It’s Time for a Serious Conversation About Socialism.

Wink
Uncle Volodya says,”If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.”

“The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all … The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.”

Helen Keller, from “Rebel Lives”

“Socialism” is no more an evil word than “Christianity.” Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not starve.”

Kurt Vonnegut, from “A Man Without a Country”

“The bandits of the old days would hide their heads in shame,
Their old-time buccaneering was hardly worth the name.
They used to end on gibbets and dance against the skies,
And now they live on top the town and sport their minks and cars around
And buy up Congress by the pound, free enterprise.”

Malvina Reynolds, from “Free Enterprise”

Show of hands, please – how many of you really knew already that Helen Keller was a radical socialist? I surely didn’t. In fact, I would not have pegged Kurt Vonnegut for a socialist, either, and perhaps he isn’t – but it still sent a little chill through me to read the words, “…all men, women and children are created equal”, and to recall where else I saw it – the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, Mr. Thomas Jefferson. Oh, he just said that all men were created equal; not much of a guy for women’s rights, I guess you could say. But the premise is precisely the same, or should be.

Which, in its turn, invoked in me a longing for the days of free thought and philosophy, when a ferment of ideas brewed around the betterment of the common man’s station in life, even as the notion of nobility by birthright rather than merit came crashing down. Nothing like that any more, of course – because modern democracy revolves around indoctrinating you, John or Jane Q. Public, that you are there. Mankind has never been so free, so unconstrained, so sticky with the sweetness of liberty that we are tacky to the touch. Hypocrisy and oppression are looking longingly through the chicken-wire, but they’re not allowed in here…in Freeworld.

Before we get into what nonsense that is, maybe it would be best if I showed you what motivated this…whatever it turns out to be. Because I would not consider myself a socialist, either. Perhaps – as someone suggested to me earlier – that’s because I don’t really understand socialism myself.

Anyway, I’ve grown tired over the years of the braying of corporate enablers, “Socialism always fails”. It seems to come from the smug and the simple-minded more and more frequently, the cheerleaders for might-makes-right and the pom-pom girls for American leadership, and it should be clear to even those who have only the fuzziest notion what socialism is that the reason socialism fails is because it is the sworn enemy of capitalism and corporatism, and the latter will not suffer it to live.

It’s something that has been sort of resting there, in the back of my mind, but every now and then some egregious example of western self-satisfaction would bring a stab of discomfort, like a muscle spasm or a toothache. Eventually, of course, something so asinine that it was beyond bearing was bound to come up. And here it is. Cheryl K. Chumley smirks the rhetorical question to which you all know the answer; “When will the left learn socialism never works, it always fails and continually breeds discontent and poverty and corruption among the people?”

Smart people know that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck. And when there’s a government that reaches for massive power, and snatches from the individual the ability to freely profit from one’s own endeavors and calls for redistribution of wealth — well then, that’s a socialist-style system.

Leaving aside for a moment the probability that if there actually are any smart people left in America, they sure as fuck are not working in journalism, let’s take a closer look at The Chumley Theorem.

https://cdn.britannica.com/69/19369-004-A29C7625.jpg

Well, on the face of it, it might look like she has a point – according to her, huge line-ups for gas in a country that is itself a major oil producer symbolize the utter collapse and failure of its political system. And you’d have to admit this does look like national incompetence on a fundamental level.

Oh, wait; that’s not Venezuela. The sharp-eyed among you will have recognized it as the United States, circa 1973, when OPEC quadrupled the price of a barrel of oil to punish the western states for their support of Israel against Egypt and Syria in the Yom Kippur War. That was the first of the oil shocks of the 70’s – the second came in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution in Iran struck fear into the hearts of the oil markets. Just for a rueful chuckle, the price per barrel of oil that resulted when the previous price was quadrupled, in 1973, was $12.00. After the Islamic Revolution the price stabilized, in 1983, at $32.00 per barrel. Those prices have a whiff of Rip Van Winkle about them now.

So, by the simple metrics of The Chumley Theorem, for an entire decade the United States was a socialist country – the laughingstock of the world; because if there’s anything smart people know, it’s that socialism always fails. If it quacks like a fucking duck, it’s not an eagle.

Briefly – because my overall intent is to look at socialism – let’s unpack Chumley’s freshman silliness a little. Socialism, she nods knowingly, “continually breeds discontent and poverty and corruption among the people”. According to Transparency International – itself nearly as ditzy and partisan as Chumley – “Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.”

That so? What does Transparency International – and world philosopher Cheryl K. Chumley – make of Citizens United v. FEC of 2010, the landmark US decision which holds that corporations are people, and therefore restricting the amount corporations can spend on election campaigns to help their preferred candidates get elected is unconstitutional? What is democracy, Cheryl? Let me help you – it’s a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. In light of that, let me ask you this: who usually has more money – your average voter, or your average corporation? Is money important to getting elected in America? I guess you might say so. Are the people – supposedly the body in which all electoral power is vested – jake with that? They most certainly are not, by a wide margin.

This is not a partisan point. Almost two-thirds of Americans believe the government should limit individual contributions – with a majority among Republicans, Democrats and independents. The influence of money at this level corrupts an entire political culture and in no small part explains the depth of cynicism, alienation and mistrust Americans now have for their politicians.

Like that? Don’t go away – I’ve got more.

The trend towards oligarchy in the polity is already clear. There are 250 millionaires in Congress. As a whole, the polity’s median net worth is $891,506, nine times the typical US household. Around 11% are in the nation’s top 1%, including 34 Republicans and 23 Democrats. And that’s before you get to Romney, whose personal wealth is double that of the last eight presidents combined. All of this would be problematic at the best of times, but in a period of rising inequality it is obscene.

Key words for you in there, you jaded academic, are “oligarchy”, “personal wealth”, “rising inequality”, and “obscene”.

That’s yer corruption – let’s take a look at yer discontent and poverty. First, a snapshot of American happiness. Maybe you’d better sit down. In 2016 alone, drug overdose killed more Americans than the Vietnam War, more than car crashes, HIV/Aids and gun violence combined ever did in a single year. Is spiraling addiction a sign of contentment? If so, it’s the first I’ve ever heard of it. America finished 19th out of 52 on the Global Happiness Index, representing a steady decline for 3 straight years and the worst score since they started keeping it. The United States slid to just behind Belgium; as funnyman Jimmy Kimmel put it, “The people who feel the need to put mayonnaise on their french fries are happier than we are. Cheer up, everybody.” Since discontent is the opposite of happiness, I think it would be fair to say the less happy Americans are, the more discontented they must be.

We just have time to take a look at poverty and American income inequality before we have to get back on track with the subject. According to the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research, the poverty rate in the United States is about what it was in 1982: almost 40 years ago. It’s gone up and down a little in that period, but has really not been reduced much overall, while those in deep poverty – those living on income of less than 50% of the federal poverty level – have doubled since 1975. By cracky, the United States is as socialist as the clenched fist, if we apply the criteria of Chumleyism 101! It’s manifestly corrupt, its people are broadly discontented while poverty, far from being eradicated, has not improved noticeably in nearly 40 years and in some aspects has worsened. Meanwhile income inequality gets worse every year, and in its current state sees the top 0.1% of Americans taking in (a pretty accurate description) 188 times as much as the bottom 90%. Who would have thought it?

What is far more likely is that Cheryl K. Chumley, like nearly a quarter of her smirking, attention-deficit blockhead countrymen, knows as much about socialism as she does about snake milking. That group evidently includes the author of the linked article, because Bernie Sanders is a socialist the way Mike Pompeo is a swimsuit model. What Americans usually mean when they say an American political figure is a ‘socialist’ is that he or she looks like a socialist compared with the rest of the hard-right stable, and the Democrats in American politics are different from the Republicans only in that they are called “Democrats” and the Republicans are not.

So let’s learn together, shall we? Just before we leave Cheryl K. Chumley and her tea-party platitudes, and against the possibility that anyone anywhere missed the point, what is failing in Venezuela is not so much socialism as it is the entire living standard, and that is not because ‘socialism always fails’, but because the USA is standing on Venezuela’s oxygen tube and trying to strangle it to death. By way of contrast, the USA is a wealthy country with few restrictions on its trade, and all of those are of its own making. Yet it is failing the bottom-income 90% of its people.

A good place to start might be with a working definition of what socialism is, and a good place to set up for that might be with what it is not. The referenced article above from The Hill suggests 7% of those surveyed believed it meant the abolishing of all private property. There’s the biggest part of my misconception, right there; I might not have thought it was quite so strict as that, but I believed it involved some sort of sharing-out so that you couldn’t have, like, a nice car or anything like that. And housing was all pretty much the same, no point in putting in rosebushes or trying to make it look nice; your neighbours might think you were trying to put on airs. Anyway, it’s actually not like that. It doesn’t curtail civil liberties, and it doesn’t promise to end poverty. So what is it, and how does it work, or how would it work if corporatism didn’t jump on it and stomp it flat every time it emerges?

It’s not an easy definition, because there are reckoned to be eight different types of socialism, all to varying degrees democratic; Democratic, Revolutionary, Libertarian, Market, Green, Christian, Utopian and Fabian. It’s not so simple as to say they’re just different political labels for the same philosophy, because they’re not. For Christian socialism, for example, the description merely argues that Christian values of brotherhood are already embodied in socialism, which holds that all are equal and equally valuable. But I think it would be safe to say the types with which we are familiar – to the extent we are – are Democratic and Revolutionary socialism.

Simply put, socialism is an economic system in which everyone in society equally owns the factors of production, which are labor, entrepreneurship, capital goods and natural resources. Ownership is acquired through a democratically elected government.

What it is not is a political philosophy in which all personal property is confiscated and redistributed, so that the postal worker across the street gets your bike, because the Central Committee thinks he needs it more than you. Dyed-in-the-wool capitalists often speak of ‘redistribution’ with the shudder of revulsion normally reserved for child molesters, frog spawn jelly and public toilets.

Let’s look at a small-scale example; Grenada. In 1979, Maurice Bishop’s New Jewel Movement (which stood for the New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation) seized power in a bloodless coup from the US-friendly government of Eric Gairy. Bishop established a socialist model which delegated government down to village and zonal councils, strikingly similar to the municipal councils of Muammar Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya government. Opinion offers differing accounts of why the Americans invaded Grenada, because the US Army did not kill Bishop – he was already dead, assassinated by the Grenadian army which had claimed power for itself. To this day, the location of his body and the bodies of those who were assassinated along with him remains unknown. Skeptics say the United States invaded because a successful socialist government in the Caribbean might inspire revolt in other regional neighbours; Reagan claimed the newly-constructed airport – built with Cuba’s help – was intended to turn the island into “a Cuban-Soviet colony” and “a major military bastion to export terror and undermine democracy.” Yes, yes; it’s always about democracy. Whatever the case, the socialist government of Maurice Bishop – remember, socialism always fails – reduced unemployment in Grenada from 49% to 14% in four years, and raised the island’s literacy rate to 99%. Whatever the case, the invasion was anything but spontaneous; it had been rehearsed on Vieques Island in 1981, two years before Bishop’s assassination.

Bishop spoke extensively in the United States; his intent was to establish a friendly relationship with America, and he had no wish to be its enemy. That may have led to his death, as he was accused of betraying the revolution. Whatever the reason, it is indisputable that his socialist government made great strides toward social justice and common accord, a better standard of living for all his people, and he was aided only by Cuba. Grenada never at any time showed the slightest inclination for violence directed at the United States.

Excerpts from Richard Sanders’ “History of War Pretext Incidents” state, with reference to the Grenada invasion:

“In his Naval Science course, Captain M.T. Carson lists the invasion’s “stated reasons” as “protect Americans, eliminate hostage potential; restore order; requested by OECS [Organization of Eastern Caribbean States].”

The US helped form the OECS, and then got it and the Grenadian governor to “request” an invasion. Under “potential problem,” Carson notes “Act fast with surprise and present world with fait accompli. If not, world opinion of U.S. invasion of tiny country will be critical. So: · “Get OECS to request action.” · “Get Governor Scoon to request action.” · “Emphasize students-in-danger aspect”

Carson quotes a “medical school official”: “Our safety was never in danger. We were used as an excuse by this government to invade…. They needed a reason…and we were it.” Most students insisted that they were “not…in any danger before the US invasion; only afterwards.”

According to Arley Gill at “The Modern Socialist”, “Being a socialist no longer means being anti-American or anti-European. It is just a conviction that the capitalist economy can be used to improve the well-being of the poor.” I think it’s pretty safe to say that is not happening under America’s vaunted Freedom and Democracy Inc. Since 2000 – when income inequality was already pronounced – the share of household wealth controlled by the world’s wealthiest 1 percent lurched upward from 45.5% to 50.1%, with 23.9 million new millionaires joining them at the bottom of the pile.

Is that cause for celebration? A rising tide lifts all boats sort of thing? Hell, no. Poverty in developed countries is actually increasing. A few rich people are getting even richer, while most people are poorer than their parents were at the same age in terms of how much they owe versus how much they earn. And nearly 2 Billion people live on less than $3.10 a day.

But whenever a new regime change is planned, corporations in the USA and its allies begin licking their chops at the prospect of privatization of former state assets. Investment, the hapless citizens are told, will dramatically increase their prosperity. Oh, and also, freedom and democracy. But private companies exist solely to make a profit. Nothing inherently wrong with that. However, every day in the corporate world is a bloody battle for market share, and if you’re not gaining, you’re losing. A company must expand to earn more profits. When the market is saturated and it can’t expand any more, it begins to look to ‘efficiencies’ within the company to cut expenses so that more of the bottom line can go to profit-taking. That’s why corporations hate unions. ‘Efficiencies’ are typically realized in salary increases deferred, overtime curtailed and benefits reduced. It is important to understand that such zealous efforts toward cost-cutting do not mean the company is doing badly – often quite the reverse. It just means the shareholders want to see more profits, a steady rise in the value of their investments.

When society owns the means of production, there is less or no opportunity for private investors to gain control of it, and harvest all of its value in profits which are distributed to a handful of the wealthy who often do not even live in the same country, and are completely unconcerned for its welfare.

Democracy as practiced today in the Shining City On A Hill bears not the slightest resemblance to the principles laid down by the founding fathers – only days ago the Governor of Oregon sent the state police to round up Republican senators who had fled the state in order to block a vote. That might not be illegal, but is it democracy, do you think? Is that the sort of behavior by the ruling class that doubters in other countries are being asked to take a flyer on? Gerrymandering and redistricting and all the other surprises in the government’s bag of tricks used to thwart the will of the people?

Left to its own devices, there is nothing inherent in socialism which dictates that it must end in poverty, incompetence, misery and miles-long lineups for gas. Those are artificial constructs imposed by societies which have given themselves over to rule by corporate fiat, and which more and more resemble feudal kingdoms governed by Google, Exxon-Mobil and General Electric. What is there to fear from socialism? You can tell most notably by the elements which mobilize to eradicate it wherever it appears.

 

 

 

 

1,542 thoughts on “It’s Time for a Serious Conversation About Socialism.

      1. “Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he is “extremely concerned” by the seizure of two British oil tankers by Iranian authorities in the Persian Gulf.

        The Stena Impero, which is registered in the UK, was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz for “violating international maritime rules”, according to Iran media.

        A second tanker, the British-operated Mesdar, also made a sharp change of direction in the Gulf around the same time.

        Mr Hunt confirmed a second tanker had been seized but no British citizens are on board either ship.”

        https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/britishflagged-oil-tanker-seized-in-the-gulf-by-iranian-revolutionary-guards-a4194361.html

        Like

    1. Is this Escort Service free? Sounds kinda sexy to me!*

      Will this be a Coalition of the Billing?

      * Yes, I have been drinking.

      Like

    2. Interesting. It is very clear that i-Ran doesn’t belive a word either the UK or the US say about de-escalation, the former claiming so whilst the British media reports a drone suicide bomb boat was waiting for HMS Duncan (a direct UK/mil leak) and sending yet another ship to the region (just ‘a normal rotation, mate’!), and the latter the Pentagon claiming that sending more US ships to the region to provide protection for commercial shipping ‘Freedumb of Navigation’ is not…escalation.

      No, the i-ranians aren’t dumb.

      It looks to me that i-Ran is pushing its escalation dominance (MoA) while it still has the advantage because the standard western war plan since 1989 is to spend months building up all the logistics for a huge war (Schlock ‘n’ Bore), so baiting the UK and US whilst they have nowhere near enough assets available or even available for a sustained campaign means any attack will a) be weak; b) more importantly, be seen as weak by the rest of the world.

      Like

      1. And perhaps life in posts in Helmand and other places might get warmer than normal weather patterns suggest?

        Where does the asymmetrical response appear? Disabling some isolated FOPs in Afghanistan could be arranged with some enthusiastic local support, I imagine. Or are the Iranians supposed to look to the skies, fold their hands and resign themselves to doom?

        Like

        1. That’s a really good question. Not where we expect it to be from is my guess. They’ve had 40 years to prepare for the Big One and they’ve shown that they know what they are doing when they handed the i-Sraeli army its ass to itself back in 2006 and are smart enough not to fight the next war as they did the last. As for the west, it’s only got dumber (failing institutions, competence etc.) and more predictable. History really does repeat itself as farce! I just hope that there is someone with some sens (and influence) left to stop everything going off the cliff, but I suspect that the certain cadres need to be scared witless before they understand the consequence of their actions…

          Like

  1. According to Haaretz, Erdogan made the strategic blunder of the century by buying the S-400 over American objections, and speculates that he misjudged Trump’s seriousness, and thought he would not really impose sanctions or exclude Turkey from the F-35 program. Well, now the USA has gone ahead with the latter, although their postponement of its finally becoming irrevocable until March 2020 suggests a desperate hope that Turkey will resubmit to American direction. And sanctions of some sort will likely follow. Plus an immediate economic loss in the fighter program, as Turkey was allegedly building some 900 of the components.

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-trump-the-punisher-how-russian-missiles-shot-down-turkey-s-f-35-jets-1.7541358

    Unsurprisingly, I have a different view. The American decision pushes Turkey firmly toward buying the offered Russian fighters, and lets Turkey out of a contract to buy the crappiest fighter the USA ever designed. In its choleric tantrum, America may label Turkey a ‘rival state’, for purchasing Russian weapons. It would be just like Erdogan to tell the USA to clean out its desk in Turkey, and get lost. And you know America is not going to do that. Influence over the Bosporus and the Dardanelles is far too important to just blow off over a kindergarten meltdown. But Erdogan holds all the cards. Russia will likely make up for all Turkey’s economic losses, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest the parts it was building for the F-35 were mostly generic and not tremendously lucrative or secret. Russian fighters, if Turkey chose to go that route, would be about half the cost, or alternatively it could buy twice as many for the same money. Russia offers Turkey the clout of being a regional gas hub, and immediate access to cutting-edge weaponry, likely increased trade opportunities as well. America offered it the chance to be told what to do forever, the threat of regime change if Erdogan became difficult, and not much else besides the right to wear the blue-and-silver compass on their flight suits. And they can’t even take that away unless Turkey is expelled from NATO. I don’t see NATO doing that, for the same reasons the USA doesn’t want to get carried away.

    This is not the first time the Trump administration painted itself into a corner with threats. And we can be pretty confident it will not be the last.

    Like

  2. Good and very credible video on the health effects from the Chernobyl accident and how HBO got just about everything wrong.

    HBO is incalculably more toxic than the worst effects of Chernobyl I would say.

    Like

    1. Thanks again for posting lightf00t’s myth busting videos PO!

      In this one he also briefly references an earlier one showing why nerve gas isn’t as dangerous as is presented:

      ####

      This reminds me of the pooh-poohing of the effects of depleted uranium with some pointing out that the slabs of the stuff that protect American tanks during the Gulf War was perfectly fine whereas the reality was that the DU tank rounds produce a jet of superhot metal/DU combo that burns though the hull of the enemy tank and due to the very high temperatures some quantities are released in to the air and can be carried by even a mild to moderate wind quite a few kilometers (much like many other materials when set alight and are toxic) and of course very bad for you if ingested where your body provides no protective layer from the lighter radioactive elements.

      I also remember the Aum Shinrikyou attack on Tokyo subway in 1995vand reporting that they’d previously released anthrax in an aerosol from a high rise building in 1993 that everyone else didn’t notice and was only discovered after interviewing members post 1995.* I had already understood before then that dangerous stuff generally needs to be near people (and animals) to have an serious effect but also that while it is not so difficult to create all sorts of nasties, it is the delivery which is difficult not only to do successfully, but also without it being detected, not to mention that even when you do have missiles (particularly liquid fuelled ones), it still takes time and is fairly obvious when they are being deployed for military operations.

      * https://jcm.asm.org/content/39/12/4566

      Like

  3. An example of Russian liberast shite in the Russian blogosphere, 20 July, 2019:

    (top picture) This is the house of the world’s most powerful investor whose wealth is more than $72.5 billion. His name is Warren Buffet

    (lower picture) And this is the house of an employee of a Russian state company, its director, Aleksey Miller

    Nine years ago:

    From the Daily Telegraph, 29 Dec 2010:

    In summer 2009 an amateur pilot discovered a vast palace complex sitting on the shores of a reservoir in the Moscow region. The Russian press was consumed with speculation about who had built the villa – and why it had been apparently abandoned.

    Aerial photos that the pilot posted on the internet showed a mock-18th century style palace set in a vast landscaped park, complete with waterfalls, terraces and artificial hills. The 32 hectare site near the village of Berezhki, also includes a hunting lodge and a smaller palace with a swimming pool and guest rooms. Next door is a village of more modest dwellings – including an English manor and a medieval Japanese house.

    At first it was rumoured to have been built for Alexei Miller, the CEO of Russia’s state owned gas producer Gazprom. Soon the press dubbed it “Millergof” after Petergof, Peter the Great’s sumptuous imitation of the palace of Versailles outside St Petersburg.

    Then a Jordanian-born Russian businessman called Ziyad Manasir said he had built the palace to house his large family.

    Forbes Russia claims to have solved the mystery. Citing anonymous sources, Forbes reports that Gazprom commissioned Mr Manasir’s company Stroygazconsulting to build the estate as a venue for official and semi-official events in 2004.

    The 3,200 square metre palace was duly constructed, in the style of the Palacio Real de La Granja de San Illdefonso in Spain, but work was abandoned in 2008 with the onset of the financial crisis. It cost $30 million.

    After the hype in the press Gazprom, apparently mindful of public sentiment following the financial crisis, cancelled the contract.

    And so now, said Forbes’ source, it stands empty, leaving Mr Manasir – who with a modest $900 million is ranked 78th richest man in Russia – with a palace he “doesn’t know what to do with.”

    Keep on tugging it, Liberast!

    Like

      1. He smuggled it all out of the Gazprom works department compound in his spacious Bentley boot over a period of 9 years. Nobody noticed.

        Like

        1. I mean Miller smuggled it – on the sly. Had a great army of Tadjiks and Uzbeks etc., all illegal immigrants, of course, doing all the work – not to mention the Polish plumbers and Ukrainian “Comfort Women”.

          Like

  4. I don’t know if you’ve all heard The Tragic News but in case you haven’t, MAD Magazine has stopped publishing as of 5 July 2019. After August, the magazine will only be available by subscription and after October, “new” issues of the magazine will feature compilations of material from past issues.

    This Der Spiegel parody would have been a great cover for the last original MAD magazine issue.

    Like

    1. I well recall the time when, in 1960, a pain-in-the-arse teacher at grammar school copped me with a copy of “Mad” in class. She took it off me, glanced through it and, handing it back to me, said in her affected RP tones: “Do you r parents know that you are reading such trash?”

      ‘Course they did, stupid cnut.

      She was a religious freak as well.

      Like

      1. Sobering also to think that copies of MAD Magazine were many schoolchildren’s introduction to economics: they were prized items for swapping and bartering with other kids at school.

        Like

  5. al-Beeb s’Allah: Was the Iran tanker crisis avoidable?
    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49053383

    Jonathan Marcus
    Diplomatic correspondent

    …Well the first thing to remember is that this specific row between Tehran and London is only one aspect of an already highly volatile situation in the Gulf…

    ####

    How did this one slip through?

    If I was super cynical, I would suspect that i-Ran has been practicing next level trolling as I read over at Moon of Alabama comments that the Grace-1 asked for and receive permission from the Gibraltan authorites to enter its waters for re-supply, and also that Panama de-registered the ship, so was the Grace-1 offered as bait by Tehran to see if the UK could resist and thus out it’s official line that it supports JCPOA whereas it actions show that it does what the US wants, sic highlight the hypocrisy between public and private faces?

    Like

    1. Britain’s line is that it impounded the tanker because it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of ‘international’ sanctions (meaning imposed by the USA and obeyed by its servants). But doesn’t that fall under the mantle of collective punishment, which is illegal under international humanitarian law? Similarly the open and admitted attempt to ‘zero out’ Iran’s oil exports, on which its economy depends? America is causing collective hardship and suffering among the civilian populations of both countries, and Venezuela as well, and nobody is prepared to stand up to the bully.

      The UK is plainly uncomfortable with the situation and leery of being dragged into another American war of choice, and has tentatively ‘hinted’ it will release the tanker in exchange for assurance the cargo is not going to Syria. But I don’t see how that assurance can be demanded, either. The USA and UK regularly claim the moral high ground and claim to be ‘forces for good’, but their actions suggest nothing of the kind. In reality, the USA wishes to strangle Iran for its own reasons, mostly to help Israel dominate the region and to control global oil prices, while Britain wishes to help it, like a good retainer.

      Like

      1. Not sure if is part of a master plan but the seizure of the British tanker by Iran places the US in a no-win situation. If the Iranian tanker is released then the US folded. If it keeps the tanker through is proxy UK then the likely escalation of risk in the straits of Hormuz may reduce tanker traffic and certainly make the cost of insurance go sky high. Trump needs a way to climb down.

        Like

        1. I suspect that the reason there is much more reasonable reporting at the moment is the realization that the west is nowhere near ready to bomb the f/k out of i-Ran, Tehran having short-circuited the usual process whereby months of corporate media demonization in conjunction with a military co-alition is built up in the region and then followed by inevitable attack after the West has offered i-Ran ‘fair’ chances to back down or compromise (sic total surrender and occupation – 1999 Rambouillet Agreement Appendix B).

          What I find weird is that it was clear fairly quickly after the UK recorded their expert military takeover of the tanker that was going in to Gibraltar anyway that it was spectacularly wrong and badly timed strategically, but much much weirder that rather than letting the ‘Gibraltar government’ just let the ship go, it decided to hold on to it for another 30 days.

          It’s one thing for the USA or even i-Srael to not loose face and act in a maximalis way (as they wont often), but the UK went out on a limb on behalf of Washington and the rest of U-rope went ‘WTFoF?’. How can this kind of institutional degeneration occur in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under FM *unt? Can it really just be FM *unt’s dick waving in the vague hope that the Bum Bombshell that is Doris Johnson doesn’t become Prime Minister in a week or so’s time? It’s very hard to believe, but if you look to the last two years or more years you really can’t rule it out. It’s currently “I’m holding a grenade and I’ve pulled the pin out. If you don’t give me what I want I’ll blow all you mofo’s up and me too!”. It’s unbelievably nuts. But that’s where they are.

          While I’m here and t-Rump’s recent racist comments, well t-Rump has not only looong been ???? by Doris Johnson, but Theresa May herself put in place her racist ‘Hostile Environment’ policy as Home Office minister that lead to British carribeans being sent back to Jamaica despite working for decades in the UK (and all the paper work) and other’s simply being fired because they didn’t need to apply for leave to stay. If the result is racist discrimination against black British citizens, then saying that wasn’t their ‘intent’ is irrelevant. The Home Office was warned that this is exactly what would happen and they ignored it.

          Now government ministers on tv refuse to call out t-Rump but at the same time will categorically call the leader of the Labor Party for ‘antisemitism’, being a spy, terrorism fan . The British media just ignore this massive hypocrisy. It’s positively hallucinatory without having to go anywhere near a magic mushroom…

          Like

    1. Agreed to all but the statement that Iran may ‘go too far and make it difficult for England to support the accord’. If England thinks for a minute it can win by force, it will do it that way and bask in the praise of Washington. The UK is the weakest member of the EU where the nuclear accord is concerned – it wants it to work, but preferably with Britain visibly opposing it the whole time so that it can win points for the Special Relationship. If that fails, it can blame it on the French and the Germans.

      Like

        1. Excellent – meaty, beaty, big and bouncy. The real question remains, when is somebody going to stand up to the United States and say, you can’t do this and still blather about international law? The USA ignores international law when it is inconvenient to its aspirations, but pretends to be its staunchest defender when it perceives it might use international law as an excuse to beat the shit out of someone else.

          Like

    1. Great catch, and thanks for posting it. I think that has been the position her from the outset, frequently reiterated in questions like, “Who the hell does the USA think it is?” this, though, is a legal opinion. I happen to think it is exactly correct, but Washington has battalions of lawyers to stall until its unilateral sanctions have had their effect, and few countries would dare challenge it on the basis of legal opinion for fear of being shut out of trade with it.

      By and by, I think it is either going to undergo a radical political change or else be isolated from most of its trading partners by virtue of its bizarre, self-interested and lawless behavior. But that is not going to happen soon enough for countries like Venezuela, Iran and Syria. They are going to have to beat Uncle Sam on their own, perhaps with some help from Russia and China. The other western democracies are waiting to see which way the wind blows, and when they might jump on the bandwagon with the least risk to themselves.

      Like

    1. That appeared to be a well-executed operation indeed. Not that it matters in the bigger scheme of things but I wonder if there really was an incident with an Iranian fishing boat.

      Trump may order a similar bordering of an Iranian vessel to show the world we have the world’s bestest special forces. He has to do SOMETHING as the Iranians keep on winning these skirmishes.

      Like

  6. Interesting article on Putin/Russia’s support for nuclear fusion development. The article goes on to suggests fusion research/funding in the West was deliberately sabotaged in a drive toward a Malthusian world that fits nicely with the neoliberal values.

    Like

        1. Magnetic and inertial confinement both have challenges although magnetic confinement seems closer to commercial implementation. The author cherry picked the problems and minimized some of the upsides. For example, he said that fusion could contribute to nuclear proliferation. That would be true if fusion were easy to do but only a few countries have the technology (Russia, US the the EU) so no one else is likely to cook up a fusion reactor just to make bomb-grade plutonium.

          Fusion research may be analogous to where steam engines were a few centuries – temperamental, poorly understood and expensive. In a century or two, the story will be quite different if research continues.

          Putin mentioned that Russia will produce a fission/fusion hybrid reactor. This device would allow breeding of plutonium and presumably be able to burn up radioactive wastes similar to a fast neutron reactor. One advantage is safety as there is no possibility of a runaway reaction like at Chernobyl. Also it should provide experience on how to make a pure fusion reactor more practical.

          Fission will provide clean and affordable energy for centuries for those countries who have not been cowered by the anti-nuke lynch mob. This gives plenty of time to develop fusion in an orderly and efficient manner.

          There are a number of schemes in the commercial sector trying to take short cuts to practical fusion. They all seem long shots but ya’ never know.

          Like

    1. Despite persistent attempts to cast him as a smirking thug and barbarian. To his credit, he seems genuinely oblivious to the west’s insults. Perhaps he has better things to do than get drawn into a Twitter flame war with the Orange Pudding.

      Like

      1. The anti-Putin West keeps going to the well of stereotypes from the Cold War – old commies thugs crude in thought and action and out of touch with the modern world.

        I suspect one reason Putin came to power was that he was the opposite of those stereotypes. He is an athletic vigorous outdoors man who rarely consumes alcohol and seem to have no problem wearing expensive clothes and watches. He is very accessible to the people and is comfortable in direct interaction. This seems part of an effort rebrand Russia to counter decades of well-honed Western propaganda. The Russian people needed this type of leader to resist Western ridicule and lies.

        Like

    1. B seems to believe that if Skripal had made it back to Russia and spilt the beans, that all of Moscow’s problems vis-a-vis the election-meddling charges and the sanctions and hacking the Democrats server and so forth would have vaporized. I am afraid I am nowhere near as confident. I submit the western media would quickly have rolled with it, and concocted a story that Skripal had been lured back by family members – themselves under duress – and was then being hideously tortured to make up Russia-exoneration stories. The less under duress he appeared in public, the more insidious and evil would be the actions against him by Putin and the Russian government – these guys are experts in torture and psychological manipulation, they would confide breathlessly. Poor Sergei – he once lived in freedom, but now his torment is endless, his anguish the more poignant because he is being forced to betray the country he loved, bla, bla, bla.

      That’s not to suggest HM government had nothing to do with the Skripal ‘poisoning’ – the numerous discrepancies with the official narrative fairly shout British involvement, and they very likely engineered the entire incident. But as for the timing being driven by a Skripal scamper to freedom, I don’t think that possibility would have been enough. Maybe, but it’s not as if the west would not have closed ranks as usual and made up a cover story. The potential audience’s mostly vapid stupidity suggests it wouldn’t even have to be that convincing.

      Like

      1. I’m sure the Russian govt has already figured that Sergei Skripal had a hand in compiling Christopher Steele’s dossier and that his disappearance is connected to his participation. Any information Skripal were to give to the Kremlin had he managed to return to Russia would merely have confirmed what the Russians already know.

        In addition if Skripal had returned to Russia, the British or the US could claim he’d been tricked into returning and forced under torture or on pain of death or life imprisonment to make a false confession about writing the dossier. The claims of Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election could still stand.

        Like

    1. Sorry, the National Interest writer who could also do multiplication was away in Poughkeepsie that day, doing an interview with the lady who has the recipe for ice cubes.

      Like

  7. via alert5.com: NAS Keflavik to support one squadron of aerial refueling tankers
    http://alert5.com/2019/07/20/nas-keflavik-to-support-one-squadron-of-aerial-refueling-tankers/

    The U.S. government has plans to boost the facilities at NAS Keflavik, Iceland so that one squadron of aerial refueling tankers can be stationed there.

    $27.8 million will be spent to expand the apron for that effort. A Dangerous Cargo Pad will also be built…
    ####

    Adding to the P-8a’s already running ops from there. Crack to the Future!

    Like

    1. Forgive me for dumping cold water on what might be a perfectly wonderful project, but the write-up is mostly a collection of impressive-sounding buzz-words. It will use ‘swarming technology’ to control drones? What’s that? Swarming in bees is an event in which all the bees are responding to the actions of the queen. Fine in concept, but how is Britain’s miracle aircraft going to channel this to control drones? How many? The aircraft cannot think for itself, so it is being controlled by an operator. Is this operator also controlling the drones? I ask because it is already perfectly possible to control remote vehicles as a group, on a single control frequency. Meggitt – the company I used to work with when I was manager of the Target Cell – ran 16 USV’s (Unmanned Surface Vessels) on a single control frequency in 2012, but they had one operator controlling every 2 boats. At the time it had never been done before, and if it has been done since I have not heard about it.

      I could just about buy that an aircraft which is itself a big drone (since it is unmanned) could control a small flock of other drones while they all flew together in a loose formation. But each drone is going to have to be capable of independent action – that was the limiting factor in 2012; an operator could not control more than 2 boats at a time because things just got too busy. And humanity is never going to leave war entirely to machines – control is the very essence of armed combat, and a human mind is going to want to direct the Tempest’s drones to attack this target or that target.

      If a data link is to be used, it is vulnerable to jamming, and will have a limited range – there will be a point at which the drone can no longer be controlled from the operator’s position, because it is simply too far. Limited fuel capacity will likely dictate that the Tempest and its drones be pre-positioned near the battle line, so you’re going to have to have the kind of war where you’re not surprised and have to fight your situation as it is.

      Lastly, £2 Billion is chicken feed; you couldn’t buy the materials for that. I realize that’s why they need a sugar-daddy investor, but that brings me around to another point – they’re either going to have to finance the whole thing themselves as just a system for the RAF, or they’re going to have to sell it to defense partners to defray the cost, as the USA is trying to do with the F-35. Who’s going to buy it, if Britain is no longer in the EU?

      Let’s wait and see, but I wouldn’t put any money aside for stock buys.

      Like

      1. OK, I will say it – A Tempest in A Teapot

        Why didn’t they go to 7th generation?

        – droid not included.

        It’s a fantasy project for the UK’s need to imagine itself has having importance

        Like

  8. Zelenskiy’s party leads the vote thus far in parliamentary elections, with a pretty comfortable 44% of votes. But the second place is held by the opposition.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-07-21/ukraine-presidents-party-leads-in-parliament-election-exit-poll

    I have to imagine Porky’s group, in third, would not have pulled in too many votes, so it is possible the opposition has gained significant influence, and might have to be figured into the equation for coalition-building.

    Like

  9. Oh, and just in case you were wondering who shot down MH-17 – Ukraine knows. They captured the guy who organized the transporter that brought the missile into Ukraine and picked it up from a trucking company in Donetsk. Ummm…..two years ago. There was a lot going on, you know, everybody was really, really busy, so they just didn’t get around to announcing it until now.

    https://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-says-transport-organiser-missile-165355265.html

    Like

    1. To hear Mayakov talk, you would have thought the arrested man had phoned a Rent-A-Trailer company in Donetsk, asked for the biggest, strongest utility vehicle that was available, and picked it up at the agreed-upon time with his dog.

      So the guy picks up the transporter in Country A, drives across the border to pick up the missile in Country B, drives back with the missile to Country A, delivers it and then returns the transporter to the trucking company? But didn’t the Banderites originally say that the BUK missile delivery system convoy came from Country B into Country A first, fired the missile and then scooted back to Country B?

      Conveniently the man is also serving a prison sentence – which must mean he’s not available for questioning and his details can’t be obtained unless proper clearance is obtained through the relevant govt department or the SBU itself – but Mayakov does not say what the nature of the man’s crime was that he has to be in prison.

      Like

        1. Remarkable – great catch! No real earth-shaking news to those of us who have been convinced since the outset that Ukraine is lying through its teeth, and that the west is aiding and abetting it in the interests of ‘getting Russia’. But it is heartening to see the hard work of ordinary people in Europe and elsewhere to discover the truth behind a monumental cover-up. And it must always be remembered that the other participants in the JIT lied deliberately to help Ukraine cover it up – they had to have known the ‘evidence’ they were being shown was bogus, and if not they are far too ignorant to hold the positions they did and do, considering the obvious departure of letting a major suspect in the crime run the investigation and assemble the evidence.

          Westerbeke in particular should swing for his deliberate dissembling; he knows he is lying. His demeanor is completely unlike that of someone who believes he is speaking truth, whether that is the case or not; he is condescending, evasive and shifty. Politics makes whores of many, but none more so than he. I wonder what reward he was promised for completely fudging his investigation, because nobody who was really investigating could fail to notice the discrepancies and the odd conveniences.

          I have to wonder about the conduct of countries like this one, Canada, which unquestioningly supports the Ukrainian narrative. You would hardly expect otherwise of the Canadian Foreign Minister for Ukraine, proud Ukrainian nationalist and descendant of Nazi collaborators. But why does the rest of the government also go unquestioningly along? Does Trudeau really believe Ukraine had no part in it, or is he too weak, disinterested or preoccupied to ask the obvious questions? Or does he know, like others, that Ukraine must be a lot more involved than they are letting on, but is complicit in knowingly covering up for them? So far as I am aware, that would be a first for a Canadian Prime Minister.

          Like

          1. Westerbeke, responding to earlier evidence from Almaz-Antey, rather (in)famously said:
            “Their findings are contrary to ours, we do not share them…I do not want to know if they are correct or not.”
            Of course, I totally share your bewilderment at the seemingly universal attitude of Western politicians and, especially, our media’s comatose journalists. I had a very able colleague who used to say “there are some things that you are not meant to understand.” I find that insight very helpful.

            Like

            1. I seem to recall the US planting evidence at the Lockerbie crash site being uncovered.*

              Where there’s a will….

              The FBI was caught a few years ago using ‘parallel construction’ – presenting only a chain of false evidence to the opposing defense attorneys in order to hide that the original intel actually came from the National Security Agency. So, the tech changes and the more things stay the same.

              The widespread sharing of intel with mulitple agencies rather than to themselves is now a feature, not a bug, of the Five Eyes nations. Spy tech, hacks, software surveillance is available right down to local level. Democracy in action. Transparency that is opaque. Just don’t talk about it!

              * https://gosint.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/pt-35b-how-was-the-lockerbie-key-evidence-forged-update-comments/

              ** https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/18/how-nsa-can-secretly-aid-criminal-cases-2/

              https://theintercept.com/2018/01/09/dark-side-fbi-dea-illegal-searches-secret-evidence/

              Like

              1. Speaking of Oink! Oink! Hand over all your data and we don’t need a fishing lisence:

                The Register: UK cops blasted over ‘disproportionate’ slurp of years of data from crime victims’ phones
                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/07/23/rights_groups_attack_uk_cops_disproportionate_slurp_of_years_of_data_from_crime_victims_phones/

                Report claims forces trawl through data ‘indiscriminately’
                ####

                Yet again technology is also being seen as a silver bullet that can save time and money, but as we all know, more data does not equal more actionable let alone information or even that relevant data will be noticed. It boils down to ‘Trust us. BTW we’ve sent your data abroad’.

                Like

                1. At some thus-far-unreached stage, things will reach a tipping point, and the public will stop reporting crimes to the police, choosing instead to solve them and exact justice on their own. To cries of horror that ‘that’s illegal’, they can reply that there is nothing legal about the techniques police use to collect more information on victims of crime, and that perhaps they are even pushing the people in that direction by setting up those who report crimes to either be charged with other crimes themselves, or to have their investigation abandoned because they were not sufficiently forthcoming with private information.

                  In such an environment, the people could hardly do worse on their own.

                  Like

              2. Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

                In fact, the fragment of circuit board used to implicate Libya was found in a wooded area quite far from the actual crash site, was planted by the CIA and was discovered by the FBI. I suppose it’s always possible it was never there at all, was instead in the FBI agent’s pocket, and just whipped out in a sufficiently improbable location. Who knows, now? But a Scottish former police chief testified in a statement to the Libyans’ lawyers that he knew the bit of evidence had been planted by the CIA.

                https://www.scotsman.com/news-2-15012/police-chief-lockerbie-evidence-was-faked-1-1403341

                Like

                1. From the above linked Scotsman article about the planted “evidence” in the Lockerbie case:

                  A source close to Megrahi’s defence said: “Britain and the US were telling the world it was Libya, but in their private communications they acknowledged that they knew it was the PFLP-GC”.

                  Replace “Libya” with “Russia” in the above quote and “PFLP-GC” with “Ukraine FSB”.

                  Like

                2. Precisely. It is just not credible the other JIT members do not know Ukraine dummied together a set of circumstances to excuse itself and shift the blame to someone unpopular amongst them. But because it served the cause of political necessity, they pretend not to see it. Looking at it from another angle, it would also be a powerful hold for the west to exercise over Ukraine, as well, to ensure it never turns politically back toward Russia no matter what the people say. It would only take a hint dropped here and there to political figures that the west is not as blind as it makes out, and the damage to Ukraine’s image that would result if its deception were ever exposed…

                  Like

  10. Hey NS, looks like someone on Capitol Hill took seriously your advice to pluck the beam out of one’s own eye before advising one’s brother to remove the mote from his.

    House Chaplain Pat Conroy casts out demons from the House of Representatives in US Congress.

    Bet some of us would have loved to be flies on the wall there watching all that head-spinning, vomiting of green bile and people walking on their finger-tips and toes with their bodies in supine position.

    Like

    1. I was in college when the Exorcist first played. To say the least, it created quite a sensation and and a fear for many. The fact that a similar movie released today would be a real yawner may suggest something.

      Like

  11. As the vaunted Mueller Report continues to crumble – the allegation against Concord Management and LLC Consulting was just thrown out by a Federal Judge for lack of evidence – the Democrats fiercely cling on, shouting that if that’s not true, at least it is a certainty that Putin hacked Democratic servers using his military intelligence service, and sent the stolen material to Wikileaks for release.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jul/21/robert-mueller-william-barr-rebuked-judge-case-rus/

    I hardly need point out that there is no evidence which supports those contentions, either – but Democrats are like Everready batteries; they die hard. Here’s a tip; when the US intelligence services say they have ‘high confidence’ of something being true, it means ‘we don’t have any evidence which proves it’. Because if they did, they would say, “We have proof’. ‘High confidence’ is what you have when it really, really needs to be true, but you have no proof that it is.

    Unfortunately, if the accusation that Putin sent stolen data to Wikileaks for release cannot be proven, that might have a very negative impact on the bogus case against Julian Assange.

    Like

  12. Here’s an odd one.

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/be-afraid-russia-ukraines-military-becoming-force-reckoned-68022

    The subheading to the headline, “Be Afraid, Russia: Ukraine’s Military is Becoming a Force to be Reckoned With” is “Thanks to America?”

    The first thing that tickled my funnybone was the thought, “I’ve heard that before – it’s pretty much lifted from Washington’s comments on the Georgian Army…just before the Russians surged through the Roki Tunnel and the mighty Georgian Army ran for its life. Pre-chastisement, the USA was all, like, “These guys are real fire-eaters, I’ve never seen more motivated troops. These guys are ready for combat”. Post-chastisement, shaken US trainers mumbled, “No way were these guys ready for combat”, as if Russia had somehow taken advantage of them by being better, although they apparently fancied themselves real fighting men when they were cruising through the streets in Tskhinvali, randomly shooting up apartment blocks against minimal resistance, before the forces of chastisement showed up to take them to the woodshed for a lickin’.

    So I thought it would be pretty funny if they were about to get schooled a second time by pumping up the Ukrainians for something stupid. But then a funny thing happened, a little more than halfway through; there came this statement.

    “Prodigious price tags and congratulatory news headlines belie an altogether unsettling reality: U.S. military aid to Ukraine has been strategically, and even tactically, inconsequential. “

    Right on its heels came this:

    “Experts agree that the centerpiece of the previous 250 million dollar lethal aid package, Javelin anti-tank missiles, are “mainly symbolic” due to the dearth of heavy armor operated by the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist forces. “

    Gosh; is that an acknowledgement that there really are no Russian tanks in eastern Ukraine? What happened to those two or three battalions of heavy armor and several hundred thousand Russian troops that Poroshenko said were there, while the west pretended to believe it, and be shocked by it?

    The Kremlin would probably snigger if it were not more likely wondering uncomfortably if it is dealing with a nation undergoing some kind of nervous breakdown, while simultaneously losing its mind.

    Like

    1. Nah, all those Russian tanks that Porky was shitting his pants over have all gone back to whence they came: The Republic of Buryatia.

      Remember the badly burnt Buryat tankist in a Rostov-on-Don hospital? There was supposed to have been a whole brigade of the little rascals tear arsing in their tanks around East Ukraine.

      Like

  13. Today is July 22, 406th Anniversary of the coronation of Tsar Michael Romanov, officially ending the Time of Troubles. I just finished a series of posts containing a review/recap of the Russian TV series “Godunov Season 2”, a semi-fictional soap opera set in these times.
    Might be of interest to those interested in this fascinating history.

    Like

      1. NE, the whole reason I spent all this time writing my recaps is so people like you who don’t know Russian can still enjoy the show!
        Sheesh, I work my fingers to the bone, and nobody appreciates…

        Like

  14. The US Secretary of State Mike Plumpeo says that the US “does not want war with Iran.”

    I think he left out the word ‘now’. It’s clear that neither the UK nor the US are prepared as they like to be with ‘overwhelming’ force and months of preparation.

    I wonder if soon to be ex-PM Theresa May will order Grace 1 to be released before she resigns. If not, yet another opportunity will be thrown away, the second after keeping hold of the Grace 1 for another thirty days.

    BBC World Nudes has a canned statement from the Chairman of UK Shipping Chamber of Commerce (or whatever) saying that one has nothing to do with the other (sic the UK’s actions are ‘legal’). Going through the motions for lack of common sense.

    Like

    1. Correction and addition: It was the CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping Bob Sanguinetti who provided the canned (BBC edited) statement.

      Like

  15. Euractiv: How the GSA rebooted the Galileo satellite system
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/aerospace-and-defence/news/how-the-gsa-rebooted-the-galileo-satellite-system/

    Galileo, the global navigation satellite system that went live in 2016, malfunctioned for a whole week (11-19 July) as it suffered from a partial outage, caused by the European Space Agency changing the software. EURACTIV’s partner La Tribune reports.

    …At the heart of the problem lies a software change. The change was carried out in two control centres, based in Germany and Italy, of the European Space Agency (ESA). The ESA is the intergovernmental agency that has been entrusted with the development of Galileo’s new generation of systems and the technical development of infrastructure.

    This software update significantly disrupted the operating system, including the system’s synchronisation, according to La Tribune’s information….
    ####

    Quite a clusterf/k and inexcusable.

    Like

  16. It’s not the role of a privately owned member of America’s fourth estate to develope and maintain relations with a sovereign nation .Journalists are not foreign service officers playing a game of propaganda poker with their counterparts in other nations. Working together presupposes a common agenda of political objectives and philosophy together with a set of agreed upon facts. That ain’t the fuck in the forseeable cards as far as America and Russia are concerned. Nor should that be expected of any parties in bitter contentious rivalry.
    The NYT should focus more on getting the facts out..ALL of them…and less on being a bitch of the CIA or mouthpiece of neocon propaganda….or phony bff of the kremlin.
    https://www.rt.com/usa/464767-trump-russia-nyt-relationship-china/

    Like

    1. The NYT is the CIA; just the civilian wing. There is no potential for reform. Or they just LOVE being the CIA bottom bitch. Same thing.

      Like

  17. ZeroHedge reports that the US have returned to 100 miles squared of Prince Sultan AB in Saudia Arabia since June and note that it has played a significant role in each ME war since 1990. Make no doubt, the US of A is tooling up for war with i-Ran. The question is when and can anything stop it?

    Like

    1. My two cents is its bluff. Just like with NK. A full scale war the Iran would be unthinkably stupid as well as unwinnable unless the US uses nukes. Oddly, IIRC, a majority of Americans would be good with using nukes against Iran. Now, I just worried myself.

      Like

      1. The Russians would not want any nukes used by USA against Iran whose northwestern parts are only few hundred kilometers from Southern Russia.

        If these American psychos commit the biggest mass murder in history, I think a full nuclear holocaust would quickly ensue.

        The rest of the planet would be compelled to accept that there are only two options:

        1) Exist under the American boot for the forseeable future
        2) Recognize that America threatens all of humanity and must be put down.

        Like

        1. But what could Russia do if the US used low yield nukes against Iran? If the weather is “right” the fallout could be contained largely within Iran’s borders. The US could use bunker booster nukes which would create massive amounts of radioactive materials but that material may not be lofted high enough to travel very far if the winds are “right”.

          What could Russia do? Frankly nothing in my opinion. Sinking some carrier battle groups would do nothing to reverse the effects and only bring the world closer to general thermonuclear war.

          It would be up to the US allies/vassals to revolt but that would imply supporting Russia (and presumably China). Would the UK and the EU do that? I don’t know. They will crank out the PR that it was the most humane way to bring an end to a despotic regime and free 80 million people from the yoke of tyranny (add in your favorite propaganda phrases here: _________________).

          They may just bide their time waiting for the moment to make a break for greater independence. This would be difficult as many billionaires and the like could lose their fortunes. Don’t count of that ever occurring. The wealthy have no problem with tyranny as long as they are not personally affected (indeed, tyranny in the service of the elites has always been the case).

          Perhaps I am too pessimistic but I think the US may believe a limited nuclear strike against Iran is doable and the adverse political consequences can be managed. Besides those fucking Israelis would have orgasms if millions of non-Jews were to die in a nuclear attack. So would Bolton and the like.

          Just to explore this concept a little more, the recent build up of US forces in the region is nowhere near enough to successfully invade Iran but could be enough (if the buildup continues) to put down rebellions in KSA or other countries in the region after the attack. Hezbollah would need to think twice about taking on Israel with the threat of nuclear attack on civilians a potential Israeli response.

          Like

          1. I’m not sure that the US can control itself. After taking all the effort and expense (probably paid for by KSA – like last time), why shouldn’t it bomb i-Ran Back in to the Stone Age (TM)?

            As for nukes, I could imagine the Pentagon arguing that they had to do it, otherwise i-Srael would nuke i-Ran instead and they don’t have the humanitarian nukes that the USA has.

            I don’t see any signs of planned mass public protest against a war with i-Ran here in Europe. Would the great unwashed U-ropean come out? That’s the only way I see a war not happening. France, UK and others doth protest their innocence too much but they are using every single i-Ranian counter action to US threats and sanctions as an excuse to threaten i-Ran even more.

            Even if it is all bluff, you can bet that something unexpected will happen and the extreme pressure will be on to do something, the traditional call of the war mongering humanitarians of the last thirty odd years. After all, what’s the point of having and selling all these weapons if it is not to use them? Moi, cynic? Oui.

            Like

            1. I don’t know; the USA kind of got a hail-Mary pass on its last use of nukes, because it professed not to have really understood what it was doing and being itself appalled at the scale of destruction it had unleashed. It could never claim that again, and would have to own it from the viewpoint of knowing exactly what it was doing, to use a phrase made famous by Marco Rubio. The USA’s next use of nukes is likely to bring a retaliatory nuclear riposte.

              The Trump administration is likely being driven nearly mad by the warmongers within and without screaming that Iran has disrespected the USA, and it must react or everyone will laugh at it. I’m sure there is a great deal of pressure to ‘do something’.

              Like

  18. Meddlin’ with Presidential Elections seems like weak sauce when there’s clear and present evidence that VVP was an iconic figure in American music…

    Like

    1. Well; that’ll be helpful for the trade talks. Maybe China will not have to kick out American businesses. Perhaps they will just wither away from lack of sales.

      Here’s a funny one for you – because the Chinese government imposes restrictions on makers of video games – China apparently is the biggest market – which are geared toward curbing addictive behavior and imposing thresholds on gore and violence, they are ‘authoritarian’ and ‘a police state’. Don’t take my word for it; read for yourself the chagrin of American game developers who have to regulate how much gratuitous ripping and tearing and blood splashing they can put in video games, and tailor their messaging so as not to appear to be trying to hook more players, obviously so as to make more money.

      https://www.pcgamer.com/chinas-anti-addiction-regulations-put-american-game-developers-in-an-awkward-moral-situation/

      You know what it reminds me of? The whinging of the homosexual and LGBTQ activists and the diddlers over Russia’s ‘draconian anti-gay law’. Wahhhh!! Russia won’t let us have a shot at the kiddies!!

      Like

      1. Speaking of which …

        Today, from the Independent’s regular barrage of criticism against all things Russian:

        Sado Opera: ‘The police attacked us at our first big concert in Russia’
        Ahead of their Standon Calling performance, the Berlin-based queer collective reflect on their beginnings as a band, campaigning for LGBT+ rights, and enlisting talk show star Conan O’Brien as a guest member

        Our first big concert was in St Petersburg, in the defunct Stereobar club. Right before entering the club, the police attacked us – apparently, they didn’t like our make-up. Or, maybe they did but were frightened of how it made them feel.

        You dont frighten me, soft arse!

        So edgy!!!

        Shot on or in the vicinity of Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Deutschland.

        The woman shrieks “Когда ты родишь?” — “When are you gonna have a baby?”

        Ars gratia artis?

        Like

        1. You’ve probably heard of the Russian federal law for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values. It was introduced in 2013 as federal “gay propaganda” law that effectively prohibits any positive information about “non-traditional sexual relations” from public discussion and basically prohibits any public demonstration of LGBTQ in a positive context. But have you heard of O-zine – the new internet magazine for Russia’s LGBTQ+ youth? — from the above linked independent article.

          Out to shock?

          Voina has returned?

          Like

          1. Whatever happened to the young lad, him with the colourful hair what became the face of gay youth in Russia when he got into some ructions with the Paras on their special day, prancing about with his rainbow flag? The west will be talking him up for President of Russia next – Navalny is too macho.

            Like

    1. The man of action, striding determinedly into history. Can’t wait.

      Probably on his way to see ‘a guy’ who will pass along some findings or other, of which there is ‘absolutely no doubt. Certainly cuts down on Russia’s foreign-policy priorities; no need to send diplomatic staff to either England or the United States, perhaps ever again, and not much point talking to them, either. Just leave them in their own mess.

      Comfort yourself in the knowledge there were no good choices.

      Like

    2. And Johnson it is!

      Time for me to emigrate!

      Shit! I already did when Thatcher ruled the roost.

      I think I shall die in exile …

      IF I should die, think only this of me;
      That there’s some corner of a foreign field
      That is for ever England. There shall be
      In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
      A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 5
      Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
      A body of England’s breathing English air,
      Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

      Exit stage left, sobbing …

      Like

        1. Ironically, Scotsman Galloway refers to Johnson as “the wisest fool in Christendom”, whereas the person who first received that dubious accolade was not the “Englishman” Johnson, but a Scot, James Stuart, the sixth King James of Scotland and the first King James of England, who, though learned, was ridiculous, clumsy, clownish, awkward, feeble and blustering.

          Rather like Boris the Buffon, in fact, who is, no doubt, learned about ancient Greece and Rome, having been educated at Eton College and Balliol, Oxford, where he studied Classics, but foolish in that he compared the ongoing mutual antagonism of the West and Russia with that of Sparta and Athens, which latter culminated in the Peloponnesian war, the “democratic” Athenians being the “goodies”, of course. However, Johnson seemed to have forgotten that in actual fact, the Spartans won that war.

          That’s because Johnson is an educated dickhead.

          Like

        2. ME, you are clearly distraught and unaccepting of reality.
          You need to reconcile yourself to God’s will.
          God has willed that England shall be ruled by a Circus Clown.
          You don’t like it? Then pack your suitcase and move to another Universe.

          Like

      1. More than a little. But the albino probably did not deliberately mess up his hair just before appearing in public because he thought it made him look folksy and busy.

        Boris Johnson is a tit, and having him for a Prime Minister would be even more embarrassing than having Chrystia “the Nazis were not so bad’ Freeland for Foreign Minister.

        Like

  19. Stand by to hear much more about somebody you never heard of.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49081626

    I hear they found Putin’s passport dropped at the scene; must have fallen from his pocket as he was making his midnight getaway.

    “In 2013, Russia passed legislation banning the spreading of what it described as gay propaganda.

    Notice they never add “to minor children” – I wonder if it’s deliberate? This way, the reader can infer that homosexuality cannot be legally discussed by anybody in any circumstances, because that’s the law. Or the importance to the flourishing of a powerful homosexual culture that it gain acceptance among youth. The customary cherry-picking.

    Like

    1. “Along with campaigning for LGBT rights, Ms Grigoryeva also demonstrated against Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, the ill treatment of prisoners and a number of other human rights causes.”
      BBC propaganda is anything but subtle. Notice how they ham-fistedly link the “annexation” of Crimea as a “human rights” cause. Because, naturally, the rights of the Crimean people, who desperately wanted to remain within Ukraine, were brutally violated when they were forced at gunpoint to join Russia.

      Like

      1. And P.S. – this is one of the reasons why Russian gays are so unpopular, because they have “leaders” who fit every stereotype of being Westie shills and paid agents of the American State Department!
        If Russian gays actually want to have an effective human rights movement, then they need to decouple themselves from these other issues and just focus on the women and gay issues. Without getting into “high” politics, and certainly not taking a pro-Westie side. If they can’t demonstrate that they are patriots, then regular Russians won’t even listen to them.

        Like

        1. You know, that’s actually true, and a very good point – the Russian gay activists are simultaneously advocates for western intervention which will make Russia more like the west, which I suppose they perceive as some sort of Gay Nirvana, where you can marry your gay partner and the government will make everyone accept it.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. As I’ve said before, there is no shortage of venues in Moscow where those adults (that means 18 years of age and above in Russia) who enjoy “non-traditional” sexual dalliances can socialize.

      BoyZ Club


      I dont fancy yours, but mine’s a bit of all right!

      🙂

      Like

      1. When I was there in the mi-90s, Kitaigorod was the hotspot so to speak! I know I’m repeating myself, but I would buy my pies from the Russkoye Bistro there. Yum! I also admit to buying burritos at least twice from a mobile vendor in Kiyevskaya (?) metro. I was hungry.

        Like

        1. I liked those burritos in the metro as well.

          One day, my then unknown to me wife to be saw me eating one at the burrito stall at the Lenin Library metro station. Always slow to catch on as ever, I had not realized she had a crush on me and had followed me at a distance after I had been teaching her.

          When she saw me enjoying my burrito, she felt really sorry for me, thinking that I was too poor to buy “real” food and cook it at home and that I had no wife or girlfriend to care for me.

          And the rest is history ….

          She only told me about her dogging me a few years after we had got wed.

          Daft bugger!

          Like

    3. An actual homofascist

      Where do they find these people

      Like


    4. UKRAINE, YOU ARE RIGHT!
      Stop Putin’s war in the the Ukraine


      The Crimea is the Ukraine!
      Give back what has been pilfered!


      Russian military aggression in the Ukraine is the madness of government Chekist evildoers.

      Like

      1. I wonder if she was carrying around the Ukrainian flag when she was killed. Nobody seems particularly upset about it in these photos, or for her to be defending Ukraine in Russia. I wonder how long she would last doing the same thing in Ukraine with the Russian flag, and carrying a sign that said Crimea belongs to Russia. The Ukrainian bohunks don’t mind beating up veterans of the Great Patriotic War for wearing the St George’s ribbon. But I suppose it is more important to be a revolutionary than to be espousing a defensible cause.

        Like

  20. Apparently SK fired ‘warning shots’ at Russian military planes near disputed SK/Japan islands. The Kremlins says ‘Bollocks!’.

    Like

    1. Russia said it was over neutral waters.

      It is claimed that there were two Tu-95 bombers, an A-50 AWACS and two Chinese H-6 bombers.

      Considering the current punch up between Tokyo & Seoul, a poke? That South Korea would fire warning shots, whether true or just a claim (lie), is surprisingly dumb. I’ll guess we’ll have to wait a few days for more info.

      Like

  21. FlightGlobal.com: Strained Russia, Ukranie ties slow India AN-32 Upgrades
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/strained-russia-ukraine-ties-slow-india-an-32-upgr-459832/

    The upgrade of Indian air force Antonov AN−32 tactical transports is well behind schedule and is only likely to be completed by 2025 – an eight year delay from the original plan.

    India’s Minister of State for Defence, Shripad Nayak, has informed parliament that a total of 55 aircraft have been upgraded to the AN-32RE (re-equipped) standard.

    “Upgradation of the remaining aircraft is planned in a phased manner depending upon the supply of [modification] kits by Ukraine,” he says.

    “There is shortage of certain spares [of Russian origin] due to strained relations between Russia and Ukraine.”…
    ####

    Pleasing the west is more important than saving its own business.

    Like

  22. Vinyard the Saker: Army Eliminated White Helmets Photographer Linked To 2017 Khan Shaykhun Chemical Attack
    https://southfront.org/army-eliminated-white-helmets-photographer-linked-to-2017-khan-shaykhun-chemical-attack/

    ####

    I saw the AFP piece on this yesterday or the day before. It took until paragraph 11 for the article to mention that the area hit is under the control of Jaish EL-Ezza and Diab was killed along with two members of El-Ezza (aka IS/ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever) in the basement, so roughly 2/3 of the way down.

    Reuters, AP & AFP continue to bury late in to their reports basic information who these people are by default and as usual quoting British ‘intelligence’ shop window, SOHR.

    Like

  23. Moscow Times via Antiwar.comRussia, Ukraine Agree on Comprehensive Ceasefire in Donbass
    https://news.antiwar.com/2019/07/22/russia-ukraine-agree-on-comprehensive-ceasefire-in-donbass/

    Forward movements banned, heavy weapons must be pulled back

    A deal negotiated last week and put into effect on Sunday, Russia and Ukraine have negotiated, along with Europe’s OSCE, a comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass (Eastern Ukraine). The deal intends to extend the ceasefire indefinitely.

    The deal is being negotiated by Russia on behalf of Ukraine’s eastern separatist movement, and obliges both sides to move heavy weaponry away from the front line, as well as banning attacks and attempts at forward movement by either side.

    OSCE officials say this deal, with its open-ended term, is going much further than previous ones, and followed with a joint statement from Russia and Ukraine. This commits both sides more fully to abiding by the deal…
    ####

    A good start. Someone will be crying. How long until the first provocation???

    Like

  24. Independent via Antiwar.com: ‘Let me guess, you want to nuke them all’: Trump constantly baiting John Bolton in front of officials, report says
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-john-bolton-iran-jokes-nuke-them-all-white-house-a9015061.html

    John has never seen a war he doesn’t like’
    ####

    t-Rump doesn’t see himself as responsible for his own hand-picked team. A lot in common with Doris Johnson who will be UK PM tomorrow.

    So, this looks like yet more obfuscation and PR polishing of t-Rump’s image timed as a counter the global reaction to US enforced worries over the Perisan Gulf. The other story dropped in the last day or so is that it was entirely Bolton’s plan to get the UK to stop the i-Ranian Grace 1 tanker and that he was over the moon how successful his plan was.

    If it was all going so well and to plan, they why the need for this story? Thin skin?

    Like

    1. Oh, I disagree that John has never seen a war he doesn’t like. He didn’t like Vietnam; in fact he didn’t like it so much that he enlisted in the National Guard to avoid being part of it.

      Like

  25. AFP via Antiwar.com: Expelled German ambassador returns to Venezuela
    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/expelled-german-ambassador-returns-venezuela-193934837.html

    …Germany is one of the more than 50 countries to have recognized Guaido’s claims.

    “Our position with respect to recognizing Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president, in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution, has not changed,” said Germany’s foreign ministry.

    Venezuela’s foreign ministry said the move had initiated a “process of normalization of relations between the two states.”…
    ####

    Why? What is Germany offering that could be worth anything? Is it an unofficial EU designated mediator perhaps?

    Like

    1. If not Iran, the West/Israel will use nukes somewhere but likely Iran.

      Just musing here. Israel did lose the 1973 war but the US/NATO saved their bacon. If they did not do such, there is little doubt in my mind that Israeli nukes would have been used.

      What can be done with a psycho nation with nukes? That may be the biggest challenge facing the world today.

      Like

      1. “what can be done with two psycho nations with nukes”

        There…just a little fix to your otherwise eloquent comment.
        (Those who can’t figure out which two nations…..KS isn’t for you)

        Like

    1. I wouldn’t put too much stock in what Dario Leone says; he probably does not speak for the Russian government. At present it suits Russia to adhere strictly to the letter of the law; if for no other reason, to highlight how lawless the west is, and particularly the United States. Do you suppose Washington went through the UN when it approved the ‘sale’ of Javelin missiles to Ukraine? I’m pretty sure it didn’t.

      It will be a different story if the United States attacks Iran. They cannot have failed to notice how effective Russian forces called in to help Syria were, and might be quite a bit quicker than Assad was to ask for help. Russia plainly is not intimidated by the possibility of clashing with the USAF; that possibility most certainly existed in Syria as well.

      I’m pretty sure that if Iran really wants Russian fighters, circumstances will prevail that allow the buy. “Never’ is a strong word. Meanwhile, Russia does not have to worry that it will buy western fighters instead.

      Like

    1. Let me make you a wager; if the Saudis decide to go ahead with purchasing the second-most advanced surface-to-air (SAM) missile system in the world, it will not represent any kind of ‘tipping point’ in Saudi-American relations so long as the Americans need Saudi Arabia to keep the petrodollar breathing. If I’m wrong, I will drink a pint of Saudi crude. But I’m pretty sure I will not ever have to. If they go ahead with the purchase, it will be an important signal that the subordinate partner has decided to reverse the relationship, and that KSA is no longer going to be bossed around in return for American endorsement of Saudi oil and energy policies. After all, the USA uses a lot of Saudi oil as well, and while the USA likes to make noises about being ‘self-sufficient’ in energy, it is not even close.

      The days when Washington could bully its allies into buying an inferior piece of American-made rubbish are over. American allies plainly want the S-400, which is embarrassing for the American arms merchants to the world. I would personally advise against it, since if Turkey proves to be a poor partner for letting the CIA crawl all over the S-400, the Arabs certainly will be a lot more forthcoming. But Russia must have its reasons, and meanwhile, the possibility of Russian arms being chosen over American weapons must be gall and wormwood in American mouths.

      Like

    1. Although having actually lost a relative in a 737 Max crash does give Nader a certain cachet, not even close. He’s still just a consumer advocate, and while Boeing will pretend to listen because not listening and cutting corners brought it to this fork in the road, it will not take his proposals seriously if they mean Boeing nixing its best-selling plane.

      Like

    2. Caught a brief story tha Boeing may suspend production of the 737 MAX in anticipation of the grounding extending through the end of the year.

      Slightly off topic, the sooner the Sukhoi SuperJet ditches European engines and electronics, the better its prospects.

      Like

      1. I suspect that the moment the SSJ replaces all the high value western parts with Russian ones, it will find itself under sanctions. On the plus side, all future growth is in the Asia-Pacific market so as long as the Russian civil aerospace support network is there (it is being built, the MC-300 will also benefit from it), then there’s sweet FA that can be done, apart from maybe denying FAA/EASA certification, but as they are harmonized Russia needs only EASA to do it. Still, it’s a few years away and if we are not all dead from another ‘accidental’ war, hopefully things should have started to calm down already…

        Like

  26. According to this piece the “Heroes of the Maidan” need to pack their suitcases and get out of Kiev.
    Lyashko is out of the Rada.
    Nadya Savchenko received a whopping EIGHT VOTES!
    Zelensky wiped the floor with all of them.
    The Silent Majority has spoken.

    Like

    1. The more fools they, then. Zelenskiy does not represent real change, and he seems to epitomize the old maxim that the first thing a politician elected to a first term thinks about is a second term. Zelenskiy is kind of the Ukrainian Obama – elected on a platform of hope and change, and almost instantly squandering any popular advantage by trying to please everybody.

      It’s possible he will still get tough with the nationalists and stop squeaking “Putin is an evil shit’ every time the right political influences squeeze his sides, but I frankly doubt it. He is an improvement on Poroshenko, but he still publicly intends to take Ukraine into the EU, while his not being as greedy as Poroshenko actually makes him even more malleable than Porky was. He still parrots the western line on demand, and they do not even have to pay him as much.

      Like

      1. It’s sad because it’s true.
        Ukrainians desperate to salvage some semblance of their lives, decided, “We tried everything else, why not a circus clown?”

        Like

    1. Ahhhh…memories. I remember, for instance, when the west referred to Bolsonaro as ‘a menace’ and ‘a disastrous president’.

      ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1042739551171698688&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Foglobo.globo.com%2Fbrasil%2Fbolsonaro-vira-capa-da-economist-ultima-ameaca-da-america-latina-23085028

      That lasted until he cheerily came on board the western effort to stitch up Venezuela, and western leaders recognized a kindred ruthless spirit who would forge alliances based on personal gain and increased power. And then….why, then they realized how wrong they had been about him.

      Like

    1. Imagine when in 50 years or so she is showing this to her grandkids:
      “….and this is when that animal tossed Grandma up in the air !…”
      LOL!

      Like

    1. I devoutly hope he is successful. If I had the time, I would mount a public campaign to have WADA moved from Canada to the United States, because it basically exists to protect western athletes – chiefly Americans – from censure and facilitate their use of performance enhancements through therapeutic-use exemptions (TUE’s). I resent it being located in Canada, and tainting the country with its biased manipulations. WADA is used to swinging its balls and having things happen. I agree the world needs an impartial agency for regulating and overseeing the use of drugs in professional sport, but WADA is hopelessly corrupt and in the Americans’ pocket; it basically works for Travis Tygart. I would not be sorry to see it go under entirely.

      Like

    1. I’m not optimistic. Zelenskiy claims to be still focused on European integration for Ukraine, and whether or not he makes any progress on that, it and mending relations with Russia are mutually exclusive.

      Like

      1. The only logical way for Ukraine to retain any form of statehood is to resume their former role as the “Borderlands” of Russia. It’s actually a sweet gig, low cost high rewards, and they should be fighting for it.

        But first they have to cleanse themselves of the “Galician cancer”. A swift chop of the surgeon’s blade — give the Nazis to Poland, I says…

        Like

        1. And I agree. If Kuh-yiv were to gift Poland with their troublemakers in the west, both would be happy; well, perhaps not Poland so much, although it would like the idea of being bigger, assuming that would translate to more influential. But the Galicians would be over the moon at joining the progressive and wealthy west. Hey, many of the Ukrainian oligarchs might even move there, in anticipation of being big wheels in Yurrup. That would solve two problems, although the oligarchs would want to take their money with them. it makes up somewhere between 40% and 60% of GDP, although a lot of it is tied up in real estate like businesses.

          Anyway, if the western Ukrainian provinces went – Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk for sure, probably Chernihiv as well – I could see the remainder and the east reconciling. But it will never happen as long as the nationalist cancers are part of the state.

          Like

      2. I am not optimistic either. Zelensky shows every sign of being an empty suit, just like Obama. So long as the American State Dept and the European governments are still calling the shots, then Zel will continue to ruin the Ukraine.

        Like

  27. Oh, I see how it works – if you are a member of the US Intelligence Services and your testimony is subpoenaed, you can avoid discussing potentially-incriminating matters simply by saying “I’m not going to get into that”. Good to know – it’ll come in handy if I’m ever arrested for anything in the USA and they ask me, “Where were you on the night of whatever?” I can just say, “I’m not going to get into that”. It seems very unlikely that any punishment is going to accrue to Mueller for refusing to answer, so I guess everyone else is good to go with that defense.

    https://news.yahoo.com/mueller-refuses-to-answer-questions-on-steele-dossier-173706268.html

    He tries to squirm away by the device that the dossier was acquired long before he was appointed to the special investigation, but he and his team most definitely made use of it and became familiar with it in the investigation, including how it was acquired. The Clinton team bought it.

    Like

    1. I saw the first few questions. One Republican asked Meuller to explain where ‘not-exonerating’ fits in to any law, ruling or operation of the Justice Department. He pointed out that you are considered innocent until found guilty and not the other way around, and then came out with a zinger that ‘President Trump is not above the law as surely as he is not below the law’.

      The Republican also pointed out that the guidelines of Meuller’s investigation were to give ‘decisions’ one way or another but that volume II of his report does neither, instead says ‘could have’ – completely in breach of Meuller’s legally defined mandate.

      As much as it pains me to agree with the Republicans, this is clearly true. I don’t have much to say for the Dems and their supporters when they pretend that migrant kids weren’t locked up in cages under O-Bomber’s reign etc. etc. A pox on both their houses!

      Like

  28. The entirety of the Mueller episode-all of it-is the continuing Waaah from 2016: war criminal drunk kKillary lost….EOS!
    The problems with the integrity of American elections don’t have a fuckin’ thing to do with the Russians….that nonsense is total fabricated horseshit as was shown on this blog a couple of years ago.
    What these silly bstrds should concern themselves with is the made in the USA corrupt racist
    cesspool that is the current voting system.

    Like

  29. Just found this begging letter in my spam filter:

    Dear reader,

    Thanks for following The Moscow Times!

    In recent weeks, our newsroom in Moscow has covered critical stories including:

    A planned construction project at a radioactive site that locals call “Moscow’s Chernobyl,”
    Russian doctors’ fight for a fair salary,

    And the story of citizens ensnared in the country’s prison system.

    Independent, fact-based news from Russia is needed now more than ever. With your support, The Moscow Times can continue to produce in-depth, vital reporting about Russia and its role in the world.

    If you’d like to support our work, please click the link below and become a one-time or regular contributor.

    If you have already contributed, thank you for your support!

    “Critical stories” listed above?

    Independent, fact-based news?

    If true, then well worthy, therefore, of my unreserved support!

    I shall have to transfer some dosh to Langley forthwith!

    Like

      1. The Guardian must be in extremely bad shape then because every time you look at one of its sorry excuses for an article, you’re assailed by a pop-up request for money.

        Like

    1. If the USA actually moves to apply sanctions against Nord Stream II, it will quickly lose whatever goodwill remains in Europe for America. It cannot offer an alternative supply at a competitive price, so it would be shutting off a reliable and cheap energy source for Europe in exchange for pretty much fuck-all other than a forlorn hope that it could force Russia to continue transiting gas through Ukraine’s pipeline network. If Russia doesn’t want to do that, what then? A fleet of freedom tankers bearing America’s molecules of freedom across the seas to a Europe weeping with gratitude? Hardly. The USA would merely be shorting Europe with the intent of securing its energy market for American producers when they can get their shipping on. Dare to dream, USA.

      Like

    2. Seems very much like why the colonists revolted against the British Empire. It was the British monopoly on trade that forbid them from trading with anyone other than the British.

      Like

      1. It was also the English and then the British monopoly on Indian textile trade – in that the textile industry could only sell to the English East India Company and then the British East India Company, subject to quotas, over the 17th and 18th centuries – that finally killed off textile manufacturing in India, throwing thousands of families into poverty, forcing people to make a living from the land, and losing valuable cultural knowledge in manual textile-making and embroidery skills. This is where the stereotype of India as a land of poverty and squalor started to develop.

        Like

  30. From last week.

    Vinyard the Saker: Georgian Rugby Players Kicked Out For Their Russophobic Gestures
    http://thesaker.is/georgian-rugby-players-kicked-out-for-their-russophobic-gestures/

    by Ruslan Ostashko

    Translated and captioned by Leo.

    Into an exile from the Moscow club “Glory” turned for two Georgian rugby players a demonstration of “support for the people of Georgia.” Now Revaz Brodzeli and Saba Ioseliani will have to make a sporting career someplace else…

    An example of how to deal with the Euro-Georgians over Russophobia antics was shown by the leadership of the Moscow Rugby Club “Slava.” It ripped up the contracts with players who allowed themselves to gesture support on the field over anti-Russian protests in Georgia. This is how the exit of Brodzeli and Ioseliani looked like on the field:…
    ####

    The rest at the link.

    I guess all the plus side of all this open Russophobic bigotry is that the exclusion lists almost write themselves!

    Like

  31. Good business for the builder of the Soyuz rocket:

    Internet firm OneWeb plans to begin launching 35 to 40 communications satellites a month in December, and has 27 Soyuz rocket missions lined up through European launch company Arianespace to send them aloft, company officials said in Florida on Monday.

    “Those are the best rockets we could find for the quality, price and capability we were looking for,” OneWeb founder and executive chairman Greg Wyler said. “We will not be launching from Florida for now.”

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Communications_satellite_firm_OneWeb_plans_to_start_monthly_launches_in_December_999.html

    Like

    1. Apparently India will buy Russian rocket engines and China has suggested to India to carry out joint space missions (or something). Interesting days.

      Like

  32. Well that didn’t take long.

    RT.com: ‘An act of piracy’: Moscow slams seizure of its tanker, says Ukraine should think of ‘ramifications’
    https://www.rt.com/news/465043-ukraine-tanker-seizure-piracy/

    …Several hours later the Russian embassy in Ukraine announced that “the crew is heading home, while the vessel remains in Izmail,” a port city in southwestern Ukraine. The ship’s owner also confirmed that the sailors had been freed..
    ####

    The fact that the Russian sailors were let go is a plus. Someone trying to undermine the upcoming prisoner exchange?

    Like

    1. Could be; I just read a story on that yesterday which suggested the repatriation of the Ukrainian sailors was already a done deal, but their lawyer said he had heard nothing about it and the site was so illiterate (a machine translation) that I did not bother to link it. But as we are all well aware, certain interests would very much like Russia and Ukraine to explode into a fight so they could join in and develop it into a nice little war.

      Russia has plenty of economic mileage left to squeeze the shit out of Ukraine if it wants to teach it a real lesson.

      Like

  33. A good piece in The Nation by Stephen Cohen. He counsels Trump and America to accept that Ukraine is not going to get Crimea back, and pursue peace rather than further division.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/peace-in-ukraine/

    According to the article – and amazing to me – the almost-incoherent Joe Biden is the Democratic front-runner. How is that even possible? However, Cohen is perfectly correct that if Biden maneuvers his way into the presidency, the policy on Ukraine will continue to be to feed it weapons. give it money only so long as it is satisfactorily confrontational to Russia, and the war in the east will drag on.

    Like

    1. Biden is the front-runner because the Democratic Party is completely 100% bankrupt.
      And has been, for many years now.
      How else could they nominate completely soulless zombie people such as Obongo and Killery?

      Like

  34. Unsurprisingly, Ukrainian expats in foreign countries supported Poroshenko’s party strongly, In the regions where expats vote, it even beat out Zelenskiy’s party, although the latter dominated in Ukraine itself.

    https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/ukraine-voted-for-zelenskys-party-diaspora-voters-had-other-ideas.html?cn-reloaded=1

    Ukrainians far from the din of battle are not bothered much if it continues forever, so long as the eevul Russians do not triumph. They are also much more susceptible to western news biases, and to Poroshenko’s junketing abroad to promote himself.

    Like

  35. Russia takes steps to ban the Atlantic Council from the Russian Federation, for its ongoing colluding against Russia and its interests and its often-hysterical screeching for action against it in articles by contributors.

    https://news.yahoo.com/russia-says-ban-think-tank-192143138.html

    Presumably this means an internet ban, since the agency does not have a physical presence in Russia that I’m aware of. Save for, of course, its former chairman, who is now the US Ambassador to the Russian Federation. Bit of a kick in the sack for him.

    Like

  36. Oh, look – Lyosha has been arrested again. He must like the food in jail; I hear their akroshka is something else, so refreshing in summer when it’s hot and humid.

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article233101712.html

    I wonder if he planned to take another run at election to the city council. It’s hard to tell from the article, which implies he just wanted to protest the barring of several opposition activists from running. But perhaps one of them was himself. It’s difficult to say, because he jumps on every protest in an attempt to get more western press coverage and make it look like Navalny’s protest, even if he only showed up for a celebrity-dissident appearance.

    Like

  37. Svetlana Kuznetsova cannot defend her Washington WTA International title (2018 – also won 2014) because of visa problems! Uh-huh.

    Like

    1. RT.com: ‘Visa problems’ force Russian defending champ Kuznetsova to miss Washington WTA event

      …“Guys, I have been waiting for the US visa since February to take part in tennis events. All of my questions regarding the delay have been constantly met with the same reply: “Your visa application has been under review.”..

      Like

  38. A little sample of what muzzled Western MSM won’t go near:

    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2019/7/24/for-iranians-the-war-has-already-begun

    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2019/7/24/israel-just-bulldozed-two-basic-principles-for-peace

    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2019/7/19/its-painful-but-we-have-to-take-boris-seriously
    “This isn’t the first time nor do we expect it to be the last, that Johnson has expressed such racist generalisations about Muslims or other racialised groups. But it reinforces the fact that we have to take him seriously despite his act as a likeable village idiot and that his imminent assent to the office of prime minister should worry us all.

    This isn’t a bumbling clown, who just blurts things out without thinking or meaning harm, we have to give him more credit than that, as much as it pains me to admit it. It would otherwise undermine the impact that he is having, and is likely to continue to have, on normalising what is already an incredibly hate-filled time for Muslims.
    Boris has also made no secret of his relationship with white nationalists like Bannon and Trump.”

    (I wouldn’t have suspected that UK PM Boris is a racist POS…even from reading comments about him on KS!!!)

    The New Arab…Spot On……revelatory ,revolutionary, relentless!!!!

    Like

  39. Craig Murray: Bought Politicians
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/07/bought-politicians/

    Between just 28 May and 10 June Boris Johnson received £235,500 in “private” donations, to himself personally, as he prepares to become the UK’s unelected Prime Minister…

    …James Reuben, who gave two donations totaling £50,000 to Johnson, is the scion of the UK’s second wealthiest family, worth £18 billion. The Reubens made their money, like Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, in the pillaging of Russia’s massive metal producing assets, which were physically seized by gangsters, in the chaotic US organised Yeltsin privatisation process. The entire basis of their vast fortune was the exploitation of assets effectively stolen from the Russian state and people…
    ####

    A nice reminder! There is a musical number that fits this:

    Like

    1. Depressing; right-out-in-the-open thievery. And despite the occasional moment of rote-recitation of Latin he learned at one of his higher stations in life (reminding anyone who needs it that a sterling education does not necessarily make one smart), Boris Johnson is an idiot. What he knows of global affairs is mostly propaganda spewed for the western-media sewer pipe day in and out. I doubt he’s clever enough to know what’s really going on, but affecst to believe nonsense like Russian secret agents poisoning British citizens with exotic nerve agents – he probably actually believes that’s the truth. Just embarrassing, another signpost on a race to the bottom. And the people who least deserve to be wealthy – the supercilious, lip-curling entitled – continue to coin money as if they had their own printing press, rendering farcical the notion that politics is supposed to be public service. No higher calling, apparently, than making your friends and yourself rich.

      Like

      1. Johnson once called Vladimir Putin a “ruthless and manipulative tyrant” and that he (Johnson) had “made the classic, classic mistake of thinking it was possible to have a ‘reset’ with Russia”.

        He’s a real card is Boris when it comes to speaking of heads of states other than his:

        George W. Bush:

        “A cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomises the arrogance of American foreign policy”.

        Barack Obama:

        When commenting on the removal of the bust of Winston Churchill from the White House, Johnson said its removal was.

        “A symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender”.

        Donald Trump:

        In 2015, Trump suggested that some of area’s of London had become so radicalised that they were now no-go zones. Johnson said in response:

        “The only reason I wouldn’t visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump”.

        Like

        1. Boris was 100% right about W Bush, but wrong about Obama. I highly doubt that Obama had any negative feelings towards Churchill, if he even knew who the man was. He prob’ly just removed the bust to make room for one of Michelle’s tchotchkes..

          Like

            1. Tchotchka is a Jewish word, it means a worthless little trinket.
              I know a lot of Jewish words, ’cause I have some Jewish friends.
              I don’t know why I used it in the context of Michelle Obama, maybe I just had this image of her collecting little unicorn figurines, or something like that…

              Liked by 1 person

          1. I believe the Mau Mau uprisings in Kenya began during Winston Churchill’s watch as Prime Minister in the early 1950s and continued for another few years after his time as PM. During this period, thousands of Kenyans were rounded up by the British and held in concentration camps where they suffered torture and many died. Why wouldn’t the part-Kenyan Barack Obama remove the bust of Winston Churchill from the White House and in any case is it even relevant to American politics?
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mau_Mau_Uprising

            Like

            1. I think it is. Apart from the fact that Churchill’s mother was a US citizen, daughter of a millionaire Wall Street slick-arse investor who lost his millions. She had to, therefore, marry beneath her social status to the second son of an English lord. Her husband was a flash-in-the-pan British parliamentarian, who died as mad as a hatter from tertiary syphilis.

              Churchill is an iconic figure for many US citizens, in that he made his famous “Iron Curtain” speech at a US university in the 1950s. The words were plagiarised, as were many of his oft quoted statements.

              All these facts notwithstanding, the bust was a gift from one sovereign and most lackyish state to its master, as is the monstrous bench behind which the POTUS often sits, a gift off the Queen Empress Victoria, no less, to the American nation.

              Obama was often pictured with his feet boorishly resting on this desk, made from the timbers of a Royal Navy warship, ss he lounged back in his big boss’s executive chair.

              It was the Royal Navy, by the way, that allowed the much vaunted US policy known as the Monroe Doctrine to be implemented.

              Despite the bullshit book that he wrote about his biological father, I don’t think Obama gave a flying fuck for his Kenyan sire. Just part of his PR bullshit.

              Like

  40. LandDestroyer: Banned From Facebook and Twitter!
    https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2019/07/banned-from-facebook-and-twitter.html

    Update: I have received and am grateful for a lot of support since Facebook/Twitter/Reuters’ coordinated smear/censorship campaign. I’ve also more than doubled my website’s viewership – because as is often the case – the harder you try to silence someone or something, the more attention you attract.

    So I hope Facebook, Twitter, Reuters and many others continue working hard to “silence” me and others – because it helps prove everything being said is true about the West’s hypocrisy and habit of hiding behind principles like “human rights,” “free speech,” and “democracy” when in fact trampling them all – it also helps people notice my work and decide for themselves if what is said about me by serial liars and hypocrites is true or not…
    ####

    The equivalent of book burning, democratically! I would hazard a guess that someone local someone put in a request, the US looked at and ‘approved’ as it was ‘alternate media’, so an easy win + owed favors.

    Like

    1. I rate Tony Cartalucci on a par with John Helmer, Robert Parry and Patrick Armstrong for sourced information that makes you wonder what amazing inside tracks he must have. It truly is a disgrace the way the heavies try to control what you’re allowed to read, and the west actually has become the Third-Reich menace it loved to caricature. The entire ‘fake news’ meme was created specifically to facilitate censorship under the guise of protection. However, it is also a measure of their desperation that they will sink to such levels to hold on to business as usual in the golden period of outright appropriation they worked so hard to install. What loathsome wretches – and they wonder why the only thing that will bring the masses out to vote is an attempt to stop someone from attaining office. There are no good choices any more, and democracy is just a label to let you think that voting means something.

      Like

  41. Every now and then there is a relatively decent article from the European edition of Politico!

    Politico.eu: Corrupt spy agency tests Ukraine’s new president
    https://www.politico.eu/article/volodymyr-zelenskiy-legacy-of-spies-tests-ukraine-new-president/

    The security service has never been reformed, but Volodymyr Zelenskiy has the chance to do so.

    …Known by its acronym SBU (Sluzhba bezpeky Ukrayiny), Ukraine’s secret service is the successor organization to the Soviet-era KGB, from which it inherited its original staff, structure and modus operandi. Over the years, its spies have been implicated in a long series of corruption scandals, large and small, involving crimes ranging from murder to illegal arms sales.

    The SBU remains closely entwined with both Ukraine’s powerful oligarchs and its political class, Western officials say…
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    So, as we all know, the Ukraine never left the 1990s. It’s nice to see it here. I’ll add this article as evidence of creeping pragmatism returning some parts of corporate media. In the past, such an article would have blamed Russia for all Ukraine’s ills (or just no be run) and the SBU was the last line of defense for its freedom and independence. Bit by bit.

    Like

  42. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-49117892

    So, another shipwreck of migrants just off the Libyan coast, many dead (115?) thanks to Brussels and their agency FRONTEX’s Operation Triton maritime policing policy by keeping their vessels well out of the way of the coast line where most vessels founder (1st 20-40), designed to deliberately deter migrants/refugees etc., i.e. much higher risk of drowning.

    EU ‘Policy’
    1) Bomb country and support ‘rebels’
    2) Act surprised at institutional collapse and consequences aka ‘We didn’t know’
    3) Raise hands in horror at all the unwashed wanting to come to Europe
    4) Take over maritime policing and let them drown

    EU Rule of Law in action. No one is responsible, no one is held to account. Western policiticans like to cry crocodile tears over the Gulf States mass war crimes in Yemen, but nearer to home, nothing but silence. The media on side, non-judgmental. It’s all just a gian accident isn’t it?

    https://theintercept.com/2017/04/01/europe-keeps-its-rescue-ships-far-from-the-coast-of-libya-where-thousands-of-refugees-have-drowned/

    Like

  43. Libyan refugee blood is particularly on the hands of war criminal cnts Killary and Susan Rice….and of course that Haahvad law school black boy..what’s his name.

    Like

    1. Hell’s bells! There’ve been some Grade-A arseholes in British governments in my lifetime, but, collectively, this government will take some beating not to be rated as Anus horribilis since time immemorial!

      Like

  44. Oh look!

    The BBC has a “story” that features a photograph of its favourite humanitarians hard at work:

    Syria war: ‘World shrugs’ as 103 civilians killed in 10 days
    1 hour ago

    More than 100 people, including 26 children, have died in air strikes on hospitals, schools, markets and bakeries in north-west Syria in the past 10 days, a top UN official says.

    Human rights chief Michelle Bachelet blamed the attacks in rebel-held areas on the government and its allies.

    But the attacks were met with “apparent international indifference”, she said.

    Syria and its ally Russia have both denied targeting civilians in air strikes in the Idlib region.

    And of course, those lying bastard Russians DENY everything:

    Russia has denied reports earlier this week that it carried out airstrikes on a market and residential areas which left at least 31 civilians dead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Any chance of the BBC arseholes having a story featuring these people below?

      See: Rebuilding Aleppo: Before & after PHOTOS show reconstruction of key Syrian sites
      Published time: 26 Jul, 2019 10:32
      Edited time: 26 Jul, 2019 14:51


      “Red Helmets” at work whilst overseen by a “White Helmet”? Renovations of one of the ancient markets in Old Aleppo.

      Allahu akbar, chaps?

      Like

  45. Euractiv: Nord Stream 2 takes unusual legal step against the Commission
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/nord-stream-2-takes-unusual-legal-step-against-the-commission/

    The Nord Stream 2 pipeline company has taken an unusual legal step in its dispute with the European Commission by asking the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to annul the amendments to the Gas Directive which the Gazprom-led project considers discriminatory.

    …“The amended Gas Directive breaches fundamental EU legal principles, such as non-discrimination. It is obviously a “lex Nord Stream 2”. That is why Nord Stream 2 has brought an action for annulment.”, Sebastian Saas, the Nord Stream 2 chief lobbyist told EURACTIV.

    The step is unexpected because until now Nord Stream 2 was seriously exploring the possibility of resorting to legal arbitration rather than seek a legal annulment. But apparently, Nord Stream 2 reserves itself this option as well….
    #####

    Rule of Law. It’s a core EU value. Some of the time.

    Why now? Best guess is that they were waiting for new Commissioners and a new European Parliament, i.e. more sympathetic. Why the choice? A not so gentle prod.

    Like

    1. My guess is that it’s another move to establish the RF and its companies (think IRA in the unexpected move to seek “discovery” in the Russiagate nonsense) as real bulwarks of that hoary old concept “the rule of Law.”

      The idea of forum, a space where arguments are exchanged seems increasingly faint these days in “the West” as more and more “westerners” understand.

      Like

  46. Euractiv: Russia says second leg of Turkish Stream will go via Bulgaria, not Greece
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/russia-says-second-leg-of-turkish-stream-will-go-via-bulgaria-not-greece/

    The second leg of the Turkish Stream pipeline will go through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday (26 July).

    …This obviously means that the existing pipeline between Bulgaria and Turkey will be reversed, and that gas will start flowing in the opposite direction.

    The Bulgarian authorities have been silent over the issue and made no comments by the time of the publication of this article…
    ####

    Cyprus? Turkey not wanting it via Greece, the latter also being more beholden to Brussels than Bulgaria? A bit hard to belive as Borissov already folded on Russia over the South Stream project. On the other hand it’s only a short pipeline crossing Bulgarian territory, so is this a test and does Russia have a backup?

    Also timing, announced the same day as taking Brussels to the ECJ over NSII discrimination.

    On July 23, Bulgarian PM Radev vetoed Bulgaria’s order for LM F-16Vs saying the rules weren’t followed (short track rather than the usual two parliamentary votes).*

    I can see why Bulgaria would be onboard though. After South Stream was cancelled they got Sweet FA from Brussels. Turkey’s been freindly too.

    * https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/bulgarian-president-vetoes-f-16v-purchase-459848/

    Like

  47. DefenseOne via Antiwar.com: Graham: I Told Turkey They Can Avoid Sanctions If They Don’t Activate Russian Radar
    https://www.defenseone.com/politics/2019/07/graham-trump-asked-me-call-turkey-s-400-deal/158706/

    …“I’m in the camp of, if they don’t activate the S-400, the sanctions don’t have to be applied. My hope is to persuade Turkey not to active the system because it’s so disruptive to the relationship,” Graham told Defense One. “My pitch to Turkey was, let’s stand down on the S-400, let’s start free trade agreement negotiations.”..

    ….“I think there’s space to do a free trade agreement if we don’t activate the system,” he said. “If the system gets activated, there are no options left, the [sanctions] law is clear.” ..
    ####

    Whaaaa? What if they promise no to eat twinkies in the cabin? Has Graham just realized that Turkey is NATO’s most important member with an army of 500,000 (not very well trained) troops (and not that well equipped)? ‘Free Trade Deal’? WTaF? “Zee bluff, as they say, is called” said Poirot.

    Like

    1. Erdogan may well have bought it purely for the powerful negotiating tool it is. The west is pretty much prepared to give him anything he asks, first if he would repudiate the deal and now – incredibly – if he will just not ever turn it on. Where else could he have gotten that kind of leverage for a couple of billion?

      For Washington, this is all about looking for an excuse to not drop Turkey from the F-35 program. Turkey had ordered over 100 planes, and planned to order more. As we’ve discussed before, every plane canceled for purchase makes the remaining planes not yet delivered more expensive, for somebody. If the customer balks at a price increase far over what the deal specified, the USA has to eat it, and by and by they’re going to be selling at a loss. Which is not how business is supposed to work.

      Speaking of that, I saw a news item in the local paper yesterday which says Canada is looking for 88 new fighters. What a coincidence. Lockheed-Martin is – naturally – one of the competitors, and I bet they would just about shine Canada’s shoes to get us to buy that flying fleabag. The discount would be incredible, probably less than the original deal that the Conservatives were in a sweat to get signed but which eventually collapsed. It’d have to be, because that order was for only 65.

      https://www.timescolonist.com/canada-launches-multibillion-dollar-bidding-process-for-88-new-fighter-jets-1.23893557

      Like

        1. I have to say I am really surprised by Erdogan’s consistent pushback on issues with the USA, because he formerly was such an oleaginous waffler – now supporting this side, now that, going whichever way seemed to best serve his own interests and appetite for power. But he is pretty consistently supporting the Russian side now and has been for some time, at considerable risk both to himself (like in the event of US-instituted regime change) and the nation as a whole. I wonder if he has made an historic decision. Because it certainly does look that way. And you can see how desperate the USA is to turn it off in Graham’s pathetic offer to go into intensive free-trade talks if Turkey will only turn its S-400 system into a museum piece, and never activate it.

          If I were Erdogan, that would affirm for me how afraid the USA is of it, and I doubt the lesson is lost on others.

          Like

          1. As detestable, ureliable etc. etc. as he and his party is, he has one thing right. Turkey always was a bridesgroom, never the bride. Both the USA & U-rope took Turkey for granted. The USA, just because. U-rope, because it is a Union of Christian people, no less publicly espoused than by the engine of U-rope, Germany (sic CDU/CSU) after a decades long application to join the EU.

            Now it is clear that Turkey was and is looong away from common U-ropean ‘values’, but as we have discovered Brussels core principle of ‘Rule of Law’ is full of shit. There’s no icing it. It’s just like any other club, i.e. some (w. Europe – Germany/France) are more equal than others. So, a marketing gimmick.

            So, if neither the US nor U-rope have anything to offer but shiny bs, who’s shoe is on which foot? It’s not rocket science.

            Like

  48. Neuters via Antiwar.com: Brazil court orders Petrobras to refuel Iran grain vessels
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-brazil-iran-sanctions/brazil-court-orders-petrobras-to-refuel-iran-grain-vessels-idUKKCN1UK2OM

    …Chief Justice Dias Toffoli overturned a lower court ruling that allowed Petrobras, as the oil major is known, to refrain from fueling the vessels. ..

    …In his decision, Toffoli said the bulk carriers Bavand and Termeh are under contract to Brazilian company Eleva Química, which is not covered by U.S. sanctions, and so are entitled to receive the fuel and proceed on their return trips.

    Eleva Química did not return a request for comment. ..
    ####

    i-Ran 1, Brazil 0!

    What’s to bet that Eleva Química is not already on Washington’s OCD sanctions list?

    Like

    1. Depends on whether there actually are any Syrian civilians left in Idlib province.

      In 2017 the UAE journalist Jenan Moussa (no supporter of President Assad BTW) sent three informants with hidden cellphones into the province to visit various villages and towns. They found that all original Syrian inhabitants had fled these places and in the bombed-out ruins of buildings, jihadists and their families of Central Asian and Chinese Uyghur origins were living there. Although the informants travelled by themselves and did not meet apparently, they all agreed there were something like 20,000 of these jihadists and their families in the province.

      https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2017/05/17/undercover-in-idlib-province/

      Like

        1. Now you know why China is putting Uyghur kids into boarding schools to learn Chinese and Uyghur and subjects that will equip them with knowledge and skills to get jobs in the wider economy. Of course the West refers to such schools and intensive vocational institutions in Xinjiang as “concentration camps”.

          Like

  49. Всегда надо ПОМНИТЬ к чему приводит дружба с америкосами и западнюками! Москва, 1991-2019 гг.

    One should always REMEMBER what friendship with Yanks and Westies leads to! Moscow in 1991 and 2019

    Both photographs shot at the same place.

    Top the Glorious Yeltsin Years.

    The same place shown in the photo below the top one is now a new park, which though looking rather unkempt on the picture, is intended to be so, as it features wild meadow plants, some rare.

    The new Zaryadye Park is a landscape urban park located adjacent to Red Square and is the first public park built in Moscow for over 50 years.

    Like

    1. I am sure that most of the rubber-duck-carrying bourgeois juveniles who attend Lyosha’s unsanctioned rallies cannot recall; scenes such as that shown in the first photograph in the above posting.

      Like

      1. But cnuts like these do ….


        Mikhail Kasyanov, Russian “opposition leader” and chairman of the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS)

        But these soft-arses don’t:

        I remember that schoolgirl pictured above (right) during that interview during a Tverskaya Street Navalny organised unsanctioned “event” giggling uncontrollably as she described how every morning her parents prayed that Putin would soon die.

        SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS and all that!

        Like

        1. In those days (late 19th century, Churchill himself was born in 1875), it was common for rich American heiresses of old established American families who had made their wealth in industry or finance, to marry into British aristocratic families in need of money to keep and maintain their properties. The most outstanding examples of such women were Jennie Churchill herself and Consuelo Vanderbilt (of the famous Vanderbilt family) who was married into the Spencer-Churchill family against her will.

          Like

          1. Not forgetting the USA born Lady Astor, also a British parliamentarian and, although a Conservative, as was Churchill when it suited him, was often the target of Churchill’s acerbic tongue.

            It was she who accused Churchill of being drunk in the House, whereupon he replied: “And you, madam, are ugly! Furthermore, in the morning I shall be sober!”

            Like

        2. There’s a horse racing track in the USA named after Churchill’s maternal grandfather, I believe. Churchill’s maternal grandpa made a load on the US markets but blew it all. Can’t remember his family name now but it was a Froggy one and can’t be arsed looking it up now.

          Churchill’s mother was educated in Europe though, in France, I think, so she was a posh American heiress groomed to marry into the British aristocracy.

          After Churchill’s papa, Lord Randolph Churchill, had croaked from syphilis (they said he’d got it through shagging an Irish maid – typical: blame the Irish! -funny she never caught anything off His Lordship!), Jenny Churchill was shagging right, left and centre amongst the British “elite”.

          She lost a leg in her old age through some sickness but was still going strong in her dotage.

          She had “toy boys” long before the term had been invented. One of her later shaggers was a Guards officer who was much younger than Churchill himself, who was then in his 30s if I rightly recall, which all goes to prove that although Jenny Churchill had been married into the British aristocracy, you can take a girl out of Manhattan but you can’t take Manhattan out of a girl!

          Like

          1. I learnt all the above from a biography of Churchill that I read years ago and written by former British Labour Party minister Roy (Woy) Jenkins, another traitorous piece of shit that crossed the floor, thereby betraying the class whose interests he was supposed to represent in Westminster.

            Good read, though.

            Like

          2. Jerome! That was Jenny Churchill’s maiden name! French Huguenot stock, if I’m not mistaken.


            Jenny Jerome with the dashing Lord Randolph Churchill above.

            When Lord Randolph was at the end of this days with tertiary syphilis and as mad as a hatter, they say he used to suddenly burst out neighing like a horse at the dinner table.

            Like

    1. The Doctor and his new set of companions convene their first meeting in the Tardis.

      From left to right: Pompous Brigadier Freckles; the wacky Doctor himself; his Sontaran aide de campe; and his new female companion who is a Victorian-era Reptilian lesbian assuming human form when in public.

      Like

      1. I fail to see why you have to mention the Victorian era reptilian’s sexual orientation when criticising certain members of the new British government cabinet of ministers.

        Like

      2. There is not enough diversity here: there should have been a Dalek, a Cyberman and a Rutan among the companions. The fact that the Rutans and Sontarans are still fighting their inter-galactic war, the Cybermen want to convert every species into cyber-species and the Daleks regard themselves as masters of the universe and tolerate no alternative is of no relevance.

        Like

        1. I agree. The Doctor’s companions should also include a Weeping Angel, The Master, Eldrad, and, most importantly, the return of Savage sexy woman Leela! [lust lust]

          Like

          1. The only problem is if they get Leela back, in the interests of balance and diversity, they must get Adric and Mel back: two of the most dreadful creations in the history of the series.

            Like

            1. Can’t we take Tegan and Sarah Jane instead of the dreadful Adric and Mel?
              Or even Peri? Or, if we need another male, there is always good old Harry Sullivan!

              Like

              1. No, no, doesn’t work that way … for every good companion you bring back, a crappy one must be brought back too, in the interests of BALANCE.

                I wonder why Mel had never been taken over by Kiv so he could transplant his brain into her head (instead of using Peri) as Mel hadn’t been making much use of hers.

                Like

    2. British Drinks Cabinet?

      British Cabinet Sauvage Mon?

      ‘Cabinet’, the movie starring BloJo in Liza Minelli’s role? Money money money money, makes the world go round (see ealier post)

      Like

    1. That’s really interesting. I can’t resist adding, since the topic of sexism is a hot button for me, that the article was written by a woman and its contention that Soviet women in combat roles did not get the respect of their fellow male soldiers, sailors and air force must be mostly speculation and interpretation, some of it artistic license by the author and some of it interpretation by the person at the time. How do you know if someone does not respect you? Do they come right out and say it? “I don’t respect you?” It’s a bit difficult to imagine. Beyond that, a perceived unwillingness to cheer everything you do is not necessarily disrespect, and may be personal dislike. I thought it was significant enough to mention because even a scholarly discussion of the role of Russian women in combat cannot forbear from tarnishing their accomplishment with twaddle about how their male counterparts did not respect them. The fact remains that the Soviets allowed women who wished to take up arms to do so on a mostly-equal basis – decided on merit and demonstrated skill – as early as the late 1930’s, when nobody else would.

      For what it’s worth, a large part of soldiers’ unwillingness to have females in their platoon or battalion is the prospect of what will happen to them if they are captured by enemy forces, and the possibility that the unit will take greater risks and experience greater losses to prevent it.

      Like

      1. What is not mentioned is that the role of women and gender balance from 1917 and in the SU was a core principle of equality between the sexes so over 70 years, so still a lot more egalitarian than the West, where in ex-SU states of central and eastern Europe there is a much higher percentage of women running businesses, as managers etc. etc.

        Like

        1. Yes, women in Russia are well represented in top management positions without the assistance of stark raving mad feminists. Western feminists seem, to me, to be more interested in attacking men than helping women. Now that I think about it, many/most women seem not to support the radical feminist agenda. The feminists are all about hatred of men and, thank God/god, most women do not share that belief.

          Like

          1. Feminism is great, but if the system worked as advertised it wouldn’t be necessary. The results are remain so bad that some U-ropean countries have proposed (?) quotas because ‘freedom and democracy’ still fucks the better sex, minorites and the rest. I think ‘radical’ (whatever that means) feminism is a reaction to that. Congential failure. The powers that be have no problem with it for as long as everyone is fighting over gender etc.

            They’re not challenging the increasing concentration of power, and particularly money in fewer and few hands, now most visible in companies like Amazon who sell as a loss leader until the competition has collapsed, then mop-up the remenants and gradually increase prices back to what is comfortable, all backed by investors and a high share price even though technically it barely makes any money (trades market share/share prices for actual profit), ergo pays minimal tax. Just watch Amazon mop up the trucking distribution market in the US, one major haulier has just gone bust and the others are not far behind. Amazon already has effective monopoly power, unchecked by $$$ Washington $$$.

            Just now we have seen t-Rump’s usual deranged reaction to France’s perfectly reasonable digital sales tax (which will obviously get passed on to the consumer), not to mention how a perfectly reasonable minimal U-rope wide tax on every digital share trade is hotly disputed even in U-rope. It really is No Quarter.

            Globo-corps will continue to grow unless their balls are cut off at the pass. Otherwise we’ll end up like Syndicate:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syndicate_(video_game)

            Like

            1. While attending college in the early 70’s, I frequently attended anti-war (Vietnam in particular) events. In one event, a radical feminist claimed that the Vietnam war’s sole purpose was to deflect attention away from their (hateful) feminist agenda. That is what I am talking about. Nothing matters to them except their agenda which seems to be intimately mixed in with LQBT? issues; something most women do not identify with at all from my experience. Yes, it is true that the feminist agenda is a diversion from much more fundamental issues such as the right to a decent job, health care and freedom from war.

              Absolutely agree that woman do not always have equal opportunity but it may be less of an issue if Jordan Peterson has any credibility in that area. He maintains that the alleged “discrimination” is on personalty matters. Highly aggressive women do as well as highly aggressive men. Passive women do about as well as passive men. In our company, women outnumber men in the engineering department but the shop floor is overwhelmingly male but not for the lack of trying. We are subject to EEO laws which do take into consideration the prevailing male/female ratios in various job classifications. The HR department must attend job fairs and document all job interviews to ensure that there are sincere efforts to recruit minorities and women without discrimination. We have been successful with minorities on the shop floor without the slightest compromise of employment standards.

              One more thing, I am sick and tired of business articles equating success with aggressiveness. I do equate unethical and dishonest behavior with aggressiveness. That is another reason we need socialism – to put aggressiveness in its place.

              Like

      2. Soviet women veterans of the GPW enjoy the greatest of respect and always have done. Very few alive now, but my elder daughter as a 16-year-old did a school interview with one such old lady. I have a recording of the interview on my hard drive. Pity I can’t upload it. The old lady is probably dead now: she was 90-odd when my Lena interviewed her.

        Like

        1. The woman veteran had been a member of a tank crew, by the way. Also, she had a wartime romance and got wed during the hostilities. Needless to say, her husband fell in battle. However, after the war, she got married to a Soviet Navy officer who later became an admiral. Her admiral husband had died long before my daughter did the interview.

          Like

        1. Y’all talkin’ about Senator Jeanne Shaheen?
          Follow the money, my friend.
          According to this piece , she has investments in Chevron Oil and takes money from petroleum lobbyists.

          One must keep the main fact always in mind: That every member of the U.S. government, with possibly just a couple of exceptions, is a crooked oligarch serving one big capitalist or another. The American government is just a giant trough.
          Once you keep that principle in mind, then everything that happens, makes sense.

          Like

      1. I hope they go ahead with it; I do. I dare them. As I suggested before, any lingering goodwill for the United States in Europe will evaporate, and while European leaders may applaud it and force their business interests to comply, Europeans broadly will see it for what it is – a naked move by the USA to seize the European gas market for itself, for its own benefit and that of the connected 1% of its obscenely rich, at increased cost to Europeans. As well, it has been proven time and again that if you become dependent on America for anything, it will use that dependence as leverage when it suits it to do so, to coerce you into something you are otherwise unwilling to do. Europe becoming dependent on the United States for energy is a purely academic exercise, because it could not supply the whole market – it is merely trying to carve out share for itself that is more or less permanent and which it could build upon if it has increased capacity. But to the extent it is depended upon, it will threaten to snatch it away if you don’t play ball American-style, which is to say you do what you are told to do when you are told to do it.

        Introduction of American sanctions against European companies for pursuing a project which is clearly in Europe’s best interests in general would be the beginning of European companies decreasing their exposure to the USA. European political leaders will mostly go along with it because they perceive the policy could be used to force Russia to continue transiting gas through Ukraine, giving the latter leverage of its own and offering a useful basis for future agitation against Russia by initiating gas disputes over pricing and transit fees. But the ordinary Europeans who face the prospect of constant roller-coastering in prices would not buy it for a minute, and would see it clearly for what it is. Do it, Washington. Go for broke. I promise you you will be so sorry you ever did.

        Like

    1. Paul is correct in this instance; imposing further sanctions which the USA will order Europe to execute, to its own detriment, might well result in some major European companies telling the USA to just go take a flying fuck at itself, and taking the hit to their own business interests in the United States. Alternatively, they might pull them out first and then tell the US to go fuck itself.

      Like

    1. Yeah, bloody awful stuff is that coal! What use is it in this day and age? So 19th century!!!

      By the way, in order to produce 1 metric tonne of steel, you need over 800 kgs of coking coal.

      Perhaps this is why mile-long coal trains from the Siberian Kuzbas coalfield roll westwards past my dacha on what seems to me to be an hourly schedule.

      Some of these coal trains head for a port in Lithuania, whence the coal is shipped to Immingham on the Humber and thence to steelworks in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire and power stations in Yorkshire in Merry England.

      The UK consumed 14.2 million tonnes of coal in 2017, including 8.7 million tonnes in power stations, 3.2 million tonnes in the steel industry and 1.5 million tonnes in other industry. Coal imports to the UK were 8.5 million tonnes, the same as the previous year.

      There are an estimated 400 years of viable reserves of coal in the UK, viable using present technology, that is

      They closed almost all the UK deep coal mines almost 30 years ago. There are none in the UK now.

      Green, clean and squeaky clean!

      And not in my backyard!

      Or does anyone in this modern world want to live without there being any high quality steel?

      Like

      1. Similar to the push to rid the world of plastics; there is a hot war going on here now between the plastic-bag manufacturing industry and city council, which wants to ban single-use plastics. An admirable goal, I think we can all agree, given the presence now of microplastics in even the deep ocean trenches; the ocean is full of plastic particles, and everything that lives in it ingests it. But what’s the alternative? Paper bags. Which are made from trees. And the deforestation of the globe, ground to an uneasy halt in most places, will pick up again. Multi-use purpose-made shopping bags are made of plastic – recycled plastic, but still plastic. Light individual bags used to package your chosen portion of vegetables, nuts or dry goods are plastic; wrapping for your meat cuts is plastic.

        It’s very easy to say, ban this, ban that, let’s just not use it any more. But it’s pretty important to have identified an alternative first. Now, if they can figure out a way to make steel out of plastic bags, we’ll be on to a winner.

        Like

          1. From above link:

            Is it technically possibly to make steel without coal?

            The obvious answer is that it must be, as early iron and steel production used wood-derived charcoal instead of coal-derived. However the scale of today’s industry is vastly bigger than two hundred years ago.

            That’s right: up to the late 18th century, charcoal burners were responsible for deforesting vast areas of England and parts of Europe. Then Ironmaster Abraham Darby of Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, England, after years of frustrating work, finally managed to smelt iron ore in a furnace using coal — and the rest is history, namely the industrial revolution took off in England and the modern world that the Greens enjoy and yet despise began to be created.

            Actually, electric furnaces have long produced steel without coking coal, but it’s all a question of costs — and where does the electrical power for such furnaces come from — renewable energy resources?

            Oh yes, and the electrode that produces the arc in an electric arc furnace is made of a bloody huge chunk of graphite.

            Also, it’s mostly scrap iron that is used for charging electric arc furnaces.

            But lets go back to charcoal burning, eh?

            All so that the bourgeois can have their weekend barbies.

            I’ll be having shashlyk cooked on charcoal this Wednesday, 31 July, my son’s 20th birthday.

            Russian charcoal is most definitely not imported from the South American rainforests: it’s from Russian birch.

            There’s a lot of birch in Russia!


            Shashlyk being cooked in a mangal, filled with charcoal.

            Note: shashlyk is not a barbecue!

            Like

          2. Interesting; thanks for posting it. As the writers point out, it is possible to make steel without coal because it was done before large-scale coal mining, but modern production is on a much greater scale and you would have to convince producers to give up some of their profits. Not impossible, but a tough sell. However, much more steel could be recycled, as the article also points out.

            Like

    1. Understood and agreed. Courage is an individual decision and those airmen showed a high level of such. It seemed like a crazy way to fight, though. Facing moments of intense terror and high likelihood of dying or serious injury and then returning to safety and relative comfort hours later to be repeated the next day could create a psychological whipsaw effect. Naval warfare would have similarities but to a lesser degree.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s