SurrealPolitiksRealpolitik in an Unreal World

SurrealPolitiks S01E015 – Russia and You

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SurrealPolitiks S01E015 - Russia and You

To speak of the news today, would be to speak of a recent coup attempt in Russia. I have no small degree of concern for the implications of this, and will beg the pardon of the audience if I appear at times to be exceedingly cautious. I have made a name for myself with unfiltered commentary, and even in this decidedly tamer format than earned me my notoriety, I have made every attempt to be as forthcoming as I can be about how I view a situation.

Today, by contrast, I am a bit more reserved. The destabilization of the Russian Federation is a thing I fear no less, and perhaps just a bit more, than the chaos engulfing my own country. Russia is to me a symbol of hope. A post communist society, led by a ruler who enjoys the support of his people. Vladimir Putin retains this support despite his long reign, hardships on his population, and the necessity, at times, for measures deemed harsh by many.

Americans who have run afoul of the ruling class have found safe haven in Russia. Edward Snowden, and Tara Reade, are just two of the more prominent names on this list. But the list is longer than most of us could hope to know, and it will be beyond the scope of my preparations today to rattle off more names.

Prior to my compulsory vacation beginning in early 2020, during the first annual impeachment of Donald J. Trump, I had come to believe that Ukraine played a central role in the corruption of our politics, and that Russia had been made a convenient scapegoat to distract from Democrat malfeasance. All that has unfolded since has only made me more certain of this fact.

So, Russia matters to me, and to you, a great deal. They are fighting, in some sense, the same forces as we are. They have, in no small part, the same enemies and, importantly, the resources to wage that conflict.

And so, quite unilaterally, which is to say, without reciprocity, I consider Russia an ally. I do not want to criticize the Russian State, or Vladimir Putin.

And yet, I do not think my interests are best served to make an enemy of the Wagner group either. I have enough trouble dealing with the US Government, its criminal element, and the Ukrainian SBU. If Wagner can wage war in Ukraine, then take a trip to the outskirts of Moscow, threaten Vladimir Putin, and then go take a rest in Belarus, without losing a man, then we are dealing with the sort of entity that necessarily operates by a different set of rules than you or I are equipped to deal with.

Let us also dispense with the obvious: The perpetrator of the coup, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is Jewish. The relevance of this is hardly lost on me, of course. There is an ethnic stereotype, considered offensive by some, which could predictably result in the utterance of phrases unbecoming of the SurrealPolitiks business model. One might be inclined, for example, to deem it foolish for Vladimir Putin to permit such a man to command his own private military, especially while waging a military conflict against a neighboring country with a Jewish president.

Of course, there is cause to question the wisdom of any government allowing any private citizen to command his own military, and so, it is not as if we cannot explore this a bit here.

In the first episode of SurrealPolitiks, I identified Putin as a “master of the art” of Realpolitik. I have not reconsidered this position. Whatever you think about Putin, he is not foolish. The man worked for the KGB, and has governed the world’s largest country for more than two decades, while the most powerful forces on the Earth have worked tirelessly to destroy him and his people. He has done this, perhaps most remarkably, with very popular support.

Whatever you or I may think we know, we can be certain that Vladimir Putin knows more, and is in a better position to make judgements based on this knowledge.

So if a man does a thing which would appear foolish, according to the standard of his stated purposes, but he is no fool, one might next question his character. It being wiser to judge a man by deed than word, a pattern of behavior evincing designs contrary to his stated purpose, would be evidence of deception.

We may consider it a given that Vladimir Putin has a relationship with the truth that is befitting his station. To be more explicit, a man in his position has no choice but to deceive people from time to time. One assumes, for the easiest example, that the decision to send troops across the border into Ukraine had been made well prior to his many statements insisting he had no such intent. Such is the nature of war. A man who acts under some moral compulsion to tell the truth at all times is at a strategic disadvantage to an opponent who suffers no such hindrances, and one cannot maintain a position such as the one Mr. Putin holds if he suffers such disadvantages.

Of course, this being the necessary nature of politics, and geopolitics all the more, the prudent man does not make negative character judgements about a leader based on this. There is little doubt to the informed observer that Russia could easily be ruled by lesser men than Vladimir Putin. Machiavelli was not the only one to suggest that rulers ought to be judged by different standards than the common man. Government would hardly be conceivable otherwise, but Machiavelli went so far as to say that Kings ought to be judged more by history than the news, essentially. What a ruler does today cannot always be fully appreciated until a great deal of time has passed and its long term outcome can be realized.

We clearly lack such a luxury, however. Machiavelli could scarcely have conceived of a world so fast paced as ours. One also might infer that he viewed geopolitics in a decidedly Eurocentric fashion, without any concept of the possibility, that Europeans might face a situation where they could be wiped out and replaced by non-Europeans. In his frame of reference, wars were won or lost by swords and catapults. One side or the other would yield and the conflict would tend to cease. Making judgements about the outcome of a nuclear war is unappealing in the extreme, and all the less so for those who do not survive the first strike, whatever the motives of the actors involved.

More troubling still, nuclear war might actually not be the worst possible outcome of this conflict. Or, it might be a step on the road to a still worse outcome. Or, the worse outcome ensues, nuclear weapons fall into the wrong hands, and, well, those left behind to witness this are not to be envied. Such are the powers of demographic changes.

All of which is to say, that on a short list of poor options, men must make decisions within a given range of possibilities. For those of us judging from the outside, we can only make inferences based on imperfect knowledge. I infer from Vladimir Putin’s long rule, the popular support that makes it possible, the fact that his people are not stupid, and the fact that he has easier options available to him than he currently exercises, if he cared not for the wellbeing of his countrymen, that Putin means well.

Since he means well, and is not stupid, and has demonstrated a talent for Realpolitik, I must then infer that there was a reason to allow Prigozhin to acquire the power recently wielded against the Russian State. I do not know what that reason was, I can only infer that it exists, or, at some point did exist.

And, it does not appear as though this potential was entirely unforeseen. Prigozhin’s stated motives included the prospect that the Russian State would take over his militia, and there were plans in the works to do precisely this. It might be said that Putin was a tad late in enacting this plan, but apparently, not so late that he could not prevent the overthrow of his government, and so, points to him for this much.

But, I do not expect this will be the end of the story. Prigozhin is not in prison. He is not dead. He took a military convoy within 150 miles of Moscow and killed Russian soldiers. Then, he was permitted to leave on his own power. That he still lives speaks to powers he holds beyond his command of a militant group, and which remain unexplained to us at present.

The Russian Federation is a post-communist society. In many ways, they have already been through what I fear we in the United States and elsewhere are racing toward. The importance of this can hardly be overstated.

Vladimir Putin has witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union. He has seen Russia rise, again, from this, largely under his leadership. He has adeptly steered this massive ship of a State through through obstacles few in history could even contemplate, much less navigate.

Letting Prigozhin go has been, and will be, with some merit, viewed as a sign of weakness by his enemies. Of which there are not shortage. They will seek to capitalize on this, and encourage future uprisings, and those inclined theretoward will be emboldened by Prigozhin’s march.

This cannot possibly have been lost of Prigozhin as he contemplated the move. He didn’t have to take Moscow to accomplish a very significant goal, and doubtless we have yet to learn what his true aim was.

So, as much as people in my line of work are compelled to some degree toward speculation, I must today decline. I have not the vaguest idea what happened over the weekend, much less will come of this, and that troubles me a great deal.

I mentioned early in my remarks that a number of Americans have found safe haven in Russia. These people did not choose the country at random. One doubts they dislike sun and sand, and could have no less easily purchased travel arrangements to Costa Rica or Panama.

I infer from this, though, not from this alone, that the people who went to Russia went there for more than a non-extradition country. They expected meaningful guarantees of their safety, first and foremost, and they seem to have found this. Take the stark comparison in outcome between Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, and you would not have to think hard if you would prefer to go to Ecuador or Russia, should you seek greener pastures.

A sudden change in Russia’s government, could prove disastrous for a man like Edward Snowden. Were he to find himself in such an unenviable position, the range of options where you or I might go if things get beyond repair in our own countries, is substantially reduced.

Not that I have the vaguest idea how you would get to Russia, or what their asylum process is like. One imagines it is decidedly more restrictive than the one illegal immigrants use to get into the United States. One also doubts Russia permits just anyone to traipse across the border and live at taxpayer expense, I can think of only one country foolish enough to permit this, and surely I need not name it.

So, before I conclude my rant and take your calls, I’ll try briefly to give you a sneak preview of something I’d like to cover in greater depth in the near future.

Elsewhere I played an old clip from my uncensored production, detailing a plan for the establishment of an enclave here in the United States. Among the points discussed were the suggestion to establish an income stream not dependent on proximity to a major economy. This caused some confusion in the BitChute comments, and even for those who understood the meaning of the language, the implications are hardly obvious.

I could have said it more clearly by calling for an income stream not dependent on one’s geography. A work from home job of some sort. These are in greater supply today in the wake of the COVID pandemic, I have been made to understand, but they are being reduced as companies realize that an employee at home in his pajamas might not produce the same output as he does when he shows up at the office with all of the readiness rituals such an appearance entails.

But, even in the case of remote employment, one is not entirely immune from the vicissitudes of politics. Employment as such, can be problematic, if your employer does not share your views or at least consider them uninteresting. Among the goals of this struggling media empire, is to provide such employment opportunities, and not necessarily in the media sphere. One may recall I once ran an online store with little connection to the political content, and also offered voiceover services, as two examples of offshoot ventures. Unfortunately, I lost internet access before these could grow to the point I hoped them to grow to.

I do not consider it at all likely that we can achieve meaningful political outcomes by remaining infinitely divided over the continental United States. To be effective, people are going to have to move, whether that means escaping the system, or taking it over. Whether you were to move to Manchester or Moscow, relocation without income is a perilous venture.

What I’m about to talk about is not a sales pitch. It is not an offer of employment. You may offer time or financial resources to the venture if you see fit, but that is not the primary purpose of what I mean to illustrate. The goal here is to help you visualize a range of possibilities, and if some number of you run with these ideas on your own, I hope only that you put the results to good use.

It became a running joke to tell people “learn to code” as if this were somehow going to resolve the myriad economic crises of globalization. Clearly, it does nothing of the sort. Firstly, because not all people can learn to code, even if they embark upon this course of education in early life. Much less so if they have worked in construction for the last 30 years.

But this does not mean that one is necessarily bound to a single employer in a single location for eternity with no hope of independence. For some, this will be the case, but, if others are able to launch successful enterprises with the specific aim of hiring those people, then in the future that might not be the case.

You may have noticed that I monetize these productions in a number of ways. Some of them, quite innovative. I’ve had to innovate on account of deplatforming, and this has made for valuable experience.

There’s not much sense in talking about fundraising or paywall memberships. Those are somewhat obvious and specific to my own trade.

Recently I was astounded at something I stumbled across, almost by accident. I am subscribed to a number of what could be described as intellectual property licensing services. When you hear me play background music, these are where that comes from. Most of my images come from AI image generators, but I occasionally make use of these services for images as well. Notably, the WordPress theme for was purchased from one of them, as are some of the plugins that make the functionality possible.

I had until recently only thought of these systems as repositories of audio visual elements and some basic WordPress functionality, but it turns out they also license code for standalone web based services which could be broadly categorized as Software as a Service, or SaaS business opportunities. You can buy the applications, put them on a server, and if you can generate traffic to these sites, you get paid.

That’s only the slightest oversimplification.

  • These things obviously require some maintenance.

But, when, like me, you’re already running several servers, you’re already doing most of that maintenance anyway, and in any case, if you do maintenance for one of the services, you’re doing much of the maintenance that would need to be done for a hundred of them.

  • If you’re moving money around, there’s accounting involved, and this increases in complexity as you form different companies, take on partners, hire employees, pay contractors, and deal with different financial institutions.

But, this is no different from any other business, at the end of the day.

  • If you have customers, you have customer service to deal with.

But, the systems I’m looking at are designed to keep this to an absolute minimum.

  • And above all, stuff happens.

But, for example, there’s a script I can purchase for $26 that will basically give you a site just like CoinMarketCap, in which you can embed affiliate links to cryptocurrency exchanges.

It’s a full featured site that gets real time and historical data for 2200+ cryptocurrencies across a large number of exchanges. If people go to that site, and click through your affiliate links, you sometimes get a one time referral fee, and in other cases, you get a cut of their trading fees for life.

The same developer makes a “Trading Signals” application for Forex, Commodities, Stocks, ETFs, and more. Same idea.

Another script, also $26, is a multi domain temporary email system. Basically something people can use to create throwaway emails for account registrations. For $33 (and presumably recurring fees for a third party service provider) they offer a script to do the same thing with SMS messages. Several payment gateways are offered to charge for the service, and/or you can monetize it with ads.

Another script, for $23, is a web based QR code generator and URL shortener, with some advanced features like adding a logo to the QR code or having configurable redirect links set up so your QR code can direct people to different places over time. Again, you can charge for the service with different payment gateways, or you can monetize with ads.

Another script creates a “Pay Per Click” site, where you basically incentivize users to view advertisements. The advertisers have their end of the site where they bid for traffic. You bill them, pay the users.

Another, perhaps a bit more ambitious, but priced at a shocking $21, creates a web interface for a Voice over IP service that allows (among other things) users to upload a recording, or use a text to speech system, to robodial numbers, and be connected to people who answer affirmatively the automated system.

These are just a few of the ones on sale at the moment, there are hundreds of these things.

At the end of the last uncensored production, I asked if anybody had knowledge of a system called Flutter, which is an architecture for building smartphone apps. The same service offers source code for a tremendous variety of smartphone apps ranging from streaming media to financial services to clones of AirBNB and Uber, and Instacart. One buys the code, makes some necessary customizations, and publishes it to the Google Play and Apple App stores. All that remains from there, aside from the aforementioned maintenance issues, is to get people using the app, which can be accomplished in the same way one promotes anything else.

It is important to note that, although the set up of these systems requires technical know how, the customer service end does not. Say one were to buy and launch several smartphone apps, they would require some customer service representatives who only understood the user interface, which is by design not exceedingly technical. Then there is the work of documenting this use, which requires only a degree of skill for writing and producing documents.

If you are capable of ordering groceries or requesting a ride with your smartphone, you are capable of handing these tasks.

If you are highly organized, and good at math, then you are capable of handling the accounting that goes into running a number of small startup companies.

Sales, marketing, and advertising are not things one can train a chimp to do, but neither do they require an engineering degree.

And thus is born what we economists refer to as a division of labor.

This blends well with my research into Artificial Intelligence, and more than this, the hardware associated with that technology. Graphics Processing Units, more often referred to as graphics cards, or GPUs, are exponentially more powerful than the more familiar central processing unit or CPU we all have in our computers.

There are companies out there, notably, that allow one to rent GPU time and are more or less agnostic about what one does with that system so long as they do not break the law. Amazon and Microsoft and IBM offer similar services, with somewhat greater interest in the user’s activities. These systems end up costing more over time, typically, than buying the hardware to be used, but they make great friends to entrepreneurs by doing away with the up front costs, on which there is no upper limit. Prices range from $0.20 to $36/hour for GPU access on RunPod, with that highest price being for 8 x H100 80GB SXM5, which is a really tremendous amount of computing resources I doubt most listeners can even begin to comprehend.

But just to give you an idea of the scope, I have a $279 graphics card I recently acquired for this show and for my AI projects. I also acquired a $600 computer for this purpose. Recently, I had come across a file which I had secured with a password, and I have since forgotten that password. There is not means by which to simply decrypt a file of this type. You have to brute force attack it, which is to say, enter many passwords until one unlocks the file.

In this case, I doubt it will ever work because I have a habit of creating exceedingly complex passwords, but I attempted this on my computer here using an application called Passware. Using my CPU that came with the $600 computer, I could enter approximately 1,000 passwords per second, which is obviously nothing to sneeze at. Using the $279 GPU, I could enter 70,000 passwords per second, which is, you may have gathered, a great deal faster.

Unfortunately, this generated so much heat I had to stop the process, but it was an interesting experience, and, more to the point, illustrative of the potential uses of the technology. These are things normal people cannot do at home. They require professional service providers with specialized equipment, but the service provider need not be anywhere near the customer. The person performing the task need not be anywhere near the equipment he controls. It is entirely geography independent.

And so, whether you are looking to flee the empire, to take the reigns thereof, or just to spend more time with the kids, you may be pleased to know that these are things I am working on when not immersed in content production. I am fairly easy to reach if you care to participate, and in the future  I hope to return to this subject with greater attention to detail, and more specifically with suggestions on how one can reduce their income requirements, so as to make the maximum investment of time possible toward such ambitious projects.

If you would like to help finance this high quality production, I try to make this easy enough to do….

  • You can become a paying subscriber to SurrealPolitiks for $10/month and enjoy exclusive subscriber benefits.
  • I have a GiveSendGo campaign seeking to raise $5k/month to fund this production. I’m well short of that goal.
  • You can send me checks, cash, money orders, etc… at
    • Christopher Cantwell
      497 Hooksett Road
      Unit 312
      Manchester, NH 03104
  • Cryptocurrency
    • Bitcoin: bc1qcg97hwdy8d463794wm0uq3np0px49acw6505gm
    • Ethereum: 0xa29441bF858c529E374960A34e16f21abc0970E8
    • Litecoin: LQsN4hA761RPrUNTva58nQhJ4BYsAQgYet
    • Bitcoin Cash: qplamajpkvhp2g53q4thnu4cakf882er4ge9pqvfdu
    • Monero: 46Li94X1o95GaKPxMdsqds3FPJmc2tTvQi3zSuLHbttWTMLbtV9jHGU86wxqvKyVBVRUGhY78uA1HJ5aQn53zc7uRinB96q
    • ZCash: t1cXJJsnohToMTukCNXBkcqNPDdwvwnfS3p
    • Dash: Xu957ZZqY6ciMZKdUmu5vVUmyxu4jMWEto
    • I’ll take other types not listed, just send me an email and I’ll get you a key.
  • Though money is preferred, I also have an Amazon wishlist.

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SurrealPolitiks PodcastEpisode 15