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Metaphorical

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Name: Kurt Cagle
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cascadia
Member since: Sat Dec 3, 2016, 02:02 AM
Number of posts: 1,420

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Contributing Writer, Forbes Magazine

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Gazprom financial security director found dead as an apparent suicide

https://m.47news.ru/articles/208119/

This hasn't been picked up by Western sources yet so no guarantee on reliability. Translated below:

Gazprom Treasury Top Manager Found Dead in Monopoly Nest in Leninsky
22:46 25.02.2022

Photo: RF IC
The circumstances of the death of the Deputy General Director of the Unified Settlement Center of Gazprom for Corporate Security, whose body was found in the prestigious village of Leninskoye in the Vyborg District of the Leningrad Region, are being established. A note was found nearby, law enforcement officials told 47news. A month earlier, in the same village, the body of a top manager of another division from Gazprom's orbit was found. Both of the now deceased previously worked at Gazprom Transgaz.

As it became known to 47news, in the early morning of February 25, the police received a message about the death of a man on Rubinovaya Street in an elite cottage village in Leninsky.

The officers who arrived at the scene found the deceased in a noose in the annex garage, a note lay nearby. The deceased was identified as 61-year-old Alexander Tyulakov, Deputy General Director of the Unified Settlement Center (UCC) of Gazprom for corporate security. This division performs the functions of the treasury of the entire monopoly.

Prior to his appointment to the ERC, Alexander Tyuliakov, since March 2014, worked as Deputy General Director for Corporate Security and Human Resources at Gazprom Transgaz Saint Petersburg, a 100% subsidiary of Gazprom, which was engaged in the export and transportation of fuel to nine regions of Russia.

The circumstances of the incident are established by the Investigative Committee of the Leningrad Region.

Gazprom ERC at the time of publication could not comment on the incident.

Recall that a month earlier, a 60-year-old head of the transport service of Gazprom Invest, Leonid Shulman, was found dead in a mansion on Zhemchuzhnaya Street in the same village of Leninskoye . A retractable construction knife was found on the side of the bath. A note was also found. Shulman also previously worked for Gazprom Transgaz.

47news said that many of the top managers of the gas monopoly live in the village of Leninskoye. Because of the accumulation of famous names, it is called "Gazprom's nest" .

Why the GOP will lose badly this fall

I don't think that the invasion is going to end quickly. I think it is likely to drag on for months, even as NATO troops begin to get involved (40,000 troops have just been activated for the first time in decades).

However, it will have three significant effects here domestically.

1. Biden is now officially a war-time president in a battle against a clear tyrant on a likeable country, with every aspect of it broadcast on the Internet in real-time. His ratings are already climbing and may likely end up being higher than Bush's did after 9/11. This means that many of the more critical press outlets are now in the awkward position of appearing unpatriotic if they unload too heavily on Biden, and as so much of the criticism was largely manufactured, this is going to make it much harder for others to define him.

2. Trump's name is now mud. It's ironic that it was Putin that did that, but the reality has been that Trump has defined himself vis-a-vis his relationship with Putin. This is likely to mean that his influence, already waning, has just evaporated altogether. It also means that his most fervent followers are going to find themselves as pariahs, ignored by even local media, and seen as apologists for a tyrannical regime. I expect that the primaries are going to be a bloodbath for the Magats.

3. It takes money to create movements. My suspicion is that if you look at many of the deep pockets that have been supplying the MAGAt movement, you'll find laundered Russian money: highly lucrative contracts for very little actual work, significant overpayment on goods, purchases of properties at 3-4 times notional value, overnight bitcoin billionaires through hacked blockchains, and so forth. That money is all about to disappear, and with it the ability to create blind PACs, to donate in-kind expenses such as Stadium rentals, and even fund stations like OAN, Clear Channel, and Breitbart. It also means that even those people that haven't been getting Russian money are going to be far more circumspect about how they spend their own money, for fear of drawing attention to themselves. I also wouldn't be surprised if it hits organizations such as ALEC, which always seemed to have such an outsized influence given what it is.

I may be wrong on this, but I don't think so. By the time November rolls around, I think the GOP is going to be in complete disarray.

The Russian Civil War

People who expect the Ukraine-Russia conflict to end quickly are likely not thinking about this from the perspective of the Russians. To Putin, Ukraine was a break-away republic, albeit one that broke away thirty-four years ago. More recently, they threw out the previous government, led by pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, considered a puppet of Putin's, with Volodymyr Zelenskyy taking over and forming a new pre-European government.

Putin sees this as civil war, with Ukraine the "Russian South". I wondered back in 2015 why Putin was so intent on destabilizing the United Kingdom (which he successfully did via Brexit) and the United States (which he nearly did and arguably is still doing via Trump) but in hindsight, reclamation of Ukraine no doubt was a big part of the picture. I suspect in his analysis, he realized that Biden was being more successful at stopping Russian-backed operations than he'd hoped, and realized that his window to reunify the former Soviet Union was closing quickly.

Ultimately, I think there may be a number of factors for why he moved now. One may be his own physical and mental health, which has been rumored to be inconsistent. He is also facing political pressures at home to relinquish power: he is popular among the conservative base, but he no longer has universal support and is finding it difficult to maintain control over the Far East, including the Kamchatka peninsula. He also may have recognized that his US and UK assets are being uncovered in recent Congressional investigations.

For all that, this is now shaping up to be a civil war, where Russian soldiers are expected to shoot at Ukraine soldiers who may be former friends or family members, and for most Russians and Ukranians alike, Ukraine was seen as independent. Ultimately, the danger here for Russia is that this could spread outside of the Ukraine and affect both Moskva and St. Petersberg, tearing the country even more apart than its been with the fall of the Soviets.

Unconventional Wisdom - Why Democrats may increase their control over the House And Senate

The conventional wisdom has long been that an incoming president will always lose Congress in the first mid-terms, though historically it's not as clear cut.

I'm going to make a prediction. In November, the Democrats will gain ground in both the House and the Senate. It won't be a blow-out- maybe 2 to 3 seats in the Senate, and another 8-10 in the House - but it will give Biden some maneuvering room that he doesn't have today. The reasons I believe this includes the following:

1. The Pandemic is reaching a stage of being manageable. This doesn't mean that it's over. I think Covid-19 and its many, many variants are here to stay. However, we are reaching a stage where the disease is manageable, and where the understanding of how to treat it is sufficient that future variants will be fought largely by booster shots and oral pharmaceuticals, which wasn't true under Trump. This means that areas are now going off mandates, but it also means that Biden is effectively telling the states that it is now up to them to manage their health initiatives, with the Federal government acting as a coordinator and backstop. It means that we're now stuck with a permanent pockets of virus incubation, but frankly I think that the states most guilty there are simply going to fade away in importance as their economies get hit with an Antivaxxer tax.

2. The Pandemic, the supply-chain issues, inflation, the Great Resignation are all interrelated. As the pandemic's political import fades, so too will the supply-chain issues, the great resignation is a realignment of workers with opportunities that is showing signs of weakening, while inflation is now cresting, meaning that it's not going to get any worse and should start getting better. This is happening globally. The Fed will almost certainly start applying the brakes with interest rate rises, the economy should cool somewhat (though not dramatically) and a few high profile committees looking into price gouging should start curbing the opportunistic companies that are raising prices under cover of inflation.

3. When the Soviet Union fell in 1989, Republicans proclaimed the victory of capitalism over communism and seemingly overnight, Western businessmen were flying in droves to figure out how best to fleece the newly "enfranchised" workers. Democrats were more wary, because the Federal Russian Republic was still fundamentally Russian - a cold, geographically large, resource-rich country with a history of authoritarian leaders going back to the Tsardom of Russia in 1541. Russian interests, in general, have been butting heads with American ones going back to not much long after the American Revolution. Putin's latest on-again, off-again invasion has suddenly reminded a lot of older Americans especially that Russia still has more nuclear weapons (6,400) than the US does (5,500).

4. This means that the Republican party is about to be cloven down the middle between those who see Russia as an ally (mostly those who want to see the US crash and burn so they can institute their own theocracy, libertarian paradise, confederate stronghold or survivalist playground in its place) and those who remember nuclear preparedness drills in grade school, when we were all supposed to duck under our tiny, flimsy school desks when the flash lit up the windows indicated that the end of the world was nigh. This could not have come at a worse time, for the GOP. It means that Biden, a *bleeping* Democrat, is now standing up to Putin surprisingly well as a potential wartime president, with what is clearly a manufactured pretext by an historical antagonist. His ratings are climbing pretty quickly even despite the deluge of bad press. If Putin backs down, then it is this moment of Bidens that people will remember in November. If he doesn't, I fully expect that the US will be funneling drones, equipment, intelligence, and perhaps eventually, troops into the Ukraine within the next few weeks, though I expect troops on the ground are going to be the last piece of the puzzle, only if everything else fails.

5. Meanwhile, in Trumpland, there are a lot of very conflicted MAGAts. Trump was clearly buddies with Putin, even if Putin is no longer taking his calls. The GOP wants to woo these same MAGAts back to the fold, but the most ardent MAGAts increasingly see the GOP as the enemy, much preferring their Lord and Messiah, Trump. This is likely going to translate into a fairly brutal set of primaries, and if "establishment" candidates win positions, I expect that the MAGATs are likely to sit on their hands in the general election and vice versa. If anything, the "disarray" that I'm seeing on the Democratic side has less to do with the Hillary vs Bernie battles of 2016 and more the typical bickering about which things to fund first. Manchin and Sinema are both still somewhat problematic, but I don't necessarily see the continued grandstanding playing out past April. In comparison, the GOP is tearing itself apart.

6. The electoral maps, which a lot of Democratic pundits in particular have expressed concern about before they were completed, are turning into something of a wash - courts are calling out egregious gerrymandering in places where it could make a difference, state initiatives are forcing independent re-draws of gerrymandered maps, and Democratic lawyers are winning lawsuits where Republicans have tried to disenfranchise voters. There might be even a slight tilt to the Democrats at this point, though it would be very small. This is good - an electoral map should be balanced, not clearly partisan either way.

7. Investigations. Trump is facing severe legal jeopardy on multiple fronts at this point. The investigations are moving slowly, but it's worth acknowledging that, unlike when Trump was in office, the Justice Department is not going to quash the investigations. I expect indictments to start flying in the May-June timeframe: the Jan 6 investigation, SDNY, multiple civil lawsuits, electoral fraud, RICO, and more, and several Republicans will likely be facing jail time. Will Trump? I doubt it, though I wouldn't be at all surprised if one or more Trump children aren't wearing orange jumpsuits by the election (Kuschner would be my guess). The point is that while I do not see the investigations changing many Republican minds, it will influence a lot of independents, and it will leave a lot of chaos in its wake politically.

8. Right now, replacing DeJoy is stalled in the Senate, but I'm not sure they'll be able to stonewall much longer. Ironically, if the Ukraine conflict kicks off, Biden may be able to call on the War Powers act to ensure improved communications, which includes making sure that mail can arrive in a timely fashion. Biden is not going to call on these powers unless there is a clear and present danger, but it gives him leeway. I expect that state lawsuits against DeJoy may also finally start making their way through the courts. One way or another, I think it will be hard to stop vote-by-mail in 2022, which is clearly an objective of the Republicans.

9. Overreach. The more extremist elements of the GOP are hitting a point of diminishing returns. Red states are enacting increasingly draconian laws in any number of areas, from abortion to voting restrictions to worker constraints and rolling back civil rights laws, you're seeing plans for whole fleets of Freedom Convoys clogging up the cities and highways. What's worth noting is that the Freedom Convoy in Canada was condemned by most of the country, including by truckers who might otherwise have been sympathetic. This to me is a sign of overreach - the reactionary forces are now beginning to engender a reaction of their own as people get fed up with the bad behavior, the lack of civility, the petty meanness, and the attempts at gaslighting.

Now, we're still nine months from the election and the situation could change quickly, but I think the Conventional Wisdom that the Dems are going to lose ground in the Fall is mainly propaganda.

Thoughts?
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