Once He Was the King of Spain – Now He Vacuums the Turf at Skydome

Uncle Volodya says, "There’s fool’s gold—pyrite—and then there’s fool’s gold—gold owned by idiots willing to trade it for worthless dollars.
”

Uncle Volodya says, “There’s fool’s gold—pyrite—and then there’s fool’s gold—gold owned by idiots willing to trade it for worthless dollars.
”

Anders Aslund proves me wrong, over and over again. Every time I think I’ve seen the stupidest, most pedantic, most off-the-wall leap for mediocrity from the atrophied pecan in his head, he surpasses his previous foamy wild-eyed assessment of reality. Rodeo clown dressed as economist. All of it delivered in that whiny Swedish accent that makes him sound like he needs to be changed, and put straight to bed for a nap. I hasten to add that the Swedish accent is not annoying in all its speakers – pretty much only Aslund and the Swedish Chef from “The Muppets”, to whom he bears an astonishing resemblance. And it doesn’t end with physiognomy; they share a similar grasp of economics and government.

I can’t wait, I’m lowering interest rates, my people say:
“King, how are you such a genius?
There’s a roof overhead and food on our plates!”
It’s laissez-faire, I don’t even care
Let’s make Friday part of the weekend.”

Moxy Fruvous, from “King of Spain”

Hey, remember when Aslund was president of that country; Jeez, what was it called? Anyway, he became president way back in the late 90’s, almost further back than pterodactyls can remember, it’s not surprising that the details are a little fuzzy. I do remember that when he became president, the country was on the ropes: the inflation rate was around 27% (now it’s 11.4%), the unemployment rate was 12% (now it’s 5.2%), and per-capita GDP was about $3,500.00 USD (now it’s $7,000.00 USD). Adjusted for PPP, it’s about $25,000.00 per year, the highest it’s ever been. Personal income tax rate was a flat rate of 13%, and it still is. In how many other countries has the electorate seen its tax rates remain the same for 14 years? Not the UK, that’s for sure – they started the same period at 40%, went up to 50% from 2010 to 2012, and after that 45% looked like a tax break – neat, huh? The USA’s tax rate has remained stable, which is a remarkable achievement…but it’s at 35%, more than double what president Aslund was able to offer his electorate.

Of course Anders Aslund was never president of anywhere. That was Russia, and Putin was – and is – president. I introduced that short and harmless deception merely to showcase what a self-important, pompous toad Aslund is, when he says “In short, Putin – who is no economic expert – makes all major economic policy decisions in Russia, delivering orders to top managers of state-owned enterprises and individual ministers in ad hoc, one-on-one meetings. As a result, Russian economic policymaking is fragmented and dysfunctional.” Aslund wants you to know that he is an economic expert, and that Russia would be in so much better shape if only Putin would obey Aslund’s advice and step down, turning the presidency over to a brilliant fellow economist like, say….oh, I don’t know…Alexey Kudrin.

Aslund is at his entertaining best in his latest blowhard epic, “Putin in Denial“. World oil prices have halved since June, he says (he knows juicy insider stuff that you and I don’t because he’s an economist), and the value of the ruble has plunged along with the oil price (ditto). And, he warns, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Which he would know, of course, being an economist and consequently such a reliable engine of prediction. Like when he said back in 2009 that Gazprom – and whenever he speaks about Gazprom he has to switch over to his reserve vitriol tank, since he really, really hates Gazprom, probably because they will not “open up” to western investment and share ownership – was failing, citing the excellent book co-written by co-numpties Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov. The following year, Gazprom overtook Exxon-Mobil as the world’s most profitable company. His masterwork, “Think Again: Russia” contained more stream-of-consciousness bullshit than you could carry home in an eighteen-wheeler; I think Foreign Policy Magazine became ashamed of the flash flood of drivel in it and deleted it. If you have a hard-copy subscription, you can probably still read it and marvel at the mental grounding of anyone who could argue that political stability is undesirable because it is poorly suited for reform; I quoted from it here, but the electronic link is now dead. He described the voucher scheme introduced under Yeltsin – which resulted in Mikhail Khodorkovsky making the leap from ambitious geek to oligarchical geek virtually overnight – as an acceptable way to create an owner class, and the oligarchs as “engines of capitalist development”. Describing that view as wrongheaded would be an understatement on the order of describing Bill Gates as financially secure. Better wrap the belt from your bathrobe around your jaw before you read “An Assessment of Putin’s Economic Policy“, to stop it from dropping to the floor: penned by Aslund in 2008, it describes Putin as “one of the lucky ones who happened to be in the right place at the right time, as Talleyrand said about Lafayette, but accomplished little that was positive”, and blithely informs the reader that “Lucky” Putin took over the helm in Russia after Boris Yeltsin had already successfully set it on the road to a market democracy. It is for howlers like this that some long-ago Suffolk writer coined the word “flabbergasted”.

Here, from the subject article, are a few glittering examples of Aslund reasoning; (1) cutting Russia’s imports in half is going to worsen Russians’ living standards considerably (now that they presumably cannot afford to vacation in New York or buy milk packaged by Pepsi); (2) Russia, which has greatly increased its holdings in gold by dumping its useless dollars to buy it, suffers from “ever-worsening corruption and a severe liquidity freeze”; (3) Because he is unprepared to act, Putin continues to pretend there is no crisis at all; (4) Putin could withdraw his troops from eastern Ukraine, whereupon the benevolent USA and Europe would lift their crippling economic sanctions, but he won’t do that because he can’t stand losing, and (5) Putin’s failure to use the internet prevents him from grasping the magnitude of the crisis because he does not have access to up-to-date statistics. I have to stop now, because I can’t focus on the screen while I’m shaking my head.

“Likewise, short of initiating a major war, Putin has few options for driving up oil prices. Moreover, even before the oil-price collapse, crony capitalism had brought growth to a halt – and any serious effort to change the system would destabilize his power base.”

Really? I can think of a way, although I won’t pretend I thought it up myself, because it’s already happened – shut off Europe’s gas. Did you forget that one, Anders? All based on a very strange piece in the Daily Mail in which they appear to have copied and pasted part of it, since it reports that Mr. Putin is the Prime Minister – which he was, for a time – but it is dated today and several other details suggest they meant it to be now. No major war. Have energy prices risen? You tell me.

Whether six European countries are without gas tonight and blubbering in terror as they try to marshal their reserves, or it is all a big hoax, some of that famous British humour, it is apparent that the suggestion it could really happen is enough to make energy prices jump, so don’t fool yourself.

“Though accurate and timely statistics on Russia’s economy – needed to guide effective measures to counter the crisis – are readily available to the public online, Putin claims not to use the Internet.”

I can’t think of a more reliable way to inspire commentary by western leaders that Putin had “lost touch with reality” than to learn he was trying to run the country using the Internet as a guide. Because every leader knows the Internet is more reliable than your closest advisers who are, theoretically, experts in their fields. That might be true if you were George W. Bush, surrounded by a sycophantic circle of people who took turns blowing sunshine up your ass because it made you so happy when things were going well regardless how they were really going, but there is no evidence at all that Putin is that kind of leader and ample evidence which suggests he is not. And the United States seems to still be slogging along, despite the description of the Internet by one of its elected representatives as “a series of tubes“.

“His actions suggest that he considers economic data to be far less important than security information – perhaps the natural attitude of a kleptocrat.”

It becomes steadily more evident that Aslund simply loathes Putin so deeply that his desire to rant and call him names seizes complete control of his brain so that he can’t think – his entire mental hard drive is focused on talking smack like a six-year-old. There is absolutely no evidence at all that Putin is so preoccupied with security that he is oblivious to the economic situation. If he were, the deliberate effort to cause a panicky run on the ruble that would collapse it entirely might have succeeded. It is Aslund who is totally oblivious to the fact that Russia’s economic woes are caused largely by a bitter economic war of which it is the sole target and against whom are arrayed the entire forces of the NATO powers, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Aslund is acting as if the price of oil is the only consideration, and that Putin is mismanaging it terribly.

“If Putin wants to save Russia’s economy from disaster, he must shift his priorities. For starters, he must shelve some of the large, long-term infrastructure projects that he has promoted energetically in the last two years. Though the decision in December to abandon the South Stream gas pipeline is a step in the right direction, it is far from adequate.”

There you have it: Putin’s decision to shut down South Stream was a wise one, but not near enough. He must stop all the big projects that he only uses to steal from the Russian people anyway. What do the European Union’s mandarins think of the decision to shut down South Stream? I think it’s safe to say their take on it is all the way across town from Aslund’s.

I’m not sure how much more evidence anyone would need to conclude that Aslund was born an idiot, strove all his life to be an even bigger idiot – largely succeeding – and  will likely be carried in his pine box by six of his most thickwitted contemporaries in a celebration of idiocy that will see the grief-stricken pallbearers pass under an arch of giant crossed dunce-caps, to be laid to final rest under a stone which proclaims, “In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made economists.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2,332 Responses to Once He Was the King of Spain – Now He Vacuums the Turf at Skydome

  1. ThatJ says:

    More mp.net updates:


    Respected Russian human rights activist Elena Vasilieva has announced that 382 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine during the last three days

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/russian-activist-382-russian-soldiers-killed-in-ukraine-during-last-three-days-377786.html

    lol i had to post this 😀 just for lolz


    I am not sure why anyone would be surprised at this

    DONETSK, January 19 (Sputnik) – US-made weapons, as well as hundreds of high-power explosives, were found in the Donetsk airport, previously occupied by Ukrainian military, a senior commander of the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said Monday. “During the investigation of the new terminal, our units found large numbers of American-made weapons. Those are M16-A5 assault rifles, grenades, as well as means of communication,” Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of DPR militia, told journalists.
    According to Basurin, hundreds of high-power explosives were found, “a simultaneous explosion of which would make the whole Donetsk shudder.” The DPR engineering units are currently neutralizing the explosives, Basurin said. Last week, DPR’s Defense Ministry announced that the Kiev-led troops had left the contested territory of the Donetsk airport. Small groups of Ukrainian soldiers were later encountered in the vicinity of the airport, but were allowed to leave to avoid casualties. A spokesperson for Kiev forces denied the information of the withdrawal.
    During last week’s press conference, following the withdrawal, the DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that US-made weapons were found. According to Zakharchenko, an M16 rifle was found in the airport.


    You asked what the writed about in Sweden. Here you have nr 1 Nato-supporter paper, second biggest, Expressen. They can inform you that Russia have entered Ukraine again http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/just-nu-rysk-militar-har-gatt-in-i-ukraina/

    [ThatJ: Expressen is owned by the Bonnier family. The paper is described as “independent liberal” (i.e. anti-Swedish, liberast). It takes a pro-Kiev line, which is a sure sign that the Kiev goons are not nationalists, because if they were the real deal, the Expressen would scream bloody murder in the event of the slightest “human rights” violation. The papers which are aiding the governments (if not outright creating a culture which the government has to operate under) in their policies of dispossession of the native Europeans, and demonizing the resistance to European genocide, are also the most pro-Kiev and anti-Russian. In the case of Sweden, the bastion of liberasty, it is the type of paper which will keep mum about massacres in eastern Ukraine committed by the shabbos goyim (“Ukrainian nationalists”) whilst at the same time accusing Swedes who display their country’s flag on the national day of being racists.]


    Fighting is still fierce, especially around avdeevka and peski. The main question now imho is whether the Ukr forces will mobilize their reserves for a massive push somewhere along the front lines. They’ve been holding back for fear of the DNR doing the same thing, but with these losses and if they manage to lose all of peski and even part of avdeevka they’ll have a pretty serious pr disaster on their hands. (not that they already don’t, but with ongoing fighting at least they can pretend to lie their ass off and say that evidence is scant “because war”).

    ***
    Now updates from elsewhere:


    They were never there: Russia’s silence for families of troops killed in Ukraine

    The Kremlin denies sending troops into the conflict in east Ukraine, but Russian relatives of those who have served and died across the border tell a different story

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/19/russia-official-silence-for-families-troops-killed-in-ukraine?CMP=share_btn_tw

    [ThatJ: A reader’s poem:

    Putin’s Ghost Soldiers:
    As I was defending my county fair,
    I fought a Russian who wasn’t there.
    He wasn’t there again today.
    I wish to God he’d go away.]


    EU Has No Plans to Ease Russia Sanctions

    BRUSSELS—The European Union sought Monday to dispel any suggestion that its united front against Russia was faltering or that members were considering lifting sanctions on Moscow in the near future.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-has-no-plans-for-easing-russia-sanctions-1421653971

    • kirill says:

      Ben Aris is spewing BS. If Russian personal incomes did not fall in 2008-9 with a large GDP and oil price drop (recall that oil crashed in late 2008 to under $40 per barrel), then what is the basis for concluding that in 2015 “for the first time since Putin came to power” (I bet he is talking about 2000 and not 2012) they will fall.

      I know RT wants to be objective by sourcing some western approved pundits. But this is ridiculous. The Deutsche Bank pundit is pushing the 4-5% GDP decline angle. Funny that it is similar to the estimate put out by Moody’s. The same Moody’s that forecasts a 2% GDP drop for Ukraine. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

      To me it is clear that much of the analysis of Russia fixates on the myth that it is a one-commodity (oil) economy.

      Here is some context:

      http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PETR.RT.ZS

      The whole oil sector is 13% of the Russian GDP (at the high oil price levels). A 5% decline due to oil prices would translate into a shrinkage of this sector by 40%. This looks like a simple minded scaling of the whole sector by the crude oil price. In other words, BS. There is value added production in Russia’s oil industry which does not merely scale with the crude oil price much like the price of bread does not scale with the price of wheat. Also, this whole line of amateur thought being peddled by various analysts assumes that there will be zero positive effects in 2014 from import substitution and that Russian exporters will have no boost from the ruble exchange drop. So the 5% GDP drop estimate being thrown around is basically nonsense.

      As for inflation, there needs to be legal sanction against ripoff artists who use rising import prices for Chinese junk to jack up prices on domestic goods that have no reason to change in price. Iran has had to deal with such parasites as well.

      • kirill says:

        I meant 2015.

      • Warren says:

        Thanks for the World Bank data, Western media repeats ad nausea that Russia is a “Petro-State” or to paraphrase John MaCain a “gas station masquerading as a country.”

        Another stat is constantly repeated that oil and gas make up two-thirds of Russia’s exports are hydrocarbons (Oil & Gas). However as oil only constitutes 14% of the Russian GDP, then all this volatility in the prices of oil should not terminal for the Russian economy, despite the dire predictions from Western ill-wishers.

        • marknesop says:

          I wonder, though, what is encapsulated by “oil rents”. Is that everything to do with energy exports, or is that only the profit Russia realizes by leasing blocks for exploration? It’s not really spelled out. Of course energy is not all of Russia’s GDP, that’s just ignorance. But 13% seems quite low. I would have thought it was probably above 35%.

      • davidt says:

        It will be interesting to see whether you are basically right- I hope you are. We might have to wait 3 or so years for a definitive answer. (I must say that I found the Crosstalk program quite unsatisfying- not specific enough for my taste.)
        However, I disagree with your assessment of Ben Aris- I don’t see any consistent evidence that he is hostile to Russia, or Putin for that matter. I took notice the other day that he was concerned that the contract for building the bridge to Crimea has been awarded to a company run by one of Putin’s (judo(?)) friends from St Petersburg. That might turn out to be a good call but I too wonder. For some years now, I have been following the websites of the SK MOST group of companies- you would like their story, especially how they got started. They built the Russky Island bridge, most of the infrastructure at Sochi, and are working on the BAM amongst other things. To an outsider they are a very impressive company and have a big workforce that they need to keep busy. I wonder whether they were interested in the Crimean bridge. (Perhaps they have the contract…)
        A final comment: yesterday I found myself checking who is currently rated the most influential economist on the planet. To my surprise I knew the name: Andrei Shleifer. He is infamous, I would have thought, for his work on Russian privatization. Economics seems to be a funny discipline. We can agree on that.

        • Tim Owen says:

          Ha. Schleifer. Too perfect:

          “Andrei Shleifer managed to get put in charge of helping Russia privatize stuff in the mid 1990’s. His mission was to make things more useful and transparent to the infant capitalist system. Through his wife and friends, Shleifer instead orchestrated a boondoggle on Russia. He invested money through his wife and helped his friend Jonathan Hay and his lover and friends invest theirs, and set up the very first mutual fund as well as thwarting the efforts of other people to set up their own funds. All of these things were strictly against the conflict of interest policy they were working under.”

          More here: http://mathbabe.org/2012/03/11/why-larry-summers-lost-the-presidency-of-harvard/

          A funny discipline? No kidding.

          Actually kind of makes me wonder whether the Harvard crew – properly understood – didn’t actually infect Russia with the American disease. Makes the constant drone about Russian corruption kind of poignant.

        • marknesop says:

          I don’t think what I dislike most about Ben Aris is his Russophobia, although he does seem more happy than gloomy whenever Russia suffers a setback. It’s the conventionality of his thinking, and his smugness. A few years ago, he would have been a defender of shock therapy, and I wonder if he still might be. Russia is making the fiscal moves that are right for self-preservation, and I doubt Ben Aris knows better. But he sure thinks he does. Quite a lot of economists are going to be undergoing a radical directional change in their thinking by the time the dust of this one has settled; although, being economists, they will say they knew it all along, called it exactly right, and the world will let them.

          • davidt says:

            Hate to say it, but I disagree. But first a surprising confession- I’m no economist. In fact for most of my life I got by with an old Soviet joke, hope you haven’t heard it:
            “In capitalism, man exploits man. In socialism, well, it’s the other way about.”
            Sure, Aris is a conventional western economist but this doesn’t say that he is wrong about some critical things- see my earlier reference about the new bridge to Crimea. Let me offer you another opinion, one from Esther Dyson, who is the daughter of Freeman Dyson.
            “In the consumer sector there are a lot of changes dictated by the needs of the market, because decisions here are made by customers who choose the best for themselves at optimal prices.
            But when you go to big business decisions these are made by other principles: like someone’s brother works there, bribes, some other reason. So, in Russia, the consumer market and the internet marketplaces are becoming effective, efficient and transparent. But still, the Russian economy as a whole is old and not very efficient- not very transparent.”
            The full interview is here:
            http://rbth.com/business/2013/01/24/analyst_esther_dyson_talks_on_russias_business_culture_22183.html
            Sorry, I think this is the reality, and that there is no point putting one’s head in the sand especially when Russia is under attack.

            • spartacus says:

              “In the consumer sector there are a lot of changes dictated by the needs of the market, because decisions here are made by customers who choose the best for themselves at optimal prices.”

              I’m afraid I disagree with this. In order for this to work, the economists make some simplifying assumptions, namely that the customers operate in an economic environment of perfect competition and that they make rational and informed decisions. I think this is hardly the case in reality, where you often find cases of monopoly, misinforming of customers through advertising and buying decisions based on a whim. So you see, even at micro level things are not that peachy…

              But I must say, I wholeheartedly agree with her advice about investing in space technology. Sooner or later we will realize that we have outgrown our planet and that we need to find additional living space for our expanded population. Plus, it is very likely that the technological advances, that will have to be made in order to meet the demands of long distance space travel, will also improve our daily lives and help preserve our own battered old planet. That could mean, let’s say, things like alternative means of generating power, propulsion systems, space farming, life support systems and so on…

              PS. Re. microeconomics, I can’t refrain myself from inserting a link to a paper written by a Marxist economist on the subject. It helped me clear up some issues I had at that time about deriving demand/supply curves without using marginal utility, consumer behavior and such. If you take the time go through it, you will find a different approach from the one presented in marginal utility based mainstream economics.

              http://www.anwarshaikhecon.org/sortable/images/docs/publications/macroeconomic_theory/2012/NSSR_WP_062012.pdf

              • davidt says:

                As I say, I am not an economist and I agree with your criticism, but, in this context, only up to a point. (I’m too old to read and to understand your rather long reference properly.) Basically, Dyson seems to be implying that the consumer market in Russia is working pretty well, and is comparable with that in the West. She is claiming that the problem is elsewhere. This seems to be what economists, such as Aris, are concerned about, as are quite serious “political scientists” who are “observing” Russian society. One might be more inclined to dismiss these concerns if growth in the Russian economy had been stronger in recent years.
                Her interest in space technology might come from her father. Have you read anything by Freeman Dyson? He is a bit of a hero of mine.

                • spartacus says:

                  “Basically, Dyson seems to be implying that the consumer market in Russia is working pretty well, and is comparable with that in the West. She is claiming that the problem is elsewhere.”

                  I think the underlying message that she wants to get across is that the consumer market has done so well because it was based on a business model rooted in mainstream economic theory. The paragraph I disagreed with comes straight from mainstream economy manuals. On the other hand, the large enterprises, and because she mentions corruption and nepotism I think she is referring to state owned enterprises, follow a different model that, in her view, has to change. The government should stop investing directly in companies, she claims, because it needs to become a better customer, to go for, let’s call it, buying solutions. I disagree with that too. In my view, if you as a government need something done and you have the financial and technical abilities needed for the task, you better do it yourself. When you go for buying solutions (US style) you may end up with a bigger bill because the private company that provides that solution is interested in maximizing its profits. Doing a good job comes second. I think the F35 project is a good evidence of that. The funny thing is, from what I know at least, that the state owned, old and inefficient Russian space industry is ahead of its American private and dynamic counterpart, e.g. SpaceX. I may be wrong, but I think that, basically, her message is the same old story that if you minimize direct state involvement in the economy, “the invisible hand” will take care of everything.

                  Other than that she just gives some general advice about raising productivity, transparency and the skill level of the employees, advice that can be true in any situation, regardless of the specific context

                  “I’m too old to read and to understand your rather long reference properly.”

                  I can’t say anything about the age part but I think that, after reading your contributions to this blog, the rest of that statement is not true 🙂 I’m not an economist either, I just study economy as a hobby.

                  PS. No, I didn’t read anything written by Freeman Dyson. Somehow, I was never exposed to his works 🙂 Big fan of space exploration, though…

                • davidt says:

                  Fair enough. There’s truth in everything that you say, but I will make the simple observation that when I travel around my own country, Australia, I am frequently amazed by the number of small to medium sized enterprises that I see. It beggars belief that any government run conglomeration could compete. As far as Esther D is concerned I believe she is not as doctrinaire about “free markets” as she once was. Pity we are not able to talk directly.

                • spartacus says:

                  “Pity we are not able to talk directly.”

                  I am also a fan of the verbal debate. Somehow, the written variant just doesn’t feel the same 🙂

                • Jen says:

                  ” … when I travel around my own country, Australia, I am frequently amazed by the number of small to medium sized enterprises that I see …”

                  Small businesses in Australia get a lot of government help and advice at both Federal and State levels. There may be even more small businesses in Australia than Davidt realises because a lot now are online businesses. A cousin of mine has an online business selling fashion flip-flops from parts she imports from China. (I personally can’t see that succeeding long-term and the first lot of items she imported apparently was junk and stank to high heaven but she’s really keen on the business so we’ll see.)
                  http://www.australia.gov.au/topics/business-and-industry/abn-acn-business-management/small-business

                  Up to a certain level of scale, businesses dealing directly with customers operate on principles based on local experience and knowledge. Past a certain level where businesses become less localised and more generalised over large areas, developing franchise networks, and require more than two levels of management and administration (so they become bureaucratised) to operate, then we are starting to talk about competing models of management and this is an area that has become politicised. Issues of ownership or the private-versus-public divide have as much relevance as the traditional left-versus-right divide as frequently when public organisations become partly or wholly privatised, the same managers and administrators are left in place.

                  I suspect also that when we start talking about business management practice in the US vis-a-vis Russia, we ignore a whole history of US management practice stretching right back to Henry Ford and his use of assembly-line methods of car production, to Frederick Taylor’s scientific management theories, phenomena like the Hawthorn experiments, and the use of psychology, esp Freudian psychology, in business management, how culturally specific all this actually was to the US, and no-one realising that much US business and management practice cannot be transplanted to other countries easily without importing the whole value system and culture behind it as well.

                • davidt says:

                  To Jen, interesting- you obviously know much more than I do.

            • marknesop says:

              I’m not an economist, either, and feel free to disagree with me on anything – my nose will not go out of joint, and everyone is entitled to their opinion to the extent they can defend it. I realize Russia has problems, and of course the situation, business and market-wise, is far from perfect. I am arguing that the last thing Russia needs to do to fix it is to allow an influx of western robber-barons and adopt western robber-baron business ethics. That approach is always sold as “competition is good for the consumer, as he gets the lowest price”, and so it is until one company or the other gets the upper hand, crushes the competition and establishes a monopoly. Then it is worse than state control, which can at least impose price controls if there us too much complaining.

              As to the bribery and graft, I can’t speak to that, as I never saw it. No vehicle I was riding in (I never drove in Russia) was ever stopped by a traffic policeman demanding a bribe for driving on his road. I did very limited small-scale business, and was never asked for a bribe or gratuity. I ate out a lot in Russia, and never saw any of the purported rudeness of the neo-Soviet wait staff. There was a little bit of jiggery-pokery involved with our marriage because legally there is a 30-day waiting period after application, which would have forced me to overstay my visa; therefore, we had to move things along a bit. Some kind people helped us, and we paid in bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolates, which I understood to be expressions of gratitude which would not be untoward anywhere in the world.

              • davidt says:

                From our 2 or 3 weeks in Russia we too see it as a “normal” country, and I think that I mentioned elsewhere that the hotel staff in St Petersburg gave my wife a platter of fruit on her birthday. For our part we did our best to reciprocate the kindness that we met along the way. And the country certainly doesn’t need an influx of robber barons- as Sergey Karaganov said, Russia has fought so hard to defend its sovereignty that it must not give it up now. But from what I have read, and I don’t read Russian, the problems are more or less as Dyson describes them.

      • davidt says:

        Since theirs is a feel good story, here is the SK MOST main website:
        http://en.skmost.ru/
        Click on the “About us” link for how they started.

    • marknesop says:

      Sounded to me like the guy from Deutsche Bank is talking austerity. Dream on. Let western countries ruin themselves saving tinfoil like it was wartime and congratulating themselves on their frugality, while the rich are partying and clinking their champagne glasses.

  2. ThatJ says:

    More mp.net updates:


    #NAF began storming #Ukrainian anti aircraft base A-1428, which is located between #Opytnoe and #Avdeevka. #ATO


    What was different in this case is that Moscow must have given the all-clear to go at it. We had months of low-intensity fighting with the seps going a long way to keep the Ukr side in the game (allowing rotations and all that). Suddenly the rotations stopped and it took less than a week of intense assault to get possession over the new terminal. Same thing for all the other stuff along the front lines, especially Mauriupol. If Moscow has given the go-ahead that means this offensive might still go on for a while.


    Yatsyniuk “Soviets invaded Nazi Germany” just stated that Poland will give 100 mln euro to Ukraine.
    Despicable action by the government if true.


    Al_Khdir @mulcairejack 14 minutes ago
    From what I’m seeing there’s a strong possibility DNR forces are beginning offensive ops to cross Kalmius River north of #Mariupol #Ukraine

    Al_Khdir @mulcairejack 9 minutes ago
    Reports of DNR attacks towards #Mariupol could also just mean a diversion to draw Ukrainian forces away from #Donetsk


    [User Comment] For what is worth, Kiev is claiming that two “tactical strike groups” from Russia have entered Donbass each counting around 350 soldiers, together 700.

    [Another User Reply] could be true, could be not, but it have some logic… on 16 Jan Putin had Security Council meeting on Ukraine and low oil prices.
    http://state.kremlin.ru/security_council/47483


    Seps confirmed that Gubarev has been kidnapped
    http://www.interfax.ru/world/418730


    In case anyone’s interested, John Helmer has posted an interesting analysis of Ukraine’s (hot) new “government advisor on foreign investment”, Jaanika Merilo. He goes into her ethnic background, education, backers and associates, and also describes some of her plans for Ukraine, e.g.,

    Merilo’s pitch has been to employ Ukrainians for the IT sector, with a target of producing 100,000 computer operators and programmers by the year 2020, generating a target $20 billion in revenues. According to the BrainBasket website, “Ukraine has an opportunity to use the IT Industry as a locomotive to drive growth and become the IT powerhouse of Europe, or you could call it the BrainBasket of Europe”. The political idea is: “Grow the Middle Class. The vast majority of these revenues will be paid out to the employees, who would then drive growth in Ukraine when spending their income.”

    http://johnhelmer.net/?p=12522

  3. peter says:

    • Warren says:

      Michael Hudson — Rating Junk Economics_on Economic Collapse Teach-in
      This show was broadcast on May 21, 2011.
      It is now archived here – Use Player

      Rating Junk Economics: Professor Hudson joins us for a discussion on property bubbles and how they undermine economic policy. Money never sleeps. China, the EU and the neoliberal punching bag get a work over. Pop the Housing Party – May 10th. Visit his website here. From A Renegade Economists Presentation.

      http://noliesradio.org/archives/33900

    • ..james says:

      good for the rcb.. when were these phony rating corps ever out front? not with ltcm and not in 2008. anyone whopays much attention to them may as well go back to sleep..

      • Tim Owen says:

        If only this trend could continue for another 20 years we might see the Koch brothers persecuted as oligarchs and Russian “soft power” human rights assets defending them as victims of political prosecution. But that would require a few more trips round the dial.

        Interesting fact: the original Koch fortune was amassed providing oil production services to the Soviets. Must be very embarrassing at the country club.

  4. ThatJ says:

    Germany’s Bundesbank Resumes Gold Repatriation; Transfers 120 Tonnes Of Physical Gold From Paris And NY Fed

    Three weeks ago, when looking at the latest NY Fed data of foreign gold held at the largest central bank gold vault in the world, we showed that in the month of November not only was a near record amount of gold withdrawn from the NY Fed, which at 42 tons was the single biggest monthly outflow at the NY Fed in over a decade…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-19/bundesbank-resumes-gold-repatriation-transfers-120-tonnes-physical-gold-paris-and-ny

    Christine Lagarde Calls For World To Embrace “New Multilateralism” Order In 2015

    As 2015 begins, policymakers around the world are faced with three fundamental choices: to strive for economic growth or accept stagnation; to work to improve stability or risk succumbing to fragility; and to cooperate or go it alone. The stakes could not be higher; 2015 promises to be a make-or-break year for the global community. The new networks of influence should be embraced and given space in the twenty-first century architecture of global governance. This is what I have called the “new multilateralism.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-19/christine-lagarde-calls-world-embrace-new-multilateralism-order-2015

    Yemeni Government Admits It Has Lost Control Of Nation Amid “Attempted Coup”

    In what Yemen’s information minister described as an “attempted coup” Shia Houthi rebels (backed by Hizbollah and Iran) have surrounded the Yemeni Presidential Palace putting them, as The Telegraph reports, in direct confrontation with al-Qaeda and the Yemen government. Amid hopes of a compromise deal or cease-fire in the conflict that has been under way since September when the Houthis swept into Sana’a, the latest reports are the nation has gone from bad to worse…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-19/yemeni-government-admits-it-has-lost-control-nation-amid-attempted-coup

    The End Of The World Of Finance As We Know It

    The world of investing as we’ve come to know it is over. Financial markets have been distorted to such an extent by the activities, the interventions, of central banks – and governments -, that they can no longer function, period. The difference between the past 6 years and today is that central banks can and will no longer prop up the illusionary world of finance. And that will cause an earthquake, a tsunami and a meteorite hit all in one. If oil can go down the way it has, and copper too, and iron ore, then so can stocks, and your pensions, and everything else.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-19/end-world-finance-we-know-it

    27 Facts That Show How The Middle Class Has Fared Under 6 Years Of Barack Obama

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/fp_thumb/images/user3303/imageroot/20150119_mid.jpg

    During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, Barack Obama is going to promise to make life better for middle class families. Of course he has also promised to do this during all of his other State of the Union addresses, but apparently he still believes that there are people out there that are buying what he is selling. Each January, he gets up there and tells us how the economy is “turning around” and to believe that much brighter days are right around the corner. And yet things just continue to get even worse for the middle class.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-19/27-facts-show-how-middle-class-has-fared-under-6-years-barack-obama

  5. peter says:

  6. yalensis says:

    Op-ed by Efraim Zuroff on Poland’s hypocritical refusal to invite Putin to the Auschwitz comemmoration.

    • kirill says:

      Poland and the west are trying to rewrite history. The fact that Russian POWs built Auschwitz and were first to die in it as well as the eventual liberation by Soviet forces will be expunged from their new history. It will be brave Poles who will be there suffering with the Jews and being victimized by the evil Soviets, allied with the Nazis. Ukraine’s junta is already pushing the narrative that the USSR invaded Germany and Ukraine during WWII.

      • ThatJ says:

        http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres9/TalesV2.pdf

        I know that the official narrative is deep-rooted by now, but I support Putin not attending the comemmoration (see the satirical gas chamber comic book above), even if it was Poland that decided against his attendance. The “Auschwitz Mace” is used both as a weapon against Europeans and as a weapon against critics of Zionism. If you dare to notice that Western European countries are being overrun with millions of unwanted non-continental aliens, a policy that the unconquered natives never supported (treason) and whose consequence is the slow genocide of the population* accompanied by the erosion of their self-rule, it’s argued by the usual suspects, either Zionists or “liberals” (Trotskyites) that being against such development can lead to another Auschwitz (or Holocaust), so in order to avoid this most certain tragedy, the people of Europe have no choice other than accept that their subspecies or race or ethnic group, whatever you call them**, will belong to the annals of history. And the Holocaust industry is ever ready to pump guilt into the minds of the naïve goyim as soon as Israel commits an atrocity.

        * Genocide does not necessarily require mass murder, and this recognition — also supported by the UN — is important for the definition of what constitutes a genocide. Policies and laws that have the deliberate effect of bringing about the demise of a racial or ethnic group is enough to earn the classification of genocide, for the end result for the targeted people is equally catastrophic.

        ** We humans — or Homo sapiens — are, after all, not different from other mammal species. Different subspecies evolve due to sexual selection, diverging environmental pressure, mutations and geographic separation. Guess what’s the first step toward becoming a new species?

        • yalensis says:

          Dear ThatJ: I am afraid I must strongly disagree with you about that hilarious gas chamber comic book….
          [insert debating points #1, 2, 3, 4 and 5]

          In conclusion:
          Obviously Putin read that comic, and while he was chuckling over it (the “Alice in Lampshade Land” bit was especially funny), he decided not to go to Auschwitz, because doing so would just put mark him as a shabbos goyim in the eyes of the world.
          Besides, Putin is aware that the “Holocaust” thing is just a hoax, and that people shouldn’t mingle racially, because that only leads to the REAL genocide. Which is of the Aryan race, who are being squeezed out of their home turf at every opportunity.

    • Tim Owen says:

      That lede sure is buried. Deep.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Tim:
        I assume you are alluding to Zuroff’s lukewarm and mealy-mouthed “defense” of Russia’s right to be at Auschwitz ceremony?

        Yeah, I noticed that too. I wanted to blast him (Zuroff), but feel too constrained, having ThatJ’s comments so contiguous. Might give the wrong impression!

        That’s the worst thing about having somebody like ThatJ around. He gives (to paraphrase Wagner very badly) ” a bad name to all respectable anti-Semites” – LOL!

  7. ThatJ says:

    [a single mp.net update]

    http://112.ua/politika/poteri-sil-ato-v-boyah-za-dap-sostavlyayut-v-50-raz-menshe-chem-poteri-boevikov-biryukov-176057.html

    Birukov claims separatists losses in the airport exceed those of UA 50:1. Considering Ukraine reports 100 wounded in the last 3 days, that means separatists had 5,000 wounded. Sounds very reasonable.

    This, from a guy who as a founder of a volunteer organization that supplies UA with necessities, used to complain about Ukraine lying about their own losses and reporting fake victories… Before Poroshenko appointed him as his personal advisor. 😀

    First It Refused To Bail Out Its Insolvent Banks; Now Iceland Set To Officially Withdraw European Union Application

    Iceland may be a small country, but when it comes to dealing with big problems it is truly the modern equivalent of David in the battle against the status quo Goliath. First, it was Iceland, and only Iceland, refusing to bail out its banks, when every other western nation was being held hostage by those who stood to lose the most from a financial collapse, and even going so far as throwing some of its banking executives in prison. And now, as MBL reports, Iceland’s con­ser­v­a­tive In­de­pen­dence Party will sup­port a res­o­lu­tion in par­lia­ment to for­mally with­draw Ice­land’s ap­pli­ca­tion to join the Eu­ro­pean Union.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-18/first-it-refused-bail-out-its-insolvent-banks-now-iceland-set-officially-withdraw-eu

    Lithuanian politician Rolandas Paulauskas: To understand the Ukraine. *BANNED IN LITHUANIA*

    Politician and Signatory of the Act of Independence of Lithuania Rolandas Paulauskas – one of the brightest minds in Lithuania – explains the situation in the Ukraine to the very root of the ongoing conflict.

    • marknesop says:

      But…but…I thought the European Union was expanding, growing, going great guns and more prosperous and powerful than ever! That’s what it thought, too, around the time its leaders were all high-fiving each other over their boldness at having snatched Ukraine from Putin. Now they’re making it look like a race to the bottom, with Ukraine far, far in the lead. I have to say, this one doesn’t seem to be working out for you guys. Still think you can keep oil low for two years?

  8. cartman says:

    They had to dig up this story that is several years old:

    Jim Rogers claims Russian ‘consultant’ tried to extort him

    A Russian plot, because”Rogers alleges that Laura Alexis, “a self-professed ‘media consultant’ of Russian descent”

    I’ll probably laugh when peter gets thrown into the internment camps like the Japanese, but not at any of the rest of you.

  9. peter says:

    • Paul says:

      Peter,

      The IMF is Washington, so it should be taken with a lot of salt. And they add all the financial shenanigans to the GDP that they should subtract. It is entirely reasonable that the Russian economy will contract, though.

      Is Saudi Arabia really going to grow in 2015? Really?

  10. peter says:

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    ЦБ: внешний долг России по итогам 2014 года снизился на 18%

    Central Bank: By the close of 2014, Russian foreign debt had fallen by 18%
    20.01.2015, 10:54

    According to Central Bank preliminary estimates, by the end of 2014 Russian foreign debt had decreased by 18% and amounted to $599.5 billion on January 1, 2015. This was reported in the regulator’s statistics.

    On 1 January last year, the size of the external debt was estimated at $ 728.86 billion

    Earlier, the head of the Russian government Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia has the necessary reserves for guaranteeing timely payment of foreign debts.

    Note: the “billion” figures here are American “billions”, namely thousands of millions. The Russian original uses the term “milliard”.

    I still think of “one billion” as being 1,000,000,000,000 and “one trillion” meaning 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.

    I must be too old for this world.

    • yalensis says:

      The way I remember it is:
      One million (in either language) is a 1 followed by 6 zeroes: 1 000 000
      Add 3 more zeroes and get you billion (English) or a milliard (Russian): 1 000 000 000
      Add 3 more zeroes, and I think everything calls that a trillion.

      In computer terms, with the closest equivalents to above decimal numbers: you have a megabyte (1,048,576 bytes), then a gigabyte (1,073,741,824 bytes), then a terabyte (2 the power of 40 bytes).

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The “bi-” means “twice over”, hence “billion” means/meant “a million twofold”, hence 1,000,000,000,000 and a “tri-” means “threefold”, hence “one trillion” means/meant 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.

        The “mil-” in “milliard” is from the Latin for “one thousand”, as indicated in the year of my birth: MCMXLIX, hence “milliard” means “one thousand million”, namely 1,000,000,000.

        I rest my case.

        🙂

      • astabada says:

        I believe that 1 billion = 1,000,000,000 is the American definition, which has been imported back in the UK fairly recently (hence ME complains 😉 ).

        Despite what most people believe, it appears that UK and USA English are converging, due to the influence of American culture (mostly movies and television, recently the Internetz).

        [Citations needed]

        • astabada says:

          By the way, I always loved this quote from Shaw, which is relevant in this case:

          England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Yep, when I left England, a “guy” was something that you burnt on Bonfire Night or the name of a rope whose purpose was to support a pole, as in “tent pole” and not “Brzezinski”, or, with a capital “G”, the name of a man: now it seems everyone is called “Guy” in England – at least it seems Guardianistas are – and there are no more “chaps”, “fellows”, “blokes” or “lads” etc. left!

          😦

    • peter says:

      … by the end of 2014 Russian foreign debt had decreased by 18%…

      That’s not a lot considering that a considerable part of this debt (about a quarter as of end of 2013) is in national currency. I will explain.

      Suppose you owe me $75 plus 750 rubles, and the exchange rate is 30. The total is 75+(750/30)=100 dollars.

      Now, you do nothing, while the ruble falls to 60. Your new debt total is 75+(750/60)=87.50 dollars, that is, it decreased by 12.5% without any effort on your part. Money for nothing!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        So by how much did the ruble depreciate in 2013 so as to ensure a certain amount of “money for nothing” at the end of that year?

        http://www.tradingeconomics.com/russia/currency

        According to the above linked data it looks like there was a depreciation in value of about 1 or 2 rubles between 1 January 2013 and 1 January 2014

        • peter says:

          I am afraid you may have misunderstood me, let us try again.

          December 2013. You owe me 75 dollars plus 750 rubles, and the exchange rate is 30. The total is 75+(750/30)=100 dollars.

          Fast forward to December 2014. Крым наш, you still owe me the same 75 dollars plus 750 rubles, but the exchange rate has doubled to 60. Thus, the new total is 75+(750/60)=87.50 dollars. That is, by the end of 2014 your debt has decreased by 12.5% without any effort on your part. Money for nothing and Крым for free!

          • Max says:

            So what’s the big deal? Russia has everything it needs in country. It’s not Honduras. What difference does it make if rubles are worthless in the West? Russian armaments are in high demand in the rest of the world. They can be swapped for food or? IIRC, that’s already happening. Oil/gas won’t be a problem, whatever the price. Lots of gold… Russian scientists are brilliant. Russians are great improvisers. They’re becoming good friends with the wealthiest country on Earth (Well, they better be).

            I’m trying connect the dots from here to the collapse that’s suppose to be inevitable; can’t do it.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              This is what I’ve been thinking for a while now.

              The big money-market picture is not the same as that viewed from street level.

              The other day I picked up my wages. According to the depreciation in ruble/$ exchange rate, what I picked up was only worth half what I earned a couple of months back.

              So the 24 thousand rubles that I withdrew yesterday from an ATS was only worth approx. £240 as opposed to the £480 that I should have got if I had, for some reason or other, wanted to exchange it a couple of months ago.

              And on my way home I called into my local supermarket and bought a litre of milk, for which, Navalny’s protesting to the contrary notwithstanding, cost me much the same as it had cost last summer, namely 47 rubles.

              Of course, that milk that I bought was not imported. But the ground coffee that I also bought, Tchibo from Hamburg and vacuum-packed in Poland, cost 189 rubles. Again, not that much more expensive than I have paid previously.

              And I drink kvas, made from rye grown in Russia and fermented at the Ochakovo plant here in Moscow, and not that Coca-Cola rot-gut.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                And I’ve just scoffed some stew that my Russian wife has prepared: very tender and tasty beef.

                She told me it cost her 500 rubles a kilo.

                A long while ago, a girl whom I knew and who worked for Maersk logistics assured me that all the beef in Moscow is imported from Brazil.

                I’ve only been kidding recently about fish-heads now being part of our family fare – honest! In fact, the other day we finished off a whole keta, like this rascal illustrated below:

                It’s a Pacific salmon; it’s called “chum” I believe.

                Mrs. Exile paid 300 rubles a kilo for it. Although it was frozen, it was very tasty.

                Fresh keta – how “fresh” can it be when it’s come here from the Far East? – costs about 800 rubles a kilo.

                • Jen says:

                  I presume that if as soon as it’s caught the salmon can be whacked into ice and packed into portable fridges or eskis which are then shoved into a plane, the plane should arrive in Moscow in a few hours and the fish out in the shops within 24 hours. Don’t forget the Far East is several hours ahead as well so the fish can be in the shops within “24 hours”. Plus if you buy from the supermarket, the supermarket may already have a standing order to buy X amount of salmon and be treated as a preferential customer for the salmon by suppliers so that cuts out middlemen and cuts down the time needed to get the fish from A to B.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Oh it’s “fresh” alright! I’ve eaten it many a time unfrozen. We buy it at a big Ashan (French firm Auchan) megamarket near here, where the fresh fish is on ice.

                  Voila!

              • kirill says:

                My theory is that Coca and Pepsi Cola are ripoffs of Kvas. A brown, fizzy (CO2 with some carbonic acid bite) and sweet liquid. Why would anyone drink something like that?

            • spartacus says:

              In my opinion, the exchange rate between your domestic currency and the reference international currency, whatever that may be, can hurt you only if your economy is reliant on imports. This was one of the keys to the downfall of some socialist countries, including my own, because they were not able to insulate themselves from the capitalist world economy and that made them susceptible to currency attacks that crippled their ability to get whatever they could not manufacture for themselves (because of lack of material resources, technical ability or whatever). From this point of view, Russia was in a very favourable position to build socialism because it could develop a technically advanced economy using only domestic resources. Other not so fortunate countries that wanted to take the socialist path could only hope, at best, to achieve a sort of hybrid economy, because they would have to develop and maintain a profitable capitalist sector in order to produce goods for export. Those exports would in turn bring the much needed “hard” currency that was used to import whatever they could not provide for themselves.

              I can only speculate what the Soviet planners would have been capable to achieve, if they would have had access to this sort of technology:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Cybersyn

              • davidt says:

                Ah, Spartacus, now you are getting outside my comfort zone. Much as I might have some latent sympathy for “socialism” I am pleased that you can only speculate what Soviet planners would have achieved with a gee-whiz computer program. I don’t have many doubts that we need some serious (quite possible Marxist) critiques of the current US dominated capitalist system, but I suspect that you are heading off in the wrong direction. Can you really imagine a situation where it’s not in the interests of the Russian population that Russia imports from the West? Can you imagine a scenario where Russians don’t want to travel to the rest of the world? Best, D

                • Tim Owen says:

                  Paging Spartacus.

                  Totally confused about what’s getting posted where so just gonna slap this here in the hope it finds its addressee.

                  Saw you were talking about demand curves earlier. Was listening to this in the car today and thought it might be of use:

                  … mostly because he is talking about how primitive the modelling is that makes demand curves seem relevant.

                  Hope I saved you some homework hours.

                • Tim Owen says:

                  Butting in cuz I can’t figure out what convo the above response belongs, but thought this might be of interest:

                  I think it’s relevant because Hudson is putting forward an interpretation of history that both busts through some fairly weak historical constructs – capitalism / communism, etc. – to more robust finance ideas that transcend these.

                  Squinting hard you might be tempted to categorize our system as Sumerian (public credit) or Roman (oligarchic.)

                  Makes sense to me.

                • Tim Owen says:

                  Whoops. Sorry. Wrong video directly above. I meant this:

                • spartacus says:

                  “Can you really imagine a situation where it’s not in the interests of the Russian population that Russia imports from the West? Can you imagine a scenario where Russians don’t want to travel to the rest of the world?”

                  No, not at all. I just wanted to stress that any country willing to take the socialist path will be, sooner or later, subjected to economic warfare by the capitalist bloc headed by the US empire and its satellites. In this scenario, it is very likely that the socialist country will have to endure, among other things, vicious attacks on its currency. If you want to prevent that, you might want to insulate your key industries from that attack by relying on imports as little as possible. That was the direction I was aiming for. As for travelling, I think Russians, like any other people, should travel as much as they want and be able to enjoy the wonderful diversity of our planet. Hope you find this reply satisfactory 🙂

                • marknesop says:

                  I did not reply as the question was not addressed to me, but I will do so now that you have answered. I can indeed imagine a situation in which it’s not in the interests of the Russian population that Russia imports from the West, and that situation is the one that currently prevails – whereby the west which wants to sell its goods to Russia has initiated an economic war against Russia in an effort to destroy the value of its currency, and whereby if the Russian people continued to buy western goods with their depreciated currency they would go broke or incur significant debt despite the availability of alternative goods which are cheaper. It is in the best interests of the Russian people from here on out that the state have significant oversight of what is imported from the west, and that competent authorities constantly reassess Russia’s vulnerability to a future attempt at economic warfare, with a view to minimizing its vulnerability through controlling its exposure to western goods. No western company should ever again be allowed to develop a monopoly the way, for example, Visa and MasterCard did in the credit-card market. Because it is evident that more than profit and trade are involved, and that western government carefully studies its trade with Russia from the perspective of how it can be used as tools to force its will. All trade with the west, accordingly, should be viewed as such. It is a foolish leader who supplies an enemy with the sinews of his own nation’s destruction.

                  Russians should visit wherever they can afford to go, and are welcomed. Those who prefer it elsewhere should stay there, if they can afford to.

                • spartacus says:

                  “Because it is evident that more than profit and trade are involved, and that western….”

                  Precisely. Often the US uses American companies that do business in foreign country as tools to destabilise it. If push comes to shove the American companies, although private entities, will do as the government tells them to do. It’s really wonderful how businessmen and government can work so well together and how private companies often function as branches of the US government. The owners of those businesses know very well that if the US government gets its planned regime change, the new friendly leaders will make it easy for them to take over that country’s market and resources.

                  The method that the US is trying to use now on Russia it was tried and tested before on various socialist countries where it sought to implement regime changes. Chile comes to mind immediately. Many people forget that the economic hardships endured in some of the countries that wanted to take the socialist path were due to being subjected to long periods of economic warfare – sanctions, cutting off financing sources, banning of exports and so on.

                • et Al says:

                  The British East India Company and other analogues (like the Dutch East India Company). It’s a very old gig.

                • spartacus says:

                  After reading Mark’s reply, I realised that I need to make a correction. The “no, not at all” answer that I gave to davidt was meant for his second question, namely: “Can you imagine a scenario where Russians don’t want to travel to the rest of the world?”. Re. the first question – “Can you really imagine a situation where it’s not in the interests of the Russian population that Russia imports from the West?” I share Mark’s opinion on this, as I tried to make clear by using as example the treatment that the capitalist bloc gave to countries that it wanted to wreck. My bad.

              • spartacus says:

                @ Tim Owen: can’t watch the video at work. I’ll take a look when I get home.

            • davidt says:

              We can probably all agree that a collapse is unlikely. On the other hand, Russia cannot allow itself to be isolated- its economy would be bound to go backwards relative to its main “competitors” if this were to happen. This is why Obama is trumpeting that it is happening and the Russians say he is dreaming (and are determined that it won’t happen). Russia might have brilliant scientists but there are only 146 million Russians and nearly 7 billion non-Russians and there are brilliant people everywhere. Just one example, think what happened to China because it was isolated from the rest of the world. Russia should be aiming to have the highest living standards on the planet, whatever that means. This seems to be a perfectly reasonable aim.

          • spartacus says:

            “Money for nothing and Крым for free!”

            Yes, but I don’t think the situation is that rosy for our hypothetical debtor. In the first case, assuming he gets paid in rubles, he must allocate for debt repayment a sum of 3000 rubles (75*30+750). In the second case, in December 2014, in order to make the repayment, he must cough up 5250 rubles (75*60+750). So, from his point of view, he is still worse off than the lender because the part of the debt denominated in dollars is much higher than the part denominated in rubles. If you look at it in terms of percentages, the lender incurs a loss of 12.5 % (12.5 dollars), while the debtor incurs a loss of 75% (he has to pay an additional amount of 2250 rubles over the 3000 rubles he initially owed). That is why is not a good idea to take up credit in a currency different than the one you get your wages in. Unless you know for sure that the one you get your wages in is going to rise and stay that way until you repay the whole debt :).

            My 2 cents worth…

            • peter says:

              Thanks, Captain Obvious.

              Мы провели специальные расчеты на основе отчетных данных, которые получаем от банков, и опроса 40 крупнейших компаний. По нашим оценкам, базирующимся на этих данных, более 10% этих платежей приходится на внутригрупповые операции. Еще одна часть – порядка 20% – может быть рефинансирована на международных рынках. Не менее 15% может быть погашено за счет частичного использования буфера из накопленных банками и госкомпаниями ликвидных валютных активов. Оставшиеся 55% подлежащих погашению долгов, а это порядка 65 млрд. долл., могут быть покрыты за счет сальдо текущего счета и сокращения международных резервов.

      • marknesop says:

        They should work toward the ruble being absolutely worthless – then their debt would be zero! Who says doing nothing is not a plan??

    • marknesop says:

      This is perfectly in line with an article at Russia Insider – I don’t have time to link it now – which states that what is going to be shouted about as usual as “massive capital outflows in 2014” were largely debt repayments. Since Russia is denied access to borrowing, it must pay what it owes, and indeed this is exactly what is happening.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yet all the comments bar one that I have read that appear below the above clip call into question the Evil One’s argument, stating that he is an idiot, stupid, moronic, “gay” (he appears quite serious to me); suggest that he’s drunk, and that he’s talking shit – the last in accusation being in Russian.

        The sole positive comment states that the Tyrant is only describing what the Wall St. money markets do, namely deal in currency as though it were a commodity, which is not what one of the naysayers thinks insofar as the ruble is concerned: in his opinion rubles are pieces of toilet paper.

        Well, he would think that, wouldn’t he?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The Myth of a Chinese Takeover in Siberia.

      Chinese takaways in Manchester aren’t mythical though!

      Chinese New Year, Chinatown, Manchester, England

    • Warren says:

      On a serious note, Mearsheimer’s comments re-Russia and China are very interesting.
      At the moment Russia and China are cooperating with each other at the UN, SCO and signing huge trade deals. With some saying that Russia has made its own pivot to Asia, and forsaken Europe.

      US geopolitical commentators take every opportunity to stoke and highlight suspicion and tension between Russia and China. Every right wing/conservative commentator is peddling the Yellow Peril threat to Russia, that China will inevitably conquer Far East, Siberia, etc.

      Why China Will Reclaim Siberia
      http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/07/03/where-do-borders-need-to-be-redrawn/why-china-will-reclaim-siberia

      China Looms Over Russian Far East
      http://thediplomat.com/2011/06/china-looms-over-russia-far-east/

      The US understandably wants to push its two major geopolitical rivals to fight each other.
      However, what I found particularly interesting is that Mearsheimer predicts or should I say speculates in the future that Russia may join a US, Japan, India alliance to contain China. However, Mearsheimer cannot think of a situation and scenario in which that could happen. For me the only situation or scenario that can happen – is if Russian “liberals/Westernisers” especially the ones obsessed with mimicking the US – seize or gain power in Russia. Navalny is a known racist towards people from the Caucasus and Central Asia, I strongly suspect he has similar views with regards the Chinese. Not that I think someone like Navalny will ever achieve anything of consequence in politics, but the Russian “liberal” class both in power and in the opposition I strongly suspect would not hesitate to form an anti-Chinese alliance with the US if they were in power. How the Russian “liberals” will deal with Japanese demands for the Kuril Islands and eventually demands for Sakhalin I don’t know.

      • ThatJ says:

        I think the US would still be an enemy of Russia, even with Navalny in power. After all, Navalny would be a temporary figure. The breakup of Russia is an American goal, regardless of who’s in power. What if another Putin were to become leader again? A weaker, smaller Russia would be preferable at this hypothetical future. The US is quite prone to acting with duplicity with its “friends”.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          An acquaintance of mine from Central Bank told me this morning that many of her colleagues, herself included, think that Navalny is an FSB provocateur.

          Well somebody certainly seems to be protecting him.

          • ThatJ says:

            I have proposed this theory before, though I avoided the mention of “FSB” and “agent”.

            Quoting an old comment:

            Navalny may be a quisling (though we never know how he would act once in power, see Yeltsin-appointed Putin, for example), but years ago, well before the Ukrainian crisis began, he did state his view that Ukraine and Russia are “one nation”:

            Early in 2012 Navalny stated on Ukrainian TV that “Russian foreign policy should be maximally directed at integration with Ukraine and Belarus… In fact, we’re one nation. We should enhance integration.” During the same broadcast Navalny said that he did not intend “to prove that the Ukrainian nation doesn’t exist. God willing, it does.” He added, “No one wants to make an attempt to limit Ukraine’s sovereignty”. In October 2014 Navalny stated “I don’t see any kind of difference at all between Russians and Ukrainians”, he admitted that his views might provoke “horrible indignation” in Ukraine.

            You see, the Russian elite’s enemy (= opposition) is nationalist instead of liberal (in a Western/Trotskyite sense). So the profile of the opposition in Russia is constructed as pro-Russian and lacking of the self-hating ideologies that constitute the Western suicide cult. In other words, you have the patriot Russian government and in opposition to it, the fierce nationalist Navalny, as the most recognised figure. Interesting, no? And he never goes to prison…

          • Paul says:

            Well, all these pro-Western liberasts can’t all be what they seem. It is like the KKK in the US: you can tell the Feds because they have all their teeth. So about half Feds.

        • Warren says:

          You are right, the US overriding interest is to remain the dominant global power i.e. global hegemon.

          The US recognises only two types of the states: enemy states and vassal states.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s a good point, and you’re probably right – having once secured cooperation in Russia, the USA would probably set the regions to warring with one another and building generic regional “independence movements”. Self-determination would be back on the menu then, you’d better believe.

      • marknesop says:

        “Russia has forsaken Europe”. Ha, ha – that’s a good one. Once upon a time, Europeans were not oblivious to irony. I guess nothing stays the same forever.

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    Schlumberger buys 46% of Russia’s biggest driller

    Now’s the time to invest in Russia!

    The certifiable Lucas over at the Economist was advising this the other day and writing that Exxon might try to buy out BP, not least because of that outfit’s 20% share in Rosneft:

    So the chances have grown that one of BP’s rivals will seek to capitalise on its weakness and bid for it. Although its value has fallen sharply, its market capitalisation is still $107 billion, so the list of possible buyers is short. The most talked-about potential suitors are Exxon Mobil (market value $380 billion) and Shell ($197 billion), with Chevron ($196 billion) as a possible “white knight” merger partner to fend off the other two. There are some state oil and gas firms big enough to afford BP (the Saudi, Qatari or Kuwaiti ones, say), but none seems to be in shopping mood just now.

    All the firms involved decline to comment. But it is easy to see some advantages to a takeover by Exxon. The two companies fit, in that Exxon’s American business is smaller than its international operations. And BP, though nominally British, is strongest in America. Exxon has lots of cash and low borrowing costs. It did a good job of absorbing Mobil, another rival, in 1999. Moreover, the biggest blight on the BP share price is its American lawsuits. It has handled these badly. Exxon, with its unrivalled political clout, might do better.

    Another attraction is BP’s nearly 20% stake in Rosneft, Russia’s biggest and best-connected oil company. Rosneft is in trouble: heavily indebted, cut off from Western capital markets by sanctions, and bailed out by the Russian state in December. But for a far-sighted outsider, Russia’s oil and gas reserves are hard to ignore. BP has made a lot of money there so far. Sanctions forced Exxon, which has deep ties with Russia, to cancel its Arctic drilling project with Rosneft. Buying BP could offer a way back in. It would take a brave boss to do this; but Exxon’s Rex Tillerson is made of stern stuff.

    [my stress]

    I thought Lucas considered Russia to be a shithole?

    A shithole worth investing in?

    • kat kan says:

      It takes western investment to FIX IT. Where have you been?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Here for the past 22 years.

        Everything seemed to be working pretty well and getting better for the past 10 years, then the US government decided to throw a spanner in the works – or, as they would say, a “wrench”.

        It was punishment, you see, for wrongdoing.

        🙂

        • marknesop says:

          Not to get technical, but a spanner is not actually a wrench. Well, it is, but it is a special kind of wrench that is designed to adjust a specific type of fitting, and if it fits anything else it is a coincidence. They are ubiquitous aboard ship, where we use them to turn the large handwheels known as Kingston Valves. That’s an example of navy laziness, because Kingston is just a manufacturer and a lot of them don’t look anything like that and don’t have a handwheel. Obviously they are meant to be turned by hand and usually can be, but if the valve is overpressured or deformed because, say, you ate a torpedo, you might have to give it a bit of come-along with a spanner, and it might be urgent. There’s usually one mounted on a panel beside the valve. Those ones have a funny kind of hook on them that prevents them from slipping when you apply pressure. There are also hose spanners, for taking apart or adding lengths to a canvas fire hose at the coupler (ours are all brass, so they will not make a spark if struck). These are examples of spanners.

          This, by way of contrast, is a wrench. That’s what makes Britain such a great seafaring nation – laziness. Sailors are lazy (remember Kingston valves?) and the lazy British call all wrenches and spanners alike “spanners”.

          It is most unhelpful that if you google “spanner” in images, it will show you both – British laziness creeping to permeate the globe and make everyone lazy. Some are even captioned, in a supreme capitulation to the British, “Spanner Wrench”. However, if you google images of “wrench”, you should only get pictures of wrenches. Since I am a sailor it follows that I am lazy, (not to mention British by ancestry, on my father’s side) so I did not look at all the pictures, but I looked at enough to satisfy myself that the terms are not interchangeable.

          • colliemum says:

            IMHO, laziness is actually the mother of invention, not war, as the old saying will have it.
            Thus my (very) private take on how the old British empire was run is that those who did run it were lazy in the sense that they wanted toe admin done and dusted as quickly as possible, to go on to other, nicer things (like playing polo …).
            It’s only since the advent of EU interference and thus the French and German way of doing admin and bureaucracy that life has become so awful and restricted in the UK.
            You could call it the revenge of the Whitehall civil servants, who prefer hobnobbing with their continental counterparts to being useful to us.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Monkey wrench – a wrench/spanner that even a monkey can use?

            “Gimme a 7/8 and a 3/4.”

            “Wot?”

            “Just bring me a monkey wrench – you young monkey!”

            Monkey wrenches are always “wrenches” in the UK. I’ve never heard anyone say “monkey spanner”.

    • Warren says:

      Lucas is wrong so many times on Russia, he thinks no one is paying attention to him. Lucas is accustomed to being unchallenged in rabid statements and predictions on Russia. He substitutes rhetoric in the absence of facts.

      Lucas is almost a Colonel Blimp.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Deception: Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West by Edward Lucas

        Daily Telegraph review by David Blair
        Tuesday 20 January 2015

        Perhaps the most important leading indicator for Russia’s standing in the world is … the fact that its national population falls by about 500,000 a year. One astonishing United Nations forecast suggests that by 2050 Russia will have about as many people as Uganda. Add in the fact that Russia’s economy produces nothing useful except oil and gas and you have a picture of a country locked into a long-term decline.

        • marknesop says:

          It would make more sense if the title was “Spies, Lies and How Edward Lucas Dupes the West”. It would be one thing if tricky Rosstat were the only authority registering a population climb as well as an increase in the natural birth rate, but the same information is available from various western sources as well, such as the World Bank.

          All to Russia’s advantage, I say – Edward Lucas and the British government are the enemy, and if the leader of your enemy receives bad intelligence and chooses to believe it, and consequently thinks you are weak and sick and collapsing of your own accord and draws up his battle plans accordingly…that’s all to the good. Lie on, Edward.

  13. astabada says:

    Following the decision of the Swiss Central Bank to decouple the Franc from the Euro, the former skyrocketed 25-30% higher and reached parity with the Euro. However if you ask an Italian, they will tell you that the Franc plummeted, becaus that was the impression given by the Italian press.

    They only reported the losses on the Swiss stock exchange, without reporting why that had taken place. But let’s move on to some more interesting nonnews. The European Commission’s website reports that:

    Norway is in the global top 5 exporters of crude oil. The oil and gas sector constitutes around 22% of Norwegian GDP and 67% of Norwegian exports.

    For Russia the values are 16% and 70% respectively (world bank via wikipedia). But of course the falling oil prices are not going to affect Norway’s economic outlook that much.

  14. ThatJ says:

    Updates from mp.net:

    ***

    Ukrainian partisans killed some kind of russian “general” Pavlov. They also killed one of the french tourists and injured two more (i assume those are the guys that were posing for all those videos and giving all those interviews not so long ago). No pics of that event tho….

    Oh there are pics – graphic warning.

    But the story is totally ridiculous. They captured an “FSB major-general”, gave him some time to beg for his life and offer them one. million. dollars and then cut his throat with a cry about how “motherland is not for sale” for FB credit. Instead of getting some intel or shedding some light on RF involvement, we got facebook agitprop.

    Laughable.

    voicesevas reports in 14:06.
    A tragicomedy in Donetsk airport. 2 Uki tanks with 14 men were trying to breakthrough to the new terminal. 6 were killed and 8 were captured by “Somali’ unit. According to them, ukicommanders were sure that there are Ukrainian troops in the new terminal and sent them to save those wounded. This shows how truthful ukipropaganda kills own soldiers.

    [ThatJ: One of these captured Ukrainian soldiers was filmed, mind you this happened today. NAF doesn’t kill captured soldiers, but as you can read above, a rebel was murdered yesterday after being captured:]

    Poroshenko booed in Zurich killer of children

    [ThatJ: Some people applauded him after he laughed off the accusations, not sure how many booed and how many applauded the opportunist pig.]

    [From ZH]

    “Next Time Around The Feds Are Going To Have To Confiscate Stuff”

    Events are moving faster than brains now. Isn’t it marvelous that gasoline at the pump is a buck cheaper than it was a year ago? A lot of short-sighted idiots are celebrating, unaware that the low oil price is destroying the capacity to deliver future oil at any price. The table is set for the banquet of consequences. The next chapter in the oil story is more likely to be scarcity rather than just a boomerang back to higher prices. The tipping point for that will come with the inevitable destabilizing of Saudi Arabia. Next time around, the federals are going to have to confiscate stuff, break promises, take away things, and rough some people up. The question is how much of this abuse will the public take?

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-19/next-time-around-feds-are-going-have-confiscate-stuff

    • marknesop says:

      Poroshenko says,”If anybody can understand what she (his heckler) says, this is exactly the cultural level of these people”. As if being responsible for the needless and heedless deaths of children is an example of cultural superiority. What a disgusting pig.

    • ThatJ says:

      Good news, I hope we hear the same negative forecast for the next decade.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      From the above:

      The sharpest downgrade of all is for Russia, which is forecast to see its economy contract by 3% this year and 1% next. That is the result of the fall in oil prices and what the report calls increased geopolitical tensions – in other words, the crisis in Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia.

      An allegory:

      A malevolent person, taking it upon himself to punish another in his community for what he considers to be a serious misdemeanour and acting thereon in the capacity of judge, jury and executioner, pours sugar into the petrol tank of one of his his neighbours’ cars. The sabotaged vehicle thereafter has difficulties in running properly. The malevolent neighbour then declares to the rest of the community that the affected car is a heap of junk, always has been and always will, but nevertheless says that only he knows how to fix it. Meanwhile, unknown to the rest of the gullible neighbours, whose cars really are clunkers, the victim of of the sabotage knows full well why his car is behaving problematically, and has already replied in kind to the rest of the community with his own dose of sugar.

    • marknesop says:

      “Deflation is not going to derail the [Eurozone] recovery…”, he says, just as if the said recovery is actually happening. If the foregoing 3 to 5 years is an example of a recovery…

  15. ThatJ says:

    Donetsk:

    A higher quality video of Porky booed / applauded in Switzerland:

    Watch between 1:53 ~ 2:05

    I see what you did there, Porky! The Banderite lite army of the Zionists should receive their clue from this video that in this time and age, Jews are a big no-no. Only Russians, please.

    • ThatJ says:

      An optimist?

      KYIV, January 20 /Ukrinform/. In 2014, Ukraine reduced the volume of gas consumption from 70 billion to 40 billion cubic meters. In two years Ukraine will need no Russian natural gas at all, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said, delivering a speech at the Europa Institute at the University of Zurich on Monday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

      “Can you imagine that my country supplied 70 billion cubic meters of gas six years ago? Today we supply forty [billion cubic meters]. This achievement was made this year. I am fully convinced that in two years we will need no Russian gas at all. This is a very important factor in the energy independence of my country,” the President said.
      The audience greeted his words with applause.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        No loss to Russia – ‘cos the bastards never f**cking paid for it anyway!

        And what is being paid for now is with money off West European soft-arses and other such dupes.

      • kat kan says:

        Easy enough to use no gas, if you have no industry and no population…..southeast being killed off, rest will run away as soon as the snow melts. No people = don’t need lights either = huge saving in electricity as well.

      • marknesop says:

        Brilliant! see if you can do it in your country. All you have to do is offer your ass to the large union next door, which fancies itself progressive, and obey when it orders you to jack up the price of gas until more of your public can’t afford to use as much, or maybe any. Or, to put it in rosyspeak;

        By forcing consumers to recognize the full value of the gas which they are consuming, users will be more careful in their usage. For example, with the underpricing of gas there have been episodes in the past where gas is used for wasteful heating of hot houses. Similarly, with exceedingly low costs for hot water, there is no incentive to reduce usage. Another example is the potential for lowering thermostats or simply not opening windows to reduce the heat level in winter. Obviously, proper metering and billing systems must be established to realize this potential saving.

        Another potential benefit of proper market pricing of gas is to give an incentive to switch to alternative sources of energy. Thus, heating furnaces might be converted from gas to say oil or coal. Another example would see instances where the use of natural gas for say cooking, may better be replaced by electric stoves. In some cases, it may be beneficial to utilize solar or wind power as a substitute. While subsidies for switching can be provided, the best signalling device is proper pricing of alternative sources.

        Then, make such a catastrophic revolving fuckup of yourself that you lose or alienate nearly a quarter of your population, 2 million of whom elect to join another country entirely, solely because of your inept assholery, and a further 5 million of whom announce they will no longer take orders from you, so that you can write 7 million of your population off your gas books. What a feat of responsible social engineering. Porky is a genius – all countries should sit up and take notice, and follow his environmentally-friendly example. Pretty soon all his gas market will either be dead or fled, if he keeps on the way he’s going. Which will no doubt be cheered by a western world that cheered economic downsizing that moved all its manufacturing to China.

  16. et Al says:

    While the West is still digging its own hole with its continued war on Islam with more and more commentators declaring it as a ‘war of civilizations’, but poor, stupid Russia is doing the opposite:

    Deutsche Wurst: Hundreds of thousands join ‘anti-Charlie’ rally in Chechnya
    http://www.dw.de/hundreds-of-thousands-join-anti-charlie-rally-in-chechnya/a-18200533
    Massive crowds have gathered in Russia’s North Caucasus province of Chechnya to protest against the publication of Prophet Muhammad cartoons. The region’s leader has condemned the images as “vulgar.” …

    … Russia’s interior ministry reported that over 800,000 people had attended the government-sponsored rally which was broadcast live on state television.

    “This is a protest against those who support the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad,” Ramzan Kadyrov, the pro-Kremlin leader of the predominantly Muslim region, told the crowds.

    “If needed, we are ready to die to stop anyone who thinks that you can irresponsibly defile the name of the prophet,” he added…

    …”You and I see how European journalists and politicians under false slogans about free speech and democracy proclaim the freedom to be vulgar, rude and insult the religious feelings of hundreds of millions of believers,” he said. “We say firmly that we will never allow anyone to go unpunished for insulting the name of the Prophet and our religion.”…

    .. Russian communications oversight agency, Roskomnadzor, said publishing the caricatures could be qualified as “inciting ethnic and religious hatred” and punished under anti-extremism laws.

    “Roskomnadzor calls on all national media to choose other methods of expressing their solidarity with their tragically killed French colleagues, rather than inflaming sectarian tensions in Russian society,” it said in a statement….”
    ###

    Whether or not one agrees that Russia has better relations with its own moslems (~20m) and around the world, these state supported protests draw a very clear dividing line in public for all to see and will also appeal to those in the West who think that Free Dumb of Speech can be taken too far and recognize that there are in fact practical limits already in place, just used selectively.

    • ThatJ says:

      The difference, though, is that those Muslims are native to Russia, or, more specifically, to some Russian regions, whereas the Muslims in France are not. They have no business there, much less a right to demand anything when they are colonizing and displacing the population of a society which they don’t belong.

      The French Muslims have a huge sense of entitlement. And Kadyrov shouldn’t be trying to dictate to France what is permissible and what is not. He has his own turf to look after and nobody tried to pull a Charlie there.

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    So he thinks saying “suka blyat” [literally: “bitch whore”] is uncultured? And if he thinks the woman is lacking in culture, why does he call her a “lady”?

    Not that Porky never uses bad language, but then he’s no lady.

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    Bollocks!

    Wrong video!

    This should have been the first one:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Outside the University of Zürich:

      The signs in German read:

      NOVOROSSIYA: PEACE, FREEDOM, RECOGNITION

      UKRAINE: A POLICE STATE
      OPPOSITIONISTS TO THE GOVERNMENT ARE LOCKED UP AND KILLED

      THE DONBASS HAS THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION

  19. ThatJ says:

    Updates from mp.net:


    [User Comment] Some news from UA source;

    http://www.ipukr.com/?p=33875

    Basically the Seperatists have used Super Weapons on Peski. LOL That’s funny.

    [Another User Reply] Ukrainian media reporting “catastrophic” Ukrainian casualties? Does… not… compute…

    [Yet Another Reply] Not sure it is a ‘super’ weapon, ‘nasty’ definitely. This is under picture of TOS-1 on parade Machine translation

    Russian terrorists answered from heavy duty weapons. In these moments began shelling the Sand from heavy artillery. All over the use by terrorists installation Pinocchio. According to our information Sands, almost burnt, continues an artillery battle. The loss of the Ukrainian side is simply catastrophic. Waiting for the next wave of information.

    http://www.military-today.com/artillery/tos1.htm

    The TOS-1 fires 220-mm rockets. There are two types of warheads – incendiary and fuel-air explosive. The fuel-air explosive weapons are also called as vacuum or thermobaric. This type of munitions releases a large cloud of flammable gas and causes massive explosions. It is used to clear out bunkers and other fortifications. The TOS-1 heavy flamethrower system has a relatively short maximum firing range of only 3.5 km. Minimum range is 400 meters. This heavy flamethrower system launches a single rocket or a pair of two rockets within 0.5 s. Full salvo duration is 7.5 or 15 seconds. A full salvo of this flamethrower system covers area of 200 by 400 meters.

  20. ThatJ says:

    More mp.net updates:

    This time I think Russia wants to weaken the negotiating hand of the junta for good because if the Ukies consolidate once more during the coming ceasefire (almost a certainty!), they will have a smaller Ukraine, less people to recruit and a degraded army, including military hardware and personnel.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Ukraine is accusing Russia of sending its army to beat shit out of the Yukie army, because no way could the terrorists beat the Yukie heroes otherwise?

      Hang on though! Isn’t the Russian army a shit outfit? You know, full of alcoholic criminals, shirkers and weirdos – totally useless at whatever it does?

      So if the Yukies have been beaten by such a shit outfit, that must make the Yukie hero army super-shit, mustn’t it?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Захарченко сделал экстренное заявление о ситуации на Донбассе

        Zakharchenko has made an emergency statement on the situation in the Donbass

        The head of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Alexander Zakharchenko, in connection with the unilateral Ukraine cessation of the the ceasefire, has made a statement on the situation in the Donbass.

        “There have been massive strikes by heavy artillery, which Donetsk and surrounding areas have suffered for the past day, as well as Gorlovka, and which have never before been endured during this conflict”, said the leader of the republic.

        “As a result of this Ukraine provoked attack, we have taken the whole territory of the airport. In fact, the Ukrainian side has once again violated the ceasefire, the Minsk agreement “, said Zakharchenko.

        With regard to actions taken concerning the leadership of the republic and the militia, the head of the DNR said: “We are not just going to sit back and wait to be destroyed. We shall take retaliatory action. We shall always observe the agreements that we have signed. We want to defend our our republic and we will defend it”.

        Preparing for an offensive no matter what Moscow might think and to hell with Porky’s ceasefire statements?

  21. ThatJ says:

    Here we go again. This is becoming surreal. Russia will be fooled once again if it sticks to the planned ceasefire now that the seps are successfully on the offensive. So Kiev wants another ceasefire, the same (latest…) ceasefire that it broke days ago?

    KIEV, January 20 (Sputnik) — The next meeting on Ukrainian reconciliation in the “Normandy format,” with the participation of the Russian, Ukrainian, French and German foreign ministers, may take place on January 21 in Berlin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said Tuesday. “On January 13, a meeting of foreign ministers in a ‘Normandy format’ took place. We have agreed to continue these discussions with the purpose of implementing a full package of the Minsk agreements. Two hours ago we have discussed with the German foreign minister the ways to continue this difficult discussion, and we have reached a preliminary agreement to continue the conversation tomorrow in Berlin. We have the same demands – the implementation of the Minsk agreements,” Klimkin told journalists.
    According to *******, the German Foreign Ministry subsequently confirmed the meeting.
    The Ukrainian foreign minister also said that during the Wednesday meeting in Berlin, he would propose holding a new round of Contact Group talks on Ukrainian reconciliation.
    According to Klimkin, another Normandy format meeting, scheduled to take place at the end of January in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana, should help in the “real de-escalation” of the Ukrainian conflict. “We will define the time frames for such a meeting,” should this be achieved, the minister added.

    • ThatJ says:

      Oh, and just yesterday I read that an American general will travel to Ukraine this week to assess the situation and report Ukraine’s military needs back to Washington.

      Why don’t the Russians mention this? Why don’t they mention the continued mobilization? A combination of these variables point to yet another violation of the ceasefire in the future.

      • ThatJ says:

        Oh my, the chutzpah!

        KYIV, January 20 /Ukrinform/. Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin assures that Ukraine will provide evidence of Russia’s attempts to disrupt the Minsk agreements at the meetings of the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the UN Security Council and the OSCE Permanent Council.
        He has announced this at a press briefing on Tuesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
        “Today the OSCE Permanent Council will hold a meeting. Tomorrow there will be two notable events. First, the UN Security Council will hold a meeting, dedicated to what is happening in Donetsk and Luhansk. In addition, tomorrow there will be a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Strasbourg. The Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe is also one of the key events. They will primarily focus on the clear analysis on our part, the analysis which is based not only on words, but the facts. We will not just show but prove who is now trying to disrupt the whole package of the Minsk agreements,” Klimkin said.

        • marknesop says:

          Don’t speak too soon. Thus far all the attempts to fudge the evidence have been crude fakes created by the Ukies themselves. If Washington ever takes it into its head to produce a first-class piece of fakery that would convince the Pope, that certainly lies within its capability. Hollywood, you know.

      • marknesop says:

        What I think it points to is yet another pep talk from the Americans that Kiev must continue to preach the line there is no military solution, while pursuing one with vigor and hoping to get lucky and score a breakthrough. Remember, they only have to get lucky once. NATO would proclaim it a stunning victory, diplomats would deliver weepy addresses about peace in our time and now the healing can begin, and the whole world except for Russia would do everything in its power to ensure the Ukrainian victory was consolidated, stamped and filed as the only final solution, bar none. The easterners would have to learn to get along with their new masters, who were – after all – their old masters.

        The only way Kiev is ever going to quit is if it is beaten so badly that there’s not enough army left, or if what remains rebels and turns on it.

        • james@wpc says:

          I think that is a very good summation of the US/Kiev mindset, Mark. They are driven ever onward towards the cliff by their own psychopathic thinking. A scorpion must remain true to its nature.

          The only way Kiev is ever going to quit is if it is beaten so badly that there’s not enough army left, or if what remains rebels and turns on it.

          Whether by design or not, these seem to be the only two options left to them by Russia. My guess is that Russia has been playing for enough time to allow the Kiev regime to implode upon itself through its own delusions leaving the US et al no where to go but home.
          But the option of being left with no army is increasingly likely given that I cannot imagine the Novorossians agreeing again to letting the Ukraine Army (and Kiev) off the hook through another bullshit ceasefire.

          Of course, with the military totally defeated, there is nothing left for the regime factions to do but point fingers, blame and then devour each other. What a pity there is no honour amongst thieves.

          • marknesop says:

            I hope you’re right, and that the counteroffensive will push on for further gains. They’re certainly justified – every time the easterners stipulate to an agreement in which the demarcation permits Ukie troops to be close to cities, they hunker down and shell them day and night. They have to be pushed back at least beyond artillery range and preferably beyond short-range ballistic missile reach as well, as they have demonstrated not only will they use them, nobody in the international body will stop them from doing so.

  22. ThatJ says:

    More “refugees” to Europe? Ukrainians from Donetsk are, right now, fleeing to Russia, a neighbouring country that shares similarities with the fleeing population. I hope that if the Yemen government is overthrown and there’s some sort of civil war, the affected people will flee to an area without conflict or to a close nation that shares their religious and racial peculiarities. But I won’t be surprised if they end up milking the system in Sweden or Germany…

  23. et Al says:

    Gobbing Mail: French police arrest five Chechens for alleged terrorist attack: reports
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/france-arrests/article22532374/
    Police arrested five Chechens in southern France on Tuesday as European law-enforcement agencies continued a crackdown on terrorism after the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this month. France has been on high alert since three days of terror in the Paris region left 20 people dead, including the three gunmen.

    Montpellier and Beziers: Five Chechen men are arrested, with some media reporting a cache of explosives was discovered…

    …THE CHECHENS: EXPLOSIVES CACHE REPORTED

    Beziers Mayor Robert Menard confirmed the arrests Tuesday in Beziers and Montpellier of five men of Chechen origin and said the man arrested in Beziers had been a resident “for some time.”…”
    ####

    Surely these are Chechen freedom fighters who have been fighting against the evil and corrupt regime in Russia and have only come to France for a holiday? Whatever next? Kadyrov sent them??? Cue the Sky News Piece:

    ‘Russians Held Over Alleged French Attack Plot’ http://news.sky.com/story/1411449/russians-held-over-alleged-french-attack-plot

    Which shows a picture of the ‘sate organized’ anti-Charlie Hebdo rally in Chechnya. Well what does that lead us to believe? Simple journalistic incompetence and ignorance or???

    And then we have the Sputnik piece:

    Five Russian Nationals Arrested in France on Suspicion of Plotting
    http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150120/1017129758.html
    The French security services arrested five Russian nationals on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack. The Russian embassy has not provided any information yet…

    …According to the media sources, all those detained are aged between 24 and 37 and originate from the North Caucasus. They were arrested in the southern department of Herault.
    ###

    EItherways, the Elysée will be contacting the Kremlin to see what they know and it will be interesting to see how the anal-ists play this out in the media, a) more proof Russia an enemy or b) proof that Russia is an essential ally (ergo drop the sanctions).

    • et Al says:

      Or relief all around?

      Independent: Five Chechens with explosives arrested in France might be ‘gangsters’, not terrorists
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/five-chechens-with-explosives-arrested-in-france-might-be-gangsters-not-terrorists-9990379.html
      The five men were ‘not known’ to anti-terrorist police, he said, and appeared more to fit the ‘profile of people involved in organised crime…

      …he five men were “not known” to anti-terrorist police, he said, and appeared more to fit the “profile” of people involved in “grand banditisme” – or organised crime.

    • marknesop says:

      I would guess the former – more evidence that Russia means to destabilize and assault all of Europe until it has brought it all under Putin’s thumb.

      It’s curious, but the media is more than ready to attribute Russian ethnicity when the focus of attention has done something bad, but never at any other time – no, then their distinctiveness is harped on, as well as the restlessness of their republic or province under the Russian yoke. Remember the “Russian artist” who disgraced himself a couple of years ago by defacing a painting in a museum? He was actually Ukrainian.

  24. peter says:

    • cartman says:

      Global dollar economy shrinks by $4 trillion in just 6 months

      The notion that a strong dollar is in the US national interest no matter who owns it is at best controversial and increasingly foolhardy. It is where the dollar are based that determines whether a strong dollar is good for the US national interest. A strong dollar in a global dollar economy is only good for offshore dollar owners, not US residents…

      The real factor is that dollars are not spendable outside of the global dollar economy, thus are useless for domestic development in non-dollar economies. The dollar is not even fully useful in the US domestic economy because of low yields in the domestic US market…

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, it’s just a wonder governments didn’t think of it earlier, isn’t it? Why were oil prices so high for so many years, when obviously the true path to a rising dollar and double happiness all around is low oil prices! Chevron and Exxon-Mobil and Conoco-Phillips must be ecstatic at their opportunity to contribute to the wave of euphoria by taking half-profits along with half-prices, what?

      Oh, wait. They’re not. Somebody should point out to them that their attitude is unpatriotic. Their reward is the happy smiles on Jack and Jane’s faces when they realize gas prices are putting $100.00 a month more in their pockets. As long as neither of them are in the 15% that represents total employment gains since 2008, all in the energy industry.

      But look over there. Cheap gas.

  25. et Al says:

    Spuntnik: Japan to Provide Additional Loan of $300Mln to Ukraine
    http://sputniknews.com/business/20150120/1017140094.html
    Japanese ambassador to Ukraine said that Tokyo would provide $300 million in financial aid to Ukraine as a parallel loan with the World Bank…

    …“Since March 2014, Japan has promised to provide $1.5 billion in aid to Ukraine, and today, in addition to $1.5 billion, which Japan has already agreed to provide, Japan will provide $300 million in financial aid as a parallel loan with the World Bank,” Sumi said.

    Sumi added also that Japan would allocate a $16.6 billion grant to Ukraine…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And I always reckoned the Japanese were smart.

      Then again …building a nuclear reactor on a fault line is a pretty dumb thing to do.

      • et Al says:

        You would have thought that they would have long decommissioned those General Electric reactors built in the 1960s. It’s not like they are short of cash. Japan is joint 15th with Belgium and one below the UK on the epicly bollox Corruption Perceptions Index for 2014: http://www.transparency.org/cpi2014/results which I find quite odd because Japan is famous for its internalized corruption. Sure, the streets are very safe, but government and industry is where it is all at as that is where the serious money is.

        • et Al says:

          Though, to be fair Japan has been a significant contributor of humanitarian aid around the world for decades and a big supporter of the UN and other agencies.

        • Oddlots says:

          My favourite story along these lines comes from Frank Portnoy in F.I.A.S.C.O. In the go go years before deflation sank the Japanese miracle apparently one of the favourite ruses of Japan’s banks was something called a “fly away” bond. (Can’t remember the Japanese word.) The basic idea was that you would pool bonds in a fund then split the fund into an “interest only” portion and a “principle only” portion but obscure this fact in the prospectus somehow. You’d then sell the interest only portion and use that to value the remaining, obviously, much less valuable “principle only” portion. This increased banker’s bonuses enormously but also left their employers’ balance sheets with time bombs ready to explode when someone figured out what they had done.

          I’d call that internalised corruption.

      • marknesop says:

        Not to mention storing old fuel rods above ground level, and trying to cool them with seawater.

    • marknesop says:

      At some point, Ukraine is going to have to spend some money on fixing stuff and paying people, instead of just plowing everything it receives into continuing the war. Perhaps this will mark the beginning – but I doubt it.

      Which brings me to something that’s been bothering me for some time now: first, I doubt very much there are two battalions of Russian soldiers operating in Ukraine. Not unless they came across the border one by one, on different days, because it’s either that’s a lie or western surveillance is not worth a shit. That is probably the most closely-watched border on the planet, and the west would just love to have some proof of Russian involvement. So far, none that they’re willing to show anyone. But even supposing there actually were two battalions of Russian state military in East Ukraine, fighting on the side of the easterners. What do the Yukies not get? Not once while they were more or less holding to the terms of the ceasefire were they attacked. Never, after the region declared it would no longer follow Kiev’s orders, did a force from the region march on any part of Ukraine which declared itself loyal to the junta. On occasions it is attacked, it pushes back fiercely, but does not pursue fleeing Ukie forces all the way back to their home towns and then engage them there. Russian involvement, if there is any, is clearly limited to demonstrating that Kiev is not going to be allowed to simply march in and ethnically cleanse the east, branding them terrorists and killing them all regardless their involvement in resistance. Yet every time Kiev attacks it gets its ass handed to it, and has not had a victory to speak of since the fall of Slaviyansk and the pushing back of the NAF to Donetsk and Lugansk.

      How many times do they have to have their hand held on a hot stove? If you leave the easterners alone, you will be left alone. Does that mean if attacking them is off the table, there are no options? Of course not; there is a myriad of possibilities for negotiation. But having branded them all terrorists when they manifestly are not, the idiots have restricted themselves to military force, because – say it with me – we don’t negotiate with terrorists. And every time they try military force they get burnt. Gee, that’s a conundrum, isn’t it?

      • et Al says:

        Another balkan replay. One side with a carte blanche issued by the West is simply not held to the conditions of any agreements signed and breaks them at will. If they launch an attack, it collapses and the other side look like they will roll them up easily, there is suddenly an urgent need to have peace talks and a cease-fire is demanded to take place immediately – to save the West’s favorites yet again.

        The sooner the NAF crushes Kiev’s forces decisively the better. The West will only build military support for Kiev until they are ready to launch a massive attack, just as what happened in 1995. Of course, there is a lot things that are different between the two scenarios (mostly that Russia actually has resolve and means to support the NAF if necessary) but Kiev’s forces need to be ground in to the dust or the war will incessantly drag on… to the last Ukranian

        • kat kan says:

          Peace talks will founder on their demands that the “terrorists” go first with the withdrawal and disarming. Which Russia won’t let them do, knowing full well the moment they are disarmed they’ll get attacked again. In fact if they come to agreements about federalization or whatever, they would still be attacked. There is no solution that involves Donbass disarming, unless THEY run the whole show. They’d be happy to let west of Lvov beg to join Poland.

          What it’s building up to atm is another Maidan, run by Right Sector. Tsarev reckons the Rada deputies are moving their families out.
          http://fortruss.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/oleg-tsarev-deputies-are-evacuating.html

        • et Al says:

          The only reason Russia might tell the NAF to hold back on a counter-offensive is if the talks in Brussels announced the withdrawl of (some) sanctions, which it clearly did not.

          If Kiev knew ‘How Now’ Merkel would not do this, then why did they launch an attack despite knowing that there would be no restraint from the NAF.

          Conclusion? They are either a) dumb fks; b) they have dumb fk americans promising them the earth and the moon who promised that they would control any counter reaction.

          Who needs enemies???

          • kat kan says:

            Sanctions are not an issue for Russia. They’re managing ok as is, they know they can do triple somersaults and still get only a token sanction removal, if that. They don’t care. but let the idiots keep thinking they do, to see what they might offer. They’ll wait until EU is desperate enough to drop the sanctions with NO conditions, and then still may not drop the counter-sanctions.
            All these new talks won’t work either, because they won’t go on with them unless there’s a chance for resolution, like last time. And they read resolution as Russia doing all 12 points of Minsk while Kiev doesn’t have to do any.

            • et Al says:

              Not a problem for Russia certainly, but trying to figure out the rationale from the Uke perspective. There just doesn’t seem to be one.

        • marknesop says:

          I agree with that. Smash them now or fight more of them later.

  26. ThatJ says:

    Ukraine: Russian-Backed Separatists Just Made Another Land Grab

    KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine on Tuesday accused pro-Russian separatists of taking advantage of a ceasefire deal signed last September to seize more territory in the east and said Kiev would demand its return in any future peace talks.

    Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin’s charge that the rebels had seized more than 500 square km (194 square miles) beyond agreed separation lines opened up a potential new area of discord with Russia in diplomacy aimed at ending the nine-month-old conflict.

    […]

    “Taking advantage of the fact that our forces complied with the ceasefire, the terrorists seized very substantial territory – more than 500 square kilometers,” he told a news conference.

    He said Ukraine in future meetings of the so-called ‘contact group’ involving separatist leaders would seek a “detailed plan to return to the separation line.

    Full text: http://uk.businessinsider.com/richard-balmforth-ukraine-accuses-separatists-making-land-grab-2015-1

    Updates from mp.net:

    There’s info that the 29th checkpoint has fallen as well.

    Maybe DPR and LPR forces together are trying to create “Debaltseve cauldron”.

    Kiev has never ever been a part of “Novorossiya” for your info.
    I have no dreams whatsoever of a “glorious Novorossiya”.

    “Novorosisya” exists in the dreams of some romantics, not in the dreams of anyone in Moscow, but if the rulers in Kiev do not come to an agreement that is acceptable to Russia then the war will continue and Ukraine might eventually collapse and “Novorossiya” might come a reality.

    If the rulers in Kiev do not want to come with an agreement with DNR/LNR, whether that is by official talks with them or unofficial, there is only one way and that is total war until one of the sides is defeated.

    DONETSK, January 20. /TASS/. All Ukrainian soldiers taken hostage on Tuesday during fighting at Donetsk airport will be handed over to their relatives, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko.

    Zakharchenko also promised that all Ukrainian soldiers killed in attacks at Donetsk airport would be handed over for burial in their homeland with military honors.
    He also called on Ukrainian citizens to come to their senses and “do not let their children go to the fratricidal war.”

    • kat kan says:

      The “call your Mum to come and get you” type of prisoner release is usually for conscripts. Which figures. They said they were fooled into going in, told they’re just bringing out injured.

      More territory? well Zakh has said many times they want at least the full oblast, and will take it by force if necessary. No way they will return to earlier lines, especially with fresher evidence of how people get treated in areas they do get pushed back from.

      If Right Sector does put on a Maidan, that will be a nice distraction to let Kharkhov and Zaporozhye and likely Nikolaev all decide to separate, too. Then Russia asks for its $3 billion back, NATO nations with any troops even just LOOKING east find gas supplies getting faulty……

      OKAY, now let’s sit and talk serious like….

    • marknesop says:

      I have to confess I am an admirer of Klimkin. It takes a special kind of courage to be able to remain expressionless and to all appearances normal while his pants are a blazing inferno. Or perhaps they’re made of asbestos, considering the forecast effects of his jaw-dropping lying. “Taking advantage of the fact that our forces complied with the ceasefire” is brazenness that marks him as U.S. State Department material – Marie Harf must be wet to the knees, watching that tour-de-force performance.

  27. ThatJ says:

    If the video description is true, the Voentorg is in full swing:

    I think the message is this: everytime you deceive us and violate the ceasefire, you will lose the control of a piece of land and your army will get smacked.

    • et Al says:

      Comments to the first twat:

      Daniel Espineira ‏@daniespsil 3h3 hours ago

      @Steiner1776 hahaha are ukranian tanks t64 bm bulat as far i can see, same paint too
      0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

      @Steiner1776 its ukranian captured gear, i could spot some repaired, from last summer and autumm.there is no russian tanks with zsu23 added

    • marknesop says:

      Possibly; except for the little bit of armor up front, it looked to be all artillery and infantry support. But I think it’s more likely it is just heading to the border to wait on its own side in a threatening posture, to make Porky think twice about pressing or even counterattacking. Unless the reports we have been getting are totally backward, it sounds unnecessary as the Ukies are fleeing for their lives.

      The policy of returning captured Ukie soldiers to their families is a smart one – even if they end up facing those same soldiers again, which in at least 50% of the cases they probably will, the NAF will reap gains in surrenders rather than continued fighting when the situation looks dire, as troops would do if they believed they would be tortured and killed.

    • ThatJ says:

      What does he say?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Roughly:

        “The situation in Kharkov is analogical to that in Odessa. In both places there are subversive terrorist groups and places where there are, how can I say, supporters of Russia who put out lying information on the Internet. It is necessary to counter these people and a parliamentary defence and security committee is taking measures to prepare combatants to fight for independent Ukraine. We have to get organized or our city will be lost and that we cannot allow that to happen because many have already died in the East in this struggle for independence and the “Heavenly Hundred” have died for independence as well and there is no way we are going allow them to implement their plans. So we as parliamentarians and committee members are ready to work with the locals and together we can succeed in changing a lot of things, What can be done about defence? Well, first it is the psychological feeling that the city is defended and first and foremost that the locals realize this and have the peace of mind about it and this is like a reserve army…”

    • marknesop says:

      He always looks like he’s so stoned he hardly knows where he is – he looks like the front row of a Grateful Dead concert. It’s probably those heavy-lidded eyes, but he always appears to me like he’s going to fall asleep in mid-sentence, as a late friend of mine who suffered from sleep apnea used to do on occasion.

  28. ThatJ says:

    Ukraine Goes to War – and Always Will as Long as Maidan Holds Power
    as Alexander Mercouris writes for Russia Insider

    Here some exerpts:

    “The basic truth about the crisis in Ukraine and why there is a war there – the one that many people especially in the West refuse to acknowledge – is that the faction that seized power in Ukraine through the February 2014 coup is structurally incapable of negotiation or compromise with those it considers its opponents.

    “… the whole purpose of the February coup was so that the faction in Ukraine that holds power now could achieve the unrestricted dominance of Ukrainian society which is its only way of making true its vision of a unitary, monolingual, monocultural Ukraine that is forever distanced from Russia.

    “Given the diversity of Ukrainian society, it cannot compromise with its opponents since were it to do so that would jeopardize the entire project that is the reason for its existence and the justification for its hold on power. That is why it acted in February to eliminate from Ukrainian political life the faction that had held power in Ukraine before and why it remains committed to eliminating its opponents in the Donbass now.

    “… Though the Maidan regime is deeply divided and factionalised, its drive to remake Ukraine and to eliminate all opponents of its vision, is the common denominator of all its factions. As factional differences intensify as the economic situation deteriorates, fulfillment of the drive through war increasingly becomes the way the regime retains coherence, making a renewal of the war inevitable.

    “What this means in practice is that negotiations between the Ukrainian government and the Donbass as a route to peace in Ukraine are all but impossible. … any attempt to achieve a compromise is bound in the end to fail since the Maidan movement which holds power in Ukraine now is structurally unable to compromise.”

  29. ThatJ says:

    #Russian human rights idiot #Vasilevia to #Ukrainian media: the dense fog in #Donetsk is being manufactured by secret Russian generators.

  30. ThatJ says:

    Germany’s anti-immigrant PEGIDA isn’t a Vladimir Putin plot. It’s scarier.

    Last week, when I attended my first rally in Dresden organized by PEGIDA, Germany’s mysterious “anti-Islamization” movement, I was reminded of the aggressive pro-Russian protests that tore apart eastern Ukraine a year ago. Thousands of demonstrators, who mostly refused to talk to the “lying press,” listened to fiery speeches railing against the country’s political class. Among the German flags present, I also spotted a few Russian ones, including a banner that was split diagonally, one half Russia’s tricolor, the other half Germany’s. A reporter and cameraman from the Gazprom-owned NTV channel were greeted with welcoming calls of “Vladimir! Vladimir!”

    Based on a few shreds of evidence, it would have been easy enough to weave together a conspiracy theory that the Kremlin is behind the demonstrations that were initiated by a secretive organizing committee in October and swelled to a record 25,000 participants on Monday. After all, President Vladimir Putin served as a KGB agent in what was then an East German city in the 1980s (suspicious!) and one of PEGIDA’s key demands is an end to Germany’s “war-mongering” against Russia (bingo!). But accepting this kind of explanation would buy into the Kremlin’s own paranoia that mass protests can be bought with money — and isn’t supported by the facts.

    Full text: http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/01/14/germanys-pegida-isnt-a-vladimir-putin-plot-the-truth-is-scarier/

  31. et Al says:

    The New Scientist: Ukraine is left struggling as health workers flee
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26821-ukraine-is-left-struggling-as-health-workers-flee.html
    Many of Ukraine’s healthcare workers have died or fled, leaving the country struggling with TB and at risk of polio and measles infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

    The WHO says that between 30 and 70 per cent of the country’s health workers in the region affected by the sepratist unrest have gone and at least $23 million is needed to provide better healthcare for the 5 million inhabitants of eastern Ukraine. An estimated 1.4 million people are thought to be particularly vulnerable in part because of pre-existing medical conditions or because they have had to move from their homes.

    “The humanitarian health crisis in Ukraine is severe,” said Dorit Nitzan, the WHO representative to Ukraine, in a note published on 16 January. “Insecurity, displacement and cold weather, combined with the poor state of the country’s health system, means that basic health care is out of the reach of many people,” she said.

    According to the WHO, vaccination coverage in Ukraine is well below 50 per cent, placing the population at risk of preventable infectious diseases like polio and measles. TB is reported to be on the rise in the easternmost Donbas region, which has been gripped by unrest and includes the cities Donetsk and Luhansk. The WHO warns that people with HIV or AIDS in this region are at a high risk of having their care interrupted….
    ###

    Not that you would know from the Pork Pie News Networks.

    A) they deserve it; b) they are mostly Russians anyway; c) they’d only migrate to western Europe so good riddance; d) they don’t belive in a ‘Pure Ukraine’ so they need to be flushed down the toilet on way or another etc…

    So, for all the liberal, western, caring and sharing notions that makes the West Simply the Best(TM) – sorry Tina – some humanitarian disasters are absolutely fine. Arbeit macht frei and all that.

  32. et Al says:

    BTW, a ULA Atlas 5 using Russian RD-180 engines is due to loft a US Navy MUOS 3 military mobile comms satellite in the next few hours.

    http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/01/19/av052-mission-status-center/

    • marknesop says:

      I thought Russia took a position of not selling any supplies that could support the U.S. military or which could be dual-use?

      • et Al says:

        I think there is clearly nothing that they can do with the rocket engines the US still has in stock, 16 or so (4 launches I think), but the Russian government has clearly stipulated that any new contracts are strictly for civilian purposes, Orbital Sciences (recent RD-181 contract) for example.

        Yet again, Russia takes the high ground and uses a smart strategy. Rather than loosing the plot and refusing all sales, they show that they are reasonable and pragmatic, keeping economic relations with western companies even if their own governments are pressuring them to curtail ties. Political capital will be quickly lost if US companies go bust or have to fire employees because of US politics. Russia simply shows that despite all the s/t that is being thrown at it, it is still a really good place to invest if you are not easily scared by your own government.

        • et Al says:

          Balls!

          Sputnik, via Space Daily: Russia Could Export 30 More Rocket Engines to US
          http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Space_Corporation_Says_Russia_Could_Export_30_More_Rocket_Engines_to_US_999.html
          Russian rocket manufacturer Energia is currently in talks with US space launch provider United Launch Alliance (ULA) over a contract to deliver 30 additional RD-180 rocket engines, Energia head Vladimir Solntsev said Friday.

          “We are currently discussing [with ULA] a contract to increase the engine shipment – i.e. at least 30 more engines,” Solntsev said on Rossiya-24 TV channel.

          According to the Energia head, the United States wants the engines as soon as possible to “be sure of the future of Atlas-5 rocket.”

          The RD-180 is the engine that powers the ULA Atlas V rocket.

          “24 engines are to be delivered by 2018. [The previous contract] will definitely be fulfilled,” he added. He also stated that Energia was determined to continue cooperation with its American partners in deep space exploration.

          “During our business trip to the States, we discussed many questions regarding deep space exploration, the use of International Space Station, expansion and increase in the range of scientific, biomedical, applied experiments, material science, metallurgy,” Solntsev said, adding that his company could achieve much in its cooperation with the United States.

          According to Solntsev, the Russian and American sides have a complete understanding between each other, and work as a team in preparing contracts.

          It was announced earlier Friday that Energia had signed a $1-billion contract with US Orbital Sciences Corporation for the delivery of 60 RD-181 engines. The first two are to be delivered in June 2015.
          ###

          What is abundantly clear is that the reason we have not seen the US banning the launch of satellites with US components on Russian launchers is because the US would not be able to keep the schedule of US military satellite launches. Any replacement US designed and build rocket engine is years away from being certified to loft multi billion dollar spy sats in to space. So despite all the rah-rahing by companies like SpaceX, without Russian rocket engines, US national security will be impacted quite quickly.

          Still, the story above is only from one perspective, but that Energia is actually touring the US when Russia is supposed to be under tough sanctions says plenty enough. I can’t possibly imagine the Kremlin signing off on such a bulk buy unless it were strictly controlled (i.e. sending only small batches) and can be cancelled through all sorts of additional clauses. Russia should have no business supporting the US defense industry and strengthening its capabilities against Russia. The last time something like this happened was when the US bought large quantities of titanium from the Soviet Union that they turned in to SR-71s spy planes.

          On the one hand, the US is going to replace Russian rockets with their own designs at some point, so why loose out on the $$$ and the leverage that comes with it? On the other, selling more rockets to the US only serves to support US military activities that can be directed against Russia.

          I’m surprised McCain hasn’t had a heart attack over this yet!

          • et Al says:

            Remember Kids, Obama said Russia don’t make nuffink!

            August 3, 2014.
            Neuters: Obama: ‘Russia doesn’t make anything,’ West must be firm with China
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/03/us-ukraine-crisis-obama-idUSKBN0G30Q920140803
            “President Barack Obama dismissed Russia as a nation that “doesn’t make anything” and said in an interview with the Economist magazine…

            …”I do think it’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn’t make anything,” Obama said in the interview….

          • et Al says:

            On US defense pork:

            Via Antiwar.com

            FFF: How the Pentagon Really Gets Funded
            http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/pentagon-really-gets-funded/
            by Philip A. Reboli January 19, 2015

            Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert Gates (Knop 2014), 640 pages.

            The most interesting parts of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s memoir, Duty, are about how he navigated the Department of Defense (DoD) bureaucracy and the special interests who live off it. A recurring theme is the difficulty Gates had in getting the DoD to provide the services it is expected to provide in a timely and efficient manner. Over and over again, he was stymied by various interested groups — inside and outside of the department — whose overriding concern was to protect the status quo.

            After his confirmation as the secretary of defense, Gates became acquainted with the effects that the Iraq and Afghan wars were having on the bottom line. He would be reminded throughout his tenure that so many jobs and so much infrastructure depended on DoD largess:

            Most [senators] made sure to acquaint me with the important defense industries in their states and pitch for my support to those shipyards, depots, bases, and related sources of jobs. I was dismayed that in the middle of fighting two wars, such parochial issues were so high on their priority list.

            Gates goes on to restate his position much more plainly:

            In truth, nothing can prepare you for being secretary of defense, especially during wartime. The size of the place and its budget dwarf everything else in government. As I quickly learned from 535 members of Congress, its programs and spending reach deeply in every state and nearly every community. Vast industries and many local economies are dependent on decisions made in the Pentagon every day. [Emphasis added.]
            ###

            More at the link.

  33. kirill says:

    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Crushing-The-U.S.-Energy-Export-Dream.html

    “Exporting crude oil and natural gas from the United States are among the dumbest energy ideas of all time.

    Exporting gas is dumb.

    Exporting oil is dumber.”

    LOL.

  34. yalensis says:

    Zakharchenko video press conference, with POW’s.
    English subtitles.

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters”, said Obama. “That’s how America leads – not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.”

    I still believe – Barack Hussein Obama.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s how America leads – never a truer word was spoken, Mr. President. A deliberate attempt to destroy a country that did the USA no harm, all for ideology and the continued domination of America’s currency so that it can continue to browbeat and threaten other countries both economically and militarily, all for the purpose of making life easier for Americans. How noble. The thought that such a selfless culture might one day perish from the earth should give us all an ashen brow and a frisson of inconsolable sorrow.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Something wrong again with the thread!

    I posted the above at the end of the thread, but they have ended up here.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Bloomberg:

      S&P Near $1 Billion Mortgage Ratings Settlement With U.S.

      Standard & Poor’s is close to a settlement of about $1 billion with the U.S. for allegedly misleading investors about its ratings of mortgage-backed securities before the subprime crisis, a person familiar with the matter said.

      RT:

      S&P slapped with $77m fine for misleading investors

      The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s will have to pay over $77 million and is to be barred for one year from grading certain bond deals for loosening its rating criteria in order to win business. Investors had not been informed of these changes.

      This comes after a settlement with US federal and state regulators over “fraudulent misconduct” and is the first time that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ever fined one of the big three credit-raters, since it won authority from Congress in 2006 to look after the sector, Reuters reported.

      RT:

      Russian Central Bank voids Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch ratings

      Standard & Poor’s will decide whether it cuts Russian debt to junk level by the end of January.

    • PaulR says:

      My own recent comment ended up somewhere in the middle of all the others. WordPress seems to be playing some sort of perverse version of hide and seek.

      • marknesop says:

        Okay, I found the reason, and we have to get the word on this out fast, let me tell you. WordPress Headquarters in San Francisco is currently under attack by 2 battalions of Ukrainian infantry, supported by 500 tanks, 3 APC’s (they’re pretty good about sharing) 400 helicopters and 5 mammoths. I saw them cross the California border myself, but the battery on my Blackberry was low so I couldn’t take any pictures, damn it. FOX News has the story, but I couldn’t get it confirmed by anyone else. Still, they’re pretty reliable, and I heard the State Department was getting a briefing together on it right now. TELL EVERYBODY!!!!

  37. peter says:

  38. ThatJ says:

    Updates from mp.net:

    EU wants Russia to remove the embargo from selected agricultural products

    http://www.gazeta.ru/business/2015/01/20/6381921.shtml

    In recent #DNR press conference with UA POWs, President Zakharchenko said there will be no more prisoner exchanges with #Ukraine.

    #Mariupol is heating up. Oligarch #Akhmetov stopped all production at local steel plants, sending masses of workers to unpaid vacation. #ATO

    #Mariupol: hundreds of laid off workers will, without doubt, add to local civil unrest inside the city, which is already present. #ATO

    http://fakty.interia.pl/raport-unia-europejska/aktualnosci/news-rmf24-solidarnosc-unijna-w-sprawie-rosyjskiego-embarga-w-roz,nId,1593293#utm_source=paste&utm_medium=paste&utm_campaign=other

    Unfortunately in Polish only. Shortly:

    European Commision has reached agreement with Russia and allow EU members to sign bilateral contracts for pork delivery with Russia. France annonced that got permision for resuming export.

    As Polish I add one important question: it has to be guaranteed with documents denying country with proven ASF which excludes Polish pork from RF market.

    Explosion in Zaporozhye region cut off from Mariupol rail link

    Today, January 20, at 15.00 at the 360th km of the Reed-Dawn Rozovka was blown bridge. According to the press center “Ukrainian Railways”, in a suicide attack went off the rails locomotive and 20 cars. The train was carrying iron ore to steel mills Mariupol.

    The explosion cut off from Mariupol rail link with the territory, which is controlled by Kiev. An alternative route from Volnovakha goes north area through territory controlled by the self-proclaimed DNR.

    http://hubs.com.ua/news/mariupol-otrezali-ot-ukrainy.html

    (from sputniknews, google translate)

    The mayor of Mariupol wants to send all unemployed to fight the separatists

    Tuesday, 20 January 2015 20:48

    Authorities Mariupol offer to attract service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine unemployed. This is reported by local news portal, citing the words of the mayor of the city Yuri Hotlubey.

    As it became known as one of the measures to accelerate the mobilization of the city, the head of Mariupol proposed to solve the problem, adjust work with local employment centers, as in more than five thousand unemployed. In addition, it is proposed to strengthen the awareness among the population about who is subject to mobilization.

    Ukraine Reporter‏@StateOfUkraine
    Seemingly endless columns of Russian soldiers/tanks are entering an outgunned and outnumbered Ukraine. The West is readying its hashtags.

    SA-15 Tor filmed near Shakhtersk

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_missile_system

    • marknesop says:

      I see Ukraine has it (the SA-15 TOR); is there any reason the rebels should not? If they are to be denied negotiating power by force of arms, somewhat analogous to the government being allowed to shoot them from a distance with rifles while they must defend themselves with sticks, is that what the west terms fair? Remember, this is the same west that rushes the most sophisticated arms that are portable and imply a degree of deniability to rebel forces all over the world which are assaulting governments the west wishes to be overthrown. No weapons for the “Pro-Russia Seaparatists”, though. Wouldn’t be cricket.

  39. peter says:

  40. peter says:

  41. peter says:

    • yalensis says:

      They say that he (Muhammad) actually had a very nice do.
      Kind of wavy, and slicked back, but with a little curl down the forehead.
      Unfortunately, I am not able to display a picture of it, for very obvious reasons.
      You will have to use your imagination!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        How can it be the Prophet Mohammed’s (may peace be upon him) hair?

        I thought that when he toss-tailed over he was taken to heaven on winged horse.

        Maybe it’s not a piece of his hair but his hair piece what fell of as he was flying to heaven?

        And they call me daft for saying I’m a believer in Woden and Thor and all the rest of them Germanic headbanger gods!

        Waes hael!

        🙂

        • Jen says:

          Jesus had a similar problem on being assumed into Heaven: he left quite a few bits ‘n’ bobs of himself behind, including parts of the cross he was crucified on, and the foreskin taken from him as a wee mite. How can he have been assumed into Heaven complete?

      • peter says:

  42. davidt says:

    “God bless America, God save the Queen, God defend New Zealand and thank God for Australia!” (Russell Crowe)

    • davidt says:

      This was meant as a little joke and was under a message from ME the last line of which was “God bless America”. And for ME only, Crowe “owns” the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the team that just won NRL premiership. (South Sydney were lucky to survive in the League after Murdoch’s “attack” on the game to gain the rugby league television rights.) I think that Murdoch still retains an interest in the Russian media through the WSJ. Good to see a local make good.

    • yalensis says:

      Well, it’s true that the Ukrainians were probably first on the scene.
      Since they were there all along, as concentration camp guards!

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. –
      Dear ThatJ, since you mention Auschwitz, I am curious to know what you think of that institution. Did it actually exist? If so, what was its purpose?

      No, I’m not needling you. Well, I am, sort of, but I’m also giving you an opportunity to explain your position, since you have stated that you are a Holocaust denier.

      And no, I am not mocking “deniers” per se. I think it’s okay to “deny” some things, and not deny others. People are allowed to pick and choose from a menu.
      For example, I have officially declared myself to be a “Katyn denier”, but that’s because of certain information I read, which I back up with links.
      But just because I am a Katyn denier, does not mean I deny every bit of “official” history. For example, I am NOT a Holocaust denier. I think that one really happened, pretty much exactly the way the (Jewish mostly) historians say. You can disbelieve eye-witness testimony if you like, but the (demographic) numbers actually tell the whole story.

      However, since you have stated in the past that you are a Holocaust-denier, I would be interested to hear your backup argumentation for this. Also, if you don’t believe that Jews were being slaughtered in Nazi concentration camps, then how do you explain a place like Auschwitz? I suppose people were just hanging around, baking studels and drinking schnapps to pass the time, while waiting for the war to end.

      • ThatJ says:

        Dear ThatJ, since you mention Auschwitz, I am curious to know what you think of that institution. Did it actually exist? If so, what was its purpose?

        Of course Auschwitz existed. This question is offending if you expected me to deny its existence. It was an internment camp (and not an exclusively Jewish one) and war-related products were produced there, such as synthetic fuel. Those Jews who died in Auschwitz were not part of an extermination plan (and why would Jews need to be transported to a specific location en masse to be killed?). They died for various reasons: malnutrion (a problem in Europe at the time, the Germans even complained to Allied authorities after the war about the lack of food and thousands died in what we can call a small-scale famine), a typhus epidemic, and also mistreatment (for whatever reason, and some were certainly killed for what they did or didn’t). The Allied bombing of the roads didn’t help the question of supply to the camps.

        Churchill, Roosevelt and de Gaulle, in their combined memoirs, consuming over 7,000 pages, made no references to “Holocaust”, or “gas chambers”. This is understandable, because the Holocaust Industry didn’t take off until the 60s.

        By the way, holocaust is a very inappropriate name for the non-existant event. As per Wikipedia, holocaust is a combination of two words of Greek origin, hólos and kaustós. The meaning:

        1. a great or complete devastation or destruction, especially by fire.
        2. a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering.

        Basically, mass destruction/murder by fire/burning. I’m pretty sure there are other events in WWII that best merit this description.

        • Jen says:

          Re ThatJ’s comment: ” … and why would Jews need to be transported to a specific location en masse to be killed? …”

          The camps where Jews were killed were located in remote areas of Poland where railway lines had their terminus: Auschwitz-Birkenau in Silesia in southern Poland is the most typical example, at least two lines ended there. Then there are Bełżec, Chełmno, Sobibor, Majdanek and Treblinka. A few of these were located not far from cities with large Jewish populations: Treblinka was close to Warsaw and Białystok.

          The camps had to be located far from the German-speaking population so that no-one could find out.

          There is no way Franklin D Roosevelt could have known much about the Holocaust or the scale of industrial killing in the death camps because he died in April 1945. The full scope of the Holocaust was not known until some time after the war in Europe ended.

          Churchill may not have mentioned the Holocaust in his memoirs because it could have caused him problems after his memoirs were published: during his wartime leadership, there had been Allied talk of bombing the railway lines leading to the camps but for some reason this idea was shelved, supposedly because Allied pilots would have had to fly far into enemy territory to bomb the camps and the British leadership, itself considerably anti-Jewish, did not wish to risk losing the pilots. Similar could be said for de Gaulle and Eisenhower. In any case, their goal was to drive out the German armed forces from occupied lands and then to remove Hitler’s government, put its leaders on trial and punish them.

          • yalensis says:

            The film and related book Shoah document the use of the railway lines and terminals in carrying out Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem”.

            By the way, if I am not mistaken, “Shoah” is the original word that Jews used for what happened to them, in Hebrew “Shoah” means simply “calamity”.
            ThatJ may actually be correct (even a broken clock is right twice a day, or in the case of a digital clock, just once) that the word “Holocaust” was a later, fancier invention, made up of Greek roots to give a more ominous name than just “Something Terrible Happened to Us”.

            • Jen says:

              I believe the word “holocaust” in its modern sense was used by Winston Churchill to describe the Ottoman genocide of Armenians and other Christian groups in Ottoman territory in 1915. That genocide consisted of transporting people by truck to desolate areas in eastern Anatolia and nearby desert, and of sending Armenian troops to the front-lines to act as shock troops with insufficient ammunition and weaponry so they could be quickly cut down by Allied forces.

        • ThatJ says:

          @Jen

          Did I say Roosevelt? Damn, I meant Eisenhower. The combination of their memoirs give us the monumental number of 7000 pages and, as I said, there’s no mention of “Holocaust” or “gas chamber”. Given the magnitude and ugliness of what the Nazis supposedly did, and how we hear about it non-stop nowadays, I find the lack of empathy by these three men very curious… unless they didn’t know about it, or thought it didn’t deserve a mention. But I’ll stick to what my research tells me: the number of 6 million is a gross exaggeration, with the real number ranging between 300-500k — and they didn’t die by gassing.

          The kabbalistic number of 6 million has a special meaning for Jews. Just check this out:

          • Jen says:

            There is the possibility that Churchill, de Gaulle and Eisenhower could have compromised themselves had they mentioned the Holocaust in their published memoirs: Churchill and Eisenhower would have had to justify firebombing Dresden and other German cities if they admitted to knowing of German plans to transport Jews, gypsies and others to death camps in Poland but doing nothing to stop the transports by bombing the railway lines. I also understand that de Gaulle had intended to write three volumes of memoirs but he only finished one as he died suddenly from a haemorrhage in November 1970. So we do not know if he would have mentioned knowing anything beyond what was happening in France during the war.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Gaulle#Retirement

            The examples quoted in the New York Times are all rather selective and later ones could just be repeating earlier posts. Newspapers then as now all had their particular little axes to grind. I’d expect to see examples from other newspapers in different languages from around the world for evidence of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to create a narrative of 6 million dead before WW2 had finished and the scale of the Holocaust was known.

            The issue of the Holocaust is highly politicised on BOTH sides and BOTH ignore the fact that other groups of people – gypsies, homosexuals, people with congenital mental and physical deficiencies, Soviet POWs among others – were as much victims as Jewish people were. The actual combined death toll was probably at least 10 million. A study done in 2013 suggests the total number killed could be as high as 20 million.
            http://www.businessinsider.com/shocking-new-holocaust-study-claims-nazis-killed-up-to-20-million-people-2013-3

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I think the 6 million murdered Jews figure tallies with the 12 million allegedly murdered Ukrainians intentionally done away with by the Stalin regime through artificially created famine: that’s the maximum figure that I’ve seen given by apologists for “Holodomor”.

              You see, Stalin was twice as worse than Hitler was.

              Six million Jews? That’s fuck all! The Russians murdered 12 million Ukrainians!!!

            • yalensis says:

              That’s a good point, and people very rarely mention the gypsies (Romani) who were also victims of Nazi extermination. Of course, in the scheme of things, gypsies are “not as important” as Jews. That’s a terrible thing to say, but, realistically, the gypsies have not contributed to human civilization nearly as much as Jews have; nor do they have the political clout or the money to press their case.

              Nobody should be killed for who they are, but realistically, some victims are more equal than others, just as some animals are more equal than others. [allude to Orwell]

      • Johan Meyer says:

        There is quite a bit of confusion regarding Auschwitz, as conversion to mass killing (as opposed to slave and forced labour) occurred fairly late, with the consequence also that many people survived the camp. Early death toll claims were as high as 4 million, although no scholar will now claim more than 1 million. Most concentration camps were just that, and only a handful were converted to killing sites—thus the significance of the railways’ documentation.. Theresienstadt for example, started out as a bona fide old age home-style camp, as the German army insisted on proper treatment for Jewish veterans. If memory serves (it has been years since I’ve read Hilberg’s Destruction the last time), they emptied the camp quite late, and killed the remaining inmates elsewhere.

        Anyhow, the mass killing efforts, such as shootings, would lead to morale problems, thus the initial gas trucks (Walter Rauf’s little idea—he worked for a while for Israeli intelligence, and they helped him escape to South America), with multiple small scale variations, before creating physically small killing camps. Hilberg insisted on distinguishing concentration and killing camps—in a concentration camp, mass killing risks riots. Because there is so much nonsense published on the events in question, I strongly recommend you read Hilberg.

        • yalensis says:

          My understanding of history is that Treblinka and Sobibor were among the first camps specializing in gas chamber deaths and then cremating the corpses on a mass scale.

          You are correct that Auschwitz was not initially a death camp per se, it was a slave labour camp, but at some point they did bring in the gas chambers and start killing in earnest.

          Of all the Nazi labour camps, I think Buchenwald was the “gentlest” and had the most survivors. I don’t think they even had gas chambers there.

          Also, as far as genocide was concerned, a good deal of bodies were racked up during the clearings of the ghettos and the mass shootings, such as Babiy Yar and Khatyn.

          Ironically, the German Jews had it the best and were not interned until later in the war, from what I understand. But Hitler really had it in for the Slavic national Jews.

          • Tim Owen says:

            Gotta ask:

            “Those Jews who died in Auschwitz were not part of an extermination plan (and why would Jews need to be transported to a specific location en masse to be killed?).”

            Are you saying there was no extermination plan for European Jews or that Auschwitz didn’t – eventually or whatever – play a part in that? No Wannsee conference?

            As for the question you ask, it strikes me as obtuse in the extreme. So that they could be made to disappear en masse without it becoming obvious?

            Honestly, there’s a pattern with you. Every, I dunno, 7 posts you come up with one of these moments:

            • yalensis says:

              Dear Tim:
              Yeah, you noticed ThatJ’s cyclic pattern too?
              I think there is a method to his madness. He posts a series of comments about Russia/Ukraine, sometimes even on-topic. He culls some stuff (admittedly sometimes even interesting stuff) from forums like militaryphotos. He is even starting to branch out and bring in links in Russian or Ukrainian, probably in response to my criticism that he only linked English-language sources and then proceeded to copy/paste the content.

              Sidebar:
              Reminds me of an opera I once attended, it was supposed to be a German opera, but come to find it was dubbed into English, with English subtitles. So when the baritone is blaring: “I will invite you to the ball, my love!” the subtitles below the stage read “I will invite you to the ball, my love!”

              ANYHOW! so, to resume, ThatJ posts around 6 or 7 comments of general interest, and people reply to his comments, and everything is groovy.
              And then, when he thinks everybody is softened up sufficiently: BAM!
              He dishes out some really hardcore Jew-hating propaganda.

              In conclusion, I guess ThatJ is just trying to win people over to his political point of view, maybe get them to join the Nazi Party, and he thinks this is a good forum to do that. Of all the people who read Mark’s blog, I guess there are bound to be some like-minded ones who will respond to this ideology. So I suppose it is a recruitment device.

              • yalensis says:

                P.S. Here is an excellent recruiting tool for wannabe Nazis:

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  From this distance in time it is true that they look bloody funny in their daft regalia and throwing their “German salutes”. Much closer up, they were no laughing matter. I must admit though, that when I see pictures of Goering dressed as Reichsjägermeister -[Reich Master of the Hunt], I think he would have been better suited in a circus.

                  He was a junky as well!

                  And Himmler, the former chicken farmer, in full monty kills me:

                  He killed plenty of others as well. And he didn’t sniff coke.

                  But they all, from this distance seem … well, so geeky!

                  This bloke wasn’t a geek though:

                  nor this one:

                  🙂

          • Jen says:

            My understanding is that the actual death camps at Auschwitz were located in Birkenau which was about 2 miles away from the main concentration camp area. Also before the Red Army reached Auschwitz in January 1945, about 60,000 prisoners were forcibly marched out to Wodzisław_Śląski by the SS where they would be dispersed to other camps. About 9,000 – 15,000 died during the march.

  43. yalensis says:

    Video of Evgeniya Albats being stopped by traffic police in Moscow.

    The basic story: Recall that Albats is a notorious liberal “dissident” journalist (her paper is called “The New Times”) and big friend of Navalny.
    Traffic cops pulled her over on Novy Arbat.
    Albats refused to stop and refused to show her documents. Instead she pulled out her cellphone and starting snapping photos of the cops.
    Later, Albats refused to show up in court to either pay or contest the fine (500 rubles).
    People remind readers that if that had happened in USA (Albats actual nation of citizenship), then she could have been dragged out of her car and tazed.
    Instead, Russian traffic cops were the pinnacle of politeness and professionalism with her.

    In video:
    Albats mouthing off and arguing with cops. Instead of whipping out her license and registration, she whips out her cellphone and starts texting somebody.
    Then turns it around in camera and starts taking pictures.
    One of the cops says jokingly, “That’s okay, let her photograph us.” (:35 seconds)
    Other cop is showing her his badge. (Which her lawyer contested the fact of, in traffic court; he claimed cops didn’t show their credentials.)
    At 1:00 minute in, Albats asked heatedly: “Why did you pick my particular car to stop? I’m not doing anything wrong, just going about my business.”

    Well, this is the question that every driver always asks when pulled over, they always think it is unfair to be singled out, when they have places to go, and everybody else on the road is driving like a maniac.
    In Albats case, she is also somewhat paranoid; because she is a dissident, she always think the “regime” is out to get her.

    Albats continues to argue with the cops for several more minutes, while they continue to ask her (politely) for her documentation. She even continues to wave some black object at them (probably a tape recorder); once again, in USA the cops would have felt threatened by this and probably tazed her or even shot her. Thus proving that Russia is less police state nation than USA.
    This is also interesting from sociological perspective, look at the body language and the voices. Russian traffic cops are not regarded with fear, as figures of authority, as in Western countries. Their tone is almost subservient. Albats is every bit the little Marie Antoinette who cannot bear to feel dominated by their peasants.

    Odd detail:
    She keeps asking them why they pulled her over. Cops respond they are in the middle of some type of operation called “Operation Anaconda”. Haven’t been able to suss out exactly what that is, probably some traffic-controlt hing.

    In conclusion: This is a tough old broad.
    In the end she was still fined the 500 rubles, but judge did not issue bench warrant, so she pretty much got away with it. Probably was calling her “Krysha” for help on that cellphone.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yeah, well, like most of them, she feels that she is so precious.

      By the way, it was on New Arbat. I was wondering why she was complaining about their pulling her up on the Arbat, because it is full pedestrianized:

      • Jen says:

        The police must have been asking her for documentation that authorised her to drive a vehicle through a pedestrian mall. She must have been going about her business mowing down Putin supporters.
        🙂

        • marknesop says:

          Albats is the same spinny-eyed loon who demanded to be arrested during the Dissenters’ March a few years back – she relishes and deliberately provokes confrontations with the police. It is a badge of honour, not to mention a juicy story of deprivation, mistreatment and brutality if she can get herself run in.

  44. yalensis says:

    And speaking of Muhammad:
    On Monday was held the big rally in Grozny. Russian press reports that over 800K people attended the mass meeting to express their peaceful opposition to blasphemy. Kadyrov and the leading Chechen clerics condemned the recent insults to Islam, while at the same time denouncing all forms of terrorism, and defending Russian foreign policy against the West.

    Transcription of Kadyrov’s speech:
    Асалам Алейкум! Дорогие друзья!

    Я смотрю на эту площадь с гордостью за нашего любимого Пророка Мухаммеда, за наши религии, за народы России. Мы с вами собрались на манифестацию протеста.

    Это протест против тех, кто поддерживает публикацию карикатур на Пророка Мухаммеда, мир ему. Это протест против тех, кто пытается оскорбить религиозные чувства всех мусульман мира. Это протест против тех, кто сознательно разжигает всемирный пожар религиозной и межнациональной вражды.

    Мы решительно осуждаем авторов карикатур и политиков, оказывающих им поддержку в разговорах о свободе слова. Сегодня мы видим, что Европа не сделала должных выводов из недавних кровавых событий в Париже. Вместо того, чтобы осудить тех, кто открыл стрельбу, и тех, кто своими карикатурами давал для этого повод, власти Франции организовали уличное шоу с лозунгами в поддержку вседозволенности, ведущей к кровопролитию. В нём приняли участие президенты, премьеры и короли. Это даёт законное право говорить, что за инцидентом с карикатурами могут стоять власти и спецслужбы западных стран, заинтересованных вызвать новую волну пополнения рядов ИГИЛ тысячами обманутых молодых людей со всего света!

    Мы твёрдо заявляем, что никому и никогда не позволим безнаказанно оскорблять имя Пророка, мир ему, и нашу религию!

    Если потребуется, мы готовы умереть, чтобы остановить любого, кто думает, что можно безответственно склонять имя Пророка, мир ему. Это должны чётко усвоить все, кто бессовестно игнорируют мнение сотен миллионов мусульман. Мы с вами видим, что европейские журналисты и политики под фальшивыми лозунгами о свободе слова и демократии провозгласили свободу хамства, бескультурья, оскорбления религиозных чувств сотен миллионов верующих. О какой свободе слова твердят в Париже и в других западных столицах?

    Россия осудила террор Америки и Европы против народов Сирии, Ливии, Ирака, а также развязывание войны на Украине. В ответ на это западные защитники демократии объявили санкции ста сорока шести миллионам граждан России, среди которых женщины, старики, дети. И после этого у них хватает совести говорить о свободе слова!

    История с оскорбительными рисунками в адрес Пророка Мухаммеда, мир ему, тянется уже десятилетие. Одна из датских газет в 2005 году опубликовала первые карикатуры. Это вызвало затяжной политический кризис во всем мире. А руководство России заняло принципиальную позицию. Власти нашей страны не позволили тиражировать оскорбительные для мусульман рисунки. А за отдельные факты призвали к ответу руководителей СМИ. Государственная Дума приняла федеральный закон о защите чувств верующих.

    Благодаря твердой воле президента Владимира Владимировича Путина, Россия сегодня противостоит негативным явлениям, охватившим Европу и другие регионы мира.

    Мы с вами на весь мир заявляем, что мусульмане ни в коем случае не позволят использовать себя для раскачивания ситуации в стране. Мы всегда были надёжными защитниками России и сегодня в состоянии дать достойный отпор любым врагам нашего Отечества!

    Ислам является религией мира и созидания, он учит жить в мире и согласии со всеми народами нашей страны, с людьми разных вероисповеданий. Мы строго соблюдаем эти принципы, заложенные в Священном Коране и Сунне Посланника Аллаха, мир ему. В России созданы идеальные условия для верующих. Есть тысячи мечетей, медресе, исламские институты. Мы за мир и взаимное уважение культур и религий! Мы за стабильность в нашем Отечестве — России! Аллах Акбар!


    A decent speech, as Shultz notes, hitting all the right notes.

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