Of Agriculture and Ideology

In Arthur Koestler’s 1940 novel Darkness at Noon, the protagonist is an Old Bolshevik who has himself been arrested by the Stalinist regime for political deviations and is facing likely execution.  During his imprisonment, he muses about many things, including…

A short time ago, our leading agriculturist, B., was shot with thirty of his collaborators because he maintained the opinion that nitrate artificial manure was superior to potash. No. 1 is all for potash; therefore B. and the thirty had to be liquidated as saboteurs. In a nationally centralized agriculture, the alternative of nitrate or potash is of enormous importance: it can decide the issue of the next war. If No. I was in the right, history will absolve him, and the execution of the thirty-one men will be a mere bagatelle. If he was wrong…

(emphasis added)

And in real life, Soviet agriculture was greatly harmed by the officially-adopted crackpot theories of Trofim Lysenko, as well as by collectivization.  Nikita Khrushchev was very enthusiastic about what he learned of America methods in farming, especially with corn, and insisted that these methods be applied in the Soviet Union–the effort was not successful because it too often ignored local factors like climate as well as general factors such as working-level knowledge and incentives.

In Sri Lanka in 2019, newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa embarked on a program to the transition his country’s farmers to organic agriculture. Importation and use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers were banned, and the country’s 2 million farmers were ordered to go organic.  The project has been a disaster.  Rice and tea production are both down, and half a million people have fallen back into poverty.

And in 2022, the world is facing serious fertilizer shortage, driven in part by the loss of exports from Russia and Ukraine, with prices also driven upward by natural gas prices…this in addition to the considerable reduction in wheat exports from both countries. A complete shutoff of Russian gas to Europe could make things worse, given that gas is a key feedstock for fertilizer manufacturing, that Europe has not built adequate LNG import facilities to replace the Russian gas, and that sufficient LNG from the US may not be available anyhow–a constraint not helped by the Biden administration’s anti-fossil-fuel ideology and policies.  There may be actual famine in some countries, with predictable results in political instability, and plenty of family budgets being squeezed in the USA.

The response from the Biden administration?…Perhaps a new ‘warp-speed’ type of project to accelerate fertilizer output and improve fertilizer logistics?

Nope.

USAID administrator Samantha Power:

Fertilizer shortages are real now because Russia is a big exporter of fertilizer. And even though fertilizer is not sanctioned, less fertilizer is coming out of Russia..As a result, we’re working with countries to think about natural solutions like manure and compost. And this may hasten transitions that would have been in the interest of farmers to make eventually anyway.

Because farmers don’t know what is in their best interest, but of course you do, Samantha.  See this post at Watts Up With That? on the realities of agriculture and the nutrients that plants need.  (Do you think Samantha Power knows what the Haber-Bosch process is and why it has been historically important?  I’m betting the answer is No.)

Note especially the part of the excerpt from Koestler’s novel that I bolded: “In a nationally centralized agriculture”.  When major activities are centralized, every key decision becomes of dramatic, critical, life-and-death importance. Those making the decisions will be convinced that their decisions are right, and are very likely to use all tools at their disposal to enforce compliance and prevent criticism.

See my related post The Logic of Insatiable Centralization.

123 thoughts on “Of Agriculture and Ideology”

  1. We do not understand what it means to be a farmer (or other craftsman) who knows what is best but is not allowed to do it. In America the government can nudge, shade, tax, or discourage you fro doing what you know will grow the most soybean, but even our most controlling don’t go so far as forbidding. Maybe that will come.

  2. This is what the last post is about. ;) You are taking a novel and using it as a fact in your argument. I have declined to chide you and yours, about your continued use of Straw Man arguments, there are so many.

    Putin is wreaking stuff. The Ukrainian armed forces, the economy of the west, hell the sanctions have damaged the sanctioners more than Russia. The Chinese are just watching and waiting, and it will be their turn soon to wreak the west some more.

    The bigger the crash, the more I benefit, so lets get to it. ;)

  3. The first issue is that the application rate for nitrogen fertilizer runs around a hundred to few hundred pounds per acre, depending on all the things agronomists spend a few years learning. Good manure, and there is not so good manure, runs to tons per acre to supply the same amount of nitrogen. Actual availability is much more variable depending on weather, rain, soil chemistry among others. It’s perfectly possible to have lots of manure but no nitrogen available to the plants.

    Oh, and the machinery to apply it is quite different. This makes a big difference if you’re talking a thousand or so acres. Of course there probably isn’t some huge pile of manure waiting to be applied. Most of it’s already being used. Land application is the normal way to dispose of it.

    Then there’s phosphorus, potassium (potash), sulfur and a host of more minor nutrients depending on the crop and soil. It’s not rocket science but it is science. Manure might have some, but usually not enough to matter.

    Of course, none of this matters to Biden and fellow travelers, since they will blame it all on Putin.

    It’s not either nitrogen or potash, for a lot of crops, notably potatoes, it’s both.

  4. Didn’t the US govt solve this problem by ordering railroads to reduce shipping of fertilizer? Now removing tongue from cheek.

  5. Frank,

    The US govt solved the problem by ordering retailers not to stock baby formula.

    If the leftists can’t murder babies in the womb they’ll starve them to death after they’re born.

  6. The real question is, how long are we going to put up with this rank incompetence in governance?

    Seriously, folks–You can watch this crap taking place in real time, right in front of your face. Blatantly. The FDA has had the biggest infant formula plant in the US shut down for bogus reasons (contamination is proven not to have come from it…), and nobody is doing a damn thing about it, in government.

    There comes a point when incompetence is materially the same thing as malice. I don’t care about the gender of whoever is running the FDA into the ground, but I do give a damn whether or not they know what they’re doing and are making the right decisions. The fact that the Abbott Laboratories plant has been shut down and not restarted immediately upon the shortages having been identified weeks ago is what is important–And, that the FDA has done nothing to expedite it going back into operation.

    End of the day, we’re going to have to purge the incompetent, one way or another. I don’t care why they’re doing what they’re doing, I just know that we cannot tolerate it, or we’re going to be dealing with a massive civilization-ending crisis at the rate we’re going.

    And, this is purely due to ideology. They’ve been selecting, training, and promoting these bottom-feeding sons of bitches based on their political and ideological purity, and the actual performance we’ve been getting out of them is totally unacceptable. I could tolerate having competent assholes in charge, but incompetent and asshole? That’s too much to put up with.

    Go back and look at what happened with the EPA geniuses who killed the Colorado River. Not fired, not disciplined–Promoted and given bonuses. Is this any way to run a government? Not in my book.

  7. }}} Much political anger is based on attributing to opponents views that they don’t actually hold, according to this study, summarized and discussed on twitter here.

    OTOH, much political anger from The Right comes from **correct** analysis of what incomprehensible dolts they are forced to fight against just to accomplish the bleeding fucking obvious.

    I don’t deny some of the “both sides do it” incipient in the quote, but this thread shows something really quite important:
    OUR idiots and extremists are NOT generally the ones making most of the decisions from our side.

  8. And yes, it’s laughably predictable that Penny manages to make a similar contrast while making utterly the most incompetent analysis regarding it, thus providing our own dolt-derived example of the nature of the problem.

  9. An odd aside. Haber, who came up with the technology allowing artificial fertilizer, got the Nobel Prize for it just after WW I. This despite the fact that he developed and helped deploy the first poison gas used in combat in the Ypres Salient.

    Not a big fan of retroactive Cancels but maybe I’d make an exception here and take that prize back.

  10. Without the Haber-Bosch process to provide nitrates for explosives, WWI would have played out rather differently. Not to mention the fact that the Germans were completely in the dark about the whole “do we have enough nitrates on hand to actually win a war” thing; absent the capture of convenient stocks in the port of Antwerp, they’d have run out of explosives sometime in late 1914/early 1915. Haber-Bosch wasn’t in full production at the beginning of the war, and the capture of those stocks meant that they had enough raw materials to bridge the gap.

    Had the Belgians destroyed those stocks, and had Haber-Bosch not been there, WWI would have been a lot shorter, and probably provide a cautionary tale about idiots in charge of things they know nothing about. German deficiencies in terms of “how to make industrial war” carried over into and throughout WWII, contributing greatly to their defeat. It’s probably a good thing they’re so incompetent.

  11. A couple things going on here.
    First, what people “want” doesn’t match reality–nobody *wants* factory farms, we *want* the farmer down the road with his happy cows and chickens and a trailer at the farmer’s market. The difference between what’s actually going on and what people either think is going on or wish was going on just isn’t sustainable. It gives an opportunity for idiots to say they want things pushed towards what people say they want, when neither they nor the average person knows the potential implications of that. (It is of course also possible the people like Power are just psychopaths, and do in fact know the implications, but most people aren’t.)
    Second, many people warned of all sorts of side effects of the Ukraine invasion, and that there was no sign of trying to prepare for it by the powers that be, and mostly we got yelled at for being Putin lovers, even when that had no bearing on reality at all. And now it’s several months later and there’s still no sign that there’s any plan for dealing with the potentially catastrophic things coming down the road. Ask your neighbor with a Ukraine flag what the ruble is doing now, and they’ll laugh that it’s been totally destroyed, because they’re almost certainly a clueless moron.

  12. When the Russian forces in Ukraine finally collapse, all y’all rooting for the Russians are gonna have some ‘splainin to do.

    The end state for this is going to be Ukraine back in possession of Donetsk and Luhansk. I don’t think they’re going to get Crimea back, but I suspect that they’re going to cut Russian logistical access before they culminate. That bridge Putin is so proud of is a chokepoint, and it’s going to go bye-bye shortly.

    Russia isn’t a ten-foot giant, either economically or militarily. What it is is a glass cannon, and that cannon is in the midst of shattering after having failed in its mission of conquest. Russia is now faced with the prospect of being thrown bodily out of Ukraine, having Finland and probably Sweden inside NATO, and I’ll wager you that Lukashenko is seriously considering pulling out of “closer alliance” with Russia. Like as not, he’s still playing the long game, and about all he’s going to wind up doing if he stays within the alliance is taking a shot at grabbing Putin’s position.

    Russia is very likely to collapse into chaos within the year. The contradictions in terms of what they’ve been projecting for military power, and what they’re demonstrating is soon to do to Putin what WWI’s manifest incompetence did to Nicholas II. I’d project that “collapse” may well include an attempt at gotterdammerung, but that’s another thing that’s more likely to demonstrate even more corruption and malfeasance in military administration than anything else.

    In short, for those of you Putinists who don’t know what they’re actually watching, I’ll put this in terms you can understand: Russia fall down. Russia go “boom”. Russia go bye-bye.

    The destruction of the Russian armies and Putin’s failure to declare mobilization is handwriting on the wall. The fact is, Russian forces are being nibbled to death by drones and its own corruption. Those “vast reserves” of tanks that all the Russophiles are so impressed by? More than likely, only a tiny fraction of them are even capable of being rebuilt, let alone put to use. Corruption has stolen every valuable component imaginable, and those vehicles are effectively scrap iron that can’t even move itself.

    Competent military forces do not leave equipment like that laying around in random forests. There have been reports of entire battalion sets of tanks and other vehicles simply being abandoned, documented across Russian media. This has been going on for a long, long time; like back into the 1990s. The implications escaped nearly everyone, but the result is before us in Ukraine.

    Russia ain’t leaving this conflict a stronger power, that much is certain. It may not even leave it intact. I strongly suspect that the aftermath of Ukraine is going to see a bunch of regional governors going “rogue” and effectively allying themselves with whoever is handy. Finland may get Karelia back, and God alone knows what is going to happen to the oil-producing regions. China may make a grab for them, but I dunno what calculations are going through the minds of the Chinese geriatrics running the place right now. Odds are, they’re looking at Russian performance and Russian weapons design failures in Ukraine and going “Hmmmm…”.

    This ain’t ending in a victory parade through Moscow. At least, not by Russian forces…

  13. “, all y’all rooting for the Russians are gonna have some ‘splainin to do.”
    Curious who you’re talking about? Since you’ve posted before, and the only post since your last one was mine, I assume you’re talking about me? Because if so, you proved my point about the idiots who can’t talk about two different things at once–Russia bad, world screwed. Is that too complicated for you?
    Also, I repeat my challenge to you from a while back to find one thing I’ve said in defense of Russia. Last time you found a quote from Mike K then disappeared when I showed you that inconvenient fact.

  14. Kirk has it right, I think. In broad outline anyway. We can yammer about right and wrong and roam in the realm of Whatiffery all day, but the bottom line for everyone is: who benefits from a Putin/Russian win?

    As Clausewitz noted, an attack that doesn’t succeed early or decisively will become a defense.

    The incompetence and/or maliciousness of our own elites is another matter entirely–the China-Russia-USA race to the bottom is still close.

  15. A small part of incompetence is the failure to foresee consequences — especially consequences that will take some time to work through.

    Don’t you imagine there is some guy in Afghanistan whose family was droned by the US and now holds a burning grudge against every American — because we Americans let it happen? He knows that the US is pouring vast quantities of weapons into the very corrupt Ukraine. He easily arranges to buy some of those Stinger missiles from Ukrainian “patriots”, gets them to Mexico, and has them shipped across the border disguised as fentanyl — easy peasy. And then he starts shooting US civilian airplanes out of the skies. Chaos!

    The DC Swamp Creatures will of course react by imposing tighter restrictions on US citizens, complete with Waco-style dawn raids on suspicious characters, such as people who post on Chicagoboyz — while leaving the southern border wide open, because reasons.

    The enemy is inside the gate, and holding the commanding heights in the DC Swamp. And using Putin as a distraction. People who should know better are falling for their scam.

  16. It is dangerous to look at international events mainly through the lens of domestic politics. George Orwell mocked those leftists who, in 1944, maintained that the *real* reason that American troops were in England was to suppress a working-class revolution. Earlier, in 1940 and before, many French leftists asserted that the war was merely between The Berlin Bankers and the London Bankers. While many French rightists had said “Better Hitler than Blum.”

  17. I’m not rooting for anyone. I understand why this conflict is happening, which seems to be a mystery to almost everyone.

    I also understand this is Russia against the west and that they are winning. Its difficult when all you have for information is enthusiastic anti Russian propaganda, to understand the conflict.

    This is nothing new but the Ukrainian forces in Mariupol are a good example. The people they had down in the bunkers were hostages. They are apparently out of there, and the Russians can just starve the mystery people in there as that’s the cheap way to win. They do like pounding the area though. This has been repeated all across Ukraine, and holding hostages around the various Ukrainian military forces is normal. There was one estimate that 4 million people were being held against their will as human shields for the Ukrainian forces.

    The Russians not being cocaine addled monsters, are trying not to kill too many of these people as they fight. This makes Russian advantages in raw power far less useful.

    The only actual advances the Ukrainian forces have made are into areas the Russians have withdrawn from. The purpose of the operation is to destroy Ukraine as a useful tool for the CIA/US who has controlled it since 2014. So fighting with the Ukrainian force is how you destroy it. This is what is happening.

    Fairly soon it will become obvious how much of the core of the Nazi, and Nazi stiffened forces have been destroyed. That will signal panic in the west, as there ain’t much that can fight well, once they are gone. Those Nazi and Nazi stiffened forces have been trained by NATO since 2015 and rotated through the Donbass conflict, to harden them. They are motivated, well trained and battle hardened. The best NATO troops in Europe.

  18. “It is dangerous to look at international events mainly through the lens of domestic politics.”
    It’s kind of important to think about what domestic reaction is going to be if gas costs $5 for the next six months, if heating oil costs surge next winter, if food prices continue to climb as all the energy costs move through and if fertilizer is unavailable. I don’t see any attempt to either to avoid these outcomes or even to prepare people for them. Am I missing anything?

  19. I am going to buy an EV in a couple of months. My present car traded in, and incentives should make it fairly cheap to buy. In Canada the gas has been expensive for a long time, around $8 gallon now, and my $100 a month gas costs, will go to about $20 a month from BC Hydro. I already heat with electricity so that’s taken care of. As well I can live off my pension, which Canada will index to inflation.

    I can live comfortably and my stock of metal is untouched, as its value increases. This my plan which is finally coming into fruition, as I thought the crash would come much sooner.

  20. “Russia is very likely to collapse into chaos within the year.”
    Not that you’re wrong but how would anyone in or out of Russia tell? If there’s one quality that Russians have shown over the years it’s an enormous tolerance for chaos.

    I sort of doubt that the Ukrainians can push the Russians all the way out and sort of expect the fighting to devolve to about the level pre-invasion without the pretense that Russian troops aren’t involved. This could last for years and there’s no mechanism likely to replace Putin with anybody more aligned to reality.

    A little closer to the OP. I remember watching Martha Stuart planting potatoes on TV one Saturday morning. As someone that’s planted a few thousand acres of them, I found it hilarious. While she was very concerned with just how the eyes should face, I assure you that potatoes aren’t very smart but they, quite literally, know which way is up. This is the quality of agricultural knowledge we are dealing with in the media and government.

    It’s a testament to the stupidity of our government that, facing a possible fertilized shortage and higher energy prices, they thought that increasing the amount of ethanol in gasoline was the answer. The corn that goes into ethanol is very dependent on both fertilizer and energy and uses lots of both. It’s probable that the energy to produce ethanol is more than burning the ethanol produces.

    Oh, and unless you have a flex fuel vehicle, be ready to replace some expensive components when the higher concentration of ethanol eats them away. Also lower mileage from lower energy content.

  21. Not much I can add except to mention that some years ago I read a good book on the best companies – and how they make decisions.

    Bottom line – the best do not have a rigid top down hierarchy where decisions are rendered from high, but have good communications from the bottom up.

    Look at how the Japanese changed auto manufacturing – just about any line worker can on his own stop the assembly line.

    The people actually in the trenches doing the work know what it takes to succeed…and fail.

  22. This is supposed to be a hit piece:
    https://twitter.com/AP/status/1524807440579104775
    “A new congressional report says that the meat processing industry worked closely with political appointees in the Trump administration at the height of the pandemic to stave off restrictions and keep slaughterhouses open even as COVID-19 spread rapidly.”

    The Dems and the media think we’re supposed to be outraged that the Trump administration worked to keep the food supply chain working in 2020.

  23. how do you get to soylent green, practice, the overseers from that old alien nation film, have declared war on the Russian people, as a proxy for the war against us, it’s not a coincidence that the shambling cadaver that they put at the apparat was a long time soviet tool, that barbara lee, who was revealed to be one in the grenada papers, is all on this project, as is red diaper diaper baby, ‘mad jamie’ raskin, son of ips founder marcus raskin, you turn over these rocks, and you see who they want buried, the 25 million bill ayers projected would be kulaks gusanos,, scaled up from 1973,

  24. koestler was one like silone, like orwell, perhaps dos passos was the analog, who saw the Leviathan tearing itself apart, in 1930s Russia, in Republican Spain, he was a few years ahead of say kruschev’s apology, but we discovered rather quickly he didn’t see a problem with the scheme, just the implementation,

  25. in latin america, one of the lead defectors early on, was eudocio ravines, who had left the peruvian communist parties, bill buckley was the agent who enabled his yenan way to reach a wider audience, when he sought exile in mexico city in the 40s,

  26. The arrogance of the so-called elites would be much more bearable if they weren’t so darn incompetent.

  27. Some champions of, well, should we say “life” or “light” or just “productivity” can produce miracles and are generally ignored by the msm and the left – say Norman Borlaug. say the many people that led the green revolution and increased life expectancy in country after country. Someone (I wish I remembered who) remarked that Singer (who was a bit of a skirt chaser apparently) did more to liberate women than any marching feminist in the 19th century. He was right. Traditionally ag departments have been one of the academic departments that leaned more right than other departments (though probably by now, Republicans and Libertarians are in the minority, at least the ratio isn’t 100 to 1, as in, say, sociology. Any field touched by liberals and funded by the government is likely to stop valuing productivity and start valuing theoretical homogeneity. Oh, well.

    My late sister’s husband went to the Ukraine a few times to spread the gospel of “no till” – the conferences were rumored to be run by the KGB but even they wanted more productivity and less expense.

  28. It’s probable that the energy to produce ethanol is more than burning the ethanol produces.

    Probable? It’s verifiably true, no probable about it at all.

  29. To all the morons who think being total electric is going to save them in the winter and allow them mobility cheaply, look up how much fuel electric utility maintenance burns in a year keeping the power going. As more idiots get the inferior electric buggies, loads increase past the system capacity, and then not only will costs skyrocket, but you will start experiencing rolling brownouts and blackouts. If your air temperatures drop below 25F, heat pumps quit working and the resistance heaters kick in causing the meter to spin crazily. You better have a wood stove with 2-3 cords of wood handy.

  30. Ginny….”Someone (I wish I remembered who) remarked that Singer (who was a bit of a skirt chaser apparently) did more to liberate women than any marching feminist in the 19th century. He was right.”

    One of the sewing machine inventors (there were several) destroyed his model because he was afraid the mechanization would lead to unemployment of poor seamstresses….

  31. Joe Wooten…”If your air temperatures drop below 25F, heat pumps quit working and the resistance heaters kick in causing the meter to spin crazily.”

    And if that electricity is generated by natural gas, then even if it comes from a modern combined-cycle plant, about 40% of the energy will be lost in generation (blame thermodynamics) and maybe another 5% in transmission and distribution…maybe about 50-55% efficiency overall.

    Whereas if you just burn the gas directly in your home heater, you’ll get–what, maybe 80% efficiency?…depends on age and quality of the heater, of course.

  32. We had a taste, here in Texas, of what happens when the electric power goes out, and the city utility pumps for the water get sidelined as well… A lot of people with a comfortable sinecure on a state energy-use board lost their jobs over their careless approach to an oncoming and predictable emergency.
    Oh, and the store shelves got emptied very fast. In the line outside our favored grocery, we were making grim jokes with others waiting, that we had gone straight to Venezuela in the space of 48 hours.
    In Snowmagedden, a year ago last February, we were collecting snow from the yard and snow-melt from the gutters in buckets to take inside and flush the toilets with. I think what helped a lot of my neighbors was having camping gear and propane bottles for cooking and warmth.

  33. Comrades! You do realize the last few years have been like the period attached to some traffic laws where warnings only will be issued for violations before they lower the boom. In this case, the job of policing wrong think was farmed out to Google, Face Book and Twitter. The recent inception of a department of truth attached to the Department of Homeland Security, as a step to procuring full Cabinet level status, signals that actual enforcement is about to begin. Let the 3:00AM knocks on doors begin!

    More good news. To show the Biden administration’s devotion good government and economy, the statue of the white oppressor now occupying the building known as the Lincoln Memorial will be removed to an undisclosed location. After effacing any unfortunate textual matter, a mausoleum to hold the remains of the two people most responsible for ending this country’s long nightmare of controversy will be installed. The CDC has shelved all other activities while they determine scientifically how to preserve these sacred remains for the sake of our shared posterity. It’s inexpressibly thrilling to imagine the dark yet triumphant days when first (presumably) Joe Biden and then the real emancipator Obama is laid to rest.

    Like the Celestial Choir the country will sing in perfect harmony and unison forever more.

  34. If PenGun posted anything worth looking at, somebody let me know. I scroll by his posts without reading.

    You can watch this crap taking place in real time, right in front of your face. Blatantly.

    Kirk, I am not a fan of Russia but I wonder if we really should give Ukraine $40 or 60 billion. Is that conflict a major or existential issue for us ? I know that Vindman is a Ukrainian patriot but what Is he doing in the US Army ? We are in real danger of economic collapse and no one seems to worry.

  35. Mike K: “I wonder if we really should give Ukraine $40 or 60 billion.”

    Should a bankrupt government with an unrepayable National Debt and Social Security/Medicare commitments to its own citizens it can never honor print another $40,000,000,000 to give to some very corrupt people on the other side of the world?

    The question really answers itself.

    A related question is — What happened to the “Give Peace A Chance” crowd? Why no big anti-war protests? It was always hinted that those guys were on the payroll of the USSR/Russia, same as the ClimateScam crowd — but now even the German Greens want War! War! War! It makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

  36. I am not a fan of involvement in Ukraine, at all. However, it’s like Trotsky said… You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you. My read on the Ukraine situation is that this is actually something of a repeat of the mistakes made with Germany’s rise to power. Hitler and the Nazis could have been taken down, handily, had someone had the wit and wisdom to do it around the time he was re-militarizing the Rhineland territories. Instead, they let him…

    The US and Russia both guaranteed Ukrainian territorial integrity back in the 1990s. Looking the other way in 2014 was how we got February 24th, and a whole host of other problems. More than likely, success breeding success, the Russians would not stop until they’d gotten everything they wanted, which is basically the recreation of the old Soviet Union. You either deal with that now, or you’ll deal with it in ten years, when it’s the Baltics getting picked off…

    I’ve studied the Soviet military and then the Russians for most of my life. There are some strengths, some weaknesses, but the overall criminality of their entire force structure is something that is very hard to wrap your head around. Read some of the memoirs from Afghanistan and Chechnya; the sort of thing that went on routinely was mind-boggling to anyone who had ever served in a professional Western military force. We’ve got our issues, but the sheer level of flatly sociopathic and criminal behavior even against their own fellow soldiers is something else entirely.

    Arkady Babchenko wrote a memoir of his time as a conscript and draftee fighting in Chechnya, entitled One Soldier’s War. You want insight into the way the Russians are behaving in Ukraine, read that. They’ve been operating that same way since the end of WWII; I don’t doubt that the whole issue with what they call dedovschina goes back to the time of the Tsars, but I don’t think it got as bad as it did under the Communists, simply because the Tsar did have something of an NCO corps running things in the barracks. Due to the fact that so many of the early revolutionaries came out of that NCO corps, the Communists didn’t want to establish anything like it. Which is why you have the social issues inside the Russian forces that you do… It’s a real nightmare for all involved, and that gets released on the civilian population wherever they’re let loose.

    You’ve basically got two kinds of war; one is the sort of war that the Greeks attributed to Ares, mindless violence perpetrated on everyone in its path. The other form of warfare was attributed to Pallas Athene, and was what most would term “just war”, fought cleanly and within some form of understandable boundaries. What’s going on in Ukraine is the contrast between the two, with the Russians fighting an unjust war without limits, running up against Ukrainians who’re at least aspiring to be better and less animalistic.

    I ain’t a fan of pumping billions of tax dollars into Ukraine, but if it helps put Putin and the rest of his oafish crew out of a position where they can wage wars like this? Well, better do it there, than in 20 other countries over the next couple of decades. Because you had better believe that Ukraine is only the latest in the series, which will continue until the Russians feel safe. Likely around the Pyrenees, or the beaches of Portugal…

  37. David – one of my most conservative friends (she’s a big fan of Schumpeter (sp?). kept worrying about the lack of work for truck drivers who could do little else. Since my late brother kind of floated through life and was a truck driver, it never struck me that he couldn’t do anything else. I complained she was a bit of a Luddite about that, and it wasn’t her usual approach.

    My brother could do a good many other things even in this economy – I couldn’t believe that he and his friends would find rewarding (probably more rewarding in some ways) work in a future economy. Though probably he and his friends would be a good deal better off with fewer dwis to their name.

    Among Biden’s other babblings of late has been a persistent criticism of the right by the left – that the right has a dark and dismal view. I don’t see how a view that believes in less regulation, in the wisdom of crowds, etc. etc. is “dark.” They certainly don’t have confidence in small businesses, the average Joe’s creativity and potential. The right’s view seems to me bracing, an attitude that requires some willingness to get up and start all over, some willingness to accept that the first hundred names in the Boston phone book could make pretty good choices is all that dark. It is true, the right is a bit stoic, accepting failure and sin are a part of us – but parts that it is pretty much up to us to come to terms with, the government cannot shelter us from our own stupidity and it has an even worse time sheltering itself from its own.

    And to get back to your point, it is hard to find a more individualistic, creative, manic worker than your average farmer.

  38. Ginny…”Among Biden’s other babblings of late has been a persistent criticism of the right by the left – that the right has a dark and dismal view. I don’t see how a view that believes in less regulation, in the wisdom of crowds, etc. etc. is “dark.” They certainly don’t have confidence in small businesses, the average Joe’s creativity and potential. The right’s view seems to me bracing”

    Yes. This needs to be communicated much better. Reagan did this very well, Trump fairly well though not as well as Reagan (and Trump’s message was subject to extreme jamming on the part of media and institutions)…most Republican political marketing does *not* do this well.

  39. They are lying through their teeth, because they cant admit they are destroying this country, this war is just another inatrument in this objective

  40. My kinsman spent a year in fidels gulag because he trusted the deep state it utterly broke him

  41. This may be preaching to the choir, but J H Kunstler is on a tear–
    his blog “Clusterfuck Nation” deserves a mention on the sideroll here.

  42. Why does Biden have such a dark view of the way his “enemies” look at things? Pure projection; he’s templating what they think based on his own views.

    Biden’s never worked a day in his life since entering Congress. He’s a professional grifter, and has been on the take since the 1970s. You wonder why he views everyone as being crooked and incompetent? It’s because he is, and he can’t imagine anyone being anything else. He lies with facile ease; he’s been telling that story about the “drunken truck driver” that killed his wife since the 1970s, and the guy was not drunk, his wife pulled out in front of him, causing an unavoidable accident. He’s told that smarmy sympathy-gaining lie ever since, maligning the poor bastard who was found innocent of wrongdoing by the investigation.

    So, yeah… Pure projection. Biden is a lying sack of feces that’s been telling lies since the earliest days of his political career.

    And, the fact that someone can have a “political career”, let alone be like Biden and have one…? That’s a marker for how thoroughly we’ve screwed the pooch. I don’t think the founders of this nation were thinking that creatures such as Joe Biden would ever make a life-long career of being in office, and if they had, they’d have thrown up their hands in despair at our stupidity for letting it happen. Joe Biden has zero real-world accomplishments, no real competencies outside of his political bubble, and is precisely the wrong sort of man to have in the positions he’s managed to get himself into. Whatever he says about his opponents? Reflections of his own inner nature and beliefs.

  43. “Perhaps a new ‘warp-speed’ type of project to accelerate fertilizer output and improve fertilizer logistics?”
    I’ll be honest, is there anything that they *can* do at this time? I haven’t seen any answers proposed. Even without any answers, it’s absolutely insane that the “elites” are just sleepwalking off the cliff. They’re far more interested in what some random GOPe pukes were texting each other about 16 months ago than in worrying about how Americans are going to feed themselves in the coming months.

  44. The signs that this “fertilizer shortage” isn’t some “unfortunate accident” are all over the place, should you bother to look for them. Which 99.99% of the media won’t be, once people are starving.

    Examine the tea leaves:

    https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/fertilizer-company-complains-railroad-shipment-limits-84091378

    Who owns the majority of Union Pacific? Vanguard and Blackrock. Just like with Warren Buffett with regards to his opposition to pipelines, it is convenient how the rail networks are leveraged in order to “create value”, not to mention profit for the people investing in them. Blackrock has made and is making huge investments in residential properties, turning people’s homes into rentals. I would infer that a calculus has been made, in that they figure that if more people go bankrupt trying to feed themselves, more homes will be coming on the market at lower prices.

    Or, conversely, they’re either incredibly stupid or incredibly evil. Maybe a mixture of both?

    No matter what, just like the stupidity in Sri Lanka, none of this is “by accident”. The decision-makers behind the scenes are making this happen through deliberate choice.

    It’s part an parcel of the whole “alternative energy” scam; nobody ever talks about what’s going to replace petrochemicals as fertilizer feedstocks. This is one reason I’ve never taken any of that bullshit seriously, because the people espousing “alternative energy” have no idea at all what else is interconnected to the hydrocarbon industries. And, when they’re freezing in the dark, starving, they’ll be whinging about how the whole thing is unfair.

    Never, of course, recognizing that their feckless stupidity is what made all of it happen.

    Oh, and by the way… There are no “moonshot” solutions to fixing this. Short of finding some source of essentially free energy, like cold fusion? It ain’t happening. People have an entirely skewed view of how these things work, because we’re coming off the dawn of the industrial age, when all seemed magically possible. Thing is, we’re now operating inside the limits of the possible, and the “magic beans” of rapid industrialization and all that ain’t there to utilize. Low-hanging fruit’s already been picked, and it’s all just a long slog forward by incremental improvements that you can’t simply mandate via legislative fiat. The assholes trying to say that we’ll be running all-electric cars by 2030 are delusional morons who’re simultaneously failing to upgrade the generation capacity or the grid–Which tells you all you need to know about their manifest stupidity.

  45. Biden’s never worked a day in his life since entering Congress. He’s a professional grifter, and has been on the take since the 1970s. You wonder why he views everyone as being crooked and incompetent?

    Biden is a shining example but he is an example of most in Congress. Tom Coburn might be a rare example of an honest Senator. Trump outed most of the crooks simply by being that rare honest man in office. He didn’t look like it but nobody has laid a hand on him.

    Kirk, you might be right about Russia but I think we will end ourselves first the way we are going.

  46. The assholes trying to say that we’ll be running all-electric cars by 2030 are delusional morons who’re simultaneously failing to upgrade the generation capacity or the grid–Which tells you all you need to know about their manifest stupidity.<

    The California Coastal Commission just denied approval of a desalination plant for Orange County where a brush fire in a drought burned 20 homes.

  47. I’ve done the calculations on electrifying the transportation using 2019 data for consumption of gasoline and diesel in the United States. You would need over 3000 1200 MW nuclear/gas/coal plants in addition to the ones already in commission just to do the US. Europe/Asia will take approximately the same amount. For the green weenies that would mean 6000000 4 MW windmills or 60000000 400kW PV panels plus a buttload of battery banks to back them up.

    This is beyond the combined industrial capacity of the entire planet combined, not to mention the difficulties in getting people to staff and maintain said plants.

    It is an effin’ dope dream. The numbers do not lie. We will be using gasoline, diesel, and petrochemicals for a very long time. There is nothing to replace them with.

  48. “More than likely, success breeding success, the Russians would not stop until they’d gotten everything they wanted, which is basically the recreation of the old Soviet Union. You either deal with that now, or you’ll deal with it in ten years, when it’s the Baltics getting picked off…”

    Let’s just assume that the CNN propaganda is indeed true. Russia says they don’t want aggressive NATO on their border, and they want an end to the civil war the Ukrainian rulers have been waging against Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east. But we know better — we know that Russia wants to conquer Europe — or at least the old East Europe.

    The question is — What does that have to do with the United States?

    If Russia wants to conquer Eastern Europe or all of Europe, that is Europe’s problem to deal with. They are big boys. Europeans colonized & oppressed the world back in the 17th, 18th, 19th Centuries. They can handle Russia. It is not our concern.

    In the United States, we need to be concerned about out-of-control government spending; about non-stop money printing; about a growing unrepayable National Debt; about a growing unsustainable Trade Deficit; about de-industrialization and associated un- & under-employment; about an open southern border; about dysfunctional political systems; about a perverted legal system; about an educational system which has degenerated into a bad joke.

    We have lots to take care of here in the United States. We don’t have the capacity to take care of Europe’s possible problems with Russia as well. And solving the problems Ukrainian kleptocrats created by starting a civil war 8 years ago should not be on our “To Do” list at all.

  49. Amazing tweet from the Democrat Party the other day:
    https://twitter.com/TheDemocrats/status/1524187289949249536
    “President Biden visited a factory in Alabama that’s building missiles right here in America to provide to Ukraine.”
    Tariffs to try to “reshore” manufacturing from China are very, very, very bad, but factories for missiles for Ukraine are very, very, very good. And it’s the party of Bernie and AOC leading the cheerleading.
    The world is so stupid.

  50. I have a fear that we are on the verge of having actual famine, with food riots and people dying of hunger here in the US. When I think about this fear I realize that perhaps I am overly paranoid. But then I think a bit more and wonder if I am.

    I don’t think it is incompetence. We’ve worked around plenty of incompetence before. I fear it may be on purpose.

    I think that the famine will be blamed on climate change and used to push through “temporary” and “Emergency” measures. I doubt that will make things any better for most people.

    Preppers have the right idea but prepping is a short term solution. How much food can one store, reasonably, 3 months? Most of us are limited by storage space and funds.

    If we do store for 5 years, (which still may not be enough) we will be “hoarders” and we see what happens to hoarders in a famine. And even if we get past that, do we share our food with family? And how much family? Parents and kids, sure. Brothers and sisters? Maybe. Nieces and nephews? Our 5 year supply can quickly become just a few days.

    I have no idea what to do other than lay awake thinking about it.

    LGKTQ. Let’s get Kamala to quit. Then we can replace her with president emeritus Trump. Or DeSantis or someone else. The day after they are sworn in, Brandon can be convinced to quit, and Trump or whoever is president.

  51. You don’t need petrochemicals to produce nitrogen fertilizer (ammonia), all you need is hydrogen and energy. In theory, hydrogen can be produced by electrolysing water with electricity from “green” sources. In practice it’s still much cheaper to produce it by reforming natural gas.

    In the U.S., liquid fertilizer has taken the place of most dry fertilizers. It is actually produced near the end user at fertilizer dealers. Train cars of ammonia, sulfuric acid or phosphoric acid and sometimes nitric acid are fed into a portable reactor where they form, respectively; ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate or ammonium nitrate. The advantage is that the water that makes up the balance of the fertilizer is procured locally which saves on transport volume. Farmers like it because the liquid is much easier to pump and meter than dry fertilizer. Farmers will often use semi tankers to haul fertilizer to off load hundreds of gallons at a time to incorporate in the soil.

    McVeigh should have raised suspicion before the Oklahoma City bombing because he only needed about 2 tons of fertilizer. Way too much for some sort of lawn but negligible for agriculture.

    Not to worry, Lysenko teaches that plants can be trained to grow without fertilizer. I’m sure the Department of Agriculture will rediscover this important research that has been obscured by the running dog capitalists for so long. Science today, science tomorrow, science forever. All glory to the of the provident Biden Administration.

  52. Kirk….”I would infer that a calculus has been made, in that they figure that if more people go bankrupt trying to feed themselves, more homes will be coming on the market at lower prices.

    Lots of people going bankrupt is bad for the overall economy, which is bad for most of the investments held by Blackrock and Vanguard, and for railroads in particular.

  53. And, you wonder why you’re seen as a Russian apologist and shill?

    “Russia says they don’t want aggressive NATO on their border, and they want an end to the civil war the Ukrainian rulers have been waging against Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east. But we know better — we know that Russia wants to conquer Europe — or at least the old East Europe.”

    I’ve seen very little actual, y’know… Proof that this has really been going on. Quite the contrary, actually: I have met Ukrainian expats from the Donbas that tell me they and their families left specifically because of the Russians, and that there was little to no actual oppression. The reality of this situation is to be seen where the Russian military is actively engaged in targeting and destroying supposed “Russian-majority” communities in the regions they’re supposedly “liberating”.

    The fact that you take the farcical claims by Russian propagandists as truths indicates precisely where your sympathies lie, which is not in the interest of liberty or these United States. It is strange indeed to hear the same arguments used against fighting the Nazis in WWII echoed today, when another even less-competent tyrant seeks to dominate Europe. And, I ask you, for what? Were any nations threatening Russia? Are the Lithuanians and Poles spreading irredentist propaganda, seeking to re-create the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the expense of Russia and the Russian people? Is anyone else actually threatening them, in any way, shape, or form?

    The Russians are their own worst enemies. Had they simply ignored NATO and left everyone on their borders the hell alone, nobody would be talking about joining NATO or even spending monies on their military. The vast majority of European forces are essentially jobs programs for bureaucrats, with limited to no real combat capacity, certainly not capable of threatening an invasion of Russia. All that is changing, and specifically changing because of Russian behavior. Nobody wants Russian troops on their soil, behaving the way they did in Chechnya. Ukraine has demonstrated what Russian soldiers do, very clearly. You’ll see war crimes trials going on for years, after this is all over. And, with the increased use of DNA evidence, you’re going to see the actual perpetrators rounded up and prosecuted whenever they’re foolish enough to leave the miserable sanctuary they have inside a third-rate hellhole that they’ve created for themselves to live in.

    Russia will reap what it has sown. The immoral conduct of its forces inside Ukraine at places like Bucha and Mariupol speaks for itself, and justifies anything done in aid of Ukraine. If you think that standing aside and saying “Not our problem…” is a moral position to be taking…? Not much I can say about that, except to point out that your position speaks for itself.

    Like it or not, (and, I assure you, I do not…) we are guilty of having countenanced our politicians having meddled in Ukrainian affairs. Nobody was up in arms when the various assholes of the Obama administration were “influencing” things in Ukraine. Having looked aside while the BidenCo. crime crew were enriching themselves, we’ve got a bit of a moral duty to deal with the consequences of that whole mess. If we get by simply by sending cash and weapons, so be it. Personally, I would rather draft every one of the bastards who benefited from the graft and corruption, and send them to the front lines to deal with the reality of the mess they enriched themselves off of, but that’s not going to happen.

    Russia chose to make itself a bastion of organized crime, and when you look at it all from the perspective of long history, that goes back to the very founding of the post-Imperial Soviet Union. Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin were all criminal thugs who did not come to power through any sort of recognizably decent or responsible means, and they perpetrated a criminal mentality from day one, confiscating other people’s property and creating a hell on earth for most Soviet citizens, especially anyone with the temerity to dissent against what was going on. They created the state that exists today, with the criminal kleptocracy running everything. The military they created and unleashed on Ukraine and the other states they’ve bullied since 1990 is a perfect exemplar of that criminal mentality. The soldiers are conscripted and abused continually for their terms of service, with utter animalistic behavior not only tolerated, but encouraged in the ranks. The reason they allow the practices they do is because they see dedovschina as “toughening” the troops, and they mock other nations for how “soft” their military forces are. The reality is that the Russians of today are a reflection of their corrupted culture, one that they not only recognize as corrupt, but defend as being somehow “superior” to everywhere else. As if they have a basis for comparison.

    Russia is good at two things, and two things only: Subversion and propaganda. It’s disheartening to see how thoroughly they’ve penetrated our culture, but what can you expect when nine-tenths of the “elite” are entirely on-board with it all, jealous of their peers in the Russian nomenklatura, wanting their same level of power and authority…?

    I would repeat: You’ve asserted that there were “persecutions” of ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Other than Russian propaganda, please provide citations for that, from credible sources. I’ve spoken with actual ethnic Russian-speakers from the Ukraine, in that very region, and they testified that they left not because of anything the Ukrainians were doing, but because of the criminals the Russian invaders put in charge that stole everything of value they had. I’ve yet to see credible proof that this “persecution” was actually going on, to the extent claimed by Russian propaganda as casus belli.

  54. And, you wonder why you’re seen as a Russian apologist and shill?

    Kirk, I think you are out of line here. Using the WWII appeasement analogy is silly. Hitler had outlined his plans in his book and made no bones about what he was doing. Churchill wanted rearmament in 1935. The “Dear Vicar” Stanley Baldwin, PM then, was resistant to any rearmament. The British and French invited what happened. The “WOKE” US military is inviting serious consequences for our adventures in Ukraine. While Biden, or his handlers, is destroying our economy, he is making threats to Putin. Weakness and threats are a bad combination.

  55. It’s beyond me how those of us whp aren’t Democrats are somehow culpable in the fact that Obama and Biden (and assorted cronies and some GOPe pukes for good measure) have used it as their personal plaything and piggy bank and the Dems impeached Trump to get him to stop looking into it…No one voted for any of that, nor did we vote to join this war, no matter what the Dems say now…

  56. :”You’ve asserted that there were “persecutions” of ethnic Russians in Ukraine.”

    Well there have been 16,000 people killed in the Donbass since 2014, mostly from shelling by the Azov Nazis, dunno if that counts as persecution.

  57. “Personally, I would rather draft every one of the bastards who benefited from the graft and corruption, and send them to the front lines to deal with the reality of the mess they enriched themselves off of”

    Well, Kirk, we can at least agree on that.

    We the People have been pushed into an undeclared war on nuclear-armed Russia over something that is not our concern. All it takes is one damn fool thing in the Balkans and there will be nuclear weapons dropping on your head and my head.

    The rational response of any thinking person in the US is to conclude that the benefits of our interference (whatever they may be) do not justify the huge risks (which are civilization-ending). Instead of pumping up this undeclared war, we should be encouraging a settlement of the conflict. If being rational makes one a “Russian shill”, then this country needs a whole lot more Russian shills.

  58. I remember the 80s, testament, threads the day after, of course all the mad max knockoffs, then in the 90s, miracle mile, by dawns early light, of course terminator 2, i’m sure there were other cautionary tales about nuclear war in the 00s, but now it’s just crickets, as we engage onto the Russian steppes, on Europe and the third worlds breadbasket, 61 years ago, thereabouts, it was too provocative to engage aircover over Cuba, the anecdote I relayed, dulles and kennedy share the blame for that betrayal, as the former played chicken with the lives of 1600 men and sentenced many of them to prison,

  59. Russia again? Ok. Kirk:

    Russia is very likely to collapse into chaos within the year.

    Also Kirk:

    Because you had better believe that Ukraine is only the latest in the series, which will continue until the Russians feel safe. Likely around the Pyrenees, or the beaches of Portugal…

    I sense a contradiction. Russia can’t be on an inevitable path to collapse and simultaneously be about to conquer the whole of yurrup.

    Regardless, this is a problem for the zeropeon union, not the United States. If the EU can’t be bothered to defend themselves against the largest shard of the Soviet Union, then why the h3ll should we defend them?

    We should not. Period.

  60. You’ll see war crimes trials going on for years, after this is all over.

    I love this. Trials of whom?

    I recall a reddit post- someone put up a picture of a burning apartment building, with a caption something like curse the war criminals!! This was followed by a swarm of comments condemning Russia, etc- then the original poster noted that it was a photo taken in Serbia in 1999 during the NATO attacks.

    Reddit then deleted the thread and banned the poster. Can’t let the narrative be threatened!

    Anyway, I happen to read pro-Russian sources simply because I don’t believe a single word put out by the minions of the regime.

    I will note that those sources claim that the Ukrainians are complicit in a wide variety of war crimes, including the murder of prisoners of war and the murder of pro-Russian Ukrainian civilians.

    I further note that photos of the reported Bucha massacre showed bodies with white armbands, which supposedly indicated that dead were supporters of Russia.

    Of course, I am in no position to evaluate the truth. But I will yet further note that the same people in Western governments who have demonstrated great enthusiasm for the overthrow of the Russian regime are the same folks who were most enthusiastic about overthrowing Trump. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, etc.

    But by all means, let’s investigate and put the guilty on trial.

    This means we’ll find out the truth about those biolabs in Ukraine, right?

  61. As a result, we’re working with countries to think about natural solutions like manure and compost.

    If the United States had a rational government Samantha Powers would be teaching tarot card reading for a community college’s adult education program, somewhere in New Jersey. She wouldn’t be doing anything useful, but at least she wouldn’t be encouraging policies that lead to mass starvation.

    But since we don’t, she is.

    It seems to me that the reason why the regime ends up chock full of people like Samantha Powers and Jen Psaki and myriad others is because no decent person could possibly be willing to say so many stupid things on command in defence of such an idiot regime.

    These people aren’t stupid, they’re vile.

  62. tucker is quite savage on her overlord, her insight at the kennedy school was genocide is bad, who knew, (she is married to psychohistorian cass susstein) she is venomously antisemitic, and pro islamists, she pointedly refused to lend research assistants, to the counterinsurgency project, she was one of hillary’s valkyries along with susan rice, one of those who brought us the arab spring and benghazi, of course they put her in charge of AID, a most cynical exercise, as she knows nothing about agriculture or other issues of relevance to her task, but if you want a lysenko type result,…

  63. miguel cervantes,

    That’s why I say vile instead of stupid, although these sort of folks obviously never stop saying stupid things.

    If they were merely stupid, they wouldn’t end up with the resumes they somehow end up with. They’d have been booted from the swamp because no one would have wanted to do their work for them for their entire career.

    But if you need a boot-licking sycophant- well, these folks are the cat’s meow. They’ll say anything to defend the regime no matter how stupid and vile, and with a straight face, too.

  64. Oh deep in the crimean cramdown is about 42 million for unspecified biological research in the ukraine, ya dont think, its what you think its about.

  65. It seems to me that this ‘proxy war’ with Russia in Ukraine is nothing new in our history, although the shoe is largly on the other foot. In both the Korean War and Vietnam, weren’t the USSR supplying armaments to both the North Koreans in Korea and the VC/NVA in Vietnam? Weren’t our pilots in Korea engaged in dogfights with USSR pilots in Korea? The Soviets certainly had trainers and advisors involved in country in both conflicts. So now, it is our turn.
    What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Putin has blundered into a trap. He has engaged the west in a spending competition. As long as Ukraine doesn’t run out of military age males, we are good to go.

    Think back to the 80s. The Gipper pushed Star Wars to get the Soviets spending beyond their means, while at the same time, pursuaded the Saudis to open the spigot on oil to hurt the Soviets energy revenues. I think the Gipper would approve. I know I do.

  66. Think back to the 80s. The Gipper pushed Star Wars to get the Soviets spending beyond their means, while at the same time, pursuaded the Saudis to open the spigot on oil to hurt the Soviets energy revenues. I think the Gipper would approve. I know I do.

    Seriously? What makes you think the Biden junta is doing anything from the Reagan playbook? Would Reagan have telegraphed our military weakness through the Bagram Bugout and the Kabul Klown Show? Squandered our energy independence so that he had to go hat in hand to odious regimes like Venezuela begging for oil, or be told that the Saudis weren’t going to return his phone call? Trump is certainly not a Regan clone but in this instance he’s much closer to Reagan than anything Biden is being directed to do.

  67. Christopher-

    Warfare is always a clash of resources. Reagan didn’t invent the concept. That the west today recognizes that fact doesn’t mean that Reagan is their role model, reality is. Today Russia has the resources of ~140 million on its side. The west has ~700 million plus. If Putin is allowed to absorb former republics bit by bit, his resources go up, while ours go down. If his challenge is ignored, the situation will progressively degrade. Best to stop him now.

    My other point was that we have been following the rules of the road in place since 1950 (at least). Were Putin to escalate, his problems would grow 10-fold. I am sure that he recognizes that. For now, the slugfest continues.

  68. Raymondshaw: “Think back to the 80s.”

    Ah! The 1980s — when (by today’s standards) government over-spending was limited, the US National Debt was very modest, and the US had almost balanced international trade. The US then had huge manufacturing capabilities (now offshored to China), and was a much more unified country (compared to today’s fragmentation). That was before the US sacrificed its international standing through the unprovoked assaults on Serbia and Libya, and the failed occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    There has been a lot of water under the bridge since the 1980s. It is now about 4 decades later — two human generations. The world has changed — and not for the better, and the US is clearly in a much weaker position now than then.

    It would be worth today’s incompetent DC Swamp Creatures taking those changes into account before trying to pick a fight with nuclear-armed Russia over their intervention in a long-running civil war on their border.

  69. “As long as Ukraine doesn’t run out of military age males, we are good to go.”

    That is the work in progress. Killing all the Nazis is part of the plan, and if they get their act together in the east, will do so. Once the NATO trained, fanatical, and battle hardened troops in the east are gone Ukraine is pretty well finished as serious opponent.

    Russia did make a statement quite a while ago that they were prepared to deal with both Ukraine and everything the west could throw at them, as well.

  70. The Saudis hate Biden and his crew. OPEC is on Russia’s side.

    The West is “led” by feckless morons who no one takes seriously. Justin Trudeau? Anthony Blinken? Joe Biden? In a serious world they’d be answering phones for the actual competent people in charge, but we’re a decadent joke and are in for a world of pain.

    Most of the world is either sitting out, or actively on the anti-West side. Who thought that gleefully celebrating attempts to destroy the Russian economy would convince anyone we’re the side to be on?

    Breaking news:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/business/status/1525323635111731200
    JUST IN: India banned wheat exports with immediate effect. The world was counting on its supply to alleviate constraints by the war in Ukraine.

  71. Raymondshaw…”Today Russia has the resources of ~140 million on its side. The west has ~700 million plus.”

    But how many of those 700 million (their governments, in particular) are really on the West’s side in a meaningful way? Germany’s energy fecklessness, and probably also the corruption of some very important people its relationships with Russia, has played a big role in enabling the present war.

  72. So were creating the three power blocs from orwell some 2.5 billion people on russia chinese indian bloc, pakiatan was leaning that way until the coup against khan

  73. Biden or whoever is his overlord is the antireagan like frank gorshins twin in that trek episode

  74. I am no fan of deficit spending, at all. I am a fan of setting spending priorities. National defense is a core responsibility of the federal government. Better to export pallets of weaponry and cash to Ukraine than to import pallets of full coffins from Europe.

    Why is it that when I say the ‘west’, some of you folks hear ‘Biden’? Those non-Russian folks who formerly lived under the Soviet yoke and now don’t, aren’t going to go back. Europe matters. South America doesn’t matter. Africa doesn’t matter. India has been in Russia’s orbit for a long time and loves buying oil with a $30 discount. Same with China. So what.

    Penny observes the war of attrition and is confident of the outcome. We shall see.
    I would take him seriously if he formed his own Lincoln Battalion and joined the fight.
    Pansy.

  75. “India has been in Russia’s orbit for a long time and loves buying oil with a $30 discount”
    This is totally divorced from reality. Trump made great strides by focusing on India, and Biden threw it all away, as well as somehow completely demolishing our relationship with the Saudis.

    “Europe matters. South America doesn’t matter. Africa doesn’t matter.”
    Pretty sure that people who haven’t given up on having children are the ones who matter, but you might be right I suppose…

  76. Raymond…”Those non-Russian folks who formerly lived under the Soviet yoke and now don’t, aren’t going to go back”….true of Eastern Europe, I think–questionable in the case of the former East Germany.

    “Europe matters. South America doesn’t matter. Africa doesn’t matter”….the latter two certainly matter from a Resource point of view, at a minimum.

  77. “Penny observes the war of attrition and is confident of the outcome.”

    Loyd called. He wants to somehow get the mystery people from Mariupol. He was told to pound sand. ;)

    Its about a battalion, perhaps a bit less, that dies every day now, so they can’t keep that up for long. its criminal that Zelensky is forced to keep this up by his American masters, so many will die for nothing.

  78. I am trying to work through the permutations into how to play this. thanks for writing.

    One is personally-how do I stockpile enough food, and which ones so that I can weather shortages?

    Two, how can I make money in the futures, options or stock market to profit from the crisis?

  79. Remind me which government has not treated its own people as enemy all across oceania from uk to canada to new zealand

  80. I am no fan of deficit spending, at all.

    I think you very much are, since you evidently support endless billions of deficit spending for the Ukraine war.

    I am a fan of setting spending priorities.

    Me too. Hence, if we’re going to spend an extra many billions on defence, we should be it on building navy ships or reshoring critical production.

    Better to export pallets of weaponry and cash to Ukraine than to import pallets of full coffins from Europe.

    How about neither?

    So what?

    Yes, let’s ignore the concerns and interests of most of humanity, because they just don’t matter. What could go wrong?

    Pansy

    Have purchased your ticket to Ukraine yet?

    Why not?

  81. Ah, yes… The “rational” Russian:

    Spokesman Aleksey Zhuravlyov, close Putin ally, has this to say about Finland:

    ‘The Finns in general should be grateful to Russia for their statehood, for the fact that Finland exists as a country.’

    Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania:

    ‘We are definitely not afraid of these peanuts,’ he said.

    ‘They are as nasty as stink bugs. But they will need to be crushed when necessary. Now the bug is small and smelly.’

    Certainly, these are rational people who can be trusted. Let’s not even get into the whole threat of nuclear annihilation against various NATO nations like Great Britain.

    Xennady, who is apparently channeling the appeasers of the 1930s, says I contradict myself, saying that Russia will culminate it’s efforts sometime this year, and that they constitute a threat to the rest of Europe. What he misses is twofold; one, my argument isn’t that they’re currently a threat, but that they could well grow into one if they’re not opposed now. Much like Hitler’s reoccupation of the Rhineland, had the French and British actually done something at the time, Germany would have likely collapsed. Instead, they appeased and got WWII as a result. The German Army was planning a coup on Hitler, should his adventurism have failed, a fact that is documented in multiple places in the histories of that era.

    I always wondered how people could have been so stupid as to have allowed Hitler’s rise to power, particularly the British and French. They could have put an end to the whole issue at many points, early on. Yet, they did not; a fact that has always puzzled me. I must thank Xennady and Gavin Longmuir for making it quite clear how people of that era waltzed into WWII with sanctimonious pronouncements of “Not our problem…”. Guess what lesson history taught that set of shortsighted dimwits?

    Putin and his dreams of “Great Russia” are still at the point where they can be strangled in the crib. Failure to do so will earn this generation of poltroons the same historical verdict that we give the appeasers of Hitler during the 1930s.

    Sauron’s Mouth, Aleksey Zhuravlyov, grants us an insight into the mentality of the Russian regime. They think that they are the ones who dictate the existence of their neighbors, that they grant them the “privilege” of agency, their very nationhood. This indicates that the Russian inner-circle leadership believe that they could then withdraw that privilege whenever they like, because they feel “threatened”. Where, pray tell, does Russia cease to feel “threatened”?

    I note that we’re still waiting for any actual non-Russian propaganda citations for what “abuse” of ethnic Russians was going on in the Donbass. Mostly, I presume, because that’s damn hard to find. The Ukrainian wife of a family friend who is a Russophone from that region has told me that she saw nothing of the things the Russians used as pretext while she lived there. Her family all fled to other parts of Ukraine or emigrated after the Russians took over, because the very first thing that the Russians did in those regions was turn everything over to Kadyrov-like criminals and gangsters, who stole everything not nailed down and “confiscated” any successful enterprises–Several of which were put on trucks and sent into Russia.

    Modern Russia is basically a criminal enterprise disguised as a nation-state. The sooner we recognize that and deal with it, the sooner that problem will be solved. Legitimate and sane nations do not make the grandiose threats on others that the various spokescreatures for Putin do; we would be wise to listen to them, and take them at their words.

    The paranoid schizophrenic living down your street may have one or two legitimate beefs with the homeowner’s association, but when the asshole starts shooting people? Time to do something about it. That’s Russia right now, on the micro-scale: The neighborhood nutter. Absolutely nobody was threatening Russia, or Russian existence before this BS started. Their main complaint with Ukraine basically amounts to “It’s ours; we get to decide who runs it…” Whatever Obama and his coterie got up to back in 2014, that’s now water under the bridge, and the fact is that Ukraine does not want to be dominated by Russia. That’s their choice; not the Russians. Saying otherwise is sheer hypocrisy and cowardice. And, should Russia be allowed success in cowing Ukraine, rest assured that the price for that will be paid within our lifetimes. You don’t reward this sort of behavior by any nation, and expect “peace in our time”.

  82. Jeff Carter…”Two, how can I make money in the futures, options or stock market to profit from the crisis?”

    With your extensive background in commodities, do you have any thoughts to share?

  83. David, no argument from me on Germany. Angela Merkel grew up in the GDR. I will note that Gerhard Schroeder is receiving a lot of scrutiny over his business dealings with Russia/Gasprom/Rosneft. He might be prosecuted. One can hope.

    As far as our 700 million versus his 140 million, certainly different populations have different levels of commitment. But resource wise, Putin is in deep doodoo.

  84. Kirk: Legit question, how can Russia be on the verge of failure in Ukraine and completely falling apart as a country AND be an existential threat to Europe and the world on the scale of Germany in the 30s? I honestly don’t understand the logic there.
    And to be honest I’m way more disturbed by the 2nd most powerful member of the US House saying “we’re at war” right now than what some nutter in the Duma has to say.

  85. “I note that we’re still waiting for any actual non-Russian propaganda citations for what “abuse” of ethnic Russians was going on in the Donbass.”

    The casualties in the Donbass since 2014 amount to about 16,000 killed. The attack that was planed in early March, was one of the main reasons Russia invaded the country.

  86. The casualties in the Donbass since 2014 amount to about 16,000 killed. The attack that was planed in early March, was one of the main reasons Russia invaded the country.

    Come on man. Russian lives don’t matter, and neither do Russian interests, because Hitler.

    If the blessed Ukrainians had invaded the Donbass as planned we’d have been told it was actually defensive, because the evil Russians were occupying sacred Ukrainian land- and we’d have been paying for that invasion, too.

    No thank you for any of this, neocons.

  87. I think it’s been a couple of weeks since Putin has threatened to start WWIII. Considering the sterling record of Russia’s military, I wonder if he may not have sent a few little helpers to look directly in on their strategic forces? Assuming that at least one managed to avoid an unfortunate accident on the way back, what might they have reported?

    Maybe the tires on their ICBM launchers are the same cheap Chinese tires as they were using in Ukraine? Maybe the diesel has been sold on the black market? What might generations of thieves stolen? How many of the crewmen exist on paper to enrich the upper command and how many are actually present? Of those, how many are trained and competent? Follow all the way up the chain to the warheads and missiles.

    A 60 billion balloon payment to finally put an end to the Russian boogeyman after all the trillions already spent doesn’t seem so bad.

    Getting back to agriculture, I don’t have any faith in the government, especially this one. to solve the problems. What I do have confidence in is all the fertilizer producers and dealers and farmers that won’t be paid if they don’t have product. They’ll find a way. Most of this years fertilizer was purchased last fall and much has been or is in the process of being applied. For next year, farmers are making plans how to deal with higher costs. Different crops have different requirements. Yield can be traded against fertilizer and water to optimize cost against price. There isn’t, thank God, a tsar to solve the problem but thousands of others with direct incentive to make the system work rather than find someone else to blame.

  88. Why not? I have taxes to pay!

    In case you haven’t noticed, Penny is the one here who talks frequently about his war fighting skills. The war is in Europe, currently Ukraine. By doing mostly the right things, the USSR (Russia, actually) was put in a box in the 80s, where they belong. Russia has pursued expanionist policies for 300 years. They are doing it again. If that is ignored, how can it possibly end well?

    It is the parties to the conflict that matter. Resources are what you buy when you have money. If resources are scarce, you pay more or substitute around them. Was the relative lack of participation by Africa and South Ameriaca decisive in WWII?

  89. “I think it’s been a couple of weeks since Putin has threatened to start WWIII.”

    It is Russian declared tactical use of battlefield nukes, as an answer to any NATO invasion, or actual direct support of Ukraine, you are talking about. Now WW3 will easily flow from that.

  90. “In case you haven’t noticed, Penny is the one here who talks frequently about his war fighting skills.”

    I have never said I was a war fighter. I do love my games, but an not confused about the difference. Now in the 80s, before there was an internet, I had documentation on all the American and Russian missiles and my interest in both Military History and Geopolitics go back to before then.

  91. Kirk,

    I flat out do not accept your argument that Russia is an incipient menace. In any case I have rather significant doubts that the people who spent the last thirty years investing trillions of dollars in China and allowing that nation to steal every bit of American military technology actually care about what menaces the US in particular and the West in general.

    Bluntly, I don’t trust them and I’m not interested in their endless flailing propaganda against Russia.

    Most of Russia appears to be an abandoned wasteland that makes the American rustbelt look prosperous and Detroit wealthy. Per you, Russia is a gangsters paradise where everything is stolen or about to be. Per Western media, Russia is failing miserably to conquer Ukraine, at great cost.

    I’m just not feeling the menace here.

    If Yurrop feels menaced, too bad. They can prune back their welfare states and arm up, or not.

    But in any case they can leave the US out of their Russophobia.

  92. “Absolutely nobody was threatening Russia, or Russian existence before this BS started.”

    That is the CNN propaganda view.

    There had been a civil war going on Russia’s border for 8 years, and the West had no interest in persuading the Ukrainian clique to stop that war. Zelensky had declared an intent to invade Crimea, despite it being historically Russian and the population having overwhelmingly voted to be part of Russia rather than the Ukraine. US/NATO/Zelensky were clearly gearing up for a massive expansion of the civil war, which would have (at a minimum) driven massive numbers of refugees into Russia and could easily have seen the fighting extend into Russia. Plus NATO was talking about the Ukraine joining and getting US/NATO weapons on Russia’s border.

    Any reasonable person could understand that Russia had cause for concern. A reasonable diplomat would have openly stated his concerns to US/NATO and sought a peaceful solution — which is exactly what Russia did. But “Our Guys” blew Russia off, giving Russia even more cause for concern.

    There is no analogy to pre-WWII “appeasement”, except in the minds of those who are unthinkingly swallowing US government/Ukrainian propaganda. The way to stop this war is by encouraging reasonable negotiations, not by issuing unaffordable blank checks for more weapons of war.


  93. I always wondered how people could have been so stupid as to have allowed Hitler’s rise to power, particularly the British and French. They could have put an end to the whole issue at many points, early on. Yet, they did not; a fact that has always puzzled me.

    Isn’t it fun to ridicule people for mistakes in history ? The British lost a generation of young men in WWI. The Oxford Union resolved not to fight for King and Country. The French had even higher casualties in WWI. Their troops had mutinied at one point. Douglas Haig, the British Commander the second half of the war is hated as a butcher. Even his Wikipedia bio says so.

    That they shrank from war is understandable. It was a mistake but an understandable one.

  94. Any reasonable person could understand that Russia had cause for concern. A reasonable diplomat would have openly stated his concerns to US/NATO and sought a peaceful solution

    Too many of our politicians were using Ukraine as an ATM. The corruption was massive. Obama backed the overthrow of the pro-Russian prime minister after he was elected. Romney had his snout in the trough.

  95. I think romney has just proven himself a jackass, tied to esg demons like spencer cox

  96. I’m sorry but this is just creepy as heck. Looks like a movie set, literally. Makes me want to check for my wallet–oops, I seem to be missing tens of billions of dollars…
    https://twitter.com/ChristopherJM/status/1525451561626918918
    President Zelensky welcomed US delegation to Kyiv led by Sen Mitch McConnell today. Zelensky said it’s “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine.”
    “Thank you for your leadership in helping us fight not only for our country, but also for democratic values ​​and freedoms.”

  97. That certainly does not look like London during the Blitz, or like Belgrade after the NATO “defensive alliance” had finished bombing it. This suggests that Russia is playing by a different set of rules than the West, since they clearly have the capability to destroy that movie set if they chose to. The implication is that most of the CNN/NYT commentary is probably misleading since they assume that Russia is behaving according to Western rules.

    As a side note, I despise Mitch McConnell and all of his “bipartisan” senatorial buddies. And I feel a little bit sorry for Zelensky, who is beginning to realize how many of the corrupt US politicians want their 10%. There will be nothing left for Zelensky!

  98. a total of 2,435 killed (746 men, 469 women, 48 girls, and 66 boys, as well as 70 children and 1,036 adults whose sex is yet unknown)

    a total of 2,946 injured (345 men, 274 women, 62 girls, and 67 boys, as well as 157 children and 2,041 adults whose sex is yet unknow

    As of April 10. It seems to be the latest number they have. UN Human Rights Commission

    https://www.ohchr.org/en/news/2022/04/ukraine-civilian-casualty-update-10-april-2022

    Does anyone have better/more recent number go civilian casualties?

    It seems very low in light of hundreds of years of Russian awfulness to civilians in war and in peace.

  99. Just to get back to the original post. Take a look at this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uahc3ROnxjg

    Keep in mind that the tractor is mid to high six figures, the planter probably low six figures, the screens probably five figures. This ain’t the Real McCoys, if anybody here remembers.

    It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve run a tractor and there was just the barest hint of any of this sort of technology visible then. This is how you and I and a big chunk of the rest of the world eats. This is an example of the “low tech” of commodities that we export and consume.

    How long before we hear the story of POTATUS’s days on the crabgrass farm?

  100. Years ago I read that the 4th-commonest ethnic ancestry in Canada – after British French, and indigenous – is Ukrainian. Now I’m beginning to wonder if one or more Ukrainian-Canadians ran off with PenGun’s former wife or wives or girlfriend(s) or boyfriend(s). It would explain his gleeful eagerness to see the Russians slaughter the Ukrainians in Ukraine in huge numbers, even the women and children.

  101. I went to school with one he could pass for american like michael j fox he subsequently had a spot of trouble since then. You know idiots like ignatieff whose distant relative was one of the nastier sorts in czarist russia

  102. Dr Weevil: “It would explain his gleeful eagerness to see the Russians slaughter the Ukrainians in Ukraine in huge numbers, even the women and children.”

    Hey! That is sexist, you male chauvinist! The modern woman has just as much right to get slaughtered as any man! Nuclear weapons don’t discriminate by sex, so why should you?

    To be more serious, if you compare what Russia is doing with what “Our Side” did in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, you would probably conclude that — contrary to the 24/7 Ukrainian propaganda — the Russians have been trying to avoid civilian casualties. Which makes sense, since they intervened in that long-running civil war to stop the Kiev Ukrainians from continuing to murder Donbass civilians, and most of the action so far has been in the Donbass.

  103. I would probably conclude no such thing: don’t attribute such conclusions to me. I find them utterly and ridiculously implausible.

  104. “The casualties in the Donbass since 2014 amount to about 16,000 killed. The attack that was planed in early March, was one of the main reasons Russia invaded the country.”

    2014 you say? I remember that year. That was the year Russian troops invaded and tried to annex part of the sovereign country of Ukraine. Killing Russian Spetznatz and Wagner group mercenaries is not the same thing as killing innocent civilians.

    “Come on man. Russian lives don’t matter, and neither do Russian interests, because Hitler.”

    Apparently not to Russian high command, since, according to a briefing given to President Putin a few weeks ago, Russia had by then already lost 13,000 men KIA and another 7,000 men MIA. To put that into perspective, that KIA number is more than *twice* as many men as America has lost in all military operations since the fall of Saigon combined — for a country half as populous. It’s only gotten worse since then.

    “a total of 2,946 injured (345 men, 274 women, 62 girls, and 67 boys, as well as 157 children and 2,041 adults whose sex is yet unknown

    As of April 10. It seems to be the latest number they have. UN Human Rights Commission

    Does anyone have better/more recent number go civilian casualties? “

    The mayor of Mariupol estimates that the Russians killed 22,000 civilians in that city alone and carted off another 33,000 to Russian “filtration” camps (that’s what the Russians call them) where those that can be “re-educated” are and those that can’t be are “eliminated” (again, Russian terms).

    “the Russians have been trying to avoid civilian casualties.”

    Oh brother! That must be why the Russians are firing into apartment buildings using tanks at point-blank range until the building collapses,pulling any civilians who survive out of the wreckage, and hauling them off to filtration camps. Such kind and caring people, those Russians.

  105. Back to close to the original subject, I think this is obviously correct, the question is, what is anyone going to do about it?
    https://gcaptain.com/germany-accuses-putin-of-provoking-the-global-food-crisis/
    “German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock accused Russia of deliberately provoking a global food crisis to try to weaken the international alliance against its war in Ukraine…
    “We must not be naive about this,” Baerbock said. “It’s not collateral damage, it’s a perfectly deliberate instrument in a hybrid war that is currently being waged.””

    I have no doubt that Russia, with the cooperation of China and other allies such as Brazil, etc. (formerly including Pakistan until their recent coup), thinks that they can wait out “Western” imposed sanctions, which will collapse under global economic and agricultural pressure. And what exactly is Germany going to do about it other than whine? They haven’t even stopped one iota of gas imports, though they claim they’ll do so, just not today…
    (I also think that their “plan” involved decapitating the Ukraine government and installing a friendly regime, and then outlasting sanctions, so I certainly am not saying that they’re some sort of supergeniuses, since that fundamental part of it was moronic with almost no chance of success.)
    Where’s the “Project Warp Speed” for fertilizer technology or development? In a few months there’s going to be incandescent rage at how much money we’re shoveling “to” Ukraine (almost none of it is actually directly going to them, it’s all a slush fund for DOD/IC contractors), when basic food is incredibly expensive and/or unavailable…

  106. How long before we hear the story of POTATUS’s days on the crabgrass farm?
    He’ll tell us how he singlehandedly supplied all of Red Lobster’s crabs from this farm…..

  107. 2014 you say? I remember that year. That was the year Russian troops invaded and tried to annex part of the sovereign country of Ukraine.

    It was also the year a US-funded coup managed to successfully overthrow the elected government of the sovereign country of Ukraine. But we’re not supposed to remember that event from 2014, are we?

    …according to a briefing given to President Putin a few weeks ago, Russia had by then already lost 13,000 men KIA and another 7,000 men MIA.

    How do you know this? Because the people who assessed that Russia would conquer Ukraine in three days told you so?

    The mayor of Mariupol estimates that the Russians killed 22,000 civilians in that city alone and carted off another 33,000 to Russian “filtration” camps…

    I looked up the mayor of a Mariupol, a certain Vadim Boychenko. According to Wikipedia, he fled the city, presumably before the Russian army occupied it.

    Hence, how does he know what happened in Mariupol? Statements by General Milley? Press releases from Kiev?

    That must be why the Russians are firing into apartment buildings using tanks at point-blank range…

    Oh no. Are they killing babies in incubators too? Is there a young girl tweeting from Kiev that only we can save her, by a liberal application of American soldiers?

    Do I sound cynical and uncaring? That’s because long experience has taught me not to trust a single word put out by these people, not one. I have no idea what’s actually happening in Ukraine or Russia and neither do you. I do know, however, that I’ve continually seen claims coming out of Ukraine that soon are admitted to be false, after the headlines have run and the propaganda value has faded. E. g., the Ghost of Kiev.

    Thus, I have trouble believing the endless stories of atrocities, because one side has a rather obvious incentive to make them up.

    Worse, I know full well that the people all-in for a US-Russia war are exactly the same people who were all-in on getting rid of Donald Trump, by any means necessary, including “fortifying “ the 2020 election. That is, stealing it.

    Such kind and caring people, those Russians.

    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian regime we are supporting has banned opposition parties, shut down opposition media, and is continually demanding the West go to full scale war against Russia. It has famously been a conduit for bribe money for the DC swamp, extent unknown but I expect far larger than anyone presently suspects. And if you want to believe pro-Russian sources, it has also shelled and murdered its own citizens with casual indifference.

    As far as I’m concerned these folks can fight their own war without involving the United States.

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