The Sucking Sound of Receding Credibility: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Drops the Ball

Uncle Volodya says, "An ounce of hypocrisy is worth a pound of research."

Uncle Volodya says, “An ounce of hypocrisy is worth a pound of research.”

This is another first for us here at The Kremlin Stooge; two posts back-to-back on the gay issue. Normally I steer well clear of sexuality, because I believe it is nobody’s business but your own. However, the cacophonous nature of the Anglospheric mainstream’s “No Olympics For Those Who Will Not Glorify Gay Sex” campaign has made ignoring the issue practically impossible. Also, there have been two defining moments in the discourse that I thought were significant enough to warrant closer examination.

The first was the media pillorying of Russian pole-vault 3-time gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva, for her broken-English remarks which were solicited by a reporter at the world championships in Moscow. Isinbayeva was asked – indirectly – for her opinion on the new law which prohibits the dissemination of “homosexual propaganda” to minor children: more specifically, she was asked for her thoughts on the action of two of the Swedish athletes, who had painted their fingernails in the colours of the rainbow, either to demonstrate their defiance of Russian law or to show their support for gay rights. She replied, in part, “If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people. We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys…everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future.”

It’s never a good idea to respond to a complicated and controversial question, especially one with such loaded international implications, in a language which is not your own, because the press will decide what you meant. And, sure enough, the wires lit up immediately with “Isinbayeva Condemns Homosexuality!!!!

I want to pause here just for a moment to illuminate two points, both of which – I think – serve to illustrate the ever-expanding role of the popular press in shaping the narrative. The media has evolved into a natural arm of policy, both foreign and domestic, and most of its work now consists of spin on any issue except those which are not remotely controversial, such as reporting the location at which an event will be held. Mainstream media has progressed from a reality in which it merely reported the news to a reality in which the press is actively partisan, and a powerful driver in influencing how you perceive events, aimed at your arriving upon the conclusion certain interests want you to reach. This has been a process; it didn’t happen overnight and is not some kind of epiphany – but I wonder if many people realize the extent to which its formerly arms-length impartiality has been compromised.

Anyway, two points – Isinbayeva’s remarks were instantly characterized as a condemnation of homosexuality…but the actions of the Swedish athletes were not portrayed as an endorsement of homosexuality. No; they were cast as the far more noble “support for gay rights”. Isinbayeva, at the pinnacle of her sporting career and just at the moment she has decided to leave professional sports for family life, is held up as a disgraceful example of wicked homophobia, while the Swedish athletes are catapulted into the limelight as brave defenders of human rights. All it would take is a little jiggering of the narrative, assuming homosexuality was on the agenda for condemnation this week rather than adulation, and the Swedes would have been the villains and Isinbayeva a simple folk hero whose clumsy English would have meant something completely different. But that’s not the way its going – in fact, every attempt Isinbayeva makes to extricate herself paints her as more homophobic, as the press spits on its hands and gets down to work. The unified Anglospheric press position, obviously, is going to be “Don’t think you can squirm out by pretending you don’t speak English very well; you speak it well enough for us to know what you meant”.

The second point is another masterpiece of subtlety, creeping in on rainbow slippers: it has become unacceptable and politically incorrect to publicly defend heterosexuality, despite the fact that it is the sexual orientation of what is by far the majority. In the United States – currently styling itself the epicenter of global tolerance and gay-friendliness although gays are allowed to marry in only 13 states, other states are not obligated to recognize those marriages under the Defense of Marriage Act, and homosexual couples are not legally permitted to adopt as heterosexual couples can – only 11% of the population identified as “having some same-sex attraction” while a tiny 4% of the population identifies as LGBT, of which more than half identify as bisexual, mostly women. Yet it has become unacceptable for the 90% or so to champion their own sexuality over the tiny but vocal gay minority.

Anyway, I’ll just leave that for you to think about; I don’t want to get all tinfoil-hat here and start sounding like I am seeing the outline of a giant and monstrous media conspiracy which will force us all to take up gay housekeeping. It’s nothing like so complicated as that – the media is just taking orders from special interests to keep hammering on the gay thing to see if it will inspire an Olympic boycott, to punish Russia for granting asylum to Edward Snowden.

Next up, Chris Hayes, the headliner. Chris Hayes honchos a talk show for MSNBC, called, “All In”. Although he has been so partisan lately in his attempts to out-gay the gay that it might as well be called “All Out”. But we’ll leave that up to the MSNBC programmers.

So, just yesterday, Chris started his show with a short video clip which showed a skinny older man being roughly handled by a beefy younger-looking man in a white polo shirt. The younger man holds the older one so he is helpless, and a blonde woman enters the frame. She slaps the older man hard in the face, and shouts imprecations at him – she may even have spit on him, it’s hard to tell. A container of water is thrown over the man, and he stumbles away to derisive laughter. Freeze frame – enter our host. Adopting a tone of solemn outrage and making chopping and pointing gestures to emphasize his thoroughgoing disgust, Chris intones, “That video is one of the more disturbing things I have seen in a very long time. And it’s just one of the many like it posted to the web depicting gay men in Russia being lured on the internet into meeting up in person, only to be accosted, harassed, insulted, humiliated and beaten for the cameras. It is a sickening illustration of what is happening in modern-day Russia…”

Is it, Chris? I’m afraid not. The beefy guy in the white polo shirt (thanks for the tip, Peter) is one Maxim “Tesak” Martsinkevich, a former neo-Nazi who currently occupies himself as leader of a vigilante group which hunts not gays, but….pedophiles. The skinny guy in brown is not gay – well, he might be, but that is not the offense which has attracted their attention. He is a pedophile, a diddler, a sexual predator who preys upon children. The blonde woman is the child’s mother – as she approaches, Martsinkevich introduces her in a cheerfully conversational tone; “Eta mama malchik” (this is the boy’s mother).

The clip has nothing whatsoever to do with the gay issue, and was merely pressed into service because it shows the desired degree of physical violence to backdrop Chris’s hyperbolic proselytizing (“Deeply, deeply, deeply evil”, in case double-deeply evil did not quite get the fabricated point across). However, nobody said a word about it not portraying violence against gays. Notably, not self-proclaimed Russia expert Julia Ioffe, who has lived in Russia, can say “Sheremetyevo” and speaks fluent Russian. Wouldn’t you think the phrase “This is the boy’s mother” would have been a little jarring in a video which purports to show violence against homosexuals? Is it possible a person who has lived in Russia as a journalist and can say “Sheremetyevo” and considers herself an expert on Russia does not know who Maxim Martsinkevich is?

Or is it simpler than that? Have we entered an era in which the press no longer cares about journalistic accuracy, and the news has just become a farcical carnival of push-polling bullshit in which no technique is too low as long as it sells the product to the rubes and sends ’em on their way happy that they have their finger on the pulse of world events? Just like the BBC’s use of a grisly photo of windrows of shrouded dead little bodies to showcase the sickening murder of civilians in the Syrian town of Houla, at the hands of government forces. It was revealed within hours to be a fake, a photo actually taken in Iraq nine years previously. The BBC apologized, but if it had not been pointed out the impression would have been allowed to stand, and decent people the world over would have shaken their heads in dismay and muttered, “Something must be done about that fucker Assad”. Just like now, when those people must be muttering “Something must be done about those gay-hatin’ fuckers in Russia”.

“Russia is where the USA was (on gay rights) 30, 40, 50 years ago”, Ioffe burbles confidently. And she knows, because she is an expert on Russia. She told us so.

I hope not, Julia. Because here’s where the USA was on gay rights 40 years ago. In 1973 in New Orleans, a “troubled individual” named Roger Nunez started a fire in the stairwell of The Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar. It rapidly spread to the bar itself, and in 16 minutes 29 people were dead. Three more died of their burns shortly thereafter. One man flung himself, blazing, to the street, where he died. Reverend Bill Larson, unable to escape a barred window, clung to the frame and slowly burned to death in terrible agony; his charred body remained visible from the street for several hours.

But that’s not the story. The real sense of where America was on gay rights was revealed in the public’s reaction. A cab driver was quoted in the newspaper as saying “I hope the fire burned their dresses off”. Radio talk show jokesters cracked “What will they bury the ashes of queers in? Fruit jars”. It remains the largest massacre of LGBT people in American history – yet national television networks covered the fire for one night, immediately after it happened, and never mentioned it again.

Metropolitan Community Church assistant pastor George Mitchell escaped the fire, but realized when he was outside that his boyfriend, Louis Brassard, was still in the bar, and ran back in to save him. Their bodies were found huddled together by rescue workers overhauling the scene.

If George Mitchell had run back into an inferno to save his wife or girlfriend, the New Orleans Ladies Auxiliary would have wept into their organdy ruffles and muslin, and he would have been eulogized as a profile in courage and selflessness fit to walk among heroes with his head held high. But he was just a stinking homo degenerate queer, so nobody cared.

It would take quite a stretch to bring anything Isinbayeva said anywhere close to that, I’m afraid, Julia.

But what drives the irony to a quivering high note almost beyond the range of the human ear is the shrieks of protest from gay activists who claim the new law paints them as pedophiles. And Chris Hayes’ sanctimonious effort to portray Russia as an intolerant hellhole that must be immediately and severely punished for its deep, deep, deep evil…features a pedophile.

Stay classy, Chris Hayes. Don’t you go changin’.

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1,425 Responses to The Sucking Sound of Receding Credibility: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Drops the Ball

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    “I want to apologize to you, because every time I was asked if I believed in victory, I would say ‘yes, we can win these elections.’ But still, I had a thought that it was impossible…But now when I know that every third voter in Moscow cast his ballot for us, I am saying that it is a victory” – Navalny.

    Flawed thinking, perhaps?

    Every third voter in Moscow???

    Or every third voter in Moscow that voted?

    See: Thousands of Hamsters demand vote recount at Moscow mayoral election protest

    Average age of the discernible hamsters in the top picture in the linked article?

    About 21 or 22, I should say. Three men in the centre are older, as is the one in the lower right hand corner.

  2. Aleks says:

    Shouldn’t the NSA know about this call considering they have long had the ability to track and record Skype?

    Found the article & video from Belga press agency published on La Libre:

    http://www.lalibre.be/actu/international/syrie-pierre-piccinin-aurait-des-revelations-a-faire-sur-l-usage-d-armes-chimiques-522dde7035702bc05f0c2e10

    “…L’ancien otage a indiqué à plusieurs médias, dans la foulée de son retour en Belgique, qu’il avait des révélations à faire sur l’usage d’armes chimiques en Syrie. “C’est un devoir moral de le dire. Ce n’est pas le gouvernement de Bachar al-Assad qui a utilisé le gaz sarin ou autre gaz de combat dans la banlieue de Damas. Nous en sommes certains suite à une conversation que nous avons surprise”, a ainsi déclaré l’enseignant. …Le journaliste italien de La Stampa Domenico Quirico a indiqué lundi au site internet de son journal qu’il n’avait aucune preuve de la provenance de l’attaque chimique en Syrie, alors que son compagnon d’infortune Pierre Piccinin affirme avec certitude que le gouvernement de Bachar al-Assad n’a pas utilisé de gaz sarin. “Je ne suis pas habitué à donner valeur de vérité aux discours écoutés à travers une porte”, clarifie le journaliste.

    Interrogé par le site internet de La Stampa, le journaliste italien précise cependant qu’il ne dispose d’aucune preuve qui confirme cette thèse. “Un jour, depuis la pièce dans laquelle nous étions retenus prisonniers, à travers une porte entrouverte, nous avons entendu une conversation en anglais via Skype entre trois hommes”, raconte-t-il. “Lors de cette conversation, les hommes disaient que l’opération au gaz dans les deux quartiers de Damas avait été commise par les rebelles comme provocation, pour pousser l’Occident à agir.”

    Domenico Quirico souligne cependant avec insistance qu’il n’a “aucune idée ni de la fiabilité ni de l’identité des personnes. Je ne suis absolument pas en mesure d’affirmer que cette conversation est basée sur des faits réels ou sur une rumeur. C’est une folie de dire que je sais que ce n’est pas Assad (Bachar al-Assad, le président syrien, ndlr) qui a utilisé le gaz.”

    He’s got a beard, so I trust him.

  3. cartman says:

    This WSJ article is dripping with classism. Alexander Kolyandr is disgusted that Sobyanin has support from the cheap peasants.

    • marknesop says:

      This serves the dual purposes of implying Sobyanin bought off the po’ folks, and reminding Navalny and his hamsters where they need to concentrate their efforts. Encouraging for Navalny, since poor folk typically do not give generously to political campaigns.

  4. Meanwhile Navalny’s rally this evening seems to have ended quietly without incident. Navalny of course claimed the vote was falsified and demanded both a recount and a run off. However there was no violence and no disruption. For once there seems to be agreement from all parties that the turnout was 9,000.

    I think Navalny senses that there is no mood in Moscow to challenge what is clearly a clean result. His demands for recount and run off look to me formulaic. So do his threats to disrupt Sobyanin’s inauguration on 18th September 2013. My only worry is lest Sobyanin makes yet another foolish, quixotic gesture of the sort he has repeatedly made in his dealings with Navalny. Sobyanin impresses me as a very able, hard working and rather decent man who does not understand Navalny very well probably because Navalny is so different from anyone else he has ever had to deal with. I hope Sobyanin doesn’t make a crazy decision like agreeing to a run off when he doesn’t have to. That would be folly. The Moscow Electoral Commission, who are the people charged with actually running the election, appear at least to be standing firm.

    • marknesop says:

      The only circumstances in which Sobyanin ought to volunteer a runoff would be if he had reason to believe he could mobilize and electrify his missing voters and pull off a much stronger finish in the runoff. Given his – as you said – lackluster campaign and overall non-charismatic personality, that would not be an acceptable risk.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Last night off the podium on Bolotnaya Embankment:

      Алексей Навальный: «Возможно, однажды я позову вас на несанкционированные акции – переворачивать машины и жечь фаеры»

      [Alexei Navalny: “I may call upon you one day to take unauthorized action, overturn cars and set off fireworks.”]

      See above linked KP article for plenty of pictures and a video of the Chosen One with his rodent followers at yesterday evening’s rally.

      He’s already had a warning off the public prosecutor as regards his inciting public disorder in that he refuses to accept the ballot result.

      Now he’s inciting his hamsters to damage private property.

      Bring in the rodent operatives I say!
      🙂

      • yalensis says:

        It’s all in the perspective: a cat looks very different from the front than from the back.
        Here, for example is a very very different description of the exact same event. This one by Elena Kalashnikova, no slouch when it comes to mocking Navalny.

        SUMMARY

        The Bolotnaya rally was permitted by the authorities and proceeded to completetion without incident. Navalny supporters waited over 2 hours for their hero to appear, and many had already given up and gone home, disappointed when he didn’t show up. [yalensis: he did show up, but he was late. Probably huddling in his HQ with Volkov, still trying to figure out their strategy.]

        Trying to entertain the crowd while they waited for their leader, a few inadequate people stepped out on the podium. First Petr Verzilov, known for his Pussy Riot activities. The crowd didn’t like Verzilov, and he was quickly replaced by pop singer Artemy Troitsky, He’s the Opp who once appeared in a sperm costume at a different gathering. Here, he didn’t dress like a sperm, but he still behaved clownishly,

        Troitsky was replaced by Andrei Matveev, who did some insult-comic stand-up for the crowd, actually making fun of them and referring to the “Navalny Sect”. He started chanting “Navalny Loves You”, the crowd was not appreciate, and Matveev left the stage.

        At this point people were getting sick and tired of the lame entertainment, and started to leave. But at that moment, their glorious Führer suddenly made an appearance. The crowd perked up.

        Navalny delivered his speech (reported elsewhere), in which he claimed that every third Muscovite had voted for him. [yalensis: Fact: 632,000 people voted for him].

        Navalny then insulted Sobanin’s supporters. The uncharismatic Mayor had somehow still managed to gather 28K supporters for his victory rally. Navalny insulted these 28K people by calling them “fakes” (липовых). [as in a “fake” degree, like Navalny’s own law degree].

        Navalny ended his speech with some strange words that did not please his followers. They wanted more red meat, like Navalny’s trademark “Yes or no?” and “We are the power here!” yada yada. Instead, they got this narcissistic stream of consciousness:

        “I asked you to help me, to trust me, to unite together and to help me find myself.”
        [yalensis – sounds kind of kung fu, like Navalny has become Master Po?]

        Navalny then completed his strange rant with that bit of swagger about overturning cars and setting fires … at some point in the future. [yalensis: Just like revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin: “Proletarians of the world build barricades and Unite… at some point in the future. For now we go ome and watch some tube.”]

        Anyhow, whatever the veiled threats at the end (which Kalashnikova just ascribes to Navalny saving some face), bottom line is that this Revolution is not going to take place. Navalny/Volkov must have already decided that back in HQ before they dispatched Navalny to speak to that sad gathering of his fans.

        END OF SUMMARY

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Yeah, he said he’d ask them to “light fires” not “set off fireworks”, as I’d translated earlier.

          “”Фаер” [faer] is now youth-slang here for “fire .This use of English words in kid-talk and advertising sometimes pisses me off. I remember once spending quite a while wondering what “таун-хаус” [taun khaus] meant!

          Apart from the fact that arson and the incitement of persons to commit arson is a serious event anywhere, why does the Chosen One, who is no “kid”, use kids’ slang?

          Is it that his hamsters are mostly kids or those who are still juvenile in attitude?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            ФАК!

            Above link too long.

            Try this: фак

            • I am coming round to the view that the big winner of Sunday’s elections (not just the ones in Moscow) was Russia.

              These seem to have been the cleanest and most transparent elections Russia has ever had. There have been remarkably few complaints of violations and none of any significance. I have just checked the KPRF’s website and could find nothing of substance there. The big winners were of course United Russia with the KPRF as always coming a distant second but the main thing is the results are uncontested and Russia has had an election that seem to have been up to the very highest international standards.

              As for Navalny, his rally last night showed why in my opinion from this point on he is going to go rapidly downhill. He had nothing new or of substance to say. Instead he seems to be stuck in his 2011 groove. He could not of course bring himself to congratulate Sobyanin on his victory. He had little or nothing to say about his love of Moscow, which is the city of which he says he wants to be mayor. Instead of thanking his supporters and congratulating his team on an outstanding result he pisses on his own parade and comes off looking like a bad and graceless loser by whining that he has been cheated of a run off when hardly anyone else thinks that is true. He issues wild and thinly veiled threats, which everyone knows it is not in his power to make true. He demands a meeting with Sobyanin, which I gather he falsely said Sobyanin had agreed to. Incredibly he even apologises to his own supporters for deceiving them during the election by promising them a victory which he now admits he always thought was impossible. A real politician would never say that. A real politician would say that victory has only been deferred and would call on his supporters to remain united and prepare for victory the next time. All in all in place of a post election celebration all Navalny could come up with was a whine.

              Anyway, it now seems certain that Sobyanin is not going to agree to a run off. The head of the Moscow Election Commission said quite firmly that the decision anyway was his and that there was no reason for one. I gather that Sobyanin is going to be formally inaugurated as mayor on Thursday. As for Navalny, he will now have to prepare himself for the legal battles to come.

              • By the way I remember Artemy Troitsky well from the heyday of perestroika in the 1980s. In those days he was basically the guy who promoted Soviet rock music to western audiences though so far as I know he was no sort of singer himself. I still have the book he published on the Soviet rock scene back then (called “Back in the USSR” – what else?) collecting dust somewhere on my bookshelf. Of course at that time he was or pretended to be far Left and specifically to draw his inspiration from Mayakovsky. All his connections with the western “popocracy” (who also pretended to be far Left) were forged on that basis. I can’t say I’m at all surprised to see him now a White Ribbon Navalny supporter. He must be getting on in years now.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It’s all in the perspective, that’s for sure!

          Take a look at this report from Nezavisimaya Gazeta about Navalny’s future and compare its description of the 10 September post-election rally on Bolotnaya with that description of the same rally written by Elena Kalashnikova and posted immediately above by yalensis.

          Kalashnikova says that there were fewer than 10,000 hamsters there: Aleksandra Samarina of NG, however, says that there were 27,000 there.

          Now, either one of them has serious problems with her eyesight, or one is lying through her teeth. Or maybe one of them suffers hallucinations brought on by their faith: I once knew someone who insisted many years ago that he had spoken to Jesus late one night in a bar. I mean “spoke” with him, not prayed to JC after he had come in for a pint. I kid you not.

          • marknesop says:

            Well, the old formula called for doubling the actual size of the crowd; perhaps the reversal of fortunes has resulted in Hamster General Order 0097, which is to triple the actual size of the crowd in future.

  5. yalensis says:

    Sobyanin impresses me as a very able, hard working and rather decent man who does not understand Navalny very well probably because Navalny is so different from anyone else he has ever had to deal with.

    There is only one man in all of Russia who truly understands who and what Navalny is, and what needs to be done with him. This is a man with (1) a sweet angel face, (2) a heart of gold, and (3) a spine of steel.

    And this man’s name is …. (drumroll)

    Judge Sergei Blinov !

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    Phase 3 begins:

    Суд в Кирове отклонил ходатайство защиты Навального и Офицерова

    Kirov Court rejects Navalny and Ofitserov defense motion

    The Kirov Leninsky court today rejected a defence motion as regards Alexei Navalny and Peter Ofitserov, who were convicted in the the “Kirovles” case. The petition for an extension of time until October 1 in order to enable familiarization with the trial records was put forward by Ofitserov’s counsel .

    Lawyer Olga Mikhailova told Interfax that the defence had three days to file comments concerning the trial records. She pointed out that the defence had a lot of comments concerning the records. According to Mikhailova, the trial records did not match what was said on the audio-recordings that had been presented in court.

    Earlier, the court had extended from 2 to 6 September the period of time for Navalny’s defence team to familiarize itself with the the court records

    On July 18 the Kirov court sentenced Navalny to five years in prison for stealing from “Kirovles”; Offitserov was sentenced to four years. Both were taken into custody, but were released the next day on bail until the sentence comes into force.

  7. The west continues to scramble for a response to the Russian peace plan.

    First, there has to be a propaganda counter. Since it is too well known that this is a Russian initiative to make it possible to spin it as a western initiative it is instead said that it was only the threat of force that obliged Syrian to give up its chemical weapons.

    This is simply propaganda to hide the west’s humiliation. When has Syria ever previously been asked to give up its chemical weapons?

    The reality is that if the 1991 Gulf War proved anything it is that in fighting the western powers chemical weapons are completely useless since the consequences of using them would be catastrophic for the user. Specifically in 1991 the US warned Saddam Hussein that if he did use chemical weapons the US would respond with nuclear weapons. There is no doubt about the seriousness of the threat and Saddam Hussein accordingly did not use them. I suspect by the way that the reason Syria has chemical weapons is not to deter the Israelis (who also have nuclear weapons which they would certainly use of Syria used chemical weapons against Israel), but as a legacy of Syria’s need to deter Saddam Hussein who also had chemical weapons and who was a mortal enemy of the Syrian government. Whatever, Syria is well rid of them.

    The other response is to press for a Security Council Resolution under Chapter VII. That would include deadlines that are impossible to meet and make demands that are impossible to accept with a threat of military action if they are not met and accepted. The Russians have already rejected this idea and they are right to. This is a Russian plan and if anyone should be making proposals to the Security Council it should be the Russians. I understand the Russians are in full discussion with the UN Secretariat and will themselves take their initiative to the Security Council, where they propose that the plan be endorsed by a Security Council statement rather than a Resolution. I suspect the Russians will get their way if only because the UN Secretariat is working with them.

    • Jen says:

      Dear Alex: The spin I have seen in The Guardian and some other websites is that the Russian peace initiative was originally a tongue-in-cheek comment made by John Kerry during a conversation with Sergey Lavrov who then picked up the idea and ran with it.

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    From today’s Komsomolskaya Pravda: “Почему за Навального голосовал центр, а за Собянина — спальные районы”

    Translation

    Why did they vote for Navalny in the centre and for Sobyanin in the dormitory areas?

    The election results for Moscow’s mayor have at the same time given rise to some inquiring social-research: Where were all the protest votes concentrated? [video]

    The Moscow Election Commission has some very significant figures. It turns out that Navalny was the candidate of the respectable centre, of the prestigious Leningrad District and not of the downmarket Southwest; Sobyanin was the choice of the dormitory areas.

    Take, for example, the Central Administrative District. In the Arbat Precinct: for Navalny – 35.63 %; for Sobyanin – 43.53 %. Or take Basmanny: 36.1 % – for Navalny , 41.56 % – for Sobyanin. And Zamoskvorech’e: 35.41 % – for Navalny; 42.13 % – for Sobyanin. It was almost the same thing at Meshchansky, Presnensky, Tversky, Yakimanka …

    However, let’s just move a little in an easterly direction, to Lefortovo, and – oop-la! It’s 51.58 % for Sobyanin, and for Navalny – 26.9%. No mention of a second round taking place there. And then we have Sokolniki, where on the eve of the election Navalny attracted perhaps the biggest mass meeting of voters: for Sobyanin – 44.06 %; for Navalny – 30.68%. It was about the same in Kuntsevo, Krylatsky, and Dorogomilovo.

    If Sobyanin had not got a 50 % vote in other areas, a second round would have been unavoidable. In the residential outskirts, however, they think and vote absolutely differently to the way they do in the centre. The differences are approximately the same as those between Moscow and the rest of Russia: in a Moscow suburban district (read – Kapotnya), government candidates are more trusted than they are in spoiled and capricious downtown Moscow (read – at elite Kutuzovsky). Here, at Novo-Peredelkino, Ochakovo- Matveyevskoye; at Solntsevo and Beskudnikovo; at East and West Degunino; at both Butovo and the rest – at Bibirevo and North Medvedkovo, Sobyanin confidently stepped over the 50 % mark, gaining up to 55% of the votes.
    Surprisingly, the Moscow election map almost completely coincides with a map drawn by realtors, taking as its yardstick the cost per square metre of an apartment: where the more expensive it is, the vote percentage gained by the opposition candidate was higher, and vice versa. Why?

    * “Because for Navalny voted mostly representatives of the upper middle class, the rich”, says Olga Kryshtanovskaya, department head for the study of elites at the Institute of Sociology. “However, these people are not members of the ruling elite, but rather those of the liberal professions: intellectuals, professionals with a higher education. “Remember how the protest movement was jokingly called ‘the fur coat revolution?’

    *”But, these people have something to lose in the event of political upheavals: there’s the paradox.”

    *”I think they are hardly likely to envisage Navalny’s coming to power… Generally speaking, the liberal idea is primarily aimed at protecting the interests of the wealthy: to allow businesses to do business without being hindered by social programmes; to have courts that protect property and so on. Navalny is the candidate of the bourgeoisie.”

    FOR THE RECORDS
    Sergei Sobyanin scored 69.48 % in the Novomoskovsky administrative district: Sobyanin’s minimum result was 37.3 % in the Gagarin district : .

    Alexei Navalny scored 38.53 % in that same Gagarin district. The least of all votes, 14.83%, were given for Navalny in the Nekrasovka district.

    End of translation.

    We’ll who’d a thunk it!

    I’m moving from Taganka (Central Administrative District) to Nekrasovka!
    😉

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Well news is that Navalny & Co. have asked for and been granted permission to hold yet another rally at Bolotnaya – this time on September 14th.

      I wonder why? 9,000 or so attended the September 10th post-election rally, where Navalny whined about losing unfairly and told his hamsters to await his call to take to the streets.

      Is he going to continue pushing for a re-count?

      Is he going to continue his claims of irregularities, albeit that everyone – bar “Freedom House” of course – say that the election was fair? Is that what’s he’s been told to do?

      Following the official declaration that Sobyanin won the election, the public prosecutor has already given Navalny notification concerning the Chosen One’s continuous announcements that the election is invalid. Apparently, the prosecutor believes that such announcements made by Navalny may give rise to public disorder.

      As regards these claims of an invalid vote made by Navalny, in today’s Moscow Times even headbanger in chief Latynina has stated that the recent mayoral election was a fair one. The article is quite short and I shall paste it in full so that it can be used for reference after MT has taken it down:

      Finally, a Clean Election

      11 September 2013 | Issue 5210
      By Yulia Latynina

      I spent all of Sunday monitoring elections at several polling stations. I was impressed. Fair elections have returned to Moscow. Not a single vote cast for change was made in vain. True, one vote for opposition leader Alexei Navalny was counted as only about nine-tenths of a vote, but that’s how the game currently works. The first task is to win according to those rules, and that’s doable.

      This was the first time I have seen an elections commission that was not trying to falsify the results. It wasn’t because the members were so upright and honest, but because there were so many observers present and they lacked the gall to do it openly.

      In this sense, it is absolutely wrong to whine that these elections were rigged. Just the opposite is the case. Now I have the right to say to everyone: “Go to the polls. Act as observers. Everything depends on you.”
      Second, Mayor-elect Sergei Sobyanin himself wanted to win the election without fraud. Instead, his campaign staff called every single senior citizen, brought each one 6 kilograms of groceries and invited them to cast their votes in portable ballot boxes used for pensioners who rarely make it out of their apartment. This is because they know that seniors get most of their information from state-controlled television and do not use the Internet. As a result, most have never even heard of Navalny and could be counted on to vote for Sobyanin.

      At the same time, however, Navalny achieved impressive results: more than 27 percent of the vote with the help of excellent organization. In December 2011, an unorganized crowd of 100,000 managers and intellectuals gathered on Bolotnaya Ploshchad, and that was far from all of the people who supported Navalny. In Sunday’s race, Navalny received 600,000 votes. Most of his supporters are not just people who protested in the streets but ordinary citizens whom Navalny and his campaign staff had managed to contact and persuade in the few short weeks before these elections. It is very likely that this trend will continue to grow in future elections.

      Fourth, with Navalny coming just a few votes short of forcing a second round of voting and opposition candidate Yevgeny Roizman winning the mayoral race in Yekaterinburg, the siloviki will have more reason to run to the Kremlin screaming, “We told you to wipe out the opposition, but you didn’t listen.”

      In this sense, I am glad that there was no second round of voting, just as I’m glad that there was no violence during the protests in December 2011, because a second round would have forced President Vladimir Putin into a corner. In fact, from the psychological standpoint, Putin is not so much an evildoer as he is an undersized punk. He can throw his weight around and bully others only when he meets the least resistance. But when he encounters strong opposition, he backs down.

      Thus, Putin will find it much easier to convince himself that Navalny won as many votes in a free and fair election than face the reality that he would have to initiate a full-scale dictatorship to extinguish the opposition movement.

      The result of these elections is very simple: Navalny will not go to jail, and Russia now has an opposition with which the authorities must contend.

      END

      Some questions and points that I should like to make about the Pinochet fan’s comments:

      “Fair elections have returned to Moscow.” So when exactly were they previously “fair”: in the USSR? – surely she doesn’t believe that to have been the case! During Putin’s previous ministry or that of Medvedev? – I somehow don’t think she is implying that. Of course! She means in the golden Yeltsin years, as Navalny once described them, when Soviet Russia had been transformed into a land flowing with milk and honey, albeit that said rivers of milk and honey mostly flowed into off-shore accounts; when the Moscow White House suffered artillery bombardment because the drunken oaf of a president who ruled by decree did not agree with the opinions of its democratically elected deputies. Oh what happy days those must have been for Latynina!
      Why does she write: “True, one vote for opposition leader Alexei Navalny was counted as only about nine-tenths of a vote, but that’s how the game currently works”? Is she pushing for proportional representation based on social class? Remember, this is is the person who once unabashedly stated that the great unwashed should not be allowed a vote. Does she think the “cattle” are far too many and that their votes should not have parity with those of the bourgeois, who, of course, voted for Washington’s Chosen One?
      “In this sense, it is absolutely wrong to whine that these elections were rigged.” Ain’t that the truth though! And it’s exactly what her golden boy has not stopped doing since his election defeat and, I suspect, what he’s been notified to do from afar by that shining beacon of democracy on the hill.
      “The result of these elections is very simple: Navalny will not go to jail, and Russia now has an opposition with which the authorities must contend.” Interesting point of view, that, from someone who bleats about the absence of law and order in Russia. Navalny and Latynina and the rest of their ilk always wail about the rule of law being paramount in a civilized state and Russia, in their opinion is bog standard in this respect. So now she’s saying that because a person achieves a 27% vote off 30% the electorate that actually got off its collective arse to vote in the first place should somehow be above the law. Navalny was found guilty in a court of law of criminal charges and given a custodial sentence. At present he is appealing against that sentence. The Moscow Times headbanger in chief now maintains that Navalny will not go to jail if he loses his appeal simply because he came second in a two-horse race for the post of mayor of Moscow. And she talks about the necessity of the rule of law in a civilized society! Of course, Latynina would surely counter an argument such as mine with the assertion that the Russian legal system is a facade, a political organ controlled by the Evil One, thereby maintaining that the Russian judiciary is invalid and its laws, procedures and judgments be ignored. Yet her hero, the Basket Weaver from Odintsovo, has on more than one occasion stated publicly that when he and his bourgeois clique come to power, amongst other things Putin will be imprisoned and Izvestia shut down. On his orders? Surely not by the Russian courts, because they are just a sham? So if not on his diktat, how will his threats be fulfilled? Through his courts? By means of his judges? But isn’t that what the Evil One is supposed to do…?
      As regards Navalny not going to gaol, I wonder how many believe this will happen? Remember, Latynina makes no mention of the possibility of his winning his appeal against his sentence: she just categorically states that he will not be sent down simply because of the election result.

      I, personally, have little faith in Latynina’s predictions. After all, it was she who confidently stated in an MT article that appeared shortly before Putin’s presidential victory earlier this year that the first thing the Evil One would do if he was once again elected president would be to order an invasion of Georgia by Russian armed forces.

      I am still waiting for this to happen.

      • yalensis says:

        Navalny rally is planned for 2 days after Sobanin’s inauguration?

        The train has already left the station.
        Dog barks at passing caravan.
        Решили помахать кулаками после драки

        (etc etc) more proverbs of wisdom

        • Moscow Exile says:

          ITAR-TASS reports that Team Navalny has canceled the September 14th rally and is pressing complaints about the election, demanding a re-ballot:

          Translation

          MOSCOW, September 11. / ITAR – TASS / . Alexei Navalny’s headquarters has refused to hold a rally at Bolotnaya Square, scheduled for September 14, and on Thursday is going to file a complaint with the Moscow City Court over the the election results in the capital. “The application for this rally has been withdrawn by the applicants. they have refused to hold it”, ITAR-TASS has been told by Moscow deputy regional security chief Vasily Oleynik .

          “We are preparing 952 lawsuits, one of which is being addressed directly to the Moscow City Court, in order that the election results be cancelled as a whole, and the other 951 lawsuits will be directed at the Moscow City Court with jurisdiction over the district courts. These lawsuits are to cancel the results of elections in the precinct election commissions”, Alexey Navalny told ITAR-TASS.

          End of translation

          I think people will soon become tired of Navalny’s posturing, leaving only his truly devoted hamsters to squeak their appreciation of him.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Keep on trucking?

            Навальный подготовил грузовик жалоб
            [Navalny has prepared a truckload of complaints]

            50,000 pages of complaints in fact !!!!

            Translation
            Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who in in the election for mayor had the support of over a quarter of Muscovites, has not abandoned his intention to have the election result canceled. In the near future he intends to file a complaint with the Moscow City Court.
            “Tomorrow morning, we are serving Moscow City Court: 1) an application to set aside the election results as a whole, and 2) 951 applications to the district court to cancel the election results …
            … We are bringing approximately 50,000 pages on a truck”, he wrote in his blog. According to Navalny, as a basis for the submission of claims was the unequal access of candidates to the media, as well as food packages that were distributed to pensioners.

            End of translation

            A quarter of Muscovites voted for him?

            Surely 27% of the 30% of the electorate that voted for him does not represent 25% of Moscow’s population?

            • marknesop says:

              He should be slapped with a lawsuit for wasting trees. Does he have to go with the showiness of bringing down in hard copy on a truck what he could have carried in his pocket on a thumb drive?

              The city should counter with a notice that Navalny accidentally left his ego behind at the site of his last speech, and the city is delivering it to his house in an 18-wheeler.

          • marknesop says:

            I’m not sure if there is some variation in translation, but “refused” is an odd choice of words as opposed to “declined” or “reconsidered” – it makes it sound as if The Man ordered Navalny to hold a rally, and he and his hamsters responded with defiance.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              “Штаб Алексея Навального отказался от проведения митинга на Болотной площади, запланированного на 14 сентября…”

              отказаться от проведения = to refuse/decline/abandon holding/conducting/undertaking/carrying out

              Aleksei Navalny’s staff has refused/declined/abandoned holding/conducting/undertaking/carrying out a rally on Bolotnaya Square planned for the 14th of September…

              So you pays your money and you makes yor choice.

              Whatever – there ain’t gonna be no rally on September 14.

              • So the Great Leader of the Revolution who has spent the last 2 years denouncing the electoral and legal system is going to complain to the Court after all. Actually, if one puts the irony aside, one should for once commend him for going about his challenge properly.

                The truth is that few people other than his followers seem to think the vote was falsified to any agree. Even Latynina apparently admits this was a clean and honest vote. There is no mood in Moscow for colour revolutions or disturbances or other such scandals and I doubt the turnout at the rally on Saturday would have remotely approached 25,000. As even Latynina says Navalny is wrong to contest the result (he should be glorying in it instead) but if he has to do it then he is right to do it through the legal route.

  9. Aleks says:

    Keeping an eye on the UK press about Piccinin’s account of the rebels being responsible for Ghouta but apart from a few places, it looks like it is being studiously ignored.

    Just to be sure, I checked the BBC.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/?q=Piccinin

    Mutha f92kas!

    Only on ‘Elsewhere on the web’ linked to the search on Newsgram and Mehr News that cover Piccinin’s allegations, the Beeb preferring a long piece translated from La Stampa ‘Syria hostage Domenico Quirico ‘treated like animal”.

    Nothing in the Independent, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, the Independent, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Huffington Post UK edition.

    Piccinin’s website and statement where he confesses his support for the FSA and has serious doubts that the Ghouta chemical attack was done by Assad’s forces:

    http://www.pierrepiccinin.eu/

    Syrie – Communiqué 10 September
    Mon ami Domenico Quirico, reporter à La Stampa, et moi-même avons été trahis et enlevés par la faction de l’Armée syrienne libre (ASL) de la ville d’al-Qousseyr (Homs), le 8 avril dernier, et livrés au gang islamiste Abou Omar, inféodé à l’organisation révolutionnaire al-Farouk.

    Les leaders d’al-Farouk, qui ont tenté de dissimuler leur identité en prétendant que nous étions otages de Jabhet al-Nosra (la présumée branche syrienne d’al-Qaeda), nous ont ensuite détenus jusqu’à notre libération, ce dimanche 8 septembre, peu après 20h00.

    Je remercie de tout cœur les gouvernements belge et italien et plus particulièrement Monsieur le Premier Ministre Elio Di Rupo et Madame la Ministre de l’Intérieur Joëlle Milquet et leurs co-équipiers, pour les immenses efforts mis en œuvre pour l’obtention de notre libération, ainsi que tous mes amis, collègues et étudiants, qui se sont mobilisés pour mon retour en Belgique et ont apporté leur précieux soutien à mes parents, soumis cinq mois durant à l’angoisse la plus atroce.

    Je remercie également les médias belges et étrangers, qui ont traité l’information concernant ma libération avec beaucoup de décence et toute la pudeur requise (je regrette toutefois le reportage agressif et déontologiquement indéfendable produit par la seule RTBF-Télé).

    Ma pensée va à mon ami le Père Paolo Dall’Oglio, qui a disparu en Syrie pendant le temps-même où j’y étais détenu et dont nous n’avons plus aucune nouvelle. J’ai appris aujourd’hui que, la veille de sa disparition, il avait décidé de tenter de m’aider et entrepris de me retrouver.

    Ma pensée va aussi à mes amis de l’Armée syrienne libre d’Alep, d’Idlib et de Damas et à tous mes amis syriens qui poursuivent leur combat courageux et juste contre le régime féroce qui enchaîne leur pays, la Syrie.

    P.s. : selon les informations et éléments factuels auxquels j’ai eu accès durant ma détention en Syrie, je confirme que le gouvernement syrien n’est très probablement pas l’auteur de l’attaque chimique qui a provoqué le décès de plusieurs centaines de personnes dans la banlieue damascène d’al-Ghuta.

    Pierre PICCININ da PRATA (mardi 10 septembre 2013)

  10. yalensis says:

    Just listening to Obama’s speech in real time.
    I cannot believe my shell-like ears.
    Obama actually backing down, accepting Putin/Lavrov face-saving device.
    Unbelievable!
    My respect for Putin increases, if he was the one who thought this up. Exceptional chess move.
    Worthy of Big Blue.
    Remind me never to play poker with Putin, he would win every time!

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. normally I would not advise a “rogue nation” to give up a major weapon. For example, Gaddafi gave up nuclear program, and look what happened to him. It’s like tossing your only pistol down onto the ground when your enemy approaches.

      Syria doesn’t have nukes, all they have is chemical weapons. Should they give them up?
      Normally, I would say NO! however, in this case, I agree with Mercouris. This is an exception that proves the rule. Syria’s chemical weapons are only useful against other comparable powers like Iraq, would not be useful against USA or Israel (who have nukes). Therefore, I think this will be a reasonable sacrifice. You give up a finger in order to save the entire hand. Or sacrificing your bishop to save your queen.
      I have also argued that Syria should consider sacrificing some territory in order to cut a deal with Kurds against Turks.
      It’s all about what you lose and what you win.

      In summary, I think this is a diplomatic win for Russia. Nobody should underestimate Lavrov’s brilliant mind.

      • R.C. says:

        Yes, THEY SHOULD. Chemical weapons are VERY poor deterrents compared to nuclear weapons. They serve almost no constructive purpose, are very ineffective on the battlefield (the US army refer to them as imprecise battlefield munitions), and just cause political problems for governments who stock them. Chemical weapons as a deterrent as been obsolete among western nations for almost 100 years. Syria doesn’t lose any deterrence by getting rid of them. During the first Persian Gulf war, the US told Hussein that if he used chemical weapons on the US military that they would respond with nuclear weapons —– Hussein listened.

        The biggest and best deterrent Assad presently has is his 250,000 man army and serious Russian support. This is the thing that has thus far kept the US and its lackeys at bay not the chemical weapons arsenal.

        I also read Obama’s speech differently. He’s simply accepting the Putin/Lavrov deal long enough so that he can have more time selling the war to the public & congress. In fact, the US has already found a way to reject it by insisting that any UN Security Council resolution accepting they offer must be binding with a pre-approved military option for enforcement. Why would that be unacceptable to Syria and Russia? Because agreeing with such a resolution would allow false cover for unilateral US “enforcement” and “punishment” of alleged non-compliance. (Remember Iraq and the alleged “non-compliance” of a UN resolution for having non-existent WMDs?)

        Make no mistake: they ARE going to have this war. It might be weeks or months, but it’s certainly coming.

        • marknesop says:

          According to Press TV (based in Tehran), the UN Human Rights Council says the photos and videos purporting to show the results of Assad’s “gassing his own people” are fake. However, the article doesn’t actually say that; it says the UN Human Rights Council was presented with a lot of evidence and witness statements which suggest the stuff is fake. Nonetheless, a lot of the tripwire networks are starting to pick it up.

          One of those articles (I forget which one) suggested a provocative chemical attack would be staged against Israel and blamed on the Syrian government.

        • yalensis says:

          I agree that chemical weapons are a poor man’s deterrent. Assad would be well rid of them. (Takes away the Western casus belli.) If he had to sacrifice them in order to call Kerry’s bluff, then that would be an adequate move.
          My concern is the same as yours: that making even this one concession could open the door for U.S. military intervention under the guise of “international control”.
          My first reading of Obomber’s speech was that he blinked and would go for Putin’s face-saving deal, knowing that he faced a probably defeat in Congress.
          On the other hand, you could be right that he could have already decided to go to war and just using this as a stalling tactic.
          On the third hand, any time bought by Assad is good, because his army is winning and mopping up terrorists. The more time he has, the more time Syrian army have to establish a winning reality on the battlefield.

          • marknesop says:

            The advantage of chemical weapons in this day and age is that they are useful for deterring a ground invasion, especially by western troops. The Middle East is already a hot climate for westerners, who are accustomed to more temperate climes, and making soldiers do everything dressed in full or partial NBCD gear slows them down and tires them out. However, as I said, international monitors (if this deal comes about) are unlikely to seize Assad’s chemical weapons – if he really has thousands of tons – and move them someplace else for destruction in the middle of a war zone. They will likely just get a UN seal or something like that, in the bunker they are already stored in, since chemical weapons call for special handling considerations. Therefore, Assad could easily take them back by force if a ground invasion looked probable. Western insistence on moving them out of his reach would likely telegraph such an invasion. Similarly, a later attack on civilians made with rockets that had “Syrian Army” stamped all over them while the weapons were under western control would certainly fool nobody. That such an attack has not been made already is testament to how tightly-controlled by the Syrian forces they are now. If the phony western-backed rebels could have gotten hold of some government stock, they would have done it.

            • Dear RC,

              I completely agree with you on the subject of chemical weapons. They have done Syria no service in this crisis. Far from deterring an attack on Syria they have simply provided a pretext for such an attack. In no conceivable way can they be considered an adequate deterrent to Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

              For what it’s worth, I suspect Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal was never intended to deter Israel but is more likely to be a legacy of Syria’s long conflict with Saddam Hussein. It’s ancient history now but Saddam Hussein and the Syrian regime were mortal enemies of each other. The reason for this was that Saddam Hussein and Bashar Al Assad’s father Hafez Al Assad belonged to rival wings of the Baath party. Saddam Hussein was a follower of the Syrian Christian Baathist philosopher Michel Aflaq who the Syrian Baathists expelled from the Syrian Baath party for ideological deviancy. Aflaq lived until the 1980s in Iraq as a pensioner of Saddam Hussein. In some ways the inter Baath conflict was like that between the Trotskyists and the Stalinists in the USSR in the 1920s. Beyond that Saddam Hussein’s position in Iraq depended upon his resisting moves to union with Syria, which were popular in Baathist and Arab nationalist circles, which would have diluted his power and might even have subordinated him to a lower position. The result is that he had a strong motive to accentuate his differences with the Syrian Baathists. The result of this antagonism is that during the Iran Iraq war Syria aligned itself with Iran forging the alliance with Iran that remains intact to this day. Since Saddam Hussein was known to have a chemical weapons arsenal, it is understandable why the Syrians fearing a possible attack from him might have developed one of their own.

              Anyway the point is that whatever the reason for Syria’s possession of chemical weapons, it is well rid of them.

              • On the subject of Obama’s speech, I thought it was a typical example of Obama doubletalk with Obama trying to have it all ways at once. International and domestic opinion is running so strongly against military action that following the announcement of the Russian peace plan Obama had no realistic alternative but to back down and play along. At the same time he is still manoeuvring to try to get himself into a position where he can launch a strike if he wants to. The big unanswered question for me is whether he is doing this simply to appease the regime changers or because he is himself one of them. Anyway this crisis is not over yet.

      • patient observer says:

        I suspect that Russia has given assurances to Syria that would compensate for the loss of the chemical weapons – perhaps access to newer weapon systems, more Russian technical training, or economic support/loans/ trade agreements to be pursued in the future. A strong Syria thanful to Russia would be a good thing.

  11. SFReader says:

    The 2013 Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to Vladimir Putin.

    He deserves it

    • R.C. says:

      I completely agree, but we both know that hell would probably freeze over before that happens. I would be surprised if they even nominated him. The Nobel prize in the political sphere has been a tool of western elites for quite some time. How else can one explain the awarding of the prize to Barack Obama? so I don’t see them giving their highest honor to Putin – someone they’re trying hard to actually bring down for a decade.

      In a just world, Putin would get the prize.

    • Jen says:

      The Nobel Peace Prize is so tarnished, I feel it would be insulting to Putin or Lavrov if either were nominated. Many former recipients of the prize like Aung San Suu Kyi (who was slow to recognise the Rohingya Muslim minority as legitimate Burmese citizens), Mother Teresa (whose canonisation as a saint has been delayed after news surfaced that she protected a pedophile priest in San Francisco) and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari (who bullied Serbia into accepting NATO’s peace agreement in 1999, which NATO itself did not uphold, and who drew up the plan for Kosovo’s independence) should never have received the Prize.
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/10/14/how-the-nobel-peace-prize-was-won/

      I’ve also heard that another Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Rigoberta Menchu, lied about her family’s sufferings in her autobiography.
      http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/Articles/How%20Rigoberta%20Menchu%20Fooled%20the.html

      • marknesop says:

        I know!! The United States could give Putin the Defender of Freedom Award. Latynina got it, and she seemed very chuffed about it. I’m sure she wouldn’t begrudge such a gesture of recognition being bestowed on Putin.

        The Nobel is actually getting a bit like the Stanley Cup, where the players bring it in the pool with them and drink beer out of it. Is the Nobel actually like a cup? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. Could you drink beer out of it? Anyway, all that notwithstanding, giving the peace prize to Putin (or Lavrov, even) would be a terrible blow to the Obama government, because it would recognize that Russia and some others were right all along, and that the old bait-and-switch is not going to work any more. The people – finally, at long last – are getting harder to fool with that old we-need-to-nurture-this-seedling-democracy as an excuse for regime change. La Russophobe would probably mess her pants, and Brian Whitmore at RFE/RL would have a migraine that would last a month.

        It’d be worth it.

  12. SFReader says:

    Russian Navy news.

    Naval squadron from Russia’s Northern Fleet led by battlecruiser “Peter the Great” is continuing its epic journey in the Arctic.

    After crossing over 1500 nautical miles, the warships are now sailing in the Laptev sea.

    Here is an amazing photo of the battlecruiser “Peter the Great” crossing across the Arctic ice

    • SFReader says:

      And this is just in.

      Cruiser Moskva is in Mediterranean now. The ship just crossed the Strait of Gibraltar on Tuesday

      • R.C. says:

        SFReader –

        I read yesterday that a Bulava SLBM launched from the Borei class Alexander Nevesky failed. I think I remember reading several months back that they were going with some new electronics for the Bulava. I hope this isn’t the start of another pattern of Bulava failures (remember all those failures in the late 2000’s?) before the issue is fixed.

  13. Misha says:

    Establishment promoted BS:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2013/09/10/russias-proposal-to-take-control-of-syrias-chemical-weapons-probably-isnt-sincere-but-we-should-try-to-find-out/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2013/09/07/is-russia-supporting-syria-because-it-needs-the-money/

    Like the US government has been so squeaky clean on Syria.

    “The Russia Hand” doesn’t take issue with the misguided perception that Assad’s government is responsible for over 100,000 killed and that it’s well established fact that the Syrian government was behind the most recent chemical attack – universally accepted as a chemical attack – the issue being who did it – and if the Syrian government, to what degree (as in mishap possibility)?

    Following up on a snide KirchicK point brought up on O’Donnell’s show, merit isn’t the reason why some get space over others at venues including MSNBC and Forbes. JRL definitely fits into that mix as well.

    On another point brought up, why not go into why Russia might be inclined to support the Syrian government as a lessor of two evils in Syria? This reasoned view seems relatively safe enough.

    • R.C. says:

      Heaven forbid that Russia may simply be respecting international law. Adomanis simply can’t wrap his head around that concept. You see, Everything Russia does MUST have a sinister undercurrent to it. His articles have lately been becoming more and more akin to the garbage you see in the Moscow Times. Naturally, Adomanis must embrace the fictions peddled by the US Government, because with out them, both of these articles would fall apart. He is starting to look more and more like J. Jonah Jameson, the fictional editor of the Daily Bugle in Marvel Comics who loathes Spiderman so much that his paper refuses to give him credit for doing anything positive.

      • marknesop says:

        I skimmed the Adomanis piece just before leaving for work; I didn’t have time to read into it very deeply, but it looked to me like he was discrediting the idea that Russia is helping Syria for monetary considerations – a notion that was actually proposed by someone else.

        Aside from the odd crazy piece, like the absurd defense of Pussy Riot on freedom-of-speech grounds and the slobbering hatred of Edward Snowden, my chief complaint with Adomanis’s work is that he always qualifies his opinions: “of course everyone knows Russia is horribly corrupt, but…”, or “not that I am defending Russia’s legal system, far from it, but…”

        • Misha says:

          Never mind the reasons for not trusting past and present American presidential administrations.

          Overhyped and promoted by some faulty aspects within the existing establishment status quo.

          There’s better and underrepresented source material out there on a number of subjects that he dabbles on.

  14. yalensis says:

    Today is September 11, so time for another Al Qaeda car bombing in Benghazi. This particular target doesn’t actually make sense, since Al Qaeda already controls Benghazi? Now they are bombing themselves? confused…

  15. R.C. says:

    In an attempt to reach out to the American public, the NY Times has published an op-ed written by Putin himself:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?src=twr&_r=2&

    Putin: “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.” But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.”

    • marknesop says:

      Wow; that’s great, isn’t it? Hits all the high points – western interests funneling weapons to a bunch of terrorists, possibility of a diplomatic solution, we’re on the side of international law, stop calling yourselves exceptional because we all put on our pants one leg at a time. Well, those of us who wear pants. Sadly, the world is now in a place where what the government will likely take issue with is the suggestion that Americans are not exceptional, as if Putin said something bad about Mom and apple pie. Just like the British with that totally fabricated the-Russians-called-us-a-tiny-island silliness.

      But maybe not. Maybe they’ll just have to suck it up, because so far the commentary looks pretty positive. Here’s my favourite, from Puerto Rico; “If Mr Obama continues to rely on military power to impose American solutions on others, I’m afraid he will only increase the loss of prestige and standing America once enjoyed in the world. He is passing the torch of world leadership to Mr Putin. Think, America.”

      Indeed.

    • Misha says:

      Putin’s NYT op-ed:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?hp&_r=1&

      CNN hack job of it, c/o Piers Morgan, Bill Richardson and Rick Santorum, with Richardson standing out with the most bogus comments, among a faulty lot.

      Rare TV mass media point-counterpoint on the most recently reported use of chemical weapons in Syria:

      http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/consider-this/2013/8/is-assad-responsiblefortheallegedchemicalattackinsyria.html

      No surprise from The WaPo editor, who over the years has said things in line with neolib-noecon leaning foreign policy advocacy:

  16. SFReader says:

    Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reports that Russia has agreed to sell Iran 5 battalions of S-300VM air defense missile systems.

    That’s frankly a lot.

    A lot by any standards.

    Let me count the missiles. One battalion of S-300VM consists of 24 launchers and 24 launcher-loaders with 4 missiles per launcher or launcher-loader.

    So 5 battalions mean some 960 missiles with range of up to 200 km ready to fire within a few minutes.

    I think when this contract is implemented, Iran would be fully protected from any possible US strike, let alone an Israeli one.

    For Russian defense industry that’s quite lucrative contract as well – that’s probably worth some 4-5 billion USD.

    • marknesop says:

      I suppose that’ll come in for a lot of grave head-shaking and dolorous talk about Putin’s “determination to arm our enemies”. Not that putting missile defense systems in Poland wasn’t anything like that, or funneling arms to the fake rebels in Syria. Russia can always say the Iranian purchase is to guard against rogue missile attacks by the Marshall Islands or something like that.

    • Aleks says:

      The USA has a lot of MALDS designed to emulate various american aircraft types. Can the S-300VM system differentiate and have enough for loitering munitions?

      • marknesop says:

        It is not likely that sophisticated; an MALD mimics exactly the flight profile and characteristics of the aircraft it is designed to simulate, so from performance alone it would be difficult to differentiate between the two. Perhaps if an ISAR (Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar) component were included it would assist decision-making and/or an engagement algorithm. Maritime Patrol Aircraft regularly use ISAR to identify ships by size, as it gives the operator the vessel’s length at the waterline. Something like that would quickly distinguish between a real combat aircraft and a decoy, as the latter is much smaller, usually only a few hundred pounds. But it is limited to actual hard-contact range.

        Loitering munitions will require a whole different detection philosophy, because one of the key flags in determining hostile intent of a radar contact is speed.

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