Tensions Rising Over Ukraine War

In the past few days there has been a spate of news describing escalating tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

First, NATO announced a new strategic deterrence concept aimed at the Russia-China alliance, while President Biden warned Putin about escalating the Ukraine conflict saying, “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. You will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II.”

Putin responded to these threatening words, announcing a partial mobilization of Russia.

Calling the moves “urgent, necessary steps to defend the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia,” Putin said that Russia is fighting the full might of NATO. The US and its allies, he said, are seeking to “destroy” Russia.

Radio Contra Ep. 184. NC Scout breaks down Putin’s speech

Then Russia announced that they could use nuclear weapons to defend the annexed regions of Ukraine. Russia had just the day before moved to formally annex the areas of Ukraine under control of Russia’s soldiers.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” said Putin.

Then Russia restricted travel for young men as part of its national mobilization, and called up 300,000 reservists. Russia’s domestic airlines have halted all sales of tickets abroad to men aged 18 to 65 without a waiver from the Ministry of Defense. The BBC reported lines of Russians trying to flee through the Georgia border.

Nearby nations are preparing for escalating conflict. Estonia has decided to confiscate firearms belonging to Russians living in the country. Meanwhile the President of Serbia is warning that there may be a great world conflict in the next few months. Tensions have increased between Turkey and Greece as they have started to revisit territorial disputes since the start of the Ukraine war. The EU also recently called for a war crimes tribunal over mass graves in Ukraine where bodies showed signs of torture after Russian occupation.

How does this or could this affect you? While Ukraine has had political and economic issues for many years, now, it is still an agricultural powerhouse. When it was part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was responsible for 25% of the entire agricultural output of the USSR. If Russia was able to control the entirety of Ukraine, it would approximately double its wheat and corn and production. Even without controlling the entire country, the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine grow the most wheat. Combining just the exports of wheat by Russian and Ukraine, the two would more than double the amount of the second place exporter – the US.

We’ve seen Europe’s dependence on Russian fuel and how the conflict has caused fuel prices to rise worldwide, but especially in Europe. Should Russia also start controlling the food, it’s hard to predict specific outcomes, but food prices have already risen as a result of uncertainty over Ukrainian wheat exports.

Russia may be seeking a second lever in its geopolitical arsenal, adding food to fuel. Or it may be preparing for a period of imposed international isolation by “stocking up” on its neighbor food and fuel. Either way the effects on food and fuel will be upward moving prices even without the conflict going nuclear or spreading to additional countries.

Putin notices that Ukraine is a little “light on defensive weaponry”

Pat Buchanan: Winners and Losers from the Ukraine War

Author and former senior Presidential advisor Pat Buchanan writes a column about Winners and Losers From the Ukraine War.


If Russia has been badly bled and Ukraine has suffered irretrievable losses of land and soldiers, who then are the winners? And who benefits from a continuation of this war, which will bring thousands more dead and wounded Russians and Ukrainians?

“There never was a good war or a bad peace,” wrote Ben Franklin at the end of the American Revolution.

But that depends on the war-makers and the causes for which they fight.

Six months into the war in Ukraine, launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 24, when he could not get the U.S. or Kyiv to rule out admission of Ukraine to a NATO alliance aimed against Russia, who appear to be the winners and who the losers?

While Russia has made gains in the east of Ukraine, the Donbas and in the South adjacent to Crimea, captured Mariupol, and turned the Sea of Azov into a Russian lake, its losses have been massive.

The invading Russian army of February was stopped in its tracks outside Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv. That army failed to capture Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, close to the Russian border. It failed to capture Odessa, the third largest city and Ukraine’s major port on the Black Sea.

According to Western sources, Russia has suffered 75,000 to 80,000 casualties and is desperately recruiting, even in prisons, to find troops to replace the dead and wounded lost in Ukraine.

Putin wants to expand his army by an additional 137,000 troops.

The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the cruiser Moskva, has been sunk. A thousand tanks and armored personnel carriers have been destroyed.

The reputation of the Russian army as a near-invincible force in any land war in Europe has been shattered.

Politically, Russia has isolated itself from much of Europe, been hit with severe sanctions and watched as Europe and NATO unite against it.

Sweden and Finland have abandoned their historic neutrality to become the 31st and 32nd members of NATO.

Is Ukraine then the winner of this war?

After all, the war that the Ukraine of Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fought against a larger Russia for its freedom, independence and territorial integrity has won the admiration of much of the world.

Yet, in two clashes with Russia, in 2014 and 2022, Ukraine has lost 20% of its territory in its east and south, and Kyiv is not going to retrieve these lost lands before winter comes.

But if Russia has been badly bled and Ukraine has suffered irretrievable losses of land and soldiers, who then are the winners?

And who benefits from a continuation of this war, which will bring thousands more dead and wounded Russians and Ukrainians?

America?

Is this new Cold War II with Russia, into which we appear to have plunged, in the national interest of a United States that so welcomed the peaceful end of the old Cold War three decades ago?

Of what benefit to the U.S. is the sending of troops to the Baltic republics? Are we stronger, safer, more secure, now that we have committed to fight Russia to defend the 830-mile Finnish-Russian border, something no Cold Warrior of an earlier era would have dreamt of doing?

Are we better off because all the nations of the Warsaw Pact and three republics of the old USSR are now NATO allies for whose independence we are committed to fight Russia?

Is the revival of the Sino-Soviet pact, aimed at the West in the 1950s and now aimed at NATO and our Asian allies, something we should welcome? Have not our own post-Cold War policies contributed mightily to reviving the old Cold War Russia-China alliance against us?

Where President Richard Nixon appeared to split Mao’s China from Russia, this generation of American leaders appears to have restored that hostile duopoly.

Putin was a Russian KGB agent during the Cold War. Now every member state of the former Warsaw Pact and three constituent republics of the USSR of that era are NATO allies of the United States.

This is the new Cold War. Is Putin alone responsible for igniting it?

Perhaps highest among our goals in the first Cold War with Russia was the avoidance of a hot war that could escalate to a nuclear war and destroy both nations.

Now that we are again in a hostile state of relations with Moscow as we were then, how can this be the result of a successful foreign policy?

In the first Cold War, Eastern Europe and the Baltic States were accepted as satellites of the Soviet Union. Communism had been imposed upon them all after World War II.

But that was not a cause for military conflict between us.

When we brought virtually all of Eastern Europe into NATO, we were the ones, not Putin, who made their independence of Moscow and alliance with the West a matter for which we committed ourselves to go to war.

As Russians and Ukrainians kill one another in the Donbas, and hatred of Russians for Americans grows, how is that good for the USA?

Perhaps we ought to invest as much time and energy trying to end this war as we do to defeat and humiliate Russia, which will not bring us peace.

Herland Report: The Global Financial Revolution and the End of the PetroDollar Hegemony?

The Ukraine-Russia war and related sanctions have driven Russia to work with China to forward alternatives to the Swift banking system and the hegemony of the US Dollar in international trade. Much has been written lately about the possible collapse of the PetroDollar with some arguing that the the PetroDollar will never fail and others worrying over its imminent demise. If you live in the USA, the existence of the PetroDollar contributes to your quality of life by making the dollar stronger, increasing your purchasing power. If the PetroDollar were to cease to exist, then you would probably be paying more for all goods. Below are a couple of articles discussing the issue.

Herland Report: The Global Financial Revolution and the End of the PetroDollar hegemony?

Foreign critics have long chafed at the “exorbitant privilege” of the U.S. dollar as global reserve currency. The U.S. can issue this currency backed by nothing but the “full faith and credit of the United States.”

Foreign governments, needing dollars, not only accept them in trade but buy U.S. securities with them, effectively funding the U.S. government and its foreign wars, writes author attorney Ellen Brown, published at her blog. Brown is chair of the Public Banking Institute, and author of thirteen books, follow her website here.

But no government has been powerful enough to break that arrangement – until now. How did that happen and what will it mean for the U.S. and global economies?

First, some history: The U.S. dollar was adopted as the global reserve currency at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, when the dollar was still backed by gold on global markets. The agreement was that gold and the dollar would be accepted interchangeably as global reserves, the dollars to be redeemable in gold on demand at $35 an ounce. Exchange rates of other currencies were fixed against the dollar.

But that deal was broken after President Lyndon Johnson’s “guns and butter” policy exhausted the U.S. kitty by funding war in Vietnam along with his “Great Society” social programs at home. French President Charles de Gaulle, suspecting the U.S. was running out of money, cashed in a major portion of France’s dollars for gold and threatened to cash in the rest; and other countries followed suit or threatened to.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon ended the convertibility of the dollar to gold internationally (known as “closing the gold window”), in order to avoid draining U.S. gold reserves. The value of the dollar then plummeted relative to other currencies on global exchanges.

To prop it up, Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made a deal with Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries that OPEC would sell oil only in dollars, and that the dollars would be deposited in Wall Street and City of London banks.

In return, the U.S. would defend the OPEC countries militarily. Economic researcher William Engdahl also presents evidence of a promise that the price of oil would be quadrupled. An oil crisis triggered by a brief Middle Eastern war did cause the price of oil to quadruple, and the OPEC agreement was finalized in 1974.

The deal held firm until 2000, when Saddam Hussein broke it by selling Iraqi oil in euros. Libyan president Omar Qaddafi followed suit. Both presidents wound up assassinated, and their countries were decimated in war with the United States. Canadian researcher Matthew Ehret observes:

“We should not forget that the Sudan-Libya-Egypt alliance under the combined leadership of Mubarak, Qadhafi and Bashir, had moved to establish a new gold-backed financial system outside of the IMF/World Bank to fund large scale development in Africa. Had this program not been undermined by a NATO-led destruction of Libya, the carving up of Sudan and regime change in Egypt, then the world would have seen the emergence of a major regional block of African states shaping their own destinies outside of the rigged game of Anglo-American controlled finance for the first time in history.”

The first challenge by a major power to what became known as the petrodollar has come in 2022. In the month after the Ukraine conflict began, the U.S. and its European allies imposed heavy financial sanctions on Russia in response to the illegal military invasion.

The Western measures included freezing nearly half of the Russian central bank’s 640 billion U.S. dollars in financial reserves, expelling several of Russia’s largest banks from the SWIFT global payment system, imposing export controls aimed at limiting Russia’s access to advanced technologies, closing down their airspace and ports to Russian planes and ships, and instituting personal sanctions against senior Russian officials and high-profile tycoons. Worried Russians rushed to withdraw rubles from their banks, and the value of the ruble plunged on global markets just as the U.S. dollar had in the early 1970s.

The trust placed in the U.S. dollar as global reserve currency, backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States,” had finally been fully broken. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech on March 16 that the U.S. and EU had defaulted on their obligations, and that freezing Russia’s reserves marks the end of the reliability of so-called first class assets.

On March 23, Putin announced that Russia’s natural gas would be sold to “unfriendly countries” only in Russian rubles, rather than the euros or dollars currently used. Forty-eight nations are counted by Russia as “unfriendly,” including the United States, Britain, Ukraine, Switzerland, South Korea, Singapore, Norway, Canada and Japan.

Putin noted that more than half the global population remains “friendly” to Russia. Countries not voting to support the sanctions include two major powers – China and India – along with major oil producer Venezuela, Turkey, and other countries in the “Global South.” “Friendly” countries, said Putin, could now buy from Russia in various currencies.

On March 24, Russian lawmaker Pavel Zavalny said at a news conference that gas could be sold to the West for rubles or gold, and to “friendly” countries for either national currency or bitcoin.

Energy ministers from the G7 nations rejected Putin’s demand, claiming it violated gas contract terms requiring sale in euros or dollars. But on March 28, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was “not engaged in charity” and won’t supply gas to Europe for free (which it would be doing if sales were in euros or dollars it cannot currently use in trade). Sanctions themselves are a breach of the agreement to honor the currencies on global markets.

Bloomberg reports that on March 30, Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the lower Russian house of parliament, suggested in a Telegram post that Russia may expand the list of commodities for which it demands payment from the West in rubles (or gold) to include grain, oil, metals and more.

Russia’s economy is much smaller than that of the U.S. and the European Union, but Russia is a major global supplier of key commodities – including not just oil, natural gas and grains, but timber, fertilizers, nickel, titanium, palladium, coal, nitrogen, and rare earth metals used in the production of computer chips, electric vehicles and airplanes.

On April 2, Russian gas giant Gazprom officially halted all deliveries to Europe via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, a critical artery for European energy supplies.

U.K. professor of economics Richard Werner calls the Russian move a clever one – a replay of what the U.S. did in the 1970s. To get Russian commodities, “unfriendly” countries will have to buy rubles, driving up the value of the ruble on global exchanges just as the need for petrodollars propped up the U.S. dollar after 1974. Indeed, by March 30, the ruble had already risen to where it was a month earlier…(continues)

Continue reading “Herland Report: The Global Financial Revolution and the End of the PetroDollar Hegemony?”

19fortyfive: The Ukraine Crisis Could Spark A New Cold War (Or A Nuclear War)

What will be the long term term effects of the Ukraine-Russia war for which an American may need to be prepared? In the article excerpted below, Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute writes for 19fortyfive about how The Ukraine Crisis Could Spark A New Cold War (Or A Nuclear War). While much has been written over time on nuclear war survival and preparedness, what are the effects of a cold war? While many of have lived through at least part of the recent cold war between the US and the Soviet Union, would a new cold war even look the same?

Some of the main domestic effects of the last cold war were increased military spending (and attendant rise of the military-industrial complex) and high taxation. Toward the end of the cold war, during the Reagan presidency, the populace had become upset with high taxes and the administration switched from high taxation to high borrowing. High levels of government borrowing has continued to the present. High taxation leads to poor business conditions which leads to a weak economy as seen in the US in the late 1970s. High government borrowing leads to strange market and economic conditions, the result of which has yet to be realized, but in the worst case leads to financial/political crisis.

That said, would a new cold war necessarily be the same? Post World War 2 the US was in an enviable economic situation and was headed into its years of vast economic growth in world trade. The US was entering into its years of world hegemony, powerful and strong. Now, the US is a weakened nation and is coming out of two years of COVID-induced economic weakness with many citizens out of work or having closed businesses. There is little domestic support for a new war, cold or hot. A party that attempts to raise taxes or debt in order to finance a new cold war may not stay in power for long.

I am no expert on these matters, so my conclusions may be incorrect. I don’t know if the US is capable of sustaining a cold war like the continuous military buildup that occurred during the cold war with the Soviets. But it does appear that we entering a time of at least increased hostility and competition with Russia and China.

If China moves to establish control over Taiwan (which may be considered an invasion), will the US defend Taiwan or will we stand by as we have with Ukraine? Some people believe that the US is obligated to defend Taiwan, but there is actually no agreement to do so, and the US has followed a policy of strategic ambiguity in that regard. Failure of the US to defend either Ukraine or Taiwan may lead to further reduced US influence worldwide and reduced trust in US assurances. Reduced trust and influence may result in more rapid de-dollarization, all of which would have their own effects on the US economy for which to prepare.

From 19fortyfive:

Having sown the wind in Ukraine, Russia is reaping the whirlwind.

Its aggression is criminal and unprovoked. The US and its allies contributed to the conflict. But the decision for war—which already is resulting in significant death and destruction—was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s.

If there is one lesson of Moscow’s brutal and unjustified invasion, it is that aggressors should choose their victims carefully. As the Balkan Serbs learned decades ago, it is best not to attack people in Europe, which guarantees heavy media attention in Western capitals. This may be the first conflict in which the public is driving sanctions and boycotts, in this case against all things Russian, including individuals who had nothing to do with their government’s decision for war.

In contrast, Washington has been bombing and invading nations in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia for years. Despite wrecking entire states and ravaging their peoples, US policymakers have never been held accountable. The total number of victims in these wars—killed, wounded, displaced—the number in the millions. Washington typically tires of fighting and either downgrades its role or simply leaves, as in Afghanistan, without even apologizing. But no American has ever faced economic sanctions or been charged with war crimes.

Today Ukrainians and to a lesser degree, Russians are suffering. The long-term consequences for Americans and Europeans will be serious as well. No one knows how the fighting will end, but Washington should begin planning for the aftermath…

Washington’s chief responsibility today is not to save Ukraine but to prevent the US or allied involvement and possible war, especially nuclear war, with Russia. Washington and Moscow avoided such a cataclysm during the Cold War when the stakes were global and civilizational. Moscow’s brutal attack on Ukraine is a moral outrage but does not pose the same level of threat as the Soviet Union. There is no excuse for risking their societies and the planet’s survival today…

Finally, Washington should prepare for the endgame. The world is headed toward another Cold War, with a new Iron Curtain likely to rise wherever the reach of Russian troops ends.

Facing domestic unhappiness over the human cost of the war, deceptive cover-up, and impact of Western sanctions, the Putin regime likely will become even more repressive. Observers indicate that the situation already approaches martial law. Moreover, diplomatic retreats, economic penalties, and cultural bans have dramatically deepened Russia’s isolation. Some countries would make the West’s economic war essentially permanent. Opined Poland’s ambassador to the US, Marek Magierowski: “We have to be ready and determined to uphold the sanctions. Perhaps even for a decade or for 15 years or for 20 years, in order to see the real effects.”

Although Russia is a much-reduced version of the Soviet Union, significant dangers would remain. It likely would respond to a new Cold War by reinforcing its military. Most notably, what has been largely a political struggle would turn into an enduring military confrontation.

If so, Russia might become something akin to a giant North Korea, only better developed and with many more nuclear weapons. With less at stake in the international system and greater resentment toward adversaries turned enemies, Moscow would be more dangerous than today. Frontline European states would be even more insistent on American military protection. Violent competition would intensify in battleground areas elsewhere, such as Syria and Africa…(continues)

The American Mind: The Putin Variant

Tim O’Brien over at The American Mind writes The Putin Variant. The US, then led by President Obama and VP Biden, and its allies goaded Russia into invading Ukraine back in 2014, when Russia took over the Crimea. Back then not many people took notice of the invasion. When President Biden and the US allies again goaded Russia into invading the Ukraine in 2022, why is it so different? Invading another sovereign country is a bad thing, of course. Putin bad. But the outcome (an invasion) was not only predictable, but already happened once just seven years ago. O’Brien writes that the outrage this time is just smoke and mirrors to rally people behind the Democrat party for the upcoming elections. Excerpt:

The regime is repurposing its Covid-19 propaganda playbook.

The war in Ukraine is deadly real and could have far-reaching impact on the globe in the immediate future and for years to come. The global balance of power is unsteady as the West isolates Russia through sanctions, which seems to be driving China and Russia, the two non-American superpowers, closer together.

The world has seen this before. In 2014, Putin invaded Ukraine and came away with control over Crimea before things settled. President Obama did nothing to intervene militarily, just as President Biden is doing now.

Most Americans not only don’t remember the 2014 invasion, but at the time they were not much aware of it. There were no “Stand with Ukraine” flags, lapel pins, or stickers adorning American vehicles across the country. Social media users weren’t plastering virtue-signaling blue and yellow graphics on their profiles back then.

But the reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine feels strangely familiar, as though we just went through something very similar. It bears a strong resemblance to the way in which the regime engineered mass hysteria around COVID-19 and the Delta and Omicron variants.

Timing is Everything

In fact, as COVID-19 wanes in the population, and masking and testing requirements fade away, Putin mania—strictly from a messaging and propaganda perspective—seems to be well-timed. Polls reveal the Democrats are about to take a beating in the upcoming midterm elections over mismanagement of everything, but especially COVID-19. It seems they may have found a non-COVID variant that allows them to deploy the same old tricks. Call it the Putin Variant.

After all, if Americans have demonstrated anything over the past two years it is they will respond to fear-mongering on a mass scale.

Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine months after he’d seen the Biden Administration’s weakness with its disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, as well as soaring inflation.  

The regime’s reaction to its failed domestic and foreign policies and declining favorability numbers is to roll out the Putin Variant. If you can’t beat a foreign adversary back through diplomacy and you don’t have the stomach to confront it through the potential use of military might, you can always fall back on scaring your own populace into keeping you in power.

The Putin Variant

Variant propaganda starts with announcing the threat and making sure every American knows that it will affect them. It continues with using the crisis to at once blame the circumstances themselves, not the cause of those circumstances, for domestic hardships. Americans will need to learn to suck it up without complaint while enduring rising gas and consumer prices because global democracy demands it. To complain or question the regime’s policies will be an act of selfishness and even treason. Questioning the underlying logic of our Ukraine policy will soon become as cancellable and hateful as it was to ask why we all have to wear masks.

 Knowing that it has no plans to intervene militarily, and it is highly likely that Russia will take control of Ukraine, the regime makes a lot of noise on how all of its sanctions will work gradually and ultimately defeat Russia. This rhetorical strategy was last deployed through the emphasis on 100 percent masking and vaccination to achieve complete eradication and “zero COVID” status.  The regime knew their measures would not deliver on their promises then, just as they know sanctions won’t eradicate Russian troops from Ukraine any time soon.

What they really care about is the midterms. They want to use the Putin Variant to win in November. They will use the threat of risks to global and national security to rally American voters behind anti-Russia Democrat candidates—the same ones who brought us here. They will try this even as they know they have no intentions of going to war. They just want voters to think they have the will.

As with the COVID response, they will attack anyone who questions their pro-war messaging as spreaders of “misinformation” who must be censored, banned, cancelled, and de-platformed.

The Putin Variant fits nicely with this strategy. Putin is, after all, a real person doing actually bad things. What the administration does not want Americans to know is what its own principals have done over the years to create an environment to embolden all that’s happening in Ukraine right now…(continues)

The Organic Prepper: How to Prep for the Ukraine-Russia War

What’s going to happen with the Ukraine-Russia War and how will it affect us here in the USA? Some things are hard to predict, while others can already be seen. Provocations on all sides seem to be increasing. BCA Research, an independent global investment research firm, recently wrote in a strategy report “we would assign an uncomfortably high 10% chance of a civilization-ending global nuclear war in the next 12 months.” So, many unlikely scenarios, recently thought unthinkable, are now being thunk.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Aden Tate at The Organic Prepper on How to Prep for the Ukraine-Russia War…and What Comes Next

…As has been pointed out here at The Organic Prepper before, the United States is going to experience a fertilizer shortage this year, and that is going to be just one factor impacting our food supply. I’ve discussed the other factors HERE.

Yes, I do think that stocking up on seed for your garden is a good prep idea, but I also think that you really need to consider canned goods at the moment. They’re ready to eat, they’re highly portable, and they store well. They make good barter currency, to boot. Canned goods don’t have to worry about radioactive fallout, as does a growing corn crop, either.

I’m a fan of freeze-dried meals, but I sincerely think that cyberattacks against our power grid are highly likely in the near future. You need warm water to make those. With a power outage likely (Cyber Polygon, anyone?), boiling water is just another step between you and eating a meal. If you are forced to shelter in place, inside, without power, this makes for a bit of difficulty with meal preparation.

MREs are another fine food item to consider at the moment. I have no knowledge as to whether or not the heat packs for MREs give off dangerous gasses as they heat up the food. (Let me know in the comments!)

This food supply not only allows you to shelter in place but helps you to avoid probable food riots in the future. Read history. Literally, every single time there is a shortage of food, violence increases.

(For more information on prepping your food, check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on building your 3-layer food storage system.)

Should you prep water?

Life without water sucks (haha, but not for long). You need it to stay alive, for cleaning, for cooking, and more. If you are forced to shelter in place without any access to power, are you going to have water to drink? A gallon jug of water currently sells for around a dollar. Why would you not pick up a few and stow them away?

I would look at solar options for keeping your well running if that is your primary water source as well. If you rely on city water, at the very least, have an EPIC Nano filter. I would highly recommend looking into Berkey filters right now as well. Neither of these is a radiation-reducing option, but instead are used to keep you in clean water should your city no longer have the electricity needed to create pure water.

If you are forced to evacuate, let’s say, from fallout being brought via wind, do you have water filtration that is portable?

Prep your communications.

China is one of the largest sources of electronics to the United States. We’re already seeing problems getting many electronic components because of a shortage of chips.

This is likely to continue in the near future, and should China invade Taiwan, you are going to see worldwide sanctions be leveled against China. The US will be no exception. When this happens, those supply lines are going to dry up overnight.

Your ability to get radios will then vaporize…

Having proper information can be the difference between staying alive and dying. Right now, you need to pick up a copy of Cresson Kearney’s Nuclear War Survival Skills. You do not want to be caught in the same situation as many Hawaiians did years ago when they found themselves at a loss for what to do when they received alerts via text that an ICBM was on the way.

PDF versions are available online for free, but I highly recommend picking up a print copy as well. Then, read it. This is an easy prep to accomplish.

I recommend looking into a shortwave radio as well. Should the grid go down within the US, you are going to want to be able to pick up information from the outside world so that you have some notion of what is going on. Anne Frank wrote about the importance of their radio and the hope it brought in her journals…

Naked Capitalism: The MIC, BARE and OGAM Conquer NATO

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has pretty good article about what is behind everything going on in Ukraine, Russia, and NATO members. America Defeats Germany for the Third Time in a Century: The MIC, BARE and OGAM Conquer NATO

Yves discusses the military-industrial complex, finance/insurance/real estate, and the oil, gas and minining complex and how they all benefit from the isolation of Russia. The article discusses some potential fallout or downsides of the situation as well. I would go so far as to say that everything presented is correct, but there is a lot of good information to keep in mind when thinking about the situation.

Excerpt:

…My old boss Herman Kahn, with whom I worked at the Hudson Institute in the 1970s, had a set speech that he would give at public meetings. He said that back in high school in Los Angeles, his teachers would say what most liberals were saying in the 1940s and 50s: “Wars never solved anything.” It was as if they never changed anything – and therefore shouldn’t be fought.

Herman disagreed, and made lists of all sorts of things that wars had solved, in world history or at least changed. He was right, and of course that is the aim of both sides in today’s New Cold War confrontation in Ukraine.

The question to ask is what today’s New Cold War is trying to change or “solve.” To answer this question, it helps to ask who initiates the war. There always are two sides – the attacker and the attacked. The attacker intends certain consequences, and the attacked looks for unintended consequences. In this case, both sides have their dueling sets of intended consequences and special interests.

The active military force since 1991 has been the United States. Rejecting mutual disarmament of the Warsaw Pact countries and NATO, there was no “peace dividend.” Instead, the U.S. policy by the Clinton administration to wage a new military expansion via NATO has paid a 30-year dividend in the form of shifting the foreign policy of Western Europe and other American allies out of their domestic political sphere into their own “national security” blob (the word for special rentier interests that must not be named). NATO has become Europe’s foreign-policy-making body, even to the point of dominating domestic economic interests.

The recent prodding of Russia by expanding Ukrainian anti-Russian ethnic violence by Ukraine’s neo-Nazi post-2014 Maiden regime aims at forcing a showdown. It comes in response to the fear by U.S. interests that they are losing their economic and political hold on their NATO allies and other Dollar Area satellites as these countries have seen their major opportunities for gain to lie in increasing trade and investment with China and Russia.

To understand just what U.S. aims are threatened, it is necessary to understand U.S. politics and “the blob,” that is, the government central planning that cannot be explained by looking at ostensibly democratic politics. This is not the politics of U.S. senators and representatives represent their congressional voting districts or states.

America’s Three Oligarchies in Control of U.S. Foreign Policy

It is more realistic to view U.S. economic and foreign policy in terms of the military-industrial complex, the oil and gas (and mining) complex, and the banking and real estate complex than in terms of political policy of Republicans and Democrats. The key senators and congressional representatives do not represent their states and districts as much as the industrial interests of their major political campaign contributors. A Venn diagram would show that in today’s post-Citizens United world, U.S. politicians represent their campaign contributors, not voters. And these contributors fall basically into three main blocs.

Three main oligarchic groups that have bought control of the Senate and Congress to put their own policy makers in the State Department and Defense Department. First is the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) – companies such as Raytheon, Boeing and other arms manufacturers, have broadly diversified their factories and employment in nearly every state, and especially in the Congressional districts where key Congressional committee heads are elected. Their economic base is monopoly rent, obtained above all from its arms sales to NATO, to Near Eastern oil exporters and to other countries with a balance-of-payments surplus. Stocks for these companies soared immediately upon news of the Russian attack, leading a two-day stock-market surge as investors recognized that war in a world of cost-plus “Pentagon capitalism” (as Seymour Melman described it) provided a national security umbrella. Senators and Congressional representatives from California and Washington traditionally have represented the MIC, along with the Solid pro-military South. The past week’s military escalation promises soaring arms sales to NATO and other U.S. allies. Germany quickly agreed to raise is arms spending to 2% of GDP.

The second major oligarchic bloc is the rent-extracting oil and gas sector, joined by mining (OGAM) riding America’s special tax favoritism granted to companies emptying natural resources out of the ground and putting them into the atmosphere. Like banking and real estate, the aim of this OGAM sector is to maximize the price of its energy and raw materials so as to maximize its natural-resource rent. Monopolizing the Dollar Area’s oil market and isolating it from Russian oil and gas has been a major U.S. priority for over a year now, as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline threatened to link the Western European and Russian economies together.

If oil, gas and mining operations are not situated in every voting district, at least their investors are. Senators from Texas and other Western oil-producing and mining states are the leading lobbyists, and the State Department has a heavy oil-sector influence providing a national-security umbrella for its special tax breaks. The ancillary political aim is to ignore and reject environmental drives to replace oil, gas and coal with alternative sources of energy. The Biden administration accordingly has backed the expansion of offshore drilling, supported the Canadian pipeline to the world’s dirtiest petroleum source in the Athabasca tar sands, and celebrated the revival of U.S. fracking.

The foreign-policy extension is to prevent foreign countries not leaving control of their oil, gas and mining to U.S. OGAM companies from competing in world markets with U.S. suppliers. Isolating Russia (and Iran) from western markets will reduce the supply of oil and gas, pushing prices and corporate profits up accordingly.

The third major oligarchic group is the symbiotic Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector is the counterpart to Europe ‘s old post-feudal landed aristocracy living by land rents. With most housing in today’s world having become owner-occupied (with sharply rising rates of absentee ownership rising since 2008 and the wave of Obama evictions, to be sure), land rent is paid largely to the banking sector. About 80 percent of U.S. and British bank loans are to the real estate sector, inflating land prices to create capital gains – which are effectively tax-exempt for absentee owners.

This Wall Street-centered banking and real estate bloc is even more broadly based on a district-by-district basis than MIC. Its New York senator from Wall Street, Chuck Schumer, heads the Senate, long supported by Delaware’s former Senator from the credit-card industry Joe Biden, and Connecticut’s senators from the insurance sector centered in that state.  Domestically, the aim of this sector is to maximize land rent and the “capital’ gains resulting from rising land rent. Internationally, the FIRE sector’s aim is to privatize foreign economies, above all to secure the privilege of credit creation in U.S. hands, so as to turn government infrastructure and public utilities into rent-seeking monopolies to providing basic services at maximum prices (health care, education, transportation, communications and information technology) instead of at subsidized prices to voters.

Wall Street always has been closely aligned with the oil and gas industry, back to the days of Standard Oil. These are the three rentier sectors that dominate today’s post-industrial finance capitalism. Their mutual fortunes have soared as MIC and OGAM stocks have increased. And moves to exclude Russia from the Western financial system (and partially now from SWIFT), coupled with the adverse effects of isolating European economies from Russian energy, promise to spur an inflow into dollarized financial securities

It is more helpful to view U.S. economic and foreign policy in terms of the military-industrial complex, the oil and gas (and mining) complex, and the banking and real estate complex than in terms of political policy of Republicans and Democrats. The key senators and congressional representatives do not represent their states and districts as much as the industrial interests of their major political campaign contributors. That is why neither manufacturing nor agriculture play the dominant role in U.S. foreign policy. The convergence of policy aims of America’s three rentiergroups overwhelms that of labor and even of industrial capital. That convergence is the defining characteristic of today’s post-industrial finance capitalism. It is basically a reversion to economic rent-seeking, which is independent of the politics of labor and capital.

The dynamic that needs to be traced today is why this oligarchic blob has found its interest in prodding Russia into what Putin evidently viewed as a do-or-die stance to resist the increasingly violent attacks on Ukraine’s eastern Russian-speaking provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk…(article continues)

Coffee or Die Magazine on Ukrainian Civilian Preparedness

Inside a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, in December 2021. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die Magazine.

‘Emergency Suitcases’ and Mass Evacuation Plans: Ukraine Preps for Worst-Case Russian Attack appeared in Coffee or Die Magazine in January. It’s a lengthy piece detailing Ukrainian civilian preparations and preparedness recommendations as the country faced the build up to the current Russian invasion. Some recommendations seem fairly optimistic such as recommending that a citizen’s emergency suitcase not exceed 50kg (110lb). This must assume a vehicular evacuation, as that is far in excess of what most civilians could carry very far. Some portions of the article are excerpted below.

The walls are freshly painted inside this Cold War-era fallout shelter located deep underground in Ukraine’s capital city. Even so, the aged wood paneling, as well as an outdated rotary phone, offer evidence that this facility was one of hundreds built by Soviet authorities in Kyiv during the 1950s and 1960s at the height of the Cold War. At that time, an American nuclear strike against the Soviet Union was the looming threat. On this day in late December 2021, the threat of a Russian blitz has spurred Kyiv city authorities to designate this shelter, and thousands more across the city, as places where civilians can seek refuge.

Standing inside a ventilation equipment room, Anatolii Lazurenko, civil security chief of the Kyiv City Council’s Shevchenko District, reflected on the historical irony of this shelter’s contemporary utility.

“You understand that life moves very fast,” Lazurenko told Coffee or Die Magazine. “We — the Soviet Union — used to see the United States as our enemies, but now they are our friends. And now our so-called Russian brothers are our enemies. This is unfortunately our reality.”

Situated beneath a district government building across the street from the 19th-century National Opera of Kyiv, this emergency shelter was originally designed to house 60 people. Yet, in a pinch, the facility can hold some 300 people, Lazurenko said. From ground level, a nondescript metal door opens into a staircase that descends multiple stories underground. The shelter has a special air ventilation room (originally intended to protect against radioactive fallout) and is connected to the city’s water main. Lazurenko said daily deliveries of food and medical supplies would sustain occupants in the event of a drawn-out Russian bombardment or siege.

“This security structure is ready to be used as intended,” Lazurenko said…

The Kyiv City Council has posted an interactive online map, which shows the locations of the roughly 5,000 official locations where residents can shelter from a military attack. Of that number, 514 shelters are purpose-built facilities dating back to the Cold War where people can remain for days on end.

Known as dual-use facilities, the remaining 4,500 shelters include basements, underground parking lots and passageways, as well as Kyiv’s 47 metro stations.

However, many of Kyiv’s ad hoc, dual-use shelters have fallen into disrepair and are not ready for use in an emergency. And for the shelters that are available, many are only useful for immediate safety during an attack — they are not equipped to house occupants for more than a few hours…

On its website, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine outlines in detail the steps civilians should take in the event of “emergency situations of a military nature.”

Each citizen should prepare an “emergency suitcase” ahead of time, the service advises. This should be a backpack with a capacity of at least 25 liters, a little more than 6.5 gallons, containing “clothing, hygiene items, medicines, tools, personal protective equipment, and food.” The service also recommends carrying important documents and cash in the backpack.

“The emergency suitcase is intended for the fastest possible evacuation from the zone of emergency,” the service says, adding that the bag’s overall weight should not exceed 50 kilograms, or about 110 pounds…

The [State Emergency] service also advises citizens to stock up on food and first-aid supplies, as well as flashlights, candles, cooking gas, and lamps. Important documents should be consolidated and packed away in advance…

AmRRON AmCON Level 2 – Critical Infrastructure Disruption Expected

Today AmRRON updated their AmCON status to Level 2. From AmRRON:

AmCON-2  Russia/NATO Cyber Attacks — Critical Infrastructure disruption expected or extremely likely in western nations

AmCON-2 at 20220224-1920Z

Confirmed:  Multiple government websites in #Russia including the Kremlin and the Sate Duma have fallen offline; the incident comes amid a spate of cyberattacks targeting neighboring Ukraine (Twitter  pic.twitter.com/K1pPQu7cHs

NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 24, 2022

Most significantly:

President Biden has been presented with cyberattack options that are designed to disrupt Russia’s ability to sustain its military operations in Ukraine (NBC):

  • Disrupting internet connectivity;
  • Shutting off electric power;
  • Tampering with railroad switches

— Global: MilitaryInfo (@Global_Mil_Info) February 24, 2022

AmRRON Special Instructions:  No Change

  • Fuel and batteries should be topped off and alt power and communications operations checks complete
  • All Stations:  Have abbreviated STATREP formatted and ready to transmit, or practice transmitting/sharing over Persistent Presence Net
  • Conduct local/regional communications networks tests
  • NCS (and higher) Stations:  In addition to STATREP, have IES (Initial Event Summary) preformatted and ready to transmit in a sudden grid/comms-down disruption of conventional communications in your region or nationally.
  • NCSs, arrange to coordinate with adjacent NCSs and BB stations to receive (and send) traffic in support of AmRRON operations if AmCON-1 becomes necessary.

QRPer: Amateur Radio in Ukraine Banned Under Martial Law and State of Emergency

This article from QRPer talks about how amateur radio has been banned in Ukraine under the current state of emergency. This may be in part to protect the civilian population from Russian strikes that use radio detection to find targets, but also to prevent the release of Ukrainian troop movements or other defense activities. RigExpert antenna analyzers and, perhaps, Lab599 appear to be based in Ukraine, so these amateur radio products may also become scarce.

I have a number of friends (and many QRPer readers) in Ukraine, so it’s difficult to think of much else this morning after news of the invasion. From Reuters:

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday, assaulting by land, sea and air in the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two.

Missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities. Ukraine reported columns of troops pouring across its borders from Russia and Belarus, and landing on the coast from the Black and Azov seas.

Explosions were heard before dawn and throughout the morning in the capital Kyiv, a city of 3 million people. Gunfire rattled, sirens blared, and the highway out of the city choked with traffic as residents fled.

The assault brought a calamatous end to weeks of fruitless diplomatic efforts by Western leaders to avert war, their worst fears about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions realised.[]

Trevor (M5AKA) shared the following message via Twiter from Anatoly Kirilenko (UT3UY) of the Ukrainian Amateur Radio League: I’ve friends in both Ukraine and Russia and none of them want what’s happening here. My heart goes out to them. As with many of these situations, citizens have so little to do with the political, financial, and military interests of their leaders.

The Defense Post: Top US General Calls Russia, Ukraine Amid Reported Moscow Troop Buildup

In this article at The Defense Post, Top US General Calls Russia, Ukraine Amid Reported Moscow Troop Buildup. Tensions in the region rise after President Biden condemns Russia’s 2014 takeover of the Crimea peninsula and calls Russian President Putin a “killer.” Many organizations, including leftist ones, have asked the President to cease his “reckless” rhetoric with Russia.

The top Pentagon general called counterparts in Russia and Ukraine Wednesday as the US Defense Department expressed concerns about a reported buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border and in Crimea.

US troops in Europe were on an elevated “watch condition” as Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley spoke to General Valery Gerasimov, the Russian Armed Forces chief of staff, and Ukraine armed forces Commander in Chief Ruslan Khomchak.

Meanwhile, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called the head of the Ukraine Presidential Office Andriy Yermak to reiterate Washington’s support for the country.

“We’re concerned about recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, including violations of the July 2020 ceasefire that led to the deaths of 4 Ukrainian soldiers on the 26th of March, and the wounding of two others,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

“Russia’s destabilizing actions undermine the de-escalation in tensions that had been achieved through an OSCE-brokered agreement back in July of last year.”

He said the US military was aware of Ukrainian reports concerning Russian troop movements on the country’s borders.

“We’re discussing our concerns about this increase in tensions in ceasefire violations and regional tensions with NATO allies.”

On Tuesday Moscow and Kiev traded accusations of responsibility for an increase in violence between Ukraine government forces and Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, leading to a rise in deaths.

Khomchak denounced the “threat to the military security” of Ukraine by the Russian army, saying that some 28,000 separatist fighters and “more than 2,000 Russian military instructors and advisers” are currently stationed in eastern Ukraine.

Reports online suggested that Russia had located more military forces along the border and also moved more into Crimea, the Ukraine territory that Moscow seized in 2014.

Those reports could not be confirmed, but some observers have tied them to Russian military exercises.

Kirby said Milley’s call to his Russian counterpart was “to gain a little bit more clarity on what exactly is going on.”

“We obviously don’t want to see any more violations of Ukrainian territory,” he said.

In his call with Yermak, Sullivan “affirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, in the face of continuing aggression,” according to a White House statement.

US forces in Europe were placed on a heightened watch level to “potential imminent crisis” in response to Russian activities, Kirby confirmed. He said that the watch condition “expresses combatant commanders’ concern about a potential threat.”

Zero Hedge: Calls Between Biden And Ukraine’s Poroshenko Leaked; Details $1 Billion “Quid Pro Quo”

Six months ago Zero Hedge related the Ukraine indictment alleging $7.4 billion laundering scheme. Now phone call recordings between Biden And Ukraine’s Poroshenko have been leaked. Phone Calls Between Biden And Ukraine’s Poroshenko Leaked; Details $1 Billion “Quid Pro Quo” To Fire Burisma Prosecutor

Leaked phone calls between Joe Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko explicitly detail the quid-pro-quo arrangement to fire former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin – who Poroshenko admits did nothing wrong – in exchange for $1 billion in US loan guarantees (which Biden openly bragged about in January, 2018).

The calls were leaked by Ukrainian MP Andrii Derkach, who says the recordings of “voices similar to Poroshenko and Biden” were given to him by investigative journalists who claim Poroshenko made them.

Shokin was notably investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that hired Biden’s son, Hunter, to sit on its board. Shokin had opened a case against Burisma’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, who granted Burisma permits to drill for oil and gas in Ukraine while he was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. In January, 2019, Shokin stated in a deposition that there were five criminal cases against Zlochevesky, including money laundering, corruption, illegal funds transfers, and profiteering through shell corporations while he was a sitting minister.

Viktor Shokin

The leaked calls begin on December 3, 2015, when former Secretary of State John Kerry starts laying out the case to fire Shokin – who he says “blocked the cleanup of the Prosecutor Generals’ Office,” and sated that Biden “is very concerned about it,” to which Poroshenko replies that the newly reorganized prosecutor general’s office (NABU) won’t be able to pursue corruption charges, and that it may be difficult to fire Shokin without cause.

Later in the leaked audio on February 18, 2016 – less than three months after the Kerry conversation – Poroshenko delivers some “positive news.”

“Yesterday I met with General Prosecutor Shokin,” says Poroshenko. And despite of the fact that we didn’t have any corruption charges, we don’t have any information about him doing something wrong, I specially asked him – no, it was day before yesterday – I specially asked him to resign. In, uh, as his, uh, position as a state person. And despite of the fact that he has a support in the power. And as a finish of my meeting with him, he promised to give me the statement on resignation. And one hour ago he bring me the written statement of his resignation. And this is my second step for keeping my promises.

To which Biden replied: “I agree.”

Four weeks later on March 22, 2016, Biden says “Tell me that there is a new government and a new Prosecutor General. I am prepared to do a public signing of the commitment for the billion dollars.

Poroshenko tells Biden that one of the leading candidates is the man who replaced Shokin, Yuriy Lutsenko who later said in a deposition that Hunter Biden and his business partners were receiving millions of dollars in compensation from Burisma.

Then, on May 13, 2016, Biden congratulates Poroshenko on “getting the new Prosecutor General,” saying that it will be “critical for him to work quickly to repair the damage Shokin did.”

And I’m a man of my word,” Biden adds. “And now that the new Prosecutor General is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that one billion dollar loan guarantee.”

Poroshenko thanks Biden for the support, and says that it was a “very tough challenge and a very difficult job.”

Zero Hedge: Ukraine Indictment Claims $7.4 Billion Obama/Democrat-Linked Laundering

This article comes from Zero Hedge, relating an indictment by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General against Burisma Holders, where Hunter Biden held a highly-compensated sinecure. Emphasis below is from the original article.

An indictment drawn up by Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General against Burisma owner Nikolai Zlochevsky claims that Hunter Biden and his partners received $16.5 million for their ‘services’ – according to Ukrainian MP Alexander Dubinsky of the ruling Servant of the People Party.

Dubinsky made the claim in a Wednesday press conference, citing materials from an investigation into Zlochevsky and Burisma.

“Zlochevsky was charged with this new accusation by the Office of the Prosecutor General but the press ignored it,” said the MP. “It was issued on November 14.”

The son of Vice-President Joe Biden was receiving payment for his services, with money raised through criminal means and money laundering,” he then said, adding “Biden received money that did not come from the company’s successful operation but rather from money stolen from citizens.”

…According to Interfax-Ukraine, MP Andriy Derkach announced at the same press conference that deputies have received new materials from investigative journalists alleging that the ‘family’ of ex-President Yanukovych funneled $7.4 billion through American investment firm Franklin Templeton Investments, which they claim have connections to the US Democratic party”…

The son of Templeton’s founder, John Templeton Jr., was one of President Obama’s major campaign donors. Another fund-related character is Thomas Donilon. Managing Director of BlackRock Investment Institute, shareholder Franklin Templeton Investments, which has the largest share in the fund. It is noteworthy that he previously was Obama’s national security advisor,” Derkach added…

Click here to read the entire article at Zero Hedge.

Jim Kunstler: Civil War On

Jim Kunstler is the author of the books The Long Emergency, the consequences of a world oil production peak, coinciding with the forces of climate change, resurgent diseases, water scarcity, global economic instability, and warfare, and The Geography of Nowhere, which discusses why suburbia should not be considered credible human habitat, among others. The following excerpt comes from Jim Kunstler’s article today Civil War On:

Someone in Impeachmentville is not paying attention. Of course, diverting the rubes is exactly the point of the latest CIA operation to negate the 2016 election. Has nobody noticed that there is treaty between Ukraine and the USA, signed at Kiev in 1998 and ratified by the US Senate in 2000. It’s an agreement on “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.”

…How does this not permit Mr. Trump asking the president of Ukraine for “assistance” in criminal matters arising out of “collusion with Russia,” as specified within the scope of Robert Mueller’s special prosecutor activities? For instance, the matter of CrowdStrike. The cybersecurity firm was co-founded by Russian ex-pat Dmitri Alperovitch, who also happens to be a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, an anti-Russian think tank funded by Ukrainian billionaire, Viktor Pinchuk, who donated at least $25 million to the Clinton Foundation before the 2016 election. Crowdstrike was the company that “examined” the supposedly hacked DNC servers, while somebody in the Obama administration prevented the FBI from ever seeing them. Does this sound a little like part of the origin story of RussiaGate? Is that not exactly the potential criminal matter that the current attorney general, Mr. Barr, is officially investigating?

…UkraineGate is the equivalent of Fort Sumter in Civil War 2.0. Charges have been flying and tempers flaring for three years now, much as they did between 1858 and 1861. Once again, what seems to be at stake is the integrity of the Union. As in the previous enactment, one side is dangerously deluded, and that is liable to lead to its destruction.