The United States of Amnesia, and Its Incredible Asbestos Pants

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Uncle Volodya says, You must remember, my dear lady, the most important rule of any successful illusion: First, the people must want to believe in it”.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire…

Chidren’s rhyme

In an era of stress and anxiety, when the present seems unstable and the future unlikely, the natural response is to retreat and withdraw from reality, taking recourse either in fantasies of the future or in modified visions of a half-imagined past.

Alan Moore, from “Watchmen”

Unless you were catatonic this past couple of weeks, dead drunk from Sunday to Saturday, suffered a debilitating brain injury or were living in Bognor Regis where the internet cannot reach, you heard about the west slapping a four-year Olympic ban on Russia. Because it could, it did. And not really for any other reason, despite the indignation and manufactured outrage. It’s a pity – now that I come to think on it – that you can’t use outrage to power a vehicle, fill a sandwich or knit into socks: because the west has a bottomless supply, and it’s just about as renewable a resource as you could envision.

As I have reiterated elsewhere and often, the United States of America is the cheatingest nation on the planet where professional sports is concerned, because winning matters to Americans like nowhere else. Successful Olympic medal-winners and iconic sports figures in the USA are feted like victorious battlefield generals, because the sports arena is just another battlefield to the United States, and there’s no it’s-not-whether-you-win-or-lose-it’s-how-you-play-the-game in wartime. Successful American sports figures foster an appreciation of American culture and lifestyle, and promote an image of America as a purposeful and powerful nation. Successful sports figures anywhere, really; not so very long ago Olympic gold medalists were merely given an appreciative parade by a grateful nation, and featured in lucrative advertising contracts if they were photogenic. More recently, some nations have simply paid athletes by the medal for winning. This includes most nations, with the notable exceptions of the UK, Norway and Sweden. So the pressure is on to win, win, win, by whatever means are necessary.

Since Russia is in second place only to Germany for all-time medal rankings in the Olympics, and since Russia eventually made it back up to Public Enemy Number One in the USA – after a brief hiatus during which it looked like a combination of Boris Yeltsyn and teams of Harvard economists were going to make a respectful pauper of it while it became a paradise for international investors – the USA spares no effort to beat Russia at everything. On occasions where it is not particularly successful, as it was not in the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, it has turned to other methods – screaming that the Russians are all dopers who benefit from a state-sponsored doping scheme, and implementing bans to prevent as many Russian athletes as possible from competing.

And that’s my principal objection. In media matters in the world of sports, just as in other political venues, the USA relies on a combination of lying and relentless repetition to drive its points home. Thus it is that the English-speaking world still believes Russia was convicted of having had a state-sponsored doping plan, found guilty and justly sentenced upon the discovery of mountains of evidence, its accusers vindicated and its dissident whistleblowers heroes to a grateful world. Huzzah!!

Examples abound – here’s a random one from the BBC:

“Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports, claims a new report.

It was “planned and operated” from late 2011 – including the build-up to London 2012 – and continued through the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics until August 2015.”

The BBC is Britain’s state-funded broadcaster, financed by the British government, and the British government is second only to the United States in its virulent hatred of Russia and Russians. But that was back then, when the ‘doping scheme’ was newly ‘discovered’, and all the western reporters and government figures were nearly wetting their pants with excitement. What about now?

Essentially, nothing has changed. TIME Magazine:

“It’s the latest twist in a long-running saga of investigations into widespread, state-sponsored doping by the Kremlin.”

My soul, if it isn’t the USA’s star witness, Doctor Grigory Rodchenkov, in AFP;

“Doped athletes do not work alone. There are medical doctors, coaches and managers who provided substances, advised and protected them. In Russia’s state-sponsored doping scheme, there is also a state-sponsored defense of many cheaters including state officials, witnesses and apparatchiks who are lying under oath and have falsified evidence. These individuals are clearly criminals,” he said.

More about him later; for now, suffice it to say the western media still finds him a credible and compelling witness.

The Canadian Globe & Mail:

“In 2016, independent investigations confirmed that Russian officials had run a massive state‑sponsored doping system during the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, which fed illicit performance-enhancing drugs to hundreds of athletes and took outlandish measures to pervert national drug-testing mechanisms.

The evidence was incontrovertible.”

I was going to go on, listing examples in the popular press from around the world, published since the latest ban was announced, all claiming investigation had proved the Russians had a massive state-sponsored doping scheme in place which let them cheat their way to the podium. But I think you get the picture, and that last lead-in was my cue; it was just too good to pass up.

Independent investigations confirmed. The evidence was incontrovertible.

Well, let’s take a look at that. Incontrovertible evidence ought to be able to withstand a bit of prying, what? When the evidence of something being so is both massive and incontrovertible, beyond question and the result of proof beyond a doubt, then that thing IS. Therefore, the western press is proceeding on the assumption that western investigations proved the Russians had a doping program in which all or most Russian athletes took prohibited performance-enhancing drugs, at the instruction of sports-organization officials, who were in turn directed by state officials to use such methods to permit Russian athletes to win where they would otherwise likely not have been capable of a winning performance. And there were such allegations by western figures and officials, together with assurances that there was so much evidence that…well, frankly, it was embarrassing. But the western media and western sports organizations and officials apparently do not understand what ‘evidence’ is.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), established in 1984 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and headquartered at Lausanne, Switzerland, is recognized by all Olympic international organizations as the highest authority for sports-related legal issues. An Investigative Commission consisting of Dr. Richard McLaren (Chair), Dick Pound and Gunter Younger was appointed to look into allegations of widespread and state-supported doping of athletes of the Russian Olympic team for the 2016 Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia. The Commission’s star witness was Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the Moscow laboratory. According to what became known as the McLaren Report, more than 1000 Russian athletes across 30 sports were involved in or benefited from “an institutional conspiracy” of doping. The Investigative Commission settled on sanctioning 35 Olympic athletes with Anti-Doping Rules Violations (ARDV), and they were banned from further international sports competitions; those who had won medals had them confiscated. Nearly all the sanctioned athletes appealed their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sorry to keep hopping back and forth, but I’m trying to stay with two major themes at the same time for the moment – the accusations against the Russian Olympic athletes, which were entirely based on the revelations of the ‘doping mastermind’, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, and Dr. Rodchenkov himself. Western organizations and media were bowled over by the affable Rodchenkov, and eager to accept his jaw-dropping revelations about widespread doping in Russian sport. Sites specializing in sports doping with steroids feted him as the brilliant mind behind not only doping Russian athletes, but devising a test for common steroids which increased their detection window from only days to in excess of months. This enabled the retesting of previously-stored samples from international athletes which had already passed as clean. I suspect not a lot of followers of the Russian doping scandal are aware of that, and any such results should be viewed with the utmost suspicion in light of what a colossal fraud he turned out to be. I’d like you to just keep that in mind as we go further. Dr. Rodchenkov also claimed to be behind the brilliant – everything he does is brilliant – formulation of the now-notorious and, at the time of its alleged widespread use, top-secret “Duchess Cocktail”, a steroid-stacker mixed with alcohol which made the presence of the steroids undetectable. Remember that word; undetectable, because we’ll come back to it. Additionally, please keep in mind that Dr. Rodchenkov’s unique testing method was the one used to re-test stored samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.

So, back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 39 Russian athletes who had been accused of doping in the McLaren Report appealed their sentences of lifetime Olympic bans and forfeiture of medals won.

Of those 39 appeals, 28 of the appeals were completely upheld, the judgments against the athletes reversed, and any medals forfeited were reinstated. A further 11 appeals were partially upheld, but the lifetime bans were reduced to have effect only for the upcoming Olympic Games at Peyongchang, Korea. That makes 39 of 39. Not a single athlete accused was found to have participated in a state-sponsored doping program administered by Russian sports officials acting under orders of the Russian government. The appeals of a further 3 Russian athletes were not heard by the date of release of the statement, and were stayed until a later date.

It is important to note, and was specifically addressed in the release, that the CAS did not examine the matter of whether there was or was not a state-sponsored or controlled doping program; that was not within the Court’s mandate. So for evidence of evidence, I guess you might say, and for an overall feel for the credibility of the witness whose revelations underpinned the entirety of the McLaren Report, we turn to Dr. Rodchenkov’s testimony before the CAS. https://southfront.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1-13.png

As we examine his performance on that occasion, I’d like to point out that this likely represents the first time Rodchenkov was cross-examined by and on behalf of individuals who were not necessarily delighted to believe everything he said without questioning it further, as the McLaren Commission apparently was. Because his story fell apart, often in ways that would have been amusing in anything other than the serious setting which prevailed. That’s Rodchenkov in the balaclava, which his handlers evidently thought necessary to conceal his appearance. Perhaps he’s had extensive cosmetic surgery, because his face was all over the news before that – he is in the US Witness Protection Program, after all. In my opinion, it only lent to the overall sense of unreality, but to each his own. I’ll also be jumping back and forth between what Rodchenkov or his backers confidently claimed prior to the hearing, and during testimony, when I think it is important to highlight manifest…umm…inconsistencies. Ready? Let’s do it.

Pre-CAS hearing: “The latest WADA report suggests that Rodchenkov helped as many as 1,000 Russian athletes get away with doping. Hundreds of those athletes were able to get away with the use of the “Duchess steroid cocktail” while avoiding detection.”

During testimony and under questioning by counsel for the defendants, Rodchenkov admitted (a) that he had never personally distributed the ‘Duchess cocktail’ to any Russian athlete, (b) that he had never personally seen any Russian athlete take the mixture known as the Duchess cocktail, (c) that he had never personally witnessed any Russian athlete being directed by a coach to take the Duchess cocktail, or any coach being directed by any Russian state official to distribute it to his athletes, and (d) that he had never personally seen any Russian athlete tamper with a doping sample.

Forgive me if I jump to the conclusion that the foregoing rules out a state-sponsored doping program insofar as it was ever witnessed by the McLaren Report’s star and principal witness; McLaren did not interview any other Russian officials, he claimed he didn’t have time.

But it gets better. Or worse, if you are Rodchenkov, or one of those who gleefully relied on his testimony to put those filthy Russians away forever.

Pre-CAS hearing: “In 2016, independent investigations confirmed that Russian officials had run a massive state‑sponsored doping system during the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, which fed illicit performance-enhancing drugs to hundreds of athletes and took outlandish measures to pervert national drug-testing mechanisms…The evidence was incontrovertible.”

When examined on his statements that he had swapped samples of positive-test athletes urine after 1:00 AM, passing them through a ‘mousehole’ in the laboratory wall to FSB agents outside and exchanging them for clean samples, in light of the fact that his meticulously-maintained daily diary recorded him as being at home in bed by midnight, he claimed he had lied in his diary. What a clever intelligence asset, to have anticipated questioning years in advance, and added an extra layer of obfuscation! It was not specifically addressed in testimony to my knowledge, but I would like to highlight here that Dr. Rodchenkov was allegedly alone at the lab at these alleged times – except, of course, for the secret agents waiting outside the mousehole – and could have driven a gurney with a squeaky wheel loaded with conspiratorial piss samples out into the parking lot, and loaded it into the trunk of his car with nobody the wiser: why all the John le Carré espionagery through the wall? Comes to that, why would you contaminate a sample with salt, coffee granules and hilarious incompetence like accidentally getting male DNA in female samples, when the doping compound only you knew was in the samples was undetectable by anyone else, because you had specifically engineered it that way?

McLaren claimed in his report that he had seen a method demonstrated, which he presumed was the method used by the FSB to open the sealed sample bottles and replace the sample inside with clean urine. He further claimed that scratches found on the glass bottles were proof of tampering. Other analysts suggested the scratches were probably made when the sample bottle was sealed in accordance with the instructions for its proper use, and the manufacturer claimed the bottle had never successfully been opened, once sealed, without breaking the cap, which is by design an indication of potential tampering. The alleged secret method of successfully doing it was never demonstrated by McLaren or any of his operatives for independent verification. For Rodchenkov’s part, he claimed it had been done by ‘magicians’, and offered no clue as to the alleged method, and it seems clear to me that McLaren simply proceeded with Rodchenkov’s hearsay assurances that it had been accomplished.

The controversial and pivotal claim by McLaren that Russian Minister for Sport Vitaly Mutko, “directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s [sic] analytical results or sample swapping” was not supported by anything other than Rodchenkov’s diary. You remember – the one he admitted to having embellished with lies so that stories he told years later would make sense. This is absolutely critical, because the claim to have proven the existence of a state-sponsored doping program rests only on this – Rodchenkov has admitted he never personally saw any Russian state official give orders to coaches or athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs. McLaren’s bombshell allegation appears to have been extracted from the diary of a proven and admitted liar, and is supported by no other evidence. Yet the western press still maintains there was a Russian state-sponsored doping program, administered with the knowledge and facilitation of the state government, and that this was proven. Rodchenkov is still accorded the respect of a credible witness. Rodchenkov is still speaking authoritatively about the nature of cheating, and – astoundingly – describing those who have lied under oath and falsified evidence as criminals, just as if he had not done both himself. It is as if the CAS hearings which exonerated the majority of the accused Russian athletes, and sharply reduced the punishments of the rest, had never happened. For all the mainstream media coverage the event received, it might not have.

Before the CAS hearing, WADA and the IOC regularly dangled reinstatement of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) in exchange for the Russian government openly and completely accepting the conclusions of the McLaren Report, officially admitting to having cheated on a massive scale and with the full knowledge and support of serving government officials. It never did. The Russian state acknowledged it has a doping problem, and it has – some athletes were found guilty of having taken banned substances, and there are a few every Olympic competition. But Moscow has never accepted the conclusions of the McLaren Report. And after the CAS Appeals decision, RUSADA was reinstated anyway.

Which brings us to here; now. The entire focus of the McLaren Report and the bullying by the IOC was directed toward making Russia admit it was guilty of organized doping, with the drive for momentum seeking a ban on further competition. Since it never did, the alternative was to prove it without an admission, so that no doubt existed. Exonerating the few athletes ever charged among the thousand or so said to be guilty looks like a hell of a funny way of doing that. The McLaren Team’s star and main witness fell apart on the stand and admitted he had either lied about everything or simply made it up. There is no reason at all – outside stubborn western prejudice – to imagine Russian athletes are doping any more than any other national teams.

But then, hackers – Russians, of course, it goes without saying – calling themselves “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear” (hint to Russians, do not call yourself “anything Bear” – the Bear is synonymous with Russia. Call yourself “Elon Tesla” or “Mo Money”) began to publish stolen medical data revealing the scope of western athletes who had been granted permission to use banned performance-enhancing drugs by their Olympic Associations, for perceived medical reasons, through the TUE – the Therapeutic Use Exemption. The western sports industry was outraged – that information was private, God damn it – and it was just grotesque that the cheating Russians would have the gall to allege western athletes were cheaters. But after it had time to calm down, and after some revelations proved hard to defend, the industry had to grudgingly admit the TUE was a problem.

Iconic American cyclist Lance Armstrong doped for years, but was revered by an entire generation of American kids and sports fans as the finest example of a stoic and selfless sportsman the human race could provide. Teammates and his sports doctor helped him avoid tests, and in one instance he dropped out of a race after receiving a text message from a teammate that testers were waiting for him. When he actually tested positive for corticosteroid use in the 1999 Tour de France, his doctors claimed he had received the steroid in a cream used to treat a saddle sore, and a back-dated prescription was provided.

Retroactive TUE’s sound phony right out of the gate, and consequently their use is supposed to be very rare, since the immediate perception is that the exemption was issued to protect the athlete from the fallout of a positive test; what could be simpler? Just issue them a prescription to take a banned substance, because they really, really needed it. Most of the TUE’s issued to tennis world champion Serena Williams were retroactive, in some cases going back two weeks or more. A TUE issued during a period that an athlete has withdrawn from competition sounds understandable, because they cannot be using it to enhance their career or win medals. A retroactive TUE issued during competition that allows an athlete to use a stimulant which increases drive, or a painkiller which lets them power through without the limb failing, is hard to see as anything other than a cheat issued to protect a national sports asset.

TUE’s are the vehicle of choice in professional cycling, with both British cyclists who won the Tour de France – Scott Froome and Bradley Wiggins – revealed to have secured TUE’s allowing them to take steroids during the competitions. They claimed to be suffering from ‘sport-induced asthma’, which is apparently a documented condition when you try to make your body process air faster or more efficiently than it is capable of handling. USADA head Travis Tygart, who is withering in his contempt of and hatred for Russia, loses no opportunity to defend the integrity of American athletes who are allowed to dope because they have a form that says they need to. I find it hard to believe Russian athletes who secured a TUE allowing them to take a performance-enhancer during competition would meet with such hearty approval from him. It’s because Americans are inherently honest and are genetically incapable of cheating, while Russians are just natural-born cheats.

American gymnastics champion Simone Biles quickly became the national face of ADHD by proactively defending her need for a banned substance. Tygart and American Olympics officials were maudlin in her defense, like everyone is just picking on a little girl and trying to rob her of hard-earned success. What effect does her permitted drug have? It permits an enhanced level of concentration and focus, so that no energy is lost to distractions such a a shouting crowd, bright colours and rapid movements, and she sees nothing but the target of her efforts. Is that helpful? What do you think?

The jury seems to be out on whether corticosteroids would help Biles focus on her routines, although there seems to be a fairly well-established body of evidence that these are not anabolic steroids, and do not increase muscle mass – that’s all her. But the zeal with which WADA went after meldonium – just because, apparently, eastern-European athletes used it extensively, although it has never been demonstrated to enhance performance – speaks volumes about the western bias in favour of therapeutic use of drugs by the Good Guys. They’re just looking after their health. Russians are cheating. How did WADA find out about meldonium? I’m glad you asked – USADA received a ‘confidential tip’ that east-European athletes were using it to enhance performance. Despite expert advice that there is no evidence at all that it enhances performance, WADA banned it. Because, you know, east-European athletes might think it helps them, and if they think that, then it is.

Just like Simone Biles and her TUE. But that’s not only allowed, she’s a hero for being so open about her ADHD.

In the USA, cheating seems to be focused on Track and Field, because that’s where the USA wins a lot of its medals. Hence the effort to minimize the Russian participation, and thus cut down the opposition.

“The United States in fact has a lengthy history of doping at the Olympic Games and other international events, and of turning a blind eye to its own cheating. That’s especially true in track and field, the front porch of the U.S. Olympic program because of track’s ability to drive American medal supremacy.

Nike’s track-and-field training program, for example, has been dogged by doping allegations since at least the 1970s, when its top officials were allegedly aware that athletes used steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Since the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games, every single U.S. Summer Olympic team has included at least one sprinter who either had previously failed a drug test or would later do so. And that’s to say nothing of athletes in the other disciplines.

American drug cheats include some of the country’s most notable Olympians. Carl Lewis admitted in 2003 that he had failed three drug tests prior to the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but avoided a ban with the help of the U.S. Olympic Committee and won two golds and a silver instead. Justin Gatlin won the 100-meter dash at the 2004 Athens Games before later failing a drug test. Tyson Gay, the world’s fastest man entering the 2008 Beijing Games, later failed a drug test too. Gay and Gatlin nevertheless formed half of the American men’s 4×100 relay team in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

American athletes routinely fail drug tests, but are waved ahead to compete anyway. Eighty-four American Olympians failed drug tests in the year prior to the 1984 Los Angeles Games but went on to compete anyway, according to author Mark Johnson. Carl Lewis claimed that “hundreds” of Americans failed tests while remaining eligible to compete, with the assistance of the U.S. Olympic Committee, in Seoul. The USOC faced allegations ahead the 2000 Sydney Games that it had withheld information on 15 positive tests from international officials; by 2003, it had been accused of covering up at least 114 positives between 1988 and 2000.”

Curiously, the latest Russia ban is attributed to allegations that Russia fiddled with the athletes database it provided to WADA, covering up positive drug tests. But it appears the United States has a well-known history of fudging and obscuring positive drug-test results, refusing to reveal them to regulatory bodies, and pushing its doper athletes into international competition. Yet the United States has a loudly self-awarded reputation as the Defender Of Clean Sport.

Russia’s position is that the ubiquitous Grigory Rodchenkov – a proven and self-confessed liar, remember, who claimed to have lied in his diary where he was supposedly only talking to himself – modified the database from abroad, after he fled to the United States and made such a Godsend of himself in America’s drive to move up the medal rankings. He apparently retained administrator rights on the database, which was accessible online, even after fleeing from Russia. His lawyer’s defense, curiously, is that he did not and, significantly, ‘could not’ access the database. To me, that sounds like he’s going out a little bit on a limb – all the Russian side needs to do is prove that he could have to discredit Rodchenkov’s story. It looks like it is headed back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the spring – the same venue which exonerated the Russian athletes after Rodchenkov’s previous epic thundering-in on full afterburner. Will it happen again? We’ll see. Until then the western press appears not to have noticed that Rodchenov lied his charming face off last time. And still is, through his shyster lawyer – “If WADA or any other agency needs Grigory to testify, Grigory will uphold his promise to co-operate fully to help atone for his role,” Walden said. You know – the role he admitted he never played, in that he never saw any Russian athlete take the Duchess Cocktail he claimed to have devised to make doping undetectable, never heard any Russian sports official order his players to take it, and in fact could not remember exactly what was in it.

Stay tuned – this should be interesting. Count on the Americans to press to the end for a full and lasting ban, probably for life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,156 thoughts on “The United States of Amnesia, and Its Incredible Asbestos Pants

  1. I’d wished someone would have initiated a class action lawsuit on behalf of the fans of Lance Armstrong (seeking compensation for trips to the Tour) and caused him to spend his fortune on lawyers, like, FOREVER. Nuff said.

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    1. It must be a measure of the reverence in which he must still be held for forcing himself to go on after testicular cancer, etc…because America is usually pretty quick to think of the lawsuit angle and financial compensation without further prompting.

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  2. Mark, thanks for the comprehensive exposition of the doping scandal!

    Personally, I think I’ll just ignore the next Olympics and focus on anything else.

    Speaking of which, ITER fans among the Stoogies might appreciate a Russian blog post which documents the current progress of the project.

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    1. Thanks, Evgeny! I don’t think I exposed much about the doping scandal – the media was very eager to expose more about it wherever the opportunity was offered. The question for me is why they continue to speak about it as if the outcome was proof of Russian guilt, because that is the opposite of what happened. Of the athletes not granted a complete exoneration – that is, there was evidence which could not clear them of any suggestion of doping – there was still no evidence upon which a conclusion could be based that they were part of an organized broad doping program, and there was never anything to suggest that other than Rodchenkov’s testimony. Always glad to get the Russian perspective.

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      1. “The question for me is why they continue to speak about it as if the outcome was proof of Russian guilt”

        Why do they prefer to engage in propaganda, instead of asking questions like you do?

        Perhaps they genuinely believe in what they write. Perhaps they don’t get paid to ask questions. Perhaps…

        I think you might enjoy Sergey Dovlatov’s novella “Филиал” about a Russian journalist working for a Russian-language U.S. radio station during the last years of the cold war.

        Read the first two pages, and see if you would like to read more.

        https://knigago.com/books/prose-all/prose-contemporary/406289-sergey-donatovich-dovlatov-sobranie-sochineniy-v-4-tomah-tom-4/?p=1

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    1. It’s a pity it doesn’t have a broader audience – the great mass of western coverage continues to ignore the CAS decision as if it never happened, and to insert its own preferred ending. Nice if we could always do that, what?

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  3. Off-top, but did any Stooges catch the latest Doctor Who last night, BBC launched the 12th season of the rebooted “Who” with a James Bond-themed ep. It was pretty good, I think, and easy to watch. I mean, not anything like the classic Who, but still decent compared to the last couple of seasons.
    In this “woke” Dr. Who the doc is a woman now, of course, and then we come to find that The Master (the Doc’s lifelong nemesis) is also a woke ethnic type, portrayed by actor Sacha Dhawan. Sacha is English born and bred, but his folks were originally from India. The doc’s companions are also mostly “ethnic” now, except for the old guy. Who has a black son.

    I don’t really object, the new Doc fits the role okay, as sort of a female version of the Matt Smith doc. And this new Master looks to be pretty good, he has a crazy-evil laugh which is a requirement. Although I doubt he could ever reach the full over-the-top evil of a, say, Jon Simm.
    Stephen Fry makes a cameo appearance as Q, the head of MI-6, but he gets killed off fairly soon (yay!). This being the BBC, the conceit is that the ENTIRE WORLD is hanging on England and MI-6 (like, not the CIA) to defeat this hideous new alien threat!

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    1. Sorry I gave up watching Dr Who after David Tennant’s histrionics got on my nerves. Although I must say that having seen Matt Smith in a couple of films (“Official Secrets” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”), I consider him a very talented comedic and serious actor. I don’t know about Peter Capaldi.

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      1. I never could get into Peter Capaldi. Too stern and self-righteous, like a Presbyterian Preacher. Matt Smith was pretty good as the Doc, a combination of zany and youthful anarchist with nothing to lose. The new doc, Jodi Whittaker does a good drag version of him. She’ll be, like completely recklessly rushing into something and then, like, “uh oh, what have I got meself into?” – lol

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    2. A real balanced reflection of the demographic make-up of the UK, I don’t think, where the female and male percentage of the population is 51% and 49% respectively and where 86% of the UK population is classified as “white British” (98.8% in my home town — the remaining 1.2% consisting mostly of Irish, or folk who prefer to be categorized as Irish, which I could chose to be if I so wished).

      “Woke” BBC in its fantasy world — more exactly, in its London world!

      No transgender/bisexuals, don’t-knows in the new Doctor Who entourage?

      I saw yet another of these “gender” identities last week, when reading of an MP for Oxford who came out as a “pansexual”.

      I just give up, I do!!!!

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    3. It does make sense in a way for the Doc to be a woman as the entity that is the Doc has been through a full round of 12 incarnations and should therefore have retired permanently to a Gallifreyan nursing home. Recall that in the 1980 story “The Four Doctors”, the Master (then played by Antony Ainsley) was promised a new round of 12 incarnations if he behaved himself. The Time Lords then didn’t give him an option to choose what sort of incarnations he’d like to have. This suggests that on Planet Gallifrey, folks are able to extend their lifespans with a new batch of body renewals under certain social conditions and requirements there.

      Pity though that the BBC never applied its wokeness to the various life-forms the Doctor encountered in past adventures. Even John Nathan-Turner and Russell Davies, when they were producers on the show, did not go that far even if only discreetly.

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      1. Okay, this will unmask me as a total nerd, but the earliest “woke” character on “Who” was the Alpha Centauran species who were 6-legged squid-like hermaphrodites in the era of Doctor #3.

        Also, Davies did introduce one very gay (actually “pan”) character, namely Jack Harkness (Cap’n Jack). Technically he wasn’t actually a companion (well, sort of), but they spun him off into his own show, “Torchwood”. Which was sort of the “adult R-rated” version of Dr. Who.
        Then they had another “woke” spin-off for the kiddies, which was “The Adventures of Sarah Jane Smith”. Which was also actually kinda good, and featured ethnic teenagers who helped Sarah to thwart various alien threats.

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        1. Someone before JN-T also had Leela fall in love with a wimpy Gallifreyan guard. I wonder how that one worked out. Then, depending on who you believe, Peri was either married off to an intergalactic king or had her brain transplanted into an alien critter. Personally I go for the brain transplant. These story tie-offs to assure viewers that the Doc’s companions were disposed of could have been the source of future developments in the Whoniverse.

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          1. Yeah, I totally hated what JN-T did to Leela. Here is a knife-wielding warrior woman with super cleavage, and she just picks some random wimpy Gallifreyan guard and marries him?!
            Well, I’ll have none of that, here is my own fan-fiction version: The Doctor had to plant Leela into the Gallifreyan guard as his personal spy. To keep tabs on things and make sure no mutiny was being planned against him. You have to remember that during this time, the Doctor WAS actually the President of Gallifrey. Even wore the Belt of Rassilon. Not to mention the Ring of Rassilon, and the Codpiece of Rassilon, etc.

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    4. What so much of this ‘wokeness’ struggles to conceal is the sheer lack of originality in drama. Dr Who as a woman; a black or female James Bond; remaking “Ghostbusters’ with an all-female cast; gay or transgender characters introduced into old favourites where there was none before. It’s all just all stuff endlessly remade – the same stories but with black/gay/female/transgender/ leading characters. Where are the new stories? What’s happened to genuine creativity in movies and TV?

      Like

  4. Add my name to the cheerleading squad above. Thanks for another very detailed and researched article.

    Track and field events are an ideal arena for the US to pursue dominance as, compared to other sports, the amount of investment into training and preparing an athlete to compete at an elite level is minimal (in the long distance events, sheer grit and endurance are what is needed to win, not talent) and the pay-off can be almost immediate. Unlike gymnasts and maybe ice skaters, track and field athletes don’t need to start training in their chosen sport as preschoolers.

    For this reason the competition is intense: most African countries get their medals in track and field events, and some of these events, like the marathon, can attract an almost unlimited number of participants. The US is always guaranteed to win some medals due to the sheer size of its team. Only Russia comes close to fielding equivalent numbers of athletes.

    Like

  5. Further to Gorbachev’s treason, mentioned above, when discussing the window of opportunity for a nuclear strike that he briefly opened to the USA:

    Gorbachev – A Story of Treason and Betrayal

    I remember well that visit. It took place in 1984, a fateful year for me.

    After Soviet traitor, Politburo member and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Soviet legislature Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa, who had joined the British tour because of the illness of his then-dying chief, Konstantin Chernenko, had left the UK, Thatcher, while speaking at a press conference, referring to Gorbachev, announced, “I can do business with this man”.

    It was she, by the way, who had invited him into her lair. Gorbachev at the time was considered to be the main contender to take the ailing Chernenko’s position as General Secretary of the Soviet Union after he, the last of the Soviet Gerontocracy, had croaked. It was Gorbachev’s first venture abroad as a politburo member.

    After the traitor’s visit to the UK, Thatcher sent a message to her dotard, half-wit chum in Washington, former B-movie actor Reagan, in which she wrote of Gorbachev: ““I certainly found him a man one could do business with. I actually rather liked him … There is no doubt that he is completely loyal to the Soviet system but he is prepared to listen and have a genuine dialogue and make up his own mind”.

    Within days of her meeting with Gorbachev, Thatcher flew to Camp David to convince Reagan that Gorbachev would be different from Kremlin leaders such as Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov or Chernenko, who was so ill that he often missed politburo meetings.

    But I tell you what: no matter what Ronnie and Maggie thought of Gorbachev, he ended up being absolutely loathed in Russia and still is — and not simply because he put the brakes on crazy boozing here!

    Like

    1. If a man is betrayed by another man, you can blame the traitor.

      If a nation of 300 million people is betrayed by one man, you should blame the other 299,999,999 citizens who fell for his betrayal.

      Like


        1. Köln 1945


          Berlin 1945

          Whom do you blame for the above?

          Ich frage euch: Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg? Wollt ihr ihn, wenn nötig, totaler und radikaler, als wir ihn uns heute überhaupt erst vorstellen können? [Goebbels, 18 February 1943]

          “I ask you: Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even yet imagine?”

          And they all screamed “Yes!”

          And they got it.

          Trouble was, they were on the receiving end, not dishing it out!

          Like

        2. Russians do have a inferiority complex towards the West, and many of them want to please the West, even if the West has many times tried to destroy Russia.

          Russians often see their own products inferior to Western products and choose to buy Western products even if cheaper Russian equivalents are available. Russian tourists come to shopping in eastern part of Finland presicely to buy Western products, even foods like cheese. When interviewed they say that they don’t trust Russian products and want to buy Western, even when they are Russian themselves.

          There is an attitude, especially among Russian youths, that “everything Western is better than anything Russian”. This is actually one reason why the countersanctions placed by the Russian government was a very good idea, because if forced Russians to buy home-made products. simply because there were no Western options available.

          This inner desire to please the West may have played a role – aside from money – why Rodchenkov betrayed his country. He wanted to be a hero in the West. In his naivety he didn’t realize that he will likely end up being murdered at some point when he is not useful anymore, so his murder can be blamed on Russian government.

          And this is one big reason why the Soviet Union fell in 1991. In the 1980s the climate in the Soviet Union had turned more pro-Western especially among young people. Gorbachev’s rise to power might have been a result of that change of clime. In a different climate a person like him would not have been allowed to get power.

          The population of the Soviet Union naively thought that the West had its best interest in heart, and traded a superpower for jeans and Coca Cola. Even if the economic situation was bad the country could have been preserved had there been enough men in charge with enough brains and patriotism. But unfortunately there weren’t.

          Gorbachev and Yeltsin did not bring down the country. They were just products of the direction that the country had taken in the 1980s.

          Like

            1. Russian Attitudes toward the West [pdf]

              Russians’ negative attitudes towards Western values are strikingly uniform across economic and social strata — and across time (they have increased over the last four years but not substantially). While the oldest and youngest Russians are more anti-Western than than those in their 30s and 40s, all age cohorts are quite negative.

              source:

              Peterson Institute for International Economics

              PIIE was number 20 (of 150) in the “Top Think Tanks Worldwide” and number 13 (of 60) in the “Top Think Tanks in the United States”.

              see:

              3-1-2015
              2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report

              Like

              1. Oddly, US military personnel view Russia in a positive light sparking charges of Russian meddling per some earlier posts. A Google search has not yielded the articles in question. Will look for it when I have some time.

                Like

                1. Karl – thanks. That’s the one.

                  Adding to Moscow E’s comments and references (per Wikipedia with added formatting for clarity):

                  A December 2017 survey conducted by the Chicago Council and its Russian partner, the Levada Center, showed that:

                  – Seventy-eight percent of Russians polled said the United States meddles “a great deal” or “a fair amount” in Russian politics, compared to 69 percent of Americans who say the same about Russian interference in U.S. politics. …
                  – The poll found that 31 percent of Russians said Moscow tried to influence U.S. domestic affairs in a significant way, compared to 55 percent of Americans who felt that their own government tried to do the same thing in Russia. …
                  – Only 31 percent of Americans say they hold a positive view of Russia, and 24 percent of Russians say the same of the United States. …
                  – Eighty-one percent of Russians said they felt the United States was working to undermine Russia on the world stage; 77 percent of Americans said the same of Russia.[5]

                  Russians, it would appear, have a more negative view of the US than Americans have toward Russia. Based on reality, those would be generally correct views.

                  Like

              2. “On a positive note, however, despite most Russians’ dislike of the West, many incorporate Western pragmatism in their everyday economic lives.”

                Oh, look! The west has invented pragmatism. Trademarked it, at least.

                Like

                1. Apparently Pragmatism was invented by American philosophers! I just googled it, so it must be true:

                  Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that began in the United States around 1870. Its origins are often attributed to the philosophers Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. Peirce later described it in his pragmatic maxim: “Consider the practical effects of the objects of your conception. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object.”

                  Right, Peirce, I totally understand what you’re trying to say…. HUH?

                  Like

                2. Actions today which are termed ‘pragmatic’ are nothing more or less than recognition of the constraints imposed on individuals by reality – tolerating biggety talk and bullying by the United States, for example, because the alternative if you speak your mind (in a perfect world – in the real world the United States does not actually care what anyone says or thinks about it) might be the gutting of your economy, which is inextricably intertwined with that of the USA. That’s the case for Canada. There’s nothing philosophical about it; it’s a natural condition imposed by reality. Canadian businessmen are no less greedy than their American counterparts, and Canadian imports can undercut everyone else save for those within America itself, since we share a huge border which everything can cross cheaply by truck. Canadian business moguls don’t have to hang out with Americans every day and don’t care what they say as long as they are making money hand over fist – truth to tell, they all speak the same language anyway. Continued American domination of the globe is good for Canada, as the Americans spend money when they have it, so anything that makes America poor and worried about its own situation is bad for Canada – or at any rate for its businessmen.

                  It is ridiculous to imply that Russians who tolerate undesirable conditions because complaining about them is unlikely to bring any relief have discovered ‘western pragmatism’, like they are stepping up in the world and becoming more civilized thanks to western influence. In fact, it is typically American to claim to have discovered something which was always there simply by naming it and voicing a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about what it means.

                  Like

          1. I guess that might be your experience if you gained it from talking to Russians hanging out at the grocery store in Helsinki. That is not my experience at all, and I got much of it from talking with Russians in Russia. Youth idolize iconic brands all over the world – that’s what branding is designed to do, and billions are poured into it – but that does not imply a yearning for all things American, and Americans in Russia are often perceived as materialistic and self-centred, binging on junk food and fixated on NASCAR.

            Russians might once have wistfully hoped that peace with America was possible, and an end to the expensive arms race. I don’t know that they ever yearned for American ‘culture’, and they certainly do not now. And the idolization of foreign brands pervades everywhere – you wouldn’t find too many American youths who would rather drive a Ford than a Ferrari.

            Like

      1. Jesus H. Christ, Karl, don’t you ever stop?! Try a thought-experiment in which your Finnish PM is, say, I dunno, a sleeping China mole. Imagine the damage she could do before all the other Finnish citizens found out! (Just an imaginary scenario, I hasten to add..)

        In other news, Moscow Exile is completely correct that Gorbachov was a bona fide traitor. There were a few whistle-blowers in the Communist Party who attempted to alert the rest of the Soviet public to this fact. But, humans, being what they are, it is quite difficult to bring down a national leader once he’s in power.

        Like

    2. To be fair, there was nothing of Thatcher’s assessment which is particularly derogatory – one might have said the same on a first meeting with Putin, only substituting ‘Russian’ for ‘Soviet’. Nobody said “Here’s a patsy who is a closet western-admirer (like Medvedev) and whose loyalties may be turned by careful manipulation, so that he believes he is doing the best thing for his countrymen”.

      The catch, I suppose, is that Russian leaders who are genuinely popular as Putin is usually are sharp enough that western enticements are unlikely to appeal to them unless it is clear their benefits would apply to all.

      Like

      1. In Gorbachov’s case there are other indicators, aside from Reagan/Thatcher praise, that he had crossed the line and become an American agent.
        As I said, there were a few whistle-blowers in the Communist Party (in Westie propaganda they were dismissed as “hard-liners”) who became alarmed at Gorbie’s authoritarian and anti-collegial ways, he no longer consulted the Politburo let alone the Central Committee, and simply acted like a one-man dictator, making foreign policy all by himself. And that foreign policy always benefited the West and weakened the Soviet Union.
        The capstone being, as I mentioned in my blog, that phone call to George Bush Daddy in which he laid the Soviet Union completely vulnerable to a U.S. first strike for a period of roughly 2 hours.

        Like

        1. I am moving away from the view that Gorby was an idealistic idiot towards Gorby being a traitor, not for money and access to the elites (little evidence for that AFAIK), but for personal reasons/demons. Just speculation.

          Like

  6. Iran fails again.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7851075/Thousands-chant-Death-America-funeral-Iranian-general-Qassem-Soleimani.html

    “A militia vehicle – a large Chevrolet truck – is adorned with flowers and posters of the Iranian general as his coffin is driven through the streets of the Iraqi capital on Saturday”

    A large Chevrolet truck! The body of the Iranian hero that was murdered by the Americans was carried by an American-made vehicle. Could they really not pick some else vehicle for this?

    Like

          1. I am equally outraged. Our family has been 100% Ford pickup trucks for many years. A F-350 Lariat, extended cab and 8′ bed, lifted, 4-wheel drive and 6.7L Powerstroke® V8 Turbo Diesel engine would have been fitting.

            ISIL prefers Toyota pickups so I guess anything other than Toyota would be OK, even a Chevy although my second choice would have been a Dodge Ram.

            The most popular pickup in Dubai (although there are not that many) is Ford. Since there is a thriving trade between Iran and Dubai, it would seem they could have gone with Ford. This is a tough one to figure out.

            Like

    1. Iran has been subjected to economic sanctions by the US since 1979. That means very few nations have been trading with Iran over the past 40 years. During the first decade of that period, Iran had to fight a war of invasion by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in which Hussein was supplied with weapons and materiel from the US and various European nations. The war included Iraqi bombing of Tehran. That’s one indication of the hardships the Iranians were forced to bear. Given that history, we shouldn’t be surprised that the Iranians haven’t been able to make their own cars and planes, and have had to spend whatever money they have on reconstruction and feeding and educating a large population in a mostly mountainous country with a hot desert climate.

      I once attended a talk given by a woman who went on a coach tour of Iran. One thing that struck her while looking out the windows while the coach was going from one city to another was the sheer number of self-employed car mechanics touting for business along the roadside. While Iran might not have its own automobile manufacturing, that’s not to say its own people aren’t adept at fixing cars and keeping them going long past the date when they would have sent to the scrap yards. This experience is the sort of training they will need if one day they do decide to make cars suited to hot, dry cimates and gritty road conditions.

      Like

        1. Excellent rebuttal! In that light, carrying the General’s body on an American truck does appear to have not been well thought-out; unless it means something symbolic to the Iranians. Or they perhaps just do not make a big truck.

          Like

  7. The core problem concerning this blog post is that there was a high ranking Russian official willing to betray his country for money. The West just took advantage of this internal weakness of Russia.

    Like

    1. As noted earlier, the enter US elite has betrayed its citizenry. It is a newsworthy event when a politician actually supports the people such as Tulsi Gabbard, even though her efforts are widely viewed as futile.

      A significant fraction, perhaps a majority, of the US population knows this. I will concede that we are afraid to rock the boat given the highly militarized police and numerous past failures of protests to make one bit of difference.

      Sorry to burst your bubble.

      Like

    2. Well, yes, of course – it goes without saying that all other countries are weak in comparison to America, which is the strongest ever and always will be. I wonder why it has failed – well, not failed, because there is no failure in America – umm…not succeeded in crushing Russia, even though it is so weak, in decades of trying?

      There was a high-ranking (if you insist; he was merely the head of the Moscow drug-testing lab) Russian who was willing to tell complete lies in order to further his own personal situation and personal gain, because he knew the Americans would pay well for lies as long as the lies served their agenda. Such nobility! Mind you, it is certainly an indicator of internal weakness in Russia that it continues to produce people who are only interested in themselves. You wouldn’t see that in America!

      Any more grumpy-old-man-isms?

      Like

      1. Yellowstone? The American national park with the bears and wolves and Old Faithful?
        That one?
        Or you mean Jellystone, where Yogi Bear and BooBoo live and thrive on picnic baskets?
        Huh?

        Like

          1. Oh yeah, like I said before, I fervently HOPE that the Yellowstone volcano does not erupt. Would be a shame to lose such a great national park. And there are other, better ways to bring down Uncle Sam. Like proletarian revolution, for example?

            Like

  8. That was one exceptionally well-written, researched and convincing article that described the machinery of how beliefs are manufactured in the US. It was a depressing read initially as the mountain of lies appeared overwhelming but that mountain turned out to be little more than a pile of trash.

    The OPCW’s report on the Douma chemical weapons attack came to mind as another example of institutional lying (although much more narrow in scope).

    Question: Do you have a policy regarding the reprinting your posts with proper credit given?

    Like

      1. I’ve already copied it, Mark. I copy loads of stuff that you have written about the Evil Empire and use it for classroom discussion.

        Great piece: very enlightening!

        I’ll use this latest piece of yours when I start back at work on Thursday. My classes will lap it it up. And I always give credit where credit is due, telling my classes that what they have read and discussed was written by a Canadian Kremlin Stooge.

        By the way, congratulations on your being promoted after retirement from the rank of CPO, RCN. (You were a CPO, weren’t you?)

        When you’re in Ottawa, give my regards to your former boss, Vice-Admiral McDonald, a fellow Nova Scotian, I believe. When you are there, you can have a good old chin wag with your fellow admiral.

        Like

        1. Yes, I retired as a CPO2. My ironic promotion is apparently due to the unbalanced power structure, in which poor Northern Star labours all the night sprinkling pieces with obscenities and politely remonstrating with his followers to Shut The Fuck Up, Motherfuckers, and so forth, the way Mensa people often converse, only to have them casually deleted despite their lasting cultural value. As well, there are the exchanges which are nothing more than two people bickering back and forth and calling one another names. The latter is particularly unfair given how many people read blogs just to enjoy exchanges between two people calling each other names; I know I do.

          Like

          1. It’s morning January 8, I just now came across your comment
            Mark or I would have
            replied sooner.
            I have said that it’s your blog and your
            call as to what’s to be
            permitted posting conduct.
            So if you think I am a
            disruptive and counterproductive presence on KS…
            Just say the word.
            And I will be outta here.
            OTOH you need to be
            even handed in comment policy enforcement.
            Instigating crap by
            a Stooge is sow the
            wind stuff.

            Like

  9. Maybe Rodchenko and Browder could be in court the same day for thorough cross-examination. Now that would be a twofer worth following! Then we’d be told that they were suffering from ‘psychological problems’ and that the authorites had no idea, sic let off.

    I am still curious as to how Rodchenko retained his admin access once he had fled. Not only is there an associated IP address which should important, it should also be evident which records he changed exactly at what time (US time for example – night in Russia – or daytime Russia which when taken with all the other ip/log data, i.e. if he is the only one logged at the time or there are others as one would expect during the day in Russia). It’s easy to change his own computer’s time stamp but not the ip data/timing and that would be evident from his IP routing through each server until it reached its destination. Even if he used a proxy, the same would be true for the routing times and data. Isn’t this the kind of circumstance that blockchain tech would be useful?

    Either way, I don’t see how CAS can ignore either if they are verified, though I suppose that part of the certification would be outsourced to a private company – hopefully a good one…

    As you also pointed out, historical data and future data will also show whether or not there was ‘state sponsored doping’ as there should be a big spike that then drops off significantly after such a program is shut down. Much too late of course but quite clear for all to see.

    Like

    1. Several articles were referred to earlier, and I’m hoping they will come up again in response to this post, which detailed two of Rodchenkov’s associates who also fled to America and with whom he is believed to maintain contact. The identification of one of them was linked to changes made to the Moscow database. How it was all done is way over my head, but Russia has already investigated and I believe they are ready to go to court with their evidence. I also believe they tried to show this evidence already and so head off the charges, but of course they were called liars and charlatans, bla, bla, you know the drill, and Travis Tygart is hoping to ride the issue all the way to a minimum four-year ban. Are sports figures getting tired of the USA’s grandstanding? i guess we’ll see.

      Anyway, yeah, it seems like cutting off Rodchenkov’s access – and anyone else involved with that debacle who had admin rights – would have been a good idea, but it did not seem to occur to anyone. Also, why wasn’t it checked before a copy was made and given to WADA? These and other questions will hopefully be addressed as the situation unfolds. However, I was done with the Olympics long before this, and they no longer have any sport connotation for me, having become another political sandbox out of which the USA throws its toys when it can’t win everything easily.

      The USA is very clever and crafty technologically, but in this it is up against an opponent which is at least as good. If Roddy and his boys tweaked the database after the fact to make it look as if someone in Moscow meddled with it, I’m sure that can be established and demonstrated to the satisfaction of the computer-illiterate.

      Like

  10. Hopefully this is the Morell CBS
    interview
    If not I fucked up the link..
    Mike is a POS… However his remarks
    here are worth listening to.

    Like

  11. Lukashenko wants closer ties with the NATO: https://tass.com/world/1105181

    It seems that Belarus is no more interested in integration with Russia than Ukraine. Belarus is certainly not as hostile towards Russia as Ukraine, but they have developed their own national identity since 1991 and want to preserve their independent state.

    Since Russia has started to tighten an economic noose around Belarus, Lukashenko is now asking help from the NATO.

    I don’t claim to know what is the actual opinion of Belarus population towards integration with Russia. My hunch is that older people see Russia in a more positive light while the younger people are more oriented towards the West.

    Lack of soft power is one of Russia’s weaknesses. The West won over Ukraine mostly with their soft power (using NGO’s, promoting propaganda etc.) while Russia did nothing but gave Ukraine half-free gas for almost three decades while passively watching Ukrainians turn more and more anti-Russian.

    Hopefully Russia has a good plan for Belarus in order to avoid what happened in Ukraine.

    Like

    1. Although some will interpret it as a sign of weakness, I doubt Russian plans involve cruise missiles and cold-blooded murder at a civilian airport. We will see if the high road or a path in hell prevails.

      Like

      1. Aesop’s fable of scorpion and the frog springs to mind.*

        * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog

        The earliest known publication of this fable in this exact form was in the 1944 book The Hunter of the Pamirs: A Novel of Adventure in Soviet Central Asia by Georgi Tushkan.[5] It was made famous by the 1955 film Mr. Arkadin.[6][7] In an interview about the film, director Orson Welles remarked, “that scorpion story is Russian in origin”…

        …However, the fable of The Scorpion and the Tortoise was found interpolated in post-Islamic variants of the Panchatantra.[16] The study suggests that the interpolation occurred between the 12th and 13th centuries in the Persian language area and may offer a new starting point for further research on the question of the fable’s origin…

        Like

    2. The Tass article basically says Belarus is willing to talk with the NATO leadership. No indication of actually wanting to join NATO which in Belarus’ case would also require complying with EU requirements necessary for EU membership which we know is not guaranteed. I wouldn’t read too much into what seems to be a bland government statement.

      Like

    3. “Hopefully, Russia has a good plan for Belarus in order to avoid what happened in Ukraine.”

      Yes, of course, you most sincerely hope that what the USA has caused in the Ukraine be avoided in Belarus.

      You really, really do!

      Don’t you?

      Like

    4. If you want to come all over shivery every time Lukashenko makes another announcement, be my guest. But he has gone back and forth on the issue of his alliances so frequently that he resembles a clock movement; his aim is to extract whatever concessions and enticements he can from whoever currently looks to be in disfavour. If NATO thought it stood a solid chance of splitting Belarus away from Russia, it would probably throw lots of sugar Lukashenko’s way. Instead, it reliably and frequently tries to regime-change him out of power. That’s how reliable it considers his overtures. And I don’t notice Russia making haste to shower him with gifts and blandishments, either. I would suggest nobody takes his political musings very seriously.

      Like

  12. That right leg roundhouse knocked
    him the fuck out!!!
    But note how he shows concern for the guy’s condition..class act.

    Hmm. ..Those Asian girls…That petite ass be smoking hot!!
    LOL!

    Like

  13. It was a non-story, except that it is shocking that Sberbank and wealthy Russians are putting their property within arms reach of the US government. One word from Maddow and her zombie Twitter army and that little girl with CP on YouTube will face a cell the size of a refrigerator for many years.

    Like

    1. That’s pretty funny. The US likes to pretend it is all about sober analysis, but it is still dead easy to spark a buzz of excited whispering like a bunch of high-school girls when one says, “Know who thinks you’re cute?” You just tell them what they’d love to hear. Not to mention what their lying press conditions them to expect.

      Like

  14. RT.com: Geopolitical puzzle: What is behind Pompeo’s visit to Kazakhstan?
    https://www.rt.com/news/477028-pompeo-visit-kazakhstan-geopolitical-reasons/

    Kazakhstan is one of the stops on US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s whirlwind trip shortly after the New Year, with hopes that Washington can make inroads with a government in the key region between Russia, China and Afghanistan. ..
    ####

    With my apologies to Shakespeare:

    Mike Pompeo, Muskturd & Tomato:

    Is this not my dick I see before me,
    one eye towards my hand? Come, let me clutch thee,
    I have thee not, yet throb thee before me still,
    Shall I not step willfully upon my great member,
    for want of sense common known to others???
    Nay! Nay! And thrice Nay! I shall do so with great gusto!
    I shall step and wave such great member for all to see,
    and thus declare self: ‘Emperor, Mikus ‘Netheregious’ Pumpeo!

    Like

    1. That’s pretty funny. I think Mr. Mike will simply show pictures of the blasted car at the Damascus airport. Diplomacy, US style.

      Like

    2. Good luck to him. A lot of interest in dicking with regional dynamics even though they could probably just leave it alone and it would collapse by itself, what with the Russian economy being in tatters and all. But America does not like to leave anything to chance.

      Like

  15. Big news:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/iraqs-parliament-calls-expulsion-u-150516128.html

    BAGHDAD (AP) — The blowback over the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general mounted Sunday as Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of American troops from the country — a move that could allow a resurgence of the Islamic State group.

    Lawmakers approved a resolution asking the Iraqi government to end the agreement under which Washington sent forces more than four years ago to help fight IS. The bill is nonbinding and subject to approval by the Iraqi government but has the backing of the outgoing prime minister.

    Murder most foul often does not work out.

    Like

    1. MoA has more information:

      https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/01/iraqi-parliament-expels-foreign-militaries-from-iraq.html

      Before the vote Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told the parliament that he was scheduled to meet with Soleimani a day after his arrival to receive a letter from Iran to Iraq in response to a de-escalation offer Saudi Arabia had made. The U.S. assassinated Soleimani before the letter could be delivered by him. Abdul-Mahdi also said that Trump had asked him to mediate between the U.S. and Iran. Did he do that to trap Soleimani? It is no wonder then that Abdul-Mahdi is fuming.

      It would be best for Iraq to invite Russia to continue the training and equipping of the Iraqi military. Assuming that the Iraqi government follows through with its demands, there seems little doubt that the US will now try to do in Iraq what they failed to do in Syria.

      Like

      1. I could imagine US forces may withdraw to… Kurdistan… The US goes from one short term action to the next. So how would they be re-supplied? By air? Expensive and none to safe. Flying from where? Turkey? Kissy kissy In’Sultin’ Erd O’Grand? Look at the map.

        Like

        1. An old expression but the US has just shat in its mess kit.

          The poor Kurds. Are they still willing to play the US’s fool?

          Despite all, there is little likelihood of a all-out war with Iran. No one wants it except Israel and that is not enough for such a big deal. That is my hope.

          Like

        2. They will not withdraw at all until they have no alternative, and right now there is no timeline. All the diplomacy stops will be pulled out in an effort to get Iraq to reverse its decision, but the vote was unopposed and I think the Iraqi government will have to see it through. But you might see a generous timeline which kicks the can far down the road and leaves the door open for Washington to engineer a miraculous rebirth of ISIS and a new need for US troop support.

          Like

          1. Unopposed, yes. The Kurds didn’t take part in the vote or the other opposition grouping. Once bitten, twice morons? I can see the US trying to leverage the Kurds, but yet again geography/Turkey etc. The US cannot deliver anything sustainable and that’s not even taking account of them getting bored again a few years down the road.

            Like

            1. I think the American strategy will be to try and stall, and hope it will all blow over, as it so often is. Before you know it, the Iraqis will get over what’s-his-name, and then America can start talking jacky again and playing the big man like before. And that’s more than likely what will happen, barring a real, coordinated and fearless Iraqi effort supported by other powers in the region. They’re obviously not going to get any help from the Saudis or Qataris or any of the other regional American Quislings who would be aghast at the thought of their American friends leaving.

              Like

    2. Cue the re-emergence of Islamic State, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CIA.

      Seriously, no timeline was apparently given for the removal of all US troops (although the vote was fairly decisive, with not a single dissenter). But we all know the US doers not want to go, and will fight tooth and nail to stay. First you can count on the most powerful pressure the US government knows how to apply to focus on the Iraqi government to make it reverse its decision – the US government would probably even agree to expose US forces to Iraqi laws in a bid to stay, although they’d be working on reversing that as soon as they got a new agreement. If nothing works, they’ll still hold on to their gigantic Embassy, staffing it with only non-military civilians. And among them will be seeded a goodly number of plain-clothes military pretending to be civilians, and then they will argue American civilians need the protection of American soldiers, pretty pretty please, and so on. But according to the NYT article I posted earlier, few American analysts actually expected a decision for expulsion. So we’ll have to watch and see how it goes. Definitely a wowser of a reaction that should make the US government regret it could not control its impulses to assassinate foreign military leaders. But it does love it some drones.

      Like

      1. One step at a time!

        I believe you were asking what could possibly ever force the US out of eastern Syria short of an all-out military attack. We already see one possible path already with the removal of US/NATO forces. With the US out of Iraq, no more oil theft, no more support for ISIS, the Kurds figure out that it is time to reach a settlement with the Syrian government and Russia replaces the US military in Iraq albeit likely a small presence given their non-imperialistic ways.

        Then Iraq could rebuild with help from the West, Russia and China (yes, there are decent organization in the West that would have a positive effect).

        Again, this is just a first step but one hardly imaginable a few weeks ago.

        [had an errant post below so reposted here]

        Like

  16. Its not just “educated” people who find gratuitous vulgarity offensive. For example, my mother would have been appalled. And my father, would have knuckled someone’s head if those words were said in front of her. Yes, he was an excellent heavyweight boxer.

    Also, the visitors who do not post likely find said gratuitous vulgarity disruptive and distracting as well.

    BTW,I visited the Mensa web site and decided to try their “IQ” test. Did the first four questions in a few minutes. My impression is that the test is made easy to hook wannabe smart guys in some sort of vanity marketing scheme. Here is the web site for your entertainment:

    https://www.test-iq.org/?utm_source=Bing%20Ads&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=mensa&utm_campaign=BMI%20IQ%20Test&msclkid=054911edce5a1ffbb13f4fff9ec437c5&utm_content=AdWords%20%232

    Like

  17. NS, you are in someone else’s blog. If appreciating that doesn’t suit you, start your own blog.

    I suggest that you keep your focus on something else for a while. Do any sports of your liking. That will be good for you!

    Like

      1. Patient Observer, that’s a great chainsaw! It’s not being sold in Russia, however, which means that I would be on my own mainteinance-wise if I get that chainsaw.

        I did buy a second chainsaw, a Stihl MS-180. My first one, MS-230 was broken and I wanted a replacement while it was being repaired.

        Together with a friend, I’ve used the chainsaws to clear parts of the following skiing route:

        https://nakarte.me/#m=13/56.03911/38.38614&l=L&nktl=kD-ui_AQeImVaSUXbzmCAw

        It’s about 13 km long, it crosses a frozen lake (which is good) and it crosses twice a 2-lane road (which is bad but manageable). Today I’ve tried skiing on that track. It was actually enjoyable, but now I see how it could be improved next year! I would like perhaps a longer route, but it should also have a better terrain. Also parts of the route turned out to be used by owners of four-wheelers that break the skiing track. Which is yet another reason to modify the route.

        Like

        1. Stihl makes great chain saws. Sounds like you have a big project with a good goal. Nice that you have snow. Hardly a flake so far this winter which seems to be the norm the past few years.

          We are playing around with wood heat for our home. It has been a long journey with heating. The house was built with a state of the art geothermal heating/cooling system (open loop ground water). It has been nothing but trouble, in part, due to a crooked HVAC contractor. Our son convinced us to install a wood furnace in for supplemental heat. We had a huge amount of wood already cut from clearing land for an agricultural project my wife is pursuing (small Paulownia tree plantation). So plenty of wood but most has not been properly stacked or dried. Being a newbie at this, we are learning how to keep the fire going all night – it seems a 10″ to 12″ log can last 8 hours or so.

          Also, have an Antminer L3+ to heat one room otherwise hard to heat. It falls a little short of breaking even on cost but its 900 watts of heat is enough for the room. Good luck with your trail!

          Like

          1. I don’t consider building a house yet, but it’s quite interesting! What has been the issue with the heating? How has the contractor mismanaged the HVAC?

            Meanwhile, my activity in the forest generates a lot of spare wood logs, which are just left there to rot. Russian laws allow to collect fallen trees for personal use, but I don’t need that wood. Not even other people need it — noone even bothers to collect those logs, except for the wood that can be easily accessed from a road. It seems like it’s just too much trouble for anyone.

            Like

            1. I mean, yes, there are houses in this region which use wood for heating. But apparently it’s easier to buy firewood from any regional sellers than to gather it in a forest for free…

              Like

            2. The heating contractor overcharged us and made repairs that failed regularly. The same contractor provided the HVAC for our business which also had a high failure rate. I got tired of the BS excuses and lack of technical understanding of how heat pumps work. The breaking point was when an employee tipped off someone we know that the contractor was milking us.

              Wood heat (usually supplemental) is fairly common here. Cheap gas reduces the savings potential but, the wood is free and it is a life-style choice. Bringing in and stacking the wood and firing the furnace beats watching Netflix. A faint smell of wood smoke does fill the house when starting the fire (before a strong draft is created) and when the fire is just about out (loss of draft). Plus, I tend think a little bit like a prepper so having an independent means of heating has appeal.

              Biggest problem is that it take a year for the wood to properly dry to it takes a while to build up an inventory of good wood.

              The ash borer beetle has created huge amounts of dead fall. Just cleaning that up provides enough wood for the next century.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Wood heat is also a moist and more satisfying heat where electric provides a dry heat which does not yield the same comfort. Wood heat is a polluter, though, and the best you can do to reduce it is ensure a clean burn which consumes everything except a little ash.

                Like

    1. Further to Evgeny’s comment above, would you mind explaining to me who the “MFs” and “arrogant clowns” are whom you addressed a little earlier.

      I really do hope you were not addressing me!

      I should feel quite upset if you were.

      Like

      1. The above addressed, of course, to NS.

        For some reason, my comments are all going awry this morning.

        It must be because of threads appearing within threads or whatever.

        I notice that the polite request from the person whose site this is that commenters cease using extremely vulgar obscenities has now resulted in the use of block capital acronyms for said offensive terms.

        What a smart move, I must say!

        FFS! I wish I had thought of doing that!

        Like

          1. I am so pleased to hear that, as arrogance is most certainly not one of my bad characteristics, and I confess that I have more than a few of them, and I am certainly not considered clownish by those with whom I am acquainted: I am more often described as being a miserable bugger, as a matter of fact.

            Like

  18. One step at a time!

    I believe you were asking what could possibly ever force the US out of eastern Syria short of an all-out military attack. We already see one possible path already with the removal of US/NATO forces. With the US out of Iraq, no more oil theft, no more support for ISIS, the Kurds figure out that it is time to reach a settlement with the Syrian government and Russia replaces the US military in Iraq albeit likely a small presence given their non-imperialistic ways.

    Then Iraq could rebuild with help from the West, Russia and China (yes, there are decent organization in the West that would have a positive effect).

    Again, this is just a first step but one hardly imaginable a few weeks ago.

    Like

  19. Al-beeb s’Allah: Iran rolls back nuclear deal commitments
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51001167

    In a statement it said it would no longer observe limitations on its capacity for enrichment, the level of enrichment, the stock of enriched material, or research and development…
    ####

    Oh quelle surprise.

    It’s not a deal if i-Ran is the only one sticking to it. They’ve unstuck bit by bit and by the book and condions set out in the ‘deal’ as the UK/Fr/De continued to refuse to effectively abide by their part in the agreement. The BBC’s dickhead ‘Dicklomatic Correspondent’ Johnathan Marcus yet again uses his sleight of hand to give the opposite impression.

    Establishment corruporate journalists once used to be paid to to keep an eye on the powers that be. Now their are paid to look the other way. The only ones worth their salt are mostly independent and don’t get much coverage.

    Like

    1. Iran has full right to develop nuclear weapons, especially after its highest military commander was murdered. Iran should have never abandoned the program since it was all but guaranteed that the West would break the deal at some point.

      The problem is that the West is now all the more determined to stop the Iranian nuclear program which will include military strikes in Iranian territory.

      Like

      1. US governments have had for the past 75 years a policy of denying the right of sovereign states to develop and construct their own, independent nuclear capability – for the sake of world peace, see, the World Peacekeeper being the USA: PAX AMERICANA and all that.

        The first of such states to suffer such a limitation from the USA was the UK. Even now, the question often rises in that benighted US protectorate whether it really does have full nuclear independence or needs the OK off Uncle Sam before it launches a nuclear strike.

        Like

        1. It’s a silly question.
          You think the Brits have less
          autonomy in launching
          a nuclear strike than say
          Pakistan or India?
          Get real!!

          Like

          1. Yes, its a British myth, apparently.

            No, America doesn’t control Britain’s nuclear weapons

            On the one hand:

            One of the most common myths around the system is that the United States has control over the UK’s Trident missile system, that is not the case.

            On the other hand:

            One source for the confusion could be the fact that, aside from those currently deployed, the leased missiles are held in a communal pool at the US Strategic Weapons facility at King’s Bay, Georgia, USA where maintenance and in-service support of the missiles is undertaken at periodic intervals.

            The missiles are jointly maintained, this is much cheaper than the UK doing it on its own and does not give the United States control over any of the weapons deployed on the submarines.

            But:

            In summary, the UK retains full operational control, to the extent that the US could not stop the UK from using the system.

            However, suspicions about who is boss as regards the UK/US atomic toybox were first raised immediately after the end of WWII hostilities, which suspicions still linger and have given rise to the above “myth”.

            From Wiki:

            With the end of the war, the Special Relationship between Britain and the United States “became very much less special”. The British government had trusted that America would share nuclear technology, which it considered a joint discovery. On 8 August 1945 the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, sent a message to President Harry Truman in which he referred to themselves as “heads of the Governments which have control of this great force”. But Roosevelt had died on 12 April 1945, and the Hyde Park Agreement was not binding on subsequent administrations. In fact, it was physically lost. When Wilson raised the matter in a Combined Policy Committee meeting in June, the American copy could not be found.

            On 9 November 1945, Attlee and the Prime Minister of Canada, Mackenzie King, went to Washington, D.C., to confer with Truman about future cooperation in nuclear weapons and nuclear power. A Memorandum of Intention they signed replaced the Quebec Agreement. It made Canada a full partner, continued the Combined Policy Committee and Combined Development Trust, and reduced the obligation to obtain consent for the use of nuclear weapons to merely requiring consultation. The three leaders agreed that there would be full and effective cooperation on atomic energy, but British hopes were soon disappointed; the Americans restricted cooperation to basic scientific research.

            The next meeting of the Combined Policy Committee on 15 April 1946 produced no accord on collaboration, and resulted in an exchange of cables between Truman and Attlee. Truman cabled on 20 April that he did not see the communiqué he had signed as obligating the United States to assist Britain in designing, constructing and operating an atomic energy plant. The passing of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (McMahon Act) in August 1946, which was signed by Truman on 1 August 1946, and went into effect at midnight on 1 January 1947, ended technical cooperation. Its control of “restricted data” prevented the United States’ allies from receiving any information. The remaining British scientists working in the United States were denied access to papers that they had written just days before.

            This partly resulted from the arrest for espionage of British physicist Alan Nunn May, who had worked in the Montreal Laboratory, in February 1946, while the legislation was being debated.

            Like

            1. Interesting: I didn’t know any of that. I remember in popular depictions of Britain’s nuclear submarine forces that the post of Weapons Officer was always held on a rotating basis (2 or 3 year posting) by an American officer, and that he held a national firing key which must be inserted to enable a nuclear-weapon firing, in addition to the British officer’s key. A good example is the classic “Two Hours to Darkness”.

              https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2272303.Two_Hours_to_Darkness

              Like

          1. Ummmm….no.

            https://thebulletin.org/2018/06/what-if-iran-leaves-the-npt/

            Iran’s membership in the NPT is among other things a protection for it against a US strike claiming to be a pre-emptive action against an Iranian nuclear weapon. Far more likely would be an Israeli attack under the protection of Uncle Sam. It costs Iran nothing to remain in the NPT and in theory it should not be restricted by it in any way from developing and using nuclear power for electrical generation and other ‘peaceful purposes’. The Americans pretend regularly to discover signs that Iran is making a nuclear weapon, but none of them have ever come to anything, and Iran always points to its membership in the NPT.

            That’s to say nothing of the other Arab nations which would likely rush to drop their own membership in the rush to get a bomb to use as leverage. Iran dropping out of the NPT is in nobody’s interest.

            I read that it has, though, abandoned the last of its self-imposed restrictions on enrichment since Europe has done none of the things it said it was considering to help Iran. Europe likes to pretend to have rediscovered its spine, but in reality it is scared stiff of the United States, mostly of being cut off from the commercial relationship.

            Like

  20. https://sputniknews.com/us/202001051077947251-top-pentagon-brass-stunned-by-trump-decision-to-assassinate-irgc-commander-soleimani—report/

    Trump reportedly became infuriated with media images showing Iranian-backed attacks on the American embassy in Baghdad, The Washington Post said, citing sources. The aggressive protest – which came as a response to the US strike against Kataib Hezbollah’s forces killing about two dozen of its fighters – triggered the extreme option.

    Actually, Bolton said that the hit was planned for some time. Gotta go with Bolton on this one.

    Like

      1. Plus, Bolton had a motive to tell the truth. He was probably trying to get some of the credit for the hit job. Like, this glorious deed was being planned when he was still in office, maybe even under his leadership. He’s a bitter man who still resents being fired by Trump.

        Like

  21. @ Karl
    What if the Americans when asked
    to vacate follow Nancy and just say
    No!!
    Umm…then I think we are back to
    glassing as an option.
    Pass the hat to come up with enuf
    to buy a tac nuke for the embassy.

    However that’s just the opinion of
    Crazy ol’ black guy from the 60’s aka NS.

    Like

    1. Wonderful interview with Max Blumenthal.
      I think Max gets one thing wrong, it’s the last segment around 17:00 minutes in, when Jimmy introduces the theme of army recruiting. I think Max misunderstands the point that Jimmy was trying to make, namely that the army benefits from the student loan crisis; because so many college-age people can’t afford the high tuition, so they join the army. The army will give them a free education. I personally know several American families whose kids joined the army (or navy) precisely in order to get a free college education. In return for being potential cannon fodder.

      Misunderstanding this subtle point, Max develops a different theme (also a valid one, in its own right), that the American Empire does not want an educated public; and the point about Hurricane Katrina wiping out the public school system in New Orleans, etc.

      Finally, in developing his theme, Max says one thing that I don’t agree with, namely that the Powers That Be want all Americans to be dumb (this part is true), and just become “coding drones” working for Mark Zuckerberg, etc.

      That “coding” thing I can’t agree with, and I think Max just misunderstands what “coding” actually is, and what computer science consists of; how much study it takes to master, etc. Anybody who can get a job with Zuckerberg is no dummy, and is not necessarily a drone. These are highly qualified individuals.
      Tiny point of disagreement with Max. His other main points stand solid.

      Like

  22. An airline pilot provides interesting insights on the A-320 and Boeing 737-MAX. He offers an explanation why Airbus will not go in for the kill.

    Like

    1. I would add that Arbus cannot produce enough aircraft to make up for any significant increase in orders due to cancellations of Boing-Boings. Both manufacturers have significantly increased their production over the last ten years from 30+pm to 40+pm and it has caused all sorts of problems with the supply chain. That chain is made up of thousands to tens of thousands of suppliers and quite a few have been able to find the financing, people etc. to quickly produce much more of their item to guaranteed safetly standards. You can’t deliver planes if bits are missing.

      Part of this solution has been Airbus and co-offering financing or simply buying out the smaller suppliers, another part has been mergers/consolidations/buyouts, but it has not been smooth. Something as supposedly simple as airline seating has caused problems for example.*

      * https://www.mro-network.com/maintenance-repair-overhaul/will-airlines-face-more-seat-supplier-problems

      https://www.mro-network.com/maintenance-repair-overhaul/faa-citing-insufficient-crashworthiness-orders-replacement-10000-zodiac

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-zodiac-airbus-seats-idUSKCN0US2DF20160114

      Like

      1. AINOnline.com: Airbus Plans Big A320 Rate Hike in Alabama
        https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/air-transport/2020-01-09/airbus-plans-big-a320-rate-hike-alabama

        Airbus plans to increase its A320 production rate at its plant in Mobile, Alabama, from five to seven per month by the start of next year, the company announced Thursday. The increase will help Airbus meet its goal of producing 63 A320-family aircraft per month at its four assembly sites in 2021. The company said the production rate boost and continued recruiting for the A220 manufacturing team will result in the addition of 275 employees at the U.S. facility over the next year. Airbus added 600 new jobs at the Alabama site last year…
        ####

        Capacity in the US of A’s own backyard being built up over years, not to mention the potential of their Tianjin line, though both are ‘assembly’, so still depend on production and manufacturing bottlenecks in u-Rope…

        Like

  23. Oh look! Putin was behind the latest hoax call to idiot Waters:

    Greta Thunberg impersonator tricks congresswoman with hoax call: ‘I am really very proud of you’
    Two Russians [sic] YouTubers behind prank

    Kim Bellware
    18 hours ago

    [Apparently, Bellware of the “Indy” rag has problems with English syntax, as does her copy editor, it seems.]

    The congresswoman and her staff thought they had connected with Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist who was recently named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year”.

    In reality, two 30-something Russians, Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov, were on the other end of the line. The duo describe themselves as comedians and pranksters, but they are widely suspected of having ties to the Russian government.

    Widely suspected?

    By whom?

    Do say!

    Evidence for such suspicion?

    Right! The hoaxers are Russians!

    Nuff said! Say no more, say no more! Nudge-nudge! Wink-Wink!

    The super-intellectual Waters told the “Washington Post”:

    “This was just another stupid prank by the same Russian operatives who have targeted many US elected officials, including representative Adam Schiff, senator Lindsey Graham, senator Mitch McConnell, and late-senator John McCain, and international heads of state such as Emmanuel Macron. The end.”

    The most damning evidence of all that is proof that the hoaxers are Kremlin “operatives” is, of course:

    Mr Kuznetsov and Mr Stolyarov deny they’re Kremlin-backed agents with ties to Russian security forces ….

    Like

  24. Best wishes for the coming Christmas!

    Which means tomorrow, not 25th December 2020!

    Today, 6th January 2020 [NS] (24th December 2019 [OS]) is the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church Christmas Eve 2019.

    In fact, the word for “Christmas Eve” in Russian is Сочельник [/[sɐˈt͡ɕelʲnʲɪk]/, sort of like: so-chyel-nyeek — with a softening of the letter “l” so that it has a kind of slight “yi” sound after it].

    So this evening the faithful end their pre-Christmas fasting and stand up half the night in church, one of which is right facing our house, so it’ll get very noisy here when they start banging away at those crazy Orthodox bells in the very early hours of the morning!

    Like

          1. Speaking of which, as soon as the holidays end here tomorrow, I shall call into the local dentist’s in order to get some new gnashers done. I had already had a dental bridge done in the UK years ago to replace the gap in my stunning smile, created as a result of my never wearing a gum shield when playing rugby. Anyway, much to my surprise, a couple of Christmases ago, whilst I was noshing away at the Christmas goose that I had bought, out came the bridge!

            I reckon it came out because of the shrinkage of my jaw caused by my growing older, but instead of my growing long in the tooth, I was growing out of teeth – out of plastic and metal ones, at any rate!

            I had felt the bridge becoming looser for a long while before it came out, but because of the horrendous cost of dental treatment, of orthodontic cosmetic treatment to be exact, I never bothered getting a new bridge, much to my wife’s persistent criticism that I look like a pirate.

            And then, a couple of weeks before this Christmas, I felt a tooth, a real one, becoming looser and looser. Age again, I suppose. So off I went to the dentist’s.

            I never go to private clinics here, which fact causes looks of amazement off my Western colleagues, who are very many years younger than I am and who, in general, are greatly ignorant about Russia. And they are totally gobsmacked when they learn that all three of my children were born in Russian state-run maternity hospitals: all my Western colleagues’ Russian wives have given birth to their children in private clinics here.

            So the dentist at our local dental clinic, an ebullient young man who immediately put me at ease, fixed me up as regards my loose molar by extracting it. But before he did that, I told him about the gap and how my wife would like me to have false gnashers, but the price of having this done put me off, notwithstanding the fact that, in my opinion, such an outlay for purely cosmetic reasons would be an utter waste of time, considering my advanced years.

            The young Russian dentist, however, told me that having my smile replaced would be free of charge.

            I had already told him of my legal status here, that I was a foreign citizen with full rights of residence in the Evil Empire, but that I was not registered as a Russian pensioner, though I received a UK pension and a retired miner’s pension as well and that I was a tax payer here, in that I am an “individual entrepreneur” who pays tax monthly to the Evil Regime. He reassured me that I should pay nothing for the orthodonty and that he would fix me up come the New Year.

            In fact, upon entering our local state dental clinic, where all the equipment, by the way, is “state of the art”, I simply showed the receptionist my plastic national insurance card, which I always keep in my wallet, and my passport and full residency permit for a foreign national. The receptionist did not even bother looking at my passport, only glancing at my residency permit before swiping my national insurance card through a card reader, whereupon a “talon” with a number printed on it came out of some machine. She gave me the ticket and directed me to where my treatment would take place. I was second in the queue as it was only 09:30. The dentist opened shop at 10:00. The treatment took about 40 minutes: anaesthetic injection in the gum, a wait for it take effect and then “Bob’s your uncle!”

            I thanked the dentist for a job well done and told him I would be back in the New Year.

            So, by the end of this month I shall have my American English smile back again, but only if I ask him to stain my new false teeth yellow, of course.

            Like

            1. The equipment at your local dentist may have been “state of the art” but it did not carry that essential tome that all dentistry offices outside the UK should have for UK expats: The Big Book of British Smiles.

              Like

    1. Quite the beat and well coordinated bells – a symphony of bells no less! Thanks for posting. I wish all Christians on the Old Calendar a Peaceful and Thoughtful Christmas. I received several Christmas greetings from Muslin colleagues – that was very nice.

      Like

      1. Absolutely! For too technologically advanced for Russian retards!

        Bell ringers here are often monks who tug away at loads of strings attached to various clappers, except for those of the great big bells, which, I think, are just swung back and forth up in the bell tower by some monk, Quasimodo style.

        These blokes below, at Christ the Redeemer Cathedral Moscow, are not monks, though:

        This below is traditional English church bell ringing. I don’t know if the bells of the USA Episcopal Church (the Church of England in the USA, as it were) sound like that. I never heard similar peals when I lived in Germany.

        Here is the sound of German church bells:

        Nowt like English bells!

        Russian bells are best!

        Sergey Rachmaninov would not dispute that statement, I’m sure!

        Like

  25. Totally blown ’em!

    I wonder what Killery would have done had she become “Madame President”?

    Like

    1. BBC:

      Speaking from the presidential plane, Mr Trump said that if Iraq asked US forces to depart on an unfriendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before, ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame”.

      Sounds like some big daft kid.

      Like

      1. Some people in this comment section voted for Trump LOL.

        There were not good alternatives so it would have been best to not vote at all.

        And even better would have been to move out of America. Doesn’t the Bible also tell God’s people to move out of Babylon?

        Like

        1. Revelation 18:

          “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’[a]
          She has become a dwelling for demons
          and a haunt for every impure spirit,
          a haunt for every unclean bird,
          a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.
          3
          For all the nations have drunk
          the maddening wine of her adulteries.
          The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
          and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”

          4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

          “‘Come out of her, my people,’[b]
          so that you will not share in her sins,
          so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
          5
          for her sins are piled up to heaven,
          and God has remembered her crimes.
          6
          Give back to her as she has given;
          pay her back double for what she has done.
          Pour her a double portion from her own cup.
          7
          Give her as much torment and grief
          as the glory and luxury she gave herself.
          In her heart she boasts,
          ‘I sit enthroned as queen.
          I am not a widow;[c]
          I will never mourn.’
          8
          Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
          death, mourning and famine.
          She will be consumed by fire,
          for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

          Like

        2. That’s true, the Bible has something in there about this courtesan known as the Great Wh*re of Babylon. She lived in a mansion with hanging gardens, in the city of Babylon.
          This lady was sort of a combination of a French grisette and high-class Manhattan hooker, think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Religious people were warned to stay away from her, probably because of her great champagne banquets, which featured non-kosher as well as kosher dishes. Followed by sex orgies and people wearing masks, and stuff…

          Like

            1. The most common interpretation is that the reference is to the Vatican and the pope. Other interpretations have been offered. Orthodox Christians do not place much stock in Revelations. We also do not place much value with respect top the Old Testament with all that eye-for-an-eye crap. The Ten Commandments have stood the test of time fairly well.

              Islam does seem to consider the West as the Great Satan and Russia nowadays is viewed as the liberator. Interesting times, eh?

              Like

              1. I don’t see the Vatican/Pope was a good reference of the Great Babylon.

                Vatican and Pope were at the helm of their power in the Middle Ages. Currently they have some influence especially in South America and southern Europe, but it still doesn’t fit the description of the Revelations 17-18.

                The Great Babylon is described as great economic power surrounded by oceans. It has grown wealthy by trade. It commits great sins and lives in perversion. It is the center of world entertainment industry.

                The Revelations 17-18 describes the fall of Babylon as a sudden event. So it might be a great natural disaster of a nuclear war.

                I don’t necessarily believe in this, but it would be great if somekind of a personal God really existed who settled a score with evildoers and rewarded those who did good and suffered without their own fault.

                Like

                1. To be more accurate, the pope is considered by many to be the anti-Christ. Lots of online references on that topic. I don’t put much stock in that either although the Vatican along with other western institutions is the the source of much human suffering.

                  Like

      2. Grotesque; it lays bare like never before the rotten entitlement of US foreign policy. It’s got a good thing going there in Iraq, never mind it had to start a phony war on completely and admittedly fabricated grounds – which killed hundreds of thousands of people – to get it set up; it’s there now and it is going to stay. If dropping the affable-buddy mask has to happen, well, so be it.

        It’s like if the USA came for Christmas 2003, and just never went home. 2019 you said hey, shouldn’t you be heading home, your kids probably miss you, and the USA threatened to break all your windows if you made it leave.

        What’s ‘departing on an unfriendly basis’? Anything which includes the words ‘now’ or ‘immediately’? I know it’s fashionable in a patronizing way to say that America has become a caricature of itself, but it’s far beyond that – America is becoming a caricature of its worst caricature. Forget that “We’re here to help’ nonsense – it’s plainly “We’re here to help ourselves, and we intend to keep right on doing it, so be quiet and let us get on with it’.

        Like

  26. Back to the future:

    BMPD: Вертолеты Ка-52 на египетском универсальном десантном корабле типа Mistral
    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/3898295.html

    Любопытные кадры состоявшихся в Египте в ходе флотских учений упражнений по обеспечению базирования вертолетов ВВС Египта различных типов на входящих в состав ВМС Египта универсальных десантных кораблях (УДК) типа Mistral, изначально строившихся во Франции для России. Помимо поставленных из России Египту боевых вертолетов Ка-52, в учениях на УДК L 1010 Gamal Abdel Nasser (бывший “Владивосток”) принимали участие также вертолеты американского производства – боевые Boeing AH-64D Apache и транспортные Boeing СН-47С Chinook…
    ####

    More at the link

    Like

    1. I haven’t been talking to you, but thanks for the tip, Northern Star! Yet another good movie I haven’t seen.

      Judging by that scene, there’s a Russian movie with a similar spirit — “Брат”, a cult crime drama about Russia’s 1990s. Have you seen it?

      In case you have not, here’s the movie with English subs (unfortunately it’s split into parts, so here’s part 1):

      Like

      1. Thanks…l will check out your
        movie.
        Ya gotta watch Taxi…a young
        DeNiro and Jody Foster!!
        But if you are a guy… don’t get
        to worked up over Jody..
        She’s gay.!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re welcome. Yes, I’m a guy. Reminds me of the time I studied English in a college… We used a textbook with contained stories that involved several protagonists. One of them was a girl who was a fan of Jodie Foster movies!

          Like

        2. Foster was 12-years-old during the making of “Taxi Driver” so it would be disturbing if Evgeny got worked up over Foster other than her welfare (recall she was present during the scene in which de Niro’s character shoots Harvey Keitel’s character and another character) during filming.

          Like

            1. I don’t need to hide behind anyone … if I’m a bit slow in replying, that’s usually because when you Americans are up and about, we Australians are asleep because of the time-zone difference.

              I know you were talking about Jodie Foster as an adult but I just threw in that observation about Foster being 12-years-old in “Taxi Driver” thinking it might lead to an interesting conversation about her choice or her mother’s choice of films for Foster to act in as she was growing up. In the same year “Taxi Driver” was released, another film Foster appeared in, “The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane” was also released. Foster played a … hmm, well, serial killer in that film.

              Like

          1. Also white men are no strangers to prepubescent girls…
            cf pedophile sex trafficking Jew Billionaire
            Epstein…
            OK … just sayin’

            Like

    1. See, I don’t think he did that. I’ve seen the newspaper accounts in which Trump supposedly ‘got very angry’ about the death of an American contractor or two, and decided to do something about it. So then Soleimani flies in for the funeral, and there just happens to be a drone waiting for him and they just happen to know which car he’s in. The US government is now trying to portray it as just a moment of passion in which they were totally justified in reacting, and now are ready to up the ante to destroying Iranian cultural sites among the 50-something ‘targets’ they claim to have picked out. But Bolton gave it away, saying the operation had been a long time in the making. He didn’t say it was a long time coming, in the sense that Soleimani had gotten away with his shenanigans for too long – he said a long time in the making, as in a careful and deliberate plan, as in a setup to lure him in where he could be whacked. Elements within the US government just wind Trump up, it’s so easy, and then he takes the rap for it because he is too arrogant and stupid to back down, and challenging him only hardens his resolve.

      The official story now is that Soleimani crossed a line, that he was planning to hurt Americans, bla, bla, bla, but in fact the whole thing was a plan to get him to where he could be killed, with no care whatever what implications that might have had for the host country, because the Great United States does what it wants to, where it wants to.

      America deserves to lose its springboard for meddling in the Middle East, and I hope it does.

      Like

      1. Per a low-placed Iraqi, the murder of Muhandis was more harmful to US-Iraqi relations than Soleimani’s murder.

        Soleimani was revered in Iraq for leading the drive to defeat ISIS in Iraq but was later viewed by many as having too much influence within Iraq (still highly respected nevertheless).

        Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, killed in a drone strike early Friday, is getting the vast majority of the media attention. But several others were also killed in the attack, including militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. For years, Muhandis has been one of the most important military figures in Iraq, as the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces.

        My source indicated that the US has up to one (1) year per SOFA to leave but as the US violated the terms, that grace period may be eliminated.

        The source assured me that Iranian leadership is extremely intelligence and will strike back in a very clever way. However,their main goal is the expulsion of US forces from the Middle East. If Iraq follows through, much of that goal would have been achieved as US forces would be expected to leave Syria as well.

        The source indicated the Kurd region would not be a refuge for US forces.

        Like

  27. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/477558-iran-trump-nuclear-fordow/

    Ritter provides a good run down on the situation. The only US option to prevail to any degree would be to go nuclear.

    We have discussed the nuclear option many times and the global repercussions it would create. Perhaps it will be Israel that would initiate the war with nuclear weapons and then hide behind the US.

    No one, except Israel, wants a war with Iran. To be more precise, Israel wants the US to have a war with Iran and if it takes a nuke or two to start up, then so be it.

    Like

  28. The referenced attacks on a handful
    of Jews WERE horrific, particularly
    for those killed or mailed.
    I don’t argue otherwise.
    However do you think this street
    filling mass of Jews has any concern about Israel’s willingness
    to mass murder millions of Persians?
    If Iran is nuked there should be wave after wave of asymmetrical
    warfare attacks against Jews throughout the planet.

    Like

    1. “But the Iraqi Parliament vote doesn’t mean that the U.S. military has to leave the country immediately. It’s a non-binding vote, which is seen as mostly symbolic. The 5,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq at the invitation of the country’s executive branch, the Prime Minister’s office — not Parliament. It is up to the Iraqi Prime Minister whether the troops will be expelled.”

      It’s a bruise to the American ego, which needs to always feel welcome and cherished and valued – but the vote is non-binding, which means Washington will ignore it. Unless and until the Prime Minister signs off on it. And even then there will be no jumping to obey. Watch and see – America will keep its head down, not do anything too controversial and wait for it to blow over.

      What may happen is a regeneration of the insurgency of 2004 and beyond, when US troops were housed separately in the ‘Green Zone’ and could not go out into the city unless heavily armed and on patrols. That is more likely to provide a realistic atmosphere of overall Iraqi displeasure. Unfortunately because of a tone-deaf president, it would also likely motivate an increase in US troop levels rather than a departure. Either way, I imagine you will see the Baghdad Embassy complex full of US troops for as far into the future as you can see.

      Like

  29. Vis t-Rump’s threat of sanctions against i-Rack, the latter has bought 32 F-16IQs (most delivered) and 24 US produced KAI TQ-50s, not to mention all sorts of other US equipment. t-Rump would be closing off this $$$ billion market to his backers and also that of u-Rope which would not be allowed to sell anything to i-Rack. What a great advertisment to never by American. Dumb and dumbest.

    Like

    1. They are still training i-Racki officers in the US, so in effect sanctioning i-rack to f/k would be cutting off their nose to spite their face. It’s not as if i-Rack doesn’t have other options, sic China/Russia etc. and once it has gone, say also installed Huawei 5G and alternative payments system… The US requires compliance and influence and they can only do this if they have a foot in the door. If they don’t, all they have is threats and violence.

      Like

  30. https://www.stalkerzone.org/us-diplomat-william-taylor-described-what-weapons-washington-will-palm-off-on-ukraine-in-2020/
    Oana Lungescu, Romanian born journalist, now German citizen. From 1985 until 1992 she worked as a reporter for the Romanian section of the BBC, then for BBC World Service.

    In 2010 named by then NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as official NATO spokeswoman.

    You hear that, Iran?

    No more violence off you, or else!!!!!

    Like

  31. @ME

    I think that there’s a case to be made that field commanders
    have always had the ability to launch the nukes under their immediate control.
    After all the point of a first strike
    is to decapitate the command structure of the adversary.
    Field command couldn’t be
    encumbered with getting authorization codes and whatnot
    from higher authorities who are
    dead.
    Think back to that Russian sub
    during the ’62 missile crisis…
    As I recall that sub could have
    fired nuke torpedoes without any
    technical authorization from Moscow.
    I dunno… maybe I’ve got it wrong..

    Like

      1. OK
        But what does the Belgrano
        sinking have to do with my
        speculating that Lieutenant
        Commander Ellen xxxxx USN
        can in fact launch her Tridents
        without the authorization of
        ‘higher authorities’.

        Like

        1. Nothing.

          Apart from the fact that it seems that the chain of command in HMS Conqueror in 1982, when it was decided whether to torpedo the Belgrano, ended not with the commander of the submarine, nor with the British Admiralty, but with the then 57-year-old prime minister of the UK, a shopkeeper’s daughter from Grantham, Lincolnshire and wife of a millionaire.

          Like

        2. All USN Commanders at sea retain ‘the inherent right of self-defense’; that they may take such action as they feel necessary to defend themselves against attack and to protect those under their charge from attack. Pretty much all allied navies have something which is more or less the same. If you are attacked, or if you feel convincingly that you are about to be attacked, you can shoot without asking for permission in proportion to the threat you see arrayed against you.

          It would be a bit of a stretch, though, to volley off your entire stock of your main armament and say you felt like you had to do it to defend yourself. The Trident is a pretty big weapon to be employed in a self-defense role, and generally speaking the navy is talking about ship’s guns or short-range missiles whose functions might be assumed to be defensive when it gives such blanket permissions.

          Like

          1. Granting blanket authorization to a field commander to use nuclear weapons in self-defense is a bit of a stretch in my opinion if not ridiculous. This answer from Quora seems informed and reasonable:

            To expand on Carter Moore’s answer:

            In the US, the authority to release nuclear weapons for use sits with the National Command Authority, which is the President (or duly appointed, legal successor) plus the SecDef (or their duly appointed, legal successor).

            However, they have the power to delegate launch authority to someone else. That is, the NCA does not have to immediately declare a launch. Instead, they can give a copy of the Authorization Codes and Weapon Enablement codes to another party, such as the a high-ranking general officer aboard one of the various flying command planes. In this case, they’ve effectively legally devolved the decision to someone else; this usually comes with instructions on what conditions the launch is to happen. Legally speaking, that person now has the right to declare a launch. This capability is retained until the NCA decides to revoke it, and take back control itself.

            So, ultimate, the authority to launch sits with the NCA, but it can decide to delegate this authority to others, after the NCA has agreed that a launch is authorized. So, the actual launch order might come from someone other than the NCA itself, but the codes will always be the same, from the perspective of the people who launch the actual weapons.

            https://www.quora.com/Who-can-give-orders-to-launch-a-nuclear-weapon

            Like

        1. Arm Iran with S-400 like Iran armed Turkey, and offer to set a Russian base in Iran to deter any Western aggression.

          In return Iran should grant Russian oil companies access to its oil.

          Iran gets protection. Russia gets money for oil.

          If Iran’s leadership has any sense it would comply, because there is a serious threat of western military attack in Iran.

          Like

          1. Saker has a good analysis on this topic. In short, Iran does not need direct Russian military aid to weather a US attack. Russia will provide intelligence, early warning and technical support.

            Why should Russia do more than that given Iran’s position of strength? In addition, Iran would likely reject such a deal that you proposed and rightfully so as an unneeded dilution of their sovereignty.

            Only if Iran were under nuclear attack or, unlikely, in danger of losing to a conventional Western onslaught, would Russia take a direct role.

            It’s the principle of using the least amount of force to accomplish the goal at work – something Westerners raise on Hollywood movies and wannabe tough guys don’t get.

            Like

            1. The idea of a Russian base in Iran is to make any western nuclear attack against Iran unthinkable.

              And I’m not sure that Iran has what it takes to deter an US military attack by itself without help from either Russia or China.

              Like

              1. Iran just needs to think rather than abruptly act. Doesn’t mean it has to just accept what America decides for it; it needs to act in ways which engender broad international sympathy. It has that already in considerable measure – the USA’s doglike allies line up to say what a bad guy Soleimani was, and if the USA says he was planning to kill Americans, that’s all the evidence they need, but quite a few sources offer a more nuanced view in which Soleimani was a revered figure in Iran and Iraq, and one of the original anti-ISIS influencers, which he was. Iran should take no action precipitately, in grief and anger. It should assemble its best international minds, and discuss ways of punishing America which are both doable and unlikely to promote any particular sympathy for the American position. Commerce is probably not the way to do it – American companies of any stature have already left, and many of the large companies who retain an interest are European or Chinese already. But a solid review to determine any lingering American economic interests which might be severed would be worth doing and would perhaps keep the hotheads busy for a little while. Reinforcing its policies of not using the US dollar in any of its commercial dealings, including not accepting it as a medium of exchange, is also worth taking a look at.

                Like

                1. “it needs to act in ways which engender broad international sympathy.”

                  Argh!!!

                  International sympathy is just an empty word.

                  Iran needs arms. Iran needs nukes. Not sympathy.

                  Like

                2. Are you deliberately misunderstanding? Iran does not need international sympathy to assuage its hurt feelings. It needs international sympathy with its position to prevent an American military strike. Why do you think the USA always tries to assemble a ‘coalition’ of friendly forces to go along with its war japes? To internationalize its efforts and make it appear they have broad support. If US allies are reluctant to join a coalition to strike Iran because their populations are in broad sympathy that Iran was badly treated, then there will not likely be a coalition and if there is no coalition there will most likely be no war.

                  If the USA does not get its war and also has to pull out of Iraq, Iran will have gotten a pretty good exchange out of Soleimani’s death. The latter objective alone, an American pullout, would be a tremendous victory. The USA has still never cracked the Iranian oil market, which is still a national concern, and is why it felt okay imposing sanctions against it – no US companies were hurt thereby. But the USA still has a lot of oil interests in Iraq, and if it lost those and they were absorbed by Russia and China – a completely possible scenario – the USA would be worse off than it was when the whole Iraq-War thing started.

                  Like

                3. I should think that they remember the experience with their eastern European allies (Poland, Romania, etc.). Who knows how the winds will blow with Iran years from now?

                  Best for Russia to handle the situation like Syria – solve the problem and get out. Don’t build empires. If countries like your product, your service, values, etc. they will be a partner.

                  Like

                4. ” It needs international sympathy with its position to prevent an American military strike. ”

                  Where is Iran going to get that sympathy? Certainly not from US traditional allies.

                  And sympathy from Russia, China etc. will not prevent an US attack to Iran alone. It didn’t prevent an US attack against Iraq either, even if countries like France and Germany opposed the war.

                  Like

              2. Same answer as before – Iranian sovereignty would be diluted and Russia would be obligated to take a hit rather than take a hit at its option. I am surprised that you think Russia should place Iran’s interest ahead of its own.

                Like

                1. Karl, you forget that Iran may not want a Russian base. Its a joint decision. Iran is not some fly-by-night fake country. IIRC, the Iranian constitution specifically forbids such bases.

                  Like

                2. Naturally Russia can’t force to Iran accept its base in its territory.

                  But Iran witnessed what Russian presence meant for Syria. If there is a serious threat of a US military attack in Iran they should want a Russian base in their soil.

                  Like

                3. Anything which involves the regular and common presence of Russian citizens would be enough – partnership in the oilfields, although I doubt Iran would be ready to yield that far. But it is a titillating possibility; it would infuriate the United States, and Russia has long maintained it has a duty to protect its people wherever they may be if they are threatened by an outside power.

                  Like

    1. A couple of incongruities with that story; one, Borden spells out that its bankruptcy is a strategy to shed debt while it structures itself for long-term competition. So it is going bankrupt to avoid paying the greater portion of debt it acquired – probably – through expansion or acquisitions which were not very well thought-out. It does not intend to leave the business; it’s just buying itself a little breathing space. Two, it complains one of the reasons for its difficulties is the rising price of milk. Ummm….what? Early this year the papers were full of stories of woe from dairy farmers over how Big Ag had destroyed the business by forming massive conglomerates whose purpose was to drive the price ever downward – more cheap milk!! I particularly remember one frustrated farmer who claimed she and her husband could go to Wal-Mart, buy enough milk to fill their storage, and sell it to the dairy brokerage for a little bit more. Obviously you could not run a business that way, but the point she was making is that farmers cannot produce milk as cheaply as dairy brokerages want to pay for it. Milk is too cheap. So…now it’s too expensive? There’s something in there I must be missing.

      Like

      1. I know better than to debate
        money stuff with you.

        But on the nuke launch thing
        I think the referenced authority
        posted indicates that if
        Lt. Commander Ellen is on the rag…she can loose a nuke.
        (O:

        Like

    1. Roberts is one of those commentators who think Russia is acting a lot weaker than its actual strength and capabilities are. I think Roberts generally approves Putin but laments his conciliatory and “weak” foreign policy that Roberts sees as naive and counterproductive to Russian interests.

      Like

      1. Roberts is one of those commentators who apparently thinks it is Putin’s responsibility to save the world, and to rush to clean up the latest US mess so that it can move on to the next one without having to wait. Putin’s first responsibility is to Russia and its interests. If it is in Russia’s interests to prevent the USA from unleashing war on Iran, then it might be considered. But Trump has just reaffirmed that the USA is ready to start loosing off attacks on anyone and anything that it perceives to be getting in its way, and if the first thing that crosses the scope is a cultural site which might cause anguish if it were destroyed, well, then, that’s just leverage. Any other country which spoke that way would be isolated by world opinion and condemned as an international pariah, but the USA is completely out of control, and everyone is afraid of a nutjob with a machine gun.

        There definitely would be advantages for Russia in displacing the USA in Iran and Iraq; oil, obviously, and a new and bigger market for its defense systems. But standing in front of Washington, holding out a palm and shouting “NO!!!” is not the way to do it, and I can’t see Russia doing it. I suppose that would look weak to you, but in fact it would make much more sense to gradually reveal to America what the costs to it would be for starting a war with Iran, and make them prohibitive so that it is the USA’s own decision to back down. Iran could still enact vengeance as long as it had plausible deniability and the actors could not be proven to be Iranian, and Russia is more than capable of sending a direct message to Israel to mind its own business, or else. The USA wants to go to war in Iran, but it is still important to it that such action appear to be justified, something America ‘had to do’. And right now the equation is way too one-sided; it is Iran which should be outraged, not America.

        Like

    1. Karl, what evidence do you have that Kirill is kvs?
      I admit some of it sounds like him:
      Ukr propaganda orifices will be whipping up a frenzy of hate because “Russia screwed us over with this contract… In order for people to remember the good stuff, they first have to feel the pain.

      Especially the connection of “orifices” with “pain”, I admit that has all the ear-marks of a Kirill. On the other hand, a lot of people on the blogosphere are violent sex offenders, not to mention sado-masochists, why do you specifically think that this is Kirill?

      Unless he mentions “Asian Linguistics” or “paltal consonants” or the like, LOL, then it would have to be him.

      Like

      1. They have the same writing style, same expressions, same temperament, and mostly similar opinions. Althought lately Kirill/kvs has turned more critical towards Putin and Russian government than he was in this blog.

        Both are from Canada too (kvs calls his home country Canuckistan).

        Like

        1. Kirill was a physicist and I recall he was also knowledgeable about energy / fossil fuel economics, physical geography and climate change dynamics, and materials science. His family background was western Ukrainian.

          Like

          1. Specifically, a scientist involved in atmospheric dynamics IIRC. He also had knowledge on the theory of relativity and quantum dynamics but I do not know how deep that knowledge was. He did have non-conventional ideas in those areas. The linguini (ha ha) debate with Yalensis was way over my head.

            Like

            1. Linguini (?) haha! good one…
              Okay, so here’s the thing. I don’t know if Kirill was really as knowledgeable in physics and climate change, quantum dynamics, etc., as he claimed to be.
              Just as linguini was over your head, so too all that stuff was over mine.
              But here’s the thing: When Kirill ventured into a field (=scientific Linguistics) which (almost randomly) I actually knew something about (even having a degree in it), then he got EVERYTHING totally wrong.

              And not even wrong, but laughingly, hysterically wrong.
              It’s as if, just by chance, you have a degree in biology, and somebody walks up to you and says, “Plant cells are made of swiss cheese.” That’s how laughable Kirill’s “Linguistics” theories were.

              Based on that, I felt I had reason to doubt all his other “knowledge” and its validity, even about stuff which I myself knew nothing about. Given that he delivered his “Linguistics” theories with a straight face and speaking authoritatively, so that people not in the know would probably give him the benefit of the doubt.

              It’s an epistemological dilemma, do you see what I’m getting at?

              Like

            1. I think he stopped posting here when yalensis would not stop banging on at him about linguistics, about some obscure phoneme or something that he allegedly claimed did not exist in the Russian alphabet. I could not see it as very important, but apparently I am a Philistine about the purity of linguistics. But of course you would see it as another failure for Putin. You are so predictable.

              Like

    2. “What drove him over the edge was the Russian capitulation in Ukraine gas trade.”
      It never took all that much to drive Kirill over the edge, haha!

      Ideologically, I would characterize Kirill (and you too, Karl, I’m not being offensive or aggressive here, just trying to categorize peoples political ideologies) as the conservative-fascist wing of the Russophile movement. I think this faction believed in Putin and hero-worshipped him, but for all the wrong reasons: They thought he was a white supremacist and and classical 19th century anti-Semite.
      Putin may be a conservative, and traditional values kind of guy, but he has never shown that he believes in white supremacism or hates Jews (or even Zionists, for that matter), in any way.
      Must have been a huge disappointment to that faction, and then he shows this “weakness” in negotiating with the Banderites, even conceding a morsel to them, instead of just nuking them.

      It has all the earmarks of a poetic disillusionment, not unlike when Beethoven became disillusioned in his erstwhile hero, Napoleon Bonaparte.

      Like

    1. I’ll believe it when they’re all gone. But getting them out of Iraq would make an attack on Iran much less likely. I suspect the “You don’t want us around; I get it, I get it, we’re going” is just a ploy to make Iraq think it is being too hasty and offer it a chance to reconsider. If so, that’s not likely to happen. But they’re not going to leave that massive Embassy after all the money they spent on it, and they won’t leave an entirely civilian staff unguarded, either.

      Like

      1. Yeah, the optics will look terrible:

        https://www.rt.com/news/476838-russia-us-military-outpost-syria/

        Also, chaos at the top:

        The US has no plans to pull out of Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters after a letter to the government in Baghdad informing them of redeployment plans was published online.

        “There’s been no decision to leave Iraq. Period,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday, in what appears to have been an off-camera briefing.

        He was referring to the reports that the head of Combined Joint Task Force Iraq, General William H. Seely III, had informed the Iraqi government of preparations to reposition the coalition forces “in due deference to the sovereignty” of Iraq.

        https://www.rt.com/usa/477603-esper-no-plans-leave-iraq/

        Like

    1. Thanks, Patrick – always a pleasure to hear from you, and best of the New Year to you and yours. Beckie Scott became a sort of mascot for the Americans back when they were first offering their jaw-dropping accusations, thundering that it was an outrage, to standing ovations. Must have gone right to her head. And you could always accuse the Russians of just about anything you liked in Canada since Chrystia Freeland became a voice in the Canadian government. But I think a lot of it is simply that most of the investigative committee was Canadian – Richard McLaren and that old Russophile Dick Pound. It always interested me that the latter was both a committee member and loud-mouthed accuser of Russian chicanery, and an honourary board member at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He only narrowly missed being its President, in 2010, and was and is a member of the IOC. So he’s got a finger in every sports pie, and I was frankly astonished to see Russia win its appeals in the CAS.

      Also, WADA is located in Canada, to my bitter chagrin – it is so plainly an office of the United States government in its eagerness to do the latter’s bidding that it should be moved to Washington.

      Like

      1. Is this because the Canadians are considered the ‘Swiss’ of the American continent that they are chosen/volunteer as messengers? I should probably point out that the Norwegians are actually the preferred negotiatiors in u-Rope for tricky people to hoodwink in to thinking they’re getting a good deal (‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’), but on ‘our team’ really.

        Like

  32. Ya gotta stop jerking around playing footsie with the Americans.
    Iraq, Iran and Syria can pass the hat for a COD package from Pakistan. Granted there would be some collateral damage in Greater
    Baghdad… but it would be minimal.
    Certainly -as a humanitarian gesture-the Americans could be given a 72 hours warning to clear out. If they chose not to do so.. it’s
    on them.
    Of course copies of the (recorded) detonation would be sent to the appropriate Israeli authorities in
    Haifa and Tel Aviv….on a friendly
    FYI basis, which made note of concern for the welfare of the Palestinians in Gaza.

    https://www.military.com/video/nuclear-bombs/nuclear-weapons/1-kiloton-nuclear-bomb-detonated/3067132402001

    Like

  33. Note to Stooges who can read English…. I did NOT advocate for
    massive planet wide retaliation
    against all Jews as retaliation for
    the murder of Soleimani.
    I said that should be the case IF
    millions of Persians were mass
    murdered by Israel/USA.

    You freaking A I said that …and I say
    it again. OK.

    Like

  34. Unsurprisingly, I suppose, the American response to being told to hit the road, Jack, by Iraq is to pretend that someone else actually said it. After allowing it was “a bit concerning”, MMA Cage Fighter Lindsey Graham proceeded as if someone else entirely had said it: “The Iranian government is trying to basically take over Iraq’s political system. Iran is bribing Iraqi politicians. To the Iraqi people, do not allow your politicians to turn Iraq into a proxy of Iran”. Get it? The Iraqi parliament voted to tell the Americans to leave because Iran bribed Iraqi politicians. Otherwise they would never have asked nice Americans to leave; they want them to stay.

    And when asked if American forces would leave if asked, Mike ‘All You Can Eat’ Pompeo came up with a masterpiece of a non-answer: “We’ll watch. We’re following very closely what’s taking place in the Iraqi Parliament,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It is the United States that is prepared to help the Iraqi people get what it is they deserve and continue our mission there to take down terrorism from ISIS and others in the region.”

    https://www.tampabay.com/news/nation-world/2020/01/05/iraq-parliament-votes-to-expel-us-military-says-american-bases-are-fair-targets/

    Later it appeared he may just have been surreptitiously listening to Gospel on his iPod and not heard the question, because when asked if the killing of Soleimani had been a setup, he replied “More tomato sauce, please”.

    Seriously – when asked if Americans would leave, he prattled on about completing the mission. Of course they have no plans to leave.

    Like

    1. The Americans in the ME get away with their outrageous jaw dropping
      lawlessness… bcuz the affected nations did not have the capability
      to stand up to USA military might.

      North Korea sent a lot of GIs home
      in body bags..

      Vietnam… same thing … so today
      it’s Ho Chi Minh City …not the Saigon of racist white European
      colonial occupiers.

      The ONLY thing a bully gets is a baseball bat in the teeth.

      EOS!!

      Like

    2. As posted earlier, the Pentagon indicated that they were preparing to evacuate American forces while Mike “chicken nugget” Pompeo was saying the opposite. Chaos at the top.

      All tough guys with baseball bats, all pacifists and anyone tired of endless war should join the anti-war protest movement, contribute money or time – just do something.

      Like

  35. Just a comment. The posters here urging war as the first resort should talk to someone who has been in war (a Vietnam vet or if your luck a WW II vet who was involved in front line action) and ask them what they think about war. Or, ask someone from overseas who has seen the carnage of war. Unless you happen to be a psycho, war will not be the first choice to solve international problems.

    Like

    1. My father repeatedly told me when I was a child that war is wicked, evil. He very, very rarely spoke of his wartime experiences. He often told me that those who glorify war have never experienced it, never at the front line. He had. He just simply said: “War is murder”.

      Like

    2. The USA is interested on a national level because war is good business; foreign assets get freed up to be grabbed by those in the know, and accounting gets sort of loosey-goosey and a lot of money goes missing. And politically, Americans traditionally rally around the flag and the president.

      Like

      1. And yet the brand spanking new U.S of A was most definitely anti-war, anti-foreign, ie European, alliances, albeit the rebellious colonies saw fit to ally themselves with the French in order to gain independence from the UK. However, they quickly turned against the French after the Treaty of Paris had been signed in 1783.

        And a good thing they did ally with the French during their struggle for independence, otherwise they might very well have remained part of British North America, no doubt ending up as a British Dominion, then as a sovereign state with Betty Windsor’s image on a dollar bill.

        See: Washington Doctrine of Unstable Alliances

        Of course, in order to expand its eastern seaboard territory, the USA wasn’t at all against fighting wars of conquest against native Americans and Spanish Americans, former subjects of the Spanish American Empire, not to mention those in what was known as Upper Canada, who still wished to remain subjects of the British crown.

        Funny thing is, though, that even when the USA made incursions into Quebec province in order to liberate its inhabitants from their British yoke, most Quebecois did not come running at their liberators with open arms; on the contrary, in fact: the Quebecois gave the USA invaders a bloody nose on more than one occasion.

        When U.S. General William Hull assembled a force of about 2,000 men and led them to Detroit, whence he led his is men across the Detroit River and into Upper Canada, albeit 200 Ohio militiamen had already deserted him, they having refused to fight outside USA territory, he immediately issued a written proclamation telling the inhabitants of Upper Canada that they would “be emancipated from tyranny and oppression”.

        Unfortunately for General Hull, the people whom he addressed had no wish to be emancipated.

        Like

  36. Jen …

    While Australia burns …

    glad tidings on this Orthodox Christmas Day!

    The Ukraine is ready to send 200 specially trained Civil Defence rescuers to help put out the bush fires in Australia, so says Arsen Avakov, the head of the Ukraine Ministry of the Interior, according to a statement made by the MOI press service on Monday 6th January.

    Rest easy, Australia! The Yukies are coming to help you!

    Like

    1. Wishing you a Holy Orthodox Christmas Day and a hearty wassail!

      Happy to accept the Banderite rescuers and hope there’s enough room on the plane for all the tyres they plan on bringing with them.

      The eventual total bushfire toll (beyond 200) probably won’t look good though.

      🙂

      How might one address Wotan in appealing to him to bring 200 Banderites to Australia to put out the bushfires or does one address Thunor as an intercessor?

      Like

      1. I actually think it’s sad to see such a cute little tot wearing a hijab, as if she is being told there is something dirty about her head or her hair. But that just me, Anti-Religion. Or at least, anti-Abrahamic tradition.

        Like

        1. When I was a kid, I remember how others of my age often keeled over during long church services. You had to fast then for 24 hours, see, or not to have eaten all night before a morning service before you could take the wafer, the eucharist, into your mouth.

          I never fell over, though, because I was always a beefy kid.

          But who makes these rules up?

          It doesn’t say that in the Bible. All that Jesus allegedly said to his Apostles at the Last Supper, when he breaks bread and eats it with them, is, according to the English King James translation:

          And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

          Nowt there about if you have cornflakes before me, you’ll burn eternally in hell and you’d better believe me!

          Yet that’s what those maniacal monks and crazy nuns used to drum into my head when I was a child.

          And then long after I had turned to Woden, I by chance found out that they had changed the fasting rules.

          Why?

          Had Archangel Gabriel fluttered down from heaven and told the plebs that following a board meeting upstairs in the boss’s suite, the terms and conditions had been changed?

          Like

    1. And already on the Russian blogosphere the Russian kreakly launch their attack:

      Buy from TsUM [Central Department Store] beige cashmere cardigan with textured knitting and turned up collar. Made in Italy Price: 92 600 rubles [$1,500]

      If true, so what?

      Can a man not wear an expensive cardigan if he so wishes?

      But I really do not think it is identical.

      And from a Navalnyite:

      Dramatic photo: a lonely granddad welcomes the holiday surrounded by the children of other people. But where are yours, then, gramps? Why are you not standing with them? Why are you unable to acknowledge your own? Sad.

      Clutching at any straw in order to cast aspersions against Putin!

      Putin has two daughters: Mariya, born 28 April 1985, and Yekaterina, born 31 August 1986 .

      His daughters may not be believers: they may even dislike religion.

      As far as I am aware, Vladimir Vladimirovich has no grandchildren.

      If he indeed does have grandchildren, they would very likely be in their early teens now.

      And even if he had grandchildren who had chosen, for whatever reason, not to be with him on Christmas Eve, or he had chosen, for whatever reason, that they not be with him, so what????

      Like

      1. Oh, and По воровским понятиям живет, без семьи, as written by “The Reader” in answer to the Navalny Twitter account, means:

        In thieves’ terms, he lives without his family.

        Whatever that is supposed to mean, I don’t know: “The Reader”, however, judging by his emoticon, thinks this statement is hilarious.

        Like

    2. It turns out that the church which Putin visited on Christmas Eve is the one in which he was christened as a 6-week-old baby

      I still meet Westerners who are amazed to learn that some Soviet citizens such as Putin and Putin’s mother — and indeed my wife, who was also a member of CPSU — were christened into the ROC and adhered to or, as the case may be, still adhere to their faith.

      My sister was one of such astounded Westerners. When she first visited me here in 1999, I took her to the local monastery khram [often wrongly translated as “temple”, but what in the West would be called a cathedral, though a khram is not a cathedral in that it has no cathedra or throne for a resident patriarch: it’s just a very big church] one Sunday because she, a practising and vey devout Roman Catholic (she is rather unhappy that I am, for my part, an extremely devout heathen: no doubt she thinks my soul will be eternally damned if I do not repent), wanted to go to mass. Anyway, the church was packed and she was gobsmacked. And she came out with the usual: “I thought you were sent to the gulag if you went to church in Russia and that they shot priests and nuns!”

      Well, that happened for sure, but not all the faithful were punished thus, and not all members of the clergy were terrorized and/or shot by atheist Bolsheviks. In fact, plenty of the ROC clergy were very cosy with the NKVD.

      My wife’s granddad was one of the original Red Guards in Petrograd but his granddaughter was christened at about the same age as Putin was, but in 1965, not in 1952, as Putin was, 2 years after my sister had been christened and 3 years after I had been in 1949.


      Novospasskiy monastery, where, one September Sunday in 1999, my sister was amazed at the size of the congregation


      Inside the Novospasskiy monastery khram — always looks to me like where the coloured shots of the dancing scene in Eisenstein’s “Ivan the Terrible” were made.

      Like

  37. Vladimir Vladimirovich apparently only stuck out the seemingly interminably long Christmas Vigil service for half an hour, though, whereas his little Petersburg buddy Dimka was at the all night vigil in Moskva, at the Christ the Redeemer Cathedral, with his missus, where, I think, they went through the full monty and good look to them if they did. I ‘ve done it twice, both at Christmas and Easter, but then I had my own road to Damascus experience and am now satisfied with my holy grove.

    Like

  38. Neuters via Antiwar.com: European powers to decide in coming days on Iran dispute mechanism – French minister
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-iran-nuclear-france/european-powers-to-decide-in-coming-days-on-iran-dispute-mechanism-french-minister-idUKKBN1Z51XR

    ….“The repeated violations leave us today asking about the long-term validity of this (nuclear) accord. We are considering launching the dispute mechanism resolution … we will take a decision in the coming days.”

    Launching a dispute resolution process could eventually lead to renewed U.N. sanctions on Tehran. …
    ####

    More at the link.

    The French aren’t agreement capable either, but as we have seen in the last few days the rest of the EU have all trotted out the same line for public consumption when in fact they are fully behind the US. The west allows itself to rewrite any agreement at will because it can always find lawyers and arguments to do, credile or (usually) not. Will it be France that officially pulls the plug on the JCPOA on behalf of the rest of the other u-Ropean signees with a ‘It’s not our fault guvnor!’ You’re supposed to take a beating and stick to any agreement regardless of anything we do.

    Yet again ‘u-Rope’ proves it has no identity outside of parasitic relationship with the US. It complains and cries about US behavior and carries out acts of small defiance but in the end it always returns to the relationship it knows best. It really is Helsinki syndrome writ large.

    Like

    1. Probably “bestest” in the number of people who attend to protest at the funeral and who get beaten up or shot at (and killed) by the police.

      Like

  39. Навальный опозорился, пытаясь очернить российскую оборонку

    <b.Navalny shames himself in trying to run down Russian defence

    The New Year holidays have still not ended, yet Alexey Navalny has set to work again and tried to make up another “fairy tale” about our country. This time he has decided to touch on the defence industry, but this topic has turned out to be too tough for this sensation lover.

    So, on his Twitter page, the blogger has stated that all the weapons and military equipment that are in service with the RF Armed Forces were created back in the 70-80s, and nothing new has been created since then.

    Everyone who follows the news from the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation at least understands just a little that this is yet another slander and proof that Navalny does not understand anything about the military matters of his country. Suffice it to recall that not so long ago, the Russian Navy received at its disposal the very latest anti-mine vessel, project 12700, “Vladimir Emelyanov”. It can also be noted that at the beginning of this year, another anti-mine vessel, “Yakov Balyaev”, is to be launched. This is only a small part of Russian achievements in the military sphere over the past ten years.

    As Captain 1st rank of the reserve Vasily Dandykin has correctly noted, Navalny, before coming out with such nonsense, should get acquainted with the estimates of the United States, which he seems rather fond of. The United States has repeatedly stated that in Russia there are breakthrough technologies in the field of hypersound, the construction of nuclear submarines and in other areas.

    As an example, he cited the boats of the Yasen-M project, which are not only as good as their American counterparts, but also superior in many ways. The expert also remembered the fifth generation Su-57 fighters, behind which there is already a line of foreign buyers. By the way, it is not surprising that Russia is the second largest exporter of weapons in the world. The moment when we will pass the USA in this respect is not far off.

    In general, it is obvious that Navalny was clearly in a hurry to draw conclusions when assessing the strength of the Russian army and navy. However, it was no surprise, given that the blogger constantly publishes frank anti-Russian fakes, thus fulfilling the orders of his Western sponsors.

    But Amerika stronk, Rasha weeeeeak!!!!

    Like

    1. They obviously would have discussed Qassem Soleymani’s assassination in Baghdad and what the Iraqi Parliament’s vote on getting rid of all uninvited foreign troops in Iraq and the use of Iraqi territory (including airspace) by others to attack other countries in the wake of the general’s death might mean for Syria’s future security. That must have been the reason for the “surprise” visit.

      Soleymani was the fellow who mapped out the strategy to get rid of ISIS in Syria (the strategy involving Russian airforce defence of Syrian airspace) and who took on the task of rescuing the Russian pilot and retrieving his co-pilot’s body and the body of the would-be rescuer after the Turkish shootdown of a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian-Turkish border in late 2015. Without Soleymani, the direction of the US war against Syria becomes uncertain in spite of the rapid progress the Syrians have been able to make.

      Like

  40. An interesting comment:

    The Register (comment forum to) Reusing software ‘interfaces’ is fine, Google tells Supreme Court, pleads: Think of the devs!
    https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/all/2020/01/07/google_vs_oracle_6_jan_supreme_court_brief/#c_3946342

    martinusher

    There is a school of thought that suggests that as capitalism matures it becomes ‘rentier’ in nature — that it, it ceases to produce anything useful but relies on extracting ongoing payments — rent — for its income stream. There’s a lot of historical precedent for this observation although I’d say its not necessarily the system that breeds this mindset, its part of the evolution of corporations…
    ####

    More (comp stuff) at the link obvs.

    I wonder how this applies to the ‘service model’ that has taken over sic spotify (which gives artists very little). You never own what you listen to but you are only buying access, i.e. the iTunes case (Wuce Brillis) showing that even though you think you have bought the music, you have no right to pass it on to your kids or spouse when you are dead.

    All sorts of stuff is ‘cloud’ linked whether it technically required or not because it maintains control of your data/$$$. Need to mirror you phone on you computer? M$ requries that you have a M$ account even though do not need the Internet in the slightest to do the job. There are other ‘freemium’ options that always have annoyances such as data limitations and ads, but fortunately are free options which not look sexy but get the job done unless you prefer old skool.

    Big jet engine manufacturers went this way years ago and with John Deer you have no ‘right to repair’ if you machine goes wrong let alone during time sensitive harvesting. Stuff may appear to be cheaper initially, but you always have to pay one way or another (sic printer ink – a platinum mine ..more expensive than gold!.. model that has imploded because people now printing much less). I suppose the question is ‘is there any real choice left’? M$ XBOX will be introducing a monthly subscription service that includes any new hardware when it comes out for example. BTW, your ‘smart’ tv has data sharing turned on by default so that anything you watch, anything you plug in to it and play is also shared. It can be turned off, but is usually hidden down several menus…

    https://slate.com/technology/2014/08/digital-assets-and-death-who-owns-music-video-e-books-after-you-die.html

    Like

  41. Has anyone been following the case of the British girl in Cyprus that was ‘allegedly’ raped by 12 i-Sraelis, the former saying that she was forced in to writing a confession and then put on trial only to get a suspended sentence and the offer of a pardon from the Cyriot president? The thing is the right wing British media has been all over this like a rash (hello Daily Fail) so why isn’t anyone accusing them of antisemitism? I’m perplexed. After all, it’s the law, in a foreign land apparently?

    The Daily Fail’s headlines could certainly be described as inflammatory. Sorry, I forgot, only lefties are capable of antisemitism. Former fascist regime supporting media and current supporters of right wing politics cannot be antisemitic or stoke antisemitsm, even if it is just to sell more papers…

    Still, kudos to i-Sraeli groups that have taken the girls side and publicly called this out. We must never forget that for all the crowing and braying of the media, there are still many, many decent people out there. I say ignore the gobshites.

    Like

    1. And yet, unaccountably, when Pompeo makes claims like “We’ll work within the system; we always have, we always will”, he does not immediately burst into flames, as he should when telling such an outrageous lie. Is God asleep at the switch, or what?

      Right in front of everyone the United States is systematically dismantling every argument it ever made for being exceptional. Not only is it unexceptional, it’s not even very good. It blabbered on and on about how the Soviet Union was not a real superpower because it could not tolerate dissent, and here is that same USA so unwilling to allow the possibility of messaging which is not pro-American that it will not allow the guy even to enter the country. So? Do it by video link. Good luck ordering everyone to not watch. What a disgusting bully.

      Like

      1. Displayed on a HUGE screen
        in the GA meeting space.
        LOL!
        (and of course translated into every know language on the planet)

        Like

    1. I have read something of this case on other websites and my hunch is this case against the British teenager is politically motivated.

      The people involved in the gang rape were young Israeli men and some of them were about to be called up for the draft. It would be embarrassing for them (and their families perhaps) if they had official criminal records that stopped them from being called up to be properly trained in how to be de facto amoral criminals to the right sort of people to be amoral criminals to. In Israel and other countries that have the compulsory draft, if you haven’t served your 2 or 3-year time, you’re pretty much unemployable because no employer is going to hold your job for you while you do your time.

      Cyprus provides a laundering service for rich people to wash their money and many of them have Israeli citizenship combined with citizenship of at least one other country.

      When he was alive, the former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon and his sons owned properties in Cyprus and I don’t think they would have been the only rich Israelis to have owned pieces of Cyprus.

      Like

  42. Ominous….

    “Shortly after President Donald Trump’s brazen criminal assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani on January 3, the Department of Homeland Security began ramping up security at military bases and border crossings. These moves are aimed at boosting support for war against Tehran by whipping up anti-Iranian sentiment and fanning fears of a possible retaliatory attack by Iran inside the United States.

    As part of this crackdown more than 60 travelers who are Iranian-American citizens or green card holders traveling from Canada into the US were detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Saturday at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington. They were all held there for several hours, subject to illegal detention and interrogation before being allowed to return to their own country”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/01/07/bord-j07.html

    Like

  43. @Jen

    Didn’t mean to offend you about the Jodie Foster thing….my apologies.

    I am truly sorry about the loss of wildlife due to the fires.
    As I understand it entire species may become extinct.

    Like

    1. I wasn’t offended actually … apologies accepted.

      The bushfires are extremely bad and the season isn’t over yet, we still have two or three months to go. Koalas are badly affected and they are probably now extinct in the wild. They have specialised diets and eucalyptus leaves don’t provide all that much nutrition which explains why the animals are slow movers and spend their days eating and sleeping. The trees themselves are actually fire-prone as are most Australian native flora that rely on fires as part of their life cycles. We will only really know though once the bushfires have stopped.

      Like

  44. Jen, so, what in your opinion might affect the choice of films?

    My two cents… In the “Taxi Driver” we don’t learn a lot about Jodie Foster’s character. She’s a young girl in wrong circumstances, and that’s the problem the hero eventually solves. As a victim of sex trafficking, she doesn’t get much of a choice. Her problem is getting involved with a bad company. So the message to young girls watching the movie would be “don’t run away from home”. Why not?

    Like

    1. Jodie Foster and her mother were keen to avoid pigeonholing Foster in feel-good family films, Disney films and other films aimed mainly at children, and that is why they chose to do films like “Taxi Driver” and “The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane” at the time. Significantly those films have become cult films.

      I believe “Taxi Driver” had a restricted rating when it was released and still does, so girls of Foster’s age when she made the film wouldn’t have been allowed to see it on their own and are deemed still to need supervision and explanations for what happens to Iris during the film.

      We don’t know why Iris runs away in the first place, we only know that some time after Travis Bickle kills her pimp and kills several other people and gets arrested, he gets a letter from Iris’ father telling him Iris has come home and gone back to school. That would have been the scriptwriter’s way of tying up the loose ends of the film. Because the film revolves around Travis Bickle and his personal obsessions and traumas, we only get the details about other characters that are relevant to the film’s plot.

      The whole film is about a society that in the post-Vietnam War period has lost its way and purpose, in which someone like Bickle can only make sense of his life if he becomes the crusader rescuing innocent people (as he sees Iris) that he believes he wasn’t able to do while he was a soldier during the war.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jen, thanks for the answer! I haven’t been able to associate Travis’s reckless (albeit courageous) behaviour with a wartime trauma. But the movie must have also assuaged people’s concerns of the time. Like, “don’t worry, there are heroes among us”.
        Perhaps (but now I’m just speculating) it also had something to do with the guilt complex and the resulting desire to inflict self-harm?

        Like

      2. I always thought that was a facile way to tie up the Iris story. They could have specified that Iris was kidnapped and not run away, then it would be a classic happy ending to rescue her and return her to her loved ones.

        But if she was a runaway, it’s not so simple. In some cases, it is definitely NOT the right thing to return the runaway to the home from which they fled. Maybe something horrible was going on inside that home (?)

        Like

  45. “UK contaminated blood scandal has global dimensions
    By Barry Mason
    17 July 2017
    Prime Minister Theresa May has been forced to announce an inquiry into the contamination of blood products in the 1970s and 80s that led to the painful deaths of more than 2,400 patients and destroyed the health of many more.

    According to a recent parliamentary report, around 7,500 people were affected. May called for the inquiry on July 14 at that morning’s cabinet meeting, knowing that otherwise she might lose a motion calling for one presented by Labour MP Diana Johnson later that same day.

    Until now, May—as with all previous Conservative and Labour prime ministers—had ruled out calls for a public inquiry.

    The 2,400 who died in the UK are among tens of thousands impacted worldwide due to profiteering from the sale of infected blood.

    • In the United States around 8,000 haemophiliacs became infected as a result of receiving the contaminated blood products.

    • In Canada 2,000 who received the contaminated blood products developed HIV and 60,000 Hepatitis C.

    • In France, around 4,000 haemophiliacs were given contaminated blood. After long-drawn out legal proceedings, in 1999 Socialist Party Prime Minister Laurent Fabius and Minister of Social Affairs Georgina Dufoix were acquitted while Health Minister Edmond Hervé was found guilty but given no penalty. Doctors in charge of verifying the safety of the blood were given and served heavy jail sentences.

    • As of 2001 in Italy, an estimated 1,300 people, including almost 150 children, had died from infected blood infusions since 1985.”

    JHC!!!! I wasn’t aware of any of this until just now….I don’t recall anything about this on MSM.

    Well if any Stooges are going in for major surgery….you know what to ask about!!!!!

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/17/bloo-j17.html

    Like

    1. I think that Fraudian article screwed up completely … it’s the National Assembly, made up of opposition politicians, that rejected Johnny Bat-boy Guano and which he tried to gatecrash to declare himself as leader.

      See here this TelesurEnglish article which explicitly says that Venezuelan opposition politicians (that is, the anti-Maduro lot) blocked him from entering the National Assembly. The National Assembly is not the governing legislative body in Venezuela – the Constituent Assembly is that body.

      “Venezuelan Opposition Rejects Juan Guaido’s Leadership”
      https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Venezuelan-Opposition-Rejects-Juan-Guaidos-Leadership-20200105-0003.html

      The only direct action Maduro needs to do is to stock up on the popcorn as he watches the opposition demolish itself.

      Like

      1. That’s just typical western journalism, which is now all spin, all the time. If there’s a possibility of the reading audience misunderstanding and gleaning the impression that things are going well for Guaido – well, then, ’round she goes. This was obviously deliberate owing to the details about the opposition being ‘reinvigorated’ after so much ‘stumbling’. Of course things are looking good for Countess What’s Her Name, Neumann or something, her what’s the Ambassador to London; isn’t she related to Lopez and all that lot? Certainly a charter member of the elitist western-friendly liberals in Venezuela.

        Like

  46. Like

    1. I wait with bated breath, moron!

      Its 09:30 here in Mordor, 8th January, but still only 01:25 in Washington, so it’ll be another 8 hours before that idiot Trump has had his Cornflakes and is ready to announce to the World what his mighty empire is going to do next.

      Like

    1. A ball of fire falling from the sky usually indicates a little more than a technical problem. The article also points out that ‘much of the airspace’ was closed due to missile attacks and a volatile situation. Did they just leave a little corridor for the Ukrainians to fly through, or did they fly through closed airspace and blind-impact a piece of missile debris? This will be one to blame on Iran, not Putin, although perhaps they better get out another of his indestructible passports just in case.

      Like

        1. Why would it make my day? I want the US empire dismantled as much as anyone here.

          It is the US’ luck that its adversaries are either scatterbrains or cowards.

          Didn’t Russia refuse to fulfill its part of the contract when it didn’t deliver the S-300 system to Iran that Iran had already paid for? Why did Russia do this? To score some brownie points and please its western partners?

          The West must laugh at the cowardice and lack of balls of its adversaries.

          Like

            1. See da pix below via MoA. Very accurate. t-Rump promised massive attacks against i-Ran if it did anything. He hasn’t, not that the yellow media cares. i-Ran has shown capability, precision and remarkably good intelligence. I assume that some of the military adults sat t-Rump down and explained a few things to him that s/theads like pompeo and other mindless neocons didn’t consider. I’m sure there was plenty of other diplomatic activity behind the scenes that we are not being told about. I expect a gradual US drawdown

              Moa: Iran’s Missile Launch Against Two U.S. Bases in Iraq Calls Trump’s Bluff – Updated
              https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/01/irans-missile-launch-against-two-us-bases-in-iraq-calls-trumps-bluff.html

              Like

          1. If the US meddling/wars in Eurasia are to create chaos and keep Eurasia down economically, and prevent Eurasia from integrating, then it has been a success for the US.

            As any empire the US wants to remain at the top. Those wars are not meant to be “won”. They are meant to create eternal chaos and make sure that the USA/West are the only safe place in the world for capital and big industries.

            Like

          2. US presence if Afghanistan has also create a big flow of cheap heroin to Iran, Russia and China – three of the biggest US adversaries in the world. Cheap Afghan heroin has caused tens of thousands of deaths in Russia alone. Most of them young people.

            The Western leaders are extremely cynical, evil people. I’m sure the unwillingness to tamper Afghan heroin production is because it weakens Russia, China and Iran while the heroin dealers connected to the CIA reap the profits.

            The US surely has its own drug problem, but that is not related to Afghanistan but rather to Latin America.

            Like

            1. Key Findings
              • With 6 percent of the population using drugs, Russia is suffering from serious and
              problematic drug consumption and a growing public health crisis.
              • The Kremlin regards the drug challenge as a nationalist, securitized, and moral problem. Drug addiction is considered a moral deficiency rather than a medical issue,
              which reinforces the Russian government’s predilection for a punitive approach.
              • Extensive availability of heroin from Afghanistan is particularly problematic. Russia is
              both a transshipment and a destination country for Afghanistan’s opiates.
              • Framed as a security threat, the influx of Afghan heroin is viewed at best as a Western
              failure and at worst as a malign attempt to damage Russia. Domestically, the Russian
              government adopts a law enforcement model toward traffickers and users alike, rather
              than harm reduction, drug prevention, and treatment models.
              • Even so, efforts to address drug trafficking and consumption in Russia have been undermined or warped by the lack of resourcing, political will, and turf wars among Russian security agencies. Russia’s growing economic problems also necessitate liquidity
              on the part of many financial institutions, encouraging them to turn a blind eye to dirty
              money
              source

              Oh look!

              By Mark Galeotti, New York University Center for Global Affairs.

              Like

              1. “harm reduction (code for safe-injection sites where drug addicts can shoot up and not worry about freezing to death or being beaten up by passers-by, as they might be in the street), drug prevention, and treatment models” have certainly worked a treat in the west. Haven’t they? Or did we win the War On Drugs while I wasn’t looking? I would suggest we lost it completely and it became devil take the hindmost here in Canada with the emergence of fentanyl. Certainly thins out the population, yet users won’t leave it alone even after it becomes clear to them that they’re at more funerals than paydays. More of Galeotti’s blabbering that Russia will never be anything until it learns to be like the west, and liberal. That – the rejection of western liberalism – is apparently a worse sin than any.

                Like

      1. According to….the Americans. For someone who claims to yearn for America’s downfall, you show a touching faith in its damage assessments when it is allowed to conduct its own. Consider for a moment that if tremendous damage is claimed, well, that’s the excuse America was looking for! Bombs away, baby! Nobody even had to be killed – extensive damage to American facilities would have been enough. But they didn’t do that. Nope, it was ‘we’ve dusted ourselves off, and nothing seems to be broken. But no more missiles, you Iranians, you hear me?” I wonder why? This is the same outfit that allegedly hit a single building complex with 60 + cruise missiles, all direct hits, and some of the building was still standing. I’d be a little skeptical of their ability to conduct responsible damage assessments.

        Far more significant to me was the official designation by the Iranian government of the entire US Armed Forces as a terrorist group. The Iranian armed forces are now duty-bound to attack them whenever and wherever they find them, without further government prompting. Sales of defense equipment from Russia ought to be brisk this year, Karl; that should cheer you up. With a little luck, everybody in Russia ought to be able to afford imported cheese! I don’t see a downside.

        Like

        1. Ummm
          Is candor the new profanity
          Mark?
          Don’t recall posting anything
          obnoxious or vulgar in the last few days.
          So don’t see why a couple of
          brief remarks I made to
          you were deleted.
          Other things I posted seemed
          to be of intererrst to some.
          Any thoughts on this?

          Like

          1. As I have said earlier, I removed some commentary which was merely two people arguing back and forth, and not of general interest. Also, as I mentioned, deleting earlier comments frequently results in orphan comments later left hanging out there which, while harmless themselves, appear to not have any subject underpinning them.

            Like

            1. @ Mark

              Not to belabor the point but you made a comment to another poster about my use of profanity.
              I think it was on January 5. I didn’t notice it at that time. When I did this morning ,I made a couple of terse comments to you about my posts overall. No profanity or bickering . None.
              The gist of it was I had over the years posted some decent stuff…or so I thought.
              I also said that if in your opinion it’s time for me to hit the road…so be it. I enjoy posting here …
              However being you-know-who 2.0-blog pariah-doesn’t interest me.

              You might consider posting an email where Stooges can contact you if they have something to
              bring to your attention or ask a question that doesn’t really need posting on the entire blog.

              Like

  47. More info coming in on the crash of that Boeing 737 in Teheran.
    According to this piece , the manifest consisted of:
    177 people dead, comprised of 168 passengers and 9 crew.
    National/citizenship breakdown of passengers: 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including the 9 crew members), 10 from Sweden, 4 from Afghanistan, 3 Germans, and 3 British.

    Simply horrible. The causes of the crash have not yet been determined. Even the Ukrainians have not yet jumped to any conclusions, but are waiting for the scientific analysis.

    Like

    1. here is another vignette, rather sad, but informative. Also indicates that at least some of the “Canadian” citizens onboard may have actually been Iranian students, possibly with Canadian citizenship and/or student visas. These young people had been studying at Canadian universities, then flew back to Iran for the winter holidays to visit their folks, then were on their way back to Canada, selecting this particular flight because it was the cheapest.

      Anyhow, one of the artifacts that was found at the crash sight was a handwritten note by one of these Canadian/Iranian students. In the note he is asking Allah to help him pass his upcoming exam.

      How sad…. I can barely even image the grief and loss his parents must be feeling… To see him again for the holidays, probably a joyous time, and then to lose him so abruptly.

      Like

      1. Flight PS752 passenger list:
        https://www.flyuia.com/ua/ua/news/2020/flight-ps752-passenger-list

        The vast majority of names are Iranian. They appear to be people of Iranian background living abroad but especially in Canada. Most likely the UIA plane was using Kiev as a stopover and the plane would have continued on to North America. Other Iranian-origin passengers would have caught other planes going back to their countries of current citizenship.

        I see that Ihor Kolomoisky is a part-owner of UIA.
        https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/investment-hungry-ukraine-pursues-troubled-courtship-of-ryanair-1.3248545

        Like

    2. Iranians are one big scatterbrains.

      First they claim a “severe revenge” against the US and launch a “big devastating” missile attack against US bases in Iraq, and yet manage to do it without killing one single US soldier or destroying US military equipment.

      And yet, over 50 Iranians are killed in the Suleimani funeral and now this plane crash.

      Iran sucks.

      Like

      1. Best not move there, Karl. In fact, you should probably leave Finland as well, because its ability to influence world affairs is, to put it politely, limited. You need to be where the global movers and shakers rub shoulders, not some backwater known only for cheese and chainsaws. And hockey, I guess, if I am fair.

        Like

      2. America acknowledged that about two dozen of the missiles hit their targets. Yet there was…no damage! What, did they fail to explode? Nerf warheads? Even something with that kind of weight and inertia hitting the earth as pure iron and steel ought to make quite a hole, you would think. But….nothing!! It’s a miracle! God truly is on America’s side, because the story you would expect is that none of the missiles reached their targets – America’s defense magic ensued, and all the missiles burned to ash in the atmosphere, or were so confused they flew back to Tehran and blew it to bits. But the assessments clearly said the missiles had hit their targets! How is this possible?

        We won’t even talk about the plane crash, because including it in the slate of things gone wrong is a new level of childishness for you. Maybe some customers got shortchanged at the grocery store, and the bank! Quick, check!!

        Do you think maybe America doesn’t want to fight, after all? Maybe not with the whole region against it?

        Like

      3. Perhaps the intention was to demonstrate Iranian accuracy in hitting whatever they wanted to hit in those US bases. If that was the case, then that also shows that the Iranians not only have the capability for direct precision targeting but they also have surveillance capabilities beyond what the US government and the Pentagon assume they have, that they are able to see, find and select harmless targets at the bases in Iraq to hit.

        Like

        1. I’m pretty sure you can’t attain that level of precision with a ballistic missile – it’s good enough to hit the base, but hitting designated buildings inside the base walls is a job for a cruise missile, and the Iranians don’t have any of those. But usually the explosive impact is big enough that there is considerable destruction. You can see some impact craters and some places where temporary buildings or hangars have burned after being hit, but not really very much damage. It is significant that the USA warned Iran not to dare try anything, anything at all, or else. So Iran hit their bases with a couple of dozen missiles, and the American reaction was ‘missed me, didn’t hurt anything, all right, we’re good – just no more, hear me? I’m not fooling, now’. The eagerness to get a war going seems to have evaporated.

          It’s certainly not over; not now Iran has declared the US Armed forces a terrorist organization. And Iraq has little sympathy for their predicament. I think their freedom to operate in the Middle East has suffered a blow from which it may not recover.

          Like

  48. Hey, you Banderites and EU Russophobic kommissars:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have launched the long-anticipated offshore pipeline TurkStream, that will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and further to southern European states.

    The 930 km pipeline running across the bottom of the Black Sea became operational on Wednesday, with the two leaders attending a special opening ceremony.

    Full stream ahead: Russia & Turkey launch TurkStream gas pipeline (WATCH LIVE)
    8 Jan, 2020 12:22 / Updated 31 minutes ago

    Like

    1. Borissov is front and center this time, no coy hesitations. And I think there’s a lesson there for all of us; Russia could have punished Bulgaria hard for screwing up South Stream. But Borissov apologized eloquently, Russia forgave, Bulgaria became a full partner again, and now the new pipeline crosses Bulgaria almost from one end to the other, which means cha-ching! transit fees. Reason triumphed, and Washington lost. The Russian way of doing things is not very satisfying for fans of smash-em up action, with lots of noise and bits flying about, but it usually works out in Russia’s favour in the end if it is patient and deliberate. Have faith.

      Like

      1. He might have screwed Russia, but he screwed Bulgaria much, much more, years & $$$$ worth of essentially free transit fees. Licking Putin’s shoes is nothing but an extra.

        Like

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