Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

Biden channels Meatloaf (again)…

April 14, 2022

He did it again in this week’s Iowa speech

image

Shades of the late, great Meatloaf…

=============

Everybody remembers the Meatloaf classic, right?

The tease:” I would do anything for love”

The punch line”: “But I won’t do that !”

If you need a a refresher or just want to kick back and
listen to an all- time great song, clock here

image
click to listen

==============

Biden (and Psaki) have appropriated a variant of the Meatloaf classic.

Now, every time Joe steps behind the podium, he squints and reads a version of:

Gas prices are high and are going to go higher because of Putin.

I feel your pain and, rest assured, I will use all the tools available to minimize the prices at the pump.

Anything” in Biden-speak includes plays at the margin like temporarily waiving the 18.4 cents per gallon Federal gas tax, releasing some of the strategic oil reserves and diluting gas with corn mash (aka ethanol).

Reading between the lines is the punch line “But I won’t do that.”

What are the won’t-do-thats?

Well, for openers there are:

  • Buildout the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Enable aggressive fracking (again)
  • Re-open drilling in the Alaskan ANWR Region
  • Fast track off-shore licensing
  • Permanently disable the Nord Stream pipelines (both the NS1 that’s in operation and the NS2 that’s awaiting for final approval)

Those are moves that stand a chance of moderating inflation pressures in the U.S., slowing the flow of oil profits to Putin, providing some oil & LNG to Russian-dependent European countries and restoring. U.S. energy independence.

But, of course, Biden “… won’t do that”

The AOC “squad” and the climate control zealots won’t let him.

Too bad…

Still more: Is Europe toast?

March 30, 2022

WSJ: “If Mr. Biden and the Europeans don’t get Ukraine right, Europe’s future is finished.”
==============
Last week, we first posed the question: Is Europe toast?

We argued that Western Europe has dug itself two very deep holes by increasing its energy dependence on Russia … and by deprioritizing (and defunding) security & defense.

Neither of these holes are candidates for quick filling.

Over the weekend, following right on cue, the WSJ’s Dan Henninger opined:

If Mr. Biden and the Europeans don’t get Ukraine right, Europe’s future is finished.

Henninger provided the poignant historic backdrop:

World War II was fought largely because Europe was experiencing the indiscriminate murder of civilians under Nazi military doctrine.

Since coming out of the ruins in 1945, the collective European memory has sustained an aversion to allowing the reappearance of that horror on its soil.

But, it’s happening now, again.

(That horror) is being revived by Mr. Putin who is attempting the extermination of a people and the obliteration of their cities.

=============

The rub, as articulated decades ago by Donald Rumsfeld:

If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east.

Specifically, according to Henninger, Rumsfeld was referring to  Poland and the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), the NATO members that for years warned France and Germany — and U.S. presidents — that Mr. Putin’s Russia was a clear and present danger.

It’s apparent that for all practical purposes, that message has largely fallen on deaf ears.

“Old Europe” (Great Britain, Germany, France) was geographically buffered from Russia by, in Rumsfeld’s words, the Eastern flank (i.e. “New Europe”).

Falsely comfortable, Western Europe paid  “yeah, yeah, yeah” lip service to the threat  while refocusing its attention and resources on social spending and, more recently, climate control.

Now, as Obama’s spiritual advisor Rev. Wright would say: “The chickens are coming home to roost”.

If Ukraine falls to Putin, Poland’s geographic buffer is gone.

Then what?

Henninger poses the central immediate question:

What will old Europe do in the next four weeks, as Mr. Putin launches cruise missiles from Russian territory or the Black Sea into apartment buildings, schools and hospitals across Ukraine?

The still sleepy-eyed Western European nations seem comfortable that Putin’s invasion will fail in Ukraine … or, that Putin will simply stop at Ukraine’s borders … or that the U.S. will massively intervene to bail them out (for the third time in history).

In other words their strategy is to pass their tea, champagne or beer … and hope for the best.

Yipes.

===============

Flashback:

Remember when Saddam Hussein’s invaded Kuwait in August 1990

When George W. Bush mulled over whether to repel the Iraqi leader militarily or not, British PM Margaret Thatcher admonished Bush with the classic: “Remember, this is no time to go wobbly, George.”

Apparently, Boris Johnson, et. al., didn’t internalize the message.

This past weekend, British foreign minister Liz Truss said that Russian sanctions could be lifted if Russia withdraws from Ukraine and commits to end aggression there. Source

We’ll let you skate on unprovoked invasions, civilian carnage, and other war crimes.

If you just promise us that you won’t do it again, we’ll just turn the page and stay the course.

Very “Old Europe”, right?

Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

March 24, 2022

Putin is the clear & present danger … so, unleash our oil & gas industry, Joe.
=============

Business leaders are now pushing Biden for an “Energy Marshall Plan” … to mobilize U.S. oil & gas companies for energy independence and export capacity.

Here’s what they’re thinking…

Analytically speaking, risk assessment boils down to a couple of decision criteria:

> How immediate is the threat?

> How severe are the potential consequences?

> How likely are the consequences?

> How might mitigation change the odds?

Applying these risk assessment criteria, the answer to the headlined question is pretty clear (to me).

Putin is demonstrably a clear, present, proven and potentially nuclear danger.

Just turn on your TV to watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Putin is maniacal (and probably crazy), determined and has planet-destroying nuclear weapons that he might use if he’s cornered.

The climate change threat is murky (sorry, but the science is even more unsettled than it is on Covid) and prospective (decades off) … with asserted and uncertain long-term consequences.

Bottom line: If the choice is binary, Putin must be stopped ASAP.

If the Putin and climate threats need to be “balanced”, then the scale should be tilted to stopping Putin.

Putin is clearly the more immediate threat.

Climate control can wait.

Let’s go through the decision criteria…

=============

THREAT ASSESSMENT

Immediacy 

The Putin threat is happening now.  Just turn on your TV right and watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Even climate control zealots concede that its potential “existential threat” from climate change is decades away.

=============

Severity

Climate control zealots say that, unchecked by draconian mitigation, the planet will be a degree or two warmer in 50 years … and that’s enough to end life as we know it.

Let’s assume that’s true.

Some might argue that the Putin threat is localized and contained.

The Ukraine invasion is tragic and sad, but c’mon man, it’s just Ukraine.

Once Putin gets to the Polish border, the U.N. and NATO will stop him in his tracks.

Might be true.

But, what if Putin is, in fact, crazy and, when cornered, he starts lobbing nukes.

Suddenly, we’re looking at a level of global destruction that gives climate change a run for its money.

==============

Likelihood

So, what is the likelihood that climate change puts planetary existence at risk?

Sure, clean energy beats dirty energy and a green mindset makes sense.

But, the case for climate change ending the planet’s existence is a reach.

It is disputable whether the “data is clear” and that “the science is settled” on the consequences of climate change.

For details, see 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change

Personally, I’d score the likelihood of Putin unleashing planet-destroying nukes higher than a climate existential threat.

Update: Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a dire appeal for help as Russia’s attacks across the country intensified and the Russians set afire the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

In Zelensky’s words: “The end of the world has arrived.” 

=============

Mitigation

This is where things get dicey.

I’m confident that the U.S. will become increasingly green.

That’s a good thing.

I believe that American ingenuity and technology will — sometime and somehow over the next 50 years — provide game-changing climate control remedies.

But, as Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, has warned

Some ecologists and politicians urge for a hasty energy transition, yet it requires an unrealistically fast launch of renewable energy sources and faces issues with storage, ensuring reliability and stability of power generation. WSJ

And, to this point, climate control initiatives in the U.S. and Europe have largely been virtue signaling … outsourcing fossil fuel production to other countries (most notably Russia!) … putting the U.S. and Europe in a vulnerable security position.

Question: Is Russian oil cleaner than U.S. or Canadian oil?

Answer: Nope!

So, the pivotal question is how to “mitigate” the Putin threat.

Well, maybe Putin can be jawboned and shunned … and will come to his senses and rein in  his destructive tendencies.

My opinion: Odds of that are essentially zero.

Maybe the rational Russian people will rise up and take him out.

I’m betting the under on that one, too

Let’s try diplomacy.

How’s then been working out?

Not to worry, NATO will ultimately use military force to contain the Putin risk at the Polish border.

English translation: NATO nations will encourage the U.S. to kick Putin’s ass when the time comes

Military containment might be doable … but, at a high cost with the incumbent risk that a crazy Putin starts a nuclear war.

=============

So what to do?

Oh yeah, there are other Putin-mitigating options.

How about draining his war-mongering financial resources with sanctions?

In logic-speak: necessary but not sufficient … especially since the current sanctions explicitly rule out any transactions related to the flow of Russian oil.

According to Biden’s Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh:

“To be clear, our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the current flow of energy from Russia to the world” Source

Say, what?

Bottom line: The only non-military way to cripple Putin’s war mongering is to use U.S. oil & gas production as a geo-political strategic tool … the geo-political strategic tool!

As one right-leaning pundit puts it:

Putin’s power comes from money, most of Putin’s money comes from oil and gas.

It stands to reason that if you’re trying to punish him, hitting him in the wallet is the most effective way to do it.

So why would our President specifically exempt what is the best, most effective, and really only significant way to hurt Putin in way that might impact his behavior?

Of course, there’s an explanation…

Biden is boxed by his party’s far left climate control zealots.

Nonetheless, as we’ve said before:

It’s time to reprioritize energy security and independence by unleashing U.S. oil & gas production!

He has to do an objective risk assessment (see above), stiff-arm his parity’s uber-left loons, restore U.S. energy superiority by unleashing our oil & gas industry.

It’s as simple as that!

 

More: Is Europe toast?

March 23, 2022

In 2018, Trump tried to warn NATO members …
=============

But, it took Putin’s Ukraine invasion to force a long overdue realization that reality bites.

As we posted yesterday:

Western European NATO nations have dug themselves into two very deep holes.

First, they have green-thought themselves into energy dependence on Russia … largely by declaring nuclear and non-Russian fossil fuels to be existential threats.

Second, they have de-prioritized security and grossly underspent on their own defense … apparently assuming that Putin’s Russia and China were just misunderstood nice guys … and that, worst case, the U.S. would swoop in and save them (again).

===============

Regarding the European energy hole, we channeled the WSJ’s Kimberly Strassel who opined that “Putin’s shocking violence in Ukraine — his willingness to wield energy as a weapon — sobered the Continent overnight”  … and optimistically pointed out that several European nations are already taking decisive remedial steps to minimize their Russian-energy dependence.

==============

Today, let’s look at the European security & defense hole

From the get-go, Trump chastised NATO nations for underspending on defense — if effect, shifting their responsibility to the U.S. and he threatened to withdraw the U.S. from NATO if other member nations didn’t increase their defense spending to at least 2% of their GDP.

At a NATO summit in 2018, Trump literally doubled down on his criticism of defense spending among NATO members by upping the target for defense spending to 4% of GDP.

At the time, left-leaning analysts and European leaders dismissed Trump’s 4% defense spending targets because he did not indicate specifically how the money would be spent or why such a massive increase in defense spending was needed. Brookings

I guess that Putin’s Ukraine invasion summarily and conclusively answers the “why” question.

===============

The most important current question is how the European nations will now act to fill their conspicuous security & defense hole.

According to the WSJ:

European NATO allies and Canada have increased defense spending, but many still don’t hit NATO’s commitment to contribute 2% of gross domestic product to defense.

The good news :

European Union heads of state or government said in a March 11 declaration that “we must resolutely invest more and better in defence capabilities.”

The leaders vowed to “increase substantially defence expenditures” and “invest further in the capabilities necessary to conduct the full range of missions.”

More specifically:

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and its most notorious defense free rider, has pledged to meet its 2%  commitment … starting with an immediate €100 billion down payment.

Smaller countries are stepping up too. Poland, which already meets the NATO target, recently passed a law increasing defense spending to at least 3% of GDP in 2023.

Frontline nations Romania, Latvia and Lithuania have publicly set clear goals or passed legislation to boost.

Better late than never … but they’d better get hopping … Putin is on his way west.

Given the turn of events, Trump has every right to say “I told you so”.

Biden: “I will welcome the Ukrainian refugees.”

March 17, 2022

Finally, I agree with him on something!
============

My ancestry is 100% Polish and Ukrainian.

So, emotionally, I have a dog in this fight and I was pleased that…

Last week, following the lead of Poland and other western European nations, President Biden remarked:

I will welcome the Ukrainian refugees. 

We should welcome them here with open arms. 

To that end…

> The Administration has granted temporary protected status to some 75,000 Ukrainians already in the U.S.

> CNN reported that the White House may expedite the resettlement process for Ukrainian refugees with ties to the U.S.

> The WSJ opined that “if small and relatively poor Eastern European nations can take in hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, a country as large and wealthy as the U.S. can also do its part.”

=============

As the WSJ points out, the humanitarian need is clear … and, as a country, we have the wherewithal to accommodate Ukrainian refugees.

And, for background, as we previously posted:

Ukraine’s population is about 45  million.

Over 70% of Ukrainian workers have secondary or higher education.

The literacy rate is near 100% among its youngest generations.

The workforce has one of the highest levels of English proficiency in post-Soviet countries.  Source

Ukraine’s workforce — commonly reported to be highly skilled  — is the product of the country’s educational system.  Source

The Ukrainian education system is intensely focused on technical and scientific disciplines.

With over 130,000 engineering graduates annually, Ukraine is home to the largest IT engineering force in Central and Eastern Europe. Source

Bring ‘em on, Joe.

An old adage sums up the responses to Putin’s invasion…

March 16, 2022

Here’s the oft-repeated metaphor:

Question: In a bacon and egg breakfast, what’s the difference between the chicken and the pig?

Answer: The chicken is involved, but the pig is COMMITTED!

Explanation: The pig puts its life on the line for “the cause”. The chicken stays a safe distance away … just making a low cost contribution to support the cause.

==============

Obviously, Zelenskyy and his fellow Ukrainians are the pigs … facing a literal and immediate existential threat … they’re fighting for their lives and their country.

The chickens?

Think: The UN, NATO, Western Europe, U.S.

They’re the ones who laid the groundwork for this mess … largely pooh-poohing the Putin threat for decades, becoming energy dependent with many (most?) of their energy eggs  in the Russian basket, prioritizing the ever-elusive climate control agenda and social spending over national, regional and global geo-political security.

Now, they’re adopting the role of chickens … hesitant to confront the lethal bully… staying largely on the sidelines … offering up best wishes and ineffective rhetoric … funneling aid, but keeping their distance to preserve some semblance of deniability.

That approach may work … or the chickens may morph into pigs as Putin keeps escalating his war and expanding his territorial appetite.

In that case, another old adage comes to mind … something about a cooked goose.

===============

P.S. Keep “bacon & eggs” in mind when Zelenskyy addresses the joint session of Congress today.

Dilbert asks: "Who wants a bully in the White House?"

March 14, 2022

Is it really better to have a groveler-in-chief dealing with our adversaries?
============

Over the weekend, Bill Maher made news by asking a simple question:

image

Maher’s question reminded me of the above headlined post from the  HomaFiles archives, circa 2016 …

=============

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, cartoonist Scott Adams hit the nail on the head on his Dilbert blog

Adams observed that, during the campaign, Hillary’s constant refrain was that we can’t have a loose cannon bully in the White House.

Of course, Dems and their media friends kept that notion front-burnered during the campaign.

clip_image002

======

Adams cut to the chase on on “Dangerous Trump”:

(more…)

Hitting Putin where it hurts him the most …

March 10, 2022

No, we’re not talking oil sanctions … we’re talking burgers and lattes … but not chips.
==============

After McDonalds investors and consumers called for the chain to cut ties with Russia, the company announced that it is temporarily closing its 847 restaurants in Russia.

Announcing the action, McD’s CEO told employees:

Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.

image

Some other companies are following suit…

> Coke and Starbucks pledged to suspend all business activity in Russia

> PepsiCo said it was halting sales of its big soda brands there … but would continue to sell potato chips.

Apparently, Pepsi concluded that stopping the flow of Lays, Doritos and Fritos might trigger Putin to further accelerate his atrocities.

Woody Allen: “Mankind is at a crossroads”

March 7, 2022

Woody’s 1979 “Speech to Graduates” seems eerily on-point today.
=============

image

I’m not a big Woody Allen fan, but one of his long ago quotes has always stuck in my memory.

The Ukraine crisis brought Woody’s words front-of-mind:

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads.

One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness.

The other, to total extinction.

Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.

Unconsciously applying Woody’s admonition, the WSJ puts it this way:

Europe is learning a hard “Ukraine changes everything” lesson.

In the U.S. we’re shocked at the images from Ukraine.

Whether we’re willing to change our own complacent status quo in the face of manifestly real external and internal threats to our security is less clear.

At least now we have a baseline for discussion:

Do nothing, and disorder descends.

For a deeper cut,, see my prior post…

Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

… that argues Putin is a clear, present, nuclear threat …  that prevails over climate change on immediacy, likelihood, severity and game-changing mitigation.

So, climate control should take a backseat to stopping a manic who is killing masses of people, destroying a country and postured to threaten nuclear blackmail as long as he’s in power.

In other words, shelve the elitist idealism and “drill, baby, drill”.

============

Worth reading

Woody’s entire speech …. as published in the New York Times, August 10, 1979 … is a quick read … pithy, funny and on-point

The key elements:

We are a people who lack defined goals.

We have never learned to love.

We lack leaders and coherent programs.

Unfortunately our politicians are either incompetent or corrupt. Sometimes both on the same day.

We have no spiritual center.

Religion has unfortunately let us down.

Feeling godless then, what we have done is made technology God.

We’re counting on computers and electricity to solve our problems.

Eventually, energy will be in short supply and each car owner will be allowed only enough gasoline to back up a few inches.

We are adrift alone in the cosmos wreaking monstrous violence on one another out of frustration and pain.

Violence breeds more violence.

It’s a 3-minute read … and worth the time.

 

Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

March 4, 2022

Putin is the clear & present danger … so, unleash our oil & gas industry, Joe.
=============

Analytically speaking, risk assessment boils down to a couple of decision criteria:

> How immediate is the threat?

> How severe are the potential consequences?

> How likely are the consequences?

> How might mitigation change the odds?

Applying these risk assessment criteria, the answer to the headlined question is pretty clear (to me).

Putin is demonstrably a clear, present, proven and potentially nuclear danger.

Just turn on your TV to watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Putin is maniacal (and probably crazy), determined and has planet-destroying nuclear weapons that he might use if he’s cornered.

The climate change threat is murky (sorry, but the science is even more unsettled than it is on Covid) and prospective (decades off) … with asserted and uncertain long-term consequences.

Bottom line: If the choice is binary, Putin must be stopped ASAP.

If the Putin and climate threats need to be “balanced”, then the scale should be tilted to stopping Putin.

Putin is clearly the more immediate threat.

Climate control can wait.

Let’s go through the decision criteria…

=============

THREAT ASSESSMENT

Immediacy 

The Putin threat is happening now.  Just turn on your TV right and watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Even climate control zealots concede that its potential “existential threat” from climate change is decades away.

=============

Severity

Climate control zealots say that, unchecked by draconian mitigation, the planet will be a degree or two warmer in 50 years … and that’s enough to end life as we know it.

Let’s assume that’s true.

Some might argue that the Putin threat is localized and contained.

The Ukraine invasion is tragic and sad, but c’mon man, it’s just Ukraine.

Once Putin gets to the Polish border, the U.N. and NATO will stop him in his tracks.

Might be true.

But, what if Putin is, in fact, crazy and, when cornered, he starts lobbing nukes.

Suddenly, we’re looking at a level of global destruction that gives climate change a run for its money.

==============

Likelihood

So, what is the likelihood that climate change puts planetary existence at risk?

Sure, clean energy beats dirty energy and a green mindset makes sense.

But, the case for climate change ending the planet’s existence is a reach.

It is disputable whether the “data is clear” and that “the science is settled” on the consequences of climate change.

For details, see 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change

Personally, I’d score the likelihood of Putin unleashing planet-destroying nukes higher than a climate existential threat.

Update: Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a dire appeal for help as Russia’s attacks across the country intensified and the Russians set afire the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

In Zelensky’s words: “The end of the world has arrived.” 

=============

Mitigation

This is where things get dicey.

I’m confident that the U.S. will become increasingly green.

That’s a good thing.

I believe that American ingenuity and technology will — sometime and somehow over the next 50 years — provide game-changing climate control remedies.

But, as Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, has warned

Some ecologists and politicians urge for a hasty energy transition, yet it requires an unrealistically fast launch of renewable energy sources and faces issues with storage, ensuring reliability and stability of power generation. WSJ

And, to this point, climate control initiatives in the U.S. and Europe have largely been virtue signaling … outsourcing fossil fuel production to other countries (most notably Russia!) … putting the U.S. and Europe in a vulnerable security position.

Question: Is Russian oil cleaner than U.S. or Canadian oil?

Answer: Nope!

So, the pivotal question is how to “mitigate” the Putin threat.

Well, maybe Putin can be jawboned and shunned … and will come to his senses and rein in  his destructive tendencies.

My opinion: Odds of that are essentially zero.

Maybe the rational Russian people will rise up and take him out.

I’m betting the under on that one, too

Let’s try diplomacy.

How’s then been working out?

Not to worry, NATO will ultimately use military force to contain the Putin risk at the Polish border.

English translation: NATO nations will encourage the U.S. to kick Putin’s ass when the time comes

Military containment might be doable … but, at a high cost with the incumbent risk that a crazy Putin starts a nuclear war.

=============

So what to do?

Oh yeah, there are other Putin-mitigating options.

How about draining his war-mongering financial resources with sanctions?

In logic-speak: necessary but not sufficient … especially since the current sanctions explicitly rule out any transactions related to the flow of Russian oil.

According to Biden’s Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh:

“To be clear, our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the current flow of energy from Russia to the world” Source

Say, what?

Bottom line: The only non-military way to cripple Putin’s war mongering is to use U.S. oil & gas production as a geo-political strategic tool … the geo-political strategic tool!

As one right-leaning pundit puts it:

Putin’s power comes from money, most of Putin’s money comes from oil and gas.

It stands to reason that if you’re trying to punish him, hitting him in the wallet is the most effective way to do it.

So why would our President specifically exempt what is the best, most effective, and really only significant way to hurt Putin in way that might impact his behavior?

Of course, there’s an explanation…

Biden is boxed by his party’s far left climate control zealots.

Nonetheless, as we’ve said before:

It’s time to reprioritize energy security and independence by unleashing U.S. oil & gas production!

He has to do an objective risk assessment (see above), stiff-arm his parity’s uber-left loons, restore U.S. energy superiority by unleashing our oil & gas industry.

It’s as simple as that!

 

Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

February 28, 2022

Putin is the clear & present danger … so, unleash our oil & gas industry, Joe.
=============

Analytically speaking, risk assessment boils down to a couple of decision criteria:

> How immediate is the threat?

> How severe are the potential consequences?

> How likely are the consequences?

> How might mitigation change the odds?

Applying these risk assessment criteria, the answer to the headlined question is pretty clear (to me).

Putin is demonstrably a clear, present, proven and potentially nuclear danger.

Just turn on your TV to watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

He’s maniacal (and probably crazy), determined and has planet-destroying nuclear weapons that he might use if he’s cornered.

The climate change threat is murky and prospective (decades off) … with uncertain but potentially severe consequences.

Bottom line: If the choice is binary, Putin must be stopped ASAP.

If the threats need to be “balanced”, then the scale should be tilted to stopping Putin.

Putin is clearly the more immediate threat.

Climate control can wait.

Let’s go through the decision criteria…

=============

THREAT ASSESSMENT

Immediacy 

The Putin threat is happening now.  Just turn on your TV right now and watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Even climate control zealots concede that its potential “existential threat” is decades away.

=============

Severity

Climate control zealots say that, unchecked by draconian mitigation, the planet will be a degree or two warmer in 50 years … and that’s enough to end life as we know it.

Let’s assume that’s true.

Some might argue that the Putin threat is localized and contained..

The Ukraine invasion is tragic and sad, but c’mon man, it’s just Ukraine.

Once Putin gets to the Polish border, the U.N. and NATO will stop him in his tracks.

Might be true.

But, what if Putin is, in fact, crazy and, when cornered, he starts lobbing nukes.

Suddenly, we’re looking at a level of global destruction that gives climate change a run for its money.

==============

Likelihood

So, what is the likelihood that planetary existence at risk?

Sure, clean energy beats dirty energy and a green mindset makes sense.

But, the case for climate change ending the planet’s existence is a reach.

It is disputable whether the “data is clear” and  “the science is settled” on the consequences of climate change.

For details, see 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change

Personally, I’d score the likelihood of Putin unleashing planet-destroying nukes higher than a climate existential threat.

=============

Mitigation

This is where things get dicey.

I’m confident that the U.S. will become increasing green.

That’s a good thing.

I believe that American ingenuity and technology will — sometime and somehow over the next 50 years — provide game-changing climate control remedies.

But, as Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, has warned

Some ecologists and politicians urge for a hasty energy transition, yet it requires an unrealistically fast launch of renewable energy sources and faces issues with storage, ensuring reliability and stability of power generation. WSJ

And, to this point, climate control initiatives in the U.S. and Europe have largely been virtue signaling … outsourcing fossil fuel production to other countries (including Russia!) … leaving the U.S. and Europe vulnerable.

So, the pivotal question is how to “mitigate” the Putin threat.

Well, maybe Putin will come to his senses and self-control his destructive tendencies.

Odds of that are essentially zero,

Maybe the rational Russian people will rise up and take him out.

I’m betting the under on that one, too

Let’s try diplomacy.

How’s then been working out?

Not to worry, NATO will ultimately use military force to contain the Putin risk.

English translation: NATO nations will encourage the U.S. to kick Putin’s ass.

Military containment might be doable … but, at a high cost with the incumbent risk that a crazy Putin starts a nuclear war.

=============

So what to do?

Oh yeah, there are other Putin-mitigating options.

How about draining his war-mongering financial resources with sanctions?

In logic-speak: necessary but not sufficient … especially since the current sanctions explicitly rule out any transactions related to the flow of Russian oil.

According to Biden’s Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh:

“To be clear, our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the current flow of energy from Russia to the world” Source

Say, what?

Bottom line: The only non-lethal way  to cripple Putin’s war mongering is to use U.S. oil & gas production as a geo-political strategic tool … the geo-political strategic tool!

As one right-leaning pundit puts it:

Putin’s power comes from money, most of Putin’s money comes from oil and gas.

It stands to reason that if you’re trying to punish him, hitting him in the wallet is the most effective way to do it.

So why would our President specifically exempt what is the best, most effective, and really only significant way to hurt Putin in way that might impact his behavior?

Of course, there’s an explanation…

Biden is boxed by his party’s far left climate control zealots.

Nonetheless, as we’ve said before:

Biden’s only realistic option is to reverse his dumbest decisions.

He has to do an objective risk assessment (see above), stiff-arm his parity’s uber-left loons, restore U.S. energy superiority by unleashing our oil & gas industry.

It’s as simple as that!

One cartoon says it all … with only one inaccuracy.

February 25, 2022

image

The inaccuracy: In real life, Putin’s playing 3-dimensional chess.

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Thanks to KZ for the feed

Putin says he doesn’t want to share a border with a NATO member, but …

February 25, 2022

If he takes all of Ukraine, he’ll share a border with Poland and Romania … both NATO members!
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Last night, many pundits were saying that Biden (and Ukraine … and NATO) should just concede that that Ukraine will never be granted NATO membership.

Their logic: Putin has intimated that the potential of Ukraine joining NATO is his red lines.

Since there are no known intentions of Ukraine applying for NATO membership … nor of NATO granting membership if Ukraine does apply …  then it’s a moot issue … so why not concede the point and watch the Russian tanks roll back to Mother Russia?

Unfortunately, there are a couple of holes in that argument.

First, if shared borders with a NATO member is really Putin’s flashpoint issue, then taking all of Ukraine doesn’t solve his problem … if he succeeds, Russia will be sharing borders with Poland and Romania.

Both are NATO members!

image

Second, Putin has also been demanding that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, former USSR republics, currently in NATO, get booted out of NATO.

The consensus of pundits seems to be that’s a non-starter.

What a mess…

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For the record:

At present, NATO has 30 members. In 1949, there were 12 founding members of the Alliance: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other member countries are: Greece and Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020). Source

In its final years, the USSR consisted of 15 “republics”: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia (now Belarus), Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgiziya (now Kyrgyzstan), Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia (now Moldova), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

In 2004, three former Soviet republics — the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were admitted to NATO. Source

Also in 2004, three former Warsaw Pact countries — Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia — joined NATO. They were not part of the USSR, but were politically aligned with it, Source

Poland — a NATO member since 1999 — was an “Eastern Bloc satellite state in the Soviet sphere of interest”, but it was never a part of the Soviet Union.

Biden channels Meatloaf …

February 24, 2022

… and I wish he’d stop doing it!
=============

Everybody remembers the Meatloaf classic, right?

The tease:” I would do anything for love”

The punch line”: “But I won’t do that !”

If you need a a refresher or just want to kick back and
listen to an all- time great song, clock here

image
click to listen

==============

Biden (and Psaki) have appropriated a variant of the Meatloaf classic.

Now, every time Joe steps behind the podium, he squints and reads a version of:

Gas prices are high and are going to go higher because of Putin.

I feel your pain and, rest assured, I will use all the tools available to minimize the prices at the pump.

Anything” in Biden-speak includes plays at the margin like temporarily waiving the 18.4 cents per gallon Federal gas tax … and releasing some of the strategic oil reserves.

Reading between the lines is the punch line “But I won’t do that.”

What are the won’t-do-thats?

Well, for openers there are:

  • Buildout the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Enable aggressive fracking (again)
  • Re-open drilling in the Alaskan ANWR Region
  • Fast track off-shore licensing
  • Permanently disable the Nord Stream pipelines (both the NS1 that’s in operation and the NS2 that’s awaiting for final approval)

Those are moves that stand a chance of moderating inflation pressures in the U.S., slowing the flow of oil profits to Putin, providing some oil & LNG to Russian-dependent European countries and restoring. U.S. energy independence.

But, of course, Biden “… won’t do that”

The AOC “squad” and the climate control zealots won’t let him.

Too bad…

So, why is Putin so keen on Ukraine?

February 18, 2022

Seems like something that we should know, right?
=============

In a nutshell, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Russian annexation of some or all of Ukraine would increase Russian strategic landmassskilled manpower, industrial capacity, and natural resources to a level that could make it a global threat.

Let’s drill down on some basics…
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Large landmass

Russia is the largest country in the world, covering about 6.6 million square miles, which is one-eighth of Earth’s inhabitable landmass and  almost double the U.S and China.

image

Ukraine is the largest country entirely within Europe.

The country covers an area of 231,661 square miles, which is about twice the size of Italy and slightly smaller than Texas.

Importantly, Ukraine is a buffer between Russia and NATO allies. Specifically, Ukraine (not a NATO member) separates Russia from Poland (a NATO member).

Paradoxically, if Russia were to annex all of Ukraine, there would be no buffer between Russia and NATO nation Poland.

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Skilled workforce

Russia’s population is about 150 million. Ukraine’s population is about 45  million .

Ukraine’s workforce — commonly reported to be highly skilled  — is the product of the country’s educational system.  Source 

Over 70% have secondary or higher education, the literacy rate is near 100% among its youngest generations and the workforce has one of the highest levels of English proficiency in post-Soviet countries.  Source

The Ukrainian education system is intensely focused on technical and scientific disciplines.

With over 130,000 engineering graduates annually, Ukraine is home to the largest IT engineering force in Central and Eastern Europe. Source

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Natural resources

Ukraine has extremely rich and complementary mineral resources that are highly concentrated and in close proximity to each other.

The country has abundant reserves of coal (12th in the world), uranium (10th in the world), natural gas, oil, iron ore, titanium and nickel. Source

And, the rich dark soil and the vast fields of wheat and other food products have earned Ukraine the nickname “bread basket of Europe.”

According to the CIA World Factbook, Ukraine produced 25% of all agricultural output in the former Soviet Union.

Today, Ukraine exports substantial amounts of grain, vegetables, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, milk and meat to Russia and the European Union.

In addition, food processing, especially sugar processing, is an important industrial segment.

Nearly one out of four workers in Ukraine is employed in agriculture or forestry related endeavors. Source

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Language

One measure of cultural affinity is language.

About 85% of the population speaks Ukrainian (68% only Ukrainian, 17% Ukrainian and Russian).

About 30% of the population speaks Russian (13% only Russian, 17% Ukrainian and Russian).

Russian-speaking is concentrated in the southern (Crimea) and eastern parts of the country (along the Russian border). Source

  • Note: Ukrainian and Russian languages are significantly similar. Both are written in close forms of the Cyrillic alphabet and about 60% of their vocabularies are common. But, linguists consider Ukrainian to be closer to Polish (Ukraine’s western neighbor state) than to Russian. Source

==============

Religion

Another measure of cultural affinity is religion.

In rough numbers, slightly less than half of the Ukrainian population classify themselves as “non-religious believers” or atheists.

Of the half that is religious, about 90% are Ukrainian Orthodox (a variant of Eastern Orthodoxy) and the remainder are Greek or Roman Catholic.  Source

In contrast, Poland is about 85% Roman Catholic.

In Russia, about 1/3 are non-believers or non-religious; about 75% of the religious are Russian Orthodox.

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So what?

Again, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Russian annexation of some or all of Ukraine would increase Russian strategic landmass, skilled manpower, industrial capacity, and natural resources to a level that could make it a global threat.

An invasion and annexation would mark a significant change in international politics, creating a new “Iron Curtain” that begins along Russia’s borders with Finland and the Baltic states and moves south through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and finally to East Asia along China’s southern flank.

Ostensibly, Russia wants “an exclusive sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and the south Caucasus is to meet its security interests.”

Putin’s primary goal is a certainty that Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia will never belong to a military or economic bloc other than the ones Moscow controls.

So, the Kremlin’s demands are for an end to NATO expansion, a rollback of previous expansion and the removal of American nuclear weapons from Europe.

“In essence, this conflict is about whether 30 years after the demise of the Soviet Union, its former ethnic republics can live as independent, sovereign states or if they still must acknowledge Moscow as their de facto sovereign.”

==============

Want more?

Read the Center for Strategic and International Studies brief “Russia’s Possible Invasion of Ukraine”.

It backgrounds the situation, outlines Russia’s possible military moves and opines on Western response options.

It’s a good read that cuts through the blah-blah being served up by the mainstream media (and Fox).

So, how many Americans can ID Ukraine on a map … and, so what?

January 28, 2020

In a previous post, we asked loyal readers: Can you find Ukraine on a map?

If you didn’t take the test then, try sticking a pin in Ukraine now. (Prior post has the answer )

Our bet at the time: The vast majority of Americans can’t find Ukraine on a map … even those in the impeachment brigade.

Well, some political scientists did a survey on the question.

Here’s what they found…

(more…)

Test: Can you find Ukraine on a map?

November 13, 2019

And, if you can, can you name its neighboring countries?
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OK, here’s a map of Eastern Europe.

Stick a pin in Ukraine…

image

And, the answer is …

(more…)

Test: Volodymyr Zelensky is the president of what country?

November 12, 2019

That should be an easy question since its been in the news 24 x 7 recently.

image

But, I’ve heard friends, pundits and outraged Dem politicos say that he is the President of:

(a) The Ukraine (like The Philippines or  The Ohio State University)

(b) Ukraine (like Canada or Smokey Bear)

(c) Ukrania (like Romania)

So, which is it?

(more…)


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