Food Crisis or Bad Leaders?

To know if we have an approaching “Global Food Crisis” due to the war in Ukraine, or if it is just bad decisions by “leaders”, it is necessary to “run some numbers”. How much wheat is grown in Ukraine? What percentage of it is exported? How much of the “global diet” does that represent? How much alternative food grains are available for emergency use? Is anyone doing that / preparing for it?

So let’s look at some of this.

Wheat production:

Over 750 million metric tons of wheat were produced in 2017/18 worldwide. It’s also consumed more than any other grain in the world except for rice and provides 20% of the global population’s daily protein intake. The reason that wheat is such an important dietary staple across so many regions is due to its ability to be produced in many different types of soils and climates.

To help traders to learn more about this important global agricultural commodity, TFG has prepared this guide on everything you need to know about wheat.

The important numbers here are total wheat market size at 750 Million Tons and 20% of global protein. It’s that 20% that’s hard to “fix” if it is missing as wheat has a high protein content.

The Many Uses of Wheat

Unsurprisingly, the main demand for wheat comes from human consumption. In fact, over two-thirds of wheat produced globally is used as food. It contains many vitamins and minerals which make it a staple food product. It’s used in premium bread making, general purpose bread making, biscuit and cake making, and as animal feed.

Although foodstuffs represent the main use of wheat, it also has several alternative uses. The gluten and starch present in wheat make it elastic and able to bind water. This makes wheat useful for products like:

Paper – The starch from wheat is used to improve the strength of paper. The United States paper manufacturing industry uses over 5 billion pounds of starch every year.
Pharmaceuticals – Wheat gluten is used in the pharmaceuticals industry to create capsules
Adhesives – The adhesive on the back of postage stamps is created with wheat starch
Soaps – Wheat germ, which contains lots of vitamin E, is commonly used in soaps and creams.
Wheat is also used to produce bioethanol, but it plays a relatively small role in this compared to crops like corn.

OK… so maybe for a year or so we use less fancy paper, put corn starch in pills instead of wheat, and make adhesives out of something else… We’re talking roughly 30% of wheat used for these processes and for things like “bioethanol” to burn up in cars, when there’s a shortfall of about 3% of global wheat from the war in Ukraine.

Think maybe there’s a solution available here so people don’t have to starve to death in Egypt or Indonesia?

Note that now we are going to look at EXPORTS. This is just what leaves one country for another, not the amount consumed inside the country.

The 5 biggest wheat exporters (Russia, United States of America, Australia, Canada and Ukraine) provided about three-fifths (59.5%) of the overall value of international shipments for the nourishing cereal food.

From a continental perspective, European countries supplied half of worldwide wheat exports during 2021 with shipments amounting to $28 billion or 50.2% of total global sales. Home to two leading wheat-shipping neighbors (United States and Canada), North American exporters furnished 25.2% worth of wheat sold on international markets.

Oceania (mostly Australia) was responsible for 13% of wheat exports by value, ahead of Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean at 6.2%. Smaller percentages came from Asia (5.3%) and Africa (0.2%).

So, OK, both Russia and Ukraine are in the top 5 exporters. North America does 25% of exports, European countries (by which I presume they include Russia and Ukraine) at about 1/2. Australia picks up 13%. Nice going Australia!

Top 15 Wheat Exporters by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of wheat during 2021.

Russia: US$7.3 billion (13.1% of total wheat exports)
United States: $7.29 billion (13.1%)
Australia: $7.2 billion (13%)
Canada: $6.6 billion (11.9%)
Ukraine: $4.7 billion (8.5%)
France: $4.6 billion (8.2%)
Argentina: $3 billion (5.3%)
Germany: $2 billion (3.6%)
Romania: $1.8 billion (3.3%)
India: $1.7 billion (3.1%)
Bulgaria: $1.4 billion (2.5%)
Kazakhstan: $1.1 billion (1.9%)
Poland: $994.3 million (1.8%)
Lithuania: $826.2 million (1.5%)
Hungary: $670.8 million (1.2%)
The listed 15 countries shipped 91.8% of globally exported wheat in 2021 by value.

This is by value, not by tons. But even here we can see that embargo of Russian Wheat is much bigger an impact than any Ukrainian crop failure. That’s a “leadership decision” not a crop failure…

Note, too, that crop production varies a LOT in any one country by year:

Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing wheat suppliers from 2020 to 2021 were: India (up 609%), Australia (up 167.2%), Bulgaria (up 96%), Romania (up 89.2%) and Argentina (up 46.5%).

Five countries posted declines in their annual exported wheat sales namely: Lithuania (down -9.3%), Russia (down -7.8%), Germany (down -5.8%), Kazakhstan (down -5%) and Poland (down -4.9%).

So there are certainly opportunities for other countries to “pick up the load” by planting some extra wheat, and the market is already geared for significant changes in output in any one country.

Where is the wheat going? I’ve bolded the first 1/2 dozen. These are the places where any shortage of wheat will be felt most. Couscous is a major dietary item in the Islamic world, for example:

Countries Posting Greatest Trade Deficits from the Global Wheat Trade
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for wheat during 2021. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s wheat import purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

Indonesia: -US$3.5 billion (net export deficit up 35.6% since 2020)
Nigeria: -$2.74 billion (up 33.4%)
China: -$2.72 billion (up 20.3%)
Turkey: -$2.6 billion (up 13.1%)
Egypt: -$2.5 billion (down -8.5%)
Algeria: -$2.3 billion (up 41.9%)

Italy: -$2.2 billion (up 10.4%)
Bangladesh: -$1.96 billion (up 52.1%)
Philippines: -$1.95 billion (up 24%)
Japan: -$1.8 billion (up 17.1%)
Morocco: -$1.6 billion (up 11.7%)
Brazil: -$1.4 billion (up 12.5%)
South Korea: -$1.35 billion (up 39%)
Vietnam: -$1.27 billion (up 59.3%)
Mexico: -$1.26 billion (up 26%)

Highly populated Indonesia, Nigeria and mainland China incurred the highest deficits in the international trade of wheat. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights the countries’ severe competitive disadvantages for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for wheat-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand among each country’s consumers.

Those are the places to watch for any food shortage / high priced food riot effects. Watch for China to try buying up the global wheat supply…

Countries like Japan and Korea will likely substitute more rice, while Mexico will use more corn totillas and fewer flour.

But what is the size of exports in tons?

There numbers are for 2015/16 and as 1,000 metric tons.

6 Ukraine 15,800

So that year Ukraine exported 15,800,000 tons out of a global production of about 750,000,000 (yes, that’s a couple of years later, but close enough for ballpark estimates).

16/750 = 0.02133 or about 2% of global PRODUCTION.


24/750 = 0.032 or about 3% of global PRODUCTION.

Both together a bit over 5% of global wheat production. I’d wager that falls into the error band of annual global production given the numbers seen above as Yr/Yr variation by country.

On another page it was stated that Ukraine uses about 6,000,000 tons internally, so if NO crop is produced, they would want to import 6/750 = 0.008 or 0.8% of global production.

It is starting to look like the GLOBE can fairly easily handle the loss of Ukrainian grain, and any Bad Thing would be the result of allocation decisions, not gross production on a planetary basis.

6,000,000 tons is about 13,2 Billion pounds. A useful rule of thumb is that it takes about one dry pound of grains or beans to feed a person for a day (generous servings). That makes this about 36 Million persons fed for a year. Wiki lists the population as 41 million, so either they eat a LOT of wheat, or there’s lots of slack in the food system…

Wheat is grown on more land area than any other food crop (220.4 million hectares or 545 million acres, 2014). World trade in wheat is greater than for all other crops combined.

In 2020, world production of wheat was 761 million tonnes (1.7 trillion pounds), making it the second most-produced Cereal after maize. Since 1960, world production of wheat and other grain crops has tripled and is expected to grow further through the middle of the 21st century. Global demand for wheat is increasing due to the unique viscoelastic and adhesive properties of gluten proteins, which facilitate the production of processed foods, whose consumption is increasing as a result of the worldwide industrialization process and the westernization of the diet.

Gee… a lot of it goes into processed foods… and the “westernization of the diet”. Maybe, just maybe, we could eat a few percent of something else for a year or two and let the folks subsisting on couscous have our wheat?

I’m not going to give every grain and crop the same treatement. I think this has made the point that while Ukraine is a significant exporter of wheat, they are a very small part of total global production of wheat, and the percent at risk is in the annual variation of total crop yields.

I will just point out that in a comment on another thread I pointed out that most maize / corn is fed to animals. The USA, in one year, grows enough corn that were it used to feed people, it produces 7.5 YEARS worth of gross calories PER YEAR for everyone in the USA. It’s just that then we feed almost all of it to cows, pigs, chickens and our cars as “bioethanol”. Cows turn ten dry pounds of grain into one pound of wet steak. Pigs have a feed conversion efficiency of 3 : 1 as do chickens (more or less), while fish can reach 1 : 1 (no miracle there, they are cold blooded so don’t burn it up to stay warm, and remember that’s one DRY pound of grain to one WET pound of fish).

The bottom line here being that were we just to convert a minor percent of our diet from beef to pork, chicken and fish, maybe drop the ethanol percent in gasoline to 5% for a year, and then plant those acres to wheat instead of corn: There would be no shortage of what for people to eat at all.

Just saying… It’s a choice.

No, this does not mean I expect it to happen. I expect the farm lobby to get us using 15% ethanol in gas, folks will keep buying deluxe stationary, and the folks in Egypt to have food riots again.

What ought to happen is a graceful move to a less rich diet for ourselves and our cars so that the rest of the world can survive. That is not what will happen.

I’m also not addressing the “fertilizer crisis” in this posting either. It has very similar characteristics with some nations being big percentage of the EXPORT market, but with almost all production in most countries staying in the country. “Why” is pretty simple. It’s heavy and expensive to move the stuff. Better to mine / make it near point of use. So yeah, you might lose some from the export market, but there’s still a LOT made in the home market. It is more about cost of fuel and stupidly shutting off oil and gas than it is about ability to produce. Again, idiot decisions from our Idiots In Charge who can’t do basic math and do not know how things work. (But do know how to get their vigorish… It’s all about the Vig…)

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Posted in Emergency Preparation and Risks, News Related, Political Current Events | 14 Comments

Is Poland “In It” in Ukraine?

I’ve run into a couple of stories that have said 2 Polish army units are in Ukraine. One (of Russian Origin) states it as unqualified fact. Another opines that they might be mercenaries, volunteers, or just “Advisors:” sent with some equipment for training / delivery.

So my question is just “Is there any truth in any of that”.

We know that all military from all sides will be indulging in propaganda and “fog of war” secrecy. We know that getting any real information from anywhere with battle going on is hard at best, and nearly impossible in this war. So no, I don’t have an answer to my question. Just some pointers to bits of information.

Using DDGo or worse, Google, mostly just gets you the Western Propaganda POV. Using Yandex gets you the Russian Propaganda mixed with some truth. Doing “compare and contrast” on the two of them gives a better idea of what is most likely the truth.

So starting with our propaganda about their propaganda:

April 28, 2022
5:57 PM UTC
Last Updated 24 days ago

Russian spy chief says U.S., Poland plotting division of Ukraine

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – Russia’s foreign spy chief accused the United States and Poland on Thursday of plotting to gain a sphere of influence in Ukraine, a claim denied by Warsaw as disinformation aimed at sowing distrust among Kyiv’s supporters.

Sergei Naryshkin, the chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), cited unpublished intelligence that he said showed the United States and Poland, NATO allies, were plotting to restore Polish control over part of western Ukraine.

“According to the intelligence received by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Washington and Warsaw are working on plans to establish Poland’s tight military and political control over its historical possessions in Ukraine,” Naryshkin said in a rare statement released by the SVR.

Poland denied the claim and said it was disinformation spread by Moscow.

At a minimum, Russia has been “talking dirt” about Poland having designs on part of Ukraine. Remember that at the end of W.W.II, Poland got moved west a few hundred miles as a chunk was glued onto Ukraine. So there’s some bits of Ukraine that were historically bits of Poland from time to time (as Poland goes into and out of existence as a formal country a few times in history…)

So Russia is trying to stir up some trouble by claiming Poland has designs on Ukraine. Which Poland might, or might not. TBD. To Be Determined (some other time by someone else or by events as they unfold).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is planning to submit a draft bill to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the status and assistance to Polish citizens in Ukraine, which is similar to the one, which has recently been endorsed by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland in relation to Ukrainians.

The relevant statement was made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his speech in the Ukrainian parliament in the presence of Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The full text of the speech was posted by Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andrij Sybiha on Facebook, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“I particularly thank the Sejm of the Republic of Poland for the law on assistance to Ukrainian citizens, which has been adopted recently. This is an unprecedented decision, according to which our citizens, who have been forced to flee to Poland due to the Russian aggression, will be granted almost the same rights and opportunities as Polish citizens. Legal residence, employment, education, health care and social benefits. It is a great step and a gesture of the great soul, which only a good friend of Ukraine could have made. This step will not remain unilateral. In the near future, I will submit a similar – mirror – draft bill to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,” Zelensky told.

Meanwhile, the President of Ukraine expressed hope that Polish citizens would never face a situation, where they need such benefits in such conditions, in the conditions of the war.

So the two presidents are making nice at each other and the two countries are saying that in times of crisis “Y’all Come” and be treated like citizens, more or less.

Some folks have decided maybe there’s more to it than that…

The Threat Of Polish Involvement In Ukraine
The war against Russia in Ukraine has evolved, but not in the way Western observers predicted.

MAY 10, 2022|3:00 PM
“In economics,” wrote John Kenneth Galbraith, “the majority is always wrong.” Galbraith might have added that in military affairs, there is a mountain of historical evidence to suggest that American generals and military analysts are always wrong, too.

When the Spanish Civil War ended in March 1939 after three years of brutal fighting that saw Soviet, German, and Italian equipment, advisors, and troops in heavy combat, senior military leaders in London, Paris, and Washington found surprisingly little evidence to suggest a profound change in warfare. In fact, a U.S. Army officer who later became a major general witnessed the fighting and suggested that, “In Spain, the theories proclaimed for the devastating power of Panzer divisions and other massed armored formations used ‘independently’ are apparently refuted by actual events.” Five months later, events in Poland would repudiate these words, but at the time, his views were widely shared in the West.

The war against Russia in Ukraine is different from the Spanish Civil War. It’s a proxy war designed to employ the full range of American and allied capabilities against Russia in Ukraine. If Americans are beginning to wonder whether Washington’s enormous investment in Ukrainian assistance has colored the opinions of U.S. analysts and their evaluation of events in Ukraine, their suspicions are justified.

Within days of the war’s outbreak, President Biden signed off on an emergency spending package that included $13 billion in aid to Ukraine, half of which was allocated for military purposes. Combined with the recently promised $33 billion in additional military assistance to Ukraine, the total cost of U.S. taxpayer-funded military assistance to Ukraine in 2022 approaches the Russian army’s annual budget. Perhaps most important, in Ukraine, U.S. advisors provide intelligence and targeting guidance along with the rapid resupply of critical war-fighting equipment.

As the fighting raged in Ukraine, as if on cue, retired U.S. Army generals appeared on television to herald an imminent Ukrainian victory based on the country’s allegedly spectacular battlefield successes and Russia’s extraordinary incompetence. Russian forces, they argued, were doomed to defeat by serious tactical errors, logistical shortfalls, and weak execution. In retrospect, some of these comments involved “mirror imaging,” but much of the criticism almost certainly reflected the sunk costs of U.S. investment in Ukrainian military capability.

It did not take long for American analysts to insist that the Russian military leadership had made the unpardonable mistake of not “front-loading” the Russian offensive in Ukraine with strikes from precision guided missiles, Desert Storm-style. American military pundits and their British colleagues were also quick to pass judgement on the failure of Russian ground forces to race west along two or three major axes. If Ukrainian forces could inflict enough human and equipment losses on Russian forces, the narrative went, Moscow would abandon its objectives and withdraw its forces. Of course, expecting the Russians to suspend operations on such spurious grounds makes about as much sense as expecting Washington to sue for peace after Pearl Harbor.

The retired generals paid little attention to the operational situation. Contrary to the picture painted by Western analysts, Russian ground forces pressed forward, moving methodically along a 300-mile front to identify and selectively attack Ukrainian forces.

Few analysts in the West knew or cared that Russian commanders were instructed to avoid collateral damage to the civilian population and infrastructure. Initially, concerns about collateral damage clearly constrained the Russian army’s action,
but in time, Russian operations encircled key urban areas in Eastern Ukraine where Ukrainian forces sought to establish defensive strongholds stocked with ammunition, food, and water. Russian operational intent changed, focusing on systematically reducing the encircled Ukrainian forces and not on capturing metropolitan areas.

That was I point I’ve raised a few times too, that the initial attempt by Russia was to avoid damage. When that wasn’t working so well, then they started to make it messy.

Russia’s enormous advantage in strike forces—rocket artillery, tactical ballistic missiles, conventional artillery, and aircraft—combined with significant Ukrainian deficiencies in mobility, air defense, and strike assets, made the Ukrainian decision to defend inside urban areas inevitable. But Ukrainian forces’ inability to effectively maneuver and coordinate counteroffensives on the operational level ceded the strategic initiative to Russian forces early. It also simplified the conduct of Russian “attrition by strike operations.” Key Ukrainian airfields, bridge sites, railway junctions and transportation assets were neutralized or destroyed, isolating forward deployed Ukrainian forces from resupply or reinforcement.

Ten weeks after the conflict began, it is instructive to re-examine the strategic picture. The war against Russia in Ukraine has evolved, but not in the way Western observers predicted. Ukrainian forces look shattered and exhausted. The supplies reaching Ukrainian troops fighting in Eastern Ukraine are a fraction of what is needed. In most cases, replacements and new weapons are destroyed long before they reach the front.

Confronted with the unambiguous failure of U.S. assistance and the influx of new weapons to rescue Ukrainian forces from certain destruction, the Biden administration is desperate to reverse the situation and save face. Poland seems to offer a way out. More important, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have both expressed the desire to erase the borders between Poland and Ukraine.

Unconfirmed reports from Warsaw indicate that after Washington rejected the proposals for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, along with the transfer of Polish MIG-29 aircrafts to Ukrainian pilots, the Polish general staff was quietly instructed to formulate plans for intervention in the Ukrainian conflict by seizing the western part of Ukraine. Naturally, military action of this scale would require Kiev’s approval, but given Washington’s de facto control of the Zelensky government, approval for Polish military intervention should not be a problem.

Presumably, the Biden administration may hope that a collision involving Russians and Poles in any form—including air and missile strikes against Polish forces on the Ukrainian side of the border—would potentially call for the NATO council to meet and address Article V of the NATO treaty.
Whether a Polish military intervention into Ukraine justifies the commitment of NATO members to war with Russia is unclear. Action still would be left up to the judgement of each NATO member state.

I would not put that past them. Create a NATO Crisis to get direct NATO involvement.

There’s some good comments here (but how valid?):

Poland trading some cannon fodder for western Ukraine?

2 battalions of Poles arrived in Pavlograd This is reported by the project’s sources
According to our data, 2 battalions of Polish infantry moved out of Kiev the day before and have already reached Pavlograd.

Each battalion has 4 Rapira anti-tank guns, armored personnel carriers and American armored cars. Currently, the Polish infantry is being prepared for transfer to the Avdiivka front. Whether we are talking about regular troops or mercenaries – now it is difficult to say.

But in any case, the appearance of these data against the background of Zelensky’s dancing with the Rada about the participation of foreign contingents in combat operations looks quite logical.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 22 2022 18:58 utc | 119

Pavlograd is in EASTERN central Ukraine.

Pavlohrad (Ukrainian: Павлоград, pronounced [pɐu̯loˈɦrɑd]; Russian: Павлогра́д, pronounced [pəvlɐˈɡrat]) is a city and municipality in central east Ukraine, located within the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. It serves as the administrative center of Pavlohrad Raion. Its population is approximately 103,073 (2021 est.).

Back at that prior MOA link:

Draft bill announced today in Ukraine will allow Polish police and army act on the territory of Ukraine, Polish citizens to be elected in Ukraine and have access to military secrets

This pretty much means that Poland will move into Ukraine shortly to “Protect” it.

Posted by: Respo | May 22 2022 19:03 utc | 121

But some other folks think that’s a misunderstanding of what was actually said. (Which is likely given the various languages and translations involved along the way).

@133 Before everybody starts freaking out note that this piece of ‘news’ came from Andrew @ 77 who probably got it from Semyon Pegov aka “WarGonzo”…\

Posted by: dh | May 22 2022 19:54 utc | 139
My predictions are otherwise.

I reckon the RF will settle for those areas where they will have the support of the majority of the citizens, the east and the south. What could they possibly want with the rest of it? They will never win elections there. The RF must know that no deal will ever be honoured by the Ukrainian puppet government so they will only take what they can hold by force. I know that won’t achieve denazification but I doubt that Sun Tzu ever recommended being honest about ones military objectives. The RF will obviously try to set up a new federated state (Novorossiya?) in those areas and support it militarily till they can support themselves.

The fighting will eventually peter out as the RF digs in at the new frontier and the Ukrainian rump state will basically collapse. At that point I would not be surprised if the Poles move into Galicia and the Rumanians and Hungarians reoccupy some of their old territories under the guise of humanitarian intervention. What is left of Ukraine will probably recognise how cynically they have been used by the west (and the US in particular) and do their own de-nazification.

Or maybe things will go nuclear, at which point all bets are off.

Posted by: MarkU | May 22 2022 20:34 utc | 150

And then the “Did Not” to the “Did So”:

Draft bill announced today in Ukraine will allow Polish police and army act on the territory of Ukraine, Polish citizens to be elected in Ukraine and have access to military secrets.
Tom_Q_Collins | 22 maggio 2022 20:40 utc | 151

I don’t know what the source of these claims is – from the attached link Ze did not say this; he said:
“Aside, I thank the Polish Sejm for the recently adopted law on assistance to Ukrainian citizens. This is an unprecedented decision, according to which our citizens who have been forced to move to Poland due to Russian aggression will receive almost the same rights and opportunities as Polish citizens. Legal residence, work, training, medical assistance and social security. This is a great step and a gesture of a great soul, of which only a great friend of Ukraine is capable.
And this step will not remain one-sided. In the near future I will present a similar, specular project to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. God forbid that Polish citizens ever need all these advantages under such conditions, under conditions of war.”

However, I share the great fear that they are planning some mess (I wrote it a few days ago starting from Duda’s speech on May 3)
Posted by: FZappa | May 22 2022 21:43 utc | 172

So it does look like something is afoot between Poland and Ukraine, but exactly what is a bit cloudy.

Using Yandex pulls up this site. It has a bunch of purported detailed reports complete with photos of the action in Ukraine, but Wiki says it’a Russian Moutpeace while the wikispooks says they have good information even if a bit rah-rah-Russia.

<Written by Brett Redmayne-Titley. Read Destination Ukraine (Part One) … The Ignorance Of War

Important factors have come into play this past week as reported from the streets here in Warsaw.

While NATO, the US military and Ukrainian president Zelensky have to this point been thwarted by the nuclear realities in their goal of fomenting World War III in Ukraine it may be that Poland, due to its own ulterior motives, will do the dirty work on their behalf.

NATO member countries and the political leaders of each have expressed very public reticence towards crossing into Ukrainian territory with their national armies. Zelensky’s whistle-stop tour this past week in attempting to solicit the support of these same leaders by shaming them publicly has almost universally fallen on deaf ears, if not created indignation amongst each nation’s media, a media that seems to be quickly turning on Zelensky himself. As mentioned in the recent article, “Destination Ukraine: The Ignorance of War,” it is media derived popular support for war that is essential to furthering NATO goals. To lose that support means peace.

NATO has rarely stood for peace.

However, the singular exception to this sudden western coup that now seems ready to cast Zelensky aside and force him to accept the Russian proposals for peace is Poland.

Judging by the established reports coming from the Donbas of Eastern Ukraine, NATO has mere days to stir the pot of war away from peace via some manner of sudden escalation that will thus allow NATO to enter Ukraine. Yesterday, Mariupol fell to Russian troops and the remains of the Azov battalion and its generals there are surrounded. The Russian goal of the liberation of the Donbas including Donetsk and Luhansk is now only a matter of days away.

While some reporters suggest that the impetus to draw NATO onto Ukrainian soil may come from Germany or via a bio-weapons attack orchestrated by American military bio-weapons interests discovered there, the more likely player may be right here: Poland.

After five days here in Warsaw this allegation of Poland’s ulterior motive came to my attention first by my translator Andrew and was confirmed during one of my many interviews with local citizens.

Often the most important story is right before one’s eyes and materializes only when paying close attention while attentively walking the streets.

If Poland is not held in check by its NATO brethren, this war is far from over.
It should be remembered that just before Biden’s arrival Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski had offered a Polish idea to Washington. Poland would send a tranche of 28 Russian MIG-29s to Germany so that US pilots could then fly them to airbases within Ukraine. This was not very funny on many levels. For many good reasons, this was summarily rejected by Washington, since this Polish ploy would trigger WWIII.

But Kaczynski was not finished with crafting further lunacy in an attempt to hide its possible ulterior motive, beyond that of driving a NATO entry into the war.

Two weeks ago Kaczynski offered that Poland now intended to seek NATO permission to send its military to the Ukrainian city of Lviv in order to establish humanitarian corridors that would allow Ukrainian refugees who were escaping west to safely enter Poland. There are many problems with this, but the most important, beyond NATO Article 5, is that Lviv is not on the Polish/ Ukrainian border as many western reporters have claimed. Lviv sits eighty kilometres to the east, firmly inside Ukrainian territory.

Lviv’s true proximity makes Kaczynski’s claim of “humanitarian” efforts as duplicitous as was his offer of used Russian fighters the week before. If this was done, and should a single Polish military member be attacked, injured or killed by Russian forces- allegedly or under false pretences, Article 5 would require NATO to immediately enter the war on behalf of defending, not Ukraine, but Poland!

NATO, again, rejected this madcap plan for obvious reasons. Kaczynski did not. Why?

Reports from the refugees, aid agency workers and journalists who have been embedded in Lviv have told this reporter that although they have seen and heard bombings and rocket strikes in and around Lviv, they have not witnessed or reported any civilian targets being hit or any civilian casualties. The mayor of Lviv confirmed this publicly in a post on Telegram this past Saturday after his city took at least six strikes on Friday night just hours after Biden’s war-torn speech in Warsaw while Kaczynski sat watching in the wings.

Have the Russians also been listening to the streets?
Poland’s Ulterior Motive?: The Lviv Connection
760 years old, Lviv City is situated on the crossing of two profitable ancient trade routes. It developed and flourished rapidly and became one of the main trade centers of medieval Europe. It is reportedly a beautiful city full of the architecture of many influences including Austrian, Ukrainian and Polish since at various times in history all three laid claim to Lviv.

Lviv became part of Ukraine when taken by the Ukrainians from Austria in November 1918 with the creation of the West-Ukrainian People’s Republic and the unification with Great Ukraine. But Lviv became Polish from 1919 to 1939 and Polish culture via immigration put a Polish stamp forever on Lviv that remains strong today. This takeover only served to intensify the resistance of the Ukrainians and consolidate them in the fight for a return of Lviv to Ukrainian sovereignty.

In September 1939, as a result of collusion between Stalin and Nazi Germany, Lviv became a part of the Soviet empire and with Ukraine being a USSR satellite it was returned to Ukraine under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement.

Here lies the rub, or possibly Kaczynski’s ulterior motive in repeatedly dangling a means for NATO to enter Ukraine during the past few weeks.

The Poles have never been happy with the Soviet land grab that included Lviv and this is yet another reason they detest all things Russian. In talking with several Poles they would like to see Lviv returned to Poland, but the reality that this would require war has meant that it was just not worth the sacrifice.

But a return of Lviv has always remained in mind. This was evidenced in 2018 when a fringe Polish political party, The Confederation of Independence and Freedom Party, managed its historic and largest, yet relatively insignificant, number of seats in the Polish Parliament. Part of their platform is the return of Lviv. Certainly, these parliamentarians do not have the influence to drive Poland to war, but their platform does indeed show that the return of Lviv remains firmly in the minds of the Poles and their politicians.

Until a month ago such grand designs were opposed due to the need for a war to accomplish them. Now, that war is on the border and for the opportunists who may wish to reap the spoils of this war this may be their moment of opportunity. According to the streets, Kaczinsky himself sees this war as a chance not seen since the annexation of 1939.

Should NATO or the Polish military enter Ukraine via Polish borders the eighty kilometres to Lviv will be breached in a matter of hours since there is very little available Ukrainian defence with all forces dedicated already eastwards. Similar to 1939 the Polish/ Ukraine border could be redrawn once the current war turns into an armistice. Possession being 9/10th of the law during any ceasefire, this advent could see Lviv sit again on newly re-marked Polish soil.

SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence is a public non-profit analytical project. It was launched in the summer of 2015. It is regulated by an independent team of volunteers and experts from 13 countries. The project provides analysis of battles in conflicts, evaluation of the major world power armed forces, and study of tensions between countries. Their focus is on international relations along with crises and use a number of media platforms with an emphasis on social networks.
The stated objective of the project is to be an independent news source without any government or corporate support. It is supported exclusively by crowdfunding and individual donations through PayPal and Patreon.

South Front has faced censorship and other measures from some companies. South Front report that the website has been subjected to cyber-attacks in 2015, which they attribute to the Atlantic Council and other NATO-related organizations.

On 24 April 2015, South Front had its original YouTube account with millions of views deleted by a copyright claim from Nordic Filmworks LTD over a critical montage of their “Stand with Ukraine” video. The video was deleted after the first strike, but several months later received an additional strike despite already being deleted. South Front launched an appeal that encouraged viewers to message YouTube over this violation of guideline, however, the channel remained deleted. South Front’s Facebook page was also suspended without warning around that time

So with Youtube & Paypal dissing them, they must be doing something right. Pissing off the GEBs In Charge is a pretty high endorsement ;-)

My take on it all?

I suspect that there are a few “Advisors” from Poland along with some shipments of gear, and I suspect that a significant part of Poland would like to reclaim the chunk that was “given” to Ukraine by Russia after W.W.II. I’m also pretty sure that the NeoCon Hawks would love to get some NATO action going. Look at all the money to be made off of hardware contracts for replacement equipment! Then blend in all the hype about Russia failing and the picture painted that it would be a cake walk to drive them out…

So it could happen. Poland might be ready to send in some troops. But I really do think that would be a Very Dangerous Action. The risk of W.W.III would be high.

OTOH, IFF Poland reached an “agreement” with Russia, along the lines of “You take the Russian bits, we take back the former Poland bits (and maybe toss the former Czech and Bulgarian bits back to their former owners…) we might be able to have a (relatively) peaceful “Partition Of Ukraine”. (Legal niceties aside…)

Arguing against this is the Russian Propaganda trying to stir up trouble by saying Poland is out to do it. They wouldn’t be pushing that if they really thought folks were “up for it”; they would be quietly working to cut a deal… Plus the Euro-GEBs and the DNC would not want to lose the Money Laundry and $Billions slush funds.

So I think it is very much a “Watch This Space”; but unlikely anything is “happening now”.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

W.O.O.D. – 19 May 2022


This is another of the W.O.O.D. series of semi-regular
Weekly Occasional Open Discussions.
(i.e. if I forget and skip one, no big)

Immediate prior one here:
and remains open for threads running there (at least until the ‘several month’ auto-close of comments on stale threads).

Canonical list of old ones here:

“Me” News

The House Hunt is ongoing, so expect things to be terse a while longer.

We’re likely going to rent for a while and work on buying “later”, just to get the move finished.

I need more boat time ;-)

FWIW, I’ve had 2 “Australian Friday” dinners that I’ve not gotten posted. Had the lamb & wine, but didn’t get the posting done. I’ll see if I can catch that up some.

There’s been a “Recall” on the ML class for a rust issue in the brakes assembly. (Up in the vacuum / master cylinder assembly). It only happens in high humidity / rust areas, so having a California Car I’m not worried, but it still may delay the coast-to-coast hauling operation as I need to run it through the dealer for “approval”… Only those with evident rust get repair parts in the first round, so mostly I expect it to be “You’re good” for a few years. Mix that with crazy Diesel prices, I may just be renting a giant gas truck to move the stuff… once we have a destination.

The upshot of all this is that posting is getting squashed as my time is scattered and I’m mostly working on a tablet that is “user hostile” for fast typing.


This will be DIY for a while as editing HTML and urls is a Royal Pita on the Tablet.


Also will be terse.

Biden has announced the new Ministry Of Truth (in the Dept. of Homeland Security) is now “on hold”, so “Watch This Space” for a Return Of The Zombie Ministry as soon as they think nobody is watching anymore.

Ukraine is WINNING! and surrendering in Azovstal. Nobody really knows what’s actually happening on the ground. Rumors are going around that Russia may just “declare it is a war after all” so so they can use all their toys and be done.

Sweden has formally applied for NATO. Turkey is saying “Give me Brib-O Goodies or you don’t get in”. Putin is eyeing Finland as potential St. Petersburg West… and Finland is just certain that signing a bit of paper will stop the Nasty Russians. When in reality it is lighting the match.

Biden & Co is busy destroying the USA via collapse of infrastructure and runaway fuel prices, but that’s not news.

We had some primaries and MAGA folks won some of them. Details? Sorry no time for details. Anyone who’s keeping up on this can bring clarity… I do note that Dr. Oz may or may not have won his near tie… so back to endless counting of mail in ballots.

And, finally: June 1 is the official start of Hurricane Season (I think…). This will be fun to watch from “on the front lines” ;-) BUT: It may bring a bit of disruption as I may end up posting from my cell phone hot spot via a tablet in “God Only Knows” where… Hurricane Plan: Sit down, strap in, hang on, and pray. Post during the eye… ;-)

For more recent events, see:

Trump Social Media site:

Bongino Report:

Or Whatfinger:

I’ve also gotten addicted to the Top Ten Memes of the week from WatchMAGA here:

They have interesting “bite” to them, along with a tendency to highlight the news of the week in memes, so good as a social attitude pointer too. Plus they are “way fun” ;-)

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Posted in W.O.O.D. | Tagged | 115 Comments

Where Has All The Diesel Gone? Long Time Passing…

For anyone who isn’t aware of it, there’s a growing shortage of “Diesel Fuel”.

In quotes because some other fuels are made using the same or similar parts of the crude oil feed. From home heating oil (also a #2 oil, but less well filtered), to #1 oil AKA Kerosene, jet fuel, lamp oil, and winter Diesel. Yes, a bunch of detailed specifications vary a little between all of those. Jet fuel has fewer things that form a waxy deposit if very cold as it gets very cold at high altitude. Also most ring compounds are catalytic opened to reduce smoke. Lamp oil is a bit heavier with fewer light ends so it doesn’t evaporate out of lanterns as much.

But they all start as the part of crude oil heavier (longer chains) than gasoline and lighter (shorter chains) than lubricating oils. Essentially, a barrel of crude has some natural gasoline, light oils, heavier oils, and tars in it. Refineries separate these, polish the molecular mix for specific properties, and ship out the products.

With some special gear (cat crackers / reformers), you can change how much of each you get by a modest degree; and at more cost with some loss of total energy available. (That is, running a hot refinery uses up some energy at each step). So there are practical limits to how much vs efficiency.

In the USA, we have mostly gasoline cars. The average refinery run makes a little too much Diesel compared to the gasoline desired. In Europe, many cars are Diesels. So many that, added to the trucking and ship demand, the typical refinery run makes too much gasoline compared to the Diesel demand. To balance things out, the USA ships some Diesel to Europe and they ship excess gasoline here.

Enter the European embargo on Russian Oil…

Suddenly they need a LOT of Diesel to replace what they were getting from Russia.

So Biden & Co. decide to ship a bunch more of our Diesel to them. Jacking up prices and causing shortages here. All to spit at Russia.

Runaway diesel prices threaten to do a lot more than make inflation worse—American infrastructure is at stake
May 17, 2022 12:58 PM EDT
High gasoline prices are hitting Americans hard, with the national gas price average sitting at $4.48 per gallon on Monday, up nearly $1.50 from a year ago.

But it’s even worse for drivers who rely on diesel fuel.

The national U.S. average price for diesel is now $5.56, its highest on record. In the U.K. diesel prices are now over £1.80 a liter, a record high for that country.

The average driver in the U.S. doesn’t rely on diesel, as it’s commonly used by truck drivers and heavy farming vehicles. But sky-high diesel prices could not only aggravate an inflation problem that is already hurting U.S. consumers—they could have dire implications for U.S. infrastructure, and the fate of the global supply chain.
Everything from trucks and trains to farming and construction equipment tend to rely on diesel rather than regular gasoline. Around 75% of all commercial vehicles registered in the U.S. are powered by diesel, as are the vast majority of both large and medium-sized long-haul trucks.

These are the same trucks that carry food and most other products around the U.S., and as diesel prices surge everywhere, signs are emerging that this infrastructure is beginning to break down.

Global consequences
The U.S. supply chain infrastructure is heavily reliant on diesel, and high prices for the fuel are starting to wear it down as trucking companies struggle to deal with the expenses.

But it’s not just the U.S.—the diesel price surge is a global problem, and right now, there simply isn’t enough to go around.

While the diesel problem is hitting U.S. truck drivers hard, Europe is bearing the brunt of the price surge, as almost half of European passenger cars run on diesel, as well as all trucks and freight trains.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe imported roughly two-thirds of all its external crude oil, which is refined to make diesel, from Russia. These imports are beginning to be drawn down, and European countries are turning to higher imports from the U.S. to satisfy the supply gap.

The U.S. is shipping more diesel to Europe than it has in years, fuel which would have otherwise gone to resupply truck stops.
Helping Europe minimize the impact of its diesel shortage is crucial to bringing global prices down, but shipping more of the fuel abroad means that U.S. truck operators are in for a shortage of their own.

Currently running about $1/gallon more than gasoline when historically it was close to parity. About $3/gallon more than when Trump was in charge and oil was promoted instead of vilified.

In 2020, distillate fuel consumption by the U.S. transportation sector, which is essentially diesel fuel, was about 44.61 billion gallons (1.06 billion barrels), an average of about 122 million gallons per day. This amount accounted for 77% of total U.S. distillate consumption, 16% of total U.S. petroleum consumption, and on an energy content basis, about 27% of total energy consumption by the U.S. transportation sector.

So that’s about $44 billion added cost to everyone in the USA just from the Russian Embargo JUST in Diesel fuel, and $88 Billion from the Biden anti-oil policies. $132 Billion combined. Per Year. I make that about $400 per person. $1600 for a family of 4. Don’t drive a Diesel? You still pay it in higher prices for everything hauled in trucks, ships & trains.

Now figure the impact from higher gasoline prices and jet fuel… 16% Diesel… so 84% in other stuff. As a first approximation, call it 84/16= 5.25 times. Call it just 5x. $2000 per head. ($2400 Total) Or $8000 for a family of 4. ($9600 total) How many families have a spare $10 Grand PER YEAR kicking around to toss at Biden Oil Policies & Russian Embargo politics?

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Posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, News Related, Political Current Events | 22 Comments