Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

“SOMETIMES IT SEEMS WE’RE LIVING IN THE TIME WHEN OUR CHAIR HAS BEEN YANKED OUT BUT OUR BUTTS AIN’T HIT THE GROUND YET”

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Another week, Biden’s proxy war against Russia continues at fabulous expense… while the GOP strips Americans of their rights and … Biden issues toothless  executive orders: Biden’s executive order on abortion is better than nothing. But not much better. And honestly, it isn’t better than nothing, since aside from doing nothing, it encourages more division and paralysis in the Dem base. “He’s not Trump!” got Biden elected, barely, but it’s of no use as the SCOTUS dismantles the Constitution in favor of theocracy.

I mean, I voted for Biden hoping he would undo at least some of the major damage Trump did. The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) for example, the humiliating agreement Iran signed to get their nuclear program carefully monitored so that it remained peaceful in nature. Trump canceled the  JCPOA agreement with Iran for no good reason, Biden should have reinstated it. Nope. Biden Eschews Diplomacy, Chooses Path to War with Iran.

Sigh. I’m really depressed as hell by the ongoing war. I have all sorts of links, but I realize they are wasted on most readers. The American public seems to have largely fallen for the propaganda about the Russo-Ukraine War like they have for so many previous US wars. The problem is that those previous wars involved countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Serbia, etc. Russia is a nuclear power, and it’s entirely possible they will use nuclear weapons if it looks like they will lose the war. A loss being NATO gets to deploy first strike weapons in Ukraine, or Crimea might be reconquered by Ukraine. And if risking a nuclear war with Russia isn’t bad enough, NATO has China in its sights: NATO: The most dangerous military alliance on Earth.

On the plus side, unbeknownst to most Americans, the rest of the world is not lining up behind NATO and its war on Russia: Many G20 members have not followed the US-led sanctions campaign against Russia, including Indonesia, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. The meeting opened with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi calling for the G20 nations to work together to end the war. Look at that, the rest of the world wants to pursue peace. Something the Dems at least used to pretend to want, even as they fomented war.

And in fact they are spending vast sums of taxpayer money on the current war. There’s so so many problems in America that would benefit from this kind of spending … Instead it’s going to fight a war that is not only irrelevant to US security, it’s wreaking havoc on the American and world economy: The Unending Farce of US Sanctions against Russia. How did this happen?

Also, guessing most Americans do not understand how effing clever Putin is? Putin outfoxed both Bush and Obama in crises Georgia (2008) and the US (2014) created. The first ended with South Ossetia and Abkhazia effectively part of Russia. (Which the people living there wanted anyhow.) And the second with Crimea returning to Russia, just as the people of Crimea wanted. And this crisis Putin had eight years to plan, instead of him having to react to a massive provocation. Though granted there was plenty of provocation in this case too, it was just spread out over years (decades really) instead of overnight.

Another thing Americans mostly don’t understand is that “Putin started a terrible war” and “NATO went out of their way to provoke him” are both true. They aren’t mutually exclusive. Unless one lives in a black and white tribal world, a world view all too many ascribe to. I have no idea how this war is going to turn out, no one does, but Washington still doesn’t understand that so far Putin has already won: Biden Says Russia’s War in Ukraine ‘Must Be a Strategic Failure’.

Almost feel sorry for Biden. His whole world is turning to sheet and Putin “winning” a war would end him politically. Turns out that just beating Trump wasn’t anywhere near enough, he needed to accomplish something as well. Runaway inflation and $5 a gallon gas are Biden’s only legacy now, possibly losing a war to Putin (like Obama and Bush did) must keep him up at night, if not actually giving him nightmares.

It might be June 1914 any day now, who knows. Certainly seems like the scariest time of my life, Russia has actual WMDs unlike Saddam or Kaddafi. World War Three could start tomorrow. Boy, think of the blogging opportunities! And well, since I might not be blogging long, might as well repost this now: THE DOUG’S DARKWORLD GUIDE TO NOT SURVIVING A NUCLEAR ATTACK. Consider it a public service. And for other depressing predictions, try this out: Wake Up, America, This Is Collapse.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A quote found on Facebook. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Quotes are legal to share as long as one doesn’t put them on a T-shirt or coffee cup etc for sale.)

Written by unitedcats

July 16, 2022 at 7:29 am

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

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This map helps to understand Ukraine and the divisions that have wracked it since the nation was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union. What became Ukraine was created administratively by the Soviet Union, so its borders didn’t really matter while the Soviet Union existed. Once the Soviet Union collapsed problems began almost immediately: Russia-Ukraine Tensions Flared Early in the Post-Soviet Era | The National Interest.

And now the latest and worse problem, the Russo-Ukraine War, continues, exactly as Washington wants it to: The War Party’s Dictates on the Ukraine War Weapons continue to pour into Ukraine. Where they go then, who knows.  The US Has No Idea Where Its Ukrainian Military Aid Is Going. Ukraine was already a horribly corrupt country before the war, there’s zero reason to think it’s any less corrupt now. In Hollywood fantasy movies people band together in the face of adversity. In reality the grifters and war profiteers go nuts in hard times. The Russo-Ukrainian War is basically a US proxy war against Russia now:  The Second Level Geopolitical War in Ukraine Takes Over

So that’s the plan and news in the west, the world is united against Russian aggression, and with western help the Ukrainians will win the war. NATO expands, Russia is weakened and vanquished, NATO expands, democracy and freedom all around. There are endless problems with this narrative. Despite the “news” in the west, the world is most definitely not siding with the US. Only 30 of the world’s 195 countries have agreed to the US sanctions against Russia. Most of the world more or less thinks “NATO made this mess, it’s not our problem.” On Ukraine, the World Majority Sides With Russia Over US.

I’m really starting to think US foreign policy is basically on auto-pilot. Cold War forever, the response to the Russian invasion seems entirely predictable. NATO is going to conquer the world in the name of good, no need for planning or nuance, just keep moving forward, like this: Nine reasons why NATO should close the door to Sweden and Finland. Excellent reasons not to, but NATO may indeed. Our foreign policy seems determined to meet the desires of the Pentagon and arms industry, playing lip service to democracy and freedom.

The problem is it’s not 1970 anymore, the US is no longer the undisputed economic and military leader of the planet. Hell, even then there were limits to our military as Vietnam showed. Granted to this day we clearly refuse to understand that: “Nothing is Impossible” Finds It Impossible to Tell the Truth About Vietnam. IE, Washington is living in a fantasy world it has sold to its people and itself. Pretty sure if one’s game strategy is completely predictable and at odds with reality, the advantage is to the other team. Works that way in both football and war.

I’m not the only one thinking on these lines. What if Russia Wins Its War Against Ukraine. The one thing that is 100% predictable about wars: they rarely come to predictable ends. And the bigger the players, the less predictable such wars become. Russia is still a big player. And Putin is the smartest leader to hit the world’s stage in a long time, he ran circles around both Bush and Obama. And despite western fantasies, his popularity is rising. Maybe the war is going exactly as Putin planned? It’s possible, people who can’t see that are like the people who don’t understand Trump’s appeal. People are like they are, not as how we want them to be.

So, a couple of other links on US autopilot hypocrisy: Iran Talks Stall: Does America Even Believe in Diplomacy Anymore? Trump canceled a perfectly good agreement, just resign it. Or this: “After spending months lecturing the world on the rights of states to set their own foreign policy course and to decide on their own alliances, the US is once again reminding small states that it assumes that their freedom to make those decisions is contingent on Washington’s approval.” Breaking the Habit of Bullying Small States. Hypocrisy especially illustrated: When the US does it, it’s sanctions. Russia does it, it’s gas blackmail. If you wanted an example of how the mainstream media is just an American propaganda outlet, this is it: Russia begins ‘gas blackmail’ halting supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, governments told.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is not good vs evil, the Manichean heresy, it’s just a stupid border war between major industrialized states, one nuclear armed. With some outside world powers doing their best to prolong the conflict. Lots of evil to go around, very little good. We’re through the looking glass here folks, the most terrible major power war since the US invasion of Iraq. And it turned out far differently, and far worse, than almost any of the pundits predicted. Granted the US invasion of Iraq was based on fantasy while Putin’s attack was much more reality based.

Still, this war is another great example of, like almost all wars, “It takes two fools to have a fight.”

PS: Next post: Soft liars vs hard liars.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Etho-linguistic Map of Ukraine. Credit: User:Yerevantsi/Maps, published legally under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Written by unitedcats

May 1, 2022 at 8:06 pm

IS UKRAINE RUSSIAN FOR DIEN BIEN PHU?

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Links and at least an attempt to deconstruct what’s going on in Ukraine today. The above is the current situation as of 23 April 2022. Note that Russia has withdrawn from its incursions in the north, but has consolidated its control of the south and east. They now control a land link to Crimea. And unofficially at least they may seek to control all of Southern Ukraine, linking them to Russian separatists in Transnistria, the gray area in the lower mid left off the map: Russian General Suggests Moscow Could Seize Ukraine’s Entire Coast, Create Link to Transnistria.

It’s been clear since the beginning that overt conquest of Ukraine wasn’t Russia’s aim, the modest scale of the invasion force, and the subsequent withdrawal from the north, pretty much confirms that. There’s still some Ukrainian troops holding out in Mariupol, but otherwise Russia has control of the whole south eastern Ukraine region apparently. Note that Crimea is connected to Russia by a bridge at the lower right, built since Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014. That Ukraine hasn’t attempted to knock this bridge out is another indication that the war is limited on both sides. In the western hysterical press, it’s Hitler invading Poland. In reality, it’s a stupid border war between two sovereign states. Let’s hope it stays that way.

It’s kind of fascinating watching the US narrative. Americans have been convinced that Putin is a monster and the entire world is lining up to oppose him. That’s the beauty of being the most propagandized people on Earth: Where’s the Truth? How the CIA Shapes the Minds of Americans. The rest of the world though, meh, NATO made this problem, it’s not our problem. You won’t hear much like this in the western press: Turkey Says Some NATO Members Want Longer Ukraine War to Hurt Russia. Or this of course: To Fight Russia, Europe’s Regimes Risk Impoverishment and Recession for Europe. And of course one will never hear this in the west:  Minsk II: Two Words You’ll Never Hear on Mainstream News

A few other links with perspective one won’t find on CNN: Against World War III This one is about comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the historical situation that is most comparable to the current situation in Ukraine. Then: If we don’t want nuclear war, why are we pushing for one? Good question. Well, it is terrible times, Covid, Global Warming, why not add some nuclear weapons in the mix. The Pentagon, not to mention many Americans, would love an excuse to use nuclear weapons. Myself, I think war with Russia is best to avoid: First Priority – Avoid US War With Russia. Then: Shades of Gray in the Russia-Ukraine War

Many Americans have internalized American exceptionalism, we’re the good guys so we can use force. And of course we always use war responsibly to minimize civilian casualties. As if killing fewer babies, but not deliberately targeting them, was a good thing. How does one argue with people who are horrified by the Russian war on Ukraine, but are indifferent at worst to America’s wars on Iraq, Syria, Serbia, and Libya, just for starters? Blogging is all I got for now. War as an instrument of national policy is the problem, not Putin.

Someone said it decades ago, paraphrasing: “If you’re going to be the world’s policeman, you’re gonna find out how many street corners the world has.” The ugly truth is that Ukraine is about as insignificant to US security as it could get. As is the South Pacific:  The misbegotten notion that the South Pacific is a US sphere of influence The truth is that even the Monroe Doctrine was imperial overstretch, Ukraine is not the hill our empire should die on. We’re so conditioned to thinking the USA is invincible and has it all under control, that anything other than a humiliating defeat for Putin is unimaginable. Ukraine could be the biggest miscalculation in American history.

We could go for it in Ukraine … and suffer a defeat that makes Dien Bien Phu look minor. Can’t happen of course. Snort. History is full of things that people thought “couldn’t happen.” That’s what makes history fun. And terrifying.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Situation in Ukraine around 23 April 2022. Credit: Viewsridge. Reproduced legally: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 24, 2022 at 8:05 pm

IF BEING FOR PEACE AND DIPLOMACY MAKES ME “OFF BASE,” I AM PROUDLY OFF BASE

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The flagship of the Russian Back Sea fleet has been sunk by Ukrainian missiles. Largest warship to be sunk since World War Two. A symbolic and morale victory for Ukraine. Another major event in the war of our times. Symbolic because it’s not going to change the course of the war anyhow, it’s a land war, not a sea war. Also one day closer to the day when all large warships are obsolete. The latter is just my opinion though.

So the terrible war continues. Want a blog where Putin is the devil, Zelensky a hero, and the war is a struggle between good and evil? Move right along, the western mainstream media has it covered. As a Russian visitor to the US once said: “In the Soviet Union we had to shoot reporters to get them to repeat government propaganda. In America, they do it voluntarily!” And hey, for the sake of argument I’m happy to grant that Putin is a monster whose attack on Ukraine was unjust and unprovoked. That doesn’t change the fact that both Zelensky and the USA are doing what they can to prolong the war, not end it. Even if the Russo-Ukraine wasn’t a US proxy war to start with, it most certainly is one now.

Like this: Blinken Tells European Allies He Believes Ukraine War Will Last Through 2022. Or this: Zelensky pushes for more weapons to fight Russia. I mean, yeah, sure, you’re at war and need weapons? But if you don’t get more weapons there will be a bloodbath? More war and weapons is how one creates bloodbaths, not prevents them. Why not try to end the war through diplomacy? Oh right, Putin is a madman so war is the only option. Depicting Putin as ‘Madman’ Eliminates Need for Diplomacy. That appears to be where most pro-war people I talk to are coming from, they’ve really bought the endless demonization of Putin and Russia they’ve been steeped in for decades. War, what is it good for? Profits: New Reporting Details Corporate Media’s War Industry Pundits.

Aside from the just plain horror of it all, there are peoples all over the world fighting for their independence, sometimes for decades, often against regimes far more brutal than Putin’s Russia. Where is their endless news coverage, billions of dollars of aid and weapons, and crippling sanctions against their oppressors? If America was so about freedom and self-determination, Ukraine would be just one of many causes Biden was championing. Instead, the vast majority of Americans remain utterly in the dark. Palestine, Kurdistan, Tibet, Rohingya, and numerous others. But yeah, Ukraine is where the US has chosen to fight for freedom. Snort.

The more I understand how the world works, the more I understand why putative aliens would fly right by, locking their doors as they pass. A planet with over five thousand ethnic groups, ruled by fewer than 200 armed gangs. Poverty, injustice,  and wealth inequality are rampant. Armaments and fossil fuels are the planet’s top two industries. Humans are killing each other by the millions every year, and fossil fuels are literally destroying the planet’s climate and killing millions more by way of air pollution. Yeah, even Kirk and Spock would leave this one alone.

And I guess I’m gonna keep blogging about the war. The Russo-Ukrainian War is the Vietnam War of my time, except this time our designated enemy has nuclear weapons. No genocide yet. And I’m hoping this might eventually revive the peace movement in the US. Granted I think corporate control of the media and government propaganda make that unlikely, but a man can dream. I was accused by a reader of being “off base” for suggesting that peace and diplomacy are laudable paths. That makes me proudly off base. There’s people risking death and jail fighting for peace in Ukraine and Russia. I guess I can risk losing friends by blogging for peace in America.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The recently sunk Russian cruiser Moskva. Credit: Mil.ru. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 18, 2022 at 1:32 pm

UNPOPULAR OPINION: THE WAR IS OVER, PUTIN WON

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I try to stay moored in reality. IE what is, is, reality doesn’t care about anyone’s opinions. It’s going to do whatever happens no matter how that meshes with anyone’s opinion of how the world works. And when huge numbers of people think their opinion is reality, problems arise. And in contemporary America, we have problems along these lines. On both left and right.

This limits my reading audience considerably these days. I digress. Back on point, I think the Russo-Ukrainian War is effectively over. Putin won, nothing next but a lot of whining in the American west. And maybe destroying the world economy. Wait, what? It’s fairly simple. Putin accomplished his goals: The Ukrainian military has been decimated, Russia is free to annex Donbas, NATO and Biden proved spineless, Ukraine won’t be joining NATO anytime soon. Russia is essentially sanction proof. In fact, Biden’s efforts to sanction Russia will hurt the west worse than Russia. Yeah, preventing Russian athletes from running in the Boston Marathon will really hurt Putin.

Nuclear war avoided, nothing left but endless op ed twaddle trying to frame the war as an American victory. Nope. The high water mark off the American Empire, the Russian Red Line held, we’re reduced to threatening China with the same sanctions that failed to achieve victory in Ukraine. No idea what happens now, but expect it’s going to be weird. The horrifying contradictions of the American Century will become increasingly unhinged. Good times.

I do understand the “mainstream” view: ‘The US leads the free world, rule of law, freedom, arsenal of democracy. NATO expanding meant more people joining the free world. And for the last decade at least Russia and China have become more aggressive. China is militarizing the South China Sea, expanding its influence around the globe with the New Silk Road initiative. Russia even more so with its aggression in Georgia and Crimea. And now an all out invasion of Ukraine, a horrifying humanitarian crisis, Putin must be reined in at least.’

All true. Well, some of it is true. Sort of.  A good illustration that lies of omission are the greatest lies. IE there’s no context to any of it, and what it leaves out is legion. Here’s a good article that talks about the media bias and double standards in the west. Just for starters, the utterly illegal US invasion of Iraq resulted in a million deaths, and that’s the conservative estimate: From Korea to Libya: On the Future of Ukraine and NATO’s Never-Ending Wars. And then this, Mr. Paul always offers a different perspective. CIA Admits Feeding Americans False Info About Ukraine.

I do hope it’s over soon. Kremlin Says Russia’s War in Ukraine Could End ‘In Foreseeable Future’. Though it seems clear the Biden administration is in no hurry: Is the Biden Administration Trying to Prolong the Ukraine War? The media is saying now there will be a big fight in Donbas. I wouldn’t hold my breath, I don’t think the Ukrainian army has the offensive capability to drive Russia out. And the Russians have air superiority, almost always fatal for an attacking force.

PS: Zelensky going around the world to give speeches to adoring (mostly) parliaments is kinda weird. As in, other than stroking his ego, what is the point? Weapons and money aren’t going to win the war for him, and at this point it seems clear no one is going to directly challenge a nuclear armed Russia. Shouldn’t he be trying to end the war, not prolong it? Like I said earlier, this might get increasingly weird.

Next, a blog about my cat. Maybe. Stay safe and warm everyone, we’re getting a week of unseasonable snow, rain, and hail here in Eastern Oregon.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. Flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic. They voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from Ukraine, though how fair that vote was, and was it after a million or more ethnic Ukrainians fled? Still, no different than some of the horrors perpetrated in the Balkans in the nineties, that passed completely under the radar in the west. Credit: Владимир Ђорђевић “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:

I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.”)

Written by unitedcats

April 12, 2022 at 7:48 pm

“DO I NOT DESTROY MY ENEMIES WHEN I MAKE THEM MY FRIENDS?”

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Well, the war in Ukraine is getting worse, wars tend to do that, one of the reasons to try and avoid them … and one of the reasons to try and end them once they begin. There aren’t really any winners in wars, they represent the ultimate fail of human relations, both international and domestic. Humans deliberately killing other humans in organized violence, pretty much doesn’t get worse than that. Putin is a war criminal, and like all war criminals, it would be good if he was brought to justice someday. The chances seem remote though, fantasies of the Russian people rising up and deposing him are just that, fantasies. Hey though, the people in Washington pushing such twaddle are the same people who fantasized that Iraqis would welcome our invading armies with flowers and democracy would flow across the Middle East.

I have no problem condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What I have a problem with is how the west is portraying it. This war is  portrayed by Washington as a struggle between democracy and autocracy, good vs evil, freedom vs Hitler. Sigh. The world is not black and white, and pretending it leads nowhere good. Granted the US has been doing this a long time now, at least since World War Two, but it’s depressing that so many have completely accepted this destructive fantasy for fact. There’s literally nothing noble about this war, or any war really, the US did everything they could to encourage it, and even the government of Ukraine played a role:  Zelensky Rejected German Security Proposal Before Russian Invasion. Apparently he rejected Putin’s last not-unreasonable offer … because he didn’t trust Putin to adhere to it. The logic there escapes me, if a guy threatens war if you don’t do X, why not do X if you were going to do it anyways?

And now a day or two after I wrote the above, there are allegations of Russian atrocities in areas they withdrew from. Accepted as fact instantly in the west. I have doubts, it’s not a slam dunk. Doesn’t matter, Biden and Zellensky seem determined to push for endless war. As far as I can tell Americans think they are winning, I think it’s much more complicated than that. I think Biden is utterly determined not to let anything happen that could be spun as any sort of Russian victory, my way or the highway has been American “foreign policy” for a century. It’s a trap though, locking ourselves into a black and white worldview limits our options terribly. And I think Putin knows that.

I don’t know what’s going on. No one ever does when wars start, but that doesn’t apparently stop them from thinking they do. Maybe it was insanity and evil on Putin’s part, and he’s losing badly. Maybe Putin and China are playing Biden like a fiddle and it’s all going according to their plan. The truth lies somewhere in the middle I suspect, somewhere no one is expecting. My guess is this war will be a watershed moment, things will never be the same afterwards. Especially for those who die, are maimed, and their loved ones. In that sense, like all wars, it’s a nightmare.

I hope for peace, but alas I think 75 years of Americans being raised to think Russians are evil runs too deep. And a hundred years of America insisting on unconditional surrender. Lincoln spent the entire war trying to make peace with the South, that’s his quote in the title. Biden is about as far from Lincoln as it gets. We’re doomed.

Next up, a post about a cat. The war is too depressing.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Maybe it’s satire, if not it’s darkly ironic.)

Written by unitedcats

April 6, 2022 at 9:16 pm

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The Russo-Ukraine War is still at the top of the news of course. All over it actually, pretty much the only news story going right now. I haven’t been following the details because, well, they don’t matter. It’s not a freaking sports event with teams and scores, no one knows who is winning or what that would even mean. And of course the news, at least the mainstream news, is horrifically biased. It’s actually freaking weird living in a country where the news is almost entirely propaganda … but everyone believes they are being informed. I’ve heard it said Americans are the most propagandized people on Earth, I can believe it.

Still, some stories stick out. This for example: US Needs More Arms Factories, Says Chief Weapons-Buyer Nominee. Right, NATO is spending twenty times as much as Russia, arms spending is already one of the world’s top two industries … but it’s not enough. We need moar weapons. America, our infrastructure is falling apart, our schools and healthcare are the disgrace of the developed world, but by God we got weapons. And we will soon have more apparently: US May Invoke Defense Production Act to Fill Weapons Stocks Depleted by Ukraine Donations

More than one article on this shark feeding of weapons buying: Pentagon Scrambles to Restock Weapons Sent to Ukraine as Arm Makers Look to Cash In. And the Pentagon hasn’t missed a beat either: Pentagon Exploits Ukraine War to Sink Another Billion Into Failed Zumwalt-Class Destroyers. Yes, this war means even more money for a warship without a purpose. The most bloated military the world has ever known is getting more bloated as I type.  Coincidentally enough, the US is in no hurry for this war to end: US Signals It’s Discouraging Zelensky from Making Concessions to Russia That Could End the Fighting.

Yes, Putin is a war criminal, his invasion of Ukraine is monstrous. The Russo-Ukrainian War, like all wars, can’t really be defended in any way. However, and it’s a nuclear sized however, that’s where western coverage of the war ends. Scant mention of how hard the US worked for decades to bring this war about: How the West Sabotaged Ukraine. Very good article that really goes into the background of Ukraine and the history leading up to this mess. And of course no mention is ever made of how the US is doing their best to prolong this war, not bring it to an end. It takes two fools to have a fight, war means both governments have failed.  What a mess: From Moscow to Washington, the Barbarism and Hypocrisy Don’t Justify Each Other.

And while this war superficially resembles the US efforts to get Russia bogged down in Afghanistan, a hopeless war, Ukraine isn’t Afghanistan. The Russian’s loss in Afghanistan was no threat to world peace, it wasn’t going to cause a nuclear war. This war is far different, it’s not going to end with some miraculous Ukrainian victory, Russia defeated and chastised, with NATO victoriously deploying troops in newly joined NATO members Ukraine and Georgia. Why not? Because Putin has made it clear he will use nuclear weapons to prevent that. Having the US station potential first strike weapons minutes missile flight of Russia’s heartland is something Russia can’t allow. That most Americans don’t understand what a terrible risk prolonging this war is shows just how horribly our media is misleading us, and we may well pay a terrible price: Will Humans Be the Next ‘Freedom Fries’?,  Is Victory for Ukraine Worth Risking Nuclear War?, and Is official Washington flirting with world war?

On the plus side, if there can be said to be a plus side about nuclear war, I’m reasonably safe here in rural Oregon. Even Sarah Palin couldn’t see Russia from my place. Hell, there’s so few lights at night that I was able to see the Zodiacal Light for the first time in decades. This is a bright glow in the sky immediately after and near where the Sun sets or will rise in the sky. (Also called False Dawn if before sunrise.) It’s the Sun illuminating the disk of dust orbiting the Sun in the same plane that the planets orbit the Sun.

Perspective, a wonderful thing. Most people would rather have a narrative spoon fed to them, and there’s plenty to do the spooning. Last check, no new news. Russia hints they may pull back. I’m all for an end to the fight, then everyone can sit down and work things out.

The US will not do that. Enter the whirlwind. Have a safe weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A mall in Kyiv destroyed by a Russian cruise missile strike. Why did the Russians fire missiles at a mall? Very possibly because a Ukrainian TikTok user broadcast a video showing it being used as a Ukrainian military depot. Oops. He’s been arrested. If it’s true, means Russia is making good use of open source intelligence, IE monitoring open media for information of military value. Credit: Unknown Ukrainian source, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 25, 2022 at 8:06 pm

FROM UKRAINE TO RIVENDELL

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Well, what’s to say? Those that have bought into Washington’s “Putin is Stalin reborn, out to destroy the west” aren’t going to be interested in hearing any contrary points of view. Oddly enough they are the same people who convinced themselves that Putin got Trump elected, again, contrary views not welcome. I am starting to think greed isn’t the most powerful force in the Universe, it’s motivated reasoning. That’s starting with a conclusion and modifying the facts to fit the conclusion. Sometimes it’s almost breathtaking in its scope. What a nightmare. (The war and motivated reasoning.)

In America, the political landscape is also all over the map. The GOP continues to attack LGTB rights, because something something. Oh, wait, because human rights are “A rebellion against God.” Do people realize how ludicrous they sound saying things like that? I’m guessing no. Want to hear something even more ludicrous, it’s this guy whining about how women are the reason for misogyny and violence against women: ‘How Can You Really Blame a Guy?’ White Nationalist Vincent James Blames Women for Misogynistic Extremism. It’s childishly pathetic, but immaturity seems to be rampant in the US these days. The right loves to claim the left are snowflakes, but considering the whining they do about stuff that doesn’t affect them in any way, there are plenty of snowflakes on the right. For a last bit of right wing silliness: California MAGA Candidate Says She’s Running Because Jesus Spoke to Her Son in a Closet. OK then.

So, moving on, some science news for a change: Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists. I didn’t say a change for the better. War, plague, global warming; not a lot to be happy about these days. This is fun at least, though def for the science nerds out there:  New Insight Into Possible Origins of Life: For the First Time Researchers Create an RNA Molecule That Replicates. It’s always been suspected that RNA life preceded DNA life, the evidence is now stronger. OK, here’s one that is good news.This is about  Breakthru Starshot, a plan to get probes to the nearest stars by 2045. The astute reader will realize that that requires probes that travel at about 20% of the speed of light. The good news, some of the engineering problems have been solved, so it’s looking more realistic. I’ll be 88 in 2045, so there’s even a chance I’ll be around to see the first pics sent back from Alpha Centauri.

A chance. At least I have settled down now and am living a healthy life again, my 10,000 mile road trip from hell is over. My life in fact has come full circle. My fondest childhood memories are of my family farm, still owned by my grandfather until the early 1960s. Now I’m living on a farm, and with any luck I’ll be here the rest of my life. I have even adopted a cat, so there’s a kitty in my life for the first time since my cats died in 2014. She went from barn cat to spoilt princess in just a few weeks; as my farmates say, she adopted me, not vice versa. The cat in Iowa doesn’t count, it wasn’t my cat, and it was a damned annoying cat. Hell, all my life in Iowa was somewhere between annoying and toxic. Toxic landlord, toxic housemate. Living with people who have their act together has surely heightened that realization.

A bit of “fun” news, here’s a headline I never saw before: US boater who rescued man from lake then shot him will not be charged. Basically an elderly couple in a pontoon boat rescued a couple who had fallen off their jet ski. And for some reason the guy rescued got belligerent. I’m guessing alcohol may have been involved. His girlfriend even pushed  him back off the boat to get him to cool off so to speak. He got back on the boat, continued his belligerence, and got shot dead for his trouble. The shooter is not being charged, guessing the victim’s girlfriend agreed with that assessment. Idiot. Aggressive people who end up getting killed, oh well.

A final few notes: There’s Only One Jesus’: Trump-Endorsed Herschel Walker Is a Science-Denier Who Thinks Apes Dispel Evolution. Sigh. So so much stupid. First of all, the ape ancestor of humans isn’t still around. And ancestral forms of lots of animals are still around, because some subgroup of an animal evolved doesn’t automatically mean the original form died out. Basically Herschel’s “thinking” shows he doesn’t know sheet about the theory of evolution. A common trait of those who criticize the theory I’ve noticed.

Lastly, one last bit of Ukraine news: Zelensky Bans Political Opposition, Nationalizes Media to Create ‘Unified’ Information. Wait, I thought Ukraine was all about freedom and democracy? Apparently there are caveats. The truth is there are plenty of people in Ukraine who wonder just how the hell Zellensky managed to get into a war with Russia, but that’s a question no one is allowed to ask apparently. What a mess, I hope it ends soon.

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Three Trees. On the farm I live on, it’s like living in Rivendell it’s so beautiful. Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

March 21, 2022 at 8:22 pm

RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, THE DOGS OF WAR HAVE BEEN UNLEASHED

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I have been very depressed since Russia invaded Ukraine. This is the worst outbreak of war since the US invasion of Iraq nearly 20 years ago, and in some ways one of the worst outbreaks of my life. Modern industrialized nuclear powers going to war is always a scary thing, the sheer destructive power at their disposal is frightening even without counting nuclear weapons. Even if this war is limited to Russia and Ukraine the death toll is likely to be in the thousands at least with property damage in the billions. Already there are over 150,000 refugees, so a terrible humanitarian crisis is unfolding. And it could get so much worse, other nations could get involved, nuclear weapons could get used, a world war is not out of the question.

A lot to be depressed and angry about. Humans live on a planet that is a paradise, a planet that could easily provide a good life for everyone on Earth. Instead greed, corruption, and violence are rampant, with a tiny number of people hoarding staggering amounts of wealth while billions of people live in abject poverty. And the ultimate expression of the failure of humanity is war, organized violence intended to kill other human beings. I suspect war is one of the main reasons the aliens fly right by. And yet we’ve completely normalized it, glorified and fetishized it in many cases. There’s nothing glorious about war, if your country is involved in a war, there were almost always failures in leadership that led to it.

Russia invading Ukraine is a terrible crime. It’s a war crime, the greatest war crime in fact because all other war crimes flow from it. I hope cool heads prevail and the war ends as quickly as possible. I had no wish to see this in my day, just as I had no wish to experience the greatest pandemic in a century. And that’s far from over. Oh, and the Tonga volcano eruption in January was the greatest in decades. 2022 is starting off with a bang. My few remaining readers want my opinion, of which I have a few. Unpopular as they may be.

So yes, terrible thing, terrible war crime. And that’s as far as it gets in the US at least, no context, no history, nothing. Evil Russia invades freedom loving Ukraine, heroic Ukrainians defending valiantly against invading Russian hordes. True enough, but without history and context, it’s a facile sophomoric analysis. Russia hit first, end analysis, preschool playground ethics. See it on TikTok, put a sunflower on your Facebook profile. Americans can feel incredibly noble and heroic defending Ukraine, without the inconvenience of actual Americans being killed and wounded for life. And anyone who doesn’t get on the bandwagon is a Putin apologist if not an enemy of America.

Washington got the war it wanted, in the grand American tradition of fomenting wars going back to the Mexican American War in 1846, A Democratic war no less, while most Republican criticism of the Dems is paranoid marketing nonsense, the Dems have managed to start a lot of wars. Good for their sponsors, the arms and energy industries, the two most powerful industries on Earth. When the Soviet Union collapsed and effectively surrendered to NATO the US promised that NATO would not expand eastward. A promise that the US broke immediately and expanded NATO up to and inside the borders of the old Soviet Union. Putin made it very clear that Russia had had enough, they would not stand for Ukraine joining NATO and positioning missiles on the border with Russia’s heartland. No more than the US would allow Russian or Chinese missiles stationed in Mexico or Cuba. Hell, we almost fought a world war about Russian missiles in Cuba.

So yes, this war could have been completely avoided if Ukraine had just stayed neutral, the same way Finland and Austria coexisted peacefully next to the Soviet Union for decades. Tell that to most Americans though and hostility and denial will be the response, Putin is the next Hitler and must be stopped because he wants to rule the world. (highly recommended link.) A conclusion so absurd (not to mention projecting, since it’s America that is trying to rule the world) as to be laughable. Except of course there’s nothing laughable about this situation. Among other nonsense being tossed around western media is the Dems somehow making this war Trump’s fault. So the Dems have mastered the GOP’s playbook, anything bad that happens is the other party’s fault. At least during the Vietnam War debate was possible, and at least some Americans were calling for peace.

All that aside, what the hell is going to happen now? No idea. If I had to guess, I think eventually Ukraine will realize America isn’t going to send the cavalry to their rescue, and will sit down with Putin and work out an acceptable deal that preserves Ukraine’s independence while assuaging Russia’s security concerns. That’s an optimistic sentiment though. It could get much worse. The other possibility is that Biden’s plummeting approval rating will goad him to reckless military involvement, like trying to impose a no fly zone over Ukraine. Here is a good link about how this war could have been avoided, and tons of history and context ignored by the western media: The Eazy-Peazy Ukrainian Alternative – Partition.

Another good discussion about this war and America’s response to it: The History Behind the Russia-Ukraine War. I particularly liked:

As Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University and leader of the so-called “realist” school of foreign policy wrote earlier this week, “‘strategic empathy’ isn’t about agreeing with an adversary’s position. It is about understanding it so you can fashion an appropriate response.”

That’s all I try to do. Stay safe everyone. I’ll try to write more about this nightmare as the situation unfolds.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme found on Facebook, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. In fact from what I can tell it’s not possible to copyright or trademark quotes by other people.)

Written by unitedcats

March 6, 2022 at 4:20 pm

THE RUSSIA UKRAINE THING JUST GETS WEIRDER: Russia plans fake video as pretext for Ukraine invasion, US claims

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That is indeed the latest in Washington’s ongoing war with Russia thing: Russia plans ‘very graphic’ fake video as pretext for Ukraine invasion, US claims. I have no idea what to make of this, but I certainly wouldn’t take it at face value. Sowing confusion for sure, and oddly enough does validate the one pretext Russia would use as a pretext to intervene. Millions of Russian citizens live in eastern Ukraine, and Russia will act to protect Russians and Russia’s allies. Oh, the Russian purported plot was supported by no evidence. As a certain TV tool guy would say, “Evidence, smevidence.”

Diplomatically, some progress is being made. US Makes Putin Offer He Can Hardly Refuse. All Russia wants is assurances that first strike weapons won’t be deployed on its borders, and Putin might just get that. Ukraine for its part is pushing back at Washington’s war rhetoric, either genuinely, or at the secret behest of the US. If the US is really up to something, who knows who the players involved are. Biden’s goal would be to get Putin to do something that can be claimed as Russian aggression. So Biden can be the hero, the Pentagon and arms industry keep the bucks rolling in, and the Dems’ sagging popularity can be boosted in time for the fall elections.

So now if something ugly does happen in eastern Ukraine, Putin won’t know if it’s real, or being faked by some party? And if he reacts to something faked, he’s walked into a trap. And if he ignores it, he loses face. IDK, I wouldn’t want to play chess with Putin, I hope Biden knows what he’s doing. Seems like a lot of risk with no clear goals, Putin isn’t going to abandon Crimea or fail to defend the Russians in eastern Ukraine, and he might well if pushed … do something decisive and unexpected. It’s what he does. Putin outwitted both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Speaking of US propaganda: Havana Syndrome could be caused by pulsed energy devices – US expert report. US Intelligence agencies commissioned a report … which came to the exact conclusion they wanted. In the Vietnam era when the US still had a free press, the veracity of this report would have at least been questioned. Now it’s presented as news, and is fact in many America’s minds no doubt. Why do I dismiss this as propaganda? Um, the source isn’t reliable. No evidence has been presented. Science has no trouble with classic mass hysteria being the cause. And lastly, our chosen enemies have utterly no reason to do this and excellent reasons not to.

The latter is the one overlooked by the FCM (fawning corporate media.) In fact the American media pretty much presents the world as a cartoon where the US is the good guy and our designated enemies hate us for our freedoms, or are just plain evil and out to get us. No nuance, understanding, context, history required. It must drive actual historians and foreign policy experts nuts. Excepting the ones who are cashing in on it. The number of people who make their living by being talking heads about the US for selected demographics must be one of the world’s greatest economies. That one of these bloviating talking heads actually managed to get himself elected POTUS really is a sign of just how dysfunctional the whole mess is. The greatest empire the world has ever seen, devoted entirely to making its rich ever richer. But boy, what a ride.

So 3 February 1959, The Day The Music Died. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and their pilot, Roger Peterson died when their plane crashed shortly after take off. God rest their souls. My very first memories date to this time, though I don’t recall this of course. People still visit the crash site regularly to this day, odd how stuff rises to the top like this. No real connection to Ukraine and Russia, aside from this crash was almost certainly because the pilot wasn’t qualified to fly this plane during the conditions of the flight. I fear Biden thinking he can take Putin could be a similar mistake. I hope I’m wrong.

Tonight’s epiphany: the US never stopped fighting World War Two, and the decades since then were and are just a continuation of it. Blog to follow.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The wreckage at the 1959 Buddy Holly crash site. Public domain under US copyright law. This wreck is why authorities started withholding names after deaths until the families were notified. Buddy Holly’s wife heard about his death on the radio, and likely had a miscarriage as a result.)

Written by unitedcats

February 3, 2022 at 9:42 pm