Pablo Picasso Guitar 1925
The primrose path
Analysis & prediction on Ukraine from 6 years ago:
“The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path & the end result is Ukraine is going to get wrecked.”
-John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the U. of Chicago, pic.twitter.com/kPQNH58o7G
— Prodigal Son (@ThePr0diga1S0n) January 24, 2022
@PandaTribune: Under Trump, Putin wasn’t Putin troops in Ukraine. Putin was Biden his time until 2020. He knew that the Dem strategy of Putin Biden in a basement (instead of Putin America first) would get Biden Putin the WH. Maybe in ’24 we can Putin a new POTUS, but it might be too late Biden!
The late historian Stephen Cohen in 2010: “There has been a tremendous expansion of America's sphere of influence since the mid-1990s…with all the while, every American administration saying to Russia…‘You cannot have a sphere of influence because that’s the old thinking.’” pic.twitter.com/99vw2SlW0N
— Human Rights Watch Watcher (@queeralamode) February 22, 2022
.@dancohen3000 explains how to avoid joining the pro-NATO chorus and why Americans should protest their own government's essential role in the years-long Ukraine/Russia crisis. pic.twitter.com/EODxqphK02
— MintPress News (@MintPressNews) February 25, 2022
#Belarus Lukashenko in his address to the nation.#Coronavirus is a controlled process now. They ordered you to stay home, gave you gadgets, replaced reality with metaverse and push pills on you. U think the IT and pharma mafia will relinquish trillions in their profits? #COVID pic.twitter.com/9EV7k8fw2y
— Nemo – Russian Amerikan (@Nemo70488915) January 28, 2022
“.. exposing the national security establishment’s role in two separate, destructive coups: the first, in 2014, targeting the government of Ukraine, and the second, starting two years later, the government of the United States.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin chose this war, Joe Biden said in his Thursday afternoon speech to America regarding the conflict in Ukraine. That is true, but U.S. elites also had something to do with Putin’s ugly and destructive choice—a role that Democrats and Republicans are eager to paper over with noble-sounding rhetoric about the bravery of Ukraine’s badly outgunned military. Yes, the Ukrainian soldiers standing up to Putin are very brave, but it was Americans that put them in harm’s way by using their country as a weapon, first against Russia and then against each other, with little consideration for the Ukrainian people who are now paying the price for America’s folly.
It is not an expression of support for Putin’s grotesque actions to try to understand why it seemed worthwhile for him to risk hundreds of billions of dollars, the lives of thousands of servicemen, and the possible stability of his own regime in order to invade his neighbor. After all, Putin’s reputation until this moment has always been as a shrewd ex-KGB man who eschewed high-risk gambles in favor of sure things backed by the United States, like entering Syria and then escalating forces there. So why has he adopted exactly the opposite strategy here, and chosen the road of open high-risk confrontation with the American superpower? Yes, Putin wants to prevent NATO from expanding to Russia’s border. But the larger answer is that he finds the U.S. government’s relationship with Ukraine genuinely threatening.
That’s because for nearly two decades, the U.S. national security establishment under both Democratic and Republican administrations has used Ukraine as an instrument to destabilize Russia, and specifically to target Putin. While the timing of Putin’s attack on Ukraine is no doubt connected to a variety of factors, including the Russian dictator’s read on U.S. domestic politics and the preferences of his own superpower sponsor in Beijing, the sense that Ukraine poses a meaningful threat to Russia is not a product of Putin’s paranoia—or of a sudden desire to restore the power and prestige of the Soviet Union, however much Putin might wish for that to happen. Rather, it is a geopolitical threat that has grown steadily more pressing and been employed with greater recklessness by Americans and Ukrainians alike over the past decade.
That Ukraine has allowed itself to be used as a pawn against a powerful neighbor is in part the fault of Kyiv’s reckless and corrupt political class. But Ukraine is not a superpower that owes allies and client-states judicious leadership—that’s the role of the United States. And in that role, the United States has failed Ukraine. More broadly, the use of Ukraine as a goad against enemies domestic and foreign has recklessly damaged the failing yet necessary European security architecture that America spent 75 years building and maintaining. Why can’t the American security establishment shoulder responsibility for its role in the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine? Because to discuss American responsibility openly would mean exposing the national security establishment’s role in two separate, destructive coups: the first, in 2014, targeting the government of Ukraine, and the second, starting two years later, the government of the United States.
“The U.S. wants President Zelenskyy to leave Ukraine, so the State Department can take full control over the narrative. Zelenskyy is refusing to leave.”
Unfortunately for Zelenskyy, an end to the fighting would be against the interests of the Biden administration. Highlighting the point, the U.S. State Department does not want Zelenskyy and Putin to meet. The Biden administration conveys a very telling message, from their perspective, saying only the United States is permitted to negotiate with Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Zelenskyy needs to stay out of it. “WASHINGTON: Russia’s offer for talks with Ukraine is an attempt to conduct diplomacy “at the barrel of a gun”, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday (Feb 25), saying Russia must stop its bombing in Ukraine if it is serious about diplomacy. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Friday that Russia was ready to send a delegation to the Belarusian capital Minsk for talks.
Russia had attempted to engage in “a pretense of diplomacy” even as it prepared to invade Ukraine this week, Price told reporters at a news briefing. “Now we see Moscow suggesting that diplomacy take place at the barrel of a gun, or as Moscow’s rockets, mortars, artillery target the Ukrainian people,” he said. “This is not real diplomacy. Those are not the conditions for real diplomacy.”
[…] Responding to reports that the US government had ordered officials to stop most contacts with Russia, Price said the invasion of Ukraine had “fundamentally changed” Moscow’s relationship with Washington and other nations. But US officials would continue to engage with their Russian counterparts on important national security issues, including the talks to return to a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, he said. The arrogance and controlling attitude by the U.S. State Dept tells us all we really need to know. The Biden administration has created this crisis between Russia and Ukraine for a convenient purpose, and the White House is not about to let Zelenskyy screw it up and create peace. The U.S. wants President Zelenskyy to leave Ukraine, so the State Department can take full control over the narrative. Zelenskyy is refusing to leave.
“History loves playing tricks: what was a “gift” to Ukraine in 1922 may become a parting gift a hundred years later.”
This is what happens when a bunch of ragged hyenas, jackals and tiny rodents poke The Bear: a new geopolitical order is born in breathtaking speed. From a dramatic meeting of the Russian Security Council to a history lesson delivered by President Putin and the subsequent birth of the Baby Twins – the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk – all the way to their appeal to President Putin to intervene militarily to expel the NATO-backed Ukrainian bombing-and-shelling forces from Donbass, it was a seamless process. The (nuclear) straw that (nearly) broke the Bear’s back – and forced its paws to pounce – was Zelensky the Comedian, back from the Russophobia-drenched Munich Security Conference where he was hailed like a Messiah, saying that the 1994 Budapest memorandum should be revised and Ukraine should be nuclear-rearmed.
That would be the equivalent of a nuclear Mexico south of the Hegemon. Putin immediately turned Responsibility to Protect (R2P) upside down: an American concept invented to launch wars in MENA (remember Libya?) was retrofitted to stop a slow-motion genocide in Donbass. First came the recognition of the Baby Twins – Putin’s most important foreign policy decision since going to Syria in 2015. That was the preamble for the next game-changer: a “special military operation (…) aimed at demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine”, as Putin defined it. Up to the last minute, the Kremlin was trying to rely on diplomacy, explaining to Kiev the necessary imperatives to prevent heavy metal thunder: recognition of Crimea as Russian; abandon any plans to join NATO; negotiate directly with the Baby Twins – an anathema for the Americans since 2015; finally, demilitarize and declare Ukraine as neutral.
Kiev’s handlers, predictably, would never accept the package – as they didn’t accept the Master Package that really matters: the Russian demand for “indivisible security”. The sequence, then, became inevitable. In a flash, all Ukrainian forces between the so-called line of contact and the original borders of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts were boxed in as the occupying force of territories of two Russian allies that Moscow had just sworn to protect. So it was Get Out – Or Else. “Or else” came as rolling thunder: the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense were not bluffing. Timed to the end of Putin’s speech announcing the operation, the Russians decapitated with precision missiles everything that mattered in terms of the Ukrainian military in just one hour: Air Force, Navy, airfields, bridges, command and control centers, the whole Turkish Bayraktar drone fleet.
And it was not only Russian raw power. It was the artillery of one of the Baby Twins, the DPR, that hit the HQ of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donbass, which actually housed the entire Ukrainian military command. This means that the Ukrainian General Staff instantly lost control of all its troops. [..] We could soon witness the birth of an independent Novorossiya – east of the Dnieper, south along Sea of Azov/Black Sea, the way it was when attached to Ukraine by Lenin in 1922. But now totally aligned with Russia, and providing a land bridge to Transnistria. Ukraine, of course, would lose any access to the Black Sea. History loves playing tricks: what was a “gift” to Ukraine in 1922 may become a parting gift a hundred years later.
“..what goes on there is none of our business, and never was, until we started meddling in it in 2014.”
[..] here is what I think is happening and will happen in Ukraine. The Russian aim is to neutralize Ukraine’s military capability — the means for harassing the eastern provinces known as the Donbas. That has been accomplished. Ukraine no longer has an air force, a navy, or a whole lot of weapons and munitions. It is surely in Russia’s interest to complete this operation in as few days as possible to minimize harm to civilian lives and property. The Ukrainians appear to understand that, too. The politicians and NGO organizations groomed by American sponsorship in Ukraine will be deactivated, relieved of their responsibilities, and put out of business. If Mr. Putin is prudent, he will not murder or persecute them. A regime friendly to Russia will eventually be installed.
Keep in mind, Ukraine had been a province of Russia one way or another for more than two hundred years — except for the calamitous past thirty years — and Ukraine doesn’t really represent much more than an administrative and fiscal challenge. Russia’s ultimate interest in this matter is to stabilize its border. We in the USA perhaps can’t appreciate that because our current government shows no interest in stabilizing our own border. (We will in the future, when the Party of Chaos is swept out of power.) I’ll refrain from speculating much on the broader geopolitical repercussions of Russia’s Ukraine operation, since it’s not over and there is still a chance for much to go awry. The general proposition that it represents a milestone in America’s loss of global power and credibility is probably correct.
We have spent the last thirty years since the fall of the USSR invading and harassing one country after another, not always with altogether bad intentions, but always with disastrous results. It looks like we will have to take a break from that activity. We have too much to look after and clean up with our own act. The Ukraine blow-up is more a humiliation for “Joe Biden” and his faction than for the US per se, for the truth is that we have scant interest in that corner of the world and what goes on there is none of our business, and never was, until we started meddling in it in 2014.
In the awakening underway here and now, Americans will see how so many of the ills and derangements of recent years are products of our own Deep State aligned with a perfidious party of the Left and other global actors. We have harmed ourselves terribly and can’t seem to stop — and we must stop it, beginning with calling off the Covid-19 “vaccine” crusade. That will come any day, I predict, and then the people who brought all of this grief on are going to have to answer for it.
“We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a TV address Thursday morning that the goal of Russia’s military operation was not to take control of Ukraine, but to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” the country. Moments after he spoke, explosions were heard in several Ukrainian cities. The Russian Defense Ministry said these were “precision” attacks against Ukrainian military installations and that civilians were not being targeted. It said Ukraine’s air force on the ground and its air defenses had been destroyed. [..]
In his 3,350-word speech, Putin laid out in full detail the reasons he decided to take military action and what he hopes it will achieve. The speech is a devastating critique of U.S. policy toward Russia over the past 30 years, which no doubt will fall on deaf ears in Washington. Western media is so far ignoring the speech or superficially dismissing it. But it has to be carefully studied if anyone is interested in understanding why Russia launched this military operation. Just calling Putin “Hitler,” as Nancy Pelosi did Wednesday night, won’t do. Hitler in fact features in Putin’s address. For instance, addressing the Ukrainian military, Putin said: “Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people.”
He linked the Nazis’ invasion of Russia to NATO’s threat today, saying this time there would be no appeasement: “Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect? If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late. As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war.
“The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost. The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives. We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.”
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, is the financial-messaging infrastructure that links the world’s banks. The Belgium-based system is run by its member banks and handles millions of daily payment instructions across more than 200 countries and territories and 11,000 financial institutions. Iran and North Korea are cut off from it. So, given all that, Goldman Sachs’ Allison Nathan asked the question on everyone’s lips: “The removal of Russia from SWIFT – the global electronic payment-messaging system – has been referred to as the “nuclear option” for sanctions. Do you agree with that characterization?”
Eddie Fishman – the former Russia and Europe Lead in the US State Department’s Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation – responded in a fascinating way: “No – it’s not even close to being the nuclear option… SWIFT is just a messaging service. If the US and Europe decided to cut Russians banks off from SWIFT without imposing full-blocking sanctions on them, they could still transact with US and European financial institutions – they just couldn’t use SWIFT to do so.” Fishman went on to point out a potentially even bigger blowback consequence for the West’s actions: “…and in a perverse way, that may actually increase the demand for SWIFT alternatives, such as Russia’s own System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS).”
Russia could also be tempted to move to China’s financial messaging system, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told reporters on Thursday. “Suspending Swift “would hurt Russia less than the European Union,” he said. Interestingly, given Germany’s prior comments against SWIFT termination, Bloomberg reports that Germany’s finance minister shocked more than a few marketwatchers this afternoon by saying that ‘we are open to cutting Russia off SWIFT’ with a German government advisor telling RND that “banning Russia from SWIFT is manageable.”
While Ukrainian children sleep with their pets in the subways, living in terror of the bombs raining down on them from their Russian invaders, wealthy Russian oligarchs are being comforted by “relationship managers” at banks owned by the very nations that say they are going to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine. Noticeably missing from President Biden’s press conference yesterday on expanded sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine was any mention of how the U.S. and its allies were going to deal with the big foreign global banks that conduct banking business for thousands of Russian corporations and millions of Russian individuals. Biden only mentioned sanctions on Russian banks.
That sent a loud message to the MOEX Index at the Moscow Stock Exchange, which as of 2:49 p.m. today in Moscow (6:49 a.m. in New York) had rallied into positive territory from a loss of as much as 45 percent yesterday, when the precise nature of the expanded sanctions were as yet unknown. One of the global foreign banks with large operations in Russia is the French global bank Societe Generale’s Rosbank. According to its website, it has 5 million individual clients in Russia and 9,000 large corporate clients. It posted a reassuring notice to its customers on its website this morning, stating that it “continues to operate in a routine manner.” It noted the following:
“Rosbank retail and corporate clients have full access to financial assets and financial banking services. We are confident in our ability to provide continuous and quality customer service and adapt where necessary, while complying with all applicable regulations.” Another large foreign bank with large operations in Russia is Austria’s Raiffeisenbank, which has been operating in Russia since 1996. It notes on its Russian website that it is “one of 13 systemically important banks in Russia,” that it ranks number 10 by assets and number 8 by the number of retail customers. Its reginal network in Russia includes five branches and 116 outlets. Italy’s UniCredit also has large operations in Russia. A bank spokesperson told Reuters yesterday that it “had very high provisions against possible loan losses and was ‘very liquid and self-funded.’ ” Reuters reports that UniCredit’s Russian bank is the 12th largest bank in the country with 7.8 billion Euros in customer loans at the end of last year.
Why would he say that? Is it what he wants? Oh wait, elections in April.
The world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow launched an invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday. “I can tell you one thing this morning it is that this war will last,” Macron’s told France’s annual agriculture fair. “This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come with it will have lasting consequences,” Macron added, warning: “We must be prepared”. Macron cut short his visit to the agriculture fair, usually one of the main fixtures on the French political calendar, in order to return to dealing with the crisis triggered by the Russian invasion.
“War has returned to Europe, this was chosen unilaterally by President (Vladimir) Putin, with a tragic humanitarian situation, a (Ukrainian) people who are resisting and a Europe that is there and resisting by the side of the Ukrainian people,” said Macron. Macron has again called an emergency defence council of top ministers and military security officials to discuss the situation in Ukraine which will take place at 1600 GMT, the Elysee said. With the war and sanctions against Russia risking damage for specific sectors in France, notably the wine industry, Macron vowed a “plan of resilience” to help them cope. The French leader was a key figure in efforts to avert conflict, repeatedly speaking to Putin and seeking in vain to broker a summit between the Russian leader and US President Joe Biden. The war has also broken out as the clock ticks down to France’s presidential elections in April.
What on earth is he doing there? California not in bad enough shape?
Penn arrived in Kiev on Thursday to “tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion” of its neighbor, with the Office of the President of Ukraine announcing the actor’s arrival. Penn was seen at a press briefing in the presidential office in Kiev on Thursday, and was also briefly featured in an Instagram story posted by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Ukrainian government has expressed gratitude to Penn, writing in a statement: “The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country. Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.”
The statement went on to contrast Penn’s “bravery” against the inactivity of some of Ukraine’s Western partners in the face of the military operation launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Penn had previously visited Ukraine back in November 2021 to work on another documentary about the Donbass and “Russian aggression.” Back then, he visited the eastern regions of the country and spoke to servicemen. Photos of Penn’s trip were released at the time by the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Service, where he could be seen dressed in combat gear while filming with his crew.
From last Sunday.
If the BBC found a group of neo-Nazis among some student Tories, or among Trump supporters in the USA, they would surely tell us about it, hot and strong. Quite right too. In fact, the Corporation’s horror and disgust at such people is one of the few things I absolutely share with them. So why did they last week repeatedly broadcast an entire news item, featuring a group of undoubted, shameless neo-Nazis, actually wearing SS insignia on their clothes – and not even notice? The film starred a sweet old great-grandma, Valentina Konstaninovska, in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. She was getting lessons from soldiers in how to fight off the Russians with an AK-47 burp gun. Pictures of the doughty 78-year-old also featured in several newspapers last Monday.
But it was only in the film that you could see the shoulder-flashes worn by the soldiers. These display a sinister, jagged symbol called the ‘Wolfsangel’. This is an explicitly Nazi emblem, originally used by Hitler’s ‘Das Reich’ Waffen SS division. This unit is still famous for murdering 200 people in Serbia, for a massacre of 920 Jews in Minsk, now in Belarus, for hanging 99 people in retaliation for French Resistance operations in Tulle. But above all it is notorious for the mass murder in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane, in which the SS men machine-gunned or burned to death 642 civilians, including women and children. The Wolfsangel can be seen in archive pictures of the Das Reich division’s tanks.
The patches worn by their Ukrainian fans also carry the word ‘Azov’ and so proclaim that they are members of the ‘Azov Battalion’. Who? An FBI investigator said in 2018 that the Azov Battalion was a ‘paramilitary unit… known for its association with neo-Nazi ideology and the use of Nazi symbolism’. Its defenders now bleat that it has been absorbed into the Ukrainian National Guard. This was the pathetic excuse offered by the BBC when I asked them how they had come to fail to report the truth. Bilge. If these men are permitted to wear this repulsive, shameful badge it is easy to work out who is the boss in this relationship. If they were even slightly under the control of civilised people, they would certainly not be allowed to do so, even if their shaven heads were still full of poison and filth.
No proper army would have them at all, even in the direst need. Is it really possible that, in the BBC’s vast and costly apparatus of reporters, editors, producers, fact-checkers and bureaucrats, not one person spotted the problem? If so, we are dealing with Olympic-level incompetence. But it is my suspicion that something else is going on. The generation that kept the BBC relatively impartial is fast dying off. Those who remain have accepted a large number of contentious opinions as facts. One of these opinions is the ridiculous cartoon idea that Russia is like Mordor in Lord Of The Rings, an utterly evil country ruled by a Dark Monster. And that Ukraine, its current enemy, is by contrast a shining Utopia, pluckily defending itself against the orc-like hordes of Moscow. This explains why the BBC were so keen to use this film, in which a Brave Granny Gets Her Gun.
Not much Covid today.
The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Germany’s vaccine regulator, has responded to Andreas Schöfbeck’s letter (translated here), suggesting on the basis of BKK billing data that officially acknowledged rates of adverse vaccine reactions substantially understate the risk of vaccination. It is not a good response. [..] The argument throughout is that only a subset of vaccine reactions are subject to mandatory reporting requirements, and thus Schöfbeck’s higher numbers, derived from billing data, are unremarkable. This is a very strange and yet also typical bureaucratic response. We want to know whether the vaccines are safe or not, but the PEI functionaries only care about making it clear they haven’t done anything wrong.
Beyond that, I very much doubt we are talking about all that many “local and transient general reactions” here. By definition, these are reactions for which BKK insured sought medical treatment from their doctors. Many of these diagnoses would have been obtained by people who were too unwell to work, and needed to receive physician-certified sick leave.
“The Paul Ehrlich Institute has also begun planning a non-interventional study to comprehensively investigate the long-term safety of the only COVID-19 vaccines available in the EU and thus also in Germany. In the study, which is also supported and funded by the BMG, diagnostic data from the billing data available to the health insurance funds are to be evaluated and linked at the Paul Ehrlich Institute with the vaccination data of the Digital Vaccination Rate Monitoring (DIM data). The study is to be launched in the near future.”
Oh, excellent, so the PEI has begun to plan a study that will look into the issues Schöfbeck has raised. They can force vaccines upon millions of people who don’t want them, and maybe at some point in the future they will begin to think about planning a study on what adverse effects these vaccines might inflict. Public health regulators with something to hide just love studies. You can design them however you want, include whatever data you want, omit whatever you want, so it ends up saying just what you want it to and no more. What they don’t like, is openly available raw data that anyone can study and interpret.
Joe Rogan maims Bill Gates
Jon Stewart MMT
This week on the podcast, @StephanieKelton and @rohangrey break down Jon’s conversation with former Fed chairman Thomas Hoenig. Economists, eat your heart out. https://t.co/Yhk4DqsRpz pic.twitter.com/7B5LrSWXog
— The Problem With Jon Stewart (@TheProblem) February 25, 2022
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) February 25, 2022
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