Thursday, September 15, 2022
Life Is an Accident of Space and Time
Why the U.S. Is Being Ominously Compared to Hungary and Turkey A conversation with Max Fisher, who covers the decline of democracy around the world.
Opinion: Putin is fooling no one -- certainly not Xi In Samarkand, Putin will undoubtedly keep up his triumphant, self-assured demeanor -- but that will fool no one, certainly not Xi, who must be deeply worried about the astonishing collapse of Russia's forces in northeast Ukraine....... Not only is Russia humiliated, Ukraine exuberant, and the West united, but even China, which still expresses support for the Kremlin, is making statements that embarrass Russia. ........ Russia confirmed Xi and Putin would meet on the sidelines of the summit for "very important" talks. China has confirmed Xi's trip, but its foreign minister on Tuesday declined to confirm a meeting with the Russian president. ........ The relationship between Xi and Putin was never one of equals, but now Putin is encountering Xi during one of the most disastrous moments of his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. He will likely seek more support from Xi, who has been generous with words but much less with deeds. ......... China has been reluctant to break the sanctions, or step in to provide a major boost to Russia's dwindling military supplies. If it had, Putin could have avoided the awkward spectacle of seeking weapons from Iran and North Korea, minor, if aggressive powers. .......... Putin needs Xi much more than Xi needs Putin, and that imbalance has grown far greater since their last meeting. ........ he Russian president's suppression of all criticism about the war has taken an expected turn. Those who opposed the "special military operation," have gone to prison, exile or have mostly fallen silent. But now some of the war's most vocal supporters are fuming, enraged by the military's poor performance. (They even call it a "war" -- a word that could not previously be uttered without some consequence.) ........... A strongman cannot afford to be weak, and Putin knows it. ........ For now, there's no chance that Beijing will discard its unofficial alliance with Moscow, even if Russia is a greatly diminished power. Xi wants to be the leader of a global front opposing the US-led liberal democratic order. To do that, he needs to line up support from nations large and small. And Russia remains an important, nuclear-armed nation. ........... Next month, China's Communist Pary will hold its twice-a-decade party congress. Xi, China's most powerful figure since Mao, is expected to secure an unprecedented third term amid a sharp economic slowdown, made worse by his extreme zero-Covid policy. The possibility of a global recession, heightened by Russia's gas wars against Europe, would hit export-reliant China very hard.
Why the U.S. Is Being Ominously Compared to Hungary and Turkey A conversation with Max Fisher, who covers the decline of democracy around the world. ....... That democracy is declining more or less everywhere now. Not necessarily in every country but in every region, in rich and poor countries, old and new democracies. And the decline is incremental but steady, which means that the scale of the change isn’t necessarily obvious until you start looking at the data. ......... What happens is more like what has occurred in Venezuela, say, or Turkey or Hungary. Elected leaders rise within a democracy promising to defeat some threat within, and in the process end up slowly tearing that democracy down. ......... more democracies are in decline today than at any other point in the last century. .......... The United States fits pretty cleanly into what is now a well-established global pattern of democratic backsliding.
Tuesday, July 05, 2022
Through my blockchain startup I intend to build the most sophisticated digital tools to put at the service of the democracy movement in Russia. The Russian people have to take the lead. The Russian diaspora has to take the lead. I did similar work before Facebook with barely a blog and a mailing list hosted for free by Google. But then we also wrote before computers. It will not hurt to have the tools I intend to build.
Liberty is at risk in the United States. The same tools could be used to take this country to a new Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson expected a constituent assembly every 30 years or so. It has been way more than 30 years.
Racism is fascism. It is the opposite of liberty.
The same tools will neutralize the surveillance state that is China. But the proof is in the pudding. The work of liberty will take China back to a 10% growth rate, clean energy powered. Perhaps the CCP needs to be broken up like AT&T. Xi is Brezhnev. Perhaps there is an emerging figure in the Chinese Communist Party who successfully pushes the case for political reform.
The same digital tools will turn Saudi Arabia into a republic. The smart monarchies in the Gulf will volunteer to become constitutional monarchies. The not so smart ones will pave the way for repubics.
The same digital tools will take e-Estonia like government services to every poor, nascent democracy on the planet and help build the institutions of democracy.
Voting should be eezy peezy. Noone should be without a digital identity that they can take to the bank that resides on their phones.
Facebook and Twitter did not topple Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. The people did. Facebook and Twitter were just digital tools.
Slowly accepting the fact that having a routine is boring but it can 10x your productivity.— Shweta Kukreja (@ShwetaKukreja_) July 5, 2022
Russia's Democracy Movement will be tokenized. https://t.co/YaBK8rHUwV #russia #ukraine #UkraineRussiaWar #Russian #PutinWarCriminal #Navalny #alexeinavalny #UkraineRussia @variainayurt @alexromanovich @ZelenskyyUa @navalny @mbk_center @nytdavidbrooks— Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) May 7, 2022
CZ. @cz_binance Let's team up on Africa. Invest in my blockchain startup, like Yahoo invested in Alibaba. Crypto trading can not be the starting point for Africa. So you are not it.— Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) July 6, 2022
Excited to announce my next adventure with @PanteraCapital. Bear markets are great times to focus on what needs to be built. I write about how I’m fascinated by the concepts of open source money and open source Disney, and why I’m joining Pantera. https://t.co/gBQMzUoHXk— Chia Jeng Yang (@chiajy2000) July 5, 2022
pre-seed founders - at 12pm et tomorrow i'm joining @anamitra and @kaylakav to answer questions about the @AforeVC alpha program!— jack mcclelland (@jackmmcclelland) July 6, 2022
afore alpha gives $1m (at $10m post-$ val) to pre-seed founders no matter what industry, geography, or stage you're at
ask any questions you have! https://t.co/6XLNrCnMdr
"From my interactions with the a16z team, they can only be described as “Crypto Ocean’s Eleven” consisting of some of the very best hackers, cypherpunks, operators and builders from every corner of the internet." @joandthezhus What a compliment @a16z @pmarca @cdixon— Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) July 6, 2022
What I had to say about AI in 2018, and pretty much what I say today. pic.twitter.com/tpwjDL8Mpi— Monica Byrne (@monicabyrne13) June 13, 2022
Urgently recruiting for an assistant to support me in my work for the CIA. Expertise in liver journal will be considered as an advantage pic.twitter.com/DdUZRG9dVH— Varia Bo 💙💛 (@variainayurt) July 5, 2022
"'I have this math competition experience, that ... you have to be fast,' [Wang] said. 'But June is the opposite. … If you talk to him for five minutes about some calculus problem, you’d think this guy wouldn’t pass a qualifying exam. He’s very slow.'"https://t.co/WrQRRzd0ge— Joe (@joe_d_campbell) July 5, 2022