Book Review; Robert Kagan’s “The Jungle Grows Back”

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”

For the longest time, I was reluctant to get into book reviews. I mean, who cares what I think? Others do them from time to time; Paul Robinson, for one. But he’s an academic. JT does them regularly, specializes in reviewing Russia-related literature, both fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews are very enjoyable. But I know nothing of her background; perhaps she’s an academic, too. I am not. I didn’t finish high school, have no college or university education at all, and spent the best part of my adult life in the military.

But then, when you think about it, a book is really nothing more than a big, long article. When it’s meant to push your opinion in a certain direction – rather than simply entertain you, like in a novel – it is usually a pretty good barometer of the author’s personal opinion and way of thinking. I was looking for something to write about, I love deconstructing bullshit, and I just finished the book. So everything kind of came together at the right moment, and I decided to give it a try.

Usually when people say an author or celebrity needs no introduction, they just mean he or she is well-known in the field they chose, and intend to give them an introduction anyway. This will be no exception to that rule. Everybody who is even peripherally acquainted with American politics and foreign policy knows who Robert Kagan is. His advocacy for military intervention to imprint American-style freedom and democracy upon foreign populations, whether they want them or not, dovetails perfectly with the neoconservative agenda. But he considers himself a liberal interventionist, and the policies he advocates to constitute the ‘liberal world order’. If you read any of his books, you’re likely to see that phrase repeated many, many times. He is the husband of Victoria Nuland, currently the CEO of the Center for a New American Security, and former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State. She held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service. The Nuland/Kagans have moved for most of their adult lives in the corridors of political power, and a power couple more committed to American global dominance would be hard to imagine.

And now, except for cursory mention, we will part from Ms. Nuland; while I daresay she reads drafts of her husband’s books and may suggest the odd correction or improvement based on her personal opinion or knowledge, she did not write this book. So, first, the book. Its full title is “The Jungle Grows Back: America and our Imperiled World”. It was published in 2018 by Alfred A. Knopf of New York, and is dedicated to Kagan’s father, Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University. The version I read costs $29.95 in Canada, $22.95 in the USA, and is 163 pages, not including footnotes. If you’re not busy, you could easily read it in a day. I have to confess I did not buy it; it was an impulse grab from a library cart of books waiting to be reshelved.

According to the author, the book was inspired by an essay for Idea Magazine, which for unknown reasons never appeared. Testimonials to Kagan’s writing prowess which appear on the back cover – which, as is traditional, refer to a different work altogether, Paradise and Power, America and Europe in the New World Order – are uniformly complimentary, as might be expected; who would feature a review which suggested “This guy writes like a Tourette’s sufferer who never learned how to swear”? Three out of four reviews contain the word “elegant”.

Kagan himself is Greek by birth, born in Athens. His father is of Lithuanian-Jewish descent. Kagan is from a family of well-educated writers – his brother, Frederick, is a military historian and author. Robert Kagan has a BA in History from Yale, an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a PHD in American History from American University in Washington. The foregoing bio is from Wikipedia.

So, to the book. The summary on the inside flap is led by this bold paragraph;

“A brilliant and visionary argument for America’s role as the defender of peace and order throughout the world – and what is likely to happen if we abandon our long-term commitments”.

Just before we get into the nuts and bolts of this, a question – what would lead Americans to believe their country was the defender of peace and order throughout the world? I mean, unless you are a supporter of George W. Bush’s pretzel logic, best expressed in, “I just want you to know that when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace”. From the standpoint, I guess, that if you want peace, you’re going to have to have a war first, you know, get that out of the way before we start with the doves and olive branches.

I mean, if you reviewed just the period beginning with the close of the Second World War and ending right now, the USA has been more or less permanently involved in war or a military intervention of some sort. There was a brief interlude of 7 years between the end of the Korean War and the onset of the Vietnam War. Some overlap, such as the Bay of Pigs intervention, which took place during the Vietnam War. After that conflict ground to a miserable conclusion, the USA went a whole 22 years before invading Grenada in 1983; defending peace and order, of course. America carried out a limited invasion of Panama in 1989, to remove Manuel Noriega. Things kind of went into war overdrive Image result for USA in Iraqafter that, with the first Gulf War from 1990 to 1991, Bosnia/Herzegovina from ’95 to ’96, the war in Afghanistan that started in 2001 and is still ongoing, the invasion of Iraq from 2003 to 2011, the droning of selected targets in Pakistan that began in 2004 and is still ongoing, the conflict in Somalia involving US and coalition forces which began in 2007 and is still ongoing. The invasion of Libya in 2011, which wrecked the most progressive country in Africa, and rolled right into the war against the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, running until 2017. Another intervention in Iraq in 2014, which spread to US involvement in Syria which continues to the present. The Yemeni civil war in 2015, which featured the Saudi Kingdom, the USA and France against the Houthi rebels, still ongoing. Also in 2015, it was necessary to go back into Libya and wreck it some more, to instill order amongst the warring factions that emerged after the US-sponsored murder of the country’s democratically-elected leader, Muammar Gaddafi. The jungle grew back, you might say.

How many of those wars were pursued by the United States of America for peace and order? In how many cases was the USA’s entry into the conflict – if it did not in fact start it itself – because it had determined its contribution was imperative to restore peace and order? I mean, obviously you could argue that the USA entered any war in which it participated in order to bring it to an end with the victor being the side it wanted to win; it would hardly attack its allies in order to bring about an enemy victory. But isn’t that oversimplifying a little? Let’s look at the Korean War. Was that fought for peace and order? Not really; history assesses it as the first major battle fought to contain communism. Which originated with the Soviet Union – you’re going to see a lot of US militarism centered against the Soviet Union, because it and its successor, the Russian Federation, are lifelong ideological enemies of the United States. Vietnam? Nope; communism again. More properly called Socialism, it is the sworn enemy of Capitalism, and the United States is capitalist with a capital ‘C’. You might ask, “But wait – has a communist country ever attacked the United States? Well, the answer would be ‘No’, but Kagan gets neatly around that by arguing the United States, as the world’s guardian of the liberal world order, has an obligation to interfere wherever there is a threat to anyone’s peace and order. It’s probably just a coincidence that it always enters on the side which is not socialist, considering it is really none of the USA’s business if any country wants to be socialist. He also points out that America is in a unique position to do so, considering (1) it has the world’s most powerful military, far in excess of what it requires simply for its own defense, and (2) it is buffered on its landward sides by peaceful (Kagan prefers ‘weaker’) nations, so that it can deploy almost the entirety of its military power abroad, and not have to worry its neighbours will attack it while the Army is away; an adversary would have to go through Canada and/or Mexico first. I never thought of it that way, but in that he is perfectly correct. Mind you, security from attack by one’s neighbours would also argue for a more modest military, so the USA’s giant military machine must be intended for something else. Like foreign interventions. Just sayin’.

It would be too time-consuming to go through every war or intervention in which the USA was involved since World War II, from the viewpoint of whether America’s entry was motivated by its perceived obligation to instill peace and order. I will leave it to you to parse that issue on your own. But it would be hard to see how the USA shifted its sights from Afghanistan – where bin Laden was known to be hiding after striking against the USA on 9-11 – to taking out Saddam Hussein simply because it was overcome by the clarion call for peace and order. Similarly, its more recent ventures into starving countries of their main sources of income – as it has done in Iran and Venezuela – with sanctions it has no legal right to impose, so that the desperate populations do its heavy lifting and throw out their leader to make way for an American-approved replacement, are pretty hard to justify as being all about peace and order. Starving people’s children in order to coerce them into unwanted political change is kind of an ignoble way to impose your own values, and it is curious that countries targeted for such treatment are often resource-rich while the USA is home to the world’s largest concentration of wealthy investors in energy.

Anyway, let’s look more closely at Kagan’s core philosophy, which is the ‘liberal world order’ which simply must prevail worldwide, in order that humanity realizes its full potential in surroundings of peace and security. Well, not complete security, else nobody would need a military. Let’s say near-complete security. Despite these liberal murmurings, the internal movers and shakers of the US government – a group which includes Kagan, the influential and elegant philosopher – care nothing for the overall well-being of other countries beyond their utility as markets for American goods and services and partners in global trade, perhaps the odd military contribution to a coalition formed to impose peace and order somewhere else. This is evident in their strenuous attempts to overthrow governments which, by liberal standards, are doing a good job for their people – raising their standard of living, pushing back poverty, investing in infrastructure and national culture and supporting small business. Venezuela under the socialist Hugo Chavez saw poverty reduced by more than half, average growth of real income of 2.7%, and significant gains by the majority in employment, access to health care, pensions and education. Yet the United States never really stopped energetically trying to overthrow Chavez throughout his rule, despite Venezuela’s never showing the slightest inclination to attack America. In fact, during a pricing crisis in which American poor could not afford heating oil, Venezuela’s American company, Citgo, for three years donated heating oil to needy American families; $100 million worth to more than 200,000 families in 23 states in the winter of 2007. Its eventual reward for its generosity was to have all its assets in America seized by the Trump government, in an attempt to force Chavez’s successor – Nicolas Maduro – to step aside in favour of his American-hand-picked replacement, Juan Guaido.

Venezuela, I need hardly point out again, has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, publicly coveted by American investors and moneymen.

But in order that the facade of merciful intervention be preserved, America usually waits to be asked for its help. If such a request is not readily forthcoming, it is not above astroturfing an opposition movement through its ubiquitous non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). Occasionally it just gets fed up, announces that the ongoing conflict is too important to continue without a little American peace and order, and invites itself in. As it did in Syria, where its intervention saw steady gains made by extremist foes of Assad until they were in the suburbs of Damascus itself. At that point, the Syrian government did ask for help – from Russia – and ISIS was routed and in retreat across a broad front in less than two months; it never regained the momentum achieved during America’s ‘fight against ISIS’, in which US forces twice attacked the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) ‘by mistake’.

When America is invited to intervene, it is usually on behalf of a small minority, one which usually constitutes national elites who believe the country would be better off – certainly more prosperous – if they were in charge. This is the case in Venezuela, where the core of wealthy elites is ecstatic at the notion of Juan Guaido taking over and privatizing everything – to their immediate and significant enrichment – while the solid majority of middle-class and poor people is nowhere near so enthusiastic.

You’ll notice that about a quarter of the book is comprised of quotes which Kagan believes support his liberal-interventionist worldview. And to a large extent, they do, of course; it would be stupid to suggest Kagan does not have his devotees and disciples, just as it would be stupid and futile to argue there have not been others before him who recited a similar catechism – liberalism has any number of fanatical followers. While a steady stream of quotes by learned predecessors – Kagan constantly avails himself of, “As the great strategic thinker so-and-so said”, followed by a pithy quote, and this can be a device used by a dullard who has nothing to say, to foster the impression he is well-read. I have no doubt at all that Kagan actually is well-read and intelligent, and this particular quirk seems to be employed solely to convince the reader that he is just one picket in a solid phalanx of informed free-thinkers. For example, he quotes Kennan in the Long Memorandum as insisting it was only the determined containment of Soviet ambition that allows some historians to claim the Soviets were never a real threat. Kind of like that meme; What do you do? I kill zombies. You see any zombies around? You’re welcome. Those not prepared to take Kennan’s reasoning at face value are invited to believe the Soviet Union would have conquered countries left and right, had American determination not thwarted it. Since it did not, ipso-facto, American vigilance is responsible for peace.

In fact, the CIA’s own internal review concluded that “every major assessment from 1974 to 1986 substantially overestimated the Soviet threat”, immediate benefits of which were a frightened population willing to give up ever more liberty in exchange for security they really didn’t need, and regular injections of cash to an ever-growing defense budget which now stands at $716 Billion. For a country surrounded by weaker nations which would not ever dare attack it, just in case the point needed driving home. Is America shirking its responsibility to deploy its massive military might anywhere upon the globe that the liberal world order is not free to flourish? Not if the US government has anything to say about it.

The only part of the book in which I would say Kagan is evasive or flat-out lying is in his treatment of the invasion of Iraq by the George W. Bush administration. In this his defense of American actions is pure mainstream media, and soft-pedaling of what America knew at the time. Supposedly the best-informed and most-aware satellite-fed, internet-stoked nation on the planet really thought Saddam Hussein had an up-and-running weapons of mass destruction program that he could focus on any nation he chose in no more than 45 minutes. And that is horseshit, and everybody who can read knows it. The leaders of the coalition nations agreed to go with Weapons of Mass Destruction because the scaring-the-shit-out-of-everybody was crude but compellingly reliable, and they wanted a reason to hit that fucker. It is as simple as that. Who said so? Paul Wolfowitz, a primary architect of the invasion, said so. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean everybody at the table knew Saddam possessed no such weapons, but the United States most certainly knew it.

About a third of the book is dedicated to taking potshots at Russia; although Kagan is apprehensive about the threat represented by the Heathen Chinee, he is at his most apoplectic on Russia. His depressingly pedestrian outline of Russia’s lust to reconquer the Baltics, while doubtless a family obsession born of his Lithuanian heritage, is substantiated by exactly nothing. Russia has complained regularly about the treatment of ethnic Russians in the Baltics, which is most certainly not characteristic of the liberal world order, but its actual threatening moves against the yappy little nations have been exactly zip. As I’ve pointed out on other occasions, the populations of the Baltic nations reached their zenith at  the moment the Soviet Union collapsed, and they won their independence. Since that point, each has been in steady and steep decline. Here’s Lithuania.Lithuania Population

Latvia.Latvia Population

Estonia.Estonia Population

I guess we are supposed to believe a huge part of the population in each country was so excited about being part of the liberal world order that it departed beyond the borders to spread the word of its euphoria. More to the point, why would Russia risk a showy and ultimately pointless military lunge to seize these midgets? According to national statistics from each, only Estonia is not in immediate peril of its native population sinking below statistical significance.

I had to snicker a little also at the suggestion – well, not so much a suggestion as it was offered as fact – that “It was after Ukraine negotiated a trade agreement with the EU that [Putin] invaded and seized Crimea.” The obvious implication is that the one was a consequence of the other – that a panicky Putin, terrified by Ukraine’s landing a sweetheart deal with the EU, jumped on Crimea. Is that anything like what happened? Of course it isn’t. Crimea was still very much a part of Ukraine when Yanukovych blew off the deal with the EU, for the simple reason that he had tried to reason with Stefan Fule and show him projections from Berlin’s economists on how much Ukraine stood to lose if its trade with Russia was cut off; “Ukrainian exports to Russia would decrease by 17 percent or $3 billion per year.” Fule was not interested in discussing it. This is a matter of public record. The same reference is explicit on the issue of Putin’s supposed paranoia about Ukraine having a closer relationship with the EU; “Russia had never had a problem with the EU,” said sources in Brussels familiar with the negotiations. After all, hadn’t Putin offered his backing for closer ties back in 2004? During a visit to Spain at the time, the Russian president said, “If Ukraine wants to join the EU and if the EU accepts Ukraine as a member, Russia, I think, would welcome this.”

The simple facts are that the EU became overconfident of the hold it had over Yanukovych, and insisted on his freeing Yulia Tymoshenko from prison as proof of his European ambitions, while dismissing his perfectly-sound apprehensions regarding the loss of Russian trade. Things went pear-shaped rapidly, and Yanukovych announced his intention to work more closely with Moscow’s customs union. The US State Department panicked, and threw together a coup (or more likely activated one that had been long-planned as a fallback if Yanukovych went squishy). Yanukovych was overthrown, a new kangaroo government appointed itself and, drunk with conquest, announced its intention to immediately repeal that law which granted official-language status to the Russian language in Ukraine, which nearly everyone in Ukraine can speak and nearly half use as their daily working language. Then, and only then, was a plan to return Crimea to Russia put in place, and it started with a sampling of public opinion to establish what Crimeans wanted. It has never been questioned, before or since, that close association with Russia was what Crimeans desired as a majority, rather than being part of Ukraine, and Crimea had made several previous attempts to that end.

I would still recommend this book for reading. The author is indeed an intelligent and well-read man, and in some places in the book he makes an impassioned and compelling case for liberalism. Comes to that, the ideals of liberalism are mostly commendable; that each man should be free to make his own informed decision on what system he chooses to live under. That he should be free to seek a decent job unfiltered by gender, colour, ethnicity or sexual preference, and that his government take steps to ensure such jobs as he seeks are available. That he should be free to read whatever material he chooses provided it is not hate literature or exhortations to overthrow the government, and observe whatever religious practices he prefers. That there should be limits on the power of government, that the country should have the rule of law, and that the government should be comprised of representatives elected by the public through a transparent system. In fact, but for the ownership by the people of the ‘factors of production’ (labour, entrepreneurship, capital goods and natural resources), you will not find much different between socialism and liberalism.

But isn’t it every man’s most fundamental right to choose his system of government, and to whom he will entrust his vote? Not entirely, according to Kagan. If he chooses other than the liberal world order, then he constitutes a threat to it, and it is the responsibility of the United States to change his mind; by force, if nothing else will get it done. It was a wise comment on liberalism which suggested to watch what they do, not what they say, and the crimes committed in the name of liberalism are nearly as numerous as those in the name of religion. Liberalism is just a philosophy. Anyone who thinks it is freedom is making a mistake.

 

 

 

 

 

264 thoughts on “Book Review; Robert Kagan’s “The Jungle Grows Back”

  1. You are free to be our vassal: kneel.

    The Kagan philosophy. Many thanks, Mark – a great read and a great start to the day.

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    1. PS:

      Your remarks about the blurbs are spot on. The more turgid the book the more fulsome the praise – here’s a sample (from LBJ’s nephew’s “magnum opus”)

      Not altogether surprisingly that work could borrow and amend the theme tune from Ghostbusters “Who Ya Gonna Call?” as the modern equivalent of The White Man’s Burden

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    2. Thanks, Cortes! The part I found most ominous was near the conclusion, and which informed the conclusion itself – America must be prepared to go to war to preserve the liberal world order. You know, ’cause Putin worships Stalin and thinks the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, and once the Russians are loose they will never stop until they reach the sea. All the customary cliches, which was a bit of a letdown, I have to say, after such a strong and well-argued start.

      Kagan is disappointed that the zeal for guarding the liberal world order seems to have gone out of Americans; astonishing, really, since most of them do not have to fight it themselves, just as he will not. That’s why they pay their taxes into the ginormous US ‘defense’ budget – to have a huge, shiny military machine they can send anywhere in the world that liberalism raises its damp little head and says, “Please, Sir; I want some more”. But although Americans, unlike their military, have not actually been at war for most or all of their lives, they feel war fatigue, and would like to see some of that lolly go to fixing roads and bridges and infrastructure, rather than re-assembling some distant country the US Army has just torn up because its leader would not kneel in the dirt and kiss Uncle Sam’s boots.

      But Kagan’s zeal for war is undiminished. He’s perfectly ready to make that sacrifice, take that step. And he’s a lot more influential than Joe Six-Pack.

      The book is well worth reading, as long as you don’t have to buy it, and it is interesting to watch Kagan shift allegiances to whatever leader – irrespective of party – seems the more willing to send the troops to enforce liberalism worldwide.

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    3. I commend Mark for bravely reading Kagan’s book and reviewing it all here for us. That is was a decent read despite it’s material and thesis could only be considered a bonus.

      I have an admission to make, I bought Max Boot’s ‘The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power’ years ago (four and a half stars on Amazon). Now while he did not skate over America’s behavior (he reveled in it), he similarly justified it as the greater good and nothing to be apologetic about. They’re the same side of the coin.

      I guess we could say that such books are rather like books of the time justifying the British Empire’s civilizing project, i.e. an intellectual argument to the massage whatever uneasiness there is about certain actions that may have lead to unfortunate and entirely unintended consequences, never ever deliberate. Just a long series of events that happen to turn out favorably for London.

      …the CIA’s own internal review concluded that “every major assessment from 1974 to 1986 substantially overestimated the Soviet threat”..

      Or as we know, much earlier too in the Cold War, sic ‘The Bomber Gap’ and the ‘Missile Gap’ (TM) that never existed. I would argue that the United States threw out what was left of its principles to go all out in winning the Cold War, hence the rise of the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower spoke of in his farewell address to the nation.

      In 1959 the Soviet Union reached peak production. A decade later the US put a man on the moon, which I would argue was a last visible hurrah to the rot that had already set in place. I would argue that the USA rather outlasted the Soviet Union rather than ‘Won the Cold War’ because it managed its resources (that of others too) and had a much bigger club who did their bit, while the SU drained towards its satellites and didn’t help itself. A war of attrition that the West won, and here we are today where the center cannot hold, things fall apart because the west fat ass got fatter and greedier on it laurels making magic money through the financial markets and globalization. If only they’d had a warning, say from Roman times?

      A final note. Now if I were truly cynical (qui? moi?) I would say that this book by Kagan is not even ex-post facto of America’s actions, a political tabula rasa for the Kagan/Nuland power couple to sweep back in to office under a Democratic government. After all, we must always ask why now?

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  2. I’m glad you didn’t have to buy the book from Jeff Bozo’s Amazon and helped to subsidise The Washington Post and enrich the Nuland / Kagan couple, and that you borrowed the book instead from your local library. An excellent review and a priceless insight into the mental paradigms of Robert Kagan.

    Incidentally Kagan wrote a short piece “I am not a Straussian” in which he protests that he is not a believer in the German-American philosopher Leo Strauss’s worldview that elites should withhold the truth about the universe (that it is indifferent to the fate of humanity on Earth, that there may be no God who cares about humanity) from the hoi polloi and should tell lies to maintain order and security and keep the Great Unwashed in their place. Even though Kagan himself admits he knows people who are Straussians and himself comes close to a cynical view that the US should be the judge of what is good for other people even if they don’t want what the US offers and it does them more harm than good.
    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/i-am-not-a-straussian

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    1. Thanks, Jen! Interesting. I would say Kagan is difficult to pin down to a particular philosophy, although he prefers to advertise himself as a liberal interventionist. In many ways, as I suggested earlier, his worldview conforms to that of the neoconservatives – that God bestowed a duty upon America to lead the world out of vice and sloth and non-productivity and, most of all, dictatorship. And that God is perfectly all right with Americans ignoring that ‘Thou shalt not kill’ codicil as long as they must do it in order to win one for Jesus. I don’t mean to characterize him as flushed with religious zeal, because he does not come off as churchy in any way. It’s more a case of many, many Americans feeling that their efforts must be sanctioned by God or they would not be allowed to get away with them; kind of like Homer Simpson (an American philosopher if ever there was one) saying “God, if you want me to eat this delicious turkey sandwich, send me no sign”. Gosh, now I’m doing it, too; quoting free-thinkers all over the place. It must be catching.

      Anyway, of course I can’t see inside his head and know what he believes – maybe it’s all just an act, but I don’t think so. I think if any single phrase could summarize his worldview, it would be “The end justifies the means” – that it is so important that mankind as a whole adopts liberal values in a democratic setting that if a few…thousand are killed along the way, hey, shit happens. A view which is not at all uncommon in US politics, I should add.

      In his view, if I may be so bold as to venture a further guess, America’s own failures to completely exhibit the liberal values it is tasked with enforcing around the world are merely distractions, and it is rude and picayune of critics to bring them up – at its heart, America is the best an imperfect world can offer, and that alone excuses its errors and pratfalls.

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  3. I have thoroughtly enjoyed reading this book review. Thanks, Mark!

    Last night I’ve watched the movie a fellow Stoogie has repeatedly suggested me to see — “Thank You for Smoking”. He said it provided a clear idea of how the PR works. The hero of the movie, Nick Naylor, is a spokesman for the Big Tobaccoo, whose goal is to win the argument, rather than to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong.

    Still, I think it makes sense to outline the facts. Even if that doesn’t win any argument in particular, it’s a good reference for those who might be interested in discovering the truth.

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  4. I can promise to read it. I don’t know if I could get very motivated to do a book review of a book that was not political. And Kagan’s book was only 160-something pages. It’s fairly easy to hold the memory of an entire work in your head when it’s that short.

    I like books by women, though. I find they write the way they shop (for themselves); unhurriedly, thoughtfully, with the activity being as much enjoyment of personal time as necessity to reach a particular conclusion. Quite a lot of men write the way they shop, too – barging in the door, heading straight to the aisle where they know the product they are looking for is located, and to the finish line with a minimum of messing about.

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    1. That was actually a joke, although I do believe that everybody should read Mansfield Park, whether or not they intend to write a book review.
      It’s just a great read. Well, like all of Austen’s books!

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  5. Shameless and open shilling for sales of American LNG; remember back when America swore blind its misgivings about Nord Stream II had nothing to do with marketing its own product – they were just so gosh-darned concerned about Europe’s energy security?

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielmarkind/2019/08/12/the-nord-stream-2-pipeline-and-the-dangers-of-moving-too-rashly-toward-renewable-energy/#2e6654766aa0

    There’s plenty of feelgood information available which allows folks like the author to claim US gas production is squeaky-clean and levels of pollution are actually dropping. That might be true in a few cases in which availability of natural gas has caused a general switchover from coal, which is a terrible polluter. But those feelgood allegations are not backed by science, and some are just people with an agenda pulling numbers out of their ass. America’s major shale plays, though, the Bakken and Marcellus shale, are rich in ethane. Ethane is the second-most common hydrocarbon in the atmosphere and can help form ozone, a gas that at ground-level is usually called smog. Ozone at high levels, good. Ozone at ground level, bad. Ethane also extends the active lifespan of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, by consuming compounds which help methane break down.

    https://www.desmogblog.com/2016/05/05/pollution-fracking-raising-earth-s-levels-ethane-and-just-one-oilfield-main-culprit-researchers-conclude

    But according to US information, Germany is making a big mistake by pressing ahead with Nord Stream II while they could have had abundant cheap gas with the pure smell of the Appalachians – could have bought from a NATO buddy instead of that nasty thug Putin. America would never think of using its supplier status as leverage to command political concessions; but go ahead. Make the wrong decision, see where it gets you.

    Speaking of Nord Stream II, it looks like the Danes are going to be the martyrs this time, and are never going to grant permission – but they managed to put about an 8-month delay in the scheduled completion by stalling and saying maybe yes, maybe no. So Russia will have to go right around their waters altogether, and let me tell you I would fuck them off in no uncertain terms after that, if it were up to me.

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  6. Fitch Ratings has raised Russia’s credit ranking to BBB, the second-lowest investment grade. That’s still shitty, and there’s no particular reason Russia should care very much what political-weathervane western ratings agencies think or say. But it does beg the question how American-imposed western sanctions are killing Russia’s economy and isolating the country.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-09/russia-s-credit-rating-upgraded-by-fitch-with-stable-outlook

    Russia is ranked higher than Ukraine.

    https://countryeconomy.com/ratings/ukraine

    The United States is trying to strangle Russia, and promote and support Ukraine. It doesn’t appear to be doing a very good job at either.

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  7. And trying to strangle a country economically is an act of belligerence — all for a good cause, mind you, which it must be, because the USA is the world’s number-one good nation, exemplary in its munificence and noble in its intention that the rest of the world enjoy that same style of freedom and democracy that has made the United States that most benevolent and exceptional of nations, admired and envied by all.

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    1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m not sure how many Americans believe this – certainly not all, probably not even half – but I do know it is the entirety of the ‘Why do they hate us?” crowd, who truly believe their country is bringing the gifts of freedom and democracy, and that it’s all for their own good.

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    1. Like

  8. “But I know nothing of her background; perhaps she’s an academic, too. I am not. I didn’t finish high school, have no college or university education at all, and spent the best part of my adult life in the military.”

    Wow!!! So you’re ‘Mustang’ like Tulsi!!!

    Like

    1. What makes you think that Robert Kagan is the one doing all the fucking?

      (Sorry, I couldn’t resist … your comment had me laughing … I had to wipe the spray of tea all over the screen.)

      Like

    2. Granted, she is irredeemably chunked-up now, but everybody has their golden moment. Seen here with the Fifth California Raisin, Donald Rumsfeld, she looks almost yummy.

      You know you would.

      Like

  9. However I would ask any Stooge to name ONE (Western) statesman within say the last 100 years whose **intellect** you respect ; and in that context Nulkay continue the pattern of no vision .

    The guys and gals who write this stuff-and the commenters- have more substance that either of the two clowns:
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/13/econ-a13.html

    There is probably more substance and facts the need to be retold-and told again- in these two articles than in Kagan’s Ph.D dissertation:

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/26/impe-j26.html
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/13/wine-a13.html

    (Plus **genuine**academician Brenda looks kinda hot!!!!) :O)

    Like

  10. Net farm income in America has plunged by nearly half over the last five years from $123.4 billion in 2013 to $63 billion last year. It plummeted by 16 percent last year alone.

    Great time for Trump to ‘go with his gut’ and slap another tariff escalation on China. An even better time for Sonny Perdue to crack jokes about how American farmers are whiners.

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/13/farmers-hit-back-usda-chief-sonny-perdue-mocks-those-harmed-trump-trade-war-whiners

    As we’ve discussed before on many occasions, once national businesses find a new market with attractive terms, they tend to stick with it unless there is a compelling reason not to. Especially when, as is the case with China and the United States, the buyer learns the seller will not hesitate to use economics as leverage to force deals the buyer would not normally submit to, or to compel political concessions. China has learned in the most memorable way that Washington considers economics merely a war without shots fired. And it will remember.

    As the referenced article pointed out, China immediately reacted by ceasing imports of all American agricultural products. Whether it decides once again to take some, when the trade war is over, will depend on whether it has found a viable market replacement at attractive terms.

    And what better place to buy soybeans to replace those purchased from America, than Russia, right next door? The Chinese can even farm them themselves, if they like. Putin said so.

    https://carnegie.ru/commentary/77443

    You can sort of tell how badly the Russian liberals don’t want that to happen by the way the Carnegie Moscow Centre – so liberal they probably have a Gay Pride Parade through the staff lounge every day – pours cold water on the idea. Let’s look.

    Last year, 2018, Russia exported ‘only 850,000 tons of soy’ to China. CMC is good at doing that sneering, scoffing thing. Did they mention that 850,000 tons of soybeans represented a tripling of those exports over previous seasons? No, they sure didn’t.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-17/china-buys-record-amount-of-russian-soy-as-it-shuns-u-s-growers

    But nobody will be able to get land there; it’s too expensive and the greedy oligarchs who own vast lands will never sell them, smirks CMC. Really? Wait and see.

    Russia tripled its soy exports to China in a single season. I suggest that indicates there is a good deal of flexibility available. I further suggest if the Russian government saw an opportunity to give Washington a black eye by taking over what was previously a $12 Billion annual business for American farmers – not to mention a whopping ‘critical’ 60% of all US agricultural exports to China – it would expend considerable effort to make it happen. Can you imagine the effect? Trump could kiss any re-election prospects farewell after the Democrats revealed how he colluded with Putin to gift Russia with China’s huge soybean market, and Moscow would not even have to Facebook any cat pictures. Russian farmers could pocket $12 Billion that used to go to American farmers.

    Let’s agree to revisit Russian soybean exports in 2020. Put it in your calendars.

    I’ve driven across the Primorskye region. I remember plenty of large fields that didn’t have anything growing in them but grass.

    Like

    1. What soybean fields look like (Encyclopedia Britannica photo of an Oklahoma soy-growing farm):

      From a distance the fields could resemble fields of grass mounds or orchards, especially if grown with other crops. Soybeans have the advantage in that, being legumes, they have bacteria in their nodules that take nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form the plant can use. When the plant dies and decays, the nitrogen it has taken from the air is added to the soil by microorganisms involved in the plant’s decomposition.
      https://extension2.missouri.edu/wq277

      Like

    2. Based on average soybean prices, Russian exports tripled to $320+ million in 2019. Half a billion would seem possible in 2020. Given likely lower shipping costs, Russia stands to do well in making up the loss of US soybean exports.

      Like

    3. A pretty good analysis of soybean prospects in Russia:

      https://www.kleffmann.com/en/kleffmann-group/news–press/press-releases/soy-in-russia/

      Apparently, Russia’s committment to avoid use of GM crops has a positive impact on the marketability of its crops. The article points out that China will continue to drive a rapid expansion of soybean production in Russia:

      This is where Russia comes in. Russia is capable of delivering GM-free, ecologically clean, logistically (geographically) easily accessible soy for an affordable price with constantly increasing production quantities. Therefore, not surprisingly, exports to China are rapidly growing.

      Russia has a long ways to go to be a major supplier but it apparently has the agriculture potential and China has a market preference for Russian supply. US farmers are getting screwed as its market share is approaching zero.

      Who would have thought Russia is becoming the preferred agriculture products supplier due to its quality (non-GMO) committment? Russia continues to reinvent itself as something unique in this world.

      Like

      1. Russia is likely to set new records in soybean and rapeseed production in 2019-20, according to a July 11 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

        The USDA forecast soybean production at 4.3 million tonnes, buoyed by increased planted area and yields.

        Increased planted area? But I thought there was no more land? Isn’t that what the Carnegie Moscow Centre said? And that oligarchs owned the land which was not already snapped up, and would surely drive such a hard bargain for it that growing soybeans could not make any money. Why….were they not telling the truth?? Gadzooks!! If you can’t trust Russian liberals and American expat NGO staff….what’s left?

        Belarus has also opened a new plant for processing soy and rapeseed, so they will be able to market finished oilseed product as well as soybeans and rapeseed.

        Still a long way to go to get anywhere near what US exports were, though, which according to the USDA were 2.4 Million metric tons PER WEEK in the fall of 2017. They dropped off sharply after that, and are now zero.

        https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/10/26/us-soybean-exports-drop-by-97-percent-as-trade-deficit-with-china-grows

        But what an incredible opportunity, to know China will buy as much as you can produce and room for phenomenal growth. And if the USA loses its market share – which would be catastrophic, remember soybeans are more than half of their total agricultural exports to China – it could blame nothing but the ‘invisible hand of the market’, which it is always touting when it works in its favour. And a couple of things at least are plain – America thought the invisible hand of the market always would work in its favour – I mean, America practically invented market capitalism – and Trump either does not understand the damage he is doing or is just hoping if he doubles down and stands firm, the enemy will crack.

        My goodness! Soybean exports to China from Russia are limited by infrastructure such as incompatible railway gauges! I recall when a statement like that would have earned a one-word comment – “Idiot” – from one of our regular commenters on the old blog. It seems he either believed all railway gauges are the same the world over, or that differing gauges were not a limiting factor.

        https://www.agricensus.com/Article/Russian-soybean-production-to-increase-8-2-USDA-1389.html

        I think we can safely say whatever increase Russia manages to generate, it will translate to long-term market share and be at the expense of US farmers. So the longer Trump keeps the sanctions and trade wars going, the longer Russia has to expand.

        Stay tuned for it to get even funnier – no, China is not ceasing its imports of US soy because the tariffs made it cost too much. The extra cost is a drop in the bucket, and still cheaper than buying from Brazil. But it’s because the Chinese government is ordering its soy facilities not to buy from the US. Why would it do such a thing?? Why, because China hopes to topple Trump!

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2019/08/12/china-is-sanctioning-us-soy-farmers-in-hopes-to-topple-trump/#509df2852341

        I very much doubt that’s the case. But even if it were – so what? The USA endows itself with the right to regime change all over the world whenever it comes up against a government which will not let it have its own way. But note the peevish tone at the possibility that someone is trying to turn the American population against its president! I say, old chap – that’s not cricket, not at all.

        Like

  11. What, you never finished high school and you write better than me!? Well… that just goes to show how much government education money is wasted these days. Still, I gather you’re a lot older than me and it was a different time. But even when I was about to go into high school they would have these discussions about our plans for work in the future and the teacher would say that it’s not necessary to go into university for everyone since if you start work at 18 and get raises all the time, your lifetime earnings might be more. And that the province still had a lot of jobs in paper mills, the lumber industry, and fisheries so workers for those were needed, if not in other areas as well, despite the population increasing at almost exponential rates over the last ten years. I was just thinking to myself “Are you frikkin’ serious? Don’t you read the main newspaper about how the tariffs are killing the lumber industry? I’m going to university, so I’m just going to tune you out…”

    Oh right Kagan. I can’t stand him and his views for some reason, and I’m obviously a lot more right wing and pro-American than probably everyone on this blog. Couldn’t really finish reading your book review as his America-first views are a bit unpleasant.

    Like

    1. I don’t quite know what to make of your Guidance Counselor’s suggestions. I know the recruiters in the navy would try very hard to steer new applicants into trades that were understrength, regardless what your aptitude test indicated (unless you were too stupid to be a combat trade, in which case you would be a supply tech or a cook. Sorry to the supply techs and cooks out there, and the navy could not function without them, but that’s just the way it was). And before that, during basic training, they would try to steer you toward the infantry, because they apparently never have enough soldiers; I guess they use them up or something. I’m not kidding; one of the questions on the test was “I like to walk through the woods with a gun in my hand”. Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Disagree, bla, bla bla. Let me tell you, anyone who put ‘strongly agree” to that one would wake up in olive drab no matter what pajamas he put on when he went to bed. But in school, if you have the grades to go into university and you look like college material, they’re supposed to encourage you. Steering people toward the trades – and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s honest work and after your apprenticeship, some jobs pay extremely well – is supposed to be meant for prospects they think are unlikely to reach the academic level necessary for university or college admission. And university admission does depend on your grades in school; you can’t just go if you have the money.

      I think you can still make a good living without going to university, but you have to work harder, and university is where a lot of our doctors and lawyers and especially politicians make their connections which will serve them well later in life. I wouldn’t say nobody ever went anywhere in politics without a university education, but heading for the trades early usually means giving up that dream, if you ever had it.

      You should still read Kagan’s book, if you can get hold of it for free; perhaps I’m being too hard on him. In places he is just bullshitting, but there’s a touch of the bullshitter in everyone and we shouldn’t hold that against them. It’s not so much his ‘America firstness’ that bothers me; it’s his casual warmongering in pursuit of a world order just because he believes everyone should be part of it whether they want to or not, and his glossing over how that directly benefits American business and corporations.

      Like

      1. As regards steering towards the infantry, my nephew, who was 45 the other day, once dreamt of joining the RAF, but they knocked him back in the recruitment office when some snooty recruiting officer castigated him for having the temerity even to think of joining the airforce when he had a criminal record as a result of reckless driving when he was an 18-year-old: he lost his driving licence for a year.

        So, dejected he left the RAF recruiting office, facing which was the the British Army recruiting office. Outside the army recruiting office was standing a recruiting sergeant in full monty.

        “Turned you down, did they, son?” said the sergeant: “Why not join the army?” he went on: “We take on anyone!”

        And my nephew did, there and then. In fact, the officer within said to him: “You’re just the kind of young man were looking for!”

        That was over 25 years ago, and he’s still in the army, but he’s not an infantryman: he does a lot of arsing around in tanks in Canada.

        He tells me they’re pushing him to go in for a commission.

        He’s not keen to do this.

        I think he likes yucking it up in the sergeants’ mess to much.

        Like

          1. No, not naked: in full dress uniform.

            The expression doesn’t necessarily mean bollock naked, but it can do in context: it means to do the “whole thing” or going the “whole way” not stopping at a point.

            In the eponymous film, the women cheer the male strippers on to go for “the full monty”, namely let it all hang out for the lasses.

            From the Royal Navy: anyone onboard ship who gets permission to grow a beard must grow a “full set”, a moustache to go with it. Having a beard and moustache is “having the Full Monty”.

            Like

                1. The origin of the term is unknown and disputed, but I think the most likely explanation is that it refers to a full three-piece suit with waistcoat and a spare pair of trousers as produced by the Leeds-based British tailors Montague Burton.

                  When British forces were demobilised after the Second World War, they were issued with a “demob suit”. The contract for supplying these suits was partly fulfilled by Montague Burton.

                  I remember my dad’s demob suit. There were only two versions: brown or blue. My dad’s was brown.

                  I remember how he described how he got off the train in his hometown in his dmob suit and headed straight for the bar in the Railway Hotel that faced the station. The bar was full of newly demobbed men in blue or brown demob suits. The drinks for the men in demob suits were on the house, he told me.

                  That was in 1946. My dad hadn’t been home for 7 years. He wasn’t pleased about that. He was 28 then. He used to say: “That bastard Hitler stole the best years of my life!”

                  Like

        1. That whole rigmarole makes me wonder whether the snooty RAF recruiter and the Army fellow had a deal between them in which the RAF fellow throws every tenth RAF applicant to his Army pal, and the Army guy throws every tenth Army applicant to the RAF people who then exclaim to the Army reject: “You’re just the kind of young man / woman we’re looking for!”

          Like

          1. RAF “Brylcreem Boys” think they are superior to squaddies. Always have done.

            The pre-RAF army Royal Flying Corps officers were mostly cavalrymen, who in the army pecking order always considered themselves to be the bees’ knees and far superior to footsloggers..

            The RFC became the RAF in 1918.

            Must have been easy to find chappies like him above if they got ditched in the Channel in 1940: there would have been an oil slick visible for miles.

            Like

              1. Heard an absolutely chilling story from a sailor on a US nuclear sub where, a combination of engineering causalities triggered as part of training and previously malfunctioning equipment resulted in an unintended dive to near the crush depth. Sailors tell tales but this guy knew what he was talking about. Subs are complicated beasts.

                Like

      2. “… I think you can still make a good living without going to university, but you have to work harder, and university is where a lot of our doctors and lawyers and especially politicians make their connections which will serve them well later in life …”

        That’s bang on the nail on why young people, especially young people in academic streams in high school, are encouraged to go to university, and not just university generally but particular universities, to take up particular courses … to make the social connections that might later smooth their paths into positions of influence (not necessarily in politics but in their chosen fields, as in becoming a barrister and then a High Court judge if they become lawyers, or becoming a celebrity brain surgeon if they become doctors), wealth and the right networks.

        Why else do so few British politicians have degrees from Cambridge University for example, and so many of them have an Oxford University background instead? For that matter, why are so many Western governments dominated by lawyers and not by scientists, engineers, technicians or other people with similar backgrounds as in China?

        BTW when I was doing a postgraduate diploma in library and information science years ago, I came across quite a few students in my course who couldn’t write essays or reports, or at least write them to a standard most people could read and understand.

        Like

      3. Well, to tell the truth, I don’t read that many books anymore. Last one I read (and the only one this year) was on a flight back from my conference in Russia. It was some popular fantasy book actually, so I don’t feel very intellectual after that. Too busy, and if I have free time and the desire to push myself to do stuff, I don’t feel right just reading when I could be learning the local language. Once I get to a good enough level, I start reading stuff in the foreign language I’m currently learning, but I figure at the pace this is going, I might as well go back to one of my old ones and make sure that I haven’t forgotten them.

        Yeah, that guidance person was our ‘economics class’ or however it was called, teacher in Grade 9 or 10 I think. I had pretty average grades back then. They had these stamps that you get at the end of every year that gave you 200 or 500 bucks to use for university tuition if you got good grades, and I never got any of those stamps. I was also fat and out of shape and played lots of video games, so that’s why I didn’t feel like going to work at a physical thing or the army might be a good idea. But in high school I got really thin and a lot stronger, and also got straight As and the local university promised to pay tuition for all students in the province who got that (I’m not sure it’s feasible these days with grade inflation). I did work as an outdoor painter for a bit the summer after high school… but free tuition, couldn’t really turn that down.

        Like

  12. Kagan throws smoke with his liberal world view passing as some sort of kindness (not) – actually quite similar to Libertarianism – the worship of the self.

    Does he object to disproportionate power of the wealthy (more like crushing totalitarianism)? No, he preaches the right to be nuttier than a fruitcake but says nothing on how liberal society is organized around wealth, and the rights of the elites to call the tune. Everything he and his ilk espouse is misdirection from the arrangement of power.

    Thanks for the well-written reminder of what we are dealing with.

    Like

  13. An excellent antidote to Kaganism is to read the endless streams of failed predictions by liberal brainiacs per MOA:

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/

    There must be a German word for the pleasurable feeling one has when reading cock-sure predictions by one’s enemies that prove to be utterly wrong. Here are examples from the foregoing link:


    Has Putin Lost His Sex Appeal?
    NY Times, Mar 2012
    Putin is losing the Sochi Olympic game
    Washington Post, Feb 2014
    Putin’s Press Conference Proved Merkel Right: He’s Lost His Mind
    New Republic, Mar 2014
    Vladimir Putin is losing the battle for Ukraine
    Spectator, Mar 2014
    Putin Is Losing In Ukraine And That’s Our Biggest Problem Right Now
    Forbes, Mar 2014
    How Putin is losing in Crimea: A reality check
    Yahoo News, Apr 2014
    Putin is Losing Eastern European Energy Gamble
    Oil Price , Apr 2014
    Putin losing his geostrategic footing
    Gulfnews, Nov 2014
    Putin Is Losing the Battle to Restrain Online Media
    Newsweek, Jan 2015
    The War Putin Lost
    OpEdNews, Mar 2015
    Putin Is Losing a Nasty Food Fight
    StopFake, Aug 2015
    Why Putin Is Losing
    RFERL, Aug 2015
    How Putin is badly losing in Syria
    Washingtonian Post, Oct 2015

    So sweet.

    Like

    1. Some smart arses say epicaricacy, just to sound like a classical Greek scholar — sort of like gobshite PM Johnson is.

      ἐπί (epí, “upon”) + χαρά (khará, “joy”) + κακός (kakós, “evil”).

      Little or no evidence of actual usage until it was picked up by various “interesting word” websites.

      I blame social networks.

      Like

  14. In Ankara, Zelensky calls for silence for the “martyrs” of Eastern Ukraine:


    “I said stand up, you Crimea-Tatar SOB!” — “I am standing up, My President!”


    “See, he was standing up, Your Short-Arsedness

    Like

        1. No, he represents the Federation of the Union of Chernobyl Coal-Miners and the Association of Chernobyl Domestic Workers which currently has one member.

          Like

  15. “At the same time, fears of a mass movement against imperialism led the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to visit Guatemala Thursday, leading a delegation with dozens of other Democratic US legislators. The intervention, denounced by some media outlets as electoral “meddling,” sought to create the illusion that a faction of the US ruling elite opposes Trump’s anti-immigrant measures, as well as the right-wing policies carried out by Morales.

    Correspondingly, the entourage refused to meet with Morales, and the Guatemalan-born California congresswoman Norma Torres told the media that she opposes the “safe third country” designation. Pelosi herself, however, exposed this posturing by commenting cynically that the delegation would later visit migrant detention centers in Texas, where “we’ll observe what changes might have happened since we approved the last bill that sent several billion dollars to these centers.” That is, the Democrats have voted to finance Trump’s concentration camps.

    This money also financed the mass sweep last week in Mississippi, where about 200 migrants from Guatemala, among 680 workers, were snatched from their workplaces by Trump’s immigration Gestapo.”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/14/guat-a14.html

    Definition: “far right candidate” :

    Wanna be european white POS willing to oppress and mass murder indigenous people.

    Like

  16. Amazing. Even when something bad happens to America, it takes credit for it as if it was all its own doing.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/14/politics/china-us-soybeans-brazil-nixon/index.html

    Richard Nixon decided to teach the Japanese a lesson, and oops! he created the Brazilian soybean industry! Richard Nixon was a smart man, but I’ll bet he couldn’t tell a soy plant from a begonia, and knew as much about the Brazilian agricultural industry as he did the mating cycle of the fruit bat. Brazil made a move in response to American stupidity, and grabbed a solid market share of the soy industry, But somehow Nixon was responsible for creating it by slapping an embargo on exports of American soy to Japan.

    Is Americans slow learners? I think they might be.

    Note the pertinent figures in that report; the Department of Agriculture projected that the American soybean export market won’t recover to 2017 levels until 2024, and that’s only if there is a trade deal and the Chinese start buying from America again. Farmers already expect this to last for years, and Trump gave them a $28 Billion bailout package. That’s the nation that owes 100% of its GDP in debts. And is it going to be another $28 Billion next year, and the year after? How long before farmers start looking for another line of work, reasoning that since they’re not doing anything for the cash, it might stop at any time?

    Amazing – I have to say it again. I thought Trump was just a harmless dolt, a useful placeholder to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House until she was too old and dotty to run. I never imagined Trump would be the most destructive commercial force in American history.

    Like

  17. Meanwhile, according a statement made at the General Assembly debate on the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of the Ukraine, held on February 20th of this year, by Her Britannic Majesty’s Special Envoy to the United Nations, fat frump Karen Pierce:

    We do not only oppose the illegal annexation because it violates international law, we oppose it also because of the serious human rights violations Russia continues to commit in the Crimean peninsula. This includes the widespread persecution of ethnic and religious groups such as the Crimean Tatars and those who express opposition to the illegal annexation of the peninsula. In detention centres, these victims have been mistreated and tortured to punish or to extort “confessions”. It is no coincidence that Russia continues to ignore calls in General Assembly Resolutions for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Crimea….

    The United Kingdom is also deeply concerned by the ongoing militarisation of Crimea and the Sea of Azov by the Russian Federation. In December last year the General Assembly adopted a new resolution calling on the Russian Federation to withdraw its military forces from Crimea and Russia has ignored this.

    Only three months ago, the Russian Federation used force to seize three Ukrainian naval vessels and took 24 servicemen captive – including three who were severely injured during the incident. Russia’s use of force, including use of firearms against Ukraine’s vessels, constituted clear aggression and escalation. These unacceptable actions are not in conformity with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and they have no basis in international law.

    We cannot and will not ignore such a serious challenge to the international rules based order. We call on the international community to continue to stand united and remain focused on Russia’s behavior and attempts to consolidate its illegal annexation of Crimea.

    And again, only one day ago, she was at it again:

    Rights of Ukrainians violated in Crimea: UK envoy to UN


    Is this the face that launched a thousand shits? …

    Speaking at the Security Council briefing on the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security held on Tuesday, Pierce stressed that “citizens in Crimea have been denied access to basic services because they would not change their citizenship”, which is contrary to international humanitarian law. In her speech, the ambassador reiterated the British government’s position of non-recognition of Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by noting that Crimea is part of Ukraine.

    Oh, and get this from the above Yukiestan news agency link:

    At the same time, occupation authorities in Crimea seek to have Moscow negotiate with Kyiv on resuming water supplies to the peninsula from mainland Ukraine via the North Crimean Canal.

    Ukrainian president’s envoy for Crimea underlined the fact that Ukraine had every right to block the Canal following Russia’s occupation of Crimea. “In general, it is the occupying state that should be responsible for providing the occupied territories with all necessary resources. Therefore, all its claims regarding the Dnipro water have no legal basis or recognition in the international law,” the official said.

    So the war crime of denying water supplies to civilians is all right, right?

    Like

    1. Wot about ‘Kosovo’ you slaaaag?!

      – “It’s not a precedent” she would say.

      Everybody is equal unless you are from the west where you are more equal than others. I guess it is little more than preaching to the converted?

      It looks like she has a nose ring but it is only a water mark ‘a’.

      Like

          1. In Karen Pierce’s case, it’s all the cake and pastry crumbs and the cream she’s got to clear out from the hole in the philtrum(?) between her nostrils after the daily high tea chow down in the trough before someone slips the ring back in and leads her back to the UN assembly room.

            Like

  18. They keep churning them out:

    Nerve Agent Traces Found in Blood Sample of Officer on Skripal Case – UK Police

    “Detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) network, who are investigating the Novichok attack in Salisbury, have confirmed that traces of the nerve agent have been found in a blood sample which was taken at the time from a second police officer,” the Metropolitan Police said in a press release.

    One small question, Chief Superintendent of the “Yard”, though you may not believe it pertinent to the case: if this “nerve agent”, traces of wich you claim have been found in the blood of one of your plods, and if this “nerve agent” is “Novichok”, the “military grade” nerve agent that only those evil Russian swine possess, then, excuse me for asking, then why isn’t he fucking well dead?

    Like

    1. Gosh! He apparently showed no ill effects whatsoever, didn’t even miss a day’s work, because they would have been hypersensitive to anything like that. And they knew the Skripals had been exposed to Novichok almost before it happened…but didn’t bother checking the plods’ blood tests for months?

      The Russians are shit at making nerve agent, aren’t they? Don’t even kill nobody, ‘cepting for far-gone alcoholics.

      Like

    2. Very convenient that the second police officer does not want to be named and, more incredibly, returned to work shortly after medical treatment. Nothing is said about whether the officer needed any therapy or still has regular check-ups to monitor any nerve damage that could lead to ongoing physical or psychological symptoms. Nothing also about the effect on the officer’s family or other police officers who worked with this officer.
      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/15/met-confirms-second-police-officer-was-victim-of-salisbury-attack

      Like

        1. On the other hand, if a person never had much of a brain or nervous system to start with, then recovery from a nerve agent like Novichok could be pretty fast.

          🙂

          Like

  19. Tolonews via Antiwar.com: Pentagon Report Finds Shortcomings In Afghan Air Force
    https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/pentagon-report-finds-shortcomings-afghan-air-force

    A new report by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General has found that the Afghan ground controllers trained by the US and NATO cannot appropriately direct airdrops and lack the ability to properly coordinate attack missions by the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and the issue has increased the risk of civilian casualties and fratricide.
    ####

    No surprise there as I’m sure the US doesn’t want the Afghan airforce to have any sophisticated tech in it hands that could find its way to the enemy, but the most interesting thing about the piece is the photo of Russian built Mi8/17 Hip helicopters. I thought the US was replacing them (and AK-74s etc.) with Sikorsky S-60s even though Russian tech is much better suited to Afghanistan’s environment? I seem to recall that after the Pentagon stopped buying Russian helicopters for them, India donated some Russian equipment.

    https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2015/12/23/India-donates-Mi-25-helicopters-to-Afghanistan/1591450899641/

    ..India has delivered the first of four planned Mi-25 attack helicopters to the government of Afghanistan for use by the Afghan Air Force…
    ####

    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/us-favours-indias-military-support-to-afghanistan-gen-john-nicholson/articleshow/53634637.cms

    …He said Afghanistan was struggling to get spare parts for Russian aircraft due to Western sanctions against Moscow and India can supply them, adding “the US favours India’s military support to Afghanistan”.

    Read more at:
    //economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53634637.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst..

    ####

    Ah, OK. They’ve squared the circle. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

    Like

      1. Yes, because western navies are an example to all of cool competence. Let’s recall the crashes in 2017 of USS FITZGERALD and USS JOHN S. McCAIN, which the navy squirmed about for a little while, and then took a shot at blaming on, yes, you’ve guessed it, computer hacking. This time by the eeebil Chinese. ‘Our computers were hacked’ has become the ‘the dog ate my homework’ of our time.

        https://www.theburningplatform.com/2017/11/03/is-the-u-s-navy-being-truthful-with-its-report-on-recent-crash-incidents/

        It boils down to little more than the US Navy’s insistence on operating in extremely congested waterways full of civilian and commercial marine traffic, but simultaneously pulling that ‘I was never here’ covert bullshit and not using its AIS equipment.

        And only last year we were treated to an almost-unbelievable display of seaborne stupidity when the Norwegian frigate HELGE INGSTAD ran straight into an oil tanker which was lit up like a Christmas tree, claiming it was so bright and obvious that they mistook it for the terminal it had just departed from. As I pointed out at the time, that excuse might fly if they had not been warned at least twice that they were about to run into a ship under way.

        HELGE INGSTAD was initially doing something like 22 knots in a congested waterway full of transiting commercial traffic at around 4:00 AM in full darkness. When she at last realized her terrible error – doubtless when a black cliff appeared in front of her bridge windows, with SOLA TS printed on it – she attempted to evade by turning hard to port, straight out into the middle of the channel where two other vessels were transiting in the opposite direction. If you hired a crew of stoners off the street, put them in uniform and showed them how to work the throttles, turned them loose and ordered them, “Do everything wrong”, they probably would have gotten more right.

        Like

        1. Apparently there’d been a US Navy officer on the bridge of the Helge Ingstad at the time the frigate ploughed into the tanker. The mind boggles at what that US navy fellow might have been doing there at the time, apart from telling people: “There is only a tanker out there when I say there is a tanker out there, and I say there is no tanker out there, you hear? … zilch, nada, zero … what do you Norwegians know about sailing ships that we Americans don’t already know? …”

          Like

          1. There very well may have been; she was just returning from a major NATO exercise. But I doubt, if so, that he/she had anything to do with the collision, probably just some exercise staff position which would endure only for the duration of the exercise. What happened was an embarrassing display of stupidity and pigheadedness by the bridge crew, who would all have been Norwegians. They have to monitor VTM (or sometimes it is referred to as VTS, Vessel Traffic Services, vice Management) when operating in restricted waters, and you would think they would have heard the SOLA TS call them up and ask, “Who is that ship just to the north of me?”. You would think if they managed to miss that but were not drunk, they would have heard the controller reply, “I think it must be HELGE INGSTAD”. SOLA TS then called HELGE INGSTAD and asked them to direct their course to starboard. SOLA TS would have been moving very slowly at this point, having just left the terminal, but radar would doubtless have showed a ‘leader’ from her radar blip, indicating a moving object; it’s very sensitive. Bridge crews have a natural reluctance for directing their course toward land rather than toward open water, and HELGE INGSTAD replied that she could not change course, that she did not have enough room to starboard. Hard to imagine, since after the collision she made it all the way to shore before she struck. The important thing is that HELGE INGSTAD replied, so she obviously heard SOLA TS’s request, and INGSTAD would have been seeing AIS symbology on her radar display even though her own AIS was not turned on – she must have seen that the blob immediately to the south was tagged “SOLA TS”, and not “Terminal”, and if they had not noticed yet that it was moving out into the middle of the channel, that should have been a nudge in the ribs. Then, if I recall correctly, VTM called HELGE INGSTAD and warned them of the developing collision situation. Whatever, the warship continued at somewhere between 17 and 22 knots – far too fast for restricted waters with a high concentration of shipping – right up until she slammed into the SOLA TS: seconds before, as I said, she saw what was about to happen and attempted to turn to port, out into the channel where two more ships were headed north, with one of which she would surely have collided if hitting the SOLA TS did not take all her way off. Stupid from the word “Go”.

            Like

            1. I have just Googled some articles on the US Navy officer who was on board the frigate at the time it collided with the oil tanker and have found that the American was receiving training to be a duty chief from the Norwegians. There were also seven people on the bridge instead of the usual five. I’ve seen on one website (forgot the link) that five people (one man, four women) on the bridge were navigators.

              https://sputniknews.com/military/201811221070027132-norway-frigate-collision-usa/
              http://vietnammilitary.com/2018/11/23/us-navy-officer-was-onboard-norwegian-frigate-knm-helge-ingstad-collision/

              Significantly the Norwegian navy declined to say what the US Navy officer might have been doing at the time of the collision.

              Like

              1. That may have been from something I mentioned; there was a laudatory article written a short time before the grounding incident, bragging about how effective HELGE INGSTAD was because she had so many female crew and saying this is the way ahead for the Norwegian military. It mentioned that four of five of the ship’s navigators were women.

                But there is no particular reason to assume any woman caused the accident. The navigator typically only works out the courses to be steered during a given period, which are then usually approved by the captain; this is done in advance, and the agreed courses left in the Captain’s Night Orders for the Officers of the Watch to read and later execute during their watch. All qualified officers of the watch know how to read a chart, and there is usually not too much for the navigator to do in home waters, where the accident occurred. It’s quite likely instructions were left simply ordering a passage through the strait to wherever she was going, with the details of how to get there left up to the Officer of the Watch. Sometimes the captain leaves orders to be called when the ship is transiting restricted waters or when there is a lot of merchant traffic about, sometimes not. All of the voices heard coming from HELGE INGSTAD throughout the accident were male, or sounded like it to me.

                The radar video in the clip would be from the VTM station, but HELGE INGSTAD would have had at least as good a radar picture on the bridge; it would have showed her position relative to land, the SOLA TS and the other vessels heading north more toward the center of the channel. She would have AIS, and it probably was operating passively, meaning although she was not transmitting her own AIS coding, she could read that of others. She had to have known the panicky turn to port as the SOLA TS loomed up in front of her would take her out into the channel and into the path of other oncoming shipping. The entire performance was as if executed by people who had lived their previous lives in a cave somewhere, had never seen a radar display and had only the most rudimentary grasp of steering.

                The role of Duty Chief may be significantly different in the Norwegian Navy, but for ours he would have had no role at all in the piloting of the ship; the position is the second-in-command (after the Officer of the Day) in charge of the Duty Watch in port, the section which remains aboard through the night and provides sentries, roundsmen, the engineering watch and the quarterdeck party.

                Like

        2. ‘Handjob’ was a university friend who joined to RNZ naval reserve prior to NZ being kicked out of ANZUS in the mid 1980s.. He was involved in at least one exercise (on a frigate) with Australian and US Navies.
          As he told it, in the briefing prior to commencement of ‘hostilities’ the CO told them “officially, our aim is to do this, that , the other, etc” (my abbreviation).
          “The REAL purpose of this exercise is to avoid being rammed by out of control American warships”.

          Like

          1. On ANZUS according to Wiki:

            The treaty was previously a full three-way defence pact, but following a dispute between New Zealand and the United States in 1984 over visiting rights for ships and submarines capable of carrying nuclear arms or nuclear-powered ships of the US Navy to New Zealand ports, the treaty became between Australia and New Zealand and between Australia and the United States, i.e. the treaty has lapsed between the United States and New Zealand, although it remains separately in force between both of those states and Australia. In 2000, the United States opened its ports to the Royal New Zealand Navy once again, and under the presidency of Bill Clinton in the US and the government of Helen Clark in New Zealand, the countries have since reestablished bilateral cooperation on defence and security for world peace.

            So no RNZ vessels are allowed into US ports because USN vessels armed with nuclear weapons are not allowed into NZ ports, whereas any old shit aboard USN vessels may enter Aussie ports?

            Like

          2. That certainly happened from time to time; in 1975, the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY ran over the light cruiser USS BELKNAP. In that instance it was the latter’s fault, she turned in front of the carrier.

            https://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/uss-belknap-collided-aircraft-carrier.html

            That was just before I joined the navy, but BELKNAP was not back in service until I had been in a couple of years – she was laid up for repairs for 5 years. Seven of her sailors were killed.

            Carriers are not very maneuverable. The article suggests the accident changed the way the USN built ships, and it might have changed some techniques to limit progressive flooding and general damage control, but it also changed how escorting ships behave around carriers. There is a moving safety box around a carrier at sea that is 4 miles ahead, 3 miles on either beam and a mile astern; the latter is mostly so trailing ships do not get in the way of aircraft making their approach on the carrier. You can only go inside that box by invitation from the carrier, such as if you are designated plane guard during flying ops, to recover the crew of any plane that ditches or misses its approach and runs off the end of the deck. Rare, but it happens.

            The Americans I worked with were mostly good and competent seamen, and I never saw anything such as happened to the McCAIN and FITZGERALD. During my years as a junior seaman, the most feared vessel afloat was Australian; the carrier HMAS MELBOURNE, which was known for good reason as “The Can Opener”.

            It doesn’t take much of a collision to do serious damage, either. A destroyer’s hull must be steel, but in some the plating is quite thin to limit weight, and a lot of the upper works are just aluminum. Here’s HMCS ALGONQUIN after a collision with the task group tanker on the first day of a major exercise.

            https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/navy-cant-even-give-away-two-old-ships-because-it-would-cost-too-much-to-remove-hazardous-materials

            the accident opened up the port side of her hangar for its full length as if it were paper. It was probably going to be her last major deployment anyway, because of her age, but the decision was moved forward abruptly and she was scrapped, never going to sea again after the collision. The other ship involved, HMCS PROTECTEUR, later had a major fire off Hawaii, and although nobody was killed, the main engineering spaces were gutted and she too was scrapped.

            Like

  20. Neuters via Antiwar.com: Panama Canal will not block Venezuela vessels despite U.S. sanctions

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-panamacanal-venezuela/panama-canal-will-not-block-venezuela-vessels-despite-u-s-sanctions-idUKKCN1V41WK

    …Panama Canal Authority chief Jorge Quijano told reporters that the waterway authorities should not submit to pressure from third countries on the issue of whether or not vessels could use the canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    “We are signatories to a treaty of neutrality, also signed by the United States,” he said. “We have to continue with that commitment as long as they follow the rules of the game, and the rules of the game are that it’s an innocent passage.”

    Panama earlier this year withdrew its flag from dozens of vessels linked to Iran and Syria. One of the tankers, the Grace 1, was later seized in Gibraltar’s waters on suspicion of violating sanctions, raising tensions in the Gulf, where Iran detained a UK-flagged ship in retaliation…
    ####

    Having it’s cake and eating it! Neutrality serves Panama when it brings in the cash and it has a sword of damocles to wield, but they do have limits.

    Like

  21. Off-Guardian.org: How the OPCW’s investigation of the Douma incident was nobbled*
    https://off-guardian.org/2019/08/15/how-the-opcws-investigation-of-the-douma-incident-was-nobbled/

    Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers Robinson Members of Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media

    …It was already clear from open-source evidence, as we pointed out in an earlier briefing note, that the Interim and Final Reports of the FFM on the Douma incident had been nobbled. Our sources have now filled in some of the details of this process. Specifically:

    By mid-June 2018 there would have been ample time to draft an interim report that summarized the analysis of witness testimony, open-source images, on-site inspections and lab results. We have learned that the original draft of the interim report, which had noted inconsistencies in the evidence of a chemical attack, was revised by a process that was not transparent to FFM team members to become the published Interim Report released on 6 July 2018 that included only the laboratory results.
    After the release of the Interim Report, the investigation proceeded in secrecy with all FFM team members who had deployed to Douma excluded. It was nominally led by Sami Barrek who as FFM Team Leader had left Damascus before the on-site inspections began. These FFM team members do not know who wrote the document that was released as the “Final Report of the FFM”.
    We have learned from multiple sources that the second stage of the investigation involved consultation with Len Phillips, the previous leader of FFM Team Alpha who worked in the OPCW during this period as a self-employed consultant….

    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    Save a copy of this one.

    Like

    1. truthdig via Antiwar.com: Tulsi Gabbard Gets Some Vindication
      https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-vindication-of-tulsi-gabbard/

      Scott Ritter

      In the aftermath of the second Democratic primary debate on July 31, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard emerged as the most Googled of all candidates, an indication that her performance (which included a stunning takedown of California Sen. Kamala Harris over her criminal justice record) attracted the attention of many viewers. This heightened level of attention produced blowback, both from Harris, who dismissed Gabbard as “an Assad apologist” (a reference to Syrian President Bashar Assad), and from the mainstream media…
      ####

      Plenty more at the link, most interestingly Ritter writes in detail about the unlikelyhood of a Su-22 having bombed Khan Sheikoun (sp?) with a chemical weapon (Ritter flew A-4 Skyhawks in teh past) as claimed.

      Like

  22. Interfadfax via Antiwar.com: Russia, Venezuela sign deal on warship visits to each other’s ports – Ifax
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-venezuela-politics-russia-warships/russia-venezuela-sign-deal-on-warship-visits-to-each-others-ports-ifax-idUKKCN1V51PH

    Russia and Venezuela signed an agreement on Thursday governing visits by the countries’ warships to each other’s ports, the Interfax news agency reported.

    The agreement was signed in Moscow by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Venezualan counterpart Vladimir Padrino Lopez, Interfax said.
    ####

    Dotting the ‘i’s, crossing the ‘t’s. I’m more interested in what Beijing is doing as the Dynamic Duo’s roles are usually for Moscow to take point and Beijing to support (almost) silently behind it, though I’m sure it works vice-versa too in some cases.

    Like

    1. I would just like to point out that if this ‘agreement’ was not signed by the Defense Minister duly appointed by Venezuela’s real leader, Juan Guaido, it is not worth the paper it is printed on.

      Say; speaking of western domination of the seas, I saw in the paper today that the UK has released the Iranian tanker it was holding in Gibraltar, on being given a promise in writing that the oil it carried was not destined for Syria, from the Iranian government. The USA, unsurprisingly, put up a a last-minute struggle to make the British hold on to it, but Britain disregarded it. Presumably that is a signal that at least some European powers are not prepared to go further in helping America to ‘take Iran’s oil exports to zero’.

      Like

  23. Moscow Times waxing lyrical:

    A Student Arrest Puts Elite Moscow University to the Test
    The Higher School of Economics, a bastion of free thinking since the 1990s, has become caught up in the opposition protest movement.

    A chill ran down Artyom Tyurin’s spine when he heard the news that his friend and fellow student Yegor Zhukov had been hauled from his bed in the middle of the night by police and charged with “organizing mass unrest,” a crime punishable by up to eight years in prison.

    Ooooh! Tell me more!

    Zhukov, 20, took part in an unsanctioned mass opposition protest on July 27 against the authorities’ decision to block opposition candidates from local elections in September.

    Shocking!

    Pray, do tell why they were “blocked”.

    HSE has always been one of the few safe spaces for free thought in Putin’s Russia. It has hired professors who are openly critical of official policy and published reports that often contradicted those of the Kremlin.

    Zhukov, his friends told The Moscow Times, is in many ways a product of HSE’s freethinking philosophy.

    Prior to his arrest, he ran a popular political YouTube blog with more than 110,000 subscribers where he railed against social policies that troubled him. Last winter, Zhukov also announced his candidacy for the Moscow city council elections, promising to give more authority to Muscovites over use of their taxes, although he failed to collect enough signatures to register.

    Oh, I see!

    Too few wanted to put their names down to support his candidacy.

    So his application to stand for election was turned down.

    What a mockery of democracy it is that exists in Putin’s Russia!

    Like

    1. Unable to find the young man in question on YouTube although another person of the same name is quite accomplished as a classical pianist so the search was not in vain.

      Like

      1. The Kreakl says at the beginning that one must watch the clip to the end so as to understand what is going on in Russia.

        He then kicks off b saying that life is a struggle for power and at (0.50) says that those that succeed in achieving power become madmen, dictators and tyrants, and that Vladimir Putin is such a person …

        He goes on to say that he and like-minded wankers (1.19) are the vanguard of progress and that they need to take power so as to remove injustices …

        The video pans over a meeting of the Russian government (1.0) and the Kreakl says that these people, ministers of the Russian government, need to keep themselves in power so as to continue thieving …

        And on on goes, the privileged bourgeois tosser.

        Bring on Dyadya Lyosha!

        Like

        1. Basic Aristotelian logic:
          “All those who obtain power become madmen, dictators and tyrants.”
          “Support Kreakles like me in our effort to take power.”

          Logical conclusion: “Then we will become madmen, dictators and tyrants.”
          QED

          Like

          1. Funny thing is, though, is that when he kicked off talking about life being a struggle for power, I thought for a moment he was going to do a re-run of the Communist Manifesto:

            I. Bourgeois und Proletarier
            Die Geschichte aller bisherigen Gesellschaft ist die Geschichte von Klassenkämpfen.

            Chapter I. Bourgeois and Proletarians
            The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

            However, that tosser’s class, if the concept has, indeed, ever entered his head, is the “creative class”, his class, that of the pampered bourgeois.

            Like

            1. When I hear the term “creative class” my immediate thought is that of self-promoting fashion designers and people with degrees in gender studies who have rarely, if ever, produced an original thought.

              Like

          2. And that just about sums up what would happen; remember, all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Kreakles always think they would do it much better, just as everyone who is not actually in a leadership position imagines it is easy, and has no trouble picking out egregious errors of judgment after the fact, because all they have to do is sip Starbucks and make smart comments on the way others do a job.

            If they had to do it themselves, they would be swarmed on Day One with corporate interests and the Russian equivalent of lobbyists for various agencies, all seeking new regulation leading to a sweetheart deal for themselves, and all offering to do the heavy lifting of writing the new policies for the incoming government. And they’d likely react like the dumb blonde in that film (Legally Blonde), who got into Harvard; “What, like it’s hard?”

            Like

            1. I predict a different reaction. They would appoint all like-minded people to power positions and create a new oligarchy and a new ideology – kreakleism.

              They are not really tying to make a “better world” – just a world in their own image in which superior kreakles rule over non-kreakles. Quite childish in every respite. A “Lord of the Flies” scenario comes to mind.

              Like

              1. Actually the two scenarios complement each other, in that those corporate lobbyists and spinmeisters chosen to write new legislation would be selected as ministers or senior bureaucrats on the basis of having shared views and ideology with the kreaklies. Not so different reactions after all.

                Like

  24. Bastard of a keyboard never closed the italics after “… eight years in prison”.

    I’d just close HSE down if I were the government. I don’t give a flying fuck what Kreakles would think of me for saying that. The place is full of wankers. I used to see them every day when I worked near there.

    Total waste of kit bourgeois tossers the lot of them!

    They’d be doing more service to society serving burgers at McDonald’s!

    Like

  25. Trump’s Oil Sanctions Leave Russian Exporters $1 Billion Richer
    August 16, 2019, 7:00 AM GMT+3 Updated on August 16, 2019, 12:59 PM GMT+3

    U.S. sanctions on Iran, Venezuela boost demand for Russian oil
    Urals blend of crude now regularly trades as premium to Brent

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s sanctions against Iran and Venezuela have inadvertently increased demand for a Russian brand of crude oil, boosting revenues for the nation’s exporters.

    Russian oil companies received at least $905 million in additional revenues between November and July, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The calculation is based on difference between the Urals spread to the Brent benchmark over the period compared to the five-year average.

    Nice one, Donald!

    Like

  26. “The Post article quoted Jonathan L. Arden, who is president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, as stating that a broken hyoid bone is more commonly associated with death by homicidal strangulation than hanging.”

    “Among the procedures violated was the requirement that regular checks be made on Epstein every half hour. It was later revealed they had falsified logs.

    Epstein had allegedly attempted suicide on July 23, after which he was placed on suicide watch. He was then removed from suicide watch on July 29 and returned to his cell in a segregated housing unit, apart from the main inmate population. A cellmate who was with Epstein was removed, leaving Epstein alone in his cell for at least 12 hours before he died.

    The New York Times, however, is continuing its efforts at damage control. It buried its own report on Epstein’s autopsy in its local news section and attempted to spin the medical examiner’s findings to indicate that suicide was the most likely cause of death.

    The headline of the Times article, “Autopsy Shows Bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s Neck Were Broken,” avoids drawing any conclusions, while the subhead in the online edition attempts to draw the opposite conclusion from the Post, namely that “such injuries can occur in a suicide by hanging, especially in older people like the financier, who was 66.”

    The article ignores the statement by Arden and instead quotes a qualified statement from a Dr. Burton Bentley, head of a medical consulting firm in Arizona, who states that the hyoid fracture is not enough to determine a cause of death. “It’s not a hundred percent. It’s not even going to get us to ninety.”

    In multiple articles published since Epstein’s death, the Times has worked to discredit any questioning of Epstein’s death while simultaneously being unable to explain any of the suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident.”

    Yeah…death by a thousand MSM apparatchik cunts.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/16/epst-a16.html

    Like

  27. “Something for the weekend, sir?” used to be the sarcastic question of barbers when I was about 14, alluding to the availability of condoms for sale. Yeah, right, you’re going to ask for a pack of Durex when the chairs behind you are occupied by relatives and neighbours…

    Anyway, something for the weekend for the gathering of Stooges:

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2019/08/something-about-heroism.html

    Apologies for the teaser intro.

    Like

  28. Outstanding: Ukrainian president Zik-Zik has offered Ukrainian citizenship to all Russians persecuted for political reasons! This is a tit-for-tat response to an earlier offer from Putin to fast-track Russian citizenship for Ukrainian refugees in certain circumstances.

    https://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-president-zelenskiy-offers-citizenship-113246557.html

    But this is perfect! Now political prisoner – albeit free to roam as he pleases – Alexey ‘Lyosha’ Navalny has a perfect opportunity to leave Russia and live in a country which is just starting to build western values and policies. What an incredible opportunity! They’ll probably offer him a cabinet position, seeing as he was an important leader of the Russian opposition!

    And if he doesn’t apply …ummm….why not? Is he not impressed with Kuh-yiv’s offer? I mean, I get that the Per-capita GDP adjusted for PPP is less than a third of Russia’s – but what price freedom and morality?

    Like

    1. Furthermore, The bullshitter’s father is a Ukrainian; at least, he was born in the UkSSR. Apparently, Navalny spent many of his childhood summers at the home of his Ukrainian grandmother.

      Now remember folks, Ukrainians are not Russians! Russians are mongrel Tatar hybrids who stole the name “Russia” from the pure eastern Slavs of “Kievan Rus”,

      Like

    2. Are they allowed to keep their Russian passport and enjoy dual citizenship?
      That would be the perfect opportunity for these Opps, they could literally have their cake and eat it too!

      Like

      1. Nay, dual citizenship officially not allowed in Banderastan, Detroit radiographers, Chicago economists, and certain oligarchs excepted.

        As a matter of fact, the Chicago former Ministress of the Economy buggered off when time was running out for her to ditch her US citizenship and become part of the Yukie “nation”, She made a pile while she was there though. Serves the dumb fuckers right!

        Like

        1. The likes of Navalny could circumvent the ban on dual citizenship by doing what Ihor Kolomoisky did and be citizens of three countries.

          The Yukies should have known what Natalie Jaresko’s record in managing money was before employing her as Finance Minister … her ex-husband said she was a gold digger (and not just because they were in the process of divorce) through her investment management firm.

          Like

          1. I think this was back in 2011 when Jaresko and hubby Ihor Figlus were in the divorce courts.

            Sorry I’m typing really fast on a smartphone and my fingers are getting ahead of my thoughts and hitting all sorts of keys including the Post key before I have time to check and reconsider what I’m saying!

            Like

            1. I rarely check my posts nor give what I say a 2nd thought. It’s easier that way:)

              I sometimes wonder if I did check…never mind.

              Like

  29. Meanwhile, a sanctioned Opp rally took place in Moscow today; but for this one it wasn’t Liberals but rather Commies. Estimated attendance was around 4,000. Everybody behaved themselves like good boys and girls, and nobody was arrested.

    https://www.rt.com/russia/466724-communists-rally-moscow-elections/

    Apparently the Russian Communist Party is forming a United front with other Leftie forces to dispute the Moscow municipal elections. Just like the Liberals, the Commies were denied a spot on the ballot, and they say the process was rigged in favor of the incumbents.

    Like


  30. Порошенко обвинили в выводе с Украины 8 миллиардов долларов

    17 августа 2019
    Александр Саможнев
    За время пребывания на посту президента Украины Петр Порошенко вывел за границу не менее 8 миллиардов долларов. Кроме того, не исключено, что за рубеж были переправлены средства МВФ в размере одного миллиарда долларов, заявил в интервью порталу Strana американский миллиардер украинского происхождения Сэм Кислин.

    During his tenure as President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko sent abroad at least $8 billion. In addition, it is possible that IMF funds amounting to $1 billion dollars were transferred abroad, Sam Kislin, an American billionaire of Ukrainian origin, has said in an interview with Strana.

    Like

    1. Poroshenko makes all the other crooks pale by comparison.
      Lesser crooks might use some local business to launder their dirty money.
      But Porky thinks big: An entire country!
      The guy has chutzpa, you gotta hand it to him…

      Like

    1. Hmm if this drone had been flying over Iran, it would have been brought down and dissected by engineers there eager to learn all its technical secrets so they can make their own copies. There’d be no path to trace of the original drone.

      Like

    1. These tactics can be applied with impunity, thanks to legislation in all 50 states restricting the ability of customers to sue insurers for wrongly accusing them of fraud — unless the customers can prove the allegations were malicious or made in bad faith.

      There’s the most sordid paragraph right there; insurance companies can make whatever false accusations they like in an attempt to avoid paying out claims by shifting the blame to you, and YOU have to prove THEY did it deliberately and maliciously. Good luck ever proving that, in the US justice system, where the standard of proof for you is incredibly high while the standard of proof for them apparently does not exist.

      America was originally the country of the little guy, where an ordinary Joe could have a good life with a nice family and a good job someplace where the boss probably made four times as much money as he did. Gradually it became a corporate playground where the boss makes like eighty times as much money as the workers, plus bonuses and expenses, and low-income people have to work three jobs to keep a roof over their heads. I can’t understand why Americans are not more disgusted, and just go on blabbering about the Land Of Opportunity.

      Like

  31. The champion of truth and justice, our beloved John Bolton, has revealed that Russia’s hypersonic missile technology was stolen from the US!

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Fact_Checking_Trump_Advisor_John_Boltons_Claim_That_Russia_Stole_US_Hypersonic_Technology_999.html

    My take is that Mr. Bolton has implied that Russia used a here-to-for unknown time reversal technology that allowed them to peer into US weapons labs 5 to 10 years from now and copied our designs before we thought of them! Those bastards!

    Like

    1. Whereas USA ballistic missile technology was not only stolen from Nazi Germany, the Nazi scientists and technologists were “stolen” as well.

      Like

  32. Living close to the Canadian frontier, I can eavesdrop on radio and TV broadcasts intended for Canadian internal consumption. I notice that talks of “labor unions” is quite common and often in a positive manner! US media NEVER speaks of labor unions other than as obstructive and faintly criminal organizations!

    Canada is about 40 years behind the times in my estimation. The US is well on its way to a full-gig economy free of encumbrances of unions, laws “protecting” worker rights and all other forms of restraints limiting our creative freedoms. We chose to be the masters of our own fate and embrace the invisible but compassionate hand of the market!

    Like

  33. The Real News Network
    Published on Aug 17, 2019
    Western media like to present Alexei Navalny as Russia’s main opposition leader, because his actions have sparked the recent protest wave, but he hardly represents anyone, says Alexandr Buzgalin. Rather, the protests express opposition to the Russian system

    Like

    1. The protests also do not really draw ‘large crowds’. It’s the same people over and over, the Moscow protest community that comes out for everything plus whoever they can bus in to make it look like a huge scandal. The west goes to incredible lengths to ‘prove’ that Putin is hated and only stays in power by oppressing the people. It is nonsense.

      Like

  34. Against the Grain

    08.07.19 – 12:00PM

    From Yeltsin to Putin

    Are we facing a new Cold War with Russia? Does that country represent a serious threat to the United States? Tony Wood separates myths from facts about Russia’s domestic and foreign policy — and whether Putin represents a return to the authoritarian Soviet past. (Encore presentation.)

    Resources:

    Tony Wood, Russia Without Putin: Money, Power and the Myths of the New Cold War Verso, 2018

    https://kpfa.org/episode/against-the-grain-august-7-2019/

    Like

    1. The west would love to have ‘Russia without Putin’, because it has convinced itself it would be a Russia which was manageable and easily fooled by the usual western enticements so that it could be once again flooded with NGO’s, all beavering away to undermine the government and regime-change it into a shape and composition the west likes.

      Like

    1. Boring. They already tried that bit on about a Russian tank type being spotted at Ilovaisk that is ONLY used by the Russian Army. The factory which manufactures the conversion kits which make it a T-72 whatever – I forget now what they said it was – is in Kharkov.

      Why do they need to keep introducing new evidence and more proof if the proof they already have is irrefutable and conclusive?

      Like

      1. They figure there is much more to squeeze out of the narrative and hit disbelievers like us over the head with. Bellingcat has probably outlived its usefulness so now it’s time for Forensic Architecture to make up something more visual that can stir up more emotions, horror, revulsion and Russophobic hatred in the public. Something to browbeat us all into supporting an invasion of Russia.

        Like

        1. The main recognition feature of the T-72B3 is the panoramic (thermal-imaging) sight mounted on the center of the turret, and reactive armor. The latter is just a bolt-on feature, which the Malyshev plant in Kharkiv both engineers and installs. The T-72B3 is visually identical to other T-72’s, of which Ukraine has plenty, except for bolt-on reactive armor and a sculpted box on the center of the turret which might or might not be a sight, photographed so that you can’t tell. The hot new evidence is like suggesting a hood scoop on the Trans-Am that struck and killed a pedestrian is a distinctive feature by which the police could tell it from all other Trans-Ams. It would be laughed out of court, as the defense attorney could probably make and install a convincing hood scoop.

          https://armyrecognition.com/russia_russian_army_tank_heavy_armoured_vehicles_u/t-72b3m_t-72b4_main_battle_tank_technical_data_sheet_specifications_pictures_video_12003163.html

          The photograph I saw of the purported T-72B3 in Ukraine was just a tank charging over the lip of a small hill, published by Janes Defense Weekly or one of the Janes publications, if I recall correctly. It’s a freeze-frame of a tank and some bushes and dirt that could have been taken anywhere, and so far as I am aware the publishers had only the word of Ukraine that it was taken in Ukraine.

          The Malyshev plant and KMBD (Kharkiv Machine Building Design Bureau) specialize in upgrade kits for the T-72.

          https://morozov.com.ua/en/bronetankovaya-tehnika-i-vooruzhenie/tanki/modernizaciya/t-72/

          Like

  35. These Honh Kong articles and their comments are very well written and informative aboput the socioeconomic strata of the mainland population as compared with HK’s somewhat sui generis history as a former Brit colony.
    China of 2019 is most certainly not the China of either the Korean War or Vietnam eras.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/19/hong-a19.html

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/16/hong-a16.html

    “As Financial Times commentator Jamil Anderlini noted this week: “Today, the biggest fortunes in Hong Kong rely on control of land and property in what is the most expensive real estate market in the world. The average monthly salary in Hong Kong is around $HK17,500 ($US2,230), while the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in the city centre is $HK16,500.””
    WOW!!! 2G a month for a 1BDR flat.
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/14/hong-a14.html

    Moreover look at how China is somewhat giving in to the pressure of USA sanctions:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-16/major-china-buyer-shuns-venezuela-oil-loadings-on-u-s-sanctions

    Like

    1. I have to say, from following the Hong Kong protests on other news media websites and blogs, that the World Socialist Website has wildly misinterpreted the nature of the protests. There is good evidence that the protest movement is being directed by the US government through its HK consulate, that protesters are being paid cash to protest based on a scale depending on what they do (weeks ago, the going rate was HK$1,000 for marching, going up to HK$5,000 for damaging street furniture) and that black-shirted protesters have been targeting police by throwing or catapulting bricks at police stations, fighting them or shining laser beams into their eyes. In addition, crowd numbers are not necessarily being reported accurately: in some cases, the figures given for the protest movement are actually figures for pro-Beijing protests going on at the same time in other parts of HK.

      https://www.rt.com/news/466078-hong-kong-us-joshua-wong/

      The protests are now in their 12th week which is an extraordinarily long time for them to have been allowed to continue. In Western countries, such protests would have been shut down early on with police violence or kettling of protesters in particular sections of cities so they cannot join up.

      I suspect once the new HK university and school year starts in the first week of September, the protests will dry up at least 90% completely.

      Like

      1. I hope that’s true, because today’s paper reports the government is prepared to negotiate with the protesters. That is usually seen by the western string-pullers as a sign that the government is out of options and beginning to get desperate. That, in turn, is usually seen in these operations as time to turn up the heat, and the government will fold. Yanukovych gave the Ukrainian protesters everything they asked for except snap elections, even agreeing to hold them early, and their response was to move against him and make him run for his life. There is no ‘negotiating’ with protesters who are simply carrying out the plan of a foreign government, because it wants the Hong Kong government to give up power so it can fill the vacuum with its own appointees – no amount of concessions will satisfy it except stepping down and allowing the hooligans to take over.

        It’s a no-lose for the USA in the short term – if the government collapses, its agents will be busy picking a new government which will work to destabilize Beijing. If the Chinese government moves to crush the rebellion, that will make for hysterical copy in western newspapers about the trampling of freedom and democracy. But in the medium to long term it is still possible to deal the USA a defeat, by following Russia’s example and making western NGO’s either register as foreign agents or leave the country.

        Xi is accused every day of ‘cracking down’. Time to do it.

        Like

        1. I guess it depends on what the HK govt is prepared to negotiate on and what it will not give up. I daresay the HK govt is not willing to withdraw the proposed extradition bill and is waiting for the university year to start so it can timetable a second reading of the bill to get it passed. The govt needs to do this before the Hong Kong man who murdered his girlfriend in Taiwan is set free by HK police in October as he will have served his time in jail for theft (he took his dead girlfriend’s ATM cards and used them to clear his debts).

          Interesting thing I have seen in one of the MoA comments forums from someone who appears to be a HK resident is that Taiwan is demanding that HK to hand over the fellow anyway but … HK has no extradition agreement with Taiwan so HK can’t hand him over. In demanding the man’s handover, and asserting that it will not accept the fellow’s extradition if the bill were to go ahead and be approved, Taiwan is treating HK as if the territory were its own and is ignoring mainland China’s sovereignty over the territory and the “one state, two systems” principle that Beijing itself has observed since 1997.

          The Chinese appear to have a few aces up their sleeves: they have decided to make Shenzhen, and not HK, the centrepiece of plans to create a huge networked urban area of nine cities stretching around the Pearl River delta area from Macau and Zhuhai across the river to Guangdong, Dongguan, Shenzhen and HK. HK will probably be cut off from this network after these protests and miss out on the investment opportunities and infrastructure improvements that will go to the other cities in the network instead.
          https://www.chinadiscovery.com/greater-bay-area.html

          Another thing the Chinese could do is discourage Chinese tourism to HK and redirect it other parts of China with similar climates, like Hainan island for example, in a way similar to what Russia did with its tourist trade to Turkey back in late 2015 after the Turkish military shot down the Russian fighter jet and killed one of the Russian crew in Syria. So far in 2019, over 80% of tourists from outside HK visiting the territory were mainland Chinese.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_Hong_Kong#Top_15_most_visiting_nationalities

          Chinese billionaires could also be discouraged from using HK as a tax haven.

          Like

          1. All wise and sensible recommendations, if one sympathizes with the Chinese government in this instance. Perhaps ‘sympathize’ is too strong a word, but for me the issue is that this is another astroturfed western operation, with rent-a-crowd protesters and pious goals; the customarily non-quanitifiable and amorphous freedom and democracy. I remember discussing it with a friend who said the west is opposed to this because western political figures and businessmen who are perhaps sought on international warrants or as ‘war criminals’ could be snatched off their flight and extradited to Beijing while transiting through Hong Kong. I’m pretty sure the conditions are already in place for that, if that were the objective. Anyway; here’s the article – it has a different headline from the print version I read, but the text is the same.

            https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-hong-kong-government-opens-window-to-discussions-with-protesters-after/

            It is encouraging that the government says up front that there are issues advanced by the protesters which are non-starters, and are simply not going to happen. I note that, as usual, the organizers of the protests claim far larger numbers than are reflected in police figures – this time a claimed 1.7 million against police estimates of less than 200,000. The media surely knows by now that readers who will eagerly embrace anything marketed under the label “Freedom and Democracy” will accept the inflated figure without questioning it, and that they are the majority in the west so the offered figure will pass into fact.

            I maintain a central platform of Chinese resistance to this destabilization would be to pass regulations curtailing the operation of American political and ‘democracy-promotion’ NGO’s in China. China already has an historical aversion to western management attempts, but Soros-type shit-disturbers in China have too free a hand and can theoretically start up a ‘student rebellion’ any time they choose, while the media will swing into its role and push it as a brave and noble lunge by a grassroots movement for western-style standards of living and ‘dignity’ for the rubes on the couch. That’s a big laugh, that: it is precisely China’s combination of freewheeling business and low-paid workers which makes it attractive to well-heeled western investors, and Washington has zero problems with the human-rights situation in China when trade with China is roaring and working to western advantage. Just as it would quiet down immediately, like someone turning the ‘off’ switch, if China hurriedly accepted a ‘trade deal’ which traded away all advantage to China. The west is not interested in overthrowing governments that let Uncle Sam dabble and adjust to his heart’s content.

            Like

            1. Greetings from deepest darkest lo-land of Po-land. It’s like the Balkans but with much more Brussels money spent, so quite nice!

              I would recommend that the PLA charge boy-race style down the main drag and back for the HK tv cameras/drones and the locals, for a laugh. On the one hand, they have made a precedent but on the other it will be symbolic and we’ll see who the faithful really are.

              Like

            2. From that Globe and Mail article:

              “… On social media, some demonstrators have fixed the end of August as the deadline for the government to respond …”

              They need the government to respond before the new school year starts in the first week of September. 🙂

              There’s no way that current HK leader Carrie Lam will step down and create a precedent whereby if people don’t like the look of their No 1 politician, they can march in the streets demanding the person’s removal and that politician then has to resign; and if the protesters are not clear on what they mean by “more democratic reforms” – a video I have seen of HK protesters arguing with an Australian business traveller sceptical at their demands at HK international airport suggests some if not many HK protesters have no idea what “democracy” means – there’s no way the HK govt can negotiate with them. As for the current govt arrangements and the way politicians like Lam are elected to the top job, HK is stuck with the system inherited from the British and the business community there is not likely to support changing a system in which its lobby groups can influence the electoral college that elects the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Executive_of_Hong_Kong#Election

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

              Like

      2. The World Socialist Website has mostly good intentions (I believe), but frequently gets things wrong. They can be fooled easily if people only mouth the “right” words that they want to hear, which fit in with their own beliefs (and delusions).

        Like

    2. Most Hong Kong workers live across the bay in Kowloon, where rents are still insane but a little bit cheaper. A lot of major companies maintain company apartments in Hong Kong which are empty part of the year, although they are probably tax write-offs. Oddly, staying in Hong Kong as a tourist is still not too unreasonable, or wasn’t when I was there, and street food was not expensive. But living there as a resident was out of most people’s reach.

      Like

  36. Fellow Stooges, some of you, especially the pious ones, might be interested in my new post which I just completed this morning.

    About the Russian Orthodox Saint Serafim Saratov, and the concept of the Deep People.
    Not to be confused with “Deep Purple”, which is a different thing.

    Like

  37. How’s that trade war working out for you, Washington? Well, although Trump has promised $28 Billion in bailouts to farmers, their representatives say that nowhere near covers the cost of their losses, while the longer-term costs in loss of markets promise more pain down the road. What other country could absorb a $28-Billion loss to its economy without flinching? Not too many. Although perhaps it’s not as painful when it’s all borrowed money.

    https://www.newsweek.com/farmer-breaks-down-talking-about-trumps-trade-war-i-stay-night-worrying-about-future-1454555

    But then, there’s this ray of hope – if you’re Trump.

    Even so, farmers, who voted overwhelmingly for Trump in the 2016 election, still think that the trade war will positively impact the agricultural industry. Seventy-nine percent of farmers approve of Trump, according to the Farm Pulse Survey. And 78 percent think that the trade war will benefit the agriculture industry, according to the latest data from the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture.

    So, a solid majority of farmers still think that Trump’s trade war with China will positively impact the agricultural industry in America. Words fail me.

    How, pray, is that going to happen? A China which is even now setting up new supply chains to source different markets for the agricultural products it used to buy from the United States…is going to at some future point reverse itself, and buy EVEN MORE from the country that tried to use its trade policies to kick China’s feet out from under it? Based on what, exactly? Scientific proof that the Chinese are the slowest people on earth to catch on? When all the indications suggest China is digging in for a long war of attrition,

    https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trade-war-china-adjusts-loan-prime-rate-to-encourage-borrowing-2019-8-1028460427

    somehow it’s going to come back around and buy American agricultural products again in even greater volumes and at higher prices? Perhaps a made-in-America definition of ‘positive impact’ would help out here.

    If it’s any comfort, not everyone thinks Trump is an idiot-savante – some think he is just an ordinary idiot. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump’s trade war is not being won using the current approach, and America needs to use a ‘multilateral’ push against China’s ‘unfair, statist economic practices’.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-is-losing-the-trade-war-with-china-11566255608

    Umm…say what? “Buy American” rules are not unfair, statist economic practices? Rules which say foreign franchises that produce goods for the American market must have a threshold of American content does not constitute captive buyers who are prevented from accessing the revered ‘free market’ to get cheaper parts are not unfair?

    Tell you what – a multilateral approach, whatever that might entail, is not going to work. America has pissed off and alienated China, and if it ever saw the United States as other than a global foe, it certainly thinks that now. A trade war is not going to make the Chinese government go wobbly, and capitulate. What it is going to do is reroute the rivers of Chinese commerce around America, so that China concentrates on buying less from the USA rather than more. Alternative sources of supply which minimize a dependence on American products, and national investment in domestic production to further reduce China’s imports, which will hurt global trade as a whole. Trump may have single-handedly fucked up the world economy – another thing he can claim he did better than anyone else, ever. Meanwhile, China’s low-paid workforce can still churn out products for America which are competitive with domestically-produced American products, even with tariffs applied, unless Trump jacks the tariffs to such an absurd level that even the invertebrate WTO has to take notice.

    Americans, not Chinese, have a history of not seeing the steamroller slowly approaching their distracted, chattering group until it rolls over them, their faces simultaneously screaming, “Oh noooooo!!!” like Mr. Bill on Saturday Night Live.

    And it’s going to happen again. The damage Trump’s foolhardy trade war is doing to the US economy is not instantly repairable in the short term, and perhaps not ever. Moreover, none of its geopolitical goals will be realized – driving a wedge between Russia and China, destabilizing the Chinese government and causing a nascent ‘democracy movement’ to rise up…none of that is going to happen. And in a couple of years, Trump can co-write a book about it – with someone who has a bigger vocabulary – and gullible Americans will buy it in hopes of learning how this catastrophe came about. Beautiful, in a Zen kind of way.

    Like

      1. As I said long ago, the filth made a dash for the Caucasus, Operation Edelweiß, stuck a Reichskriegsflagge flag on top of a mountain there , photographed it with their mountain troops (Gebirgsjäger)— and fucked off.


        Liebe Mutti! Da bin ich mit Freunden im Kaukasus.

        In short:

        Location‎
        ‎Greater Caucasus, Soviet Union

        Result‎
        Soviet victory: Axis evacuation of the area in 1943

        Date‎: ‎25 July 1942 – 12 May 1944

        My stress.

        No ifs, buts, what-ifs!

        It was a flop!


        Liebe Mutti! Da bin ich bei Stalingrad.

        Like

          1. We used to sing:

            Idle swine, idle swine,
            All day long you are sleeping …

            Other favourites were:

            I’ll throw a custard in your face [I’ve grown accustomed to her face]

            and from “Magic Moments”:

            I’ll never forget the smell of the sweat from under your armpits.

            Like

  38. I think most thought it was a joke meant to gain publicity but apparently Trump was serious about buying Greenland (presumably he meant for the US to buy Greenland, not Trump himself).

    It could be great for the US from a strategic military view (all that arctic frontage), claims to huge areas of the continental shelf and most importantly to Trump, make America even bigger! Only Russia would be larger and after its inevitable fragmentation, the US will be number one in every metric! I do think that is Trump’s motive given his “mine is bigger that yours” psychology.

    But Denmark is not in the mood to sell (assuming that they had the right which they may not have). May we expect a color revolution?

    https://www.rt.com/news/466935-trump-greenland-denmark-meeting/

    The foregoing begs the question: Can a nation sell itself? Who would recognize the new ownership arrangement? Many nations (or at least their leadership) have been rented by the US at bargain rates but a permanent and irrevocable sale is another matter.

    But why stop at Greenland? North Korea may be a good deal.

    Anyway, Greenland has a population of about 56,000. $56 billion would make every citizen a millionaire. It could work if the legal issues are resolved but smart Greenlanders would demand an auction. China could ante up $500 billion from its US holdings and still have cash to spare.

    Of course, nothing will happen but Trump’s image of a wheeler/dealer will be burnished yet again and Europe will cower a little more.

    RT had a good take on the situation. Perhaps the color revolution will be in Greenland itself – far cheaper and easier than staging in Denmark. We live in strange times.

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/466903-greenland-buy-american-exceptionalism/

    Like

    1. The above certainly raises the question “Can a nation sell itself?”

      Yes it can!

      Think of the UK and its so-called special relationship with the USA.

      The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has as its native inhabitants the English, Scots, the Welsh and Irish, some of which latter being reluctant citizens of the UK, and now immigrants and the progeny of immigrants (foreign-born people in the UK total population increased from 8.9% in 2004 to 14.4% in 2017: the second most spoken language in the UK is now, I believe, Polish), has not been sovereign since the Second World War, since which time the UK has been a satellite of the United States.

      The right wing media and the Tory Euro-sceptics rage against the threat to British sovereignty from the European Union and certainly the EU has many faults, but they are incapable of recognizing that the foreign power that actually controls the UK is the USA.

      The potential war aims of any of the early 20th century rivals to British power are easy enough to imagine or, for that matter, to look up.

      First, the British Empire would have been dismantled; such portions of it as the conquering nation wanted would have been seized, other parts would have been allowed self-government under the overall control of the new imperial power, and a few token colonies would have been left under British control, wherever that suited the conqueror’s interests.

      Second, the British government would have become a permanent and subordinate ally of the new imperial power.

      Third, the British military would have been reduced to a fraction of its previous size, and the British government would have been obligated to provide troops and ships to support the new imperial power when the latter decided on a military adventure.

      Fourth, Britain would have been expected to pay a large sum of money as reparations for the costs of the war.

      Finally, to guarantee all these things, the British government would have been forced to accept an occupying force in Britain, and permanent military bases would have been signed over to the new imperial power in Britain and its remaining colonies.

      That, by and large, is what happened to defeated nations in the wars of the 19th and 20th centuries.

      Now compare that list to the relations between Great Britain and the United States from 1945 to the present. That is the thing that cannot be mentioned to this day in polite company: the British Empire ended in the early 1940s when the United States conquered and occupied Britain.

      It was a bloodless conquest, like the German conquest of Denmark, and since the alternative was submitting to Nazi Germany, the British by and large made the best of it.

      Nevertheless, none of Queen Victoria’s prime ministers would have tolerated for a moment the thought of foreign troops being garrisoned on British soil, which is where thousands of US military personnel are garrisoned now.

      Compare and contrast with the US occupation of the “sovereign state” of Germany.

      Like

      1. “Can a nation sell itself?” Yes it can! Think of the UK and its so-called special relationship with the USA.”

        That’s a completely different situation. Greenland sells itself for money, UK sold itself for sex.

        Like

            1. Depends who you read. I remember discovering, upon seeing the centrefold from two different editions of ‘Playboy’ (I can’t remember where from, but one was a North American edition and one from somewhere in Europe, but the same girl from the same month) that the publishers simply changed her supposed answer to ‘who are the best lovers?’ to men in the country where the magazine is sold. There were two different answers, allegedly from the same girl.

              I suppose those magazines are all gone now; I only bought them when I was in my early twenties, so that’s a long time ago, and if they passed out of existence it was without my notice. I’m sure they ‘objectify women’ or something like that, but I never saw it that way – I wanted to know what was what, and you can’t just go up to women in the street and lift their skirts.

              On that note, I read in the paper the other day (I don’t get newspaper delivery, so I only read it at work) that the last strip bar in Victoria has closed. Not from indignation, but from lack of commerce; it just isn’t a moneymaker any more – put out of business by internet porn, they say. I remember there used to be at least five, so this small area would obviously support that many. Is that happening everywhere? I went to one in Russia (Vladivostok) with the missus once, it was right outside the docks where VANCOUVER tied up when I met her. I don’t know how anyone else feels about it, but it’s kind of an uncomfortable feeling going to a peeler bar with your wife; you don’t want to seem too enthusiastic, you know? But she was very interested (it was her idea) and seemed quite comfortable, and was not the only non-performing woman there, either.

              Like

              1. The Windsor Ballet (aka strip bars) have all fallen victim to internet porn of various types. But, oddly in my opinion, strip bars continue to flourish in Toledo, Ohio, with several located in strip malls (no joke) as zoning laws allow such.

                My wife and I visited a strip bar in Moscow, the Solaris, IIRC. She had no problem at all. Eastern European women seem to be that way, less prudish and little feigned outrage.

                Like

    2. The USA wants Arctic frontage because it wants to manage the Northwest Passage, and to carry the fight to Russia on which end of the Lomonosov Ridge is the origin. If it lay on the Canadian end, it would extend Canada’s reach far, far into the Arctic waters. I think Russia’s claim is pretty solid, but as the RT article points out, sovereignty doesn’t really mean much to the USA any more.

      Like

      1. Mark, if you have the magazine there in Canada, please read last month’s edition of Scientific American. There is a very interesting article on the whole geographical issue of the Arctic. With diagrams showing Lomonosov Ridge and stuff, along with detailed explanations of the legal disputes and such-like.

        Like

        1. Yes, I’d be interested; I’ll look for it. But the reality is that the entirety of the Northwest Passage lies within Canadian waters and a Canadian archipelago. The United States has no claim to it at all, and is therefore trying hard to have it declared an international waterway, in which case it could appoint itself its policeman, for ‘security’. The Arctic argument is an old one, but basically the Lomonosov Ridge bisects the Arctic Basin. It was discovered by a drifting Soviet ice station, sometime in the 50’s if I recall correctly (too lazy to look it up), and could extend the coastline of the country of its origin a considerable distance. But I can’t understand the prominence of the United States in the whole debate – it has no Arctic frontage at all. It seems to be leaning on the I’m-too-big-to-leave-out argument.

          Like

          1. All the articles in Scientific American can be read online.
            I am currently really sick of the magazine, though.
            I still read them, because they have good articles when they stick to pure science.
            But more and more, their op-eds and “notes from the editors” are politicized and anti-Russian.

            For example, they have been promoting the Russiagate Conspiracy Theory in the guise of pseudo-scientific blabla about how gullible (non-scientific) people believe in conspiracy theories! and the Editors even had the gall to promote the “Baltic Elves” project as a shining example of how to counteract pro-Russian trolls and bots.

            Clearly, the Scientific American have come under ideological control of the CIA, who probably has a member sitting on their editorial board. I say “probably” as in 99.9% sure.

            Like

    3. People laugh, but Greenland would actually be a HUGE asset to whoever owned it. It would have been the real estate deal of the century, and a total feather in Trump’s cap.
      I actually respect Trump more now, that he even thought of this genius idea.
      I’m glad it didn’t pan out, though. The last thing this old world needs is an even more powerful United States of America. As it is, the sun never sets on the American Empire.

      Everybody join in a humming chorus of “Wider, ever wider… may our bounds be spread…”

      Like

  39. There are a lot of What If’s under discussion. How about this What If:

    What if WW II never happened? What if the Soviet Union’s rapid industrialization and technology advancements were not interrupted by the Western invasion? The West was still largely mired in an economic depression and millions were looking to the SU as a viable alternative to failed Western capitalism. The political and economic trajectories were looking grim for the West and particularly so for the UK and US.

    Was WW II inevitable? Hell no. FDR was giving every indication of accepting a powerful SU and would seek accommodations. Many US industrial capitalists saw the SU as an economic opportunity that they no longer had in the US. The bastards in the British empire had a different agenda.

    As history turned out, the SU did not win WW II. It merely survived. It did rally to some degree but nearly an entire generation of its male youth were killed, 50% of its assets were destroyed and it found itself isolated and surrounded by the West armed with nuclear weapons, it was all it could do to forestall the next invasion.

    Now, that What If is what we should ponder if we are to seek root causes of WW II and the great victory it was for the Western empire.

    We will see if the British bastards can pull another rabbit out of the hat. I doubt that they will.

    Like

          1. My mother and father were married in a church 11 months before I was born.

            And when I was born, Comrade Stalin was the top man round these parts.

            In fact, I was one month off my 4th birthday when he popped his clogs.

            Like

            1. Do you know or have ever known anyone who was a member of the British ruling class, related to Sir Winston Churchill or Mr. Bean?

              But my point was that the Soviet Union did not win WW II in the sense of the victor reaping the spoils.

              Like

              1. In the case of the Great Patriotic War 1941 – 1945, winning did not mean getting prizes: it meant surviving.

                That war was an ideological one founded on the racist ideas of an Austrian maniac and other racist, German nationalists of his ilk, whose racist ideas had not been uncommon in Western Europe before the mid-20th century.

                The objective of the Nazis in their war waged against the USSR was the carving out of an eastern empire from lands occupied by “subhuman” Slavs, which lands would then be settled by “Master Race”, “Aryan” Germans, the extermination of said subhuman Slavs and the annihilation of the USSR.

                This did not happen.

                The Nazis were defeated, surrendered their state unconditionally to the forces that opposed them and their ideology, and had their major cities effectively razed before they surrendered.

                Therefore, the USSR “won”: more exactly, the USSR survived, was on the winning side, having made by far the greatest contribution towards the allied victory against Nazidom.

                For the USSR, survival was victory: there no prizes

                Like

                1. Typo:

                  There WERE no prizes.

                  Unless you consider the shifting of the USSR western frontier further west at Poland’s expense, Poland being accordingly compensated by the shifting of the Polish western frontier further west at Germany’s expense, all of which now “immutable” boundary changes having been agreed at the Yalta Conference in 1945.

                  Some bloody prize that was!

                  The USSR ended up in acquiring Galitsia and its erstwhile Hapsburg Empire “Ruthenians” as part of the deal, which former Hapsburg Galitsia became part of the UkSSR, which latter, following the demise of the USSR, then claimed to be the sovereign state of “Ukraine”, inheritor to that first and greatest and racially purest and most noble Eastern Slav state, namely “Kievan” Rus’.

                  Слава жопам!

                  Like

              2. Do you know or have ever known anyone who was a member of the British ruling class, related to Sir Winston Churchill or Mr. Bean?

                No, I loathe and abhor the British ruling class and have always found Mr. Bean singularly unfunny.

                Like

  40. Gee; the western powers seem to agree Russia should be readmitted to the G7. The focus now is on trying to get some concessions in exchange for it, while Trump blames the whole eviction on Obama.

    Has anyone seen any yearning articles in which Russia pines for readmission? I haven’t. In fact, I sense a distinct disappointment in the west with Russia’s failure to scream and rant about its expulsion, and signify its willingness to do anything to be let back in. I’d have to say Russia has pretty much done nothing the west demanded it do in order to be considered. Yet the west seems to just assume eagerness and a desire to please.

    https://news.yahoo.com/russia-return-g7-depend-ukraine-085400797.html

    Perhaps Russia should set them straight, and say that there is no hurry – all things come to he who waits.

    Like

  41. @ME
    The GPW Caucasus link was a peace offering . Your Vicksburg analysis of why the Nazis wanted to take Stalingrad was on point as was Archie’s presentation of the strategic significance that rivers played in the conflict that he detailed in the Quora piece.

    However I notice that the link I copied into KS requires an involvement of Facebook horseshit in order read all of Archie’s arguments. The link I copy and paste on my browser doesn’t require this.
    Don’t know how to fix this for those of you who refuse to deal with Facebook.
    Sorry..
    Here it is again…but it will probably still require a Facebook log in.
    https://www.quora.com/What-if-Germany-captured-Russia-s-oil-fields-during-WWII/answer/Carl-Richard-Archie

    Like

  42. Operation Clusterfuck proceeding as planned….or not planned:

    “The existence of the Tory Brexit planning strategy was first revealed last September, when a press photographer was able to take a snapshot of a document revealing some “no-deal” plans and the codename. Details of its general contents then emerged over the last year.

    Yellowhammer’s “command and control” contingency plans for a no-deal outcome were first set to be enacted last March—the previous deadline set for the UK’s exit before it was extended to October by then-Prime Minister Theresa May and Brussels. Under its provisions, the government’s Cobra committee, which is usually only convened under conditions of national emergency, is empowered to deal with all no-deal preparations, including having a minimum of 3,500 troops on standby.

    Yellowhammer’s provisions have dire social implications, as they are premised on the clamping down of strikes and protests by workers and the evisceration of democratic rights. They include the rolling out of sweeping police-state powers embodied in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, introduced by the Labour government of Tony Blair.

    In January, the Times revealed that scenarios for martial law were being considered and that “curfews, bans on travel, confiscation of property [and] deployment of the armed forces to quell rioting are among the measures available to ministers.”

    The picture that emerges from the latest documents is one in which every section of the economy faces turmoil in a small island nation that relies on imports for virtually all the necessities of everyday life, including basic foodstuffs and medicine.

    There will be significant disruption at ports lasting up to three months before the flow of traffic supposedly “improves”—to 50 to 70 percent of the current rate. Yellowhammer warns that “Certain types of fresh food supply will …. decrease, which adds to the “risk that panic buying will disrupt food supplies.”

    “Low-income groups” and “vulnerable groups” will be “disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel.” Under these conditions, plans for rationing food are underway.

    Yellowhammer notes that there will be “probably be marked price rises for electricity customers with associated wider economic and political effects.”

    Medicine supplies are predicted to be vulnerable to “severe extended delays,” as three-quarters of the UK’s medicines enter the country via the main Channel crossings.

    Even the population’s access to fresh water is threatened due to a possible failure in the purifying chemicals supply chain. This could “affect up to 100,000s of people.”

    Among the most detailed sections of Yellowhammer are those dealing with expected widespread social unrest. It states that “protests and counter protests” as a result of food, medicine and petrol shortages are expected to use up police resources and result in “a rise in public disorder and community tensions.”

    Carry On!!!!

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/21/yell-a21.html

    Like

    1. And Britain can look forward to no relaxing of the mess, because it is an example of what happens when you leave the Union. If it was all peaches and cream and every nation got to keep all the benefits of independent nationhood plus the trade benefits of being a Union member, everyone would leave. Because there are costs to being in, like having to supply cash to bail out profligate members who can’t get their economies under control. Germany would leave so fast there’d be only a puff of dust left behind.

      Like

      1. For some reason, the notion of ‘suicide pact’ comes to my mind whenever I think of the Brexit debacle!!

        Maybe some of the EU member nations should take a hypothetical peek down a road which leads to their wanting out….!!!!!

        Like

  43. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49423968

    “What offended the president was the reaction of the prime minister to reports that Trump is interested in buying Greenland—an autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark—from the Danish government. Frederiksen dismissed the prospect as “an absurd discussion.”

    “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously,” she said, explaining that, “Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland.” The prime minister’s statement was diplomatic; indeed, she emphasized a desire to maintain close relations with the US, noting that, “Developments in the Arctic call for further cooperation with the US, Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, and I’d like to underline that still stands.”
    https://www.thenation.com/article/trump-greenland-denmark/

    (Hmmm..kinda hot for an older woman…very intelligent…kinda brings you guys and gals favorite Russian spokeswoman to mind….)
    https://images.app.goo.gl/sBSah5CKMez7R2qK6

    She has named this dumb shit proposal for what it is …lunacy

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/21/politics/trump-nasty-woman-denmark-mette-frederiksen/index.html

    What a COMPLETE moron…..LOL!!!!

    Like

    1. Truman made an offer back in 1946 when there was fear Western Europe could go commie. The proposal has resurfaced form time to time but never in the way Trump did so.

      Like

  44. Color revolutions seem to focus on a relatively unimportant complaint (here, an extradition treaty) and elevating it to a rejection of a government the US wishes to eliminate. Although impossible to prove, the HK demonstrations would likely wither without continuous overt US support via money, propaganda and organization of marginal groups including criminal. As noted by many, the demonstrators do not mention things like high rent or other similar issues, just the usual talking points of Western propaganda (unlike the Yellow Vest demonstrations for example).

    Remember the inane “Umbrella Revolution”? I suspect that was scripted by US ad agencies and produced by the US embassy.

    Like

    1. I have seen reports and a photo on 21SilkRoad’s Facebook page of protesters receiving cash payments for marching and damaging street furniture and moving barricades to disrupt traffic. There have also been reports of people giving up regular work in shops and stores and going out to protest, as the cash payments are often far in excess of what they would normally earn in a day. Several weeks ago, the payments started at HK$1,000 for turning up to march but I am not sure now what protesters are getting.

      Apart from the photo of US consular official Julie Eadeh meeting with members of one protesting group that went viral on HK social media –

      – there is also a photo of one supporter of the “pro-democracy” protesters, HK media publisher Jimmy Lai, meeting with a US government official in Washington DC in July 2019 –

      Lai met with Pence and Pompeo as well.

      In addition much of the Western media reporting on HK police violence was prejudiced against the police, usually by omitting to mention the context (or editing it out entirely) in which, to take one example, one police officer threatened to use his bean bag gun and forced protesters to scatter: I have seen the full film of this incident and in that film, protesters had thrown themselves on top of the fellow and were punching him. Much of the actual violence has been carried out by protesters themselves, as in trashing the Legislative Council building, throwing projectiles at police stations and targeting the eyes of police officers with laser beam weapons. In one video I have seen, a protester had a portable grenade launcher. Amazing, the things people can buy in HK shops these days – or get from the US consulate!

      Bernhard at the Moon of Alabama blog predicts the protests will be over after the end of August and the start of the new university year on 2 September 2019, and I am inclined to agree with him. The Umbrella Revolution in 2015 petered out after university and school resumed in September that year.

      Like

        1. The recent tactic of RF officials in the wake of unauthorised demonstrations (placing annotations on the academic records of yoots identified as participants) might be a deterrent if applied to their higher profile HK equivalents.

          Like

      1. Oh look — Chinese Kreakles!

        What should one call them?

        Chinkles, perhaps?

        No, I am not being “racist”!

        I’ve just been chatting to two enchanting Chinese ladies during an online lesson with a firm based in Shanghai.

        Both are delightful persons: extremely cultured, polite and dead smart.

        Like

      2. “Feeling like One Is in a Game”: How Protests in Moscow are Organised
        August 17, 2019 Stalker Zone

        All on the side of freedom and democracy of course!

        Oh thank you! Thank you, thank you USA!!!

        Like

  45. For the uninformed, a “saluting battery” that is mentioned above and which the organizers advised demonstrators to bring along, is a bloody big box of Chinese fireworks that fires from its inbuilt cardboard tubes a dozen or more “Roman Candle” type projectiles high into the night sky, which projectiles then explode extremely loudly, each producing an impressive “Chrysanthemum” display.

    You can’t buy them in Merry England: banned from public sale.

    Bloody “Nanny State”!

    You can buy them easily enough here though. Often used at birthday celebrations.

    36 salvoes in that box of tricks above!

    Bring one along and fire them at the cops!

    Like

    1. Title of above Youtube clip:

      Disorder coordinator hides behind a baby

      Subtitles of clip read as follows:

      The opposition that set up riotous behaviour in downtown Moscow has not ceased talking about the “SPONTANEITY” of the event.

      Title screen:

      WHO RADICALIZES AND DIRECTS THE PROTESTS IN MOSCOW AND HOW IS THIS DONE?

      Opening page subtitle repeated:

      The opposition that set up riotous behaviour in downtown Moscow has not ceased talking about the “SPONTANEITY” of the event …

      and that nobody who was demonstrating either accosted the police or coordinated the event …

      Take note of that very word “NOBODY“.

      And here he sets to work — he begins to coordinate the crowd movement as it leaves Bryusov Lane.

      Take note of the family couple with a baby in a baby-buggy.

      And now this baby is given to the man in red shorts so that he can safely move out of the crowd.

      Here he is again, this man in red shorts, and he is giving out very real directions.

      And this man really regulates the crowd movement on Tverskoi Boulevard.

      Here he is again, leading the people across the road towards its New Arbat side.

      And again, here he is urging the crowd to jump up and down and shout Maidan-style.

      And here is the grand finale: having done his work, the coordinator gets ready to secret himself away.

      PAY ATTENTION! The family couple hands over to him THE CHILD, whom he uses as a theatrical prop so as to hide away behind it from the police!

      They are most definitely acquainted! They are in no way individual actors in this event: this group consists of at least three people. And the infant acts as a human shield.

      And here is that very same man in the red shorts: Sergei Fomin, a signature collector on L. Sobol’s staff. Factually speaking, he is a member of her staff.

      [Lyubov Eduardovna Sobol: “oppositionist”, lawyer for Navalny’s “Anti-Corruption Foundation” and member of the Russian Opposition Coordination Council, who was barred by the Central Election Commission from standing for election to the Moscow Duma because she had failed to collect enough genuine signatures to register her candidacy, since which debarment Sobol’s supporters and other opposition candidates have stage weekly rallies over the past month — ME]

      On 14 July, Fomin had already participated in confrontations against the police. And now he is on the streets again, directing protests to aggravate the police.

      Like

  46. With all respect due to some members of the the Stooge community….

    Youse guys and gals continue to miss the freakin’ point !!!

    Capisce!!??

    Here is where you Stooges are coming from:
    https://thegrayzone.com/2019/08/17/hong-kong-protest-washington-nativism-violence/

    However there is more to the HK situation than the Great round-eyed Satan pulling gullible protester strings.
    The PRC ,ROC and HK each have distinct economic stratifications of their respective economies that
    in some cases manifest in **enormous** disparities that cannot be attributed to Western meddling or other nefarious machinations. I think the discussion here attempts to take into account these factors,
    expressed by a plurality of perspectives and comments:
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/22/pers-a22.html

    Like

    1. The problem though is that as long as the “one country, two systems” principle continues to operate, there is not a chance that Hong Kong’s pre-997 political structure and institutions, which tend to favour the business community and its interests (which include maintaining sky-high property prices by opposing massive public housing projects in HK, or at the very least allowing a certain number to be built but no more in case prices start going down) and certain professions and their interests, will change very much to allow for universal suffrage.

      The result will be that as cities around the Pearl River delta in China near Hong Kong continue to modernise and leave HK behind in the dust, mass protests will become an annual event and the global financial industry on which HK’s economy depends so heavily will perceive HK to be unstable and money will start to fly away.

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

      Like

    2. The protestors are not gullible – they are likely dominated by scheming opportunists finding opportunity in a US sponsored effort to foment a color revolution. When demonstrators start to protest things that matter in their daily lives, then it will have credibility.

      Like

    1. They gave Pasternak the Nobel Prize for Literature for his Dr. Zhivago novel.

      Pasternak metaphorically became a martyr to the cause of freedom of expression and was accordingly deified in the West and his book described as a work of genius.

      My chief literary critic, Natalya Vladimirovna Exile, told me several years ago that after Zhivago had at last been published here, she had tried to read it several times but couldn’t, because, she said, it was crap. (Not her actual words!) And I’ve come across others who think the book is most definitely not unputdownable.

      Well, if the Guardian is anything to go by as regards literary critique, I can understand Mrs. Exile’s attitude towards the laureate’s “masterpiece”:

      Pasternak’s work is also difficult because his mind-set is unpredictably complex, evocatively associative, synaesthetic and polysemous. His vocabulary is exceptionally wide, and his intellect has a pronounced metaphysical cast. In an uncollected letter to TS Eliot, Pasternak explores their shared aesthetic in ambitiously faulty English. Eliot’s art, he writes, like his own, is “a casually broken off fragment of the density of being itself; of the hylomorphic matter of existence . . .”

      Reminds me of “Pseud’s Corner” in the late “Private Eye”. Why doesn’t the writer say Pasternak is unreadable?

      Shades of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?

      Anyway, Pasternak got a Nobel Prize for Literature.

      O’Bummer got one for “Peace” as well.

      Just shows you!

      Russian Reading Finale: ‘Doctor Zhivago’, oh dear.

      I really did want to enjoy ‘Zhivago’ though. Please, if anyone out there has enjoyed reading it, do get in touch; I would love to have my mind changed about the Nobel-winning classic.

      Like

      1. I would have tried to read it, had not the CIA’s book critic gave away all the plot points and twists!

        For example, in Chapter 5 we learn that the good Doctor, at gunpoint, helped patch up the wounds of CIA assassin Jack Ryan; Ryan convinces Zhivago that the Bolsheviks are evil, and the two buddies, exchanging ribbings and wisecracks, embark on a daring regime-change operation….

        (Just kidding around, and maybe it’s just a prejudice, but if a book is on the CIA’s Book Club Reading List, then I tend not to want to read it.)

        Like

      1. Me, too. Because Sloopy is not a name. The namesake was apparently Dorothy Sloop, a 50’s-era singer who used ‘Sloopy’ as a stage name.

        https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Sloopy

        It’s also the Official Rock Song of the State of Ohio, from which the McCoys hailed. But they were not the first band to do the song; they just made it a big hit.

        https://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/who-is-sloopy-and-what-is-she-hanging-on-to/

        Like

      1. I think the Persian Empire had the extermination of Georgian culture in mind a couple of hundred years ago, though.

        Now I wonder whom the Georgians asked for help in that matter?

        The Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti (1762–1801) was created in 1762 by the unification of two eastern Georgian kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti. From the early 16th century, according to the 1555 Peace of Amasya, these two kingdoms were under Iranian control….

        …in 1747, Teimuraz II and Heraclius II capitalized on the instability in Iran proper, and declared de facto independence … after centuries of Iranian suzerainty over Georgia …

        … the kingdom remained de facto autonomous for the next three decades to come. In 1783, Heraclius signed the Treaty of Georgievsk with the Russian Empire, by which he formally laid Kartli-Kakheti’s investiture in the hands of the Russian monarch, and made the kingdom a Russian protectorate. Amongst others, this provided the nominal guarantee for protection against new Iranian attempts, or by any others, to (re)conquer or attack eastern Georgia. By the 1790s, a new strong Iranian dynasty, the Qajar dynasty, had emerged under Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, which would prove pivotal in the history of the short-lived kingdom.

        In the next few years, having secured mainland Iran, the new Iranian king set out to reconquer the Caucasus and to re-impose its traditional suzerainty over the region. After Heraclius II refused to denounce the treaty with Russia and to voluntarily reaccept Iran’s suzerainty in return for peace and prosperity for his kingdom, Agha Mohammad Khan invaded Kartli-Kakheti, captured and sacked Tbilisi, effectively bringing it back under Iranian control. This was short-lived, however, for Agha Mohammad Khan was assassinated two years later. Heraclius II himself died a year after that.

        The following years which were spent in muddling and confusion, culminated in 1801 with the official annexation of the kingdom by Alexander I within the Russian Empire during the nominal ascension of Heraclius’s son George XII to the Kartli-Kakhetian throne. Following the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813, Iran officially ceded the kingdom to Russia, marking the start of a Russian-centred chapter in Georgian history.

        source

        Wicked, wicked Russians!

        I work with 2 Georgians, a young man and a young woman, who both have those distinctive Georgian good looks that I, for one, find quite attractive. They are both Russian citizens born in Vladikavkaz; they both have family in Tbilisi; they both regularly visit their extended families in Georgia; they both moved to Moskva when they where 18, where they both received their higher education; neither has any desire to return to either Vladikavkaz or the land of their forebears; neither of them speak Georgian.

        Like

          1. It’s not only a pretty alphabet, it is also a highly efficient and scientifically crafted alphabet: 33 letters, one for each of the phonemes of the spoken language. Would make it very easy for children, and even foreigners to learn to read. Not like the horrific English alphabet, egads!
            According to wiki, nobody really knows who invented the Gruzian alphabet, but apparently version of it date back to the 5th century. Was probably influenced by contemporary Greek. The Classical Greeks had come up with a perfect phonemic system for their own language. Well, everything that the Greek scholars did was top-notch, there is no doubt about that.

            Like

    1. The UK Independent had an article the other day on this, stating that the case is the talk of Russia at the moment.

      First I had heard of it.

      Nobody yapping about it on the metro.

      Not seen any headlines about it in the dailies.

      Has the above link been posted in order to remind other Stooges that such things occur in Russia, that Russia is not “perfect”?

      Did other Stooges think that such events do not occur here, that Russia is a paradise on earth?

      Like

      1. Actually, the western media is making a huge deal out of this. There might be some schadenfreude because it’s happening in Russia, but mostly it is another – surprise! – push at destabilizing the Russian government by stirring up dissent against domestic-abuse laws. The western viewpoint is that the girls are likely to go down the river for murder because the Russian laws are antiquated and unfair, The usual win/win – if the girls are exonerated the western media will pat itself on the back for standing up for justice and making ‘the Kremlin’ back down, as if western pressure brought about the verdict, while if they are convicted the west will try to spin it into violent protests.

        Like

        1. Do not judges have some leeway? Yes, there are legal maxima and minima but what interests me more is the quality level of judges in Russia and whether they are seen to be fair – i.e. a reflection of hiring/government policy and the in depth modernization of Russia making it fit for the 21st century etc.

          Like

      1. Pains me to say it but Micron using the old “your chair is lower than mine” crap to his guest deserves an oafish response.

        Like

        1. But is the oaf’s chair really lower than Macron’s?

          Another educated boor in action:

          That table was a gift given to the USA in 1880 by her Britannic Majesty and Empress of India Queen Victoria, you posing twat!

          🙂

          Like

  47. Do such people live on the same planet as do I?

    Is there a certain madness that is unique to Banderastan?

    Украинский министр пообещал поднять флаг страны над Владивостоком
    05:02 24.08.2019 (обновлено: 08:14 24.08.2019)

    Ukraine minister has promised to raise his country’s flag over Vladivostok
    05:02 24.08.2019 (updated: 08:14 24.08.2019)


    A misty eyed, Svidomite dreamer?

    Moskva, 24 Aug — RIA Novosti. The Ukraine Minister of the Infrastructure, Vladimir Omelyan, has said that Kiev will win the “war” against Moscow. A video of his statement was published by “Politnavigator”. [Note the stupid, brain-dead Yukie twat speaking in the video whilst wearing his regulation vyshyvanka — ME]

    Speaking at the opening of the Freedom Factor exhibition in Kiev, Omelyan commented on French President Emmanuel Macron’s words about a Europe “from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” In his opinion, Europe will only become so when the Ukrainian flag is hoisted above Vladivostok. [Because Yukiestan is “European”, see, whereas “Putin’s Russia” is anathema to all that Yukitards and Europeans hold so dearly! — ME]

    “I’m more than sure that we shall win this continuing Ukrainian-Russian battle. I am more than sure that the European liberals who proclaim a Europe [that stretches] from Lisbon to Vladivostok are right. It will really be Europe. But only when again above Vladivostok there is a Ukrainian flag, as there was a hundred years ago”, the minister said at the opening of the Freedom Factor exhibition in Kiev.

    [Green Ukraine (Zeleny Klyn — literally: “Green Wedge”), also known as “Transcathay”, was the Ukrainian name for the land in the Russian Far East between the Amur River and the Pacific Ocean.

    After the Russian Revolution of 1917, this was a projected Ukrainian Republic in the far east of the former Russian Empire. After the establishment of the Bolshevik Far Eastern Republic on April 6, 1920, Far Eastern areas with an ethnic Ukrainian majority attempted to secede and establish an entity called “Green Ukraine”. This movement quickly proved abortive. (My stress! Source: Wiki)]

    Earlier, after a meeting with Vladimir Putin, Macron had written a Russian-language post on Facebook, stating that he “believes in a Europe, stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok” and that Russia is a “deeply European country”.

    Omelyan became head of the Ukraine Ministry of Infrastructure in April 2016. During his work, he has become remembered for a number of scandalous statements. In particular, he actively advocated the termination of railway communication with Russia, although it was the trains to Moscow that occupy the leading positions in terms of profitability for the Ukraine. In addition, Omelyan has promised to enter Moscow in a tank.

    Omelyan, is from Lvov, of course: he is a typically Russophobic Galitsian shitwit.

    Like

    1. Oh, what a maundering shithead. Vladivostok was never Ukrainian or anything close to it, and most of the peninsula upon which it was located was once China. It was formerly Haishenwei, and was part of the Qing Dynasty Chinese Empire; it fell under Russian control through the Treaty of Aigun and the Peking Convention. A more modern agreement between the Soviet Union and China on establishment of the border was concluded as recently as 1991. It was never Ukrainian. That sorry country is never going to be anything so long as its public face and voice are dominated by fantasy-spinning dreamweavers. Why not just say the whole world is Ukrainian, but allowed to function as independent nations due to Kuh-yiv’s munificence? I can’t believe there isn’t a special door the size of a garage opening that allows Omelyan into the Rada, his head is so swollen.

      Like

      1. Omelyan’s reasoning has a tiny grain of logic to it, as follows:
        His hope and dream is that
        (1) Ukraine will join NATO, (2) NATO will defeat Russia in a war, and (3) hence the victorious NATO nations will raise their flags through the former-Russia, as far East as Vladivostok.

        That is his reasoning, I think. Not unlike that other kreakle who promised to return to Moscow in the turret of a NATO tank. It’s their fantasy world. But could actually happen if Russia were to be invaded and lose the ensuing war.

        Like

        1. Did he not remember that Russia made it clear that a world without Russia is not a world worth having (i.e. Europe would be a sheet of green glass if by some miracle NATO could defeat Russia in a conventional war).

          Like

        2. What gets me is that this shit Omelyan is a Galitsian, a descendant of shitkickers that in the 19th and early 20th centuries was part of a tribe called “Ruthenes”, now labelled “Ukrainians”.

          After the partition of Poland, that eternal martyr of Europe, Galitsia became part of the multiethnic Hapsburg Empire, and the capital of the k. u. k. Empire Kronland [“Crownland” = Imperial Province] was Krakow, now in Poland.

          Interestingly, although German was the official language of the Empire in all its Crownlands (apart from in Hungary, which, after 1866, became a largely autonomous state within the renamed Austro-Hungarian Empire), in Hapsburg Galitsia, Polish was the official language of the authorities. That’s because the Hapsburgs were frightened of losing their Polish territories, so they suck-holed the Polish pans, insinuating that they too would be granted an autonomous Polish state following a hoped for WWI victory for the Central Powers.

          Needless to say, the Poles treated the Ruthenes like shit. They still do, and post WWII, with good reason.

          Lvov had then a majority population consisting of Poles. The next biggest ethnic group in Lvov was the the Jews. The Ruthenes, as I said, were shitkickers, slugging their gorilka and noshing their salo> in the surrounding countryside, where they spoke their East Slav dialect that they now call “Ukrainian”.

          And shock horrors! Contrary to the expectations of the imperial general staffs of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, when a general conflict broke out in Europe in August 1914, the Russians mobilized quickly and invaded East Prussia and Galitsia, catching the Central Powers’ armed forces with their pants down.

          Lvov was promptly taken and there was a to-and-fro slogging match to capture the k.u.k Przemyśl fortress, which fell in 1915.

          Come the end of hostilities on the Eastern Front in WWI in 1917, followed by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, stirred by Woodrow Wilson’s “14 Points”, former subject ethnic groups within the Hapsburg Empire, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians , Croats, Slovenes, Bosnians, Herzegovinians, South Tyrol Italians, Poles and not least of all “Austrian Ruthenes” (not to be confused with “Russian Ruthenes”!) all vied for their own patches of independent territories. Trouble is that old Woodrow, US academic and member of the WASP elite, knew sweet Fanny Adams about the complex ethnic mix of East-Central Europe.

          So in 1917 in the former “Austrian Galitsia”, the Poles wanted to rule the roost, as they had done before the partition of Poland and had done, in effect, in the Crownland of Galitsia. However, the Ruthenes, those of the Uniate Church, that is, and certainly not those who were influenced by the 1917 events in Russia, wanted an “Independent Ukraine”, independent that is, but really a satrap of Germany, which occupied Galitsia and beyond – as far as Kiev, and then, after Versailles and the withdrawal of German armed forces, an independent Ukraine.

          And the slaughter began in that territory that Snyder calls the “killing fields”, but in reality had been inter-ethnic killing fields for generations and long before the arrival of the Bolshevik Orcs.

          Lvov is a case in point. The city was Polish in that the majority of its population was Polish then , as indeed was Kiev, but the surrounding territory was shitkicker Ruthenian land.

          The Ruthenians did not want Galitsia to return to the Polish fold, as it were, and tried to take Lvov. They failed.

          Following k.u.k policy, the imperial troops policing events in Lvov were of a different ethnicity to the locals – Czechs in this instance. So when the butchering began, the Czechs couldn’t be arsed about it: they were more interested in their newly emerged republic and there was no love lost between Poles, Czechs, Ruthenians and, don’t forget, the Jews. who were swarming around Galitsia those days.

          And guess what? The Poles slaughtered the Ruthenians and the Jews in Lvov.

          And that cnut Omelyan is from Lvov and talks of when “the Ukraine”, that fucking east-central Europe borderland, remember, will find its rightful place in the sun and shitkicking Ruthenians will bathe their feet on the Pacific Ocean beaches of Vladivostok.

          What a tosser!

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          1. Oh yeah! And forget not that Galitsia only became part of the USSR as a result of the Yalta agreement, 1945, whereby Polish frontiers were shifted westwards at the expense of the erstwhile 1,000 Year Reich, and Soviet territory moved westwards, taking in Polish Galitsia, which since 1945 was a province of the UkSSR until 1991, and in Poroshenko’s words, is “the essence of the Ukraine”.

            That’s good, coming from a Bessarabian Jew.

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  48. Shit! Should have been italicised from “Earlier, after a meeting with Vladimir Putin” to “to enter Moscow in a tank”, which non-italicised section of the above posting is part of the translated linked RIA Novosti article.

    Like

        1. Well, well; soybeans again.

          https://www.checkpointasia.net/china-wants-to-build-an-argentine-soybeans-superhighway/

          Checkpoint Asia is one of the sites Marko Marjanovic initially set up, although such sites quickly come to serve various contributing authors.

          https://www.checkpointasia.net/author/markocpa/

          We see Marko here from time to time, although he’s quite busy (He’s also a deputy editor at Russia Insider).

          https://russia-insider.com/en/authors/marko-marjanovic

          He’s a Slovene from Ljubljana. We first met on the old blog, when he was also a blogger running the site known as “Hero Of Crappy Town’. It’s now apparently defunct; there are still listings for a few posts, but the links are no longer active.

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      1. Interesting; we should not, however, view this as giving up. The influence of the MIC on US policy is such that the overall effort will not be allowed to be canceled. Just the contractors, and they might not even be out of the running – Washington will just call for new ideas, and if the same people submit a new idea Washington likes, a way will likely be found for them to bid.

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  49. Moar reviews!
    I hereby pitch Blowout by Rachel Maddow. It’s apparently already a bestseller, if Amazon is to be believed. Somebody needs to take it down a peg.

    Like

  50. More bed shittin’
    https://www.checkpointasia.net/when-did-joe-biden-start-believing-he-had-opposed-the-iraq-war/

    richard kingston • 7 hours ago
    What a burnt-out has-been two-faced old fart he is, a male version of Miss Piggy Clinton, the Democrats are insane to field that wanker Biden. Trump could eat him alive in any debate as Biden screws-up, forgets, look for some young girl to fondle and hug, fumbles like a chicken on drugs. Bet Wall St and the corporate war-machine back him as they did Obama and Miss Piggy, she would have served them well as all Presidents must do or else. USA? the best $Democracy Money can buy.

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    1. That article lays bare the essential and instinctive objection to Joe Biden – why would anyone in his/her right mind vote to have the nation’s foreign policy under the control of someone who was outsmarted by George W. Bush, a man who could barely speak in sentences? And Biden is either that, or a liar.

      The Democrats seemed determined as recently as a couple of weeks ago to make Joe Biden the candidate, and they still might, because he has the political pedigree and the political class is all about breeding. But he has dropped a couple of clangers since then, and the press does not seem inclined to give him a pass. The Cheeto Who Took The White House can hardly be oblivious to Biden’s stumbling, considering he has nothing better to do than stay up all night eating cheeseburgers and reading/watching the news. Just because he is keeping quiet about it so far doesn’t mean he is unaware, and even if he were, staffers would bring it to his attention. Biden is looking more like a hell of a long shot, although his support among decided Democratic voters remained perversely high in the last polls I saw. Even though Gabbard could outsmart Uncle Joe from the depths of a coma, her national recognition is still too low. I suspect the DNC’s plan is still to redeem Biden by trying to invent a perspective from which his simpleminded blabbering sounds like something other than a pack of lies.

      One thing we must always keep in mind when trying to predict what the DNC will do; at bottom, there is virtually no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. The Democrats want the next president to be a Democrat because they want to make progress on a Democratic agenda which differs from Republican priorities only inasmuch as the Republicans will not be in charge of it. If someone shoved it into your hand in a dark room, you would not be able to tell which party it came from. And so far, Gabbard is too much of a maverick to be onboard with being a talking head for the DNC. Hence, the DNC does not like her and does not want to support her candidacy unless she starts looking a little more cooperative. I don’t see that happening.

      Like

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