Take a look Paul Krugman's column on the rapid deterioration of the Russian economy. The drop in oil prices has of course played a central role in Russia's woes. The sanctions regime stemming from the Ukraine crisis has played a major contributing role. What's interesting though is Paul's point that most countries would have a set of tools to grapple at least with the drop off in oil revenues. But Russian kleptocracy, ranging from oligarchs who stash their cash overseas to military adventurism in Ukraine and much more, have created a perfect storm for the Russian economy and put many or most of those tools off limits. Very interesting read.
Yesterday, Dylan Scott wrote this report on why police unions are lashing out against critics with an intensity we've not seen in years and perhaps never seen. Unions support their members when they're under attack or targets of criticism, which police very much are today. But the intensity, I believe, points to a fear that the sharply reduced crime rate in the country today may not sustain the relative freedom from criticism police officers enjoyed for much of latter part of the 20th century.
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The Sony hack appears to be the costliest in history. The embarrassment of Sony execs and the fact that the 'victim' is a movie, which may or may not have been a good one in the first place, may make it hard to take this incident seriously. But the idea of a foreign state - a hostile and vicious one at that - mounting a series of cyber attacks and terrorist threats to prevent the release of a movie in the US is deeply disturbing. Sony is just a company. And it was probably an easy decision in purely economic terms. But this shouldn't have been allowed to happen.