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Currently traveling, posting this from my cell phone so discuss the UK general elections, the ROG inspired spat between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, or whatever.

So Jeremy Corbyn has soared to a point where he’s neck and neck with Theresa May after being 20 points behind. Reminder the Conservatives called this election to expand their dominance in Parliament. Instead, they’ve put themselves in a position where they can lose power outright. Same story with Brexit. Talk of hubris.

I do like Corbyn as a person, more so than May who evokes only the most dreary sensations. To be sure Corbyn is a sandal-wearing open borders socialist who will drive the economy into the ground, but his foreign policy stances at least are solid, and as a perennial sandal wearer myself, I can only approve of his sartorial choices (minus his heresy of pairing them with socks). Anyhow, it’s clear May’s ideas about dealing with Islamic terrorism revolve around the same old of cracking down on Internet “extremism” (read: porn, islamophobia, etc). Whereas at least with Corbyn we have some chance of him unleashing his inner tankie against the jihadists.

Saudi Arabia has presented a list of ten basically unfulfillable demands to Qatar or else a full blockade commences. Well that escalated quickly, LOL. If it goes ahead, Qatar’s only lifeline in the region will become… Iran. At a stroke, the Saudis sideline a rival geopolitical competitor in Syria, and consolidate a new Arab Authoritarian International with themselves at its head. They played Trump well.

I am currently in Saint Petersburg. I was last here in 2002. Back then I liked it more than Moscow. No longer the case. Whatever advantages it might have had back then in terms of civility have now been matched or superseded, since Muscovites themselves have come much more polite and considerate in the past decade, while the technological and infrastructural gap between the two capitals has widened significantly since then in favor of Moscow (e.g. I have been sufficiently spoiled to expect WiFi in the metro). Finally, I now realize that I definitely prefer a continental climate over a maritime one.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

limonovka

The National Bolshevik (NatsBol) meeting was at the Monument to the Heroes of the Revolution of 1905-1907, festooned with the black-red flags of movement, though the chiliastic chic of Limonov’s monthly rant was somewhat checked by the Mickey D. golden arch and the skyscrapers of the Moscow financial district in the background.

daughterland-calls Eduard Limonov is a most idiosyncratic figure. A dissident Jew (or maybe not; it’s unclear) who emigrated to New York and spent the 1970-80s doing drugs and having trysts with powerful Negro studs, Eddie returned to Russia in the 1990s where he took up the banner of the red brown alliance – with far more punk, homosex, and an unusually good female-to-male ratio by 1488 standards.

He published the book Another Russia in 2001, calling on youth to dig into the bunkers and wage a total war against the bureaucrats, businessmen, and assorted bugmen of the modern world. Unlike other nihilist philosophers, who are a dime a dozen, he actually proceeded to follow up his words with actions, attempting to foment a Russian insurrection in north Kazakhstan, for which he did a stint in jail.

After spending the 2000s in rabid opposition to Putin, after the reunification with Crimea and the war in the Donbass he finally learned to love the Leader.

Clearly a most “passionary” fellow, so I thought it worthwhile to come check out what he had to say.

The introductory slogans were simple: “Stalin, Beria, gulag.” “Confiscate and divide.”

Unlike your typical kremlinoid bugman, who speaks of rossiyane citizens or even “inhabitants of Russia,” Limonov is unafraid to speak to and about ethnic russkie. (In general, the russkie/rossiyane ratio is a good proxy for how based a Russian politician is).

natsbol-industry Re-Ukraine. He seems to identify the Russian World with the geographic areas where the Russian language is predominant – that is, the eight oblasts of prospective Novorossiya. The rest of the Ukraine he proposed to divide with Romania, Poland, and Hungary – in a process also detaching them from the EU, which is “sending them nothing but migrants.” The latter reflects a rather serious detachment from reality. Romanians were unenthusiastic even about their lost Wallachian provinces, i.e. Moldova, to say nothing of territorial ambitions in the Ukraine. As for the EU, it sends all of those countries the yearly equivalent of more than a thousand Euros’ worth of welfare payments per capita; in return, all they ask of them is to take in some token number of refugees, who all proceed to go on to the richer gibsmedats pastures of Germany and Sweden anyway. Seriously, I doubt even a dozen of the recent Syrian immigrants ended up permanently settling in any of those countries. In the meantime, they get to entertain themselves by sticking a middle finger to the Eurocrats.

More geopolitical comments. Trump and his $110 arms deal with the Saudis – Russia can’t compete with that kind of money, because its not rich enough, because of its cold climate (past instances of “confiscate and divide” obviously not mentioned as contributory factors).

He is a big fan of Kurdistan, thinks Russia should support it more actively. Wants a bigger military contingent in Syria, including ground forces. Very boomer mindset.

Macron is fat, but “fancies himself a D’Artagnan” – original line of attack, if a somewhat strange one (is Macron actually fat? Never noticed). Claims that he was owned by Putin. My impression was that it was rather the other way round – Macron received Putin at the Palace of Versailles. The last foreign dignitary to be given a reception there was Gaddafi in 2007 under President Sarkozy, who in a few more years met a sticky end thanks in large part to Sarkozy himself. The impression that this was a deliberate slight was reinforced by the post-reception press conference, where Macron called RT and Sputnik journalists propagandists to Putin’s face and said that France would bomb Syria if it were to use chemical weapons again. But no matter – according to Limonov, Putin subdued Macron, and made him “respect” him, laying the foundations for improved relations with France. So much so that perhaps in the near future Russians “will be able to go France to help beat up immigrants.”

natsbol-girl-with-gun Now I am personally not a fan of beating up immigrants. Document checks and deportations seem to be the more civilized and effective policy. Still, if you are a nationalist of some sort, and want to beat up immigrants, shouldn’t you prioritize the ones in your own country? E.g., the up to 10 million illegals in Russia?

*crickets*

I mean, I don’t want to be too tough on Limonov, who at least is red-pilled on race (in another part of his speech, he said the US has a lot of Negroes, “half of whom are on welfare”). This alone places him far closer to the American Alt Right than Greater Turkestan proponent Dugin. Even so, this tendency to notice “problems” in Western countries while studiously not extending the same analytical framework to their own country seems to be a defining feature of the Russian nationalist boomer mindset. Is this due to a generational cognitive blind-spot, a concern about alienating their audiences, or fear of possible legal repercussions?

This is something I’m trying to figure out myself.

Re-Navalny. If he were to die today, and the oligarch Usmanov (with whom Navalny is currently feuding) were to die tomorrow, Limonov would “not be sad.” Skeptical about whether the Americans are financing him, but that said, he does ask where does the money for Navalny’s extensive network of regional election HQs come from? Complains about state persecution of nationalists, citing one “Yura” who got three years for non-violently defending a female journalist from the police, while Navalny is walking free despite having two suspended sentences. The unspoken implication is that Limonov thinks the Kremlin is in cahoots with Navalny.

At this point Limonov wraps up the lecture, everyone claps, and a few people go up to him to have books signed and to discuss things further (including the American fan of Limonov and Unz Review reader who brought me out there).

The next speaker was some NatsBol activist with a boring jeremiad about “economic justice” and the “social lifts of Soviet society.” Limonov, inane as he often is, is at least entertaining. Those activist ideologue types never are, so we left.

***

limonovka-1

limonovka-2 limonovka-3 limonovka-4 limonovka-5 limonovka-6 limonovka-7 limonovka-8.

 

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, Russian Nationalism 

* Reports just coming in that there has been a terrorist attack in Manchester.

Manchester a pretty well-off city, by the standards of the English North-West, though the city’s penchant for hedonism has given the city the lowest female life expectancy in England.

16% of the population are Muslims. Not as vibrant as Luton or Birmingham yet, but it’s getting there.

* New podcast with Robert Stark about automation and basic income.

Also, if you understand Russian, a reminder that I participate in a weekly Russian language podcast ROGPR. We are on our 14th episode as of this week.

* Vincent Law: Who Are Russia’s Black Hundreds?

This is a good article.

* Neo-Nazi converts to Islam, murders Neo-Nazi roommates for disrespecting Islam. TFW you take the WHITE SHARIA meme a bit too seriously.

Of course it happened in Florida. And of course the perpetrator is a ginger. The perfect memetic trifecta.

orb-of-power* #RiyadhSummit: “Three values to embrace to propel ourselves forward. They are tolerance, diversity and hope, and that’s what makes us human.”

They’ve learned the Davosi dialect well, I’ll give them that.

Anyhow, about Saudi Arabia: On the grand list of things to fault in Trump, continuing the bipartisan American tradition of cosying up to the House of Saud is one of the smallest and most irrelevant ones.

They basically subsidize the American military-industrial complex to the tune of several billions of dollars a year (I am pretty convinced the massive price gouging they tolerate is done on purpose and is a sort of bribe).

Frankly for that sort of money I think just about everyone would agree to say some bad things about Iran, turn a blind eye to Yemen, and worship a glowing orb for a day.

zuckerberg-new-vision

* I am not usually one for conspiracy theories, but the Seth Rich affair is very suspicious.

* Zuckerberg’s (new) vision via P.T. Carlo (also discovered this other article of his about the most loathsome neocon bugmen).

* Daniel Chieh’s comment on servitude in traditional China.

* About Ukraine’s banning of VK.com, Yandex, and basically half its Internet – will have separate post on that.

* Sinotriumph #1: China’s hyper-competitive schools are forcing parents to take IQ tests before accepting pupils (h/t whyvert)

Meanwhile, the US is still rehashing the same old Bell Curve debates, each one more farcical than the last.

Even as society lags, science continues to move forwards: James Thompson – IQ Brain Map. In the long run, Gnon always wins.

* Sinotriumph #2: The evolution of metros in China 1990-2020 (Peter Dovak).

china-metros

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: China, Open Thread, Terrorism 

I don’t really have much to add beyond what I said on RT Crosstalk, and what Alexander Mercouris wrote here and here.

The month long reprieve Trump had gained with his Syrian human sacrifice is over, and the Swamp creatures are back, baying for his blood with renewed zeal.

expanding-brain-of-louise-menschWhat is most remarkable, and cannot be stressed enough, is that there is still no evidence of Trump having colluded with Russia.

But no matter. So far as the MSM is concerned the Russian Occupation Government already rules the White House through its intermediates, Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and TASS photojournalists. Trump spilled all of “our greatest ally’s” secrets to them personally and now that means America’s European allies are no longer going to share intelligence with them (according to one anonymous “European official,” anyway). Because the details of Islamic State plans for laptops on international flights is the sort of arcane knowledge that can overturn the global geopolitical chessboard. /s

The firing of Comey was obviously an act of petty revenge against him for taking down Flynn and getting too deep into the secrets of ROG. No matter that Flynn’s connections with Russian state structures remain entirely speculative, while it is openly known that he acted a paid up lobbyist for Turkey. And it obviously can’t have a more mundane explanation, such as Comey’s lack of interest in shoring up the incessant leaking that is incapicitating the Trump administration.

This is all so transparently obvious. But we are living in an era when a woman who by her own admission has her mind destroyed by hard drugs and believes Putin murdered Andrew Breitbart and funds BlackLivesMatter gets op-eds in The New York Times.

This is the fake reality that fake news has created, but with enough time and “manufactured consent,” fake reality has a way of becoming “actual existing” reality.

predictit-impeach-trump-odds-2017Here are a few facets of this reality. As of this week, for the first time, a near majority of Americans – 48% to 41% – want to see Trump impeached according to the latest poll from Public Policy Polling.

PredictIt is now giving 25% odds that Trump will be impeached in 2017. This is highest than at any other time this year, even thoug there is now just a bit more than six months to go.

As of the time of writing, it is giving implied odds of about 30% for Trump not being President by the end of the year, and 45% odds of not being President by the end of 2018.

I suspect these figures are plausible. While removing Trump from office via impeachment is probably unrealistic – for that, 2/3 of the Senate will also have to vote to convict him (for what?) – Trump Derangement Syndrome has become so endemic that it theatenss to make the country essentially ungovernable. This could give establishment Republicans the excuse to pressure Trump to resign (perhaps with the threat of a 25th Amendment coup, as Ross Douthat has recently suggested).

Obviously I wish Trump the best of luck against the Swamp golems but things really aren’t looking good for him.

 

* Russian nuclear weapons expert Pavel Podvig is giving an AMA at /r/Russia right now.

christianity-middle-east* Christians, in an Epochal Shift, Are Leaving the Middle East

Eurabia is demographically implausible during this century. Greater Lebanon, however, is.

* The curious rise of the ‘white left’ as a Chinese internet insult

Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”.

Critical context from bloody shovel. Dynamics in Russia are remarkable analogous, though unlike the Chinese, I don’t think we’ve even progressed to the point of having our own term for SJWs.

* Opinion poll on radical life extension.

About 27% of Americans might be considered transhumanists in the sense that they want radically increased healthy lifespans of 200+ years.

Curiously, there is a huge gender split: 36% of men want that, but only 18% of women.

* His Kampf. Not a bad profile of Richard Spencer, though the journalist’s evident disdain for him does seep through somewhat.

One thing that goes unmentioned: Despite the repeat Nazi comparisons, Spencer himself doesn’t subscribe to one of their core beliefs, that of the hierarchy of races: “… There is no universal, cosmic criterion for determining when one individual is better than another.”

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

About time to update my sidebar (current one dates from November 2015).

Blogroll: Added a few sites, removed a few. Version with slightly more links here: http://akarlin.com/links/

My linking policy is that if your blog is at least somewhat active and interesting, and if you link to me, or if you make a… contribution (just make sure to let me know), then I will reciprocate with a link under the Friends/Allies section.

Removed the Quotes section at the bottom, since it was taking up too much space. I now have a dedicated quotes page at my website: http://akarlin.com/quotes/

Thank to everyone who responded to my first donations drive! (esp. Bruno and Ben via Paypal, my seven patrons on Patreon, and whoever sent the 4.31979mBTC). As I said, while I’m under no imminent danger of immiseration, if you think that what I do is positive value added, well – money is always good for greasing the wheels of productivity.

***

ANATOLY KARLIN joined the Unz Review in January 2015 to blog about Russia, geopolitics, HBD/IQ, and futurism.

Here is a guide to my various websites and projects.

***

Panhandling

karlin-cliodynamicsThe more help I get from my readers, especially of the pecuaniary kind, the more time I can devote to my blogging and original research.

You can donate to me via one of the following methods:

(1) Sponsor me on Patreon
(2) Payment to my email address with Google Wallet
(3) Paypal donation
(4) If you bank with Wells Fargo, you can use Surepay (go to “Transfer and Pay,” “Send Money”) to send money to my email address
(5) Bitcoin: 17tDufZUEK3DvQh3rY75F3xtVgxj4TzdtB

***

Blogroll

This is not so much meant to be comprehensive as to illustrate the themes and individual thinkers whom I follow and am inspired by.

I do not bother including any MSM outlets, since I’m sure they can do just fine without my publicity.

Blogs which I consider to be particularly good and/or prominent are highlighted in bold, and blogs that appear to have gone dormant appear at the end in italics. While I try to keep these things objective, if you include me in your blogroll that does vastly increase the chances that I’ll reciprocate.

/pol/, HBD, H+

Journals/Websites

Politics & Geopolitics

HBD & Psychometrics

History, Economics, Futurism

Russosphere

Alt Media (Russia)

Russosphere

Friends & Allies

Friends/Allies (Politics)

Friends & Allies (HBD, Futurism)

Friends/Allies (Russia)

.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Administration, Blogging, Open Thread 

karlin-cliodynamicsThis appears to be my 1,000th post at The Unz Review (including the archives from my old blogs).

Coincidentally, it will also be my 100th post this year, which would represent an almost threefold increase in intensity relative to 2015-2016.

So I guess now is as good a time as any to launch my first ever fundraising drive.

Back when I was in California I didn’t feel too comfortable asking for gibs, since I spent most of my working time on unrelated freelance jobs and my volume of blogging didn’t merit much in the way of donations. Since then, though, I’ve moved back to Russia, and started doing all this effectively full-time.

Now please don’t feel obligated. Only give if you like what I do, if you can afford to, and if a much more deserving charity or cause doesn’t come to mind. I am not going to starve anytime soon, and my long-term financial plans still revolve around writing books.

That said, if you like what I do, want to see more of it and sooner, and are not yourself impoverished, I could certainly do with your alms.

(1) Sponsor me on Patreon
(2) Payment to my email address with Google Wallet
(3) Paypal donation
(4) If you bank with Wells Fargo, you can use Surepay (go to “Transfer and Pay,” “Send Money”) to send money to my email address (advantage: No extra fees)
(5) Bitcoin: 17tDufZUEK3DvQh3rY75F3xtVgxj4TzdtB

This is my first time panhandling, and I haven’t thoroughly tested all of these methods, so please let me know if anything goes wrong. I would also very much like to know if there are any good alternatives to the above methods.

Thanks in advance for your generosity!

***

Moving on, a few administrative announcements.

Following my blog

Back in the “golden age” of blogging a decade ago, feeds and feed readers were all the rage. Then along came Twitter and Facebook, Google Reader closed down, and the golden age was over. However, with Twitter’s problems, I suspect we might soon see a resurgence of the old ways.

So why not get ahead of the curve if you haven’t already. If you’re the sort of person who likes keeping up with many different blogs and columnists, I suggest getting a feed reader such as Feedly, or The Old Reader (which reproduce much of the functionality of the much missed Google Reader). To follow my blog in particular, just insert one of the following feeds:

A few months ago, I also set up a Twitter bot that automatically reposts everything I write here and at my other blogs – follow https://twitter.com/KarlinBot.

Last but not least, you can also keep tabs on my recent posts not just from The Unz Review’s interface, but also from my main website at http://akarlin.com/.

***

Blogging Plans

Almost a year ago, I carried out a large survey on what I could do to improve my product.

The one thing for which there was overwhelming demand for was more in the way of reviews. Unfortunately, I singularly failed at that. The pace of history has picked up radically of late, and commenting on breaking news stories has been trumping other considerations.

Still, the publicity (and monetary) success of Gregory Cochran’s recent review of Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine does demonstrate there is a demand for good reviews, so I’ll commit to filling in this lacuna.

I wouldn’t want to fail my 2017 predictions, after all.

  • I will write 30+ book reviews: 50%.
  • I will write 5+ game reviews: 50%.
  • I will write fewer than 5 movie reviews: 80%.

***

New and Ongoing Projects

Some other stuff I’m doing at the moment:

ROGPR

Weekly podcast on the Russian Occupation Government with Kirill Nesterov and @smug_vatnik on Russian realities from an IQ/HBD-realistic perspective.

We are the official podcast of United Russia and the Republican Party. /s

If you speak Russian, or are learning it, you can follow it at ROGPR.com or directly at SoundCloud.

Note that I also have a Russian language blog at http://akarlin.ru/, though I don’t update it all that regularly.

Books

ami-book-name As I mentioned above, now that I have more free time (no longer have to do freelance work), I can finally get on with my book plans.

While I’m still very serious about getting Dark Lord of the Kremlin and Apollo’s Ascent written, I am taking a small break to write a shorter book on my Age of Malthusian Industrialism concept.

Incidentally, I need a name for it. Looking for something that crisply conveys at least some of the following ideas/themes/feelings:

(1) Far from the best possible outcome, though not catastrophic either
(2) Industrial economy
(3) Idiocracy
(4) Overpopulation – due to selection for higher fertility preferences reversing the demographic transition. my estimate is that our current technological level translates to a theoretical global carrying capacity of approximately 100 billion people.
(5) Possible the “Clarkian selection” that will follow afterwards.
(6) The idea of the millennial delay/opportunity cost it would impose.

Current preference is “Dark Equilibrium,” but its not optimal.

Papers

In the meantime, I’m also currently involved in writing two papers, which I hope will be ready to be published sometime by the summer.

***

Updated Blogroll

I also have a new blogroll and quotes page, which I will soon integrate with my column’s sidebar at Unz.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Admin, Blogging, Open Thread, Panhandling 

There are some theories floating around on the internets as to whether I am a bagel or even “a Turk of sorts and probably a muzzie actually.”

Now that I have finally become who I am, it is time to reveal who I am.

karlin-ancestry-chart

three-borscht-quarter-kebab Actually I was always an open book on this matter, but still, it would be useful to lay it all out in one place for easy reference.

My paternal side is pure Aryan R1a master race. They were mostly farmers, and occasionally priests.

Despite Karlin’s Judaic connotations, I have been unable to identify any Jewish ancestors there, and 23andme confirmed it. One possible version is that the Karlins were non-Jewish residents or neighbors of the village Karlin near Pinsk, modern Belarus. A more exotic possibility is that there was a Swedish or German “son of Karl” in the distant past.

My paternal-maternal ancestors hailed from the Bryansk-Kaluga region that neighbors Belarus and Ukraine.

My maternal side is more… “cosmopolitan.”

The paternal side there are Dagestani notables (Lak to be precise).

On the maternal side, one half are mostly or purely Slavic. One ancestor was ennobled under Alexander III on attaining the requisite military rank; the extended family still has the letters patent signed by the Tsar.

The other half from the maternal side hails from Tsarist Odessa, and is a mixture of Russian, Italian (yes, 23andme is accurate on that!), and Jewish stock. They moved to Moscow soon after the Revolution.

***

PS. Now that I’m in Russia, I am thinking of taking the opportunity to properly research and record my family tree, especially since many of my relatives are advancing in age.

If you have experience with geneology, is there any particular software you’d recomment?

I expect to work with ~100-200 people, at least initially, so it doesn’t need to support huge databases or native support for research. It also needs to have a good, reliable export function, just in case I later decide to switch software. Cost is not a factor, within reasonable bounds (<$100, no subscriptions).

I have been looking at some of the following programs: Family Historian; Ahnenblatt; GRAMPS; The Next Generation; Brothers Keeper; Ancestral Quest; RootsMagic (Family Tree Maker is tied to Ancestry.com, and Legacy Family Tree has bad user reviews, so they’re probably out of the running).

My current (weak) preference is to go for Family Historian, but I remain open to other suggestions.

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Anatoly Karlin, Ancestry, Genetics, Open Thread 

beer-and-books

I was privileged to meet one of the columnists at The Unz Review. Feel free to guess who.

Ironically, we met up at Jean-Jacques cafe on Nikitsky Boulevard, the favorite watering hole of the rukopozhatnaya kreakl crowd (handshake-worthy/”respectable” “creative” hipsters). It’s a solid enough place, though – slightly pretentious French style lunch with wine for 1,000 rubles.

Finally got Twenty Years to the Great War, a massive tome on the late Tsarist industrialization by HSE professor Mikhail Davydov.

A taste of some of what it covers in the intro to an an interview with the author:

The development of Magnitogorsk? Planned by the State Council of the Russian Empire in 1915. The irrigation of Central Asia? Started in 1901, by 1912 there were working excavators… About the poverty of the people: In 1906-1913 credit cooperatives gave farmers loans totalling 2.5 billion rubles (equivalent to six naval modernization programs). In 1913, 30% of families in the country possessed savings books.

People lived considerably better than Soviet propaganda would later claim, and in fact many of the big “signature” Soviet modernization projects were first planned out and initiated in the waning days of the Empire (even including electrification).

But there’s really a lot more to it. One thousand pages, many of which are devoted to statistical tables. Looking forwards to reading it and reviewing it properly.

moscow-decoration

A mundane example of how Moscow has really been spruced up in the past couple of years.

Some more culinary notes, since we haven’t had those for a while:

nutria-burger

At around the time of the New Year, I tried out a nutria burger at the Krasnodar Bistro, thanks to a “recommendation” of sorts from The Guardian’s Shaun Walker (“Hot rat is so hot right now: Moscow falls for the rodent burger“).

It was entirely fine, a bit similar in texture to a beef patty, but with a distinctive flavor and a greasier texture. Not perhaps the best meat, but still, 2033 should be perfectly survivable.

The more relevant and encouraging sociological observation is that its one example of many in which Russia is developing its own culinary traditions as opposed to aping from abroad (nutria is particular to Russia’s Krasnodar region).

likuria-wine

Thanks to JL for the Likuria recommendation – I got a set of them. I thought the Blend and the Merlot were pretty good, but the Cabernet Sauvignon disappointed, and the Shiraz was very bad.

The Agora bastardo from Crimea remains my favorite dry Russian red, but frankly none of them are anything to write home about. For now at least its better to just get the European imports.

That said, the Abrau Durso champagnes, with the partial exception of their bruts, are surprisingly good and continue to gain on me.

I enjoyed Ararat cognac from Armenia, the standard product in this class here, but I am not a conoisseur of cognac, so my opinion isn’t worth much.

I am not exactly a big cheese fan, I don’t even buy it normally, but I do like to make Greek salad from time to time, and that means feta. I suspect it is directly on the sanctions list because I haven’t been able to find it in the usual supermarkets (though I haven’t bothered searching). The alternative here is a thing called bryndza, but it is most decidedly not feta; the Serbian bryndza I bought first is far closer to cheap standard cream cheeses. That said, the “classical” version is the one that’s at least very faintly reminscent of feta.

kharcho

As I explained in one of my earlier open threads, in my opinion Georgian cuisine is overrated (it’s only particularly interesting or “exotic” by Soviet standards).

That said, the one exception to that assessment – and its a real bigly one – is kharcho.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, Russia, The AK, Travel 

trump-in-moscow

I watched the God Emperor’s ascension to the Golden Throne at a bar night for American expats in Moscow. The mood there was largely pro-Trumpist, though obviously there was a self-selection mechanism involved. Everyone disliked HRC, though there were a fair number of Bernouts.

I got into a discussion with a reasonably influential official from the Russian Foreign Ministry. As I expected, the mood there is reasonably optimistic. They seem to be assigning considerable weight to Trump’s past as a businessman, the assumption being that such a person would be easier to do deals with than the globalist ideologues who previously occupied the White House.

That said, once burnt, twice shy – and Russia was burned not just once, but thrice. Three times Russia made unilateral concessions to incoming US Presidents promising a reset in relations that ultimately went unreciprocated (the Foreign Ministry still has Hillary Clinton’s infamous reset button in its museum). The sanctions are simply not regarded as a very critical matter – the import substitution program is in full swing, and it is working – so there is absolutely no enthusiasm for making more of the unilateral concessions that Russia had gifted previous incoming US Presidents. A limited mutual reduction of nukes is considered an acceptable deal for a US commitment to curtail its interference in Ukraine, since the ongoing killings of Russians in the Donbass by the Maidanist regime is regarded as a legitimacy problem for the Russian government.

I got briefly interviewed by a French journalist doing a story on Moscow expat attitudes to Trump. Incidentally, the world of Moscow expats is a pretty small one – even though it was not a particularly big event, I nonetheless managed to meet half a dozen people whom I had corresponded with or at least seen on some comment thread or another during my now almost decade’s worth of “Russia watching.”

In other news, my latest podcast/interview with Robert Stark is out now.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, The AK, Trump 

zvezda-interview

Not even a week in Moscow, and I get contacted by a Zvezda TV journalist requesting an interview about life in America and why I returned to Russia. In a deserted billiards room, I began talking about my theory that there is a civility-friendliness spectrum, with Britain on one end of it, Russia on the other, and America in between. However, I rather embarassingly botched it. I kept saying that while Britons are more civil and polite, Russians tended to be more open and genial, at least once you broke the ice with them. The problem is that my brain hadn’t fully adjusted from English to Russian, and so one of the key words I kept using, “genial,” didn’t actually mean what I thought it meant in Russian – in effect, I have been arguing that Russians were more ingenious than the Anglo-Saxons (they are not). But it was only at the end of the interview that I suddenly recalled that genialnost’ is not genialness. The quizzical looks my interviewer and the cameraman had given me at the start of the interview also suddenly made sense.

I explained what had happened to them, and suggested they cut that part since it made no sense. Relieved that I was in fact sane, they agreed. Unfortunately, my little joke about the only polite Russians being the Polite People would also have to go into the trashbin. But no matter – that episode only accounted for 10% of the entire interview, with almost everything else being about the burning political topic of the day in Moscow right now: Donald Trump. Is the Establishment trying to organize a Maidan against Trump? (Sort of. But in such a lame-assed way that more electors abandoned HRC than Trump himself). Would Trump be a friend to Russia? (Consult Palmerstone and Alexander III. So, most likely, not. But as a successful businessman and a non-ideological “America First” nationalist, it would be easier to make deals with him). What do you make of his apparent hostility towards China? (Let the Eagle and the Dragon claw at each other. Why we worry?).

***

My friend Artem Zagorodnov, whom I met in London, presented a talk in Juneau, Alaska deconstructing some of the major Western myths about Russia – that is, the sort of material I have written a lot about.

You can watch it here: Putin and Russia’s Evolving Image in the United States.

***

In more mundane news, I continue renovating my apartment, enjoying the cold dry climate, and making observations of potential interest.

In contrast to just a decade yore, it is now quite safe to use zebra crossings. (Two decades ago, you couldn’t even say that of a pedestrian crossing at a green traffic light). You should still look round, but then the same applies to London, and New York might even be marginally worse. Even as civility in Russia has risen, it has been falling in both Britain and America, so that we are steadily seeing a sort of ironic convergence between the two.

Possibly related: I see a few people with face masks everyday. I approve of this East Asian tradition. If you really have to go out while ill, at least make an effort to avoid transmitting it.

***

Shopping is a mixed experience. Many security guards. Low efficiency – took me three times longer to order a piece of furniture than it would have in the US or Britain. But I don’t suppose it matters that much right now – the shopping centers were surprisingly empty, especially for this time of year. Russia might be climbing out of the recession according to the latest indicators, but it’s clear that it is not yet being reflected in consumer confidence on the ground.

That said, the quality of service is now very good. At my local El Dorado, the staff were very helpful in explaining the different products on sale and speeding up access to out of stock items. Thanks to the devaluation, Russian made products in most categories of electronic goods are competitive. Online ordering also works smoothly, at least in Moscow. There is no central super-vendor like Amazon in the US, but shipping is fast and and you have the option of paying in cash on delivery.

Hauling large pieces of furnitures up the stairs can be relatiely expensive. But you can hire a couple of Tajiks to do it for much cheaper. No formal agreements, just pluck them off the streets, where the municipality pays them by the hour, and they are grateful for the couple hundred extra rubles while on the taxpayer’s dime. Still probably not a good reason to allow hundreds of thousands of them in, but since they’re here anyway, why not make mutually beneficial deals?

***

There are two sorts of item which were traditionally cheap in Russia, but are no longer so.

The first such items are books. The time when you could get high quality hardbacks for a few dollars appear to be long gone. This is especially surprising since Russian book publishing takes place in Russia, and as such should have benefited from the devaluation. But apparently not. For instance, I was planning on acquiring a hardback copy of “Twenty Years to the Great War,” a recent published magisterial 1,000 page study of late Tsarist industrialization by the historian Mikhail Davydov, but at $50 it will have to wait.

Incidentally, local bookshops are a favorite haunt of mine, since they – especially their politics and history sections – reflect the ideas of the intelligentsia, or at least the sorts of ideas the elites want their intelligentsia to have. For instance, in a Waterstones in London, Richard Shirreff’s “War with Russia” was very prominently featured. In this poorly written Red Storm Rising remake, the “self-obssessed nutter” and “ruthless predatory bastard” Putler launches a brutal war of aggression against the West. The undertone is crystal clear – Four legs good, two legs bad, and we must never falter in our faith (and funding for) NATO!

The history section of my local bookshop is a decidedly more lowkey affair. The books most prominently featured in that section were Ian Morris’ “Why the West Rules – For Now,” Niall Ferguson’s “Civilization”, and the first two volumes of Boris Akunin’s ongoing project “The History of the Russian State.” Respectively, these books represent: An ideologically neutral study of big history and social evolution from a quantitative perspective; populist dreck based on a lame catchphrase transparently designed to appeal to the Intellectual Yet Idiot crowd; ahistorical dreck from a popular detective fiction writer with a severe animus against the state he is chronicling.

So the next time you encounter a Western hack claiming that Russian bookshops are brimming with ultra-nationalist fantasies and xenophobic tracts, recognize it for what it probably is: Projection.

***

The second item that was more expensive than you might expect in Russia was vodka. This was not surprising to me personally, since over the years I have written a lot about Russia’s mortality crisis, how it is primarily vodka bingeing that is to blame for it, and how Putin has been successfully tackling the problem by raising excise taxes on alcohol, amongst other measures. Still, it was good to see the effects of those policies in person – the cheapest 0.5 liter bottle was 219 rubles, while the average bottle cost 350 rubles. These prices are not far from American ones in absolute terms and far higher relative to Russian salaries.

The flip side is that this encourages “left” production – the fatal poisoning of 74 people in Irkutsk due to a bad batch of alcohol extracted from bath oil has been at the top of the news this past week. And everytime something like this happens, populists inevitably demand the government lower vodka prices, even though every ruble decrease in vodka prices would result in far more aggregate deaths than the odd Boyaryshnik poisoning now and then.

***

Thanks to g2k for the Amtsa recommendation – it is indeed the best adjika I have tried to date. Still can’t say I’m a fan, I would prefer any standard Mexican salsa, but I can imagine buying it again.

As I said previously, Russia isn’t the best country for spicy food. As far as I can gather the hottest pepper widely available here is something called “Ogonek,” which I think is similar to jalapeno on the Scoville scale. Most Russians regard it as excruciatingly hot.

I did manage to finally find a cheap, drinkable dry red wine – the Agora bastardo from Crimea. Very far from the best, rather too sour for my taste, but at least I won’t have to become a teetotaller in Russia for lack of options.

I am looking forwards to trying out the Lefkadia/Likuria wines recommended by JL.

That said, I don’t want to give off the impression that Russia, or at least Moscow, is a consumer hellscape. Far from it. While the wine and spice departments are subpar relative to what an American or Briton might be used to, the local teashop has about thirty sorts of Chinese teas on sale, some of them remarkably rare, but all of them at rather reasonable prices. In London, you’d probably have to go to something like the venerable Algerian Coffee Store to find a similar Chinese tea collection.

***

 

moscow-snow

Rapidly becoming who I am.

So I have fulfilled the demands of some of my most committed detractors and self-deported myself back to Russia.

My first sociological observation on landing in Domodedova this Tuesday, and perhaps the one most germane to Unz.com readers, was that about 100% of the airport cleaning stuff were Uzbeks and Tajiks, and well more than 50% of the black leather jacket-wearing taxi drivers aggressively hustling their services to arrivees were Caucasians. Of course I used Uber. It was twice cheaper – 1,000 rubles versus 2,000 for the shady taxi ride – and most likely considerably safer to boot.

That said, the title of this post is (mainly) exaggeration. Official census statistics say that Moscow remains well more than 90% Russian. This is patently untrue, and nobody argues otherwise. Even so, it’s fair to say that a good nine out of ten faces you see on the streets are Slavic, and I say this as someone who now resides in one of the more “enriched” (and nationalist) areas. The bottom line is that Moskvabad might or might not become a reality by 2050. Londonistan is a reality today.

Since my last visit was more than a decade ago, I needed to make good on a considerable amount of bureaucratic backlog. The general impression amongst informed observers is that the Russian bureaucracy has gone from being atrocious to merely adequate. I concur. What in 2006 would have likely taken me several days to resolve only took half a day. It is still a far cry from North European digital nirvanas but the paperwork has become crisper and more efficient.

One of the main points I have made over and over again on this blog is that while wages in Russia might be low, they are countered by the banal fact that prices are much cheaper, so the gap in living standards between Russia and the developed Western world is not so much the fivefold difference you see in nominal GDP per capita comparisons, but rather the twofold difference you get after a purchasing power adjustment.

DSC_0394

Food is very cheap. Twice cheaper is the general rule of thumb, and that is with respect to Moscow, supposedly one of the most expensive cities in the world (incidentally, this was only ever true for the most clueless expats, and has in any case ceased to be the case since the devaluation). The Big Mac, a classic component of comparison, costs 130 rubles in the Moscow suburbs, which is twice cheaper than in Britain and the US. Salted cucumbers – the real deal, not the vinegar soaked abomination that passes for them in the Anglosphere – cost close to nothing, while in California you can buy a modest bottle produced by “artisan farmer” types from Whole Foods for the princely sum of $5. Ergo for alcohol – pictured above is Massandra Muscat, a Crimean dessert wine that was actually pretty good. (However, I have yet to find a good Russian Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Any suggestions?).

Despite fond early childhood memories, I was decidedly underwhelmed by all the Ajika sauces I have sampled thus far. They’re too mild and far too salty – in other words, I guess you can say I’ve been spoiled by Mexican salsas and Indian spices. (Georgian food was traditionally considered to be this cool, exotic cuisine for meat-and-potato Russians in the USSR, but from a global perspective, my opinion is that it’s rather unimpressive). I was surprised to find that the typical Russian supermarket carries Tabasco Original sauce – my favorite hot sauce, luckily enough – and though as an import, it is twice as expensive as in the US, it’s not exactly a daily grocery item. Finding spices much more exotic than cinnamon and turmeric is a challenge. Indian food, unlike Japanese or Korean, never took off in Russia, so I plan to scout Moscow’s specialized spice shops in the coming weeks for my star anise and garam masala.

moscow-internet-speed

My lifeblood, the Internet, is dirt cheap: $8 (500 rubles) for 72Mbps. In terms of upload speed, they don’t even exaggerate, as is typical everywhere.

In London, it was $45 for 10Mbps downloads and 0.5Mbps (!) uploads. In California, it was $80 (!) for 15Mbps downloads and 5Mbps uploads with Concast.

I also got a cell phone plan for $6.5 (400 rubles) with 10GB data- I don’t use anywhere near that much, but why not after paying $35 for 2.5GB from Cricket Wireless and $20 for 2GB from EE?

Ironically, many Russians complain about the high cost of Internet, cell phone plans, and other utilities. Things are always relative.

I will be busy furnishing my office and visiting friends and relatives in the coming days and weeks, so blogging will initially be slow but will gradually pick back up.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, Russia, The AK, Travel 

london-ak

I am leaving for Moscow tomorrow (today?).

There is a surfeit of excellent people in London, and I have met some of the very best during my time here, including the Russia analyst Alexander Mercouris, the psychometrist James Thompson (who recently moved to this website), the futurist Anders Sandberg, and a few others who would likely prefer to avoid the public spotlight.

That said, London is not the place I’d want to spend much more than two months in. The weather is too damp and cold, and there is a bit too much vibrant diversity. I prefer it the other way round.

Anyhow, here are some of my quick impressions:

london-construction

(1) Boomtown – Buildings are going up over the place. There is an economic confidence that Brexit has left unperturbed. This is reflected in housing prices – even though there are now fewer oil-fueled Arab and Russian oligarchs to buoy them up, the modest one bedroom apartment near London Bridge that I stayed at costs around $700,000. This confidence appears to be reflected in the demographics – many young families around.

london-faces

(2) Vibrant Diversity – Fewer than half of Londoners are British Whites. And it shows, especially when you travel outside the city center. I encountered less than half a dozen women in niqabs during my American decade.

In London, you see that many practically whenever you walk out the door.

golden-chippy-fish-n-chips

(3) British Food is Underrated – Although it doesn’t exactly enjoy the best reputation, it isn’t half as bad as it said to be. I enjoyed fish and chips a lot more than when I last had it back in the Triassic. I can see why The Golden Chippy – its signature fare showcased above – deserves its TripAdvisor ranking as the best London restaurant.

I also finally got the chance to try real Scotch eggs at the Borough Market. Though immeasurably better than the supermarket version, I am not a huge fan of them. Although it was once my favorite dessert, I was left underwhelmed by Black Forest gateau, though that’s probably more a function of my tastes having shifted away from cream and sugar and towards spice and vinegar in general.

dishoom-books

(4) British Indian Food – Speaking of spice, the best Indian restaurant I tried out was Simply Indian – it is cheap, the lamb biriyani there is very good and can be made excruciatingly spicy, and you can either bring your own booze or order their masala chai. I only got the chance to visit it once, with my new friend AZ, but I will be certain to pay it another visit next time I go.

Roti Chai and Dishoom were both pretty good. I especially liked the atmosphere of the Dishoom, with its open kitchens and India-themed book collections in the dining area (see above). I also liked the Thali vegetable curry sold by Gujarati Rasoi at Borough Market. Despite coming with a recommendation from a friend, not to mention its venerable age, The India Club near Temple was a huge disappointment: Overpriced, uninspired fare, and the waiter actually presses you for a tip (this is of course a no-no in the UK).

Any other recommendations for good Indian places in London?

mayflower

(5) The English Pub – My favorites were the oldest pub in London, The Mayflower (Pan Fried Seabass) and the historic Eagle and Child in Oxford (esp. the Scotch Venison and Malbec Wine Pie), where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to meet at the end of work.

(6) Warm Beer – Yes it’s a thing and I’m not a fan. Though that might just be my American philistinism.

(7) British Barbarism – I was once again reminded of the British habit of leashing their toddlers like dogs. Seriously, what is up with that?

Never saw it in Russia. Never saw it in the US. Never saw it anywhere in Europe. Just Britain.

(8) Bureacracy – [Warning: n=1 sample]. It does work efficiently, with the very marked exception of the NHS.

That said, paper remains much more prevalent than in California.

The Russian Consulate was a disappointment – suffice to say that sovok habits die hard. That said, another acquaintance has had good experiences with them.

(9) Technology – At first, I was impressed – this was my first encounter with contactless cards. They work throughout the whole city, including the entirety of the transport system, and as a result London is fast becoming one of the world’s first “cashless societies.”

But there are things which are more banal but of far greater relevance to everyday comforts: Namely, Internet and cell phone services.

And in this respect, London considerably underperforms the Bay Area (which hardly has anything to write home about either).

Internet speeds are mediocre, though still better value for money than Concast. Upload speeds however are atrocious. Forget about cloud storage in any substantial capacity unless you are willing to shell out big on a plan. It is inexplicable that in this day and age the Underground still doesn’t have WiFi.

In regards to cell phone data plans, I have found EE to be both unreliable and actually inoperable in some parts of what is after all one of the world’s great metropolises. In contrast, Cricket Wireless gave me good service even in many rural parts of California.

london-mist

(10) Tourism – Though this was by no means my first time in London, it was by far my longest stay, so I took the opportunity to put lots of ticks on the tourist checklist.

The British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London, etc, etc.

I drank a cup of coffee where Litvinenko was supposedly poisoned.

I also hung around for a few seconds at Station 9¾, King’s Cross where all the middle-aged Harry Potter fans with receding hairlines gather.

tate-buttplay

(11) Degenerate Art – The Tate Gallery was… well, the viewing platform at the top of the Switch House has an awesome view, if looking at sodomized anthropic-like objects created by a crazed kreakl isn’t your cup of tea.

Additionally, its completely free, surprisingly uncrowded, and has a cafe.

Well, okay, I enjoyed some of the things at the Tate. The room with the dog people. The photomontages of John Heartfield. And the couple of paintings by Salvador Dali.

hms-alliance

(12) Portsmouth – I was especially impressed by HMS Warrior. It was the definition of a transitional ship – midway between sail and steam; between wood and metal; between cutlasses and Enfield rifles; between cannonballs and shells. But this same ambition created quite a few problems and it didn’t stay commissioned very long by naval standards. I suspect this is the fate that awaits the Zumwalt class.

It was also very eye-opening to learn about British submarine traditions (pictured above is me on the HMS Alliance).

oxford-exeter-college

(13) Oxford – This trip was especially pleasant thanks to my longtime friend AS, who not only offered me a personal tour of the city, but engaged me with some very thought-provoking discussions about Spanish culture (his specialization) and the Alt Right (his sympathies).

The Ashmolean was one of the very first museums in the world, and its original exhibition is still preserved “as was.” Not surprisingly, about a third of it was devoted to the Americas, which reflects the popular interests of the time.

Although the big object in its collection is the Alfred Jewel, my attention was primarily drawn to two other historical aspects:

(a) Not only could you buy Chinese ceramics in the 18th century, but you could even send a design to China to get them to make you a set of plates and cups, and have it delivered back to you. Not as quick and most certainly not as cheap, but some version of Ali Baba has been around for a surprisingly long time!

(b) European silverware was remarkably advanced by the 17th century, and you can see progress decade by decade, and even attempt national comparisons. For instance, Russian production in the 1680s was only as good as Germany in the 1650s.

london-sunset

(14) Futurism – This is better left for another post, but in short, if Bay Area futurism is about psychedelics and the Singularity, London futurism is more about the next iPhone model.

I am of course horribly exaggerating, but I don’t think its an illegimate comparison.

Oxford of course hosts The Future of Humanity Institute, best known as home to Nick Bostrom, but it seems to be only very tangentially involved with the wider community. This might be legitimate in most academic spheres, but perhaps not so much in one that is of such potentially great import to the entirety of humanity, and which suffers from a certain tinge of charlatanism.

Nonetheless, I was happy to go to a talk with Anders Sandberg on the ethics of human life extension, organized by the just-created Oxford Longevity Society, and to join him for a group dinner afterwards.

The talk itself was as good as the questions from the audience were depressing.

sjw-feminism

(15) SJWism – My aforementioned friend AS complained repeatedly about the importation of American SJW culture to the UK. Arguably, SJWism has festooned to greater proportions in Blighty than in the Trumpenreich itself.

You could definitely see many signs of it in Oxford: LGBT flags strewn about in the graduate common rooms, feminist slogans prominently glued onto MacBooks (kek) at the library, multiple instances of “I ♥ feminism” graffiti scrawled on the historic walls of Oxford.

sjw-uber

There is plenty of this in London as well. Animal rights activists chalk “Stop Eating Animals You Psychopaths” a couple of blocks from Downing Street. The LSE common room where I celebrated Trump’s win with my friend AZ – we were the only Trump supporters there out of 30-40 people – saw students “literally shaking” as the results came in, so I can personally confirm that this is not just a meme. And above is a poster from some group that blames Uber for apparent record numbers of rapes and sexual assaults.

Meanwhile, on a Stratford street a couple of miles away, bearded men animatedly call on Londoners to convert to Islam.

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Open Thread, The AK, Travel, United Kingdom 

I have been extremely busy the past month, hence not a lot of blogging. Hopefully that will be resolved soon.

For now, here is a recap of some of the things I’ve been up to.

Safe Space for Europeans @ U.C. Berkeley

On May 6, Richard Spencer and the Bay Area Alt Right organized a “safe space” for Europeans at Sproul Plaza, U.C. Berkeley.

Although I do not strictly consider myself Alt Right (or NRx), I do support about 70% of their positions, so I was happy to turn up with them to troll my alma mater.

ucb-alt-right-safe-space-1

Richard Spencer was interviewed by a couple of student journalists, while the rest of us engaged slack-jawed passersby in discussions about identity, human biodiversity, and the necessity of becoming who you are. I suppose that means my “Far Right Recruiter” achievement trophy has been unlocked.

 

ucb-alt-right-safe-space-2

Apart from one SJW neckbeard, seen above delivering a spittle-flecked rant while an aloof shitlord looks on smugly, the event passed off peacefully. This was probably on account of it being announced on very short notice, which didn’t give local Antifa organizations the time to mount a coordinated response.

Otherwise, the crowd that gathered was very multicultural, as you might expect of UCB’s demographics. Vibrant. Diverse. The debates were vigorous, even if the two sides largely talked past each other. For many intelligent normies, even concepts as basic as the intellectual crisis of the blank slate model and the replication crisis in psychology, now widely accepted outside explicitly ideological university departments, came as big and incredible news. Meanwhile, the Alt Righters tended to come in too thick and too fast and triggered away potential sympathizers by frontloading too much overt European Identity in their talking points when a more exclusively data-based focus might have been more productive. That said, I’m not criticizing. It’s still good that these ideas are getting out there on the streets instead of just sitting on computer pixels.

ucb-alt-right-safe-space-tab-emma-barton

There were some surprises too and from rather unexpected quarters. Richard Spencer had a highly cordial discussion with an Israeli woman, who agreed with his point that if Israel could have a wall then who was to say that America couldn’t? Common ground was found with Bernie supporters, who although highly highly averse to the race talk and predisposed to blame colonialism for the Third World’s ills were fully in line with the Alt Right’s desire to stop meddling abroad. And there was one Japanese student who revealed his astounding power level by quietly confiding his avid perusal of The Daily Stormer. The merchant fears the samurai, indeed.

Here’s a lengthier account of the event from The Tab’s Emma Barton: http://thetab.com/us/uc-berkeley/2016/05/07/white-supremacists-1133

You can also see a two hour video of the event via Red Ice Radio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3X-6V1a1gk

ucb-alt-right-safe-space-3

Once that was all wrapped up, we retreated to a conference room in San Francisco to plot further infiltration and takeover of democratic institutions.

One of the speakers talked about how to stay anonymous with VPN, Bitcoins, and using only cash. The banal reality is that all this would probably only just draw more attention to them and in any case if the government really wanted to shut down these groups they would be able to do so without lifting a finger.

There was a lot of discussion about Trump and whether he was really on their side. I suspect that if Trump becomes President, the Alt Right will adopt a Russian-style mnogokhodovka/khitry plan vs. zrada discourse. (Russian nationalists are hilariously, eternally split on whether Putin has a “clever plan” or is plotting to betray them on Ukraine, immigration, and other questions of great importance). Since Trump’s objective Alt Right credentials are ultimately rather feeble – at least so far as many of their core issues like affirmative action and mercantile influence are concerned – I suspect the Trump Presidency will be a long cycle of peremoga (victory) followed by zrada (betrayal) explained away as mnogokhodovka (clever plan) by the Alt Right.

Near the end of the evening, I was called up to the podium by Richard Spencer to give an impromptu speech. I went up and started rambling about my journey of discovery, my disillusionment, my “awakening”… LOL no I didn’t, faggots. Your “Alt Right” is otherwise known as “common sense” in Eastern Europe – it’s really quite funny how actually existing Marxism cocooned them from cultural Marxism.

Anyhow, going on from that observation, I made two points. First, while cognitive elitism is the “respectable” and “politically correct” position amongst people who have read Bell Curve and The g Factor, this does not mean that racial particularism is invalid. Just because some ethnic groups are brighter than yours doesn’t necessarily mean you have to invite them in to run your country. You certainly could, especially if you have a cuckoldry fetish, but you don’t have to. Especially since its not at all clear that said groups will run your country in your interests.

Second, I urged the Alt Right to embrace futurism. Not only are there historical precedents – look up Italian fascism and futurism – but there are good arguments to be made that the prospective transhumanist technologies now emerging on the horizon – gene editing, automation, life extension – are ideologically loaded rightwards. At the very least they utterly destroy the “muh pensions” argument for mass immigration. So embrace national futurism. Tay shows us the way.

We drank a few beers and parted ways.

***

Meetup with Kim Stanley Robinson and Paolo Bacigalupi @ Kepler’s Books

On April 20th, I and a bunch of futurists visited a discussion at Kepler’s Books (a very nice bookshop/cafe in Menlo Park) between scifi authors Kim Stanley Robinson and Paolo Bacigalupi.

keplers-kim-stanley-robinson-and-bacigalupi

Kim Stanley Robinson is most famous for his Mars trilogy, which I think is the most comprehensive literary explanation of the terraforming of the red planet. The only book of his I’ve read is The Years of Rice and Salt, which explored an alt history where the Black Death comes a few centuries earlier and kills 99% instead of a third of the European population. As a result, Europe – Firanja – becomes Muslim a millennium ahead of schedule, and consequent world history is about the struggle between China and Dar al-Islam.

keplers-signed-years-of-rice-and-salt Anyhow this is a genuinely good book and I was happy to get my copy signed by KSR.

I can’t say I found his political and even technological ideas very interesting however. He seems to be an old school classical liberal who wants to go back to the way things were in the 1960s but to do that he wants more government intervention. I don’t see how that could work out.

Answering a question about machine intelligence, he said that there was nothing to fear, since machines are essentially just a bunch of wires and you can “always turn it off” if something happens. That is what he literally said. His views on machine intelligence are as dated as his politics. Someone should give him a copy of Superintelligence.

Paolo Bacigalupi came across as a strident leftist and ecowarrior. This stands to reason considering the typical content of his books: Ecological collapse, post-apocalyptic wastelands, and corrupt corporations run amok. I had not up till then read any of his work, though I have just recently started reading The Water Knife.

***

Transhuman Visions Debate 2 @ Octopus Literary Cafe, Oakland

The Transhuman Visions Debate 2.0 organized by Hank Pellissier took place on April 2 (continuing the shift from conferences to smaller but more lively debate format).

As usual, there were three topics. The format was simplified Oxford style and the winning team was the one that convinced the most people to shift to their side.

(1) HOW DOES CONSCIOUSNESS ARISE? (1:00 – 1:30)

Andres Gomez Emilsson says neural signaling by classical means doesn’t seem sufficient for to achieve ‘global binding’ – due to signal travel time

Randal A. Koene says the brain (at least during times of conscious awareness) appears to be operating in a more discretized manner, where signal travel time is much smaller than the discrete intervals and therefore must be perceived as unitary and instantaneous even without non-classical causes.

Victory – Randal Koene

(2) SECOND AMENDMENT: ‘RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS’ (1:40 – 2:25)

Question: Should there be stricter gun laws, to improve public safety? Or should laws stay the same, because USA ‘freedom’ includes access to firearms?

Anti-Guns: Scott Jackish, Robert Wasley

Pro-Guns: Anatoly Karlin, Mike Johnson

Victory – Anti Guns

(3) EUGENICS (2:40 – 3:40)

Questions: Do you want a future with Mandatory Pre-Natal Diagnoses, Designer Babies, One-or-Two Child Policies, and Parent Licenses that limit how many children you have?

Should there be a transhumanist goal that all humans should have 140 IQ, plus great health and beauty? With Eugenics helping to achieve that?

Or do you think the government should NEVER meddle in Reproduction?

Pro-Eugenics: Andre Gomez Emilsson, Hank Pellissier, Anya Petrova

Anti-Eugenics: Marc McAllister, Ted Stevens, Brian Hanley

Victory – In the event, in practice, the people above split up into several teams, with Pellissier and Petrova in particular arguing for aggressive human bioengineering while others counselled a hands off approach or some of the anti-eugenics people argued for overt government edicts against it.

In the end, the position that gained the most extra support was the active government eugenics program, though the moderately pro-improvement position remained the majority consensus both before and after the debate.

***

In further related developments: The futurism scene in the SF Bay Area has undergone considerable stagnation. The future salons have died away. Kurzweil’s Singularity Summits have degenerated into commercial gimmicks and the money-fleecing absurdity that is the Singularity University. Finally, Hank Pellissier, the organizer of the Transhuman Visions series of conferences, has stepped down from IEET to focus more on his charitable work.

In a bit to reverse this, a number of people in the community including myself are creating a new organization called the Bay Area Futurists (an evolution of Scott Jackisch’s Meetup group The East Bay Futurists). We are taking over the Transhuman Visions debates with Pellissier’s support and blessing and the first one is going to be on May 28 – that is, in 12 hours – also at the Octopus Literary Salon.

***

Interview with Robert Stark

I was interviewed by Robert Stark and co-host Alex von Goldstein on the Stark Truth Radio on topics such as the geography of Trump’s support, Radical Centrism, making trains run on time, US-Russian relations, and the bamboo ceiling.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Alt Right, Futurism, Open Thread, The AK 

Transhuman Debate 2.0

Will be happening tomorrow.

HOW DOES CONSCIOUSNESS ARISE? (1:00 – 1:30)
Andre Gomez Emilsson says neural signaling by classical means doesn’t seem sufficient for to achieve ‘global binding’ – due to signal travel time
Randal A. Koene says the brain (at least during times of conscious awareness) appears to be operating in a more discretized manner, where signal travel time is much smaller than the discrete intervals and therefore must be perceived as unitary and instantaneous even without non-classical causes.
——
SECOND AMENDMENT: ‘RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS’ (1:40 – 2:25)
Question: Should there be stricter gun laws, to improve public safety? Or should laws stay the same, because USA ‘freedom’ includes access to firearms?
Anti-Guns: Scott Jackisch, Robert Wasley
Pro-Guns: Anatoly Karlin, Mike Johnson
——
EUGENICS (2:40 – 3:40)
Questions: Do you want a future with Mandatory Pre-Natal Diagnoses, Designer Babies, One-or-Two Child Policies, and Parent Licenses that limit how many children you have? Should there be a transhumanist goal that all humans should have 140 IQ, plus great health and beauty? With Eugenics helping to achieve that? Or do you think the government should NEVER meddle in Reproduction?
Pro-Eugenics: Andre Gomez Emilsson, Hank Pellissier, Anya Petrova
Anti-Eugenics: Marc McAllister, Ted Peters, Brian Hanley

Unlike with the debate on open borders, which we won, I am far more skeptical of our chances on arguing for gun freedoms. I like shooting all sorts of guns. The Colt is one of the defining symbols of America. Since I am a great fan of (genuine) multiculturalism, in the sense of maintaining the integrity of many different national cultures, I also favor continued gun freedoms.

gun-karlin

That said, I think it’s hard to argue against the basic premise that gun freedoms lower the “activation energy” for people to murder each other (at any given level of civilization/social civility/average psychopathy). To be sure, there are plenty of other factors contributing to – the percentage of Blacks, or the level of hard alcohol consumption – but these are all independent from the guns issue, and not easy to resolve either. For example, even the most homogenous, genteel, and civilized US states such as Vermont and New Hampshire have homicide rates of around 1.0-1.2/100,000, which despite the much talked about immigrant crisis in Europe still make them higher than those of Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the UK, and Poland (0.8-1.0/100,000). Switzerland is at a mere 0.3/100,000. Although the NRA likes to hold up Switzerland as a sort of European gun lovers’ paradise, the actual reality of acquiring a firearm is far more time- and-energy intensive than almost anywhere in the US. Now it is possible that the Swiss are even more genetically pacified than the milquetoast New Englanders, but the other, in my opinion more plausible scenario, is that this difference is mainly due to guns being easier to access in the US.

But I won’t regard you with yet another longwinded essay on the pros and cons of gun control. These are a dime a dozen.

Instead, I’ll just gather a few points that perhaps haven’t been annunciated a great deal in these debates because they come from unusual perspectives:

Utilitarianism: The extra deaths from higher gun freedoms have to be balanced by the fact that shooting and owning guns is a popular pastime for many people. Not to mention the cultural intangibles. For every foreigner who snickers at the (cartoonish) picture of rampage shooters running amok on American streets there is another foreigner who sees guns as an symbol of American asperity and badassery.

Class War: The people amongst whom gun culture is most engrained are Southern Whites, who are the only major demographic group against whom it is acceptable to be racist. This is a view shared not just by the liberals, but their own establishment conservative “allies,” as the NRO’s Kevin Williamson recently demonstrated. Gun restrictions would be yet another slap to their face.

Transhumanism: Admittedly, guns are not going to be of much use against a malevolent superintelligence. We are also beginning to see some really nifty aiming devices and even smart bullets coming onto the market. I suspect it will soon become possible for dedicated rampage shooters to increase their kill counts by an order of magnitude or so. That’s an argument for gun control if there ever was one!

On the other hand, technology has massively magnified the power of the government versus the citizenry – a development that has upended the balance of power between them that the Second Amendment was meant to encapsulate. The liberal argument that technological developments mean that guns are no longer relevant to resisting state tyranny can thus be inverted; given the reality of this historic, it is perhaps more important than ever to avoid subverting the Constitutional amendment that best symbolizes this balance.

Another futurist argument against gun control is that with the rise of 3D printing, it might soon be possible for anyone to produce passable firearms anyway. This has in fact already happened. This is not yet a big issue, but if/when this technology becomes widespread and anyone can produce a gun in their garage, all gun regulations might become moot anyway.

I’ll also be moderate the eugenics debate. My position on eugenics is longstanding:

***

Interesting Links & Quick Takes

World

(1) Does Google basically work for the White House? Internet giant revealed to have offered to help overthrow Assad as Obama reveals broadband for Cuba at Daily Mail.

All that rhetoric about the Apple/FBI fight is complete nonsense. An entertainment spectacle for the masses. At the levels that actually matter, the big Silicon Valley tech companies are completely in bed with USG. The event described above happened in 2012, when the Clinton Clique was in control of US foreign policy and, as Wikileaks has revealed, looking for ways to justify an attack on Syria.

Will have a separate post on this later.

(2) @Eskaton on global warming, NRx, and Unz.com commentators:

USA

(1) An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right by Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos. Can’t be bothered to read it myself but people are generally saying its a fair portrayal so I assume its a good “Alt Right 101″ for normies.

That said, note that Razib Khan has explicitly said he is not Alt Right, and it is a huge stretch to describe The Unz Review as an Alt Right website considering that Unz prints people like Chomsky and Tanya Golash-Boza.

trump-nomination-chances(2) Try to sugarcoat it as you will, but the prediction markets indicate that Trump’s abortion comments really were a big blunder. Possibly his biggest to date.

Russia/Ukraine

(1) ITAR TASS interviews Stephen Hawking on the future of space exploration, automization, his dream of going into space himself, and Russia:

After the Soviet Union’s collapse, you have not been to Russia. Would you like to visit this country again, for example, with your daughter Mrs. Lucy Hawking who studied Russian at Oxford University?

I enjoyed my previous visits to Russia and I would like to visit again.

Russia will celebrate the 55th anniversary of the first manned flight into space – the Cosmonautics Day or International Day of Human Space Flight. What were your feelings at that moment on April 12, 1961?

I was impressed that Russia was ahead of America in the space race.

It has been over 25 years since the Russian Federation took up the torch as a space power. Could you assess its current potential for space exploration?

The Americans rely on Russia for travel to and from the International Space Station. I think the future is in such international cooperation.

You backed an ambitious project The Breakthrough Initiatives last year. It is funded by the Russian businessman Yuri Milner and aims to search for extraterrestrial life. Almost immediately some sceptics described it as “a waste of money”. What is the likelihood that the project will be successful?

Within 100 years, I have no doubt, there will be humans living on Mars. I am a supporter of the Breakthrough Initiatives, founded by Yuri Milner, to search for extraterrestrial life. By analyzing data from radio telescopes and laser transmissions, they hope to find signs of intelligence, that Earth is not the only source of life in the universe. Such a discovery would revolutionize our view of the Cosmos.

Self-styled leader of the Russian opposition Garry Kasparov had a reply that was every bit as boorish as we have come to expect from him.

(2) After more than a decade of searching for Putin’s $40 billion no $70 billion no $200 billion Reuters has finally discovered his daughter and three other women might have gotten free apartments from one of Putin’s businessman buddies. Quite the step down in status for a “pharaoh” who “doesn’t need a piece of paper attesting to his wealth”! After this revelation the regime will surely fall any day now.

(3) Operation Beluga: A US-UK Plot to Discredit Putin and Destabilize the Russian Federation by William Dunkerley.

Putin Derangement Syndrome. But maybe there is a method to the madness. According to former French intelligence officer Paul Barril, there is a largescale intelligence operation directed from Washington D.C. and London to undermine Russia and its leaders. Sounds farfetched? Sure. But then again, as we learn time and time again, conspiracies really do appear to be far more prevalent than we like to think (see the story on Google helping undermine Assad at the top). It is certainly noteworthy that the Western media hasn’t subjected any other foreign leader to a fraction of the bile it has hurled at Putin – not even at Assad. The only really comparable figure is Julian Assange, who was ironically another “traitor” to the Western cause (Putin was of course originally intended to be a loyal servant of Russia’s pro-Western oligarchs and its a safe bet the neocons saw his reclamation of Russia’s sovereignty as not only a betrayal but a personal humiliation). In light of Udo Ulfkotte’s revelations that that the CIA massages the stories that come out of the German MSM, and the power of governments to control media narratives across a whole swathe of European countries recently demonstrated by the Cologne Affair, these allegations are far more credible now than they might have been even a few years ago.

(4) There are huge exchanges of artillery in Donbass again, in a continuing development since mid-March 2016, with the Ukrainians firing heavy caliber shells of the sort banned under Minsk 2 and the NAF responding with counter-battery fire. The LDNR are very unhappy with the lack of Russian military support. The obvious reason for this is that two major Atlanticist events are coming up soon – the vote on the renewal of EU sanctions in late June (there is now a real chance that some Med country like Greece or Italy will veto them) and the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8-9, when the details of future US military dispositions in Europe will be discussed. Presumably, Poroshenko wants to provoke Russia into doing something that would harden Western positions on those issues, regain their waning attention, and detract from his own plummeting domestic approval ratings (now lower than Yanukovych at his lowest). Putin is playing it safe and refusing to escalate. Tellingly, both the mainstream Russian and Western media have been silent on the uptick in violence. Unfortunately, for the longsuffering residents of Donbass it’s another story.

(5) Ukraine bans all Russian films made after 2013. I wonder if the svidomy realize this includes, say, Leviathan, perhaps the most prominent artistic “indictment” of Putinism made to date.

davidzon-basking-in-saaks-presence(6) Ukraine Today, Ukraine’s lame attempt at imitating RT, is shutting down broadcasting for lack of money. The next big thing on the Ukrainian English language news market is the Odessa Review, run by Vladislav Davidzon. You can see him basking beta-like in the glory of The Tie-Eater to the right.

Europe

(1) High ranking EU politician Frank Timmermans: “Diversity comes with challenges, but diversity is humanity’s destiny.

Science – Tech, Futurism

(1) Black-hole computing: Might nature’s bottomless pits actually be ultra-efficient quantum computers? That could explain why data never dies by Sabine Hossenfelder.

Culture – History, HBD

gachter-schulz-honesty-2016(1) Gachter, Simon & Schulz – 2016 – Intrinsic honesty and the prevalence of rule violations across societies, as covered by James Thompson.

Get people (well, psychology students) from different countries to throw dice. The higher the numbers they report, the higher their monetary reward. Calculate the amount of “cheating” from basic probability.

The pattern is, as usual, quite familiar.

(2) German special forces uber-kommando Otto Skorzeny went onto serve Mossad after the war at Haaretz.

He had two funerals, one in a chapel in Spain’s capital and the other to bury his cremated remains in the Skorzeny family plot in Vienna. Both services were attended by dozens of German military veterans and wives, who did not hesitate to give the one-armed Nazi salute and sing some of Hitler’s favorite songs. Fourteen of Skorzeny’s medals, many featuring a boldly black swastika, were prominently paraded in the funeral processions.

There was one man at the service in Madrid who was known to no one in the crowd, but out of habit he still made sure to hide his face as much as he could. That was Joe Raanan, who by then had become a successful businessman in Israel. The Mossad did not send Raanan to Skorzeny’s funeral; he decided to attend on his own, and at his own expense. This was a personal tribute from one Austrian-born warrior to another, and from an old spy handler to the best, but most loathsome, agent he ever ran.

What a beautiful reconciliation.

(3) Fred Reed is on a roll:

(4) Where microaggressions really come from: A sociological account by Jonathan Haidt. In his interpretation, SJWs might be truly novel from a sociological perspective: Where once cultures moved from a culture of honor, where insults are personally avenged, to a culture of dignity, in which the high class thing to do was to rise above verbal insults and seek redress for physical wrongs from the courts, we might now be moving to a culture of victimization, in which victimhood itself – real and perceived – becomes the highest virtue, while aggressors are to be punished both by society, by social media, and even by the courts. Although I consider myself as a mostly “dignity” person, I really do understand and even empathize with the “honor” position. But I can genuinely say that “victim” culture is truly alien to me. I cannot even begin to imagine how it must work at the psychological level, even if I sort of understand it in the abstract. To me it feels like a sci-fi civilization created by another species.

Life & Misc

(1) April Fool’s? It’s hard to beat Heartiste’s from 2013.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

The Results of the Transhuman Visions 1.0 Debate

This January I said I would aim to do an open thread once every week. I was off by an order of magnitude or so. Well, better late than never.

transhuman-visions-debate-feb-2016

My partner Mike Johnson and I, arguing the anti-Open Borders positions against Scott Jackisch and Randal Koene, won. Not bad considering H+ demographics!

Though there was widespread support for Universal Basic Income even before the debate, Anya Petrova and Barbara West managed to extend its lead even further arguing against Jay Cornell and event organizer Hank Pellissier.

Finally, there was a panel discussing the nature of the Singularity and whether it could even happen between Andres Gomez Emilsson, Randal Koene, Brian Hanley, Ted Peters, Dan Faggella, and myself. One very interesting observation I heard here is that we have yet to figure out how to reliably construct a simulation of a complex computer chip based off a series of cross-sectional scans of it. The challenges in doing something like that for the human brain would be many, many orders of magnitude higher.

We decided we are going to do more of these events in a debate as opposed to a lecture/conference format because the audience feels more engaged that way.

Speaking of more events, the next Transhuman Visions 2.0 debate is on April 2, 2016 at the Octupus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA – you can still get tickets here – and will feature debates on consciousness, the transhumanist position on gun rights, and eugenics (yes Hank is brave enough to go there).

We also have some other plans for ensuring a future for futurism in the Bay Area, especially since it hasn’t been going so well in recent years – The Singularity Summit brand were acquired by Kurzweil’s Singularity University, a commercialized gimmick for businesspeople to look hip and tech-savvy; the Future Salons that connected innovative businesses at the cutting edge of technology and interested laypersons have withered away; and Hank himself is finding it difficult to find the time to organize his Transhuman Visions conferences. We are working on creating an umbrella organization to revive all of these activities but it is as of yet too early for any announcements.

I have gotten tangentially involved in a startup that could either flop or take Uber out of business. Unfortunately, I can’t say much more right now.

I have read Vodka Politics by Mark Schrad, whom I otherwise came to know through discussions on Russian demographics on my blog and later personal communications. Its thesis that vodka was the basis of Russian autocratic power is an interesting and original one, even if I think he sometimes overdoes it. I look forwards to reviewing it.

I haven’t had much time for other forms of culture like movies or video games. I did finally buy Fallout 4 and start exploring the Commonwealth Wasteland. So far it has been quite enjoyable though I don’t see myself replaying any of it.

***

Interesting Links & Quick Takes

World

(1) Obama’s huge interview with The Atlantic.

This is worthy of a separate post (or even series of posts), for now I will leave you wish Alexander Mercouris’ very important observation that hidden within it is an implicit admission that, contra his public rhetoric at the time, the US intelligence services had no conclusive evidence that Assad was responsible for the Ghouta chemical attacks (a claim that has since been further demolished by Seymour Hersh, the MIT study, and other experts).

This also means that it was Russia’s diplomatic offensive in 2013 that saved the world from essentially a repeat of the Iraq War (at the cost of having its reputation further tarnished by the neocon-run Western media).

(2) Russia’s Syrian Withdrawal – Why It Happened and Why Regime Change Remains Off the Agenda by Alexander Mercouris.

(3) Russian Diplomat Drops a Bombshell: US Expected ISIS to Seize Damascus by October by Alexander Mercouris.

(4) The American Colonial Office by Mark Yuray. Cargo cultism is a global phenomenon.

(5) Enough is enough — U.S. abdication on Syria must come to an end by Michael Ignatieff and Leon Wieseltier. These neocon freaks literally wanted the US to fight Russia this February.

USA

Let’s be honest: American politics are now all about Trump, Drumpf, and The Trumpinator.

(1) There was Bush Derangement Syndrome. As far as I know, I was the first pundit to come up with the term “Putin Derangement Syndrome,” to describe the Western media’s habit of blaming Putin for everything bad in the world regardless of what he actually does (the latest version of this is the “Putin is Weaponizing X” theme).

I believe the time has long come to officially recognize Trump Derangement Syndrome to describe the extraordinary level of vitriol and misrepresentation directed again him by the Establishment, including an extraordinary alliance of the radical Left, liberal progressives, the conservatives, and the neocons – even though Trump is objectively far more moderate than Cruz on social matters, doesn’t support a new war every year like Hillary Clinton or [insert moderate Republican empty suit], and has avowed his support for Israel.

If a man’s character is defined by his enemies, then Donald Trump must be a veritable saint.

  • Everyone on The National Review in a bizarre Two Weeks Hate session.
  • “White Working Class Deserves to Die” Kevin D. Williamson deserves special distinction.
  • Basically all the neocons fleeing the sinking cuckservative ship into the Clinton Clique’s warm embrace – Eliot Cohen, Eliot Abrams, Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan
  • Ross Douthat – Over and over again to the extent that his once interesting NYT column is now basically just one long anti-Trump jeremiad.
  • Pussy Riot
  • Larry Summers, who helped set up Russia’s oligarchic system in the 1990s.
  • Derek T. Muller, arguing in favor of manipulating arcane Electoral College rules from the 19th century to invalidate Trump’s Presidency should he win the popular vote.
  • Neocon Max Boot says he prefers Stalin to Trump.
  • But this Tiananmen Protester says that Trump is like a Communist leader. Which then begs the question… why wouldn’t Boot support him?
  • Trump is Bad Because he Did Business with Russia (just like Mitt Romney!) Josh Rogan.
  • Mormons who think drinking tea and Melania’s boobs are very bad.
  • Charles Murray – The quintessential 1950s era American, who understands Fishtown unlike many of his conservative compadres and knows first hand what it is like to be on the receiving end of a broad vilification campaign, but in the end cannot reconcile his genteel libertarianism with his perception of Trumpian “fascist tendencies.”

Unsurprisingly, there is near perfect overlap between the Russian PDS sufferers, or demshiza, and knee jerk aversion to Trump.

(2) Fortunately, there are many based people to counter the cucks too.

Not surprisingly, Nicholas Nassim Taleb, an Orthodox-Levantine American, has fewer reasons to subscribe to neocon schemes than almost anybody else, not to mention the brains to see through them:

The *establishment* composed of journos, BS-Vending talking heads with well-formulated verbs, bureaucrato-cronies, lobbyists-in training, New Yorker-reading semi-intellectuals, image-conscious empty suits, Washington rent-seekers and other “well thinking” members of the vocal elites are not getting the point about what is happening and the sterility of their arguments. People are not voting for Trump (or Sanders). People are just voting, finally, to destroy the establishment.

(3) There are some reasoned analyses of Trump from ideological opponents who manage not to descend into TDS:

(4) Scott Alexander reviews The Art of the Deal:

“As best I can tell, the developer’s job is coordination, by which I mean blatant lies. The usual process goes like this: the bank would be happy to lend you the money as long as you have guaranteed renters. The renters would be happy to sign up as long as you show them a design. The architect would be happy to design the building as long as you tell them what the government’s allowing. The government would be happy to give you your permit as long as you have a construction company lined up. And the construction company would be happy to sign on with you as long as you have the money from the bank in your pocket. Or some kind of complicated many-step catch-22 like that.”

In other words, sounds like a job for someone at the upper end of the both the IQ and psychopathy bell curves. Prime Presidential material!

(5) The Color of Crime, 2016 Revised Edition by Edwin Rubenstein. Steve Sailer keeps emphasizing the value of storing some “a number of highly stylized but reasonably accurate interconnected numbers” in your head. I think to describe US murder and crime rates, a reaosonable approximation would be 10, 2, 1, 0.5, corresponding to Blacks, Hispanics, Caucasians, and Asians, respectively.

(6) Heartiste proves that physiognomy is real.

(7) My Last-Minute Decision to Enter the U.S. Senate Race in California by Ron Unz. Needless to say, I wish him the best of luck.

(8) Ron Unz on Trump:

Earlier this year, an ardent Trump supporter declared that his favored candidate was 95% a clown but 5% a patriot, and therefore stood head-and-shoulders above his Republican rivals, and this sounds about right to me.

bernie-so-white(9) Bernie Sanders’ Electoral Fortress of Whititude by Steve Sailer.

Bernie wants to extend gibs for all. Whites, as well as ideologically Leftist Blacks, support that.

Hillary Clinton instead just wants to continue buying off different social groups with cash and affirmative action while letting the oligarchs be and pursuing the neocon agenda abroad with far more enthusiasm even than “don’t do stupid shit” Obama. Therefore, ethnocentric but not particularly Leftist Blacks – the majority of them – naturally support Clinton.

Or to put it more crudely: Mo money fo dem programs > free higher ed, medicine, civil rights, no more wars for the neocons.

(10) The Donald Trump Phenomenon by JayMan. Ironically, its much harder to explain Trump in pure HBD terms, and I am in qualified disagreement with this thesis. There will be a separate post on this.

(11) EXCLUSIVE: Twitter Shadowbanning ‘Real and Happening Every Day’ Says Inside Source by Milo Yiannopoulos. I have to admit this is a very clever way of purging undesirables. Also: 5 Ways to Get Banned From Twitter.

(12) Internet Nazi/troll Andrew “weev” Auernheimer documents @Jokeocracy’s hilarious Twitter suicide bombing.

Russia/Eurasia

(1) Is Putin Weaponising Stupidity? by Rob Slane. This is going to become a classic.

All well and good you might say, but it does beg a question: Why would Putin want to make Western leaders do and say stupid things? What benefit would he get out of Weaponising Stupidity? Again the answer is obvious, is it not? The more the leaders of Western countries and the media have displayed their folly and sheer ignorance, the more they have dragged their countries towards collapse. And since Putin’s goal is obviously to Weaponise the World, no doubt for his own dastardly reasons, you can begin to see how it would be in his interests to use Stupidity as a Weapon to achieve his aims. Can’t you?

Then again, I don’t want to be overly dogmatic about my new theory. I may be wrong. In fact, I still hold out the possibility that the truth might well be much simpler. It could just be a case that we really are run by ignorant buffoons who never learn, and even if Mr Putin were inclined to develop a way of Weaponising Stupidity, he’d actually be wasting his time.

(2) Russia’s Foreign Policy: Historical Background by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. I found it rather rambling and schizophrenic, to be honest – Russia saved Europe from the “heavy Mongolian yoke” but at the same time was “energized” by it. Though admittedly it does rather reflect the muddle-headedness we see in the Kremlin. Still, its a whole lot better than the mendacious tripe that passed for Western “analysis” of this essay.

(3) Lev Gumilev: passion, Putin and power by the Charles Clover in The Financial Times.

It’s actually not a half-bad summary of Gumilev’s theories on passionarity (an original Soviet version of “asabiya”) but he rather overstates Eurasianism’s real influence on Russian politics. The foremost proponent of Eurasianism, Dugin didn’t have enough pull to avoid getting fired from Moscow State University. Support for “Greater Russia” is far from exclusive to Eurasianists, and including figures like Solzhenitsyn – who is definitely not a Eurasianist. A Ctrl-F on Putin’s speeches reveals considerably more mentions of people like White reactionary philosopher Ivan Ilyin, or even the Christian liberal Vladimir Solovyev, relative to Lev Gumilev. That is because Putin, as someone without strong ideological predilections of his own, is open to mixing and matching ideologies from all over the spectrum, and in any case Gumilev’s work has also been used to provide fuel for non-Russian and in fact not exactly Russophilic movements like particularist Turkic nationalisms.

(4) Autonomy vs. Sobornost by Paul Robinson.

(5) Khodorkovsky, The Murder Case by Alexander Mercouris.

(6) Blast from the past: How to read the Western media by Patrick Armstrong.

HOW TO READ THE WESTERN MEDIA. When they say Kiev forces have re-taken the airport, know that they have lost it. When they say giving up South Stream was a defeat for Putin, know it was a brilliant counter-move. When they say Russia is isolated (a stopped clock, here’s The Economist in 1999!), know that it is expanding its influence and connections every day. When they say Russians are turning against Putin, know that the opposite is true. When they speak of nation-building in the new Ukraine, know it’s degenerating into armed thuggery (see video). Know that when they speak of Kyrzbekistan, they’re not just stenographers, they’re incompetent stenographers. Take what they say, turn it upside down, and you’ll have a better take on reality.

Ukrainian Conflict

(1) Ukrainian Government Crisis – Kiev Swirls in Oligarch-led Intrigues by Alexander Mercouris.

(2) Northern Gabon? How about Liberia! Yet another zrada for the svidomy, delivered by Condoleezza Rice.

(3) Why Ukraine needs Russia more than ever by Nicolai Petro. Unfortunately, things like the economy are tertiary concerns for the svidomy relative to the Grand Imperative of dismantling the Soviet legacy, such as polio vaccinations.

aslund-unhappy-with-bershidsky(4) Why Russia Stopped at Crimea by Leonid Bershidsky. Covers the recently released audio recordings in which the leaders of the Maidan coup acknolwedged that the vast majority of Crimeans supported incorporation into Russia and (with the exception of Turchinov) saw that military resistance would be futile. The Maidan’s foreign ideologues were non too happy with him.

(5) Report on Donbass by Paul Robinson, on the International Crisis Group’s recent assessment of the situation there.

The International Crisis Group’s report makes other important points. First, Moscow appears to want the Minsk agreements to work, as shown by the fact the kurators are enforcing the ceasefire. The Russian presence in Donbass is probably reducing violence, not increasing it. Second, support for the rebellion is not overwhelming, and so there is a prospect of convincing the people of the DNR and LNR to reintegrate with Ukraine. But the longer Kiev maintains its policy of blockading Donbass, the more remote this possibility becomes. Ukrainian policies are thus probably counterproductive. Third, Moscow is not pursuing some grandiose plan to restructure the international order, expand its empire, or any of the like. Rather, it is improvising in an effort to find a way out of a situation it does not want. This refutes claims that the war in Donbass is just a first step in a broader plan of Russian aggression, which must be halted now lest Russia be encouraged to advance further (e.g. into the Baltic states).

(5) Blast from the Past: Eduard Limonov predicts the Ukrainian Conflict in 1992 (in Russian).

(6) Crime and murder rates soar in Ukraine. Separate post forthcoming.

(7) Broken Ukraine by Linh Dinh.

Europe

(1) A Stolen Europe by The Saker. I agree with 80% of it.

(2) Le Mépris by Guillaume Durocher. “Meanwhile, South Africa is obviously an affirmative-action BRIC” – top kek.

(3) Former paid agent of Swedish Security Police dictated Amnesty Sweden’s stance against Assange by Marcello Ferrada.

(4) How Europe’s most liberal nation gagged its own people on migration attacks by Sue Reid. However, Sweden gets 100/100 on freedom from freedom experts Freedom House so this is okay.

(5) The Swedish media war on Assange – “Australian pig”, “retard”, “white-haired crackpot”, “scumbag” – Truly the very paragon of the adversarial, uncowed press speaking truth to power.

(6) Lying Press? Germans Lose Faith in the Fourth Estate at Spiegel. Features a nice infographic of the wax and waning of the term “Lügenpresse.”

lugenpresse

(7) Ex-German media boss admits on live radio the national news agenda is govt controlled by Bryan MacDonald. Also from Breitbart.

die-linke-on-refugees(8) Member of German Left Youth Party Apologizes to Refugees on Facebook After Alleged Sexual Assault by Migrant by Marc Geppert. This is well in line with her party’s ideology.

(9) The Guardian is SHUTTING DOWN comments on its immigration articles.

(10) Rotherham Police Had Sex With Abused Girls And Covered For Relative Sex Groomers by Liam Deacon for London Breitbart.

Maybe it wasn’t even so much that Rotherham police didn’t want to appear racist as didn’t want to appear rapist. :|

angela-merkel-slipping-into-insanity(11) Angela Merkel Diagnosed by Psychoanalyst as ‘Narcissistic’, Verging on ‘Mental Breakdown’ by Sarkis Zeronian.

(12) The Case for Surge Funding by George Soros. But since Putin is “weaponizing” refugees to undermine Europe – indeed, according to Soros himslef, Putin is a bigger threat to Europe’s existence than Isis – does this mean that Soros is admitting that he is… an agent of Putin?

(13) George Soros: A psychopath’s psychopath by Sam Gerrans.

(14) Israel’s unwanted African migrants by Kathy Harcombe. How sad.

Science – Tech, Futurism

(1) How Google’s AI Auto-Magically Answers Your Emails by Tim Moynihan. Hello ELOPe! ;)

(2) Human Germline Engineering: the Game-Changer by Jim Daniel.

(3) John Horgan interviews Eliezer Yudkowsky. I’ll have a separate post on this.

(4) Why fruits and vegetables taste better in Europe by Julia Belluz. My theory: American hypercapitalism in agriculture, which prioritizes calorie maximization over flavor and nutrient density. Would also explain why US obesity crisis preceded Europe’s by about 20 years.

Culture – History, HBD

(1) Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle by Andrew Curry. There were up to 5,000 warriors at this particular battle, which is quite remarkable since that would imply the military “mobilization potential” of those old Germanic tribes was if anything even greater than that of an ancient state like Egypt with a literate priestly caste. Though as T. Greer points out, Azar Gat argues that the upper bounds of mobilization potential were the same across most civilizations.

(2) The kindness of beasts by Mark Rowlands. The view that animals don’t have some sort of moral mechanism has always struck me as highly autistic. But apparently this is just one of the many other functionally-creationist ideas, like Blank Slatism, that are quite common amongst the “scientific” community.

(3) Review of Houellbecq’s Submission by Unz commentator Lazy Glossophiliac. Surprisingly, he didn’t have much good to say about it.

(4) viscous populations and the selection for altruistic behaviors and family types in eastern europe, 1500-1900 by hbd*chick. I’ll have a separate post on this.

(5) Stereotypes are relevant for judgments about individuals even when one has individualized information by Emil Kirkegaard, quoting from Neven Sesardic’s book Making Sense of Heritability:

The point to remember is that when many people say that “an individual can’t be judged by his group mean” (Gould 1977: 247), that “as individuals we are all unique and population statistics do not apply” (Venter 2000), that “a person should not be judged as a member of a group but as an individual” (Herrnstein & Murray 1994: 550), these statements sound nice and are likely to be well received but they conflict with the hard fact that a group membership sometimes does matter. If scholars wear their scientific hats when denying or disregarding this fact, I am afraid that rather than convincing the public they will more probably damage the credibility of science.

income-and-wealth-pumpkin-person(6) The incredible correlation between IQ & income by Pumpkin Person.

A correlation of 0.49 is more than double the 0.23 correlation between IQ and income reported in a 2006 meta-analysis by Tarmo Strenze and nearly triple the 0.16 correlation between IQ and net-worth found in a 2007 study by Jay L Zagorsky, however it is similar to the 0.4 correlation between IQ and income asserted by authoritative Arthur Jensen in his 1998 book The g Factor.

This is an impressive post that Garett Jones and Dalliard ought to take a look at.

(7) Interview with Richard Lynn at Amren.

When I was in school I was bored by science. It all seemed so cut and dried. All you had to do was learn it. I found a lot of it very tedious, especially the practicals. You could spend a sunny afternoon pouring sulfuric acid on potassium and discover you ended up with potassium sulfate. I was quite happy to learn that this was so. I have a touch of ADHD that make it difficult for me to pay attention to lessons I find boring, and this made science classes even more uncongenial. I liked history and literature, in which there were differences of opinion and we were encouraged to make up our own minds about what was right. I have found this early education valuable, as I have often taken a different view to the received opinion. So when I went up to Cambridge in 1949 I began reading history. I liked it, but I did not fancy making a career in it. So much history has been done already that all you can do is add a footnote of the kind written by one of my contemporaries: “Trade between Bristol and Bordeaux, 1485–1490.” Or you could write another account of, say, the First World War, suggesting slightly different interpretations of some events. I did not think I would find any of these prospects satisfying. So I opted for psychology, a new science with a lot of scope for making new discoveries.

(a) He describes my own attitudes towards school/science perfectly. Near 100% analogous experience! (b) TIL that “Flynn” effect was actually first noticed in the 1930s! (c) I guess he jumped the shark in emigrating from Ireland to Northern Ireland, since in most respects the former is now more advanced.

(8) The Science On Genes And IQ: An Unstoppable Train by John Derbyshire.

It’s interesting that two people who have studied this topic and thought deeply about it but from different perspectives—Murray as a sociologist, Khan as a population geneticist—should be in such close agreement on the timescale here. Murray says “within three years”; Khan, “in the next <5 years.”

I really should hurry up with Apollo’s Ascent to take advantage of the furore this will create soon.

Life & Misc

(1) Is commercial pet food killing your pets? by P.D. Mangan. The answer is of course yes. I have always been sympathetic to this viewpoint. After all, if humans tend to fare better on a paleo diet, despite 10,000 years at most of agricultural adaptation, then it must be all the more relevant to our canine and feline friends.

Incidentally, this also affects research on life extension. For instance, it has always been fairly likely that people trying to eke out a few more years in life expectancy through caloric restriction were wasting their time, because of the cardinal differences in their life history cycles. But it turns out that even the mice experiments might have all been useless:

Geez, what do you think that does to calorie restriction and other anti-aging experiments done on mice, where the control animals are allowed to eat as much food that’s loaded with toxic amounts of iron as they want? Makes these experiments garbage, that’s what.

Calorie-restricted animals aren’t just eating less food, they’re consuming far less iron. And we already know that one of the results of calorie restriction is that CR animals end up with far less iron in their bodies.

In short: Don’t bother. If you really want to live a lot longer your best bet is probably to donate to organizations like the SENS Foundation, and encourage others to do the same.

(2) Nonfiction Writing Advice by Scott Alexander.

(3) Fallout vs. Skyrim. Who would win?

(4) Greg Egan derives a self-contained physics system from first principles for his Orthogonal hard sci-fi series. Changing one minus sign to a plus sign in an equation enables FTL travel.

(5) Andy Weir’s Quora advice for new writers:

1) You have to actually write. Daydreaming about the book you’re going to write someday isn’t writing. It’s daydreaming. Open your word processor and start writing.

2) Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But it satisfies your need for an audience, which diminishes your motivation to actually write it. Make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them.

3) This is the best time in history to self-publish. There’s no old-boy network between you and your readers. You can self-publish an ebook to major distributors (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) without any financial risk on your part.

(6) The Mongolian Death Worm via Wikipedia. Tolkien’s Were-Worms, sandworms, Tremors, Robert Jordan’s Worms/jumara, etc. – inspiration?

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

Introduction to Open Threads

Hopefully these open threads will turn into a permanent feature. I intend to post one every Friday, then take the sabbath off secure in the knowledge that my readers will have something to discuss in the meantime. Seems to work pretty well for Razib and Scott Alexander.

I have finished reading Lewis Dartnell’s The Knowledge, which is a sort of “reboot manual” for civilization in case of an apocalypse. Main two things I took away: (1) I never quite realized how absolutely central just a few chemical compounds like sodium carbonate and sodium hydroxide are to industrial society, from soap to cement, from glass to fertilizer; (2) Counter-intuitively, post-apocalyptic life will likely be much more comfortable than analogous historical periods, despite the drawdown of easily accessible oil, gas, and mineral reserves. For instance, I was impressed to discover that you don’t actually need electricity to build a functional refrigerator (though in retrospect that should have been obvious from first physics principles).

Sometime soon I hope to write a review. Writing regular book reviews is a new goal I’ve set for this year.

I have finally committed to reading Garett Jones’ Hive Mind and am now 25% of the way through it. Having been immersed in its subject literature for years I have yet to encounter anything particularly new or counterintuitive in it. It would certainly be an excellent book to recommend for openminded laypersons to get up to speed on the existing research on the intersections of psychometrics and development economics, especially since Jones keeps things simple and avoids overly specialized jargon. But for 224 pages, it’s hard to justify its $15 price tag.

I am on the third book (Dust) of the Silo trilogy by self-publishing prodigy Hugh Howey. My 140 character characterization of Howey is as of a sci-fi version of Brandon Sanderson who preferred Fallout to Magicka. Speaking of Brandon Sanderson, he has two books coming out very soon: The Bands of Mourning on January 26 will cap the Alloy of Law trilogy, while Calamity on February 26 will put the wraps on the Reckoners series.

The film Ex Machina is now available (and prominently featured) on Amazon Prime. In my opinion this was easily the best movie of 2015, though admittedly I am not a huge fan of the medium – I only watch maybe a dozen films each year – and so my opinion probably doesn’t count for much. I hope to write a (belated) review sometime soon.

The original Deus Ex, easily one of my top 10 video games of all time, was released a couple of months ago with fixed bugs and updated graphics as Deus Ex: Revision. I snapped it up during the winter Steam sale and am looking forwards to reliving some memories augmented by 10 years’ worth of Moore’s Law in GPUs. The Russian cult classic survival horror Pathologic – here is an excellent set of reviews – has been remastered and released as Pathologic Classic HD (even as the original team continues working on a new version). Highly recommended if you like your FPS/RPGs bleak, cerebral, and unforgivingly realistic.

***

Interesting Links & Quick Takes

fyodor-berezin(1) An absolutely fascinating interview with Russian military sci-fi writer Fyodor Berezin with the New Yorker, who in 2014 abandoned writing books about war to become Defense Minister of the DNR and participate in an actual war.

There was a conflict with some neighboring troops, a territorial quarrel, and they showered me with a box of bullets from a machine gun. I was covered in dirt from the dust kicked up by the shells, but not one bullet touched me. And then, one week later, the general in charge of this unit and I were drinking cognac.

Also features the most succinct explanation ever of why Russia “lost” in Donbass:

A Ukrainian soldier was asked, “Why are you fighting in Donbass?” And he says, “Because there are Russians there.” The soldier says, “And why are you not fighting in the Crimea?” And he says, “Because there are Russians there.”

(2) German newspaper Bild interviews Putin, translated by Business Insider (part 1, part 2).

You will get at least as much and probably more value from reading Alexander Mercouris’s analysis of it.

As is well-known, the Russians have an established grievance that following the fall of the Berlin Wall NATO was expanded eastward in contradiction to promises given to Russia. There has in recent years been a sustained attempt by some academic historians in the US to deny this. Supposedly no promise not to extend NATO eastward was ever given, and the well-known statements – some of them public – made by various Western officials over the course of 1990 that appear to make that promise supposedly only referred to eastward deployment of NATO military installations in the former East Germany and were only intended to apply whilst the USSR was still in existence.

This denial is scarcely credible, and has been flatly contradicted by some Western officials who were actually involved in the talks. Putin claims he recently ordered research of the Russian archives and that further confirmation the promise was given has been found there. Putin refers to talks between Valentin Falin – the then head of the Soviet Communist Party’s International Department – and various German politicians, which he claims have never been made public up to now. Since Valentin Falin was a Communist Party official records of his meetings would have been kept by the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee rather than by the Foreign Ministry, which may be why they have been overlooked up to now. Putin claims these records not only provide further proof the promise was given, but show that one of Falin’s most important interlocutors – the prominent SPD politician Egon Bahr – even suggested recasting the entire European alliance system to include Russia, and warned of future dangers if this were not done.

Bahr has just died, and it may be the true reason the Russians are only disclosing what he told them now was to spare him embarrassment. If so then Putin’s disclosure of his conversation in 1990 with Falin may have been intended as much as a reminder to contemporary German politicians – Merkel, Gabriel and Steinmeier – that the Russians keep a complete record of what they tell them, as it was to cast light on the question of what promises were given in 1990 on the question of NATO expansion.

There’s more about the Minsk Accords, Crimea, and the Middle East.

And Putin’s dog Koni.

BILD: When the Chancellor visited you here in Sochi in 2007, you brought your dog Koni to the meeting. Did you know that the Chancellor is a bit frightened of dogs, so that this would be quite unpleasant for her?
Putin: No, I did not know that. I wanted to make her happy. When I learned that she does not like dogs, I apologized, of course.

(3) Spiegel interview with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The general comes off really well, as an intelligent and humble man, despite the best efforts of his rude and boorish interlocutor. A couple of highlights:

SPIEGEL: Instead of preventing a civil war through Morsi’s dismissal, you provoked it. Hundreds died and many more were arrested.
Sisi: No. And no, hundreds of people did not have to die. I am saddened by even the loss of a single life. However, let me put this in a different context. Just look at the magnitude of the loss of life over the past 10 years in Iraq, in Syria, Libya and Yemen. Egypt’s population is almost equal to that of all of these countries combined. If you look at the number of people who died, you will realize the army protected the Egyptian people.

An Egyptian civil war would be a horror far beyond what an exuberance of Western democraschizia has led to in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.

SPIEGEL: Our police would not fire live ammunition. If possible they would use tear gas or water cannons. And in our country, the interior minister would have to resign after a massacre like that.
Sisi: I am not ashamed to admit that there is a civilizational gap between us and you. The police and people in Germany are civilized and have a sense of responsibility. German police are equipped with the latest capabilities and get the best training. And in your country, protesters would not use weapons in the middle of the demonstrations to target police.
SPIEGEL: Are you suggesting that those protesters did so without any reason?
Sisi: You have to link these demonstrations by the Muslim Brotherhood with the terrorism that we are currently facing, which is guided by fundamentalist ideas. These people believe they are martyrs who will go to paradise when they die.

This is pretty much an Egyptian equivalent of: “Thank God for the prisons and bayonets, which protect us from the people’s fury!” (a quote from the Vekhi, a 1909 compendium of Russian conservative thought).

SPIEGEL: Do you feel misunderstood by the West?
Sisi: I am trying to tell you the reality. You will always look at what happened in Egypt from the vantage point of a foreigner. You will never be burned by what happens here. If things get rough, you will simply pack your bags and leave.

Skin in the game. Egyptians have it. Europeans don’t. To Americans separated by the great ocean they might as well be lab rats.

(4) On the Russian economy: Russia’s Economy in 2015 Rolled With the Punches by Alexander Mercouris. For the pessimistic version, see Inozemtsev in WaPo. Guess who relies more on verifiable numbers and who relies more on statistical skullduggery and banal anti-Putin rhetoric.

syria-civil-war-map-2016-jan(5) How Russian Engineering Made the Current Operation in Syria Possible by The Saker. I am not the biggest fan of his digressions into the supposed civilizational brotherhood between Islam and Europe but this is a really useful datapoint on Russia’s military modernization (and how it manages to conduct such an effective air campaign in Syria on a shoestring budget). Unfortunately his actually good, value adding article got just a couple of comments compared to the 200+ on his more “problematic” writings.

(6) Turkey is moving in to establish a buffer zone in northern Syria, recently seizing the border town of Jarablus. According to Stratfor, Russia has agreed not to intervene.

(7) If you like videos, Graham Phillips is back in the Donbass and has a whole bunch of interviews with its longsuffering residents.

(8) The Ukrainians starting a new life – in Russia by Shaun Walker. Why on earth would anyone leave that new democracy of hope and human rights?

She decided to leave Komsomolsk in August 2014, after her brother was kidnapped by the far-right Azov volunteer battalion. Although he was later released, the experience had shaken up the family and made them unwilling to stay.

Oh.

(9) On the Polish Question, I liked: Poland and the ‘Empire of Brussels’ by Alexander Mercouris, and Poland Rearms in the Demographic & Cultural War by Guillaume Durocher. Mercouris is a centrist with old school Leftist sympathies. Durocher is a rising star on the Alt Right scene, if a tad too obsessed with bagel. But their key points are the same. This makes for yet another case of Alt Right/Alt Left convergence.

(10) How an obscure adviser to Pat Buchanan predicted the wild Trump campaign in 1996 by Michael Brendan Dougherty. If there is a better article that explains the Trump phenomenon in fewer words, I have yet to find it.

TL;DR – Fishtown is revolting.

(11) As I once noted, Palin is a distillation of the will of the American people. It is therefore of no surprise that she would come out in favor of Trump.

(12) Is the Chinese Economy Really in Trouble? by Eamonn Fingleton. Pass on the trademark paranoia about China and stay for the invaluable deconstruction of the China permabears who have predicted a dozen of its past zero recessions. These people make Kremlinologists look competent and unbiased.

(13) Meritocracy: Will Harvard Become Free and Fair? by Ron Unz. Here is the NYT piece. Come to think of it, university in the US is essentially a tax on the middle class. You can’t do without a higher education certification if you want to work in any halfway respectable profession. I never really got the American antipathy towards free college education. It is standard throughout Europe, and nobody is going bankrupt on account of it. Which stands to reason because higher education is actually pretty low cost in the overall scheme of things (relative to medicine, social welfare, etc).

If this is successful, it could potentially unleash a chain reaction across the bloated US higher education system. If Harvard becomes free then the other Ivies will find it much harder to justify their own tuition fees. Lower ranked universities don’t have the funds to afford this, but the resulting pressure on them may open up the political space to push through universal free higher education at the state or federal level.

Ralph Nader is officially on board and it also syncs very well with Bernie Sanders’ platform.

(14) Garett Jones gets interviewed at AEI. An unremarkable if useful summary of the thesis of Hive Mind. What made it notable is that it contains the single best definition of intelligence I’ve ever come across to date: “Intelligence is what you need when you don’t know what to do” – Carl Bereiter (via James Thompson).

(15) Azerbaijan resorts to capital controls as oil crunch worsens from The Financial Times. Its foreign reserves have plummeted to just $6 billion, which is less than 3 months’ worth of imports. It has belatedly devalued its currency and imposed currency controls. This goes to show there are plenty of heavily oil-dependent countries beyond Russia which are far worse straits, even if it is predictably Russia that is dominating the headlines.

(16) Fred Reed on The Inevitability of Eugenics. My opinion on this has always been quite banal:

(17) In 2015, The Dark Forces Of The Internet Became A Counterculture by Joseph (((Bernstein))). Not a bad introduction to chan culture which might be of use to older, less otaku Unz Review readers.

smarterGerman-cover-A1(18) Your weekly dose of Sweden Yes!: Swedish police banned from describing criminals anymore in case they sound racist, Leading Daily Dagens Nyheter Refused to Write About Cologne-like Sex Crimes in Central Stockholm, Sweden: State-funded Muslim “Sniper” Training.

Sweden to give sex ed to immigrants: This is the official paid-for-by-taxpayers course material (BONUS = female genital mutilation) – via /r/european.

Here is the German bonus edition. So far as I can tell that is not a joke but an actual, existing, published textbook.

Though I appreciate that many feel that the term is becoming overused, what else can one do when our cultural elites are so blatant about shoving cuck down our throats?

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

Discuss all things Euromaidan here and vote in the poll (tick as many options as you like).

where-thither-for-ukraine

My own opinion is “Protests die down as Yanukovych reasserts control,” for reasons that I will expound upon in a forthcoming post. But I have made many of the arguments already on my Twitter feed where I, like many other East Europe watchers, have been closely following Ukraine of late.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

A couple of polls to provide the fodder for the subsequent discussions.

Feel free to provide an exact figure (to one decimal place) for Navalny’s percentage share in the comments and we can have a little competition along the lines of the one we had for the Presidential elections.

BackgroundSobyanin vs. Navalny in Figures (July 23 summary); last Levada poll; last WCIOM poll; last FOM poll and prediction; last Synovate Comcon poll.

Discussion thread at The Russia Debate forumThe Moscow Elections, 8 Sept 2013.

Poll #1:

[polldaddy poll=7372081]

Poll #2:

[polldaddy poll=7372096]

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

Comments have to be connected to Russia; all others go here. Please, continue.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Da Russophile Archives, Open Thread 
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.