Situation Report: Putin’s Temper Tantrum
Crazy Doesn’t Take Vacation Days
Without a doubt, we’ll see a continued slow drip of nutball stories over these last days of 2021. But we all deserve some time off, and that includes me (and you), so I’ll keep this short and sweet.
What’s Happening Now
Putin makes his displeasure with the west known. Like a petulant teen, Putin wants to make sure everyone knows just how much we all suck and how unhappy he is. CNN caught the gist of this week’s presser with the headline “Putin blames the west for growing tensions during end of year news conference.” We get it, it’s all our fault for thinking up NATO and for countries wanting to join it and to be defended against the gun you’re currently holding to Europe’s head. In an effort to remove some of his leverage, US Liquid Natural Gas supplies are enroute to Europe, so he can’t try freezing people as a tactic. Overall the plan for the moment seems to be to await developments as the ground freezes and conditions may ripen for Putin to make a move. Let’s hope he can be held off.
Cardi B and Jack Dorsey sound off on monetary policy. When I think monetary policy experts (which I am certainly not, full disclosure), my mind doesn’t immediately go to singer Cardi B or to my old pal Jack Dorsey. Yet, this week they were sounding off about Bitcoin replacing the dollar. What I can say is that this is another example of this sort of chatter which has become ubiquitous and either the product of a coordinated or naturally occurring information operation driven by people who want to effect a major transition in our financial system, which by the way would have countless catastrophic follow-on consequences. Dorsey has become more vocal since leaving his CEO post at Twitter, getting into spats with venture capitalist Marc Andreesen over whether ‘web3’ was a good thing. (Hint: it’s not; Dorsey believes in Bitcoin and web3 is built on Ethereum, mostly, and Dorsey think’s its bad and run by venture capitalists). No one tell Dorsey about Tether, and how it’s a scam, and under investigation by the DOJ — and that when it collapses it will take Bitcoin with it.
Ridiculous congress-person Madison Cawthorn is shilling “LGB Coin” while Senators Toomey and Lummis guide cryptocurrency regulation—while owning it. Madison Cawthorn, the North Carolina house member who just announced he was divorcing after just 8 months of marriage, has also been shilling a stupid cryptocurrency called “LGB Coin” which does not, much to my dismay, stand for “Lesbian/Gay/Bi Coin,” (because after all, why not) but rather “Let’s Go Brandon Coin.” This barely warrants comment, but at minimum it is a misanthropic moneymaking scheme and members of Congress should be barred from this kind of activity. Can we get some ethics rulings on aisle 7, please?
Only Two Senators Own Crypto Assets. Both Are Shaping the Industry's Rules.
WASHINGTON-Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyo.) sit on the powerful Senate Banking Committee and…
Speaking of which, the Wall Street Journal this week reported that Senators Toomey (R-PA) and Lummis (R-WY) are currently overseeing development of legislation that would regulate cryptocurrencies, while also holding them. They are the only two senators that hold crypto. This is another blatant conflict of interest and urgently needs ethics oversight.
U.S. and Britain Help Ukraine Prepare for Potential Russian Cyberassault
Russia has attacked Ukraine's power grid in the past, and experts say Moscow might take similar steps as it masses…
Ukraine will almost certainly face a cyberassault as part of its invasion. These days no war is complete without a matching set of hybrid warfare accessories, including cyberassault to undermine essential services and cause disruption, as well as various psychological warfare and information operations. The U.S. and Britain have partnered up to help Ukraine fight such attacks, which everyone figures will probably target infrastructure like the power grid. We should be preparing here domestically as well, because our interest in what happens in Ukraine will go down dramatically once we’re unable to heat our homes or get online. I’m sure there is such preparation occurring, but I hope it’s up to the challenge.
Jesse Benton charged… again… with doing bad stuff with money, this time with illegal contributions from an “unnamed Russian.” I’ve been following Jesse Benton for a while, and he’s the Zelig of corrupt Kentucky libertarianism. He has worked for Mitch McConnell, Ron Paul, and Rand Paul. He’s married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter. He was the PR guy for Parler. He was indicted for fraudulent campaign activity back in 2015. And, I did not know it, but in September he was indicted again for trying to “funnel Russian money” to the Trump campaign. His co-conspirator in this activity was longtime George H. W. Bush associate Doug Wead, who died this week while awaiting trial.
What May Happen Next
Who the hell knows, really? These little remnant weeks at the end of the year are always full of weird surprises. Or not. Whatever you’re celebrating this holiday season, I hope you get some peace, relaxation, joy, and time with your family. Unplug from the internets. Raise a glass or three. We’ll be back for the final Situation Report of 2021 next Friday… which we can all hope will be mercifully brief! 🙏 🎅
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For an even deeper dive, check out my series, The Big History Behind January 6th and my audio series Oil, Gold, Crypto, and Fascism: How We Got Here and How to Fix It.