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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2,117 thoughts on “The Candy Clouds of the Dreamweaver do Battle with the Battering Ram of Reality

  1. Oilprice.com: Turkey’s Big Nuclear Energy Ambitions
    https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Turkeys-Big-Nuclear-Energy-Ambitions.html

    …What the Turkish planners envisaged some 50 years ago is progressively being realized with the Rosatom-led Akkuyu project. In many ways, the Akkuyu project is a novelty – it is Rosatom’s first project constructed at a build-own-operate (BOO) parity and its first-ever real endeavor in the Levant….
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    Dunno how I missed this one.

    What I have been following (more or less) is the collapse of the western nuclear business, the US Westinghouse being sold off to Hitachi which is now in deep trouble and probably won’t build up ‘Narf (UK), Areva’s troubles (inc. France’s dialing back on nuclear investment) while the Chinese & Russians are building and exporting in significant numbers.

    As for renewables, I spotted an interesting piece about a new cheaper process made possible by a Polish research that should make them much more widespread if they can improve stability and maturity:

    https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/first-building-integrated-deployment-shows-perovskite-solars-growing-maturity/3009953.article

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      1. The food bill will be your biggest worry. Tulsi is Hindu (can’t eat beef) and vegetarian. Wears lots of flowers too in case someone in the house has pollen allergies.

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        1. “As commander-in-chief, I will work to end the new cold war, nuclear arms race and slide into nuclear war. That is why the neocon/neolib warmongers will do anything to stop me.”
          She sounds pretty strong! I hope she don’t get assassinated. (This is Amerika!)

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            1. Maybe Tulsi is the modern-day version of “Parsifal the Fool” (Sir Percival) – the youth who understands nothing and yet, just by ignorance more than anything else, obtains the Holy Grail (?)
              Wouldn’t that be something?

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  2. Росстат сообщил о рекордном за шесть лет росте ВВП
    16:38

    Rosstat has reported record growth in GDP for the first time in 6 years.

    In 2018, the GDP growth in the country amounted to 2.3 percent, higher than forecasts made by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Central Bank, according to Rosstat.

    This is a record growth figure for GDP since the 3.7 percent figure for 2012.

    In 2013 and 2014, the economy grew by 1.8% and 0.7%. By the end of 2015, there was a drop of 2.5%. In 2016 and 2017, GDP growth was 0.3% and 1.6%, respectively.

    Keep them sanctions rolling in, USA!

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    1. What a misleading headline…those incompetent journo whores need to be bitchslapped. So Russia experienced a moderate-at-worst recession only in 2015. Maybe 1-2 quarters of 2014 and 2016 additionally but that doesn’t really matter and I’m too lazy to research. 2,3% is quite a decent number and above all predictions. Russia is already a high-income country (by PPP) and growth rates above 3% and more are increasingly harder to achieve. Sanctions by the west work definitely but not as planned.

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      1. Those same journo whores never tell mass media consumers that foreign debt paydowns are counted as GDP contraction. As I posted previously, Russia “lost” over 4.5% of its GDP in 2018 just due to the volume of foreign debt elimination. For the net growth to be 2.3% requires the actual GDP growth to be almost 7%. GDP accounting is dubious since foreign borrowing is never discounted for the interest and principle costs. A rational accounting choice would be to count any foreign borrowing as being positive only in the time integrated sense of stimulus minus costs. Debt retirement should not be counted as a pure negative. Only indirect effects such as loss of domestic consumption due to such payments should be counted as a negative. These indirect effects are not really 100% of the “loss” of money abroad since no economic entity acts in such a binary fashion. Russian companies pay down debt because they get enough revenue to do this. Nobody can claim that the debt repayment fraction of this revenue would have been spent on goods and services instead of parked in banks. And the whole discussion becomes moot if Russian companies are exchanging foreign loans for domestic ones.

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        1. Similar dissembling accrues to ‘capital flight’. According to the western media, all money which leaves Russia and is not spent in Russia by Russians is capital flight – the oligarchy moving its money somewhere safe before they are hung from a lamppost by the revolution that is about to explode. Money which goes to service debt repayments, foreign investments, foreign aid…all ‘capital flight’, stolen funds gone forever.

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          1. Stolen funds going into a Cayman Islands trust fund in the name of one of the court minions of Lord Vladimort but controlled by him and him alone.

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            1. The hilarity never ends. These journo clowns and various bloggers that seem to serve as a fountain of information for the western fake stream media, should know by now that all banking transactions are monitored by the US and its minions. Even the legendary secrecy of the Swiss banking sector is long gone. All the offshore banks are reporting to Washington on every transaction. None of these offshores has the power to say no. (The USA could ‘Grenada’ the Caymans in the blink of an eye).

              If Putin was the typical corrupt clown like Ferdinand Marcos, then he would have been a US stooge. But Putin is an existential threat to the US empire because he is an ascetic who does not have a price.

              Liked by 1 person

      1. Easily debunked drivel. The number of billion ruble range investments opening up shop in Russia every year is too large for any claim of “stagnation or recession” to be valid. This can be seen in the 8% real wage growth for 2018. Wages do not grow during stagnation and recession.

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        1. Kirill, where do you get the statistic of 8% growth for 2018? It’s adjusted for inflation and so on? I’m not disputing it – just that plenty of wildly varying numbers on this seem to be being put out!

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          1. I thought it was something like 2.6%, but even that is remarkable considering the USA and all of Europe is trying its damnedest to force that figure into the negative. Ukraine’s growth is anemic although those same countries are loaning it money for everything conceivable, even money to buy gas so long as it does not buy it from Russia. The IMF even abandoned its own rulebook to allow continued lending to a country which was in default of its debts, arguing that it was only money owed to Russia, which doesn’t count.

            https://www.sott.net/article/305220-Hypocrites-IMF-changes-its-rules-so-Ukraine-can-default-on-Russian-debt-with-no-penalties

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          2. Kirill sometimes just makes up numbers and rarely posts links (footnotes) to back up his assertions.
            Anything he asserts, on any topic, needs to be rigorously fact-checked by others.

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          3. https://themoscowtimes.com/news/moscow-salaries-see-double-digit-growth-2018-official-figures-say-64402

            https://www.inflation.eu/inflation-rates/russia/historic-inflation/cpi-inflation-russia-2018.aspx

            Wage growth was 11.7% and the CPI was 2.88%.

            Thus,

            1.117/1.0288 = 1.0857

            The real wage growth was 8.57% in Moscow. I assumed that nominal wages in St. Petersburg and other major cities in Russia did not hover near 0% but were closer to the Moscow value:

            “Nationwide, Rosstat recorded a nominal wage growth of 9.9 percent to an average 43,400 rubles per month in 2018.”

            So nationally we have,

            1.099/1.0288 = 1.0682 or 6.8 %.

            My 8% figure was too optimistic. My bad.

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            1. And you and I are talking about two different things; I am sure I saw 2.6% or so recently, but that was national GDP growth, and not wage growth. But again and even so, both GDP growth and wage growth are remarkable considering most of the entire western alliance is trying to force both into negative territory. Of the two, I would say wage growth is the more discouraging for Washington, as it relies on popular discontent to bring down Putin. Now it has next to no political NGO’s left, and a Russian population that overall is fairly content with its leader. Things have probably seldom looked less promising for a regime-change effort.

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            2. OK, thanks for that.
              I think the figures I read proclaiming of zero or ‘anaemic” wage growth in Russia , were ones misleadingly converting it into dollar value and then judging it. The rouble lost 10% against the dollar in the last month of 2018, and about another 10% in the first 9 months of the year, after a relatively steady dollar to rouble exchange rate in 2017.
              Costs are going up in everything, but 7% wage growth is still very good

              Different things are going up and down in purchase figures – but I did notice that car sales are up by 12%, still nowhere near pre 2014 sales levels but does show it is getting back to normal – Ukraine’s car sales figures are that bad and low it appears that the wheelbarrow has become the preferred mode of transport

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              1. Russia definitely has economic problems that will take years to rectify. These structural defects are the legacy of the mess transition during the 1990s and not exactly stellar policy performance since 2000. So I am not deluded to think everything is hunky dory. But all the propaganda about Russia painting doom and gloom is absurd. Ukraine is a fine example of this. It is up schitt’s creek without a paddle, but most of the coverage makes it sound like it is doing fine.

                http://rusvesna.su/economy/1549478909

                Putin actually has to warn the CBR from aggressively freezing Russian company assets. The CBR’s high interest policy is one of the main factors suppressing GDP growth in Russia. Nabiullina insists that Russia has inflationary instability but this is not credible. Over most of the 2000s the CPI was under 15% per year even though the money supply was growing by 50% per year. The early 2015 recession and inflation spike triggered by the ruble forex slide in late 2014 was over by the middle of the year. This is proof that Russia does not have inflationary instability since it shows no evidence of inflation acceleration given the substantial “forcing” factors. Having a prime rate of 7.25% with a CPI of 2.88% is absurd. At most the prime rate should be 5%.

                A prime rate of 5% and preferably 3% would result in Russian banking sector growth as domestic borrowing would be competitive with foreign borrowing and it would also stimulate small and medium size business growth. SMBs are sensitive to borrowing costs.

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                1. Eventually the Yukies will have to pass through this stage of powering their cars on wood before the wheelbarrow phase of driving:

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            1. Don’t lizards have, like, TWO eyelids?
              Well, maybe Rachel Madwoman is like that person from the V movie. Like, she is a lizard lady who suddenly strips off her human face, and you see a reptile underneath?? That would actually explain a lot.

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  3. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/02/04/vene-f04.html

    “Bolton, who helped author the playbook that was used to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq, issued a blunt threat Friday that the US would kill or jail and torture Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro if he did not resign. Comparing Maduro to Nicolae Ceaușescu and Benito Mussolini—both of whom were killed—Bolton told right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt: “The sooner he takes advantage of that [i.e., resignation], the sooner he’s likely to have a nice quiet retirement on a pretty beach rather than being in some other beach area like Guantanamo.”

    Jesus God..Where the F is a sudden terminal stroke when needed???

    HOWEVER:

    “Key to the government’s strategy is a ferocious military crackdown on working class demonstrations and food riots. While the military and police have maintained a more passive presence at “official” demonstrations held by the right-wing opposition, government forces have murdered dozens of workers and youth participating in demonstrations over lack of access to food, water and other basic necessities.

    The Maduro regime has responded to these demonstrations, which largely take place at night in the slum areas, with midnight raids by death squads, “disappearing” working class opponents in an effort to terrorize the areas that once were bastions of support for Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez Frias. The corporate media does not report these crackdowns.

    In this way, Maduro is attempting to prove to his opponents in the US and Europe—as well as his backers in Russia and China—that he remains the best option for ending instability and keeping the oil flowing.”

    This -if true-is a HUGE mistake…..!!!

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    1. The comments in the comments forum attached to that WSWS.org post have expressed doubts that the Maduro govt sends so-called death squads into slum areas to “disappear” people perceived to be opposed to it. This death squad terror sounds like a tired stereotype (of the sort associated with right-wing regimes in Latin America) being applied to the Maduro govt by the WSWS.org writer because Maduro and Chavez before him haven’t brought a truly “revolutionary socialist” govt to the country and have had to compromise or modify their Bolivarian ideals due to the nature of the opposed forces against Bolivarianism, both within the country and without, and the financial power they hold over the country, including its media.

      You’re far better off following Venezuelanalysis.com which the commenters at that post mention a couple of times.

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      1. OK JEN..

        But most definitely F this wanna be white cckskker bitch ass lapdog tool of yankee imperialism and his european wife:

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        1. Guaidó apparently was one of five Venezuelan right-wing opposition university students who went to Belgrade in 2005 to be schooled by a US-funded regime-change organisation linked to OTPOR in Serbia which orchestrated the protests that led to Slobodan Milosevic’s downfall as President of Serbia.

          Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, “The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader”
          https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/

          Guaidó is playing a spoiler role and may be expendable even if Maduro’s government were overthrown. He has no support base and if one doesn’t miraculously materialise for him, the US would get rid of him faster than it would get rid of Maduro. If he remains holed up in the US embassy in Caracas or some other safe place where he is hiding, and he cannot make headway among Venezuela’s armed forces or the anti-Maduro opposition, the US may consider him more valuable dead than alive.
          https://www.rt.com/news/450101-guaido-us-pawn-blumenthal/

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            1. Indeed, I saw a piece, and drats I didn’t save the link, quoting Bolton saying, something like, “Well, we have Guaidó, and we also have other people….” Just rubbing it in, I reckon, that Guaidó is nobody special to them, and completely expendable. Personally, I don’t think the Americans will kill his family, even if they decided to sacrifice him. They would probably just let the wife and kids go on living somewhere in America, or they could even return to Venezuela, nobody would harm them there either.

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              1. The wife Fabiana Rosales, journalist by trade, may be useful as the Bereaved Widow who later takes up activism on behalf of bereaved widows and (when one thing leads to another) ends up a future potential presidential candidate.

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            1. American wiki also cleansed out the facts of Guaidó’s relationship with Serbian OTPOR, and his years as a violent activist. They tried to clean up everything that contradicts his current image as a simple “man of the people” and a “man of peace”. They did leave in the bit about his studying at George Washington University, well, it might have been too blatant to remove that.

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              1. I think we all remember how the Syrian rebels were all shopkeepers and taxi drivers who had simply had enough – hung in there marvelously against a couple of professional armies for a group of angry civilians with no military training, didn’t they? Image is everything, consequently image management is also everything.

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            2. Whoopty-doo; it could be reversed tomorrow, with the person who put it there in the first place never acknowledging it ever was. Wiki is a favourite venue for activists to post their own facts, but it is not going to help it become reality. And the longer Venezuela goes on with two presidents, the sillier the coup attempt looks. Most if not all of the USA’s lightning revolutions rely on a rapid transfer of power that everyone just has to get used to.

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              1. Yep, there’s only room in Venezuela for one president and I rather think Guaidó’s expiry date is coming closer the longer he refuses to give up the charade and turn himself in.

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    2. Agreed; if a celestial firebolt were to fry Bolton’s noodle and make him run about a pint of hot piss through his Brooks Brothers slacks, and then fall over with those cartoon X’s in his eyes, I would dance a hornpipe even if it is no longer in fashion. And then send out for cake. It is a measure of what a menace the United States has become that he feels he can openly threaten a foreign head of state with imprisonment or death if he does not hand over power to a US-selected replacement. If Maduro complied, where would that end? The only reasonable response to that is go fuck yourself, John Bolton, and the quicker you cough your last, the quicker I can dump a wheelbarrow-load of composter worms on your grave.

      https://unclejimswormfarm.com/order-stuff/composting-worms/

      The rest of that death-squad repression boilerplate is just the usual crap the press trots out to pluck at the heartstrings of the public so they will support a military intervention in a surge of do-something horror – look for an adorable Venezuelan child tweeting any day now that it is better to start the Third World War than let Putin and Maduro destroy Caracas, and save the children of Venezuela.

      The key to a rollover like Washington is attempting is momentum – you have to keep the outrage smoking so people don’t have time to think, they simply react. If people have a moment to stop and think, they might say hey, what the hell are we doing? Is this even legal? That’s why they’re piling on the supposed atrocities and government cruelty.

      For his part, Maduro is going slow and making sure any action taken against Guaido is through the courts, and all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, to ensure it cannot look like a vengeful vendetta by Maduro himself. But his actions so far are encouraging – there has been none of that conciliatory talk about forming a coalition government with the ‘rebels’, maybe making Guaido Prime Minister, like the huge mistakes Yanukovych made. Any offer to meet Guaido halfway will be interpreted as weakness and fear that Guaido is in a position to seize it all, and opposition actions will turn on it. Guaido can’t form a government without either Maduro stepping down, or the opposition seizing state buildings, because he can’t very well run the country out of his house. He needs offices, a legislature, an official seat from which to address the nation and the world. But if Washington fails this time – and absent physically helping Guaido out, I think it will – it will not get a chance like this again. Maduro will be fed up with pussyfooting around with Mendoza and the clique of wealthy businessmen, and simply nationalize their property in Venezuela. Imports will drop off as fast as they can be replaced, and that loophole will be closed and a promising Washington regime-change technique with it.

      Like

      1. Yes, Maduro is striking the right tone and making the right moves; Putin-like to the degree he can act like Putin,

        I was shocked, shocked! that the evening news acknowledged that the military remains loyal to Maduro. Well, the story was that Maduro’s grip on the military remained strong (can’t help but play the dictator meme).

        A brief shot of a street demonstration was described as massive waves of discontent sweep Venezuela. Further proof of the strength of the anti-Maduro movement was a one line interview with a guy wearing a “USA” emblazoned T-shirt stating that prices were “crazy”. Is that all they got?

        Like

        1. I posted this piece this morning; and in which I also link to this New York Times piece .
          In this game of “chicken” the Yanqui imperialists are starting to lose their nerves, as the NYT politely raises issues about Trump’s heavy-handed methods.
          In addition to that, Italy dissented from the rest of the EU jackal pack, and that also has created a bit of momentum in the other direction.
          Bravo, Italy!

          Like

      2. Mrs Cortes’s ominous words spring to mind:

        “Never threaten. Do.”

        Lots of threats from certain quarters. “Where’s the beef?”

        Like

  4. An entertaining takedown of the Hyperloop including the hypesters Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson as well as lesser wannabes.

    Like

  5. Pepe Esobar via the Saker:
    http://thesaker.is/venezuela-lets-cut-to-the-chase/

    Caracas has committed the ultimate cardinal sin in the eyes of Exceptionalistan; oil trading bypassing the US dollar or US-controlled exchanges.

    Remember Iraq. Remember Libya. Yet Iran is also doing it. Turkey is doing it. Russia is – partially – on the way. And China will eventually trade all its energy in petroyuan.

    With Venezuela adopting the petro crypto-currency and the sovereign bolivar, already last year the Trump administration had sanctioned Caracas off the international financial system.

    No wonder Caracas is supported by China, Russia and Iran. They are the real hardcore troika – not psycho-killer John Bolton’s cartoonish “troika of tyranny” – fighting against the Trump administration’s energy dominance strategy, which consists essentially in aiming at the total lock down of oil trading in petrodollars, forever.

    Like

  6. Kiev opens a ‘high treason’ case against Viktor Medvedchuk for urging that the eastern-Ukrainian regions be granted autonomy and have their own government. Said investigation to be carried out by Ukraine’s Department of Sucks-to-be-U, the SBU.

    https://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-opens-treason-case-against-putin-ally-171644555.html

    Ah, the good old days, back when Ukraine’s highest court recognized that granting autonomy to the Donbas “does not break or limit the rights and freedoms of [Ukrainian] people and citizens.”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11776922/Ukraine-may-grant-autonomy-to-pro-Russian-separatists-in-a-bid-for-peace.html

    Decentralization and some degree of autonomy are actually provisos of the Minsk Agreements, to which Kuh-yiv is a signatory. If you’re looking for a defense consultant, Viktor Volodymyrovich, I could work from home.

    Like

    1. I”m still at a loss as to how these Russia “expert” idiots and pseudo-democrats/liberasts can base a load of their “authoritarian” BS against Putin on him removing governor elections after Beslan, keep totally quiet about governor elections being brought back to many regions( except to post about a loss for United Russia , which these same imbeciles had claimed was impossible) – and then keep even quieter at the total lack or any hint of any governor elections taking place for any of the oblasts in Ukraine.

      Having governor elections for all the 80+ regions of Russia or not never had any relation to democracy anyway, despite these clowns bleatings.. Based on Russia’s size, ethnic grouping, North Caucasus situation, timezones, areas of extreme cold, natural resource state companies and a whole host of other issues- a Governor directly appointed by the President was always the best option, particularly for Russia then, and even now

      Ukraine on the other hand, has none of these reasons. I can only think the reason they have only had Governors appointed by the President is because of the Americans – all terrified of a near guarantee for the last 2 decades of pro-Russian candidates winning in farir elections in the regions which have most of Ukraine’s industry and population

      Like

      1. I be go to hell if you’re not right, and it was in front of my nose the whole time. Yes, I well remember the appointment of two oligarchs as governors to oblasts in the eastern regions, immediately after the uprising over the cancellation of the language laws. One of them was Sergey Taruta, and I forget the other.

        https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/193945.html

        Taruta was specially appointed by Olexandr Turchynov, and he dismissed the former governor in the same order, Andriy Shyshatsky. Only the office was called “Head of the Regional Administration”. Much the same thing as Governor, though. I’m not sure if Shyshatsky was elected, but I would guess not and probably it was Ukraine’s practice to appoint governors. But you’re right – there has been no censure of this practice in Ukraine that I have ever seen, nor any pressure for governors to be elected by the region they will represent.

        Good catch.

        Like

        1. Wasn’t the other oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky in Dnepropetrovsk oblast? I think he was governor at the time Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was directed by Kiev ATC to fly over southeast Ukraine instead of over the Sea of Azov in July 2014.

          Like

          1. I think you’re right; something was tugging at my memory, and if so it would have been the first time I’d ever heard of him. Since then, of course, he is revealed as the poster boy for “If you’re wealthy and you know it, stamp your feet”.

            Yes, it was in fact he, and thanks for reminding me because the article in which it appears is a richness of hypocrisy. Ukraine was ‘reaching out to the oligarchs’ in a ‘bid for unity’; gosh, how noble.

            https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-2575429/Ukraine-oligarchs-key-posts-bid-unity.html

            Here’s an idea of how the western press – as reported by a typical dissident – regards the practice of appointing governors in Russia.

            https://www.yahoo.com/news/putin-believes-apos-destined-russia-100301005.html

            “Putin is preparing for a new era. In the past year, he has begun a process of clearing house. He has fired a number of older governors and installed young and little-known bureaucrats in their place. The most typical appointees of 2017 were the governors of Samara and Nizhny Novgorod. They are virtually indistinguishable, so much so that Russian media compare them to Agent Smith from The Matrix—the self-cloning agent of the all-powerful central computer.

            These Agent Smiths represent an archetype of Putin’s new staff. They all are roughly the same age, 40 years old or a little younger; they don’t have any particular political beliefs or opinions; they are merely “technocrats” personally loyal to Putin. The president is slowly building a new generation of Russian bureaucrats in his own image.”

            Another fine example of how what is unspeakably disturbing in Russia is adorable and inspirational in Ukraine.

            Like

      2. When I was doing some research on the Giles Fletcher book I discovered that the Russian leader has ALWAYS appointed the governors, even back in the 16th century! The main difference is that, back in the time of Ivan Grozny, the Governors did not live out in the regions, they remained in Moscow as part of the Tsar’s retinue. The real governing, out in the regions, was done by those (also-appointed) workhorses called the “dyaki” or “Deacons”, who lived in the areas they managed. They served for certain terms, and could be replaced at will. Russia wasn’t a democracy, she was run more like a corporation, with the Tsar as the CEO!

        Like

  7. Politico EU: Ukraine’s joke of an election
    https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-joke-election-vladimir-zelenskiy/

    Comedian’s presidential bid is no laughing matter.

    …Having announced his candidacy on New Year’s Eve, Zelenskiy seems intent on repeating his performance — this time in real life. He has crowdfunded his election campaign, a move that helped him nab free air time and boost his profile on social networks. For voters across the country — but especially in southeast Ukraine, which has suffered the most from the ongoing war with Russian-backed separatists — a vote for Zelenskiy is seen as a way to stick it to the country’s corrupt political establishment…

    ..Zelenskiy, in contrast to his two most prominent opponents, lacks a regional party structure to mobilize voters and participate in local election commissions that count the vote. His connection to oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi is also a major vulnerability. Kolomoyskyi, who owns 1+1, the popular TV channel that broadcasts Zelenskiy’s show and is rumored to be backing him, is embroiled in a legal dispute with the government over his alleged mismanagement of Privatbank, the country’s largest bank, which he used to control. The bank was nationalized in 2016, costing taxpayers more than $5 billion….
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    Color me skeptical, though all bets are off, but hoping to pick up votes from the south east while being backed by an oligarch funder of Ukranian fascist batallions that are trying to kill the self-same people doesn’t jive. Is he the Ukrainian version of Poland’s Duda? I.e. a pliable figurehead for others? Still, interesting.

    Like

    1. Colour me much the same shade. A vote for Trump was seen as a way to stick it to the country’s two rotten and corrupt political establishments, and look how that turned out. As you know, I’ve never been one for voting for a buffoon just because he is the lesser evil – if there’s nobody inspiring on the ticket, I don’t vote, and I would suggest Ukrainians could express their disgust at their electoral slate more effectively by simply staying home en masse. Why pretend that Zelenskiy offers hope for the future? He might be funny and perhaps even a talented actor, but he is not a politician. I despise politicians and some of them are incredibly stupid and greedy, but I would be first to admit not everyone could do that job, and the higher you go, the more complicated it gets. It’s kind of like that game that was popular some years ago – Civilization. Crime is going up, Mr. Mayor. Fine; I’ll just buy 5 more cruisers and hire ten more police officers. Yes, that’s a great idea, Sir, but where is the money going to come from? You’ll have to take it out of somebody else’s budget. Running a city is complicated and probably trade-offs all day long, and not everybody can do it; never mind a whole country. Politicians actually go to school for that stuff, and they work their way up. They don’t bop around on TV for a decade or so and then enter at the top floor of government. Even Tymoshenko, who is supposed to be a seasoned politician, is clueless about money, and her go-to solution is Give Everybody A Raise. You cannot realistically do that even with balanced books, and Ukraine is living on western handouts.

      I think it’s safe to say Ukraine is circling the rim of the bowl, and there is nobody on the slate who can help. Zelenskiy is a know-nothing, politically. Tymoshenko is a greedy oligarch and a know-nothing besides; people cannot seem to tell the difference between smart and cunning. Poroshenko is a useless lump who is only interested in lining his own pockets and looking out for the main chance. He will be a huge nuisance even if he loses, and it would be best for everyone if he decamped with his wealth and went to live in LA. Best for everyone except the residents of LA, of course. The point is that whoever wins, it will be a big loss for Ukraine. Stay home. You’ll be just as far ahead, and there might be something good on TV.

      Like

      1. > express their disgust at their electoral slate more effectively by simply staying home en masse

        Staying at home as a political statement doesn’t work, Macedonia being the most recent example.

        Like

        1. Then what do you think is a best option? If you are going to get a crook or a fool no matter how you vote, why would you legitimize their reign by letting the papers report massive voter turnout and a predictable result, a robust and functioning democracy?

          I’m not familiar with that particular aspect of the Macedonian elections – did the government simply attribute votes to citizens whether they showed up to vote or not?

          Like

            1. Aahhh…but in that instance, the government’s argument was that because the referendum result was non-binding, the turnout requirement was spurious and unnecessary.

              It’s true that if only 30% of the electorate turned out, there would still be a winner – a little while ago, UK parliamentary election turnout had fallen to somewhere in the 20’s, but it did not stop MP’s from taking up their posts. But it’s humiliating, and shows that the political experience in the country is so unsatisfactory that voters have stopped caring and believe voting is a waste of time. A vigorous and enthusiastic voter battle is regularly cited as the measure of a democracy.

              Like

  8. There are three interesting stories, the first that France has carried out a ‘rare military simulation of nuclear strike’ using the Rafale that lasted 11 odd hours. What articles from the likes of the Daily Fail don’t mention is that the Rafale is in the process of taking over the nuclear strike role from the Mirage 2000 and France is upgrading its range limited nuclear cruise missile ASMP-A, so though the test may be ‘rare’, it’s got FA to do with the INF treaty.

    The second story is about I-ran’s new cruise missile and longer range missiles. Most articles completely ignore that the JCPOA agreement only demands that I-ran does not create ‘nuclear capable missiles’, absolutely nothing about further development or its general ballistic missile program. Paris, has been trying to be clever by ‘suggesting’ that I-ran limit its program to help keep JCOPA on track and ergo the Europeans onboard, basically blackmail. Tehran has told Paris to FO. I guess the most interesting thing about this is that this is Paris rather than London, but the latter is no-longer part of Europe and has no veto or influence on EU affairs since people voted for BREXIT.

    The last interesting story just popped up today. Previously I wrote that there’s a bunch of warm, fuzzy reporting about Azerbaidjan/Armenia, yet the former is still buying I-sraeli suicide drones, the last incident being an ‘accidental’ live demonstration of and Orbital 1K by the I-sraeli manufacturer’s people that killed Armenian soldiers in Nagorno Karabakh. The new news is that the company involved, Aeronautics Ltd., has now been given export clearance by the I-sraeli Defense Ministry to export the Orbiter 2 to Azerbaidjan. There is still a gag order in place so many details are still unknown, but the DM’s agreement comes three weeks after the company was bought out by the much, much bigger and well established defense contractor Rafale. I think it is well within the Neocons interests to encourage Azerbaidjan to start a conflict to ‘undermine Russia’. Regardless of whether it makes sense or not, it’s the kind of cheap and easy dick move that Washington loves because it costs them nothing if it goes wrong, and they win a cuddly toy if it works. As for the EU, their love of democracy and human rights is as usual nowhere to be seen when it comes to Azerbaidjan.

    Like

  9. MiddleEastEye via Antiwar.com: EXCLUSIVE: British army permitted shooting of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-british-army-permitted-shooting-civilians-iraq-and-afghanistan

    Soldiers who served in Basra in 2007 say they were told they could shoot anyone holding a phone or a shovel, or acting in any way suspiciously

    …He and his fellow soldiers were promised that they would be protected in the event of any investigation by military police, he says. “Our commanders, they would tell us: ‘We will protect you if any investigation comes. Just say you genuinely thought your life was at risk – those words will protect you.’”..

    ####

    I wonder how UK gov is going to square this circle. Direct confessions by British Army soldiers that they were authorized from above.

    Like

    1. A fascinating question.

      “Squaddie McLumpha clearly has misunderstood what I instructed him to do…”

      Should enhance morale no end.

      The reality of “We’ve got your back.”

      Like

    2. This part of the article caught my attention:

      ‘… In a book that was ghost-written by Tom Newton Dunn, then the defence editor of the British newspaper The Sun, and which was published in 2007 following the receipt of advice from British army public relations officers, [Dan Mills, a sergeant] disclosed that a colonel visiting from the UK advised that that they should open fire on “unarmed dickers”.

      “I’m not encouraging wanton killing and recklessness,” the unnamed colonel is quoted as saying in the book, Sniper One. “But nowhere in the Rules of Engagement does it say you can’t shoot unarmed people.”…’

      Even the Monty Python team couldn’t have dreamt up that last line.

      Like

      1. That crazy colonel should be awarded a BRAND NEW FLAT in the block of flats designed by Architect Wiggin:

        Mr. Wiggin: “This is a 12-story block combining classical neo-Georgian features with the efficiency of modern techniques. The tenants arrive here and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort, past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into these… ”
        (…)
        Client 1: “We asked for a simple block of flats. ”
        Mr. Wiggin: Oh. I hadn’t fully divined your attitude towards the tenants. You see I mainly design slaughter houses.”

        Wiggin should add: “Colonel, I had not fully divined your attitude towards peaceful unarmed civilians…”

        Like

          1. Breaking news! Wiggin has been awarded the OBE for his success in ridding the UK of “many annoying prols”, to quote the words of one very highly-placed in the British royal family.

            Like

    3. The bastion of human rights and dignity, Chief mouther-off at anyone who is perceived to be autocratic or, heaven help us, a tyrant. Chief weeper over heart-rending stories like the brave peasants of Venezuela rising up under the inspiring leadership of Juan Guaido. And now, Chief enabler of “Have you ever wondered what it feels like to kill someone? Go ahead!”

      Not really a surprise, but it still feels kind of like turning over a stone and having something cold with a million legs run across the back of your hand. It’s actually a testimonial to the average British squaddie’s ideals that there were not thousands more casualties attributed to gunshot wounds. Most people just wouldn’t do that, even if you let them off the leash and gave them a get-out-of-jail-free card.

      And to think that when British soldiers were at first in Iraq, they refused to wear helmets, instead relying only on their soft berets for headgear, and were somewhat condescending toward the ‘Yanks’ for proceeding at all times as if in the presence of enemies who wanted to kill them. The British would show them that a professional army knew no fear.

      Like

  10. Neuters via Antiwar.com: Germany could miss even reduced NATO defense spending goal: document
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-budget-military/germany-could-miss-even-reduced-nato-defense-spending-goal-document-idUSKCN1PT1Z3

    German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has cast doubt over the government’s already watered-down pledge to NATO allies of spending 1.5 percent of economic output on defense by 2024, a Finance Ministry document obtained by Reuters showed on Monday…
    ####

    😉

    Like

  11. “The government of Venezuela under Maduro—as it was under his predecessor, Hugo Chávez—is a bourgeois government that defends private property and upholds the interests of international finance capital, even as the world capitalist crisis and the increasingly punishing sanctions imposed by Washington have decimated the living standards of the Venezuelan working class. Under both presidents, the government fostered the growth of a new layer of the Venezuelan capitalist ruling class, the so-called boliburguesía, which fattened itself off of government contracts, financial speculation and corruption.”

    “While under Chávez, this government was able to divert a portion of the revenues from the oil and commodities boom to finance social assistance for Venezuela’s impoverished masses, the deepening world capitalist crisis and the collapse of oil prices have largely eviscerated these programs. The full burden of the economic crisis has been imposed upon the backs of the Venezuelan working class, while increasingly the government has directed its repression not against its right-wing opponents, but rather against workers fighting for their social and democratic rights. With the Venezuelan bourgeoisie unable to chart its way out of the economic and social crisis, and Venezuelan workers as yet unable to pose a revolutionary challenge to the capitalist order, the Chávez and Maduro governments assumed an increasingly Bonapartist character, resting, in the final analysis, on the support of the military and security forces, for whose affections Washington is now vying.

    It is the class character and the policies of these governments that have left Venezuela vulnerable to imperialist intervention and conquest. Maduro has directed his appeals to the right-wing opposition and to Trump for “dialogue,” and most recently—insisting that he is serving “Christ’s cause” in Venezuela—to the Pope.

    This government is incapable of appealing to the working class. It fears arming the masses to counter an imperialist intervention. And it has no intention of expropriating the substantial foreign capitalist interests in Venezuela, including those of Chevron and Halliburton, in retaliation for the predatory actions of US imperialism.”

    I am mindful of JEN’s cautionary comment (supra) on the need to consult sources that proffer a more balanced view of the situation (crisis) in Venezuela than that given by wsws. However the above is troubling. If Maduro is unable or unwilling to ruffle the bourgeoisie feathered nests of what amounts to a controlling oligarchical elite, he will fail.
    https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/07/07/485058730/venezuelas-economic-implosion-exacerbates-inequality

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

    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14297
    https://venezuelanalysis.com/video/14296

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-oil-shipments/armada-of-tankers-with-venezuelan-oil-forms-in-u-s-gulf-sources-data-idUSKCN1PT28X

    Like

      1. Once again the comments to that WSWS.org post, especially from Ort, Pnyx (an MoA regular) and Mingulay29, are instructive. At this point in time, Maduro is wise to emphasise dialogue and diplomacy. He has asked the Pope to act as a mediator in the crisis. The last thing Maduro wants is for people to resort to action that precludes negotiating or finding non-violent ways to resolve the political crisis. It may be that Maduro and whoever is advising his govt – it may be even be Russia, for all I know – is aware that sudden action, especially sudden violent action, and immediate expropriation of the wealth of foreign corporations could be the very thing that invites invasion by the US or its proxy forces – because this is what the US is anticipating.

        The people at WSWS.org should know this after having observed what happened in Syria back in 2011. They should not be advocating anything that could bring on regime change. One might almost think they are backhandedly supporting regime change.

        Like

        1. I think those folks at WSWS are Orthodox Trotskyist hardliners who see the world in black and white. If Maduro didn’t replace his Bible with Das Kapital and dissolve the Parliament, then he’s not pure enough for them. (Although, in fairness, I think Lenin would have dissolved the Venezuelan Parliament!)

          Anyhow, more and more, I am starting to see why “Pabloite Revisionism” split the Trotskyist movement in the 1950’s and 60’s.
          The Pabloites saw the world as more grey than black and white, and felt that people like Fidel Castro should get more full-bodied support than just the grudging type supplied by Orthodox Trotskyists. They were, like, “Oh, Fidel is not really one of us, and he didn’t come from the Leninist tradition, so we just give him the minimal amount of support…”

          Although, to be fair, the Pabloites also went too far when they started supporting uncritically any blowhard dictator in the world who declared himself to be anti-Imperialist! The American Pabloites (Socialist Workers Party) reached their nadir when they gave support to the Ayatollah Khomeini. Come on, guys, you support an Ayatollah? Really???

          Like

          1. That’s the trouble with ideology of any type – little or nothing to do with the world as it actually exists. I don’t know enough about Ayatollah Khomeini to comment one way or another nor would anyone who must rely on Western sources for information.

            Like

            1. The Ayatollah might have been a great guy, for all I know, but my point being that Orthodox Trotskyists (Leninists) would never have anything to do with a Theocracy!

              In any case, P.O., I think you’re wrong that ideology “has nothing to do with the world”. My position is that every person on the planet has an ideology, whether they know it or not, and that every ideology is an attempt to understand how human society is structured. It is a theory striving to fit the facts into a broader truth.

              You yourself have previously stated your personal ideology: You believe that the main division of mankind is between sociopaths and non-sociopaths. (Did I get that right?)
              Orthodox feminists believe that the main division is between men and women.
              White supremacists believe that the main division is between white and black skin.
              Marxists believe that the main division is between bourgeoisie and proletariat.

              I think the Marxist ideology is more correct than the others, because the class division cuts through all the other divisions. For example, your sociopath/non-sociopath dichotomy breaks down along class lines. While it is true that sociopaths tend to migrate to positions of power within corporations and governments, one can also find plenty of sociopaths who are NOT in positions of power. Street thugs, for example, and half of the population of prisons. They are not exactly in power, unless they are maybe criminal masterminds. But there are plenty of poor, penniless sociopaths, just as there are rich sociopaths.

              Like

              1. My general complaint with ideology is that the ones I know enough to have some grasp of their intent are limited and simply parochial, often reflecting the idiosyncrasies of its author. A given ideology may gain followers if there is enough overlap with some local, often temporal, problems. But, if the ideology “wins” the moment, its fundamental flaws will at some point bring it crashing down. The Soviet Union is a good example. Marxism did help to the degree that it tapped into the Slavic Orthodox values of sharing and common sacrifice but its banal and stupid denial of anything spiritual showed how arbitrary and hollow its premises really were. It was woefully unprepared to deal with the concept of Greed – the other “great” force in human nature.

                For example, socialism and Christianity can and should be true allies if the intent of both is to achieve an egalitarian society. Yet, Marxism and weird Baptist ideologies have gone in other directions. So, we have two crippled ideologies neither of which have made a positive contribution in the human quest. I do not conflate Marxism with egalitarianism or socialism which I believe were the key core values of the Soviet Union. And those values predated 1917. And that may be the real reason the Marxism took root in Russia to the degree that it did. gain, it simply tapped into something already there.

                Class? I suppose I would be in the 1% group yet I have a deep and abiding dislike of wealth and the ideologies that are supposedly inseparable from wealth. Absolutely agree that sociopaths can be found in every group yet the foundational values of the ruling elites are best described as sociopathic. They breed/foster sociopathic behavior in a highly organized system to perpetuate their kind. Eventually, every high function sociopath, if not born in world of the elites, will find his/her way to the ruling elite given enough time.

                We need to deal with the infinite. Christianity as well as other religions offer means for such. Greed to “have it all” is another unobtainable infinity. In other words, there must be something that is always beyond our grasps to provide focus. Dead ideologies such as Marxism can not produce a stable society. Only a belief in something far bigger than us can do so. I prefer a spiritual infinity. End of sermon:)

                Like

  12. I guess no presidential library either:

    https://www.rt.com/russia/450631-yeltsin-home-fire-wood/

    The home where Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin is said to be born won’t be rebuilt after a recent fire. The owners told locals that they’re free to use what’s left of the landmark as split wood, media reports.

    The NYT should note the darkening cloud over Russia as the birthplace of the liberator of Russia from itself is erased from the hearts and minds of millions.

    Like

    1. Just deserts for the person who, when a big noise in the RSFSR Sverdlovsk oblast communist party, immediately carried out a 1977 directive from Moscow to demolish the Ipatiev House, then in the city of Sverdlosk, now Ekaterinburg (“Yoburg” to the former US ambassador to Russia and Russian “expert”) where the last Russian tsar and his family were murdered.

      The Ipatiev House was demolished in one night on 27 July 1977.

      Nice one, you drunken twat!

      Like

    2. The Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library actually does exist but it is a national library, not a state-funded specialist collection of Yeltsin’s papers. A national library would be the best place to store his private papers for future use by historians (they don’t have to look at them directly, the documents can be scanned for their use) without fear of vandalism.

      https://www.prlib.ru/en/

      Like

  13. The US has been grossly violating the INF from the 1990s. Yeltsin ignored it because he was a comprador drunk. But the behaviour of EU-tards takes the cake. These clowns want their safety from Russian IRBMs, while fully backing US deployment of IRBMs in various forms.

    Like

      1. Not to fret, ME, wherever in the thread it ended up, it sure looks creepy! Anyhow, I fully expect on some episode of her show, for Rachel Madwoman to tear her face off in front of the camera and reveal what lies underneath…. be prepared to scream your lungs out!

        Like

            1. Captain, I think we have finally discovered the Recursive Wormhole in the WordPress Universe.
              Every 9th comment opens a new thread, and then within that thread, every 9th comment, etc. etc…

              Reminds me of that old-time IT proverb: “In order to understand Recursion, you need to understand Recursion…”
              Or this other old proverb: “One you finish popping the stacks, you will view the All-Seeing Nicitating Eye-Membrane of God!”

              (eeeyuuuu, no thanks!)

              Like

  14. CodePink are at it again. They protested a few days ago at a CSIS Guidao Venezuela regime change lovein event and they did it again on Feb 4 at an ‘Inter-American dialogue’ wanktank event , where Ariel Gold stormed the stage and asked ““Why are you acting as Trump’s puppet for a coup in Venezuela? Do you really want to risk creating a civil war? Are you really in favor of US military intervention? Will you let Mexico and Uraguay facilitate a dialog?”. Woo!

    Like

    1. From the wanktank website, those taking part at the ‘Venezuela: Between Hope and Uncertainty; Feb 4 event were:

      Opening remarks by:
      Carlos Vecchio – Chargé d’Affaires, Interim Government of Venezuela to the United States (@carlosvecchio)

      SPEAKERS:
      Michael Penfold – Professor, Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA) (@penfold_michael)

      Luis Vicente León – President, Datanálisis (@luisvicenteleon)

      Risa Grais-Targow – Director, Latin America, Eurasia Group (@risaclaire)

      MODERATOR: Michael Shifter – President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)

      Like

    2. Good for them. I think the Mexico/Uruguay dialogue option will be Washington’s fallback position if they cannot get this thing off the ground; they will pretend to grudgingly give way to the imperative for diplomacy, and it will simultaneously be a cutout and someone to blame when the situation in Venezuela does not stabilize. See; you should have let us fix it with our guy.

      Like

  15. Neuters via Antiwar.com: After deadly Syrian battle, evidence of Russian losses was obscured
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-iran-syria/get-out-of-syria-iran-tells-u-s-idUKKCN1PV12X

    …The father subsequently learned from a friend and fellow fighter of Sergei’s that the 25-year-old had died several days later in a major battle against U.S.-led forces in the Deir al-Zor region…

    …That was the first direct confrontation between the United States and Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was also the only known battle in Syria in the early part of last year where Russian military contractors took part…

    …On Feb. 7 last year, Russian fighters advanced towards an oil refinery in Deir al-Zor province held by Kurdish forces and the U.S.-led coalition, which responded with heavy air strikes….
    ####

    Neuters outrageous lies by omission. It was not a ‘battle’. The USAF deliberately bombed the forces not long after the Syrian government & friends successful counter-offensive to IS/ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever attempt from early January to February of 2017 to try and take Deir-ez-Zor city. The article says nothing about this or the jihadi headchoppers. Note that nowhere in the article does it state Syrian forces either fired upon or took incoming fire from the SDF. As for contractors, why not engage in some whataboutism ans ask for the public lists of Blackwater/whatever casualties? Nope. Nothing doing.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/syria-us-may-have-arranged-self-defense-attack-on-syrian-government-forces.html

    Like

    1. That kind of thing plays well for the folks back home; the fearless American grunts kicking hell out of the devious Russkies. All of it, of course, attributed to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, bla, bla, bla. But if it makes the Americans feel good and imbues them with a sense of invincibility, then I guess it’s worth it. The first direct confrontation between the United States and Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and by God, America kicked ass!! Wiped out a fifth of those apes, just like that. Nobody can stand against the American fighting man when he is fighting for God and Country.

      Like

    1. Once again, I would not make a very good leader for Russia, because I would tell the Poles to go get stuffed. When they think they have an advantage over you and that Europe will back them up, they are quite happy to kick sand in your face, and the conciliatory talk only comes out when they are having problems. I well remember the Poles crowing about how self-sufficient Poland is, energy-wise, with its shiny new LNG terminal, and how Russia should go ahead and shut off its gas, see how far that gets you. Now Poland is in the forefront of those screaming that Nord Stream II is a political project designed to rob honest Poles of their hard-earned transit fees and to hold them hostage to energy cutoffs. What energy cutoffs? Just buy more LNG from the Americans.

      They have a very valid point, though, that the country relies too much on imported food, and I suspect that is an awakening many countries are experiencing since the deliberate campaign to bring Venezuela to its knees,

      Like

    2. They have a different crisis going on with their meat exports that contain maddow disease. Romania and Poland have had major food scandals one after another, and it is way past time to call attention to their shoddy products. Faking the country of origin is just another symptom of the dishonesty in the industry – not a clever way of bypasses “unjust” sanctions. They’ve gotten way too many passes over this. German companies rely heavily on their cheap workers to make parts for their products. Now I wonder if this attitude has a more widespread effect.

      Like

  16. The Fraudian is running a piece in co-operation with ‘the investigative unit of the Dossier Center’ ‘exposing’ Peskov’s missus as having a property empire worth $10, being a former champion ice skater ‘n’ all.

    The piece is written by the usual suspects Harding and Swaine, but more interestingly if you click through to the Russian language only Dossier Center ‘О проекте’, you are met by swindler and convicted criminal in chief himself, Mikhail Khordokovsky, in a video! Woo. If you scroll to the bottom of the page and the Whatscrap and Toiletgram numbers are given as +44, i.e. UK based, but no postal address.

    Like

    1. Oh, and this is how the fearless investigative journalism in the Fraudian piece ends:

      …Peskov and Agalarov appear in the dossier compiled by the former MI6 officer Christopher Steele. It alleges the Kremlin holds compromising material on Trump, some of it allegedly collected during Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe contest, which Agalarov hosted. Agalarov paid Trump about $14m in fees for putting on the show. Trump owned the rights.

      The dossier says Peskov was in charge of kompromat on Trump and Hillary Clinton, as part of Moscow’s wider effort to influence the 2016 US presidential election in Trump’s favour. The special counsel Robert Mueller is examining alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
      ####

      A under that, and you’ve got to laugh, is this:

      As 2019 begins…

      … we’re asking readers to make a new year contribution in support of The Guardian’s independent journalism. More people are reading and supporting our independent, investigative reporting than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But this is only possible thanks to voluntary support from our readers – something we have to maintain and build on for every year to come….
      ####

      F*&&in’ell! Even a black hole doesn’t have a patch on the Fraudian’s gall.

      Like

      1. If they had put as much effort into the invasion of Normandy as they have into convincing the world that Putin put Trump in the White House, it would have been done in less than half the time and with far less casualties.

        Like

    2. Or as the Fraudian write in the article itself using quite a lot of artistic license:

      Dossier is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled critic of Putin.

      Like

  17. https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4756219.html

    The swine shit Poroshenko now blames Russia for the poverty of Ukrainians. Recall that the Kiev regime actively broke trade relations with Russia. It did this systematically and for years before Russia finally slapped these fuckers down. Now they bitch that they are not getting access to Russian markets. WTF? Do the Kiev junta maggots think that none of us can remember events older than a couple of days ago.

    Looks like Porosyuk is setting up the propaganda line on the looming termination of gas transit via Ukraine. I am sure that all of Pukekraine’s problems will be attributed to the loss of 3 billion USD in transit fees.

    Like

    1. The official representative of Russian foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharovahas, has bounced back on her Facebook page in reply to the lying twat’s comment that Russia is responsible for the poverty in the Ukraine.

      She has pointed out to the foul bastard that the breach of economic ties with Russia came at the initiative of the Ukrainian side, stating that two interstate, 25 intergovernmental, 19 interdepartmental and three more interregional bodies terminated agreements. Moreover, Kiev voluntarily left the economic programmess of the CIS.

      “All this time, Poroshenko personally led the destruction of Russian-Ukrainian economic ties, which led to the enormous economic and financial losses of the Ukrainian people”, she concluded.

      Earlier, Poroshenko had said that Russia has closed all markets for goods of Ukrainian origin and that this had adversely affected the welfare of Ukraine citizens.

      Lest anyone forget, I should like to point out that the fat, lying, drunken pig has his own offshore account in Panama.

      The only people responsible for poverty in the Ukraine are the Ukrainans themselves.

      Remember, in 1991 the Ukraine became independent from the USSR with tabula rasa, courtesy the filthy Moskali, who were gratious enough to carry the burden of all debts incurred by the USSR and all former SU republics, including the Baltic arseholes..

      Like

      1. To Zakharova’s correction, I would add, “…which led to the enormous AND ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE economic and financial losses of the Ukrainian people.” Because some analysts did warn that Ukraine would experience a catastrophic blow to its trade if it broke with Russia and the EU did not pick up the slack. I was among them, although I am not an analyst. Many saw the gaping vulnerability, but of course the large-forehead ideologues in Washington and Brussels carried the day with their usual technique, which is to scoff loudly at warnings as if they had never heard anything so timid, weak and irrational.

        Like

    2. Let’s recall that Ukraine was supposed to take off economically and never look back, leaving Russia in its dust. The aptly-named Stefan Fule spun a stardust-sprinkled tale of how the European Association Agreement would take care of all Ukraine’s needs, supposing it had the nerve to make some tough reforms. One more time, Yanukovych met with Fule and tried to show him projections by Ukrainian economists which forecast crippling trade deficits, and Fule would not even look at them, It seldom fails to amaze me that ‘developing’ countries still put their faith in western bean-counters and ideologues, because they are almost never right and often catastrophically wrong.

      Ukraine knew in advance that it was a terrible risk, and Yanukovych assessed the EU was mostly bullshitting. He was right. Nationalist-leaning ideologues seized control of the government in a violent US-sponsored putsch, and went ahead with the west’s born-to-fail plan. And, surprise! it failed. Pretty hard to see it as Russia’s fault.

      Unless you are one of the Brussels egghead strategists, who had to hug themselves over their own cleverness, who believed they had devised a plan whereby Ukraine would be split off from Russia and become a prosperous asset of the EU, but Russia would pay the bills. The trouble with European egghead theories is that they assume as a given that Russians are stupid.

      Like

      1. What I want to know is why all the Nazi Ukr diaspora in Canada, the USA and elsewhere is not making Pukekraine great again. They worked ever since 1945 to achieve the 2014 regime change dream, so it is time to pony up the coin for their fatherland.

        Like

  18. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-06/french-air-force-practices-long-range-nuclear-strike-after-collapse-inf-treaty

    The French have screwed up on the propaganda front. Instead of avoiding the limelight, they instead demonstrated that the INF was a joke. The INF did not limit French IRBMs and France is advertising this now. This stunt will put France in Russia’s IRBM cross-hair.

    Chihuahua states should keep quiet and not pretend they can take out the big boys. France is not position to threaten Russia and will be totally obliterated if it decides to join Washington in its demented thinking that some pre-emptive strike on Russia is 1) feasible and 2) will totally neutralize Russia’s nuclear forces.

    Like

    1. Unfortunately not. For some reason I thought that France still had ground launched IRBMs but I just checked and they have been taken out of service in the 1990s. All that is left are the new air launched nuclear ASMP-A with a range of 500km/310 miles replacing the old ASMP 300km one, and its submarine force which is in the process of upgrading its IRBMs from M45 to M51. Neither system are subject to the INF treaty. Both are Europe’s only independent nuclear weapons – the UK SLBM Trident doesn’t count. Only ground launched nuclear armed missiles are banned.

      Lemon-d: De quoi l’arsenal nucléaire de la France est-il composé ?
      https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2015/02/21/de-quoi-l-arsenal-nucleaire-de-la-france-est-il-compose_4580740_4355770.html

      Like

      1. Trump must be right, the EU NATzO members are getting a free ride. Even though it looks like France does not have much, it would not make any sense if they fully suspended IR”B”M (cruise missile) development. An air launched nuclear weapon with a range of 500 km does not make sense.

        https://www.mbda-systems.com/product/ncm/

        There is no such thing as pure conventional missile. Unless we are dealing with something that can only carry a few kg of payload.

        Like

        1. From what I read, ASMP is the first arrow to be used as a warning before the use of their SLBMs, though whether a long range very low level penetrating mission is actually feasible these days considering the revolution in air defenses seems to be another question. The target must Russia but as far as I can see this is never explicitly mentioned, but with such short range weapons, who else could it possibly be? It looks purely deterrent, but then that is how most military toys are sold..

          Like

  19. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/02/06/frve-f06.html

    WSWS espoused political theory aside ….this article is spot on in its condemnation of America’s pack of rabid snarling lapdogs: aka the EU.

    “The claim that Guaidó has the legitimacy to decide the fate of Venezuela is absurd. A 35-year-old right-wing operative who was politically unknown prior to the coup attempt, Guaidó has been backed and funded by the US NGOs and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a long-standing front for CIA interventions in Latin America and around the world.

    The purpose of the coup attempt is not to restore democracy, but to plunder the country. Top Trump administration officials have not hidden the strategic aims of installing a US-backed operative as head of a state that currently has close ties, both military and economic, to Russia and China. Last month, US National Security Advisor John Bolton told Fox News: “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”

    The European ruling elite is deploying its bottomless hypocrisy as it portrays its intervention to back Guaidó, following that of Trump, as a disinterested democratic act. Asked on France Inter whether his position constituted an intervention in Venezuelan politics, Le Drian shamelessly denied it, declaring it to be a “call” or a response to “a request for help.”

    Macron:What an absolute POS !!!

    Like

  20. https://syria360.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/iran-to-the-iraqis-do-not-attack-us-forces-unless-they-refuse-to-withdraw-following-a-parliamentary-decision/

    “According to Iraqi sources, the Parliament “needs several months to coordinate a large action and the preparation of a bill asking for the withdrawal of the US forces from the country. This campaign is expected to be guided by the Sadrist leader Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr”. The Sadrist groups are feared by the US for their long history of attacks against US forces during the occupation of Iraq between 2003 and 2011. Those mainly responsible for attacking and killing US occupation forces were Sadrists leaders who today lead their own groups: Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, Kataeb al-Imam Ali and Harakat al-Nujaba’.”

    Like

  21. (Luis Britto Garcia is perhaps Venezuela’s most highly regarded public intellectual. A firm supporter of the Bolivarian Process, he has written numerous plays, novels, historical investigations and film scripts and is also an incisive commentator on politics in the region.)

    “You have written about Simon Bolivar and have pointed out how his example remains relevant today. What would Bolivar do in our time? As Bolivarians, what should we do in the present?

    That’s right. I did a meticulous examination of both Bolivar’s ideas and his actions in relation to society and the economy in my book The Thought of the Liberator: Economy and Society [2010], and in numerous articles and other works. If Bolivar were here among us today, he would do the same as he did when he was alive: first of all, he would make every effort to defend (with arms if necessary) Venezuela’s sovereignty: the right of his people to choose its own government.

    He would the attempt to organize and unite Latin American and Caribbean peoples against imperialist domination. Also, in the economic sphere, Bolivar did not hesitate to carry out the largest confiscations of goods in Venezuelan history. He siezed all the royalists’ property, in the form of either land or other goods, and distributed it among patriotic soldiers, in accordance with the services they had rendered (though it could also be used collectively).”

    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14300

    Like

    1. Simon Bolivar was lucky that the US was at the same technological level as the Spanish empire in the Americas and was still an agrarian society. Spain was too weak to try to defend its empire and could offer no justification for retaining it, having been a colony of Napoleon Bonaparte’s empire. Were Bolivar in Maduro’s position, he’d have to be cautious in seizing all Venezuelan billionaires’ wealth; he’d actually have to allow them to keep some of their wealth to keep them loyal to the country, if not to him personally. There would be a parallel with Vladimir Putin, who allowed the oligarchs in Russia to keep their wealth as long as they did not try to buy political influence and set up their own political parties.

      Like

  22. Newsweek’s latest entry for the Liar-of-the-Year competition:

    https://www.newsweek.com/russia-vs-ukraine-war-kiev-building-anti-ship-missiles-protect-russia-navy-1320666

    Russia and Ukraine are obligated to share the Kerch Strait and other waters surrounding their two countries, according to international law. But Russia’s navy pursued the ships into the Black Sea and ultimately seized the ships and all 24 Ukrainian sailors aboard, claiming that they had violated Russia’s territorial sovereignty. The sailors later declared themselves prisoners of war.

    No international law compels Russia to share the Kerch Strait with Ukraine unless it is assumed Ukraine still owns territory on one side of it. This, obviously, is Newsweek’s position, not to mention Ukraine’s. Russia did not pursue the Ukrainian vessels into the Black Sea; they refused to stop when ordered, and it was apparent they intended to transit the waterway without receiving permission as is required by current law in the country that does own both sides of the Kerch Strait. If they had been successful, they would have shouted their bravery to the world, and every vessel would assume the right to transit without prior notification. That would lead to Ukrainian cargo vessels passing directly under the Kerch Strait Bridge without having had their cargoes checked for explosives and their crew manifests checked for non-crew, possibly military personnel. This is necessary since Ukraine has been encouraged by its American ally to blow up the bridge.

    In other news from the same piece, Ukraine is developing an anti-ship missile!! Oh, noes!!! They already have a working model to expand upon, but are nonetheless encountering ‘setbacks’ in a program which has been running since 2013. Just to put that in perspective, the Kerch Strait Bridge was planned, approved, constructed and opened a year faster than that.

    Like

    1. Such a missile is useless unless Pukekraine actually wants to invade Crimea. That will not happen regardless of Newsweek’s fantasy fiction and hate projection,

      Like

    2. Yes the problem as I saw it last, based on that hilarious video, is the Yukies are trying to design bouncing “boomerang” anti-ship missiles that return to their original launch sites so they can be reused (and save money) but they haven’t quite worked out how the missiles can return in one piece or return to launch without blowing up the launch sites.

      Like

      1. I just think it’s comical that they already have a working missile design that they inherited from the Soviet Union – all they have to do is upgrade it; make it more resistant to countermeasures, say, increase its range and speed, maybe introduce a waypoint capability (although that is overrated, it really comes in handy for making your missiles come in from a different direction than the bearing that you are on from the enemy, where he will be expecting them to come from, and if there is an island or something between you and him you can fly the missile around it. All these cost you range, of course). And they demonstrably cannot do it. Russia used to rely heavily on Ukraine for engines and motors, and they really are very good at building those, although it made them cocky enough that they convinced themselves Russia’s naval shipbuilding would come to a standstill without their engines. But they apparently suck at other aspects of designing a tactical vehicle – look at those absurd UAV’s they came up with. The idea that they will not only devise a new and improved design, but that it will be such a world-beater that they can export it and other countries will buy it is…well…a little ambitious, I think.

        I suppose they have gotten into the mindset that whatever they make, the USA will pressure the Europeans into buying it as a demonstration of support.

        Like

  23. The clown Micron barks at Russia for instigating the yellow jacket demonstrators. I guess his little INF demonstration is supposed to “put Russian in its place”.

    Like

      1. That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? The west is still running regime-change campaigns, still successfully sometimes, but it has gotten a lot harder since the internet and easy access to representative graphics like this that even ideologues and dolts can grasp. And to the predictable rejoinder, “Of course Maduro got a huge take in the election; I’m just surprised he didn’t get 127% of the vote, snicker, snicker”, Venezuela’s democratic process is very modern and their voter identification requirements are stricter in some ways than the USA. There are no ballot boxes, so let’s shut down ‘ballot-box stuffing’ before it even draws its first breath.

        Like

          1. I hear the Venezuelan system of electronic voting uses biometric measures to identify voters (by their fingerprints) when they vote to avoid abuses like carousel voting.

            Like

            1. The Venezuelan system is light-years ahead (and way more fair) than the American voting system. Which is a patchwork of incompetency, primitive technology, unfairness, racism, and hanging chads.
              And don’t even get me started on that autocratic entity known as the Electoral College!

              Like

  24. Reason.com via Antiwar.com: The U.S. Needs New Nukes? Really?
    https://reason.com/archives/2019/02/05/the-us-needs-new-nukes-really

    Trump adds “tactical” weapons to America’s arsenal

    …According to NPR, the W76-2 is a 5- to 7-kiloton version of the W76-1, an approximately 100-kiloton weapon. It’s a low-yield weapon, but it’s still a nuclear weapon, and the use of terms like “low-yield” and “tactical” obfuscate the reality that it’s still a nuke, and that once one weapon is used, others will follow. In his Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Daniel Ellsberg recalls learning during the Eisenhower years that there was no U.S. plan to attack only the USSR: China was part of the deal by default, as if leveling just one country was too subtle….

    …The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review reports that Russia has embraced “tactical” nukes in order to ward off NATO. The U.S. will respond in kind by putting the W76-2 on submarines, starting in October.

    The latter prospect horrifies Saetren, who notes that once a nuclear sub fires a missile, even a smaller one, its stealth is now gone and any further payload is endangered…
    ####

    Though one should not forget that the development and modernization of ‘tactical’ and other nukes began under the O-bomber Administration, but he is a cool guy so he gets a pass. Same shit, different color.

    Like

    1. All part of the American ideologues’ effort to sell The Winnable Nuclear War. We’ll lob a nuke at them – just a baby one, hardly any damage, really, and only a few thousand dead – and they’ll put their hands up in surrender, because nobody wants a nuclear war. Advantage, America!

      Of course, it wouldn’t be that way, and damned if I know if they realize it and just are bent on war believing they could bluff their way back to the top of the heap without melting the planet, or if they buy their own hype. Whatever – if America or its allies attack Russia or China with a major weapon, there will be a reply in kind, and a lot of people are going to be dead. Whether or not it escalates to a full kitchen-sink nuclear exchange which will in all probability render most of the planet uninhabitable and decimates the earth’s population depends on people who are to all appearances certifiably crazy.

      Like

      1. Well, maybe if there’s an “asymmetric” response like targeting the Regatta at Henley, Boulder Dam or the residences currently occupied by the families of a couple of major neocons there might be a way to walk away from Armageddon.

        Like

        1. Granted; no conflict in which the sons and daughters of the poor and middle classes can be expected to die in large numbers looks like much of a loss to the neocons. Eggs and omelettes, you know.

          Like

  25. In my blogpost today I link to a very interesting VESTI segment . Russian reporter Stas Natanson (he’s the bald guy), stands on the Venezuela-Colombia border in the town of Cúcuta, Colombia and watches the paunchy Venezuelan “refugees” flood across the border.
    Keep in mind that real refugees drag carts containing all their belongings. These Venezuelan refugees, on the other hand, drag EMPTY shopping carts into Colombia. And then, later in the day, cross the border back into Venezuela dragging FULL shopping carts.
    They are day-shoppers, in other words.
    Stas goes on to report, that the Colombian government gives each shopper $30 American dollars (per head) as “humanitarian aid” (thanks, American taxpayer!), which they use to buy stuff in the Colombian stores.
    For sure, this says something about the Venezuelan “shortages” of consumer goods, which are caused by some odd distribution glitches in the system (not unlike what happened in Soviet times; it’s not really a production problem, it’s some kind of glitch in the distribution system) — but anyhow, it’s not at all due to Maduro’s “tyranny”, as the political dissidents claim; nor does this shopping spree constitute a humanitarian crisis in any shape or form. (American “Black Friday” , on the other hand, now THAT’S a humanitarian crisis!)

    Stas does a good job debunking the Westie propaganda on this point, everybody should watch the vid, it’s only 2 minutes long.

    Like

    1. One of the distribution glitches is that companies are hoarding foodstuffs and other things people need in order to drive up prices, with the aim of driving poor people into the streets to protest against food price hikes. Recall that it was a protest against rising food prices in Dar’aa in southern Syria in 2011 that was hijacked by foreign jihadis. One online source I’ve seen even stated that Venezuelan companies sell hoarded items (whose importation may have been originally subsidised by the Maduro government) to Colombian firms at profit which then sell the items to Venezuelans near the border, again at profit. Some of those day-shoppers might not realise that they’re being ripped off by both Venezuelan and Colombian companies.

      Another glitch is that US sanctions against Venezuela not only drive up prices of essential items by creating shortages, the sanctions also encourage smuggling.

      Like

      1. The point that sanctions encourage smuggling is a really important one that is often overlooked. One of the many consequences of sanctions – of which the UK’s shadow foreign secretary has just declared herself a big fan because ‘they don’t kill people’ – very well-informed, n’est-ce pas? – is a massive increase in criminality. Even if a society doesn’t have much organised crime before the imposition of sanctions, it will afterwards along with a lot more of the disorganised sort. If the sanctions ‘regime’ goes on for a long time, the amount of wealth accruing to criminal elements is so great it translates into political power and influence – criminality and corruption becomes so entrenched it’s virtually impossible for successive governments to eliminate them.

        Like

        1. I’m sure the US government already knows the criminal effect of sanctioning governments which would be one reason it pursues such a strategy – because even when sanctions are lifted, the corruption continues and saps government resources (that should be devoted to eradicating poverty and reforming society) in combating them.

          Like

    1. Macron is a worm. A worm who could not get elected lifeguard in a car wash, one supposes, in the next election. And he certainly is spitting mad with Italy. Try to rationalize his position here…

      The French foreign ministry said the decision was taken following a meeting between Italy’s deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio and leaders of the French Yellow Vest protester movement, trumpeting his support for the grassroots protests in defiance of President Emmanuel Macron.

      “This is unprecedented since the war,” the foreign ministry said in an emailed statement on Thursday. “Having disagreements is one thing, but using the relationship for electoral purposes is quite another.”

      …with France’s passive acceptance and even tacit approval of Mikey McFaul hobnobbing with the Russian opposition when the air was barely cold around where he had just stood when he officially presented his credentials as Ambassador of the United States of America to the Russian Federation. The official French statement went on to say that Italy’s behaviour “violates the respect that democratic countries owe each other”. Do tell. See, anything but condemnation by all European countries for protests going on in another European country is ‘a violation of respect’. Presidents have a right to ‘protect their country’. Unless they are Putin. Or Maduro.

      The western press is doing its best to pretend the yellow vest protests are not happening and hoping they will die out for lack of attention, exactly as they did with Occupy Wall Street. Hooliganism is all very well when you are stirring it up for fun in a country you have targeted for destabilization. But in western countries, it is simply not the done thing, old man.

      Like

  26. BBC Newsnight
    Published on 6 Feb 2019

    Huawei tells Newsnight it is not state-owned, amid fears China is using the company to spy on rival nations.

    Subscribe to our channel here: https://goo.gl/31Q53F

    The Chinese communications giant is facing continued scrutiny from around the world.

    Australia and New Zealand have joined the US in banning the use of Huawei products in their 5G mobile networks.

    Huawei says it has never and would never spy for China, but could take up to five years to address security issues raised by the UK government. So how should Britain respond?

    Our technology editor David Grossman reports and Huawei’s Western Europe Vice-president Tim Watkins joins Kirsty in the studio.

    Newsnight is the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.

    Like

    1. The west can’t stand real competition. Huawei is offering more advanced products for better prices than any NATzO associated company. If Huwwei was merely stealing everyone’s technology it would not be offering anything better and would only have price to use as a lever. And I repeat, their products have better features. Looks to me like it is the west that is stealing or trying to steal and the internal rot is so bad that they can’t even compete on price.

      Like

    2. Let them suit themselves. They will end up with a shitty 5G network by Ericsson or Nokia, or an American network full of proprietary quirks that spies on everyone and stovepipes their information straight to the NSA. Countries who use Huawei will probably end up with a far better network, but the west will convince itself it is better off because it is Free.

      It was ever thus. The west will not scare Huawei out of the 5G business, it will just keep them out of the west.

      Like

    3. Kirsty Wark FFS!!!!!

      The most embarrassing news interview ever.
      4 October 2013

      This must be the most cringe-inducing interview by a senior journalist I’ve ever seen.

      It’s conducted by Kirsty Wark, one of the BBC’s top presenters, and takes places on Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship nightly current affairs programme.

      It truly makes me more ashamed of the “profession” of journalism than I already was – and I didn’t think that was possible.

      Throughout the interview, Wark abandons even the pretence of doing what journalism is supposed to be about: interrogating the centres of power and holding them to account.

      Instead Wark mimics adversarial journalism by interrogating the US journalist Glenn Greenwald about his role in the NSA leaks, as though she’s a novice MI5 recruit. To do this she has to parrot British government misinformation and fire at him questions so childish even she seems to realise half way through them how embarrassing they are.

      This is actually how most Newsnight interviews run: creating the theatre of conflict between journalist and interviewee that conceals the real issues rather than revealing them. If one wanted to produce news that looked honest while actually being deeply dishonest this is exactly how one would do it.

      The reason that the charade is exposed in this case is because the interviewee, Greenwald, is another journalist, and a far better one than Wark. So every time she relays an MI5 talking point, he can point out that she’s not doing the work of a journalist, even by the official definition she is supposed to believe in.

      Anyway, watch it and weep…

      Like

      1. But it’s not embarrassing for her or others like her. This is what journalism means to them as for the last thirty years and most of their professional careers this is what has been normal. They can’t cope with reasoned answers so they skip on to the next point/smear. It’s treading water.

        These people are dinosaurs.

        Not to mention that in the free, fair and democratic west, it is not considered acceptable for mainstream journalists to highlight the cause and effect of their own government foreign policies and the massive failures that stem from that.

        I watch the BBC and for example when it comes to Libya, they (and others) trot out the phrase with the fall of Gadaffi.. WTFF? He fell? From where? How high? Was it an accident or was he pushed? By whom?. It is simply not addressed because it happened in the past therefore it is a ‘fact’ that requires no further reflection regardless of whether the actions that led to the fact are being repeated by the same governments again and again. Oh, and don’t dare accuse the BBC of self-censorship. Keeping schtum so that that they can still get a promotion and pay the bills has nothing to do with it. They know exactly what they can and cannot say. Herr Goebbels would be proud.

        Like

        1. Like that BBC bastard Sweeney, who boasted about his going straight for the throat when doing an interview at RT, London, by asking, “What’s it like being a traitor?”


          “What’s it like being a traitor?” John Sweeney being just as subtle, unbiased and classy as you expect from the BBC Panorama team.

          Fucking half-wit! I wish he’d ask me the same question. Then, a few weeks after having done that, someone could ask him: “What’s it like waking up in intensive care with tubes up your nose, arse-hole and into your cock and not remembering how you ended up there?

          Like

          1. I wouldn’t elevate him to ‘bastard’ when just a knob will do. Who would have thought that narcissism and BBC journalist go together?!

            Like

        1. Maybe the reason she is freaking out so much with Glenn is because, maybe, she is worried he has some dirt on her, like maybe she works for MI-6 or something. There are so many fake journalists who work for their governments internal spy agencies, and they must be worried all the time, that those links will come out. Maybe that’s why she keeps asking, “Do you keep these documents in your bedroom?”

          I like Glenn’s response: “I’m not going to talk to you about what’s in my bedroom.” – lol

          Like

          1. “Do you keep these documents in your bedroom?”

            Yes, Glenn handled her like the pro she isn’t.

            It’s a particularly nasty, low and causal question that she or someone wrote and was considered ok on air. Imagine if she had said that to a woman? Nope, she said it to a gay man!

            She also demeans his professionalism as a journalist by likening him to a teenage boy doing funny things upstairs. It’s down right bitchy, but considered acceptable by the BBC. It’s also deeply ignorant and lazy (what’s new?), but I guess all sorts of stuff is allowed if you can legally call yourself a journalist. Whether there was intent or not.

            Like

          2. I think she was plainly making a reference to his sexuality – she does it again when she pours on the fake sympathy about his ‘partner’ being detained, my dear, how terrible that must have been for you. You wouldn’t ask any straight person if they keep documents in their bedroom, who does that? She just wanted the audience to think speculatively of his bedroom where he presumably has sex with his gay boyfriend. All subtle efforts to discredit him, and I admire his dogged patience in continually putting her back on track. Note to Canadian politicians – this is what ‘calling someone out’ looks like.

            Like

        2. I had the good fortune to have gone into self-imposed exile from the UK long before Blair had become PM and the Parliamentary Labour Party had become filled with “Blair Babes”, some species of womanhood that the British rags prattled on about.

          I believe that I did not miss much.

          Like

      2. In other words, if you cannot guarantee – with indisputable proof – that any action you might be thinking about taking cannot in any imaginable manner be used by terrorists to their advantage, then you should abandon it at once and trust the government that has failed so miserably and so often to deal with the threat of terrorism to deal with it in your behalf using whatever methods it deems necessary, with or without consulting you.

        Like

  27. Channel 4 News
    Published on 7 Feb 2019
    “Still no breakthrough in sight” – Donald Tusk’s verdict after his meeting with Theresa May in Brussels this afternoon.

    (Subscribe: https://bit.ly/C4_News_Subscribe)

    The Prime Minister looked stony faced in the posed photographs – saying she’d had words with the European Council President over his remarks about leading Brexiteers deserving a “special place in hell”. Mrs May insisted she was still determined to deliver Brexit on time – but the only agreement which was actually reached today… to hold more talks before the end of this month.

    Like

      1. Yes, that looks like Juncker, but the piece is about Tusk, the only Johnnie Foreigner político whose name the meeja always strives to pronounce properly.

        Like

  28. RT
    Published on 7 Feb 2019
    The dispute over a major energy pipeline project is threatening to drive a wedge between Europe’s two powerhouses – Germany & France. Nord Stream 2 would see Russian gas pumped into Europe through Baltic Sea, but France is apparently making moves to block the project. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9nx1

    Like

    1. What smelly shitballs. It’s the same fcuking gas you dipshits are buying now shipped via Pukekraine. It is not new gas supply. So there is no “increasing dependency on Russia for energy”. How can the pipe through Pukekraine be less dependence than the pipe through the Baltic Sea? These clowns are logically challenged.

      Russia needs to start adopting a hard line. No Nord Stream II and no gas shipped via Pukekraine as well. Result being that the EU sees a huge import shortage. If Micron thinks that the US can supply the LNG, then he truly is a retard.

      Like

      1. That’s what I keep saying – nobody else can supply gas in the amounts Europe needs and at the prices Europe wants to pay – but they’re only okay with it if it is transited via Ukraine. Another specious argument they make is “Now we’ll have too much gas, we don’t need all that”. But the amounts currently transited through Ukraine are going to fall to almost nothing. Ukraine will doubtless be kept on as a backup, but gas will only be transited through Ukraine if they get real and stop trying to extort more money. If it’s economically viable, sure. If not, sayonara.

        Nord Stream II’s supply was never meant to be in addition to Ukraine’s, it was meant to replace it. And if Europe feels it is getting too much gas, nobody said they had to take it – too much supply will only drive the price down, so it is not in Russia’s interest to oversupply. But the capacity is there in Europe needs it.

        i personally think Europe is nowhere near as wedded to a policy of ‘gas must continue to flow through Ukraine’ as it lets on. It pretends that anything else is a non-starter, but it’s just talking tough when it really has no cards in its hand, and trying to reassure Ukraine that Europe has its back.

        Like

        1. This is quite a big story in a few ways.

          1: What concession is €µ so desperate for that he is supposedly willing to Stab Merkel in the back almost three weeks after France & Germany signed the Aix de La Chapelle friendship treaty that updates the 1963 Eysée friendship treaty? If they already didn’t have this in mind, they certainly kept silent until after the signing.

          This will be seen as a massive betrayal in Berlin regardless of whether €µ goes through with pulling support at an EU level or not.

          2: What does this say about the European Commission – Gazprom agreement reached last year? It shows to Russia that the Commission simply cannot be trusted even with written legal agreements.

          3: Following on from that, what is the message that this sends to all other non-EU countries that seek to invest in the EU, that the Commission with the Parliament and CoM can rewrite any agreement? So much for the EU’s much vaunted Rule of Law.

          4: Why is the Commission still pushing for this if it is clear, as you point out, that it will screw everything up?

          For Berlin, the potential responses are obvious. a) the pipeline must be built regardless – the intent from all of the above may be to significantly delay and then have Gazprom cancel it. Once it is built, it is a fact; b) Berlin will not feel itself under any obligation to help out Paris, so it could quite easily threaten to tear up the new friendship treaty or withdraw its ambassador, or something economically painful to France. Now such actions may be damaging to the EU, but if Paris is counting on Berlin being too fearful to push back against its blackmail, then what exactly does this mean for the EU?

          It all rather smacks of a last Hurrah! Throw everything and anything and see if it sticks, regardless of the consequences.

          Here’s some insight that highlights some other problems such a restriction may have:

          Politico.eu: France and Germany split over Nord Stream 2 pipeline
          https://www.politico.eu/article/france-and-germany-split-over-nord-stream-2-pipeline-russian-gas-regulation/

          …What it could do is cause delays and hurt Gazprom’s bottom line. The new rule could also be a wild card in separate negotiations with Ukraine over future gas transit through the country….

          …That’s because the pipeline would find itself covered by two different regimes: the EU’s gas rules at the German end and Russian rules at the other…

          …“While the [Commission] may believe the amendment would put it into a position of strength vis-à-vis Russia or Gazprom, in my view this is an illusion,” said Yafimava.

          If the Commission limits Gazprom’s use of Nord Stream 2, that could create problems farther down the line; capacity for EUGAL, the onshore leg of the pipeline in Germany, is already fully booked by companies wanting to buy Russian gas under legally binding contracts, Yafimava said.

          “One should expect significant litigation to follow should these contracts be violated,” she said…
          ####

          It’s a clusterfuck in the making, and as I wrote above already, even if Paris backs down, bad blood will remain and Berlin will be loath to support €µ. I’m going out to pick up extra large popcorn for this!

          Like

          1. I discount France’s behavior as anything but cheap blackmail because, a) France doesn’t trust the US; b) it has its own independent nuclear deterrent; c) it also backs an EU army (or whatever they call it); d) they have their own nationalist streak. Could someone be blackmailing €µ? That’s very hard to imagine but it wouldn’t put it past the US.

            There’s certainly something going on behind the scenes between France and Germany that is unresolved/agreed and France has chosen its moment to apply maximum pressure. Short sighted? Stupid? Self-defeating? Damaging to the EU? All of the above, but it seems that with the rise of what is called ‘nationalism’, €µ like the Uk Conservative Party are more than happy to wave the flag and become more openly fascist than usual. The only other thing I can think of at the moment is the upcoming European Parliament elections but its hard to see how such behavior by €µ would work in his/allies EPP favor.

            I wonder how long it will be before some suggests that it is all a plot by Putin to sabotage Gazprom to keep himself rich or some such bs?

            Like

            1. France would do well to remember that its socialist leanings have resulted in a gross national debt to GDP ratio that is 97% and rising, and that the Maastricht Treaty obliges its leaders to keep its annual budget deficit below 3% of GDP. It demonstrably cannot do that, and is nearly always on the brink of an economic collapse that will require a Big Fat European Bailout. And when that happens, where does it think that money will come from? From Europe’s responsible economic powerhouse, of course. Germany.

              https://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/france

              Like

          2. The project is fiercely resisted by many Central European countries, worried it will allow the Kremlin to use gas supplies as a political weapon in its former empire; the Commission is also wary because it undercuts efforts to make the bloc less dependent on Russian energy. Washington has also expressed its disapproval.

            As both Kirill and I have pointed out before now, Nord Stream II is not going to carry new supplies of gas. It is going to carry gas flow which would otherwise have gone through Ukraine. Therefore there is nothing stopping ‘the Kremlin’ from ‘using energy as a weapon’ right now if that were its intent. What is Ukraine going to do about it – replace the shortfall with its own domestic supplies? Ha, ha.

            The French above all Europeans should know better than to piss off fellow Europeans in an effort to curry favour in Washington – the USA turned on France like a shot when it refused to be part of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ against Iraq, and made serious (if hilarious and embarrassing) attempts to eradicate the word “French” from its language.

            The blocheads are exactly as dependent on Russian energy right now as they will be post-Nord-Stream-II. And their apparent alternative, as aggressively pushed by their fellow Atlantacist, is to make themselves dependent on American LNG. The Americans would NEVER use energy as a tool of coercion. You can just tell what kind of morals they have from the US government’s attempts to buy the desertion of the Venezuelan military so they can implant their puppet leader.

            Like

  29. A must read for any stooge interested in Venezuela :

    “The good news here, according to my friend, is that the Venezuelan special forces (army special forces, jungle infantry troops, “Caribe” counter insurgency units, airborne units, etc) are in a much better shape and that they could form the core of a resistance force to the invasion, not unlike what the Republican Guard eventually did in Iraq. But the biggest difference with Iraq is that in Venezuela the majority of the people are still backing Maduro and that any invasion force should expect to meet a lot of resistance of the type which the US encountered in Iraq after the invasion of the country. Also, there was a fragile truce of sorts between Hugo Chavez and various Left-wing guerillas who agreed to stop their military operations, but who also kept all their weapons “just in case”. This “case” has now happened and we can expect that any US invasion will trigger an immediate re-emergence of a Left-wing guerilla force which, combined with popular support and the key role of a core of patriotic Venezuelan special forces could form a very dangerous combination, especially in the mid to long term.

    Keep in mind that corrupt officers don’t like combat and that while they might aid a US invasion force, they will only do so as long as things seem to go the easy way, but as soon as things go south (which is what always happens to US invasion forces) they will run as fast as they can. So while the endemic corruption now will be a problem for the Maduro government, it will become a problem for the US as soon the legitimate government is toppled.

    Comparisons are necessarily tricky and crude, but with this caveat in mind, don’t think “Syria” but rather think “Iraq” when considering the possible outcomes of a US invasion.”

    And the comments…The comments are flowing with well thought out observations born of experience
    and often accompanied with useful links.

    Comment by
    lki on February 01, 2019 · at 10:44 pm EST/EDT

    “All Chávez did with ALBA, UNASUR, PetroCaribe, etc was BUY TIME to put a few things in place, such as
    *some Russian weapons here and there.
    *More than a couple million AKs all over the country.
    *A New Militia force led by exmilitary officers and composed of citizens that have been training for almost a decade.
    *Guerrilla warfare tactics as taught by Cuban military.
    *Russian military training, including the latest tactics and approaches from Syrian battlefields.
    *Weapons to be delivered for Left wing guerrillas in Venezuela AND COLOMBIA.
    *A fifth column of several guerrilla cells within Colombia to be activated when Venezuela was invaded.

    And that is the huge ghost of this whole story. The one no one is talking about. Invasion of Venezuela will destabilize Colombia almost immediately, which will bring that country down economically as its huge tourist industry takes a direct hit. Colombians will pay a heavy price, as their countries falls back to the 80s and sees its name once again become a symbol for civil war.

    I’m telling you: No here one wants this war. Except the gringos. Because they do not care and will simply shoot a photo op claiming victory. And leave.

    Oh, and those U.S. navy ships on the Venezuelan coast? Some will go down, baby. Chávez got weapons specific for that. Some will definitely go down.”
    http://thesaker.is/the-us-aggression-against-venezuela-as-a-diagnostic-tool/

    And on the money (gold):
    http://thesaker.is/saker-interview-with-michael-hudson-on-venezuela-february-7-2019/

    More threats from American war criminals:
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/02/07/vene-f07.html
    https://sputniknews.com/latam/201902061072165704-venezuela-us-weapons-seized/

    Like

    1. Michael Hudson’s piece contains loads of common-sense economic advice. I think Washington is going to fail this time, but we have not by any means seen the last of its dirty tricks, and you can expect it to increasingly focus on co-opting the Venezuelan military. If they could swing the military to Guaido, Maduro would be toast.

      Like

  30. Vesti News
    Published on 7 Feb 2019
    Subscribe to Vesti News https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa8M
    Yanukovych breaks his silence at a Moscow conference. The former president sheds light on the events that lead up to the Maidan coup d’etat. Most importantly, Yanukovych reveals how he was “taken for a sucker” and duped by EU officials with false promises they never intended to keep.

    Like

  31. The Duran
    Published on 7 Feb 2019
    The Duran discusses the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, that led to a decade of instability, crime, poverty and a near break up of the Russian Federation.

    Like

  32. The “Moon of Alabama” song is from the 1930 political-satirical opera “Der Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny” (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny), music composed by Lotte Lenya’s husband Kurt Weill to a German libretto by Bertolt Brecht.

    I always thought Lotte Lenya was shit hot, although other music critics would no doubt express my opinion in a more refined manner.

    Here are extracts from “Der Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny”, as performed in Cologne in 2011:

    “Die brutale Welt des Geldes”, says the reviewer in his mellifluous mother tonge — “the brutal world of money”, Brecht’s work being a searing critique of the depravity that the capitalistic lust for wealth creation at the expense of others can lead to, a world in which “there is no greater criminal than a man without money”.

    As the commentator says at the beginning of the above review, Mahagonny can be anywhere: its actual geographical location plays no role whatsoever.

    I should add, however, that the stage potrayal of Mahagonny, above, reminds me of Yeltsin’s Moscow.

    No apologies for writing “Yeltsin’s Moscow”: after all, in the Western rags and “think tanks” they prattle on about “Putin’s Russia”, do they not?

    Like

    1. It’s happened again!

      That above posting about “Der Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny” was posted below Trond’s posting on the “Moon of Alabama Song”.

      Why is the above posting way down here?

      Nur Arschlöcher um mich herum!!!!!

      😦

      Like

      1. Mark already explained to us how he constructed that recursive vortex which sucks out comments. Every ninth comment under every ninth comment….
        It’s like the Antichrist: The seventh son of the seventh son, or something like that…
        Either way, you end up in a Time Vortex, with the Nictitating yet Unblinking Eye of God awaiting and fixated on you on the nether side of the Black Hole….

        Like

        1. It’s the ninth response to EVERY comment. Or maybe the eighth – comments are ‘nested’ 8 deep, so presumably the original comment itself qualifies as one of them. Then up to seven additional responses which are tied to the same comment. The next after that starts a new thread. I find it is a good idea to include an allusion to the comment to which you are replying, just in case it appears all by itself. No need to makes something all Hannibal Lechter out of a perfectly straightforward software function.

          Like

    2. Technically, Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya were no longer married by the time they arrived in the U.S. They had gotten a divorce, but were still friends, and escaped together from Germany.

      Like

        1. Ha, ha!! Her opposition supporter in the Canadian government says “The more we call [Russia’s attempts to ‘sully Freeland’s good name’] out, the more unbelievable anything coming out of Russia will be”. Ummm…when did anyone in the west actually ‘call it out’? I’m not sure he knows what that phrase means. To ‘call it out’ means to pointedly refer to it again and again, to keep it front and center in public discussion, until the person or entity who originally made the accusation is forced to admit it is not true.

          Is that what happened? I’m pretty sure it’s not. Freeland denied it, and everything that followed after was a rush to defend Freeland’s ‘good name’ without any further discussion of the charges at all, although at least one Canadian newspaper (I believe the Ottawa Citizen or the Toronto Star) did stipulate that the individual named was indeed Freeland’s grandfather and that he did in fact work, apparently willingly, for a Nazi newspaper. The accusation is correct, and Russia did not ever say this automatically infers Freeland is herself a Nazi or is sympathetic to Nazi beliefs. It is for the reader to decide what the fact, and fact it is, suggests about the minister, and to my mind her passionate denials tell me everything.

          Call it out; Jesus Christ. People just get stupider as time goes on.

          Like

    1. Here is a great comment to that piece from our very own Jen:

      “What does Chrystia Freeland’s action in secretly forming the Lima Group to overthrow the legitimately elected government of Nicolas Maduro and install in his place a puppet currently cowering in a hiding place (perhaps somewhere in the US embassy in Caracas for all I know) say about the leadership of Guaido lookalike Justin Bieber Trudeau as Canada’s Prime Minister?
      Of course I’m speaking rhetorically: we all know what the answer is and it ain’t looking very pretty.”

      Jen, it’s a great comment, but I can’t believe you put all those words into one sentence!
      Well, writing style is a matter of personal taste, I personally prefer the Hemingway style of short choppy sentences, to the James Joyce style with long extended subclauses. For a while it felt like I was reading Goethe and waiting for that final verb to hit me….

      🙂

      Like

          1. And here is another writing contest” target=”_blank”> that everyone should enter.
            My favorite opening sentence:
            “As I felt the vampire sexily drinking the blood from my neck, the warmth between my legs grew both in wetness and in fear for my life.”
            Actually, this other contest favors SHORT sentences, the model being Melville’s terse: “Call me Ishmael.” Which uses only three words to start one of the greatest fish stories ever written!

            Similarly, Victor Hugo, who was not one to stint words, begins his massive masterpiece “Les Misérables”, a monstrous work occupying something like that 5,000 pages of text, with a relatively short opening sentence: “En 1815, M. Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel était évêque de Digne.”
            (“In 1815, Monsieur Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel was the Bishop of Digne.”)

            Like

            1. My personal faves: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”, Daphne du Maurier, ‘Rebecca’ and “The past is another country; they do things differently there”, LP Hartley, ‘The Go-Between’.

              Like

              1. The first sentence in the 1877 novella “Aquis Submersus” by Theodor Storm is my favourite in that language of long sentences having multiple subordinate clauses with a nest of verbs and infinitives at their ends:

                In unserem zu dem früher herzoglichen Schlosse gehörigen, seit Menschengedenken aber ganz vernachlässigten “Schloßgarten” waren schon in meiner Knabenzeit die einst im altfranzösischen Stile angelegten Hagebuchenhecken zu dünnen, gespenstischen Alleen ausgewachsen; da sie indessen immerhin noch einige Blätter tragen, so wissen wir Hiesigen, durch Laub der Bäume nicht verwöhnt, sie gleichwohl auch in dieser Form zu schätzen; und zumal von uns nachdenklichen Leuten wird immer der eine oder andre dort zu treffen sein.

                Like

                1. It is the German syntax of the above opening sentence of “Aquis Submersus” that gets me and which word for word translates into English thus:

                  In our formerly to the ducal castle belonging, since time immemorial, however, neglected “Castle Garden”, were already in my boyhood the once in old French-style laid out box-bushes into thin, ghost-like avenues overgrown, but since they still bear some leaves, then we locals, unpampered by tree foliage, all the same know how to appreciate them the way they are and that amongst us thoughtful people there will always be someone or other there to meet.

                  Mark Twain’s comments about “the awful German language” spring to mind, which comments he penned 3 years after Storm had turgidly penned the above words.

                  The reason why I always remember that line is that “Aquis Submerus” was the first work of German literature that some masochist had set me to study.

                  It was a mind-numbing experience, I can tell you!

                  Like

              2. My favourite because it’s so visually striking, comes from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s classic novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude”:
                “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

                Like

                1. Superb!

                  One of the funniest scenes I’ve ever read is in that novel, when the dad, Jose Arcadio is tied to a tree because of his raving and delivers the fruits of his overheated brain:
                  “The world is round, like an orange.”

                  My candidate for best opening is Camus “The Outsider.”

                  “Mum died today. Or maybe yesterday.”

                  Like

              3. I like that Manderley one too! I think I have mentioned this before, but “Rebecca” is one of my favorite novels. It’s actually quite brilliant in its psychology. Too bad that the Hollywood movie sort of messed it up and took the sting out of the punchline.

                In the book, Maxim confesses to his wife: “The woman buried in the crypt is not Rebecca. It’s the body of some unknown woman, unclaimed, belonging nowhere. There never was an accident. Rebecca was not drowned at all. I killed her. I shot Rebecca in the cottage in the cove.”

                And wifey’s response is one of … sheer joy! Oh, thank you God, Max never loved that bitch after all!

                Hollywood censors would not permit that, of course, they had rules and standards, so they softened the ending. See, it was just an accident, Becky tried to shove Max and then tripped on a rock, or something like that…. bah!

                Like

          2. You mean like “It was the first day of April and the two suns were passing each other in the sky overhead …”, something like that?

            Like

    2. It’s worth getting rid of Trudeau and his entire government just to get rid of her. We’ve always had one or two of what the Americans would term ‘conservatives’ in our government, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a real neocon before her. She would fit right in at the Project For A New American Century.

      On matters of foreign policy, some Prime Ministers are more assertive than others, but Trudeau genuinely seems to have no interest in it at all, preferring to be a social justice warrior and obtain more rights for the gender-ambiguous and aboriginals while Freeland has essentially a free hand with how Canada presents itself to the rest of the world. While he is conspicuous by his absence, perhaps busy with his sock collection.

      Like

      1. Interesting how SJW “leftist” Trudeau is in bed with a Banderite Nazi (or equivalently Neocon). The western left is a total fraud today. Nothing but sock puppets for the de facto Nazi right. Paleocons are a fringe, instead we have corporatist aka fascist control in the USA and the EU. Nazi is as Nazi does. And the western fascists are acting very much like the Nazis of the 1930s in their big plans for war on Russia. That they don’t round up homosexuals and Jews means precisely fuck all. They are still Nazis.

        Like

      2. The extent of Justin Bieber Trudeau’s interest in foreign policy ended in his trip to India in February 2018 where he and his family embarrassed themselves wearing fancy costume and gave Indians a breather from going square-eyed watching wall-to-wall Bollywood flicks.

        Like

  33. Euractiv: France ‘steps on the gas’ in eurobudget talks
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/france-steps-on-the-gas-in-eurobudget-talks/

    France made surprising back-and-forth moves on Nord Stream 2, which could be explained by the country’s effort to secure German and Dutch support in a completely different dossier.

    …France made surprising back-and-forth moves on Nord Stream 2, which could be explained by the country’s effort to secure German and Dutch support in a completely different dossier…

    …A diplomat from a country from Eastern Europe told EURACTIV that the explanation behind the French back-and-fourth had nothing to do with gas.

    On Monday, Eurozone ministers will discuss for the first time the plans for a Eurozone budget, a subject of major importance for Paris. The Council website says that “ministers will hold a first exchange of views on the way forward regarding the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness for the euro area and ERM II member states on a voluntary basis”…
    #####

    Well that answers my previous question about what France wanted so desperately that it would pull something like this. For €µ it was all about the €€€. Apparently. Still, an extremely dumb move by Paris that won’t be forgotten soon.

    Like

    1. However, from the Deutsche Welle: English Service:

      EU adopts French, German compromise on Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Russia

      Overcoming differences between Paris and Berlin, EU diplomats reached a deal on the pipeline, placing stricter regulations on the project. France said it wanted to “ensure European control” of its own energy needs.

      France and Germany have reached a compromise that will allow Berlin to remain the lead negotiator with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, European leaders confirmed on Friday.

      “Regarding the gas directive, we have reached an agreement and this was possible because Germany and France worked closely together,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a joint news conference with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

      “Today is a good day, and that is because of French-German cooperation.”

      The two EU countries have now agreed to ensure oversight will come from the “territory and territorial sea of the member state where the first interconnection point is located.”

      Merkel called the pipeline a “purely economic project” that will guarantee cheaper, more reliable gas supplies.

      France’s Foreign Ministry had earlier signaled its intention to vote for changes to the EU’s Third Energy Package Gas Directive regulating gas imports.

      And from DW Russian Sevice:

      EC не остановил “Северный поток – 2”

      EC has not stopped “Nord Stream-2”

      The FRG and France have presented to other EU countries their proposals on the adjustment of European gas legislation, which would not create serious obstacles to Nord Stream – 2. The EC supported them.

      Like

      1. And a load of bollocks in the Franfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

        Es wird darüber spekuliert, warum Frankreich kurz vor der entscheidenden Sitzung des EU-Gremiums seine Position geändert hatte. Bisher hatte Paris mit Deutschland, den Niederlanden, Österreich und anderen EU-Ländern im Streit um den Ausbau der Ostseeleitung immer für das Projekt geworben. Es wurden Mutmaßungen angestellt, dass die Verhärtung der französischen Position eine Folge der Proteste der „Gelbwesten“-Bewegung sein könnte, die womöglich von Russland unterstützt worden sei.

        There has been speculation about why France had changed its position shortly before the decisive meeting of the EU Committee. To date, Paris had always promoted the project together with Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and other EU countries in the dispute over the construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline. It has been assumed that the hardening of the French Position could have been a consequence of the “yellow vest” protests, which may have been supported by Russia.

        Yeah, may have been, could have been ….

        Like

        1. And even the usually rabidly Russophobic “Der Spiegel” has this at the head of a commentary on Merkel’s pipeline deal:

          Falsche Behauptungen werden auch dann nicht wahrer, wenn man sie mit wachsender Entschlossenheit wiederholt. Das gilt auch für das Argument der Nord-Stream-2-Gegner, Europa begebe sich mit dem Bau der Pipeline in eine gefährliche Abhängigkeit von Russland und werde erpressbar durch den Kreml.

          False claims do not become true, even if they are repeated with increasing determination. This also applies to the Nord Stream 2 opponents’ argument that Europe is facing a dangerous dependence on Russia with the construction of the pipeline and that it will be blackmailed by the Kremlin.

          However, right at the end, the commenter comes out with an oft-repeated with determination false claim, a slander in the extreme:

          Und die politische Kritik ist durchaus berechtigt, schließlich geht es um eine milliardenschwere und auf Jahrzehnte angelegte Kooperation mit Russland, einem Land, dass 2014 mit Waffengewalt die Grenzen seines Nachbarlands verschoben und in der Ostukraine einen Krieg mit bislang mehr als 10.000 Toten losgetreten hat.

          But the political criticism is quite justified. This is, after all, a question of billions and decades of cooperation with Russia, a country that in 2014 changed by force of arms the frontiers of its neighbour country and started a war in Eastern Ukraine, a war in which, so far, more than 10,000 have died.

          Lying bastard!

          Like

          1. “Started a war”. Nothing the fake stream western media spews has an ounce of truth and is pure lies and blood libel. Here we see a lie that is utterly devoid even of a seed of truth as would be useful for propaganda. The 7 million mostly ethnic residents of the Donbass clearly do not exist as people with rights and these western journalist fucks use the death of these same people to accuse Russia. So Russian victims are being used as a pretext to victimize Russians.

            Russia needs to put every fucking employee of Der Excrement and their financial backers on a black list for no travel to Russia and should impose punitive measures against any Russian citizen doing business or giving interviews to these blood libelers.

            In this day anyone who does not toe the PC line is accused of spreading hate speech when the NATzO MSM is actually engaged in pure hate speech.

            Like

          2. Funny, nobody ever says of their trade relations with America “…a country that in 2003 invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq on a pretext it later admitted it had made up as an excuse to invade; a war in which more than 20,000 Iraqis were killed”.

            Like

        2. Just like Khodorkovsky, and his smokescreen that the charges which landed him in jail were ‘politically motivated’. Amazingly, the ECHR actually set him straight, informing him in a ruling which failed to back him (but which his western fans of course hailed as a stunning victory for him) that simply because his arrest and subsequent incarceration were convenient for some people did not necessarily mean there was nothing to the charges.

          Just because the Kremlin probably enjoys Macron’s discomfiture is not evidence of a Russian hand in it. Besides, the United States has so normalized the financing of political opposition in various countries that it should hardly raise an eyebrow even if it were true.

          Like

          1. Neither the EHCR nor Micron ever present any evidence. Western MSM hearsay is usually the “solid foundation” on which cases against Russia are made. So the EHCR could not rule in favour of Khodorkovsky because he was already defamed by the New York Times in 1999. It it never actually ruled that the tax fraud case against him was legitimate. I bet of Khodorkovsky was never trashed in the NATzO MSM earlier, the EHCR would have ruled in his favour as it does in basically all other cases against Russia. All of which follow the MSM-pushed narratives.

            Like

            1. Well, the ECHR doesn’t have to. It reviews cases referred to it based on the evidence supplied in the complaint, and makes a determination whether there is enough evidence to support the complaint, or not. It does not disclose the evidence it relied upon in the judgment, but that should be part of the public record and obtainable.

              Micron just parrots whatever he heard on social media, or on the mainstream news. That’s ‘evidence’ enough for him. After all, it’s good enough for the US State Department. In fact, they’ve got a pretty good thing going over there; anyone can release information on a social media account, and it can be very easy or very, very difficult to discover who they are or where they are lo9cated. So it would be entirely possible for the US State Department to both introduce the information, and then react to it.

              Like

    1. Washington just can’t help itself. It cannot know of a political opposition in certain countries without being overcome with the desire to coddle and cozen and nurture it, to breathe life into it and turn it on the country’s leader. It’s Gene Sharp Syndrome.

      Like

  34. Lying by omission.

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): The weapons making nuclear war more likely
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-47117349

    By James Acton Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    …There are a number of scenarios in which such missiles could inadvertently increase the chance of a nuclear war.

    The most obvious is that in a conflict, they might be launched with conventional warheads but mistaken for nuclear weapons.

    This ambiguity could prompt the adversary to launch an immediate nuclear response.

    It is difficult to know whether it would choose this course of action – or wait until the weapons had detonated and it became clear how they were armed.

    In practice, the greatest danger with dual-use missiles may lie elsewhere: misidentification before they have even been launched.

    Imagine that China dispersed lorry-mounted DF-26 missiles loaded with nuclear warheads around its territory.

    The US, wrongly believing them to be conventionally armed, might decide to try to destroy them.

    By attacking them, it could inadvertently provoke China into launching those nuclear weapons it still had before they could be destroyed….
    #####

    The framing is of course a la I-srael, i.e. to defend themselves and their impunity of action, they must attack first, but it is not really an attack. The article is downright dishonest.

    That Chinese DF-26s cannot reach the United States is not mentioned. Neither that it is the US that is trying to contain China and has its bases near China – that is why the US would attack China hypothetically moving its own missile around in its own territory. We have the same shit peddled vis-a-vis Russia that it is aggressive for Russia to move its equipment in its own borders but the US can send equipment via NATO to Po-land or the Balts and it is not aggressive.

    There is also of course silence that Aegis Ashore based in Romania and soon Po-land both host the MK.41 universal launch canisters that not only launch anti-missile SM-3s, but also ground launched nuclear tipped cruise missiles (and future systems) with no way for Russia to tell beforehand, i.e. strategic ambiguity is ok here, but not when it works against the US or NATO. The Romanian site is already operational. Neither mention that the US is actively producing low-yield nukes and has never ruled out first use of nukes.

    Here’s The Saker spelling it out: INF Is Dead. Europe Is One Step Closer To Nuclear War
    http://thesaker.is/inf-is-dead-europe-is-one-step-closer-to-nuclear-war/

    There’s a similar piece of shit post over at Euractiv which hosts Raytheon – the missile defense company – sponsored content on the site itself!

    Euractiv with Neuters: Russia demands US destroy missile defence systems in Romania
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/russia-demands-us-destroy-missile-defence-systems-in-romania/

    ####

    One should maybe add that if there is going to be a new missile agreement, will it include I-srael which currently carries out tests against its own Sparrow IRBM target missiles in the eastern Mediterranean every six months or so? It’s Arrow ABM system is also in part funded by… Raytheon, for years, so the US has been using I-srael’s exemption from the INF treaty to carry out tests that otherwise at home would have been declared in violation of the treaty! The US has been undermining the INF Treaty indirectly for years and when viewed thus, inevitable (just waiting to happen) once GWB pulled out of the ABM treaty in 2003.

    A blast from the past:

    POGO: The Withdrawal of the United States from the ABM Treaty: A Failure of Russian Diplomacy or a New Opportunity
    https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2003/05/withdrawal-of-united-states-from-abm-treaty-failure-of-russian-diplomacy-or-new-opportunity/

    May 02, 2003
    ####

    One thing we haven’t heard about mentioned in the piece above is anything about the Comprehensive nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) but abrogation of that would mean the US’s designated enemies would also be limited from such constraints and thus the US would have far more to lose, not to mention that the US has gathered huge amounts of data now used to simulate the effectiveness of nuclear weapons that is considered adequate and considering that the ‘new’ low-yield B61-12/W77-2 nukes are a modification of old designs.

    Like

    1. Hubris is followed by Nemesis. US arrogance makes it blind to its own fallibility and to the true level of others. The US is in a long line of western entities suffering from this affliction. They all break their teeth in some Quixotian drang nach osten.

      US small think also is manifest in the notion that they get an advantage over Russia with the killing of the INF. They get nothing. Instead Russia now has an open road to deploy systems that will neutralize ABM installations and other US military assets being deployed close to its borders. By using nuclear warheads, it can do one-hit exterminations of basically all non-dispersed military targets. The US can’t hide the ABM installations underground so Russia will always know where they are.

      The upcoming S-500 system will have full ABM capability. Not just anti-satellite ability. Since it is mobile it has advantages of fixed Aegis Ashore installations. Russia will not roll over for NATzO and it appears to me that NATzO leaders are terminally deluded at the present time since they think their ABM systems and some ludicrous “effective” first-strike will defeat Russia with little effort. Recall that both Napoleon and Hilter thought their campaigns against Russia would be cake walks.

      Like

  35. More

    “US commander says Pentagon prepared to intervene to defend Venezuela embassy
    Amid rising tensions generated by the US-backed coup in Venezuela, the head of the US Southern Command, responsible for the Pentagon’s operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, told a Senate panel Thursday that the US military is prepared to intervene in defense of Washington’s embassy in Caracas.

    The phony pretext of defending US personnel from alleged threats was used as justification for the last two major military invasions carried out by US imperialism in the hemisphere: Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989.

    SOUTHCOM commander Admiral Craig Faller, who appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee alongside his AFRICOM counterpart, Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, made clear the active involvement of the US military in the ongoing regime-change operation in Venezuela, launched on January 23 with the US-coordinated self-swearing-in by a previously virtually unknown extreme right-wing legislator, Juan Guaidó as “interim president.” Washington immediately recognized him as Venezuela’s head of state, while declaring the government of President Nicolas Maduro illegitimate. A number of right-wing Latin American governments, major European powers and Canada followed suit.”

    The admiral’s testimony, which included an appeal for greater funding and more forces for US military operations in the hemisphere, made clear that Washington views Latin America as a battlefield in a coming global war, and is determined to assert its hegemony over the region by means of regime-change operations and outright military invasions.”

    “Venezuela is the prime target for this campaign for good reason. It sits atop the largest proven oil reserves on the face of the earth, and US imperialism is determined to wrest control of these vast resources for the US energy conglomerates and to deny them to Russia and China, which both have extended loans to and made major investments in Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA. Guaidó earlier this week issued his “Country Plan” for Venezuela, making clear that he would throw open Venezuela’s oil industry, nationalized more than four decades ago, to control by US Big Oil.

    Admiral Faller announced that he is going to Brazil on Sunday for meetings with the military brass of the newly installed government of the fascistic ex-army captain, Jair Bolsonaro, which is collaborating closely with Washington on the coup in Venezuela.”
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/02/08/vene-f08.html

    THIS is what the MFs have been up to in Venezuela-and elsewhere- for years. Nice outlay of the tactics and stratagems of the warmongering vermin who are prepared to mass murder who knows how many in the furtherance of their insane and depraved desire for global hegemony.

    https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/?fbclid=IwAR3i9P27ZumJVO50bzxaUXwjCWYU8wW09KoO0xRtLCnRWbL2XLKA_ca1O_s

    https://file.wikileaks.org/file/us-fm3-05-130.pdf

    Like

    1. Russia needs to announce that it will defend its embassy personnel from any US collateral damage. This would be a nice pretext to intervene to counter US imperialist aggression. Let the western MSM screech and bawl.

      Like

    2. If the US embassy in Caracas is hit by a bomb or sniper fire and a good-looking corpse that turns out to be Guaidó is found (I promise, I won’t say “I told you so!”), that would be the very pretext the US needs to invade Venezuela. The only problem is whether Brazil or Colombia is brave enough to offer troops in support or to carry out the heavy work of actual invasion.

      Like

  36. “Democrats have moved so far to the right that its so-called “resistance” to Trump has done little except provide vital assistance to the empire. Even the most progressive-sounding of the Democratic Party brass has sworn its allegiance to NATO and the endless aggression that the U.S. imperial state wages around the world. Workers in the U.S., especially poor Black Americans, should expect no raise in wages, no reduction in debt, and no relief from the domestic incarceration state if the U.S. political class is able to freely wage costly neo-colonial wars abroad. Solidarity for Venezuela’s popular Bolivarian movement and all peoples under the gun of imperialism should thus be of utmost concern for any progressive insurgency that should arise in the lead up to the 2020 elections. The two-party duopoly will no doubt attack the likes of Sanders, but this shouldn’t mean that Sanders or anyone else should be given a pass on the question of war and peace. There can be no real “resistance” without peace, and no socialism amid capitalist wars that destroy the lives of the oppressed all over the world.”

    https://www.blackagendareport.com/venezuela-and-nato-democratic-party-assistance-not-resistance-empire

    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13270

    “Bolivarian University Professor Chris Gilbert addresses the racism and white supremacy of the Venezuelan opposition in light of recent lynchings against Black and Brown Venezuelans accused of being “Chavistas” or “thieves” by opposition militants. The most emblematic of these cases was the public lynching of Afro-Venezuelan Orlando Figuera on May 20. Figuera was stabbed six times, doused in gasoline, and burned alive by opposition protesters in the eastern Caracas neighborhood of Altamira. He died in hospital ten days later. Other prominent cases include that of Danny Subero, Pedro Josue Carrillo, as well as a pair of youths in Lara state.

    No American, if that means a person from the United States, should support the Venezuelan opposition. Why? The question can be made this simple: Which side in the Venezuelan conflict produces “Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees… a fruit for the crows to pluck”?

    I refer, of course, to the fact that in a number of well-documented instances Venezuelan opposition forces have burned black people alive. This horrible fact should be enough to decide the issue for those in the United States when they think about which of the two sides to support in the struggle.

    Yet it seems to be not so clear for some people. For them perhaps (paraphrasing the claim that Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza was “a son of a bitch, but our son of a bitch”) the Venezuelan opposition is made up of “our” racists, “our” lynchers, and “our” neo-Klansmen. For them perhaps, these racist-lynchers-neoKlansmen are just doing what needs to be done to bring democracy to Venezuela.

    I don’t see it that way, of course. Perhaps it is somewhat easier for me, since I live in Venezuela. Who would want to have such people running the show where you try to make a home? ”

    https://venezuelanalysis.com/files/styles/full_content/public/images/2017/07/screen_shot_2017-07-29_at_10.29.44_pm.png?itok=RANvTZt5

    What a fitting and well deserved end this would be for so many….. However may this victim of the european racist vermin RIP.

    Like

    1. The western left appears to have existed only when the USSR was around. Starting in the 1990s we saw the dramatic shift to the right of both UK Labour and US Democrats. Instead of proper leftist values we got whoring for corporate globalist interests and the spread of BS PC “identity politics”.

      Like

  37. Earlier Putin let it be know that Russia was going to have a hypersonic IRBM response to Washington. It was also mentioned that new systems would be ready by 2021. This is not just Russian trash talk. Russia already has the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched missile that has a 2000 km range and Mach 10 speed. This missile appears, by its shape, to be a derivative of the Iskander. So all that Russia needs to do to get a ground launched hypersonic variant is to add a booster stage with Kinzhal being the second stage. The booster stage would be more efficient than any aircraft so it could increase the range and reduce the overall flight time substantially.

    This missile is clearly in the size range of the cruise missile that Washington used as a pretext to break the INF treaty. I am quite sure it can carry a nuclear warhead and would be the right size to attack NATzO military installations as opposed to being an overblown city leveler concept. Russia can probably deploy four of them on a truck platform.

    The Soviet IRBM “Pioneer” was basically a shorter range ICBM that could carry megaton class warheads. This is overkill for many tasks and US IRBMs were smaller without sacrificing utility.

    Like

    1. Saw a story on Yahoo that Russia may be developing a smaller version that would fit within the internal weapons bay of the Su-57. The article thought such a development would be a game changer. Just found it:

      https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/air-force-nightmare-will-russias-su-57-stealth-fighter-get-hypersonic-missiles-43892

      It is not surprising that the Russian air force would pursue ways to package its latest missile capabilities together with its cutting-edge jet technology. Russia’s integration of hypersonic missiles with fifth-generation stealth capabilities could yield considerable dividends in its threat projection capacity.

      Like

      1. Say; you know another fighter that had an internal weapons bay? The Avro Arrow, But it was canceled and all existing models (5) destroyed as if they had never been. It never flew with the Orenda Iroquois engine that was also designed in Canada specifically for the Arrow; Avro, desperate to get one into the air before that shortsighted prairie prick Diefenbaker canceled the program, bought 5 Pratt & Whitney J-75’s from the USA to power the existing models.

        https://airvectors.net/avarrow.html

        The first prototype – again, it never flew with the most powerful engine in North America – flew in March 1958, and Diefenbaker canceled the program in February 1959.

        Maclean’s magazine deliberately exaggerated the cost of each airframe to the point the public outcry over the expense gave Diefenbaker the backing he needed.

        Like

  38. For what it’s worth:

    Neuters via Antiwar.com: Nicht gut: Nearly 85 percent of Germans see U.S-German ties as negative
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-germany-usa/nicht-gut-nearly-85-percent-of-germans-see-u-s-german-ties-as-negative-idUKKCN1PX1CR

    …Just over 40 percent of those polled view China as a better partner for Germany than the United States, the survey of around 5,000 people, conducted by Atlantik-Bruecke and the Civey institute in poll in November and December, showed. …

    …A total of 57.6 percent of those polled want to see more distance between Berlin and Washington, and 42.3 percent consider China a better partner.

    About a third of those polled said they viewed right-wing populism and protectionism as the most dangerous global crises, compared to only 1.9 percent worried about Russia, and 2.2 percent who feared the growing influence of China.

    Like

    1. Well, this 85% should do more than sit on their asses and whinge. They should make sure Der Spiegel goes out of business and pro-American, comprador politicians never get elected. Since neither is happening, this negative view is superficial.

      Like

      1. By the way, Kirill, “Der Spiegel” is pronounced “SH-piegel” with an initial /sh/ sound, which is a palatal consonantal phoneme. Don’t be fooled by the spelling, that letter “S” is actually a /sh/ phoneme – just sayin…
        Next on the agenda: Kirill flies into a rage, insists that the word is pronounced “spee-gal” and accuses me of being a vile New York Times Russophobe and compradore.

        Like

  39. Curiously, this whole Kashoggi murder thing has opened up reporting (that was previously skotched) about abusive behavior by the west’s states sponsors of global terror, the Gulf States.

    France24 via Antiwar.com: Is Australia targeting Saudi women fleeing oppression?
    https://www.france24.com/en/20190208-australia-targeting-saudi-women-fleeing-oppression

    ####

    Oregon Live via ZH: Rich Saudi Students Vanishing Across US After Kingdom Makes Bail On Rape, Manslaughter Charges
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-08/rich-saudi-students-vanishing-across-us-after-kingdom-makes-bail-rape-manslaughter
    ####

    While the west continues to sell its weapons, the latest being Bell Helicopters selling 12 AH-1Z gunships to Baaaa-rain.

    So what’s going on? Why is this stuff being reported now? What’s changed? Is this the ‘new normal’?

    Like

  40. In today’s Moscow Times weekly unsolicitated bulletin, under the “Save the Date” feature:

    On Tuesday, a U.S. court will hold a status hearing on the case of Maria Butina, the Russian gun rights activist accused of espionage.

    Really?

    Was she charged with espionage?

    And get this, as reported by MT:

    By Launching a Trade Union, Navalny Addresses the Elephant in the Room

    The latest wizard wheeze from the charlatan in chief!

    Average salary in St.Petersburg — 59, 000 rubles
    According to the May Decree, the average salary in St. Petersburg should be:

    for doctors — 118, 000 (200%)

    for medical workers — 59, 000 rubles (1005)

    for teachers — 59, 000 rubles (100%)

    for scientific staff — 118,000 rubles (200%)

    for higher education tutors — 118, 000 ruble (200%)

    On the side of the exploited toilers, Lyosha?

    Shit! I shall have to give him a bell: I’ve not picked up more than 60 thousand for over 4 years. Last month I picked up 43 thousand.

    Fuck off Navalny! You’re as much a Union Man as was Henry Ford!

    Like

    1. Cute how this Washington puppet is trying to pull some commie equality BS. The only metric that matters is whether most people are better off today compared to 20 years ago, the so-called golden age of Boris Yeltsin, according to Navalny. It is beyond ludicrous for some US controlled stooge to start yapping about income inequality. The US is the worst country on the plant in this regard. Worse than any 3rd world country. It has a y=(1/(100-x))^n type of income curve where x is in percent of the most well paid resident, and n is large enough to make the curve hug the x and y axes.

      Income inequality is an issue if the super rich are getting richer while most are getting poorer. This is true for the USA but most definitely not true for Russia. You know, real income growth of 7% per year in 2018 and similarly large growth rates for most the last 20 years are nothing to sneeze at.

      Like

    1. You can be sure Guaido spends most of his waking hours huddled with his American advisors, and if he has ‘decided’ tha5t using volunteers to try and provoke a violent clash with the police or military, then that is what he has been advised to do.

      It’s all so tiresome. One or two of Guaido’s ‘volunteers’ will get hurt, probably a scalp wound so there will be those theatrical streams of blood running down his/her face, and the photo will be front page everywhere that speaks English under a screaming headline that exhorts, “Do Something!!!!”, and America will be calling a vote on a military intervention. Or maybe one of their Sammy-Power R2P end-runs where they just announce they’re doing it, it can’t wait for a vote, it’s so dire. I’m sure they see that Guaido is bogged down and has lost momentum – if he ever had any – and so he must be forced on the people.

      Like

      1. After the volunteers “clash” with the police or the army and a few buildings are torched or brought down by vandals, the volunteers will suddenly dash over to a pile of rubble and start pulling out small children. They’ll then race through the streets and alley-ways carrying the juveniles and some of them will race right past the waiting empty ambulance van.

        The mainstream press will gasp and cheer for the White Helmets!

        Well Pompeosity did say Hezbollah was present in Venezuela … so the White Helmets must have arrived there too, eh?

        Like

      2. Meanwhile, I saw this piece in the Russian press , whereby American Congressman Ro Khanna (from California) gave a nice little bitch-slap to Guaidó. Apparently the latter made some statement about how he would graciously “permit” U.S. military intervention into his country, in order to overthrow the tyrant.
        And Khanna reminded him that, according to the American Constitution, only Congress has the right to declare war.
        Not even the President of the United States technically has that right, let alone some obscure gusano whom nobody had even heard of just a few weeks back. (My words, not Khanna’s!)

        Like

        1. Once again I have to wonder how much support Guaido actually has in ‘his country’ for an American military intervention, which the Venezuelan military would most certainly contest. I have seen newspaper articles which – unsurprisingly, because they are in English – claim that Guaido has ‘broad’ support in Venezuela, but it must all consist of fat people because his support is always cleverly enumerated in such articles as ‘in the tens of thousands’. The population of Venezuela is actually close to that of Canada, around 33 million. I would not rate any Canadian politician whose support was in the tens of thousands as a very big noise, at least not at the national level. Maybe if he proclaimed himself the President of Windsor or something like that, tens of thousands of supporters would be significant. That population overall is about 211,000.

          Nope; I think the State Department’s best hope is to keep pressuring the Venezuelan military and hoping for an avalanche of defections. I think even if they can’t get it, they will say it’s happening in the hope that soldiers will panic, thinking they are being left behind by their fellows. You know, like they did with that fake fall-of-Tripoli thing. How hard would it be to dress a few thousand Spanish-looking guys in combat fatigues and have them surround Guaido, cheering?

          Once again, every day that Guaido does not prevail, he looks more foolish and it is less likely he will.

          Like

        2. I imagine Guaido already knows very well who his audience in the United States is, and he is merely feeding them their lines; “See? the President invited us in!!” The crowd that wants to let loose the US military on Venezuela and break it to American will is not deterred by constitutional law, and never has been.

          Like

    1. As part of NATO and the European Union, the Netherlands was vocal on the subject of Crimea and its supposed ‘armed annexation’ by Russia. Russia has consistently denied seizing Crimea, insisting it was peacefully incorporated into the Russian Federation. In fact both NATO and the European granted themselves the moral high ground of defining the incorporation of Crimea by the simple expedient of refusing to accept any observer role in the referendum vote, so that they could later credibly say it was a mockery of acceptable procedure, because they didn’t see it.

      If only Russia had had this codicil in its constitution, it could have just replied, “Mind your own business”.

      Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok, who was called to account by parliament deputies, had to explain again the Hague’s aid to Syrian terrorists. According to him, the aid was meant exclusively for “moderate” groups but it fell into the “wrong hands” “by mistake.” Meanwhile, uncomfortable questions remain unanswered, which could have revealed the unsavoury role of the Dutch authorities in supporting terrorists, by referring to the article in the country’s constitution which allows executive authorities not to disclose information about participation in armed conflicts if it runs contrary to national security interests.

      Like

      1. Scratch the west and you will find dictatorship. The most hoodwinked people on the planet are the residents of the NATzO west. They actually believe that when they vote that they are selecting their leaders. They are doing nothing of the sort and are engaged in a BS placebo. This can be seen in the Trump “saga” in the USA. Any independence from the deep state is theoretical. In reality, all the policies and agendas are determined and enforced by elites that never face any ballot selection.

        This reality of the west is something that few in Russia have understood. They actually think that western placebo theater such as elections and “free markets” are real. And even though Russia has more real freedom than any NATzO state, by far, we have screeching about tyranny from the NATzO toilet and its sycophants.

        Like

        1. “The most hoodwinked people on the planet are the residents of the NATzO west “ …. or. as was recently pointed out on this thread:

          None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

          Like

  41. Racist excrement from the New York Times. The so-called PC tolerance in the west is merely a tool for the elites to keep the western sheeple divided. Nobody with a functioning brain can accept the notion that PC agenda is actually about love for diversity and human rights. The west and the US in particular has been raping the world in the name of human rights for over a century. The scummiest human rights abusers are the preferred agents of US ambitions. As we saw in Latin America with every freaking death squad junta and more recently with the headchoping and liver eating jihadis used in an attempt to foist regime change on Syria. For some reason the intolerance of these US agents against every non Wahabbi group was not a problem. Much like in Libya the open slave markets for blacks and the mass slaughter of blacks after the coup against Qaddafi was fobbed off as “democracy is messy”.

    Yet, in Russia some 5th column agitators like Pussy Riot who systematically violate normal public order laws and get basically slaps on the wrist for brazen contempt of court, are the litmus test for the whole country, including its people. If American agents were involved, these prostitutes would have been decapitated with knives and the videos posted on youtube.

    Also funny how this New York Times op-ed piece of shit frets over Russian corruption as if it is something singular. What a fucking joke. This POS pundit clearly is ignoring the gross corruption in Ukraine, Georgia and other US approved dumps. And you can yap “whataboutitism” all you want. It is well known and not a logical fallacy that people and organizations must be measured by their actions and not their routinely vapid words. So if the US MSM and its pundit chorus is not concerned about corruption in Ukraine, then it shouldn’t bitch about it in Russia.

    But I give this steam pile of racist excrement too much credit. He does not prove that Russia is exceptionally corrupt. He just asserts it. There is no such thing as proof by assertion.

    Like

    1. “There is no such thing as proof by assertion.”

      That is a true statement, of course, but pretty hilarious coming from you, Kirill!
      Are you not the commenter who “proved” by assertion, that “European languages” (as if there is such a meaningful concept, unless one is talking Indo-European languages of the “kentum” group) such as German, Italian, French, etc., have no palatal consonants.

      And after I proved to you, factually, that, e.g., German has the “ts” consonantal phone (example: “Zeit”), and French has the “ch” consonantal phoneme (example: “charmante”), not to mention the “zh” consonantal phoneme (example: “mange”), you called me a sack of shit.
      Just to quote you again, your comment of April 30, 2017, on Mark’s previous blog:

      kirill says:
      April 30, 2017 at 4:57 am
      Ah shaddup. Lying sack of troll shit.
      I suggest people look up Japanese and Chinese and compare the sounds to German and French. There is no “ts”, “tsh” sound in German, French, Italian, etc. Trotsky lover Yeltsin [you meant to say “yalensis” but are prone to typos] and his one-clown crusade to revise Russian history by ad hominems and lies is utterly pathetic.

      Let the record show, that I once offered you a truce, which you ignored.
      And once again, because this is the Russian way, I offer you the opportunity to admit that you were factually wrong then, about the palatal consonants; and to apologize to me for calling me a sack of shit.
      Unless and until you do that, I will never drop this and I will hound you forever, “From hell’s heart I stab at thee!” -hahahahhahaha! [maniacal laughter]

      Like

      1. Bugger off loser. None of the European languages like German and French have a hard “ts” phoneme. All your examples have the “chs” sound. The German “zeit” is not pronounced “tseit” no more than the Spanish “zoro” is pronounced “tsoro”. It has a distinct “z” sound as it would.

        Clearly there is zero similarity between the pronunciation of “z” in “zeit” and “ts” in “otets”.

        You really have nothing but your bile. Go try to prove your god-like authority in linguistics to your pet dog, Yankee.

        Cute how yalensis implicitly defends the New York times anti-Russian racist agenda.

        Like

        1. Sorry, I can hear “ts” at the beginning when the speaker pronounces “Zeit”. Sometimes it can sound like “dz” depending on the tone of the speaker’s voice. A better example is “Zeitung” where you can definitely hear the “ts” sound.

          German also has the palatal consonant “ch” (as in “charm”) usually spelt “tsch” in German. The sound is also found in some Romance languages, particularly in Italian (in words like “ciao”), Romanian (in words and syllables beginning with “c” followed by “e” or “i”) and Brazilian Portuguese; and in some Irish dialects (in words and syllables beginning with “t” followed by “e” or “i”).

          Like

          1. Exactly. Thanks for being the voice of common sense, Jen.
            Despite Kirill’s assertion, Germans do not say “zeit”, they just say “tseit”. But Kirill is confused by the spelling, he does not know the difference between alphabet and phonetics, let alone the difference between phonetics and phonemics.

            By the way, I had a typo in my comment above, I meant to write /sh/ for French “charmante”, it’s spelled “ch” but pronounced /sh/, obviously, and is the non-voiced analogue of /zh/, as in “mange”.

            Obviously, “European languages” have a plenitude of palatal consonantal phonemes, which are spelled in various ways, according to alphabetic custom.
            Also obviously, Kirill is factually wrong in continuing to insist that German has no /ts/ phoneme. If he were not so lazy nor so ignorant, all he would have to do is check Wikipedia for the catalogue of German phonemes. It’s just basic Linguistics, and even a novice can study the basic terms on Wikipedia, or buy a basic textbook. But not our Kirill, why read books when you can make up your own reality!

            And then, predictably, attack people who challenge that made-up reality:
            Kirill: “Cute how yalensis implicitly defends the New York times anti-Russian racist agenda.”That’s right, Kirill. My insistence that German has the /ts/ palatal phoneme proves that I am a racist Russophobe, just like the New York Times!. Ad hominem attack/ change the subject much instead of admit to factual error? lol….

            Like

            1. P.S. – and people should also recall that Kirill’s original assertion, which started this feud back in 2017, was a bogus generalization about “European” vs “Asiatic” type languages.
              A distinction that does not actually exist and which real Linguists would never use.
              Real historical Linguists partition languages into families based on their common histories and evolutionary descent, for example, “Indo-European”, “Altaic”, etc.

              It’s actually kind of racist to put, say, Chinese and Japanese in the same bucket, while generalizing about “European” languages.
              Hungarians, for example, are European, but their language is not part of the same overall family as, say, German and French (which are Indo-European languages of the kentum branch).
              Basque is also a completely separate language family.

              Kirill is simply an ignorant fool when he makes assertions about Linguistics. He knows nothing. This is why I believe that ALL of his assertions need to be fact-checked, including his comments about climatology, physics, economics, etc. They should be fact-checked by people who actually studied, or know something, in these fields. I just happen to know a lot about Linguistics, because I studied it and got a degree in it from a reputable university. And I have a piece of paper hanging on my wall, which proves that.

              Does Kirill have a piece of paper hanging on his wall? Frankly, I doubt it, unless it’s his certificate of Legal Insanity.

              Like

              1. I’ve just been teaching a delightful Chinese lady online and who lives in Shanghai and from what she has told me in our chats about the “Chinese language”, saying “He speaks Chinese” is like sayng about any European “He speaks European”.

                The lady in question is almost Russian as well, in that her home province, Heilongjiang, borders on the Amur River, which in Chinese is “Black Dragon River”: that’s what Heilongjiang means.

                Like

                1. Yeah, I don’t know that much about the Chinese languages and their history, I never studied that, but I read somewhere that there are so many different dialects, and possibly mutually incomprehensible.
                  Once dialects become mutually incomprehensible, then linguists assign them as different languages; but there are a lot of grey areas. (Like Russian vs Ukrainian – lol!)

                  I also read that Native American (aboriginal) languages are so very different from each other, that linguists have not been able to reconstruct any common ancestor. People must have come in different waves, speaking unrelated languages.
                  Ditto with many sub-Saharan African languages.

                  Like

  42. My, my; the Ukies never miss a trick. What will happen if Ukrainian nationalists vandalize or set afire a Ukrainian church belonging to the ‘Moscow Patriarchate’? Not to worry – already got it covered. It was the Russians, of course, recruiting a well-meaning Ukrainian dupe to burn their own church so as to sow discord and invite rioting and hate crimes! Ukraine knows this, because it has already exposed and averted such a plot.

    https://www.unian.info/society/10440396-russian-intel-offering-ukrainians-us-2-000-for-setting-on-fire-churches-of-former-moscow-patriarchate.html

    Like

  43. The Real News Network
    Published on 8 Feb 2019
    TRNN’s Dimitri Lascaris, former class actions lawyer who pursued SNC-Lavalin in court, discusses the PMO’s legal exposure

    Like

  44. Vesti News
    Published on 8 Feb 2019
    Subscribe to Vesti News https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa8M
    In Japan, they celebrated the so-called Day of Northern Territories today. A rally was held in Tokyo, where participants demanded the return of the Kuriles to Japan. Against this background, a video that the BBC showed looks even more provocative. From the commercial of the Japanese government, it can be inferred that the Kuriles, supposedly, no longer belong to Russia. People in Sakhalin Oblast saw it and immediately responded.

    Like

    1. The UK invokes the opinion of the residents of the Malvinas when discussing their status as illegally grabbed territory. Naturally, the residents of the islands illegally claimed by WWII-loser Japan have no say. Just like the 7 million residents of the Donbass have no say. The UK, its propaganda orifice the BBC, and the rest of NATzO and its satellites can go and shove themselves up their own collective asses.

      Like

      1. Holy shit – how did I miss that? You’re absolutely right: the British government went on no end about the ‘patriotic British residents’ of the Falklands, and how they had an absolute right to determine their future. But none of that for Crimeans, who are as Russian as kasha; no, they submitted to Russia at gunpoint, and secretly crave to be Ukrainian. What a rock-solid example of hypocrisy.

        Like

    2. The Japanese will find out who owns it as soon as they try to set up shop there without permission. If I were Putin, I would announce that Abe is no longer Prime Minister of Japan, announce his successor (some random Japanese engineer, a pro-Russian activist if possible), and invite the world to recognize the new PM.

      Like

      1. Neuters.jp via Alert5.com: Japan refutes Russia’s claim that Aegis Ashore violates INF Treaty
        http://alert5.com/2019/02/10/japan-refutes-russias-claim-that-aegis-ashore-violates-inf-treaty/

        Japan’s Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya says the Aegis Ashore system in Japan will not violate the U.S.-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

        Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had said earlier that the system could be used to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles.

        Iwaya did added that it is possible to add the capability to fire cruise missiles but Japan is not considering to do so..
        ####

        – We would never put nuclear tipped cruise missiles in the Mk.41 launcher, trust us?

        How about signing that on paper?

        – Isn’t our word good enough?

        Nope.

        That Japan still thinks it can get back the Kuriles whilst hosting part of the US’s missile shield that directly impacts on Russia’s strategic security, is laughable, especially as Japan now allows itself to sell weapons abroad and carry out military missions. Maybe they are looking to be nuked by Russia, to balance out the previous nuking by America?

        Like

    3. The background of the video is nonsense propaganda for the Russian home-market, so not too different from what many countries do. It’s pretty obvious that the islands would be on all the official maps of Japan, if they even think of having a hope of getting them back. What, do you expect them to remove the islands from their map, and then ask for something back that they don’t consider their own territories? In all Japanese schools the islands are part of the map and this has been so since a long time ago. In fact, usually all the ‘Japanese’ territory is colored in green (including Kurils), the rest of the world in grey, and South Sakhalin is white.

      Regarding the map itself, it leaves out two rather large south Okinawa islands as they are too far away (among some smaller ones) and all the eastern pacific islands (which are arguably pretty small). I wouldn’t expect the BBC to care too much and they would just use the official Japanese map.

      Plus the protests outside the Russian embassy are pretty pathetic. It’s a dozen right wingers and the police deals with them pretty heavily in these very Japanese ways. i.e. There is a law about breaching a certain sound barrier in public in Tokyo so they have devices to measure sound output and as soon as it’s increased by one decibel, they are hauled away. Abe might be putting a lot of eggs into the American basket, but Russia would be smart to help him out with his domestic problems and play along. No territories need change hands for this.

      Like

  45. Right! Without any exception whatsoever, even amongst those few bleating kreakli with whom I occassionally have the misfortune to associate, in reply to my question whether they have experienced a rise in their standard of living over the past 15 years, they always unhesitatingly and unequivocally concede that they have indeed done so.

    I am of the opinion that nothing, but nothing, exists in the living memory for post-Great Patriotic War born Russians that was worse than those social-nightmare years of Yeltsin’s presidency. On the other hand, anybody younger than 25 is unable recall those “Golden Yeltsin Years”.

    Witness:

    На еще один “Ельцин-центр” – деньги есть? В столице протестуют против “псевдомузея”
    8 февраля 15:14

    For yet another “Yeltsin-Centre” there’s money? In the capital, they are protesting against the “pseudomuseum”

    “Down with the Yeltsin Centre! Give us a Stalin Centre!”

    “A Yeltsin Centre is a memorial to a traitor, an alky …” [unreadable, possibly: “and a law breaker”].

    As soon as the Yeltsin Centre had opened in Yekaterinburg, it immediately fell into the habit of using scandalous mass-media materials: at the presidential institution they talked about “the aesthetics of fascism”, showed “porn” to children, spoke about the separation of Chechnya from Russia [That’s rich coming from them: it was the drunken bastard Yeltsin who launched the First Chechen War — ME], and one of Yeltsin Centre employees even proposed that the rehabilitation of Vlasovites be discussed. Inside the building, more and more different shops, cafés, restaurants and even beauty salons have appeared. According to reports, however, each year the museum has received less and less money. For that reason, retail space began to prevail over the museum component, namely the “centre” named after Yeltsin has turned into a sort of shopping centre.

    I know several who have visited the place, incuding some Yekaterinburgers. They all say the place is a heap of shit.

    Well, not exactly in those words …

    Like

    1. Again!

      The above was posted as a reply to Kirill’s posting above, which ends with: “Income inequality is an issue if the super rich are getting richer while most are getting poorer. This is true for the USA but most definitely not true for Russia. You know, real income growth of 7% per year in 2018 and similarly large growth rates for most the last 20 years are nothing to sneeze at”.

      Like

    2. I suggest the Yeltsin Centre be maintained as a shopping mall, since this symbol of modern Western consumerist capitalism represents the paradise for the people that Yeltsin’s government was working towards, and for which it offered sacrifices … as long as those sacrifices had to be made by the public and not by Yeltsin himself, his family, the people in his government, the oligarchs and all the hangers-on and the foreign advisors and hedge funds who benefited from his government’s policies.

      Like

    3. If it was in honour of Yeltsin The Great Reformer, you can be sure it is the next thing to a liberal NGO. Perhaps Putin is being ironic when he defends the memory of Yeltsin, guessing that the more publicity he gets, the more Russians except for the kreakliy will despise him.

      Like

  46. Two-faced filth!

    На Украине заявили о проблемах с въездом в Россию
    06:25

    [Just love that “на” in “На Украине” above! It bugs Yukie arsehole Svidomites no end. At first, and at the Yukies’ request, the Russian media used to use the preposition “в”, but not now they don’t! — ME]

    In the Ukraine they have spoken of problems as regards entry into Russia
    06:25

    MOSCOW, 10 Feb – RIA Novosti. Russian border guards have unreasonably begun to refuse entry to Ukrainian citizens, stated Assistant Chairman of the Ukraine State Border Service, Oleg Slobodyan live on Channel “112”.

    [But isn’t Russia at war with the Ukraine? — ME]

    According to him, over the past three days the agency has recorded about a hundred cases of refusal to Ukrainians of entry into Russia at the checkpoint “Nekhoteevka” in the Belgorod region. Those refused, Slobodyan said, were mainly those who were driving cars with an engine capacity of more than two litres.

    “They were sent back to the Ukraine without any explanation”*, he added.

    In response to his statement, Russian border guards, according to Slobodyan, have said that the checkpoint “Nekhoteevka” had been working according to the normal state regulations. There has not yet been any official comment from the Russian border service of the FSB.

    In November 2018, in connection with the military situation, the Ukrainian authorities imposed for one month restrictions on the entry of Russian male citizens aged 16 to 60 years. After the end of martial law, the Ukraine National Security and Defence Council recommended that the state border service continue the enhancement of Russian border protection and exercise enhanced control over the citizens of that country entering the Ukraine.

    At the same time, since the beginning of this year more than 1,100 Russians have not been allowed into the Ukraine. In addition, the President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has said that he would give an order to the state border service not to let Russian observers into the country for the presidential elections, which are scheduled for March 31.

    *As a matter of fact, the UK border service can turn anyone back at a point of entry into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and are not obliged to give a reason why. This is made abundantly clear to anyone on their receipt of a UK visa in Russia, where visa recipients are told that their possession of a UK visa does not guarantee entry into that Land of Milk and Honey, that they can be refused entry after having arrived there. I have been in the company of my wife on more than one occasion when, on receipt of a UK visa, she has been thus informed.

    Like

    1. Who are these claimed 1,100 Russians allowed in? I need proof that they are not kreakls or other useful agents of NATzO. And note how the total amount of Ukrs allowed into Russia is not given as if only the refusal of “about 100” is in the same category. About 100 seems like a good filter job on Ukr diversion elements being sent to Russia to agitate Ukrainians living there and coordinate with Daesh possible terrorist acts.

      Like

      1. “Who are these claimed 1,100 Russians allowed in?”

        I think you have misread what I wrote above, which was translated from:

        При этом с начала года на Украину не пустили более 1,1 тысячи россиян.

        At the same time, since the beginning of this year more than 1,100 Russians have NOT been allowed into the Ukraine.

        My stress.

        Like


  47. US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell with Welt am Sonntag reporters Silke Mülherr and Sascha Lehnartz

    Judging by how Grenell has not got his shirt tucked into his pants, he must have got out of bed in a rush when they arrived to interview him.

    And he seems to be wearing a jacket that is several sizes too small for him.

    Extracts from the US ambassador’s interview with the German journalists:

    Welt am SonntagWelt am Sonntag: You have introduced a very direct way of communicating with your German audience. Are you surprised by the critical reception?

    Grenell: I’m not surprised at all. I think that the American style has always been different from the European one. And it’s OK to have different styles. I’ve always thought that I would be judged by the political class on the progress I make. For too long, we have ignored some problems.

    Welt am Sonntag: But do you really feel like the relationship is actually deepening?

    Grenell: Yes, in some areas. If we want to deepen and strengthen this relationship, we’ll have to be honest with each other first. We’ll have to leave the comfort zone and address contentious issues such as the German deficit on meeting NATO commitments. This is not a commitment to the United States, this is a commitment to NATO, the greatest alliance to have ever been formed.

    Welt am Sonntag: So you think some gentle shock therapy was needed to wake the Germans up?

    Grenell: Those are your words. I let the political class use those words. I care enough about the relationship that I want to help reform it. I understand that whoever is the one that turns off the music at a party and says “Can we clean up?” is not popular because everyone prefers to relax and dance.

    Welt am Sonntag: Germany has now officially pledged to raise its defence spending to 1.5 percent until 2024. Is this sufficient in your opinion?

    Grenell: No. NATO asks for 2% by 2024. Germany’s NATO promise to raise defence spending to 1.5 percent is not enough. Again, it is not US standards that have to be met here, but NATO commitments that Berlin has already agreed to and the capabilities that they’ve already signed up for. The US is simply reminding its great German ally that now is not the time to undercut or weaken NATO. With the Russians at the doorstep, it should be clear to everyone that NATO needs strengthening instead.

    The Germans have leverage with Russia. Imagine if Chancellor Merkel stood up and said: Because of Russian behaviour, because of the glioma activity in the increased offence, we cannot give you more influence by buying your energy.

    Welt am Sonntag: The US have pulled out of the INF treaty. Russia has already announced a new missile programme. Is this the beginning of a new arms race?

    Grenell: Well, just to set the record straight. The INF treaty was abandoned by the Russians many years ago. Both the Obama administration and the Trump administration together have called out more than 30 Russian violations in total. We have been asking our German partners to step up pressure on Russia because of these violations. If Germany is really worried about Russian nuclear weapons, shouldn’t it then refuse to give Moscow more power through buying Russian gas?

    Welt am Sonntag: Is this really about Germany’s energy independence or much rather about the US pushing its own industry agenda, namely selling LNG?

    Grenell: The US was against North stream II before we could sell LNG. We have long advocated for energy diversification in Europe. America will always try and sell a variety of products. We love commerce, trade and capitalism. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Just to be clear: Europe is our partner. We view the world the same way. We both believe in democracy, capitalism and human rights. Every American walks into the U. N. General Assembly hall and immediately sees the world as it is and says: Where are my European friends, because we’re on the same side.

    Welt am Sonntag: The German government insists that North stream II is a private energy project. Are you really demanding Berlin should stop it shortly before its completion?

    Grenell: First of all, Germany gets to make this decision. But the U. S. also gets to have a position on it. And we stand with the EU parliament and the 16 countries that are against it. And let me make one point very clear: we are not against Russian gas in Europe. We’re against too much Russian gas that drives our partner into dependency. We are fine with North stream I, but North stream II goes too far. And again, 16 EU countries share our view on this.

    Welt am Sonntag: Poland and Ukraine vehemently oppose North stream II. The German line of defence has always been that there could be safeguards in the deal protecting Ukrainian interests. Is that naïve?

    Grenell: I think Russian behaviour answers this question. They shot down a passenger jet, they used chemical weapons on an opponent, they grabbed land in Europe, and Russia’s behaviour in the Kerch strait, where they recently took 24 Ukrainian soldiers hostage, who are still in prison, shows you that this is naïve. And Moscow stopped gas supplies in the winter, four times in the last twelve years. Relying on commitments from Russia is just about as naïve as believing Huawei’s assurances that China won’t steal your secrets.

    [My stress — ME]

    An uninformed US ambassador!

    Welche Überraschung!!!!

    See: „Die deutschen Zusagen genügen nicht“ [pay wall]

    German commitments are not enough

    Welt am Sonntag in English has no pay wall, it seems.

    See: “The one that turns off the music at a party is not popular”

    Despite his curious clothing style above, here is Grenell dressed up like a dog’s dinner in a diplomat’s frockcoat for his official reception as US Ambassador to Germany by the President of Germany at Belle Vue Palace, Berlin:

    At 0.23 in the above clip, the commenter says:

    Der einundfünfzige, offen schwüle Richard Grenell gilt als Hardliner und Vertraute von US-Präsident Donald Trump

    which translates into English as:

    The 51-year-old, openly gay Richard Grenell is considered to be a hardliner and to be trusted by US President Donald Trump

    That’s a polite translation: in Geman, Schwüler means “faggot”, “queer”, or it least it did so when I last lived in the Fatherland.

    Those fat German soldiers that make up the presidential guard at Belle Vue must scare the pants off their Russian counterparts!

    Like

  48. Lest we forget:

    The emotions of the victims and the smirking enjoyment of the officers in terrorizing/torturing the victims hit you like a ton of bricks. I wonder what they do when the body cams are turned off.

    Like

    1. US cops love shooting blacks in the back so we know what they do when the cameras are off. I will claim, and nobody can offer any proof to counter, that the body count from US police operations is much, much higher than the official numbers. How can you trust numbers from the same organizations (public security agencies) that are doing the killing? The system has an incentive to low-ball the number of deaths since they expose the US for the police state toilet that it is.

      I would have trusted the official numbers more if cops who shoot unarmed people in the back were sent away for 1st degree murder. No, they are not “just doing their jobs”. Their jobs are to detain and not to act like judge, jury and executioner. And since when is some alleged perp running away posing the threat of death to the cop that shoots him?

      Like

      1. It seems cops are learning to play to the body cam. They have been coached to say the right phrases like “if you don’t relax I will taser you good!”

        We were told to be fearful of Americans radicalized in the Middle East. Yup, they are called returning veterans (not all, of course) who have become cops.

        Like

        1. They are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq,where they got the shit kicked out of their asses.
          Yeah..they rolled into Baghdad big time but when the Iraqi resistance got its steam up…they were able to give as good as they got from their occupier/tormentors.
          The Taliban-after 18 years and 1 Trillion dollars the USA lapdog Afghan government does NOT control most of Afghanistan:
          https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2016/08/afghanistan-controls-160823083528213.html

          Read the comments to the video….some people KNOW what time it is to bring a halt to this type of shit.

          Like

  49. Snowfall Warning
    Coastal British Columbia

    Posted 3 hours ago
    Snowfall with total amounts of 5 to 10 cm is expected.

    A low pressure centre forming just offshore this morning will move eastward onto southern Vancouver Island this afternoon. Snow amounts of 5 to 10 cm accompanying the low will begin in Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands this afternoon and end this evening. Snowfall over the Inland Vancouver Island will mainly be confined to the Lake Cowichan area.

    ###

    Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult.

    Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm.
    Recommended actions

    Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. If visibility is reduced while driving, slow down, watch for tail lights ahead and be prepared to stop.

    What a spiteful person that Putin is!

    Just because of the policies promoted and carried out by the chief Canadian minister, namely the Canadian Minister for the Ukraine.

    Like

    1. Yes, you can be sure I was cursing Putin all day yesterday while I was at work in the freezing cold – minus 14 with the wind chill. Snow here has not amounted to much and at present the roads are bare, although it is icy in a few spots. But some of the cherry blossoms had already started, there was really no cold weather all winter, and a few days of Arctic air has put paid to that. Any flowers already starting are frozen solid. We had a geranium on the front step that lived the whole winter, since there was barely even any frost, but it’s done for now; play ‘Taps’.

      Like

      1. My last job before I leave my country estate to the ravages of winter is to wrap up the roses with sacking, and pine fronds, which wrapping I then tie up with binding twine.

        Every bloody winter when it starts snowing, Mrs. Exile then starts mithering me about whether I have correctly protected “her” roses.

        I tell her to go and check herself if she thinks I am such an incompitent.

        And every spring, when, following the general thaw, we arrive at the dacha to open it up for another season, she always expects to find frost bitten and very dead rose bushes.

        They always survive, though.

        Like

  50. So the latest propaganda against Russia claims that 40% of its younger age cohort wants to emigrate. They use a ridiculous non-representative sampling by the Levada Center as “proof”. The Levada Center interviewed 180 people instead of the required 1600+ to get their results. This begs the question if the sample was not just too small but concocted to be composed of kreakls. It is much easier to organize a group of 180 compared to a group of 1600+. Less chance anyone will spill the beans on the fraud.

    The Levada Center is funded from NATzO and it shows.

    Like

    1. As usual, who cares? Who is the west hurting by concocting ridiculous tales about its enemy? By portraying a tottering republic, bleeding population and talent, its economy in tatters and its defensive weaponry rusty junk – why, we could walk in and take the whole place by lunchtime. Who is that hurting? Russia? Hardly. Proceeding from the premise that an insult from a fool is a compliment, the west is doing Russia a favour by depicting it as an autocratic hellhole which is getting worse by the day. The considered opinion of the western population, then, will be ‘leave it to collapse on its own’. Why would you need to go to war to put down an enemy which is falling apart on its own? War isn’t cheap, you know. And speaking of that, why does the USA need to build up a shiny new stock of modern nukes, and muscle in with missile defense all around Russia’s borders? Sounds to me that by the time they get geared up for an attack of exceptionalism, there’ll be nobody left there anyway.

      Like

      1. Such self-snookering would be nice. But the historical drang nach osten demands that western elites actually send in their armies to invade Russia. So one way or another all this hate is going to lead to a nuclear war. That is why I am bitching about it. But I am just one of a tiny number of voices in the wilderness. The vast majority sheeple will just proceed to this outcome like lemmings to the edge of the cliff.

        Like

        1. As the MSM sinks into the tar pits, rays of light are shining through the fog of lies, fear and misdirection. I believe that is is already too late for the Empire to stop its inevitable collapse. Russia and China are in the vanguard but the deplorables will do their part when they can.

          Like

        2. I think even if the American ideologues perceived they had enough public support to kick off a nuclear strike, they would still be very cautious. They would only do it if they were supremely confident that there would be no counterstrike, or that missile defense systems would stop all of it, or that someone else (cough*Europe*cough) would wear it and not American cities. And I don’t think they can have that confidence unless they actually believe all their own hype. And that can’t really be the case – that’s mostly for the rubes and peasants who like to believe they live in an exceptional capitalist success story.

          Like

    2. Levada is officially registered as a foreign agent.

      The bastards at Levada make no bones about this.

      He who pays the piper …?

      From Gallup:

      DECEMBER 10, 2018
      More Than 750 Million Worldwide Would Migrate If They Could

      Check it out!

      In the tables “Desire to Migrate Up Worldwide” and “Countries Where at Least Half of Adults Would Like to Move” Russia gets no mention.

      Russia does, however, get a mention in the table “Top Desired Destinations for Potential Migrants”, in which Russia is placed in 16th position behind of the favourite destination, the USA.

      One in five potential migrants (21%) — or about 158 million adults worldwide — name the U.S. as their desired future residence. Canada, Germany, France, Australia and the United Kingdom each appeal to more than 30 million adults.

      According to the poll, 8 million worldwide have a desire to emigrate to Mordor.

      Like

      1. About 30% of Americans and 55% of Germans want to leave their respective paradises. For Russia the number is 17% as determined by real polling and not Levada Center style fraud.

        Like

    3. The Levada Center has admitted in the past that it sometimes uses ‘focus groups’ rather than random polling to determine popular opinion. It is much easier to influence the opinion of members of a focus group – at least some of whom do not want to go against what they perceive to be majority opinion – and the way the discussion point is presented often predetermines its outcome.

      Like

      1. Soon to be in production in Russia … the BOOK missile with a warhead filled with 6,000 pieces of paper shrapnel, each of which when unravelled reveals code that leads to people believing in Russianbot propaganda. 🙂

        Like

  51. https://www.ruaviation.com/docs/3/2018/11/6/211/

    The joint Russian/Chinese wide body jet airliner, CR929, per the article is expected to achieve the following in global sales in the wide body market:
    5% – Russia
    15% – China
    28% – Asia/Pacific
    The above totals to 48% of the market now dominated by Boeing and Airbus. The wide body market, per the article is 50% by value of the total commercial aviation market. So, the CR929 is expected to take 24% of the global market measured by value. Seems ambitious but given enough time and a fair market, it seems reasonable considering the the following projected advantages over the current players:
    – 10-15% advantage regarding operating expenses per seat;
    – 5-18% advantage regarding fuel efficiency per seat;
    – The best offer regarding comfort – wider fuselage;
    – improve[d] aerodynamic quality and improve[d] the aircraft’s weight efficiency.
    – Composite materials account for more than 50% of the airframe structure;
    – Advanced man-oriented cockpit, maximum automation.

    The website is a good source on aviation developments in Russia.

    Presumably, there will be a substantial political/dirty tricks battle to keep the CR929 out of Western markets. However, the markets that are likely to be beyond Western control constitute about 50% of the global pie.

    Like

      1. Airbus just announced that A-380 production will end. Air Emirates was really the only big buyer. Don’t know if Airbus sold enough planes to recover development costs. The plane itself seemed OK based on the few times I have flown on it (economy class of course). But it was just too big to have a high chance of filling all the seats and required special gates to accommodate its size.

        Like

  52. The natural and intentional extrapolation of Alexa:

    Scene: the bedroom of a young children. The parents are downstairs (assuming that there are any) smoking weed and listening to Kiss records :

    C:Alexa, tell me a story:
    S: Yes sweetie, would you like to hear about the big bad bear?
    C: OK
    C: Once upon a time, there was an evil smelly bear that lived in the east. The bear scared everybody, it stunk, had big teeth, and chased small children. But, one day, the children formed N-A-T-O to chase away the evil bear.
    C: Is that a true story?
    A: Of course sweetie, I never lie.

    It is easy to imagine Alexa and its ilk morphing into surrogate parents – telling stories, becoming confidants, offering advice, forming opinion, etc. Such an evolution will be mandated by the social engineers. A Dr. Phil in every house. Privatized family development – the final step in the elitist takeover.

    Barring social collapse and assuming improvements in AI, I would say in 10-15 years, most childhood raising in urban environments will be by Alexa analogs. The control loop will be fully closed.

    Like

    1. The elites are always insecure about their power. They are, for sure, using every trick to herd the sheeple. The boob tube replaced parents from the 1970s on. Alexa is the next logical step. A type of AI radio. In the future it will be getting a holographic screen and then it will an AI TV. And we have the 1984 TV in every home.

      Like

      1. It is truly amazing that people pay money to have 24/7 listening devices installed in their homes. Not just listening devices but presumably devices/software that can be centrally programmed to cue off of any words or phrases. And as people become more dependent on this”helper” to remember birth dates, to pay bills, generate grocery lists and adjust the heat or AC, play music, tell stories to the kids, the more they will turn a blind eye towards the obvious and total invasion of their life. Our brains will be fully occupied (in every sense of the word) from early child on by a foreign and fundamentally malevolent entity.

        I suppose there may be a day when laws, building codes or whatever will require the installation of such devices in every dwelling, for your health and safety of course.

        Like

        1. They’re a triumph of marketing, low price and convenience against security and common sense. Reading several pieces about the subject, people in the comments write that there are a number of ‘home automation solutions’ that don’t ring home or record your. For example recently there was an outcry against Logitech because it removed hidden software api protocols to its harmony home hub that had been discovered by users and exploited to use with non-logitech products:

          https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/21/logitech_backs_down_harmony_api/

          This also highlights the whole issue of planned obselsence where users are force to upgrade phones/devices whatever after a couple of years or so as they are ‘no loner supported’ (sic android phones in particular where there are options such as LineageOS). Fortunately there’s been push back in what is know as ‘Right to Repair’ and ‘repair cafes’ springing up all over the place, not to mention a much wider questioning of the disposable economy, what it means for the environment, energy use etc. What bugs me are all the new features that are included in new products but most people either use once or not at all. What’s the point?

          Like

          1. I’m amazed that they are able to use the same name as a successful British engineering company:

            https://logitech.uk.com

            started by a Geology doctorate student in 1965 experimenting with his then-Top of the Range BSR record player turntable, according to the company history I was given when doing a small job for them circa 1980.

            Like

        2. The only smart centralised software I would want in my home is one that I can program to choose the music genres I want to hear in the background all day long, when eventually I am too old and decrepit to leave my bed. I would program it to choose and play obscure German and Japanese psychedelic rock music, Ethiopian jazz music and Iranian and Southeast Asian pop music, all from the late 1960s / early 1970s; all my favourite electronic music artists like Raymond Scott and Vladislav Delay; the old classic Arab orchestras and singers like Umm Kulthum and Farid al Atrache from the mid 20th century; a good chunk of David Bowie’s output from 1974 to 1980, and lots more besides. I would have my own virtual radio station of the kind I used to listen to when I was a kid.

          Like

          1. I am fond of Arab music and of Umm Kulthum in particular. The interaction between her and the audience was amazing in the videos I have seen.

            Like

  53. Министр обороны Великобритании предупредит Россию о “высокой цене за провокации”
    Согласно выдержкам предстоящего выступления Гэвина Уильямсона, он также призовет НАТО повысить свою готовность в свете ситуации с ДРСМД

    The British Defence Secretary warns Russia of “the high price for provocation”
    According to excerpts from Gavin Williamson’s upcoming speech, he will also call on NATO to increase its readiness in the light of the situation with the INF TREATY

    LONDON, February 11. /TASS./ Russia must pay a high price for the provocative actions it allegedly takes against NATO member countries. This will be announced during his speech on Monday, British defence minister Gavin Williamson. Excerpts from his upcoming speech have been released by the Press Association.

    “[NATO] should develop the ability to cope with the provocations that Russia sets up against us. Such actions on the part of Russia should be costly”, Williamson said. The agency material does not specify what kind of provocative actions Russia allegedly takes. At the same time, it is noted that the head of the British defence ministry will call on NATO to increase its readiness in the light of the situation with the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range Missiles (INF).

    According to the published excerpts from the defence minister’s speech, he will state the need for the UK and its allies to be ready to “use hard power to protect their interests” against countries that “mock international law”. “If you just say and do not act, there is a risk that our country will not be perceived more dangerous than a paper tiger”, Williamson said.

    Hard power, eh?

    Hard man!

    Like

    1. Thick print gone awry above! Should have been closed after “Press Asociation”.

      And there’s more in the Daily Fail:

      We’re ready to strike back against Russia and China: Defence Secretary to announce Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier will be deployed in the Pacific


      I’m dead hard, me!

      The readers’ comments to such a right-wing rag as is the Mail make interesting reading.

      Someone should ask sonny Jim “We’ll strike back but with what exactly, seeing that we cant even muster what passes for a police force never mind a military one?”

      Russia’s ‘Satan 2’ could take out a country the size of France, itself four times larger than England, so a small city the size of London, itself 50 times smaller than Scotland, shouldn’t be a problem for Putin.

      This baby boy is delusional .

      WHAT?!! This and previous governments have slashed the size of the armed forces so that they are smaller than they have been for a very long time and this man thinks we can take on China or Russia?

      Like

      1. I think in future, if anyone mentions any more articles about Gavin Williamson, could he or she please post a photo of the pet tarantula instead? I think that would be far more tolerable than having to look at the Gavver’s mugging for the camera with that fake mischievous bratty expression.

        Like

              1. I read some of them. I laughed so hard at the comment about the British navy cutting itself down over time like Lebanese beef shawarma that I didn’t have the heart to correct it. Beef is absent from Lebanese cuisine.

                Like

            1. What an entertaining take-down of that tosser! So many great passages. Here is one:

              We are currently the nation the world turns to when it’s in need of a good laugh, and to be fair to little Gavin, he more than pulls his weight on that front. It’s possible this will not always be Britain’s place in the world, but one thing will have to happen first. We will, finally, have to work out that our future simply does not lie in deluded fantasies about Britain leading the world.

              Like

      2. The idiot must think that Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Defence is still Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, who once headed the War Office.

        If he does think that is the case, then it is somewhat strange, as on 1 April 1964, with the creation of the new cabinet-level position of Secretary of State for Defence, the position of Secretary of State for War was abolished.

        All this happened long before that puerile prick was born.

        Like

      3. Well, the National Embarrassment, Gavin Williamson, has publicly threatened both Russia and China so he could hardly complain if either or both country decided to take no chances and sank any UK carrier which appeared anywhere near either country.

        The US, UK and all the other ‘allies’ have been unable to defeat lightly-armed, sandal-wearing Afghanis in a conflict that has already lasted three times longer than WW2 and yet now they want to take on nuclear-armed, never-defeated-in-a-land-war Russia? These people are insane beyond any and all belief.

        Like

    2. I’d be interested to know how he plans to make anything Russia does ‘more costly for Russia’ without also making it more costly for the UK. Weapons and equipment do not come cheap, and adding more troops to the roster makes more citizens dependent upon the government for their jobs. Consequently a larger pool of dissatisfied voters if down the line there is a decision to downsize.

      Like

  54. Sputnik

    German Economy and Trade Minister Peter Altmaier described the EU’s new directive on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a “powerful signal” for those who have criticised the project.

    “Firstly, each country has the right to freely maintain those economic and trade relations that it considers correct. Nord Stream 2 is first of all a private project which has already been approved by many countries,” Altmaier underscored.

    To which a Sputnik commenter writes:

    “Firstly, each country has the right to freely maintain those economic and trade relations that it considers correct.” That means there is no imperative for any EU country then to maintain sanctions against Russia.

    Like

  55. BTW, the often invoked “ts” in “cats” as equivalent to the Russian “ts” is BS. In English both the “t” and the “s” are enunciated as one can determine by saying the word “cats” and feeling what the tongue is doing. It is first closing the air passage to pronounce the “t” and then opening it to pronounce the “s”. That this happens in quick succession does not make it one sound. By contrast “ts” in Russian (and in Japanese) is pronounced as a single sound which is rather similar to a very short lived high pressure leak from an air hose.

    English speakers have a hard time pronouncing “tsuki” (moon) and “tsunami” (tidal wave) because all they have that is similar is the “t-s” in “cats” and other such plural endings. Yalensis needs to do some research on this subject before declaring himself to be the thought police of this board.

    As for the alleged German equivalent of “ts” found in some words with a hard “z”. This is subjectivist nonsense. The “z” sound is hardened and not dropped. It sounds more like “tz”. It never sounds like “ts” or even “t-s”. There is a reason the letter z is used. If it was a totally distinct sound then another letter would be created to distinguish it. You know, like in Polish and in German itself in the case of the “ss” (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9F).

    Yalensis the trotsky cultist is trying to claim that human languages are subject to subjectivist BS like he is peddling on this board. That somehow every language is isomorphic. This is manifestly false and it has nothing to do with the fact that all humans can theoretically form the same sounds. As with English speakers have a hard time properly pronouncing “tsunami” and Japanese speakers unable to easily decouple vowels from consonants (since they have a phonetic alphabet), local cultural and historical differences exist. All that yalensis does is deny this fact.

    Like

    1. Kirill, you do realize that there are books out there on General Linguistics and studies on individual languages and their phonology? Scientists have been studying this stuff every since 600 BC.
      You really don’t need to make shit up or improvise. All you need to do is read those books.
      Or read wiki, or an Encyclopedia. Or anything other than your own dementia.
      Do you really believe that you know something or discovered something that real Linguists with PhD’s don’t know, or never realized?

      Do you actually understand the difference between phonetics and phonology?
      Again, there are lots of books out there that you could read, which would help you understand.
      (The wiki thing you linked is irrelevant, it’s about a letter in orthography.)
      Do you understand the difference between alphabets/orthography and phonology? Apparently not.

      And by the way, you also made up the term “isomorphic” and then ascribed it to me.
      There is no such thing, and I never said that. Find the comment and prove that I am wrong.
      You can’t, because you are simply making up shit — once again!

      You do not see that you are simply babbling nonsense? Are you actually for real?

      P.S. – there is also no such thing as Trotskyist Linguistics, any more than there is Trotskyist Chemisty or Trotskyite Biology, or Trotskyist Mathematics, or…. (etc.)
      oi, it is very difficult to argue with a clinically insane person….

      Like

      1. P.S. – Kirill, once again here is the wiki page on English phonology.
        You will see that there is no English phoneme /ts/ and nobody ever claimed there was.
        You just don’t get this, because you don’t understand the difference between phonetics and phonology.
        You don’t even understand the difference between phonology spelling, something an ordinary 6-year-old American child gets when he first enters a spelling bee in school!

        The word “cats” is a string of 4 phonemes /k/ /æ/ /t/ and the plural marker /s/

        Therefore, moron, you just made this up as a straw man, the same way you once made up the “fact” that I supposedly said that Russian has the /th/ phoneme.
        Which I never said. Again, you made that up, as a straw man.
        I challenge you to find the comment where I ever said that.
        Along with the comment where I ever said that English has the /ts/ phoneme.
        You won’t find it, because I never said it.

        Again, you just make shit up. That’s what you do. You’re a no-nothing blowhard bully who makes shit up.
        That’s your “proof by assertion”, another fancy term for making shit up.
        Unfortunately for you, your bullshit “assertions” are preserved for posterity on the internet. You would have done better to just always keep your big mouth shut, rather than spewing B.S.

        Like

      2. And P.P.S. – just for Kirill’s edification, since he emitted so many howlers in his last comment, here is the wiki page on German phonology, which he was too lazy to read.
        Since Kirill does not understand the difference between phonology and alphabets, I will spell it out for him (get it! ha ha!) , basing myself on this wiki page reference. After reading this, Kirill might also take it upon himself to read up on the International Phonetic Alphabet and learn the terms that real linguistics use, instead of (once again) just making up his own shit and trying to sell it to the masses as gold coin.

        So, according to real linguistics who have actually studied these matters, Standard German has approximately 25 consonantal phonemes.
        Here is a chart of each major consonantal phoneme, the way it is spelled (in German, using the Latin orthography) and a sample word:

        Nasal bi-labial /m/ spelled “m” Example word: Mädchen
        Voiceless Nasal plosive /p/ spelled “p” – Platz
        Voiced nasal plosive /b/ spelled “b” – Bei
        Voiceless nasal-dental affricate /pf/ spelled “pf”- Pfennig
        Voiceless fricative /f/ spelled “f”, sometimes spelled “v” – Fern or Viel
        Voiced fricative /v/ spelled “w”: Wer
        Nasal dental /n/ spelled “n”: Niemand
        Voiceless dental plosive /t/ spelled “t” – Tag
        Voiced dental plosive /d/ spelled “d” – Denn
        Voiceless dental affricate /ts/ spelled “z” – Zeitung
        Voiceless sibilant /s/ spelled “ss” or (old Orthography) ß – Süße
        Voiced sibilant /z/ spelled “s” – sind
        Lateral /L/ spelled “L” – Leben
        Voiceless palatal alveolar /ch/ spelled “Tsch” – Tschinelle (“cymbal”)
        Voiced palatal alveolar /dj/ spelled “Dsch” – Dschungel (“jungle”)
        Voiceless palatal fricative /ç/ spelled “ch” – nicht
        Voiced palatal fricative /j/ spelled “j” – Jacke (“jacket”)
        Rhotic /r/ spelled “r” – Rote
        Velar nasal /ŋ/ spelled “ng” – Lang
        Voiceless velar stop /k/ spelled “k” – Katz
        Voiced velar stop /g/ spelled “g” – gehen
        Glottal stop /ʔ/ [not spelled, no letter for it in the alphabet], example: Beamter [Be’amter]
        Voiceless glottal fricative /h/, spelled /h/ – Hass

        So, that’s it for the catalogue German consonants.
        Kirill will of course reject this scholarship as “Trotskyite” and substitute his own erudition in all matters of “European languages”.
        I heard a rumor that Kirill is writing his dissertation on “Isomorphic Languages and the Trotskyite Fallacy of Palatal Phonemes in European Languages”.
        His thesis advisor is Bozo the Clown.

        Meanwhile, August Schleicher rolls over in his grave….

        Like

        1. Standard German also uses two more “r” sounds: one is a guttural sound similar to the Standard French sound for “r” and the other is a trilled sound.

          Like

          1. Jen: According to the standard wiki page on German phonology, German actually has just one /r/ phoneme. But this phoneme is pronounced differently in different contexts (and also different dialects, and even by individual speakers). Per wiki:

            /r/ has a number of possible realizations:
            Voiced apical coronal trill/tap [r̺, ɾ̺],[53][54][55] either alveolar (articulated with the tip of the tongue against the alveolar ridge),[53][54][55] or dental (articulated with the tip of the tongue against the back of the upper front teeth).[53][54]
            Distribution: Common in the south (Bavaria and many parts of Switzerland and Austria), but it is also found in some speakers in central and northern Germany, especially the elderly. It is also one of possible realizations of /r/ in the Standard Austrian accent, but a more common alveolar realization is an approximant [ɹ]. Even more common are uvular realizations, fricatives [ʁ ~ χ] and a trill [ʀ].[56]
            Voiced uvular trill [ʀ],[53][54][57][58] which can be realized as voiceless [ʀ̥] after voiceless consonants (as in treten).[54] According to Lodge (2009) it is often a tap [ʀ̆] intervocalically (as in Ehre).[59]
            Distribution: Occurs in some conservative varieties – most speakers with a uvular /r/ realize it as a fricative or an approximant.[60] It is also one of possible realizations of /r/ in the Standard Austrian accent, but it is less common than a fricative [ʁ ~ χ].[56]
            Dorsal continuant, about the quality of which there is not a complete agreement:
            Krech et al. (2009) describe two fricative variants, namely post-palatal [ɣ˖] and velar [ɣ]. The post-palatal variant appears before and after front vowels, while the velar variant is used in all other positions.[61]
            Morciniec & Prędota (2005) describe it as voiced post-velar fricative [ʁ̟].[62]
            Mangold (2005) and Kohler (1999) describe it as voiced uvular fricative [ʁ];[53][63]
            Mangold (2005) states that “with educated professional radio and TV announcers, as with professional actors on the stage and in film, the [voiced uvular] fricative [realization of] /r/ clearly predominates.”[53]
            In the Standard Austrian accent, the uvular fricative is also the most common realization, although its voicing is variable (that is, it can be either voiced [ʁ] or voiceless [χ]).[56]
            Kohler (1999) writes that “the place of articulation of the consonant varies from uvular in e.g. rot (‘red’) to velar in e.g. treten (‘kick’), depending on back or front vowel contexts.” He also notes that [ʁ] is devoiced after voiceless plosives and fricatives, especially those within the same word, giving the word treten as an example. According to this author, [ʁ] can be reduced to an approximant in an intervocalic position.[64]
            Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996) describe it as a uvular fricative [ʁ] or approximant [ʁ̞]. The latter is less likely to occur word-initially.[65]
            Distribution: Almost all areas apart from Bavaria and parts of Switzerland.
            Near-open central unrounded vowel [ɐ] is a post-vocalic allophone of (mostly dorsal) varieties of /r/. The non-syllabic variant of it is not always near-open or central; it is similar to either [ɑ] or [ə], depending on the environment.[62]
            Distribution: Widespread, but less common in Switzerland.

            Hence, you are right that there is more than one German [r], but it is also a true statement that there is just one German /r/.

            Recall the distinction which Linguists make between phonemes and allophones.

            You can think of the phoneme /r/ as a kind of “Platonic ideal” German /r/ which carries a load of meaning in the context of a morpheme; whereas the actual nitty-gritty pronunciations are the “realizations” or “allophones” of the Platonic ideal!
            In this sense, there is just one perfect /r/ (in German, at least), but many different ways to pronounce it.

            When in doubt, always go with wiki. Their Linguistics pages are quite well written, and always by specialists in those languages!

            Like

            1. P.S. – Jen, Linguists use a standard notation to distinguish phonemes from allophones. The custom is to put the phoneme in slashes, e.g., /r/ and the allophone in square brackets, e.g., [ʀ̆].
              Allophones are generally not counted when tallying up a particular language’s catalogue of phonemes. However, there can be some gray areas, in which reputable linguists might have differing opinions. (Due to the fact that languages evolve like plants and animals, and leave some relics of past states.)

              For example, there is an ongoing debate in Russian phonology over the status of the “yery” sound, written in the Russian alphabet as Ы.
              Some linguists believe that this sound is a phoneme in its own right, others believe that it is merely an allophone of the phoneme /i/.

              (Not unlike astronomers debating whether Pluto is a planet or just an asteroid!)

              Like

            2. Yes, very interesting topic. Thanks for the explanation.

              Found this map on a Reddit.com discussion of the distribution of the guttural “R” in western and northern Europe and how this sound might have arisen and spread.

              Like

              1. Clearly, the compiler of that map has never been to Blackburn, Preston, Darwen, Burnley etc. in Lancashire, North-West England.

                When I say “Russia”, I pronounce the “r”.

                I also pronounce the “u” as is the “u” in “put” pronounced.

                Many from the south east of England sound to me as though they are saying “washah” when they say “Russia”.

                Ar’t awraht, luv?

                /ɑʀt ɔ:ʀɑ:t lʊv/

                (Art thou alright, love?)

                Like

                1. The woman was speaking in a variety of northern English accents and used some dialect words as well.

                  She started off and ended with a sort of northeast accent, mentioning “bairn” for child”: the former is part of northern English dialect as a result of the Anglo-Norse Old English spoken in the north of England 1,000 years ago as compared with the “Anglo-Saxon” Old English spoken in the south. As regards the northeastern accent, the term of endearment used by a man for a woman was, when I last lived in the UK , “hinney”, which is the pronunciation of “honey”.

                  Like

          2. I started teaching German several months ago to a schoolgirl at her home on a Saturday morning and the girl’s mother was surprised to hear me not using the gutteral “r”.

            In the time I lived and worked in Germany, I never heard anyone pronouncing the letter “r” in that way, though, of course, many do. Some believe such pronunciation was copied off the French after Buonaparte had created his satrap known as the Confederation of the Rhine. Whatever, I lived in Hamburg, Duisburg, Berlin, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden and never heard that gutteral “r” spoken. And my German girlfriend most certainly didn’t use it.

            Anyway, I felt that the mother of the girl whom I am teaching German thought I was not pronouncing German correctly, so to make her happy, I started using the gutteral “r”. The customer is always right!

            Lenin used to use a “gutteral “r” as well. Don’t know why.

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            1. No! Lenin did not use a gutteral “r”, it seems as though he swallowed the “r” sound, giving it a slight gutterality!

              He did not roll his r’s as do most Russian speakers.

              When my son started school, he had to see a speech therapist because his teacher said he was not pronouncing his r’s properly, and on the therapist’s advice, my wife had the frenulum below his tongue cut. She only told me of this after the deed was done and I went bloody mad over this as I suspect his looney teacher thought he could not pronounce “r” as she wished because he was a “foreigner”.

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              1. ME:
                I read somewhere that certain people are simply genetically incapable of rolling their R’s, something to do with the structure of their palate and tongue. I don’t know if Lenin fit into that category, or if it was just his regional accent. His opponents detected a “Jewish” accent, as if Yiddish was his native language, LOL!
                As for the operation that was done on your son, that sounds barbaric to me, like a form of mutilation! What would have been so horrible about him speaking with a non-rolled R, everybody would still be able to understand what he was saying. What’s next? That boys should be castrated young so they can still sing soprano parts?

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              2. The speech therapist should have been investigated by the relevant professional organisation or association for even suggesting cutting the frenulum and not checking all other available non-surgical alternatives. Any kind of surgery, even if very minor, should be a last resort because there’s always a risk of infection or the patient having a reaction to local anaesthetic.

                If the cut had been small, the wound heals quickly because blood supply to the mouth is rich. Washing the mouth with salty water helps healing as well. I’ll bet that the frenulum grew back to what it had been before in less than a month and the cutting made no difference to the child’s speech at all. Small children, especially preschool / kindergarten-age boys, often have speech problems and most of these can be treated with the child having regular one-to-one instruction and exercises in forming sounds.

                It’s my understanding that Lenin grew up in an area (Ulyanovsk, then called Simbirsk) that was ethnically complex. The Russian spoken in the area would have reflected the different accents people brought because many of them were speaking it as a second language.

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      3. Yalensis, with all due respect, “isomorphic” is a legit term from group theory. And it means the kind of a bijective (“bi-directional”) mapping between two groups which preserves the group operation.

        Perhaps you could find a common language with Kirill if you discuss some intersection of your respective areas of expertise — such as, machine translation, computational linguistics, etc. 😉

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        1. Evgeny, I had never heard the term “isomorphic” before, and certainly not in any connection to Linguistics. The point here is that, when contradicted on a factual error, Kirill just starts blowing smoke, trying to divert. He will never say, “Ooops, I was wrong,” when it comes to Linguistics.

          One of his tricks is to suddenly invent a new strawman, some new fallacy, and then ascribe it to me. Hence, he decided that I (when I simply post factual content from, say, Wikipedia, refuting his factual idiocies), suffer from some (invented) Trotskyite fallacy which claims (allegedly) that all languages are exactly the same. I think that is what he means by “isomorphism” in this case.

          Kirill is so dishonest a debater that he frequently ascribes his own fallacies to me. He hopes that nobody has a memory, or is able to retrieve old comments.

          In earlier times (2017), the feud began as a discussion of alphabets. The issue was Kazakhstan deciding whether to replace Cyrillic with the Latin alphabet. Now, I don’t know a word of Kazakh, and neither does Kirill. Therefore, neither one of us has the right to decree which is the better alphabet to encode the Kazakh phones. This is best left to professional Linguists who specialize in the Turkic languages.

          Oh, to be sure, there is a political component to such a decision; but on purely technical merits, I merely pointed out that Latin works fine as an alphabet even for certain Slavic languages such as Czech and Polish. This sent Kirill, the fake Russian kvass-patriot, into a frenzy. In which he accused me, again, of Trotskyism. And also invented his own rule whereby Cyrillic is the more perfect alphabet because it doesn’t have diacritic marks. To which I refuted by pointing out how the Russian letters Ё and Й do actually have diacritics!

          Again, every time I provide a counter-example to one of Kirill’s un-factual statements, he flies into a rage, accuses me of Trotskyism, of being a Russia-hater, and now this Paranoid-Schizophrenic has even somehow convinced himself that I subscribe to the New York Times variety of Russophobia! Simply because I won’t subscribe to his fake theories (which he simply made up) of Linguistics.

          Meanwhile, in the course of this mad “debate”, Kirill started emitting such a series of bloopers in which it became obvious that he does not understand one whit the difference between phonetics and phonemics; let alone (even more hilariously) the difference between phonemics and orthography. Didn’t you see, in his comment, just above, how he insisted that German “Zeit” has to be pronounced with a /z/ sound (like the English “zoo”) because of the fact that it is spelled with a Latin Z letter. Do you, realize, Evegeny, just how stupid Kirill’s comment sounds to somebody who has even minimal training in Linguistics? I am taking Linguistics 101 here, not even higher levels. But, I mean, even a 6-year-old child understands that words are not always spelled the way they are pronounced.

          Next, the feud continued when Kirill started inventing his own theory of Linguistics and decided there was a difference between “Asiatic” and “European” languages. It was a sort of racist theory, in that it was based on the notion that only “Asians” can pronounce (have the types of mouths?) palatal consonants such as /ts/ and /ch/. Kirill insisted, against all the evidence and centuries of scholarship, that no “European” language possesses these sounds. (Again, also not understanding the scientific difference between phonetics and phonemics.)

          When I factually corrected Kirill on his factual errors, he went bananas, invented the “isomorphic” fallacy, ascribed it to me, and you will even see (in the above thread) that now he is even trying to assing his original racist supposition to me, informing me quite pompously that all humans can pronounce all sounds.

          Evgeny, there can be no common ground between myself and Kirill. This violent blowhard has nothing to say on my areas computers or linguistics that is anything except factually incorrect and even hilariously wrong. He claims to have a PhD in Physics. I know nothing about physics, and I suspect that Kirill doesn’t either, but I can’t debate him on that or discuss intelligently since, as I said, I have no training there. I simply suspect that he is making that up too.

          Evgeny, if you want to know more about the origins of this feud, you can read at least my side of the story in my 7-part blogpost .

          In which I code-named Kirill “Otto” in homage to the Kevin Klein character in the movie “A Fish Called Wanda”. Just like Otto, Kirill makes shit up and then flies into a rage when contradicted.

          If you want Kirill’s side of the story, you will have to go back to the old Kremlin Stooge blog and try to wade through his hilarious bloopers in the comment threads.

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          1. Yalensis, thanks for a detailed account of your feud with Kirill. Which, to be frank, reminded me of the feud between Sologdin and Rubin from Solzhenitsyn’s “In the First Circle”. If I recall it correctly — it has been quite a while since I’ve read it — the two characters of Solzhenitsyn’s novel, who were quite successful in their respective fields (linguistics and radio engineering) have became mortal enemies following a heated debate about laws of dialectics.

            If anything, watching over your feud reinforces me in thinking that Solzhenitsyn’s novel has been actually based on the real-life experience.

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            1. Hi, Evgeny, glad that we amuse you. Well, actually, the feud began even earlier than the “palatal consonants” stuff.
              I will need to check back over those old comments in Mark’s old blog, but technically Kirill began the feud when he declared that “Russia does not need scum like you.” Referring to me, of course.
              Later, he called me a “sack of shit”, and other names. Posing as the uber-Russian kvass patriot who gets to decide who is a true Russian, and who isn’t.

              Actually, Evgeny, if you want to be a useful mediator, then I offer you this opportunity: Previously (actually on several occasions), I had offered Kirill the possibility of a truce. I have merely 2 demands of him:
              1.) That he apologize to me for calling me a sack of shit; and
              2.) That he admit he was factually incorrect about the German palatal consonant. He should simply admit that German phonology, in its catalogue of phonemes includes the phoneme /ts/, a “voiceless alveolar sibilant affricate” as in the word “Zeit”.

              If Kirill complies with above 2 conditions, then I promise to drop this palatal issue and not bring it up any more.

              See, Evgeny, this is your big chance to be a diplomat, and broker this truce!

              [Hopefully this will be an educational experience for you, Evgeny. You will watch as the ignorant fool Kirill doubles down and goes bananas, emitting ever more hilarious howlers as he pretends to know something about Linguistics; and then you might come to learn, that it is simply impossible to reason with a paranoid schizophrenic!]

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  56. Euractiv with AFP: Ukrainian official charged in acid attack on activist after outcry
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/ukrainian-official-charged-in-acid-attack-on-activist-after-outcry/

    Ukrainian prosecutors said Monday (11 February) they had charged a high-ranking regional official with organising a deadly acid attack on a prominent anti-corruption activist that prompted widespread outrage.

    …She was attacked in July and had about a litre of acid poured on her by several attackers. The 33-year-old died in November after months of treatment, including more than 10 operations…

    …On Monday, less than two months before Ukrainians go to the polls to elect a president, General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko pointed the finger at the head of the local council in the southern region of Kherson.

    Vladyslav Manger is accused of “organising the murder of Kateryna Gandzyuk,” Lutsenko said on Facebook.
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    ‘European standards’, innit?

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    1. But as has become the standard for Ukrainian justice, we never know if the person accused had anything to do with it, or is a political rival or an inconvenient dupe selected to take the fall. Ukrainian prosecution is often replete with so much convincing evidence of guilt that it makes you wonder how it took them so long to make an arrest – the guy did everything but wear an “I Did It” T-shirt. But you wonder how much of it is simply fabricated, as the SBU is notorious for it.

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