Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - June 3, 2023

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Picasso

Lack of accountability for an individual's actions seems to be a growing problem. Seeing push back expands my hope for the future.

Judge finds Australian war hero to be a war criminal Russia Times June 2, 2023

Canberra’s most-decorated living soldier loses the “defamation case of the century” over alleged murder of Afghan civilians
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The newspapers and journalists raised a defense of truth, and Roberts-Smith and witnesses called by the defendants, including three Afghan villagers and some of Roberts-Smith’s fellow soldiers, gave conflicting evidence about what happened on various combat missions involving Roberts-Smith in Afghanistan. The trial judge disbelieved Roberts-Smith and accepted the evidence of the witnesses called by the newspapers, which will make it very difficult for any appeal that may be brought by Roberts-Smith to succeed.
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Defamation actions are strange and unpredictable things, but they sometimes provide instructive insights into the dysfunctional operations of powerful organizations that are in need of root and branch reform. Ben Roberts-Smith inadvertently did Australia a service by bringing defamation proceedings against those newspapers and journalists who dared to tell the truth about what was really happening in Afghanistan.

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No reason to add this except I found it interesting.

Are the rich more intelligent? Here’s what science says Asia Time June 2, 2023
Intelligence, education and socioeconomic status all affect one’s income and wealth but studies show Lady Luck is also important

In fact, intelligence is the best predictor of both educational achievement and work performance. And academic and professional success is, in turn, a fairly good forecaster of income. But that’s not the whole story.

Not all highly intelligent people are primarily driven by a desire for wealth – they often have a thirst for knowledge. Some may instead opt for comparatively less well-paying jobs that are more intellectually rewarding, such as architecture, engineering or research.

A recent Swedish study showed that cognitive test scores of the top 1% of earners were not significantly different to the scores obtained by those who earned slightly less.
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Intelligence is not a monolithic trait, though. In fact, it consists of at least two broad constructs: fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence taps into core cognitive mechanisms, such as the speed of processing stimuli, memory capacity and abstract reasoning. Conversely, crystallized intelligence refers to those skills developed in a social environment, such as literacy, numeracy and knowledge about specific topics.

This distinction matters because these two types of intelligence develop in different ways. Fluid intelligence can be inherited, cannot be boosted and decreases fairly quickly with age. By contrast, crystallized intelligence increases throughout most adulthood and starts declining only after about 65 years.
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That said, innate capabilities are not the only thing that matters. Another significant factor is education.
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Unsurprisingly, education in turn is affected by family socioeconomic status.
...Of course, the influence of family socioeconomic status on wealth does not operate solely through education. Inheritance and networks are among the most obvious mechanisms. This is particularly true for entrepreneurs, whose investing potential and connections are fundamental for business success.

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The Sultan 2.0 will heavily tilt east The Cradle by Pepe Escobar May 31, 2023

The first immediate priority, from Erdogan’s point of view, is to get rid of the “terrorist corridor” in Syria. This means, in practice, reigning in the US-backed Kurdish YPG/PYD, who are effectively Syrian affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – which is also the issue at the heart of a possible normalization of relations with Damascus.
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The Sultan is at his prime when it comes to hedging his bets between east and west. He knows well how to profit from Turkiye’s status as a key NATO member – complete with one of its largest armies, veto power, and control of the entry to the uber-strategic Black Sea.

And all that while exercising real foreign policy independence, from West Asia to the Eastern Mediterranean.
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Whatever happens next, Erdogan will not hop on board the sanctions-against-Russia sinking ship. The Kremlin bought Turkish bonds tied to the development of the Russian-built Akkuyu nuclear power plant, Turkiye’s first nuclear reactor. Moscow allowed Ankara to postpone nearly $4 billion in energy payments until 2024. Best of all, Ankara pays for Russian gas in rubles.
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It’s no wonder that nearly 10 years ago, when he first unveiled his ambitious, multi-trillion dollar BRI in Astana, Kazakhstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping placed the China Railway Express as a core BRI component.

Direct freight trains from Xian to Istanbul are plying the route since December 2020, using the Baku-Tblisi-Kars (BTK) railway with less than two weeks travel time – and plans afoot to increase their frequency. Beijing is well aware of Turkiye’s asset as a transportation hub and crossroads for markets in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, West Asia, and North Africa, not to mention a customs union with the EU that allows direct access to European markets.
,,,
Meanwhile, hard business prevails. To fully profit from the status of the energy transit hub, Turkiye needs not only Russian gas but also gas from Turkmenistan feeding the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) as well as Kazakh oil coming via the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) is heavy on economic cooperation, active in a series of projects in transportation, construction, mining, and oil and gas. Ankara has already invested a whopping $85 billion across Central Asia, with nearly 4,000 companies scattered across all the “stans.”

Of course, when compared to Russia and China, Turkiye is not a major player in Central Asia. Moreover, the bridge to Central Asia goes via Iran. So far, rivalry between Ankara and Tehran seems to be the norm, but everything may change, lightning fast, with the simultaneous development of the Russia-Iran-India-led International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), which will profit both – and the fact that the Iranians and Turks may soon become full BRICS+ members.

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Another geographical spot to watch for potential conflict with the Chinese.

Strategic value of Luzon Strait must not be overlooked Asia Times May 28, 2023

s regional geopolitical attention shifts to Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, it is easy to overlook the Luzon Strait. Yet it is perhaps the most important strategic strait providing exit and entrance to the South China Sea. Moreover, it is the increasing focus of competing US and China intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

What makes it so important? The answer must be found in the context of strategic plans of both China and the US in the event of war.

The Luzon Strait is situated between Taiwan and Luzon, the northern portion of the Philippine archipelago. It connects the South China Sea to the Western Pacific. It is important for commercial shipping and cable communications that provide important links among Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia. Such cables are quickly becoming a security issue in the region.
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For China, the South China Sea has historically been its vulnerable underbelly. It also harbors its vital trade routes, especially for the flow of oil and gas imports.

Most important, the South China Sea provides relative “sanctuary” for its retaliatory-strike nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed submarines based in Yulin on Hainan. These submarines are its deterrent against a first strike on it – something the US, unlike China, has not disavowed.

The US wants to deny China this sanctuary.
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Monitoring and control of the Luzon Strait may be one purpose of the new US access to two military bases in Cagayan province (in the Philippines) adjacent to the strait. This may well mark the beginning or intensification of a contested military focus on it. Indeed, it may soon rank with the Malacca and Taiwan Straits as tinderboxes for conflict.

If this analysis is correct, it would mean that strategic thinkers in both the US and China are already preparing for conflict – even nuclear conflict. If so, the US-China South China Sea conflicts are just sparring in preparation for a possible existential nuclear contest.

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Discusses his observations from his resent trip to Russia.

Scott Ritter - Is the Biden Team Delusional about Ukraine War? (29:24 min)

Scott Ritter: Sanctions Against Russia Failed. I Saw It Firsthand. Sputnik Globe June 1, 2023

Upon my arrival to Russia, I expected to see a nation heavily impacted by the consequences of American-led sanctions. Instead, I saw a nation undergoing an economic revival, in large part thanks to the policies Russia was compelled to undertake because of Western sanctions.
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In January and February 2023, Russia spent 2 trillion rubles ($26 billion) on defense, a 282% jump on the same period a year ago. Far from being unable to replenish its military strength and sustain the conflict in Ukraine, Russia is far outpacing NATO in terms of rushing military material to the frontlines by 4 to 1 in terms of tanks and armored fighting vehicles and 5 to 1 in artillery ammunition. ,,, Moreover, Russia’s increase in military production has not only softened the economic impact of the US-sponsored sanctions, but also helped reverse their impact across Russia’s industrial base.
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Everything I saw while touring Russia underscored the incontrovertible fact that, because of Western sanctions, the Russian economy has been compelled to undertake changes which have not only made it more resilient, but also more productive and efficient. Foreign investments are surging in, proving that there is a world that exists beyond that controlled by the American economic hegemon. Moreover, because sanctions have curtailed the previous practice of Russian business tycoons sending their wealth abroad, there is a huge amount of domestic economic capital available for reinvestment into the Russian economy.
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I thought about this upon my return to the US, contrasting my journey from JFK airport through New York City with a similar journey I made from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport into Moscow. My New York journey took me from a decaying airport, through decaying highways and bridges, into a decaying city. The Moscow equivalent was, by comparison, one of pristine facilities, roads, and a city that was not only composed of recently constructed buildings, but alive with new construction as well.

Scott is a prolific author. His site. Scott Ritter Extra maintains a list of recently published articles. Including ones exclusive to the site, such as June2, 2023 Waging Peace: In Search of the Russian Soul

Disclaimer, I hosted Russian software developers in the mid 1990's when serving as a board member of a local software test bed center. Since then have never doubted the quality of Russian educational system.

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How Europe sees the Ukraine War Now - Alastair Crooke fmr Brit Ambassador June 2, 2023 (24:36 min)

Is the Ukraine War Spreading into Russia? Ray McGovern, fmr CIA May 39, 2023 (22:01)

The the other livestream videos this week by Judge Napolitano channel ongoing discussions regarding current Ukraine/Russia conflict. the interviews are generally posted on Monday through Thursday if would like to view them in a more timely manner.

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What is on your mind today?

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the propaganda piece up today over at auto earth is interesting

https://www.azerbaycan24.com/en/how-a-tour-of-russia-showed-me-that-prop...

cheers!

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS foreign countries. We often rely on information by those who were motivated to leave their country and justifying why they should stay in the US. Even if all the information is true it provides a distorted picture of a foreign society as a whole. Policy decisions should be made on as accurate a picture as possible.

I left on this adventure fully cognizant of the existence of an informational pandemic in America known as Russophobia, and I always believed that I was realistic as to the challenges that I would have to face in trying to convert my Russian experience into a fact-based vaccine to counter this disease of the American mind. However, the scale of the obstacles that I imagined overcoming paled in comparison to the reality that hit home literally as I stepped off the aircraft on our way back home, when Victoria and I were both pulled out of the passport checkpoint for an hours-long interrogation by investigators from Customs and Border Protection who specialize in travelers from designated nations such as Russia.

I will start by noting that the treatment my daughter and I received was professional and courteous. I understand the political reality of the times we live in, and the perceived necessity of questioning US citizens who travel to Russia while relations between our two nations are at an all-time low. My concern is not in the conduct of the interrogation, but rather the substance of the foundational information upon which the questions asked of me were based. As the CBP officer admitted, he had interviewed hundreds of Russians after the start of the military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. The picture he had of Russia was singularly grounded in the perspective of political dissidents who had a bone to pick with President Vladimir Putin, and the narrative that they painted about Russia had become gospel for the CBP. By extension, it has heavily influenced the overall assessment by the US government, since these dissident debriefings constitute a major source of the primary intelligence used by national security analysts throughout the American intelligence community.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Lookout's picture

So much going on so quickly around the world. I always enjoy Pepe's international views. Massive change happens, as the adage goes, slowly, slowly, slowly, then all at once. I think we've reach the downhill slope as we pick up the speed of change.

Thanks for the varied news. Hope all's well on the homestead... I bet that occupies much of your time.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

studentofearth's picture

@Lookout kept focus on the homestead. The cycle is the same - four seasons with slight variations each year in weather pattern and which crops thrive or don't produce. Plants to water, animals to feed, maintenance on existing infrastructure, trying to finish old projects and planning new projects. It could easily absorb all my time until the rest of the world events came crashing into my daily reality.

Thanks for stopping by.

PS The two pear trees and a replacement nectarine tree I planted five years ago set fruit. The original surviving nectarine planted 20 years ago still only produces a healthy abundance of leaves. First time I have seen these immature fruits, looking forward to watching them grow.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

@studentofearth Today, we reached a high of 90 deg., 50% humidity, heat index of 107 deg.
July and August will be worse.
I can no longer tolerate it.
I actually had time to view your videos. Thank you for offering them. I particularly learned new things from Cooke. Europeans can see the income disparity in Ukraine. They see the rich getting richer. They feel the brunt of our stupid Russian sanctions. With luck, a split in NATO support for the war is coming.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

studentofearth's picture

@on the cusp myself. Put the last two cows in the freezer last winter. Just could not send them through a saleyard or slaughter house. They had spent their whole lives on the place. Abattoir comes out to the property for the first step of the process.

Plan on spending more time on personnel use size plantings of perennial crops close to the house. This year arranged leasing out the pastures. A slow migration of changes, unless outside world changes drop in suddenly.

The Ukrainian leadership showing off their new wealth is very short sighted.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

@studentofearth I could not manage the 14 head of cattle I had and work, too. I sold the herd to my brother's brother-in-law. He kept them together. I had raised them all from 6 month old calves to mature, 10 yr old cows, and the Charolais bull, as well. Now, that is not enough cows to keep a bull properly entertained. He constantly jumped fence to service the adjoining acreage cows, to the point that the neighbor sold his bull. He preferred mine! After all, I was doing the feeding.
Having horses also became a big issue. I needed to ride the two horses 3 or 4 times a week to keep them in shape. It seemed like one summer to the next, I just couldn't do it anymore. I would feel lightheaded, start to worry about heat stroke. I had to consider the horses and carefully rinse them down after just 20 minutes of riding. They would be white with foamy sweat.
Could be an age thing, but I really am aware of heat in these times I do not remember when I was a kid. It just wipes me out. No way I can go out and take a hoe to a row of vegetables. The young people I could hire have zero knowledge about agriculture. I do not have the time to get out there in the heat to show them the fundamentals.
Maybe they are the generation that will think eating fake meat and processed bugs is cool.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Pluto's Republic's picture

@studentofearth

My earliest memories and reactions suggest that I was somehow diverted here from a very different part of the Universe. A very tedious mistake all around.

Thanks for a stimulating read, as always.

I've always found Asia Times an annoying read. The editorial tone strikes me as negative and judgmental, but perhaps it's just me. However, that's where Pepe used to publish, long ago, so I learned to put up with it.

The underlying theme, you touch on: The inexplicable US mind-disease, which paints all of Russian existence a weird evil color, has always fascinated me, even as a child. I've tried to root out the source of this madness, but it seems to extend deep into an unknown (or false?) history. Sure, there were plenty of conflicts in the past, but nothing that still matters. I immersed myself in Russian fiction, and German, too, to no avail. There's not a trace of logical plausibility that can explain the enduring grip of this violent hatred on euro-anglo-consciousness. If it is caused by an artificial psychological construct, or an actual mind virus — then it is a very successful one.

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Populations don’t like wars. They have to be lied into it.
That means we can be “truthed” into peace. — Julian Assange
janis b's picture

@Pluto's Republic

and for that I am thankful. I also feel saddened that you feel separated from the place you belong. We humans are transforming an exquisite planet into a wilderness of scraps, of both nature and humanity.

When I think about 'madness' I am aware that there is both an element of hostility as we'll as an element of manufactured fear.

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ggersh's picture

for we are the bullies, terrorists that cause all the mayhem.

https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2023/06/debt-rattle-june-3-2023/

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I never knew that the term "Never Again" only pertained to
those born Jewish

"Antisemite used to be someone who didn't like Jews
now it's someone who Jews don't like"

Heard from Margaret Kimberley

studentofearth's picture

@ggersh world. If the rest of the world can free themselves of the Western oppressor class the parasites shall only have us to extort for their wealth extraction. Life could get intense.

Saw The Automatic Earth had more info on bioweapons.

Open source docs prove Hunter Biden’s biolab companies, Metabiota and Black & Veach, were conducting Covid 19 ‘research’ BEFORE the pandemic started pic.twitter.com/hBXADVPmJS

— Truthseeker (@Xx17965797N) June 2, 2023

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

usual. though I don't have time for all the vids. Off to the airport and on the road, so to speak, rsn. Back on the 11th in the evening sometime. Have a good weekend.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris Hope the airport experience is a good one, and that your trip is lots of fun.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

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what do you do when the execution torture and rape of both captured combatants and civilians is systemic throughout an armed forces such as with Russia? Similar to the Nazis of WWII or the unpunished rape of Berlin at the end of WWII atrocities are simply too widespread. The vast majority of crimes will go unpunished.

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studentofearth's picture

@ban nock dismissed. The Judge ruled using civil law requirement of proof the murders of Afghan citizens happened. If your interested in understanding the crimes they are listed on his Wikipedia page.

Most war crimes have remained unacknowledged and unpunished in the past, but the future could be different. Until contemporary War Criminals from the political and military leadership classed from all nations are charged and prosecuted the continuing pattern will continue. US does not need to wait for International courts to start the process for our citizens who have committed, ordered or deliberately stayed ignorant of crimes committed by subordinates.

Germany occupation is an interesting spot in history to look at war crimes, specifically rape. The country was occupied by multiple countries armed forces, except not a Russian army. The Soviet Union Red Army was in Germany and was comprised of soldiers from various geographic areas.

Rape during the occupation of Germany - Wikepedia

Soviet Troops
When General Tsygankov, head of the political department of the First Ukrainian Front, reported to Moscow the mass rape of Soviet women deported to Germany for forced labour, he recommended that the women be prevented from describing their ordeal on their return to Russia.[22]
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(A Polish) Konstantin Rokossovsky issued order No 006 in an attempt to direct "the feelings of hatred at fighting the enemy on the battlefield", which had little effect.[19] There were also several arbitrary attempts to exert authority. For example, the commander of one rifle division is said to have "personally shot a lieutenant who was lining up a group of his men before a German woman spreadeagled on the ground"

--Rokossovsky became Defence Minister and deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers in the newly-established Polish People's Republic---

The historian Norman Naimark writes that after mid-1945, Soviet soldiers caught raping civilians were usually punished to some degree, which ranged from arrest to execution

U.S. troops
In Taken by Force, J. Robert Lilly estimates the number of rapes committed by U.S. servicemen in Germany to be 11,040.[59] However, extensive research by German historian Miriam Gebhardt suggests a number as high as 190,000 (or roughly 5% of the estimated post-war births in Germany) due to rape by American soldiers.
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Carol Huntington wrote that the American soldiers who raped German women and then left gifts of food for them may have permitted themselves to view the act as prostitution rather than rape. Citing the work of a Japanese historian alongside that suggestion, Huntington writes that Japanese women who begged for food "were raped and soldiers sometimes left food for those they raped."[63]

White American soldiers in Germany were responsible for mass rapes, but the Black soldiers of America's segregated occupation force were both more likely to be charged with rape and severely punished.

British troops
(Sean) Longden mentions that some rapes were carried out by soldiers either suffering from post traumatic stress or who were drunk, but that these were not considered as serious as the less common premeditated crimes.
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Clive Emsley quotes a senior British Army chaplain as reporting that there was "a good deal of rape going on, those who suffer [rape] have probably deserved it".

French troops
According to Norman Naimark, French Moroccan troops matched the behaviour of Soviet troops when it came to rape, in particular in the early occupation of Baden and Württemberg, provided the numbers are correct.[75]

German academic historians at Jena and Magdeburg contend that only France supported the children of her occupying armies resulted from the mass rape of German women.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

snoopydawg's picture

..

Big Serge has a deep dive into it.

Pro-Ukrainian sources are adamant that a huge amount of Russian combat power was destroyed in Bakhmut, while the AFU received western armor and training to build out a mechanized package to go back on the offensive. Pro-Russian writers similarly seem convinced that the AFU burned a huge amount of manpower, while the Russian army preserved its strength by letting Wagner do most of the fighting.

Clearly, they cannot both be correct.

In this article, I would like to take a holistic survey of the Battle of Bakhmut and adjudicate the evidence. Which army was really destroyed in this “strategically insignificant” city? Which army was being profligately wasteful of its manpower? And most importantly - why did this middling city become the site of the largest battle of the century? Homicide was committed, but nobody can agree on who murdered whom. So, let us conduct an autopsy.

This essay talks about the old equipment Ukraine troops are using while the better equipment is either being saved for the upcoming battle or has been sold on the black market. Troops are using 80 year old equipment and even older. And lots of men being sent to the front have few days of training. And for what? There is no way that Ukraine will win the battle and lots of people have said that if the west stops sending equipment they will lose in just days.

But Blinken is yapping about America staying in the fight until every inch of Ukraine that is now Russia is vacated…that’s never going to happen.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

studentofearth's picture

@snoopydawg just pawns on his chess board. There are methods to force vacating physical land areas. They are just to horrible to contemplate.

Thanks for the link to Big Serge article.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

~

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Foreign ministers of BRICS nations pose for a family photo with representatives from Africa and the global South during a summit in Cape Town, South Africa, June 2, 2023. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS
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studentofearth's picture

@humphrey It will be an interesting election cycle.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

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snoopydawg's picture

@humphrey

He’s saying that he and his NATO allies are going to build up Ukraine’s military capabilities with an Air Force and lots of other military equipment, but in the latest simplicius update he says most of the equipment being sent to Ukraine isn’t in working order. Out of 29 humvees only 3 are working and other equipment is even worse off. Tires are rotten and even the replacement tires are just as rotten. One tire exchange cost $174,000. The contractors that have been paid for years have done nothing to keep them in working order.

Ukraine contractors have been paid millions to buy weapons and haven’t done it, but have pocketed millions. Another great update. Full of interesting tidbits. I don’t know what planet Blinken is on, but I want someone to ask him just where all those goodies are going to come from since America doesn’t have a manufacturing base anymore and what they do make is overpriced and comes with many flaws.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.