The COVID-19 Propagandemic Express Rumbles Onward, Virtually Unopposed

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “There are only so many stories you can tell, but an infinite number of storytellers.”

“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
Robert A. Heinlein, Revolt in 2100/Methuselah’s Children

I have sinned, Dear Father;
Father, I have sinned:
Try and help me, Father;
won’t you let me in?
Liar

– Queen, from “Liar”

I may have mentioned the Canadian newspaper The National Post previously – I know I have mentioned it numerous times in comments. It’s a fiercely conservative medium, and its columnists are mostly united in the belief that Canada died a little when Stephen Harper lost the 2015 election to those liberal pansies. I am almost positive I remember him once describing his (Conservative) party as ‘the Republican party of Canada’, perhaps making a joke, but I cannot find any record of it now. Whatever the case, there were plenty of other people ready to attribute the Republican label to him.

Just as an aside, this is not an indictment of Harper as Prime Minister. I didn’t care for his politics personally, but I don’t care for (present Prime Minister) Trudeau’s, either. The former resisted calls from bankers to deregulate at the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis, and no matter what he might personally have wanted to do, it was the right decision; Canada emerged from the crisis with the strongest economy of the western nations. He was a staunch advocate for the military, in which I spent the best part of my adult life. All in all I could find little to personally complain about, except a general revulsion for conservative policies in general. Anyway, the purpose of this detour is to establish an alignment between Harper conservatives and the US Republican party, and by extension, an appetite on the part of National Post writers for conservative fiscal policies, foreign policies and leadership.

Including a visceral dislike – I would go so far as to say ‘hatred’ – of Russia and China, and tireless ridicule and scolding of those countries, as well as enthusiastic buy-in for any case made out against either or both. Would you like an example? Coming right up. Meet David J. Bercuson, a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and director emeritus of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. For those from Without – Calgary, Alberta is the very navel of conservatism in Canada. Mr. Bercuson’s piece is entitled, open-mindedly enough, “COVID-19 is bringing out the deceptive worst in Russia, China and Iran”.

He begins reasonably enough; Trump – yes, a Republican, but ideological conservatives often dislike him intensely – is full of shit when he refers to COVID-19 as ‘the Chinese virus’, something he only recently stopped doing, probably after being prompted by advisors. COVID-19 is not a Chinese weapon. Soothing bla bla bla…BANG! China, like all dictatorships, is covering up. It’s in their nature to lie to the west.

Ditto Russia, congenital liars, who are sowing discord through social media and frightening people with looney-tunes rubbish about COVID-19 being introduced to China by the US military. Continue reading “The COVID-19 Propagandemic Express Rumbles Onward, Virtually Unopposed”

Vladimir Putin’s Long Run

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “Your enemies are not to be destroyed, grant them longevity to witness your success.”

Who can go the distance? We’ll find out
in the long run…

Eagles, from “The Long Run”

The substance of this post appeared as a comment to the last post, but I was having so much fun with it that I decided to expand upon it a little. Contrary to what the title might suggest, it is not my intent to discuss pending Russian legislation which might see Putin remain President of the Russian Federation for an additional term or perhaps even more than one – the positions on that issue are both far apart and clearly defined. The west blanches at the idea, and would have been happy to see him gone long since, and at least half the electorate in Russia would vote for him probably so long as he lives.

No, what I wanted to talk about for a little bit more – and hopefully to a wider audience – is the statistically improbable, and therefore incredible, run of luck enjoyed by the Russian leader since the west first soured on him and decided Russia could never be a friend and partner, and that it must therefore be shunned. Left to its own devices, it could not but destroy itself without western advice, know-how, initiative and wealth.

Well. About that.

Washington has tried for as long as the Russian Federation has existed, and before that when it was the Soviet Union, to alternately destroy it and subordinate it to Washington’s will. There was a brief window during the Bill Clinton presidency in which it appeared the United States was actually trying to come to terms with a great-power Russia co-existing with western power led by a great-power United States. But it lasted only until Clinton had gotten an agreement on a united Germany, whereupon the United States promptly reneged on its part of the bargain and began adding countries to NATO like an international charm bracelet. That notwithstanding, I’d like to look at US-Russia relations just including and since the George W. Bush presidency; this is both so that our scope does not broaden until it’s too unwieldy, and so that we restrict ourselves to those relations while Vladimir Putin has been in an influential political position, either as President or Prime Minister.

What I think will become clearer is that either (1) Putin has enjoyed an incredible run of good fortune which has permitted his country to dodge repeated attempts to smash it like a walnut, simultaneously remaining at the helm despite western machinations to drive him from office whose stubbornness is matched only by their incompetence, or (2) the whole thing has been a ballet of consummate skill, in which the blundering United States has been outmaneuvered by Russia at every turn. Continue reading “Vladimir Putin’s Long Run”

Listen Up, America: You’re Either With Your Government, or You’re With Putin

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.”

One dime is all it cost me, and
I found out for sure; you know,
that you double-crossed me:
Just how much can I endure?

Harlequin, from “Innocence”

“Everything is a contest. All dealings among men are a contest in which some will succeed and others fail. And some are failing quite spectacularly.”

Brandon Sanderson; “The Way of Kings”

You probably thought you had seen it all this year where Russia Hysteria In America is concerned. You probably thought there was no way America could top the loony accusations that Russia rigged the 2016 election for Trump, when the only part of the election Russia could conceivably have affected – the popular vote – was actually won by his opponent. Trump won in the electoral college, which would be impossible for Russia to manipulate – the electoral college votes using a paper ballot with a chain of custody impossible for Russian agents to interdict.A Pennsylvania elector holds her ballot for President-elect Donald Trump before casting it in December 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

It would be quite a feat for Russia to rig the election so that the candidate it wanted to win actually lost, but still won – I’m not sure too many investigators could stay with that pretzel logic, and if the Russians are so smart they could pull that off with a layout of less than $110,000.00 when the combined spending of the Democrats and the Republicans on the 2016 election was $2.6 Billion (just on the Trump-Clinton war), it is probably useless for Washington to struggle against them any further. It would be like Dirty Harry in a shootout with a guy from the Bronze Age, or Crocodile Dundee in a knife fight against Boy George armed with a sherbet spoon.

But we’ve been over that before; America persists with the deluded canard that Russia ‘interfered’ in the 2016 election only because Hillary Clinton was incapable of coming to terms with having been beaten by Donald Trump, the intellectual equivalent of a street race between a Lamborghini Murcielago and a Segway. I didn’t want Clinton to win because she is a warhag whose first instinct is to send in the Marines for anything more competitive than the Boxing Day Sale at Best Buy, but I would have to stipulate that she is so much smarter than Trump that they might be different species. Even mild-mannered dotard Bernie Sanders plays along with the charade, raising arms like steamed noodles in a fighting stance as he vows to protect America’s precious democratic process from the blackhearted machinations of Vladimir Putin.

While not too busy subverting the will of the American people, lumbering them with a President more like a petulant four-year-old with a bad comb-over, Russia shot down MH17, stole Crimea, invaded Ukraine, cyberattacked Ukraine over and over, rigged Brexit so the UK had to leave the European Union even though most of the British wanted to stay, hacked the French election and no end of other skullduggery, all of which America said it could prove beyond the shadow of a doubt, and none of which it proved. Ever. Satellite photos of Buk missile launches, anyone? Continue reading “Listen Up, America: You’re Either With Your Government, or You’re With Putin”

I Heart Anarchists, by T.H.E. West

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “Nothing goes so well with a hot fire and buttered crumpets as a wet day without and a good dose of comfortable horrors within. The heavier the lashing of the rain and the ghastlier the details, the better the flavour seems to be.”

“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.”

Gilles Deleuze, from A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

I often have to wonder if the media of the western democracies spends more time watching what’s going on in its own countries, or what’s going on in Russia. Because the minute something goes down in Russia, the western media is on it like a fox on a mouse, like Rush Limbaugh on an unsupervised cheeseburger. And the first question the western media asks itself as it’s putting the story together for its audience of desperate housewives, harassed junior executives and the great amorphous trusting blob of the workforce is, “How are we going to spin this so the Russians sound like the shitheels of the universe?”

You certainly don’t have to take my word for it: how many times, just in the last decade, has the west – represented for the purposes of its values by its media – discovered a sudden espoused camaraderie and good fellowship for rebels, elsewhere than in the western democracies themselves? The west loved them some Syrian rebels so much it did not even notice they were offshoots of the same group that drove airliners into the World Trade Center in 2001. One man’s terrorist is another man’s Swiss Army knife – it just depends on the situation. And terrorists – oops; I meant, “moderate rebels” – are often very useful for stirring up trouble in countries the west has made enemies of through its pigheaded behavior, prejudice and general assholery.

Consider the recent and convenient example of the arrest, trial and sentencing of the Russian group calling itself – or being referred to in the news as – Network. I’ve selected coverage by The Guardian, but western reporting on the group and its tribulations at the iron hand of monolithic Moscow is pretty uniformly on the side of those poor boys, so misunderstood. Let’s take a look – everyone’s outrage filters set to maximum? Let’s go.

Right out of the gate, the British newspaper labels the group “Anti-fascists” rather than anarchists, although they refer to them as anarchists in the body of the article; this is targeted at ‘busy’ people who only skim headlines, and the message is that if you don’t support the accused, you like fascism. Is the Russian government fascist? It might be helpful to look at the definition.

Fascism: a political system based on a very powerful leader, state control, and being extremely proud of country and race, and in which political opposition is not allowed.

Well, that basically tells me nothing, since barring the final parameter, it sounds like every government that has ever been – let’s look at the current British government, captained by the blonde buffoon, Boris Johnson. Is he a very powerful leader? He certainly thinks he is, and he managed to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union albeit nearly half his electorate was vigorously opposed to it. That sounds powerful enough to me – and what kind of a ridiculous qualifier is that, anyway? What leader of what government is going to suggest he is a milquetoast rather than a powerful leader? Christ, Juan Guaido figures he is a powerful leader, and he’s head of a government that doesn’t even have a country. Next! Continue reading “I Heart Anarchists, by T.H.E. West”

A Four-Hundred-Year-Old Grudge Meets a Line in the Sand

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.”

And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.

William Shakespeare, from Richard III

The hysterical behavior of Poland on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz has been an archetype of clumsy redirection, enthusiastically backed by western academics – Look! they cry; Putin is trying to blame Poland for starting World War II!! When everyone knows it was the Soviets with their notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, under whose terms the filthy co-conspirators planned to carve up Poland for themselves.

It would not be an exaggeration to suggest here that if the Polish attempt to rewrite history meets with broad acceptance, the practice will become a model for countries who wish to sanitize their own history so that they appear to have been victim rather than aggressor; hapless sacrifice to a peaceful nature rather than eager collaborator.

History – well, we assume it is the real history, although you can’t be too sure these days – reflects that over 230 Soviet soldiers, including the commander of the 472nd regiment, died in combat in the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Seems a drop in the bucket compared with the Soviet Union’s losses overall in the war of extinction with Nazi Germany, but the number reflects combat losses in that operation alone; men who died when they might reasonably have been expected to live, in order that thousands of prisoners might be liberated. Poland’s recent response has been to destroy Soviet war memorials in the country, backed by an order of the nationalist Polish parliament, the Sejm. And suddenly, enough became enough as far as Russia was concerned.

It is against this backdrop of determined lunacy that I feature the first-ever guest post by Dennis Pennington, British-born resident of Russia for over 20 years, and better known to most of us here as Moscow Exile. Without further ado; Dennis, take it away!

A Four Hundred Year Grudge

On September 1, 2019, the Polish leadership did not invite Vladimir Putin to attend commemorative events to mark the outbreak of World War II in Europe, whereas practically all other world leaders had been invited. In that same year, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi extermination camp, the same thing happened: the Russian president was snubbed, no matter that it was the Red Army that had liberated the inmates of that death camp in 1944. Furthermore, the Polish authorities have ostentatiously refused to celebrate the anniversary of the liberation of Poland from Nazism. The Polish Foreign Ministry has already issued a sharp statement on the outcome of the Second World War in Europe. In its official account on Twitter, that ministry has expressed its views as regards this liberation of Poland from the Nazis:

“We respect the blood sacrifice of soldiers in the fight against Nazism, but in 1945, the Stalin regime brought terror, brutality and economic exploitation to Poland”.

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that:

“The Red Army liberated Warsaw from Nazi occupation, but that did not mean freedom for Poland!”

During the Warsaw-Poznan offensive, on January 17, 1945, Warsaw was liberated from the Nazis by Soviet troops. This year is, therefore, the 75th anniversary of this event. However, although Poland had ceased to exist more than 6 years before this date, following a swift Nazi-Germany Blitzkrieg victory against the Polish armed forces in September 1939, present day Polish politicians prefer to call the Soviet liberators of Poland “Soviet occupiers” who “oppressed” Poland until the Soviet Union in its turn ceased to exist in 1991 and Poland had become a NATO member state. Continue reading “A Four-Hundred-Year-Old Grudge Meets a Line in the Sand”

The United States of Amnesia, and Its Incredible Asbestos Pants

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, You must remember, my dear lady, the most important rule of any successful illusion: First, the people must want to believe in it”.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire…

Chidren’s rhyme

In an era of stress and anxiety, when the present seems unstable and the future unlikely, the natural response is to retreat and withdraw from reality, taking recourse either in fantasies of the future or in modified visions of a half-imagined past.

Alan Moore, from “Watchmen”

Unless you were catatonic this past couple of weeks, dead drunk from Sunday to Saturday, suffered a debilitating brain injury or were living in Bognor Regis where the internet cannot reach, you heard about the west slapping a four-year Olympic ban on Russia. Because it could, it did. And not really for any other reason, despite the indignation and manufactured outrage. It’s a pity – now that I come to think on it – that you can’t use outrage to power a vehicle, fill a sandwich or knit into socks: because the west has a bottomless supply, and it’s just about as renewable a resource as you could envision.

As I have reiterated elsewhere and often, the United States of America is the cheatingest nation on the planet where professional sports is concerned, because winning matters to Americans like nowhere else. Successful Olympic medal-winners and iconic sports figures in the USA are feted like victorious battlefield generals, because the sports arena is just another battlefield to the United States, and there’s no it’s-not-whether-you-win-or-lose-it’s-how-you-play-the-game in wartime. Successful American sports figures foster an appreciation of American culture and lifestyle, and promote an image of America as a purposeful and powerful nation. Successful sports figures anywhere, really; not so very long ago Olympic gold medalists were merely given an appreciative parade by a grateful nation, and featured in lucrative advertising contracts if they were photogenic. More recently, some nations have simply paid athletes by the medal for winning. This includes most nations, with the notable exceptions of the UK, Norway and Sweden. So the pressure is on to win, win, win, by whatever means are necessary.

Since Russia is in second place only to Germany for all-time medal rankings in the Olympics, and since Russia eventually made it back up to Public Enemy Number One in the USA – after a brief hiatus during which it looked like a combination of Boris Yeltsyn and teams of Harvard economists were going to make a respectful pauper of it while it became a paradise for international investors – the USA spares no effort to beat Russia at everything. On occasions where it is not particularly successful, as it was not in the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, it has turned to other methods – screaming that the Russians are all dopers who benefit from a state-sponsored doping scheme, and implementing bans to prevent as many Russian athletes as possible from competing.

And that’s my principal objection. In media matters in the world of sports, just as in other political venues, the USA relies on a combination of lying and relentless repetition to drive its points home. Thus it is that the English-speaking world still believes Russia was convicted of having had a state-sponsored doping plan, found guilty and justly sentenced upon the discovery of mountains of evidence, its accusers vindicated and its dissident whistleblowers heroes to a grateful world. Huzzah!!

Examples abound – here’s a random one from the BBC:

“Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports, claims a new report.

It was “planned and operated” from late 2011 – including the build-up to London 2012 – and continued through the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics until August 2015.”

The BBC is Britain’s state-funded broadcaster, financed by the British government, and the British government is second only to the United States in its virulent hatred of Russia and Russians. But that was back then, when the ‘doping scheme’ was newly ‘discovered’, and all the western reporters and government figures were nearly wetting their pants with excitement. What about now?

Essentially, nothing has changed. TIME Magazine:

“It’s the latest twist in a long-running saga of investigations into widespread, state-sponsored doping by the Kremlin.”

My soul, if it isn’t the USA’s star witness, Doctor Grigory Rodchenkov, in AFP;

“Doped athletes do not work alone. There are medical doctors, coaches and managers who provided substances, advised and protected them. In Russia’s state-sponsored doping scheme, there is also a state-sponsored defense of many cheaters including state officials, witnesses and apparatchiks who are lying under oath and have falsified evidence. These individuals are clearly criminals,” he said.

More about him later; for now, suffice it to say the western media still finds him a credible and compelling witness.

The Canadian Globe & Mail:

“In 2016, independent investigations confirmed that Russian officials had run a massive state‑sponsored doping system during the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, which fed illicit performance-enhancing drugs to hundreds of athletes and took outlandish measures to pervert national drug-testing mechanisms.

The evidence was incontrovertible.”

I was going to go on, listing examples in the popular press from around the world, published since the latest ban was announced, all claiming investigation had proved the Russians had a massive state-sponsored doping scheme in place which let them cheat their way to the podium. But I think you get the picture, and that last lead-in was my cue; it was just too good to pass up.

Independent investigations confirmed. The evidence was incontrovertible. Continue reading “The United States of Amnesia, and Its Incredible Asbestos Pants”

Tell Me How It Is

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “It’s not a moral position if you only hold it when it applies to you.”

Maybe the time has drawn
the faces I recall;
Things in this life change very slowly
if they ever change at all

Eagles. from “Sad Cafe

“Every individual needs revolution, inner division, overthrow of the existing order, and renewal, but not by forcing them upon his neighbors under the hypocritical cloak of Christian love or the sense of social responsibility or any of the other beautiful euphemisms for unconscious urges to personal power.”

C.G. Jung

Everything bad that happens is because of Russia, and when anything good happens in Russia, it’s because they got lucky.

A recent revelation for me was the announcement that the revenue Russia realizes from agricultural exports has surpassed what it earns in arms sales. That was actually announced more than four years ago, but it came to my attention only a short time ago, because of context. I mean, it was fairly common knowledge that the sanctions Europe dutifully imposed on Russia, and the counter-sanctions against imports of European meat and produce, fostered an agricultural renaissance in Russia. But linking it as a moneymaker to exports of weapons really puts it in focus; Russia is now able to exercise more economic clout through farming than through the tools of war. And, as if any of you needed to have it pointed out to you, this peaceful surge in production occurred at a time in history when western pressure expected to make Russia more martial – not less.Hillary Clinton

Given that any positive news from Russia is immediately pissed on by the western media, you might expect reporting which suggests the Russian state merely caught a completely-undeserved lucky break. And you would not be disappointed. The booming farm economy and the profits which accrue to it, Politico will have you know, are due to…good land management, and the weather having a pro-Russian bias.

So if the Kremlin tells you it actually wants the sanctions to continue,  it’s just whistling past the graveyard, because those who say sanctions have not had a serious impact on Russia are lying. I mean, there’s the impossibility of getting good French cheese, and….and….no French cheese, and…well, okay, it’s just cheese, and widespread fakery which leads individuals who presumably were discerning cheese buyers only a couple of years ago to mistake blocks of grease for fine Camembert. Yes, the western obsession with European cheese imports, and their conviction that not being able to buy real Parmesan or Stilton is driving suffering Russians to the edge of madness refuses to die. Washington is determined to believe the sanctions against Russia are a tremendous success.

Well, they’re not. Continue reading “Tell Me How It Is”