Saturday, December 31

"When you cannot commit one calculation error."

Maiden voyage of World's Biggest Containership | YouTube

The introduction at YouTube [emphasis mine]: 

Mega Transports: Biggest Containership | Engineering Documentary
It is the largest heavy load transport on earth! The maiden voyage of the biggest containership of all times. 
When the first ship of the brand-new OOCL-fleet gets underway, more cargo is moved at one time than anywhere else in the world and never before.
At 21,100 TEU capacity, the vessel is the largest ever ordered to date. 400 meters long and about as wide as a football field (58.8 meters).
These mega-cargo ships will not only be able to load more cargo than ever before, they will also be equipped with a number of high-class energy-saving systems.
This Episode shows the maiden voyage of the OOCL HONG KONG. Everything happens for the first time: the captain, the pilots and the harbour crew have never before manoeuvred a giant ship like this. Berthing, loading, steering: risky manoeuvres, which have never been tested [in real time] before.
Once berthed, the cargo loading pushes everyone involved to the limit -- crew, crane operators and the lashing team. A loading procedure like this, with additional containers on top of the so-far known stacking limit, has only been theoretically discussed, but never tested in real life.
Balancing the ship, moving and securing the stunning mass of containers is a task that does not allow even the slightest mistake. 
The route from Shanghai to Rotterdam, with stop in Singapore, brings constant challenges: pirate areas, onboard emergency drills and the navigation through the narrow waters of the Suez Canal. All of this happens under incredibly high pressure of time.
Will the world’s largest container ship stay on schedule on its maiden voyage?

The 48-minute documentary, published February 2020, gives the audience a front-row seat to an amazing ship's journey.  


Tuesday, December 27

"Authorities never expected the impacts to be as bad as they were." A symbolic snow disaster.

The quote is from Buffalo’s no stranger to snow. Why was the storm so deadly? - The Washington Post - December 27, 2022.  (Access to the report at WaPo is free; it's also published here: Buffalo’s no stranger to snow. Why was the storm so deadly? (

We've seen the pattern before in other types of natural disasters that were worsened by poorly conceived attempts at preparedness. (Remember this?) 

But what WaPo reporters Brianna Sacks and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux learned about Buffalo's preparations for a historic blizzard is perfectly symbolic of how Europe got into such a jam this year. Governments did projections of the impacts of making financial war on Russia but overlooked so many factors they were left wide open to a series of disasters.

So, in addition to the number of lives it took, a snowstorm in America serves as a warning about the limitations of projections and the dire consequences of snubbing common sense.  


Friday, December 23

As Russia prepares for outright war with NATO, U.S. "too thinly stretched in too many places."

The Duran's report today includes a brief review of the fighting in Bakhmut but focuses on Russian preparations for large-scale war with NATO.

Russian military prepares for conflict with neocons and NATO - YouTube

See also today's report from The New Atlas; Brian Berletic analyzes the Pentagon's woefully inadequate military aid to Ukraine:

Pentagon's "End-of-Year" Wishlist for Ukraine's Military Falls Far Short - YouTube


Wednesday, December 21

"Curse this damn road. I'm not coming back."

He'll be back. He's a lorry (truck) driver, delivering between New Delhi and Leh, in India.  His route takes him along the Manali-Leh highway. I've never before seen a film about the road journey, which is probably the most consistently treacherous anywhere. Also the most beautiful -- otherworldly in parts.  Seeing something of the journey helps put things in perspective.  

Can't believe I made the journey once -- and that was before the Indian military widened and upgraded the road, which had been built only for single-file military jeep traffic.  You may trust I took a plane out of Leh when it was time to leave.  Once by road was more than enough for me. 

Best driving advice is from a lorry driver in the film who allows his apprentice to get into the driver's seat and take the wheel during a stretch of the road:  "When you sit here you have to be submissive and pray to the gods."  

If you say you don't believe in gods -- by the time you're on that road an hour, you will. I think even monotheists pray to the gods on that road.

Foreign governments no longer see USD as safe haven for their national reserves

The view of the U.S. dollar as the sure refuge was the one thing shoring up the dollar no matter how much debt the U.S. piled up. Now the view has changed. One chapter in world history has closed. Another now opens.

Canadian scholar Gregory Chin explains how American policies boxed in their own currency. That part of his discussion is in Part 2 starting at the 21:00 mark. 

Chin's talk, titled The Renminbi and the Making of an International Currency, given for the London School of Economics, starts at the 8:24 mark after the introduction. The talk is followed by a Q&A session. 



Bakhmut Battle Sitrep

Granular discussion among three expert analysts with Gonzalo Lira moderating while chain-smoking.  (He's still in Kharkov. The building next to where he's staying was bombed some days ago.)  After about the first 20 minutes the discussion expands to other regions in Ukraine but keeps returning to Bakhmut.

Dima (Military Summary Channel) thinks Marinka is more important than Bakhmut for the Russians; he explains his reasoning starting at the 50:30 mark; debate and discussion follows.  Basically he's saying that the Ukrainians need to be ejected from Donetsk as the top priority.     


Saturday, December 17

Is the Indian Rupee a Black Swan Event?

We may have been looking in the wrong direction -- at the yuan (technically Renminbi) and asking whether it could rival or even replace the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency.

 Six hours ago from India's Firstpost, 4:46 minutes:

Part of the story is not new. See this five-minute report from India's WION on July 12:

Gravitas: RBI announces rupee mechanism for foreign trade - YouTube

"The Reserve Bank of India has rolled out a system to settle international trade transactions in the Indian rupee instead of the dollar. How does the rupee trade work? How will it impact India's trade relations? Palki Sharma tells you."

But as Firstpost indicates, several policies and global trade/financial trends are suddenly converging and moving fast to propel the rupee to an important reserve currency status. This is something nobody could have predicted.  


New Atlas deconstructs latest Pentagon Briefing Fairy Tale

Posted 90 minutes ago; Brian Berletic throws in a war update:

Russian Missile/Drone Strikes Ukraine's Power Grid - Ukraine's Top Brass Admits Resource Shortage - YouTube

Tuesday, December 13

"If we continue on this path, it's all over." Growing threat of nuclear weapons use.

Scott Ritter has been warning of this in the strongest possible terms ever since I've been listening to him talk about the Ukraine conflict. In this discussion today he starts by analyzing Vladimir Putin's words on December 9 about Russia's changing view of preemptive nuclear attack. Next Scott mentions Angela Merkel's frightening confession, and how this contributes to the growing nuclear standoff. From there he answers a range of questions.   

See also MoA - When False Claims Are News - Russia, India, Nukes ( - December 13

This just in from Brian Berletic:


Weaponization of U.S. dollar hegemony creating inevitable backlash

End of Dollar Dominance: China Begins Global Dedollarisation Campaign? | China Arab Summit - YouTube - FirstPost (India) December 12

But it's complicated:

China Looks To Expand Use Of Yuan In Energy Deals |

  • Summary 
  • China is looking to increase the use of its currency, the Yuan in oil and gas deals with the Middle East.
  • While Chinese currency has made inroads in global trade, the yuan accounts for just 2.7% of the market versus the dollar at 41%.
  • Experts have warned that China’s efforts to open up its capital markets could end up having an unintended consequence--an even weaker yuan.

What about India? Again, it's complicated:

Shift from the petrodollar imminent as India, others ditch US Dollar ( - March 19

Indian refiners pay dollars for Russian oil after dirham attempts fail | Reuters - September 28

  • Summary
  • Russian oil traders asked some Indian refiners to pay in dirhams
  • Dubai's Mashreq Bank declined to settle in dirhams - sources
  • Mashreq Bank, U.S. Treasury declined to comment
  • India's UCO Bank to soon set up rupee account for Gazprombank

They're going to keep trying, with the yuan as spearhead. It will be slow going but now we're seeing earnest efforts to establish an African common currency:

Death of the dollar, what’s in it for Africa - The Exchange ("Africa's Investment Gateway"



  • China has edged out the US as the world’s biggest contributor to the global gross domestic product which currently stands at an estimated 16 per cent.

The US accounted for 15.2 per cent of the global GDP after adjusting for purchasing power parity (PPP) in 2018. This share is expected to decrease to 13.86 per cent by 2024.

While the US still commands a sizeable amount of the world’s business, there seems to be a new order coming up where the nation will be relegated in terms of not only business but influence in a new world where the dollar will cease being the common currency.

How soon this happens is still not known but the signs are there and they have been with us for a while.

Already, China, Russia and Pakistan are laying out plans to start conducting bilateral trade and investment while issuing bonds in local and national currencies instead of the US dollar.

The eight-member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are to finalise a road map introducing a system of mutual settlement of national currencies.

Other SCO members include India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan while observer countries Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia are looking to become regular members of the SCO.

With the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, it seems that the world is realigning itself to a new way of doing business.

As it is, the Chinese economy is already controlling a huge chunk of the global business and with the markets now more integrated and interlinked, any shock affecting China now has far greater consequences for the world economy.  We have seen it with the coronavirus pandemic and it could only get more interesting to watch.

According to the UN-FAO, the supply shocks due to morbidity and mortality and the containment efforts that restrict mobility and higher costs of doing business due to restricted supply chains and a tightening of credit will affect economies leading to a reduction of economic growth.

This March, the OECD cut its forecast for global economic growth in 2020 from 2.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent, which would be the lowest level since the financial crisis a decade ago. It warned that a prolonged and more intensive coronavirus epidemic could even halve this figure to a mere 1.5 per cent.

Globally, the demand will also fall due to higher uncertainty, increased precautionary behaviour, containment efforts and rising financial costs that reduce the ability to spend.

For Africa, things could be even harder since there is also a significant devaluation of the exchange rate with respect to the US dollar. This will also affect the import-dependent countries most of which are in Africa.

But with the realigning, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will come in handy by injecting new momentum and moving the region from stagnation. For decades, the continent has been regarded as one of the poorest and least dynamic economies in the world. This is despite the wealth it has in terms of natural resources and human capital.

With the operationalisation of the AfCFTA in July this year, Africa, just like the rest of the world could be heading into a future of common ground in regard to trade and commerce. By breaking the cross border policies which have stymied intra-regional growth, the economic limitations could be coming to end as the continent liberalises cross-country travel and trade.

The continent is yet to have a common currency like the European Union but efforts by the various economic blocks have been seeking ways of introducing a common currency that could level the playing ground for the member countries.

In East Africa, for instance, the major benefits of a monetary union are the reduction of transaction costs, economies of international reserves, the elimination of exchange rate risk and region-wide price harmonization.

However, the region will take longer to establish a common currency since the 2024 deadline for a monetary union and the common currency is not attainable. The region has fallen behind in setting up the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI) which could be the basis of a common currency. Without the relevant institutions like the EAMI to support a single currency, it is almost impossible to have the region come up with an agreement on a currency.

But West Africa has already forged ahead with the agreement to ditch their monetary sovereignty this year and introduce the ECO, the region’s new common currency.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 15 member countries have agreed on the ECO which brings 380 million citizens together under a common monetary framework. Nigeria, Africa’s economic powerhouse is a member of the ECOWAS and with this newly formed currency, the project for a single currency in Africa is now closer than ever.

With autonomy, many countries and regions globally will seek more independence from the US dollar which will give them more say on loans and driving concessions.

With China already controlling a large portion of the global economy, it is now a matter of when and not if the world shifts from reliance on the greenback.



Monday, December 12

First BRI, then Saudi oil priced in yuan: China's success in manufacturing builds on itself.

Update on the Belt and Road Initiative:

The Belt and Road; As the West Slumbers, China Advances - YouTube - Tomorrow's World Viewpoint - December 9

Yuan for Saudi oil 

Saudi Arabia ditches dollar - YouTube - TFI Global (India) December 11


Mercouris, Macgregor latest Ukraine Sitreps

Ukraine Bakhmut Defences Crumble, Russia Advances Across Donbass, Serbia Readies for War - YouTube

U.S. gives Ukraine OK to drone strike Russia - YouTube

Also today The Duran goes into greater detail about Serbian crisis, which was obviously ginned up by the U,S./NATO.  

NATO, Serbia, Russia; Second front and conflict in the Balkans - YouTube


Kitten takes ducklings for a walk

 YouTube is an amazing place. The world is an amazing place.

Even though I posted it here, suggest you watch on full screen at YouTube for vista, closeups.  And there are other videos of the same, uh, family. Hre's one.

Winter is here! The duckling wants to sleep with the kitten, it's very warm! the bed is too small - YouTube


Sunday, December 11

Jim Rogers: "Be worried."

He says that the mountain of global debt is set to collapse a couple years down the line. Well, Jim Rogers is a skilled analyst of financial affairs. Beyond that, I can only keep repeating my new mantra:  We'll see.  

US Investor Rogers Warns of 'Worst Economic Problems in Lifetime' in 2-3 Years - 12.12.2022, Sputnik International (

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US investment guru Jim Rogers told Sputnik that the world should brace for serious economic challenges in the next two-three years, which will likely become the "worst in his lifetime."
When asked about his forecast for the year of 2023, Rogers stated, "You should be worried." 

"There's going to be a period of good, something will cause optimism to return," Rogers said. "After the optimism, you should be extremely worried because we're going to have economic problems again sometime in the next two or three years and they will probably be the worst in my lifetime because there's so much debt. So much debt worldwide has built up since 2009. So the next time we have a problem, it's going to be very very bad. So, be worried."

Global growth is forecast to slow from 6% in 2021 to 3.2% in 2022 and 2.7% in 2023, the International Monetary Fund said in an outlook released in October. The IMF said this is the weakest growth profile since 2001 except for the global financial crisis and the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rogers, the creator of the Rogers International Commodity Index (RICI), co-founded the world-renowned Quantum Fund and is currently the chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests.



Vlahos: "We became a kind of SWAT Team military."

In American and European public places crammed with blowhards, here are two Americans who actually know what they are talking about when they discuss NATO, U.S. military, and the absolute muddles of both. Quote in the title of this post is from Part 2 of their discussion, around the 9:50 minute mark.

 Dr. Michael Vlahos & Col. Douglas Macgregor: Why NATO strategic failure? A war of deceit, denial Pt2 - YouTube

Vlahos outlines his credentials and Macgregor's at the start of Part 1 then both set the stage for the rest of their discussion:

Dr. Michael Vlahos & Col. Douglas Macgregor: Is the war in Ukraine entering its decisive phase? Pt.1 - YouTube

And here is part 3:

Michael Vlahos & Douglas Macgregor What is to be done? Can a corrupted US military be renewed? Pt.3 - YouTube

I do have a disagreement with Col. Macgregor's view of how the Russians initially thought and acted when they invaded Ukraine.  Or rather a guess about their view, as Macgregor outlines near the start of Part 1. He thinks they made mistaken assumptions, which translated into initial mistakes in their invasion strategy.

Based on what I learned about the early phase of the invasion, my guess is that it's entirely possible they were engaged in a feint with the goals of splitting up and fixing in place large numbers of Ukranian forces while keeping NATO forces at bay. And I don't believe they were ever misled by Zelensky's appearance of being open to negotiation during the early phase of the war.   

However, even I'm correct, there is no question in my mind that Macgregor knows what he is talking about when it comes to NATO and the U.S. military.  And I think it is vital for the American civilian government and the Pentagon to act on his advice, which he details in Part 3 of the discussion -- not only vital for Americans but also for all major governments and in particular the European ones.

Finally, Macgregor has a doctorate in international relations from University of Virginia, awarded in 1987.   


Thursday, December 8

"New scheme that will use the pretext of climate change to wage economic war"

Oh yes. They co-opt then debase everything and anything that people value--freedom, democracy, human rights, environmentalism, you name it.  

I see Bernhard is in fine form: 

MoA - Green-washing The Trade War With China ( - December 8


Under the Trump administration the U.S. launched a trade war against China. It started with various tariffs on Chinese products. The Biden administration topped that by using the flimsy pretext of alleged 'forced labor' in Xinjiang to make it more difficult to import goods from China. This contradicted Biden's plan for climate change as nearly all solar panels are made from raw materials found in Xinjiang. The trade war continued with the chip war against China's technological progress.

The tariffs and restriction run counter to the World Trade Agreement which the U.S. is increasingly willing to ignore.

The administration has now developed a new scheme that will use the pretext of climate change to wage an economic war against China's and other countries' steel and aluminum industries. To be more effective it is trying to get the European Union on board:

The Biden administration on Wednesday sent a proposal to the European Union suggesting the creation of an international consortium that would promote trade in metals produced with less carbon emissions, while imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from China and elsewhere, according to a copy viewed by The New York Times.
The proposed group, known as the Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminum, would wield the power of American and European markets to try to bolster domestic industries in a way that also mitigated climate change. To do so, member countries would jointly impose a series of tariffs against metals produced in environmentally harmful ways.

This is clearly not a policy to mitigate climate change but to limit free trade to the advantage of domestic industries.

The target of this effort is obviously China:


Let's see what Brian Berletic has said recently about this.  He's put up many videos about China. Here's something from two days ago:

China's "Century of Humiliation" & US-Chinese Tensions Today w/Carl Zha - YouTube


"No narrative, no meme, no worry."

[laughing]  E.B. Tucker. Interesting guy. Never heard him before.  Never heard of him before. The Duran features him today. He gets off to an annoyingly slow start, and so far in the interview hasn't directly answered Alexander Mercouris' piercingly clear questions, but within a half hour I sort of got onto his wavelength.  

Reserve currency, gold and inflation w/E.B. Tucker (Live) - YouTube


Monday, December 5

"Control trade, control freedom."

The thinking that led to Bitcoin; best introduction for the general public I've seen:


Sunday, December 4

"The mother of all stagflationary debt crises can be postponed, not avoided."

Is Roubini on target or talking through his hat? We'll soon find out. But what about creating a basket of precious metals instead of paper currencies as the global payments system? Just a thought.

Roubini Warns "The Mother Of All Economic Crises Looms" | ZeroHedge

SATURDAY, DEC 03, 2022 - 10:30 AM

Authored by Nouriel Roubini via Project Syndicate,

After years of ultra-loose fiscal, monetary, and credit policies and the onset of major negative supply shocks, stagflationary pressures are now putting the squeeze on a massive mountain of public- and private-sector debt. The mother of all economic crises looms, and there will be little that policymakers can do about it.

In the private sector, the mountain of debt includes that of households (such as mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, personal loans), businesses and corporations (bank loans, bond debt, and private debt), and the financial sector (liabilities of bank and nonbank institutions). In the public sector, it includes central, provincial, and local government bonds and other formal liabilities, as well as implicit debts such as unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go pension schemes and health-care systems – all of which will continue to grow as societies age.

Just looking at explicit debts, the figures are staggering. Globally, total private- and public-sector debt as a share of GDP rose from 200% in 1999 to 350% in 2021. The ratio is now 420% across advanced economies, and 330% in China. In the United States, it is 420%, which is higher than during the Great Depression and after World War II.

Of course, debt can boost economic activity if borrowers invest in new capital (machinery, homes, public infrastructure) that yields returns higher than the cost of borrowing. But much borrowing goes simply to finance consumption spending above one’s income on a persistent basis – and that is a recipe for bankruptcy. Moreover, investments in “capital” can also be risky, whether the borrower is a household buying a home at an artificially inflated price, a corporation seeking to expand too quickly regardless of returns, or a government that is spending the money on “white elephants” (extravagant but useless infrastructure projects).

Such over-borrowing has been going on for decades, for various reasons. The democratization of finance has allowed income-strapped households to finance consumption with debt. Center-right governments have persistently cut taxes without also cutting spending, while center-left governments have spent generously on social programs that aren’t fully funded with sufficient higher taxes. And tax policies that favor debt over equity, abetted by central banks’ ultra-loose monetary and credit policies, has fueled a spike in borrowing in both the private and public sectors.

Years of quantitative easing (QE) and credit easing kept borrowing costs near zero, and in some cases even negative (as in Europe and Japan until recently). By 2020, negative-yielding dollar-equivalent public debt was $17 trillion, and in some Nordic countries, even mortgages had negative nominal interest rates.

The explosion of unsustainable debt ratios implied that many borrowers – households, corporations, banks, shadow banks, governments, and even entire countries – were insolvent “zombies” that were being propped up by low interest rates (which kept their debt-servicing costs manageable). During both the 2008 global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis, many insolvent agents that would have gone bankrupt were rescued by zero- or negative-interest-rate policies, QE, and outright fiscal bailouts.

But now, inflation – fed by the same ultra-loose fiscal, monetary, and credit policies – has ended this financial Dawn of the Dead. With central banks forced to increase interest rates in an effort to restore price stability, zombies are experiencing sharp increases in their debt-servicing costs. For many, this represents a triple whammy, because inflation is also eroding real household income and reducing the value of household assets, such as homes and stocks. The same goes for fragile and over-leveraged corporations, financial institutions, and governments: they face sharply rising borrowing costs, falling incomes and revenues, and declining asset values all at the same time.

Worse, these developments are coinciding with the return of stagflation (high inflation alongside weak growth). The last time advanced economies experienced such conditions was in the 1970s. But at least back then, debt ratios were very low. Today, we are facing the worst aspects of the 1970s (stagflationary shocks) alongside the worst aspects of the global financial crisis. And this time, we cannot simply cut interest rates to stimulate demand.

After all, the global economy is being battered by persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks that are reducing growth and increasing prices and production costs. These include the pandemic’s disruptions to the supply of labor and goods; the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on commodity prices; China’s increasingly disastrous zero-COVID policy; and a dozen other medium-term shocks – from climate change to geopolitical developments – that will create additional stagflationary pressures.

Unlike in the 2008 financial crisis and the early months of COVID-19, simply bailing out private and public agents with loose macro policies would pour more gasoline on the inflationary fire. That means there will be a hard landing – a deep, protracted recession – on top of a severe financial crisis. As asset bubbles burst, debt-servicing ratios spike, and inflation-adjusted incomes fall across households, corporations, and governments, the economic crisis and the financial crash will feed on each other.

To be sure, advanced economies that borrow in their own currency can use a bout of unexpected inflation to reduce the real value of some nominal long-term fixed-rate debt. With governments unwilling to raise taxes or cut spending to reduce their deficits, central-bank deficit monetization will once again be seen as the path of least resistance. But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Once the inflation genie gets out of the bottle – which is what will happen when central banks abandon the fight in the face of the looming economic and financial crash – nominal and real borrowing costs will surge.

The mother of all stagflationary debt crises can be postponed, not avoided.



Tuesday, November 29

NYT admits Ukraine military in desperate situation in Bakhmut

Brian Berletic, reporting today from southern Thailand for The New Atlas, updates viewers on the situation in Bakhmut. 

West Admits Ukraine's Bakhmut Setbacks + Boeing's Long-Range Rockets Proposed for Ukraine - YouTube

My comments:

When the Russians withdrew troops from Kherson, they simply transferred the troops, some of the best in their military, to support Wagner PMC in the battle for Bakhmut. But for months before then, Wagner has been moving very slowly and methodically to prevent Bakhmut from becoming another Mariupol. 

The last thing the Russian command wants is another Azovstal factory-type siege. They've had to go building by building in outlying areas to prevent the Ukrainians from digging into another large facility. But now there is a snowball effect from the slow onslaught, which is daily leading to hundreds of dead and wounded Ukranian troops.  

Looks like the situation is just going to have to play out because Nato and the US administration and it seems the British don't want to back down.   

What about western Europe? Here are two short reports today from India's Firstpost:

Still Hooked on Russian Gas? Europe Gulping Down Record Levels of Russian LNG | Europe Energy Crisis - YouTube

Germany Gets Ready to Spend $100 Billion | Berlin's Energy Subsidy Plan | Europe Energy Crisis - YouTube

But at this moment, Germany and the rest of the most influential EU members are continuing to back the American agenda in Ukraine.  As to what will happen when Europe can no longer gulp record levels of Russian LNG, we'll just have to see.  

As to whether anything will be left of Ukraine's military by then, well, it seems the Polish government is putting thousands iof its male citizens in Ukrainian military uniform and sending them off to Ukraine to get slaughtered. Once the Polish get tired of playing Russian Roulette, we'll see what happens next. 

This is the 'We'll see' war, which finds most Nato members running around like chickens with their heads cut off because they didn't think through what Russia would be prepared to do if Nato kept pushing at its border.  


Monday, November 28

Water management principle, "Slow it, spread it, soak it."

Permaculture primer. Studying beavers. This farm cracked the code. Simple when you know how:

Sunday, November 27

"Ukraine is expendable."

Russia Ops in Ukraine (Update): Western Propaganda Implodes as War of Attrition Grinds On - YouTube

Years of war-watching have made me quite stoic but today's Ukraine war update from Brian Berletic of The New Atlas I found very disturbing. He goes into detail to analyze recent whoppers told by American and British propagandists about the war. In doing so, he makes it clear that this is no longer simply propaganda. It's arms-manufacturing sales pitch. As such, and applied to real warfare, it devalues all human life.

This can no longer be blamed only on the government and weapons manufacturers.  

What is to become of us?


Skyrocketing U.S. energy costs

 "Any country that can't provide hot water or heat in the winter isn't much of a country."  

"We've reached the end of monetary policy's ability to tweak our economy. 

Quotes are from Tucker Carlson's report yesterday.  

Tucker Carlson: These are lunatic policies - YouTube

"Make it simple. Anything from Russia, cap it at 99 cents"

The Duran's Alex Christoforu, reporting this morning from Athens, manages to wring humor out of an unfunny situation. 

BTW his "tatters" comment is a quote from EC President Ursula von der Leyen from a few months ago.  Yes, Russia's economy is in tatters. Tatters, I tell you.  


Thursday, November 24

"Ghana plans to buy oil with gold instead of U.S. dollars"

Here we go. What a Thanksgiving present for the U.S. Treasury.  All right, Pundita, don't smirk. The news report is below, but first I'll get in a few words: 

Everyone has been assuming that any real challenge to the U.S. dollar would be years down the road when (if) the BRICS countries (which are adding to their roster by at least 10 countries) put together a basket of currencies, with the yuan given the biggest weight, to rival the USD and Euro. 

There are big problems with implementing such a basket, not the least of which is that the Chinese are not ready to make the yuan a reserve currency. But this plan from Ghana leaps over the technical difficulties that a basket would entail. 

So, is this the long watched-for Next Black Swan Event? If Ghana's plan works, other governments will try the same.  But that would mean the price of gold going through the roof, which could well put the poorer governments right back in the soup.  Unless they took out gold loans from governments, such as China and Russia, that have been hoarding huge amounts of gold. However, if that happens, the IMF will have cardiac arrest and the USA will launch World Wars III, IV, and V at the same time lol. Pundita that's not funny. NOT FUNNY.   

Well, we'll just have to watch and wait.  And maybe buy gold.

Ghana plans to buy oil with gold instead of U.S. dollars | Reuters - November 24, 1:58 EST


ACCRA, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Ghana's government is working on a new policy to buy oil products with gold rather than U.S. dollar reserves, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia said on Facebook on Thursday.

The move is meant to tackle dwindling foreign currency reserves coupled with demand for dollars by oil importers, which is weakening the local cedi and increasing living costs.

Ghana's Gross International Reserves stood at around $6.6 billion at the end of September 2022, equating to less than three months of imports cover. That is down from around $9.7 billion at the end of last year, according to the government.

If implemented as planned for the first quarter of 2023, the new policy "will fundamentally change our balance of payments and significantly reduce the persistent depreciation of our currency," Bawumia said.

Using gold would prevent the exchange rate from directly impacting fuel or utility prices as domestic sellers would no longer need foreign exchange to import oil products, he explained.

"The barter of gold for oil represents a major structural change," he added.

The proposed policy is uncommon. While countries sometimes trade oil for other goods or commodities, such deals typically involve an oil-producing nation receiving non-oil goods rather than the opposite.

Ghana produces crude oil but it has relied on imports for refined oil products since its only refinery shut down after an explosion in 2017.

Bawumia's announcement was posted as Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced measures to cut spending and boost revenues in a bid to tackle a spiraling debt crisis.

In a 2023 budget presentation to parliament on Thursday, Ofori-Atta warned the West African nation was at high risk of debt distress and that the cedi's depreciation was seriously affecting Ghana's ability to manage its public debt.

The government is negotiating a relief package with the International Monetary Fund as the cocoa, gold and oil-producing nation faces its worst economic crisis in a generation.

Reporting by Cooper Inveen and Christian Akorlie Writing by Sofia Christensen Editing by Estelle Shirbon and Elaine Hardcastle



Sunday, November 20

Scott Ritter, telling it like it is about Vladimir Putin and much else

November 19, speaking at the Community Church of Boston. He's made the same points before, but he keeps better and better at speaking to an audience. Ritter has emerged as the most powerful voice in America calling for disarmament and fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy.  Wow. Just wow.   

See also his book, published in September; it's a blueprint for disarmament in this era:
Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika is the definitive history of the implementation of the INF Treaty signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in all its complexities, and the lengths both sides went to “trust, but verify” this successful and unique historic disarmament process. It demonstrates how two nations fundamentally at odds with one another could come together and rid the world of weapons which threatened international peace and security and, indeed, all of humanity.
Those engaged were pioneers in what was to be the new frontier of superpower arms control―on-site inspection―that would define compliance verification for future treaties and agreements to come. Their work represents not just a guide to but the standard upon which all future on-site inspections will be based and judged.
Ritter traces in great detail the formation of the On-Site Inspection Agency, who was involved, and how a technologically advanced compliance verification system was installed outside the gates of one of the most sensitive military industrial facilities in the remote Soviet city of Votkinsk, nestled in the foothills of the Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union.
He draws upon his own personal history― occasionally hilarious, occasionally fraught with peril― as well as the recollections of the other inspectors and personnel involved, and an extensive archive of reports and memoranda relating to the work of OSIA to tell the story of how OSIA was created, and the first three years of inspection operations at the Votkinsk portal monitoring facility.
The Votkinsk Portal, circa December 1988, was the wild, wild East of arms control, a place where the inspectors and inspected alike were writing the rules of the game as it played out before them.
This treaty implementation did not occur in a geopolitical vacuum. Ritter captures, on a human level, the historic changes taking place inside the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev due to the new policies of perestroika and glasnost that gripped the Soviet Union during this time, and their real and meaningful impact on the lives of the Soviet people, and the economic functioning of the Soviet nation. Much of it was for the worse.
The INF treaty was not only born of these new policies, but also helped trigger meaningful changes inside the Soviet Union due to the economic and political implications brought on by the cessation of missile production in a factory town whose lifeblood was missile production.



Friday, November 18

U.S. still up to no good in Syria

US armored convoy expelled by Syrian residents in Qamishli

By News Desk - November 16, 2022
The Cradle

... the US has recently expressed that it has no plans to withdraw from Syria or to end its draconian sanction policy against Damascus

According to local reports, a US military convoy was forced to return to its illegal military base in Syria on 16 November after being expelled by local Syrians in Qamishli.

A video posted on the social media platform Twitter shows locals attacking the convoy near the village of Al-Buladia with stones and forcing it to return. 


The Cradle has extensively reported similar incidents in recent weeks, as locals and the Syrian Arab Army have blocked US forces from accessing government-controlled areas.

 The Damascus government repeatedly denounced the illegal presence of US troops, which it described as an occupation, and assured that the Pentagon’s actions in Syria encourage terrorist activity and aim at destabilizing the country and plundering its resources.

An exclusive investigation by The Cradle details the process of the oil smuggling operation by US forces and the use of several illegal border crossings leading to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR).

Meanwhile, the Arab Tayy tribe has called for an end to the illegal occupation of Syria by US troops and says it is refusing to attend any gathering under the auspices of the US in Hasakah Governorate.

In a statement published by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on 9 November, tribe leaders said they remain one of the “major pillars of confronting terrorism, rejecting all its forms, financiers and supporters represented by the American occupation forces.”

The statement goes on to say that the US army “came under cover of fake democracy to pass its looting policy and spreading the culture of murder in the region to hide its crimes.”

The US-led international coalition forces operating in northeastern Syria intend to establish a new military base in their controlled areas in the countryside of Raqqa.

Local sources said on 7 November that a convoy of US forces, including several armored military vehicles, arrived in Raqqa city to prepare to install a new base in the area.

On the field, the illegal troops began transferring the logistical equipment and necessary gear to the specified location, coinciding with heavy surveillance drone activity.

The US army and international coalition occupy at least 28 declared military sites in Syria, distributed over three provinces, mainly Hasakah (17 sites), Deir Ezzor (nine locations), and Homs (two areas).