View 842 Monday, September 08, 2014
“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009
I finished a bunch of paperwork yesterday, and this morning after breakfast I walked down to the post office and then on to the bank, a round time of about two miles. I used to do that or more every day, and I think I should continue long walks. I make no doubt any of my physician friends who see this will have the same recommendation.
There is a good in depth analysis with some due attention to history in Scott McConnell’s
It is important to understand why Washington is puzzled about Russia’s actions regarding the historic path to the invasion of Russia. History is no longer a requirement for graduation from Harvard and a number of other prestige universities that serve as the Department of State’s recruiting ground; and the President has even less acquaintance with such arcana. Anyone interested in the current Ukrainian situation should read this.
Meanwhile, Putin has scored more points with his new ceasefire. He insists that he can’t actually grant that – he is not, he says, in control of the Ukrainian dissidents – but he will use his good influence to bring about an end to the hostilities. Of course the cease fire leaves the pro-Russian dissidents surviving and in control of some key cities in Eastern Ukraine. That was to be expected. Short of actual credible threat of war by the United States, Russia intends to possess the Cossack regions of the Eastern Ukraine – a land bridge to their newly seized Crimean peninsula – and to insure against the seizure of the rest of Ukraine by NATO. Any American foreign policy that does not realize this is deluded.
What we must be concerned about is the Baltic Republics, which are already NATO members and thus war trigger allies of the United States. Thanks to the Soviet policy of replacing ethnic Baltic families with Russians, sending the Balts to settle in eastern Russia, there are substantial numbers of Russians in the Baltic Republics. Russia needs Russians. Putin needs Russians. A number of recent articles have questioned how severe the Russian population crisis really is, but there’s not much question that Putin and his advisors take the problem seriously. His goal is not a new Empire with vast numbers of non-Russians under Russian rule; his goal is a stable Russian state, not a Republic in the western sense; more like the Roman Empire, which was officially the Senate and People of Rome through most of the Imperial days. The Emperor ruled by the consent of the leading people of the Empire, and sought to keep the rest of the Romans happy. Of course after Septimius Severus no actual Romans were ever Emperor.
As Rome retained – and Emperors had more or less respect for – the offices and trappings of the Old Republic, Russia will retain democratic institutions. Of course this can be said for the United States, which retains institutions in memory of a Nation of States, but has become more a Nation of Regulators. Places where there is actual self government remain, but most big cities have long been taken over by a small class of professional politicians, who generally choose the candidates before inviting the people to ‘choose’ among them. The result is that cities like Los Angeles have big governments, highly paid staffs of tenured civil servants with health care and assured retirement pay, and unpaved streets, water mains replaced on a three hundred year cycle, and a future resembling Detroit – which when I was young was the very symbol of a thriving industrial economy. Russia does not intend to import that sort of government; whether it can refuse to do so is another matter.
Russia has also seen what happened when tyranny ended suddenly in Libya and other parts of Africa – Iraq, for that matter.
There has long been concern about Russian population decline.
http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/drunken-nation-russia%E2%80%99s-depopulation-bomb That concern continues .
Why Putin needs Russians, dying of a broken heart
The Dying Russians by Masha Gessen | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
despite statistics showing the problem is not quite so severe. The Russians are concerned, and we must realize that. But of course Washington does not. Read McConnell’s piece… http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/09/washington-puzzled-putin-doesnt-back.html
For more background, see :
It will present a view that I suspect you have not thought about.
I have accumulated a number of recommendations of places worth attention; far more than I have time to deal with.
I found these to be interesting, but I have no comments at the moment:
“Important findings” haven’t been replicated, and science may have to change its ways.
I don’t think Luanne’s grandparents are very far out of touch at all… http://www.gocomics.com/luann/2014/09/07
On malware and phishing:
You may well have run into this already, but I just saw it today and wanted to mention it: When I looked at a Web site I follow, I saw a new browser page open spontaneously, which advised me that the page I was looking at was associated with phishing attempts, and offered me a button to click to do something about it. Naturally, I closed the window and went away. That’s a nice twist in phishing: A phishing attempt that disguises itself as a warning against phishing.
I must say I’ve run into enough of this crap so that your quotation about "treated as wolves" sounds disturbingly attractive sometimes.
After I finished the Saturday View https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/a-day-eaten-by-worms-and-i-recommend-malwarebytes-org/ I kept fiddling with it until this morning, when I added some instructions on the safe way to close unwanted popup phishing attempts.
And we have this:
Dr. Pournelle –
The fine folks at Malwarebytes have a version of their program which has different names. They, and I, recommend keeping a fresh copy on a thumbdrive or some such.
or browse to malwarebytes then for home and then other and finally chameleon
The program is named after other familiar programs – like Firefox. The idea is that if some malware has prevented you from getting to their web site, you can start running these until one starts.
I am not affiliated with their organization; but their software has saved a couple of systems for me.
I watched the first fifteen minutes of the new “Utopia” reality show, but I didn’t get far. I thought it the dumbest idea for a TV show I had ever seen. I don’t know how much they are paying the participants to go incommunicado without rules or mores for a year, but I don’t think there has ever been a period in my life when they could afford to pay me enough to do that. And when they showed the evangelist preacher saying goodbye to his wife and children and presumably his congregation to join a group of libertines willing to live with no electricity, few comforts, bad food, and unlimited booze and the prospect of uninhibited sex, I lost what interest I already had. We watched Chief Inspector Gently in a rather depressing but well written mystery/drama instead. I suppose the reviewers will try to convince me I made the wrong choice, but I do not think they can succeed.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.