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Erik Engheim

Erik Engheim

2 years ago

You Misunderstand the Russian Nuclear Threat

Many believe Putin is simply sabre rattling and intimidating us. They see no threat of nuclear war. We can send NATO troops into Ukraine without risking a nuclear war.

I keep reading that Putin is just using nuclear blackmail and that a strong leader will call the bluff. That, in my opinion, misunderstands the danger of sending NATO into Ukraine.
It assumes that once NATO moves in, Putin can either push the red nuclear button or not.
Sure, Putin won't go nuclear if NATO invades Ukraine. So we're safe? Can't we just move NATO?

No, because history has taught us that wars often escalate far beyond our initial expectations. One domino falls, knocking down another. That's why having clear boundaries is vital. Crossing a seemingly harmless line can set off a chain of events that are unstoppable once started.
One example is WWI. The assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand could not have known that his actions would kill millions. They couldn't have known that invading Serbia to punish them for not handing over the accomplices would start a world war. Every action triggered a counter-action, plunging Europe into a brutal and bloody war. Each leader saw their actions as limited, not realizing how they kept the dominos falling.

Nobody can predict the future, but it's easy to imagine how NATO intervention could trigger a chain of events leading to a total war. Let me suggest some outcomes.
NATO creates a no-fly-zone. In retaliation, Russia bombs NATO airfields. Russia may see this as a limited counter-move that shouldn't cause further NATO escalation. They think it's a reasonable response to force NATO out of Ukraine. Nobody has yet thought to use the nuke.
Will NATO act? Polish airfields bombed, will they be stuck? Is this an article 5 event? If so, what should be done?

It could happen. Maybe NATO sends troops into Ukraine to punish Russia. Maybe NATO will bomb Russian airfields.

Putin's response Is bombing Russian airfields an invasion or an attack? Remember that Russia has always used nuclear weapons for defense, not offense. But let's not panic, let's assume Russia doesn't go nuclear.

Maybe Russia retaliates by attacking NATO military bases with planes. Maybe they use ships to attack military targets. How does NATO respond? Will they fight Russia in Ukraine or escalate? Will they invade Russia or attack more military installations there?
Seen the pattern? As each nation responds, smaller limited military operations can grow in scope.

So far, the Russian military has shown that they begin with less brutal methods. As losses and failures increase, brutal means are used. Syria had the same. Assad used chemical weapons and attacked hospitals, schools, residential areas, etc.
A NATO invasion of Ukraine would cost Russia dearly. “Oh, this isn't looking so good, better pull out and finish this war,” do you think? No way. Desperate, they will resort to more brutal tactics. If desperate, Russia has a huge arsenal of ugly weapons. They have nerve agents, chemical weapons, and other nasty stuff.

What happens if Russia uses chemical weapons? What if Russian nerve agents kill NATO soldiers horribly? West calls for retaliation will grow. Will we invade Russia? Will we bomb them?

We are angry and determined to punish war criminal Putin, so NATO tanks may be heading to Moscow. We want vengeance for his chemical attacks and bombing of our cities.
Do you think the distance between that red nuclear button and Putin's finger will be that far once NATO tanks are on their way to Moscow?

We might avoid a nuclear apocalypse. A NATO invasion force or even Western cities may be used by Putin. Not as destructive as ICBMs. Putin may think we won't respond to tactical nukes with a full nuclear counterattack. Why would we risk a nuclear Holocaust by launching ICBMs on Russia?

Maybe. My point is that at every stage of the escalation, one party may underestimate the other's response. This war is spiraling out of control and the chances of a nuclear exchange are increasing. Nobody really wants it.

Fear, anger, and resentment cause it. If Putin and his inner circle decide their time is up, they may no longer care about the rest of the world. We saw it with Hitler. Hitler, seeing the end of his empire, ordered the destruction of Germany. Nobody should win if he couldn't. He wanted to destroy everything, including Paris.

In other words, the danger isn't what happens after NATO intervenes The danger is the potential chain reaction. Gambling has a psychological equivalent. It's best to exit when you've lost less. We humans are willing to take small risks for big rewards. To avoid losses, we are willing to take high risks. Daniel Kahneman describes this behavior in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

And so bettors who have lost a lot begin taking bigger risks to make up for it. We get a snowball effect. NATO involvement in the Ukraine conflict is akin to entering a casino and placing a bet. We'll start taking bigger risks as we start losing to Russian retaliation. That's the game's psychology.

It's impossible to stop. So will politicians and citizens from both Russia and the West, until we risk the end of human civilization.

You can avoid spiraling into ever larger bets in the Casino by drawing a hard line and declaring “I will not enter that Casino.” We're doing it now. We supply Ukraine. We send money and intelligence but don't cross that crucial line.

It's difficult to watch what happened in Bucha without demanding NATO involvement. What should we do? Of course, I'm not in charge. I'm a writer. My hope is that people will think about the consequences of the actions we demand. My hope is that you think ahead not just one step but multiple dominos.

More and more, we are driven by our emotions. We cannot act solely on emotion in matters of life and death. If we make the wrong choice, more people will die.

Read the original post here.

More on Current Events

Jess Rifkin

Jess Rifkin

2 years ago

As the world watches the Russia-Ukraine border situation, This bill would bar aid to Ukraine until the Mexican border is secured.

Although Mexico and Ukraine are thousands of miles apart, this legislation would link their responses.

Context

Ukraine was a Soviet republic until 1991. A significant proportion of the population, particularly in the east, is ethnically Russian. In February, the Russian military invaded Ukraine, intent on overthrowing its democratically elected government.

This could be the biggest European land invasion since WWII. In response, President Joe Biden sent 3,000 troops to NATO countries bordering Ukraine to help with Ukrainian refugees, with more troops possible if the situation worsened.

In July 2021, the US Border Patrol reported its highest monthly encounter total since March 2000. Some Republicans compare Biden's response to the Mexican border situation to his response to the Ukrainian border situation, though the correlation is unclear.

What the bills do

Two new Republican bills seek to link the US response to Ukraine to the situation in Mexico.

The Secure America's Borders First Act would prohibit federal funding for Ukraine until the US-Mexico border is “operationally controlled,” including a wall as promised by former President Donald Trump. (The bill even mandates a 30-foot-high wall.)

The USB (Ukraine and Southern Border) Act, introduced on February 8 by Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT0), would allow the US to support Ukraine, but only if the number of Armed Forces deployed there is less than the number deployed to the Mexican border. Madison Cawthorne introduced H.R. 6665 on February 9th (R-NC11).

What backers say

Supporters argue that even if the US should militarily assist Ukraine, our own domestic border situation should take precedence.

After failing to secure our own border and protect our own territorial integrity, ‘America Last' politicians on both sides of the aisle now tell us that we must do so for Ukraine. “Before rushing America into another foreign conflict over an Eastern European nation's border thousands of miles from our shores, they should first secure our southern border.”

“If Joe Biden truly cared about Americans, he would prioritize national security over international affairs,” Rep. Cawthorn said in a separate press release. The least we can do to secure our own country is send the same number of troops to the US-Mexico border to assist our border patrol agents working diligently to secure America.

What opponents say

The president has defended his Ukraine and Mexico policies, stating that both seek peace and diplomacy.

Our nations [the US and Mexico] have a long and complicated history, and we haven't always been perfect neighbors, but we have seen the power and purpose of cooperation,” Biden said in 2021. “We're safer when we work together, whether it's to manage our shared border or stop the pandemic. [In both the Obama and Biden administration], we made a commitment that we look at Mexico as an equal, not as somebody who is south of our border.”

No mistake: If Russia goes ahead with its plans, it will be responsible for a catastrophic and unnecessary war of choice. To protect our collective security, the United States and our allies are ready to defend every inch of NATO territory. We won't send troops into Ukraine, but we will continue to support the Ukrainian people... But, I repeat, Russia can choose diplomacy. It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”

Odds of passage

The Secure America's Borders First Act has nine Republican sponsors. Either the House Armed Services or Foreign Affairs Committees may vote on it.

Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican, co-sponsored the USB Act (R-AZ4). The House Armed Services Committee may vote on it.

With Republicans in control, passage is unlikely.

Bloomberg

Bloomberg

2 years ago

Expulsion of ten million Ukrainians

According to recent data from two UN agencies, ten million Ukrainians have been displaced.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates nearly 6.5 million Ukrainians have relocated. Most have fled the war zones around Kyiv and eastern Ukraine, including Dnipro, Zhaporizhzhia, and Kharkiv. Most IDPs have fled to western and central Ukraine.

Since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 3.6 million people have crossed the border to seek refuge in neighboring countries, according to the latest UN data. While most refugees have fled to Poland and Romania, many have entered Russia.

Internally displaced figures are IOM estimates as of March 19, based on 2,000 telephone interviews with Ukrainians aged 18 and older conducted between March 9-16. The UNHCR compiled the figures for refugees to neighboring countries on March 21 based on official border crossing data and its own estimates. The UNHCR's top-line total is lower than the country totals because Romania and Moldova totals include people crossing between the two countries.

Sources: IOM, UNHCR

According to IOM estimates based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of internally displaced Ukrainians, over 53% of those displaced are women, and over 60% of displaced households have children.

Jared A. Brock

Jared A. Brock

2 years ago

Here is the actual reason why Russia invaded Ukraine

Democracy's demise

Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are being attacked by a far superior force.
It's the biggest invasion since WWII.

43.3 million peaceful Ukrainians awoke this morning to tanks, mortars, and missiles. Russia is already 15 miles away.

America and the West will not deploy troops.
They're sanctioning. Except railways. And luxuries. And energy. Diamonds. Their dependence on Russian energy exports means they won't even cut Russia off from SWIFT.

Ukraine is desperate enough to hand out guns on the street.

France, Austria, Turkey, and the EU are considering military aid, but Ukraine will fall without America or NATO.

The Russian goal is likely to encircle Kyiv and topple Zelenskyy's government. A proxy power will be reinstated once Russia has total control.

“Western security services believe Putin intends to overthrow the government and install a puppet regime,” says Financial Times foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman. This “decapitation” strategy includes municipalities. Ukrainian officials are being targeted for arrest or death.”

Also, Putin has never lost a war.

Why is Russia attacking Ukraine?

Putin, like a snowflake college student, “feels unsafe.”
Why?

Because Ukraine is full of “Nazi ideas.”

Putin claims he has felt threatened by Ukraine since the country's pro-Putin leader was ousted and replaced by a popular Jewish comedian.

Hee hee

He fears a full-scale enemy on his doorstep if Ukraine joins NATO. But he refuses to see it both ways. NATO has never invaded Russia, but Russia has always stolen land from its neighbors. Can you blame them for joining a mutual defense alliance when a real threat exists?
Nations that feel threatened can join NATO. That doesn't justify an attack by Russia. It allows them to defend themselves. But NATO isn't attacking Moscow. They aren't.
Russian President Putin's "special operation" aims to de-Nazify the Jewish-led nation.
To keep Crimea and the other two regions he has already stolen, he wants Ukraine undefended by NATO.

(Warlords have fought for control of the strategically important Crimea for over 2,000 years.)
Putin wants to own all of Ukraine.

Why?

The Black Sea is his goal.

Ports bring money and power, and Ukraine pipelines transport Russian energy products.
Putin wants their wheat, too — with 70% crop coverage, Ukraine would be their southern breadbasket, and Russia has no qualms about starving millions of Ukrainians to death to feed its people.

In the end, it's all about greed and power.
Putin wants to own everything Russia has ever owned. This year he turns 70, and he wants to be remembered like his hero Peter the Great.
In order to get it, he's willing to kill thousands of Ukrainians

Art imitates life

This story began when a Jewish TV comedian portrayed a teacher elected President after ranting about corruption.
Servant of the People, the hit sitcom, is now the leading centrist political party.
Right, President Zelenskyy won the hearts and minds of Ukrainians by imagining a fairer world.
A fair fight is something dictators, corporatists, monopolists, and warlords despise.
Now Zelenskyy and his people will die, allowing one of history's most corrupt leaders to amass even more power.

The poor always lose

Meanwhile, the West will impose economic sanctions on Russia.

China is likely to step in to help Russia — or at least the wealthy.

The poor and working class in Russia will suffer greatly if there is a hard crash or long-term depression.
Putin's friends will continue to drink champagne and eat caviar.

Russia cutting off oil, gas, and fertilizer could cause more inflation and possibly a recession if it cuts off supplies to the West. This causes more suffering and hardship for the Western poor and working class.

Why? a billionaire sociopath gets his dirt.

Yes, Russia is simply copying America. Some of us think all war is morally wrong, regardless of who does it.

But let's not kid ourselves right now.

The markets rallied after the biggest invasion in Europe since WWII.
Investors hope Ukraine collapses and Russian oil flows.
Unbridled capitalists value lifeless.

What we can do about Ukraine

When the Russian army invaded eastern Finland, my wife's grandmother fled as a child. 80 years later, Russia still has Karelia.
Russia invaded Ukraine today to retake two eastern provinces.
History has taught us nothing.
Past mistakes won't fix the future.

Instead, we should try:

  • Pray and/or meditate on our actions with our families.
  • Stop buying Russian products (vodka, obviously, but also pay more for hydro/solar/geothermal/etc.)
  • Stop wasting money on frivolous items and donate it to Ukrainian charities.

Here are 35+ places to donate.

  • To protest, gather a few friends, contact the media, and shake signs in front of the Russian embassy.
  • Prepare to welcome refugees.

More war won't save the planet or change hearts.

Only love can work.

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Cody Collins

Cody Collins

1 year ago

The direction of the economy is as follows.

What quarterly bank earnings reveal

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Big banks know the economy best. Unless we’re talking about a housing crisis in 2007…

Banks are crucial to the U.S. economy. The Fed, communities, and investments exchange money.

An economy depends on money flow. Banks' views on the economy can affect their decision-making.

Most large banks released quarterly earnings and forward guidance last week. Others were pessimistic about the future.

What Makes Banks Confident

Bank of America's profit decreased 30% year-over-year, but they're optimistic about the economy. Comparatively, they're bullish.

Who banks serve affects what they see. Bank of America supports customers.

They think consumers' future is bright. They believe this for many reasons.

The average customer has decent credit, unless the system is flawed. Bank of America's new credit card and mortgage borrowers averaged 771. New-car loan and home equity borrower averages were 791 and 797.

2008's housing crisis affected people with scores below 620.

Bank of America and the economy benefit from a robust consumer. Major problems can be avoided if individuals maintain spending.

Reasons Other Banks Are Less Confident

Spending requires income. Many companies, mostly in the computer industry, have announced they will slow or freeze hiring. Layoffs are frequently an indication of poor times ahead.

BOA is positive, but investment banks are bearish.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, outlined various difficulties our economy could confront.

But geopolitical tension, high inflation, waning consumer confidence, the uncertainty about how high rates have to go and the never-before-seen quantitative tightening and their effects on global liquidity, combined with the war in Ukraine and its harmful effect on global energy and food prices are very likely to have negative consequences on the global economy sometime down the road.

That's more headwinds than tailwinds.

JPMorgan, which helps with mergers and IPOs, is less enthusiastic due to these concerns. Incoming headwinds signal drying liquidity, they say. Less business will be done.

Final Reflections

I don't think we're done. Yes, stocks are up 10% from a month ago. It's a long way from old highs.

I don't think the stock market is a strong economic indicator.

Many executives foresee a 2023 recession. According to the traditional definition, we may be in a recession when Q2 GDP statistics are released next week.

Regardless of criteria, I predict the economy will have a terrible year.

Weekly layoffs are announced. Inflation persists. Will prices return to 2020 levels if inflation cools? Perhaps. Still expensive energy. Ukraine's war has global repercussions.

I predict BOA's next quarter earnings won't be as bullish about the consumer's strength.

Tim Denning

Tim Denning

1 year ago

Read These Books on Personal Finance to Boost Your Net Worth

And retire sooner.

Photo by Karlie Mitchell on Unsplash

Books can make you filthy rich.

If you apply what you learn. In 2011, I was broke and had broken dreams.

Someone suggested I read finance books. One Up On Wall Street was his first recommendation.

Finance books were my crack.

I've read every money book since then. Some are good, but most stink.

These books will make you rich.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson

This isn't a cliche book.

This book was inspired by a How to Get Rich tweet thread.

It’s one of the best tweets I’ve ever read.

Naval thinks differently. He nukes ordinary ideas. I've never heard better money advice.

Eric Jorgenson wrote a book about this tweet thread with Navals permission. A must-read, easy-to-digest book.

Best quote

Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy — Naval

Morgan Housel's The Psychology of Money

Many finance books advise investing like a dunce.

They almost all peddle the buy an index fund BS. Different book.

It's about money-making psychology. Because any fool can get rich and drunk on their ego. Few can consistently make money.

Each chapter is short. A single-page chapter breaks all book publishing rules.

Best quote

Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money — Morgan Housel

J.L. Collins' The Simple Path to Wealth

Most of the best money books were written by bloggers.

JL Collins blogs. This easy-to-read book was written for his daughter.

This book popularized the phrase F You Money. With enough money in your bank account and investment portfolio, you can say F You more.

A bad boss is an example. You can leave instead of enduring his wrath.

You can then sit at home and look for another job while financially secure. JL says its mind-freedom is powerful.

Best phrasing

You own the things you own and they in turn own you — J.L. Collins

Tony Robbins' Unshakeable

I like Tony. This book makes me sweaty.

Tony interviews the world's top financiers. He interviews people who rarely do so.

This book taught me all-weather portfolio. It's a way to invest in different asset classes in good, bad, recession, or depression times.

Look at it:

Image Credit-RayDalio/OptimizedPortfolio

Investing isn’t about buying one big winner — that’s gambling. It’s about investing in a diversified portfolio of assets.

Best phrasing

The best opportunities come in times of maximum pessimism — Tony Robbins

Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor

This book helped me distinguish between a spectator and an investor.

Spectators are those who shout that crypto, NFTs, or XYZ platform will die.

Tourists. They want attention and to say "I told you so." They make short-term and long-term predictions like fortunetellers. LOL. Idiots.

Benjamin Graham teaches smart investing. You'll buy a long-term asset. To be confident in recessions, use dollar-cost averaging.

Best phrasing

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — Benjamin Graham

The Napoleon Hill book Think and Grow Rich

This classic book introduced positive thinking to modern self-help.

Lazy pessimists can't become rich. No way.

Napoleon said, "Thoughts create reality."

No surprise that he discusses obsession and focus in this book. They are the fastest ways to make more money to invest in time and wealth-protecting assets.

Best phrasing

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat — Napoleon Hill

Ramit Sethi's book I Will Teach You To Be Rich

This book is mostly good.  The part about credit cards is trash.

Avoid credit card temptations. I don't care about their airline points.

This book teaches you to master money basics (that many people mess up) then automate it so your monkey brain doesn't ruin your financial future.

The book includes great negotiation tactics to help you make more money in less time.

Best quote

The 85 Percent Solution: Getting started is more important than becoming an expert — Ramit Sethi

David Bach's The Automatic Millionaire

You've probably met a six- or seven-figure earner who's broke. All their money goes to useless things like cars.

Money isn't as essential as what you do with it. David teaches how to automate your earnings for more money.

Compounding works once investing is automated. So you get rich.

His strategy eliminates luck and (almost) guarantees millionaire status.

Best phrasing

Every time you earn one dollar, make sure to pay yourself first — David Bach

Thomas J. Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door

Thomas defies the definition of rich.

He spends much of the book highlighting millionaire traits he's studied.

Rich people are quiet, so you wouldn't know they're wealthy. They don't earn much money or drive a BMW.

Thomas will give you the math to get started.

Best phrasing

I am not impressed with what people own. But I’m impressed with what they achieve. I’m proud to be a physician. Always strive to be the best in your field…. Don’t chase money. If you are the best in your field, money will find you. — Thomas J. Stanley

by Bill Perkins "Die With Zero"

Let’s end with one last book.

Bill's book angered many people. He says we spend too much time saving for retirement and die rich. That bank money is lost time.

Your grandkids could use the money. When children inherit money, they become lazy, entitled a-holes.

Bill wants us to spend our money on life-enhancing experiences. Stop saving money like monopoly monkeys.

Best phrasing

You should be focusing on maximizing your life enjoyment rather than on maximizing your wealth. Those are two very different goals. Money is just a means to an end: Having money helps you to achieve the more important goal of enjoying your life. But trying to maximize money actually gets in the way of achieving the more important goal — Bill Perkins

Datt Panchal

Datt Panchal

1 year ago

The Learning Habit

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The Habit of Learning implies constantly learning something new. One daily habit will make you successful. Learning will help you succeed.

Most successful people continually learn. Success requires this behavior. Daily learning.

Success loves books. Books offer expert advice. Everything is online today. Most books are online, so you can skip the library. You must download it and study for 15-30 minutes daily. This habit changes your thinking.

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Typical Successful People

  • Warren Buffett reads 500 pages of corporate reports and five newspapers for five to six hours each day.

  • Each year, Bill Gates reads 50 books.

  • Every two weeks, Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book.

  • According to his brother, Elon Musk studied two books a day as a child and taught himself engineering and rocket design.

Learning & Making Money Online

No worries if you can't afford books. Everything is online. YouTube, free online courses, etc.

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How can you create this behavior in yourself?

1) Consider what you want to know

Before learning, know what's most important. So, move together.

Set a goal and schedule learning.

After deciding what you want to study, create a goal and plan learning time.

3) GATHER RESOURCES

Get the most out of your learning resources. Online or offline.