Vincent van Gogh Quay with Men Unloading Sand Barges 1888
A comment by notorious daily commenter Dr.D. on Sunday took me back a few years. He was reacting to someone who wrote this about our take on the Ukraine situation:
“I am just adding a little balance to a very one sided group who have very deep seated bias against the West and are blind to any faults on the other side.”
Absolutely brilliant. People easily forget that they are being bombarded with one-dimensional echo chamber “news” 25 hours a day, and when someone says something that differs from this, they think they must parrot the 25 hour-a-day stuff to provide “balance”. The MSM can spout one dimension as much as they wish, but if you call BS on that, you have to quote the entire echo chamber, or you are not believable. I swear people don’t see that they are doing it.
That is exactly what happened in 2015 when Trump “unexpectedly” became a threat to Hillary’s god-adorned aspirations. The entire media apparatus, with very few exceptions, started churning out a hundred Orange Man Bad pieces a day. And when I dared put out some different views, I became a blind Trump groupie. Then, just as now, I said: we ARE the balance. To be credible to these folks, I should have said bad things about Trump. But everybody was already doing that. So we wouldn’t have added anything, just confirmed bias.
In the same vein, many people became labeled dangerous anti-vaxxers for asking questions about Pfizer and Fauci and his gang. It’s such a predictable chain of events, it’s embarrassing. Well, nobody was ever investigated and persecuted to the extent that Trump was, and every last little bit of it fell flat on its face. But it still goes on. Inside the echo chamber, nobody hears the echo.
The evidence of harm done by the vaccines, lockdowns and masks is slowly creeping out into daylight despite the biggest cover-up campaign in history, but the vaccines and mandates also continue. It takes a long time to right so many wrongs. Because a lot of influential people would have to eat a lot of crow, and they lean on each other. And on Pfizers payouts.
And now we play the same fools game, because, as Dr. D. says below: “What did Russia do to us? Even after 1945? Not much really. We hated them on general principles of rival powers: ‘Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down’ – 1st NATO commander. “
To repeat, we ARE the balance, we don’t have to provide it, it’s all already there right in front of your eyes.
Here’s the Dr.:
Dr. D.: I dunno, there’s a lot of history to go around. We’re hearing a lot of anti-Russia, in general news, we here become the counterweight to that, and then you become the counter-counter weight, or…simply the party line? See why it doesn’t go off well.
Oh yeah, there’s a lot in all those parts. I don’t especially care about either of them because they’re not my countries, but the thing has been run so badly they’ve given me strong opinions I don’t want. Of our own country antagonizing them, like everyone else on earth. And Ukraine, or translation: “Borderlands” have been a Western special-op for CENTURIES. The Vatican and West were meddling there to piss off Russia in order to shove back Eastern Orthodox rivals. The Holodomor was real and I used to mention it quite often. However, that doesn’t mean that Stalin’s enemies, who would have flipped his government, weren’t actually from there, because, again, the British and other countries are always there, always doing the same thing.
“Charge of the Light Brigade.” This time Stalin got off the British/Western leash they assassinated the Tsar Nickolas for…and all his heirs of course. They were British family – as they’re all inbred with the Coburg Saxes – so it’s either more brutal, or the more’s I don’t care being an American. Let them. But I would expect they were using Ukraine as always to recapture Russia for the British/NY Bolsheviks they paid a fortune to install. …They did steal all the gold in Russia and sent it to London under Trotsky tho, so they broke even.
You have to understand, and from the “Poland Invades” article that — unlike the U.S. and Oz — there are no stable borders there. There is no “Poland”. There is no “Ukraine”. There is no “Germany”. Those ethnic peoples live all over and the borders change every 50 or 70 years in yet another war, going back to the stone age. So Russia has been “invaded”, and also “invaded” others. But most of the time, who can tell? Right now Russia has “invaded” to “make” Russians Russia. Which they already were. And already wanted. And the Ukrainians by shelling them showed they didn’t want it. Does that make any sense?
And no, it’s nowhere near just those four Oblasts, for example Yanukovych got about 50% of the vote, right down Russian/Ukraine lines, and that was pretty normal going back to Ukraine’s independence, which was a totally new event, as Ukraine wasn’t a country with these principles or borders ‘til 1990. Is that one of the youngest nations on earth? So which Ukraine are we supporting? Ivan’s? Nicholas II’s? Stalin’s? Khrushchev’s? Biden and London support Khrushchev, it seems, and no surprise. So Russia could take about half the country, which is well over 60% Russian support, and probably will. We’ve said this many times, including the people you disagree with, like Lira. They will carve off the rest in pieces as being too much trouble, and hand that trouble to Poland, but remains to be seen as you say.
Was Maidan real? Yes. All Color Revolutions are “real”. The same way the Summer of Love non-stop riots and murders by BLM and Antifa are “real”. There are ALWAYS grievances and differences, NATO and the Lettermen pay huge money, easily seen, to fund the dissent, pay the protestors (this was wide open and reported) and provide the fringe with guns and training. Poland’s no different. Sure, a lot of Poles, maybe 90% of them didn’t like the Russian control. I wouldn’t either. But that doesn’t mean MI6 didn’t send millions a month there to stir up trouble: we know they did and MI6 is very proud of it. When the USSR fell, they didn’t stop or anything, they stole Poland and then used Poland to steal Russia like all nations would. So is that “Real”? Or “Not Real”? If I pay $1M for your neighbor to hate you and give you a hard time, does he really? Or if I stopped would he stop too? The world may never know because MI6 and others will never stop.
Easy to see real conflict between Poland, Lithuania, even Finland, a little over that. What’s hard to see is the far harsher, irrational, unforgiving hatred of Russian ALLIES to hate and destroy them. Again, Britain and the U.S. were Russian – Soviet, Stalin’s – ALLIES. What did Russia do to us? Even after 1945? Not much really. We hated them on general principles of rival powers: ‘Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down’ – 1st NATO commander. That was the PURPOSE of NATO. To destroy Germany like they did last week with NordStream. What? Why? Why keep the Germans down? For that matter, why keep the Yanks in? GTFO. Said so at the time. Say so every day.
What Atonement would or should Russia make? They were destroyed and their life expectancy dropped by 10 years. They were mercilessly plundered by the West. Don’t you think they paid and WE should be the ones to atone now? Poland said Ukraine never apologized or atoned for them either, if we’re all picking sides here. So maybe we should invade Ukraine and give it to Poland? The U.S. not only hasn’t atoned, but commits a new invasion and war crime daily, and use Australian help to do it. I could care less if anyone atones compared to just stop doing it, which is about all we can ask.
Like, as you say, China, which is making daily moves to do this right now, undermining nations, making trouble, buying politicians, setting up their own police. Who atones first? Them? Or us for doing the same thing to them since 1949? They only JUST stopped a color revolution there, with the Umbrella Fiasco, and we’re trying to cripple them, their chips, Taiwan, their food, and any other murder we can think of.
And back to Ukraine: no, the war is not organic, is obviously and enormously paid for, wide open in the news. Like if I pay your neighbor $50B to kill you, that’s CLEARLY not organic. By us, the U.S. U.K. and Oz, and Ukraine, as a country that sort of doesn’t exist is split several ways but at a minimum half and half Ukr and Rus, as seen in the entire 30 year history of voting. Russia is merely taking the 90+ Russia supporter areas (so far), not even the 80% voters that run over to the Dnieper. That’s actually UN approved, as it’s bloody Chapter 1, Article 1, “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”
It was re-affirmed in 14 December 1960 with the “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”, which supported the granting of independence to colonial countries and people by providing an inevitable legal linkage [of] self-determination”
This of course is when the wind blows from the west and the UN can tell a hawk from a handsaw. All even-numbered days they declare every existing borders worldwide is sacrosanct (except our own) and you can’t just rewrite them or secede ‘cause you feel like it. The two legal principles are in direct opposition, so they simply pick whatever London and NY prefer at the time. It’s an even-numbered day today, so London sez Crimea and Ukraine are illegal votes, but India and Serbia are legal ones. When they lost in 2013 and Ukraine democratically voted to side (trade) with Russia, they called shenanigans and ran an open, paid, illegal coup AGAINST democracy and self-determination which remains to this day.
So…what do you mean? The only power is POWER. The only purpose is POWER. Law is what you can enforce with a gun. By murdering Russians. London enforced Ukraine with a gun in Kiev from 2013 to now. Russia is merely un-enforcing a small part of it. See?
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday that a military victory for Russia in Ukraine would spell defeat for the entire Western alliance. Despite providing “unprecedented support” to Kiev, Stoltenberg still claims that the US-led bloc is not a party to the conflict. Addressing reporters on the eve of a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Stoltenberg declared that continued arms shipments to Ukraine are vital to ensure “that Ukraine wins the battle, the war against the invading Russian forces.” However, this assistance has come at a price for the alliance’s own militaries. Germany’s weapons and ammo stocks have been critically depleted since late August. The same month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US’ stockpiles of 155mm artillery ammunition were “uncomfortably low.”
Asked whether weakening its own forces to strengthen Ukraine’s is a wise policy, Stoltenberg described the conflict in Ukraine as existential to the alliance. “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wins, that is not only a big defeat for the Ukrainians, but it will be the defeat, and dangerous, for all of us,” he said. NATO is heavily invested in Ukraine, with the alliance’s members providing training, intelligence capability, and tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons to the Ukrainian military. Despite this “unprecedented support,” Stoltenberg has repeatedly claimed that “NATO is not a party to the conflict.”
Moscow sees things differently. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused NATO of waging war against Russia “by proxy,” while Putin has described Russia as fighting “the entire Western military machine” in Ukraine. NATO leaders claim that their weapons systems have enabled Kiev’s troops to make a series of advances in the south and east of the country in recent weeks. However, with Moscow’s military operation under new command, these advances have come to a halt, and after two days of devastating Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian military and infrastructure targets, Kiev is once again pleading with the West for heavier and longer-range weapons.
Russia's victory in the conflict in Ukraine will be a defeat for NATO, this cannot be allowed. – Seceretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg. pic.twitter.com/DGNJj65jrQ
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg may have inadvertently admitted that the Western military alliance is at war with Moscow, at least in the eyes of former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. At issue is Stoltenberg’s statement on Tuesday that a military victory for Russia in Ukraine would be a defeat for NATO. Medvedev called the comment “an open confirmation of NATO’s participation in the war against our country – an unwise, but pure-hearted remark. The honest Norwegian fellow has finally admitted it.” Stoltenberg, formerly prime minister of Norway, made his comments in a press briefing as NATO ministers prepared to meet on Wednesday with Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov.
Among other issues, the ministers will discuss how to meet Kiev’s “urgent needs” and shore up their own weapons stockpiles after shipping billions of dollars’ worth of military aid to Ukraine in hopes of helping to defeat Russian forces. “There’s an urgent need for air defense, but of course also many other capabilities – precision-guided ammunition, HIMARS and other advanced, modern, NATO-standard systems,” Stoltenberg said of Ukraine’s aid requests. He added that NATO members are providing unprecedented support because “they understand that we have a moral, political and security interest in ensuring that Ukraine wins the war against President Putin.”
Russian officials have pointed out that providing more advanced weaponry to Ukraine, such as multiple rocket launcher (MRL) systems, will increase the risk of triggering a wider conflict. “The fastest way to bring the conflict in Ukraine to the point of no return is to arm the psychos in Kiev with longer-range MRLs,” Medvedev said. “The elderly leaders of Washington obkom and NATO upstarts must use their softened brains at least sometimes.” Stoltenberg insisted that NATO is “not a party to the conflict,” even as it plays a “key role.” He vowed that the bloc will stand with Ukraine “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia. “It is important for all of us that Ukraine wins the battle, the war against the invading Russian forces, because if Putin wins, that is not only a big defeat for Ukrainians, but it will be a defeat and dangerous for all of us.”
The NATO chief also accused Putin of “reckless nuclear rhetoric,” contributing to “the most significant escalation since the start of the war.” However, when asked whether the risk of a miscalculation amid heightened tensions with Russia prompted NATO members to consider canceling or modifying the bloc’s planned nuclear drill next week, he said, “Now is the right time to be firm and to be clear that NATO is there to protect and defend all allies.”
In a stunning turn of events, one of Pfizer’s top executives admitted Monday that the Pharma giant had no idea if the mRNA vaccine that Pfizer developed would prevent transmission of the coronavirus.According to The Blaze, the company’s president of international development markets, Janine Small, testified before the COVID committee of the European Parliament in place of CEO Albert Bourla. There was no word if Bourla missed the event after testing positive for COVID yet again, despite his previous claims that his company’s vaccine was 100% effective.One Dutch member of the European Parliamen asked Small if she could provide evidence that Pfizer believed its vaccine would prevent transmission before it was released widely in late 2020.
As quoted by The Blaze, the member of parliament specifically asked, “Was the Pfizer COVID vaccine tested on stopping the transmission of the virus before it entered the market? If not, please say it clearly. If yes, are you willing to share the data with this committee? ”That’s when the executive admitted, on the record, that the vaccine mandates and passports imposed by governments worldwide were entirely unjustified: “Regarding the question around, did we know about stopping immunization before it entered the market? No.” Small continued, saying that the company was moving too quickly to answer that extremely important question: “These, um, you know, we had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market. And from that point of view, we had to do everything at risk.”
The Dutch politician summarized how governments claimed that getting vaccinated was a societal good that helped others, not just yourself: “If you don’t get vaccinated, you’re anti-social! This is what the Dutch prime minister and health minister told us. You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself, but also for others — you do it for all of society. That’s what they said,” Roos recounted. “Today, this turns out to be complete nonsense.” Roos also said he found the revelations “shocking, even criminal.”
In COVID hearing, #Pfizer director admits: #vaccine was never tested on preventing transmission.
"Get vaccinated for others" was always a lie.
The only purpose of the #COVID passport: forcing people to get vaccinated.
Sweden will not share the results of its investigation into the explosions that severely damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in late September with Russia, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has said. President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow already knows who the main beneficiary of the attack is. Speaking to journalists on Monday, Andersson explained that “In Sweden, our preliminary investigations are confidential, and that, of course, also applies in this case.” She noted, however, that Russia can conduct its own probe at the site if it wants to, as Stockholm has removed the cordons in the area. “The Swedish economic zone is not a territory that Sweden disposes of,” Andersson clarified.
The Swedish authorities say they found evidence that points to sabotage. Last week, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin urged Stockholm to allow the Russian authorities and state-owned energy giant Gazprom to participate in the investigation. Commenting on the situation during a meeting of the Security Council of Russia on Monday, President Vladimir Putin said that despite the fact that Russia is not being given access to the investigation, “we all know well who the ultimate beneficiary of this crime is.” Earlier, Putin accused “the Anglo-Saxons,” a Russian colloquialism for the US-UK alliance, of being behind what Moscow described as an “act of international terrorism.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the attack as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe “to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy.”
“..the Europeans have decided to exclude Russia from the investigation about what really happened with NS1 and NS2. Which makes sense: the EU cannot let Putin know that he blew up his own pipelines. right?”
It was also funny to see that once the Ukronazis realized how stupid (and dangerous!) their proud claims that they were the ones who blew up the truck on the bridge, they decided to blame Putin. So, as per our Ukronazi pals, Putin blew up the “Putin bridge” for some as of yet unnamed purpose, but most definitely an evil one. Even more hilarious were the hardcore Banderistas à la Aristovich who were celebrating each Russian strike because “now the Russians have one less missile to use”. Clearly, a war-winning mindset 🙂
In fact, the Russians are so evil that the Europeans have decided to exclude Russia from the investigation about what really happened with NS1 and NS2. Which makes sense: the EU cannot let Putin know that he blew up his own pipelines. right? And the fact that Russia is one of the main proprietors of NS1/NS2 does not matter one bit: as always (MH17, Skripal, Navalnyi, etc.) the Russian Snow Niggers need to be treated with the utmost contempt by the European Master Race. That will convince the Russians to take the Eurolemmings seriously. “Eurologic” at its best… But, seriously, away from the la-la land of various Nazi supporters and Russian 6th columnists, most of the traffic on the Crimean bridge was restored in less than 24 hours. Then came the Russian response: in a quick series of strikes, Russia switched off the electricity over the entire Ukraine, Lvov (the real capital of Banderastan) included.
Compare the two actions and tell me who is winning and who is losing this war 🙂 Of course, the usual gang of “alternatively gifted” Putin critics will scream that this is all too little too late. As for the Ukronazis, they are already chanting their favorite mantra about “Russia is running out of missiles! Russia is running out of missiles!“. A brilliant war-winning strategy for sure! Those still capable of critical/rational thought will realize that the sheer magnitude and devastating consequences of the Russian strikes is just a signal that Putin is doing what he has been doing since February:
• Acting unilaterally without any efforts to negotiate (but without rejecting any negotiations should somebody in the West come to his/her senses). • Slowly and gradually increase the pain dial not only for the rump Ukraine but also for the entire EU. One more thing: assuming that Russia fired somewhere in the range of 200 missiles (out of stocks having many thousands more) against power stations, communications nodes, railway infrastructure, command posts, field headquarters, transformers, etc. and that this was more than enough to “pull the plug” on a huge country like the Ukraine tells you all you need to know about both the Russian capabilities and the lack of capabilities of Ukronazi air defenses (including old Soviet-era S-300 slamming into the ground the same way US Patriot missiles did during the Gulf War).
Motive: The aphorisms of cui bono? and follow the money apply here. The USA from even before Nordstream 2 was built, repeatedly voiced and demonstrated their rabid opposition to it (Obama, Trump, Sleepy Joe, Ned Price, Stinkin’ Blinken, Droolin’ Nuland etc). The crash-test-dummy-in-chief himself is on the record of saying with a smirk that no matter what (even though it was a Russian-German project which had nothing to do with the USA), one way or another it would be stopped…nudge, nudge, wink, wink. The West forced Russia to invade Ukraine in February 2022 (in response to the massive buildup of Ukronazi forces on the border and the >30x ramp-up of Ukronazi shelling of Donbass), just before Nordstream 2 was due to come online.
This gave the new oafish Scholz sin-cojones government (possessing less balls than the previous Merkel government) the excuse to refuse pipeline certification. Hardly coincidental timing. In September, just prior to the pipeline explosions, there were widespread public protests in numerous German cities demanding that sanctions against Russia be revoked and that cheap pipeline gas again be bought from Russia. The pipeline explosions seemed to eliminate such a future option. The USA has defacto received a massive financial windfall from the pipeline sabotage (witness Stinkin’ Blinken’s nauseous crowing about this “tremendous opportunity”). Such despicable skulduggery was the ONLY way that super expensive US LNG could be EVER be exported to Europe, because it could NEVER be economically (nor environmentally) competitive with super cheap Russian gas.
So much for the USA’s much vaunted practice of “free market” competition, another Orwellian term spewed out like projectile vomitus by them, which is better translated as “rigged Mafioso thuggery” or as Putin called it, “terrorism”. Russia had zero motive to bomb the pipelines. On the contrary, it was hugely detrimental to their interests, representing the multi-billion dollar loss of built infrastructure, the several hundred million dollar loss of natural gas and the loss of a future bargaining chip which could entice Europe to overturn the anti-Russia sanctions and buy cheap Russian gas again. The fact that the Russians offered to repair the pipes proves that it continues to be in their interest to keep them.
Unlike warmongering politicians, who do not do the fighting and do not face getting splattered by the brains and guts spilling out from inside other human-beings alive a few moments before, military men are essentially pacifists. That does not mean that they are cowards, it means that, as professionals, they want to achieve their aims avoiding losses as far as possible. The aim is not to kill other human-beings. All the more so in the Ukraine, where those opposing you are the same race as yourself and with similar values. Kiev is not going to be flattened, it is a Russian City, indeed, it is called ‘The Mother of Russian Cities’. The SMO is to be implemented with as few losses as possible.
The Ukraine is to be freed, not destroyed. This war is against the USA and its blind but subservient vassals, not against the Ukraine and the Ukrainians. The Ukrainian people are being held hostage. The aim of any liberation is to free and save the hostages, not to kill them. The hostages are not the enemy. The enemies are the hostage-takers, Zelensky and Company. This whole operation is about saving the Ukraine, not destroying it. Another thing that some in Western countries forget is that Russians have Asian patience. This is quite unlike Western impatience. Russia has not forgotten the Teutonic Knights in 1242, the Poles in the Time of Troubles (1598-1613), the Swedes at Poltava in 1709, Napoleon in 1812, the Franco-British in 1854-56, the Kaiser in 1914, Hitler in 1941, or Clinton in the 1990s.
It is all listed and remembered, just as the Chinese have not forgotten the British-run genocide of the Chinese in the Opium Wars, just as the Indians have not forgotten British atrocities in the First Indian War of Independence (the British call it ‘The Indian Mutiny’) in 1857-8, just as the Iranians have not forgotten the overthrow of their democracy by the British in 1953 and then the torture-chambers of the Shah’s secret police. The point is that you should not poke the bear. Like Asians, Eurasian Russians have huge patience, but they forget absolutely nothing. When Kiev started its massacres in the Ukraine in 2014, all was noted. After the Bridge, that patience came to an end. The Russians have now appointed as Commander in Chief of what is now an anti-terrorist operation General Surovikin, nicknamed ‘General Armageddon’. His name, which comes from the Russian word for ‘severe’, recalls to any Russian the great hero of 18th century Russian military history, General Suvorov. My advice to Ukrainians after two days with 200 missiles? Either surrender asap or else get out now.
Russia’s actions regarding energy resources are aimed at ensuring market stability, and not creating obstacles for anyone, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday while meeting with his UAE counterpart, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in St. Petersburg. The leader of the UAE is on an official visit to Russia to discuss cooperation between the two countries, as well as regional and international issues. “We are actively working within the framework of OPEC+. I know your position, our actions, our decisions are not directed against anyone … They are aimed at stability in the world energy markets, so that both consumers of energy resources and those involved in their production, as well as suppliers feel calm, stable and confident. So that the supply and demand will be balanced,”Putin said.
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) agreed to an oil production cut of 2 million barrels per day starting in November. The reduction, which is the largest output cut since early 2020, was approved despite US pressure to pump more. It is expected to stem the latest slide in global oil prices. US President Joe Biden expressed disappointment with the decision, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the move “unhelpful and unwise.” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak, who attended the OPEC+ meeting, said that the output cut is necessary to balance the market before the seasonal decline in demand.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Washington seeks to force through its decisions regarding the oil market and manipulate prices, even at the cost of destabilizing the global energy market. Analysts interviewed by Bloomberg warn that the output cut may lead to a jump in oil prices above $100 a barrel and force the US to tap its strategic reserves. They also believe that Russia may introduce even larger output cuts than those announced by OPEC+ in response to the introduction of an oil price cap by the EU last week. Given the rise in oil prices, Russia’s oil export profits are unlikely to suffer even with production cuts, they say.
The US should not be allowed to dominate the global energy market while the EU suffers from the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned. “The conflict in Ukraine must not end in American economic domination and a weakening of the EU,” he said, speaking at the National Assembly on Monday. Le Maire said it’s unacceptable that Washington “sells its liquefied natural gas at four times the price than it sets for its own industrialists,” adding that “the economic weakening of Europe is not in anyone’s interest.” “We must reach a more balanced economic relationship on the energy issue between our American partners and the European continent,” Le Maire said.
Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, Russia was the EU’s largest gas supplier, responsible for about 45% of the bloc’s gas imports. However, due to sanctions imposed on Moscow in recent months, Russian gas supplies to the EU have decreased significantly. Facing an energy crisis, EU countries have rushed to fill their storage facilities – the level of reserves in underground storages was close to 91% as of Monday, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe. The storage sites are largely filled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), and are currently at their highest seasonal levels since at least 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. However, LNG imports from overseas cost much more than gas supplied via pipeline from Russia under long-term contracts, and energy prices in the bloc continue to rise.
The EU has considered setting a cap on natural gas prices for all suppliers, but a number of countries are opposed to this. Norway, a non-EU state but a partner in the European Economic Area (EEA) and one of EU’s major gas suppliers, recently warned that a step such as this could aggravate the situation, forcing exporters to divert supplies to other markets.
The presidents of Russia and the US might meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia, provided that Washington actually wants to participate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. “We never reject meetings, and if such a proposal comes, we will consider it,” the top diplomat explained during an interview on Russian television on Tuesday. He stressed that no such proposal had been sent by the US so far, contrary to what some people may believe. An opportunity for US President Joe Biden to have a one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin may present itself during the upcoming summit of G20 leaders in Bali, Indonesia, which is scheduled for mid-November.
When asked about the possibility of bilateral talks, Biden did not rule it out, telling reporters on Thursday that “it remains to be seen.” Lavrov said that drawing conclusions about the schedules of the two leaders from an off-hand remark was “more suitable for journalistic analytical speculation than for real politics.” Speaking on Russian political talk show ‘60 Minutes,’ Lavrov called “a lie” claims that the US government was seeking to resolve the stand-off with Russia over the Ukraine crisis and that it was Moscow’s position that prevented peace negotiations.
“We have received no serious proposals for contact. There were some half-hearted approaches, which we did not reject either and suggested that the people, who want to engage with us in backdoor diplomacy, formulate concrete proposals,” Lavrov revealed. The would-be mediators did not respond properly, he added. The minister also expressed skepticism that talks with the US could produce substantial results regarding Ukraine, considering the circumstances. He explained that the US had long become a “de facto” party to the conflict by arming the Ukrainian military and feeding them intelligence.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said that Moscow was open to talks with Western powers as Turkey is looking to broker negotiations. Lavrov also said that Russia would consider a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Biden if one was proposed. “We have repeatedly said that we never refuse meetings. If there is a proposal, then we will consider it,” he said. A potential venue for talks between Biden and Putin could be the sidelines of the upcoming summit of G20 leaders that will be held in mid-November in Indonesia. But according to Lavrov, Russia has not received any serious proposals from the US to negotiate.
The US was quick to dismiss Lavrov’s comments, accusing him of “posturing” and calling for Russia to stop launching strikes across Ukraine. “We see this as posturing. We do not see this as a constructive, legitimate offer to engage in the dialogue and diplomacy that is absolutely necessary to see an end to this brutal war of aggression,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. Despite the US dismissal of potential talks, Turkey appears eager to broker negotiations between the two sides. The Kremlin said that Putin will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, and it’s “possible” that the two leaders will discuss a Turkish proposal to host talks between the West and Russia. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, on Tuesday and noted a “common understanding” when it came to the need to reach a ceasefire, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.
“The importance of declaring a ceasefire urgently in order to prevent further loss of lives and to re-establish peace and stability in the region was emphasized, and it was gladly observed that there was a common understanding regarding the ceasefire,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a readout of the call. While there are growing calls for peace talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his position that he won’t hold talks with Russia as long as Putin is president during a virtual meeting with the G7. Zelensky recently signed a decree ruling out any dialogue with Putin’s government.
Residents of the Ukrainian capital and Kiev Region will experience power outages of up to four hours under a new schedule of rolling blackouts introduced by the grid operator.The measure was introduced on Tuesday and is aimed at “balancing the power system and avoiding large-scale blackouts,” privately-owned energy company DTEK announced on Tuesday. It cited instructions it received from the national transmission system operator, Ukrenergo.The rotating outages will affect both industrial consumers and regular citizens, and was introduced after a massive Russian attack on Ukraine’s infrastructure on Monday. Ukrenergo called on people to dial down their use of electricity to decrease the load on the grid.
On Monday evening, it claimed there was a 26.5% drop in consumption in the capital and surrounding region, compared to an average autumn day.The company urged users to keep consumption low during peak evening hours, and said it ordered operators in Kiev, Chernigov, Zhitomir, and Cheboksary to introduce rolling blackouts, which will be in force for several days.Issues with basic utilities such as electricity and water were reported by Ukrainian media in many parts of the country following the strikes. Moscow states that the strikes were in retaliation for what it described as a series of “Ukrainian terrorist attacks” on Russian infrastructure. Key facilities were damaged in nearly a dozen Ukrainian regions, according to Kiev.
A German government-appointed expert panel on Monday proposed a two-stage system for distributing some of the up to €200 billion in subsidies Germany recently announced (and sparked outrage across Europe in the process) to ease the strain of high energy prices, a plan that the group said would still encourage people to save gas, but will merely subsidize even more gas purchases and in a supply-constrained environment, lead to even higher inflation (especially when paired with Russian “price caps”). According to AP, the panel suggested that the state take on the cost of natural gas customers’ monthly bill in December, followed by a price subsidy for part of their consumption starting next spring.
That “gas and heating price brake” would kick in next March and apply until April 2024, panel co-chair Veronika Grimm said. Private gas customers would pay 0.12 euros per kilowatt hour for the first 80% of the amount they used in 2021. That “corresponds roughly to the price level that is expected in the future,” Grimm said, telling reporters in Berlin that the plan aims to introduce a “new normal” but prevent price rises beyond that…. whatever that is. “It’s not going to be the case that the price goes back down to 7 cents in the future — we won’t receive Russian gas for a long time.” Grimm argued that the plan still incentivizes people to save gas, because people who do so will avoid paying higher prices beyond the cap level.
She also noted that Germany, which has Europe’s biggest economy, needs to reduce its previous gas consumption by about 20% to prevent a potential shortage this winter, which will never happen voluntarily and will required forced rationing throughout the winter, i.e., rolling blackouts. Co-chair Siegfried Russwurm, the head of the Federation of German Industries, said the proposal foresees businesses paying 0.07 euros per kilowatt hour for 70% of their 2023 gas use, starting at the beginning of January. Russwurm said that gas price rises are posing an “existential” threat to an increasing number of companies.
This isn’t the biggest news of the week but it may turn out to be so if I’m right about what this means and where it leads. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard formally left the Democratic Party in a public announcement this morning on Twitter. Here’s Gabbard’s full statement: “I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue & stoke anti-white racism, actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms, are……hostile to people of faith & spirituality, demonize the police & protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, believe in open borders, weaponize the national security state to go after political opponents, and above all, dragging us ever closer to nuclear war.
I believe in a government that is of, by, and for the people. Unfortunately, today’s Democratic Party does not. Instead, it stands for a government of, by, and for the powerful elite. I’m calling on my fellow common sense independent-minded Democrats to join me…. …in leaving the Democratic Party. If you can no longer stomach the direction that so-called woke Democratic Party ideologues are taking our country, I invite you to join me.”
Gabbard’s statement is a big deal given the timing, less than a month out from the mid-term elections. I know a lot of people are really torn on Gabbard. She elicits from the “patriot or “MAGA” crowd the same kind of unthinking division that Donald Trump elicits from the world. There are few nuanced takes on either of these people. This is because they represent threats to the people who are desperately trying to maintain control over the political and economic system. It doesn’t matter if they are competent or not. Since that system is failing, rapidly, the socio-political immune system must be vaccinated against all foreign ideas.
So, the modus operandi is always the same. As they rise in popularity seed and amplify their faults to gaslight some would be supporters. In the case of Gabbard it was her invitation to the 2015 WEF Young Leaders conference and her positions on key domestic policy issues. People don’t like Gabbard for these reasons. Some of them are valid criticisms. Her voting record is Progressive on domestic economic issues. But, like a lot of young people, they come in with certain ideas and they leave with others after peaking behind the curtain. This focus on past specifics keeps many projecting personal anxieties onto them rather than assessing their personal journey. This precludes thinking strategically about how they can be an asset and only knee-jerk rejecting them for failing to pass some purity test.
“The excess mortality rate across the EU has increased by 16% more than the average. If you look at the map, the countries with the highest vaccination rates currently have the highest excess mortality rate.” –@CristianTerhes – EU Press conference – 11 Oct 2022. pic.twitter.com/4VTAdGVGnI
Gerry Cranham They all fall in the round I call 1963
There was this comment at the Automatic Earth yesterday that got me thinking. It was sort of wrapped in a bit of -more- innuendo about health officials not getting the results they were looking for in COVID19 numbers, as if the whole virus event is some goal-seeked conspiracy. You’ll be familiar with it by now.
I said back in the day that measures like lockdowns can’t last long, because people are social animals. You would just have hoped that when they were finally, far too late, decided upon, that countries, states, communities, would have made the best of them. But it’s been, and more importantly will be, an awful mess, other than in a few places.
And I did say that too, that the so-called leadership in the world today is good at declaring a lockdown, albeit too late, but not at anything else, not at timing it, not at executing it, let alone at managing the way out of it in reopening societies. It is all so predictable.
But people have been solidly dug into their trenches now, after 2 months, and they’ve done so much reading, and watching pundits, that they’re no longer looking for news, they’re looking for opinions, ones that match their own darkest notions. We’ve come to the point that if there’s nothing suspicious going on, then that’s mighty suspicious.
And there’s plenty of such opinions, and plenty among them that lay the blame for freedoms and livelihoods lost somewhere, anywhere. So yeah, in that sense it’s time to reopen, the mental health sense. But not, unfortunately, in the physical health sense. The virus is still prevalent in most communities and many a community will pay a steep price.
But nobody is aware of it, it seems, because nobody really knows what will happen. They’ve only all heard the clamoring for a return to normal. That there will be no return to normal is something nobody wants to tell them. How many people do you think know there’s never been a vaccine for a coronavirus? How many people know that there is no need for a vaccine?
Everyone’s been told to wait for a vaccine, which suits Big Pharma, which gets billions for something they don’t even need to deliver, just try, and it suits the politicians who can all say there’s nothing they can do to prevent more suffering until the magic pill shows up. They can say they opened up because there was so much pressure on them.
But yes, that comment. It made me think that perhaps people don’t understand viruses very well, and also that it’s a very good lead for a description of how they “function”.
Is this a fiercely contagious pathogen or not? If it’s so contagious, then it isn’t particularly lethal. If it’s incredibly lethal, then it isn’t so contagious.
First of all, remember a virus doesn’t think or plan or have a strategy, none of that. If conditions are right a virus will multiply. And while doing so, it will mutate. These things happen in virustime, counted in time sequences as infinitesimal as the size of a virus itself. And one in a billion or so a mutation will stick for more than two nanoseconds, because it offers an advantage to the virus.
That’s how it gets to spread from, first, animal hosts within the same species, and then, in very rare circumstances, to other species, like humans. And even then it’s exceedingly rare that a virus could do harm to a human being. The odds of that happening are maybe one in a trillion or something, I doubt anyone could tell you, including virologists.
The virus “wants” one thing: to multiply. Just like any other being, including us. And being both very lethal and very contagious doesn’t help it do that (not that it’s trying). Earlier well-known coronaviruses like SARS and MERS got that balance wrong. Because that’s what it is: a trade off between lethality and contagiousness. Neither can be too high.
SARS is noted by the WHO for a case fatality rate (CFR) of 9.6%. At that percentage, with the lethality and contagiousness it had/has, the virus lacks the time to jump from old host to new host, especially when existing and potential hosts are being isolated. MERS had a 34% CFR, and obviously didn’t prevail long.
MERS never even really left Saudi Arabia (and appears to have never achieved human-to-human transmission). SARS did get to other countries, I remember especially Canada, but that whole epidemic was over in 7 months.
You need the right amount of contagiousness combined with the right amount of lethality in order to have a pandemic. Jump from host to host, but not too fast, because in no time every potential host would be infected and develop antibodies (herd immunity). And not too lethal, because not enough “old hosts” would be left to infect enough “new hosts”.
The present SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus appears to have struck a delicate balance. People may say it’s not all that contagious, and it’s not so lethal, but it’s those qualities that enabled it to be a pandemic. One thing it hasn’t achieved yet is becoming endemic, and we would be wise to keep it that way. But the odds that we will have a vaccine before we can do that are slim.
Where to go from here is very opaque. People shout out for the world to be opened, but all they will get is a small part of that world. Mass events, bars, restaurants, subways, planes, and so much more, can no longer function the way they did. As long as the virus is out there, it may be ‘only’ modestly contagious and lethal, but enough that people will be willing to avoid many things that were considered normal before 2020.
That will lead to huge changes in society, enormous amounts of jobs that will not return. If we fail to adapt to those things as badly as we failed in our lockdowns, the changes can only become even larger, even deeper, until there may be little left that we still readily recognize.
There are still very few, if any, countries where everyone is tested for SARS-CoV-2. We will need to test everyone at least once a week, and twice on Sundays. And isolate whoever tests positive. It didn’t need to come to this, but we all screwed up something awful, except for a very small number of countries and societies.
Get ready for the next round; there is no other way out. And if we let the virus become endemic, and it returns in waves of every year or so, the testing regimen will have to continue too. Until there is a vaccine, but that may never come. Or we reach herd immunity, but that is merely a fickle concept used mostly for cattle and may never come either. Or only at the cost of millions of lives.
We need to prevent the virus from “finding” new hosts. It is that easy. And there are ways to do it. But they don’t rhyme with “I won’t give up my freedom for your safety”. If that’s the route we take, we’re all going to live in very small and separated worlds. And what does “freedom” mean anymore then?
It’s obviously much easier to join the crowd and claim Bill Gates wants to force vaccinate us all, and the elites want to enslave us; and no doubt there’s a few psychos with crazy dreams. But maybe just maybe this is, or should be, more about us, about what we do, what powers we have, and what we do with those.
If the elites, or whoever else, wants to use the virus to make you their bitch, don’t let them. But do you really believe that letting a virus with just the right mix of lethal and contagious, run wild and undetected in your society, is the way to achieve that? Or might it be better to wear a face mask in public for a bit and get tested, or test yourself, until the virus is gone?
If you choose door number one, don’t you agree that you should blame yourself for that choice, not the so-called elites? Maybe you should take responsibility for your own lives, not blame whatever goes wrong on others. Maybe that’s a higher degree of freedom than saying we can’t do anything about it anyway, so let 50 million people die as long as I am free to go to McDonalds.
And you would be playing into Bill Gates’s hands to boot if you do that, provided you believe that he wants to depopulate the planet. How’s that work, he’s your bogeyman, him and the elites, and therefore you give them what they want? They want to depopulate, so you say sure, let the virus roam, while you could prevent it from doing that?
You might want to look up “freedom” in a dictionary.
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The film Koyaanisqatsi was released in 1982. The title means ‘life out of balance’ in the language of the Hopi, a Native American tribe who live(d) mainly in what is now north-east Arizona. It is directed by Godfrey Reggio with music by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke. There are no actors, and no dialogue. Philip Glass’s music underlies a series of film fragments that contrast the beauty of American nature with the noise and pollution mankind has added to it. Wikipedia:
The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. Reggio explained the lack of dialogue by stating “it’s not for lack of love of the language that these films have no words. It’s because, from my point of view, our language is in a state of vast humiliation. It no longer describes the world in which we live.”
Due to its initial success, Reggio and Glass made two sequels to the film, Powaqqatsi (1988), meaning “parasitic way of life” or “life in transition”, and Naqoyqatsi (2002) which means “life as war”, “civilized violence” and “a life of killing each other”. If you haven’t seen them, they come highly recommended.
Koyaanisqatsi is an fitting term to describe not only our world in general, but also our economies. They are severely out of balance, and getting more so every day. But economies, like nature, need at least a minimum in balance. If that disappears, this lack of balance will tip them over. It is somewhat strange that this is not being recognized, and not even discussed.
It’s as if people think that when almost all wealth goes to a select very few, an economy can still continue to function. It can’t. The rich getting continually richer means the poor getting poorer (as overall growth is slow or non-existent), until the latter reach a point where they can no longer afford even basic necessities. That’s when parts of an economy will start dying, in the same vein that parts of a living body, an organism, die off when the supply of blood, nutrients and oxygen is cut off.
For an economy to function, it needs money to flow through it the same way a body needs blood to flow. If all the money gets increasingly concentrated in just a small area, the economy stagnates. We measure the flow of money as velocity:
If that graph would describe a human body, it would be in an ambulance on the way to ER. The only times velocity of money have been as low as today was during a Great Depression and a World War.
The ever richer rich cannot spend enough to keep things moving. They can buy stocks and bonds and houses, but they can’t buy all the groceries and clothing that the poor and middle class no longer can. But it’s those things that keep the economy humming along.
An economy as unbalanced as the one we presently have is bound to perish. The rich are killing their own economies by trying to get richer all the time. And they have no idea that’s what happens. It’s sort of baked into their understanding of what capitalism is. Or neo-liberalism if you want.
We should look upon, and handle, our economies and societies as living, and vibrant, systems, but we’re miles away from any such understanding. Our education systems are gross failures when it comes to this, and our media, owned by the rich, support anything that will make them richer. Even though that is suicidal for everyone involved. We are a tragic species in many more ways than one.
This has nothing to do with political views, with socialism or communism or any ism, it’s a simple empirical observation. It’s not about ‘everyone deserves their fair share’, but about if they don’t get their share, no economy will be left to hand out any shares even to the rich. If the rich want to get richer, they will need a functioning economy to get there.
In other words, someone will have to call a halt, or at least a pause, to the pace at which they’re getting richer, or their quest for riches will become self-defeating. Literally every single human being can grasp this, but hardly anyone even considers it. At their peril.
Here’s just a small example from CNBC, there are thousands just like it:
America’s top 1% now control 38.6% of the nation’s wealth, a historic high, according to a new Federal Reserve Report. The Federal Reserve’s Surveys of Consumer Finance shows that Americans throughout the income and wealth ladder posted gains between 2013 and 2016. But the wealthy gained the most, driven largely by gains in the stock market and asset values. The top 1% saw their share of wealth rise to 38.6% in 2016 from 36.3% in 2013.
The next highest 9% of families fell slightly, and the share of wealth held by the bottom 90% of Americans has been falling steadily for 25 years, hitting 22.8% in 2016 from 33.2% in 1989. The top income earners also saw the biggest gains. The top 1% saw their share of income rise to a new high of 23.8% from 20.3% in 2013. The income shares of the bottom 90% fell to 49.7% in 2016.
Now, you may think: 38%, how bad is that?, and you may be forgiven for thinking that way. After all, you’re in a majority there. To understand the severity of what’s happening, you need to look at the trends:
This one from the New York Times, annotated by Charles Hugh Smith, is very revealing too. What happens is that just as we find ourselves in a stagnating/shrinking economy, the rich get richer fast. They can do that because central banks are releasing trillions of dollars in QE, but also because the system is geared towards eviscerating the poor, and increasingly the middle class as well:
And this is amplified by the ultra-low rates policies central banks have been pushing over the past decade. They allow for the ever poorer to keep up appearances of wealth by plunging into debt ever deeper, but they don’t allow for their living conditions, their jobs, their savings, their pensions, to recover. They do the exact opposite. As this graph from Mike Lebowitz, one of many to show the same trendline, goes to show:
This is not an American phenomenon, though it’s more pronounced stateside. And Trump’s tax reform plans promise to only make it worse. It looks like Bernie Sanders might be the only politician in the US to stop it, but what are the odds of that? We live in a system that is warranting economic suicide for everyone including its own proponents, and we’re blindly following it like so many lemmings.
The Koyaanisqatsi film doesn’t have a happy Hollywood ending, and it makes no pretense of it. Our Koyaanisqatsi economy will not end with ‘they lived happily ever after’ either. The protagonists wouldn’t know how to achieve that. They don’t understand what makes an economy run, and keeps it running.
And they don’t want to understand, because they think it’ll make them less rich. Nobody gives balance a second’s thought. Presumably because they think the system, like nature, will eventually balance itself. And they’re right in that. They just haven’t considered what that balancing act might mean for them personally.
if you’re rich, good on you. But don’t forget what made it possible for you to gather your riches, or you’ll lose them, and probably a lot more too.