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

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. U(f)LA – United (free) Lunch Alliance.

    U(f)LA is the 2006 merger of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Boeing Defense, Space & Security marriage of conflicting requirements of goverment, the USAF and other agencies. A) lower launch costs; b) reduce subsidies; c) whatever. In reality both companies were enjoying nice guaranteed profits until USGov finally realized they were being stitched up in (traditional Military Industrial Complex fare) and then cut the usual subsidies claiming to want ‘lower launch costs’. Rather than have two companies failing to compete (woops, that didn’t work), make them work together! Then an even longer wait for the promise of private space companies to give competition. There’s a boast from Elong Must (what a surprise) that his engines have even higher pressures than the RD-180. A quarter of a century later and $$$ more!


    1. I would just have two comments to that – one, probably anyone who knows anything about rocket engines can make one that generates even higher pressure than the RD-180. The trick is for the engine to still be in one piece, and usable again, after you have pressurized it. Two, it is not really a sign of amazing innovation if you can build a great engine after the inventor gives you the plans and step-by-step instructions, and develops new materials for you which can withstand the pressure and temperature.


    2. Methane fueled rocket engines are somewhat easier to build in a close cycle configuration. Methane does not form carbon deposits like RP-1 can thus the turbine section may not need to operate oxygen-rich. And Musk was pushing hard to have the highest chamber pressure for what appears bragging rights. However, he does readily acknowledge that the RD-180 is masterful engineering.

      Far more interesting to me is Russia’s hypersonic jet engines and that nuclear powered cruise missile. That is where the advanced rocket science can be found; not the US partially duplicating what Russia/USSR did 30 years ago.


      1. Agreed; when the RD-170 was first tested – and, as discussed, the RD-180 is essentially a two-chambered RD-170 – Elon Musk was 14. It’s perfectly true that the engine has continued to evolve all this time, and many advances have been made, but new materials were developed by Russia which did not even exist when Musk was a lad. Not to take anything away from Musk as an engineer, because he is obviously way up there on the thinking curve himself; half of engineering is dreaming up the concept, or seeing a way a previously-immovable physical barrier can be pushed further. But he is at least as much a showman as he is an engineer. Not that that’s bad – the average engineer would have a tough time invoking public interest in his own product, because most of them are frankly boring. Except to other engineers.


    3. Serious question: did the US actually go to the moon? Because just based from reading this article, it looks like they didn’t. I mean, they supposedly built the most powerful rocket ever, Saturn V, right?
      So what happened to it? Why downgrade to the RD-180? It’s like going from a Ferrari to a Prius (no offense to the Prius, but it’s no Ferrari).


      1. The Saturn V was ‘human-rated’; it was designed to launch people into space. It was probably very expensive, and unmanned spacecraft and orbital payloads such as satellites do not need that level of technology; a cargo-rated engine like the RD-180 is good enough, and probably a lot cheaper. That’s my guess, anyway – space is not my strong suit. Also, the F-1 engine which powered the Saturn V (five of them, actually) is the most-powerful SINGLE-CHAMBER engine. Its power and thrust were both exceeded by the RD-170 and the RD-171. The RD-180 is just half an RD-170, broadly speaking.

        A good site to check out, with an open mind, is Dave McGowan’s “Wagging the Moondoggie”.

        The late Mr. McGowan did not believe the US ever landed people on the moon, and he has a lot of interesting arguments against it that are well beyond my ability to disprove. For instance, if the USA actually went to the moon, landed on it, orbited it several times and returned without a hair out of place, on technology that was cutting-edge before the first pocket calculator – why has nobody (including the USA) ever equaled the feat since? In fact, the furthest a manned mission has gotten from the earth’s surface since those giddy days is about 400 miles. The moon is over 230,000 miles away. The ISS routinely orbits at around 250 miles from earth, well under the 400 miles that marks our current ‘outer limits’.

        How did the spacecraft, and astronauts – get through the Van Allen Radiation Belts? Twice for each flight, once going and once returning? The ISS is a tank compared with the Apollo spacecraft. What’d they use for fuel? Why would it take a monster rocket now, many times the size of Apollo, if they could get there and back plus orbit a couple of times with whatever they carried in a spacecraft about the size of a two-car garage? Okay, the Saturn V got them there, but what then?

        I’ve talked to anti-skeptics who say absolutely, the Americans landed on the moon – what an achievement. My oldest son is one. When I say, what about the fuel, he says Dad, there’s no resistance in space. Push off, and if you have enough power to get going, you’ll keep going as long as you’re traveling in more or less a straight line. Maybe; I don’t know.

        I guess the thing that makes it hard for me to believe it is if the USA was able to do it easily, over and over, why has nobody ever been back? It can’t be that they learned everything they ever wanted to know about the moon, and it holds no further interest. They’re talking all the time now about another manned mission – although nobody seems to think it’s possible now in a teeny little capsule – and Newt Gingrich promised he would establish a colony there if the American people elected him president. It just seems to be such a huge technological leap for the equipment available at the time, and then…nothing. Done, move along, nothing to see here.

        Anti-skeptics also say, but they brought back moon rocks. Everyone in the world agreed they were not from this planet. Probably true. And the best place to find moon rocks, just lying around, is Antarctica. You don’t even have to go to space to get them.

        The moon rock presented ceremoniously to The Netherlands by two people who supposedly had been to the moon – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – turned out to be a fake; a piece of petrified wood. Did they just get it mixed up in their big box of moon rocks, or are the American astronauts telling us there were once trees on the moon? Awkward.

        People say, but the world saw it on live TV. No, they didn’t – they saw a live TV picture of a NASA monitor. And so on and so on. It’s a fun subject as long as people don’t lose their tempers.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for the very detailed explanation. I’m familiar with the Van Allen belt issue; as a matter of fact, I think it’s the strongest and most concrete evidence that mankind had not gone to the moon.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You’re very welcome. And I decline to take a firm position, although I am a bit skeptical, for the reasons I state. But if you google “The moon landings hoax” or anything like it, you will get lots of rebuttals in which the authors roll their eyes at people’s stupidity, and go through it patiently, step by step. There are no stars visible because of reflected light from the sun. The flag appears to flap in a non-existent breeze because there was a wire inserted in it to make it stand out – clever Americans, they did not miss a trick, and they knew while they were still on terra firma that there is no wind on the moon, and if they wanted to make a flag display it would have to have a wire in it – and so the flag appears to flap because they moved it a little as they were putting it up. There’s an answer for everything, but most of them seem to me to be, if you believe anything else, you’re stupid. I recall that doctors once prescribed taking up cigarette smoking to pregnant women, as a means of preventing excessive weight gain. Nobody thought that was stupid at the time – I mean, they’re doctors. But it was obviously wrong. Likewise, the notion that the USA was under pressure to come up with a major success is pooh-poohed, as if. But in fact the Soviet Union was righteously kicking everyone’s ass in space, and America was indeed being looked to for what it could do.

            The moondoggie site has lots of points that make you wonder, many of which never occurred to me. For instance, the missions kept getting more ambitious, and in latter missions they packed a moon-rover for the astronauts to drive around in. But the spacecraft did not get any bigger. Even less room inside for food and water and fuel and the necessities, while they carried this whacking great truck. I’m sure it folded up, a miracle for its time, but it would still be a bulky package, just a different shape.

            Also, the fact that all the original recordings were lost – 700 cartons of them. You would think, given the magnitude of the achievement, that they would have been safeguarded as a national treasure. Nope. Disappeared.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Strong arguments as regards the moon landing having been a fake, but there’s the nagging thought in my mind that surely, if the landing was indeed a fake, why, during all those years that have passed since the alleged landing, nobody out of the many hundreds who must have known it was all fakery has spilt the beans?


          1. It’s possible. I only learned yesterday of an incident in Novocherkassk in 1962, in which Soviet military forces opened fire on a crowd of protesters who demanded to speak with party officials over a 30% reduction in wages by a local factory. I forget how many were killed, somewhere between 30 and 60, according to a friend from that city, but those who were there were allegedly forced to sign a pledge that they would never speak of the incident, and the dead buried together in a common unmarked grave. It all sounds too fantastic to believe, but apparently it was kept secret until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when it became known of in a low-key way.

            Here’s an account of it.


            I understand it was not known or talked about in Russia at all. And you will recall a similar filter was applied to the destruction of that flight that crashed in Long Island Sound – TWA-800. No end of witnesses reported seeing a streak of flame like a missile trail; the official account scoffed at this and once again, anyone who challenged the party line was a kook, a tin-foil-hatter, a conspiracy theorist. And one of the most common rebuttals was if it actually happened as the lunatic fringe describes, how could it ever be kept quiet?

            Maybe it couldn’t be. There were calls in 2013 to re-open the investigation, amid charges of evidence-tampering and resolute ignoring of eyewitness reports,


            Liked by 1 person

            1. The Novocherkassk shootings were known of well before the dissolution of the USSR: word got round. I knew of it long ago. In fact, it was being discussed here when I was a student in the Soviet Union, 1989-1990.

              Folk weren’t walking around shouting about it, of course, but it was a topic of what I called “kitchen discussions” or discussed when boozing way out in the sticks on fishing trips with Russian pals.

              I was officially not allowed to venture further than 20 kms from Voronezh city then, but I did and nobody said a word about it.

              I once lived in a village way out in the sticks once, about 120 kms from Voronezh at my Russian girlfriend’s sister’s place for a week. The nearest urban settlement was a place called Anna. I was like “The Playboy of the Western World” there. Everyone knew I was English, but I never got run in by the cops.

              По официальным данным 87 человек получили ранения, 24 убиты на площади и еще 2 вечером того же дня при невыясненных обстоятельствах. Всех погибших ночью вывезли из города и похоронили в чужих могилах.

              3-4 числа митинги все еще продолжались, но с меньшим количеством людей. Власти пустили в народ специально обученных людей, которые грамотно отговаривали людей от дальнейших протестов. Так же происходили задержания (задержано было около 250 человек, 7 приговорено к расстрелу), правительство пообещало пойти на уступки в торговле и нормировании труда. В результате ситуация нормализовалась.

              Информация о новочеркасских событиях в СССР была засекречена по решению Президиума ЦК КПСС. Первые публикации появились только в 1980-х.

              According to official figures, 87 people were injured and 24 were killed in the square and another 2 in the evening of the same day under unclear circumstances. All the dead were taken out of the city at night and buried in the graves of others.

              3-4 rallies still continued, but with fewer people. The authorities let in specially trained people who competently discouraged people from further protests. There were also detentions (about 250 people were detained, 7 were sentenced to death), the government promised to make concessions in trade and labour standards. As a result, the situation returned to normal.

              Information about the Novocherkassk events in the USSR was classified by a decision of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee. The first publications appeared only in the 1980s.

              Новочеркасский расстрел 1962 года. За что правительство убило рабочих!?

              Novocherkassk massacre of 1962. Why were workers murdered by the government!?

              Near-English subtitles available.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I’ve just seen a site (on the missus’s phone) which featured the document residents had to sign. It says, paraphrased, “I understand I am not to speak of this and that if I do, I will be killed”. A friend of the family’s parents lived in Novocherkassk at the time. It was shocking behavior for the Soviet Union, apparently, because it so closely mirrored the sort of gratuitous and uncaring official violence the west loves to hold up as just another day in JoeLand. Well, it wasn’t Stalin, of course; Khrushchev was in power then. A case was actually opened against him and several local officials afterward, but it was dropped when the last of them was dead.

                The locomotive factory allegedly employed a considerable number of people who were released from prison, and consequently a belief may have prevailed that the organizers of the demonstration were criminals; several of them who were not killed at the scene were later executed. Nevertheless, something like a trade union was in effect during those times, in that wages were standardized, and it would have been illegal for the factory’s owners to arbitrarily reduce wages by 30%.

                The local military commander – Shaposhnikov by name, but not the famous one; he died in 1945 – refused orders to fire on civilians. He was not disciplined, but was retired early.

                A small editorial correction – the document I mentioned at the beginning was actually for the police to sign, and it signified that they understood they were to obey orders and if they failed to do so they would be executed.

                Liked by 1 person

        3. > why has nobody (including the USA) ever equaled the feat since?

          That is very easy to answer. It’s stupidly expensive, incredibly risky and, at this point, utterly pointless. The feat is more like a computer game achievement – brings a lot of prestige to do it first, but not really useful other than the proof of concept. Until we reach a technological point where we can do it consistently (i.e. closing in to making a semi-permanent moon base a-la ISS), don’t expect more manned missions. Unmanned are just fine for science with no additional costs and risks involved.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. As a recovering space cadet, I can take a crack at some of the issues raised above. The F-1 engine was a “relaxed design” meaning it was analogous to a low pressure steam engine; a very big steam engine but not pushing engineering limits (beyond overcoming instability in the combustion chamber), fluid dynamics analysis or control requirements. For example, its chamber pressure was only about, IIRC, 800 psi or so. And it used an open cycle turbo pump meaning that a great deal of usable energy was wasted in order to minimize design and material challenges. The video linked below shows the launch of the Saturn V. At around 2:00, the vehicle is just liftinf off allowing a close up of the rocket exhaust. The dark band immediately below the nozzle is sooty and relatively cool exhaust from the turbines used to drive the fuel and oxidizer pumps. The gas temperature is low and the soot is from running fuel rich to eliminate free oxygen that would otherwise destroy hot metallic components.

          The Russian solution embodied in the RD-170 were orders of magnitude more difficult from an engineering standpoint. Ultrahigh chamber pressure approaching 4,000 psi and oxygen-rich closed cycle turbopumps were viewed in the West as simply impossible to achieve. And, of course, Russian claims were initially dismissed as propaganda.

          Back to the steam engine analogy. The RD-180 could be viewed as a state-of-the-art supercritical steam turbine designed to achieve close to the theoretical limits of performance. In various articles, US techno-apologists said that the US chose to focus to focus on engines using liquid hydrogen. True enough but it was due in part to an inability of to master the oxygen-rich closed cycle technology. Besides, the hydrogen engines on the Energia had higher performance than the SSME engines used on the US space shuttle (falsely claimed to be the most powerful and efficient hydrogen engine)

          The above is important in understanding a nation’s engineering capabilities as rocket technology involves just about every area of mechanical engineering.

          The US manned lunar missions were impressive engineering feats more in terms of overall project management and in the amount of money spent with reasonable efficiency. In short the Russian had better engineering capability but the US far outspent them. Going to the moon with a cold war stunt carried out by solid, if uninspired, engineering and very good project management.

          Why did the US not return to the moon? Short answer is that it served its propaganda purposes. A noisy fraction of the global population have been convinced that the lunar landing was of epic significance and will be the only thing remembered and venerated in the hazy future. Not the first artificial satellite (the real dawn of the space age) nor the first human in space (the start of human exploration of space). No, it was the AMERICANS who will be remembered! Or, so they think.


          1. From what I read, a critical mistake in the SU’s moon project was their over confidence and deciding not to test the rocket stack horizonally (30 rockets). On the plus side, the failure of the moon project fed success leading directly to the RD-170 development and orbital priorites.

            As for the Van Allen belts, engineers were confinced that the Sound Barrier couldn’t be broken.


            1. The SU moon program was way underfunded hence the lack of subassembly testing. Regarding the Van Allen radiation belt, as discussed a while back, a Soviet satellite was the first to detect but Aussie a-holes (Australia was in the right location to receive the data) refused to forward the satellite telemetry. I think “Korolev radiation belt” has a nicer sound.


            2. That is an interesting video. The N1 was the coolest looking rocket. They say the bugs were worked out just as the program was cancelled. Another contributor factor to the N1 problems was the unexpected death of Korolev.


            3. That’s quite true, and I’m not suggesting transit through the Van Allen Belts is impossible; far from it. I am suggesting it was impossible for a tin can with some goldy foil wrapped around the legs, like the Apollo capsules were.


              1. A quick trip through the radiation belt is survivable without undue harm. However, a solar “storm” would have exposed the crew to a lethal radiation dose in a matter of hours. They were damn lucky and they know it. Interestingly, astronauts, once beyond the earth’s magnetic field, reported seeing flashes of light while in total darkness. It was determined that the light originated from high energy subatomic particles passing though their eyes creating flashes of light or possibly directly energizing the optic nerve.

                However, the biggest health effect is cardiovascular disease.


                Worrying research from the US has found that astronauts who travelled into deep space on lunar missions were five times more likely to have died from cardiovascular disease than those who went into low orbit, or never left Earth.


                1. All the original recordings of the moon landings were – oops!! – erased by mistake, and taped over. But good news, kids: the new digitized recordings, made from television copies which were themselves recordings off a NASA monitor and not live, are even better! Clear as crystal.


                  Whether or not American astronauts actually landed on the moon, I hope everyone can see what the western press would make of coincidences like these – all the original tapes lost, sorry, can’t show them to you, and oh, that moon rock our astronauts personally presented to the Dutch Prime Minister turned out to be a piece of petrified wood when there have never been trees on the moon – if it had been the Russians who claimed the first lunar landings, and these inconsistencies showed up.


                2. A good friend who is also a very good engineer believes that the moon landings were a hoax. Stanley Kubrick was recruited, he says, to produce and direct the hoax. Kubrick was murdered as he was ready to spill the beans so the story goes.

                  My take is that the landings did occur pretty much as reported. The engineering is plausible, images from lunar orbiters show the landing sites and why would NASA have conducted multiple expeditions when only one was needed? Agreed that the destruction of historically significant materials is a bit odd.

                  Also, adding my own tin foil info, the SU lunar surface probes showed a surprisingly high content of water in the lunar regolith yet the Apollo samples were extremely dry which comported with expectation. The SU findings were dismissed by most Western scientists. However, subsequent lunar probes did indeed confirm the Soviet data. Were the “moon rocks” fake? Were they?


                3. There is no reason to believe the ‘moon rocks’ were fake, although bits of meteorites may or may not once have been part of the moon. It gets hit often and is visibly cratered. However, as I pointed out, those rocks can be collected on earth, in Antarctica. You don’t need to actually go to the moon to get them. It was particularly unfortunate that the rock which was given to the Dutch was (a) personally presented by two astronauts who had allegedly been to the moon, and was presumably obtained for its journey to the Netherlands through a pretty rigid chain of custody, since it was an official gift from the US Department of State, and (b) turned out to actually be a piece of petrified wood when there are no trees on the moon and never have been. If it had just been another chunk of meteorite from God knows where, nobody would have ever been the wiser. But that particular one demonstrably could not have been a moon rock.

                  A NASA reference points out that the Van Allen Belts are by no means the only source of dangerous radiation for would-be moon tourists.

                  “NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration calls for a return to the Moon [handily dispelling the ‘debunking’ that there is no further interest in moon missions because America has already been there, done that] as preparation for even longer journeys to Mars and beyond. But there’s a potential showstopper: radiation.

                  Space beyond low-Earth orbit is awash with intense radiation from the Sun and from deep galactic sources such as supernovas. Astronauts en route to the Moon and Mars are going to be exposed to this radiation, increasing their risk of getting cancer and other maladies. Finding a good shield is important.

                  Moon astronauts need to be protected from radiation throughout their journey and while working on the surface. Not during the 60’s and 70’s, though – radiation beyond low-earth orbit is a recent development which started…oh, about 1975.



                4. It does look like it would be funny. Other sites dedicated to making fun of ‘Hoaxers’ mention the 1971 Bond film, “Diamonds Are Forever”, in which Bond in pursuit runs through a movie set where astronauts are bouncing around in their puffy suits, and the terrain is all shades of grey and looks very like the surface of the moon is portrayed.

                  It seems to me as if there is a disproportionate effort dedicated to ‘debunking’ moon ‘hoaxer conspiracies’. If these people really are loony beyond imagination, why not just leave them to their crazed mutterings? By similar logic, if American lunar landings really were the pinnacle of mankind’s technological achievement, for obviously several generations – since it has never been repeated – how is it possible all the original recordings were erased and taped over? Wouldn’t they be national treasures, safeguarded to the nth degree? And why the ‘aw, shucks’ attitude towards their loss, kind of ‘what are you gonna do; easy come, easy go’?


                5. It looks quite good. I did not realize Ron Perlman was the ugly Soviet in “Enemy At The Gates”; the one who insists on jumping the gap first, ahead of the hero (Jude Law) and gets wasted by a German sniper for his pains. Jeez; he has a face like bondo plaster.


          2. I don’t have the qualifications to discuss technical matters, so I will strictly discuss political matters only. The Chinese have made their intentions very clear that they plan to put men on the moon asap. For what purposes? It’s not propaganda for sure. It’s because they thought the moon contain rare minerals and elements that could be mined. The US is a rival to the Chinese; a bitter one even. Given that they supposedly went to the moon, surely they must have realized its potential resources. I don’t believe for one second that they cannot get funding to build another spacecraft for moon exploration; if nothing else, just to rub it in the Chinese’s face. It’s because they cannot land on the moon. And they can’t fake the landing this time; everyone has satellites now.


            1. My take on the Chinese interest in space is that they have a long view of civilization and see space exploration/exploitation as part of that long view. Their physical economy is now so vast (say, 4-5 times larger than the US and technologically more advanced in some areas) that going to space is one of several prongs in their grand plans. China will have a symbiotic relationship with Russia with its highly advanced capabilities in rockets, space technology and nuclear energy.

              The new US push to the moon from what I see is a Trump-ego project to land the first woman on the moon while he is president.


            2. The moon is US territory, and Uncle Sam wants everyone to know it.


              I am sure robotic landings have recorded considerable detail and extensive measurements of conditions such as average radiation levels experienced and so forth. When another nation – perhaps China – is ready to go, they will have a much better idea what to expect and the route to take.

              Perhaps the USA has a perfectly good reason for its belligerence where the moon is concerned. But I can’t think what it would be. Is it really worried about space-based weaponry that is more than 230,000 miles away? Does the USA have any weapons which could be situated on the moon but controlled from earth, which could strike targets on earth? Ha. ha; as if. And I don’t think anyone has developed reliable anti-satellite weapons which would need to be located on the moon, either. The USA has its own assortment of anti-satellite weaponry here, on earth.

              Maybe there’s another reason America doesn’t want anyone on the moon.


              1. I’m sure the CCP politburo members are just quaking in their adult diapers over this latest veiled threat.


        5. Perhaps the most interesting element of the McGowan series is

          which provides a timeline of Apollo missions seemingly choreographed by someone aware of the need to divert attention from events in SE Asia. Plus throwaway references to the unfortunate demise of several “troublemakers.”

          Coincidences occur, of course.


  2. BMPD: «ВСМПО-Ависма» на треть сократит производство титана / VSMPO-Avisma will reduce titanium production by one third

    Как сообщает газета «Ведомости» в материале Полины Трифоновой «ВСМПО-Ависма» на треть сократит производство титана. Из-за пандемии коронавируса спроса на этот металл в мире практически нет» , крупнейший в мире производитель титана – корпорация «ВСМПО-Ависма» – сократит в этом году производство примерно на треть из-за резкого снижения спроса на свою продукцию. Производственный план на 2020 год сокращен с 39 000 тонн до 26 500 тонн товарной титановой продукции, сообщила компания. «Наши основные потребители в течение последних двух месяцев практически остановили производство», – говорится в пресс-релизе «ВСМПО-Ависма»….
    ### Russian titanium giant cuts output as aircraft demand sinks

    …The company is a key supplier to the aerospace industry – including Boeing and Airbus – providing the materials for such assemblies as landing-gear, wing structures and engine pylons.

    But the coronavirus situation has depleted the production demand for new aircraft and the Russian firm says it will be cutting titanium product manufacture to 26,500t this year, down from the planned 39,000t.

    The Avisma division will also cut production of sponge titanium from 44,000t to 35,000t…


    1. It doesn’t eat anything in the ground, as my Ma was fond of saying when I was young. It will still be there when they want it. I wonder if doing without new aircraft will be as easy for their former customers. In fact, how far are they going to take this charade – are new aircraft designs going to feature seating which is six feet apart? Can we look forward to passenger aircraft the size of an AN-225, which carry the same passenger load as a 747? And run on Jell-o Jigglers, or some similarly-benign and plentiful fuel source? The industry will either have to accommodate the Coronavirus, with suitable ‘safe’ distances – or collapse altogether, because it is an excellent example of an industry which relies for its profitability on volume – packing ’em in as tight as they will go. Give them some free peanuts or something, so they will give you a good rating on the passenger survey. Just like the restaurants, if airlines expect the same profitability with half the passenger load or less, a ticket will cost so much that only the very wealthy will be able to fly.

      The alternative, of course, is to admit we have endured worse pandemics without taking any precautions at all beyond the customary wash-your-hands instructions and asking those obviously ill to self-isolate. But for now the medical community is still giddy at being invited to run the world. I wonder if their enthusiasm would wane a little if they were told that once the pandemic is over and all packed up, all ‘front-line workers’ would be confined to their homes for a few months with no pay except government handouts, as a precaution against infection restarting.


  3. An excellent vivisection indeed of the moronic uttering of a CEO of a major publicly traded company. He has got to be posturing to Congress. There is simply no place for rational assessments of anything or anyone; its only about how well it aligns with the national dogma.

    It will soon be over for this edition of Who Wants to Lose an Empire.

    Trump may soon announce that the US “let Russian win” in Syria just to cheer them up.


    1. Well, I’ll tell you; the thing that blew me away about it is that Bruno was just repeating an apparent American political catechism which has been around for a long time. Americans apparently think they are part of things like the International Space Station mostly just to keep Russian scientists from jumping the fence and taking their knowledge to hostile countries. It is equally apparent that they see no disconnect between that notion, and the present climate of overt hostility between the USA and Russia, or American attempts to bring economic pressure to bear against Russia. Which looks pretty funny in light of current circumstances. I’ve seen some truly hilarious examples of ‘conventional wisdom’ around the interwebs; just yesterday I was reading a markets blog and a commenter claimed wisely that “Saudi Arabia can make money with oil at $9.00 a barrel, but the USA needs it up at around $36.00”. I laughed out loud, although I did not write ‘LOL’, because that is juvenile. Saudi Arabia’s profit point is $85.00 a barrel, even higher than the USA’s at around $63.00.

      Where is Washington finding the money these days to subsidize the Russian space industry? Isn’t it afraid that scientists are even now buying Nork phrasebooks, or reading up on how to cook Gormeh Sabzi? For that matter, where is Washington finding the money these days to keep its own oil industry staggering along? Does it have a half-Billion sovereign wealth fund to fall back on? Well, I suppose Russia would not have, either, if it had to rely on its own git-‘er-done rather than space handouts from the Americans.

      I kind of wish you had mentioned that “Who Wants to Lose an Empire?” game-show title a couple of days ago; I would have used it for the title. Excellent – witty and saucy. Maybe you have a touch of the showman about you yourself: engineers are not usually so funny.


      1. That Isaac Asimov quote touched on a unique characteristic of the American psyche – having strong opinion based on nothing.. Thank you for the compliment. My job involves as much marketing/sales and HR as engineering. You ability to produce prodigious quantities of high quality and insightful commentary is unmatched; no exaggeration.


  4. Saudis are pressuring Russia, going after their markets, blah blah blah. Russia is in trouble bah blah blah.

    The last lines of the article provide the only useful information:

    Russia’s main advantage in the physical market fight with Saudi Arabia is its sprawling pipeline network, helping it place oil at cheaper rates compared to its rival which has to find tankers and pay for transportation, traders said.

    “Russian oil fields (are) connected to refineries in Europe and Asia and oil companies have long-term contracts with them,” a trader in the European oil market told Reuters.

    “Unlike Saudi Arabia it is not subject to freight rates and vessel availability.”

    So, Russia can provide lower cost oil with more reliable and lower cost delivery. What were the Saudi’s advantages again?


    1. Yes, I read that yesterday, it was pretty funny. Rare articles do grudgingly acknowledge that Russian planning or forethought put it into a pretty good bargaining position on this or that issue, but in the main the trend is that Russia is helpless, on its knees while this or that country is punching the shit out of it. Others describe threats and perils as if the country was an amorphous blob without anyone in control of it, helplessly awaiting the storms of market forces. Few acknowledge it even has a leadership, never mind a good one.

      Typical is this description of indomitable American can-do spirit:

      “The commission’s chairman, Wayne Christian, struck a defiant note at the outset of the meeting.

      “While this is a dark time for our energy producers and our economy, I have no doubt that once this COVID 19 is rescinded and America is back to work, a rebound will occur,” Christian said.

      “This is not going to be easy and it will not happen overnight. But Texans will rebuild this industry which has quite literally changed worldwide the power dynamics that surround energy policy.”

      “The meeting” mentioned at the beginning was the meeting of the Texas Railroad Commission – the authority that, as mentioned before, for some obscure reason has the power of ruling on oil-production cuts in the state even though you would think that has nothing to do with railroads – which has deferred a decision on American production cuts until May, pending a review by the State Attorney-General. America’s ‘strategy’ is as obvious as a turd in a punchbowl; stall until prices come back up, then shout triumphantly, “Ha HA!!! I’m not cuttin’ NOTHIN’!!”, and grab market share foolishly left unguarded by the Russians and Saudis, who thoughtfully cut production themselves to help get the price back up. American vagueness on its own position is enabled by Trump, who never seems to feel he has committed the country, or even himself, to anything with what he says, and complete reversals of what others think he agreed to are common. The American oil industry plainly considers the country to have committed only to market-based cuts imposed by low prices – as soon as the price comes up, America will be wheeling and dealing just like before. It likewise obviously takes seriously its own declared status as the Great Arbiter Of All Energy Decision-Making, based on the appreciation of executives like Wayne Christian, who considers American oil production to have ‘ quite literally changed worldwide the power dynamics that surround energy policy.”

      Get it? America is still calling the shots, even as it wobbles precariously on the edge of bankruptcy and the industry he’s talking about has shrunk in value by 50% nearly overnight. The energy sector today, ranked in value against others, is smaller in value than Real Estate, Utilities and even Materials, while Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are kicking its ass. Its logistic (vis-a-vis energy exports) situation in comparison with both of its opponents remains laughable.

      But that’s something America will never, ever run out of. Defiance.


  5. As Frankie Howerd used to say “It’s wicked to mock the afflicted.”

    Great essay, Mark: thanks again.

    The real afflicted in the USA are the folks who are commenting on the political ad which skewers Nancy Pelosi:

    The surrounding guff by the bearded guy lasts about a minute before the ad is shown. The lack of any awareness of how showing off the contents of her deluxe fridges might play out in a country reeling from economic dislocation is staggering. “Nancy Antoinette” indeed.


    1. Well done, indeed – the contrast is staggering, and Pelosi’s callous chuckling is so grating that she might have auditioned for the part. I can’t wait to see how she deflects criticism for this; if she has any sort of brains, she will simply keep her mouth shut, because squalling about being ambushed by the Republicans is just not going to play this time.

      Trump is an idiot, but he’s an idiot who is going to win another term, and he didn’t even need this red-hot gift handed to him. There is nobody on either side who is fit to lead, and the choice between a performing buffoon and a failing vegetable merely highlights that American politics is now completely theatre. It doesn’t matter at all who ‘wins’.


  6. Hundreds of US oil companies could go bankrupt. Know why? Because Russia and Saudi Arabia flooded the world with oil. So saith CNN.

    The capacity of the American media to generate maudlin poor-me victimhood porn is always breathtaking – as Lily Tomlin once said, no matter how cynical you get, you can never keep up. The flooding-the-market-with-oil thing was entirely the Saudis, and Russia did not dump any excess oil on the market. It declined further production cuts, as Saudi Arabia had wanted, and continued to service its accounts as usual. The American and Russian markets do not intersect except where the Americans are attempting to capture more market share at Russia’s expense, in Europe. Even now, millions more barrels of Saudi oil are on their way to America in tankers the Saudis sailed at the first scent of trouble. But whenever life hands you lemons, say “Look what the fucking Russians just gave me!” It’s like, a rule.

    I read a story earlier, in the New York Times, about the kind of American you want to believe makes up most of the population – Trent Latshaw, president of Latshaw Drilling.

    “Latshaw Drilling, a company active in Texas and Oklahoma, has laid off 300 of its 500 employees over the last six weeks. It is operating six of its 41 rigs and dropping an additional rig next week. Trent Latshaw, the company president, said he was confident the industry would eventually come back after the virus is tamed.

    “If for some reason Latshaw Drilling doesn’t make it through this,” Mr. Latshaw said, “the good Lord has something else planned for me.”

    Say what you want about faith as a senseless placebo; his quiet courage and refusal to blame anyone else for his troubles makes you hope that everything turns out all right for him. You hate to see a decent man done down by random adversity.

    Whereas CNN’s spiteful whining and childish, careless mischaracterization make you want the whole country to fail. I just wish a few people would learn something from that.


  7. US state of Missouri sues China over coronavirus pandemic

    Columbia: The US state of Missouri filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Chinese government over the coronavirus, alleging that nation’s officials are to blame for the global pandemic.

    The lawsuit, filed in federal court by the state’s top prosecutor, alleges Chinese officials are “responsible for the enormous death, suffering, and economic losses they inflicted on the world, including Missourians.”

    “The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a written statement. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”

    Lawsuits against other countries are typically fruitless because US law generally prohibits them with rare exceptions, said Ashley Deeks, an international law expert at the University of Virginia School of Law.

    Grandstanding soft cnuts!


    1. Above story up on RT now:

      Let the blame games begin: Missouri sues China, including WUHAN LAB, over coronavirus outbreak
      21 Apr, 2020 21:59 / Updated 3 hours ago

      And the USA, meaning the government thereof and its military forces, is to blame for no deaths anywhere — ever!

      I stress “US government” and its politicians and certain members of the US military.

      I am fully aware of the fact that there are very many nice, decent folk in the USA, no doubt the majority of them are, and I personally know and have worked with some of them.


    2. “Lawsuits against other countries are typically fruitless because US law generally prohibits them with rare exceptions, said Ashley Deeks, an international law expert at the University of Virginia School of Law.”

      And this will be fruitless, too, in terms of damages recovered from China. But it has borne fruit already in kicking off the propaganda campaign that says It Wasn’t Our Fault Because We Were Oblivious When It Was A Chinese Problem. Nope; all the fault of those scheming little yellow folks.

      “On December 31, 2019, China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in people associated with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, Hubei Province. On January 7, 2020, Chinese health authorities confirmed that this cluster was associated with a novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV. Although cases were originally reported to be associated with exposure to the seafood market in Wuhan, current epidemiologic data indicate that person-to-person transmission of 2019-nCoV is occurring. As of January 30, 2020, a total of 9976 cases had been reported in at least 21 countries, including the first confirmed case of 2019-nCoV infection in the United States, reported on January 20, 2020. Investigations are under way worldwide to better understand transmission dynamics and the spectrum of clinical illness. This report describes the epidemiologic and clinical features of the first case of 2019-nCoV infection confirmed in the United States.”

      This is all of a piece with that sinister plot – and the American people LOVE a good sinister plot – on the part of China to allegedly silence some doctor who tried to ‘blow the whistle’ that there was a new virus on the loose. I don’t remember the details, someone else can fill them in, but apparently he published his findings but then they were deleted and he was arrested or something, I believe he later died of COVID-19, how convenient, now we will never know and are therefore completely free to speculate in a manner which will suggest we are blameless, and someone else done us down, like is always happening.

      The Chinese reported the first cases end of December, and I don’t know what the fuck the USA has outfits like the CDC for, unless it actually stands for the Center for Diversionary Comedy (if so, my apologies), if not to monitor the globe for potentially infectious disease which might threaten the American population. The first confirmed case in the USA was not until January 20th, and here’s how the timeline unfolded according to USA Today; I have input only dates and events I feel are relevant to the accusation that China ‘lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19″.

      December 31: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported 27 cases of viral pneumonia.

      Jan. 7: Chinese President Xi Jinping recognized the viral pneumonia internally during a meeting of China’s highest council. Just the day before, the American intelligence agencies abandoned their policy of snooping on everyone, and so they completely missed it. Just kidding about that part.

      Jan 11: China reported its first death.

      Jan 13: Thailand confirmed the first known case of the coronavirus outside China.

      Jan 17: Airport screenings; CDC began implementing public health entry screening at San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) airports.

      Jan 21: First case confirmed in US. Other sources say Jan 20. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, called the news “concerning,” particularly in light of reports that the virus has begun to spread from person to person.

      Jan 23: Wuhan locked down. Chinese authorities locked down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the virus during the busy Lunar New Year travel period. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization declined to categorize the coronavirus as a global health emergency, saying there is no evidence of human-to-human infection outside China.

      Jan 24: President Donald Trump thanked China on Twitter for its efforts to contain the disease. “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!” he said in a post.

      Jan 25: Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, comments on the risk to Americans. “We don’t want the American public to be worried about this because their risk is low,” Fauci said. “On the other hand, we are taking this very seriously and are dealing very closely with Chinese authorities.” Fauci is now a hero in the west because of his ‘early warnings’ and priceless guidance, and even has his own bobblehead to commemorate his contribution to the world.

      Jan 26: The U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services and chairman of the coronavirus task force told reporters during a press briefing that the U.S. has “been monitoring this virus and preparing a response since back in December.”

      Jan 31: U.S. declares public health emergency.

      Conspiracy theorists will notice right away that I skipped the part where Chinese officials allegedly determined they were ‘likely’ facing a pandemic – Jan 14th – but the Chinese President did not announce it until January 20th. This has been seized upon by those who will be happy to pin it on China as the critical six days that let the genie out of the bottle. I say hogwash. To start with, we have only the Associated Press’s word that they confirmed this from ‘internal documents’ – which were presumably in Chinese, quite a few people speak it there – and ‘expert estimates’.

      How many times have we heard from the American press, just in the last five years, that they have so much evidence (of something) you wouldn’t even believe it, only to find they can’t show any of it to you, only select members of the intelligence agencies who have been caught lying over and over, but who are happy to say they have seen it and are convinced? How many ‘expert opinions’ have we heard, just on Russia, from the same people from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, or the Helsinki Memorial Foundation, or dozens of others who are relied upon to provide expert opinion because the press already knows what it will be?

      The WHO claimed, three whole days after Xi’s warning, that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. I’d just like to point out again, their title means World Health Organization. China just said, whether late or no – and I remind again of the alleged two-week incubation period, which suggests there was probably no way for Chinese physicians to know for sure at that moment that they were ‘likely facing a pandemic’ – that there was a serious risk of contagion and transmission. The Incredible Doctor Fauci still claimed – four whole days after Xi’s warning – that the risk to Americans was low.

      Here’s an impressive list of medical studies, notes, discussions and opinions on the novel Coronavirus, nearly without exception from Chinese medical personnel, published in international journals,

      all listed by the CDC. Which, allegedly, had been preparing an American response since December. It is inconceivable to me that the Secretary of Health and Human Services and chairman of the coronavirus task force was doing that on his own and in his spare time, while CDC was completely unaware.

      Any time you’re ready, Missouri. But of course they don’t expect any actual legal exchanges. They just want to get their name on record as having accused China, and I don’t doubt there will be quite the pile-on in the days to come, especially as it looks as if it is easing off. Time to look around for someone to blame, and get one’s own yardarm clear.


      1. Plenty similar on the Internet, stating that Peking and Shanghai had no epidemic yet Europe has and therefore, the whole thing is a wicked plot of the Yellow Devils to take over the world!!!!!!

        (Oh fluck! Wong Yellow Devil clie!)


        1. “Banzai!” is what those other yellow-peril devils yell out when suicidally flying their planes into American warships in old Hollywood WWII movies.

          Holy heck! (Or should that be “Horry heck!”?) Typical yellow-peril devil from the Rand of the Rising Sun about to start her banzai suicide mission.


            1. Found the right one at last!

              The Chinese girl learned kung fu at the Lichee Temple so Izumi must have learned karate there. “Hi-yah!!!” she’ll go if you make fun of the way she pronounces Lichee Temple.


              1. A Chinese waiter with whom I got pally over 40 years ago and whose name was George (I think his family name was Wong if I’m not wrong) used to kill me whenever he asked customers whether they had ordered coffee, by enquiring: “You for coffee?”

                Quite often, customers showed indignation at what they perceived to be his vulgar instruction.


                1. And in British Chinese chip shops of 40-odd years ago, the Chinese staff (usually members of one huge family) used to be always complaining of pain in their fingers, because before wrapping up the fish-and-chip order in newspaper, they used to say to all and sundry: “Sore finger”.

                  They meant “salt and vinegar” of course.

                  All the Chinese lads and lasses in Manchester Chinese chippies speak with Manchester accents now — at least, they did so at the chippies near my sister’s, where I had to live for 1 month in 2017 after I had been sent packing from Russia in order to get a visa after I had inadvertently allowed the validity of my previous residence permit to expire.


                2. I knew a radar plotter (RP, back before they became Naval Combat Information Operators (NCIOP) from Canvey Island, in the mouth of the Thames, back in the distant past when the navy was still frequently so much fun that getting paid to do it was a surprise. He was fond of that phrase as well, and used to say “Me for tea, you for coffee”, but his accent of course made it sound like “Me fa tea, you fuckoffee”. Vince French, wherever you are, if you live still, you were a big part of what made the navy great.

                  He was a master of the deadpan delivery. He had a girlfriend in Halifax, very nice young lady, I liked her a lot, named Bonnie. I don’t recall her last name, and in fact I don’t think I ever knew it. Anyway, Vince spent an afternoon, while Bonnie was at work, boozing it up at Dick Turpin’s, a ne’er-do-well hangout that used to be in the Halifax Shopping Center. While so engaged, he met another young lady, and they departed for Vince’s place (it was actually Bonnie’s apartment), picking up a bottle of wine on the way. They left again before she got home, leaving behind evidence a blind detective could string together; a mostly-empty bottle, two glasses, a torn-up bed with a wet spot in it.

                  Vince didn’t return home until about 12:30 am. Bonnie was still up, in the kitchen, waiting for him. His duffel was sitting in the kitchen, packed for departure, and the jig was plainly up. Vince surveyed the scene, and mused “I s’pose I’m a bit late for suppa, an’ I?”


                3. As regards your old shipmate’s foolishness in leaving a clear trail that led directly to the perp, his behaviour resembles that which Harding so much loves to ascribe to moronic KGB FSB agents in his yarns concerning the endemic malevolence of Russians, namely “Little did they know that the trail led directly to the Kremlin”, but in your old shipmate’s case, the trail led directly to a vessel/shore establishment of the RCN.

                  When I first read the above story, I was at first puzzled, wondering how the hell a bloke from Canvey Island could get to Halifax, have a pint in a pub there and then go for a quick shag in his Halifax girlfriend’s flat, but not with her, then return to base, because Halifax is over 250 miles north of Kent, where Canvey Island is located.

                  I got confused, thinking his ship was stationed in the mouth of the Thames. Now I have just realized that the bloke was an Englishman from Canvey island, and an absolute cad to boot, who had emigrated to Canada and joined the navy there, and that the Halifax in the tale was Halifax, Nova Scotia.


                4. Yes, precisely – Vince was an immigrant, although I believe he had been in Canada a goodish while before he joined the navy. We made a very cosmopolitan group, I must say, based purely on inherited ethnicity; the group the often chummed around together, which I was occasionally allowed to join, constituted Vince, Billy Ferguson (former steelworker from Dofasco in Hamilton, Ontario, bosun in the Navy), Andy Dugandzic (Yugoslav roots, mayhem on legs as he was huge, Radioman in the Navy), and William Macpherson, usually called Billy Mac, as Scottish as a sporan somewhere back in the mists of time, and same trade as I joined in the Navy, Electronic Warfare. The Electronic Warfare trade was eventually absorbed in a melding of EW and Fire Control (two completely opposing bastard twins since the one was as passive as could be imagined and relied on listening without giving away one’s presence, while the other shouted “Here I am!!”), the new trade known as Naval Electronic Sensor Operator (NESOP).

                  Halifax, Nova Scotia is the east coast base of the Navy, and the ‘half’ to which most of the funding and attention go, because the east coast forces supply the Canadian contribution to NATO. The other ‘half’ is in Esquimalt, just outside Victoria. Its operating area is the Pacific Rim, and it works mostly with the Americans, of course (as does the east) and Asian navies.


                5. Whereas that other Halifax, the one in UK and situated some 40 miles from the dump where I was brought up, is the home of West Riding Ukrainian Taras Kuzio, another who has sought a better life in Canada.


  8. Boeing to restructure, simplify corporate functions amid changing industry

    …The overhaul, announced 21 April, includes formation of a new group called “Enterprise Operations, Finance and Strategy”. That division will be led by chief financial officer Greg Smith and tasked with streamlining Boeing’s operation and improving productivity and supply chain health.

    The group will include “teams responsible” for functions such as manufacturing, supply chain operations, finance, corporate audit, strategy and administration…

    …The restructuring will also see Boeing combine its legal and compliance programmes, which include functions such as global trade controls, ethics and business conduct…

    Restructuring, not ‘cuts’. The only thing they haven’t done is fired the whole board who were presiding over this long series of clusterf/ks.


    1. Don’t speak too soon; “streamlining” is code for cuts and ‘efficiencies’, and when departments are merged the resulting department is pretty much never as big as the two would be combined. People are going to be losing their jobs. But if history is any benchmark, nearly all the executives will stay. And some of the ‘efficiencies’ will be realized by combining jobs so that the person whose workload just doubled will be overloaded and will do a worse job of everything instead of a not-bad job at half of it.


      1. “Streamlining” usually means giving middle managers two jobs to do instead of one and cutting out useful middle level people whose managerial style is hands-on / walk-around-the-factory-floor style rather than sitting at their desks filling forms and producing budgets and projections by pulling figures and rabbits out of their sleeves.


        1. “Streamlining” is corporate-speak and “reforming” is political-speak for the same thing – slashing jobs and giving more power to the top management.


  9. Germany picks Super Hornet and more Eurofighters for Tornado replacement

    …Berlin intends to purchase 30 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to carry nuclear payloads, plus 15 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.

    In addition, Kramp-Karrenbauer says it will acquire 93 Eurofighters. While 55 of these will be Tornado replacements, an additional 38 aircraft are likely to be covered by its Quadriga project to replace the Tranche 1 Eurofighters in the Luftwaffe’s fleet…


    1. It’s a wonder PC Pisspot didn’t also mention hot fried chips and curry samosas as dangerous picnicker finger-food projectile weapons likely to leave grease or flaky pastry on his uniform. Extra jail-time for uppity picnickers for disrespecting police uniforms!


  10. Peter Pisspot. eh?

    I knew I detective whose surname was Gitts.

    He was called “Slimy Gitts” by those who had dealings with him.

    In fact, he was called that at school — the same one that I went to, he entering the first form as an 11-year-old the year that I left in 1967. My best buddy down the pit was in the same class as he was. Slimy Gitts used to cop me and my pal when we were mooching around our pit village during the 1984-85 strike— trying to have a serious word in our ears about how foolish our collective actions were. He did that because we all had worn the same school tie, see, and only had our welfare in mind.


  11. Washington Examiner: Bill Clinton stopped CIA from killing bin Laden before 9/11: Documentary

    …The revelation is discussed by former CIA station chief Bob Grenier in the new Showtime documentary The Longest War, which was released Tuesday. Grenier, who was based in Islamabad, Pakistan, explained that the agency was permitted to engage in “lethal activity” against the terrorist leader but could not perform a strike with the explicit purpose of killing him. ..

    Why the surprise? He was a long standing US ally up to 9/11. The infighting between Afghan warlords in the 1990s (after the US said “Thanks. Goodbye!” for being sponsored to fight the Soviets) which was when Kabul was blown to pieces and Afghanistan’s subsequent instability, I’m sure the Taliban were looked upon benignly as ‘bringing peace’. I don’t think a Republican President would have seen it otherwise.


    1. The Bin Laden group is a major family business enterprise in Saudi Arabia. The name was quite widely displayed in Saudi Arabia.


  12. EXCLUSIVE: Saudis launched oil price war after ‘MBS shouting match with Putin’

    Saudi crown prince threatened Russian president over production cuts prior to flooding market. ‘The call ended badly,’ sources tell MEE

    …“Just before that meeting there was a call between Putin and MBS. MBS was very aggressive and gave an ultimatum. He threatened that if there is no agreement, Saudi would start a price war.

    “The conversation was very personal. They shouted at each other. Putin refused the ultimatum and the call ended badly,” the Saudi official said, speaking on condition of anonymity…

    …with one industry analyst commenting: “We have just witnessed the perils of backing Putin into a corner.”…

    More at the link.

    It’s a saudi sauce for starters, so, I very much doubt Pootie-Poot shouted at all. I have absolutely no doubt that MBS lost his shit.

    The ‘backing Putin in to a corner’ quote is very telling and subjective too. If Putin knows Russia can survive comfortably for years on a low oil price, how exactly is that anything to do with a corner? BS projection. The rest of the article is little more than filler.


    1. Buried in that article is a paragraph saying that the Klown Prince consulted with Jared Kushner before calling Putin. So whatever he tried to force Putin to do had been agreed with and been given the White House’s blessing.

      Whatever Kushner touches, it all turns to dust.


    2. The alleged events do seem plausible, including the role of idiot non-savant Kushner, given the crazed action by MBS. As noted in the current post, the MSM love to depict any Russian action or inaction as a sign of weakness, humiliation and a climb-down.

      Perhaps Putin is such a master of manipulation that he induced a hysterical response in MBS that resulted in the take-down the US fracking sector. Not likely but fun to think about.


  13. Spunky Nick News: Russia Starts Adapting RD-180 Engine Used in US for Super-Heavy Yenisei Rocket – Roscosmos—roscosmos/

    Russia’s Energomash rocket engine manufacturer, which is part of state space corporation Roscosmos, has started to adapt RD-180 engines, which have been in use for US Atlas carrier rockets, and the medium-class Soyuz-6 and super-heavy Yenisei launch vehicles, Energomash Director General Igor Arbuzov has said….


    1. I could see such ‘adaptation’ as incorporating little more than manufacturing the RD-180 as a four-combustion-chamber engine rather than two. The RD-170 from which it is derived is still, so far as I am aware, the most powerful rocket engine in the world, and the RD-180 was made with export in mind and driving a platform which is much smaller than those the RD-170 was designed for. There have been a number of innovations since, of course, and a four-chamber RD-180 should be even more powerful.

      I know Russia usually does the diplomatically-mature thing rather than being spiteful, especially where sales are concerned, but I would have stopped sales of the RD-180 to the USA long ago, at the first signs of it getting snotty. If they can build it themselves, let them.


  14. Coronavirus crisis tests Putin’s grip on power in Russia.
    By Sarah Rainsford
    BBC News, Moscow
    22 April 2020

    Rainsford getting all hot and bothered about Putin’s demise … again.

    Now, some sense problems ahead for the president. “The paternalistic Russian state… can’t implement their promises. They can’t help people, can’t help business,” argued Andrei Kolesnikov of the Moscow Carnegie Centre think-tank.

    There are already some signs of that frustration spreading to Russia’s regions, like the virus itself.

    On Monday, hundreds of people in the southern city of Vladikavkaz came out to rally against the lockdown. The regional government is offering just 3,000 roubles (£32; $40) additional payment to those who lose their jobs.

    There has also been a scattering of virtual protests using online map applications, where people clustering outside government buildings post messages “demanding” more help.

    You read it right: virtual protests, rallies online.

    Оппозиционные митинги на «удаленке» – верх идиотизма

    “Distance” opposition rallies – the height of idiocy

    Hello again. Have you ever heard of online rallies? For example, I only heard about them today. Information appeared in the news feed that the Russian opposition has decided to hold an online rally on YouTube.

    Do you know what they require? They demand that the authorities completely abandon Vladimir Putin’s deadlines , because “now it is much more important to provide hospitals with everything necessary, to help people and business, not to violate the rights of Russians under the pretext of combating an epidemic”

    Honestly, I still can’t understand what the “nullifying of deadlines” and the “fight against an epidemic” are all about.”Where is the relationship? Maybe you can see see one? Among other things, the organizers of the rally “demand to hold accountable those persons responsible for Russia not having been ready for the coronavirus epidemic”. I wonder how one can have been “unprepared for the epidemic”? How should they have prepared for it? After all, a coronavirus infection is not a winter that only happens once: it happens every year.

    By the way, in this “grandiose” event, there truly “great” modern Russian minds, such as Dmitry Gudkov, Sergey Guriev, Lev Shlosberg, Maxim Reznik, and Julia Galyamina, will speak

    It turns out that distance rallies have already been held in Russia. On April 20, in a number of Russian cities, including Moscow, these same “couch rallies” were held using the Yandex. Navigator”. The service began to delete comments, telling to stop shooting shit and clogging the bandwidth.

    But the most interesting thing is how our fellow citizens reacted to it (for those interested in all the comments, here is the link.

    By the way, this is a great way to get the opinion of the population without there being any cheating and fakes. With everybody being at home, you will immediately be able to see if a bunch of messages have come from one apartment, thereby indicating fake.

    I simply believe the authorities don’t care about our opinion: they already know it….

    So Putin is now doomed — or at least Rainsford thinks there are good chances of him being ousted. That’s what she’s paid to write.


    1. Well, well – the Moscow Carnegie Centre; what’d I say? This one’s a new name, if they had to pay Masha Lippman by the expert comment, she’d have retired by now, and perhaps she has. They always tap the Carnegie Centre, because Rainsford and others like her know exactly what they’ll say – the people are fed up with Putin, and it’s only by showing them the stick that he remains in control. But unrest is brewing on the street, you can almost smell it.

      The ‘opposition’ seems to think it’s got hold of a hot one with this ‘Russia was not prepared’ schtick, no doubt because of the over-the-top mouthings of Navalny’s opthamologist. They built an entire new giant hospital, just for Coronavirus patients – what’s this chunnering about ‘give our doctors and hospitals what they need’?

      Same old Lyosha. He just complains all the fucking time, nothing is ever right, and you better believe if he was in charge, the Russian Federation would straighten up and fly like an eagle in about a day. Sure it would. What would happen is Lyosha would have a team of advisors on the first plane out of Washington, and it’d be Harvard Boyz II; The Return Of Yeltsin. Except this time they would make sure they fucked it up permanently, so that not even a Putin could come along and put Humpty Dumpty back together again.


    2. ‘Matchstick’ is my new common name for Rainsford and Rosenberg reporting.

      Rainsford is wooden part of the matchstick – the ‘hi’ supposedly intellectual part of Russia reporting for al-Beeb s’Allah that appeals to people who think they are clever.

      Rosenberg is the matchhead – the tabloid ‘lo’ part of Russia reporting for al-Beeb s’Allah that appeals to the salacious reader who like tittle-tattle.

      Together they form a matchstick on which to strike propaganda for UK Ltd. Unfortunately Zakharova’s angry outburst in response to Rosenberg’s recent poking only validated BBC strategy. They’re best mocked when not ignored.


  15. I am going to take the unusual step here of posting a comment from our old pal, Matt. I’m not just going to approve it, naturally; I hope I know better than to let him loose again so we can play ’round and ’round the garden for days on end. His tactics are well-known on here. But he keeps popping by fairly regularly, and he seems to have the opposite of a soft spot for Rogozin.

    I will reiterate again that I don’t have a problem with dissent. I don’t insist that everyone – or anyone – agrees with me or sees things exactly the same as I do. But arguments with Matt never go anywhere. A disagreement has a beginning, a middle part where both sides present their reasoning, and an end, when one or the other has either run out of justifications or is forced to concede he or she was wrong. That’s harder to prove in a matter of opinion, easy to prove in something like mathematics; 2 + 2 does not equal 5, and it should take only one step for the argument to be over.

    That’s not how it works with Matt. If he starts up with some guff about Russia shot down MH-17 using just a single launcher from a Buk TELAR system with no surveillance radar, you can present a long, long, detailed argument demonstrating why it is so improbable that it is next to impossible, citing any number of references and drawing on any amount of professional knowledge. And what have you achieved? Nothing. Without even pausing for breath, he’ll slip in something from his bag of favourites – usually Carlos, the phantom Air Traffic Controller – and Zip! you’re redirected, and sent chasing down a different path. I don’t mind telling you, it’s exhausting, and frustrating, which is doubtless the point of the technique. Nothing is ever over, and there’s no sense of having come to the end of anything – just of having pulled out a brick near the bottom of the pile, and started a slide onto your head. Even if you produce a reference which supports your side of the argument, he’ll just blithely categorize it as a ‘well-known source of disinformation’, counter with his own disinformation from Meduza or some bullshit cauldron like it, and badda-bing, badda-boom, nothing is resolved.

    So that’s why I’m presenting it in this format; I’m copying it from the Spam folder, and inserting the entirety of its text within the body of this comment. He’s already made his accusation and argument, so I’ll make mine. The rest is up to you. Each of us has a chance to influence you, but the argument is restricted to this issue, and this issue only. Ready?

    “Dmitry Rogozin isn’t exactly normal either. I remember when Roscosmos began leaking conspiracy theories to the Russian media about mentally-ill, home-sick American astronauts drilling a hole in the ISS (or somewhere). This hole was actually caused by a mistake made by a Russian worke, during manufacturing. Roscosmos never really apologized for this false accusation, nor did anyone retract this false story, nor did Rogozin apologize. Heck, I don’t remember Russia ever even taking responsibility for this hole, but I haven’t folowed the story for a while. This was the first time, if memory serves, that such an accusation was made in the entire history of Russian/Soviet-American space cooperation.

    Rogozin is a fiery nationalist who likes making grandiose claims that will never happen, and for setting unrealistic timelines. It was he who made the famous “trampoline” comment. Not exactly a good proponent for Russian-American space cooperation.”

    He can’t remember where the offending hole was, but he is sure it was a conspiracy theory. Why? Well, because Americans wouldn’t do a thing like that.

    As it happens, Roscosmos and Rogozin himself stipulated it probably was a Russian worker who drilled the hole, perhaps drilling it in the wrong place and then trying to cover up his error, maybe worrying that he had wrecked an expensive component. Here’s what he said:

    “We are considering all the theories,” Rogozin said during the press conference. “The one about a meteorite impact has been rejected because the spaceship’s hull was evidently impacted from inside. However it is too early to say definitely what happened. But, it seems to be done by a faltering hand…it is a technological error by a specialist. It was done by a human hand—there are traces of a drill sliding along the surface. We don’t reject any theories…Rogozin said it’s now a “matter of honor” for Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, the manufacturer of the Soyuz MS-09 module, to “find the one responsible” for the hole, to determine if it was an accident or “deliberate spoilage,” and to determine if the hole was created on Earth or in space.”

    It is clear from the photograph that the hole was caused by a tool or instrument, not a random particle strike; you can see the toolmarks with the naked eye. You can also see surface scratches from either false starts, or an attempt to hold the tool steady during the operation. It is probably those marks which cause questions about where it happened. Because holes drilled during assembly are customarily made from a position which allows precision, rather than flailing about like a blind lesbian at a fish market, and because there is presumably a fairly-detailed inspection before final assembly. The hole might not be discovered because it might have been temporarily filled with something – but the scratches are quite prominent, and should have been seen. Rogozin quite clearly and explicitly (1) acknowledged the possibility that it was a Russian worker who drilled the hole in error, and (2) demanded the company (Energia Rocket and Space Corporation) determine if it was an accident and if so, who did it. He did not just immediately accuse the Americans.

    “The Russians are quicker than we are, historically, to yell ‘sabotage.’ But it seems extremely unlikely,” astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told Gizmodo. For one thing, a saboteur might have made a bigger hole; at the maximum rate of leakage, the crew aboard the ISS had “weeks of air left” in reserve, according to a European Space Agency blog.”

    The Russians are quicker than Americans to yell ‘sabotage’? Don’t make me laugh. The Americans couldn’t vote on Best Chili at a tailgate party without grumbling that the Russians interfered in it, and indulging in a lot of tough talk about what they’re going to do about it. Even Bernie Sanders – perennially disenfranchised, 78 years old and shoulders like a brook trout – talks tough about how he would fight Russian sabotage.

    So, there you have it. Matt, you got to be heard. You get to see what people thought of it. You just don’t get to dodge and divert the way you like, and we’re only discussing your comment on the Rogozin/ISS issue and nothing else.


    1. I’m convinced that the stuff written by “Matt” is pumped out from Langley.

      He used to swamp “offGuardian” with reams of similar stuff, but they knocked him on his virtual head a while back, I think.


    2. What is Matt’s immigration status? Has he obtained a work visa in Canada? I would imagine his student visa has expired by now. Perhaps he is back with his poor but poverty stricken family in Caracas. I do think that he is an actual biological person who was abused as a child and has retreated into a world of inner fantasy.

      My tip of the day, do not engage in conversations with the insane. I spent too much time doing such in my life.


      1. I have no idea. He doesn’t always reappear under his own name. He did say recently, in one of his Matt appearances, that he had lost his job as a result of the coronavirus panic – and wished us all well, I should add – but I don’t recall for how long that message had been sitting in the spam filter because checking it is not my first action every day. So he must have been working at something, if it was even true. I believe he was a Venezuelan about as much as I would believe you are.

        His messaging has not changed at all, and he is still a crusader for The American Dream, but I thought this might be a way of discussing his philosophy without allowing him free rein to be a distraction again.


        1. Lost his job you say? I wonder if the United Front of Venezuelan Youth for Guido had a staff reduction.

          In the US, many folks who were laid off are making more money than when working on enhanced unemployment benefits. I don’t have problem with that at all; just making an observation. Perhaps Matt should pull up stakes and settle in fantasy land. There are many homes in Detroit available at zero cost.


          1. The only problem I have with your suggestion of Matt taking up residence in one of those parts of Detroit where houses can be bought for a dollar (or less) is that his new neighbours might include one Curt Doolittle, he of Propertarianism fame, if they don’t know each other already. That part of Detroit would have to be cordoned off and renamed Arkham Asylum. There, Matt and Curt can put their respective beliefs and philosophies on how people can co-exist or compete, Ayn Rand style, into practice.


    1. I am sure the correct metaphor or name for this phenomenon of Saakashvili resurfacing in Ukraine over and over can be found only in the US Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, whatever edition is current.


      1. Saakashvili’s long term resilience has been simply astonishing to me, given his colossal incompetence and predilection for getting in fights with everyone around him. The cats at seem to be claiming he’s backed by Soros – certainly, he’s backed by someone / some org with real stroke. Should be hilarious (in a horrifying way) to see what he gets up to in the next round of the Banderastan follies.


        1. It should indeed; he is accepting an appointment as Deputy Prime Minister ‘of Reforms’, and Zelensky has already shown he doesn’t have a great grasp of where all the money is going. However, I suspect the appointment of a staunch Washington ally who has demonstrated in the past that he is willing to say anything for money was a suggestion from Washington through the IMF. Appoint Saakashvili, what say, and we’ll see about getting you your money. The State Department loves him because Putin threatened his life and because Russia dislikes him intensely, and so many State-Department-instigated appointments are geared to how much the individual is disliked by Russia. It clearly has nothing to do with his skilz or leadership style.


          1. What ever happened to that youngish Ukraine guy with the bald head brilliant described by Mark as looking like a rat or opossum sticking his head out of a drain pipe? Was it “Yats” or something like that? They certainly must have given him a job at an NGO to keep him from being homeless.


            1. I think he lives in Florida somewhere now. I’m sure I once saw a news clip here to that effect. But in response to a query “Where is Arseniy Yatsenyuk now?”, I get a report that says Russian media claimed he was quietly granted Canadian citizenship in 2015.


              I wouldn’t be surprised. As the article points out, Canada’s Harper government was among the first to recognize Euromaidan’s kangaroo government, and Harper himself was quite bolshie with Putin about Ukraine. Canada, as I have surely mentioned before, has a huge Ukrainian diaspora mostly centered in the prairie provinces (Alberta/Manitoba Saskatchewan), and the town of Vegreville – where, coincidentally, Canada Immigration has its head offices for processing – is actually majority-Ukrainian if I recall correctly. Nope; almost – according to this reference, Ukrainians make up 41% of the city’s population. The Mayor is of Ukrainian descent, and if you ever want to see the world’s largest Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg) before you die, that’s where you can cross it off your bucket list.



        2. If Saakarkrashianvili is still married to Sandra Roelofs, then there is the possibility that he is receiving Dutch govt support.


  16. Oh, dear; not everybody in the USA is upset by the price of oil falling off a cliff. I daresay their smart talk will dry up in their saucy mouths when the trickle-down effect of sequestering a major US moneymaker like energy makes itself felt downstream. But in the meantime, they are making up funny memes about the cratering price of oil. Like this.

    I think my favourite, although it has no accompanying picture, is the first one: “If oil prices get much lower the major oil companies might have to lay off some members of Congress.”


      1. I agree to a certain degree with your suggestion and so does Russia. One of their objectives for building nuclear power plants and new hydroelectric capacity is to reduce the burning of natural gas for power production. In the US, coal and nuclear power plants are being shutdown in favor of power plants fueled by natural gas. Russia smart. The US?


      2. Could, I suppose, considering they have a fairly-big nest egg to live on while they wait for the situation to stabilize. But unlikely for two reasons – one, they probably have signed long-term contracts, and failure to deliver regardless the price would bring a storm of screeching in the Anglospheric press that ‘Russia is an unreliable partner’; two, they probably have no place to put it, as is the problem of the USA and Saudi Arabia. The former’s storages will be full to the brim in less than a week, and the latter has millions of barrels lying offshore in tankers. Neither has any place to store any more oil, and the world is about 28 million barrels per day oversupplied.


  17. Today is St.George’s Day

    St George’s Day Parade, Nottingham, 2019.

    Certain types in the UK label those who celebrate St. George’s Day in England as “racists”.

    This does not happen if one celebrates St Andrew’s or St. David’s Days. I wonder why?

    I don’t care. I advise that those “woke” people who make such accusations do the following:



    Let’s help one another!

    Info video on how to become a volunteer for social work.

    She uses a new Russian word (for me. at least) бейдж that sounds to my ears as beige but it means “badge”, from which English word the term clearly originates, meaning a card inside a plastic cover that you hang around your neck or whatever as an ID and not a значок [znachok], which means a metallic badge such as this:

    Badge — a social volunteer may be recognized by his badge.


  19. My old workmate emailed me the other day just to inform me that knobheads still rule where I once lived. He wrote how it amazes him to see how many folk there drive around alone in their cars whilst wearing such a mask. He also queried the usefulness of wearing such a mask when one considers the fact that farts manage to get through underpants and jeans.


    1. I think viral particles are actually quite large, and moreover, you need to take in a certain number in order to become infected. I read some research on it that held some particles sneezed or coughed by the afflicted actually made it out through the doorway of their hospital room, airborne, of course. But they were in too small a concentration – about 12/m2 – to cause infection. They are still uncertain how many it takes, but seem to have settled on somewhere between 40-200/m2. I suppose it depends as well on how resistant you are.

      I saw people occasionally wearing these masks at the very beginning of the event, on board the Ferries. They were almost invariably Asian, and I always believed they were wearing them at least as much for reassurance that they were taking steps to not infect anyone else as to protect themselves. The masks would stop a considerable number of the particles if you were coughing or sneezing, although if you are you should not even be out.

      Every time we start to talk about getting back to normal, the case numbers take an unholy spike, just to remind us we are no longer in control of our own lives. Yesterday there was another leap in infections in Vancouver – a lot for us, anyway, 71 new cases, 28 of which were at a poultry plant in East Vancouver where workers had come to work sick because they were afraid of losing wages. This prompted our sage, Doctor Bonnie Henry, to remark that we might be under restrictions for as much as a year, and that things were going to be different when we went back to what we used to call normal. The western world has apparently determined that the way to beat the coronavirus is to fight it to the last case, until it has been completely eradicated from the globe. And then we must still be extra careful, because we won’t be sure it’s gone. And then every cold or flu will invoke a panic – it’s back!! It’s back!! A global hysteria which is what happens in an illness event when you put the health authorities in charge. Of course their only objective is fighting it until the last case is healed – they have jobs, and don’t give a fuck about commerce anyway, where viruses are concerned. They also don’t care very much about the mortality rate – so long as sick people remain, the enemy is still among us.


  20. The strange madness of Banderites:

    Russia returns two notes on the Crimea to the Ukraine — diplomat


    “This week, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs returned two [diplomatic] notes to the Ukraine”, she said. “In the first one, Kiev protests against archaeological excavations and earthworks in the Crimea. In the second one, Kiev demands a report on measures taken to fight the coronavirus epidemic in the Crimea and Donbass.”

    “Such steps of Ukrainian diplomacy never cease to surprise us”, the diplomat said. “At a time when a pandemic is rampant in the country, wildfires ravage Chernobyl, when Russian planes repatriate Ukrainian citizens from third countries and Russian diplomats help them to return home, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry puts every effort into bombarding the aggressor state, as they call us, with fearsome notes of protest.”

    In this regard, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called on Ukrainian colleagues to “save paper”.

    “It feels as if the Ukrainian authorities are living in a parallel universe”, she continued. “First, they cut off the water and power supply to the Crimea, blockade the Donbass, and then demand reports from Russia on how it is protecting the people of these regions from the coronavirus infection. It is actually pretty funny at this point.”

    She recalled that “Kiev has the option of having a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk if the Ukrainian authorities really are that concerned about the destiny and health of the people living there”.

    “Russia is not a side in this conflict in southeastern Ukraine and does not control Donbass territory” , she added.

    “The issue of the identity of the Crimea is closed”, she concluded. “The Republic of the Crimea and the City of Sevastopol voluntarily reunited with Russia in 2014. All notes of protest regarding actions of the Russian government in its exercising of sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula — be it visits of officials, construction of infrastructure facilities, including archeological excavations, or elections — shall be returned to the Ukrainian side because of the absence of grounds for their consideration.”

    [Proofread for punctuation and grammatical errors, of which there were a few in the TASS English article.]


    1. Bear in mind, when looking at those “Maidanites” who carried out their “Revolution of Dignity” (below), such inanities as issue forth from their foreign ministry and directed towards the “Aggressor State” are hardly surprising: dolts governed by doltish criminals, it seems.

      Maidan centurions guarding the rada funhouse.


    2. Whenever the time rolls ’round for Ukraine to get its next welfare check from the IMF, you start to notice a barrage of irritation emitting from Kuh-yiv and directed at Moscow, as the Ukies attempt to assure Washington of how anti-Russian they remain. What I think doesn’t matter, of course, but a reaction is what Ukraine is looking for, and I would deny it to them. I would just ignore their silly ‘diplomatic notes’, or maybe tell them I only accept diplomatic documents from sovereign nations, and tell them to get Washington’s chop on their documents before forwarding them.


  21. From a kreakl blog today:

    Как-то очень похоже…

    Somehow very similar …

    No it is not, stupid cnut!

    Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya

    No 5, 000 ruble fine for her!


  22. Is the crude oil decline described below simply from the relatively short production life of fracked well?

    Assuming that no new horizontal wells are put on production from this month onwards, total light oil production will fall by one million barrels per day by May 2, two million barrels a day by July, and three million barrels a day by October to November, according to Rystad Energy. The Permian Basin would account for over half the nationwide base decline, it said.


    1. In a manner of speaking, yes; they’re just saying that if they don’t drill any new wells, production will fall off by the volumes indicated. But they can’t sell the stuff they are currently producing, so drilling new wells would be insane anyway. But apparently fracked wells are quite hard to restart, so they’re very reluctant to shut them down once they are producing.

      Fracking has experienced a 60% decline between its peak in January/February, and April 2020. But even that is likely nowhere near the end of it. There’s no use to keep on pumping and producing if you have no place to put it, and storing it just offshore in tankers merely ensures that the first month of rising prices will be met with a glut of stored oil that will send them right back down again.


  23. An ICU nurse told me today (no, I’m not in a hospital) that doctors are expected to indicate the cause of death as Covid-19 if the patient tested positive – even if the cause of death were sepsis or other condition completely unrelated to the virus.

    A hospital, through some means, receives $39,000 for each Covid-19 death. Doing the math, the NYC hospitals would receive well over $400 million. Quite a windfall and incentive to classify as many deaths as possible due to Covid-19. Or, this may mean nothing but still that is a lot of money. On the other hand, a typical recipient of social security payments may receive $20,000/year so it may be a wash, financially speaking.

    And now, a media story indicates that up to 10% of the NYC population has been infected with the virus suggesting a fatality rate of 1%.


    1. I think that premium is paid only for patients who require to be put on a ventilator. Otherwise – someone posted here earlier, not verified – I believe it was $13,000.00. Still the potential for quite a windfall.

      Figures for British Columbia are still quite low, even with the 71 new cases reported yesterday. Apparently we went for four straight days recording less than 30 cases. The numbers are confusing, as I believe I said before, because cases are still considered ‘active’ until they are pronounced ‘recovered’. So when they speak of “BC’s 1,795 cases”, they mean total number of cases reported. Of those, 103 are in hospital, 46 of those in IC, and 1,079 have recovered. But if you add 1,079 (recovered) plus 103 (hospitalized) plus 90 (dead), you don’t get 1,795; you get 1,272. So where are the other 523? They must be still alive, but not hospitalized, and not yet recovered, either. I can only assume they are isolated at home, but not sick enough to require hospitalization.

      This has to be the worst-fought pandemic ever, and I hope it will stand – if the world survives it – as an example of why health officials should not be placed in charge of such an emergency even though it is a medical event. We obviously need their counsel and expertise, but if such decisions are left up to medics who still have a job and are experiencing no particular discomfort but overwork, they will decide every time to fight the disease until no more people have it, and the interval at the end has passed the incubation period. And that’s in the world, unless we want to go another year or so with the national borders closed. Bonnie Henry has postulated that restrictions in BC will have to be in place for a year. If anything like that turns out to be the case, I’m leaving, and moving somewhere else. Doctors given policymaking power will always offer medicentric solutions that provide for as close to zero risk as possible, and when you combine their decisionmaking with a legal mandate which sees the police enforcing their decisions, it is a recipe for disaster. Right now our country is being run by Theresa Tam, Canada’s senior Public Health Officer.

      To repeat an overused cliche, this has resulted in a perfect storm for Canada – millions of people are out of work and for many of them, their jobs are likely not coming back, especially if new anti-epidemic rules are going to become the norm, like all tables in restaurants being six feet or whatever apart. On top of Trudeau letting the chief medical officer run the show, he has a practice of regarding whichever group has been sold to him as disadvantaged as the most precious in the country, whether it’s LGBTQ or indigenous peoples or whatever. Right now, it’s the elderly. We are failing our elderly, and no group is more precious. So the future for children in the country is being toasted so we can focus on protecting the elderly.

      Of course I am not advocating all the elderly and immune-compromised be sacrificed on the altar of commercialism. But I don’t see why the protections put in place for them – which are obviously inadequate anyway – require all economic activity to cease so the whole population can be sequestered in their homes. If it is as contagious as they say, it’s very possible that the critical 80% of the population would have it by now, and by far the most of them would survive it, and generate antibodies that would grind its face into the dirt. Instead, we must fight a prolonged campaign until the last person who had it has recovered and been free of it beyond the incubation period. Or a vaccine is discovered which prevents it, whichever comes first. When that happens, the doctors will step aside. To inquiries on how we should restart the economy, they will doubtless have loads of recommendations which, if followed, would be very effective at preventing whoever gets to go back to work from getting sick. Beyond that, they will say “Not my field; sorry”.


  24. Trump’s mental clarity is not much better than Biden’s.

    “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but we’re going to test it,” Trump said. “And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, either through the skin or some other way.”

    As Bryan looked on uncomfortably, the president went on to speculate about the possibility of using disinfectants as a treatment.

    “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and does a tremendous number on the lungs,” Trump continued.

    “It would be interesting to check that. That you’re gonna have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me, so we’ll see.”

    Asked directly whether Trump’s suggestion that injecting bleach or using light to treat COVID-19 made sense, Bryan said his laboratory was not pursuing those ideas.


    1. Trump is a bombastic idiot who is used to having his brilliant ideas seized upon and turned into successes. Maybe he does have a keen mind for real estate. But his inner savant stops there. Injecting people with disinfectant would certainly clear up their COVID problem right away.

      But even a cheeseburger-fueled Twitwit like Trump proposes a possible solution once in awhile. Whether by luck, accident or actually having read about it when he’s up until 2:00 AM surfing the net, a study done by Columbia University back in 2018 did indeed offer hope for using light against viruses. UV causes cancer and damages skin cells, so that’s why there cannot be any people in buses and trains when intense UV light is used to disinfect and decontaminate them. But the Columbia study found that a very narrow spectrum called ‘Far Ultraviolet C’ actually has potential to kill viruses by destroying their DNA yet is too weak to penetrate skin cells and so is harmless to humans. It was tested effectively on H1N1 virus particles.

      One for Trump.

      I don’t think it would work inside the body, but it has the potential to be an always-on-guard antivirus measure, as a component of overhead lighting in public spaces.


      1. Simple skin exposure to sunlight results in production of Vitamin D (through a conversion of Vitamin C) . Likewise, Vitamin C has antiviral properties.

        Regarding Trump, he is moronic on most things but still a good showman with an instinct for survival.


        1. We’ve mentioned this before, UV-C ~154 is most effective for breaking the chemical bonds, not to mention such devices are standard equipment in many hospitals already. You can buy consumer devices from the online souks, some which also produce ozone that also kills of bacteria, so don’t leave plants or animals in the same room while its working….


          1. Thanks, that’s interesting; if it was mentioned before, I had forgotten, because it’s news to me. It seems to me that it could be practical intermixed with the existing lighting in places where people gather, such as bus stations and airports. Minus the ozone option.


            1. Already done in the Moscow metro (from a PDF):

              V Disinfection in Moscow Metro Public Transport Systems
              Authors: Sergey Kostyuchenko1, Anna Khan1, Sergey Volkov1, Henk Giller2
              11LIT Technology, Moscow, Russia (E-mail:
              2 LIT Europe, Valkenswaard, The Netherlands (E-mail:
              Growing concerns about the hygienic situation and air contamination in the often heavily populated Moscow Metro underground railway system were reason to investigate the effects of UV disinfection on the internal surfaces of train carriages, escalator handrails and the air in passage ways and platforms of railway stations. The adequate UV doses to inactivate micro-organisms and parasites were determined for all three situations.
              The required UV doses to disinfect the surfaces of carriage interiors and handrails were much higher than expected, due to the fact that micro-organisms are embedded and protected against UV by layers mainly consisting of proteins. Devices, providing high UV irradiances, equipped with Low Pressure High Output (LPHO) mercury amalgam lamps were introduced to meet the requirements.


  25. Ha, ha! Welcome to western freedom, Russians! Russian rights groups are upset by draconian lockdown policing, and want assurances that information collected on them will be deleted after the pandemic fades, while intrusive measures will be abandoned. Wait until all your personal data is discovered for sale on the dark web!

    Of course the USA is shocked, shocked! by this tyranny. Of course it is.


  26. Washington was not successful in its bid to buy Greenland, so it has decided to acquire the place the old-fashioned way. First, a US diplomatic presence; check. Next, NGOs to help the Greenlanders build their civil society. Who knows what, after that? Depends on how compliant the local political establishment is.

    Of course no account of spreading American influence (preferred partner in the Arctic, if you don’t mind, it said so itself) would be complete without some bogeyman talk about Russian aggression, to make the little kids’ eyes round.


    1. Next step must surely be establishing a US military base in Nuuk (Greenland capital). Perhaps an airbase first, so planes can use it for refuelling while flying over the North Pole or travelling around the North Atlantic, followed later by a naval base, supposedly also for refuelling ships.

      Next thing we know, members of the Danish Royal Family (Crown Prince and Princess and all their children in particular) will be visiting Greenland at the rate of once every month instead of once a year or what their usual custom is. Denmark will start ploughing more money into the region and sending more of its own NGOs and humanitarian charities there. Greenlanders will hardly believe their eyes at all the sudden largesse Denmark will be bestowing on them.


    2. Yes, Greenlanders, a suppressed ethnic group living under the heel of the vicious Danes; something like Kosovars and Serbs.


    1. Yes, as I mentioned yesterday, research conducted by Columbia University in 2018 suggested a narrow part of the UV spectrum called “Far Ultraviolet C” could kill viruses on the skin. It worked successfully on H1N1 particles. I suggested it could be blended with conventional lighting in public settings to kill viral particles on surfaces, which transfer to hands and then to eyes and mouths. It’s relatively inexpensive, and could be effective for that application – preventing the transfer of particles on surfaces and even against airborne particles before they are inhaled. But of course no light will do anything to affect particles which are in the lungs already. Trump made some vague mention of internal light and I suppose he’s referring to some kind of oscopy in which a tiny light is inserted on a guided probe. You probably can reach inside the lungs, but I imagine – just guessing – the amount of light generated would be too small to do much good considering the invasive nature while people are already having trouble breathing. The rest of the UV spectrum causes skin damage and cancer, although it’s very effective a disinfecting public transports when there is nobody in them.

      I don’t often find myself defending Trump, but all the BBC is really good at is waiting for someone to do or say something, and then collapsing in roars of laughter. Get off your fucking inbred duffs and come up with some ideas yourselves, you useless gits. Mockery is easy. “Reality Check team”; give me strength. “Peanut Gallery”, more like. Spray the patient with ground-up BBC reporters, see if that helps.


        1. For those who may be unaware of what “Domestos” is:

          It is sold in Mordor too, where it is used to make vodka cocktails:


        2. 0.37: “Their cooperation and their prayers have set us on the path where we are slowing the spread … we are protecting our most vulnerable …”

          Thank God for the help those prayers have given you!

          Before handing over to Pence, the idiot President walked from the rostrum, refusing to take questions the day after after his disinfectant disaster statement..

          Pence staring down at Putin for 20 seconds. The Evil One must have been scared shitless!


  27. Have no watched it and would not have a basis to judge the accuracy of its conclusions. Still, the topic is of general interest.

    5 Differences between girls in Ukraine & Belarus


              1. They’ve all got slightly Asiatic eyes, though, haven’t they? I mean, you can’t get away from the fact that they are not really human beings – Europeans, I mean: they are hybrid Orc-Tatar-Chinks, aren’t they, and habitual liars and enemies of freedom and democracy.

                And they are cruel. And they don’t feel the cold like what we do. That’s how they beat those Germans and the Frogs who wanted to liberate them.


  28. This article may have exceeded the lofty standards set by Tory Bruno for self-serving BS:

    Not to worry, no matter how dire the situation for the US economy nor the shocking destruction of its golden calf fracking in just weeks, Russia is always far worse off. We know its true from the start of the article with a gloomy and abandoned St. Basil’s cathedral that serves to prepare us for a frightening free-fall journy into failure and hopelessness that is Russia.

    But with the decline of energy prices, Russia’s budget declines, and as it declines, the regions contract. Russia, a Third World country, has few counters to low energy prices.

    Putin is a powerful leader, but his options are but two: the Stalinist one, which grips the country by the throat, or something else. The something else is essential, but urgency itself is not a solution. The Russians may muddle through, but the blow from energy prices is significant. The idea of building Nord Stream 2, for example, to bring natural gas from Russia to Germany is ancient history. Between the virus and energy prices, it is the last thing on anyone’s mind.

    During my youth I worked in places that worried about Russian power. The ability of the U.S. military to exaggerate the power of Russia is in hindsight amazing. Back then, the Soviet Union was a cripple masquerading as a great power. I see that process repeating itself, both with Russia and with China (another story). It is always forgotten that the idea of the Potemkin village came from deep in the Russian soul. A czar was to tour a region, and to hide the poverty of the region from him, villages facing the railroad track were built — but only the fronts of the houses were put up. The facades gave the czar the illusion of Russian prosperity, behind which resided a far grimmer reality.

    Good to now. Us Americans now feel a lot better about the Great Depression II.

    Here is all that you don’t need to know about the author.

    He has all of the right credentials.


    1. The ignoramus who wrote of the Potemkin villages is clearly unaware that it was not a tsar whom Prince Grigorii Potemkin tried to kid with false villages, nor even a tsaritsa, but an empress, Yekaterina II of All the Russias, which woman sly old Greg was also shagging.


      1. It makes Americans feel warm and snug to have an enemy to hate, and it is helpful if the enemy is pictured as being constantly miserable and living in squalid conditions, whilst Americans are safe and protected by massive armies and have an abundance of everything – truly, they must be God’s chosen. As I have said many times before, it is actually helpful if they think that. If they imagine the enemy to be already beaten, or at worst to require only a stirring of America’s mighty hand to keep cowed and snarling helplessly, it keeps them from meddling as much as they would if they felt threatened. Russia is far better off without American interference and influence, and if Americans leave it alone because they just feel so gosh-darned superior, who’s getting hurt?

        Long as you got yer ‘Murkan flag, yer okay, never mind if you live in a stairwell or under a bridge. But while that persists as the face of poverty, it is important to note that one in seven Americans is among the world’s poorest 10% not because they don’t have a home or enough to eat, but because of debt. Consumer debt has risen more than 50% in the USA since 2008, and the ratio of families who have more debt than savings is higher now than at any time since 1962.


        1. It’s not just the sh!t kicking country bumpkins. Smug-ass liberals are worse in my opinion with their NPR/NYT addled brains who have total certainty that they are on the path to the end of (their) history. heh heh..


    2. George Soros will never be dead so long as George Friedman lives. Such articles are only written to annoy the Russians, anyway – nobody else really pays any attention to them. Does the US Defense Department punch the air with a victorious “Yessss!!!” and send everyone on extended leave? Of course not – it asks urgently for even more mad money than it did the year prior, and broods about the USA and its allies are nowhere near safe from attack. From who? The drunken, hopeless Russians with their decrepit vehicles and ships and their deserter army? As if. At least according to George Friedman.

      When the cocky know-all analysts like Friedman hear that massed “Uuuuurrrraaahhhh!!” at the Victory Day Parade.

      their minds should be seeing this.


      1. I just love that traditional hair ribboning that Russian schoolgirls and women wear!

        First day at school.

        I have pictures of my wife all dressed up like that in 1972 for her first day at school.

        Love it!

        And they dress up like that when they finish school 10 years later:

        Love it as well!!!!

        See what I meant earlier about their being subhumans, not really Europeans? 🙂 [sarc]

        I once said to a misery-guts English “feminist” 21-year-old student here, when she and I were studying in in the USSR, how I loved how Russian girls wear those big, fluffed-up ribbons, whereupon she tore into me for being a “sexist perv” and latent child-molestor. I kid you not!!!!.

        Soft bitch!

        Anyroad, I married one.

        Not a soft bitch: a Russian woman.

        No complaints!


    3. George Freidman of SLUTFOR, the ‘private intelligence service’ for people who don’t know how to do an internet search, who are ‘time precious/precocious’ and live in an alternate venality?I wonder if Elliot Higgin’s sux his ballz? Probably.


  29. From offGuardian, 25th April 2020:

    50 Headlines Darker: More of the “New Normal”

    One reader’s comment to the above:

    Want to have your sanity slightly restored? Go to this video of clapping seals for the NHS and look at the comments section. People are coming around to our position on this whole fake crisis

    [NHS – National health Service, state health service massively underfunded by successive British governments]

    From the London Evening Standard [owners: Evgeny Lebedev, Alexander Lebedev]:

    Charles and Camilla [for the uninformed, that’s the heir to the throne and his wife] joined mass applause across the UK in the fifth week of “Clap for our Carers”.

    The initiative sees people cheer on those working to provide care amid the coronavirus crisis every Thursday at 8pm.

    The royal pair stood on the doorstep of their home at Birkhall in Aberdeenshire.

    Birkhall, on the Queen’s Balmoral estate, which cosy cottage the heir to the throne inherited off his grandmother after she had croaked. He is there suffering self-isolation with his wife.

    Chuck and Camilla celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary at their Scottish cottage in April 2015. Must have been near Siberian conditions there when the above picture was taken.

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge [Chuck Windsor’s eldest son and his wife], also appeared at the door of Amner Hall alongside Prince George, Princess Charlotte and the birthday boy, Prince Louis.

    Amner hall, another privately owned country cottage on the Queen’s Sandringham estate (also privately owned) in Norfolk, and where “Wills” and “Kate” (the British and the British press like referring to them with such cutie-pie first name terms because they are everybody’s special friends) are also suffering the trials of self-isolation.

    Just as their old grandmama is doing here:

    Windsor Castle

    where she is “doing her bit” by having reduced her household staff to 20 people.

    You’re an absolute brick, ma’am!

    All the above properties, of course, are as nothing when compared with “Putin’s Palaces”.


    1. I liked the comment on the hand clapping pot banging video:

      Looks like you can fool all of the people all of the time…


  30. Enter the buffoon:

    Тбилиси брал. Одессу брал. Киев пока не взял: Саакашвили рассказал, чем хочет заняться на посту вице-премьера

    Tbilisi took him on. He took on Odessa. Kiev has not yet taken him on: Saakashvili has said what he wants to do as Deputy Prime Minister.

    The Supreme Rada Has Decided Not to Consider the Appointment of Former President of Georgia as the Deputy Head of Government of the Ukraine

    In the morning, the “politician” arrived at the “Servant of the People” faction, but before talking with parliamentarians, he held an impromptu press conference on the street

    In the morning, the politician arrived at the “Servant of the People” faction, but before talking with parliamentarians, he set up an impromptu press conference on the street. Like the president of the country, Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Nikolaevich cannot do without a show.

    “The Ukraine is entering an economic storm. We need to look for extraordinary steps not only to save the economy, but to weaken the blows that every Ukrainian family suffers from and to rescue the state, firstly by accelerating the transformation work that the president began a year ago. Private oligarchic interests should be set aside and business should be freed as much as possible. The feudal dependence of business on the state should be ended” — such were the set of banalities set forth by Saakashvili.

    According to Mishiko, the president had instructed him to engage in negotiations with the IMF — the Ukraine needed much more help. At the same time, Saakashvili promised that state interests would be courageously preserved when he asks for a loan of billions.

    “I am for the acceleration of integration into Europe, but on our terms, and not on the terms of bureaucrats.”

    He referred to his team: the ex-Minister of Economics, Timofey Milovanov; his pretty assistant Yulia Marushevskaya; as well as an associate of Natalya Yaresko, a former Ukraine Minister of Finance [and US citizen and criminal — ME], Den Pasko. [Another Harvard graduate! — ME]

    A meeting with the deputies was held without journalists, but some parliamentarians shared their impressions. As acknowledged, for example, by Yevgeny Kravchuk, there is no unity in the faction regarding the appointment of such an outrageous candidate to such a high post.

    “There were questions from deputies about the emotional and explosive nature of Mikheil Saakashvili, to which he said that the situation was completely different now, since he absolutely and sincerely believed in President Zelensky and had no doubt that he had no other interests other than the interests of the country”, said Kravchuk.

    And as regards his “heated” relations with Avakov, Saakashvili firmly assured: “I have no conflict. Now is not the time for conflict”

    The arsehole hath spoken.


      1. Although on closer observation, that pillock Saakashvili looks as though he had been wearing a mask, which he has taken off and is holding in his left hand while he spouts his inanities.


        1. Head of the Ukrainian parliamentary faction “Servant of the People” David Arakhamia has criticized Tbilisi’s promise to recall its ambassador to Kiev for consultations if ex-Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the Ukraine .

          The Supreme Rada deputy stated that no external forces have the right to give Kiev instructions for conducting personnel policy, and warned that Georgia would have problems if the ambassador is recalled.

          This is not the the United States that is saying “You will have diplomatic problems”: it Is Georgia. We should not forget that“, exp;ained the Ukrainian parliamentarian, calling Tbilisi’s rhetoric “political aggression”.

          My stress.

          What a loathsome Banderite sewer rat, whose nose is stuck right up Washington’s collective shitter!



          1. “…no external forces have the right to give Kiev instructions for conducting personnel policy…”

            Ha, ha, ha!!


            The Georgian Health Minister could not even speak the national language. Georgia does not want Saakashvili getting a prominent political appointment right next door because he is wanted for questioning in Georgia and is a fugitive from its judicial process; therefore what Ukraine proposes looks an awful lot like contempt. But fear not; there will soon be a diplomatic mission from Washington to Tbilisi to smooth their ruffled feathers – unity in the face of Russian aggression transcends political squabbling.


    1. He certainly looks as if he has never denied himself seconds of anything; he is still sporting quite a matronly figure, and just look at those breeder’s hips. But to be fair, he’s been fatter – like when he was doing photo-ops on that urban rescue course or whatever, flopping about amongst fit young men and waving a pistol about as he helped demonstrate a tailgate rescue in which he was unceremoniously rolled into the vehicle like a captured walrus. He seems to have acquired a modicum of self-discipline where tucking in is concerned.

      I would still bet on his appointment having been suggested by outsiders, either in Washington or at the IMF. Which more or less amounts to the same thing. He’s just there to annoy the Russians, because he has never displayed any real reformist talents. When he was Preznit of Georgia the west loved to blather about how progressive he was, but it was easy to demonstrate that he was nothing but a cheap crook and they regularly glossed over corruption instigated and managed by him that would make them shriek like trapped pigs if an enemy did it. They have the NATO Buddies Club, and members are allowed certain privileges. Such as ‘being entitled to defend the country’, which excuses a host of abuses.


  31. Boeing Co has told the Brazilian planemaker Embraer that Embraer has not met conditions needed to complete a civil aerospace tie-up, meaning the $4.2 billion deal is off for the foreseeable future, two people familiar with the matter said.

    In a letter late on Friday, Embraer declined to agree to an extension to an April 24 deadline to close the deal, which calls for Boeing to buy 80% of Embraer’s commercial aerospace activities, the sources said.

    Boeing later confirmed the decision. Embraer, the world’s third largest planemaker, declined to comment.


    1. !!!. It was considered a slam dunk even though the EU said it would take a little longer to green light. This tells us that Boeing is truly scared. Good news for Embraer and competition in the market.


    1. Looking at some of those NHS dance videos in that link, the thought occurred to me that those videos were staged and the people dancing are not NHS staff at all. If there are so many of these videos about, there must definitely be some concerted propaganda push behind them.


      1. Supposedly they are ‘dancing to keep their spirits up’. But considering there is an obvious and very public push to make heroes of ‘frontline workers’, whether they are tending patients or scanning vegetables at the grocery store, I would not be surprised at anything. The public mood is restless and slightly ugly, and more and more concerned about (1) how the economy will be restarted, (2) whether all those employed at the onset of the ‘pandemic’ will have jobs to go back to, and (3) whether the governments will dump all the surveillance technology they have been using to track people, or whether it will just be folded into law enforcement as too valuable to give up. These are real concerns, and the longer those expressing them can be distracted with videos of dancing nurses, the better for the government. Similarly, I’m sure, discontent will be portrayed as ‘disrespect for the fantastic work frontline workers are doing’.

        For me, the deciding factor is going to be the overall mortality rate of COVID-19, as a proportion of all those infected. If it turns out – as I strongly suspect it will – to have been no more dangerous than the seasonal flu, then we stood by and watched as the health services and the government shut down all economic activity for nothing. Surely to God those people don’t expect to be voted for the next time elections come up? There will be no defense for their protestations that ‘this was the only way’. No, it wasn’t – it was the way they chose to do it. In the course of committing to a single global effort (except for outliers like Sweden and Belarus), the ‘pandemic’ has been dragged out as we struggle mightily to prevent the virus from taking its natural course, infecting about 80% of the population and then dying out. I’m still willing to be convinced it is dangerous because it has a whopping mortality rate. But just telling me it kills people is not good enough – we are going to have to accept that epidemics kill some people, and heroic as it might be for healthcare workers to pursue a goal of zero fatalities, it is not very realistic. That effort should be pursued in a framework of maintaining normality as best that can be achieved while realistic precautions and protections are observed. I daresay the Union of Bricklayers could strangle a pandemic if everyone huddled in their homes and only came out one at a time to buy groceries and essentials, masked and gloved and always six feet away from any other people. The economy has been brushed aside as if it were of no importance, and we are regularly warned that there will be no going back to ‘the old normal’, as if our new world will include routine pandemic precautions. At the same time – and please correct me if I have misunderstood – we are told that most people who get COVID-19 ‘experience only mild symptoms or sometimes none at all’. That’s what makes it so dangerous, we are told – you could be a carrier and not even know it. That’s why everyone should wear a paper mask and gloves and social-distance. Because you might not even know you are sick!

        If I don’t even notice an illness, and the chances are better than even that anyone who catches it from me will also not be totally incapacitated and die unless they are very old or immunity-compromised…then that sounds an awful lot like the seasonal flu to me. And nobody has ever suggested all economic activity in the world must shudder to a halt for the seasonal flu.

        Even as an outlier, Sweden has observed some lockdown procedures; mass sporting events are canceled and universities are closed, although schools are still open. But we will soon see; its medical health officer, Anders Tegnell, claims that the number of natural immunities in Stockholm is already slowing the spread of the virus, and that they could reach the herd immunity level as early as May. Their number of deaths seems quite high, but many of those occurred in care homes just as elsewhere in the world.


        1. Just some random thoughts:
          – the constant promotion of hero-worship for health care workers, store clerks etc. has a sinister purpose. It inhibit criticism from health care workers, store clerks, etc. Heroes don’t complain, whistle blow , etc. They have an image to protect. Juvenile psychology surely but such seems to be enough nowadays.
          – various world leaders have used the (largely artificial) crisis to obscure other issues. In the West, it is a way to blame the inevitable economic collapse on something, anything,,other than the utter failure of the Western economic model and the associated wealth concentration and debt driven growth.
          – Although Russia has not embraced a hysterical response, they still have gone further than they had to. I suppose it could be for a similar reason as for the West – to steel the population for bad times ahead.


          1. Not necessarily, in Russia’s case – it has the luxury of time to bring its economy back slowly if it wishes to do it that way, because it has actual savings it can draw upon to support economic recovery, without going into the red. The west has no such savings, and everyone is borrowing like crazy to fund unemployment-insurance programs and gimmes to keep economic collapse at bay while the economy is halted. At the company level, projects which were imminent when the ‘pandemic’ started will be put on hold indefinitely, and at the government level, programs and departments which are not essential will see their funding cut to stabilize the budget.


            1. Needless to say, our company has been hit hard as revenue is in free fall as well as the stay-at-home-order (SAHO) that requires significant layoffs. As an essential business, we can still function with a reduced team but with a long list of requirements for employee protection. Some (not all) measures are:
              – all interior doors propped open
              – N95 masks for all employees who must work in close proximity such as in assembly areas
              – hands-free exterior doors with electronic locks
              – all employees who can work from home must work from home
              – no visitors – none
              – no business travel
              -delivery drivers should not enter the building but if they must to supervise unloading, they must wear a mask
              – all employees reporting to work must answer a series of health-related questions via a phone app before entering the building. Contactless thermometers for screening of fever have been purchased but not yet used. HR views such use as a potential invasion of privacy and our labor attorney tends to agree
              – strict social distancing within the facility
              – meetings within the building are conducted by video.
              – nightly disinfection of work areas.
              I come to work every day and, as the oldest person in the company, I suppose I should be nervous but I am not; perhaps I have some enat or whatever. Frankly, some employees are in a panic.

              We expect some recovery in Q3 and Q4 as projects in this period were already funded and the need for water will ensure their completion. 2021 will be a different story as few people expect projects to be initiated this year for construction next year. That is when the shit will hit the fan.


    2. That video effectively delivered a message that I was ineffectively trying to articulate. I agree with Jen that NHS staff-dancing is more likely than not a top-down PR/propaganda effort to deflect attention from the various failings of the NHS.

      Not an expert or even a novice on accent identification but the guy sounded Australian. Or, is the accent cockney?


      1. Estuary English, I think. The Cockneys were packed off to reservations in Essex after their tribal lands had become extremely valuable following the closure of the old London docklands and their redevelopment into “elite” residential areas. In Essex, there ensued miscegenation of the Cockney tribe and the local shitkicker tribes of that part of England situated on the northern shores of the Thames estuary, whereupon the true Cockney dialect degenerated into “Estuary English”.


    1. Yes, according to the video:

      Ядерная энергетическая установка в составе 2-х реакторных установок РИТМ-400 и паротурбинной установки с 4 главными турбогенераторами. Гребные электродвигатели общей мощностью 120 Мвт.

      A nuclear power plant consisting of 2 RITM-400 reactor units and a steam turbine unit with 4 main turbine generators. Screws driven by electric motors having a total power rating of 120 megawatts.


      1. Hey, O’Bummer! Did you read that?

        Now run along back to your Chicago community work, there’s a good chap!

        Budding technocrat O’Bummer


        1. The contract for the Lider class was only signed a few days ago, not to mention the announcement that two amphibious carriers would be built in Zaliv shipyard in the Crimea. This is all happening during this Covid-19 thing and tells us that Russia knows it can weather this storm and others (oil price crash). What other country is signing gigantic (state) contracts at this time?


      2. Thanks for the translation. That is enough electrical energy to supply a medium-sized city. I really like the design – a big departure from the able but utilitarian designs of the past.


  32. I found this article interesting:

    В шаге от Ленинградки

    One step away from the Leningradka

    [Leningradka — Leningradsakiy Prospet, the main highway north out of the city centre]

    Sokol “village” — the “Artists’ Village” — situated in the very centre of Moscow. Harding of the Guardian lived there when he was that rag’s “Man in Moscow”, ever fulminating about Putin’s Police State.

    My translation of the above article:

    One step away from Leningradka
    Do you think that in order to get to a village, a Muscovite needs to spend at least an hour on a train or to drive a car far beyond the MKAD? This is not true. At least three villages continue to survive within the old borders of Moscow and feel great. A correspondent of “RG” took a walk through them and found out what it feels like to heat a house with firewood in the middle of a huge metropolis.

    Beware of the dogs
    Perhaps the most colourful metropolitan village is Trinity-Lykovo in the Strogino area. The history of this village dates back to the 16th century. A village with a palace granted to Prince Boris Lykov was established here by Tsar Vasily Shuisky in 1610. The village has had its high-ranking owners changed over the past centuries more than once. And in 1960 it became part of Moscow. Twenty years later, by the time of fhe 1980 Olympics, a lot of construction had unfolded around it. The nearest villages were demolished, and in their place grew the modern multi-storey district of Strogino. But Trinity-Lykovo survived and even managed to remain a real village. The North-West tunnel, part of Zhukov Avenue, went went right below it, and not on top,the village having been saved by the environmental protection zone located in the neighbourhood.

    Everyone entering Trinity-Lykovo is greeted by two unchanging village attributes – the smell of stove smoke and dogs barking. Dogs here are not just human friends, but real guards. As you walk along the street, at every second fence a terrible bark is heard. The local dogs smell a stranger clearly. Notices hang on the lampposts: at least three dogs on fled on New Year’s Eve, having been frightened by the fireworks, but their owners continue to look for them. Will they be able to find them, for on one side of the village the city begins, and on the other, there is a forest.

    The first resident of Trinity-Lykova who met me, a pensioner Lyudmila Aleksandrovna, was walking her dog. “I have lived here all my life, and my forebears also come from here. So this is my native village”, she said willingly. “In the Soviet years, everyone here knew each other; even the doors in the houses weren’t closed at night. On the streets you could see cows and goats. Now, of course, it is not like that, but still, it is very quiet and calm. I still heat my house, like many others, with a wood burning stove and bring gas to our place in cylinders.”

    There are houses with modern amenities in Trinity-Lykov, but more often than not, these are cottages with two or three floors and situated behind high fences, and have all the benefits of civilization brought to them. Local old-timers complain of such mansions, more and more, because the village is beginning to look like an elite cottage village, which is hardly surprising: the demand for land here is high, and these cottages are valued not so much as a place to live but as plots of land. Here and in advertisements they advertise not the number of rooms and amenities, but the land: for 18 hectares with a wooden house built in 1947, they ask for 39 million rubles! On average, a hundred square metres cost about 2 million rubles.

    How to get there: directly to the village, only by bus N 137 s from the Schukinskaya metro station. You can walk from the metro station “Strogino” in 20-25 minutes.

    Two-story Moscow
    Another unusual village, located near the centre of the capital, yet little-known, is Kuryanovo. It seems to be hidden from the city, because on one side of it are the Kuryanovsky sewage treatment facilities, the largest in Europe, and on the other, a railway line.

    Because of the treatment facilities, a housing estate appeared there, where a village had existed for several centuries. However, its inhabitants were resettled in the 1930s because of the construction of the sewage plant and housing for its employees. The workers’ village itself had already appeared by the 1950s, and it was laid out according to a plan, which even now catches the eye when looking at a map.
    The central axis is Kuryanovsky Boulevard, which starts at the House of Culture, which would really fit in well at VDNKh – regular shapes, tall columns, an abundance of decorative ornaments on the façade: real ceremonial architecture of the 1950s. Directly opposite is a monument to Vladimir Lenin, painted with silver paint – this can be found in any provincial Russian town, but for Moscow, this is akin to a museum exhibit.

    “I remember how lines of schoolchildren assembled at this monument as they were being enrolled into the Pioneers , and almost the whole village walked along the boulevard in the evenings”, recalls local resident Elena Afonina. “Since then, of course, much has changed – there are fewer young people here and everybody no longer works at sewage treatment plants.”

    The basis of the local housing stock is two-story residential buildings containing several apartments, often with separate entrances. In summer, the streets are covered in greenery, each house having its own front garden, fenced in with a wooden fence painted green – as in a classic village. Narrow streets diverge from Kuryanovsky Boulevard, where there are no parked cars; they are left in the yards. When taking a walk, there is a feeling as if you have gone back into the past. Even something like a board of honour stands opposite the administrative building of the sewage treatment plant. However, upon closer inspection, it does not reveal photographs of employees, but the stages of the construction and reconstruction of the enterprise. Previously, a big local problem was an unpleasant smell, but now it has become better because of updating the equipment.

    How to get there: there is no metro to Kuryanovo nearby, but there are many buses. For example, 4 routes lead directly from Pechatniki station to the village. There is also the Pererva MTsD-2 station nearby, and by the end of the year they promise to open the Kuryanovo station on the same diameter line – the residents of the village are waiting for it.

    From Polenov to Serov
    This is perhaps the most famous Moscow village and the one that is located closest to the centre of Moscow village – Sokol or, as it is often called, the Artists’ Village. It got this name because of the names of the streets – Serov, Polenov, Savrasov … The village was founded near Leningradsky Prospekt in 1923 and will soon celebrate its centenary. The architects tried to implement here the concept of a garden city, combining all the best from urban and rural lifestyles. This idea was partly successful – it is quiet, there is a lot of greenery and trees, large land plots, and you can walk to the Sokol metro station in 10 minutes.

    However, the attractiveness of the place has played a cruel joke on the village: they were going to demolish it and build it up with skyscrapers more than once since the 1950s, but the locals always managed to save this amazing place. In the end, it was even put under protection – in 1979 it was recognized as a monument of urban development, and now the village has the status of an object of cultural heritage of regional significance.

    The security statuses, however, did not save many buildings from being rebuilt, and the village as a whole suffers from having high, blank fences surrounding properties. In the 1990s, many locals sold their homes, and in their place there arose mansions. Some of them are now sold for tens of, or even hundreds of millions, of rubles – for one cottage, for example, they are asking for 350 million rubles. But it is still possible to find yourself in a completely different Moscow, taking only a step away from Leningradsky Prospekt.

    How to get there: on foot from the Sokol metro station 10-15 minutes.

    By the way
    Should you wait for demolition?

    Residents of the Moscow villages are afraid of demolition – urbanization has made dozens of Moscow villages a thing of the past, and right now excavators are demolishing the last houses in the village of Terekhovo in the north-west of the capital. But the remaining three villages are not threatened. The Institute of the General Plan of Moscow “RG” said that not only Sokol, but also Troitsa-Lykov have protective status that protects both property and, at the same time, the name of the village itself. Kuryanovo is partially located in a special area of regulation of development. So any work in these territories should be coordinated with the organization “Moscow City Heritage”.

    Notes to the above:

    MKAD: Moscow Ring Road – the outermost of three such roads, which generally marks the city limits:
    beyond MKAD is open countryside and forests. However, the administrative borders of Moscow have
    been greatly extended in recent years.

    RG: Russkaya Gazeta

    VDNKh: Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy – a permanent general purpose trade show
    and amusement park in Moscow, built mostly in Soviet Stalin style.

    Pioneers: Soviet youth movement.

    MTsD-2: Moscow Diametrical Railway-2


    1. Shagging in Leningrad? It still makes me laugh when I think of the day at uni when we learned shag za shagom – step-by-step, or as I translate it: sex with a gentile! 😉

      As u kno’, a Shag (Common Shag, European Shag) is a coastal bird from the Cormorant family, though the Great Bustard comes a close second for me. But is there a Great Shag?

      As Jen would probably know, there’s the Australian pied cormorant (pied shag/great pied cormorant).


      1. There’s a common shag.

        I was once recommended a black shag. I took the advice, and after that, there was no going back …

        Speaking of which, I can’t wait for the ending of this damned house arrest and can then get to the country, where I can light up my pipe in my garden.


          1. It’s getting warmer here (+10 C) and the sun is shining brightly. In fact, I’ve half a mind to make a tobacco dash right now tothe metro station, where there’s — oh wonder of wonders — a tobacconists!

            I think they might no longer exist in the UK now. When I was last there, there was only one left in the whole of Manchester. And bollocks to those who admonish with “Smoking kills!” I’ll be killing no one while I sit in my garden puffing away — and as for me, I’m bloody 71 and I’m not going to live forever.

            I used to love the smell inside a tobacconist’s — brings back childhood memories.


        1. In the US variety of my mother tongue, “shag rug” could mean a rug for shagging on. However, in that context, I would use a gerund before the noun, namely “shagging rug”, thereby turning the verbal noun into an attributive adjective, the adjective, it being gerundial in form, giving the notion of an activity, and because of this, I would be stressing the action that is attributed to the rug in question. Likewise “rowing boat” and “sailing boat”.

          Speakers of North American English, hower, tend to give a common noun an adjectival function in its attribution of a characteristic to a following noun, hence “shag rug’, “row boat”, “sail boat”, as well as “no-go zone” and “no-fly zone” instead of “no-going zone” and “no-flying zone”.

          For me, the semantics of “no-fly zone” indicates a zone without flies or where flies are prohibited, whereas “no-flying zone” means a zone where there is no flying.

          To my knowledge, speakers of North American English still say, however, “walking stick” and not “walk stick”.

          Oh yes, and when my beard gets too shaggy, my wife insists that she trim it with electrical dubbers that were bought for that purpose shortly after we had got wed.

          She likes a trimmed beard, and when I begin to look like “Dyed Moroz”, as she puts it (a gross exaggeration, I should add), she finds my appearance somewhat off-putting, so I always concede to her request that it be trimmed, otherwise there’ll be no … !



          1. Similar, I suppose, to the warnings painted on aircraft wings which read ‘No Step’. The meaning is obvious, but the only place you would actually hear “No step here’ would be when the Lone Ranger is talking to Indians. If it were correct it would read “Don’t Step”, or “No Stepping”. But it was deemed to be suitable as a warning as is, I guess.


            1. And it economizes on paint and time usage stops semi-literate aircraftsmen from long pondering over whether there are two letters “p” or one letter “p” in “stepping”.


          2. The word “shag” as in “thick shag rug”, means having a deep pile; it derives from Old English sceacga [pron: shagkah, related to Old Norse skegg— a beard.


            1. But it was ‘shaggy’ as well, in that the original ‘shag rugs’ that started the trend in the 70’s had the appearance of bearskins or some similar animal fur. They were never meant to be wall-to-wall carpet, although that somehow took off as well. They were meant to be an accent rug on a hard floor, probably in front of the fireplace or in a similar setting.


                1. New Zealand is home to 3 million people and 60 million sheep

                  It’s widely believed that New Zealand has 20 sheep for every person – information that adds weight to myriad sheep jokes. How accurate is this these days?

                  To begin with, we must find out how many people live in New Zealand. The population passed the 4 million mark in 2003. Our population clock put the event at precisely 5.30 pm on Thursday, 24 April. By 30 June 2015, the estimated resident population had reached 4.60 million people.

                  Next, we must find out how many sheep we have. According to Statistics NZ’s agricultural production statistics, we had an estimated 29.5 million sheep at 30 June 2015.

                  This means that the sheep-to-person ratio has fallen and contrary to popular belief there are actually about six sheep per person, not 20….

                  …Page updated 8 March 2016, based on provisional information for agriculture previously published 15 December 2015 and population estimates published on 16 November 2015.

                  And as we know from the bible, the seventh day is a day of rest.


                2. Australian to Kiwi on finding himin flagrante delicto with a sheep:

                  — In Australia, we shear them!

                  — Well find one of your own, mate: I’m not shearing this beauty with anyone!


                3. Two drunken Newfoundlanders are making their way home, and spy a sheep stuck fast in the mud. They giggle at its predicament, and Fred observes, “I wish that sheep was a beautiful blonde”.

                  George responds, “I wish it was dark”.


                4. Jonathan Lethem’s oddball sci-fi novel “Gun, With Occasional Music” – a great read, and would make a wonderful film – features “evolved” animals in interesting roles within the hard-boiled private eye format. A kangaroo gangster and a femme fatale ewe are key characters.


                5. I read a SF story in my youth about a distant future where certain animals species were artificially evolved to have human intelligence and semi-human form. The story focused on evolved cats who found themselves only able to work as entertainers and athletes. The uber cats were demanding equality. The story, probably written in the 60’s, was likely an allegory regarding racial discrimination.


  33. By the way, I did the above translation because I had set translation of the article as a task for one of my students. My translation is for her to compare with her own.


    1. Two-story !!!!!!

      Hell’s Bells!!!!!!


      That’s bloody Microsoft Word spellcheck again.

      I remember correcting its false correction and the ignoramus machine changed my correction.

      IT also annoyingly underlineD all my use of the passive voice in the translation; always advising not to use the passive.

      Why? Is it too difficult to comprehend?

      Let them be fucked with their advice!


  34. I used to live about a 10-minute stroll from that Sokol village, in 1997. That was before I got wed. I never knew at the time, though, that that arsehole Harding lived there.


  35. Unemployment prognosis 2020 (from IMF)

    Unemployment in the United States is setting record after record, with millions more Americans entering the labour market every week. So far, there are no problems on this scale in Russia. If we take into account the relatively successful start of the year, then in the first quarter and the beginning of April, 44 thousand unemployed people were added, which is also a lot, but not as much as one might expect.



    1. This is my concern in the UK – that many businesses will not start back up again.
      And that there will be redundancies as the businesses that do return make cut backs.

      The longer we are shut down the more likely the economy will suffer badly.
      Worse than 2008

      The virus also shows no sign of flattening the curve – we have had 20 thousand deaths and more infections daily.


      1. To me, Denmark’s decision to start relaxing restrictions is an admission that locking down the public and forcing them to stay at home is not working.

        Similarly, Austria and the Czech Republic are easing restrictions, but still have active cases and the situation has not stabilized.

        Such measures in the face of continuing infections, albeit down from their peak, sound like acknowledgement that the virus is not going to be exterminated by denying it victims. In all cases, schools are being reopened for younger children, the most resistant group to viral infections and the most likely to shrug it off quickly and build antibodies.

        I was just looking at a graph the missus had on her phone – British Columbia is lower than any of those countries for deaths per million among countries (and provinces) with populations of 5 million or more, adjusted for population, with about 19 deaths per million people. Highest is New York, with 1,049. We are lower than Germany, lower than the Czech Republic, lower than countries which are opening up and easing restrictions, acknowledging that the fight to stop the virus by shutting down everything until the last case has been identified and recovered, is lost. It was always a stupid plan, because that’s not the way viruses work; checks of cabins aboard the Diamond Princess showed active viral particles in the cabins weeks after passengers had left.

        I would agree there is still a lot we do not know about this specific virus – such as whether the dose of viral particles you receive has any effect on how sick you get. I mean, obviously there is an amount you can tolerate without even catching the disease, tentatively fixed at below 40 particles per square meter. But if you get only just enough to make you ill, does that affect if you will need to be placed on a ventilator? Probably not – it probably depends on how easily the virus multiplies in your body, which is likely determined by natural resistance granted by your immune system. But generally speaking, coronaviruses have much in common, and all our recent pandemics have been coronaviruses.

        Much will depend on what happens in the countries that are trying the different approach and re-opening their economies although they still have active cases. But I think that would have been the way to go from the start. Sensible precautions, like washing your hands frequently and wearing gloves, maybe a mask if it makes you feel better, and care homes should be shut up tight with no visitors allowed and all staff checked on entry. But there was never any real reason to shut down the economy, and that tactic was plainly a failure. It remains to be seen how much damage it did.


  36. Trump moves ahead with plans to revive U.S. nuclear program, domestic uranium production

    The administration considers nuclear effort a matter of national security, as China and Russia’s state-owned enterprises make gains

    Having a capable civil nuclear program is important if you are going to have balanced energy production in future (Green whatever). Having to promote it by framing it as a Russo-Chinese threat shows how completely dysfuntiional the US is, though in this case the Republican Party who are environment sceptical

    Still, this is but a first step of many (expensive $$$) steps and still way behind Russia and China.

    In other news, I read that the Conservative Party is pushing for a UK-China ‘reset’, i.e. f/k China policy that seems to be aping the US. It’s one thing to implode through incompetence (the west in general), but to actively implode by jetisoning links with the world’s largest economy in a region where there is strong future growth for the alternative… tying it to the sinking US Titanic. It looks like a perfect storm is brewing!


    1. It would be nice for the US to restart a serious NPP program but the technical and management expertise, qualified suppliers and trained work force for the nuclear industry are gone – died off mostly or found employment elsewhere. A revival is impossible. The last few efforts to build NPPs in the US were financial disasters and IIRC several were abandoned before completion. The basic purpose of the Trump plan is to ensure uranium for the military:

      More specifically the plan calls for using a reported $1.5 billion fund to purchase U.S.-produced uranium over a 10-year period to create a national stockpile and tp prohibit uranium purchases from China and Russia.

      The report also concludes that restoring the country’s competitive nuclear advantages is a national security interest, which includes making sure there is enough enriched uranium for nuclear-powered military equipment.

      There ought to be a global nuclear fuel cycle with Russia accepting spent fuel rods and reprocessing into new nuclear fuel – an ideal international division of labor.


      1. NPP are still being produced for the military (SSN/SSBNs) etc. There’s a core competence already. Maybe its something that can be built on.


  37. Continuing with the current topic of American Exceptionalism and associated propaganda, MoA provided a link to this gem:

    I will not join or otherwise be associated with the NYT so I could not view the article but MoA provided some nice excerpts:

    BERLIN — As images of America’s overwhelmed hospital wards and snaking jobless lines have flickered across the world, people on the European side of the Atlantic are looking at the richest and most powerful nation in the world with disbelief.

    “When people see these pictures of New York City they say, ‘How can this happen? How is this possible?’” said Henrik Enderlein, president of the Berlin-based Hertie School, a university focused on public policy. “We are all stunned. Look at the jobless lines. Twenty-two million,” he added.

    “I feel a desperate sadness,” said Timothy Garton Ash, a professor of European history at Oxford University and a lifelong and ardent Atlanticist.

    The pandemic sweeping the globe has done more than take lives and livelihoods from New Delhi to New York. It is shaking fundamental assumptions about American exceptionalism — the special role the United States played for decades after World War II as the reach of its values and power made it a global leader and example to the world.

    MoA cites evidence to the contrary:

    – According to a 2017 Pew survey, 39% of respondents across 38 countries consider U.S. influence and power a major threat to their countries, compared to 31% for both Russia and China. That’s up from 25% in 2013, when the survey was conducted previously.
    – Approval of U.S. global leadership fell to 30% worldwide, per a January Gallup poll. That’s narrowly behind China (31%) and ahead of Russia (27%). It’s also the lowest score in the 10 years the survey has been conducted, and down from 48% in Barack Obama’s last year.
    – America’s favorability around the world has fallen sharply, particularly among key allies like Mexico, Canada and Germany. And that was before Trump’s trade war and Iran deal withdrawal.

    It would be easy to imagine that the US has continued its fall since the 2017 poll date. But this is not a bad thing at all. Trump has helped open eyes that wanted to remain shut to the deeds of the US as the preeminent warmongering global empire (war including economic attacks, organizing coups and military invasion). Is Trump oblivious to his historic role in ushering a new world order of free nations able to pursue their own paths? Why yes, yes he is.


    1. Ha, ha!! That is so typical – the world is ‘missing American leadership’, or pining for it in a nostalgic “Sure wish we had America to lead us” manner. Dream on. I think most nations are quite capable of noticing that America has led its allies into catastrophe after catastrophe over the last couple of decades, and that when America wants to ‘lead’, it is nearly always a military campaign to regime-change some hapless country so America can lead the plundering of its resources for wealthy investors.

      Oddly, America rarely advertises its leadership in achievements like environmentalism, where – despite a running fight against commercial interests – it is actually world-class. As I believe I have mentioned before, you can still see schools of salmon free-swimming in the harbor in Seattle, and that would be a pretty rare sight in Victoria. The population of Seattle is about 750,000. The population of Victoria is less than half that, even including Greater Victoria districts whose sewage disposal does not contribute to downtown pollution. Seattle is also very clean for a big city, or so it always seemed to me; it looks like a good place to live.

      I would be quite comfortable betting that where America sees ‘sadness and disbelief’ at the dearth of American leadership on show is in the memos of western government leaders, probably because when America wants to knock over some shitsplat country and take over everything, America pays the bills, has plenty of money to throw around, and there are always juicy reconstruction contracts for the participants afterward.

      Timothy Garton Ash, ardent Atlanticist; sort of tells you everything you need to know. When you would like to have someone else tell you something you want to believe is true – so it won’t look like you just made it up yourself – have a selection of ‘experts’ ready to hand whose opinion on various topics is already well-known and reliable. Curious just how horrible Russia’s human-rights record is? Let’s ask Masha Lippmann, at the Carnegie Moscow Center. What’s that evil Putin up to now – I know! Let’s talk to ‘Kremlin insider’ Gleb Pavlovsky. Just how much does the world long for America’s strong hand on the rudder? Ask Timothy Garton America, ardent Atlanticist.


      1. It was only several months ago when I read an article and watched YouTube clips about Seattle folk complaining of “woke” southern Californian bums settling in their city and, amongst other things, shitting on the streets. Have the Seattle folk got shut of them since then?


          1. “…[T]he city’s more wealthier Sunset District…”? “…[I]t’s absolutely fowl…”? What is the first language of the reporter who ginned up this story? I thought KOMO was a relatively well-off source that could afford a real editor.

            That aside, yes, the homeless are a big problem. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, pity for their plight stems from an impression that most or all of them are down on their luck because of a bad judgment call or a medical emergency that drained their cash. The sad truth is that many of them, perhaps most, are mentally ill or serious drug addicts, reduced to something like animals and no longer possessed of the delicate sensibilities which warn that pooping on the street is just one of the things you don’t do. Their fried brains are programmed for survival and whatever basic actions and communications are necessary to accomplish it.

            It’s just my opinion I’m stating here, but I think that letting them run loose in the streets is a cop-out, that no city administration wants to take on the responsibility of incarcerating them, especially when they are only guilty of petty crime done to support their habit. It’s easier to blather homilies about the less-fortunate, and the social responsibility we all share for them. Again just in my opinion, a facility like a combination hospital/care facility/penitentiary should be built and staffed to get them off the streets. They should be fed and clothed at public expense, but denied drugs, and only allowed so much freedom as they demonstrate themselves capable of handling. Businesses should be offered incentives to hire those capable of working simple jobs to provide for themselves, and if some are able to be rehabilitated to the point they can rejoin society, that’d be great. But it is only realistic to acknowledge that some, perhaps most, are not candidates for rehabilitation. That being the case – and believe me, it is – it is no kindness to let them roam the streets, shitting anywhere they feel like it like infants and sleeping on the street, or constructing ambitious cardboard dwellings for themselves in public spaces. It is a serious problem in the Victoria downtown core, but nobody wants to do anything about it because if you recommend anything other than more sympathy and understanding, more miles walked in their shoes, the liberals will eat you alive. God; I used to be a liberal – I have no idea what I have become.


        1. Could be; I read some accounts of what it was like in Olympia, also in Washington State.

          I was impressed with the sardonic wit of the author and his fellow countrymen, specifically with their naming of specific eyesores for the politicians whose ideas made them possible – ‘Cooperville”, named after Councilman Jim Cooper, the “Bateman Motel” named after Councilwoman Jessica Bateman, and so on. And I wholeheartedly agree with their impression that while the wish to help out the less fortunate is laudable and should be encouraged, the first signs you see that those you are helping have identified you as a host who can be suckled from until you are ruined should be your cue to move them on. The idea is always to lift them up and inspire them with the values that prevail in the community – not drag the community down to theirs.

          Our Mayor, Lisa Helps – actually, she’s the Mayor of Victoria, and I live just over the line from Victoria, in Saanich – helpfully provided Topaz Park, downtown, as a new tent-city location for the homeless. Here’s what it once looked like:


          Here’s what it looks like now.

          Support workers have been provided and paid for, toilets and showers set up; the climate is mild, and homelessness has been made just about as attractive as is possible. The grateful residents of Helpstown have responded with a wave of burglaries and petty crimes that necessitated the expenditure of additional taxpayer funds for a stepped-up police presence. There’s an interesting insight for you – in the USA, the establishment of such ‘shantytowns’ has been cited as a reason for record gun sales in America, as residents ‘get strapped’ so’s they can plug intruders trying to make off with Jimmie’s bike.

          We all, I think, are sympathetic to the plight of unfortunates who are ruined by greedy capitalists or whatever, wealthy interests who don’t give a damn about the people who work for them, or lose their homes due to crazy medical bills, that sort of kick in the balls. But the manager of Our Place, a downtown Victoria kitchen to feed the homeless, near to a religious mission which offers free housing to the unfortunate, is candid; a lot of his ‘customers’ are people with serious drug addictions and/or mental-health issues. Those are the folks you see blissfully pissing into the street from the verge as you’re driving by as a tourist – my, there’s the authentic experience you were looking for!


          1. Seriously, I agree that a lot, if not most, homeless people do have serious mental health and addiction issues and need to be in a hospital or refuge where they can be fed adequately, have somewhere to sleep, be able to regain their physical health and (perhaps most important) not have any contact with dealers, which might be easier said than done. One problem is how they become homeless in the first place: if they become homeless because their families are unable to deal with them – for example, they have violent episodes, they have stolen all their families’ money for drugs and may be hopelessly addicted to ice or some other drug and just can’t get off in spite of everything they have done to overcome the addiction – then to get them into a place where they have to start interacting with people again without stealing from them or beating them up will be hard. Each homeless person with a drug or mental health problem needs an individual strategy to deal with the problem and the issues behind it, and for some people this strategy will have to last for their entire lives, keeping the problem in check rather than resolving it because, short of a complete brain transplant or a lobotomy, there may not be a lot that can be done for them.

            Consent and risk management issues are another problem: how do you get consent from people with major mental health and drug addiction issues to try a solution to their problems that may only have a 50/50 chance of success? If you don’t tell them that failure is possible, they then consent and the treatment fails, through perhaps no one’s fault, and they are left in a worse state than before, they or their legal representative can claim damages.


            1. My son regularly watches video blogs made by two Russian lads who are based in southern California. I watched one the other day when they were visiting “Muscle Beach” or whatever on the Pacific Coast. They spoke to some interesting folk there, who were all bums, sleeping rough (well, it’s usually nice weather there, from what I could see: Mediterranean climate and all that), but they were all either junkies or had psychiatric problems or both.

              A decent sort of cop got talking to the Russian lads and reminded them that most of those with whom they were associating had psychological problems, but were mostly harmless, telling them that the police only make the homeless shift camp if any property owners complain about their presence.

              The Russian pair hired a likeable black junkie as their guide. He was a funny/sad type, seemingly harmless.

              I suppose they all use the Pacific Ocean for their ablutions.


                1. Here’s that clip taken at Little Venice by two visiting Orcs:

                  Sorry, no English subtitles available, but I’m sure you Stooges will catch the drift, because the locals talk in US English, of course, and if I rightly recall, the two Russian lads speak to the locals in English as well.

                  As for the rest, if you don’t know any Russian, you had better learn some fast, if you know what’s good for you, for after Putin has gone, there’s gonna be no more Mr. Nice Guy here in Mordor!

                  My half-breed son follows the blogs of these two fellow countrymen of his.

                  Vova wants to go to Los Angeles. He wants to live in Little Venice.

                  Bloody Russian-Californian bum-to-be!

                  What have I done to deserve a son like this???


            2. That’s probably true, and it merely highlights what a state we are in, where orders to stay in your homes must be obeyed and you don’t have any rights, and the authorities are setting up snitch lines where your neighbours can call up and set the cops on you if you go out for a run, but we can’t do enough for the homeless and the drug-addled and the crazy. Those people clearly cannot do it on their own, their resistance to their addiction is nil or their ability to reason so degraded that all they know is survival and carefree abrogation of responsibility. They need supervision and boundaries, and the police might be better employed interdicting drug shipments and putting away drug dealers. The current strategy of ignoring the street-level dealers in hope that they will lead to the ‘big fish’ is not working.


              1. the police might be better employed interdicting drug shipments and putting away drug dealers.

                Yes, that has really worked well so far.

                We would probably be better off legalizing most or all drugs and putting some real money and efforts into dealing with addictions and social breakdowns.

                When a drug user is constantly breaking the law just buying drugs let alone trying to get the money to do so and likely living in fear of drug dealers, the police and just random street violence, it may be a bit difficult for them to settle down to ridding themselves of bad habits.

                Investing a bit in decent accommodation and some good social support—even something as basic as keeping people on their meds—is likely to pay back a lot more that dropping a few portable toilets in a park.


                1. I appreciate your arguments but where is the line drawn? The main argument I suppose is that drug use is a victimless crime thus not a crime at all. Does that mean that there should be no restraint on human behavior as long as there is no overt harm to others? Should people with psychiatric disorders be free to do what they choose until someone is murdered or they commit an otherwise avoidable suicide if they had received help?

                  Regarding the failure to reduce access to drugs, the problem is, in part, that there is simply way too much money to be made. For example the US government is up to its neck in poppy cultivation and opium production in Afghanistan.

                  I suppose Britain’s use of opium to destroy Chinese society was a “victimless” crime. Should every vice be legalized such as prostitution? Should torture of animals including dog fighting be allowed? Unrestricted gambling? How about coercive advertising aimed at children and adolescents for pedophile fun and profit?

                  My view is that, as far as I know, societies have placed limits on personal behavior for millennia to achieve social cohesiveness. Allowing unrestricted access to powerful and deadly mind-altering substances simply accelerates a collapse of society with the attendant suffering poverty, and death.

                  I am not saying you advocate the above social carnage, but, again, legalizing all drugs does put one on that slippery slope.

                  Just my two cents.


                2. Well, I was talking about actually putting away drug dealers. A lot of people addicted to ‘recreational drugs’ do not have to be owing to a medical condition, but simply got hooked on a bad habit, can’t stop and live like animals in pursuit of their next fix. Meanwhile, the police do not seem to try very hard to put away street-level dealers, being more interested in catching the ‘Mr. Big’ who is the direct link with Colombia or wherever they are getting their ‘product’. Is dealing drugs illegal, or isn’t it? Would making all drugs legal do anything at all to get rid of the dirt-caked scarecrows on the street panhanding and bothering people for the money for their next snort of blow or whatever? I can’t see how. And if we are talking about giving them a place to live and safe-injection sites and more support, then we are merely subsidizing recreational drug use at public expense. In my own experience, the more support you give people with no expectation of them doing anything to earn it, the more they feel themselves entitled to.

                  I’m sure there is a lot to [police work that I never see, but what I mostly see them doing is cruising around in a ripped-looking SUV giving everybody the stink-eye, like they can read your criminal mind. I think they could spare a little time to actually enforce the law against street-level drug dealing, many of whom seem always to be ‘known to police’, or so they say when something happens to them. If the police knew he was a drug dealer, what’s he doing walking around free? It seems to me much of the lower level of criminals takes up that sort of occupation because it’s easy money and the police don’t appear to care.

                  If analysts want to ‘take a serious look at the drug problem’, then they might start with determining how many of the people who regularly use drugs have to use drugs. I’m just guessing, but I’d bet it’s about 15%, if that. The rest of drug addicts probably are drug addicts because they made some bad choices. I’d be interested to hear ideas on how they could be gotten off drugs and get back to work or making some contribution for their daily bread that was more ambitious than smearing my clean windows with a dirty rag at intersections and holding out a hand for change. What I would not be interested in hearing is a plan that would make drug addicts safe and comfortable drug addicts for the rest of their lives at public expense.


  38. And here is more proof of the moronic analysis of Friedman or whatever about Russia being outmaneuvered by the Saudi’s with an oil industry on the verge of collapse:

    Shipments of Russian crude oil to China increased more than 30 percent in March compared to a year earlier while Saudi imports of the commodity sank, Reuters reported, citing Chinese customs data.


  39. Financial Creams: China warned EU 3 times over virus propaganda report

    Diplomatic complaints highlight Beijing efforts to curb criticism over pandemic

    …The warnings from Beijing came after the news organisation Politico reported excerpts from the EU disinformation report on Tuesday…

    …The Chinese pressure sparked a dispute in Brussels during the editing process of a public bulletin based on the internal disinformation report, according to internal emails first reported in the New York Times and seen by the FT. One disinformation analyst raised concerns that changes being made showed the EU’s “apparent willingness to self-censor in response to Beijing’s threats”….

    That the US (via the ever reliable New York Times and other) in involved in ‘helping’ the EU to disengage with China is not a great surprise. Yet again the US is directly interfering in u-Rope because they can.

    Vis the ‘EU v. Disinfo’ shitshow, everyone knows these lowest common denominator peddlers of propaganda cherry pick details from foreign reporting out of context to fit their perceived threat matrix (aka self-licking ice cream). It’s been quite comfortable throwing shit at Russia, but picking China as a target…might it be one bite of the cherry too far?


    1. China put pressure on EU to soften coronavirus disinformation report

      One EU official said the Chinese mission to the EU had protested about the report through several diplomatic channels.

      …Peter Stano, a spokesperson for the European External Action Service, said Saturday that “the publications of the EEAS are categorically independent. We have never bowed to any alleged external political pressure. This includes also our latest snapshot overview on disinfo trends.”

      He said the New York Times article makes “ungrounded, inaccurate allegations and contains factually incorrect conclusions about the EEAS’ report,” adding that “disinformation and harmful narratives can bear severe potential risks to our citizens, including to their health.”

      The paragraphs above are the last two in the ‘article’. As is usual propaganda practice to leave it until the end, coz otherwise you wouldn’t read the whole article.

      If you follow the first link in the article ( ) you can see the cherry picking directly. What is even more laughable is straight after it, Politico blows its own horn ..Five years ago today, we launched POLITICO in Brussels. Ever since, our aim has been to do credible and essential journalism on the EU for European insiders that does not “look and taste like oatmeal,” to quote then-executive editor Matthew Kaminski, who’s now steering the Washington-based mothership…. is the u-Ropean branch of, but still american style sexed up news outlet that does have some genuinely interesting content but is far outbalanced with heavily politicized reporting and ‘Opinion’ to tell its readers what to think of Byzantine Brussels (u-Ropean) politics. Is it part of the problem?


      1. Someone here commented that to the effect that the sooner the fake edifice and pretend alliances collapse, the better off we all are. The US seeking to further turn the western world against China will certainly hasten the process.


      2. Euractiv mit Neuters: China pressured EU to drop COVID disinformation criticism: sources

        …the public summary posted Friday to the bloc’s disinformation portal,, attributed the disinformation to “state-backed sources from various governments, including Russia and – to a lesser extent – China.”

        The public summary did note “significant evidence of covert Chinese operations on social media,” but the reference was left to the final six paragraphs of the document.

        Well done to EUvsDisinfo to kick the hornet’s nest. Don’t worry, they’re not responsible and will not be held accountable for any flaky sh*t they post. I can imagine the EU bigwigs will be mortified by this coming out of left field, but then those are the same bigwigs who greenlighted the EUvsDisinfo wankathon (on a tight budget)…


      3. Washington-based mothership, uh? It seems fairly obvious the pressure on the EU to ‘hold China accountable’ comes from Washington and London – as usual, the UK has been even more shrill than its American cousins. China must put its head in the dirt and apologize for bringing this horrid plague on the world – which it didn’t even have the good grace to let kill a lot of Chinamen before it slipped its maker’s bonds and fell upon the Good. To add insult to injury, the Chinese economy is fast getting back on track, and will be cooking months ahead of the west. So, you know, the offer of a couple of trillions in compensation might be grudgingly accepted.


        1. Not just the Chinese economy. Others too will recover much more quickly than the West which has yet to fully descend in to domestic recriminations and political scapegoating.

          I’m reading that Arbus is haemorraghing cash and is warning of significant job losses. The irony of all this is that in the last ten years orders for both Arbus & Boing have been significantly due to the Asian market and that boosting production from the mid-30s to 60+ (in Arbus’s case) has caused significant problems in the supply chains of both, i.e. suppliers just couldn’t keep up, and now both are pared back. This, coming at the time that Sukhoi/Rostec are building up a comprehensive global support base for future Russian aviation products…

          Now that Boing has pulled out of the takeover Joint-Venture with Embraer, surely a cash injections and a share holding by, let’s say an ‘Asian conglomerate’, should be on the cards. It’s all in the timing… I would expect Washington to blow its top in either case because it has a self given veto on any foreign company, with or without American operations (sic Ukraine’s Motor Sich). Remember Bolsonaro is supposed to be an ally. Are we to expect a spectacular swing back in Brazil in the next year or two?

          Speaking of which, al-Beeb s’Allah reported on Justice minister Morro resigning/fired/whatever allegedly because of interference by Bolsonaro in Justice affairs. I had a good laugh at that as Morro was part of the team that put Bolsonaro in to power with its politically biased takedown of Lula (as we have seen from the leaked chats to wikileaks). Now that Morro is no longer in government, what’s the likelihood that he can be indicted for corruption? It must be higher now.


        2. Huge investment in ‘new infra’ key to China’s recovery

          …Economists reckon China has a multiplier effect of around three, higher than any other developed economies. This means a one dollar increase in real government spending can raise real GDP immediately by about $3. This shows why government spending in China is so effective in reversing economic slowdowns even though it may involve wasteful expenditure…

          More at the link.

          It would also make sense for the US to spend big and invest in replacing its infrastructure that the American Institute of Engineers rates as bollocks, but no, better print money and throw it to legacy private companies that have been struggling particularly so since 2008 and their inability to adapt to the future. Germany too could spend on its similarly flaky infrastructure…


    2. One common thread that runs through all US allies is that they are all expendable if that becomes necessary in order to safeguard US interests. Europe imagines itself to be priceless to the USA, but it’s not, and Uncle Sam will throw it under the bus just like that if such action is deemed important to American national or economic security. Once in awhile – usually led by Germany – it starts to get a spine and stand up to American demagoguery. But it always loses its nerve and, led by ardent Atlanticists, comes crawling back, to be abused again.

      I’m not really in favour of global leadership by any country. There is nobody in the world today who would not abuse the position to advance wealth and comfort for its own citizens at the expense of those of other countries. There are no real altruists. But most countries don’t go on trying to pretend they are.


      1. ….to advance wealth and comfort for its own citizens…

        Perhaps the foregoing should read “ruling elites” rather than “citizens”.


  40. Narrative control is the name of the game in the Skripal case.

    A couple of articles about a phenomenon which was thought to exist only in pre-Revolutionary France – the lettre de cachet – but seems to have been given a new lease of life:


    1. I would love to see the British government and Porton Down nailed to the barn door for this. There’s no telling if that will ever happen, but just on general principles their collective evasiveness speaks volumes. When the truth is on your side and you know it, you shout it from the rooftops. You don’t obfuscate and hide behind national security, and pretend like amazing technical and spycraft secrets might be compromised if you reveal your evidence.

      If anyone can make it happen, it’s Helmer. I’ve never seen such a talent for detail and cause-and-effect. Remarkable.


  41. I wonder if the NHS staff that took care of the Skripals and who have been keeping stumm about that hapless duo’s alleged poisoning by the Orcs with the most deadly nerve agent known to man have performed a dance routine yet on Tik-Tok?

    Heroes all!


    1. Prolly one of them Cossack dancing jobs what the patients learned ‘em during the convalescence period. To be released when the Navalny segments are edited in.


    1. The video below is an interview with a renowned french scientist who helped sequence the genome of the virus that causes AIDS. He maintains that the Covid-19 virus genome is, without doubt, a naturally occurring virus that has had additional genetic coding added in a lab.

      If so, the finger would point to the US (or Israel?). The purpose would be to disrupt the Chinese and Russian economies. An argument advanced against such claims is that the virus would likely spread globally thus affecting the US. The counter argument is that US leadership was under the (wrong) impression that China (and Russia) were ill-prepared while the US was well-prepared for a pandemic.

      The dots are being connected.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s probably why the USA has been hammering for some time on the ‘created in a Chinese lab’ story, while the juicy elaborations that the doctor who tried to ‘whistle-blow’ early was arrested for needlessly spreading panic and – conveniently – later died of coronavirus sends frissons of terrified excitement down the spines of its gullible audience. There is every possibility that this was designed as a biowarfare weapon or was an experiment for that purpose. We just need to nail down where it came from. Would you like to take that one, Governor Cuomo?

        Oh; the virus that whacked New York did not come from China – it came from Europe. Of course he means it arrived in the USA from Europe, and is not actually disputing that China started it. Oooohhh – look. Bill Gates says shut up about China.

        But according to Tanja Stadler, Professor of Computational Biology at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel and an expert in questions of molecular epidemiology, the novel coronavirus probably started in China in the first half of November, 2019.

        “Tanja Stadler, Professor of Computational Biology at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel and an expert in questions of molecular epidemiology, has now studied this data. Using a statistical model her group developed to analyse the genetic genealogy of pathogens, she gained new insights into the beginnings of the epidemic in China.

        Professor Stadler’s analyses suggest that the epidemic in China began in the first half of November 2019, whereas most previous estimates assumed that the virus did not pass from an animal to the first human until the second half of November. “The widespread hypothesis that the first person was infected at an animal market in November is still plausible,” Stadler says. “Our data effectively rule out the scenario that the virus circulated in humans for a long time before that.”

        Of course if it can be proven that the genome was tampered with and HIV sequences were spliced in, that would rule out – conclusively – suggestions that it is an animal virus that made the jump to humans. Conspicuously, it does not rule out the possibility that it was brought to China during the World Military Games, as a mid-November start is just about right for the two-week incubation.

        The Global Times says no, though, or not necessarily – according to Zhang Dingyu, chief physician with the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, five foreigners hospitalized during the period of the games at Wuhan had malaria, not coronavirus.

        Astonishing coincidence, though, no? Especially considering that same French Nobel Laureate – Montagnier – claims the virus genome contains snippets of HIV…and malaria.

        But he suggests here that the Chinese might have accidentally released it while conducting research to devise a vaccine for AIDS. Uh huh. With malaria in it. Curiouser and curiouser. One thing is sure; there is a fierce battle to nail down a narrative. And other virologists are openly contemptuous of Montagnier’s theories. Are they running interference for The Empire, or is he full of shit? Inquiring minds want to know.

        The Fort Detrick angle is still blinking red, though. The CDC shut it down for protocol violations, not for insufficient decontamination of wastewater, and those protocol violations involved an agent the CDC will not name for ‘National Security’ reasons.

        This site is known to be alarmist and its connecting of the dots should not be taken seriously unless there is some sort of independent corroboration. However, I have included it because of its provocative discussion of how poorly the United States did at the military games, despite having sent a large team. I remember being puzzled about its terrible performance while researching that earlier post I did on the ‘pandemic’. I mentioned at the time, I think, that you would never have known they were ever there if you went by the scoreboard.


  42. Смерть Либерастам!!!!!!

    Либерализм с нечеловеческим лицом

    Amongst the people, the demand for a tougher attitude towards the clear enemies of Russia is growing: towards all this “Echo of Moscow”, “Dozhd”, and other liberal Pro-Western media, as well as towards those bloggers who are carrying out obviously subversive work against the state and against Putin personally. In this regard, it does not matter at all whether one is politically coloured right or left, since either since either side of the political spectrum is clearly playing on the side of the West, which wants to eliminate Putin by any means necessary.

    Russia has always been a “bone in the throat” for the West. The West has always tried to conquer and destroy Russia, from the time of Ancient Russia to the present day.

    Yes, there were brief periods of a warming in relations, but they were soon followed by devastating wars.

    All our history testifies to the fact that the West has always been the most ardent, implacable enemy of Russia, and thinking that the West can become a friend and partner of Russia is absurd.

    Or deliberate treachery: a betrayal of Russia; a betrayal of its people. Perhaps some are sincerely mistaken in thinking that this is not so, that the West can become our friend. For those that think this, I refer them to the “Sacred ’90s”, when the West was our friend!

    As a result of this friendship, it was only by a miracle that we did not lose our country, our Russia. And I do not believe that these bloggers and journalists who are calling on us to change the existing government or social system in Russia do not understand this!

    And if they do understand this, then it means that they are consciously working for the enemies of Russia, and in this respect, they are also enemies of Russia.

    And now, as Russia fights for its sovereignty and influence on the world stage, it is time to start a serious purge.

    source: “Ваш опыт привел к “святым 90-м”: Гаспарян дал личный совет предателю Горбачеву, позволившему себе “учить” Путина

    (but he’s tolerant, he’s an ordinary kind of guy, he’s a defender of human rights, he echoes Muscovites’ thoughts, he positions himself, he’s on Navalny’s side … and the anal and oral one as well …)

    His bark is heard amongst the troops and in the bazaar, beneath the very walls of the Kremlin itself, and is often searching with huge longing for fleas for dinner.

    Tremble and despair ye pathetic Western fools!!!

    “The Sacred ’90s”, refers to the Yeltsin years, and was a term used when political commentator Armen Gasparyan castigated Gorbachev on the radio: “”Ваш опыт привел к “святым 90-м” — “Your experiment led to the ‘Sacred ’90s'”; he continued by saying: “And now you are trying to teach Putin!” — ME.


    1. Limonov (late) is a ‘Liberast’? I know eXile magazine had a hard on for him, but he was the leader of the national bolsevik party


        1. Yes, he frequently took public positions which would put him in the liberal camp and seemed constantly to be crying for political change. I’ve noticed that’s a feature of agitators worldwide, non-stop braying of “It’s time for a change”. Frequently it is, but unless the candidate they are supporting is elected, why, it’s time for a change again with no pause for stability at all. I’m pretty confident that if ‘their’ candidate were elected, the cries for change would stop, at least from them.

          For all of that, Limonov was one of the few I would say probably argued at least 50% of the time from the heart, and actually thought the changes he was proposing would be good for Russia. He might have taken money from the west from time to time, I don’t know, but he seemed in an entirely different class from those wise-ass yappers like Ilya Yashin.


        1. I don’t know if I’d go that far. He might have occasionally supported positions taken by the state, and he was generally respectful of the head of state, but he usually thought things should be done a different way. Overall he wasn’t a bad guy, and spoke as if he actually had some education rather than whining like that yob Navalny. Limonov grew up in Ukraine, and attended the pedagogical university there, but there’s no real evidence that he distinguished himself in his academic pursuits and his on-again-off-again career as a writer seems to have been more informed by a drive to write than a natural aptitude for it.


          1. He was an interesting writer, I believe, specializing in pornographic reminiscences of his decadent and impoverished life in New York and graphically describing his sodomistic practices, I have been led to believe. Whatever turns you on!

            Limonov was only his “party name”, based on the Russian slang for a hand grenade — a “limon” [lemon]. His real name was Eduard Veniaminovich Savenko. A Ukrainian family name and a strange patronymic (to my English lugholes, at least) but he wasn’t a Jew, although his first wife was and because of which he was allowed to emigrate from the USSR to Israel. He married his second wife in a Russian Orthodox church ceremony.

            He lived as an impoverished writer in New York, but in the end managed to get a position as a butler of all things for some New York millionaire. And then he moved to Paris, the traditional home of starving artists in garrets, where he wowed literary circles there with his tales about his life in the Upper East Side of New York City. In the end he became a naturalised Frog, which can’t be bad, I reckon.

            However, when the USSR folded up, he came back home and became a Russian citizen.

            He certainly was part of the liberal crowd here in the ’90s, he and his gang participating in the protest marches of the time, but in the end he told the liberasts to go take a hike and became fully supportive of bringing the Crimea back into the fold and fucking the banderite Svidomites off. He was also 100% behind the Serbs during the NATO war of aggression against them.


      1. Yeah, I just realized that a few of those featured are now no longer with us; Borya the Shagger for one. That gormless fat amorphous blob for another, I can never remember her name, used to be some kind of journalist and always had half of some kind of sweetie hanging out of her gob, under an expression that suggested she had quite recently been in contact with a live wire carrying high current. Her schtick was going up to the cops when they were providing security for another tiresome march, and demanding to be arrested. Must have heard they had ice cream at the jail.


            1. Something certainly was broken at young Valeria’s birth: the hospital scales used to weigh the bub. Maybe also the hospital’s budgeted supply of thread needed to stitch up people after major operations. Poor old Mum must have looked and felt like the Bride of Frankenstein for a whole year.


              1. As a matter of fact, she looked like a normal, if not a somewhat chubby, little Soviet schoolgirl when she was a Soviet schoolgirl:

                and I think she was quite pretty when a young woman:

                So what happened to her?

                Ate too much ice-cream, obviously.

                She loathed Russia and Russians:

                I cannot imagine how can anyone love a Russian for his laziness, for his lying, for his poverty, for his spinelessness, for his slavery. But maybe that’s not all of his characteristics” Статьи и интервью В.Новодворской, фигурирующие в ее уголовном деле.

                [Articles and interviews about and with V.Novodvorskaya that appeared in her criminal case.]

                Our history has become malignant since the XV century, when the Golden Horde was replaced by the Moscow Horde. If we don’t change our genetic code, we’re finished.

                The fact that we allowed Putin to make us a European garbage dump, which is shunned like a plague along with our Customs Union, is not only Putin’s fault, it is the fault of the people.

                The Ukraine is the Russia that stayed at home.

                Source: Valeria Novodvorskaya: Immortal quotes of a fearless woman

                Here’s Anatole Karlin on On Liberasts and Liberasty


                1. Yes, it was definitely her I was thinking of, although the one who made a gimmick out of confronting the police at demonstrations and demanding to be arrested was actually Evgenia Albats. Then when she was let go, she would write up the horrors of her brutal confinement for The New Times.

                  Western fans are often led to believe that detention centers such as where Borya Nemtsov and Alexey Navalny regularly served their brief penances are just like prison. Ummm…no. Prisons in Russia – and in fact throughout post-Soviet Eastern Europe – are for punishment, and are not remotely like Martha Stewart’s Camp Cupcake. They are not meant to be fashion houses for prison chic like baggy pants that show a foot of your underwear, and make you walk as if you messed yourself. I’m sure Navalny’s brother could tell you the difference; while they were being tried they were in jail, but after sentencing he went to prison, where I daresay he learned a thing or two.


                2. The Novodvorskaya quote below, which I have copied and pasted above, is a typical example of a translation made by a Russian into Russian-English:

                  “I cannot imagine how can anyone love a Russian for his laziness, for his lying, for his poverty, for his spinelessness, for his slavery. But maybe that’s not all of his characteristics” .

                  In real English:

                  “I cannot imagine how anyone can love a Russian because of his laziness, his lying, his poverty, his spinelessness, his slavery. However, these may not be all of his characteristics”.

                  Of course, “woke” native speakers of English would not use “his” above, but “their”, which usage of “their”, grammatically speaking, is crap.

                  That is my opinion, anyway.



                  It was already difficult enough to write Personnel Evaluation Reports (PER’s); the actual writing process occupies at least two months each year and for detached units such as ships the drafts go through multiple levels of review before they leave the unit, and every reviewer fancies himself/herself a writer so they always want a zillion changes. Now you have to use ‘they’ and ‘their’, no matter how awkward it makes the text sound, so as to conceal the preferred gender of the subject. Whenever you think, “It can’t get stupider than this”, you’re wrong.

                  A PER is supposed to convey to the reader something essential about the human it is written on. But ceaseless efforts to depersonalize it result in a document that sounds as if it was written about an electric pencil-sharpener, or a hose spanner; a thing, an object. Because our leaders and supervisors of tomorrow are just products.

                  Thank God my time was up when it was; I had probably already stayed 10 years too long, because I had already seen a lot of stupid things I wished I hadn’t. A military which is simply another PC project completely lacks that unit cohesion that comes from common purpose and shared values. And it can’t fight for shit.


                4. Yes, I didn’t wish to correct you, old chap, but Albats it was who used to beg to be arrested in the vicinity of demonstrations. She was also always pissed when she performed in that way.

                  I remember her once being lifted on the New Arbat after one of those “March of the Millions” had taken place, in which she did not take part, as she was seated in her car — half-pissed. The cops made her get out of the vehicle, whereupon she began her performance.

                  I suspect she had been knocking them back at “French” café, where one may imbibe real Frog wine for rip-off prices, which place is (was?) much favoured by kreakly and others of the bourgeois chattering classes here. It is (was?) situated on the nearby Nikitskiy Boulevard.


                5. A Brave Jewish Voice in Putin’s Russia
                  Evgenia Albats was called ‘kikeface’ as a kid in the Soviet Union and went on to become an intrepid reporter in Moscow. Visiting the U.S. recently, she spoke with Tablet about the state of Russian politics and what it’s like for Jews there today.
                  CATHY YOUNG
                  JANUARY 28, 2020

                  Boris Nemtsov’s son Anton (second from left) and Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats during a ceremony to unveil a plaque in memory of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov in 2018

                  Oi vey!

                  Albats, who speaks accented but excellent English, talked about everything from crying when she first visited the United States in 1990 and saw black-garbed Orthodox Jews (“I had never imagined that Jews could walk about so freely and so openly”) to the excellence of modern Russia’s kosher supermarket chain, The Kosher Gourmet, to breaking the rules by sitting in the men’s section of a Moscow shul wearing tallit and kippah.

                  Must be a different Russia,. Must be a different kind of Jew and Rabbi!

                  Moscow Choral Synagogue

                  About a mile from where I live.

                  Must be a different kind of synagogue to the ones which they have in the USA.

                  Must be in the Lower East Side of New York City!

                  The banner across Tverskaya Street (above) reads: “”Happy Independence Day to All Russian Citizens!”


                6. I should add that I have nothing against Jews and get on fine with the many Russian Jews whom I know and work with.

                  Can’t stand professional whining Jews such as Albats is, though!


                7. The “gulags” in which Navalny has been incarcerated have been local bridewells or in remand prisons, the latter known as СИЗО (Следственный изолятор [investigative isolator] SIZO ) in Russian, a pretrial detention facility that provides isolation of the following categories of suspects and accused:

                  — those who are under investigation and awaiting trial
                  — defendants who are on trial.
                  — convicts awaiting escort or in transit to correctional colonies [camps, called “open prison” in the UK and “gulags” in the Western media; educational colonies, settlement colonies (for persons who have been sentenced to imprisonment for crimes committed through negligence , as well as persons who have committed crimes of small or medium gravity for the first time)
                  — detainees awaiting extradition .

                  a SIZO in Yaroslavl.

                  a women’s colony

                  Pre-Trial Detention Centre No. 4, Moscow

                  SIZO No.4, Moskva

                  SIZO No.2, Moskva

                  Putin’s Russia!

                  Hell on earth!!!!!


                8. The sad fact of life for us women is that once we are past the child-bearing years and go menopausal, collagen in the body starts to break down (due to lower oestrogen levels) and muscle tone starts going down. This explains why so many women, once they are in their 50s, seem to go flabby and fat in spite of all the exercise they do (and maybe even increase).

                  One odd consequence of having reduced oestrogen levels for some women is that if the level goes low enough, the normal low level of testosterone, while it doesn’t rise, starts to have an effect on their appearance and their voices. Some women in their 50s and beyond can look a bit masculine and have very deep voices indeed.


                9. Whereas men just get more virile and attractive to women of all ages.

                  Seriously, though, you’re absolutely right; that’s totally what happened to Rush Limbaugh. Once he was post-menopausal, he started to look and sound almost like a man.


    2. Those two liberasts above are having a slanging match at the moment: Sobchak left; Sobol right.

      21: 46 , 24 апреля 2020
      Отвечаю Ксении Собчак про кампанию «5 шагов для России»

      I reply to Ksenia Sobchak about the campaign “5 steps for Russia»

      The “5 steps” are proposals given by bullshitter Navalny for the good governance of Russia.

      The Russian blogoshere is now awash with praise for the conman. They all seem to have been written by children. They ask how good a president the thief would be and go on about how he had not been allowed to run for president and if he had been then …blah blah blah blah.

      No mention of course that the US agent could not get enough signatures to enable him to stand for election. Same happened with Sobol, and investigations were taken as regards her falsification of signatures.

      A counterattack made against this inundation of blogs praising the conman has now started. The Navalny critics state that clearly the lovers of Russia and all that is good and wholesome are using criticism government policy as regards this dose of flu that is doing the rounds as means to attack the the “regime”.

      Navalny is standing back from this tiff between the two women pictured above..

      Sobol presents herself thus in her Echo of Moscow column:

      Classic PR pose: arms crossed, a woman to be taken into account.

      She labels herself as “Lawyer to the Fund for the Struggle Against Corruption”

      I thought Lyosha was a lawyer.

      Her legal qualifications are, as are his, questionable.

      As is the authenticity of Vasilyeva’s dissertation for a Ph.D. in ophthalmology.

      Vasilyeva could perhaps be labelled as “Doctor to the Fund for the Fight Against Corruption”.
      Trust me!


        1. Apart from his not amassing the required number of signatures in support of his participation in the 2018 presidential elections, the refusal of which participation the Navalnyites, who are now swamping the blogosphere with articles in support of his becoming president of Russia, simply describe as the powers-that-be not allowing him to be elected, there is the not too small matter of the shyster having been convicted not one but twice for criminal offences.

          In 2013, Washington’s agent in Russia was convicted of embezzlement at a state-owned enterprise and given a 5-year suspended sentence. According to the laws of the Russian Federation, a convicted person serving a sentence, be it custodial or suspended, forfeits the right to be elected to public office.

          A reminder of the Kirovles affair: the fighter against corruption was engaged in illegal deforestation by means of a state-owned enterprise and then sold timber at a significantly reduced price, thereby robbing the state budget of more than 16 million rubles.

          And the second conviction of the Washington agent was brought about as a result of Navalny and his brother defrauding the firm “Yves Rocher”, whereby the Navalny brothers laundering illegal money fraudulently gained from the firm. For that fraud, Navalny received 3.5 years of imprisonment, and his brother went to a general prison for 4 years.

          Of course, the Navalnys lodged a complaint with the ECHR in January 2015 following the “Yves Rocher” case , which court thereupon found for the dynamic duo, ruling that their conviction for fraud in 2014 had been “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable” and ordered Russia to pay Navalny compensation.


    3. Good to see old Alexeeva in there; I thought she had kicked the bucket. These people are an irritant, but in and of themselves they are a living argument against liberalism. Sobchak jets around, very much in the mainstream, dispensing her sarcasm, but it is plain to anyone who watches her for more than five minutes that she is a born agitator who does not have time for the boring work of governance. Look at fat, lazy Navalny, the perpetual victim, who does the occasional stretch in the jug just to prove that he’s a man of the people and not simply directing the gullible on fruitless PR missions; again, five minutes observation without distractions is enough to see he has no plans of his own, and is merely the front-man for a western housecleaning operation – he complains endlessly about the way things are done, but offers no solutions, or recommends actions that would be popular in the short term (because they are giveaways) but are unsustainable without going deeply into debt. Nobody in their right mind would follow Yashin; he also is a born agitator with the typical liberal fascination for investment and wealth, the ‘rising tide’ that will lift all boats but somehow only ever ends up enriching the already-rich. Except in the liberal world, the rich are rich because they are purposeful; risk-takers, daring entrepreneurs, while the people are listless sludge that is just pushed this way and that way. Anyone who is content with what he’s got is out of place in the liberal world. Bykhov cares only for the pursuit of pleasure, and attempts to cast him as an incisive social engineer and deep thinker are ludicrous. And people can see that.

      Nobody in Russia really wants to be led by Navalny, or Sobchak or Yashin. Everyone understands that in order for individual Russians to leapfrog straight to staggering profit, control of national assets must be surrendered to wealthy international investors who will take them private and sell shares and make fortunes. Left to its own devices, Russia was making good progress toward raising the standards of living, education and health without having to depend on its western ‘partners’, until Obama decided to have another kick at destroying the economy in hope that angry Russians would kick out their leader and let the west have a go at social engineering. It is best to have the stuffed-shirt liberal element which currently prevails because it has no realistic chance of becoming a force in national decision-making, and is mostly just wasting the west’s money.


    1. That’s funny; I just checked her position last night, and it said she was bound for Nakhodka, due early in July.

      Yeah; making 10 knots for Nakhodka, due there July 1st. That’s where she left from originally, but so far as I could make out there is nothing in Nakhodka which might lead to the belief she will be there undergoing updates and tweaks for her employment finishing Nord Stream II.

      It’d be nice to think Russia is going to complete Nord Stream II right away just to spite Washington and its endless meddling, but as we have discussed before, there really is no hurry. Russia is locked into a new medium-term transit contract with Ukraine, the Russian state has reduced income available due to the oil-price mess and low demand owing to the ‘pandemic’, and would be forging ahead with work that would cost it just as much money to do now as it would later, when it likely will have more cash available. I’ve read the AKADEMIK CHERKSIY needs a short refit and a little updating to ready her for Nord Stream work, since being principal pipelayer for that line possibly requires some different equipment or at least some adjustments. It likely would require crewing by some more specialists, as well, and there’s no reason to believe they have been aboard all this time. I suppose they could meet the ship in Nakhodka, but there is nothing at this point to suggest that.

      The only thing that argues for Russia pressing ahead now is the weather, which should be entering the season when it would be best for that kind of work. Otherwise, nothing suggests Russia is in a tearing rush to get on with it. Certainly the partners have not been told anything, and they don’t appear to be unduly alarmed at the lack of immediate progress.


  43. Is it a mere coincidence that Sobchak and Sobol wear the same-style goggles and sport the same schoolma’am hairstyle?

    It’s all about projecting an image, innit?


    1. The image is very similar to Yulia Tymoshenko . This Who adopted a similar look after she no longer wore her hair in those braids in a coronet- (which looked very good on her)


  44. Concern Troll Is Concerned, Elbe Day Edition

    On April 25, 2020, US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement commemorating the 75th anniversary of “Elbe Day” – the day, presaging the end of World War 2 in Europe, when Russian and US troops met near the German towns of Strehla and Torgau.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that this congenial interaction between the two presidents “stirs concern among” members of Congress and officials at the US Departments of State and Defense.

    What’s inherently controversial about the Trump/Putin statement that wasn’t controversial about the similar 65th anniversary message from Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev?…

    What else but:


    1. Nothing but overt hostility is acceptable – the USA never forgives its enemies. Oh; unless they’re Nazis. Oops, or Japanese. Hey; I’m starting to notice a pattern – the USA is quite willing to forgive enemies it has conquered and bent to its own use.


    1. This sort of authoritarian action goes unquestioned by the media in the UK.

      And it’s not because the virus is dominating the news

      But they scream from the rooftops if anything like this goes on in “enemy” countries!!!


    2. I think they may ultimately be sorry they did that – it plainly has not made him less defiant or uncertain about his position, and taking it to court only allows a broader examination of the evidence upon which he made such charges. It’s a little hard to believe the judge will find him in contempt without allowing the defense to air any of the events, documents and actions that led them to their conclusions, since the whole case is based on a reasonable apprehension of wrongdoing. Not only the persecution is entitled to that standard. In the course of making out why Murray said the things he did regarding a ‘fit-up’, the events, documents and actions which led him to a reasonable apprehension of wrongdoing are going to be publicly discussed and reported upon. Does the ‘anti-Salmond Team’ want that level of scrutiny?


  45. Opinion: China’s Covid reporting truthful, contrary to US rhetoric

    Far from ‘unrealistic,’ close analysis shows China mortality rate in line with East Asian neighbors


    …Deaths per 100,000 population

    South Korea: 0.5
    Japan: 0.5
    Australia: 0.3
    China: 0.3
    Singapore: 0.2
    Taiwan: <0.1
    Hong Kong: <0.1

    …How can this be explained? One cannot help but feel that the idea of Chinese malfeasance in all things has become so deeply embedded in the body politic that to challenge charges made against China is now beyond the pale. No charge, no matter how unfounded or contrary to actual fact, is too brazen to report without a moment’s consideration. In fact, to tell the truth in such a situation may damage the career of a rising journalistic “star.”..

    And it should also be pointed out that all the data is not equal as some states include CoVid-19 in everything and they know for a fact that it is an overestimation, whereas others less so. Lies, damned lies and statistics!

    I much prefer Big Data in such cases. Collect raw data (not necessarily granular to the extreme), and work backwards.


    1. The popular narrative in the USA is that China surreptitiously doubled its infections and casualties a few days after announcing its very low rates of infection (considering he size of the population) and deaths. There was indeed some revising here and there due to delays in reporting and an extremely fast-moving situation. However, if you look back along the graph in the reporting from pretty much any country you choose which had a substantial number of infections, you will see an ungodly spike at some point which cannot be explained by an explosion of infections, and is far more likely just data catching up.

      Look at the USA, for example, fairly early in the outbreak; March 21st; no confirmed cases. March 22nd; no confirmed cases. March 23rd; 16,354 confirmed cases. When the USA’s testing capability was nowhere near being able to identify such an influx. Who believes that number? Who believes that number?

      Obviously the figures were just catching up with reality. But the author is right on the money in suggesting that one day in the not-too-distant future, America’s knee-jerk hostility toward China and other countries is going to come back to bite it in the ass. Its determination to deal with major powers as if they were squeaky pretenders and America the mighty arbiter of global justice is totally at odds with their global influence, and the USA is in a very, very bad position to be alienating anyone at this point as it will need a global effort to regain its feet.


  46. Here are the bullshitter’s 5 steps (5 shags!!! :-))as commented on in a Russian blog yesterday:

    Вот так готовятся революции. О пяти шагах Навального

    Here is how revolutions are prepared: about Navalny’s Five Steps

    I have read here about the five steps that Navalny is offering to Russia. All of them, I think, are already known. Articles have been read, a video watched, in which he talks about his five-step plan. Some support and approve of his plan. He believes that this is exactly what needs to be done in order to save the economy and financially support people left without work and without money during the coronavirus pandemic. Others criticize his plan, saying that this is pure populism, which has nothing to do with the real situation in the country and the financial capabilities of the state.

    I have already said that I am not a professional in politics, economics, or finance. As they say, I am no college boy. If I talk about something, then I talk from the point of view of an ordinary ordinary person and from the point of view of common sense, so to speak. We are not academy graduates, but somehow we need to be determined on this or that issue. One cannot avoid this. For example, who to vote for in the election? Is it worth voting for Navalny? Or maybe a vote for the Communist Party? Or is it still better to vote for United Russia? And so on. And how do you make the right choice, make the right decision, if you are an ordinary person who does not have the necessary knowledge? And knowledgeable people often make mistakes as well.

    So, looking at this Navalny plan, I as an ordinary person think that his plan is pure populism. He has not made any serious economic calculations. What the implementation of his plan will ultimately lead to, he does not know and cannot know. But some serious and responsible economists say that, given the current state of the Russian economy, this plan cannot lead to anything good. And we should not take an example from the developed countries of the West. You cannot blindly copy everything that is being done in the West. We copied it in 1991; we still cannot figure out what copy to make.

    Let us quickly go over what Navalny offers us. The first step: he proposes to pay 20 thousand rubles to each adult and 10 thousand rubles to each child. This is the month of April. And then the question immediately arises: if you pay each and everyone, you will have to pay those who work and those who are left without work. Somehow, this is not very logical. If a person works, then what has changed for him? Nothing has changed for him; he receives the same salary as before. Then why and for what should the state pay him these 20 thousand?

    Second step: if the quarantine is extended to May and June, the state will have to pay another 10 thousand rubles to each adult and child during those months. Well, here is the same question: why should the state pay money to workers?

    Third step: the state must cancel the fee for any utilities for the period of the quarantine. This is very strange and incomprehensible. What does it mean to cancel? Take, for example, electricity. Who supplies us with electricity? A private company. Private! That is, we are buying electricity from a private company. And suddenly the state tells us that we may not pay for electricity. So who will pay the electric company? The question, as they say, is interesting. Or perhaps we will not be paying for food in the store? Why does Navalny not offer this?

    Fourth step, also a bold one: the allocation 2 trillion rubles for direct gratuitous payments to small and medium-sized businesses. So take and give money to everyone in turn. And why, for example, do you need to give money to some hairdresser? Well, the hairdresser will not be working for two or three months. So what? Work will start up again. What can happen to a hairdresser in two to three months? Nothing may happen. So it is with other businesses. It will not be easy for them during quarantine, and then they will start working again. By the way, for other reasons, enterprises may be idle for some time or work on a reduced working day or week mode. Business is a risky business, and there can be all sorts of situations arising.

    Fifth step: cancel for one year all taxes for small businesses (except personal income tax). The question is, why should a small business, if it works, not pay taxes? A barber, of course, will not be working. He does not work, so he does not pay taxes. Everything is clear there. But if some small business works, why should it not have to pay taxes for one year? Why such a benefit? Can anyone explain?

    These are my questions about Navalny’s plan. And doubts about his plan. It is with such populist plans that many revolutions begin. Distributing money is a simple matter. But to calculate what will happen next — here you need to work very seriously and thoughtfully. Navalny did not have time to calculate everything. He hurries to take advantage of the situation in order to gratify his army of supporters. And the purpose of his plan is precisely this: his army of supporters will increase, of course. There is no doubt about that. We have a lot of freebie lovers. But Navalny’s job is to rock the state boat. This is what he is busy with. And he does his job, admittedly, in quite a talented way. Only, I should warn you as regards unconditional faith in this person. Fraudsters are very talented. As, for example, was Mavrodi with his MMM. [Notorious Russian pyramid sales fraudster of the ’90s — ME]

    A few words in conclusion. The state should have a reserve fund, that is, money for emergencies. And not only money, but also technical equipment and professional human resources. But each of us must have a reserve fund. We must realize that circumstances may arise where we lose our job, lose our source of income. And for such a case, on a rainy day, we must have a reserve fund. And each enterprise should also have a reserve fund. And then you will not have to beg for money from the state.

    Under this article in my comments I will ask a few questions. Please answer them. I am interested to hear your opinion. If you want to personally tell me something, object to something, ask something and want to get an answer from me, then follow this link and write a comment there. This article will have number 34. On that page I posted my comments with numbers of numbered articles (not all articles are numbered) and their names. Find the comment “34. This is how revolutions are prepared. About the five steps of Navalny ”and write your comment under my comment. This page structure will be more clear and understandable. Your comment on that page I will not leave unanswered. If I do not answer on the same day, I will definitely answer the next day. Well, if you want everyone to see your comment, write it under this article. I will also read them all during the first days, and perhaps somehow react to them.
    I remind you and explain that likes and dislikes to my questions-comments are not approval or disapproval. They simply mean answers to the question posed.

    Sounds like a clear-thinking kind of man or woman to me and not some soft Navalnyite kid with a yellow rubber duck or some liberast kreakl arsehole!


    1. This person is spot on – individuals should always have “rainy day” money.

      We live in society that encourages us to live on credit and have instant gratification.

      The state can only do so much.

      It’s ironic that Navalny who is paid by the west, is proposing a plan that no country in the west would ever implement.

      It’s rude to say it but only naive fools, greedy opportunists and criminals would support such a plan.


      1. That’s how I was brought up. And I have never bummed money off anyone. “Never a borrower or lender be!” has always been my watchword, and when I’ve had neowt, I’ve done without. When I was young, you never got wed until you had a thousand quid in the bank: that’s why you courted. My relatives all courted for 3 or 4 years before they got wed. I was lucky, in that I only married late, so I led the life of Reilly until I was in my 40s, but I have never spent what I have never had.

        My wife thinks I’m a tight bastard. when I say I’ve never lent anybody anything and I’ve never asked anyone for money either.

        I might start spending now what I have in the bank though, seeing as I’ve now turned 71.

        As my granddad used to say: “There’s no pockets in a shroud”.

        Miserable old bugger!

        Glad I don’t take after him!


        1. Additionally, there is nothing to be gained by hanging on to your tax-deductible savings, either, at least not here. When you turn a certain age (I think it’s 65) you must convert your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) and start drawing it down. The banks don’t want you getting a tax break during your saving years and then passing that benefit on to your wastrel offspring – they want it spent while you’re still here on earth.


      2. I agree, all except for the part that no western country would ever implement such a plan. Indeed they would, under the circumstances I described. Get the vote out of the way first, to be followed by the new government cutting budgets or taking other steps to recover its outlay.


      3. The problem is that in many Western societies, wages and salaries have not kept up with increases in the cost of living, and this forces individuals and households to buy on credit when they should be using whatever money comes in during the week from working (after making deductions for tax or paying bills). What happens instead is that weekly incomes end up servicing past debts.

        Also in countries that have killed off their manufacturing (because it was outsourced overseas), the main way in which new money circulates in the economy is through lending for property investments. The property market is turned into a casino with the result that property prices rise. People wanting to buy apartments and houses to live in end up not only having to take out huge loans and mortgages for dwellings whose prices are several times inflated beyond what they originally cost to build, but the mortgagors end up having to use more of their incomes to service the loans when the money should be used for day-to-day expenses. In some parts of Australia, people are spending at least 30% of their weekly incomes servicing mortgages and more – that is considered to be a sign of mortgage stress.


        1. There is little doubt that official inflation rate in the US is understated resulting in a steady erosion of purchasing power. Families need both spouses working just to get by. Two cars are needed as the public transit systems are generally poor. On top of that we are driven into a shopping frenzy every Christmas season. We eat out way too much. adding costs and adding fat. One version of the American Dream is steadily increasing wealth; the dream ended long ago but with easy credit, a fake dream just keeps on going.


    2. These are the sort of policies which prevail in western countries, and it is apparent people regard the benefits as free money which will never be accounted for. You will be able to tell who these people are after the ‘pandemic’ has passed, who want a new bridge or a new road such as was planned before the outbreak, and are now told “There’s no money” by the bewildered look on their faces. What? There’s no money? How can that be? We can’t go into the past, obviously, and extract money from it, so money that is being thrown around now will either come out of future budgets or will be covered by gratuitous money-printing which will only devalue the currency.

      Let me give you a rundown of what we are entitled to in BC, if you lost your job – temporarily or perhaps longer-term – due to COVID 19. First, everyone, BC and otherwise, can apply for the CERB, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. That’s $2000.00, straight into your account, and urgency has dictated that analysis of whether or not you qualify has been pretty cursory. There is a BC benefit, just for British Columbia residents, which pays a one-time $1000.00 under similar circumstances. There is EI, Employment Insurance (it used to be called UI, Unemployment Insurance, but progressives didn’t like it, thought it sounded like people were being paid to not work, which was often a pretty accurate summation of the picture); that’s based on your previous income, up to a maximum monthly amount. BC Hydro will forgive 3 months of payments for its customers who have lost their employment due to the ‘pandemic’, on successful application. No word at present on what they will do in cases where people give up economizing, knowing they have 3 months free electricity, and just leave everything on. The banks will hold your mortgage payments in abeyance on request, although that’s not forgiven – you just pick up later and in the end will pay more because your time to pay out the full amount will have been extended for an extra couple of months of interest payments.

      Many of these mirror Navalny’s initiatives, just as they mirror Tymoshenko’s when she was Prime Minister and wanted to give everyone a massive pay raise – the money has to come from somewhere, and western analysts on that latter occasion wrote that her plan ‘flew in the face of fiscal responsibility”. That meant ‘Wasn’t good”. But programs which feature chucking handfuls of money at people are perennially popular, and few ever reason that they will be paying it back with interest down the road – they believe, instead, that they have caught you on the cusp of a momentary lapse of reason, and will be able to benefit from you having lost your mind.

      Simply put, it is buying votes. The recovery of the money is delayed until after you have made your decision, and made your check-mark for the granter of the largess.


        1. Patterson had me until he said “The American people have never tolerated incompetence in their public officials; you are going to crash and burn, my fatheaded friend”. The poor fool. Not only do Americans tolerate incompetence in their public officials, they expect it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they welcome it, but their disappointment at learning yet another public official is incompetent never seems to inspire a revolution such as America constantly urges on other countries when their public officials are incompetent, or even when America portrays their public officials as incompetents.


          1. You have to watch the whole episode “Trash of the Titans” to appreciate the sarcasm behind Patterson’s statement; as it turns out, Springfield (as a microcosm of the US public) does tolerate what Homer does next as the new Sanitation Commissioner.

            In a bizarre real-life near-repeat of this episode, though Matt Groening and his fellow creators would never have dreamed of it at the time, is that in the year 2000, Toronto City Council almost went ahead with a proposal that was the same as what Homer Simpson does in the cartoon.


  47. As I live and breathe – a report on the Russian medical contribution in Italy which is not relentlessly negative. And from the Grauniad, no less!

    Oh, there are the customary snide asides to the effect that the Russian ‘doctors’ are actually all military-intelligence spies, but this report seems to shift the blame for that to La Stampa, and points out through the Italian staff that the equipment Russia supplied is both useful and of excellent quality and effectiveness. Responses to questions by the Russian medical staff who are interviewed are not portrayed as the most hilarious lies you ever heard, as they usually are.

    I’m not foolish enough to think it signals a change in policy, but it is refreshing nonetheless.


    1. The article was written by local Bergamo freelance writer, Anna Bonalume. She seems to be a recent recruit as she has just one other article at The Fraudian.

      Anna Bonalume, “Devastated by coronavirus, did Bergamo’s work ethic count against it?”

      Lo and behold, the article suggests that Bergamischi self-reliance, enterprise, hard-nosed pragmatism, a strong work ethic and tendency to get going when the going gets tough might have doomed the city, when the natives should have done was to call for an immediate lockdown and then shutter all their businesses, batten down the hatches and wait for government largesse (if any) to flow through the streets.

      Nothing in the article about how air pollution levels in the city – Bergamo is in that province (Lombardia) of northern Italy which is notorious for registering some of the highest air pollution levels in Europe, second or equal to parts of southern Poland where coal production is still dominant – together with the unique physical geography of the province (most cities in Lombardia are located in or near a river valley at the foot of the Alps: a perfect environment for annual thermal inversions in which cold air containing air pollutants sits under warm air so everyone keeps breathing polluted air) might have set a context in which COVID-19 or indeed any other major illness transmitted through respiratory and/or tactile channels could proliferate with devastating effects on the most vulnerable groups in society.

      And speaking of air pollution:
      Ron Bartlett, “Researchers Find Coronavirus on Pollution Particles”

      “… Jonathan Reid, a Bristol University professor researching airborne transmission of coronavirus, told The Guardian, “It is perhaps not surprising that while suspended in air, the small droplets could combine with background urban particles and be carried around.”…”

      Looks like The Fraudian still has to get that information about air pollution particles carrying droplets of coronavirus out to Bonalume.


  48. The F-35, B and C variants, will not be permitted to fly at supersonic speeds due to damage to the tail surfaces. That plane was supposed to be 5th generation which includes super-cruise capability (sustained supersonic flight without afterburners). How the mighty have fallen.

    But it’s actually no longer considered a defect. The specifications have been changed to remove the requirement for supersonic flight.

    The F-35 has a problem with its tail that limits its ability to fly faster than the speed of sound under certain conditions, unless the pilot wants to risk damaging the jet. The Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) has recently clarified that it won’t be spending time fixing the design defect, but will instead limit the jet’s missions so that it doesn’t have to do so.

    Apparently, the F-35 is being repurposed as a sensor platform with little expectation of engaging enemy aircraft or striking ground targets.


    1. It’s hard to tell from that report; it suggests the solution would require a new coating which would allow the plane to fly at supersonic speed for an ‘unlimited’ amount of time. Of course there are practical limits imposed by fuel and so forth, but this is a typical western design requirement – if it can do it at all, it has to be able to do it from the time it takes off until the time it lands. That’s nice in principle, but in practice is probably not worth it. It looks like the decision was to allow a ‘dash’ capability, but only for a short duration. I remember that was a condition for the B1 Lancer as well; it was a ‘dash’ bomber capable of supersonic speed, but that was never intended to be sustained throughout its flight.

      It’s true, though, that the F-35’s role seems to be gradually evolving from a frontline fighter to a second-wave fighter-bomber that will be preceded by air-superiority fighters which protect the second wave until it has carried out its strikes.


      1. The re-branding already started last year. The F-35 is now a quarterback, using its superior ESM to direct and pass on information such as an airborne ‘node’ for anti-missile systems which apparently it aced in a recent test.


        1. If the test was like US anti-ICBM tests, the target was painted OHSA yellow, had radar reflectors, burning flares and the location was given in advance.


    2. I thought that for the F-35 the so-called “supercruise” wasn’t any different from ancient jets like the F-104 (and its Canadian brother CF-104), and frankly most supersonic Cold War jets, whether east- or west-made. I mean, it could maintain supersonic speed without afterburner/reheat, but it had to push through the transsonic with afterburner anyway, and it can’t stay supersonic without afterburner if it any external stores are present (and without external stores, the F-35 has a rather meager ordnance of two WVR AAMs and two bombs or whatever).*

      It is way different from the F-22, for which the whole “supercruise” thing was hyped… Pushing through the troublesome transsonic region without afterburners, going supersonic without them, and maintaining that velocity without them.

      So, in the case of the F-35 it was just a marketing ploy, its capabilities are in reality no different from old ass jets, but the modern term “supercruise” that arose with the F-22 was being milked for all its worth, facts be damned.

      * And the whole “stealth” aspect comes into play here as well, because what’s the freaking point of all the additional cost. Sure, it’s stealthy and can “kind of” supercruise without external stores, but once you want it to do something more substantial all of that goes out the window, and it’s neither supercruising or stealthy with a *proper* weapons load. You might as well just buy a Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen or hell, Su-35S, for a fraction of the cost. If you are so concerned with stealthiness at the cost of ordnance then a little drone is better, and if you’re so concerned with flying fast then any kind of high-performance jet of the past 5-6 decades is better.

      Anyway, I must apologize for not having written here much over the past year or so. Other things have gotten in the way, including some rather depressing family things (my father passed away for instance), and some rather nice family things (I got engaged with my scary Russian partner), and the whole Corona crap that has in some way, shape or formed rocked all of us across the globe for the past couple of months and for me killed off my business.


        1. Sorry to hear about your father’s passing away and the closure of your business. Are you able to qualify for some govt relief where you are?

          I’m sure your partner couldn’t possibly be more scary than Mrs Moscow Exile. 🙂


          1. Mrs. Exile (Natalya Vladimirovna) is NOT scary in any way!

            She is very cuddlesome, in fact.

            I can say with absolute sincerity that she is not scary because I can still fight her, even though she has a 16-year advantage over me.

            No way would she last 15 rounds against me!

            She’s slogging away right now in the kitchen, working online.

            She’d better get my breakfast ready soon, though! It’s already 10:27 here and I’ve been up, as usual, since 06:00, but I let her off as regards not preparing my grub as she has to do these morning lessons. But she’s finished her first stint now, so I’ll give her a friendly reminder of her duties. A swift clip around her ear should do the trick.

            Sorry to hear about the loss of your father, Drutten.

            I still miss my dad, and he passed away when I was 21 — a long time ago!


            1. I barely remember my dad except from pictures; he died in an air crash when I was 9 and he was only 35. My mom remarried a few years later, and that’s the father I remember, although he was my stepfather. He died of a massive heart attack when he was just 61, leading a family friend to remark to my mother that she is kind of hard on men. She’s still going strong, though.


              1. Your dad was the one who had his own version of the “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear” nursery rhyme, wasn’t he?

                Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
                Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair,
                but Fuzzy Wuzzy didn’t care
                ‘cos Fuzzy was a Doukhobear.


                1. He was indeed. According to my mom – so of course I have a pretty one-sided account of past events now – he took a most unseemly pleasure in rude snippets of song and verse, and would sing them loudly where they would be likely to cause a stir. Another favourite was Gracie Fields’ “Walter, Walter (Lead Me to the Altar)”, and he would really put his heart into the lines “Walter, Walter; lead me to the altar, and I’ll show you where I’m tattooed”. Those are the only lines of the song I ever knew, from distant memory, although I have just looked it up to see what song they were part of – it looks very funny. I’ve never heard the actual song. You can find anything on the internet.


                  He also laughed instead of helping on the occasion she was asked for ID in a bar on board a ship somewhere; this was after I was born, but still an infant. She couldn’t prove her age, and it did not help that some sailors sitting at the bar pretended to know her and suggested it would be wise to avoid corrupting her with alcohol. She attempted to sputter that she was married and had a child, but my dad was not much help and only laughed.


        2. Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father. I still miss my father after nearly 40 years.


        3. My condolences Drutten. I know how much that can take out of a person. Congrats on on the engagement! Even though my head is cynical, my heart remains optimistic and so should we all.


      1. Welcome back, Drutten! I’m very sorry to hear about your father’s passing, and I hope he did not suffer. On the plus side, congratulations on your engagement; I hope it progresses to its logical fruition, and that you will be very happy together. It’s good to see you again.

        The whole stealth thing, for me, is just hype; I’m sure I have made my position clear over repeated discussions on the subject. Most platforms, airborne or otherwise, are ‘stealthy’ only from certain aspects and under certain conditions; i.e: from the approach aspect, and carrying no underwing weapons. Some stealth aircraft try to minimize their detectability by storing their weapons in an interior well (that was a feature of the canceled Avro Arrow), but as soon as you open the weapons-bay doors it is like shouting “Here I am!!” on all working circuits; you get a hit off the open cavity like somebody just brought your radar back from the tune-up shop. There’s something to the philosophy of making the aircraft stealthy for the approach, so that it can hopefully carry out its attack before it is detected, but if any SAM systems survive, the outbound aircraft are not stealthy at all. It is always – and I mean always, like a rule – easier technologically and cheaper to engineer an improvement to air-search and targeting radars which will negate the stealth advantage than it is to build in stealth features.

        Nothing wrong with designing stealth advantages where it doesn’t really contribute to the overall costs, because often simpler stealth is also good aerodynamics, but building a plane with the goal that it will be invisible to radar is a fool’s errand. You will end up with a plane that flies like a drill press, where if it was designed with combat agility, speed and control under power in mind, you would have a better chance of coming back unscathed. If you are worried about being tabbed early by the enemy’s radar, bring a jammer with you.


        1. The problems are likely understated. My translation is that supersonic flight does irreversible damage to critical flight control surfaces although why only the B and C variants is unclear. For carrier duty, high speed is needed to meet incoming threats as far from the carrier as possible. However, that may now be a meaningless requirement given the Khinzal range and especially with the Tu-22 able to carry four of those missiles. One T2-22 can quite conceivably knock a carrier out of action if not send it to the bottom of the sea. Perhaps that is the reason why supercruise is no longer needed as it no longer would make a difference.


  49. News items on Venezuela are a useful reminder that the United States imposed a total embargo on oil exports from that unfortunate country, in a regime-change attempt to get the Venezuelan people to boot out their leader so the US State Department could replace him with that glad-handing shitsack, Juan Guaido.

    And then what happened, Granddaddy?

    Well, son; then the oil market collapsed, and American oil was suddenly worth the same as Venezuelan oil. And all the American producers said Lord, have mercy. Remember your bible learnin’, son? Matthew, 5:45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Lord, Lord. God is brown, son, brown as your shoe, count on it.

    As it happens, Chevron did not get the waiver it sought, mentioned in the article, and was given until December 1st to ‘wind down’ its operations in Venezuela. That’s the last major American energy company in the country.

    That might be good, or it might be bad. Depends. It might mean the USA has decided to move out of Venezuela, and leave it to its messy self to sort out. It might as easily mean the USA wants Chevron out because it has some plans for the country that it does not want American civilians in the way of. But it would have to come up with a pretty convincing excuse, since its designs on the oil are well-known, albeit oil is worth about as much as oatmeal right now. Anyway, Maduro supposedly moonlighting as a drug-runner is not very believable, and if the US wants a war in the middle of all the other shit it is involved with, it will have to do better than that.

    Meanwhile, the Russian presence in Venezuela is at least holding steady, if not increasing. I wonder if some heretofore-unknown players will step in to fill the American vacuum?


  50. BBC:

    Coronavirus: UK to hold minute’s silence for key workers who died
    2 hours ago

    The other day, Bojo the Clown imitated Churchill with the expression “the beginning of the end” when expressing the hope that the flu epidemic had passed it peak.

    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning” — Churchill, November 1942, in a speech made in the Mansion House, London, following the British 8th Army victory against Axis forces at El Alamein, Egypt.

    “We will meet again” — the British head of State in a speech to the nation on the flu epidemic.

    “We’ll Meet Again” — WWII hit song in UK .

    Just like the war, innit?

    Coronavirus Fact-Check #4: “Why are so many healthcare workers dying?”

    The NHS is the biggest single employer in the UK. NHS England, NHS Scotland and NHS Wales employ roughly 1.5 million people (Wikipedia estimates over 1.7 million). That’s over 4% of the 38 million working-age adults, or 2.5% of the entire population of the UK.

    As such, you would expect roughly 2.5% of the Covid19 victims to be NHS employees (assuming proportionate distribution).

    However, the 106 NHS employees represent only 0.58% of the UK’s 18,200 total Covid19 casualties as of April 22nd.

    To put it another way:

    Any randomly selected citizen of the UK has a 1/39 chance of being employed by the NHS.
    But any randomly selected “Covid19 related death” has a 1/172 chance of being employed by the NHS.
    In summary: In direct contradiction of the media coverage, healthcare workers are NOT being disproportionately affected by Covid19. They are actually substantially under-represented.

    They died so that we may live?

    Below: coming soon?

    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them …


    1. Every crisis brings its trenchant buzzword or buzz-phrase, that the newsies and the politicians embrace with gusto, because it gives them that inspirational feeling of being in the trenches, about to go ‘over the top’. Iraq gave us ‘boots on the ground’, and COVID has given us ‘frontline workers’.

      I don’t want to sound contemptuous, at least not of the workers themselves, who are just doing their jobs and in some cases doing them in an atmosphere of heightened risk, although it’s still nothing like wartime and getting shot at. But it’s all branding, innit? Our leaders and their constant intake of market analysis know a crisis response is essentially just a product, and if you want the people to take it, you have to pitch it so they feel good about taking it. Nothing engenders a feeling of brotherhood, belonging and a sense that ‘together we can accomplish anything’ like the sense of having been strong through a shared hardship. It’s not even a cheat, really – it’s what makes military friendships so strong and enduring, even when there has not been any combat; it’s the times you were up all night during exercises until you were giddy with lack of sleep, had to eat a crappy hot dog in two bites because you didn’t have time, had to get back out there, and so on.

      What I find contemptible is that to politics, finding that key buzz-phrase is just another marketing technique, and getting the public out at whatever o’clock to clap like seals for the flavour of the moment is just part of branding and marketing, the forming of a bond so that the resulting group will be more cooperative, more amenable to direction and more accommodating of authority.


    1. Cretins like Steele openly flout the law, and are let away with it. There must be a law that directs government personnel – and he was government – to take such steps as are reasonable to preserve records they know or should know would constitute evidence, whether condemnatory or exculpatory. Steele had to be well aware there was intense interest in this material, and it is not difficult to imagine what the western reaction would be if some pivotal Russian figure deleted all his records and then did the smiling palms-up thing in court, so sorry, all gone. It is likewise easy to imagine the information in the records was damning, because nobody willfully wipes evidence they know will put them in the clear. And he will be allowed to get away with it without any punishment because the people who would have to punish him are likely the same people who told him to get rid of it.

      Just like Hillary, and her self-appointed deletion of tens of thousands of emails she deemed ‘personal’, although they were government property. No ordinary mook would be allowed to get away with that. And they wonder – or pretend to – why the people are sick to death of western corruption.


  51. Euractiv mit Neuters: US imposes new rules on exports to China to keep them from its military

    The new rules will require licenses for US companies to sell certain items to companies in China that support the military, even if the products are for civilian use. They also do away with a civilian exception that allows certain US technology to be exported without a license.

    They come as relations between the United States and China have deteriorated amid the new coronavirus outbreak…

    It’s far too late and will be significantly damaging to US companies. No doubt Washington still expects Beijing to buy Boeing airliners. If Beijing were to pull that plug, then it would take out Arbus, P&W, GE, CFM all the suppliers, MRO ventures and collapse the whole western airline supply chain. It would obviously kill any Chinese or Russian airline program that has any western content. I doubt Beijing will go that far so they’ll be looking at actions, not words.

    t-Rump and co need to show something sym-bollox to the American erectorate that yet again they are being ‘tough on China’ during this erection year but it requires China to play along. It simply might not. It is reported that China is currently purchasing large quantities of American LNG to fulfil ‘Phase one’ of t-Rump’s Deal of the Century with China. Maybe that is the obvious counter, threatening to pull the whole DoC, starting with dumping LNG purchases as a direct warning. t-Rump’s Administration has pushed itself into a smaller and smaller box, all of its own making. As I’ve always said and I still believe to be true, the biggest threat to t-Rump’s re-erection is t-Rump himself.


    1. Paradoxically, the more Trump’s belligerence and ‘gut-based’ trade policies damage international trade, the more convinced his supporters become that only Trump can handle increasingly-complicated trade relationships. This probably stems from his going into a meeting under difficult conditions, emerging to fire off a miracle tweet, “China will now buy massive quantities of our agricultural products”, and ducking out the back without elaboration. This leads to a misplaced belief that Trump can perform miracles, as much of a jerk as he can be, because his loyalists rarely pay attention long enough for the rebuttal which always comes, laying out his serial exaggerations. Remember when U.S. Steel was building three new steel plants, on the strength of Trump’s hard-ass negotiations in the Canada-Mexico-USA Free Trade deal? Lighthizer’s hard-ass negotiations, actually. Anyway, yeah; totally made it up. He doesn’t see anything wrong with making optimistic projections which have no basis in fact.

      Mind you, it would be a bit of a downer to have to explain again to Biden what ‘oil’ is, every single time the subject comes up. But I wouldn’t be too worried about that.

      LNG is pretty cheap right now, like all energy products. I see China behaving much like Russia; once it strikes an international bargain, it will stick to it until the terms play out. But Trump might find a different China when he tries to strike the next agreement.


      1. China can also take similar measures, sic (I read that) Alibaba and other gigantic Chinese companies that rely on server farms are switching over to Chinese made chippery and not buying foreign. Simply in lost sales for the foreseeable future is gigantic.


        1. I imagine you are too young to remember Victor Kiam (he died in 2001) former president of the Remington Razor Company. He had a popular line of commercials in the late 80’s in which he would say “I liked it so much, I bought the company”.

          The Chinese must have heard him, because they took his method to heart; Alibaba doesn’t just buy Chinese-made chips, they bought the company. Right after the United States started up its we-have-to-keep-priceless-American-technological-secrets-out-of-the-hands-of-the-thieving-Chinks policies. Suit yourself, Sam.

          Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International, a $5.4 Billion company and one of the largest such companies in China, pulled its listing from the NYSE.

          In 2018, Skyworks Solutions had 83% of its business in China. Apple had 20%, but 20% of Apple’s revenue is a shitload of money. I had to laugh at the line, “Investors are increasingly concerned over the prospect of rising global protectionism.” ‘Global protectionism’ pretty much covers The Donald’s act.


          1. I remember him!

            I even remember this bloke:

            I stopped using King Gillete’s his product when I was about 25 years old and became an English Grizzly Adams.


          2. Thanks for the compliment Mark, but I do remember him! I lived in the US for a bit. On Channel 25 was Grandizer and Channel 56 was Battle of the Planets!

            As for razors, I’ve long since got off the multi-blade scam and gone old skool which I learned off metube. I’ve just had a look again and if you type ‘how to shave’ you also are shown how to shave your pubes or even ‘how to shave your balls properly’. How times have changed…


            1. A one-blade razor? You mean a cut-throat or open razor? I had one years ago. Bought it when I lived in Germany, as they were still used there by many 40 odd years ago. I nearly cut a lug hole off with it when I came home pissed after a Saturday afternoon session and decided to have a shave before heading off downtown again for an evening’s carousing. It gave a very clean shave, though. I dread the idea of shaving one’s balls with a cut-throat, however.

              But then again, I’ve never really had the desire to shave me gonads.


              1. No, it looks like a cartridge razor, but where the cartridge would attach is a head which looks as if it holds the blade securely and curved so that its edge passes over your skin at the optimum angle. My dad (my stepfather) had one, in which a single blade was clamped into the head. You still obviously had to be extremely careful when putting in a new blade or even taking out the old one. My dad always used Wilkinson Sword blades, but I think that company has gone out of business or been absorbed by someone else. Anyway, it is apparent the multi-blade format incorporated in a fixed plastic block was likely introduced as a safety feature. But the cartridges are hideously expensive, and there’s just something Zen about the single blade that implies taking the time to do it properly.


                1. I see! Looks good. Just checked it out. But in one review that I have read, although conceding that it gives an excellent shave, there is this caveat:

                  Each blade lasts four months assuming two shaves per week after this, performance NOTICEABLY worsens. Philips has designed the blade to dull with continued use. A single replacement blade costs $15 and two blades will cost you $25. So in the first year you will spend at least an extra $50 on top of the price paid for the Oneblade. For the same price you can enter the premium territory of electric shavers and beard trimmers.

                  In my 50 years of shaving experience, I can honestly say that you can’t beat a “cutthroat”, but using one is neither recommended for the faint hearted nor those who are pressed for time. In fact, that’s how Gillette cornered the market in “safety razors”. In 1901, that company won a contract with the US army to supply safety razors. At the outbreak of the Great War in Europe, many British soldiers initially carried open razors as part of their standard kit. However the wet and muddy conditions of the Western Front meant that they soon became rusty and unusable. The lack of sharpening stones or strops also meant that razor blades became blunt quickly. By 1915 such razors had become scarce on the front lines. There are records and letters from front line soldiers requesting socks, chocolates etc. and razors.

                  Although initially on the firing line some regiments had relaxed the requirement to be clean shaven and stubble was permitted, during lulls at the front or when withdrawn to the rear, soldiers were expected to attend to their beards and resume shaving in the trenches. Resources were scarce, including shaving towels, basins and even clean water, meaning that many men had to share a single tub of water, which on occasions was used to serve an entire company. Despite being common at the beginning of the war, cutthroat razors had become generally disliked as they were unforgiving and dangerous to those inexperienced with their use. The dangers of shaving the in trenches with cutthroat razors was further exasperated as many men on the front line suffered from shaking hands because of the constant stress of being on the front lines.

                  Enter King Gillette Co., which won a contract with the British army, after which there was no looking back for that firm.

                  An Aussie at Gallipoli. After risking a shave with a cutthroat, the poor bugger then had to face the Turk!


                2. The barber where I used to go – sulking all the way, because I hated getting my hair cut – to have my hair cut when I was a lad had a cutthroat, what we called a ‘straight razor’ that he used to finish off your neck after he was done with the clippers. There was a leather strop fixed to the chair, and he stropped it in between strokes to be sure it was sharp. He may have offered shaves, as well; I don’t remember seeing it offered on the sign as a service, but he might have done. That’s the only time I ever actually saw one.

                  I had to scoff a bit at the review; saying Philips has ‘designed the blade to dull with continued use’ is like saying Philips failed to design the blade to be indestructible and the edge always sharp. The best shave you get off any blade is the first one, and I can go two days without shaving on the first cut from a multi-blade safety razor – I’ve always felt a bit sorry for the fellows who have a beard shadow by dinnertime, and might have to shave twice a day. A cutthroat razor, albeit it might be the best Damascus, has to be stropped after every shave and sometimes during; if Philips could design a blade that never needed sharpening, it would, and just charge more for it. The second shave on a multi-blade safety cartridge is almost as good as the first, and then it’s basically junk after that. The advertising for the Oneblade says each blade is good for 2-3 shaves, and I would bet on it being 2, same as a safety razor; beard hairs are coarse, and wear an edge down fast. You are meant to get a package of 10 blades with the original handle, and there is a space to check if you do not shave every day, which will determine the interval before they send you the next consignment. I think it’s once a month, and they’re obviously banking on you getting 3 shaves out of each blade, but the third one would not be up to much, I reckon. That’d be the one where you wanted to take your time. But a lot of it is angle, which is probably why you needed to know what you were about to use a straight razor. The wrong angle and you might cut yourself quite badly, but too much less and you did not get a clean shave.

                  When I got old enough to shave, my parents bought me an electric – a Remington, in fact. I always used that, and assumed the shave I got was what everyone got. My girlfriend – who later became Mrs. Stooge The First, shaved me once at her house, using a Gillette Trac-II with a new cartridge, and I was astounded by the clean shave it gave – my face felt like a newborn. I put away the electric for good (although I’m told some of the high-end new ones are quite good, I don’t think they beat a blade shave), and used the Trac-II until the multi-blades started coming along. I used the Schick Hydro 5 for a long time, but the blades are extortionate, so I switched to a supermarket Chinese one which is the store brand for Save-On Foods. It’s as good as any on the first shave, and is $15.00 for the handle and 9 blades, one in the razor and 8 replacements. Cheaper by far than either Gillette or Schick. Unfortunately, they don’t sell replacement cartridges, so each time you have to buy a new razor with the blades, and just throw the old one away, which is sinfully wasteful.


                3. … when I was a lad had a cutthroat, what we called a ‘straight razor’ that he used to finish off your neck after he was done with the clippers. There was a leather strop fixed to the chair, and he stropped it in between strokes to be sure it was sharp. …

                  Yep, same with me in the ’50s.


                4. There was once a “Rolls” safety razor that you could re-sharpen. I remember it well and I saw one once about 30 years ago in a car boot sale. Nearly bought it.

                  Slogan: The razor that is stropped and honed in its case

                  Rolls Razor model: Imperial No. 2 in closed chrome-plated case

                  Rolls Razor open case. The blade handle on the left is attached to the honing mechanism lever via a spring-loaded bearing. The nickel plated blade on the right side is attached to the honing bar that slides on the red leather strop. The grey honing stone is part of the closing lid. The leather strop and the hone lids are not interchangeable as the blade needs to push against the hone but pull against the strop. The blade has a safety guard with pivot action that allows it to vary the shaving angle while providing safe operation. The head of the blade handle locks perpendicular to the blade using a slide type of action with the spring-loaded bearing providing additional stability


                5. That’s pretty cool; you can tell what they were thinking. But it results in a head which is pretty wide and kind of cumbersome – okay for broad areas like the cheeks (the ones on your face), but not ideal for under the nose and bottom lip, corner of the mouth, that sort of thing.

                  The cost of cartridge razor blades has been identified as a potential vulnerability for the industry, and has resulted in initiatives like Oneblade. Harry’s Razors is another, a competitor. You buy a nice handle and some blades up front, and then go on a ‘plan’ like a cellphone purchase; every month or two weeks or whatever, they send you new blades, so you always have enough, and never have to think about it. It’s a convenience, see, so you can have more free time to waste. I’ve never tried it, so I couldn’t say if it is economical, but cartridge razors work with a similar marketing strategy – they practically give the handle away, sometimes they actually do, but the blades are hideously expensive and are just like the Oneblade offer, in that they’re really only good for one re-use. However, I’m intrigued by the promise of an ultra-close shave with no bumps or nicks.


              2. A one blade razor. I’ve got several. The last one I bought was in Koln and has a good weight to it coz it is made out of German steel. I also have some classic ones of various conditions and some simple plasic ones, the latter I take on holiday so if I forget or lose one it’s no biggie.


    1. Mmmm….right. His first name is Vladimir, but everyone calls him Andrei on the phone. The middle name “Ivanovich” is so unusual in Russia as to have led the investigators straight to him. Like if I was doing an investigation in America, and the people on the phone kept referring to a ‘William Donald”, and my team and I decided to accuse Roscoe Donald Peterson because he also has the middle name “Donald”. Brilliant investigative work. Remind me to make a donation.


      1. Maybe The Atlantic Council’s algorithm that runs through the Moscow telephone-book database needs replacing. I’m sure it would be pretty worn out after identifying Ruslan Boshirov as Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Petrov as Alexander Mishkin and is now prone to making mistakes such as confusing a name like “Vladimir” with “Andrei”. Next thing you know, Bellingcrap will be telling us that Andrei Kozyrev is the current Russian President because his middle name is Vladimirovich too.


  52. Well boo-fucking-hoo arseholes! You should have saved some of your ill-gotten gains:

    Привет из 90-х: «средний класс» в России катится в бедность

    Greetings from the 90s: the “middle class” in Russia is falling into poverty
    The Kremlin believes that a separate plan to save the “middle class” is not required

    Timur Khasanov 04/28/2020, 14: 48

    The Russian “middle class”, which is fundamental for the welfare and development of the state’s economy, may descend into poverty. Yaroslav Kuzminov, the founder and rector of the Higher school of Economics (HSE), made such a statement. Falling incomes of economically active Russians will lead to a new social stratification of Russian society. The Kremlin considered such statements unconvincing

    [I wonder which class Kuzminov and the rest of his fellow wankers at HSE consider themselves belonging to?]

    The wealthy stratum of Russians will lose some of its income because of the coronavirus pandemic, but will retain its elite status and accumulated resources, whilst the “middle class” risks falling into poverty. This was stated by HSE rector Yaroslav Kuzminov in an interview with RBC TV channel .

    “Most likely, incomes will fall in all levels of society, but if the impoverished rich still remain rich, and the poor continue to be poor, then for the middle class, which is now taking the brunt, there are serious risks of sliding into poverty”, Kuzminov said live on TV channel.

    According to the Rector of the Higher School of Economics, the downward trend in revenue relates primarily to the services market, including those related to intellectual and “impression” services. Recently, they have created a space for the development of new creative projects. [I presume “impression services” involve the the provision of élite goods and services that impress folk, such as French wine and cheeses — ME]

    “It has been the service sector that has contracted the most. Large cities have suffered the most from COVID-19, and their economies have mostly stopped”,said Kuzminov.

    According to the basic scenario of the Higher School of Economics, in 2020 the unemployment rate in Russia will reach 8%. The strongest job losses will be in the unincorporated sector of the economy. “The corporate sector will lose 700 thousand employees in 2020 versus 1.5 million people in the unincorporated sector, but then recovery is faster in the unincorporated sector”, said the HSE rector. However, even in this scenario, unemployment will still be higher in 2024 than in 2019, he warned.

    A much more dramatic development of events would suggest a pessimistic scenario for the HSE forecast: unemployment by the end of the year will rise to 9.5%, and next year it will grow to 9.8% “and will remain at high levels throughout the forecast period because of a weak recovery in the growth of the economy”.

    The corporate sector of the economy in 2020 will short of 1.2 million employees, compared with 2.2 million in the unincorporated sector. Labour market recovery in both sectors is expected only in 2022. At the same time, the total number of employed citizens in 2024 will still be noticeably behind the current year. Four years later, unemployment will still be almost twice as high as in the pre-crisis year of 2019, and will amount to 8.1%.

    Kuzminov noted that the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated to the world a new reality in the global economy as regards humanitarian considerations. Many states have shown a willingness to sacrifice part of economic growth in order to save the lives of citizens.

    “We have moved on to a different reality, to a different correlation of morality and economics. For the first time, the world has stopped its economy and there has been a loss of 5–7% in GDP globally so that people — older people, sick people — may live three to five years longer. I believe that this is a colossal moral movement”, said Kuzminov.

    [So why are you b;eating about the impoverishment of the middle class? — ME]

    The Kremlin reacted with skepticism to forecasts about the risks in Russia of the “middle class” sliding into poverty.

    According to Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the Russian President, the state is making a lot of attempts to analyze the situation, but one thing is obvious: this is not easy to do and requires a lot of coordinated work from the authorities and participants in economic life.

    “It is obvious that this threat of coronavirus and the consequences that this threat has provoked for economic life is so unprecedented that for the most part, many attempts to analyze it are unlikely to hit the bull’s eye”, RT quotes Peskov.

    The official representative of the President also stressed that it is wrong to talk about the need for a separate plan to support the middle class in the country in connection with the pandemic. According to Peskov, we are now talking about the need to soften the blow of the crisis for all segments of citizens.

    The definition of the “middle class”, especially in Russia, is rather vague. Neither officials nor economists can give clear parameters for it. According to the World Bank definition, such a stratum in Russia can include citizens with incomes that are at least one and a half times higher than the poverty level. Accordingly, a person’s income should not be lower than the median values for a particular region of residence.

    The median salary divides all salaries of Russians in half: one half of employees receive a salary above this value, the other half-below. It turns out that only the upper half can relate to the middle class. Rosstat calculates the median salary in Russia once every two years — in April of odd years. In 2019, this figure was equal to 34.3 thousand rubles.