Observations and guesses as summer ends

August 27, 2022

There is astonishing strong support for Russia’s military operation against Ukraine among European dissident groups. These Russia-friendly groups are clearly a minority, but they are a seizable one.

Some writers, investigative journalists, and anti-establishment commentators have even made a career out of their Russian-friendly stance, gathering  strong followings on alternative social media platforms like Rumble, Duran, Odysee, Locals, Telegram, VK, Weibo, and others.

Some of these persons and the groups which they represent could be labeled as right wing, some as left wing; some have special interests (environmentalists, peace activists, minorities) or grievances against the political leadership, which they rightfully deem as inept, arrogant, and corrupt.

While normally these dissenters would be ignored, censored, or lampooned and ridiculed, the level of disillusionment and loathing which the European public now feels against traditional political parties has reached an intensity which makes it likely that cunning and astute persons will exploit the situation and replace the current leadership. Giorgia Meloni from the ultranationalist Brothers of Italy party is one example.

Such an upheaval and breakdown of the existing political order could of course give chance to a new dawn, a new era, and the return of sanity and peace, but the more likely outcome will be chaos, anarchy, and social collapse.

A troubling facet or characteristic of the pro-Russia movement is the lack of a global perspective, a lack of alternative visions, and a complete unawareness of the need for sustainable social, economic, and ecological systems. The persons who are cheerleading Russia’s demilitarization and denazification treatment of Ukraine are not environmentalists, by far not!

They don’t mind that Russia flares 4.34 million cubic meters of natural gas which it cannot easily reroute to China or India, that Russia promotes nuclear energy in the global South, that China and Russia increase coal burning in power plants, that Russia increases oil exploration in pristine Arctic areas, that Russia experiments with nuclear propulsion systems in missiles (9M730 Burevestnik), that the paradigm of unlimited growth is still the foundation of Chinese and Russian economic planning.

They (the pro-Russia people) are blind to ecological devastation just as the broad European public is blind to undeserved privileges and unaware of global injustice or ongoing neocolonial exploitation.

So, here we are,” as Alexander Mercouris, a leading proponent of the pro-Russia-anti-Ukraine movement, uses to say. (He is btw one of the most reasonable and sensible commentators of the Ukrainian conflict who never misses a chance to call for peace and a swift end to the slaughter.)

Europeans are used to affluence, even opulence, to filled up shelves in supermarkets, to fancy gadgets, slick fashion, and luxury tourism. They feel entitled to conspicuous consumption, to a “throwaway culture,” to the mindless waste of resources in disregard of environmental impacts. Impacts, which are only manifest far away in Asia anyway, because Western countries have cleverly outsourced manufacturing to China and other Southeast Asian nations.

Europeans don’t realize, or deliberately ignore, that their privileged position is based on colonial exploitation. Many European countries were colonial powers, and while they have mostly released their colonies between 1946 and 1974, they, acting under the umbrella of the United States empire, still keep a tight grip on global trade, finance, and technology transfer.

So, Europeans will march in the streets, chanting for change (but in reality against change), chanting against a fair distribution of resources and against the sharing of scarce goods with the destitute, impoverished, and hungry.

All the while Russia rains shells, rockets, and precision guided missiles on Ukrainian fortifications, demilitarizing Ukraine and at the same time NATO, which has sent much of its arms stockpiles to Ukraine. This could be the end of NATO, even the end of US hegemony, which is a good thing from the view points of social justice, ecological sustainability, and peace.

But, the environmental costs are severe, and neither Russia nor China are exempt from the ironclad rule that more industrial activity causes more environmental destruction. The huge industrial base of Russia enables it to stand up against the collective West, the even more massive industrial base of China will end US hegemony. These developments are inevitable and need no additional support, while all efforts of nonconformists, revolutionaries, and visionary opinion makers must be put into demands for a wise, cautious, and economical use of the existing industrial capacities in China, Russia, Iran, and wherever else.

At the same time all efforts must be made to awake the Western public from their dreams of never ending conspicuous consumption, from their delusions of unlimited economic growth, from their addiction to shopping and gathering more stuff.

Finally and most importantly: All efforts must be made of reconnecting humans to the wonders and the beauty of the natural world.

Against the odds:

In 2009, ETC Group published a report titled Who Will Feed Us? in which they cite the statistic that small-scale farmers feed 70 percent of the world (that is, 70 percent of the food that actually goes to feeding people, vs. crops for biofuels, animal feed, or other non-food uses).


Environmental news:

Russia is burning off large amounts of natural gas at the Portovaya plant north-west of St Petersburg. Portovaya is located close to a compressor station at the start of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline which carries gas under the sea to Germany.

Supplies through the pipeline have been curtailed since mid-July, with the Russians blaming technical issues for the restriction. Germany says it was purely a political move following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This flare releases about 9,000 tons of CO2 equivalent every day and produces soot particles which can significantly increase warming in the Arctic.


International tourist arrivals to Turkey increased significantly this year. More than 23 million foreigners visited Turkey from January through July of 2022, a 128 percent increase from the more than 10 million in the entirety of 2021. Germany has had the highest number of visitors this year with 2.9 million, followed by Russia with 2.1 million. Iran is in the top five with 1.2 million people.

Tourism is a major part of the Turkish economy. The London-based World Travel & Tourism Council predicted that the sector will constitute 11 percent of Turkey’s GDP by 2032.


It is widely recognized that climate change is going to create serious food security issues. Not only is it more difficult to grow food in our increasingly chaotic and unpredictable climate, but our food supply has come to rely on incredibly fragile global distribution systems that will be easily disrupted as our environmental conditions continue to deteriorate. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that disruptions to the supply chain can cause shortages at the grocery store that materialize in a matter of days. With climate chaos bearing down on us, we would do well to learn our lesson about the fragility of the just-in-time delivery system and work immediately to produce our food much closer to its point of consumption while using systems of agriculture that are capable of regularly producing in erratic weather patterns.




Economic news:

Western sanctions have failed to collapse the Russian economy and weakened the dollar. The value of the rouble has increased constantly and on August 11, 2022, the rate was around 61 roubles to a dollar. Russia’s record employment with only 3.9 percent unemployment also signals a surprisingly smooth decoupling from the West.

Both South Korea and Japan are entering new and maintaining old energy deals with Russia.



GDP (gross domestic product) in Britain fell by 11.0 percent in 2020, the largest fall since 1709 and the largest among the G7 countries.

Pandemic news:

Worldwide, Omicron subvariant BA.5 is beginning to wind down, Japan, however, is still getting hit hard and is experiencing the highest number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Notably, Australia has had sustained, high rates of death during their winter season. Omicron subvariant BA.4.6, is taking hold in the USA.

SARS-CoV-2 is mutating at a remarkable rate and another Omicron subvariant, BA.2.75, is on the horizon. Data from India and Australia suggest, that it can outcompete BA.5 and BA.4.6.

When will nasal vaccines finally be available? Everybody is waiting and hoping, that they will replace the crap from Pfizer and help us defeat SARS-CoV-2.


A new study suggests (like several others before), that in cities which implemented stricter policies to contain COVID-19 during the early months of the pandemic, the air quality was more likely to improve.



Monkeypox is becoming the tale of two stories. Some countries have successfully slowed the virus, particularly in the UK, Germany, Canada, and Spain. Other countries show continued acceleration, like the USA, Brazil, and Peru.

London and New York continue to show community transmission of polio. Wastewater surveillance shows polio has been spreading for months (if not longer), and we have detected numerous genetic strains. This means more than one individual is shedding polio virus; the outbreaks aren’t contained. There is already a case with paralysis in New York.


Media, technology, and propaganda news:

Essential advice for everybody who still wastes her or his time with traditional mainstream mass media (TV networks, press, magazines, web portals) and propaganda operations (Wikipedia, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International):

Don’t let them brainwash you, don’t believe anything what is written and aired by Western media about Russia, Ukraine, and China.

And if you still can’t wean yourself off your old information sources, write down the main points of current news coverage and compare it with what they tell you in one month from now.


Trust in the media has reached all time lows in the USA, with just 11 percent expressing confidence in television news and 16 percent expressing confidence in newspapers. These are the findings of Gallup’s latest survey of attitudes about the media.

An interactive graph at Gallup’s website provides a clear picture of the erosion of public confidence in the so-called Fourth Estate over the past five decades. Peaking in 1979 at 51 percent, the public trust in journalism has been on a steady downward trajectory ever since, with confidence plummeting at key turning points in history. Trust dropped to 35 percent in 1981, the beginning of the Reagan-Bush era, and then plunged again to 31 percent in 1987, the year after the Iran-Contra Affair broke.

Since then, public confidence has continued to wane, year after year, with 46 percent of citizens now saying that have very little or no trust in newspapers and 53 percent expressing distrust in television news.


BBC Radio did broadcast a factually challenged, overtly propagandistic documentary special called “Ukraine: The Disinformation War.”


Crushing of dissent is essential for public support for NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine to be maintained. Russian media has already been wiped from the Western-controlled internet sphere. Ukrainian ‘kill lists’ such as the infamous Myrotvorets already include the courageous Canadian independent journalist Eva Bartlett and outspoken Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters.


Spanish-Russian journalist Pablo Gonzalez held six months in Polish jail on spying charge.


Twitter labelled scientific reporting of COVID-19 as “misinformation.”


Imperial news:

Ever more writers, commentators, and analysts openly speak out what most of us are feeling since a long time: The West is in decline and the non-West is emerging as an energetic pole of power.

Patrick Lawrence writes:

Whatever you may think of Vladimir Putin, whatever you may think of Xi Jinping, whatever you think of Nicolás Maduro or Danny Ortega or Andrés Manuel López Obrador or Miguel Díaz–Canel or any of the new “pink tide” leaders in Latin America, set it aside and consider: These leaders are not wanting in purpose or intent. They do not create or act in bubbles of unreality. They are not given to imitating the past. They have things to do.

This is undoubtedly a turning point in human history, giving the so called “undeveloped” nations, also called the “Third World,” or the “emerging markets,” a better chance to get a fair share of the cake and to overcome the centuries of colonization, exploitation, and humiliating defeats.

And yet, none of the by Patrick Lawrence mentioned leaders has offered a vision how to reconcile human civilization with the natural world, how to end our suicidal war against nature, how to live within our means and in a sustainable way which leaves future generations more than landfills and urban wastelands of concrete, steel, glass, and plastic.

Maybe such visions are in the heads of a few important political leaders, but they are so different from prevailing doctrines of the ruling elites as well as the broad population that at the moment they cannot be espoused nor discussed.


Imperial conquest news:

One might have thought that these days of colonial plunder had ended, but one would be very wrong. Current examples abound. A notable one is, of course, the freezing by the USA of 7 billion US$ from the Afghanistan treasury — money the USA continues to hold even as it watches Afghans begin to die from starvation. Apparently, the USA believes that, after laying waste to Afghanistan through 20 years of war and, even before that by supporting the mujahideen terrorists, it is entitled to some compensation. This upside-down type of reasoning abounds in the minds of those in the West who simply believe they can take whatever they wish.

Similarly, the USA is now plundering Syria (another country utterly devastated in no small part by Washington-backed militants in a campaign to overthrow the elected president) of most of its oil, even as Syria suffers from severe energy blackouts. Thus, according to the Syrian Oil Ministry, “US occupation forces and their mercenaries,” referring to the US-backed SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), “steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region,” amounting to around 83 percent of Syria’s daily oil production.

According to the ministry’s data, the Syrian oil sector has incurred losses of “about 105 billion US$ since the beginning of the war until the middle of this year” as a result of the US oil theft campaign.

Additionally, the statement added that alongside the financial losses incurred by the oil sector were “losses of life, including 235 martyrs, 46 injured and 112 kidnapped.”

One of the biggest heists the US has carried out is against Russia. After the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the US seized an incredible 300 billion US$ of Russian treasury funds which were deposited abroad. This was done, of course, without any due process and with barely a critical word from Western pundits.

The US treatment of Venezuela abounds with other examples. Right now the USA is maneuvering to seize a commercial 747 airliner from Venezuela on the grounds that it once belonged to an Iranian airline which had some connection to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (which Washington has designated as terrorists). This might sound like a tenuous justification, but the US really needs no reason. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The US has already seized Venezuela’s biggest single source of revenue — its US-based oil company CITGO — and is now in the process of selling off this company in pieces, even as Washington lifts restrictions on Venezuelan oil to shore up its own economy. The UK, meanwhile, has decided to keep over 1 billion US$ in gold which Venezuela naively deposited in the Bank of England for safe-keeping. To add insult to injury, the US continues to criticize Venezuela for the hardships its people endure as a direct consequence of this plunder.


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the three AU (African Union) member-states South Africa, DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), and Rwanda during early August in an attempt to counter Chinese and Russian influence.

Blinken’s Africa tour passed with no fanfare in the US media, an indication that his efforts largely failed and Africans don’t trust the USA.



Iran has once again raised alarm bells over Israel’s nuclear stockpile, saying that it must destroy its nuclear weapons.


Ukraine news:

The main strategic goal of Russia is the disruption of the USA/UK/NATO plan to destroy the Russian Federation and balkanize Russia. While Russia is currently in a position of massive strength relative to the West, that position might not last forever and it would be profoundly stupid to waste the opportunity to settle this matter once and for all.

One has to bear in mind that Russia is already more or less in a direct war with the Western alliance. It is not just the supply of weapons and training (which legally already makes Western countries full belligerents), but NATO has a huge number of active service soldiers and officers on the ground in Ukraine fighting Russia, all the way up to general staff. Hundreds have been killed (usually described as mercenaries), many (perhaps even hundreds) have been taken prisoner.

All targeting is done by the USA/UK/NATO, using intelligence data from outside Ukraine (spy-planes circling just outside Ukraine and satellites). Everything is remotely controlled from Western command centers, through the integration of Ukraine’s forces with the NATO command structure, right down to the battalion level.

Why does Russia not directly strike the sources of intelligence data that are currently killing Russian soldiers and Donbass civilians?

For two reasons. Firstly because Russia has escalation dominance, which is of ultimate strategic importance. Secondly because Russia is currently grinding and destroying a significant part of NATO war-making capacity very efficiently with rather small own losses, which will have huge benefits in the next stages beyond Ukraine. It currently suits Russia to keep relatively quiet about the direct open warfare involvement of the West, to avoid pressure to strike back directly on NATO targets.

There were nevertheless 3 Kinzhal-armed Mig31’s recently deployed to Kaliningrad, ready to destroy command-centers in London at any moment if commanded to do so! This keeps pressure on NATO. Russia will only escalate when it suits Russia’s major strategic goals to do so.


Russian soldiers have been hospitalized after being stationed near the village of Vasilyevka in Zaporozhye region on July 31 and traces of the Botulinum toxin Type B have been discovered in samples taken from the servicemen.

Botulinum toxin is one of the most toxic biological substances known to science and poses a major threat as a bioweapon due its ease of production and distribution, and the high fatality rate it causes. Recovery is only possible after a lengthy period of intensive care.

An additional investigation is conducted on the possible poisoning of Volodymyr Saldo, head of the provisional administration of the Kherson region, who fell ill in early August.

Darya Dugina, the daughter of philosopher Alexander Dugin, a close ally of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, has been killed by a car bomb. The explosive device was planted under the car on the driver’s side. It is possible that her father, who in the West is known as “Putin’s brain,” was the intended target of the attack.

Despite not holding an official position in government, Alexander Dugin is viewed as a close ally of Putin and has even been branded “Putin’s Rasputin.”

The philosopher’s daughter, Darya Dugina, was herself a prominent journalist who vocally supported the invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this year she was sanctioned by US and UK authorities, who accused the 30-year-old of contributing to online “disinformation” in relation to Russia’s invasion.

In May, she described the war as a “clash of civilizations” in an interview and expressed pride in the fact that both she and her father had been sanctioned by the West.

According to the FSB (Russia’s security service): The crime was prepared and committed by Ukrainian special services. The perpetrator is a citizen of Ukraine Vovk Natalya, born in 1979, who arrived in Russia on July 23, 2022, together with her 12-year-old daughter Sofia Shaban.

In order to organize the murder of Darya Dugina and obtain information about her lifestyle, they rented an apartment in Moscow in the house where the deceased lived. Following the remotely engineered explosion of Dugina’s car, Vovk and her daughter fled to Estonia via the Pskov Region.


The Kiev-based website Myrotvorets has accused musician Roger Waters, a founding member of rock group Pink Floyd, of “anti-Ukrainian” offenses. These alleged offenses include spreading “anti-Ukrainian propaganda,” collaborating in efforts to legalize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and challenging Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Myrotvorets calls for “law enforcement agencies” to intervene against Waters for his “deliberate acts against Ukraine’s national security, against peace, human security and international law and order, as well as other offenses.”

The site became infamous when several people that it had singled out were murdered. The victims include Ukrainian writer Oles Buzina, former Ukrainian legislator Oleg Kalashnikov and Italian freelance photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli.


Russia reported a strike by an Iskander missile on a military train at the Chaplyne railway station in the Dnipropetrovsk region, which killed more than 200 servicemen of the reserve of Ukraine’s Armed Forces and destroyed 10 units of military equipment. Soldiers and equipment were on their way to combat zones in the Donbas.

Western media reported the strike mostly as an attack on civilian targets.



Outlines released by the National Council for the Recovery of Ukraine from the War, a body set up by president Volodymyr Zelenskyi, state that the Ukrainian government plans to move to a model of “non-interference of the state in dialogue between trade unions and employers”. This certainly means that Ukrainian workers will have fewer rights and protections under law.

In early July, the parliament sent to Zelensky for his signature Bill No. 7251, which regulates the “optimization of labor relations” under martial law. This legislative innovation significantly curtails the rights of Ukrainian employees, rolling them back to the situation in the 19th century. One of the provisions of the new law is that Ukrainian employers are no longer required to limit the working day to eight hours and the working week can stretch up to 60 hours.

Another law, Bill No. 5371, simplifies the termination of employment contracts. It regulates labor contracts for businesses of fewer than 250 employees, essentially canceling the provisions of the Labor Code for them.










China news:

At the moment Chinese decision makers struggle with various economic problems:

a) Home affordability versus property wealth: Home prices more than doubled during the ten years from 2011-2012, producing a 400 percent rate of return for homeowners and vastly increasing household wealth, while prospective homebuyers are priced out of the market. That is why the government must dampen the rise in prices without destroying too much existing wealth.

b) Tech giant monopoly versus growth contribution: China needs Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com and other Internet companies to innovate and drive productivity, but it doesn’t want monopolies that will concentrate wealth in a handful of rent-seeking firms.

c) Too few of China’s 10 million high-school graduates want to work in factories, and China faces skilled labor shortages even in the presence of 20 percent youth unemployment.

d) Productivity versus equality: China’s attempt to raise productivity is imperative because of a declining birth rate and a shrinking workforce, but the benefits of robotized factories, automated ports, and driverless taxi services benefit only a small part of the population. The CPC’s slogan “Common Prosperity” promises benefits to all, but it is not clear how this can be achieved.

e) China’s southwestern Sichuan province has extended its factory shutdowns due to a one-month-long heatwave and drought, marking the latest big global supply chain disruption caused by climate change. Foxconn and Toyota factories in Sichuan have had their plugs pulled with fears of wider industrial blackouts to come.


Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei’s wrote an internal memo with a dire warning of Huawei’s make-it-or-break-it moment against a global recession, which leaked and spread like wildfire on Chinese social media.

Ren is perhaps China’s most revered entrepreneur for not only holding the information and communications technology giant together against US economic war but also for building the prosperous, high-tech, global, and employee-owned business from scratch.

Ren repeatedly stated that Huawei’s survival is on the line, with no place on earth emerging as a bright spot in a three to five year global recession. His solution for Huawei is to focus on profits and cash flows instead of revenue.


The effectiveness of a punitive 25 percent tariff rate on about half of US imports from China is greatly diminished because of Asian trade integration, which makes it increasingly difficult to separate Chinese content from imports from other Asian countries.

For example, South Korea’s exports to the US nearly doubled between 2020 and 2022, from about 6 billion US$ a month to 11 billion. This remarkable surge in Korean shipments to the US coincided with a parallel surge in Chinese exports to South Korea. This seems to be more than coincidence; Chinese exports to South Korea precede Korean exports to the US by a month, econometric analysis shows. Evidently, South Korea is importing Chinese components across a wide range of products and incorporating them into products sold to the United States.

There are also so called “grey imports” from countries who just act as intermediaries for Chinese firms.


Corporate financialization (maximizing shareholder value) is causing US technology firms to fall further behind Taiwan, China, and South Korea. US complains about China’s alleged currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, unfair government subsidies, violation of WTO rules, and endangerments of national security only prevent addressing  the real cause of US decline.


China is forgiving 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries, after already cancelling 3.4 billion US$ and restructuring 15 billion US$ of debt from 2000-2019. Beijing pledged more infrastructure projects and offered favorable trade deals.


Armageddon news:



Uncategorized musings:


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