Thursday, March 31, 2022

March 31: Ukraine (3)

War enters sixth week, attacks persist

Ending ageism in the workplace For the first time in the country’s history, five generations can be found in workplaces across the country. ..... when managed well, multigenerational teams benefit from diverse and complementary knowledge, skills and perspectives that improve performance across the board.

Stop Telling Single People to Put Themselves ‘Out There’
Rebecca Serle Met Her Mom’s Old Boyfriend, Then Wrote a Best Seller With the help of Google Translate, the trio chatted at a coffee shop that was once the bar where Ranjana and Remo first crossed paths...... “Get a window seat, honey, ’cause there’s so much to see.” .

March 31: Ukraine (2)

Ukrainian president says defense is at a ‘turning point’ Russian bombardment of areas around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv and intensified attacks elsewhere in the country further undermined hopes for progress toward ending the brutal war. ....... A delegation of Ukrainian lawmakers visited Washington on Wednesday to push for more US assistance, saying their nation needs more military equipment, more financial help and tougher sanctions against Russia. ....... “If we really are fighting for freedom and in defense of democracy together, then we have a right to demand help in this difficult turning point. Tanks, aircraft, artillery systems. Freedom should be armed no worse than tyranny,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation, which he delivered standing in the dark outside the dimly lit presidential offices in Kyiv. He thanked the US for an additional $500 million in aid that was announced Wednesday. ......... There seemed little faith that Russia and Ukraine will resolve the conflict soon, particularly after the Russian military’s about-face and its most recent attacks. ....... demoralized Russian soldiers in Ukraine were refusing to carry out orders and sabotaging their own equipment and had accidentally shot down their own aircraft. ........ Putin had apparently “massively misjudged” the invasion. Although Putin’s advisers appeared to be too afraid to tell the truth, the “extent of these misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime ...... Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about the poor performance of his military in Ukraine because they are too afraid to tell him the truth. ....... Five weeks into the invasion that has left thousands dead on both sides, the number of Ukrainians fleeing the country topped a staggering 4 million, half of them children ...... the faint outlines of a possible peace agreement seemed to emerge when the Ukrainian delegation offered a framework under which the country would declare itself neutral — dropping its bid to join NATO, as Moscow has long demanded — in return for security guarantees from a group of other nations. ...... Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying Wednesday that Ukraine’s willingness to accept neutrality and look outside NATO for security represents “significant progress ....... But those statements were followed by attacks. ........ Top Russian military officials say their main goal now is the “liberation” of the Donbas, the predominantly Russian-speaking industrial heartland where Moscow-backed separatists have been battling Ukrainian forces since 2014. ....... The UN is looking into allegations that some residents of the besieged and shattered southern city of Mariupol were forcibly taken to areas controlled by Russian forces or to Russia itself. ...... Germany said Russia had reassured it that European companies won’t have to pay for Russian gas in rubles, a prospect that raised fears that Russia could cut off supplies. Also, Poland said it would end Russian oil imports by the year’s end.

. A nurse's death raises the alarm about the profession's mental health crisis . They want to see more support for their colleagues dealing with the emotional fallout from the pandemic – people who for two years have put in grueling hours together fighting a brutal virus. ........ "If we don't talk about it, it's not going to get better," says Paredes. ....... Most nurses and other frontline health workers worked relentlessly over the past two years, surge after surge, through countless deaths and severe staffing shortages. And now, a majority are struggling with psychiatric symptoms, research finds. Mental health care providers worry that they will soon see a wave of associated problems, like substance abuse and suicide risk. ........ more than 70% of health care workers in the country have symptoms of anxiety and depression, 38% have symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, and 15% have had recent thoughts of suicide or self-harm. ...... "You hear it in people describing how in their dreams they see [things] like body bags," she says. "Or, a lot of these anxiety dreams where they're not in control. Like a building's on fire and they can't get there." ........ "When you're doing shift after shift and you're just exhausted, you don't have time to emotionally process it" ...... "It's similar to when people are in a combat zone. But at some point you do need to respond as a human and put it back together." ....... A lot of what they talked about was witnessing death every day, which wasn't the norm before the pandemic. ...... "Like every other hour, you get a new patient and then they also die. And you really don't realize how traumatic it is until you're having a moment when you clock off, and think about [what happened in] the last 12 hours" ....... He was the kind of person who "cared deeply about everybody he met," says Paredes. "He took time to get to know people and get to know their stories." ....... After his first suicide attempt, Odell sought treatment. He started seeing a therapist regularly and got on medication. But last year, he went through a break up and lost his mother to dementia. ........ He had three months' refill for his depression medication, but was waiting for insurance to kick in to continue treatment. ....... But there were no obvious signs that he was still struggling, says Walujo, who saw him almost every day. "So this all just came out of nowhere." .......... "Going into 2021, I realized I'd actually forgotten large pieces of 2020," she says. "I had to speak to a therapist about this, and they told me that I most likely was suffering from symptoms of PTSD." ....... "We want nurses to realize that you're not alone" ...... "Veterans are in a unique position to be able to provide some insight and also help our brothers and sisters that are in the nursing field and frontline health care workers" ....... There's significant overlap between what soldiers experience at war and what health care workers have been through the past year, he says, that put them at a higher risk of PTSD and suicide. ....... "If you're able to access people in an early stage of whatever they're experiencing, then that's a crucial catch" ........ Call before the crisis. Call whenever you're starting to feel a little bit stressed." ....... But "the hospitals have not wanted to acknowledge how short-staffed we are. They don't want to acknowledge that relying on travel nurses and staff nurses working overtime shifts isn't sustainable. People are worn out." ...... "They need to do more to protect us," he adds. "They have a moral obligation to protect us."

. 'Heavy fighting' expected in suburbs of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, in the 'coming days,' intel says The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence said Thursday that "Russian forces continue to hold positions to the east and west of Kyiv despite the withdrawal of a limited number of units" and that "heavy fighting will likely take place in the suburbs of the city in coming days."

Putin says Russia will enforce rouble payments for gas from Friday . Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he had signed a decree saying foreign buyers must pay in roubles for Russian gas from April 1, and contracts would be halted if these payments were not made.

Why the U.S. Was Wrong About Ukraine and the Afghan War U.S. intelligence agencies thought the Afghan military would last longer and predicted Kyiv would fall faster, showing the difficulty of assessing fighting spirit. ........ just seven months ago, when the Taliban rolled into Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, unopposed. Most Afghan troops abandoned their uniforms and weapons. The president fled to the United Arab Emirates ....... In Afghanistan, intelligence agencies had predicted the government and its forces could hold on for at least six months after the U.S. withdrawal. In Ukraine, intelligence officials thought the Russian army would take Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in two days. ........ The miscalculations demonstrate that even in an age of electronic intercepts and analysis assisted by vast data collection, human relationships still matter in accurately assessing the morale of a country or military. ........ Over the last week, Ukrainian forces have used tanks and fighter jets to attack Russian positions outside Kyiv and other cities in a way that demonstrates that their objective is not to take back territory, but to destroy Russian forces. It is a sign of not only savvy strategy but

a clear intent by Ukraine to defeat the Russian military and win the war

. .......... “If there was a blind spot, I think it was less in believing Ukrainians wouldn’t fight and more about believing the Russian military was more capable than they turned out to be” ....... amplified by the Russian military’s struggle with complex maneuver warfare, supply problems, broken-down vehicles and lack of secure communications ........ Intelligence officials also had no way of predicting the leadership abilities of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, which have proven key in rallying the country to the fight. ......... In Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, American officials believed the units they had trained would fight longer and harder than they did. ........ “To get the data you have to become close to your partner and the minute you do that, lack of bias goes out the window” ........ “Zelensky’s endgame may be victory, it may be getting Russian troops off his soil,” Mr. Cotton said. “Even if you didn’t think that a month ago, you have to concede it is certainly a possibility now.”

Black Tesla employees describe a culture of racism: ‘I was at my breaking point’ . A single mother was excited to land a job at Tesla. About three years in, she was fired, she said, after complaining that Black workers were frequently called the N-word on the assembly line. ...... A former refinery worker couldn’t wait to get into green energy. She said she soon found herself and other Black workers assigned to the most arduous tasks in a corner of the factory co-workers called “the plantation.” ........ An Army veteran was promoted to a fleet manager job. He said he was fired after he complained that his boss called him and two Black co-workers “monkeys.” ....... They say Tesla segregated Black workers into separate areas, gave them the hardest tasks and routinely denied them promotions. ........ “There was a time where I worked three months straight — no days off.” ....... Besides the unequal assignment of factory tasks, verbal harassment was a daily affliction ...... Chatman didn’t hear Asian workers use the N-word, she said, but they “would make chicken jokes,” a stereotype mocking of Black Americans’ diet. ........... Tesla’s billionaire chief executive, Elon Musk, would come through the front of the factory “with his entourage,” Chatman said. “They didn’t want a Black face up there,” she said, adding that Latino colleagues were left up front while Black workers were moved to the back. ......... After her HR complaint, Chatman said, she was no longer harassed. She said the lead was fired after complaints from multiple workers. But she soon saw him back at the factory, rehired in a non-supervisory job. ........ Workers called Tesla’s factory “the plantation,” and “the slave ship,” not just for the brutal work pace that everyone experienced, but especially because Black workers were routinely segregated into a corner of the factory that lacked air conditioning and work conditions were most crowded, Romby said. ........ He’d overhear white supervisors berate Black, Asian and Latino workers, often directing the N-word at Black employees. “Things like, ‘Tell that n— to get over here.” ....... He had ideas for improving the fleet but said he was never taken seriously. “They didn’t like how much the company was spending on equipment, but they wouldn’t hear my suggestions on how to cut costs. I said if you people put more money into training people [to use the equipment properly] rather than buying new equipment, you could save a lot of money. Never once did that start to happen.” .......... Jones now runs the skateboard company he founded, Spread the Shred. Sometimes he thinks about Musk, who once told employees who were targets of racism to get a “thick skin.”

Counteroffensive in Ukraine Shifts Dynamic of War President Biden met with European leaders in Brussels to reinforce solidarity against Russia’s invasion and proposed excluding Russia from the G20. Ukraine said it had destroyed a Russian naval ship. ........ President Biden and leaders of more than 30 nations convened Thursday to demonstrate united opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, announcing new economic sanctions, aid for refugees, deployment of additional forces to Eastern Europe and grim preparations in case Russia uses chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

A sense of stalemate settles over Ukraine as heavy fighting grinds on.
Russia’s invasion is reawakening memories of World War II for older Ukrainians.

In Putin’s misbegotten war, NATO sees both danger and opportunity.
How to Clean Your Shower Curtain Few things can throw cold water on bathtime quite like life-forms on your shower curtain. Typically, these are gray flecks of mildew or colonies of pink mold (technically, a bacteria, Serratia marcescens). Microbes tend to appear gradually until they’re suddenly in full bloom.

The Best Electric Blanket and Heated Mattress Pad Combine chilly temperatures with a drafty house, and you could end up with high utility bills. But using electric bedding to heat your bed costs just pennies a night.
The Scars of Ukraine’s War, Illuminated in Fiction Two newly translated books highlight everyday lives transformed by conflict. ....... In 2019, I read about a condition called uterine prolapse; it occurs when weakened pelvic muscles cause the uterus to detach, drop down into the vagina, and in some cases, even slip out. I learned that more cases than usual were being reported in a city in the Donbas region of Ukraine, where skirmishes between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian Army had left the area war-ravaged long before the full-scale invasion currently strangling the country. A gynecologist in Avdiivka, a suburb of Donetsk, told The New York Times that the uptick in cases was most likely due to a combination of stress and heavy lifting; damage to pipes and other infrastructure forced residents to carry pails of water up flights of stairs. One woman with the condition, Liudmila, said she now had to decide between an expensive medical procedure and repairing her roof, which had been destroyed by shelling. “The winter is coming,” she said, “and I am going to stay either without a roof over my head or with my uterus falling out.” ......... battle scars are more often psychological than physical. Her characters, much like Liudmila, have not been afforded the time or space to attend to the shocks of war; life, or something like it, must go on for these women. Many are internal refugees who fled the brutal fighting that first broke out in east Ukraine in 2014, and have resettled in a Kyiv that regards them with apathy or suspicion ....... In the Kyiv metro, we meet a jovial woman named Xenia who appears enthusiastic about her new career selling stationery on the subway. Advertising double-sided markers, she yells to the passengers, “They highlight the main idea!” When someone shoots her a dirty look, her veneer of happiness rapidly disintegrates, and she collapses. The narrator makes vague reference to “all the other sorrows that had vexed her over the last two years,” without explaining what they are, because, after all, no one has bothered to ask. ............. an overlooked population — poor women in Ukraine’s industrial east — within an overlooked conflict. ....... A beloved manicurist goes missing, but no one notices at first; another woman disappears into a forest. ........ In one story, “The Stars,” horoscopes in the local paper advise when it is safe to walk around outside based on readers’ zodiac signs: “It turned out that Pisces could be sure of their well-being and safety from 3 to 5 p.m. that day.” ......... Readers looking for clarity about the political factions and internal divisions that led to the conflict will find instead hazy dream sequences, witchcraft, a woman who loses the ability to walk in Maidan Square and jokes, “I am a living monument.” ........ In “The Stars,” some believe they’re being bombed by Canada; apparently, Trudeau is after their coal. ......... The novelist Andrey Kurkov has said that while he is ethnically Russian, he considers himself “politically Ukrainian.” Kurkov was born in 1961 in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), but moved to Kyiv as a child. Russians, he told Agence France-Presse in February, subscribe to the “collective mentality.” For Kurkov, the czars, the Bolsheviks and now Putin have been trying to impose this worldview onto Ukrainians, but “Ukrainians are individuals,” he says. ....... He is best known for “Death and the Penguin” (1996), a satirical crime thriller about an obituary writer named Viktor living in 1990s Kyiv whose sole companion is his pet penguin. Like the post-Soviet man, the penguin has been cut off from his collective (back home in Antarctica) and is adrift in a free world. It shouldn’t work, but it does. .......... Firmly neutral, Sergey has no dog in this fight — just his bees. One of his most prolonged considerations of new political realities is what will happen to his regional society for beekeepers if Donetsk were to become independent. “Was there a society in Donetsk these days?” he wonders. “If there was, it wouldn’t be the region’s, it would be the ‘republic’s,’ and that meant he was no longer a member.” ........... Over the course of the novel, his resolve to stay neutral is shaken, particularly when he sees how Russian occupying forces have treated his beekeeper friend, a Crimean Tatar named Akhtem. There are hints of an awakening. He notices his bees, which he had once heralded as a species that had achieved pure communism, refusing to make room for a newcomer from another hive. Suddenly their communalism looks like little more than cruel tribalism.

Sergey reprimands them: “Why are you acting like people?”

........ the Russian characters in “Grey Bees” come off to me as eerily cold, almost monstrous — snipers, cops, Putin apologists — as if the actions of the Russian government were in some ways reflective of a deeper national character .......... recalls Kurkov’s professed view of Russian and Ukrainian people as fundamentally different, each with a unique “mentality.” ......... Now, Ukrainians are fighting for the right to be many people, speaking many languages, refusing to be separated.

The Battle for the Mural — and the Future of Belarus It started as an act of graffiti at a playground in Minsk. It turned into a remarkable campaign of defiance against an increasingly totalitarian regime. ........ They positioned their spotters to watch for the Belarusian security services, the siloviki. They agreed on a plan to create an emergency diversion if they arrived. ....... There were more than 1,000 political prisoners in detention; sentences for those who opposed Lukashenko’s regime stretched into decades. Now Russia had launched an assault on Ukraine, and Lukashenko had sold their country to the Kremlin as a giant military base. ........ If they had overthrown Lukashenko, the man thought, probably none of this would be happening. Vladimir Putin would not have had the strategic assets to be able to carry out this war — no support from the northern flank, no airfields for refueling planes, no silos to keep the missiles. ........ The appeal of buying there was obvious — it was a 10-minute drive from downtown Minsk, with a supermarket across the street and good schools nearby. It was a short walk to the Belarusian capital’s largest park and the shores of the big lake that locals in the landlocked country referred to as the Minsk Sea. .......... It was a few days before the August 2020 presidential elections, which until recently Diana and pretty much everyone else in Belarus had expected to be the sixth straight election President Lukashenko would win through a combination of voter apathy, oppositional disarray, electoral suppression and outright fraud. But for the first time in his 26 years in power, the usual script of the regime’s election interference had gone awry. ........... The D.J.s replied that they were just doing what they thought was right. Almost immediately, they were arrested. ....... For more than two decades, Belarusians had existed in an equilibrium of quiet authoritarianism. If the repressions didn’t directly touch them, most people tolerated them. The country’s national anthem started with “We, Belarusians, are a peaceful people,” and a common proverb to describe the national psyche was “maya hata s krau” — which translates roughly to “my house is on the side.” Whatever is happening outside my family is none of my business. .......... In 1991, the year before Diana was born, the leaders of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine negotiated the end to the U.S.S.R. at a hunting lodge in western Belarus. .......... Diana’s compatriots were among the least interested in independence — 83 percent of Belarusians had voted against it. Still, they emerged one day into a new reality of seismic proportions; their state, their ideology and all the order they knew had melted away. As an only child after perestroika, Diana was allowed to do whatever she wanted, too young and too loved to realize the real toll of the upheaval running through the former Soviet empire. ............ In the chaos of the 1990s, she recalls, everyone knew that if a cop came to the bandits’ side, it would end poorly. Her parents straddled the new divide neatly — her mother worked for the state, while her father worked the corner. He tried everything to get in on the new economy. He drove plush toys from Smolensk, Russia, hawked meat at an open-air market and thumbed stacks of rubles on the black-market currency exchange. ......... Minsk was bombed so brutally, the Wehrmacht had to wait for the fires to subside so they could enter the city. Whether because of extermination, displacement or deportation, by the end of the war, Belarus was missing half its population. ......... previous institutions other than the Communist Party remained intact. ....... In Belarus, too, as the economy was liberalized, standards of living dropped, while criminality climbed. Diana didn’t remember the food lines, but her grandmother often told her that while life in the Soviet Union was difficult, it was stable, and the people were kinder. ........... Lukashenko made his entrance into this morass. The former head of a small collective farm, he was elected to Parliament in 1990 but remained unknown until he became head of an anticorruption committee three years later. He shot to fame after giving a speech denouncing high-level corruption on the floor of the legislature when he was 39. Lukashenko presented himself as a mix of everyman populist and cherry-picked Soviet-nostalgist, bellicose and bombastic. He defeated Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich with 80 percent of the vote in the 1994 presidential election. ........... Almost immediately after taking power, Lukashenko began to impose autocratic rule. He censored state media; he closed Belarus’s only independent radio station and several newspapers. Lukashenko stripped powers from the Parliament. He oversaw a referendum to resurrect Soviet national symbols and made Russian a state language. In 1999, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty that committed them to merging into a confederal state at some future point. (At the time, President Boris Yeltsin of Russia was so sick and unpopular, Lukashenko believed he might head the eventual union.) ............ By the end of the ’90s, Lukashenko controlled all executive and judicial authorities, the Central Election Commission, unions and the military and law-enforcement structures. Through a 2004 constitutional referendum, he abolished presidential term limits. ......... In some ways, Lukashenko’s autocracy outgrew even the U.S.S.R.’s model. Belarus had no ruling party, no place to incubate rivals or create factions — the elites existed at Lukashenko’s pleasure. The president made all key personnel and economic decisions, including the appointment and dismissal of heads of cities and districts, lower-court judges and directors of major factories. The K.G.B. was never disbanded. Instead, “curators” were placed in important institutions. ............ Because Belarus was slow to privatize, oligarchs never had much of a chance to materialize. Half of the economy remained under state control. Lukashenko instituted a short-term job-contract scheme in the state sector, which was used to target anyone who became too political. Placements in institutions of higher learning were similarly weaponized. Independent journalists were jailed intermittently and then released, the steady two-step of a repressive state. ........... Lukashenko’s was a soft authoritarian system, with the requisite window dressings. If you were a private nonpolitical citizen, you were unlikely to encounter the K.G.B. There was little fear of serious consequence for an ordinary citizen making a joke. People could openly talk about hating the president in cafes; they could make fun of his often nonsensical ramblings. They could mock his mustache, his combover and his rural accent. ............... There were small, unpopular opposition parties, which were allowed to rent office space in the capital. They registered for elections. There was no personality cult — no portraits, streets or statues dedicated to the Great Leader. Instead, the regime relied on technicalities, like an article in the criminal code covering insults to the president, which it used to persecute critics. The authorities rarely shuttered publications outright, preferring to impose crippling fines instead. ............ But most crucially, for well over a decade, Lukashenko was genuinely popular. A level of propaganda undergirded his rule, reinforcing the perception of a social pact in which the state would provide for the citizen. Lukashenko relished his supporters’ calling him Batka — Father. .......... Most experts agree he would have won elections without rigging them. Belarus’s economic growth hovered in and around the double digits. The economy was buttressed by money the state earned refining duty-free Russian oil and gas and reselling it. Excluding the Baltics, Belarus was the former Soviet republic with the highest standard of living. Belarus’s per capita G.D.P. was nearly twice that of neighboring Ukraine. Life expectancy was higher than in Russia. ........... but only those in the “opposition ghetto,” as it was called, received outlandish sentences. .......... Most citizens steered clear of anything political, and many believed what their TVs told them. .......... When she got to university in Minsk, where she studied materials science, Diana realized she had been fooled by state television. In 2011, runaway inflation struck the country — there was a major currency devaluation, and the regime imposed price controls on basic goods and food. ........... The authorities responded with their usual farce — they banned applause unless directed at veterans. They arrested a one-armed man for clapping. They accused a deaf and mute man of shouting anti-government slogans. When people started to protest by flash mob, the authorities banned standing around doing nothing in a group. ........... was allowed. The portal was started in 2000 by the businessman Yuri Zisser, often referred to as Belarus’s Steve Jobs, and was read by 62 percent of the population, reaching people across the political spectrum. The regime had invested heavily in telecommunications infrastructure and left most of it alone, focusing efforts on television propaganda. ............ nonstop news in Minsk, with everyone glued to the daily developments. ............ Lukashenko, who often played Russia and Europe against each other for his own gain, did not recognize the annexation of Crimea and refused to join the Kremlin’s boycott of the West. Since Putin’s election in 2000, relations between the two presidents had been strained. Russia subsidized the Belarusian economy and by extension kept Lukashenko in power, but Lukashenko rarely made it easy for the Kremlin. Belarus was an important transit country for Russian gas exports to Europe, and Lukashenko knew Putin was loath to see political instability along the border. For years, Putin had pushed for closer ties, economic and military, based on the 1999 union agreement, but Lukashenko balked. Though Belarus agreed in 2014 to join Russia’s version of the E.U., the Eurasian Economic Union, Lukashenko stalled Russian demands for a new air base in Belarus. He wavered on extending leases on two military facilities. ............... Watching the 2014 invasion of Ukraine, Lukashenko seemed to decide that an overreliance on the Kremlin could lead Belarus to the same fate. He flirted with the European Union and the United States and began a limited political liberalization, marketing Belarus as a Slavic Switzerland — a neutral country where negotiations and peace talks, like the Minsk Accords for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, could be held. Most Belarusians agreed — they didn’t want to be part of the E.U., nor did they want to merge with Russia. The status quo was fine. ............... The first vacation she took, Diana and Tima went to Cyprus to sit by the sea. ........... In March 2020, when Covid hit, Lukashenko dismissed the virus as “psychosis” that could be treated with a shot of vodka, a tractor ride or a sauna visit. ........... Vasili, the coder, preferred Valery Tsepkalo, a former diplomat who started Hi-Tech Park in 2005, Belarus’s successful version of Silicon Valley. .......... After Lukashenko distanced himself from Russia in the wake of the Crimean annexation, Moscow had shown its ire. The Kremlin tried to increase the price Belarus paid for oil, while Belarus tried to raise gas transit taxes. Lukashenko repeatedly complained that the Kremlin was trying to bully Minsk into a union with Russia. As relations deteriorated, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the highest-level U.S. official to visit Belarus in decades. When the presidential campaign began, Lukashenko openly accused Russian oligarchs and “higher” people of interference. He detained 33 mercenaries from a Kremlin-linked security contractor, the Wagner Group, whom he claimed had been dispatched to depose him. .................. By mid-July, all three candidates had been removed from the ballot — two were in jail, and one fled the country in anticipation of his own detention. The campaigns united under Sviatlana, who was running on three demands — release of political prisoners, curtailed powers for the president and free elections. Charismatic and earnest, she was adored for her image as a Decembrist’s wife — women who had given up their lives and followed their husbands to exile in Siberia. ........... Golos later tabulated that Sviatlana won at least 56 percent of the vote. ......... In seven years of relative liberalization, as Belarusians like Diana had come of age, they had forgotten what totalitarianism was capable of. ........ For three days, the wide boulevards and tidy parks of downtown Minsk were full of protesters, most of whom had ventured into the streets for the first time. They were met by riot police, tear gas and stun grenades so loud the residents could hear the echoes in their homes. The authorities cut off the internet — the only way to understand what was happening was to go outside. ...................... Nearly 7,000 protesters were arrested in four days. Hundreds were beaten and tortured. Lukashenko called protesters “drug addicts” and “prostitutes.” ........... an unprecedented level of brutality by the regime .......... Hundreds of thousands of citizens had joined weekly Sunday marches demanding a recount. ...... A Belarusian American from Florida visiting Minsk came to take a photograph. .............. During the postelection melee, Sviatlana had been detained and forced into exile in Lithuania. From Vilnius, she had started calling herself the “leader of democratic Belarus.” ........ A quasi-state had reconstituted itself around her as other political figures, NGO workers, campaigners and civic activists fled or were driven out of the country to Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania or Poland. Those who had not fled were arrested; there were no protest leaders left in Minsk. .................. Sviatlana and the opposition had taken pains to paint themselves as Russia and E.U. neutral. This had nothing to do with wanting to join the E.U. or NATO, they said — they just wanted free elections. ........... By October, three months after the election, 16,000 people had been detained. There were 101 political prisoners. .......... The following day, there was a minute of silence. It felt as if Minsk froze all at once. As soon as it was over, cars started beeping, and the city wailed in unison. Even more people thronged the Square with candles and flowers. “We won’t forget, we won’t forgive,” they chanted through tears. .......... The morning after the march, residents woke to a police patrol that would stay on the Square 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for nearly five months. A pair of officers stood at each building, and three pairs walked the children’s playground. The mural had been painted and repainted so often no one could say exactly how many times, but they thought it was at least 18. Now it was gone again. ........... The cost of even small protests was rising. By April, there were more than 350 political prisoners. What was previously a five-to-15-day administrative detention was now indefinite pretrial detention with possible criminal charges that carried years of prison time. ............. They would all walk around the neighborhood for a while, taking different routes, arriving home at different times through different entrances. .......... On Friday at 7 a.m., plainclothes police officers arrived at her door. She held them off for an hour, stalling by calling the police on the police. .......... She erased the chat and her contacts. She unsubscribed from opposition Telegram channels. She came out of the bathroom with a clean phone............ “Any abrasions on your body?” “No.” “There will be.” “Are you pregnant?” “No.” “You will be!” .......... Diana turned around and saw a boy who couldn’t have been older than 18, shorter than her by a foot, poorly playing the role of intimidator. “Even your jokes are beneath you,” she retorted. ......... Diana was charged under Article 341, the desecration of structures and damage to property, punishable by up to three years in prison. She remained hopeful that the investigators were simply following protocol. She decided she would not be afraid. .......... The investigator had the option of letting Diana and Vasili out on bail, but he chose among the most punitive measures of restraint available. Vasili remained in pretrial detention and was taken directly to a prison about 35 miles northeast of Minsk. Diana, as a single mother, was put under house khimiya, similar to house arrest. She was prohibited from going outside except for travel to and from work. She couldn’t even take Tima to school. She was not allowed to use her phone or the internet until her and Vasili’s joint court date in August. ............

Throughout the country, repression had seeped in like gas, slowly tainting the air they breathed.

......... According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the authorities detained about 400 journalists on administrative charges between August 2020 and March 2021; at least 100 were given short jail terms. The authorities moved forward with laws that would make it illegal for journalists to “discredit” the state, thereby prohibiting any criticism of the regime. .......... On May 18,’s offices were raided. The state detained 15 employees, including the editor in chief, the general director, journalists, project managers and accountants. was charged with tax evasion and declared “extremist.” Belarus’s pre-eminent publication was destroyed. The outlet’s remaining journalists fled to Kyiv and started running a news website called Zerkalo, which means mirror. ........... The E.U. added a fourth round of sanctions and blocked most flights to and over Belarus. Lukashenko responded by prohibiting Belarusians from leaving the country altogether; only those who had permanent-resident status in other countries or a few official exemptions could cross. In June, Belarus’s premier human rights organization, Viasna, recognized Vasili as a political prisoner — he was one of 608 by the first anniversary of the stolen election. ............. PEN Belarus, whose president is the Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich ......... Lukashenko signed a decree that those caught participating in extremist activities or causing grievous harm to the interest of the republic could be deprived of citizenship. ........ When they arrived in Ukraine, they jumped up and down like children. ...... “There are particles of freedom in the air!” they screamed. ........ Warsaw was big and gray and cold. Nothing was familiar. She had set up donation pages on different diaspora websites, but little help had arrived. She was eager to put Tima in school, find a permanent apartment and start looking for work. We attended a Belarusian solidarity protest, which were held weekly in downtown Warsaw. That Sunday it was damp and rainy. The crowd was small. Most people wore masks, concerned about their security even in Poland. We didn’t stay long. ................. Diana still lived inside the chat, spending hours talking and planning. ....... Waves of repression over three decades had already created a small, fragmented core of exiled Belarusians in opposition, mostly concentrated in Poland and Lithuania, funded by governments long suspicious of Russian ambitions. Then in 2020 they were joined by new arrivals fleeing the latest crackdown — Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Georgia had flexible residency or humanitarian-visa policies toward Belarusians. As more people fled, they called themselves not refugees or exiles but “relocants” — waiting to go home. ......... Unlike other exiles and refugees, the Belarusians I met over the course of three months in Vilnius, Warsaw and Kyiv had not set about constructing new lives. They kept their Belarusian SIM cards and paid their monthly bills back home. They had apartments in Belarus they hadn’t sold, cars they had parked somewhere. Their immediate family members remained, and so they worried about retaliation. Many had assumed they were leaving for only a month, just long enough for the situation to blow over. ................ When Sviatlana first arrived in Vilnius, a small army of volunteers joined her, living in a Hilton for months. As the leader of democratic Belarus, Sviatlana traveled constantly. She met Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Emmanuel Macron of France and President Biden — advocating for the unfinished revolution and for stronger sanctions against the regime. “Until people are free, you simply cannot stop,” Sviatlana told me in Vilnius. ............. The new exiles formed various pseudo-state structures around her. There were advisers on the future Constitution and economic reform. A group of former security-service members set up ByPol, short for Belarus Police, working to encourage more defectors, investigate claims of police abuses and release their findings. Another group calling themselves the Belarusian Cyber-Partisans aimed to disrupt regime communications, cripple infrastructure and leak names and addresses of security-service members.

A collective of programmers coding pro bono found a way to send donations to Belarus in untraceable peer-to-peer cryptocurrency transfers.

................ Lukashenko recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea and signed a 28-point program that moved Belarus and Russia closer to the 1999 union state. Lukashenko and Putin approved a joint military doctrine but no further political integration. ........... Since the summer, the Lukashenko regime had assisted refugees in flooding the borders of Lithuania and Poland to force the E.U.’s hand on sanctions against his country. Poland, which accepted practically no Syrians in the 2015 refugee crisis but had opened its borders to white, Christian Belarusian protesters, was a billboard for the hypocrisy of the bloc. Lithuania had started constructing a razor-wire fence at the border with Belarus. In November, Polish border guards fired water cannons in freezing conditions at families with children. ........... “Remember you are coming to prison,” one journalist wrote to me from Minsk as I packed. ......... Minsk was austere, brutal and beautiful, as spotless as everyone had promised, but also empty and so cold that being outside burned my skin. .......... They would be watching, and once they made sure I was alone, they would message me the number of a parking spot. ............ There was also the probability that I would have a tail or a minder. Most people were too afraid to meet with a journalist. Others who had agreed to meet wanted to do so outside to check if I was being followed. ................ and into an apartment where a group was already waiting for me. ......... They thrummed with energy and thoughts they needed to put somewhere. They told me about their acquaintances who had been forced to resign from civil-service positions for having signed for Babariko’s candidacy. Neighbors were reporting on neighbors. Children were forced to pose with the green-and-red flag or recite Lukashenko’s biography. The group couldn’t gather in cafes or anywhere outside of apartments anymore. They knew they could be arrested at any time, yet they laughed so loudly and boldly at the kitchen table, as if the danger were an illusion. This duality was almost impossible to process. ................ “Germans captured a Russian, a Belarusian and an American. The American is told, OK, betray your people, where are they hiding? If not, then we will hang you. He’s like, I won’t, and they hang him. They come back in the morning to check if he’s dead, and he is. They call in the Russian. They say, tell us where your fellow partisans are. If not, then we will hang you. He refuses, so they hang him. They come back in the morning to check if he’s dead, and he is. Now, they ask the Belarusian, tell us where the partisans are. He says he won’t, so they hang him. They come back in the morning, and he’s still alive. They’re like how is this possible? He’s like, ‘Well at first it was bothering me over here’” — he gestured to his neck — “ ‘but then I got used to it.’” ............. a preplanned joint exercise called “Allied Resolve 2022.” .......

No one believed the war was coming.

.............. Sanctions risked hurting the average citizen; they had a mixed record of effecting political change. ........ In Warsaw, Diana had been working on a plan to open a house for newly arriving Belarusians — a community where people could get advice on residency, refugee status, health care and schools. The group she was working with, Courtyard Activists Abroad, pivoted to providing supplies for Ukrainian refugees. She attended protests at the Belarusian and Russian Embassies. She grappled with a sense of shame. All along they wondered if they could have done more to stop Lukashenko, to free their own people and by extension to stop this war. ........ We could have overturned the buses, even if they had 20 siloviki in them. We had thousands in our marches. But we didn’t try. Instead, we were peaceful. We walked with flowers.” ............ Though the regime had spent a year and a half decimating the ranks of the politically active, thousands of Belarusians still took to the streets. Across the country, more than 800 people were arrested. (In Russia, with a population roughly 15 times greater, 2,000 people were arrested that same day.) ...........

Westerners often looked at Belarus as if it were Europe’s own little North Korea.

Lukashenko himself mocked reporters who called him “the last dictator of Europe.” .......... regimes and freedoms vary, and repressions exist in shades ......... only 3 percent of Belarusians supported entering the war alongside the Russian military ........... It had been foolish to believe that the U.S.S.R. could collapse so peacefully, that its ghosts would not demand placation. Now they were all paying the price. .......... even more puzzling is the choice to remain. “I have no fear for myself; I have fear for my family,” Shamberbetch told me. “I want to send my relatives abroad. I want to stay here as long as possible, to fight. When I realize there’s nothing I can do here anymore, I’ll leave the country through the woods.”

A Russian negotiator’s positive language clashes with the hard-line rhetoric from Moscow. . The Kremlin’s chief negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, read a statement broadcast on state television that described Ukraine’s proposal on Tuesday to declare neutrality as a core concession to Russia ........ “Yesterday, the Ukrainian side for the first time outlined its readiness, in writing, to fulfill a number of important conditions for building normal and, I hope, good neighborly relations with Russia.” ........... Some Russian analysts and Western officials see the diplomacy as little more than a way to buy time while Russian troops regroup. Russia’s promise to wind down military operations around Kyiv, which the Russian Defense Ministry cast as a good-faith gesture of de-escalation, in reality appeared to be a way to explain away a battlefield defeat. ....... The aim of gathering forces near Kyiv was all along not to take the city, but to tie up and weaken Ukrainian troops in the area, the ministry claimed in a statement. “All these goals were achieved,” the ministry said, adding it would now focus on “the final stage of the operation to liberate” the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine. ........ senior Russian officials were unlikely to know what Mr. Putin was really planning, leading to this week’s mixed messages. ....... “The problem with the Russian regime is that, once again, no one understands what Putin wants,” Ms. Stanovaya said. “As a result, we get this informational chaos.” .

March 31: Ukraine

Yes, There Is a Clash of Civilizations . China’s one-party meritocracy, Putin’s uncrowned czardom, the post-Arab Spring triumph of dictatorship and monarchy over religious populism in the Middle East, the Hindutva populism transforming Indian democracy — these aren’t just all indistinguishable forms of “autocracy,” but culturally distinctive developments that fit well with Huntington’s typology, his assumption that specific civilizational inheritances would manifest themselves as Western power diminishes, as American might recedes. ........... internal Ukrainian divisions, the split between the Orthodox and Russian-speaking east and the more Catholic and Western-leaning west .......

eastern Ukraine has resisted Russia fiercely.

......... a rising China might be able to peacefully integrate Taiwan and maybe even draw Japan into its sphere of influence; that scenario seems highly unlikely at the moment. ....... None of the ambiguous and ambivalent reactions to Putin’s war outside the Euro-American alliance suggest a sudden springtime for the liberal-international world order.

Will the Ukraine War End the Age of Populism? . If the past 10 years of Western history have featured an extended wrestling match between populism and liberalism, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has inspired many liberals to hopefully declare the contest over, their opponent pinned. ....... a shameless pivot. Which is to say: Don’t be surprised if Donald Trump somehow evolves into the biggest Russia hawk you’ve ever seen come 2024. ...... Now, though, if you look at polls of Republican voters or listen to G.O.P. politicians, what you see is mostly a reversion to straightforward hawkishness, to a view that the Biden White House probably isn’t being confrontational enough — which is to say, to where the party stood before the Trump rebellion happened. ........ it’s not a global coalition confronting Putin so much as a Euro-American one ...... “A Russian defeat will make possible a ‘new birth of freedom,’” Francis Fukuyama ........ Fukuyama framed the current moment as an opportunity for Americans and other Westerners to choose liberalism anew, out of a recognition that the nationalist alternative is “pretty awful.” ........ the spirit of 1989 was itself as much a spirit of revived Eastern European nationalism as of liberalism alone. Which is one reason countries like Poland and Hungary have sorely disappointed liberals in their subsequent development ....... Putin’s invasion disproves “all the nonsense about how the West is decadent, the West is over, the West is in decline, how it’s a multipolar world and the rise of China.” With the West rallying to a resilient Ukraine, “all of that turned out to be bunk.” ........ What was bunk was the idea that Putin’s Russia represents some kind of efficient postliberal or traditionalist alternative to the problems of the West, and one whose military could simply steamroller Eastern Europe. .

How to Defeat Putin and Save the Planet Let this be the last war in which we and our allies fund both sides. ........ Western nations fund NATO and aid Ukraine’s military with our tax dollars, and — since Russia’s energy exports finance 40 percent of its state budget — we fund Vladimir Putin’s army with our purchases of Russian oil and gas. ....... you don’t see the North and the South (Poles) both melting at the same time ..... an ice shelf the size of New York City had collapsed in East Antarctica at the beginning of this freakish warm spell. ....... if all the water frozen in East Antarctica melts, it would raise sea levels more than 160 feet around the world. ....... Now Biden is begging the Saudis to dramatically increase their production to bring prices down. But the Saudis are mad at Biden for being mad at them for murdering the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi — and are reportedly not taking Biden’s calls. ....... it was the collapse in global oil prices between 1988 and 1992, triggered by Saudi overproduction, that helped bankrupt the Soviet Union and hasten its collapse. We can create the same effects today by overproducing renewables .......... When cars, trucks, buildings, factories and homes are all electrified and your grid is running mostly on renewables — presto! — we become increasingly free of fossil fuels, and Putin becomes increasingly dollar poor. ........ Electric cars are now flying out of the showrooms. ........ In World War II, the U.S. government asked citizens to plant victory gardens to grow their own fruits and vegetables — and save canned goods for the troops. Some 20 million Americans responded by planting gardens everywhere from backyards to rooftops. Well, what victory gardens were to our war effort then, solar rooftops are to our generation’s struggle against petro-dictatorships. ......... If you want to lower gasoline prices today, the most surefire, climate-safe method would be to reduce the speed limit on highways to 60 miles per hour and ask every company in America that can do so to let its employees work at home and not commute every day. Those two things would immediately cut demand for gasoline and bring down the price. ........... “It now costs more to ruin the earth than to save it.” It also “now costs less to liberate ourselves from petro-dictators than to remain enslaved by them.” .

Why So Many Doctors Treat Their Mental Health in Secret . Certain memories are seared into physicians’ psyches. The chirp of the pager. Driving home half asleep in a postcall haze. The strangest objects found in human orifices (cockroach in the ear). The most hours we continuously stayed awake. Delivering our first baby, watching our first patient die. These are all rites of passage. I’ve found it’s easy to discuss the funny memories, but the disturbing ones are harder. Even with the closest of friends, recounting the tough moments feels like passing on a burden. ........ A 15-year-old needed a sexual assault kit. A 3-year-old tested positive for the dad’s meth. A man dipped his 6-year-old’s feet in boiling oil. I once had two children die within six hours of each other. After each death, I choked back the welling tears, picked up the next patient’s chart and soldiered into the next room. The culture of medicine discourages doctors like me from crying, sleeping or making mistakes. Worse, we can even be punished for seeking mental health care. ......... Even before the Covid pandemic, mental health issues were an occupational hazard for physicians. ...... roughly 29 percent of resident physicians experienced depression or depressive symptoms. ....... 8 percent of Americans age 20 or older had depression in any given two weeks. ........ 16 percent of emergency physicians met the criteria for a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis. The pandemic seems to have made things worse ....... fall of 2020 .... as many as 36 percent of frontline physicians suffered from PTSD. ....... Doctors also have a high risk of death by suicide compared to many other professions. ......... Residency can consist of sleep deprivation, hunger, constantly being told you are not a good enough doctor and working a torturous 100-hour week, all while six figures in debt. Resident physicians routinely work on weekends and holidays, often with only four days off per month. ........ The merciless culture of medical education can revel in publicly shaming students; the practice of peppering residents or medical students with rapid-fire questions in front of colleagues and patients is called pimping. .......... Despite the grueling experiences, the medical profession often stigmatizes physicians who seek mental health care and erects barriers to such care. As of last spring, medical boards in 37 U.S. states and territories asked questions that could require a doctor seeking licensure to disclose any mental health treatments or conditions. These questions can be intrusive and overly general. ......... Ticking those boxes can feel like risking everything we have worked toward over years. It could result in the medical board reviewing our personal medical records, possibly in psychiatric and drug testing and perhaps even in having our medical license reviewed, suspended or revoked, all under the guise of establishing our professional competence. The questions have a chilling effect on doctors. ........ In a 2017 paper, nearly 40 percent of physicians reported being reluctant to seek mental health care because they worried it would jeopardize their chances of getting or renewing their medical licenses. In a 2016 survey of female physicians, close to half said they believed they had met the criteria for a mental illness but avoided care, in part for fear of licensing boards. ....... When physicians summon the courage to seek help, they might have to do so at the very hospital where they work and could be recognized by patients and colleagues. ...... He explained why his physician patients struggle to admit that they need care: “You’re supposed to know everything in a life-threatening crisis. There isn’t room for self-doubt,” he said. ........ This all has helped create an underground market of sorts for physician mental health care. An often unspoken rule: If you must seek mental health care, do it quietly. Find a therapist outside your city who documents only the bare minimum in your chart, pay with cash only, don’t let it be billed to your insurance company. Make sure there’s no paper trail. ........ As we enter the third year of the pandemic and creep toward one million dead Americans, it’s time for American health care to recognize the toll on its doctors and what it owes. The past two years have been characterized by violent attacks against doctors, accompanied by even longer hours, sicker patients, limited hazard pay and family sacrifices. A survey conducted in the second half of 2020 found that around one-fifth of doctors were considering leaving their practice within two years. Perhaps the saddest part is that the doctors we are often losing are the very ones we need: the gentle ones who you want holding your mother’s hand, the thoughtful, meticulous ones who call you on their day off. ......... It is time we collectively agree that physicians are worthy of the same compassion we give our patients. ........ We, as doctors, bear witness to humanity’s ugliest and most glorious moments, so it is only natural that we are deeply moved and sometimes disturbed by it all. Acknowledging this vulnerability isn’t weakness. It makes me a better doctor. It is what allows me to hold a patient’s hand under the fluorescent lighting of a sterile hospital in the middle of the night or stroke the congealed blood out of an infant’s lock of hair. ....... Doctors’ audacity to be human must outshine the medical institution’s cold, indifferent check box. .

Driven From City Life to Jungle Insurgency . Fleeing the military’s brutal crackdown, Myanmar’s newest rebels have abandoned cafes and professions to join a near-daily battle with long odds. .......... More than a year after Myanmar’s military seized full control in a coup — imprisoning the nation’s elected leaders, killing more than 1,700 civilians and arresting at least 13,000 more — the country is at war, with some unlikely combatants in the fray. ........ tens of thousands of young city-dwellers who have taken up arms, trading college courses, video games and sparkly nail polish for life and death in the jungle. ........ these Generation Z warriors have thrown off balance a military that has long made war crimes its calling card. And the conflict is escalating ........ Myanmar’s army, known as the Tatmadaw, is forced to fight on dozens of fronts, from the borderlands near India, China and Thailand to the villages and towns of the country’s heartland. There are skirmishes nearly every day, and casualties, too. ......... “All the Tatmadaw knows how to do is to kill,” said Ko Thant, who said he was a captain before he deserted from the army’s 77th Light Infantry Division last year and has since trained hundreds of civilians in battlefield tactics. “We were brainwashed all the time, but some of us have woken up.” ......... The opposition to the military’s coup in February 2021 began with an outpouring of millions of people into the streets of Myanmar’s cities and towns. ....... Within weeks, the Tatmadaw reverted to its old playbook. Army snipers targeted protesters with single, deadly shots to the head. ......... Some young people who had come of age during Myanmar’s decade of reform saw little utility in the message of nonviolent dissent coming from veteran democracy activists. They wanted to fight back. ........ There are now hundreds of civilian militias across Myanmar, organized loosely into what are called the People’s Defense Forces, or P.D.F. Each militia pledges allegiance to a civilian shadow government, the National Unity Government, which formed after the putsch, and some battalions are led by ousted lawmakers. ........ With little hope of outside help, the shadow authority has partnered with the ethnic insurgent groups that control territory in Myanmar’s border regions. Together, they have formed an underground railroad to bring young people to safety — and to train them in basic warfare. ........ The National Unity Government claims that the People’s Defense Forces, fighting alongside more experienced fighters from the ethnic militias, killed about 9,000 Tatmadaw soldiers from June 2021 through February 2022. (About 300 militia members have died in combat, according to the shadow government.) ........ He did not tell his family where he went for fear that the Tatmadaw would retaliate against them; some relatives of soldiers who deserted have been imprisoned and tortured. For all his child knows, he said, he might have been killed in combat. ....... “They are cowards,” he said, of the armed forces he had joined at the age of 15. “They are robots who cannot think.” ........ For members of Myanmar’s young generation, the coup was a return to an almost unimaginable past, one without Facebook and foreign investment. ........ United Nations investigators have said that the Myanmar military’s treatment of some of the country’s ethnic minorities bears the hallmarks of genocide. This month, the United States designated the Tatmadaw’s campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority as a genocide, as well. .

Late Night Has Fun With Trump’s Missing Phone Records “The only time there should be a seven-hour gap is when you’re trying to remember what happened on St. Patrick’s Day,” Jimmy Fallon said. ........ “This is the thing with Trump — you never know. You never know if he’s more evil or lazy. He could have been plotting the overthrow of the government, or he could have been watching Fox News in the bath — you just don’t know!” — JAMES CORDEN .

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

March 30: Ukraine

AOC’s Warning for Democrats: ‘We’re in Trouble’ . I was never under the illusion that we can bring Manchin along.” ....... Ocasio-Cortez was one one of only six Democrats (including Representative Jamaal Bowman of the Bronx) — to vote against Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill last November. She reasoned — correctly, it turned out — that severing the infrastructure spending from Biden’s much larger Build Back Better proposal would allow the bigger bill to be killed, in the closely divided Senate, by the defection of two conservative Democratic senators, Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. ......... the Democrats face an uphill battle to keep control of Congress — a situation that requires firing up the party’s progressive base, Ocasio-Cortez said. ........ “We need to acknowledge that this isn’t just about middle of the road, an increasingly narrow band of independent voters. This is really about the collapse of support among young people, among the Democratic base, who are feeling that they worked overtime to get this president elected and aren’t necessarily being seen,” she said. ........ “I worked with some of our organizers out in East Elmhurst, and we created the largest-ever federal funeral-assistance program for COVID-19. And so I was able to author an $8 billion FEMA program. Now, every single person in the United States who loses a loved one due to COVID-19, can get completely reimbursed for funeral expenses and laying their loved ones to rest. That started with community organizers in East Elmhurst. It was picked up by myself and my office, Senator Schumer supported us in that effort, and it to date is the largest funeral-assistance program in history.” ......... Locally, Ocasio-Cortez is steadily remaking the mainstream of Democratic politics in her own image: younger, more diverse and digital, and more willing to break with tradition. ........ Ocasio-Cortez’s formidable social-media operation, which has nearly 13 million followers on Twitter and 8.5 million on Instagram. ........ “I have endorsed and invested in, I believe, 19 city council candidates that won their races this past cycle. ........ Through Courage to Change, a political action committee, Ocasio-Cortez supported 15 of the new council’s 51 members who took the Courage to Change pledge, a set of promises to adopt a progressive agenda that include advancing pro-worker policies, supporting environmental justice, refusing donations from real estate, fossil fuel and corporate interests, and championing community-based public-safety strategies. ........ she scored a bull’s-eye by backing Brad Lander, the new city comptroller, who has already begun pushing progressive policies like the Green New Deal law that mandates ambitious antipollution standards for city buildings. ....... In nearly every aspect of politics that matters — re-election itself, fundraising ability, grooming younger politicians, staying in the national spotlight — Ocasio-Cortez is considerably more powerful now than when she exploded onto the scene in 2018. .

. Putin’s War Is Complicating India’s Middle Path Among Powers India has been reluctant to criticize Russia, long an important ally. But China’s rise, and its closeness to Vladimir Putin, is creating new pressure. ....... Prime ministers of Japan and Australia, both part of that alliance, held meetings with India’s leaders. Israel announced that its prime minister would arrive soon. ...... India called for an end to hostilities and respect for the territorial integrity of states — an expression of displeasure with Russia’s war without calling it out as an aggressor. ...... an increasing clarity among India’s foreign policy strategists that the country cannot afford to take sides in what is increasingly a multipolar world ......... India’s vulnerabilities — including a slowing economy that is struggling to meet the demands of a growing population and an ill-equipped military stretched on two fronts by territorial disputes with China and Pakistan — are such that it needs allies far and wide ...... “Indian foreign policy decisions are made in Indian national interest, and we are guided by our thinking, our views, our interests.” ..... There was talk of a Western “double game” in pressuring India to stop oil purchases from Russia, just about 1 percent of its overall oil imports, while Europe continued buying Russian oil. ........ Dr. Jaishankar is in a unique position, at once the chief theorist of India’s vision for a path in this complicated new world order and the person responsible for the difficult work of implementing of that vision. ...... During his four decades in India’s foreign service, he held ambassadorial postings in Washington and Beijing before retiring in 2018 as the country’s highest-ranking bureaucrat in the service. He was chosen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to become foreign minister a year later, but he used the gap to produce a book, “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World,” on the country’s foreign policy doctrine. ...... Indian officials stressed that the meetings with Mr. Wang were aimed at expediting the disengagement of the tens of thousands of troops ........ Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, who has listed India and China among countries “who would never accept the global village under the American sheriff,” is expected to arrive in New Delhi later this week. ........ the legacy of decades of dependence on Moscow and mistrust of Washington. ...... India lagged far behind China in opening up its economy, missing out on the early benefits of globalization that turned Beijing into a giant. India’s smaller G.D.P. — about $3 trillion, one-sixth of China’s — and the needs of a population of 1.4 billion have constrained the country’s military spending. ....... “Ultimately, the real security lies in economic growth and, you know, quickly getting to something close to $10 trillion,” said Arvind Panagariya, an economics professor at Columbia University who formerly advised Mr. Modi. “Basically what China did. Who would have taken China seriously until 1990?” ......... For a large part of India’s independent history, its leaders have looked to Moscow not just for weapons’ supplies, but also for political support at the United Nations. Moscow remained a steady ally when Washington repeatedly upset New Delhi, including aiding Pakistan — India’s enemy — and imposing sanctions on India for developing nuclear weapons. .........

the United States is now India’s largest trading partner

....... the Taliban, which New Delhi has long seen as a proxy of a Pakistani military that is hand in glove with Beijing. ...... In its quest for “strategic autonomy,” India has been slow in creating distance from Moscow. While India has increased its weapon purchases from the United States from little to about $20 billion in the past decade, it still depends on Russia for about 60 percent of its military equipment. ........ New Delhi joined the Quad alliance despite strong opposition from Russia and China, which have both likened it to a NATO in the east aiming to encircle China. But India has maintained its balancing act, buying weapons from Russia, including a missile defense system, despite threats of U.S. sanctions. ........... There remains a “deep distrust of the U.S.” in the Indian bureaucracy because of a legacy of seeing Washington as patronizing and unreliable. ......... “The U.S. bureaucracy has a lot of ifs and buts before it signs anything, while you have Russia coming and saying, ‘OK, let’s do this co-production’ and it’s done,” Dr. Kartha said. “Unless the U.S. is able to get past its own bureaucracy and its own way of thinking, we will still continue to be dependent on Russia.”

. General Strike Throws India Into Confusion The two-day strike, involving both public and private sector workers, was called to protest the Modi government’s economic policies, including a privatization plan. ........ The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a strong pitch for the privatization of some state-owned assets that it characterizes as underperforming. Government-backed financial institutions are protesting a federal move to privatize them and also protesting a bill that is expected to reduce the minimum government holding in public sector banks from 51 percent down to 26 percent. ...... The strikers’ list of 12 demands includes freezing all privatization plans and providing universal social security for workers in the so-called informal sector of the nation’s labor force, like rag pickers, street sweepers and rickshaw drivers. The informal sector makes up an estimated 80 percent of India’s 470 million workers. ....... “They are selling railways, airports, ports, oil industry and gas refineries and our power transmission sector, there is nothing left,” Mr. Saxena said. “Whatever our forefathers have built in this country is being now sold to big corporate and private entrepreneurs.” .

. Defection of Key Ally Gives Opposition the Votes to Oust Imran Khan Without the support of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, the country’s prime minister will lose the simple majority needed to survive Parliament’s no-confidence vote. ....... The announcement from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan or M.Q.M.-P, issued a critical blow to Mr. Khan, 69, who has been embroiled in a political crisis for weeks since the country’s powerful military withdrew support for his government and a coalition of opposition parties moved to vote him out of power. ...... “He has no other option, he has to resign,” said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party. ........ and denounced his opponents as part of an American-influenced conspiracy to remove him from office. ....... The political crisis comes as Pakistan, with 220 million people, grapples with rising costs of living and double-digit inflation that has sent the prices of basic goods soaring and fueled criticism that Mr. Khan was failing to deliver on his touchstone promises of reviving the economy and creating an Islamist welfare state. ........ The announcement by M.Q.M.-P on Wednesday brought the expected number of votes against Mr. Khan in Parliament to 177 — enough for the opposition to win the simple majority needed in the 342-member National Assembly to oust him. ....... The party’s support also meant that the opposition does not need to secure the votes of Mr. Khan’s party defectors ....... He has also said there is a foreign conspiracy against his government, in retaliation for his independent foreign policy. ....... Mr. Khan’s political fortunes dwindled in recent months after the country’s powerful military withdrew support for his government following differences over key military appointments. ...... He has been critical of the military’s newfound position of “neutrality” in domestic political affairs, and during one political rally said “only an animal is neutral,” stressing that people have to take sides when it is a matter of good and evil. .


PM Modi makes strong pitch for privatisation, asset monetisation Government has identified 100 assets whose sale could garner ₹2.5-lakh crore .

. Christophe Jaffrelot reviews “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World” by Dr S. Jaishankar . India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar is an unusual combination of diplomat, politician, and public intellectual. “The India Way” articulates his vision of India’s strategic choices. That he presently serves as India’s foreign minister makes the book an important primary document through which to understand the thinking of an influential architect of the country’s foreign policy. ......... he has a firm grasp on his subject: a career diplomat, he climbed all the ranks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, up to the supreme stage of Foreign Secretary – after having been ambassador in countries as important as China and the United States ....... Jaishankar emerges as not simply a spokesperson for Modi’s worldview but a believer ....... that Modi’s ascension to power in 2014 ushered India into a new era of expansion. ....... Firstly, the criteria for power are no longer the same. Access to technology, connectivity, and trade are now paramount. Secondly, all the regions of the world – and in particular the large countries have entered into unbridled competition: the planet is thus governed by an unprecedented multipolar logic. ........ He recommends exploiting the new circumstances in a realpolitik mode that is the polar opposite of what he describes as the “political romanticism” (p. 4) of yesteryear, a phrase implicitly associated with Jawaharlal Nehru and his sense of moralpolitik. ........

“the real obstacle to the rise of India is not any more the barriers of the world, but the dogmas of Delhi”

.......... the answer is to apply a purely transactional logic in its relations with a world that everyone is already doing, where there are no allies or friends, but only “frenemies” (p. 39): “In a world of more naked self-interest, nations will do what they have to do with less pretense” (p. 26) and “even partners will always strive for better terms of transactions” (p. 27). ........ “realism” (p. 12), “realpolitik” (p. 5), “hard security” (p. 74), but also “management of differences” (in order to exploit tensions between countries) and “pragmatic settlement” (p. 27). ....... In the “transactional bazaar” (p. 39) that the concert of nations has become, India must maximize its interests, guided unashamedly by the mantra of “advancing [its] national interests by identifying and exploiting opportunities created by global contradictions” (p. 11). ....... India must first establish a favorable balance of power. This requires a rise in economic power and genuine international activism. Economic growth is a categorical imperative, especially since, in Jaishankar’s eyes, India has already “emerged among the major economies of the world…” (p. 78). But the pursuit of all-out diplomacy occupies a more important place in the book. Early on, Jaishankar outlines his diplomatic agenda: “It is time for us to engage America, manage China, cultivate Europe, reassure Russia, bring Japan into play, draw neighbours in, extend the neighbourhood and expand traditional constituencies of support” (p. 10). ......... avoid alliances, exploit conflicts inherent in the multipolar world, and accept the contradictions that result. ......... “If India drove the revived Quad arrangement, it also took membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. A longstanding trilateral with Russia and China now coexists with one involving the US and Japan” (p. 14). ....... if the West does not understand that India does not see it as an ally, but only as a partner – and even then not on all issues -, “much of that arises from an ignorance of its thought processes. That is hardly surprising when much of the West was historically so dismissive of our society. It is revealing that the standard American introduction to Indian strategic thought does not even refer to the Mahabharata, though that epic so deeply influences the average Indian mind” (p. 47). ..........

it is India’s rediscovered nationalism that mandates the preference for multilateralism over alliances

........ an ethnic nationalism based on Hindu culture of which the Mahabharata is one of the flagships ........ “As an epic, [the Mahabharata] dwarfs its counterparts in other civilisations, not just in length but in its richness and complexity” .......... thanks to Narendra Modi, whose electoral victory in 2014 was a turning point for the country (p. 77). It was from this point on, according to Jaishankar, that “India set out to deliberately raise its global profile, consciously influence international gatherings and negotiations, purposefully increase high-level contacts and ambitiously invest in building linkages and connectivity” (p. 93). Such nationalism is the foundation of India’s success: “In emotional terms, nationalism obviously contributes to a stronger sense of unity. In political terms, it signifies a greater determination to combat sub-national and supra-national challenges to it. In policy terms, it focuses on how to maximize national capabilities and influence” (p. 114).2 ........... he trusts “the Indian street” more than “Lutyens Delhi” ...... his favourite target, the Indian senior civil service, because, for him, “Mandarins can no longer be impervious to the masses” (p. 110). The populist national rejection of yesterday’s cosmopolitan establishment is also explicit, as for Jaishankar “an elite created in a Western mould has now outlived its relevance” (p. 129). ........ For the moment, India refuses to choose sides and for its Western partners, one of the main lessons of Jaishankar’s book is precisely the low esteem in which he holds the West, the hegemon of yesterday that Asia will be called upon to replace. ......... The objective is to “engage competing powers like the US, China, the EU or Russia at the same time” (p. 15). ....... Jaishankar could have mentioned Indian ‘soft power’, but he does not believe in it. Instead, he attributes India’s bargaining power to its geopolitical position. India’s main asset today is to appear as a key element in the efforts of the West, Japan, Australia, and other Asian countries to counterbalance China – a country that Jaishankar is careful not to name here ........ For Jaishankar, the great powers see only advantages in India’s rise, which must in turn take full measure of this reliance: “If the world has developed stakes in India’s prominence, the latter, in turn, can utilize that sentiment to the fullest” (p. 41). For India, it is a question of offering a point of support to the great powers in the Indo-Pacific which “undeniably is a priority for all of them” (p. 182).3 “By maintaining a strong posture there, India’s value rises…” (p. 185), writes Jaishankar. The main target, in this respect, is none other than the West because, for him, “A stronger partnership with the West will lead to considerable political benefits and economic gains…” (p. 123). .......... “a parallel pursuit of multiple priorities, some of whom could be contradictory” (p. 16). ......... “To the uninitiated or the anachronistic, the pursuit of apparently contradictory approaches may seem baffling. How does one reconcile a Howdy Modi gathering [the Houston rally where Modi campaigned for Trump in 2019] with a Mamallapuram [named after the small town where Modi met with Xi Jinping also in 2019] or a Vladivostok Summit? Or the RIC (Russia-India-China) with JAI (Japan-America-India)? Or the Quad and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization)? An Iran with the Saudis, or Israel with Palestine? The answer is in the willingness to look beyond dogma and enter the real world of convergences. Think of it as calculus, not just as arithmetic.” (p. 100) ......... A critical assumption here is that India has become so indispensable on an international scene marked by extreme fluidity that its partners will not be offended if it also deals with some of their adversaries. ......... “There is much that India can learn from China. One important lesson is demonstrating global relevance as the surest way of earning the world’s respect” (p. 8). But China shows India the way from another point of view: “China, as the first non-Western power to seriously rise in the post-1945 era, has drawn on its cultural heritage to project its responsibility and shape the narrative. It is but logical that India too should follow suit” (p. 47). ........ Jaishankar argues that China is not in fact hostile to India because it “sees India as inherent to the rise of Asia and the larger rebalancing of the power distribution” (p. 40). ......... “The ability of India and China to work together could determine the Asian century” (p. 133). Thus, when he praises nationalism, Jaishankar adds that it is “represented by the rise of nations like China and India, of a continent like Asia and the consequent rebalancing of the global order” (p. 112). ......... “China is the great disrupter here since unlike Japan, South Korea or the ASEAN, its emergence cannot be accommodated in the old framework. The rise of India will only reinforce this pressure for change” (p. 113). ....... “India should not underestimate the influence that the West still retains” (p. 121). Dismantling Western dominance must occur by attacking the architecture of the international system: ......... “The key of Western durability till now is the set of institutions and practices that it progressively but firmly established in the period of its dominance. There is virtually no sector of human activity that in some form or the other is not shaped or regulated by it. Rules are set for the entire world, as well as for the global commons. These are supported by narratives that serve the West well, while diminishing its competitors. The mix of institutions, regimes, regulations and understandings is such a complex web that creating alternatives is truly a formidable challenge. However, as global power redistribution progresses, this will inevitably happen.” (p. 121) ........... the fact that the fight against climate change is a bone of contention between India and Western countries has rarely been articulated so clearly by an Indian minister. ........

India expects China to show better feelings towards it regarding its membership of the Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

...... the uncompromising defense of Indian interests in a realpolitik mode, underpinned and legitimized by a strong ethnic nationalism; the certainty of attaining a form of power, fueled by the fact that many major countries are courting India; and the corresponding refusal to choose sides in order to maximize one’s transactional advantage. This triptych is generally perceived as a rupture with the past brought about by Narendra Modi, which Jaishankar also affirms. ......... competent stewardship is lacking, growth is at half-mast, and India does not have the means to accomplish its foreign policy ....... For the moment, India refuses to choose sides and for its Western partners, one of the main lessons of Jaishankar’s book is precisely the low esteem in which he holds the West, the hegemon of yesterday that Asia will be called upon to replace. His approach is reminiscent of that of the Pakistani leaders who made themselves indispensable to the West against the USSR, China, and then Al Qaeda by pursuing a double game. Here again, Chinese strategy is the decisive variable: India will have to give up its Asian dream and move closer to the West if China threatens its interests more directly in the future.


What if Putin Didn’t Miscalculate? . Putin’s miscalculations raise questions about his strategic judgment and mental state. Who, if anyone, is advising him? Has he lost contact with reality? ......... Russia’s sieges of Mariupol and Kharkiv — two heavily Russian-speaking cities that Putin claims to be “liberating” from Ukrainian oppression — resemble what the Nazis did to Warsaw, and what Putin himself did to Grozny. ........ “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” .......... tends toward the conclusion that the best outcome is one in which Putin finds some face-saving exit: additional Ukrainian territory, a Ukrainian pledge of neutrality, a lifting of some of the sanctions. ....... In the early phases of the war, motivated Chechen fighters wiped out a Russian armored brigade, stunning Moscow. The Russians regrouped and wiped out Grozny from afar, using artillery and air power. ........ Since when has Putin ever played clean? ........ Suppose for a moment that Putin never intended to conquer all of Ukraine: that, from the beginning, his real targets were the energy riches of Ukraine’s east, which contain Europe’s second-largest known reserves of natural gas (after Norway’s). ....... Combine that with Russia’s previous territorial seizures in Crimea (which has huge offshore energy fields) and the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk (which contain part of an enormous shale-gas field), as well as Putin’s bid to control most or all of Ukraine’s coastline, and the shape of Putin’s ambitions become clear. ........ He’s less interested in reuniting the Russian-speaking world than he is in securing Russia’s energy dominance. ..........

“Under the guise of an invasion, Putin is executing an enormous heist”

......... It also makes sense of his strategy of targeting civilians. More than simply a way of compensating for the incompetence of Russian troops, the mass killing of civilians puts immense pressure on Zelensky to agree to the very things Putin has demanded all along: territorial concessions and Ukrainian neutrality. The West will also look for any opportunity to de-escalate, especially as we convince ourselves that a mentally unstable Putin is prepared to use nuclear weapons. ......... Within Russia, the war has already served Putin’s political purposes. Many in the professional middle class — the people most sympathetic to dissidents like Aleksei Navalny — have gone into self-imposed exile. The remnants of a free press have been shuttered, probably for good. To the extent that Russia’s military has embarrassed itself, it is more likely to lead to a well-aimed purge from above than a broad revolution from below. Russia’s new energy riches could eventually help it shake loose the grip of sanctions.

. Yes, There Is a Clash of Civilizations . the backbone of Huntington’s book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” which was seen as a sweeping interpretive alternative to Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” thesis, with its vision of liberal democracy as the horizon toward which post-Cold War societies were likely to converge. ......... the Ukraine war as “definitive proof (because we have many others) that the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ theory does not work” — mostly because Huntington had predicted that countries that share Orthodox Christianity would be unlikely to go to war with one another, but instead here we have Putin’s Russia making war, and not for the first time, against a largely Orthodox Christian neighbor, even as he accommodates Muslim constituencies inside Russia. ....... the civilizational model has been a useful framework for understanding events over the last 20 years, but lately we have been moving back to a world of explicitly ideological conflict — one defined by a Western elite preaching a universal gospel of “neoliberalism” and “wokeness,” and various regimes and movements that are trying to resist it. ......... American power didn’t seem to be obviously declining. China was integrating with the Western world and liberalizing to some degree, not charting its own civilizational course. Russia in Putin’s first term seemed to aspire to alliances with America and Europe and to a certain kind of democratic normalcy. .......... China’s one-party meritocracy, Putin’s uncrowned czardom, the post-Arab Spring triumph of dictatorship and monarchy over religious populism in the Middle East, the Hindutva populism transforming Indian democracy — these aren’t just all indistinguishable forms of “autocracy,” but culturally distinctive developments that fit well with Huntington’s typology, his assumption that specific civilizational inheritances would manifest themselves as Western power diminishes, as American might recedes. ......... .


Why Bitcoin Mining Is Great for The Planet Turns out bitcoin mining can solve our energy concerns rather than contribute to them ...... Bitcoin makes no apology for the power it consumes. ....... if we agree — just for the duration of this article if nothing else — that bitcoin’s POW solution will continue for as long as the network itself does and accept that bitcoin itself has value, then there is a no question that using power to create and run it is justified. ....... Not only does bitcoin have the opportunity to radically and completely change the entire global financial system as we know it for the better, it also has the potential to deliver substantial benefits for the environment at the same time. ...... It surprises people to learn that we have enough energy to fulfill all of the planet’s current and future needs. ....... all of this energy comes from one single, clean source — the sun ...... Bitcoin, almost certainly by accident rather than design, provides us with an opportunity we have never had before to accelerate renewable energy networks in a way that is both reliable and cost effective. ....... 0.05% of all power produced on the planet is used for bitcoin mining, and the entire industry produces only 0.08% of global CO2 emissions. ....... miners are “non-rival” consumers of energy. In the vast majority of cases and on an increasing basis, miners use power that is unwanted by others, stranded, wasted, produced in the wrong place or even at the wrong time. ........ truly mobile. They can set up anywhere there is room to stack a few ASICS (Application Specific Integrated Circuits — the specialist equipment used by miners) and a power connection. The only other requirement, internet, can be provided via satellite. ......... Since miners are incentivized to use power that is cheap to maximize margins and can be set up in any location, they are able to absorb these significant pockets of extra power that would otherwise be generated, but lost. .......... Some have offered the analogy of bitcoin miners being the “dung beetles” of the energy world, slipping into places where other industries can’t (or won’t) go, finding pockets of wasted power deep in the crevices of over supplied substations and local networks. ........ connect generators directly to the well caps, use the excess gas to generate electricity and install mining apparatus next to it, literally right there on the site. ...... Not only are bitcoin miners incredibly flexible in terms of where they set up, they are also incredibly flexible about how they operate. .

BITCOIN’S MONETARY SUPERIORITY IS GUARANTEED BY PHYSICS The properties inherent to Bitcoin are deterministic, not probabilistic, and rely on the natural laws which make up our world...... . One of the least thought of ways that energy is present in our world today, until the advent of proof-of-work in Bitcoin, is how the concept of energy applies to money. ...... The distinct problem that we have today is that the monetary energy in the world is fundamentally distorted to the point where the signal is completely broken. Central banks have routinely bailed out Cantillon insiders and distorted the real cost of capital through interest rate manipulation. This has caused all understanding of monetary value to be lost. ...... Bitcoin combines the first and third law of thermodynamics. ....... Bitcoin isn’t a perfect monetary system. It’s simply the best monetary system the world has ever seen. This is why, on a long enough time scale, the majority of the world’s monetary energy will be stored on the Bitcoin network. It’s simply the natural laws of the universe that make this inevitable. .

BITCOIN IS A SAVINGS ACCOUNT WITH AN AVERAGE GROWTH OF OVER 100% A YEAR The solution to the problem facing billions of people around the world: access to a cheap, secure and reliable savings account. ...... With its fixed supply, open-source software and peer-to-peer (p2p) structure, bitcoin is the global money of the people, by the people, for the people. ........ Bitcoin is a fascinating entity which sits at the intersection of cryptography, economics and money, open-source software and computer science, game theory, politics and law, and more. Because of bitcoin’s multifaceted nature, it means different things to different people. .......... a rational choice by an increasing number of individuals and institutions to benefit from the best savings technology the world has ever seen ........ each bitcoin consists of a hundred million satoshis, meaning you can buy a fraction of a bitcoin. ...... Bitcoin’s meteoric rise fits in with the broader digital revolution which is dematerializing the physical world. ....... it is not the “Myspace of crypto” ....... In its 12-year existence, bitcoin has already eaten a $1 trillion-sized chunk out of the legacy financial system. ......... and consider bitcoin’s total addressable market is in the many hundreds of trillions of dollars, it is only getting started ......... At its core bitcoin is the soundest money ever invented by human civilization. ........ To date, despite having $1 trillion on the network, Bitcoin has not been hacked. ......... on August 16, 2018, in Caracas, Venezuela, a roll of toilet paper cost 2.6 million bolívars (the equivalent of $0.40). In Zimbabwe, in 2009, 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar bills were introduced, and, at the time, when in a bar, it was not uncommon for the price of the drinks to double by the time of the second round. .......... it has had 99.98% of uptime since going live in 2009 and is accessible 24/7 and 365 days per year. Unlike traditional banking, bitcoin does not have inconvenient opening times as it does not sleep. ......... the broad measure of the stock of dollars, known as the M2 money supply, rose from $15.34 trillion at the start of 2020 to $18.72 trillion in September 2020. The increase of $3.38 trillion equals 18% of the total supply of dollars. ......... nearly one in five dollars was created in 2020. ...... at a stroke of a computer key, every other dollar in existence had an 18% reduction in purchasing power. ......... since inception, bitcoin’s volatility trends to the upside. Consequently, the longer people have held a portion of their savings in bitcoin the more it has increased in purchasing power. ............ No other altcoin can compete with bitcoin’s superior monetary properties, established market cap, network effects, mining and hardware infrastructure, ATMs and so forth. ....... increased transaction throughput and speed can be achieved on the second layer of Bitcoin, such as the Lightning Network. This way the decentralization of bitcoin’s base layer is not compromised. ........ I would recommend looking no further than bitcoin. ........ “Bitcoin is as green as an electric car. Nothing about Bitcoin requires emissions. It will take whatever electricity you feed it. If the world goes green, so does Bitcoin.” ........ bitcoin enables a deflationary (meaning a reduction in global prices) economic system which would allow us to break out of the current, “endless growth” economic model. ........ With CBDCs, central banks will be able to offer digital dollars, pounds or yuan directly to citizens. Some people think this will threaten bitcoin’s rise, the short answer is “no” as they will still be a form of unsound money — meaning endless units can be printed — unlike bitcoin’s fixed supply of 21 million. ........... People have been saying this since the bitcoin price was $1, $100, $1,000 and $10,000 per coin and the same will be said when the price is $100,000, $1 million and beyond. .......... Global bitcoin adoption currently stands at around 2% of the world’s population and bitcoin solves a problem facing billions of people around the world — that of unsound money and the lack of a cheap, secure and reliable savings account. ......... Bitcoin’s market cap is $1 trillion and its addressable market is in the hundreds of trillions. ....... bitcoin can already be seen to be eating into gold, owing to its superior monetary technology ........

bitcoin is on track to becoming the primary store of value for global citizens.

......... bitcoin’s fixed supply of 21 million coins, decentralized nature and unstoppable code make it the soundest money invented by human civilization. ........ Currently, people around the world are working increasingly harder for ever-devaluing national currencies. Bitcoin’s growth at over 100% per year for the last 10 years offers global citizens the choice to store their wealth in the latter and not the former.

‘Russian soldiers raped me as my terrified son cried’ The woman whose case could be the first heard in a war crimes investigation tells Catherine Philp in Kyiv what happened ........ Natalya speaks in a hushed voice, fearful that Oleksii, her young son, will wake and learn the terrible truth. Of why they had to flee the little house by the pine forest that his father built for them. Of what the men with guns did to her while the boy sat sobbing in the darkened boiler room. Of who the man was lying lifeless in their front yard as they left home for the last time. ...... “He doesn’t understand much,” she explains down the phone line from the western city where mother and son fled three weeks ago from their village near Kyiv. “In the playground here, he goes up to people and says that we had to leave our house because there was war .

Am I Too Late for Bitcoin? . it is still very, very early. ........ Those who deeply under­stand Bitcoin tend to view its poten­tial as at least that of gold (~$13T) but theoret­i­cally more like $200T (about half the world’s total value). ....... the ~$100T in total value sitting in the world’s various curren­cies. ....... Since it’s unprece­dented for a store of value commodity to attain a value greater than gold, it’s simply uncharted terri­tory. ....... There are endless examples of people lamenting how late they were in 2011 or 2013 or 2016, when Bitcoin’s price was $5, $100, and $600, respectively. ............ latecomers to the California gold rush would have been disap­pointed to find the rich gold fields already spoken for, and might have settled instead for a few hundred acres of ranch land now worth a fortune. ........ To match gold’s valua­tion, Bitcoin still has to grow 26x. ........... And if the high-end outcome ends up being the case, a full 99.7% of Bitcoin’s total wealth gener­a­tion remains ahead. This would mean Bitcoin still has 400x to grow, dwarfing the gold milestone. ........ 2.2B people in the world have at least $10k in net worth ........ impov­er­ished commu­ni­ties will also use Bitcoin as a store of value, and will arguably derive greater utility from it as a result of marginal access to tradi­tional banking infra­struc­ture as “low value” bank customers. ........ Signif­i­cant believers .... most of the people who count themselves as believers in Bitcoin, including most of Bitcoin Twitter, are somewhere in this group. ....... ~820k addresses have at least 1 Bitcoin. ........ 125k maximal­ists. ..... it seems to me that there are maybe 10k actively engaged Bitcoin maximal­ists on Twitter, the primary home of maximalist commu­ni­ca­tion . ........ Bitcoin is on a path to become the dominant store of value and preferred money for the world .

The Bullish Case for Bitcoin . Never in the history of the world had it been possible to transfer value between distant peoples without relying on a trusted intermediary, such as a bank or government. ........ The ramifications of the creation of Bitcoin are so profound for both economics and computer science that Nakamoto should rightly be the first person to qualify for both a Nobel prize in Economics and the Turing award. ....... By design, only 21 million bitcoins will ever be mined and most of these already have been — approximately 16.8 million bitcoins have been mined at the time of writing. Every four years the number of bitcoins produced by mining halves and the production of new bitcoins will end completely by the year 2140. .......... An apple grower may desire trade with a fisherman, for example, but if the fisherman does not desire apples at the same moment, the trade will not take place. ......... Achieving a Nash Equilibrium for a store of value is a major boon to any society, as it greatly facilitates trade and the division of labor, paving the way for the advent of civilization. .......... the 19th century was the first time when most of the world converged on a single store of value — gold — and this period saw the greatest explosion of trade in the history of the world .......... Bitcoins are the most portable store of value ever used by man. ....... The attribute that most clearly distinguishes Bitcoin from fiat currencies and gold is its predetermined scarcity. By design, at most 21 million bitcoins can ever be created. ........ Nation-states have shown a persistent proclivity to inflate their money supply to solve short-term political problems. ........ No monetary good has a history as long and storied as gold, which has been valued for as long as human civilization has existed. Coins minted in the distant days of antiquity still maintain significant value today. ....... The use of inflation as an insidious means of invisibly taxing a citizenry has been a temptation that few states in history have been able to resist. ....... If Bitcoin exists for 20 years, there will be near-universal confidence that it will be available forever, much as people believe the Internet is a permanent feature of the modern world. ......... every transaction transmitted on the Bitcoin network is forever recorded on a public blockchain. The historical record of transactions allows for later forensic analysis to identify the source of a flow of funds. ....... A classic example of regulated money transmission is capital controls. A wealthy millionaire, for instance, may find it very hard to transfer their wealth to a new domicile if they wish to flee an oppressive regime. ............ Many have criticized Bitcoin as being an unsuitable money because its price has been too volatile to be suitable as a medium of exchange. This puts the cart before the horse, however. Money has always evolved in stages, with the store of value role preceding the medium of exchange role. ......... In the earliest days of Bitcoin, many people did not appreciate the huge opportunity cost of using bitcoins as a medium of exchange, rather than as an incipient store of value. The famous story of a man trading 10,000 bitcoins (worth approximately $94 million at the time of this article’s writing) for two pizzas illustrates this confusion. .......... The monetary premium of silver disappeared almost entirely in the late 19th century when governments across the world largely abandoned it as money in favor of gold. ....... Money acts as the foundation for all trade and savings, so the adoption of a superior form of money has tremendous multiplicative benefits to wealth creation for all members of a society. ......... $0–$1 (2009–March 2011): The first hype cycle in the Bitcoin market was dominated by cryptographers, computer scientists and cypherpunks who were already primed to understand the importance of Satoshi Nakamoto’s groundbreaking invention and who were pioneers in establishing that the Bitcoin protocol was free of technical flaws. ......... $1–$30 (March 2011–July 2011): The second cycle attracted both early adopters of new technology and a steady stream of ideologically motivated investors who were dazzled by the potential of a stateless money. .......... $250–$1100 (April 2013–December 2013): The third hype cycle saw the entrance of early retail and institutional investors who were willing to brave the horrendously complicated and risky liquidity channels from which bitcoins could be bought. ....... In the first hype cycle, there were no exchanges available, and acquisition of bitcoins was primarily through mining or by direct exchange with someone who had already mined bitcoins. In the second hype cycle, rudimentary exchanges became available, but obtaining and securing bitcoins from these exchanges remained too complex for all but the most technologically savvy investors. Even in the third hype cycle, significant hurdles remained for investors transferring money to MtGox to acquire bitcoins. ......... By the time the fourth hype cycle began in 2016 it was relatively easy for retail investors to buy bitcoins and secure them. .......... $1100–$19600? (2014–?): ...... The entrance of the first state to officially add bitcoins to their reserves will likely trigger a stampede for others to do so. ........ The states that are the earliest in adopting Bitcoin would see the largest benefit to their balance sheets if Bitcoin ultimately became a global reserve currency. ............ There is a great irony that the US is currently one of the nations most open in its regulatory position toward Bitcoin, while China and Russia are the most hostile. The US risks the greatest downside to its geopolitical position if Bitcoin were to supplant the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. In the 1960s, Charle de Gaulle criticized the “exorbitant privilege” the US enjoyed from the international monetary order it crafted with the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944. ......... the banking industry and the US Federal Reserve are finally having their first inkling of the existential threat Bitcoin poses to US monetary policy if it were to become a global reserve currency ........ There is another danger, perhaps even more serious from the point of view of the central banks and regulators:

bitcoin might not crash

. If the speculative fervor in the cryptocurrency is merely the precursor to it being widely used as an alternative to the dollar, it will threaten the central banks’ monopoly on money. .......... Not only does a sovereign money enjoy the advantage of a constant source of demand, by way of taxes being remittable only in it, but competing monetary goods are taxed whenever they are exchanged at an appreciated value. This latter kind of taxation creates significant friction to using a store of value as a medium of exchange. .......... the replacement of the Zimbabwe dollar with the US dollar. ....... The ability to easily transmit bitcoins across borders and absence of a need for a banking system make Bitcoin an ideal monetary good to acquire for those afflicted by hyperinflation. ........ When a nation’s money is abandoned and replaced by Bitcoin, Bitcoin will have transitioned from being a store of value in that society to a generally accepted medium of exchange. ......... As Bitcoin surpasses the market capitalization of gold, its volatility will decrease to a level that will make it suitable as a widely used medium of exchange. ......... once the opportunity cost of trading bitcoins is at a level at which it is suitable as a medium of exchange, most trades will not occur on the Bitcoin network itself but on “second layer” networks with much lower fees. Second layer networks, such as the Lightning network, provide the modern equivalent of the promissory notes that were used to transfer titles for gold in the 19th century............ The development of the Lightning network is a profoundly important technical innovation in Bitcoin’s history and its value will become apparent as it is developed and adopted in the coming years. ............ Binance, a prominent exchange that started in China, moved to Japan after the Chinese government halted its operations in China. ........ National governments are also wary of smothering a nascent industry that may prove as consequential as the Internet, thereby ceding a tremendous competitive advantage to other nations. ......... As a non-sovereign monetary good, it is possible that at some stage in the future Bitcoin will become a global money much like gold during the classical gold standard of the 19th century. ........ the brilliant cryptographer Hal Finney, the recipient of the first bitcoins sent by Nakamoto ...... [I]magine that Bitcoin is successful and becomes the dominant payment system in use throughout the world. Then the total value of the currency should be equal to the total value of all the wealth in the world. Current estimates of total worldwide household wealth that I have found range from $100 trillion to $300 trillion. With 20 million coins, that gives each coin a value of about $10 million. ............ It is more likely, and unfortunate, that tin-pot dictatorships and kleptocracies will be the first nations to enter the Bitcoin market. ........... Bitcoin rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the 2008 global financial catastrophe — a catastrophe that was precipitated by the policies of central banks like the Federal Reserve. ........ A global, non-inflationary reserve currency will force nation-states to alter their primary funding mechanism from inflation to direct taxation, which is far less politically palatable. States will shrink in size commensurate to the political pain of transitioning to taxation as their exclusive means of funding.

The two types of Altcoins, an investor's view The vast majority of alt-coins are Degenerators. Their price chart has a measurable half-life, like radioactive decay. Plotted on a log chart, it's a straight line down. ....... Oscillators are proving store of value (SoV) properties. To qualify they need to keep up with BTCUSD gains. To find them, plot their BTC value. It must oscillate around a horizontal line, for at least one full bull-bear cycle (around 4yrs). More cycles are better. ....... Let me bring up this Oscillator. It's DOGE, a coin that was created as a joke, it has had no active development for years. It's a humour fork of Bitcoin offering no technical innovation.