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Casimir's Gift

How the Jews Came to Poland (966-1370)

28.09.22 | Duarte Pacheco Pereira

Wiec from the time of the Polish king Casimir III (1333–1370) [1200 × 800].jpg

Wiec from the time of the Polish king Casimir III (1333–1370)



Casimir III the Great

Casimir III the Great
(Polish: Kazimierz III Wielki; 30 April 1310 – 5 November 1370) reigned as the King of Poland from 1333 to 1370. He also later became King of Ruthenia in 1340, and fought to retain the title in the Galicia-Volhynia Wars. He was the third son of Ladislaus the Short and Jadwiga of Kalisz, and the last Polish king from the Piast dynasty.

Casimir inherited a kingdom weakened by war and made it prosperous and wealthy. He reformed the Polish army and doubled the size of the kingdom. He reformed the judicial system and introduced a legal code, gaining the title “the Polish Justinian”. Casimir built extensively and founded the Jagiellonian University (back then simply called the University of Krakow), the oldest Polish university and one of the oldest in the world. He also confirmed privileges and protections previously granted to Jews and encouraged them to settle in Poland in great numbers.

Casimir left no sons. When he died in 1370 from an injury received while hunting, his nephew, King Louis I of Hungary, succeeded him as king of Poland in personal union with Hungary.

Map of Poland and territorial borders during the reign of Casimir III the Great (1333–1370) [1000 × 950].jpg

Poland (red) at the end of the reign of Casimir III (1370);
Silesia (yellow) had been lost, but the kingdom was expanding to the east.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
This page was last edited on 17 September 2022, at 21:18 (UTC).



Casimir's Gift:

How the Jews Came to Poland (966-1370)










Newton vs Ursula

The EUthanized EUropean nat-gas “reserves”

20.09.22 | Duarte Pacheco Pereira

Newton & Ursula [950 × 480].jpg

Isaac Newton (1643-1727) & Ursula von der Leyen (1958-????)


by Jorge Vilches for the Saker blog 
at The Vineyar of the Saker on September 16, 2022

There are plenty of formal peer-reviewed industry papers and articles published in specialized international oil & gas journals regarding theoretical “huge volumes” of supposed European nat-gas “reserves”. Supposedly, such reserves would “solve” the absolutely unnecessary self-inflicted European nat-gas crisis. Furthermore, there are lots of curious back-of-the-envelope ´calculations´ plus added blah blah blah with the very same prognosis in mind. And even some European Commission members are on record describing a highly optimistic outlook on how long ( months ! ) would Europe´s natural gas reserves ´easily´ last after Russia stops delivering its traditional and highly reliable (and cheap) nat-gas feedstock. The hard part though — not ever explained by bureaucratic ignoramuses — is exactly how such nat-gas reserves would be forced out of their current storage without any back-flow pressure from Russian nat-gas to push it as required by Isaac Newton´s fluid mechanics, who if alive today would obviously be a hard-core Brexiteer.

high school physics

The problem starts when ignorant fools dream up the idea that nat-gas reserves can be used as a 100% substitute for nat-gas flowing feedstocks. They simply cannot, period. Actually, God invented nat-gas reserves as a supplement to – not a substitute of – flowing nat-gas feedstocks so that in high demand season (European winter) the cheaper nat-gas reserves piled up during low consumption season (European summer) could be added to help satisfying winter´s high demand. Nat-gas reserves are good for nothing more than that and definetly not a substitute of flowing feedstocks.

enter nat-gas reserves

Obviously, it´s very hard to know exactly what type and practical-use nat-gas “storage” capabilities different European countries have available today. For sure, such nat-gas European storage facilities are heterogenous and also varying from country to country. And we also know that in this case high-school physics still do matter much. Accordingly, many / most above-ground atmospheric pressure nat-gas reserve tanks or highly pressurized subsurface caverns by themselves will not work as expected unless a backflow – even at very low flow rates and inflow pressures — is constantly maintained from the Russian pipeline source… thus pushing the stored nat-gas out. Otherwise, in the event that the Russian pipeline were completely shut-off, Newtonian physics ( how ironic ) would not allow, for example, to suction nat-gas out of its current storage as a vacuum would be drawn making outflow impossible.

no flow, how come ?

So, as suction is impossible, once Russian pipeline nat-gas inflow stops dead (which Russia intends to do…) such European stored gas would not be naturally displaced or “moved along” to elsewhere it may be needed be it for power generation or anything else. And if the Russian nat-gas backflow / push pressure were substituted by any other gas or mixtures thereof (air or otherwise) the Russian pure nat-gas already stored would soon inter-mix and dilute beyond possible practical use as European installations and equipment are contractually fine-tuned for pure Russian nat-gas, not anything else…

Apocalypse now

The proven “possible” partial solutions for this huge problem are 3 and only 3 but for which no need has ever existed to actually attempt full European daily supply. All three have serious problems, including the low volume of nat-gas that can be extracted daily does not anywhere meet current European consumption needs. So one possible solution is having a “piston-like” storage tank system whereby the nat-gas already stored is “pushed out” by a huge piston-like surface within a special “variable geometry” storage tank. We can´t know if these very special “syringe” facilities are already installed in the right places and working as needed, but most probably they are not. Usually such tanks are tiny small in comparison to what Europe now needs and only practical for occasional use in very specific industrial feedstocks. They are very rare, very small, expensive, unreliable… and difficult to operate.

the second (bad) chance

The second possibility is storing nat-gas under ultra-high pressure, either inside underground caverns or on surface tanks. These are terribly expensive as well as über-dangerous to the point of ´not-in-my-back-yard´ urban locations. These also require tons of specialized operation and maintenance. Delivery is very slow with lots of residual nat-gas always left behind. Peak demand higher speed delivery can only be maintained momentarily. And as the nat-gas is depleted the outflow pressure decreases requiring even further equipment and complications plus cumbersome facilities and expertise, etc. Nat-gas outflow necessarily means nat-gas expansion which added to freezing mid-winter conditions leads to highly complicated temperature-management issues that no one seems to know or care about. Eventually they will, trust me.

No.3 no lucky charm

The third possibility is trying to substitute the required Russian pipeline nat-gas flow (soon absent) with LNG backflow from LNG seaborne terminals to ´push out´ the Russian nat-gas stored in surface tanks or underground. But pulling such un-planned experiment would require enormous amount of time (!!!) detailed engineering, plans & specs, lots of funding, specialized personnel and equipment etc etc etc to timely hook up to the current storage tanks (or subsurface caverns) connecting them to the LNG sources which anyway are not nearly enough to cover for European needs as things now stand. So no matter how much and how hard they hurry to conclude such shambolic and highly expensive – and risky — projects of sorts, still the required LNG shipping freight fleet from far away sources is nowhere to be found while October far colder temperatures are only two weeks away.

LNG kaputt ?

Furthermore, talking about LNG terminals for whichever use or application, it is obvious that them all are necessarily risky in what engineers call “a single point of failure”. If, for whatever reasons – navigational, operational, technical, commercial or otherwise – such LNG terminals were “out of order”… as everyday Germans would say… it´d be a European LNG “kaputt”.

can run but not hide

All three storage possibilities require adequate distribution of such throughout Europe (!!!) data collection, funding, experimentation, fine tuning, developing 3D static and dynamic geological models, precise characterization of the storage behavior thru time elapsed, sensitivities analyses, risk assessments, cost-benefit calculations, feasibility studies, engineering, EU certification, commissioning, inter-connection for sharing between countries, etc. etc. etc.

So the above summarized description should have unforeseen consequences as all of the European 2 months and

3-months “winter-proof” reserves we get to hear about from smart-ass know-it-alls would probably be nonsensical without the constant push from Russian pipeline nat-gas back-flow at least at a minimum flow rate and pressure to mobilize the already stored nat-gas. So whenever we hear about supposed European nat-gas storage “reserves” please recall that such were conceived and implementable only if Russian pipeline nat-gas inflow were constantly maintained ( not anymore ) with at least a minimum inflow rate and pressure.

flatten the curve ?

Of course, we may assume that these nat-gas ´reserves´ could help out Europe somewhat somehow in yet un-defined ways. Or maybe not, and the whole idea is just to ´flatten the curve´ somewhat by stretching the narrative a bit but still freezing the EU out just two weeks later. But whichever way European nat-gas reserve volumes are diced or sliced, as the EU war against Russia is now plain obvious, this winter Europe will most probably have to do without direct sale of Russian nat-gas. Or maybe Europe does end up buying LNG originally sourced with Russian nat-gas but liquefied and sold through intermediary third parties at an unbelievably high price and only available on a hit-and-miss basis.

German “perfection” (not)

This would not be the first time that a simple yet gross mis-calculation takes place at an enormously grand scale. During WW2 the Luftwaffe infamously erred in its capabilities to air-bridge Lt. General Friedrich von Paulus isolated 6th. Army with supplies and gear to withstand and possibly overcome the Russian defenses at Stalingrad. This dramatic German failure enabled the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad and the loss of almost one million Wehrmacht soldiers either killed, wounded, starved or imprisoned as a result of the “cauldron” the Russian Army encircled them with to achieve the shamefull German unconditional surrender.

Original text and readear's comments here.


Winter is coming soon… [800 × 800].jpg









Norsemen War

Western Norsemen against Eastern Norsemen

15.09.22 | Duarte Pacheco Pereira

Nicholas Roerich, Guests from Overseas [1200 × 900].jpg

Guests from Overseas (1901) by Nicholas Roerich, depicting a Varangian/Viking raid.


The British, who descend from the Vikings, the Western Norsemen, are at war with the Russians, who descend from the Varangians, the Eastern Norsemen.


An article published on The Saker blog, followed by a short comment by a Portuguese.



A Turning-Point

Once Every 500 Years


Eurasia Comercial Routes [1200 × 480].jpg

By Batiushka for The Saker blog
At The Vineyard of the Saker on September 14, 2022 • Has comments


Introduction: The Old Queen

I recall some forty years ago meeting an elderly English lady, a farmer’s wife called Mrs Dove, who had been present as a schoolgirl at the funeral of Queen Victoria. ‘When the old Queen died all those years ago’, she reminisced nostalgically, ‘everything was draped in black and everyone was dressed in black’. Now Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter, the new ‘old Queen’, is dead, the news announced beneath a rainbow over Windsor Castle. This is the town whose name the Queen’s grandfather, George V, had adopted as the family name, instead of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The Windsor name was officially adopted on 17 July 1917, just after the British-orchestrated Russian ‘Revolution’ of 1917, one year to the day before the Tsar and his Family were murdered in Ekaterinburg, on the very frontiers of Europe and Asia. The Russian Tsar had been betrayed by his look-alike cousin, King George V.

Whatever you say about Queen Elizabeth II, she personally had modesty, she had dignity, she had presence, she actually believed in something, she had all that her descendants seem utterly to lack. Perhaps her end was hastened by the behaviour of her son Prince Andrew, her grandson Prince Harry and the imbeciles who inhabit 10 Downing Street, the latest of whom she had to appoint Prime Minister only two days before she died. Why live any longer? She must have been fed up with it all. This is the final, final end of the Protestant Empire of Great Britain (1522-2022) (1), whose collapse began exactly three generations ago in 1947 in India. Perhaps the decline will go swiftly now under the disliked King Charles III (called in Russian Karl III) (2), who finds himself without Queen Diana, the only one who could have saved him. Expect the break-up of the UK to be rapid.

The 96 year-old Queen Elizabeth II died in Scotland, in Victoria’s castle at Balmoral, a relic of the 19th century and its British Empire. Her curious, clipped Germanic accent – no English people talk like that – betrayed the Queen’s foreign origins as the last of the rulers shaped by German Protestantism, imported by the City of London merchant and financial class just over 300 years before. However, it is not only her, it is the other leaders of the Western world, relics of the 20th century, who are dying out too. They are gerontocrats. In the USA Biden, born in the first half of the 20th century and soon to be 80, should really be in an old folk’s home. It is cruel to keep parading him in front of the media like that and asking him to remember things. As for Pope Francis, aged 85, he can hardly walk and says that he too might go early, like his predecessor, still alive at 95, a relic forced to serve in the Hitler Youth.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front

After the humiliating debacle in Afghanistan in August 2021, when the Americans were kicked out and NATO was routed, the Asian century arrived. While Queen Elizabeth II was dying, senior representatives from sixty-eight countries were gathering at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast, a centre of the new multipolar world. They were there to listen to Moscow’s economic and political vision for the Asia-Pacific after the fall of the obsolete unipolar Western Empire. President Putin declared: ‘The new world order is based on the fundamental principles of justice and equality, as well as the recognition of the right of each state and people to their own sovereign path of development. Powerful political and economic centres are being formed right here in the Asia-Pacific region, acting as a driving force in this irreversible process’.

The Russian future is marked by the development of the Russian Arctic and of the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic. On the Northern Sea Route the emphasis is on building a powerful, modern fleet of icebreakers, some nuclear-powered. There is a long-term plan up to 2035 to create infrastructure for safe shipping navigation and a transformation in Arctic navigation and shipbuilding that has been under way for the last few years. A second development for Russia is the International North-South Transportation Corridor with one of its main ports in Chabahar in Iran. Now for the first time India will be directly connected to Central Asia. An Iranian shipping line with 300 vessels which link to Mumbai is taking part in the development of this Transportation Corridor. The creation of such a transport corridor is also leading to the integration of national transit systems in several countries.

In one week’s time the Samarkand Summit of the multipolar Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) will take place. Apart from the current full members – Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and now Iran – no fewer than eleven more countries wish to join, including Afghanistan and Turkey, making potentially twenty in all. The SCO Summit is to examine economic cooperation with the aim of solving health, energy, food security and poverty reduction issues. India too wants an Asian century, for which close cooperation between India, China and Russia is necessary. For now India is not competitive and needs to diversify to obtain improved access to Eurasia, thanks to logistical help from Russia. Russia will also play a vital role in the Indian Ocean with the need for close co-operation between ‘The Big Three’, Russia, India and China.

We must recall that Asia alone has over 25% of the world’s GDP and 50% of the world’s population. Asia is no longer a series of countries subject to colonisation by Europe and the USA, but the agent for planetary change. The Asian century is here. There is also a global movement to join the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and Argentina. It all means that the Global Majority is no longer the US/CA/UK/EU/AUS/NZ and a few US colonies like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. It is Afro-Eurasia-Latin America, 87.5% of the world. Someone is going to have to find a snappy new name for this alphabet soup, EEF, SCO, BRICS, perhaps something like G2022 or simply ‘The Alliance’? All trade in it will be in bilateral currencies, not in the dollar. The centre has passed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Atlantic is becoming a backwater. This is a New Age.

Meanwhile, on the Western Front

The Eastern Economic Forum showed how most Asian nations are ‘friendly’ or ‘neutral’ towards the Russian Special Military Operation (SMO) in the Ukraine. They know that the Russian Armed Forces and the Russian State had been seeking peace and protection for those of Russian speech and culture in the Ukraine for eight years. The Operation was imposed on them by the incredible belligerence and arrogance of the West. Recently the US-backed and mercenary-led Kiev Armed Forces launched a counter-offensive to the south and east of the Ukraine towards Kherson and took many casualties for minor success. Kiev has been trying to compensate for that counter-offensive, where they lost two motorised brigades and over 300 tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery, with strikes to the north-west of Kharkov. But here too Kiev has been suffering such heavy losses that they have had to send reserves. The Allied forces have trapped the Kiev Army and its mercenaries in the open. Do not believe the absurd propaganda that Russia is losing.

According to a document signed by the Commander of the Armed Forces of the Ukraine, General Zaluzhny, by the beginning of July 2022, 76,640 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed (ten weeks on, it must be nearly 100,000). With the seriously wounded generally at a ratio of 1 to 1, this means that up to 200,000 Kiev troops may have been put out of action permanently. And that does not include deserters, captured and missing in action, which could make another 50,000. This confirms earlier reports that total Kiev casualties, those permanently out of the fighting, are a horrendous 250,000. In any case Ukrainian hospitals are overflowing, as friends from the Ukraine on Telegram and Whatsapp tell me every day. Indeed, a great many wounded have had to be sent to hospitals in Poland, which are also crowded, at least in Eastern Poland.

On the other hand, in all the Allies appear to have lost about 10,000 killed, most of them from the Donbass militias. This could mean up to 25,000 out of the fight permanently on their side. That is one tenth of Kiev’s casualties. With such huge Kiev losses, many are suggesting that Zelensky and his puppeteers in Washington and London are in fact guilty of war crimes. Nobody in his right mind sends his troops to the slaughter like this. Hitler proved that. Most analysts and observers consider that the conflict could end towards the end of next year or it could be slowed down till early 2024. By then the Allied Armed Forces could have liberated the nine provinces of Eastern Ukraine and demilitarised the nine provinces of Central Ukraine. This would leave the seven provinces of Western Ukraine, the real ‘borderlands’ (the meaning of the word ‘Ukraine’), 20% of the whole, to be returned to other countries, with five provinces going to Poland, one (Chernovtsy) to Romania and one (Zakarpat’e) to Hungary.

The New Ukraine, or whatever it may be called, may well become a Russian Protectorate, as may Belarus after Lukashenko (it already is in effect just that), and also Kazakhstan, which needs Russia, if only for military and economic reasons. We believe that the three collapsing and heavily depopulated Baltic States will also end up the same way, once their American puppet elites have gone. We would expect that Serbia, Serbian Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbian Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia, though remaining fully independent, will also loosely ally themselves with the Russian Federation, if only for energy reasons. And we would say the same of Orthodox Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Cyprus, and perhaps also of Catholic Hungary. Such an alliance in a very loose Confederation is what Stalin failed to do in 1945. In such a context we foresee the collapse of EU tyranny.

Conclusion: The Eurasian Future

Time is running out for the Combined West as a United World Power. It is formed from a parasitical elite and the peoples, zombified, hoodwinked and betrayed by that elite’s lying propaganda (remember that Goebbels too was a Westerner). All its front organisations, the UN, the EU, the G7, the G20, NATO, the WEF, the IMF, the World Bank etc, have failed. Today, the USA is bitterly divided, some would say, it is on the brink of a Civil War. Australia has become China’s mine. Most of the bankrupt EU and UK look like failed states. Japan is also bankrupt. Taiwan is inevitably returning to China. Korea will be reunified.

The only future for Western Europe is in an alliance with its natural partner, Asia, or rather Eurasia, which means Europe eating humble pie and going through Russia and accepting its leadership and respecting its culture. After reintegrating with Asia, from which it had artificially cut itself off in history, and coming out of its arrogant, navel-gazing isolation, Europe will next have to integrate Afro-Eurasia. This is the sense of the three generations of immigration to Western Europe from Asia and Africa. For Europe it is all about reintegrating the world and realising that it is now on an equal footing with it.

What a time to be alive! I remember so very well the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and all that followed in Romania, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union soon after. That was a turning point, 50 years after 1939 such a one as happens every 50 years. However, that was just the first part of a much greater change, that which is happening now. For what we are living through now via the Ukraine is a turning-point that happens once every 500 years. And the death of Queen Elizabeth II is the very symbol of this huge sea-change as we move with hope away from the Western mistakes of the past towards the next 500 years.

14 September 2022


1. It is true that if we are to give a date to the English Reformation, then 1533 would be more exact. That was when the Pope of Rome excommunicated Henry VIII, who had made himself ‘Head of the Church’. However, we use the date 1522, because that was when Anne Boleyn arrived at the English court as a maid-in-waiting to the sonless Spanish Queen Catherine of Aragon. That was the start of it all. By 1533 Henry, who had been infatuated with Anne for years, was secretly married to her and she gave birth to a daughter in that same year.

Meanwhile, the London Parliament had passed an Imperial Act, which outlawed appeals to Rome on Church matters and proclaimed that: ‘This realm of England is an Empire (our emphasis), and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the Imperial Crown of the same, unto whom a body politic compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of Spirituality and Temporality, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience’.

2. In Russian tradition, Karl, the German form of the name Charles, is used. The name Karl is taken from Charlemagne, in German, Karl der Grosse, who gave rise to the Slavic word for king (kral, kral’, kráľ, król, korol’).

Readers’ comments here.


Her Majesty the Queens Platinum Jubilee.jpg

Her Majesty the Queens Platinum Jubilee


Short comment by a Portuguese

We are not British, nor Russian, nor Norsmen, this war is not our war.









A New American Civil War !?

07.09.22 | Álvaro Aragão Athayde

Biden Red House [800 × 1200].jpg

Leader of the Red House


Two texts, the first by George Friedman, the second by Dmitry Orlov.



America’s Institutional Crisis

By George Friedman on September 6, 2022 
Published at Geopolitical FuturesHere

In my latest book, “The Storm Before the Calm,” I predicted that the U.S. would go through a massive social crisis in the 2020s. That prediction has obviously come to pass. I also forecast that America would go through its fourth institutional crisis. The previous three all followed existential wars and transformed the governing institutions.

The first came after the Revolutionary War, which eliminated British imperial rule and installed a union of states and a republican form of government. The second, some 80 years later, came after the Civil War, which established the primacy of the federal government over the states. Eighty years after that, World War II extended the power of the federal government over American society and put in place a technocratic government – that is, a government of experts.

We are now 80 or so years removed from World War II, and the nature of this new institutional crisis is becoming clear. It started when the COVID-19 pandemic revealed how ineffective a federal technocracy is in imposing solutions over a vast and diverse continent. As I argued in “The Storm Before the Calm,” experts are essential but insufficient when it comes to governance. Their fundamental weakness is that expertise in one area can be insensitive to or ignorant of the problems their solutions create. Medical institutions did the best they could do under the circumstances, but their solutions disrupted the production and distribution of goods and alienated people from one another. Governance is the art of seeing the whole. Physicians tend to see only their own domain. The federal government responded to expertise in one area without creating systems of competing expertise, and it often failed to recognize the variability of circumstances that the founders envisioned.

Now another important dimension of the institutional shift is taking place: the crisis of universities. Universities have been central to the moral functioning of the United States since Thomas Jefferson required that all new states admitted to the republic fund universities. He saw them as essential in the cultivation of expertise and in creating an educated elite armed with varied knowledge essential to the regime. Over time, universities, and especially elite universities, tended to exclude prospective students and teachers who were not already part of the elite, and thus tended to suppress ideas offensive to elite values.

The GI Bill disrupted the system by welcoming soldiers into universities regardless of background. Many of them already had elements of technical expertise, thanks to their time in the armed services, and they knew too much about life not to doubt the self-certainties of their professors. This development helped create a massive professional class with highly specific areas of knowledge. That notion of expertise fed the emerging principle of government. It accepted diversity as a principle, except that its proponents weren’t always aware of, let alone concerned about, those their definition of diversity excluded. The university was therefore the pivot to the elite. It always develops cultural idiosyncrasies that overlay its function, but it also remains a foundation of the institutional structure. The university has again developed strange dynamics, but it has also developed in a direction that is deeply linked to the federal system. The problem is that students must take out outlandish loans to pay for the outlandishly high price of higher education. Given the existence of a federal lending program that linked available credit to the cost of education, universities had little incentive to control costs. The lending program was linked to cost, and the cost could rise because the available loans, in general, increased in tandem.

At the time that I wrote “The Storm Before the Calm,” student debt stood at about $1.34 trillion. This was roughly equal to the amount borrowed by subprime homeowners prior to 2008. A massive default on student loans would create problems at least on the order of the subprime mortgage crisis. The government control system was used warily, not wanting to upset an unqualified class of borrowers for political reasons or lenders who were reaping substantial profits before the collapse. The government wanted to be as inclusive as possible; it couldn’t risk excluding an “unqualified” class of people from borrowing, and it wanted to take advantage of the large constituencies endemic to large universities. The debt burden assumed by students was staggering, and universities kept increasing costs, and thus increasing the debt, hoping to ride the train as long as they could. The recent decision to bail out students, then, is the least of the issues. How the government allowed the situation to get to this point is the issue.

Ohio State University charges $23,000 a year for in-state residents, including room and board. Harvard University charges nearly $100,000 per year. These prices (which do not include financial aid outside of loans) reached this level in 2019 on an intensifying curve, a curve made possible by the government acting like a subprime lender. The likelihood of repayment was questionable at best, but it went on anyway.

Why is college so expensive to begin with? First, there is the lavish campus replete with things like tennis courts and other features disconnected from education. I went to the City College of New York many years ago, when it was bare bones but sported superb professors. I then went to graduate school at Cornell. I loved it and still love going back. The campus is beautiful, and seeing the Finger Lakes and hearing the chimes is a great pleasure. But the fact is that the land on which Cornell is situated and the buildings are worth a fortune, and the pleasure I got from this did not address the fact that professors are essential to a university and the rest is marketing to get students to spend their borrowed money there rather than elsewhere. Columbia University is in Manhattan, some of the most expensive real estate in the world. If it sold its facilities there and moved to let’s say Queens, with the money placed in a trust, it could lower the cost of tuition dramatically.

The university has become a central part of the social crisis demanding fealty to values rather than inviting debate over those values. But that’s a discussion for a later date. The student loan crisis is the result of a major institution running out of control with the tacit permission of the government. This was partly political in that borrowers had parents, and parents voted. But there was a deeper problem: The experts running the student loan system focused on the benefits of education without measuring the costs. Those charged with charting the development of the economy had as their constituency banks, which, of course, love loans.

The basic argument in my book is that technocracy is built on experts, and that experts, while necessary, tend to have a narrow focus. To lack generalists is to lack common sense, and a lack of common sense gave us another train wreck, one that will end with a transformation of how government works.

It should be noted that the systemic shifts of the past required major wars to compel change. All were existential in the sense that the republic was at stake. The war in Ukraine does not have that much weight for the United States. With only three prior institutional shifts, we don’t have enough examples to be certain war is required. Or there is a nasty one coming.



The Case for

a New American Civil War

By Dmitry Orlov on September 06, 2022 
Published at Club OrlovHere and Here 
Republished at The Vineyard of the SakerHere

Will the USA hold together through 2024? Earlier this year Covid-related complications took the life of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the bombastic perennial leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party. He was known not just for his inimitable oratory but also for the uncanny accuracy of his predictions. For example, he predicted the start of Russia’s Special Military Operation in the Ukraine almost to the day—months before the fact and at a time when nobody else had much of a clue as to what would happen. Another prediction of his reads as follows: “There won’t be a US presidential election in 2024 because there will no longer be a United States.” Will he turn out to be prescient on this count too? Let’s watch!

Zhirinovsky is by no means alone with making such a prediction. Recent opinion polls show over 40% of Americans expressing apprehensions that a new civil war is likely to break out over the next decade or so. Perish the thought that the good people surveyed had performed an independent analysis, based on which they were able to compute the probability of a civil war! By now, the vast majority of the people in the US have been conditioned to perceive reality as a mosaic composed of short news clips, sound bites, scenes no longer than can fit between two television commercials and miniature narratives that present this or that imaginary object in a positive or a negative light. They think that a civil war is likely because that’s what they have been told through mass media or the invisibly yet relentlessly chaperoned social media.

The oligarchy, which controls all of the above, is toying with two alternative business plans. Plan A, which is more profitable and less risky, doesn’t feature a civil war while Plan B, risky though still profitable, does. In either case, the profits accrue from confiscating wealth from the population; with Plan A, less of that wealth gets blown up, hence more profit. But Plan A requires securing complete obedience and docility from an increasingly distressed and restive population. Paraphrasing Klaus Schwab, they have to put up with having nothing and pretend to be happy (as a condition for being allowed to stay indoors and fed).

To keep the US population at bay, the oligarchy must keep it supplied with vast quantities of junk food, liquor, drugs and pornography. And in spite of all the propaganda urging people to sort themselves into a rainbow of genders, most of them sterile, some women may still manage to get pregnant, refuse to have an abortion and actually give birth to children, preventing the population from shrinking as fast as the dwindling resource base. “Listen, women are getting pregnant every day in America, and this is a real issue,” quoth VP Kamala Harris. In spite of the politically incorrect term “women”—wombed men, that is—her message is crystal clear: her fellow-Americans should be spayed and neutered like the proper domestic animals she thinks they are. Your pets aren’t sterilized, don’t you now; they are transgender! Doesn’t that sound much more fashionable?

But what if the junk food, liquor, drug and pornography pipelines run dry up faster than the population can be whittled away using LGBT propaganda and free and plentiful abortions? Then it would be time for Plan B, where Americans get to shoot at each other using all of the small arms in their possession. A combination of Plans A and B is also theoretically possible, where the blue, democrat states are kept placated and pacified, and in fear of the red, republican states, where civil war rages and corpses litter the roadsides while, in turn, the red state denizens are kept deathly afraid of wandering into blue territory for fear of having their children castrated and their sacred guns confiscated. But such a precarious balance may be hard to strike and a far more likely scenario is one of stable disorder, where the oligarchy pools its most valuable human resources into a few well-defended enclaves while allowing the rest of the populace to succumb to internecine strife.

But neither Plan A, nor Plan B can address a major looming problem: how to discharge (cancel, that is, rather than fulfill) the responsibilities of the US federal government. The major ones are Social Security, SSI, Medicare and defense. Roughly half of US households receives significant financial help from the federal government while defense is the largest welfare program the world has ever witnessed. The US federal debt is already astronomic and amounts to roughly half of the world’s GDP. If it were a physical object, it would be plainly visible from outer space with the naked eye. It is still growing by leaps and bounds, with the 2022 budget deficit forecast to exceed $1 trillion, down from around $2 trillion the previous two years, but still a staggering amount.

How long this financial farce can continue is anyone’s guess, but with all the major creditor nations now in a race to sell off their US debt holdings, the writing is plainly on the wall. How to shed the twin burdens of foreign creditors and domestic dependents? Here, having a civil war that sacks Washington, DC and disbands the federal government would be most efficacious. Whatever local political structures remain would repudiate the federal debt as onerous and utterly preposterous and refuse to take over federal defense spending and social support programs; problem solved!

Joe Biden seems to be thinking along these lines already. In a recent speech in Philadelphia, he said: “For those brave right-wing Americans… if you want to fight against the country, you need an F-15. You need something little more than a gun.” Does he, with his son Hunter, have some F-15s they would like to sell to those brave right-wing Americans? Note that he mentioned F-15s, not F-35s: he’d like to furnish ancient yet effective, combat-ready aircraft for performing bombing runs against the US capital, not gold-plated, bug-riddled, never-quite-ready-for-combat boondoggles like the F-35. But before Washington, DC is ready to be struck from the political map, some major looting has to take place, via a major bout of political corruption.

The Ukraine, which has been Joe and Hunter Biden’s personal playground for years now, has been used as the main money-laundering hub. Of the over $10 billion the Biden administration has spent on the Ukraine so far, very little has actually made it to the Ukraine; the rest was used to line some pocket or some political campaign coffer or other right in the US. Of the weapons that did make it to the Ukraine, at least a third was sold on the international black market by the Kiev junta.

Even the weapons that did make it to the frontlines are being briskly traded away by foreign mercenaries and shipped off to parts unknown. The bits of it that do filter through to the troops get blown up or taken as trophies by the relentlessly (though very slowly and carefully) advancing Russians. Over the course of the Special Operation, the Russians have amassed quite a treasure trove of hugely expensive yet rather ineffectual, overcomplicated and quite fragile weapons systems that cannot be maintained in the field and were abandoned by retreating Ukrainians.

Another major bit of extra income has come from the sale of a major portion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China and other foreign nations: 300 million of the 700 million barrels have now been sold and the SPR now stands at its lowest level in 40 years. This is an interesting result, given that the shale oil bonanza peaked in 2019 and, with the drilling now concentrated in a single patch of the Permian Basin, and that, given very high depletion rates, it is set to be reduced to a trickle in as little as 2 or 3 years. Although fact checkers from fake news media outlets have cried foul, entities associated with Hunter Biden are said to have been involved.

Of course, we’ll never find out the full details because Hunter Biden is magic, having been placed far above the law: if he gets away with pedophilia, drug dealing, transporting hookers against state lines and other such crimes, then what’s a little (or a lot of) white-collar crime between fellow-crooks? Not to be outdone by his son, Biden-père and the rest of the democrat establishment appear poised to steal the midterm congressional elections in the most obvious and blatant way possible, making it impossible to continue to claim that the US is still any sort of democracy at all. Once the message that democracy is dead and that Washington is a den of thieves has been drummed into everyone’s heads, the path will be cleared for the opening salvos of Plan B.

But what if those “brave, right-wing Americans” on whom Biden seems to pin his hopes don’t come through and Plan B peters out with a whimper rather than go off with a bang? What if they just sit around in bars blubbering into their beers, then go home and polish their guns? Well, don’t expect the Russians or the Chinese to help! They could put the US out of its misery—but they won’t. The Russians are all stocked up on sunflower seeds (their choice over popcorn); likewise, the Chinese have stacked away plenty of rice chips. They will sit back and watch this pan-Eurasian celebration of Schadenfreude, not lifting a finger to help.









War in Ukraine

Two SITREPs for August 31, 2022

02.09.22 | Duarte Pacheco Pereira

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What is GIGO (garbage in, garbage out)?


Two SITREPs, the first from The Institute for the Study of War, which advocates a Unipolar world, the second from The Vineyard of the Saker, who advocates a Multipolar World.



Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, August 31

By Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan
At The Institute for the Study of War
On August 31, 10:45 pm ET | Sepember 01, 03:45 am WEST

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Ukrainian Counteroffensives (Ukrainian efforts to liberate Russian-occupied territories)


Click here to see ISW's interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

Ukrainians and the West should not fall for Russian information operations portraying the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson Oblast as having failed almost instantly or that depict Ukraine as a helpless puppet of Western masters for launching it at this time. The Russian Ministry of Defense began conducting an information operation to present Ukraine’s counteroffensive as decisively failed almost as soon as it was announced on August 29. Several prominent military bloggers—even bloggers who have historically been critical of the Kremlin—are promoting this message. Other milbloggers are additionally promoting the narrative that Ukraine’s Western handlers pushed Ukraine to launch the counteroffensive prematurely and/or too late for “political” reasons and because the West expected a counteroffensive. Kremlin media outlets have also centrally amplified allegations of civil-military conflict between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi to bolster the narrative that Zelensky sought to conduct a counteroffensive for inappropriate political reasons whereas Zaluzhnyi assessed Ukrainian forces were not militarily prepared to do so.

Military operations on the scale of this counteroffensive do not succeed or fail in a day or a week. Ukrainian officials have long acknowledged that they do not have the sheer mass of mechanized forces that would have been needed to conduct a blitzkrieg-like drive to destroy the Russian defenses in Kherson Oblast or anywhere. They have instead been setting conditions for months by attacking and disrupting Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs), Russian command and control, and Russian logistics systems throughout southwestern occupied Ukraine. The timing of the start of the counteroffensive is consistent with the observed degradation of Russian capabilities in western Kherson Oblast balanced against the need to start liberating occupied Ukrainian lands and people as soon as possible. There is no reason to suspect that the timing has been materially influenced by inappropriate considerations or tensions. Counteroffensive operations now underway will very likely unfold over the coming weeks and possibly months as Ukrainian forces take advantage of the conditions they have set to defeat particular sectors of the line they have identified as vulnerable while working to retake their cities and towns without destroying them in the process. 

Military forces that must conduct offensive operations without the numerical advantages normally required for success in such operations often rely on misdirections and feints to draw the defender away from the sectors of the line on which breakthrough and exploitation efforts will focus. The art of such feints is two-fold. First, they must be conducted with sufficient force to be believable. Since they are feints, however, rather than deliberate attacks expected to succeed, they often look like failures—the attacking units will fall back when they feel they have persuaded the defender of their seriousness. Second, they take time to have an effect. When the purpose of the feint is to draw the defender’s forces away from the intended breakthrough sectors, the attacker must wait until the defender has actually moved forces. There will thus likely be a delay between the initial feint operations and the start of decisive operations. The situation during that delay may well look like the attack has failed.

The Ukrainian military and government are repeating requests to avoid any reporting or forecasting of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, a measure that is essential if the counteroffensive includes feints or misdirections. It is of course possible that the counteroffensive will fail, that any particular breakthrough attempt that fails was not a feint, or that the Ukrainian military has made some error in planning, timing, or execution that will undermine the success of its operations. But the situation in which Ukraine finds itself calls for a shrewd and nuanced counteroffensive operation with considerable misdirection and careful and controlled advances. It is far more likely in these very early days, therefore, that a successful counteroffensive would appear to be stalling or unsuccessful for some time before its success became manifest. 

ISW and other analysts studying this war have been appropriately cautious and circumspect in announcing the culmination or defeat of major Russian offensive operations.  ISW will apply the same caution and circumspection to assessing the progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and exhorts others to do the same.

Russian authorities released a list of the locations of schools in occupied areas, including precise coordinates, ostensibly warning of possible Ukrainian attacks against them as the school year begins on September 1.  This announcement could be preparation for Russian false-flag attacks on schools, for an explanation of very low attendance, or for some other purpose. The Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) issued a statement on August 31 warning that Ukrainian forces are preparing to shell schools in occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Zaporizhia oblasts. The Russian MoD released a list of the addresses and exact locations of all schools in occupied areas of Ukraine under the pretext of “ensuring the safety of students and teachers.” This statement, along with the list of schools in occupied areas, could be an attempt to set information conditions for three potential courses of action on September 1. The first, and most dangerous, may be a preparation for Russian troops to stage a false-flag attack against educational infrastructure in occupied areas of Ukraine and blame the Ukrainian armed forces for the attack. The second scenario, which is more likely, is that Russian authorities may be setting conditions to explain very low enrollment and attendance in Russian-run schools as the school year begins. As ISW reported on August 30, Ukrainian families with children have been increasingly leaving Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine as the school year approaches. Russian authorities may seek to amplify the claimed threat of Ukrainian strikes against schools in order to explain low attendance levels. The third scenario is that Russian authorities could be attempting to establish a published no-strike list by identifying specific civilian infrastructure, which will later allow them to use the identified schools as military bases with the expectation that Ukrainian forces will not target designated civilian infrastructure.

Russian authorities are additionally using the start of the new school year to escalate efforts to institutionalize the elimination of Ukrainian identity. Russian authorities continued to disseminate Russian educational materials in schools in occupied areas of Ukraine. Russian-backed authorities from Sevastopol arrived in Starobilsk, Luhansk Oblast, to deliver backpacks and official state symbols of the Russian Federation to local schools. The Russian-appointed head of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, similarly called on educators in Crimea to intensify patriotic programming in Crimean schools, notably to teach children about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to conduct a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Ukrainian outlet Strana reported that the first lesson that will be taught in schools in occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts is oriented on a lesson outline that pulls from Putin’s article on “The Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians”, his speeches on the recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR), and the commencement of the "special military operation.” In these speeches, Putin rejected the legitimacy of Ukrainian identity, declaring that it “is entirely the product of the Soviet era... shaped on the lands of historical Russia.” He also repeatedly declared that Ukraine is part of Russia and cannot be a state in its own right. The explicit link between Russian-imposed curricula in Ukrainian schools and these speeches and writings is part of an effort to erase the Ukrainian identity in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine through educational control.

The G7 Non-Proliferation Directors Group stated that Russian attempts to disconnect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) would be “unacceptable,” ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation’s visit to the plant. The G7 Non-Proliferation Directors Group noted that the ZNPP should not be used for military activities or the storage of military material. Satellite imagery provided by Maxar previously showed Russian combat vehicles sheltering under the ZNPP infrastructure very close to a reactor vessel.

Russian and Ukrainian sources again exchanged accusations of shelling and loitering munition strikes on Enerhodar on August 31. Kremlin-sponsored sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strike on the Enerhodar City Council building, and Ukrainian officials stated that Russian forces shelled the building in an effort to frame Ukrainian forces ahead of the IAEA visit.


Key Takeaways

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense and Russian milbloggers began an information operation declaring the Ukrainian counteroffensive a failure almost as soon as it was launched.  It is far too soon to assess the progress of the counteroffensive operation, however, which will likely be difficult to evaluate in the short term if it relies on feints and misdirection.
  • Russian occupation authorities are imposing a curriculum on Ukrainian students aimed at eliminating the notion of Ukrainian national identity, explicitly in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speeches and writings falsely claiming that Ukraine is part of Russia, and that the Ukrainian identity was an invention of the Soviet period.
  • The G7 Non-Proliferation Directors Group condemned Russian attempts to disconnect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from the Ukrainian power grid as “unacceptable” ahead of the arrival of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation to the plant.
  • Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks south of Bakhmut and along the western outskirts of Donetsk City.
  • Russian-appointed officials in Crimea began “reconstructing” air defense systems to counter smaller targets in response to recurring drone attacks on the peninsula. Russian officials are likely strengthening Crimean air defenses at the expense of other theaters.
  • Zabaykalsky Krai announced the formation of the “Daursky” volunteer engineer-sapper battalion.
  • Ukrainian partisans conducted an improvised explosive device (IED) attack against the headquarters of the “Together with Russia” political organization in Berdyansk, Zaporizhia Oblast, where occupation authorities were reportedly preparing for sham referenda.


To continue reading the report, click here.



Tons of thanks, a SMO update and some beautiful week-end music!

By Andrei, the Saker
At The Vineyard of the Saker
On August 31, 2022, before 11:00 pm EST/EDT | September 01, before 04:00 am WEST

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First, my deepest gratitude to you all!

I want to begin today’s report by thanking all those of you who have reached out to help me and the blog.  In spite of the hard economic times, many of you have sent donations, offered to volunteer and, last but not least, said prayers for me.  Of course, your donations will help financially, but it is your moral support which most deeply touched me and which give me the courage and determination to keep on fighting this fight, in spite of the apparent futility of taking on an entire obscenely rich and powerful ruling classes which waging merciless warfare on all of mankind.  I wish I could thank each and every one of you personally, but I simply don’t have the material time to do so, so all I can do is thank you all here for your unwavering and kind support!  You are truly the best community any person can hope to have!

Now let’s turn to the latest news next.

The Ukrainian so-called “counter-offensive” in the south:

The biggest news out of the Ukraine is the failure if the much announced Ukrainian “counter-offensive”.  Here are the latest reports from the Russian MoD: (emphasis added)

The enemy suffered losses and was pushed back from Olginka, Thorn Ponds and Arkhangelsk.
A battalion of the 57th Motorized Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was defeatednear the settlement of Sukhoi Stavki. Currently, the destruction of its remains is being completed.
To unblock the AFU units, 12 tanks supplied to the Kiev regime by Poland were transported across the Ingulets River. Some of the tanks were destroyed by the powerful fire action of the Russian troops. Several tanks were blown up in their minefield during a disorderly withdrawal. Only five Ukrainian tanks were able to break back, deep into the territory controlled by the AFU. During two days of unsuccessful attacks on Mykolaiv-Krivoy Rog and other directions, Ukrainian troops lost four combat aircraft: two Su-25, one Su-24 and one MiG-29. Three Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters were shot down in the air. Russian troops also destroyed 63 Ukrainian tanks, 59 infantry fighting vehicles, 48 other armored combat vehicles, 14 pickups with heavy machine guns and more than 1,700 Ukrainian servicemen.

But this does not tell the full story.  1’700 KIAs might not sound like much, but in reality this is a huge deal for the following reasons:

  • These 1’700 soldiers were supported by armor, artillery and even some aviation and the USA/UK had huge hopes that this much announced “counter-offensive” would yield some good PR.  The Brandon administration is absolutely desperate to show at least something vaguely successful, yet this so-called “counter-offensive” resulted in only a few tactical attacks which brought no tangible results whatsoever.
  • The size of this force shows that this operation was mostly about PR (and not a real counter-offensive!).  The Ukrainians never had a chance, not on the tactical level and, even less so, to develop tactical attack into an operational counter-offensive.  Considering that it took them months to prepare this rather modest operation, this shows how much the Ukrainian armed forces have been degraded over the past months.
  • Even worse for the Nazis and their US patrons is the fact that now the entire southern front just lost a lot of its best soldiers and hardware.  Considering that the Russians are reinforcing their southern forces (see below), this is an especially dangerous development for the regime in Kiev.

1’700 KIA in one single maneuver is the biggest defeat for the Nazis since 2014, even bigger than the Ilovaisk “cauldron”!

I noticed with absolute dismay that, apparently, the Ukrainians tried one more time.  The result? Another  350 personnel, 31 tanks, 22 infantry fighting vehicles, 18 of other types of armored vehicles, eight armed pickup trucks, and 17 of other types of military vehicles destroyed by Russian artillery and airpower.

And today (Thursday) there are report that the Ukrainians tried to seize control of the ZNP.  First they fired over 100 artillery shells.  Then 2 diversionary groups totaling 60 soldiers on two crafts landed near the ZNP.  They were detected and destroyed by the Russian aviation.  Two hours later, the Ukrainians used two barges carrying an entire battalion (200-300 soldiers).  They were detected and sunk.


To continue article the report, click here.