Dmitry Rogozin; “I’m Afraid I’ll Look Like a Dick”

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?”

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Issac Asimov

There’s a prejudice against making fun of the mad that spans all cultures, all ethnicities; mock the mentally ill at your peril, for some fair-minded citizen will surely intervene. Possibly many, enough to make you take to your heels, because those who were born without the ability to reason, or had it and lost it, are perhaps God’s most innocent children. There are few compensations for being born half-a-bubble off plumb, but one of them is anti-mockery armor. Having a laugh at the expense of the lunatic is bad form; something only dicks do, because it’s cheap and easy.

That’s what must be preventing Dmitry Rogozin from roaring with laughter; from falling helplessly to his knees and collapsing, wheezing, onto his side. If someone smart says something stupid, they are fair game. But laughing when someone whose openly-stated beliefs suggest they are suffering from dementia is inappropriate. His dilemma is both obvious, and acute – what to do?

First, some background; who is Dmitry Rogozin? A former Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Russian Federation’s defense industries, he also served as his country’s Ambassador to NATO. He has degrees in philosophy and technology, and currently serves as the Russian Federation’s Special Representative on Missile Defense. He is also the Director of Roscosmos, the Russian state’s Space Industry. Some have talked him up as a possible replacement for Vladimir Putin, as President of the Russian Federation, but it is in his latter capacity, head of Roscosmos, that we are most interested today. He knows more about rockets than that they are pointy at one end and have fire at the other, if you get my drift.

A bit more background, and then I promise we can begin to tie things together; I think I can also promise you are going to laugh. Not because you’re a dick. But I think you will find you do have to kind of snicker. Just be careful who hears you, okay? It’s not as much of an insult if people don’t know.

Most who have any understanding of space or rockets or satellites have heard of the RD-180. But in case there are some readers who have never heard of it, it is the Russian Federation’s workhorse rocket engine. Its first flight was 20 years ago, but it was built on the shoulders of the RD-170, which has been in service since 1985, making it a Soviet project. The RD-180 is essentially a two-combustion-chamber RD-170, which has four and remains the most powerful rocket engine in the world. The RD-180 is used by the United States in its Atlas space vehicles.

For some time,  that was a fairly comfortable arrangement. The USA made fun of Russia whenever it wanted to feel superior, just as it’s always done, and made the occasional ideological stab at ‘establishing freedom and democracy’ by changing out its leader, but the Russian people were not particularly cooperative, and there were some problems getting a credible ‘liberal opposition’ started; even now, the best candidate still seems to be Alexey Navalny, who is kind of the granite canoe of opposition figures – not particularly well-known, nasty rather than compelling, spiteful as a balked four-year-old.

But then American ideologues in the US Department of State decided the time was ripe for a coup in Ukraine, and almost overnight, the United States and Russia were overt enemies. The United States, under Barack Obama, imposed sanctions designed to wreck the Russian economy, in the hope that despairing Russians would throw Putin out of office. America’s European allies went along for the ride, and trade between Russia and its former trade partners and associates in Europe and the USA mostly dried up.

Not rocket engines, though. America made an exception for those, and continued to buy and stockpile RD-180’s. The very suggestion that RD-180 engines might go on the sanctions list – US Federal Claims Court Judge Susan Braden postulated that funds used to purchase rocket engines might end up in Rogozin’s pocket (he being head of the Space Program, and all), and he was under US sanctions – moved the Commander of the United States Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center to note that without RD-180 engines, the Atlas program would have to be grounded.

All this is by way of highlighting a certain…vulnerability. Of course, observers remarked, the United States is a major technological power – it could easily produce such engines itself. So, why didn’t it, inquiring minds wanted to know.

Enter United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tony Bruno, with what reporters described as a ‘novel explanation’. Thanks much for the link, Patient Observer. The United States buys United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno.Russian rocket engines to subsidize the Russian space industry, so that fired rocket scientists will not pack up the wife and kiddies and their few pitiful belongings, and depart for Iran or North Korea. You know; countries that really hate the United States. I swear I am not making that up. Look:

“The United States is buying Russian rocket engines not because of any problems with its domestic engine engineering programmes, but to subsidize Russian rocket scientists and to prevent them from seeking employment in Iran or North Korea, United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno has intimated.

“The [US government] asked us to buy [Russian engines] at the end of the Cold War in order to keep the Russian Rocket Scientists from ending up in North Korea and Iran,” Bruno tweeted, responding to a question about what motivates ULA to continue buying the Russian-made RD-180s.”

Sadly, I had no Rogozin-like qualms about being thought a dick. I snorted what I was drinking (chocolate milk, I think) all over my hand, and gurgled with mirth for a good 20 seconds. Holy Moley – what a retarded explanation! How long did he grope for that, spluttering like Joe Biden trying to remember what office he is currently running for? Jeebus Cripes, the United States has no control at all over what rocket scientists are paid in the Russian Federation – what do they imagine prevents Putin The Diktator from just pocketing all the money himself, or spending it on sticky buns to feed to Rogozin, and throwing a few fish heads to the rocket scientists? Do they really believe some sort of symbiotic relationship exists between Russia’s rocket scientists and the US Treasury Department? Really? Have things actually gotten that far down the road to Simple? I tell you, I kind of felt a little sorry for Tony ‘Lightning Rod’ Bruno. But more sorry for his family, who has to go out and find him when he’s wandering in the park with no pants on again, you know. Humanitarian concerns.

So I started doing a little digging. And right away, I made a couple of discoveries that made my synapses frizzle. One, the United States has a license to manufacture the RD-180 engine domestically. And apparently can’t.

“Under RD AMROSS, Pratt & Whitney is licensed to produce the RD-180 in the United States. Originally, production of the RD-180 in the US was scheduled to begin in 2008, but this did not happen. According to a 2005 GAO Assessment of Selected Major Weapon Programs, Pratt & Whitney planned to start building the engine in the United States with a first military launch by 2012. This, too, did not happen. In 2014, the Defense Department estimated that it would require approximately $1 billion and five years to begin US domestic manufacture of the RD-180 engine.”

It’s only Wiki, but the references bear it out, such as the GAO’s “Defense Acquisitions: Assessment of Selected Major Weapons Programs“; you want page 65.

Well, no wonder! It’s a lot cheaper to slip some bucks to starving Russian rocket scientists than spend a Billion simoleons on a Pratt & Whitney program that will take five years (!!!) minimum to set up before it even starts producing an engine the Russians have been making for 20 years, and gave Pratt & Whitney the plans for. Seen in that light, it makes a weird kind of sense, dunnit? Minus the altruism and violins, of course.

Right about then, I made a second discovery that shook the fuzz off my fundament. Tony Bruno did not make that shit up. No, indeedy. It would have been simpler, and I have to say a bit more comforting, to assume Tony Bruno is the locus of American retardation. But he isn’t; the poor bastard was just repeating an American doctrinal political talking-point. Behold!

“When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, the US government worried about the possible consequences of lots of Russian rocket designers getting fired. What if they ended up working for regimes like Iran or North Korea?”

Pretty much word-for-word what poor Tony Bruno said. And that was posted 5 years ago.

But who cares, right? Just some wiggy space-nerd site.

Oh, but wait. Look at his reference. It’s from…NASA. And it does indeed include the paragraph he quoted.

“Moreover, several on the Space Council, as well as others in the Bush Administration, saw another reason to engage the post-Soviets in a cooperative space venture: as a way to help hold the Russian nation together at a time when the Russian economy was faltering and its society was reeling. In the words of Brian Dailey, Albrecht’s sucessor, “If we did not do something in this time of social chaos … in Russia, … then there would be potentially a hemorrhaging of technology … ‘away from Russia’ … to countries who may not have a more peaceful intention behind the use of those technologies.”

I’m not sure how reliable that is – the Americans still insist, in it, that they landed on the moon, and it points out that Dan Quayle was head of the National Space Council, dear Lord, have mercy. But it’s NASA! There was apparently a school of thought, prevalent in American politics, that America had to support the Russian economy, for fear of its technological proteges high-siding it for Dangerville. Neither North Korea or Iran are mentioned by name, but they would certainly be easy to infer from the description.

So we could draw one of two conclusions; either (1) Obama was a witless tool who did not read that historical imperative (probably had his nose in a healthy-greens cookbook, some shit like that) and blundered ahead with a plan to wreck the Russian economy, loosing a torrent of Russian rocket scientists into a cynical Murka-hatin’ world, or (2) Obama was a genius who applied sanctions with a surgeon’s delicacy, avoiding sanctions on the Russian space program. Although he did apply sanctions directly on its..umm…director. Okay, let’s go with (1).

Anyway, it’s kind of odd, I guess you’d say, to hear that same Brian Dailey, he who blubbered sympathetically (or so history records) “We have to do something…in this time of social chaos…in Russia”…say this:

“The meeting was actually more or less a signing ceremony, a large event, so to speak, but it was one that was obviously going to be reaching into some very hard winds that would prevent us from really moving forward. That’s a rather obtuse way of saying that we were having serious problems with the Russians. They wanted a lot of money for doing these things. They wanted to charge us a lot of money to hook up, and we didn’t believe that since this was a government-to-government activity, that money should be appropriately involved, and it was the intention of the two Presidents to put something together that would be funded by their respective governments rather than us trying to fund something for Russia.”

Say what? You had to do something for the Russian economy…without money? Tell me more.

At that point, Dan had got very upset with the Russians and proceeded to tell them that we were not going to do business with Semenov directly, but our opposite number was Yuri Koptev, and that he ought to start learning how to work with U.S. industry, and that we were not going to pay for this particular activity and we were not going to be blackmailed into paying them, so to speak, and insisted that this be taken off the table and we proceed to find ways of making this happen, not ways to slow it down or charge us for any kind of cooperative activities like this.

This all had to do with cooperation on some sort of docking system for the Mir Space Station, nothing to do with the RD-180, but I think you can see why I would be a bit skeptical regarding Project Payola for the Russian rocket scientists.

You might be getting a tingly feeling – call it a suspicion – that the USA is kind of pulling our leg on the idea that it can make a superior multi-chamber rocket engine any time it feels like it, and is just buying the RD-180 on long-ago government orders to cut the Russians a break. You might suspect the RD-180 is actually a pretty good engine, but the United States can’t make it for that kind of money, and perhaps can’t make it at all. I know! Let’s ask United Launch Alliance, that company that Tony Bruno is the CEO of.

“The Atlas launch vehicle’s main booster engine, the RD-180, has demonstrated consistent performance with predictable environments over the past decade. The RD-180 has substantially contributed to the established a record of high reliability on Atlas launch vehicles since its debut on the Atlas III in May of 2000.”

You don’t say. Tell me more.

“In the early 1990s the closed cycle, LOx rich, staged combustion technology rumored to exist in Russia was originally sought out by General Dynamics because engines of this kind would be able to provide a dramatic performance increase over available U.S. rocket technology. Unlike its rocket building counterparts in the United States, Europe, China, and Japan, Russia was able to master a unique LOx rich closed cycle combustion technology which delivered a 25% performance increase.”

But…but…I read the George H.W. Bush administration urged America to buy Russian rocket engines because they heard a rumor there was a suitcase sale on at the Energomash company store. And that, you know, the scientists might be planning a little trip.

“NPO Energomash, the leading designer of engines in Russia, had gone through hundreds of designs, each an improvement on the last, to harness the power of LOx rich combustion. This required a very careful approach to how the fuel is burned in the preburner so that the temperature field is uniform. It also required improvements in materials and production techniques. They found a way to take the chamber pressures to new limits while protecting the internal components from fire risks. This required a new class of high temperature resistant stainless steel invented to cope with the risks of the LOx rich environment.”

Oh, seriously, c’mon – is it as good as all that?

“The demonstrated performance established during this process was beyond anything achieved in the United States. The RD-180 reaches chamber pressures up to 3,722psia which was more than double the chamber pressures achieved by comparable U.S. engines. Exposure to Russian design philosophy and the success of a high performance engine made U.S. engine designers question their own methods. This dual sided cross-cultural engineering approach which has persisted through the life of the RD-180 program adds depth to the understanding of engine capability and operational characteristics.”

Okay, thanks, company that Tony Bruno is the CEO of. Good to know it wasn’t just charity.

745 thoughts on “Dmitry Rogozin; “I’m Afraid I’ll Look Like a Dick”

    1. Ah, so that previous post about changing the Energy Charter now makes sense, but it hasn’t been agreed and cannot be retrospective.

      Still, ‘plans’ do not a future fact make and as the article points, it is a draft sent out to ‘parties’ so clearly if one or more object, the BNA will have to listen and adapt.

      It looks to me more a case of the BNA being super transparent so that it cannot be accused of stitching up the process and thus be left open to legal proceedings (that be the lo-land of Po-land).

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    2. The servants of Washington in the EU will try to extract every last concession they can before the pipeline is completed, but they absolutely want it and will back down if they think Russia would actually give up on completing it. Their strategy all along was to let Russia build it, but ensure its operation fell under the control of EU regulators so that they could get plenty of gas when they needed it, but use it as a negotiating tool when they had lots in reserve, start complaining about the price and try to get more pipeline volume for competitors, variations on the ideal where the Russians would absorb all the costs of building it, but would yield all advantages of the completed pipeline to the EU. Right up until the moment the first volumes go through the pipeline, the EU is going to act as a spoiler on a project they absolutely want to be completed. If Russia said, all right then, fuck you; Get your gas from the Americans, if that’s what you want, two things would happen – one, The Donald would come in his pants, and two, Brussels would go wait wait wait wait hold on. No need to be hasty.

      But they think they are in a super-strong position now, because their American pals stopped it when it was just a whisker away from completion, and gave them breathing space to renegotiate a deal that was already set, and make up a bunch of new rules using that was then, this is now for a rationale. I hope Russia does the same to them once it’s complete, and says yeah, you THOUGHT that was the price, but that was then, and charges them just enough under the American price that dropping them in favour of the Americans is not feasible, but still much more than they thought they would pay.

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      1. I’ve just thought of a brilliant wheeze the Russians can do. Announce that NS & NSII will be reverse-flow capable and promise that if Russia requires any EU (origin = not imported from outside the EU) gas in future it will have full access to the pipeline in future at an equitable cost…

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  1. Getting too narrow up there:

    Мужской поступок. Навальный отказался от дебатов с Марией Захаровой

    The action of a man: Navalny has refused to debate with Maria Zakharova…

    Yesterday, Maria Zakharova challenged Alexei Navalny to a debate: the reason was another “sensational” investigation by Alexei. And Maria offered to meet him in order to show that he was misleading everyone.

    And it seems that Mr. Navalny agreed to the debate.

    When I saw this on the news, my first thought was that no debate would take place.

    I shall explain why. It is one thing when Alexei exposes everyone on his channel, and another when he enters into a dispute with someone, especially if the opponent is smart and educated. As an example, I shall cite the debate that Navalny and Chubais had, when the experienced old wolf Chubais, with one straight left smashed Navalny to smithereens. Only a few feathers were left floating around. Since then, Lyosha has carefully avoided a debate every possible way he can.

    However, with Maria Zakharova it was impossible to give a refusal at once, especially since a woman had challenged him to a debate, so he allegedly agreed. Well, after that, there were technical matters to be dealt with, as Maria has written: Navalny’s secretary called her at first and said they would have Aleksei Pivovarov as a moderator. Okay, says Zakharova. Then a new condition appears: there should only one topic debated. “How come?” Maria exclaims, because this is a debate. How can there be only one topic? “That’s how it is”, they say into the phone.

    Then Zakharova asks if she can talk directly with Navalny and then they will discuss everything. In response, the secretary comes out with a brilliant phrase. I really do think that this has to be included in the Anti-Corruption Foundation gold reserves:

    Of course not. That is not possible. He is a free man and, accordingly, free from direct conversation.

    Isn’t it just wonderful how they dream up such phrases: the intellectual baggage of Navalny’s team is immediately visible.

    You can se now the whole scheme of these gentlemen: Zakharova says to them: “Guys, let’s have a debate on any platform. I am the only woman who has challenged your chief, leader or whatever you call him. But in response, there is a lot of shuffling around: firstly, a moderator is urgently needed —Well, OK then, she agrees; next, there is only one topic to be discussed; and finally, Navalny does not want to enter into direct communication with her.

    And here, if Maria had agreed to that, then these guys would have come up with another condition for the debate. For example, Navalny would speak for an hour, and Zakharova for ten seconds. If she had agreed with that, then the debate would have ben on. However, in the end, Navalny would simply not have turned up for it and that would have been that!

    As a result, Maria could not stand it any more and refused to participate in this obscure game. And rightly so: no debate on any topic would have taken place, but one can easily get bogged down with such endless discussions about procedure.

    Maria Zakharova has once again demonstrated that she is a smart and bright woman. But Navalny’s behavior makes you think about the value of his investigations. Although, personally, everything about them is clear to me!

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      1. But this is what Navalny says:

        Ну, дебаты без ведущего – штука странная, тем более онлайн. Но я же вчера пообещал, что в любом формате готов. Я ещё раз прямо и публично подтверждаю, что моя позиция не изменилась. Я согласился на эти дебаты и готов их провести даже и без модератора

        Well, a debate without a presenter is a strange thing, especially online. But I promised yesterday that I’m ready for any format. I once again directly and publicly confirm that my position has not changed. I agreed to these debates and am ready to hold them even without a moderator.

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    1. Actually, Maria handled it very well indeed! As many have said, the liberal “opposition” is inherently repugnant to a large majority of Russians. Thus, the Russian government actively promotes opportunities for their message to be heard – Russia out of Crimea! LGBT?# values!

      The Saker had a fairly good analysis of the above strategy including examples of how the Russian government provides platforms for the liberals to spout their nonsense.

      Navalny knows the above hence his reluctance to engage in a debate where his numerous embarrassing utterance will be dragged out of him by a skillful and charismatic opponent.

      A bad strategy would be to jail Navalny or to “silence” the opposition. Let them blather on, spend NGO money and make themselves pariahs.

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    2. Well, that’s not the way he is spinning it, and every mention of his name in print is pure gold to him. He’s getting free publicity and lots of it, and probably quite a few people are saying “Who’s this Navalny fellow?” The state is playing Navalny’s game now, to his rules, and they should stop before they do him any more favours; he can dance around like this forever, pretending open willingness. Zakharova lost her temper, and it is proving to be expensive.

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      1. My take is quite different. It is more like the end game for Navalny.

        An opposition is needed to show the majority that they have freedom to think what they like.

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        1. The Navalny team is now, of course, flogging Zakharova’s climb down for all it is worth, stressing that team Navalny accepted her proposals for the debate procedure. Be that as it may, Navalny not once spoke with Zakharova during the negotions that the FM spokeswoman tried to conduct on the telephone as regards an agreed procedure for the proposed debate: Sobol, another lawyer, who passes herself off as lawyer for the money harvesting organization founded by lawyer Navalny, did all the talking for the foreign agency known as the “Fund for the Struggle Against Corruption”.

          Opposition leader Alexey Navalny has commented on the final refusal of the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, to debate with him.

          “Today I am even more ashamed of the Russian Foreign Ministry and of Zakharova herself”, he said in his blog.

          Navalny noted that he has not changed his opinion on the situation concerning an interview between the diplomat [Zakharova] and Mikhail Zygar, in which, amongst other things, she soke of the increased availability of air travel for citizens of any wealth. According to the opposition leader, “She should be dismissed from her post immediately”. He also said that now he is really worried about representatives of the Russian government who are responsible for international relations, in that “one evening … they’ll go and declare war on someone … And in the morning they will stare wildly into a mirror and repeat: “My God, what have we done?””

          The above just shows what a dimwit Navalny is.

          Whether what Zakharov said about air travel for the wealthy be held right or wrong, in what way does what she said necessitate her instant dismissal from office?

          And, this inanity of Navalny notwithstanding, this bullshitting gobshite agent of the USA in Russia then utters a non sequitur, namely that such an opinion as regards air travel for the wealthy indicates that diplomats at the FM are all warmongering incompetents, who are far too dangerous to hold office there.

          He is talking through his arse as usual, uttering sound bites for libtard kreakly.

          I really think she should call his bluff and destroy him in front of cameras in a public debate.

          He clearly wants a fixed agenda for such a debate, in which he will reel off a stream off accusations against the “Party of Thieves and Swindlers” and demand that Zakharova prove that his accusations are wrong.

          He has also shown his limited grasp of politics, in that he refers to the diplomat in the same breath as he refers to the party “United Russia”, the present majority party in the State Duma and, therefore, the government party.

          Zahkarova is not a politician: she is a diplomat with a post in the FM, a state ministry..

          Navalny apparently does not know the difference between the terms “diplomat” and “politician”.

          source

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          1. And from this morning’s KP:

            A scandal broke out between blogger Alexei Navalny and the official representative of the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova. The opposition leader insulted her in his YouTube show. Zakharova tried to challenge Navalny to a public discussion, but this could not be done . The blogger tried to turn the meeting into a debate, to invite a moderator, and to narrow down the topic of discussion.

            Zakharova then turned down this idea. Many people have assumed that she did this under pressure from the leadership of the government. The official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to this on “Radio KP” in Oleg Kashin and Roman Golovanov’s programme “Separate Topic”.

            “I was stopped by his own people (representatives of Navalny, – ed.), who entangled all this so fraudulently that it was impossible to participate in it”, she said. Zakharova added that it was impossible to agree on a conversation personally with Navalny. “You are given a corporate phone number, you call, and they switch you all the time. Then they take you to a moderator. Then the moderator switches you again. It’s impossible. At one point, I said: “Listen, let me calmly dial the number normally (Navalny, – ed.). I’ll find out”. But you can’t. Not allowed. Everything is possible only indirectly. Therefore, I am in this nightmare that is pouring out all these fakes, all this dirt – I do not want to listen to this”….

            The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that the insults and slander began during a Navalny transmission on the Internet. And they continued when she tried to negotiate with the oppositionist on the phone.

            “When this person goes on the air, he firstly he reads out fake stories previously cooked up by someone (not just by anyone, but by someone from that Khodorkovsky site), and then says that I am an alcoholic and that my mother is a consul. What are they talking about? My mother is an art critic. My mother worked at the embassy as a technical employee. She knew two languages, she was invited to work in the consular department. She was never any consul. But this person says it”, Zakharova said.

            Zakharova, replying about whether she would sue the blogger.

            “We all see that we absolutely do not have any tools for a civilized solution of such issues. How can one do what needs to be done; where should one turn? How can one protect oneself from such lies and such deceit? No way, it turns out”, said the official representative of the Foreign Ministry.

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            1. All of this is like a dream come true for Navalny and his ‘team’, and if he ever doubts how he should handle this angle or that, he probably rings up his buddies in the state department for expert advice on how to spin political gold from straw. Maybe Zakharova could make public an offer in which there would be just a fairly large stage, two chairs, two microphones, her and Navalny, no moderator. TV cameras, obviously, because both will want to broadcast it. Her political and diplomatic knowledge is far superior, and it is plain Navalny wants to restrict the discussion to a single did-you-or-did-you-not issue so that he can thunder from his imaginary pulpit, and let implication do all the rest. No; we can talk about anything you want, but nobody is going to know anything in advance. No teleprompters, no notes. Just brains and amplification. But whatever they are going to do, they’d better get on with it, because it’s turning into one long victory lap for Navalny, and he’s making the most of it. And she’s playing right into his hands, acting like she’s coming apart and doesn’t know where to turn next, it’s all just so unfair!

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          2. Be that as it may, and you and I are well aware of Navalny’s shortcomings, he is getting acres of glorious press out of this; everyone is talking about – can you guess – Navalny! And that’s the way Lyosha likes it, and the way any politician likes it, because being disliked is nothing at all as compared to having no name recognition. And that was his major problem only a week or so ago; who is running against Sobyanin? Never heard of him. He goaded and tormented Putin for years to make Putin speak his name in public – Putin would always refer to him as ‘that liberal opposition figure’ or something like that – but now he has actually drawn blood from an unexpected quarter. You can count on him and his ‘team’ hammering on Zakharova until she is looking over her shoulder before she leaves her building, and she must lose a little of her mythic reputation for this as well. She fell for Navalny’s bait without thinking it through, because his actions following her challenge have been completely predictable – obfuscate and maneuver for advantage in private, and dis[play his open palms and a look of bewilderment in public; what’s the problem? I’m ready to go, under any conditions or no conditions, what’s holding up Maria Zakharova? It’s not like he’s a political genius; anyone could advance his own agenda with circumstances as they are. And all the while, in anticipation of the Great Debate which might still be forced to take place, Navalny is getting ready, going over scenarios and building traps in his mind, where if he had had to do it the next day he would have been shot down like a duck.

            This is certainly not going to bring down the government or anything like it, it’s mostly just a distraction, but it didn’t need to happen, and Zakharova is usually better than that. She let herself be goaded into an indefensible position because she lost her temper. and now Team Navalny will be mashing on that button day and night, trying to make it happen again. Even if he can’t make her lose her rag again, he will get day after day of wonderful reporting and his name in print, with the probability that even a few who are pissed off with the government for this reason or that will begin to take him seriously. Even if they don’t ever consider voting for him, they might sprinkle a few rubles in his ‘anti-corruption fund’, so there’s essentially nothing not to like in it for Lyosha – all he has had to do is respond and control himself, which Zakharova failed to do.

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            1. For all that, in the Russian blogosphere it seems to me that the majority of comments to those blogs that praise Navalny and decry Zakharova are critical of Navalny, calling him a coward, a bullshitter, a person who has treated a woman disrespectfully in that he tried to “cheat” her, as Zakharova says, as regards terms and conditions of the proposed debate and, key point, having not once spoken with Zakharova directly during “negotiations” about the debate format, whilst — and here’s the rub — holding onto a woman’s skirt (I translate directly the expression used by one commenter), namely Sobol’s, to do the job of obfuscation.

              Really, I have read through many blogs for and against Zakharova, and she has the majority support in this matter.

              And there are those who take neither side, stating that it is clear an order not to have a debate with the slimy bastard came from her superiors..

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              1. Some comments that I have just scrolled through in a few blogs:

                Well, if you know about the whole background to the events, then Zakharova herself proposed these debates to Navalny. Moreover, read their dialogues on Twitter: it was Navalny who agreed to all the conditions, but now somehow Maria managed to turn everything on its head. Now everything is presented in such a way that Navalny allegedly refused, and besides that, he has been insulted on Twitter. I do not recognize Navalny as a politician; I do not care about him; I have always liked Maria because of her sharpness of mind , but in this case , she clearly failed. There is an opinion that she was banned from debating with Navalny . But if this is so, then first one has to ask permission from one’s superiors, and then offer Navalny to debate.
                May 1, 15: 32 216

                The rest below have been made over the past hour:

                A classic example of hype out of a molehill. Some fucking debate between people who do not decide anything failed, and the entire Internet is on its ears, as if Trump had declared war on China because of the spread of coronavirus.

                Navalny has not turned out to be a coward!?!?! Bwa-ha-ha!!!! Mwa-ha-ha!!!! He is just a blogger, a master at reading a written monologue!!! He does not know how to debate….

                Masha made a mistake! In her position, you cannot stoop to the level of backyard blogger Navalny.

                Navalny’s propagandist! His last name fits, because he took a dump in his pants and refused! [a play on his last name, which is similar to the adjective навальный, which means “bulk”, as in a “heavy load”, a “bulk carrier”]

                Navalny is a coward!!!

                Navalany is a clown!

                Maria, why throw pearls before swine?

                And Maria is right; with liberals there is nothing to talk about, they will find everywhere a reason to say that black is white and white is black.

                An eagle does not talk to shit, well done Masha!

                Fuck this Navalny!

                MOTHERFUCKER. NEMTSOV’S SHADOW!

                Navalny is an abomination who is not able to meet face to face with those who can respond to his slander.

                Out of all the above comments, I have found three hurrahs for the bullshitter.

                I should add, however, that all of the anti-Navalny comments above have been given a “thumbs down” by other people. The most “thumbs down ” for one comment is 17.

                So, in order to compensate for any accusations of my being biased [I am!!!!], last word to Navalny’s “lawyer”:

                Lady and gentlemen Stooges and any lurkers present!

                A big round of applause for the one and only, inimitable Lyubov’ Sobol …..

                Maria Zakharova from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not just an ordinary official: for all foreigners she is an “important Russian”. Her behaviour is unacceptable; her statements about the wealthy taking vacations are shameful. I think that Zakharova should be dismissed from her position.

                Thank you most kindly, Lyubov’, for those deep and meaningful words.

                Like

              2. And I completely support her as well; I certainly don’t want Navalny to triumph. But as commenters you have cited pointed out, the whole debate challenge was Zakharova’s idea in the first place – she put it out there. She challenged Navalny to debate in a forum in which he could not wriggle away, and he promptly wriggled away while leaving a trail of honest, smiley Navalny chaff-rockets behind him. Then Zakharova, who invested considerable effort, study and time in building an image of herself as a woman of steel, quick on her feet, confident and strong, appeared to fall apart in a weepy storm of protests over how unfair Navalny is because he wants to rig the debate format. And all the time Navalny is smiling and friendly and going, Masha, Masha – what is all this? I am willing to do it however you would like. And there is an invisible wall called Lyubov Sobol between Navalny and Zakharova that nobody sees, artfully proposing scenarios – at least according to Zakharova – in which Zakharova must debate with one arm tied behind her, under conditions advantageous to Navalny. And of course he pretends to be confused by this apparent Zakharova breakdown.

                I agree strongly with the commenter you referenced elsewhere, who said,

                “Well, if you know about the whole background to the events, then Zakharova herself proposed these debates to Navalny. Moreover, read their dialogues on Twitter: it was Navalny who agreed to all the conditions, but now somehow Maria managed to turn everything on its head. Now everything is presented in such a way that Navalny allegedly refused, and besides that, he has been insulted on Twitter. I do not recognize Navalny as a politician; I do not care about him; I have always liked Maria because of her sharpness of mind , but in this case , she clearly failed. There is an opinion that she was banned from debating with Navalny . But if this is so, then first one has to ask permission from one’s superiors, and then offer Navalny to debate.”

                Zakharova above others should have known to expect dirty politics, and it is incredible to watch her appearing to play perfectly to ‘Team Navalny’s’ advantage, but she is. She must have known that before making a throwaway challenge, she should first have pondered all its possible outcomes. She might have expected Navalny to withdraw in confusion or manufactured derision, but she should have thought through every implication of his possible acceptance. That’s how you win in politics – by allowing for every possible way your opponent could react, and having a plan for each of them.

                Navalny isn’t going to get anywhere important on this issue, and either the debate will be held in some forum or other, or it won’t and people will eventually forget. But Zakharova has done serious damage to her image because she allowed herself to be impulsive. If I were her I would nail down some very simple format for the debate, and let the Bullshitter do his best. He’s prepared now, but he does not have her mind for detail and he cannot think on his feet as well as she can. Any over-the-top accusations that he cannot prove, such as that her mother is an alcoholic or a privileged diplomat – if he ever even said those things – would be a terrible mistake for him to re-introduce because he would look like an asshole and she would easily refute such statements, while whether or not they are true makes no difference at all to issues facing the Russian people. Navalny has no plan for those and it would be easy to show it. And for God’s sake, record and document everything: she could have shut all of this right down if she could play a recording of her trying to arrange a fair debate, and getting the runaround from Sobol or one of Navalny’s hamsters. Instead, she just looks hysterical.

                Like

                1. I’ve been trying to find the source, but so far without success, of accusations that Navalny stated or implied, namely that Zakharova’s mother is an alcoholic. If he did so, that’s what triggered Maria to act rashly, in my opinion.

                  It all kicked off before the US agent allegedly attacked Irina Zakharova, in that Navalny, ever looking for windmills to tilt at, latched on to some scandal over the property rights of some stinking rich Russian citizen, a woman who has a mansion in the USA and, because of this epidemic in the Land of the Free, wants to get back to the motherland that she had abandoned. Navalny questioned how this woman had acquired her wealth (as if no one had ever suspected that her acquisition of riches had probably not been strictly above board) and Zakharova bounced back at the bullshitter over this, asking if he was no longer then a pal of the oligarchs — or words to that effect — adding that the wealthy should be more responsible for their actions, including flying away and living in foreign countries, then expecting to be repatriated, as does this very rich woman with a palace of sorts in the USA. Whereupon, the Bullshitter quickly shifted his sights, stating that Zakharova’s diplomat mother (Wrong! She is the wife of a respected and accomplished former Soviet diplomat, whereas she is an academic, a historian by profession, employed at the most respected Pushkin Museum, Moskva) had in effect lived a privileged existence abroad in the Soviet diplomatic corps and he also, allegedly, stated that Irina Zakharova drank.

                  Clearly, this touched a sore nerve on Maria Zakharova’s part (that’s why the bastard said it!) and she reacted. Maria Zakharova was 18 when the Soviet Union wound up in 1991, as I have written previously above, and living in Peking, where she had gone when she was 6 years old with her parents, following her father’s diplomatic appointment to the Soviet Embassy there. They were in a political limbo then, when they decided to return to that new Russian wonderland then being fashioned by the Chicago Boys and their agents Yeltsin, Gaidar, Chubais and other traitorous filth. Soviet diplomats, as were the rest of the Soviet intelligentsia, academics and professional folk, were impoverished at the time. Zakharova has stated that her family had lost all their savings when they returned to Yeltsin’s Russia.

                  She is not lying about this, I am sure: I remember that time well, because I too returned in 1993 to my step-motherland, having previously studied and worked on and off in the Evil Empire or, as the case may be, the immediate post-SU Russia of the Yeltsin years. Times were hard then, especially for the former Soviet “elite”. I remember how surprised I was at the time, when women, standing in long lines and hawking vodka and sausage at Moscow railway termini, spoke fluently in English with me and how suddenly, when the cops appeared, the women would scatter into the crowd. These women often talked for a long time with me about the UK and the West and the Soviet union. They were all highly educated: academics, mostly teachers or lecturers. And impoverished! All of them!

                  This was also the time which Navalny later called “The Yeltsin Golden years”. In 1993, when the year 18-year-old Zakharova returned to Russia and the then 44-year-old Moscow Exile had decided to drop anchor there, bullshitter Navalny was 17 and still at school. And when Navalny left higher education in the mid- to late-90s, his Ukrainian SSR-born father had started a basket weaving business in the Odintsova district of the Moskva region, some 20 miles from the Moskva outer ring road. And having graduated, Navalny became a grifter, a spiv, always on the look-out for the main chance to enrich himself. He wanted to become one of the “New Russians” that were springing up all around.

                  I have met very many like Navalny who, having been born a little too late in their opinion, had missed the main chance, unlike, say, Abramovich or Chubais. So, when the land of opportunities for self enrichment economically imploded and the Evil One took over — big grudge!

                  Then Uncle Sam beckoned.

                  Like

                2. The ‘offense’ upon which Navalny and his ‘team’ seem to have settled is a remark that Zakharova made to the effect that people who traveled knew in those days (her youth) to dress appropriately when traveling. I don’t know what sparked the observation, but Team Navalny has seized upon it as ‘elitist’, Zakharova is espousing a caste system in Russia and yearns for the days when her spoiled family could lord it over the peasants. It’s all overdone shite, of course, simply fumbling for a handle to grab on to – you never see Sobol in public, for example, when she isn’t dressed from the pages of Cosmopolitan; it’s Navalny who likes to lounge about unshaven in sweatshirt and jeans, with his belly bubbling out of his waistband; hold yourselves back, girls. So their premise is that Zakharova should be dismissed from her position – at once, mind you – because she thinks she is better than other Russians. Meanwhile Sobol and the rest of ‘Team Navalny’ publicly and frequently express their disgust at ordinary prole Russian voters who keep pulling the handle for Putin, instead of getting onboard the Liberal Future Express where Uncle Sam will come in and remake the place into a land of opportunity for those who like money, but don’t really like to work.

                  I don’t know where I read that someone on Navalny’s side – probably the Bullshitter himself – implied that Zakharova’s mother liked a drink, but I imagine it was here.

                  Like

  2. JusttheNewscom: FBI found no ‘derogatory’ Russia evidence on Flynn, planned to close case before leaders intervened
    https://justthenews.com/accountability/russia-and-ukraine-scandals/fbi-found-no-derogatory-russia-evidence-flynn-planned

    FBI memos show case was to be closed with a defensive briefing before a second interview with Flynn was sought.

    Evidence withheld for years from Michael Flynn’s defense team shows the FBI found “no derogatory” Russia evidence against the former Trump National Security Adviser and that counterintelligence agents had recommended closing down the case with a defensive briefing before the bureau’s leadership intervened in January 2017…

    …In the text messages to his team, Strzok specifically cited “the 7th floor” of FBI headquarters, where then-Director James Comey and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCane worked, as the reason he intervened.

    “Hey if you haven’t closed RAZOR, don’t do so yet,” Strzok texted on Jan. 4, 2017…
    ####

    JFC.

    Remember kids, the United States is a well oiled machine that dispenses justice equitably along with free orange juce to the tune of ‘One Nation Under a Groove.’

    So, I think Mark asked about ‘legal action’, but as you can see Barr and others are going through this stuff with a fine tooth comb so it is as solid when it goes public. More importantly, it can be used as evidenec to reform such corruption and put some proper controls in place to stop it happening again… at least for a few years…

    Like

  3. By the way, as very many here in Mordor know full well, Navalny has never had a proper business. At the beginning of his career he worked as a lawyer on a small salary.

    Navalny’s parents are pensioners: they receive a pension and have a small business about 20 miles beyond the Moscow beltway. Navalny would be classed by many here as coming from the middle-class.

    Now get this: Navalny was able to buy himself a Mercedes GL class on this low salary that he earned as a lawyer. The vehicle was then worth about 3.5 million rubles. Not bad, despite the fact that his salary in those years was estimated to have been no more than 100 thousand rubles.

    And guess what? As soon as Navalny started his “opposition” activities, he immediately sold the Merc. You see, it wouldn’t have done for a popular oppositionist to be seen riding around in a Mercedes.

    The Bullshitter-in-Chief now says that his present salary depends on donations, and amounts to no more than 100 thousand rubles, that he cannot afford to run a car, because he supports his wife and 2 children, one of whom now studying in the good ol’ US of A.

    And so Navalny’s headquarters decided to rent a car for his use: not to rent when need be, but on a permanent basis. The car, by the way, is not quite a popular mark: it is a Land Rover Freelander. Moreover, the car is rented with a driver

    Navalny’s headquarters pays out about 240 thousand rubles per month to rent this car with a driver,.

    And this money all comes from donations, they say; from people who want to eradicate corruption in what Navalny refers to as “this” country.

    And below, you can see where some folk think the money for the Bullshitter’s car rental really comes from.

    That’s the sight that greeted Navalny when he woke up one morning in Kostroma, following PARNASSUS crushing electoral defeat there. Unknown persons on a Twitter feed that had the above image posted labelled the above vehicle a “State Department combat vehicle”.

    Now I ask you: how many ordinary Joes here — not that slimy BBC get who reports from Moscow and his oppo Rainsford, not the owners of “Moscow Times”, not those who run RFE/RL but your regular Ivan and Natasha — really believe that Navalny will eradicate corruption in “this” country?

    Like

    1. From Voice of America:

      Почему Мария Захарова уклонилась от дебатов с Навальным?

      Why Maria Zakharova declined to debate with Navalny?

      SPOILER WARNING!
      [Answer: the “regime” is scared shitless of Navalny!]

      The editor-in-chief of the “Daily Journal”, Alexander Ryklin, in a comment for the Russian service of “Voice of America”, confessed that on Monday morning he had said that, in his opinion, it was quite obvious there would be no debate.

      “I don’t know in what emotional state the special representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zakharova found herself in when she challenged Navalny to debate”, he said, “but today, when the administration (president) woke up, they made the only possible decision. Obviously, the Kremlin does not need any debate with Navalny. Of course, they would not give him an unexpected platform, thanks to which he would get God knows what kind of a mass audience”.

      [Interesting! Apart from libtards and kreakly, how many millions does Ryklin think would have tuned in?]

      The journalist is convinced about why the discussion was nipped in the bud: “It is clear that Zakharova was in a rather pathetic position. But here, I think, her superiors simply ordered her to abandon this venture. Naturally, she carried out the order. An absolutely predictable story. It was clear that they would be frightened and would finish off the matter just like that and so shamefully at that. They simply, as they say, slithered away.”

      This is a common situation with today’s Russian authorities, said Alexander Ryklin. In his view, the Kremlin is afraid of any direct dialogue with an opposition representative.

      “Yes, they are certainly frightened by the figure of Navalny and they have absolutely no need to allow this matter to gain momentum”, he emphasized. “But, amongst other things, they understand that in any direct conversation they will ‘a priori lose’, apart from the fact that in the power circles there are mostly now only people in possession of quite limited capabilities. So they have no content, they have nothing to present. Their arguments are void.”

      My stress above: Libtard fantasies!


      Garik Weinstein and Ryklin


      Shagger Nemtsov, Weinstein and Ryklin

      Like

      1. As regards that liberast journalist’s statement above: “I don’t know in what emotional state the special representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zakharova found herself in when she challenged Navalny to debate”, I think I do.

        Gobshite Navalny had made misstatements about Zakharova’s mother, Irina, stating that she had been a diplomat, a “consul”, implying that she had enjoyed a highly privileged life amongst the Soviet elite, as had the rest of her family.

        Irina Zakharova, is an art historian who works at the Moskva Pushkin Museum, the wife of a former Soviet diplomat, China specialist Vladimir Zakharov.

        As regards the privileged life of the wealthy Soviet elite, Maria Zakharova (who moved to Peking with her family at 6 years of age) has said that her parents harboured no illusions about the Soviet Union. In the early 1980s, Soviet journals had refused to publish Irina Zakharova’s articles about Chinese folk toys because of the then state of Soviet-Chinese relations. There were incidents when her mother’s art books were confiscated at the border for allegedly containing pornography. Today, Zakharova calls these incidents mere “overreaches” by the Soviet system but acknowledges that during perestroika, she supported Mikhail Gorbachev.

        “I believe it’s important to see the pluses and minuses”, she has said. “The fact that a giant state toppled, leaving behind, as the president has said, the largest of divided nations, is a huge tragedy. And still, the things that Gorbachev lobbied for were not defeatist.”

        The Zakharovs were in Beijing in 1991 when they learnt of the end of the Soviet Union. Life at the Soviet Embassy in Peking grew difficult. No one was paid for long stretches; everyone was waiting to be evacuated. “We lived from month to month”, Zakharova recalled. “They said they would send an aeroplane, put everyone on it, and we would fly back. But to where? We had come to Peking with Soviet passports, now, we were going back to a completely new and confused country.”

        However, the Zakharovs did not consider going anywhere else. The subject of emigration, Maria Zakharova has said, “was not on the table. Our family is there: it is our mother country: not in an overblown, hysterical way, but as a simple fact. It is home. We had to return to Moskva no matter what awaited us there. Although I remember that even the people closest to us told us not come back.”

        The Zakharovs went back to their mother country in 1993. Her parents had lost all their savings and had to survive on regular public sector wages, and meanwhile, the time had come for Maria to enter higher education. She was then, in 1993, 18 years old.

        The rest is history: she eventually became a diplomat after having graduated with honours from the Faculty of International Journalism at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, majoring in orientalism and journalism. Her pre-diploma apprenticeship was carried out at the Russian Embassy in Peking. She had also studied and speaks Chinese (very well, say Chinese acquaintances of mine). However, despite having recommendation letters from the country’s leading China experts, when she applied for her first job at the Foreign Ministry, in its Asia Department, she was turned down. She had to be content with a position in the Federal Tax Service.

        Zakharova does not always stick to diplomatic protocol and because of this, she at times comes under criticism by some. She once said that the Obama administration had no foreign policy accomplishments. When Obama’s secretary of state John Kerry advised students at a Harvard Kennedy graduation speech that, under the Trump administration, they should “learn Russian,” Zakharova pointed out that he himself had had two terms to have done so, implying, I should imagine, that his Russian was still crap despite his studies of it. Further, as regards that former US ambassador to Russia during the Obama years, Zakharova once bluntly commented: “We remember his professional incompetence”.

        Apparently, Zakharova is clearly proud of the Foreign Ministry’s sense of humour. Their online April Fool jokes have become something of a tradition. One of her favourite jokes, a recording of which was released on the Foreign Ministry Twitter account on April 1, 2017 goes as follows:

        “Hello. You’ve reached the Russian Embassy. If you wish to have a Russian diplomat speak to your political enemies, press 1; if you would like to use the services of Russian hackers, press 2; if you have any questions about election interference, press 3 and wait for the beginning of a political campaign. To ensure the quality of our services, all phone calls will be recorded”.

        If she were to enter into debate with Navalny, she would wipe the floor with him wring him out and leave him hanging out to dry.

        Like

        1. Are we going to look at what’s fair and above-board, or are we going to look at reality? Because reality is that Navalny reaps the most benefit from dodging such a debate, which even he is not such an egotist to imagine he would win, while pretending to be ready to have it under any conditions, right here, right now, bring it on, Masha. And he is wiping the floor with her, right now, because he has gotten more press coverage this week than he has gotten in the last two years. Granted, all those who are gloating over his ‘wonderful performance’ are the most despicable of self-loathing dissidents, but people will read what is in the newspapers; they’re stuck at home, they’re bored, they’re looking for diversion. Enter Navalny, that amusing chap, with his antics. And every day that people talk about nothing but Navalny and Zakharova, more people remember his name and are exposed to his populist nonsense. Of course he isn’t going to do anything fairly, and of course he is going to present an appearance of the most transparent honesty while doing so – where did he learn politics? That’s right; Yale. Is that how his mentors do politics, fair and honest with everything out in the open? Hardly.

          The time has come to either commit to a debate in as simple a format as possible, ideally without any moderator but absolutely not a moderator chosen by Navalny, perhaps by popular vote, or drop the idea altogether. I can see the value of a moderator if that person does not have a political agenda of his/her own, because a moderator will prevent them from simply talking over one another, with the loudest and most persistent winning the point. I think most people know Zakharova’s political and diplomatic experience is far, far above Navalny’s, just as they know at some level that Navalny will attempt to present lies as if they are provable truth. It is not too late to draw up open and transparent rules for a debate – all subjects, including Zakharova’s alleged alcoholic diplomat mother, are on the table, but debate participants, which are only Navalny and Zakharova, must be able to prove what they say if they present it as true.

          But the longer it is allowed to play out in the press as “Zakharova is afraid to debate NAVALNY NAVALNY NAVALNY!!! She dared him and then chickened out”, the longer it is all breaking Lyosha’s way. It might not look the same in Russia as it does elsewhere, but the Russian opposition always controls the English-speaking narrative.

          Like

      2. This is probably pretty mild in comparison of the goading to come – the liberals have no had momentum for so long that they are probably arguing about how to make best use of it. But you can bet any public statements to come from Zakharova, regardless of subject, are going to have Navalny’s comments overlaid on them, and he will be as provocative as he can make himself, in hope of drawing another public spat. This is probably the second-greatest success he has ever enjoyed, the first being when he ran into the street and shot someone with a pellet gun, I can’t even remember the circumstances now, but they were related as if the person shot was a yob and Navalny boiled over in his zeal to dispense justice.

        People may laugh now, but the pressure is going to be unrelenting, and I can actually see where Zakharova might have to have someone temporarily step in for her. Because the heckling from every dissident in Russia is going to be merciless, and Navalny is reaping nothing but publicity from it, day in and day out. And he doesn’t have to even do anything; just pose for the camera with that scrupulously-honest, what’s going on look, and his writers will do the rest. Getting control of the narrative is a major concept. The one bright spot is that the state will get an opportunity to see just how much liberal media there really is, because I don’t believe for a minute it is just Dozhd, Echo Moskvy and The Moscow Times.

        Like

  4. CCN suggests that the reason Creepy Crepey Joe doesn’t want anyone rooting around in the U of D records is that there is damaging information in there relating to his and Hunter Biden’s relations with Ukraine.

    https://www.ccn.com/did-joe-biden-just-flub-on-ukraine-while-denying-the-tara-reade-scandal/

    It seems pretty obvious that there is something in there that he does not want publicly broadcast, but it’s hard to say what it might be, and it is relatively easy in the USA to get records sealed for a given period. And it takes a pretty serious effort to get around them.

    I think I can do it, though. Find out for me who has the power to make decisions on unsealing those records, and I’ll call them up and tell them unless they let me look, AND buy me dinner at Chili’s, I’ll leak to the press that they penetrated me with their fingers (well, maybe just one, let’s not get crazy) just long enough ago that nobody would reasonably be able to verify my whereabouts.

    Like

  5. It has been a first quarter of firsts. Exxon-Mobil reported a first-quarter loss of $610 Million, compared with a $2.4 Billion profit a year earlier – the first quarterly loss for the company in 32 years, made worse by $3 Billion in write-downs. Royal Dutch Shell cut its dividend for the first time since 1945. Chesapeake Energy is preparing for bankruptcy. Concho Resources reported a first-quarter loss of $9.8 Billion. According to Rystad, which seems to be the mouthpiece of the global energy industry these days, oil and gas companies are on the road to losing $1 Trillion – with a ‘T’ – in revenues this year. Oasis Petroleum is in the process of winding down all drilling operations in the Bakken play. Chevron reduced its rigs in the Permian from 17 to 5. Not the time to put money into shale, you would think.

    And you’d be wrong.

    “The U.S. Federal Reserve revised its Main Street Lending Program to allow larger and more indebted companies to qualify for lending. The announcement received criticism from multiple corners. “The major changes announced today mirror the top requests of the oil and gas industry,” a congressional watchdog said. “That raises questions about how the changes promote the broader public interest — especially when these companies will still have no real obligation to retain or rehire their workers.” Even the powerful American Petroleum Institute spoke out. “You can’t have capitalism on the way up and socialism on the way down,” an API executive said. “

    Yeah, bla bla, so what – just go and print some more money, why don’t you?

    Oh, looks like I forgot one – global CO2 emissions are set to fall by 5.5% in 2020: the largest single decline in human history.

    Like

  6. Kremlin- controlled TASS:

    MOSCOW, May 2. /TASS/. The actual number of people infected with the coronavirus in Moscow amounts to about two percent of the city’s population, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Saturday.

    “Judging by the health screening of various population groups, the actual number of those infected amounts to about two percent of Moscow’s population. It is the lowest level among major global cities hit by the pandemic. We succeeded in preventing the infection from spreading through discipline and Muscovites’ support for self-isolation measures,” the mayor wrote on his blog.

    To date, a total of 114,431 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 13,220 patients having recovered from the virus. Moscow accounts for the majority of cases (57,300). Russia’s latest data indicates 1,169 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

    I have just come back from the local supermarket. Almost everyone outside wearing masks.

    In a playground in front of my house: an area where there are situated physical jerks machines, which area and its adjoining children’s play area, I recently noticed. had had the red and white no-go tapes that had been stretched around them torn down.

    Using the exercise machine, were a man and woman in their early 30s and a girl of about 8 years of age. Clearly a family. And none of them were wearing masks.

    Normal folk: not bloody hysterics!

    And no bloody stupid plods approaching them, as it seems would have been the case if what I witnessed were in a UK play area. And having approached them, the stupid sod in blue would have threatened to arrest them, telling them that they were “putting the lives of others in danger”, whilst at the same time keeping a “safe distance” from the “offenders”.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-52338058

    In my old neck of the woods.

    An ignorant, vulgar gobshite member of Britain’s finest shouting at a lad and threatening to make up a story so that he be charged.

    And the Lancashire Constabulary have apologized.

    I mean, cops don’t collude in order to make up evidence — do they?

    Like

    1. Buggered the link up above.

      I don’t like posting simple links as above, preferring to give the title of a linked article.

      Click-bait, see!

      Lancashire Police officer threatened ‘to make something up’
      18 April 2020


      Fat ignorant gobshite! It would have been worth doing 6 months for dropping that cnut!


      Baaa! Baaaa!

      — ‘Allo, ‘allo, ‘allo! What’s goin’ on ‘ere, then?

      — Nothing. Now fuck off!


      I am here to protect you and the public in general, see. Fancy a shag?

      Like

      1. Doesn’t he have to be working undercover pretending to be an anti-lockdown protester infiltrating groups opposed to the lockdown to flush out their leaders and to encourage them to commit violence or break the law so he can arrest them?

        Like

      2. “Squaring up to a police officer?” What are you meant to do – cower, and beg not to be arrested? When they ask “What’s going on here?”, are you meant to answer, “I don’t know – why don’t you tell me?”

        Like

      3. Doesn’t the police officer have to be working undercover pretending to be a political activist so as to infiltrate groups and encourage them to break the law so he can arrest members, in order to get a free shag? And get the girl pregnant too?

        Where’s the mask and the 1.5 metre distancing?

        Like

  7. Politico.eu: The challenge of counting COVID-19 deaths
    https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-the-challenge-of-counting-covid-19-deaths/

    Identifying ‘excess deaths’ is one way to grasp the pandemic’s true impact.
    ####

    The article does a reasonable job of pointing out the obvious (lies, damned lies & statistics) but it doesn’t mention anything about how to measure the most recent season’s flu rate. i.e. mild, average or strong. Surely that would be an important factor in helping to understand the figures properly and not some lowest-common denominator bollox.

    Like

  8. World War III – Russia’s War of Independence
    May 1, 2020
    Stalker Zone

    Any, even the most victorious war, inevitably entails losses. It will soon be 2 months since the beginning of Russia’s oil war. And information about the results of losses for the first month of combat [have] already appeared.

    According to the leading world experts whom the financial analysis website Bloomberg refer to, during the first month of combat Russia lost $6 billion. The losses of Saudi Arabia are much more – $27 billion.

    At the same time, the currency reserves of the Saudis is the lowest [they have] been since 2011, having fallen from more than $2 trillion down to $464 billion. The position of the dictator Prince Salman is aggravated by the huge debts of the state – 180 billion for the beginning of year and about 20 more that was borrowed in the first quarter of this year. Added to this, the state company “Aramco“, the world’s largest oil producer, owes about $300 billion more….

    Russia has a gold reserve of more than $550 billion. What is even more important is that from March 1st to April 1st the National Welfare Fund of Russia grew from $123.14 billion to $165.38 billion, having shown growth of more than $42+ billion! It is not surprising that Russia can afford to carry out ‘combat’ for years without a fatal impact on the national economy, and its leadership can radiate a reinforced concrete confidence in victory. Unlike Saudi Arabia, the budget of Russia is being filled not only by petrodollars and comes from an oil price not of $71, but $42.

    Sad news indeed for those who are concerned over what appears to be bad news for Russia.

    Like

      1. And these “biggest winners” that benefit from low oil prices during hostilities, how will they fare when the hostilities cease?

        Like

      2. “War” is not the correct term here – try “skirmish”. Fossil fuels, especially oil with its multiple uses, will remain a critical resource throughout the 21st century. Russia will have assured supply to that resource while those countries without oil will remain without oil.

        Karl, FYI, the consumer will always pay more for a product (in this discussion, oil) than the producer. So, to amend your statement:

        The biggest oil consumers who produce no oil themselves will feel less pain than typical

        Speaking of fossil fuels, Russia is bullish on coal exports with Asia replacing the EU as the main focus for expansion.

        https://oilprice.com/Energy/Coal/Russia-Looks-To-Double-Coal-Exports-To-China.html

        Like

      3. Yes, there’s something to that – those states are wondering what all the angst is about, gasoline is finally available in abundance at low prices, what’s not to like? But people forget the USA’s endless bragging about being The World’s Largest Energy Producer comes with a downside, and massive losses by some of its biggest companies inevitably impact state budgets in regions that have nothing to do with oil production. The ‘oil price war’ is inevitably framed to be Saudi Arabia against Russia, but the USA is a major participant as well, and of course it would like the Saudis to win, not because it loves them, but because it hates Russia and would celebrate anyone who destroys it.

        For one of the first times I can recall, the list of the top 10 richest companies in the world by market cap includes only one lone energy company, and if that list were compiled today it would probably drop off – Exxon-Mobil, right at the bottom at number 10. Technology companies and online retailers who ‘don’t make anything’ are the Kings today.

        https://www.hynaija.com/top-10-richest-companies-in-the-world/

        Saudi Arabia might have huge debts, but it is not even in the same league as the USA when it comes to debt and the driving necessity for global dominance by massive American companies. The implosion of the energy industry has hurt the USA far more than it even realizes yet. And so long as Russia has China and Europe for markets, it is in a much better position than either Saudi Arabia or the USA.

        Like

    1. When it does, France will look around to see that China has had its economy up and running for four months already, while France and indeed much of Europe have absorbed another 3-4 months of steady losses. Most of Asia, really, is looking at how it can get back to work. The Nervous Nellies are going to find themselves at a woeful disadvantage when they try to restart their idled economies, because market share, like time, waits for no man.

      Like

  9. Apparently a secret ‘Five Eyes’ report stating that China hid CoVid-19 info, covered up etc. has been leaked. Except it has not been ‘leaked’. It was clearly given by one of members anonymously (i.e. unofficially) as opposed to unauthorized.

    The story for me here is that none of the Five Thighs has the guts to own up to it, so that it becomes a guessing game. How completely spineless & bitchy is that? It shows that whomever it is is afraid of the consequences of actually going public and official. Therein proves what little power the West has that they make such a weak assed move.

    Like

    1. I wonder how many people take such ‘reports’ seriously any more. I mean, look at the McLaren Report, supposedly a slam-dunk, guilty as charged, but they ended up having to manipulate the Moscow lab database themselves and then scream about it as an outrage in order to get what they wanted. The McLaren Report itself, supposedly oozing evidence from every pore, actually had nothing like proof in it, just a lot of over-the-top accusations and masturbatory conjecture. The Mueller Report, ditto – just a lot of blather about what they wished was true and hoped people would assume was true because they said it was. You can search on Google now and find any number of ‘reports’ that say sanctions are wrecking the Russian economy, they might not want to talk about it, but the Russians are really hurting. Is that true, do you think? A lot of these ‘reports’ come from Think Tanks who are biased to think a certain way, and all their discussions and investigation and conclusions are informed by their wish that this or that be reality. Stratfor makes a living telling people what they want to hear, but I don’t know too many millionaires who made their fortunes betting on political collapses forecast by Stratfor. These ‘reports’ are really not much different than some guy in a suit whispering the same information in your ear. Where’s he from, that guy? US Department of State? ‘Nuff said.

      Like

      1. It turns out that the authorized unauthorized ‘leaked report’ was by America, obtained by the Telegraph newpaper of Australia. What a bunch of sadomasochists!

        Maybe the Five Thigh’s conversation went like this:

        USA: Hey guys, who wants to publish out shitstirring report accusing China of being lying a*holes, totally anonymously of course?!

        UK: **** [sound of boiling kettle]

        NZ: **** [distant sound of sheep and ‘come back, I love you]

        Canada: **** [sounds of waves followed by the tearing of metal on iceberg]

        Aus: “F/k yeah! We’ll give it to the newspapers. China will never know it was us doing it for you!”

        Like

            1. I just thought you meant the Titanic. The Celine Dionne angle did not occur to me, because of course the Titanic sank in international waters, but quite close to Newfoundland. But written up as a graphic-novel sketch, it would be quite funny.

              Like

  10. AsiaTimes.com: The deeper roots of Chinese demonization
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/05/the-deeper-roots-of-chinese-demonization/

    Hegel saw history moving east to west – ‘Europe thus absolutely being the end of history, Asia the beginning’

    Pepe’s Discobar

    Fasten your seat belts: the US hybrid war against China is bound to go on frenetic overdrive, as economic reports are already identifying Covid-19 as the tipping point when the Asian – actually Eurasian – century truly began.

    The US strategy remains, essentially, full spectrum dominance, with the National Security Strategy obsessed by the three top “threats” of China, Russia and Iran. China, in contrast, proposes a “community of shared destiny” for mankind, mostly addressing the Global South.

    The predominant US narrative in the ongoing information war is now set in stone: Covid-19 was the result of a leak from a Chinese biowarfare lab. China is responsible. China lied. And China has to pay….
    ####

    Interesting historical stuff at the link.

    Like

  11. Fairly crappy article from RT (bracketed comments added).

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/487617-mishustin-coronavirus-crisis-economy/

    Putin is afraid the nationwide vote, now slated to happen sometime in the summer, could be turned into a referendum on his ability to deal with the public health crisis. And that could go badly wrong. Consequently, he has pushed the responsibility for dealing with the crisis onto regional governors, who have put in a mixed showing so far. [Says who? The article did fail to mention a favorite Putin meme that he is “angry” but did get the “afraid” part in ]

    The decision to pass the buck [wow] is a continuation of the growing reliance on regional governors since the presidential election in 2016, when Putin was returned to office by a landslide. Because the federal-level political machine, in the form of the ruling United Russia party, is increasingly ineffectual [really?], the president turned to the governors to deliver on the vote, but that involved devolving more power to the periphery [exactly what Putin set out to do with the proposed changes to the constitution]. The governors have used this increase in responsibility to good effect, taking some of the credit for the changes that got Putin re-elected. As a result, they are now almost as popular with the people as Putin himself.[what’s wrong with all levels of government being popular?]

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. A twisted POS article I would say.

    Like

    1. Pretty much; if Putin does it all himself, he’s a micro-managing dictator – if he delegates responsibility, he’s afraid and he’s passing the buck. Pretty easy to do, though, really; if you approach the article you plan to write from the standpoint that the party you’re writing about absolutely cannot do anything right, well, then that’s the way you write it.

      The really, really frustrating part for the regime-changers is that all the Putin-haters who speak the same language as the for-Putin voters are loathed and precious and exactly the kind of people that ordinary people cross the street to avoid. If the US State Department could speak directly to Russians in their own language, badda-bing, badda-boom, they would have rolled Putin right out of office long since. But they have to depend on cock-heads like Navalny and Kasparov and Sobchak to present their political ideology for them, and that’s a big part of the reason it is consistently and emphatically rejected. That’s what I love about Navalny – he’s so consistently dislikable and assholey, there is zero chance of him ever uniting public opinion behind himself. If the regime-changers ever came up with a compelling, likable and personable candidate, sort of a Russian Zelensky before he turned out to be just another useless tit, well, the ‘regime’ might be in trouble. But the western media always does it the same way – hyperbolic vitriol against the serving government which prevents Washington from achieving American goals in Russia, and maudlin praise of all dissidents no matter what obvious wet ends they are.

      If they want to test their theory that regional governors are as popular as Putin himself, have them all put their names on the ballot for President.

      Like

    2. They lifted this article from another publication as Ben Aris does not as far as I know work for RT.
      Very lazy to do this

      Like

  12. Insight regarding the impact of Covid-19 on German and Russian economic activity based on electrical energy consumption:

    https://www.stalkerzone.org/on-the-topic-of-the-depth-of-russias-crisis-march-april-electricity-consumption/

    At the peak of isolation measures and within the framework of the largest global economic crisis, we [Russia] have a 3.8% decline in energy consumption.

    Now electricity consumption in Germany in the same period:

    The fall in Germany is 23% by April 2019.

    Impressive figures.

    Like

  13. Getting back for a moment to the Zakharova -Navalny blowup, an extremely pertinent, thoughtful and well-written piece by The Saker, which appeared at Unz Review.

    https://www.unz.com/tsaker/is-there-a-6th-column-trying-to-subvert-russia/

    It details very well the various strategies the west has tried over the years to overthrow and subjugate Russia, and suggests an evolution of the internal media campaign against Putin – of which, naturally, Navalny is a big part. It’s quite reassuring, really; while it suggests there is a new internal movement by the liberals to unseat him, it also points out that the more overt the liberals are, the more repulsed people are by their message and the more hated they become in Russia. Putin’s popularity remains much higher than that of any other political figure in Russia, and his support is more solid the further you go from Moscow, playground of dilettantes who wish for a return to the 90’s.

    As usual, the perception the west has of internal affairs in Russia is far off the mark, but it deludes itself that the revolution which will sweep Putin away is just around the corner. It obviously has not the faintest idea how despised its operatives within Russia are,

    Like

    1. Here is a rating chart that purports to show the top 5 most hated libtards here:

      Антирейтинг либералов-оппозиционеров, субъективное мнение. Часть 2

      Anti-rating of liberal-oppositionists, subjective opinion. Part 2
      14 April

      Last time, we presented our readers with the rating (or rather, anti-rating) of the top 5 liberals-oppositionists (at the end, we shall provide a link to the first part). In the comments, the main opinion is that the list of “wonderful people ” should be expanded, that not all of them had been included. That is what we shall do today.

      Do you want to know more? Then read our additional comment

      Fifth place. Leonid Gozman.
      Former Deputy of the State Duma from the former SFOR party. Now he is the leader of the all-Russian SPS movement. He considers himself a political scientist, journalist, and publicist.

      This wonderful person does not recognize the return of the Crimea to Russia. Moreover, he finds this fact shameful. He praises Yeltsin and the “sacred” 90s. He attributes victory in the Great Patriotic War to certain people (i.e. liberals) breaking the criminal code.

      Fourth place. Gregory Amnuel
      Writer, journalist, public and political figure. A frequent guest on political talk shows. On them, he represents a point of view that is in contrast to the absolute majority of Russians.

      Also does not recognize the Crimea. Calls Donbass defenders “extremists”. The Yeltsin’s ’90s was for him simply a brilliant period in the history of Russia. Ragingly anti-Soviet. In his opinion, victory in the Great Patriotic War was primarily attributable to the action of the Western allies and not to the USSR. Does not hesitate to use the terminology of the Third Reich when positioning himself as anti-Russia.

      Third place. Alexander Nikonov
      Writer and publicist. The title of his books, according to Andrey Norkin, cannot be voiced on air — obscene. Public and political figure, blogger, TV and radio presenter. A frequent guest on political talk shows.

      Also does not recognize the Crimea. Also against the actions of the Donbass defenders. Also supports those against whom Russia and Syria are fighting. His conviction is, quote: “Your home country is the place where you spend the most”. He positions himself as being opposed to everything that Russia has done throughout its history. In his opinion, during the Great Patriotic War, life in German occupied territory was better than it was in the Soviet union.

      Second place. Ksenia Sobchak
      Claims to be a journalist and even a public and political figure. TV and radio presenter. She was featured in Dom-2 [“House-2”: second in a series of imported from the West crappy, who-is-going-to-shag-whom shows, featuring young, egoistical and vapid dickheads who have been assembled in a house where they live together, argue and, hopefully, fuck — ME] and on the Dozhd TV channel. Participated in the presidential elections: gained 1.67%, Considers this a success

      Actively supports protest rallies, such as those of the so-called “Liberal Opposition”. In some of them, has only participated as far as was feasible before legging it when the police got involved. Recognizes neither the Crimea nor the Donbass. Openly proclaims the absolute necessity to grovel before the USA.

      Top. Anatoly Chubais
      Everyone knows exactly who he, his claims to fame being his notorious vouchers, the liberalization of the economy (zeroing out the ruble in the early ’90s) and collateral auctions (selling off the remnants of state property for a song). This “genius” has managed to become both chief power engineer and chief nano-technologist.

      Officially, the youngest of the Chubais brothers is not an oppositionist. He does not take part in unsanctioned gatherings and the more youthful oppositionists have never called upon him to do so. Nevertheless, he has never ceased coming out with “heated” statements one after the other and stirring things up. In the anti-rating list of public figures, Chubais has steadily maintained his position at the top — from the beginning of the ’90s right up to the present day. “Dismiss Chubais in answer to sanctions!” is a popular slogan.

      As regards Chubais’ most-favoured-person position in the eyes of the US State Department:

      США не включили в «кремлевский список» глав госкомпаний Чубайса и Мурова
      В «кремлевский список» не вошли главы девяти крупных госкомпаний, включая Анатолия Чубайса, Дмитрия Патрушева и Михаила Осеевского. Принцип выбора руководителей компаний с госучастием Минфин США не раскрывает
      30 Jan 2018

      The USA has not included the heads of state companies Chubais and Murov in the “Kremlin list”
      The “Kremlin list” does not include the heads of nine large state-owned companies, including Anatoly Chubais, Dmitry Patrushev and Mikhail Oseevsky. The US Treasury Department does not disclose the principle of choosing managers of state-run companies

      The traitors who are deeply embedded within the citadel.

      Always there!

      Never leave!

      Part of the furnishings!

      ‘Twas ever thus!

      Always something rotten within the state, as that neurotic Danish prince one uttered

      .Easier to deal with in the past, though.

      I have always said that Chubais is chief traitor within the Kremlin and seemingly untouchable.

      Like

      1. re. Chubais’ untouchability, Saker is right on the ball …

        The (in my opinion) sad reality is that, for all his immense qualities, Putin is indeed a liberal, at least [in] an economic sense. This manifests itself in two very different ways:

        Putin has still not removed all of the 5th columnists (aka “Atlantic Integrationists” aka “Washington consensus” types) from power. Yes, he did ditch Medvedev, but others (Nabiulina, Siluanov, etc.) are still there.

        Putin inherited a very bad system where almost all they key actors were 5th columnists. Not just a few (in)famous individuals, but an entire CLASS (in a Marxist sense of the term) of people who hate anything “social” and who support “liberal” ideas just so they can fill their pockets.

        Chubais is rolling in it. Always has been since the early ’90s.

        At the conclusion of the above linked Saker article, it is stated:

        Russia … should openly and fully embrace her collectivistic culture and traditions and show the “Washington consensus” types to the door.

        Yes, the Moscow elites will be furious, but it is also high time to tell these folks that they don’t own Russia…

        And Russia should start with telling all these high-school-of-economics types and their institutions (how many of them there are here I have simply lost count) to take a hike, as well as those innumerable think-tank institutions that are allowed to fester here.

        In the latter category, I include shitholes such as this one:

        Carnegie Moscow Center

        which, amongst all the flim-flam linked above, gives you this:

        Are Russians Finally Sick of Putin?

        Sobyanin, meanwhile, is a political figure in his own right, but remains first and foremost a regional head, and this year, the ratings of regional heads are going up, as people identify more with local government than with the federal authorities. The average approval rating of regional heads in March (according to the independent Levada Center pollster) was 65 percent: higher than that of Putin, who saw his approval rating fall from 69 percent in February to 63 percent in March.

        This is important. Firstly, Putin’s approval rating had long hovered around the plateau of 68 to 70 percent, and a six-point drop is a lot. Secondly, Putin’s approval rating was last at 63 percent in March 2013, exactly seven years ago and before Russia’s annexation of Crimea. His lowest score ever was 61 percent in 2011. For comparison, in March 2014, following the events in Crimea, Putin’s rating soared to 80 percent.

        It’s hard to say how much of the recent fall in his ratings was due to the coronavirus, and how much of it is due to the slump in oil prices and, subsequently, the ruble. In any case, public opinion doesn’t rate Putin’s crisis management skills very highly. There is one other hypothesis: despite the apparent indifference with which the autocratic ruler’s move to reset the clock on his presidential terms was greeted, perhaps this move—along with the other amendments to the constitution, including highly populist social guarantees such as pension indexation—did not play in Putin’s favor, but against him.

        See that?

        “Autocratic ruler”?

        Further:

        Together with the president’s approval rating, there was also a drop from February to March in positive responses to the statement “things are going in the right direction”—from 53 percent to 48 percent. For comparison, before the annexation of Crimea, in 2013, that figure was 40 percent. A year later, after the annexation, it was 60 percent. From these figures, it’s clear just how much the mobilizing effect of Crimea has worn off.

        Now there’s barely anything left to mobilize the masses with: Together with the president’s approval rating, there was also a drop from February to March in positive responses to the statement “things are going in the right direction”—from 53 percent to 48 percent. For comparison, before the annexation of Crimea, in 2013, that figure was 40 percent. A year later, after the annexation, it was 60 percent. From these figures, it’s clear just how much the mobilizing effect of Crimea has worn off.

        Now there’s barely anything left to mobilize the masses with: Russia can hardly annex the North Pole. The only tool left at Putin’s disposal is that of the politics of memory: that’s why he can’t cancel the Victory Day parade on May 9. But that is only a short-term tactic.The only tool left at Putin’s disposal is that of the politics of memory: that’s why he can’t cancel the Victory Day parade on May 9. But that is only a short-term tactic.

        Annexation!

        Don’t forget that!

        Now there’s barely anything left to mobilize the masses with: Russia can hardly annex the North Pole. The only tool left at Putin’s disposal is that of the politics of memory: that’s why he can’t cancel the Victory Day parade on May 9. But that is only a short-term tactic.

        So Russia is an expansionist state, annexation of territory being its policy?

        Remembrance of the Victory of 1945 is simply politics of memory?

        That’s why Putin must pay all those participants in the “March of the immortal Regiment”, because such an event is simply playing at the politics of memory and nobody gives a monkey’s about remembering the fallen of the Great Patriotic War: it’s all a sham!

        Oh yes, and in English, one writes “the” before “Crimea”, wannabe an American arsehole!

        Like

        1. It would require the sort of discerning political analysis one develops from years at the Carnegie Moscow Centre, spreading American values and murmuring seductively of freedom and democracy, to assess that the drop in affirmative votes for “Things are headed in the right direction” under the present circumstances is attributable to weariness with Putin’s leadership. Look around you, for fuck’s sake. And how would Navalny and Sobol improve upon it? Oh, right – they would give everyone more money, straight away. And when they reached the floor of the treasury, they would say, hey, wait a minute – there’s no more money. But we have to build stuff! What will we do? And Navalny would say, vision, I has it. I can tell you in three letters how we will solve this problems – IMF.

          Like

  14. China, the legendary player of the long game, refuses to be drawn by fantastic American hand-waving and threats of lawsuits and demands for compensation. It believes it can prove the coronavirus did not originate in China, and maintains that the truth will come out despite attempts to shut it down.

    https://tass.com/world/1146127

    Like

    1. What’s wrong with those Chinese? Can’t they just accept the EU’s findings finding them guilty of lying?

      https://www.yahoo.com/news/top-e-u-official-confirms-142300188.html

      But Borrell admitted that it was “clear and evident” China was unhappy with the leaked report, first reported by the New York Times, stressing that the Chinese “expressed their concerns through the diplomatic channels.”

      The admission did not satisfy some lawmakers. Thierry Mariani, a French politician, told Borrell that his team had been “caught with their hand in the cookie jar,” while a Beligan member, Hilde Vautmans, demanded further answers. “Who interfered? Which Chinese official put pressure? At what level? What means of pressure?” she asked. “I think Europe needs to know that. Otherwise you’re losing all credibility.”

      When the dust has settled, there may be two (2) global blocks (and a handful of scattered occupied countries) – US/Western EU and the rest of the world looking to China and Russia. One block will continue to shrivel and the other grow.

      Like

      1. The Chinese are furious. If that was the aim, then ‘well done.’* If not, it’s USA level f/king idiot thing to do.

        */sarc (obvs)

        Like

        1. It is the fashion today in western politics to affect just having noticed that Russia and China are becoming buddies; I linked an article to another blog just yesterday, dated December 2019, in which the writer observed the ‘ominous new friendship’ between the two on the day that gas started flowing through the Power of Siberia pipeline. New friendship? At the same time, the USA keeps instigating infuriating injustices which drive the two closer together. It doesn’t take much of a psychic to foretell unhelpful consequences for Exceptionalism, does it? And Trump is accelerating the effect by pissing off Europe, which clings to its Yankee partnership because the money’s just too good to let go, and hopes it can just ride out the storm. Look for abject disappointment when Trump wins again.

          As to Russia going broke like everyone else, recall the looonnnggg term contract it signed with China, whose economy is rapidly returning to normal. Back then, the west snickered that the Chinese had taken Russia to the cleaners, and what they were paying, although a closely-guarded secret, was peanuts. I bet those peanuts would look pretty good right now with WTI at $19.69, and at that a lifesaving rally, what?

          https://markets.businessinsider.com/commodities/oil-price?type=wti&op=1

          Oh, but we’re talking about gas; sorry, that’s right. So how’s it doing? Survey says, not very good.

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-united-states-lng/buyers-in-asia-and-europe-cancel-around-20-u-s-lng-cargoes-for-june-loading-sources-idUSKCN2242TL

          Probably a good time to be sitting on a half-trillion rainy-day fund. If all you’re sitting on is your ass and it is on top of a mountain of debt, you’ll be lucky to hold on to the former.

          Like

          1. The British Express newspaper (express as in ‘a bout of food poisioning) headlines: ‘China cover-up plan blown wide open by former British spy Official

            My names Christopher Steele and I claim my five pounds!*

            FFS. i-Rack’s ‘weapons of mass destruction, the Steele ‘Dossier’, i-Ran’s ‘nuclaer bomb plans’ etc. etc. What’s the point of the media if it just peddles laundered intelligence lies?

            * I’ve been watching old Poirot episodes and there is one where a British newspaper’s competition challenges the public to spot a man (sporting a Poirot moustache) in public who matches the published photo, to stop him and say ‘You are Len and I claim my 10 guineas.’ It’s based on this:

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

            Like

    2. The Chinese long game …


      Russian ambassador in China, 17th century.

      — Wanna trade with Holy Mother Russia?

      — Give us some time to think about it. Don’t call us: we’ll call you.

      Treaty of Nerchinsk, 1689: first treaty between Russia and China under the Qing dynasty.

      Like

      1. Not really; she’s picked up the lingo already. She didn’t say ‘We will”; she said “We plan to”. How would you disprove that? She would claim well, yes, we DID plan to. But then things happened which made it impossible – you know, scheduling and stuff.

        Like

    1. When a public official promises never to lie, you know that that person has already reached the 14th minute of the allocated 15 minutes of fame … look out soon for a new White House Press Secretary … plenty more of such Barbie dolls where the current title-holder came from.

      Like

      1. Though not a White House Press secretary, I used to feel sorry for Psaki because I really do think that she often knew full well that what she had to report was often of dubious authenticity, and it showed. I also thought she was simply a nice, shy, modest young woman. In short: I liked her. Her colleagues that followed her (she quit because she was going to have a baby) were that idiot Rear-Admiral Kirby, followed in his turn by a real Barbie Doll of an American-German background (German family name) who talked down to investigative journalists such as Matt (forget his family name, but he was good and never shied from making pointed questions), and was shamefully insulting to those working for RT, who in her turn was followed by another, though older Barbie Doll with a fixed grin and who had previously been a newsreader for Fox. That last one was the worst I have seen. I gave up watching the Dept. of State pressers after she had started her grinning mendacity.

        Like

        1. That original Barbie Doll must have been Marie Harf and the journalist was Matt Lee.

          Psaki and her successors (including Harf) were all spokespersons for the US State Department.

          Think a few memory cells just got squeezed out of my ear and have fallen onto the floor but I’ve already forgotten where they landed. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  15. This latest effort to overthrow Maduro would be hilarious if it were not for people getting hurt. The US government knew about it but did not help…right.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/ex-green-beret-led-failed-210648733.html

    The plan was simple, but perilous. Some 300 heavily armed volunteers would sneak into Venezuela from the northern tip of South America. Along the way, they would raid military bases in the socialist country and ignite a popular rebellion that would end in President Nicolás Maduro’s arrest.

    What could go wrong? As it turns out, pretty much everything.

    The ringleader of the plot is now jailed in the U.S. on narcotics charges. Authorities in the U.S. and Colombia are asking questions about the role of his muscular American adviser, a former Green Beret. And dozens of desperate combatants who flocked to secret training camps in Colombia said they have been left to fend for themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The failed attempt to start an uprising collapsed under the collective weight of skimpy planning, feuding among opposition politicians and a poorly trained force that stood little chance of beating the Venezuelan military.

    So much for free enterprise getting the job done.

    Like

  16. ITV News: Wuhan evacuee wishes he had never left China
    https://www.itv.com/news/2020-05-03/wuhan-evacuee-wishes-he-had-never-left-china/

    …He told the PA news agency: “We should never have left China.

    “We made the decision to come back over here because there was a killer virus running loose around Wuhan.

    “At the time coronavirus was not in England – I think the first case was while we were in quarantine in Arrowe Park, and I thought ‘They have seen what happened in China, they will jump on this straight away’.

    “They did nothing.”..
    ####

    But America and friends tell us that they didn’t know about the virus!

    Like

    1. This particular Australian citizen who was left stranded in Wuhan with his partner (because the lockdown on his neighbourhood started about the same time she got a visa to travel to Australia but the airport they had to go to was about 50 km away and they couldn’t reach it in time before the last plane to Australia left) is now actually happy that he stayed in Wuhan after all after observing the Australian government response to the pandemic and probably comparing notes with his relatives back home.

      The same man has spoken to different Australian news media outlets (The Illawarra Mercury newspaper, because he’s originally from Ulladulla, in the Illawarra region about 100 to 200 km south of Sydney; Australian TV station Channel 9; and Radio 3AW based in Melbourne, in Victoria state):
      https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/6666548/coronavirus-lockdown-south-coast-man-says-hes-safer-in-wuhan-than-australia/

      https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/australians-in-wuhan-china-speak-out-on-aca/a5182d3e-1f29-42e9-b41c-e2426d03d8dd

      https://www.3aw.com.au/australian-man-trapped-near-wuhan-most-displeased-with-how-he-was-represented-on-four-corners/

      Interesting thing is that in the Radio 3AW interview, he says that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV show Four Corners (a current affairs program broadcast every week night) failed to report his comments in a way that demonstrated political bias against China. The ABC TV news channel is the Australian equivalent of the BBC and The Guardian in its “progressive” views and support of identity politics.

      Like

  17. For a comedy sketch, it was remarkably perceptive about human behavior.

    Not PC and no sexual innuendos. It would not keep the attention nor be appreciated by today’s audiences.

    Like

    1. I loved her show. The dynamics between the principals – Burnette, Korman and Conway and to a lesser extent, Lawrence – were perfect, and Conway especially would often ad-lib a line or so exaggerate his facial expression that the others would struggle visibly to not laugh, although they were seasoned comedians who had rehearsed the sketch.

      Like

    1. Yeah, that is funny and on point. I don’t think China will roll over when the West launches its claims for compensation nor accept its designated role as the villain. The West’s claims have less credibility than the WMD claims as the evidence is right out there – the US, in particular, had months of warning yet either chose or was unable to prepare. The US is a global embarrassment.

      Like

      1. Well, they are certainly not going to just hand over Billions because the USA says it owes it. The individual states now launching lawsuits against China are just grandstanding, but the USA always has to be a victim when something bad happens to it. It is never the fault of poor preparation or bumbling execution. I presume there are still lawyers in the USA – it was the most dense-with-lawyers nation in the world before the crisis. Those lawyers, or at least those who operate at an international level, will get to see Pompeo’s ‘evidence’, and will advise the US government how best to proceed based upon it. If they think they can get an international court to agree the evidence demonstrates that China engineered the virus, then they would have to prove it was negligently or deliberately released, because viruses are engineered all the time – that’s where our vaccines come from. Some of the research being done at the University of Wuhan was being done for the USA.

        But if they keep lipping off to China, China may not wait. It may launch a countersuit based on its own research, and the USA would have to answer it. I don’t like their chances if that happens.

        Like

  18. When Buffet bails at a loss, it’s probably a bit past the time when you should make a critical review of your portfolio, but better late than never.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-berkshire-airlines/berkshire-sells-entire-stakes-in-u-s-airlines-buffett-idUSKBN22E0VP

    And the cascade of horrible news just keeps on coming. Money quote from that piece – “The world has changed for the aviation industry”. But there was more that was nearly as horrifying if your career is in aviation:

    “We made that decision in terms of the airline business. We took money out of the business basically even at a substantial loss. We will not fund a company that — where we think that it is going to chew up money in the future.”

    Did that make you cock your head, American taxpayer? It should have, because the money that is going to be chewed up is yours.

    Like

    1. Others are betting on Boing being too big to fail as it raised $25 billion in share sales, orginally targeting $10 billion but it was so heavily oversubscribed that they let it run on. In related news, the military arm of Boing is now worth more than the commercial one!

      Like

      1. And while the services sector is not bigger than either, it was the only one to show a profit. Much will depend on how people view commercial air travel in the months to come, because most of the travel sectors need immediate and enthusiastic buy-in and a bustling return to commerce, because they have been carrying debt until they sweat and scream. They can’t operate at half-capacity – much like the restaurants – and if health officials are going to impose an every-second-seat policy or some such tosh to ‘keep the virus at bay’, a lot of them will just fold up. Then we’ll be left with just the giant corporations, and guess what? They’ll have a monopoly.

        Like

  19. Yay!!!

    I’ve gone and found the likely source of corona -19 virus in Wuhan, and its not the “wet market” there:
    it’s the remains of 15 Soviet pilots that hadn’t been properly interred according to the acceptable standards of hygiene and sanitation like what they have in the free, democratic and transparent West under the leadership of the great and mighty USA, and their corruption has been seeping out into the water supply for donkey’s years, making the area a breeding ground for new infectious diseases.

    So its the Orcs and their yellow Devil Chinky pals who are both equally responsible for the global pandemic!


    Monument to Soviet airmen in Wuhan

    On 28 April 1938, the Japanese launched a massive air raid on the Wuhan military airport with the intent of celebrating the birthday of emperor Hirohito. At 10:00 a.m. they were met by 60 Soviet I-15 and I-16 fighters.

    In the largest air battle at that point of the war the Japanese lost 21 aircraft, while Soviet losses were limited to 2. Among those killed was Soviet pilot Lev Shuster, who performed an aerial ramming after running out of fuel and ammunition.

    On 31 May, 18 Japanese bombers approached Wuhan for a second time, covered by 36 fighters. At the conclusion of the fight, the Japanese bombers missed their targets and 14 of them were shot down by Soviet fighters. By May, Soviet pilots had destroyed 625 enemy aircraft and damaged 150 military and civilian ships.

    There are a total of 70 monuments to Soviet aviators in China. The most notable of which being Jiefang Gongyuan (Liberation Park) in Wuhan, which was built in 1956 and houses the remains of 15 Soviet pilots. The Liberation Park Memorial was renovated in 2008.

    They mustn’t have buried them deep enough and not below the water table, the scruffy oriental so-and-so’s!

    source

    Like

    1. I had no idea of such military actions nor the effectiveness of the Soviet military operations in China.

      Like

      1. Me neither, this is very interesting information about Soviet-Chinese co-operation.

        Fortunately Jimmy Wales and the notorious Phillip Cross moderator troll haven’t noticed this Wikipedia article on the Soviet Volunteer Group whose aviators helped defend China against Japan in the late 1930s/early 40s and whose actions were kept so secret that they only put on Chinese military uniforms at the last minute before getting into the planes and they had to claim they were working with White Russian forces (as in, the forces fighting against the Bolsheviks in the civil war in Russia after WW1) if they ever were captured.

        Like

        1. The Soviet military aid stopped in 1939 as soon as the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact came into force because Japan was an Axis country. So right away the USA stepped in with its Flying Tigers outfit. Result: you hear nothing in the West about how the SU had helped China fight Japanese aggression. Likewise the ignorance in the West as regards the SU helping Mongolia kick Japanese arse there and in Manchuria.

          Like

          1. Me neither, and those were the days before the Mitsubishi AM6 ‘Zero’ fighter.

            The Japanese used chemical weapons a bit later in the year:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Wuhan#Use_of_chemical_weapons

            According to Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno, Emperor Shōwa authorized, by specific orders (rinsanmei), the use of chemical weapons against the Chinese.[33] During the battle of Wuhan, Prince Kan’in transmitted the emperor’s orders to use toxic gas 375 times, from August to October, 1938,[34] despite the 1899 Hague Declaration IV, 2 – Declaration on the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases,[35] Article 23 (a) of the 1907 Hague Convention IV – The Laws and Customs of War on Land,[36] and Article 171 of the Versailles Peace Treaty. According to another memo discovered by historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi, Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni authorized the use of poison gas against the Chinese on 16 August 1938.[37] A resolution adopted by the League of Nations on 14 May condemned the use of toxic gas by the Imperial Japanese Army.[38]

            Japan made heavy use of chemical weapons against China to make up for lack of numbers in combat and because China did not have any poison gas stockpiles of its own to retaliate.[39] Japan used poison gas at Hankow in the Battle of Wuhan to break fierce Chinese resistance after conventional Japanese assaults were repelled by Chinese defenders.[40] Rana Mitter wrote Under General Xue Yue, some 100,000 Chinese troops pushed back Japanese forces at Huangmei. At the fortress of Tianjiazhen, thousands of men fought until the end of September, with Japanese victory assured only with the use of poison gas. Yet even now, top Chinese generals seemed unable to work with each other At Xinyang, Li Zongren’s Guangxi troops were battered to exhaustion. They expected that the troops of Hu Zongnan, another general close to Chiang Kai-shek, would relieve them, but instead Hu led his troops away from the city.[41] Japan also used poison gas against Chinese Muslim armies at the Battle of Wuyuan and Battle of West Suiyuan.

            Like

  20. “The New York Times editorial board faced mockery from multiple journalists Sunday, after the board suggested that a sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden be investigated – by none other than the Democratic National Committee.

    The Times editorial called for records from Biden’s time in the Senate to be reviewed by what they called “an unbiased, apolitical panel, put together by the D.N.C.,” leading Axios’ Jonathan Swan to speculate whether the Times actually was serious.

    “Is this satire?” Swan tweeted, quoting the above language.”

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/axios-reporter-mocks-ny-times-call-for-dnc-to-investigate-biden

    I checked out the NYT plea, and it is nearly as self-serving and facetious as described. One bit of exculpatory evidence for Creepy Joe, though, a tiny bright spark in the dark cloud – the records held at the University of Delaware (a massive dump of all his Senate records, donated by him to the university under the condition they remain sealed until his departure from public life) are unlikely to contain any hint of potential corruption involving his son, Hunter, and his employment in Ukraine, as CCN speculated the other day. The records were donated in 2012, long before Ukraine blew up.

    House Democrats were all over Trump for his various weenie affairs, with endless demands for investigations until the accumulated investigations would have taxed the nation’s investigative services.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/house-democrats-hold-hearings-stormy-daniels-hush-money-case-n1049101

    You can imagine what they would have made of a suggestion that the GOP would hold an unbiased investigation, and that would be an end to it.

    Like

  21. Typical blog praising the bullshitter on the “Yandex Zen”. Blogs such as this have been popping up with breathtaking regularity for many weeks now. Saker has noticed this. It smacks of a concerted effort to make people aware of the charlatan’s activities:

    Отношение к Навальному

    Attitude towards Navalny

    I have observed a strange attitude of a significant part of the audience towards this person …..

    The official press has pretty much spoilt his image by launching information that the Anti-Corruption Fund is funded from abroad. Whether this is true or not, I do not know. At Navalny they began to poke their finger with disdain, saying he is a mercenary! ….

    Guys, this is great! Just great! A person has found a source of financing and, just think about this, conducts investigations into other people’s money and reveals corruption schemes! He does not take money from the national budget, does not have positions and titles, like our prosecutors and investigators, who instead of fighting corruption, often generate it, safely sitting on very decent salaries and receiving pensions for long service!

    Yes, for such a scheme and for financing his activities, you need to make donations to the Navalny fund.

    Moreover, though the audience glances at Navalny askance, the results of his work are being replicated so that the smoke hangs around! You do not have to go far for examples; the revelation about Elena Malysheva’s mansion has not ben taken down from the internet.

    Gentlemen, comrades and citizens, you decide! If he is an agent of foreign special services, then treat his work accordingly, with healthy skepticism! However, if our law enforcement agencies engage in very selective battles against corruption, then for me Navalny is a worthy warrior! For which I am deeply grateful to him!

    With you was Duncan MacLeod (Russian service of the BBC)

    Thank you for the attention!

    I do not know what the reference to “Duncan MacLeod” signifies. Can find no such person.

    comments:

    4 hours ago
    I’ve got traitor written all over My face

    4 hours ago
    This is NOT a leader! A windbag and a populist.

    4 hours ago
    To me Alexei is cute. And no matter how much shit has been thrown at him, he has not stolen anything from me.

    4 hours ago
    Navalny for President. Vote for him or lose Russia.

    4 hours ago
    Navalny is a thief, and a thief should sit in prison, and not travel abroad with a 6-year suspended sentence.

    And on and on.

    This one is right on the mark, though, as there are very many blogs such as this one and they all have the same format:

    (I have the strong suspicion that they have been written by poorly educated juveniles)

    3 hours ago
    Over the past two days, I’ve already seen a dozen such articles on Zen, written as if by carbon copy, in which ordinary people suddenly became eager to share their vision of the fluffy white image of the Yale student..

    “Many people think that Alexei works for someone, but I think that he does not…”

    “The official propaganda calls Alexei an agent…, but I believe that he ….”

    “People of the older generation consider Navalny a hireling…, but I want to explain to them that he is…”

    “I accidentally came across a video of Navalny on the Internet, and I learnt with interest that he is a Russian citizen…”

    “I’m not campaigning for Navalny, but I think he is…”

    “I conducted a poll on whether people would like to see Navalny as President, and it turned out that he is…”

    “The official press says that Navalny is funded from abroad, but I think he is…”

    In General, after reading all these painfully similar, but “completely independent” arguments put forward by unknown Zen authors about a simple middle-aged Russian man, Alexei Navalny, I was reminded of a book by the Soviet writer Vilya Lipatov, which is called ” And this is all about him…” [И это все о нем]

    Like

    1. Ooooo….sitting safely on a decent salary and/or drawing a pension for long service are examples of corruption. I must be a corrupt bastard without even knowing it, else I would be showing my contempt for the peasantry as is my due. I draw a military pension for 39 years of completed service, and I work as well when there’s not a pandemic happening. This country, amazingly for such a swamp of corruption, does not consider that an untoward practice, so long as I pay my adjudged tax on both incomes. I wonder what the Bullshitter’s plan is? People will work just for the satisfaction brought by honest work? When you’re too old to work anymore, fuck you, Gramps, no pensions in the brave new world? Wasn’t that gluehead just blabbering on about how Putin’s pension reform was stealing from the elderly and vulnerable, and that if he was in charge, there would be pension money for everyone?

      Why, yes; yes, he was.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/25/alexei-navalny-detained-national-pension-protest

      As you probably recall, Russia had one of the lowest pensionable-age thresholds in the world. The government raised the ages to something approximating the rest of the world, and probably saved the state a bunch of money – I remember it was one of Kudrin’s hobbyhorses, that he would ride around the room every couple of years – the Russian pension system was unsustainable, and changes in life expectancy argued for raising the pension age. ‘Course, he celebrated when the government raised pension payments, too, as if it had all been his idea, so it’s hard to say what his position was on that issue.

      Be that as it may, Navalny continues to blabber that simply everything the government is doing is wrong and corrupt, without ever having to explain what his plan is and how it would work. Speaking of work, he doesn’t, yet he seems to enjoy all the finer things in life, and is forever jetting off to this or that exotic destination with his statuesque wife and sprog. I mean, you can find links that claim, “Navalny earned $55 Thousand while on vacation”, but the link always returns an error, because Google is American, and to the Americans, Navalny is a saint and a social-media genius – only positive press about the Bullshitter, please.

      It does not matter how much astroturfed admiration they make up for the Bullshitter, ordinary Russians see him as a grifter and an agent of Washington – which he is – and will not vote for him. He will not live long enough that his views become Russian mainstream.

      Like

    2. I think the author has a hard on for the Highlander character ‘Duncan MacLeod’ who like Navalny, is a warrior. He has a post (under the title: ‘Актер сериала Горец Дункан Маклауд как он выглядит сейчас’) on the actor who plays him in the tv series.

      Like

  22. Following the tried-and-true formula developed by Goebbels, Mike ‘Hey! was that a doughnut??’ Pompeo claimed yesterday the US has ‘enormous evidence’ that the coronavirus was engineered in a Chinese lab in Wuhan. Of course he could not show any of it anyone. Too enormous; wouldn’t fit in the van.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/03/mike-pompeo-donald-trump-coronavirus-chinese-laboratory

    Ordinary evidence is no longer enough to convince the rubes, apparently – although Chinese researchers seem not to consider the public too stupid to grasp genomic sequences, and publish their investigations and conclusions – and now it must be ‘enormous’ evidence; ‘tremendous’ evidence.

    American government credibility must be at an all-time low, certainly internationally and probably domestically as well. Which begs the question, why get in China’s face now? Unless they are trying to start a war with China. Which would be pretty far out there on the range of dumb ideas.

    Uhhh….so China developed this virus to weaken world powers…and then released it in China?

    Well, they reasoned that it would rapidly spread out into the world at large, see?

    Uh huh. And they….shut down an entire province in an attempt to keep that from happening?

    Can’t talk right now, I have some enormous evidence to put away.

    Like

  23. Interesting stories on the network news shows – people are fed up with enforced social distances and with violent police response including from undercover cops (aka secret police). A favorite charge is “resisting arrest”. You know, your on your back and they have their forearm pressing down on your throat and a stun gun shocking your body. Just relax and everything will be fine.

    Like

    1. Herr ya go…

      They now need even less pretext to attack us. The wrong posture or body language in their demented judgement is enough to justify any level of violence. The a-hole in the video probably was a US army veteran who served multiple deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan is now helping to keep us safe here.

      Like

      1. It’s hard to say what went on there. I thought it was an unnecessary level of violence, but then I think that of every police takedown because I am used to citizens doing as they are told by the police and the police not creating situations just so they have an excuse to get rough. The guy who got attacked entered from left frame and got grabbed as soon as he became visible – we didn’t get to see what he allegedly did to infuriate the cop. It looked to me like he just wanted to cross the street. But perhaps the cop wanted traffic to stop. I don’t know.

        Like

          1. Someone with so little self-control in physical situations has no place in the police force – there are loads of scenarios in which people are going to give you lip or even act like they want to fight. If you blow all over them every time and get out the taser and the cuffs, you are going to be (a) sued, and (b) out of a job.

            Like

            1. That a-hole wants submission and groveling and he may still use violence. The third option is that he gets the crap kicked out of him while off duty.

              Like

      2. Seems NYC has plenty of money to splash out on police thuggery and hiring people to teach recruits how to act like bottom-feeder Mafia soldati but somehow can’t find the money to hire people to remove garbage piling up in the streets.

        Like

  24. Okay, so it appears from this article that the legal basis BNA is using to threaten Nord Stream II with forced obedience to the European Gas Directive is that the pipeline in question is taking too long to complete. According to the previous legal thrash-out, which resulted in a waiver for Nord Stream II, it had to be completed by May 24th, 2020.

    https://russiabusinesstoday.com/energy/gazprom-facing-difficulties-with-nord-stream-2-taking-too-long-to-construct/

    Neat, huh? Europe strikes an agreement for the pipeline’s construction by a certain date, and then Uncle Sam comes along and bullies the companies working on it into dropping the project even though they were under contract, and then Europe wags its finger and says, you didn’t comply with the law. And all so Uncle Sam can sell his own gas to Europe at a mark-up. And that, friends and neighbours, is an example of the honest business ethics and level playing field the Americans are always pontificating about.

    I don’t know why the inbred Europeans persist with this foolishness. The pipeline (second line) will handle up to 55 BcM. Europe’s aim seems to be to force Gazprom to reduce their volume to half – 27.5 BcM, and to leave the remainder of pipeline capacity free for ‘competitors’ to use. But Europe does not have any competing suppliers with that kind of volume. So what would happen, I guess, in the clever European strategic mind, is that Gazprom could only use half-capacity of a new pipeline, and would have to transit an additional 27.5 BcM through Ukraine, while the rest of the capacity in Nord Stream II went unused.

    But it suggests my previous guess that there was no hurry, and now that a Ukro-Russian gas contract had been signed, Russia had years to complete it if it wanted to take that long, was inaccurate. Nope; this is another attempt by the buck-toothed intellectuals to get a big shiny pipeline for nothing, and then only use half of it while they make Russia transit gas across Ukraine forever.

    Like

    1. But this argument won’t stack up in any current (legally binding) arbitration court because the new rules and the date are discriminatory, i.e. they only affect NS2 and no other project on or by european soil.

      The NS2 consortium investors have already threatened to take the European Commission to court over this (posted before by one of us I think) and so far are keeping their powder dry. The fly in the ointment is that the Commission is looking at ‘modernizing’ the Energy Charter Treaty to give less power to private investors though a) it has to actually pass an agreement at EU level; b) even if they do, it cannot be applied (in law) retroactively. I don’t expect either of those points will in any way deter the European Commission of trying, but the idea may not be to win but simply to string out the process for as long as possible and thus increase costs/losses for the NS2 consortium investors so that the logic will be that they will prefer to settle with the Commission and the latter will claim (a symbollox) victory.

      The thing is, Russia & the NS2 consortium are no shrinking violets. Neither is it in Germany’s interest to kill the project at this late stage. It all looks like Kabuki theater.

      Like

      1. I should also add, coz I forgot – as did you lot because we’ve mentioned in quite a few times in the past already, that the original NordStream did have an EC imposed cap which the EC then gave a waiver because u-Rope needed more gas.*

        So this is the same schtick, i.e. it’s all about control rather than ownership with the EC being the ultimate arbiter one way or another. This fits in to u-Rope Stronk propaganda, because if Brussels cannot be seen to promote and protect the interests of EU member states, then why is there an EU. Ergo, it is all politikal. And that much is decidedly un-new!

        * October 28 2016

        UPDATE 2-EU lifts cap on Gazprom’s use of Nord Stream pipeline link
        https://www.reuters.com/article/eu-gazprom-decision-idUSL8N1CY687

        Like

    2. Today from NRK:

      “13:25 New gas pipeline from Norway to Poland The construction of a gas pipeline from Norway to Poland via Denmark, starting in the course of the days to come, reports the AP. The pipeline should be ready for operation by October 2022 and will supply several countries in central and Eastern Europe, with Norwegian gas.” (Yandex translantian from norsk to english).

      From https://www.nrk.no/nyheter/

      No protest from Denmark about enviromental somethings… ???

      Like

      1. No, indeed; the Norwegians are environmentally friendly, and can be depended upon to consult with the fish and the birds as they go – would you like it this way? How about if we did it like this? No need to burden them with a bunch of silly regulations.

        Like

      2. Thanks for the update Trond.

        Adding to lack of ‘environmental concerns’, can we add lack of ‘reverse flow’ ability as demanded by the European Commission? You know, dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s….

        Like

        1. All Russian pipelines have reverse-flow capability. But since the requirement for Russia to buy gas from the EU is such an unlikely possibility, they usually just turn it off. Same effect, seen from the European side.

          Like

  25. Hyperbolic American Asshat reporting which gets right down and gobbles Saudi wiener. According to this comic-book view, Preznit Trump saved the American shale industry with the altruistic help of America’s best friend and ally…Saudi Arabia. Where were those guys from, again, who drove American airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Oh, that’s right – Russia.

    No, he doesn’t go quite that far, but the sucking-up to the Saudis is unbearable. In this version, Saudi Arabia never meant to hurt American producers by taking off all production controls – my, no! The intent was just to put that evil Vladimir Putin in his place – why, if he had just accepted his responsibility to make way for more market share for American producers, things would have been just as fine as frog hair.

    So don’t forget, Jimmie and Susan – the Saudis are not our enemies; the Russians are.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/apr/21/trump-saving-the-us-shale-industry-could-not-have-/

    I realize it didn’t appear in a real newspaper. But still.

    Like

  26. This is it, folks; Putin is circling the drain. He’s going down this time, I’m telling you. The conditions have never been so right – his popularity is at a 14-year low, and the people are ready to come into the streets in a show of defiance such as has never been seen during his reign of terror!

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1277362/vladimir-putin-news-coronavirus-russia-moscow-kremlin-navalny-infection-death-rates

    Who says so? Well, you know, don’t you? Alexey Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Masha Lipmann…Timothy Garton Ash must have been on holiday somewhere, or couldn’t get out to comment because of the lockdown. The time is ripe for revolution, I tell ya!!

    Ha, ha, ha! They never give up. And nobody ever appears to notice these are the same people who told them last year that Putin was for the high jump, and the year before. It’s just churning out copy, meeting the deadline, picking up a paycheck. Totally meaningless word salad. I feel dumber for having read it.

    Lots of excitement over the record-high number of new coronavirus cases in Russia, though; maybe the Russians will all just die off, and it will not be necessary to go to war with them after all.

    Like

    1. That “Daily Express” rag “journalist” must have been writing about that other Moskva, not the one in Russia, where I live, and where yesterday I ventured for my longest foray outside in a month. I went to Krestyanskaya Zastava Square, to a shopping centre there, and the streets were empty — so empty, in fact, that I never even bothered to wait at crossings. I must have seen about 20 trams and buses, almost all of them empty. In fact, I made a point of observing them: in total I saw only 3 masked passengers.

      Oh, I know where everyone was! They had all gone to the country to celebrate the May holidays, which started on Friday, May 1st and include today in lieu of May 2nd, which is also a holiday, because it fell on a Saturday.

      Moskva is officially “locked down”, as only a city in a totalitarian state could be, up to and including May 11th. After that date, who knows what the Evil Tyrant will decree?

      And the oppressed citizens all wait with bated breath for the Great Bullshitter to call them to the streets, something that he has long promised to do, when he deems that the time is right, in protest against the tyrannical regime. Thereupon, they, whom the Bullshitter declares are “the government” [Мы – власть!] shall march to the Kremlin and overthrow the tyrant.

      Meanwhile, endless blogs praising the Bullshitter’s valour, integrity and plans for the economy are swamping the net, which even the Evil One finds difficult to control.

      Сдава Навальному!

      PS Despite the fact that the May 9 Victory Parade has been postponed, about 40 minutes ago there took place a practice flypast by the Russian airforce, the aircraft passing right over our house, as usual. The next practice run will be on Wednesday., as usual.

      So it looks like the May 9th flypast is still on, despite this bogus plague.

      Figures: the pilots will all be wearing masks that can even provide them with oxygen, and they will also all be wearing protective clothing of the highest standard..

      Like

      1. Слава Навальному!

        Bloody typo: my eyesight is becoming worse and on a Russian keyboard, the д key is next to the л key.

        Like

      2. I doubt anyone needs to go on oxygen that low, but perhaps it’s standard equipment and they have to wear it.

        First, when a leader like Putin attains sky-high approval ratings, western journalists claim it’s all fake, that the seat of government must just make up the figures and publish them themselves, because nobody could like living in a tyranny, could they? Then at the first deviation downward in those made-up figures, they suddenly become real, and take on a fearful significance – he couldn’t keep the performance up, and the people are wise to him! If the government was just making up the numbers, why would they revise them downward?

        Little things do get mismanaged, and I suppose they seem like big things to the people they affect. Like pension reform – extremely unpopular, because everyone wants their pension as soon as it can be claimed, and Putin did promise he would not raise it. Really, though, the rise was not very significant, is in line with or less than the rest of the world, and reflects a rise in life expectancy so that there would be many more pensioners on the payroll, enough that it might start getting tough finding money for infrastructure or defense. And I would like to think the people understand, as the approval ratings suggest, that set against leadership of a country the west is united in trying to destroy, it’s pretty small potatoes. See if the 60-year-olds got a full pension under an American State-Department-appointed leader – they can add as well as anyone else, and when you have nearly as many people on pensions as you do people working, pretty soon you’re just taking money from one set of hands and transferring it to another. Unless the pensioners of Moscow decided to make a hobby of roadbuilding to fill their spare time, the state of public infrastructure would inevitably start to deteriorate.

        Like

      3. The flypast might be cancelled, though, as it was last year because of low cloud. Heavy rain forecast here all week.

        Like

  27. Rusaviainsider.com: CargoLogicAir’s UK licences are re-established
    http://www.rusaviainsider.com/cargologicairs-uk-licences-are-re-established/

    Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group freighter affiliate takes off again to support current urgent medical missions

    Posted on April 23rd, 2020

    …The news comes after the CAA revealed that the UK’s only main-deck freighter carrier, which operates from London’s Stansted Airport, had its licence and certificate suspended for three months in late February 2020, ‘at the request of the company’…

    …A month earlier, the carrier installed a digital airfreight shipment booking platform called Cargo.One, allowing it to offer its freight forwarder customers unrivalled access to real-time shipment capacity availability and instant pricing options, all in less than a minute.
    ####

    The main story is a nothingburger, but that last paragraph is what is interesting. It shows that Russia provides useful ‘services’ (like and advanced, modern economy) which is counter to the media and political picture of ‘a gas station with snow’ Just have a look at the cargo.one website. Of course Russia is full of such new business/es/ideas and companies and it continues to develop and diversify its economy in useful ways (sic maintaining manufacturing expertise – something considered passé in the West – ho ho ho).

    Liked by 1 person

  28. And on and it goes:

    Why is the government afraid of Navalny?
    8 April

    [Quite old, but regurgitated as a result of the bullshitter’s victory against Zakharova, I should imagine — ME]

    Alexey Navalny: who is he and how did he become famous?
    Alexey Anatolyevich Navalny is a Russian opposition leader, lawyer, political and public figure.
    We know all this about Alexey because he has been operating since 2013, and it became known to many people through the YouTube video “He is not Dimon”. Alexey has also interested many young people in politics, which is worthy of praise.

    Why should the government be afraid of Navalny?
    We have come to the main question of our article: why should the government be afraid of Navalny.
    [You just asked that in the heading above, dumbarse! — ME] Because Alexey can bring about a coup against the government. He he has enough forces to achieve this. We all remember the rallies in August 2019 ( although this was the main question of the article, the article does not end there, please finish reading to the end).

    Alexey and Lyubov Sobol, as well as other oppositionists, called for these rallies. At that moment, the government has completely ignored the people. But still Alexey achieved a lot then.

    Why the older generation believes that Navalny is an American spy.
    Many older people consider Alexey to be an American spy, arguing that an ordinary person would not be able to learn so much about the underhand affairs of officials, but no, many materials used in the video are publicly available for all, as well material that may be purchased. Most likely, those who adhere to this opinion have a remnant of the Soviet times inside of them, because back then almost everyone in the Soviet Union was thought to be a spy spies and was afraid. ( this is my subjective opinion, don’t take it seriously, because I’m not a political scientist or a historian).
    [No, you are a semiliterate child, by the sound of it! —ME]

    Thank you for reading my article;)

    Like

    1. Mmmm…as well as material that may be purchased. So they’re selling Navalny’s investigations? Oh, yes; back then, everybody was a spy, so get over your musty Sovietism – there’s no reason to imagine Navalny is a foreign agent just because he receives funding and electoral support and political education in the United States! Why, Americans would not be at all suspicious of an American political figure who received funding from Russia, whose prospects were inflated in the Russian press and who went to Russia to receive political education! Certainly not – all one big happy Family of Man, we are.

      Like

    1. Why haven’t they reported in the Western press that 2 brothers fell to their deaths from a window 20 floors up in a block of “elite” flats 5 minutes’ walk from my house? Happened on Saturday. I think they were about 11 and 13 years of age.

      Like

      1. 7 and 10 years old they were. And they fell from the 11th floor. They had not been alone in the flat and the police are not ruling out foul play.

        Mrs. Exile was and still is very upset about this.

        source

        Surprised Navalny hasn’t blamed Putin.

        Like

          1. There were several high profile suicides of doctors in the US who were dealing with the virus. Here is one:

            https://people.com/human-interest/er-doctor-treating-coronavirus-patients-dies-suicide-father-says/

            In the US, she is viewed as a compassionate person who gave everything she had to help patience. Her Russian counterparts are protesting failures of the Russian medical system. Oddly, by any objective measure, Russia had dealt better with the medical challenges than the US. Go figure.

            Like

            1. Yes, I saw that – a very attractive woman who appeared to have everything going for her. I wonder if she placed too much belief in the hysteria generated by the WHO that this is a plague and there will be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of deaths. In a way I wonder why they are keeping on with that, because it is plain we cannot go on in eternal lockdown with no businesses operating, and it is equally clear that if we have to maintain social distancing protocols for an extended period, industries which rely on mass transit or high-volume sales are going to have to devise new business models (like get ready to pay double for restaurant meals, because the owners of the space aren’t going to take half-rent). Anyway, the pressure on health-care workers must be more than some of them can take, although the hordes of patients that would overwhelm the hospitals never came.

              Like

              1. I read that Dr Laura Green had just had COVID-19 herself and as soon as she recovered, she was back in the thick of things having to treat patients with the disease and many of them failing to recover. She probably had survivor’s guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder, either of which can lead to people taking their own lives if it is ignored or belittled. If Dr Green had PTSD and was told to keep her problem to herself and to thank her lucky stars that she survived COVID-19, and still deal with ailing patients, no wonder she reached breaking point and committed suicide.

                Like

          2. Didn’t Luke Harding once write something years ago for The Fraudian in which he claimed that the cleaning-lady in the Moscow apartment where his family was living while he was Moscow correspondent had left the window open?

            Such a story as this about the two children who fell out the window must now be giving him the heebie-jeebies. Prepare for a fevered article from Tintin gracing the pages of The Fraudian about his own experience living in Moscow and how his own children somehow narrowly avoided defenestrating themselves because of his own heroic action in shutting the window and forcing them to continue breathing in his own BS.

            Like

            1. I remember that story, except he framed it like the open window was a warning from the FSB, and it meant stop making the Kremlin uncomfortable with your gritty and truthy reporting, or your kids go out the window.

              Like

              1. Yes you are right: I found the story and Tintin does write that while he and the children were out, someone or some ghosts came into the apartment and left the window “provocatively” open.

                “… It was clear that this was no orthodox burglary. They had apparently entered through the front door – the locks didn’t seem to have troubled them. Nothing had been stolen; nothing damaged. The intruders’ apparent aim had been merely to demonstrate that they had been there, and presumably to show that they could come back. The dark symbolism of the open window in the children’s bedroom was not hard to decipher: take care, or your kids might just fall out. The men – I assume it was men – had vanished like ghosts. …”

                Well then, mustn’t have been the cleaning lady if Tintin assumes ’twas men wot dun opened the window for the kids to just fall out as surely as the sun rises and fish swim in the ocean.

                Like

              2. He also said that apart from the obvious warning that they had signalled to him by their leaving a window open in one of his bedrooms, namely that his children would be thrown out of it lest he cease forthwith his “investigative journalism” about the machinations of “Putin’s Mafia State”, the sinister Orc Secret Service, foul perverts that they are, had also left by his bedside a book on how to improve ones sex life! The mind boggles!!! How can any civilized nation be expected to have any kind of intercourse with the Orcs, be it diplomatic, business, social or even sexual? One has to shudder at the very thought!!!!

                Like

                1. I would submit the book was probably left for Mrs. Harding. Perhaps they just left it on the wrong side of the bed: even the FSB cannot be expected to know everything.

                  Like

                2. Dark symbolism, the sex manual left by the bedside, Phoebe Tapner walking all over town, children falling through windows into another world … Sigmund Freud, if he were alive to read any of Tintin Harding’s work, would drop his cigar at all the Freudian slips.

                  Most of what’s in The Fraudian is to titillate readers anyway … see this article for example. Tintin’s fevered nightmares are just par for the course.

                  Like

                3. Sod ’em and Gonorrhoea, nothing else!

                  (The above comment wrongly appeared further above, in the thread about Harding’s open window fantasies.. it should have been here, as a comment on the putrescence of “liberal” USA society.)

                  Then the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven and He overthrow those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

                  Ye have been warned!

                  Woden is more fun than that Jewish god!

                  Like

    2. Well, what do you think, Karl?

      I know what you’re supposed to think, and where it is leading you; let me give you a sample.

      “This is what happens when you have a gangster as a president.”

      “One day Russia won’t be able to get away with these crimes, the world’s not stupid,”

      “Russia needs to find a better way to bump off doctors they don’t like telling the truth – the window thing has been done too often now – how about electrocution in the bath??”

      “What is it about windows in Russia that make them so dangerous people go flying out of them??? This needs to be investigated!”

      And lots more similarly smarmy and facetious comments – the British regard themselves highly as comedians. And not so long after Navalny’s opthamologist made a huge deal out of the shortage of PPE in Russian hospitals, so short that she must deliver them herself, by car, although the country was under travel restrictions. The hospital personnel where she was bound said there was no shortage and they didn’t need the equipment, but what do they know? They’re just GP’s; she’s an OPTHAMOLOGIST!

      You are of course free to believe whatever you like, including suggestions by the same newspaper that Chloe Veitch is ‘too hot to handle’ and that Holly Madison is worried about COVID-19 as she walks her tiny dog in LA whilst wearing tiny denim hot-pants. It kind of seems to me like a salacious rag that panders to the lowest common denominator in human appetites, and it is fairly obvious from the comments that its readers are not too upset about Russian doctors leaping or being thrown from windows because they ‘knew too much’; in fact, it seems to square quite well with their view of a world ruled by James Bond.

      I don’t know if any of that is really happening – the British readership did not seem to think anything strange was going on when 9 Ukrainian journalists or ‘rebel sympathizers’ leaped to their deaths in some 2 months in Kiev and surrounding regions, so perhaps it really is faulty windows. I do know that nobody who reads the Daily Mail is checking to see if the story is true; they’re quite happy to believe it or simply to note it as an amusing diversion as they page through to the sports. The British press is a lot like Wikipedia – it might be true, but it’s best to have a corroborating independent source before you take it too seriously.

      I do note that while Russia’s coronavirus cases are rising steadily – as you might expect with a highly-infectious virus during an epidemic – the number has still not touched the high it reached April 27th, and the country did not fall apart then. Deaths are still low, 1,356 since the 26th of March. The population of Russia is a little less than half that of the United States, but in the USA there are 1.12 million infections and there have been 60,710 deaths, and Trump is talking about everybody go back to work. Those numbers are a hell of a lot worse than Russia’s, proportionally speaking – where is all the British concern for the robustness of American windows? The USA has nearly 8 times the infections and nearly 45 times the deaths Russia has. Or do you actually believe Putin had the doctors thrown from the windows because they complained about the lack of PPE, and having to work extra hours?

      Like

      1. A suicide note will turn up…
        How much longer must we endure the evil that rots our very soul? Yet, the pure light of freedom from the Western sky breaks through the gloom of our lives giving purpose, nay! hope for washing machines, vacuum cleaners, color TVs and Levi’s! My death will be the start of a revolution of dignity for a smelly people long broken and genetically inferior. Please, our lord and savior, guide us by thy Western light to a land of opportunity and home of the brave!

        Like

  29. Some of the options available to the Nord Stream II group, in light of the new strategy to make the pipeline compatible with the Third Energy Package rules. The project was given a waiver, but had to be completed by May 23rd of this year. Then the Danes stalled for as long as they could, then Washington bullied the pipelaying company into stopping work. So now it is not possible to finish the pipeline to that date, and if it must come under Third Energy Package rules, the same entity cannot own the pipeline and provide the gas that flows through it. I suppose the EU envisions an end state in which it will own the pipeline the Russians built, and Russia will supply gas through it in accordance with what the EU decides it needs for that day.

    Anyway, here’s what Gazprom could do.

    In order to comply with the rules in case Germany denies an exemption, Gazprom can set up an independent transmission operator or system operator, according to Katja Yafimava, senior research fellow at The Oxford Institute For Energy Studies.

    Another possibility could be to transfer the pipeline’s ownership from Gazprom to a newly established subsidiary. It could also transfer the operation rights of the German section to either one of the existing German transmission system operators or to a newly established one, while maintaining the Gazprom-owned Nord Stream 2 company as an operator of the Russian section.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/finance/markets/german-regulator-set-to-deny-nord-stream-2-waiver-from-eu-rules/ar-BB13AedM

    If it was up to me, I would let it be known that I intended to transfer as much of the operation out of German control as possible, and that the new pipeline operating company would be exclusively Russian. That would put the cat among the pigeons.

    Like

  30. Yep, the US economy is in great shape. Outstanding.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/us-treasury-seeks-to-borrow-a-record-3-trillion-this-quarter/ar-BB13AGfJ

    Of course, when they say ‘borrow’, they mean ‘print’.

    Although that trade deal with China is sure working out great. Well, maybe ‘great’ isn’t the word I’m looking for. What’s a word for ‘when you sign a trade deal and then blame your trading partner for loosing a murderous bioweapon-engineered virus upon the world, and claim you will pursue trillions of dollars in reparations”?

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/china-trade-deal-turns-from-key-trump-asset-to-an-albatross/ar-BB13ynjN

    Is that going to become an election issue? Gee; what do you think? And in the very worst possible way.

    “The Trump campaign has long said Biden has a track record of being too soft on China. A recent TV ad by Trump’s Super PAC America First Action labeled him “Beijing Biden.”

    The big question this fall is whose anti-China message resonates more with voters, especially in battleground states like Wisconsin.

    Trump might have an edge because he has the power to act, said Nick Everhart, a Republican strategist in Ohio. “Unlike Biden, Trump can start doing things in real time to be aggressive,” he said. “Politically, he is in position to dictate the terms of engagement.”

    Yes, that’s what the world needs, is for Trump to be more aggressive. And just what the USA needs is an election fought over who is toughest on China. There is no demographic on earth more responsive to push advertising than the American electorate, and just now it has decided it hates China, because they made a virus to destroy the American economy. Who told them that? Their political leaders. The biggest bunch of reprehensible liars to ever attain political influence.

    This is a good time for those who can do it to start easing their exposure to America. There is nothing Canada can do; it is joined at the hip to America, and if it goes down we will, too. But others not so geographically inhibited should take a serious look at their own trade relationships, because the USA is starting to slide, and once it picks up momentum, it will be unstoppable. Get away from the dust cloud.

    Like

    1. There has been no easing of tariffs on castings from China despite the headlines of a trade deal.

      We are now experiencing terminal China envy. Pathetic.

      Like

    1. Is this renaming not something Donetsk (Stalino), Volgograd (Stalingrad) and Tskhinvali (Stalinir) do this time in May each year, to honour and celebrate those who defended the cities against Nazi invasion, in case the Banderite birdbrains haven’t noticed before? It takes them 75 years to realise this? At their rate of evolution, dinosaurs would have appeared, flourished and died from the comet strike before the Banderites have learned to reason.

      Like

      1. If it is, I did not know about it – I thought it was a one-time thing, because it is the 75th anniversary. It is distressing to be as stupid as they are. Is this actually done every year?

        Like

        1. No sorry, my mistake, the temporary renaming to WWII-era names during the week of Victory Day this year is a new initiative on the part of Donetsk and Tskhinvali. But I believe Volgograd has been renaming itself Stalingrad – during Victory Week only, that is – for the past 7 years.

          Like

          1. Forgot to add I’d been checking around the Internet to see if Donetsk and Tskhinvali had been renaming themselves the way Volgograd had been doing but couldn’t find anything dated before the year 2020.

            Like

          2. I think they once removed “Stalingrad” off the marble blocks on which there are named “Hero Cities” near the “Eternal Flame” by the Kremlin walls and had “Volgograd” put in its place. “Stalingrad” was put back after the tyrant had seized power, his ultimate goal being, of course, the rebirth of the SU, see.

            Bear in mind, “Stalin” once appeared alongside “Lenin” on the Red Square mausoleum, but was removed, never to return.

            Like

    2. They should better revert to using the original name of the place when it was founded in the late 19th century by a Welsh coal and iron magnate, an entrepreneur named Hughes, who couldn’t read and write they say.

      The original name of Donetsk transliterates from the Cyrillic into the Latin alphabet as “Hughesovo”.

      On the other hand, brain-dead Banderites might well not be happy with that name either, because they would not be too pleased to be reminded that a native “Ukrainian” had not founded the coal and iron industry in their “Independent” Ukraine, albeit that Hughesovo was originally situated in a Russian Imperial province.

      Like

  31. Another brilliant Trump idea – take away all global supply chains from China. The biggest growth market in the world, not to put too fine a point on it. Remind me again, how did this guy get the reputation of being some kind of financial genius?

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-china/trump-administration-pushing-to-rip-global-supply-chains-from-china-officials-idUSKBN22G0BZ

    This, of course, is part of the USA’s formulaic punishment of China for loosing the coronavirus on the world. Never mind that this is in no way proven anywhere – they’ve got a report that says China did it, and that they did it on purpose, and that’s enough for the Psycho-State.

    Well, good luck with that, is all I can say. I notice American companies are noticeably less enthusiastic than the warrior bureaucrats, as well they might be, because they are not going to open huge growth markets in Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand and Japan. Those countries have their own trade arrangements and their own industries, and are not about to throw themselves on the sword of economic suicide for Uncle Sam. There goes the ‘massive quantities’ of American produce and LNG China was supposedly going to buy from America under the terms of Trumps Greatest Trade Deal Ever.

    “The United States is pushing to create an alliance of “trusted partners” dubbed the “Economic Prosperity Network,” one official said. It would include companies and civil society groups operating under the same set of standards on everything from digital business, energy and infrastructure to research, trade, education and commerce, he said.

    The U.S. government is working with Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam to “move the global economy forward,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said April 29. “

    At a time when the USA is going to need all the friends it can get, it is determined to make more enemies. And in case anyone has failed to notice, the world that is emerging is one of two massive trade blocs, which are increasingly loathe to do business with one another. One of those blocs has nearly all the manufacturing in the world. The other plans to recreate manufacturing from scratch, and cannot in a month of Sundays match the prices of the other. Is it a recipe for disaster? Why, yes; yes, I believe it is.

    Hot on the heels of this stepping-on-a-rake initiative by Uncle Sugar, Russia introduced Resolution 617 – stop buying foreign imports. The actual name is much longer, but the new law will close a lot of loopholes under which American and other foreign machinery and vehicles and what-not made it into the country, bought and paid for. Of course this does not restrict private-sector trade, at least not so far as I am aware; for example, a Ford dealership in Moscow can still import American vehicles, and sell them (if they can). And there are not likely to be the same restrictions on imports from friendly countries. But the USA is going to get a kick in the slats.

    https://www.stalkerzone.org/russia-continues-its-pursuit-of-technological-independence-from-the-west/

    Trade is shrinking more every day. It’s probably not good for the world; in fact, I know it’s not, But the USA just had one of its biggest sticks taken out of its hand, and if it does not look sharp it will get its own teeth knocked out with it. American exporters must be holding their heads and groaning.

    Like

    1. France is reporting a case from December 27 as they retested a previous sample from an ‘unusual pneumonia’ case. The other interesting news is that some people coming in suffer from low levels of oxygen in the blood (\<75% – rather than the normal 95%) and thus suffering from hypoxia. As I read elsewhere, CoVid-19 is quite a nasty and tricky virus with plenty of tricks up its sleeves.

      Like

      1. The first case reported in Wuhan was December 1st, and was assessed to have had no connection with the seafood market, but obviously finding ‘patient zero’ is a little more complicated than that. Allowing for the incubation period, though, that’s getting tight. I believe they will find it did not come from China at all, especially if it turns out to have been engineered, as several reports suggest. It seems ridiculous in the extreme to me that if the Chinese engineered a debilitating virus as a bioweapon, they would release it in China. And if it was an accident, as some American analysts suggest, why would they try to confine the damage to China? Might as well say, well, the fat’s in the fire now, boys. Let the chips fall as they may. So far most of what we know about it – animal virus, not supposed to be present in humans, reports of major illnesses such as malaria spliced in – sounds like an engineered agent.

        Like

  32. From today’s KP:

    Anatomy of “disinfo”*: how the opposition attributed to Maria Zakharova words that she did not speak
    Who benefits from denigrating the Foreign Ministry at the height of the coronavirus crisis


    Matt’s “Old Hag”: the delightful Maria Zakharova

    Last week was remembered for an information attack made against Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The fact that this is an attack becomes obvious if its chronology is restored, as well as the fact that this campaign was staged, and, apparently, from abroad.

    We look at how it all began.

    IS THERE A RISK IN TAKING A TOURIST TRIP?

    On April 23, Zakharova gives an online interview to journalist Mikhail Zygar (former chief editor of the Dozhd TV channel). Amongst other things, the problem of Russians still remaining abroad because of the coronavirus blockade is being discussed. The speaker for the Russian Foreign Ministry states some quite obvious things:

    “A trip abroad is a very serious, very risky enterprise that involves great responsibility”.

    In these three epithets, Zakharova only briefly expressed all that has already been described in detail on the Foreign Ministry website in the section that deals with recommendations for travelling abroad. It covers all possible situations: from the need to arrange medical insurance to actions in the event of an accident. Admittedly, Zakharova in the interview noticeably softened the strict tone of the instruction.

    So, yes — a foreign trip can be a “risky venture”, you cannot argue with the woman diplomat about that. Remember the pre-corona news about tourists who had died in bus accidents in Egypt or in a collision of pleasure boats in Thailand; or of a 12-year-old girl from St. Petersburg, who died in August last year, when her arm was sucked into a swimming pool pipe in Bodrum, Turkey?

    We agree that all of this — including Zakharova’s harsh words: it does not sound like a fun time at a holiday resort, but it makes you think about your own safety and the well-being of your loved ones.

    BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE PEOPLE?

    By the way, our foreign ministry in its recommendations is much more delicate than foreign ones. On the State Department’s website, written simply to the point of banality is: “Evacuation flights are not free and, in fact, often cost more than currently available commercial flights”.

    We look and listen further.

    “We were faced with a situation in which people who were in debt were travelling abroad, and were doing this not for the first time either”, Zakharova said, when explaining the current crisis with stuck tourists. Going back in time, she recalled that earlier, people had followed the basic principle that: “You can take a holiday only when you have the means to do this”. And as if making excuses, Zakharova immediately adds that she herself considers such a formulation too rigid and that now only a minority thinks in this way.

    [What she actually said in the interview was this:

    Люди ехали в долг с учетом имеющихся долгов, в ехали не для того, чтобы заработать или решить свой вопрос, а потому что для них это стало нормой жизни, и отказываться от этой сферы жизни они считали абсолютно неправильным. Мое воспитание говорило о том, что ты можешь отдыхать тогда, когда у тебя на это есть средства, и когда над тобой уж точно не висит что-то вроде ипотеки, долга и так далее.

    When their accounts were already in the red, people were still going deeper into debt when travelling abroad, and they were not doing this in order to earn money or to solve their problem, but because this had become a normal way of life for them, and they considered it absolutely wrong to give up this lifestyle. I was brought up to believe that you can take a vacation when you have the means to do so, and certainly not when there is a mortgage or a debt, etc. hanging over you. — ME.

    source]

    She could have said, as has the German Foreign Ministry: “All the funds that will be spent by the diplomatic mission in providing the necessary assistance to citizens shall be duly collected from the victim in accordance with consular service regulations”.

    And their recommendations as regards the corona crisis also contain the genial phrase: “Be prepared for additional expenses caused by an extension of your stay abroad and be aware of a corresponding increase in your credit card limit”.

    But Maria Vladimirovna cannot talk in that way — apparently, “Russian responsibility for everyone’s needs” does not allow that. According to stories from returning tourists, our diplomats helped many of them in their personal needs, purchasing for them food and medicine.

    Someone will say: You cannot tell unhappy people that they are to blame! This phrase, as we shall see below, was later ascribed to Zakharova. In reality, however, she said the exact opposite: “I do not accept words concerning the fact that “they all left, how come they all ended up there, they are all irresponsible people” (from an interview for the RTVI channel).

    Finally, the Russian government is providing assistance for Russians stuck abroad: a billion rubles has been allocated for material support only, and another half for compensation for air travel costs.

    Okay, this is all just a foretaste about what was to come. So how is it that instead of Zakharova’s logical statements, there are twisted passages and reinterpreted “quotes” of what she said on the Web?

    A STORY AS FOGGY AS IS ALBION

    On April 28, 5 days after the interview (which did not immediately go into “evil quotes”, although journalists watched it live), a media outlet called MBX Media posted the following: “Maria Zakharova believes that tourists who are stuck abroad are to blame for this as it is their own fault and travel should be accessible only to the rich and influential”.

    That would be news, kind of: but without quotes and with opinions added on. But for the unsophisticated reader it is a one hundred percent direct quote.

    That is to say, the words have been skilfully turned inside out: if you look at the full quotes, not taken out of context (we have analyzed them in detail above), it is clear that nothing like this was said. It turns out that this is fake!

    Yes, and not without some irony, MBX Media calls itself “News of Our Country”. The question is: Which one? This news medium is controlled by fugitive oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who lives in England. And about the “tender” relations of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the “Foreign Office” and other British colleagues, we have heard a lot in recent years.

    And every one of the escapades of our “partners by the Thames” have been fearlessly and professionally commented upon precisely by Zakharov: the Skripal case in Salisbury, the oppression of the RT channel in Britain, the refutation of extremely controversial, on the verge of fake, BBC materials … And one post by Zakharova about “ Visionary London oligarchs”, who, against the backdrop of a pandemic, had reached out for home, blowing the dust off their Russian passports, had become a “hit”. By the way, it was about this matter that the interview with Zygar began. An interesting nuance.

    And then all of a sudden, there comes this “successful” thrust from MBX-Media.

    THE ATTEMPT FAILED — ATTEMPT No. 2 BEGINS

    On request, however, the concert continues. The next day, April 29 (and already almost a week after the initial interview with Zakharova), the same MBH-Media publishes another post devoted to the same statements. For some reason, In recent weeks no other Russian official has been mentioned with such frequency in this online publication, although there were many reasons to have done so.

    The text of the post is even worse than the previous one: “Maria Zakharova is not pleased that air travel has become much more accessible than before, but she believes that “conclusions shall be made” and that this shall all come to an end”.

    A video from the interview with Zakharova was attached to the post, from which it is obvious that she said nothing of the kind. But the video is almost four minutes long; it still needs to be watched; the “necessary conclusion”, however, already carefully hangs there in the title.

    The second act of the concert on request: Immediately after Khodorkovsky (another day, April 30) — Navalny and his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, each in a video blog, again pay attention to “Zakharova’s terrible statement” — twisted in the same way, of course.

    The interview itself, recall, took place on April 23. Just like in the popular American series of books on political intrigues, “House of Cards”: you dig up your opponent’s old statement and command “Seize!” [«Фас!» in Russian —Fas!, meaning “Seize!”, “Go for it!”: it is what you say to a dog, for example — ME]

    Immediately “funny pictures” appear on the net: photographs of Zakharova with frightening captions: “Only the rich may take a vacation” or “Abroad only without a mortgage”. A good imitation of universal anger and folk art.

    But they were unable to work cleanly, apparently: they are losing their skill. After journalist Vladimir Solovyov had been discussing the theory that Khodorkovsky had participated in an information attack, the latter could not stand it and exploded with abuse (almost on the verge of swearing) at Zakharova on social networks. She defies the gentlemen of the critics, inviting Navalny to the jousting tilts — and then breaks the scenario imposed by them, by refusing to participate in debates on the terms of a production show.

    WHY ARE THEY ATTACKING THE FOREIGN MINISTRY?

    In general, if you look at the chronology, it is obvious: the campaign against Zakharova was purposefully heated up, and the simultaneity of the same type of attacks indicates their coordination.

    But why and why now? The answer is simple. For many years, our foreign policy has been based on a simple thesis: “We do not abandon our own”. This is part of the social contract, on the basis of which the country lives.

    The current situation is special. This is not just massive flight cancellations or natural disasters: this is a viral pandemic, during which the interests of both those who are travelling abroad and those who have not gone anywhere or who have postponed a trip need to be taken into account. Yes, a lot of Russians are still cut off from their motherland, but over 200 thousand have already returned over the past two months (many of them, by the way, have received financial assistance from the state, but “gentlemen publicists” do not focus on this).

    Therefore, an attack is being conducted against the Foreign Ministry and its representatives. If Russians see a flagrant injustice — “The queen is rich, and has abandoned her own people” —, then the social contract guaranteeing stability in the country ceases to operate.

    And it is just a matter of technique how to properly accentuate when giving people the appropriate “news”.

    FINALLY: EXPERT OPINION

    Nikita Argylov, Ph.D. (Political Science), director of the Autonomous Non-Commercial Authority “Laboratory of Information Policy”:

    In the post-truth era, distorting reality is easier than ever

    This whole story makes a burdensome impression. We have again seen that, thanks to a skillful media campaign, any person can be denigrated without any regard to what he said or did in reality.

    We have seen how Navalny and other opponents have attacked a woman with extreme rudeness and hung labels upon her. It is immediately obvious that the opposition is working for its target audience — people with very specific views. For them, as well as for the opposite camp (those who can conditionally be called the “patriotic guard”), for whom, by and large, the truth is not important: the opinions leader points to the next “enemy”, skillfully manipulating the masses — and the persecution begins.

    The crowd effect, the post-truth effect, easily arises, when no one wants to understand the essence, and the one who shouts loudest is right. One can only sympathize here with Zakharova. When a skillfully staged “pogrom campaign” begins against you, for the exalted crowd no excuses and explanations will have an effect: for them, what is real in life is that which is on Web.

    * New Russian word for me: деза [deza] , from дезинформация [dezinformatsiya] — “disinformation”.

    Like

    1. And again, from one of those seemingly interminable Navalny fanboy blogs: “Why is Zakharova afraid of Navalny?“, the lies about what Zakharova allegedly said about travelling abroad are repeated ad nauseum:

      The government got off without losing too much blood
      The government was very lucky about its being able to put pressure on Zakharova. After all, if she had really agreed to a debate, she would have had to do some explaining about her strange opinion as regards her supporting the caste system in Russia, and touch on other controversial topics in which the government would have looked far from its best.

      In the end, everyone is happy – the state can still remain silent and ignore inconvenient questions, Zakharova remains in her position at the feeding trough, and Navalny looks like a hero in the eyes of liberals and all honest people. As they say, he was able to scare such a media mastodon of the power structures.

      Note how “Liberals” is concomitant with “all honest people”.

      Again, written by a juvenile, I suspect.

      The expression that Zakharova “supports the the caste system” in Russia comes straight frm the opening Facebook move that the Bullshitter sent Zakharova several days after the slimy Abramovich’s MBX Media had posted: “Maria Zakharova believes that tourists who are stuck abroad are to blame for this as it is their own fault and travel should be accessible only to the rich and influential”.

      Like

    2. All right – fair enough. But I still maintain Zakharova made a mistake in calling Navalny out; for me, the main damage exists in the amount of free publicity he got and continues to get, as well as it being damned difficult to ignore him as if he were nothing when he is plainly involved in a head-to-head with the foreign ministry, at its spokeswoman’s own invitation. He was just the Bullshitter before, and barely one Russian in ten knew who he was and what he purports to represent. Now everyone who reads newspapers knows who he is. That should not suggest he would command a greater share of the vote; he likely would not, but it was still far better when he was mostly unknown – you never know what else Khodorovsky has up his sleeve. He should have been left in prison until the grease stain where he died faded into the stone. Sickly mother, indeed.

      It still would have been better if she had not challenged him to a debate, and it was naive of her to ever think it would just be a simple me-against-you, and that he would not twist and squirm and milk it like crazy for propaganda. If it had ever gone ahead, I’ll bet he would have brought her flowers, he’s that cheesy. Nobody at RFE/RL, or any of its readers, cares that nothing he repeated was true or that her remarks had been completely made over – to them, Navalny is a hero. It’s just a pity there was not some piece of land big enough to hold them all, so they could go there with Navalny as their president, and see how he runs things. It would be supported by the US Department of State as a show colony of happy Russians under freedom and democracy, but the USA can’t afford such projects any more, and it would not be long before all the blissed-out liberals noticed they were getting hungry. When’s dinner?

      And while I think on it, they should also stop that chivalry nonsense about ‘attacking a woman’. That is just spitting on all the hard work done to ensure a woman who does a job well is regarded the same as a man in the same position. If it would not be appropriate to say disparagingly, “Navalny attacked a man”, then the gender is irrelevant. Zakharova can take care of herself. There is no sense in using sexism to get sympathy, particularly where many of her attackers are actually women – it is certainly not Navalny steering this, he can barely get his shoes on the correct feet unsupervised.

      Like

      1. Yes, bad move! She shouldn’t have stooped so low as to offer him out. In fact, many commenters to these Navalny Hamster postings — one-off blogs penned by juveniles for the most part, in my opinion — ask whom Zakharova speaks for (a minister of state and his ministry) and whom the Bullshitter Navalny speaks for.

        Judging by the numbers who heed his call to unauthorized gatherings in m
        Moscow, less than 0.01% of the population heeds his call to protest, and as far as I know, he and his devotees have very seldom been forbidden to assemble in protest; on the other hand, however, they always protest against an assembly venue and route thereto that have been allocated to them. In essence, they always want to march down Tverskaya and onto Red Square. In fact, a minority usually does this: it breaks away from the authorized march route to an authorized place of assembly, and in doing so, is brutally arrested by Putin’s specially trained Orcs, in which due and eminently foreseeable process, the Navalny Hamsters and assorted kreakly and libtards are studiously observed and photographed by the foreign press corps.


        I come in peace, children. Take me to your leader.

        As a result of his having had his face doused with antiseptic “green”, he then, unfortunately, became acquainted with this person:


        Photo courtesy of that scurrilous rag, the Daily Mail.

        Phwoarr! — as the British gutter press is fond of saying when it spots a “hottie”.

        Morons!

        Personally, I wouldn’t let her prune my bloody roses!

        Like

        1. How liberating it is to be able to simply make things up, secure in the knowledge that the foreign press will print your version of events without even checking. If you have a march and hardly anyone shows up to celebrate with you, leak the news that Putin issued a special order for everyone along the route to remain in their homes, and only these few brave souls dared defy the tyrant – the British press will be off with it like a shot, and the gullible who want to believe it will believe it.

          Pah! Her looks don’t faze me. Well, I….I am getting a little dizzy….

          Like

  33. Euractiv: Finland’s possible NATO membership remains red flag for Russia
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/finlands-possible-nato-membership-remains-red-flag-for-russia/

    The study “Govorit Moskva – Moscow Speaks” tries to understand Russia’s strategic communication by putting it in a historical, societal, cultural and international policy framework.

    It was commissioned in 2019 from consultancy firm Eurofacts and led by former Finnish intelligence chief and retired rear admiral Georgij Alafuzoff…

    …According to the study, very little has changed since 2007, when Vladimir Putin gave his speech in Munich.

    Feelings of being betrayed and insulted by the West continue to have an effect on decisions and messaging. Integrity, sovereignty and the need to be seen as a superpower remain as parameters in the Kremlin corridors…
    ####

    This is fairly hilarious. The report comes from their own propganda center to lend weight to the Finnish political class to do nothing, i.e. not change Finlands position by joining NATO.

    But as we see with Sweden, who is also not a member of NATO, it does not proclude training, exercises and missions with NATO.

    You can dress up donkeys like sheep, cheese as bacon /whatever, but the contortions certain organizations like to put themselves through to show that they are tough but ultimately don’t want change is quite impressive. It looks like a smart (and well paid) career move!

    Like

    1. Yes, why would Russia be upset about having its sworn enemy snuggled right up against it, separated only by a belt of trees? Stop being childish about being ‘insulted and betrayed’, Russia! And they always add that tickler about how Russia ‘needs to be seen as a superpower’. Really? Who is it that advertises themselves as the ‘sole remaining superpower’?

      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-united-states-will-remain-the-worlds-only-superpower_b_58ebba1ee4b081da6ad0064f?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9kdWNrZHVja2dvLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAJoXzrVgVCzNq4289Z5LqEq0aTsbXAL5B5WU0CeVp40hI01bJcvdBJmlWPTXXYHOy56tCqgZ6zJx-Cz09_ug4c7PYAA1YdWWraplr_KXDd9RbFQLVWB66efhazDFeFOPiO9K1_HqXeLS0KZERSRYlcrRQpfGOqnmElaeLTfxHs7A

      https://now.tufts.edu/articles/why-united-states-only-superpower

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/11/24/why-the-u-s-remains-the-worlds-unchallenged-superpower/#1df4ca715b6e

      Looks to me like someone else has superpower insecurity. Is that why Trump advertises everything the USA does as being done with ‘tremendous strength’?

      Like

  34. It turns out that the ‘leaked Five Eyes’ report is not by the ‘Five Eyes’ or any intelligence service rather than a collection of ‘open source’ information peddled by the White House administration. What a surprise.

    Like

  35. Antiwar.com: OPCW Insiders Denounce Latest Syria Report
    https://original.antiwar.com/Dave_DeCamp/2020/05/03/opcw-insiders-denounce-latest-syria-report/

    …The Grayzone published a response https://thegrayzone.com/2020/04/28/opcw-insiders-ltamenah-chemical-weapons-report/ to the IIT report from a group of OPCW insiders who called the credibility of the IIT “compromised” and said the report is “scientifically flawed.” According to The Grayzone, the authors who wrote the piece “represent the view of, at minimum, a small group of current and former OPCW officials who took part in its [the IIT report’s] drafting and review.”

    The insiders were suspicious of the IIT from its formation. “It was very clear to us during the creation and setup of the IIT that its intent was not to investigate alleged incidents of chemical attacks in Syria. Instead, the team was created simply to find the Syrian government guilty of chemical attacks.” The OPCW was granted the power to attribute responsibility for chemical attacks in 2018…

    Like

  36. TheHill.com: US Navy sends ships into Barents Sea for first time in decades
    https://thehill.com/policy/defense/495978-us-navy-sends-ships-into-barents-sea-for-first-time-in-decades

    …Three U.S. destroyers — the USS Donald Cook, USS Porter and USS Roosevelt — and one U.S. support ship, the USNS Supply, entered the Barents Sea on Monday with a British Royal Navy frigate for the first time since the mid-1980s “to assert freedom of navigation and demonstrate seamless integration among allies,” the Navy said in a news release…

    …The Navy notified the Russian Defense Ministry about the planned operation Friday in an effort to “avoid misperceptions, reduce risk and prevent inadvertent escalation,” the release added…
    ####

    They’ve got nothing else to do, except ‘build confidence’… with Artic ice..

    Like

  37. Politico.eu: German Social Democrats tell Trump to take US nukes home
    https://www.politico.eu/article/german-social-democrats-tell-donald-trump-to-take-us-nukes-nuclear-weapons-home/

    …Nonetheless, as Merkel’s junior partner, the SPD’s stance can’t be ignored. It’s also a reminder that if a left-wing alliance (a coalition between the SPD, the Greens and the Left party) were to gain power in Germany in the coming years, it would almost certainly demand a withdrawal of the American weapons…
    ####

    I’ve been waiting for this. Hopefully this is the first crack and it will split wide open. There is no need for US nukes in u-Rope. If anything, they’re a bigger threat (nukes & Americans) to us u-Ropeans than anyone else.

    The article’s conclusion is just circular logic to do nothing (see previous post), except in this case it should be in u-Rope’s interest to have its own separate defense identity no dependent on an outside power. For all Brussels’ talk about standing its own ground, it is remarkably reluctant to do the obvious.

    Like

  38. Sky Nudes: Coronavirus: Rival states targeted UK and US coronavirus labs with ‘malicious cyber campaigns’
    https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-rival-states-targeted-uk-and-us-coronavirus-labs-with-malicious-cyber-campaigns-11983517

    A joint advisory does not name any specific country, but culprits are understood to include China, Russia and Iran.

    ####

    Distract. Distract. Distract. This be the Bible to cover for domestic incompetence and not giving a shit. This really is desperate stuff to get the bad news that the UK takes over the rest of u-Rope as the country with the highest number of CoVid-19 deaths off the front pages in combination with denial, lies, damned lies & statistics (even though this is mearly delaying the inevitable). There is, of course, absolutely no way to check, question or otherwise quert any of this with any confidence at a professional level, let alone amateur. And that is the point. That they have chosen to follow such a strategy tells us that the authorities are afraid of the public. Will it work? Maybe in the short term, but I suspect this is little more than swatting flies.

    The above piece is essentially verbatim from the government. You have to wonder if the government hasn’t activated emergency measures (DSMA aka ‘D-Notices’). We’ll see if this is media lock down over the next few days or so. Extraordinary things are afoot.

    Like

    1. “Mr Raab added: “We’re absolutely determined to defeat coronavirus, and also to defeat those trying to exploit the situation for their own nefarious ends.”

      Oh!! He’s so GOOD!!! I want to have his child. Was there ever such a decent man, pressing on in spite of fearful odds, resolute and unbowed beneath the vile blows of the evil states which would enslave man? God, it fair makes you want to weep. Where do I donate? Take ALL my money!!

      The CIA is certainly getting its money’s worth out of that Marble Framework algorithm. No matter what you try to do to help yourself or others, the consummately-evil Moskali pop up to try to drag you down. Oh, and those dirty viral Chinks. And the Eye-ranians; they hate the west because it spoiled their little plan to nationalize their oilfields.

      Like

  39. Meanwhile, I came here to warn you of a grave danger!

    Stay away from the book “The Russian Military Resurgence: Post-Soviet Decline and Rebuilding, 1992-2018” by René De La Pedraja.

    I’ve opened it a while ago, and now I’m binge-reading it and cannot stop, because it’s so brilliant on many levels. If you value your free time, please do not repeat my mistake!

    Like

  40. As anticipated, the USA is not going to commit to oil production cuts, but will let the market decide; market comes back up, all bets are off, and I’m pumping like a mofo to get market share ahead of you suckers while you’re idling with your cuts. Zoom! watch me go past!

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-Texas-Oil-Production-Cut-Plan-Is-Dead.html

    So all that stuff from Trump about the USA doing its share and even spotting some of the cuts for Mexico was entirely contingent on oil staying too low for America to make any money.

    And oil did enjoy a bit of a mini-rally, prompting Trump to tweet like a bluebird that demand is rebounding.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/US-Oil-Prices-Rally-To-25-As-Demand-Picks-Up.html

    And indeed that does seem to be the driver, as the first easing of lockdowns causes gasoline demand to creep back up. But it is mostly optimism born of frantic lobbying, and the oil armada lurking off American ports still expects to unload and be paid – another 43 million barrels, which will join the 50 million barrels or so waiting to be unloaded in a traffic jam which represents more than double the average, while the Saudi traffic is four times higher. This is expected to wipe out all the consumption thus far and then some, and fill all the storage chockers again.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Fleet-Of-28-Saudi-Oil-Tankers-Could-Send-US-Oil-Prices-Crashing-In-May.html

    Like

    1. Not Agreement Capable. Again.

      As usual, judge by what is done, not by what is said. It’s a good rule for everyone to remember.

      Like

  41. Well, whaddya know? Nancy Pelosi believes Joe Biden when he says the sexual assault of which he is accused never happened.

    https://www.newsweek.com/pelosi-believes-bidens-denial-tara-reades-sexual-assault-allegation-says-shes-proud-support-1502169

    Because when Democrats get up to mischief, why, that’s all it is – just a little harmless fun, that sometimes people misunderstand.

    Kavanaugh, now; he ‘s a Republican. And the way Republicans are with their sick weenies is just…disgusting. Pelosi was quite ready to believe Kavanaugh was lying, because…well, because he’s a Republican.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/house/409082-pelosi-on-impeaching-kavanaugh-if-hes-lying-hes-not-fit-for-court-hes-on-now

    And she praised his accuser for her courage.

    https://dailycaller.com/2020/04/27/nancy-pelosi-tara-reade-christine-blasey-ford-brett-kavanaugh-joe-biden/

    Politics is kind of a three-showers-a-day job.

    Like

  42. Why is the number of people being infected by Coronavirus growing daily in Russia ?

    Today, Russia has taken 5th place in the world in the number of cases.

    The number of new cases of coronavirus in Russia per day increased by 10 559. In total, 165 929 cases were registered in Russia.

    I understand that Russia is testing widely and have conducted over 4 million tests

    have people been ignoring lock down ?

    Why are the infections still happening?

    Where are the hot spots?

    Like

    1. I imagine much of it is owed to increased testing. I do recall the press mentioning a significant proportion of their new cases are asymptomatic, and it’s hard to imagine how they could know that without testing. I am sure if it gets bad enough they will ask for help, but asymptomatic cases do not matter much except that they are carriers and should isolate to keep them from spreading it – they are not a burden on the health-care system. I think you will find this is the way it has to go; social distancing and all the WHO mumbo-jumbo is not slowing it down much, and I think it will eventually spread to about 80% of the population in areas where it has gotten a good hold, and then die out. Once again, so far in the ‘pandemic’ it has killed less than two days worth of normal deaths that happen all the time. I know that’s no consolation to someone who loses a parent or grandparent. As Yalensis highlighted in his stories from people who had actually had it, transfusion of some plasma, which would include antibodies, from a person who had recovered from coronavirus worked like magic, and I imagine it could save lives which would otherwise be lost among those who are really, really ill. Also, there are something like 30 strains circulating now as it continues to mutate, with some of them having up to 120 times the viral load of others. That’s the kind that decimated northern Italy and Iran. And ‘decimated’ is a strong word; the death rate was still fairly low.

      It looks more and more as if this is an engineered virus, with bits of other illnesses spliced in and a common virus base as a carrier. What remains to be seen is where it came from. Obviously the United States is trying to pin it on China, but China seems pretty confident it can prove that’s not so.

      Like

  43. Yrrrraaaah! I have at last got me an electronic pass!!!!

    I can now bugger off into the sticks — and I don’t want to come back!

    Trouble is — its pissing it down. I don’t care, though!

    There were reports here in the local rags that wildlife inthe countryside is having a field day invading near empty dacha territories — foxes, mostly, but at Naro-Fominsk (not too far from our dacha), there are claims that a bear has been spotted.

    Жители Наро-Фоминского округа сообщили о медведе, разорившем пасеку

    Residents of the Naro-Fominsk District reported a bear raiding an apiary

    Residents of the village of Slepushkino Naro-Fominsk city district claim that they encountered a bear that came dangerously close to the settlement. In social networks, information spread that big-footed beast came out of the woods and destroyed the hives.

    “In the early ’80’s of the last century, brown bears began to visit us from neighbouring regions”, says Pavel Voevodin, chief specialist of the Verkhovye Nature Conservation Fund. “Now about 10-15 bears live in the border areas in the west and north of the region. Occasionally they advance further.

    The article warns:

    Meeting a bear is a rare occurrence, but if it happens, you need to follow simple rules:

    “You must not run away: the hunting instinct of the beast will take effect and it will begin to chase”, advises of Pavel Voevodin. “Bears can run fast – up to 60 km per hour. The best thing to do is to stop and walk back slowly, without turning your back on him. Bears cannot see clearly, so you can take off your jacket and raise it above your head to appear taller. The animal will not want to fight with a big rival.”

    As the Ministry of Ecology and Nature Management of the Moscow region has already warned, the current regime of self-isolation against the background of the spread of coronavirus infection may contribute to the fact that predators will begin to move beyond their hunting territories.

    North of the region is region in which our dacha is situated.

    I’m not scared of no Russian Yogis!

    I think.

    Like

      1. That village where the bear was spotted is 19.4 kms (12 miles) due south of our dacha territory. There’s a great big forest between the forest north of the village of Slepushkino, where the bears live, and the Minsk highway, the other side of which is the area where our dacha territory is, the Ryzky District of the Moscow Region:

        Like

          1. Don’t know why the first pic doesn’t show up. That photo above is of the village Annino, which is near my dacha.

            Like

            1. Congratulations ME on being chipped and braving the wilds of Mordor in search of freedom! How does the internet work from your dacha, smoke signals? 😉

              Like

              1. Nay! I just give a peasant kid the butt end of one of my chewed seegars and he then runs to the local railway station about 2 miles away and hands in a message at the telegraph office there, where a drunkard taps out a message in Morse to Moscow.

                Like

                1. That’s good to hear ME. I’m sure your are running round in a loincloth with feathers in your hair, paint on your face and juggling cabbages as you type and shout “Не стрелай, Саша!” So should we all.

                  Like

              2. Internet at the dacha OK. At least, it was last year. Fingers crossed! Am rolling through the countryside on a train now. No Indian attacks – yet!

                Like

        1. I received my special travel pass online on Wednesday morning. I printed out a copy of it and also have it in my Gmail inbox. These passes are only valid for the day issued. When I wish to go back to Moskva, I have to apply for a pass online again.

          I have to go back there in order to register my place of residence on our around May 20, the date when I was reregistered as resident at the address where I have lived these past 22 years.

          I was registered on that date last year, having received at last my second “Permit for the Residence of a Foreign Citizen” [Вид на жительство], the granting of which having taken 2 years following my application for it after I had had to flee the UK IN August 2017.

          When, on the first part of my journey to the country, I tried to enter my local metro station on Wednesday afternoon, my social card, by means of which I travel freely on all means of public transport – not, I must add, because I am an old man, but because I am a “multi-child father – did not function. Nobody could explain why it did not work.

          I showed my travel pass to a policeman, who opened the barrier for me.

          Having alighted at Begovaya metro station, where there is an interchange to a railway station of the same name, whence I travel by electric train to my dacha, I had no problems in entering the mainline station.

          On board the train, after about 1 hour, inspectors at last checked my ticket and my social card, by means of which I had received the ticket free of charge, and they then scanned the copy of the pass that I had printed out at home.

          The train was not nearly as empty as I had thought it would be. Almost all the passengers were masked I was not. I refuse to adhere to these recommendations issued by hysterics and adhered to by sheep. However, soon the wearing of masks whilst travelling by public transport will be mandatory and persons not following the baa-ing crowd will be fined 4,000 rubles.

          Whilst journeying to our dacha territory, I informed Mrs. Exile of the problem that I had faced on the metro with my social card. When she arrived at the dacha with my younger daughter about 2 hours after I had arrived there, she told me that a railway employee had told her that my card was not working on the metro because I am over 65 and “high risk”.

          So even though I had successfully applied for and received an electronic coronavirus-hysteria travel pass, and in doing so, had informed the authorities all my personal details, including, of course, my date of birth, they – the powers that be – still try to hinder my personal freedom.

          I really do believe that all this state control of my life is the result of world wide hysteria over a flu epidemic that still has not caused as many deaths as happen each year during the flu season.

          Mrs. Exile argues with me over this. She retorted yesterday that an acquaintance of our grandma dacha neighbour had recently died of corona virus. When pressed for details, it turned out that the deceased party was in his late 80s and had died of complications after having been admitted to hospital WITH coronavirus infection. He had, it seems, died of pneumonia. He had, apparently, been suffering from respiratory problems for many years (no doubt a smoker) and had a heart problem.

          But he died OF coronavirus!!!!

          I am sick of this madness!!!!

          Like

          1. Then you will love this limited hangout.

            https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/what-are-we-doing-doctors-are-fed-conspiracies-ravaging-ers-n1201446?utm_source=pocket-newtab

            Doctors are exhausted with having to deal with nutjobs on social media who claim the coronavirus is all a hoax designed to install microchips in all American citizens, or that it’s real and is caused by 5G towers. I particularly liked the touch used in “a colleague (doctor; frontline worker, must be respected) told me a young man was admitted with damage to the digestive tract caused by drinking bleach”, because Trump mused that maybe using common disinfectants inside somehow could kill the virus.

            I can’t go through the whole thing, but if you unpack it slowly and sensibly you will see (1) an attempt to shift attention from the politicians who mandated the lockdown, and loudly defended it, onto the doctors; (2) The ‘I heard this’ story about the anonymous young man who drank bleach seems too fantastic to be true and probably is not, but now it is part of the narrative and introduced as fact in the public consciousness, and (3) the branding of anyone who says coronavirus is not real as a fringey nutcase.

            Nobody I know of ever said coronavirus is just a fabrication. It’s real enough, and in its extreme strains it could be quite dangerous. But it does not kill anywhere near the numbers forecast in the shamelessly-terrifying foretelling, and while the elderly and infirm and those with compromised immune systems should receive heightened protection – no unscreened personnel, staff or visitors, to be near them – the rest of us probably could have been left to take our chances and the deliberate collapsing of the economy was a terrible mistake. As to the supposed ‘canard’ that the hospitals are empty, I suppose the stay-at-homes are relying on someplace like New York City to showcase hospitals that are overstressed; some are, certainly. But Vancouver Island has zero cases in hospital. None. But all elective surgery was canceled and urgent surgery was on a case-by-case basis, to make room for the flood of cases expected. I don’t have the source of that available at the moment, I shall have to ask the missus where she got it, but she was reciting it from information she was reading on her phone just last night. In many, many hospitals those already in beds were shifted to other facilities to make room for the rush that in most cases never came. In short, it’s dangerous, but no more so than dozens of flu pandemics we have weathered without closing the shop, and the earth is still said to be overpopulated.

            Also, there is the phenomenon previously mentioned, in which everyone in the west who dies and has tested positive for coronavirus died of coronavirus. People who were not tested, in the UK at least, are put down ‘in the fog of war’ as having died of coronavirus because they don’t have the time to test dead people. Once again, 155,000 people, on average, die every day – I wonder how many of them have been absorbed into the coronavirus total. Additionally, the figures for all countries list cumulative numbers of cases since the beginning of the outbreak. Russia, for instance, is recorded on the WHO COVID Dashboard as having 187,859 confirmed cases. But since that count started March 2nd, obviously all those people are not still sick with coronavirus; a majority are recovered, and 1,723 are dead. The practice of recording cumulative cases rather than active cases contributes to a graph that records inexorable progress upwards, creating the impression COVID-19 has acquired unstoppable and deadly momentum. But on average it does not kill any more people than the seasonal flu, and many cases are asymptomatic, but are nonetheless added to the terrifying butcher’s bill.

            Like

  44. ScienceAlert.com: Scientists Create a Prototype ‘Air Plasma’ Engine That Works Without Fossil Fuels
    https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-created-a-fossil-fuel-free-jet-engine-prototype

    …”Our results demonstrated that such a jet engine based on microwave air plasma can be a potentially viable alternative to the conventional fossil fuel jet engine,” lead researcher and Wuhan University engineer Jau Tang said in a press release….
    ####

    I’m wary of such claims as all sorts of stuff is invented that never goes anywhere, but my poin in posting this is to show that China can innovate perfectly well on its own. The US would have us believe that China cannot function without the theft of their IP and all they need to do is cut it off. Except that China now files more patents per year than any other country. They put money, resources and invest in their own human capital (huge numbers of electrical engineers for example) etc. all the sort of stuff needed for the Robots Will do Most Stuff fourth industrial revolution that is occuring (woo).

    Anyways, this is a portend of things to come:

    afp: China launches new rocket as it eyes moon trip
    https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/China_launches_new_rocket_as_it_eyes_moon_trip_999.html

    … The spaceship will one day transport astronauts to a space station that China plans to complete by 2022 — and eventually to the Moon.

    It will have capacity for a crew of six.

    The mission will test its “key technologies”, including the control of its re-entry into the atmosphere, its heat shielding and recovery technology, Yang Qing of the China Academy of Space Technology and designer of the spaceship was quoted as saying by Xinhua in March…
    ####

    If China can throw large pieces of heavy metal in to space regularly, I cannot think of any other more obvious example of the new Chinese century, however much the US wails ‘It’s not fair!’ I’d be stoked if Russia and China did a space station together, considering u-Rope’s inability to unf/k itself over Russia.

    Like

    1. Jon Hellevig has had a pretty good record of being right so far. Awara is my go-to source for information on the Russian economy.

      “The debt saturation point has been reached, therefore this time it will be different, the central bankers have lost their magic wand and won’t be able to renew the debt binge and extend it with one more decade. Instead, there will be a day of reckoning. Governments and corporations will have to put their act together and let the market weed out the failed entities. Those who cannot carry the debt, will have to shed it. There will be bloodbath with defaults, bankruptcies and massive unemployment. – Perhaps a revolution here and there. – There will be no choice, deleveraging must happen.”

      But did we not just read the other day that the Trump government is whistling up a three TRILLION-dollar ‘borrow’ for this quarter? Yes, I thought I remembered that.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2020/05/05/trump-borrowing-3-trillion-for-the-june-quarter-will-exceed-obamas-last-5-years/#45186a065e7e

      So if the day of reckoning is coming, then a hard rain is gonna fall. Because that money is just printed paper, and its value is determined by the country’s perceived ability to come up with it in value. Not just the $3 Trillion in new borrowing, but that added to the more than 1$8 Trillion it already owed. Can it? Hardly.

      Like

    2. A report linked in the Awara group article above:

      https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/study-on-real-gdp-growth-net-of-debt/

      The chart above addresses the debt elephant in the living room – Western GDP growth is entirely offset by the growth in debt. Only Russia has shown a net growth in GDP when national debt is factored in. Russian economic policy has been criticized yet I can’t help but think they may have done something right deliberately or inadvertently. And, their conservatism may very well has insulated them from the global economic crash some are now calling the Greater Depression. I suspect that Russia saw it coming years ago.

      Like

      1. It boggles the mind that, for instance, Germany is the EU’s ‘economic powerhouse’, and whenever someone in the union steps on their dick, they look sheepishly to Germany for a bailout – some come back again, they like it so much. But according to that chart, Germany was the only one not drowning in debt, and it was barely breaking even. Until recently, of course, and now it is drowning in debt as well.

        Like

        1. The irony is that Germany was more interested in teaching the fiscally profligate south as the UE bumped along economically, while itself was imposing onitself a ideological ‘balanced budget’ regardless, missing an opportunity to borrow money at almost zero interest rates for important investment in infrastructure that could have helped the rest of u-Rope. The same is true of the ideology of Ass-terity as practiced in the UK, the Conservatives publicly proclaiming that ‘There is no magic money treeexcept in exceptional circumstances – i.e. saving themselves. Privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

          ‘Pulling themselves by the own bootstraps’ is the logic, but countries like Greece were more than happy to call on China which effectively owns the port of Epirus and has helped out other countries (Serbia etc.), yet now we have moaning and warning about ‘Chinese influence/Chinese debt traps’ and how it is a threat to u-Ropean unity! Oh do f/k off. Countries were left to rot, whether it was their own fault or not, but still expected to look up to their fiscal betters and ignore cold, hard cash coming the other way. No, Germany certainly does not want to pay for the whole EU (25% of the EU budget currently), but it still likes to be able to call the shots.

          u-Rope has snookered itself and no amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth about ‘foreign interference’ changes a shred of f/k on the ground. It’s always someone else’s fault. No one is responsible for their own actions. And therein is a common theme in the West.

          A system should be rated on how well it acts when things are going badly. So far, it’s an ‘F’ for fail, but I wouldn’t write off the EU soon either. The French and Italian nationalists for example have dropped their anti-EU rhetoric that got them in to parliament/power, though that is part of being ‘in the box.’ The other is that they haven’t offered a credible alternative. Add to that the mess the UK has made of BREXIT, a country most others in u-Rope would have classed as highly competent. Reality has a quality all of its own, regardless of what the politicos say. It can take a little time to filter through though. We’re not even half way through 2020…

          Like

  45. I saw that Patrick Robinson commented on the latest Awara Group report, so I checked his site:

    Russia Observer: MAYBE KARL MARX WAS RIGHT AFTER ALL
    https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2020/05/05/maybe-karl-marx-was-right-after-all/

    First published Strategic Culture Foundation

    Before Marx socialism was a sort of voluntary wish thing, no doubt growing out of Protestant fantasies of life in early Christianity when everything was supposedly shared. There were a few attempts at building Christian socialist communities and most of them had unhappy endings – the Munster Anabaptists’ ending especially so. Secular socialist communities – Robert Owens’ attempts for example – also came to little, albeit more peacefully. …
    ####

    The rest at the link.

    Like

    1. Magnificent! Armstrong at his finest. All tied together with verifiable sources, so that there is no excuse for being stupid. Much like public education being free in most countries, which has not resulted even in everyone being able to spell, in the only language they know. Draw from that such lessons as are implicit.

      Like

  46. Sean Hannity, Republican mouthpiece of long standing at FOX News, ‘blasts’ Obama’s letter criticizing those who are investigating ‘Honest Joe’ Biden and his equally-trustworthy son for ties to corruption in Ukraine. Obama’s office (what office? Do ex-presidents have some kind of official status now? Do all ex-presidents have an ‘office’ that we are all obliged to take note of?) complains that those continuing to pursue investigation into the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine are ‘spreading Russian disinformation’.

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/hannity-obama-letter-bashing-biden-ukraine-probe

    Not to be outdone, Hannity rhetorically questions Obama as if he were on the witness stand; “In reality, it was Obama. It was his administration. It was Biden. They are the ones that spent months and months propagating the Russian disinformation campaign. Uh, Barack? Did you ever hear of the dirty Russian dossier that Hillary Clinton paid for? Of course you have…Members of your administration, they used that unreliable Clinton-bought-and-paid-for, Russian misinformation from the get-go filled with Russian lies.”

    Uhhhh…guys? None of that information was actually FROM Russia, it was ABOUT Russia. In all likelihood the ‘Russian informant’ who helped Steele concoct his fantasy-laced ‘dossier’ was Sergei Skripal, now conveniently ‘disappeared’. The ‘Steele Dossier’ contained made-up connections between the Trump administration and Russian officials, but it was demonstrated to have no basis in fact and the Trump administration officials who were supposedly ‘dirty’ were cleared one by one.

    But the Republicans are not letting go of a good story; no, by Jesus, SOMEBODY is in bed with the Russians. It just isn’t them. Somebody was spreading ‘Russian lies’, but it was the Democrats, who apparently used their stock of Russian lies to make Hillary lose. Maybe better not use that strategy again, what say?

    I hope the building crisis in America doesn’t hurt just the little people, because they are the least to blame. I hope it ruins the lives of every political hack in both parties, so that they have to live in a piano box in some cardboard town somewhere. Because by God, they’ve earned it.

    Like

    1. … In all likelihood the ‘Russian informant’ who helped Steele concoct his fantasy-laced ‘dossier’ was Sergei Skripal, now conveniently ‘disappeared’.

      Wow! Now that ties a lot of loose ends together, if true.

      Like

      1. I wish I could take credit for that deductive leap, but many were there before me.

        https://theduran.com/the-poisoning-of-sergei-skripal-reads-right-to-hillary-clinton-and-the-dnc/

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/07/poisoned-russian-spy-sergei-skripal-close-consultant-linked/

        https://spectator.org/big-dots-do-they-connect-steele-and-skripal-revisited/

        From the latter reference:

        “Copley had already explained that in Skripal’s UK “retirement,” he did plenty of freelance work, providing researchers for a price with that perfect shot of authentic, but also custom-made, “Russian intelligence.”

        Copley: “He would write whatever people wanted. He would say, ‘What are you trying to achieve, let me help you,’ and he would do that. And he was apparently prepared to, if you like, to fold under pressure and admit that he had done that, and admit that what he had written about Trump in that dossier was pure fiction, written simply to provide his client with —”

        With…?”

        Far from a long shot, I’d say – just judging from who knew what and who when, known associations and the behaviour of the mainstream media whenever the subject comes up – it’s a probable. But the precept that Russia, and most likely Russian intelligence, interfered in the American presidential elections is now an article of faith cemented in the American psyche.

        Like

        1. JHC, doesn’t matter where the concept came from, it is such a neat explanation. True, a beautiful theory is not necessarily correct. The murder of Litvinenko fits a roughly similar template – killing two birds with one stone.

          Like

      2. The missing link is the fellow (Pablo Miller) who recruited Sergei Skripal for MI6 in Estonia in 1995, who later left that organisation and went to work for Christopher Steele’s Orbis Business Intelligence. Said fellow was also living in Salisbury at the time Sergei and Julia Skripal were found in their distressed state in The Maltings shopping mall area in the city. Not long after the Skripals were taken to Salisbury District Hospital, the British government put a D-notice on the British news media to stop them from revealing the name of Sergei Skripal’s recruiter in connection with the poisoning incident.

        Who is MI6 Officer Pablo Miller?

        Like

        1. And there you have it; all beautifully linked – circumstantial, yes, but well within the scope of probability. Skripal was very likely the source of all the ‘insider’ Russian intelligence, which was all completely fabricated. Remember, all they needed was to sway the election, and if it turned out they couldn’t prove it later, too bad. I have seen suspicions that Litvinenko was hurting for money after Berzovsky stopped his generous allowance, and was hinting he might reveal what he knew; the last interview he ever gave implied he had information for sale. Skripal may have done the same, or otherwise made British Intelligence nervous, or they just simply decided to tie up a loose end in a way that would allow them to continue getting value out of him. I bet he would sing like a bird now if he could, but he’s likely a prisoner now if he is even alive.

          But the important thing is that none of the ‘Russian lies’ in the Steele Dossier actually came from Russia. They came from Skripal, a traitor and defector who was known to furnish tailored information for a price, probably included some real names of personnel in the FSB or something like that, just enough to convince the berks who paid for it that it was the real deal, or at least sufficiently authentic to pass muster. Hannity and others like him are continuing to spread the trope that Russia was running a live disinformation op in the USA, and got caught. That’s not true, and there is no proof at all that Russia interfered in the American election in any way.

          Like

    1. as possible.

      Perfectly happy to admit I’ve mistyped but this seems to be happening frequently on this site. I review the content and am satisfied and then FU an inappropriate word appears.

      Paranoid? Us?

      Like

        1. I wear a leather jacket myself so they don’t give me The Fear. Maybe if I spotted the goons slipping perfume bottles into their jacket pockets….

          Like

    2. I read the ‘World Made by Hand’ trilogy, and I like his writing a lot. I wonder if this really is the point where the wheels come off. Well, the next three months should tell the tale. If we get into fall and this is still a shit sandwich, there’s a very real possibility that it is not going to bounce back at all.

      Like

  47. Here’s an example of the stuff that I am sent from the US organization that runs the outfit where I work (sort of – closing contracts left, right and centre now and put me on half-pay one month ago) and which I am asked to distribute to my students:

    In these pandemic days of fear and tedium (скука, монотонность), literature can be a comforting distraction. In Russia, young readers have rediscovered a Soviet-era poem and are finding a message from the past that resonates (находит отклик у читателей):

    A Soviet-Era Poem Resonates With Russians Under The Lockdown
    By CHARLES MAYNES • MAY 4, 2020

    See – Putin’s lockdown is the same as Soviet repression was Soviet repression was, innit?

    Soft propaganda, innit?

    Or can’t the tossers just not help it?

    Like

      1. Resonating indeed! As I was travelling by train for over 90 minutes yesterday, the whole carriage of Russians was a-buzz about this article and Bronsky’s poetry.

        Like

        1. Thanks for sharing that, Moscow Exile!

          Indeed, it’s easy to sense a manipulation.

          While the poem of Brodsky might gain popularity today, the context is quite different now. The authors of the article not only fail to see that, but claim otherwise: “young readers … are finding a message from the past that resonates”, after which the article goes on to explain what exactly the message is.

          However, it’s clear that the context is quite different now. An example of how the poem is cited today is Oleg Kuvaev’s “Masyanya” animation about the isolation.

          Like

    1. I guess it’s too late for Stalin to apologize and pay compensation, like Germany did. And look at them now, all friends together! Powerhouse of Europe.

      I suppose it’s not a coincidence that the last time the west had to deal with Russia from a position of respect and deference, Stalin was running it. Never mind that as soon as he was cold they had their heads together scheming how to get back everything they had agreed to share. Now no crimes on earth are so horrible as those committed by Stalin, and the Nazis are forgiven and forgotten. And it’s not a nationality thing, either – as often mentioned here, Stalin was not a Russian, he was a Georgian, and the west loves it some Georgians now, can’t get over what a proud, free people they are. Saakashvili is a model reformer, and Georgians never had it so good as when he was running the country.

      Like

  48. And the Russian blogosphere is aflame now with the results of the latest Levada poll concerning the trust that Russians have in politicians here .

    In top place still remains the Evil One, but only with 27% trusting him.

    Next is Shoigu, then Sobyanin.

    And (loud fanfare) in 4th place at 11% is the Bullshitter.

    Bloggers stress that only quite recently, the Despot enjoyed the trust of 67% of the population.

    The poll was done by telephone.

    I forget now, but I think the sample was 1,500.

    Is this the end at long last?

    Are the Russians going to be free at last?

    Like

    1. Well, you see what I was saying about the tremendous gift to the Bullshitter publicity is. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time he has ever broken 10%, and usually he is down around 5% and few people have heard of him. Well, everyone has heard of him now, and Russians are no different than anyone else when it comes to being soothed by a seductive populist message. Nobody ever thinks where the money is going to come from – if a guy is promising milk and honey, he must have it to give.

      Putin is unpopular right now because of the lockdown and the uncertainty imposed by the virus, but most of all because every other country is absolutely shoveling money at its citizens to console them for the abdication of their rights and freedoms. Only Russia is holding out, and telling its people, tough titty. It seems to have escaped the notice of most that the official position of the Russian government was that employers would have to continue paying salaries; as Jon Hellevig pointed out, some are ignoring that, but it is contestable in court. Many companies probably figure they are safe because their employees do not have the money to fight them in court.

      If the Bullshitter ever got the keys to the treasury, he would have Russia on a corporate western model before you could say “That smells like money!” And the peasants would work the land and man the factories, but everything worth owning would be owned by the big international investors. Elections would be like geology – merely the science of pressure and leverage. If Russia were ever so foolish as to elect the Bullshitter, or indeed anyone like him, a populist liberal, the country would never again be free of him unless they killed him. The west would see to that.

      Like

  49. I do not believe the above! The blog where I saw that info has gone. My browser is playing up and immediately translating without having been instructed by me to do so, and these machine translations are often inaccurate. And I have just seen a newspaper headline that The Dark Lord enjoys 67% of the population’s trust.

    I should imagine that Putin’s trust percentage may have fallen by 11% and some Navalny juvenile hamster has got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

    I shall have to check out Levada.

    Believe me, the Russian blogosphere is being swamped with blogs concerning Navalny.

    Washington’s agents have gone into overdrive in order to use this epidemic for their own benefit.

    What a filthy traitorous bunch of bastards they are! I would give them all a one-way ticket to the land of their dreams!

    Like

  50. From RBK:

    “The Kremlin is not inclined to fully trust the polls conducted by the Levada Center because of its methodology”, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov has told an RBY correspondent.

    I would provide a link, but I can’t be arsed because I am using my iPhone to send this message and it’s a ball-acher of a job doing attaching links when using a phone.

    Like

  51. From the RBK article:

    According to the Levada Centre opinion poll, Vladimir Putin’s actions as president is approved by 59% of Russians, 33% said they did not approve.

    Compared with March, the approval rate decreased by 4% and reached a historic low. At the same time, the Levada Centre noted that its research methodology had changed: instead of a personal survey, sociologists used the telephone. The survey was conducted April 24–27 among 1608 respondents over 18 years of age.

    More details at RBC:
    https://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/5eb2aa5e9a79477653a12ce3?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=mobile

    And some hamster posted earlier that the Bullshitter had 11% support, in 4th place after the Evil One.

    Like

    1. It’s clear that there is some manipulation of opinion polling going on. Why the change in methodology?

      Opinion polls are to shape opinion not to measure it.

      We will no doubt see a whole series of articles in the western papers about Putin loosing power.

      That is what Levada is there to do

      People are supposed to read them and be influenced.

      Peskov should respond by saying “ Levada is a foreign agent so we do not trust their opinion whether high or low “

      He really isn’t a good spokesperson at all – allows others to dictate the narrative and he just responds.

      Like

  52. The gift that keeps giving. In the beginning of the pushback against EU sanctions there was much levity in the Poles’ reaction to the RF banning their apples. And then the penny dropped.

    And among the gourmands of Mordor there was veritable gnashing of teeth as French dairy products were banned. Imagine the fury of said gourmands as desperate measures are introduced due to plummeting consumption of cheese:

    https://www.insider.com/france-told-eat-more-cheese-save-struggling-dairy-industry-coronavirus-2020-5

    No wonder confidence in Putin is declining.

    Like

    1. Wouldn’t have to ask me twice – I love Brie and Camembert.

      This ‘pandemic’ is looking more and more heaven-sent for leaders – they have absolute power, the people are huddled in their homes with no jobs and no rights (because every right you once had is subordinated to public safety), and now they are even being told what to eat, what to spend their government grants on. Do they have any will left at all? Is there no limit to how far patriotism can be perverted?

      Like

      1. But if you had to, you could make something from those potatoes; grind them for potato flour, shred them for frozen hash-browns and so on. There’s not much you can make from tons of Brie and Camembert before it goes off, because cheese is kind of already off. Once it passes the tipping point, it’s inedible. I don’t know much about surface-ripened soft cheeses – apart from how to eat them with great satisfaction – but couldn’t they be stored to age a bit more? Jeez; Cheddar and Parmesan and other hard and medium-hard (I originally put ‘semi-hard’, but it sounded rude) cheeses age for years.

        Lucky Norway – frozen pizza keeps forever, as long as it stays frozen.

        Like

        1. They could send all the Frog fromage to Russia, where the libtards have been pining for it since their American pals began to wage economic warfare against “this country”, as said liberal vermin love to call the country they hate.

          Like

          1. What an elegant solution! It could be a gift from France, towards building better ties between the two countries. It should be sent directly to Putin, so that the liberal whingers would have to thank him for sharing his cheese before collapsing into a quivering blob of cheese-loving rapture.

            Like

        2. The Belgians could send all their fries to France and the French could eat them dunked in Brie, Camembert and Rocquefort.

          That would be like poutine without the gravy, I suppose.

          Like

            1. That was pretty cool, although he lost me briefly with the origami, a step I kind of found superfluous. But it gave me a lot of ideas for cheese-stuffed bread you could just do in the oven, in foil. Obviously it would be difficult to make an oven with a Swiss Army Knife, but fortunately I have one already.

              Like

                1. Every now and then, a little of what you fancy does you good. I’m not convinced having something like that on rare occasions shortens your life at all, and if it does, I reason that those two years were probably miserable ones anyway. I love warm melted Camembert with whole bulbs of roasted garlic. Smear some warm Camembert on a crispy wheat cracker, squeeze a blob of warm soft roasted garlic on top….delicious. Cuts down on your kissing for the next little bit, though.

                  Like

  53. AsiaTimes.com: China to upgrade R&D centers in Shenzhen, Jiangsu
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/05/china-to-upgrade-rd-centers-in-shenzhen-jiangsu/

    The People’s Bank of China said it will further open up financial markets with a pilot scheme in Shanghai

    China is going to transform and upgrade two existing research and development (R&D) centers in Shenzhen and Jiangsu province into national innovation centers, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

    The move is aimed at upgrading the country’s technologies in semiconductor packaging and medical device design…

    …It will help China’s medical device manufacturers to break through the bottlenecks in basic materials, core equipment and components, advanced processes and intelligent systems, according to the MIIT…
    ####

    That sounds remarkably like ‘we have to make absolutely everything ourselves because of US threats to cut us off from tech’ As Queen wouldn’t sing, Another Market Bites the Dust

    Meanwhile this from Pepe’s Discobar:

    AsiaTimes.com: China forges ahead through chaos and threats
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/05/china-forges-ahead-through-chaos-and-threats/

    Beijing is turbocharging its Belt and Road and other game-changing plans despite Covid-19 and US hybrid warfare
    ####

    Apparently Plumpeo met Lavrov again and repeated that there would be no nuclear accords without China. Whereas Russia is annoyed, the real pressure will be on u-Rope. They’ll have to be fully onboard with the US’s plans. Maybe that is the point, to for u-Rope to jump one way or the other, if America then $$$, if not America then Bye Bye NATO. Either way they want u-Rope to pay. As the saying goes, “Follow the money.”

    Like

    1. Historically, the USA never engages in any agreement which will curb its power to act as it pleases. If the USA refuses to enter into an arms-limitation accord, then it perceives itself to have an advantage it will not yield. The only exceptions are when the potential adversary so drastically limits his own power that the USA has a satisfactory advantage without having to give up very much. China at present is not much of a nuclear power in terms of weaponry, so it is likely American attempts to bring it into an agreement are just a distraction to prevent any kind of agreement from being concluded.

      Like

  54. A little more background on the K-Mart Koup initiated by GI Jordan. It turns out that, according to Goudreau himself, he was hired by the Venezuelan opposition, led by Johnny-Boy Guaido. It was still probably paid for by the United States, since Guaido has no money of his own, never mind millions; at the very least it was probably paid out of funds stolen from Maduro and the Venezuelan people by American ‘freezing’.

    https://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-coup-green-beret-maduro-181109296.html

    The Huffington Post has a good time making fun of it, because it’s a Democratic resource and enjoys blaming the failure on Trump. But it’s only at the very last it remembers itself and its message and says, oh yeah, boys and girls – don’t do coups. Because up to that point, the message was don’t do half-assed coups in which you hire the lowest bidder. I’m pretty confident that if the attempt had – against all odds – succeeded, Washington would have been happy to jump on board and would have swung into action helping Johnny-Boy get his government set up and doling out money to the people to keep them quiet. And then Venezuela would have been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United States, although its value would have gone way, way down since last year – who needs huge oil reserves now?

    You’ll enjoy reading about the conduct of the operation; I hope I don’t spoil it by revealing that Goudreau announced it in advance on Twitter on several occasions.

    Like

  55. And another one bites the dust: charges dropped against General Flynn, as the Democrats’ house of cards ‘Russia interference’ hoax continues to tumble and split.

    https://news.yahoo.com/charges-against-ex-national-security-190349026.html

    The Dems were on a roll there for awhile, charging aide after aide with obstruction and conspiracy, but they just couldn’t keep it up. Day by day their farcical fabrications are running out of steam.

    “Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler, who chairs the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, said in a statement the move was “outrageous”. Mr Nadler said he would be rescheduling a hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr as soon as possible to explain the decision. He added that he would ask the justice department’s inspector general to investigate the matter. “The evidence against General Flynn is overwhelming,” Mr Nadler said. “We are not supposed to get special treatment because we are friends with the President.”

    Whoa, there, Jerry!! That ‘the evidence is overwhelming’ stuff is just for the rubes – don’t get to the point you actually believe it! Listen, you fuck, that was the decision of the Department of Justice, and if there actually was overwhelming evidence, they would have prosecuted based on it. Did you not read the part about “FBI agents expressed uncertainty..”? Since when are FBI agents ‘uncertain’ when they are collecting “overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence”?

    They couldn’t prove Flynn lied, and he tried to retract his guilty plea but he was not allowed. The charge of lying to the FBI was all they really had – the whole crock about him conspiring with Russian officials was a nothingburger, as critics said some time ago, and it fell apart quite quickly. They clung onto the ‘Flynn lied!” lifeline, but in the end they couldn’t even prove that. Incontrovertible and overwhelming evidence, my ass. They had zip. If Creepy Joe gets into the White House at the head of that pack of lying hounds, it will be the biggest miscarriage of justice since I don’t know what. Not that Trump is any good; he’s an ass. And he’s a liar as well, of long standing with repeated refreshers. But giving the Democrats a victory would be rewarding them for four years of nonstop lying.

    Here’s a bun-blistering spanking of the Democrats’ propaganda-based vendetta against Trump, motivated by Hillary Clinton’s agony over losing ton such an unsophisticated bumpkin, administered by Andrew McCarthy. More succulent morsels than you can count; did you know, for instance, that Mueller obtained Flynn’s guilty plea for having lied to the FBI by threatening to prosecute Flynn’s son? I know, right??

    “Flynn had not made any commitments to Russia about lifting sanctions, and even if he had done so, it would not have been a crime. The only theory on which these communications were conceivably criminal would have called for application of the Logan Act. As we’ve noted many times, this late-18th-century provision, which purports to criminalize freelance diplomacy by unauthorized officials, is unconstitutional. That is why the Justice Department has not even tried to invoke it since 1852, and why, in the Logan Act’s 221 years on the books, no one has ever been convicted of violating it.

    Mueller was also authorized to probe whether Flynn had made false statements to FBI agents who questioned him about his Kislyak conversations. By the time of the scope memo, the FBI and DOJ knew that (a) the questioning of Flynn had not been based on any properly predicated investigation; (b) the FBI had willfully violated protocols to conduct an ambush interview, which they would not have been permitted to do had they sought permission from the Justice Department and the White House; (c) the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he had lied; and (d) the bureau improperly edited the report of Flynn’s interview. Mueller’s staff nevertheless eventually succeeded in pressuring Flynn to plead guilty to a false-statements charge. It has since been reported, however, that (a) they pressured him to plead by threatening to prosecute his son, (b) Mueller’s commitment not to prosecute Flynn’s son was withheld from the court, in violation of federal law, and (c) prosecutors concealed from Flynn’s defense significant exculpatory evidence while misrepresenting how the interview report was generated.”

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/05/rosenstein-scope-memo-confirms-baselessness-of-trump-russia-probe/

    I would suggest the Democrats, at least, know that the ‘insider dope’ in the Steele dossier came from Skripal. There is an obvious motive to get rid of him, either to prevent him from being questioned, or to punish him for the shoddiness of the material he generated – the Steele dossier fell apart in weeks if not days. Now Schiff is declassifying transcripts of interviews like a madman, trying to stave off the complete collapse of the Democrats’ ridiculous story.

    P.S. One of the comments to that article suggests the upcoming election will now be even more fiercely fought and bitterly contested, with who knows what dirty tricks pulled out of the tickle trunk, because the Democrats will be desperate to regain the power to issue Presidential pardons. If they don’t make the cut, and Trump wins another term (as I fully expect him to do)…

    Like

    1. Flynn was facing the very real threat to incarcerate his son for a very long time. The disgraceful conduct of his original lawyers led to his tendering of his acknowledgement of guilt.

      Despite the general perception that he was abandoned by Trump, I suspect that Trump and Flynn agreed to an arms length relationship during the Russiagate maelstrom in order to buy time to build their own investigation. And the noises now from Schiff, Nadler and the rest are just confirmation of the old saying::

      “Twist the pig’s ear and listen to it squeal.”

      Like

      1. JustTheNews.com: Flynn legal team blasts his former counsel for failing to turn over materials
        https://justthenews.com/government/courts-law/flynn-legal-team-blasts-his-former-counsel-materials-keep-trickling-out

        Flynn’s legal team wants Covington & Burling to provide more materials

        Lawyers for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn are blasting the law firm that previously served as his counsel after it belatedly turned over another batch of materials responsive to a court order.

        Flynn’s former counsel at the firm Covington & Burling were supposed to supply his new legal team with all materials pertaining to his case. But batches of materials keep coming out and Flynn’s current counsel, which includes Sidney Powell, is calling for Covington to supply more materials…
        ####

        Sidney ‘Honey Badger’ Powell. She is one seriously impressive lady.

        Like

        1. It’s shaping up that having the charges dropped is just the first step is a correct perspective; Powell’s implication now is that Flynn was ‘set up’ by a corrupt and politicized cabal at the very top of the FBI. Heads may indeed roll, as the momentum slips from the Democrats to the Republicans. And it couldn’t happen at a worse time for the Democrats, just before an election so that trust in their entire party is lowered, while the Democratic presidential candidate fights his way through a shitstorm of sexual-assault and harassment allegations. He might as well be funneling his campaign cash out the window and into the wind.

          https://saraacarter.com/stunning-brady-docs-disclosed-by-gov-exonerates-lt-gen-michael-flynn-defense-says/

          “In the supplement to Flynn’s motion to dismiss his case for egregious government misconduct Powell stated Friday that “this afternoon, the government produced to Mr. Flynn stunning Brady evidence that proves Mr. Flynn’s allegations of having been deliberately set up and framed by corrupt agents at the top of the FBI.”

          “It also defeats any argument that the interview of Mr. Flynn on January 24 was material to any ‘investigation.’ The government has deliberately suppressed this evidence from the inception of this prosecution—knowing there was no crime by Mr. Flynn,” she added.”

          The FBI may be a very different-looking organization by the middle of the next Trump term. It’s amazing how even people long in government service convince themselves that stopping an individual from assuming the presidency is of such national-security importance that it justifies extraordinary and extralegal measures, although they are themselves at the apex of an organization dedicated to observing, upholding and enforcing the law.

          Like

  56. Here’s a couple of amazing things to amaze you. One, the United States admits to a missile gap with China! I near about fell off my rocker onto ol’ Jeb when I read that. China??? The USA blabbers on for as long as you will listen about its mighty and unstoppable military power, so much greater than Russia with its rusty junk that the USA could crush it without even sending in the varsity team. And Russia’s missile technology puts China’s in the shade, although some of the newer Chinese anti-ship missiles boast truly scary accuracy and hit probability. Two, the American interim plan to close the missile gap (new missiles are said to be coming, but of course they are not ready yet) is forward-basing cruise missiles in the South China Sea and region, on land.

    If you were in charge of a coastal missile system that you wanted to use to hit Chinese ships, where would you put it? On the coast, obviously, somewhere that it has a clear field of view to seaward, and doesn’t have to fly through a mountain first, for instance. Sea-based anti-ship missiles, on other ships, have the advantage of being on a relatively agile platform which is not going to sit there and wait for a counterstrike. Satellites might tell you where it is right now, but probably not where it will be in an hour. Coastal landbased systems have limited options to move about, and their location and disposition are more easily known. And they are sitting ducks for air power. You don’t even need to bomb them or send a missile down their throats, either. You can fly in a big ol’ jammer, and jam the shit out of the acquisition radar.

    All that aside, American plans to forward-base missile systems in a region they’d like to run – obviously, because Washington likes to run everything – but which is far away and decidedly in someone else’s sphere of influence, is likely to awaken Chinese fury. And it will only take so much provoking. I need hardly mention this will cement the Sino-Russian alliance even tighter.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-missiles-specialreport-us/special-report-u-s-rearms-to-nullify-chinas-missile-supremacy-idUSKBN22I1EQ

    As an aside, I wonder if this will interest China in purchasing the Kalibr? They currently have nothing with its capabilities, and it would be a useful option against a coastal battery whose position is known. And considering forward-based anti-ship missiles ostensibly to keep China in its place would also be admirably suited to target Russian naval units…Vladivostok, and the headquarters of the Russian Pacific Fleet, is right there.

    Like

      1. Yeah, you’re right; I should have checked. Algeria, India, Vietnam and China all have it for use in their Kilo Class submarines, and Iran is thought to have bought it or will in the near future, also for the Kilo Class submarines. India is the only other nation that uses it in surface ships as well, on the TALWAR and her sisters.

        I thought Russia would be reluctant to export it, considering it was such a game-changer when it was introduced, and put Russia immediately into the exclusive cruise-missile club with the USA and UK, able to launch a serious first-wave softening-up attack without risking anybody on their own side. But I don’t think any of Russia’s client states have it in sufficient numbers to use it in that capacity, except perhaps for China, and to the best of my knowledge it has never used it at all; I assume there have been tests to verify its operational capability, but China has never used it against an enemy, and I don’t believe any of the others have, either.

        It would make a handy leveler; as the author of a novel I recently read pointed out, even Mike Tyson would have a hard time biting the ear off a gun.

        Like

    1. The choice of term ‘Missile Gap’ is an interesting one considering the USA lied through its teeth during the early days of the Cold War that it was way behind the Soviet Union, not to mention the ‘Bomber Gap.’

      And of course he is talking about all missiles and not nuclear armed ICBM’s of which China only has a few hundred. I’m sure China does have a very large number, because once the fancy ones are fired from ship or forward base (USA! USA! USA!), there usually aren’t any re-loads available. I’m not even mentioning the huge number of shipping containers so they could pop up in all sorts of unexpected places too, conventionally armed or not.

      yes, I agree that China will not sit on its hands and do nothing while the USA seeds its borders and other nations in Asia with its missiles. There really is no point of trading with such nations and there is nothing the USA can offer those nations in return to make up for lost trade. I’m betting Australia will be the first to get the squeeze considering its upgrading to a US forward base (Tindall etc.). Both f-18s, F-35s, B-1bs, B-2s etc. will be based there carrying long range cruise missiles and American nukes. I’m sure the calculation is to keep building up forces in the Northern Territories (or using the NATO in u-Rope permenant rotation schtick) until China hits out, and then withdraw a few, to see how much threat China will accept. I suspect Australia will be in for a rude awakening.

      Like

      1. FlightGlobal.com: Long-Range Standoff Weapon franchise worth $10 billion over lifetime: Raytheon
        https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing/long-range-standoff-weapon-franchise-worth-10-billion-over-lifetime-raytheon/138283.article

        …The LRSO is a stealthy, nuclear-tipped cruise missile intended to replace the service’s AGM-86 Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM). The ALCM is planned to remain in service with the USAF through 2030…
        ####

        Slated to arm (re-engined) B-52s and the new B-21 stealth bomber (the B-1bs are fast wearing out), LSRO range 1,500 miles+. It’s about 2,700 miles between Australia and China. I seem to recall that the now extinct US Navy nuclear armed tomahawk (TLAM-N) had a range of 2,500km back in the 1980s.

        Like

        1. But a nuclear exchange is a nuclear exchange, a line in the sand that you cannot blur by saying “It was just a teeny one”. A nuclear strike incorporates the delayed damage of radiation, and is far from over once the bang has died away. If things go nuclear, even with a teeny one, all bets would be off and it would be every country for itself. It would escalate quickly because nobody wants to be caught in a strike with all their own missiles in their silos. And Australia would have to know the Chinese or anyone else would not take long to figure out a nuclear attack had originated with American forces deployed from Australia. And then Australia would be a cinder.

          Like

          1. I’m not sure the penny has dropped in Australia. It’s shits ‘n’ giggles so far. They’ve yet to be slapped about as they have so far taken advantage of China’s relatively restrained behavior. That’s only my opinion, but where exactly in the Australian media has it been categorically and extensively pointed out that Aus would become a cinder? It’s still good to be ‘mates’ with Washington.

            Like

            1. Do they not notice that the USA – whom they are enthusiastically (at least at the political level) hosting – is developing a real chip-on-the-shoulder relationship with their largest export market? I suppose they live in hopes that Uncle Sugar will knock China back to a second-rate power that mostly does as it’s told by its betters, but that economically it will continue to flourish and to buy more and more Australian exports. I would submit, however, that such a fantasy is unrealistic.

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              1. My understanding is that the Australian business community still values a good relationship.with China (for obvious self-interest reasons) and is putting pressure on the ruling Scott Morrison govt to choose its path carefully. (Not least because the corporate sector funds the Liberal Party election warchest and the Liberal Party has always promoted itself as a party of the business sector.) The pro-US warhawk talk is coming from the defence and intelligence establishment in Canberra.

                Like

                1. That is mirrored in the US and elsewhere (TSMC Taiwan) too. There’s been a lot of pushback by the tech and industry titans against stiffing Huawei, most of it privately done. As usual, we should be looking at what is actually done significantly more so than what is said.

                  Like

      2. That may be, but if China puts a trade squeeze on Australia and other regional states in retaliation, the USA will be more than glad to step in there, too. So it will have gained more market share, which it would of course declare as an equally great victory.

        It seems to me that where all those countries are vulnerable is in their own trade ties to China, in exports. If their exports to China are threatened, the USA is not going to offer to pick up their markets; it is focused on more selling, not more buying.

        Australia, for example. This reference is a bit dated, but as of 2014 China was Australia’s top export market, most of it agricultural. It accounted for AUS$ 98 Billion that Australia could not afford to lose.

        https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/04/5-things-to-know-about-china-and-australia-s-economic-ties

        Similarly, Australia was China’s second-biggest recipient of Chinese direct investment. I doubt the USA is interested in spending more money in Australia, or not a lot more and on a continuous basis; it is interested in using Australia as a forward base for American weaponry, and selling more goods to Australia. It is especially not going to buy extra billions in Australian agricultural products, because it has trouble getting rid of an overabundance of its own agricultural products.

        Like

        1. The 2014 data is old but China still is Australia’s largest trading partner. Until this year, China was also the largest source of external funding for Australia’s tertiary education sector (2nd biggest money-earning export after mining) through Chinese students, and that sector has all but crashed as well.

          Incidentally there has been something of a rift developing between Canberra and Washington DC over the origins of COVID-19. This rift has been picked up by local news media who are playing it for their own ends. Canberra wants an “independent” inquiry on where the virus originated, with the expectation that it came from the Huanan seafood market, the ultimate aim being to close all such fresh food markets down so that presumably Chinese people would have to obtain all their food from supermarkets, where there is a chance that Australian food producers can position their products and not have to compete with Chinese local food products. The US govt position (not supported by the US intel community) is that the virus came from a biological research lab in Wuhan.

          Like

  57. Uh oh, Joe…there goes your ass.

    The San Luis Obispo Tribune obtained a 1996 court filing from San Luis Obispo County showing Reade’s then-husband, Theodore Dronen, referring to her time working for the Delaware senator. The declaration came in response to a restraining order she had filed against him after he filed for divorce.

    The court document, however, did not directly accuse the former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate of sexual harassment or refer to a sexual assault.

    “I met Petitioner in the spring of 1993 while working in Washington D.C. At the early stages of our dating, Petitioner felt comfortable confiding in me as we both worked for members of Congress, and we shared many common interests,” the document obtained by the Tribune read. “On several occasions Petitioner related a problem that she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office. Petitioner told me she struck a deal with the chief of staff of the senator’s office and left her position.”

    Dronen continued, “I was sympathetic to her needs when she asked me for help, and assisted her financially, and allowed her to stay in my apartment with my roommate while she looked for work. It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on Petitioner, and that she is still sensitive and [affected] by it today.”

    Let’s see if we can get Nancy Pelosi out of the ice-cream freezer long enough for a comment. Still absolutely believe Joe’s story, Nancy? Jeez, you’d think Trump was writing the script.

    Just in case you don’t get it, Joe – which wouldn’t be surprising – that court document is from 1996.

    Like

  58. From А и Ф:

    The attack on the Foreign Ministry and its representatives has been carried out with one single purpose – to misinform the country’s population, to convince Russian citizens that a social contract guaranteeing stability in the country is no longer valid.

    “Recently, Maria Zakharova, speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has often become the target of harsh and impartial bullying. Maria herself, as is understandable, represents the department of Sergei Lavrov, who is deservedly respected even among her opponents, a guru in her work. It’s clear that “jumping” on the “great and terrible” Lavrov isn’t enough, so haters prefer to attack Maria, – insists political analyst, general director of the Center for Political Information Alexei Mukhin. – At the same time, they use every opportunity to try to switch their attention from the subject matter dispute and switch what is called “personality”. And this is not surprising, because many of Zakharova’s opponents are complete populists. I will say more: they have long passed into the status of marginals and, not owning the texture and real arguments, operate on emotions and spit saliva …

    Politicians, as a rule, are engaged in populism, so to speak, during their period of [political] puberty, but these characters seem to be stuck in it and consider it a great success if they succeed in removing one of the politically significant persons from the state of mental equilibrium. Then in their street is a real celebration, and it’s really disgusting. ”

    Like

    1. Remember where Navalny got his political education, and doubtless gets refresher tips when he needs them; Yale, and the great fertile field of American think-tanks and destabilization workshops. Navalny is forever registering pointed criticisms of perceived flaws in the government’s policies and speeches, and you can be sure he doesn’t identify them himself – it’s fairly clear from his own colourful speeches that he is merely a lightning-rod rabble-rouser. I suppose Sobol and that crowd might help him out a little, but they all seem such hopeless ideologues that they have no plan at all beyond the glorious victory, and no idea how to govern – there will be democracy, and the people will get to really vote for the first time, and presumably Lyosha will be President but beyond that they have not thought too far. I’m pretty confident that Lyosha is being guided from afar. Thing is, you would think that would be pretty easy to establish, especially in Mordor, where his every step and phone call is monitored by the FSB.

      Like

  59. Above the law?

    Moscow, May 7, 2020, 20:07 – REGNUM Today, on May 7, a preliminary court hearing was to be held in the Tver court of Moscow over the case of St. Petersburg businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has sued for the protection of honour and business reputation. The defendants were the lawyer of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), Lyubov Sobol, and the Tsargrad television channel, recognized as a foreign agent.

    Information about this was published on the official website of the Tver Court of Moscow. However, the lawyer for the Navalny FBK did not appear in the courtroom, and therefore a decision was made to postpone the meeting. A new date and time for the preliminary hearing will be announced later.

    Earlier, the Tsargrad television channel issued a publication in which Sobol announced an attack against her husband Sergei Mokhov, in which, according to her, Yevgeny Prigozhin was allegedly involved. The Navalny supporter did not bring any evidence. The head of the Concord company filed a lawsuit against Lyubov Sobol and Tsargrad, demanding a refutation of groundless charges.

    Link:

    https://yandex.ru/turbo/s/regnum.ru/news/2942147.html?promo=navbar&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.com&utm_source=stick_link_button

    Like

        1. It seems that Tsargrad TV had reported her allegations that “Putin’s Cook” had attacked her husband:

          The St. Petersburg businessman demands that Lyubov Sobol refute the allegations in a story on Tsargrad TV concerning his involvement in an attack on the husband of the FBK lawyer’s husband, Sergei Mokhov.
          In a story on the Tsargrad TV channel transmitted during the 2018 Moscow City Duma election campaign at MHD, Sobol claimed that Prigozhin allegedly had assaulted her husband. But at the same time, she did not provide a single fact supporting her charge. Most likely, the statement by Navalny’s comrade-in-arms was just an attempt at self-PR, reports Rambler.

          https://news.rambler.ru/other/44144342/?utm_content=mnews_media&utm_medium=read_more&utm_source=copylink

          Like

    1. I daresay this time it will be served in person, and accompanied by a careful explanation that an order to appear before the court is not a suggestion, the kind of thing you would think a lawyer would know. But maybe she’s a lawyer like Lyosha himself, whose background is in real-estate law. I wonder if real-estate lawyers can get disbarred, since they probably don’t have to pass a bar exam. But that’s just a guess. Anyway, let’s see if there will be a flood of sympathetic articles in the western press about the hero lawyer who is under assault by the pitiless muscle of the state.

      Like

  60. >Today’s Moscow Times enthuses over the Levada report that Putin’s popularity is at a record low of 59%.

    That’s from a telephone survey of 1, 850 people.

    Yaaay! Gimme freedom!!!!!

    Like

    1. You have to keep in mind that this represents, to them, marvelous progress and more movement than they have seen in 5 years. The time to strike is at hand!! Hold the election right now, and Lyosha the Bullshitter might get 12%!!

      Like

  61. RusAviaInsider.com: Captain of the crash-landed Superjet 100 gives first public interview, denies the charges
    http://www.rusaviainsider.com/captain-of-the-crash-landed-superjet-100-gives-first-public-interview-denies-the-charges/

    Russia’s prosecutor blames the pilot for the crash ahead of the publication of the Interstate Aviation Committee’s final investigation
    ####

    Plenty at the link.

    What about Aeroflot? It was previously reported that SSJ pilots got very limited simulator time. That would have directly affected how much practice for unusual situations they could get. Maybe there’s plenty of blame to go around. There usually is. Those at the sharp end usually get it…

    In other news, PAK-FA Su-57’s Izd-30 engines have been delayed by 5 years. I assume this is to do with the budget, so is elastic. And then there is this:

    BMPD: Контракт на импортозамещение в конструкции самолета МС-21
    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/4017270.html

    Как следует с информации сайта Единой информационной системы в сфере закупок, Министерство промышленности и торговли Российской Федерации 28 апреля 2020 года заключило с АО «Корпорация «Иркут» как единственным подрядчиком контракт на проведение НИОКР по теме «Выполнение научно-исследовательских и опытно-конструкторских работ в рамках реализации проекта по замене импортных материалов и изделий в конструкции ближне-среднемагистрального самолета МС-21 на отечественные аналоги», шифр «МС-21 Импортозамещение 2020 – 2021». Стоимость контракта 12,0763 млрд рублей, срок исполнения – 31 декабря 2021 года…
    ####

    In short, Irkut is dealing with US f/kery of imported materials and components for the MC-21.

    On the plus side, Boing & Arbus are in trouble, though the latter is only cutting production from ~60 per month to around 40, which works for airlines that aren’t flying and want to defer their orders by a year or so…

    Like

  62. Here’s the reference I mentioned earlier, in the discussion of COVID-19 and the continuing effort to make it appear like the reincarnation of the Black Death. As I discussed, nobody is disputing that it’s real and that it’s extremely contagious – just the extreme and government-ordered capitulation to it.

    https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/a6f23959a8b14bfa989e3cda29297ded

    If it doesn’t display properly, it’s a selection from this:

    http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data

    The population of Vancouver Island is about 872,000, most of it in the cities of Victoria and Nanaimo. Currently there are 126 known cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island. Of those, 2 are new cases. Of the 126 cases, 2 are hospitalized, 1 in the ICU. 109 have recovered, and 5 have died. The median age of those who died, throughout the province, is 82.

    From the data above, and assuming a much wider spread of the disease, I think it would be reasonable to conclude the vast majority of people afflicted with it recover, and of those seriously afflicted, ICU hospitalization is not guaranteed to overwhelm the medical system. There very likely would be many more deaths, but they would be biased toward the group which is at high risk of dying every day due to natural causes owing to advanced age and a general weakening of the immune system. Better preparation and more rigorous screening of staff and prohibition of in-person visits, while tradesmen would have to leave replenishment supplies outside the facility and they would have to be decontaminated before coming inside would go far toward protecting those people even if a new pandemic broke out next week, and concentration on developing a vaccine is intense.

    But the effort to separate the entire population into two groups – True Believers who clap like seals for the frontline workers, and Covidiots, the tin-foil-hat conspiracy theorists who believe it is all part of a plot to kill us through 5-G transceivers – goes on.

    Like

  63. The New York Times is unable to conceal its delight that the Victory Day celebrations in Russia were canceled.

    America figures, I guess, that there is no real need to go on hating the Nazis forever – five years or so seems reasonable, then it’s time to move on, and the present-day Germans are pretty solid types. The unrelenting celebration by Russians of the defeat of Nazi Germany is a little…spooky, and…Stalinesque. Here’s an idea – why don’t you have a Victory Day SALE, instead? And buy lots of American products!

    Like

    1. Interesting. In the course of the article, I came across Tina Kandelaki’s name, so I had to google her in images to get another look at her. I was surprised to discover she is Georgian by birth, from Tbilisi.

      Like

    2. Seeing Sobchak and Kandelaki’s names together with the word “crabs”, I immediately thought the article was going to be about мандавошки!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Making the above comment made me feel itchy!

        Autosuggestion, I assure you!

        I have probably told all you Stooges of this before, but I am rather partial to crab, particularly to Pacific King Crab from Kamchatka, which you can buy here in cans. After first savouring its delights in the Evil Empire, on returning to the UK in 1991, following my first foray into post-Soviet Russia, I brought along with me several cans of said crab.

        It was not expensive for me at the time to buy such crab, but it certainly was for Russian citizens. It is not cheap now, either, but far, far cheaper than it is in the West.

        On the very next day after my return to the UK in 1991, I called into the poshest department store in Manchester to buy me an off-the-peg suit (double breasted, dark grey – as always: just like my dad’s wedding suit and as mine was too). And lo and behold! What should I see there in the food dept. but a pile of canned Kamchatka King Crab, and the price for each can was £40!!!

        I asked a shop assistant if the price stated was a mistake. It was not. So I thought to myself, “Next time, I’m fetching back a suitcase full of this crab and I’ll flog it off To some fly boy for 20 quid a can!”

        I did not do that, of course.

        I wonder how much it now sells here for ? I shall find out and return anon.

        Like

          1. So the price here now for such a can is what they were asking for the very same product in the UK 30 years ago.

            When I bought it here in the early ’90s, I think it cost about 400 rubles a can.

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        1. I’m very fond of crab as well. There has long been a rivalry between the coasts, crab vs. lobster, which is prevalent on the east coast, although there is crab there as well, just not so much. I would have to say lobster is my favourite; it is sweet, like crab, but has a richer flavour, but both are delicious and their quality best appreciated very fresh. Canned is acceptable if you’re going to make a sandwich or something, but otherwise it should be live, as both are sold in the supermarkets here. Dungeness crabs, obviously – it would take a special kind of fool to try getting a live king crab home in a car.

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