Loose-Screw McKew, and America’s Learning Disability.

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “Spoon-feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”

Well, then can I walk beside you? I have come to lose the smog;
And I feel myself a cog in something turning:
And maybe it’s the time of year; yes, and maybe it’s the time of man
And I don’t know who I am, but life is for learning.

We are stardust, we are golden; we are billion-year-old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden…

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, from “Woodstock

Life is for learning. Occasionally, as events of great moment pass us by without destroying the world, as they may have had the potential to do, we sigh with relief, and say, “There was a lesson that came at tremendous cost – I just hope the right people learned something from it”. And if the disaster was one which resulted from an unsafe situation such as a badly-planned intersection or a highway with inherent dangers, there’s every chance the right people will have learned something, and that the situation will be quickly addressed; municipal or federal governments frequently get sued for safety situations, often successfully.

Not in politics, though. Oh, people get sued in politics, too, from time to time. But politics is not what you would call a rich learning environment. People get used to doing things a certain way, and they keep on doing things that way. Party loyalty often inspires bizarre behavior and indefensible statements long after it is obvious they are indefensible. Fortunately – for politicians – it is the one forum in which people are seldom punished for being wrong, or for continuing to maintain they were right long after it is evident they were wrong. And no forum is more illustrative of this than American politics. Few examples are more illustrative than the ridiculous position – seized upon and promoted by the Democratic party – that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because the Russians rigged the election for Donald Trump.

The Mueller Report, recently released, tried its best to imply that there was collusion even as it stated baldly that the investigation had yielded no evidence of collusion. But what struck me with the most force was the manner in which the Democrats – and the entire crowd which has so much invested in having had an illegitimate president foisted upon them by the Godless Russians – simply shook its head, took a deep breath…and went right on blathering the same lunatic narrative. The Russians interfered with our democracy. Nothing is safe. Russia is the enemy of democracy, and will not suffer a democracy to live. Get the kids and pack up enough food for traveling, Mabel; we’re headed for the mountains – it’s “Red Dawn”, babycakes.

Amazing as it will sound, America has learned nothing.

Part of it, of course, is America’s belief in its own omnipotence; if something came out differently from the way it was planned to come out, then America was tricked. Hoodwinked, by unscrupulous actors. It cannot be that America is subject to the same vagaries and pressures and caprices as the rest of the world; America decides, and so it shall be. Part of it is the diligent pick-and-shovel work that America’s political forces do to preserve that illusion; that America is an unstoppable force, so much more than just a big rich country.

So, the premise endures. Russian trolls, acting on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin, generated a storm of hateful social-media messages on race relations in America, in a coordinated strike which included Russian release of Hillary Clinton’s personal emails, and America faltered. It scratched its head in doubt, and Donald Trump slipped past the worthy – and oh, so wronged – Mrs. Clinton to seize the presidency with his soiled hands.

Matt Taibbi did some excellent work on the subject, which I admit grudgingly, as I hoped to get something out on America’s inability to learn from its mistakes before the heavyweights. Taibbi’s writing will make you wonder whether you should laugh or cry, as you wonder how an influential country could survive the embarrassment of the past couple of years, encapsulated by a journalistic mantra which holds that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Russia is guilty as sin, and you can take that to the bank, so the very fact that Mueller will not leak any proof to us must mean that his findings are so devastating, so jaw-dropping, so “shut up!!” that they would break the media. The one possibility which was not considered a possibility at all was that there was nothing, and that the accusations had been fabrication and desperate damage control from the first.

But the frustrated narrative of Russian collusion is the only component which has been discredited to the point that Democrats and Russophobes of all political persuasions must admit there is no happy ending to the promise that Donald Trump was going to be fired so high he would need to go on oxygen. Mueller – probably deliberately – continued to hint that Russia had ‘meddled’ in the 2016 election, and that the effect had been important enough that democracy is under attack. No longer listening to anyone outside the party-faithful echo chamber, the Democrats now insist that US Attorney-General William Barr resign, for ‘misleading the American people about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia”.

“Barr’s news conference ultimately did nothing to help Trump, because the public has eyes. Americans could read the damning evidence of obstruction of justice and communications with Russians for themselves and make their own judgements.”

Democrats continue to try to make up in volume and intensity for the fact that there is no evidence at all of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, nor of obstruction of justice by Trump. The Republicans shout that the Democrats are on a senseless witch hunt, that the report makes clear there was no collusion between Trump and the Russians…but are perfectly happy to agree that Russia meddled in the election. For his part, Mueller is happy to drop hints that both obstruction and collusion probably took place – he just couldn’t find any proof.

All are loony. Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election at all, at least no further than Europe did. A lengthy list of European political leaders and former leaders publicly expressed their support for Mrs. Clinton’s election to the office of President of the United States. In 2008, just one is recorded as having done so; Mona Sahlin, leader of Sweden’s Social Democrats. Interestingly, in the same list of endorsements of Mrs. Clinton in 2008 – right after “Adult Entertainment Artists” – is this one: under “Well-Known Individuals”, “Businessman and television personality, Future Presidential Candidate & Rival for the United States presidential election 2016, future President of the United States Donald Trump”.

There’s gratitude for you.

The Presidents of Taiwan, Chile, France and Ukraine, the former Presidents of Mexico, France, Kosovo and Ecuador, the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, France, Italy, New Zealand and Sweden and former Prime Ministers of Sweden, the UK, Canada, Australia and France all openly expressed their hope that Mrs. Clinton would be elected President of the United States. None of this was considered meddling. I don’t recall any official endorsement from Russia, although the international English-speaking media helpfully informed us that Putin hoped Trump would win, because he felt Trump would be more approachable for concessions and because he disliked Mrs. Clinton. When Trump did win, despite wrong guesses by just about every political analyst on the planet, it was considered ‘additional evidence’ that meddling had taken place, instigated by you-know-who.

Perhaps, in highlighting just how stupid America is making itself look with this painfully stubborn insistence that Russia rolled it in 2016, it would be useful to take another look at what American partisans claimed to already know, and could prove as easily as demonstrating that if you put your hand on a hot stove, you will burn it.

One of my favourite American partisans is the Duchess of Displacement, the Baroness of Bulk, Molly McKew. We took a look at her work a long time ago, on the old blog – just before Trump commenced his term, in fact – or perhaps I should say his first term, since the barking madness of the political landscape in today’s America makes it entirely possible he will serve a second, unbelievable as that may sound. In that article, we closed out like this; “Look, we’re getting close to the end of this, and it’s time for plain speaking. Americans are confused and don’t know fact from fiction because their own government feeds them bullshit with a side of spin day in, day out, and you’re part of it. There was no Russian interference in the American elections, and you know it.” My take on what happened has not changed a bit.

McKew is still regarded – highly, I should imagine, by her feeble-minded peers – as an ‘information-warfare expert’. Hardly amazing that she sees information-warfare attacks everywhere. Here’s what she claimed to know about Russian election interference and general friggin’ in the riggin’, a little over a year ago. She bases her conclusions on Mueller’s Grand Jury indictment, which was issued more than a year in advance of his report – an indictment in which Mueller claimed the Defendants (a variety of Russian advertising and research agencies operating both in Russia and the United States) “…knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.”

You know the old quote about how easy it is to get a Grand Jury to indict someone or something.

Something McKew claims is now – meaning as of early 2018 – “undeniable” is that Russia had, and has “a broad, sophisticated system that can influence American opinion, which cost tens of millions of dollars spent over several years to build.” She must be talking about RT, although I suggest her cost estimate is a little low. RT, which the west considers a ‘propaganda network’, cost $30 million to set up, in 2005. Its operating costs now are in the hundreds of millions annually, although 80% of the costs are incurred outside Russia, paying for partner networks who distribute its channels.

We kind of have to give her that one, because it is true that RT’s coverage is often at odds with the bullshit du jour that CNN and NBC and FOX are spreading. Bullshit, for example, like CNN’s non-stop yammering about the collusion that Mueller could find no evidence ever occurred, and said so. Bullshit like NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ recollections about his helicopter being shot down in Iraq – echoes of Hillary ‘sniper fire’ Clinton – ,which never happened. Williams is not a nobody; he was the nation’s longest-serving and top-rated news anchor.

I submit, however, that the American people are not subjected to RT’s ‘propaganda and disinformation’ about American propaganda and disinformation against their will; there is a button on the remote called “On/Off” that will free the American enslaved from malign Kremlin influence. Alternatively, they can switch to another channel. I would just point out, though, that if they switch to a popular US news channel, they are very likely to be listening to a broadcast which has been curated by its corporate owners, and who “are unlikely to report news that is broadly hostile to corporate capitalism and the American elite.” That’s according to a report entitled “Corporate Control of the Media” (in the USA), printed in 2009.

Warming to her subject, McKew goes on to claim “The Russian efforts described in the indictment focused on establishing deep, authenticated, long-term identities for individuals and groups within specific communities. This was underlaid by the establishment of servers and VPNs based in the US to mask the location of the individuals involved. US-based email accounts linked to fake or stolen US identity documents (driver licenses, social security numbers, and more) were used to back the online identities. These identities were also used to launder payments through PayPal and cryptocurrency accounts. All of this deception was designed to make it appear that these activities were being carried out by Americans.”

This might be a good point at which to suggest there is every reason to believe ‘these activities’ were carried out by Americans. Americans working for national intelligence agencies.

In March 2017, The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima had an article published which was entitled “WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.” It detailed, among other things, a cyber tool called “Marble Framework”. This could be used, it was claimed, to re-assign attribution of material posted on the internet so that it appeared, for forensic purposes, to have originated from a different source. Test samples, it was reported, were included in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.

The report which encouraged President Trump to ask his CIA Director – Mike Pompeo, at the time, who is currently the National Security Advisor – what he knew about this was co-authored by Skip Folden, who for 25 years was the IT Program Manager for IBM. I think it is safe to say he has some credibility in the field of cyber-forensics. The authors of the report contended that the ‘hack’ of the DNC’s server was not actually a hack at all, but the at-source copying of data directly from the server using a storage device, probably a thumb drive. The data transfer rate, the authors claimed, was far too rapid to have occurred over the internet.

Since then I have seen a couple of ‘rebuttals’ which claimed that under certain conditions – like if nobody else was using the internet during that time – such copying from a remote source was possible. I never saw anything like proof. Like someone demonstrating how it could be done. Much like the old ‘clean pee swap’ the completely-discredited McLaren Report claimed the Russians performed on athletes’ urine samples; he claimed to know how it was done, but never demonstrated it, and appeared to be unable to do so, as it would have strongly supported his allegations.

Having taken us such an eye-blurring distance on the blarney rollercoaster, Molly at last falls apart. “So anyone trying to tell you there was little impact on political views from the tools the Russians used doesn’t know. Because none of us knows. No one has looked. Social media companies don’t want us to know, and they obfuscate and drag their feet rather than disclosing information. The analytical tools to quantify the impact don’t readily exist. But we know what we see, and what we heard—and the narratives pushed by the Russian information operation made it to all of our ears and eyes”, she tells us.

So if you saw advertising by Black Lives Matter, or perhaps some other civil-rights organization, pushing a false narrative that blacks are second-class citizens in their own country, then you were exposed to Kremlin propaganda. And it affected how you voted, if you’re an American. How much? Nobody knows. What everybody does know, or should, is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, although not the determinate vote in the electoral college – quite a trick for the Russians to manage.

Let’s summarize. Americans were supposedly pushed into voting for Donald Trump by the misuse of stolen data which was all true. The DNC did conspire to rig the primary so that Clinton was the Democratic candidate rather than Bernie Sanders; the Chair of the DNC resigned in disgrace because of the revelations which came to light. Her replacement, Donna Brazile, admitted to having fed the primary debate questions to Clinton in advance, giving her an advantage over Sanders, who was unaware of them as he should have been. At its very core, the Democratic party is as corrupt as the Nigerian prince who keeps e-mailing me to help him hide his ill-gotten fortune. American intelligence and technical professionals with no discernible benefit in making their country look bad insist that no hacking of the DNC’s server took place, and that the stolen information which kicked the Democrats’ feet out from under them on the eve of the election was not hacked, but stolen by direct physical transfer from the server using a portable storage device. Wikileaks insisted the information it released did not come from the Russians. The serving American intelligence services at the time of the 2016 election had a secret program which was capable of mimicking the origin of posted information on social media so that forensic investigation would find traces of  Russian authorship, or other non-American authorship. The CIA has vigorously denied any involvement whatsoever in various international events at the time they occurred, only to admit much later – when it would be pointless to punish it – that they did in fact play an influential role. Data from 2014 established that at that time, 27% of black Americans lived below the poverty line, compared with 11% of all Americans; 38% of black children lived in poverty compared with 22% of all American children. I have seen no compelling evidence that this situation has improved. According to the perfidious Kremlin mouthpiece RT, citing American sources, American blacks are incarcerated at a rate six times as high as the national average.

Molly McKew, the information-warfare goddess, tells us that it is ‘undeniable’ that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, by making Americans doubt the integrity of their political candidates. In the case of the Democrats – which is by no means intended to spare the Republicans – they were demonstrated by their own repeatedly-verified and admitted shenanigans to understand ‘integrity’ about as well as the average crab fisherman understands how to calculate the mass of the sun. Everything they were accused of doing, they did. Candidate Hillary Clinton unambiguously lied – as she has done on other occasions – about the security classification of her ‘private’ emails and completely fabricated consent of the State Department for her to maintain a private email server for the sending and receiving of official message traffic. America does have an uneven scale of justice, law enforcement and standard of living based on race. There is no proof at all which has so far been made public that any of those situations were reported, compelled, exacerbated or invented by Russia, or by anyone from Russia. According to persistent revelations from Kiev, the American Democratic party energetically sought dirt on candidate Trump from Ukrainian sources, not Russian. McKew closes her soliloquy on election interference by maintaining that while it is undeniable that Russian interference occurred, nobody knows the extent to which it influenced the vote, which resulted in a popular win for the candidate who lost the election.

Let me posit another reality. Russia played no part at all in the outcome of the 2016 election, although it certainly was a surprise to most. There is no proof even offered that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials of any description, and no proof which could not have been fabricated that any coherent social-media campaign originating with Russian operatives took place, or that any such imaginary social-media campaign had anything to do with Trump’s victory. The Democrats, by sticking to their ridiculous and incredible narrative of Russian masterminds warping American democracy, are setting themselves up for having their headlights sucked out again by the passing Trump juggernaut in the next election, when they will be totally out of excuses if they do not wake up and do some serious retrenching.

But we are probably going to have to wait for history to teach that lesson to Americans.

 

 

 

 

1,643 thoughts on “Loose-Screw McKew, and America’s Learning Disability.

  1. @JEN & Yalensis

    Just a note: The Arab/SubSaharan Blacks rift extends centuries back to before the birth of Islam into the 19th century when there was a vast traffic of black slaves sold to Arabs, Baghdad and Basra were central destinations for millions of black slaves.

    “The African presence in Iraq dates back to the ninth century, when Baghdad was the capital of the prosperous Abbasid Caliphate. It was then that a robust slave trade developed between the East Coast of Africa and the port city of Basra, which would continue in one form or another for close to a millennium. Some African migrants also came to the region as sailors or laborers. Slaves worked in agriculture, as servants in the homes of aristocratic families, and occasionally as soldiers. Many were initially given the arduous task of converting salt marshes into agricultural land through manual labour. The strenuous nature of this work contributed to the outbreak of the Zanj rebellion in Basra in 869, which lasted nearly fifteen years. The rebellion reportedly involved half a million slaves and led to the creation of a self-ruling capital, before it was violently put down by Baghdad.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_slave_trade#African_Zanj_slaves
    https://minorityrights.org/minorities/black-iraqis/
    The Muslim slave trade was vast and spanned centuries and continents.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery_in_the_Muslim_world

    You can also trace the conflict in Sudan between North and South to the racism of the Arab North.
    http://www.raceandhistory.com/cgi-bin/forum/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=20

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    1. These are all interesting links, thanks for those, NS.

      The history of slavery in the Islamic world is very complicated. If you just take the history of Egypt, there was a period in the 1200s – 1400s when it was ruled by a military elite (the Mamelukes) made up entirely of generals and soldiers who all were slaves or were descended from slaves. Admittedly most of these men were slaves of non-Muslim origins from the Balkans, Anatolia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Some Mamelukes were Copts as well and the Coptic community in those days was very large – Egypt apparently only became a Muslim-majority country during the Mameluke period, after 600 years of Muslim rule – and this community had contacts with Christian kingdoms right down the Nile to Nubia and Makuria (in modern-day Sudan) and Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea). So it’s possible that some Mamelukes had mixed sub-Saharan / north African ancestry.

      The Janissaries (elite troops loyal to the Sultan) in Ottoman Turkey were also all originally slave soldiers drafted as young boys and teenagers from the Balkans. They were converted to Islam as part of their military training. After a career of fighting, they could retire as bureaucrats (parts of the bureaucracy in Ottoman Turkey were reserved just for retired janissaries) and they could marry young women (themselves slaves captured in eastern Europe and the Caucasus) from the harem. One of the most famous of these Janissaries was Sinan who came from family of stone masons in Greece or Armenia and who learned engineering and architecture while soldiering; he ended up designing and building famous mosques in Istanbul, Edirne and other parts of Turkey.

      Unfortunately the black slaves captured by the Ottomans in Sudan usually ended up as eunuchs guarding the harem but even in that environment they could hold some power, especially when sultans were either children or mentally deranged idiots from spending years in the so-called “gilded cage” prisons and those sultans’ mothers or wives in the harem took the opportunity to govern through them. Because women in the harem were not permitted to have contact with men, the mothers and wives had to rely on the black eunuchs as their go-between to carry messages to the sultan’s ministers.

      Then of course there was that black kid in central Africa somewhere who was captured by or sold to slave traders in the late 1700s and taken to the slave market in Istanbul where he was bought by the Russian ambassador to Turkey and taken to St Petersburg to become Tsar Peter the Great’s adopted son Abram Petrovich Hannibal. Hannibal became a military general in the Russian army as did also one of his sons Ivan, and one of Hannibal’s later descendants was the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.

      A grand-daughter of Pushkin’s (and also descended from the Romanovs) married into British aristocracy.
      https://www.rbth.com/politics_and_society/2016/08/12/descendant-of-pushkin-and-the-romanovs-becomes-worlds-youngest-billionaire_620511

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  2. Don’t know if anyone here follows the New Books Network, but it recently released an interview with Mark Galeotti about his recent book The Vory…by Jennifer Eremeeva (?!)
    If you recall, in 2014 Eremeeva penned Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow (panned on my site). Judging by her website, she has long since abandoned Russian affairs for utterly safe, advertiser-friendly food and lifestyle articles, and isn’t even based in Moscow anymore: she now divides her time between Riga, Latvia and New England. Which makes her an even odder choice for conducting the Vory interview.
    As for Galeotti’s book: Haven’t read it; want to; lazy. But I suspect somebody here has already gotten to it. Would be interesting to hear your opinion.

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    1. She used to run a blog that I visited fairly regularly, and we were even sort of friends, as much as two people who have never met can be. She’s a talented writer, and her blog posts were quite witty and generally neutral if you did not count regular complaints about how long construction projects in Moscow took to complete. She has a Russian husband, whom she referred to affectionately (I’m sure it was affectionately), as HRH, for “Horrible Russian Husband”.

      But then one day she did a post on a renovation to the lobby of her building, which included a somewhat gaudy display of some dubious artworks. And the tone of it implied that this sort of exhibition could only happen in Russia, because Russians are tacky and have no taste. It caught me in no mood for that sort of thing, and I quickly responded with some American bathroom renovations which were tacky with a Texas ‘T’. And we did not speak again.

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    1. The above article was written by Academician Vladislav Inozemtsev. director of the Moskva-based Centre for Research on Post-Industrial Societies — another of those bloody numerous , “nonprofit think-tanks” situated in the City of Satan.

      Inozemtsev is a professor and the chair at the Department of World Economy, Faculty of Public Governance, Moskva State Lomonosov University, so he’s no duck egg.

      Now here’s an article about another based in Moskva Russian ‘Liberal” thinker’s opinion:

      Кудрин предупредил о социальном взрыве в России из-за бедности
      17.06.2019 | 20:31


      Doom and gloom specialist and generally miserable cnut

      Kudrin has warned of a social explosion in Russia because of poverty

      The head of the Accounts Chamber, Alexei Kudrin, has called poverty in Russia shameful, reports TASS.

      He stated this in the programme “Posner” on Channel One.

      He explained that for a country with such economic indicators, such a situation should not exist, since it affects human capital.

      Kudrin admitted that he had concerns about a possible social explosion against the background of the current situation.

      Earlier it was reported it had been proposed in Russia that the “imaginary” poor be deprived of state benefits.

      Arise ye exploited masses!


      Two wankers urging the masses to arise against a background of Kudrin.

      Ye are many, they are few?

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      1. Oh bollocks!

        That independent article above is behind a wall for you lot, but not for me.

        Here it is in full, and if Lebedev of the Independent doesn’t like my copying and pasting it, he can find out where I live in Moskva and meet me in a park!

        For many years, numerous western experts have predicted that sooner or later the Russian economy will collapse because of the rampant corruption and low efficiency that is endemic within it. They also cited overdependence on energy prices, an ageing population, and the sanctions imposed on the nation after Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea back in 2014.

        In fact, however, I would argue it’s much better to depict the economy as not so much tumbling down a hill but rather levelling out, facing the prospect of stagnation but not of recession.

        Certainly, as the economic results for 2018 become evident (even though the official GDP growth figure of 2.3 per cent is surely an overestimate) one may see that the situation is at least not getting worse. Why, in the face of perennial scepticism, is that so? I believe there are several reasons which need to be examined.

        First of all, the Russian economy is now rather less dependent on the energy sector than it was before. During the 2000s, around 70 per cent of combined GDP growth originated from the service sector – particularly from the industries that were, if not non-existent, then drastically underdeveloped in the 1990s – let alone the 1980s. Residential construction, wholesale and retail trade, banking and insurance businesses, personal services, hotels and restaurants, mobile telecoms and web-based services have all boomed, relatively speaking.

        The crisis of 2008-09 was thus severe in Russia not only because of the drop in oil prices but also due to the fact that demand for many services became largely saturated (the number of registered sim cards per 1,000 people in Russia is today the highest in Europe) while the basic industries were not intensively developing. In other words, Russia’s economy simply didn’t (and doesn’t) have enough room left for further quick growth.

        But then, if real disposable incomes aren’t in decline, it can survive for years without fear of collapse. As it happens, in recent years the figure for real disposable incomes has declined – by 10.7 per cent compared to 2013 – but even that has not led to an economic crisis.

        The second point to consider is that Russians’ wellbeing in the 2000s and beyond was fuelled not only by petrodollars (some experts estimate the inflow at $3 trillion between 2000 and 2018), but to an even greater extent by diverting money from capital investment into personal consumption. While in the late Soviet years the country dedicated up to 36 per cent of its GDP to investment in new production facilities and infrastructure, now the figure is less than 18 per cent.

        Since 2000, only one new passenger airport has been built in the country; the modern highway between Moscow and St Petersburg has been under construction for around 20 years; and the “high-speed” trains still travel on old rails. Arguably, no other country with comparable income levels and quality of life is in possession of such poor infrastructure as Russia. And in truth the government may not care about it too much, being content simply to pretend the problem doesn’t exist since the people have largely become accustomed to it. After all, making economies in this sphere means the government can use the money for solving day-to-day issues, to channel funds into welfare programmes and thus keep the economy running, even if it means neglecting its longer-term challenges.

        Third, while it should not be guaranteed that the Russian economy can survive decades into the future without relying on oil and gas revenues, a lot has nevertheless changed in this sphere in recent decades.

        Since 2014 in particular, two crucial trends have been developing. On the one hand, the Russian food market was cut off from the global one due to import restrictions imposed by federal regulators. This resulted in actual decoupling between the exchange rate and consumer prices: between 2014 and 2017 the dollar appreciated against the ruble by 52 per cent, but the consumer price index (CPI) advanced less than 22 per cent.

        On the other hand, the Bank of Russia introduced the floating exchange rate in November 2014. The consequence of that is that if the oil price falls, the ruble falls as well – and since the federal budget gets around 40 per cent of its revenues from custom duties nominated either in dollars or euros, it’s now perfectly hedged from oil price fluctuations. As inflation remains low, and demand has no room to rise, it’s the ruble- and not the dollar-denominated price of oil that matters – and it’s been rising consistently, not declining, since 2014. This factor easily outweighs all the external sanctions being imposed on Russia in recent years.

        The fourth reason for the country’s ongoing resilience relates to the sanctions themselves, which are often at the centre of debate about the Russian economy. First of all, one should take into account that the existing restrictions target high-tech industries in particular: the defence and aerospace industries, the production and use of super-computers, and the oil and gas exploration which requires western know-how (especially offshore and Arctic drilling). These measures definitely have the potential to affect the long-term prospects of the Russian economy – but the funny thing is that no one in the Kremlin actually cares about them.

        Even though the outspoken ideologues of Putinism publish articles proclaiming the regime will flourish for another 100 years, all government programmes are drafted to take in only a five- to 10-year perspective. What’s more – and this is even more important – not a single one of these plans was either fulfilled or even brought to an end: before one plan expires, an overlapping new one is introduced. This is, I would argue, the most important explanation as to why the Russian government denounces the effect of the western sanctions on the domestic economy, and it is in some sense right to do so.

        But the sanctions also have another important result that few analysts focus on, which is the fifth factor I believe we should consider in an examination of Russia’s economic “stability”. Indeed, it may be the most important of all.

        Since Russian money started to become toxic after 2014, the modes of behaviour of wealthy Russian businessmen (and occasionally women, but they are mostly men) has changed dramatically. If one looks at capital flight from Russia it certainly remains high by the standards of other countries – but today it’s mostly the outflow of funds invested previously by westerners, or earned in the country by the old and well-established businesses that more and more entrepreneurs are tending to sell to state-owned corporations.

        Money that originated from the misappropriation of public funds, or from banal corruption, is now much harder to take, and hide, outside the country. Therefore, more and more people close to the top of the Russian elite are either using their money to return to their homeland, or (for those already living in Russia) are investing it there as they earn it. These days in Russia I would say bureaucrats have begun to put their (possibly stolen) money into local assets en masse.

        Often, governors and mayors control significant parts of the regional economies, especially when it comes to land and real estate. Meanwhile, the directors of state corporations compete to acquire the most expensive apartments. Moreover, since the Russian economy became more state-run and the bureaucrats became wealthier than businessmen, the Drang nach Westen [sic] which was common in the 1990s and 2000s, is no longer so fashionable: the new “New Russians” aren’t familiar with the global realities and tend to invest locally. That has obvious positive consequences for the wider economy.

        In summary, then, I would say that the Russian economy is indeed now stable – though I would add this stability has nothing to do with economic development. And if it were possible to combine all the factors above into one underlying trend it would be this: the disappointment with the global world that now transcends both the Russian elite and a significant part of the Russian public.

        In this narrative Russia is a “besieged fortress” – and of course President Putin and his close circle are very sophisticated in using this idea both to force the Russian people, whom they treat as serfs, to adopt the current reality without attempting to change it, and to convince the Russian elite to become satisfied with the affluent life inside the country but not outside.

        The result of all this, I would say, is that whereas in the 1990s and in 2000s the Russian elite had been engaged in plundering the country, now its general pursuit is to plunder its people. The main business thus shifts from taking money out of the country to its massive redistribution within national borders. “The state” becomes opposite to “the masses”; it lives its own life – and this explains why President Putin both increased the retirement age and raised dozens of taxes and charges at a time when the federal budget runs a 2.75 trillion rubles (£33bn, 2.75 per cent of GDP) surplus for 2018, exceeding even the heights of the early 2000s.

        This sounds grim, and in many ways it is. But paradoxically this trend makes the Russian economy less prone to external shocks – which is especially ironic when you consider the history of a country where the wellbeing of the people and the power of the state have often been diametrically opposed.

        So Putin and his close circle treat Russian citizens like serfs?

        I suppose that is why he and his government remain so popular.

        Like

        1. When the above has gone through moderation, you’ll see how Inozemtsev, whilst criticizing Putin and his associates for treating Russians as “serfs”, at the same time calls Russia a nation (his nation, mind you!) of “zombies”, and in “The American Interest”, no less, to which article a link is provided in the article.

          Another “liberal” with the national interest in mind, but the interests of which nation?

          Typical Moskva “think-tank” article.

          Like

          1. Vladislav Inozemtsev is a yearning westernized liberal from away back, as so many Russian economists seem to be – I guess it must be shoutingly obvious to bright folk that a policy of chivvying your allies into line with the constant threat of sanctions and bullying insistence that trade is not really ‘fair’ until the United States achieves a powerful market share in your country so that you are to some extent dependent upon it is a methodology to be envied. He was featured on the old blog a couple of times, I think, and certainly here;

            https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/adventures-in-two-worlds-vladislav-inozemtsev-phases-in-and-out-of-reality/

            Inozemtsev blithely bops back and forth, now appearing to praise sound fiscal policy by Russia, and immediately musing that it will do no good; American triumph is inevitable because it has so much freedom that people can just knock off from work anytime they like and go out into the streets to protest. Just to sort of keep their hand in, like, so the government doesn’t get complacent and is instead confronted with a constant level of pushback over its policies.

            Like

        2. From the above:

          Certainly, as the economic results for 2018 become evident (even though the official GDP growth figure of 2.3 per cent is surely an overestimate) one may see that the situation is at least not getting worse.

          Surely?

          Love it!

          Like

        3. Why are social metrics such as murder and suicide in sharp decline? Are Russians now too poor to afford bullets? Wait, that must be it!

          Like

        4. The high-speed trains ‘travel on old rails’ only within the city limits, where the trains cannot run at their maximum speed anyway. This, I would think, should be regarded as a practical money-saver, considering trains ripping through town at 180 kph+ would be instantly screamed an horrific danger to the public by the perennial complainers, and it would cost extra money and disrupt traffic to install welded-steel rails where the train cannot go at anything like maximum speed. Outside city limits the rails are all seamless welded steel. Idiots.

          Like

      2. Further on Kudrin:

        The head of the Accounting Chamber, Alexei Kudrin, has warned of a possible social explosion in Russia because of poverty. He expressed his opinion in an interview with the well-known journalist Vladimir Pozner on Pozner’s Channel One programme. At the same time, on behalf of the department headed by him, Kudrin proposed that the government undertake a series of measures to combat poverty.

        “Poverty in the country has become a disgrace”, said the head of the Accounts Chamber.

        He believes that the reason for Russians’ poverty lies not in sanctions, but because of the absence of real economic reforms. For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin has set a task for the government, according to which by 2024 the level of poverty in the country should be halved – to 6%. By the end of 2018, the number of poor in the country was 12.9% of the population.

        In April 2019, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, during a speech in the State Duma, said that almost 19 million Russians lived in poverty.

        At the same time, the head of the Accounts Chamber had an unexpected suggestion on how to solve the problem of poverty in the country — you could even say a radical suggestion.

        “We have prepared proposals that would reduce the number of the poor families immediately by 30-40% … well, for example, there is maternity capital, you can take from it every month for your current life if you are poor”, suggested Kudrin.

        The head of the Accounts Chamber noted that the amount required for these payments is feasible for the Russian budget. According to him, these initiatives need to be implemented urgently, since they can “reduce the number of those who live below the subsistence minimum by several million”.

        Experts doubt that with the help of direct distribution of money, or, as they say, “cosmetically”, can the problem of combating lack of funds in families be solved.

        “I want to ask/i>[Kudrin], and it’s very surprising that Pozner himself didn’t ask Alexey Leonidovich, where Mr. Kudrin hid away such progressive ideas from the general public when he was finance minister”, stated economist Ruslan Greenberg.

        Indeed! Furthermore, having been appointed Finance Minister on 28 May 2000, Kudrin held the post for 11 years, making him the longest-serving Finance Minister in post-Soviet Russia.

        And as regards Kudrin’s statement that poverty in Russia is not the result of sanctions, then would he be so kind to explain the cause of poverty in the UK or USA, which countries are not burdened with economic sanctions.

        And of course, there is no corruption in those two countries, on which one can lay the blame for the poverty that exists there.

        Poverty in the UK

        One of the most comprehensive measures of poverty on offer at the moment is produced by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC). The SMC is an independent group of experts who have been working to improve the way we understand and measure poverty in the UK, and last autumn published their first estimates.

        They found that in 2016/17:

        An estimated 14.2 million people in poverty in the UK

        8.4 million are working-age adults, 4.5 million are children, and 1.4 million are of pension age

        Around 22% of the public are in poverty, and nearly 33% of children

        58% of those in poverty are in “persistent poverty” (people who would also have fallen below the poverty line in at least two of the last three years).

        This is as of 2015/16

        Like

      3. Would that be the same Kudrin who argued against pension increases back when he was Finance Minister, saying it was an unsustainable extravagance that would wreck the budget? That Kudrin? Him wot is now the patron saint of the poor? Who’s poorer than pensioners?

        “Russia has one of the lowest retirement ages in the world: 60 for men, 55 for women. When Aleksey Kudrin was Finance Minister, he proposed a gradual increase in retirement age, but Putin didn’t want to hear about it – and still doesn’t. He never tires of repeating the slogan, ’There will be no rise in retirement age!’

        https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/russias-pension-impasse-is-there-way-out/

        Like

        1. I think what St. Aleksei, Succour of the Russian Impoverished, might be hinting at is that this poverty is in Russia so shameful when one considers the fact that there are numerous palaces situated there owned by the president, who is also the richest man in the world.

          Like

            1. Why don’t you get over there, Kudrin, and give us all a break?

              Loads of charity work over there to warm the cockles of your bounteous heart, and you could also earn a mint spouting off in the UK rags or on the BBC about what a corrupt shithole Russia is.

              Like

    2. An interesting mix of fact, opinion, cherry picking and projection. Unsurprisingly he does his best to avoid giving credit to the government despite admitting that plenty of corrupt money has now returned to Russia (but doesn’t mention this was precisely due to Russian policy – rather obliquely as a reaction to sanctions), but then projects that they’re now bilking the Russian people. Curiously he doesn’t follow that thought forward, i.e. if such people are profiting and spending their ill gotten wealth in Russia, then they and their assets are far more vulnerable.

      His point about Russia’s infrastructure projects completely ignores investment in the nuclear industry and others (Power of Siberia etc.) that naturally have a long lead time and he ignores the explosive growth in Russian air transport. Russia cannot do everything at the same time and sanctions have forced it to make priorities. If he mocks the development of high speed trains and lines in Russian as some sort of Russian disability, then he need look no further than the UK’s HS2 project, or the doubling of rail capacity along the Transsiberian that allows a much greater transport of goods to and from China? Surely that is fundamentally more important than building thousands of miles of high speed tracks for a population of 150 odd million, most of whom would not be regular commuters on such routes?

      He’s also completely ignored the rapid development of Russia’s food retail industry and the permanent loss of market (to Russia’s gain) to western enterprises that has cost them billions in lost trade.

      But then what does one expect from a ‘glass half full’ kind of analysis as his of which Russia has sort of survived by accident, not by state policy? Sure, there’s plenty to criticize, but why is it so hard for critics to give credit where credit is due? Grumpy Russian mentality or just a natural naysayer? What a tit.

      Like

      1. As regards rail transport here, as I’ve often mentioned before, near my dacha and along the mainline West daily roll around the clock train after train consisting of 80 or more wagons. These wagons carry coal from the Kuzbas or bowsers full of crude.

        And container trains, whose containers are more and more frequently from China.

        They containers are emblazoned with Chinese pictograms and, in the Latin alphabet, the names of various Chinese exporters.

        These trains are all westward bound: the line is Moskva – Warsaw – Berlin.

        I’m sure that on one of those containers it reads: “Fak Yu Tramp”.

        Like

        1. Since 2000, only one new passenger airport has been built in the country; the modern highway between Moscow and St Petersburg has been under construction for around 20 years; and the “high-speed” trains still travel on old rails. ?

          Who should I believe? Kudrin? RT? Gotta go with RT. Speaking of HS rail, the US is the gold standard for failure.

          Lets go easy on Kudrin and his ilk. He needs to churn out pulp fiction to meet his quota.

          Like

          1. Even if Kudrin had been right and no new airport had been built in Russia since 2000, it is obvious from the RT.com article you linked to that there is plenty of unused capacity at most existing airports around the country. Economics let alone common sense would suggest that capacity be used first.

            Does Kudrin know the difference between construction and maintenance work? It’d be very strange if the highway between the two biggest cities in the country didn’t have any kind of work going on at any one time.

            Trust him though to single out something and turn it into a major-league fault. If the “high-speed” trains were travelling on new rails, he’d be complaining about the age of the trains instead.

            Like

            1. What struck me about the Russian effort was bringing online high quality infrastructure with inspiring designs. They are setting an expectation for future development.

              I think it is a great move as it helps shed the impression fueled by Western propaganda regarding bleak Soviet-era design of low quality (not implying any truthfulness of that assessment).. The effectiveness of this approach was really apparent during the World Cup where international commentators could not help but wax enthusiastic over the quality and beauty of Russian stadiums. In general, Russia seems to be taking the high road in quality and design.

              Like

              1. …Soviet-era design of low quality..

                The priority of Utility for the Masses over Gaudiness for the Few?

                John Helmer has a recent piece up that segues off in to the bushes and brings up the on-shoring/Russian theives at home:

                John Helmer: REUTERS IS NOW A UNIT OF US INFO-WAR COMMAND, REPORTERS AND INVESTORS REVOLT
                http://johnhelmer.net/reuters-is-now-a-unit-of-us-info-war-command-reporters-and-investors-revolt/

                ####

                As for the main thrust of his article, that Neuters is now a branch of US info ops, he might as well be Cinderella just woken by a Prince’s kiss. Neuters, AFP, AP/whatever have been in this game a long time (Hybrid warfare) but usually at a minimal level. The only difference in recent years is that they’ve just turned up the heat a couple of notches and actually managed to get themselves publicly burned – which in itself tells us that they are not capable of running at such a heightened level, ergo not professional though rather willingly co-opted amateurs.

                Like

  3. RusAviaInsider.com: FORECAST: Nine per cent growth expected for Russian airlines this year
    http://www.rusaviainsider.com/forecast-nine-per-cent-growth-russian-airlines/

    ….In its report, the agency’s experts point to the overloaded Moscow airports and attempt to forecast the effects of the new legislation on the development of Russia’s regional air travel market.

    Contrary to the general slow-down in global air travel market growth which, according to IATA, decreased from 6.5 per cent last year to 4.5 per cent in March, the Russian industry enjoyed an 11.6 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2019. The share of domestic traffic reached 60 per cent in the period…

    Like

  4. RUAviation.com: United Aircraft Corporation will start delivering the Be-200 amphibious aircraft to US and Chile
    https://www.ruaviation.com/news/2019/6/18/13702/

    Russia will start delivering the Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft to US Seaplane Global Air Services company in 2020-2021, Yuri Grudinin, the CEO of Ilyushin aircraft manufacturer, said. This reported by Sputnik.

    “We have agreed, and we have signed documents: [the deliveries will begin] 15 months after the financing starts. I think the financing will come in September”, Grudinin told reporters at the International Paris Air Show in the French city of Le Bourget.

    According to Grudinin, Russian United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) also plans to deliver seven Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft to Chile in 2020….
    ####

    It’s been a very long time coming. The Be-200 was offered to the USA back in the early 2000s to fight forest fires, but was rejected as notmadehere.

    https://www.heliopsmag.com/beriev-be200-the-jet-warrior

    Like

  5. Just had a dark thought (happens more frequently as of late).

    The US strategy towards Iran is to encourage Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. The reasons should be obvious.

    Like

    1. The hope would be that Iran would use a nuke in response to a massive attack. Ideally. they would take out an American battle group. Then Israelis and the US would have carte blanche to go wild with nukes. The Zionists would cream their pants as millions of goys would die.

      For clarification, the US appears to be doing everything that they can to force Iran to develop a bomb. The US window of opportunity is for Iran to have just a few bombs with limited range delivery options at which point the West will be “forced” to act. Iran will use its few bombs to defend itself. The US reaction with wide public support would be to kill them all. Perhaps its Plan B at this point but Pompeo and Bolton are itching to use nuclear weapons – it would make them whole.

      Like

      1. They’re not too worried about the political consequences of spreading radioactivity around the planet then? It’s just been reported that a bill to authorize ‘low-level’ nukes has been blocked in the US Senate precisely because having them would lower the threshold for use and therefore increase the chances of a full scale nuclear conflict:

        The US doesn’t have any decent small nukes. Russia does. They could always ‘lend’ i-Ran a few or some suitcase nukes or whatever, sic. in no way would any of it end well, least of all for i-Srael. In the meantime, while the US may get UK,FR,De on side (which is has singularly failed to do over the most recent tanker ‘attacks’ in the Persian Gulf (passive resistance, innit?), but it will continue to blow away any support from other countries.

        Not buying it, sorry PO! What it does look like is the typical T-rump mafia style shakedown to sort out the lilly-livered and more vulnerable support base. i-Ran doesn’t fall for such games and it has time on its side whereas the US needs to have results in the short term (sic 1-2 years) to self-justify scaring the shit out of everyone.

        Like

          1. The basis for my analysis has little to do with practical matters. Bolton, Zionests and company NEED to use nuclear weapons. It would feed their messianic personalities. Killing the helpless is icing on the cake for these man-gods. Actually, there is some practical advantages as well:
            – only way to militarily defeat Iran
            – be a warning to all that the nuclear weapons door is now closed forever. N Korea was the last one to sneak in. To be more precise, it would close the nuclear door for any country not already occupied by the globalists.

            Repeating myself, they NEED to use the ultimate terror weapon and will seek to engineer a scenario where they can do such. It would be a nightmare for humanity but they would be living the dream.

            Regarding the spread of radioactivity beyond the borders of Iran. time the strikes when the winds are from the west. It would be a twofer. NYT will provide PR cover; the nuclear attack was a humanitarian gesture just like the nuclear attack on Japan. Jesus, I’m convincing myself even more. Lets hope that cooler heads like Trump (did I just say that?) can prevail.

            Like

            1. Good points PO. They’re nutters and they don’t care but I still find it hard to believe that the US & friends can do this and take their allies actively along with them. The US doesn’t like to act alone however much it proclaims it is willing to do so. The question is, what level of support do the nutters think they need to feel comfortable in launching a war. Nutters need other nutters and enough of them to boot. As I wrote below, things seems to be coming to a head, probably August. Big year 2019.

              Like

        1. I agree; the American game is usually to cast the enemy in such a demonic light that Uncle Sam had no choice but to win another one for Mom and apple pie; the reluctant victim dragged into violence after all other possibilities had been exhausted. But they would never countenance the loss of even a carrier and its crew, never mind an entire battle group, just to form a cassus belli, The Pentagon planners prefer their reasons for war to be entirely notional, and for all the deaths to be on the other side.

          In this instance, the painting of Iran into the frame is so blatant and obvious that I frankly doubt they will do it.

          Like

          1. Your thoughts are that of a sane man.

            Some say (and I may or may not be among that group) that 911 was an inside job. The deaths of nearly 4,000 Americans would be viewed by the deep state as chump change for what they got in return. I agree the Pentagon would have a hard time swallowing the loss of a battle group. Still, the underlying strategy (if there is one) is to give Iran enough nuclear rope to hang itself.

            Perhaps its just a dark thought with no reality. Hope so.

            Like

  6. Herein is more info on the extradition brouhaha in Hong Kong. Its from the NYT so read with skepticism.

    Like

        1. The US is always eager to send more weapons to Ukraine – and, indeed, anyplace else – because it is a direct transfer of money from the taxpayer to the weapons manufacturers. The US uses taxpayer dollars to buy mortars or blankets or whatever from American manufacturers, and then gives them to Ukraine.

          Like

      1. The weather was hot (30 degrees Centigrade at the time) and there was no shade for Merkel and Zelensky. Merkel decided to tough it out during the playing of the two countries’ national anthems. She was obviously feeling a bit faint from not being able to move. Once she started walking then she looked fine.

        Like

      2. If she had passed out, Zelenskiy would have had to cancel the rest of the parade, because he obviously did not have clue one about the protocol to follow. Doesn’t anyone brief him? Go here, turn this way, take the salute, inspect the guard, and so forth?

        Like

        1. Oh no, Putin wouldn’t have done the right thing!!!

          Remember the outcry from hacks worldwide when he never proffered an umbrella to the president of Croatia when it was pissing it down at Luzhniki Stadium when the big girls’ world cup final for men had ended?

          And sweet fuck all said about Zelenskiy’s ungentlemanly behaviour next the Merkel the other day, not to mention the fact that he is a person of small staure (Merkel seems to be slightly taller than he is), something that is constantly referred to by the hacks when Putin is spoken of.

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          1. Appearance before journalists somewhat delayed: Merkel had been showing Zelenskiy how to flush the toilet

            Merkel: I hope he’s washed his hands

            Zelenskiy : What am I supposed to do with that?

            Merkel: Come on! Shake hands.

            Like

  7. https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/UN-officials-US-is-planning-a-tactical-assault-in-Iran-592832

    “The Pentagon announced on Monday that the US is sending 1,000 additional troops and other military resources to the Middle East amid belligerent threats against Iran by the Trump administration. The troop movement follows the previous deployment of the USS Lincoln aircraft carrier and its battle group to the Persian Gulf, along with a bomber strike group led by nuclear capable B-52s.

    An article from the Israeli website Maariv Online, republished in the Jerusalem Post, reported that the Trump administration is actively preparing a “tactical assault” on Iran. The report, based on diplomatic sources at the UN in New York, stated that “since Friday, the White House has been holding incessant discussions involving senior military commanders, Pentagon representatives and advisers to President Donald Trump.

    According to Maariv Online, the unnamed officials said that “the military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program.” A Western diplomat commented: “The bombing will be massive but will be limited to one target.”

    Announcing the troop deployment, acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan stated: “The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region.” He then absurdly added: “The United States does not seek conflict with Iran.”

    In reality, the current explosive situation in the Persian Gulf is entirely of Washington’s manufacture. In breach of UN resolutions, the Trump administration unilaterally abrogated the 2015 deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany to limit its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/18/iran-j18.html

    Like

  8. Acting DoD Secretary Shanahan just resigned.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/

    He did not have the fire and brimstone of a Pompeo or Bolton. He spoke his lies in a dreary monotone with a why-am-I here overtone.

    Some say Trump would not start a war with a vacant Secretary DoD position. They also say Pompeo could take over that position clearing the way for Bolton to become the new Secretary of State. This would be the stuff of nightmares.

    Like

    1. Bolton would have to be confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_Committee_on_Foreign_Relations#Members,_116th_Congress

      You see the problem…..

      BUT..If Rand Paul could get one of the Republican committee members to jump ship and go totally ape bat shit crazy with No…HELL F’n NO!!!!!! to Bolton (along with all the Dems)…..then the little mustachioed psycho’s nomination would be DOA.

      Like

        1. It was a war crime. IIRC, some of the US pilots wanted to stop but were ordered to continue the slaughter. So, they called it a left hook as if it were some sort of military strategy? How clever. God, they are sick fucks.

          Like

  9. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/18/ecua-j18.html
    The article and accompanying comments are excellent.

    “The Ecuadorian government of President Lenin Moreno has reached an agreement with the Pentagon to allow the US military to use the Galapagos island of San Cristobal as a military base.

    Made public last week, the agreement has provoked popular outrage in Ecuador, where it is rightly reviled as a grotesque violation of the country’s national sovereignty and constitution, as well as a threat to one of the most treasured and sensitive environmental sites on the planet.”

    “The stampede to the right by the Moreno government in Ecuador is part of the broader fate of the so-called “Pink Tide,” i.e., the rule by various populist, nationalist bourgeois parties in Latin America. This has seen the ousting of the Workers Party and the coming to power of the fascistic President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, the replacement of the Peronist Kirchner dynasty by the right-wing multimillionaire Mauricio Macri in Argentina in 2015, the intense crisis of the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela as well as that of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

    This turn to the right in Latin America was prepared by the governments that had been identified with the so-called “turn to the left” over the previous two decades. While employing nationalist and “socialist” rhetoric—and endlessly promoted by the pseudo-left in Latin America, as well as the US and Europe—they remained governments controlled by the bourgeoisie, committed to the defense of private property and the interests of both native and foreign capital.

    With the collapse of the commodities and emerging markets boom that had allowed them to adopt a more independent posture in relation to Washington while introducing modest social assistance programs at home, they responded with an intensification of attacks on the working class. The end result was growing popular hostility to these governments, which, in the absence of an independent mass socialist movement in the working class, paved the way for the return of the right.”

    Like

  10. One of these stand-up comedians … or rather, sit-down comedians will soon be Britain’s next Prime Minister.

    BBC TV debate hosted by Emily Maitlis featuring the five front-runners for the job (Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Rory Stewart):

    Like

    1. Johnson didn’t even bother turning up for a Channel 4 debate with the contenders the other day.

      Chicken Boris Johnson snubbed the first TV debate of the Tory leadership race tonight

      Jeremy Hunt unleashed a brutal attack, asking the audience: “We have been talking about Brexit for 25 minutes now and where is Boris?

      “If his team won’t allow him out to debate with five pretty friendly colleagues, how is he going to fare with 27 European countries?

      “He should be here to answer that very question.”

      That’s the Hunt who thought his Chinese wife was Japanese – or was it the other way round?

      Like

  11. I started a new (probably 2-part) series today , this story turned out to be way more interesting than I even thought, when I started reading it.
    The Ukrainian government, ever sucking up to the U.S. and also continuing the traditional Ukrainian policy of celebrating losers, has pledged to assist the U.S. in locating MIA’s in Vietnam. Like, if they might remember where they saw some old bones, or something.

    The most interesting component: When I started researching this, I discovered that the Ukrainian Vietnam Veterans are quite a joyous bunch, who still brag on their website about defeating the Americans. It is somewhat disturbing to learn that the Ukrainian army and security services will be knocking on the doors of these elderly gentlemen, questioning them about their experiences 40 years ago.

    Another eye-opener is just how deeply involved the Soviet Union was in the Vietnam war. That was also new to me, I knew they were involved, just not the extent, nor how much they contributed to the glorious victory. Good for them!

    Like

    1. Yeah, I saw that story somewhere else other than RT. That’s just the group of guys you want to have in charge of the $2 Billion in gold that London expropriated. They’d all be rattling around in gold underpants in a week.

      I still kind of like Richard Branson. It’s not really his fault he listened to the wrong people, and it would be foolish not to acknowledge how persuasive they are – millions and millions believe them. Maybe someday it will dawn on him what a fool he was, and how cynically he was used. I hope so.

      Like

      1. You would think though that when Richard Branson agreed to hand over X amount of pounds for the Live Aid Venezuela concert that he would insist upon knowing who was taking charge of the money, which bank account/s it was going into and where the money was going to be distributed.

        At the very least the people robbing him blind could have told him it was all going into account/s with some fancy humanitarian-sounding name and mission. The moolah could still be going to buy arms and ammunition to be stored in those Cucuta warehouses. But it looks as though Johnny Bat-boy Guano and his people (and their supporters) couldn’t even be bothered to build up an elaborate lie (complete with PR material) to dupe their sponsors. You can just imagine what that says about Guaido’s leadership skill and his ability to discipline and rein in his followers – it says he has zilch ability.

        The only thing our jaws should be crashing through the floor over is the sheer incompetence of Branson’s own Virgin Group people in not pushing for full transparency over how the money was to be used.

        There were accusations over how the monies raised by the original Live Aid concerts in 1985 were used by the Ethiopian government under Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam at the time to buy weapons from the USSR in order to fight anti-govt rebel force, and to compel farmers and herders to move into agricultural collectives. On that occasion, Geldof could plead naivety, inexperience, lack of hindsight and the sheer scale of organising two concerts in the UK and the US and of the monies raised.

        Like

        1. Yes, you would think so. But my theory is that these do-gooders get caught up in a warm rush of doing good, and are inspired to offer large sums on trust – that’s what makes them easy meat for the unscrupulous. Richard Branson, screeching middle America and even the hapless Guaido are just a combined front for the wealthy liberal elite seizing power in Venezuela and offering its natural wealth to investors, fellow travelers and global business. They plan to make a pile of money in the process, and those who have a pile of money need not worry how poor and destabilized the country is, because they can always go for a jaunt to Paris or Ibiza or whatever when they get the poverty blues and the stink of poor people gets too much to bear.

          Like

      2. I just can’t take Sir Richard Branson seriously. He comes across to me as a one-trick pony from the 70’s; someone endlessly milking one idea that, for what ever reason, caught on (Virgin This, Virgin That). He is now whoring himself around trying to keep in the spotlight.

        Trump-like in many ways as well.

        Like

  12. Международные расследователи обвинили в крушении MH17 четырех человек
    Это трое россиян и один украинец. Среди них — бывший министр обороны ДНР Игорь Стрелков

    International investigators blame four people for the MH17 crash
    Three Russians and one Ukrainian. Among them – the former Minister of Defence of the DPR Igor Strelkov

    19th July, 14:11

    Yeah, right …

    Like

    1. The joint investigation team (JIT) has named at a press conference four people who are suspected of causing the crash of the Boeing in the Donbass. They are Russians Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and also a Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko.

      As the Netherlands prosecutor announced during the press conference, the suspects will be judged, in particular, for the murder of 298 passengers. Their trial will take place in March 2020. The investigation team has asked the suspects to be in court or to make contact.

      Do you think they’ll turn up or even make contact?

      So where is the uproarious laughter as regards this trial — you know, like whenever the Russians hold a trial in absentia?

      Like

      1. I suspect the real purpose of this ‘trial’ is to establish agency – that the accused could not have done what they are alleged to have done without the knowledge and consent of the Russian government. Such a conclusion would clear the way for seizing Russian state assets in western countries for compensation. It’s yet another example of legalised theft.

        Like

        1. Or freezing the assets of Russian citizens in western countries.

          Russian oligarchs had better start selling up all their properties in Britain and elsewhere in Europe and repatriate all their money back to Russia.

          Like

          1. Doesn’t that work both ways or does the West think that other countries, i.e. those with growing markets and future potential, will not risk western ‘investment’? How dumb. The West pulls out – though one should note that despite all the sanctions, they leave most private investors well alone (cake and eat it) – others will pile in and it will be a lost market to the West. What short term thinking.

            Speaking of both ways, we have clear examples, i.e. the West’s recognition of Yugoslav republics against international law in direct violation of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act that expressly states that such a break up can only be done with the express agreement of the parties (on the ground) involved, followed up by illegally bombing Yugoslavia, the illegal recognition of Kosovo. That is the direct legal genesis of Crimea’s declared independence from the Ukraine and Russia and others use of Responsibility to Protect. Now the legal points can be argued, but previous western action are facts set in stone.

            The West continues to undermine the international institutions it shaped and developed mainly to its own benefit, so if those institutions are no longer fit for purpose and are to be replaced – aka ‘modernized’, how on earth does the West expect that to happen yet again on its own terms when everyone else has become much stronger and more capable of resisting Western threats/bribes/whatever?

            I’m also thinking about NATO here and t-Rump’s direct threat to Turkey, it’s key ally and member. Plenty of it is bluff as is noted when Washington gives a deadline of a couple of months or so for them to stew it over, but it all rather smacks of childish prodding to see how far it can go before others tell them to FO and Washington says “You can’t do without us!” This in tandem with threats coming from the Pentagon that the EU’s defense plans ‘exclude’ US manufacturers in any meaningful way, which is a lie considering how deeply EU countries are already tied in to the American military industrial complex. Sure, they claim it is about the future, but it is only France that is capable of producing everything needed for a future European fighter aircraft and Germany with the cash. The Pentagon’s threat’s look like a LM plan to protect sales of the F-35 – less sales = higher average price, but any European aircraft is well over ten years away and shouldn’ t affect F-35 sales to the usual suspects. So is it about Germany who is keeping its aged Tornadoes in service and refuses to spend the 2% GDP on weapons and is the piggy bank keeping the EU together? Undermine Germany, divide and rule Europe. Again? If that’s the case, then the USA is no ally at all.

            Like

    2. It’s incredible that they are going to stick to that absurd story of Strelkov admitting in a radio intercept that his people shot down the airliner. The SBU could come up with a radio intercept of Aunt Jemima confessing to being the woman who peed on Trump if you asked them to; it’s just the verbal equivalent of cut and paste, and the west is not going to submit it to any kind of scrutiny to verify its provenance – it simply accepts it as fact; they’re an intelligence agency, aren’t they? Of course they can perform miracles.

      MH17 will never be solved in our lifetimes, because Washington has classified everything to a fare-thee-well, no competing narratives will be entertained, and the fix is in by the JIT. All we will ever have to refute it will be the patently ridiculous reality of the prime suspect acting as Chairman of the investigation into who dunnit, its own obvious motive for blaming it on someone else and its completely unrestricted – nay, enthusiastically approved – unsupervised access to all the evidence. We will be treated to years upon years of “Russia denies any involvement, although the evidence against it is overwhelming”.

      Like

      1. The JIT press briefing included the flag of Malaysia among the others even though it was excluded from the investigation and it doesn’t believe the JIT bs. Shameless.

        Like

        1. I would like to mention intent. Now I haven’t watched the briefing but if they believe part of a BUK system was deliberately smuggled in to eastern Ukraine to shoot down an airliner then they must think they have beyond reasonable doubt legal evidence of intent, and no I don’t mean just one radio intercept that can be interpreted as you wish.

          What am I saying?! Sorry, I apologize. I forgot that everything is FUBAR for a moment.

          The West doesn’t give a flying fuck about providing actual evidence of intent, it only needs to believe that it has found intent to find someone guilty (I’m looking at you International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia). It really is post-truth/fake news territory. And why isn’t actual proof needed? Because the West is trusted and would never lie, cheat, fabricate or omit facts contrary to their claims and will never be called out by its own media unless it is so egregious (and late) that it cannot be avoided, and even then it is a hang out (sic. Judith Miller).

          I would say that this failure to present evidence and fact that is beyond reasonable doubt is evidence of how far the corruption of Western institutions has become. It literally is making their own reality.

          Like

      2. I would go one step further and say it will never be solved. Actually solved anyways. All evidence has already been destroyed: flight recorders, ATC tapes, any remaining debris, and I imagine any unlucky witnesses that opened their mouth to the authorities. Anything that does not fit the official narrative has already been incinerated in the memory hole.

        It makes me equal parts sad and angry to say it, but this has been the greatest propaganda coup of the 21st century. There is absolutely nothing that Russia will ever be able to do about it. Any denial will be met with derision and more propaganda. Even the people of the EU and the rest of the world have had their minds poisoned. Maybe in another decade or two some truth will come out, but it is meaningless and no one will believe it. If they ever even hear of it.

        Malaysia, as upstanding and honorable of them as it is to stand up against the nonsense, is irrelevant. They were just the unwitting pawn and their opinion carries no weight.

        Like

        1. Политика , 19 июн, 21:37 176 152

          Доказательством по делу MH17 стала переписка солдата с девушкой
          В расследовании JIT о крушении MH17 приводится переписка российского военного и некой Анастасии. Страница девушки оказалась фейковой, а военный заявил, что в показанных следователями материалах «все нарисовано»

          Proof given in the MH17 case is the correspondence of a soldier with a girl
          In the JIT investigation of the MH17 crash is the correspondence of a Russian military and a certain Anastasia. The girl’s [social network] page turned out to be fake, and the military said that in the materials shown by the investigators “everything had been painted in”.

          Like

          1. I’m starting to think that, compared to the MH17 investigation by the JIT, the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in the Spanish empire from the 1400s to 1834 (when it closed down) did better work in determining who was a heretic and a witch and who wasn’t.

            Like

          2. Continued from the above-linked RBK article:

            In the investigation by the International Investigation Team (JIT) about the Malaysian Boeing 777 crash over the Donbas in 2014, there is the correspondence of a Russian military person with a certain Anastasia.

            The JIT believes that the plane was shot down by a Buk installation that belonged to the Russian 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade. The report presents the correspondence of a soldier of the 2nd battalion of this brigade (presented in documents as M) with a certain Anastasia.

            M claims that he went to Rostov with soldiers from the third battalion, but after the city of Millerovo, they headed the other way. When asked to clarify where the 3rd battalion had gone, he says he can only give a hint, and quotes from the song: “The order is given to him: To the west; to her: In the other direction”. Further correspondence runs as follows:

            Anastasia:. To blue and yellow, or what?

            M: Well, not to the state ). And you not only look beautiful, but you are smart as well.

            During the presentation, JIT showed a blurred photo from Anastasia’s page. The Bell managed to find her account. This publication concluded that this is a fake page, based on the fact that the photos of the girl are used by several accounts. The page had been actively filled in only from April to August 2015, and she had 26 persons classified as “friends”.

            She had a certain Maxim Gerasimov as a “friend”. After having opened his account, Gerasimov limited access to his page. The Bell claims that on his page were published photos of the parade ground on the territory of the military unit 32406 in Kursk, where the 53rd brigade is based.

            Gerasimov himself said to Open Media that the correspondence shown by JIT is a fake. “It’s all fake. There was no such conversation. Everything there has been written in”, he said. At the same time, Gerasimov confirmed that he spoke with Anastasia, who, in his words, “was just added as a friend and began to write”. He could not provide correspondence with her, explaining that he had deleted the dialogue long ago.

            On Wednesday, JIT named those suspected for causing the downing of MH17. They were three Russians and a Ukrainian: Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Oleg Pulatov, Sergey Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko.

            All of which above will be ridicule by the “free world” as it is in possession of irrefutable proof of Russian guilt in this msatter provided by no other than Go-Lick-My-Hairy-Balls Higgins.

            Like

        2. I would go one step further and say it will never be solved.

          Unless there is a leak. Considering the West’s track record and that they have angry citizens who hate all their lying, I’ll hold out hope, regardless of their war of intimidation against leakers/journalists.

          I predict the next leak will be dump, avoiding journos/PPNN as they have shown to be unreliable and the vast majority more than happy to squeal, with a few honorable exceptions.

          Like

        1. But he does know that subjunctive is a verb mood, as he writes deep within his above linked article:

          In English, as in Dutch, the word “might” signifies the subjunctive mood of a verb. The dictionary meaning of subjunctive is that it is a mood of verbs expressing what is imagined or wished or possible.

          And “he might have done it” is no ground for conviction, evidence for which having to be accepted as valid “beyond reasonable doubt”.

          And the subjunctive mood is used to express doubt as well as what one imagines, wishes or believes to be possible!

          Like

            1. To paraphrase Rene Descartes: “I believe therefore I know they did it”.

              Or we could refer to Lord Owen’s Law: “They probably did it therefore they did it”.

              Like

          1. It is a conviction based on what the west wishes it could prove.

            Nobody would be foolish enough to show up for such a trial, and the west knows it, so it’s in the bag. If the accused showed up they would be found guilty no matter how energetic a defense they put on, because most of the real evidence has been destroyed even as all the silly fake evidence like that dented missile body have been trotted out as proof. And if they don’t show up, it will be because they know they are guilty and wish to avoid an accounting. Simple, Airtight.

            Like

  13. Two interesting pieces via ZeroHedge:

    Vinyard the Saker: Iran at the center of the Eurasian riddle
    http://thesaker.is/iran-at-the-center-of-the-eurasian-riddle/

    &

    Oilprice.com: Declassified: The Sino-Russian Masterplan To End U.S. Dominance In Middle East
    https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Declassified-The-Sino-Russian-Masterplan-To-End-US-Dominance-In-The-Middle-Ea.html

    By Yossef Bodansky
    ####

    Read both and its pretty clear that there is a much wider shadow war going on between i-Ran, the US and allies, all tied in to a growing Eurasian grouping that the US continues to try and divide and contain.

    I remember Bodansky from a looong time ago as having a particular hard on against i-Ran and the US (B. Clinton) greenlighting them send mujahedeen to Bosnia to fight for the islamic government of Alija Izebegovic, the West Darling of Democracy. Bodansky hasn’t changed in the slightest but he brings a lot more background that we haven’t seen reported in the PPNN, namely the series of attacks against i-Ranian oil installations and vessels. He, like ‘b’ from Moon of Alabama sees i-Ran as most likely (and have decent motive) behind the tanker attacks as a warning to the US and allies.

    Where de does jive with Saker and other reports is on the coordination of the US and allies with ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever in Syria against the government and i-Ran there via US bases (Al-Tanaf on the border with Jordan) and proxies. It was reported a week or so ago that the US sent Turkey a fresh load of TOW missiles fitted to the endless stream of Japanese ‘technicals’ which we can be sure yet again has ended up in islamic terrorists that the USA has vowed to destroy but only when they’re not attacking mutual enemies.

    What is curious is the claim that the Gulfies do not want war with i-Ran. Maybe it is rather like that Chinese curse “May your wish come true”, i.e. when faced with the potential and real consequences of their ‘dreams’ would backfire spectacularly.

    Place your bets on a traditional August war, anyone? The optimist in me doesn’t see it, but my cynical side tells me the crazies have not yet reached rock bottom.

    Like

  14. INTERVIEW MIT UKRAINE-PRÄSIDENT SELENSKI
    Ich werde Putin sagen: Die Krim gehört zur Ukraine
    17.06.2019 – 22:10 Uhr

    Sad little fucker!

    He can’t even afford a tie!

    INTERVIEW WITH UKRAINE PRESIDENT ZELENSKIY
    I will say to Putin: The Crimea belongs to the Ukraine

    Well, in that case, don’t fucking well bother coming to Moskva, you arsehole!

    (By the way, zur Ukraine = zu der Ukraine = “to the Ukraine”. Waddya say to that, Svidomites? Not a real country because of the “the”?)


    BILD reporters Paul Ronzheimer (l.) and Julian Röpcke talking to Zelensky

    Couldn’t find a chair small enough for him?

    When you meet Putin for the first time, what will you tell him?

    Zelenskiy: “Let us start from the point that the Donbas and the Crimea are the Ukraine”.

    But isn’t the Crimea already lost for the Ukraine?

    Zelensky: “The Crimea is the Ukraine. And we hope that it will soon be returned. I love the Crimea very much. I have been there many, many times. This is a unique place in the Ukraine with its nature and history. For me, the Crimea has always been and still is part of the Ukraine”.

    Yeah, you little shit! When you were there, it was a dump, falling into wrack and ruin because of no investment caused by outlandish thievery undertaken by your patriotic “businessmen” fellow-countrymen

    By the way, your wife bought a tidy piece of property there recently, didn’t she? in Yalta, I believe — off a Moskal an’ all.

    I was there too when you were there: first time 2004; last time, 2011.

    Vastly better now, according to my son and heir, Vladimir Denisovich, who was there during the past two summers. He was also there with me and my wife and his sister in the ’70s. He can recognize the improvements since the “annexation.”.

    And if one should dare say that the Crimea was and is part of the Ukraine and that Crimeans were and still are Yukies, then the vast majority of Crimeans throw a fit, don’t they?

    You know they do!

    So do most Odessans.

    Like

    1. “… Couldn’t find a chair small enough for him? …”

      Be fair … after the previous presidential occupant, all the chairs in Zelensky’s offices are going to be much too big for him … and for his interviewers as well. Any furniture left (if the Porky one hasn’t taken it all) will have to be chainsawed down to normal human size and dimensions at least by 90%.

      It doesn’t help that the guy on Zelensky’s left is leaning toward the camera so he appears bigger than he actually is.

      Like

      1. Time was when in my old neck of the woods you weren’t allowed into a dance hall, club or the “best side” of a pub if you were not wearing a tie. And no jeans or leather jackets were allowed in such establishments either.

        I’m not talking about the 19th century! I’m talking about the 1970s, when I was in my 20s,

        Maybe that’s why I have neither worn nor possessed a pair of jeans since 1985, when I chucked my last filthy ones away. I used to wear them at work, nowhere else.

        Best suit, white shirt and a tie on Saturday nights for me! Same with my dad, grandad, uncles and workmates.

        Like

  15. “As long as there is no progress on this front, the sanctions cannot be lifted, and the sanctions related to Crimea can only be lifted if Crimea returns to Ukraine,” Merkel said…

    “We will continue to cooperate with France and other NATO partners to ensure the security of navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, as well as an unimpeded passage for the vessels in the Kerch Strait,” Zelenskiy said…

    https://www.newsweek.com/ukraine-germany-russia-angela-merkel-1444637

    In summary, bla, bla, bla, second verse, same as the first. Status quo, and good luck selling those apples, Poland, you fucking chumps. Ditto European dairy and pork and poultry farmers. By the time your governments recognize that ‘continuing to work’ on a plan that is not achievable is actually not a plan at all, those markets will be permanently out of your reach unless you sell at a loss.

    Speaking of sanctions, Russian LNG tankers are a recent feature in…New England? WTF???

    Yes, indeedy; Sanction-happy Washington affects not to notice Russian LNG supplies to the New England states because American logistics make it awkward to deliver Freedom Gas to fellow Americans. Why? Two reasons; one, America does not have any new LNG tankers of its own. Two, it won’t use foreign tankers because of the Jones Act, which forbids American cargoes from being carried in vessels which are not American-built and crewed.

    https://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/Comment-In-maintaining-Jones-Act-the-winner-14016151.php

    Did we know this already? Why, yes; we did. we discussed it extensively back in the summer two years ago.

    https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/flirting-with-disaster/

    Poor America! it so wants to be competitive with Russia in Europe, but the only market it thinks it could make a dent in is the gas market. But it has no pipelines, and dirty Kremlin stooges in America have hobbled its shipping potential by insisting America build its own LNG tankers, and crew them with loyal apple-pie-loving Americans (full disclosure, apple pie is my favourite). Could America build the 100+ tankers it needs right now to be serious about the business of exporting? Not a fucking hope – and even if it could, the costs of that fleet would have to be passed on to the consumer, or the Americans would be selling at a huge loss.

    https://www.nola.com/business/2015/12/report_chills_idea_to_link_lng.html

    Like

    1. There’s not shortage of example of the West’s stunning hypocrisy and chest puffing.

      Merkel says that sanctions will remain on Russia until Ukraine’s sovereignty is restored yet is quite happy to receive the benefits of NordStream II, not to mention its vehicles assembled in Kaliningrad and elsewhere.

      While Washington is pounding the sand out of Huawei, other brands like Lenovo, the go to business laptops, are still going strong, as are many other Chinese brands. China’s Haier bought GE’s white goods business etc. etc. Why aren’t they targeted? I assume it is all due to optics, i.e. those Americans losing their jobs in America would turn on t-Rump publicly.

      I fail to see how this sniper like approach to sanctioning companies can intimidate either Russia or China in to succumbing to the West’s will. Maybe it is all just for public consumption and they know perfectly well there is little they can do, but that they have to demonstrate to their own citizens to maintain they myth that they are still great powers. And just where do they see all this going? Next year? In five years? In ten years? Who am I kidding, they can barely see past the end of the current week. The longer they string things like this out, the weaker their position will be in any kind of inevitable deal, public or private…

      Like

      1. Trump is wrecking global trade for the United States. Much of the wave of apparent prosperity and increased market activity results from deregulation and speculation on the projected success of America-beating-up-everybody Trump hardball policies. What they are achieving is making Brand America disliked in markets where it was traditionally welcomed, and showcasing for everyone that if you give the Americans serious market share in anything, it doesn’t matter how good your national relations are with the company – if the US government decides you need to get taught a lesson, they will use that market share as leverage against you and there’s nothing the company can do about it, no matter how reluctant they might be.

        State ownership? The United States Government owns every business that operates in the USA, from the standpoint that it can simply order any company not to do business with this or that country for reasons of national security, and that company has to obey.

        Like

          1. I think the US’s plan is to weaken/keep weak the EU if not to destroy it. They go for any weak spot and hype up the Russian stick (sic the more than willing newer member states) to beat the core EU. Sanctions on Cz/Sk/Lt/Lv/Es/Pl/Hu/Hr? None that have been noticed, though that is probably because they are more than willing to bend for Uncle Scam.

            The irony of attacking France’s Alsthom (which is weak considering their nuclear activities etc.) is that France sees itself as a US champion ever since Sarkozy took France in to NATO – sorry OTAN! The US is attacking one of its strongest large NATO supporters. Even then, France is the only European country that can design, and manufacture everything needed for very expensive fighter aircraft (Rafale). Sweden’s Saab can do everything except the engine.

            As usual, the US is just trying to provoke everyone to in to overreacting, friend and foe alike. If NATO comes on board and spends $$$, good. If it comes apart, good too as the US would claim it was saving $$$. It’s the archetypal abusive older brother behavior.

            Like

  16. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/19/pers-j19.html

    “Without any attempt to make a case to the American people for war, Washington is preparing to launch a military assault on Iran, a country with three times the population of Iraq in 2003 and four times the land mass.

    The American people face the prospect of a series of shocks. The bombing of an Iranian nuclear facility may be answered with an Iranian attack on a US warship as well as rocket attacks on US bases across the Persian Gulf with the possibility of thousands of American casualties overnight. A war with Iran will require an army of hundreds of thousands, necessitating the revival of the draft.

    Moreover, because of its strategic position, a war against Iran will inevitably draw in the entire Middle East, while posing military confrontation with nuclear-armed China and Russia.”

    Remember 500,000 American troops couldn’t prevail over North Vietnam forces whose 1970 population and area were both 1/5 that of Iran today.
    https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/casualty.html
    Also the invasion of Okinawa and the contemplated two part Operation Downfall Invasion of Japan suggest that attempting to occupy Iran with even 250,000 troops would result in defeat for the Americans.

    “Casualty estimates were based on the experience of the preceding campaigns, drawing different lessons:
    In a study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April, the figures of 7.45 casualties/1,000 man-days and 1.78 fatalities/1,000 man-days were developed. This implied that a 90-day Olympic campaign would cost 456,000 casualties, including 109,000 dead or missing. If Coronet took another 90 days, the combined cost would be 1,200,000 casualties, with 267,000 fatalities.[35]
    A study done by Adm. Nimitz’s staff in May estimated 49,000 casualties in the first 30 days, including 5,000 at sea.[36] A study done by General MacArthur’s staff in June estimated 23,000 in the first 30 days and 125,000 after 120 days.[37] When these figures were questioned by General Marshall, MacArthur submitted a revised estimate of 105,000, in part by deducting wounded men able to return to duty.[38]
    In a conference with President Truman on June 18, Marshall, taking the Battle of Luzon as the best model for Olympic, thought the Americans would suffer 31,000 casualties in the first 30 days (and ultimately 20 percent of Japanese casualties, which implied a total of 70,000 casualties).[39] Adm. Leahy, more impressed by the Battle of Okinawa, thought the American forces would suffer a 35 percent casualty rate (implying an ultimate toll of 268,000).[40] Admiral King thought that casualties in the first 30 days would fall between Luzon and Okinawa, that is, between 31,000 and 41,000.[40]
    Of these estimates, only Nimitz’s included losses of the forces at sea, though kamikazes had inflicted 1.78 fatalities per kamikaze pilot in the Battle of Okinawa,[41] and troop transports off Kyūshū would have been much more exposed.

    A study done for Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s staff by William Shockley estimated that conquering Japan would cost 1.7 to 4 million American casualties, including 400,000 to 800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese fatalities. The key assumption was large-scale participation by civilians in the defense of Japan.[34]
    Outside the government, well-informed civilians were also making guesses. Kyle Palmer, war correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, said half a million to a million Americans would die by the end of the war. Herbert Hoover, in memorandums submitted to Truman and Stimson, also estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 fatalities, and were believed to be conservative estimates; but it is not known if Hoover discussed these specific figures in his meetings with Truman. The chief of the Army Operations division thought them “entirely too high” under “our present plan of campaign.”[42]

    For context, the Battle of Normandy had cost 63,000 casualties in the first 48 days; and the Battle of Okinawa ran up 72,000 casualties over about 82 days, of whom 18,900 were killed or missing. Several thousand soldiers who died indirectly whether from wounds or other causes at a later date are not included. The entire war cost the United States a total of just over a million casualties, with 400,000 fatalities.”

    https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Operation_Downfall

    As usual some of the comments and links therein are most instructive :

    Charlotte Ruse • 11 hours ago
    “It should also be noted, that “transactional” Trump’s motivations regarding Iran and all other foreign policy in the Middle East could be traced to moneybags Sheldon Adelson. “Adelson called on the last president, Barack Obama, to nuke Iran in 2013 rather than negotiate with Iran, and Obama ignored the advice. But Trump can’t ignore Adelson. Adelson and his wife Miriam gave $177 million to Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican causes in 2016-2018, making them his biggest donors by far; and Trump surely regards Adelson as his best hope for securing a second term, and for keeping him out of jail, too…”

    And if money is a great motivator we can’t overlook Mark Esper’s ties to Raytheon which recently merged with United Technology creating an aerospace-and-defense powerhouse with a combined revenue of $74 billion. How better to ensure that the US Treasury continues to be plundered by the criminal arms industry.
    https://mondoweiss.net/2019… “

    Like

    1. Another lesson of modern war that should be remembered from Iraq, but is evidently not – body armor. Body armor definitely saves lives, because it protects the body core from blast and fragments. But those who live often wish they had not, as unprotected limbs are frequently shredded and cannot be saved. I would guess there were many more long-term-care survivors of the Iraq war than there were from Vietnam, and America’s wounded in the most recent Middle East war overloaded the system, resulting in the Walter Reed scandal.

      A war with Iran would multiply a problem which was never actually resolved.

      Like

  17. Голого Порошенко продали за $2,5 тысячи
    20.06.2019 | 09:40

    Naked Poroshenko sold for $2.5 thousand

    A painting of the naked former president of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has been sold at an auction, reports Svetlana Kryukova, deputy editor of the publication of “Country.ua”, in her Facebook.

    The total price of the lot was $ 2.5 thousand.

    The starting price of the painting “Peter is already the fifth” was $600.

    Earlier it was reported that there are only two such paintings in the world, one of them is in a private collection.

    No idea why the painting has been thus named.

    Ars gratia artis?

    Like

    1. Looks like it should have been called “Naked Poroshenko Eating an Ice-Cream Sandwich in a Flower Shop with Naked Boys”.

      Not much of a leaf, there, Mr. President, if you feel me.

      Like

      1. Actually, he’s portrayed eating a Russian confection called “bird milk” ( птичье молоко):

        It’s a kind of soft, sweet meringue.

        You can get it like a cake as well:

        .

        Like

        1. I have a couple of boxes of it in the refrigerator right now; Papa just returned from a sojourn to Mordor a week ago. I was not able to find a picture of the box; all of them have a bird on them somewhere, but this one features a large picture of a hummingbird – those must be difficult to milk. It is a prized Vladivostok variety, but I suspect they are all pretty similar. There are three flavours inside – white, yellow and brown, all chocolate-covered. I realize they are colours and not flavours, but they don’t really taste like what they advertise. The white I imagine is vanilla, but it doesn’t taste like it; it tastes like sugar. The brown does taste like chocolate, while the yellow tastes like sugar coloured yellow.

          Like

          1. I’d hate to see how hummingbirds get milked. I’m having visions of penguins regurgitating fish to feed their chicks.

            Like

  18. The guardian’s direct links to Brutish Intelligence directly fingered by journo Matt Kennard –

    Via the most recent Craig Murray piece:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/06/the-broader-view-reveals-the-ugliest-of-prospects/
    ####

    I’m surprised that anyone is surprised. If I was on twitter, I’d add Kennard to follow.

    Like

    1. We are seeing remarkable displays nearly every day now of the utter contempt in which the power elites hold the rest of the population; they are not even trying any more to disguise their frame-ups. Apparently that was unnecessary work, because the average Joe is too stupid to realize when he is being manipulated to gain his approval, which is not really necessary anyway, although it might be in a democracy. The icing on the cake is Pompeo’s naked threat against the election of Corbyn. If ever a cataclysmic cardiac event would be cause for a celebration, the explosion of Pompeo’s black cellulite heart would personify it. Literally outrageous.

      Like

  19. Part II of my series on the Vietnam war.

    This is really good stuff. I’m not praising myself, I’m praising the material.
    I found some really interesting sources about the Soviet fighter pilot aces, and the mysterious fabled ace “Li-Si-Tsyn” who fought in the China-Japan War, as well as Korea and Vietnam!

    Like

  20. Gosh! The Iranians shot down a US Global Hawk reconnaissance drone over the Gulf of Oman. There’s your war excuse – but for some reason, Trump elected to give it a pass, and said he was convinced it was just a trigger-happy mistake.

    https://abcnews.go.com/International/iran-shoots-american-drone-international-airspace-us-official/story?id=63825990

    Iran responded by claiming the shootdown, and pointedly omitting any suggestion of a mistake. It was a pretty clear you-better-fuck-off, and delivered by a General Salami, to add insult to injury. Of course the USA claims it was operating in international waters/airspace, but that tends to mean anywhere we are operating is international, and since all the graphics come from them, you can take it for what it’s worth.

    Like

    1. Quick update. MOA deconstructed the meaning behind the US claim that the drone was 34 kilometers from the nearest point of the Iranian coast. Since the drone was likely at its cruise altitude of 20+ kilometers, its actual ground track would be quite close to the 12 nautical mile limit.

      One more thing, this was a super stealthy drone that should have been invisible on radar. Apparently not. That seems to be a big deal. The Iranian missile sort of looked like a Buk.

      Like

      1. Putin likes to tell the story of how, when a boy, he chased a rat into a corner and then learnt a useful lesson. Perhaps Putin should have explained his tale to Trump.
        “According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.”
        “Iran is offering only two choices to the US President: end the embargo on Iranian oil or go to war. Sources acknowledge that the future is uncertain and potentially very dangerous for the region and the global economy, since Iran will definitely not stop in its plans to halt all oil tanker navigation if its own oil cannot be exported. ”
        https://ejmagnier.com/2019/06/21/iran-and-trump-on-the-edge-of-the-abyss/

        Like

      1. General Hossein Salami turns out to be real enough. Presumably his surname is … halal.

        He also has some association with an engineering / construction firm Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters which is owned by the IRGC.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khatam-al_Anbiya_Construction_Headquarters

        This must be one of those IRGC conglomerates that receive a lot of their funding from bonyads (non-profit charitable trusts) and whose income after expenses and business reinvestment would return to those bonyads that then distribute the money among IRGC members and their families through educational, health and other social welfare subsidies.

        Like

      2. There’s a French journalist called Hala/Léa Salamé :

        And quite the background:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A9a_Salam%C3%A9

        …Hala Salamé is the daughter of Ghassan Salamé, former Lebanese Minister of Culture and former Special advisor to UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan;[1] her mother, Mary Boghossian, of Armenian descent, is the sister of diamond dealers Jean and Albert Boghossian.[1] She escaped war in Lebanon with her family, settled in Paris at age 5[2] and obtained French nationality at age 11.[3]

        Léa Salamé studied law at Panthéon-Assas University, Sciences Po Paris[3] and spent a year at New York University (she was injured in the 9/11 attacks..

        Like

        1. I wonder if her family are related to the Salome of the Bible? The one who danced the “dance of 7 veils” and kissed the severed head of John the Baptist?

          Like

  21. Al-Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): MH17 crash: Malaysia PM Mahathir denounces murder charges
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48702115

    A day after the MH17 plane crash inquiry team announced murder charges against four men, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has condemned the decision as “ridiculous”.

    ####

    No cake for you Sir!

    Al-Beeb s’Allah thinks it’s all about palm oil sale. Now who’s pushing conspiracy theories?

    Note the Malaysian FM statement in the article that can be taken as you like:

    PRESS STATEMENT ON THE LATEST REPORT BY

    THE MH17 JOINT INVESTIGATION TEAM (JIT)

    Malaysia appreciates the presentation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on 19 June 2019 on the latest report based on its investigation and legal research.

    Malaysia remains committed to the JIT process. We are equally committed to ensuring that the process is transparent, credible and effective.

    Our approach has always been that conclusions must be based on evidence, and not be politically motivated.

    In this connection, we call on all parties to cooperate with the process so that the truth will be discovered.

    PUTRAJAYA

    20 June 2019

    http://www.kln.gov.my/web/guest/-/press-statement-on-the-latest-report-by-the-mh17-joint-investigation-team-jit-

    Like

  22. NBC via Antiwar.com: Syrian refugee charged with plotting to bomb Pennsylvania church
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/syrian-refugee-charged-plotting-bomb-pennsylvania-church-n1019521

    Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, recorded a video of himself pledging an oath of allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group, court documents say.
    ####

    Funny dat. All the usual Human Rights suspects attacked the Syrian government a week or so ago for thoroughly inspecting all refugees returning to Syria to try and weed out ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever terrorists, and here we have a case in the US of A of exactly that. But it’s not the same, obvs! Right sort of terrorists vs. wrong sort of terrorists.

    Like

  23. NWorld via Antiwar.com: Ukrainian MP found shot dead in Kiev home
    https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/ukrainian-mp-found-shot-dead-in-kiev-home-1.876575

    …Although Anton Herashchenko, another member of Ukraine’s Parliament, told 112 Ukraina TV that Dmytro Tymchuk died in an accident, an investigation is trying to confirm the circumstances of his death.

    “Tymchuk’s wife called the police,” Mr Herashchenko said. “She said that her husband was cleaning his pistol and fatally wounded himself. Before the ambulance arrived, Tymchuk died.”…

    …But it is not yet certain whether he was murdered, killed himself or shot himself accidentally, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said.

    Police say it is possible that the politician was assassinated.

    Tymchuk has been a vocal critic of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, often using his “Information Resistance” blog to update his followers…
    ####

    Another dead Ukranian fascist, member of the ‘People’s Front’ of Yatsenyuk and Turchynov .

    Like

    1. Maybe the wife had something to do with it.

      In fact, why didn’t they investigate Nemtsov’s widow? He was out partying with a Ukrainian hooker when he got shot, after all.

      Like

    2. He’s the nutty ‘analyst’ (heavy on the ‘anal’) who used to announce regularly throughout 2014/15 that the date of the Russian invasion had been discovered, and it would be in a month or so, except he would give the actual date. No matter how many times he did this and nothing happened, he would always cause a stir. He would back up his assertions with pictures of Russian military equipment in Russia.

      https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/how-full-of-shit-would-you-have-to-be-to-be-more-full-of-shit-than-dmitry-tymchuk/

      Sweet dreams, Dima! Hey, watch out for that pitchfork.

      Like

  24. “In truth, the real key to Trump’s foreign policy is neither neo-isolationism nor subservience to Vladimir Putin but rather belligerent incoherence. As befits the man who styles himself the master of “the art of the deal,” Trump has an excessive faith in his own ability to glad-hand his way through thorny disputes with other power players. But Pompeo and Bolton have their own agenda, which boils down to shoring up American global hegemony by maximum aggression. The combination of Trump’s desire to be a wheeler-dealer on the world stage and the Pompeo/Bolton penchant for throwing America’s weight around has produced a foreign policy that is singularly confused, with a constant sending of mixed signals that could easily provoke conflict.
    If Trump headed a normal administration, one could imagine a good-cop/bad-cop dynamic. Certainly, that is the game Dwight Eisenhower played, letting his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles scare the world with talk of massive retaliation while Ike pursued arms control. Eisenhower’s vice president took the hint: Richard Nixon developed his own good-cop/bad-cop routine, spreading rumors that he was a bomb-happy madman so that foreign adversaries were eager to talk to the seemingly more reasonable Henry Kissinger.
    But if Trump hoped to use Bolton and Pompeo as pit bulls to scare other nations to the negotiation table, he quickly discovered that he doesn’t seem to have any way of controlling these wild animals. With his own tendency towards reckless rhetoric and painfully evident lack of policy knowledge, Trump lacks the skill to convincingly present himself as the reasonable alternative to anything.
    Does it even make sense to look for a devious design underwriting Trump’s foreign policy? Isn’t it more likely that the chaos we see on the surface is all there is? That in fact Trump is no mastermind, but a man of inchoate and barely articulate impulses?

    Instead, he’s ended up with a foreign policy that is a hodgepodge of conflicting goals that are constantly undercutting each other. This incoherent foreign policy keeps sending mixed messages to the world, which greatly increase the risk of accidental war. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where a rival power, confronted by the contrast between Trump’s eagerness to talk and Bolton/Pompeo’s bluster, decides to test American resolve, leading to escalation and armed conflict.”
    https://www.thenation.com/article/trump-iran-foreign-policy/

    Like

  25. “Occasionally, a revelatory, and profoundly alarming, article passes almost unnoticed, even when published on the front page of The New York Times. Such was the case with reporting by David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, bearing the Strangelovian title “U.S. Buries Digital Land Mines to Menace Russia’s Power Grid,” which appeared in the print edition on June 16. The article contained two revelations.

    First, according to Sanger and Perlroth, with my ellipses duly noted, “The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid.… Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue…” The operation “carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.” Though under way at least since 2012, “now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense…with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before.” At this point, the Times reporters add an Orwellian touch. The head of the U.S. Cyber Command characterizes the assault on Russia’s grid, which affects everything from the country’s water supply, medical services, and transportation to control over its nuclear weapons, as “the need to ‘defend forward,’” because “they don’t fear us.”

    https://www.thenation.com/article/washingtons-dr-strangeloves/

    Well.. yet again it appears as if great minds are prone to reach similar conclusions:
    https://thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/loose-screw-mckew-and-americas-learning-disability/comment-page-5/#comment-28369
    :O)

    Like

  26. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/20/iran-j20.html

    The lengthy dmorista comment and links therein are a wealth of well thought out analysis and links that may prove hard to find without well connected sources.

    .Another well informed comment by FireintheHead had the following link to this RT article:
    https://www.rt.com/usa/462251-nuclear-doctrine-document-pentagon/?fbclid=IwAR23KfPsEshKkUgDaB9T0H9QmKTBoSWSpXxIoALy2L_-89F2sJWU-sFkJrw

    “Nuclear Operations,” or Joint Publication 3-72, was dated on June 11 and made private since, but not before it was downloaded by Steven Aftergood, an activist at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). It is currently available on the FAS website as a PDF.

    Click to access jp3_72.pdf

    Read and download…while you still can….

    Like

  27. Liaoning battle group’s current cruise brought the carrier close to Guam
    http://alert5.com/2019/06/20/liaoning-battle-groups-current-cruise-brought-the-carrier-close-to-guam/

    Media reports from Taiwan says China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning approach Guam during its current cruise and may head to the Spratly Islands.

    The carrier was last seen sailing via the Miyako Strait between the island of Miyako and Okinawa’s main island into the Pacific Ocean. It has since then move south.
    ####

    So aggressively going up and down other people’s territory goes both ways! Who would have though???

    Like

  28. I saw a Beeb headline claiming that there were spontaneous protests outside the Georgian parliament, i.e. repeating a quote by an opposition MP as fact even though in the article it was pointed out that a) the opposition called for the protests; b) the visit by the Russian and that he would address the Georgian parliament were known in advance.

    It’s funny how spontaneous means something else, except that headline has been now been replaced with something more accurate. The amended article includes previous reporting:

    Al-Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Georgia protests: Thousands storm parliament over Russian MP’s speech
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48710042

    …Opposition MPs in Georgia’s parliament called for protests in response to his decision to deliver a speech from the speaker’s seat…

    …Giga Bokeria, an opposition MP for the European Georgia party, told AFP the rally outside parliament had been “a spontaneous protest by ordinary Georgians”…
    ####

    And below that you see:

    A spontaneous demonstration

    Analysis by BBC News’ Rayhan Demytrie in Tbilisi
    ####

    The lie that was the headline but just shifted

    ..This demonstration gathered spontaneously in response to calls from the Georgian opposition to protest against what many Georgians say was an outrageous act – to see an MP from an “occupying” country entering their parliament…
    ####

    And there it is, the original lie. It wasn’t a natural impulse or reaction but a call to arms when everything was known in advance and at some level planned, but that doesn’t make for such a dramatic story!

    Like

    1. Spontaneously in response to calls to do it. Boys and girls, this is going to revolutionize my job-performance assessments. Anything that I am told to do, I will claim to have done entirely on my own initiative.

      Like

        1. P.S. – I forgot to mention in my post that the event was supposed to be something to do with Orthodoxy, and yet the Russian guy who “instigated” all of this by speaking at the forum from the wrong chair, Sergei Gavrilov, is a member of the Communist Party of Russia!

          Are Commies not atheists any more?

          Like

  29. TheHill.com: FBI, warned early and often that Manafort file might be fake, used it anyway
    https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/449206-fbi-warned-early-and-often-that-manafort-file-might-be-fake-used-it-anyway

    By John Solomon, opinion contributor — 06/19/19 10:30 AM EDT

    When the final chapter of the Russia collusion caper is written, it is likely two seminal documents the FBI used to justify investigating Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign will turn out to be bunk.

    And the behavior of FBI agents and federal prosecutors who promoted that faulty evidence may disturb us more than we now know….

    …The second document, known as the “black cash ledger,” remarkably has escaped the same scrutiny, even though its emergence in Ukraine in the summer of 2016 forced Paul Manafort to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman and eventually face U.S. indictment.

    In search warrant affidavits, the FBI portrayed the ledger as one reason it resurrected a criminal case against Manafort that was dropped in 2014 and needed search warrants in 2017 for bank records to prove he worked for the Russian-backed Party of Regions in Ukraine.

    There’s just one problem: The FBI’s public reliance on the ledger came months after the feds were warned repeatedly that the document couldn’t be trusted and likely was a fake, according to documents and more than a dozen interviews with knowledgeable sources…
    ####

    Much more at the link.

    Even this stuff is old skool. If you follow the tech news, the rapid evolution of ‘Deep Fake’ tools – i.e. convincingly fabricating facial video/audio/whatever to make your object say what ever you want – is out there and very easily deployed, even by people with limited tech skills.

    I would assume that what is public has been private and deployable much earlier, so you can assume the tools to entirely fabricate a video of showing someone carrying out actions that never happened are also available and probably in use. We already know that incriminating evidence can be placed on your computer, sic an anonymous police tip-off and your nicked, the cops none the wiser.

    When Photoshop introduced a very effective disappear tool (that easily removes unwanted items from photos and fills in the space convincingly) a few years ago it was clear that the writing was on the books, or is that typing on the tablet? The only problem with such fakes is that the large amount of other metadata (gsm/wifi network/whatever) has to align with it, i.e. you cannot put the subject somewhere other metadata contradicts the video, least of all actual witnesses. I guess that may limit where such fakes can be deployed, i.e. time sensitive (political/military) events or naturally opaque situations (s/he said – country v. country) where the media is already aboard. On a micro level, just another tool to intimidate the weak or those with limited resources/backing…

    This be the Brave New Turd we’re now living in.

    Like

    1. Yes, Forrest Gump demonstrated that the film industry’s technology was more than capable of inserting Tom Hanks into historical footage in a realistic manner, and it didn’t even have to be grainy like the film of the Iranians ‘removing the incriminating limpet mine’. That film took advantage of actual dialogue spoken by historical figures, but as you say, it is perfectly possible to now make John F. Kennedy say “pass the crack pipe, willya?” if you want to. Fakery is now easier to spot by its motivation than its execution.

      The mainstream media’s task now is not so much to salvage the provenance of reference documentation used in the ‘Trump is colluding with Russia’ story as it is to separate that narrative from the narrative of Russian interference with America’s democracy, so that the latter remains intact and undamaged by falsehoods revealed in the former.

      Like

  30. The soon-to-be UK Prime Minister in late night altercation with “partner” (the woman he lives with) disturbs neighbours.

    Scotland Yard rushes to scene!

    Move along now; nothing to see here!

    Police called to Boris Johnson’s home over reports of loud altercation with girlfriend: ‘Get off me’


    (above) Johnson and “girlfriend”: Just a lovers’ tiff, doncha know?

    Why “girlfriend”? She’s 31 and that idiot is 55.

    On a tape made of the altercation, that arsewipe of a publication “The Grauniad” reports:

    … a man can allegedly be heard saying “get off my f***ing laptop”… a woman’s voice can be heard complaining that a sofa had been damaged with red wine and saying: “You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything.”

    Strong words indeed!


    I’m a rum fucker, I am!

    Like

      1. Is that “coke” as imbibed in copious amounts the world over or “coke” that you snort, as did the geek Gove?

        For the life of me, I just cannot imagine any previous British prime minister or prime-minister-in waiting behaving in such a vulgar and scandalous manner with a floozie that he is shacked up with, and that includes David Lloyd George, who, they say, was champion skirt-chaser of his day.

        Anyroad, I think British parliaments in recent times are more full of shirt-tail lifters and paederasts than skirt-lifters.

        O tempora o mores!

        Like

        1. The former, both, either, whatever.

          According to the headlines (I’ve not bothered to punish myself by actually reading further), Boris in the past has almost admitted as much but now studiously avoids mention it if possible, and when he does, denies it.

          It brings to mind one of those newspaper ‘investigations’ that claims there are plenty of traces of coke in the Houses of Parliament restrooms. Not that I think it unlikely in the least. The telling part is that no-one is outraged by it apart from the newspapers which is odd as former journalist and government minster Michael Gove (and recent failed PM candidate) admitted to taking coke when he was a journalist yet as home secretary introduced rather draconian rules.

          Like

          1. Better treasure this picture (not of BoJo but looks like him, and it has been posted here in the past) when he becomes PM:

            Like

  31. On this day at 04:00, 22 June, 1941, there started the greatest armed struggle in history when Nazi Germany and its allies attacked the USSR.

    It is now 09:50, Moskva time, as I write, June 22, 2019.

    Seventy-eight years ago, the carnage would have already been in full swing for almost 6 hours.

    On the former western frontier of the USSR was then situated the Soviet fortress of Brest.

    Yesterday, on the eve of the 78th anniversary of the start of the Great Patriotic War, the Russian Ministry of Defence published previously unknown materials relating to the heroic defence of the Brest Fortress.

    A new section dedicated to this topic is based on declassified documents of the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence Fund.

    Source: Минобороны рассекретило документы о защитниках Брестской крепости

    Like

    1. Вспомнить всё: женщины, которые «ковали» Победу

      Remember everything: remember the women who “forged” Victory

      June 22 is a special date for Russia. On June 22, 1941, German invaders attacked the Soviet Union without warning. This date is now forever engraved in history as the “Day of memory and sorrow”.

      The scale of the feat of the Soviet people cannot be measured. Our compatriots fought fiercely for a peaceful world. In the war there were no “male” and “female” duties: all were soldiers. It is especially interesting on this day to remember the stories of ordinary girls who later became heroes of the USSR.

      Lyudmila Pavlichenko

      The Americans and Europeans called Pavlichenko “Lady Death”. As a sniper, she single-handedly eliminated 309 Nazis.

      Later, Pavlichenko, at the invitation of Eleanor Roosevelt, visited America, where she spoke her famous phrase: “Gentlemen, I’m twenty-five years old. At the front, I have managed to destroy three hundred and nine invaders. Do not you think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?”

      Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya

      Kosmodemyanskaya was the first woman hero of the war. The girl voluntarily went to serve in intelligence. While in the reconnaissance and commando school, she was warned that 95% of her cohort would be killed and that the others would die as a result of horrific torture.

      Kosmodemyanskaya’s partisan group was given the task of setting fire to a village occupied by the Germans. Following the execution of the task, Kosmodemyanskaya was captured.

      The Nazis tortured Kosmodemyanskaya: flogged her with belts, drove her out naked into the cold, but she did not give up and would tell them nothing.

      The Germans hanged her. Before her death, she said, “You hang me now, but I am not alone: there are two hundred million of us. You cannot hang us all. I shall be avenged…”

      There are thousands of such heroic stories. Such fragile girls “forged” Victory with their lives. Today is the day for Russians to take the opportunity to honour and pay tribute to their heroism and the heroism of the Soviet people, which is impossible to forget..

      Kosmodemyanskaya was hanged not very far from where my dacha is, in the village that she and her partisan group had tried to burn down, Petrishchevo. A German cavalry regiment was stationed there. The village is about 5 miles from my dacha

      Sadly to say, Kosmodemyanskaya was captured because she was betrayed by a fellow partisan, Vasily Klubkov, who, together with Kosmodemyanskaya and another partisan leader, Boris Krainov, had been assigned to torch different parts of the village.

      Some details of Kosmodemyanskaya’s assignment and arrest were classified for about sixty years because treachery might have been involved.

      Criminal case № 16440 was declassified in 2002. The case was then reviewed by the Russian Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office, and it was decided that Vasily Klubkov, who betrayed Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, was not eligible for rehabilitation.

      According to criminal case 16440, three Soviet combatants: Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, Vasily Klubkov, and their commander Boris Krainov had to perform acts of sabotage in Reichskommissariat Ostland. They had been given the task of setting fire to houses in the village of Petrishchevo, where German troops were quartered.

      Krainov was to operate in the central part of the village, Kosmodemyanskaya in the southern and Klubkov in the northern parts.

      Krainov was the first to carry out his task and returned to base. Kosmodemyanskaya performed her task too, as was evidenced by three columns of flame in the southern part of Petrishchevo and seen from the partisan base.

      Only the northern part of the village was not set on fire.

      According to Klubkov, he was captured by two German soldiers and taken to their headquarters. A German officer threatened to kill him, and Klubkov gave him the names of Kosmodemyanskaya and Krainov. After this, Kosmodemyanskaya was captured by the GermansWiki

      Just before they hanged her and with the rope around her neck, Kosmodemyanskaya said:

      “Farewell, comrades! Fight, do not be afraid! Stalin is with us! Stalin will come!”

      And having hanged her, they cut her body down and took some pretty pictures to send to the folks back home:


      Source of above.

      The Germans then strung her up again and left her body hanging on the gallows for several weeks.

      Eventually she was buried just before Soviet forces regained that territory where Petrishchevo is situated in in January 1942.

      Like

      1. Ah! I still cannot bear to see those photos of Zoya naked and dead.
        Anyhow, Krutikov has an interesting take on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
        The interesting, and perhaps lesser known bit, is how the Soviet Union “purchased” a chunk of Lithuanian territory (Sulvalkija) off the Nazis, when all the wheeling and dealing was going on.

        I plan to do a post on this, but not sure when, as I have other stories lined up and almost ready to go.

        Like

      2. Ewww, how awful.

        It may be some consolation though to know Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya’s neck was broken when she was hanged. That would have been a fairly quick death and indicates a sufficiently long rope was used and the distance from the anchor point to the ground was considerable.

        Like

        1. Jolly decent of those German chappies to make use the laws of physics when hanging her. That’s because they’re dead efficient, see.

          Personally, though, I just think that those Germans who hanged her were a lousy sadistic bunch of fucking bastards,

          Probably sexually repressed as well.

          Why did they peel down the dead girl’s blouse after they had murdered her?

          Like

  32. Vinyard the Saker: The Terrorists Among US- Traitors and Terror 3
    http://thesaker.is/the-terrorists-among-us-traitors-and-terror-3/

    by George Eliason for The Saker Blog

    The second part in this series showed clearly that the US Intel community has been overrun by untrainable and undependable people.

    …MJ- “Considering how the intelligence community is depicted in the media or in the movies (and clearly CIA “outreach” plays a role here), you’d think Jedi Knights. The Justice League. Gandalf. But if you ever had personal contact with the “three-letter agencies” for any period of time, you’d think different. My most recent experience with the “intelligence” community was at MIIS, post-9/11 when the agencies were coming there to hire, and they were hiring big. They hired many of my research assistants–I was doing what might be termed “open-source intelligence” on WMD proliferation–and in the process, they’d ask me, their immediate supervisor, for my opinion. So I’d tell them point-blank: can’t read, can’t write, can’t analyze. I don’t care what their CV says, the only language they can function in at any level in English. No matter, they’d get hired anyway. Drug convictions? No matter, they’d get hired anyway (at least at the time, the CIA would hire you if you didn’t have any drug convictions within the last 3 years). Scary political views they wore on their sleeve? No matter, they’d get hired anyway. All of my good assistants went to work for the UN, IAEA, major NGOs. The dregs went to “intelligence.” So now when I see a) the “Russian interference” stories and b) the inability to safeguard, and presumably use responsibly, your own cyber-warfare arsenal, I can’t say I’m exactly surprised. But there are no shortcuts in this kind of work. If you rapidly expand at the cost of dramatically lowering standards, you (and the country) are going to pay a price. We’re paying it right now.”-…
    ####

    A lot more at the link that I haven’t yet read. It may in part explain the incompetence shown thus far in various regime change and other efforts by the US.

    The Market Will Provide (TM)!*

    * To/for whom?

    Like

    1. Over at one of the MoA comments forums, someone (Pft, I think) was speculating that the reason Hollywood was producing so many lousy films and TV shows was that its script writers had all been taken away by the CIA to write fake narratives for its plots. Someone else replied that if that was the case, the quality of the fake news material was lower than that of the so-called worst Hollywood flick of all time, “Plan 9 from Outer Space”.

      Like

  33. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/22/trtr-j22.html

    “Trudeau’s White House comments are an explicit declaration that when US imperialism decides to launch a military onslaught on Iran, Canadian imperialism will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its “closest ally.” As the prime minister acknowledged, there are already substantial numbers of Canadian troops deployed to the region, including those leading the NATO mission in Baghdad to train Iraqi troops. Less well known is that a contingent of senior Canadian Armed Forces personnel has been deployed to the Middle East to assist the Pentagon with strategic planning and logistics.

    Canada’s military and government are thus intimately familiar with the campaign of threats and military provocations American imperialism is mounting against Iran and its Syrian, and other allies—provocations that threaten to plunge the entire Middle East into a bloodbath.

    Trudeau’s endorsement of the US war drive stands in stark contrast to the response of the European imperialist powers, which apart from Britain have distanced themselves from Trump’s war-mongering against Iran. In the latest example of this, both France and Germany have publicly challenged Washington’s entirely unsubstantiated claim that Iranian forces were responsible for attacking two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz earlier this month. Such criticisms are not motivated by any commitment to peace. Rather they are bound up with the fact that German and French imperialism view the US as a direct competitor for influence over the world’s most important oil-exporting region.

    Until Trudeau’s White House remarks, Canada, for its part, had maintained a conspicuous silence on the Trump administration’s provocative actions against Iran. This is a case where one can safely say—silence denotes consent.

    In pursuit of its own predatory interest and ambitions, Canadian imperialism has become ever more deeply allied with Washington’s drive to assert its unbridled hegemony over the Middle East. Canadian troops played a decisive role in the neocolonial occupation of Afghanistan for a decade; joined the US-led bombardment of Libya in 2011; and have been operating in Iraq and Syria since US warplanes began their bloody air strikes in 2014, ostensibly to combat ISIS terrorists.

    While the Canadian Special Forces deployed to Iraq were officially termed “advisers” to avoid triggering popular opposition, they effectively functioned on the front line of combat, including during the onslaught on the city of Mosul, in which thousands of civilians were killed by US bombs.”

    Like

  34. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/22/pers-j22.html

    “Moreover, a war on Iran would inevitably escalate the US confrontation with China, which cannot cede to US imperialism a stranglehold over the oil resources of the Middle East that sustain its economy, and which sees Iran as a strategic link in its One Belt, One Road strategy to deepen the integration of Eurasia.

    In an unmistakable indication that the US military is preparing for an “unthinkable” conflict involving the US and its “great power” rivals, the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff last week released a new doctrine on Nuclear Operations for the first time in 14 years, touting the use of nuclear weapons as a means of creating “conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability” and ending conflicts “on the best achievable terms for the US, its allies, and partners.”

    The document cites Herman Kahn, the Cold War theorist who in the 1960s posited a “winnable” nuclear war and provided one of the inspirations for Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove.”

    Like

  35. https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14549

    “In an investigative report, “Envoys of Guaidó Appropriate Funds for Humanitarian Assistance in Colombia” (June 14, 2019), Editor in Chief of PanAm Post, Orlando Avendaño, details the alleged “diversion of money, embezzlement of funds, inflation of bills, fraud, and threats [by representatives of self proclaimed president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó] in order to surround themselves with luxuries.” (1)

    These allegations of fraud committed by functionaries of Guaidó in Colombia are raising alarm within the fractured Venezuelan opposition about the political damage this might do to their cause, but for critics of the US backed shadow Venezuelan government, this is just the tip of the iceberg, with the expectation of more such revelations of fraud to come.”

    Fraud..deceit…coverup(s)..lie after lie …Why am I not surprised??

    In mimicking and fawning fealty to his USA masters…Puppet see..puppet do

    Like

  36. Russia Insight
    Published on 21 Jun 2019
    Poland will buy 32 F-35 planes worth about $3 billion. Poland will also buy American liquefied gas worth about $8 billion.

    Poland is known to annually receive about 20 billion euros of subsidies from EU funds. Thus, it can be said that Duda’s presents to Trump were paid by the EU.

    Like

    1. As of (2014-)2020 the 105.8b euro of cohesion funds from Brussels comes to and end. Let’s see how Poland copes without that financial cushion. The usual regional funds and other won’t help.

      Like

      1. Well, currently they would have a nice cushion, if my math is correct:
        Currently $1.00 is worth about .88 Euros. Hence, the $11 billion mentioned by Warren as due from Poland to the U.S. to buy their stuff, equivalates to around 9.68 billion Euros. Which is left than half of the subsidies Poland gets from the EU.
        So, Poland would still have plenty of cash left over.
        Seems to me like Poland is sitting pretty on Easy Street and can afford the gas and planes and other shit.

        Like

        1. They can’t spend it on anything they like. There’s quite a long list of rules and restrictions they have to follow. Anything unspent goes back to Brussels as has happened with some of the EU’s member states that are so corrupt and incompetent that they were unable to come up with targeted policies and plans. Hiring expert consultant firms (sic base in Brussels) that would have held their hand for all the bureaucratic stuff seems to have been a bit too difficult. More likely is that they couldn’t see how to cream off enough of it to make it worth it.

          They still have the zloty, but more interestingly the g/f tells me (she reads Politika) that prices for some food have gone up by 25% in the last year or so.

          Like

  37. Alert5.com: 494th FS at Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2019
    http://alert5.com/2019/06/22/494th-fs-at-exercise-anatolian-eagle-2019/

    For the first time in four years, F-15Es assigned to RAF Lakenheath are in Turkey for Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2019.
    ####

    Yup, relations between the United States and Turkey are at rock bottom…

    In other news, more FY! from the RuAF

    Alert5.com: Watch Russian Su-24 buzzing Spanish carrier Juan Carlos I as it was about to launch AV-8Bs

    Flagship of the Spanish Navy Juan Carlos I was buzzed by a Russian Su-24 this week while the amphibious assault ship was preparing to launch its AV-8B fighters during Exercise Baltops.

    ####

    Call 1200MIAMADRE for more!

    Like

    1. Oh, sorry – that was me. And I only said that if he should be killed, it would be a mercy. I never intended that the Russians would be blamed.

      Uh huh. It was ‘sophisticated, well-resourced and consistent with an operation run by an intelligence organization’…but they spelt the Foreign Minister’s name wrong. Good job, western sleuths. Stupid fucking Ivan, he always commits some egregiously-dumb error to give himself away.

      I can’t bear to read that shit anymore.

      Like

      1. Dumb Russians can’t spell Western ministers’ names correctly.

        However, dead smart Westerners persistently refer to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin as “Vlad”.

        Some even call him “Pyootin”.

        The ones who call him “Pyootin” are usually those dead clever interbred British posh talking twats who talk as though they had half a pound of plums in their snaggletoothed gobs.

        Like

  38. Creepy Uncle Joe in Kiev …

    Remember?

    And do you remember how, when there were protests on the streets of Kiev, battles with the police, burning tyres, rubber bullets and all the rest, in the seat of the President of the Ukraine sat the Vice-President of the USA, Joe Biden, and the collaborationist Ukraine government handed over its country in return for pipe dreams and promises?

    I don’t remember either.

    Like

  39. Chocks away and “Tally ho” chaps!

    2 RAF jets scramble to intercept plane with ‘extremely disruptive passenger,’ create sonic boom
    Published time: 23 Jun, 2019 03:54
    Edited time: 23 Jun, 2019 05:57

    A loud bang startled residents in London on Saturday, prompting frantic calls to police. The culprits were two RAF Typhoon fighter jets flying at supersonic speed to ‘intercept’ a Turkey-bound plane with an unruly passenger.

    The jets were scrambled to accompany a British low-cost airline Jet2 flight back to London Stansted Airport, about 40 miles northeast of central London, after an “extremely disruptive” 25-year-old woman allegedly began wreaking havoc on board.

    The bold, and some might argue, over-the-top action was taken after Essex Police were notified that the woman was endangering the aircraft with her bad behavior.

    Apparently not wasting any time, the jets shot to the skies, accelerating past the speed of sound and producing a shockwave known as a sonic boom. Its sound, akin to a huge explosion, prompted panic in the area.

    What were they after doing – shooting the passenger aircraft down?

    Dickheads!

    Like

  40. And that was a typo above where I wrote “knows” and not “know”: I am not semi-literate.

    I am, however, often incompetent, in that once again I did not properly close the above link to the Telegraph article, which negligence has led to most of the above text appearing blue and which bloody well annoys me!!!!

    Like

    1. And the smart-arse commenter accused RT of publishing fake news, querying absence of photos of the arrested woman.

      There are photos of her.

      See: HIJACK ALERT Woman marched off Jet2 plane at Stansted after ‘rushing cockpit’ sparking RAF fighter jet intercept over hijack fears

      But why is she referred to as a “lady” by some, including the Sun subeditor who, I presume, penned the subtitle of the picture above?

      “Drunken fucking slag” might be more of an appropriate description of her, though hardly printable in a newspaper such as is the Sun.

      And the subeditor is semiliterate as well: “Stanstead” is spelt with a capital “s”.

      British education is now shite!

      Or should that be “English education”?

      Like

      1. And Stansted is spelt with one letter “a”.

        Bollocks to it!

        Its the place I flew from 30 years ago, USSR bound.

        There were only 6 passengers on board, including me – I kid you not!

        I was half expecting the stewardess to ask us to sit 3-abreast on the wing roots either side of the aisle, just so as to balance out the aircraft.

        Like


  41. I’m not saying nothing to nobody!

    Boris Johnson repeatedly refuses to answer questions about police being called to row with partner
    Leadership favourite blocks three attempts to extract explanation for domestic dispute – claiming Tory members ‘don’t want to hear about that kind of thing’

    Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to answer questions about police being called to a loud altercation with his partner, in an evasive and flustered performance in front of the Conservative grassroots.

    The Tory leadership favourite blocked – on three occasions – an interviewer’s attempt, at the first hustings at Birmingham on Saturday, to extract an explanation for the incident that has cast a shadow over his bid for No 10.

    Instead, Mr Johnson insisted the audience of Conservative members wanted to know “what my plans are for my country and for the party”. “I don’t think they want to hear about that kind of thing,” the former foreign secretary claimed.

    Trying to change the subject, Mr Johnson said: “People are entitled to ask about my determination and my character. When I make a promise in politics, I keep that promise and I deliver.”

    You’ve dropped a bollock, haven’t you, Boris?

    You know you have!

    Like

    1. “I don’t think they want to hear about that kind of thing.”

      How wrong you were, old boy!

      Now do toddle along and find a job or something else useful to do.

      I’m sure an Old Etonian like you can find something worth while to do in the City.

      Boris Johnson’s poll leads vanish as loud altercation with partner deals major blow to Tory leadership bid
      More than half of voters say private life is relevant to ability to be prime minister – and three-quarters say character matters

      Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor
      31 minutes ago

      [A]survey, for The Mail on Sunday, found that Mr Johnson’s lead among Tory voters as the man who would make the best prime minister has more than halved, from a 27-point lead to just 11.

      You really are one big tosser, aren’t you Boris?

      And worst of all, old boy, is that you might well literally have to become a tosser, because I reckon your “girlfriend” will fuck you off, if she hasn’t done so already.

      Sad, really ….

      Like

    2. He’s too brainless to not respond with clarifications which would quickly tie him in knots and make him appear in the worst light. I am confident he is being advised by his managers to keep shtum and deflect all such questioning. In all probability it will not harm him greatly over the long term, and – amazing as it may seem – win the office of Prime Minister. That should be terrifying because he is a proven liar and idiot, but realistically, there were no good candidates and anyone from among the contenders who won would be nearly as bad. Most of the politics in the west is hopeless.

      Like

      1. The buffoon Boris’s opponent for the proud post of Her Majesty;s First Minister is twit-in-chief Jeremy Hunt:

        For some reason or other, people often mispronounce Mr. Hunt’s family name. Can’t understand why!

        And here’s the buffoon Boris bloviating away as usual:

        Like

        1. Both unimpressive boobs. Hunt strikes me as marginally more intelligent, but that’s a low bar to clear. If this is the best that Britain has to offer for national leadership, it’s in desperate straits indeed. And forget that guff about loads of talented women ready to give it a go – a woman just did give it a go, and now it’s gone.

          Leaving aside for the moment the appearance that Hunt did not seem to know what country he was in, what sort of familiarity with China does being married to a Chinese woman give you? Is there some sort of sexual photosynthesis that takes place, in which the non-Chinese partner siphons up loads of cultural savoir-faire? I’m married to a Russian, but everything I know about Russia comes from either reading about it or visiting there in my pursuit of her – if I had met her here and gained all my understanding of Russia from the mainstream media, I would pity her for living so long in such an unemancipated hellhole, and would become exactly the person I despise.

          Like

          1. An insight into British “Parliamentary Democracy”:

            Don’t Be a Lifelong Hypocrite Boris – Call an Immediate General Election

            …160,000 oddities are soon to select the UK’s next Prime Minister simply because they are members of a party that could only muster less than 10% of the votes at the UK wide Euro election last month?

            With 46 million registered voters across the UK, it is simply outrageous that less than 1% of the electorate gets to choose a Prime Minister. In fact, it is not only outrageous it is unprecedented. Never before has a government without a working majority changed the Prime Minister between general elections.

            From the Tawdry Ten we were left with the Sleekit Seven and then the False Four became the Deceitful Duo. If Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt is the answer then you are asking the wrong bloody question. They are a couple of public schoolboys without a clue what the real world is like. They have been pampered and cossetted all their lives and couldn’t give a damn about the disastrous austerity cuts and welfare changes which have left 14 million in poverty and driven hundreds of thousands of others to food banks and early graves on the back of benefit sanctions and Universal Credit insecurity.

            Hunt displayed the sincerity of King Herod offering to supervise the baby boys in a hospital maternity unit when he admitted during the televised leadership debate a couple of days ago that the cuts to social care “did go too far”. Damn right they went too far but they were cuts discussed and agreed by the cabinet of millionaires which he has sat in since 2010. The cuts he now suggests went ‘too far’ were imposed by him. You don’t get to punch someone in the face and then claim they ran into your hand. Hunt is a cold, callous, Conservative millionaire with a disregard for public services which millions of ordinary folk rely on.

            He also has a healthy disregard for the law. He ignored his own government’s anti-money laundering legislation when he set up a company to purchase 7 luxury flats and then ‘forgot’ to mention them in his register of Member’s interests within the required 28 days. Was he sanctioned for failing to declare wealth and interests as the rules dictate? Aye right… He was allowed to flout the law and the rules as millionaire politicians like him are above proper scrutiny and avoid accountability for their actions.

            Hunt would be a horrible PM. Anyone who was able to compel Junior Doctors to strike against dangerous contracts making them work so many hours that they were unable to function safely is unfit to occupy number 10. But there is no real worry because he won’t win. The fact is Bungling Boris will win the votes among the Tory party members and be given the keys to power when he is apparently unfit to have keys to his partner’s flat. What a frightening prospect. This is a guy you wouldn’t trust to run a bath and he will soon be appointed by a bunch of selfish Tories to run the country. It is pathetic.

            … Boris does not like being confronted with his own words and taking responsibility for his own actions but he must be made to face up to the words he wrote about Gordon Brown being made Prime Minister without a public election in 2007. Brown took over from Blair and should have called an immediate General Election but at least New Labour were a majority Government at that time. The Tories now are a minority without authority or credibility. Johnson in 2007 said:

            “It’s the arrogance. It’s the contempt. That’s what gets me. It’s Gordon Brown’s apparent belief that he can just trample on the democratic will of the British people. It’s at moments like this that I think the political world has gone mad, and I am alone in detecting the gigantic fraud.”

            Boris Johnson said it was a ‘gigantic fraud’, ‘palace coup’ and ‘North Korean servility’ to allow an MP to become Prime Minister without a public vote in 2007. He was right for once then but will he have the courage of his convictions in July and call a General Election or will he expose himself as the consistent liar, hypocrite and coward we all know him to be? For once in your life Boris, do the right thing. Call an immediate General Election.

            The reason why Boris Johnson and his ilk get away with such hypocrisy and contempt for the electorate is because he and of the same class has been brought to believe he is a member of a privileged elite.

            I’ve met a few like Boris in my time: they pile on the charm and smile and cajole, but they are parasitical vermin.

            [My stress above in the extracts from a Sputnik article.]

            Like

            1. Ha, ha, ha!! Wouldn’t trust to run a bath; that’s good, that is. Wish I’d thought of it.

              Brave article, but it’s all for naught. If Johnson thinks he has the whole country in his grasp, he won’t let it go – and even if he did, who’s waiting in the wings to come to power and save the nation? More like him. There’s nothing much for choice, I’m afraid. The lunatics are running the asylum, and the choice is only between lunatics. All the good candidates must be farming, or selling shoes or making cheese.

              Like

          2. What sort of familiarity with China does being married to a Chinese woman give you?

            Well, at first glance, nothing – unless being married to her means your living in China.

            As regards my knowledge of Russia and the fact that my wife is Russian, I should add that I knew a great deal about Russia, its culture, history and language long before I met my wife.

            I had been studying Russian for 10 years before I met and married her in Moskva in 1997, and had already been living in that “City of Satan” for 4 years when we wed. And before that, I had lived and studied in a provincial city of the USSR.

            A big reason why I married my wife was that she, upon my proposal of marriage and after her having stated that she would have me as her husband, immediately stated that she had no desire to leave her motherland and live in the UK.

            That suited me fine, considering the fact that I too had long had no wish to live in my home country.

            In fact, I regret to this day that I had not left that place much earlier than I eventually did.

            On the other hand, if I had left the UK earlier and not when I was in my early 40s, I should very likely not be married to the woman whom I met and married 22 years ago in Moskva.

            If I had left the UK earlier than I did, I should probably be married to a Canadian now, because that was the place that had always attracted me from my childhood.

            If that had happened, I’d be having maple syrup on pancakes now and not smetana on bliny!

            I’m in the country now, by the way. Wonderfully warm and sunny and quiet here!

            Like

            1. I think if Mr. Hunt had that depth of knowledge of China, he would have mentioned it rather than floundering about with his wife’s ethnicity. That seemed to be the extent of his credentials – having married a woman from someplace in Asia that he couldn’t put his finger on just at the moment. And all his entourage laughed gently as if he were just making a joke instead of looking like an ignorant blockhead. Honest to God, for what these people get paid, you’d think they could take the time to read over their notes, maybe even rehearse a little, so as not to look as if a dick had suddenly sprouted from their forehead.

              Like

              1. Hunt worked as a teacher of English in Japan. He tried 3 business ventures in the Japanese market after having returned to the UK, one of which was the importation of marmalade to Nippon. Each of his start-ups failed.

                And then he wrote an English language course book or whatever and flogged off its publishing rights to an Aussie educational outfit. He made £14 million out of the deal, thereby become the wealthiest member of the present cabinet.

                Hunt is probably what some of my Russian students here cal “travellers”: “teachers” of English, whose only “qualification” is that they are English native speakers, but know Sweet Fanny Adams about the structure of the language.

                Hunt must have been in clover in Japan because he’s a posh-talking Englishman, which is what they like in some places.

                Publishing English language course books is a gold mine. Mrs. Exile is always mithering me to do this so as to make a mint; to write a course book specifically aimed at Russian speakers so as they can learn to talk proper like what I can.

                I knew a bloke years ago who is now a millionaire by doing just what Hunt did. He made his million in this way when he was about 30.

                Like

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