Monday, July 3, 2023

Coming Unglued

 Economic  Participants,

  I may try to say too much again, but it is basically an update of the same thing, which is that the turmoil in our world is reflecting a decline in the resources which support our life support system, which we call "economy". Our globalized economy is based on energy, cheap energy, as the core resource which allows food to be grown with tractors, harvesters, irrigation, fertilizers and pesticides, which can really grow a whole lot of food, while optimum conditions persist, and nothing runs out.
  Henry Kissinger, in the Nixon years, set American agricultural policy to outproduce and undersell the other farmers in the world, to make the world rely on American farming to survive. Likewise, the American gold ran out, but the dollar was ingeniously supportd by King Faisal's oil, which one could only buy with dollars. The US military stepped in later to "support" the dollar by destroying countries like Iraq and Libya which were either selling oil for not-dollars, or taking other steps to unseat the dollar, like making a gold-based African Dinar.
  This $US global hegemony has run out of steam, and it will cease to be the only-game-in-town soon. That is already being eroded, and this is likely to be the summer that a lot of movement in that direction becomes apparent to everybody, for multiple reasons, and as a rapid decline of the military and financial system.

  Gail Tverberg sees what I see, that global oil production peaked in 2018, is declining, and this shocks the global economy, which is predicated upon growth. It is malfunctioning in a lot of ways. She sees this as being the beginning of a rapid and terminal decline, which is what happens to human economies when they exhaust their fundamental resources. Thanks Red.
The World Economy Is Becoming Unglued; Models Miss Real-World Behavior
​  ​Today’s fossil fuel-based world economy started growing at varying times, in various places around the world, becoming well established by the early 1800s. It seems to have hit a Stagflation Period between 1970 and 1980. Recent patterns in oil supply per capita, interest rates, and debt levels suggest to me that the world economy has entered the Crisis Period of the current cycle.
​  ​To me, oil supply, particularly crude oil supply, is exceptionally important in keeping the economy growing because it is heavily used in producing the food supply and transporting it to market. In fact, it is heavily used in transportation of all kinds. We can see what is going wrong by looking at the trend in crude oil per capita (blue line on Figure 2).

On Figure 2, a line is drawn at 2005, when many people believe that peak “conventional” oil was reached. The line at 2009 points out the long-term slide in oil consumption per capita between 2005 and 2009, related at least in part to the Great Recession of 2008-2009. There was another steep drop in crude oil per capita in 2020, and this drop has not been made up. Cutbacks in drilling and low oil prices suggest that per capita consumption may never recover to the 2018 level.

​  Simplicus looks at the Ukraine War as the NATO summit of July 11 - 12 approaches and Ukraine has no battlefield victories to announce (yet)​
​  ​Well, there’s been a bit of a lull like a post-manic-high comedown after the events of Prigozhin’s Revolt. Partly, it’s owed to what Western press is claiming to be bad weather on the frontlines this week, which has hampered further Ukrainian attempts to make renewed advances. They’ve made them in spurts which have been mostly rebuffed with large losses, as usual...
​..​Right now, the stage we’re at is the dawning of the harsh realities on Western publics and their administrators. They have already begun to see the futility of Ukraine’s attempt to win back territory and likewise, they see the growing threat of a major nuclear catastrophe...
..But recall, there are two opposing camps in the West—the hardliners and the ‘sane’ crowd. The hardliners will continue pushing for escalation because their masters at the top of the elite pyramid will never allow Russia to secure any type of decisive victory, no matter how many people die, because for them it is existential. With Russia’s victory will come the eventual collapse of the entire Western order, which means the hundreds of years old banking cabal that has ruled the globe with an iron fist. Those ancient families at the top cannot allow Russia to win...
..Unfortunately, for now, the hardliners, at least within Ukraine, are still pushing for total escalation. The Zaporozhye nuclear falseflag scenario is still rolling along, stronger than ever with a spate of new developments.

​One of the "sane crowd", mentioned above: ​Ex-US Presidential Candidate Gabbard Slams Biden for Nuclear Warmongering

​  ​T​he IMF accepted Argentina's payment in non-dollars.
  ​Argentina made a loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund worth the equivalent of $2.7 billion “without using dollars” on Friday, using Chinese yuan and special-drawing rights notes (the IMF reserve asset based on a basket of five currencies – the yuan, the euro, the dollar, the yen, and the pound) instead.

  Geopolitical Evolution: Russia's 'Rebellion' & A Return To Gold-Backed Currency
  The increasing number of nations seeking to join BRICS brings geopolitics into the spotlight. At the time of writing, existing members, those who have applied to join and those expressing an interest total 36 nations, with over 60% of the world’s population and one-third of global GDP.
  Plans for a new trade currency backed by gold appear to be on the agenda for the BRICS meeting in Johannesburg in August...
.Before we were distracted by the Wagner episode, there were putative signs that the US deep state was changing its view from the conflict being easily winnable with covert support and Putin vulnerable to being toppled. And therefore, the true objective, the dismemberment of Russia, is no more than a dream and the proxy war is becoming a long drawn out operation. There is now little doubt that as a front man Zelensky is unable to deliver the goods, and his supporters in the western alliance are faced with being committed to the long haul.
  The stakes for America are extremely high. Increasingly, neutral countries around the world are shifting their foreign policies on the evidence that America and her dollar are losing their hegemonic power. If America and NATO fail in Ukraine, it won’t just be thirty nations lining up to join BRICS: it will be the moment America’s political grip on the world is certainly lost. And then President Biden can kiss goodbye to his re-election chances next year.
  Equally, Putin will strive to make sure his counteroffensive succeeds, and that must be the short-term priority. The financial benefits for Russia, principally the consequences for energy and oil prices will flow from it.
  Russia is unlikely to immediately adopt a gold standard for the rouble when Ukraine falls because of the geopolitical consequences, not least for its partnership with China. It would undoubtedly hasten the fiat dollar’s destruction as a reserve currency, making financing of the US trade and budget deficits virtually impossible at current interest rates. While these outcomes would undoubtedly be helpful to Putin, it would amount to a major escalation of the financial war between Russia and the western alliance with unpredictable consequences. And it would be a change from Putin’s proven strategy of letting the western alliance make all the strategic errors without his intervention.

​  Former US Marine Scott Ritter's take on the Wagner episode is excerpted here:
​  When the events of June 23-24 unfolded before me, I was taken aback. An organization that I held in the highest esteem was engaged in an act of self-destruction before my very eyes, engaged in conduct—an armed insurrection against a constitutionally-mandated government—that any military professional imbued with a respect for the chain of command and the nation he or she served would find reprehensible. Like many others, I was compelled to reexamine my understanding of the Wagner Group, the people it employed, and its history in the service of Russia...
..Wagner’s origins date back to February 2014, following the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s constitutionally-elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, by Ukrainian nationalists backed by the United States and European Union. At that time, Crimea was part of Ukraine. Shortly after the Maidan revolution ousted Yanukovych, right-wing Ukrainian nationalists attempted to take control of Crimea, which had a majority ethnic-Russian population whose loyalties leaned decisively toward Moscow. The nationalists were confronted by so-called “self defense units” drawn from the local pro-Russian citizenry.
  But there were other actors on the ground as well. Concerned that the Ukrainian government would call out the Ukrainian army to intervene, the Russian government mobilized a force of several hundred “little green men,” consisting of elite Russian special forces who, because of constitutional limitations regarding the deployment of regular Russian army forces on the soil of a foreign nation, were “sheep dipped” (a US term made popular during the CIA’s covert war in Laos in the 1960’s and 70’s, where active duty US Air Force officers would be transferred to the CIA’s “Air America” proprietary company for operations inside Laos.).
​  ​The man put in charge of these “sheep dipped” special operators was Dmitry Utkin, a recently-retired Lieutenant Colonel who had previously commanded a Russian special forces (Spetznaz) unit affiliated with Russian Military Intelligence (GRU). Utkin and his “little green men” played a leading role in the Russian takeover of Crimea on February 26, 2014, four days after Yanukovych fled Ukraine. Following the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, Utkin’s “little green men” were dispatched to Lugansk, where they were tasked with providing training and assistance to the pro-Russian fighters that had taken up arms against the Ukrainian nationalists who had seized power in Kiev.​..
..In the interest of avoiding Russian-on-Russian bloodshed, Prigozhin accepted a compromise, brokered by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, that had he, Dmitry Utkin (the only senior Wagner commander to join him) and the 8,000 Wagner fighters who participated in the failed coup return to their camps in eastern Lugansk. There they would disarm, turning over their heavy weapons to the Russian military, before being sent off into exile in Belarus. For those Wagner fighters—some 17,000—who refused to participate in Prigozhin’s act of treachery, they, along with their commanders, were given the option to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense or go home. Prigozhin’s contracts were cancelled, and Wagner disbanded. Moreover, there would be no changes in the Russian Ministry of Defense—Shoigu and Gerasimov would remain in their respective positions.
​  ​Even had Prigozhin not betrayed Russia, the Wagner Group would have ceased to exist as Prigozhin’s private army. However, the Wagner Group’s honor would have remained intact. Prigozhin’s treachery guaranteed that Wagner will be forever tainted by the greed and naked ambition of its owner, a man who sought to exploit the goodwill of the Russian public that the fighters of Wagner had earned with their blood and sacrifice on battlefields in the Donbas, Syria, and Africa, all in a misguided effort to usurp a constitutionally-mandated government the people had themselves put in power.

​John Helmer has more. Thanks Christine:
The investigation of Utkin’s role in directing the mutiny and commanding the columns into Rostov and then  headed towards Moscow starts here.  Utkin’s role as the officer in charge when Russian army helicopter and surveillance aircraft were shot down by the Wagner forces has not yet surfaced in the Russian military media.​..​
​..​The latest report of June 30 indicates   that a new field camp has been created in Belarus for those Wagner soldiers who have signed Defense Ministry contracts. The camp is located near the village of Tsel, in the  Osipovichesky district of Belarus.  This is also the base location of a Belarusian regular army unit, the 465th Tactical Ballistic Missile Brigade where Russian Iskander missiles are also located with combined Belarusian and Russian security.
​  ​The photographs appear to show the Wagner unit is being accommodated in about 300 tents. The number of men now in this camp can be estimated at no more than 1,200.
​  ​A survey of six Russian military analysts in Moscow on what they understand about Utkin’s reputation at the Defense Ministry and General Staff resulted in unanimous refusal to respond.
​  Larry Johnson explains how the Wagner soldiers were attacked in Syria, at "The Battle of Conoco", when they assaulted oilfields held by Kurdic=sh forces working for the US, and Russian commanders, called by American commanders, said "they're not ours." This has been the stinging betrayal, though they were freelancing, not working on a Russian military assignment that day. Like these other writiers, Johnson takes recent events at face value.
​  American military officials repeatedly warned about the growing mass of troops. But Russian military officials said they had no control over the fighters assembling near the river — even though American surveillance equipment monitoring radio transmissions had revealed the ground force was speaking in Russian.
  The documents described the fighters as a “pro-regime force,” loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. It included some Syrian government soldiers and militias, but American military and intelligence officials have said a majority were private Russian paramilitary mercenaries — and most likely a part of the Wagner Group, a company often used by the Kremlin to carry out objectives that officials do not want to be connected to the Russian government.
  “The Russian high command in Syria assured us it was not their people,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senators in testimony last month. He said he directed Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “for the force, then, to be annihilated.”
  This is the origin of Prigozhin’s anger with the Russian Ministry of Defense. Prigozhin, going rogue as part of a scheme to make some big money not tied to Wagner’s contract with the Russian MOD, authorized the attack and got burned.
​  ​This apparently was one of the motives for Prigozhin’s eventual meeting with Ukrainian and Western intelligence officers in Africa, which led to his harebrained scheme to take out the Defense Minister Shoigu and Chief of Staff of the Russian military, Gerasimov.
​  ​Apart from Prigozhin the other guilty party in the failed mutiny is the GRU or, more specifically, those GRU officers responsible for managing the PMC. It is highly likely that Prigozhin may have bribed his GRU handlers with some of the cash he earned on the side in order to get them to look the other way and allow him to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. Those officers may be in more trouble than Prigozhin.
​  ​Wagner PMC is now consigned to history. It is kaput as a PMC.

​  Jacques Baud also takes a thoughtful and conventional read of "The Wagner Mutiy"​
​  ​Wagner is a private military and security company (PMSC), mainly active in Africa. Countries such as Mali and the Central African Republic have preferred this firm to the French army in the fight against rebel movements. Not that the French military were bad, but their strategy wasn’t exactly clear-cut, left little room for the decisions of African governments, and aroused the hostility of local populations. With “Wagner,” these countries are advised but can conduct their own strategy. The success of the Wagner men in Africa is of course roundly criticized in the French media, which accuse them of all kinds of crimes. So much so that in October 2021, on the French-language TV5 Monde channel, Sylvie Baïpo-Temon, Foreign Minister of the Central African Republic, responded to her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. She denounced his “unacceptable” and “misleading” remarks and refuted all his accusations “which do not represent what is happening in the Central African Republic.”
​  ​A UN employee I know (from a Baltic country), who was in contact with Wagner in the Central African Republic, told me that they were of a very high standard, far from what is portrayed in our media, and that they were appreciated by the population. In fact, not only has the Central African Parliament thanked “Wagner,” but the government has also erected a monument to them.

​  ​In Ukraine, PMSCs developed in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, with volunteer fighters coming to help the Donbass autonomists as early as 2014. Wagner is just one of them, but the most important. Since the beginning of the SMO, Evgueny Prigozhin had been seeking to commit his men alongside the Russian army.
​  ​At the end of October 2022, General Surovikin signed a six-month contract for Wagner to destroy the enemy in Bakhmut. The aim was not to seize the city, but to destroy the enemy there, in line with Surovikin’s strategy and the initial objective of “demilitarization” set out by Vladimir Putin on February 24, 2022. This was Operation MEAT GRINDER.​..
..At the end of April 2023, the six-month contract expired and the objective of destroying the enemy at Bakhmut was achieved. The Russian army therefore ceased its artillery and logistical support for Wagner’s troops, who were to be withdrawn and replaced by regular Russian troops.
​  ​The problem was that to destroy the Ukrainian forces, Wagner’s “musicians” had to take the town house-by-house. So, at the end of April, although Wagner had fulfilled its contract, a small part of the city remained under Ukrainian control. It was then that Prigozhin asked to be allowed to finish the job, reduce the last pockets of resistance, and take control of the whole city.
​  ​This explains the psychodrama of early May 2023, when Prigozhin demanded that he be given the means to continue taking Bakhmut. His very virulent and aggressive tone against Shoigu and Gerasimov made the Western media fantasize about internal division in the Russian camp and a possible “coup” against the Moscow “regime.”​...
..To counter this counter-offensive, the Russians needed fully integrated forces. This is why, on June 10, 2023, the Ministry of Defense decided to dismantle all private or semi-autonomous formations in order to integrate them into the Russian command & control structure...
..It was to protest against this decision to dismantle the Wagner force that Prigozhin wanted to meet Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defense, and Valeri Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff, “head-to-head” in Rostov-na-Donu. Since he couldn’t meet them in Rostov, Prigozhin decided, in a spectacular move, to go to Moscow to meet them. In fact, all things considered, this action was nothing more than that of employees angry at the general management’s decision to close down their company. It could be summed up as a protest against HR!​ ...
​..In the end, this situation was nothing more than that of a company director trying to save his business and doing so impulsively and thoughtlessly, with potentially dramatic consequences for combatants on both sides in Ukraine. This crisis demonstrates the inability of Westerners to think and act according to facts, rather than expectations. The Ukrainian people are beginning to understand this.

​  Those military analyses all take the "Wagner Mutiny"​ at face value, though Larry Johnson had previously considered it to be a head fake, as did many others, including myself. The public drama of Prigozhin on TV was just too excessive to be convincing, and suggested the development of a narative, which I thought might be used to flush out traitors in the Russian military and power structure. That has not been excluded from possibility, and it would be supported in the near future if Prigozhin is treated well, and Wagner significantly reconstitutes in Belarus, while continuing operations in Africa, without much change in ownership or leadership.

  Aaron Lee presents that view here:   Fake Coups, Real Purges , It's not Prigozhin vs Shoigu, it's Statists versus Fascists
​  ​Prigozhin is about as lucky as your typical Royal Cup Bearer. Those who mock him as “Putin's Chef” have no ability whatsoever to examine Putin's position from Putin's point of view. They cannot conceive how important food security is for the ruler of a country that specializes in poisoning powerful people. Did Prigozhin betray Putin? Unlikely. In a country where chain of command depends on personal power bases, even the food Putin eats needs to be under the control of someone unbribeable. The only caterer you can't bribe to poison the President is one that collects a billion dollars a year in catering contracts from the government already. You can't outbribe that.​..
​..Prigozhin isn't lucky. Lukashenko didn't lobby to save his life. This is political theater designed to root out disloyal cliques in the military. Prigozhin is a widely disliked half-Jew whose power base comes entirely from his closeness to Putin and his own personal ability to hustle. The notion that he was going to successfully seize power is utterly insane.​..
​..As a successful commander, it seems unlikely he completely lost his wits. Because that's the only explanation for the 'sincere mutiny' scenario. If it was a fake mutiny, then so much more makes sense. It then makes sense why he was allowed to mouth-off to the Russian MOD in Bakhmut. Stoking tensions between Wagner and the MOD created inter-agency tensions designed to generate a counter-revolutionary covert operation. It was one Putin loyalist (Prigozhin) versus another (Shoigu), in an attempt to see who might try to capitalize on the 'chaos.'​ ...
​..​(Putin)  acquired a team of subordinates who could never challenge his authority the same way a Russian, Christian Slav could. Hence, Shoigu, Prigozhin, Lukashenko, and Kadyrov. Shoigu is half-Tuvan and can never hope to lead racist Russia. Prigozhin's father was Jewish and leader of Putin's personal army. There's no way antisemitic Russia would accept him as their leader. Kadyrov is sick psycho (Mr “There are no gays in Chechnya.”)(Think about that statement a little harder)​ ​Chechen and leader of Putin's modern day Cossacks. Russians are terrified of them and would rather nuke Chechnya than be ruled by Chechens, and Lukashenko's power base is in Belarus alone. None of them threaten Putin's power base. But plenty in the Russian Ministry of Defense do.​..
​..​(General)​ Surovikin passed Putin's test, but many inside the Russian Ministry of Defense did not. Rumors of his arrest was used to confuse the actual conspirators. Did everybody forget that Russia purges? Did everybody forget that Putin is a master spy? Prigozhin was used by Putin as a rallying point for disloyal elements inside the Russian military. Actual coup plotters imagined that after Prigozhin had done the dirty work, they'd kill him and nobody would cry for the half-Jew ex-con. Utter miscalculation and failure to profile the opponent's power structure. Unknown forces have been trying to kill Shoigu for quite some time, which means that they are a clique not in Putin's control.
​  Which cliques are outside Putin's control? Oligarchs and the military. Hey, those are the two tastes that go great together. Your classic old-fashioned fascist team-up. Which Russians lost the most during the war? Other than the ones who died, probably the oligarchs.​... and hmm, isn't fascism the government in Ukraine? My my, the narrative has gotten confusing. The fact that there is no clean explanation for what has happened means that we can see the activity of several power cliques inside Russia.
​  ​Putin is far more patient than his military counterparts. And yet, Putin has won almost all of his engagements by preventing his opposition from escalating.​..Why escalate when Russia is winning? Escalation can get too out of control.​..
​..Putin's restraint is why Russia continues to expand its wealth and influence.​ ​He didn't blow Russia's first financial windfall on pensions. He cut them. His fiscal management has ensured that Russia is in a position to fight a prolonged high intensity war without any major loss of currency reserves. In the history of war, that has only happened a few other times and always on the winning side.​..
​..​If the Statists can hold power during war, then Russia's institutions might survive future coup attempts. More importantly, Russian factions seem to be checking each others' power. Stomping out a coup attempt is proof that the state is strong, not weak. And finding disloyal military officers is an ancient form of statesmanship that the Russians have never forgotten.

​More Aaron Lee: France: Is It Civil War, Invasion, Or Revolution?  (Will bankers and BlackRock have to pay those French pensions after this.)
​  “France will probably get a military government. France is particularly vulnerable to this, because the French have kept most of France's major institutions mostly ethnically French. What are they going to do? Let Muslims control their nuclear weapons? No way! So a coup it is then.” ...
​..​“Europe's future is fascist. Fascism is where socialist liberalism goes to die. Socialist-liberalism follows its delusions to crisis. Either they go extinct or they recover survival instinct.” Fascism is where Socialist-Liberalism goes to die, because Socialist-Liberalism's delusions bring it to crisis. France's Socialist Liberals believed that African and Muslim migrants would assimilate and become French. Instead, they imported the problems their refugees claimed to be fleeing from. They were fleeing from themselves.

France In Crisis For Fifth Night As Violence Spreads To Neighboring Countries​  
France to shut internet services to control riots

Hungary's Orban: 'Weak Nations Will Perish, Strong Will Survive'​ (Social stability, low debt, good farms and cheap oil and gas wold sure help.)

Musk's Tweet-Limiting Move Is To Prevent The Completion Of The "AI-Censorship-Death-Star"
No more freee data-scraping for your AI and censorship algorithms NSA, CIA,Google and China.

​There is more than one reason why more "vaccinated" peo​ple are catching COVID.
Impact of imprinted immunity induced by mRNA vaccination in an experimental animal model
While natural infection induced effective antiviral immunity, breakthrough infections in hamsters with BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 Omicron subvariants after receiving the 3-dose mRNA-LNP vaccine resulted in only faintly induced humoral immunity, supporting the possibility of imprinted immunity.

​Julian Assange, in Belmarsh Prison, for revealing American war crimes, is 52 today. Happy Birthday, Julian!​

​Conscientious Objector​

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