ethiopian food in Ethiopia

* The history of the world every year:

***

Russia

* Update on the Babchenko story (for those not following the comments): He’s alive. Whole thing was a setup.

Could have been a Ukrainian provocation to undermine Russia’s World Cup that went awry. But perhaps it’s far more banal. The proposed killer (who went straight to the SBU) was a Ukrainian nationalist and Right Sector member. The contractor was the owner of a weapons factory who supplied the ATO. It would be hilarious if this was actually a straight out corporate raid.

* Double standards (Western journalist reactions to real assassination of Oles Buzina vs. fake assassination of Babchenko):

* On this note, interesting account from KP journalist Dmitry Steshin: D uring a Facebook debate with him while Steshin was in Slavyansk, Babchenko asked him for his location so that he could better target the artillery on him.

That said, Babchenko is – if this is true – someone who has actively tried to get other journalists killed.

* Share of Russian goods in Russian retail rises from a 56% in 2013, to 65% in 2017. Quality improves.

* Map of where Russians pay by card (green), or withdraw money from their cards (red). The usual north/south division. Crimea is probably redder than it should be due to some combination of the legacy of Ukrainian backwardness and Western sanctions.

map-russia-money-vs-card

***

World

* Commenter Polish Perspective on the Swedish nationalist scene

* Looks like Japan is going to start mass labor importation. Under the nationalist Abe no less.

Foreign workers will be allowed to stay in Japan for five years under a new framework that covers five industries — agriculture, construction, lodging, nursing and shipbuilding.

* Food (in)security in 2017:

* The insanity of Maoist economics:

* Map of Internet penetration in Europe, via /r/europe. Italy can into Eastern Europe. Poland was beginning to do better on these sorts of maps.

map-europe-internet-penetration

* Analysts need to be made to predict things, publicly.

* Irish abortion referendum: Very few differences by geography, income, etc.; cardinal differences by age cohort.

irish-abortion-referendum

***

Science & Culture

* Why does Elon Musk have to become sympathetic only when he’s (possibly) on the verge of ruin? Anyhow, I fully support this journalist ratings website. RateMyJourno.

* Another week, another GWAS on IQ.

Gail Davies, Max Lam, […]Ian J. Deary (2008) – Study of 300,486 individuals identifies 148 independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function

* Berezin, Alexander (2008) – “First in, last out” solution to the Fermi Paradox

No present observations suggest a technologically advanced extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) has spread through the galaxy. However, under commonplace assumptions about galactic civilization formation and expansion, this absence of observation is highly unlikely. This improbability constitutes the Fermi Paradox. In this paper, I argue that the Paradox has a trivial solution, requiring no controversial assumptions, which is rarely suggested or discussed. However, that solution would be hard to accept, as it predicts a future for our own civilization that is even worse than extinction.

* Costs/benefits of PGD (discussion)

***

Powerful Takes

* More on Russian origins of the Great Pyramids:

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Ethiopia, False Flag Attack, Italy, Open Thread 
The Stock Is Going To Zero
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This take getting popular on Twitter, so reposting it on the blog for greater prominence.

Tesla Problems

Link (5/22/2018)

Congrats. Sounds like a good swing trade in light of the fact that the trend is your friend.

I am getting in on the great bear raid against Tesla, which I’ve been agnostic on (mostly ignoring it) other than being skeptical. Did a lot of research over the weekend, and the findings were quite disturbing. Musk will be lucky to avoid a prison sentence.

Tesla is going to zero, barring something like Musk getting a large commitment from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

There are no shares available to short, but puts suit me just fine. JP Morgan Chase will be coming out with Tesla credit default swaps as well. That said actually selling the swaps could be a problem.

Link (5/25/2018)

On a different note, Tesla is going to zero. The company has a number of severe problems:

• Tesla is burning through one billion per quarter and is likely to run out of cash this year
• It is the only company of its size (in the market) offering high yield debt and stock offerings to accredited investors (which do not require SEC disclosure)
• Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly refused to meet with Elon Musk when he was in Saudi Arabia
• Elon Musk has violated federal securities, labor, and OSHA laws
• Musk and many other current and former executives have signed false documents and thus committed perjury
• The Model 3 is a disaster and was panned by Consumer Reports, Car and Driver, and Edmund’s
• The self-dealing merger with Solar City would likely not have been approved by shareholders without Musk’s vaporware demonstration of solar roof tiles that do not exist (securities fraud)
• Half of Tesla’s output is exported, leaving it very vulnerable to trade retaliation
• Quality problems continue to be severe, and Tesla has now resorted to partnering with local body shops for post-production fixes
• Extreme shortage of spare parts means Teslas can be out of service for months
• Tesla takes months to refund customer deposits
• Numerous accounting problems, leading to 86 questions from the SEC for the last fiscal year, compared to zero for Ford Motor
• Tesla “autopilot” units keep crashing
• Highest accident and fatality statistics in its vehicle class (new luxury vehicles)
• Model S wheels and suspensions keep cracking
• Difficulty of exiting vehicle in the absence of electrical power (no mechanical door handles) led to children literally being burned alive
• A flood of competition is inbound, including the 600 horsepower Porsche Misson-E going into production at Zuffenhausen next year
• Tesla’s zero emission credits are set to expire, just as other automakers start harvesting them

Every freely available share is now short–not joking. You can’t even short the stock anymore generally, though puts are of course available.

Musk himself is likely to be personally wiped out as well, as he has borrowed against 40% of his shares. He’ll face a very ugly margin call when the stock starts sliding. Additionally, he’s likely to personally face both civil and criminal liability.

Reply to Critics

Link

I bought some Tesla shares as the company as dipping a few weeks ago.

Hedge your long position with some puts. Only reason I am not short is that there are no shares available to short. I did buy puts however.

Congrats for putting your money where your mouth is. By next year this time you may be featured on @Bagholderquotes :).

The criticism of lack of profitability is sound & fair, but I also think most of the overheated commentary has been irrational and overtly emotional.

This has been true. Most Tesla criticism up until now has come from two camps:

1. Gearheads with gasoline flowing in their veins who hate EVs. I belong to this group (my daily driver has a 450 horsepower V-8 and I hate fuel economy and EVs), though I avoided getting irrational about Tesla.

2. The Zero Hedge doomerist crowd.

There have, however, been two major exceptions. Jim Chanos and Bob Lutz.

Jim Chanos is a legendary short seller who nailed Enron and Valeant (though he lost some credibility by betting on a China crash that never happened). Chanos states that the only times he’s seen so many executive departures before are Enron and Valeant.

Bob Lutz likely needs no introduction to you. And while Lutz is a car guy (invented the Dodge Viper), he says the greatest achievement of his career was the Chevy Volt and that EVs are inevitable. Furthermore he highly praised the Model S. Lutz has bluntly called Tesla a personality cult that’s going bankrupt.

I expect Tesla to gradually improve net profitability as time goes on. Musk has prioritised volume expansion over profits and I think it is fair to say that he underestimated how tough it would be.

Tesla can’t improve its net profitability because it has no profitability to begin with, even if we accept Tesla’s fictitious gross margins and channel stuffing (e.g. “selling” batteries to The Boring Company).

Musk has indeed prioritized volume production, and his failure is due to his arrogance. This arrogance is typical of Silicon Valley as a class. They assume they know better than any other industry, failing to realize their success is due to monopoly and lack of regulation (welcome to the auto industry boys!).

Musk deliberately recruited executives with no experience in the automotive industry, and he attempted to fully automate production (e.g. his infamous alien dreadnought remark). If Musk weren’t so arrogant, he would’ve learn that Roger Smith attempted this in the ’80s and went so far as to buy FANUC. It was a complete disaster. Sandy Munro describes robots as blind one-armed idiots, and notes that not only can they not do everything but one must design the product itself for robotic production.

This arrogance is directly culpable for Tesla’s huge capital costs, as essentially Tesla bought far more capital equipment than it can actually use or is required in automaking. Musk said he was going to build half a million cars this year. He’ll be lucky to hit 200,000.

Even aside from Tesla’s financial woes, regulatory violations, massive civil liability, and outright criminality a massive flood of competition is inbound.

The Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV is on sale right now in Europe, and arrives in North America next month: https://www.jaguarusa.com/all-models/i-pace/index.html?abkid=407_224254&gclid=Cj0KCQjwuYTYBRDsARIsAJnrUXAjcErB3eAzUm3aDwws14fB5_Gi4_-V1yMDCdK81o3JVzfIfP3nvKoaAvGuEALw_wcB&m

The Porsche Mission-E goes into production next year at Zuffenhausen: https://www.porsche.com/microsite/mission-e/international.aspx

The Chevy Bolt is available now, unlike the fictitious $35,000 Model 3: http://www.chevrolet.com/electric/bolt-ev-electric-car

Volkswagen is currently converting twenty assembly plants to EV production, Daimler is investing twenty billion euros in it by 2022, and GM is putting over 20 all electric vehicles into production over the next five years.

Then there’s the fact that the Model 3 turns out to be something of a dog. Consumer Reports, which called the Model S the best car it has ever evaluated, noted that the Model 3 has a greater average stopping distance than the Ford F-150.

What’s the story for Tesla surviving? A company that appears to be under SEC investigation somehow raises $20 billion in the next few years, achieves mass production, eliminates its severe quality problems, doesn’t get sued by all the people it killed, and beats the competition handily?

Then there’s the fact that Musk appears to be personally melting down. Feuding with Warren Buffet, attacking the press Trump-style, and dating someone named “Grimes” who is an “anti-imperialist” singer (?!).

I highly encourage you to check out Fintwitter on this (the only Twitter that can compete with Frogtwitter). No one does scuttlebutt like bears.

Link

I don’t see the supercharger network as a major competitive edge at all. People interested in long-distance driving don’t buy EVs. I can “recharge” any of my vehicles in one minute.

And the rest of the industry is not standing still on this. The German automakers and Ford Europe are partnering with Shell to create their own network in Europe. Many other efforts underway in America and Asia as well. These efforts involve automakers, oil companies, power utilities, and in some cases governments. An ocean of capital is available for this.

EVs will not completely take over unless the government forces it, but I agree they will comprise a large percentage of new auto sales in the next decade. Maybe even a majority.

The thing is that these EVs will not come from Tesla, unless Tesla survives as a brand of a global OEM (I see GM and Ford as likely candidates for acquiring Tesla).

Remember the auto industry is the most brutally competitive industry on the planet.

Link

A media ratings website is something Trump should’ve done.

In Musk’s case it is ridiculous because the media has been polishing his knob non-stop until his disastrous performance on the last earnings call.

He’s also angry that the press is reporting on the alarming work conditions at Tesla’s Fremont assembly plant, including some poor schmuck who suffered an arc flash explosion that melted all his skin because Tesla refused to de-energize the high voltage equipment he was working on (a violation of NFPA 70, OSHA, and CalOSHA).

Financial journalism is mostly solid as Peter Brimelow will be happy to tell you.

You’ll be happy to know that Teslemmings are accusing the Wall Street Journal reporter Charley Grant of being a RUSSIAN TROLL.

Effects on SpaceX

Link

My knowledge only dates to last weekend really. Got tired of hearing about Musk and decided to do some scuttlebutt.

Space X is a private company, so I’m unaware of its financials or ownership structure. I suspect it is not profitable as it raised capital as recently as last year, but in principal there is nothing wrong with its business model. Its technical and commercial achievements are impressive. Unlike the situation with Tesla, Musk actually recruited experienced aerospace executives and engineers for Space X instead of Snapchat retreads (not joking–some dipshit from Snapchat is now running the Autopilot program).

The collapse of Tesla will do two things to Space X:

1 – Musk has borrowed against 40% of his Tesla shares, likely to finance his other businesses and fund his lavish lifestyle (Bel Air and London mansions, Gulfstream G650, etc.). This means he’ll face a crushing margin call, possibly forcing him to sell his shares in Space X.

2 – It will destroy his halo, which is source of his success. This is why Musk committed securities fraud in order to have Tesla acquire Solar City, which was rapidly headed for bankruptcy. With his reputation in tatters, it will call into question his leadership of Space X. Certainly ideas like going to Mars with other people’s money will be out.

There is also a real possibility that Musk will face felony prosecution, in which case he certainly won’t be running Space X.

A lot of the Tesla bears assume there’s something wrong with Space X as well, but I don’t think this is warranted. One guy who is documenting all the Model S suspension failures has invented a half-cocked conspiracy theory that Space X’s achievements are fictitious. It’s pretty common for short sellers to get emotional during a great bear raid, which is part of the fun. :)

Some resources for you all on Tesla’s impending collapse, starting with FinTwitter:

FinTwitter Resources

Mark Spiegel, Managing Partner of Stanphyl capital and Tesla bear

https://twitter.com/markbspiegel

Tesla Charts

https://twitter.com/TeslaCharts

Elon Bachman, great source for product flaws

https://twitter.com/ElonBachman

Montana Skeptic, and see his Seeking Alpha articles as well

https://twitter.com/montanaSkeptic1

Elon Musk himself, useful because of his ongoing meltdown

https://twitter.com/elonmusk

Model 3 Reviews

Scathing Edmund’s long-term test: https://www.edmunds.com/tesla/model-3/2017/long-term-road-test/2017-tesla-model-3-monthly-update-for-april-2018.html

Consumer Reports “not recommended”: https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/tesla/model-3/2018/road-test?pagestop

Sandy Munro’s teardown: http://www.autoline.tv/journal/?p=54950

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Cars, Elon Musk 
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EDIT: There has been a rather significant correction to this piece.

My preliminary take:

Babchenko struck a deal with the SBU. He participates in this stunt – makes SBU and Lutsenko look competent – possibly gets money, and certainly publicity, for make benefit of his Yandex Koshelek – SBU gets to roll up a few poor bastards they want to roll up anyway – Western MSM and /r/worldnews + /r/europe: muh evil Russian oppressors killing democratic journalists (but being too incompetent for that) on the eve of the FIFA World Cup.

***

The pro-Ukrainian activist masquerading as a journalist Arkady Babchenko has just been assassinated in Kiev.

Ironically, as his very last Facebook post makes clear, he regarded today as his “second birthday”, on account of having narrowly escaped death four years ago, when he was removed from a Ukrainian military helicopter at the last minute due to lack of space. That helicopter was shot down by rebel forces.

Babchenko, a fiery supporter of the Maidan and the ATO, gained notoriety for making the most extreme anti-Russian statements, expressing satisfaction at the crash of the military transport plane carrying the Red Army Choir to Syria and rejoicing in the deaths of Russian children in the Kemerovo fire.

life-news-babchenko-abrams-tank

However, more than anything else he gained his status as a lolcow by dint of his promises to conquer Moscow in a NATO tank from his self-imposed exile in the Ukraine:

I will certainly return to Moscow. I have one more job to do there. I will be on the first Abrams rumbling down Tverskaya, under the NATO flag. And grateful Russians, having forgotten all about Crimea, will be showering flowers on the liberators, and begging for humanitarian aid with downcast eyes. And they will be kicking the toppled statues of Putin, saying that they had been unaware of everything that was happening, and insisting that they had always been against the regime. Remember this Tweet. Good night.

Looks like this project has been indefinitely postponed.

Whodunnit? I don’t know. It could have been Russia, if not to eliminate what was ultimately just a source of comedy, as demonstrate Kiev’s inability to protect its sympathizers. It could have been a svidomy Ukrainian nationalist. It could have been a false flag, perhaps even the first of more to come to justify a resumption of hostilities during the World Cup.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Assassinations, Journalism, Russia, Ukraine 
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Can’t believe it took us so long, but commenter Dmitry has finally put two and two together:

I agree it superficially seems like a strong argument, but then you are ignoring different historical periods of our ancestors. For example, heat was not an issue for the Ancient Russians who built the pyramids, despite that their skin was not less pale than ours according to the photographic evidence.

I know there are scholars who claim Nigerians were involved in building the pyramids (this is before the Nigerians immigrated to Sparta). I think the more plausible theory is that the construction of the pyramids was a joint Russian-Nigerian project.

Probably the Nigerians contribution was being exaggerated in the West in as part of a Russophobic campaign.

Interestingly Russians of Ancient Egypt also seemed to have possessed a species of white skinned buffaloes.

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The famous antimatter hyperdrives built into the pyramids:

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… must have been based on the same technology that powered the spaceships on which Russians’ ancestors arrived on this planet. (Alien origins explain our extra chromosome).

There is direct photographic evidence of this:

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This must have all happened around the time when the proto-Ukrs were digging out the Black Sea.

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Egypt, Russia 
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So Roman Abramovich has become an Israeli citizen, a month after the Britbongs gave him the finger.

Since every second UHNWI in Russia is considering a second passport, how exactly is this supposed to be interesting or surprising?

Anybody who hasn’t been under a rock for the past two decades – which excludes most Putin personality cultists, who believe that he is (eternally) on the verge of finally liquidating the Atlanticist fifth column – knows that relations between the Kremlin and Abramovich are in fact splendid. Indeed, even in the pro-Putin eponymous book by Hutchins and Korobko, Abramovich is named as a personal banker to the Kremlin, and almost as close to them as the Rotenbergs.

But let me for a moment defend Abramovich. At least he doesn’t run any state-owned corporations.

Unlike, say, this very… well fed fellow:

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Andrey Kostin is the CEO of state-owned VTB bank, the second largest bank in Russia after Sberbank. Here he was recently commiserating about the sanctions the US has imposed on him:

I love skiing in Colorado, now I can no longer do this. This is very sad, there is great snow in Colorado, wonderful mountains, the people are very nice and friendly… Of course I will miss New York, I love this city.

These sanctions were imposed in spite of his very intensive effort to avoid them:

… The head of VTB Andrey Kostin arrived in Washington D.C. two years ago to urge the US to remove sanctions against the bank. Echo of Moscow accidentally learned of this visit from an indignant American official. In closed meetings with Congressmen and US administration staff, the head of VTB argued that the bank is independent of the Kremlin, conducts business in the Ukraine and helps the economy of that country, and consequently the United States should stop sanctioning it. Kostin’s tales didn’t impress anyone, and consequently, he fell under personal sanctions this year.

If there is a better metaphor for the incompetence and daily treason of the Russian comprador regime I have yet to encounter it.

  1. Beg the Washington Obkom to lift sanctions against your bank because you’re actually a good guy who’s helping out democratic Ukraine – an avowed enemy of the Russian people.
  2. Washington Obkom laughs, refuses, punishes you further to drive the point in.
  3. Openly whine about THE UNFAIRNESS OF IT ALL in the safe and secure knowledge that your job isn’t under threat because you’re smart enough to avoid criticizing the Kremlin.

In the wonderful Russia of the future (to borrow Navalny’s) term, in the Russian National State, both Abramovich and Kostin will get generously subsidized trips to enjoy the wonderful mountains and great snow of Magadan oblast.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Elites, Millionaires, Russia 
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In late March/early April of this year, I visited Portugal. Now I have finally to come round to writing about it, as I have been promising to.

First obvious question: Why Portugal? No reason in particular. Well, apart from it being cheap and convenient – as it happened, I only had to pay for the air tickets. I wouldn’t have gone otherwise – there are a few dozen other countries and regions higher up on my to-go list both globally (e.g. China, India), and even in the Mediterranean (e.g. Italy, Greece, Israel). But obviously I was not going to say no to this, so off I flew to Lusitania.

This post is split into two parts.

The first part recounts my general impressions of Portugal. There are quite a few of them, but this Tweet I wrote on my first day there can still serve as a tldr:

The second part has more details and photos about the specific places I visited. These were unfortunately limited to just the Algarve and Lisbon. We did not visit Portugal’s second city Porto (famous for its port and vinho verde), nor Portugal’s ancient capital of Evora. Still, Lisbon and the Algarve account for approximately half the demographic weight of the country, so it’s a decent enough survey.

Now might also be a good time to mention that I will be going to Romania on June 1-11 for a friend’s wedding (two days in Ploiesti, three days in Brasov/Transylvania, and the rest of the time in Bucharest). Posting will be light during that period – hope nothing major happens in the world during that time. I will of course have an HBD-aware account of the Romania trip up in time as well.

***

Portugal: Impressions

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Demographics

The skin hues of the native Portuguese range from almost as dark as you would find in India, to as light as any in Europe (although the eyes are almost always dark).

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Lisbon Metro.

On my flight from Moscow to Lisbon, we were accompanied by a children’s football team. I noticed they all tended towards the darker end of the spectrum. My admittedly very tangential impression was that darker skin was correlated with more blue-collar occupations.

The numbers of non-European foreigners in Lisbon and the Algarve (primarily Negroes and Indians) was approximately similar to what you see in Moscow (Central Asians and Caucasians), though far less than in London.

My understanding is that many of the Negroes were (1) displaced post-colonial elites, or (2) Angolans whose oil wealth has enabled them to snap up large chunks of the Portuguese economy. I gather that they are higher quality immigrants than is usual from Africa, and do not constitute much of a criminal factor.

One little known fact about Portugal is that there are many Indians – you see them almost as often as you do in Britain. The colony of Goa, which used to be Portuguese, was annexed by India in a two day war in 1961. Salazar cut off diplomatic relations with India, and allowed any Goans who wanted to emigrate to Portugal to do so – consequently, many Portuguese-Indians and Catholic Indians did just that, and today there are about 70,000 Luso-Indians in Portugal. They have integrated very well; I suspect they might be richer than the average Portuguese.

Relations between Portugal and India were only restored in 1974 after the end of the Estado Novo in the face of fierce conservative opposition.

***

Language

One popular joke is that Portuguese is like Spanish but with a Russian accent.

I can see how the stereotype came about. On walking the streets in the glaring midday Sun, I often got a faint sense of deja vu – a feeling that I was in some sort of Mediterranean Russia, a presentiment that Tropical Hyperborea had immanentized while I was in the air over Mitteleuropa.

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The dog of Faro.

Although Portuguese is considered to be one of the harder Western Romance languages, I found the basics of it very easy to pick up and to transition to very simple conversations (ordering tickets, ordering food, asking for directions, etc). I have some experience with Romance language, namely French and Latin, so picking up vocabulary was trivial; meanwhile, the zh’s and sch’s that tack on to the end of Portuguese words, while a formidable challenge to R1b subhumans, is of no relevance to people used to Slavonic languages.

Few Portuguese over the age of 50 understand English. Almost all Portuguese under the age of 30 do. Between 30 and 50, some do and some don’t.

***

Economy

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Lisbon street.

From the time I flew in, I was getting strong California vibes – the sultry atmosphere, the surfeit of concrete and asphalt, the new buildings that look like large white boxes, the range of modest to luxurious villas that dot the inner Algarve.

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Gare do Oriente central train station in Lisbon.

Thanks to EU convergence funds, infrastructure was, if anything, even more modern than in California.

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Rubbish collection in Sines.

Garbage is thrown into labelled metallic bins, which would electronically move aside on the days when the garbage men would come round to collect them. Very SWPL.

Still, perceptions could be deceiving – in reality, Portugal is, of course, much poorer than almost anywhere in the US or Western Europe. The cars on the road were very old on average (as confirmed by statistics). Wages were low, as indicated by very low Uber fares, and as also confirmed by statistics – the average wage in Portugal is around €900, which is similar to Greece and twice lower than in Spain.

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Fishing in the Algarve.

In the Algarve, fishermen still ply their ancient trade on simple wooden boats with just a motor attached and no modern navigation or fishing equipment that I could see.

My impression is that the material living standards of the Portuguese are lower than that of the average Muscovite, though modestly higher than that of the average Russian.

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Portugal is also very good for white fish, but salmon is more expensive than in the UK.

The prices of most products was lower than in the advanced world – on average, prices are around 75% of those in the US or the UK (for comparison, Russia is about 50% cheaper). Some products were much cheaper – for instance, a pint of Sagres or Super Bock (their equivalent of Bud Light/Zhigulevskoe) was €1-€1.50 at most bars, and a litre flask of green wine (vinho verde) can be bought even in decent restaurants for €5. In contrast, it is very difficult to find any beer for cheaper than $3 in Moscow and cheaper than $1.50 in the provinces, to say nothing of London. It’s a safe bet that I would become a wine alcoholic if I were to live in Portugal.

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2 bedroom apartment in a bucolic setting (see the horse?) in between Alvor and Portimão.

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View from our central Lisbon apartment.

Housing prices are quite substantial – about 3-4x cheaper than in California, which of course still makes them rather stratospheric. My impression was that a modest villa in the Algarve or a reasonably central one room apartment in Lisbon (or one of the premiere tourist cities) goes for no less than $250k, which is about equivalent to Moscow, and more than in Brussels. Two of the apartments we stayed at via Airbnb – a 2 bedroom one in between Alvor and Portimão, and a small one bedroom one in central Lisbon just half a block away from the Russian Embassy – both cost around $250k according to their owners.

This is generally confirmed by statistics. I was told by an Uber cabbie that Lisbon has seen inflated interest from the global celebrity class in the past few years, so Portugal’s old draw as a quieter and less expensive retirement location for British pensioners has become outdated.

***

Society

From my limited interactions with them, the Portuguese were kind and helpful, possibly to a greater extent than you would typically find in the UK (if not the US). But society was a bit more… haphazard.

As in much of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, there are plenty of aggressive drivers. This is backed up by the statistics – the level of road fatalities is similar to Hungary and Romania, and twice as high as in Spain. They park haphazardly, as in Eastern Europe. When we arrived at Sintra, the formally designated parking areas quickly filled up – no problem, the resourceful Portuguese continued to blithely park in all sorts of unlikely nooks and crannies, and there were no parking wardens to punish them for it.

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Near central Lisbon.

While Spanish balconies are festooned with the national flag, they become replaced by drying laundry on crossing the Portuguese border. This reflects common stereotypes about the Spanish being more nationalistic and arrogant than the humbler Portuguese.

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Urban art in Lagos .

There is graffiti everywhere, more so than in any other country I have been to (to be fair, I haven’t been in too many countries yet). Though there is also a lot of good street art of the sort that Fred Reed describes in Mexico.

Health & Safety inspectors and litigation lawyers of the sort that tyrannize the Anglosphere have evidently been told to BTFO. Portugal wisely avoids challenging Darwin, with the result that you can stride freely along Portuguese castle walls, a 10 meter drop onto sheer rock buttresses on either side and with just the original crenellations for company, without eyesores in the form of warning signs, guardrails, and other physical barriers breaking up the immersion. It is very Eastern Europe in this regard.

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Typical street in Lisbon – many ads for Communist parties such as the PCP and PCTP/MRPP with their hammer and sickle logos.

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Modern art in Portimão.

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The Portuguese don’t much like their Salazar.

As in Spain, the Left has won in Portugal. Almost all the parties of note that actually win votes are Left or Center-Left.

The primary cause, I assume, is that the conservative authoritarianism that ruled over them mid-century provoked a counter-reaction that lingers to this day, just as the Communist experience was instrumental in the electoral triumph of conservatism in most of Eastern Europe. However, this reaction seems to have somewhat more muted in Portugal than in Spain, maybe because Salazar was less overtly repressive than Franco.

Portugal remains more socially conservative than Spain, and is one of the more race realistic countries of Europe. On the other hand, I assume that Jose Ricon’s observation that political correctness is less prevalent in Spain than in the Anglosphere likewise applies to Portugal.

The Portuguese love their roundabouts – they may be even more frequent there than in England. Though as a Portuguese Twitter user pointed out to me, their popularity is sooner due to their low cost of construction, which allows municipal heads and contractors to pocket EU funds designated for road improvements.

Vague Speculations on Corruption

On paper, corruption in Portugal is very low – lower than in Italy, and certainly lower than in Greece or the Balkans, to say nothing of the ex-USSR. Still, even ten days there was enough to see that the country isn’t quite Hajnal tier.

On our first day in Lisbon, we encountered a scammer in the Lisbon Metro, a shifty looking ethnic Portuguese fellow who wanted to “explain” to us how to buy a day pass (in reality: Just enough for one or two rides, with him pocketing the rest). Being well aware of such scams, we declined his services. Still, in Western Europe, such hustlers will invariably be Arabs or Negroes, not natives, as in this case. Portuguese – doing the jobs that immigrants do in other countries.

Another thing we noticed is that some restaurants have a habit of advertising cheap meal deals. However, when customers order said dish from the menu, it will be slightly different from the advertised product – and cost twice as much. In one case, we insisted on ordering just the advertised meal deal, without even opening the menu. I got the impression that the waiter taking our order looked a bit glum when we did that. We were slightly puzzled by the reaction, but a visit to the reviews section on TripAdvisor quickly revealed the reason why.

General impression – probably low levels of elite or “official” corruption, still many more “tricks” and petty scams relative to Core Europe, even though the latter is fast becoming much more “vibrant” in these matters.

***

Cuisine

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From what I gather, this is one of the most typical Portuguese lunches (Lisbon, as I recall – around €6).

Incidentally, the English institution of fish and chips was really a Belgian-Portuguese fusion that was first marketed by a Sephardic Jew immigrant from Portugal living in London.

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Grilled sardines.

Never before appreciated that sardines could actually be made to taste good.

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Ketogenic is easy with all the beef around.

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Cataplana, an item of kitchenware that is is used to make seafood stews.

These are typically random oceanic critters – fish, crabs, mussels, shrimp – that are boiled in a tomato soup. Strongly reminded me of the Californian dish cioppino, which was developed by Italian fishermen who “chipped in” with their leftover catch into a communal stew at the end of the day. I assume the Portuguese variant has similarly humble origins, though since transformed into a respectable and more expensive dish.

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Canned sardine shop in Lisbon Airport.

Did I mention you can’t separate the Portuguese from their sardines?

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One of the highest rated but inexpensive restaurants in Lisbon is Cafe Mili, which is best known for its grilled sardines. Unfortunately, they weren’t in season, so I settled for the chicken curry. It came with $5 pitchers of vinho verde, and the Indian chef even threw in three sample glasses of port wine and some Portuguese liquors for free.

With all that said, at the end we were mainly going to Indian restaurants, of which there are many very good ones thanks to the diaspora. Portuguese cuisine was good to try out for a few days – but sardines and potatoes get old quick.

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Just how Portuguese is this?

I did greatly enjoy the green wine (vinho verde), a slightly fizzy drink made from unripened grapes (so very cheap, even by cheap Portuguese alcohol standards). It is a genuine pity that it is only available in Portugal.

They have some specific soft cheeses, such as the queijo curado. It was not all that appetizing to me, though I am not any sort of cheese aficionado like Masha Gessen.

The Molotov Cake is apparently a Portuguese dessert.

Beirao was a liquor that is not worth writing home about.

Ergo for Mateus, though it appears to have been very hip a few decades ago – the debonair, pot-smoking English professor in National Lampoon’s Animal House had a bottle of it on his table.

Olive oil suffused with chilli, called piri-piri, is a popular condiment in Portugal. Really good for giving salads a kick; I am thinking of recreating it (needless to say, it isn’t sold in Russia).

***

Portugal: Places

***

Faro

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View from the top of the Cathedral of Faro.

Faro is a scenic, touristy town with a population of 60,000. It is a popular weekend beach destination for Lisabonners, with cheap rail, bus, and air routes connecting the two cities.

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Cathedral of Faro.

While Core Europe was economically and technologically progressing, Portugal after its early sprint under Henry the Navigator was in stasis, even though its culture continued to generate things of beauty.

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Regional Museum of the Algarve.

Come the late 19th century, things finally started moving forwards. At the turn of the century, the main industry in Faro was creating soda pop bottles.

Incidentally, even small Portuguese towns reliably have regional museums, which reminds me of a similar Russian institution (kraevedcheskie muzei).

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Loja dos Objetos Inúteis.

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Igreja do Carmo.

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“They suffer no more.”

The church contains one of Portugal’s many bone chapels. Contrary to popular myths that the bones belonged to tramps, vagrants, and other undesirables, in reality you needed to furnish a considerable payment to have your remains interred in a chapel of bones. Consequently, this “honor” was mainly reserved for local notables.

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The school or kindergarten with playing children just across from the chapel of bones provided an amusing contrast to the somber mood inside.

Quinta do Francês Winery

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Quinta do Francês Winery.

Although it has a lot of specific alcoholic beverages, Portugal is pretty weak on standard red and white wines (though they do have a few interesting grape varies such as Trincadeira).

Case in point, the Quinta do Francês Winery – one of the most prominent in the region – was started up by Portuguese-French pair who retired to the Algarve to produce wine as a part-hobby, part business, and have only been selling in bulk for the past decade.

The heart of vinho verde country is in the north, around Porto.

The Algarve Coast

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Fort of São João do Arade in Portimão.

This 16th century fort was constructed to protect the southern coast of Henry the Navigator’s realm. Unlike most historical monuments, it was leased out to a Portuguese multi-millionaire for his own use up until 2050 or so.

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Carvoeiro Beach.

Really cool location. The buildings – including a discotheque – extend all the way up onto the sand.

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Benagil Caves.

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And now from the other side (on a different day).

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Deep Blue Sea.

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Typical small coastal town in the Algarve.

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This 5 star hotel looks like a luxury cruise liner stuck between the cliff faces.

Portimão

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Back to Portimão.

Portimão itself is a modest town of 50,000 that was once a center of the sardine canning industry. This history is reflected in its main museum, which was also once the town’s major factory producing canned sardines.

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Film showing how the sardines were caught, cleaned, processed, and canned.

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Sardine genocide.

So yes, sardines… and Manuel Teixeira Gomes, Portimão’s most famous son, whose major claim to fame was serving a fleeting term as President under the Second Republic. Not much else.

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The views around the beach are gorgeous, though.

Sagres & World’s End

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Sagres Fortress.

This fortress was originally constructed under Henry the Navigator to secure Portugal’s south from piracy and to shield the naval expeditions leaving and entering Lagos.

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Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente.

The original lighthouse was destroyed by Francis Drake in 1587, with the current version being constructed almost four centuries later by Queen D. Maria II in 1846.

There is a modernist but nice-looking monument to the construction workers.

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Fortaleza do Beliche.

This fortress was built in the 16th century, and reconstructed in the 17th. I imagine the scenic path to the sea was used to resupplying the fastness.

Lagos

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Lagos.

One way that Portugal differs from many Mediterranean countries is that its churches tend to be tucked away behind a few buildings on central plazas, as opposed to occupying a prominent position in front of them.

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Forte da Ponta da Bandeira.

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Porta de São Gonçalo.

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Statue of Henry the Navigator.

Many of the naval expeditions under Henry the Navigator departed from Lagos harbor.

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Slave Market.

Unfortunately, contrary to what I was told, there were no slaves on sale.

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Lagos street.

Sines

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Castelo de Sines.

This most town of 20,000 people is best known as the birthplace of Vasco de Gama. It has not a particularly touristy place. The central fortress is run down, and the town’s main source of income probably derives from the industrial harbor and the coal power plant.

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Statue of Vasco de Gama.

Not far away is the house where he was born.

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Centro Histórico de Sines.

Despite this town’s relative delipidation, the local museum was surprisingly comprehensive and modern; its exposition ranged from Roman artifacts to records of its 20th century industrial development under Salazar.

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Much more graffiti even than in Lisbon and the other touristy downs, and evidently much less upkeep, with housing prices to match. Can easily get a two bedroom apartment there for $100k. But would you want to?

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Elevador dos Penedos Da Índia.

Presumably a failed attempt to create a landmark and attract tourists. But the views were good.

Lisbon

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Lisbon!

With almost three million people, it contains about 25%-30% of the Portuguese population (Porto has about as many). Perfectly amenable city, good transport links, nice architecture – it reminded me of Paris.

In retrospect, I wish we had spent an extra day in Lisbon, and one less in the Algarve; we did not have time to cover the section of the city containing the Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, and the Naval Museum of Lisbon.

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Russian Embassy in Lisbon.

Our apartment in Lisbon was just half a block from the Russian Embassy, which at the time was adorned with flowers and messages of commissaration (this was immediately after the Kemerovo fire).

Portugal has relatively good relations with Russia for an EU country. It was one of the very few EU countries not to expel any Russian diplomats in March 2018 to signal support for Britain’s stance on the Skripal Affair.

Random fact: Zhirinovsky considers Lisbon his favorite city.

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Lisbon Metro.

The metro’s scale is perfectly commensurate with a city of Lisbon’s size. It is functional, has an intuitive color scheme, and the trains seem to run reliably.

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Centro Vasco de Gama shopping center, near the Gare do Oriente central railway station.

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The eastern part of Lisbon is a newer, modernist area, with a cheap cable car connecting the waterfront.

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The Water Gardens.

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Pavilhão do Conhecimento.

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Cable car.

While I don’t much like modernist architecture anywhere, in my opinion it goes especially badly in warm regions, since the heat makes the large, open spaces all the more oppressive.

To combat the heat, most of the buildings are painted bland white, robbing the scene of any vibrancy.

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Central Lisbon.

The historic part of Lisbon is much denser and more colorful, and more pleasant to walk in, with the inclines providing good exercise.

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Panteão Nacional.

This used to be the 17th century Church of Santa Engrácia, which was converted into the National Pantheon in 1916 after the overthrow of the monarchy.

You can see the statue of Christ the King, a smaller version of the famous Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio, in the last photo.

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Typical Lisbon alleyways.

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Igreja da Sao Vicente de Fora.

We took the opportunity to light some votive candles there, or more precisely, to throw in some coins that lighted up a bulb on a wooden electronic board thing.

These electronic candles are standard throughout Portuguese churches. I am not too happy with this innovation. In my view, it robs this intimate ritual of some of its essentialism.

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More scenes of Lisbon.

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Santa Justa Lift.

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Livraria Bertrand.

Lisbon hosts the world’s oldest bookshop, which was founded in 1732.

I was genuinely surprised by this, since Iberia was always a relative intellectual backwater relative to Italy and the Low Countries. By the second half of the 18th century, per capita book consumption in Spain – which even then was more developed than Portugal – had declined in relative terms to almost the level of Poland, and was an order of magnitude lower than in Great Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

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The bookstore offers to stamp your books with its logo certifying you bought them from the world’s oldest bookshop.

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Belvedere of Our Lady of the Hill.

This is considered to be the best vantage point in Lisbon. I recommend taking an Uber there an hour or so before sunset.

Estoril & Cascais

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Casino Estoril.

This fabled gambling den is where the deposed royalty and emigres of Europe frittered their savings away.

Doesn’t look too impressive in RL.

Can’t comment on the poker games because I was not allowed inside, since I was wearing sandals and it is against their dress code. First time I ever encountered this, and I have visited most of the upscale casinos in Las Vegas. None of them had this BS, but this dump does.

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Cascais.

As I gather, this is something like Portugal’s Malibu – very nice area, little graffiti, this is presumably where the notables who gambled at Estoril lived (the even richer ones would have had chateaus in nearby Sintra).

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Boca do Inferno.

Wiki: “The cave was the first to be depicted in moving pictures, in the 1896 British film A Sea Cave Near Lisbon, which shows waves breaking at the mouth of the cave.”

Sintra: Castle of the Moors

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Castle of the Moors.

This castle was constructed by the Moors in the 8-9th centuries during their conquest of Portugal. Despite its formidable defenses, it was abandoned without a fight when the Portuguese liberated Lisbon in 1147.

The entire area, which also encompasses a monastery and several other palaces and chateaus, was acquired by Ferdinand II in 1838.

It is a vast area, and full of interesting monuments and places. It can either be explored by foot, or by an electric car or even horse that you can rent.

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Views of and from the Castle of the Moors.

Sintra: Pena Palace

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Pena Palace.

This fairytale construction was erected during the mid-19th century during the height of Europe’s infatuation with Romanticism.

After the overthrow of the Portuguese monarchy in 1910, the palace became a state museum.

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More views of and from Pena Palace.

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Interiors of Pena palace.

Quite luxurious, as is usually the case, though nothing particular stood out – my impression is that after you’ve seen a few European palaces, you’ve pretty much seen them all.

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Even though the views at Pena are far more striking than those from Versailles or the Peterhof!

 
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Commenter Betlo alerts us to an interesting development in Sweden.

  • In a recent school election, the Sweden Democrats got 57% of the vote, in the largest secondary school of Kristianstad Municipality.
  • The neoliberal but moderately anti-immigration Moderate Party came second, with 19%.
  • “Peer pressure” is cited as one explanation, though according to one pupil, a teacher threatened them with lower grades if they didn’t vote the right way.
  • The pupils’ demand for a debate about gender equality and refugee policy was denied.

It would be funny if Sweden was to go straight from Sweden Yes to Sweden Über Alles.

I wonder to what extent Generation Zyklon is a widespread phenomenon beyond just the US. Since the political correctness ideology is pretty universal to the Western world, and American and European teens alike listen to the same racist gamers and tussle together on /pol/, it stands to reason that the demographics of the rebellion will be analogous.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Alt Right, Demographics, Sweden 
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contrasts

So Tommy Robinson is getting sent to prison for 13 months for standing outside a courtroom where a grooming case trial is proceeding and talking about said grooming case. Or, more specifically, breaking the conditions of a suspended sentence, which he had in turn gotten for reporting on another grooming case, which barred him from reporting on any further grooming cases until the conclusion of the original case.

Supercharging this impressive recursion is a ban on reporting Tommy Robinson’s reporting bans, to which end many articles have been scrubbed of the affair:

cernovich-video

It would have been cool for, say, RT to violate the ban and dare the Britbongs into shutting it down. But RT is full of cowards (Error 404). In fairness, Breitbart was no better.

What I find amusing is that in principle Tommy Robinson is a moderate with views that mostly align with Western and British establishment interests. He likes free speech and invites trannies to sing at his rallies (ok, they’re not so cool on the former, rhetoric aside). He’s a staunch supporter of Israel. He counter-signals against ethno-nationalists. As he wrote in his book Enemy of the State, he considers Putin to be a dictator. Ultimately, his only problem is that he doesn’t share the elite’s Islamophilia, but that is more than enough for those vengeful ideological maximalists, which is why he is getting sent down to prison where he has a bounty on his head.

PS. Good Twitter thread on the UK’s abuse of reporting restrictions:

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Censorship, United Kingdom, Western Hypocrisy 
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This has apparently been getting harder (h/t Betlo):

The panel also noted that it is now more difficult to recruit intelligence sources inside Russia than it was during the Soviet era. During the Soviet era, the CIA relied upon “volunteers” who would approach American intelligence officers, Bearden said, but the pool of Russians willing to betray their government largely has dried up. It is not entirely clear why this is the case, but Bearden suggested that given previous Soviet and Russian penetration of American intelligence services, it is possible that the fear of compromise has driven away many potential sources.

Clement suggested that Russian perceptions of the United States have deteriorated so badly that even educated Russian liberals take a dim view of Washington—making the recruitment of spies extremely difficult. Moreover, many Russians who might have betrayed their government in previous eras no longer feel compelled to risk imprisonment or death by working for the CIA. Instead, those dissidents can simply leave Russia for the West—which was not an option during the Soviet era.

Beebe, however, suggested that in the information age—where biometrics and social media are prevalent—the age of recruiting traditional human intelligence sources is over. “Biometric data means essentially that you can’t put someone under cover here in Washington and then have them travel around the world, pose under diplomatic cover and recruit people,” Beebe said. “Doesn’t work. Who they are, their identity is instantly known to governments that want to know who they are.”

Other reasons:

1. The Russian Federation is 85% Russian, not 50% like the USSR. The guy who revealed the Soviet biological weapons program to the US was called Kanatzhan Alibekov.

2. Internal Russophobia is on the decline. This can even be seen amongst the liberals, where the most odious of that lot have been utterly marginalized, and are demographically dying off (e.g. Novodvorskaya) and/or have moved abroad (e.g. Kasparov).

When the Soviet system existed, there were plenty of people with a strong ideological opposition to the regime, such as Vasily Mitrokhin, who secreted away huge chunks of the KGB archives and later transferred them to the UK. When it collapsed, and in the absence of any other positive (nationalist) values – indeed, bearing in mind their suppression under the old regime – it was replaced by pure materialism, so you had a vast upsurge in treason during the late 1980s and 1990s.

3. This materialism factor was accentuated by the sheer material poverty Russia fell into during the 1990s. Selling secrets for a nice suburban house in California makes much more sense when you are an impoverished civil servant who lives in a khrushchevka and hasn’t been paid for months than when you are getting a PPP-adjusted salary of $2,000, live in a nice modern apartment, and possess a car and can travel to Turkey or Crimea a couple of times a year.

4. Conversely, whereas anti-Soviet dissidents could plausibly imagine that they were betraying an ideology, not their own people, this has become more and more implausible as the gradient of Western ethno-Russophobia veers ever upwards.

5. Another factor could be declining competence amongst Western spooks focusing on Russia. The intelligence services have never attracted the very best – far from the James Bond stereotype of them being suave, well-informed mystery men, in reality they tend to be mediocre, and idiotic conspiracy theories run rife amongst among them – and this should be even more true today, when the best talent is sucked up by Big Finance and Big Tech to an extent unparalleled during the Cold War. Russia Studies have also been neglected and underfinanced since the end of the Cold War until recently, with bigger and bigger jokers taking the limelight with every passing year (from Edward Lucas to Molly McNew). Combine the two trends, and this too would explain a collapse in Russia recruitment.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Espionage, Russia, United States 
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cyberpunk-moscow

Moscow 2018.

Can’t believe it has been almost a month since the last Open Thread.

Quick updates:

  • Was in the UK for a couple of weeks (as you presumably gathered). Apart from the march in London, I also took the opportunity to tick off Canterbury and the Tank Museum in Bovington.
  • Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the London Conference on Intelligence in Aarhus, Denmark, as I had originally planned to. Fortunately, we have James Thompson here to tell us all about it anyway.
  • I am going to be in Romania from June 1-June 11: Couple of days in Ploiesti, three in Transylvania, the rest in Bucharest. Why Romania? Friend’s wedding, otherwise it’s about 50th on my travel list.

ROGPR news – Kirill Nesterov’s latest video was so hardcore that YouTube banned it. Here it is (in Russian ofc):

We are also going to be launching a new website any day now.

***

Featured News

* Alexander Mercouris: Netanyahu in Moscow for Victory Day: why did Putin invite him? MUST READ, especially for those who have been complaining about Putin bending over before Israel and calling me a “ziocuck” or whatever.

* Alexander Mercouris is blackpilled on Iran:

Note that Bershidsky disagrees… but then again, he has always had inflated expectations of the EU. Even so he points out how the EU, Russia, and China can keep trade and investment with Iran running.

* I was pessimistic about M5S/Lega Nord – in particular, European leftists, including ostensibly Russophile ones, have a habit of disappointing (see Syriza). But perhaps they really will be the first major exception. I also find their economic program, combining bold ideas such as a 15%/20% flat income tax and universal basic income, to be very interesting and potentially very revitalizing for an Italy that is widely regarded as being stifled by bureaucracy.

* Two months ago, I opined that the Alt Right is dead. I can now confirm that with high confidence, specifically with regards to its Spencerite wing, which originated the Alt Right as we know it, and which was most recently active under the banner of AltRight.com [now down for more than a month]. FWIW, my source also told me that Milo was more of a 14/88 Röhm type of fellow than the anti-SJW “dangerous faggot” he posed as in public a few months before Joseph Bernstein broke the story for Buzzfeed, so I pretty much trust him/her on this. But even if you don’t, the signs are all there anyway, e.g. (1) the brain drain from AltRight.com in its final months and (2) their blatantly disinterested attitude towards keeping the website up [say of them what you will, but the Daily Stormer experienced far worse harassment, and they were always back up within 48 hours]. I would henceforth advise nationalists not to get involved in that cluster.

As far as I’m concerned, BAP is now the Supreme Leader of the Alt Right. On to Tropical Hyperborea!

* Scott Alexander: Can Things Be Both Popular and Silenced? One of the best essays on this topic.

***

Russia

* Nicolai Petro – Are We Reading Russia Right? [24 page PDF]. Summary via Paul Robinson. Good statistical, reality-checking manual on the real Russia vs. the one in the Western media.

Incidentally, my very first (non-intro) blog post was titled Reading Russia Right.

* Michael Kofman – The Collapsing Russian Defense Budget and Other Fairy Tales. Confirmation that reports a few weeks ago that it was going down by 20% were very much exaggerated.

* NBF on Russia’s new hypersonic glide weapons.

* China projects an increase in trade with Russia from around $100 billion last year to $200 billion next year. Much needed diversification. As I point out, Russia can live without China, and it can even live without the West, but it can’t live without either of them.

* Commenter Mitleser on Chinese media guidelines for writing about Russia: Use “USSR,” never “former USSR”; don’t call the people’s armed forces in Eastern Ukraine “separatists” or “pro-Russian forces.”

* Crimea has 5x fewer cars per capita than the Russian average. Results of two and a half decades of Ukrainian occupation.

* The Russian anti-sanctions laws which will penalize businesses for respecting American sanctions are on hold while the relevant Duma committees “consult” with representatives of the Russian business community. If they end up making exceptions for the big ones, which some Russian observers fear, then these laws might as well not exist and will probably become just another enabler of corporate raiding.

* Remember the police raid on Egor Prosvirnin in 2015, the chief editor of Sputnik & Pogrom? It now emerges that the organs originally wanted to charge him under Article 282 for… get this… for offending the Ukrainian people. In 2016.

In the end, the case was dropped at an early point. There are limits to absurdity, even in the Putlerreich.

* The Guardian: Russia analyst [Mark Sleboda] interviewed by ABC a ‘blatantly pro-Kremlin apologist’

I know that the Guardian is basically a meme newspaper these days, but still, the title is one of the most egregious in that it combines both a lie and a sordid assumption. The lie is that Sleboda is a pro-Kremlin apologist – to the contrary, he is more often its hawkish critic. The sordid assumption is that having blatantly pro-Kremlin apologists on is unacceptable for some reason. What’s the alternative – an echo chamber of kneejerk Russophobes? Come to think of it, that’s actually the correct assessment.

* Max Seddon: Fak off as Sberbank fires analyst for provocation too far.

Incidentally, this follows a similar report on Rosneft, where criticism of Sechin was suppressed. This shows that market research of the kind that is standard in the West is basically impossible in Russia, at least so far as it concerns the state corporations run by Putin’s cronies. This is another Russia blackpill, but I have come to the conclusion that the “blackpilled” view that Gazprom and Rosneft are run for political insider contractors, not for shareholders nor even for Russia’s geopolitical interests, is basically correct.

* Head of state-owned VTB bank Andrey Kostin whines that US sanctions prevent him from enjoying skiing vacations in Colorado and his beloved city of New York. This must be all the more painful for him, since he had lobbies US Congressmen hard to avoid sanctioning him, citing the fact that VTB was “investing in the Ukraine and raising that country’s economy.”

It’s hilarious, really. Begging representatives of a foreign, hostile power not to sanction him because the state-owned bank he was in charge of was helping another hostile country… whining when the American masters turned a deaf year to him. But such is the quality of Russia’s governing cadres and “effective managers” in Year 18 of Putinism.

***

World

* At last, a serious debate on the JQ.

I have only skimmed through both articles. One reason is that the JQ just doesn’t interest me that much (I meant it when I said I hope not to have to write any more about it after this one mega-post). Another reason is that even skimming it, it was sufficient to see that even Cofnas critique is still far more qualitative than quantitative, with the result that the two interlocutors mostly seem to be talking past each other.

I am of the position that Emil Kirkegaard still has the single best roadmap for a resolution to the JQ.

* Bryan MacDonald: Facebook & Atlantic Council unite: Now social media giant serves NATO’s agenda

* Lance Welton: “This Will Not Stand”: Academic Establishment Suppresses Italian Anthropologist’s Proof That Race IQ Differences Are Genetic—For Now

* John Derbyshire: Fertility Collapse—Minorities Hardest Hit! Electing A New People Delayed? That said, as Cicerone points out, this stopped being true around 2016:

Using the same method as for the states, here are my TFR estimates [for 2017, with 2016 in brackets]:
Whites 1.67 (1.72)
Blacks 1.83 (1.83)
Asians 1.68 (1.75)
Hispanics 2.03 (2.09)
All dropping ex. Blacks, Hispanics now below replacement

* Next round of EU funding is going to revolve more around nebulous things such as adherence to “European values” as opposed to GDP per capita gaps. Commenter Polish Perspective has made many good comments about this.

* Audacious Epigone:

* Estonia is making all its public transport free. This might actually work well in a low-diversity, high IQ country.

* I have no strong opinions on Israel vs. Palestine nor any desire to shill for one of them over the other, but I found this RAMZPAUL take funny and relevant:

* Interesting point from Jose Luis Ricon. Spain might be very pro-gay, but it’s not very gay about it.

***

Science & Culture

* Yinon M. Bar-On, Rob Phillips, and Ron Milo (2018) – The biomass distribution on Earth

* Gwern: Nootropic effectiveness via SSC survey results. I was never deep into nootropics, but Modafinil seems accurate, even if inferior to plain ol’ Adderall (never tried that). Always thought aniracetam was overrated, but surprised that it was basically neutral (at best).

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* Peter Turchin – History Is Now a Quantitative Science. Rome’s “secular cycles” [see my intro to cliodynamics] have been tied to historical intensity of lead production.

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* Scandal in IQ research – many instances of self-plagiarism from Robert Sternberg. Not a crisis by any means, he was neither a particularly notable nor a controversial researcher.

* Gwern’s April newsletter.

* Version 1.3 of David Becker’s world IQ database is coming out soon. James Thompson got a preview peek at the LCI 2018, who also has an update on sex IQ differences and the neurobiology of intelligence.

* Robin Hanson on how to maximize the chances of future people actually reviving you from cryonics sleep.

* Steve Sailer on a recent Pinker paper on the optimal age to learn a new language. Stereotypes are correct – the younger, the better.

* Commenter Thorfinnsson on how US Civil War II could break out.

* NBF: Every 3-5 years SpaceX is adding a decade lead on competitors

* IQ researcher Stuart Ritchie threw away a job application from someone who cited their own IQ on the CV. But is that a good idea in academia?

* Commenter Daniel Chieh: Hanzi as an implicit barrier against the Poz?

It is my opinion that the language does indeed gradually shape thought. For example, something “logical” such as the word for “good” is 好 is of course 女(woman, thus breasts in symbol) and 子(child, or son: oversized head to body of an infant). And its a “good” that a woman is with her child, symbolically a “family” and “family” is therefore good.

Not only do the words then imply certain normative standards(and implicitly rejects postmodern construction), but it is also the form of recognition creates what Nisbett calls a “dialectic” form of reading which constantly monitors for context. I know a few friends who grew up in Asia or spent a lot of time there; eventually they basically acquire this form of thinking and become averse with the more normal context-less Western grasp of language and the world.

I also feel, as I said, that this is often “pre-modern” and is probably not conducive to innovative thought specifically due to the normative values implicit. Nonetheless, in this age of hyperreality and postmodernism with a lot of its attendant ugliness, its interesting to see how this appears to serve as a weak, below-the-horizon Chesterson Fence.

* Carl Zha Twitter thread on the history of the qipao. Hilariously, given the SJW outrage over its “appropriation”, it’s more Western than Chinese!

***

Powerful Takes

* The most powerful take yet?

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Incidentally, Joaquin Flores is one of the head honchos at the grandiloquently named Center for Syncretic Studies, a Duginist outfit.

So this is what Duginism boils down to. They pay a Mexican Marxist weirdo larping as a Russian agent in Serbia to talk about the Saker’s involvement with the “Latin American junta scene”

* From SPLC-certified anti-Semite to Jew-loving neocon cockroach. :(

glossy-neocon-cockroach

See also Double Horseshoe Theory in action (this is “B) Stalinism is not true Marxism, and that’s awesome.” PS. Khodorkovsky is likely D. I am C.)

horseshoe-theory-in-action

* I run the most multicultural blog:

vibrant-blog

* Ioffe vs. Karlin:

ioffe-vs-karlin

* Greasy had some very strong opinions on this topic:

greasy-strong-opinions

* Everybody let’s welcome James Thompson to the RationalWiki club!

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* Is Charles Bausman actually serving the Jew masters?

russia-insider-serving-the-jew-masters

* Pumpkin Person: The most pro-Jewish President of all time? (unironically good take)

* Washington Times: Sarah Palin praises WikiLeak’s Julian Assange; ‘He’s all about freedom’. I have always rather liked her.

* This is what MAGA is all about now:

* Fuck Russia:

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PS. Just how neoliberal do you have to be to work yourself up into a lather about Bernie Sanders of all people?

* Eric Garland forgetting to take his meds again:

* Analytic vs. Continental Philosophy:

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* Another reason to be aggressively pro-gun. The alternative is unrestrained Poz.

homosexualization

***

 
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Broke: Russians downed MH17 so Russia must pay reparations, withdraw from the Ukraine, Putler must go to the Hague.

Woke: Muh Ukrainian false flag. *scribbles 5,000 words on obscure alt media webzine that no-one will read*

Bespoke: Russians downed MH17 and Russia must face up to it like a civilized, Western country (i.e. no apologies, no acknowledgement of responsibility, award a medal to whoever’s responsible).

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: MH 17, Netherlands, Russia, War in Donbass 
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I recently had a look at the polling for the Ukrainian Presidential elections in March 2019.

They don’t look good for him, to put it mildly.

While austerity, stymied reforms and continuing corruption, and the lack of a resolution to the War in Donbass have been dragging at Poroshenko’s ratings for several years now, since the start of this year he has not even generally been getting assured of taking second place in the first round and going through to the second round.

For instance, here are the results of the latest KIIS poll:

8% – Yulia Tymoshenko
6,3% – Anatoly Gritsenko
6,1% – Oleg Lyashko
6% – Petro Poroshenko
5,4% – Volodymyr Zelensky
4,8% – Svyatoslav Vakarchuk
4,4% – Vadim Rabinovich
4,3% – Yury Boyko

He also loses all of the realistic second round runoffs:

poll-ukraine-elections-2019

Poroshenko is losing against Boyko, the head of the Opposition Bloc (reformatted Party of Regions), though this should not be mistaken for a pro-Russian victory because the party, apart from losing most of its support, is no longer even remotely as pro-Russian.

He is even projected to be beaten by Lyashko, probably the biggest lolcow in Ukrainian politics (and that’s saying something).

To be sure, there is still just under a year to those elections, and a lot can change between now and then. The economy will probably continue to recover at a modest pace. And Poroshenko has access to the “administrative resource.” I suspect he’ll still eke out a place in the second round. But there he’ll very likely be beaten by Yulia Tymoshenko (who is polling almost twice as much as him in a direct runoff), or perhaps one of the newer faces in politics, such as Vakarchuk, a young West Ukrainian rock musician who performed before the Maidan crowds and has a degree in theoretical physics – and is projected to get almost three times as many votes as Poroshenko.

(Speaking of young, pro-Maidan rock musicians. There is a small but not entirely negligible chance that the runoff will come down to two of them: Vakarchuk vs. Zelensky – they both have the highest net approval rating of any Ukrainian politician, and they dominate the youth vote).

It’s really hard to tell. Even ten months is an eternity in politics, and once campaigning begins, the current, strange electoral map – in which the eight leading politicians are all within a few points of each other – distillates into clearer leaders and laggards. However, the common theme is that Poroshenko has shockingly low figures, despite having the biggest name recognition of all the candidates along with Tymoshenko.

Incidentally, this is why if the Ukraine is to attempt Operation Storm, now is probably the best time for it.

1. If Russia intervenes = Poroshenko will lose in 2019, but as things stand, he is likely to lose anyway.

Meanwhile, Russia experiences a last minute collapse of the FIFA World Cup, and there is an annulation of the rifts (however real or fictive) that have been growing between the EU and the US.

2. If Russia doesn’t intervene = The LDNR is conquered, which as AP points out will propel Boyko to the second round, against whom Poroshenko has the best chances. Resolving the Donbass issue will also greatly boost Poroshenko’s popularity and almost certainly assure him victory.

Meanwhile, Russia suffers a humiliation that is highly unlikely to even lead to the reversal of Donbass-related sanctions. Russian nationalists move from an on average ambiguous position towards Putin, towards outright hostility; the Communists too will likely become far less happy with him.

That said, on balance I stick by my predictions at the start of the year that there will be no large-scale resumption of the Donbass War, because Poroshenko is a risk-averse politician. However, if it does happen this year, it will happen very soon.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Politics, Poroshenko, Ukraine 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.