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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 10th of January 2022

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Fed members seem more willing to shrink the balance sheet sooner after liftoff, and potentially more quickly since the current maturity of the Fed’s holdings is shorter than in prior years @isaabramowicz1
World Of Finance

Fed members seem more willing to shrink the balance sheet sooner after liftoff, and potentially more quickly since the current maturity of the Fed’s holdings is shorter than in prior years & would shrink more quickly if the central bank stopped reinvesting repayments.

29-NOV-2021 ::  Regime Change

There is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. 

There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign. Paul Tudor-Jones

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Tsunamis also start by receding For years now Central Banks have been enabling governments unwilling to confront structural problems by flooding economies with money. @ELuttwak
World Of Finance

For years now Central Banks have been enabling governments unwilling to confront structural problems by flooding economies with money.  But when we had deflation instead of inflation, the Krugmans told us not to worry ("different this time") Tsunamis also start by receding

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The Weekend Essay Life & Arts Fact and fiction: the lessons of Ryszard Kapuscinski @FT

Few journalists in the 20th century achieved the renown of Ryszard Kapuscinski at the height of his career. 

As a lone correspondent from communist Poland’s state news agency, he witnessed many of the upheavals of his age from Latin America to Africa and wrote about them in spellbinding prose. 

For Gabriel García Márquez, he was the “true master of journalism”; for Margaret Atwood, a “superlative witness to our times”. When he died in 2007, Germany’s Spiegel magazine ran a tribute entitled “The best reporter in the world”.
This year his legacy will once again come into focus. Czytelnik, his publishing house, is planning two books on Kapuscinski and his work, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of his birth. 

Warsaw is to renovate the simple wooden cabin where he and his family lived after the war and turn it into a centre for reportage.
Yet even before Kapuscinski’s death, 15 years ago, there were dissenting voices over his writing, and in the years after it they have grown louder. At issue is the accuracy of his shimmering reportage. 

One sympathetic reviewer called it “magic journalism”. But for others, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon world, he blurred the line between fact and fiction, which made him a cautionary tale about artistic embellishment and a warning of the pitfalls for reporters who splice their prose with the techniques and tricks of literature.

Questions about the distinction between truth and fable are probably as old as writing itself. 

The Greek Herodotus — a pioneer of history writing in the fifth century BC, admired by Kapuscinski — has been dubbed both the “father of history” and the “father of lies”. 

But amid today’s battles over fake news, the debate about how to protect the line between fact and fiction also has a more modern resonance.

“We should guard it with our lives, as political writers, as reporters, as historians, anyone who’s doing non-fiction. I think it’s a cardinal sin to have crossed that line,” says Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European studies at Oxford university and himself the author of reportage on central Europe. 

“In a world of misinformation and disinformation, where you have . . . Russia promoting a view that there is no truth ultimately, that everyone is just pushing their story, it’s more important than ever to guard the line between fact and fiction.”
Tucked away in a clump of trees on Warsaw’s Mokotow Field, the cramped cabin where Kapuscinski once lived was one of hundreds thrown together to house workers rebuilding the Polish capital from the rubble of the second world war. 

Donated by the USSR and funded by Finnish reparations to Moscow, the prefabricated dwellings became known as the “Finnish Cottages”. 

Nearly 80 years on, Kapuscinski’s is quietly surrendering to the elements, its roof in the middle of a slow-motion collapse and its once white walls daubed with graffiti.

“The original idea was to keep the legacy of a writer who was a master of reportage, because we saw that it was fading,” Aleksandra Butkiewicz, head of Warsaw’s greenery department, tells me as we meet one morning outside the ruin. “It’s a way of restoring his memory.” 

There is a lot to remember. By the end of his life, Kapuscinski’s reputation was such that he was a contender for a Nobel Prize for literature. 

His prose had won comparisons with Hemingway’s and Orwell’s, and his near-suicidal bravery had earned him the admiration of many of his peers. 

“Correspondents in Africa have two authors on their shelves,” wrote one, after Kapuscinski died. “Graham Greene and Kapuscinski.” 
Kapuscinski’s path into journalism had begun at the Banner of Youth, a newspaper for young communists. 

As a cub reporter in the 1950s, he was dispatched to write a story about Nowa Huta, a vast construction project meant to be one of the showpieces of communist Poland. 

Instead of writing a paean, Kapuscinski detailed its social ills, ranging from prostitution to housing shortages.
The article sparked a furore that initially forced him into hiding. But following a change of heart among Poland’s communist bosses, it won him a prize. 

Soon after, he was sent on a short trip to India, his first outside Europe, fulfilling the burning desire to cross borders that would fuel the rest of his career. 

“What does one feel [crossing the border]?” he wrote, recalling his state of mind years later. “What is it like, on the other side? It must certainly be — different. But what does ‘different’ mean?” 
This sense of curiosity and openness was central to Kapuscinski. Sometimes it appeared to get him into trouble. 

On one occasion in Cairo, he wrote that he found himself being robbed as he teetered on a narrow perch at the top of a minaret after accepting a stranger’s offer to show him a local mosque. 

But it was also the enabler of his journalism. He recounts travelling thousands of kilometres around Ethiopia with a driver whose only two English expressions were “problem” and “no problem” — enough, Kapuscinski claimed, to help him negotiate everything from snakes to military patrols.
“He had that great quality of going into a bar, or even sitting on the kerb of a street, and talking to absolutely anybody as if he was his brother,” says Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand, who, with her then husband William Brand, first translated Kapuscinski’s works into English. 

“He was a fascinating man to talk to. He combined the curiosity of a reporter and the courage, but he was also a thinker.” 

Kapuscinski’s ascent coincided with the wave of decolonisation that swept through the second half of the 20th century, and chronicling these convulsions became his work. 

By the time he covered the fall of Iran’s shah in 1979, he had, by his own account, witnessed 27 revolutions. 

Brand remembers Kapuscinski telling him with some pride a few years later that PAP (the Polish press agency) had once compiled a list of all its expenses, and Kapuscinski’s had been the largest item. 

“He was very happy about that,” Brand recalls. “It showed he had been doing a serious job, and was treated seriously.” 

“For every journalist from my generation that wanted to be a foreign correspondent, Kapuscinski was automatically considered as the biggest authority,” says Wojciech Jagielski, who followed in Kapuscinski’s footsteps at PAP and also reported extensively from Africa. 

“Not only because of the time he spent abroad, but because he was the best writer.” 
Indeed, Kapuscinski’s work is awash with images that live long in the memory. 

For Salman Rushdie, there was the city of crates that piles up in the streets of Luanda in Another Day of Life as Europeans decant their lives into containers before fleeing Angola’s civil war. 

For Mariusz Szczygiel, co-founder of the Institute of Reportage in Warsaw and one of Poland’s best-known contemporary writers of reportage, it is the Soviet customs guard at the icy Zabaykalsk border crossing sifting menacingly through grain after grain of kasha, his well-trained fingertips searching suspiciously for the slightest irregularity.
“For me this is the best fragment in Polish non-fiction,” Szczygiel says, fetching a copy of Imperium, before reading me the passage aloud over his kitchen table. 

“It’s phenomenal! It’s a metaphor of a totalitarian state. When people ask me what communism was, I show them this. It was a system that didn’t just want to have control over people, but over every grain of kasha. And Kapuscinski watched this for an hour or two — we don’t know how long. He didn’t speak to those people. But out of this he created a metaphor. That is his greatness.” 
It was with Brand and Mroczkowska-Brand’s English translation of The Emperor in 1983 that Kapuscinski’s international reputation took off. 

The book is an account of the fall of Haile Selassie, told through the eyes of anonymous members of the Ethiopian ruler’s court

By turns satirical and grotesque, it is not a straightforward piece of reportage. Courtiers refer to Selassie with over-the-top epithets borrowed from the 17th-century Polish court. 

And there are cameos from functionaries with ludicrous roles, including one whose job is to slip cushions under the diminutive emperor’s feet when he is sitting on his throne so that they do not waggle unmonarchically in the air. (The courtier claims he had 52 cushions to cope with all permutations of throne.)

Mroczkowska-Brand says she was introduced to the book as an allegory of the communist court of Poland’s then leader Edward Gierek. 

“[A friend] said everyone is reading this now, and we are having a good laugh . . . [I thought] it has a form which is very interesting, which I don’t think has been done all that much . . . walking on the tightrope between literature and reportage, between literature and fact, between fact and fiction, using all sorts of tricks.” 

Yet while The Emperor helped win Kapuscinski the admiration of literary giants from John Updike to Rushdie, its departure from the norms of reportage also sowed the seeds of a debate about the accuracy of his writing and the extent to which it should be regarded as journalism or literature.
One of the most blistering attacks came from John Ryle, an anthropologist and expert on east Africa. In a review for the Times Literary Supplement in 2001, he catalogued a series of factual errors and misleading generalisations in Kapuscinski’s writing about Africa. 

The cumulative effect, he argued, was “gonzo orientalism” which “homogenises and misrepresents people in Africa even as it aspires to speak for them”.
“Here facts are no longer sacred; the author is at play in the bush of ghosts, free to opine and to generalise about ‘Africa’ and ‘the African’ — and simply make things up,” he concluded. 

“Here, in place of fact, there is mutability; in place of reportage, relativism. From this place, deep in an imaginary Africa, the writer may return with any tale he pleases.”
A decade later, Artur Domoslawski, a Polish journalist who knew Kapuscinski well, published a biography that addressed the controversy over Kapuscinski’s (relatively limited, it seems) co-operation with Polish intelligence, as well as the questions about his writing and the legends around his career. 

Kapuscinski, Domoslawski says, would “add sometimes a teaspoon of fiction, sometimes a spoon” to his writing. 

“My tone is not accusatory, I examine what happens when journalism enters the terrain of fictional literature. My answer is that it pays a high price. I don’t say he’s a liar. I say maybe it’s better to put his books on another shelf,” he says.
Domoslawski’s book sparked uproar in Poland and was followed by other attempts to parse Kapuscinski’s reporting. 

In 2014, two journalists tried to track down details of Amelia Bolaños, an 18-year-old Salvadoran who, Kapuscinski writes in The Soccer War, killed herself after her country conceded a last-minute goal to lose a World Cup qualifier against Honduras in 1969, shortly before a brief conflict erupted between the two countries.

On Kapuscinski’s telling, Bolaños became a national symbol. Her suicide, he wrote, made it into the El Nacional newspaper; her funeral was broadcast on TV; and the president and national football team marched behind her coffin, which was draped with the national flag. 

But when the two journalists, Maria Hawranek and Szymon Opryszek, searched for El Nacional, they found no evidence that it ever existed. 

Other papers they reviewed for the month of the match had no mention of Bolaños; a member of the Salvadoran football team they spoke to had no memory of walking behind her coffin.

For Bozena Dudko, who was Kapuscinski’s secretary for the last two years of his life and looked after his archive until 2016, the criticism of his works is both unfair and a misunderstanding.
She arrives at our meeting at a restaurant in downtown Warsaw armed with a suitcase full of books by and about Kapuscinski, and before long they are strewn across our table as she takes me on a whistle-stop tour of his work. 

Kapuscinski’s errors, she says, stem from the difficulties of fact-checking in the pre-internet world, particularly in communist-era Poland, where even organising a phone call abroad could swallow up the best part of a day, while access to foreign archives was often very difficult or even impossible to obtain.
But the criticisms also miss the point, she argues. “When he comes back [from his travels], he faces the fact that he can write something for the agency but there are so many things left that he cannot sell as a journalist. So then he uses them and processes them in a literary way. For me [the debate around his work] is a misunderstanding. A journalist has the right to be a writer too,” she says. 

“Literary reportage should not be treated in the same way as reportage in a newspaper.”
Kapuscinski, says Urszula Glensk, an expert on Polish literature at Wroclaw university, was writing in a tradition influenced by the likes of prewar writer Melchior Wankowicz, who believed reporters could combine biographies or compose dialogues to help illustrate “general truths”. 

“Wankowicz said that the reporter had to try to capture reality . . . but it’s not possible to force all his conversations and observations into a book,” says Glensk.
Others take this argument further. “[Kapuscinski] intensifies truth by invention,” the film-maker Werner Herzog once told Slate. 

“By dint of declaration, he creates something which gives you a much deeper insight into the truth of, let’s say, Africa or Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia, and it’s totally legitimate and the debate is very, very silly. Let the accountants [of truth] be happy with their debate. I’m not going to participate.”
This approach makes some contemporary Polish reportage-writers uneasy. 

“You only get to deeper truth by going into the depths, and not by distorting them. I just don’t agree with that assumption,” says Katarzyna Surmiak-Domanska, a reporter and member of the jury that awards the city of Warsaw’s annual Kapuscinski prize for literary reportage. 

“For me, one of the criteria of reportage is faithfulness to the facts.”
Indeed, once that faithfulness is in question, it is hard for readers to orient themselves. Was Kapuscinski really robbed at the top of a minaret? Did his driver speak only two words of English? Did Selassie have a courtier for cushions?
He’s someone who produced some brilliant reportage . . . but he’s also a warning to reporters with literary ambitions not to step over that line between fact and fiction
Timothy Garton Ash
“People read Kapuscinski because they think he’s this amazing hard-hitting journalist and extraordinary writer, who actually goes to these many places, has these wild experiences, and then relates them all in this extraordinary prose,” says Stanley Bill, senior lecturer in Polish studies at the University of Cambridge. 

“If you don’t believe what he’s saying was true, I’m not sure his work would have the same impact.” 
As a result, says Garton Ash, Kapuscinski leaves a mixed legacy: “He’s someone who produced some brilliant reportage, which many people loved and remember, but he’s also a warning to reporters with literary ambitions not to step over that line between fact and fiction.”
Kapuscinski’s admirers are more forgiving. For Dudko, he remains a “classic model of literary reportage . . . I call him the poet of reportage, his style is unmistakable. His text can be read by a cleaning lady and by a university professor and for both it will be fascinating.” 

Szczygiel, despite reservations about Kapuscinski’s blurring of the line between fact and fiction, argues that the beauty of his language, and his metaphors, will still be appreciated in another 30 years’ time.
As the anniversaries of Kapuscinski’s birth and death loom, others hope that the passage of time will allow a reassessment of the Polish writer’s legacy. 

“We are finally on our way from understanding Kapuscinski as a monument to understanding him as a human being. He used to be seen as a god. And then for one or two years for some people he was a liar and very controversial. And now we are on the way to accepting him as a human being with errors and mistakes,” says Kamil Baluk, a reporter who also works at the Institute of Reportage.
“I think we are in the middle of redefining his role in our history. We are deciding what his legacy will be.”

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Ryszard Kapucinski characterised the revolutionary moment thus The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of history’

and also said “If the crowd disperses, goes home, does not reassemble, we say the revolution is over.

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Antwerp consists of 56 numbered and titled fragments, which do not so much tell a story as hint at the existence of one that blew itself apart and left ghostly, radioactive traces.

Images recur: waiters silently traversing a windy beach; deserted highways and hotels; “cops who fxxk nameless girls”; a hunchback in the woods. 

A writer, ‘Roberto Bolaño’, flickers in an out of view, prey to hallucinations and disembodied whispers. 

The effect is totally disorientating and incredibly haunting. 

Bolaño throws his lot in with the core surrealist technique of juxtaposing startlingly incongruous elements. 

Narrative logic is shoved out of the speeding train. What remains is a trance of pure atmosphere, the universe as perceived by a shaman in the throes of delirium tremens.

“So is Colan Yar after you too?” … “The highway, a blacktopped strip of prarie?”  Roberto Bolaño


Then all that’s left is emptiness. “Waiters walking along the beach” … “The evening light dismantles our sense of the wind” …

When you think about it, we’re not allotted much time here on Earth to make lives for ourselves: I mean, to scrape something together, get married, wait for death.

"Along the coast they found golden woods and cabins vacant until next summer" ... "Paradise" ... "The redheaded girl watched the sun go down from the stable in flames"...
He was up in a tree, how long he'd been up there I don't know. "I can't get a fix on the frequencies of reality, they're so high".
Yesterday I dreamed that I lived inside a hollow treesoon the tree began to spin like a carousel and I felt as if the walls were closing in on me; I woke to find the door of the bungalow ajar.
The author said: "I can't be pessimistic or optimistic, everything is determined by the beat of hope that manifests itself in what we call reality''
"We talked for hours in a bar on Las Ramblas, it was summer and she talked as if she hadn't talked for a long time" ... "When she was done, she felt my face like a blind woman".
"The summer somewhere," sentences lacking in tranquility, though the image they refract is motionless, like a coffin in the lens of a still camera.

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Vladimir V. Putin sent troops to the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan on Thursday to try to extinguish the latest in a series of dangerous fires to engulf the lands of the former Soviet Union @nytimes
Law & Politics

The spectacle of a country like Kazakhstan “that seems big and strong” falling into disarray so quickly has come as a shock, said Maxim Suchkov, acting director of the Institute for International Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. 

But it has also shown how, with the exception of Ukraine, in the former Soviet republics that have tried to balance between East and West, “boom, you get a crisis and they turn to Russia.”

Yet, many question how many brush fires can spring up around Russia’s borders before a similar conflagration is ignited at home.
“If something like this can happen in Kazakhstan,” said Scott Horton, a law lecturer at Columbia University who has advised officials in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries over two decades, “it can certainly happen in Russia, too.”

All the same, Mr. Horton said, “Putin is playing, or perhaps overplaying, a weak hand very well.”

After offering in August 2020 to provide what he called “comprehensive assistance” to help President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of neighboring Belarus halt a wave of huge protests, Mr. Putin then sent “peacekeepers” to stop a vicious war over disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Russia has stationed more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine to press demands that Kyiv abandon its yearslong flirtation with NATO.
Among the soldiers sent to Kazakhstan were members of the 45th Brigade, an elite Spetsnaz, or special forces, unit infamous for its operations in the first and second wars in Chechnya, the once restive but now brutally pacified Caucasus region of Russia. 

The brigade has also been active in South Ossetia, a region of Georgia at the center of that country’s 2008 war with Russia; in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014; and in Syria.

When Kazakhstan bolted from the Soviet Union three decades ago, it held the world’s fourth-biggest stock of nuclear weapons, vast reserves of oil and so much promise and peril that Secretary of States James A. Baker III, rushed to the new country to try to cement ties by drinking vodka with its leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in the sauna and accepting blows from a tree branch.

“Get me the president of the United States on the phone,” the American ambassador to Moscow at the time, Robert S. Strauss, who was also there, joked to the security detail. “His secretary of state is buck naked, and he’s being beaten by the president of Kazakhstan.”

Such leaders, to Mr. Putin’s dismay, have proved surprisingly brittle, a fact that has repeatedly confronted the Kremlin along its borders with eruptions of the kind of discontent it has sought to keep bottled up at home. 

But their weakness has also made Mr. Putin the indispensable protector that they turn to in times of crisis.

5 OCT 15 :: Putin is a GeoPolitical GrandMaster

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President Vladimir Putin of Russia with Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, in Moscow in 2019.Credit...Pool photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko @nytimes
Law & Politics

Kazakhstan: the preamble. Fasten your seat belts. This is hardcore Hybrid War at hypersonic speed. @RealPepeEscobar


The follow-up, on Monday, will deep dive into the key connections:
the role of MI6; the role of Erdoganistan; and the fast CSTO response.
Fasten your seat belts. This is hardcore Hybrid War at hypersonic speed.

From Russia with love

Andrew Korybko writes Moscow invaluably fills the much-needed niche of providing its partners there with “Democratic Security”, or in other words, the cost-effective and low-commitment capabilities needed to thwart colour revolutions and resolve unconventional Wars (collectively referred to as Hybrid War).

To simplify, Russia’s “political technologists” have reportedly devised bespoke solutions for confronting incipient and ongoing color revolutions, just like its private military contrac- tors (PMCs) have supposedly done the same when it comes to ending insurgencies.

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Steppe on Fire: Kazakhstan’s Color Revolution @RealPepeEscobar
Law & Politics

Maidan in Almaty? Oh yeah. But it’s complicated.
So is that much fear and loathing all about gas? Not really.
Kazakhstan was rocked into chaos virtually overnight, in principle, because of the doubling of prices for liquefied gas, which reached the (Russian) equivalent of 20 rubles per liter (compare it to an average of 30 rubles in Russia itself).
That was the spark for nationwide protests spanning every latitude from top business hub Almaty to the Caspian Sea ports of Aktau and Atyrau and even the capital Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana.
The central government was forced to roll back the gas price to the equivalent of 8 rubles a liter. 

Yet that only prompted the next stage of the protests, demanding lower food prices, an end of the vaccination campaign, a lower retirement age for mothers with many children and – last but not least – regime change, complete with its own slogan: Shal, ket! (“Down with the old man.”)
The “old man” is none other than national leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, who even as he stepped down from the presidency after 29 years in power, in 2019, for all practical purposes remains the Kazakh gray eminence as head of the Security Council and the arbiter of domestic and foreign policy.
The prospect of yet another color revolution inevitably comes to mind: perhaps Turquoise-Yellow – reflecting the colors of the Kazakh national flag. 

Especially because right on cue, sharp observers found out that the usual suspects – the American embassy – was already “warning” about mass protests as early as in December 16, 2021.
Maidan in Almaty? Oh yeah. But it’s complicated.
Almaty in chaos
For the outside world, it’s hard to understand why a major energy exporting power such as Kazakhstan needs to increase gas prices for its own population.
The reason is – what else – unbridled neoliberalism and the proverbial free market shenanigans. 

Since 2019 liquefied gas is electronically traded in Kazakhstan. So keeping price caps – a decades-long custom – soon became impossible, as producers were constantly faced with selling their product below cost as consumption skyrocketed.
Everybody in Kazakhstan was expecting a price hike, as much as everybody in Kazakhstan uses liquefied gas, especially in their converted cars. 

And everybody in Kazakhstan has a car, as I was told, ruefully, during my last visit to Almaty, in late 2019, when I was trying in vain to find a taxi to head downtown.
It’s quite telling that the protests started in the city of Zhanaozen, smack into the oil/gas hub of Mangystau. 

And it’s also telling that Unrest Central immediately turned to car-addicted Almaty, the nation’s real business hub, and not the isolated, government infrastructure-heavy capital in the middle of the steppes.
At first President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev seemed to have been caught in a deer facing the headlights situation. 

He promised the return of price caps, installed a state of emergency/curfew both in Almaty and Mangystau (then nationwide) while accepting the current government’s resignation en masse and appointing a faceless Deputy Prime Minister, Alikhan Smailov, as interim PM until the formation of a new cabinet.
Yet that could not possibly contain the unrest. In lightning fast succession, we had the storming of the Almaty Akimat (mayor’s office); protesters shooting at the Army; a Nazarbayev monument demolished in Taldykorgan; his former residence in Almaty taken over; Kazakhtelecom disconnecting the whole country from the internet; several members of the National Guard – armored vehicles included – joining the protesters in Aktau; ATMs gone dead.
And then Almaty, plunged into complete chaos, was virtually seized by the protesters, including its international airport, which on Wednesday morning was under extra security, and in the evening had become occupied territory.
Kazakh airspace, meanwhile, had to contend with an extended traffic jam of private jets leaving to Moscow and Western Europe. 

Even though the Kremlin noted that Nur-Sultan had not asked for any Russian help, a “special delegation” was soon flying out of Moscow. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov cautiously stressed, “we are convinced that our Kazakh friends can independently solve their internal problems”, adding, “it is important that no one interferes from the outside.”
Geostrategy talks
How could it all derail so fast?
Up to now, the succession game in Kazakhstan had been seen mostly as a hit across Northern Eurasia. 

Local honchos, oligarchs and the comprador elites all kept their fiefdoms and sources of income. 

And yet, off the record, I was told in Nur-Sultan in late 2019 there would be serious problems ahead when some regional clans would come to collect – as in confronting “the old man” Nazarbayev and the system he put in place.
Tokayev did issue the proverbial call “not to succumb to internal and external provocations” – which makes sense – yet also assured that the government “will not fall”. 

Well, it was already falling, even after an emergency meeting trying to address the tangled web of socioeconomic problems with a promise that all “legitimate demands” by the protesters will be met.
This did not play out as a classic regime change scenario – at least initially. The configuration was of a fluid, amorphous state of chaos, as the – fragile – Kazakh institutions of power were simply incapable of comprehending the wider social malaise

A competent political opposition is non-existent: there’s no political exchange. Civil society has no channels to express itself.
So yes: there’s a riot goin’ on – to quote American rhythm’n blues. And everyone is a loser. 

What is still not exactly clear is which conflicting clans are flaming the protests – and what is their agenda in case they’d have a shot at power. 

After all, no “spontaneous” protests can pop up simultaneously all over this vast nation virtually overnight.
Kazakhstan was the last republic to leave the collapsing USSR over three decades ago, in December 1991. 

Under Nazarbayev, it immediately engaged in a self-described “multi-vector” foreign policy. 

Up to now, Nur-Sultan was skillfully positioning itself as a prime diplomatic mediator – from discussions on the Iranian nuclear program as early as 2013 to the war in/on Syria from 2016. 

The target: to solidify itself as the quintessential bridge between Europe and Asia.
The Chinese-driven New Silk Roads, or BRI, were officially launched by Xi Jinping at Nazarbayev University in September 2013

That happened to swiftly dovetail with the Kazakh concept of Eurasian economic integration, crafted after Nazarbayev’s own government spending project, Nurly Zhol (“Bright Path”), designed to turbo-charge the economy after the 2008-9 financial crisis.
In September 2015, in Beijing, Nazarbayev aligned Nurly Zhol with BRI, de facto propelling Kazakhstan to the heart of the new Eurasian integration order. 

Geostrategically, the largest landlocked nation on the planet became the prime interplay territory of the Chinese and Russian visions, BRI and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).
A diversionary tactic
For Russia, Kazakhstan is even more strategic than for China

Nur-Sultan signed the CSTO treaty in 2003. It’s a key member of the EAEU. 

Both nations have massive military-technical ties and conduct strategic space cooperation in Baikonur. 

Russian has the status of an official language, spoken by 51% of the republic’s citizens.
At least 3.5 million Russians live in Kazakhstan. It’s still early to speculate about a possible “revolution” tinged with national liberation colors were the old system to eventually collapse. 

And even if that happened, Moscow will never lose all of its considerable political influence.
So the immediate problem is to assure Kazakhstan’s stability. The protests must be dispersed. There will be plenty of economic concessions. 

Permanent destabilizing chaos simply cannot be tolerated – and Moscow knows it by heart. Another – rolling – Maidan is out of the question.
The Belarus equation has shown how a strong hand can operate miracles. 

Still, the CSTO agreements do not cover assistance in case of internal political crises – and Tokayev did not seem to be inclined to make such a request.
Until he did. He called for the CSTO to intervene to restore order. There will be a military enforced curfew. 

And Nur-Sultan may even confiscate the assets of US and UK companies which are allegedly sponsoring the protests.
This is how Nikol Pashinyan, chairman of the CSTO Collective Security Council and Prime Minister of Armenia, framed it: Tokayev invoked a “threat to national security” and the “sovereignty” of Kazakhstan, “caused, inter alia, by outside interference.” 

So the CSTO “decided to send peacekeeping forces” to normalize the situation, “for a limited period of time”.
The usual destabilizing suspects are well known. They may not have the reach, the political influence, and the necessary amount of Trojan horses to keep Kazakhstan on fire indefinitely.
At least the Trojan horses themselves are being very explicit. They want an immediate release of all political prisoners; regime change; a provisional government of “reputable” citizens; and – what else – “withdrawal of all alliances with Russia.”
And then it all gets down to the level of ridiculous farce, as the EU starts calling on Kazakh authorities to “respect the right to peaceful protests.” 

As in allowing total anarchy, robbery, looting, hundreds of vehicles destroyed, attacks with assault rifles, ATMs and even the Duty Free at Almaty airport completely plundered.
This analysis (in Russian) covers some key points, mentioning, “the internet is full of pre-arranged propaganda posters and memos to the rebels” and the fact that “the authorities are not cleaning up the mess, as Lukashenko did in Belarus.”
Slogans so far seem to originate from plenty of sources – extolling everything from a “western path” to Kazakhstan to polygamy and Sharia law: 

“There is no single goal yet, it has not been identified. The result will come later. It is usually the same. The elimination of sovereignty, external management and, finally, as a rule, the formation of an anti-Russian political party.”
Putin, Lukashenko and Tokayev spent a long time over the phone, at the initiative of Lukashenko. 

The leaders of all CSTO members are in close contact. A master game plan – as in a massive “anti-terrorist operation” – has already been hatched. Gen. Gerasimov will personally supervise it.
Now compare it to what I learned from two different, high-ranking intel sources.
The first source was explicit: the whole Kazakh adventure is being sponsored by MI6 to create a new Maidan right before the Russia/US-NATO talks in Geneva and Brussels next week, to prevent any kind of agreement. 

Significantly, the “rebels” maintained their national coordination even after the internet was disconnected.
The second source is more nuanced: the usual suspects are trying to force Russia to back down against the collective West by creating a major distraction in their Eastern front, as part of a rolling strategy of chaos all along Russia’s borders

That may be a clever diversionary tactic, but Russian military intel is watching. Closely. And for the sake of the usual suspects, this better may not be interpreted – ominously – as a war provocation.

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The crucial internal power struggle angle in Kazakhstan is now graphically clear. @RealPepeEscobar
Kenyan Economy

Nazarbayev, his daughters and their families all left the country.
That's the end of the "multi-vector" foreign policy.
Tokayev is asserting control - and thanked Russia and China.

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Erdoganistan media is going bonkers. Looks like their beheading assets screwed up. @RealPepeEscobar
Law & Politics

Russia is "occupying" Kazakhstan; it's an imperialist force; and is trying to prevent Turkey's attempt to create an anti-Russian alliance of Turkic nations.

Looks like their beheading assets screwed up.

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After Assad & Lukashenko, now Tokayev will be the next leader to safeguard Russian interests on the ground & beyond. African regimes are indeed intrigued @vtchakarova
Law & Politics


Putin will raise the price of Russia‘s military involvement on request of authoritarian regimes seeking to remain in power. After Assad & Lukashenko, now Tokayev will be the next leader to safeguard Russian interests on the ground & beyond. African regimes are indeed intrigued

From Russia with love

Putin discreetly showing his visitors a photo of a dead Gaddafi and maybe he dwelled a little on the bottle and then a Photo of a spritely Bashar Assad

Putin’s linguistics is an art form and I imagine he buttressed the above points by discreetly showing his visitors a photo of a dead Gaddafi and maybe he dwelled a little on the bottle and then a Photo of a spritely Bashar Assad and would surely not even have had to ask the question; what’s the difference?

24 OCT 11 :: Gaddafi's Body in a Freezer - What's the Message?

The image of a bloodied Gaddafi, then of a dead Gaddafi in a meat locker have flashed around the world via the mobile, YouTube and Twitter.
Marshall McLuhan’s prediction in The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) that ‘The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village’ has come to pass. 


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Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World
Law & Politics

The Pentagon is eager to exploit the audiovisual impact of real-time mass communication (remember Saddam's statue being toppled?) City of Panic by Paul Virilio

Our minds are literally besieged by these Weapons of Mass Communication (as he calls them), creating a "panic-driven tele-reality" and resulting in an odd kind of "emotional synchronisation ... in which terror must be instantaneously felt by all ... on the scale of a global terrorism".

Virilio maintains that the global village has created hyperterrorism as its "integral accident" (just as derailment is the integral accident of a train).

The same impulse drives contemporary art, says Virilio, and he often returns to Stockhausen's incendiary remark that 9/11 was "the greatest work of art ever".

29-NOV-2021 ::  Regime Change

The Invisible Microbe has metastasized into Omicron and what we know is that COVID-19 far from becoming less virulent has become more virulent.
The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.
The Open Question is whether it is more virulent. If it is less virulent then #Omicron is breaking the Trend of increasing virulence.

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Omicron case infection acceleration is unbelievable. @jmlukens

The simultaneous circulation of the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus is creating a "tsunami of cases" : @DrTedros

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

It's very difficult to fathom exponential growth.  It really is.  But if you use *a very simple forumla* then you can see that things get out of control *VERY QUICKLY* @Dr_D_Robertson

The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.

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In 3wks Omicron more than tripled Australia’s COVID cases from 246k to 861k. @Jmlukens

Nations w/ high COVID avg case/day increase
Philippines: 11,640%
Costa Rica: 4,245%
Kuwait: 1,290%
DR: 1,261%
Japan: 1,029%
Morocco: 998%
Saudi Arabia: 996%
Australia: 932%
Qatar: 874%
Israel: 859%

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Arguably the laziest and most damaging cognitive error of the pandemic is not appreciating that lagged outcomes like deaths don’t reflect current threat in a rising epidemic. @AdamJKucharski

Arguably the laziest and most damaging cognitive error of the pandemic is not appreciating that lagged outcomes like deaths don’t reflect current threat in a rising epidemic. Remember: first UK COVID case was identified on 31 Jan 2020 - first death was reported on 5 Mar.

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The Virus remains an exogenous uncertainty that is still not resolved #COVID19

19-JUL-2021 Many Folks seem to feel we are in the final Act of the COVID-19 Play. I would be limit short that particular narrative.

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Private consumption or PFCE. It was 83.22 trillion in 2019-20, and has shrunk to 80.81 trillion in 2021-22, a fall of 1.45% per annum over two years. PFCE has in fact declined from 57.1% of GDP in 19-20 to 54.8% of GDP in 2021-22. @sonaliranade
World Of Finance

The most worrisome number in estimates is private consumption or PFCE.  It was 83.22 trillion in 2019-20, and has shrunk to 80.81 trillion in 2021-22, a fall of 1.45% per annum over two years.  PFCE has in fact declined from 57.1% of GDP in 19-20 to 54.8% of GDP in 2021-22.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.133265
Dollar Index 95.921
Japan Yen 115.808
Swiss Franc 0.9204
Pound 1.358475
Aussie 0.719285
India Rupee 74.1740
South Korea Won 1199.41
Brazil Real 5.6366
Egypt Pound 15.676064
South Africa Rand 15.58920

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Cryptos now crashing on bad and good news @zerohedge
World Currencies

The Lotos-eaters Courage! he said, and pointed toward the land, This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon.

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Crypto was a confluence of narratives - the two most relevant now are as a get-rich-quick scheme & as a hedge against easy money… the Fed signaling tightening is undermining both of those. @HayekAndKeynes
World Currencies

8 JAN 18 :: The Crypto Avocado Millenial Economy.

The ‘’Zeitgeist’’ of a time is its defining spirit or its mood. Capturing the ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Now is not an easy thing because we are living in a dizzyingly fluid moment.

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Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro.
World Currencies

GameKyuubi posted "I AM HODLING," a drunk, semi-coherent, typo-laden rant about his poor trading skills and determination to simply hold his bitcoin from that point on.
"I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time. Still wrong. w/e," he wrote in reference to the now-famous misspelling of "holding." 
"WHY AM I HOLDING? I'LL TELL YOU WHY," he continued. 
"It's because I'm a bad trader and I KNOW I'M A BAD TRADER.  Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro."
He concluded that the best course was to hold, since "You only sell in a bear market if you are a good day trader or an illusioned noob.  The people inbetween hold. In a zero-sum game such as this, traders can only take your money if you sell." 
He then confessed he'd had some whiskey and briefly mused about the spelling of whisk(e)y.  [HODL Definition | Investopedia]

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Crypto total market cap looking to close under 50 week moving average. @coloradotravis
World Currencies

09-MAY-2021 :: The liquidity of this complex is illusory, as the reflexivity embedded within creates a lurking shadow convexity that is vulnerable to predatory flows. @FadingRallies


It was the second wave that killed the dip buyers the most @sunchartist

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@WHO African Region Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 6 January 2022

The African Region reported over 294 000 new cases, with a similar increase in incidence as the previous week (7%). 

Increases in case incidence of over 50% as compared to the previous week were observed in over half of countries (28/49; 57%) in the Region

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

South Africa (60 142 new cases; 101.4 new cases per 100 000 population; a 48% decrease)

 Ethiopia (28 590 new cases; 24.9 new cases per 100 000 population; a 43% increase) 

Mozambique (26 860 new cases; 85.9 new cases per 100 000; a 298% increase)
The Region reported over 1100 new weekly deaths, a 22% increase as compared to the number reported during the previous week

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (425 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000 population; similar to the previous week)

Zimbabwe (132 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 28% increase) 

Algeria (55 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; an 12% increase).

29-NOV-2021 ::  Regime Change


The Invisible Microbe has metastasized into Omicron and what we know is that COVID-19 far from becoming less virulent has become more virulent.
The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.
The Open Question is whether it is more virulent. If it is less virulent then #Omicron is breaking the Trend of increasing virulence.

read more

Events in Sudan! @iGaddo

Hugh Masekela said ‘’I want to be there when the people start to turn it around.’’ Sudan is a Masekela pivot moment.

The "zeitgeist" of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating
As I watched events unfold it felt like Sudan was a portal into a whole new normal.
And now we have two visions of the Future. One vision played out on our screens, the protestors could have been our wives, children. 
The other vision is that of MBS, MBZ and Al-Sisi and its red in tooth and claw.

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TDF's retreat was presented as a great military victory for the federal camp. It boosted Abiy's popularity. But the war actually weakened his domestic position too. @rene_renelefort

TDF's retreat was presented as a great military victory for the federal camp. It boosted Abiy's popularity. But the war actually weakened his domestic position too. In recent months the ground fighters were overwhelmingly waged by ASF + Fano.

an unwinnable War 

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Amhara PP leadership had no choice but to fall into line with them and adopt their extremist positions. Abiy saw his room for manoeuvre shrinking. @rene_renelefort

Amhara PP leadership had no choice but to fall into line with them and adopt their extremist positions. Its only real ally on the Oromo side is the West Shoa elite, the most 'amharanised' of the Oromya. Both became so powerful that Abiy saw his room for manoeuvre shrinking.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

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He therefore decided to try to retake things in hand by recentering. He aims to create a new "Oromara" with the most moderate part of the Amhara elite and especially by regaining solid support in Oromya. @rene_renelefort

2 JUL 18 ::  Paul Virilio terms it ‘dromology’, which he defined as the “science (or logic) of speed“. 

“To create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.” “Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not, With the slightest push—in just the right place—it can be tipped.”—Malcolm Gladwell 

 It’s all about speed and velocity. Paul Virilio terms it ‘dromology’, which he defined as the “science (or logic) of speed“. 

He notes that the speed at which something happens may change its essential nature, and that which moves with speed quickly comes to dominate that which is slower.
“Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a matter of movement and circulation.”

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Hence the release of Jawar and Co, who are known to be federalists and against the war in Tigray. Abiy is taking a very, very risky personal gamble. @rene_renelefort
Law & Politics

Hence the release of Jawar and Co, who are known to be "federalists" and against the war in Tigray. Abiy is taking a very, very risky personal gamble. Above all, these releases and this turn towards the "federalist" Oromo will make Bahir Dar and Shimelis and co. furious.

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Above all, Abiy is driving a wedge between the majority of Oromo (federalist) and Amhara (unitarist) elites. @rene_renelefort

Above all, Abiy is driving a wedge between the majority of Oromo (federalist) and Amhara (unitarist) elites. Hard to see how the main Amhara forces won't enter into opposition to this new "Oromara", if it comes into being.

A fiendishly complicated task fending off the centrifugal forces which are tearing Ethiopia apart

Alternatively Maybe Abiy is just a Pawn now caught between Afawerki and his own Extremists 

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Snapshot – Follow the Money to the Truth about Al-Sisi’s Egypt

Egypt’s total national debt, now $370 billion, has quadrupled since 2010. Repayment of domestic and foreign debt consumes over one-third of Egypt’s budget, more than double the amount in 2009.

In 2021, Egypt’s external debt reached $137 billion, almost double what it was when the IMF extended its $12 billion three-year loan in 2016.

Total national debt, which includes both domestic and external borrowing, reached some $370 billion, quadrupling since 2010 and increasing by more than 100 percent between 2017 and 2020. 

Total debt is predicted to rise to $557 billion by 2026.

Per capita debt in 2020 was $3,238, compared to $2,032 in 2010. 

In 2021 Egypt ranked 158th of 189 countries in the ratio of debt to GDP and 100th in debt per capita.

Egypt’s government debt-to-GDP ratio is currently 91.6 percent, compared to 87.1 percent in 2013 when al-Sisi led the military’s seizure of power.[44]
That debt-to-GDP ratio, high as it is, understates the real figure. Egypt’s government, like that in Lebanon, engages in creative accounting by shifting public debt to the books of other state-owned entities. 

Only 54 percent of Egypt’s external debt is now officially attributed to the government, with another 25 percent owed by the central bank and a further $23 billion by state-owned banks and other enterprises. 

In 2010 the government’s official share of external debt was in excess of 90 percent. 

But even based on the government’s currently dramatically understated amount of external debt, this debt more than doubled on a per capita basis in the decade ending in 2021.
Egypt has become the IMF’s largest client after Argentina, obtaining $20 billion in three major loans since 2016, which far exceeds the IMF’s quota and thus incurs an interest rate surcharge. 

Egypt is further supported by billions in credit provided by the World Bank ($600 million), by the African Development Bank ($300 million), and by a host of other multilateral and bilateral public lenders.[45] Germany alone has $2.8 billion of outstanding loans to Egypt.


I am actually much more bullish about Egypt’s prospects than the article. There is a lot of joined up policy making and bench strength in Egypt. 

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The notion that countries should only import what they don’t produce is 19th century mercantalist nonsense. @DavidNdii
Kenyan Economy

France exports and imports wine to South Africa and vice versa. Japan exports and imports cars to Germany and vice versa. Most of the world’s trade is in similar goods.  The notion that countries should only import what they don’t produce is 19th century mercantalist nonsense.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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January 2022

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