Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - Feb 10, 2024
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Happy Chinese New Year
Yang begins its annual rise as turning of the earth's Yin Yang cycles renews. The start of Chinese spring. Right on schedule my early yellow crocuses have began to bloom and green tips of daffodils are peeking out of the soil.
Yin Yang interrelationship and some of China's basic philosophy regarding energy was developed in northern China, where annual cycles of energy are easily noticed in 4 distinct seasons and changes in length of night and day. As Chinese civilization expanded and citizens migrated the Yin and Yang interrelationship was noticed in other aspects of the natural enviornment.
You will find more infographics at Statista
Follow up on some local news I reported about 18 months ago.
The original event.
US Forest Service employee arrested in Oregon over spread of prescribed burn The Guardian Oct 21, 2022
Rick Snodgrass, a “burn boss” with the forest service, was overseeing a 300-acre burn in Oregon’s Malheur national forest that had been approved by the agency. A spot fire escaped control, according to officials in Grant county and charred roughly 20 acres of private land belonging to Holiday
Shortly after, Snodgrass was arrested for “reckless burning” and transported to Grant county jail. It’s not clear yet whether Snodgrass will be officially charged but the county district attorney Jim Carpenter said there was enough probable cause to make the arrest.
It is the latest episode to underscore tensions simmering in rural, conservative eastern Oregon over management of federal lands.
In 2016, tension erupted in adjacent Harney county when rightwing extremists took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest the treatment of two ranchers who were imprisoned for setting fire to federal range land. That conflict exploded when armed rightwing extremists occupied the refuge, which lies 300 miles southeast of Portland, for 41 days.
The follow up.
Ex-USFS burn boss indicted after 2022 Oregon prescribed burn escaped lines Central Oregon Daily February 6, 2024
Ricky Snodgrass was charged on Feb. 2 by a grand jury with reckless burning, a class A misdemeanor.
Snodgrass was in charge of a 300-acre prescribed burn and the crew conducting it on Oct. 19, 2022. The fire north of Seneca ended up burning 20 acres of private land before firefighters were able to put it out.
The Putin-Carlson interview has a few sections where China was discussed, here are a few key points.
Tucker:...But you've never explained why you think that happened, except to say that the West fears a strong Russia. But we have a strong China the West does not seem very afraid of. What about Russia do you think, convinced policymakers they had to take it down?
Vladimir Putin: The West is afraid of strong China more than it fears a strong Russia, because Russia has won 150 million people and China has 1.5 billion population. And its economy is growing by leaps and bounds, or 5% a year. It used to be even more, but that's enough for China.
Tucker:...And maybe you trade one colonial power for another, much less sentimental and forgiving colonial power. I mean, or is the the BRICs, for example, in danger of being completely dominated by the Chinese, the Chinese economy? In a way that's not good for their sovereignty. Do you worry about that?
Vladimir Putin: Well, we have heard those boogeyman stories before. It is a boogeyman story. We're neighbors with China. You cannot choose neighbors, just as you cannot choose close relatives. We share a border of 1000km with them. This is number one. Second, we have a centuries long history of coexistence. We're used to it. Third, China's foreign policy philosophy is not aggressive. Its idea is to always look for compromise. (full answer multiple paragraphs)
Tucker:...You've run this country for so long, you've known all these American presidents. What are those power centers in the United States? do you think? Like who actually makes the decisions?
Vladimir Putin: I don't know. America is a complex country. ... Then look, why, in my opinion, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, such an erroneous, crude, completely unjustified policy of pressure was pursued against Russia. After all, this is a policy of pressure. NATO expansion, support for the separatists in Caucasus. Creation of a missile defense system. These are all elements of pressure. Pressure, pressure, pressure. Then dragging Ukraine into NATO is all about pressure, pressure, pressure. Why? I think, among other things, because excessive production capacities were created. During the confrontation with the Soviet Union. There were many centers created and specialists on the Soviet Union who could not do anything else. They convinced the political leadership that it is necessary to continue chiseling Russia, to try to break it up, to create on this territory several quasi state entities, and to subdue them in a divided form, to use their combined potential for the future struggle with China.
While our attention was focused on other events of the world Diplomatic Jan 31, 2024 China recognized the Taliban government of Afghanistan.
China, Russia pip US to the Taliban hearth India Punchline by M. K. Bhadrakumar February 6, 2024
(worth a full read)
At its most obvious level, Beijing has outwitted the US’ surreptitious, attempts in the recent months to return to Afghanistan after its humiliating military defeat and exit in 2021. The Biden Administration produced in the public domain a back-dated document titled Integrated Country Strategy for Afghanistan on the same day that Xi Jinping received the letter of credentials from the Taliban ambassador at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on January 30.
The document contained the following core elements:
“Predatory powers like Iran, China and Russia seek strategic and economic advantage (in Afghanistan) or at a minimum to put the US at a disadvantage;
“Even as, –- and for as long as –- the United States does not recognise the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, we must build functional relationships that fulfil our (US) objectives”;
“With diaspora Afghans, we discourage support for a new armed conflict through resistance group proxies in Afghanistan — more violence or regime change is not the solution to the Taliban”;
“we must simultaneously pump unprecedented amounts of humanitarian assistance into the country, convince the Taliban to adopt international economic norms and advocate tirelessly for education”;
“With the Taliban we advocate for consular access…”
The document is a shameful retreat from the thundering US rhetoric that unless the Taliban fulfilled its conditions, Washington would ostracise the government in Kabul and freeze its bank accounts. Apparently, the Biden administration no longer insists on its demands and is knocking at Kabul gates for entry.
After reading multiple articles regarding results of the Taiwan election Jan 13 found this one which is similar to my thoughts.
Kirill Babaev: Here’s why the result of Taiwan’s election is bad news for the US
Russia Times (translated and edited article originally published by Izvestia 2-5-24) February 7, 2024
These facts are important for an understanding of the current relationship between the two parts of China. They are inextricably linked not only by the commonality of language, history, and culture, but also by hundreds of thousands of trade and production contracts. And this may prove to be a decisive factor in the long-term struggle for the island between the great powers.
The elections in Taiwan on January 13 did nothing to change this. On the contrary, apart from pro-American candidate Lai Qingde’s victory (with a far-from-solid 40% of the vote), the parliamentary elections revealed the defeat of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which lost its majority and ten seats in the Legislative Yuan to the conventionally “pro-Chinese” Kuomintang Party.
The outcome has made the island’s power system somewhat unstable, suggesting that the main battle between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan is yet to come. However, the US has only one undeniable advantage in this war – the ability to pump its proxy with weapons and defense systems in anticipation of a violent conflict. China, on the other hand, has far more leverage. Thus, in the coming years, Beijing won’t try to solve the Taiwan problem militarily: on the contrary, it will attempt to turn America’s “Pyrrhic victory” on January 13 into a final US defeat in the next elections on the island.
As a result, Taiwan is now well aware that the path to independence is a dead end, as none of Taipei’s closest allies will endorse the move or recognize the existence of an “alternative China.” The path of maintaining the status quo, on the other hand, is the most unstable, because in this case the sword of Damocles of armed conflict between the US and China will hang over Taiwan, in which the island risks losing its entire economy and many thousands of its citizens’ lives.
The only option for Taiwan in the long term is a compromise with mainland China; some kind of full-fledged arrangement that will allow the island to maintain the way of life and economic system that it’s accustomed to, and that will allow Beijing to consider the question of reunification closed, or at least with a clear, if distant, solution.
Only one country would be extremely disadvantaged by such a cross-strait arrangement, namely the US. Washington has invested too much in the doctrine of containment of China, in the formation of a chain of military and political alliances around its borders and a defense belt on the island of Taiwan itself, to lose this “unsinkable aircraft carrier.”
Pepe Escobar article this week.
Why Medvedev Is Free to Go Full ‘Born to Be Wild’ Strategic Culture Foundation Feb 8, 2024
Meanwhile, a confidential memo designed at the London School of Economics suggests close cooperation between the German government, USAID and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation to build a sort of “new Singapore in Kiev”: that is, a “reconstruction” profiting corporate Germany out of a low-wage hellhole.
It’s now crystal clear how Washington is actively splitting the EU in favor of a rabidly Russophobic Vilnius-Warsaw-Kiev axis.
Meanwhile, the “no compromise” in Ukraine is deeply determined by geoeconomics: the EU desperately needs access to Ukraine’s lithium for the “decarbonization” scam; the vast mineral wealth; the rich black-earth soil (now mostly property of BackRock, Monsanto and co.); the sea routes (assuming Odessa does not revert to its status of “Russian city”); and most of all, the ultra-cheap workforce.
Whatever happens next, Baab’s diagnosis for the EU and Germany is gloomy: “The European Union has lost its central function”, and “historically, it has failed as a peace project.” After all now it’s the Washington-Vilnius-Warsaw-Kiev axis that “sets the tone.”
And it gets worse: “We are becoming not only the backyard of the United States, but also the backyard of Russia. The energy flows and container traffic, the economic centers are moving eastwards, forming along the Budapest-Moscow-Astana-Beijing axis.”
Scott Ritter: Unseen Power Struggles in the Middle East (32:30 min) Feb 6, 2024
The livestream videos this week by Judge Napolitano channel ongoing discussions regarding current events in Tucker Carlson interview with President Vladimir Putin, Israel/Hamas/Gaza, expanded Middle East Conflict Zone and Ukraine/Russia conflict. The interviews are generally posted on Monday through Friday if would like to view them in a more timely manner.
What is on your mind today?