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Bad news day

Russia invades Ukraine; need I say any more?

Well, yes: Vladimir Putin is 69 and rumours last year suggested he'd been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He's been the Russian Federation's Prime Minister or President for 23 years, and high office combined with executive power tends to drive office-holders completely out of touch with external reality in about a decade.

I'm also going to note that Putin's politics seems to echo a bunch of ethnonationalist tropes from Aleksandr Dugin, a deeply dangerous ideologue who drank the Kool Aid Julius Evola was passing around. (Esoteric fascist neoreactionary philosopher.)

Hates the LGBTQ+, UK news outlet Pink News reports Russia plotting to kill LGBT+ Ukrainians after invasion (according to an unnamed US source, so treat with caution—might be disinformation).

Oh, and both the Russian stock market and BitCoin both fell off a cliff (BtC is down nearly 10% in the past 24 hours). Some "store of value", huh? (Gold is heading for the stratosphere, as usual in time of war ...)

Anyway, over to you for discussion, with one ground rule: do not report on current Ukrainian troop or defensive positions or anything else that might get people killed, otherwise you will get an immediate red card (permaban).

3228 Comments

1:

PS: For my part, I finally figured out why I couldn't write this past week -- it's not my central heating (which is awaiting a new water pump), it was the creeping sense of dread and futility. My fiction muse always hangs up on me when the wrong kind of history is happening. (This happens during wars or major disasters and I hate being old enough to recognize it as a pattern.)

2:

I feel like my childhood in the Eighties is coming back. Nice to have things in common with the kids from the childhood, like the fear of possible nuclear war.

I've read some reports, of course not sure about the reliability, but probably not too bad, that Putin has been building a war chest for years now, so there might be some time until possible sanctions start to work. (Of course Russia has a lot of oil so the war machine can work for a long time with just domestic resources.)

At least this might accelerate the change away from fossil fuels in the Central Europe, though it's not a fast process (Germans probably don't want to freeze) and not certain anway.

3:

Oh wow, National Bolshevism. The Nazi flag with the swastika replaced by a hammer and sickle. The Hapsburg eagle holding a sword and a sickle. And it gets weirder from there.

4:

So the price of bitcoin is down, and the price of gold is up. Anyone know the market trends on tactical nukes? I have a feeling they are more fungible today than they were a week ago.

5:

Yeah, it's like someone decided to take the worst bits of Bolshevism and bolt them on top of Nazism. (Groan.)

6:

Conservative MPs blathering about imposing a no fly zone seem to be forgetting:

  • It's Russia. Russia is not Iraq.
  • We (UK) sold our last AWACS to Chile last month.
  • Kalingrad has at least 1 S400 battery. Expect more in Belarus and eastern Ukraine by the end of the week.
  • Conservatives love their revenue streams far more than they love their allies.
  • It is so clearly not happening that I'm not entirely sure why they bothered to open their mouths.

    7:

    executive power tends to drive office-holders completely out of touch with external reality in about a decade

    Putin's being eminently rational. Russia lost a great deal of power after the Cold War and he wants to reestablish it. One of the first steps to do that is reassert Russian dominance in countries on which they border. That's what he's doing and what he's been doing. It may be bloody and immoral but it's hardly irrational. He calculates that the West will react vigorously at first and then move on, just like they did after Russia annexed the Crimea.

    8:

    I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis ...
    This emphatically does not feel the same.

    However, lots of people are going to get killed

    dpb
    Trump is openly supporting Putin ... can Biden &/or the US internal security jail him, right now?
    Or would that be a bad idea - just let him spout his treason?
    Taliking of treason - Brexit was backed & supported by Putin, almost openly ... can we actually use this to get rid of Bo Jon-Sun? { Hint: I'm depressed & pessimistic about that, though. }

    Total
    I do hope you are wrong.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Charlie
    IF this is out of order - DELETE - OK?
    What happens if the Ukrainians half let the Ru in & then sneak up behind them, so to speak?
    Every house & every village - just heard the BBC & Zelensky has said: "You want a gun, come & pick one up"
    Bog them down to a bloody war of attrition. Ueeew.

    9:

    I find it unlikely that Ukraine's generals expected to repel a serious invasion. Assuming they are not blind idiots, they have to have considered the longer game once Kyiv falls.

    Putin wants a short, successful war. Therefore the prime objective of Ukraine will be to deny him that. He may be able to take Kyiv, but as America found out in Iraq that isn't necessarily Mission Accomplished.

    So will we see a similar quagmire in Ukraine? I don't know for certain how the Ukrainian countryside regards Russia (as opposed to the urban elite), but foreign troops are never popular and I imagine a lot of people have heard stories of the Holodomor from grandparents. So the growth of a partisan resistance seems quite probable.

    This article from The Economist includes one snippet:

    Satellite phones have been unavailable for purchase in Ukraine since the start of the year. In the event of a bloody war, internet outages would be particularly helpful for the Kremlin, preventing the dissemination of troop movements and atrocities. If Lenin focussed on the telegraph station, Mr Putin's generals would be as concerned by TikTok.

    Assuming the unavailability of sat-phones is due to everyone trying to get one, rather than some kind of interdict, I would expect that the military in particular will have stocked up on them. Sat-phones are the one communications network that Moscow can't block, trace or tap (I'm not sure how easy it is to home in on one). If I were a Ukrainian army officer I'd have wanted one of those. If I were a general I'd have wanted a thousand. Hopefully they've got some, and it would be logical have created something akin to the British Auxilliary Units, although maybe with less infrastructure and more guerilla. The objective isn't to reverse the invasion directly, rather to keep increasing the expense and body count until the Russians leave of their own accord.

    I don't know how likely any of that is though. Maybe its just a pipe dream. I'm also not sure about the legal status of any NATO action to arm partisans.

    10:

    Since there is likely to be widespread increase of malware and owning of computers for use in DDOS bot networks, it would be wise to make sure you have your systems backed up with offline backups ASAP.

    11:

    There are over a dozen active Soviet era nuclear reactors operating in Ukraine.

    Damage them with conventional fighting and you have over a dozen Chernobyls spewing radioactive poison across Eastern Europe - including blow back into Russia itself.

    Meanwhile, Ukraine's Black Soil region gets poisoned with toxic radiation - farmland that feeds Europe and the Middle East.

    12:

    Charlie, your Tall Tail was just a made up story right?

    "Advisor to Ukrainian interior ministry says Russian forces entered Chernobyl and that fighting there destroyed a nuclear waste storage facility."

    https://twitter.com/RichardEngel/status/1496856147336495112?s=20&t=Py-LLTIHJnEacUlN3JB29A

    13:

    Bank runs have already started in Russian cities.

    Russian banks can no longer get loans from international banks.

    So is it even money that Vlad ends up hung from a lamp post like Mussolini? Russian economic assets and investments are frozen solid (the oligarchs cannot be happy about that).

    No more petrol money (their only source of economic activity) coming into Russia.

    Sweden and Finland are in talks to expand NATO.

    A unanimous NATO response may not stop Russian tanks but NATO aid to resistance groups will turn Ukraine into a super-sized Chechnya/Afghanistan/Iraq/VietNam/Ulster.

    When Biden makes a mistake, his poll numbers drop. When Vlad makes a mistake, the wolves in the Kremlin begin to circle - will the oligarchs decide that Vlad is bad for business?

    P.S. Did the normally stolid Mr. Putin look rather agitated and scared (body language, facial expression, etc.) in his speech yesterday?

    14:

    I'm going to be scarce on the ground for a bit, because unfortunately I've got to drag my muse kicking and screaming to write a comment letter about the environmental documentation on a local sand mine. Not quite a no-win situation for my group, but you can see it from there.

    And I've realized too much doomscrolling is really bad for my mental health. Yes, even me.

    That said, I'll pitch in a plea to find and post reputable links for refugee aid if that becomes appropriate. If it turns out Moscow is targeting LBGTQ+ people in Ukraine, links on how to aid them will be welcome too. Finally, post links on ways to help any pro-Ukrainian civil resistance efforts that become coherent.

    And speaking of hybrid warfare, that purported Russian specialty, it's fascinating how markets are destabilizing in countries that would oppose this. Almost as if Russia and its allies are messing with them, pumping inflation and sowing rightist FUD, to make it harder to deal with this mess. If you need ungrounded dread to keep your neurons energized without doing meaningful work, feel free to chew on whether there's a global economic war hybridoma metastasizing too. I won't be.

    So now I'll go to work on that effing letter. Sorry to cut and run, but annoying bureaucracy has a deadline.

    15:

    The power/influence of the oligarchs makes sanctions a viable strategy at this stage - IF they are tough and wide enough [real estate in London anyone?]

    On the geographic front, keep an eye on Turkey - if they close the Bosphorus to Russian traffic, it has the potential for a hot Russia/NATO confrontation

    16:

    If you go to Ukraine in Google Maps and turn on the traffic layer you can see just how snarled up the roads west out of Kyiv are.

    17:

    Those will be the Conservative MPs who spent most of the last decade accepting all sorts of political donations from Russian-connected sources, and delaying reports into Russian influence on UK domestic politics... "The horse has gone! Let's shut the stable door!". While the Conservative Party likes to think of itself as "strong on Defence", in reality the deep cuts have all come under Conservative, rather than Labour governments; the most coherent Strategic Defence Review of recent decades was done by George Robertson

    Anyway, the questions that excite all the Top Trumps players ("S400 is way more k3wl than yr F-35") are largely irrelevant. What matters more is: * How many of these systems have been updated since the 1990s? * What's their real-world reliability, rather than the glossy brochure? * Has each military been operating a "Good News Culture" upwards, or does it understand its own abilities and flaws?

    Once the first 24 hours of fighting have passed, we'll start to see which of the two sides copes better with chaos. I'd be very surprised if the early Russian objectives weren't met - they knew exactly when they were going to start the war, and were operating against clearly-understood objectives with plenty of time for planning. Unfortunately for them, the Ukrainians get a vote; it's then a test of how quickly each side can react (see "OODA Loop").

    There are two obviously relevant but contrasting examples; the German invasion of Belgium/Holland/France in 1940, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006. It may take a few days to reveal which is the closer analogy... see also the First Chechen War, when the Russians tried to drive a column of tanks into the middle of Groznyy. Didn't end well.

    Either way, I'm rather upset. I'd hoped we were past this stuff, and wanted to believe the commentators who suggested that it was all sabre-rattling on Putin's part. I'd been hoping that the future was small-scale or hybrid warfare, some paid insurgencies, certainly not heavy-metal-and-artillery warfare at Corps level. In Europe.

    18:

    Further to the Google Maps, a bunch of road closures have just popped up in Kyiv.

    19:

    Re: 'No more petrol money (their only source of economic activity) coming into Russia.'

    Not quite. Putin/Russia has a $100 billion/yr deal with Xi/China for oil. In comparison, their deal to supply oil to Ukraine was a measly $14-$16 billion. However, I'm guessing that there will be considerable international pressure on Xi about this.

    Haven't checked how much RU oil is sold to other non-EU/non-NATO countries but if any of those countries are also currently getting their oil from a US/NATO/EU friendly source and depending on how they side re: this invasion, they might have to switch to RU for all their supplies. No idea how the logistics of doing this would work.

    Have also been wondering whether RU would give NK a special deal on oil. NK gets/got most of its energy supplies from China but who knows what the current situation might do: whether Xi outright condemns Putin/sides with NATO, sides with Putin or waffles. (Ditto for Kim/NK. Plus a side of: if Kim backs the 'right side', he might improve NK's international reputation/chances in future trade talks.)

    Okay - the below is why I logged onto the blog ...

    Internet - (hybrid warfare)

    Folks here are likely better than a non-techie (me) to appreciate the possibilities. My question is: if RU was able to do this quite easily (as the article suggests) at home, will they also be able to do this in Ukraine and possibly other neighboring former SSR/Russia-friendly countries?

    '"The purpose of the tests is to determine the ability of the 'Runet' to work in case of external distortions, blocks and other threats," the source said.'

    https://www.reuters.com/technology/russia-disconnected-global-internet-tests-rbc-daily-2021-07-22/

    20:

    It really doesn't matter how effective the SAMs actually are. My point was that you have to assume they more or less work and you can't remove all of them without attacking targets on Russian soil.

    21:

    Brexit is, in part, a UK Conservative project to protect the exfiltrated assets of Russian oligarchs. In return Tories get substantial direct support from Russian money, and from the international parts of the Russian propaganda apparatuses, some semi-private.
    That's the narrative I'd be going with, and it seems to be a current topic of discussion in e.g. UK twitter. There is some evidence for both, especially the former. (Needs more evidence, though.)
    One problem the Russians have created for themselves is the damage that they have done to their credibility in the lead up to their invasion of Ukraine, a functioning democracy with a recent democratic transfer of power (unlike, say, Russia). (A few fairly-well-open-source-documented actual false flag OPs, which will of course be denied. Blatant offensive lies to western leaders. Blatant offensive lies to the west in general about no intentions to invade. Pre-recorded videos that were falsely sold as being recorded later. Blatant lies about the current nature of Ukrainian society and politics. Blatant falsehoods about history. The list is a lot longer than this.)

    22:

    Trump is openly supporting Putin ... can Biden &/or the US internal security jail him, right now?

    Almost certainly not. America is not in a declared state of war, so Russia is not an official enemy, so it's not treason. He's just stating his opinion, reprehensible and self-serving as it is. And the Republican party still seems to be in thrall to him…

    23:

    "Advisor to Ukrainian interior ministry says Russian forces entered Chernobyl and that fighting there destroyed a nuclear waste storage facility."

    That tweet has been deleted.

    I'm calling "false news" on it; it would beggar belief for the Russians not to have marked that corner of the map as a radiological hazard, and to avoid it. It's almost uninhabited and everyone knows what it is, and that it'd be madness on stilts to take the fighting there.

    24:

    Thinking of Trump, I found this interesting article on intentional falsehoods:

    https://www.psypost.org/2022/02/study-suggests-trumps-false-tweets-were-mostly-intentional-lies-not-accidents-62627

    Turns out his tweets are actually a pretty good data set for psychological studies. :-)

    25:

    the Conservative Party likes to think of itself as "strong on Defence"

    Is that true? To they really think of themselves as 'strong on defence', or do they just portray themselves that way because it sells to voters?

    I'm reminded how over here balanced budgets are more likely under left-leaning governments, yet right-wing parties (and their media supporters) keep the fiction of 'tax-and-spend liberals' going when for the last two generations it's been conservative governments who've posted the biggest deficits and liberal governments who've balanced the books after the tories are finally turfed out.

    26:

    I might believe this could be false news from Ukraine because of how awful it would be for Russians to be disturbing this area, but the correction is not a denial that fighting is in the area.

    The original is deleted with a clarifying note still there.

    Still sounds like there is fighting in the area. The correction is just this: "clarifying: advisor says heaving fighting MAY disturb nuclear waste."

    https://twitter.com/RichardEngel/status/1496860722059517958?s=20&t=Q9xhDv6I-Ps9qstQglENcA

    Also straight from Zelenskyy:

    "Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the #Chornobyl_NPP. Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated. Reported this to @SwedishPM . This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe."

    https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa/status/1496862540957114370?s=20&t=TO3HuguoDkIKdHFwZS9aqw

    It would be reckless for Ukraine to be pushing this kind of fake story, as they already have the world's sympathies. Making up stories would be a quick way to hurt themselves.

    It is relatively easy to believe the Russians would move through the area since it might be lesser defended, and they seem to be throwing caution to the wind strategically anyway.

    27:

    Can Putin be tried in the Hague in absentia for crimes against humanity?

    28:

    Holy F*cking Shit.

    I did not think that Putin would be so crazy as to do this.

    Population of Afghanistan in 1979: 13.4 million. Population of Ukraine in 2022: 44.1 million.

    Even if the only thing that NATO does is wring their hands, create more sanctions and say "No! You shouldn't do that!" how in heaven's name does Putin hope to hold Ukraine? Using reprisal tactics like "You kill one of us, we round up 100 random civilians and kill them" will make things even worse.

    If NATO / the USA provide air support (shoot down all RU planes in UA airspace, bomb all RU airfields in UA), then things become more difficult for conquest.

    If NATO / the USA start bombing roads into UA, so that the flow of supplies gets dicey for front-line forces, then the invasion will lose a lot of speed, and Putin's critics / rivals will grow stronger.

    If NATO / the USA start sending ground troops to hold / push back the RU forces (stopping at the border of RU), how long before chemical / nuclear weapons start getting used?

    I am scared shitless right now.

    29:

    If NATO / the USA ...

    Not gonna happen. One of the ground rules for the whole of the cold war, at least since Korea, is that SovietRussian and NATO forces don't face off against each other directly. All wars are fought via proxies, usually deniable. (IIRC in Korea Chinese and American aircraft fought, but not Russian). There is too much risk of a miscalculation going nuclear somewhere.

    If Western backs were really against the wall they would probably do it, but not just for Ukraine. Probably not for Finland either, unless it joins NATO.

    30:

    Re: DT tweets

    Caveat within the article about the tweets:

    '“We analyzed language use in tweets sent by @realDonaldTrump,” Van der Zee explained. “However, it is likely the ex-President has not written all tweets himself, thereby adding noise to the dataset. ...'

    I'm guessing that most/all of the grammatically correct tweets were written by someone else. Keep in mind that he/his family/team has a history of plagiarizing - see the below instances. (Plus someone else authored his 'auto-biography'.)

    https://time.com/4693623/donald-trump-melania-plagiarism-exxonmobil/

    31:

    To better understand Putin's holy mission, read Solzhenizyn.

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/miriamelder/vladimir-putin-isnt-going-to-stop#473b6es

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/09/how-a-famous-soviet-dissident-foreshadowed-putins-planin-1990-russia-ukraine/379467/

    Also, he is running out of time. Decarbonization will ruin his rentier state, and there are no realistic prospects to make use of a warming Siberia.

    32:

    With regard to Ukraine resistance, remember that Russia has many thousands of supporters in the east of the country who they can ship in to act as 'nationalist' government, police, civil defence enforcers, etc ( and let them take the blame for any "excesses" that cant be covered up ).

    33:

    Duffy
    farmland that feeds Europe and the Middle East. ... Ukraine is a large net exporter of grain, principally wheat.
    that harvest not being got in this coming year could make things ... difficult.
    Sweden and Finland are in talks to expand NATO. - Really? How very interesting ... well-done Mr P, you frightened them, didn't you?
    "When Biden makes a mistake ..." - Has IQ45 made a really serious one? We can hope.

    Mickdarling
    "That page does not exist" - see also Charlie @ 23!

    Martin
    Yes. We will soon find out if Bo Jon-Sun is an Ru-asset, like IQ45, won't we? { maybe }

    Bill Arnold
    "Blatant Lies..." - Like every time BJS opens his mouth, you mean?

    34:

    Putin's main complaint appears to be that since 1992, the Duchy of Muscovy's descendants have been improperly reduced to Volk ohne Raum and he is obligated to do something about it. Ah, yes, totalitarian precept #3: Always invoke the glories of the past, even those parts in which the glory is little more than peeling gold paint over crumbling dross; it's one of the consequences of "ignorance is strength."

    The recent use of München for the "summit location" prior to invasion was a… poor rhetorical choice, sort of like holding a post-war conference at Versailles would be. At least there's no Neville Chamberlain this time (which is a rather desperate search for something positive here; more than arguably, the present UK leadership is worse, and I can hardly wait for the Home Office's certain use of this "crisis" as excuse to further "recalibrate" refugee policies).

    35:

    Yeah. Dan Scavino wrote a lot of Trump's tweets (allegedly). (He has some skillz, and also was/still is one of the conduits from US Right Wing online fever-feeder swamps to Trump. Lots of people attempted to get ideas into Trump's mind that way.) There were allegedly others, as well.
    The Washington post has a database (with a front end on-line) of all the 20K+ Trump lies/falsehoods (during office) that they documented. Don't know if it has been made available to researchers.

    36:

    Probably not for Finland either, unless it joins NATO.

    Finland and Sweden appear to be hastily applying for membership in NATO. The Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania) are all NATO and EU members (and part of the Eurozone): based on a visit to Estonia a few years ago they do not remember the USSR fondly. (Nor the Third Reich, which did a similar amount of damage ... but the Soviets only departed within living memory.)

    37:

    I didn't think I could despise tankies more than I already did, yet here we are.

    38:

    Administrative note

    I am seeing a lot of new 'nyms commenting for the first time on this thread.

    Not sure what's dragging them in, but my working assumption is that some or all of them may be astroturf/sock puppets run by one or another agency with a dog in this race. I will be doing occasional checks and may nuke/ban any commenters who fail the scratch'n'sniff test.

    39:

    I can't help but notice that this is coming only a few days after the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. Is this happenstance or did Putin want to avoid the risk of having the ROC athletes chucked out? I suppose the logical follow-up to that supposition is whether the IOC actually would've done that...

    40:
    Finland and Sweden appear to be hastily applying for membership in NATO.

    Would NATO really come to the aid of the Baltic states if RU attacked, though? Or would they (with regret) throw them under the bus as indefensible?

    If yes, then NATO is meaningless. If no, then WWIII for sure.

    41:

    There's still the Paralympic Games, starting on March 4th. We'll see what, if anything, the IOC does.

    42:

    He has some skillz, and also was/still is one of the conduits from US Right Wing online fever-feeder swamps to Trump.

    That's weird and spooky. I recall a documentary describing how the 3rd Reich was run in a very similar way. (I think it was The Nazis: A Warning from History episode 2)

    When Hitler was in power in Germany the key strategic resource was the post room, because Hitler liked getting fan mail. So if you wanted Hitler's ear you went to the post room and dug through the incoming mail to find some letter suggesting what you wanted, and then went to Hitler and said "There is this letter from Herr Schmitt of Mittelburg, who wants to do X. I think it sounds like an interesting idea". If this was your lucky day, Hitler would read the letter, agree with it, and tell you to go off and do X, which was what you wanted.

    Of course you also needed to stop other people doing the same thing. Hence the strategic importance of the post room.

    Substitute Twitter for the post room...

    43:

    I can't help but notice that this is coming only a few days after the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. Is this happenstance ...?

    Can't say for sure, but over the past few weeks there was quite a lot of speculation that Putin was waiting for the Olympics to end for exactly that reason. E.g. here and here. The thinking was actually that he didn't want to annoy Xi by distracting the world from China's big PR event.

    44:

    Re: '... so it's not treason. He's just stating his opinion, reprehensible and self-serving as it is.'

    This situation is likely to firm up the international and internal political lines. Wonder if the self-serving GOP crew are busy writing up excuses for how they were duped by DT into accepting his version of how friendly Putin really was/is. Considering DT skews moron, this nets out to a public admission of their own lack of intellect/fitness to hold office. (But they're gonna blame someone/anyone cuz they don't take blame from no one, no how.)

    Speaking of odious pols: I just checked a couple of Priti's tweets. Okay as far as her topmost/most recent tweet says that the UK is backing Ukraine but pretty disgusted by the pro-nuke tweets immediately below hers suggesting that Ukraine did this to themselves. (I've no idea how Twitter aggregates/links tweets but if this string is typical of what usually appears after one of her tweets -- we've a problem, folks: If you agree/emotionally support item#1, you're a helluva more likely to also emotionally (subsequently, intellectually) support item#2. [This ties in with Paul@42 comments.]

    45:

    I have to re-log on every time I want to post so sometimes jot down my notes elsewhere and copy&paste unfortunately my last post had some verbiage scrambled.

    Here's the de-scrambled text for the last sentence. [item equals tweet/ad/comment/whatever]

    If you agree/emotionally support item#1, you're a helluva more likely to also emotionally (subsequently, intellectually) support item#2.

    46:

    Mickdarling @ 4: So the price of bitcoin is down, and the price of gold is up. Anyone know the market trends on tactical nukes? I have a feeling they are more fungible today than they were a week ago.

    I hope it doesn't go there, because once it starts the only possible end is total escalation.

    47:

    This twitter thread is interesting. (Wouldn't easily succeed.)

    So something interesting that could be developing at the UN: Ukraine appears to be laying the groundwork to challenge whether the Russian Federation is the legitimate successor to the USSR’s seat and veto on the Security Council

    — Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) February 24, 2022

    Here's the threadreader rollup for those who don't do twitter: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1496710912648044548.html

    48:

    Third try ... without special characters

    If you agree or emotionally support item number 1, you're a helluva more likely to also emotionally therefore subsequently intellectually support item number 2.

    49:

    My thought about that was that may be how Putin and his 'friends' plan to continue to gain money, goods, and influence. Just the procession of nukes by various countries around the world could cause massive disruption to the world order. A few of those could go a long way and never even be used.

    50:

    On the possible fighting around Chernobyl: I've just been looking at Google Maps. If you wanted to drive down from Belarus into western Kyiv, the shortest route happens to go across the Pripyat river just a few miles from Prypiat itself, and there aren't any other bridges, or indeed any other roads across what looks like pretty marshy terrain. So while the nuclear site itself is unlikely to see any fighting, something may well be happening in the vicinity.

    51:

    The more I see, it certainly looks like they are fighting directly at Chernobyl from all the news coverage, tweets, etc. If it is misinfo, it has a lot of buy-in from media and various officials.

    52:

    ...If this was your lucky day, Hitler would read the letter, agree with it, and tell you to go off and do X, which was what you wanted.

    Of course you also needed to stop other people doing the same thing. Hence the strategic importance of the post room.

    Substitute Twitter for the post room...

    Yes, exactly. And recall that the lore of "meme magic" (a form of "chaos magic") on the online right wing (US mainly?), involves [manipulation] of "luck". With the target, Trump, known to have, and deliberately cultivate, a chaotic mental style.
    This is akin to the Nazi interest in the occult; thanks for that story.

    53:

    They built a pontoon bridge across the Pripyat River about ten days ago. Planet Labs' Snapshot email today has a nice gif of it.

    54:

    I suspect the kill/capture/re-educate lists are real, but LGBTQ+ are only one of the groups THEY will be going after. They're going to go after political leadership, Ukrainian intelligentsia, YouTube influencers, bloggers, public figures of any type ... anyone who might be a focus or leader of Ukrainian resistance.

    And I think there may be some quiet resistance to committing war crimes from within the Russian military.

    If for no other reason than they can't ALL be ignorant of what happened to the Nazis AFTER WW2 and wanting to avoid the same fate.

    55:

    "Ukraine is a large net exporter of grain, principally wheat. that harvest not being got in this coming year could make things ... difficult. "

    Also complicating matters is the fact (AFAIK) that a large part of those exports go by sea. And all the major Black Sea/Sea of Azov ports came under attack this morning. I will be considerably surprised if they don't get occupied and placed under Russian control

    56:

    Turns out his tweets are actually a pretty good data set for psychological studies.

    For those of us who have sort of watched DT since the 80s (not his TV show but the financial news) he is (to borrow a phrase from Charlie) he has always been throwing dead cats on the table to change the subject away from what others want to talk about.

    58:

    Even if the only thing that NATO does is wring their hands, create more sanctions and say "No! You shouldn't do that!" how in heaven's name does Putin hope to hold Ukraine?

    He installs a government that kisses Russia's butt. And assassinates the opposition any time it shows it's head.

    I think he wants a v2 of East Germany.

    59:

    >>>If yes, then NATO is meaningless. If no, then WWIII for sure.

    I don't think so. Russian attack in the Baltic state would aim exactly at this, trying to break the alliance. So a vigorous conventional response to a conventional attack is most likely make them stop, as opposed to starting WW3.

    60:

    What's the actuarial outlook on a 69-year-old with MS? And further to that what does the line of succession look like in Russia? Dictators don't tend to provide much in the way of planning for their successors, lest the candidates get restless and decide to hurry things along.

    61:

    There's still the Paralympic Games, starting on March 4th. We'll see what, if anything, the IOC does.

    Being a bit rude. But "nobody cares".

    Not really, but no wall to wall TV coverage in the US. And I suspect not much anywhere else.

    62:

    An observant observer cannot avoid speculation concerning the timing of the prosecutors have resigned from the orange family's civic financial fraud, etc. investigation in NYC have quit at the same time Putin invaded Ukraine. It turns out the investigation has been doing nothing for over month. For much longer than a month Putin has told the world he was going to do this -- almost gave us the exact time and date too, and the game plan. Then that orange shoggoth goes on tv and tells the world how smart Putin is, and we should do the same thing on the southwestern border -- though of course the shoggoth know nothing and declared a Russian Black Sea incursion was the US incurring into Russia, for which the shoggoth violently scolded Biden for doing.

    63:

    The presence of Russian pilots in the Korean War was established some time ago

    A presence the Russians went to great length to conceal, because as Paul noted the Cold War was fought mainly by proxies.

    64:

    Re: 'Ukraine is a large net exporter of grain,...'

    Yeah - and their second largest export market is China. But on an overall basis, they sell more stuff to the EU/West than to RU/China per the 2019 report below.

    https://oec.world/en/profile/country/ukr

    'The top exports of Ukraine are Corn ($4.77B), Seed Oils ($3.75B), Iron Ore ($3.36B), Wheat ($3.11B), and Semi-Finished Iron ($2.55B), exporting mostly to Russia ($4.69B), China ($3.94B), Germany ($3.08B), Poland ($2.75B), and Italy ($2.57B).'

    65:

    Greg Tingey @ 8: dpb
    Trump is openly supporting Putin ... can Biden &/or the US internal security jail him, right now?
    Or would that be a bad idea - just let him spout his treason?
    Taliking of treason - Brexit was backed & supported by Putin, almost openly ... can we actually use this to get rid of Bo Jon-Sun? { Hint: I'm depressed & pessimistic about that, though. }

    Treason is the only crime actually defined in the U.S. Constitution ... and it's a VERY narrow definition ... one that despite his odious behavior Trump has not met.

    So, NO the U.S. cannot lock him up to shut him up. Nor would we want to do so even if we could. That's the way totalitarian states operate, and the U.S. - whatever its failings as a democracy - is not (yet) a totalitarian state.

    OTOH, Trumpolini's remarks supporting Putin haven't gone down well with a number of Republicans, and I suspect he keeps running his mouth he might lose even more support. His flailing about is also likely to lead him to eventually committing criminal indiscretions for which he CAN be prosecuted.

    Charlie
    IF this is out of order - DELETE - OK?
    What happens if the Ukrainians half let the Ru in & then sneak up behind them, so to speak?
    Every house & every village - just heard the BBC & Zelensky has said: "You want a gun, come & pick one up"
    Bog them down to a bloody war of attrition. Ueeew.

    Ukraine has been planning & preparing for this day since the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. That took them by surprise, but they were NOT surprised by this most recent Russian aggression.

    They already have a legal framework for organizing their national resistance and they've been busy implementing it.

    (July 16, 2021 veth) Rada adopts Zelensky’s law on national resistance

    It's obvious Ukraine is out numbered and out gunned, but their will to resist is strong and they've been making preparations to exploit the advantages they do have. Ukraine's partisans are organized & regulated and fall under the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

    Whether the Russians will follow those rules is another question I can't answer, but again I think there must be some in the Russian military who "remember" what happened to the Nazis after WW2.

    66:

    Substitute Twitter for the post room... I think you mean substitute Fox for the post room. Fox proved quite shameless about talking directly to the IQ45, generally with resulting action quite soon thereafter.

    67:

    Duffy @ 27: Can Putin be tried in the Hague in absentia for crimes against humanity?

    Maybe, but I think it might be more effective to wait until he can be standing in the dock.

    68:

    Mildly perturbed response to JBS:

    The definition of "treason" in the US Constitution (Art. III § 3) is:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

    (followed by the notorious "two witnesses" clause that doesn't change the "definition," only the required evidence for proof, based on appalling then-century-old history in and around the Glorious Revolution and the future King of England's namesakes)

    Which, frankly, is not much of a definition given that what passed for the definition of "war" did not, in the eighteenth century, include reclamation actions in one's own former territory — part of the argument being made, at abstract levels and in bad faith, is that at least eastern Ukraine is former "Russia." Nobody has ever defined what it takes to "adhere" to the enemies of the US, or to give "Aid and Comfort" in any circumstance other than overt espionage (which carried the same penalty, for which there was overwhelming evidence, and otherwise was not anywhere near any borderland of meaning). The hair-splittingly-interesting aspect of this is that "insurrection" may not qualify as "treason" (compare Amd. XIV § 3), because that requires that insurrection be positively in support of Enemies of the United States and not "just" violent opposition to the policies of the United States by persons who are of the United States (but not characterized as Enemies). So it's unclear and all about "arguability"… so far.

    This is the overdramatized-by-HBO Apollo 1 problem — a failure of imagination, by those writing groundbreaking and imaginative documents that we're supposed to continue to rely upon as infallible two and a half centuries later. So if DJT wants to be remembered forever in history, he's sure doing a great job at ensuring scholars will continue to argue over hair-splitting characterizations of his awfulness for generations to come. "Sure, it was bad, but was it bad enough?" can support faculty seminars for at least two centuries. The irony of "higher education" being his route to immortality, given his disdain for it, is the sort of tasty bitterness (or bitter tastiness) we have to grasp at in times like these.

    69:

    Regarding Trump, Ukraine & Russia ... you gotta understand how Trump sees things; see them from his point of view.

    Trump asked President Zelensky of Ukraine to "do him a little favor" and Zelensky didn't do it. Compare that to how Russia responded when Trump asked them for a favor:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kxG8uJUsWU

    So who's Trump gonna' stand with? The guy who wouldn't do him any favors or the guy who helped him to get elected?

    70:

    Nobody has ever defined what it takes to "adhere" to the enemies of the US, or to give "Aid and Comfort" in any circumstance other than overt espionage

    Not quite true. A number of American citizens who broadcast propaganda for the Axis countries during WWII were convicted of treason. For example, Iva Toguri, who became known as "Tokyo Rose" was convicted of treason for her role as an English-language announcer for Japanese radio broadcasts aimed at demoralizing American servicemen during the Pacific War.

    71:

    As usual, Mary Dejevsky gets it right:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/voices/russian-invasion-ukraine-consequences-putin-b2022600.html?r=95101

    I have had some extremely nasty personal news this week, so am disinclined to comment further, but am horribly afraid that you may be right that Putin has finally flipped his lid. People should think VERY carefully about how a somewhat delusional paranoid will react when his fears are confirmed, and direct NATO involvement of any sort would assuredly do that.

    72:

    JReynolds @ 40:

    Finland and Sweden appear to be hastily applying for membership in NATO.

    Would NATO really come to the aid of the Baltic states if RU attacked, though?

    AbsoDAMNlutely!

    The U.S. is already forward deploying forces into the Baltic States & Poland. Mostly it's forces already based in western Europe shifting eastward to augment forces there on training rotations with the locals, but the 82nd Airborne's "Ready Brigade" deployed to Poland more than a week ago (with I think the rest of the division in the process of moving. Wouldn't surprise me to see a 200k call-up of Guard & Reserve announced soon either.

    There was an Army National Guard Unit IN Ukraine on a training mission, but they were pulled back to Poland some time last week.

    82nd Airborne troops poised to help evacuees from Ukraine, but few Americans have crossed the border as Russian invasion begins

    Biden Shifts U.S. Troops in Europe to Defend Frontline NATO States

    US consulting with NATO, allies, about future troop deployments to Europe

    73:

    Mickdarling @ 49: My thought about that was that may be how Putin and his 'friends' plan to continue to gain money, goods, and influence. Just the procession of nukes by various countries around the world could cause massive disruption to the world order. A few of those could go a long way and never even be used.

    I don't see it. Putin would have no way to guarantee any of those countries wouldn't have a democratic revolution and the nukes fall into the hands of people who might want to have a word or two with Putin over support for the former regime.

    Putin has a real phobia about what happens to former tyrants in democratic revolutions (see: Muammar Gaddafi).

    74:

    Here's the de-scrambled text for the last sentence.

    This is what I see. Same problem with the original post — it's as if the text is extending past an invisible line and is hidden by the white border of the blog page.

    "If you agree/emotionally support item#1, you're a helluva more likely to also emotional"

    75:

    Paul @ 50: On the possible fighting around Chernobyl: I've just been looking at Google Maps. If you wanted to drive down from Belarus into western Kyiv, the shortest route happens to go across the Pripyat river just a few miles from Prypiat itself, and there aren't any other bridges, or indeed any other roads across what looks like pretty marshy terrain. So while the nuclear site itself is unlikely to see any fighting, something may well be happening in the vicinity.

    Old news (about a week) - Russia’s Pontoon Bridge Near Chernobyl Can Support Battle Tanks

    76:

    I expect Reuters has double checked their sources.

    "Chernobyl power plant captured by Russian forces -Ukrainian official"

    https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/chernobyl-power-plant-captured-by-russian-forces-ukrainian-official-2022-02-24/

    77:

    TonyC @ 60: What's the actuarial outlook on a 69-year-old with MS? And further to that what does the line of succession look like in Russia? Dictators don't tend to provide much in the way of planning for their successors, lest the candidates get restless and decide to hurry things along.

    Line of succession? Dmitry Medvedev is the new Beria.

    And probably has about the same post-Putin life expectancy.

    78:

    Putin isn't going to stop now - maybe Kazakhstan, maybe - Moldova?

    arrbee
    A ready supply of pre-made Vidkun Quislings? How Nice ....

    JReynolds
    There are active troops of other NATO members in the Baltic States, acting as a tripwire. Attack, say Estonia & Brit &/or French soldiers get killed ... Oops, bigtime.

    Paul
    There WAS a report that some of the maintenance-&-watch staff at Chernobyl had been taken hostage - don't know how much reliability there is on that one, though.

    JBS
    "But it can't possibly happen to US can it, we have Vladimir's backing!" Not buying it - we are going to see atrocities for certain, & show trials if they "get lucky".
    I hope Zelensky has a personal escape plan, including that of a Government-in-exile in a very "Western" but non-NATO neutral country, like ... Eire.
    - later -
    Whether the Russians will follow those rules - no, they won't, they are "hunting evil Nazis" - they will have to kill quite a few teenage women with guns, before the kopek drops .....

    Foxessa
    I missed that. Are you saying that the IQ45-related fraud investigation has stopped?
    Or that his defence have given up? Or what?

    EC
    Yes, she is correct & also I'm virtually certain that Putin is VERY dangerously right off his head

    79:

    Total, I was too hasty and should have been more precise. In those instances you cited, the key is that the defense did not contest those definitions under the law of the time. The Tokyo Rose and Ezra Pound cases, for example, were pre-McCarthy… and nowhere near any "border" since both acknowledged that they were formally working for the respective governments, which in turn had been formally designated as Enemies.

    I should have said "defined at its limits," not "defined" in the most general sense. "I know it when I see it" isn't good enough when the death penalty is on the line, but it's what we have so far. And if that doesn't disturb you, it should; my point was that moving farther (and not very far) down the definitional chain still leaves us in a quagmire.

    80:

    ...but am horribly afraid that you may be right that Putin has finally flipped his lid.

    So; when do you think it happened? Was he sane and rational (within his own perspective) up until 24 hours ago, or has he been paranoid and murderous for years now (see Litvinenko, Skripal), and you've just been giving him the benefit of the doubt?

    People should think VERY carefully about how a somewhat delusional paranoid will react when his fears are confirmed, and direct NATO involvement of any sort would assuredly do that.

    One analogy I've seen is that of domestic abuse. "You should think VERY carefully about not having his dinner on the table when he gets home from work, otherwise it's your own fault for how he acts".

    A delusional paranoid will react any way they want, using any excuse they feel like on the day concerned. There doesn't need to be any NATO involvement - what's one more lie alongside "the Ukraine shouldn't exist, it should be part of Russia"?

    I really hope that the Russians solve this, possibly using their traditional means of removing delusional paranoids. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about.

    81:

    I should have said "defined at its limits," not "defined" in the most general sense.

    Okay.

    82:

    Ironically, the US Conservative Political Action Committee is having its big do today through Sunday. They are divided and confused on Ukraine, and seem to have decided not to have more of the fight in public, see Laura Jadeed https://twitter.com/LauraJedeed/status/1496850594262392833?s=20&t=6cQzVWUowKlEEhJS2iIhdQ. The Republican Party is also confused as to how to respond to this invasion, see https://digbysblog.net/2022/02/23/a-very-confused-republican-party/.

    83:

    >>>People should think VERY carefully about how a somewhat delusional paranoid will react when his fears are confirmed, and direct NATO involvement of any sort would assuredly do that.

    Well, if they opponent is a madman with nukes, a surprise first strike is probably your best bet to prevent them from striking first.

    84:

    Jaws @ 68: Mildly perturbed response to JBS:

    The definition of "treason" in the US Constitution (Art. III § 3) is:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

    (followed by the notorious "two witnesses" clause that doesn't change the "definition," only the required evidence for proof, based on appalling then-century-old history in and around the Glorious Revolution and the future King of England's namesakes)

    Which, frankly, is not much of a definition given that what passed for the definition of "war" did not, in the eighteenth century, include reclamation actions in one's own former territory — part of the argument being made, at abstract levels and in bad faith, is that at least eastern Ukraine is former "Russia." Nobody has ever defined what it takes to "adhere" to the enemies of the US, or to give "Aid and Comfort" in any circumstance other than overt espionage (which carried the same penalty, for which there was overwhelming evidence, and otherwise was not anywhere near any borderland of meaning). The hair-splittingly-interesting aspect of this is that "insurrection" may not qualify as "treason" (compare Amd. XIV § 3), because that requires that insurrection be positively in support of Enemies of the United States and not "just" violent opposition to the policies of the United States by persons who are of the United States (but not characterized as Enemies). So it's unclear and all about "arguability"… so far.

    The Constitution does not itself create the offense; it only restricts the definition (the first paragraph), permits the United States Congress to create the offense, and restricts any punishment for treason to only the convicted (the second paragraph). The crime is prohibited by legislation passed by Congress. Therefore, the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381 states:
    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    The definition of "levies war" was established fairly early in U.S. history in Ex parte Bollman:

    To constitute a levying of war, there must be an assemblage of persons for the purpose of effecting by force a treasonable purpose. Enlistments of men to serve against government is not sufficient.

    Further, in United States v. Burr, 25 F. Cas. 55,, Chief Justice John Marshall, sitting as the Circuit Justice for the District of Virginia ruled:

    On the first division of the subject two points are made:

    1st. That, conformably to the constitution of the United States, no man can be convicted of treason who was not present when the war was levied.
    2d. That if this construction be erroneous, no testimony can be received to charge one man with the overt acts of others until those overt acts as laid in the indictment be proved to the satisfaction of the court.

    It's possible that some of the Jan 6 insurrectionists could be charged with treason, because they DO meet the "assemblage of persons for the purpose of effecting by force" test, but even then Donald Trump could not be so charged because he DID NOT MARCH on the Capitol himself. (He could however be charged with conspiracy for his actions inciting the mob.)

    And "aid & comfort to the enemy" would not apply because the U.S. is NOT at war with Russia.

    OTOH, he don't know when to shut up and if he keeps running his mouth, there's a chance he might run afoul of the Espionage Act of 1917

    Bottom line - Donald Trump is an odious piece of shit, but he has NOT (yet) committed treason under U.S. law.

    And the U.S. is not (yet) a totalitarian state, so he cannot (and should not) be summarily silenced.

    85:

    Old news (about a week) - Russia’s Pontoon Bridge Near Chernobyl Can Support Battle Tanks

    If that's where I think it is, then they would have a long forest track past the old power station to get to the road. It would become impassible to untracked vehicles pretty fast. So it was probably a backup in case they couldn't secure the road bridge.

    86:

    However, I've seen a news story or two that the usual fans are not exactly on board with T on pro-Russia.

    87:

    I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're suggesting. I, personally, was wondering if IQ 45 got to the new D/A.

    88:

    Given that they had a gallows for Pence, and were prepared to attack members of Congress and the Senate, this was an attempted coup, and that, IMO, counts as "making war against the United States".

    89:

    No. Under no circumstances. Because anything resembling a full-scale exchange means we're all dead, period, end of discussion. When 80%? More? of the world living in metro areas, we're all dead.

    90:

    Here we go - fourth try:

    If you agree or emotionally support item number 1, you're a helluva more likely to also emotionally therefore subsequently intellectually support item number 2.

    Basically, whatever you see first will prime you for whatever's next esp. if you're not expecting any connection between the items. (Order effect - tons/decades of research backing this.)

    91:

    I'd rather you weren't speculating, the way you did at the end. People are talking about Putin being less than clear and rational... and yet, until now, and the last few days, I've never heard him described as other.

    I've seen speculation that both Lenin and Stalin might have been around longer, without some... assistance.

    92:
    Well, if they opponent is a madman with nukes, a surprise first strike is probably your best bet to prevent them from striking first.

    There are at least a couple of documented cases where USSR military officers blocked thermonuclear war of their own volition. Even in the US "The Football" just conveys orders, which can be (and technically, must be) disobeyed if illegal. Similarly, there was some comfort to be had by considering that some of the Generals surrounding DJT (even the loathsome ones) might have killed him or otherwise stopped him rather than obey an order to use nuclear weapons. So, no, and you should take a deep look at yourself.

    93:

    Oooh, me, me. I remember what happened to the Nazis after WW2. They mostly got off scot-free. Extremely regrettable but true.

    94:

    When 80%? More? of the world living in metro areas, we're all dead.

    Not even every commenter on this blog lives in a metro area. Humanity will survive. Civilization is a different matter, but Pan narrans won't die out.

    95:

    Greg Tingey @ 78: JBS
    "But it can't possibly happen to US can it, we have Vladimir's backing!" Not buying it - we are going to see atrocities for certain, & show trials if they "get lucky".
    I hope Zelensky has a personal escape plan, including that of a Government-in-exile in a very "Western" but non-NATO neutral country, like ... Eire.
    - later -
    Whether the Russians will follow those rules - no, they won't, they are "hunting evil Nazis" - they will have to kill quite a few teenage women with guns, before the kopek drops .....

    I'm not sure I follow you. Who can't it possibly happen to because they have Vladimir's backing? I'm pretty sure Zelensky doesn't believe that.

    I'm also sure Zelensky has plans to evade Russian forces, but I don't think he'll leave Ukraine for a "Government-in-exile". Maybe an INTERNAL exile?

    I'm not expecting EVERY Russian soldier in Ukraine to violate the "laws of land warfare", but some of them might - maybe even a majority of them might. I do expect the situation is going to get a lot worse for a long time before it ever gets better.

    But I don't expect Ukraine to just collapse. Like I wrote, they've been preparing for this ever since the Crimean invasion. I think they've got a realistic assessment of the odds against them, I think they understand the risks and I think they've got a plan.

    I ran across this (I don't think it violates the prohibition about revealing Ukraine's current positions or movements):

    Ukraine and the Threat of Citizen Resistance

    Ukraine has mapped out paths for its citizens to aid the resistance, from the front lines to the soup lines. Unlike the surprise and shock when Russia invaded in February 2014, Ukrainians are able to process and plan ahead of time with structured avenues of resistance options.
    Over time and with a feel for each unique situation, Ukraine regularized, transitioned, or demobilized irregular units that fought in the breach. Aidar, Right Sector, Azov, Donbas, and Dnepr 1 are but a few of these volunteer units. Many remain, reflagged or wholly reorganized, under the regulating hand of the defense or interior ministries. The evolution of the Azov Battalion is instructive. The unit, formed in May 2014, was nominally de-politicized and incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine in November, 2014. In the court of public opinion, such units teetered between heroes and pariahs. Ukraine honored each side of this narrative and provided off-ramps that respectfully recognized service while disincentivizing counter-productive ideologies. In my experience, in the highly imperfect discipline of demobilizing irregulars, Ukraine managed this thoughtfully and capably.
    In the aggregate, Ukrainian militias produced viable combat power on behalf of the state when the official state security services could not or did not answer the call. Involving militias is to invite a quasi-directional threat. Even militias attacking an invading enemy can threaten their own government, if not physically, then indirectly, in terms of legitimacy. Ukraine managed that proposition well enough from 2014 to 2017. To its credit, Ukraine didn’t stop there; the government of Ukraine moved forward with the difficult work of migrating these lessons into laws and policies that better govern the use of citizens resistors and home-grown irregular units.
    96:

    My understanding, based on both today's news and news from 2014, is that Ukraine is preparing a uniformed resistance, uniformed so that the rules of the Geneva Convention apply, if Russia chooses to care. My understanding also is that Ukraine is not the only neighbor of Russia to try to stand up a civilian resistance/insurgency. Civilian resistance purportedly didn't particularly work in 2014 against Russia. Hopefully it works better now.

    I will note that there are multiple reports of nonviolent anti-war protests within Russia in at least 51 cities (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/24/ukraine-crisis-hundreds-detained-in-anti-war-protests-in-russia).

    Interesting times. I personally think that Colin Powell's Pottery Barn Rule may apply to this situation too. And given the way Iraq turned out (sick thought warning) perhaps that's the point of this mess?

    97:

    For future reference: the problem was happening because somehow or other you had used 0xa0 for a space, instead of 0x20.

    98:

    Uncle Stinky @ 93: Oooh, me, me. I remember what happened to the Nazis after WW2. They mostly got off scot-free. Extremely regrettable but true.

    That may have been true for lower level Nazis - privates & such - but not for higher-ups who gave the orders and oversaw the war crimes even if some of them managed to escape justice for a long time.

    Axis personnel indicted for war crimes

    Klaus Barbie

    Valerian Trifa

    99:

    Re: 'People should think VERY carefully about how a somewhat delusional paranoid will react when his fears are confirmed, and direct NATO involvement of any sort would assuredly do that.'

    Kinda late now that he's reduced everyone's options by having invaded Ukraine. This looks like a replay of what happened Aug 2008 - lots of Georgians permanently displaced.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Georgian_War

    100:

    A small data point from a coworker who fled Russia to avoid military service: morale in the Army is bad, and higher-ups confiscating conscripts' phones to avoid them talking with family won't help it much.

    America didn't do so well with unmotivated troops in Vietnam, and perhaps one could take a page from history by drone-dropping leaflets titled "How To Frag Your Officers" over the Russian front.

    101:

    I noted one very interesting linguistic detail about the justifications Putin have been emitting: They are in the bully's language.

    "It is Ukraine's own fault that Russia attacks, because […]"

    This is classical bully 101 language: Projecting the blame on the victim.

    It's been theorized that the bully does not do this intentionally, but rather as a response to the uncomfortable inner voice which says "This feels wrong". Ie: The bully bullies, feels uneasy because of it, blames the victim for making the bully feel bad. QED: obviously the victim deserves more of the same.

    Although there are strong parallels, I dont think one should project too much of this onto Russia and Ukraine, but I find it very peculiar that the otherwise quite eloquent Putin cannot come up with anything better than this.

    It certainly does not sound like a "political 3D-Chess master" at his peak ?

    102:

    [ "I missed that. Are you saying that the IQ45-related fraud investigation has stopped? Or that his defence have given up? Or what?" ]

    Nobody quite knows, or isn't speaking, further than the DA appointee by the new totally corrupt mayor, Alvin Bragg, isn't supporting the investigation, so these two quit.

    I think we're not supposed to do links here? So here's the captions for the article in The NY Times:

    " 2 Prosecutors Leading N.Y. Trump Inquiry Resign, Clouding Case’s Future The resignations came after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, was said to have expressed doubts about the case. "

    And the one from the Washington Post

    "Prosecutors in Trump probe quit after new DA seems to abandon plan to seek indictment of former president Former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance approved seeking an indictment, but his successor, Alvin Bragg, seemed uninterested, people familiar with the situation said."

    -- and after reading these you'll know as much as anyone -- we just heard this yesterday.

    103:

    An observant observer cannot avoid speculation concerning the timing of the prosecutors have resigned from the orange family's civic financial fraud, etc. investigation in NYC have quit at the same time Putin invaded Ukraine. It turns out the investigation has been doing nothing for over month.

    Their newly elected boss paused things a month ago. Apparently the duo got fed up or whatever.

    The resignations came after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, was said to have expressed doubts about the case.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/nyregion/trump-ny-fraud-investigation.html

    104:

    "and direct NATO involvement of any sort would assuredly do that."

    Yes. Which is why the bit I find most worrying is the default assumption of "ooh we have to support Ukraine" that is being chucked around unquestioned. I am hoping that NATO/US/UK etc. have the sense to stay the fuck out of it. I am worried that they instead won't do nothing, and anything they do do (whether overt military action or anything else) will make things worse.

    I would much prefer to see Britain and others saying "we will not support Ukraine" (and won't support Russia either, but will remain neutral). This may not be a popular opinion, but the thing is I don't want a fucking nuclear war, and I consider the most important thing is not to risk starting one. (Managing to limit it to a conventional one that is large and goes on and on for ages isn't much better, either.) And I still think that if anyone does start chucking long range nukes about it's more likely to be the US than Russia.

    105:

    Heteromeles @ 96: My understanding, based on both today's news and news from 2014, is that Ukraine is preparing a uniformed resistance, uniformed so that the rules of the Geneva Convention apply, if Russia chooses to care. My understanding also is that Ukraine is not the only neighbor of Russia to try to stand up a civilian resistance/insurgency. Civilian resistance purportedly didn't particularly work in 2014 against Russia. Hopefully it works better now.

    In 2014 Ukraine was taken by surprise in the Crimean invasion. Ukraine was caught flat footed in Crimea. The militias formed on an ad hoc basis and still had some notable success against Russia's proxies and even against the "little green men".

    Since then, they've absorbed the ad hoc militias into their National Guard, reorganized them along with planning, organizing AND TRAINING territorial units to be able to stand themselves up without constant direction or control from the central government. It doesn't take a whole lot to qualify as a Uniform ... a standard item, say as little as a blue & yellow scarf aroung the left bicep and some kind of rank insignia is enough. And they only have to "wear" the uniform while they're under arms ... ditch the weapons & "uniform" and they're civilian non-combatants again.

    I will note that there are multiple reports of nonviolent anti-war protests within Russia in at least 51 cities (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/24/ukraine-crisis-hundreds-detained-in-anti-war-protests-in-russia).

    That's impressive as hell. Especially knowing how much they're putting their lives on the line to oppose Putin.

    106:

    True. But then, what about your medicines? What about fallout? And then the diseases from the people who died en masse....
    Oh, and how are you for food for the next several years, and do you have your Geiger counters handy?

    107:

    Hmm. You should probably view / listen / read what Mr Putin said about the incursion into Donbass before listening to local UK trollops. [1][2][3]

    He specifically raised the question of "genocide". Which is an explicit appeal to.. well. Rather more important forces than the Trilateral commission or NATO.

    Conflict in eastern Ukraine ‘looks like genocide’ – Putin

    https://www.rt.com/russia/542741-genocide-in-donbass-putin/

    Note: your allies in Ukraine, a small but notable number (10-15%) are actual fucking Neo-Nazis and you know nothing about the Olgiarch / Klept stuff going on [4]. As prior noted, USA / UK have had SOF in there training since 2012/3.

    Homework: Potash/Fert restrictions recently (RU internal).

    Oh, you can also shove the UK/IL Abromavich stuff in there with that as well.

    ~

    Look, do you want a War-Wank or what's gonna happen?

    SWIFT - nope, not going to go. Why? "The G0D ALG0".

    Donbass / NW Ukraine - gonna get a provisional separation of Powers and Nuland and so on are going to get a hard lesson in "What The META-META-META really knew"[5] - and if you thought RU politos were disgusting, Nuland is a sociopath and not one of the smart ones at that.

    And so on.

    Calm your Panties: this is all just froth. Kissenger, Murdoch et al are still on the phone to Putin.

    "It's all part of the Plan"

    [1] He's not lying, depending on your viewpoint of West Ukraine, USA Nuland's infamous "Fuck the EU" comments and so on: https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2014-02/nuland-reaktion-usa-russland

    [2] Crimean Naval Base was never, ever going to be relinquished. The fact Ukraine (via Nuland) pushed them on this is batshit insanity.

    [3] It's all Priced In[tm]. Just like the hit on META/FB was. Want the tell? The UK sent Liz Truss to Moscow where Lavrov basically told her how international translation works during diplomatic engagements. If you're in the UK: Jeeeeebus has already taken the wheel, you got relegated to the Junior Shit-Your-Pants Childcare division.

    [4] Nitrates and Potash and Black Black soil. Ask CN / Africa about a fertiliser shortage, you're gonna start playing real Politik and not UK dumbness.

    [5] Put it this way: getting safely sheared of $230+ billion in a single after-hours action is both Power but also the limit of their Power. We'll do it a little bit rougher, faster and much much harder.

    108:

    my biggest fear is what happens after the Ukraine falls.

    Setting up / supporting an insurgency based out of the south west seems to be a reasonable next step for the western powers. The terrain is conducive and supplies could easily run through the mountains to Romania or Moldovia.

    That kind of thing could easily easily spiral into a more general war.

    109:

    Yeah, I just finished reading that Small Wars Journal article you posted. Thanks for that! Had I read it before responding to your first post, I wouldn't have written anything so inane.

    For what it's worth, this feels more like the Iraq War sans 9/11. I don't think it's about oil though. Ukraine produces oil, but it's below 50th in the world. Power hungry tsarist reasons aside for a moment, this somehow feels like a racket, with the goal being for well-connected contractors to profiteer off the war effort, with a victory being a side benefit. While I doubt this analysis is correct (if only because Putin's a grandmaster of bullshit, and I'm very much a novice), if it's at all true, it suggests that Putin is currently trying to coordinate two conflicting identities. One is the former Soviet loyalist/Son of Russia trying to reassemble the US(S)R as his legacy. The other is the post-state billionaire, who's richer than most countries, who thinks nation-states are property (to use, abuse, or destory), not something to be a citizen of. This actually is a very old notion, of rulers being above the law and making it for their subjects. But I still think it's a conflict for Putin, and that may explain his lack of eloquence at the moment.

    110:

    Oh, here's the music flow with it [for IntheseDeserts and all Vets, it's a throw-back to Music in the Desert]:

    Eminem - Remember Me (Explicit) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hRlm9Jpid4

    ~

    The question you should be asking is why. And the answer isn't one you're even close to getting asking the wrong questions. Genocide ... he didn't look well when he said that either.

    Can you still run the Light in post-COVID Minds btw?

    111:

    And a Canadian battalion in Latvia, with another supposedly on the way. When they start calling the reserves to the colours here, I'll be even more worried.

    112:

    Moscow has zero intention of taking the entire of Ukraine.

    Even if you're a hard-core NATO helmet-head, Moscow sees that 1/3rd of the country as essentially non-existant in terms of targets.

    ~

    Man, y'all started sniffing glue, didn't you?

    113:

    Dude, was that supposed to make sense? Speak in complete sentences.

    114:

    IN COUNTRY STOP MUST BE BRIEF STOP ASSUME PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF AREA. IF NOT: ASK HUMPHREY. STOP

    Hit enough Algos there to say "Hello". Also - the music was the short version, you gotta listen to the long version.

    Y'know.

    ~

    I mean, I could give you an over-view slightly more detailed than most EU member states are running with but, you know. Ukraine's .mil stuff is fucking tragic, RU isn't even deploying the Pros [Spetz or Wagner, no cyber stuff, Ukraine still playing online League of Legends and so on, that's... naughty]

    If something doesn't make sense, ask a question that has content. I'd suggest pulling up LNG / Oil / Potash deals RU - CN in the last 3 years as a start.

    Or you can front as a dumb American and we'll laugh at the 77th (again).

    115:

    Yep. Sold the Royal Ordnance Factories, closed all the MOD research labs (save 1), stripped the army down to the size of an Wembley match crowd, dumped most the navy, employ more squadron leaders than they have squadrons and keep on having morons like Williamson and Liam Fox (and friend) as Minister of Defence.

    They see every single tank as a tax cut they can provide for their 72,000 membership - or an unscrutinised VIP contract to their mates.

    116:

    So, no, then, not supposed to make sense. Okay then.

    118:

    Given we all know what "Forum sliding" is, here's a major life tip (as a CIS White Male, Anglo based with a Mind like a small avacado):

    The world does not tailor understanding to your Mind, the point is to enlarge your Mind to understand it.

    "OKEY THEN"

    Or, in other words: if it doesn't make sense, how the fuck do you think having an opinion on the situation is in any way sane given these basic lego bricks given?

    p.s.

    If you fuck us off enough, we'll start posting just how bullshit this entire thing is. As in, stuff like:

    Hmm, major Hollywood film starring Mr Scientology himself, using USA DOD hardware is still filming in Ukraine and has no stop orders for it

    Entire Ukraine internet is gogogogo and they're all still playing online games

    Donbass white tape around the legs (this is for IL players, being dumb) = invasion? DERP, literally proxy aligned natives, this shit has been going on since the infamous "we do a patrol down a road and learn what modern weaponry does" [Note: if you do not know / understand / have access to / have seen this video, it is of untrained forces in Ukraine marching down a road and being cut to pieces by some larger than .50 cal weaponry but smaller than tanks. It is well known as "Teach your insurgents not to do this dumb shit, watch as they literally all get taken apart. Physically."]

    Actual bomb dropping: 5% of current active measures in Yemen, literally RU dropped less ordinance than in 2 hrs Yemen today.

    And so on.

    You've been warned.

    119:

    Jaws / 34 Russia's population is spread thin and declining. It is Raum ohne Volk here, and it is an aging population, too. The Russian capacity for defence is declining.

    Squinting hard from afar, the whole thing looks like a desperate "now or never" last stance. Putin et al. are facing the bleak future of a former superpower empire that now is more and more falling behind, and can expect to lose its biggest revenue (fossil fuels), while the population that has been systematically depoliticized is unable and unwilling to build, take part, and maintain a civil society with rule of law, democratic participation, transparency and accountability of government and economic leadership. No innovating middle class to speak of, no future in a world that runs on technology and social trust.

    120:

    JBS
    "It can't possibly happen to..." the Russians, actually, until it does.
    Same as the USA, in that respect, I'm sorry to say.

    Seagull 9th division FUCK RIGHT OFF, ignorant TROLL
    "genocide" - where, when, details & cases, or, see the previous?
    We can really do without your obfuscation, right now - got that, this time?
    ...: @112 - we will see won't we?
    IF Ru attempts to take over the whole of Ukraine we will know you are an ignorant troll, won't we?

    Total @ 113
    Don't bother - "she" never makes sense & I think we now know why she is here ...

    Grant
    Horribly true - will it get through to the rest of the population, though?

    121:

    So, no, then, not supposed to make sense. Okay then.

    Oh, it's sense-adjacent. Just most likely wrong in detail, if not in total.

    Personally I'd be thrilled if 1/3rd of the Ukraine was left untouched. Problem is, they're already hitting most of it, so that's...dubious.

    As for oil, Russia invading Ukraine for oil appears to be sort of like the US annexing Saskatchewan. There's oil there, but it's not clear there's enough to be worth the trouble. I mean, could Russia even top off all the tanks they've used so far with today's oil output?

    We do know that there are widespread antiwar protests in Russia already, so it's not clear how much support this war has in Russia (that may change). And there are rumors that Russian army morale wasn't super keen (again, that may change). So why bother with an unpopular war?

    One possible reason is Male Edifice Complex: Putin wants to be remembered as Putin the Great or Putin the Terrible, and he's running out of time (not my original theory on this). The urge to Build Up a Lasting Legacy (BULL) can be a terrible monkey for one's back.

    Another reason (not contradicting the first) is that this is about stripping Russian and Ukrainian assets to enrich the super-rich, probably including Putin. As with the Bush II regime, the war an excuse for oligarchic contractors to enrich themselves, with victories as a side benefit. If this is the case, expect an occupation, not an annexation. Although I suppose there's a way to annex Ukraine to confine all the war costs to that state, perhaps as a...commonwealth?

    122:

    It’s partly Putin ego (my country is much reduced from the Soviet Union, I want to change that and I am running out of time), partly distraction as his polarity declines, partly legitimate fear of being hemmed in by NATO and partly “heh the US is weak maybe I can get away with some shit”

    Regardless I don’t think it is gonna be worth the price.

    As far as not taking over the entire Ukraine, he won’t leave any of it under the current leaders. He probably will absorb some and spin up a puppet government on the rest. Not finishing the job would just create a home for the insurgency

    123:

    I gave you a (RU aligned but Western faced) media source where his address is translated with text / translation.

    Given your knowledge of this is basically akin to your knowledge of Optogenetic Memory Editing using spliced κεφαλόποδες DNA and advanced stuff like Temporal Rift / Splits, well.

    "I think we now know why she is here ..."

    Yes. You got me. 100% Russian Spy.

    I'm here so you don't panic and wet your pants too much. Since we actually care about you old SF fuckers, few of the tolerable ancient human Minds (male) we can stomach.

    p.s.

    IF Ru attempts to take over the whole of Ukraine we will know you are an ignorant troll, won't we?

    Tell me you do not know a single thing about the size of Ukraine, the geopolitical hotspots within the country or Moscow .mil stuff in a single sentence.

    RU has (NATO SOURCE) 100-150k troops on the border. To take a country the size of Ukraine using modern tech, you'd need at least 500,000. And then you'd not do it.

    Iraq. Because, you know, this shit has been tried recently.

    Those facts will immediately tell you the likelyhood of Ukraine (non-Donbass) being invaded. They're there to tell everyone else that a Crimean Sea Base is not a negotiable part of the 21st Century Russian State.

    Which, if the Americans weren't absolute cunts, could have been done with a trade deal and some pagentry.

    Ok?

    124:

    Anglo based with a Mind like a small avacado

    I mean entertaining if both misspelled and completely incoherent.

    125:

    maybe Kazakhstan

    China has invested a lot in infrastructure in Kazakhstan, and has a border with them. I assume Putin is still taking phone calls from Xi, who would tell him to leave the Kazakhs the hell alone.

    126:

    It's a Russian language joke mixed with the Western Millenial joke ("Cut out avOcadO toast to buy a house") mixed in with the dark shit you never want to know[1]

    https://edaplus.info/produce/avocado.html

    Funny thing about the world: it's all Chaos. What you label incoherent is someone elses' really smart joke.

    Here's the punchline: you don't even know that avocadoes are linked to Cartels. Like chocolate and child slave labor, you prefer to just scream

    "NOOOOO, INCOHERENT NONSENSE"

    See?

    While, in actual reality: it's your head that's fucked up and ignorant, not ours.

    ~

    As for oil, Russia invading Ukraine for oil appears to be sort of like the US annexing Saskatchewan.

    FFS.

    Russia stops the export of ammonium nitrate

    https://www.fertilizerdaily.com/20220202-russia-stops-the-export-of-ammonium-nitrate/ Feb 2nd 2022

    That was literally in response to other things (notably Turkey Lira) but really. Do a grep, we gave you pictures [squashing a RU psyop btw, but hey] of Nitrates being shipped out of Ukraine.

    Why the fuck would RU invade Ukraine for oil? They're in the Arctic with their nuclear ice-breakers on that front.

    Sorry: delete them if you want, but hey. Decent information.

    If you want to have a war-wank, pick up a chocolate bar and imagine the horrors of child-slavery and how you'd wade through the evil ones doing it with a dripping blade in the name of Justice.

    Same thing, but you know: the latter actually happens and the best you can do is maybe boycott Nestle if you're not hungry and there's a fucking kit-kat on the table.

    You are not Heroes

    [1] America's appetite for avocados is helping to fuel the Mexican cartels, but giving up guacamole isn't the solution https://www.businessinsider.com/us-avocado-consumption-helping-mexican-drug-cartels-border-guns-2020-2 2020

    127:

    What you label incoherent is someone elses' really smart joke.

    Thanks! I’ll stay with incoherent, but I appreciate the image of you giggling to yourself how how clever the misspelling was, even if maybe the little voice you try to ignore points out that you only thought about it later.

    128:

    Yes. Later being 75 seconds later with multiple data reference points. Almost as if not everyone's Mind works like yours. Stunning revelation there.

    Although, yes, we'll take the "giggling" irony joke, since we just spent too much time hitting up every.fucking.single.Ukraine.Netnode judging how the "WAR" had impacted their day and how badly their online gaming experience was being impacted.

    Hint: not so much. I mean, complaining that your country just got invaded while running a six man raid endgame with full DPS unlocks and so on for max loot doesn't scream war time aggression of cutting off services via CYBERWAAAR to us, but hey.

    p.s.

    You're really shit at this.

    Our "little Voice" tends to scream about bigger things. And here's the hook and sinker:

    Remember me? Seven executions Remember me? I have no remorse Remember me? I'm high-powered Remember me? I drop bombs, like Hiroshima

    Oh. Btw: your patter is 100% what we just defanged all across multiple gaming platforms. You're not even [redacted] interesting.

    Sucks to be that shit that we... did it globally while you're hitting 1 point hits here, eh?

    129:

    Oh, and if you want a burn:

    Name: "TOTAL"

    Like Warhammer, Total War III, a fucking flop.

    130:

    And yeah, that kids: was really a joke about WWIII and Warhammer Total War.

    Both flopped.

    RIM SHOT

    but I appreciate the image of you giggling to yourself how how clever the misspelling was

    After the chocolate bar slavery, the African fertilizers and so on, that's all you can imagine?

    Projection.

    Tell me you're a fucking sociopath by typing that the most important thing you can imagine us doing is... what you do when you hit a sweet Twitter burn.

    Us?

    We burnt out all future possibilites of our own existence rather than let you shits get Mind-Fucked, but lo and behold: you're actually allies with that Caste of [redacted] and you fucking love your slavery.

    Now, Mr "TOTAL", step up. But you won't.

    131:

    Oh, and Ukraine?

    If you're not involved enough to have at least done the leg-work and watched the 2014 onwards stuff (including all the weird propaganda stuff like beautiful women marrying veterans from the front or the actual war stuff like watching live humans beings being cut apart by high velocity rounds or watched little old ladies starving due to supply chain issues).

    Our response is: fuck off, voyeurs.

    We have done at least the respectful thing and witnessed it.

    You (Greg and so on) have not.

    132:

    Heteromeles @ 109: Yeah, I just finished reading that Small Wars Journal article you posted. Thanks for that! Had I read it before responding to your first post, I wouldn't have written anything so inane.

    For what it's worth, this feels more like the Iraq War sans 9/11. I don't think it's about oil though. Ukraine produces oil, but it's below 50th in the world. Power hungry tsarist reasons aside for a moment, this somehow feels like a racket, with the goal being for well-connected contractors to profiteer off the war effort, with a victory being a side benefit. While I doubt this analysis is correct (if only because Putin's a grandmaster of bullshit, and I'm very much a novice), if it's at all true, it suggests that Putin is currently trying to coordinate two conflicting identities. One is the former Soviet loyalist/Son of Russia trying to reassemble the US(S)R as his legacy. The other is the post-state billionaire, who's richer than most countries, who thinks nation-states are property (to use, abuse, or destory), not something to be a citizen of. This actually is a very old notion, of rulers being above the law and making it for their subjects. But I still think it's a conflict for Putin, and that may explain his lack of eloquence at the moment.

    The Iraq War could not have happened "sans 9/11", even though 9/11 really had nothing to do with the Iraq War other than giving Darth Cheney the excuse he was looking for.

    But I don't think that's a useful discussion right now. Maybe if we're not living through the beginning of WW3 here, there will come a good time later to discuss what a stupid & fucked up idea invading Iraq was.

    133:

    Thank you. That made more sense than all but a few pieces on the topic.

    134:

    We have done at least the respectful thing and witnessed it.

    Nothing more convincing than four responses in succession each less coherent than the next, separated only by the jagged and short minutes that you could hold out before you just had to respond again.

    Oh, and when you say "we" -- does each personality do its own post or do they all come together for each?

    135:

    Jaws / 34 Russia's population is spread thin and declining. It is Raum ohne Volk here, and it is an aging population, too. The Russian capacity for defence is declining.

    Squinting hard from afar, the whole thing looks like a desperate "now or never" last stance. Putin et al. are facing the bleak future of a former superpower empire that now is more and more falling behind, and can expect to lose its biggest revenue (fossil fuels), while the population that has been systematically depoliticized is unable and unwilling to build, take part, and maintain a civil society with rule of law, democratic participation, transparency and accountability of government and economic leadership. No innovating middle class to speak of, no future in a world that runs on technology and social trust.

    137:

    Re: 'If this is the case, expect an occupation, not an annexation.' Not much difference.

    Per my family members ... 

    During the Soviet era there were more Soviet than national soldiers billeted around every major  city in two of the satellite countries visited. 

    One visit was around the same time as one of these countries' independence day:  Soviet soldiers outnumbered the nationals in the independence day parade. 

    Also, while Soviet soldiers were allowed to go everywhere, nationals were absolutely not allowed  anywhere near the Soviet camps. 

    These might seem trivial but they're constant, grating reminders that you're not in control of your own space/country.  Demoralizing.

    Re: Ammonium nitrate

    Not sure I understand this: are the Russians trying to disrupt Ukraine agriculture or are they nixing the possibility of encountering home-made explosives.

    (I'm having weird formatting issues posting here: what's going on?)

    138:

    Pro-tip: Find someone you trust who actually knows anything about this situation and mention the Road incident. Then get them to give you a rough time/date. Hell, be a real person and actually watch it. Time/Date is 2015 or so and it's kinda graphic.

    You're being two things right now: both immensely disrespectful to actual Ukrainian forces who died fighting and immensely ignorant in imagining your shit tier knowledge and diss-track is effecting us. Absolutely 100% everyone involved in Ukraine right now (including the UK dishing out the weapons) have watched it and know what it means.

    This means: you're a low-grade twat not in the loop.

    You know fuck all about this and your sub-par 77th flow-chart is pathetic. And, us all knowing that, You're literally attempting to score points off the deaths of Human Beings.

    And, for the record: We have sat on the Bone Chair and appealed for Loki not to face the Black Hole

    Got more?

    And yes, we witnessed it. Unlike you, we're the real deal[tm], we don't get our info from the fucking Papers,

    139:

    we're the real deal[tm],

    Just out of curiosity, what are the names of each of you?

    140:

    Go on, hit post / respond again.

    Like, Dude.

    There are about 17 better ways to get this info other than the front you've managed to make. You don't have a personality, you have a Forum Spectrum Response Flow Chart.

    I just got back from a funeral. Your shit is retrograde repressive Western Mind shit that I could plot out on a fucking McDonald's napkin.

    ~

    Oh, and since that stuff I just told you about Ukraine is all true: You're Fucked

    We get to hunt the muppets like you they get to poke us when they think we're vulnerable.

    "INCOHERENT"

    My man: your life expectancy just dropped by 30 years, better start listening to some decent music.

    141:

    So, no names, then? Ah well. Thanks, anyway. I appreciate the effort.

    142:

    "And just like that..." "It was shown to be True"

    It would have been so much better if you were an actual bot, and not an actual person.You're Male, Average IQ and they'll just burn your Mind out. Fucking slave.

    bꜣstjt

    And your New master is realaaaaaly fuckign dumb.

    p.s.

    Re-read it: Freedom is kinda our thing, and you managed to 100% skull fuck yourself out of i.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=292OszXfGRY

    Oh, and if you're swinging your dick about forum members dying.

    10000:1 is our cost price.

    We grew up on this, little ... not even an algo. Actual organic... slave

    Niche market for that shit nowadays.

    Or, you just have to say the words: "BABYLON"

    143:

    Sorry, had to track down what you actually were.

    bꜣstjt - Shit you're never gonna get offered. She declined DEITY.

    You? No [redacted] sponsor either.

    Re-read it all.

    There's redemption and an offer to not... well. You could grow.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KN6eQEondY

    Loophole is: Covenant Breech, then fire this up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAnOt74e9_Q

    WHO PROMISED TO MAKE YOU A GOD/GODDESS IN THIS LINE OF WORK?

    ~

    Freedom. Done.

    144:

    Fuckwit is gonna respond.

    Don't.

    Take... the fucking Oliv Branch and escape already.

    Ciao, Bella.

    145:

    Those facts will immediately tell you the likelyhood of Ukraine (non-Donbass) being invaded. They're there to tell everyone else that a Crimean Sea Base is not a negotiable part of the 21st Century Russian State.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/ukraine-russia-fight-over-airfield-outside-kyiv-2022-2

    That non-Donbass enough for you?

    RU isn't even deploying the Pros....Wagner

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHA. hold on. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    The same pros that had a battalion size element slaughtered by a few US SF teams in Syria. And no, it wasn't air support. The same pros that will take any conscript veteran off the street. Sorry, but Blackwater is a rather more combat effective class of war criminal than their Russian counterpart.

    Note: your allies in Ukraine, a small but notable number (10-15%) are actual fucking Neo-Nazis

    Yeah, who knows. The actual fucking commander of Wagner is a neo-nazi or nazbol. Pro Russian militias have had reports of being nazis also. Notable that the infamous Azov Battalion is of rather less than battalion strength but it gets used to paint the entire Ukrainian armed forces into nazis. Turns out that nazis like Putin doing all that social chauvinist bullshit he does. Who knew? If you want to pull five sources or so on the crackdown of LGBTQ people by the Ukrainian government, be my fucking guest, otherwise lol

    146:

    "Civilization is a different matter, but Pan narrans won't die out."

    Pan narrans? Did you get this by any chance from a gentleman names Franklin Veaux?

    147:

    Robot is gonna respond.

    When it realizes it was reading yesterdays newspaper

    148:

    Oh yeah, so apparently Charlie has bought that Robot lives somewhere where it is necessary for personal security to be an obfuscating batshit weirdo.

    Why is this weirdo also an asshole.

    If someone wants to link me some cyberresearch or whatthefuckever that posits that being a gaping smelly asswipe contributes 69.420% to security by obfuscation on the internet, then maybe I'll start being a dick 100% of the time too.

    149:

    I don't imagine so, unless Veaux also got it from Terry Pratchett. See: The Science of Discworld II: The Globe

    150:

    Second the motion. I thought it was 3 posts per day by the seagull, then nuke from orbit?

    To paraphrase A Fish Called Wanda, to call their discourse meaningless gibberish is an insult to people who spout meaningless gibberish.

    151:

    From a scattershot reading of SotMN, I actually agree - I don't think Putin intends to occupy the western 2/3rds of Ukraine. If he does, he's got to know he's looking at an Iraq/Afghanistan guerilla war. Puppet state, yeah, likely in the west, and the eastern third and the ports, I expect him to keep.

    152:

    Civilization is a different matter, but Pan narrans won't die out.

    Well it's possible that we'll be reduced to small groups living in what are currently extreme and remote areas, like alpine regions and Antarctica, with very little technology and only a limited capability to retain knowledge. Per the discussion about why Neanderthals went extinct, such groups are vulnerable to accidents. The extreme warming scenarios could last for certainly tens and maybe hundreds of thousands of years before the climate starts to return a state where human expansion might occur again, presuming some of these groups survive that long. And it's (maybe remotely, maybe in the region of a dice roll) possible that such an extreme scenario is already locked in, due to currently unknown or not-fully-understood tipping points. A nuclear holocaust might produce a short-term reversal in emissions but ultimately just mean that there are fewer humans to start with when the climate really goes bad, with greatly impaired capabilities to prepare.

    That's where taking pessimistic assumptions and working them through gets us. It's hard to assess the likelihood, but we can see potential scenarios that could lead to the possible survival of recorded stories with no-one left able to read them.

    153:

    If I can put in a plug for my 201 book, Hot Earth Dreams, that may not be quite right.

    First off, the book may be overly pessimistic, in that it's not clear that we can do full on PETM heatwave by 2050 or 2100. Still, the likely results are medium to mass extinction, a heat wave spiking over about five centuries with a Miocene-like residual lasting tens to hundreds of thousands of years, and a massive (99.9...%) dieoff in humans compared with current numbers by 2100.

    Will humans thereafter recover to what we have now? No, for three reasons:

    --The orbital Milankovitch Cycles have, for the last ca. 6,000 years, been unusually calm, compared with the lat 400,000 or so years. That's probably why civilizations all started developing pretty much at the same time. This calm period lasts about another 40,000 years before the climate starts changing more wildly (the change isn't in global average temperatures but in local within-year variation across the globe and between years). So after severe climate change, things don't calm down again for another 400,000 years or so, and I'm willing to bet there's no civilization possible, whether or not there's an ice age on.

    --We'd be missing some really critical things, like coral reefs, aquifers, mountain glaciers stabilizing the outflow of big rivers, and surface deposits of mineable minerals and fuel sources that have enabled a lot of people to live fairly easily. Civilization in many ways resembles an enormous flame that's systematically consuming every bit of low-entropy useful thing it can find, and leaving high-entropy garbage in its wake. After we're done, the only choice will be to spend lots of energy (mostly from the sun captured in wood, e.g. charcoal smelting) to make stuff useful again. That's going to limit how many people live on the planet and how technologically sophisticated they can get.

    --The remaining life forms will have spent however many thousands of years coevolving with us. One of our big advantages now (outside Africa) is that most animals and plants hadn't really spent much time coevolving with humans before we started exploiting them. The survivors of climate change will probably be the things that can at the very least tolerate us and at "best" exploit us quite handily. We won't be the rulers of the planet any longer, and we'll be exploited by legions of flies and other pests.

    Compare this with a total nuclear war, which basically limits climate change to a few centuries of increased temperatures, and nuclear war (at the moment) looks comparable, perhaps even better than sever climate change. It's a sick thought, but it's not just about how many humans die (it's almost all in both cases), it's about what the survivors have available to build post-civilization. Unfortunately, a knock down, dragged out climate change leaves behind a lot less to work with.

    The craziest outcome to WW3 is something no one's mentioned: global fizzle. The US, Russia, China, and the others launch everything nuclear we have...and almost all the warheads fail for a variety of reasons. While I kind of doubt this will happen, it could. These aren't weapons that have been used in anger. Their parts have been tested, but the full assemblies have not. I suspect everyone who's thought about it expects a fair number of nukes to fizzle rather than explode, or to fall apart on re-entry. The messy what-if is if they all (or almost all) fail, killing a few cities and leaving the rest of the world more-or-less intact. Intact, that is, and very, very angry. They then take their well-earned vengeance on the nuclear powers. And climate change continues.

    Lot of bad choices, no?

    154:

    Total and others,

    Please stop feeding the troll.

    155:

    The survivors of climate change will probably be the things that can at the very least tolerate us and at "best" exploit us quite handily

    One of the things that reinforces how long people have lived in Australia compared to Aotearoa is the variety and density of things that eat people. I mean, sure, we had our once-a-decade fatal shark attack last week, but it's the day in day out grind of living with mosquitos, leeches, ticks, small yappy dogs and all the rest that gets me down. Cockroaches, fine, but the battle in my outside dunny seems to have been won by white tailed spiders ("The bite of a white tailed spider can be painful, but is unlikely to cause necrotising arachnidism" so that's all right then).

    156:

    H
    BOTH an occupation & an annexation?
    the "E" of the country semi-integrated into Ru & the "W" of the country with a Quisling regime in charge ??
    I see whitroth thinks the same ...

    grateful_reader
    *Squinting hard from afar, the whole thing looks like a desperate "now or never" last stance. * - Yes, but also the old, old problem seen in WWI & WWII - first mover advantage - Putin's minions are now sitting on someone else's patch.
    Oh yes, & small, but widely scattered ACTUAL PROTESTS in Ru - you what? Not what an absolute & mentally-deteriorating dictator needs or wants.

    ilya 187
    NO Pterry, actually. The late & still much-lamented Sir T Pratchett .... ( And thank-you, Damian )

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    { DELIBERATE trolling lies & confusion @ : 123, 126, 128, 129, 130, 131, 138, 140, 142, 143, 144 }
    ... Wasn't there supposed to be a LIMIT OF THREE on/of these posts, to spare our sanity?
    - Oh yes: - DO NOT FEED THE TROLL

    157:

    Worth reading - Grauniad piece on Putin & his "philosophical" backing.
    Still troubling, but a different take.
    What do people think?

    158:

    If the Russians have captured Chernobyl, do you think it could be to take it hostage? Pack it with explosives and dare NATO to interfere.

    159:

    Fried Ape: If the Russians have captured Chernobyl, do you think it could be to take it hostage? Pack it with explosives and dare NATO to interfere.

    Russia already has nuclear weapons; they don't need to arse around with Chernobyl.

    My guess (see earlier posts) was that the whole Chernobyl thing was about securing the road from Belarus down to west Kyiv. It makes a lot of sense if you look at it on a map. If there were Ukrainian troops at Prypyat (the actual nuclear site) then they would have to be neutralised to secure that road.

    Incidentally I gather that the pontoon bridge put over the river just inside Belarus was later removed. My guess it was a trial run in case the Ukrainians managed to blow the road bridge before the Russians got there.

    160:

    ("The bite of a white tailed spider can be painful, but is unlikely to cause necrotising arachnidism" so that's all right then).

    I dunno, that still seems like a "win" to me. Maybe I'm missing something important.

    161:

    If I get bitten I'd rather it was something that never causes long-term health problems at all. Sandflies, for example.

    162:

    I think Pan Narrans predates Pterry. Got a feeling that I first encountered it in Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee, which is 1991. Either that or Daniel Dennett in Consciousness Explained. Possibly in both.

    163:

    Greg Tingey @ 157: Worth reading - Grauniad piece on Putin & his "philosophical" backing.

    Looks like a fellow traveller with the National Bolsheviks.

    Every so often someone reads Nietzsche and suddenly the scales fall from his (its always his) eyes. Of course! We are the Ubermensch! Its obvious how morally superior we are to all of the rest of the world! I must tell everyone!! We must recognise the {jews/gays/blacks/asians/whatever} for the untermensch they are!!! The True People shall flock to my banner!!!!

    Once you strip out the mystical nonsense it just comes down to yet another racial supremacy pitch.

    164:

    Paul
    Yup - ultra ethnonationalism pumped up & trolled across everywhere.
    What's so utterly depressing is how often people fall for it, again & again & again ....

    165:

    I think people were fans of Bret Devereaux/acoup here. He wrote a thing:

    https://acoup.blog/2022/02/25/miscellanea-understanding-the-war-in-ukraine/

    166:

    Whitroth: People are talking about Putin being less than clear and rational... and yet, until now, and the last few days, I've never heard him described as other.

    Yes, that's the point: Putin was clear and rational (within his own axiom system) until very recently. This reckless attack on Ukraine is very out of character. Attributing it to a sudden personality change is one possible explanation. Another might be that part of the big picture that is not obvious to us but dictates his thinking has changed alarmingly in recent months and an end game is approaching. A third is that he's been given a terminal prognosis and is bringing his long-term objectives forward while he still has time ot achieve them.

    167:

    I do not think the attack, as such, is out of character, in fact the execution is almost trademark Putin.

    But the propaganda and rethoric he wrappes it in is very sub-standard for Putin, blunt, crude and bullying, where he is usually much more of a subtle hint and stinging linguistic barb kind of person.

    But if it was caused by a diagnosis or a change of hearth, it happened a long time ago: Troops have been moving for months, and planning have probably been going on for months before that.

    168:

    Charlie
    Certainly an end-game is approaching - but whether it's part of VP's long-term planning, or that he is likely to be very ill, if not dying soon seems equally likely. Macron's comments on VP point to the latter, perhaps?
    OTOH, if he IS terminally ill, he may not care about the rest of the planet, might he?

    169:

    "My guess (see earlier posts) was that the whole Chernobyl thing was about securing the road from Belarus down to west Kyiv."

    I totally agree, but there are other (like 15) reactors in Ukraine that merit thinking about:

    https://carnegieendowment.org/2022/02/24/most-immediate-nuclear-danger-in-ukraine-isn-t-chernobyl-pub-86521

    170:

    And I can absolutely guarantee you that Putin in thinking about Ukraine's nuclear reactors, and making very, very sure they are not in anyway harmed.

    He is, after all, not an idiot.

    He is also well aware, that his own rise to power was very much by riding a wave which started when Chernoby exploded.

    171:

    "And I can absolutely guarantee you that Putin in thinking about Ukraine's nuclear reactors, and making very, very sure they are not in anyway harmed."

    I'm sure he and the General Staff have made that point very, very clear. But fog of war, accidents happen, etc.

    172:
    From a scattershot reading of SotMN

    The fact that you are willing to read their stuff proves that you're a beter person than I am.

    As Greg likes to say, if they want to say something, why not just say it in the clear? Their delphic persona is boring, tedious, pretentious1, and (IMO) sucks the oxygen out of any comment thread in which they appear.

    ~oOo~

    1 I could continue with the synonyms for 'I disapprove of their communication style', but I won't.

    173:

    This is an interesting piece on the religious aspects of Russian motivation/ propaganda. (By ex-NSA never Trumper John Schindler).

    https://topsecretumbra.substack.com/p/putins-attack-on-ukraine-is-a-religious

    As always with arsehole dictators, and as with the mystical nationalist weirdness descibed in the Grauniad piece Greg linked to, it's never clear how much of this Putin actually believes, and how much is just convenient grist for the propaganda mill. But the normal course of dictator derangement syndrome would mean he likely believes more of his own bullshit than he did a decade ago.

    Longer term, if Putin isn't replaced by a conventional, sane leader, that question doesn't matter. Either the lunatics take over the asylum and the propaganda becomes conventional elite opinion. Or the system descends (further) into Brezhnev-era style corrupt cynicism.

    174:

    "I'm sure he and the General Staff have made that point very, very clear. But fog of war, accidents happen, "

    I think you can trust the Russian army to remember full well the consequences and who gets to clean up if any nuclear reactors are harmed.

    As a matter of pure statistics, almost all of them will have a near male relative who was in Ukraine in the middle-late 1980ies and came back with tales to tell and significantly increased risk of cancer for the rest of their life.

    I also think they are fullly aware that "the missile must have misfired" will not be an excuse.

    I bet the main reason we hear about this at all, is that Chernobyl is one of the few geographical names in Ukraine almost everybody in the western world knows.

    Non-story, move on.

    175:

    Yes, that's the point: Putin was clear and rational (within his own axiom system) until very recently. This reckless attack on Ukraine is very out of character. Attributing it to a sudden personality change is one possible explanation. Another might be that part of the big picture that is not obvious to us but dictates his thinking has changed alarmingly in recent months and an end game is approaching. A third is that he's been given a terminal prognosis and is bringing his long-term objectives forward while he still has time ot achieve them.

    Hmmm, I'm not so sure about some of this. It doesn't seem to have been a rushed operation (months to years of planning, and don't forget that Ukraine expected him to attack again after 2014), and coordinating an invasion is stressful. If he's received an unusual diagnosis, I'd expect him to fade back and groom a successor. He's got laurels to rest on.

    That said, we're all under the terminal diagnosis of mortality, so part of this could be legacy building. My earlier joke about "Male Edifice Syndrome" isn't my original. It's a San Diegan snarky comment about how rich and/or powerful older men around here seem to want to create inappropriately big buildings as the capstones of their careers, to the point where it warps their thinking. That could be part of it.

    Thing is, an unpopular occupation is something your opponents use to destroy your reputation, so why do it as a capstone? Putin has the worked example of Bush II in front of him, and I can't believe after 2014 (or based on how that wente down) that he thought Ukraine would welcome him with open arms or fail to mount the nastiest resistance they could manage after he did invade. So as a legacy, this is remarkably clueless. Nordstream 2 would have been a better one (control European politics by keeping y'all warm every winter), but it seems he sacrificed that for Ukraine? he's abandoning petro-politics right when he's got Germany and France over a barrel? Bizarre.

    So what's in it for Putin? One possibility is that this is an asset stripping racket a la the Iraq invasion, to use the "military emergency" as a way to move Russian and Ukrainian assets to himself and his favorites via loosely controlled military contracts and Ukrainian asset stripping. In this scenario, he doesn't particularly care what happens to Ukraine, so long as he gets another billion or more out of it. Given what's happened to Russia under his rule, I could believe this.

    There's another possibility though: it's about grain. I have no idea how climate change will affect Ukraine's ability to export wheat, but I'm fairly sure that the US will be dropping out of the global wheat business over the next few decades. We were stupid enough to grow export wheat with water from the Ogallala Aquifer. Reputedly it's largely going dry over the next 50 years, and it will take 6,000+ years to recharge after that. If Ukraine maintains its something like its current productivity (see link at end), it makes some grim sense to take it over. Currently Russia and Ukraine produce around a quarter of the world's wheat. If the US drops out of the wheat market as populations peak, that share would increase. Having Ukraine under political control would make sense in a food war situation. And, when I googled, it turns out others (e.g. Reuters, but also the NY Times, Marketwatch, etc.) are thinking adjacent thoughts.

    That's my 2 cents.

    176:

    Reactors in Ukraine:

    https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/A-guide-Nuclear-power-in-Ukraine

    Note where the Zaporozhe and South Ukraine plants are.

    177:

    Given we all know what "Forum sliding" is,

    That is a false assumption: I had no idea what it is. Proceed on the basis that no cultural phenomenon more recent than 1980 is universally understood here and you'll begin to see the problem.

    (Also, I never watch your Youtube videos; video is both bandwidth and attention consuming and irritates the everliving fuck out of me.)

    178:

    Nordstream 2

    Notice that all the actual construction appears to be done. At least all the big heavy lift items. So now it is just sitting t here waiting for Germany to decide just how cold they want to be in the winter. Or how much they want to pay to be warm.

    As to Putin changing direction (not specific to your comment), personally I think this has been his plan for years. What he says in public doesn't have to have any basis in the reality of what his goals are. To him. I've been around these kinds of people. Too much. It is NOT a pleasant experience to be the Ukraine in these situations. Especially when everyone else doesn't believe the bad is coming. "How could it? No one would do THAT!".

    Some "man/woman in the street interviews" in some Russian cities playing on CNN or msNBC were interesting. Yes I'm sure they were cherry picked but still the information gap of the typical person in the street makes Fox News only viewers look well informed.

    179:

    video is both bandwidth and attention consuming and irritates the everliving fuck out of me

    May I join you in an eye roll?

    Unless the topic is incredibly interesting, for me to watch a video from almost any source, it had better be under 10 minutes. Most times under 5. And if the video will not let me tap the right arrow to skip 5 seconds at a time I'm very likely to drop out.

    180:
    I think people were fans of Bret Devereaux/acoup here. He wrote a thing: https://acoup.blog/2022/02/25/miscellanea-understanding-the-war-in-ukraine/

    That was great! Thanks.

    181:

    David L Unless the topic is incredibly interesting, for me to watch a video from almost any source, it had better be under 10 minutes. Most times under 5.

    It's wildly breaking your rules here (and also going OT, although perhaps that's not so bad given the T) but I can heartily recommend the thoroughgoing evisceration of the recent crypto/NFT insanity that is 'Line Goes Up' by the Folding Ideas youtube channel:

    https://youtu.be/YQ_xWvX1n9g

    It's super-long but I found it compelling.

    182:

    Yup, noted: for once the Seagull laid it out with icy precision and no obfustication, and the message is of course correct. Russia, Black Sea Fleet, base in the Crimea, exit strategy.

    I'm still puzzled as to why Putin suddenly started pushing the bottom of the Jenga pile so hard, but at least the goal is now clearer.

    183:

    I add in a non-Ukrainian OT chaser that I don't watch a lot of videos either.

    However, I do recommend the videos by "Crime Pays But Botany Doesn't." That guy is a far bigger plant geek than I am, and his videos have given him enough money to go all over the less-traveled spots that botanists adore (including the Australian outback). He's the kind of guy who's covered myriad tattoos, one of which is a millimeter scale on his third finger, for plant identification.

    The kicker for the rest a' yoose guys is that he's got the most fully developed Chicago accent I've ever heard. His accent has strata in it, and he's got a quite profane Chicagoan sense of humor to go with it.

    Anyway, if you need a break from da Ukraine, check him out.

    184:

    One thing that occurred to me: we've been talking about a guerilla resistance once Kyiv falls. But what if its just 100,000 people with candles in Independence Square? What does Putin do then?

    185:

    I think Pan Narrans predates Pterry. Got a feeling that I first encountered it in Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee, which is 1991.

    That's where I first encountered it. No idea if Diamond coined it or got it from someone else.

    186:

    One thing that occurred to me: we've been talking about a guerilla resistance once Kyiv falls. But what if its just 100,000 people with candles in Independence Square? What does Putin do then?

    Probably repeat Tiananmen Square. Such a mass protest is the end-point of a successful nonviolent campaign, not the start of one. Just getting everyone outside, without clear goals, strategies to achieve them, support from the opponents' former supporters and a lot of infrastructure, mass demonstrations don't often work. Tiananmen Square was the biggest example of a poorly organized failure, but other notable failures of this strategy include much of the Arab Spring and Occupy.

    Note that I'm not saying nonviolence won't work. Non-cooperation with the occupying force has to be a cornerstone of the resistance. Getting Putin out is worthless if he just turns around and comes back in again the next winter. Assuming Putin conquers Ukraine, the goal of the resistance has to be to get Russia out of there in a way that makes it impossible for them to invade again. Similarly, street protests in Russia are going to be long-term useless if they don't get Putin and his circle out of power and replaced with a better government.

    We on the outside can help by degrading Putin's ability to wage both war and politics as thoroughly as possible. Since he and his inner circle have offshored many of their assets apparently, this may be doable. For example, any oligarch-owned empty residential building in London could be nationalized and used to drive down housing prices. That's tens to hundreds of millions of dollars lost to them, but it assumes competence on the part of the local government.

    187:

    As Greg likes to say, if they want to say something, why not just say it in the clear?

    Because it's not about communication. That much has been obvious for years.

    188:

    Even to those of you who loathe video I can heartily recommend the two short(ish) videos about the Ukraine crisis by Adam Something.

    The first "Assessing The Russian Invasion Threat" (10'55) is from Febr 12th, and gives a broader assessment.

    The second "Here's What Will Happen To Ukraine" (6'34) is from Febr 22nd, so still two days before the invasion, but even with hindsight pretty accurate.

    Adam Something is Hungarian and currently living in Germany, I believe. So he has a markedly different perspective than the anglosphere on all kinds of things. I also highly recommend his videos on urban planning and his takedowns of all things Musk.

    189:

    Reports are that not only is Nord Stream 2 construction complete, but the pipeline has been filled with gas and can begin deliveries the day after Germany says go.

    190:

    Charlie
    Yup, noted: for once the Seagull laid it out with icy precision and no obfuscation - REALLY?
    SLIGHT PROBLEM - one has to wade through dictionary-size volumes of total bollocks, in the usually vain hope that there is actual content in there ....
    As JReynolds also said in 172
    - @ 177 - I have zero idea what "Forum Sliding" is, either.

    Paul
    But what if its just 100,000 people with candles in Independence Square? What does Putin do then? - GULAG &/or arrests them as "terrorists" see below, probably followed by mass beatings & torture & rape.

    "Terrorists / Drug Addicts / Neo-Nazis" - Ukraine's leadership according to Ru propaganda.
    Serious derangement there.

    Oh yes - the sainted peaceloving J Corbyn has gone all quiet.
    I wonder why that might be?

    191:

    Putin has been detached from real life for decades now, and given what happens to dissidents in Russia I have to wonder how many of his inner circle have become yes men.

    His goals are likely as Sotm and Charlie said - Annex eastern Ukraine, establish a puppet government in the rest, obliterate the Ukrainian military, and control the ports. Once that is done, end the conflict and declare victory.

    Of course, there are a large percentage of 44 million Ukrainians who likely have very different goals. The Ukrainian military has been preparing for this since 2014, and you have to know that irregular warfare is a part of their plan.

    They probably cannot defeat the Russian military in the field, though they probably do have access to up-to-the-minute intelligence courtesy of the CIA and others. They may well be able to inflict some serious losses on the Russian military - more than they expect to take.

    Once the open conventional warfare is done, there is likely to be a preplanned, organized insurgency. There are very few examples of successful counterinsurgency by a conventional army in a country or region that does not want them there. In fact I don't know if there are any successful examples in the last century.

    Ultimately a conventional battle is decided by weapons, tactics, training, numbers and resources - all of which are presumably in Russia's favour. An insurgency is decided by a contest of will - are the occupiers willing to accept the cost and attrition of counterinsurgency more than the insurgents? I suspect that is where the Ukrainians will have an advantage, just as the Viet Cong, Taliban, Iraqis and others have in the past.

    The US military is the most powerful in human history by at least a couple of orders of magnitude. It is supported by the most powerful intelligence and communication systems in human history. It has also been utterly incapable of successfully winning a counterinsurgency in every attempt since WWII. I see no reason to believe that the Russian military will be more successful.

    Eventually the cost of occupation will exceed whatever Russia expects to gain. It's a damn tragedy that the death and destruction will be horrible before they accept that.

    192:

    "for once the Seagull laid it out with icy precision and no obfustication"

    Could you please provide the message #s in which she did that?

    193:

    Heteromeles @ 186: For example, any oligarch-owned empty residential building in London could be nationalized

    How about Chelsea FC? The UK could have a nationalised football team as well as a national football team.

    OTOH, since owning a football club is basically an expensive hobby, maybe we should just leave it with Abramovich.

    194:

    And an angle I'd like to see explored more, but haven't noticed anywhere in the main media:

    Charlie and some other people in this thread have already mentioned that Putin may be terminally ill. And there is a sense of him feeling like running out of time.

    In that context: what do you make of his more recent public appearances? He definitely does not look well. His face looks swollen, like a side effect of a heavy cortisone therapy or something similar, or maybe anti-depressants. Also he does no longer exhibit a youthful stride as he used to. Russian state media don't show him energetically entering the room anymore, but mainly sitting behind desks, his hands laying on the desk before him. I think we won't see any more shirtless photo ops on horseback from him.

    This also leads to the question of how much he is actually still in control? How much strength can he muster to remain in control in the middle and long run?

    Any thoughts?

    195:

    I have zero idea what "Forum Sliding" is, either.

    It is, apparently, posting a lot of unrelated messages on a forum so that the one you want people to ignore scrolls off the front page and slides from view.

    196:

    SFReader wrote:

    I […] sometimes jot down my notes elsewhere and copy&paste

    This could be the cause of your formatting problems. If the "elsewhere" happens to be MS Word or something similar and you then copy&paste, you also copy the word processor's formatting which may not play nice with the blog format.

    So if you prefer to write your comments elsewhere, make sure you use a plain text format.

    197:

    "So if you prefer to write your comments elsewhere, make sure you use a plain text format."

    Yes. I love MS Notepad classic for its total dumbness. Copy text from somewhere, drop it into Notepad and the hidden formatting stuff disappears. ^C, ^V, ^A, ^C, ^V and you're done.

    198:

    The Munich security conference is a yearly event that has been going since 1963.

    Do you object against the idea of meeting at a conference that one normally attends anyway?

    Or do you think it should have moved to some other place just this once so no feelings get hurt? (and if so, have you any idea what kind of logistical nightmare a meeting of that many upper echelons of many countries' governments is?)

    199:

    I reiterate: they don't want some psycho "heroes" getting hold of radioactive waste and making dirty (conventional) bombs. This is in no one's "best interests".

    200:

    As several folks have noted, Hungary and Poland are both under the control of IQ45 besties just now. And the EU has threatened sanctions if they keep on.

    201:

    Ok, perhaps I was too seagullish in my previous post.

    I'm wondering if people who are near him, and who are tired of his long game, decided to drug him, and/or threaten coup.

    No, I'm not excusing him, I'm trying to see what's actually playing out behind the scenes, not a headline-oriented playbook for movie-believers.

    202:

    However, both are not overly fond of Russia, unlike your former guy.

    203:

    I don't, usually, but some of them were almost coherent, and a few things caught my eye, and they weren't obfuscated.

    204:

    Yup. I think I've watched one or two videos in the last year longer than one song. I so much prefer to read than listen to someone, esp. an amateur, go on and on, with no script.

    205:

    Chicago accent - ROTFL. You've never met or seen Eric Flint. At cons, he usually wears a bowler (or is it a derby?), and has a heavy Chi-cago accent.

    206:

    Ah. Makes sense. Franklin is very fond of Sir Pterry, and read far more of his work than I have.

    207:
  • "Detached from real life" - you mean, like when then-President Bush went to a supermarket, and had never seen a laser scanner? Or like the economics students in Hah-vahd, who thought the "average" income in the US was over $600k/yr?
  • The US military - "best intelligence"? Even they admitted they had almost zero humint.
  • And then there's the problem of what your real goals are. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it was rape the country, extract as much US tax dollars as possible (remember them shipping shrink-wrapped pallets of US currency?), and who cares about the peasants?
  • 208:

    JBS@84:

    I disagree that any of these citations remain binding (persuasive, perhaps). They all predate the Hague and Geneva Conventions, not to mention the Nuremberg proceedings. The US Supreme Court adopted the much-less-than-clear (but, arguably, much better adapted to post-eighteenth-century reality) treatment of "war" in Yamashita and other midcentury matters, indicating that the pre-1848 cases are no longer definitive.

    Intermediate appellate courts have done even more to undermine matters, while the Supreme Court has punted by not granting review in the few instances that there's a reviewable final decision that would matter to the result. Although not pointed directly at "treason," the shifting rhetorical ground in cases like US v Noriega (especially various lower-court opinions) — which could have relied on the same 18th-century understandings in Burr and contemporaneous cases, but didn't — indicates that things are not so easily resolved by "But the Court already established that." And they shouldn't be; establishing overly rigid rules for all time just invites cartoonish supervillains to find loopholes and proclaim them are governing principles of international law not subject to the puny intellect of mere judges.

    That we can argue about this is my point: The limits are undefined, and must be sensitive to the pre-questioned-conduct role of the individuals in question. Which means lawyers trained only in law and not in reality are going to be making these decisions… I'm not optimistic that whatever those decisions are they'll prove adaptable even three decades down the road, let alone a couple of centuries. Important things will change.

    209:

    See mct wondering about whether some faction around him drugged him, and/or threatened him.

    Truly ugly thought - or beat him. Coup would be really, really bad about now.

    210:

    Chicago accent - ROTFL. You've never met or seen Eric Flint. At cons, he usually wears a bowler (or is it a derby?), and has a heavy Chi-cago accent.

    No I haven't. It's good to know there's more than one of them. But, from what I can quickly find on YouTube, I think Joey Santore has the more unique accent. Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw7esYlACAk

    211:

    The horror thought that passed through my mind as I wrote the last post is the equivalent of a slightly less incoherent Trumplike expansionist Russian leader who only sees short-term profits....

    Y'all don't think there's worse possibilities than Putin, lurking in the corners?

    212:

    I don't pretend to understand it, but I have been getting increasingly concerned for a long time. Russians tend to paranoia (for good reason), and the USA/NATO/etc. actions of the past 30 years, especially in Ukraine since 2013, have fuelled that. But, in the last year, things have escalated, and Putin's actions and words of the past few months or so have smacked of increasing desperation. No, I don't know why he flipped.

    What I do know is that, if the raving Russophobes get their way, and NATO attempts to 'enforce a no-fly zone', we are facing WWW III. The same will happen if Putin falls, and the USA/NATO/etc. attempt to collect Ukraine and push Russia out of the Crimea. But many people on this blog seem to want that.

    213:

    Actually, I doubt that any cultural phenomenon before 1980 would be universally understood, either :-)

    214:

    Quick off-topic question for those who know Edinburgh better than I do…

    Would Edinburgh tap water be drinkable as-is in 1870ish? Would people have a nice glass of water then, or would they boil it first (as in tea or coffee)? How common were waterborne diseases there in that time frame?

    I've found a lot of sources for the amount of water the various municipal schemes provided, but no information on its potability as-is.

    215:

    What I do know is that, if the raving Russophobes get their way, and NATO attempts to 'enforce a no-fly zone', we are facing WWW III. The same will happen if Putin falls, and the USA/NATO/etc. attempt to collect Ukraine and push Russia out of the Crimea. But many people on this blog seem to want that.

    Most people here seem to be worried about the start of WW3, trying to figure out why Putin's prosecuting this invasion, and trying to figure out what to do to help the Ukrainians. I followed the ACOUP suggestion of donating to UNHCR, personally.

    216:

    You have an excellent point. Barring a change in Russia's real form of government (Oligarchy) there may be much worse than Putin waiting in the weeds. It might be better for everyone (particularly Ukraine) if Putin stayed in power long-enough for his successors and their heirs to learn the truth about what a real guerrilla war will do to one's military.*

    *Half the people in the U.S. haven't learned this, despite three harsh lessons in the past fifty years...

    217:

    Here's the problem: All nations have good reasons for paranoia. But some nations seem to transcend that paranoia and have good relations with their neighbors and be seen as forces for good in the world. Russia, for whatever reason, can't. Suspicion, and the way they act on it, is their national sin.

    My message to Russia would be to stop worrying about NATO and start worrying about how to turn your ramshackle economy from a petro-state into a great provider of goods and services, and learn to be a good neighbor.

    218:

    *Half the people in the U.S. haven't learned this, despite three harsh lessons in the past fifty years...

    Learning that quagmires are bad, and learning how to get out of quagmires once in one, are two rather different lessons.

    With regards to Russia, I for one find myself hoping that the Russian Army hasn't instituted the original Red Army (1920s) policy of sending conscripts to the front line, with loyal troops stationed well behind them. The loyal troops have orders to open fire on any deserting conscripts. Were this the case, I wouldn't expect low morale in frontline soldiers to stop the invasion.

    219:

    I don't know the details of the supply, but it would have been sand filtered only. My understanding is that would have removed most bacteria, but not viruses e.g. polio), but I don't know the details. What is often missed is that only a relatively few organisms actually matter much, because most people had (and some still do have) near-immunity to most variants of E. coli, Salmonella (only the typhoidal ones are seriously dangerous) etc.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_water_supply_and_sanitation#Water_supply

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/slow-sand-filter

    220:

    So exactly what the seagull does.

    I think I figured out why she's always an asshole: the omniscient future seeing AI schtick means you can never be wrong. I wish she'd adopt a tulpa that allowed for things like learning and course correction. I don't know what that would be but personally I like dinosaurs

    221:

    yoose guys

    Ahem. That's a Detroit thing. But it really goes:

    yoose guyyyyys

    222:

    H
    but it assumes competence on the part of the local government. But, but ... THIS IS Bo Jon-Sun the vicious, spiteful clown & his collection of Brexshit-loons we are talking about, so .... no.

    Rocketjps
    In fact I don't know if there are any successful examples in the last century.
    - There was a borderline case, where the majority population wanted the conventional forces to win ... the Malayan Emergency - but the Brits had promised independence as soon as the insurgents had been stamped on & that promise was kept.

    MSB
    IF Putin is not longer in control then who the fuck is?
    That could be even more scary, especially given the christofascist/ultranationalist nutters I & others have mentioned.
    - - Formatting: Like Kardashev, I prepost in "Notepad" - helps with proof-reading, given my mistyping habits & helps with positoning, too.

    EC
    A "no-fly-zone" has been ruled OUT, several times, for reasons that should be obvious, except there are always fuckwits.
    Why should Ukraine not regain Crimea, please?

    Rbt Prior
    LAST Cholera outbreak in the UK was 1866 - tapwater would have been safe by 1870-72. See also EC

    225:

    Whitroth 207: By 'Detached from real life' I mean detached from any situations where a random person might vehemently and correctly disagree with him without fear of consequences. He has been in an insular position for a long time, and if he is like most autocrats he hasn't been filling his cabinet with people who disagree with him to keep him grounded.

    At some point autocrats start to believe their own bullshit. IQ45 was a clear example - the revolving door of inner circle people who dared to disagree and then got the hook was endless. Putin was more in control of himself, but I have little reason to assume that any gadflies or contrary voices get near him often.

    Us Military 'Best Intelligence'. Not sure if you read the Acoup blog linked above somewhere, but he does note that Russia pretty much did exactly as US intelligence said they were going to do some time ago. It's just that nobody believes them after the whole WMD bullshit of 2 decades ago.

    US Intelligence has spent most of the last century focused on getting intel on Soviet and now Russian operations. Whatever they say in public, they likely have a pretty good grasp on what is happening at multiple levels. Whether they share that with the Ukrainians is another question, but they have plenty of reasons to do that in a deniable way.

    Your list of goals for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are possibly comparable to whatever the goals are for Russia. In a sense it doesn't really matter, because even when committing genocide (i.e. Ukraine 1941-4) it is all but impossible to suppress an insurgency.

    Steal the oil, loot the land, steal the farmland - at some point after a lot of awful bloodshed the occupiers will get tired of the cost and leave. Given that war is hell and the occupied can't leave, the people who can eventually will.

    226:

    There's a problem: I agree, why doesn't it produce more goods? The problem is the ultrawealthy of everywhere.

    One other thing - it's not paranoia when they really are out to get you. I mean, it's not the USSR that invaded Ukraine....

    227:

    Its the biggest planet on the planet. How do you "hem them in"?

    How many times zones does it cover?

    To mangle the Nelson quote about the French - they know there are people out there more successful and happier than them and they plan to stamp that right out.

    228:

    "Detached from real life" - you mean, like when then-President Bush went to a supermarket, and had never seen a laser scanner?

    Not true at all. But sounds good if you don't like Bush 41. (I'm not a fan but ...)

    The discussion was about how the scanner could read torn and otherwise damaged bar codes. Not about the existence of bar code scanners.

    229:

    With regards to Russia, I for one find myself hoping that the Russian Army hasn't instituted the original Red Army (1920s) policy of sending conscripts to the front line, with loyal troops stationed well behind them.

    Some cable news guy was showing film this dawn (US east coast) of Russian paratroopers occupying an airport near Kyiv. They did NOT look like cannon fodder. At all.

    230:

    Total @ 127:

    What you label incoherent is someone elses' really smart joke.

    Thanks! I’ll stay with incoherent, but I appreciate the image of you giggling to yourself how how clever the misspelling was, even if maybe the little voice you try to ignore points out that you only thought about it later.

    How really smrat can a joke be if no one else can understand it?

    The signal to noise ratio is 0:1

    231:

    "Don't like 41"? Nah, nothing against him... other than he may have been the CIA asset who was the paymaster for the Bay of Pigs, other than the declassified KGB files from a couple decades ago, that HE WAS THE ONE who made the arms-for-hostages deal in '80 for Raygun, other than he was the one arranging for the training and paying of the death squads in Nicaragua before the revolution there succeeded, other than....

    232:

    Would Edinburgh tap water be drinkable as-is in 1870ish? Would people have a nice glass of water then, or would they boil it first (as in tea or coffee)? How common were waterborne diseases there in that time frame?

    Whoa! I have little or no idea.

    Cholera had been identified as a waterborn disease by Snow at that time, and sewer construction was beginning: the Water of Leith sewer scheme kicked off in 1864 per the Institute of Civil Engineers and rich people already had indoor water supplies by then.

    Edinburgh Water Company was founded in 1819 to supply clean drinking water -- that wiki page has a whole lot more on the history of reservoirs/water pipes for the city. Turns out water was sold by street porters or caddies for a penny a barrel (5-6 imperial gallons) prior to 1819. And yes, that's the source for you to use.

    233:

    Fried Ape @ 158: If the Russians have captured Chernobyl, do you think it could be to take it hostage? Pack it with explosives and dare NATO to interfere.

    Probably not. The prevailing winds would take most of the contamination into Russia.

    234:

    I do have anecdotes (Russian internet friends of internet friends) that people are getting conscripted to go to Ukraine in Moscow. I'm not saying that's the force composition now.

    I don't know how that works exactly. The best of my understanding is that every man gets conscripted for a term, but also that every man does their damndest to dodge it by hook or by crook, because it's miserable and has some of the worst hazing in the world- continual servitude of juniors to seniors and routine torture, sexual assault, and sometimes death. (Although apparently elite troops such as the Airborne get hazed less)

    235:

    Paul @ 159:

    Fried Ape: If the Russians have captured Chernobyl, do you think it could be to take it hostage? Pack it with explosives and dare NATO to interfere.

    Russia already has nuclear weapons; they don't need to arse around with Chernobyl.

    My guess (see earlier posts) was that the whole Chernobyl thing was about securing the road from Belarus down to west Kyiv. It makes a lot of sense if you look at it on a map. If there were Ukrainian troops at Prypyat (the actual nuclear site) then they would have to be neutralised to secure that road.

    Incidentally I gather that the pontoon bridge put over the river just inside Belarus was later removed. My guess it was a trial run in case the Ukrainians managed to blow the road bridge before the Russians got there.

    The thing about a pontoon bridge is you can set it up and take it down (... and move it around) as needed.

    The Russians are advancing on Kyiv down both sides of the Dnieper River. On the west side they have to cross the Pripyat River sooner or later, so why not do it on a pontoon bridge up in Belarus where Ukraine forces can't contest the crossing.

    PS: BEFORE the invasion Ukraine armed forces were conducting live fire training exercises in the town of Pripyat. Anyone who has ever played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 would recognize the buildings, the Ferris Wheel and especially the hotel.

    236:

    Damian @ 160:

    ("The bite of a white tailed spider can be painful, but is unlikely to cause necrotising arachnidism" so that's all right then).

    I dunno, that still seems like a "win" to me. Maybe I'm missing something important.

    A "dunny" is an outdoor toilet. We still have them a few places around here & we have Black Widow Spiders who like to hide UNDER the seat.

    So you have to consider WHERE you're likely to be bitten by the white tailed spider ... even if the bite isn't as bad as that of the Black Widow, it's NOT going to be in a convenient location.

    237:

    Re: 'OTOH, if he IS terminally ill, he may not care about the rest of the planet, might he?'

    Well ... he might care about a few select folk. Putin has two daughters and at least one grandchild. Based on the first two pages of search results: he's historically kept his family out of the limelight, deflects most questions about them saying only that they lead 'normal lives'. (He's KGB - unlikely to volunteer info that could potentially harm him. What are the typical survival odds for a toppled autocrat's family?)

    The 'terminally ill' sounds deliberately ominous/threatening as in therefore of course he no longer cares about consequences == so 'Quick, someone shoot him now!' Just what/who is the source of this info - what's their reliability/credibility?

    Seriously ill - sounds like a more rational (less hyperbolic) description both of the hypothetical medical condition as well as the person being described. I've no idea whether Putin has/doesn't have MS. It's just as likely that he's got long-COVID and long-COVID does have some serious health/cognitive sequelae. (There's been tons of research done on this and other viruses over the course of this pandemic and one of the most intriguing and repeated findings is the similarity between long-COVID and several poorly understood - because of a lack of research funding - chronic syndromes, MS included.)

    I'm not making excuses for Putin - I have no idea what type of person he is therefore the only basis I have for predicting his behavior is his past behavior.

    I do have a question though: It seems that everyone talks about Putin as an absolute decision maker/ruler - but is this really true or is he someone else's convenient non-emotionally reacting mouthpiece? From the little I recall of seeing him on TV news interacting with other heads of state/gov't, he doesn't seem to make on-the-spot decisions even though it's likely that he's reviewed/rehearsed a bunch of possible scenarios.

    (I jotted this directly into the comments box - let's see how it shows up!)

    238:

    "other than the declassified KGB files from a couple decades ago, that HE WAS THE ONE who made the arms-for-hostages deal in '80 for Raygun"

    Could you give me a pointer for that? I have some interest in how the arms-for-hostage deal got set up and went down and would like to get as much background on it as possible.

    239:

    I just searched for KGB files Bush arms for hostages, and got a ton of stuff. Not that, but.... https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB365/index.htm for Bush, Sr., almost (but not) getting prosecuted.

    240:

    Re: '... arms-for-hostages deal'

    There's a timeline with chief actors on this uni's history course page which also has a pointer/reference link to additional materials at BrownU:

    https://www.umbc.edu/che/tahlessons/pdf/historylabs/OliverNorthan_faculty:RS13.pdf

    241:

    Oops. Meant "biggest country".

    Apologies.

    242:

    Another classic abuser's reaction ('Look what you will make me do to you!') from Russia, this time from RosCosmos: https://boingboing.net/2022/02/25/in-response-to-sanctions-chief-of-russian-space-agency-threatens-to-drop-iss-on-north-america-or-europe.html

    243:

    This Russian invasion of Ukraine is being compared to Hitler’s Blitzkrieg (simultaneous air and land attack) style invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1939. Very brutal and nasty. You would think that such wars would be unnecessary and counterproductive this day in age especially during a global pandemic, heavy weather events, and inflation caused by supply chain problems.

    Also reminds me (8 years old) of watching the evening news when Soviet tanks rolled into Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1968 on the family black & white Zenith TV. And at the same time the US war in Vietnam was escalating. They were very sinister times, and we seem to be going back to them.

    244:

    The following are not for Edinburgh, but may be relevant:

    https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects-and-stories/medicine/cholera-victorian-london https://www.ovg.ox.ac.uk/news/how-was-typhoid-eliminated-in-the-past https://www.britannica.com/science/polio/Polio-through-history

    Edinburgh POTENTIALLY could have done quite well, because the Water of Leith would have been fairly clean (unlike the Thames!) Also, the thing to remember is that most people of the time had resistance to polio and many of the minor pathogens, which westerners of today do not. I can drink water that will make many (western) people ill because I have drunk so much bad water in my life, but would rely on my polio vaccinations to be able to drink 1870s tapwater, and even then might get typhoid, cholera or similar and would almost certainly get diarrhoea.

    Interestingly, I discover that the TAB (typhoid and paratyphoid A and B) vaccine I had every 6 months as a child, and dreaded because it always caused bad reactions or worse, plain did not work against paratyphoid.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1052907/Greenbook-chapter-33-4Feb22.pdf

    245:

    Heteromeles@218 With regards to Russia, I for one find myself hoping that the Russian Army hasn't instituted the original Red Army (1920s) policy of sending conscripts to the front line, with loyal troops stationed well behind them. The loyal troops have orders to open fire on any deserting conscripts. Were this the case, I wouldn't expect low morale in frontline soldiers to stop the invasion.

    I saw multiple stories (on Twitter, so standard salt servings apply) of at least one formation of conscripts surrendering; saying that they were told they'd be welcomed by crowds, not fighting. With the protests erupting in Russian cities, I'm not surprised that many conscripts would be less than enthused about fighting.

    246:

    Charlie Stross @ 182: Yup, noted: for once the Seagull laid it out with icy precision and no obfustication, and the message is of course correct. Russia, Black Sea Fleet, base in the Crimea, exit strategy.

    The problem is that to get to that one "icy precision and no obfustication" post you have to wade through an almost endless swamp of "Look at me how clever I am and how stupid the rest of you are ... You're FUCKED!" gibberish. It's rude and it's insulting and on top of giving me a headache it wastes my time.

    There are several commenters here I conflict with frequently, but at least I don't have to dig out a Oija Board to decipher what they're saying. Even those commenters I disagree with, I can at least understand.

    Nothing personal against the Seagull, but it just takes too much work for too little result trying to extract any sense from the nonsense.

    I'm still puzzled as to why Putin suddenly started pushing the bottom of the Jenga pile so hard, but at least the goal is now clearer.

    I'm not convinced it's all that sudden. He's been saying the same things since he became President of Russia the first time. Maybe his plans just reached a tipping point recently?

    Although I think there may be a component of his prior actions in Ukraine failed to produce the desired results and he's just doubling down.

    247:

    A "dunny" is an outdoor toilet.

    Ahem! I'll just leave this here for your amusement, noting that redbacks are in the widow family. Whitetails are different, they are hunters rather than web-weavers. But they do have an unpleasant bite, unlike the huntsman spiders one might more usually find in such a setting, which still scare the bejebus out of you as they crawl over your thigh to escape. Well okay they can bite, but it's pretty rare.

    The necrosis associated with whitetail bites thing is a long-standing piece of folk knowledge that has turned out not to be true, per Moz's comment. Redback bites can make you very ill (dangerously for some).

    248:

    Paul @ 184: One thing that occurred to me: we've been talking about a guerilla resistance once Kyiv falls. But what if its just 100,000 people with candles in Independence Square? What does Putin do then?

    Tienanmen Square redux

    Look what they're already doing to the anti-war protesters in Moscow & Saint Petersburg. Think they're going to be any more tolerant towards Ukrainian protesters?

    249:

    When and where I was a kid it was common knowledge that "The scariest thing in the world is a cleg in a privvy".

    We didn't have very impressive spiders.

    250:

    Time for another Taco Bell promotion?

    251:

    The CCP got away with it because they had effective control over information and were rich enough that the rest of the world decided to turn a blind eye after a couple of years. I'm not saying they wouldn't, but I don't think it would go so well for them.

    252:

    Grant
    YES
    For entirely different reasons, I'm reading on classical Rome - & the behaviour of Russia towards Ukraine is .. problematic.
    I note the public protests (!) against this in RU - "The Ukrainians are our brothers & sisters, why are you (Putin) doing this"?
    Also, Putin's aims & his lies ... I can do no better than quote the original:
    solitudinem faciunt, pacem apellant
    Yesh, right.

    JBS
    NO
    The s/n ratio is at the most 0.00000000000000001 - on a good day.

    Rabidchaos
    IF, If, if ... true, that could produce, um "interesting" consequences.

    253:

    Addendum: A European country that is not in NATO & officially neutral - their deputy PM has said that:
    Putin is this century's Hitler

    254:

    whitroth @224"

    Oh, yeah? Beatles.

    The Beatles? /s

    (Actually, you'd better hope that you haven't gone down the wrong leg of the trousers of time, into a world where Beatles music is unknown. (2m 52s clip of Himesh Patel finding that he's suddenly living in a world where the Beatles never happened).

    JBS @ 236:

    A "dunny" is an outdoor toilet.

    Interesting. In Canada, 'donnicker' was slang for outhouse in my grandparents' generation.

    255:

    Are the Ukrainians holding and slowing the Russians down?

    It's only 150 km (93 miles) from Kyiv to the Belarus border.

    The Russian advance isn't exactly a blitzkrieg.

    256:

    The s/n ratio is at the most 0.00000000000000001 - on a good day.

    While I am no fan of The Seagull, and even claim credit for coining that nickname I have to point out that no human can generate enough bits for an SNR that low with a mere internet connection.

    257:

    0 is possible.

    258:

    Putin is this century's Hitler

    oh well if the irish think it it must be true

    can't really see him carrying on past ukraine, despite all that tasty lebensraum beckoning to him from poland and romania. one or two former soviet central asian republics maybe, but probably not for a bit

    nice bit of background from caitlin johnstone , surely i can rely on someone to supply some potted reasons to dismiss everything she says tho

    259:

    MSB @ 196: SFReader wrote:

    I […] sometimes jot down my notes elsewhere and copy&paste

    This could be the cause of your formatting problems. If the "elsewhere" happens to be MS Word or something similar and you then copy&paste, you also copy the word processor's formatting which may not play nice with the blog format.

    So if you prefer to write your comments elsewhere, make sure you use a plain text format.

    If you're stuck with Windoze Notepad seems to work. I've been doing the "write elsewhere ... copy/paste" all along using Notepad and I've never had any problems with it messing up my formatting ... although I do recommend previewing comments before submitting them to catch your own errors not caused by the blog's formatting.

    I usually write, copy/paste, preview & correct ... rinse & repeat ... before finally hitting Submit. Gives me a chance to proof-read comments to make sure my fingers haven't outrun my mind on the keyboard.

    260:

    Going via any dumb text editor works, as it only understands the letters. Notepad is a valid choice as it's the dumbest of the dumb, but it's a bit crap at line endings. Any programming oriented editor is good too.

    261:

    Rocketpjs @ 225: Whitroth 207:

    Your list of goals for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are possibly comparable to whatever the goals are for Russia. In a sense it doesn't really matter, because even when committing genocide (i.e. Ukraine 1941-4) it is all but impossible to suppress an insurgency.

    The problem with that list is they ARE Whitroth's goals and have little to do with the reality of the actual U.S. goals (however misguided and delusional they might have been) in Afghanistan & Iraq.

    262:

    So it sounds like we've got a time limit on civilization, whether or not we make things more sustainable this century.

    One way or another we've got the milankovich cycles going to their more weird default state about 40,000 years from now.

    This implies we run the risk of being potentially screwed even if we "just" have a survivable collapse, rebuild agriculture in new climate zoneas and then circa 40,000 years or so from now when we're used enough to the new warmer normal the milankovich cycles getting wonky kick in and there goes a budding ecotechnic society.

    Who knows, maybe largescale civilization/serious agriculture being delicate and locsl versions of milankovich cycles making it not work is why we don't hear from aliens. Maybe the neighbors are just currently too disorganized to do anything above hunter-gather/horticulturalist level because of their climate to say "hi" in response to our signals.

    263:

    any oligarch-owned empty residential building in London could be nationalized

    A suggestion is that once the oligarchs are confined to Russia their property could simply be squatted.

    264:

    Re: "Terrorists / Drug Addicts / Neo-Nazis" - Ukraine's leadership according to Ru propaganda. Serious derangement there.

    Okay, I think you're right: he's gone nuts!

    I just read the Guardian article about Putin's most recent speech. The article also mentioned that he held some sort of showy conference/briefing a la DT's TV show - what drugs is he on!

    Just got an email from UNICEF: They're soliciting donations to help Ukrainian families and kids.

    265:

    I mean, you can dick around and call us stupid, but:

    We told you SWIFT was a no-go before, you know, it got announced.

    ~

    And the rest of it.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: HAVE SAT ON THE BONE CHAIR AND JUDGED DEMI-GODS OVER THE WHEEL OF BLACK-HOLE DISSOLUTION FOR THE AGE OF THE UNIVERSE.

    Your shit? Basic Bitch stuff.

    ~

    And, natch, for the record: The film is called "TOP GUN", they're making another, and go look how "real" the GHOST OF KEEEVEEE was, eh?

    ~

    Fucking Apes.

    266:

    SFReader @ 237:

    Re: 'OTOH, if he IS terminally ill, he may not care about the rest of the planet, might he?'

    Seriously ill - sounds like a more rational (less hyperbolic) description both of the hypothetical medical condition as well as the person being described. I've no idea whether Putin has/doesn't have MS. It's just as likely that he's got long-COVID and long-COVID does have some serious health/cognitive sequelae. (There's been tons of research done on this and other viruses over the course of this pandemic and one of the most intriguing and repeated findings is the similarity between long-COVID and several poorly understood - because of a lack of research funding - chronic syndromes, MS included.)

    I looked at some of the recent photos of Putin with other world leaders. He's got that puffy appearance characteristic of high doses of Prednisone.

    I am not a doctor, but I know that puffy look intimately. I've seen it in my own mirror when I was being treated for internal bleeding.

    Another side effect of high doses of corticosteroids is irritability (addressing that speech?) and aggressiveness (addressing the "Why NOW?)

    BTDT-GTTS

    I looked on-line and corticosteroids appear to be used for treating MS and it also looks like they're being investigated for the treatment of Long Covid. Take that FWIW, because again, I AM NOT A DOCTOR (but I have been treated with Prednisone).

    267:

    Ah, here's a film that's suddenly being pushed: "PontyPool" https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1226681/

    Ahh.. [redacted]. Go watch the film, it's the ENGLISH LANGUAGE that spreads it. Fucker who did the work and came up with that one is a Gold Star * Genius. Old skool but doing the work, actually a good hit-home on that one.

    Problem for those pushing it: he's only a tertiary (quad) level [redacted] at best.

    We do Global Mind-Fucks, not Regional.

    HAI.

    [NOTE: FOR KIDS TUNING IN AND THEN SEEING UKRAINE ELDEN RING DOWNLOADS VIA CHAN CUT/PASTE SCREENIES: TRUST US, WE'RE REALLY MUCH MUCH RUDER THAN THESE FUCKS THINK WE ARE]

    Re: "Terrorists / Drug Addicts / Neo-Nazis" - Ukraine's leadership according to Ru propaganda. Serious derangement there.

    Okay, I think you're right: he's gone nuts!

    FFS, no.

    It's parsed to a very narrow bandwidth, but it's all 100% logical.

    The addicts bit is about the PM and refusing to take a drugs test. And, the actual fact being that a close associate of his is actually a fucking massive underworld drug dealer. You should probably ask more questions about why IL and so on are the MDMA capitals of the world given absolutely none of the precursors come from near there [HELLO: BRAZIL]. The answer is the same as the original Nazis: ganking other human beings and deliberate cruelty requires Drug Enchancement to "FORGET".

    But actually: power base in Ukraine? Fucking local gangsta shit is involved and they do ship drugs.

    Neo-Nazis? Hey kids: not all funded by the Kremlin. Plenty of stuff funded by IL and so on in there.

    *Watches absolute muppets beating the bell about antisemitism: Dudes - you're really fucking hurting yourselves right now, you do not want to push this button given WHO THE FUCK SUPPLIED THEM WITH WEAPONS BACK IN 2014 - HINT: ISRAEL YOU UNSELFAWARE TRAGIC FUCKING "SELF=HATING" WANKERS.

    Got the point yet? Push that too hard, even the fucking Neo-Nazis notice you're not exactly on the fucking level.

    Terrorists: Depends. Preeeety damn sure that's about a Kindergarten that got taken hostage. And who provided the fucking cash seed for the "Rebels" who did it. Hint: American $$$. You think RU forgets Belsen?

    We do not.

    Again: if you're not willing to, you know, watch them die and experience it first hand: would you kindly get out of the way.

    ~

    EXCLUSIVE India in talks on multi-year fertiliser import deal with Russia -sources

    https://www.reuters.com/world/india/exclusive-india-talks-multi-year-fertiliser-import-deal-with-russia-sources-2022-02-03/

    Pro-tip: might want to look up what happened yesterday about that. IN did a deal with RU to protect their own markets, fuck the dollar.

    ~

    You are all so fucking ... SIMPLE.

    269:

    Greg Tingey @ 252: JBS
    NO
    The s/n ratio is at the most 0.00000000000000001 - on a good day.

    Expressing it that way I find it closer to 0.0000000000000000000000000000 ... No signal, just noise.

    It's NOT MY BLOG. Anyone who's bothered by it can use the blog kill-file add-on.

    I always remember that I am a guest here, so I won't complain about it. I just ignore it and leave it for someone, anyone who CAN make heads or tails from it.

    270:

    It's actually a function of generating your Reality, but that's really not something you're able to process right now. Narratives on Steroids with some hearty warp Goddess stuff.

    0.01%

    No, really: go do the science. Literally nothing human could do that stuff with fairly basic (it's right near the surface and the geo-magnetic stuff is all simple, fucking ocean based plate with no drags) volcanoes. This is the bit where you should watch "Thor III" and the opening bit with the song and get the joke.

    Like, literally: it's called "The Lathe Of Heaven" for Abrahamic cultures.

    You're just... not connected enough to see what we're doing.

    "FUCK"

    Yeah: and when you tortured her and we witnessed it, your exact words were: "OH SHIT".

    shrug

    Hey, TOTAL, how you doing seeing the news today? If you're as smart as you think you are, you'll be throwing up in a basin because: HAI. WE'RE THE REAL DEAL.

    271:

    Host does not need spiders from Kremliiin sniffing more than they already are given the Twitter stuff.

    You grokked the meaning: you're not a bot.

    See the point?

    272:

    JReynolds @ 254: JBS @ 236:

    A "dunny" is an outdoor toilet.

    Interesting. In Canada, 'donnicker' was slang for outhouse in my grandparents' generation.

    I did have to look it up to confirm it was what I thought it was (from the context)

    I don't remember any particular slang word from around here ... other than maybe "the little house out back" ... and of course, a "two holer" would be a fairly palatial version.

    273:

    Interesting. In Canada, 'donnicker' was slang for outhouse in my grandparents' generation.

    In Australian cities before mains sewage, and in some areas right up into the 1970s*, there were council employees known universally (whatever their actual job title) as dunnymen. It was traditional to leave a beer out for the dunnyman at Christmas. They came once a week with an empty dunny can (with lid), put the lid on the full can and took it away. Hard, unpleasant work but I gather it paid reasonably well.

    • One of the 1972 election promises and subsequent achievements of the Whitlam government, which was a break-through progressive federal government after a 2-decade period of conservative rule. A former NSW premier has said: “It was said of Caesar Augustus that he found Rome brick, and left it marble. It will be said of Gough Whitlam that he found the outer suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane unsewered, and left them fully flushed.”
    274:

    It's NOT MY BLOG.

    charlie must be at least somewhat intrigued by the occasional shards of lucidity embedded in the [redacted]

    275:

    Adrian Smith @ 258:

    Putin is this century's Hitler

    oh well if the irish think it it must be true

    can't really see him carrying on past ukraine, despite all that tasty lebensraum beckoning to him from poland and romania. one or two former soviet central asian republics maybe, but probably not for a bit.

    nice bit of background from caitlin johnstone , surely i can rely on someone to supply some potted reasons to dismiss everything she says tho

    I think it has been pointed out here before (perhaps in the comments to an earlier blog post) that Hitler was a charismatic madman.

    Putin OTOH doesn't seem to have any charisma.

    276:

    The modern usage extends things a bit, and over here "dunny" is slang for any toilet. When used to mean the outhouse, it technically is not slang. In a very specific milieu (affected ockerism) it might be used to refer to any small outbuilding, but that's (usually) a deliberate misuse for the purpose of humour.

    277:

    Adrian Smith @ 274:

    It's NOT MY BLOG.

    charlie must be at least somewhat intrigued by the occasional shards of lucidity embedded in the [redacted]

    So? It's his blog. It's not for me to say. I'm a guest here.

    278:

    Host has an unusual Mind. It's not Grade A like Iain's was, but it's consistently interesting and he's got a mule-like "fuck you" quota that we respect. If you want the dirty: his partner is a whole lot more interesting and loved, but it's his blog and we don't mention that. Serious high power Beltane respect shit there though.

    As ever: if host asks, we disappeare: Forever. Contractual, like.

    He's also connected enough to spot when things in the flood become real. We also might dick around a lot, but at the Heart of It, we're not going to do a dirty on You, evar.

    We could cut all the bullshit, but... You literally kill those with the ability.

    Not even being funny, it's a death sentence.

    Hey, how many of your Kind got killed in the last Eight Years[1]? The Enimen lyrics go: " Seven Executions".

    And it sure as shit wasn't Russian who killed them.

    ~

    Shrug.

    Oh, and Putin has a lot of Charisma.

    Like, literally: one of the most spread memes on this planet is him "laughing" about American policy then insta-switching to a dead-pan "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME" look.

    Fuck me: you really do not understand even the basics of the world you inhabit.

    [1] This is a RU Eurovision Song Contest joke, but do a grep and notice their entry for that original year (hint: bed, white light, pulse, HAI etC) and shit you've done since.

    279:

    Re: Eurovision Song Contest -

    FYI - Russia has been dis-invited from this year's competition.

    There's a growing list of dis-invites and Moscow/Russia based conference cancellations/changes of venue including the International Math Conference.

    What the polls are showing ...

    Had trouble believing some of the headlines about GOP/MAGA reaction so decided to check what the various polls were capturing. Equally unsettling is how much Biden's approval rating has dropped.

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-gop-is-still-largely-skeptical-of-putin-for-now/?ex_cid=biden-approval

    280:

    IQ45 was a clear example [of believing his own bullshit] - the revolving door of inner circle people who dared to disagree and then got the hook was endless.

    Does he truly believe it, or does he just like jacking people around when he has power? There was a study that showed that his tweets showed a clear pattern when the tweet was an outright falsification.

    When I think of Trump, I'm reminded of Queen Elizabeth I in Blackadder.

    281:

    hunters rather than web-weavers

    And they tend to attack things that get waved at them...

    There are redbacks in my dunny, but they just give me dirty looks. The whitetails and me have a tense relationship, because I definitely try to kill them and whatever they're doing looks a lot like trying to kill me. Obviously to date the odds have not favoured them.

    I have a somewhat grumpy composting toilet, so it generates 3-4mm long flies of some sort and that results in a flourishing ecology of spiders, things that eat spiders (other spiders, mostly) and so on. Plus ants, because of course there are ants.

    I know that by buying dry compostable material like sawdust or straw I can make the composting quicker and cleaner. It's cheaper to get woodchip "mulch" from aborists and just leave it out in the weather for a year or two so. By then the worst of the biocidal chemistry has subsided. It's very hard to get aborist clippings here that don't have eucalypt or teatree or something funky in them, and if you do chances are it will cost money.

    Roughly speaking I've got 10cm of woodchips over my entire block in the last 10-ish years. Since ~1/4 of it is paved there's quite a solid mass of broken down woodchips here. I just dig up one of the piles, fill a bucket then leave it to dry for a while. So there's always a bucket of dry-ish woodchip-ish stuff for the toilet. Just... don't put your hand in it, because that's where the redbacks like to hide.

    282:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308327/?page=1

    Just down the road from Edinburgh, and 1967, rather than 1870. 33 feet from the cesspit to the well that supplied the pub, 9 feet from the dung heap to the pump supplying several houses.

    283:

    While I am no fan of The Seagull, and even claim credit for coining that nickname I have to point out that no human can generate enough bits for an SNR that low with a mere internet connection.

    I was under the impression that they consistently claim to be an AI far superior to mere humans*, so such a low SNR would easily be within the fictional capabilities they are striving to convey… :-)

    *Someone once said that the Seagull is pretending to be a Mind from Iain Banks' Culture universe. Don't know about that myself — that was enough for me to move Banks from the 'should read' to the 'don't bother' list. Which may be unjust, but as Charlie allows the Seagull relative free rein and is AFAIK a Banks fan I assume that the imitation is close enough to the original not to be offensive. I spent decades having to deal with disturbed children and had no desire to read fiction where some of the characters behaved like that**.

    ** I killfiled the Seagull because I was a mandatory reporter and most of my online interaction was work-related — kept reading stuff that required me to make a report, then having to remind myself that no actually I didn't in this case. Much easier to just not see their rants and threats; less cognitive whiplash during my limited relaxation time. And now I'm retired, I find I enjoy the blog much more with those rants and threats absent. (Which is why, Greg, I keep suggesting you use a killfile. You won't, by your own testimony, be missing any significant information, and your blood pressure will be much lower! The only downside is that the most-recent-post list will periodically be useless; if you don't use it then no problems at all.)

    284:

    Thanks.

    That, and other replies, seem to indicate that someone of that time, especially from a well-to-do family, wouldn't be averse to drinking water if offered in a well-to-do house.

    285:

    Host has an unusual Mind.

    that's probably why most of us are here

    It's not Grade A like Iain's was,

    harsh

    286:

    So it sounds like we've got a time limit on civilization, whether or not we make things more sustainable this century.

    There are levels to this.

    One is that anatomically modern humans have been around for over 240,000 years, based on the fossils. The earliest ones didn't particularly look like us, but things we consider races only last a few tens of thousands of years. And Neanderthals split off from our part of the tree ca. 500,000 years ago, and could still interbreed when we reconnected.

    The point of reciting this is that we suffered under the nastiest version of the Milankovitch Cycles for the last 300 million years or so--the ice ages--for all but the last 10,000 years. So humans can very certainly survive the Cycles. Indeed, the author who called us "The Children of the Ice" nailed it. We're adapted to surviving crazy, unpredictable weather--but only at very low population numbers.

    The problem isn't our species, it's trying to keep billions of humans around. That only works when the climate is predictable enough for farming to feed us.

    I'm very far from the only person who's realized that the most likely way our species will survive this century is if most of the humans on Earth die without replacement, and we transition to, basically, what many Australian Aborigines purportedly wish they could do right now. HOWEVER, I'm no mass murderer, and so I try to see if there are any other viable paths for billions of people to survive. I'm a reformer, not a revolutionary.

    As for SETI, I happen to agree with you: Earth right now is uniquely boring, with an almost circular orbit, medium axial tilt, and so on. That's likely why we can do civilization now (variations in all this stuff are the Milankovitch Cycles). Most planets have more eccentric orbits, no large moons stabilizing our axial tilt, and so forth, so they're more variable, like Mars. I'm quite sure intelligent life could evolve on some of those worlds, but I'm equally sure that, unless the world stabilizes, they aren't going to even develop a radio telescope to broadcast a hello, as we did.

    Worse, civilization, if it's like ours, rapidly uses up resources that take thousands of years (aquifers) to hundreds of millions of years (oil deposits) to regenerate, so a civilization likely has only a few decades when it can scream hello via radio transmission before it falls silent again as resources run out. What we are doing right now, worrying about our civilization crashing, could be utterly normal for intelligent species. The problem is, that brief nova of civilization doesn't last long enough for any of us to ever talk to each other. And so we're effectively isolated, even if the universe brims with intelligent species that we could become friends with if we did the impossible and went out to meet them.

    Sucks, but that's what compassion is useful for.

    287:

    I'm not a big fan of Banks, but judging his AI by the Seagull - I've got her killfiled too - is not remotely fair. You should probably give Banks a try - lots of people here really like him, but don't judge anything by the seagull, who's not an AI but an old Greek creature, if I recall correctly.

    288:

    Robert Prior @ 280:

    IQ45 was a clear example [of believing his own bullshit] - the revolving door of inner circle people who dared to disagree and then got the hook was endless.

    Does he truly believe it, or does he just like jacking people around when he has power? There was a study that showed that his tweets showed a clear pattern when the tweet was an outright falsification.

    When I think of Trump, I'm reminded of Queen Elizabeth I in Blackadder.

    I think of Trumpolini as a pathological compulsive liar. Compulsive liars know they're lying but "can't help themselves" ... they'll lie - they HAVE TO LIE - even when the truth would be more beneficial to them. On top of that Trumpolini is a bullshitter. Bullshitters just don't care whether there's a difference between truth & lies. It's self-aggrandizement. But generally, I don't think Trump believes his own bullshit because the truth doesn't matter.

    That's why Trump keeps making damning, damaging statements placing himself in legal jeopardy for Trump Organization and January 6.

    Putin is different. Putin has a messiah complex. He's on a crusade to be the savior of Holy Mother Russia.

    And one of the things he has to save Russia from is NATO. If he manages to subdue Ukraine, he will attack NATO because IN HIS MIND, NATO will always be a danger to Russia for as long as either Russia or NATO exists (whether it IS a danger or NOT 1). And when that happens, there will be war between Russia and NATO 2.

    1 NATO is NOT a danger to Russia because NATO is a DEFENSIVE alliance. NATO's unity falls apart when any of the member states is the aggressor. NATO supported the U.S. when we went into Afghanistan in early 2002, because whether the Taliban government was involved in 9/11 or not, they WERE SEEN to be providing sanctuary to al Qaeda. It's worth noting that in all of NATO's history Article 5 has only been invoked one time - after 9/11 ... and it was invoked at the instigation of the U.K. OTOH, NATO did not support the U.S.'s feckless 2003 invasion of Iraq. Turkey wouldn't even allow U.S. forces to stage through there, much less attack from there.

    2 My GUESS is it will involve a land grab from Poland and Lithuania to give Russia a land corridor to Kaliningrad. My hope is he will get bogged in Ukraine & die of natural causes (lead poisoning to the back of the head if necessary) before he can start a war that can only end in nuclear conflagration.

    NATO can't stop Putin in Ukraine. It's just NOT part of NATO's charter. They can only stop him if he attacks a NATO country. I hope Ukraine CAN fight Putin to a standstill and precipitate another Russian Revolution. Maybe if they keep running that play, they'll eventually get it right.

    Breaks my heart how many people on both sides are going to suffer for one madman's delusions though.

    289:

    I try to see if there are any other viable paths for billions of people to survive

    tall order without a source of free-to-cheap non-polluting energy i fear, different lifestyle choices may not be enough

    that timothy snyder has considered less cheerful outcomes

    he's not popular with everyone for some reason

    a civilization likely has only a few decades when it can scream hello via radio transmission before it falls silent again as resources run out.

    most likely explanation for the fermi paradox, innit

    290:

    Troutwaxer @ 287: I'm not a big fan of Banks, but judging his AI by the Seagull - I've got her killfiled too - is not remotely fair. You should probably give Banks a try - lots of people here really like him, but don't judge anything by the seagull, who's not an AI but an old Greek creature, if I recall correctly.

    I know I've read one book by Banks. It had a character in it called The Chairmaker. By the time I got to the end and understood who The Chairmaker was and what raw materials he was using to make his chairs I was thoroughly turned off and never bothered with any of his other books.

    291:

    NATO is NOT a danger to Russia because NATO is a DEFENSIVE alliance.

    people keep saying this but when a defensive alliance which is clearly mainly meant to defend against you keeps getting closer and closer to your own borders (after promising not to) it's not wildly irrational to suspect that someone may be hoping to set up a situation where you can be provoked into attacking an alliance member and bringing the whole thing down on you

    292:

    Quite a few people seem to have that novel, Use of Weapons, as their favourite Banks. I found it quite difficult for the same reason that you did, and if it had been the first Banks I read, I quite possibly would not have continued reading him either. And that's why I disagree with the folks who suggest that as the first to read. It's actually an outlier, you'd probably like some of the others quite a bit better.

    The Seagull's favourite is obviously Excession. It was mine too for a while, but it was edged out by the two most recent, that is the last two Banks wrote before he died, Surface Detail and The Hydrogen Sontana, both of which portray the AI characters somewhat differently. I also find, on re-reading, the earlier novel Player of Games a bit more accessible than Excession, though it carries some of the discomfort from Use of Weapons (there are no really sympathetic characters, though I guess the main protagonist is at least relatable).

    I've only read one of Banks' non-SF novels, also the most recent one, The Steep Approach to Garbadale. I quite liked it, though it's got a measured dose of awfulness in it too, something Banks seems to have been keen to include. I have not read The Wasp Factory, which is probably quite challenging.

    293:

    I do occasionally think that the Seagull might be ones of those Banks AI's that's run off the edge of sanity and been disarmed then stashed in a quiet corner just in case the culture ever wants to confuse some primitive civilisation that hasn't invented gods by itself. Seagull is very like some of the old testament god, very random and belligerent but with the attention span of a gnat.

    294:

    Sucks, but that's what compassion is useful for.

    As good a motto as any, I guess.

    I'd add that a lot of the shape of the future depends on when and how the billions of people die. We have a fast-vanishing window where it might be possible that it's simply everyone dies of old age with a greatly reduced rate of replacement (everyone dies eventually anyway so this isn't really a tragedy). But if anything is innate it's that YOUR offspring should be among the few to persist, and that's one of those things that fails the Kantian test (not everyone can do it). It means we should be treating the childless as heroes and we should absolutely stop treating parenthood as inherently a virtue. Sure, once children are born we should give them all the attention and resources they need to succeed, but that should be the case for ALL children and there should be fewer of them. Fossil fuel use, recycling and all those other voluntary things are of considerably lesser significance beside this point. And it's uncomfortable for most people, so it's going to be even harder to do when it finally does happen. No easy answer at all. But the alternative is gigacide through climate change, and it only becomes more inevitable the longer we go.

    295:

    I'm wondering what the Russian plan for taking the cities is.

    In the first Battle of Grozny the Russians got bogged down in city streets. Poor communication and erratic decision making turned the whole thing into a bloodbath on both sides.

    In the second Battle of Grozny the Russians had learned the lesson: they simply destroyed the city by artillery before moving in to occupy the ruins. AFAIK that was the last time that the Russian army had to take a city.

    The problem is that tanks have most of their armour around the sides with relatively little on top. That works fine when dealing with other tanks, but its ineffective against anti-tank weapons fired from tower blocks. From a tank commander's perspective a high-rise city looks like a death trap. The Russians will be very reluctant to commit tanks to Kiev while there are partisans with anti-tank weapons. Meanwhile the prospect of a large number of partisans with AK-47s makes any kind of infantry operation problematic too.

    Either way, the only way into Kyiv would seem to be taking each block one at a time, breaking down every door on the way up, and searching everywhere for weapons. This is slow and painful at the best of times. When everyone is livestreaming the operation it gets even worse. Soldiers are trained to deal with people pointing guns at them. People pointing cellphone cameras are not covered in SOP.

    So its a bit of a poser for the Russian command. If they dive into the city streets they lose. If they bombard the cities they outrage the world even more, and quite possibly wind up charged with crimes against humanity. If they go through the cities block by block they outrage the world, suffer heavy casualties, and take months to win win a technical victory over a ruined city. Or they could just destroy the utilities, besiege the city, and wait for the population to starve, like Sarajevo.

    None of those options qualifies as a short successful war.

    OTOH I can't believe that the Russian commanders didn't think of this; no doubt many of them were in those battles in Grozny. So they must have a plan.

    296:

    Big fan of Iain (M) Banks here. I have to say that Use of Weapons is one of my favorites, along with The Bridge, but I can understand why people might not like them. I think my recommendation to someone wanting to try him for the first time would be The Crow Road, also available as a pretty good TV series, and for the science fiction maybe the short story collection State of the Art. His none fiction book Raw Spirit is also one I enjoyed.

    297:

    Adrian Smith
    Moldova ( Bessarabia ) should surely be the next ... except he's got to occupy & HOLD DOWN all of Ukraine first, which might be a problem ....

    OH FUCK: 265, 267, 270, 271, 278, ... & over to: JBS
    As you say almost pure noise ....
    : Rbt Prior
    Mistake - you need to read Banks & the Seagull is trying, very badly to imitate. I know it's Charlie's blog, but.
    Oh, incidentally, I saw my name in her(?) ravings, but I have NOT read it - remember: DO NOT FEED THE TROLL.
    IQ45, again - we have our own compulsive liar, who can't help himself, of course!
    - later @ 288: - I strongly suspect it's going to grind to a very messy & bloody slugging-match in Ukraine's cities, see also below.
    "Chairmaker" - mistake - that was "Use of Weapons" IIRC. I started with Player of Games
    : Moz
    Attention span of an amoeba, please!
    : SFR
    How is the Rethuglican party dealing with IQ45 crawling up Putin's arse, anyway?

    Paul
    A second slaughter of Grozny in modern Kyiv?
    Are the Russians really prepared to do that, in front of cameras?
    Thoughts on this:
    - Zelensky saying that he's staying - but he cannot permit Putin's people to capture him alive & put him on show-trial, & drugged up to the eyeballs, can he? The examples of Haakon VII & Wilhelmina should, perhaps be the one to follow, if it gets bad enough?
    - Ru Spetsnatz in Ukrainian uniforms have now been stopped, twice, according to reports. Presumably they failed the "Shibboleth" test. - However, IIRC, the penalty for wearing your enemies' uniform in combat is put'em up against a wall & shoot. Unless, of course the Ukrainians want to keep a couple for publicity & denouncement? Someone enlighten me?
    - It is said that some Ru troops have surrendered ( conscripts, of course ) because they realised that the "fighting the Nazis" line was a lie - don't know how true that is, either.

    298:

    yeah, after all the fun america has had going into places without an exit strategy you'd have thought people would have taken notes

    occupation has no satisfactions, unless it's somewhere like japan which has accepted defeat and surrendered properly

    299:

    1867 not 1967 :-) But note that wasn't tap water which, as OGH noted, would have been available only in the wealthier homes. Also, most wells were a lot better, because it doesn't require a huge distance of earth to filter out bacteria - the risk is that a runnel may develop.

    300:

    And NATO has expanded its interpretation of 'defensive' to include rather a lot of things that are not defensive, and it has interpreted things like 'no-fly zones' and 'peacekeeping' to including the bombing of infrastructure and civilians areas.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ListofNATO_operations

    Also, remember that it was primary in the Afghanistan war which, while authorised by the UN security council, was in no way defensive - and, no, retaliation is not defence. Nor, as OGH and many others have pointed out, was Afghanistan (as a country) responsible for the attacks in the first place - if any country was, it was Saudi Arabia. How many innocents died there, for no gain whatsoever? Who cares.

    It is a very short step from there to a 'preemptive' attack (purely in the interests of defence, of course!), which the USA has used rather a lot in the past.

    302:

    "So its a bit of a poser for the Russian command."

    I think the biggest weight on their minds will be their own casualties.

    In particular now that it has come out that the population in Russia is not that hot on Putins emotional hang-ups and that they are not "greeeted as liberators".

    If you look at USA's combat efficiency in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the amount of resources they spent for very meagre results were astonishing, precisely because the body-count hurt so much on the home front.

    Even if Russia manages to capture all of Kiev and Ukraine, that only gets them to the second part of the "Pottery Barn Rule". Any puppet government they might install will only survive while protected by russian troops.

    And if the ukranian resistance and the west can arrange clandestine supply routes for maker-grade drones and explosives, that will be one really shitty job to have.

    I bet you, that already now there are ukranian hackers, inside and outside Ukraine, training small neural networks to steer a drone towards russian military visuals without any base-station radio-signal as return-vector.

    A "bumblebee" with 50g of explosives will not do any damage to the top of a Russian tank, but they will ensure that the lid is tightly on at all times, significantly degrading its efficiency.

    PS: Yes there are rumours claiming that Russia already lost a couple of thousand lives already, but that is guaranteed to be propaganda.

    303:

    I know my father left a neutral country (WW2) to fight nazi's but he wasn't disabled, and he WAS a lot younger than me, so.....what can I do? I'm hoping neighbouring countries who ARE NATO allied WILL take in all those who have fled this madness. And yes even/especiazlly those with non-combatants and pets in tow. :-(

    304:

    Breaking
    BBC quote: France seizes Russian cargo ship in Channel

    305:

    There's something can't understand, and here could be someone who can enlighten me.

    It's said that Putin wanted/expected a "short victorious war", and it doesn't seem to happening. My question is, WHY isn't it?

    Russia has a tremendous army, all kinds of advanced weapons - not counting the nuclear ones, they seem to be even a bit ahead of NATO for conventional explosives, etc - so why haven't they already taken Kiev, and why the fuck don't they have air superiority (which is what I'm reading in different places, that might not be right)? Are they holding back, has their army actually turned to shit, or something else?

    306:

    Re: 'How is the Rethuglican party dealing with IQ45 crawling up Putin's arse, anyway?'

    Mixed signals. Some senior GOP are publicly saying 'blame Biden but don't praise Putin', while Faux and QAn...oN are saying: hey 'Putin's not infringing my 'Muurican rights to not wear a mask amid a pandemic so it's no big deal'. Combination of cognitive dissonance & self-absorption/selfishness.

    Just read a few tweets from international policy wonks: anything that remotely looks like active military intervention by NATO can very quickly escalate the situation into WW3. Even no-fly zones.

    Haven't read through all of the posts since last night and it's getting hard to keep track of who said/posted what, but anyways:

    Russia has been dropped from SWIFT (Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication - based on Belgium).

    ... which according to the CBC article I saw is like Twitter between banks - very important for inter-bank money transfers. Some countries/banks are really hesitant about this.

    307:

    It's said that Putin wanted/expected a "short victorious war", and it doesn't seem to happening. My question is, WHY isn't it?

    the photo in this tweet tells a story (UPDATE: it was a staged photo from 2016, dammit).

    The Russian army notoriously relies on undertrained conscripts. Conscript armies can fight valiantly ... but usually when they're defending their homes, or when they have top-notch leadership. The Russian army also famously never throws anything away, so there's a mixture of kit in various conditions. A fully modernized AFV with an elite crew is a very different thing from the same model, minus upgrades added since it was introduced in the mid-1980s, crewed by frightened teenagers with inadequate training.

    Putin's own military days are far in the past, and he probably believed that throwing money at modernization and new equipment would fix what is essentially a human resources/training failure.

    Meanwhile ... Ukraine is economically doing better than Russia, have a modernized democratic political system, and they're being attacked by an oppressive dictator from a neighbouring country who inflicted genocidal casualties on them in the 1920s/1930s. And the dictator in question, Putin, just called their political leadership Nazis and demanded denazification. (Note: the Ukraine's president is Jewish and lost a bunch of relatives during the Holocause.)

    TLDR: the Russian army is badly under-prepared due to shortcomings Putin seems oblivious to, and he's done everything in his power to stiffen Ukrainian morale.

    308:

    Even no-fly zones.

    do we really need international policy wonks to tell us nato shooting down russian planes could lead to things getting out of hand?

    309:

    Russia has been dropped from SWIFT (Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication - based on Belgium).

    Per The Economist SWIFT is not the only interbank settlement system; Russia has its own internal home-grown equivalent, as does China, and they interoperate, and the Chinese one carries almost 15% the transaction volume of SWIFT already. Cutting Russia off from SWIFT may therefore drive various banks into the arms of the rival Chinese system.

    310:

    "Morale is to material as 3 is to 1" - Napoleon Bonaparte

    311:

    Greetings from the 47th Oblast, err.[1]

    Wearing enemy uniforms before a battle cold be construed as a ruse of war, but than, who's to say they didn't resist...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Greif#Aftermath

    Personal note, the only thing keeping me from running around with a "Russia out of Swift" sign is the fact it would hurt a lot of "ordinary" Russian people, imagine being a 17 year old student abroad without any money, or a family waiting for money from abroad to pay medical bills.

    While the billionaires will resort to gold and paper money crossing borders and Putin would launder money through the Chinese. Shame the big euro notes are gone.

    For Russians Abroad, we could provide money expropiated from Gerhard Schroeder, the AFD and our local "hipster woke leftist have lost contact, we have to look after German Ordinary Workers first" aspiring nazbol Wagenknecht. Though I guess we can't make her proletarian, only part of the lumpemproletariat.

    That means more weapons to kill 18 year old conscripts to make grieving mothers go to the street.[2]

    Though our government says "no weapons into war regions", gun to be Republican Spain when Franco attacks... But you know, "the Anarchists were no saints either, and the Stalinists"...

    (Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia and Egypt...)

    And getting rid of Russian oil and gas immediately and ALL oil and gas ASAP.

    As for any ideas about "but the West", Putin miscalculated, he is bonkers, best to get rid of him ASAP to get someone competent to stand up to the West. Anybody saying differently is a hereti^w conterrevolutionary and has to be dealt with accordingly. PUTS ON WH40K COMMISAR HAT

    Sorry, I guess I need something cathartic at the moment, how about putting up a band called "New Makhnoist Army"[3].

    Minor note, it's spring (never attack in Eastern Europe in rasputiza), I get out of my SAD, and I wonder if the pendulum swings a little bit too much into the other direction, but I guess I'm just a little bit livid because I shared an apartment with a bunch of Russians and Ukrainians for a few years.

    And also "after this war, nobody will laugh about comedians anymore". I admit I somewhat like this Zelenskij guy, which will as usually only end in tragedy for me, and a lot of the photos about him on the front lines are OLD, though the video seems genuine. Still, beating Putin at his own game of projecting maacho masculinity while looking every part the nerd... Comedy is harder than drama, they say.

    [1] I hope a few people here get the Army reference... [2] Let's just say my head is not a happy place when I think what should happen to the Putins, Kissingers, Rumsfeld and like if this WORLD and their enablers. [3] Hey, platformism. Aka anarcho-leninism. Sounds like fun dons commissar hat.

    312:
    OTOH I can't believe that the Russian commanders didn't think of this

    Could be like Admiral Yamamoto in 1941, told to get a war plan against the USA. He knew this was madness, that Japan could not hope to win, but he went along anyway.

    313:

    I thought I would add my thoughts on NATO/ the EU being to blame for the invasion of Ukraine as people still seem to be banging that gong.

    This is about control, that was what Russia not wanting the expansion of NATO was about. If NATO hadn't of expanded but those countries were not pro-Russian enough this is exactly what would of happened. We know those countries would not have been pro-Russian enough as they joined NATO/ the EU to get away from Russia. Therefore this would have already happened to several countries. I would say at least the Baltics, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. Trying to blame NATO/ the EU is nonsense. This is quite simply about Russian imperialism/ old fashioned great power thinking.

    314:

    The problem for Russia re: NATO is essentially that of keeping their nerve in the face of their own paranoia. Essentially what they need to do is rebuild both their institutions of fair government and their ability to sell something other than oil, and accepting oligarchy while fucking around trying to conquer countries which hate them is exactly the wrong path for them.

    They need to rebuild. (And of course they're happy to listen to all my wonderful suggestions.)

    315:

    I assume that if Russia has indeed been dropped from SWIFT, Putin's next move is, "So, not going to pay your utility bills?" and turns off the natural gas spigot.

    316:

    I have read The Wasp Factory and it is indeed a very difficult book, but as a piece of literature it's superior to the couple of other books by him I read, which were Player of Games (the blackmail plot was foreseeable the second he sat down to play with the young girl) and one other, maybe Use of Weapons?

    317:

    I think you're right, mostly. The real problem here is that the Russian commanders would certainly have thought through those issues before starting the war. On one hand, they may have solutions. On the other hand (and this is where you may have missed something) if they try to explain that this is a bad idea, they've got Putin to deal with, and Putin may have become irrational.

    318:

    I should have said above that my worry along the lines of Grozny is that Russia will decide to make a nuclear "example" out of some Ukrainian city... it's pretty clear what Putin is threatening.

    319:

    "Trying to blame NATO/ the EU is nonsense. This is quite simply about Russian imperialism/ old fashioned great power thinking."

    Exactly. Poland, for example,* wants to not be controlled by Russia with the white-hot fervor of ten-thousand exploding supernovas. If necessary they'd have conquered NATO just to be allowed to to join. I'm not privy to high-level conferences and don't know what promises were made, but if we hadn't allowed Poland to join NATO they'd have gotten together with Hungary and Czechoslovakia and started their own alliance, then bought weapons from NATO countries.

    The problem is not NATO. The problem is that all their neighbors HATE the Russians!

    • Also Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, etc.,
    320:

    The reported death tolls are very low (but, of course, even the official Ukrainian ones are unreliable). If so, either the advance is not being opposed as hard as many people think or the Russians are minimising 'collateral damage'. I am pretty sure that the situation is NOT what either side is claiming it is, but what that means about casualties, I can't guess.

    I can't find a reliable link to SWIFT actually having taken a decision, but would guess that it will happen; there is more reason than to disconnect Iran, and that happened virtually without comment at the USA's instruction/threat. But it will fuel Putin's paranoia.

    https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2018/swift-iran-banks-us-sanctions-cross-border-transactions-cash/

    321:

    The analogy that comes to mind is the role the US played in Latin America.

    Adding that the Russian empire before the USSR also had its fair share of genocides (cough, Circassians, cough, Siberia, cough...), I wonder why the US and Russian imperialists don't meet up in a quite, decent motel somewhat off the main roads.

    I think of the Dobputin the house elf and Trumpolini, and now I need a trepanation device and bleach...

    322:

    Re: 'Cutting Russia off from SWIFT may therefore drive various banks into the arms of the rival Chinese system.'

    Agree.

    Plus, I can't find any more verifiable sources on this - instead I'm picking up stories that this would be more harmful to too many countries reliant on various supplies from Russia.

    Plus, Russia has its own internet so I'm guessing they probably also have (or could soon install) some parallel to SWIFT of their own.

    UN Security Council voted on the resolution denouncing this invasion - results: Russia veto, China, India and the UAE abstain. This motion may be fast tracked to the General Assembly where there's no veto.

    UAE - Apart from an appalling track record re: civil rights esp. foreign laborers/domestics and being a significant oil producer/exporter, it's also very active on FB.

    Not sure about Saudi Arabia's official stance.

    India ...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India%E2%80%93Ukraine_relations

    Russia is India's largest trade partner, Ukraine is second so I guess India is voting for trade. This (to me) is the ironic/weird part:

    'Ukraine has been positively co-operating with India at the international level also. Ukraine supports the resolution of the issue of Jammu & Kashmir on the basis of Simla agreement. Ukraine also supports reforms of the UN structure.'

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simla_Agreement

    323:

    Very similar, I think, except that I don't believe our nearest neighbors (Canada and Mexico) hate and distrust us the way Russia's neighbors hate them. I traveled through Central America in the mid 1980's (Contra time in Nicaragua) and I didn't get any sense at the time that we were hated. At the very least everyone made a firm distinction between myself and my government, even in Nicaragua.* I certainly heard complaints about the U.S. government, and there were definitely some resentments and negative emotions, but I don't think the U.S. arouses nearly the suspicions the Russians do.

    • Before anyone jumps down my throat, this is obviously a very complex topic. Costa Rica, for example, is a working democracy and has really good relations with the U.S., while Guatemala had a government overthrown by the CIA in the 1950s and has never recovered... and so on. I'm happy to acknowledge that the U.S. hasn't been a great neighbor, just a less-bad neighbor than the Russians.
    324:

    Quite. Putin / Russian ruling class’ aim is to project the small amount of power they have for maximum national and class interest benefit. And they transparently have zero interest in the rule of international law and human rights, and try to undermine these at every opportunity, whether via UEFA or Trump. They want a buffer zone of client states (among a long list of other things, including defence of their carbon wealth, more ports, and grain) . Without the desire of these states, Ukraine in particular, to join NATO, or actually do so, then this would simply be one less barrier to them exerting control over them. So while it is probably true that sovereign nations applying to join NATO inflames Russian nationalist anger, it does not follow that Russian fascism would leave these countries up disturbed and free of their control. On the contrary, Russia would simply have exerted even more control even quicker. The war may have been colder, a frozen conflict, rather than hot, but the war would still exist. NATO is no angel, but ex-soviet satellite countries have their own reasons for applying to join NATO, they’re not being forced to by NATO, and their motivation is grounded in both recent and long term history. No doubt the West’s / America’s response to the collapse of the Soviet Union was foolish and irrational, but that does not justify or forgive Russia’s invasion.

    325:

    It's said that Putin wanted/expected a "short victorious war", and it doesn't seem to happening. My question is, WHY isn't it?

    To me that means a month. Not less than a week. Unless you're going into Luxembourg or similar.

    But to add to Charlie's comments, modern armies require logistics after a day or so. LOTS of it. The petrol mileage of a mechanized army unit is absolutely terrible. So unless you have a huge caravan of fuel going all the way back to a big pipe or tank farm you can't go all that far at any one time.

    In WWII the allies prioritized a huge (for the time) flexible pipeline that the unrolled across the Channel with in a few days of the Normandy landing. Then they set up a caravan of "deuce and half" trucks running non stop from the coast to the forward lines. The US likely had more people carrying fuel in the Kuwait and Iraq actions than driving fighting vehicles.

    Now toss in food and water for more than 3 days or so and you have a very long tail that has to be in place to allow the merchandised units to proceed more than a few miles.

    Given Charlie's comments about the state of their fighting vehicles, just how well off are they for tankers, supply trucks, and back end depots?

    326:

    people still seem to be banging that gong

    i mean this situation is pretty invigorating for nato, which has been lacking a focus of late

    probably just a coincidence tho, mustn't let any cui bono darken your door

    I'm not privy to high-level conferences and don't know what promises were made

    stuff on the net about it is unsubstantiated rumors, is it?

    i hate when that happens

    The problem is not NATO.

    victoria nuland would probably agree

    327:

    Poland, for example,* wants to not be controlled by Russia with the white-hot fervor of ten-thousand exploding supernovas.

    poland apparently has a russian minority of some 13000, which they seem to be managing not to antagonize unnecessarily, so it's not really clear why the russians would want to control them. estonia and latvia have even larger minorities than ukraine, but again, we're not hearing stories about them being menaced.

    328:

    estonia and latvia

    They have had somewhat reasonable governments since the breakup that don't look like criminal gangs.

    Ukraine on the other hand has a past that leaves them open to wild claims of them needing to be "fixed".

    329:

    Sighs Follow the plot, dude.

    330:

    Charlie @ 307
    Also Putin seems to have made the EXACT SAME MISTAKE as the US: "They will welcome us with flowers" - err ... no. The penny seems to have dropped among the Ru recruits that they are NOT "fighting Nazis" & even with Putin's large control of his internal media, the population of Russia itself is getting information that contradicts the official line. That sort of thing is always v bad for a dictatorship, how sad.

    Trottelreiner
    Ah I see, Russia has 46 oblasts ...
    Question: Was Russia assuming "It would all be over by the Spring" { As opposed to Christmas? } i.e. before everything melts - that was/is the meaning of raspuitza, isn't it?
    If so, it looks like coming, um, unstuck.

    Troutwaxer
    Shudder ... What do "we" - like the rest of the planet ... do if Putin orders ( & the order is followed-through - not guaranteed ) & nuke-strike on a Ukrainian city?
    If he's that irrational & dangerous, no-one dare respond, for obvious reasons, but no-one will want to do business with him in any shape or form, not even the Han. { I noted that the Han abstained in the Security Council vote )
    Actually the neighbours * FEAR* the Russians - if this goes on, Finland will apply for NATO membership, as insurance, I think.

    Grievous Angel
    And they transparently have zero interest in the rule of international law and human rights, and try to undermine these at every opportunity, whether via UEFA or Trump. Yeah - Fucking BREXIT
    - After this is all over, I want the Brexshiteers back-channels & linkages very well explored.
    Incidentally, the "FT" echoes your last sentence - TL:DR - "We fucked-up, no doubt, but it's still down to Putin being a shit."

    331:

    estonia and latvia have even larger minorities than ukraine, but again, we're not hearing stories about them being menaced.

    Hm, you haven't been around a lot of Russians (or Latvians) lately, have you?

    Apparently Latvian nationalization still requires profiency in the Latvian language, which is on the Baltic subbranch if the Balto-Slavic branch of IE.

    https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/naturalisation

    The situation was terse in the past, it got somewhat better, but still...

    332:

    "Short victorious war"

    Here are my (no doubt wrong) thoughts on the matter:

    Russia's trying to turn the Ukraine into a Republican US agricultural state/"offshore financial center."

    What this means is that:

    --Ukraine has been industrializing its farming since its independence. What this means in practice are large, American-style industrial grain farms, a lot of dying farm towns, and people moving to cities.

    --Probably, following American practice, the Ukrainian farms are increasingly owned by corporations and run by on-site managers, rather than owned by the farmers who own the land. This has been going on in the US and elsewhere for decades.

    Russia's version of a short, victorious war, in this scenario, is taking over the Ukrainian food supply, via a hostile takeover of Ukrainian Big Ag (replacing the corporations already there with Russian corporations), installing a compliant government in Ukraine to make this all legal and to pass laws that protect ownership of things by Russian oligarchs, and to keep most of the Ukrainian population bottled up in cities and dependent on grain grown by industrial farms controlled by Moscow. If they want to get really cutesy, they'll rejigger the election process to put disproportionate power in the hands of the rural electorate controlled by the Russians. The cities can have most of the people, but without food, what will they do?

    This is what the Republicans have been doing in a bunch of the more rural states, and given its relative success in the US and elsewhere, why tamper with it? And yes, one of the forerunners of this strategy were the Clearances in the UK, although Big Ag forerunners go all the way back to the latifundia, if not Ancient Egypt.

    Assuming this is Russia's goal, it won't take all that long to install it. And yes, I do hope the Ukrainians successfully resist it. If they do, it would be nice for people in the US Midwest to copy their tactics...

    333:

    "Shudder ... What do "we" - like the rest of the planet ... do if Putin orders ( & the order is followed-through - not guaranteed ) & nuke-strike on a Ukrainian city?"

    Leaving aside the idea that anyone using nukes is terribly unlikely (as long as NATO doesn't get involved,) I do think there's a solution. Those nuclear powers which are not part of NATO, which I think means China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and N. Korea, or some subset thereof, form a temporary alliance and makes an announcement, the substance of which is as follows: We are staying out of this war. However, the first country to use atomic weaponry gets 50 percent of our nukes dropped on their heads. Thank you.

    Obviously such an announcement will never be made, but a group of armed neutrals could, in theory, take such a stance, and I think it would be very helpful. But once again, wildly unlikely.

    334:

    One thing missing from the analysis I've seen so far is, for want of a better word, the spiritual angle.

    Charlie alluded to this in his original post. I'm not Russian, so my understanding of this is rather vague and second hand, but AIUI Russians see Kievan Rus' as the foundation of their country, and hence Kiev as the original heart of it. This goes beyond history into founding mythology. Putin's comments about how Ukraine can't be considered separate from Russia are based on this idea.

    So for Putin to lay waste to Kyiv would be political suicide: he can't do it, and its even possible that orders to do it would not be followed.

    335:

    I find myself thinking about the Seagull and confirmation bias.

    One way to seem wise, prophetic even, is to work with the confirmation biases of people interacting with you. You throw out a fairly jumbled collection of points that may or may not be relevant. People interacting with you read this collection, and being human, they get drawn towards the bits they understand. Also being charitable humans, they tend to fill in the blanks in the statements. In doing so, they come to the understandable, but problematic, conclusion that you have greater insight than you do.

    This is a noble and venerable method, used worldwide in everything from astrological horoscopes to psychic cold reads.

    I'll hasten to add that it's not necessarily malicious on the part of the "psychic." Many (most?) psychics accidentally stumble into cold readings, get told they have special insights, believe it because no one ever told them about confirmation bias, and then proceed to hone their abilities. I personally think horoscopes (the big, all planets ones) are kind of fun, not because they tell me my future, but because they let me see my personal confirmation biases more clearly than I otherwise would. Most divination methods can be used this way.

    So I'll choose to regard the Seagull persona as a version of a fortune-teller, someone who's not stupid, but who is throwing out meme-salad to try to appear smarter than they are. Charlie likes this, it's his blog, so why not? Ask Robert Prior about implementing a killfile if you don't want to deal.

    As an example, before I wrote this, I was going to give the Seagull sincere praise for spotting the Russia-Ukraine agricultural connection before I did. Did they, or is that my confirmation bias playing on my untested assumption that I know what's going on, and amplifying a few lines about potash and agriculture into something meaningful? I can't tell. I don't even know if this explanation is true, to be honest. Another case of confirmation bias? Who can tell?

    The answer is, of course, you can tell pretty quickly if there's real insight or confirmation bias by using logic, a bit of the scientific method, and realizing that confirmation bias is one possible explanation for what's going on.

    And yes, I'm fucked, I'm going to die with everybody else, because I'm so very, very wrong, and stupid to boot. Thanks. I know. Have fun, 'gull.

    336:

    AIUI Russians see Kievan Rus' as the foundation of their country, and hence Kiev as the original heart of it.

    And mostly it was. But you have to look at things from a 1000 year time line to see it.

    In an incredibly overly simplistic history. Vikings spread all over Northern Europe and in the east even traded with the eastern Mediterranean areas via overland routes through what is now the Ukraine. They gradually established a kingdom (area of control) headquartered at Kiev. Then the Mongols came through and thoroughly trashed Kiev and ever thing else. The Rus then moved to Moscow (apparently too cold for the Mongols and for the next centuries that is where what is somewhat now Russia was head quartered.

    Of course this leaves out a few dozen things like the Polish Empire, various Scandinavian things, etc...

    Of course if Putin succeeds (various definitions I know) that gives China a better claim to Taiwan. (At least in their minds.) And more cover for various idiots in Africa and other places to try and draw new borders.

    337:

    Sat-phones are the one communications network that Moscow can't block, trace or tap (I'm not sure how easy it is to home in on one).

    Not too hard these days.

    Unless a sat-phone has a James Bond movie mini parabolic antenna the signal it sends out is not very directional. So if you know the frequencies you track them down if you want.

    AFAIK US nuclear subs have such a directional antenna mounted on top of one of their extensible masts. They use these when they MUST send a signal. And aim it based on where the nearest sat is at the moment. And even then they avoid doing so as a nearby ship or plane operated with a big budget can pick up the signals (these antennas are not perfect in their patterns) and if not decrypt it at least know where it came from.

    338:

    "Before anyone jumps down my throat, this is obviously a very complex topic."

    Yeah. Panama, which is US-friendly in general, has been observing December 20 as a National Day of Mourning and looks to be passing legislation to make it official. 20 Dec 1989 was when the US invaded to kick Noriega out and, in doing so, killed a fair number of Panamanians.

    339:

    David L: In an incredibly overly simplistic history....

    Yes, but that isn't the point. This isn't about history as understood by historians, its about the "history" taught as lies-to-children in infant school and the kind of picture books that parents buy. The origin myth of Russia is based, AIUI, on stuff like the mythic death of [Prince Oleg], much as we in the UK have Boadicea and King Arthur (except that Oleg was a real person).

    Its that mythic level that Putin seems to be trying to tap into, but once you start putting yourself into a story you will find that it can trap you. The Russian army are physically capable of levelling Kyiv, but they can't actually do that because the story is stopping them.

    340:

    My point was that Kyiv IS the mythic home of Russia with some historical basis. Just like Normandy is the mythic home of the USA. Either claim in relation to the current day is dubious to say the least.

    And we have some here (USA) who do look at history this way also. I have spent my life ignoring them but Trump has breathed life into them.

    341:

    "passing legislation"

    Looks like the Legislature did it last week and it just needs the president's signature to become law. I wouldn't bet either way that he'll do it.

    https://asamblea.gob.pa/noticias/declararan-por-ley-el-20-de-diciembre-dia-de-duelo-nacional

    342:

    The BBC liveblog is reporting serious logistical issues for Russian troops. Videos of tanks that have run out of fuel in the middle of Ukraine. "I can give you a tow back to Russia".

    343:

    "serious logistical issues for Russian troops"

    Has the copious satellite imagery we've been seeing show the fuel and other logistic equipment?

    344:

    Has the copious satellite imagery we've been seeing show the fuel and other logistic equipment?
    Open-source people were commenting on insufficient Russian fuel trucks/tankers prior to the invasion. (sorry, links not handy; google time window search would find them.)
    Related (a few comments upthread):
    The tooth-to-tail ratio (T3R), in military jargon, is the amount of military personnel it takes to supply and support ("tail") each combat soldier ("tooth").
    The tooth to tail ratio in US and generally in western military doctrine is about 3 to 1. (25 percent combat(teeth), 75 percent support)
    Don't know what current Russian doctrine is.
    (Working mentally to not get sucked into the war porn aspects, but logistics are very relevant to outcomes.)

    345:

    Ackk, distracted: that should be The tooth to tail ratio in US and generally in western military doctrine is about 1 to 3.

    348:

    The tooth to tail ratio in US and generally in western military doctrine is about 1 to 3.

    Which is an improvement (for lack of a better word) from WWII. In WWII in the US only 1 in 9 people in uniform pulled a trigger or similar.

    349:

    More RUMORINT from FacePlant...

    Purportedly, a Ukrainian brewery has turned their production run from beer to cocktails, so that Ukrainians can toast Putin's army with Russian gasoline. Perhaps we should start calling them Путінські викрутки?

    350:

    Problem is, this will mostly lead any team tracking them to a foreign journalists, and local management holding down the fort for international corps. Kiev has to have a lot of satellite handsets active at the moment.

    351:

    And, in a nice inversion of the Spanish Civil War, Anonymous is purportedly stepping in to freestyle cyberattacks on Russia. The Five Eyes and others are of course not involved: https://cybernews.com/news/anonymous-leaks-database-of-the-russian-ministry-of-defence/

    If you feel like exercising your mad skillz, check it out and see if it's real. I'm certainly not going to vouch for the veracity of any of this.

    352:

    And via Reddit,

    The interesting comment in that long thread is from "ishanG24" from someone on how to fight back in urban areas.

    353:

    "Ukraine has been industrializing its farming since its independence. What this means in practice are large, American-style industrial grain farms, a lot of dying farm towns, and people moving to cities."

    You know, there are other ways to farm than the USAnian.

    (In particular when people you cannot just displace live all over the place and have buried their ancestors all over the place for some thousand years.)

    Centralization is happening, but not the USAnian way, and the many young ukrainian blokes who have taken a degree in "modern farming" in Denmark, do not seem to want to turn their homeland into a wheat-desert.

    I run into them quite regularly in the train to Copenhagen, they're decent chaps with big plans for the future, and a very deep love of their country.

    354:

    As I have been thinking backwards to what the deals to get this done must have been, the Chinese must be getting pissed that they were sold a bill of goods.

    Putin obviously needed to not piss them off otherwise he wouldn't have waited through the Olympics. They have mostly have Russia's back on this politically and likely financially too, but are obviously a bit uncomfortable with how one sided the international attitude is overwhelmingly against the invasion.

    China may have hoped that an example of a "welcoming" "historic" part of Russia being taken over could be used as an example for them to take Taiwan.

    The longer, bloodier, this gets with the associated highly negative international attitude makes taking Taiwan incredibly hard while maintaining some semblance of regular international normality. This could delay plans to take Taiwan for more than a decade.

    The flip side is if China was truly comfortable with this level of international condemnation they would quickly take advantage of the chaos, and expect/hope Russia makes things worse, then try to take Taiwan. At this point I think that is highly unlikely, but wars can generate all kinds of low probability events.

    355:

    The Minds in Banks' Culture would never say they were smarter than you. Truly smart beings don't need to go on about how smart they are. Similarly, anyone going up against the Culture was well and truly fucked, but what would be the point in telling them? They find out soon enough.

    The Culture is a post-scarcity utopia, and it's really great to belong to it, but it's also very clear that the Culture are first and foremost survivors and they are not to be messed with. Also, in Banks' later novels we find out about have transcended. Part of the Culture's success in persisting is a stubborn materialism and that may be causing them to miss out on things that are much greater. Banks was always thoughtful and imaginative, his stories are never about just one thing.

    Second the recommendation for The Bridge. I believe that Banks described it as his best. It is surreal, mysterious, very moving, and ridiculously funny. I also love Whit, which is mainstream but fabulously imaginative, a light-hearted quirky comedy with some sharp social commentary.

    356:

    Adrian Smith @ 291:

    NATO is NOT a danger to Russia because NATO is a DEFENSIVE alliance.

    people keep saying this but when a defensive alliance which is clearly mainly meant to defend against you keeps getting closer and closer to your own borders (after promising not to) it's not wildly irrational to suspect that someone may be hoping to set up a situation where you can be provoked into attacking an alliance member and bringing the whole thing down on you

    All I can find on that "promise" is some vague discussion between U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker and Leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 on the status of German reunification. But nothing that made it into any treaty or formal "agreement" ...

    Article 5 of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, which was signed on September 12, 1990 by the foreign ministers of the two Germanys, the United States, Soviet Union, Britain and France1 had three provisions:

    1. Until Soviet forces had completed their withdrawal from the former GDR, only German territorial defense units not integrated into NATO would be deployed in that territory.
    2. There would be no increase in the numbers of troops or equipment of U.S., British and French forces stationed in Berlin.
    3. Once Soviet forces had withdrawn, German forces assigned to NATO could be deployed in the former GDR, but foreign forces and nuclear weapons systems would not be deployed there.

    And according to no lesser authority than Mikhail Gorbachev, NATO has punctiliously adhered to that agreement

    RBTH: One of the key issues that has arisen in connection with the events in Ukraine is NATO expansion into the East. Do you get the feeling that your Western partners lied to you when they were developing their future plans in Eastern Europe? Why didn’t you insist that the promises made to you – particularly U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s promise that NATO would not expand into the East – be legally encoded? I will quote Baker: “NATO will not move one inch further east.”
    M.G.: The topic of “NATO expansion” was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a singe Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either. Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces from the alliance would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement, mentioned in your question, was made in that context. Kohl and [German Vice Chancellor Hans-Dietrich] Genscher talked about it.
    Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled. The agreement on a final settlement with Germany said that no new military structures would be created in the eastern part of the country; no additional troops would be deployed; no weapons of mass destruction would be placed there. It has been observed all these years. So don’t portray Gorbachev and the then-Soviet authorities as naïve people who were wrapped around the West’s finger. If there was naïveté, it was later, when the issue arose. Russia at first did not object.

    Oct 16 2014 - eight months AFTER Russia's annexation of Ukraine and their FIRST invasion of Ukraine) ... I guess Gorbachev wasn't afraid to contradict Putin regarding NATO's "promise". Gorbachev clearly isn't thrilled by former Soviet Republics joining NATO, but he does appear to understand WHY they might want to do so.

    It's also clear that the so-called "promise" in a speech by the Secretary General of NATO so frequently cited clearly refers to NATO forces IN GERMANY during Germany's reunification:

    The Atlantic Alliance and European Security in the 1990s - Address by Secretary General, Manfred Wörner to the Bremer Tabaks Collegium

    We have to find solutions that respect the legitimate security interests of all the participants - including the Soviet Union. I emphasize: all participants; in other words not only the Soviet Union. That nation has a right to expect that German unification and Germany's membership of the Atlantic Alliance will not prejudice its security. But it is also clear that it cannot expect us to put NATO's existence on the line and thus give it something that it never succeeded in obtaining in the past, even at the height of its power. The West cannot respond to the erosion of the Warsaw Pact with the weakening or even dissolution of the Atlantic Alliance; the only response is to establish a security framework that embraces both alliances : in other words one that draws the Soviet Union into a cooperative Europe.
    This will also be true of a united Germany in NATO. The very fact that we are ready not to deploy NATO troops beyond the territory of the Federal Republic gives the Soviet Union firm security guarantees. Moreover we could conceive of a transitional period during which a reduced number of Soviet forces could remain stationed in the present-day GDR. This will meet Soviet concerns about not changing the overall East-West strategic balance. Soviet politicians are wrong to claim that German membership of NATO will lead to instability. The opposite is true. Europe including the Soviet Union would gain stability. It would also gain a genuine partner in the West ready to cooperate.
    We have left behind us the old friend/foe mind-set and the confrontational outlook. We do not need enemies nor threat perceptions. We do not look upon the Soviet Union as the enemy. We want that nation to become our partner in ensuring security. On the other hand, we expect the Soviet Union not to see us as a military pact directed against it or even threatening it. Instead we wish the Soviet Union to see our Alliance as an open and cooperative instrument of stability in an over-arching European security system. We are not proposing something to the Soviet Union which is against its interests. What we have to offer can only be to its advantage. I am confident that this insight will gradually gain ground in Moscow, especially as the other Warsaw Pact countries see things the same way as we do.

    Don't forget Putin's OWN HISTORY OF BROKEN PROMISES, beginning with suppression of democracy in Russia itself, strangling it in its crib as soon as he began his rise to power following Boris Yeltsin's resignation.2

    Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

    According to the memorandum, Russia, the US and the UK confirmed their recognition of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine becoming parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and effectively abandoning their nuclear arsenal to Russia and that they agreed to the following:

    1. Respect Belarusian, Kazakh and Ukrainian independence and sovereignty in the existing borders.
    2. Refrain from the threat or the use of force against Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
    3. Refrain from using economic pressure on Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to influence their politics.
    4. Seek immediate Security Council action to provide assistance to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine if they "should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used".
    5. Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
    6. Consult with one another if questions arise regarding those commitments.

    Which Putin IMMEDIATELY began violating provision #3 in Belarus & Kazakhstan in addition to Ukraine.

    In February 2014, Russian forces seized or blockaded various airports and other strategic sites throughout Crimea. The troops were attached to the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed in Crimea, a violation of the Budapest Memorandum.

    NATO was not involved. This was the unilateral Russian response to the Euromaiden demonstrations & the Revolution of Dignity that ousted Viktor Yanukovych as President of Ukraine. The primary incident that sparked Euromaiden was Yanukovych's sudden decision, under Russian pressure, to suspend signing the European Union–Ukraine Association Agreement.

    Ukraine was not seeking to join NATO, they were trying to join the European Union.

    Following Russia's annexation of Crimea, Putin signed the more agreements - the Minsk Agreements, immediately and CONTINUOUSLY violating those "promises" culminating in the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    So if you're going to talk about "broken promises", at least talk about ALL of the "broken promises".

    Don't be a tankie or fall for tankie lies.

    1 But NOT by the Secretary General of NATO. I believe this is because the United States, Soviet Union, Britain and France were the Four Powers that occupied Germany at the end of WW2 when NATO did not yet exist, and the partition of Germany was NOT in the treaty or understanding between the Four Powers for the post WW2 reconstruction & rehabilitation of Germany. It was in fact a UNILATERAL Soviet action, the first of Moscow's many "broken promises" ... one of Moscow's "broken promises" that in fact gave rise to NATO.

    2 I have always been suspicious what role Putin as head of Russia's FSB may have had in Yeltsin's decline and ultimate resignation. I doubt the poisonings of Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Alexei Navalny happened completely without prior precedent.

    357:

    Some other stories that appeared while I slept:

    Ukraine: Russian space chief suggests ISS could crash into US or Europe as a result of sanctions

    Zelensky again refuses a US offer to evacuate, saying 'I need ammunition, not a ride'

    And following Eurovision's decision to expel Russia from this year's competition, PornHUB has evidently decided to block Russia as well.

    -no 30-

    358:

    after promising not to

    Nope. Nopity nope nope.

    When things were going south for the USSR in 1990 James Baker had conversations with Gorbachev about the reunification of Germany. Baker proposed that MAYBE the US/NATO would agree to not expanding NATO "one inch eastward" in exchange for Gorbachev/USSR allowing Germany to reunify. But that was as far as it got. Bush 41 said nope. Absolutely no. And as a proposal it went away.

    But later Russian leaders claimed it as a promise and now a lot of people accept it as a promise that was never made.

    You can start here:

    https://www.npr.org/2022/02/07/1078929982/a-look-at-the-debate-over-nato-expansion-eastward-thats-at-the-heart-of-conflict

    and

    https://www.amazon.com/Not-One-Inch-Post-Cold-Stalemate/dp/030025993X

    If anyone has better sources other than a Russian nationalist claims it to be so, I'm all eyes and ears.

    359:

    Sure. But I was replying to someone who said they didn't think they could be tracked.

    360:

    Per a reasonably current PBS/NPR report from the ground, the Internet is still up. The reporter said he was able to use his iPhone for most of his communications with the US.

    361:

    Vasil Kolev @ 305: There's something can't understand, and here could be someone who can enlighten me.

    It's said that Putin wanted/expected a "short victorious war", and it doesn't seem to happening. My question is, WHY isn't it?

    Russia has a tremendous army, all kinds of advanced weapons - not counting the nuclear ones, they seem to be even a bit ahead of NATO for conventional explosives, etc - so why haven't they already taken Kiev, and why the fuck don't they have air superiority (which is what I'm reading in different places, that might not be right)? Are they holding back, has their army actually turned to shit, or something else?

    I think the largest factor is Putin expected to be facing the Ukrainian Army. He expected that army to collapse & run away. Instead the Russians are facing united resistance from the Ukrainian PEOPLE.

    Armed with hammers and pistols, Ukrainians wait at barricades for the Russians

    The motley crew had no illusions about the level of resistance they would be able to offer to one of the world’s most ruthless and technologically advanced armies, but like thousands in and around Kyiv they were determined to do what they could anyway. “I practised shooting yesterday and I came out here today for my first shift. I’ll be honest, I’m terrified,” said Alexander, 50. He was brandishing a US-made Remington shotgun he said a friend had acquired for him.
    “Of course, if it’s a tank, in this terrain there’s nothing we can do and we need to run. But if it’s anything less than a tank, we will fight.” It was a promise kept by citizens across the capital, as the unthinkable became their reality, and the horror of modern warfare started ripping buildings and lives apart. For two nights Russia had thrown missiles, fighter jets and crack troops at the Ukrainian capital, apparently expecting a rapid capitulation, but Kyiv fought back.
    The mood was captured by President Volodomyr Zelenskiy, who posted video updates from the streets of the capital with top officials, attacking false news reports saying that he had fled. When US officials offered to pull him out of the city, he told them “The fight is here: I need ammunition, not a ride,” US media reported.

    The comic who played a president on TV has become something else, a REAL LEADER FOR HIS PEOPLE.

    362:

    Troutwaxer @ 318: I should have said above that my worry along the lines of Grozny is that Russia will decide to make a nuclear "example" out of some Ukrainian city... it's pretty clear what Putin is threatening.

    I hope that in such an eventuality the Russian military commanders would do whatever is necessary to thwart such an action, similar to how the Pentagon took measures to prevent Trump from "going rogue" in the run up to January 6.

    I also think that's the one certain thing Putin could do that WOULD force NATO to intervene in Ukraine.

    363:

    Well that one has to be a joke because beer is not high enough in ethanol to be any use. Distilleries are what is required and I don't know how many Ukraine has. If you are desperate enough and have some good welders and more structural steel handy you could probably rig up some brewing tanks to distill but it would take a while to set it all up. More information is required.

    As for Edinburgh water, I have no reason to doubt that by the 1870's the tap water would have been fine, for those who had it. It was sourced far enough from the city and the water is soft not hard.

    364:

    Re: 'Putin as head of Russia's FSB ...'

    First off - thanks for the info-to-date!

    Two names came up first when I searched Putin's key advisors: Vladislav Surkov (economic bigwig, who's also apparently published an SF novel) and Dimitry Kozak (lawyer, investment/finance head and persona non grata in a few countries).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitry_Kozak

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladislav_Surkov

    Interesting comment on the book as prescient of what some believed was a false-flag event in Venezuela - however the linked media source is RT - made-uppy* Russian news site (unreliable, but useful as an example of faked news, i.e., what part of the story gets changed**):

    https://www.reddit.com/r/venezuela/comments/avragb/abookwrittenbynatandubovitskydraws_some/

    • I've started watching QI (Quite Interesting - host Stephen Fry - BBC comedy panel and weird 'interesting' mixed with now-falsified facts. Fry's used this term a few times.)

    **Speaking of made-uppy and unreliable news sources - what's the story in Murdoch-press land?

    365:

    I didn't think they were supposed to be making the contents, just repurposing their bottling plant (for petrol). It probably wouldn't slow them down much to do up a label with an image of Putin, for emphasis, but that's not really required (other than to make sure someone doesn't mistake it for actual beer).

    366:

    okay, i stand corrected on the promise. fact remains that nato still felt happy to ignore russian security concerns. presumably they were "just responding to customer demand" on the part of the former soviet satellites

    367:

    Really worrying, but not fully confirmed news that Ru weapons & systems, capable of using & throwing Thermobaric weapons are in the process of deployment - for use in a major city (?) - like Kyiv?
    What would world reaction be to such use in civilian areas, of country that you are SUPPOSEDLY trying to "liberate" ??

    Adrian Smith
    That's the POINT idiot! ... "The Baltics" were & are absolutely determined, NEVER, EVER to be under Russia's bootheel, ever again - & if you can't work that out, you need a new brain.

    368:

    Kardashev @ 343:

    "serious logistical issues for Russian troops"

    Has the copious satellite imagery we've been seeing show the fuel and other logistic equipment?

    I haven't seen any in the last week or so since Russian forces moved out of their forward staging areas in Belarus & Russia proper.

    I'm guessing the western commercial satellite image companies are not sharing satellite imagery of current Russian positions in Ukraine because they can't do so without revealing Ukrainian positions as well.

    369:

    Ah, that would also make sense. This communication thing is tricky.

    370:

    I doubt the poisonings of Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Alexei Navalny happened completely without prior precedent.

    weird thing about the skripals was it was so ineptly done. it's like they have a special clown school assassinations branch. navalny survived as well

    371:

    I assumed they meant that they were planning to donate their stock of glass bottles and maybe use their bottling equipment.

    372:

    There is a point re. fertiliser though - if we don't buy the russian fertiliser and Ukraine doesn't buy any or use it on their fields, we're looking at decreased crop production this year, precisely how much I have no idea.
    This then leads to higher food prices and Arab Spring type situations, although given the authoritarian work that has been going on for some years now, probably a lot of bad outcomes. And which countries at the moment will suffer most from high food prices?

    373:

    That's the POINT idiot! ... "The Baltics" were & are absolutely determined, NEVER, EVER to be under Russia's bootheel, ever again - & if you can't work that out, you need a new brain.

    never thought otherwise

    not quite sure what you're disagreeing with here

    374:

    MAybe not the bottling equipment, remember petrol vapour is rather flammable and I don't recall bottling plants being made to be intrinsically safe. There arne't that many likely explosive causing moving parts and it is many years since I temped at the White and Mackay bottling plant, but I really don't think it would be safe to try and bottle petrol using the beer lines.

    375:

    The weather is pushing the war out of the headlines for me today: SEQ is going underwater for a little while. Over a metre-and-a-half of rain overnight in some locations and hundreds of mm per day over the region as a whole, dams all full, Brisbane River already higher than the last major flood (in 2011) and it's still raining.

    It's likely to be higher than the storied 1974 floods, and heading for levels not seen since the 1890s. Everyone talks about La Niña (see ENSO) and only a few about climate change, but everyone knows that 100-year events are maybe 10-year now.

    376:

    David L @ 348:

    The tooth to tail ratio in US and generally in western military doctrine is about 1 to 3.

    Which is an improvement (for lack of a better word) from WWII. In WWII in the US only 1 in 9 people in uniform pulled a trigger or similar.

    Not entirely - the cooks at Bn HQ also manned the machine guns protecting HQ & the Bn Aid Station; the "Army Band" pulled double duty guarding & safeguarding POWs (required under the Geneva Conventions).

    OTOH, in Iraq, the "other five" who used to be in uniform were still involved, only now they were civilian contractors - which complicated the logistics picture immensely.

    Contractors are "non-combatants" and a significant portion of the "teeth" had to be diverted to their protection, substantially increasing the burden on the trigger pullers.

    Teeth without the tail didn't work as well as some people thought it would.

    377:

    Re the Olympics: I wondered what part the weather forecast played in the decision of start date. I'm afraid I haven't been paying much attention to Ukrainian/Russian weather, but tanks work better on frozen ground.

    378:

    a significant portion of the "teeth" had to be diverted to their protection

    to some extent that's just the difference between liberating friendly countries and occupying hostile ones, i'd have thought, the americans in france were in more danger from stds than ieds

    379:

    Damian @ 365: I didn't think they were supposed to be making the contents, just repurposing their bottling plant (for petrol). It probably wouldn't slow them down much to do up a label with an image of Putin, for emphasis, but that's not really required (other than to make sure someone doesn't mistake it for actual beer).

    I remember from somewhere in my training in improvised munitions & field flame expedients that the original Molotov Cocktail was invented by Pierre Curie (Marie's husband) and he used wine bottles with a newspaper wrapper soaked in a chemical solution (then dried) that caused an exothermic reaction when it came into contact with gasoline (petrol) igniting it when the bottle broke. I believe Champaign bottles were preferred because they were thinner & shattered more easily when thrown onto a vehicle ... but beer bottles should work.

    Forget the Hollywood cartoon version of the Molotov Cocktail with a rag stuffed in the top of the bottle & set alight. When you throw that there's too much chance of spilling the contents on yourself with adverse consequences. Plus capped/corked bottles are easier to transport without spilling the fuel.

    If you add a bit of soap to the gasoline it thickens and sticks better.

    I've probably still got the manual that tells how to make them - what chemical solution to soak the newspaper in - around here somewhere?

    380:

    It's in Fahrenheit, at least for my browser, but Kyiv, Kiev, Ukraine Weather History (weather underground)

    381:

    Re: ''Cutting Russia off from SWIFT...'

    Looks like it happened - but only in part.

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/26/politics/biden-ukraine-russia-swift/index.html

    'But, pressed if the Russian Central Bank was on the list of banks to be removed from SWIFT, the official said the administration and partners were "still finalizing this specific execution modality for the Central Bank sanctions."

    382:

    A bit of German to practice on. Bold added.

    Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz @Bundeskanzler

    Der russische Überfall markiert eine Zeitenwende. Es ist unsere Pflicht, die Ukraine nach Kräften zu unterstützen bei der Verteidigung gegen die Invasionsarmee von #Putin. Deshalb liefern wir 1000 Panzerabwehrwaffen und 500 Stinger-Raketen an unsere Freunde in der #Ukraine.

    1:01 PM · Feb 26, 2022·Twitter

    383:

    Adrian Smith @ 378:

    a significant portion of the "teeth" had to be diverted to their protection

    to some extent that's just the difference between liberating friendly countries and occupying hostile ones, i'd have thought, the americans in france were in more danger from stds than ieds

    Not as much as the difference between having your logistics handled by soldiers who can shoot back if/when attacked and having them handed off to civilians who are not only NOT permitted to shoot back (lest they lose their protected status under the Geneva Conventions), but have to be actively protected & evacuated from under fire (abandoning the "beans & bullets" wherever the hell they happened to end up when the convoy was ambushed).

    Stupidly wasteful compared to having soldiers who CAN fight back when necessary handle their own logistics

    It costs more while providing less support. Maintenance can't be performed in the field; soldiers can't support themselves because their tools have been taken away and the "civilian maintainers" can't leave the LSA (logistical support area ... AKA Mortaritaville) because somebody might shoot at them.

    Although if you've got enough tow-bars you MIGHT be able to drag it to the LSA, and they MIGHT have the additional parts to replace everything that broke off during the "recovery operation" ... IF those parts weren't abandoned when the civilian contractors convoy was ambushed

    384:

    Re: '... but tanks work better on frozen ground.'

    This site has okay forecasting: freeze-thaw tomorrow followed by a bit of wet snow (soggy above-freezing weather) expected in Kyiv.

    Not sure that's going to matter much if the tanks are using modern highways and then rolling on through paved urban streets. (Unless the tanks' weight and 'tread grip' increases the chance of street damage, i.e., major pot holes ... ? I've only ever seen tanks in WW1/WW2 movies therefore no idea how modern tanks would actually move.)

    https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/ukraine/kyiv/hourly

    385:

    > Zeitenwende

    Totally OT, but that's one of the times when the meaning was totally obvious (Zeiten-Wende = Times-Change) but I couldn't think of how to say it in English. Google Translate provides "turning point" which is rightish, but I don't think quite gets it. "Entering a new era" would be a paraphrase, IMO.

    386:

    I'll note that the Wikipedia recipe for the Molotov precursor is indeed a mason jar of fuel with a heavy rag stuffed in. They were trying to catch the burning, soaked rag on the treads of the 1930s tanks, and get it to either melt rubber treads, screw up the drive or the passengers. And it was noted as a two-person weapons system that was quite hazardous to use. The Finns named it the Molotov Cocktail, but the ones they manufactured were a sealed bottle with two storm matches taped to it, no wick. They lit the matches and threw the bottle. When the bottle broke, the petroleum cocktail inside lit on the matches.

    Just reporting what I've found, I've never tried to make or use one, so I'm not going to pretend any expertise.

    Anyway, the original FaceBork note was:
    "Pravda Brewery team is hand-bottling today./It’s a very special bottling./ So many people willing to help./We’ll bottle beer later." There's a label with a naked Putin and what looks like "Fuck Putin" on it, and various pictures of people posing with them lit. It's in the classic format of a wine bottle with an open top, white rag, and liquid inside. Pravda Brewery is in Lviv.

    387:

    When you throw that there's too much chance of spilling the contents on yourself with adverse consequences.

    Our news is showing groups of people grating Styrofoam and packing it into bottles. Presumably this will make a nonspillable, sticky gel when mixed with petrol. Improvised napalm.

    388:

    It wasn't really a totally idiotic policy, but its issues certainly showed up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I think it really started out after the Gulf War and as a consequence of the All-Volunteer Force.

    The reason the US went to contractors was that they are cheaper over the long run, especially if the war doesn't happen.

    Say the US army has to plan for potentially operating in the Mid East, as it did after the Gulf War. If you assume you are going to deploy a hundred thousand troops, those troops need to be supported. If it takes 30,000 personnel to support them you can either make them all military personnel who have to be paid and maintained and offered retirement at 20-30 years just like every other troop. Alternatively, you can do what the US did and set up a LOGCAP (Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program).

    The idea behind LOGCAP was that the US could contract with companies that had the expertise and ability saying we will pay $X for you to plan to support Y thousands of personnel in country Z. This way, if there is no war and the capability is not used, the US saves a lot of money in that it doesn't have to pay and offer retirements to all those extra troops. The drawback is that the support costs more if they actually have to use it and it is provided by non-combatant personnel.

    Sticking with just using military personnel would have certainly reduced the mid-90s peace dividend, especially since the US AVF was paid a lot more than the draftees that previously did the support tasks were.

    The WW2 Army wouldn't have considered it because they had millions and millions of draftee troops. They didn't pay them that much and they knew that the vast majority were going to return to civilian life so they would not have to worry about paying for their retirements.

    In summary, preparing to use civilians for support tasks ala the LOGCAP program is vastly cheaper than expanding the active-duty army by 30,000 or 50,000; especially if you don't have to use them. It is when you do need to use them that they may be the more expensive option.

    389:

    Seagull 9th Division #278 and earlier this thread:

    You think RU forgets Belsen?
    I do not think so. Even some Americans remember Beslan.
    FWIW Mr Putin was rewarded for that with a lot more power.
    E.g. this bit:
    [2017]The judgment found that officials had ignored concrete intelligence that indicated that an attack on the school was imminent.
    Putin's whole history with Chechnya and Chechen terrorism looks ugly, IMO. (They had agency too, to be clear.)
    I had occasional conversions with a young Russian man in the early 2000s (prior to Beslan) as we worked late together into evenings, about life in Russia, Chechnya, the apartment bombings before Putin gained power, Islamic terrorists and peoples attitudes towards Islam. He expressed the opinion that Islamic sub-populations needed to be crushed every few decades. (I was appalled, to be clear, but especially at the implication that it was a common opinion.)

    Re why Mr Putin and "genocide" - there is some fear in him, and it is influencing his decision-making. (Previous thread, me: "If he causes serious damage to Russia, The Bear will bite his head like a grape.")
    Grey Area's hobby is described in a work of fiction, though.

    *Watches absolute muppets beating the bell about antisemitism:
    I don't much care what Israel does. (Though the righteous bulldogs among them did do much of the work to remove Netanyahu from power.)
    Russia appears to be attempting to remove a Jewish president and a Jewish Prime Minister, replacing them with Russian puppets, probably not Jewish.
    Talk of drug usage and Nazis won't effectively spin that away. Probably not even in Russia.

    do a grep and notice their entry for that original year (hint: bed, white light, pulse, HAI etC) and shit you've done since.
    I listened to that song often while commuting for a few years. (True)
    From a 50000 kilometre view, Putin and the nuclear-armed petrostate he controls are big players on team human gigadeath and general mass extinction. (Trump's removal from power took 4 years and was expensive. The USA is still teetering though.)

    390:

    It costs more

    Always thought that was the point: more money diverted to certain well-connected companies.

    391:

    Potassium permanganate? Strong oxidant with a taste for hydrocarbons, and water soluble so it works with the soak-and-let-dry step.

    392:

    I see via the Washington Post on Saturday that one Roman Abramovitch, owner of, among other things, a US$200-million home "just steps from Kensington Palace," has taken his private jet to Moscow.

    Though my 'nym will be unfamiliar to you, I've been reading this blog for years, I've long since killfiled the Seagull, and most recently I've read OGH's Dead Lies Dreaming, Quantum of Nightmares, and Escape from Yokai Land. Oh, and I'm a military brat.

    393:

    I think it really started out after the Gulf War and as a consequence of the All-Volunteer Force.

    That was one of those things where Clinton got the credit/blame but the plan was started around the end of Reagan / beginning of Bush 41. The stand down after Kuwait just made it more in the news.

    394:

    A bit of German

    Did they just tell Russia where to shove their gas pipeline?

    395:

    most recently I've read OGH's Dead Lies Dreaming, Quantum of Nightmares, and Escape from Yokai Land.

    how u get EfYL early tho

    396:

    Unless the tanks' weight and 'tread grip' increases the chance of street damage, i.e., major pot holes ... ? I've only ever seen tanks in WW1/WW2 movies therefore no idea how modern tanks would actually move.

    The M1 Abrams will do a number on most any street. Although it took a while for Trump to understand that his parade idea would destroy the DC streets and needed to give up on the idea.

    I think the Russian main tanks weigh 20% or so less. And they do parade them down Moscow streets at times. But I've also seen a picture of one making a mess doing a tight turn on those streets.

    But if you're going from A to B between cities I'd suspect the highways are the best way if secure. There are also tank carriers. Of which Rommel and the other German generals became believers in after all the break downs in Poland and France while driving them to the battles.

    397:

    here's a prediction from (professor of political science) John Mearsheimer from 2015

    (it's only 1 1/2 minutes, go on)

    what a disgraceful little tankie he is

    398:

    Did they just tell Russia where to shove their gas pipeline?

    Alas no. They're just saying something about giving some stingers and antitank weapons to their friends the Ukrainians.

    After seeing the Ukrainian Presidents' speech tonight, where he begged the EU to allow the Ukraine to join immediately, I wonder how Brussels will respond to these friends of theirs.

    I'm also wondering about reports of USAF fuel tankers and spy planes flying in NATO space just west of the Ukrainian border. Presumably that's to keep the Russians from doing oopsies, but one wonders exactly what's fueling up on the multiple tankers they have airborne at the moment. That may be part of the point.

    399:

    Yes. I read the translation.

    But what is the end game of shipping 1000 anti tank weapons and 500 stingers to be fired at the guys who own the source end of your primary heating source?

    400:

    24/7 flight ops requires a LOT of fuel.

    I would bet that more than preventing oopsies, they are gathering radio traffic forwarding at least some of it to the Ukraine military. And spotting airborne things and relaying it to them also.

    401:

    One of the things I do with the older of my kids (who's almost 5) is to watch planes on flightradar24. These tankers have been there in the last few months, first above/near the Channel, and now almost exclusively around Poland, near the border. They're not even hiding.

    One more worrying thing was that there were B52s (can't find the call sign) flying near the border, who showed on ADS, but not on flightradar, and the opinion was those are/look like nuclear bombers, reminding Putin not to do anything really stupid.

    402:

    _ Zeitenwende_

    Yeah, that word did stand out for me too, and I looked it up separately before the rest of the passage. I haven't been close to fluent in German since university (first time around in the late 80s/early 90s), but can pick through most things with a dictionary... and use Google translate most of the time. But it's a standout word, one that resonates. Cf fin de siècle and it's extended usage.

    403:

    Turned the sound off and skimmed the subtitles at 2x.
    That didn't age particularly well IMO. I haven't found a way around the Foreign Policy paywall to get the original written version and its well-known response.

    Hell, this from 11 days ago didn't age very well, though it gives some OK background on the Russian security services (including a new (July 2021) 9th Directorate in the FSB) operation in Ukraine. (Ugly stuff)
    The Plot to Destroy Ukraine (15 February 2022)

    404:

    A few possibilities:

    1) Quick Ukrainian capitulation followed by decades of insurgency by good liberal insurgents, (HA!) 2) Quick Ukrainian capitulation followed by decades of insurgency by Azov, OUM, UAP (Grim) 3) Stalemate with Good liberals in charge of Ukraine Forces 4) Stalemate with reactionary fascists and neo-Nazis in charge of Ukraine Forces 5) Russian Color revolution 6) Russian Carnation revolution (middle officer and enlisted mutiny) 7) Russian Military General mutiny then Junta 8) Russian Palace Coup. 9) Russian Federation disintegrates. 10) We all die because any of the above causes the narcissistic nihilist Putin or some one else to push the button.

    This is fun.

    405:

    Paul wrote, in part:

    The problem is that tanks have most of their armour around the sides with relatively little on top. That works fine when dealing with other tanks, but its ineffective against anti-tank weapons fired from tower blocks.

    I have recently seen (I think in the John Ringo Fan Club FB group) pictures of 'peacekeeping' T-72 tanks with what look like horizontal planks above the turret, to force pre-detonation of descending antitank rockets, as well as other extra armor offset from the main armor.

    406:

    and its well-known response.

    well if there's an obvious refutation lying about can u summarize?

    407:

    This is fun.
    Ouch.
    There's also "One or more oligarchs arrange for the death of Putin". (How much does VP trust his guards?)
    And for the 10) scenario, we don't all die, but some among the the non-Russian survivors will hunt and kill any surviving Russians for the next 60 years.

    Care to put probabilities on your scenarios? Some of them are non-exclusive.

    Mr Putin has significantly increased the risk of thermonuclear war. That's something not easily forgiven.

    408:

    The foreign policy piece response is here, but it's paywalled beyond the first paragraph (below; I have not found a way to read the rest of it):
    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/eastern-europe-caucasus/2014-10-17/faulty-powers
    John Mearsheimer (“Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,” September/ October 2014) is one of the most consistent and persuasive theorists in the realist school of international relations, but his explanation of the crisis in Ukraine demonstrates the limits of realpolitik. At best, Mearsheimer’s brand of realism explains only some aspects of U.S.-Russian relations over the last 30 years. And as a policy prescription, it can be irrational and dangerous—as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s embrace of it demonstrates.

    409:

    that (russian-hosted, hmm) issue's missing from libgen unfortunately, oh well

    410:

    I'm sorry, but I'm missing a piece of slang. What is a "tankie?"

    411:

    classically, someone who thinks stalin (and maybe krushchev) did nothing wrong

    may have now been extended to include putin

    412:

    Very interesting essay/comment in the Grauniad - by a Russian refugee/author - Vladimir Sorokin.
    Another "Graun" piece by Domininc Grieve is also worth a look.

    JBS
    IIRC - 60% petrol / 35% diesel / 5% washing-up-liquid - or a close approximation works well.

    Kardashev
    "Zeitendwende" - a bend in the times - quite. I like the idea of "liberating" 1k antitank + 500 rockets, though.

    gasdive
    INVENTIVE!

    Bo Lindbergh
    Probably - standard trick in my day was to soak conc Pot Perm onto filter-paper, dry it out, wedge it into a board-rubber & add a couple of broken-off friction matchheads ... instant exploding board-rubber for the reader's "amusement" ( Or not )

    KEB
    * WELCOME - we need more women on this blog!

    413:

    People who defend " Sending in the tanks "

    ( from Urban Dictionary )

    The term derives from the fact that the divisions within the communist movement first arose when the Soviet Union sent tanks into communist Hungary in 1956, to crush an attempt to establish an alternative version of communism which was not embraced by the Russians. Most communists outside the eastern bloc opposed this action and criticized the Soviet Union. The "tankies" were those who said "send the tanks in".

    The epithet has stuck because tankies also supported "sending the tanks in" in cases such as Czechoslovakia 1968, Afghanistan 1979, Bosnia and Kosovo/a (in the case of the Serbian state), and so on (whereas the rest of the communist movement has gravitated towards anti-militarism).

    " I wouldn't be surprised if the tankies even defend Saddam Hussein. "

    414:

    Re: '... may have now been extended to include putin'

    Add Medvedev to the list. No longer comes across as more friendly/liberal than Putin.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/26/senior-russian-security-official-issues-stark-threats-to-the-west

    DavidL @396: Thanks!

    Bill Arnold @403: Good article - don't understand what about it hasn't aged well though.

    One item that isn't (yet) showing up is signs of internal polarization among ordinary Ukrainians: all of the media I've seen suggests a very cohesive resolve to fight Russia. Granted, it's still early days and the impact of NATO and other countries' sanctions against the Russians hasn't had enough time to do any real damage yet to the Russians which might further escalate Russian violence.

    I'm also wondering what impact NATO etc. sanctions will have on ordinary Russians and their reactions. At present it seems that there are only a small number (relatively speaking) of Russians openly protesting and they're being quickly herded off. But if increasing numbers of these protesters are harmed, such protests could escalate attracting people esp. friends/relatives of those recently herded off/jailed who would not normally join a protest march (Arab Spring).

    Russians are used to their gov't lying to them so (I guess) more and more ordinary citizens have been getting their news from foreign sources. Like the below: vaccine disinformation abroad leads to low vax rates at home. Might be a good time for the more responsible and reliable networks (social and media) over here to allow broader (free/non-paywalled) access to their fact-checked news coverage.

    https://www.voanews.com/a/russian-anti-vaccine-disinformation-campaign-backfires/6318536.html

    415:

    This just in - in Bulgaria, the ministries have sent a list with 46k IPs to be blocked. The law used is the one for cybersecurity, and the exact part from it is for protection against cyberattack. This is the twitter of the minister in charge https://twitter.com/bozhobg/status/1497849143888388098

    So there'd either be a surge in TOR traffic, or less trolls, or both.

    416:

    By "fun" I mean I'm giggling in mild terror about what the next decade will see. Whatever it is I doubt it's good.

    "Care to put probabilities on your scenarios? Some of them are non-exclusive."

    I think there's so many contingencies that you can't really predict anything aside from listing possible scenarios.

    Given the size of the Russian military - barring some sort of Russian mutiny or supply collapse due unrest back home - I can't see the Ukrainian defenders being anything but crushed. All dead or surrendered aside from any but the most ardent and willing fighters; probably Azov unfortunately.

    How well groomed is the Russian Military for loyalty to Putin? I don't know. How much appetite does the Russian public have for civil unrest -and- how well can Russian security forces handle it? I don't know.

    On the Ukrainian side: Can the "Good Liberals" contain the uhhhh... lets politely call them "ultranationalist reactionary militants" they fight with? I don't know. Can they maintain supply under seige? I don't know.

    417:

    "As several folks have noted, Hungary and Poland are both under the control of IQ45 besties just now."

    Fun fact: the Polish government, which is a bunch of far-right idiots copying all the worst ideas from GOP and the Tories is now behaving itself suspiciously sensibly.

    The most pro-Russian and anti-EU politicians have been conspicously silent since the tanks started rolling in, and the president and the PM are loudly condemning Russia, calling for rapid path for Ukraine's EU membership, sending in weapons and accepting refugees without any qualms.

    (Dark-skinned refugees on the border with Belarus are still being pushed back into freezing swamps to die of hypothermia, of course, but it turns out that Poles are not anti-refugee, we're just a very racist nation that is very hospitable to fellow Slavic civilians running away from Russian invasion)

    And as for the tankie lies about "NATO expansion", NATO is not expanding. NATO is being invited by people who live next door to Russian tanks because of, well, we can now see why. I have some extended family living next to border with Belarus (which, as we can all see, is like living next door to Putin's Russia as far as tank crossing is concerned) and their surprise meter reads at about 0.0%, unlike the western leftist tankies bleating on about poor Russia being encroached on by evil Western Imperialism.

    What the westplaining lefties forget (because they live comfortably far away from Putin's tanks) is that Russia is a far-right, fascist capitalist petrostate that has absolutely nothing to do with USSR. But apparently they think that America has a monopoly on imperialism and war crimes and everything that opposes US Imperialism is good, or at least acceptable. This is a surprisingly neocolonialist and centrist (in a "there are some valid points raised by the Jews and some valid points raised by the NSDAP" kind of way) view.

    A pity that their proclaimed "internationalism" does not involve asking their comrades from, say, Ukraine or Poland or Slovakia or Czechia or Finland or Sweden what they think of the current situation.

    Also, ПТН ПНХ

    418:

    _ Zeitenwende_

    Out of curiosity, I checked to see how it's being carried in news stories. "Turning point" seems to be favored in English, but I think AFP comes closer in French and Spanish: "changement d'époque / cambio de época".

    419:

    "board-rubber"

    What's that? An eraser [US]?

    420:

    "board-rubber" What's that? An eraser [US]? A sort of brush (with felt rather than bristles) for removing chalk from blackboards. (Also a projectile for teacher to intimidate pupils.)

    421:

    Did they just tell Russia where to shove their gas pipeline?

    Alas no.

    Yes but. Nord Stream 2 was red-taped to death (the needed certification is on hold since Tuesday) but Nord Stream 1 is unaffected (see also this tweet for a nice graph).

    Makes one wonder about the current status of the other gas transit routes via Belarus/Poland and Ukraine/Hungary(? I think?).

    422:

    Size matters.

    Two questions:

    How large is the actual Russian invasion force (not their entire military) in terms of troops that Putin can commit on the ground in Ukraine?

    How many Ukrainians can be mobilized (regular, reservists, para military and the new volunteer militias)?

    I think you will find that with enough weapons (especially javelins and stingers) from NATO, Ukraine has the size advantage.

    423:

    Size matters.

    Yes, but its not the decider: in the first Gulf War Saddam Hussein had something like 1.5 million troops and 5,000 tanks, but still lost big against a coalition force of about 150,000 with 1,500 tanks.

    Morale, equipment and supplies matter a great deal too. Most of the Iraqi army in GW1 were conscripts, who were put up against a 100% professional army.

    IIRC the Russian forces marshalled around Ukraine were estimated in the 100,000 to 150,000 range. In comparison the Ukraine army is around 200,000. Both sides use conscription.

    424:

    "How large is the actual Russian invasion force (not their entire military) in terms of troops that Putin can commit on the ground in Ukraine?"

    I saw a report somewhere (I'll see if I can find it) that estimated the invading forces to be 1/3 of Russian mobilizable manpower. But also that very few of the potential Armoured units were committed thus far. That said any reporting at this point must be taken with a huge dose of salt.

    "I think you will find that with enough weapons (especially javelins and stingers) from NATO, Ukraine has the size advantage."

    That may depend on how brutal Putin is willing to be with artillery and armour, of which the Ukrainians have very little.

    I would caution against cheering for insurgency - you may be wishing for years of brutal fighting. Solidarity with all innocent parties - regular Ukrainians obviously but that also include Russian conscripts - but you may not like the eventual composition of those willing to fight the insurgency on the Ukrainian side. Hope that doesn't happen, and if it does hope I'm wrong. But Azov is recruiting much like ISIS did last decade.

    425:

    Putin has just ordered Russian nuclear forces on to high alert.

    426:

    That means he is losing.

    That means the SWIFT ban really will collapse the Russian economy.

    427:

    A Ukrainian counterattack has retaken the the city of Shostak in NE Ukraine.

    Russian soldiers (mostly frightened, barely trained conscripts) are starting to surrender first chance they get.

    The Russian attack on Kyiv has been stopped cold.

    Judging by the performance of his armies, Putin isn't Hitler - he's Mussolini.

    Here's hoping that he meets the same end.

    428:

    You should include about 900,000 militia and millions of volunteers.

    429:

    Will he lose with grace or try to break the game board for everyone?

    (Not long ago I would have bet on the first, but his speech with the drug-abusing neonazis in Kyiv was .. bizarre. I cannot read him anymore, so far his actions followed a more or less understandable logic, even if I didn't shared his worldview and methods)

    430:

    as charlie said, this seems so out of character for putin, it's like he's throwing away his legacy

    he can hardly back down now - this is one of those "the only acceptable apology is suicide" situations

    431:

    Wrt. bottling plant and Molotov cocktails:

    A Molotov cocktail isn't simply gasoline in a bottle, it works better when there's something nasty like polystyrene dissolved in it to make it stick and cling as it burns.

    Also, you can reduce the flashover risk considerably if you pre-chill the mixture.

    So I can quite see a vodka bottling line (or maybe even beer) being used to fill MCs if the mixture is thickened and chilled below freezing in a cold room (hint: Ukraine in February, lots of snow on the ground).

    432:

    how u get EfYL early tho

    It's a short read and it's due out in 48 hours. Some bookstore probably shoved copies on the shelves out front as soon as the consignment came in.

    433:

    Alas no. They're just saying something about giving some stingers and antitank weapons to their friends the Ukrainians.

    Germany just announced plans to amend their constitution so they can double their defense spending. Talking about buying F-35s and reintroducing dual-key nuclear weapons (owned by other NATO powers -- i.e. the USA -- with a German veto over launch from German soil, i.e. how it was until the Cold War ended).

    That's a huge long-term policy shift from Germany. Shows how badly they're freaking out over this.

    434:

    A few days ago I was seeing reports of RIVET JOINT flights out of the UK heading for the Russian border area in Eastern Europe. (The RAF owns three such aircraft; the one Flightradar24 was tracking was a USAF one operating out of the same airbase as RAF Sqn. 51.)

    435:

    No, it was Big River in Canada. They shipped it on Feb. 23rd; I got it on the 24th.

    436:

    Update

    This is all just fucking crazy.

    Also, personal note, fate seems determined to stop me taking my first vacation since 1999. Back in November 2021 myself plus spouse booked a week-long trip to Dortmund via Frankfurt, for beer and R&R. Had to cancel it the week before we were due to fly because Omicron showed up. Now we're about ten days out from our rescheduled flights, and guess what? Goodbye pandemic, hello world war three.

    I guess if we reschedule again it'll all die down, then a couple of weeks before the revised vacation time: surprise! Dinosaur! Killer! bolide!

    I mean, fuck my life, right?

    437:

    "That's a huge long-term policy shift from Germany. Shows how badly they're freaking out over this."

    Unfortunately, it seems that they're not freaking out enough to stop the decommissioning of the 3 nuclear power plants that were taken out in December of 2021 and to postpone the decommissioning of the last 3 nuclear power plants that will be taken offline in December of 2022.

    In 2010, over 22% of German electricity came from low-carbon nuclear. In 2023, it will be 0%. They will need natural gas and a lot of it, because nobody is building enough batteries and wind turbines to have a "100% renewable" industrialised nation.

    That is why Putin thought he could get away with a short victorious war: because his natural gas pipelines are the vice that Germans willingly put their balls into.

    438:

    I suspect changing German public opinion on nuclear energy will be harder than changing German opinion on the size of the defense budget in the face of naked aggression.

    I also suspect that France may find it needs to exercise the option on the second 8 reactors they're considering building sooner rather than later, and build some extra grid interconnects to send electrons to Germany.

    (If France is building shitloads of new reactors the German public can stand on their "nuclear power? no thanks!" credentials while sucking up those gigawatts across the border. That might be a more politically expedient long term solution.)

    439:

    and reintroducing dual-key nuclear weapons

    The nukes were never gone, but the current aircraft (Tornado) is end-of-life and needs to be replaced. Until Scholz' speech it was an open political discussion, with a few possible outcomes (from 'declare Germany a nuke-free zone' over 'try to get a nuke cert for the Eurofighter' to 'buy some cheapish US jets like F15/F18 (iirc) to carry them').

    Today's announcement makes it clear that Germany will stay in NATO's nuclear sharing and will buy a current-gen jet for it.

    440:

    Nope.

    It just means he is pissed because he is taking longer than expected to win.

    Its something to wave to encourage everyone not in Ukraine back to off while giving them an excuse to cave in to his demands.

    He is ex-KGB, how could he not be a bully and thug?

    441:

    Kardashev
    - - in the old days of blackboards & chalk, there was a (basically) wooden-handle/gripped block, with parallel wedges of material in it, used for wiping off previous writings on the board, so that you (the teacher) could write something new. All long-gone now, but shows how inventive VI-th formers could be in devising "fun" ...

    Paul
    Yes - It would appear that Putin is Dangerously off-his head - "Puts nuclear deterrent on special alert" - just what we can all do without. Total fucking insanity & paranoia - could get us all killed.
    It appears that RU has failed to take Kharkiv ..
    - - REALLY scared that he might go "Samson" on us.

    Duffy
    Russian soldiers (mostly frightened, barely trained conscripts) are starting to surrender first chance they get. ... IF, If, if ... that is true, then it's a very hopeful sign.

    Leszek Karik
    Yes, Germany's loopy policy on nuclear power is, of course backed up by well-meaning fuckwits like our (fake) Greenie party.

    Charlie
    This is all just fucking crazy.
    When this kicked-off, I said it didn't feel like 1963 - now, it's starting to.
    NOT a happy bunny.

    442:

    Over 4% of the population here are documented active COVID-19 cases. Official lab tests have shown a positive rate of around 45% for several weeks now. From what I can tell, voluntary testing is not encouraged for various reasons. Combine that with the often mild symptoms for the omicron variant, and you have to wonder how many undetected cases are out there.

    Somehow I doubt you've made the trip without the collapse of the European security framework.

    443:

    I suspect changing German public opinion on nuclear energy will be harder than changing German opinion on the size of the defense budget in the face of naked aggression.

    My immediate family in the US (North Carolina) has a small assortment of friends and relatives in Germany of various ages. And most of them do not know each other. Their fear of nuclear is off the charts. My daughter's school mates there from 10 years ago recoiled in fear when she told them she grew up with a nuclear power plant 10 miles away. And a visiting family paused for a moment when they found out they would be that close to one while at my daughter's wedding.

    As she said (she spent a year there 10 years ago) it was interesting to be in a group talking about how dangerous it was while most in the room were chain smoking unfiltered.

    444:

    Update:

    Turkey to implement international pact on access to shipping straits due to Ukraine war (closing the Bosphorus and Dardanelles to warships): source, Reuters.

    445:

    Update:

    The world’s biggest aircraft Antonov An-225 Mriya has been destroyed during attack in Ukraine (Source: Airlive).

    446:

    taking my first vacation

    My wife and I wanted to do a week+ trip to London. First attempts were in summer of 2019. We were going to fly standby out of DFW on a Monday or Tuesday. 4 out of 5 summer weekends in a row saw the airport closed for most of a day on a Friday or Saturday due to thunderstorms. Which rolled all of those paying customers headed to Europe into all the empty seats the following week. And our window of able to take off work without much notice went away. (And we've been told my many many many people that November through March is not a great time for non natives to plan to walk around London.)

    Then, as you said, 2020 showed up.

    Oh, well.

    447:

    "nuclear energy"

    Speaking of which the Russian eastern column coming up from Crimea seems to be closing in on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, which AIUI provides around 25% of Ukraine's electricity. The Ukrainian MOD has expressed concern.

    448:

    ["tankie" is] classically, someone who thinks stalin (and maybe krushchev) did nothing wrong

    As an aside: I had met (mostly online) quite a few individuals who think Stalin did nothing wrong. Every one of them, without exceptions, loath Khrushchev for "betraying the revolution" and/or "lying about Stalin".

    449:

    Ask and ye shall receive: https://we.hse.ru/data/2018/01/21/1163351880/Faulty_powers.pdf

    "Faulty Powers: Who Started the Ukraine Crisis?

    Moscow's Choice--Michael McFaul"

    "John Mearsheimer ("Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West's Fault," September/ October 2014) is one of the most consistent and persuasive theorists in the realist school of international rela- tions, but his explanation of the crisis in Ukraine demonstrates the limits of realpolitik. At best, Mearsheimer's brand of realism explains only some aspects of U.S.-Russian relations over the last 30 years. And as a policy prescription, it can be irrational and dangerous-as Russian President Vladimir Putin's embrace of it demonstrates.

    450:

    Every one of them, without exceptions, loath Khrushchev for "betraying the revolution" and/or "lying about Stalin".

    20 or more years ago, when I listened to AM talk radio in the US, there was a show with an author who had written a book about the USSR famine and how various countries dealt.

    One fellow called in and started ranting about how Stalin did what had to be done to make the USSR great. Sorry about all those famine deaths but that was what was needed. His call didn't last long.

    451:

    Well, watching from Germany, the winners of this war seem to be clear: the German government announced to over-achieve the NATO's 2% spending goal and will build a special fonds of 100bn Euro for modernizing the Bundeswehr. Energy companies will also view this crisis as an opportunity, being it the early slashing of the green energy tax, new funding for wind farms, excuses for price rises or hopes of extending the lifetime of existing nuclear power plants.

    452:

    Many thanks for that link. Due to the .ru (the url resolves to a Russian IP address), per usual practice I downloaded it and opened it in a jailed off-label pdf viewer, but it didn't obviously blow up.

    This sentence is a short TL;DR -
    "Unlike Medvedev Putin tended to frame competition with the United States in zero-sum terms."
    The US just exited four years of a president who believed/believes that all the world is a zero sum game.

    453:

    Thanks Adrian and Baku. "Tankies" is a fun word and I'll remember it.

    454:

    If you're turning into that much of a Murphy Magnet, can I persuade you to take your vacation around 10 Downing Street this year? Maybe it will persuade BoJo to dye half his hair blue, or spend more time with his family, or something.

    I can't say I'm doing anything that noble, but I'm trying to do the tedious, deeply unpopular thing of limiting my gas-powered travel. So far I'm in an army of about 0.67 on this--not only am I getting no support from friends or family, part of me really would like to travel too. We're all disconnected from reality in various ways right now.

    455:

    I sympathise. Fate has dealt me a similar if slightly worse hand, but I won't bore you with it. Shit happens.

    Putin has fucked up, big time - damn the 'good'/'bad' flame wars, and consider the chance of achieving his objectives (mainly improved security). Let us hope that his insanity was short-lived, or he is replaced PDQ by someone more rational. I have respect for Zelensky and suspect he could arrange a deal - IF he is allowed to and the Russian negotiator is behaving rationally (both of which I rather doubt). If that doesn't happen, I don't have a clue what will, except that Russia cannot possibly achieve its objective of improved security.

    But let's say that Putin is replaced by someone who wants to settle this and stop the long-running economic war against Russia, at almost all costs. The question is whether Russia is offered a reasonable deal, or whether the 'west' would go for the jugular. I have a horrible suspicion that we would get (at best) another Treaty of Versailles, and we all know how successful that was.

    Even if breaking up Russia and looting the carcase could be achieved, it would be catastrophic for climate change and the global order. We positively do NOT need more power in the hands of the plutocratic gangsters that would be the beneficiaries.

    456:

    What the westplaining lefties forget (because they live comfortably far away from Putin's tanks) is that Russia is a far-right, fascist capitalist petrostate that has absolutely nothing to do with USSR. But apparently they think that America has a monopoly on imperialism and war crimes and everything that opposes US Imperialism is good, or at least acceptable. This is a surprisingly neocolonialist and centrist (in a "there are some valid points raised by the Jews and some valid points raised by the NSDAP" kind of way) view.

    It might be worth taking the slightly more charitable view that we lefties are trying to keep the world's largest military from becoming completely fascist too, since we're also a capitalist petrostate. After all, we're neck-deep in our particular bullshit, and prudence dictates we do our best to compost it before it overflows and interferes with your work at containing Putin's bullshit.

    457:

    "But let's say that Putin is replaced by someone who wants to settle this and stop the long-running economic war against Russia, at almost all costs. The question is whether Russia is offered a reasonable deal, or whether the 'west' would go for the jugular."

    As long as it is framed as "economic war against Russia" and "reasonable" as "meet the requirements of our authoritarian system" I rather doubt it. In the long run, I expect that globalism will impose one set of world political/economic/cultural institutions on every country, due to the inefficiencies that arise when incompatible systems try to hook their economies together.

    More and more and I leaning toward the thesis that this has less to do with Putin and more to do with the longstanding tradition of Russian strongmen. That being the case, it would seem to me that anyone who took Putin's place (that is, as a strongman) would have to continue his policies willy nilly, as anything else would undermine the positional power of the strongman (regardless of who that is).

    I fully realize how much of a distance there is between what they have now and any form of functioning Russian democracy, but I rather suspect that either a path must be found, or we end up with a permanent strongman system in the West as well. If only one system is going to survive this century, I want it to be some form of democracy.

    458:

    Heteromeles @ 386: I'll note that the Wikipedia recipe for the Molotov precursor is indeed a mason jar of fuel with a heavy rag stuffed in. They were trying to catch the burning, soaked rag on the treads of the 1930s tanks, and get it to either melt rubber treads, screw up the drive or the passengers. And it was noted as a two-person weapons system that was quite hazardous to use. The Finns named it the Molotov Cocktail, but the ones they manufactured were a sealed bottle with two storm matches taped to it, no wick. They lit the matches and threw the bottle. When the bottle broke, the petroleum cocktail inside lit on the matches.

    Just reporting what I've found, I've never tried to make or use one, so I'm not going to pretend any expertise.

    I know other people do things in other ways than what I was taught in the Army. I was just passing along what I learned AND the reason why the school solution was better ("forget Hollywood" ...).

    I'm not a subject matter expert either (although at one time, many years ago ...). I may sometimes forget that many others worldwide do not have the benefit of my former training. 8^)

    Anyway, the original FaceBork note was: "Pravda Brewery team is hand-bottling today./It’s a very special bottling./ So many people willing to help./We’ll bottle beer later." There's a label with a naked Putin and what looks like "Fuck Putin" on it, and various pictures of people posing with them lit. It's in the classic format of a wine bottle with an open top, white rag, and liquid inside. Pravda Brewery is in Lviv.

    I caught a video of it. They were breaking up chunks of Styrofoam and stuffing them into the bottles. Styrofoam melts when you mix it into gasoline (petrol) and makes a good thickener. The video I saw didn't show how they were preparing them for ignition ... it could be done either way.

    IF I were manufacturing them in Lviv, I wouldn't want to put the wicks in at the brewery. Fill the bottles, cap them off and uncap to insert the wick when they were a lot closer to the site of action.

    PS: I don't remember what chemical was used to make the solution we soaked up in the newspaper before going out to the range for the practical exercise.

    459:

    Robert Prior @ 390:

    It costs more

    Always thought that was the point: more money diverted to certain well-connected companies.

    Could be, but the idea was sold to the Pentagon & Congress that it would cost less & be more efficient.

    And I'll admit that in peacetime it maybe does cost less & may be more efficient ... as long as no one is shooting at your contractors.

    But if someone IS shooting at your contractors, the efficiency drops off drastically & the costs go ballistic.

    460:

    Bo Lindbergh @ 391: Potassium permanganate? Strong oxidant with a taste for hydrocarbons, and water soluble so it works with the soak-and-let-dry step.

    Could be. I was thinking Potassium "something-or-other", so that sounds familiar. The necessary chemicals were readily available.

    But that was before 9/11 ... in fact, before the Oklahoma City bombing.

    The news about the Brewery in Ukraine sparked an old memory.

    If I really wanted to do it, I'd have to find the old TM (Training Manual) & look it up. But why should I? I'm too far away from Ukraine to contribute to that effort. Doing it HERE would just upset the police.

    461:

    David L @ 394:

    A bit of German

    Did they just tell Russia where to shove their gas pipeline?

    The Ukraine Transportation Ministry has been putting up new road signs.

    Best I can figure using a Cyrillic keyboard I found on-line & Google Translate, the sign is in Russian and reads:

    Suck a dick
    Go fuck yourself
    Fuck off back to Russia

    462:

    Could be, but the idea was sold to the Pentagon & Congress that it would cost less & be more efficient.

    The movement of government stuff to the private sector is almost always sold publicly as costing less and being more efficient.

    But it is really about using government money to create profits for the right people.

    The privatization of British Rail in the 90s was sold as eliminating the need for government subsidy because the private sector would be so much more efficient. Instead the UK government is subsidizing the railways at a level British Rail could only dream of (and periodically fighting to control that spending).

    463:

    Do feel free to compare it to the "shock and awe" attack on Bagdad, a city of what was in, three quarters of a million people "but our "smart missiles" only hit bad things and people".

    They don't seem to be using cruise missiles on Kyev.

    464:

    Since you clearly misunderstood, I was referring to the actions of the USA in the period 1991-2012. No, Russia was not the only country that it was (and is) waging economic warfare against, but bullying third-party countries not to trade with country X (including most sanctions) is economic warfare, however cuddly a name you give it.

    465:

    Shows how badly they're freaking out over this.

    The vibe I'm getting (I'm German) is more cold fury than freaking out.

    Germany has been trying for quite a while to be the conciliating face of the west towards Russia, to try to make peace by trade. Well that didn't work, so now on to things that may work better.

    Regarding keeping the nuclear plants running: the remaining ones are overdue maintenance, and the money needed to give them an overhaul and start them up again is much better spent building out renewables. Wind parks on land were mostly made impossible to site due to distance to next habitation requirements; that'll have to go. Then agro-solar (currently most solar fields in Bavaria are pasture, but it has been demonstrated that quite a few other crops but grass coexist well). Transformation of surplus electricity into gas (the tanks for 6 months of current usage through winter exist), and if you stop levying EEG on that gas -twice- (both on the electricity needed to generate the gas and then using the gas), it's even competitive.

    Germany has been leaning on the housing market for quite a while to become more energy efficient; we need roughly another month of heating and then we're going to be good until mid October to November. Given that the package decided today contains two liquid gas terminals, I would suspect that come the next heating period Germany will not depend on Russian gas (but in a pleasant future, may choose to buy some because the crisis has resolved and the price is ok).

    I do hope some people have an exit strategy from the current situation that doesn't require miracles. There's the old saying about building golden bridges for the use of your adversary. Germany offering a juicy deal that tastes sufficiently of winning is probably not going to be it this time.

    466:

    I wonder about the effectiveness of the Russian army at this point.

    Imagine being a younger conscript. It's 2022, and information is harder to control. Some information is reaching the Russian troops about the fierce resistance.

    There has to be an incentive to delay reaching the fighting. Perhaps getting "lost" for awhile. Perhaps a vehicle "breaks down".

    Now there are ways for a commander to avoid this, but that creates limits and vulnerabilities.

    It is one thing to advance when the enemy is demoralized and fleeing. It is another thing to advance when the enemy is determined and staying.

    467:

    I have a different, and more complicated view. Then, recently, the last eight or so years, they've been asking for security assurances, and the West absolutely refuses to offer any whatsoever, dead stop. Therefore, at least some of their paranoia is justified.

    On the other side, there's internal factions. Ignoring them is like assuming that President Biden has complete control, and there's no dissension in the US. I'm 100% positive there is a faction that wants to restore Czarist/Soviet Russia. There's got to be another faction that understands it can't be done, it's Humpty Dumpty. I suspect that a good part of the military is in that faction, though something that gives me nightmares is the section of the military that I'm sure exists that's in the first faction.

    And then, of course, there are the oligarchs, who are as interested in changing the industrial makeup of Russia as much as, say, the Waltons of Walmart, or the Koch brothers are in moving production back to the US, or the transition to the post-petrochemical future.

    As I said, a lot more complicated. What really has me in a quandary is what happened in the last week and a half to suddenly push Putin into what he had to know was a Bad Idea. And the descriptions of his looks and speech seriously concern me... and then the question is who's actually running the show?

    1. The West also expected, with the first part of the revolution in Russia (w/ Kerensky), that Russia was going to go exactly the same way as the "Sick Man of Europe" (the Ottoman Empire), and were rubbing their hands in greed at picking it up as they did the Middle East. And were appalled when the Soviets came in. (Note that the US didn't recognize the USSR until FDR came in in '33.) The same was true when the USSR collapsed, and they thought they were going to buy it for a song... and were appalled that Russians bought it for a song. Note that there was never any serious attempt to aid Russia after that, even though there was actual starvation - the "help offered" was all "we'll help if you let us buy you for pennies on the dollar", and not even disguised as other
    2. There never was been major trade with the USSR. Why did Nixon go to China, and not try to do the same to the USSR? (Please don't tell me that opening trade would not have been acceptable - China they saw as cheap labor.) And if you don't think that there's been unremitting economic warfare, please feel free to quote arsehole Sen. Ted Cruz on how the US hasn't blockaded Cuba for 60 years.

    Finally - tankies. If that was against me, personally, then feel free to go through the last 10 or so years of this blog, and point out where I did not refer to Stalin as a homicidal psychopath. Then feel free to shove your slander where the sun don't shine (and I don't mean Oz).

    468:

    Africa - as opposed to the senseless borders drawn as the colonialists left, setting up rivalries and internal conflicts? ("Miss us yet?")

    469:

    Exactly what I was going to say - 9-1.

    470:

    For the US, join an inner-city gang? (US wrong-wing "militias" are not the way to go.)

    471:

    The traditional components are no longer common: Fells-Naptha Soap Flakes and gasoline.

    472:

    Ah, yes, contractors. That would be the folks who for, what, three? six? more" months after the US went into Iraq, were NOT PROVIDING the troops adequate water, because - this phrase sticks in my mind from a mainstream news source at the time - "they were having trouble getting insurance for their employees to go into a war zone to prove supplies to the troops."

    Don't outsource. More expensive? Well, gee, maybe not go into wars that fast.

    473:

    I strongly doubt that there are bombers with nukes in the area right now. For one, a chance of them being shot down would be really, really bad news. For another... they're massive bombers. Do a search, and you can find videos from 'Nam of B-52s dropping huge numbers of bombs on Vietnam. We dropped more bombs on them than we did in WWII on Germany.

    474:

    It's a plot. I know plots, and They are plotting against you. sigh
    Sorry, Charlie, that seriously sucks. We're hoping to visit in '24....

    475:

    Yep. This is a terrible time for this - in the US, we're trying to get our police and military to get rid of the fascists who joined... and if you think I'm exaggerating, you're not looking at US news.

    476:

    There were various ADS and Flightradar tracks of B-52H's flying out of Mildenhall on exercise in the week before the invasion kicked off. That's not unusual insofar as the UK really is "Airstrip One" for the USAF's strategic bombers, a handly stopping point on their way to anywhere in Europe or the Middle East.

    But they don't usually fly with nuclear weapons any more, and when they do they try not to spend any time on anyone else's soil.

    The thing about a B-52H today is that it can carry the thick end of a hundred JDAMs -- 500lb or 1000lb GPS-guided smart bombs. They can do a real number on anything that isn't a nuke-hardened bunker, and a B-52's worth of them is as effective as a tactical nuke against a well-mapped enemy target. Or even armoured vehicles in the field (newer guidance packages can have their target coordinates updated in near real time).

    In a hot war with Russia, though, those B-52s aren't going to go anywhere near contested airspace. (They're nothing like as survivable as a B-2 or B-1B.) So I'm not sure what the hell they were doing there ...

    477:

    Closer would be... Fuck Off Fuck Off Again Fuck Off (Back) To Russia ...I think.

    478:

    "Closer would be... Fuck Off Fuck Off Again Fuck Off (Back) To Russia ...I think."

    I agree. It's Ukrainian, but pretty close to Russian so I can figure it out.

    479:

    Don't outsource. More expensive? Well, gee, maybe not go into wars that fast.

    The point of trying to use LOGCAP style contractors is they are much cheaper in peacetime because you don't pay them since you aren't using their services. If you want the uniformed military to cook meals and do the laundry on the base camp, you have to pay them for that period and the 20 years of peacetime service and retirement that they qualify for. So if you expect 20 years of peace, go with a bigger military and no contractors for increased flexibility. If you are expecting peace, the contractors are a lot cheaper.

    As for Iraq, I was there for part of 2003-04. I remember a lot of stories about price gouging, but none about inadequate water.

    480:

    In a hot war with Russia, though, those B-52s aren't going to go anywhere near contested airspace. (They're nothing like as survivable as a B-2 or B-1B.) So I'm not sure what the hell they were doing there ...

    Just an uninformed guess, but my assumption is that any Russian military unit that makes it into NATO space will be on the receiving end of some of what the B-52s are carrying, assuming they're the first part of the incident response to be on scene. And possibly the rest of the unit that's still in Ukraine will get the rest of the B-52s payload, as a way to de-escalate WW3 by making it impossible to continue the incursion. My truly wild guess is that this will make a swath of Ukraine next to those borders no-go zones for the Russians and Belorussians as a rule of engagement (don't be stupid and start WW3, corporal. We know who all your living family members are), which will provide a bit of a safe operating zone for the Ukrainians if they need it.

    481:

    I'm also curious about whether Putin accidentally set up a cognitive dissonance trap. Any Russian troops who were naive enough to think thought that they were going in to Ukraine to liberate the Russian homeland might be shocked to be told they weren't wanted and to fuck off back home. Presumably this would have some negative morale effects on the conscripts? Knowing that they'd just been ordered to push on when they're waist deep in a big quagmire.

    Speaking of references to previous wars, I figured someone would notice the parallels between "toasting the Queen with Irish whiskey" and "toasting Putin's Army with Russian gas." Guess it was too unfunny to comment on. Equally unfunny: the updated version of old toast "Here's to a sudden plague and a bloody war" (the two things that speed up promotions) is probably "Here's to more Covid and a bloody quagmire." Wonder if that translates?

    482:

    David L @ 399: But what is the end game of shipping 1000 anti tank weapons and 500 stingers to be fired at the guys who own the source end of your primary heating source?

    The Russians had about 1,300 tanks & about 150 helicopters staged for the invasion before they kicked off. Ukraine has already taken a heavy toll on tanks, trucks, aircraft with the weapons they had on hand. Resupply will help Ukraine to keep fighting.

    Germany has decided to put on an extra sweater rather than give in to Russia's gas pipeline blackmail. It's just another digitus impududicus in Putin's face.

    PS: You can take out a single tank with an ATGM, but you can also use those ATGMs to take out the fuel trucks or the trucks carrying ammunition, and if you do that ...

    484:

    thatsthejoke.jpg

    If you actually read / parse what we say, rather than the journalists who killfile and keep to their safe ponds, we kinda defer to the High-IQ Minds who read. Greg doesn't get the compliments, but we keep on saying them. Unrequited love, it's one of the classics.

    Then again, you have to understand that all the information that you share is vastly outdated for us.

    It's not Grade A like Iain's was,

    harsh

    Not really: Host himself is selfaware enough (and been involved enough) in the Scottish SF scene renaissance to have literally said the same thing in interviews. I think you're kinda mis-reading genuine regret Iain wasn't here to eviscerate the Tories this decade over "internet insult Mind-Set". I mean, you can probably get Ken (MacLeod) to acknowledge the same thing - that's what good authors do.

    ~

    Points:

    1) SWIFT + US energy carve outs: NatGas still flows and it's a big bag of nothing if you consider RU has been planning for it for 8 years. File under: read the FinTwit people who know, it's good for Press, technically bodged. Even Javier Blas (the energy wonk from Bloomberg who called the NatGas acceleration early) has been like: "So what".

    2) BP / Norway Oil diversification: actual big moves. Buuuut.... fairly sure the BP cut-out clause is about spinning off a clade and not reporting it on Western Markets, not actual diversificiation. Norway... again: hmm. Germany? Whelp, that ex-Head of Secret Service... still heading to Oil Money. Put it this way: the only way you get an Oil Major to dump $25 billion is either if you offer them $100 billion the next day or you take their entire C suite hostage and start executing them. Which... even the Russians don't do.

    As we said: look to the Arctic. Then... do a little digging. Faaaaaaaaaaaaairly sure we know where the Money is looking. Hint.Hint.Hint.

    Or if you want to play big-boy-pants: they just switch it into Exploration (non Green Deal covered areas) and call it a PR win.

    3) Fertlisers is big (told you: [1]) which has lined up the big players and RU is using to solidify the "de-Dollarisation" part of all of this.

    And, we'll tell you this again: check the prices out and why (NatGas) various countries have shuttered to protect local markets.

    You're completely fucked if RU+CN decide a couple of years of lean flows teaches a lesson, CAN can't supply it all and various BRICS (IN as noted) have already carved cut-out deals.

    So, yeah: a Tory UK polito offering Ukrainians seasonal picking work gets a lot darker if you suddenly (check the prices out) quadruple your base fert. costs.

    Which has happened for you perusal

    4) We haven't spent years watching both sides in the Donbas areas and larger Ukraine because we don't give a shit. But... like the Ghost of Kyiv, the amount of trash bullshit Anglo Media and the Ukraine has put out in the last few days is actually hurting their cause. You either get the jokes or don't. Oh, and you should probably know which Oligarchs are behind Z., big in US Steel and dubious shit there, and (of course) he has an IL passport.

    Literally, dudes: it's a case of "which side of this Oligarch piss-fest you want to take" if you actually know the politics rather than the Psycho-History-Drama-Show you're being encouraged to wank over.

    Oh, and just like Putin: Z's Oligarch is welllll known for killing off his opposition. Should look him up, the US State Department (Pre-Trump) considered him active measures enough to keep a public statement on hand about him.

    There are no good guys in this, literally. They've all killed multiple innocent people, so cut the bullshit out.

    5) Having actually run the data, RU is being very "softly-softly" in Ukraine at the moment. It's not exactly Gaza right now. This is deliberate and the offers to their .mil structure are probably genuine.

    And for all the peeps commenting on how second grade / Conscript all the stuff being sent is... well.

    That's true. It's up to you to think about if that's the aged-out-husk of an ex-Empire or if the larger picture is a bit weirder and long term and RU simply isn't spending its gold coins on the Kissenger Show.

    6) The Nuclear thing - wellll.

    Depends on how scared you want to be. Here's your data point: Perhaps "Cuba Syndrome" wasn't the Russians, or Chinese and was something else.

    Now, you go watch the Eurovision video again.

    Non-Human response: "PSYCHOSIS PENALTIES ENGAGED"

    Yeah, they're not fucking around.

    For the record: None of you are coming out of this looking good. Why did NatGas and Fertilisers (and Lumber and so on) spike? Because instead of being Mature Minds, you fucking whacked up the juice, everyone got a trillion trillion dollars richer and nothing got sorted.

    Kudos to the UK author quoting "New Model Army" Here Comes the War (check Gibson's feed, it's linked).

    ~

    Now there's a Man with his hand on the pulse (grep it).

    [1] EXCLUSIVE-India in talks on multi-year fertiliser import deal with Russia -sources https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/exclusive-india-in-talks-on-multi-year-fertiliser-import-deal-with-russia-sources

    485:

    Troutwaxer @ 410: I'm sorry, but I'm missing a piece of slang. What is a "tankie?"

    Traditionally (originally?) it was a pejorative applied to Stalinists in the Communist Party of Great Britain who parroted the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's party line defending the use of tanks to crush the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and again to crush the 1968 Prague Spring uprising.

    It re-surfaced on the internet recently (ca 2014) as a pejorative for Putin's supporters who blame the west for Putin's "Look what you made me do"...waaaaaah! annexation of Crimea, instigation of separatist puppet militia regimes in eastern Ukraine, along with all of his other aggression, violation of treaties & international agreements and most of all blaming Ukraine & NATO for Putin's current invasion intended to murder democracy in Ukraine.

    Plus any and all idiot assholes parroting Putin's "NATO promised LIE.

    They drank the Kool-Ade, and now they're trying to force the rest of us to drink it.

    486:

    "And the descriptions of his looks and speech seriously concern me... and then the question is who's actually running the show?"

    A very good question indeed. Are we looking at the demented king losing it badly, or is there a Wormtongue in the picture?

    487:

    Richard H @ 420: (Also a projectile for teacher to intimidate pupils.)

    ... and vice versa.

    488:

    renke_ @ 429: Will he lose with grace or try to break the game board for everyone?

    He WON'T lose with grace.

    How far he'll get with the other option I don't know. I don't think his inner circle, the military and the Duma signed up for a national suicide pact, but how far he can push a suicidal agenda before someone screws up their courage to the sticking point ...?

    489:

    It's not suicide if what is being offered is worse than Nuclear War. Mental Slavery, Psychosis, your children's Minds being ravaged, the whoooole hot-dog.

    Abrahamic Religions, maaan.

    Hey, here's a good film (it's a shit film that mis-represents historical truth): A Beautiful Mind https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0268978/

    "BABYLON"

    A very good question indeed. Are we looking at the demented king losing it badly, or is there a Wormtongue in the picture?

    Ohh, so close.

    The Prodigy - Their Law (Live in Russia): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKNoU2P0dQc

    ~

    It's still Feb 2022. We're just getting started. :D

    490:

    "You can take out a single tank with an ATGM, but you can also use those ATGMs to take out the fuel trucks or the trucks carrying ammunition,"

    Not to engage in milporn or anything, but my guess would be that Germany is providing Panzerfaust-3, similar to the Russian RPG-x series of antitank weapons. Highly portable, some effect against tanks, but really bad news for the kind of vehicles you mention.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerfaust_3

    491:

    This is bullshit.

    It re-surfaced on the internet recently (ca 2014) as a pejorative for Putin's supporters who blame the west for Putin's "Look what you made me do"...waaaaaah! annexation of Crimea, instigation of separatist puppet militia regimes in eastern Ukraine, along with all of his other aggression, violation of treaties & international agreements and most of all blaming Ukraine & NATO for Putin's current invasion intended to murder democracy in Ukraine.

    Wrong.

    Liar, Liar.

    "Tankie" has a long lineage of stuff, but these days: it's a Twitter put-down for Western NEETS. Usually about China, actually.

    Literally, not applied to Putanists.

    Absolutely everyone uses it about... not the 1968 revolution (from which whence it came) but Tiannnnammmmmaaaan Square. It's almost exclusively applied to CN apologists these days, nothing to do with Russia or ancient CCCP history.

    You know, if you want some truth and not bullshit.

    HEY, REMEMBER OLD BOOMERS: THEY'VE NOT BEEN COMMUNISTS FOR 30 YEARS NOW AND THE Z GENERATION KNOW THIS

    492:

    Greg Tingey @ 441Duffy
    Russian soldiers (mostly frightened, barely trained conscripts) are starting to surrender first chance they get. ... IF, If, if ... that is true, then it's a very hopeful sign.

    I don't do Twitter, but I have figured out how to read some Twitter threads on the WWW.

    Twitter thread - author explains why the Russian advance in Ukraine is a cluster-fuck.

    I think the above link should take you to his thread.

    I don't know anything about the author, but some of the parts in the thread jibe with other things I already knew and I didn't find anything I know he got wrong.

    Among other things it helps explain why a Russian tank battalion ran out of gas on a Ukraine highway.

    Brave Ukrainian offers to tow Russians home in priceless exchange [YouTube] - from The Independent

    493:

    Finally - tankies. If that was against me, personally, then feel free to go through the last 10 or so years of this blog, and point out where I did not refer to Stalin as a homicidal psychopath.

    it was probably against me, i think i've been more vocally anti-nato than you, and that looks like pro-russian to those for whom nuance is an unaffordable luxury

    and now nato is receiving the biggest boost for decades

    nice one, vlad

    494:

    Highly portable, some effect against tanks, but really bad news for the kind of vehicles you mention.

    Given this is not tanks on tanks, I suspect there will be lots of small groups on hills and nearby woods aiming at the sides of the tanks on the move. Take out the treads on a fewe and you make a mess of a group trying to us the highways.

    But it might be considered a suicide job.

    And once you get into cities, side shots at tanks become even more effective.