Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

54 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. To start with something practical, I have just booked a couple of nights on AirBnB in a room in Bucha, on the current front line 25 km NW of Kyiv and the scene of heavy fighting and shelling. Olana, the host, is presumably a refugee now and looking for somewhere to stay herself. This scheme gets money and moral support to individuals in need, fast. These are middle-class property-owners so maybe not the absolutely neediest, but still worth a shot. AirBnB are waiving the usual fee. The neighbouring front-line suburb is Irpin, which looks rather nice – or did before last week.

    The heavy Russian area shelling is pure vandalism and terrorism of civilians like Olana. The Ukrainian army has learnt a lot from the Donbass and NATO advisers. They seem to be using small mobile groups of infantry armed with highly lethal western antitank missiles and (WSJ report) British sniper rifles costing £3,000. Russian artillery and warplanes will only hit them by chance. They can fight just as well from ruins as intact buildings. Stalingrad, anybody?

  2. James, I assume you are just letting your money travel, not you personally going there?! And a good support mechanism. Give Olana our well wishes.

    I assume Russian body bags are transfered as covertly as armaments.

  3. Greg Hunt, the Putin of propaganda of health & lies – only for his dog-ma. 
    – Plus the Doctors Joke on us.  
    – And a big red flag to boot.

    “Medicare fraud by providers is rampant and government bulk-billing figures are a ‘lie’, review finds”

    “Greg Hunt said bulk billing rates are at a record high – 88.8% for the 2020-2021 financial year. This is 6.7% higher than the same period in 2012-13 and means that nearly nine in 10 visits to the GP are free of charge.” [ Hunt’s porky barrel ]

    And now we have “Doctors of Hippo-Crass-y”  … ““There is massive illegal bulk-billing going on and I see it in every education seminar for doctors that I do,” Faux said.”

    The Faux & Doctor’s Joke is on us!
    No! “… such that violations of the oath may carry criminal or other liability beyond the oath’s symbolic nature.”

    Political Pants on Fire Hunt, soon to be consulting to your private provider. The slipoery slope to … insert failed state taxonomy here.

    We had best stop worrying about Russia before we become Russia, via the Faux faux Hunt polarized news spin cycle. 

    A BIG RED FLAG. Faux’s faux front, named “Australian Institute of Medical Administration and Compliance” T&C’s say:
    “For full details of the AIMAC privacy policy see”

    Oh oh. “The review, authored by Dr Margaret Faux”, (who  is to be thanked for revealing this), but the report is owned by “Synapse Medical Training Pty Limited t/as the fancy faux front named “The Australian Institute of Medical Administration and Compliance”. Sneaky and lie by omission. Ala Hunt. Zero compliance with anything other than a bigger bank balance fed by Fed thicket of regulations.

    So the report and obvious publicity is the best advertisement via the front name”Australian Institute of Medical  Administration and Compliance”, for the business of Synapse Medical Training Pty Limited,  training doctors, therefore profiting from this crappy abused system. Amazing. Slippery. Revealing.

  4. KT2: Your assumption is obviously correct. This is a scheme for transmitting small donations of money, not organizing war tourism. The bookers have no idea if the houses still exist.

  5. Offshore wind cheerful update

    “.. Growth [in marine life] depends on nutrients stirred up from the deep water by turbulence associated with tides, winds and waves.[….] The introduction of wind turbines into deeper water, where the ocean is stratified, will provide a new, artificial, source of turbulence. Water flowing past the floating turbine foundations will generate wakes, causing the warm and cold layers to mix together. In fact, we recently published research showing the wake from foundations at least doubles the natural turbulent mixing within the region of an offshore wind farm.”

    It turns out that offshore wind turbines are accidental conservation stars.They cut overfishing through navigational restrictions, and the network of seafloor cables protected by stout rock piles blocks destructive seabed trawling entirely within the wind farm. Fixed foundations and the rock piles create new habitat for mussels, seaweed and juvenile fish. In future, we are likely to see large rafts of solar panels moored to the turbines, offering roosting space for seabirds, and potentially seaweed farms underneath. And now we have the additional turbulence payoff.

  6. I sent this to a female relative this morning. The reply
    “What a load of rubbish! I hope that’s not what you’re telling your kid. I won’t be reading it”. Oh. Ok!

    I hope we might separate out self from opinions, metaphors and analogies. Seems not.

    “Lucy Cooke is happily absorbed. “Let’s see if we can see a big predatory female,” she says. We can: a gorgeously colourful golden orb weaver sits in the centre of her vast gold-tinted web, 125 times bigger than her tiny mate. “I didn’t realise that the majority of spiders are sexual cannibals, that the big spiders in the middle of webs were always female; males are basically wandering useless sacks of sperm,” Cooke says loudly in earshot of several harried-looking human fathers.

    “This is a very Lucy Cooke observation: uncensored, pithily expressed and startlingly informative. There is plenty more of that in her new book, Bitch: A Revolutionary Guide to Sex, Evolution & the Female Animal, a dazzling, funny and elegantly angry demolition of our preconceptions about female behaviour and sex in the animal kingdom (queendom?).

    “For too long, Cooke argues, we have uncritically accepted a view of nature “through a Victorian pinhole camera” and worse, those misconceptions have been co-opted by ideologues “to claim that a host of grim male behaviours – from rape to compulsive skirt-chasing to male supremacy – were only natural for humans because Darwin said so.” That is simply, demonstrably wrong, as she outlines, combining colourful revelations with limpidly clear explanations of complex science. “Female animals,” she writes, “are just as promiscuous, competitive, aggressive, dominant and dynamic as males.”

    “The zoologist sticking her neck out in the battle of the sexes”

  7. This site is interesting for Ukrainian and Russian equipment loss information and statistics.

    It is not quite up to date and I do not know how authoritative it is. The picture seems to be that both Russia and Ukraine are suffering substantial losses; Russia more so. From other information, the Ukrainians seem tactically and even strategically competent in defensive operations. The Russians seem tactically and strategically incompetent and they have screwed up their invasion big time. The generals and commanders have done things which get generals and commanders sacked or even court martialed… or in Russia’s case probably shot.

    The combined arms operation by Russia is a mess. Long, compressed columns stalled on roads and unable to deploy even tracked vehicles into effective fronts, echelon attacks etc. due to boggy thaw. Stalled columns unable to be turned around, extricated or reorganized. All lanes are filled with forward pointing vehicles. No way to turn the column except by 3-point (K) turns at the back end of the column. Russian infantry proving ineffective at protecting armored and unarmored vehicles against enemy infantry-launched weapons. The list goes on. Even Ukraine’s air defenses are holding up to some extent.

    Not so paradoxically, all this makes Putin and the Russian Army more dangerous, not less. Their assault, where they can organize it, is becoming more and more reckless. Neither nuclear power stations and facilities, nor civilians, appear at all safe from indiscriminate bombing, shelling and rocket attacks. Putin will likely do a lot worse things yet unless deposed. But the Ukrainians seem minded to not give up. Some are predicting a 10 year quagmire for Russia unless they retreat. A retreat would likely depend on Putin being deposed.

  8. Small news: Since the war in the Ukraine broke out, the A$ appreciated against the Euro by approximately 7.9%. [Source, calculation based on daily exchange rate data published in the smh; rough measure, too coarse for exchange rate speculation].

    Comment, this increase in monetary wealth of potential tourists from Australia does not change the risk of catching Covid on a flight to Europe and it does not change the war related flight restrictions and associated risks of harm or inconveniences, depending on locations within Europe. Yes I am stating the obvious. It is but another example of my little nags about lose theorising and decision making with macro-economic data.

  9. Big nag.

    This is how the wars keep going, nuclear gets pushed, and with the usual suspects right under of Australian noses, promoted by out Prime Ministers.

    Utterly disgusting to see Lowy Institute logo on screen whilst our servant,  Prime Minister Scott Morrison is talking of natural disasters here, the war in Ukraine etc. Logo bottom left – best spot – constantly on screen.

    Lowy at Wikipedia
    “The institute receives funds from the Australian government through theDepartment of Foreign Affairs and Trade,Department of Defence, and the Department of Home Affairs. Companies which provide funding include BHP, Capital Group, Rio Tinto, and Rothschild & Co.[8]

    “The institute has also been funded by donations from the investment management firm, Manikay Partners; from a global accounting and professional services firm:Ernst & Young; and from a former Australian diplomat and cabinet secretary, Michael Thawley (with his wife Deborah).[2]

    “In 2012, the institute was criticized by Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner of Friends of the Earth Australia, alleging that the institute ran “a disgraceful propaganda campaign” to advocate for Australian uraniumsales to India, in contravention of Australia’s longstanding policy of refusing to sell uranium to nations who did not join theNuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).[3]”

    Manikay Partners bought with zero scrutiny 20% of Tel Aviv Stock exhange. Before IPO.

    Australian superannuation fund Sunsuper acquired about five per cent of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) after the Israeli Securities Authority approved the sale of TASE’s securities to non-Israeli parties in August 2018: Australian-founded firm Manikay Partners also bought 19 per cent of TASE shares. Israeli investment in Australia is small in absolute dollar figures but potentially high … › sites › default › files › israel-market-insight.docx

    Manikay Partners boss, due to insider trading bist by SEC, dine $2.6m and stepped down  from ASX. And basically been given a 30% retrun in listing of:
    …” valued the bourse at 710 million shekels ($202 million).

    “Joining a global trend, the Israeli exchange sold nearly 32% of its shares at 7.1 shekels per share. They jumped 30% in their first hours of trading to 9.25 shekels in heavy turnover.”

    From the vampire squid underwtiting Manikay Partners, to DFAT investment to: Wikipedia;
    “The institute’s board comprises Australian policy makers and business people.[14]

    Frank Lowy AC – Lowy Institute founder and chairman; co-founder, Westfield Group
    David Gonski AC – Chairman of Australian and New Zealand Banking Group and Coca-Cola Amatil Limited
    Joanna Hewitt AO
    Sir Angus Houston AK, AC, AFC
    Martin Indyk – Diplomat; former United States ambassador to Israel
    David Lowy AM
    Peter Lowy – Group managing director of the Westfield Group
    Steven Lowy AM – Group managing director of the Westfield Group
    Ian Macfarlane – Former Governor of theReserve Bank of Australia
    Mark Ryan – Company director
    The Hon James Spigelman AC
    The Hon Penny Wensley AC
    Notable staff
    Michael Fullilove, Executive Director

    They don’t even need aohine to run the world. They can do it over canapes and chalis in the board room or just front up Scott Morrison.

  10. Yes, the rich run the world. Strange that democracy limits conventional political power but permits unlimited capital power or “capital might”.

    “1 From Wealth to Vermögen.

    In English, of persons who own a variety of assets that have a certain monetary value,
    one says that they have a certain wealth. In English, it is not clear how wealth as such
    should relate to power. The situation is different in German: the direct translation of ‘wealth’ is Vermögen, sometimes even Kapitalvermögen. You say, Mr. Gates has a
    Vermögen of $100 billion. Now, the word Vermögen is also used more generally to
    denote the ability to do something, the power to. Indeed, etymologically Vermögen
    belongs to the same group as the German Macht, which is the direct translation of
    ‘power’, especially in political contexts. These words trace their etymology to the
    Indo-European root mag h, which means ‘ability’ or ‘power’, and from which all kinds
    of related English words, like ‘might’, ‘mechanics’, ‘machine’ and many others,
    including ‘magician’, derive; there is also the closely related root maĝh, which means
    ‘fight’ or ‘struggle’ (Köbler 2014).

    So in German, the identity of capital and power is already built into the language—
    and the etymologically English equivalent to Kapitalvermögen would be ‘capital
    might’. The reader can get a feeling for the meaning of Vermögen by taking an
    arbitrary report about goings-on in business and replace words like ‘asset’, ‘wealth’
    and ‘equity’ with ‘might’. The use of the word Vermögen for financial wealth
    apparently seems to have started around 1500 (Grimm and Grimm 2019). This was
    the age of German protocapitalists, most notably Jacob Fugger of Augsburg (b. 1459–
    d. 1525), whose byname was ‘the Rich’ and who, at the end of his life, controlled much
    of European silver and copper production, silver being the foundation of the hard
    money of the age and copper a raw material necessary for making then new weapons
    of mass destruction, cannons and guns. Fugger and other rich men were able to turn
    their business success into political influence. For example, Fugger was responsible,
    i.e. paid for, Charles V to become emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1519
    (Häberlein 2012; Steinmetz 2016). In an age that was otherwise still feudalist, this
    new kind of monetized power, Geldvermögen, was reflected in chapbooks, early
    popular printed story books, notably in the well-known Dr. Faustus, about a magician
    who seeks power through a pact with the devil, but also in the much less known
    Fortunatus, which plays out the possibilities its main character has with a purse that
    contains money each time he opens it (Suchsland 1968).” – THE AUTOCATALYTIC SPRAWL OF PSEUDORATIONAL MASTERY – Ulf Martin.

  11. From a post by John Mauldin on Mar 4, titled Change Squared, includes (bold text my emphasis):

    President Biden keeps saying the sanctions are designed to not hurt American businesses. I’m sure the administration is doing what it can, but there’s just no way to order such massive, open-ended interventions and not cause collateral damage.

    At the same time, some of this is outside US control. A small example: Ukraine produces about 70% of the world’s neon gas exports. While neon signs are now mostly antiques, it is a crucial component in semiconductor production. That kind of neon gas has to be refined to ultra-high purity. Two-thirds of it comes from a single factory in Odesa, Ukraine. Furthermore, the kind of ships that can carry that gas aren’t super common and could become even less so if someone gets trigger-happy in the Black Sea.

    If those neon shipments should stop, analysts say global chipmakers probably have about eight weeks’ supply on hand. Then what? The industry is just now starting to recover from COVID-driven disruptions, which in turn affected production at a long list of downstream companies, especially automakers.

    The world’s only An-225 was destroyed at Hostomel airport outside Kyiv during a recent attack. Capacity: 253,820 kilograms (559,580 lb)
    Cargo hold: volume 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft), 43.35 m (142.2 ft) long × 6.4 m (21 ft) wide × 4.4 m (14 ft) tall

    International business planning has become highly risky.

  12. Ikon, thanks for Vermögen. I will not forget.

    Geoff, Taiwan semiconductor and Ukraine Neon. Maybe Putin & Xi will have leverage.

    Fund science. Distribute manufacturing, and Vermögen.

  13. Interesting post on Vermögen, Ikonoclast. Jacob Fugger also spent a bit of his great wealth on housing for the poor in Augsburg.
    Was Jacob Fugger a philanthropist or a competitor with landowners for workers? Or does he serve as a reminder for present day governments to make the provision of housing a central responsibility and for the super rich to pay higher taxes to finance expenditure on social housing?

  14. alfred venison,

    The UK has a far right terrorist problem.

    By your logic, Russia should immediately invade the UK, destroy its economy and cities and send millions of its citizens in refugee waves to where? France? Canada? That’s the solution according to you?

    While pointing at the splinter in Ukraine’s eye you forget the beam of hypocrisy in your own. Ukraine was going through a complex social evolutionary and growth process. Things were getting better under Zelenskyy. Increased freedoms and economic progress, along with improved equality and opportunities cause extremist groups to wither and lose their allure. Putin couldn’t stand that Ukraine was succeeding in this process while Russia under his iron boot was failing. Thus, he had to smash something he could not understand or emulate.

    But you apparently support a leader (Putin) who has his political opponents routinely poisoned, shot, beaten and imprisoned. Fascist is as fascist does. There is no bigger fascist on the planet right now than Putin.

    “Putin’s Russia as a fascist political system” – Alexander J. Motyl


    There is a broad consensus among students of contemporary Russia that the political system constructed by Vladimir Putin is authoritarian and that he plays a dominant role in it. By building and expanding on these two features and by engaging in a deconstruction and reconstruction of the concept of fascism, this article suggests that the Putin system may plausibly be termed fascist. Not being a type of group, disposition, politics, or ideology, fascism may be salvaged from the conceptual confusion that surrounds it by being conceived of as a type of authoritarian political system. Fascism may be defined as a popular fully authoritarian political system with a personalistic dictator and a cult of the leader—a definition that makes sense conceptually as well as empirically, with respect to Putin’s Russia and related fascist systems.”

    Functionally, Putin’s political system is Fascist. It demonstrates all the characteristics.

    ” In fascist systems, as in fully authoritarian systems, the pro-regime party is dominant, electoral outcomes are pre-ordained, parliaments are rubber-stamp institutions, and judiciaries do what the leader tells them in the political sphere. In contrast to authoritarian systems, which are ruled by gray eminences or juntas, and democratic systems, which are ruled by elected officials, fascist systems are ruled by personalistic dictators. Like competitive and fully authoritarian systems (and unlike totalitarian systems), fascist systems do not penetrate into a country’s political, economic, social, and cultural life and do not propound all-embracing ideologies that answer all of life’s questions. Instead, fascist systems attempt to dominate and control non-state institutions and espouse limited worldviews. Like authoritarian and, to a lesser degree, democratic systems, fascist systems exalt the state and the nation; unlike authoritarian and democratic systems, fascist systems also exalt the leader. Unlike competitive and fully authoritarian systems, fascist systems are genuinely popular. Like competitive and fully authoritarian systems, fascist systems also reject socialism and embrace capitalism: they tacitly acknowledge the autonomy of capitalists, even while circumscribing it by means of dirigisme, occupation of the strategic heights, or corporatism. Like competitive and fully authoritarian systems, fascist systems are highly centralized and hierarchical, giving pride of place within the authority structure to the army and secret police. Like fully authoritarian systems, fascist systems limit freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly and their oppositions are either wholly or mostly neutralized. Like authoritarian systems, fascist systems have significant, but limited, propaganda apparatuses and engage in targeted violence against regime opponents and widespread coercion
    against the population in general.

    Fascism is thus a sub-type of full authoritarianism, differing from it in three respects. Fascist dictators exercise a personalistic leadership style, whereas authoritarian dictators are gray eminences or juntas. What passes for an authoritarian worldview centers on the state and nation, while the fascist equivalent also celebrates the wise or vigorous personalistic leader. Finally, authoritarian populations acquiesce in authoritarian rule, whereas their fascist counterparts willingly submit to fascism in exchange for promises of a grand and glorious future. I therefore define fascism as a popular fully authoritarian
    political system with a personalistic dictator and a cult of the leader. In turn, a competitive authoritarian political system with a personalistic dictator and a cult of the leader may be termed fascistoid; that is, almost, but not quite fascist.” – (Motyl, 2010).

    Supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine is to support Fascism, Putinoid Fascism in this case.

  15. Is Russian Fascism end stage Neoliberalism? A suppressed working class, wealth in the hands of a few. What little is left of the State is a conduit of wealth to cronies of the ruling class.

  16. AV – See “av, Av, AV!” below. And we have already done this AV as ‘they’ operate ‘here’, see below.

    AV, your propaganda article, a “Ukraine Alert, June 20, 2018″ is the US pot calling the kettle black. 

    And the article states:  …”Last week Hromadske Radio revealed…”.

    Tell me AV, how much funding Hromadske Radio has received from the Atlantic Council,  because;
    “programs are created by the financial support of international organizations and foundations from Europe and the USA. Donors who donate to Hromadske Radio share their ideology and editorial principles, thus they guarantee interference in editorial policy of the radio.”

    av, Av, AV!… Alfred Vension, your amnesia is showing. Or perhaps it’s KT2’s corollary: Sufficiently advanced amnesia or bias, is indistinguishable from propaganda”…
    “I find this vile yet, the US has said “Military Personnel Can Be in Neo-Nazi Groups, Defense …
    “United States military officials testified before Congress on Tuesday, telling legislators that personnel will not be discharged from the US military for claiming membership in a neo-Nazigroup. The House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel hearing — which featured scholars, experts, and Pentagon officials — comes on the heels of a broad uptick in white-supremacist violence …”… › military-personnel-can-be-in-neo-nazi-group-officials-say-2020-2

    “And; “White nationalism remains a problem for the military, poll… “A Military Times poll from last fall found that more than one in five servicemembers have seen evidence of white supremacy or racist ideology in the ranks, despite work from service leaders…”… › news › pentagon-congress 

    “They are here too.
    “Far-right [knee-O-n-Artzee] group [insert x+y+nationalist ] added to Australia’s terror list”
    Article in Canberra Times

    AV, try this instead. I asked, inclusing you av, …”Perhaps we may have a better tomorrow if we try solve for the future our present problems, without the same language, history, processes and and thought patterns – historiography & punitive retributions – that created them. 

    “By using names or tribes, instead of higher level future focussed abstraction so as NOT to be triggering of history wars.”

    Go on AV, try searching before keyboard fingers

  17. “Is Russian Fascism end stage Neoliberalism? A suppressed working class, wealth in the hands of a few. What little is left of the State is a conduit of wealth to cronies of the ruling class.” – Poselequestion.

    A good question and the simple answer is “Yes.” Russian Fascism is (one form of) end stage Neoliberalism. The USA (mainly) has tried to infuse neoliberalism everywhere. The results depend on the existing mix that neoliberalism enters into and how far the neoliberal infusion is taken. Let us hope the USA does not approach end stage Neoliberalism by electing Donald Trump again.

  18. “Let us hope the USA does not approach end stage Neoliberalism by electing Donald Trump again.”

    [fingers & toes crossed] It’s for all to see now (for even the most blinkered of Americans) that everything Donald Trump stood and stands for, is exactly what Putin wanted.

  19. Ikonoclast : you are wrong to presume i support putin. i no more support putin than mearsheimer supports putin. like mearsheimer i look at this crisis through an international relations realist lens, realist as an analytical framework, not some kind of apologia for aggression (*). i seek to understand what motivates all the sides, i think this is important. i seek to minimise the mind numbing effects of propaganda on my thinking by examining information from many sources. i read kiev papers, do you? i check out the press releases at kremlin dot ru (when i’m not blocked). i read the press releases at whitehouse dot gov (where i’m never blocked). i read der spiegel & deutsche welle, le monde with google translator, reuters & tass (when i’m not blocked), haaretz, times of india.

    there have been comments made to wit the russian claim of nazi/neo-nazi influence in ukrainian politics (national & regional), public service, gov’t, army & security services is a fake claim. it is not a fake claim. my aim has been to establish & elaborate on the substance of this claim, so that it may be accounted for as one of the motivations on russian side, one grounded in reality and not a delusional phantasy. now whether or not this justifies an invasion is not my purview. but it is some part of what motivates the russian side to the conflict, as a fact not a phantasy.
    exercising myself to understand what motivates all the sides to a conflict is what i was taught to do in the 3 years i spent studying international relations at one university & the seven years i spent studying modern history and the history of nationalism at another university : to check out as many primary sources as i can get hold of & weigh them up.

    for many years i have had an abiding interest in the volkish politics & nazi/neo-nazi history of western ukraine/southern poland/austrian & austro-hungarian gallicia. this is partly because i grew up among ukrainians in alberta (where largest proportion of the 1.6 million canadians who identify as ukrainian live, and where the provincial gov’t has run the ukrainian flag up the third pole in the legislature grounds on ukraine day since the 1970s). my school pals were ukrainians, they spoke their language *on the street*. i went to their homes, met their parents, ate their food, looked at the pictures on their walls & tables, their religious icons. and partly because of my university training. and also partly because 2 of my 3 brothers-in-law are ukrainian. and over the years one of them has told me interesting accounts of his firsthand experience in western ukraine before independence. back in the late ’60s, he & his sister travelled to ukraine over three successive summers, at their own expense, in order to help with bringing in the sheaves/ the grain harvest, because there were bumper crops & labor shortages in the ukrainian soviet socialist republic at that time, and because they’re from a farming family, and they’re socialists, and they’re teachers on summer holiday, and it otherwise might have gone to waste.

    i’m not a putin apologist. i’m a skeptic, an anarchist, i love ukraine & i love russia, i’m trained and i want a full set of facts. -a.v.


    for the record, in 1994 mearsheimer argued against ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons because their deterrent value would guard against future russian aggression. so how ’bout that ! for a “putinist” the right now wants to cancel out of his tenure [ ]. mearsheimer is a deterrence theory specialist. [ ]

  20. KT : perhaps the knee-O-n-Artzee elements in the u.s. military could be streamed over to a separate unit, call it “the ozark mountain rangers”, or somethink. its deplorable and perhaps indicative of declining numbers of appropriately qualified volunteers in the right demographics in the traditional recruitment states. “join the navy, and sail the seven seas” hasn’t the allure it used to have among the people who need to be allured ? -a.v.

  21. there have been comments made to wit the russian claim of nazi/neo-nazi influence in ukrainian politics (national & regional), public service, gov’t, army & security services is a fake claim. it is not a fake claim. my aim has been to establish & elaborate on the substance of this claim, so that it may be accounted for as one of the motivations on russian side

    The statements ‘there is neo-Nazi activity in Ukraine’ and ‘neo-Nazi activity is part of the motivation for Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine’ are not synonymous; evidence of neo-Nazi activity in Ukraine is not sufficient by itself to establish that neo-Nazi activity is part of Vladimir Putin’s motivation. The reasonable conclusion to draw from the available evidence is that Vladimir Putin is dishonestly exploiting evidence of neo-Nazi activity in Ukraine as a pretext for a decision which he has made for other reasons.

    now whether or not this justifies an invasion is not my purview.

    Why not? Whose purview is it?

  22. I’m expecting Russia to quickly collapse into a deep well of its own making, a nation built on secrecy, obfuscation,evasion and lies is terminal.

    Call Putins bluff, let him press the Big Red Button – if the rocket can break free from its rusty restraints and actually does lift off the chances that it can leave the country are pretty close to 0. It might land on the Kremlin.

    He is blowing himself up. He will blow himself up. Good riddance

  23. AV, thanks. I assumed your are not a propgand-‘ist’. Interesting to hear your close Ukraine ties.

    Unfortunately the article,  Atlantic Council and radio station quoted as a ‘source’,  led me to summise was / is funded by Atlantic Council. Wikipedia piqued my reaction. The reason – my lack of trust. And urging more balance and moving toward future focus, past the same consciousness to solve for a better future. Hard I know.

    You said  in your follow up “it is not a fake claim. my aim has been to establish & elaborate on the substance of this claim”. Ok. Nor is the many societies harbouring evil.

  24. J-D : “evidence of neo-Nazi activity in Ukraine is not sufficient by itself to establish that neo-Nazi activity is part of Vladimir Putin’s motivation”. no, not in itself, except he said it is, again & again. and so did lavrov, again & again. it is a stated goal of the invasion/ incursion/ special operation. was it the tipping point, “the proximate cause”? i don’t think so.

    speaking of the neo-nazi problem in the ukrainian state, a year and a half ago zelensky’s life was openly threatened, on a video that went viral in ukraine, by noted neo-nazi dmytro yarosh, founder of right sector & commander of the volunteer units on the donbass line of contact (LoC) over steps zalensky was taking to implement minsk agreement measures which were deemed unacceptable betrayal of the nation.

    why was nothing done about this? nothing was done because “avakov is their uncle”, so to speak. arsen avakov, minister of interior since 2014 to july last year, is a neo-nazi (statements by the chief rabbi of ukraine among others will back this up, if his bio in wikipedia is not sufficient). avakov was not a zelensky appointment to cabinet, he came with the furniture as it were, he was interior minister, in government after government, because he has contacts. in his capacity of interior minister, avakov controls the police, judiciary, secret service, and national guard (which incorporates elements of azov battalion). avakov appoints people like vadym troyan, deputy leader (colonel) of the azov battalion, to important positions in the state like chief of police for the kijv/ kiev oblast (the region) and protects them. he has stalled all substantive reform of the police & judiciary since 2014 and is the *eminence grise* of ukrainian national politics. he has been stalling presidential reforms since maidan.

    zelensky’s friend, and envoy to the 1st round of armistice talks with russia, denis kireev, m.p., was gunned down, in broad daylight on the main drag of kiev/kijv “while being arrested” by agents of the state security office, avakov’s people. according to eyewitnesses, other reports say he was gunned down while in custody. in any case he’s dead, killed by ukrainian neo-nazis who deemed him a traitor. this was the delegation, you may recall, that was reported in our press as saying they had “not got everything they were looking for”. other media said some measure of progress had been made on this issue of neutrality, something anathema to neo-nazis. kireev had been denounced on media for days before his death by azov, right sector, and svoboda party spokesmen. does this justify the invasion/ incursion/ special operation ? no, but it indicates to me that zelensky is not in full control of the state anymore if he ever was, that his life is in danger, and that he can’t trust the apparatus of state charged with protecting him. if he has not decamped yet to the american embassy in warsaw he should do so forthwith, imo. and not to lviv, where he would be even less safe than in the capital. -a.v.

  25. Iko: Your Turkish warblogging site uses an interesting method – trawling social media for photos by civilians – but this may create a pro-Ukrainian bias. For a more conventional staff-college approach, try this American think tank:

    I was struck by the high proportion (around half) of vehicle losses on both sides characterized as “captured” or “abandoned”. The Ukrainians are defending and overall retreating, but why should an invading force lose any vehicles to capture? There are several possible explanations – mechanical breakdown, running out of fuel, food or ammo, non-visible battle damage, surrender, desertion – but none of them are good news for the Russian army.

  26. James Wimberley,

    That was just a site I discovered at random. I think I mentioned in my post that it was unlikely to be reliable or definitive. The site you give looks more reliable. Of course, getting data from on the ground, out in the field, is always difficult.

    Mechanical breakdown can be a big one. A lot of third world nations claim to have high numbers of tanks etc. but how many of them work and how many of them break down shortly after being driven off the transporters? Russia is so shambolic they probably qualify as a third world country.

    Russia’s invasion is a shambles BUT they still have a great preponderance of air, artillery and rockets. Now they are bombing and shelling indiscriminately. Perhaps they can win this war or perhaps they will bog down in a quagmire. Either way Ukraine will be a shattered wreck. I can’t see Russia bouncing out of this either. Vladimir the Poisoner, Vladimir the Destroyer, is poisoning and destroying his own nation along with Ukraine. Russians have to wake up and depose him. Otherwise, they have no hope. It’s up to the Russian people.

  27. alfred venison 73.22%

    AV, you are going hard on “does this justify the invasion/ incursion/ special operation ? no, ”

    AV, How many normal Ukrainian civilians have now joined forces. How many will be there after facing down your continued one sided albiet disquieting, fears?

    av “but it indicates to me that zelensky is not in full control of the state anymore if he ever was, that his life is in danger, and that he can’t trust the apparatus of state charged with protecting him.”

    If this claim were true imo he’d be dead already. We see Zelensky wanderiing live and doing speeches in UK parliament.

    Even evil idiots don’t like being under anothers boot. Knee-Onartzee’s Azov’s arguing with Putin? Nah. Even they will be fighting for their perceived ‘freedom’ as big fish in the llittle pond of Ukraine.

    av “if he has not decamped yet to the american embassy in warsaw he should do so forthwith, imo. and not to lviv, where he would be even less safe than in the capital. -a.v.”

    As I’ll keep saying, the old order and fears need updating. Knee O nartzees will be less of a problem for reelection for Zelensky than;
    “The Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday called on Ukrainian authorities to exempt journalists from the general mobilization of all Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60.”

    And Dowd wrote of Zelensky ” “After they ascended to power, the would-be president of Sharknado 3 and the Ukrainian voice of Paddington Bear took on very different roles,” Dowd wrote. “Trump became a blackguard. Zelensky donned a white hat.”


    And  in 2019 “Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a comedian who portrayed a fictional president of Ukraine in the comedy television series Servant of the People, and the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, on 21 April 2019. According to the Central Election Commission, Zelenskyy won the second round with 73.22% of the votes.[1][2][3]”

    AV, even though history rhymes, and human nature, as the Yardbirds song indicates, is almost immutable, the tune in Ukraine will be different in future.  

    The Yardbirds – Shapes of Things (1966)

  28. alfred venison,

    I understand your position better with that back-grounding. However, I would say that focusing on Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem, which is real but limited, is a rather unbalanced view. Why not focus on the Maidan, Euromaidan or Automaidan? That was clearly a popular people’s movement for freedom and democracy (in Kiev and West Ukraine). It was supported by students, young people, ex-army, middle class people, old people, cultural and arts people, political opposition figures and a multi-faith coalition of religious leaders. They attempted peaceful demonstration. These people were not fascists.

    They were pushed back and amny were bashed senseless by Yanukovych’s goons, the Berkut special police force and also by hired criminals released from prison for the purpose of infiltrating the demonstration. The Berkut moved from truncheons, to iron bars, to stun grenades with bolts stuck on them, to rubber bullets and then to live bullets. The neo-nazis also infiltrated the Maidan and tried to hijack it for their own purposes. They likely instigated most of the the crowd violence (there was some) which further provoked the Berkut, who clearly needed very little provocation or excuse.

    I wonder why you mention none of this and prefer only to focus on a reactionary neo-nazi minority who provide the excuses that Putin needs. The strength with which a democratic Ukraine is fighting back against Russia illustrates the depth of the majority’s wishes. They want to be free, democratic and part of the EU. They want no part of Russia’s fascist dictatorship and its black hole of repression and collapsing oligarchic economy.

    As for Offensive Realism which I have taken a positive interest in in the past, it is realistic in some senses but morally bankrupt, as I see now. It justifies hegemonic zones of influence and demotes weaker nations to the status of doormats and buffer states for the hegemons. Its justification takes the form of reifying a theoretic position into a realism position. It’s the worst kind of “extantism” as I call it: the taking of what is extant and solidifying it as permanent and unchangeable.

    A multi-polar world, including large, but looser coalitions of small to medium sized nations could provide a way forward, where the small nations are not left behind. The EU is one example, The General Assembly and non-aligned nations are possibly another example. Coalitions are required to oppose monolithic hegemons. Offensive Realism as a theory justifying hegemonic domination in regions is just plain offensive. You could term this my conversion, on the road to Damascus, away from Offensive Realism. It’s a theory beloved by the dominant elites and jingoistic masses living in big, bullying hegemonic states. Speaking as a person living in a small nation-state (by population) I detest all hegemons. May they all dis-integrate back into smaller, manageable states generating a patchwork, multi-polar world.

    Yes, this is an emotional position. After the failure of rationalism we may again have to follow feeling: fellow feeling, empathy and sympathy. This is not necessarily an emotionalist position; it’s a naturalism position as fellow feeling, empathy and sympathy are the intrinsic emotional forces in humans which hold human society together. It could indeed be termed a Romantic position in the proper sense of the term Romanticism:

    In becoming a Romantic again, I would be returning to my personal aesthetic roots and basic nature. I see now how horribly the scientific rationalization of nature (including human nature) has failed us. Rationalism is really rationalization and it leads to hideous outcomes. Feeling is the basis of morality, not reason.

  29. Ikon, your useof language is useful.

    +1 “. .. the scientific rationalization of nature (including human nature) has failed us. Rationalism is really rationalization and it leads to hideous outcomes. Feeling is the basis of morality, not reason.”

  30. Vermögen (power) German lesson today led me to Vermögen being used as per googl translate; fortune, property, capacity, wealth, power, ability, faculty.

    Tricky to get Vermögen as it is so versatile. Tack it on to many concepts.

    Including Kant (can’t do stuff with Kant – interpretations forever, and I’m more pragmatic than philosophical),

    ” …and in virtue of these it is the “faculty of judging” (Vermögen zu urteilen) (A69/B94), which is also the same as the “faculty of thinking” (Vermögen zu denken) “…

    Have a Vermögen day. 😊

    Ernestine, it is a “reminder for present day governments to make the provision of housing a central responsibility”

    As Wikipedia says “As of 2020, the fee for a tour into the Fuggerei is 6.50 euro, over seven times the annual rent.[4] ” Wow.

    “In This Picturesque Village, the Rent Hasn’t Been Raised Since 1520”

  31. I agree it is worth waxing lyrical over the Fuggerei (“Die Fuggerei” and yes I had to look up the correct German definite article.)

    What amazes me is they are still intact, defying both time and war. That is wonderful. It is worth noting their durable construction even allowing for continuous craft quality maintenance.

    I am sure Ikonoclast’s House will not last nearly as long. Interesting to consider a possible translation:

    Das Bilderstürmerhaus – literally the “picture striker’s house”?

    This is probably a very klunky translation. Germans might say Das Iconoclasts Haus. Perhaps Ernestine could resolve this? As an aside, German seems to build concepts with compound words better than English and the number of nuances of meaning per word seems greater. Is English impoverished, (at least philosophically) compared to German? it’s an interesting thought. Have rationalism and science impoverished the word-horde of English?

  32. J-D : “evidence of neo-Nazi activity in Ukraine is not sufficient by itself to establish that neo-Nazi activity is part of Vladimir Putin’s motivation”. no, not in itself, except he said it is, again & again. and so did lavrov, again & again. it is a stated goal of the invasion/ incursion/ special operation.

    ‘How could you believe [him] when he said [that] when you know [he’s] been a liar all [his] life?’

  33. A 139-page report by the former Australian Chief Scientist (Nov 2008 to Mar 2011), Professor Penny Sackett, to the Independent Planning Commission NSW (IPCN) titled Expert Report to the NSW IPC on the Greenhouse Gas and Climate Implications of the Narrabri Underground Mine Stage 3 Extension, was published on the IPCN website on Mar 2, and it included:

    10) Unabated climate change is likely to be greatest overall threat to the environment and people of New South Wales (NSW) because it is comprehensively dangerous, global, fundamental, rapid, compounding, self-reinforcing, has delayed effects and, in some cases, is irreversible. [Section 4]

    42) Current levels of CO₂, CH4 and N₂O in the atmosphere are about 147%, 256% and 123%, respectively, of their pre-industrial levels around 1750.

    45) For perspective, the species Homo sapiens (modern human) is believed to have arisen only 300,000 to 600,000 years ago. In other words, carbon dioxide levels are higher now than at any other time our species has inhabited the Earth. (See Fig. 3 above.)

    Click to access 220225-penny-sackett_redacted.pdf

    = = = = = = = =
    Another (4th) global oil crisis has apparently arrived
    The first oil crisis began in October 1973 when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) led by Saudi Arabia proclaimed an oil embargo.

    The 1979 Oil Crisis, also known as the 1979 Oil Shock or Second Oil Crisis, was an energy crisis caused by a drop in oil production in the wake of the Iranian Revolution.

    The third oil crisis emerged in 2005, precipitating crude oil prices to eventually peak at US$147.30 per barrel in July 2008.

    In the shorter-term, it seems roughly 5 million barrels per day of Russian oil product exports are now off the international supply market, representing around 5% of global supply. This is an unequivocal oil supply shock, and could be more impactful than all the other past supply shocks.

    Energy independence has now become more important than ever.

  34. Ikonoclst : i hope you don’t think i’m “denigrating ukraine” when i choose to focus my attention on something of abiding interest to me. i think calls for me to be “more balanced” are misplaced. i entered this discussion to push back against the erroneous view that russian references to nazis in ukraine is pure hyperbolic phantasy, not to expostulate on the political sociology of a representative cross section of all groups/groupings.

    the neo-nazi problem is not “limited”, it is pervasive & dangerous to ukraine, as well as to europe. from azov’s founder (2010) : ” Ukraine’s national purpose: is to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen” – “untermenschen” meaning, as well as the usual suspects, other degenerates in the form of : city slickers, urban sophisticates, rootless cosmopolitans, bi-lingual speakers, feminists, lgbti, ,mixed (ethnic) marriages, people from central ukraine generally & eastern ukrainians (ethnic russians) .

    they have an influence beyond their number, because they occupy/ have come to occupy/ have been appointed to powerful positions in the state : the bureaucracy, the security service, the police, judiciary, and national guard.

    security service – recall how a year & a half ago ,for example, zemlinsky was “warned” by andre bilyetski of azov & friend of interior minister arsen avakov (caught by a kjiv e-newspaper on video that went viral) against “commiting treason” by implementing certain provisions of the minsk agreement regarding ceasefire conditions on the donbass LoC, provisions that had been solemnly agreed to by the ukrainian state, with russia, and overseen by france & germany, and the implementation of which had formed part of zemlensky’s election platform. openly & effectively : don’t dare betray the motherland “or else”. fast forward to last week, it was agents of the state security service (under avakov’s control) who were “arresting”, on a *treason* charge, armistice negotiator & friend of zelensky, denis kireev, when he was assassinated. imo, that was clearly a shot across zemlinsky’s bow by neo-nazis, about the inviolability (in their eyes) of the “sacred territory” of the nation/motherland.

    the police – the kyiv oblast police chief (an important position in the hierarchy of power) is former deputy head (colonel) of azov, appointed by avakov, his friend.

    the judiciary – reforms called for by EU stifled since 2014, by avakov.

    and, the national guard – the new berkat, the “police force of last resort”, elite paramilitary incorporating elements of azov, answerable to interior minister avakov, not the defence minister.

    all this is on public record, you don’t have to beat around the bush in the q-anon web for it.

    imo, realism is descriptive, not prescriptive. it doesn’t purport to tell you how to behave in the world, it purports to tell you how the world behaves like it or not; how things are, not how things ought to be. there’s nothing in taking realism as a valid description of the world as it is, that stops one being nevertheless an idealist. -a.v. [2022] [2019] [2018]

  35. the neo-nazi problem is not “limited”, it is pervasive & dangerous to ukraine, as well as to europe.

    Neo-Nazism is dangerous wherever it exists. Neo-Nazism exists in Australia and is dangerous here. Neo-Nazism exists in Russia and is dangerous there. The extent of the danger varies. I don’t have enough information to know the extent of the danger of neo-Nazism in Australia; I don’t have enough information to know the extent of the danger of neo-Nazism in Ukraine; therefore, I don’t know whether reports of the danger of neo-Nazism in Ukraine exaggerate its extent. Even if some of the reports are hyperbolical, however, that doesn’t make them entirely ungrounded in fact and it would be wrong to pretend that they are.

    None of this changes the fact that if Vladimir Putin says he ordered an invasion of Ukraine in order to deal with the problem of neo-Nazism there, he is lying.

    imo, realism is descriptive, not prescriptive. it doesn’t purport to tell you how to behave in the world, it purports to tell you how the world behaves like it or not; how things are, not how things ought to be.

    Like it or not, part of the way the world behaves is that people make monstrous inexcusable decisions which are sure to cause suffering and death on a large scale which vastly outweighs any possible human benefit resulting from those decisions, and Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch an invasion of Ukraine was one such decision.

  36. Neoliberalism and inequality drive the shift to populism and extreme right and Neo-nazi politics. Extremism and victim-blaming thrive under conditions of inequality and ignorance. The answer is more democracy, equality and state provision/support of social rights and social necessities like health, welfare, education, housing, public transport and public utilities.

    The above paper refers to civil crime but I am sure a further search of the literature would find a correlation of acted out extremism with the Gini coefficient. After all, much acted out extremism is crime too with both civil and political dimensions.

  37. AV, in the aftermath of Putin’s war against Ukraine:

    1) do you think Azov & kneeOnartzee nubers ot influencw will increase or decrease?

    2) other than your perceived realism, do you have ANY suggestions toward ameliorating your fears?


  38. A drop in the ocean yet “”… this is about more than revenue. This is about fixing a thoroughly broken tax code and showing working people in America that billionaires don’t get to play by a different set of rules. My view is the big scandal is what’s legal.”…

    “our stories have been the wealth advisory industry, figuring out a how-to manual. This is not what we intended”.

    Not sure if I like Wyden or his political persona, but he has a point. Strengthen faith in application of law and strengthen democracy.

    “Wyden’s bill seeks to counteract a technique that the ultrawealthy can use to avoid income taxes: They hold on to their assets and simply avoid the income — and tax — that comes when they sell them. The rich can live lavishly by employing a technique known as “Buy, Borrow, Die,” in which they buy or build assets, borrow against them and then avoid estate and gift taxes when they die.

    “… this is about more than revenue. This is about fixing a thoroughly broken tax code and showing working people in America that billionaires don’t get to play by a different set of rules. My view is the big scandal is what’s legal. When you walk these people through it, it causes people to lose faith in government, lose faith in democracy.

    “What really causes people to lose faith? I think the fact that billionaires occasionally pay zero in taxes will strike most people as wrong. But are there other things that strike you as really jeopardizing their faith in the system?

    “The fact is it’s so brazen. Some of the leading conservative publications write articles: “Buy, Borrow, and Die if you want to pay little or nothing. Here is the plan.” I tell people about this at my town hall meetings and everybody starts hollering: “Don’t let people back here get played as suckers by letting billionaires pay little or nothing for years on end while those of us who represent a vast majority of Americans get hammered.”

    “We’ve been struck that some of the most loyal and closest readers of our stories have been the wealth advisory industry, figuring out a how-to manual. This is not what we intended “…

  39. 2 + 1 + us go to elections over the Internet…”for Russia and China in their determination to make this Orwellian future possible.”

    “The election for the
    future of the internet

    “A battle for authoritarian control of the internet is underway at the most important UN body you’ve never heard of.
    “The secretary-general of a little-known UN body will determine the future of cyberspace (Philipp Katzenberger/Unsplash)
    Published 24 Feb 2022

    “This is where the geostrategic competition playing out at the ITU comes in.

    “The ITU enables the global connectivity we now take for granted (Leon Seibert/Unsplash)

    “Russia and China have long been opposed to the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance, and have advocated for bringing internet governance into the multilateral system – making it easier for nation states to control, track and censor the internet. Taking advantage of the ITU’s quest for institutional relevance, the body has become the favoured UN agency for Russia and China in their determination to make this Orwellian future possible.

    “Russia has led a number of efforts to expand the mandate of the ITU over the years to include internet governance – which to date have all been unsuccessful. China, meanwhile, has used the current ITU secretary-general, China’s Houlin Zhao, to not just support adoption of internet governance issues, but to expand the ITU’s remit into new technologies such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence. China is also pushing for the ITU to adopt Huawei’s New Internet Protocol, which would “bake authoritarianism into the architecture underpinning the web” by making users register to use the internet and giving nation states the ability to turn off a user’s internet access at any time.

    “This is where the election of the next ITU secretary-general becomes critical, and why it matters for the future of the internet as we know it: the candidates for the September election are from Russia and the United States.

    “Rashid Ismailov, a former deputy minister of the Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications”…

  40. NewSouthWaleski:

    ““It is very sobering to reflect that without Kristo filming the entire event, and having the resources to mount a solid legal defence, he could well have a conviction against his name as a stalker,” Mr Davis said.

    “The lawyer described the offence as “utterly trivial” and said it was shocking that Mr Langker was arrested in the way he was.

    “Mr Langker will now consider taking civil action against the police”

  41. More economics, social & capability, to take your mind off bad stuff.

    “Bad Economics
    “How microeconomic reasoning took over the very institutions of American governance.

    Simon Torracinta
    March 9, 2022

    “Given the outsize influence of economic thinking in modern life, it is odd that these microeconomic foundations have largely escaped public scrutiny. Three recent books help set the record straight. Each freely courts Samuelson’s scorn, showing how microeconomic methodology structures not only the theory and practice of economics, but the very institutions of American governance. In the face of the concatenating disasters of the present, economics will have to be remade, these authors suggest—from the inside and out.”

    Thinking Like an Economist: How Efficiency Replaced Equality in U.S. Public Policy
    Elizabeth Popp Berman
    Princeton University Press, $35 (cloth)

    Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be
    Diane Coyle
    Princeton University Press, $24.95 (cloth)

    What’s Wrong with Economics? A Primer for the Perplexed
    Robert Skidelsky
    Yale University Press, $25 (cloth)

    “A critique of the capability approach
    January 2010
    Thomas Pogge
    Yale University

  42. hix,

    Thanks for that link. Very interesting figures. Very few countries had less (not more) excess deaths from all causes in 2020-2021. So far as I can see the main or even only countries were Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.

    Australia was the standout performer. This shows that our 2020-21 measures saved Australian lives at a massive per 100,000 rate compared to the rest of the world. Our measures were a great success at saving lives. This proves that suppressing the virus has great, positive, knock-on effects in saving lives from all causes of premature and preventable death.

    Now, Australia and Australians have abandoned all that. They want to die at the same high rates as the rest of the world. This is all for “the economy” but actually the global economic statistics also show that Australia outperformed the rest of the world economically while it was suppressing the virus hard.

    It is releasing and unleashing the virus which kills people, causes excess deaths and damages the economy. Everybody who believes in opening up to COVID-19 has got it exactly wrong in every respect. They are ignoring all the empirical data.

    It is sad that the human race (including Australians) is this irrational, at least under the propaganda of the neoliberal system. We are rushing towards catastrophic disaster because:

    (1) Climate change is out of control;
    (2) COVID-19 is out of control;
    (3) Endless growthism and consumerism are out of control;
    (4) Totalitarianism is out of control;
    (5) War and militarism are out of control.

    There are different kinds of madness. The “rational” group madness of neoliberal self-interest is by far the most dangerous form of madness on the planet.

  43. Crosspost from FB

    Gloomtalk from the Guardian.…/west-weapons-seeing…
    I don’t buy it. Zhelensky has started talking about victory – and it’s not out of desperation.The cautious IWS think tank has shifted noticeably in the same direction, and thinks a stalemate round Kyiv a realistic possibility. Tonight’s IWS assessment: “Uncoordinated and sporadic Russian offensive operations against major Ukrainian cities support the Ukrainian General Staff’s assessment that Russian forces face growing morale and supply issues and have lost the initiative.”…/russian-offensive…

    I infer that a stalemate on the ground is political defeat for Putin. He can’t keep a stalled army stuck in a hostile Ukraine indefinitely.

    It`s not just Kyiv. on the Black Sea front, Russian paratroopers (= the best they’ve got) have failed to take or even penetrate Mykolaiv, a shipbuilding city and river port on the Southern Bug with the only bridge for 90 km. You can see why they haven’t renewed the attack. They would incur heavy losses fighting their way to the bridge, which the Ukrainians have had plenty of time to prepare for blowing. Then they would have to bring up heavy bridging equipment and assault boats, both of which are vulnerable to antitank missiles (and in the city to Molotov cocktails). Better to find a quiet muddy river bank somewhere else upriver, but this can’t be concealed, and the Ukrainians can bring up their missiles to the opposite bank. Mem: the Southern Bug (806 km) is roughly comparable to the Meuse (925 km) in length and width. Only after forcing a crossing at scale can the Russians attack Odessa.

    I don’t think they have a big enough army for all they are trying to do at once. Hubris is leading to repeated operational setbacks, which degrade morale, already hit by the growing realization that the mission is based on lies.

  44. James Wimberley,

    Various sources I have checked (of modest reliability perhaps) tell me estimates are that Russia has:

    1. 850,000 active military personnel.
    2. 250,000 reserve personnel and 250,000 paramilitary personnel but let’s ignore these for offence.
    3. 190,000 to 250,000 troops and support units are attacking Ukraine, let’s assume 250,000.

    That leaves 600,000 active military personnel uncommitted, including 250,000 well-trained regulars with better equipment than that committed to the Ukraine conflict so far. Russia has so far committed a B Team with conscripts and mostly legacy equipment. It almost looks like they are using the equipment up (rather than scrap it as the other option) to sap the Ukraine Army.

    What is to stop Putin from committing another 250,000 top-line troops and equipment (the A team) still leaving 600,000 military and 500,000 reserves / paramilitary to defend the motherland? Nobody seems to be mentioning this. Why not?

    Of course, does Russia have the resources and will to commit a second full army to Ukraine? If they did, could they push to the Polish border? Is Putin is mad enough to try it? Will his generals and people go along with it? Would his economy support that effort or simply collapse? These are the big questions.

    Putin’s strategy was wrong. He needed to run a 60 day air war over Ukraine to establish complete air superiority and attrit the Ukraine army. Then he needed to commit at least 500,000 troops to the conquest of Ukraine and perhaps even up to 850,00, his whole army. Of course, it’s easy to be wise after the event. But then again, the USA and allies did not attempt to expelI Iraq from Kuwait (Gulf War) and destroy their front and the Republican Guard until after a 60 day air-war campaign gaining said air superiority and attriting the ground army severely. The allies also used 965,000 allied troops including 700,000 US troops for Iraq which in some ways was probably a lesser challenge than Ukraine. Hmmm, maybe Putin has bitten off more than he can chew after all. I’m still trying to think this through.

  45. The Ukraine bans males in a very broad range of aleged fighting age from leaving the country. There is not even a sliding scale (e.g. female fighting age 20-40, male 18-50 or sth like that. The gender issue aside: Untrained cannon fooder vollunteers is not something the Ukraine seems to lack, so just let everyone leave damn it. If Russia “wins” the war, it can have the ruins and the handfull of people still there.

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