Thursday, September 22, 2022

Defensible Positions

Anticipating Attacks,

  Russia has announced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists, who already have a military specialty, from prior training and service. They will receive further training, and many will not be in combat duty, based on their specialties. This is apparently for next spring, and it is explicitly a preparation for major attacks by NATO forces, or Ukrainian forces with extensive foreign augmentation and supply.
  The timing of this announcement, coupled with the referenda in Novorussian areas, including Donetsk and Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson, indicates a sense of urgency, likely the expectation of some sort of fall offensive. (The Ukrainian forces don't seem to have much more fall offensive left in them, so perhaps some western hybrid-war-false-flag-psy-op?)
  The effect of recognizing all of these regions as "Russia" after referenda declaring that to be the will and determination of their citizens, will be to place the tripwire for "attacking Russian soil" at their new borders with Ukraine, upping the ante for the west. The west has been careful to let Ukrainians do the dying, while arming and paying them. Other effects will include the Donetsk and Lugansk militias becoming Russian regular-army forces, with full benefits, and the removal of any question of negotiation of these territories back to "Ukraine". Interestingly, Poland is making noises about holding a referendum in the Galician area of Ukraine, Western Ukraine, previously "Poland".
  Andrei at the Vineyard of the Saker evaluates speeches by Putin and Minister of Defense, Shoigu, while pointing out that Russia can mobilize up to 25 million men for the army, making this a 1.2% mobilization. He gives a lot of other implications, also. The main one is that Russian military advances have been so conservative, that public opinion is now impatiently clamoring for more, and is consolidated behind this effort to defend Russia from a concerted attack by the US/NATO, the "west".

  Sergey Lavrov gave an interview to Newsweek. I excerpted this from the transcript. It is worth a full read.
Sergey Lavrov: ​ ​Unfortunately, the global situation continues to degrade. The main cause, and I have had to speak about it repeatedly, is the persistent desire of the West led by the United States to ensure its global dominance, though it is impossible for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, Washington and its satellites do everything to slow down the process of democratization of international relations. They want to replace the UN-centred architecture formed in the wake of World War II and international law with some “rules-based order”. Acting in the worst colonial traditions, they divide the world into “democracies” and “authoritarian regimes”. They try to “press on” those who do not agree with this course, who pursue an independent policy and are guided by national interests, using unilateral sanctions, blackmail and blatant power play.
​  ​Today, Western states funnel weapons and military hardware into the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev, and train Ukraine’s armed forces. NATO, U.S. arms are used to fire at the Russian territory bordering Ukraine, killing civilians there. The Pentagon does not hide the fact of passing on to Kiev intelligence and target designations for strikes. We record the presence of American mercenaries and advisers “in the battlefield”. The United States, in fact, is teetering on the brink of turning into a party to conflict. This is to your question about the risk of a direct collision between nuclear powers.
​  ​Unfortunately, Washington seems to be still living in the day before yesterday, thinking in terms of unipolarity. They cannot accept the fact that the modern world is no longer West-centred. And it will never be again. Today, strong, independent players from developing countries have emerged and they are increasingly visible. These states and their integration associations do not want to participate in the anti-Russian “crusade” instigated from Washington.

​  I watched the video, with English subtitles, of Putin's announcement speech, which is here. (He shows determination, and his right hand sometimes shows a little irritation , as well as decisively punctuating his comments. He mostly keeps "tells" like this under strict control, as usual.) ​ An excerpt:
​  ​There were over 7.5 million people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions before the outbreak of hostilities. Many of them were forced to become refugees and leave their homes. Those who have stayed – they number about five million – are now exposed to artillery and missile attacks launched by the neo-Nazi militants, who fire at hospitals and schools and stage terrorist attacks against peaceful civilians.
​  ​We cannot, we have no moral right to let our kin and kith be torn to pieces by butchers; we cannot but respond to their sincere striving to decide their destiny on their own.
​  ​The parliaments of the Donbass people’s republics and the military-civilian administrations of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions have adopted decisions to hold referend​a​ on the future of their territories and have appealed to Russia to support this.
​  ​I would like to emphasise that we will do everything necessary to create safe conditions for these referend​a​ so that people can express their will. And we will support the choice of future made by the majority of people in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
​  ​Friends,
​  ​Today our armed forces, as I have mentioned, are fighting on the line of contact that is over 1,000 kilometres long, fighting not only against neo-Nazi units but actually the entire military machine of the collective West.
​  ​In this situation, I consider it necessary to take the following decision, which is fully adequate to the threats we are facing. More precisely, I find it necessary to support the proposal of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff on partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation to defend our Motherland and its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories.
​  ​As I have said, we are talking about partial mobilisation. In other words, only military reservists, primarily those who served in the armed forces and have specific military occupational specialties and corresponding experience, will be called up.

​  Moon of Alabama has more perspective on Putin and Shoigu speeches:
​  Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said (video, Sputnik report) that 300,000 reservist will be mobilized. Conscripts and people currently studying will not be send to Ukraine.
  He also said that, so far, 5,937 Russian soldiers have died during the war in Ukraine. (This number does not include the militia of the DPR and LPR, or the Wagner group, who have done most of the frontline work and thus have had higher losses.) Shoigu puts Ukrainian losses at some 62,000 killed and some 50,000 wounded. (I regard this as a low estimate.)
 Russia's total military reserve, people who have previously gone through military training, is 25 million. It also has the equipment to arm those forces.
  There are rumors that the Ukraine is preparing for an all out offensive, mobilizing and preparing new units from Kiev and further west for one big push against the Russian and allied forces. It will take a few months to prepare for this. The Ukraine will need much more equipment and ammunition from the 'west', including 'western' tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, and has yet to train troops to be able to use it. It is likely intending to start the offensive only in spring.
  The call up Russia announced now may have the intent to draw Kiev into a premature launch of its general offensive. The mobilized Russian troops will take about three months to be ready for war. Russia could thus launch its own offensive during the winter season. In the meantime constant defensive work will continue to severely degrade the Ukrainian units which are currently on or near the frontlines.
  With a force of an additional 300,000 troops, far beyond the 100,000 to 150,000 engaged now in the war, the Russia forces could change their tactics from the slow grind that is happening now into a larger scale maneuver war with heavy strikes into the operational depth of the Ukrainian army.
  Belarus, allied with the Russian Federation, is also in the process of getting ready for war. It could, as it had threatened before, cut of the supply lines from the 'west' into the Ukraine in the western part of that country.
  Should current Ukrainian attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Russia and the Donbas regions continue, we can expect that the Russian forces will start to degrade Ukrainian infrastructure on a large scale. The electricity and railway networks would be the primary targets.
  Some two weeks ago a successful Ukrainian offensive led to the retreat of Russian troops in the Kharkov region. That at least is the 'western' version of that story. A different narrative is that the Russian troops intentionally withdrew from the region to raise Russian calls for an escalation of the war.  The Izium withdrawal was thus probably a mere catalyst for 'starting in earnest':
  The Russian public, which at first did not fully understand why the war was necessary, has since grown in its awareness. It now understands the big game that is played against its country. It may soon demand to adjust the level of resources put into the war to the one needed for a decisive victory. Polls will clarify if or when that point is reached.

  Novorussia is not Taiwan, but China cannot openly support a separatist referendum.
​  ​Various countries around the globe were quick to react (to Putin's speech), most especially China, which issued a statement within hours after the speech calling for "ceasefire through dialogue". China has throughout the war defended in various statements Russia's 'legitimate' security concerns about NATO expansion while continuing to tout close, positive ties with Moscow.
​  ​But this is perhaps the first time Beijing has so clearly and publicly pushed for a ceasefire after such a key Moscow announcement, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin calling for "a cease-fire through negotiations and solutions that answer all parties’ security concerns," according to state-run Global Times.

​  ​Ukraine vows to solve 'Russian question' by force
Ukraine has dismissed upcoming referendums on the Donbass republics joining Russia as “manipulation” and “fear of defeat”

  ​It was up to 12 years in prison. This is a reduced penalty. (The plural of "referendum" is "referenda".):​
Ukraine Threatens 5-Year Prison Sentence For Anyone Voting In "Sham Referendums"

  ​Bhadrakumar at Indian Punchline has a detailed and nuanced read of Indian PM, Modi's statements and actions at the recent Samarkand summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization​ heads-of-state. He is critical, because Modi made little in the way of commitments, while pursuing fairly narrow nationalist policy goals.
​  ​Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Samarkand on September 16 after the SCO Summit turned into a media scandal. The Western media zeroed in on six words culled out of context in the PM’s opening remarks — “today’s era is not of war” —  to triumphantly proclaim that India is finally distancing itself from Russia on Ukraine issue, as the US and European leaders have been incessantly demanding.
​  ​Of course, this motivated interpretation lacks empirical evidence and is, therefore, malicious. Besides, Modi also spoke with a rare interplay of emotions by underscoring the quintessence of the Indian-Russian relationship, as well as his two decade-long association with Putin.​..

​  Modi is doing a lot for post-colonial India, though...​ ("Petro-Rupee"?)
​  India and Saudi Arabia are negotiating the “feasibility” of carrying out bilateral trade in national currencies, a statement from the Indian Commerce Ministry said.
​  ​Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal concluded his two-day visit to Riyadh, where he co-chaired a ministerial meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council.
​  ​The meeting was headed by Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud.
​  ​The Indian statement said the two ministers also discussed the introduction of Indian online payment systems such as UPI (Unified Payments Interface) in the Saudi market. They also discussed working out a way to introduce the New Delhi-backed Rupay card, an alternative to Mastercard and Visa, in the Saudi market.

​  Starve Africans into submission?  Think that will work this time?   What's "Plan-B"?   Oh ... 
The real US agenda in Africa is hegemony​   ​,  ​ Pepe Escobar  
 ​Forget development. Washington’s primary interest in Africa today is keeping the Chinese and Russians out.
​  ​In a rational environment, the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) would discuss alleviating the trials and tribulations of the Global South, especially Africa.
  T​hat won’t be the case.

​  Fed 0.75% rate hike purpose: Elimination of "discretionary spending". Soak those beans now so you won't need to open another can tonight.
​  ​The Fed chair is trying to manage the economic policy transition by reducing economic activity to match intentionally diminished energy supplies.  Lowering economic activity drops demand for energy. Unfortunately, as admitted by Powell on August 26, 2022, in Jackson Hole, this means a period of “some pain” for Americans as the central banks join together in an effort to lower consumption.
​  ​What does “some pain” mean?  It means lower incomes, higher prices, lowered standards of living and more scarce resources.   During this transition to owning nothing and being happy about it, the pain is your wealth being stripped as the economy is intentionally diminished.

​  Yanis Varoufakis has more on that, without the cost-of-energy analysis, just monetary analysis:​
​  ​Inflation today is not the same beast the West faced in the 1970s and early 1980s. This time around, it threatens labor, capital, and governments in ways that it could not 50 years ago. Back then, labor was organized enough to demand wage increases that averted a cost-of-living crisis, and neither states nor private corporations relied on free money to keep going. Today, there is no optimal interest rate that will restore the balance between money demand and money supply that does not trigger a massive wave of private and public bankruptcy.​..​
​..​The US government faces the impossible dilemma of curbing domestic inflation and forcing Corporate America and many friendly governments into a solvency crisis that will threaten America’s own stability. Things are far worse in the eurozone, where policymakers refused to do the obvious once Europe’s banks had failed after 2008: establish a proper federation’s foundation – a fiscal union. Instead, they let the European Central Bank do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. Only by poisoning its own money could the ECB keep the euro show on the road.​..
​..​Socialism for bankers and austerity for most of the rest thwarted capitalism’s dynamism, plunging it into a state of gilded stagnation. Poisoned money flowed in torrents, but not into serious investments, good jobs, or anything capable of reanimating capitalism’s lost animal spirits.

​  John Michel Greer, "The Archdruid" gives the cost-of-energy analysis on wind, solar and nuclear, finding that none of them has ever had enough (if any) excess-energy, after all input energy costs are calculated, to run a society, and none could actually be maintained without massive use of fossil fuels to sustain the advanced economic system that can employ them. Nuclear cleanup will not be possible after economic collapse, as there will be no specialists, technology or resources to do so.​  Thanks Michael R.

  Not even profitable with very high electricity rates: France Prepares To Nationalize Its Struggling Nuclear Industry

  Serbia has a special place in modern European history:
The President of Serbia has warned that the planet is entering into a “great world conflict” that could take place within the next two months.
​  ​Aleksandar Vucic made the alarming comments during the first day of the UN General Assembly session in New York.
​  ​“You see a crisis in every part of the world,” Vucic told the Serbian state broadcaster RTS.
​  ​“I think realistic predictions ought to be even darker,” he added. “Our position is even worse, since the UN has been weakened and the great powers have taken over and practically destroyed the UN order over the past several decades.”
The Serbian leader cautioned that the war between Russia and Ukraine had moved on to a far deadlier phase.
​  ​“I assume that we’re leaving the phase of the special military operation and approaching a major armed conflict, and now the question becomes where is the line, and whether after a certain time – maybe a month or two, even – we will enter a great world conflict not seen since the Second World War,” he said.

​  NO winners, Mr. Stoltenberg, none, anywhere ...​ A world of unfathomable loss and deprivation
​  ​NATO has told Moscow very clearly that Russia cannot win a nuclear war and has been amassing troops on its eastern border to “remove any room for miscalculation or misunderstanding,” the secretary general of the US-led bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, told Reuters on Wednesday...
..Asked what NATO would do in the event that Russia used atomic weapons, however, Stoltenberg said it “depends” on the circumstances, but that the bloc was very clear in their communications with Moscow that “a nuclear war cannot be won by Russia.”

​  About this weekend's rumored "special date and event":
​  In biblical times, the laws of the sabbatical year and the jubilee were created. In the sabbatical (seventh) year there was to be a remission of debts and in the jubilee (50th) year, land, which had been sold to pay of debts, was to be returned to its original owners, and slaves were to be freed. There may be academic debate about the degree to which the sabbatical year and jubilee were a regular part of life in ancient times, but there is no doubting the principles that underpin them. That is, people find themselves in debt for various reasons, often no fault of their own, and it is the duty of an ethical society to ensure that these people are not permanent social outcasts. (or slaves and sex-slaves,as was more commonly their fate)

  UK population data has shown "negative efficacy" of COVID "vaccination" 5-6 months after series-completion, since at least June 20211.
Japanese Study Finds In-Vitro Evidence of Antibody Dependent Enhancement of SARS-2 Infection by Moderna mRNA Vaccines
The study also finds evidence of ADE by the REGEN-COV/Ronapreve monoclonal antibodies

​  (Finally released) UK data shows higher all-cause-mortality with COVID "vaccinations", with multiple modes of injury apparent.
​  ​It is not precisely known how the vaccine contributes to death in the absence of SARS-CoV-2. A recent paper on 4 deaths (3 sudden deaths at 1, 2, and 3 days and 1 at 10 days post vaccination) involving cytokine storm [Murata K et al., Frontiers in Immunology, 15 August 2022] indicates the KEGG pathways upregulated in blood involved neutrophil degranulation, upregulated cytokine signaling, glycolysis, NFKB1 signaling, FC gamma mediated phagocytosis, myeloid cell activation, and tuberculosis when compared to accidental or homicidal deaths of those who had been vaccinated. Moreover, 6 differentially expressed upregulated genes were FCGR2A (commonly implicated in ADE), S100A8, OLR1, CXCL8, CEBPB, and IGFBP2 which further implied the M1-like lipid body negative, pro-inflammatory foamy macrophages (LB-FMs) in the dysfunction which led to sudden death. Table 9 from the July 6 2022 ONS report shows while most non-COVID-19 deaths occurred at 12 weeks or later, a significant number occurred at 1 week which doubled by 4 weeks.

Not Quite Ready​ (pictured at dawn with the not-yet-mended water tank)​ 

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