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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Government-Sponsored Pain

Silverfiddle Rant!

Inflations is not letting up, and we have a global energy crisis.

Frightening economic conditions are crushing ordinary Americans.

All this brought to us by the "leaders" and "experts" who... 

...thought it would be neato to consolidate a majority of the world's critical manufacturing in a communist nation determined to avenge historical humiliations, overpower its main enemy (The United States) and dominate the world.  Yes, educated people saw this even back in the 1980's when Papa Bush was admonishing us to not isolate China.

... doubled down on stupid by panicking in the face of the global covid pandemic.  Leaders and experts fomented hysteria, forcing the shutdown of schools and the main engines of the global economy, despite knowledge that the elderly and those in poor health (unlikely to be in school or the workplace) made up over 90% of deaths.

As if that weren't enough, the geniuses in the bowels of our federal government decided now was a great time to foment a hot war between Ukraine and Russia.  As a result, continued gas flow through the Nordstream pipeline is in doubt, Germany is burning coal again, and Europe is worried about making it through the winter with enough energy to heat homes and power the economy.

Yeah, we need a "Great Reset," but not the kind the rich and powerful have in mind...


  1. I could add commentary to each of these, but I think you know most of my views already. I'll remark only on Russia, just to say that Putin was already dangerously belligerent before America "fomented" anything, having eg. illegally captured Crimea in 2014, and clumsily poisoned agents on British soil in 2018 injuring bystanders and endangering a large part of a smallish city. If we fomented any of what's now happening in Ukraine, surely our first criticism should be that we left it too late.

    1. Yep. Though SF is using 'geniuses' in sarcasm.....were those in the bowels of the Federal government actually able to plan Putin's decades long, publicly spoken goal of occupying all or most of Ukraine (as well as the other former Soviet 'states').....and the actual invasion itself, they might be geniuses indeed.

    2. Jez,
      Of course Putin is "dangerously belligerent." If this is the best our leaders and experts can do with that, we are in trouble.

      We are being led by checkers players.

    3. European leaders making feel good statements about what a bad man Putin is, and taking economic actions against him, while also sucking his gas pipe is not smart.

      Europe does not have the LNG infrastructure. It doesn't have enough nuclear power. Based on what I've read, it's going to take your up 10 years to develop the energy infrastructure to be independent from Russian gas and oil.

    4. The US encouraging Russia's weaker neighbors to poke at the bear with a stick, instead of working out a modus vivendi is stupid.

      As a result, Vlad took a big bite out of Georgia during Bush the dumber's reign.

      He then took back Crimea and started feasting on regions of Eastern Ukraine. Does anything person really believe this was inevitable? Events really happen in a vacuum.

      George c Marshall, George Kennan, Dean Atchison, and George Schultz have left the building. We have no Eisenhower or Reagan.

      When Henry Kissinger and Noam Chomsky are singing a duet, smart people should sit up and listen.

    5. You mean poking the bear who has occupied parts of their country and was building up for a wider invasion? The bear that kept saying "hey Comrade, we're just having military exercises....". That bear?

      Ukraine was never going to be admitted to NATO....not until the conflict was resolved. All parties knew this.

      The alternative was a state of affairs that neither you nor I would accept for our nation....why should Ukraine?

    6. Russia has been swinging the stick.

    7. I'm not worried about China. Ultimately, they will do whatever the boardrooms of Walmart tells them to do. They will continue to manufacture bigger and better Christmas light displays for us to dunk on our neighbors that worried about their energy bills this winter. We export recessions. We've never imported one.

      That isn't to say we profit from the world's misery, but rather that we're the reason most of the world even has an economy to speak of. Those who have traveled the world for business, pleasure, or to protect America from dangerous goat herders all know there is no place they would rather live or be than right here in the United States surviving and maybe even thriving while the world tortures itself to death with self-inflicted idiocy. We're sitting on hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas, and natural resources. We're going to be okay. We're a good three hundred years worth of economic development ahead of the rest of the world combined. Pain is relative, globally speaking. Buy land, God isn't making any more.

      What's the world going to do, beat us at soccer?

    8. CI,

      Yes, that bear. You've nailed it.

      If hot war is the establishments only answer then they need to go.

    9. That oil and gas and coal ain't gonna do sh*t for us when we're all driving electric cars and carbon fuels are outlawed and we're forced to by rare earth based batteries from China for everything.

    10. Azerbaijan, Central African Republic, Egypt, Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia), Libya, Madagascar, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine...

      These are the countries Russia is currently deployed into that began maintaining military forces either to prop up corrupt governments, involve themselves in shooting wars to overthrow the governments thereof , or both, within the last 20 years.

      This doesn't count their military activities in Armenia, Belarus, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova/ Transnistria, Tajikistan, and Vietnam that have been going on for longer than 20 years.

      If there's a war or conflict going on in the world, chances are pretty good there's Russians advising, arming, or directly fighting alongside the enemies of the United States and / or our interests.

      I'd say the trend in global affairs has pretty much been "Let Russia roll over whoever it wants to." The "establishment" (whoever the dirty left-wing hippies are calling that now is) has done little to nothing to check Russian aggression. Anywhere. Obama took Ukraine's nukes away. Trump had the Russian FSB write the Republican Party platform and handed Syria to Russia (not to mention most of Africa to Russia and China).

      The Solomon Islands just kicked out the US Navy in favor of China. The Phillipine Islands are well on their way to becoming a Chinese naval base.

      What is this "hot war answer" you speak of? The United States has been in full retreat mode from the world since Trump's surrender to ISIS and the Taliban. Biden, as the second term of Trump, is merely the hair sniffing kiddie diddler that Republicans don't like. Maybe he should tweet something puerile about Liz Cheney to get himself invited to the next neoliberal-paleoconservative circle jerk. I don't know.

      The world is in fact "resetting." Power, like nature abhors a vacuum. What did you think Trump's withdrawal from the world was going to do? Make America great again?

    11. @TC - Don't forget the the "Belt & Road" initiative, incorporated into China's "constitution" in 2017.

    12. That oil and gas and coal ain't gonna do sh*t for us when we're all driving electric cars and carbon fuels are outlawed and we're forced to by rare earth based batteries from China for everything.

      As evidenced by all the Tesla's flying off the lots in Zimbabwe.

    13. @CI - exactly. The Chinese GDP skyrocketed under Trump, largely due to all the economic and trade alliance opportunities they swooped into when Trump walked America away from them. The Chinese have dotted the coasts of the Indian Ocean from eastern Africa to Hong Kong with shipping ports in preparation of monopolizing upon Trumpian anti-capitalism.

      We get to be the backward commies now.

    14. China functionally owns much of Africa now.

      'Superpowers' never last for eternity. Ask all of the previous ones.

    15. So why aren't we allowing American privateers to raid Chinese shipping?

    16. I'm all for Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and I believe I've stated such in this forum. Why though, wasn't this enacted earlier (like, previous Administration?

    17. Why raid Chinese shipping? Just buy your Christmas lights from the overstock bin in January like everyone else.

    18. What TC and CI describe in this thread (and I agree) did not start with Trump.

      What the US government establishment is good at is strong-arming other nations. That was a useful skill at one time, but as the power of others grows and yours weakens, you should learn some other skills that don't involve brute force.

      I still can't believe Germany jumped on board this Ukraine idiocy and endangered their gas from Russia. Germans hate Easter Europeans.

      But back to my main point. You go around the world pushing everybody around, they might comply in the short run, but in the long run, your arrogance just builds up smoldering resentment against you.

      I was one of the probably very few non SOF troops to spend a lot of time in Central and South America, long enough to live there and make friends with the locals, so I got a good education. Germans and Brits don't have any special love for us either.

      No one is going to conquer us, but I do see a very public, slow British-style climb down in our nation's future, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few small global humiliations thrown in as well.

      We are led by stupid people.

    19. BTW, I also subscribe to the theory that China's 10-20 years to conquer the world before their demographic crash, but this may spur them to immediate action, so we are in a dangerous period.

      Russia is a fat, aging bully, but still dangerous.

    20. Why didn't Trump b*tch slap Russia and China? His Intel community was too busy conducting counter-intelligence ops on Trump staffers and trying to lock Russia into a NATO straightjacket to re-win the Cold War they had won twenty five years earlier in 1991. The 'Marshall Plan' for Russia and the Eastern-bloc turned into sanctions and a credit blockade to starve the Russians back into serfdom. They gave Russia nothing to lose by invading Crimea/ Ukraine.

    21. The Americans commercial treatment of Russia after the fall of the Berlin Wall in '91 made the French terms of peace imposed upon Germany in a traincar at Versaille took like a generous and magnanamous reconstructive peace treaty of forgiveness in comparison. And we all know just how well that turned out.

    22. The crazy thing is that our generals expect a different result this time.

    23. @ CI: "The alternative was a state of affairs that neither you nor I would accept for our nation....why should Ukraine?"

      Because Ukraine is not the US. Different circumstances.

      Next question.

    24. TC: There is a hot war in Ukraine. Pull your head out of your ass and pay attention.

    25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    26. I agree with TC that appeasement of Russia only makes sense if we try hard not to think about what Putin would do next after successfully annexing Ukraine. But I don't assume that appeasement is what SF has in mind.
      @SF: What middle path should we ("we" as in Europe; we don't have the as much geographical buffer as you do in America) take? I mean, we're already taking a middle path since we aren't active participants in Ukraine's defence, but what lighter diplomatic avenues could we have pursued that would still have been useful for containing Putin?

    27. Because Ukraine is not the US. Different circumstances.

      That's just a deflection of the point of my comment. You (presumably) would fight to the death to protect your nation, family and home....from foreign invasion bent on erasing your culture.

      Yet Ukraine's the 'bad guy' here, for not rolling over?

      This isn't directed at you, but rather the Cult - it's en vogue amongst the slack-jawed mouth breathers to attempt to blame for Russia's long-stated intentions being carried out as planned....rather than placing the blame on Russia itself. In fact, they go out of their way not to blame Russia. Odd....but not everyone can conduct critical thought.

    28. It's not always a question of who the "bad guy" is. Regardless of morality, every nation has to be realistic about its own defensive capabilities. That's not a question that America has to ask itself very much, but Ukraine is not a superpower. Nor is Europe, really -- we cannot even supply non-military back up to Ukraine without suffering significantly.

    29. ...every nation has to be realistic about its own defensive capabilities.

      Jez - This is an interesting statement. Are you implying that if the calculus indicates defeat in the long run, a sovereign nation should surrender in the short run? Could you expand on that?

      And you're correct.....that is not a question that America really ever has to answer. Americans writ large have never (in modern history at least) had to contemplate broad suffering and deprivations brought on by warfare, either instigated by ourselves or others. That perspective, in part, leads to a cavalier attitude towards others who aren't as...I'll be polite and just say - comfortable.

      It's reasonable to debate foreign aid and political machinations.....but questioning the righteousness of defending one's home, families and very culture....isn't (in my opinion).

    30. There's little point spilling blood in pursuit of aims you have no realistic hope of achieving. There might be some solution outside the fight / surrender dichotomy worth exploring.

    31. Sure, there might be....but Russia had that opportunity prior to February. Early money was on Kiev falling within a week or so. We're at 6+ months now....and RUSFOR isn't exactly looking great.....doesn't that change the calculus? Ukraine is still a sovereign nation...as opposed to a vassal state at best.

    32. I never said Ukraine was the bad guy, I'm not even going to go back and read because CI and TC appear to be won and the same.

      Here it is boiled down to a few points.

      How did we avoid a hot war with Russia after world war II?

      Weaker Nations have lived beside hostile more powerful nations since time immemorial. A good example of that working out well without much compromise, is Vietnam and China. China has never been able to conquer tiny Vietnam. Unfortunately for the vast majority of smaller weaker nations, that has not been the case. They have had to figure out how to work out a modus vivendi. Sometimes even that didn't work out, and smaller nations get absorbed.

      How does Russia threatening and invading Ukraine damage our national security question I realize that is a n opinion question.

      So, I realize I'm in the minority here, and criticizing the quote unquote leaders and experts. If you like where we're at, you have horribly low expectations and deserve this leadership.

    33. How did we avoid a hot war with Russia after world war II?

      Fatigue from fighting a common enemy for 4-6 years.

      Look, I don't support unending largess to Ukraine...but I absolutely support their fight. And I've certainly never said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine, is a direct national security threat. That changes if Ukraine is just a domino to Russia.

      An upside of interest to me (and other intel/defense professionals) is the bonus of Ukraine being a test bed for material solutions.....and a real-world study of adversary doctrine. That makes us stronger in the long run.

    34. @ TC, You can go screw yourself Beamish. I'm not warning you again! I don't like drunks and liars anyway. If you want to impress me, go get a job at somewhere besides McDonalds.

    35. You're effing delusional, CI. Keep poking the bear and its' going to bite. you.

    36. CI,

      As I said, we are in the realm of opinion, calculated risks, accomodation and counter-factuals.

      Nations do a lot of looking the other way because no government is going to charge out and fight every wrong.

      If Ukraine had taken the route of Austria and loudly proclaimed neutrality, while handling better the competing interests of is Eastern-oriented and western-facing citizens, would it have avoided Russian aggression? (granted that Russia's implicit threat of force/coercion was always hanging over the relationship)

      No way of knowing, but it is a counterfactual that is held by smart people.

      Did Europe understand at the beginning they would be in a precarious energy situation this winter because of their stance against Russia? I find it hard to believe. They either thought this would be over quickly, or the US really did some arm twisting. Western Europeans don't like the grubby Eastern Europeans.

      A smarter class of people could have avoided the worst of this.

      I spare everyone one more rant about the US Embassy in Kiev running an international investment brokerage and all the well-connected snouts in the Ukraine hog trough...

    37. CI, you mentioned going to school on the tactics in this conflict.
      Nations went to school on our sanctions, impounding Russian sovereign funds, and weaponizing the global SWIFT system. China and others have learned to bunker up against those tactics, and Russia is almost completely self-sufficient in basic resources, and Russians can take a lot of pain.

      This was a cluster of miscalculations on all sides. Anyone ballyhooing that Russia will lose is an ignorant fool, based on geography alone. Ukraine will also never dislodge Russia from Crimea. More likely is Russia cracking into Moldova from captured Ukraine territory.

      Russia and Ukraine will settle one day, but Ukraine will be worse off, and possibly land-locked.

    38. Yeah, who cares if Americans die, right?


      @SF - Thank you for the reasoned response, and you raise some fair points. But though opening with "opinion, calculated risks, accommodation and counter-factuals"....you end with your foregone conclusion.

      Could Ukraine pulled an Austria, and survived as a nation? Maybe. If you don't believe that Putin was all bark and no bite. Residing in that neighborhood (and we've witnessed this many times throughout history), you're generally in the orbit of the West/NATO or Russia. Which would you choose? Which offers the greatest chance to remain sovereign?

      You've made your prediction.....mine (a position I've stated here previously) is that Russia will not achieve their strategic goals, and will not press much further militarily, since they'd risk even greater humiliation. They will "grudgingly" accept a brokered peace agreement from a third party that will see them still in control of the 2 Donbas puppet states and Crimea.

      But Ukraine will remain sovereign.

      Believing that they'd roll into Moldova (something the Moldovans will surely object to).....implies a pretty massive occupation of southern Ukraine. One thing the Russian people absolutely do not want, is a repeat of Afghanistan and the 1st Chechen war. That would be the result.

    39. lol! Of course Ukraine will remain sovereign. Taking over Ukraine was never Putin's goal. He'll take the Donbass, and the 80% of Ukraine's industrial economy that comes with it. If Ukraine is lucky, it 'll go back to small farming, and not become General Food's agricultural collective... cuz the corporations are buying up land just like in the US.

      More is at stake in Ukraine than many commentators seem to appreciate. In a world beset by the effects of climate change, fertile land will be an increasingly valuable asset. And if there is one thing Ukraine has in abundance, it is chernozem (“black earth”), an extraordinarily fertile soil with high concentrations of humus, phosphoric acids, phosphorus, and ammonia. That is why US and Western European agrobusiness firms have already bought up millions of hectares of Ukraine’s farmland – with just ten private companies reportedly controlling most of it.

      Well aware of the threat of dispossession, the Ukrainian government imposed a moratorium on land sales to foreigners 20 years ago. For years thereafter, the US Department of State, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank repeatedly called for this restriction to be removed. It was only in 2021 that the Zelensky government, under immense pressure, finally started allowing farmers to sell their land. The moratorium on sales to foreigners remains in place, however, and Zelensky has said that lifting it must be put to a national referendum, which would almost certainly fail.

      -Slavoj Zizek, ">Ukraine's Tale of Two Colonizations"

    40. The WEF's "You will own nothing and be happy" great reset with their "You will eat bugs" mentality has got to go...

    41. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    42. @ Beamish,
      If you want validation, join AA. But first you'll have to admit you have a problem.

    43. CI, I didn't make a foregone conclusion. I admit I have no inside or expert knowledge, and you kinda agree with my conclusion, that Ukraine will remain sovereign but smaller.

      I mention Moldova because Russian troops are already in Transnistria. I haven't checked lately how the Ukrainians are holding up in Odessa... I'm sure Russia craves an anschluss.

    44. @Warren - is that what you think you are, my problem? No honey, you're not a problem at all. Calling someone that doesn't drink a "drunk" and someone who is honest a "liar" is telling and ironic. All I've ever wanted for you to do is to give a sign that you'll remain honest in a discussion by demonstrating awareness that you're a blithering imbecile. It's not personal or an insult or cause for alarm, everybody can see that you're a blithering imbecile. There's no soul-searching required, no ground to give up. You're just a blithering imbecile failing miserably at pretending you're not a blithering imbecile. No skin off my back that you're going to see the and delete my posts, it's part of your act. You yourself know that you're a blithering imbecile, and if you can handle being meta about it, SF shifted to a more intelligent frame when I asked him to "not go full Warren." Psst. Your name is code for blithering idiocy.

      I hope one day that you yourself will see it. But that's a big ol' box of not my problem if you don't.

    45. I'd have replied sooner, but frankly, you bore me. Are you done crying now?

  2. I have come to the conclusion after much back and forth in my mind "Whatever." Self interest first now for the USA. We are broke. Europe has made its bed.
    Let the "woke" enjoy their fruits of what they have done. Natural gas in the U.S. is up a staggering 525% since closing at $1.48 in June 2020. Since June 2022 it has jumped 70 percent.
    The main cause because we are shipping so much to Europe. Time to get Europe off our back. We have been carrying them for 50 years so they can enjoy all their socialist goodies.

    1. Wait till we see our heating bills this winter.

    2. "They" would have us focus on the price of oil which is reflected in the daily ups and downs we see at the pump. But it is nat gas that will be the killer. It runs a good part of our electric grid and factories. We will learn about it after the fall election and as you say in our heating bills this winter.

    3. In June of 2008, natural gas was over $12.00 a unit. Then US industry hit the gas on exploration and fracking, bringing that price down to $1.60 in June of 2020, the middle of the pandemic.

      In the face of zero demand, due to the pandemic and it being summer, US producers scaled back production significantly, hoping to depress supply and raise prices.

      Then add in the crisis in Ukraine and here we are.

      But at the end of the day, energy is produced here by private industry. And that industry, by law for their investors and stockholders, must make money.

      What are the solutions? I want to see reasonable stable, prices, but how do we get that in one, a volatile market and two, a country that does not believe in nationalized industry?

    4. Had Biden not intervened and did all he could to slow/stop gas exploration and development the market would/could have run the cycle and increased supply. Now we cannot even get a pipeline built anymore. I can't wait to see what happens to New York. They have had to count on Russian nat gas to fill in their shortages. Thanks to the Jones act, U.S. ships cannot deliver it to NY.

    5. Bunker... the oil companies themselves said they slowed production of natural gas because the high cost of fracking was not justified with current prices.

      Whatever one may think of the pipeline from Canada, it has zero effect on the price of natural gas as it was set to move Canadian crude to the gulf.

      Also, however the Jones Act, from 1920 affects prices, it certainly has nothing to do with Biden.

      The price of crude, natural, etc., truly has little to do with who sits at 1600 PA Ave. But I get it, everyone, left, right and center, sees the guy in the WH as to blame when prices are up and praiseworthy when they go down.

      But it's usually more a complicated mess then that.

    6. In the face of all available evidence, anyone who thinks the government taking over or nationalize anything would make it better need serious help

    7. The Jones Act is a symptom of what happens when markets get globalized. All the ship construction and crewing jobs went overseas and ships got reflagged to Panama and Liberia (tax havens). The same is happening with "the rest of the manufacturing economy". The Jones Act set-aside all shipping between US ports to American-flagged ships and mandated that foreign ships could only p/u-drop cargo at 1 US port per trip, unless it hit a foreign port in-between on the same trip.

    8. If LNG can't get delivered to NY, it's probably not because of the Jones Act, it's probably due to the fact that an LNG tanker is potentially a floating hydrogen bomb.

    9. Ah, LNG can't move from one US port to another US port because they're all foreign flagged now. Tsk-Tsk. Build American!

    10. This winter’s unprecedented imports of Russian liquefied natural gas have already come under fire from Greater Boston’s Ukrainian-American community, because the majority shareholder of the firm that extracted the fuel has been sanctioned by the US government for its links to the war in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Last week, in response to the outcry, a group of Massachusetts lawmakers, led by Senator Ed Markey, blasted the shipments and called on the federalgovernment to stop them.

      From the post from the Boston Globe and well worth a read Our Russian ‘pipeline,’ and its ugly toll
      Even the Boston Globe opined that “Massachusetts’ reliance on imported gas from one of the world’s most threatened places is also a severe indictment of the state’s inward-looking environmental and climate policies.”

      New York:
      For eight years, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has capitulated to the eco-left. From preventing the construction of needed pipelines to banning fracking, he has implemented an extreme environmentalist agenda.
      It seems New York has a partial solution – import liquefied natural gas from Russia.

      That’s right, instead of permitting pipelines and fracking to get access to domestic natural gas, New York is importing energy from across the world – and from a geopolitical rival to boot.

    11. I love love love nationalists that oppose nationalization. There's hope for America yet. I hope. It's a salad bar after all.

      Now if we can get the fickle yo-yos to decide if America being an oil and natural gas exporter is a good or bad thing we might make some real progress in sensible discussions. I may be a little younger than some of the people here, but I remember as a toddler nearly 50 years ago when Nixon took the US off the gold standard and sent assistance to Israel when Egypt and Syria tried invading them. 12 OPEC countries started an embargo of oil to the United States. I remember a lot of sitting in the family car waiting in long lines for expensive gasoline. Lots of pushing cars to the pump or walking miles with a gas can after running out of gas waiting in line to get to the pump. 1973 was most of my lifetime ago, but I'm certainly not going to forget why the US took strides to become energy independent and then an energy exporter. Now Russia is OPEC, Ukraine is Israel, and Europe is the United States. We've been there done that.

      It remains to be seen if Europe has a Reagan and if we have a Thatcher.

    12. Reagan and Thatcher have left the building.

    13. Then all we have to hold Russia in check is our commitments to NATO (that Trump tried his damnedest to undermine on behalf of his Russian masters) and the expansion of NATO to Sweden and Finland that Russia provoked.

      Russian belligerency is only a miscalculation if we and our allies make it so. We've already experienced the worst President America will ever have (and steadily finding out he was all along even worse that we imagined, operating a dead drop for foreign spies right out of his desk drawer)

      We may not be interested in war, but war may be interested in us.

    14. The biggest threat to a nato ally is the refugee crisis in Poland.

      Europe is rich. They need to make their own decisions and fight their own wars.

    15. I hope you're right, SF. But I don't think it's something anyone can afford to be wrong about.

    16. Serious question:

      Short of a nuclear exchange, what is the absolute worst Russia can do to Europe?

      Total invasion and annexation?

      Taking back Finland?

      Russia doesn't have the military wherewithal.

      The worst thing Russia can do to Europe is cut off the gas. That is the sword of Damocles hanging over the Olde Continent this winter, and I really don't give a flying fig. There is no special affinity between the US and any of those countries.

      Europeans have not taken their own security seriously.

      Europeans made the Nordstream and Nordstream II deal with Russia.

      Europeans, in a fit of operatic outrage, halted certification of Nordstream II while engaging in some feel-good loud mouthed Putin bashing.

      Europe is a flabby, gassed-out old man. Eastern Europeans still have some fight left in them (witness Ukraine), but Eastern Europeans are not part of the family in the eyes of Western Europe.

      Britain gave us some good music, I love German food, but my grandparents left that continent and never looked back, no longing for the old country. I have no special love for it either. Europeans can't go 20 years without hosting a war and slaughtering each other somewhere.

      Europe is the past, they've made their bed, I say let them lie in it. Not having an air base to leap frog further east could actually be a good thing and keep us out of trouble.

    17. Putin's August 16 speech:

      “The situation in the world is changing dynamically and the outlines of a multipolar world order are taking shape. An increasing number of countries and peoples are choosing a path of free and sovereign development based on their own distinct identity, traditions, and values. These objective processes are being opposed by the Western globalist elites, who provoke chaos, fanning long-standing and new conflicts and pursuing the so-called containment policy, which in fact amounts to the subversion of any alternative, sovereign development options.”

      He's sure got our number....

    18. He's also talking out his ass. He doesn't respect the "free and sovereign development" or "distinct identity, traditions, and values" of anybody other than himself. He is a master propagandist and manipulator. I don't understand any Christian believing he is a fellow "brother."

    19. Putin took over the Donbass because it's where the ethnic Russians are. He doesn't give a cr*p about the Ukrainian culture. That's the Ukraine's problem. And as soon as he's got his people back, he'll ignore the Ukrainian farmers. But hey, Hitler had the same problem (volksdeutsch in the Sudentanland), but he decided to snag up the rest of the "liebesnraum" too.

    20. Absolutely nothing was stopping ethnic Russians from moving to the 'motherland' (presuming they even wanted to).

    21. CI, That's like telling Americans with Mexican roots to move "back" to Mexico if they don't like it. Those people, like people here of Mexican heritage are citizens.

      What this really speaks to is the politics of Ukraine and exploiting ethnic differences. It's inside baseball, which is why we should stay the hell out of internal politics of other nations, but some people in government saw money to be made there...

    22. That's like telling Americans with Mexican roots to move "back" to Mexico if they don't like it.

      You made my point, though from the opposite direction. Had ethnic Russians in the Donbass desired to be in Mother Russia....they had every opportunity (unlike the Ukrainians forcibly deported to Russia since the invasion......cool).

      That they (mostly at least) did not, speaks to their decisions. Did they need Putin to make that decision for them? I think they'd say no.

    23. My point is, they can be both ethnic Russian, and not want to "go back to Russia."

      I'm not making some kind of ethnicity motivated case for them. I inherited anti-Russian sentiment from my grandparents (Polish and Ukrainian) who had stories to tell.

      I just want to say these are internal squabbles we have no business poking our noses into. It's never black and white and usually the history goes back to before the founding of the US.

      I have detected a pattern of one group or another turning on the emotional appeal to get the US to weigh in on one side or the other of a petty sectarian squabble (Achmed Chalabi?)

    24. CI,. I think we're in agreement on this narrow point. Apologies, I shouldn't have jumped in to this thread between you and farmer.

    25. No, I'm glad you did....I value your input....especially on matters of foreign policy.

      Besides, it's always appropriate to periodically remind folks of 'Curveball'. Lest we get snookered like that again.

    26. With Russian dead and wounded at over 70k, their Black Sea navy permanently docked underwater, and a large portion of their field command either pushing up daisies or keeping the popsicles cold in the morgue, I don't think you can characterize Russia's blundering attempt to take Kyiv and control of all of Ukraine as a "tactical feint."

      I don't think you can couple Putin's own words that all of Ukraine belongs to Russia with Russia's failed attempt to take it and come up with a Pee Wee Herman "Russia meant to do that."

      They meant to settle for what they already had 70k+ casualties later? Oooookay.

  3. SF typed in:

    All this brought to us by the "leaders" and "experts"

    Yep. And the lemmings happily run off the cliff.

    What we really have:

    New World Order, disguised as environmentalism and "Save the Earth!" = serfdom of the middle class.

    Winston Churchill on experts (including but not limited to so-called educators and so-called journalists):

    Nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get in the hands of experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge, and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man who knows where it hurts is a safer guide than any rigorous direction of a specialized character.

    1. Well... I don't know if it would be fatal, but I'm pretty certain of this... most in government either have no ability to be and think creatively about our problems, or they are not allowed to do so.

    2. What Dave said. Our leaders and experts suffer from a lack of imagination.

    3. They suffer from having "agendas" other than ensuring the freedoms and liberties of the American people (ie- saving the planet from CO2/ advancing genetic-based vaccine technologies)

    4. As I'm sure you both know, changing the direction of the Exxon Valdes take a lot of time and space. Hidebound organizations like government, school districts, churches, etc work hard to avoid the pain and uncertainty of change.

      And in some cases, seem to exist to wring any creativity out of the newbies who arrive fresh and ready to go.

    5. Dave, it's an iron law. Bureaucracies evolve towards the main purpose of self-preservation.

      This is why, and I am serious, bureaucracies need to be smashed and remade every 10 to 20 years.

  4. I'm not a threat to democracy. I'm a threat to Joe Biden's Ballot Box Stuffing Vote-ocracy!

    1. FJ,
      Up votes for that last comment. I'm the same kind of threat.


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