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John Borthwick's Instapaper highlights

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“ In many instances, the soundtracks of these smartphone games are also meant to be remixed and reedited online. The creators of Two Dots recently posted the game’s music on Blend.io, a music site, and asked the gamer community to edit the soundtrack for a contest. The best remixes will be included in an official soundtrack included on iTunes. ”

Has the libertarian moment finally arrived? Robert Draper asks that question in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. His answer: Yes! Young voters are leaning libertarian, he says, and a Rand Paul presidential candidacy could energize those voters for the GOP.

Spoiler alert: Draper’s wrong, emphatically wrong. Young voters are not libertarian, nor even trending libertarian. Neither, for that matter, are older voters. The “libertarian moment” is not an event in American culture. It’s a phase in internal Republican Party factionalism. Libertarianism is not pushing Republicans forward to a more electable future. It’s pushing them sideways to the extremist margins.

“ This is a great country with only arbitrary borders,” Prokhanov said. “People grabbed up our territory, chopped it up into bits. Some people got used to this state of affairs and didn’t notice that their extremities had been chopped off—including the very pleasant extremity between your legs—and so it was with Ukraine. . . . Russians had to choose: ruin their relationship with the West, which was the very axe that chopped Russia into bits in the first place, or act without fear, because now Russia has an axe of its own. ”

“ “In the long run, I am still very optimistic about Russia and Russians,” he went on. “In my two years as Ambassador, I just met too many young, smart, talented people who want to be connected to the world, not isolated from it. They also want a say in the government. They are scared now, and therefore not demonstrating, but they have not changed their preferences about the future they want. Instead, they are just hiding these preferences, but there will be a day when they will express them again. Putin’s regime cannot hold these people down forever. I do worry about the new nationalism that Putin has unleashed, and understand that many young Russians also embrace these extremist ideas. I see it on Twitter every day. But, in the long run, I see the Westernizers winning out. I just don’t know how long is the long run.” ♦ ”

“ Prokhanov and Dugin were entirely in tune with the reigning propaganda. All blame lay with Obama and the “illegal regime” in Kiev. “America did this—with a hand from Ukraine,” Prokhanov told me. “How could it be otherwise? A catastrophe like this helps America, not Russia. It serves to demonize Novorossiya and the forces there. It demonizes them to look like Al Qaeda. It brings us back to the sort of moment when Ronald Reagan called us the ‘evil empire.’ It tightens the international noose on Russia and it brings powerful pressure to bear on Putin, pressure designed to break his will. And, by blaming this on us, it helps our liberal intelligentsia consolidate their forces, the way the Orange Revolution and the Bolotnaya demonstrations did. There is a history to such conspiracies. Or have you forgotten your General Colin Powell at the U.N. with his ‘evidence’ and his theories about Saddam Hussein?” ”

“ He really does kind of superimpose the way his system works onto the way he thinks our system works. He grossly exaggerates the role of the C.I.A. in the making of our foreign policy. He just doesn’t get it. Or maybe he does get it and doesn’t portray it that way. I struggle with that: is he really super-clever and this is his psych op, or does he believe it? I think he does believe that we are out to get him. ”

“ Although McFaul feels a deep sense of outrage about Putin, he also understood the mind-set of resentment and conspiracy. “I didn’t go to foment revolution,” he said. “I went to take the reset to the next stage. That was my mandate.” He added, “Obama people don’t sponsor color revolutions. Other Administrations had done this. Has the U.S. used covert operations to foment regime change? The answer is yes. I don’t want to get in trouble or go to jail, but has the U.S. supported the opposition to bring about political change? Serbia is a paradigmatic case: direct money to the opposition to destabilize things, and it was successful.” He also cited the overthrow of Mossadegh, in 1953, in Iran, and the support for the Nicaraguan Contras ”

“ hough McFaul feels a deep sense of outrage about Putin, he also understood the mind-set of resentment and conspiracy. “I didn’t go to foment revolution,” he said. “I went to take the reset to the next stage. That was my mandate.” He added, “Obama people don’t sponsor color revolutions. Other Administrations had done this. Has the U.S. used covert operations to foment regime change? The answer is yes. I don’t want to get in trouble or go to jail, but has the U.S. supported the opposition to bring about political change? Serbia is a paradigmatic case: direct money to the opposition to destabilize things, and it was successful.” He also cited the overthrow of Mossadegh, in 1953, in Iran, and the support for the Nicaraguan Contras ”

“ We need a new party,” he has written. “A party of death. A party of the total vertical. God’s party, the Russian analogue to the Hezbollah, which would act according to wholly different rules and contemplate completely different pictures. ”

“ When you see what is going on in Iraq, you can see that America is powerless to respond,” Prokhanov went on. “America brought chaos to the Middle East. Al Qaeda has its own state. And now Obama doesn’t want to send bombers to destroy it. We poor Russians have to go destroy it. Aren’t you ashamed? ”

“ Nothing has lifted the spirits of intellectuals like Prokhanov—and tens of millions of their countrymen—quite like Putin’s decision to flout international opinion and annex Crimea. Prokhanov pronounced himself “ecstatic” about it. One of his favorite writers for Zavtra, Igor Strelkov, is a former Russian intelligence agent who is leading the separatists in Donetsk, and is widely believed to be among those who bear responsibility for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. On the day of the catastrophe, Prokhanov posted a veritable ode to Strelkov on the Zavtra Web site, saying that the Russian fight in eastern Ukraine was a battle for “divine justice” and comparing Strelkov—“Russian warrior, knight, perfect hero”—to the most fabled generals in national history. To Prokhanov, this glorification of an armed agent is only natural, the war for Ukraine a matter of highest principle ”

“ These empires flower and become powerful and then they fall off a precipice and leave behind a black hole,” he said. “And in the black hole statehood disappears. But then the state reëmerges as the result of some sort of mysterious forces.” So far, Prokhanov explained, there have been four great empires. The first, a confederacy of princedoms with its center in Kiev, was invaded by the Tatars, in the thirteenth century. Then came the Moscovy tsardom, which featured the reign of Ivan the Terrible and was transformed into an empire by Peter the Great at the turn of the eighteenth century. Then came the three-hundred-year reign of the Romanovs, who gave way to the Bolsheviks in 1917. Finally, Prokhanov said, Stalin “took Russian statehood out of that black hole, put the state on its feet, built factories, produced scholars, and won the Great Patriotic War against Germany and conquered outer space.” That empire, the Soviet Union, crashed in 1991. Again, there was a ten-year-long black hole. ”