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The Queen's Gambit

We were right til we weren’t; built a nation watched it burn; second round heres the spin; now the nations listening in.

February 25, 2024
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Yulia Navalnaya: 'I will continue the work of Alexei Navalny.'

The traditional second anniversary gift is cotton, making the 2-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February a prime time for Vladimir Putin to splurge on new tea towels o'er at Putin Palace whilst he and his Siloviks (people of force) embark on year three's rousing game of Russian Roulette with Europe's democracies.

It’s Judo, actually. Putin’s sport of choice. And for those wondering why the U.S. Congress is resisting more aid to the Russo-Ukraine War, Senator J.D. Vance at the Munich Security Conference last week pulled an ashi-waza. “Its because it won’t fundamentally change the reality on the ground.” That's Trump’s line, actually. And while Vance lobbies for VP, the short list for Election 2024 will require something more than a "Cowboy" or "Crazy S.O.B." at Cold War II.

Since 1963, the Munich Security Conference has been organized privately and therefore not an official government event. Its a venue for discussion; no government has any authority; and the objective is global “peace through dialogue.” China, India, Iran, Japan, even Russia are all invited to sit down and discuss current events, including: national security issues, defense policies, and conflicts. No pledge, rush, or penalties here.

That the conference coincided with Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny falling ill, and being pronounced dead at an Arctic penal colony, may very well have been Russian President Vladimir Putin dialing in to the conference. Why the Russian opposition leader was serving a 20-year prison sentence in Siberia, or was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok in 2020 for that matter, can episodically both be traced with a dotted line to the Kremlin.

While the sound of silence in Siberia is characterized as deafening, the importance of actually listening to one another and receiving > understanding > evaluating > and responding has never been at more at a premium in public life. For every passive listener who fails, other more active listeners can prevail.

“It’s a form of Navalny,” says Donald Trump, of a $355 million judgement levied against him in a sweeping civil fraud trial. “It’s happening in our country, too.”

Though he's asked for a one month delay, New York Attorney General Letitia James says, “If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court and we will ask the judge to seize his assets."

An unprecedented 4 indictments and 91 charges have been levied against the former president, and a new Marquette Law School Poll National Survey finds that 51% of the nation believes its much ado about nothing. This is about election interference and/or weaponizing the federal government — and it's not their first time at the rodeo.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff; stock market crash of 1929; the collapse of world trade; and the Great Depression all came first. Lady Liberty burned once, twice shy.

The Way Back

At the height of the Great Depression (1929-1939), the U.S. banking system had collapsed; nearly 1/4 of the nation was unemployed; and the remainders had their hourly wage cut in half. Thats according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics but Life Magazine put it like this: “The American Way is in default.”

So Simon & Schuster solicited a New York business consultant to put his lectures and pamphlets on paper. From 1936, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” went on to sell 30+ million copies and was written to help the nation get back to work. The section on how to write business letters was removed in 1981, sadly. Civil discourse seems sorely in decline, but the remaining four sections are in tact and read verbatim as they did nearly 100 years ago. It is among the best selling books of all time.

Warren Buffett took Carnegie’s "How to Win Friends and Influence People” course when he was 20 years old, a diploma hangs in his office today. Sales were wildly popular in Nazi Germany, and Charles Manson used the book from prison to control the Manson Family’s operations. Even during a 1998 kidnapping in Saratov, Russia, two LDS missionaries used Carnegie’s strategies to exert leniency from their captors. Vladimir Putin, appointed to the Federal Security Service (FSB) in 1998, the successor agency to the KGB, was listening in.

Humanistic Psychology

Passive Listening is one-way communication. Its characterized by a receiver not listening, paying attention, comprehending or questioning the sender's communications. Conversely, Active Listening is two-way communiqué.

It’s characterized by a communication strategy involving three key steps: 1) actively seeking to understand a speaker's communications, 2) physically confirming the communication has been received correctly, and 3) physically responding to their communication. Herewith, Buffet, Manson and Mormon missionaries shine.

Each to wildly different ends invoke a skill that Carl Rogers and Richard Farson coined “active listening” in 1957. The American psychologists and educators are the founders of humanistic psychology and psychotherapy, and their person-centered approach has revolutionized the field’s of psychology with client-centered therapy; education with student-centered learning; business organizations with client-facing transactions; and international relations with personal politics.

Trump’s tenure as a foreign-policy president was to emphasize withdrawal from various international treaties and organizations, and to replace the United State’s leadership role with American Exceptionalism, Isolationism, and Nationalism.

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US warns Russia could launch an anti-satellite weapon into orbit as early as this year.

Conversely, the Joe Biden Administration is imploring the U.S. Congress to direct a bit more than just $75 billion in assistance to Ukraine whilst communicating to Allies that Russia may be preparing to launch an anti-satellite nuclear weapon into space this year. Putin denies the claim but consider this.

Forever War

In 1940, Hitler conquered Western Europe after forging an alliance of convenience with the Soviet Union to crush Europe’s democracies (Nazi-Soviet Pact). Isolationist America initially stood on the sidelines whilst Great Britain faced Nazi Germany — alone.

Cut to 2024, and Russia’s 10-year military campaign to conquer what Putin calls their “satellite state” Ukraine and upend NATO. In fact, Putin didn’t invade Ukraine until after listening to and forging an alliance with China, and forming a “partnership without limits” openly dedicated to overthrowing the US-led international security order in Europe and Asia. Under Trump, the U.S. may retreat to the safety of its own hemisphere in a parlance to Fortress America.

"The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country," Trump wrote on Truth Social, referring to a state’s weaponizing the government over a political opponent. The wife of Russia’s most famous opposition leader takes this approach.

Perfect Day

Yulia Navalnaya, 47, has a shot at succession through what Navalny’s legions of supporters are calling a quixotic combination of "intelligence, poise, steely determination, resilience, pragmatism, and star power."

"I am going to continue the work of Aleksei Navalny and continue to fight for our country,” Yulia said, in a 9-minute video this week. She wants to finish the task her late husband left incomplete — To see Russia peaceful, democratic, prosperous and free.

After Navalny was poisoned in 2020, Yulia stayed at his bedside for 18 days and nights playing the Queen's Gambit; singing along to “Perfect Day” by Duran Duran; and referencing in principle "How to Win Friends and Influence People." “You saved me,” he later wrote on social media, a transcendental truth that we reap what we sow.

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Artist rendering of J059-4351

His death on 16 February comes four weeks before Russia’s 2024 presidential election, and eerily coincides with the discovery of the brightest object ever seen in the universe (J059-4351).

A dazzling whirlpool of fast-moving, ultra-hot gas is swirling around the fastest growing black hole ever seen by humans — the equivalent of 500 trillion suns — which somehow evaded scientists until now who were disillusioned by its luminosity.

Humans have weaponized their state or legal system and power structures ever since Kish, Erech and Ur vied for ascendancy in Sumer. But while supermassive black holes produce spectacular quasars, turns out in the end they're all a bag o' hot air.

Widely held that black holes were impossible to destroy, Stephen Hawking in 1974 proved they all vanish, evaporate, and transform what they consumed into a paradox of information encrypted with messages to active listeners in new worlds.

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Make sense of the week's news. Charlatan reviews the world's show & message.



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