Saturday, February 28, 2015

Infrastructure and the Megadrought - Moving the Water

[A note from MeanMesa: As a visitor to this blog, please join me in a moment of relief and satisfaction after the FCC has established fundamental "net neutrality" policy today. After we've all become so accustomed to one defeat after another, this is nothing less than a "brightly lit" exception to the trend. Hat's off to our President for standing up for us]

Just a Wee Bit About
Hydraulic Ram Water Pumps
Bear with MeanMesa for a few paragraphs...

There are a lot of spots around the planet where the locals really need some way of providing water to villages and fields without relying on the availability of electricity to operate motorized pumps. Even when one finds himself in such a predicament, he may still be able to stand at the edge of that village or crop field and look down to see abundant water flowing along a stream or river far below him. However, centuries of human history have repeatedly suggested that just about all the possibilities of manually hauling that water up to where it is needed -- over any appreciable time -- is a "losing proposition."

Beginning sometime around the 1700's inventors in various European countries began developing the earliest versions of hydraulic ram pumps. So far these devices have become famous as small set ups which are suitable for watering gardens or providing water to homes on a very small scale. [Read more TRN26 - Hydraulic Ram Pumps, US Dept. Agriculture(pdf) 

As materials and machining capacities improved over the centuries, new designs for these hydraulic ram pumps improved along with them. Rather impressive design progress took place during the industrial revolution period before widespread rural electrification [i.e. REA in the US. Read more Rural Electrification Act - WIKI] programs distributed electrical power to operate motorized pumps.

Now, with plenty of electrical power available to operate irrigation and drinking water pumps the hydraulic ram idea has gradually become stranded as a "self-sustaining design" curiosity in the industrialized countries, but the "utility of the beast" continues to make such small pump systems very useful in facing the difficulties found in third world nations.

The photograph [left] shows a small capacity hydraulic ram pump fabricated in a small shop in Central America. For visitors interested in the process, theory and application MeanMesa suggests spending a few minutes with this video: 17 min. "How to make a hydraulic ram pump" - EMAS .

At least a passing understanding of the fundamentals involved in such a pumping system will be required when we get to the point of this post. For a quick introduction to the general principles of a hydraulic ram pump, this graphic may also help.

How a Hydraulic Ram Pump works. [Image courtesy of Green & Carter]
Anyone becoming fidgety can relax. Hydraulic ram pump "school" is officially completed.

Why Is This Important?
An old dreamer's plan to wet down
 NASA's approaching megadrought

The previous post at Short Current Essays was all about the latest NASA research which is predicting a long term [30-40 year duration] drought extending across most of the western United States and Canada beginning around 2050. [Read the post  here - Ignoring NASA, MeanMesa] This blog's visitors might find this highly unsettling conclusion rather alarming. That would be a very reasonable reaction in this case.

But what do tiny little hydraulic ram pumps have to do with this oncoming train wreck?

To answer this we can begin by considering the fundamental problem posed by such a drought, that is, the biggest and most immediate problem first.

There's no water.

An often overlooked aspect of the "drying out" phenomenon usually associated with global warming is that the total amount of fresh water on the planet doesn't change much. Yes, fresh water glaciers are melting in Greenland, and the ancient fresh water they previously held is, as a consequence, being mixed with salty ocean water, but on the land, the global warming problem isn't simply less water as much as it is less water where it used to be. There is no particularly convenient means to pick up the vast agricultural heart land of the US and go chasing off to where the precipitation has gone.

On the other hand, as America's farmers and ranchers watch a decades long drought gradually consuming their agricultural production capacity -- and their fortunes -- they might find themselves in a situation similar to the one described above. At least symbolically, they could stand at the edge of their dried out farmland and see massive amounts of fresh water still rushing headlong into the Pacific Ocean.

The "problem" associated with this observation of theirs is also similar to the one faced by the villager in Central America. There doesn't seem to be any way to move that fresh water from the point where it rushes into the ocean to their dried out farm or ranch.

The parameters are quite different. The Central American village will be fine if a hydraulic ram pump on the near by stream delivers a few hundred gallons of fresh water to the village and the near by fields daily. Happily, for them at least, the stream is only a few hundred yards down the hill from where the water is needed, and the pump's capacity will solve the problem.

The farmers and ranchers in the western US, however, have a similar problem only on a gigantic scale. To mitigate the drought problem they are facing, a water supply must deliver millions of tons of fresh water daily; the "little stream" is going to have to be a massive river; and, that river isn't going to be a few hundred yards away -- it's going to be hundreds or thousands of miles away. Worse, while the villagers' ram pump only needs to elevate the stream water a hundred feet or so, most of the farms and ranches in the middle of the megadrought impact zone will be thousands of feet higher than the nearest river.

And, we already know, there are really a lot of those farms and ranches, and they are, well, remarkably thirsty.

Let's Do Some Dreaming
Engineers think of this as "concept design."

A good first step is to become comfortable with thinking big. The little Central American, home made, hydraulic ram pump is a good idea, but it is little more than a "point of departure." We will have to "scale up," and by "up" we mean "way up."

Happily, we have plenty of really massive, "scaled up" examples of aqueduct-type water transportation systems from the ancient past. and we can add to the impressive scale of those artifacts because we will also enjoy all the benefits of modern manufacturing and construction technology. The ancient Romans did it -- so did the Egyptians, Aztecs, Asians and Greeks. Each of these ancient civilizations moved water from where it was available to where it was needed, and they built the edifices required with horses, oxen and men with copper chisels.

Perhaps the greatest issue in our modern challenge will be building what we need while parasitic, vampire-like oligarchs are simultaneously sucking the blood from our culture's carotid arteries, dramatically insisting that we don't need it and trying to pocket our construction budget. Unhappily, in this case some of the very people whose lives will be decimated by the megadrought will not only believe this pitch from the deniers but become its most ardent supporters before they become its most tragic victims.

So, what does this "dream" look like? 

What are the "down sides?"

How much will it cost?

How long will it take to build something like this?

2012: The giant "arks" This megadrought is NOT a movie.  [YouTube]
In the apocalyptic movie, "2012," a huge portion of the existing wealth of the planet was allocated to the construction of giant ships in China. The "seats" on those ships cost a billion dollars -- the price for surviving the catastrophe.

It was a good investment because there wasn't going to be much planet left after "the big one." However, unlike this fictional movie, the megadrought, while serious, is not a "planet killer," and there is no justification for measures as drastic as the ones portrayed in the film. More realistically, this plan is a quite well reasoned, cost effective response. It would be reasonably affordable and, in fact, a pretty good bargain, considering the damage the megadrought will inflict otherwise.

The range of "other options" looks a "little slim."

Looking at the "Dream"

To "flesh out" this dream, let's select an example water source. We can use the Columbia River. Happily, we can already begin to think of the design -- at least in concept.

"Irrigated Relief" Pipeways for the Megadrought Zone
Concept Plan - Long Distance Water Delivery [MeanMesa]
The Columbia River flow into the North Pacific averages 190,000 cubic feet per second. [If you're curious, 1 cubic foot per second amounts to 448 gallons per minute.] This plan calls for the installation of a very large hydraulic ram pump in the River as it approaches the Pacific. The fresh water introduced into the pump system would have, otherwise, entered the ocean and become salt water a few miles down stream. 

Let's estimate the pump's intake flow at around 5% of that of the entire River, or roughly 10,000 cubic feet per second. We can conservatively [arbitrarily] estimate the efficiency of a ram pump of this scale at around 20% which means that around 2,000 cubic feet [roughly 800,000 gpm] of River water could be pumped to a higher elevation each second. So, how high could this water be pumped?

[image - USDA]
Normally, a ram pump's output ["delivered head"] depends on the height of the supply water source which is driving the pump. However, in the case of a fast moving river the "force" ["supplying head"] will be significantly increased because of the inertia of the river water pressing into the valve box.

To keep our discussion moving, let's say that the river installation pump can deliver water to a height of 1,500 feet above the river surface at around the flow rate mentioned above. If the delivery pipe were then allowed to drop 100 feet into the valve box of the second ram pump, that pump would deliver 20% of the water reaching it [400 cubic feet per second] to an elevation 1,500 feet higher.

The other 80% of the water delivered to the second pump would be "waste" discharge. Of course, it wouldn't actually be "waste." That discharge could form a small stream or fill a reservoir 1,500 feet higher than the river surface.

Now we can begin to see a "picture" of this design. Although all of this might seem somewhat complicated and expensive, we need to remember that:

1.  No external power is being consumed at any stage of the process, and,
2. Hydraulic ram pumps have only two "moving parts" which can wear out or need maintenance.

Numerous "strings" of these sequential pump sets can be constructed where water is available and routed to deliver water where it is needed in the drought zone. All along the route very significant volumes of "waste" water is discharged at usable elevations which can then be gravity routed to farm land or towns.

The volume of water required to off set the drought conditions described in the NASA report will be immense. Further, a plan to specifically transport water to this or that exclusive destination, while it might be somewhat attractive, doesn't address the megadrought problem. To do that, the western section of the US will have to be "irrigated into relief." A bit of "good planning" directs this relief to general areas which can use it, but this idea goes even further in its scope.

With several sets of massive ram pumps scattered along existing rivers the megadrought area will not only be receiving fresh water deliveries to the target locations, but soon there will be new lakes, new reservoirs and new rivers scattered all around through it as a result of these ram pump "waste" discharges.

How "Big" is "Big?"
We're not talking about "just a little water." 

MeanMesa has prepared a sketch showing an estimated size of pump installation located directly in the River.

A Large Hydraulic Ram Pump in the Columbia River
Concept Plan - Very Large Hydraulic Ram Pump, Columbia River [MeanMesa]
Although the project's scale may seem extremely large, its complexity would be refreshingly simple, its maintenance requirements very low and its operation costs very economical. The example's concrete "foot print" submerged in the Columbia River bed would be very large in this case, but these dimensions could be scaled to fit various sized rivers. The larger the pump, the more water is delivered.

To fully mitigate the megadrought's impact on the western US a good number of similar installations of varying sizes would be required. The target destinations where the pumped water was finally delivered would, naturally, become a political issue for Congressional funding debates, but the pipeline rights of way should be fairly easy because the pipes would carry only fresh water.

In the current political and economic climate the valve set fabrication might very likely be out sourced to low labor cost locations such as China or Korea, but the remainder of the design and construction work would create good domestic jobs which could not be out sourced.

Simply glancing at the summary of cost on an engineer's estimate might be rather shocking, but when the figure is compared to the value of the drought region's "damage mitigated" by the project, this might start looking much more attractive very quickly.

Environmental Impact of the Project

When considered in the "big picture," this kind of project is unquestionably "sacrificing" some parts of extremely valuable, existing rivers in exchange for preserving some very valuable arable land which would be lost otherwise. In the example the water being extracted from the Columbia River would be destined to become [agriculturally unusable] ocean water a few miles downstream from the ram pump, but other cases may present a more complicated balancing act.

At a certain point -- hopefully before the western states have been destroyed by drought -- we, as a society, must make a "majority decision" about whether or not mitigating the megadrought justifies the conversion of existing river water to irrigation and drinking water supplies for the affected region. In terms of avoiding the megadrought's straight cash loss the project looks attractive, but in terms of environmental impact we may have to take a "second look," perhaps on a case by case basis.

Interestingly, a Columbia River salmon captured in the pump's inflow structure could conceivably survive the entire journey to the water's destination, or, more likely, simply wind up swimming along in one of the fresh water "waste" streams or reservoirs. One of the environmental questions this poses would deal with the prospect of creating new salmon fisheries in places where there had not even been lakes or rivers before the project.

Although the hydraulic ram pumps have no rotating impellers, such a complicated "voyage" might still get pretty bumpy for a confused fish.

Let's Call the Design Engineers
If only we had a Congress...

Of course there are plenty of design questions remaining on the table -- this post was only intended to provide a "kick start" to one approach for solving this problem. Hopefully, this post also offers a little positive relief for visitors who are feeling the winter doldrums being further aggravated by something like NASA's chillingly dismal report.

This is no time to be thinking that "there is simply nothing we can do..."

MeanMesa wishes he were just a bit younger. This project looks like it would be great fun!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ignoring NASA

Boy howdy! Now that windmill's gonna' turn! [image]

When the Dust Finally Clears

Even the pundits, preachers, billionaires and quacks all fall silent...

It's usually best to keep one's list of "inevitable things" as short as possible -- at least short enough to drop it somewhere, unnoticed, amid a crowd of passers by and claim that it belonged to someone else. However, buried somewhere below all the screaming, mayhem, out right lies and breathless hyperbole of the climate change deniers we find the unnervingly mysterious gleam of a long neglected and frantically avoided "lamp of truth." 
Diogenes and his dogs. [image]
Not too dissimilar to the frustration of ancient Diogenes after he had set out with his lantern to find "an honest man," any modern soul, finding himself perplexed by all the contradictory narratives bounding about, might consider simply ignoring the scientific "prophesy" for lack of any more responsible choices of action to the problem.
When someone utters the phrase, "climate change," far more than half of those within hearing distance immediately change the subject and turn away. Of these one group is simply Stoic, responding with an unsettling willingness to "simply tough our way through it." One group is too hopelessly buried by desperate, generational poverty to even imagine that any relief can be found without engaging resources beyond imagining. One group is exhausted after having been literally battered by every "wanna be" scientist with the "latest facts" and suspicious motivation -- all soiled to various degrees. Yet another group is lost in the dim, frightening, confused world of the uneducated, uninformed and uninterested.
None of these dilemmas prevails on individuals in our world by coincidence.
Well, for those visitors here with an appetite to "stay clear of the fray," sorry. Unless you have a very brave, adventurous heart along with a well stocked space ship outfitted for a very long stay, you will be joining the rest of us as we step bravely "off this plank." We are comfortably seated on this train, and we will be going where the tracks go. None of the opportunities to "get off" are any less portentous or more palatable than the prospect of making the entire trip.
There will be no urban "park and ride" stops on the route.
The government is paralyzed -- nothing new after years of paralysis, and the electorate is baffled by the relentless onset of all the contradictions, louder and louder, becoming more vehement with each passing hour.
It's NASA's word, and even it may be too comforting.

It's never been a good idea to ignore NASA. We pay an enormous pile of tax money into the Agency every year with the reasonable expectation that we will receive a respectable amount of science in return, that is, science based on observation, research and plenty of the confidence that we can only get from good old "scientific method," objectively empirical conclusions. Importantly, we expect NASA, although it is a creature funded by politicians, to deliver the "straight scoop" regardless of the public opinion reception such a message might elicit.

The "new" research angle added to create this report was an analysis of "ground moisture." The data set driving these conclusions has become available thanks to the humans' advances in satellite observations of large land masses.

Let's sample a few excerpts from the NASA study. [Read the entire report  here -]

NASA Study Finds Carbon Emissions Could Dramatically Increase Risk of U.S. Megadroughts

February 12, 2015
RELEASE 15-020

"Natural droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl and the current drought in the Southwest have historically lasted maybe a decade or a little less," said Ben Cook, climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City, and lead author of the study. "What these results are saying is we're going to get a drought similar to those events, but it is probably going to last at least 30 to 35 years."

According to Cook, the current likelihood of a megadrought, a drought lasting more than three decades, is 12 percent. If greenhouse gas emissions stop increasing in the mid-21st century, Cook and his colleagues project the likelihood of megadrought to reach more than 60 percent.However, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase along current trajectories throughout the 21st century, there is an 80 percent likelihood of a decades-long megadrought in the Southwest and Central Plains between the years 2050 and 2099.

The scientists analyzed a drought severity index and two soil moisture data sets from 17 climate models that were run for both emissions scenarios. The high emissions scenario projects the equivalent of an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 1,370 parts per million (ppm) by 2100, while the moderate emissions scenario projects the equivalent of 650 ppm by 2100. Currently, the atmosphere contains 400 ppm of CO2.

In the Southwest, climate change would likely cause reduced rainfall and increased temperatures that will evaporate more water from the soil. In the Central Plains, drying would largely be caused by the same temperature-driven increase in evaporation.


Until this study, much of the previous research included analysis of only one drought indicator and results from fewer climate models, Cook said, making this a more robust drought projection than any previously published.

"What I think really stands out in the paper is the consistency between different metrics of soil moisture and the findings across all the different climate models," said Kevin Anchukaitis, a climate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the study. "It is rare to see all signs pointing so unwaveringly toward the same result, in this case a highly elevated risk of future megadroughts in the United States."

This study also is the first to compare future drought projections directly to drought records from the last 1,000 years.

Additional Coverage in the Media

For further reading, MeanMesa has collected a couple of less scientific reports on the NASA study. Excerpts of these are presented here with links to the original articles.

A ‘megadrought’ will grip U.S. in the coming decades, NASA researchers say

February 12
[Excerpted. Read the entire article here - Washington Post]

The long and severe drought in the U.S. Southwest pales in comparison with what’s coming: a “megadrought” that will grip that region and the central Plains later this century and probably stay there for decades, a new study says.

Thirty-five years from now, if the current pace of climate change continues unabated, those areas of the country will experience a weather shift that will linger for as long as three decades, according to the study, released Thursday.

Researchers from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities warned of major water shortages and conditions that dry out vegetation, which can lead to monster wildfires in southern Arizona and parts of California.

“We really need to start thinking in longer-term horizons about how we’re going to manage it,” said Toby R. Ault, an assistant professor in the department of Earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell, one of the co-authors. “This is a slow-moving natural hazard that humans are used to dealing with and used to managing.”

Megadroughts are sustained periods of sparse precipitation and significant loss of soil moisture that span generations, about 10 times as long as a normal three-year drought.


Tucson had less than 80 percent of its normal rainfall for long stretches in the 1990s. If that were to last for two decades, “that’s a megadrought,” Ault said.

Based on climate models the researchers used for the study, there is an 80 percent chance that such an extended drought will strike between 2050 and 2099, unless world governments act aggressively to mitigate impacts from climate change, the researchers said.

North America’s last megadroughts happened in medieval times, during the 12th and 13th centuries. They were caused by natural changes in weather that give megadroughts a 10 percent chance of forming at any time.

But climate change driven by human activity dramatically increases those chances. “With climate change, the likelihood of a megadrought goes up considerably,” Ault said.

The other writers for the study were its lead author, Benjamin I. Cook, a research scientist for NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and co-author Jason E. Smerdon, a research professor at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.The report was published Thursday in the journal Science Advances.

Risk of American 'megadroughts' for decades, NASA warns

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

Sat February 14, 2015

[Links remain enabled. Excerpted. Read the original article here - CNN]

(CNN)There is no precedent in contemporary weather records for the kinds of droughts the country's West will face, if greenhouse gas emissions stay on course, a NASA study said.

No precedent even in the past 1,000 years.

The feared droughts would cover most of the western half of the United States -- the Central Plains and the Southwest.

Those regions have suffered severe drought in recent years. But it doesn't compare in the slightest to the 'megadroughts' likely to hit them before the century is over due to global warming.

Even if emissions drop moderately, droughts in those regions will get much worse than they are now, NASA said.These will be epochal, worthy of a chapter in Earth's natural history.

The space agency's study conjures visions of the sun scorching cracked earth that is baked dry of moisture for feet below the surface, across vast landscapes, for decades. Great lake reservoirs could dwindle to ponds, leaving cities to ration water to residents who haven't fled east.

"Our projections for what we are seeing is that, with climate change, many of these types of droughts will likely last for 20, 30, even 40 years," said NASA climate scientist Ben Cook.


Much, much worse

If NASA's worst case scenario plays out, what's to come could be worse.

Its computations are based on greenhouse gas emissions continuing on their current course. And they produce an 80% chance of at least one drought that could last for decades.

One "even exceeding the duration of the long term intense 'megadroughts' that characterized the really arid time period known as the Medieval Climate Anomaly," Cook said.

That was a period of heightened global temperatures that lasted from about 1100 to 1300 -- when those Ancestral Pueblos dispersed. Global average temperatures are already higher now than they were then, the study said.

Massive data calculation

The NASA team's study was very data heavy.

It examined past wet and dry periods using tree rings going back 1,000 years and compared them with soil moisture from 17 climate models, NASA said in the study published in Science Advances.

Scientists used super computers to calculate the models forward along the lines of human induced global warming scenarios. The models all showed a much drier planet.

Climate Change Deniers - Also Busy

This article appeared on a site apparently entirely dedicated to climate change denying. MeanMesa is quite comfortable "throwing" the degrees which back up what is presented on this little blog into the following analysis: "nonsense."

Scientist mocks NASA megadrought prediction
[Read the original article here - CLIMATE DEPOT]

The result is a statistical house of cards, models stacked on top of models none rooted in reality. Statisticians back up Lewis' objections. Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University and Professor Roman Mureika of the University of New Brunswick, now retired, both regard the statistical methods in Marotzke’s paper as fatally flawed. Hughes in particular had some pithy comments about the Marotzke and Forster paper:

The statistical methods used in the paper are so bad as to merit use in a class on how not to do applied statistics.

All this paper demonstrates is that climate scientists should take some basic courses in statistics and Nature should get some competent referees.

Lewis' final conclusion on the Marotzke and Forster paper that supposedly exonerated the wonky climate models: “The paper is methodologically unsound and provides spurious results. No useful, valid inferences can be drawn from it. I believe that the authors should withdraw the paper.” That's science speak for “your paper is a load of bollocks.”

This great 14 year "sciency" chart proves/disproves EVERYTHING!
What this means is that the scary megadrought paper is built on the same crappy models that have been embarrassing climate scientists for the past three decades. Furthermore, a new model built on top of old inaccurate models can not help but be inaccurate itself. Quite simply, new science built on bad science is just more bad science. The new US Congress is looking for places to trim the budget, might we suggest a good place to start would be defunding NASA's GISS organization.

It's hard for MeanMesa to even imagine the size of the monthly checks rolling into CLIMATE DEPOT for this insightful climate change denial work, but everybody has to make a living. Who can avoid the "poetic justice" which unavoidably ensues while considering what corporate sponsors believe this to be a "good, persuasive PR investment?" [We secretly hope that the list includes EXXON...the embarrassment couldn't land on a more deserving corporation.]

Real ones -- not CLIMATE DEPOT type

This is an interesting post to publish in the midst of the extreme climate anomalies thrashing their way through the country at the moment. The previously stable jet stream route appears to have permanently adopted a new course in the last few years. The troubling incursions of the "Arctic Express" may seem to be mere frigid inconveniences, but MeanMesa suspects that these unpleasant visitors are slamming the national economy by adding billions of dollars to heating costs while all the natural gas being burned to keep warm is flooding the planet's atmosphere with an "extra" dose of green house gas.

Far too many Americans are expecting climate change to arrive like flipping a light switch. Unhappily, many of these same folks are expected to hear about such an "arrival" on the corporate media's "news" coverage, too. Quite to the contrary, what we are getting today is very reasonable, very credible evidence that plenty which is much worse is waiting for us "just around the geo-planetary corner."

MeanMesa published a comprehensive posting about this in 2008. Managing Global Warming Solutions

This paper spells out in some detail what the world needs to be doing at this very moment. If everyone had climbed on board when it was first posted in 2008, we would currently only be twenty or thirty years late leaving the starting gate. Further, although a myriad of what may seem to be quite serious counter measures have been put in place, when compared to the massive scope of the project, all of them amount to essentially nothing.

Forward thinking real estate managers should already begin planning for property in the "brown area" on NASA's map to become basically worthless in fifty years. Young couples with the predictable dreams of owning a home need to start looking for communities which are likely to still have running water in 2060. National politicians should be doing what they can to become comfortable with a GDP around half of what it is now.

On a positive note, national security may not be lethally impacted because either drought or chaos or both will be consuming most of the rest of the planet, too, offering a "convenient distraction" to the current wide spread "hobby" of attacking the advanced countries. All food surpluses -- internationally -- will cease around 2060. After that, the historic human disasters -- plague, famine, military violence, drought -- will be handled like the forest wild fires which are simply allowed to burn themselves out because they cannot be extinguished or because they are located somewhere not justifying the expense of fighting them.

As for the climate deniers, they may be able to disrupt responsive action for a while longer, but in the end history will render them a bizarre, momentary curiosity and nothing more. As for the rest of us, MeanMesa invites everyone to spend just a minute or two with this short list.

1. The NASA report is not a movie.

2. The NASA report is not about something that only might happen.

3. The NASA report is not about something approaching in the distant future.

4. The NASA report can not be dismissed as reckless or un-credentialed hyperbole.

We're on the train. 
We are going to go to where the tracks go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Dark Side - American Oligarchs and American H-Bombs

Will  "Human Decency
Limit the Oligarchs' Greed?
Come on. Even if they won,
 they wouldn't do THAT would they?

In the posts of this blog and thousands of others in the U.S. the remarkably untold story of the oligarchic take over of the country is every day, "common currency." This "non-media" coverage "lights up" all sorts of really troubling accounts of the ugly things oligarchs are doing -- their penchant for buying "Citizen United funded" political power, their wealth redistributing Congressional legislative schemes, their massive efforts to deregulate regulations, their efforts to sabotage the election process, their obsession with "  liberating" Wall Street and the hedgies from any inconvenient laws and -- perhaps for comic relief -- their outrageous, bumbling, Dickinsonian class based cracks about their ambitions and other dark dreams for our country.

The US Oligarchy [image source]

It is not "news" to visitors here that the billionaires have been "sorting out" which Republican patsy will offer the best "return on investment" for the piles of cash they intend to "invest" in choosing and electing our next President. After the mid-term elections they have a comfortable grip on the Congress, and it is clear now that their carefully selected Catholic Supremes are not only disgustingly obedient to the domestic billionaires but cordially eager to do their part in the final destruction of the democracy.

None of this litany of complaints should be "anything new" to those who regularly visit this blog, but they are repeated here with a purpose. MenMesa's opinion of oligarchs has been pretty well established in the hundreds of posts at Short Current Essays, and that opinion has been based primarily on the disgusting antics detailed on that list above, but the point of this posting is to add one final complaint -- one which is, quite possibly, the greater threat and outrage than all these other "machinations of greed and avarice."

After the White House Falls to the Oligarchy
The Koch brothers just announced their
 intention to make a $1,000,000,000 down payment.

Purchasing the "launch button" for $5 Tn worth of American H-Bombs for a paltry billion dollars is another one of those addictive, irresistible "return on investments" nightmares.

Another tastelessly extravagant does of an old bird's hyperbolic drama? Dispatch any fleeting hope for that self-comforting bliss which usually returns when a visitor politely chuckles and disregards one of MeanMesa's geriatric intestinal distress episodes. This horror movie is as real as it gets.

Owning the human seated in the Oval Office is already planned as the last, unaccomplished ambition of the American oligarchs. With a solution to that final obstacle in their pocket they will -- in no time -- wind up owning the remaining 30% or so of the country which they don't yet own now, and they will have finally opened up the ultimate "business opportunity" for themselves -- either owning or economically dominating -- the remainder of the world, too.

None of this is news. There is, however, one side to these gruesome Plutocratic antics which MeanMesa holds to be quite "under reported." Owning the Presidency can, obviously, be quite profitable, but there is a quiet, additional trinket in that glitzy, executive, Tiffany bag of electoral bling.

The President of the United States is constantly escorted by an Air Force Colonel carrying a locked brief case securely handcuffed to his wrist.

Just A Wee Bit About Thermo-Nuclear War
Yeh, it's 2015, but all that stuff is still sitting there, ready to rock.

Could this be part of a "business plan?"[source]
The clarion advantage of controlling an H-Bomb arsenal first comes from the capacity to fire them in missiles to vaporize some distant victims. An important "second advantage" comes from the capacity to repel invaders should the need arise, but, aside from deterrence, this "repelling invaders" feature would often come with a high price if it were to involve targets on one's home soil. For example "repelling invaders" has been one of the priority missions of Iran's potential nuclear arsenal. After Bush W.'s oil war adventure in neighboring Iraq, the Ayatollah "could clearly see the writing on the wall."

However, there are other advantages to "owning the button," or in this case, "owning the guy who owns the button."  The prospect of brazenly vaporizing an uncooperative "business partner" or an unruly competitor has a lot of additional, geopolitical consequences -- many of them so obvious that even a reckless billionaires might consider "analyzing the life cycle costs" before "launching" into such a strategy.

The nuclear game in 2015 is one of quiet extortion and nuance. Does anyone think that the Americans are so intent on preventing Iran from developing such a capacity because we fear that the Islamic State would actually attack us or one of our allies? Of course not. Such a provocation would cast the entire region into a Middle Eastern equivalent of the old US-Soviet "Mutually Assured Destruction" [M.A.D. Read more  here.] scenario leaving Tehran a parking lot and millions of Iranians mere human shaped, grisly shadows on otherwise uniformly glassy concrete walls.

Likewise, this is roughly the same case with Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, and probably India. The current members of the "nuclear club" are awkwardly reluctant to allow any up and coming "riff-raff" near the members only pool's day bar. However, the American oligarchs perceive themselves to be "wounded tax victims" who have already been coerced into purchasing all these missiles and bombs, that is, so far as they are concerned, they are already members of the nuclear club. [Remember: the oligarchs consider what you consider to be your money to actually be their money, including the money you pay in taxes while they are dodging as much of their part as possible. The same goes with the country. A couple of dozen of them already own nearly 70% of it.]

Not good for oil refineries. [source]
The price of a general nuclear exchange with a well armed enemy such as the Russian Federation or the Peoples Republic of China would include the destruction of plenty of Koch Energy's corporate assets and, as a consequence, an immediate truncation of the brothers' $80 Bn dynastic fortune into something worth a half or a quarter of that -- or less. Such a conflict would probably not do the value of a US dollar much good, either.

However, the mere threat of a smaller, more "contained" exercise of nuclear power -- whether it materialized into an actual nuclear attack or not -- might be quite a different story, at least, it might appear to be quite a different story from the perspective of a "cash crazed" oligarch who could call the President and give such instructions. In some cases raw profit might even become a secondary attraction. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson would slice off his right arm for a chance to nuke Iran with American bombs simply because he loves Israel and hates Arabs.

In fact, the Iranians have habitually drawn the ire of reactionary Presidents. The George W. Bush Administration very delicately "leaked" the plan to use nuclear "bunker busters" on the Iranian centrifuges buried deep in a mountain. This is why, Congressional war mongers not withstanding, we should breathe a sigh of gratitude when we consider the tack that the current President has taken.

MeanMesa was dutifully horrified at such a potential plan at the time, but -- that was then, and this is now. The "W" and his crime family had a penchant for acting like oligarchs because many of them were oligarchs. The grotesque "hangers on" in the immediate background were simply scoundrels fantasizing about also becoming oligarchs just like their masters. Yet, the behavior of the whole bunch serves to illustrate just what we could expect with a puppet in the Oval Office and a crazy billionaire at the other end of the phone call.

Geriatric MeanMesa hyperbole? Form your own opinion.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Don't Wait - A Ukraine Military Aid Reader

[The MeanMesa "Reader:" There is a remarkable collection of interesting and revelatory documents available with respect to the Ukraine situation. With the "news reporting" and "opinion driven" media frantically sliding all over this subject -- all desiring to stake out some of the propaganda territory involved for their own point of view -- it may be worthwhile to visit some of exactly what is "coming from the horse's mouth." Visitors are invited to "have a little read" with this posting.]

The Russian Federation's 
Meat Handed Scrambling
Do Putin's ambitions in Ukraine echo 
LBJ's "incremental obsession" with Vietnam?

MeanMesa has no problem with approaching the carefully engineered quagmire of Putin's reckless adventure cautiously. However, the revolution in Kiev is completed. Ukraine has a new President who is clearly not intimidated by the Russian advances in the East, but who is also, clearly, not inclined to underestimate the full, lethal scope of Vladimir's on-going expansionist ambitions.

The old USSR "lost size."

"The Russian" is entertaining fantasies of reconstructing the Old Soviet Empire. However, the  loose ends accompanying the geopolitical "logic" driving such a dream leave a lot to be desired.

The satellite nations which made up that essentially ungovernable morass of Western Asia were members only by historical happenstance, and the final consequences of such a disparate mix finally "came to visit" the Kremlin in the end. During its slightly more coherent days, the U.S.S.R. bore a chilling similarity to modern Iraq where an awkward "aggregation for convenience" had birthed the irreconcilable collection of "parts" which continues to haunt that unfortunate country.

In the early years of the Cold War it was reported that 149 local languages and dialects were spoken in the U.S.S.R. [Read more here.]

After the unchallenged Super Power assimilation of Crimea Russian Federation colonialism graciously retired to its not particularly convincing "propaganda closet." However, issuing forth from behind those closed Kremlin doors was the predictably constant proclamation of total innocence with respect to the step by step Balkanization of East Ukraine and a curiously artificial, official surprise at the "admirable" ferocity of the Federation's convenient new "freedom loving client insurgent" allies.

When Non-Lethal Isn't Enough
Can anyone recall a military conflict when both parties
were equipped with only non-lethal supplies?

The Federation is pumping all sorts of shiny new Russian armor and anti-aircraft equipment across the border daily. There may have been an almost imperceptible hesitation in this re-supply tactic while the jet liner's smoldering embarrassment was dominating the international press, but now it's become "letting by gones be by gones." Driven by unstable Vladimir Putin's invasion obsessions, the Federation was apparently commanded to recover from such a temporary "red face" in a matter of hours.

The world was complicit on this one. Even though the forensic necropsies have barely been completed, the Federation's well sponsored mayhem is now already back to full steam ahead -- blissfully free of any complicating media references to the recent savagery. Likewise, the lethally vicious snipers hired by Yanukovych along with the other brutal suppression tactics which marked the desperate last days of the Russian puppet's regime have, both sadly and strangely, also faded from the media narrative.

The unspoken implication is that Russia's violent proxies in the East are somehow dissimilar to the murderous "hired guns" who were summarily executing Ukrainian civilians in the streets of Kiev only a few months ago. They're not.

Additionally, the Russian Federation is even more invested in arms exports than the United States.

Further, even at a safe distance we must disabuse ourselves of any confusion about the conflict's wicked portent. The Russian thugs in the East are now salivating over the prospect of a new bloodbath, this time at their hands, on the same streets of Kiev. This is an important point of this post.

Americans, exhausted as they emerge from the blood drenched folly of the Bush wars, might be attracted to some understandable yet dangerous wishful thinking. Worse, that same wishful thinking might entice some in the U.S. into the unsupportable expectation that Putin might actually host some sort of idealistic inclination to value peace and comity, but such an impulse would be an idealism which history would find quite incompatible with the grinding reality of historical Russian pragmatism.

If that wishful thinking leads Americans to presume that "escalation" in the Ukrainian "stand off" must be avoided at all costs, it is just that -- wishful thinking. Those not prepared to acknowledge that what is happening in Ukraine isn't a stand off, should be waiting in line to purchase a bridge from Chris Christie.

A Diplomatic Visit to Moscow
A French and German Exhumation of the "Minsk Accord"

The Minsk Accord which the parties adopted in September, 2014, established the framework for a cease fire between the military forces of the legitimate Kiev government and the separatists sponsored by the Russian Federation. However, Putin's tactical response to the agreement was to use it as an excuse to further delay any substantive change in the Federation's support policy for the "sponsored" separatists fighters in Ukraine.

After French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel consulted with Ukraine President Poroshenko, they left for Moscow and talks with Russian Federation President Putin. Lacking any political momentum for a larger agreement, the Minsk Accord's "cease fire lines" provided what meager structure there was for potential "common points of discussion." It turns out that Putin showed discouragingly little reluctance for simply placing the Accord in "abeyance" until such time as the agreement once again offered any advantage to the Federation -- should this ever occur -- in the future. [Read more here - NYTimes]

This has introduced a very sensitive "contradiction" for French and German policy makers. When the US initiated economic sanctions on the Russian Federation in response to the annexation of Crimea, our European "partners" were quite nervous about their Russian natural gas supplies. The "test of balance" now has become whether or not Europeans consider the gravity of Russian incursion into Ukraine great enough to merit causing more mayhem in the existing arrangements concerning their energy supplies.

The "Minsk cease fire zone" has now fallen far behind the front lines of the separatists' advances, and MeanMesa suspects that the Russian troops now occupying East Ukraine territory will show "curiously" little interest in retreating. In the last two months they have received heavy Russian armament -- specifically Russian tanks. armor personnel carriers and Howitzer-like field guns --which is designed primarily to establish and hold conquered real estate. [Read more  here - GermanDW] Undoubtedly, these weapons are accompanied with barnyard sized additions of small arms and ammunition. [Read more about the likely Russian heavy weapons in Ukraine  here - TheMoscowTimes The article's list of weapons includes the SA11 "Gadfly" BUK znti-aircraft missile system which shot down the Malaysian jet liner.]

In the end these considerations turned out to not really matter so much. Putin knows that every delay which can be extracted from the "diplomatic mission's" schedule enables even more Ukrainian territory to fall into the hands of his special forces "separatists." [Yes, you can quite reasonably call them "spetznas" ("спецназ") from Dolph Lundgren -Armold Schwarzenegger movie fame.] Hollande and Merkel made a very public point when they dutifully expressed their "priority interest" in avoiding more conflict if it were possible, but they said little about what their  follow up intentions might become if this were not possible. [Read more  here - TheGuardian]

The question relating to this "follow up" position now becomes one of utmost relevance with respect to speculating about the next phase of this on-going event. France and Germany both have very credible, well equipped, modern European militaries. Setting aside the inevitable political complications which would arise with such a move, both countries -- importantly, in a way more or less independent of NATO -- could equip or train Ukrainian forces with very effective results.

If the Russian special force regiments presently in East Ukraine were to enter into a combat engagement with French or German "military assistance parties," Putin knows that his "incursion gambit" would be running the risk of becoming a NATO issue. Some observers are currently suggesting that he wouldn't mind going a few rounds with the Europeans and luxuriating in the nationalist domestic popularity resulting from such a move, but MeanMesa's guess is quite the opposite.

The day after the Europeans -- or, collectively, NATO -- become involved in a "shooting war" with Ukraine's Russian invaders, the "doors of opportunity" in Putin's future strategic choices begin to close.

Here Comes What's Left of the Americans
The US oligarchs' take over may have crippled this giant super power, 
but she still has teeth.

And a Commander in Chief...

At first glimpse one would expect the Republicans -- famous for loving every war and subsequent blood bath that has ever materialized practically anywhere on the planet -- would be all over the potential show down in Ukraine like flies swarming on day old potato salad. 

[One might have also had a similar expectation about the six month old war in Iraq and Syria, but on that count the Congress has remained eerily silent on a potential "force authorization" through the conduct of over two thousand air strikes at the time of this post. If this "hesitation" is in response to orders from the Owners of the Republican Party to further attempt to discredit the President, could the same thing happen with matters in Ukraine?]

MeanMesa is confident that the Pentagon procurement contractors have long ago "bent the ears" of their deeply sponsored "friends" on the various GOP Congressional "war committees" to communicate just how wonderfully profitable a conflict in Ukraine might possibly be under the right conditions. The problem is that what the Obama Administration is proposing wouldn't be all that profitable. [This is a matter of comparison. Each of the 2,000 or so bombs dropped on ISIL in the last six months has cost us around $60,000. When the expense of an air craft carrier, jet fighter maintenance, fuel, theatre flight control administration, intelligence gathering, etc. are added, each "impact" could easily be a $150,000 "hit" to the DoD budget. The Iraq invasion was costing a billion dollars per week or more at its height -- much of it quite wasteful.]

This President has been extremely frugal in the exercise of his war making authority. On the occasions when he has used this power to "enter combat," he has been almost uniquely determined to do so with a coalition of other sensible allies -- allies heavily invested with ideas of international law, proportionality of response and, for the most part, the seasoned, mature decency found in nations with the cultural memory of wars fought on their home soil. Further, after discounting the inauthentic claims to the contrary, these occasions of entering combat have generally yielded successful results.

On the other hand it is no secret that the Pentagon procurement contractors -- and their suspiciously well fed Congressional lackeys -- want war with the spectacular excesses of maudlin propaganda, violence, expense and stupefying, bankrupt mismanagement we endured during the duplicitous Bush W. "wars." 

The resolution of Ukraine's present dilemma will not be like this, at least, it won't be like this by prior design. This will be quite a departure from the Iraq conflict which elevated Halliburton from near bankruptcy to a well heeled "emergency, no bid" contractor with $35 Bn in revenue.

The US Congress appears quite favorably inclined to authorize the President's draft "military action" proposal if the Republican "leadership" can pull the tea bags away from a dozen more bills to repeal ObamaCare. Secretary of State Kerry has been working with the Ukrainian government in Kiev to prepare a "wish list" of lethal US arms, and the Secretary of Defense [pending nomination at the time of this post] Carter has indicated that the Pentagon is prepared to act as soon as there is Congressional clearance.

Unlike those sponsored in other "nation building" adventures the US has undertaken recently, the Ukrainians are a proven, credible military with an impressive history. We should not anticipate anything similar to the frantic withdrawal of Iraqi forces in Mosul or the subsequent capture of significant US military equipment by enemy forces. The rebels in the East might be temporarily attracted to such an opportunity, but remember -- they already have plenty of Russian Federation fire power in their barns.

Once Ukraine is armed in the manner currently being discussed, one essential strategic objective will be to take control of the country's border with the Russian Federation. While there are all sorts of good tactical reasons for such a provocative move, we can anticipate that the Russians will be prepared to really "flex their muscle" to prevent it. The outcome of this conflict will pivot on control of that border.

It is easily conceivable that there will be fire from the Russian side of the border into Ukraine, and this could precipitate an additional "moment of truth" policy-wise.

Diplomatic pressure on Putin has not ever produced results before. Further, the Russian strategy is entirely geared to exploit delays in the inevitable Ukrainian "push back." Meanwhile, the Federation's arms shipments across the common border are escalating daily. The deployment of significant numbers of thinly disguised Russian special forces can be described in the same way.

President Obama is prepared to "go to the mat" with Vladimir Putin. There is essentially no international diplomatic price to be paid for arming an allied country to defend its sovereign territory from invasion, but once the East is secured, Kiev will undoubtedly want to revisit Crimea. Among those sympathetic or participating in the re-securing of the East, MeanMesa suspects that the more timid will be backing away from the conflict rather rapidly when it turns to Crimea.

Having said that, MeanMesa expects that the repatriation of Crimea is "doable," although there is no expectation that the process will be pretty. It will certainly not be a party attended by the faint at heart.

The House Resolution 758
Memo  To: V. Putin                                                   

Message: What part of this do you not understand?

Because MeanMesa has already properly informed visitors [in the title of this post...] that this was a "reader," there isn't any problem whatsoever with including the complete House of Representatives bill in its entirety. Although this House Resolution is a little "longish," MeanMesa would encourage everyone to thread all the way through the whole thing. [You can visit the original page  at]

Our allies in Ukraine are studying every word of this. So is Mr. Vladimir Putin.

Remember that the long narrative which follows is a resolution. It is not actual legislation which might in the future become law. Congressional resolutions, at least theoretically, are statements defining the sentiment or "resolve" of the Congress. As such, they serve as a sort of informal proclamation of what corresponding legislation might be if the matter moves forward. All the "Whereas-es" are the current presumptions, observations and conclusions which would serve to explain and justify such future legislation it it were to develop.

Further, listing the "Whereas-es" in this way provides the opportunity for someone such as the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation to "counter" specific Congressional presumptions in the event that there is contradictory evidence available.

This is a high stakes game, the scale of which makes the events in Syria and Iraq appear almost frivolous. And, as usual, we dare not trust the domestic corporate media or, for that matter, the Congress for usable information about anything important or relevant, so reading through 758 is well worth the time.

H. Res. 758

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

December 4, 2014. 

Whereas the Russian Federation has subjected Ukraine to a campaign of political, economic, and military aggression for the purpose of establishing its domination over the country and progressively erasing its independence;

Whereas the Russian Federation’s invasion of, and military operations on, Ukrainian territory represent gross violations of Ukraine's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and a violation of international law, including the Russian Federation's obligations under the United Nations Charter;

Whereas the Russian Federation has, since February 2014, violated each of the 10 principles of the 1975 Helsinki Accords in its relations with Ukraine;

Whereas the Russian Federation’s forcible occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea and its continuing support for separatist and paramilitary forces in eastern Ukraine are violations of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, in which it pledged to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine, and to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine;

Whereas the Russian Federation has provided military equipment, training, and other assistance to separatist and paramilitary forces in eastern Ukraine that has resulted in over 4,000 civilian deaths, hundreds of thousands of civilian refugees, and widespread destruction;

Whereas the Ukrainian military remains at a significant disadvantage compared to the armed forces of the Russian Federation in terms of size and technological sophistication;

Whereas the United States strongly supports efforts to assist Ukraine to defend its territory and sovereignty against military aggression by the Russian Federation and by separatist forces;

Whereas the terms of the cease-fire specified in the Minsk Protocol that was signed on September 5, 2014, by representatives of the Government of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the Russian-led separatists in the eastern area of Ukraine have been repeatedly violated by the Russian Federation and the separatist forces it supports;

Whereas separatist forces in areas they controlled in eastern Ukraine prevented the holding of elections on May 25, 2014, for a new President of Ukraine and on October 26, 2014, for a new Rada, [MeanMesa term definitionVerkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Верхо́вна Ра́да Украї́ни) - "Supreme Council of Ukraine" or Parliament of Ukraine ] thereby preventing the people of eastern Ukraine from exercising their democratic right to select their candidates for office in free and fair elections;

Whereas on November 2, 2014, separatist forces in eastern Ukraine held fraudulent and illegal elections in areas they controlled for the supposed purpose of choosing leaders of the illegitimate local political entities they have declared;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to provide the military, political, and economic support without which the separatist forces could not continue to maintain their areas of control;

Whereas the reestablishment of peace and security in Ukraine requires the full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory, the resumption of the Government of Ukraine’s control over all of the country’s international borders, the disarming of the separatist and paramilitary forces in the east, an end to Russia’s use of its energy exports and trade barriers to apply economic and political pressure, and an end to Russian interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs;

Whereas Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a civilian airliner, was destroyed by a missile fired by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, resulting in the loss of 298 innocent lives;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to supply the vast majority of arms purchases, which include anti-aircraft missile systems and other lethal weapons, to the Bashar Assad regime in Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism that is actively backed by Hezbollah, a sophisticated terrorist group hostile to the United States and its close allies;

Whereas the Russian Federation has protected the Assad regime and backed its brutal assault against the Syrian people;

Whereas the Russian Federation has used and is continuing to use coercive economic measures, including the manipulation of energy prices and supplies, as well as trade restrictions, to place political and economic pressure on Ukraine;

Whereas France agreed to sell to the Russian Federation two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships in 2011 for $1.7 billion;

Whereas Russian possession of these ships would be a destabilizing addition to the Russian military, which would likely have boosted its ability to invade Crimea;

Whereas given the Russian invasion of sovereign territory of the Republic of Ukraine in Crimea and elsewhere and its dangerous behavior throughout the region, France decided to suspend delivery of the Mistral-class warships to the Russian Federation;

Whereas purchase of the two Mistral-class warships by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries would expand NATO’s capabilities, resolve France’s legitimate concern over the cost of the ships, and eliminate a potential threat to countries in Eastern Europe;

Whereas the Russian Federation invaded the Republic of Georgia in August 2008, continues to station military forces in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and is implementing measures intended to progressively integrate these regions into the Russian Federation, including by signing a “treaty” between Georgia’s Abkhazia Region and the Russian Federation on November 24, 2014;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to subject the Republic of Georgia to political and military intimidation, economic coercion, and other forms of aggression in an effort to establish its control of the country and to prevent Georgia from establishing closer relations with the European Union and the United States;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to station military forces in the Transniestria region of Moldova in violation of the express will of the Government of Moldova and of its Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) commitments;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to provide support to the illegal separatist regime in the Transniestria region of Moldova;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to subject Moldova to political and military intimidation, economic coercion, and other forms of aggression in an effort to establish its control of the country and to prevent efforts by Moldova to establish closer relations with the European Union and the United States;

Whereas the Russian Federation acceded to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty obligation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in a declaration issued at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in October 1992;

Whereas under the terms of the INF Treaty, a flight-test or deployment of any INF-banned weapon delivery vehicle by the Russian Federation constitutes a militarily significant violation of the INF Treaty;

Whereas on April 2, 2014, the Commander, U.S. European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Breedlove, stated that, “A weapon capability that violates the INF, that is introduced into the greater European land mass is absolutely a tool that will have to be dealt with * * *. I would not judge how the alliance will choose to react, but I would say they will have to consider what to do about it * * *. It can’t go unanswered.”;

Whereas on July 29, 2014, the United States Department of State released its report on the Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, as required by Section 403 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act, for calendar year 2013, which found that, “[t]he United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles”;

Whereas concerns also exist with respect to a new Russian ballistic missile, the RS–26, which, according to reports, has been tested on multiple occasions at intermediate ranges, and in different configurations, which would be covered by the interpretative statements the United States Senate relied upon when it ratified the INF Treaty in May 1988;

Whereas the Russian Federation has requested the approval of new sensors and new aircraft to be flown over the United States and Europe as part of the Treaty on Open Skies, and serious concerns have been raised regarding impacts to United States national security if such approval is given;

Whereas on November 11, 2014, the Commander, U.S. European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Breedlove, stated that, Russian forces “capable of being nuclear” are being moved to the Crimea Peninsula;

Whereas according to reports, the Government of the Russian Federation has repeatedly engaged in the infiltration of, and attacks on, computer networks of the United States Government, as well as individuals and private entities, for the purpose of illicitly acquiring information and disrupting operations, including by supporting Russian individuals and entities engaged in these actions;

Whereas the political, military, and economic aggression against Ukraine and other countries by the Russian Federation underscores the enduring importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as the cornerstone of collective Euro-Atlantic defense;

Whereas the United States reaffirms its obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty, especially Article 5 which states that “an armed attack against one or more” of the treaty signatories “shall be considered an attack against them all”;

Whereas the Russian Federation is continuing to use its supply of energy as a means of political and economic coercion against Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and other European countries;

Whereas the United States strongly supports energy diversification initiatives in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and other European countries to reduce the ability of the Russian Federation to use its supply of energy for political and economic coercion, including the development of domestic sources of energy, increased efficiency, and substituting Russian energy resources with imports from other countries;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to conduct an aggressive propaganda effort in Ukraine in which false information is used to subvert the authority of the legitimate national government, undermine stability, promote ethnic dissension, and incite violence;

Whereas the Russian Federation has expanded the presence of its state-sponsored media in national languages across central and western Europe with the intent of using news and information to distort public opinion and obscure Russian political and economic influence in Europe;

Whereas expanded efforts by United States international broadcasting across all media in the Russian and Ukrainian languages are needed to counter Russian propaganda and to provide the people of Ukraine and the surrounding regions with access to credible and balanced information;

Whereas the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Incorporated continue to represent a minority market share in Ukraine and other regional states with significant ethno-linguistic Russian populations who increasingly obtain their local and international news from Russian state-sponsored media outlets;

Whereas the United States International Programming to Ukraine and Neighboring Regions Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–96) requires the Voice of America and RFE/RL, Incorporated to provide programming content to target populations in Ukraine and Moldova 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including at least 8 weekly hours of total original video and television content and 14 weekly hours of total audio content while expanding cooperation with local media outlets and deploying greater content through multimedia platforms and mobile devices; and

Whereas Vladimir Putin has established an increasingly authoritarian regime in the Russian Federation through fraudulent elections, the persecution and jailing of political opponents, the elimination of independent media, the seizure of key sectors of the economy and enabling supporters to enrich themselves through widespread corruption, and implementing a strident propaganda campaign to justify Russian aggression against other countries and repression in Russia, among other actions: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives —

(1) strongly supports the efforts by President Poroshenko and the people of Ukraine to establish a lasting peace in their country that includes the full withdrawal of Russian forces from the territory of Ukraine, full control of Ukraine’s international borders, the disarming of separatist and paramilitary forces in eastern Ukraine, the adoption of policies to reduce the ability of the Russian Federation to use energy exports and trade barriers as weapons to apply economic and political pressure, and an end to interference by the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of Ukraine;

(2) affirms the right of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and all countries to exercise their sovereign rights within their internationally recognized borders free from outside intervention, and to conduct their foreign policy in accordance with their determination of the best interests of their peoples;

(3) condemns the continuing political, economic, and military aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova and the continuing violation of their sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity;

(4) states that the military intervention by the Russian Federation in Ukraine—

(A) is in breach of its obligations under the United Nations Charter;

(B) is in clear violation of each of the 10 principles of the 1975 Helsinki Accords;

(C) is in violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in which it pledged to respect the independence, sovereignty, and existing borders of Ukraine and to refrain from the threat of the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine; and

(D) poses a threat to international peace and security;

(5) calls on the Russian Federation to reverse its illegal annexation of Crimea, to end its support of the separatist forces in Crimea, and to remove its military forces from that region other than those operating in strict accordance with its 1997 agreement on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet Stationing on the Territory of Ukraine;

(6) calls on the President to cooperate with United States allies and partners in Europe and other countries around the world to refuse to recognize any de jure or de facto sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea, its airspace, or its territorial waters;

(7) calls on the Russian Federation to remove its military forces and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, and to end its political, military, and economic support of separatist forces;

(8) calls on the Russian Federation and the separatist forces it supports and controls in Ukraine to end their violations of the cease-fire announced in Minsk on September 5, 2014;

(9) calls on the President to cooperate with United States allies and partners in Europe and other countries around the world to impose visa bans, targeted asset freezes, sectoral sanctions, and other measures on the Russian Federation and its leadership with the goal of compelling it to end its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to remove its military forces and equipment from Ukrainian territory, and to end its support of separatist and paramilitary forces;

(10) calls on the President to provide the Government of Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal defense articles, services, and training required to effectively defend its territory and sovereignty;

(11) calls on the President to provide the Government of Ukraine with appropriate intelligence and other relevant information in a timely manner to assist the Government of Ukraine to defend its territory and sovereignty;

(12) calls on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and United States partners in Europe and other nations around the world to suspend all military cooperation with Russia, including prohibiting the sale to the Russian Government of lethal and non-lethal military equipment;

(13) reaffirms the commitment of the United States to its obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty, especially Article 5, and calls on all Alliance member states to provide their full share of the resources needed to ensure their collective defense;

(14) urges the President, in consultation with Congress, to conduct a review of the force posture, readiness, and responsibilities of United States Armed Forces and the forces of other members of NATO to determine if the contributions and actions of each are sufficient to meet the obligations of collective self-defense under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and to specify the measures needed to remedy any deficiencies;

(15) welcomes the decision of France to indefinitely suspend the delivery of the Mistral-class warships to the Russian Federation and urges the United States, France, NATO, and other partners to engage in consultations and consider all alternative acquisition options for such warships which would not include transfer of the ships to the Russian Federation;

(16) urges the President to publicly hold the Russian Federation accountable for violations of its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and to take action to bring the Russian Federation back into compliance with the Treaty;

(17) urges the President to work with Asian, European, and other allies to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure the Russian Federation is not able to gain any benefit by its development of military systems that violate the INF Treaty;

(18) believes the emplacement by the Russian Federation of its nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory would constitute a provocative and destabilizing move;

(19) calls on Ukraine and other countries to support energy diversification initiatives to reduce the ability of the Russian Federation to use its energy exports as a means of applying political or economic pressure, including by promoting energy efficiency and reverse natural gas flows from Western Europe, and calls on the United States to promote increased natural gas exports and energy efficiency;

(20) calls on the President and the United States Department of State to develop a strategy for multilateral coordination to produce or otherwise procure and distribute news and information in the Russian language to countries with significant Russian-speaking populations which maximizes the use of existing platforms for content delivery such as the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Incorporated, leverages indigenous public-private partnerships for content production, and seeks in-kind contributions from regional state governments;

(21) calls on the United States Department of State to identify positions at key diplomatic posts in Europe to evaluate the political, economic, and cultural influence of Russia and Russian state-sponsored media and to coordinate with host governments on appropriate responses;

(22) calls on the Russian Federation to cease its support for the Assad regime in Syria;

(23) calls on the President to publicly and privately demand the Russian Federation cease its destabilizing behavior at every opportunity and in every engagement between the United States and its officials and the Russian Federation and its officials;

(24) calls upon the Russian Federation to seek a mutually beneficial relationship with the United States that is based on respect for the independence and sovereignty of all countries and their right to freely determine their future, including their relationship with other nations and international organizations, without interference, intimidation, or coercion by other countries; and

(25) calls for the reestablishment of a close and cooperative relationship between the people of the United States and the Russian people based on the shared pursuit of democracy, human rights, and peace among all nations.



A Russian Federation Propaganda Sampler

It's usually a good idea to pay at least a passing attention to the propaganda being broadcast in an affair such as the Russian incursion into Ukraine. Without poking around the GOOGLE for very long at all, MeanMesa located this little Russian jewel. [The GOOGLE auto translator did a fair job with dropping this into English, and MeanMesa cleaned up a few "loose ends" to make it readable. The old "sharpness" of  MeanMesa's Russian is suffering from decades of disuse.]

This Russian propaganda is playing a major role in terms of controlling Russian Federation popular opinion, and it has served to constantly embolden the Russian sponsored "separatists" in East Ukraine. While there is little to suggest that "Fact Military" represents a "front line" propaganda outlet within the Federation, MeanMesa finds that its remote "location" -- perhaps quite removed from the  more official sources -- somehow validates its folksy treatment of affairs and provides a "window" through which the "common line" of Putin's narrative may be seen.

MeanMesa suspects that such content is the daily rhetoric among Russian Federation citizens, now so propagandized by the Kremlin's relentless misinformation campaign that few voices still challenge the veracity -- or even the respectable intentions -- of such a source.

Fact Military
[Дело в том военный]
Information warfare around the events in Ukraine (2014)

[Excerpted. Read the entire article  here. Translate the entire article using the GOOGLE translator. Right click. Words to be deleted from the auto-translation are noted as {pink} while words replacing these mis-translations are noted in [green]. Un-interpreted content is shown in [blue.]

Ukrainian and Western media have sought to interpret any declarations [by the] military and political leadership of the Russian Federation for the protection of the rights of Russian-speaking population of Ukraine as a threat of military intervention, drawing parallels with the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict, in which Moscow was given the role of the aggressor.

Information hysteria around the actions of the Armed Forces and the Navy of the Russian Federation clearly demonstrated the British "Daily {Mail} [Mail's" intention to] scare readers [with phrases such as] {titled} "Bear in the backyard," Cold War "returns". {Thus} [This is how the] publication described the passage of a group of Russian warships led by the aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" through the English Channel. In general, almost every incident {with the advent of the} [in which] Russian ships or aircraft in neutral territory resonates in the press {mentioning} [with a mention of] the "Cold War."

An important area Russophobian information policy of Ukrainian authorities as rising tensions in the South East of the country was {accused} [accusing] Moscow [of] subversion and destabilization of the situation in the border areas. Ukrainian media reported mass detentions {while} [of Russian secret service] attempting to cross the border {and} directly {on} [into] the territory of Ukraine {the Russian secret service}. As evidence {demonstrated },[photographs showing] openly staged shots, which have "saboteurs" {were removed nonexistent identity "scouts"} [with identity patches removed] and ridiculous weapons. According to statements of Ukrainian border guards, every other [one of every two] detainee admitted to {work in} [working for] the intelligence services of Russia and gave the names of other agents. It should be noted that such a provocative {work of} [effort by] the Ukrainian authorities {and they} [who] control the media was so rough and implausible that [the reporting] did not find the {unconditional support of} [credible acceptance by the media in] the West.

Fact Military
27/01/2015 NATO refused to Ukraine to solve territorial issues 
[NATO refuses Ukraine membership until territorial issues are solved]

[Excerpted. Read the entire article  here. The same caveats apply with respect to both translations and re-interpretations.]

© , the North Atlantic Alliance will not accept Ukraine as a member as long as the country does not solve all of {their} [its] territorial disputes. This was stated by Director of the NATO Information Office in Moscow Robert Pszczel [on] the radio {station} [program] "Moscow speaking."

"Joining the Alliance - it's always a long-term process -- [although] Ukraine {even such application is filed} [has previously filed such an application]. In recent years, the Ukrainian authorities, so to speak, changed {his} [this] approach, saying that the country does not want to be considered bezblokovoy ["without a bloc"]. {In this state,} [Ukraine] as well as everyone in Europe has the right to choose, but today this issue is not even worth it ", - said Pszczel.

[Read more about Robert Pszczel here - DLD/NATO/Moscow]

The Mythical Fortress and The Mythical Victims
A closer look at the "Russian Speaking People" in Ukraine

If one initiates a GOOGLE image search in hopes of finding a map of Ukraine showing the current tactical locations and fronts between the parties in this civil war, he will find that most of what is recovered will be either maps of which portions of the country voted one way or the other in the recent election or maps of which portions of the country are populated by primarily Russian speaking Ukrainians.

This is an important point for one central reason. The division in the country is repeatedly explained as the division between those citizens who speak Ukrainian and those who speak Russian. As one digs through the glacial Federation propaganda on this matter, the reference to "Russian speaking" Ukrainians gradually morphs into a what is proposed as a legitimate technique for identifying  those "Ukrainians who need Russian Federation protection."

Once the propaganda argument has drifted to its simplified form, its premise becomes that Ukrainians in the East need Russian Federation protection because they are Russian speakers.

Although this becomes more and more flimsy with rational consideration, it turns out that precisely this ideas is capable of attracting significant traction among the Federation's nationalist populations. Further, Vladimir Putin has "pulled out all the stops" with respect to "juicing up" this incendiary Russian nationalism for his own purposes.

Included in this embarrassingly amateurish scheme are claims that Russia must aggressively strive to restore its international national pride and respect as a powerful nation -- including the annexation of a few unwilling neighbors. This effort is also advanced by the furtive insinuation that the reconstruction of a modern version of the Soviet empire is validated by the Russian equivalent of "manifest destiny" -- a "destiny" which begins by absorbing Crimea and continues from there with slicing off a nice chunk of what remains of Ukraine.

The whole scheme has a sickening similarity of the German "repatriation" of the Sudetenland in the beginning of WWII. Putin's propaganda claims that Kiev is controlled by Nazis may amount to the ultimate irony of the 21st Century. The Reich insisted that German speaking residents in Sudetenland were being oppressed in ways that only a violent military repatriation could resolve.

Whatever the thoughts driving such ambitions in the Kremlin, MeanMesa presumes that this kind of bald faced expansionism has little chance of ever being tacitly acceptable to Europe, NATO or the United States.

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.