2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 360,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 15 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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768 Responses to 2014 in review

  1. Warren says:

    Israeli Zionist: Ukraine Glorifies Holocaust Criminals – Western Support Must End

    “I am a Jew, I live in Israel … I am a committed Zionist. I have no sympathy for Putin. I don’t like what he has done with Russia.”
    “I thought that Ukrainian fascism is exaggerated by the Russian press … my visit to Lviv totally changed my views”

    http://russia-insider.com/en/opinion_culture_society/2014/12/05/11-49-16pm/far_right_danger_ukraine_and_its_western_press

    • Tim Owen says:

      Jesus, did you check out the comments? I was wondering where that J got to. Forget RT’s comments, RI needs to get a handle on theirs.

      • Warren says:

        Had a quick look at some of the comments, I can’t be bothered to read them all, However, we should not jump to conclusions, not everyone posting comments sections are who they say or we think they are. See link below:

        Common Dreams’ website traps Hasbara troll spewing anti-Semitism

        A Jewish student posting virulently anti-Semitic comments at various internet forums, allegedly “to gauge how pervasive anti-Semitism” is online, has been busted by the progressive website Common Dreams (CD). – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/hasbara-spewing-semitism#sthash.fLpaH96a.dpuf

      • Oddlots says:

        I’m not at all jumping to conclusions about their sincerity. My suspicion is the same as Yalensis’.

      • yalensis says:

        Christ Almighty! Never have I seen such a cesspool of toxic commentary!

      • ThatJ says:

        Here I am, reading the comments from the past 2 weeks and, unsurprisingly, I received a mention.

        Thanks to you, I read the article. Arkady Molev, a self-described Zionist, must know that Israel was founded on ethnic cleansing, that his morality is a sham, and that as a ‘commoner’ Jew he has no idea what his leaders, in Israel and in the diaspora, are up to. Or he’s in self-denial mode:

        Maybe the Ukrainian Banderites are good partners, they want to join EU and NATO, they are against Russia. To fight with them means to fight with America? And that’s why their fascism has to be ignored? If that’s the case, I hate you.

        As bizarre as it sounds, I can say that yes, Molev, you’re right. To fight with the shabbos goyim means to fight with America, for a definitive Ukrainian victory will strengthen the Zionist neocons in Washington D.C, and, consequently, Israel. A campaign against the shabbos goyim can be initiated later after they are past their usefulness.

    • Leonard says:

      2015: The Great Tribulation Of The 3rd Millennium Foreshadowed By The Shemitah Jubilee

      http://cosmicconvergence.org/?p=8687

      Insightful essay on how the 2014 Hebrew year of Shemitah ends with the potentially Apocalyptic Jubilee in 2015!

  2. Warren says:

    Orthodox Christians prepare to celebrate Xmas as bitter cold strikes Russia

    Teeth-chattering weather descended on Russia on Christmas Eve, with temperatures falling to -25C in Moscow and -35C in the remote region of Yakutia, as hundreds of thousands of believers are expected to attend Midnight Mass in the capital and elsewhere.

    Believers in Jerusalem are also getting ready for a rare “white Christmas,” with snow predicted to fall on Wednesday, and temperatures going down to +3C.

    Those attending Midnight Mass in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, conducted by Patriarch Kirill, will have to wrap up extra warm this Christmas.

    http://rt.com/news/220235-orthodox-christians-celebrate-christmas/

  3. Warren says:

    Why is Angela Merkel so powerful?

    53 minutes ago
    German chancellor Angela Merkel will meet David Cameron in Downing Street on Wednesday.
    Discussions will focus on the prime minister’s plans to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the EU after May’s general election.
    The BBC’s Andrew Marr looks at why it is that Ms Merkel is making such a profound mark on the lives of people in Europe.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30705900

    • Tim Owen says:

      Well you see it’s all about sectoral balances and macroeconomic policy as you can see from this chart:

      Just kidding.

      Happy Xmas to fellow #putinbots and #moscowmaggots.

      Hey, heard on the John Batchelor show tonight that Kerry and Obama are trying to deploy Kissinger to intercede with Putin and Lavrov. Not quite a quorum of grown ups but it’s a start. (And yes I appreciate Kissinger is a monster but at least he’s capable of coherent thought.)

      • davidt says:

        Tim, I think that you attributed the “Wars begin when politicians lie to journalists…” to Mencken. I said Karl Kraus because Eric Kraus, a relative, attributes it to him and I thought that ME might have had a butcher’s at Eric’s blog:
        http://www.truthandbeauty.ru/
        Unfortunately Eric doesn’t post much there anymore- his stuff on Russia in the 90’s is worth filing though.
        John Laughland, a favourite of mine, gave an interview at RT, I think, and was somewhat optimistic that Hollande is keen to get rid of the sanctions on Russia. That’s a good sign. (If I go looking for the precise link I’ll likely have trouble getting back here.)

      • marknesop says:

        Yeah, I read that, too. It seems to me exemplary of western attitudes that they cannot send someone whose goal is not the downfall of Russia, because there isn’t anyone like that in any position of power or influence.

        Once again, recent history – say, the last 50 years – is an illustrative guide. When the USA is winning easily just like it thought it would, going in, it is completely uninterested in negotiations; all it expects to hear is “I surrender”. When a plan that looked good on paper turns into a pooch-screwing royale in reality, then America wants to negotiate, to see what it can wring out of the debacle for itself.

        Russia already has, thanks to the relentless hammering of the western media (RussianaggressionRussianaggressionRussianaggression), a reputation for a boorish lack of statesmanship and an unwillingness to discuss refinements which might bring western-style enlightenment. I recommend it stand on this reputation, and respond with “the President is a very busy man. He’s washing his hair, and can’t see you now”.

        Three months ago, the western papers were full of delighted rehashings of how furious Lavrov was over western high-handedness in Ukraine; the angrier he appeared to be – which was pretty low-brow considering what a brilliant diplomat he is – the better the peanut gallery liked it. Now, Lavrov is once again The Man they want to talk with (because Putin is so unreasonable and aloof) to figure a way out of the mess. Translation, please pull our nuts out of the fire.

        If it was all going according to the western plan, there would be no western attempts whatsoever to establish talks. Dialogue is for losers. Well, they were right about that.

        • Oddlots says:

          “If it was all going according to the western plan, there would be no western attempts whatsoever to establish talks. Dialogue is for losers. Well, they were right about that.”

          Ha. Exactly.

    • et Al says:

      Why is Angela Merkel so powerful?

      Without even bothering to read the article, I would say because everyone else is either so weak or simply doesn’t give a fk. Even in mighty Britain, working parents can’t make it thorough the month without resorting to going to a Food Bank. Even the International Committee of the Red Cross delivers food parcels in the UK. Jesus F. Christ!

  4. cartman says:

    Ever wonder why Autism has become such a big problem in the US, but not elsewhere (yet)?

    A new study shows that it is caused by the use of Roundup on peoples’ food

    So far Ukraine is the only country in Europe to legalize GMOs, including the Roundup Ready crops.

  5. cartman says:

    Putinist Orbán must go!

    • katkan says:

      With so many people working, there is clearly not enough austerity to create wealth. Imagine all those extra workers paying their 13% taxes, must be really putting a hole into government revenues. And heck, that doesn’t leave enough unemployed to be interested in $10 to go stand in the cold for a protest. Scary graph.

    • marknesop says:

      Not so fast, though – once the Financial Times has had a go at it, the positive statistic assumes its usual irrelevance in the stampede of bad data, the inexplicable falling of Hungary’s currency, Orban’s authoritarianism, bla, bla. We quickly learn that Hungary is another wreck waiting to happen, just like Russia.

      http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2015/01/07/hungarys-economy-bubbling-under/

      The Financial Times is a British newspaper which advocates the free market and globalization. It also owns 50% in The Economist.

  6. cartman says:

    • yalensis says:

      On the basis of the survey findings, PEN urges the newly seated U.S. Congress to put reform of mass surveillance programs that violate constitutional and international human rights at the top of its to-do list.

      Uh huh. They’ll get right to it. Because why would U.S. Congress ignore a powerful poets lobby like PEN ?

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    RT on the celebration of Christmas here and in other countries that use the Julian calendar in their churches:

    Note how the Patriarch of Moscow asked all to pray for peace in the Ukraine, whereas the so-called Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, when last publicly speaking on this matter, metaphorically hurled hell fire and damnation at the Moskaly and called the Russian president an agent of Satan.

    • Southern Cross says:

      Denisenko has little choice in the matter. Even with all the state patronage and Nazi thug backup he enjoys, his heretical church still commands only a minority of Ukrainian Orthodox believers, monks and seminary students (and a declining minority when last I heard).

      When decent human beings despise you, what can you do but double down on appealing to indecent ones?

    • katkan says:

      The Patriarch of Moscow is an agent of Putin The Aggressor, so is calling for peace as propaganda to hide his master’s true intentions.

      On another note, looking at the vestments, now we know where all the gold is going………

    • marknesop says:

      Last Sunday I went with my family to a Christmas celebration at a local church – I suppose it’s Orthodox, I never really asked, and this being Canada, it is just an anonymous grey multi-denominational-looking building with no sign of the Orthodox cross. We met an interesting guy, Rodion – remember when Anatoly thought that was your name, Yalensis? It’s quite unusual, I’ve never heard it before, it reminds me of a super-hero who is a hawk or something – whose father was an instructor at the Naval School in Sevastopol, where he grew up. He will be joining us for breakfast this Sunday, as well as Elena Muratova and her boyfriend, Vanya. Anyway, during the dinner various singers continued to entertain. At one point they sang a Ukrainian hymn, in Ukrainian. I would not have known, but Rodion pointed it out.

      You would not see that sort of effort in today’s Ukraine.

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    I notice how in several reports about Navalny going walkabout again there is mention of a comment concerning inflation that the hero made to journalists. (Was paid to make, perhaps?)

    He left his flat ostensibly to buy some milk from a local shop. He was almost intermediately escorted back to his abode by three men, obviously plain-clothes cops, who, nevertheless, allowed the “leader of the opposition” to make his purchase. And then in his Facebook Navalny claimed how shocked he was at the increase in price of the carton of 2.5% fat content milk that he had bought.

    See:

    Putin Foe Navalny Defies House Arrest by Going to Buy Milk

    On Tuesday, he used his shopping trip to taunt the Kremlin over soaring inflation caused by the collapse of the ruble as the Russian economy heads into recession.

    “What a price for milk!” he wrote. The same liter of milk that he bought for 45 rubles before his house arrest began in February now costs 75 rubles, Navalny said.

    Firstly: he compares the price for milk that he paid yesterday with the price he paid almost one year ago.

    Secondly: I regularly buy 2.5% fat content milk at our local shop and never pay more than 50 rubles for a litre. It costs about 47 rubles – sometimes cheaper: it depends on the brand.

    Now I am sure that some suckers who like to show off their wealth can, and indeed do, pay more for milk at “elite” retail outlets such as “Sedmoi Kontinent”. However, at my local shop, which is part of the discount chain “Pyatyorochka” [Пятёрочка – “Little Number 5”], milk is now on sale at not quite 50 rubles for almost one litre (950 grammes – I have long noticed here that, for some strange reason, they never package milk in exactly litre or 2-litre volumes).

    See this announcement from “Pyatyorochka” announcing reductions for the period 6 through January 12, 2015 in Moscow, Ryazan, Vladimir, Ivanovo, Tula, Kaluga, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Tver and Smolensk and scroll through at the bottom of the announcement to page 4: there you shall see offered on sale 950 grammes of Lianozovskiy Milk (3.2% fat content) for a price of 49.90 rubles, reduced from 58.75 rubles:

    КАТАЛОГ АКЦИЙ В МАГАЗИНЕ «ПЯТЕРОЧКА»

    [Directory of Stocks in the “Pyatyorochka” Shop]

    And I assure you, I can buy milk cheaper there and elsewhere.

    I have no need, however, to buy milk in the near future as I received this morning at our local “milk dispensary” my 18-litre free milk allowance for my children. My next milk hand-out will be on February 9th.

    My advice to Navalny, therefore, is that if he should like to invest in a guaranteed supply of milk free of charge this time next year,then he really ought to get down to business with his “statuesque wife” as regards this matter.

    Seeing as he is under house arrest, he will surely find time and space enough to enable a supply of milk free of charge in about 9 months’ time.
    🙂

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Prices of Milk in Moscow NOW, 7 January 2015 (NS), 25 December 2014 (OS):

      43 rubles

      30 rubles

      32 rubles

      44-48 rubles

      30-34 rubles

      30 rubles


      30 rubles

      And finally:


      62.40 rubles

      (Rip off! Owned by Pepsi-Cola – used to work at the dairy where it’s packaged.)

      IMPORTED!

      66-72 rubles

      (Navalny’s choice?)

      On Tuesday, he used his shopping trip to taunt the Kremlin over soaring inflation caused by the collapse of the ruble as the Russian economy heads into recession.

      “What a price for milk!” he wrote. The same liter of milk that he bought for 45 rubles before his house arrest began in February now costs 75 rubles, Navalny said.

      AP: MOSCOW — Jan 6, 2015, 12:21 PM ET

      • Moscow Exile says:

        By the way, I’ve long noticed that packaging seems to determine the price of some milk: milk in those bloody awful cardboard cartons that inevitably cause milk to spew forth everywhere when opened is often much more expensive than milk that comes in plastic sachets.

        No problem in the country concerning this matter: the milk man cometh from his dairy farm with churns of milk, from which he measures out milk purchases into the jugs that are proffered him.

        • katkan says:

          HAHA we used to have that in Australia even in the cities, until the authorities decided it wasn’t hygienic. When neighbours agreed there was a problem with the milk, whole streets would put out two jugs, marked “milk” and “water”, and the quality would again improve.

          Hygienic or not, that was real milk. Now any “brand” of milk that comes in more varieties than full or skim, has been totally pulled apart and the components reconstituted into the various “types”. Raw milk is illegal here as food; some health shops sell it as “bathing milk for smooth skin”.

          Many “milk products” such as yoghurt or prepared custards are mostly reconstituted powder from China. Your very own Russian branch of Danone has been accused by government inspectors of using lowfat fakes and adding vegetable oils to make up the fat content. They deny this, but do have 1/2 share in a huge Chinese powder milk producer. You don’t pay $500 million for something you’re not going to use.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Danone ain’t Russian: it’s French, I think. They built a big new state-of-the-art plant just outside the ring road to the south of Moscow a few years ago.

            In the country you can get milk as fresh as is physically possible, namely straight from the tit. (I’m talking here about a cow’s tit!)

            Don’t know whether it’s legal, but nobody’s bothered one way or the other. Many a time I’ve brought back a hot, 2-litre jar of milk from a small holding. Only problem is, if you’ve been off such milk for a while, as is the case when you arrive in the country at the start of the annual dacha season, after your first glass of milk-from-the-tit, within about half-an-hour it goes straight through you like a dose of salts. Everything’s OK after that – until the following season.

            I think this is caused by the fresh nature of the milk. It’s the same for humans: the first dose of a mother’s milk has something in it that purges all the gunge that filled a baby’s bowels when it was in the womb. That’s why a baby’s first crap is sight to behold.

            • katkan says:

              I believe raw is very much legal in Russia. I hope they keep it that way. It doesn’t keep as well or as long as the pasteurised homogenised re-constituted stuff, so is not good for the big processors…..which is how it usually ends up getting banned. But now Russia has to become more self sufficient, it’s an opportunity for small dairy farms. They just need to be super hygienic at milking time.

      • cartman says:

        That’s cheap milk.

      • Jen says:

        Here we go, I found the brand of milk that Navalny prefers and sure enough it is the Pepsi-Cola brand:
        http://www.newsweek.com/kremlin-critic-navalny-complains-over-price-milk-after-three-men-follow-him-297266

        “… “The price of milk! A litre pack of 1.5% (sic) ‘Domik v Derevne’ milk cost 75 roubles (€1). The last time I went to buy it, it cost me 45 roubles (€0.60). We ought to be taking certain civil servants from the Ministry of the Economy who talk about an inflation rate of only 10-11% on trips to the supermarket,” Navalny wrote, linking to a statement from Russia’s minister of the economy Alexey Ulyokaev made last week on the issue …”

        He must have been really ripped off if he was charged 75 roubles at his particular Moscow supermarket when Moscow Exile goes to another Moscow supermarket and espies a price of 66 – 72 roubles for the same.

        Maybe those three men following him were trying to advise him to shop around a bit?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I recall when the “Little House in the Country” brand, formerly manufactured by Wimm-Bill-Dann, which was recently taken over by Pepsi-Cola, first appeared here, folk started complaining that the “grandma” on the logo didn’t look like a Russian, but a German.

          By the way, the word “derevnya” [деревня] means in Russian both “village” or “country” as in “countryside”, so “v derevne” [в деревне] can mean either “in the/a village” (no articles in Russian – no words for “the”, “a” or “an”) or “in the country(side)”.

          I prefer “Little House in the Country” because the logo doesn’t portray a village – but you pays your money and you makes your choice, as did Navalny, who must be a dickhead for paying what he did (more exactly – the US taxpayer paid for the milk in question), because of this:

          МОЛОКО ДОМИК В ДЕРЕВНЕ СТЕРИЛИЗОВАННОЕ 3,2% 950МЛ

          Price – 35 rubles!!!!!

          And they were right about the “grandma”!

          This is what a typical Russian grandma (babushka) looks like:

          You have been warned!

          I avoid them like the bloody plague.

          I came off my bike a few years ago when I was bombing along a country lane near my dacha and as I was lying on the road, not feeling at all comfortable because I had broken my arm, this bloody old crone, whom, before I came off the contraption, I had noticed approaching using a staff to hobble along, came up to me and, waving her staff, began to harangue me, saying: “Just look at you! A man of your age shouldn’t be riding a bike! Serves you right!”

          And then she buggered off.

          Such is life amongst the peasant classes.

          • marknesop says:

            The wicked old creature! What is it with Russians and their absurd prejudice against bicycles? I was told the same thing, that it is very rare in Russia to see a man on a bicycle, and when I thought about it, I never saw anyone on a bicycle in Vladivostok except for young children. Didn’t see any bike racks anywhere either, bikes in them or not. Those are everywhere here.

            • Southern Cross says:

              A bicycle is an external manifestation of a solipsistic personality.

              Also lycra, over-developed calves, whining about the lack of cycle lanes, and then not using them when they do exist.

              But most importantly – would Bogdan Khelmnitsky have ridden a bicycle? No, of course not, because man belongs either on horseback, or at the wheel of an appropriate mechanical substitute.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I ride a bike in the country for the simple reason that I neither possess a car, nor have I ever, nor shall I ever, for the simple reason that I know not how to drive such infernal, noisy, environmentally damaging contraptions. I ride my bike, sir, in order to travel to the local village, where I buy the basic nutriments for a healthy life.

                As regards the natives’ apparent abhorrence towards bicycle riding – more exactly, the idea that a bicycle is a mere childish plaything – that attitude is slowly changing, though it is something I almost immediately notice during my sojourn in the USSR. Young adults seem now to be be taking up more and more riding mountain bikes – but only in the country: I very seldom see adults riding bicycles in towns and cities. Bear in mind, though, it would be, to say the least, not only an extremely precarious undertaking to ride a bicycle in most of Russia in January, to say nothing of the intense discomfort that one would feel when riding in temperatures well below freezing point, such as right now, at 11:45 Moscow time: the temperature outside is now -15C (5F).

              • marknesop says:

                I ride most of my way to work on dedicated cycle paths (which double as walking trails, of course), and most of it is paved but not roadway. I suppose I don’t begrudge myself the exercise because I don’t really do any other kind, but if we had two cars – or any other motorized vehicle – I would drive, and I am not a cycle enthusiast who collects weird pointy helmets that make you look like a giant insect, and can’t wait to get on the bike on the weekend. It’s just transportation for me that is faster than walking and cheaper than the bus.

    • katkan says:

      You buy from a cheap chain cut price store for low paid workers, which probably would not be too proud to allow in customers with ankle bracelets. The posh places where the quality political prisoners go probably have alarms that would go off.

      The yoghurts look very cheap compared to Australia prices (but I make my own).

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yep, “Little Five” is what the Russkies call a 5 ruble coin, kind of like the US dime or English tanner back when there were 12 pennies to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound.

        Here’s where Navalny must do his shopping:

        Седьмой Континент: Молочные продукты, сыры, яйца

        [Seventh Continent: Dairy products, cheeses, eggs]

        Parmalat milk – a snip at 70 rubles a litre.

        I know of no one who buys milk at such a price.

        But I’m dead poor, me!

        But hush! What is this I see at Seventh Continent?

        Locally produced and packaged milk at 47.90 rubles for 900g??????

        That’s the brand I usually buy at “Pyatyorochka”, only it cost a little less, if I remember rightly, the last time I bought it there 3 days ago.

        Ironically, it’s called “36 kopeks”.

        “Seventh Continent” must specially stock “36 kopeks” for tight-arse “elite” customers.

        Here’s the other supermarket chain for those with more money than sense: Азбука Вкуса – “The ABC of Taste”.

        And here’s their dairy products and eggs price list.

        Jumping Jehosophat!!!!!

        81.40 rubles a litre!!!!!!!!

        But hold awhile, ye who mock! It reads below the pretty picture:

        Natural high quality milk from cows reared on their own farm feed. With a rich traditional taste and pleasant aroma. Contains vitamins A, D, B complex, calcium, amino acids.

        Our dairy plant is located 1 km from the farm, and immediately after milking the milk is supplied for processing and bottling. On a farm about 1,600 head, the output is limited – it makes it easy to control all stages of production.

        Shit! That “36 Kopek” milk I drink must be adulterated with sterilized rat-piss and full of polonium based additives!!!!!!

        And there’s more:

        72 rubles and imported from Belorussia to boot!!!!!

        And now it’s getting ridiculous!

        164 rubles a litre!!!!!

        And look at the guff below the pretty picture:

        Natural cow milk is highly nourishing food for people of all ages. Fresh milk contains protein, digestible fats rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, B, D.

        “The Brothers Cheburashkin” is a family company that owns the pastures, farms and a milk processing plant situated on the border of the Dmitrov and Sergiev Posad districts of Moscow region.

        The extremely high quality of Cheburashkin dairy products is achieved through control at all stages of development.

        Must be stuff like this that Forbes and the like use in their “shopping basket” analyses.

    • marknesop says:

      This and other notices like it are dog-whistle signals to the western electorates that the Russian economy is crumbling and about to collapse. After a struggle to keep the ruble below 60 to the dollar, it is up again, and this, too, encourages the west that it might yet break Russia if it just holds on a little longer; Putin is running around in desperate circles in the Kremlin, trying to heat the place with the activity. And as I have said before, that is good for Russia, because the west has yet to learn the lesson that if you construct a completely false picture of your opponent and then proceed as if it were real and all the advantage is on your side in this new world you have created for yourself, the consequences might be very damaging. It is unlikely to harm America very much, which is precisely why they want to keep the pressure on, but it may well tip Europe over into a serious spiral that will take it a couple of years to pull out of.

      But the public needs to be on-side, hence the “trickles of information” to tell them their death-blows are having an effect, and soon the Russians will be eating dirt. Just as if milk and a host of other foodstuffs were only available in the west.

  9. peter says:

    • Oddlots says:

      I suspect he is being paid in Rubles.

      I thought that was exactly the key job competence and that these people prided themselves on it. Disappointing. He needs to buck up.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Well there’s a whopper on display in the York Viking Museum. It was squeezed out by some Viking over 1,000 years ago and found in what must have been the cellar of a Viking house on the banks of the river Ouse when the area was being cleared for the construction of a Llyods Bank on York, hence the official name of the lump of shit: The Lloyds Bank Turd. I showed it Mrs. Exile when I took her to the Yorvik Museum (Yorvik was the original Norse name for York) 17 years ago.She was not impressed and thought displaying it was in the worst posssible of taste, telling me that her illusions of English good manners and politeness had been irreperably shattered.

        When I last saw it, it looked as if it had been varnished and polished. Unfortunately, some kids broke it in 2003, but worry not: it’s been brought back to its former glory.

        See: Museum’s
        broken treasure not just any old shit

  10. peter says:

    • patient observer says:

      Russia’s backwardness confirmed. I haven’t bought a CD in years. There is software called “WireTap” that digitizes analog audio from the computer audio output and stores as in selectable sound formats (I prefer AIFC). Bring up your favorite YouTube video, digitize the audio, fire up Itunes and relax in sonic bliss. And no worries about music piracy.

      • dany8538 says:

        Hey, i hope this is sarcasm cause a CDS is a credit default swap.

        • Oddlots says:

          If so, very droll sir, very droll.

          That said the Russian Interbank 3 month rate is ~ 27 %. Eye watering doesn’t do that justice. What worries me is whether the CBR’s charter will allow it to act in a way that the situation warrants. I seem to recall reading something about the IMF having some say over what signatory central banks can and can’t do. That is a little concerning.

    • marknesop says:

      Facing downgrades by western rating agencies. Isn’t that quite a bit like expecting to get a pat on the head from the Corruption Perceptions Index? Dream on. Who cares?

      • dany8538 says:

        No if I had the money i would be selling CDS’s all day on Russia. There is no way in hell they are defaulting unless they have access to a higher power I am not aware of.
        So this is a great business for those selling these Swaps cause the sellers receive premiums and they know they wont have to pay out although we need to know what defines a default event, IF just moody’s or s&p downgrading russia is such an event then I guess a buyer of this cds can win but it wont be an actual default.

        • cartman says:

          Which CDS, as I haven’t found any that have been issued in the last decade or so?

          I thought they went out of style because they were a big risk to the financial system.

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    Porky the Pig in his new winter military togs speaking at a ceremony in Zhytomyr at the handing over of newly supplied weapons of war:

    A litter of piglets is standing behind him.

    Some of the new equipment:

    Oh how they’ll squeal and run if they try to use their new toys.

    • patient observer says:

      The picture of the artillery pieces suggests more cannon cannon fodder.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, the caption under the aircraft referred to them as the state’s “new” fighters, but they are Russian aircraft and I am sure Moscow did not sell Kiev a batch of new fighters. This is just meant to be a massive display of unconquerable military might to frighten the easterners into collapse. Not likely to work. But at the same time Porky sighs for western consumption that there is no military solution, so he can look presidential and diplomatic. That’s much more likely to work – it’s easy to fool people who have already half-fooled themselves.

    • et Al says:

      Who’s been fixing those Mig-29s? They’re not getting the parts from Russia, so it is either blackmarketed(!) by Belorussia, Hungary, Slovakia or…… [drum roll please] ex-German Airforce Mig-29s still in service in the lo-land of Po-land.

      • Jen says:

        Can only imagine that if you rapped on the shells of those MiG-29s, they’ll sound very hollow indeed.

      • marknesop says:

        They may and probably do have stocks of parts in-country already, but they kept the MiGs they have flying constantly until the ceasefire, then put them all in for maintenance. If this was a show of force they would want to have everything operational on display. And if that was the case, their air force is no better off and just about done. Also, they can have all the shiny kit in the world and if they have no fuel to put in it, it isn’t going anywhere. Where are they getting the gas for major military operations?

        It’s perfectly possible, too, that it’s like you say and they got spares from another eastern-European country. It’s also perfectly possible that they just towed them out there and will tow them back, and that they’re not flyable.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      So since when has Russian army artillery been bombarding Kiev, Lvov, Ivano-Frankivsk etc. and all points in the Ukraine west of the Lugansk and Donetsk provinces?

    • yalensis says:

      Schwarzenberg is a Prince of a man!
      Literally!
      He is the 12th Prince of Schwarzenberg!

      Here is a picture of the handsome prince:

      Oops, sorry, wrong picture, here is the real prince:

      “A long-time friend and close collaborator of Václav Havel, he served for two years as Havel’s chancellor (from July 1990 to July 1992) during Havel’s tenure as president.”

      Hm… a Havelite Prince. Typical…

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And formerly a big noise in the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights.

        Karl zu Schwarzenberg served as chairman of the federation from 1984 to 1991. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights was awarded the European Human Rights Prize in 1989, jointly with Lech Wałęsa.

        In January 2008, an Austrian court convicted the IHF’s former financial manager, the Austrian Rainer Tannenberger, of the embezzlement of €1.2 million. Tannenberger was sentenced to three years in prison, with two of them suspended. The IHF’s resulting insolvency had driven it to file for bankruptcy in Austria, its country of registration, and to be dissolved on 27 November 2007.

        Must have thought he had the right to take a dip into the petty cash box.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Associated with IHF was this old ratbag, Lyudmila Alekseeva, a founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, which organization appointed itself the task of monitoring the compliance of the USSR with the recently signed Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which included clauses calling for the recognition of universal human rights.

          Note the Helsinki Accords, Helsinki Final Act, or Helsinki Declaration:

          The Accords’ “Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations between Participating States” (also known as “The Decalogue”) enumerated the following 10 points:

          I. Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty
          II. Refraining from the threat or use of force
          III. Inviolability of frontiers
          IV.Territorial integrity of States
          V. Peaceful settlement of disputes
          VI. Non-intervention in internal affairs
          VII. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
          VIII. Equal rights and self-determination of peoples
          IX. Co-operation among States
          X. Fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law

          Whither Accord VIII?

          A “fly in ointment” – or as those vulgar Moskaly say: Кусок дерьма в бочке меда?

      • colliemum says:

        Neither of them floats my boat …

        And anyway, what is it with this thing girlies have about princes? Outside of fairy tales, they are of no use to man nor beast …

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Especially that Prince of Wales!
          🙂

        • marknesop says:

          Money. Lots of money.

          • colliemum says:

            Heh. It’s not as if other people didn’t also have loads of money, who aren’t princes …
            Here comes another old German saying: ‘Nachts sind all Katzen grau’ – meaning: all cats (toms as well, in German) are grey in the night, i.e. titles and money don’t matter when it’s about what happens between the sheets …

          • Jen says:

            My understanding is that Prince Andrew, younger brother of the Prince of Wales, does not have lots of money to fund his lifestyle of endless golf, endless air miles and endless swanning around in luxury with rich and shady friends, not to mention bailing out his ex-wife when she goes bankrupt because she has a life of luxury to live too, otherwise he would not have this thing about girlies aged 17 years of age …

      • marknesop says:

        Not to mention former chair of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights.

      • cartman says:

        He’s a descendant of Austrian Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg, who said that Austria would “shock the world by the depth of its ingratitude” by betraying Russia after the Russians saved the Habsburg Empire.

  12. colliemum says:

    Think of Les Frogs what you like, but this is truly atrocious:
    http://rt.com/news/220523-deadly-attack-french-newspaper/

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Somebody can’t take a joke?

      I sense, somehow, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been mocked.

      By the way, although I sometimes call the French “Frogs”, I’m rather fond of France and its people.

      Nice cheese there as well.

      • colliemum says:

        I don’t mind the frogs at all either, and they are always great when visiting here for the 6N. Once the let loose a live cockerel on the hallowed turf of the (then) Arms Park.

        It’s just that killing cartoonists for being cartoonists and poking fun at everything is a bit OTT, to say it mildly.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The victim declared guilty of being the cause of the crime – again?

          Today’s Grauniad:

          Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine whose offices were attacked by gunmen in Paris on Wednesday, has published several controversial cartoons portraying the prophet, some in pornographic poses…

          Observant Muslims anywhere would be angered by such images. That is especially true of fundamentalist Salafis who adhere to traditions laid down in 7th-century Arabia, or of the small minority who hold to the jihadi-takfiri world view espoused by Isis and al-Qaida. Their doctrines permit the killing of so-called apostates. But devout Sunni Muslims of all stripes avoid visual depictions of Muhammad or other prophets such as Moses or Abraham.

          Islam is not unique. Judaism forbids the use of “graven images” and Christianity has at times frowned on visual representations of sacred figures, allowing only the cross to be depicted in churches.

          How Charlie Hebdo’s portrayals of prophet angered many Muslims

          • colliemum says:

            But of course! Shouldn’t have provoked the religion of peace …
            Try that explanation when reporting about a woman raped, that she somehow provoked it, and the whole social media will be down on you like a ton of bricks.
            James Delingpole predicts the reaction of the Western media and politicians here:
            http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/01/07/charlie-hebdo-massacre-how-the-west-will-respond/
            He is spot on …

          • yalensis says:

            I am so angry about what happened in France!
            It is absolutely repulsive, how liberal press condones Islamist violence.

            “Oh, but see, it is normal for a religion to forbid the use of images, therefore it is completely understandable that they should plant bombs and slit peoples throats.” Which is basically what they are saying.

            It’s one thing to be offended. Not a day goes by without somebody (at work or on the street or elsewhere) says something that offends my political beliefs. But do I set off a bomb or slit their throats with a knife? No, I do not.

            I recall, when Theo van Gogh was murdered, in the most violent manner possible, by a Muslim terrorist, his death was also condoned by the usual suspects. On the grounds that his movie “offended” their religious beliefs. Just about every movie coming out of Hollywood offends me in some manner or another. But I don’t go around killng the directors.
            Why? Because I am not a psycho, secure in the knowledge that the liberals will excuse my anti-social acts.

            • marknesop says:

              But is there a social need for such lampooning? Really? What purpose does it serve? Is it educational? Is it entertaining? Who here finds obscene caricatures of religious figures to be sidesplittingly funny? It sure must be a niche market.

              And if we are just defending everyone’s right as an individual to be an asshole, then I guess it’s all right for a few little girls with balaclavas on their heads to sing about shit and bitches in Moscow’s cathedrals – after all, what harm’s it doing, really? We missed the boat on that one, because as I recall, nobody was much in favour of it at the time.

              Have the killers been arrested? If not, how do we know it is “Islamist violence”? Isn’t that an assumption, based on who we think was most likely to be offended? Now it’s shaping up to be a twofer – Russians and Muslims. If it was as well-planned as everyone seems to think, could it not be someone who wants Russian Muslims to get the blame? Why would someone speak Russian when they had to know there wee surveillance cameras? Because that’s the only language they speak? Doubtful, in France – they would sort of stand out. It’s quite possible that if any Russian was spoken (I didn’t listen to the clip, I couldn’t at work) that it was deliberate. And if that was a deception, why couldn’t the whole thing be a deception?

              • colliemum says:

                It’s not really about what we find funny or acceptable, in regard to poking fun at religions.
                France is a secular republic, decidedly so, where Church and State have been separated since the French Revolution. The ban on wearing the burkha in public in France demonstrates this.
                And since that time, since Voltaire even, it is totally acceptable in France to poke fun at Rome, the Pope, and the Church.
                CharlieHebdo have been doing just that in the run-up to Christmas 2014. And they have been poking fun at Islam ever since the infamous Mo-Caricatures in Denmark which “provoked” riots in islamic countries – after a bit of judicial ‘editing’ by some Danish imams.
                CharlieHebdo was the only paper which re-printed those caricatures – all other MSM in Europe were too cowardly to do so. Even now they have pixeled the front page of a CharlieHebdo journal which they ‘use’ to wail about the murder of those cartoonists yesterday.
                The point I’m making is that Charlie Hebdo has, in true and traditional French tradition, made fun of all religions – not just exclusively at Islam. No Christians have attacked with violence the CharlieHebdo offices, no Christians have tried to murder the cartoonists.
                We might ask how come that islamists think murder and terror is their only recourse against something the find offensive – it’s not as if there are no courts in France where they can have recourse.
                In a Free Society we have to put up with many things being put into the public domaine which we loathe or don’t agree with. We can’t claim we have and support Freedom of Speech while saying at the same time that of course, we must never ever say, write or draw anything which might conceivably offend Islam!

                • marknesop says:

                  We do not yet know – or at least I don’t – that the crime was committed by Islamists or that it had anything to do with the cartoons. That so far appears to be an assumption, and if a group has claimed responsibility that is not necessarily proof that the same group which claimed responsibility actually did it.

                • colliemum says:

                  It is always advisable to keep things simple.
                  So when the three terrorists are heard shouting ‘allahu akbar’, and ‘the prophet has been revenged’ (on videos at liveleak to which I won’t link here), we can be fairly confident that these were indeed islamists, well trained by all accounts, and certainly not some who re-enacted Christian crusaders.

                  I confess that I am very angry, and that right now I’m close to blowing my top when I see all sorts of mental contortions taking place across the board, by politicians and journalists here in the UK and in Europe, who are all trying to avoid mentioning the ‘religion of peace’, who keep telling us that these are all attacks by lone wolves, nothing to do with islam at all – but that we must of course avoid offending that religion at all costs, and that ‘we’ must integrate with islam – not they with us and our society.

                • marknesop says:

                  “We can be fairly confident that these were indeed islamists…”

                  Or that they wanted everyone to think they are. People were pretty quick to assume they are Russians from the Caucasus, too, based on one person’s assertion on Twitter that they heard Russian being spoken in the clip. Ask yourself this – why would people who were said to operate like the parts of a well-oiled machine, well-trained, who each obviously knew his part to the smallest detail and who acted calm and unruffled throughout…have to gratuitously yell in Arabic? Wouldn’t that make them easier to identify and arrest? It would remove a lot of French citizenry from suspicion instantly. Why say anything? Why not just do the deed and exit stage left?

                  It makes no sense at all for Islamists to attack France, which stood up for Muslims over Palestinian statehood.

                  I can’t take responsibility for British politicians who insist that we must integrate with Islam rather than that Muslims must acclimatize themselves to our ways, because that’s not what I believe. They don’t necessarily have to lay aside their religion and should be free to worship as they choose, and I don’t know why this whole issue is such a big deal for me because I am not even religious at all myself, but it is unrealistic to expect us to adopt their religious customs so that we do not accidentally offend them.

                • colliemum says:

                  I think regarding this attack as aimed at France because of their support for Palestine is going too far.
                  It was an attack ‘on France’ in the sense that it was an attack on France as secular republic. Also, the attackers were apparently well trained for this, they knew that at the time of their attack the journalists had their weekly editorial conference, that’s where they were all killed. I really doubt that there’s a reservoir of trained jihadis able to go and kill at the drop of a hat, like that.

                  I agree with your last paragraph, and totally concur. Sadly, here in the UK we’ve been shut up because daring to talk about all that means you’re islamophobe, bigoted and racist – thanks to the prevailing lefty multi-culti mantra – so do not even mention anything related to islam!

                • marknesop says:

                  One does not “need to” make fun of religions in order to validate one’s freedom, in much the same sense as one does not “need to” use filthily obscene language on public conveyances such as buses. There probably is a law against it, but I have never seen it enforced. I notice whenever there are a couple of yobs on such a bus, effing and blinding all over the place and throwing “fuck” around like kids do sugar on cereal, there is never a conversation after they get off that recognizes their speech as an artistic moment in the other passengers’ day; a celebration of freedom. Why is public nudity prohibited? Are we free, or not? It’s not obscene – the human body is beautiful, or so they keep telling us. Why don’t we pick our noses and fart in public? I mean, those are actions which bring us relief; surely a free people should be able to indulge themselves.

                  I don’t know that anyone has ever proposed a law which says thou shalt not make rude or disrespectful images of The Prophet or otherwise go out of your way to insult Islam, although there are laws against hate speech, and it was always my impression that people supported them. It is likewise not as if Charlie Hebdo had produced the Declaration of Independence or the Mona Lisa. But people are going on about them as if their product is deathless art that we could not do without.

                  I understand there is a principle here, and again, I am not arguing that we should be allowed to kill whoever offends us, although I must say it is a restriction on freedom. But if cartoons mocking someone’s religion are okay and actually a much-needed expression of freedom, then so was Pussy Riot’s performance in Moscow. Either religion, like Moms, is off limits or it is not. And if it’s not, then there is no more mystery or significance in religious observance than there is in grocery shopping. If I’m tired, I should be able to walk into the nearest temple regardless of denomination – which is, after all, a public place as it does not pay taxes while I do – put my feet up and watch a rock concert on my iPhone. I don’t have an iPhone, but you know what I mean. The only thing that curbs me is bad manners, and a free society shouldn’t have to care about that.

                • colliemum says:

                  No, of course we don’t ‘need’ to do all you describe in your post. However – when was the last time someone was so offended by nudity that they stormed a newspaper office and shot all journalists?
                  I also think it is not jsutified to compare Pussy Riot and what they did with this freedom of speech for which CharlieHebdo’s cartoonists were killed.
                  Pussy Riot desecrated a sacred place. CharlieHebdo drew cartoons – they did not physically desecrate a church.
                  The moment we say that something cannot be said, written or drawn because it is offensive and because we don’t need it – that is the moment where those in power can no longer be made fun of, the moment where we’re governed by the thought police. That is the moment where we’ll no longer be allowed to protest against the cultural transformation of our society. ‘Hate Speech’ laws are already being used against those who don’t agree with the LGBT messages everywhere.
                  How can we write against such ideas which we agree are ‘not needed’ when such writings can be labelled as hate speech, as being offensive?
                  That’s why I’m angry about all those attempts here in the UK and Europe to paint the cartoonists of CharlieHebdo as somehow being guilty for their own deaths because they ‘provoked’ islam.
                  It’s a slippery slope, but surely the saying about not liking what someone says but defending his right to do so – wrongly attributed to Voltaire – is still as important as ever.

                • marknesop says:

                  All I can say is the purpose of law in a free society, quite apart from preventing outright crime such as robbery, is promoting policies which facilitate a large group of people with disparate interests living together as peacefully as possible. We have, however, arrived upon a quirk whereby the right of people to promote disharmony for their own amusement and titillation is a barrier we must defend to the death, because our forefathers fought for free speech. Our forefathers would be appalled at many of the things we take for granted today, not least among them promiscuity, a fascination with the behaviour and activities of celebrities, the profusion of profanity in public and the wearing of hats at the table by men. All of them freedoms bought with the lives of our forefathers, but which they would doubtless disclaim with the greatest alacrity if they could. But to each his own. I regret the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo are dead and do not argue they got what they deserved, or that the same should befall anyone who offends Islam – Islam is completely a side issue here, the particular religion that was offended against is of secondary importance to me – but I will not lionize their work as though it had priceless value, like the simple twats running around holding pencils over their heads to encourage others to be offensive so as to celebrate our freedom, either.

                  Just to be clear, I’m not arguing for any kind of law which safeguards religion from mockery. It’s just something I think people who want to get along with other people shouldn’t do. And I don’t see it as the job of the police to guard people who are not interested in getting along with other people, but who use the law as an argument that they can do it. I don’t think that was ever the intent of free-speech law, to facilitate people getting up the nose of people they dislike because of the religion they follow. That, to me, is no different than using cartoons to make fun of people for their colour, or because they have a disability.

                  Anyway, I appreciate that it is a controversial subject and that Muslims are unpopular in some countries and perceived to have too many rights already. There is not a huge Muslim population here, or if there is it does not interfere with everyone else living as they choose, so perhaps that informs my views.

                • colliemum says:

                  I do agree with what you say – and if it came across as if I were lionising CharlieHebdo’s work, then no – offensive is offensive, but if we have to put up with that in our free society, then that’s that. we’re not forced to buy this, watch it, celebrate it. But we can expect that those who do take strong offense at something like that will use the courts of law to make their point, not a kalashnikov.
                  What we also should expect – and this goes beyond CharlieHebdo and what happened yesterday – is that the freedom to talk in public about what we don’t like about a certain religion not be curtailed by appeasers and bien pensants in the metro elites who are well protected from the effects of what their preachigns produce in real life, in our lives.

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s fair enough – however, courts of law must take such complaints seriously and recognize and restrict defamation that is for no purpose other than deliberate offensiveness, regardless if there is a small circle which finds such humour wildly hilarious because it respects and values nothing but hedonism, personal gratification and an absence of values. Courts are on record as ruling on what is pornography and what is art, and there is no doubt there is a circle which finds each of various forms of the most explicit pornography to be “artistic”. Not everything is protected under the art umbrella, and not all speech needs to be protected as if it had great redeeming value.

      • marknesop says:

        I’m afraid I don’t support pornographic humour directed against another country’s religious figures in the name of being funny or satirical. Politicians are fair game, they ask for it, but if Egyptian cartoonists published caricatures of the Pope with a big dildo sticking out of his ass, Catholics would lose their minds and demand that Egypt be bombed. What has the Pope done to Muslims? It does not contribute at all to getting along, and God knows the world does not need any more stirring up. Is there any need of gratuitously mocking other people’s religion so that those who do not subscribe to it can get a cheap guffaw?

        Of course I am not endorsing shooting people for doing it. I just wonder why it ever happens in the first place. Are there not sufficient targets for satire in the world today without picking on religion, which time and again results in an explosive reaction? Why do people think this is funny?

        • yalensis says:

          If Egyptian cartoonists published a cartoon of pope with dildo in his ass, for sure, Catholics would demand violent Crusade …. IF this was the year 1000. Nowdays, not so much. Catholics are not nearly as violent as they used to be, in the Middle Ages.
          I seriously doubt if they would retaliate. Even if some minority of nominal Catholics gave a shit, I doubt if they would do anything about it, other than complain and write letters to the editor. Which is the way it should be.
          Agree though that people should try to be civilized and at least pretend to respect each others religions.

        • Fern says:

          I’m afraid I have to disagree with you here, Mark. It’s not just about whether or not religious beliefs should be exempt from being mocked or questioned – there’s a wide range of subjects, many of them legitimate areas of scholarly enquiry, which are now largely untouchable because of all too credible threats of violence. To give an example from the UK – some time ago, Channel 4 planned to screen a documentary on the origins of Islam which explored the theory that the religion actually began much later than is generally claimed. There was nothing scurrilous, mocking or obscene about the programme – it was an academic look at the origins of one of the world’s major faiths. Had it been about judaism or christianity, no-one would have batted an eye. But it wasn’t about those religions. So, not surprisingly, Channel 4 cancelled the programme because of ‘security risks’ to their staff. I find that very disturbing. Or take literature – Salman Rushdie lived under threat of death for years for writing a novel – a work of fiction. I was on holiday in Oslo when a member of his Norwegian publishing team was murdered by masked assailants. Violence against those deemed to have ‘offended’ sensibilities has been going on for years.

          What took place in Paris may have been a false flag – some sort of ‘Gladio’ type operation – certainly the attackers looked more like a military unit that a bunch of home-grown militants protesting cartoons. But if this was an attack on a magazine deemed ‘offensive’, then it is an attack on free speech and thought. Our liberties were hard-won – they shouldn’t be surrendered because a small number of people think extreme violence is the appropriate response to people poking fun at their beliefs.

          • marknesop says:

            Make no mistake – I am not advocating a violent response, to anything. But the message here seems to be not only that nobody should be killed for mocking others’ religion or appearance or whatever, but that there’s not even any reason to be angry. Humour is like gay – it’s harmless, and just wants to be accepted. I’ve seen sloganeering on Twitter that says, “Laugh at Everything”. Okay. Crippled children. Ha, ha, ha. Military veterans – stop, you’re killing me!! And people walking around holding up pencils, even Banksy is now mainstream, and it is obvious that people would much rather play activist than cowboy.

            It depends on the intent of humour. And I think you would agree with me that making fun of something quite often is not an attempt to make that thing broadly acceptable through lighthearted playfulness – it’s to mock it because the cartoonist dislikes it, and wants to win others to his viewpoint, like drawing a picture of your teacher with a mustache and horns. That’s probably okay if you do it in your schoolbook – quite another to demand the right to draw it on the chalkboard and invite your classmates to laugh along with you. If laughter really could heal the world, it would have done so long since, and mocking laughter doesn’t heal anything.

            Self-censorship is not the answer, either, and the television program you speak of should not have been cancelled because of the reasons cited and I would not have perceived any threat. Mind you, I would have approached Islamic scholars and presented them with the evidence and sought their opinion first; I’d prefer to introduce the point from knowing something about it rather than just putting it out there provocatively and waiting for a reaction – that’s not the way to research an academic subject, but that way sure does attract viewers, and that’s all the media cares about, and that’s all it cares about now, too, mawkish displays of solidarity notwithstanding.

            But then, that’s probably my generation talking, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me; I’d be surprised if they did. I was brought up to call my parents’ friends, “Mr. and Mrs. Carlson” and not “Bob and Evelyn” or “Dude” because they were entitled to courtesy. I wouldn’t think of getting up at the funeral of someone who died of cancer and doing my impression of Rodney Dangerfield making fun of cancer, from the viewpoint that it’s a free country and it’s healthy to laugh at everything, Irreverence As Panacea. It would be in bad taste. I’m not worried that anyone would shoot me, or that I’d be arrested – it’s not a crime to abuse people’s feelings for a cheap laugh. It’s just in bad taste.

            • Oddlots says:

              The point about the Pussy Riot issue and Russia’s Christian sensitivities is excellent. I have to admit when I was paying much attention a while back I really didn’t clock onto how provocative their actions might be to some. It was only when someone on RT’s Crosstalk expressed their disgust that I thought about it. And then Catherine Brown in that excellent Russophobia article asked the question about what laws would be available to British courts if a parallel group had pulled the same stunt in St Paul’s. Turns out plenty.

              But actually Mark is making a better point than Brown’s in a way because the question is, why wouldn’t such a stunt happen at St. Pauls? I think it’s because it would immediately appear as bad taste: and this, in turn, is because, whatever sensitivities it riles are not entirely foreign to us while the sensitivities of Russians are.

              I’m not saying that it would have provoked the SAME reaction if it had occurred at St Paul’s as in Russia, just that it wouldn’t have happened at all because it would have appeared as cringingly attention-seeking and so would have had no “charge” to it. Obviously we are a much less “religious” population as well. But i still think the question of “taste” is actually much more to the point because it underlines the fact that, even without religious notions of the profane, we still live with some pretty strong, near-religious shibboleths that you could almost say have replaced them.

              I know that what Mark is talking about by invoking “bad taste” is kind of the opposite of these shibboleths, but let me see where this goes.

              In a way much of what we talk about here is motivated by a sense of horror at how easily “we” can be led around by the nose to accept laughable propositions. (This is starting to sound like – what I imagine – AA is like. I have a friend. Anyway, I should speak for myself.)

              War is prosecuted on “humanitarian grounds.” Self-determination is great (Kosovo) unless it has not received “our” blessing (Crimea) in which case it is wrong, illegal and so justifies violent repression and the horrible but strangely invisible tableau of the “ATO” – again, that insane doublespeak – in Donbas.

              If these propositions appear half-way-reasonable to so many surely there are some powerful, unconscious diktats enforcing this. And one over-riding diktat – where it is relevant – is Russo-phobia, as Alex Mercouris has pointed out so effectively.

              In the present context and despite the deplorable events in Paris, another diktat is Islamo-phobia. The test case might be the tweet Warren posted above:

              Anders Breivik anyone? Former dep director of CIA calls Paris ‘worst terrorist attack in Europe since London in 2005’ http://t.co/zrT9wn4SlU

              — Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) January 7, 2015

              You’d think that one of the “markers” of the relatively (and usefully) empty concept of terrorism would be violence, but in this case you’d be wrong. Why? It happens every time there is an attack and the lesson is never learned.

              On the rare occasions where I talk to people about the Ukraine crisis I usually ask at some point: who do you think wants you to hate Putin and why? This is usually after I’ve said that I’d be happy to reconsider being an OUTRIGHT apologist for Putin if someone could explain what it is EXACTLY he’s done that requires an apology.

              Still waiting for a half-decent, informed answer to that.

              What I think unifies all these disparate thoughts is this:

              – the current “zeitgeist” (scrabble points!) among, lets say, the incumbent world powers and their minions is not about values such as tolerance or violence per-se
              – these values mysteriously get invoked or suspended whenever it is useful (to the point the actions of our masters run completely and obviously against these values while the rhetoric remains)
              – this suspension of the rules doesn’t actually map onto individual events very well
              – thus we are left arguing about interpretations of individual events when the real story is the inconsistencies themselves and what these inconsistencies tells us about what is allowed to matter and what is excluded from doing so

              In contrast I think what Mark is invoking with actions being in “bad taste” is a lot less contingent and more rooted in individual ethics and “the world right before us” so to speak which is its strength.

        • patient observer says:

          Yes, I agree. Its another example of nihilism masquerading as art or satire.

          • colliemum says:

            We are free to reject this sort of thing – we don’t have to like it, we don’t have to look at it, we can criticise it to our heart’s content.
            We must however not suppress it, and above all we cannot ever demand not to draw such stuff because it might offend someone. The next step would be censorship, demanding that any offending caricatures, of politicians and celebrities for example, not be published at all.
            Is that what we want?

    • cartman says:

      What a coincidence. Hollande says that “sanctions must go” and France gets attacked by Islamists the next day.

      • colliemum says:

        Yeah, it looks like a sweet coinky-dinky, doesn’t it!
        Unfortunately, this attack was well planned, and not a spur-of-the-moment thing. The journalists/cartoonists had their weekly editorial conference that morning – and that was where they were killed.
        I don’t think the terrorists give a toss about Hollande, and French politics in general. Else they surely must have realised that this attack would be wind in the sails of Marine LePen and her FN.

        • cartman says:

          They forgot to add Le Pen to their calculations.🙂 There is also the issue of Germans acting more arrogant under Merkel and forcing the French into junior-partner status, within the Franco-Prussian partnership.

          The sanctions are set to expire March 15, unless they vote to extend them?

          • colliemum says:

            Yes – poor M Hollande! But there’s worse: Madame Merkel was in London to day, giving Cameron his instructions about what to ask in those fabulous re-negotiations with Brussels (not a lot!), and what to expect (nothing at all). Pity those dratted jihadis had to go and kill the people at CharlieHebdo, messing up all those lovely press conferences with Merkel and Cameron – nobody was interested.
            One does wonder why Merkel is so full of herself and of German power – it wasn’t like that even a year ago, iirc.
            Now she’s got a nice little proto-Maidan of her own, not even a colour revolution, just a few citizens ‘strolling’ around Dresden every Monday evening. 20,000 were there, allegedly, two days ago …

      • Jen says:

        Goodness me, must be a month now since that little dinky chocolate coffee place 250 metres down the road from where I work – and also just across the road from Channel 7 TV studios – got held up by that self-styled manic jihadi mullah who couldn’t even get the right black flag for the window display and wanted to trade one hostage for the proper ISIS flag. The public’s attention and fear levels must be flagging and need to be maintained on permanent red alert.

        The Sydney siege and the Paris attack seem to smell of being false flag attacks designed to alienate the public even more from Muslims. Until we know more about the gunmen who shot the Charlie Hebdo staff dead, this is just my thinking.

        By the way there’s been news that France has agreed to deploy the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf to support operations against ISIS and that could well have been the immediate motive for the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices.
        http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/international/mideast-africa/2015/01/06/report-france-deploy-aircraft-carrier-gulf-fight/21361061/

        • marknesop says:

          France’s siding with Palestine could be as well, although it would make the likely attackers the opposite of Muslim.

          • Jen says:

            French lower house recognition of Palestinian statehood last month could have been a catalyst. The Charlie Hebdo attackers are apparently two brothers of French-Algerian background who have links to al Qa’eda in Iraq and one of them at least was training and sending jihadis to fight in Syria so he may have links to ISIS as well. Given that ISIS has been receiving arms, transport vehicles and equipment from the US directly or indirectly through “moderate” Syrian rebels, there’s the possibility that these brothers got their orders from ISIS but in a way that masks the real reason for killing the magazine staff.

            It has been three years at least since Charlie Hebdo published the cartoons ridiculing Prophet Mohammed so I doubt that the cartoons themselves were the problem. Otherwise the murders would have been committed much earlier. The killings were done execution-style and one of the gunmen had a camera to film them: this sounds very much like an ISIS tactic.

            Truthjihad.com blog suggests that France’s decision to recognise Palestine, allowing the Palestinians the opportunity to take Israel to the International Criminal Court on genocide charges, and the Charlie Hebdo killings have their parallel with Malaysia’s war crimes tribunal finding Israel guilty of genocide against Palestinians in 2013 and the Malaysia Airlines tragedies that followed in 2014.
            http://truthjihad.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/paris-charlie-hebdo-attack-another.html

    • Southern Cross says:

      Bonjour, laquais de la Russie

      Voici la reponse de la Twittersphere (avec traduction):

    • kirill says:

      I would feel more sympathy if NATO blood libel hypocrites did not make fun of and ignore terrorist atrocities in Russia. The BBC even fobbed off the destruction of the domestic flight several years ago which killed 90 people as “an accident”.

      Budennovsk and Beslan were the fault of Russia according the f*cking western media. I guess this incident is the fault of France.

  13. Oddlots says:

    Ahhhh, that brings back memories. Thanks for that.

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    Putin last night during a Christmas midnight mass:

    The Font of Evil seems to have started a custom of celebrating Christmas at different villages each year.

    Last night he went to church in the village of Otradnoe, Voronezh province.

    My old neck of the woods at the time of my first foray into the Empire of Evil: I used to live about 5 miles due west from there in students’ hostel in Voronezh city.

    See: Владимир Путин встретил Рождество в Воронежской области

    [Check out the video insert]

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I mean, just take a look at those semi-Asiatic, Mongol-Tatar-Finno-Ugric monster, Moskal mugs on those girls!

      Frightful!

      Oh, hang on though! Voronezh is in the Ukraine, isn’t it?

      According to lunatics such as Tyahnibok it is, anyway.

      So they’re humans after all.

      Yeah, right!

      But just take a look then at the semi-Asiatic, Momgol-Tatar-Finno-Ugric monster, Moskal mug on Putin then!

      Undiluted evil!!!!

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    Nah! They’re just waiting for Putin to start chanting: “Anyone who can’t jump up and down is a Khokhol!” and “Khokhly to the knife!”

  16. Warren says:

    Eurasian Economic Union Came into Force

    As the new year started, the Eurasian Economic Union (the EEU) signed on May 29, 2014 came into force to include Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kirgizia. The EEU boasts the population of 183 million (the seventh largest in the world) and covers over 20 million square kilometers (15% of the earth’s land). The organization is the largest world gas (22% of global output) and oil (14, 6% of global output) producer, the second largest producer of mineral fertilizers (14% of world output), the third largest energy (9% of global output) producer and the fourth largest producer of steel (6% of global production) and coal (6% of global output)…(1) But what really matters is that the Eurasian Union is «a model of a powerful, supranational association capable of becoming one of the poles of the modern world …to play an effective bridge role between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region». (2) The EEU is an international organization based on regional economic integration or an international entity. It means that the decisions of its organs (the Eurasian Economic Council, the Economic Commission, and the Economic Court) become norms of international law. It’s very important. For a long time Russia has adhered to the legal norms created by others. It has become unacceptable as the current system of international law is being destroyed to be replaced by repressive legal system. The adoption of common foreign trade and customs policy is a matter of special importance. The foreign commerce will be based on the principles of free trade and the regime of most favored nations. The EEU members will coordinate the activities in agriculture, industry, energy and stick to common sanitary and technical standards. A common market of pharmaceuticals is to be in place by 2016. A common energy market is to be formed by 2019 and a common oil, gas and oil products market is to become a reality by 2025. It is emphasized that the Union is an economic organization. The history has the examples of international economic organizations gradually turning into political or even military unions. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a good example. Not much time passed since its inception as it shifted the focus from purely commercial projects to military operations on the territories of member-states. There have been attempts made to create an association of post-Soviet countries going beyond the limits of economic cooperation. They all have failed. Some time ago the President of Kazakhstan opposed the accession of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia to the Customs Union. At the same time he supported the idea of Turkey’s membership only to prevent the Union from becoming a supranational political entity like the European Union. The provisions on common citizenship, common foreign policy and common protection of borders were excluded from the text of the treaty.

    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/01/05/eurasian-economic-union-came-into-force.html

  17. Warren says:

  18. marknesop says:

    Lithuania’s president and part-time alarmist idiot Dalia Grybauskaitė inspires new depths of silliness, as Lithuania publishes “How To Respond To A Russian Invasion For Dummies” , for issue to ” secondary schools, public libraries and non-governmental organisations, while an e-book version will be made available for download from the ministry of defence website as soon as next week, according to Olekas.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/lithuania-publishes-book-educating-citizens-how-respond-russian-invasion-297347

    I encourage everyone to take another look at politics as a second career – being a world leader will never be easier than it is right now, nor the field so mediocre, while anti-hate laws might become enforceable at some time in the future.

  19. Warren says:

  20. marknesop says:

    In energy news, JKX Oil and Gas Plc said it would suspend investments in Ukraine, while Regal Petroleum Plc said it was “reviewing” its investments in Ukraine. Both say the decision is motivated by ” restrictions on selling gas to industrial clients and the continuation of high taxes on production.”

    JKX went further: “The situation cannot exist over a long time because otherwise Ukraine will find itself completely at the mercy of the Russian gas suppliers, and all Russia needs to do is turn the tap off to reduce Ukraine to a complete shivering wreck”.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/07/jkx-oil-ukraine-idUSL3N0UM2EQ20150107

    How’s that European Partnership working out so far? Hey, never mind that, you bastard, do you know how much Alexey Navalny pays for milk?

    Meanwhile, U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for the fourth straight week. Less efficient vertical-drilling rigs are down to their lowest level since 1991.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/05/energy-natgas-rigs-idUSL1N0UK1FY20150105

    Take this with the requisite grain of salt, considering it’s The Donald talking (and you have to wonder how he ever got so rich because he often seems clueless), but eyebrow-raising is his open acknowledgement that the U.S. unemployment numbers are largely papier-mache constructs of recategorization of what “unemployed” really means and sometimes outright fabrication. Notably, other economic forecasts are far worse than Trump’s.

    http://www.moneynews.com/Outbrain/Trump-Aftershock-American-Economy/2012/11/06/id/462985/

    Parse the article also for the requisite political partisanship – it’s all the fault of the Obama government. I wouldn’t go that far, although he did little enough to improve it in his second term.

  21. Warren says:

    • Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      Actually, it says “One of the terrorists or their victim seemed to be speaking Russian with strong north caucasus pronunciation. He said “Do not touch me. It’s done”/ Не трогайте меня. Всё”. It never says “Him”, it says, “Don’t touch me (Menya)”. However, that would not likely be one of the victims, so it must have been one of the attackers. And since it would be kind of pointless for one attacker to be giving orders in Russian if nobody else speaks it, let’s just make them all Russians, what say? Fucking Russians!! Can we just kill them all, is there no limit to their destruction in the world??

      Just as a mental exercise, when was the last time you saw a journalist identify the weapon type in the initial report when it was NOT an AK-47? That’s because everything except the AK-47 is “a gun”.

      I expect by the end of today in Newsland, they will have been operating under the personal orders of Vladimir Putin. “The Kremlin’s Secret Death Squad!!!”

  22. Warren says:

  23. Warren says:

  24. Warren says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Russia did, after all, seize Crimea – justification is understood, but in an entirely illegal act which breached a lot of previous commitments that had been made. Russia has undoubtedly armed the East Ukrainian dissidents ,,, erm … and has consistently denied doing so, and in particular is likely to have supplied them with the weapon that brought down the Malaysian airliner flight. So there is no monopoly of right here: both sides have committed major blunders” – former British ambassador to Russia, Brenton

      …has consistently denied…“?

      Well he should immediately recognize consistent denial.

      A case of ascribing to one’s opponent a nefarious activity that one does/has done oneself?

      Her Majesty’s former ambassador to Russia consistently denied British spying activities in Moscow and the funding of NGOs there.

      …is likely have supplied them …“?

      Into likelihoods now, are we?

      So how about these likelihoods: Kolomoisky is likely to have organized the whole affair that resulted in the shooting down of the “wrong aircraft”; the incompetent, insufficiently trained Ukrainian military is likely to have shot down the aircraft; a fighter aircraft is likely to have shot down the airliner; a BUK missile is likely to have shot down MH-17?

      And if the last above mentioned likelihood is true, then one categorically true statement can be made, namely that the BUK missile concerned was most definitely manufactured in Russia.

      I see that the killers of the “Je suis Hebo” journalists in Paris have been widely reported to have used AK47s.

      AK47s are Russian weapons so the killers were likely to have been supplied by the Russians?

      • kat kan says:

        How did Russia manage to supply the air to air missiles the SU-25 pilot Volodyn shot MH17 with?

        yeah yeah I know they were SOVIET rockets, but that was before Putin’s time. Were they planning this 25+ years ahead?

  25. kat kan says:

    Exile, is there a huge difference in regional accents? can you pick where someone comes from,just by accent? ‘cos even in Ukraine I’ve see journos with very English names claim to ID people on their accent in Russian.

    So let me see. These guys are under enough threat to have a police guard. Did said police have “guns” or AKs or shields? I’m sure I’ve seen French riot footage recently that indicates their cops do own such gear.

    And someone with a good vantage point (good but safe vantage point) is in there right now to be filming ……… what exactly??

    Have they announced yet what kind of security exercise was scheduled to be performed that day? like in, say, Boston? which also had two brothers so there’s not one left on the outside to tell a different version??

    And a bit of immediate action footage (cop running about, falls down, others run vaguely that way but don’t do a closer look, don’t duck in behind the big cover item/box, did we see blood? well anyway saves having to show too many gory bodies afterwards?

    Hang on, if they’re inside finishing off the cartoonists, why do they shoot at the cop OUTSIDE who seems to be RUNNING AWAY? Really these guys need develop closer relationships with Hollywood, get the continuity checked at least.

    And how come the Germans are so darned confident they can afford to print all that? before any of them GAVE HIMSELF UP? terrorists do that these days? then why are we fighting them? why not just airdrop more police boxes, with “anonymity guaranteed no questions asked surrenders here” written on them? once safely inside they can press a button, and someone is sent to pick them up.

    I can’t even get my head around what looked like happening yet. No idea why. Certain nothing to do with the cartoons.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      There are regional Russian accents, but they are considerably fewer than English ones: one has to travel great distances to notice these differences, unlike in the UK, where the accents of say, Liverpool and Manchester are very noticeably different in many respects, yet those two cities are only 35 miles distant from each other.

      There is a standard Russian accent as taught everywhere in schools in Russia, which accent is that of Moscow, as prescribed by the Bolsheviks after their having moved the seat of government from Petrograd to the ancient capital of Muscovy and launched a mass literacy programe throughout the former Russian empire. The Bolsheviks also chose the Moscow pronciation as a standard because it combines features of both northern and southern Russian accents: it’s kind of “in betweeen” and not extreme.

      Some Southern Russian accents sound like Russian spoken in the Ukraine, most noticeably in this respect as regards the pronunciation of the letter “g”, which is “hard” in Moscow pronunciation, as in the English word “get”, but is heavily aspirated in Ukrainian pronunciation and sounds like a letter “h” in English.

      And, of course, there are the Russian accents of Russian citizens who are not native speakers of Russian, most noticeably those non-native speakers who are from the Caucasus. To Ukrainians, Russians and, I daresay, foreign journalists in Russia or the Ukraine who have some knowledge of Russian, many Georgians, for example, speaking Russian are immediately recognized by their accent. They have a kind of sing-song accent, rather like Welsh English, and their grammar is often awry as well: Georgians in particular always seem to use the male gender in Russian for everything, e.g.they say “dorogoi moi” to women on markets, which means “my dear”, but only when addressing men: for women, one should say “dorogaya maya”.

      I can recognize Ukrainians speaking Russian and also southern Russian accents as well as accents from the southern Ural, because my neighbour is from there and she used to babysit my children, who thought she talked “funny”. And of course, I can immediately recognize Caucasian accents, which you hear all the time on markets here.

    • marknesop says:

      Apparently several networks have had Russian speakers review the clip, and they say there’s no Russian on it at all. One, however, did claim to have heard, “Paul is dead, strawberry fields forever” in English.

      My wife said once that someone from Vladivostok can tell someone from Moscow, because they speak faster, but I don’t know if there’s anything to that and it was my impression that there is not a great deal of difference in regional accents. Probably journalists in Ukraine claim that some intruders are clearly Russians from their accent because it is to Kiev’s advantage that that be true, and that’s what the Ukies told them. “Yeah, he definitely had a Russian-soldier accent; sounded like a Special Forces guy.”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Mrs. Exile immediately recognized where your wife was from when they spoke on the phone to each other last year.

        Muscovites do jabber away though: remind me of Cockneys and Parisians – and Berliners: must be something to do with capital cities. Same goes for New Yorkers, I feel, albeit NY is not the US capital – but it is, sort of.

        I worked with a bloke from the Bronx, once. He used to shoot words out of his mouth like a machine gun does bullets and very staccato.

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    There’s something terribly amiss with this thread. It has become difficult to post comments. The comment box opens, but then no post-button appears t the foot of the comment box.

    And the loading of the thread is slow and jerky.

    • marknesop says:

      It’s probably just that there are a lot of comments all on the same page, as there used to be before I split them up into pages of 200. That command is still there in my profile, but it seems to be having no effect at all, and there are almost 740 comments on a single page. Time for a new post.

  27. kat kan says:

    ah,ok, my mistake, that was the terrorists, not other cops..
    According to BBC, the terrorists’ director was at the scene and agreed to be interviewed by AAP (under the usual conditions on anonymity). saying
    One passer-by who witnessed the shootout across the street from the Charlie Hebdo office said the gunmen appeared “extremely well-trained”.
    The attackers “knew exactly what they had to do and exactly where to shoot”, the unnamed witness told the Associated Press news agency.
    “While one kept watch and checked that the traffic was good for them, the other one delivered the final coup de grace,” he said, referring to the moment one of the gunmen shot dead an injured police officer at point-blank range.
    “They ran back to the car. The moment they got in, the car drove off almost casually,” he continued, “they knew exactly down to the centimetre and even to the second what they had to do.”
    .

    Good that he approves their timing, must be just as he’d made them practice.

    Here is another, who at least picked it right
    One witness told AFP the attack was reminiscent of a scene from a movie: “I saw them leaving and shooting. They were wearing masks. These guys were serious…. At first I thought it was special forces chasing drug traffickers or something.”

    All kinds of journalists and TV guys from across the road etc were allowed in right away.. Don’t French cops “do” crime scene tape? French apparently bleed more than Russians do.
    Another journalist from the same office described seeing “bodies on the ground, rivers of blood and people seriously injured”, All those Moskali civilians in Donbass with limbs ripped off just have little puddles under them.

    They were let into the building by a woman who said The gunmen “spoke perfect French” and claimed to belong to al-Qaeda . but despite the introduction they “brutally threatened” her AND HER DAUGHTER she just picked up from the creche. She entered the door code. They all went upstairs, apparently. She hid under her desk as the attack unfolded. NOT A WORD about the creche-daughter. Didn’t the kid even scream? or need to be covered? or what??? she left the kid in a parked car???

    Where’s that continuity guy???

    Too many witnesses giving away the whole plot right away, so we don’t even have to guess, despite conveniently having it all filmed for us. Except now I’m confused, did they speak perfect French or perfect Russian?

  28. kat kan says:

    THREAD has ~740 posts, some quite long, and about 50 videos and images. It must be struggling. Actually crashed my browser on 3 consecutive re-starts.

    MARK we need a new thread please.

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