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Messages - ersi

DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Scandinavia, North Atlantic, Baltic States and Scotland?
Putin wants Estonia's PM. I wonder how much he is willing to pay for her. Prigozhin was valued by various US services from $100,000 up to $8m. But there's no Prigozhin anymore available for bounty hunters. What's KGB's preiskurant?

Another question is that maybe Putin feels like not paying out anything out to the bounty hunter who delivers. Or maybe he will pay AND send the bounty hunter to the Ukraine front.
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
Of course, another fundamental issue is that "pay bills" is not how Nato membership works. The fact that Trump thinks that USA functions in Nato like the mafia don who collects tribute is yet another disqualification of his. Naturally, he cannot think any other way, because mafia don is his mode of operation, for which he should have been locked up in late 80's already, or in late 00's at the latest.

Instead Trump was rewarded with the presidency and this only made him think of himself as an untouchable mafia don. Probably the elites reasoned along the lines, "We are all corrupt, so let's have the most brazenly corruptest of us have the most visible post, so the rest of us will look less corrupt." Hopefully they have realised their mistake now and want to take the country out of the third world dump failed state status. I still entertain some hope that Trump will be taken off the ballot as justice and law and order and due process required a long time ago.
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
Trump Encourages Putin to Attack NATO Members

[Trump said in a campaign speech:] One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, “Well, sir, if we don't pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?” I said, “You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?” He said, “Yes, let’s say that happened.” “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.”
Of course, this is not about paying bills. It's about defuncting Nato altogether.

Those who don't pay bills are far away from Russia, so Russia is no threat to them. Russia is a threat to those Nato members who always paid the bills. What Trump is actually saying here is that Putin is free to attack without any repercussions. All incursions by Putin have been net positives anyway for Putin, but Trump promises better than that.

I did not notice Putin mentioning Trump in his exchange with Tucker, but apparently Trump got this message out of it.
DnD Central / Re: Putin the Magnificent: Series 2 - Putin's Russia
The contents of the Tucker-Putin exchange properly belong to this thread.

In contrast to Tucker, who was completely unprepared for Putin, Putin was somewhat prepared for Tucker. In the beginning of the so-called interview, Putin asks if Tucker's "basic education" is in history. That's a yes. And then Putin goes into his "30 seconds or a minute" tirade into history for over 20 minutes. The tirade includes a gift to Tucker from Putin.

The gift is Khmelnitsky's letter and treaty with the Muscovite czar. Why exactly this gift? According to Muscovite interpretation of history, this was the point in history when Ukraine (in the person of its first liberator and unifier Khmelnitsky) signed itself off to Muscovy. Putin does not say it, but he means it: Ukraine belongs to Russia because of those historical artifacts between Khmelnitsky and the czar. This is also how this historical event was taught in Soviet schools. It was called reunification of Russia.

In actual history, there was a bit more to it. Khmelnitsky was more familiar with dealing with the Poles, and when he signed treaties with the Poles, these were equal treaties and both sides swore an oath to each other. Khmelnitsky expected the same from the czar. But the czar's envoys did not pronounce an oath after signing, so Khmelnitsky cursed them and said that the treaty was not valid. In practice, the treaty provided Muscovite protection to Ukraine and Ukraine's allegiance to Muscovy, until the next generation of czars began abolishing any autonomy from Cossacks and Cossacks rebelled, this time against Muscovy, not against Poland any longer.

Moreover, Khmelnitsky and the czar needed translators to communicate with each other. So they were not the same Russians as Putinite historiography would have everyone believe. The entity that Khmelnitsky established is called by most historians the Cossack Hetmanate, whereas Khmelnitsky called himself the autocrat of Rus and saw himself as a descendant of Kievan Rus. Russian czars of the time, on the other hand, called themselves the czars of "Great, Little, and White Russia", which roughly correspond to modern "Russian heartland", Ukraine and Belarus respectively, whereof the czars had no possession of Ukraine and Belarus, just a claim to them. This is why already political commentators of the the time saw Muscovy as full of hubris. But many modern commentators swallow Putinite historianism line, hook and sinker.

Tucker got very uncomfortable during Putin's historical discourse. Apparently Putin's intelligence-gathering had not found out that Tucker actually hates history. Tucker's takeaway from the historical discourse was that Putin's claim to Ukraine was historically motivated, and Tucker said repeatedly, "But why did you make this claim only two years ago? Why not earlier during your 20-year reign?" Thus Tucker demonstrated his complete lack of preparation. Of course Putin has made these historical claims for decades, for anyone who has been paying attention.

Those who have been paying attention, have been doing so differently. For example John Mearsheimer hears what Putin says and concludes, "Oh, Putin says that he wants Ukraine and Baltics etc. We should give him all that and a bit more, lest he starts a war and bombs us." EU biggies also heard what Putin was saying and replied, "Okay, let's build another pipeline so you can amass more castles and yachts. This should cool you down." And Russia's immediate neighbours have been watching in horror the growing threat from the East and the insane hypocrisy from the West closing in.

This is my take on just the first 25 minutes of the interview. It is so repulsive that I can listen to it only in small bits.
DnD Central / Re: What's Going On In Russia?
At first Tucker got rather high-profile guests to his interviews, such as Trump, Pence, Orbán, Robert F Kennedy and the retired colonel here, but more lately his guests are becoming laughable, such as the guy who claims to have dated Obama. Laughable and ridiculous guests are more appropriate to Tucker's own profile.
Putin strongly opposes Tucker Carlson fading into oblivion, so he invited Tucker over for an interview, due out today. It's not Putin being interviewed by Tucker. It's Tucker amplifying Putin's message to the MAGA-hats. Obviously there will be a message regarding Ukraine so obvious that I won't mention it here. Rather, I predict that Putin will issue a near-direct endorsement of Trump. Lifting Tucker's profile serves the same purpose.

Edit: The interview is out now. Tucker says right up front that he found it shocking that Putin's justification for the Ukraine war is a discourse in Russian mythical history. Whereas I find it somewhat surprising that Tucker claims to find this particular feature, which happens to be Putin's defining feature, shocking. After all, in his own mind Tucker went to interview Putin and one would assume that, as a self-proclaimed journalist, Tucker was prepared about his subject. Evidently not. All Tucker's pretensions to journalism are gone now, if anybody still entertained any. It was not Tucker interviewing Putin. It was Putin getting his message out to the world at large and to the MAGA-hats, and Tucker getting his profile upgraded from a basement conspiratorialist to a collaborationist.

I have not watched the whole interview, so I am not sure if my prediction about Putin endorsing Trump hit the mark. The Ukraine bit was so obvious that it does not qualify as a prediction.
The Lounge / Re: What music are you listening to right now?
At work we have online coffee break meetings with colleagues and we try to come up with ideas to keep suicidal thoughts away and anti-management sentiments moderate. One of my ideas for those meetings is geolocation of music videos. This one is ideal:
- Non-English song
- Totally different city
- The lyrics include place names that have nothing to do with the language or the video

Just to be extra sure, I have looked up the city in Google Streets/Earth and I know exactly what it is.

DnD Central / Re: What's Going on in Business?
Oh, so Musk is only #2 businessman in the world now? What a shakeup!

By the way, on a device where I have not found a way to block YT ads (namely my smart-tv) I just saw a Musk ad where he invited everyone to go to to receive lots of money in Bitcoin and/or Ethereum. I haven't touched the address. Please report back, anyone who goes there :)

Existence of this kind of ads perfectly justifies total ad-blocking. All those social media companies go through some purging campaigns among the users of their platforms, but they cannot screen ads?
DnD Central / Re: What's Going on in Business?
In addition to bursting into flames, Tesla cars seem to have a tendency to plunge into fjords.
Two motorists whose car plunged into a freezing Oslo fjord escaped unharmed when a floating sauna came to their rescue, Norwegian police have said. [...] The owner of the car, who was not identified by name, said he had thought the car was in park mode when he hit the accelerator pedal.

Tesla is recalling everything.
Tesla is recalling about 2.2 million vehicles because the font on the warning lights panel was too small to comply with safety standards, U.S. regulators said on Friday. [...] The models affected include the 2012 to 2023 Model S, the 2016 to 2024 Model X, the 2017 to 2023 Model 3, 2019 to 2024 Model Y and 2024 Cybertruck vehicles.

Tesla's payout to Musk has been cancelled.
A judge in the US state of Delaware has annulled a $55.8bn (£44bn) pay deal awarded to Elon Musk in 2018 by the electric car company Tesla.

And Elon is the best businessman we have, as measured by net worth. Don't pretend there is any other measure.
DnD Central / Re: The State of Israel ~ vs ~ Hamas ---- A "Natural Right" to Self-Defence?
Travelingisrael hits back against Lonerbox.

He makes a compelling case about the nature of the attack on the first Arab village by Israel in 1948. However, Nakba is not just about the first village. It is about Israel's policy of expulsion of Arab population. There is no way to deny that that was (and is) the policy.

In 1947/8, borders were assigned for Israel. People either recognise those borders or not. Arabs did not. And also Israel immediately overstepped those borders in every direction, so de facto Israel does not recognise those borders either. Thus Israel by its own measure is no better than Arabs.

For Travelingisrael (and other Zionists) Israel's behaviour is no different from the way other nation states emerged after WWII at the dissolution of European empires. The sad thing is that European empires were colonial, and even after formal dissolution or reform still retain colonial behaviour and colonial instincts to this day. You can choose to do either the right thing or follow the example of Western colonial hypocrites. Looking at Israel's behaviour — Palestinian territories either blockaded or occupied and burdened with Jewish kibbutz-colonies; Golan Heights occupied and the southern portions of Lebanon and Syria under periodic terror attacks because of it; policy of expulsion of original population in constant swing since 1948 — Israel has consistently refrained from doing the right thing.
DnD Central / Re: The awesomesauce with Chimerica
Who is threatening? Is One China policy threatening? Both mainland China and Taiwan have the exact same rhetoric of One China policy, the only difference being whose regime should preside over the single China. (There are more small differences, such as Taiwan claiming more landmass to itself than the current mainland China holds, but that aside.)

Of course mainland China looks more menacing to Taiwan due to its manpower, but let's remember that it was Kissinger of USA who made the world recognise mainland China as the proper China so that Taiwan became a barely recognised country. Don't you think Taiwan felt threatened back then? Quite ironically, nobody thought of the cost-effectiveness of such a move. It's quite costly to have a recognised scary mainland China now.
DnD Central / Re: I'm bemused: No one here wants to discuss the Gaza-Israel war
The U.N. Court made a good decision. Finally, when Israelis are committing genocide, it is legal to say that they are committing genocide. And it's confirmed yet again that part of the rules of war is proportionality.

But the court did not rule Israel to stop.[1] When the other party is not a recognised country, then the perpetrators can argue more liberties for themselves, just like USA did in war against Afghanistan, explicitly refusing to abide by Geneva Conventions. 
To stop the war, that is. The court ruled Israel to abstain from genocide.
DnD Central / Re: The awesomesauce with Chimerica
I too (three?) can't see an invasion of Taiwan as anything but a loss for the CCP. Nor the military establishment raring to go fish either.

However threatening to invade could be cost-effective and threats must be taken seriously.
Cost-effectiveness does not matter at all whatsoever. Russia is trying to teach you this very hard, but you are not learning. In Ukraine war, Russians happily wallow in senseless pain and suffering. They think it makes them glorious and glory is what matters. You should already have seen how much they are willing to sacrifice for nearly nothing. The reality is that they are willing to sacrifice far more than we have seen, far more than the West can imagine.

How much are you willing to sacrifice for your home country? Obviously your mind went instantly into cost-effectiveness calculation mode, so the correct answer is: Nothing. As soon as you start calculating, it is not a sacrifice any longer. And you think everybody else is the same as you. Well, Russians are not, and I suspect the Chinese also are not like that. There is some diversity in the world, can you imagine?

The Chinese can afford to expend with about half a billion lives. But I think they won't. For the current regime, starting a war would be a totally new activity. They have not had a war since their civil war around WWII. They have not committed any external aggression for some 300 years or so. A war would be a completely new thing for them and this is probably the main reason why they think very carefully and are very cautious about it.

However, they have the manpower. And they keep getting indirect encouragement from the West, as Russia has been consistently rewarded for every incursion.

DnD Central / Re: Finding the best system of economy
‘No one should have more than €10m’: the author of Limitarianism on why the super-rich need to level down radically

Here’s a couple of good questions for an election year: while we may talk about minimum wages, why don’t we ever discuss maximum wages? And, while our politicians may argue about how little a family can survive on, why do they never address the other end of the inequality scale: just how much accumulated wealth might be too much?

The best move ever is of course to come up with a catchy name for your theory. In this case, it's Limitarianism.
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Films and Books
But I'm expecting a science-fictiony turn in Klara and the Sun. Perhaps artificial intelligence sinking into abuse mode while failing to sense anything out of the ordinary?
It was a different twist. Probably better, because it was something I did not expect.

I have a relatively minor discontentment about it, but let me stay silent about it. I am rather happy that great humanist fiction continues in 21st century.
DnD Central / Re: The awesomesauce with Chimerica
War Game scenarios: This Is What Happens When China Invades Taiwan

Average playout:
1. It is more preferable for China to attack in south of Taiwan. In north they would fail to get a foothold.
2. An assumption is that Japan will let USA use their bases.
3. USA will overpower the Chinese navy.
4. Chinese infantry in Taiwan cannot sustain themselves and would eventually be defeated.
5. All events from beginning to end take some four or five weeks.

- Taiwan is a difficult island to conquer. The difficulty is comparable to World War II's D-Day or Philippines battles.
- One would think that when both sides use war games to predict the outcome and the outcome is clear, they would not engage in real war. In reality the risk may be taken anyway.
- Sometimes politicians, citing some political factors, encourage military action despite the pessimism of the generals. For example, Iraqi generals in the Iraq war did not see any point in fighting, but Saddam Hussein said he was talking with the French and Russians and that victory was possible.
- Ukraine holds on strategically because USA/EU supports Ukraine and Russia is unable to disrupt the support. Such support is not possible for Taiwan. A longer war would be lost for USA and Taiwan would have to put up an internal resistance, build on asymmetric capabilities, landmines and such.

My own takeaways:
Western policy makers think they have already done everything they could for Ukraine. Victory for Taiwan is plausible, so it is okay to call the current status in Ukraine a day. Their Plan B: Even if the West loses Taiwan, so what.
DnD Central / Re: Tripe about Ukraine
Funny thing is, like mentioned in the Map thread, few in Europe seem to think that our support of Ukraine is just right. A fairly clear majority want us to do more, and a minority want us to do less (or preferably nothing at all).
Yes, the majority wants us to do more and a minority wants to do less, but these are people who don't have much power over either national or union-level policies. The only effect they have is to get politicians to act busier for a few months before elections.

This applies to the political circles as well.
Not true. A majority of the political circles cannot "want to do more". They are the ones in position to do as much as they want.  If we assume that the political circles would like to do more, but cannot, then why is it exactly the political circles in western EU who are unable to do more?

Nope. Support for Ukraine is precisely at the level that the political circles have set. It is in their nature to think that they have already done their best. The state of affairs is as it is not because they cannot do more even though they would want to, but because they think they are performing top-notch according to polls, charts and maps.

Edit: An easy test for the members of the political circles is to ask them to formulate victory for Ukraine or defeat for Russia. Make a poll and see what sort of answers you get. Actually, how do you formulate victory for Ukraine yourself?

And I have yet to see anyone (outside that minority) happy about the current sorry state of the US, because of our own sorry state.
The western EU political circles are afflicted — always have, always will — with the superiority complex. Under this complex, they never see or acknowledge their own sorry state. Sorry state does not exist for them. Some foreign country such as USA can be in a sorry state. Eastern EU members can be blinded by a sorry "survivalist" mindset. EU biggies themselves in their own mind are not in any sort of sorry state, never have been. EU biggies don't think they have made any mistakes that need correcting.

For a moment Scholz was able to enounce that the Ostpolitik had led to an "Irrtum". What was the lesson he took from this in the same speech? To start militarising Germany. So this "Irrtum" has been taken care of this way. It did not involve doing more for Ukraine. In his mind, Scholz was briefly in an embarrassing situation, but he got quickly out of it.

Another example: Remember Macron's flights and phone calls between Putin and Zelensky, trying to get them to agree to a peace or ceasefire or negotiate a deal over something he himself was not certain of? Clearly Macron had no idea what he was doing. Clearly he had no idea that he was undermining any possibility of formulating a common EU policy. (Actually, I assume he was doing it deliberately precisely in order to kill anobody else's better initiative just to pretend to be relevant on the world arena just to ingratiate his own narcissism, but that aside.) His attempts fell through massively. His counterproductive "diplomacy" was overrun by USA/Baltic initiative of providing Ukraine with unconditional support. Has Macron regretted his macroning for a second? Does he see how destructive and dangerous he was? Or at least that he was or is in a sorry state? Nope. Nothing. Sorry state does not exist for him. Not for a second did he think he was doing anything wrong. He does not think he is doing anything wrong now and there's no chance in the universe for him to get in any sort of sorry state.

US and EU has had a well-working partnership through decades: US breaks things with weapons, EU rebuild them with money. US feels strong, EU feels good, and both get results, often the wanted ones.
Now, once you get over this flashy oversimplification, take some time to count the wanted results as opposed to unwanted results, and you should see how skewed this characterisation is. At least, you would if you took the on-ground situation more seriously. The EU has been miserable at diplomacy at every crucial turn. Not occasionally miserable, not getting "often the wanted" results, but making things worse at every single crucial turn, such as Balkan wars, messing up relations with Poland and Hungary after they joined the EU (and almost messing them up with more countries, Estonia being a close call), failing to see any threat in Russia. The results in those situations were deaths and misery, having to call in external superior firepower (against Serbia, which means that diplomacy failed), and signing agreements (Minsk Agreements) that were doomed to be either broken (which again means that diplomacy failed) or, if not broken, then perpetuate unlawfulness (which means that whoever signed the agreements had no sense of justice).

A far more accurate characterisation of the EU activities is the way Ukranians characterise it — it was Ukrainians who came up with the words "macroning" and "scholzing" as far as I know — and the way North Africans see it — as plain old French colonialism, slightly modernised, but still unmistakably colonialism. Moreover, the entire "Global South" perceive the EU/USA/Nato/IMF etc. "seven-headed beast" as a single colonial power headquartered in the so-called collective West.

Why do they perceive it this way? I'd say, given the actions of the entity, how could they not.

... even if Trump should happen...
The final test for USA is whether Trump happens again. All branches of government should demonstrate the resolve to take him out. Thus far the judicial branch has yielded the best results, but kind of mixed. For example, the gag orders produced no consequences, even though Trump clearly breached them. The best would be for SCOTUS to decide that Trump cannot run, which is up next, seems to me.

A party whose leader attempted a coup and who fails to condemn such a leader — quite the contrary, lets him run for presidency again — should be banned. This is probably in the competency of Congress, but the current Congress is absolutely not up for it. The executive branch is making a fair attempt by driving the secret documents case, but it seems to be narrowly running out of time.
DnD Central / Re: Tripe about Ukraine
Ukraine's president Zelensky visited Estonia this week. It caught my ear that he wants to get back those refugees who would be eligible for the army. Not sure how warmly the refugees take this.

This is the status on the politico-rhetorical front, as officially expressed by the most pro-Ukraine EU member:

I'd say the status is pretty bad. At 12:08: "I think there's a difference between 2014 and 2024. In 2014 I saw how quickly it went from Let's support Ukraine to Let's sit down and negotiate, give away the territory so that Russia is happy. This time we have been able to explain how giving in to the aggressor only gives you more war. Weakness provokes Russia. Strength doesn't."

Unfortunately no, we have not been able to explain this. First, we failed to explain this in 2014. As she acknowledges both earlier and later in the interview, there are still EU members who are unclear on the support for Ukraine and unclear on the needed outcome, and it is clear (to me) that she implies other/more members than Hungary. For example in the same context she mentions that there is still the illogical strategic requirement on Ukraine to not attack Russia's soil — this is something Hungary has nothing to do with.

The current support and sympathy that is flowing out towards Ukraine is not due to our explanations, but due to our strong example and initiative, and even more so due to the actual situation on the ground that very concretely proved the falsity and perversity of the position of western EU that left them utterly embarrassed. The concrete material proof did the trick. The EU biggies are convinced by no explanation ever. They needed an outbreak of hot war to lift their asses a bit.

However, their embarrassment is wearing off and they will soon fall back to their old attitude. Republicans in USA have already stopped the support from USA to Ukraine, so that the current balance of EU's support surpasses that of USA. This has the effect of the EU biggies thinking Our support to Ukraine is absolutely fabulous, bigger than that of USA, therefore we can pat ourselves on the back now and take it easy. Elections in USA are scheduled at the end of this year, so Democrats (and as a result entire USA) will be, in best case, cautious and indeterminate on the Ukraine topic for the entire year. In practice, "cautious and indeterminate" means a halt, and EU biggies will do the same with a delay, which is the way they have behaved all these decades.
DnD Central / Re: The State of Israel ~ vs ~ Hamas ---- A "Natural Right" to Self-Defence?
I discovered Travelingisrael some five years ago or so. I appreciate a good professional tour guide. I have passed some of the same training and done plenty of tour guiding informally. Most of what I know about the attitudes and culture in Israel I know from the videos of Travelingisrael.

Anyway, on topic: Travelingisrael is an outright Zionist. He considers his positions "centrist", positions such as that there was no such thing as Palestinian people in the first half of the 20th century, so the land was up for grabs, and of course Jews/Israelis have a historical+moral+divine priority to it over everybody else. Plus Israel has committed no atrocities that would not be overshadowed by atrocities against the Jewish people.

This being a debate forum, feel free to debate.
DnD Central / Re: Philosophy, Logic, Formal Systems
such as basic arithmetic! If you have difficulties with such, it's a matter of memory and apperception...
I passed, so I did not have difficulties to any significant degree. And I may be underestimating myself, since I am comparing myself to my primary school deskmate who was the school primus, particularly in arithmetic, being able to calculate large numbers in his head and even play blind chess.

Anyway, there are several areas in math, arithmetic being one, geometry being another. I was excellent in geometry.