Organized Greed vs. Disorganized Democracy

Uncle Volodya says, ““At the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold.”

“In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.”

Matt Taibbi, from Griftopia

“Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.”

Milton Friedman

It’s maybe a little unfortunate that cynicism has shoved its way to the fore in social consciousness; if you smell flowers, look around for a funeral. The world wasn’t always that way, and once the American Dream which is really the dream of everyone everywhere – the fond hope that all that will make us happy in life; love, family, the kind of paycheck that will let one enjoy both, will somehow find us if only we are loyal and determined – was relatively humble, and sort of sweet. Enough was just enough, and not just a little bit more, if you feel me.

Somewhere along the storied path, greed became a virtue, as enshrined by Milton Friedman and others like him. Greed is nothing to be ashamed of – it’s nothing less than the pistons in the great engine of human development. Greed is the puppet-master, pulling the strings of democracy.

So when Uncle Sam starts talking up democracy, look around for something you have that he might want.

Enter Daniel Witt, with a sad but hopeful piece on how Ukraine is pooching its big chance to be a real democracy. Because the road to democracy is paved with… privatization.

Pardon a brief interjection here; Daniel Witt seems like a pretty straightforward guy. If this is the same Daniel Witt, his motivation genuinely seems to be the straightest road to profitability. His most-requested speech, according to his bio, is “U.S. Protectionism Begs World Retaliation”. He shows every sign of being a guy who believes in free trade going both ways, the freer the better, and not a shill for an end-run by the US government.

So what makes me so suspicious, suspicion being the natural companion of cynicism? I’m glad you asked. In a word, titanium.

What’s the only state-owned asset he singles out by name as a sign that the Ukrainian government is backsliding on its reform road, just when real partnership beckons? The Zaporizhia Titanium and Magnesium Combine. Hmmm. Which just happens to be 49% owned by Dmytro Firtash, the sole Ukrainian oligarch to whom the USA seems to have taken a deep and abiding dislike. He remains under house arrest in Vienna at the request of the US government, for ‘alleged corrupt practices using U.S. banks’, and it seems pretty clear that same US government would have no problems with the Zaporizhia Titanium and Magnesium Combine being sold to a private investor with or without his consent. Which is kind of an odd position for the US government to take, considering its decidedly negative assessment of Crimea’s nationalization of businesses located in Crimea which were formerly the property of Ukrainian oligarchs.

Two basic facts will guide us as we proceed; one, the United States uses a lot of titanium, and it is absolutely vital to its aerospace and aircraft industry. Titanium is stronger than steel but much lighter, and if America had to substitute steel for titanium in its passenger aircraft, they would be much heavier, and able to carry only reduced loads of passengers and cargo. Not to mention fuel, so they couldn’t fly as far. The Boeing Dreamliner is somewhere between 12% and 15% titanium, and Boeing was losing $23 million on every Dreamliner that left the factory in 2015.

Two, the United States is not on the list of major titanium producers. In fact, only one lone ally is – Japan. Doubtless further adding to American chagrin, the runaway leader in titanium production is China, with whom the United States is currently engaged in a loud and messy trade war which relies heavily, from the American perspective, on acting the tough guy and employing a quickly-escalating sequence of threats and tariffs. Not a country you want to have your balls in a vise over supplies of a commodity you have to have in order to remain dominant in a major global industry.

Who’s next? Russia. Ditto. The United States has expended considerable energy and no end of media manipulation to make an enemy of Russia. It hardly seems sensible on Russia’s part to go on helping America with its aerospace industry, since much of it is devoted to weapons and military systems production. The others, in order, are Japan (which produces less than half China’s total), Kazakhstan, Ukraine and India.

Hmmmm….Ukraine. Ukraine produces about 10,000 metric tons a year, but if a private investor took over and modernized production, it might be much more. Of course the business could not sell at a loss, but perhaps it might arrive at a Wal-Mart solution; I know a customer who will buy 100% of your output – here’s how much he’s willing to pay. Perhaps not as much as you hoped, but you can be assured of selling as much as you can produce. Free trade in action, baby; dig it.

That’s roughly what The Diplomatic Courier thinks, too. In its article, we learn that the United States sold off its entire National Defense stockpile of titanium, beginning in the late 90’s. Perhaps not the brightest decision, considering the USA now imports 79% of its titanium, and relies on it more than ever.

“United States-Russia relations have been perplexing in the last two years, and tensions between the two increased in April when newly imposed sanctions were placed on Russia. Because of these sanctions, Russia has threatened to halt titanium exports to the United States. With a growing dependency on titanium, the result of this would be ruinous for the United States defense industry and for aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing.”

Ruinous – you don’t say. I hope you’ll understand, then, why the cynic in me is suspicious as the United States turns on the indignation and sorrow when Ukraine’s titanium industry doesn’t appear on the list of state assets to be privatized, and simultaneously claims that such privatization is vital to modernizing the Ukrainian economy. Which is all Uncle Sam really cares about. Honest.

Going back to the original reference, Daniel Witt waves the carrot under Ukraine’s nose by citing the UK and New Zealand as examples of successful privatization. Ukraine is hesitating, he says, but it must go down the same path.

Curiously enough, a search using the term “privatization a disaster for UK” yields contentions that privatization of state rail, bus and water services have all yielded terrible results. Significantly, though, they have not been a uniform failure – they have been great for business; in fact, the article describes privatization as ‘a bonanza’. Where they have been a disaster, using water services as an example, is for users, the environment and those employed in the industry.

Transpose that situation to the titanium industry in Ukraine. Ask yourself how much the USA would care if the environment in Ukraine suffered because of an ambitious new private producer and his investors. How about if the workers got dicked over, and the ‘bonanza’ passed them by? What about Friedman’s implication that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was inspired by his loyalty to capitalist principles, or that Henry Ford achieved such success because he was an early advocate for free trade? If anything, his description of individuals pursuing their own interests making the world go ’round in a manner which is pleasing to the gods of private enterprise ought to serve as a warning.

You know, I think we’re on the same page here. At least I hope so.

227 thoughts on “Organized Greed vs. Disorganized Democracy

  1. Hey Mark

    I thought to mention how the economics should work out with privatizing the penal system. It should be easy enough; you simply legislate a conversion of the state itself into the Gulag. Or invite in the IMF. Just now Kiev is under the gun to raise gas prices where the pension is reduced in real value to something like $40 a month, the most recent figure we’ve heard from our Ukrainian retiree buddy; insuring every Ukrainian must aspire to become a criminal to survive. So, there’s your legitimate rationale to create ‘the first circle’ of Solzhenitsyn’s dreams where everyone is a prisoner, and the state apparatus (bureaucrat) is made up of a higher class of prisoner (I believe the term is ‘trusty’) in a position to skim the scant rations. Uh, there might be a concern the averaged IQ of 90, typical of Americans these days, might miss your closing irony…

    BTW, speaking of world class crimes, if you hadn’t seen this one:


    1. That’s a great piece, Ron, and – as usual – you did not pull any punches. It’s inspiring to see someone actually trying to do something to force the ICC to notice and to hold accused perpetrators to account. I hope your evidence is solid, because western governments have any number of attorneys while western intelligence agencies are getting pretty good at cover-ups – a natural consequence of having had their mistakes exposed without incurring any penalty thereby. How smart do you have to be to write in your little notebook “Don’t do that again”?

      it must be dangerous for you, so please be careful. Bolton’s unmistakable statement that the USA does not and will not recognize the authority or judgments of the ICC marks America as a nation which reserves the right to operate outside the law. Imaginary America has always prided itself on holding itself and its citizens to an even higher standard than any national set of laws, and its refusal to be bound – ‘restricted’ might be a better word – by the ICC should be a warning that it has already violated its rules of conduct, and knows it.


      1. Yeah, the USA embassy here isn’t happy with me, that’s pretty clear. Demanding my physical presence to do a routine bit of paperwork that should be (normally would be) accomplished by postal service. I told them to ‘shove it.’ CIA Director Bloody Gina must love Brett Kavanaugh who ruled (when appellate judge) the USA can hold their own citizens in black sites abroad without legal recourse. Anyway I’m in a spot that’d be difficult to take me out and get away with it. If push comes to shove I’ll likely take a second passport with visa free travel to Russia…

        Here’s the actual complaint btw, the material is pretty strong:



  2. It’s the altruism that kills hahaha.

    “You have titanium languishing in the ground? Well, fry me for an oyster! Who’d have thunk it?”

    Thanks again, Mark. It’s always great to learn of the selflessness of Uncle Sugar. An example to us all.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I prefer “wounded” because you don’t get injured by an act of war.

        A soldier can injure himself by arsing around with his bayonet, can severely injure himsel even; if some sticks a bayonet into him during a fight, though, he isn’t injured.


        1. I read quite a while ago that a number of Chechens and others from down south had been relocated to the Karelia region (and a few cause the odd rukus with the locals from time to time) which is only some 400 odd kilometers away. Where there is a will…


    1. There is more news coming in, Russian cops believe they know the identity of the Arkhangelsk terrorist. They say they know his name, but won’t give it out yet, he is allegedly a 17-year-old teenage boy. They say he made the bomb himself, walked into the building, took it out of his bag, and boom! Blew himself up (whether intentionally or not), nobody else got killed, but 3 FSB officers were wounded.


      1. I think it’s a local grudge job or a just a stupid boy who wanted to see his name splashed all over the papers rather than his flesh splashed all over the street.

        Probably a rubberduckian who yearned for an end to the tyranny.


        1. Yes, I am guessing a Navalnyite of some ilk. Unless he turns out to be a jihadist Muslim, he probably didn’t intend to blow himself up. You and I will continue to follow this story!


          1. I hope those injured are not seriously hurt. Wish them a full recovery.

            When investigating this type of act do you look at the home /social life of the young person?

            Do you blame society/the government?

            I personally have no sympathy for this person who committed this criminal act. The responsibility is down this person – they took action to kill others and killed them selves.


      2. Maybe USA has not stopped recruting idiot suicide bombers…?

        McNamara’s Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War


        1. As usual, the most vulnerable pay the cost of political considerations. I loved that professional football players were exempt from the draft – the perfect touch. The west has been rotten at the core for longer than I thought.


      3. It will be difficult for Washington to act shocked and scandalized, given that their sympathies probably lie with the bomber and that they probably hope for more of the same. A terror-wave against the FSB would be just what the doctor ordered. And even if it never comes, it forces the security services in Russia to take extra precautions, which can easily be interpreted as repressive moves which impinge upon the people’s freedom.

        Ever visited a US Embassy? I never have, personally, but I took the missus and her mother over to get some visa or other, once, just a transit visa if I recall correctly. No baby buggies allowed, sorry, you’ll have to carry your child if you must bring her or him. No handbags or personal items at all, there is a restaurant just across from the Embassy which does a fairly good second-income business by providing a secure room where you can leave your handbag. Too bad if you forgot your papers in it. And that’s in Vancouver, where to the very best of my knowledge there has never been a terrorist attack against anyone, a country which is supposed to be one of the USA’s best friends. It’s like you’re visiting a relative in maximum security prison, or a nuclear missile silo.


        1. I have seen the United States Embassy in Canberra – from a distance, that is, because its property (including its huge grounds) is the largest of any country that has an embassy in the city. You think you’re passing a high school or junior college, it really is THAT large. It’s easy to drive around the embassy and you can see it is guarded on all sides by sentries who watch you through binoculars as you drive by. By contrast, the watchman in front of one of the European embassies was engrossed in doing his crossword or sudoku puzzle and the Israeli embassy had a security guard out on the nature strip just glaring at you (because he probably drew the short straw in the morning pass-the-cup-around ritual to see whose turn it was to go out the front).

          Most embassies in Canberra are easy to find because they are very close to each other and it’s possible to do a drive-by tour of most of them. Embassies of British Commonwealth countries plus China are in one group not far from a second (and much larger group) dominated by the US embassy: Mexico, Germany and Israel are in this group. A third cluster of embassies from the Scandinavian countries and a few others are a couple of blocks away. A fourth cluster of embassies (Saudi Arabia is in this group) is farther away with one major highway to be crossed.

          Needless to say, I suppose, the Russian embassy is far, far away on its own elsewhere in southern Canberra.


  3. They’ve got plenty of titanium to spare here!

    The Yuri Gagarin monument is a 42.5-metre high pedestal on which is a modernistic statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first person to travel in space. It is located at Leninsky Prospekt, Moscow. The pedestal is designed to be reminiscent of a rocket exhaust. The statue is made of titanium, a metal often used in spacecraft, and weighs 12 tons.

    Typical of a 3rd-world shithole of a gas station with rockets that masquerades as country, ain’t that so, Senator McCain?

    Oh, sorry!

    You’re dead.


    1. Yes indeed, I have seen this sculpture in Moscow. HATED IT! I love Yury Gagarin, he is one of my heroes. But this abstract titanium thing is just modernistic B.S. not to mention a waste of titanium. It makes Yury look like “Rocket Man” or, even worse, Buzz Lightyear.

      I want to see Yury the way he really was, in a helmet with Soviet insignia! (grumble grumble)


      1. Yeah, I’ve always felt the same about it as well. It is more suitable for Disney “Futureworld” or whatever, in Florida or other similar theme park, but not made out of titanium, of course.

        It’s not as bad as this monstrosity though:

        You can thank Luzhkov for that: his pal was the sculptor.

        Some like it though. My wife does.

        No bloody taste!

        But after all, she did marry me!


        1. That redbrick building on the island behind the above pictured abomination, was the Red October chocolate factory. (Much better chocolate than that Poroshenko shite!) Production was moved to the suburbs ages ago, and the old chocolate factory is now an “elite” hang-out, full of posh cafés and bars.

          When the plant was in production, it used to smell of cooking chocolate all round that area.

          So, 15 years ago, my children watched the Willie Wonka film and I told them that it was true, that Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory is in Moscow. They didn’t believe me, but I kidded them and took them there. They were gobsmacked.

          They all went on school exursions to a few chocolate factory visits since that Red October visit, and came back each time with a load of freebies.

          Typical 3rd world tactic: a land of cakes and ale but no freedom, no democracy!


        2. Ugh! I have seen that one too, when I was in Moscow this past summer.
          Tons of mediocre sculptures. One is simply aghast – “What WERE they thinking?”
          If you want to see good sculptures, one must go to the provinces!


          1. I thought that horrible black monstrosity was in St Petersburg. The west loves it, because it gives them the opportunity to laugh at Russian taste, using the assumption that all Russians love it and think it is art.


            1. Thankfully St. Pete still has the gorgeous “Bronze Horseman” statue crafted by French artist Étienne Maurice Falconet in the time of Catherine the Great.
              The more modern stuff is all crap, with the exception of some Soviet works.
              Take a look at this: Some Russian “avant-garde” kreakle created this monstrosity for the Peter-Paul fortress. His Peter is actually bald! And the real Peter had lots of hair. Egads, if you want good sculpture, then one must go back in time and hire 18th-century French or Italian artists.


              1. Komsomolskaya Pravda did a survey a few years back, whereby Muscovites were asked what their favourite statue was. This one won by a mile:

                On Pushkin Square.

                A proper statue.

                Some reckoned, though, that it is the most popular statue in Moscow not because of the person to whom it is dedicated, but because for generations it has been the rendezvous for first dates etc.

                As it happens, I used to agree on rendezvous with the future Mrs. Exile not at Pushkin’s statue, but at this one, because it was nearer to where both she and I worked:

                And also because he was like me: a miserable bugger!


                1. Yalensis: “That Chekhov statue is really good!

                  It is, isnt it?

                  What I like about it is that it is of a much younger Chekhov than the one that one usually imagines when his name is mentioned.

                  There is such a statue of Chekhov, a middle-aged Chekhov, here on Kamagersky Perulok.

                  Modernism again! It looks like an emaciated El Greco image.

                  I know Chekhov died of tuberculosis, but he wasn’t that gaunt.

                  And where are his trade-mark pince-nez?

                  The above photograph was taken in 1903, one year before his early death at the age of 44. He looks quite healthy in the photograph, considering that he died of “consumption” one year later.

                  I wonder if the little dog tucked under his left arm in the statue that represents the young Chekov is an allusion to his “Lady With a Lapdog”. Or perhaps he did have a little dog; perhaps he was a dog-lover?


                2. Here’s a novichok in the world of Moscow monuments:

                  Farewell of a Slavic Woman — 2014: Belorusskiy Terminus Station.

                  Прощание славянки — The Farewell of A Slav [woman]

                  Bastards on the web scream that the above march is not A Soviet one, but a White Army one.

                  True, in that it was composed in 1912.

                  Untrue, because there was no fecking “White Army” in 19-fecking-12, you arseholes!


                3. Brings back fond memories, does that march!

                  They used to play it in Soviet times as the Moscow train pulled out of the station at Voronezh, where I lived before settling in Moscow.

                  I wonder if they have started playing it at the Belorusskiy terminus when the Berlin train pulls out?
                  I’ll find out. I’ll be there this evening, whence Mrs. Exile and I shall set off for the country.


                4. And the woman in the “Farewell” statue is not the soldier’s wife: she is either his unmarried sister, betrothed or daughter, because her hair is tied up in a коса [kosa] — a big plait that she will not cut off until she gets wed.

                  I still see girls and young women who apparently still follow this tradition. One of my former womenfriends here, a divorcee, once showed me her former kosa: it was wrapped up in tissue paper and she kept it in a drawer. It must have been a yard long.

                  My elder daughter had a kosa until last month, but she had it cut off, which greatly saddened me. She had never had her hair cut before then. I guess other girls at the university, where she started studying last September, might have been making fun of her for being old fashioned.


                5. Our little ‘un is the same; she has never had a haircut other than a little trim to take off the split ends. I did not realize there was tradition behind it, but our nieces also have long, long hair, albeit the elder just married for the second time. I guess she just likes her look with long hair.


                6. Meanwhile, in Kiev these “heroes” are so modest as regards the undoubted nobility of their cause and intended future deeds that they prefer to be incognito when saying farewell to their beloved:

                  Присяга и прощание: Из Киева на восток страны отправились новые добровольцы батальона «Азов»
                  Oath and farewell: From Kiev to the East of the country have set off new “Azov” battalion volunteers

                  Why be so shy, “heroes”?


                1. Yes, I saw that one recently in Moscow, agree that it is good.
                  But it’s the exception that proves the rule!
                  The rule being that most of the modern stuff is crap. (grumble, grumble)


      2. Attention seeker?

        The suspected bomber, who announced his intent to his “comrades”:

        Comrades, today at the Arkhangelsk FSB building there will be carried out a terrorist act, for which I bear the responsibility.

        Security forces have already identified the alleged bomber of the Arkhangelsk region FSB directorate building. He turns out to be a 17-year-old student at the political and technical college, Mikhail J. The young man walked into the security building as a visitor. He was carrying an explosive device in his backpack. After that, near the checkpoint h ecaused an explosion, as a result of which he was killed. Three FSB officers were injured by the blast and splinters.



          1. Yes, of course it does! It’s a “polytechnic” in English.

            The thing is, I just dashed the bulletin through Google translate as I was in a rush and getting ready for work when I saw the news break and posted it without checking . I had read it in Russian before running the paragraph through Goog;e Translate: I just couldn’t be arsed typing it out in English: no time!

            I should never have thought that such a stupid translation would be the result. I mean, “a polytechnic” as not a word that has a very low frequency of use in English, so blame bloody Google Translate!


    2. Weight is weight, of course, and 12 tons of steel weighs as much as 12 tons of titanium. The difference is in their density, which affects their volume. Steel is nearly twice as dense as titanium, so the same statue made of steel would weigh nearly twice as much. But titanium is as strong or stronger than steel. They say it’s a bitch to weld, though, although Russia seems to have it down pat. Some Russian submarine hulls are made entirely of titanium; I believe the Alpha (NATO designation, the Russians called it Akula, or ‘shark’) was the first, and its maximum diving depth as well as its speed caused eyebrows to rise throughout western defense circles. It could outrun a torpedo if it had enough warning of the launch that it could reach maximum speed before the torpedo reached it. It was noisy, though, employing a prototype liquid-metal reactor rather than the usual pressurized-water reactor. Ran hot, too. But the first time you try something new, it rarely works out completely.

      Titanium is extremely hard for its density, and is much less affected by temperature extremes than steel is.


            1. Beat me to it! When our daughter was in her pony-mad phase (5-14 years) she nagged me to take her to see a collection of diverse horses at a farm south of Glasgow and was thrilled to see one of them.
              She was less than impressed when I asked what was so exciting about a Shetland pony. “It’s a xxxxx – what the Mongols rode!”


              1. When not, with a fair wind behind them, speeding over the briny in their longships, then otherwise slogging away at their oars (or, as the case may be, their whores), Vikings used to trot around on land, if it was Iceland, that is, or the Shetlands and the Faroes, on ponies as well.

                They reckon that the iceland horse has not changed much in over 1,000 years, since the Viking age, because of restrictive laws in Iceland that prohibit the import of horses.

                I reckon they’re just glorified Shetland ponies.

                As regards that Mongol chappie who, in the photograph above, appears to be to be riding two ponies, Odin used to canter around on an 8-legged horse called Sleipnir:

                And if you think that is a daft belief, I think it daft to believe that a piece of bread is the creator of the all, of all that is, was and ever shall be, so there!

                Proud to be a pagan!


                Waes hael!


                1. I’m in a rare good mood this morning as this weekend is a long one: the 4 November state holiday “National Unity Day” falls on Sunday this year, so Monday, 5 November, is a day off in lieu of Sunday, 4 November. Furthermore, i have today off as well, so, when she comes home from work, it’s off to the dacha I go for a long weekend with Mrs. Exile, where I shall tidy up the garden and shut down foe winter, by draining off all the water pipes and shutting of the water cocks etc.

                  And having 5 November off also means I can have Bonfire Night off and celebrate in a park on my ownsome with one lousy firework the legal murder by hanging, drawing and quartering of a Roman Catholic dissident in London in 1605, who, with the rest of his conspirator Catholic pals, had been nicely set up by the 17th century English version of the present British seccret service.


                2. Of course the mother of Sleipnir was, er, Loki.

                  Bet that sounds even more daft, Loki a transgender shape-shifting species swapper.


              2. Not really.

                From the section of Wikipedia article on the Mongolian Horse as a warhorse:

                It is said that a Mongol warrior’s horse would come at his whistle and follow him around, doglike. Each warrior would bring a small herd of horses with him (3 – 5 being average, but up to 20) as remounts. They would alternate horses so that they always rode a fresh horse.[25] Giovanni de Carpini noted that after a Mongol warrior had ridden a particular horse, the man would not ride it again for three or four days.[26]

                The whole article is fascinating.


          1. The equestrian statue of Marshal Zhukov on Manezh Square here in Moscow is often criticized for that very same reason.

            The horse is too small. If Zhukov’s effigy were lifted off that of the horse and placed next to it, the marshal’s head would be higher than the beast’s shoulders – and the horse that is represented was a huge white stallion, which he quickly rode along Red Square at the opening of the very first Victory Day Parade, when there was torrential rain and the stone sets on the square were wet and slippy. (3.34 below)


            1. I suppose it is intended to make the figure of the man seem greater and more magnificent, although in this case the size comparison is mitigated a bit by his odd pose, standing straight in the stirrups as if he were taking the salute (something he did not actually do in the parade, sitting the saddle in the conventional way).


              1. I wish the military commanders and minister of defence still rode horses to greet the tovarishchy officers and their ranks on Victory Day. It is so much more stylish to do so: much classier than riding around whilst standing up in a specially adapted open-top limo.

                Betty Windsor used to take the salute on horseback during the trooping of the colours celebrations on her official birthday, and on a side-saddle at that! She did that until she must have been in her 40s. After that, she used to be in a landau.

                Bear in mind, it would have been a bundle of laughs watching that corrupt twat of a former minister of defence, Serdyukov, trying to ride along Red Square on a nag. I reckon Shoygu could do it no bother, though.


                1. Mmmm, yes, Serdyukov, who was never punished in any way for his naked and obvious thievery, other than losing his job. A fact I still cannot credit. Surely Putin must have known it would lend weight to criticism that the Russian political system is a swamp of corruption and favouritism, just like so many others? How is that any less odious than Scooter Libby’s pardon, or any of a hundred acts of political cronyism you could name?


  4. ‘…Greed is nothing to be ashamed of – it’s nothing less than the pistons in the great engine of human development. Greed is the puppet-master, pulling the strings of democracy…’

    Well if we define greed as an excess of extreme desire focused on one’s own needs, it’s doubtful that in all situations where greed is the driver, that democracy or society generally benefits or is pulled along in a positive direction. Human development and greater democracy always imply the inclusion of a social dimension: that not just one individual benefits but other individuals benefit in a way that transcends their immediate material self-satisfaction and which may include future generations not yet born. Perhaps a better term than “greed” would be “ambition” or “drive”, or even just “desire”.

    Thanks again for a great article that exposes the hypocrisy and greed behind the agenda that informs the same old tired “economic reform” proposal.


    1. Greed is one of the “7 deadly sins” — if you are a Christian, that is.

      They are: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.

      Done 5 of ’em, me, and regularly at that. Still do!.

      But then, I ain’t no Christian!

      Waes hael!


          1. This littlie in Indonesia may even beat you to replacing Glen Tipton in Judas Priest if and when he has to retire from music due to Parkinson’s disease:


            1. She’s really cute, and I love to see kids having a good time making music. That’s not a hard song, but she plays it smoothly and her technique and attack suggest she is capable of much more complex material. One of my favourites was the Korean boy, Sungha Jung. He’s in his late teens now and so his skill seems not so remarkable as when he was just a tiny boy with a giant guitar; here he is doing “I’m Yours” with Jason Mraz.

              But his technique was remarkable when he was just a wee one – here he is doing The Beatles’ “Blackbird”, which is relatively difficult.

              The ultimate in amazing technique for me, though, will always be Laura Lāce, from Latvia, doing “Canon Rock”. It starts out simple, and you think, Jeez, I could play that in my sleep. But once it gets cooking, the sweeps and arpeggios she pulls off make Eddie Van Halen sound like he is playing with gloves on. It probably doesn’t hurt that she is gorgeous to look at, but she sure can play, and every note is clear and distinct; she’s not sloppy, and she is lightning quick. Amazing.


              1. The child has her own Youtube channel where she posts videos of herself playing along to acts like … Slayer. (I’m surprised that she is allowed to listen to Slayer recordings since the band’s lyrics generally revolve around extreme violence, war and genocide, and have an anti-religious bent, and the song she plays along to comes from the “Reign in Blood” album.)


    2. It’s important to note that this is only Friedman’s opinion, and probably most who analyze the course of human development over history would not attribute the work of geniuses as a byproduct of either greed or capitalism. Often it’s just a person or a team that is driven to solve a problem, and prove that their solution works – it is the drive for accomplishment, even glory, perhaps, rather than the drive for enrichment. A good example is the drug industry; very seldom is the discoverer of a remedy motivated by profit. Very seldom is he who gains control over the marketing of that discovery motivated by anything else.


      1. Milton Friedman actually lived long enough (he died in 2006) to see his neoliberal policies fail in Chile. The initial neoliberal economic experiment in that country as put together by the notorious Chicago Boys (Chilean graduates in economics from the University of Chicago) ran from the mid-1970s (after Augusto Pinochet took over as leader after the 1973 coup) to 1981: the year the Chilean banking sector had a meltdown. From then on, Pinochet steered the economy back to mixed socialist / neoliberal policies but any credibility he still might have had with the Chilean public was destroyed and he was a lame duck president until 1988. The Falklands War and Argentina still being a military police state might have saved his bacon for a while but once that country’s government was out and a limited democracy was restored, Pinochet’s days were numbered.


    3. This is just Randroid intellectual excrement. These clowns worship at the altar of self-organizing order out of chaos. But no such process exists for human society. The order comes from collusion and ***conspiracy***. And it is all about hiding this from the gullible masses that are to be fleeced by informed Randroids.

      Russia imported this rubbish religion back during the early 1990s thanks to the Harvard Boys and the comprador regime of Yeltsin. But by 1998 it was apparent that it definitely does not account for western “prosperity” and Chernomyrdin proclaimed that the era of market romanticism was over. This coincided with a real turn-around in the Russian economy and there was a surge in GDP and industrial growth (overseen by Primakov and later Putin).

      The “invisible hand” of Adam Smith is not taken in the same sense as used by Smith. Smith did not actually say that the market is self-organizing. He knew that order requires planning and power to issue orders (or coerce compliance via more abstract means such as your real choices as a consumer). The notion that a gas of no-holds-barred self-interested entities can produce optimal economic and social order is certifiably insane. The only reason this crap manages to persist is that most people just don’t have the mathematical (and to some extent physics) education to see through it. So Randroids can engage in the same trickery as global warming deniers, i.e. spew plausibly sounding rubbish.

      Consider a system consisting of N elements (where N is large) and each element is essentially more likely to undermine than support each other element (since they are all ruthless competitors and totally self-interested). Any positive interactions would be inadvertent and resulting from greed maximization. You have the show stopping bootstrap problem. Before any positive coherence can develop in the system allowing for inadvertent net benefit (individual and collective) interactions, you have primitive local interactions with nearest-neighbours. In this absurd theory, the elements or humans would behave like bears (or other solitary predators) and not the social animals that they are. There would be negligible incentive to cooperate since nobody is rich and the presence of others is competition for available resources. You would have each element trying to create an exclusive territory since that is what gives maximal gain (as it does in the real world for various animal species). Clearly this is the diametric opposite of real humans who form family communes and optimize their survival through collaboration. This tribal socialism was there for good reasons and not some accident of history. All “primitive” tribes are socialist and only exhibit capitalist style greed and self-interest at the inter-tribe level since the dynamics at this scale begin to resemble those for bears (thanks to the strong human tribalism and group identification).

      Without a process to form human society, Randroid theorizing is not even academic, it is removed from relevance by its own contradictions. Society has always been a species of socialism even it involved rule by kings and the development of aristocracy. The justification for society was and remains the collective good. Tribes became kingdoms because of the need for security and the incentive to develop the economy to provide better living conditions. (This does not exclude various regimes where the peasant masses were actually worse off than if they remained more “primative”, but social development is not defined just by the negative aspects).

      Greed is good capitalism is a pathology enabled by social development. And it sells itself using socialist benefits. That is why we have government, taxes, courts and laws. In the Randroid theory all of these things are a hindrance to the well being of the greedy. But the greedy would not have the riches to pillage without all this “inefficient” socialism to build up society and the economy. These greedy should properly use the totally undeveloped reference state for their baseline since there would not be any human society if humans behaved like bears.


        1. “Rand underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1974 after decades of heavy smoking.[97] In 1976, she retired from writing her newsletter and, despite her initial objections, she allowed social worker Evva Pryor, an employee of her attorney, to enroll her in ***Social Security and Medicare.***[98][99] During the late 1970s her activities within the Objectivist movement declined, especially after the death of her husband on November 9, 1979.[100] One of her final projects was work on a never-completed television adaptation of Atlas Shrugged.”


    4. Actually Milton Friedman is lying through his teeth, quelle surprise. Albert Einstein studied at a premier state institution: die Eidgenossische Technische Universität Zürich, then was hampered in going further into physics in part by the very limited number of funded academic jobs and had to work as a patent attorney until he achieved enough fame to get a proper acadademic position. And in any case he was only able to develop his general theory to its full extent (1916) after much support from the Imperial German government as member of the Prussian Academy of the Sciences.


  5. Friedman was just parsing Mandeville 1705’s poem ‘The Fable of the Bees’ (and neither, in my view, was entirely wrong – greed does incentivize):

    T h e Root of Evil, Avarice,
    That damn’d ill-natur’d baneful Vice,
    Was Slave to Prodigality,
    That noble Sin; whilst Luxury
    Employ’d a Million of the Poor,
    And odious Pride a Million more:
    Envy it self, and Vanity,
    Were Ministers of Industry;
    Their darling Folly, Fickleness,
    In Diet, Furniture and Dress,
    That strange ridic’lous Vice, was made
    The very Wheel that turn’d the Trade.
    Their Laws and Clothes were equally
    Objects of Mutability;
    For, what was well done for a time,
    In half a Year became a Crime;
    Yet while they alter’d thus their Laws,
    Still finding and correcting Flaws,
    They mended by Inconstancy
    Faults, which no Prudence could foresee.

    T h u s Vice nurs’d Ingenuity,
    Which join’d with Time and Industry,
    Had carry’d Life’s Conveniencies
    It’s real Pleasures, Comforts, Ease,
    To such a Height, the very Poor
    Liv’d better than the Rich before,
    And nothing could be added more.


    1. It’s certainly true that not all the great accomplishments are the result of altruism, perhaps not even half. And I suppose if I had to qualify it, I would say it is safe in a process for the workers to be motivated by greed, if they must have a selfish motivation. But if the overall controller of the effort is motivated by greed and the ‘product’ is something everyone needs, some will surely have to go without because they will not be able to afford it.


      1. One has to consider the whole timeline of social evolution and not just the instantaneous events of recent history. Various scientists back 200 years ago sponsored by the rich and engaged in selfish pursuits would not be there in the first place if the only parameter driving human “progress” was greed. There would be no rich either since they depend on the conformity of the masses (peasants) to get rich. Randroid theories are not relevant for humans and in fact not relevant for anything.


        1. Relevant for a New World emigrée escaping from a tyrannical regime, where individual freedom was oppressed, allegedly, and a good pitch to make oneself well known and, thereby, enable oneself to make money in “The Land of the Free”.


          1. Rand was living in a socialist construct called society while she spewed her inanities. Even laissez-faire oligopolist/coporatist USA is a form of socialism. They just pretend they aren’t. The US and every other country would not exist without group coherence and action. Listen to all the yapping about freedom and democracy and the wealthy American dream and you see socialist propaganda. It is aimed at the proletariat to motivate them to conform and work hard. That a parasite class uses these masses to get rich does not invalidate the underlying dynamics that generate society in the first place. Societies are all about collectivism and public good. Nobody would volunteer to be a citizen of some slave plantation where only the owner had any rights. But that is exactly the shite that Rand was peddling.


    2. There is confusion about what the actual “7 deadly sins” are, and what are their definitions.
      For example, some people say “Greed” and some say “Avarice”. There is a technical difference between the two concepts, but I am not sure what it is.
      There is also a confusion between “Envy” and “Jealousy”.
      And much confusion surrounding the concept of “Pride”. Many modern people consider “Pride” to be a positive virtue, not a sin. As in “Pride Week”, or the like.
      Jane Austen considered “Pride” to be a negative characteristic, synonym with “contumely”.
      Everybody agrees that “Gluttony” and “Lust” are sins, no second thoughts there…


      1. The difference between greed and avarice is that greed, being the more commonly used term, is more general and vague in its meaning whereas avarice has a more specific meaning of intense and compulsive greed and has connotations of rapacity. As one of the 7 Deadly Sins, Avarice is the more correct concept.

        In this context as well (of the 7 Deadly Sins), Pride refers to arrogance and belief in one’s own superiority over others.

        Gluttony and Lust refer to the extreme and compulsive over-indulgence of the senses, to the point where they become dulled and the person who indulges in gluttony and lust needs more heightened and more extreme experiences to obtain the same levels of satisfaction. Notice how such indulgence becomes an addiction that virtually rules the person’s life.


        1. Texting all day non-stop with smart phones should be one of the 7 deadlies!

          The metro here is full of people (mostly women) doing this. Sometimes they are so bloody busy talking about fuck-all non-stop, that when the doors open, they’re still at it and you can’t get on or off.

          Time was when folk on the metro read books.

          I am grown too old for this world!


          1. Agree; and compulsively taking Selfies with one’s phone should also be the 8th Deadly sin.
            Although maybe this fits into the category of “Vanity”.
            Speaking of which, some people say that “Vanity” rather than “Pride” is the deadly sin.
            As in the movie Bedazzled , I mean the original one with Dudley Moore, not the remake.
            In that movie, the 7 sins are: Lust, Vanity, Anger, Envy, Gluttony, Avarice and Sloth.

            I don’t think Pride is actually a sin, depending. It could just mean just a feeling of satisfaction or self-worth that one has accomplished something.
            Whereas Vanity, as Pushkin noted, is more like a fascination with the notion of celebrity.


      2. Envy and jealousy were explained to me by my first Spanish teacher by reference to the iron bars over street level windows.
        The person outside, looks in with envy while the guy inside is jealous of what’s his own.
        It didn’t hurt that the name of the set of bars in Spanish is “celosía.”


        1. Shakespeare’s definition of “jealousy” is different, when he lays out Othello’s essential character flaw. Othello suffers from compulsive sexual jealousy, he can’t trust his wife, never lets her out of his sight, and believes every possible rumor about her, that she is having an affair, etc.

          Meanwhile, Iago is the very definition of “envy” — he envies Othello because the Moor got the promotion that he (=Iago) wanted. He wants to have what Othello has, i.e., the promotion.


                1. To be sure these two officers had fought together in the Sicilian Navy. But I heard that Othello, as an Arab, was very modest and insisted on taking his shower alone. He would shower behind a rubber curtain, then quickly slip on a bathrobe before Iago could get a load of the crown jewels.


    1. Capitalists couldn’t exist without society. Society is not capitalist by definition.

      If you try to look for non-socialist utopias, then you run into slave plantations such as sugar cane harvesting and coal mining (American coal mines were de facto slave plantations where the owners controlled the workers down to their choice of food).


  6. Nothing to do with Russia specifically, but USA! USA! USA!
    DNA Money via Neowin: Microsoft has been sharing Indian bank customers’ data with U.S. intelligence agencies

    …In the Office 365 contract, the banks agreed to share such data only if it was sanctioned by the Government of India or an Indian court. The contract also made provisions for gag orders issued by the U.S. agencies, where Microsoft wouldn’t be allowed to outwardly acknowledge the disclosure of the user data. Per one of the banks,..

    More at the link.

    Yet again, you wonder if anyone considered the consequences of such information becoming public and even if they did, didn’t care.

    I read the other day (ZeroHedge?) that the NSA’s plan was to surveille the whole world. I was a skeptical about the depth of the claim it until I saw the news above. This is the price of doing any business with the United States.


  7. Mark..just a reminder
    (You yesterday):
    “The reality is much different, and the United States has never fought a war of self-defense, not once, unless you count the Civil War, which was an all-American effort with no foreign enemy. It has always been the attacker, in one context or another, ”

    Umm…That’s not quite true considering the War of 1812 (well sorta) and December 7 ,1941 (definitely)


    1. Yes; how could I have forgotten Pearl Harbor? Perhaps I should have said “The continental United States”, as there was little danger of a war in Hawaii spreading to that extent, and very likely the Japanese intended to strike Hawaii to destroy the naval units there as well as fighter aircraft on the ground. They certainly knew better than to attack, say, New York.

      I should also have qualified the ‘never’ as a modern war; America in the 1800’s could probably attack another country, but logistics of the day likely prevented it from being much of a surprise. Regardless my errors in that respect, I think I can make a case that America has been the aggressor in the great majority of cases, and knows that role considerably better than that of defender.


      1. The Japanese did try an eccentric bombing campaign from mid-1944 to mid-1945 by sending hot-air balloons carrying small bombs into the upper atmosphere where air currents would (theoretically) blow them across the North Pacific and into North America. About 10,000 such balloons were launched but 9,000 never reached the continent. Most of those that did got washed up on beaches in Alaska and western Canada. A few did reach the US and ended up in the Rockies where they caused forest fires. Two balloons apparently got as far as Texas and Michigan.

        The US govt knew about this bombing campaign and advised the news media to completely ignore the balloon bombs, at least until one bomb reached Oregon in May 1945 and was found by a group of five children and a young pregnant woman in a bush during a Sunday church picnic. The bomb exploded and killed them all. Only after this incident did the US govt finally admit it had known about the Japanese bombing campaign. By then, the Japanese had discontinued sending these bombs because – after scouring US news media and finding nothing about them – they decided these bombs were a complete failure.

        The six victims remain the only war casualties killed by a foreign power on US soil. The widowed husband of the pregnant woman became a missionary in Vietnam where he was captured by the Viet Cong. He was never seen again.


        1. The six victims remain the only war casualties killed by a foreign power on US soil.

          No they’re not!

          As I mentioned before, there was the War of 1812, when the British Army killed US citizens on US soil. In fact, the British torched Washington D.C. in retaliation for US armed forces setting York 9now Toronto) alight.

          Roughly 15,000 Americans died as a result of the War of 1812. Roughly 8,600 British and Canadian soldiers died from battle or disease.


          1. Sorry, I should have said those six Americans were the only war casualties killed by a foreign power in the continental United States (ie, excluding Hawaii) in the 20th century or during World War II.


        2. Yes, I remember we discussed these once before, on the old blog. The ones which reached western Canada were incendiaries, intended to start forest fires. There’s one not ten miles from me now, in the Fort Rodd Hill museum.

          This photo is from the BC Aviation Museum, but the display was on loan from Fort Rodd Hill. It’s also possible all these balloon bombs were the same, because an anti-personnel bomb is included; it’s the grey cylinder at the bottom center. It could have been that which exploded and killed the Americans.

          They were actually quite a brilliant piece of engineering for the time, containing an altimeter device to sense height and presumably set off the incendiaries when the balloon made landfall. That they reached their destination is testimony to the validity of the idea.


          1. This intact balloon bomb is in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa:

            My understanding is that each balloon bomb carried two bombs or two sets of bombs: the main bomb would cause damage and the secondary bomb would explode afterwards to destroy what remained of the first bomb, so that investigators would be unable to determine where the bombs had come from.

            The balloon bomb idea was really ingenious for the time, because it was based on the realisation that ocean currents are influenced by wind currents. In the Northern Hemisphere, the major ocean currents flow in a clockwise direction and this means in the North Pacific they flow from Japan east to western North America. People in the Japanese Imperial Forces realised that wind currents in the upper atmosphere would travel in the same direction.


            The bombs probably would have been more effective as both physical and psychological weapons if they had carried anthrax spores. The Japanese had been conducting bioweapons experiments in Manchuria (in the notorious Unit 731 facility) and would have known that anthrax spores can survive in very extreme cold environments.


    2. What about 1812? Those limp-wristed, tea-drinking faggots from the UK waged war in the USA in the eonymous war, attacked Washington successfully, Baltimore (a flop) and New Orleans (a total cock-up in grand, British style).


      1. Perhaps, but America did not fight a war of self-defense, in America, over it – instead, it used the event as an excuse to attack Iraq. Comes to that, America did not fight a war of self-defense in America over Pearl Harbor, either – it contributed forces to fight the Axis powers on their own soil and helped tear up Europe, although I don’t think anyone blames them for that. It’s kind of hard to fight a war without busting the place up. So I guess my original statement still stands.

        Also, America benefited greatly from the outcome of World War II, although it paid a great sacrifice in human lives. The country was untouched by war and left with all its industries intact, plus employment opportunities that would be unimaginable today. It was left to America – and Canada, to be fair, which was also untouched itself by the war – to rebuild Europe. But the USA used it also to gain control of the global economy with the world’s reserve currency, and almost immediately began to maneuver to keep former ally Russia from any sort of global role.


        1. There is the concept of “hot pursuit” – namely, if somebody attacks you, then you are allowed to chase them across the border and tear up their place. I reckon this is America’s excuse for what they did to Japan.
          As for 9/11, if America had followed the policy of “hot pursuit”, then they would have bombed Riyadh back to the stone age.


          1. Which raises again the question, “What did America know, and when did it know it?” And it seems pretty clear from all the available evidence that America knew very early on – certainly long before the decision to attack Iraq – that The Kingdom was responsible. And made a conscious decision, knowing that fact, to use it to shape a new narrative which would allow it to redirect its energies against a country which bore no responsibility at all, and for entirely different purposes. That tends to get lost in the background noise.


    1. The Atlantic article is very good, and does a much better job than this one of illustrating the conundrum presented by business giants who have done great charitable works with their wealth and greatly benefited the common social condition, but sweated their workers and quickly broke strikes for better working conditions, as exemplified by Andrew Carnegie.


  8. Oh shit!

    Russia is in BIG trouble:

    Russia will pay a very high price for its actions, if it continues to behave the same way as it has done recently, said the British foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt during a speech at the research Institute “Policy Exchange” on the role of his country in world politics after its exit from the EU.

    I’m f*ckin’ tellin’ ya! Pack it in — or else!

    See: Глава британского МИДа пригрозил России «очень высокой ценой»

    “Until recently, I believed that Russia wanted to be part of the international legal system. We were very excited about the possibilities of entirely new relations with Russia in comparison with those that were during the former Soviet Union, but then there was the invasion in 2008 of Georgia, in 2014 of the Crimea; there were cyber attacks and an attack using chemical weapons in Salisbu — Hunt.

    Source: RIA Novosti

    Reallly, Jeremy?

    That a fact?

    Well, I suppose it must be if you say so. I mean, you really know what you are talking about, don’t you, when you are waffling away …

    Fluckin iriot!

    By the way, I’ve just been teaching two very nice Chinese ladies this morning. They’re both hot — and smart! They both got more than 90% in their final English test that I gave them last week — and I’m a hard master: I don’t give easy tests. Train hard and play easy is my motto!

    Trouble is, they’re in Shanghai, so I have to get up at 04:30 in order to start teaching them at 11:30 Shanghai time.

    My Chinese students work at the Sibur petrochemicals company.

    Did you hear that, Trump, you moron?

    Oh, and they don’t talk in that fluckin’ iriot spoof Chinese way that I wrote above.


    1. In reality, it is Britain which will pay a very high price, post-Brexit – for its gas. Or it certainly could, were Russia to decide to make it difficult. Or else it could buy Uncle Sugar’s super-cheap LNG. No doubt a sweetheart deal could be cut for the Special Relationship.

      Perhaps you had better sit down before you read the first paragraph of this article; your resulting roar of laughter may knock you off your pins.

      “Brexit will free the UK to intensify its crackdown on dirty money sloshing through the City of London because the authorities will no longer have to win the approval of the rest of the EU.”

      Oh, so it was Britain’s team-player efforts to win the EU’s APPROVAL that caused it to play host to oligarchs and gold-diggers of every stripe; well, what a fucking revelation that is. If that were the case, why did the aforementioned oligarchs, crooks and gold-diggers not go directly to the rest of the EU, like France or Germany, where they knew they would feel more welcomed? You know why – because Germany and France don’t have Britain’s dog’s-hind-leg-crooked banks and offshores. Jesus, what a crock. Britain has become a grotesque caricature of what it was.


      1. I bet these squeaky clean morality clowns will claim that the UK never used privateers (aka pirates) to loot and harass the Spanish in the New World.

        The City of London is a dirty money laundering center since forever. Anyone claiming otherwise is a stupid joke.


    2. Russia is not the the UK’s National Health Service (which he has helped to try and destroy in his previous incarnation as Health Minister).

      It is interesting though that while he’s bleating on (as the UK no longer has any meaningful foreign policy muscle within the EU), the Danes, the Dutch & the Norgies are picking up the UK’s slack as Washington’s foreign policy chihuahua and peddling Mossad intel as I-ranian hitjobs as MoA has just covered.


  9. Going back for a moment to the church thing we were talking about a couple of weeks ago, Kiev now gives clerics a choice – would you like to be branded a traitor, or a Russian agent? Gee; tough choice.

    What happened to the conciliatory statement by Filaret that there was still, of course, naturellement, a place in Ukraine for the Russian Orthodox Church, and this was not in any way an attempt to drive it out of Ukraine? No, my, No; every man must make his choice.

    Well, turns out the new church must not be very impressed with the lack of flocking to its banner. Because now if you are priest of an orthodox church in Ukraine, you must either join the new church and be branded a renegade by your followers, or maintain your current loyalty and be branded a Russian agent. After which, of course, one of those ‘love trains’ will show up filled with wide boys in balaclavas, and they’ll bust the place up.


    1. Banderatards can eat those churches. It will not save them from flushing into the toilet of economic oblivion. No industrial state can survive total de-industrialization without some alternative economic development. Banderastan has an irrelevant amount of such development. The population can also not all go back to the farm since there is simply no space there and nowhere near enough jobs for 30 million people. Unless we are talking about subsistence agriculture.


  10. Speaking of Ukraine, the Russian sanctions against Ukraine have been announced. Predictably, Poroshenko considers them to be ‘an award’, or so he says. I don’t know why he feels qualified to speak for those so honoured, since he was not on the list.

    Trade between Russia and Ukraine hit a low of $10.26 Billion in 2016, but struggled back up to $12.9 Billion last year. Mind you, pre-glorious-Maidan it was more than $50 Billion annually. Never mind; I’m sure Yurrup will pick up the slack, just like it did after the glorious Maidan. Amazingly, the New York Times is still referring to Poroshenko as a ‘chocolate tycoon’, in the same sentence in which it calls Viktor Pinchuk an oligarch.

    I’m sure Porky is not so delighted with the sanctions as he lets on, since they not only freeze some Ukrainian assets in Russia (but notably not his), but also make it more difficult for Ukrainians working in Russia to send their wages home to Ukraine.

    Hurry up and get that election rolling, Ukraine, so Sir Elton can sing a version of “Candle In The Wind” for Poroshenko before one of them dies.


  11. New UN Ambassador

    State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert was offered the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations,
    Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts shared the emerging report on Twitter, writing: “Senior Administration Official tells Fox News that @statedeptspox Heather Nauert has been offered the job of UN Ambassador.”

    Nauert, a former Fox News journalist, will replace current U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who abruptly announced in early October that she will exit the administration at the end of the year.

    //Trump really is a clown – appointing yet another person, who will just read prepared scripts. //


    1. Incredible! Great catch, and I very much agree she will be just another talking head and overt bully for American interests. It’s interesting to speculate, though, who in the American administration would actually make a good UN Ambassador. All the Republican politicians seem to feel as Trump does – that you have to show everyone the American big stick, and they’ll back down – while all the Democrats are fixated on getting Trump out of office. There’s actually not a statesman in the bunch other than Trey Gowdy, and he affects to believe all that Russia-hacked-our-election bullshit.

      Again, good early catch of a news story that doubtless will be of interest to everyone; well done.


  12. The news concerning privatising a titanum manufacturer is quite interesting.

    Yet another confirmation of the reflection that the current situation in the Ukraine resembles the 1990s in Russia. 😉

    As long as Friedman’s views on people are concerned, as someone who has recently read Maslow’s “Motivation and personality”, I see them to be totally inadequate. If anything, they describe a psychopathologic person. Because,
    “The perfectly healthy, normal, fortunate man has no sex needs or hunger needs, or needs for safety, or for love, or for prestige, or self-esteem, except in stray moments of quickly passing threat.”

    And as such, could not be motivated by greed most of the time. Moreover,

    “Abnormal psychology should not be limited to the study of schizophrenia, but should also include such subjects as cynicism, authoritarianism, anhedonia, the loss of values, prejudice, hatred, greed, selfishness, and the like. These are _the_ serious diseases from the point of view of values. … What we should study from the point of view of positive and value-oriented psychology are those disturbances that make men bad or limited in the value sense. Cynicism, then, is certainly more important socially than depression.”


    1. That’s funny; it never occurred to me that the west would try to repeat the debacle it unleashed in Russia in the early 90’s. But now that you’ve said it, the conclusion seems unavoidable. I wonder if the consequences will be similar – life expectancy for Russian men fell by 8 years during the period that Yeltsin handed Russia over to the Harvard Boys and the western economists. But it seems to me – and I could be wrong, I’d need to research it and this is just an impression – that most Russians stayed anyway, to stick it out and try to get past it as best they could. Whereas a large number of Ukrainians are voting with their feet for Poroshenko’s westernizin’ boogie, and departing for Russia or Poland.

      Maslow must have written that first paragraph after trying crack for the first time, because it bears no resemblance to the rest of his theorizing. He believed – with some justification, I suppose – that if you started with absolutely nothing, no food, no clothes, all alone, then your needs were simple: shelter, warmth, food, water. Of course sex and love went to the back burner under those circumstances, along with prestige and self-esteem. I can’t remember them all in order, but the Canadian military teaches Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in leadership training, to make the point that leaders need to consider the environment in which the group is operating so as to predict and meet the needs of subordinates so they will remain an effective force.

      Once man’s immediate needs for shelter, warmth, food and water are satisfied with some degree of permanence, then and only then does he start getting more ambitious. Greed is way up there on the pyramid, and pretty much every one of your basic needs must be not only met but guaranteed before you can think about getting greedy. Not that a man will not take food from another if he has none; but that’s not greed – that’s desperation. In fact, an easy definition of greed might be the compulsion to take something from someone else when you don’t really need it. ‘Need’ and ‘greed’ just might be mutually exclusive.


      1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is taught in business and organisation studies as well. Employers need to understand that people doing the same work can have different motivations and what motivates one person will not necessarily motivate another. Also a person’s motivation changes over a life-time so we can’t assume that what works on a 25-year-old will still work when s/he is 35, 45 or 55 years old. Motivation need not be restricted to obvious material rewards like a bigger pay packet, a bigger desk or one’s own office plus a company car.

        At a very basic level, people need material things like food, shelter and the means to obtain these (which in modern society means having money which in turn means having a job). Over time as people satisfy their material needs, then social needs become paramount and these are considered higher level than material needs. Social needs not only refer to having friends and family but also a network of support when one might be advancing in one’s career. Beyond social needs, higher level needs include esteem and fulfilling one’s need to be creative or to be the best that one can be in a chosen field of endeavour.

        This was Maslow’s original hierarchy of needs and motivations. He and other psychologists added self-transcendence (giving beyond one’s immediate family and networks, to others not related to oneself) and some psychologists have argued the whole hierarchy needs to be organised so that needs focused on the self (such as basic physical needs, esteem and self-actualisation) are lower level needs compared to needs focused on continuing one’s family line or service to the community.

        One issue though is that at any level of the hierarchy beyond the lowest level of material need, personal greed can be a dominant drive just as much as selflessness can be. Some people become politicians out of personal ambition and others become politicians because doing so is their way of serving a community. One might suppose the first person is motivated by greed and the second not. But the first person might be acting due to realising that politics is his/her way of being the best s/he can be and the second could acting as much for egocentric reasons as for reasons of altruism. Even in capitalist societies, personal competition might mean delivering apparent community service such as spending more on public works than the next politician or party does.


        1. Indeed — I have quoted out of the context. 😦 Which was (for the first quote) that satisfied needs disappear and stop bothering you. And since a healthy normal person is supposed to be able to satisfy one’s basic needs, he’s no longer motivated by them.

          I sort of guessed that that quote would raise eyebrows — perhaps I shouldn’t have posted in a rush. ^_^

          That said, one of Maslow’s points about what characterises a healthy person is the ability to resolve contradictions. There are no innate contradictions between the public good and the self-interest, the egoism and the altruism. It’s perfectly possible to behave in a way which serves the both ends simultaneously.

          So, presuming that there’s no way to resolve the contradiction — that it’s either a naked self-interest, or a selfless devotion to the society — seems to be a sign of an immature mind.

          That said, while writing about the ability to resolve contradictions, Maslow hasn’t specifically mentioned public servants. It’s more like a general point. I presume, a debate on the desired qualifications of public servants should be a little more nuanced. 😉

          p.s. I’ve read Maslow because his book was on the list of suggested “psychology classics” books for educating yourself about psychology. Right after James, Freud, Adler and Berne:

          Evo-lutio is a Russian psychologist who seems to be pursuing Maslow’s dream of creating the society of healthy people.


          1. I would disagree with Maslow there, and suggest that basic needs are so precisely because they are recurring – the need to feed oneself does not disappear just because you have had a meal, and will re-manifest itself as soon as you exceed a certain period without eating. The need for shelter will be felt again the first time you get too drunk to make it home, and sleep in the bushes. I would agree they become subordinated to higher needs as soon as you achieve a reasonable expectation that the basic needs will continue to be satisfied – like, as Jen suggests, getting a job which pays a salary which is sufficient to maintain a standard. But they never disappear, which is probably why we feel such panic when confronted with the possibility of losing our jobs.


      2. Mark, thanks for your reply!

        Regarding your point that greed is the desire to take something from someone else you don’t really need…

        I presume — your point was that it differs from merely being ambitious, right? Not just becoming the best, but making sure that other people cannot advance to your position.

        It’s pretty much screwed up when a person with a psychopathology occupies the top position in the society. In that sense, one’s mental health can become a legitimate concern for unrelated people.

        I’ve read some time ago Petr Aven’s book on Berezovsky. In particular, various friends of Berezovsky have shared his desire to be a shadow leader of Russia. He was a man of great ambitions. But he presumed that he could not become a president of Russia — because of the presumed anti-semitism of the Russian people. So he decided he would be a de-facto ruler without becoming a formal leader.

        Of course, when Putin gained popularity, there was no place for Berezovsky to get that kind of a position. Which made him lead the opposition to Putin in the hopes to quickly get rid of him. Which did not work out.

        Well — I’m not a professional — but that sort of a reasoning screams of a psychopathology. I’m deficient in some way, so I must become the best of the best to compensate for my deficiency — that’s the classic inferiority complex, described by Adler.


        1. I have mentioned this long ago about Berezovsky, but I shall repeat:

          More than 20 years ago I became acquainted here with a top analyst at the Bank of Russia. He had been a mathematics Wunderkind (his father was a maths professor), and had arrived here from a Soviet Republic when he was in his early teens so as to study at MGU. That would have been in the mid- 80s, about the time when Berzovsky received his doctorate in mathematics. My acquaintance had subsequently become well acquainted with Berezovsky before the latter had set off on his criminal carreer in car dealership in the early 90s and before he had eventually become “The Godfather of the Kremlin”.

          Berezovsky was already well ensconced in the Kremlin by 1997, when I became acquainted with this analyst, whom I was teaching English. (Not teaching, really: he was already fluent. It was just conversational practice that I gave him.) One day, our conversation led to discussing Berezovsky and others of his ilk.

          My acquaintance then told me that he had known Berezovsky well and that he was an “immoral man”.

          I immediately thought that my acquaintance was talking about sexual immorality. Thereupon, my interlocutor corrected me, saying that he wasn’t talking about sexual immorality, that he meant that Berezovsky had no morals, no moral values, whatsoever; that there was only one thing that was of paramount importance to Berzovsky: himself and his needs.

          So I said, “You mean that, in your opinion, Berezovsky was amoral?”

          “Exactly!” said my acquaintance.


          1. Such Randite ubermenschen clearly do not create any wealth and value in society. They are nothing but parasites that exist only because socialists who care about community and social good are building up society (including the economy). People confuse transient catabolic processes as fundamental wealth generating, constructive ones. It should be said that truth is the first casualty of politics.


        2. Yes, it seems – from subsequent opinions – that it is more complicated than first impressions suggest. For example, and as discussed, the difference between pride and satisfaction in a job well done. Perfect humility should prevent any person from seeking to hold the top position in any profession if it is clear that that person merits it because he or she is better at whatever it is, but there is no such thing in humanity as perfect humility. But surely nobody could be encouraged to produce anything to the very highest standard if they could not be proud of their work?

          I suppose music could serve as an example; suppose you are a great guitarist, maybe the best at your discipline. Surely it should be enough if you are willing to make the time to show anyone who asks how a particular piece was played, act as their instructor and fairly critique their effort, so that they have every opportunity possible to play it as well as you did? Considering it was you who developed it yourself? I would think in those circumstances you would be as humble and self-effacing as it is possible to be, allowing that if one is obliged to honour a gift (such as being able to play better than anyone else) by displaying it.

          It remains an interesting and complex philosophical question.


  13. A quite important for every Kremlin stooge article (in Russian):

    It reports on Putin’s speech on the “Vsemirny Russky Narodny Sobor” where he explained what does he view as the current Russian ideology (as an actor on the global stage).

    In short – every civilization is unique (but not exceptional) and every one is important and this diversity should be the basis for a multipolar world where everyone respects each other.

    Perhaps Yalensis could take to translate it? Well, it, or any other article related to the speech.


    1. Thanks for suggestion, Aule. I’ll see if I have time to do some translation tomorrow. if I do, and if there is interest, then I will post on my blog, with a link from Mark’s blog here.
      Meanwhile, I found this youtube vide of Putin’s remarks:

      At first blush, looks like your standard project attempting to replace Communist ideology with religion, in vain attempt to “unify” Russian society…. across class lines… pardon my cynicism…. heh heh…


      1. Perhaps… I’m not a fan of such attempts myself, being a hardline secularist.

        That’s why I chose an article that focuses on international, not intranational, implications of the speech, to post here 🙂


        1. Hi, Aule, Happy to meet a fellow secularist!

          Anyhow, Akopov raises all these various issues, even makes the distinction between the intra-national (with its religious component) and the inter-national elements of the “new ideology”. It is certainly a worthy topic for review, so thanks for the suggestion. I just posted Part I of my review, for the edification of the Stooges. Will have to continue tomorrow. Explanation: I only have time for blogging in a couple of hours in the early morning, before heading off to work! Almost time to go now, in fact. I actually love to write and to translate, but my day job is what brings home the bacon…


  14. “Since the restoration of capitalism in 1991, the overall population of Ukraine has declined from just over 52 million to approximately 42 million today, a decrease of nearly 20 percent. If the separatist-controlled provinces of the Donbass region and Crimea are excluded, it is estimated that just 35 million people now live in the area controlled by the government of Petro Such data are a testament to the monumental failure of capitalism to provide a standard of living that matches, much less exceeds, that which existed during the Soviet period over 25 years ago.”

    “While the country’s low birth rate of approximately 1 birth for 1.5 deaths is a contributing factor to the country’s depopulation, emigration is by far the biggest factor.

    Between 2002 and 2017, an estimated 6.3 million Ukrainians emigrated with no plans to return.

    Facing poor employment prospects, deteriorating social and medical services, marauding far-right gangs, and the ever-present prospect of a full-scale war with Russia, Ukrainian workers are fleeing the country in great numbers, either permanently or as temporary labor migrants.

    According to a report from the Center for Economic Strategy (CES), almost 4 million people, or up to 16% of the working-age population, are labor migrants. Despite having Ukrainian citizenship and still technically living in Ukraine, they actually reside and work elsewhere. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put the number of Ukrainian migrant workers even higher, at 5 million.”


    1. The current population of Ukraine is officially 37 million. But there this number is dubious since the mass migration of Ukrainians out of Banderastan (millions of them) is not properly accounted for. They are not considered to have left the country even if they have a high probability of never coming back. It is true that some fraction will come back, but the further that Banderastan swirls into the toilet bowl of failed statehood (an industrial economy fully de-industrializing) the less this fraction will be. Unofficial estimates put the Banderastan population at around 30 million.



    What rubbish. Russian wheat exports have not been the result of sanctions after 2014. Russia became a major global exporter of wheat after 2000. The rest of this article is wishful thinking BS. I have yet to see any of the alleged negative impacts of sanctions. This includes the financial sector and the cut-off from NATzO and associated bank borrowing. Even if some of these changes have imposed short term pain, they are essential for Russia’s security and financial industry development.

    So the US is going to use the Skripal hoax to proclaim Russia non compliant with the chemical and biological weapons disarmament treaty. What the holy fuck. Russia destroyed all of its chemical weapons stock as of 2017 while the US is still sitting on a substantial fraction of its original stocks. This is verified by the OPCW.

    Just bring it you retarded Yankee fucks. Your knowledge of Russia consists of cold war cartoons and wishful thinking delusions. Your racist hate blinds you to Russian reality. Your self-annointed exceptionalism makes you retards and dangerous ones.


    1. I don’t think they said Russia was not a major wheat exporter prior to sanctions; it always has been since the Second World War and maybe before that. But Russia has concentrated on agricultural self-sufficiency since sanctions were imposed, and has stepped up its agricultural game; it now has more wheat to sell.

      The authors merely suggest that sanctions have played hell with western investments in Russia, and it would be foolish to suggest that’s not true because the Trump administration has specifically threatened to punish western investors in Russia by denying them access to the US market. Many are obeying, but growing increasingly chagrined at having to pass up opportunity. So, for one thing, if the USA denies investors the opportunities to invest in Russia, it must offer them increased access to the US market; nobody is going to be satisfied with simply keeping their current market share in America while passing up other opportunities to make profits. So that weakens the market share of domestic producers, which is the opposite of what Trump promised. If that doesn’t happen, it gets increasingly difficult to rein in foreign partners who have money to invest by nowhere to put it. Remember, America is carrying on a trade war with China at the same time, and that spells o.v.e.r.r.e.a.c.h.

      For another, in addition to building enmity against Brand America for its high-handedness (though few dare to disobey), the authors only discussed western investment. Is that all there is? Of course not. Asian investment is gaining, and if western investors are eventually permitted back in – or simply overrun the disobedience threshold – they may find that many of the best opportunities are already gone to Asian investors. Chinese investment is still nascent, and that’s perhaps a good thing because Chinese investors often demand preferential treatment. But Japan, India and Turkey are all major investors.

      Some investors will foresee – correctly, I think – that the sanctions regime cannot last forever, or even for very long. The USA can’t keep it up. Several scenarios are possible; if it runs into insurmountable problems such as European rebellion, America may declare victory and lift the sanctions. Bear in mind that its firm support of Britain is about to become moot to European compliance as a whole, as Britain leaves the EU. Prospective European partners may simply adopt a policy of creeping disobedience, and invest at first in venues which have low national-security consequences, so as not to arouse American ire, gradually pushing to open up more investment (although, as I said, they may find many opportunities already walled off). Or it could flash into war, which the USA appears to desire and to be angling for. In all cases, the sanctions cannot be maintained unless the USA is prepared to police all its allies constantly to ensure their compliance, and bear the increasing dislike for their doing so.

      But the eventual lifting of sanctions may not come as such a great relief, because Russian reaction seems to have been both swift and effective, to say nothing of resilient. Sanctions may be inhibiting economic growth, but they are not stopping it and Russia’s trade relationships are altering in fundamental ways that are less and less susceptible to American meddling. Simply put, the longer the USA keeps up the sanctions regime, the more difficult it is for America to enforce them and the more costly it is for America.

      “When it comes to consistency, you need to look no further than the Central Bank of Russia. Following the imposition of sanctions, the central bank continued to opt for a more orthodox policy response than was initially expected. This has allowed Russia’s currency to act as a shock-absorber, and it has worked. The ruble sold off almost 75% in 2015 and inflation at the end of this year could be as low as 7%. Russia continues to pay its debts despite having its market access severely restricted under sanctions and as a result the government’s external debt has approximately halved in the past two years (falling to $31.5 billion).”

      That was in 2016.


  16. Oh dear, the Kursk disaster is given some Belgian produced euroluv and shown recently at the Toronto Film Festival:

    If only the cold hearted, evil Russian bureaucrats had accepted western help from Colin Firth..


    1. Note the the Russian Orthodox calendar behind of them, which lists feast days, fasting days and, apparently, knocking-back-vodka days as well.

      In fact, I suspect they are celebrating some orthodox feast. Or they have just come home from church.

      When I used to go Russian Orthodox church, after stand for bloody hours, I and other boozers use to have breakfast, which always ended up as a serious session. This was after some of us had received prichastiye [причастие] — the eucharist — as well, myself included.

      It was the same when I lived in the UK. I used to go church at 11 a.m. and then, when I got the message Ite missa est, it was off to the boozer for a mad, 2-hour Sunday session. Pubs used only to open on Sundays at 12 noon then and close at 2 p.m.. Then it was misery for the rest of the day, waiting for opening time at 7 p.m.

      However, having since returned to the religion of my forefathers, I feel much better for it.


      There is a boozer’s saint here in Russia, as a matter of fact. His shrine is in a monastery abot 80 miles south of Moscow and pilgrims visit it to kiss his icon and pray to be cured from necking rocket fuel morning, noon and night.


    2. As a matter of fact, I’m sure the old women above are drinking Kagor, Russian church wine, unconsecrated of course.

      They’ve probably nicked it.

      They look like the types who are always lurking around the dark recesses of orthodox churches, ever on the watch for infringements of the rules, and who often busy themselves by removing dead flowers and burnt out animal-fat tapers that have been guttering away in front of icons.


  17. A very interesting Power Point presentation by Jeremy Leggett (full disclosure, a committed advocate of solar power). One of the many money shots, slide 14: “A summary of the finances of fracked gas in the USA since the dawn of the shale boom” (2007-2016)

    “Income has been half costs plus borrowing, and rapid production declines won’t allow bonds to be repaid”.


  18. The Visegrad Four meet for another pointless round of chittering and squeaking about Nord Stream II, the Great Threat To Europe, including the rolling out of discredited old chestnuts like the existing pipeline only runs at half-capacity – what does Europe need another one for?

    If it’s okay to just make shit up – and obviously it is, because Nord Stream I ran at over 90% capacity all last year – Russia should respond by saying it does not discuss serious issues like pipelines with leaders who wear their wives’ clothes in private. I mean, you don’t have to prove fuck-all anymore, you just open your mouth and let it out.

    Getting that pipeline built may be Mutti Merkel’s last gasp; I read that she is stepping down as party leader, and will not run for re-election. What an ignominious departure for the erstwhile Chancellor Of The Free World; the west once had such hopes for Merkel, or pretended it did. Never mind; make her Chairman of the Board of Rosatom or something. The papers were full of how, with failing hands, she throws the torch to Emmanuel Micron, be it his to hold it high; Dear Gott. He can’t even run his own country effectively. But Washington always has to have a European love-dolly to swoon over.


    1. Micron is building on the public awareness of him since he first came to fame as one of the representatives of the Lollipop Guild. Here’s one of the steps on his journey to the top:


  19. The Duran
    Published on 2 Nov 2018
    The Duran – News in Review – Episode 144.

    The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018.

    Why Norway? How will Russia react? What are the chances that such brazen military exercises on Russia’s border lead the world closer towards real conflict?


    1. As Sleboda suggests, the most significant aspect of it is the militarization of the entire Scandinavian region under the NATO banner; Sweden and Finland are not NATO members, but are – apparently willingly – supplying a couple of thousand troops each and are letting their cities be used as simulated staging points for NATO troops. They are, as he suggests, de facto NATO members.

      The name is not particularly ominous; the trident is a regular feature in multinational exercises; we used to do Trident Fury with the USN every four years, it was our biggest live-fire multinational exercise. It featured the target drones from Meggitt, the company I used to work with when I ran the Target Cell. We did not keep any of those in-house other than those which had been recovered from previous exercises. Most of them came from Germany, with German technicians to fly them. They simulated airborne missile launches and attacks by aircraft, and real missiles and gunfire would be directed against them with the aim of destroying them. That’s fairly rare because they are quite expensive, but it provides very realistic training.

      I doubt there will be much in the way of serious reaction from Russia, because its usual role in the face of NATO baiting is to de-escalate. I imagine it will register its displeasure, and little else, not least because it is well aware that the more extreme its reaction, the greater the delight and high-fiving in Washington.

      Every time NATO gins up one of these war games, it attempts to portray the situation as the entire world against Russia, at bay in its shrinking home region and alone. Even if that were the situation, a war which sprang from it would be enormously destructive, and there would be few European regions left untouched. Washington consistently figures it will be left undamaged once again, and will get a Bretton Woods Two moment in which it will re-establish itself as the sole superpower with plenty of capacity to rebuild for its friends. That figures completely without the nuclear dimension, which Washington passes over as if it did not exist, or perhaps they are now so thoroughly crazy up in Washington that they will accept the annihilation of a couple of major cities and millions of deaths – look, my friends; America has suffered and paid for freedom, too.

      But what they leave out every time is China. What does China think about it? Is it making any military preparations which might suggest it would support Russia if it came to that? I am convinced it would. American moves strongly suggest that once America has put Russia down like a rabid animal, it will turn its attention to China. It certainly is not interested in removing China like it means to destroy Russia – China is too important economically for that. But it definitely envisions a world in which China is an obedient subordinate and a captive market for American goods as well as a manufacturer of inexpensive consumer goods for Americans to import at a markup – much like it has been, in the latter case, but on America’s terms.

      I don’t see China going along with that. And if China and Russia together decided to bring Europe exclusively within their sphere of influence, by force if necessary, nothing NATO could do would stop them. America is much too far away, and would be reduced to lobbing missiles back and forth in a war of attrition.


  20. Forces TV
    Published on 2 Nov 2018
    NATO’s biggest exercise in more than a decade, Exercise Trident Juncture, has got underway in Norway with 31 nations taking part. It is designed to test capability and interoperability between the nations, in response to a potential attack.


  21. Константинополь: Московского патриархата на Украине больше нет
    BBC Russian Service
    2 November, 2018

    Constantinople: There is no longer a Moscow Patriarchate in the Ukraine

    An influential bishop of the Church of Constantinople, a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches, a doctor of theology who has long been deeply involved in Ukrainian issues, Archbishop of Telmis Iov (Gecha) told the BBC about the position of Constantinople regarding the current situation of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and its future service. .

    According to Iov [Job in English, as in “Job’s Comforter”], the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew remains the undisputed leader of the entire Orthodox world, and therefore has the right to make any decisions, despite statements by the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) that he exceeds his authority.

    Habemus Papam?

    And get this: Job Getcha

    Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, a Canadian of Ukrainian descent, Ihor Getcha was educated at Collège Français (Montreal) and the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. He studied theology at St. Andrew’s College, Manitoba and the, Paris from which he was awarded a doctorate, jointly with the Institut Catholique de Paris, in 2003.

    You couldn’t make it up!


    1. That is one of the feuding points between Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Bart. Namely, that Bart is trying to set himself up in Istanbul as Pope, with Pope-like powers. Which, according to Orthodoxies, is a heresy in and of itself!


      1. Too right it is! And in the English church as well — and I don’t just mean the Anglican church: I mean pre-reformation.

        They always say in British history books that Augustine of the Roman church converted Britain. Well, he may have got a foothold in the KIngdom of Kent, whose monarch’s wife was a Frankish Christian, but large swathes of England in what are now the Scottish lowlands and northern England, namely the old Kingdom of Northumbria, were converted by Irish monks.

        The Old English kingdom of Mercia, namely what are now the English Midlands twixt Thames and the Mersey/Humber line, were pagan for a long time after Northumbria and what is southern and southeastern England had become Christian.

        The “Irish” church in the north was at loggerheads with the Roman one in the south. They had a synod in Whitby in 664 so as to sort out differences, and after that, the northerners generally followed Roman practice. But the northern church still considered itself “orthodox”. In fact, one of the reasons the Pope gave the OK to William, Duke of Normandy to attack England in 1066 was to get the English back in line with Rome.

        The Ecclesiastical Roots of the Norman Conquest, 1043-1087

        On October 14, 1066, at Hastings in southern England, the last Orthodox king of England, Harold II, died in battle against Duke William of Normandy. William had been blessed to invade England by the Roman Pope Alexander in order to bring the English Church into full communion with the “reformed Papacy”; for since 1052 the English archbishop had been banned and denounced as schismatic by Rome. The result of the Norman Conquest was that the English Church and people were integrated into the heretical “Church” of Western, Papist Christendom, which had just, in 1054, fallen away from communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, represented by the Eastern Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Thus ended the nearly five-hundred-year history of the Anglo-Saxon Orthodox Church, which was followed by the demise of the still older Celtic Orthodox Churches in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

        King Harold’s wife/mistress, Edith Swannecy had to scarper pronto out of England with the kids before the Normans bumped her and her brood off. They went to Sweden and one of her daughters, Gytha of Wessex later married Vladimir II, Monomakh, of Kiev. One of their offspring may have been Yuri Dolgrukiy.


        1. Feckin’ typo!

          Edith Swanneck. She identified her slain husband’s body on the battlefield. The bastards had chopped him up, so no one was certain whether the remains were Harold’s. Edith identified him by means of a tattoo that only she knew of.

          It was like this, only a bit smaller:


      2. They’ll be sorry, because it is going to cost Barty all the Russian churches and some of the Ukrainian. But it will be a massive rift in the Orthodox world, almost like competing religions, from which Catholic Christianity will benefit – they must be rejoicing.

        Unfortunately, such decisions often endure for decades if not centuries. So be it. Porky must be doing the truffle shuffle himself, exulting in the chaos he has caused, at long last.


  22. 11:34 03.11.2018
    Порошенко и Варфоломей подписали соглашение о сотрудничестве и взаимодействии между Украиной и Вселенским патриархатом

    Poroshenko and Bartolemew have signed an agreement on cooperation and interaction between the Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate

    Meanwhile, back in Mordor, film director Mikhalkov has been doing some snooping around as regards Filaret and has spoken about the schismatic’s “double life”:

    Никита Михалков рассказал о двойной жизни Филарета
    ГАЗЕТА.RU 2 часа назад

    He reckons old Filaret has a common-law wife, with whom he has fathered 3 children.

    In case some don’t know: to get the top jobs in the Orthodox Church, you have to be celibate. Bishops, patriarchs etc. must be celibate and so must monks.

    If a single, celibate or unmarried man is ordained, he must remain so throughout his priesthood.

    Just before orthodox seminarians are ordained, they marry, if the wish. But you can only marry once. If they don’t marry and are ordained, then it’s no sex. But you can get the top job. And loads of grub as well, I reckon, because all the top men always look well fed to me. In my experience, the same for most RC top sky pilots.

    The local married village priests always look worn out and skinny, and their wives age quickly, because they have a baby every couple of years. They end up with a whole football team of them!


  23. “On Tuesday, Trump told HBO that the White House was preparing to issue an executive order repealing the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship provision, enacted after the Civil War to guarantee citizenship to freed slaves and all people born on US soil.

    The following day, Wednesday, Trump tweeted a racist campaign video portraying immigrants as killers and blaming Democrats for “letting them in.” Trump also announced he might triple the total number of troops deployed to the border to 15,000.

    On Thursday, Trump announced that he had ordered the indefinite detention of immigrants, an end to the right to asylum for immigrants crossing the border without papers between ports of entry, and the construction of “massive cities of tents” to hold detained immigrants. Trump also said the military would be free to fire on immigrants: “They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I told them to consider it a rifle.”

    *****No previous president has ever said words like these*****.”

    “American workers must recognize that immigrants escaping poverty and violence from countries devastated by US wars and US-backed dictators are their allies. In their home countries, these workers left jobs as bus drivers, machinists, agricultural workers, warehouse workers, textile workers and teachers to travel to the US in the hope of securing a better life.

    Native-born workers should recognize in this sacrifice the stories of their own ancestors, who came from all over the world to escape famine, war and autocracy in the “old country,” only to be denounced by the American oligarchs of an earlier era as racially inferior foreigners. Very few Americans, with the exception of Native Americans, can establish their family’s citizenship five generations back.

    Trump and his big-business allies take workers for fools! Fanning racism and national hatred is the oldest trick in the capitalists’ book, used to divide and conquer and crush the class struggle.

    The military deployments and other authoritarian measures being employed against “illegal” immigrants will soon be used against all workers who engage in strikes and protests for higher pay, better living and working conditions, health care, education and other basic needs.

    US citizen workers take heed: You, as well as your immigrant brothers and sisters, are the ultimate target of Trump’s dictatorial measures!

    The Socialist Equality Party warns that in the absence of a mass movement of the working class, the attacks on immigrants and democratic rights will only grow more serious and deadlier. The Democratic Party will collaborate with Trump and his fascist aides all the way down the road to dictatorship.

    The alternative is socialist revolution.”


    1. But all I read in the papers is how US job creation is at an all-time high, businesses are dropping their ‘seasonal’ category and hiring full-timers, and minimum wage is ratcheting upward. A few businesses are bitching about the tariffs, but broadly speaking, business loves Trump. Or so the papers say.


  24. “dmorista • 5 hours ago
    The aggressive stance of Bolton as regards Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, as well as the installation of Bolsonaro in Brazil are political maneuvers that mask the underlying weakness of U.S. Capital in Latin America. After over 40 years of transforming the U.S. from an industrial powerhouse to a hollowed-out finance capital dominated society with an economy driven by swindles and ponzi schemes, the U.S. ruling class find themselves in this weakened position. While a lot of threats and bluster are aimed at the three countries that have overtly challenged U.S. Capital; it is telling that three “loyal clients” are, as the article pointed out, proceeding with perceived economic self interest as “… the presidents of both El Salvador and the Dominican Republic were both in Beijing meeting with President Xi and other top officials, while China and Panama announced on the same day that Panama City would host a China-Latin America Caribbean Business Summit next year, focused on promoting economic-commercial cooperation between both regions.”
    China imports raw materials from various places in the world and its factories produce “finished goods”. China has many flaws of course, but while the U.S. ruling class extracted as much wealth as possible by deindustrializing and driving its working people down the income and socioeconomic ladder; China built the world’s largest industrial system and the world’s largest middle class. A largely rural country became a powerhouse. The U.S. meanwhile imports finished goods from China and elsewhere, and its largest exports are weapons (many of the high-tech components of which are obtained from China and elsewhere, and its largest exports are weapons (many of the high-tech components of which are obtained from foreign sources), agricultural products, mineral ores, and post-consumer materials for recycling (that China recently decided to no longer accept, these will now go to some poorer and more desperate places). Its old industrial regions are filled with the ruins of an earlier epoch, and its newer industrial areas are dominated by foreign owned companies. If you are part of the elite in a less-developed country it is clear where the future lies despite any short-term thuggery and threats from the likes of Bolton. Similar transitions have occurred in the past as earlier hegemons past their peak of economic and political influence and faded into minor power status.”


    1. Unless they have some mysterious protector like Serdyukov did, they’ll be very, very sorry for this, as they should be. Russian prison is not a country club, and there are a lot of ways to get at them while they are inside, for someone who has as much clout as her father.


      1. Russia also doing itself a favour by leading NATO to think Russians don’t make anything anymore and that their air force is full of old planes.


        1. Some commenters noted that if this had been a REAL war, then all the guys on those ships would have been fried in an instant. Since the Russian bombers snuck up on them and took them completely by surprise – “blind-sided” them, the poor dears complained. Heh heh!


          1. It’d be kind of hard to miss the approach of the Bear airframe; I wasn’t kidding when I said it was noisy, and it’s certainly not stealthy radar-wise. I’m sure they were not ‘taken by surprise’, they more likely just thought Russia would stay away because the whole area is lousy with intimidating NATO forces.

            That particular model specializes in communications intercept, so it is probably just to remind NATO that someone is listening to what goes on and evaluating their vaunted ‘interoperability’.


    1. I love those old planes. Their endurance in the air is legendary, and although they are terrifically noisy, they have been flying for decades and look like they could go on forever.


  25. Tell me, Froggie arsehole, how far is the Russian border from where your manoeuvres are taking place and how far is the French border from the manoeuvres, not to mention the borders of the Home of the Brave?


    1. Isn’t this the kind of stuff Litvinenko and Skripal were looking in to on behalf of the British intelligence services? Weren’t they paid for their ‘expertise’ coming from their Russian intelligence background? It would make sense that some of this information would have been sent to the Spanish to prepare for such ‘cases’, and who wouldn’t trust information coming from the British? It looks like Spain will have to pay the price for this trust…


  26. NATO said that Russian reconnaissance aircraft flew last Friday at low altitude near its flagship “Mount Whitney”.

    The Russian Defence Ministry has said that two Tu-142 carried out planned flights over neutral waters of the Norwegian Sea, which lasted more than 12 hours. The ministry said that all Russian Navy flights had been carried out in strict accordance with International rules of airspace use.


    1. Don’t be mad at Putin, didn’t we just discuss anger/wrath as one of the deadly sins! (Incidentally, researching the sin of wrath, I found that among the associated symbols anger is linked with are the bear and the color red, so after all it may be quite fitting for Russians).

      Anyway, I just commented on your blog with a motion to reconsider the “self-righteous jerk” judgement in this particular case 😀


      1. Thanks for the factual correction, Nat, I stand chastised for my unjust wrath!
        For the benefit of other Stooges: I fell into the trap of taking some of the reporter’s (Akopov’s) commentary as an actual quote from Putin’s speech. A quote that made Putin sound like a silly ALT-Right cuck linking Marxists with ((((Globalists)))).
        Moral of the story, I should have fact-checked the actual speech.

        My only excuse is that I am Russian, and I am also a red. I lost my temper. Therefore, I am also a bear, according to Aristotelian logic!


  27. Imagine the outrage if this happened yada yada yada


  28. Transgender soldier celebrated as first UK woman on frontline duty ‘seduced comrade’s wife’
    Published time: 4 Nov, 2018 16:42
    Edited time: 4 Nov, 2018 17:02

    Chloe Allen, officially recognized as the British Army’s first woman allowed on the frontline after transitioning in 2016, has reportedly been accused of breaking up a fellow soldier’s marriage — a serious breach of army ethics.

    The Daily Mail, which broke the story, also alleges that the top brass refused to take the usual disciplinary steps against Allen, to avoid embarrassment around the high-profile recruit.

    Chloe, 26, who joined the prestigious Scots Guards regiment in 2012 under her birth name Ben Allen, is to be cited in the divorce papers of Sergeant Mark Gray, who says that she used the pretext of needing help in presenting as a woman, to begin an affair with his partner of ten years, Sophie.

    Chloe/Ben Allen

    I wonder if s/he is on manoeuvres in Norway.

    If s/he is, he’ll scare those Russian Orcs shitless!

    Any transgenders in the above photo, I wonder?


    1. That Scottish bloke sitting to the Queen’s right, has awfully bony knees. Other than that, he is a perfect specimen of circumcized manhood. I don’t know about the others, though, they could be Scottish queers…


      1. If you look back at the series of photos of the Ukrainian ladies saying a tearful farewell to their balaclava-clad heroes, you will notice that one of those ladies has a hell of an Adam’s apple. Just sayin’.


      2. I cannot really tell if he’s had his todger snipped as ordered by Yahweh, but I doubt it: most white British men are not. Many other British male citizens are of course, because of their faith.

        I say “many”, though one should consider that only 6% of the population of the UK consists of immigrants, of which 39% were born in the EU, the majority thereof being Poles. Furthermore, Black British immigrants and/or their descendants who come from the Caribbean are usually, in my experience, Church of England protestants.

        I do have it on good authority, though, that most US males are circumcised. I recall from my student days in the USSR overhearing a US woman student commenting to her friend on how all the “British guys” were uncircumcised. She had, apparently, partaken in a mixed banya at the weekend. She made this comment in rather shocked tones. No doubt there were also present uncircumcised Russian males, whose covered bell-ends did not shock her because they were, after all, at least in her eyes, barbarians. Furthermore, my old Glasgow pal, who studied in North Carolina, where he did lot of shagging around, used to tell me that his Scottish prepuce was an object of interest amoungst the Southern Belles.


    1. Much of a piece with a story I linked earlier regarding dependency on Russian energy of American military bases in Europe – although in this instance it is more of a sob story Washington is trying to use for leverage against Nord Stream II. We’d like to protect you, but…

      If you produce everything you need yourself, you are isolationalist and anti-trade. If you depend on other countries for critical supplies, they must be friends, who don’t always have the best prices. Gee, what’s the solution? I don’t know…maybe to not be a rampaging prick going around the world enforcing your will, snooping on everyone and meddling in local and national politics for your own interests?


  29. Киев высмеяли за арест судна с украинцами в «ответ» на санкции России
    Kiev ridiculed for the arrest of a ship crewed with Ukrainians in response to Russian sanctions

    The ship was bound for Belgium under the Liberian flag, allegedly from a Russian port. The Prosecutor General of the Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko, called the arrest a “response” to the sanctions introduced by Russia. In 2015 Kiev imposed restrictions against Russia, including a sanctions list of 338 individuals and 105 legal entities, and several times later expanded it.

    Earlier, the Odessa edition of “Timer” reported that amongst the crew members of the cargo ship arrested by the Ukrainian authorities in Mariupol, there is only one Russian citizen: most of the crew are Ukrainians and the ship is owned by a Dutch company.

    The knobheads in the Ukraine have done this, of course, because they have the full backing of the USA for all of their actions.

    That is the same USA that went to war with Great Britain in 1812 and very nearly did so in 1861 over the issue of the freedom of the seas.


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