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 The Executioner's Pawn

Posted February 22, 2023

Matt Insley

By Matt Insley

The Executioner's Pawn

Good morning, and happy Wednesday. 

Per our “Ohiogate” issue last week, Thomas K. writes: “Thanks for bringing this story to the readers of The Rundown

“Until this article, I had no idea what happened in East Palestine, Ohio, although I saw some mention of it on social media. But, as you say, I had my head in the clouds since I really don't follow standard media. 

“So, I just wanted to send my regards and appreciation that you shared the story, and I look forward to more perspectives that matter to me. Thanks.” 

You’re welcome, Thomas. It’s gratifying to hear that you found our report helpful and insightful. 

Next, Mike M. says: “ESG, indeed, is as stupid as most other bureaucratic initiatives. This appeared in one of my general information feeds.” 

The opinion piece, at trade publication Chemical Processing, opens thus: “There’s an old industrial saying that states: ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it!’” 

Writer Dave Russell, president of Global Environmental Operations, Inc, then likens ESG “standards” as follows: “I believe the effort to develop a single [ESG] number by which to judge the behavior of a corporation… 

“… is like asking a gym teacher to rank a group of students for academic prowess when he or she may see them only in the gymnasium.” 

The piece is definitely worth a read, and thanks to Mike M. for passing it along. 

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Your Rundown for Wednesday, February 22, 2023...

Ukraine: Before & After 

Just in case you’ve been hiding out in your backyard bunker… 

Biden secretly visited Kyiv on Presidents’ Day, February 20 — because, you know, optics — ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine (which happens to be Friday).

[Question: Last year, did you think the war would drag on this long? Your opinion matters!]

In light of this grim anniversary, we thought it would be beneficial to look back at one of our Ukraine-centric issues from January 2022. 

In it, we featured a map from before the war… 


Source: The Washington Post

And, now, for an updated, post-war map…


Source: Institute for the Study of War
AEI’s Critical Threat Project

It’s here we note that the recent iteration more-than-a-little resembles what Paradigm’s macro expert Jim Rickards said in our January 2022 issue: 

“Putin’s possible ambition is to take eastern Ukraine, connect the dots — connecting Crimea with Russia through that corridor — and probably just making the whole thing part of Russia.”

With Putin’s near-perfect execution of his geopolitical game of chess, at this point, all Russia has to do is outlast Ukraine in a crushing war of attrition. 

And when the rubble settles, we’ll see which NATO partners stick around to rebuild what’s left. 

Market Rundown for Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023

S&P 500 futures are down 2%, just under 4,000. 

Oil’s lost 0.50% to $75.95 for a barrel of WTI. 

Gold is up 0.10% to $1,844.60 per ounce. 

And, at the time of writing, Bitcoin is down 1.5% to $24,135. 

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