The Candy Clouds of the Dreamweaver do Battle with the Battering Ram of Reality

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “The real world is where the monsters are.”

Dreamer, you’re nothing but a dreamer
Well, can you put your hands in your head? Oh no
I said, “Far out, what a day, a year, a life it is”
You know, well you know you had it comin’ to you
Now there’s not a lot I can do…

From “Dreamer”, by Supertramp

As this tumultuous year grinds to a close, I wonder what future historians will say of it? Surely it will never be seen as a year of advancement for mankind; a year of stability, an affirmation of the bonds of brotherhood which draw us closer together. Instead, it must be viewed by the dispassionate eye of objectivity as a year of upheaval, of reversals and setbacks and chaos. A year of celebration of mean-spirited goading and provocation, a year of the drawing-together of jealous alliances seeking to preserve a world order which always worked out very well for those so allied, thank you very much. A year of cynical lip service paid to the cause of peace and understanding, trumped by disinformation, propaganda and reality-shaping. If you can’t have world peace, pray enjoy yourself with the vinyl inflatable substitute, anatomically correct for your pleasure.

I’m afraid I haven’t the patience or the resources to cover the whole world for the year. But I was struck by two very disparate recent articles on the same part of the world; Ukraine. Two very different images of what is apparently the same place, depending on whether you are viewing it through rose-coloured glasses, or framed by a toilet seat.

The first, by Andrew Wrobel at Emerging Europe (where he is a founding partner), postulates that 2019 will be a critical year for Ukraine – as, no doubt, it will; I am surprised it has staggered all the way to this point. But much of the article is spent in talking of events of the past year. Let’s take a look.

According to Wrobel, the current government of Ukraine is making serious headway upon a progressive agenda. The economy is stabilizing, President Poroshenko has pushed through a series of reforms to tackle corruption, and the resumption of international ‘lending’ to Ukraine signifies international approval of its progress.

Before we go any further – is any of that true? Not according to Bloomberg, which pointed out only last August that the economy of neighbouring Poland is three times the size of Ukraine’s, although their GDP’s were virtually identical in 1992. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t “Project Ukraine” supposed to make Russia envious at seeing how the adoption of the Eurolife made Ukraine rich and at peace with itself? Weren’t Russians supposed to rise up in anger and smite the shit out of Putin because of his failure to deliver the Good Life, Ukrainian style? If so, it’s difficult to imagine the chagrin of those planners now; Russia’s per-capita GDP is four times higher than Ukraine’s, and the average wage is more than double. I’m afraid I would call that zero progress, and after four years. Quite a feat for a President, really; to step into the shoes of a disgraced scallywag, make ridiculous boastful promises, and then move the nation not one inch further ahead from what it was under the scallywag’s rule. It’s gone backward, actually – Ukraine’s gold reserves have vanished, and its foreign currency reserve is wiped out. Ukraine’s ForEx stood at around $38 Billion at the onset of the Glorious Maidan (just change the viewing period on the graph to 10 years). They never reached that high-water mark again since, and only the other day Poroshenko crowed that Ukraine’s reserves should be back up to 20 Billion…once it receives its next handout from the IMF. It all reminds me of a motivational poem I read once when I was a lad;

They said it couldn’t be done;
with a smile, he went right to it.
He tackled the job that couldn’t be done…
and couldn’t do it.

I know that flies in the face of optimism and all, but, well, it is what it is. Poroshenko has made basically no reforms at all. He has talked about reforms a lot while swaggering around in front of the UN and as a guest at other speaking venues. But most reasonable people would allow that talking about things and acknowledging a need that they be done is not the same as doing them. Poroshenko’s government has stalled through every device it can bring to bear on starting up an Anti-Corruption Court, and the successful reforms on corruption Wrobel speaks of were merely another promise to set up the subject court ‘soon’, perhaps in February. That’s a month before the presidential election, and you know the issue is going to get buried again. Poroshenko only paid lip service to agreeing to set up the court in order to get the next tranche of moola from the IMF.

Bloomberg’s reference, Mikhail Minyakov, also complains, “oligarchic clans, old and new, have recaptured the state and are successfully thwarting the implementation of reforms”. Those who believe Poroshenko is heroically battling them have apparently not noticed he is one of them, among Ukraine’s richest citizens, and he has not divested himself of any of his business assets as a result of being elected President, as he promised he would. He even owns the shipyard that builds those dinky little river patrol boats for the Navy, like the two that were captured a short while ago in the Battle Of Kerch Strait; I notice the yard has been awarded a contract to build another 20 of them.

Well, that was a lot of discussion for only a couple of lines. Let’s see what else the Dreamweaver said. Mmmm….there’s a whole paragraph on all the magic Poroshenko will work with the latest ‘loan’ from the IMF – building up Ukraine’s gold and ForEx reserves, bolstering the value of the hryvnia, curbing inflation and restoring investor confidence in Ukraine’s solvency. That’s a pretty tall order for $3.9 Billion, considering Ukraine has almost twice that amount in foreign debt maturing in 2019. I would suggest investors not get too excited. Especially since Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ukraine has never again reached half the value it was under Yanukovych since he was deposed and run out of the country. And considering Ukraine’s largest investor is the nation it claims is going to invade it at any moment.

Along with claiming the ‘loan’ amounts to an international endorsement of Mr. Proshenko’s ‘progressive policies’, Wrobel reports that Poroshenko has shut down rogue banks, authorized the creation of an anti-corruption court and raised gas prices to market levels. This last is somehow considered an anti-corruption measure which wipes out kickbacks, which I suppose it might if you assume that nobody has any money left with which to pay kickbacks. He acknowledges that the higher gas prices “punished ordinary consumers”, but, well…they should feel privileged to have had a small role in moving Ukraine forward. In fact, Poroshenko fought against raising gas prices for as long as he could; not because he can’t sleep at night for worrying about the poor voters, but because he can’t sleep at night worrying that they might vote him out. But in the end, when the IMF said “No raise in gas prices, no money”, he gave up his valiant battle…for the greater good.

We’ve already discussed Poroshenko’s imaginary creation of the anti-corruption court, since there isn’t any yet. But I’m curious – which rogue banks were shut down by Poroshenko? The most corrupt – Privatbank – remains the biggest commercial bank in Ukraine, still throwing its weight about and flinging lawsuits right and left. Quite a few banks in Ukraine have shut down because of a lack of capital – which I think you will agree is sort of detrimental to a bank’s operations – but attributing that to Poroshenko would probably send the wrong message if the aim is to make him look like a progressive. Here’s an example – Platinum Bank. It went broke just about two years ago. Interestingly, it was established in 2005 by Horizon Capital Investment. If that name rings a bell, it’s probably because the head of the company at that time was Natalia Jaresko, who later – briefly – became Ukraine’s American Finance Minister. But I could not find any examples of President Poroshenko shutting down any ‘rogue banks’, implying they are flagrantly and regularly flouting banking laws. Some 98 ‘weak’ banks were closed in what passed for banking reform, all the closures attributed to the NBU, and they were assessed to share Platinum Bank’s plight; an inability on the part of the shareholders to raise capital. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Ukraine itself would be closed for the same reason, were it not for regular handouts from the IMF and World Bank.

According to Wrobel, Poroshenko plans to apply for EU membership in 2020: slick, Wrobel – I saw what you did there. Mr. Poroshenko is most unlikely to be president in 2020, unless he can creatively employ martial law to delay or suspend elections until his chances improve from the present prospect, which has a lot in common with hopeless. Back to that in a minute. But I have to say when Mr. Wrobel alluded to Poroshenko floating into the EU upon his ‘raft of reforms’, I laughed a little bit. Laughing is good for you. Thanks, Mr. Wrobel.

Just before we move on – what is it with the English-speaking press and its hair-raising allegations of Russia “massing troops on the border”? For one thing, they have only Ukraine’s word that this is happening, and as previously discussed, Ukraine has a direct fiscal interest in seeming to be always on the brink of invasion. For another, no evidence has been offered of any such massing of military forces. For yet another, that side of the border is Russia. Russian troops massing in Russia? You don’t say. When the United States is seeding battalions here, there and everywhere, including in places it is both uninvited and very, very far from the United States, nobody seems to find that alarming or aggressive. American troops massing in America does not even register on the interest meter. Yet in order to allay the world’s fears, Russian forces must move altogether to the geographical center of Russia and remain there, conducting themselves with no more apparent martial intent than planting trees and helping elderly people across the street. Otherwise, look out – invasion, coming up. Could we please not raise the global stupidity quotient (GSQ) any higher? Please?

I have to admit Mr. Wrobel has a point when he gets to the meat of his subject – Yulia Tymoshenko. As I forecast back in the early summer, when she announced her candidacy, Ms. Tymoshenko looks to be a shoo-in for the presidency, although Mr. Wrobel doubts she will have enough support to win in the first round. In what he describes as ‘her brand of slick populism’, Tymoshenko blithely promises to solve all Ukraine’s problems in record time. He is dead-on when he points out that she offers no details of how she expects to accomplish this, and it is a matter of record that her understanding of economics and the origins of money is shaky at best; during her tenure as Prime Minster she attempted to give all civil servants a massive raise that the state budget could not possibly have afforded, and it seems likely she does not grasp the concept of limits on the money supply.

But that unsupported-promises thing reminds me of something…hey, I know what it is! Petro Poroshenko. During his mostly-just-going-through-the-motions campaign, he promised, (1) That the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) would last just a few hours. It lasted another four years, and the end was marked only by abandoning the name. The war goes on. (2) 1000 hryvnia per day to be paid to Ukraine’s heroic combatants in the war against the Russian-backed separatists. This never happened, not even close. (3) The sale of Roshen and his other business assets, so that he could concentrate all his energies on leading the country. In fact, he did not divest himself of any of his business assets. (4) Not to open criminal cases against journalists; nope, he was all about free speech. Until he wasn’t. (5) To bring the exchange rate of the national currency, the hryvnia, back up to 10 to the dollar. It’s been above 26 to the dollar for all of 2018, and today is 27.39. (6) All offshores will be closed. As we learned from the Panama Papers, not only were existing ones not closed, Poroshenko opened new ones with himself as the only shareholder, the most notorious being one opened as his forces were being soundly defeated at Ilovaisk. (7) Open party lists. Ha, ha. (8) Preservation of the status quo for the Russian language. (9) Find acceptable ways of cooperating with Russia. I’m afraid I can’t go any further; I’m dumbfounded by the magnitude of the betrayal of that one.

The fact of the matter is that Poroshenko has a progressive agenda like a hen can do card tricks. He can no more fix Ukraine’s problems – many of which are his own creations – than he can sing “Take On Me”. Tymoshenko can’t do it, either. Ukraine is locked into a loop of ever-increasing borrowing and begging for debt rollover until it has to declare national bankruptcy. The most optimistic forecasts notwithstanding, there is no foreseeable way for it to raise the money it needs to pay its loans plus ensure a subsistence-level standard of living for its people, not even by privatizing everything as the west is prodding it to do, and selling off all its agricultural land.

But wait! I almost forgot the other article – the one that was almost diametrically opposedFar right rally in Kiev, 1 Jan 15 to Wrobel’s rhapsody to President Porogressive. It’s this one – yes, I know Newsweek is little better than a tabloid. But it is a raving pro-American tabloid, and America is committed to a Fortress Ukraine concept which will see Ukraine become a dependable strategic outpost against Russia. Any shenanigans engaged in by Ukraine are therefore pre-forgiven because of its anti-Russian value. It is therefore remarkable that Newsweek chooses to report – in notably disapproving tones – that Ukraine is becoming steadily more radical and nationalist, and that Ukraine has made Stepan Bandera’s birthday a national holiday. Yes, although President Porogressive was a little backslidey on creating the anti-corruption court, that does not mean his legislative pen has been idle; by no means. He’s just more interested in demonstrated irritants like creating the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and then making the former church change its name to the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. And the city of Lviv – Bandera’s hometown – went one better, declaring 2019 “The Year of Bandera”. Presumably with all the attendant celebratory pageantry and paradery, bearing Bandera’s portrait reverently through the streets like a scene from King’s “Children of the Corn”.

Earlier in December, Ukraine’s State Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting banned Swedish historian Anders Rydell’s book titled Book of Thieves . The text critically analysed the actions of Ukrainian nationalist Symon Petliura whose forces killed large numbers of Jews in the early 20th century. Petilura was later killed by a Russian-born Jew in Paris in 1929.

Torchlight parades. Chanting, praising and celebrating a Nazi ally. Book banning and martial law. Newsweek is actually sounding the alarm that Ukraine is getting nuttier by the day. Pretty much the polar opposite of McOptimismville as described by Wrobel, where Tymoshenko cannot be allowed to undo all Poroshenko’s hard work, progress and success.

 

 

 

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1,033 thoughts on “The Candy Clouds of the Dreamweaver do Battle with the Battering Ram of Reality

  1. Russia Observer via the Oriental Review: C’EST TOUJOURS LA MÊME CHOSE
    https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2019/01/05/cest-toujours-la-meme-chose/

    (First published at Strategic Culture Foundation. Picked up by Oriental Review.)

    I have just read the memoirs of General Armand de Caulaincourt who accompanied Napoleon throughout the Russian venture. He was France’s Ambassador to Russia from 1807 until 1811 and got to know the Emperor Alexander quite well. Napoleon recalled him and he eventually resumed his tasks as his Master of the Horse…
    ####

    Am slowly reading through Leiven’s ‘Russia Against Napoleon’. Haven’t got to the blowie uppie bits but it really is fascinating.

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      1. That’s quite an endorsement, I will have to look it up. My knowledge of pre-20th century Russian history is embarrassingly slim on details.

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        1. It was a fascinating account, drawn from historical documents of the day and later, which detailed the advance warning Alexander had of the pending French attack – more than a year in advance, if I recall correctly – from his diplomats at Napoleon’s court, who of course spoke fluent French. Of how the Russians determined – in advance – to adopt the tactics of Wellington, a much-admired soldier who knew a great deal about how to both wield asymmetric force and to deal with it when it was used against him. Napoleon’s strength was known to be the decisive battle, in which he pinned his enemy against a geographic feature such as a mountain or river, so that he could not easily escape, and then threw everything into a punishing advance which crushed everything before it. Russia simply retreated before him, engaging the French in light skirmishes and small battles, but always slipping away and drawing Napoleon deeper into Russia. His logistics chain was basically non-existent; the Grand Armee provisioned itself on what it took from the locals, and what it carried with it. The Russians saw to it that foraging along the route was not very rewarding. By the time Napoleon took Moscow, much of which was afire, his intent to occupy it and wait for surrender terms was somewhat hampered by the state of his forces, which had been much reduced and the remainder were in poor shape for further fighting.

          Napoleon began the retreat in October, again if I remember correctly, and by the time he crossed the borders of Russia going the opposite way the Grand Armee had been reduced to about a third the size it was when it entered Russia. “General Winter” played very little of a role. Yet this is the conclusion of many western analysts; Russia burned Moscow so Napoleon couldn’t have it – great defense, haw, haw – and then General Winter decimated the French army to the point the dozey Russians could chase them out.

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          1. I think it debatable who was responsible for the conflagration in Moscow when it was occupied by Buonaparte’s troops in 1812.

            The 1812 Fire of Moscow broke out on 14 September 1812, when Russian troops and most of the remaining residents had abandoned Moscow just ahead of Napoleon’s vanguard troops entering the city after the Battle of Borodino. The fire all but destroyed the city, which had been mostly abandoned by its residents the previous month. [my stress — ME]

            Before leaving Moscow Count Rostopchin gave orders to have the Kremlin and major public buildings (including churches and monasteries) either blown up or set on fire. But this was not the foremost cause of the fire that destroyed the city. [my stress — ME] As the bulk of the French army moved into the city, there were some fires. Their cause has never been determined and both neglect as well as Rostopchin’s orders may be among possible reasons. Today, the majority of historians blame the initial fires on Russian sabotage. [Sabotage on whose orders, if any? Or just outright arson by “patriots” who had decided to stay, or thieves who had got pissed out of shape and had decided to have some patriotic fun? — ME]

            This version of events is confirmed by General Armand de Caulaincourt. He states that they had been in Moscow for three days. That evening a small fire had broken out but was extinguished and ‘attributed to the carelessness of the troops’. Later that evening (10h 30min) Coulaincourt was woken by his valet with the news that ‘for three quarters of an hour the city has been in flames’. Fires continued to break out in multiple separate points. Incendiarists were arrested and interrogated and declared that their commanding officer had ordered them to burn everything. ‘Houses had been designated to this end.’ Later on in the same chapter he asserts ‘The existence of inflammable fuses, all made in the same fashion and placed in different public and private buildings, is a fact of which I, as many others, had personal evidence. I saw the fuses on the spot and many were taken to the Emperor.’ He goes on to write ‘The examination of the police rank-and-file… all proved that the fire had been prepared and executed by order of Count Rostopchin’.

            Tolstoy, in his novel War and Peace, suggests that the fire was not deliberately started, either by the Russians or the French, but was the natural result of placing a deserted and mostly wooden city in the hands of invading troops, [a city in which fires started] nearly every day, even with the owners present and a fully functioning police department, and that the soldiers [would have started] fires [by smoking their pipes}, cooking their food twice a day, and burning the enemy’s possessions in the streets. Some of those fires [would have inevitably got] out of control. Without an efficient firefighting [organization], these individual building fires [would have] spread to become neighborhood fires, and ultimately a citywide conflagration.Wiki

            So orders had been given by the authorities to set certain structures afire, but the city had long been virtually abandoned by its population and the authoritie by the time the invaders arrived. Fires then started 3 days after their arrival. Arsonists were caught and interrogated — and shot, but I tend to feel that the causes of the fires, and there were very many separate outbreaks, were “6 of one and half a dozen of the other”.

            That the vast majority of the population had fled before Buonaparte’s arrival is incontestable, but I am sure a large number of criminals and assorted ne’er-do-wells remained in order to do some looting. And they got drunk, for sure. And the French, with their Prussian, Saxon, Bavarian etc., and Austrian and Polish and Hungarian and Bohemian, Spanish and Italian allies — “all of Europe” as Tolstoy states in “War and Peace”, which bugs me, because the Briritish and Portuguese were not there: they were fighting the Frogs in Spain — also started looting and most certainly helped themselves to the ample stores of booze left behind by the Moscow population. Throw into that mix a city predominantly consisting of wooden buildings, as indeed it still was until very modern times, and it would have been incredible if fires had not broken out.

            The remains of the Grande Armée that arrived in Moscow following its toe-to-toe, 12-hour-long Schlagfest with the Russian army, in which an estimated 6,000 men died during each hour of its duration, a slaughter that had left the invading troops so enfeebled that they were unable to pursue the Russian army, which, by vacating the field at the end of the day’s killing had, thereby, theoretically handed the victor’s laurels to Buonaparte, had been promised wealth and loot in abundance by Napoleon during his address before the battle at Borodino on September 7, 1812.

            Soldiers: This is the battle you have so much desired. The victory depends upon you! It is now necessary to us. It will give us abundance of good winter quarters, and a prompt return to our country. Behave as at Austerlitz, at Friedland, at Witepsk, at Smolensk, and let the latest posterity recount with pride your conduct on this day; let them say of you, ‘He was at the battle under the walls of Moscow.’

            Bullshit! As a matter of fact, the walls of Moscow were some 75 miles (120 kms) away from Borodino field.

            I wonder if, on hearing their so-called emperor’s words, any of the Corsican’s troops starting looking around to see if they could see the walls?

            As regards “General Winter”, as I have written many times before here: the winter of 1812 was not a notably severe one by Russian standards; the invaders reached Moscow one week after the Battle of Borodino, on September 14, 1812. (Figures! One week to march 75 miles. Long way to those walls!) Fires started breaking out in Moscow 3 days after the invading troops had arrived, and who were, therefore, by that time, well and truly pissed. The city was almost totally destroyed.


            Merde!

            On 19 October, Napoleon and his army left Moscow and marched southwest towards Kaluga, but not before the short-arsed Corsican twat had ordered that St. Basil’s be blown up. He always referred to the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed as “the temple” and to Moscow as an “Asiatic city” — Russians are always “the other” when viewed from the “centre of civilization”, it seems: shades of the former Austrian Gefreiter Hitler ordering that Paris be destroyed when his troops had to bugger off from that place! Fortunately, Buonaparte’s sappers were too busy looting, I suppose, and couldn’t be arsed into carrying out the order: they knew the game was up and wanted to thieve as much as they could.

            It began snowing on November 5, 1812. When, on November 26 1812 the retreating “Grand Armée” had reached the Berezina River in what is now present day Belorussia, it was discovered that it had not frozen over. Such was the ferocity of the winter of 1812. The Berezina is usually frozen over at that time of year. They had to stand and fight there. They were reinforced by a garrison that had been stationed there during their advance into Russia, which reinforcements brought their numbers up tp 40,000, but they were still outnumbered by the Russian army, which at that time numbered 61, 000 men. On 29 November, they managed to cross the river, but Napoleon had already buggered off to France on reaching the Berezina, and left his wonderful army behind to fight off the Russians.

            Since that time, the term Bérézina, as said in French, has been used as a synonym for “disaster”.

            And Generals January and February played no part whatsoever in Napoleon’s defeat.

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  2. RuAviation.com: Air traffic intensity in Russia reached record-breaking 1.681 mln flights in 2018
    https://www.ruaviation.com/news/2019/1/11/12746/

    …According to data of the aviation regulator, air carriers made 811,353 domestic flights from January to December 2018, up 9.45% against 2017. Russian and international airlines completed 869,856 flights on international routes (+10.13%), of which 300,918 are transit flights across the Russian airspace (+6.91%).

    Airlines performed 128,582 flights last December (+6.1%). 66,879 flights were made on international destinations (+6.57%), including 25,242 transit flights (+3.92%). Domestic flights of air carriers rose by 5.6% to 61,703 in December 2018.

    &

    AirBridgeCargo sees volumes exceed 700,000 tonnes in 2018 driven by 25% growth in special cargoes
    https://www.ruaviation.com/news/2019/1/15/12759/

    ####

    Further proof that The Economist’s yearly claims that Russia’s economy is just about to fall over the precipice are true… BTW, what and whom is Ed doing and working with these days? Just happening to be a resident of Estonia, the UK’s base for anti-Russia intel ops in the Baltic! Coincidence? Is the Pope catholic?

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    1. Consider what it is going to mean for Russia if that volume continues to rise – or even is only sustained – and fewer of those aircraft every year are Boeing and Airbus planes.

      Time for my semi-annual reminder that it didn’t have to be this way, and that Russia would have been quite happy to steadily increase its purchases of western goods and services and strengthen trade relations. Instead, the west decided – or, more accurately, Washington decided and everyone else obediently fell in line – that what the doctor ordered was an aggressive economic push against one of the few countries on earth that has money to spend. Not satisfied with that, it promptly added another.

      Gee; when you put it that way, it sounds…sort of…..stupid.

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  3. From last month:

    RusAviaInsider: PD-14-powered MC-21 airliner to fly in late 2019
    http://www.rusaviainsider.com/pd-14-powered-mc-21-airliner-fly-late-2019/

    …A bonus is that the engine’s predominantly Russian-made components make it “independent of currency fluctuations,” Durnovtsev points out.

    However, he admits that it has not been possible to completely avoid foreign-made parts. “At present, there are 142 part positions which are imported, mostly for economic reasons. For example, it is cheaper to purchase gaskets and washers elsewhere, than in Russia. Key elements such as the combustion chamber are made in Russia. If required though, within two or three years, we’ll be able to make the switch to solely Russian-made parts, but it will have a slightly negative effect on the weight. And when it comes to weight, we are strictly limited by Irkut’s requirements,” Durnovtsev further explains…
    ####

    Not far off then.

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    1. “Made predominantly of Russian components.”

      BS. It is basically 100% Russian and indigenously designed. These media twits need to learn some English and the word “predominantly” is ambiguous. It could mean 55% Russian made. Sorry, but 0.1% non-Russian components is not “predominant”.

      I hope they accelerate the development of the PD-35. It will fully liberate Russia from any NATzO sourced aircraft.

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  4. The Duran
    Published on 14 Jan 2019
    The Duran Quick Take: Episode 58.

    The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Nord Stream 2, and whether the energy pipeline from Russia, into Germany and onwards towards all of Europe, is under threat from U.S. sanctions.

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    1. Sorry but Russia cannot be faulted in any shape, way or form for the cancellation of the South Stream pipeline. The fucktard ass kisser running Bulgaria was too keen to suck Uncle Scumbag’s cock and cancelled the project. Mercuris is out of line for insinuating that Russia is playing some cynical game like Germany. Russia did not force Bulgarian retards to shit on their own heads. It actually found a more reliable partner in its traditional enemy Turkey than allegedly friendly Bulgaria.

      Really, EU-tards need to sort out their own affairs before offloading guilt onto Russia. Russia has been bending over backward to please these fucks for decades.

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      1. Kirill as usual reducing complicated issues down to his favorite topics, namely, fellatio and excretion.
        Mercouris is an adult, whereas Kirill is just a foul-mouthed child.

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      2. Bulgaria basically stipulated to their own perfidy when they thanked Russia for being so gracious as to give them another chance after being backstabbed over South Stream.

        Bulgaria now hopes that the second leg of Turkish Stream will be extended to allow them to be a much more modest player than they would have been if South Stream had gone ahead.

        Borisov claimed to have learned a lesson after the EU coaxed Bulgaria to put a stake in the heart of South Stream. Bulgaria did so, expecting to be rewarded by the EU, but no significant reward was ever forthcoming. It must be said that if the EU had showered Bulgaria with gratitude and rewards, the conversation in which he said “I was an ass” would never have taken place. It remains to be seen how grateful Borisov is for the reprieve, but it is probably worth it to Russia to give Bulgaria another chance. It could affect Bulgarian politics for years to come, and give Russia some leverage with the EU.

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      3. Bulgaria has a long tradition of backstabbing its brother Slavs. Russia would be well-advised to remember that and act accordingly.

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  5. Vesti News
    Published on 15 Jan 2019
    Subscribe to Vesti News
    A big financial and diplomatic scandal between Berlin and Washington is in full swing. A number of German companies taking part in the construction of Nord Stream 2 have received a “black mark”, threatening sanctions. It was the US Ambassador to Germany who sent it. The surprised businessmen, who see the construction of the pipeline from Russia as a matter of business, applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Chancellery for clarification.

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  6. DW News
    Published on 14 Jan 2019
    Washington’s ambassador to Germany has issued a stark warning to German companies over a controversial pipeline that would supply Russian gas to Germany while bypassing eastern European countries.
    Ambassador Richard Grenell reportedly wrote to several companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, reminding them of US sanctions on the Russian energy sector. Grenell also criticized the project on social media. The US has long opposed Nord Stream, saying it undermines European security.

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    1. Russia should issue a stark warning to the EU: at the end of the 2019 transit of gas through Pukeraine will be terminated. It is up to the EU to figure out how to get Russian gas. These idiots know that the US has negligible natural gas export capacity (5 bcm/year in 2017) yet act as if the US could replace Russia as a supplier. Russia has built substantial LNG export facilities that the EU can use and pay the LNG premium.

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      1. I think Russia dangles the possibility of further gas transit through Ukraine just to keep everyone guessing. Russia does not own Ukraine’s gas transit system, so it can transit any amount through Ukraine or shut it down, as it sees fit, once Ukraine is bypassed. Holding open the possibility that additional volumes will still be transited through Ukraine means that Ukraine must keep the system operational (and you know what kind of shape it’s in) at its own expense, but it still has no assurances that it will get anything. At the same time, Russia maintains a low-cost backup in the event of a spike in demand. Ukraine – truculent as usual – is trying to bully Russia into signing a long-term gas contract, but I very much doubt that will happen. Ukraine will have to keep its pipelines in working order, but might get nothing for months at a time.

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        1. Funny how when Russia was giving the EU long term contract deals (yes, they were deals considering the price vs time curves) the EU (led by the UK) was pushing for spot pricing. But now Pukeraine wants long term gas transit contracts. Go and get stuffed, Banderatards. Beg your new masters for charity.

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          1. Yes, that is a valid point, and the west was all about patting itself on the back because its machinations had forced Russia to adopt spot pricing rather than long-term gas contracts, which were customarily indexed to the price of oil. This was supposedly fairer for everyone, because the west always needs to be Johnny Sheriff riding to the rescue of the oppressed consumer. In reality what the west disliked about the contract system was that it was negotiated directly between the seller and the buyer, with no middle-man getting a cut despite not having any supplies of his own and not being the end-user. What the west loves about spot pricing is it gives the speculators a chance to make money on buying low and selling higher several times before the gas even reaches the end-user, and making the futures market fluctuate where there is no room for such price fluctuations in a contract. It’s also harder to do with pipeline gas, which in the end only travels between point A and point B, although there is now – thanks to reverse-flow (which Russia also fought against and lost) the possibility of buying pipeline gas for one price and selling it on to another buyer for a higher price. That’;s probably why the west champions the interconnector systems, so that it can move pipeline gas around easier and, once again, allow someone who has nothing but money to make more money.

            Like

  7. Ukr null brains still can’t get over the fact that the Kerch Strait bridge was built by Russia.

    If these losers had any hint of a point, then there would have been massive construction delays. Since there were not, we know that the piles were designed correctly and are doing their job.

    BTW, the Lakhta Center skyscraper, the tallest one in all of Europe, is also floating on piles:

    http://lakhta.center/en/article/?id=1033

    Like

  8. What is it with Polaks and their retarded “Russia will soon fall apart” fetish? You clowns had it easy during the Warsaw Pact era compared to Romanians and even Russians. There was never any forced collectivization in Poland and the Catholic Church was never exterminated. And if it wasn’t for Polish territorial expansionism and indirect support for Hitler (e.g. grabbing pieces of Czechoslovkia and participating in the Munich 1938 farce) maybe Poland would not have been “invaded” by the USSR.

    Like

    1. Poland was never invaded by the USSR in 1939. Poland ceased to exist by the time Soviet forces entered Western Belarus and Ukraine. The so-called Polish government and military elite fled like cowards to Romania, where they were interned. “Poland” for all intents and purposes was terra nullius by September 17 1939.

      Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in September 1939? NO!

      https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/mlg09/did_ussr_invade_poland.html

      The Polish fetish for the disintegration of Russia is codified in “Marshal” Jozef Pilsudski “Prometheism” idea. Poles are forever promoting this idea.

      RUSSIA AFTER PUTIN

      Russia’s Alternative Futures

      https://www.cepa.org/russia-after-putin

      Like

  9. @ ME and Jen:

    “Luftwaffe oil offensive
    In the first week of October 1942, Hitler came to recognise that the capture of the Caucasus oil fields was unlikely before winter forced the Germans to take up winter positions. Unable to capture them, he was determined to deny them to the enemy and ordered the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) to inflict as much damage as possible.[69]

    On 8 October, Hitler called for the air offensive to be carried out no later than 14 October, as he required air assets for a major effort at Stalingrad.[70] As a result, on 10 October 1942, Fliegerkorps 4 of Luftflotte 4 (4th Air Corps of Fourth Air Fleet) was ordered to send every available bomber against the oilfields at Grozny. Fourth Air Fleet was in poor shape by this time – von Richthofen had begun Case Blue with 323 serviceable bombers out of a total of 480. He was now down to 232, of which only 129 were combat ready. Nevertheless, the force could still deliver damaging blows. Attacks on the refineries reminded von Richthofen of the attacks on Sevastopol several months earlier.

    Thick black smoke rose from the refineries to a height of 5,500 metres (18,000 ft). On 12 October, further raids caused even more destruction.

    ****It had been a strategic mistake not to have made greater efforts to hit the oil refineries at Grozny and Baku sooner, as their destruction would have been a greater blow to the Soviets than the loss of Stalingrad, where most of the air fleet was deployed. ****

    (THAT was my point..In the Summer of 42 in the run up to the Nazi move to capture Stalingrad, the entire Caucasus region was at THAT point there for the taking. The Germans could then have went right down to Eastern Turkey ,Syria, Iran and subsequently into the Gulf oil fields. Look at the map:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@34.9974843,35.3708873,5.07z
    The Suez canal would be captured ,leaving the Brits totally up shit creek.)

    On 19 November, the Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad compelled von Richthofen to once more withdraw his units north to the Volga and bring an end to the aerial offensive.[71]
    Much damage was done at Grozny, but the remaining oilfields were beyond the logistical reach of the German Army as well as the fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe. Grozny was within range of German bombers from 4th Air Corps, based near the Terek River. But Grozny and the captured oilfields at Maykop produced only ten per cent of Soviet oil. The main fields at Baku were out of German fighter range. German bombers could have reached them, but it meant flying the most direct, thus most predictable route without protection. In August it may have been possible to carry out these operations owing to the weakness of Soviet air power in the region, but by October it had been considerably strengthened.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_Blue

    Like

    1. Yes, they could have gone right down to the Caucasus just like that, easy-peasy, and left Russian armies on their left flank.

      Look at a map!

      The Nazis tried to short cut the route to the Caucasus by taking the route Crimea- Krasnodar and. therefore, by building a bridge across the Kerch strait. They were admirably helped in this plan by the Crimean Tatars, who were enjoying themselves exterminating ethnic Russians on the peninsula and acting as Nazi auxiliaries, hence the Eurovision song competion winner “1944”.

      The bridge was never completed, because after the their defeat at Stalingrad, the Germans were in retreat to the Vaterland. They tried to take another bite at the cherry in 1943 at Kursk, but failed dismally thanks, no doubt, to the Red Army troops being thouroughly nourished by that time by bonteous supplies of cans of Spam from Uncle Sam. And the weather must have been, as per usual, unbearable for members of the Master Race.

      The Red Army eventually struck back after its victory at Stalingrad and took Kerch and built the bridge, using the materiel that the Nazis had left behind in their haste to retreat. The bridge went into operation, but was later demolished after its having been damaged by ice floes.

      In southern Russia, the River Don to the west flows into the Sea of Azov and the Volga to the east flows into the Caspian Sea. In the south, when nearing the Sea of Azov, however, the Don takes an eastwards turn in the Donbass and flows close to the Volga before flowing westwards, then turning once again southwards towards the Sea of Azov.

      This change of course of the river, this “Don Bend”, and then its return to its original southern flow allowed the Nazis to make a dash from the Don to the Volga, to take Rostov-on-Don, before heading southeast to the Caucasus. But I repeat, to their left remained undefeated Red Armies in the rest of European Russia.

      The Germans did, in fact, run a propaganda exercise, in that mountain troops dutifully placed the Reich flag on the summit of Mount Elbrus, situated on the frontier between the RSFSR and the Georgian SSR, where they had their photos taken — and then soon returned to Rostov because they and the rest of the Nazi troops who were taking part in this foray into the Caucasus, had found themselves to be so far out on a propagandistic limb that their position had become untenable, the enthusistic support given them by the Chechens notwithstanding, because of Soviet counter attacts, labelled “Operation Little Saturn”.


      Mount Elbrus, 21st August, 1942

      See: The Battle of the Caucasus

      … a name given to a series of Axis and Soviet operations in the Caucasus area on the Eastern Front of World War II. On 25 July 1942, German troops captured Rostov-on-Don, Russia, opening the Caucasus region of the southern Soviet Union, and the oil fields beyond at Maikop, Grozny, and ultimately Baku, to the Germans. Two days prior, Adolf Hitler issued a directive to launch such an operation into the Caucasus region, to be named Operation Edelweiß. German forces were compelled to withdraw from the area that winter as Operation Little Saturn threatened to cut them off.

      Stalingrad had to be taken so as to cover any thrust into the Caucusus. Taking Stalingrad would have cut the a main Soviet supply artery south: what Vicksburg on the Mississippi was to the Confederates, so was Stalingrad on the Volga to the Soviets.

      Vicksburg fell: Stalingrad didn’t.

      The situation was this:

      From the Baltic to the Sea of Azov, in the north, Leningrad was besieged; further south, the Moscow front was stable; in the centre, so was the Voronezh front. All that needed to be done was to take Stalingrad, which the Soviets had declared would be defended to the last.

      The Nazis intended to try and make another Verdun out of Stalingrad, to suck into the cauldron that they had created the last of the Soviet armies and destroy them, and after that, onwards to the Caucasus.

      So the first phase was Richtofen’s “softening up” of Stalingrad by means of the Luftwaffe, no matter that the city was still populated by civilians: they were all subhumans.

      And in doing so, in reducing the city to rubble, the smart-arse Nazis had created a killing ground for their tanks that had raced across the land bridge afforded to them by the Don Bend. The battle for the city became what the Nazis called “Rattenkrieg” — a “Rat War” , in which Soviet troops and Nazis fought hand to hand in the cellars of the ruins and in the sewers.

      And the Russian Rats won!

      In Volgograd there stands as a memorial the ruins of Pavlov’s House, which a certain sergeant Pavlov defended together with a handful of men.

      The building was held by its Red Army defenders for 60 days against a heavy Wehrmacht offensive during the battle. The siege lasted from 27 September to 25 November 1942 and eventually the Soviet forces managed to relieve it from the siege. It gained its popular name from Sergeant Yakov Pavlov, who commanded the platoon that seized the building and defended it during the long battle. (Sergeant Pavlov lived well into old age and died in Novgorod in 1981.)

      Vasily Chuikov, commanding general of the Soviet forces in Stalingrad, later joked that the Germans lost more men trying to take Pavlov’s House than they did taking Paris.

      An exageration, perhaps, on Chuikov’s part. However, according to OKW [German Armed Forces High Command] loss reports, Wehrmacht losses around Paris have been estimated to have been approximately between 1,000 and 2000 men, so, joking apart, it is quite plausible that there is a germ of truth in what Chuikov said, as for 60 days the Nazis attempted to storm Pavlov’s House —unsuccessfully.


      These colours don’t run — and that’s no bullshit!

      Like

      1. Of course, the consensus of opinion amongst those members of the Master Race remaining in the West and of many in the “Exceptional Nation” is that those colours simply didn’t usually run because if they tried to do so, NKVD troops in their rear machine-gunned them down.

        See, there’s a smart-arse answer for everything!

        Like

        1. The Nazi apologist revisionists and their NKVD fantasies are simply imbeciles and so are the saps who believe them. No amount of shooting of deserters will give an army morale. We can see this in Pukeraine where we have NKVD style coercion of the regular Ukr army. There is zero evidence of any sort of effectiveness in the Ukr army. It is demoralized, unmotivated (in spite of the coercion) and basically worthless. Such army could not have stood up to and defeated a propaganda amped army like that of Nazi Germany.

          I have seen documentary on TV Ontario that engaged in Nazi apologia and revisionism. This was some British production which claimed that Nazi atrocities against civilians were due to the killing of German soldiers in non-chivalrous ways by the Soviets. This is patent BS since the Nazis deliberately terrorized civilians and were the instigators of any revenge cycles. Equating invading soldiers with civilians is extremely grotesque and absurd. Soldiers de facto sign wavers where they surrender their lives to their cause. If they die, then tough shit. Soviet civilians burned alive in their homes are pure victims of war crimes. That I have to point this out says it all about the dementia of NATzO.

          Like

  10. Another RANT-

    The evening news shows tonight were loaded with heart rending stories about the devastating loss and unimaginable hardship of government workers affected by the shutdown.

    I kid you not, one story featured a family collecting food at a special food bank for government workers. The reason they were there was that this was the FIRST week without a paycheck. They were forced to use the food bank to feed their young family (both parents were apparently government workers). The humanity! These suffering workers, however will receive full retroactive pay when the shutdown ends, Cry me a fucking river.

    When manufacturing plants close and people lose their livelihood without recourse, tough shit says the media – that’s business. No anguish, no special food banks. In fact, no media coverage at all. We rust belt manufacturing morons deserve nothing. I get it.

    Like

    1. First week? Wasn’t the govt shut down since Dec 22? That’s close to a month already, or am I missing something?

      Well, I do think it’s pitiful anyway. Since it’s true they are on a pseudo-slavery contract right now – must work, no pay, strikes prohibited. Low-rank govt officials are properly worker class too, it’s no good to put up fictive class barriers within the class. What you are saying is also true, but let’s not direct the anger at those undeserving of it.

      It’s obvious the news orgs are using the suffering as a tool to pressure Trump govt. They are not, however, asking an obvious question: why exactly must a family go to the food bank after not receiving salary for a very short time? Why people in employment of the richest country in the world don’t have enough savings to last for a month? Where did all that wealth go?

      Like

      1. I worked in civil service for a few years. The pay was good, responsibility and job pressure was usually low, job security was high and the work environment was laid back. Not saying that was a bad thing. All of the foregoing creates a sense of complacency that is not typical for most private sector jobs.

        We were paid every two weeks and some government employees may be paid monthly or have two weeks of pay hold back meaning the final check would be received 4 weeks after end of employment.

        Yes, a main point, not well expressed, was the media’s uncharacteristic concern over the plight of laid off workers. Another point was the apparent total bubble world mentality of these workers completely unprepared for financial upsets. Reason these workers do not have any apparent savings can be found their driveways or owning vacation homes or spending just to show off. That is not to minimize the unfortunate plight of those who face medical bills or other uncontrollable expenses.

        Like

        1. Ah, I see what you mean now.

          Well, the article on this issue that I stumbled upon was, while not neglecting general picture, talking about low-rank govt-run prison officials in particular. The description in the article of this job was quite the opposite of your experience: bad pay, high responsibility. I admit I don’t know about the issue any more than what that article talked about and some short Wikipedia journey the article prompted.

          Like

          1. The problem is that even highly paid US middle class consumers blow all their money on mortgages, car payments and the purchase of rubbish with the result that they have no spare cash for food and do live paycheck to paycheck like paupers. I was acquainted with two women researchers in the past who had heavy (tens of thousands of dollars) credit card debt because they just had to buy expensive clothing all the time. They were Canadians, but this is normal consumer behaviour for the USA.

            Patient Observer has a point about the US MSM crying over one group of workers and ignoring others. The US MSM is a propaganda orifice for the US elites and is all about pushing narratives. Trump is bad so his positive impact on domestic manufacturing jobs and black employment needs to be ignored, but his impact on government workers during the routine government shutdowns we have seen over the last 20 years has to be turned into some sort of crime against humanity.

            Like

            1. Well, the people who are really in trouble are homeowners, and anyone facing the prospect of a salary cutoff anywhere in North America would be alarmed in those circumstances because a mortgage payment is typically a family’s biggest expense. While they can usually make it without too much discomfort as long as they’re getting paid, they typically have no savings which would absorb that kind of expense, often a couple of thousand a month, for very long. That’s in the case of people who manage their money carefully. As we all know, there are many who do not, and are walking the tightrope every month to get to the next paycheck.

              Like

              1. Australia is one of the most urbanised nations in the world with over 80% of Australians living in cities. About 66% of all Australians live in State capital cities (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin).

                In Sydney, the average household spends 39% of its monthly income on mortgage repayments; in Melbourne, the average household spends 32% of its monthly income on mortgage repayments. In the smaller capital cities of Brisbane (population about 2 – 3 million), Perth and Adelaide (each with a population of some 1 million), mortgage repayments are about 20% of the average household’s monthly income.
                https://www.finder.com.au/income-spent-on-mortgage

                The general rule of thumb that financial advisors give is that no more than 28% of your monthly income before tax should be going into mortgage repayments AND other housing-related expenses (like home insurance, land and property taxes). The 28 / 36 rule is used as a guide by mortgage lenders to determine how much total debt (as a % of monthly income) can be taken on by an individual or a couple.
                https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/twenty-eight-thirty-six-rule.asp

                On top of mortgage repayments, which are clearly eating up too much of the monthly incomes of Sydneysiders and Mexicans (‘cos they live south of the border 🙂 ), other significant payments urban Australians would be making include credit card payments, health insurance payments and educational expenses for children going to school or university (41% of secondary school students attend private schools, against the OECD average of 18% and the US average of 8%).
                https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisainfocus/48482894.pdf

                Surveys done on Australians’ savings habits reveal that 33% of Australians would not be able to last a month on savings alone and 25% of households have less than $1,000 in savings.
                https://www.bhg.com.au/average-financial-situation-in-australia
                https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/one-in-three-australians-couldn-t-last-a-month-on-savings-alone-20180614-p4zliz.html

                Like

                1. Truly a generational change. Those who went through the US Great Depressions and their children seem to be be conservative financially such as maintain significant savings.

                  IIRC, the current US generation will be the first to be financially less well off than the previous generation. Much of that is due to the increasing disparity between the wealthy and everyone else but also a shift of thinking toward short term gratification.

                  Like

                2. There is actually a classic economic argument against encouraging too much saving: when too many people in a society save and don’t spend, then there’s not enough demand, there’s not enough money circulating, business drops and people can lose their jobs. This is known as the paradox of thrift and is related to another paradox common in economics known as the fallacy of composition (what’s true of or good for the individual is not necessarily so for the whole community).

                  Also, for some individuals to be able to save part of their income from work or business activity, some other individuals have to be spending or forgoing saving to keep those savers in work.

                  Austerity programs imposed on societies founder on these paradoxes.

                  The real problem is that the financial industry is profiting off people’s need to borrow money to finance large purchases like houses, by offering loans beyond borrowers’ ability to pay back and they often do this by deliberately falsifying information about borrowers’ incomes on loan applications.

                  A report done by UBS in 2017 on the Australian mortgage lending market found that up to $500 billion worth of mortgage loans could have poor and inaccurate documentation:
                  https://www.businessinsider.com.au/liar-loans-ubs-thinks-there-could-be-problems-with-500-billion-worth-of-australian-mortgages-2017-9

                  This is the same problem that US banks had back in 2008.

                  Like

      2. I think their pay was protected for three weeks or something like that, and everyone was gambling that Trump would not keep it up longer than that. Of course his egotism is only outstripped by his stubbornness. But we will see. The Democrats are not going to crack first and agree to fund his wall, so it might go quite a long time. I agree the stories of food banks and so forth are just a tool to put pressure on Trump, who will certainly not have to worry about money. Look for stories to start appearing about how Trump spent enough on lunch to feed a family of four for a week and the like, although that might go nowhere if all he eats are cheeseburgers.

        Like

        1. I can’t say I disagree with anything you guys have already covered on this story. I do feel that it is ridiculous for government employees of the richest country on earth (TM) to need to resort to food banks to survive, but I feel that it is ridiculous for ANY employees in this country to need food banks to survive and agree that this kind of reporting is basically just the next blunt instrument being wielded against the Trump administration. Spending habits of Americans notwithstanding.

          I do want to point out that it is rather disheartening that the US system of governance is so screwed up at this point that a petty political disagreement causes the entire thing to literally stop working. I admit I am a novice at the inner workings of the US government but it seems beyond madness to me that things like government operations, salaries, national parks, and assistance programs are in the same budget draft as this pathetic “wall” disagreement and other discretional idiocy. Last I checked in the business world if you didn’t get he budget you wanted it was tough shit, wait until next year.

          Like

          1. We do not have such standoffs in Canada. It is the US system that broken in that it needs to have base funding approved on an ongoing basis by the Legislative branch. All representative republics have the Legislature approve budgets, but in the USA it is taken to an absurd extreme. In my view it is a part of the pork barrel rider corruption of bill adoption. Being able to attach some expenditure at any moment for obscure projects allows for lots of corruption joy. Approving a yearly budget without ad hoc riders is too constrictive for the US elites.

            Like

  11. John Helmer: OPERATION INTEGRITY INITIATIVE — BRITISH INTELLIGENCE CELEBRATES A CENTURY OF RUSSIA LIES AND SELF-DECEPTION
    http://johnhelmer.net/operation-integrity-initiative-british-intelligence-celebrates-a-century-of-russia-lies-and-self-deception/#more-20249

    There’s a reason Albion is well-known as perfidious. Like leopards and spots, it’s because he’s always been that way.

    In the 1920s the British secret services pursued Russians in the UK with the same zealous tactics and purposes as they have been doing in the past decade. The partial release of the 1920s archives, documented in a newly published book, reveals the same fabrications, false flags, contrived press leaks, meretricious politicians and journalists, sanctions, expulsions, and deep state deceptions as the British continue to pursue against Russia today….
    ####

    Plenty more at the link including much from a book based on UK gov archives about British intelligence fakes of the 1920s.

    I don’t know what to make of the stuff published on his site. Some of it is great, and some of it is batshit crazy.

    Like

    1. John Helmer errs in referring to the Moon of Alabama blog as US-based. Makes you wonder if he’s fallen for the spiel about the dual national German-American who served in the Vietnam War as perpetrated by one Jett Goldsmith who’s written for Bellingcat.

      Like

    1. Lavrov is in a class by himself. Like Putin, he is able to extemporaneously speak at length on complex subjects with clarity and organization of thought. I can not think of any American public figure able to do the same. This absence of such ability suggests something fundamentally different in the two cultures.

      Like

      1. Same story with UK public figures. I can’t think of any who could speak to any international issue with knowledge and historical understanding. I have long been of the opinion that most western political institutions are no longer fit for purpose.

        Like

        1. Current Australian politicians are midgets even compared to US and UK politicians. Only an Australian politician could be so mentally pygmoid as to push for Australia’s embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem just a few days before a by-election to get support for his party’s candidate from the Jewish population in the electorate where the by-election was to be held – and most of that target population having already voted because the by-election was being held on a Saturday.

          So mediocre are Australian politicians that they can’t even be “bad” as in “baaad” like the British Defence Secretary:

          https://www.newstatesman.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/gw_fry_up_1.jpg?itok=-VrPxxa3

          Like

    2. He’s a very eloquent speaker, and he addressed the question fairly, I think, although there is a new tome of not cutting anyone any slack in Russian foreign affairs speech. Japan was fairly singled out for always voting with its buddy, the USA, and there were subtle suggestions also that it is not Japan pressing for the return of the disputed islands, but Washington with its hand up Japan’s shirt, making its mouth move.

      That said, I was impressed that the Japanese reporter spoke in perfect Russian without an interpreter. Of course there are westerners who speak Russian, too, but you hardly ever see them at press conferences or in public politics; an interpreter is almost always used. That’s wise in some ways; I know that although Putin can speak English, he always chooses to speak through an interpreter because there is less chance what he says will be misinterpreted, misquoted and misrepresented.

      Like

      1. The Japanese was well-spoken based on the translation but his questions were loaded; more of a speech than a simple request for clarification.

        Like

      2. “he always chooses to speak through an interpreter because there is less chance what he says will be misinterpreted, misquoted and misrepresented.”

        which sadly can’t be said for the leader of the new Ukrainian Church , who spoke in Russian to the 2 famous Russian prankers, making him think he was talking to an EU representative

        The disgusting prick Steve Rosenburg always asks questions in English, though you would assume that he is fluent in Russian given the time he has been the Chief Correspondent of the BBC

        Lavrov had a big conference yesterday, I saw a little part of it, during which the Financial Times Journalist asked him the question in English, with a manner that suggests he can’t speak Russian, though he was young enough to be given some leeway

        Almost to a rule though, whilst the Japanese guy spoke good Russian, these American and British “journalist” clowns don’t ever go on the numerous Russian talk tv shows,maybe just a few obscure guys and the ex Washington Post Moscow Department head(oldish guy whose name I cant remember) . Or even if they refuse to go on “State tv” as part of their own propaganda ,they dont even go on RBK or liberast trash outlets like Dozhd TV or Ekho ( or numerous other opposition radio). Julia Ioffe at least did this and showed ability to speak fluently. Though I think the main problem for these guys is not necessarily the words or grammer of the Russian language, but in speaking it among Russian speakers they would be fully exposed for a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of Russian culture and Russia in general – because many people can not fully speak a language, but still understand the culture, but for these guys- it’s just neither of these things

        Like

        1. I remember Ames and Taibbi, when at the peak of their eXile fame — better said: “infamy” —
          appeared on a chat show here.

          Must be 20-odd years ago. They both spoke good Russian, but were giggling all the time.

          I think they had been smoking some of those funny cigarettes.

          Like

        2. That was one thing you could say for Michael McFaul – whilst Ambassador to the Russian Federation, he went on talk shows, speaking Russian. It wasn’t great, but it was a hell of a lot better than mine. He loved to hang out with opposition figures and have cloak-and-dagger meetings with dissidents, but he spoke reasonably good Russian and he could follow and hold a conversation in that language.

          Like

  12. @ME:

    OK..I was just testing you….I capitulate under the weight of your detailed eloquent and near complete thrashing of most of my point!!!!

    You will remain as Supreme Commander of the Southern Russia Defense Command…..But if I”m to be taken prisoner, I hopefully will be provided with cognac, chocolates and ability to watch Y&R …and post on KS.

    :O)

    Like

    1. No cognac for you, Western lackey!

      We only gave Armenian cognac and cigars to that stupid old drunken fart Churchill whilst we buttered up the typically American East Coast bourgeois Roosevelt with flattery and private interviews.

      For you the Lubyanka, where you shall be taught how to mend your exploitative, capitalist ways!

      Moscow Exile, Colonel, NKVD.

      🙂

      PS We might provide you with a Russian cutie, though, so as to loosen your tongue, but do not pin any hopes on this!

      Like

  13. Actually what Trump is doing is plainly violative of the Constitution.
    The USA Congess has the absolute Constitutionally designated right to refuse to authorize funding for Trump’s Wall.
    What Trump is doing is conditioning resumption of government operations upon Congress doing what he wants them to do and that being what they have the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT not to authorize.

    This is a criminal usurpation of the lawful authority of Congress.

    Suppose Congress passed a bill and Trump threatened to veto it….which would absolutely be within the scope of his constitutionalyl designated authority. Congress tells him that if you veto our bill…which is your absolute right …we will shut down the government. WTF do you think would happen??

    I think the matter needs to be taken to the streets with a massive general strike.
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/01/16/pers-j16.html

    If the economy starts to collapse as a result, TPTB to whom Trump reports will call him and the shut down will be ended. And TPTB don’t give a fuck about Trump’s base and how they are willing to follow him down a path leading to their own profound deprivation and eventual destruction.

    However Americans probably don’t have the guts for that…..

    Like

      1. NS and PO, I think you’re being a little hard on yourselves and your fellow citizens. Effective civil opposition is not always a matter of ‘guts’ but of organisation. And that’s been MIA for a long time now. The outsourcing of jobs, the decline in manufacturing, the weakening of trade unions, the growth of zero hours contracts and the ‘flexible’ labour force, static pay rates, declining in real terms year by year, the growth of organisations like Uber which are essentially race-to-the-bottom labour auctions, the loss of public space where people could once meet each other, the drugs epidemic, poor education, excessive emphasis on the individual being entirely responsible for their fate – hey, a black guy became President so if you’re black and you can’t be what you want to be, it’s your personal failure – identity politics plus a thousand other such changes in the body politic have produced an atomised society where communal actions are largely foreign to many people. How many folk nowadays have the skills, training and inclination to build coalitions with people different from themselves but who are also being regally shafted by the 10%?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Fern, that was a great summary of what US culture has become. Add in social media amplification of narcissism and we end with a self-absorbed population, especially the youth who would otherwise by the boat rockers. As mentioned before, it would take a serious physical calamity to wake up the population. When your life is on the line, then guts/bravery/courage is a natural response for many.

          Like

          1. Thanks, PO, I’m here all week. It’s not just US culture – same story in the UK and, I suspect, many other western countries (‘western’ in terms of culture irrespective of location). I read a claim on one blog that D-notices have been issued to restrict UK media from reporting on the French (and, increasingly other European countries) ‘yellow vest’ protests for fear of contagion.

            Like

            1. Exactly.

              If you have the opportunity to observe people together in many situations in Western countries, the level of social interaction is tiny. Most are fixated on their mobiles or other gadgets.

              And young people are encouraged to be feckless about money. Umpteen times I’ve seen kids sort through the coins they are carrying and dump the coppers into the street. Little wonder that they have few clues as to handling their finances later.

              Like

        2. Fern, you really hit the nail on the head, everything that is wrong with American society.
          The real key to change is organization. Which, as you say, requires political skills and endless finesse.
          Organizing ordinary people is like herding cats, only a very few leaders have the capability to bring about real change. In the meantime, regular people should not blame themselves for the continuing stagnation. All we can do is maybe just try harder.

          Like

  14. The reality of American private enterprise. Communism for the corporations. Dog eat dog capitalism for the masses.

    Next time some fuckwit goes on about private, individual initiative in the USA and how that makes America great, show them this.

    Like

  15. Wonder how the Western lying media will handle this story, if at all:

    Высланную из России журналистку Бойко арестовали на Украине
    17 января 2019, 03:21

    In short: Elena Boiko, a Ukrainian journalist from deepest Banderastan, namely Lvov, highly critical of the goings on on the Maidan etc., fled to Russia after having claimed threats had been made against her life.

    She was arrested in Moscow in December for being an illegal immigrant, having lived here illegaly since 2016. She was first held in that immigration centre that I know and love so well, in Sakharovo, some 40 miles southwest of Moscow, from where she was deported yesterday.

    She had claimed political asylum in Russia, but it was refused.

    Having crossed the border into freedom-and-democracy-loving Ukraine, she was immediately arrested and imprisoned in Kharkov.

    Now she is in prison in Lvov. She has been charged with criminal offences that have not been stated.

    So here we have the forcible deportation by the wicked Russians of a political asylum claimant, whose claim has been refused and who will certainly be imprisoned in her home country, to which place she was handed over!

    Boo, fie, shame on you evil Moskali!

    The asylum seeker is a Ukrainian, seeking asylum in a country that is waging war against the Ukraine. — how can that be possible?

    And she is a journalist! A journalist has been arrested! One of the unimpeachable chosen people, and a Ukrainian to boot!!!

    But it is the Ukranians who have arrested her, so it’s all right then.

    Apparently, she had been bad mouthing Ukranian Nazis Nationalists, who simply wish to remove the centuries old Russian yoke.

    But it seems she has apparently been arrested for being anti-Maidan! That’s a political arrest, surely?

    Not at all: she is clearly a Kremlin Stooge.

    But if she’s a Kremlin Stooge, why have the Mongol-Tatar subhumans who “stole” the name “Russia” sent her back to the Ukraine, where she is certain to be imprisoned?

    Like

    1. Sobchak made a surprise appearance in Kiev yesterday. She has not been arrested, even though she is , allegedly, the Evil One’s goddaughter, and her father was the Dark lord’s mentor.

      Like


      1. Sobchak in full Yukie rig a couple of years ago with another Russian traitor and with the image of a Nazi collaborator gazing down at them.

        And she stood for election as President of Russia.

        Like

        1. The Russian journalist with her dressed de rigeur in a vyshyvanka is a certain Anton Vyacheslavovich Krasovsky from Podol’sk near Moscow, who formerly worked as a journalist and editor on the “pro-Kremlin” NTV channel.

          Krasovsky “came out” live on air in a discussion about homosexuality in Russia., namely he is a practising homosexual. Just over 1 year ago, he anounced that he has had HIV since 2011.

          Having publicly declared his sexual preference, Krasovsky then wrote for the Guardian UK (surprise, surprise):

          How did it come about that today in Russia a good gay person is a dead gay person? How did there come to be a law in the Duma that forbids justifying homosexuality? Until now, the only thing you were forbidden to justify in my country was terrorism…. So as far as the deputies are concerned I am not a human being in the same sense that they are; I am to be classed as scum, like a terrorist. As far as the deputies are concerned I am scum by the fact of my birth, and it was criminal negligence not to have made a note of that in my birth certificate. What seemed like a bad dream only a couple of years ago has now become reality. And it is terrifying to imagine what could happen tomorrow.

          No prizes for spotting the blatant lie — no, perhaps it was simply a misunderstanding of Russian legislation on Krasovsky’s part, though I think not — in the above statement.

          They must have opened the club “Central Station” after Krasovsky had fled the wrath of Russian homophobes.

          Like

          1. Actually, Krasovsky has not fled Russia, but I can hardly see his equating this below with what he wrote in that rag the Guardian:

            https://gaymoskva.com/

            https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g298484-Activities-c20-t103-Moscow_Central_Russia.html

            And there’s even this — from the Guardian, even:

            Gay in Putin’s Moscow: why the city is pinker than you think

            Where is this Moscow that belongs to putin?

            I’m sure there exists Putin’s dog and lady-friend and dacha etc., but “Putin’s Moscow”???

            Like

            1. Of course; that is common practice among journalists. Surely you remember “Dave’s Bognor Regis”? No? How about “Trudeau’s Toronto”? And they must say “Trump’s New York” – my God, the man was born there.

              Like

            2. I believe Putin’s Moscow is out in the shed(also Putin’s) with Putin’s Olympics, Putin’s forces, Putin’s trolls, and Putin’s millions.

              Like

              1. In The Fraudian’s book, the whole of Russia is Putin’s backyard.

                Strange though how Moscow Exile so far hasn’t been forced to set up a shrine to Putin alongside the shrine to Woden in the gardens of his dacha.

                Like

                1. No Christians of any hue tolerated in the vicinity of my pagan shrine, which I am going to visit this weekend. Have to go to the dacha so as to scrape off the snow from our greenhouse roof, which snow must be about 2-foot thick now. It was blizzarding here most of yesterday.

                  I do hope Porky and pals down south in the Ukraine were not too cold. Well, they were not, of course, but their formerly jumping-up-and-down-on-the-Maidan supporters most certainly were.

                  Tough!

                  Like

          2. Krasovsky is a typical homosexual activist, in that there is no laissez-faire position permitted; if you are not loudly and flamboyantly in favour of ‘homosexual rights’ (as differentiated from ordinary human rights), then you are against them and consider homosexuals to be less than other citizens, like terrorists, scum. If you do not oppose homosexuality, then you must celebrate it. If homosexuals are not to be considered less than other citizens, you must make it clear that they are more than other citizens.

            Like

    2. And now the Ukrainian State Security Service (SBU) has stated why Boiko was immediately arrested upon her entering Banderastan:

      В СБУ назвали причину задержания высланной из России журналистки Бойко

      The SBU has stated the reason for the detention of the expelled from Russia journalist Boiko

      “Начиная с 2014 года агитаторша распространяла в интернете материалы антиукраинского характера, пропагандировала противостояние между украинцами из-за политических убеждений, публично призывала к нарушению территориальной целостности Украины”, — пояснили в пресс-службе СБУ.

      “Starting in 2014, the agitator circulated on the Internet materials of an anti-Ukrainian character, promoted confrontation between Ukrainians because of their political beliefs, and publicly called for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine”, the press service of the SBU has stated.

      Not a political arrest?

      Suppression of voicing publicly one’s political beliefs?

      I thought that is what happens in Russia.

      Like

      1. Dividing Ukrainians and promoting confrontation between them, and supported the violation of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty? And Russia – the country that has been at war with Ukraine for four years, has hundreds of thousands of active-duty troops in Ukraine and is daily on the brink of a massive invasion of Ukraine – sent her BACK??? Little hard to believe, isn’t it?

        Like

        1. Yes, hard to believe. And I have been puzzling over this conundrum all day … and then! Eureka!

          It isn’t the government that has deported her: it’s the migration service that did it. She was arrested in Moscow and was sent to the Multifunctional Migration Centre at Sakharovo..


          How I loathe that place!!!!

          She was clearly in breach of administrative law in that she had been living in Russia without the appropriate documentation – so pack her off, regardless of the extenuating circumstances. (I believe neighbours had reported that she was an “illegal”.)

          I recognize the pattern.

          After all, it happened to me, sort of, though I wasn’t incarcerated at Sakharovo: I was told to sling my hook, and I couldn’t do that before I had appeared in court and admitted that I had been in breach of administrative law, albeit unintentionally and unwittingly, and had paid a 5,000 ruble fine for having done that. Then I was allowed to apply for a transit visa and had to be out of Russia no more than 5 days after having paid my fine, my wife and three children, all Russsian citizens, notwithstanding.

          The Russian Migration Service bureautwats had a hand in this Boiko business!!!!

          I can see her now: pleading that her life might possibly be in danger if she were to return to Banderastan, and the immigration bureaucrats drone on and on ad nauseam: “We repeat, you were in breach of Administrative Law No.16, subsection (b), clause (d), paragragh 14(a) in that … blah blah blah blah.

          Like

          1. You’re so right, ME. These Russian Migration bureaucrats are unbelievable, they have no conscience, nor even a brain.
            They didn’t care about separating you from your children, nor separating this woman from her freedom.

            There had been some talk of simplifying the process for Ukrainian political emigres to get Russian citizenship. Not much done in that direction, and yet if somebody is a wrestler or movie star, they can get instant Russian citizenship!
            The main thing standing in the way for ordinary people, is this soulless bureaucracy. Makes me so mad, grrrrr!

            Like

            1. This is indefensible, but why in all the time of her being taken to the migration centre, going to court and getting deported- she was not able to, or someone on her behalf was not able to publicise her predicament to the public? I’m sure that the outcry would have been quite big for this well-known figure at even the hint she may be deported, then the government would have stepped in and the problem ended.

              This is what this dickhead Bill Browder did the other month when arrested in Spain on behalf of Interpol, he was able to use his phone to type something quickly on one of his social media pages- from which I’m sure a few important people would have made threats to the authorities there to release him immediately, which is what then happened.

              Even the discredited liberast/western media idiots- if even some minor or imaginary problem is happening to their guys , even the most obscure and pathetic “activist” then that information is generated immediately to the point that foreign Ambassadors, Cabinet members and major news outlets are publicising the story as it develops

              Like

              1. All you get in defence of the migration authorities’ deportation order, such as was a comment by an “expert” that appeared in KP yesterday at the foot of a lengthy article on the issue, is that Boiko cannot explain why, in the course of 2.5 years of illegal residence here, she did not apply for a temporary and then a permanent residence permit for a foreign national.

                Which I have to say, is rather strange behaviour on her part, albeit I see this behaviour as insufficient grounds for the throwing of her to the wolves, as it were.

                When I returned to Russia in September 2017, having been told in August 2017 that I had to leave because I was an illegal, even though I had been legally living here until May 2017 for 25 years, had been married to a Russian citizen for 21 of those years and am the father of 3 Russian citizens, 2 of them at that time still minors, I immediately applied for a 3-year temporary resedence permit.

                In the UK, I had only been given a single-entry, 3-month visa with which I could re-enter Russia. They accepted my TRP application here, at Sakharovo, on October 23, 2017, and in Novemmber 2017, I had my 3-month visa validity extended to 1 year.

                I finally was granted my TRP on April 23 this year. On December 13 this year, my application for a full permit was accepted at Sakharovo. I should get it after April 23 of this year, namely after 1 year has passed since I was granted a TRP.

                Why did Boiko not do this?

                I should add, though, that the bureacratic procedure involved in getting such permits is nightmarish, but I still cannot understand why Boiko just sat in Moscow and did nothing, until someone bubbled her to the authorities for being an illegal.

                Nice neighbours she’s got!

                Had.

                Like

                1. Here’s that KP article that I mentioned above:

                  Зачем Россия выдала Украине журналистку Елену Бойко
                  17 Jan

                  Why did Russia hand over journalist Elena Boiko to the Ukraine?

                  Until recently, it seemed that this could not have happened. After all, there have already been cases when militiamen being deported to the Ukraine have been taken off the train right on the border and have remained in Russia, because it was obvious that in their native country a political trial awaited them and long-term imprisonment. Lvov journalist Elena Vishchur (Boiko), who moved to Russia back in 2016, has had a case opened against her in Kiev for making “attempts against territorial integrity” and for criticizing the Poroshenko regime. It would seem that Moscow had a strong reason not to play along with this.

                  But the Russian humane court decided differently. It having been determined that Boiko had been in breach of immigration laws, her expulsion was enforced. This happened on December 10 last year. The judge decided that there was no reason to believe that the woman faced criminal charges in the Ukraine, albeit that by a strange, ominous coincidence, a criminal case had been brought against Elena Vishchur there 3 days earlier.

                  We have read the decision of the Russian court. It says that a citizen of the Ukraine, who in recent years has not been absent from Russian political TV shows, had inflamed the Kiev regime by her speaking for the Donbass and the Crimea, and had been living illegally in Russia all this time. For some reason she did not file documents for temporary residence, although, in her own words, she had asked for political asylum three times, and had been refused by the migration services. The court, by the way, announced that there were no traces of these appeals to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Perhaps Boiko was being somewhat disingeneous? …

                  The article continues, going into the details of Boiko’s complicated comings and goings in recent years between Russia, the Donbass and Banderastan.

                  Of course, much of Elena Boiko’s story does not add up. I cannot understand why for 2.5 years in Russia she did not even bother to apply for a temporary residence permit, not to mention a full one. Why all this rushing around in the neutral zones? [the separatist areas of E. Ukraine — ME] and running the risk of being palmed off with some fake migration card off some of the “grey” firms that issue them? There’s a lawful procedure that is complicated and bureaucratic, but if you want to legalize things in Russia, it is possible. [If you have the patience of Job! — ME] And as regards those who now say that the law is sacrosanct, well, I understand their argument perfectly well.

                  But I cannot find an explanation why Russia has deported a person to a place, whilst fully aware of the fact that person will be put on trial there for being “pro-Russia”.

                  Like

  16. DONATING TO THE FBK?

    Frankfurt

    Bangkok

    Kairo

    [“Cairo” spelt “Kairo” as transcripted from Cyrillic — ME]

    ФБК Фонд борьбы с коррупцией, Navalny’s “Anti-Corruption Foundation”, literally: fund for fight with corruption:

    a Russian nonprofit organization based in Moscow established in 2011 by activist and politician Alexei Navalny. Its main goal is to investigate and to expose corruption cases among high-ranking Russian government officials.Wiki.

    Like

  17. More on MS-21 composites:

    BMPD: Интервью генерального директора АО «АэроКомпозит» о проблеме композиционных материалов для МС-21/Interview with AO AeroKomosist general director about MS-21 composite materials
    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/3496191.html
    ####

    According to the GD, a) It never worked with the Japanese company Toreay; b) It has long since switched to Belgium’s Solvay after initially working with Hexcel. Russia has advanced production of composites at Ulyanovsk.

    BTW, yandex.ru makes a hilarious translation error:*

    — А почему вы не занялись импортозамещением раньше?
    — Why are you not engaged in import substitution before?

    — Кто сказал, что мы им не занимались?
    — Who said we haven’t had sex?

    * Yes, I cheated. My Russian is crap. As I’ve said before more than once. Life is short. At least I’m not trying to learn German! 😉

    Like

      1. Why is it a hangup? Do you think that the western MSM (and sycophant chorus around the world) coverage of Russian technological capacity and progress is unbiased? I can’t even find any such coverage in the Canadian and US MSM. But there is plenty of appeals to 50 year old stereotypes about Russian “cell phones are the size of trucks” BS.

        Western perceptions of Russia are truely cringeworthy. The other day I was listening to some US standup on Sirius and the black comic had the following line: “Russian female athletes do very well at sport events. But they look like men”. Har. Har. Har. Seriously, the man-like female “joke” ever only applied to East Germans and their doping program and never to Soviet or Russian females. Sure shot-putters can be really butch, but not track and field participants.

        Like

          1. I was also recently reminded of this “ugly Russian women” BS recently when I saw a talk show interview of Joan Rivers in the early 1980s. This comic would routinely spread this BS. Clearly American comics still do.

            Check out all the adulation for this cheesy crap in the comments.

            Like

        1. “Hangup”- my figure of speech only. No, it’s never occurred to me that western reporting about Russian technology might be biased. (You don’t do irony?) Here’s a recent comment (by a Timothy Hagios) from Martyanov’s site that I felt like cheering:
          “More than anything else, I would love to see something like a “worldwide day of remembrance for the victims of journalism”, where we take time to remember the millions and millions of people who were killed thanks to journalists’ lies and exaggerations.”

          Like

          1. Yeah, but she married and became a mother, hairy bollocks or no.

            Tamara Press, though, and her sister Irina, were in a diffferent league, one might even say a different balls game …

            Both Ukrainian — more specifically, UkSSR — born and bred. After speculation as regards their “gender” had become rife, they sort of quietly went home and vanished.

            I still think “gender” is a grammatical term!

            Who dare argue with none other than the renowned Henry Watson Fowler on this matter:

            “… gender, n., is a grammatical term only. To talk of persons or creatures of the masculine or feminine gender, meaning of the male or female sex, is either a jocularity (permissible or not according to context) or a blunder”.

            People and animals are of the male or female sex. The words “male” and “female” refer to sex, not gender, which is expressed three ways: masculine, feminine, and neuter.

            Masculine means “like a man,” feminine means “like a woman,” and neuter means “like neither.”

            Once we start talking of “male gender”, “female gender” and “neuter gender”, we are dehumanizing the human race, or at least desexing it.

            Perhaps that is what some people wish for.

            End of rant!

            🙂

            Like

      1. NATzO propaganda against Russia is racist at its core. The notion that Russia can’t make its own world class composites is a implicit claim about the low IQ of Russians. The same goes for Skripal hoax where supposedly trained “GRU” agents were utter incompetent clowns. And Scotland Yard with its totally new theory every Friday wasn’t.

        BTW, I have some experience with science and if Scotland Yard had actual evidence of a crime, then that would have constrained its theorizing. That they could not place the location of the Novichok exposure for weeks on end proves they did not have any forensic data based on actual field sampling.

        Like

        1. From Martyanov: “No, the significance of Kinzhals, Zircons, Avangards, what have you is in the fact that such missiles use large percentage of carbon fiber and other composite materials in their assembly. So, one is forced to ask then–can the nation which develops such breakthrough materials which allow weapon systems to remain under control and functional while flying in the cloud of a hot plasma, develop a carbon fiber material for a wing of a commercial aircraft?”

          Like

    1. Katelyn Ohashi would have made the 2016 US Olympic team (and she would have been Simone Biles’ main threat in the all-round competition in Rio) but injuries and surgery followed by loss of confidence over 2014 – 2015 kept her out.

      Like

      1. For several months now I have been teaching online Chinese women students who work in Shanghai. They are really attractive, I think, and more importantly, smart and very respectful to me because I’m dead old, see, and the Chinese respect old folk, which is right and proper — in my Old Fogey opinion, of course.

        Like

  18. Throughout history every revolution was preceded by the types of widespread ‘bread and circus’ distractions , anomie, police state orchestrated Orwellian obfuscations of reality,cultural decay , social dysfunction and so on referenced by Fern.
    However that did not prevent the oppressed from organizing to rid themselves of their oppressors.
    For example neither the blood soaked and violence ridden American Labor movement nor the Civil Rights movement were led by erudite academics or glib experienced organizers. Yes there were some who had those skills but folk who often were barely literate were able to articulate their outrage and anguish..often at the cost of their lives.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_Massacre
    https://socialistworker.org/2007-2/642/642_10_BlackPower.php

    Recall WHY MLK was assassinated by the racist American power structure and to whom he addressed his last words…..

    https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/beyond-vietnam
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_sanitation_strike

    Like

    1. Yes, one hopes for the occasional victory of goodness over badness. But unfortunately, badness wins most of the time.

      In the case of Pukeraine, I am hoping that the masses get tired of being fed a steaming pile of lies in lieu of food and throw off the Kiev junta, foreign installed and sponsored parasites.

      Like

    2. World Socialist Web Site ran a series on the social and economic situation in Appalachia several years ago and did a feature on the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain in which thousands of coal miners fought the coal companies for better pay and working conditions in West Virginia. The coal companies called on their own gangs and then a private army to fight the miners. The US government finally sent soldiers and bombers (in those days bomber planes were under the control of the US army, there was not yet a separate air force) against the miners.
      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2010/08/app5-a03.html

      All of West Virginia was put under martial law at the time.
      https://www.upworthy.com/ever-heard-of-the-battle-of-blair-mountain-federal-troops-were-called-against-13000-miners

      Very few people know of the Battle of Blair Mountain and the site where the largest insurrection against the US government since the Civil War took place is under continual threat of being destroyed by corporations.

      Like

      1. The two movies that probe the dirty reality of the US that reached theaters and TV are Matewan and Heaven’s Gate. Of course, lots of “debunking” was done on these basically fictional movies. I doubt a serious documentary on American state oligarchical capitalism (fascism) would make it to theaters and TV.

        Like

      2. Damn!! Jen it’s uncanny how Stooges are sometimes on the exact same page wrt a cite that one just can’t quite recall and the other gives it the next day or so, (cue eerie music) :O)
        Anyway the West Virginia battle was precisely what I wanted to give yesterday as another example of what can happen when both the soap and ballot boxes prove futile….only one box left!!!!

        Like

    1. Perhaps the ‘foreign initiators’ will have the opportunity to experience the Avangard capabilities on a first hand -albeit panic stricken-basis.

      :O)

      Like

  19. A bombastic speech by President Donald Trump marked the publication of a new missile defense strategy for the US, which seeks to eliminate all constraints, weaponize space, and conjure an impunity shield through new technology.

    “We will ensure that enemy missiles find no sanctuary on Earth or in the skies above,” Trump declared, speaking at the Pentagon on Thursday. How, exactly, the US intends to do that is unclear, however. Neither the 100-page Missile Defense Review (MDR), nor the 24-page executive summary offer much in the way of details, only hand-waving and talk of new, better technology.

    Oh, and weaponizing space.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/449074-pentagon-missile-defense-review/

    The US has indicated that every remaining arms control treaty will be abrogated in due course per the article.

    A cornerstone of the new US missile shield is boost phase interception. Orbital lasers were mentioned (no closer to that tech than back in the 80’s). But, in the interim, apparently F-35s will fly undetected over Russian missiles silos and road mobile missiles and when the missiles are launched (presumably in retaliation to a US first strike) the F-35s will blast them out of the sky!

    What could go possibly right with such a plan? Long wave radar can easily detect them and they carry a small load of weapons internally. And so much more is stupidly stupid stupid.

    I think Trump is just trying to create jobs and keep the hawks satisfied. Things like bankrupting the country (well, its already bankrupt) and breaking campaign promises about rebuilding infrastructure are acceptable damage.

    But, at some point, our “allies” will start to wobble.

    Like

    1. This doctrine is that of a two year old. Russia can deploy space lasers too. I can’t see non-brain-damaged adults thinking that America’s moves in any aspect of strategic weaponry will not be countered. I know that the North American education system has been swirling the toilet bowl for the last 30+ years, but one would have thought that the elites could arrange for private education and not get dumbed down together with the proles.

      Like

  20. The Fat One and his Tomos-waving acolytes were not long making their move – super-democracy Ukraine has adopted a law which will allow (or facilitate) the transfer of church property based on a two-thirds majority vote by parishioners, decided by a show of hands. If the parishioners of a Russian Orthodox church in Ukraine vote by a two-thirds majority to join the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine, then that church’s property becomes Ukraine’s, while the dissenting group (if it is less than what would prevent the transfer from occurring) will be allowed to rent the facility for their religious services. This is ‘Ukraine Fair’.

    https://www.whig.com/article/20190117/AP/301179910#

    How many here think that if the nationalists and activists buckled down to their work and went parish by parish, they could ‘convince’ a two-thirds majority to vote for joining the new church? I do.

    The new property-grab law is said to have caused ‘concern’ in the European Union, but ultimately it will do nothing.

    Like

    1. I can see this new law that gives parishioners the choice between transferring their church property to Ukraine and transferring the same to Ukraine (and then renting it) is going to cause huge levels of violence, especially in the eastern parts of the country. What a cynical grab for money by Porky Pig and his followers.

      Like

    2. It’s started already. i read a report the other day about “outsiders” appearing at a village meeting over this transfer issue. They started terrorizing those who did not wish to join the schismatics.

      Like

      1. Yes, I can imagine the ‘friendship trains’ will be busy. With the millions in church property that will accrue to Porky and his pals, plus the impression that Ukrainians are soundly united on the question of the new church, there’s no downside for them.

        Like

    1. Blogmire:

      Summing up the Official Claims in the Salisbury Poisonings: Weighed in the Balances and Found Wanting

      Conclusion
      You will have noticed from the above that what I have not attempted to do, is to advance a theory of what happened on 4th March 2018. The reason for this is that I simply don’t know, and whilst I may have certain speculative ideas, I don’t know nearly enough to be certain of writing them down.

      What I have done, is simply to take the claims made by the authorities, and subject them to the kind of scrutiny that I would have hoped our so-called free press might have done. And I believe that when a light is shone on these claims, the inescapable conclusion is that they are found wanting. They are full of holes, they don’t add up, and despite much trying, they can’t be made to make sense.

      Even as I was finishing this piece off, yet another round of nonsense was unleashed; this time, the news that the roof of 47 Christie Miller Road (including the roof of the study) is to be taken off and replaced. Remember, we’re talking about a substance that can be cleansed with baby wipes. Remember, we’re talking about a substance that apparently breaks down after 80 minutes of exposure to the air. But 11 months later, it is again so deadly, that a whole roof needs replacing!

      Of course the media is not bothering to ask the obvious questions about this action, such as:

      How exactly could the roof timbers have become contaminated?
      Who could have contaminated them? D.S. Bailey?
      But why would he have been in the attic?
      Why is the ceiling / roof in Zizzis not being replaced?
      Why has the roof in The Mill not been dismantled?
      What was really in the attic?

      Obvious questions, yet none of them will be asked.

      In conclusion, I think it abundantly clear that what we have been told about what took place on 4th March in the beautiful city of Salisbury is not, in fact, true. It is clear that something else happened, and much of what we have seen since then has been theatre and an attempt to cover up what actually took place. It is my earnest hope and prayer that the truth will soon be revealed.

      And May survived a no confidence vote yesterday in the lower chamber of what passes for the the British legislature.

      One lying old slag!

      Like

      1. And I forgot to mention ardent May supporter, cabinet member and her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Defence, Gobshite-Gavin, the juvenile who likes to put the wind up the President of Russia:

        REVEALED: Gavin Williamson’s ‘potty’ idea to protect Gibraltar from Spain with PAINTBALLS

        DEFENCE Secretary Gavin Williamson has stunned military chiefs by suggesting the use of paintballs to protect Gibraltar from encroaching Spanish vessels.
        00:30, Mon, Jan 14, 2019 | UPDATED: 05:11, Mon, Jan 14, 2019

        The Cabinet Minister made the suggestion during a Ministry of Defence (MoD) meeting before Christmas, according to The Sun. Mr Williamson had also proposed sending a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer to the Spanish territory of Ceuta on the Moroccan coast in retaliation, before being talked down by military staff. Nicknamed Private Pike – in reference to the Dad’s Army character – Mr Williamson planned to use paintballs whenever Spanish ships entered British waters in an attempt to humiliate them.

        The rate of Spanish ships encroaching in British waters has increased to two a day.

        A senior military source told The Sun: “It was an excruciating moment when everyone in the room realised he was deadly serious.

        “Private Pike strikes again.

        “Gavin Williamson comes up with some pretty off the wall things, but firing paintballs at the Spanish Navy beats the lot of them.”

        Private Pike is a character in the TV series “Dad’s Army”, a moronic immature bank clerk who is a member of a WII “Home Guard” platoon and who fucks everything as a result of his inanity.

        Like

            1. Williamson is far from being gauche and bashful, though: he has, I believe, something of a reputation of being an office Lothario.

              If were a woman, I think I would immediately jump at that conclusion, namely that he’s a skirt chaser.

              Yes, I’ve just changed gender … and just look at those sneaky eyes! He undresses you when he looks at you!!!

              Like

    2. It is an obvious coverup. A subsequent investigation could establish that the concentrations of “novichok” were not consistent with the door knob theory if substantial amounts of residual traces are found inside. Any redistribution of the poison by the Skripals would not produce maxima exceeding the initial one on the door knob. But in reality we may have much higher concentrations inside the house. That is, yet another MI6 frame job like the trail of Polonium back to Moscow.

      That last point above really highlights that all of these incidents are MI6 hoaxes and frame ups. Why would Polonium be shipped to the UK by the alleged perps via Moscow? Polonium is not sourced exclusively in Moscow, it can be sourced from anywhere. In particular from western distributors who sell it for industrial anti-static applications (e.g. automotive painting operations).

      Then we have the handful of cases so far. If Putin was some psycho who offed people that offended him, then we would have seen hundreds of cases in Russia alone (no, all the dead journalists from 1992 in all of Russia do not count since that would leave out every other cause such as mafia intimidation and accidents). Instead we have some exotic-weapons murders that try to shift the “proof” from motive to “the weapon tags the perp”. There really is no motive in any of the cases such as Litvinenko and the Skripals. The former was an indirect asset for Putin since he was a clown who discredited his handlers and the latter were of no consequence since they were already exchanged for other spies. I dare the UK to provide another example of some exchanged spy being offed.

      Like

      1. Why would there be any inside the house at all? The Skripals were supposedly poisoned on their way out, and never went home again. The doorknob was never removed, yet nobody who went in and out of the home after that – including no end of British police and investigators – died or even became ill. There are plenty of photos of British female police constables guarding the house, with the ominous front doorknob still in place; is it possible that in Britain they now conduct investigations in which they take away your front doorknob, but replace it with an aesthetically-pleasing one much like its predecessor rather than simply nailing your door shut and barring entry?

        Like

        1. That is my point. If it was only on the doorknob and the interior was never exposed, then why destroy the house? Destroying the house is like cremating a body. No future exhumation is possible to look for additional evidence. Thus, this is a pure coverup.

          We do not know where the Skripals were exposed to “novichok”.

          Like

          1. They’re looking for an excuse to destroy the house and all the Skripals’ possessions, so that the silly narrative that they were poisoned by some alphabet-soup Russian agency can persist without contradiction. It is sufficient that the ‘investigation’ was not done to any established investigative process, and the evidence is being systematically destroyed (not to mention that the Skripals have been ‘disappeared’) to know the British haven’t got anything, and made the whole thing up themselves to fuel yet another Russia tale and provocation.

            Like

  21. https://thesaker.is/the-russian-pension-chicken-are-coming-home-to-roost/

    More than half of Russians want government to resign over growing prices – Levada poll quoted on RT.

    “…Over 50 percent of Russians are disappointed in the government of Dmitry Medvedev, which, they believe, is unable to curb growing prices and provide jobs for people, a new poll has revealed.  Some 23 percent said they were absolutely sure that the government must resign, with another 30 percent telling Levada-Center that they were also leaning toward this opinion.  This means that a total of 53 percent would like the country to have a new cabinet. Trust in the government has crumbled since September, when only 23 percent advocated its resignation. Meanwhile, the proportion of people who believed the government should stay in charge was 40 percent, with 14 percent expressing full confidence in the cabinet, and 26 percent saying that resignation wouldn’t be the best idea.”

    Like

    1. I am sure that over 50% want a new government in France, but I hear nothing about this. The Levada Center is a pro-liberast outfit that should never be given the benefit of the doubt. You can get any poll result you want with the right type of leading questions.

      Like

    2. > another 30 percent telling Levada-Center that they were also leaning toward this opinion.

      The trock lies here. These 30% don’t actually *want* the government to resign, or they would have said so. They are simply expressing their dissatisfaction. Lumping two categories together to achieve the over 50% figure is dishonest statistics.

      Like

      1. But it is typical. When the priority is to get support for something the government wants to do, all poll results expressing anything short of disagreement are combined – ‘somewhat agree’ and ‘agree’, for example – to form a larger ‘agree’ group. This is done all the time when western pollsters analyze referendum questions in countries they are trying to split off into independence – see? Everyone wants it. When the issue was popular support (within Ukraine) for Ukraine joining NATO, everyone who said yes was assessed to have supported the idea with the same fervor, although some said ‘yes, immediately’ and far more said ‘yes, but not in less than 20 years’.

        Like

    3. As pointed out above, the statistics were misrepresented to exaggerate the disapproval of the current government. However, it is a healthy sign of civic freedom where disapproval can be openly voiced. The government will listen and take feasible steps to address.

      Like

      1. But statistics can be fudged either way by simply combining all groups who voice any support, or all groups who voice any disapproval. Therefore statistical interpretation can be bent to serve a media agenda, depending on which way the media – usually serving the government – wants the decision to go.

        Like

  22. http://johnhelmer.net/putins-tea-ceremony-for-the-oligarchs-turns-toxic/

    By John Helmer, Moscow

    “…In the US war for regime change in Russia, the Christmas dinner for the oligarchs was President Vladimir Putin’s idea in 2014 for demonstrating that he was in command of their loyalty for a price  the oligarchs were afraid to test.
    Late last month, the dinner was turned into an afternoon tea ceremony in which the oligarchs confirmed for Putin the price he must pay if he isn’t to lose them to the other side. Mikhail Fridman and his Alfa Bank, Vimpelcom and X5 supermarket group demonstrated which side they believe to be strongest in this war by not attending. Their absence shows they calculate the risk of Kremlin sanctions for their business is now zero.”

    Like

    1. Yeah, let’s have some more of the fine analysis such as the significance of which polit-bureau officials were present in what order on top of the Lenin Mausoleum.

      Like

      1. That was Karl’s shtick also but not equating the two. James may be just a pessimist (which can be good) but Karl took glee in perceived bad news about Russia.

        Like

  23. Behold the bearer of bad tidings hath appeared!

    Long time no see.

    Must have been too little news of late that could be interpreted as bad for Russia.

    Most here think Dima is an arsehole. I for one have always thought so, and I’m neither a Russian nor a Finn.

    The Russian government is not the Russian president.

    Levada has been predicting doom for Russia for years. The poll referred to above reflects the views of a mere 1,600 people. The population of Russia is close to 147 million.

    Levada Center is officially classified as a “foreign agent” under Russian law. This makes sense: for one thing, Levada Center receives most of its financing from abroad, including the USA and even the Pentagon! Furthermore, Levada is staffed by liberals (in the Russian meaning of the word which really means “pro-US”) whose biases are also reflected in their work. However, while this is all true, Levada is still credible enough to be cited even by Russian officials. Finally, the kind of results Levada publishes are often generally similar to the finding of the official VTsIOM polling institution, not down to the percentage point, but often reflecting similar trends (check out the VTsIOM English language page here: https://wciom.com/). So the fact that Putin is much more popular than Medvedev or that the majority of Russian people are unhappy with the government really is not in doubt.

    So regardless of the actual numbers, it is clear that the Russian government is only popular with those whom it allows to make a lot of money (corporations and various millionaires and billionaires) and that everybody else strongly dislikes it.

    See: Saker

    Like

    1. > Mere 1600

      Statistics sometimes have very interesting math behind them. Polls, for example, get representative very quickly, and remain so regardless of the population. Polling 2000 people in Russia or 1000 people in China would yield about the same – high – accuracy. You only start getting problems with accuracy if you drop below 300 people polled iirc.

      No, manipulations usually lie in the questions and result interpretations, not number of people polled, at least with Levada.

      Like

  24. A good video on China’s high speed rail network.

    For travel under 500 miles, these trains are clearly preferable over air travel – less hassle, better comfort and stations in the city centers.

    As the video points out, the HS train network has enormous social benefit which would be insufficient justification for a Western equivalent as only profitability matters.

    Like

    1. The Madrid – Barcelona high speed line knocked the stuffing out of air travel on the route which simply cannot compete.

      Living in Euroland, by far the tattiest high speed trains are France’s TGV where as Germany’s ICE look pretty slick and are very tidy. When the volcano blew in Iceland (2010?) I had to change my travel plans which led me to taking the slow train to the north German coast. It was great and very relaxing. If you are not in a rush to go anywhere, you can stare out of the window for hours on end which I also did on a long Balkan train trip.

      One thing I like about the Frogs is that they think such technological marvels should be available to the whole public and not just an elite set. In summer, they have super low fares so that everyone can afford to get out of the cities for other climes, as do some other national train services who do heavy discounts for students and the young over the holidays. The downside is that maintenance is not something that can be skimped on, sic AF Concorde crash and TGV failures. Then again, if you want no risk, then don’t leave your cave or use fire!

      Like

      1. Spanish train services are fantastic compared to British ones. Just like TV, there’s been a complete inversion since about, er, 1979.

        Funny that.

        Like

    2. I watched the video and noted it didn’t say anything about the Lanzhou-Xinjiang line being significant for China’s long-term Silk Road strategy. The line is also significant in a historical sense because most of China’s trade with the Middle East and Europe in the past was through the area where the line travels. So building the line was not just for political reasons, to integrate the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with China more closely and enable the people there to share in the country’s wealth; there are potential long-term benefits for China and the central and western Asian regions as well.

      Like

      1. Good points. The video did mention that development will follow the new railways. Regarding the US effort at HS rail, the enormous cost and modest results (assuming it even happens) is indicative of a nation no longer capable to doing anything of note in its infrastructure beyond patching up potholes or building parking lots.

        Like

        1. That economic development usually follows railway lines has been known at least since the 1860s and there is an argument that Abraham Lincoln, whose career as a lawyer and then a politician was boosted by the work he did for railway companies, was concerned to preserve the Union rather than let the South go and become an independent Confederacy because he had shares in railway companies and stood to profit from railroads being built in new territories in the US and the expected development (and exploitation) that would follow. Had the US split into two nations competing for new territory in the plains and Rocky Mountains regions, railroad construction would have been blocked as investors would be uncertain over ownership of the land where lines would be built and the legal hassles involved would be endless and expensive.
          https://www.alternet.org/2012/11/inconvenient-truth-about-lincoln-you-wont-hear-hollywood/

          Railway companies in the US became such wealthy corporations that they could buy politicians in Washington and they became a by-word for corruption. Perhaps it’s not hard to see why, once automobiles arrived in the early 20th century, state governments and communities in the US threw their support behind car manufacturing companies and the building of roads: it wasn’t just that car-makers offered plenty of work – the arrival of an alternate form of long-distance travel threatened to break the power of railway companies.

          Moral of the story must be to keep railway construction under some form of public control and oversight.

          Like

  25. RT America
    Published on 17 Jan 2019
    Chinese officials have spoken out against mounting US pressure on telecommunications giant Huawei and Chinese media, likewise denouncing what they deem “technological McCarthyism” at the hands of the US. When Canadian President Trudeau rebuked China for sentencing a Canadian citizen to death on drug charges, China’s response was that they “aren’t worried in the slightest.” Despite these frictions, China’s top trade negotiator intends to visit the US capital in coming weeks to try to bring an end to the US-China trade war. RT’s Sara Montes de Oca reports.

    Like

    1. America is claiming that China stole its precious tech. Boohoohoo. Americans are the biggest thieves of foreign tech aside from the rest of NATzO. They accuse Chinese tech companies of stealing testing software for various network equipment. That smells like BS to me. The Chinese companies did not need to steal the hard stuff like the hardware plans, but stole some code that could be developed by undergraduate students (I know what I am talking about; the code in question is not some physical process simulation tech that captures the actual state of the equipment during operation like some 3D models of automobiles that simulate the physical state of every component and even if it was such code, then China has more than enough scientific capacity to develop it). This basically proves that this is yet another American witch hunt. And credulous, technically illiterate American saps will be convinced by any claim pulled straight from the accuser’s ass.

      The same racist shit hate propaganda as aimed at Russia is being aimed at China. The insecure NATzO self-anointed ubermenschen are getting paranoid about the naked savages in China and Russia taking away their markets through fair competition. I expect executives of companies working on the MC-21 jetliner to be “indicted” by US kangaroo grand juries at any moment. The same losers with the same loser shtick.

      Like

      1. Actually, it could not have worked out better for Russia, and it owes Trump a vote of thanks for making an enemy of China by starting a trade war against it and trying to exclude China from North American 5G networks. Many analysts said, years before exactly that happened, that the worst thing America could do was push Russia and China into an alliance with one another. All of NATO together could maybe manage one or the other, but not both, and so care has to be taken to avoid a disastrous war that could wreck the whole planet. That leaves the west negotiating on only its wits. We’ve seen how that has worked out so far.

        Like

  26. Excellent analysis and useful comments…as usual

    dmorista • 3 hours ago
    Another excellent piece of analysis. I would add a couple of important specific issues to these considerations. One is the ongoing, and at this point greater than ever, malign influence of the drug trade on the formation and execution of U.S. policies in various parts of the world. The other is the influence of the Zionists and Israel on the formation and execution of U.S. Middle East and North Africa (MENA) policies. It is basically a toss-up as to which of these two influences are the more important.

    It is a significant signal of just how depraved the U.S. ruling class has become, that the growth, transport, distribution and sales of drug crops, poppies, coca plants, and marijuana being the most important, is now, and has been for decades, a major business operation for U.S. rulers. This began in earnest in the immediate wake of WW 2 and has increased in size and scope since, the first major work exposing and analyzing this was “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade” by Alfred McCoy. He updated the original work, that examined the development of the opium poppy and heroin international business through the middle part of the Vietnam War, to include the movement of the poppy growing and heroin processing to Afghanistan. This occurred as the focus of U.S. imperialist operations moved away from SE Asia, and the associated heroin producing region in the “Golden Triangle” region in the highlands of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, towards Central Asia and MENA. A useful map of heroin producing regions is available at
    .

    The other significant aspect of this is the dependence of Western banking and finance capital on the drug trade, the involvement of elites in that business, and the targeted damage wrought on sectors of the population generally ill-disposed to the elites. The grave social damage from this terrible business includes the destruction of whatever credibility the police and judiciary once had.

    The fact is that Zionists and Israelis assert significant influence on U.S. foreign, military, and covert action policies in MENA, and that this influence has grown in recent decades. This does not mean that some enlightened set of policies would have been implemented in the absence of that influence, far from it. Just that those forces play a major role in policy formation, and exert their influence in both of the duopoly parties. “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”, by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, examines this issue in a dispassionate and largely unbiased manner, a shorter treatment is available at

    The fact that such important aspects of ruling class operations are so distorted and malignant is a sign of the depth of the crisis the ruling class is mired in. Times of such ruling class division and strife are full of danger and opportunity for working people”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/01/18/pers-j18.html

    Like

  27. The stove, or range, where Oblomov spent his happiest time, is the central feature of this video by Lars, the Siberian Dane behind “Survival Russia”.

    They keep referring to it as an oven, but it’s a brick version of the metal range my granny used.

    Like

  28. The Power Of Siberia pipeline from Russia to China is almost complete, and the two countries are getting ready to ink a deal for another pipeline. It would bring Russia’s total gas supplies to China – including LNG – to over 80 Billion cubic meters per year.

    https://www.rt.com/business/439105-russia-chinas-gas-exporter/

    Not enough that Russia could tell Europe to go get knotted, because there is an alternate buyer for their entire volumes, but getting there and a nice little sideline in income that the west cannot shut off by any means short of war. And not even the most belligerent in the US military speaks of war with China. That’s only idiot civilians who believe the US military is invincible.

    Like

    1. Here’s Ken Rapoza from August 2016 in Frobes* giving Russia 0 out of three for its pipeline projects!

      Frobes: Russia’s New Pipeline Deals Keep Getting Shot Down
      https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/08/19/russias-new-pipeline-deals-keep-getting-shot-down/

      As a bonus, among others, he quotes our old favorite, and also of Euractiv, that famous ‘non-political’ energy anal-yst and Sijbren de Jong! Epic Fail Dudes! 😉

      * Why Frobes? Well if they can’t be bothered, neither can I.

      Like

    2. Russia can swallow a “loss” of 13 billion USD in gas exports (assuming 50% keeps going to China). There is no way the EU can tell Russia to take a hike with its natural gas. So Russia will be selling to the EU no matter how hard the Washington retards screech and bellow.

      Like

      1. Oh, I don’t think there will be any loss. But I think the more gas goes to China, the more Europe will realize that Russia is by no means a captive supplier, who must sell to Europe no matter how much it acts the jerk and makes up silly ‘rules’ to better its position, although it only applies them to Russia and gives its friends a pass. But it is absolutely true that the USA, for all its puffing and blowing, cannot make up a tenth of what Russia supplies to Europe, and Europe does not have large suppliers falling out its ass. Simply put, Europe cannot get enough gas anywhere else. At any price, never mind as cheap as Russian pipeline gas.

        But it must prance and shout and blather about energy packages and rule of law and tying purchases to reforms because it has to preserve the illusion that it is in control. It has money, after all, and Russia will do anything for money. Except there’s always a point you can’t push beyond, a point at which your supplier will say, you know what? Go fuck yourself. Make your own gas out of grass and sticks. Or buy what you need from Uncle Sam.

        I’d love to see that.

        Like

  29. Putin takes a dip:

    Today is 12th Night, Kreshcheniye, when the faithful take the plunge.

    Never seen a Sky Pilot do it, though.

    Putin must be a Catholic!

    Orthodox believers cross themselves right-shoulder — left-shoulder!

    Like

        1. Moscow last night. Ostankino TV tower in the background during the opening shots, so I reckon the event took place at VDNKh, the All Russia Exhibition Centre.

          They have special places all over the city for organized holy dips, with warming-up army tents and hot drinks and medicos present.

          And that’s how you are supposed to do it, with a gang of chanting Sky Pilots in full attendance.

          These are true believers, very young and very old.

          Funny thing is, though, that I’ve never seen a priest get his kit off and take a holy plunge.

          Like

    1. Video analysis:
      At 0:40 seconds in the vid Putin correctly crosses himself Ortho-style while placing candles in the church.
      And again at 1:00 minute in.
      And again at 1:08 minutes in.
      And again at 1:17 minutes in.
      And again at 1:22 minutes in.

      At 2:25 minutes in, Putin takes his shirt off.
      And at 2:31 minutes in crosses himself (again correctly, Ortho-style) while immersed in icy H2O.

      In conclusion: Putin ain’t no stinking Catholic! But, sadly, he IS a schismatic now, according to none other than Ukrainian Patriarch of ALL RUS Filaret!

      Like

      1. Yes, I noticed he did it the correct way in accordance with Orthodoxy several times. Maybe the one time it was done in the Catholic way was a reflex, and Putin is actually a Catholic mole.

        Like

        1. I think it was a reflexive action as he was actually reaching for his sidearm before realizing that he does not have one (KGB conditioned response). The foregoing is as probable as being the Pope’s mole.

          Like

      2. And at 2:31 minutes in crosses himself (again correctly, Ortho-style) …

        No he does not cross himself at 2.30 Eastern Russian Orthoodox Church style!

        At 2.30 Putin touches his forehead with the index and middle fingers and thumb of his right hand brought together in a point, the other 2 fingerS bent over to touch the palm.

        CORRECT

        At 2.31 he drops his right hand down towards the left-hand side of his abdomen and does not touch his body.

        INCORRECT!

        He then raises his right hand across his chest and FINALLY TOUCHES HIS RIGHT SHOULDER WITH THE POINTED FINGERS AND THUMB OF HIS RIGHT HAND.

        WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

        One begin’s by touching one’s forehead, then one’s abdomen in the region of the navel, then one’s RIGHT SHOULDER, finally touching one’s LEFT SHOULDER with the pointed fingers and thumb of the right hand.

        Like

        1. And my gang, especially Vladimir Denisovich, who have all been christened in the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church, my offspring amongst them having also attended the St. Aleksandr Nevskiy School attached to the Church of the Jerusalem Icon of the Mother of God [Храм Иерусалимской иконы Божией Матери] across the street from our house, situated on (surprise, surprise) Jerusalem Street, at which church they received regular indoctrination off a Rasputin look-alike, say Putin ballsed up his sign of the cross as well.

          Like

  30. Musk faces more challenges:

    https://news.yahoo.com/tesla-cut-7-workforce-amid-tough-profit-outlook-164258313.html;_ylt=AwrC0CYfRUNcQDMAPB7QtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTEyZmJ1YTkyBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDQjY5NDZfMQRzZWMDc3I-

    Elon Musk’s electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors announced Friday it was cutting its workforce by about seven percent in a push to keep the Model 3 affordable for middle-income consumers.

    Shares plunged following the announcement, which also signaled a tough profit road ahead for Tesla.

    The round of job cuts — which follow an earlier downsizing announced in June — comes as the envelope-pushing company faces pressure in its home market on prices from the phasing-out of a tax credit for electric car purchases.

    Musk did not release an estimate of the employment hit but the company had 45,000 employees in October, suggesting about 3,150 would be cut.

    Musk, who originally conceived of the Model 3 as a reasonably priced option for consumers who could not pay the lofty prices of its first two vehicles, said action was needed if the company was to succeed in its mission of challenging

    Tesla’s most affordable offering is currently a less-endowed version of the Model 3 at $44,000, a car that sells for as much as $59,000 with more features. Tesla originally discussed a price-tag of $35,000 for the car.

    IIRC, Tesla’s market cap was more than Ford and General Motors combined. Insanely high no doubt driven in part by stock analysts and the fanboy press.

    Like

    1. Again, I feel a little sorry for him. It’s hard to imagine how any mortal would not develop a God complex and believe he could do the impossible given the fawning press reviews of everything he did. I’m sure we paid more than $35,000.00 for the Hyundai Santa Fe we once owned, bought new in 2008, and that’s a fairly modestly-priced vehicle. Things cost what they cost, and you can’t magically build a cheap car using expensive components. In his own way, he is a visionary the equal of Preston Tucker, but he can’t bend the laws of supply and demand to his personal will.

      Like

  31. All praises to the miraculous American Javelin!! As soon as it became known that Ukraine has this fearsome weapon, the thousands of Russian tanks in the Donbas simply melted away, afraid to show their face! So explains Poroshenko, when questions are asked as to why the weapon has never yet been used in combat, although the Ukrainian Army was said to have successfully tested it back in May of last year. Why all the squawking about how desperately it was needed?

    https://www.unian.info/war/10414164-poroshenko-ukraine-s-army-hasn-t-used-javelins-in-combat-yet.html

    The real question for me is, assuming the DNR is now down a couple of thousand tanks that are afraid to fight lest they be obliterated by American wizardry, why has the Ukrainian Army not retaken the region?

    Oh. Because their intentions are only peaceful, and they are exclusively a defensive force which prevents the Russian hordes from overrunning the rest of Ukraine. I guess I should have thought of that.

    Like

    1. Surprised that Trump did not claim the Javelin can shoot down the entire Russia strategic missile force as they leave the silos, mobile launchers or break the ocean’s surface. Seems as plausible as claims about orbital lasers blasting missiles during the boost phase.

      Like

      1. That boost phase laser attack sci-fi BS takes the cake. Boost phase is when the ICBM is still in the thicker layers of the atmosphere well below 80 km. So space lasers will have the same problem as ground lasers: massive attenuation of the beam by the atmosphere. And the notion that the US could park its laser orbiters in just the right places and camp there shooting down any Russian ICBM is only for retards to believe. Those orbiters would be sitting ducks for Russian ASAT missiles such as the Nudol:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-235_anti-ballistic_missile_system

        BTW, any ABM and ASAT missile can be fitted with a nuclear warhead. The missile does not know what the payload characteristics are aside from weight and size.

        Like

        1. Yes, ground-based lasers were a washout years ago for that very reason; the beam was so attenuated by moisture and other particles in the atmosphere, all of which ionized the beam as it passed through them, until the beam’s power was reduced below Mean Hull Penetration Level (MHPL). So the USA went to space-based platforms for that very reason – to get above the atmosphere. It’s just as hard to shoot through it from above as it is from ground level.

          But it all sounds good for the rubes. America stronk.

          Like

        2. Yes the ability to quickly change out warheads and re-target so called ABMs is the true threat to Russia from that technology (ignoring the possibility of nuclear weapons in orbit). Basically, it would be a gross violation of the INF treaty. So, it is a good thing that the INF is kaput as the pretenses are gone and Europe will again face the prospects of short notice nuclear annihilation. Maybe it will get through their thick skulls that this issue is no longer a matter of posturing and preening.

          Like

  32. “The diversion of funds into military appropriations and the pockets of defense contractors is even more shameless in connection with missile defense than with other types of military spending, because the efficacy of missile defense is, according to experts, largely illusory.

    Missile defense is “the longest running scam in the history of the Department of Defense,” wrote Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, and “the new Missile Defense Review continues that proud tradition.”

    Since President Reagan first announced his “Star Wars” initiative, the United States has spent some $300 billion on missile defense systems. Cirincione observed that “a decade after the start of ‘Star Wars,’ having spent tens of billions of dollars on X-ray lasers, directed energy weapons, particle-beam weapons, space-based kinetic interceptors and ‘brilliant pebbles,’ the Pentagon was forced to conclude that none of these fanciful concepts would work. We ended up with a concept of limited, ground-based interceptors that might be able to intercept one or two primitive long-range warheads.”

    But the extremely limited effectiveness of the US missile defense systems did not prevent Trump from making sweeping claims about US capabilities. “Our goal is simple: to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” he said.

    “We will destroy every type of missile attack against any American target, whether before or after launch,” he added.”

    LOL!!!….Only clueless dumb F ‘Muricans would believe this insanity!!!

    I read somewhere that the crater in what was once Washington D.C. would be several football fields in length and 300 feet deep!!!!

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/01/19/arms-j19.html

    Like

    1. And the USN vessel will be going the other way in about 5 day’s time.

      The USN states that the Donald Duck has been sent to the Black Sea in order to “support regional partners”.

      From the resident on the shores of the Bospurus Kremlin Stooge:

      Like

  33. BTW:

    That an *individual* finds the women of a particular race unattractive does not make for an argument tha they should be considered as categorically “unattractive” to others.

    It merely expresses that *individual’s* preference.

    By the same token he is entitled to view women of other races as particularly attractive.

    chacun à son goût

    Like

    1. That is a given. But Americans love to make fun of “fugly Russian women”. Considering what is considered drop dead gorgeous in the USA I can directly state that Americans are full of shit. There is no deficit of Russian women that fit the American female beauty ideal. May have something to do with a common European gene pool.

      Like

  34. A new bizarre chapter in the Skripal poisoning saga: a teenage girl Abby McCourt receives an award sponsored by Salisbury radio station Spire FM for spotting the collapsed Skripals on the park bench in Maltings shopping mall and alerts her mother – who just happens to be an army training officer and nurse accompanying her – to come help.
    https://www.spirefm.co.uk/news/local-news/2782928/exclusive-teenage-girl-describes-moment-she-found-collapsed-skripals/

    Interesting that the girl said that although she had first aid training at school, she did not need to use the resuscitation methods she was taught. Yet Julia Skripal was apparently not breathing at the time she found her and Sergei Skripal appeared to be having a heart attack. The mother may have been the one who administered CPR.

    More information on Abby McCourt’s mother, Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2882113/Is-selfless-mother-Inspiring-courage-British-Army-Colonel-left-young-children-Christmas-fight-ebola-Sierra-Leone.html

    Off-Guardian on Twitter wonders if Alison McCourt participated in the chemical warfare exercise (Exercise Toxic Dagger) conducted by The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Royal Marines in February 2018:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/exercise-toxic-dagger-the-sharp-end-of-chemical-warfare

    Strange how initial reports of the Skripals’ collapse made no mention of the teenage girl before. A story featuring a teenage heroine is just the kind of story that MSM outlets like The Fraudian love to latch onto and milk for all it is worth.

    Keep an eye out for any more new strange stories about the Skripals in early March when Britain is set to leave the EU and the anniversary of their poisoning looms.

    Like

      1. I’m sure Petri Krohn was only joking. But as PK later acknowledges, there are so many strange connections and “coincidences”, making the whole affair look suffocating incestuous, with everyone having an odd connection to everyone else, that if indeed Alison McCourt and Pablo Miller do know each other (well, maybe not “biblically”), no-one would really be surprised.

        Like

          1. To quote Karl Rove, as someone has already done on MoA as regards the Skripal fantasy:

            We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will— we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

            Like

            1. There is one thing that bugs me about this all. Apparently Skirpal and fille had their phones completely off for about four hours (battery removed I assume). I would assume that their phones not regularly pinging cell phone towers would set off an alarm somewhere (all remotely and cheaply done), but then Skripal would know this so supposedly going dark to show good intentions may well have been a passive tip off….

              Like

      1. Jeez, look at all the gongs; she must be quite a warrior for one so young-looking, and considering there haven’t really been all that many major wars in which one could distinguish oneself with conspicuous gallantry.

        Then again, the practice of awarding medals today and the striking of new medals for things like showing up on time three days in a row, or saving a colleague who has spilt hot tea on himself virtually guarantees you will have a chestful of clankers by the time you are a Leading Seaman in many military forces.

        Like

  35. A cop with murder on his mind:

    https://www.yahoo.com/gma/tempe-police-release-body-cam-cop-fatally-shooting-114009894–abc-news-topstories.html

    The video clearly shows the teen running away from the officer at a distance, an apparent contradiction to what Tempe Police Sgt. Ronald Elcock said Tuesday: “The suspect turned toward the officer, at which time the officer perceived a threat and fired his service weapon.”

    Arce continued running after he struck, at which point Jaen radios dispatch and says, “He’s got a handgun.”

    Jaen reaches the end of the alley at which point the body cam released by the police department ends [how convenient – PO] before showing Arce’s body. Moir said the officer found the suspect “lying between the sidewalk and the street” and radio traffic from Jaen to dispatch reveals, “I’m not shot, the suspect is, and it looks like he’s not breathing anymore.”

    The cop was an veteran of Iraq. The fleeing 14 year old boy caused the combat-hardened vet to fear for his life and, hey, what would anyone do but shoot to kill? Quite likely he will be found to have complied with all departmental regulations and training which seems to boil down to if you feel apprehension, killing is the first option. I am sure many cops are not that way but they need to delete these wannabe killers from the ranks to restore a semblance of public trust.

    Like

        1. https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/03/28/patriot-missiles-are-made-in-america-and-fail-everywhere/

          But I am deeply skeptical that Patriot has ever intercepted a long-range ballistic missile in combat — at the least, I have yet to see convincing unclassified evidence of a successful Patriot intercept.

          Social media images do appear to show that Saudi Patriot batteries firing interceptors. But what these videos show are not successes. One interceptor explodes catastrophically just after launch, while another makes a U-turn in midair and then comes screaming back at Riyadh, where it explodes on the ground.

          So u-turns are entirely normal. Nothing to see here. The cited article is well worth the read.

          Like

          1. That’s why medium and long-range anti-air missiles usually have a ‘command destruct’ feature, in case the missile buggers off someplace it wasn’t supposed to go, or threatens the launch platform. But on most missiles, all it does is cut off the guidance, and the missile proceeds on a ballistic path from that point until it runs out of fuel or hits something. If the missile came back at you, guidance probably wasn’t the problem.

            This might be a good place to apologize to everyone for not putting up a new post in a while; we are very busy with a major renovation, new laminate floors for all the upstairs bedrooms and the hall. We are doing it ourselves, so obviously I do not have a lot of free time.

            Like

        2. Of course not; 100% success is successful launch, successful transition to steady directed flight, and impact on target as designated.

          I have frequently used the example – from the USN’s professional magazine, “Proceedings” – of a long-ago test flight of an aircraft which detonated shortly after takeoff, killing its pilot in a dramatic fireball. Yet the flight was rated, for test purposes, 70% successful; successful rollout, successful preflight checks, and so on, each a tick in the box. The aircraft simply failed at the very end to fly with its pilot to a successful landing.

          Like

  36. https://soundcloud.com/this-is-hell/episode-1039-russia-today

    Recent interviews about Russia.

    Larry King on privatization and mortality after communism. [1:14]
    Andrew Cockburn on the political uses of a new Red Scare. [28:49]
    Peter Pomerantsev on watching Vladimir Putin’s television. [1:05:28]
    Sean Guillory on hard times facing the Russian left. [1:47:20]
    Tony Wood on Putin’s hand in post-Soviet Russian politics. [2:39:43]
    China Mieville on what Russia 1917 can teach the pre-revolutionary world. [3:25:06]

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Is idiocy really so endemic in the Ukraine?

    Rhetorical question.

    Украинский эксперт назвал условие военного конфликта с Россией
    09:27

    A Ukrainian expert has described a condition for military conflict with Russia

    The Ukrainian authorities are ready “to discuss the possibility of war” against Russia if the gas pipeline “Nord stream — 2” is not built, said Ukrainian political analyst Dmitry Raimov.

    “If it is not — this is not campaigning for Russia — we will be discussing the possibility of war. They are not stupid. If they have the opportunity to direct their most important resource along a different route and not through the Ukraine, they will forget about the Ukraine”, he said live on “112 Ukraine”.

    He added that for Russia, the loss of the possibility of gas transit is a “strategic risk” in which Moscow will only be able to make “one move: war”.

    Earlier, veteran of Ukrainian foreign intelligence, Lieutenant-General Vasily Bogdan, said that the likelihood of war between the Ukraine and Russia is minimal.

    In December 2018, member of the Federation Council Committee on Defence and Security, Frants Klintsevich ruled out the possibility of war between the two countries.

    As has been stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Russia will not fight against the Ukraine.

    Clearly, the “expert” thinks otherwise.

    And I’ve got news for the “expert”: Russia has already long forgotten about Banderastan and cnuts like you. Soon, you and your creation shall no longer exist, your Uncle Sam and the IMF notwithstanding.

    Like

    1. Who was that kid, back in the Maidan days arguing on this blog that a war between Russia and the Ukraine would be a tossup? He was comparing the number of tanks and aircraft each country purportedly had. Although Russia had a numerical advantage, the fighting spirit of the Ukes could tip the balance toward a Ukrainian victory.

      Like

      1. Probably AP. But he was not a kid. I think he was probably the guy who used to call himself Professor Preobrazhensky on other blogs; we had a few exchanges on Alexander Motyl’s blog, and he probably followed the link back.

        Like

    2. Actually, I mostly agree with the expert – not so much that Russia is actually contemplating such an action, but with the dearth of strategic thinking in the west and among Ukraine’s political set.

      Consider: the Russians wanted to build South Stream to circumvent the risk of transit through Ukraine. Ukraine set up a screaming that if Russia no longer transited gas through Ukraine, then Ukraine would have no tactical value to Russia any more, thus no leverage over Russia, and Russia would sweep in and pound it, presumably to avenge past insults, or something.

      Now Russia wants to build Nord Stream II, for the same reason. Official Ukraine has registered the same argument, for the same reason. Suppose they were successful (for the record, I don’t see any serious possibility of that at present), and Russia was forced to continue transiting gas through Ukraine, on Ukraine’s terms and with a government increasingly hostile to Russia making the rules.

      Which poses the greater risk to Ukraine from Russia – A Ukraine which is no longer of any significant strategic value to Russia except as a country on its borders, so that it does not entertain any possibility of it falling under western control? Or a country that transits energy exports which amount to a significant portion of the Russian budget, but whose stupid bickering and petty hostilities place that transit under constant risk?

      It is entertaining to see someone in Ukraine actually pushing for Nord Steam II to be built, because no matter what Moscow says, gas transit through Ukraine will fall off sharply once Ukraine is not needed, unless the price for doing so is so attractive that Ukraine is making almost no money. But Russia is unlikely to attack Ukraine just because it is no longer useful as a transit country. Bringing Ukraine under Russian control would be a much more attractive prospect if Russia was forced to continue transiting gas through Ukraine without any real control over the security of the supply, instead having to trust Ukraine to behave fairly.

      Like

  38. Time was when British cops were affectionally called “Bobbies”, though never by me, I may add, and how they proudly boasted that they were unarmed?

    How times have changed!

    Reports coming in of disorder between Scottish football yobs yesterday outside the Glasgow stadium, where the Scotish Cup Final was played betweem Airdrie and Celtic.

    So disorderly were they, that no arrests have been reported.

    So why were these two cops below carrying automatic weapons:

    Were the fans armed?

    Like

    1. Not the final, ME, just a bog standard preliminary round.

      The police have been subject of a complaint about the funnelling of fans through a narrow access area which led to a major crush (shades of the disaster at Hillsborough, Sheffield in which 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives). I attended the match at which the crush developed though was not affected. By all fans’ accounts the crush was caused by Police actions. Celtic FC commissioned an inquiry which is due to report soon.

      Yesterday’s display was probably a “FU Irish Oiks” response to the likely contents of the report.

      Like

    2. All Western societies are turning into police states! In my neck of the woods, in the USA, just attending a symphony orchestra, concert-goers are subjected to an intrusive search of their bags, wallets, and even the ladies have their purses pawed through by some brute. Every concert-goer is a suspected terrorist. Things have definitely gotten out of hand.

      Like

      1. Looking for smuggled booze or food otherwise the authorized vendors inside the venue will suffer economically, my take on such things,.

        Like

        1. Oh! And all this time I assumed they were looking for concealed weapons…

          Actually, people don’t really need to smuggle booze into this particular venue, since you are allowed to take “open glasses” right into the theater. Still, I see your point. Having to buy their overly-priced wine at the buffet (served in plastic glasses) means an extra revenue stream for these culture vultures!

          Like

        2. I imagine you are exactly right; using the excuse of keeping everyone safe, of course. Cruise lines are notorious for this, screening all passengers’ baggage when it is brought aboard and removing all alcohol to be locked safely away, so that you will drink in the ship’s bars. A note in your luggage notifies you your booze has been removed for safekeeping, that you can have it back an hour before the ship docks on return to its port of departure, and that if you wish to have your own liquor in your cabin, you may do so provided you pay a $14.00 ‘uncorking fee’ per bottle.

          People are sufficiently intimidated now by the dangers of just moving about in their own society that you can take any liberties you like with their rights and freedoms as long as you advise them it is for public safety.

          Like

  39. https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/putin-the-pontiff-bridge-maker/

    Putin is indeed a modern pontifex. Thanks to Helvig for highlighting Russian reality and not NATzO hate fantasy.

    Russia’s trade surplus for 2018 is set hit almost 200 billion USD. An all time high. This is evidence that Russia is not an import-dependent banana republic regardless of the profile of its exports. NATzO “analists” routinely confuse raw materials exports with the economic development level of Russia. This is pure wishful thinking. Russia is an modern industrial power. I would say it is actually stronger than the US in this regard since the US has offshored its industry and only GDP accounting shenanigans make it look like this production is local to the US.

    Also, nice to see the fact that “capital flight” includes all foreign debt repayments being highlighted. Every year there is some compardor MSM hysteria about Russia collapsing through capital flight. This BS needs to be debunked. The huge trade surplus and NATzO anti-Russian sanctions are resulting in Russian companies offloading foreign debt. This is only making Russia stronger.

    Like

    1. That was an informative posting on Russian bridge building progress. Many of the bridges appeared of the most advanced cable stay designs.

      Russia is doing what the US should be doing regarding infrastructure development. But, a reason why defense spending gets a blank check but not so for infrastructure spending must include the possibility that defense spending is with virtually no oversight. In contrast, infrastructure projects have far less potential to siphon off funds and the accountability is way easier to establish. In other words, defense spending allows widespread corruption but not so with pouring concrete or fabricating steel structures.

      Or, more bluntly, infrastructure spending is not sufficiently efficient at delivering money to the back pockets of corporate bigwigs.

      Like

      1. Indeed. But according to the NATzO MSM there is no corruption in the west. The same MSM that basically claims that Russia is rotten to the core with corruption and Ukraine is squeaky clean. Pure 100% credibility…not.

        Like

  40. Why does Israel even bother?

    https://www.rt.com/news/449281-idf-raid-syria-russia/

    Syrian air defenses repelled an Israeli air raid into its territory, successfully intercepting seven missiles fired by incoming F-16 fighter jets, the Russian military said. No damage or casualties on the ground were reported.

    The attack occurred at 1:32pm local time on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Four F-16 Israeli fighter jets were flying above the Mediterranean Sea as they launched guided missiles into Syria, targeting the “international airport, southwest of Damascus,” the military officials explained.

    Syria’s Pantsir and Buk air defense missile systems were used to shoot down Israeli rockets and knocked out seven of them. The military added that there was no damage done to the airport and no casualties on the ground.

    Good to see the Pantsir in action as these system are quite effective but also low cost as the missiles do not carry advanced sensors. The precision tracking and brain work are done by the Pantsir launcher with radio commands sent to the missile for guidance. Also, the cannons can be used at an even lower cost if the situation permits.

    In a war of attrition, munitions costs can be important.

    Like

    1. Not sure if the latest attack is the 2nd or 3rd in the same day:

      https://www.rt.com/news/449294-syria-strike-israel-iran/

      Syrian air defense systems have repelled an attack in the skies over Damascus, state news agency SANA has reported. The Israeli army said it was attacking “Iranian Quds” forces and warned the Syrian military not to retaliate.

      A military source cited by SANA said that Syrian air defenses intercepted most of the Israeli missiles before they hit targets. The source said that Israel launched guided missiles from ground and air in several rounds.

      In a brief statement on Twitter, the Israel Defense Forces warned the Syrian army “against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.”

      Reports on social media indicated that Israel conducted several rounds of strikes over more than half an hour.

      The attacks reportedly proceeded deep into the night and stopped around 2 a.m. local time.

      SANA, citing its own correspondent, reported that the missiles were flying over the Lebanese territory and the Galilee Panhandle, the northernmost part of Israel, bordering Lebanon.

      Earlier on Sunday, Syrian air defenses repelled another Israeli air raid. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, four Israeli F-16 launched guided missiles into the Syrian territory. Seven missiles were intercepted, with no damage reported on the ground.

      Perhaps Israel is attempting to exhaust Syria’s supply of anti-air missiles with multiple attacks. At some point, they hope, the missiles will get through in a meaningful quantity. It should be noted that Syria has yet to engage its S-300 system. So, its just upgraded Buk and Pantsirs doing the work. The current Syrian results, in my mind, confirms the high rate of intercepts reported in the most recent cruise missile attack. Also, it would seem highly unlikely such a missile attack would ever be attempted against any defended targets.

      Moreover, this suggests that poison gas attacks may no longer be staged as the mandatory Western response would only highlight the ineffectiveness of its military. Game, set, match.

      Like

      1. I think Russia took into account the attack to depletion tactic. Syria probably has enough missiles to weather a full blown NATzO attack. So there will not be any US aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria like we had back in 1999 with the NATzO attack on Serbia. I bet Russia even supplied Syria with some anti-ship missile systems. But we haven’t heard about them since NATzO doesn’t need to know. It needed to know about the S-400 and later S-300 systems as a serious warning. But it does not need to know about the coup de grace if it dares attack.

        Like

        1. That cuts both ways – Israel does not have an unlimited supply of missiles, either, and hers probably cost more. Not that that’s a big concern, since they are paid for by the US taxpayer. But still.

          Like

        2. Israel destroyed at least one, perhaps two Pantsir-S1 vehicles, in retribution for the missiles that were shot down earlier. Four to six Syrian servicemen were killed.

          I think Russia is doing the right thing supporting the Syrian government against all these assholes, but sometimes I wonder if it’s not just a waste of time and money. The SAA seem to just park them out in the open, remain immobile and not even use the CIWS (guns) for self-defense. It was the same last time Israel blew up a Pantsir in Syria, it was just parked out in the open and had been for some time.
          Those things aren’t that cheap, you know.

          Now, I assume they’ve been trained on standard tactics (and one of the Pantsir’s strengths is its on-the-move capabilities), so what gives? Typical Arab incompetence? Like how they accidentally shot down that Russian Ilyushin last year…

          I don’t mean that in a racist way, by the way. it’s probably more of a cultural thing. The Saudis have even more expensive toys and they still can’t do anything right.

          Like

  41. The above is relevant to the US government kidnappings of Chinese executives. Note how when IP is stolen by US companies in the US, the US government is not stepping in to prosecute and persecute executives of those companies. It is up to the “victims” to take the cases to court. Yet for some reason, the US government is acting like it was the aggrieved party in the alleged cases against China. This is pure political theater.

    Like

    1. That is what happened. That evil POS British reporter was actually INSIDE a barbed wire enclosure that was used to store machinery. The so-called concentration camp victims were outside sweltering in a hot afternoon sun. The featured guy was a TB sufferer. That was all it took. That POS knew the picture was a complete misrepresentation but she also knew what would sell and what would propel her career.

      Like

  42. Правительство Германии обозначило позицию по “Северному потоку — 2”

    The German government has outlined its position on “Nord Stream 2”
    Yesterday, 21:25

    BERLIN, 20 Jan — RIA Novosti. The German government has no legal grounds for intervening in the construction of “Nord Stream 2”, the head of the country’s Ministry of Economy, Peter Altmaier, has told the newspaper Handelsblatt.

    He also added that “the pipe has been laid many miles out at sea” so that “the Federal government will not interfere: there is no legal basis [for its doing so]“.

    Like

  43. Ha, ha!!! News surfaced that Trump and Putin spoke about the possibility of holding a referendum in Eastern Ukraine. More specifically, Putin proposed that a referendum be held in Eastern Ukraine, presumably on the issue of independence, because the day an original thought passes through The Donald’s head, it will have a lonely journey. The White House was quick to clarify that it has no intention of supporting it. I’m going to go ahead and postulate the reason for that is because it knows what the outcome of such a referendum would be.

    https://www.ksl.com/article/46363796/putin-trump-talked-about-a-referendum-for-eastern-ukraine?print=1

    US National Security Council spokeshole Garrett Marquis – who sounds French and therefore a cheese-eating surrender monkey – pegged the mirth-meter when he announced solemnly, “To organize a so-called referendum in a part of Ukraine which is not under government control would have no legitimacy”. There’s that word again; legitimacy. I do not think it means what you think it means, Garrett, mon choux. You see, because the US government went ahead and recognized the Libyan rebel opposition as the ‘legitimate’ government of Libya back in 2011, for no more important reason than it – the US government – thought the rebels “could use a boost” because they were having a hard time overthrowing the democratically-elected leader of Libya. Who, should you wonder, was deemed by the United States at the time to have “no legitimate authority in Libya”. Seems like ‘legitimacy’ is a magic quality the USA can bestow or withdraw at its whim.

    https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article24678046.html

    I say the US government has no legitimacy, and I’m not going to do what it says any more. Memo to Washington – stop being so embarrassing.

    Like

    1. According to the Mail:

      The move is unlikely to amuse Moscow, which has been locked in a war of words with Mr Williamson since the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury last year. At the time, Mr Williamson attracted widespread mockery by limply saying that Russia should ‘go away and shut up’.

      Au contraire, old chap! I should imagine that “Moscow” may find it hilarious to have revealed to it once more what a childish tosser Gavin is.

      I am really dissapointed, though, to see that the Mail scribe has not written “Putin must be furious” and such like.

      Letting the side down, aren’t you chaps: after all, that’s what the other UK rags often like to ponder.

      Since when, by the way, has “Moscow” been “locked in a war of words” with former fireplace saleseman and office Lothario Gobshite Gavin, the Yorkshire Yob?

      Oh, and for those not au fait with the tongue of Pushkin, the letters ПТН ПНХ on the arse wipes stand for:

      Путин — пошёл на хуй

      Putin — fuck you.

      Hilarious, Gavin!

      Like

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