When Your Story Implodes, Call Me – I’m an American Chemical Weapons Expert!

Uncle Volodya says, “Stupidity is the same as evil, if you judge by the results.”

I’ve been waiting for something to happen
for a day, or a week, or a year;
with the blood in the ink of the headlines
and the roar of the crowd in my ears.
You might ask what it takes to remember
but you know that you’ve seen it before;
when a government lies to a people
and a country is drifting to war…

Jackson Browne, from “Lives in the Balance”

“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”

Otto von Bismarck

During an hour or so of poring over quotes about lying (of course I don’t make these up myself), before the snatch of lyric from “Lives in the Balance” floated into my memory unbidden, I was struck as never before by the prevalence of belief in the truth always coming out. Lyric after quote after stanza has it that you can lie and lie and lie, but eventually the truth will always surface, and the liar will be caught.

Is that true? Was it ever true? Perhaps among the congenitally stupid, who labour simultaneously under their guilt and a suspicion that smarter people (which is everybody else) can read minds; I’m reminded of a story which was set in the American southern states, in which the probable perpetrator of some petty crime or other was brought into the rural sheriff’s office for questioning. He was told that he must take a lie-detector test. Accordingly, a metal colander, such as is used for washing salad ingredients, was placed on his head, with wires from it leading to the photocopier. The deputies had put a piece of paper in the copier which read, “He’s Lying!!”, and whenever they asked the suspect a question, they would press the ‘print’ button following the answer, and out would come a paper which averred that the answer was a lie, which they would show to him. Eventually, confronted with his tapestry of falsehoods and under the apprehension that he was being measured by other-worldly technology, he confessed. But the local law enforcement was already well aware that he was guilty – they just wanted a confession.

So, perhaps in circumstances like that, in which the liar is a desperate fool, perhaps then the truth always comes out. But in reality, not only does truth almost never come out, it only does when all possibility of further elaboration on existing lies has been exhausted. But here’s the real kicker – when the truth does come out, we are led by philosophers to believe that evangelical vengeance will be swift to follow. Does that really happen? Perhaps after the liar is dead, he or she goes someplace featuring a dancing-flames motif, where he or she is prodded the livelong day by imps with little pitchforks. But that sort of forestalls the satisfaction of justice done in the here and now – punishment delayed is punishment denied, am I right?

Look at the case, frequently discussed here, of British intelligence services and the fake rock, which had the guts of a Blackberry cellular telephone inside it, in Moscow. This ‘rock’ was strategically situated so that intelligence assets (you only call them ‘traitors’ if they are western citizens; Russians who betray their country are dissident heroes) could stroll past and flip messages to the rock, and every so often, British intelligence services could remotely extract it; the ‘rock’ only had to be touched to charge the batteries.

But that was six years after the fact. For six years the British stonewalled and denied, and acted hurt that anyone would believe such an obvious Russian-bullshit story; the Foreign Office scornfully retorted, “We are concerned and surprised at these allegations. We reject any allegation of improper conduct in our dealing with Russian NGO’s.” So receiving surreptitious messages through a styrofoam rock is just the above-board, in-plain-sight honest dialogue in which foreign embassies everywhere engage; why the outrage? And when Britain finally admitted what had been going on, minus all the holier-than-thou gilding of trying to build a better world with Russia through an active and engaged civil society…absolutely nothing was done. Not only does the truth not necessarily ever come out – Tony Blair, for example, has never to the best of my knowledge admitted to having lied to influence public opinion in the UK in favour of committing with its partner, the United States, to the Iraq War, which was such a smorgasbord of lies that the weapons-of-mass-destruction whopper was only the biggest. Iraq was wrecked, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and the liars were never punished, nor ever in fact admitted their guilt. In cases where the guilty must begrudgingly admit they lied, nobody does anything about it, the firebolts of celestial retribution never appear, and the liars go on to lie some more with increased confidence. An eager and gullible audience is always ready to swallow some more horseshit.

Like now, with the Skripal case. We are supposed to believe mysterious Russian assassins daubed Novichok nerve agent on the Skripals’ front doorknob, which transferred to their hands, and then they drove downtown, enjoyed a good meal in a restaurant, and then started feeling poorly, and collapsed on a public bench, victims of a nerve agent much more toxic than VX. Five to eight times, says FOX News. Ten times more deadly than its better-known predecessors, says Anne Applebaum. But the Skripals did not die. They were carefully shielded and monitored by the British security services so that they could not be questioned by the public, but they did not die.

And that’s possible – in the case of a mild dose of, say, VX (much less deadly than Novichok, remember), as a liquid through a skin-contact vector, it might take up to two hours for symptoms (local sweating and muscular twitching) to appear, according to the US Army’s Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command Chemical Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Reigle Report. The trouble with that scenario as applied to the Skripals is that the duration of those effects would be about 3 days for a mild exposure, and 5 days for a severe exposure. The Skripals showed no such effects; they ate dinner in what must have been to all appearances a normal fashion, and then collapsed unconscious on a bench outside. Some accounts suggested they had a quantity of foam around their mouths, which might result from salivation. At least one report says Yulia Skripal had vomited. No reports mentioned excessive sweating and muscular twitching, both of which are hallmarks of nerve-agent poisoning via liquid (as opposed to gas) exposure through the skin.

There are a couple of other problems with the British approach. We’ve all seen the pictures of the chemical-warfare types in their green dung-beetle suits, meticulously taking samples, while unprotected firemen in simple turnout gear with no masks or breathing apparatus stood just a couple of feet away. VX as a liquid could become a gas, but it’d have to be pretty hot. If that happened, it would not be persistent beyond a couple of hours. VX as a liquid, under very cold conditions, can actually persist for a couple of months. Quite a bit colder than it typically is in even England, though, in spring and summer. Daily averages for Salisbury, UK in March are above freezing, an average of about 45F, and it customarily gets much warmer going into summer. So you can’t have it both ways – if it’s a liquid, it’s more persistent in its toxicity over time, but that effect is greatly attenuated by temperature. If it’s a gas, breathing apparatus for anyone who might be exposed is an absolute rule.

Another discrepancy came up, in a timeline of the Skripals’ movements. They left the father’s home at some time close to but prior to 1:30 PM, and drove into town. This, it is estimated, would take about 10 to 15 minutes. They are observed by CCTV entering a multi-story car park in Salisbury at around 1:32 PM. Here one of the Skripals – both of whom apparently touched the front doorknob on the way out, the second one perhaps just for luck – then touched the ticket machine with their bare hand. This machine remained unchecked for 8 days after the event. How many other people touched it between that time and the time anyone checked it for toxicity? Yet nobody else showed any symptoms.

It was an extremely oddball event, which continues to inspire skeptical questions and scornful refutations. But I don’t want to get too bogged-down in the Skripal affair – instead, I want to focus a bit on the more recent incident, the ‘poisoning’ of Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley, in nearby Amesbury. This incident, also, has featured a wildly-improbable British-government narrative and skeptical questioning, and one of the foremost skeptical questions has been “How the hell could a nerve agent that did not kill the people who were its targets accidentally kill a chance victim four months later?”

Enter, stage left, the American Chemical Weapons Expert, who announces that Novichok was specially engineered to remain persistent over a long time. So that it could, you know, kill incidental victims months later and further incriminate the country where it is supposed to have originated. That’s why it is the go-to poison for Russian assassins. It might not kill the people you wanted to kill, but it could kill someone totally unrelated, months later. True story.

There are a few things you should know about the expert quoted, Dan Kaszeta. One, he’s the Managing Director of Strongpoint Security (it seems like all the UK’s go-to commentators are executives in the security industry, like FireEye or Crowdstrike). Sounding off in the media, taking a position which unreservedly supports the government narrative – no matter how nutty it is – is a good way to get noticed in the security business, and Strongpoint is a fairly new operation. Two, he’s the resident CBRN expert at Bellingcat. Three, he is not a Trump fan, broadcasting for his anti-Trump audience how the President of the United States’ motorcade and security detail might be confused, frustrated and sidetracked so that he would get the message he was not welcome. I can hardly fault Kaszeta for that, since Trump is over-the-top unpopular just about everywhere he goes, but it’s a little unusual to see a former White-House consultant handing out advice on how to screw up a White House visit.

Four, he is a much bigger noise on the CBRN front than you might have imagined if you’ve never heard of him before, confidently chatting up the wide-eyed press corps on all things chemical-warfare. And always supporting the UK government’s contention that Novichok was always Russian, only Russian, and that it could not have been anyone else. Here he is, letting the WBUR Boston audience know in no uncertain terms, “I don’t know anybody who knows how to make it except these guys in Russia. They’ve been a deep, dark secret.” But their purported engineer, Vil Marzayanov, claimed their precursors were ordinary organophosphates which are commercially available; “One should be mindful that the chemical components or precursors of A-232 and its binary version novichok-5 are ordinary organophosphates that can be made at commercial chemical companies that manufacture fertilizers and pesticides [nerve agents, after all, arose from research into pesticides and are really advanced versions of pesticides]. In my opinion, this research program was premised on the ability to hide the production of precursor chemicals under the guise of legitimate commercial chemical production of agricultural chemicals. And if America was concerned that its manufacture was devious and covert, it is kind of difficult to imagine why an American publisher published a book which featured the formula for making it, courtesy of Marzayanov, and which anyone can obtain for around $30.00. Is that how you keep something a deep, dark secret? And obviously the Defense Research establishment at Porton Down, only a couple of miles from the site of the Salisbury poisoning, had samples of Novichok, since they were able to identify it in a couple of hours. It’s beginning to shape up like the worst-kept deep dark secret in the world.

According to Dan, the Soviets wanted to engineer chemical agents that NATO equipment could not detect. Gosh! Those tricky sons of bitches. So then they engineered it to be extra-persistent, so it would stay around for months, just to make it fair, so NATO could have lots of time to take more samples. The thing is, the whole raison d’etre of a nerve agent is that it be non-persistent; you want it to rapidly and efficiently kill off the enemy, but you want to move your own troops into that same area in a matter of days, to consolidate your gains and establish your own military presence. Months just doesn’t cut it.

Asked why an assassin would use such a distinctive agent, pointing straight back at his own country, Dan suggests that given the historic secrecy of the project, someone might have reasoned that it would go undetected. Uh huh; sure – the Stimson Report came out in 1995. And the agent used is ‘specially engineered to remain a toxic menace for months’.

Here’s Dan again, backstopping the White House’s assertion that only Assad could have been behind an alleged sarin gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun; the Russian version, he says, is “highly implausible”. “Nerve agents are the result of a very expensive, exotic, industrial chemical process — these are not something you just whip up.” Oh, dear – put John Gilbert, senior science fellow at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, in the “Disagree” column: he says all you would need to make sarin is about a 200 square-foot room and a competent chemist.

Two other attributes compound sarin’s insidiousness. First, it’s not especially hard to produce, in terms of both resources and expertise. “A competent chemist could make it, and possibly very quickly, in a matter of days,” says John Gilbert, a senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, who spent much of his Air Force career assessing countries’ WMD capabilities. Producing sarin doesn’t require any kind of massive facility; a roughly 200 square foot room would do.

According to Dan – yet again, this time in the Los Angeles Times – one form of Novichok is as a solid at normal temperatures, and it might have been deployed as a dust or powder. Uh huh, might have been. But (a) that would have been the least-persistent method except for as a gas, it would never have lasted four months outside, through rain, and (b) not even a rummy like Charles Rowley would have tried to pawn off a bottle of dust to his girlfriend as perfume.

Because here we are again, at another ‘Novichok’ poisoning, and Dan helpfully dispels the myth that Novichok would not still be around and deadly after four months, by announcing the Soviets specially engineered it to do just that. And not only that – they made it especially for contaminating large areas of land, such as ports, and equipment, like tanks, so that they would be dangerous for months. That was supposedly ‘the idea’ when they were developed.

Horseshit. Nerve agents are most effective against unprotected troops in the open, and if you want to contaminate an area the size of a port, the only possible way you could do it would be with a spray – the least persistent form of all. All organophospate-based nerve agents can be effectively dealt with – before unprotected personnel are exposed – by spraying and washing contaminated areas with water; moisture makes them break down quickly. Nobody has engineered a miracle waterproof organophosphate nerve agent. Once nerve agents are known to have been used, troops in the field are in TOPP (Threat-Oriented Protective Posture) Medium at least, in full chem suits with breathing apparatus available for rapid donning. Nerve agents were not developed as a weapon of covert assassination, although they have definitely been used in that role; they were developed as a weapon of mass destruction to be used against a military adversary who presumably is trained in CBRN countermeasures. They were not developed to spray tanks, in the hope that some mook would put his bare hand on it two months later, and fall over jerking and drooling. How the fuck would you disperse enough nerve agent to contaminate an airfield? Fly over with a water-bomber and drench it from end to end? You don’t think that might offer a bit of a clue? If you want to disperse a large amount of nerve agent, it will have to be vaporized, and it will have to be carried in the dispersal vehicle as a liquid. Liquids are heavy – the more you want to disperse, the bigger your dispersal vehicle will have to be. The Soviet Union developed gas warheads, to be used on a ballistic missile, but if you can land a gas warhead next to an airfield you might as well go the whole nine yards and blow it up, because a warhead that lies there hissing and dispersing a cloud of vapour is kind of a giveaway. Unless, of course, you only want to kill the military personnel in the area, and not damage the airfield, so you can quickly take it over and deploy your own aircraft from it. In which instance you would have been pretty stupid to envelope it in a toxic nerve agent that is still going to be active next spring. And the whole idea of a nerve agent is to deploy a small amount of it, using an unobtrusive dispersal vehicle, so as not to call attention to it until personnel in the target area are affected.

It’s nice of Dan to try and fill in the blanks the way he did, but there are just too many blanks. The latest story from HM government is that a perfume bottle was found in Charles Rowley’s home, and tests revealed – surprise! – that it contained Novichok. The story is that Rowley found it in Queen Elizabeth Park. Somehow, Dawn Sturgess is supposed to have sprayed the contents of the bottle on her wrists and face, like perfume. Oops! now it’s an aerosol, the fastest-acting form of nerve agent, and she probably would have been affected in minutes at most, not hours. But she was not at Rowley’s home, where the bottle was supposedly discovered. So he either took the bottle with him to meet her, and after noticing her exhibiting symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning, took the bottle home with him and put it in his house, or they were both affected at roughly the same time, and somebody thoughtfully posted the bottle to his home address. If she was poisoned at his house, she would not likely have made it out.; remember, it was dispersed as a vapor. So there is a question as to how the bottle got there, and another as to how it laid there in the park for nearly four months, until Rowley discovered it. And how it remained powerful enough to kill after all that time, when the fresh-off-the-shelf Novichok, four months previously, failed to kill the Skripals. Not to mention how it got there in the first place – are we supposed to believe that highly-trained assassins straight from the Kremlin did the Skripal job, and then tossed away their backup supply in a local park?

Perhaps of greatest concern, if chemical-weapons professionals were aware that Novichok could persist in deadly concentrations for months – that it was specially engineered to be not only virtually undetectable by NATO sensors, but to remain deadly through the deleterious effects of the elements…why did they say nothing when the dozy police assured the public that it was in absolutely no danger?




969 thoughts on “When Your Story Implodes, Call Me – I’m an American Chemical Weapons Expert!

  1. Sky Nudes: Police seek van driver over murder of Russian national

    Nikolay Glushkov was found to have died from compression to the neck at his home in New Malden.

    …However his death, which was found to have been caused by compression to the neck, was not linked with the attempted murders in Salisbury.

    According to Sky sources, he was found hanged, perhaps as an attempt to make the 68-year-old’s death look like suicide.

    Police have now collected more than 280 witness statements and 1,086 exhibits, but are looking to trace the driver of a black van spotted on CCTV on the evening of 11 March…

    …He was arrested in 1999 and put on trial for allegedly embezzling $7m (£5m) from Aeroflot, and sentenced in 2004 to three years, three months in prison….

    …But his case was revived by a Moscow court last year, which sentenced him in absentia to eight years for allegedly stealing more than $122m (£88m) from Aeroflot.

    The Russian embassy said it had sought Mr Glushkov’s extradition in 2015 “for committing a number of severe financial offences on the territory of Russia”, but the British government refused.

    UK We luv scum!

    The thieving scumbag gets political asylum but on the other hand UK gov doesn’t want dodgy wide Russian geezers messing up their nice, cuddly and clean city of London Laundering Service coz they might be useful in case it’s decidedly unlikely wet dream of there being a en-couleur revolution in Russia occurs and they need to parachute in reliable Russian nationals. F***ing schizoid UK gov.


  2. As might have been easily foreseen, Washington sanctions against Turkey have resulted in a move away from the US dollar by Erdogan, something which is cautiously endorsed by Russia.


    1. One of the comments to the article received 14 likes:
      Is this Jessie parrot Skripal’s?

      No wonder the bird didn’t like the firefighter – she thought the guy was going to daub some Novichok onto her beak.


      1. I thought the story was funny, until I started reading some of the comments, pointing out how cramped the poor bird is in that tiny cage.
        It’s too bad the parrot had to give up its rebellion and return to its prison, I reckon it doesn’t know how to survive on its own.


  3. Antiwar.com: Russia Regrets US Decision to Suspend Open Skies Treaty

    A little discussed portion of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the $716 billion US military spending bill also defunds US participation in Open Skies Treaty. The move was presented as a way to punish Russia….

    …Russian Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov issued a statement of regret on Tuesday over the US suspension of the treaty. Russian MPs suggested this was a prelude to a new arms race, and would lead to a US arms buildup that dishonoring the treaty is meant to hide.

    The language in the NDAA demands an assessment of what Russian surveillance flights over the US are for, and claimed such flights could expose certain American counterintelligence “vulnerabilities.”

    Dumberz ‘n’ dumberz.


    1. But Russia was supposed to believe the huge radar associated with missile defense installations in Poland and Romania can only look in one direction, and is situated only to guard against rogue ballistic missiles from ‘unpredictable Middle Eastern states’ like Iran.


      1. Russia offered to have a jointly operated missile defense with the US but the US turned down the offer. That is all you need to know about US intentions.


  4. Ordinarily I would not even mention commentary by Jennifer Rubin, never mind endorse it, because she is a rightie neoconservative nutjob who thinks America walks on water and can do no wrong – even when things it does turn out wrong and destructive, that does not count because its intentions were so noble that you have to love it even more.

    However, it is precisely because she wants America to shove everyone else’s face in the dirt that this rings true – she is not upset over Trump’s trade war because it hurts other countries in order to cater to Trump’s paranoid fables, but because it is hurting America.


    Alcoa of the USA has asked for an exemption from the tariff on aluminum and steel for Canada’s aluminum producers, because the elevated costs for the USA to produce beverage cans are hurting the bottom line, and Alcoa says it would not be cost-effective to restart idle aluminum smelters in the USA.

    I suppose this is based on an assessment that the whole thing is going to blow over, and when it does Alcoa would be left with up-and-running aluminum smelters, all staffed with workers, which it could not afford to keep running once trade goes back to normal. If it were up to me, I would tell them to go fuck themselves, and stick their exemptions where the sun never shines, but of course Trudeau’s liberals will react positively to such a request if Alcoa prevails and Trump reverses himself. Swallow your pride for the greater good, and all that. It will be far better for Canada in the long run if the trade war endures until the lesson that Canada should never again be so reliant on trade with the United States is firmly ingrained. Canada must invest in logistics that can take its products to other markets, instead of just sticking it in the back of a semi and driving it across the border. It’s easy, yes, but it comes with an inherent risk.

    Rubin’s case also contains what she purports to be facts, which can be verified, although I have not yet done so. The claim that Trump lied about six new steel plants opening appears to be true; at least there are no concrete plans by any American steel company to do anything of the sort at present, never mind US Steel, whose CEO supposedly called Trump with the great news. She also claims that while the tariffs would increase US steel and non-ferrous metals employment by 26,346 new jobs, they would cost 495,136 lost jobs in related sectors for a net loss of nearly 470,000 jobs – 18 for every new job created. Her reference is the Trade Partnership Report, but I don’t know the methodology they use to obtain their figures and have not verified their accuracy.


  5. Say, what ever happened to Elon Musk, owner of the USA’s Great White Hope to replace the Russian RD-180, SpaceX? Ever wonder?

    Well, he is as…umm…eccentric as ever, recently firing off an alarming tweet that he is thinking about taking the company (Tesla, not SpaceX) private at about a third above the current share value, and that he has secured financing. This triggered a wave of unease, and an SEC investigation, which might make you curious whether Musk will ever learn that while his off-the-wall unusual behaviour was once endearing and inspirational, it is now becoming a major liability and perhaps a barometer of his mental stability.

    Here’s an interesting discussion of his financial position, which I hope he reads, since he seems to be completely unaware of the effect of some cataclysmically bad decisions.


    It is looking more and more like all he really knows back-to-front is how to spend gobs of money. People like to let you use their money to do that when they think you might be brilliant, but their reluctance grows exponentially if you are perceived to be crazy.

    The piece ends with an interesting observation; of Tesla’s Board of Directors, nobody is a car, manufacturing, sales or transportation expert.


    1. The car manufacturing industry didn’t arrive at where it is now – with bumps, mistakes, casualties and even flat-out embarrassments like the Ford Edsel along the way – without developing a whole culture of design, testing, manufacturing processes, test-marketing, distribution networks and marketing. Elon Musk’s problem is that he is completely ignorant of the history of car-making – and in effect of manufacturing generally since much manufacturing over the last 100 years has centred around car-making.

      Musk could have consulted with or hired people from Ford or GM, in particular hiring those employees who had ideas about managing those companies or creating new designs and design concepts that had been knocked back by senior execs there because those ideas threatened their (the senior guys, that is) power or level of control they had, but were still viable financially. He should have done something similar to what a former Wall Street hedge fund manager did, when he came to Australia and discovered that Mexican food restaurants here were the pits: he set up a restaurant in Newtown called Guzman y Gomez, hired Mexican chefs to teach local people how to cook Mexican food, and then he hired administrators and managers from McDonald’s, and investors in that company, to help set up the franchise restaurants in other parts of Sydney.

      The interesting thing now is that GYG has franchise restaurants in Singapore and Japan and is looking at opening a franchise in Chicago. All this has been done without spending huge amounts of money on marketing (which is what McDonald’s used to do) and using a strategy of opening stores in specific places (mostly areas that tourists, backpackers and students frequent) and cooking as close to authentic Mexican food as is possible in Australia, given that most ingredients aren’t available here and Australians tend to prefer milder foods.



      1. The problem with Musk and Tesla is too much ambition. The current fiasco has no connection to the previous mode of operation: produce expensive vehicles like Model S. For some reason Musk assumed he could transition to volume manufacturing of cheap(er) sedans without any long term investment. That is why they are building defect ridden crap (punctured batteries, bumpers that fall off 30 minutes after you pick up your car) under a tent in 3rd world unsanitary conditions.

        I guess Musk must be suffering the cliche megalomania disease. All that power went to his head and he can’t think straight. An emperor with no clothes.


        1. I think at least a little of Musk’s problem is that he borrows enormous amounts of money using businesses which are not moneymakers as collateral. I like the Tesla; it seems like a great car, and some people are very keen on it – it also puts the lie to the notion that a car cannot be electric and also be sporty and fast. But Tesla is not profitable, because Musk keeps borrowing more money and plowing it into new ideas.

          But there is probably a lot of the crazy-emperor complex in there as well, and for that you could hardly blame Musk. The American media feted him as some sort of incredible genius and greeted everything that came from his mouth as a pearl of wisdom that the common man is ill-suited to understand. Friends might have reined him in earlier, but he either has none or does not listen to those he has.


          1. I like the Tesla S too. But the Tesla 3 is a catastrophic failure by comparison. This indicates a company going off the rails. As for endless borrowing and red ink status, that is not all that bad. AMD had this pattern for most of its history. But it serves a vital role as Intel’s main competitor and seems to be doing well these days. Musk’s Tesla could have had this debt financing model as long as it produced a viable product. With the Tesla 3 it has destroyed itself since any reputation for quality it had has flown out the window and Tesla cannot even deliver the necessary volumes of the Model 3.


  6. Words can not capture the the sheer stupidity and cruelty of the police in this matter:


    Police in North Georgia tased an 87-year-old grandmother who ventured outside to cut flowers at a Boys and Girls Club.

    Relatives say it’s not uncommon for Martha Al-Bishara to wander from home alone — and that’s what she did Friday afternoon in Chatsworth.

    She crossed the street to the Boys and Girls Club, but an employee there called 911 after seeing Al-Bishara carrying a knife.

    Three Chatsworth officers responded.

    They say they tried to get her to put down the knife several times, but when she did not respond to their commands an officer tased her.

    Her family says she doesn’t speak English and didn’t understand what was going on.

    Relatives say Al-Bishara is recovering. She’s been charged with obstruction of an officer and criminal trespass.”

    They say when she began to walk toward the officer from an elevated position with a knife, the officer used the “most reasonable amount of force that he could at the time.”.

    Three officers responded. They felt threatened by an 87 year old woman? They had no choice but to drop her by taser? Did they consider that such an act could prove fatal to a person of that age? I wonder if they carve notches on taser’s handle?

    I suppose that they had to make a split second decision. Perhaps she was preparing a slashing lunge attack followed by a spin kick to the head. They did not have time to call for backup. They simply had no choice.


    1. Bishara: that’s a Lebanese / Palestinian name. She might have spoken Lebanese or Palestinian-accented Arabic to the police officers, and that must have set them off.


    2. These cops are not men. They are faggots. Since it is not illegal to have a knife on public property, these cops must invoke the perceived threat to the fucktard that called them in the first place. But no real threat existed so the cops, if they were actually civil servants, should have given a ticket to the fucktard caller.


      1. Its even worse than I thought. Here is the spirited defense from the above linked article by the police chief who was one of the three officers involved in this life or death drama:

        “In my opinion,” says police chief Josh Etheridge, one of her assailants, “it was the lowest use of force we could have used to simply stop that threat at the time. An 87-year-old woman with a knife still has the ability to hurt an officer.”

        “”The question’s always going to be why did he (the officer) not retreat,” … The thought behind that would be if the officer had retreated, with her being in an elevated position, he could have easily fell down, at which time she could have been progressing on top of him and deadly force could have been used at that point in time. And that was the whole goal, to try to avoid using any type of force, but if we have to use force, use the minimum force.”

        The Taser’s electric dart pierces her clothing and skin just above her heart, next to a crucifix necklace, and she falls in a heap to the ground. A second dart from the same shot strikes her stomach, a family member says.

        Mrs. Al-Bashara is injured in her fall, sobs when raised to her feet, is cuffed when she is arrested, spends two hours in a police car cage and at the booking desk at the police station, and is hospitalized afterward for her injuries. Police do not bring her any medical treatment.

        That defense confirms these cops were mealy-mouth cowards with guns and tasers.


        1. I wonder if they roared “Get down on the ground!!! Cross your lower legs!! Raise your hands in the air!! Say the 12 times table backwards starting from 10!!” and things like that, as they love to do.

          But the police always err on the side of caution, right? Well, not exactly. Here’s a little blast from the past, in which Gregory Despres – later charged with murder in Canada – was let into the USA at the border although he was carrying a sword, a hatchet, a knife and a chainsaw stained with what appeared to be blood. These were in his truck. But although he was questioned for two hours and the border guards confiscated his weapons, he was allowed to enter the USA. Why? Because ‘being bizarre is not a reason to keep someone out of the USA or to lock them up’. I wish I were kidding.


          “Nobody asked us to detain him,” Anthony said. “Being bizarre is not a reason to keep somebody out of this country or lock them up. … We are governed by laws and regulations, and he did not violate any regulations.”

          So I guess none of the officers felt threatened or in fear for their lives, although I think finding someone who looks more bugshit crazy than Despres in his photo would be a bit of a challenge. I think we need to arrange the transfer of some of those brave men up to Georgia, where they can perhaps deal with octogenarians without getting the vapors because they might fall on them.


  7. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/15/pers-a15.html

    “Trump, the American bully, is attempting to threaten and intimidate every government of the world to bow to the interests of Wall Street and the US-based transnational corporations.

    The past month has seen not only the sanctions that have sunk the Turkish lira, but the imposition of new sanctions against Iran, following the unilateral US abrogation of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with the P5+1—the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany—that have led to severe strains on the Iranian economy. Far more punishing sanctions on Iranian energy exports and banking are set to kick in in November.

    Similarly, sanctions are being imposed on Russia over the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British town of Salisbury. The Russian government of President Vladimir Putin has denied any involvement in the affair, and no substantive evidence has been presented to prove otherwise. As in Iran’s case, Russia faces the prospect of more sanctions being rolled out later this year.

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned last Friday that proposed measures to bar Russian banking operations would “amount to a declaration of economic war” and would merit “a response with economic means, political means and, if necessary, other means.”

    The attack on Turkey is bound up with the increasingly aggressive US measures being taken against Russia and Iran. The Erdogan government’s foreign policy has cut across US geostrategic aims in the Middle East and more broadly in Eurasia.

    In Syria, Ankara has reached an accommodation with both Russia and Iran, allowing it to pursue its interests on its southern border. At the same time, Turkey has come to the verge of military confrontation with the US, which is utilizing as its main proxy ground force the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, an affiliate of the Turkish Kurdish PKK against which Ankara has waged a protracted and bloody counterinsurgency campaign. (CHECK)

    Meanwhile, the Turkish government has unveiled plans to purchase the advanced S-400 missile defense system from Russia that is supposed to be delivered next year and is incompatible with NATO antimissile systems. (CHECK)

    Finally, Ankara has signaled that it has no intention of abiding by the unilateral sanctions being imposed by Washington against Iran, which is a principal source of Turkey’s energy imports. And, as Trump signaled in a recent tweet, “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.” (DOUBLE CHECK)

    (CHECK) …………….LOL!!!!!

    Hmmm…As Turkey and Russia grow into successively closer degrees of strategic alliance ,
    How will NATO warships of Operation Provocation manage to navigate the Bosporous into the Black Sea????


  8. “Lee made waves when she issued a vehement defense of Aaron, calling his critics “sensitive ass mofos.”

    “Neither one of us are racists, we have an Asian & a black guy that live with us! Oh my gosh guys it’s a tattoo he got when he was in prison, get over yourselves. He covers them up all the time & we happen to have a lake day and it makes an appearance. Sensitive ass mofos.”

    Also some of the defenses of Aaron were of the Pit Bull variety:

    “OMG…he is usually the nicest sweetest thing…….I just don’t understand why he jumped into the baby’s stroller and started gnawing on her thigh!!!!!


    Apparently Aaron was at some point a -wait for it-cop!!!!!


    1. The difference in intellect, poise and sincerity between Russian and US diplomatic personnel is breathtaking.


  9. Regarding the “stand your ground” murder in Florida:


    fficials, in court documents, have cited three other drivers who said Michael Drejka threatened them during confrontations that preceded his parking lot run-in with Markeis McGlockton — a case that revived debate over Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law. Two of them said he displayed a gun.

    A black man who drives a septic truck told Pinellas Sheriff’s Detective George Moffett that he parked in the same handicapped-accessible spot three months before McGlockton’s July 19 videotaped shooting, the court documents show. The man said Drejka, 48, began yelling at him and said he would shoot him.

    The driver said he left, but as he pulled away, Drejka shouted racial slurs. The man’s boss told Detective Moffett that Drejka later called, telling him “that he was lucky he didn’t blow his employee’s head off.”

    That guy was looking for an excuse to murder someone; preferably black. 1st or 2nd degree murder charges should be considered given his pattern of behavior.


  10. For anyone still interested in the Skripal poisoning incident, Rob Slane at The Blogmire has a new article where he draws attantion to this paragraph lifted from The Daily Telegraph:

    “Dr Stephen Jukes, intensive care consultant at Salisbury District Hospital, where the Skripals were treated (and where Rowley and Sturgess were taken), has described trying ‘all our therapies’ to keep Sergei and Yulia alive. Due to an astonishing coincidence, two doctors on duty had just returned from a course at Porton Down, Britain’s world-leading equivalent to Shikhany, when the pair were brought in. Recognising what looked like symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning, they made sure to include diazepam and atropine in their battery of treatments — the drugs compensate for some of the effects of acetylcholinesterase blockage — and plunged the Skripals into an artificial coma to prevent brain damage.”

    Astonishing coincidence, that the two doctors were fresh from a training course at Porton Down? Maybe not.

    Elsewhere Slane states that the Skripals, and Julia especially, made rapid recoveries after coming out of their induced comas, and that by the time Theresa May made her statement in Parliament, she may have been aware (or was deliberately left uninformed) that Julia at least was improving and nowhere remotely near pushing up daisies.


    1. The American Expert doesn’t need to have any credentials whatsoever apart from Patriotism. For every Executive Dan there are thousands of ordinary American Dads like Josh Russell here https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/13/politics/dad-hunts-russian-trolls/index.html
      Like Dan, Josh “can’t always be sure of his work” but His Heart Is in the Right Place and this is enough for his Analyses to be accepted by the CNN and other Purveyors of the Truth. “He’ll often squeeze in a few hours before his kids, who are 4 and 11, wake up” to Keep America Safe.


        1. This amateur sleuth is the American Bellingcat! Lemme guess, he doesn’t know a word of Russian…

          Reminds me of an earlier story. After 9/11 there was some American housewife, don’t remember her name, who acquired her 15 minutes of fame on Fox News. Her gig was to troll the world of jihadist sites on the internet.
          To her credit, I seem to recall that she actually attempted to learn Arabic.


      1. The article and the accompanying video didn’t seem completely convincing. The guy seemed too well-spoken and self-assured to be genuine. I’m assuming a real troll hunter with a family that includes a small child wouldn’t reveal his/her face or pose like a prick outside his/her place of residence for fear of being stalked by Putinbots. Plus if he’s holding down a full-time job and spending up to 8 hours a day troll-hunting, what time does he have to work out in the gym to get those muscles?


        1. Every trope needs its heroes to make it seem real. This one is ‘fake news’. Not that there is no such thing as fake news, of course; there is, and like hardcore porn, most of it is made in the United States. But in this version, anything you don’t like the sound of is fake news offered by Putin’s bot army. Yes, Hillary lost the election due to interference, but any stories that say every word printed about her was true are fake news – she didn’t deserve to lose, get it? The election was stolen from her. Most Americans will not like to think about how Russia could pervert the course of American democracy while spending less than $10 million on advertising which does not specifically endorse a candidate, while the candidates themselves spend hundreds of millions and indulge in the wildest negative advertising about their opponent. Somehow, apparently, Putin’s bot army has discovered how to tap into a deep and heretofore undiscovered vein of American discontent that causes them to behave irrationally.

          I guess the solution is for Americans to find a news source they know for sure is not a helpless captive of Putin – like, say, FOX News – and just take all their direction from that. That’s Freedom, by God, and not Freevee like in 1984.


          1. The real solution is for American political candidates to hire the Kremlin to manage their campaigns. Good track record so far, winning major elections on the cheap!


          2. In the case of Russia no proof is ever needed. The alleged $10 million was not spent personally by Putin but some sort of marketing companies. Who owns them and their agenda are relevant. For all we know they are run by Putin hating liberasts who willingly colluded with Hillary to stage these “interferences”. But even the claim of interference is BS. These companies created click bait ads that were both pro-Trump and pro-Hillary. It is shocking to me how intelligent people would believe that this was actual interference and not irrelevant sub background noise activity.

            BTW, it has been demonstrated that Google’s engineering of search query lists (what is returned at the top of the list) exerted vastly more impact on the 2016 election. Basically millions of voters had their votes determined by this trickery (the average voter sure ain’t no researcher).


    2. This story is BS like the rest of this hoax. Neurotoxins are not 100% treatable. There is nerve damage and any military grade toxin such as VX would leave vast amounts of it, regardless of intervention. So the recovery of the Julia proves she was never exposed to a neurotoxin.

      The average media consumer has never done any research on the subject of various subjects that are relevant. They think of treatments in cartoon fashion. Take this magic pill and you are fully cured. No long lasting effects, no lack of cures, etc. A common trope in TV and movies is the magical antibody. You have a horde of zombies (yet more deep insight into disease) and some vaccine is going to cure their disorder. Complete and utter rubbish.

      An example to show what a failure the common perceptions are about disease is Necrotizing Fasciitis. It is not the bacteria (strep B type) that consume the “flesh”. It is a runaway cytokine inflammation induced necrosis of cells on a massive scale. Basically it is a genetic disorder even if bacteria trigger the disease. So how the metabolism responds to a neurotoxin should be considered. In the case of military nerve agents, the design of the toxin is to result in rapid death. This prevents various secondary, metabolism-associated pathologies from manifesting themselves. But in the case of the Skripals, which are pure fiction, we would have all of these secondary pathologies manifesting themselves.


      “Moreover, the effects of nerve agents are very long lasting and cumulative (increased by successive exposures), and survivors of nerve agent poisoning usually suffer chronic neurological damage that can lead to continuing psychiatric effects [109].”


      1. There’s a great exchange in the movie “Wolf” in which the Jack Nicholson character – being given a jab for the animal bite – responds to the doctor’s story about a kid left brain-damaged…
        “But the kid’s okay, right?”
        “Listen. The kid’s brain damaged.”


  11. Neuters: Some Russian ships stop cargoes to Ukraine after tanker detained- sources

    …Russian ships typically carry oil products from Turkmenistan via Russian ports and the Sea of Azov to the Ukrainian ports of Odessa, Kherson and Nikolayev during summer, partly by river.

    They also ship sunflower seed oil from Ukraine, and those operations have also been suspended, according to the sources.

    “No one wants their ship to get stuck (in Ukrainian waters) with a cargo, which had been paid for,” another source at a Russian shipping company said…

    Not new, but a little more detail.

    Cutting one’s nose off to spite…


  12. Sad news just in for music and sports fans:
    – Aretha Franklin has died at age 76 years in Detroit from pancreatic cancer (of the same type that killed Steve Jobs apparently – but different from the more aggressive form that killed Patrick Swayze)

    – Elena Shushunova, Olympic women’s gymnastics champion in 1988, 1985 World champion (with Oksana Omelianchik) and 1986 World Cup winner, has died suddenly aged 49 years from complications arising from pneumonia – news articles don’t say where she was at the time but I presume she was in St Petersburg where she has lived all her life

    I remember seeing Shushunova performing at a gymnastics exhibition in Homebush (Sydney) way back in 1987. She was famous in those days for her power tumbling skills on the floor exercise which included the Thomas front roll somersault. Named after Kurt Thomas, this move is now banned in women’s gymnastics because of the potential neck injury and quadriplegia risk.

    RIP Franklin and Shushunova


  13. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/16/pers-a16.html

    “But to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world’s leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare. This global trade war is spearheaded by the Trump White House, which sees trade sanctions and tariffs, such as the onslaught it launched against Turkey, as an integral component of its drive to secure the United States’ geopolitical and economic interests at the expense of friend and foe alike.

    The character of world economy has undergone a major transformation in the past decade in which economic growth, to the extent it that it occurs, is not driven by the development of production and new investments but by the flow of money from one source of speculative and parasitic activity to the next.”

    “But while they are deeply divided as to their economic and geo-political objectives, the capitalist ruling classes are united on one essential question. However the next stage of the ongoing breakdown of world capitalism proceeds, they will all strive by whatever means considered necessary to make the working class the world over pay for it.

    This is the lesson from the past decade which, in every country, has seen a deepening attack on wages, social conditions and living standards as wealth is redistributed up the income scale, raising social inequality to unprecedented heights.

    In 2008, capitalist governments around the world, above all in the US, derived enormous benefit from the decades-long suppression of the class struggle by the trade unions and the parties of the political establishment. The rescue operation they carried out on behalf of parasitic and criminal finance capital would not have been possible without it.”



  14. “TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian and Syrian forces are making final coordination on a major offensive against terrorists in Idlib, the Russia-run Sputnik news agency reported on Wednesday.

    The Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted a military source as saying that the Russian and Syrian armies have been coordinating to launch the long-waited assault in Idlib, adding that a vast joint reconnaissance operation has been underway by Russian and Syrian experts in the last few days as the zero hour is arriving for the operation in Northwestern Syria.”



  15. China’s Ukrainian jet engines

    As part of its carrier operations, [China] state media announced on Tuesday the roll out of a new jet trainer, the JL-10, that Chinese officials say will be used by People’s Liberation Army navy pilots to train in the challenging task of aircraft carrier landings.

    The official China Daily newspaper conveniently omitted in its report on the first 12 JL-10s that the trainer is powered by Ukrainian jet engines. The supersonic trainer is also known as the L-15 …

    Critics say the Trump administration should pressure Ukraine to halt the engine sales along with other military transfers to China.

    Well, when you got no dough, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do .. and bite the hand that feeds him!

    Triplett, “China expert” and former counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee mentioned in the above linked Washington Times article, is quoted in a comment to an RIA article about the Ukrainian jet engines for Chinese warplanes as saying: “In fact, Ukrainians are taking American taxpayers’ money, and at the same time are stabbing the United States Navy in the back”.

    The RIA commenter continues:

    The vile and treacherous Ukrainians HAVE STABBED THE US NAVY IN THE BACK (sold engines to China)! And this after all the good things that Americans have done for their brother Ukrainians (overthrown the government, destroyed the economy, staged a bloody civil war)!

    And the money that they take is American taxpayers’ money.

    This year, the Ukraine Prime Minister Groisman said that the external debt is 83% of the GDP. And by the end of the year, having been pressurized by the IMF, it will reach 90%. In order to service its external debts, the Ukraine spends $4.8 billion a year.

    This is real slavery — only a new, improved version of it. From the 17th to the 19 centuries, slavery in [the North American British colonies and then — ME] the United States had a number of serious deficiencies: slaves had to be brought all the way from Africa; slaves were not extremely industrious; Americans themselves had to live amongst the slaves; and, most unpleasantly, all this led to civil war in the United States.

    In this version of 21st century slavery, all these disadvantages have been eliminated! Slaves stay in their homecountry: there is no need to bring them from there, no need to live amongst them and to feed them! Slaves are forced to work hard in the hope of paying off their debt, so they are motivated and hardworking. And most importantly, no civil war… in the USA!

    Draw your own conclusions.


  16. My latest post :
    CyberBerkut leaked a plot to poison the water supply of Donbass, using radioactive waste.
    The alleged perps are Blackwater and a Ukrainian special unit.
    By exposing the plot, CyberBerkut hopes to avert it in advance.
    Heather Nauert at the State Dept already had her tweets ready, to blame the Russians.
    Americans have been hinting of some imminent ecological catastrophe in Donbass. Uncanny, almost like they knew in advance what was going to happen – gasp!
    But now it won’t happen, hopefully.


    1. Nice work, Yalensis – this plot sounds genuine, even if it is a little dramatic, and they seem to have all their ducks in a row where evidence is concerned. It should be possible to match up the names with serving US personnel, although that is not proof in and of itself.


    2. Thanks, Mark, I will have a continuation tomorrow, still working through the original material on CyberBerkut.
      The plot does seem like a sensationalistic Hollywood movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real.
      I mean, like, who could have ever written such an evil scenario like Beslan, and yet it actually happened.
      I wouldn’t put anything past the bad guys, nowadays. They are so over the top. And one could also theorize, that the bad guys watch these Hollywood movies about over-the-top evil-doers, and get some ideas from that.


  17. Euractiv with AFP: Ukrainian rights activist claims Poland banned her from Schengen zone

    Lyudmyla Kozlovska, the president of the Warsaw-based human rights organisation Open Dialog, said she was stopped by Belgian border guards when she arrived in Brussels late Monday (13 August).

    Kozlovska said the guards told her she had been put on a list of people to be deported from the Schengen zone…

    …The guards informed that her name was on the highest alert level in the Schengen Information System (SIS), she said.

    She was then put on a flight to Ukraine’s capital Kiev, where she remains….

    …“I don’t know what I did wrong… We thought Poland wouldn’t do this… but we expected it,” Kozlovska told AFP in Kiev.

    She is married to Bartosz Kramek, a Polish opposition activist who has repeatedly spoken out against the country’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government…


    It seems like every western institution, one by one, is being dragged in to dirty national politics because they can. It looks like the west is intent on destroying itself under dire threat from Russia!


  18. Interesting observations by Rogozin:


    While Moscow is looking into adding reusable elements to the Soyuz-5 to further lower launch costs, reusability is not a universal solution to achieve this goal, Rogozin believes. Musk’s SpaceX, which is currently the only company to have launched reusable rockets commercially, manages to cut the costs by other means, the Russian space boss pointed out.

    “Musk’s advantage is not the reusability but that the US government gives him opportunities for dumping [prices] on the market. Musk sells his launches twofold to the Pentagon, covering his losses on the commercial market and killing competitors, who lack such a generous state behind them,” Rogozin said.

    Due to its geography, Russia is largely unable to make Falcon-style reusable boosters that would make vertical powered descent to a movable platform at sea, and so it has to follow an alternate path sticking to horizontal landings or relying on parachutes, he said.

    “Given our geographical position we lack such capabilities. We cannot bring sea platforms to the Altai mountains or to permafrost plains of Yakutia,” Rogozin said. “Regarding the means to return stages, it can be made ‘plane-style’ or with a parachute system.”

    SpaceX was indeed being awarded very pricey contracts by the US government under the cover of special payload handling IIRC. This had the appearance of a back-door subsidy with the major victim being Russian launch services. Given the fundamental cost and technical advantages in Russian systems, SpaceX can not sustain its position without such subsidies.

    Russia does seem to be hurting itself in that it has several major heavy-super heavy launch vehicles under concurrent development. The reason given was to ensure continuous capability in the event that one system was grounded for whatever reason. However, it would seem that one of the projects should receive priority with an alternate system to follow; perhaps learning lessons from the first implementation. In other words, a consolidation of resources as done in other strategic industries would make sense.


    1. I am not sure what you mean by several heavy major redundant designs. The Angara has officially replaced the Proton since the Proton has stopped new production and existing products in the pipeline and contract commitments will cease by 2023. The Soyuz 5 (note that there is a lot of confusion about the name and what rocket system it applies to) is an SHLV design based on modules that will replace the Zenit rocket. Each module will use the 4-nozzle RD-171M rocket engine (the RD-180 is a 2-nozzle variant). This SHLV will be ready by 2027-30. The Angara cannot be scaled up like Soyuz 5, so I do not see what overlap there is.


      1. Yes, some of the proposed versions did not progress beyond preliminary designs. However, there are efforts to keep the Proton in production by reducing the number of stages and extending the length of the fuel tanks. These modifications would significantly reduce the cost of manufacture. The Angara family, I believe, was to replace the Proton and the Angara 7 could be a super-heavy launcher. However, the Angara 7 seems to be no longer under consideration. So, the future status of the Proton is not clear.

        There was also plans to develop a methane engine to help make the them more easily reusable (elimination of soot/coke). But, that seems to have been shelved.

        Yes, the Soyuz 5 is based on the RD-171 engine (a variant of the RD-170 used in the Zenit). Five (5) Soyuz 5 first stages clustered together seems to be the final selection of the first stage of the super-heavy rocket. There were other new Soyuz variants that seemed to overlap the Angara series. There is wisdom in having two different launch systems to provide backup capability. In any event, it appears that the development paths have been finalized.


        1. The Angara 7 would have a maximum payload of 35 tons to LEO. Futzing with hydrogen powered upper stages would boost this to over 40 tons. But this is nowhere near the 120 tons for a similar configuration based on the Soyuz 5. Khrunichev is wasting people’s time and money with their futzing around with the Proton. There is no need for this revision and I have not heard any approval forthcoming for it.

          According to Rogozin development work on a methane engine is ongoing. I think that the Soyuz 2 will be replaced by a new design incorporating these engines. That is a legitimate upgrade path to the primary people transporter into space. None of the Angara variants will be man rated.


  19. https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/mars-2024-elon-musk

    “Musk is obviously confident that terraforming the inhospitable non-atmosphere of Mars will be possible even when scientists think otherwise. Studies have shown that there is not enough hidden water on the Martian surface to separate CO2 from and cause the greenhouse effect that would terraform the otherwise barren, freezing planet, but Musk believes we can just nuke the polar ice caps.”

    Really!!!!! Exactly how would the “nuking” be carried out???


      1. It sounds a bit suspect…. But since you are on board with it just ride down waving your ten galllon…Yee Haw!


        1. As I recall, the United States once conducted a study into the feasibility of using nuclear explosions for mining and fracturing oil-bearing shale. Not so long ago, either; late 60’s.


          The US government sees nothing particularly fearsome about nuclear explosions, and considers them totally under their control, just another tool in the toolbox. So if Musk says some nutty things, he’s merely a product of his time.


          1. America is afflicted by the liar disease. An nuclear contamination of the ground waters will be fobbed off as not important. Current fracking operations ware being greenlighted because the toxic stew of fracking chemicals (designed to reduce the pressure required to fracture the rock) are assumed to not contaminate the ground water. This notion is based on chutzpah and not science.


            1. Nuclear energy to deliver power is quite safe so long as the protocols are observed and you don’t have simple-minded idiots trying to run the reactor in hand control with all the safeties bypassed or something loony like that. But at one time the USA was so high on nuclear energy that it envisioned all manner of roles for it, of which mining to extract minerals and hydrocarbons was only one.


              1. Both the US and the Soviet Union experimented with nuclear explosives for various civil projects and enhanced oil/gas recovery. It seemed like a reasonable path to take given the power of these explosives. The US was first to try and the first to stop. The SU, according to Wikipedia, conducted 200+ such tests and had, to me, encouraging results. If Wikipedia is to believed, they also had an unacceptably large radiation release in one test (as did the US). In any event, the final test ban treaty barred even peaceful tests. I suppose a renegade wannabe nuclear state could have otherwise claim that they were testing a peaceful application when in fact it was simply a weapons test.



                1. For some reason both the US and the USSR had a ridiculously naive view of nuclear radiation. I guess it is the typical engineer mentality: look at the leading order benefits and don’t fuss too much about second order side effects. You can see this thinking in the various elevated highways in the US and Canada. Not only are they an eyesore, they help spread heart disease more effectively by increased dispersion of ultrafine aerosol (carbon-metal particulates from cars and trucks).

                  I can’t see the use of nuclear mining unless we are dealing with open pit type mining. There is simply no fine control over nuclear energy needed for deep tunnel mining. So contamination of the surface is a guarantee. And I wouldn’t want to work in a contaminated subsurface mine either.


      1. Musk seems to be melting down. The guy is under huge pressure, mostly created by his own actions:


        In what Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas called the “most unusual call I have experienced in 20 years on the sell-side,” Musk continually dodged tough questions and berated analysts for asking in the first place. When Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein asked whether Tesla could reach its 25 percent gross margin target on the Model 3, Musk got defensive: “Yeah, but we’re talking about a 3 percent to 5 percent difference, and that’s something that we’ll solve like within three months to six months later,” he said. “So don’t make a federal case out of it.” When Sacconaghi pressed Musk again about capital requirements, Musk brushed him off altogether. “Excuse me. Next. Next,” he said. “Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next?” When Joe Spak from RBC Capital Markets asked about how many Model 3 reservation holders were setting up their cars when invited to do so, Musk waved him along, too. “Sorry,” Musk said, “these questions are so dry. They’re killing me.”

        He acknowledged taking pills due to sleep issues as an explanation for his behavior. Everything is fine now:)

        Musk has done some visionary things but he may have leapt off the cliff. The Mars dream was a great PR stunt to keep people’s focus on something far in the future rather than paying attention to the problems he is having now.

        FWIW, I did ride in a Tesla. It is clearly a very fast and quiet car with a lot of cool features (better have given its price). However, the reliance on a large touch screen for virtually every control is not a good idea as it requires way too much visual attention to use. If I buy an electric car, it will be either a Japanese or a big-three model – less expensive and likely free from distracting bells and whistles.


        1. An article in today’s paper speculated that Tesla might be looking at replacing Musk as CEO, and he has apparently acknowledged having some issues with stress; he rarely sleeps, and must be tremendously fatigued. He definitely needs a rest, and perhaps a competent number two could take over for a month or so while he recovers. The problem is that the company can’t afford to relax – every delay is hurting customer confidence.


  20. With much joviality and humour, Ukraine prepares to sever all remaining public-transit links with Russia. I suppose there are still roads, and if you have a car and can afford gas, you can still drive there.


    This, according to the transport minister, is ‘like the good old days’. I’ll tell you something else that’s like the good old days, Mr. Minister – the living wage in Ukraine.

    And yet Ukraine still seems to think Europe must force Russia to continue transiting Russian gas through Ukraine, and paying Kuh-yiv for the privilege.


      1. Huh; I either forgot that, or slept through it. I don’t remember it at all. Some of the resources he’s written for before could have been said to be maybe a little biased, but Meduza is out-and-out make it up, like Debka.


  21. Financial Crimes: Gas turbine competition heats up

    GE and Siemens lose market share in battle with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems

    Ed Crooks in New York August 16, 2018

    …GE has for decades been the market leader, but this year MHPS, which is 65 per cent owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 35 per cent by Hitachi, has been having a run of success, reporting a 40 per cent market share in the first six months of 2018.

    The flow of orders for large gas turbines happens in spurts, so not too much should be read into half a year of data. MHPS’s numbers were boosted by one large contract success in Thailand, announced in February. Rob McKeel, chief marketing officer of GE’s power equipment division, told the Financial Times he still expected his company to end up with about 40 per cent of the market this year. But MHPS is still set to surpass by some distance the 11 per cent market share it reported for 2017, even if it does not sell another turbine for the rest of the year….

    …Siemens has signed a memorandum of understanding on technology co-operation in large gas turbines with China’s State Power Investment Corporation. Joe Kaeser, Siemens’ chief executive, predicted that “whoever is going to do that is going to set the standard for gas turbines in China”…

    …Finding flexibility in ‘age of intermittency’

    As falling costs make solar and wind power more competitive options for electricity generation, the best hope for gas-fired power increasingly looks likely to be backing up those variable sources when night falls or the wind drops. That means turbines must be able to adjust quickly and efficiently to balance supply and demand on the grid as conditions change, writes Ed Crooks.

    As Ira Joseph of S&P Global Platts Analytics put it: “Operating flexibility is everything in the age of intermittency.”…

    More at the link, but the comments are particularly interesting.

    That China has a deal with Siemens could add another arrow to Russia’s quiver in servicing its current Siemens turbines (sic the Crimea episode) so Siemens pater can toe the EU line but have no weight, German government or otherwise to impel the Chinese to follow through.

    Either way, the shift from West to East is clearly apparent here, the latter maybe not so easily intimidated by declining powers of the former.


  22. Al Jazeera English
    Published on 15 Aug 2018
    Last November, the Russian government-sponsored news outlets, RT and Sputnik News, registered as foreign agents in the US at the orders of the Department of Justice. Soon after, a congressional committee stripped them of their accreditation to report from the US Congress.


    1. Because transparently biased private media companies are somehow better than state sponsored ones. That is the Pavlovian reflex that has been conditioned into western media consumer sheep for decades if not centuries.

      If one stops and thinks about it, private companies are actually freer to engage in propaganda than state sponsored ones. Russia is a democracy (yes indeed, by US and EU standards) and would want its sponsored media to spread a moderate message that counterbalances the cheesy hate propaganda spewed by the “free” corporate media and NATzO state sponsored media. The key here is the sponsoring of an alternative voice that provides actual information and not just spin. Clearly RT was not just spewing spin and doing a good job debunking NATzO BS. That is not acceptable to the de facto totalitarian west.


      1. I always found the concept that private/corporate controlled media was inherently freer than a government sponsored media as patently ridiculous.

        Considering that the government nominally is controlled by the citizens while corporate media is controlled by its owners should be sufficient in itself to show which type of ownership best serves the interest of the citizens.

        The argument that private media is a competition to who can best tell the truth is simply contrary to every business instinct. Information is power and that information is to be controlled, distorted, fabricated, etc. as needed to advance certain, private, interests. The internet has thrown a shoe into the media machinery by establishing alternate information channels.

        As for RT, I find them fairly unbiased, their biggest sin is to simply report news that is studiously ignored by the MSM.


        1. What is annoying about western media consumer sheep is that they are willfully blind and not just ignorant or brainwashed. As with Randolph Hearst and Rupert Murdoch it is patently clear that the owner dictates the tone of the whole organization. This is a trivial consequence of the pyramid structure of organizations: the top boss chooses all the lower bosses down to the workers. Sure there is some offloading of decision making, but you do not see leftist media being owned by rightist owners. A corporation is a dictatorship and not some grass roots democracy. The workers (journalists) are hired and fired and do not run a collective which elects their administration.


    1. The funniest part, if there can be said to be a funny part, is the suggestion by Johnstone’s original antagonist that the family of John McCain (who can’t die fast enough to suit me, either) should ‘sue her for libel’. What??? Does she not understand what libel is?

      Let me help.

      In general, there are four defenses to libel or slander: truth, consent, accident, and privilege. The fact that the allegedly defamatory communication is essentially true is usually an absolute defense; the defendant need not verify every detail of the communication, as long as its substance can be established. If the plaintiff consented to publication of the defamatory material, recovery is barred. Accidental publication of a defamatory statement does not constitute publication. Privilege confers Immunity on a small number of defendants who are directly involved in the furtherance of the public’s business—for example, attorneys, judges, jurors, and witnesses whose statements are protected on public policy grounds.


    1. Mark: cartman is absolutely right. His comment reminded me that it is time to backup my own site offline, as I pessimistically expect it to be taken down any day now. What with, as Peter Lavelle called it, I believe, the merger of the U.S. Security State with Silicon Valley!

      There are different ways to do a backup, and I am too lazy to do a proper one, using FTP, etc. Besides, the source text is sort of intertwined with the WordPress app, so good luck untangling it.
      But I just did the Poor Man’s backup (into .XML), using free WordPress utilities, and it’s fairly easy.
      The result is not great, but at least your priceless pearls of verbal wisdom get saved into some form of text that could later be parsed from the .XML text files, if needed, and you wanted to recreate your posts on a different server. Then at the very least you have the raw text of the posts and the comments.

      Here’s what to do: Go into WordPress Administration/ Tools/ Export.
      “Choose what to export:” select “All Content”. Then push the button “Download export file”. Pick some folder on your own computer’s hard drive. For example I created a folder in “My Documents” called “WordPress Backup”. Or whatever.
      After you click “Export” WordPress tells you it will send you an email when the download is complete.
      Then you have to check your email account that you use as the blog administer.
      The email sends you a link to the zip file they created, and you click on the link and download the zip file to the spot you have chosen on your own machine. Then you have to use a product like WinZip to unzip the file into .XML source files.
      Like I said, the XML is stupid, but better than nothing. And best to do this as soon as possible.


      1. P.S. – having said that, I might be offline myself for a couple of weeks, so I don’t want people thinking I was taken down or sent to Gitmo, or anything like that. I’m just going away on vacation, and the place I am going is said to have very spotty wifi, so I may not be able to post as much as I usually do. Hopefully WordPress will not be shutting us Russophiles down in the near future, although I have no doubt they will eventually. They will go over to the dark side, like everybody does, sooner or later.


    1. James, you are really Karl under a different alias, aren’t you? And a different nationality: You pretend to be English now, instead of Finnish.
      What with the rhetorical questions, the wide-eyed pretense at innocence, and the subtle injection of Alt-Right racial prejudices…
      (Never could figure out, by the way, what the ALT-Righties have against the wise and ancient Chinese, other than they are not Europeans.)

      Karl, you will be happy to know, that the Russian people (as a whole) do not suffer from your racial blinders. They would happily co-exist with Chinese communities and probably end up inter-marrying, because that’s what Russians usually do. (A lot of the Russians out there are already fairly mixed, anyhow, DNA more like alphabet soup…)


        1. As through the history spanning back centuries, Russia has more than enough room to accept millions of immigrants to settle and cultivate its lands.

          The current alt-left trope about Russia being racist is so much intellectual excrement.


    2. Perhaps Russian are not desperate to become farmers since they live well adjusted lives. So there are not enough volunteers. Not the caricature painted by NATzO propaganda.

      Check out all the morons at the ZeroHedge thread on this subject. They know precisely fuck all about Russia and think that it some barren wasteland. You know, the scientific word for the best soil type “chernozem” is a direct rip of the Russian word. The Russian steppe (no, not the Ukrainian steppe) has the best soils on the planet. Also, the Primorye region and southern Siberia has prime agricultural farmland as well.


      You have to wade through BS in the above Wiki article but the agricultural viability is clearly there. More than just rocks and bogs.


    3. What’s wrong with Russia selling farmland in the Russian Far East to Chinese farmers and investors? If Chinese investors buy the land, they are as likely to hire local people living in the area to farm it as they would bring Chinese workers to farm and settle the land.

      This is the fear behind James Lake’s comment: that the sale of farmland in Primorsky Krai will encourage large-scale Chinese immigration into the area to the extent that China might try to take over the area in the not-too-distant future.

      Aside from the underlying racism in the comment, the reality is that China has already had 100 years to settle Manchuria, with all the wealth that that region offers (farmland, minerals) – and that area still does not have a very large population compared to the rest of the country. The province known as Heilongjiang (northern Manchuria, bordering Russia) has a population of over 38 million with a population density of 84 people per sq km.

      The provinces in southern Manchuria (Jilin and Liaoning) have higher population densities due to their industries and their proximity to Beijing but the densities still don’t compare to the densities in the east and southeast coastal regions of China.

      The issue is that most Chinese find the climate in Manchuria not just too cold, but also that winters in that region are too long and summers are too short. This will be a problem also for prospective soybean cultivators in Primorsky Krai: soybeans not only need a certain temperature range for the early seed development stage but that temperature range has to be sustained over a certain period. Levels of rainfall, the time of year when most rain falls and whether frost affects soybean growth are an issue as well. While the soils of the Russian Far East may be fertile enough, the climate in the region may not favour the cultivation of crop staples preferred by the Chinese (apart from wheat).

      Also in 2001 the Chinese and the Russians signed a friendship treaty in which they renounced claims on one another’s territory.


      1. Also, I believe it is just a lease.

        The area might have promise for soybean farming, since the wild variety is native to that area.


        1. Looks like I jumped the gun (as I often do!) before actually looking up information on the topic: in this case, I found some articles on soybean production in the Russian Far East and found that, yes, Amur Oblast and Primorsky Krai already grow soybeans and that Amur Oblast produces most of the crop (the Wikipedia entry on Amur Oblast states the region grows 60% of Russia’s soybeans). China is the main customer for Russian soybean exports but according to the linked EastRussia article below Russia is not likely to be a major export supplier of soybeans to China in this regard because of climate limitations.

          According to Hunker.com, soybeans need a summer growing season with a temperature range between 70 and 95 F (22 and 34 C). Outside this range, soybeans become stunted.


          1. I (think I) posted a piece with an RT link about a South African farmers delegation that is coming to Russia to check out the land and possibly move, 15,000 odd, but either it is in the spam filter or I am loosing my mind (50/50).

            Anyways, here’s a different link but the same:

            The Southafrican: Boer delegation: Russia considering opening up borders for white SA farmers

            15,000 white South African farmers have contacted Russia and are making plans to move to start a new life at an area called Stavropol.

            2018-07-10 13:30

            I can imagine the Pork Pie News Networks anti-Russian spin on this…


    4. There are a lot of Chinese in Russia already, particularly in the Far East. They work some timber concerns, and otherwise – like the Mexicans in America – do a lot of the work the Russians don’t care to do; street repairs, building sidewalks and other high-labor-low-pay work as well as running low-cost markets and other services. The Chinese lease unused farmland to grow crops, and I would imagine some of the produce is sold locally in addition to that sent back to China.

      There has been a good deal of Chinese migration into Russia for decades, and yet Russia is still demographically more than 80% ethnic Russians.


      1. Gradual merging of populations is the traditional Russian way. Most Russians are not afraid of the “Yellow Peril”. Only the tiny clique of Nationalists like Navalny try to drum up fears of Russia losing Siberia. Ain’t gonna happen, for reasons that Jen mentioned.

        The notions of over-populated Chinese bursting at the gates and hungry for Lebensraum is fake hype. China has oodles of land, most of it sparsely populated. Humans tend to congregate along the coasts and avoid the harsher climates. Russians are demographically successful (more or less) because they have inter-married over the centuries with people who are equipped to withstand cold climates.


        1. Incidentally, Northeast China is actually losing people as traditional industries in that region are in decline. Young people in NE China are moving to larger cities in the area (cities like Harbin) or moving to other cities in China where the jobs are (and the weather is warmer).

          Some migration into the Russian Far East from China could be people from NE China looking for work because of the slow economic decline in that part of China.

          On top of that, fertility rates in China have declined to the level (about 1.6 children per woman) where the population is now projected to start ageing fast and to start declining around the year 2030. So, no, the Chinese won’t be in a hurry to try to claim back Primorsky Kray.


          1. Good and convincing points.

            As for Chinese farmers, why not? I suspect that they will assimilate . Reminds me of a conversation we had with a young Chinese woman while waiting at Narita. She was heading to the US to meet her prospective groom. She worked in Russia for several years as a Chinese-Russian translator. She gushed about how nice the Russians treated her and how beautiful Russian girls were. I hope that US guy treats her well.


      2. Some of the Chinese migration into Russia could also actually be repeat migration of students and seasonal workers. Students go home during term breaks, workers go home when construction or other low-paid unskilled labour jobs are scarce and Chinese New Year may be another period when people go back to China to visit family.


  23. Groaning Man: ‘We were astounded by the freedom’: my time as a host on Russia’s RT TV

    Sam Delaney’s News Thing was an anarchic fixture on RT for two years. Then the novichok poisonings changed the mood

    …He commissioned a pilot. The guests on our first, unaired episode were the comedians Sara Pascoe, Richard Herring and Des Clarke, alongside an interview with the former SNP leader Alex Salmond …

    …But we attracted a big social media following, and made it our business to generate as much noise as we could. We booked high-profile political guests such as John Prescott, Alastair Campbell, Neil Kinnock and Vince Cable. Rising stars of the Tory party, including MPs James Cleverley, Johnny Mercer and Kwasi Kwarteng, also appeared. We booked columnists from all the main papers: Giles Coren, Andrew Pierce and Michael White, the Guardian’s former political editor, were regulars on our panel….

    Plenty more at the link. See the comments.

    So I assume that all those persons above have been publicly attacked, exorcised and apologized for being Putin’s useful idiots? Nope. It’s as if they were never on RT…. It would be interesting to have a full list of participants and check it against their output the last few years.


    1. I’ve rarely watched anything as unamusing as Sam Delaney’s show on RT – he reminded me of the great Alex Sayle “I’m an alternative comedian, I’m not funny”. Or of two brothers I know locally who, in spite of knowing nothing whatsoever about food and having no interest/aptitude/talent for cooking decided to open a restaurant. The same career guru must have guided Delaney into comedy.


      1. I watched the Delaney show a few times. I found it partially amusing (albeit vulgar), but was hampered by my ignorance of modern English life and not “getting” the topical news and inside political jokes — which was most of the humor. I do recall that Sam had a lot of high-profile political guests who would clown around onstage and didn’t seem to be bothered one whit by the fact that their paychecks were coming from a Russian TV channel.


  24. Soft power, anyone?


    The high water mark of US soft power was possibly the JFK era, Camelot, the Peace Corps, the Beach Boys.

    The Austrian wedding and earlier instances – the Siberian holidays, palling up with the bikers – have an older, more 1940s, 1950s feel – with VVP as a kind of throwback to Spencer Tracy, who successfully migrated from typecast baddie to a goodie.


    1. An interesting view of a dynamic the western media keeps trying to recast from complex to simple. Despite the relentless effort to frame him as a loathsome villain, Putin keeps coming off with class you can’t help but admire. And it certainly didn’t hurt the wedding’s visibility.


  25. goingundergroundRT
    Published on 15 Aug 2018
    We speak to the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, about the scapegoating of Russia, from Salisbury to Syria to Brexit.


  26. https://www.rt.com/usa/436301-butina-moved-torture-prison/

    Butina was moved to a prison in Alexandria, Virginia, and spent the next 12 hours in a quarantine cell with no food and all the lights on, unable to sleep. She will now be kept in “administrative segregation,” which means locked up in solitary confinement – conditions bordering on torture, the embassy says.

    Embassy staff paid an emergency visit to Butina in her new place of detention. They also intend to send another note of official protest to the US Department of State, in addition to the one recently filed over the inhumane treatment of the Russian citizen.

    “We have more and more questions to the U.S. justice system,” the embassy says in a Facebook post. “Should allegations pressed against Maria before the actual trial condemn her to practices that are slightly below torture? It seems that the reason behind the US decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council was to give the US authorities green light for such provocations.”

    The Butina Act (and Bout should be passed ASAP by the Duma sanctioning US officials over this abuse to be followed by increasingly severe economic sanctions until justice is served. Seriously.

    Since the sanctions war is now underway, Russia should link its sanctions to human rights violations rather than calling them reciprocal actions – why waste the opportunity to poke the West in the eye with its own stick?


    1. I agree. It is time for the bending over backward appeasement of Russia’s “partners” to cease. The Duma needs to act like Congress in the sense that it affirms its own political existence and does not look like Putin’s rubber stamp. I know that it is not, but optics are everything politics. The Duma should even have open disagreements with Putin’s administration on assorted issues to send this message of autonomy. Following in this role it should hold inquests on western human rights abuse and other things that will make NATzO uncomfortable. It does not matter whether the NATzO fakestream media will report this to the sheeple. It will set the tone and will also link any future “partnership” to western contrition and compensation for the blood libel and warmongering against Russia.


      1. Agree especially so on the Duma upping the ante – good cop/bad cop scenario. Putin can be the guy seeking “dialog” with the West while the Duma does a McCain (well, not that crazy). Putin can credibly state the the Duma is forcing his hand while throwing a wrench in the MSM narrative that Putin is an absolute dictator.

        This will also help Russian citizens feel that their voice is better heard via the Duma. It may also increase public debate on those matters where public debate is warranted.


      2. The Duma probably already does act independently. It was a Duma member who submitted the bill to prevent advertising paedophilia and other “unconventional life-styles” to children, for discussion and passage through the Duma. When this bill was approved by both the Duma and the upper house, and was signed into law by the President (because what else could he do when it had near unanimous approval?), the law was misrepresented in the West as a law banning LBGT rights and culture, and was portrayed in such a way that the role of the Duma and the Federation Council in discussing and passing the bill was reduced to zero.

        Saying that the Duma should adopt a more adversarial style or culture to look more independent won’t count for much if the media ignores the change or interprets it to mean something completely different. Congress and Parliaments in English-speaking countries have an adversarial approach because in these countries, politics is dominated by two large parties opposed to each other in policies and ideologies (nominally anyway). In other countries where parliaments are made up of coalitions or most politicians are not lawyers, there is less open disagreement and more discussion towards compromise or consensus.


        1. I missed this legal project. It basically attacks all the main weak points (including rocket engines) and will probably be adopted sometime this year.

          My point is that the Duma should be taking the initiative and not waiting for Putin, like some monarch, to give them the signal to act. Russia is still evolving to the culture required for these legislative institutions and exhibits the authoritarian patterns of the past. Duma needs to have authority and receive obedience similar to the president. All the little bureaucratic and regional administrator worms should be squirming just as hard when the Duma puts the flame to their asses as when Putin does it.


          1. Ooooooo….aviation and rocketry. That sounds promising. That should be exciting news for Boeing, not to mention a new breakdown for Musk when SpaceX has to take center stage for space launches.


    2. An excellent suggestion: the onus would then be on the USA to demonstrate that it is not violating the code of human rights, and it would be placed on the defensive.

      Or – perhaps more likely – it would play the ‘national security’ card, and impose a blackout on news regarding Butina’s status or condition.


    3. I have read that Maria Butina is being subjected to strip searches every time after she meets with her lawyers, Russian embassy staff and other visitors, and is being denied outdoors walks and sun exposure. She is also being subjected to night checks.

      These are all ploys designed to break her will.

      I don’t understand why, as in the case of the Skripals in the UK, the Russian Foreign Ministry through its embassy doesn’t apply for a habeas corpus writ to force the US government to show reason why she should stay in prison.


      1. I might be missing something, but I still can’t fathom why the Americans are torturing this woman (Butina) who actually did not do anything to them. Or anything to anyone, as far as I can tell.


        1. They’re wild with hate and rage over Trump and they’re lashing out at anyone and anything they can get their hands on.


        2. Butina’s major slight is to look more yee-haw attractive All-‘Murikan gun-totin’ Calamity Jane cowgirl than most American women (and men).

          Seriously, Butina would have made an ideal Russian agent of American influence. She was keen on promoting a right-2-bear-arms culture in Russia which explains her contacts with the NRA. Even Alexei Navalny had singled her out for running a good political campaign (though he did not recommend her as a potential political candidate for the Civic Chamber electronic elections).


        3. They do outrageous things all the time with the intent, all the time, to induce Russia to act in an unthinking and irrational manner. Russia is mindful that they are dealing with sociopaths with nukes.


          1. The problem with this punk-ass shtick is that it ***will*** come to bite them eventually. As we see from American meddling around the globe, it is not an detached realm. It needs to parasitize the rest of the planet to function. But its propaganda about doing this in the name of goodness is wearing thin. They are now barking at the Philippines to not buy Russian submarines. But the non obeisance is growing all the time. A time will come when Aemerica will want something badly and will be made to pay for its criminal rampage.


        4. I want to say “Pour decourager les autres” but that isn’t quite right since the intended audience of this political theatre, because that is what it is, is not the potential spies but rather the US public at large. It’s a Reverse-Skripal (TM), if you will. At least thats what it looks like to me.

          Like a currently politically safe version of the public executions in 1984. It is a means to not only reinforce the established narrative of that Russian spies are among us, but also to show that these enemies of the people will be found wherever they hide.


  27. So the “mother of all sanctions” involves restricting Russia’s use of dollars. As noted by Alex Mercuris, this is the USA cutting the branch on which it is sitting.


  28. Yahoo Headline:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin gives Austria’s foreign minister an intense stare as he dances with her on her wedding day

    And here is the story link:

    Infantile Yahoo reporting? You bet. The story itself, from Business Insider, was relatively inoffensive. I could not locate the original Business Insider story.

    Here is NBC’s headline on the Putin wedding visit:

    Putin dances at Austrian minister’s wedding, setting off alarm bells across Europe

    My god, the West is petrified at the thought of losing the narrative on Putin.


    1. Na vore shapka gorit.

      NATzO crooks and liars know that they are peddling nothing of substance, just smear. Judging by the fact that tens of millions of Americans are not swallowing this BS, they must have plenty of fear that the public will flip on them. Americans are some of the most brainwashed, ignorant and under-educated people on the planet. A larger fraction of Europeans must not be drinking the koolaid. So the NATzO propagandists are walking on a thin edge.

      This is where Putin comes in. He knows that the anti-Russian BS has no substance. So he is acting in a way that makes it harder for the propagandists to do their job. Attacking his wedding attendance is utterly pathetic. The moron journalists who are writing these hack pieces are not the ones who will be laughing last.


      1. Most American simply tune out the drivel. Poll after poll shows “Russia meddling” and “Russia gate” does not appear as a topic of concern. Its jobs, taxes, crime, immigration, education with health care being the biggest concern. Without prompting, the vast majority of Americans would not mention Russia at all as a threat. I find that remarkable as the MSM has been 24/7 on Russia.


        1. It is impressive to me that a lot of Americans are no longer giving their MSM the benefit of doubt. This is a major development.


      1. There is a lot of squealing about Austria and Hungary by the usual suspects (for some of the right reasons, but mostly because they can), but where’s the outrage that BMW is to invest 1 billion euros in car manufacture there, so how could this possibly be acceptable?


        As I have bleated quite a few times already, U-rope doesn’t have a problem with ‘fascism’ as long as it is small and usually far away (Croatia is a good example).


    2. PO, you read too quickly! The piece is by ‘Business Insider’. Yahoo is just the shitty medium editor, the complete antithesis of actually useful very informative sites like Antiwar.com which itself collates a wide range of critical and though provoking items from around the web as well as providing excellent commentary.


      1. I knew it was Business Insider but muddled my complaint that was just with Yahoo as the one that came up with the stupid headline. The article itself by Business Insider was not offensive.


  29. Waiting for this one:


    – Mass: 20,290 kg (limited by Angara 5 carrying capacity)
    – Thrust: 18 N
    – Specific impulse: 70 km/s
    – Space-launch vehicle: Angara

    18 N of thrust is impressive for an ion engine.

    It uses a helium/xenon coolant per the article which suggests a heat engine of some type; perhaps a Brayton cycle turbogenerator. The article indicates a 1 megawatt electrical output with a thermal input of 3.8 megawatts for an efficiency of 26% which is quite impressive when small space-based power sources are typically well under 10%.

    If I did the math correctly, it will accelerate at about 76 m/s per day or 276 km/h per day. Ignoring increasing acceleration due to lower mass as propellant is expended, it would take about 41 days to achieve escape velocity from low earth orbit.

    A little more math than I want to do tonight but the rate of propellant consumption can be estimated.

    In any event, if this system achieves the numbers given above, it is a game changer for manned and unmanned spaceflight.


    1. Sounds like it is an active project nearing completion.

      There was discussion going to Mars with nuclear propulsion. Using these specs the TEM would have to be scaled up several times to 5+ megawatts of electric power. The idea is to have full power for the duration of the trip enabling much shorter travel time. Instead of 7 months with inertial guidance it would take less than 2 months with powered flight. A plus is that the astronauts would have a weak artificial gravity. Ideal acceleration is 9.81 m/s/s. That is vastly more than 76 x 5 = 380 m/s/day = 0.044 m/s/s.

      By accelerating to the halfway point and then decelerating to destination, one could get to Mars in about 1.2 days with 9.81 m/s/s. With 0.044 m/s/s it would take about 18 days. I am ignoring the gravitational potential well of the Earth, which adds more time to the trip. I am also ignoring the potential well of Mars which would require deceleration into orbit which would add yet more time.


      1. What if such a vessel was a two-stager, i.e. one part would be a deep space probe which would be ejected just before the brakes are applied? The ejected stage cold contain multiple cubesats or the like. A two(ormore)fer! Sure, there would be more mass at first to accelerate, but having sent a quantity off in to the void, there would be less mass to decelerate and all the resulting implications (fuel reserve etc. etc.)? If Russia built such a machine, it could rent space to other nations for their probes…


      2. I made a factor of 2 error in the above time estimates; forgot the 1/2 factor in the acceleration part of Newton’s 1st law: x = 1/2 * a * t^2 + v * t + x_0. So the time estimates have to be multiplied the square root of 2.


    1. Vancouver Island is hot as the Amazon jungle this summer; there are more than 600 wildfires burning in British Columbia, and the whole island is blanketed in a thick pall of smoke that holds the heat on the ground. Climate change (there’s a possibility it could just be an el Nino effect which would see us suffer only three more years before returning to something more like what we’re used to) means we have long, hot summers with nearly no rain for more than three months. If it keeps up, some native species will die off because they cannot go for so long without water.

      Someone needs to plant a bunch of trees on Mars, then set them on fire. The smoke blanket would keep the planet warmed up, although I don’t recommend it for anyone with asthma.


      1. We have a magnetic field protecting the atmosphere from solar winds, however. Mars has a dormant core, so it’s a dead planet that no amount of nuked water can fix.


    1. They poured it on. What makes my blood boil is that this is a snuff film using children to promote Western intervention (and likely instigated by Western elements with the MSM serving as the publisher and platform). Knowing the truth hurts. Thank God I do not have the authority or means to authorize a nuclear strike on that smooth talking human scum.


    1. However, it’s still not recommended to drink tap water in Russia.

      Funny that! I’ve been drinking Russian tap water for over a quarter of a century and I’m still here.

      In the country, I and my family drink water drawn from a well.

      Sometimes on very hot days, such as we have recently been experiencing here, I drink it straight from the zinc bucket in which I have just wound it up.

      Furthermore, I often drink water from springs here.

      Must have guts of iron!


      1. Must have. Whenever I visited Russia, I was warned by the people I went to visit not to drink the tap water, although it was okay to use it for cooking, and they themselves never did, either. We always bought large bottles of spring water (although that could have secretly been tap water with a bit of soda added, for all we knew) and often added a bit of fruit juice for drinking. I was told the Far East still had a lot of lead in its pipes, so even absent other impurities that you could see, the water straight from the tap was bad for you. I was not disposed to argue, since as far as I am concerned the missus (which she was not, then) is the wisest person on the planet. Mind you, that’s a family that always washes their vegetables before cooking them or eating them raw, something I always thought was a waste of time. I find a lot of Russians to be very aware of healthy practices regarding food, and the missus rigorously examines all labels on processed foods (which we don’t eat a lot of, anyway) for colour and other artificial ingredients, particularly sugar.

        It’s entirely possible the Moscow water-delivery system is considerably more updated and modern than that in the Far East.


  30. Oh, dear; Poland has banned a Ukrainian human-rights activist from all 26 countries in the Schengen Area. Why? Because she and her activist Polish husband are critical of the ruling Polish government. So that they don’t look like the dicks they are, they say that she is a Russian agent – that’s a good excuse for doing whatever you want to these days.



  31. https://www.businessinsider.com/russian-military-on-high-alert-prepares-biggest-war-games-in-40-years-2018-8

    “As part of a smaller, separate military exercise this week under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security group dominated by Moscow and Beijing, Chinese warplanes landed Monday at a Russian air base in the Chelyabinsk region in the Ural Mountains.

    The Russian military has increased both the scope and frequency of its maneuvers amid tensions with the West. It also has expanded military ties with China.

    Moscow and Beijing have conducted a series of joint military maneuvers, including exercises in the South China Sea and navy drills in the Baltics last summer.”

    So Running Dog Yankee Imperialist morons..How’s that driving a wedge between Russia and China thing workin’ out??



  32. No change whatsoever in the Russian position on continued transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, despite Merkel’s insistence that it continues to play a role after Nord Stream II goes on line. Putin says absolutely – if it is economical. Ukraine’s dreams of steadily-increasing transit fees limited only by Kuh-yiv’s imagination are going to remain dreams.

    Something Merkel and Putin did agree on is that Washington is not going to have a veto on the pipeline. Sorry, State Department.



  33. Saturday, 18 August, 2018: Russia

    Nizhny Novgorod Ukrainian defender Vitaly Fyodorov turns his back towards the Russian flag as the Russian national anthem is being sung.

    Liberal Democratic Party of Russia State Duma Delegate Igor Lebedev has said:

    Go back to the Ukraine and earn money there if you have no respect for the anthem of the country where you live and work“.

    What a tyrannical, nationalist state Putin’s Russia is!


    1. Well, literally “turns away from the Russian flag” not “turns his back towards the Russian flag”, for in the picture above, he is actually turning his left-hand side towards it.

      Whatever! Basically, he is metaphorically showing his arse to Russia and the hands of those who feed his fucking useless Ukrainian face.


    1. You can hardly blame him – he is young and idealistic, and subject to a daily narrative of hatred for Russia and support for Ukraine live-streamed straight from the west. I cringe when I think of the pro-American positions I once supported without a thought, or the respect I held for Israel; I only became a supporter of Russia owing to the excess of the pile-on I saw every day, and noted that no country could really be that bad. But many people never seek any alternate viewpoint at all, and are quite happy to be mindless patriots, chanting slogans.

      I understand how he feels, a little, and there are likely many reasons for which he dislikes the government – I think the government here is as big a collection of wet-ends as you will find anywhere, but I wouldn’t think of living anywhere else. There are probably many things he likes about living in Russia, and he is young enough to not really have anything with which to compare the Russian government. What does he know about living in the west, even if you are pro-western? Masha Butina could probably tell him a few drawbacks right about now.


  34. I not only always stand when they play the Russian anthem, I even sing it.

    Yet they fucked me off last year because I had failed to extend my residency pemit on time, which residency had already lasted for 25 years!

    Breach of administrative law, see.


    1. I really feel your pain, I do. The bureaucrats in Russia are the worst 5th column of them all. The nice firm hand of Stalin and gulags are needed to purge this filth. But part of the blame has to go to the top. Putin must understand that bureaucrats will keep on writing in more and more work for themselves. They should be reduced by 5 in number as a minimum and stripped of any authority to shape regulations and forms. It is tiresome that such patent BS technicalities such as your experience can go without punishment or correction. If Putin is worried about regime change, he should worry more about the bureaucrat parasites that work to enable it by molesting the citizens.

      There should also be a campaign against gift giving to doctors, bureaucrats and other state employees for their service. This is a serious conflict of interest and species of corruption. State employees should do the f*cking jobs they are paid to do without the need for any incentives from their “customers”. If they need such a mode of operation, then they should bugger on off to the private sector.


    1. At least it is consistent with the use of a nerve agent. Of course, whether it was an actual Russian chemical administered by Russian agents has not been demonstrated by any of this theater.


    2. Of course – the well-known delayed blindness characteristic of deadly nerve agents which don’t kill you. The Skripals should go blind as Pew the pirate any day now, just for the sake of consistency. Mind you, Rowley’s brother is quite the source of artistic license as well, frequently coming up with important details the police either know nothing about or have chosen not to pass on. It was he who told us all about how Dawn Sturgess handed the perfume bottle back to Rowley after spraying herself with its contents, whereupon it shattered in his hands, which is how he must have been exposed. I think Sibling Rowley suffers from an excess of creativity, as well as bad judgment regarding when the story needs a bit of goosing.


  35. Interfax Ukraine via Alert5.com: Motor Sich says Russia’s unfair competition behind criticism in Washington Times article on Ukraine-China cooperation

    PJSC Motor Sich (Zaporizhia) says Russia’s unfair competition in the field of military-technical cooperation is behind criticism expressed in an article published by The Washington Times about the company’s cooperation with China, and in particular, the supply of AI-222 aircraft engines for Chinese JL-10 jet trainers.

    “Only the blind cannot see lobbying Russian producers’ interests behind all that hype… Such methods have all the signs of unfair competition,” Motor Sich said in a statement for the media on Friday, August 17.

    “The author of the article calls for exerting pressure on Ukraine to refrain from cooperation with China, pathetically calling it ‘stabbing in the back,'” the company said, predicting that if Motor Sich drops the contract, similar Russian AI-222 will be shipped to China.

    Motor Sich says that after the events of 2014, it lost its traditional Russian market for the sale of its products and had to seek alternative markets, namely China.

    As part of the contract, it developed and produced a new version of the AI-222 aircraft engine without Russian components for Chinese jet trainers, the company said.

    “Yet, the Russian Federation uses AI-222 engines manufactured in violation of licensing conditions for installing on the Yak-130 combat training aircraft, and constantly makes attempts to arrange shipments of those engines to China in replacement of the Ukrainian equipment,” it explained….

    …On August 15, The Washington Times published an article where the author, Bill Gertz, mentions that “critics say the Trump administration should pressure Ukraine to halt the engine sales along with other military transfers to China.” The publication reportedly criticizes Motor Sich’s 2016 contract on the supply of 250 engines for China’s JL-10 jet trainers…

    Ah, Bill Gertz! If you need a reliable and longstanding Sinophobe, he fits the bill perfectly.

    Embarrassing oneself is the Ukrainian national sport. They can’t attack the Americans, so it must be a dastardly Rooshian plot!

    In other aeronerd news:

    FlightGlobal.com: Interjet compensated for SSJ100 maintenance costs

    08 August, 2018

    Mexican carrier Interjet received Ps733 million ($39.6 million) in compensation for maintenance costs for its Sukhoi Superjet 100 fleet, after the airline was forced to ground at least four SSJ100s in the past year or so.


    FlightGlobal.com: Superjet manufacturer’s half-year net loss deepens

    Sukhoi Civil Aircraft has posted a deeper half-year net loss of Rb804 million ($12 million), despite a sharp increase in revenues.

    A bit of a bugger but the good news is that despite the incurred costs, the program is on the up.

    & (using Yandex translate) in old skool kit:

    BMPD via alert5.com: Another position fighting laser complex “Peresvet”

    ‘Tireless user of twitter.com rambo54 by analyzing publicly available satellite images have detected another intended position of the new Russian ground fighting laser complex “Peresvet” – this time in area of Novosibirsk in the area of deployment, the 39th guards missile division of the 33rd missile army of the strategic missile forces. The object, according to the researcher, is still under construction.’

    we will Remind that earlier rambo54 announcedthat the first estimated position ground combat laser complex “Peresvet” (“light up” in the famous official video from the Ministry of defense of Russia), in his opinion, is on position 2426 th technical missile base 54th guards missile division RVSN in Teykovo (Ivanovo oblast).

    From the bmpd will make the assumption that these position areas indicate that the main purpose laser complex “Peresvet” is blinding us satellites – like intelligence and, apparently, in the first place advanced satellites system for early missile attack warning (early warning system) and missile defense, similar to that previously established under the program STSS (Space Tracking and Surveillance System), and possible suborbital and high-altitude atmospheric sensors EWS and ABOUT (work which is also underway in the USA).Blinding spy satellites and satellites of the early warning system can be an important prerequisite for neutralization systems perspective ABOUT the United States while preparing a missile strike at the time of the missile strike.

    Thus, theoretically, laser systems, “Peresvet” should be covered by all the major launch sites of the strategic missile forces.


    1. Ukr-tards are claiming all the intellectual property developed during the USSR as their own. F*ck off and die, scum. Russia has equal rights to all of it. And no legal case can be made against this. State run companies operating in Ukraine are de facto owned by the central government of the USSR. Not of the local SSR. As has been the case for decades, geography does not establish property. Toyota vehicles do not become indigenous Canadian products because they are manufactured in Canada. They are the IP of Toyota. In the case of the USSR, all of the dissolved constituencies have equal rights to the USSR IP. And anything developed in the USSR between 1917 and 1991 fits this criterion.


      1. Agreed. As far as I am concerned the Ukraine gave up all inheritance rights to USSR developments and intellectual property when they gave up their share of the USSRs debt and obligations following 1991. The fact that they were allowed to retain the facilities and specialized equipment of the state entities involved is already quite generous. Their continued attempts to have their IP and eat it too are starting to get tiresome.


      2. I wonder if Ukrainians are beginning to catch on that Uncle Sam’s plans for the place have nothing to do with turning it into a wonderland of prosperity for free, and everything to do with using it as a fulcrum from which to lever Russia out of its place in the region and the world. The westerners smiled contentedly as Ukraine blew off its traditional market, and then did absolutely doodley fuck-all to replace it.


    2. Ahhh; there’s the kind of Ukrainian reasoning I’m familiar with – if we don’t do it, someone else will (probably the Russians, nudge, nudge). Ukraine should be allowed to do business with China in spite of sanctions, because….well, because it’s a fledgling democracy!!! Look how cute!!

      But they were all choleric with righteous insult when the same investigative process suggested they were supplying North Korea with ballistic-missile engines that allowed the Norks to realize an enormous jump in range – wasn’t us, Guv. There must be a great deal more solid evidence of them having supplied the aircraft engines to China, or they would have tried the same dodge here. Since they can’t, they fall back on you-just-don’t-get-it logic.

      It was the very same Bill Gertz, investigative bloodhound, who announced breathlessly to the world back during Operation Iraqi Freedom that American soldiers had stumbled across a cache of hidden Roland missiles whose dates of manufacture were after the kick-off of the US invasion. France was a bit of a whipping-boy for the Americans back then, pre-Sarko The American and all that, when the French were mostly thought of as cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

      The French soon put the matter straight by pointing out that the Roland production line was shut down sometime in the mid-90’s, I forget now exactly when, and no Rolands were manufactured anywhere after that. He is an establishment conspiracy nutcase.



  36. Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Microsoft claims win over ‘Russian political hackers’

    Russian attempts to launch cyber-attacks against US conservative groups have been thwarted, Microsoft says.

    The software company said Russian hackers had tried to steal data from political organisations, including the International Republican Institute and the Hudson Institute think tanks.

    But they had been thwarted when its security staff had won control of six net domains mimicking their websites.

    Microsoft said the Fancy Bear hacking group had been behind the attacks….

    Is it just me or is Al Beeb s’Allah being careful in its reporting?

    Fortunately Moon of Alabama has just put up a piece about why this story is complete bs.

    Moon of Alabma: Microsoft Promotes Russia Scare To Gain Insider Access To Campaign Information

    The software behemoth Microsoft Corp wants to gain an insider view on candidates and election campaigns at the federal, state and local level. The Seattle based company now offers a “special cybersecurity protection” to those candidates and campaigns that use its Office 365, Outlock or Hotmail cloud services. Those who take up the offer will put their emails, internal strategy papers and financial records onto Microsoft owned and administrated servers where Microsoft personal will have a special eye on them. ..

    Much more at the link.

    It’s a pretty dumb move by Microsoft. Maybe Brad Smith doesn’t think Russia is worth the business or he’s stupid enough to give in to political pressure. Either way, it will have repercussions, and not just in Russia. Moron.


    1. Comment on The Register to the story:


      This is the MS justification

      Microsoft has been trying to gain control of the sites for two years. In court documents, its lawyers filed a complaint on Aug. 13, 2016, alleging violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to harm Microsoft and its customers.

      The complaint alleges that two unknown individuals led the effort “to direct attacks against targeted networks, to infect computing devices connected to those networks that permit Defendants to compromise the security and conduct reconnaissance of and move latterly through those networks, and to locate and exfiltrate sensitive information.”

      They also accuse the individuals of accessing the computers and networks of Microsoft customers, intercepting communications via Microsoft’s Windows operating system, making unauthorized use of Microsoft trademarks, “trespassing” on the computer networks of Microsoft and its customers, intentionally interfering with Microsoft contracts and profiting unjustly from their unauthorized use and access.


      Anyone notice the ‘profiting unjustly from their unauthorized use and access‘ – is that because the Russian economy is just about to tank (as per Ed ‘Not Dead but Living in Lithuania’ Lucas’s yearly claim) and they’re desperate for the cash, or is it just the usual crims?


  37. More sanctions imposed on Russia today.
    The excuse given is breaking the sanctions on North Korea.

    Meanwhile :
    //Britain presses for more EU sanctions against Russia

    Britain pressed the European Union on Tuesday to increase sanctions against Russia, saying it should stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the United States, which hit Moscow with new economic restrictions this month.


    1. So what. It is now clear that they are nothing more than yapping chihuahuas. Threatening to cut Russia off from dollars is simply retarded. Foreigners will buy Russian oil and gas in whatever currency it demands. They do not have some smorgasbord of alternatives.

      The chimps in the US froze several million dollars in Russian assets in the US. Wow. Like Russia can’t freeze a few BILLION dollars worth of US assets in Russia. The UK lickspittles can say what they want but it will be fun to watch BP given the boot from Russia. We’ll be hearing shrieks of outrage from these clowns who think that nobody will ever fight back.


    2. Yes, all the civilized countries of the world should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their good friend who adjusts the global markets to his liking whenever he perceives he does not have a large enough advantage over everyone else. Everyone should be such a numbskull as to hand your good friend a stick to beat you with. Great advice, Britain.

      All it will achieve is further chaos in global trading which concerned individuals spent their entire adult lives harmonizing and tweaking. Please yourselves.

      Britain’s sycophantic foot-kissing to Washington is beginning to get on my nerves a bit. Once Britain aspired to rule America. Now it can’t do enough toadying to satisfactorily establish itself as the bottle-washer.


      1. On Hunt, the British Foreign Minister, a satirical article from the Independent:

        The raw courage and X-ray vision of Jeremy Hunt allows us to see Donald Trump in a whole new light

        Hunt’s the bloke who told the Chinese that his Chinese spouse is Japanese.

        Not having lived in Misty Albion for over 2 decades, I am no longer au fait with British politics, but I believe Hunt is typical of his particular British (Conservative Party) breed of politicians, in that he is a right tosser.

        And it seems he is going to have a go for the top job as well, when cross-your-legs-and-squat-low-before-Her-Majesty May gets the old heave-ho.


        1. Squirrel diplomacy…you can’t put a price on this sort of steadfast bravery…I laughed, I cried; it became a part of me. That was brilliant. Jeremy ‘Berkshire’ Hunt is obviously destined for greater things. There’ll be no stopping him.


    1. Yes, I read that, as well as American dismay at Palij’s arrival in Dusseldorf being followed by the announcement that Germany’s ‘top Nazi prosecutor’ would not be bringing any charges against him, owing to insufficient evidence.


    1. I frankly doubt it. The Democrats want to take him out on a Russian-collusion charge, not a shabby little sex adventure, because the latter would remind too many people of Saint Bubba and his blowjobs and cigars.


      1. Not to mention that Bubba-hotep granted a pardon to hedge fund manager Marc Rich who’d been imprisoned on charges of tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering and trading with Iran during the US oil embargo against that country at a time when it was still holding American hostages. Rumour then flew that Rich had been granted the pardon because his wife had made donations to the Democrats and to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign, and that pressure had also come from Israel to pardon Rich because Rich apparently had connections with Israel and Mossad especially as his trading with Iran also involved supplying Israel with Iranian oil.


        The New York Times called the pardon “indefensible”:

        The timing of Clinton’s pardon (at the end of his presidency) of Rich can be seen to be cynical as well.

        BTW Clinton also granted a pardon to his half-brother who’d been jailed for cocaine trafficking.

        The Democrats should not dare to take DJT out on charges of abusing the presidential privilege of granting pardons to aides or family members.


    1. They might, but in the interests of appearing as free, open-handed and non-repressive as possible, I doubt very much they will do it. Remember, in the clip featuring the Duma’s recommendations, they emphasized that citizens were still free to buy American products or western products for their own use – the government has no intention of offering the western press an opening to wail about how Russia’s people cry out for Coca-Cola, Big Macs or plastic cheese. I imagine there will be a carefully-orchestrated gossip campaign to link distinctly American brands such as McDonalds to American government bullying, and leave it to the people to make up their own minds. It might even serve a useful purpose – those who continue to patronize McDonalds are likely to be either weakling junk-food addicts or liberal western sympathizers.

      Cutting Boeing off from titanium, however, would be moving things to a whole ‘nother level.

      The USA buys a lot of titanium from Russia, and that’s one of the few areas in which the Americans have continued to emphasize cooperation. They have looked at 3D-printing titanium, but so far as I am aware you cannot simply create it – you have to have titanium to 3D print it, and it is quite rare. Washington can’t just go to another source easily. Losing access to it means they can continue to build airliners without titanium, but they will be heavier and consume more fuel, limiting their range and carrying capacity and basically affecting everything that has to do with the construction of airliners.

      The USA has probably stockpiled enough RD-180 engines that it will not be in a pinch for satellite launches for some time, perhaps a year or so. But if this continues to drag on, eventually the Americans will be forced to come up with a replacement. I suspect that’s the moment in which they will realize just how cheap they were getting the RD-180.


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