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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 20th of May 2022

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Luck is luck. Luck isn’t structural... Luck is running out Zoltan Pozsar
World Of Finance

Luck is luck. Luck isn’t structural... Luck is running out; central banks were lucky to have price stability as a tailwind when they had to fight crises of FX pegs, par, repo, and the cash-futures basis. Those were the easy crises. The ones you can print your way out of with QE.
But not this time around...

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Stephen Roach calls stagflation his base case, warns market is unprepared for the consequences @CNBC
World Of Finance

Stagflation is making a comeback, according to former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman Stephen Roach.
He warns the U.S. is on a dangerous path that leads to higher prices coupled with slower growth.
“This inflation problem is widespread, it’s persistent and likely to be protracted,” Roach told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Thursday. 

“The markets are not even close to discounting the full extent of what’s going to be required to bring the demand side under control... That just underscores the deep hole [Fed chief] Jerome Powell is in right now.”

Roach, a Yale University senior fellow and former Federal Reserve economist, calls stagflation his base case and the peak inflation debate absurd.

“The demand side has really gotten away from the Fed,” he said. “The Fed has a massive amount of tightening to do.”
Roach expects inflation to stay above 5% through the end of the year. At the current pace of interest rate hikes, the Fed wouldn’t meet that level.
“50 basis points doesn’t cut it. And, by ruling out something larger than that he [Powell] just sends a signal that his hands are tied,” added Roach. “The markets are uncomfortable with that conclusion.”
The Dow is on pace for its eighth negative week in a row for the first time since 1932. 

The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq are tracking for their worst weekly losing streaks since 2001.
Roach started sounding the alarm on 1970s-type inflation risks two years ago, during the early stages of the pandemic. 

He listed historically low interest rates, the Fed’s easy money policies and the country’s enormous debt.
His warning got louder last September on CNBC. Roach cautioned the U.S. was one supply chain glitch away from stagflation.
And now he sees even more reasons to go on alert.
“I would add to that zero-Covid in China along with the repercussions of the war in the Ukraine,” Roach said. 

“That will keep the supply side well-extended in terms of clogging price discovery through the next several years.”

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Its a Wizard of Oz moment This is ’Voodoo Economics’
World Of Finance

We have reached the point when the curtain was lifted in the Wizard of Oz and the Wizard revealed to be ‘’an ordinary conman from Omaha who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful”’’ 

The Curtain has been lifted and Mr. Powell has now arrived at his Volcker moment 

Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid notes that yesterday's surge in the 2-year US Treasury yield was, by one measure, "the biggest "shock" since October 1979 when Volcker announced his intentions on the world @ReutersJamie
The last time inflation was here, February 1982 - the Fed Funds Rate was 15%. @Convertbond
Dartmouth economist and former Fed adviser Andrew Levin says the Fed needs to get rates to a neutral setting within a year or so, and that the means getting the Fed Funds rates up to 4% or 5%

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Ex NY Fed Pres Dudley said U.S. central bank should stop sugarcoating its message on how high interest rates need to go -- and how much pain that will cause -- to get inflation under control @markets
World Of Finance

“I was 3 to 4 (percent) maybe six months ago. Now I’m 4 to 5 and it wouldn’t shock me if I’m 5 to 6 a few months from now,” said Dudley, who is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and senior adviser to Bloomberg Economics.

The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop

Love Fellini. So brave, with that whiff of insanity. @DiAmatoStyle Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 @tcm

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World Of Finance

There is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. 
There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign. Paul Tudor-Jones

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As a result of our unprecedented sanctions, the ruble was almost immediately reduced to rubble. The Russian economy is on track to be cut in half. @POTUS
World Of Finance

It was ranked the 11th biggest economy in the world before this invasion — and soon, it will not even rank among the top 20.

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April 10, 2022 ‘You can print money, but not oil to heat or wheat to eat’ wrote @CreditSuisse’s Zoltan Pozsar.
World Of Finance

“You know, we can play chess, too,” Singh said. “It was important for us to show that the fortress could come crumbling down.”
The Sanction warfare program is a reiteration of the @BarackObama 2014 version but then Oil was dropped to $20.00 and today its trading at $97.56 a barrel. This is the first flaw in the sanction warfare effort.
‘’You can print money, but not oil to heat or wheat to eat’’ wrote @CreditSuisse’s Zoltan Pozsar.
Russia essentially gave the $ and the Euro the very same exorbitant privilege that King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia gave President Franklin D Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy in Great Bitter Lake in February 14, 1945 when the petro dollar economy was symbolically born.

By insisting payments are made in Russian Rubles for Russian commodities Vladimir Putin has withdrawn that exorbitant privilege.
The Russian Ruble rally is real and has much further to go.

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The Sanction warfare program is optimally designed to self harm.
Law & Politics

It’s therefore very weird. I cannot determine whether our Sanction warfare specialists are just 

insanely stupid or don’t care about the average person.

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The Swimmer By John Cheever @NewYorker

The pool, fed by an artesian well with a high iron content, was a pale shade of green. It was a fine day. In the west there was a massive stand of cumulus cloud, so like a city seen from a distance—from the bow of an approaching ship—that it might have had a name. Lisbon. Hackensack. 

The sun was hot. Neddy Merrill sat by the green water, one hand in it, one around a glass of gin. 

He was a slender man—he seemed to have the special slenderness of youth—and while he was far from young, he had slid down his banister that morning and given the bronze backside of Aphrodite on the hall table a smack, as he jogged toward the smell of coffee in his dining room. 

He might have been compared to a summer’s day, particularly the last hours of one, and while he lacked a tennis racket or a sail bag, the impression was definitely one of youth, sport, and clement weather. 

He had been swimming, and now he was breathing deeply, stertorously, as if he could gulp into his lungs the components of that moment, the heat of the sun, the intenseness of his pleasure. 

It all seemed to flow into his chest. His own house stood in Bullet Park, eight miles to the south, where his four beautiful daughters would have had their lunch and might be playing tennis. 

Then it occurred to him that, by taking a dog-leg to the southwest, he could reach his home by water.

His life was not confining, and the delight he took in this thought could not be explained by its suggestion of escape. 

In his mind he saw, with a cartographer’s eye, a string of swimming pools, a quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county. 

He had made a discovery, a contribution to modern geography; he would name the stream Lucinda, after his wife. 

He was not a practical joker, nor was he a fool, but he was determinedly original, and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure. 

The day was beautiful, and it seemed to him that a long swim might enlarge and celebrate its beauty.

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@FairmontMtKenya Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki (founded 1959) became a mecca for the international jet set.

The Safari Club became a Mecca for the international jet set and it’s not difficult to see why. 

The entire property faces Mount Kenya and the mountain sprinkles its own fairy-dust on the setting. 

The pool which was once not heated and you can imagine what it must have been like to swim in it at 2,200 metres above sea-level. It was a rite of passage than a test of your machismo. 

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 2 Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher

Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens[b] to the place where it rises.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance
of later things[d] yet to be
among those who come after.

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Who Misread Whom in Ukraine War Debacle? Remarks by Henry Kissinger and Jacques Baud
Law & Politics

Henry Kissinger made his first public remarks on the Ukraine war in an interview with the Financial Times of London in Washington on May 11th. 

In this appearance, he identified the miscalculation that turned the long simmering hostilities between the now warring parties in this conflict into a catastrophe affecting the entire world. 

This error was the failure of one or both sides not "find[ing] out where the inner red line of the opponent is." 

This cardinal dictum of foreign policy was followed by successive presidential administrations throughout the 43-year Cold War era and prevented this ideological confrontation from turning into a hot war involving the use of nuclear weapons. 

Dr. Kissinger now sees the world closer to this abyss than any time in history.
In this 24-minute excerpt of his FT interview, Dr. Kissinger expounds on what he see as the causes and consequences of the current Ukraine war from a historical and geopolitical perspective. 

The comments made on this YouTube video cover the range of contemporary opinions of Dr. Kissinger – from war criminal to the sagest foreign policy strategist alive today. 

Wherever you fall on this spectrum, the pro-war FT (like virtually all MSM in the UK and US) would not be interviewing Dr. Kissinger if the Atlantic Alliance power brokers in Washington and London did not think his perspective was insightful. 

Thus, I was surprised that Dr. Kissinger’s commentary (as covered below) is brutally critical of the Biden Administration (and by inference its junior NATO partners) in their provocation and conduct of this war. 

Dr. Kissinger also foresees adverse geopolitical consequences for the collective West in the years ahead as it confronts China as a result of this war.

Not believing in coincidences, I find it revealing that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an out-of-the-blue call on Friday May 12th – the day after the Kissinger interview was published – to his counterpart in the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD). 

These two principals had not spoken since before the war started. In this call made at Austin’s request, he "urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine." 

The Pentagon added that "Secretary Austin continues to have concerns about what’s going on in Ukraine." 

Incongruously, this call was made by the same Gen/SecDef Austin who had announced two weeks earlier on a high profile European trip an escalation of US war aims in the conflict. 

Besides fighting for Ukrainian democracy, Austin said, a second US goal in the conflict was "see[ing] that Russia [is] weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine." 

This goal presages the long war that General Mark Milley foresees. 

Hard to see how an immediate ceasefire – as desirable as that would be and no matter which side you think is winning on the battlefield – would achieve Austin’s new stated goal for the war and President Biden’s call for regime change in Russia. 

Is there a purpose behind this mixed messaging or is it evidence of incompetence?

Also on Friday May 12th, German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz called Russian President Vladimir Putin and urged an immediate ceasefire in the war. 

A spokesperson said Scholtz told Putin "progress needed to be made in finding a diplomatic solution as soon as possible." 

This request is off-script based on the US position on the war as expressed emphatically by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her May 1st meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. 

At a press conference afterwards, she stated, "America stands with Ukraine. We stand with Ukraine until victory is won. And we stand with NATO."

Is this belligerent talk by US officials being walked back following Dr. Kissinger’s sobering comments? What do these contradictory statements about the goals for the war say about NATO’s supposed rock-solid unity?

To ascertain which side misread the other and/or engaged in deceptive behavior for starting the war, Dr. Kissinger’s strategic level perspective and analysis provides only half of the pertinent information. 

We also need ground-truthing of the pre-war facts on the ground as reported (or intentionally misreported) in the West’s media narrative. 

The same holds true for self-serving war reports currently put out by each side’s Mod and the Pentagon. 

To pull back the curtain on these matters, we are fortunate to have the commentary and analysis of retired Swiss army intelligence officer Colonel Jacques Baud. 

He possess unique "situational awareness" (military term meaning knowing the history, players, dynamics, and what is going in your battle space) of the conflict in Ukraine. 

As recounted in this in-depth article, Colonel Baud served both as a liaison with NATO and as a trainer and monitor in the Donbas region of Ukraine starting in 2014 through his retirement in 2018. 

His observations as a neutral-country interloper – extended to present by the personal contacts he has maintained with individuals in-country – provides him a better understanding of the causes of the war and how it is playing out than anybody ensconced in Washington, the other major NATO capitals, and the mostly pro-Ukraine media in the collective West. 

I can relate to Colonel Baud’s insider’s battlefield knowledge and disdain for erroneous DoD and MSM war reporting from my own experience serving eight years as a field-level civilian advisor in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Let’s hear from these two experts in their own words. First are Dr. Kissinger’s remarks at that the geopolitical and strategic military level from the 24 minute excerpt of his FT interview conducted in-person on stage on May 11th at the Kennedy Center. 

Second are Colonel Baud’s remarks on the war at the operational and battlefield level made in a 106-minute Delingpole podcast interview also conducted on May 11th. 

His full interview is available on Podbeam and Apple. 

After reviewing this expert source material, you can determine for yourself which side in this conflict failed to ascertain and observe the other side’s inner red lines. 

You will also be more informed on the true status of the war and its eventual likely outcome.

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I spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu today for the first time since February 18th. I urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine @SecDef
Law & Politics

I spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu today for the first time since February 18th. I urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and I emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.

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Dr. Henry Kissinger Who Misread Whom in Ukraine War Debacle?
Law & Politics

H Kissinger was an early and consistent critic of NATO’s post-Cold war expansion eastward which he foresaw to be a dangerous provocation of Russia. (A charge now echoed by Pope Francis.) 

His seminal commentary on this foreign policy faux pax in the case of Ukraine was a March 2014 op-ed in the Washington Post titled, "To resolve the Ukraine Crisis, Start at the End." 

His key insight: "The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins." NATO’s unrestricted ‘open door’ policy on expansion has now demonstratively failed this Kissinger test. Not deterred, 

NATO is about to repeat this mistake for a sixth time in the case of Finland and Sweden.

Having met in person with Putin over 20 times during a 15-year period in academic and foreign policy forums, Kissinger learned Putin has a "mystic faith" in Russian history and felt offended and threatened by NATO’s moving the security line "east of the Elbe." 

Putin was fearful of the "adsorption of this entire area" into NATO. This fear triggered Russia’s military action in Ukraine as a strictly defensive measure. 

Notably, Kissinger does not see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an attempt by Putin to recreate the USSR. 

But after the war ends, he foretells: "We are not going back to the previous relationship." A new world order lies ahead.

Led on by the FT interviewer, Kissinger thinks Putin miscalculated Ukraine’s resistance and overestimated Russia’s non-nuclear military capabilities (i.e., both are reiterating British/US talking points which Baud disputes in his podcast below). 

This discussion led to the question of what is Putin’s inner redline for possibly using nuclear weapons. 

Kissinger does not answer this question but opines that the use of [modern] nuclear weapons is a threshold the "world is not prepared for." 

Thus, having poked the Russian bear, would it not be in the best interests of the West (and the world) – based on the MSM narrative that Ukraine is clobbering Russia on the battlefield – to let Putin "win" in some way? 

Per Kissinger’s red line dictum, this would be a prudent strategic climb-down than trying to eliminate Putin and degrade Russia as a military power through a long war that could go nuclear and destroy the world. Just a thought.

Kissinger opines "the geopolitical situation globally will undergo significant changes after the Ukraine war is over… [not knowing what will happen after the war], I think it is unwise to take an adversarial position to two adversaries [Russia and Chine] in a way that drives them together." 

This of course is exactly what the US and EU have done with their draconian sanctions against Russia and the West’s amped up militarism in East Asia directed against China. 

The actions give Russia and China a common enemy in the West. 

Until now, successive US administrations have assiduously avoided doing this since Nixon recognized communist China in 1972. 

Going forward, Kissinger argues for not making every confrontation between superpowers a win/lose proposition. He see the "best hope of restraint [being] the self-restraint of leaders on both sides."

Kissinger continues, "But in terms of a general strategy ahead of us, we should not lump Russia and China together as an integral element." 

The interviewer interrupts, "I take it then that the Biden administration’s framing of its grand strategic challenge as being democracy vs. autocracy is the wrong framing?" 

Kissinger responds, "I am not in agreement stating an adversarial position as the basic element of the relationship." 

After stating that the West has to be conscious of differences in ideology and apply this consideration internally, Kissinger says "[ideological] differences should not be the principle issue of confrontation." 

He continues, "Unless we are prepared to make regime changes, the principal goal of our foreign policy, which I think given the evolution of technology and the enormous destructiveness of the weapons that now exist, [war] may be imposed on us by the hostility of others. But we should avoid generating it by our own attitudes."

The above statements by Kissinger – the dean of the American foreign policy establishment – are a direct repudiation of the Biden administration’s simplistic and dangerous "us against them" framing of its foreign policy doctrine on ideological grounds. 

This doctrine is a prescription for ‘endless wars’ with the war in Ukraine being a case in point. 

This exchange between Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Senator Rand Paul in a recent senate hearing shows how under the Biden doctrine the US bestows fundamental rights on other countries – rather than ascertaining US national security interests – to determine when our country engages in a military conflict. 

When challenged by Senator Paul why the Biden administration did not pursue negotiations with Russia on the issue of Ukraine entering NATO in the fall of 2021 to prevent a likely war with a nuclear superpower, 

Blinken’s response was that the US has an "open door policy" for all countries that want to join NATO regardless of the security concerns voiced by adversely affected countries. (Russia in this case.) 

Blinken goes on to say (circa 1:18 mark in the video) that this "fundamental right" goes to "the heart of the international rules-based order."

That sounds magnanimous. But as all non-Western aligned countries know, the so-called international rules are administered to serve the interests of the US and its allies. 

Where were the outcries from the rules-based-order officiants in Washington and the members of Congress now outraged over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (most of whom voted for and funded the Iraq war) following the US/UK unlawful invasion of Iraq in 2003? 

The Iraq war caused orders of magnitudes more deaths, destruction, war crimes, and refugees than today’s Ukraine war. 

The Biden Administration’s neoliberal ideological position overrode the real politic considerations – as voiced by Kissinger, George Keenan, and others – that made changing Ukraine’s historic non-aligned status over Russia’s strident objections a provocation that caused a war with a country possessing "weapons of enormous destructiveness."

Kissinger expresses deep concerns that "weapons on both sides are multiplying and their sophistication and increasing in lethality every year. 

But there is almost no discussion internationally on what would happen if these weapons were used." 

He continues, "This is an issue that has been neglected" and "we need a new context for diplomacy and war." 

This is not a new concern for Kissinger. He coauthored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in January 2007 with three other preeminent statesmen (a moniker now out-of-use) – George Shultz, William Perry, and Sam Nunn – calling for a nuclear-weapons free world. 

This foresightful initiative was, of course, DOA in Congress given its love affair with the nuclear weapons industry. 

Given that the use of nuclear weapons is a distinct possibility in the current war, Kissinger is worried that a dangerous precedent could be set for rogue state/actors to use nuclear weapons for blackmail. 

This possibility was the main concern that above Four Horsemen cited in their 2007 WSJ op-ed. 

This danger is why Kissinger says, "We are now living in a totally new era" 

The only question is: Will the bipartisan War Party that controls US foreign and military policy realize this danger and take action to preclude it before the unthinkable happens?

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Colonel Jacques Baud Who Misread Whom in Ukraine War Debacle?
Law & Politics

In explaining what both the interviewer and Baud perceive to be a pro-Ukrainian basis in Western MSM war reporting, Baud cites Clausewitz’s famous quote, "War is politics by other means." 

He sees the press being guilty of "adjusting to facts to support its desired narrative" rather than other way around. 

This distortion of "the fact on the ground is dangerous most of all for the Ukrainians since it allows the US and NATO to misuse and exploit them … for fighting Putin rather than helping Ukraine." 

He goes on, "That is what disturbs me the most in this conflict." 

Baud sees the sanctions on Russia "backfiring" and making Putin more popular than ever. 

He cites this fact and the lack of any clearly articulated objectives by the US and NATO in the Ukraine war as examples of the "lack of strategic thinking" by Western leaders.

Similar to Kissinger in his March 2014 Wapo op-ed on Ukraine, Baud recounts how Crimea became an independent soviet satellite republic in ’89 before Ukraine claimed it by force after the USSR dissolved in ’91. 

Crimea’s independence from Ukraine was affirmed in a democratic plebiscite after the Maidan coup in February 2014. 

Baud says the "little green men" who secured Crimea for Russia after the coup were actually 20,000 local UKR soldiers sympathetic to Russia who switched sides and removed the insignia from their green uniforms – not infiltrated RU soldiers as many media sources claimed

No shots were fired in Russia takeover of Crimea. Based on history, Ukraine’s claim to Crimea as part of its ancestral territorial sovereignty is tenuous at best – and certainly not an issue worth spending tens of billions of dollars and starting World War III to resolve. 

As former Texas Rep. Ron Paul quipped in March 2014, "Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?"

Baud sees the stiffer than expected Ukrainian response to the Russian invasion being the same miscalculation the US made in Vietnam (which as noted above Kissinger now hypocritically criticizes Putin for making in Ukraine).

This instinctive patriotism against foreign intervention and hostile actions also explains the Bush neocons’ unpreparedness for the indigenous insurgencies that arose post-invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Similarly, Baud notes that the West’s post 9/11 war on Islamic increased – rather than decreased – terror attacks in Europe. 

Similarly, the West’s sanctions against Russia is fostering the same resurgence of nationalism resurgence as occurred in these invaded homelands. 

Hopefully, both Putin and the war hawks in Washington and NATO will take note of the self-defeating effects of their belligerent and scornful foreign and military policies.

When asked, "What justification did Putin have from his viewpoint for launching the invasion?" 

Without passing judgment on Putin’s actions, Baud cites that in March 2021, President Zelensky issued a decree for Ukrainian troops to reconquer Crimea and the Donbass. 

This decree was consistent with an election campaign video made by Oleksiy Arestovych – Zelensky’s 2019 campaign manager and Zelensky’s current military advisor and spokesperson on the war. (Baud says this video is authentic.) 

Arestovych boasts, if Zelensky is elected president, UKR will start a war with Russia in the 2020-21 timeframe to take back Crimea and the Donbas. 

After defeating Russia, Arestovych says in the video, NATO will offer Ukraine membership implying a deal has been made. 

Arestovych then outlines amazingly accurate Ukraine and Russian battle plans for this planned war. 

This video suggests there was foreign election manipulation in 2019 to get a compliant Ukrainian president in office so the US/NATO could start a proxy war with Russia. 

If so, this would not be the first time the State Dept./CIA interfered in Ukrainian elections.

True to the video, Baud says 50,000 or so Ukrainian troops were moved to the southern part of the country in late 2021 to prepare for a spring offensive. 

The date of February 16, 2022 was set as the start date. Ukrainian shelling of the Donbas as documented by third party observers was increased 40-fold starting on February 11th. 

According to Baud, Ukraine anticipated the Russia’s military would intervene to support the indigenous pro-Russia militias in the Donbas who would be under assault once this offensive commenced. 

The Russia intervention was delayed at week – until February 24th – to allow Russia to go through a (questionable) legal maneuver make Russia’s intervention a Responsibility to Protect action under international law. 

This chronology explains why Biden was able to publicly boast in early February that he knew for sure "from good intelligence" that Putin would be launching a military operation in Ukraine and when it would occur. 

Despite this foreknowledge, the Biden administration did not endeavor to have Zelensky to call off the Ukrainian offensive in the Donbas. 

If true, the above portrayal of events calls into question whether Russia was truly an "unprovoked aggressor party" in starting this war as relentlessly portrayed in the MSM.

Baud sees NATO as an anachronistic institution having worked for this bureaucracy for five years. 

He says, "NATO’s Cold War mentality has survived the Cold War. It now justifies its existence by creating a confrontation with someone else." 

This is why NATO killed Russia’s post-Cold War "Partners for Peace" initiative and Russia’s bid to join NATO. Baud says, to justify its existence, NATO went out looking for wars to fight in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Libya. 

The problem with NATO, Baud says, is that it’s too focused on advancing US interest which aren’t always Europe’s interest. 

The reluctance of certain NATO countries to ban Russia gas and oil imports is an example of such incongruence. Baud predicts the demise of NATO in the near future for this reason.

Baud offers a more rational and informed professional explanation of the Russian battle plan and efficacy of its military’s war effort to date than the TV generals and MSM pundits. 

In Russia’s initial foray into Ukraine on February 24th , it deployed 65 battalion battle groups to the Donbas region; and only 22 groups (i.e., less than 22,000 soldiers) around Kiev. (Baud says the Pentagon has confirmed these figures). 

According to Baud, the purpose of the secondary Kiev thrust was not to take the city (there never was any urban combat) but to faint an attack and pin down Ukrainian armor and mechanized groups west of the Dnieper River. 

This was done to keep the 100,000 or so Ukrainian troops in and around Kyiv from being able to reinforce the 50,000 or so Ukrainian troops in the Donbas when Russia’s major campaign was being waged. 

Rather than being a strategic and logistical blunder and major defeat caused by all sorts of imagined problems, Baud says the ploy by Russian war planners was "very clever" and successful.

Baud sees Russia making steady progress toward achieving its declared pre-war objectives at an acceptable pace and loss rate. 

Given the lack of progress on the diplomatic front, he thinks Russia may expand its original objectives and take all of Ukraine Black Sea coastline including Odessa before it concludes its combat operations.

Baud flat out says Zelensky is being bribed by the EU and US with promises of weapons in exchange for avoiding negotiations, not making any concessions, and not admitting battlefield defeats

He says the foreign weapons pouring in Ukraine from the West are mostly being destroyed as soon as they cross into the country. Uk

raine’s rail and highway system has also decimated to disrupt their delivery to the frontlines. 

Thus, Baud says weapons being supplied by the West are "not effecting the warfighting and creating rapidly detoxicating situation." 

This state of affairs, he says, is getting thousands of soldiers on both sides needlessly killed. 

Baud sees the relationship between the UKR government and its backers in the US and NATO becoming more and more cynical. 

He doesn’t hold out much hope for a diplomatic solution given the grip the US and EU have on Zelensky and his entourage.

On this somber note, I’ll end this treatise with a final pertinent quote by Dr. Kissinger as the par excellence progenitor of US proxy wars. Zelensky should take to heart his warning to world leaders:

"Nixon should be told that it is probably an objective of Clifford to depose Thieu (South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu – ed.) before Nixon is inaugurated. Word should be gotten to Nixon that if Thieu meets the same fate as Diem, the word will go out to the nations of the world that it may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.” – Henry Kissinger

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We exist in a Tripolar World
Law & Politics

Putin sees this optimal window of opportunity to test the readiness of US for bilateral talks with Moscow but also the red line for future concessions if Washington really intends to get Russia out of China’s orbit in the long term. 

Moscow has put its conditions on the table. tweeted @vtchakarova

and added  ''Amid bifurcation of the global system, think of Machiavelli: „There’s nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, then to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.“ Because this is what Russia’s doing now''


And we have the answer 

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.058055
Dollar Index 102.858
Japan Yen 127.6820
Swiss Franc 0.970500
Pound 1.246200 
Aussie 0.703615
India Rupee 77.5015 
South Korea Won 1270.065 
Brazil Real 4.9313000
Egypt Pound 18.276074 
South Africa Rand 15.834400 

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The coming food catastrophe @TheEconomist
Food, Climate & Agriculture

By invading ukraine, Vladimir Putin will destroy the lives of people far from the battlefield—and on a scale even he may regret. 

The war is battering a global food system weakened by covid-19, climate change and an energy shock. 

Ukraine’s exports of grain and oilseeds have mostly stopped and Russia’s are threatened

Together, the two countries supply 12% of traded calories. Wheat prices, up 53% since the start of the year, jumped a further 6% on May 16th, after India said it would suspend exports because of an alarming heatwave.
The widely accepted idea of a cost-of-living crisis does not begin to capture the gravity of what may lie ahead. 

António Guterres, the un secretary general, warned on May 18th that the coming months threaten “the spectre of a global food shortage” that could last for years. 

The high cost of staple foods has already raised the number of people who cannot be sure of getting enough to eat by 440m, to 1.6bn. Nearly 250m are on the brink of famine

If, as is likely, the war drags on and supplies from Russia and Ukraine are limited, hundreds of millions more people could fall into poverty. Political unrest will spread, children will be stunted and people will starve.

Mr Putin must not use food as a weapon. Shortages are not the inevitable outcome of war. World leaders should see hunger as a global problem urgently requiring a global solution.

Russia and Ukraine supply 28% of globally traded wheat, 29% of the barley, 15% of the maize and 75% of the sunflower oil. 

Russia and Ukraine contribute about half the cereals imported by Lebanon and Tunisia; for Libya and Egypt the figure is two-thirds. 

Ukraine’s food exports provide the calories to feed 400m people. 

The war is disrupting these supplies because Ukraine has mined its waters to deter an assault, and Russia is blockading the port of Odessa.
Even before the invasion the World Food Programme had warned that 2022 would be a terrible year. 

China, the largest wheat producer, has said that, after rains delayed planting last year, this crop may be its worst-ever. 

Now, in addition to the extreme temperatures in India, the world’s second-largest producer, a lack of rain threatens to sap yields in other breadbaskets, from America’s wheat belt to the Beauce region of France. 

The Horn of Africa is being ravaged by its worst drought in four decades. Welcome to the era of climate change.
All this will have a grievous effect on the poor. Households in emerging economies spend 25% of their budgets on food—and in sub-Saharan Africa as much as 40%. 

In Egypt bread provides 30% of all calories. In many importing countries, governments cannot afford subsidies to increase the help to the poor, especially if they also import energy—another market in turmoil.
The crisis threatens to get worse. Ukraine had already shipped much of last summer’s crop before the war. 

Russia is still managing to sell its grain, despite added costs and risks for shippers. 

However, those Ukrainian silos that are undamaged by the fighting are full of corn and barley. 

Farmers have nowhere to store their next harvest, due to start in late June, which may therefore rot. 

And they lack the fuel and labour to plant the one after that. 

Russia, for its part, may lack some supplies of the seeds and pesticides it usually buys from the European Union.

In spite of soaring grain prices, farmers elsewhere in the world may not make up the shortfall. 

One reason is that prices are volatile. Worse, profit margins are shrinking, because of the surging prices of fertiliser and energy. 

These are farmers’ main costs and both markets are disrupted by sanctions and the scramble for natural gas. 

If farmers cut back on fertiliser, global yields will be lower at just the wrong time.

The response by worried politicians could make a bad situation worse. 

Since the war started, 23 countries from Kazakhstan to Kuwait have declared severe restrictions on food exports that cover 10% of globally traded calories. 

Last month Indonesia, source of 60% of the world’s palm oil, said it would ban exports. More than one-fifth of all fertiliser exports are restricted. If trade stops, famine will ensue.
The scene is set for a blame game, in which the West condemns Mr Putin for his invasion and Russia decries Western sanctions. 

In truth the disruptions are primarily the result of Mr Putin’s invasion and some sanctions have exacerbated them. 

The argument could easily become an excuse for inaction. Meanwhile many people will be going hungry and some will die.
Instead states need to act together, starting by keeping markets open. Europe should help Ukraine export its grain via rail and road to ports in Romania or the Baltics, though even the most optimistic forecasts say that just 20% of the harvest could get out that way. 

Importing countries need support, too, so they do not end up being capsized by enormous bills. 

Emergency supplies of grain should go only to the very poorest. 

For others, import financing on favourable terms, perhaps provided through the imf, would allow donors’ dollars to go further. Debt relief may also help to free up vital resources.
There is scope for substitution. About 10% of all grains are used to make biofuel; and 18% of vegetable oils go to biodiesel. 

Finland and Croatia have weakened mandates that require petrol to include fuel from crops. 

Others should follow their lead. An enormous amount of grain is used to feed animals. 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, grain accounts for 13% of cattle dry feed. 

In 2021 China imported 28m tonnes of corn to feed its pigs, more than Ukraine exports in a year.
Immediate relief would come from breaking the Black Sea blockade. 

Roughly 25m tonnes of corn and wheat, equivalent to the annual consumption of all of the world’s least developed economies, is trapped in Ukraine. 

Three countries must be brought onside: Russia needs to allow Ukrainian shipping; Ukraine has to de-mine the approach to Odessa; and Turkey needs to let naval escorts through the Bosporus.
That will not be easy. Russia, struggling on the battlefield, is trying to strangle Ukraine’s economy. Ukraine is reluctant to clear its mines. 

Persuading them to relent will be a task for countries, including India and China, that have sat out the war. 

Convoys may require armed escorts endorsed by a broad coalition. Feeding a fragile world is everyone’s business. ■

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@antonioguterres says Russia's war in Ukraine is amplifying and accelerating food insecurity and global hunger. @SkyNews
Food, Climate & Agriculture

The secretary-general of the United Nations has warned that hunger levels around the world "are at a new high".

He said the number of people facing severe food insecurity had doubled in just two years from 135 million before the coronavirus pandemic to 276 million today.
The number of people living in famine conditions has increased by more than 500% since 2016 and now sits at more than 500,000.

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Sunday, April 10, 2022 Apocalypse Now
Food, Climate & Agriculture

Commodity Prices will continue to surge. Just look at Food Prices last month.

Food prices are soaring at a record pace, rising another 13% in March. @lisaabramowicz1
“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused to believe -that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chance, no return.’’
Gravity’s Rainbow is a 1973 novel by Thomas Pynchon
The consequences for global stability are now unfathomable.

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The #US has greeted President #HassanSheikh's election with its redeployment of up to 500 troops into #Somalia @Africa_Conf

Kenya and US welcome Hassan Sheikh's presidential comeback 
The election went better than expected but may unsettle Addis Ababa and Asmara

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South Africa’s central bank raises interest rate to 4.75% from 4.25%, the biggest hike since January 2016

South Africa’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by the biggest margin in more than six years and signaled even higher borrowing costs are ahead, escalating its response to global headwinds that have fueled inflation and capital outflows.
The 50-basis-point increase in the repurchase rate to 4.75% was the biggest since January 2016 and matched the median of 20 economists’ in a Bloomberg survey. 

Of the five members on the panel, four voted for the half-point increase and 1 preferred a 25 basis-point hike. 

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Zimbabwe Effectively Lets Currency Slide With Interbank Rate @bpolitics

Zimbabwe’s acceptance that most business will take place at a newly introduced interbank rate for the Zimbabwe dollar amounts to an effective devaluation of the local currency, a policy maker said.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced the interbank rate on May 9, two days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa temporarily barred banks from lending and introduced a raft of other measures in a bid to halt the plunge of the Zimbabwe dollar on the black market. 

The government sets its official rate at a weekly auction. 

Prior to the lending ban, which was lifted this week, the Zimbabwe dollar was officially trading at 166 to the greenback and as much as 420 on the black market. 

The interbank rate was introduced at 276 and is now 289. 

“Given the questions regarding efficient price discovery, we feel the interbank is more efficient than auction system in terms of price discovery,” Persistence Gwanyanya, a member of the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, said in an interview. 
The interbank rate is being adopted widely in the pricing of goods and services by businesses and government departments. 

With only a less competitive auction rate to rely on, many businesses had turned to the black market. 

In his televised address on May 7, Mnangagwa said businesses could use the interbank rate plus a margin of up to 10% in the pricing of goods. 

The auction and the interbank rates will converge “over time,” he said.

“There may not be convergence yet, but there are acceptable differences,” Gwanyanya said. The auction rate has weakened to 258 to the dollar.

The lending ban and the introduction of a new rate are the latest developments in a currency crisis that stems back to 2009, when the Zimbabwe dollar was abandoned in favor the US currency after a bout of hyperinflation. 

The Zimbabwe dollar was reintroduced in 2019 and immediately began to fall.
The auctions won’t immediately be abandoned as they are a source of foreign currency for critical parts of the economy, he said. 
Still, at an auction on Tuesday the government offered $6.8 million, a franction of the $51 million business sought.
The ideal situation is to have a one exchange rate economy, according to Gwanyanya.  

“When we have multiple rates it means we have not yet achieved stability,” he said. “But the gaps are starting to close.”

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21-JAN-2019 :: @harari_yuval & money

''Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.”

“Cowry shells and dollars have value only in our common imagination. Their worth is not inherent in the chemical structure of the shells and paper, or their colour, or their shape. In other words, money isn’t a material reality – it is a psychological construct. It works by converting matter into mind.”
The Point I am seeking to make is that There is a correlation between high Inflation and revolutionary conditions, Zimbabwe is a classic example
The Mind Game that ZANU-PF played on its citizens has evaporated in a puff of smoke.

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Ebola Fatalities in Congo Raise Concern of More Virulent Strain @markets

The strain of Ebola virus that killed all three people known to have caught it in the Democratic Republic of Congo since April may be more virulent, according to a nonprofit group that runs three treatment centers there.

An acute loss of blood was the first symptom observed in all three patients reported in Congo’s remote northwestern province of Equateur, said Baweye Mayoum Barka, the incoming head of mission in the country for the Alliance for International Medical Actions. 

That’s unlike cases seen during the previous two outbreaks there in which most began with fever or fatigue and only about 15% of patients hemorrhaged, he said.
Genetic sequencing of the virus responsible for the latest outbreak indicate it’s unlike the strain that sparked larger epidemics in 2018 and 2020, Mayoum Barka said. 

Those outbreaks sickened about 180 people, according to the World Health Organization. 
Almost 300 people who’d been in contact with the latest cases are being monitored for infection, the WHO’s Africa Region office said Tuesday. 

The first patient, a 31-year-old man, developed symptoms on April 5 and died 16 days later at a treatment center in the city of Mbandaka. 

Only two additional cases have been confirmed, suggesting the strain is less transmissible, Mayoum Barka said.

“It seems that, while the reproductive rate is quite low, the virulence of the virus is very high,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

Ebola virus disease was discovered in Congo, Africa’s second largest country by land area, in 1976. 

Until vaccines and treatments became available in recent years, outbreaks with fatality rates of up to 90% frequently triggered international concern.
The 2018 and 2020 Ebola outbreaks in Congo, the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa, resulted in 50%-to-60% mortality, mostly as a result of fluid loss caused by acute diarrhea, Mayoum Barka said. 
Although the current outbreak appears to be contained, members of the affected community in Mbandaka have been reluctant to undergo testing, fearful of being asked to isolate in a dedicated facility, Mayoum Barka said. 

That’s hampering disease surveillance efforts, just as vaccine hesitancy leaves more people vulnerable to the infection, he said.
Some 22 contacts were identified as being suspected Ebola cases by May 15. 

Of those, six died before they could be tested and 16 refused to be isolated and are still in the community, he said.
“We need to remove the thinking that an isolation center is a mortuary center,” he said. “This makes the response very, very complicated.” 
Just over 800 people out of a regional population of about 340,000 people have been vaccinated, compared with tens of thousands in more recent outbreaks. 

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Crisis in the Hot Zone Lessons from an outbreak of Ebola. Richard Preston

The first known emergence of Ebola Zaire—the hottest subtype of Ebola virus— happened in September, 1976, when the virus erupted simultaneously in fifty-five villages near the Ebola River.

Ebola Zaire is a slate-wiper in humans. It killed eighty- eight per cent of the people it infected. 
Apart from rabies and the human immunodeficiency virus, H.I.V., which causes aids, this was the highest rate of mortality that has been recorded for a human virus. 
Ebola was spread mainly among family members, through contact with bodily fluids and blood. 
Many of the people in Africa who came down with Ebola had handled Ebola-infected cadavers. It seems that one of Ebola’s paths wends to the living from the dead.

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.@SafaricomPLC share data
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

Price: 28.05 Market Capitalization:  $9.64b  EPS: 1.74 PE: 16.121

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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May 2022

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