• Jul, 2022
  • Jul 01, 2022
  • Turkey 'got what it wanted from Finland and Sweden' in talks, its government says

    ... and it approved the bids by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. Many view this as picking sides against Russia. Erdogan also said yesterday 'We will work with Biden for the purchase of the F-16s.'

  • China going for global currency status, reaching out to 5 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, HK, Singapore and Chile

    They can build a yuan reserve and a yuan pool (15b yuan each country). A global financial system.



  • Any direct transactions will trigger Western sanctions. This is being called a 'hack' so India's biggest cement maker can buy from Russia. 157k tonnes worth $25m (172m yuan). The sale was arranged from Dubai, reportedly. The mechanism isn't known.

    Coal is the main fuel to manufacture cement.

    13% of Russian reserves are already in yuan. Indian companies must be trading USD for yuan in a Chinese bank in China or HK. There are no sanctions if you don't use USD.

    Yuan to Ruble trade has increased 1000% since the invasion of Ukraine.

     
  • Jun, 2022
  • Jun 22, 2022
  • Europe taking a lot of flack for recently switching to coal after long criticizing developing nations for using it

    Russia has cut gas exports to Europe 50% over the past week, reportedly.

    Some say China and India are buying more Russian gas.

    Colombia increased exports of coal to Europe 50% (1.3m tonnes) this year. South Africa is now sending coal to Europe.

    Europe uses 20% of the world's energy resources, but has 7% of the world's population.

     
  • "Because Afghanistan is different" - Fatima Gailani

    "This is not an Afghanistan that came out of a very bitter, ugly civil war of the Mujahedin."

    "It's an Afghanistan of educated people. It's an Afghanistan of men and women seen in important positions. This is an Afghanistan where people can go on radio, television and criticize their governments, the leaders."

    Are they doing that now? "They are doing that now. How long they will continue ... But no one could shut them up. That one thing I know."

    "If anyone is interested in governing Afghanistan, they have to accept the new Afghanistan. Never in the history of Afghanistan was it that way."

     
  • Jun, 2022
  • Jun 20, 2022
  • Petro, first non-conservative president of Colombia in decades, won 50% to 47%

    Petro takes office from Duque August 7.

    Like 11m votes for him in a Country of 52m. The choice was between (Petro) a leftist who talks a lot about change, which many of the people want (the two main complaints of Colombians seem to be 'inequality' and 'corruption'), although at a risk of making things worse ('like Venezuela' since Petro is considered to be socialist). And on the other hand a right politician, which represented for voters stability and less risk but not the change many want.

    Petro has promised several things (which are not largely ideas new to him), but they would require political support beyond his office to pull off. He does not have the majority of Congress.

    1. Make more use of land. 1.5% of Colombians own 50% of the land. The idea is to tax land in ways that would encourage using it more, and to redistribute some land.

    2.a. More equality in access to health, ie a universal state system which doesn't depend on the ability of patients to pay. Payed for with 'progressive taxes' and a strong hand with corruption.

    2.b. Pensions. The offices that currently manage pensions Petro has accused of corruption. Critics say the country traditionally is not efficient as an administrator of money.

    3. Environmentalism. Colombia's oil wealth he wants to phase out to become a green economy.

    Because it is such a big change, and people weren't sure it would happen, I think it's fair to say people are excited to see what will happen, whether they are hopeful or dreadful.

     
  • Jun, 2022
  • Jun 14, 2022
  • BRICS looking for new members, first time they've done so since adding South Africa 12 years ago

    G8 became G7 when they kicked Russia out.

    India has wanted to join UN Security Council for a long time, as have other countries, but none have been accepted.

    New institutions. They are saying this is a new world, some think.
     
  • Jun, 2022
  • Jun 12, 2022
  • Russian cars, newly produced, without airbags or anti-lock brakes

    ... because they can't import those right now because of their war.
  • Jun, 2022
  • Jun 11, 2022
  • Shanghai lockdown back on
  • Will Russia continue to be a reliable supplier of arms to India, as Russia becomes involved with China?

    "A weakened Russia, with a degraded military industrial structure, is not going to be the major reliable, efficient partner we were counting on before the war." Indian congressman

    India is considering closer alliance with the US but is not impressed with the US's history of alliances (it hasn't always fared very well for the US's alliance partners, some say).

    Some say India is coming to resemble China and Russia more than it resembles Western democracies.

    2 months before the Ukraine invasion Putin visited India on a rare trip abroad.

    In 1971 both India and the Soviets were concerned about China and made a strong pact. Russia became India's #1 arms supplier (against China, India's longstanding adversary).

    Recently, the US threatened to sanction India for an arms purchase of high-tech Russia weapons.

    However, India buying arms from Russia seems to have been declining anyway over the past 10 years. India buys more now from US, Israel, France and other countries.

    Russia has historically voted against and even vetoed UN movements in support of India, particularly in India's sensitive issues like Kashmir.

     
  • Jun, 2022
  • Jun 10, 2022
  • Taiwan 2022 Q2

    US and Chinese defense ministers have held their first face to face talks in Singapore.

    China's MoD spokesperson was quoted 'If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China [ie independence?], the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war. No matter the cost.'

    India recently entered the South China Sea theater by supplying the non-China side with weapons. France recently sent a diplomatic mission to Taiwan. Taiwan is one of the main issues between the US and China. Recently Biden stated he would defend Taiwan militarily if it was attacked by China.

    On the street and among commenters, people speculate China may invade during the current Ukraine invasion or perhaps after it concludes.

  • May, 2022
  • May 31, 2022

  • According to Redacted, US proposed change so that authority would shift to WHO and not citizens' elected reps. Voted down only because of African countries (Western ones went along with it). This treaty, which rushes vaccines to people (without their consent), is called the "Right to Health" treaty.

    WHO a couple years ago (after Swine Flu) changed their definition of 'pandemic' away from the severity of the disease to just case numbers. So they could impose whatever measures as long as a certain number of people had a disease, regardless of what it was, it seems.

    #1 donor to WHO is Gates Foundation. Next Germany, then the US.

    A commenter on the video: The Nuremberg code consists of 10 principles, the first of which being that the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential in any experiment on humans.

    How would this treaty relate with human and civil rights? Would it just override all of them?

     
  • May, 2022
  • May 15, 2022
  • Random notes

    We're in a transition environment, and that means volatility (transition to higher rates, inflation, food prices).

    People last year, some people called it a potential hedge. Crypto is showing its true colors in this environment. But are they anything more than a small diversionary thing (Ukraine war they showed a use)?
     
  • May, 2022
  • May 13, 2022
  • Random economic notes from experts

    US stock market has lost $7t in 2022.

    Generational buying opportunity.

    But some of these stocks have almost doubled in PE since pandemic lows.

    Some were used as bond proxies, defensive plays in an uncertain world.

    The 3 major areas of the world are all slowing economically. China lockdowns for Covid. Europe's looking at a recession this year. US is slowing. Growth scare is yet to be priced into markets.

    Keep an eye on investment grade, because if there's been excessive leverage taken there, that's when finance contaminates the economy (instead of the other way around).

    Stagflation as the baseline (El-Erian). Something worse depends on soft or hard landing. Inflation stuck at 5 to 6%. Complacency about CPI numbers.

    UK leader to cut 90k civil servant jobs.

    Some ask if Apple stock bounce (May 12) was a signal for a market bottom.

    We've priced in probably a hard landing. (Brian Kelly).

    We don't know if the type of stock trader who is interested in ARK-types are buying in. The prime brokers and the market makers know; they know if they're creating to lend but they won't tell us. (Jan van Eck) Vandatrack tracks retail flow and I think they're showing buyers. (Batnick)

    Investors are waiting for a higher low, watching constantly wanting to buy.

    There were a lot of narratives about why the bond market was the way it was over the past 10 years. The Central Bank. There's just one reason.

    IPOs (Rivian) and growth stocks (Zoom) were huge but now are small relative to established companies. "It was a relative game." "Did you see what they're paying for Tesla?"

    "Everything trades off of Apple, I think."

    The labor market is SO tight.

    "The Fed is happy. The market decline is orderly (haven't had to pause the market) They're being very transparent about what they're doing. And people still have jobs."

    The only problem is that our cost of living is going up. Wages are going up, but how is your quality of living?

    There's 1.9 (reported) jobs right now for every 1 person seeking a job. You can quit your job and get another one in a snap. How powerful do you feel? Stocks in your portfolio are 30% lower than they were a year ago.

    If there's a recession, we're not low enough (stock market). Because multiples will have to come down and earnings will come down with them.

    The elephant. The Fed is going to get out of fixed income market. And we have commercial banks that provide no liquidity to the fixed income market. So that is where the breakage can happen. Because everyone has to borrow money if they want to buy a house or anything else?

    Does that Fed tighten too much? I don't think they care about asset prices, because they need to kill inflation. They made a boo-boo and they really want to fix it. "Causing inflation." ("Transitory.") That is their job: price stability.

    The pain that's going to come from borrowers having to pay a lot more debt.

    Corporations are OK (balance sheets). It's governments that have borrowed too much money.

    The biggest global risk is a China recession. And that's priced in because China's in a recession.

    Everything prices off of treasuries.

    Circled on the calendar. In June the Fed leaves the fixed income market. (Back in July?)

    The Fed wants to reload their ammo, so they can come back into the market if they want to. Then they can do bond market intervention if they want. As the liquidity comes out of the system and the labor market is still OK. It could be really tough for investors but that's not important to them.

    I think they're more mad at having to pay $200 to fill up their gas tank than anything else right now. The pocketbook of the household is going up. Everything.

    Wages are sticky inflation. Everything else is fixable. You can have more wheat next year. We're getting close to the wage price spiral but we're not there yet.

    The stock market is not the economy, but it is the economy to private companies.

    There's a lot of ebbs and flows to valuations.

    One of the price-setters for venture capital and growth tech is Masayoshi Son, lost $24b in Q1. (He made a lot in Alibaba. He doesn't currently have a lot of money to spend, so.) He still put $2.5b out on the street in Q1. SOFTBANK.

    Some people focus on 0 to 1. I want to focus on 1 to 2. You wanna have more than 1 product. So, Robinhood had low-cost trading. Then what? That's not the company, that's just the 0 to 1. How do you get your competitive pricing moat? You almost know Coinbase is gonna get decreasing revenue from their customers, just because there's going to be more competition. ROBINHOOD. COINBASE.

    There's a lot of fintech companies, all spending money on trying to win customers. The race to zero.

    What are you betting on in the crypto space (for private investing)? Software development teams, that can solve a problem that needs to be solved for a long period of time.

    I can't hire enough people, and you have to pay them too much. My brokerage account shrunk. My cost of everything is up. Everyone quit on me.

    Consumer credit boomed in March (2022). Sign of gas prices are too high, and I need to leave a higher balance on my credit cards. I was not squeezed for the last 2 years (stimi checks). I'm not paying with cash anymore; I'm putting half on my credit card. (credit was way down during stimulus check-era.)

    People say consumer spending is doing good because it's still high. But that's not the right reading. They don't want to be spending that. That's just what it costs now.

    If you greenlight (and regulate well) onshore crypto, people don't need to go to offshore). But the problem is the FCC needs to fight against the banking regulators.

    Bitcoin is maturing as an asset. The biggest country stopped mining and it survived. The mining difficulty rate adjusted. ... But it is not hedging against inflation. Gold didn't hedge inflation in the current environment really well either (it did hit a high last year).

    The dollar is weakening and strengthening. It's at a 20-year high.

    MARKET HISTORY when thinking about Bitcoin. FDR made it illegal for individuals to buy gold. But they could buy gold coins. Coograms and Maple Leafs. Everyone bought gold through futures contracts instead. And then we had gold bullion ETFs.

    I think gold has underperformed the last 5 years because of Bitcoin. People born with a cellphone in their hand. People in Ukraine.

    Smart Contracts have outperformed over the last 12 months. One of them has to be a winner. And you should also buy a basket.

    GDX is more liquid than gold. In a bear market it's hard to trade a gold company.

      
  • May, 2022
  • May 12, 2022

  • Recently the US, which has never recognized Taiwan's independence (for the sake of its relationship with the CCP) deleted a sentence on the State Dept website that said the US "does not support Taiwan independence." It changed wording that had referenced Taiwan as being part of China.

    Is the US going to spend some more money on arms for Taiwan?

  • Apr, 2022
  • Apr 26, 2022

  • This video gives an idea of how China is managing its cities during the pandemic April 2022 (2 years after the start, but after the latest Omicron strain, when China locked down Shanghai again). Lots of images.

    Lower immunity from natural infection - uniquely vulnerable. It was a source of national pride for Chinese that their case numbers had been so low, and they had so 'successfully' weathered the pandemic relative to other countries, although their strict lockdowns of cities caused economic and other problems (such as other health problems due to lack of diagnosis and treatment, access to medicine, etc, psychological problems from isolation, social issues from lack of socialization - it has been said (by Mill in the following terms) that the necessity of the mental wellbeing of people (on which all their other wellbeings depend) lies in freedoms) as well as extreme tracking and monitoring through electronic devices and registration. Some say the Chinese see the issue politically, as the Chinese system versus the West, so it may be less likely China would now permit opening the cities and having more infections, because of the images that would be shown to the world.
     
  • Apr, 2022
  • Apr 25, 2022
  • Cameroon signed a new agreement with Russia for Military cooperation

    They have ongoing military agreements.
  • Members of the Saudi royal family have been selling yachts, homes etc for a few years

    Apparently, MBS has cut money usually given to royals. He wants the money to fund ambitious projects. Some say that if the royals have lavish lifestyles, MBS will view them as rivals, and so are opting to hold cash.

  • Apr, 2022
  • Apr 24, 2022
  • Macron won a second term

  • Apr, 2022
  • Apr 20, 2022
  • China makes security pact with Solomon Islands

    Reportedly just before a US diplomat was supposed to go to keep this very thing from happening.

  • Apr, 2022
  • Apr 12, 2022

  • Chinese city residents are organizing in group chats (on their phones) to negotiate and buy food bulk from vendors they know

  • Chinese government facing criticism inside country for:

    - efficacy of Chinese-made vaccines
    - refusal to use mRNA vaccines provided to them by US

    200m people (20% of population) are locked down in China right now. 13 of their largest cities and some other cities.

  • Shanghai has been under (strict) lockdown for a couple weeks now, as part of a zero Covid plan

    There's no food on the grocery store shelves now, reportedly. The government is deploying food packets. Reports that wealthy people had hoarded the food from stores.

    Truck driver restrictions/refusals to enter Shanghai disrupting supply chain.

  • Four deadly attacks in Israel in past weeks

  • Apr, 2022
  • Apr 08, 2022
  • "Globalization, which historically was viewed as a barrier to conflict due to the interdependent nature of global trade, has now become a new battleground." - Patrick Boyle

    China recently stated that the US's use of weaponization of global finance (sanctions on Russia [after doing it to Iran's central bank a few years ago]) would be the downfall of it's status as world reserve currency. Ie integrity.

    China has a version of Swift, and India is considering (so far just considering) doing a Ruble-Rupee exchange or working in barter.

    Most of the West is on side, sanctioning Russia, and that makes up the bulk of currency action, but there are still 100 countries or something that are not sanctioning Russia. Brazil is another country that might help Russia work around the sanctions. Boyle said the use of sanctions in the way the US is doing will have many countries wondering if they can still trust the US.



     

  • Apr, 2022
  • Apr 07, 2022

  • Parents and children had been separated by force (no choice), if one was found to have Covid. They are now allowed to be together again.

    Only supermarkets and pharmacies are open. Images of China's biggest city look the same as the 2020 beginning of the pandemic.

    State-owened banks are loaning businesses, which have no revenue now, money, in some cases.

    In other cases, people are working, traveling in a closed loop between home and their factory. Factories set up tents during the pandemic, which allows them to do this now.

    China uses drones to go around telling people not to go out or doors.

    The hope is to reduce new infections to 0 in two weeks.

    This lockdown is expected to cost Shanghai 3.5% in economic growth.

     
  • Apr, 2022
  • Apr 04, 2022

  • Note that RT is banned on YouTube. This news comes from a blogger who used RT.
  • People seem to be starting to talk about 'fear'

    I mean vloggers, writers, commenters. This seems to be just starting in at least some sense. The fear of people faced with anxiety and threat (from, I guess, governments more than anything).
     
    I've seen this topic taken up by several vloggers lately.
  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 24, 2022

  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 20, 2022
  • The Germans have been slashing [defense] budgets basically every year for the last 20 years. The capabilities of the once-fearsome West German military that became the German military, those are long gone. There's really nothing Germany can do except economically. - Samo Burja

    Britain, France. These are shadows of what they were even in the 90s.

  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 18, 2022
  • SA holding the cards

    XI is reportedly going to make his first overseas visit in 2 years to SA. Recently Biden asked SA to increase oil production and they said no.

    US is energy independent (biggest oil producer) and China is the biggest energy consumer (currently buys 1/4 of SA's oil exports). SA is the biggest crude oil exporter.

    US published documents on Yemen or something and linked SA royal house to Kashogi killing. China has it's think in Xinjiang.

    SA and US have an old relationship. China has leverage over Iran, something US may never have.

    How much weapons will China provide for SA?

    Reportedly China is talking about using Yuan instead of USD to buy oil. SA made a deal with Nixon to trade oil only for USD in return for security guarantees.

     
  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 14, 2022
  • "Note that [the US] cannot simultaneously embargo these three places," Samo Burja said about the US going to try to get Venezuela to produce some oil. The US can't embargo Venezuela, China, and Russia all at the same time.

  • "It's not in China's interest to have Russia collapse. So I think a coupling of Russia to the Chinese system feels like the default outcome right now." - Samo Burja

    Resulting in high energy prices in Europe, slow de-industrialization and impoverishment of Europe.

    China is the only winner of a conflict between Europe and Russia, Burja said, although he said the US could benefit long term from the goings on (because the US can be energy independent and produce oil, in addition to other reasons).

     
  • "The entire German strategy for the last 40 years has been 'Use our economic weight to effect a favorable security and trade and regulatory environment worldwide. That strategy has failed profoundly." - Samo Burja

    ... talking about Ukraine.
  • Poll about if America were invaded like Ukraine


     
  • 18m excess deaths attributed to pandemic (not counting 2022 it seems)

    The paper doesn't say (because we don't yet have research with any conclusions it seems) what happened. Was it that the virus in its various strains was stronger than thought, or was it people not able to access health care, or was it due to preventative measures, or what?

    It's expected there will be repercussions going forward as well, as people who avoided or weren't able to get diagnoses for things didn't know or weren't able to be treated in a timely manner.

    Paper in the Lancet  
  • "Some sort of clarification of the situation of Ukraine was inevitable." - Samo Burja

    "Either there would be another coup like the one in 2014, and the government would once more flip towards Russia. Or NATO would move very quickly, and put NATO troops in Ukraine and make Ukraine a NATO member and Russia probably wouldn't dare to overturn that outcome with military force."

    "Part of the game is inflicting unacceptable political and economic situations on your enemy, forcing your enemy to act first militarily, thereby having the moral justification to retaliate much more strongly."

    "Powers do try to entrap each other into military action. If I believed more in the competence of the Pentagon, I would believe that they had goaded Russia into an invasion that they knew Russia would fumble."
     
  • "NATO is not benevolent. Both NATO and Russia are engaged in imperialistic expansion, driven of course by mutually irresolvable legitimate security concerns." - Samo Burja

  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 13, 2022
  • So far, violence not super high in Ukraine

    MSM is constantly reporting on the destruction, but it's very limited. Talking about 'a building' or 'an attack.'

  • Results of Ukraine war, according to Samo Burja

    1. China develops more alternatives to the Western financial and economic system (West is "fighting tanks with sanctions," so Russia will seek alternatives), and starts offering them to rogue states around the world. Even if China doesn't offer a base of support to Russia, countries around the world will more and more want to turn to China for their economic integration. (Will China also 'buy terrorist states' as Chomsky puts it?)

    2. Russia successfully occupies large chunks of Ukraine that it did not occupy before.

    3. Putin remains in power for the next year.

     
  • Many commentators and experts when talking about Ukraine are saying it's a war crime or it's an unjust war, but leaving it at that.

    They're not saying anymore against Russia's actions. They are all putting it in context of the situation the West has created. Then they add again their line about it not being a just war, or about it being a war crime.

    They liken the war, being a pre-emptive war, to the US invasion of Iraq, which they also say is a war crime.
  • Putin starts destroying cities, or a prolonged war of attrition, are the two prospects Chris Hedges presumes for Ukraine

    Putin has been restrained in the damage he's done in Ukraine, Hedges said, but he may become frustrated and lift restraints, resulting in largescale deaths. Or, if there is a steady stream of arms shipments into Ukraine, it may be a long war of attrition.

    Which would be more profitable for the permanent military industrial complex?

    #Ukraine #Russia #MIC
  • Ukraine seems to for many people be highlighting the negatives of 'nationalism'

    Which unites the right and left, often contains or mixes with racism, one group over another or excluding another.
     
  • "Because Russia controls the air, the game is ultimately fixed against the Ukrainians" - Chris Hedges

    Because the West won't call a 'no fly zone' (which would be interpreted by Russia as an act of war, it's been said), Russia will control the air and therefore the war.

    Hedges hearkened back to Iraq where Apache helicopters basically acted as mobile tank-destroying machines, picking one off after another.

  • SA executes 81 men

    The largest mass execution recently. Some were murderers, and others were found to have 'pledged allegiance to foreign terrorist organizations.'

    This was reported by Wion.

    73 of the 81 were Saudi nationals who had been found guilty in a single case of attempting to assassinate security officials, targeting police stations and convoys.

    SA officials said it was 'only protecting its national security interest through its laws.'

    The countries that execute the most people are China, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, and fifth SA.

     
  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 12, 2022
  • US has been involved in fighting in 84 of the 194 countries recognized by the UN

    ... according to Wion

    Map with the countries it's invaded or been military involved in:


     
  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 11, 2022
  • Reportedly, UAE and SA have declined to answer phonecalls from Biden

    ... although they have both spoken to Putin, reportedly.

    Wion said the reason was a 'trust deficit.' And noted the affair with the killing of the journalist Kashogi.
     
  • No one can talk or think about anything except Ukraine these days

    ... not much of value is being said. Mostly they're not historians or journalists with some time in.

    ... Other stories that might be critical of the government, that they've been doing and now data is coming out? Crickets.

     
  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 07, 2022
  • Putin's conditions for ending the war:

    - Ukraine must recognize Crimea as Russian

    - Ukraine must recognize Russian-controlled separatist regions as independent

    - Ukraine must change its constitution to formally renounce its ambitions to join political blocs like NATO and the EU

  • "We're in total economic war" - Steve Weiss
     
  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 03, 2022
  • So looking back a bit, focus on air in Russia Ukraine

    First move by Russians was knock out Ukraine's static radar positions to decrease Ukraine's early warning system. Cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. (24th)

    And also air defense systems like the S300 surface to air missiles.

    Also runways and airports to create runways for themselves and destroy some planes that were parked there (some say they weren't as successful in this part).

    Second, focus on air assets of Ukraine (bases and air crafts, and remaining air defenses). This hasn't happened.

    Russia is mostly using helicopters and gunships. Unguided weapons. They've left space and Ukraine has launched offensives there. R hasn't kept U's planes on the ground.

     
  • Mar, 2022
  • Mar 01, 2022
  • US has a freedom convoy moving

    Restaurants, fuel companies, etc. have been donating.

    Expected to reach near DC in early March. But said they won't be entering DC proper.
     
    You might note here that while many disruptor businesses and tech are trying to replace drivers (lowering costs), the dependence on actual people preserves the popular ability to combat government oppression.
  • Ukraine saying Russia is bombing civilian targets, Russia saying Ukraine is placing military equipment near residential buildings which is why it's targeting there

  • Ukraine expects up to 70 fighter jets from Bulgaria, Poland, and Slovakia

    According to RT. Bulgaria denied this, but RT said Poland seems to be on board.

    Thousands of anti-tank and anti-air have been sent in from EU and NATO countries.
  • Foreign legion to fight in Ukraine

    Ukraine has published some videos for people from other countries, that people can come to Ukraine and fight with them.

    It was pointed out that the people this might attract might be in significant part far-right extremists or 'nazis' (whatever that word means right now), and that they would afterwards return to their nations hardened, proud and accomplished in what they'd been doing and the company they'd been keeping.

     
  • 60km long convoy of Russian military vehicles making its way to Kiev

  • Feb, 2022
  • Feb 28, 2022
  • Reportedly, Russian side of war not going very well

    Whether this is true or not, there's no way to tell.

    Some have mentioned less than stellar military training of troops, and perhaps most of all that Russians don't want to shoot Ukrainians.

  • Estimated that maybe 5m Ukrainians will become refugees in Europe (mostly in Poland)

    They're talking about allowing such refugees to live in EU countries for three years.

  • Some in US gov saying we're past the point of no return for the prospect of rebuilding relations with Russia under Putin

    It's been said that Germans will never again make themselves dependent on R energy, and that they now see it as a mistake. And that the Brits will never be the conduit for Oligarch wealth they have been for the past 20 years.

     
  • Nightmare scenario is that the conflict expands to other parts of Ukraine, or there's an air or sea accident, and Russia is then fighting an EU country - Ian Bremmer

  • If Putin kills lots of Ukrainians (which it's expected he would have to do to take Kiev) this will increase opposition within Russia, since they two countries have such strong ties, lots of relations - Ian Bremmer's thought

    Questions about possible future Russian demotivation

    Ian Bremmer is from Eurasia Group

     
  • 2008 Russia takes a piece of Georgia, sanctions were pretty limited

    2014 takes two pieces of Ukraine, a few years later he's hosting the World Cup and European leaders are coming to visit him there

    2016 elections, Obama's like I don't want to deal with that right now

    So the economic sanctions now are maybe more than Russia expected

    - View by Ian Bremmer

  • Feb, 2022
  • Feb 27, 2022
  • Reportedly, 6000 of people who were nonviolently protesting the Ukraine invasion were detained in Russia

     
  • "Russia has taken the position that grievance and victimization is what powers their domestic and foreign policy" - Rory Finnin

     
  • US was trying to make Ukraine into "a de facto member of NATO,"according to John Mearsheimer

    "They [the Russians] aren't interested in negotiating anymore. They're interested in altering the status quo."

    He said the genesis of this conflict was 2008, the decision to try to make Ukraine part of NATO. The crisis breakout was Feb 22, 2014 end of what he calls the 'unipolar moment'). It was then put on the backburner, and then all of a sudden it broke out again.

    The obvious solution is perhaps politically impossible, M said. Because America unwilling to make any concessions on NATO. ... Turning Ukraine into an effective buffer, a neutral state, between Russia and NATO, which is what Ukraine was since independence in 1991 until 2014.

    Before the problem, the problem has to be solved of the lack of agreement between the pro-Russian Donbas and the Ukrainian government in Kiev.

    He said the Russians don't want to negotiate with the UK or Germany or NATO, because they all just do what the Americans ask them to do. So Russia only wants to talk to the US president.

    He (speaking a few days before the actual invasion) said Putin probably had no intention of invading, because that would mean 'owning' Ukraine, being an unwanted occupying force, which in the modern world just comes with so much trouble of all sorts. He said Putin must surely understand that. Also that the West would go to great lengths to cripple the Russian economy. Also, without invading, Putin was 'winning.' He had everyone's attention and everyone was trying to talk to him, and that it was now understood in the West that Ukraine was not going to be possible to bring into NATO.

    He thinks eventually US and Russia become allies against China, and that China is a bigger threat to Russia than the US is. He didn't, however, see an offramp for the Ukraine crisis (speaking before the invasion).

    He said Trump, who wanted to be closer with Putin and pivot to Asia, didn't get his way, but then started to arm Ukraine, 'much tot he chagrin of Russia.'

    He noted the contemporary superhigh anti-Putin, anti-Russian sentiment in the US (both parties, and popularly). He didn't know why, except some guesses like remnant associations to do with the Cold War, Putin's always standing up to the US, that Putin heads an authoritarian state and his stance on homosexuality and other social issues. The invention of the Democrat's story that Hillary lost the election because the Russians manipulated the system and caused Trump to win the vote.

    He said NATO needs the Russian threat to exist. He said that as to the question of getting European nations to spend 2% on military, "Don't hold your breath." They're basically free-riders. Why spend that if the US is going to take care of you anyway? However, if the US pivots to Asia and 'leaves' Europe, and if Europe perceives Russia as a threat, then EU States would spend more on military. If they have to provide for their own defense. He drew a parallel to Japan, which free rode off the US until China grew to a size where it became a real threat. Japan now faces what they perceive to be an existential threat, and has started to talk more like a 'realist.'

    Talking about nuclear weapons, he said that although they have been a force for peace, a deterrent, they weren't much of a factor in Putin's then-possible invasion of Ukraine because the US (Biden) already said if Russia invaded US wouldn't do anything, and even if Americans IN Ukraine were threatened he wouldn't, so they're not really a deterrent in that case. He said what would keep Putin from invading was the costs (invasion, occupation) and the benefits of keeping on without invading (Russia doing well).

     
  • Economic consequences of Russian invasion of Ukraine, by Patrick Boyle

    US and allies are removing some Russian financial institutions from Swift, and imposing major restrictions on Russia's central bank.

    The R central bank has $640b in foreign exchange reserves, much held at various western central banks. But some is in Russia and in China (also not expected to be frozen). So they have about $240b in available reserves. The war costs an estimated $20b per day. This could cause bank runs, tank the Ruble, and cause panic among Russian businesses. 

    The US has previously imposed sanctions on the central banks of Iran, N Korea, and Venezuela.

    S&P lowered Russia's rating to junk (high borrowing rate), and Fitch lowered Ukraine's, and Moody's might do both.

    Russia produces 10m barrels per day of oil. Because Europe and other countries are dependent so heavily on Russian oil and gas, the reaction was slower to their invasion than might otherwise have been the case.

    Germany specifically. While 2022 was set to be the date for the shutting down of all nuclear power in Germany (it's down to 3 plants now and they're planned to shut this year), a plan started 20 years ago and fortified by sentiment after Fukushima in 2011. Also all of Europe has been reducing coal energy and other types like that, focusing on clean energy, but it hasn't happened very fast so they still depend heavily on Russian gas. That effects BP and Total Energy are exposed to Russian energy. BP owns almost 20% of Rosneft, an investment that sent $2.4b profits last year for BP.

    Increases in fertilizer prices, a secondary effect of sanctions of Russian gas exports, will push food prices up everywhere.

    Russia and Ukraine together make up about 1/3 of grain production in the world. Potatoes, sugar beets, sunflower oil also. Food factories are shutting down plants in Ukraine temporarily. There could be food shortages, potentially. Food shortages, which could affect Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia, could lead to political consequences like uprisings.

    Aluminum, dependent on electricity, 14% of world production in Russia (excluding China).

    Metal producers are cutting their output after natural gas prices shot up like 30%.

    Nickel (batteries), lots is produced in Russia. Palladium (catalytic converters, electrodes and electronics ie auto manufacturing countries like China and North America) too. Platinum (catalytic converters, lab equipment, electrical contacts and jewelry). C4F6 and Neon (semiconductors) are produced by both countries.

    Ukraine is a big producer of titanium (aircraft manufacturing, jewelry, phones, surgical tools).

    US started cutting banking exposure to Russia in 2014 (Crimean conflict), but Austria's Faiffeisen makes 1/3 of their profits in Russia, and some other European banks are also highly involved in Russia.

    UK airlines can't use Russian airspace right now to fly to China. Expected to be all of Europe soon.

      
  • Putin invaded Ukraine Feb 22, 2022

    The first time there's been war in Europe for a while. It's a controlled, limited invasion so far. Deaths are being counted in small numbers.

    Before invading, Putin placed 150k soldiers all around Ukraine and put his ships in the sea southeast of Ukraine.

    Ukrainians started fleeing to Poland and other neighboring countries. Ukraine passed a law forbidding men from leaving the country. News images of crying families.

    Russian tanks and weapons surrounded Kiev.

    Feb 27, Germany passes legislation which it would have been unthinkable it could/would pass before. It will build up its military and take moves to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.

    The German chancellor in a speech said that 'permanent security in Europe is not possible with Russia there,' and ' we find our self in a new age' and that people in Ukraine are fighting 'not just for their homeland but for liberty and democracy, for values that we share with them.'

    The German government will now commit $100b Euros more to buy military stuff. US and some other allies have for years been pushing Germany to spend more than 2% on defense, and this it the first time Germany is going to do that. The idea up until now was that Germany, after WWII, should never again wield military might because of the terrible suffering caused during that war.

    Some commenters say that the resistance Russia faced in trying to take Kharkhiv may have been a surprise for Russia, since there are strong Russian ties there (and one might assume it would be easier to take than other parts of Ukraine).

    Zelenskyy said "That night was hard. What did they do? This is revenge. The people rose to defend their State. They, the Russian army, showed their real face. This is terror. They are going to bomb our Ukrainian cities even more. They are going to kill our children even more in cities."

    Russia is basically just attacking military targets (it said it's hit almost 600 of its targets), such as energy sources, but some have landed in ways that have killed and maimed bystanders.

    Zelenskyy basically accused Belarus of being complicit, helping Russian forces enter from the northern border.

    There's a question about where the two leaders could meet to discuss end to the war. Ukraine rejected Belarus, but suggested Poland. Russia hasn't commented on that yet.

    There's a question about whether Putin calculated well. The clear weapon and military superiority it has over Ukraine allowed it to invade, and use air and ballistic power with effect, but troops walking across Ukraine, actual actions / occupation, it isn't clear Russia will be able to. Also there's a question about how popular this action really is even in Russia. How many fallen Russian soldiers will the country take?

    Klaus Wittmann said he expected a prolonged, underground war, house to house, street to street, where you don't know where snipers or anti-tank attacks might come from. Probably much higher motivation on the side of the defenders. He referred to the Chechen War.

    Russian oligarchs lost around $126b in their value ($40b was the day of the invasion), it was reported.

    Protests have taken place in various places around the world in support of Ukraine. 20-30k estimated participation (but they way the reported said that might make you doubt there was that many really) of one in Berlin, bigger than ones the previous days. It is considered not just a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but an international conflict. Reportedly, they support supplying Ukraine with weapons.

    Feb 22, 2014 was the day Yanukovich fled Ukraine for Eastern Ukraine (and after that to Russia), and the protesters were said to be in control of Kiev. The Ukrainian parliament voted to impeach Yanukovich and scheduled new presidential elections.




      
  • Feb, 2022
  • Feb 01, 2022
  • Lots of US headlines about Russia's possible invasion of Ukraine

  • World population might peak by mid-century and return to around current size by 2100 - Dr Darrell Bricker

    He guesses 2040's will be the beginning of population decline, with the last of the boomers. 2030's will be a largescale retirement.

    We thought the pandemic would lead to a baby boom. Instead, fertility rates depressed. Counties that depend on migration for population also have growth disrupted as travel was more difficult.

    China, the world's largest country with 1.4b people, is projected to lose almost half its population size this century. India, which has 1.4 also, will lose 290m in the century. USA with 330m will rise about 11m.

    Urbanization has a major affect on fertility, and therefore on population. On the farm children are extra hands; in the city they're more expense. We'll have an older, less fertile population.

    Almost 60% of people live in cities, and that will be around 70% by 2050. This will be moreso in Asia and Africa (China will be 80% urban, it's presumed; Japan is currently 92% urban and might go to 95%). Less in North America and Europe (already quite urbanized).

    The changing role of women is a major factor. Women are the majority of university students in the first world (most countries), and so delay marriage or children till their late 20s or early 30s. It's said that the best thing to look at to guess a country's fertility rate, it's the education rate of women.

    Societies don't value large families nowadays either.

    The fertility rate in 1960 was 5.2, and it's 2.3 or 2.4 now. Expected to be 2.2 in 2050. Japan is 1.4 right now. Russia about the same. Deaths per year in Russia outnumber births by about 1m. Russia has a median age of 40 currently, and Japan 48. USA is 38, a year less than China's 39. African countries are younger, although their growth is also slowing (but much less than elsewhere).

    In the modern era, no country that has fallen below population replacement fertility of 2.1 has been able to get back above it.

    To put the US in context, though, compared with Russia and Japan, you have to consider that if the US didn't have largescale immigration, it would not be growing either. Note that US is still by far considered the most desirable country to relocate to, and is the population with the most immigrants.

    An older population is also more female (since males are more likely to die of just about every cause of death except for things men can't die from because they don't have the body parts). Over the age of 40, there are less men and more women. At age 100 it's 5 to 1.

    There might be a population bust by 2050. Less consumption (neither older people nor robots buy as much as younger). Less innovation (it is guessed).

    In the US and Canada, the most common household is a person living by themself. At the start and at the end of their adult life.

    Female cosmetic surgery, supporting money, transportation from countryside. Reduced pressures. More things for families. Robots as consumers.

     
  • Jan, 2022
  • Jan 13, 2022
  • 'When a member of [US] Congress goes to Taiwan and declares that she is now in the Republic of Taiwan, that's terribly provocative"

    ... and who ends up getting hurt in that situation? It's the people of Taiwan. If there is ever a military conflict there, even if it's turned back, thousands of people in Taiwan will die. And members of Congress ought to be aware of that simple truth. - Joseph Fewsmith

  • Jan, 2022
  • Jan 03, 2022
  • Myanmar coup fighting continues

    Reports have it that the military who took power by force are not doing so well to consolidate power. Fighting continues. Defections continue into the People's Defense Forces. Becoming something of a civil war.

    Possible US tactics, they're currently coming up with a plan at Congress: Squeeze oil and gas revenues (which go to military). Possibly, US could accuse them of genocide (Ryohinga also a possibility), although the military is killing all groups including their own.

    People already people suffering from lack of food, etc., but the strategy of resistance is to sort of destroy the economy and accept what comes along with it, to squeeze the military government in power.
     
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 29, 2021

  • DoD fails another audit

    Fourth in a row I think. But it's 'getting closer.' Current budget is $724b. It doesn't track well it's spending at an enterprise (overall) level.

    This is up since the 80s, but as a percentage of GDP it is lower than the 80s. It's currently between 3 and 4% of GDP (was about 5%).

    Some (?) is debt-financed. Some is misallocated.

     
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 28, 2021
  • Omer Barlev, Israel's minister of public security, says he fears Israeli threats

    ... and is receiving 24/7 protection.

    He spoke against settler violence by Israelis, and received threats. He blamed another political party for making him the enemy of settlers.

     
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 10, 2021
  • US companies, mandated by Biden to impose vaccines on employees, give employees 2 forms

    ... one they sign to say they will get vaccinated, and another to say that if the vaccine causes a negative reaction the won't sue the company.
     

  • 92% of Americans have immunity now

    ... either from natural or vaccine antibodies.
  • Brazil health ministry loses all vaccination data

    ... in a 'hack' which many consider likely an inside job by the government, since Bolsonaro doesn't want vaccine passports.

     
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 07, 2021
  • "So many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control. It's completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers. If people don't have more children, civilization is going to crumble. Mark my words" - Elon Musk

     
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 06, 2021
  • US won't send officials (diplomats) to Beijing Olympics

    ... because, it says, of China's genocide (Uighurs not Tibetans), crimes against humanity, and other human rights abuses.

    Support came from both sides of the Congressional isle.

    US Athletes are still going.

    In 1980, US officials AND athletes weren't allowed to go to the Moscow Summer Games, due to, the US said, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Russia refused to come to the Summer Games in the US in 1984.

     
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 05, 2021
  • 'Transnational repression'

    'You are not allowed to be a popular person who is not working for them. Either you are their friend or you are their enemy, and that's it. You are their enemy because you tell what they don't want to be told.' - the guy they made Hotel Rwanda about, now a political activist outside of Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina.

    Rwanda got him. He was living as a legal resident in Texas, and tried to fly to Burundi through Dubai for something. He boarded a private plane in Dubai but it took him instead to Rwanda. (Admitted by Rwanda's justice minister) the Rwandan government paid for that plane. He was charged with terrorism and other crimes. However, from reports I saw he might have actually been funding and founding groups politically active in Rwanda. I can't comment on whether you would want to call them 'terrorist.'

    One of his daughters also was a target. Reportedly, the government hacked her phone and used it to listen in on her life, including meetings with lawyers.

    Transnational repression is the word people are using for part of this. Where governments use threats, intimidation, violence, assassination and murder to silence critics even when they're not in the country. Freedom House documents this.

    Some lawyers say he was kidnapped (by means of his illegal rendition to Rwanda). The government did not present a formal request for rendition, because, some lawyers say, this would have never passed a judge's test, and this is why they didn't do it legally (due process).

    His family is suing the private airline.

     
  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 24, 2021
  • USA added to 'backsliding democracies' list of IDEA think tank

    ... who says a visible deterioration began in 2019, and that an important point was when Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results (when he lost).

    The list is based of 50 years of democratic indicators in 150 countries.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 19, 2021
  • Israel's bombing of Gaza media tower further called into question

    On May 15, Israel bombed the Al Jalaa Tower (media tower) in Gaza which housed international media outlets (including AJ, AP, and Middle East Eye).

    To justify doing so to the US, Israel (internal intelligence agency) gave the US a file on the situation. The US wasn't satisfied and asked for further info on how the building was linked to Hamas etc. Israel handed the US a second report that closed the gaps " " of the first file.

    However, now Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported that the file was 'retroactively edited.' An allegation in this is that Israel did know there was media organizations in the building although they claimed they didn't, or something like that.

     
  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 15, 2021
  • Delhi air pollution very high, and the city commands some work from home

    Schools go back online, construction work banned, government offices go remote.

    The air is toxic there most of the year (air quality around 500), and when temps dip like now it's worse. Farm fires in neighboring states has increased recently.

     
  • Xi extended his rule 5 more years

    Was due to end his term.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 13, 2021
  • Mysterious blasts in China?

    WION reported that there have been 10 high-intensity blasts in 7 days across China. No real info from China on the blasts.


    Why is China not talking about the mysterious blasts?
  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 07, 2021
  • Reportedly, Iraq PM subject of attempted assassination

    By drone attack / 'cowardly rocket'. In the Green Zone.

    No one claimed responsibility, but militants are one of the main suspects.

     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 22, 2021
  • "For Chile's largest indigenous group, the Mapuches, this is the latest chapter in a 500 year conflict for control of their ancestral land.

    "In the late 1800's, the Chilean state took away most of it and gave it to Chilean and European farmers, plunging the Mapuche's into poverty until this day. Now younger, more radical Mapuche's are taking up arms to expel forestry companies and large land owners.

    "Highways are no longer safe. Countless agricultural equipment has been destroyed. While Mapuche communities take over land.

    "A Chilean farmer was the latest to die after his house was set ablaze by an armed group."

    This was how AJ reported it.

    Chile has declared a state of emergency.
     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 13, 2021
  • China making more moves toward unification with Taiwan

    Last week China flew a bunch of war jets over Taiwan.

    Xi made new comments China would unify with Taiwan, the day before Taiwan's national day. In the past, Xi has threatened he might take Taiwan by force, but the recent statements were considered to be much softer than that.

    One way to view Taiwan is as another province like those that have already been returned to China (Hong Kong and Macao in the 90s). A breakaway province.

     
  • French forces prepare to close bases in Mali


  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 30, 2021
  • "Possibly the single greatest risk to human civilization is the rapidly diminishing growth rate. And the facts are out there for anyone to look at. But a lot of people are still stuck with Paul Illick's book Population Bomb, and it's like, uh, that was a long time ago. That is not the case today. And there was a massive notch in demographics last year because the growth rate plummeted, and also this year." - Elon Musk at CodeCon 2021 (September)

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 20, 2021
  • US deporting the 10k Haitian immigrants in Texas

    ... on direct flights to Port au Prince. The task of rounding them up is with the border patrol in large part. Photos of them on horseback with some kind of whip have been viral images.

    "We do not know who are the smugglers or who are the migrants," said the Border Patrol Chief.

    The government is deporting 'single adults' while allowing families and children to stay for their trials.

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 17, 2021
  • 13k Haitian migrants cross border into small town in Texas

    A few more thousand might still arrive. The town has only about 3x that many people itself. They're cooking food to feed the large group (mostly Haitians). They're living under a bridge. Looked like it was mostly black men, but there were a few black women and little children in there. It seems reporters were not allowed near them.

    Haiti is in a significant crisis right now (still).

    Losers from the we win while you lose strategy?

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 13, 2021
  • Some say US is behind Guinea coup

    ... because Green Berets have been in Guinea since mid-July training a group of 100 Guineans in a special forces unit led by Colonel Doumbouya, a Guinean and French citizen who'd served in the Foreign Legion. Doumbouya is currently the leader of Guinea.

    The US gov initially downplayed involvement but after a phone vidoe came out on Social the US confirmed some parts but denied it implied support for the coup.

    There have been about 80 successful coups in sub-Saharan Africa in the past 40 years, some say.


    A tweet by someone:


     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 11, 2021
  • Lavrov on US adventures over the past 20 years

    "We have seen it in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. ... Nothing good came out of the four military campaigns I mentioned. ... There has been a surge in terrorism, an unprecedented growth in drug trafficking. Illegal immigrants have been flooding Europe since NATO bombed the Libyan state to dust. ..."

  • Typical Afghanistan news on YT, Sept 11, 2021

    There's a lot of news on the US (and allies) in Afghanistan right now. I think maybe people almost forgot about Afghanistan, they got so used to it, but now with the sudden moves what is left is quite impressive. It's the 20-year anniversary of the World Trade Center event, which many people do not believe the official story. Documents are reported to be soon declassified by Biden.

    Image shows a news story about a base left by the US, and the comments show the general feeling on the events now.




     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 10, 2021
  • Mike Wallace (MEP from Ireland) on Afghanistan, Sept 1 2021 in the European Parliament

    "Do you think we can learn the lessons without telling the truth about the last 20 years? The last 20 year war in Afghanistan is a lie. The Americans lied to their people. The Americans spent over $2.2t dollars, and over $2t of it went to private contractors. They used the war as a way of funneling US taxpayers money to private entities.

    "What did the EU do with our money? Where did it go? How much did the EU spend in Afghanistan in the 20 years? Apart from enriching the families connected to the government, wh