President Vladimir Putin sees his country in an “information war” with the West. The underlying assumption is that Western media organizations are linked in a vast conspiracy to defame and undermine Russia, so the Kremlin has no choice but to reply in kind. Since the beginning of the month, Russia’s state media holding Rossiya Segodnya has launched an international news agency, called Sputnik, as well as RT Deutsch, a German-language version of broadcaster Russia Today.
The purpose of the media offensive isn’t so much to present an alternative point of view as to create a parallel reality where crackpots become experts and conspiracy theories offer explanations for the injustices of the world. The target audience is Western citizens skeptical of their own system of government. The goal is obfuscation.
– Lucian Kim
I love the idea that prosperity can be decreed by a G20 communiqué. World leaders in Brisbane have airily committed themselves to two per cent growth. (Why only two per cent? Why not 20 per cent? Or 200 per cent? Who knew it was so easy?) Meanwhile, in the real world, the divergence between Continental Europe and the rest of the planet accelerates.
– Daniel Hannan
This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.
– Professor Jonathan Gruber, “one of the key figures in constructing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare”, via Reason, via David Thomson.
What is amazing is how the “Stab in the back” myth got going.
I’m watching a similar narrative unfold in Russia. The myth being propagated, and lapped up, is that Russia was strong and respected in the days of the USSR and then suddenly a handful of people (who naturally were nothing to do with Russia, really) gave it all up and surrendered unnecessarily. The West rushed in, led by the Americans, with the sole purpose of grinding Russians’ noses into the dirt and dismantling their country. They very nearly succeeded, but fortunately Putin descended from the clouds to save the nation, and is setting about restoring Russia’s place in the world and thanks to him Russia is strong again and will never again be subject to humiliation at the hands of the Americans.
Of course, the reality is that Russia persisted with an idiotic system of economic and political management despite the West telling them not to, and it inevitably collapsed around their ears. Rather than take the women and children as slaves, shoot all the men, and plough salt into the earth the West took pity on their former sworn enemies and offered them well-intended but hopelessly naive advice on how to build a market economy – naive because it failed to take into account the fact that far too many Russians would rather kill each other in order to get filthy rich than do some work and add some value. Having contributed to the almighty mess that Russia became, certain state-backed thugs rose to the top and accepted Putin as their leader who spent about 7-8 years providing some much-needed stability before the oil price rose, stoked his ego, and sent him into the delusion that he is some kind of Peter the Great figure who is destined to restore Russia’s place at the global top-table. Which is a fine aim, but thus far he’s managed to shoot down an airliner, ban the import of Lithuanian cheese, help himself to a peninsular he can only access in summer, and the traffic lights in most Russian towns still don’t work.
As with Germany, the second time around, the West might not be so charitable.
– Jake Barnes commenting on a Samizdata article.
Yeah and so when I left (the USA) for good 5 years ago, I said fuck that. I had been living in NZ for 10 years and then moved to Costa Rica. And after some business travel to various places, I finally got sick of the bullshit, having banks and financial services company (initially) and increasingly any company everywhere in the world going “OMFG you are American!” as if I was radioactive, all because of the bullshit compliance costs I represented.
– Samizdata commenter Megan
Being happy is really just an ability to accept survival as success.
– Robert Stacy McCain
The EU sticks us with a bill. Ministers double it, apply the rebate, return to the original figure and claim victory. We’re meant to cheer?
– Daniel Hannan MEP
It is very difficult to find an issue that voters place lower on the list than climate change
– Whit Ayres
On the ECB’s own website, they say that negative interest rates will “benefit savers in the end because they support growth and thus create a climate in which interest rates can gradually return to higher levels.”
I’m not sure a more intellectually dishonest statement could be made; they’re essentially telling people that the path to prosperity is paved in debt and consumption, as opposed to savings and production. These people either have no idea how economies grow and prosper, they’re outright liars, or they’re completely delusional.
– Simon Black
A desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy.
– Guy Fawkes, political activist, performance artist and architectural critic (1570-1606)
“Privacy never an absolute right” in spook, translates as “state shall be able to invade privacy if convenient, without particular reason”.
– Caspar Bowden
Normally it’s rather difficult to get the news media to lose their shit like a bunch of screeching schoolkids over a story like, “Defense Manufacturer Offers New Product That Makes Incremental Advances on Existing, Widely-Used Technology.” But fortunately for Israeli defense manufacturer Rafael, the maker of the Iron Dome short-range air defense system, reporters don’t always understand what it is they’re reporting on.
– Ryan Faith