Admiral Kirby Buys a Farm

Uncle Volodya says, "Far better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted with a lie.”

Uncle Volodya says, “Far better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted with a lie.”

The British navy was involved in some peacetime maneuvers at sea, involving a column of cruisers. They were steaming along in formation when a signal was given to execute a ninety-degree turn. The maneuver went off flawlessly, except for one cruiser, whose captain missed the signal. The ship almost collided with the one in front, and when it swerved to avoid a collision, the whole convoy was thrown into confusion. Only some very skillful seamanship by the other captains prevented a serious accident.

When some order had been regained, the Admiral on the flagship sent a message to the captain who had caused all the trouble; “Sir, what are your intentions?” Immediately, the reply came back, “Sir, I plan to buy a farm.” He knew without being told that one missed signal had terminated his naval career.”

From, “Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay; Practical and Contemporary Lessons From the Book of Judges“, by Gary Inrig

Former Rear-Admiral John Kirby currently serves as the spokesman for the United States Department of State, replacing colourful and ditzy airheads Jen Psaki and Marie Harf. Known affectionately on this forum as Psakipath and Harfwit, their…ummm…moving on to greener pastures was likely precipitated by their comic confusion under the relentless cross-examination of Matthew Lee – reporter for the Associated Press – during those press conferences the State Department regularly hosts for international journalists. Perhaps the State Department thought the presence of a dignified and experienced former military professional would offer a change of course from the hilarious Roman circuses those pressers were becoming, as the spokespersons regularly found themselves pinned like a butterfly to a collection card by questions they could not answer honestly. After all, it worked for CNN.

That’s just a guess on my part, but if their reasoning was something like that, it was a success like the Hindenburg. Driven into a corner by determined questioning from RT’s Gayane Chichakayan (thanks for the link, Tim!), Kirby spontaneously combusted and burned up like a gasbag zeppelin.

Let’s take it from the top. Mr. Kirby is plainly bracing himself for an unwelcome or unpleasant experience; his hand gestures and the sigh before he says, “Okay, go ahead” suggest he is only putting up with this because he is such a nice guy. Start the clock. When she says “concerns”, click stop. 41 seconds. Knock off 5, because she begins to frame her question at the 5-second mark. That’s 36 seconds to deliver the entire question, and subsequent attempts are all shorter than that. Yet Mr. Kirby moans and grumbles about “another 10-minute question, and I’m supposed to get the grain…get the grain out of that”. I certainly hope when he was in uniform, he was better at making a time appreciation than this performance indicates. There are occasional situations in military service – such as, “How long do I hold this thing after I pull the pin before I throw it?” – where if you were off by 564 seconds, it could have some consequences.

Let’s get back to the question. Ms. Chichakayan sets the background to the question thus;

  1. The USA’s official position is that it is up to Turkey and Iraq to sort out the situation with the uninvited Turkish troops;
  2. The USA assumes unto itself, without invitation from the Iraqi government, the right to invite other countries into Iraq to participate in the fight against ISIL (that seems to be the consensus acronym, at least for now);
  3. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (I refuse to refer to him as “Ash”, as if we were old buddies, like everyone else seems to do) reported to Congress that he had personally reached out to other countries to invite them to commit Special Operations forces to the battle in Iraq; and
  4. Iraq has announced a review of the defense security agreement with the United States, with some lawmakers calling for its cancellation.

She then asks the question, which is “What does the US do to address their concerns?”

She says the Turkish troops are univited. Is that so? Yes, it is. Who says so? AL Monitor‘s “Turkey Pulse” says so. Where’s it based? Washington, DC. She says the United States gub’mint invited other countries to come to Iraq to fight ISIL. Is that true? Why, yes; it is – here’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in the very hearing Ms. Chichakayan describes in her question, recounting for all who wish to listen that he spent part of the week “reaching out” to 40 countries to press them to do more… in some cases, much more. Remember that.  He says he solicited Special Forces, strike aircraft, munitions and support. He does not say this was done at the behest of the Iraqi government, and in the case of at least one supporting nation, Australia, it reportedly “responded to a request from the United States“. Interestingly, CNN references not only acknowledge air strikes in Syria “may be illegal without Assad’s agreement or unless he requests assistance of a western nation” – although this will not stop a Washington that claims a right to “take the fight to ISIL wherever it appears”, it merely means it will not work with Assad – they report that Washington heavyweights have been putting serious pressure on Turkey to do more against ISIL.

Is it not possible Erdogan perceives this as a green light to move his forces into Mosul? It certainly sounds like it to me, and for his part, Erdogan still declines to withdraw his troops and tanks. If I were a suspicious man, I might speculate that is because the nation that claims to be coordinating this whole Global War On ISIL told him to stay put, whatever the Iraqi government says. If you were not yet suspicious, I invite you to go “hmmmm…” along with me at the announcement that Turkey will partake in a trilateral meeting on December 21st with Northern Iraq Kurdish leaders and US officials. It was the Kurdish regional authority – which is not a nation, they are part of Iraq – who allegedly invited Erdogan’s forces in. Erdogan continues to insist his forces are there only to act as “instructors”. He has already thought ahead to say he needs his tanks there, too, to protect his instructors from ISIL, because the armored forces of Turkey and Iraq are in no way the same – don’t have a single type in common, in fact – which would beg the question of why the Turkish tanks are necessary. To instruct the Kurds in the operation and tactics of a tank they don’t have?

Finally, Ms. Chichakayan avers that Iraq has ordered a review of the defense security agreement with the United States, and that some lawmakers have called for its cancellation. That true? Uh huh, it is.  Everything Ms. Chichakayan purported in her question as fact, is fact.

It is not known whether the USA’s invitation to other countries to come on in to Iraq was negotiated with the participation and at the behest of the Iraqi government. But Ms. Chichakayan never introduced that line of inquiry – Mr. Kirby did. Apparently not content with merely muffing his own role, he appeared to take over hers, and go on a rant about what she might be implying. Cha-ching! said RT, I’ll bet – give Gayane Chichakayan a raise; she sure as hell earned it, the State Department spokeshole is falling apart in glowing cinders right before our very eyes.

For the record,. because everyone has probably forgotten by now, but the “grain” that Mr. Kirby was unable to extract from a 36-second question was, “What does the US do to address their concerns?”

Fuck-all, apparently, because the deadline for Ankara to withdraw has come and gone without Erdogan budging, which he insists he will not, and the furious Iraqis have gone over their “security partner’s” head and petitioned the UN to order the removal of the Turkish troops. That likely will be to no avail, since Washington controls the UN through the clownish invertebrate Ban Ki-Moon. But the significance of the December 21st snuggle between the US, Ankara and the Northern Region Kurdish administration should be lost on no one. Meanwhile, Erdogan – never one for keeping his head down – has moved on from that provocation and begun signing gas deals with the regional Kurdish administration as well. Washington’s strategy is laid bare at last, and what is going to be the result of it, if everyone is not very, very careful, is a civil war in Iraq as the central government reminds the Kurds that they do not have their own state within the borders of Iraq. I thought Washington was all about the sanctity of regional borders, but apparently that only applies to Ukraine.

It seems pretty clear that Washington is flying by the seat of its pants here, and is working some sort of Plan B. It is unlikely Erdogan would not only up the ante – considering the shitstorm he caused to blow up by shooting down a Russian fighter in Syria – but when ordered out by a sovereign government, would refuse to leave…unless he knew that somebody who swings a lot of weight was in his corner. Washington is plainly not listening at all to Iraq’s increasingly-frantic calls for Turkey to get out, and if it has been approached by the Iraqis to facilitate Erdogan’s removal it has, equally plainly, declined to act. Gayane Chichakayan and RT were right on the money; Washington and Ankara are up to something, and if they are allowed to normalize the presence of a thousand or so Turkish troops in the area of Mosul, their needs and infrastructure will only grow and grow. We may well be looking at a lunge for a Kurdish state, brokered by Turkey and the United States and guaranteed by a Turkish military presence. Why? Because Turkey can act as a gas hub for Europe, only pumping gas from Kurdistan. Has American control over Europe’s energy supply been a Washington dream since forever? Why, yes; yes, it has.

A lot of details would still have to be fleshed in, because the forecast supply was only 20 BCm by 2020, and that would nowhere near supply Europe’s gas markets. But it would be a foot in the door. It’s something to think about.

Still, I suppose it was mean of the State Department to push an innocent like John Kirby into the ring with a seasoned propagandist like RT, wasn’t it?

Not really. Not only was Kirby a Rear Admiral pulling down somewhere between $8,045.70 and $11,609.10 per month – plus a housing allowance if he lived off-base – when he was in uniform, he gave up maritime surface operations in favour of Public Affairs in the early 90’s; he was Public Affairs Officer in USS FORRESTAL (the same Carrier as the legendary John “Wet Start” McCain, in fact, although he would have served there much earlier, during the Vietnam War), and FORRESTAL was taken out of service in 1993. John Kirby was editor-in-chief for the US Navy’s flagship monthly magazine, All Hands, special assistant for Public Affairs to the Chief of Naval Operations, and Deputy Assistant secretary of Defense for Media Affairs before he was tapped to be State’s spokeshole. He was the US Navy’s Chief of Information and, as such, led a department of more than 2,700 active and reserve officer, enlisted and civilian communication professionals. He was the Pentagon’s Press Secretary. In short, John Kirby had about as much experience in media relations as it was possible for a military man to have, most of it acquired and practiced in the upper levels of government. The notion that he was unable to follow RT’s question because it was too complicated is ludicrous – he didn’t answer because in order to do so he would have had to lie, or give away information that the world has no business knowing because it is classified to a fare-thee-well. And the idea that he had not seen any reports about Iraqi concerns is frankly insulting – he eats, sleeps and breathes media and current events.

I don’t know how old Ms. Chichakayan is, but I would hazard a guess that she was not out of her teens when John Kirby was getting his start in Public Affairs. The advantage of media experience was weighted heavily in his favour. And he fell apart. You can bet they have their heads together at State, desperately looking for a way to yank RT’s license without looking too dictatorial, or at a minimum, an excuse to ban them from such press conferences.

I only mentioned how much money he makes so his fans will be comforted knowing he could easily afford even this magnificent farm in Florida, his home state. Because farming is shaping up like a good career choice for him.

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1,111 Responses to Admiral Kirby Buys a Farm

  1. et Al says:

    TitsupNeutersFoundation: Solar power surges – slowly – in regulation-heavy Russia
    http://www.trust.org/item/20151220231604-nt78e/

    In late October, Russia opened the first stage of the country’s largest solar power plant.

    Located in the Republic of Bashkortostan, between the Volga river and the Ural Mountains in the south of the country, the project will eventually have a 20-megawatt (MW) capacity.

    Solar has been the fastest developing renewable energy source in Russia in recent years. From just 2 megawatts of capacity in 2012, solar generation is due to grow to 1,500 megawatts by 2020, according to the Russian Solar Energy Association.

    The company behind the new plant, Hevel Solar, plans to supply a total of 500 MW of solar power to Russia’s energy network over the next three years, and is now manufacturing solar components…

    …The relatively rapid development of solar energy in Russia is due principally to regulations requiring renewable energy projects to use domestically produced equipment and supplies in order to qualify for state support.

    At the moment the rules mostly favour solar, since much of the necessary equipment can already be manufactured within the country. Falling global costs for solar generation also are playing a role, experts say.

    “In early 2013, when the government decided to support the development of the renewables sector, it overestimated the potential of wind energy and small hydro plants, yet very much underestimated the dawning of solar energy generation,” Kokorin said…

    …“Theoretically speaking, green energy could make up to one-third of energy production and up to half of overall heat production (in Russia),” said Elena Medvedeva, speaking at a conference in Moscow earlier in the autumn. Medvedeva heads a research team from the Higher School of Economics in the country’s capital that analysed the potential for renewable energy for the Ministry of Energy.

    But current economic and political conditions argue against more green energy, she said.

    “One of the major obstacles on the way to renewables development is the high cost of borrowed money (combined with) low natural gas prices,” she said…
    ####

    I’m glad that there are only government subsidies for domestically produced solar panels. In the EU, the Chinese have been dumping panels and there was a massive fight between member states who on the one hand wanted to significantly penalize Chinese producers, and others (Germany for example) who wanted to be less punative to keep uptake of renewables high. It looks like the Russian government doesn’t want to face the same situation. The devil is of course in the detail as it depends what ‘manufactured in’ means. In the EU, ‘made in the EU’ can mean assembled in the EU from components outside the EU..

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    And now – for something completely different [Lyt’s table explodes]

    As any Stronkly Opinionated Idiot on the Web will tell you, there are no such things as:

    a) Anti-Russia Propaganda
    b) Promotion of Russophobia.
    c) Instances when a society living in Free and Liberal society, surrounded by Multiple Independant Sources of Information, falling into beleiving an onbious fake, without bothering to chek it first.

    Well, how about this article that already creates all sorts of responses in the Free world:

    A Russian laboratory has invented a way to remove the black skin layer of black people

    “This is unbelievable and yet real. According to a publication of the Moscow Faculty of Sciences , researchers have developed a chemical process to « whiten » quickly a person.

    With a mixture that includes oxytane and benzodiazepine. It would suffice to stay for 6 hours in a bath consisting of 50grams per liter of water.

    Then the skin peels off naturally. This is in fact the upper skin layer responsible for the color that can be removed.

    he laboratory at the origin of the discovery has already announced 254 people have been treated by this method. The Russian government may soon allow the reimbursement of this treatment.

    According to Russian authorities, is an high value for thousands of immigrants who may feel more integrated in Russia once their color matches the one of the premises.

    A strong point of view decried by the associations of human rights.Vladimir Putin’s country use all the means at its disposal, even science, to guide his company towards a vision considered ideal.

    Source: Moscow Times

    Not one link to the source of these amazing news, but Enlightened Western Commenters were already posting things like “Gee, lol, soopid Ruskies”, or “Why they didn’t invent AIDS vaccine instead?”, or even “Gay-hatin’ Putin is now confirmed racist”. People, who belong to a society of “not-slaves”, who had “superior” Western education while at schools/unis don’t bother to even google what are oxytane and benzodiazepine, instead trusting an on-line publication which runs stories like “Man sentenced to death asks for a child as his last meal“.

    It doesn’t bother in the slightest, these brave Pillars of the Western Democracy, that this story have been making rounds (with a tad different wording) for a long time – August 8, 2015, August 14, 2015 and even on October 28, 2015 – all citing un-linked sources (“Faculty of Sciences in Moscow” – what is that?!).

    It doesn’t matter that the picture and video in these articles looks like anything but a legit footage from a Russian laboratory. Or this uncomfortable fact, that this fake article has been repeated numerous times since July 2015 and was debunked in August 3, 2015. No-ope!

    “The claim appeared (without obvious origin) almost simultaneously on a number of web sites of questionable repute, and the photograph that accompanied it was demonstrably misrepresented. The image was posted as part of a Reddit thread titled “Sleep in the beach” published on 20 June 2012 and has been widely circulated online since then. Early iterations never presented the picture as anything other than evidence of a sunburn (and the setting depicted was clearly not a laboratory, Russian or otherwise).

    Most of the “skin treatment” articles claimed that Moscow Times had recently published an article about the purported discovery, but we were unable to locate any report that even loosely matched their claims. Similarly, a Google search for “Moscow Faculty of Sciences” returned results related to this claim and nothing else. Google searches for the combination of two chemicals cited in the articles as agents of the skin whitening formula (oxytane, which appears to be a fuel additive and benzodiazepine(s), a class of sedative hypnotic drugs not known for effects on skin) similarly returned only results related to this claim.

    Although the exact origins of this image are uncertain, it appeared at least as far back 2012 on Reddit as an image-based warning about the dangers of falling asleep at the beach (a far likelier explanation for the photograph than a demonstration of skin-whitening). An old (and clearly unrelated) image was repurposed as evidence for a dubious medical claim. “

    It’s good to see that the Western Educated (and Web-savvy) public can still fall to the same trick. “Blessed be the mind too small to doubt”.

    P.S. I’m actually reading comments right now. And, yes, I can feel the pain of one commenter who wrote “I officially quit the human race” – but for different reasons.

    • yalensis says:

      From the related story about the pedophile cannibal:
      Doug Stephener a cannibal pedophile sentenced to death in Texas asked this weekend as his last meal … a little boy.

      Man, that will be executed by lethal injection next week filing his application stating that he wanted to enjoy a maximum of 8 years old child. He also said he refused the child to be of Asian origin.

      Asian kid not good enough for him? What a racist!

      • marknesop says:

        And no children of clowns, either – they taste funny.

      • Jen says:

        He probably realised from experience that eating Asian babies can be kind of a health hazard if you eat too fast and try to swallow the head whole.

      • Phil K says:

        Damn !!! I would have expected him to ask to hear that “Achey Breaky Heart” song one more time. I mean, he was in Texas, after all.

        • yalensis says:

          O, You can tell the world you never ate my girl,
          And you can burn my clothes up when I’m gone,
          You can tell your friends how tasty I have been,
          And laugh and joke about me on the phone

          You can eat my arms, up to the hands and palms,
          You can eat my feet upon the floor,
          Or you can eat my lips and then my fingertips,
          They won’t be reaching out for you no more

          But don’t eat my heart,
          My achy breaky heart,
          It ain’t good for you, or good for me.
          Cause if you eat my heart,
          My achy breaky heart,
          You know, it just ain’t gluten-free!

  3. et Al says:

    UC Berkley via slashdot.com: Giving Credence: Why is So Much Reported Science Wrong, and What Can Fix That?
    http://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/winter-2015-breaking-news/giving-credence-why-so-much-reported-science-wrong-and

    By Chelsea Leu

    In January, David Broockman, then a political science Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley, found something unusual about a study he and fellow student Joshua Kalla were trying to replicate. The data in the original study, collected by UCLA grad student Michael LaCour and published in Science last December, had shown that gay canvassers, sent door-to-door in California neighborhoods, could, after a brief conversation about marriage equality in which the canvassers disclosed their own sexual orientation, have a lasting impact on voter attitudes on the subject.

    The study had “irregularities,” Broockman and Kalla found. For one thing, the data were far less noisy than usual for a survey. What’s more, the researchers weren’t getting anywhere near the survey response LaCour had reported. When they called the survey company involved, it responded that the study was beyond the company’s capabilities. No such study, it seemed, had been done.

    In May, Broockman, Kalla, and fellow researcher Peter Aranow aired their suspicions in a 27-page report. Nine days later, Science issued a retraction, causing a minor uproar in academia and embarrassing those in the popular media who had trumpeted the findings without skepticism.

    Radio host Ira Glass was one of them. He had featured the study in a segment on his popular program, This American Life. In a subsequent blog post on the show’s website, Glass explained to his listeners, “We did the story because there was solid scientific data … proving that the canvassers were really having an effect…. Our original story was based on what was known at the time. Obviously the facts have changed.”

    More accurately, the facts had never really been facts at all.

    Glass’s acknowledgment underscores a pair of common foibles in journalism: first, a tendency to rely on, and emphasize, the results of a single study; and second, the abdication of skepticism in the face of seemingly “solid scientific data.” But it’s not just journalism. Even other social scientists, when asked why they hadn’t questioned the counterintuitive results, pointed to their trust in the authority of Donald Green, the respected Columbia professor who coauthored the original paper. (Green, for his part, appears to have been as unpleasantly surprised as anyone and promptly asked Science for the retraction.)…
    #####

    One of my bugbears, science ‘reporting’.

    • rymlianin says:

      It was also recently revealed that the majority of research published by the prestigious medical journal “The Lancet” is , in fact, made up.

    • kirill says:

      When it comes to anthropogenic global warming there is way too much “skepticism” from the western mass media. All sorts of shills are paraded and old, debunked denier claims repeated as if they offered “balance”.

      The above piece makes it seem that the MSM behaviour is universal. No it is not. The MSM has agendas and taboo topics. So the treatment a subject gets does not follow a universal template.

      My pet peeve is how all the cosmology and general relativity BS is covered with sycophantic, grovelling deference. Einstein is credited for everything including things he rejected (i.e. black hole singularities). There is a boatload of speculation in these science fields and it is not at all true that existing theories explain the physics. Yet I see no skepticism and hard questions being asked. The vaunted three tests of GR for validity can be satisfied by an infinite number of theories and GR does not even have the basic dynamical systems property of a Lagrangian. That is why it is impossible to quantize and reconcile with quantum mechanics (yet everyone talks about gravitons, which are not supported by GR whatsoever and are quanta of field theory replacements for GR which are routinely dismissed as “speculative”).

      In the case of climate science all of a sudden everyone and his dog is an expert and gets equal weight for their *opinions*. Funny how differing opinions of GR are not given the time of day.

      • Norm says:

        Just by saying “denier”, you make your argument weak.

        • kirill says:

          You basically made an ad hominem attack on me with your vapid dismissal of the fact that deniers exist and their ignorant, uneducated prattle gets treated as equivalent to laboratory validated science.

          Some examples of denier drivel:

          1) CO2 is an irrelevant trace gas with concentrations too small to matter compared to other factors such as water vapour.

          2) Climate variability exceeds any anthropogenic signal.

          3) Solar variability explains the warming trend over the last 150 years.

          4) Galactic cosmic rays are a major contributing factor via their impact on clouds.

          It’s not my arguments, sunshine, it is the arguments of your beloved deniers.

  4. et Al says:

    Neuters: Russia, EU trade talks fail, Kiev set to face retaliation
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-crisis-eu-idUKKBN0U428320151221

    The European Union failed to allay Russia’s concerns about Ukraine’s free-trade accord with the 28-nation bloc on Monday, leaving Kiev to face Russian retaliation through tighter bilateral trade rules from 2016….

    …EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom raised doubts about the validity of the Russian concerns, saying some were “not real.”

    “We have been very open in listening to some of the concerns of Russia. Some of them we think are not real in economic terms. Some of them could potentially be real,” Malmstrom told a news conference following final talks in Brussels….

    …An agreement has not been reached. We were left with our concerns on our own and we are forced to safeguard our economic interest unilaterally,” Ulyukayev told reporters….

    …Malmstrom blamed Russia for showing not enough flexibility, while Ulyukayev said the EU’s trade officials were not serious enough about the talks.

    Moscow has sought a legally binding agreement involving the three parties, something rejected by Kiev and Brussels which say no third party should be allowed to amend their bilateral deal.

    Ulyukayev said the three sides will go on discussing the situation should issues arise as the deal is implemented….
    ####

    May I suggest an alternative headline for Neuters?:

    Russia refuses to subsidize Ukraine joining the EU. Brussels says “NOT FAIR!”.

    • marknesop says:

      You beat me to it – I was just going to post that, and planned to lead off with, “To no one’s surprise…”

      You can sort of see where the article is going to go right away with all that bunk about Yanukovych bowing to “Russian pressure” when he blew off the EU Association agreement, when in fact his own economists had painted a Dante-esque picture of the horror show which would result from losing the Russian market. There had been nothing but flannel from the EU and nobody appeared to take that concern seriously, in that nobody was willing to show trade figures with the EU which would make up the shortfall. Yanukovych went to Russia as a last resort when the EU snobs in their pinstripes would not listen to him or take his concerns seriously.

      It was a foregone conclusion, since it is clear the Ukie government is comprised exclusively of fools and fools will only learn from experience, that they are about to find out how right those predictions were. I suppose they expect that the EU is suddenly going to buy all the stuff that they once sold to Russia. They are in for a surprise, and it’s not too hard to see how it will go. The less money Ukraine can raise on its own, the more expensive a project it is going to be for the west and the more dependent it will be on aid. The more expensive it becomes for the west, the more demanding they are going to become about reforms. Meanwhile, more and more Ukrainians are going to lose their livelihoods, because aid is not going to take the form of a consumer-trade relationship, and people will be given only enough to get by while the government tries crazy projects to stimulate the economy, all of which will be failures. Without a reliable and sustainable market for their goods, they are screwed, and while Ukraine might evolve to making the kind of finished goods in a few markets that could challenge those already made in the EU in a decade or so, it cannot do it now when it matters. Ukrainians will get a new familiarity with poverty which is going to make the current straitened circumstances look luxurious.

      If money from the IMF is distributed among the public, rather than it being used to restart trade and retooling, many will save it or put it with money they already have saved for the purpose of getting out of Ukraine. The west can chalk this one up as a new level of failure in nation-building, because it is going to fall hard.

      • et Al says:

        It’s good to single out Poland here. For all their sjze a relentless ‘sticking it to the Russia’, you would think they would be willing to actually pay for it. That’s the proof in the pudding. I’m really looking forward to the new Polish government screwing things up even further. The g/f and her fellow ex-pat poles are horrified and hope it will collapse.

        Coming to think of it, that is one thing that ex-pat poles have in common with ex-pat Russians. They both despair that their countries of origin can’t be more like their countries of residence, the difference being that in Russia western medicine of the 1990s turned out to be poison and alienated most of the population which Russian ‘liberals’ believe shouldn’t be allowed to vote and the only solution is to return to the 1990s. Poland on the other hand will have received 173 billion euros in free cash to 2020 (67 billion 2007-2013, 105.8 billion in this last 2014-2020 tranche*), a luxury not afforded to Russia.

        What we see all the high flown rhetoric of being in the mighty and civilized EU club, allowing them to preach down to everyone else, but they full of hot air, whilst Russia has a lot of gas. It’s the behavior of children, not responsible adults. “Give it to me now! I’ll tell you the price I’m willing to pay! You have to accept it! BTW, you are all f/k barbarians and neanderthals! Deal?”

        Even dumber is that the EU, Poland and the Balts treat Russia as if it is some small island far, far away, not a gigantic neighbor with a long border with it. There is this assumption that “everything will return to normal” as soon as the EU decides it is time to with no long term repercussions or damage.

        It’s nonsensical a nonsensical policy, but followed at the very top by supposedly intelligent people. Are there no reasonable people left in the room? Just another epic EU failure, for which no-one is responsible or pay the price, except EU businesses and consumers. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so incompetent.

        * http://www.paiz.gov.pl/why_poland/eu_funds

        • kirill says:

          All of them are chihuahuas who are puffed up with bravado because the have Uncle Scam at their back. They feel invincible. This is the same phenomenon you saw in Yugslavia as assorted scum like Tudjman and Izetbegovic did whatever they f*ck they pleased because Uncle Scam and the EU was there to back them up. And of course Serbia was to blame for everything.

    • cartman says:

      Russia should go the extra step and “blockade” all remittance payments being sent back to the Ukraine. That is the largest part of their economy now.

      • kirill says:

        This is a direct attack on individuals so it is a very bad idea. Russia does not need to help the Kiev regime this way. The current policy will deliver in the near future since the Kiev regime has no financing of substance and is a pack of corrupt maggots where tax money and IMF trickle down disappears faster than it can arrive into the pockets of the few. This is clearly not a viable format for statehood and will implode sooner rather than later.

        It now appears to me that Russia was feeding Ukrainian corruption since the 1990s with its brotherly generosity. This was an epic mistake.

  5. Patient Observer says:

    Rebellion at the Pentagon:
    http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151221/1032114120/pentagon-passed-intelligence-assad.html
    Glad there are still pockets of sanity in Washington.

    • Patient Observer says:

      “The Pentagon deliberately subverted American policy toward Syria, sabotaging US efforts to aid Syrian rebels and even sending US intelligence to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to journalist Seymour Hersh.”

      Given the credibility of Hersh, this claim should be taken seriously. If true, such acts would be considered treason. Extrapolating further, since there has been no visible adverse reaction to the apparent treason, the “pro sanity” faction must be fairly strong and/or deeply embedded in the military.

      If there is hope for US foreign policy, one source may be the US military. They would be the ones to fight and die in an effort to advance the ambitions of Hillary and fellow psychos at the expense of legitimate interests of the US.

      • shargash says:

        It is not treason. Treason is aiding and abetting the enemy. It is, at most, insubordination. It may not even be that, since they were following the letter of the instructions, just not the spirit. Granted, Obama (or any other leader) would be royally pissed at being undermined that way, and they could very likely loose their jobs over it. But it is not even close to treason.

  6. dany8538 says:

    What do you guys say about this piece of news about the visa free regime.
    http://uatoday.tv/politics/implementation-of-eu-visa-free-deal-for-ukraine-by-mid-2016-557340.html
    Is this legit? and what are the implications if it is true?

    • cartman says:

      I think it is for tourist visas. They cannot live and work in the EU.

      • marknesop says:

        If that proves to be true, I could believe it. Although I fail to see how that is a great political victory – how many Ukrainians have extra money for tourism in Europe? I’m sure the Poroshenkos and the Firtashes and the Tymoshenkos will have a lovely time, but they were already from the class that does not find visas much of a barrier – Europe loves it some idle rich.

    • marknesop says:

      I have just two words to say in response; Pavlo Klimkin.

      Of course Klimkin says it’s a done deal. He has been selling it all along as a virtual certainty. How can it be? How could the EU give Ukrainians the right to visa-free travel? Don’t they want Ukrainians to stay in Ukraine and make a go of the place? Who in hell else is going to move there and live and die in poverty so that maybe the next generation might raise themselves to subsistence level? Mark my words; if Brussels is so foolish as to grant Ukraine visa-free travel within the EU, the place will be deserted by next Christmas. They’re losing their biggest sales market this coming year – 2016 – and they have always run a trade deficit with the EU, buying more from it than they sell to it. What do you need to continue that kind of relationship? Money!! Where the hell is that going to come from? From the IMF??? How much sense does that make – you can’t build an economy by loaning a country money and then getting it all back from them buying your goods; how will they ever make enough profit to pay you back?

      Pavlo Klimkin says it’s in the bag. I say it’s not. We’ll see who’s right. If Klimkin is right, I will sing his praises forevermore as the man who could stand reality on its head, because giving Ukrainians a free ticket out of a dying country would be proof that stupidity has a sub-basement.

      • dany8538 says:

        So you think this is just words until the EU actually passes this ?
        I also think Pavlo is a moron. My mother in law is really counting on him to be right.:)

        • marknesop says:

          “I very much hope that a visa-free regime will be available for Ukrainians in 5 to 7 months maximum,” Klimkin said on Saturday. He added the decision was expected in late May-July.”

          The decision has not been rendered yet. If it applies only to tourist travel it is largely symbolic, as most Ukrainians do not have any money for luxury shopping trips to Europe. I am talking about visa-free travel for the purpose of living and working in the EU. Now that I think about it, if that was what they were seeking, they would have specified that Ukraine was seeking to join the Shengen Area. That would mean no requirement for passports and wide-open internal travel within the area. The Guardian’s assessment only a month ago was that Ukraine had blown any chance of that by refusing to put in place legislation that ended all discrimination against gay people, because you know Brussels has a soft spot – or maybe a hard spot – for the gay, they have become the New Intellectuals.

          Once again, the lurching behemoth that is Project Ukraine cannot sustain itself without Ukrainians living and working and paying taxes in Ukraine. Any lifeline which offers free entry to Europe’s jobs market is going to result in a drain of Ukrainians out of the country that will make it impossible to keep it from a complete collapse into third-world poverty.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      I’d like to remind everyone that Petya Porokh promised this visa-free regime “any moment now” since his election. This summer it was “promised” to happen on Jan 1, 2016. Now, khokhlo-news are reporting that it will happen mid 2016.

      Anything can happen between now and mid 2016. As the punchline goes: “Sultan may die. I may die. This horse may die…” One thing I’m pretty much sure – in this version horse won’t learn how to sing.

    • yalensis says:

      You trust any quote that starts with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said he expects …

      In other news: I EXPECT my Fairy Godmother to appear and turn my pumpkin into a Lamborghini.

    • et Al says:

      My Polish g/f tells me that there are already a lot of Ukrainians in Poland doing all the bottomfeeding jobs. I guess they are the equivalent of the USA’s illegal Mexicans, there for massive exploitation and ne’er a peep from Brussels about the abuse. I wonder who much Poland has benefited economically from them all. That’s the reality of how Poland treats its favored neighbors.

      • kirill says:

        They deserve it. These Banderatards obviously would rather be Polish serfs than Russian equal partners. Fuck them.

      • marknesop says:

        I read somewhere – and was subsequently unable to find it again – about western Ukrainians who walk or drive to the border and stand at the roadside in Poland selling cigarettes and vodka and whatever they have that might bring in a few dollars. Truly, the Revolution of Dignity changed their lives. Just not in the way they expected.

        • kirill says:

          But at least they are free from the boot of the klaty moskali! The ones who pumped between $200 billion and $300 billion of welfare money (not loans) into Ukraine between 1991 and 2013. I have no sympathy for these people.

  7. marknesop says:

    Speaking of Pavlo Munchkin, here he is in FT with his fellow Ukrainian blowhards, expounding on why he doesn’t like Nord Stream II and bids the EU put a stop to it.

    “For us, it is not just about losing a considerable sum of money because of transit, it is about Putin deliberately [breaking] the link to more security, and transit is always about more security, to central and eastern Europe,” he said.

    The only reasonable response to that is ???? Breaking the link to whose security? By offering a reliable 110 BCm per year rather than 55 BCm? Obviously, this is breaking the link to Ukraine’s security, and therefore Europe must reject this plan. Just how into yourself are you, Ukraine?

    Yes, while we’re discussing it, this is an object lesson in free enterprise, Euro-Style. Ukraine plainly considers its transit fees for Russian gas to be its rightful property; its entitlement. “…Ukrainian leaders have spoken out forcefully against a recent European plan to import more Russian gas to Germany through a new pipeline. The project could rob Kiev of €2bn of annual gas transit fees, which are vital to the country’s fragile economy.” Russia has indicated clearly that it is unhappy with Ukraine as a transit partner, not least because it is a cheat which enters into agreements to purchase gas, takes and consumes it and then refuses to pay, or insists on an adjustment of the price so it pays much less. Ukraine’s position on Russia’s rejection of it as a business partner is to petition Europe to imperil its own supplies in a bid to force Russia to continue using Ukraine as a transit country so it can continue to collect transit fees – anything less is “robbing” Ukraine. Not paying for gas is not robbery, though – that’s just cagey bargaining. Ukraine’s pipeline network is going to require Billions in investment in the next five years at the very longest – it already cannot be pressurized to capacity – and naturally Ukraine will not expect to pay anything for it. It will have no choice if the network carries only Ukrainian gas. If it carries the bulk of Europe’s supply, make no mistake – Ukraine will expect a big European loan for upgrading and modernization of its creaking network. And we all already know how Ukraine regards loans. “Let’s take it to the people! Ohhhh….the Ukrainian people are of the opinion that we should not pay the money back; so sorry, but we will not be able to do it”.

    I was just kidding – Ukraine would never dare stiff the EU, they are White Men, while the Russians are savage barbarians who don’t really understand money anyway. Give them a handful of buttons and they’ll be none the wiser. And the EU enthusiastically supports this view. Giving up the attempt at being friends with its European “partners” was the beginning of Russia wising up and looking out for its own interests. From now on, it should be strictly business; if you insist on using Ukraine as a transit country, knowing its venality and unreliability, then we can’t do business, sorry. Where did you say you were going to buy gas from, again? The Southern Muthern Wuthern Corridor? Is that built already? No? Well, I hope you laid in lots of firewood, fuckers. Using energy as a weapon? What the fuck do you think Ukraine is trying to do? See ya. Wouldn’t want to be ya.

  8. Fern says:

    This isn’t specifically about Russia but it indirectly sheds light on the writings of kreakly like Yulia Latynina – whose latest opus Moscow Exile dissects above – who uncritically worship everything American. I first heard the story on the ‘Max Kaiser Report’ on RT but it was so awful I assumed he was doing an over-the-top rant that had parted company with reality. Unfortunately not. A state of emergency has been declared in Flint, Michigan, because of drinking water pollution. The town’s administration decided back in early 2014 to save money by switching from water supplied by Detroit from Lake Huron to water drawn from the Flint river.

    This water was massively contaminated so they dumped in a whole host of chemicals to kill off the nasties. Unfortunately, no-one seemed to have realised (that’s the charitable assumption, the uncharitable one is that no-one gave a damn) that much of Flint’s water was supplied to end users via lead pipes. And the chemicals corroded the pipes causing lead to be ingested. This isn’t stuff you want in your diet:-

    “Lead, which is most harmful to pregnant women, women who are nursing and children under age 6, can damage the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells. Lead poisoning can also irreversibly stunt a child’s mental and physical development.
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that 15 parts per billion (ppb) is the maximum recommended level of lead in household water. However, an alarming Flint Water Study found that about 10 percent of their local water samples had values of lead at levels of 25 ppb.”

    http://ecowatch.com/2015/10/07/flint-michigan-lead-contamination/

    So how many children are likely to be affected? Well, there are thought to be between 8,000 to 9,000 according to The Guardian which seems to have had one of its rare lapses when it remembers it’s a newspaper and does, what’s it called? Oh yeah, journalism. Understandably, parents in Flint are distraught but there are ways to mitigate the damage but they’re probably not going to be available in Flint, Michigan:-

    ”Any physical damage done by the lead cannot be undone, but its effects can be mitigated with good nutrition, extra educational stimulation for young children and, in future, extra support at school, Hanna-Attisha said. But, she added, “Flint is a food desert. There are no decent grocery stores. Poverty levels, crime and unemployment are extremely high.”
    She is furious at the authorities, especially state environmental officials.
    “There was just a sense of deny, deny, deny,” she said.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/17/flint-polluted-water-toxic-lead-children-at-risk

    I can’t claim this is an original comment – in fact, it came from Stacy Herbert, Max Kaiser’s co-presenter but she said that if ISIS had done this, contaminated a town’s water supply in this way, it would be front page news all over the world. But as this is just an everyday story of late-stage capitalism and the running down of public services, it isn’t news anywhere.

    So, Yulia, how do you explain this in the land of the free and the home of the brave – that model society you would have Russia emulate?

    • yalensis says:

      The demographics of Flint, Michigan is estimated over 50% black/African-American.
      Not trying to play the race card, but I think this is clearly a factor in the negligence and lack of transparency which occurred in this disaster.
      Black lives don’t actually matter AS MUCH, in America, and that’s a fact. Whether consciously or subconsciously, political leaders just don’t care as much about these types of communities.

      I wonder, though, they say there is no treatment for the lead poisoning, but what about chellation? Isn’t that an option?

    • Cortes says:

      Quite a common situation, l suspect, since the plot of

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Appeal

      deals with groundwater contamination and resultant clusters of cancer. Fracking is also a lovely way to terminally alter water from potable to something akin to what may flow in Venusian rivers.

    • kirill says:

      Latynina worships US empire. When she puts Pinochet on a pedestal and routinely yaps about Russians being denied the vote since they don’t vote for US bootlick parties, she proves that she could give a flying fuck about the values America supposedly stands for.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Yes, its a big story around here. I had heard that the source of the lead was existing contamination in the river and not a result of lead leaching from pipes and fittings. I would be skeptical of the later explanation as the pH of the water would need to substantially decrease to accelerate leaching. A pH reduction seems unlikely and would otherwise be easily corrected. But, there is no doubt about the level of contamination:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tainted-water-high-lead-levels-kids-flint-michigan/
      http://flintwaterstudy.org/

      Detroit obtains its water from an intake located in Lake Huron which is a clean body of water. I am not aware of standard US municipal water treatments processes that can remove lead from water so the best bet is to use a source that is free of lead just as Detroit has done.

      There is little doubt that a lack of concern over a largely black population, a city with a low economic value and a CYA attitude of various governmental officials contributed to the disaster.

  9. Tim Owen says:

    • marknesop says:

      Looks like the Last Stand at Taste Crossroads.

      • yalensis says:

        I don’t care about Santa’s plight, he deserves to be punished.
        But Frosty the Snowman — NOOOOOOOOOO!

        • kirill says:

          It’s guilt by association.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I don’t care about the plight of that Coca-Cola swilling Sinter Klaas either!

          Know what the difference is between the American dwarf and the Russian granddad!

          This is Father Christmas on a Victorian Christmas card.

          Spot the similarity between him and the Russian Dyed Moroz.


          🙂

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Or literally:

            Learn to distinguish between the American dwarf and the Russian granddad!

            Another key give-away in distinguishing between the two is, that apart from the vodka vapours that always trail Dyed Moroz, he always has a tasty piece in tow, who, he says, is his granddaughter. She’s called Snegurochka.

            Here’s one of my favourites of that old Russian rascal’s alleged granddaughters:

            That’s because I like ’em like that.

            When I was a kid, the Snow Queen in the Soviet animation of Anderson’s tale always turned me on – in a pre-pubertal sort of way.

            I used to think Gerda was a pain in the arse for seeking out Kai. If I had been Kai, I would have stayed cuddled up to the Snow Queen’s freezing bosom for ever …

        • Jen says:

          If Alan Cooper thought that scene was horrible, what transpired 12 hours later the next day at noon would have been even more horrific …

          • yalensis says:

            Is that the one where Frosty melts, leaving behind only his top-hat, his carrot nose, and his stick arms? Leaving the children sobbing in grief?

            So sad….😦

  10. marknesop says:

    The extremist-friendly Grauniad brings you its own particular spin on the war in Syria – Russia’s bombing campaign is not achieving any gains, because the Syrian army is on its uppers and just does not have the juice to press home attacks. The new armor-killing capabilities of the militants (thanks to the TOW Missiles being funneled to them by the CIA) make it hard for the army’s tanks to clear towns. And besides, Washington and Moscow are practically buddies again, they are almost eye-to-eye on the political transition that must occur in Syria.

    Once again, in what is becoming a pattern, the Graun breaks the length the bombing campaign has been running into weeks, so as to generate a bigger number and make it look like a long, long time – and ISIS still has not been defeated! Remarkable!! Western journalists seem to have concentrated their efforts on Idlib, where they are getting lots of good sound bites: “Where are these reasonable Russians that Kerry claims are starting to see the light?” says a doctor in an Idlib hospital. “Bashar’s jets never bombed us like the Russians do. Isis never hunted us down like this.” Get it? Russia is worse than ISIS!!

    Enjoy reading the accounts of the Assad regime’s desperation in trying to bulk up the army with increased conscription. Assad’s goons grab people at checkpoints and whip them straight into uniform – not even “Go home and collect your clothes”.

    When the Ukrainians were conscripting young men out of the universities, falling them in in the parking lot in their school clothes and hustling them into the buses that would take them away to boot camp, the Graun never mentioned it, far less characterized it as a sign that Kiev was getting desperate. God help anyone who relies on the British press for their news. All you have to do to forecast the stories is ask yourself, “What does the British government want to happen?” Answer – for Assad to be beaten. Upcoming storylines – “Assad is Being Beaten”.

    Meanwhile, the bizarrely-named Tony Blair Faith Foundation finds that trying to sort out the rebel groups in Syria is hopeless – the only thing to do is for the international community to come together to help them oust Assad, then let the jihadists have Syria. They will probably be so overwhelmed by this expression of international trust that they will settle down peacefully to turn it into a prosperous, western-leaning market democracy.

    You can see why the British are so pessimistic about the Russian bombing campaign – why, those Americans are rolling up former ISIL territory like a Persian rug. ISIL has lost, according to USA Today’s reckoning, 14% of what it had conquered, just this year. Thanks owing, apparently, to Kurdish resistance fighters and the Iraqi military, backed by US-led coalition air strikes. In Syria, however, the Syrian government lost 16% of the territory it controlled before 2015. So I guess ISIL is losing badly in Iraq, where the good Americans are just walking the fucking blocks right to them, while it is winning in Syria. Or so it appears to USA Today and its crack analysis team. Crack is certainly the word for it.

    The Americans must be saving Assad’s ass, too, because the territory lost to ISIL in Syria is mostly in the north, and everyone knows the Russians don’t bomb there, because there are not enough moderate rebels to attract their attention.

    • kirill says:

      These retarded monkeys believe they can create reality through the force of will of their screeds. Pathological hubris that is priming these monkeys for an epic fall.

      • yalensis says:

        “Monkeys With Hubris”
        there! I just found the name for my new garage band.

        • marknesop says:

          I’ll play lead, if you don’t already have a guitarist. But I need a cool assumed name that emphasizes my rejection of conventional society and its rampant consumerism.

          • Cortes says:

            “Stepan Bandera” as a stage name should have the Eastern European gals lobbing their moist nethergarments onto the stage, guitar legend!
            “Kaos ft Stepan Bandera”?
            Invoice in the post, as ever…

            • Cortes says:

              Oops!

              Kaos ft Stepan Bandera (previously Monkeys With Hubris aka The King of the Swingers…)

            • marknesop says:

              That is a great idea, and it’s just hard to imagine any scenario in which women are throwing their underpants at you that could turn out badly. But I was angling more for something that had to do with monkeys and hubris. I am leaning towards calling myself Hubris, and Yalensis and the rest of the group can be the Monkeys. I mean, that’s just sort of at the theoretical stage, like, innit? Coz, like, it’s not my band.

              I must tell you this, every time I think of it, I chuckle to myself. I received an email from James, discussing a show he and some friends will play at the jazz club here on Boxing Day. He closed with “Whether I see you or not, Merry Christmas to you and Yalensis (I hope I got her name right)!”

              He is thinking of my wife, Svetlana.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      British press… have it really chaged?


      ___________________________________________________________________
      Sir Humphrey: The only way to understand the Press is to remember that they pander to their readers’ prejudices.

      Hacker: Don’t tell me about the Press — I know exactly who reads the papers! The Daily Mirror is read by the people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country. The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by people who own the country. The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; the Daily Telegraph is read by the people who think it is.

      Sir Humphrey: Eh, Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?

      Woolley: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country as long as she’s got big tits.
      __________________________________________________________________

  11. et Al says:

    FT: Conoco exits Russia after 25 years
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/01a4e6d2-a811-11e5-955c-1e1d6de94879.html?ftcamp=published_links/rss/googlenews/feed//product&google_editors_picks=true

    …Conoco’s decision to exit from Russia after more than 25 years highlights the challenges facing foreign investors in the country’s energy sector, which has been hit by recent political tensions and the tumble in oil prices.

    “In the past, the view was that hydrocarbons were scarce, Russia has a lot of them: we have to be there,” said Matthew Sagers, senior director of Russia & Caspian Energy at IHS. “Now, it’s very different: there are hydrocarbons in a lot of places — including Williston, North Dakota — so you don’t have to go off to these exotic places any more.”

    Conoco — before its merger with Phillips — was one of the earliest western oil groups to invest in Russia, having started negotiations before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Its Polar Lights joint venture, registered in 1992, made it the largest foreign investor in the Russian energy sector in the early 1990s.

    …In 2004, Conoco increased its commitment to Russia, taking an 8 per cent stake in Lukoil, one of Russia’s largest oil producers, which it later raised to 20 per cent.

    However, the investment failed to give Conoco the access to Russia’s vast oil and gas reserves it had hoped for, and by 2011 it had sold off its stake. ..
    ####

    I blame Putin!😉

  12. Warren says:

  13. et Al says:

    Limp Bizkit frontman banned from the Ukraine!

    http://www.dw.com/en/limp-bizkit-frontman-fred-durst-banned-from-ukraine/a-18933381

    …The 45-year old leader of the American band “Limp Bizkit” is married to Crimean-born Kseniya Beryazina…

  14. et Al says:

    Neuters: In favoring Middle East ally, U.S. glossed over human rights record
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-humantrafficking-oman-exclusive-idUSKBN0U40G720151221

    …In a highly unusual intervention, the department’s hierarchy overruled its own staff’s assessments of Oman’s deteriorating record on forced labor and human trafficking and inflated its ranking in a congressionally mandated report, U.S. officials told Reuters. The move, which followed protests by Oman, suggests the Obama administration placed diplomatic priorities over human rights to pacify an important Middle East partner.

    In the weeks leading up to publication of the State Department’s influential annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, top advisers to Secretary of State John Kerry disregarded findings by its Middle East diplomatic bureau and a U.S. government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking, the officials said.

    In April, diplomats in the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau and experts in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons agreed that Oman would be downgraded from “Tier 2” to a status known as “Tier 2 Watch List”, one notch above a level that can incur U.S. sanctions, according to an internal department memo seen by Reuters. ..
    ####

    So, no surprise about the USA, but what about those scions of human rights, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, les frogs? Busy selling 24 Rafale fighters to Qatar for €6.3 billion:

    http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2015/04/30/france-qatar-rafale-sale-dassault-mbda-egypt-india/26622555/

    Pigs at the trough, like their cousins across the Channel, Les Rosbifs. Qatar is a very big spender.

    • marknesop says:

      All part of the great western hypocritical deception, and the self-righteous comedy of the human-rights rankings. It’s all about interests, and nothing else. And I don’t expect it to ever change, because it’s only getting worse. At least it’s getting more unbelievable at about the same rate, so one day those rankings will just go into dead air.

    • Cortes says:

      Les Rosbifs is terribly dated.

      Nowadays 😢…les fuckoffs

  15. et Al says:

    AAP: Warplane’s black box ‘unreadable’: Russia
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/warplanes-black-box-unreadable-russia/news-story/ea966fffea87511978a8f83c5190408b

    …”Retrieving the information and a read out of flight data … has proven to be impossible because of internal damage,” said Sergei Baimetov, the Russian Air Force’s deputy head of flight safety.

    Baimetov said 13 of the flight recorder’s 16 microchips had been destroyed and that those remaining were damaged.

    Russia will now seek help from specialists, he said, saying “a lot of time” would be needed to try to achieve a breakthrough.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I saw that. But the Turks should not breathe too easily just yet – the cause of the crash hardly needs further verification, since the Turks stipulated to shooting it down and the Turkish Prime Minister stipulated to having given the order to do so. What is at issue is whether the aircraft was warned or was actually in Turkish airspace at all, and there are other ways of establishing that. Warnings must be passed on the international guard channel, in English, and to the best of my understanding nobody else heard them although all aircraft are responsible for monitoring that frequency. The mishmash including “change your heading immediately” offered by the Turks is not evidence, there is no way of verifying when and under what circumstances it was said or recorded, and it does not constitute a proper warning anyway as it does not identify the aircraft to whom it is addressed in any way. Even if the Russian aircraft did momentarily breach Turkish airspace, it is generally agreed it was in Syrian airspace when it was hit, so the order to leave Turkish airspace at once was obeyed even if it was never heard, and you don’t shoot somebody for complying with your warning. It is clear the Turks were waiting for an opportunity to shoot down a Russian plane, and expected NATO to take action on their behalf once they had done so. We will probably never know the extent of western collusion in the downing of the aircraft and the extent to which Turkey acted on its own, but the Turks are not by any means off the hook.

  16. Cortes says:

    Apologies if posted already, lengthy documentary on events of February/March 2014; seems criticism of reluctance to make better use of modern communications has been taken on board:

    http://thesaker.is/crimea-the-way-back-home-with-a-introduction-by-auslander/

  17. Warren says:

    Published on 7 Jul 2014
    The conundrum of Russian capitalism – Dzarasov Ruslan
    http://dzarasov.ru/dzarasov-ruslan-co

    About the book

    In this book Ruslan Dzarasov reveals the nature of Russian capitalism following the fall of the Soviet Union, showing how the system originated in both the degenerated Soviet bureaucracy and the pressures of global capital. He provides an unprecedented analysis of Russian firms’ corporate governance and labor practices, and makes sense of their peculiar investment strategies.

    By comparing the practices of Russian companies to the typical models of corporate governance and investment behavior of big firms in the West, Dzarasov sheds light on the relationship between the core and periphery of the capitalist world-system.

    This groundbreaking study proves that Russia’s new capitalism is not a break with the country’s Stalinist past, but is in fact the continuation of that tradition. At the same time, the brutal and deficient character of the current system also reflects the realities of the modern globalized and financialized world capitalist system.

    About the author

    Ruslan Dzarasov is a senior research fellow at the Central Institute of Economics and Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has written for the academic journals Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe and the Cambridge Journal of Economics.

    Reviews

    Dzarasov has made an important contribution to understanding capitalism in Russia, more than 20 years after the break-up of the USSR.

    Simon Pirani, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

    In this book, Dzarasov takes a novel theoretical approach to understanding the corporate enterprise that will fundamentally change how heterodox economists will think them. Dzarasov convincingly argues that at its roots, the corporation is not really about producing goods and services as well as making its CEO rich; it is only about making the CEO.

    Professor Frederic S. Lee, editor of American Journal of Economics and Sociology

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “This groundbreaking study proves that Russia’s new capitalism is not a break with the country’s Stalinist past, but is in fact the continuation of that tradition. “

      Ooooooo-oh! Scary Stalin! And it doesn’t matter that the phrase makes no sense to anyone who knows about the Soviet Union at all – what is important is to paint Russia on Black and Red, as this Northern Mordor deserves.

    • Jen says:

      Well that would be no surprise to hear, that Russian corporations these days are a “continuation” of Soviet corporations, any more than we should be surprised that current Japanese firms like Mitsubishi are a continuation of the zaibatsu firms of WW2 vintage like … erm, Mitsubishi; and that current Korean firms like Samsung and Hyundai are a continuation of the chaebol firms favoured by the military government in South Korea for special loans and pet projects before the 1990s: firms like … erm, Samsung and Hyundai.

      • kirill says:

        But where are the gulags. The whole Stalin shtick is about things like gulags and not the aspects of chaebols.

      • Warren says:

        Dzarasov is very critical of Russian capitalism for its short-termism and rent seeking.

        He argues that Russian capitalism compounds the Russian state’s authoritarian disposition. He gives the example of 800,000 people employed in private security sector in Russia, who are paid significantly more than their counterparts in the public sector who number more.

        Dzarasov mentions how capital goods and technical equipment is antiquated and obsolete in modern Russia. For example equipment would be upgraded and replaced on average every 10 years in the USSR, however now its every 20/25 years.

        Russian capitalism and capitalists are not building new industry or technological capacity, rather merely extracting natural resources and seeking rent.

        Dzarasov rejected the argument that Russia practices ‘state capitalism’. Unlike the Asian economies of South Korea, Taiwan and Japan; the capitalists in Russia are manufacturing and building new national industries. In those countries there was cooperation between the authoritarian regime and the capitalists to modernise the state and the economy. Such cooperation is absent in Russia.

  18. yalensis says:

    In economic news:
    Poland announced a new line of credit for Ukraine to the tune of 1 billion Euros.
    The credit line is implemented as a SWAP between National Bank of Poland and National Bank of Ukraine.
    Ukrainian Ambassador to Poland Andrei Deshchitsa, called the arrangement “a beautiful gift” from Poland.

    [yalensis: er… it’s a line of CREDIT, not a gift. There IS a difference. Well, to normal people, at least, but not to Ukrainians, I reckon.]

    • marknesop says:

      It’s amusing to see how anxious some countries are to lend to another country whose approach to debt is mostly “Fuck you! I’ll pay this – take it or leave it!”. But then, we’re talking about many of the same countries that are tripping over themselves to do energy business with Aliyev of Azerbaijan so they can thumb their noses at the corrupt Putin. Besides, Poland gets that money free from the EU anyway – if its government chooses to blow it on the Ukrainians rather than the Poles, that’s their choice. But blown it will be.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Could be wrong but I don’t think it’s quite right to call this a credit line per se. My rough understanding is that what’s being “borrowed” is, nominally speaking, excess credit capacity from one economy to another. I think it’s something like allowing x amount of Zloty denominated loans to be treated as y amount of Hrvina denominated loans at the level of the central bank. Thus it loosens credit markets in Ukraine to the extent that Zlotys have more liquidity (I think described as more demand) because the overall size of the economy is that much greater.

      I’ll circle back and try and figure it out. There’s a description here:

      http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/bst_liquidityswaps.htm

      • Tim Owen says:

        But the more pertinent question remains: how is Kolomoisky going to make off with it?

      • Jen says:

        Sounds like what US banks did before the subprime housing meltdown by packaging together dodgy and not-so-dodgy mortgage loans into sets and selling those sets off to pension funds.

        • Tim Owen says:

          The difference to me is that, if done at the heights of central bank balance sheets, different rules apply. I don’t mean in the sense that different regulations apply. I’m not even sure that regulations actually mean anything at this level. I mean in a practical sense that the mechanism allows for Polish banks to pretend that loans made up to a certain aggregate amount in Zlotys are “money good” as far as the Polish Central Bank is concerned.

          Not trying to be difficult, just precise.

          To my mind the better analogy would be to the way the EU was set up such that there was an implicit equalization of perceived risk across the EU such that Greek debt was suddenly as good as German debt (when the size of the two economies – and therefore their collective ability to carry debt – was massively disproportionate.)

          This deal reeks of that sort opportunism.

          But – channelling my inner Dmitry Orlov – if you have aggregate debt outrunning GDP growth as massively as it is now the distinction might be moot ultimately and your instincts right.

          • Tim Owen says:

            The other thing is that it probably has far more to do with public rather than private finance given that I’m sure the demand for loans in the private sector is probably close to nil and the government has a massive shortfall between revenues and expenditures – even after ‘floating much of it away – and close to zero reserves. That’s where the need is and I don’t understand how a swap would help with this.

          • Jen says:

            Well the idea of packaging a mix of mortgages together was that their respective risk profiles would more or less cancel each other out. This weird assumption is a twist on the statistical phenomenon that in a large enough population, extremes of a certain characteristic converge to an average. That was the hunch I had on seeing Yalensis’ comment on the credit swap between the Polish central bank and the Ukrainian central bank.

            But you are probably right because I doubt that the Polish and Ukrainian central banks would have agreed to the swap unless someone from the EU pressured them to do it, on the basis that it had been done before. Strange how Western financial institutions keep on repeating the same mistakes in the hope that one day the umpteenth repetition will yield the desired happy result rather than the same disaster again.

            • marknesop says:

              It seems crazy, but I would not be surprised if the main reason was simply to be able to announce a large transfer of funds, and thereby create the impression that things are on the upswing. The government is wildly unpopular in a country that has established a recent but nonetheless powerful reputation for violent changes of government. The people might find it in themselves to revolt yet again even without the help of the CIA – in fact, against its persuasions to be patient.

              Russia and China have carried out currency swaps in the past, which in those instances have appeared more to be expressions of good faith and establishing stocks of each other’s currencies for further trading (and an implicit message that Russia is not going to be isolated from borrowing so long as it could do it through China), but I very much doubt that is the case here.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Tim: You are probably right. They call it a “swap”.
        I guess I just don’t understand how high finance works!

  19. yalensis says:

    In corruption news:
    Avakov claims “I am not a crook” and says Saakashvili needs to prove his allegations. (that Avakov IS a crook)

    [caption should say: “by Ukrainian standards”)

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I refer you to the former Yukie Prime Minister, Mr. Fifty-Per Cent Pavlo Ivanovych Lazarenko:

      Bugger me! It’s another Taras Kuzio clone!

      In August 2006 [Lazarenko] was convicted and sentenced to prison in the United States for money laundering, wire fraud and extortion. According to United Nations, approximately $200 million was embezzled by Lazarenko during 1996–1997 from the government of Ukraine and Transparency International [has named] Lazarenko the eighth most corrupt political leader in recent history – Wiki.

      All Putin’s doing, of course.

      He and the Moskal Tatar-Mongol-Ugric hordes brought the Ukraine to the state it now finds itself, not the noble, super-human founders of civilization like what we know it as are the Yukies.

        • yalensis says:

          Did you mean “scurvaceous” ?

          • marknesop says:

            Well, that too, but the former once outweighed the latter. Just a reminder of what a tasty bit of stuff the young Tymoshenko was, before she became a venal old bag with a wide ass, pretending to be confined to a wheelchair to garner sympathy.

            Her features are typically Slavic, and I would bet there is more Russian in her than anything else. But not even the lovely Slavic ladies are immune to the scythe of the reaper, and here’s what they forecast she will look like in 2026, gearing up for another Presidential run.

            • yalensis says:

              Julia was truly beautiful in her youth.
              For a woman, it’s probably better to be born ugly. That way the aging process is not considered quite as destructive and shocking!

              I remember when I first read Hugo’s “Les Miserables”, I was quite taken with that passage where a besotted Jean Valjean peers into the crib of his sleeping newly-adoptee, Cosette, and murmurs to himself, “Comme elle est laide!” (“How ugly she is!”)
              The lonely Valjean then goes on to rejoice, thinking that, because the little girl is ugly, she will never be sought after by a suitor when she gets older; and hence will remain with him (Valjean) forever, as his companion.

              Of course, the joke is on him, because when she turns 15 Cosette emerges from her “ugly duckling” status into a luscious young woman, and before you know it, Valjean’s heart will be broken, when Cosette falls in love with her suitor, Marius.

              The story fortunately ends before we get to the point where even Cosette’s springlike beauty fades, and she becomes an old and hideous hag.

              • marknesop says:

                Well, Yulia’s not there yet, either, and she is still a striking-looking woman. She has run a bit to fat since she got out of the slammer, and indeed began to pile it on while incarcerated, giving the lie to her frequent accusations of terrible mistreatment. Her lovely face suffers now from a bit of bloat, but she could easily lose that with a little self-discipline if it really matters to her. And it might, if she perceived that she was once again called to lead the Ukrainian people; it’s early days yet, but when Washington realizes it cannot hold on to Porky any longer and a leadership change is likely in the offing, it is going to be looking for a replacement, and it goes without saying that the Ukies are gullible enough to invest another oligarch.

                • yalensis says:

                  Surely Julia has enough $$$ to be able to afford liposuction.
                  Saakashvili could use some too, although for sure it would take an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner to suck out all his lipids.

                • Jen says:

                  It’s an unfortunate fact of life that women past their mid-50s become stouter and wider-looking in part because of hormonal changes after the menopause. Muscle tone is one of the first things to go and exercise can only do so much to keep fat and bloating at bay unless you’re prepared to make it a full-time preoccupation.

                  Saakashvili needs blunt-force amputation as all the ties he’s swallowed would jam up the industrial-strength hoover machine.

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s generally true, although one of my neighbours a decade or so back was over 55 at the time, and you could still bounce a quarter off her butt; if you didn’t know, you’d swear she was 15 years younger. Mind you, she was a personal trainer and had made a lifetime commitment to both sensible diet and exercise. But she was French-Canadian as well, and everything in their diet is full of fat or sugar or both. I suspect they share that cultural trait to some extent with the Ukrainians. It’s true, though, that the older you get the harder it is to keep it off.

                • Cortes says:

                  Thinning leads to the inevitable wrinkles….

      • cartman says:

        Are these guys (including Porky) all cut from the same hog?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Porky is a cut off his fathers lard: Porky senior did time in the Soviet Union for theft.

          Billionaire Poroshenko started his business by laundering the money of Soviet times’ administrators. He has never been an entrepreneur to start a business of his own. The story is invented. He made a head start thanks to the criminal connections of his father sentenced for large-scale theft in 1986. Having served the sentence, Poroshenko Sr. launched his own business making his son involved in the activities.

          The business was dirty, it all started with the plundering of state property by armed gangs. The Poroshenko family had plans to expand the activities beyond Ukraine. Tatyana Mikoyan, a well-known Kiev-based lawyer, remembers what the family did in Transnistria,

          «It was horrible back in the 1990s: illegal arms, prostitutes, drugs – all bringing profits to father and son».

          Poroshenko Sr. was awarded for his merits – in 2009 he received the Hero of Ukraine decoration bought for him by his son who was part of the inner circle of President Yushenko, Godfather to Petro Poroshenko’s children.

          See: Money Laundering, Graft and Corruption: Who is Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko?

          Porky has the unique distinction, I should imagine, of having been a member of every Ukrainian political party – except for the Communist Party, of course.

          When the “Revolution of Dignity” kicked off, the sly pig kept his distance and only appeared in side streets at small-scale street corner discussions: if I remember rightly, he wasn’t up front with the rest of the scumbags from the very start, up on stage haranguing the idiots with saucepans on their heads or Khokhli with their partly shaven heads and “Cossack” tuft.

  20. et Al says:

    Neuters: Putin says Russia ‘to continue efforts’ to settle trade ties with Ukraine, EU
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-crisis-russia-eu-idUKKBN0U51GL20151222

    …”I think we will return to these issues more than once. We want to normalise relations (in trade) with our partners – with Ukraine and with the European Union,” Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying…

    …Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said separately on Tuesday that Russia was ready “to take part in talks and search for compromise” on the Ukraine-EU trade agreement. …
    ####

    Russia weak! EU STRONK! Negotiation is a sign of weakness, just ask Washington and some EU member states..

  21. dany8538 says:

    The newest masterpiece from Vladimir Solovyov,. Hopefully the English subtitles will come soon for this one.

  22. kirill says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-22/finlands-foreign-minister-says-country-should-have-never-joined-euro

    Finland is not happy with the euro. I guess it should find a way of blaming Russia for its problems and everything will be OK.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Finlan’ is never happy. Finlan’ is of depressings and vodka. Even refugees are “dying inside” upon arriving in the glorious Finlan’.

      Right now, thanks to:

      1) Austerity.
      2) Euro crisis
      3) Russia’s contr-sanctions

      Finlan’s econonic growth slowed down to the level of Greece. “To the level of Greece, Karl!” (c)

    • Jen says:

      My impression of the way Finland has run its economy over the past 25 years at least was that it always spent more propping up a social welfare state to match the Swedes, than what its economy could deliver through tax receipts and other forms of income, and that every year the country borrowed a great deal to plug the difference between its expenditures and earnings. What the Finns are loath to admit to themselves is that they miss the special economic relationship they had with the USSR from 1945 to 1991 which enabled them to develop an industrial economy, on which they could build their social welfare society. If Finland had not had that relationship with the Soviets, it would have ended up as an economic satellite of Sweden and Germany, supplying those countries with guest workers and relying on their remittances.

  23. dany8538 says:

    http://russia-insider.com/en/brief-compendium-nonsense-about-putin/ri11969
    Everyone must have a copy of all the effects of Putin Derangement Syndrome.
    Excellent Link Summary.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      No one have contributed so much for the creation of Putin’s cult of personality than “Putin bashing” Western Press. They are like that mean girl from the “Hey, Arnold!”, who’s always dissing and attacking Arnold, while having a real “altar” in her room with everything Arnold related.

      • dany8538 says:

        I hear this Putin Crap from almost all my coworkers so this topic is dear to my heart. See, its useless to say that for example, that a russian blogger or newspaper disproved all that was written in a western newspaper. because as we all know all Russian People are under Putin’s thumb so they are all lying. There is no need to listen or read anything from there because they are lying before they even open their mouth. The WSJ or NYT are implicitly trusted and they cannot be challenged by the “always” lying russian media.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          The thing is – Putin IS a Personality. Not a faceless easily replacable EUrocarat, not some easily manipulated sock-puppet of the financial oligarchy, not some Fucking Shameful Buffon (hello, Poproshenko! Hi, Saaki!). And this scares shitless people, when thye realize that this Personality is not One of Us.

          Besides, it’s much easier to deflect accusations in Russophobia, when concentrating all hatered and stereotyping on its leadership. “Me? Oh, I love Russia and Russians! I even read Tolstoy once… Well, tried to read. But I totally like Russia, I’m just opposed to its government, its foreign policy, its internal policy, ite people customs, culture and attitudes to everything I consider Normal” (c) – Any Idiot on the Net.

          • dany8538 says:

            Actually its funny you bring up literature and its a good point because i actually noticed that Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky ( Russian Literature) are revered by the Americans. Reading Anna Karenina or War and Peace or Brothers Karamazov is considered the highest accomplishment for an ordinary american. They truly respect these awesome writers and actually acknowledge their nationality. I am actually confused why literature was spared in this Russia hate-fest so it is indeed an interesting phenomenon.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Because it was all written before those goddam Reds took over.

              I don’t think post-1917 literature is admired as much as are the 19th century classics – unless it is anti-Red, of course, such as Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago and some of Solzhenytsin’s stuff, and the latter quickly fell out of favour when he left the USA and headed off back home.

            • yalensis says:

              That’s an insightful comment, and very true! The ordinary American considers it to be a huge and almost impossible accomplishment to read (a translation of) one of these great Russian novels through all the way to the end. Anybody who succeeds in such a task would be considered an exceptional “scholar” and “intellectual” within their peer group
              .
              I think it’s partly because the books are so big, there are so many pages, and they take so long to read. But also partly because there truly is a certain “cachet” to the concept of Russian literature. And I also don’t understand why this is. I mean, what with Americans being so anti-intellectual, and usually mockatory of high culture. Is a puzzlement.

              • dany8538 says:

                I also wanted to bring up another point and I dont know if others have seen this as well but I just wanted to share a personal observation. I might be mistaken, but I feel like in America there is this unstoppable desire to rank stuff,. They absolutely love rankings of everything, absolutely everything. In literature, they always put Tolstoy and Dostoevsky at the top of the list of the Greatest Writers of All time but this ranking thing they are obsessed with. All i hear is the US is the G.O.A.T and this ship is the GOAT and this plane is the GOAT. They must be first in all things they care about. This ranking disease permeates everything in American society but more importantly its how they rank. They constantly use the phrases ” The greatest of all time” , ” the best there ever was”. The ” Best Country of All time”, which is impossible to prove or disprove but.they must use it .Its like a disease.

                • marknesop says:

                  I agree. But it’s mostly harmless – if a little grating – when they say this is the best song of all time or that is the best bread recipe in the world, because you know that no such poll or vote was taken, while polling is almost always an attempted validation of self-interest. There are all kinds of ways to skew polling, from pre-culling the surveyed group to establishing preferences in advance through carefully-phrased questions delivered prior to the survey.

                  However, rankings have the potential to be harmful when a significant proportion of society believes them, and has faith in their significance. At that point – and Amnesty International, Transparency International and Freedom House are examples – ranking agencies become another tool of government and an enabler of foreign policy. A good first step on coming up against another “Freedom” or “Democracy” or “Human Rights” ranking is to determine who their sponsors are; that usually tells you all you need to know. Many are funded directly by governments, others by corporations or think tanks. There are some who are relatively unbiased, or I’m confident there are although I honestly couldn’t name one off the top of my head, and I don’t doubt there are decent and sincerely honest people working for all of them, although they may not have much decision-making power. But the biggest ones are all tools of government policy, used to reassure the muttonheads that the west is still about Doing Good Works and Russia is still eebil. Here’s a fine demonstration of that, in which Freedom in the World 2015 ranks Russia as “Not Free” while it ranks Ukraine as “Partly Free”, and the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom – hilariously – ranks Russia as “Mostly Unfree” while it ranks Saudi Arabia as “Moderately Free”.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  It has always amused me when I see newly published “airport novels” described as, e.g. “Jackie Collin’s Latest Best-Seller!!!!”

                  I often wonder how it can be rated as a “best-seller” when it has only just been published.

                  And those “best-sellers” that have been in circulation for a while are often labelled “Soon to be a box office hit!”

                  How do they know that?

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “I think it’s partly because the books are so big, there are so many pages, and they take so long to read.”

                “Yeah, man! The books are like, not hip, dude! Where are emojis and stuff? Like, they are made out of the dead trees, man. And trees have feelings too, bro. So, readin’ is, like, murder, dude!”
                – Gwahir Legolas Pelenor Snufflbottom-Skywalker III, San-Francisco.

              • Cortes says:

                Many of the greatest works in the US canon are doorstoppers too: Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel” etc, Dos Passos’s “USA”, more recent authors like Thomas Pynchon as well as potboiler writers like Michener have works as long as anything from XIX Century Russian literature. The cachet of Russian letters is purely snobtastic. Throw in a reference to the influence “Pere Goriot” had on the development of “Crime and Punishment ” and you’re halfway to tenure somewhere. Frederick C. Crews KNEW whereof he wrote in “The Pooh Perplex”.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  In sure they reprinted a few years ago Richardson’s novel “Clarissa” because it is claimed to be a masterpiece the longest novel in English literature, so to be seen clutching such a door-stopper was sure to be interpreted as a sign of being a “high-brow”, I reckon.

                  “Clarissa” was written in 1748.

                  I don’t think many have read it cover to cover since about, say,1820.

                  Jen’s read that Japanese tome, though, written by a Japanese courtesan of way back and reckoned to be the longest ever.

                  I wonder if it is a Jap “Kimono ripper” or what?

                • Jen says:

                  Yeah, that Japanese novel is “The Tale of Genji” and it is meant to be a kimono ripper in the way an extra-squeamish Jane Austen would write a bodice ripper. The recent English translation by Royall Tyler is recommended but the 1976 Edward Seidenstecker version is not bad.

                • Cortes says:

                  I read The Tale of Genji and my reaction was “And?” Not looking for Burt Lancaster to swoop down using a chandelier to surprise the wicked Lord in every novel, but Genji was a chore. So is much of Don Quijote. There, I’ve said it.
                  “To the Room of Truth with the heretic, Torquemada!”

                • yalensis says:

                  Jane Austen’s longest novel was “Mansfield Park”, weighing in at around 500 pages.
                  i don’t like to rank Jane’s novels, they are all brilliant, but if I had to name a favorite, it would be “Mansfield Park”. And I’m not being snobbish or kidding around, I really mean it. It’s brilliant, and everybody should read it.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  As regards Don Quixote, I knew a bloke who set himself the task of reading a whole list of recommended classics, one of which was the aforementioned book. He read them all, as well. When he had read Don Quixote, I asked him what he thought of it (I have never read it, by the way), and he replied “Bloody hard work!”

                  And yet a few years ago, if I rightly recall, an international group of writers decided that Don Quixote is the best novel ever written.

                  And it wasn’t a few years ago – it was in 2002!

                  Here’s the Grauniad article that I read almost 14 years ago (when it was a half-decent rag):

                  Don Quixote is the world’s best book say the world’s top authors

                • marknesop says:

                  It was probably ranked by people who have never read it, but want to create the impression that of course they have.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                The same goes for Tolkien as well, in my opinion.

                I remember when, in 1977 following Tolkien’s death, his son edited and published his father’s “The Silmarillon”, a “mythopoeic” work.

                Mythopoeia” and “mythopoesis” are terms coined by Tolkien Snr. to describe a narrative genre in modern literature, where a fictional mythology is created by the writer of prose or other fiction.

                “The Silmarillion” is “an extensive, though incomplete, narrative that describes the universe of Eä in which are found the lands of Valinor, Beleriand, Númenor, and Middle-earth within which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place” – Wiki. It seems he missed out Mordor.

                I picked it up in my local library in the early ’80s and soon took it back: it’s unreadable, in my opinion – or maybe I’m not intellectual enough.

                In a review of the book, “Private Eye”, the UK lampooner, described the tome as “The Sell A Million”.

                • marknesop says:

                  I liked just about everything Tolkein wrote, as you know, but I also found “The Silmarillion” unreadable. I believe its sales were quite poor.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  In my humble opinion, Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” is like the Curate’s Egg.

                  I do like, however, “The Hobbit” because it is what is: a children’s fantasy. I think it’s a good yarn.

                • Lyttenburgh says:

                  “Silmarillion” is… heck, it’s hard to explain. “It will make sense if you are high”… turned up to 11. It’s one-time for absolute fans only.

            • Jen says:

              Tolstoy was famous outside Russia during the later part of his life not as a writer but as a social / political critic of the tsarist government in Russia. Dostoyevsky was an influence on existentialist philosophy (through novels like “The Brothers Karamazov”) which was the dominant philosophy in universities in France and the US for a major part of the 20th century. Their fame carried over into their novels so people these days think these men are famous because of their novels, not because of their influence on Western intellectual thinking in the early 20th century.

              IMO, Hollywood and the BBC actually played the biggest part in making the novels accessible to the general public and creating an appetite for reading them. There have been at least three American movie adaptations of “Anna Karenina” with Greta Garbo, Vivien Leigh and Sophie Marceau playing the title character, plus a US TV version with Jacqueline Bisset and Christopher Reeve. The British made two mini-series in the 1970s and in 2012 based on the novel with Nicola Pagett and costume drama regular Keira Knightley respectively as the titular character.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptations_of_Anna_Karenina

              The Hollywood version of “War and Peace” was a joint US-Italian production with Audrey Hepburn playing Natasha. The BBC also made a TV mini-series version with Anthony Hopkins playing Pierre Bezukhov and former Dr Who actor Colin Baker playing the rake Anatole Kuragin who will be, er, involved in an incestuous relationship in the 2016 BBC remake.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_and_Peace_(1972_TV_series)

              Hollywood also adapted “The Brothers Karamazov” and “Crime and Punishment” to the screen. “Crime and Punishment” is a very adulterated version of the novel and runs as straight detective thriller with Peter Lorre as Raskolnikov. I have never seen “The Brothers Karamazov” but I believe by necessity it cuts out a huge section (the part with Father Zosima) and changes the ending as well to focus on Dmitri escaping jail with Grushenka rather than Alyosha. Incidentally “The Brothers …” featured William Shatner in his film debut as Alyosha.
              https://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/2/b70-1017

              • marknesop says:

                Yul Brynner (star of the adaptation of “The Brothers Karamazov”) once lived in Vladivostok – I think his home is preserved as some sort of tourist attraction, although I’m not sure – and his father Julius founded the mining industry in my wife’s home town (Dalnegorsk) upon which it remains heavily dependent today.

              • yalensis says:

                Colin Baker was the worst Doctor Who of all of the 13 Doctors so far.

                • Jen says:

                  If your companions were an American botany student who couldn’t even fake a Hollywood American accent properly and a screechy personal trainer, you were forced to wear outlandish clothes and to appear in some of the most childish adventures because producer John Nathan Turner (may he Rest In Purgatory) insisted on them, and your time in the TARDIS was continually being disrupted by budgetary cuts imposed by a BBC programme controller who never liked kids’ sci-fi TV shows, you too would be the worst Doctor Who in history.

                  As it turns out, time actually has been kind to Colin Baker, he does have his Doctor Who fans and he is probably one of the show’s biggest supporters. He does not shy away from this part of his career history and admits there were many problems with the character and the show during his tenure. The radio recordings Baker made as the Sixth Doctor Who did a lot to rehabilitate his image because he could then develop the character as he wanted free from interference from JNT or then BBC programme boss.

                  http://www.therobotsvoice.com/2011/01/6_ways_the_sixth_doctor_from_doctor_who_got_screwe.php

                • Cortes says:

                  As Jen says, plus round about then designers with SNM orientation IMHO (possibly refugees from Blakes 7 ?) flooded Dr Who with child unfriendly costuming.

        • Tim Owen says:

          An interview I read with an Italian poet – Eugenio Montale – has always stuck with me because in it, when asked what his two favourite English words were replied with “elbow” and “committed.” Obviously we can all understand why “elbow”, but why “committed”?

          As I’ve grown older I think I’ve begun to get it. There is so much captured in that word of the absurd drama of life. You have to act / decide and the word captures both the thrill of that action and the peril involved (in the sense of “once committed he couldn’t stop before the cliff.”)

          My point I guess is that it is hard to see that you’re wrong at the best of times, but when it means transitioning from a worldview that is heavily promoted and offers you a shiny white hat of righteous superiority to wear to one in which you are wearing the opposite it’s no wonder that propaganda is so effective.

          I would be entirely surprised if the pseudo-professions of marketing and PR had not thoroughly explored how best to exploit this weakness. Might explain how I can have arguments with my colleagues, family etc. where they argue as if Putin was almost literally Stalin’s protege. (I agree it’s unreal of course.)

          FWIW I suspect that people of a depressive temperament are not slightly immune to this. Zinoviev might be an example of someone of the right cast of mind. And since eugenics seems to be coming back into fashion as per the post above, perhaps we could splice some Zinoviev into the next crop.

  24. marknesop says:

    Sibel Edmonds, FBI whistleblower and blogger at Boiling Frogs Post, tapped Erdogan for phase-out and replacement back in the beginning of 2014, based on the shift in media rhetoric. She argued he had reached his “expiration date”, having served his purpose to the modern conquistadors. If this is accurate – and you certainly can’t argue with the difference between the glowing reviews he received when he was one of Obama’s Top Five International Friends, and the roundhouse kick to the pouch he took when he became An Autocratic Islamist Bigot – then his deliberate escalation of the simmering conflict between Russia and the west has the air of a desperate grab for stability as he felt the ground shifting beneath his feet.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Ha. The ironies abound. It reminds me of how Quadaffi or even Assad were probably lulled into a false sense of security by being courted by the West and, probably most importantly, by being “useful” during the “War on Terror.” Looking back over the last 15 years or so it’s hard not to conclude that being “useful” to the West is either a death sentence for the leaders of mid-size-to-small foreign countries or a VERY slippery slope to abject slavery (if lucky.)

      I’ll never forget reading in Richard Clarke’s book about 9-11 how, when he made his presentation on the same day recommending massive retaliatory air strikes against the training camps in Afghanistan Rumsfeld immediately piped up with “There are no good targets in Afghanistan”.

      Whatever runs through these people’s veins it’s way too cold to be blood.

    • et Al says:

      I can’t say I’m surprised. He and the AKP started off well, but as is usually the case, you consider yourself in separate from having a successful nation which of course would collapse if you leave. Kwame Nkrunah is a pretty good example of post colonial President who was set to deliver all newly independent Gold Coast would need, but he turned rotten.

      For Erd, Dav & the AKP, I’ve been wondering if they had any brakes. Calling another election earlier this year and going after the Kurds to frighten votes in to not splitting their votes was the definitive crossing of the Rubicon.

      So how is it going to happen. The Energikon ‘General’s trial’ has supposedly cleaned up the military which is the most obvious candidate, but then we should not exclude any young and upcoming ambitious members of hte AKP. Certainly the US and others have been keeping a close eye on potential replacements if only to have a a workable contingency plan. They certainly still have strong contacts within the Turkish military. Washington would prefer a ‘civilian coup’ as ‘military coups’ are long out of fashion and terrible PR.

      It may well not happen, but it would be fascinating to see how it would all unravel. I would assume, very fast, if it were to have much chance of success. The usual ‘present a fait accompli that would be reasonable to the majority and break a few bones of the dissenters as a warning message to others.

  25. Warren says:

  26. Northern Star says:

    Well maybe ..just maybe not all of American military command top brass is batshit nuts…..
    http://www.democracynow.org/2015/12/22/seymour_hershs_latest_bombshell_us_military
    Fills in a lot of additional material collateral to Hersh’s revelations:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-22/seymour-hersh-bombshell-us-military-shared-intelligence-assad-defiance-obama-cia

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Zrada! Why Johnny McKill and Lindsey “That’s not a Girlish Name!” Graham are not demanding their execution as commie-arab-nazi spies?

      • Cortes says:

        Lindsey or Lindsay and Graham are both Scottish Presbyterian surnames which are interchangeable as first and surnames. Crawford, Wilson, Wallace, Cameron, Campbell are others used in this manner. Indicator of major league WASPs.

        • Cortes says:

          Kirk, Douglas and Bruce are perhaps the most common.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Don’t forget – “Lynch”. Although the dude thanks to whom the term became so well known was Oirish, from Cork.

          And, well, maybe because I’m a “durty furriner” I have some trouble, ah, gendering some WASP names. When I read or “Lindsa(e)y” my mind knee-jerks “Lohan” and “Re-Hab”. Just last week I was gobsmaked upon learning that Loren Wiseman is in fact a dude! I mean – Loren! It’s a girlish name, IMO.

          • marknesop says:

            Depends how you say it – in some instances the “e” is not pronounced and the name is a variant of “Lorne”, which is completely masculine.

            • Cortes says:

              And Lorne sausage (aka “square sausage “) is one of the features of Caledonian “cuisine ” lampooned in “So I Married an Axe Murderer”. Great movie, great sausage.

      • Northern Star says:

        Indulge me por favor….WTF has this-McKill/Lindsey snarky crap- got to do with Hersch,Goodman or the point of the article?? A split between the CIA and the JCS IS significant…regardless of whoever you speculate is now in the catbird seat as presumed victor.
        Both sides ave camaraderie roots that run deep..very deep….you are naive to think otherwise….

        Would a deep split between the FSB and a cabal of Russian generals be noteworthy??

        Yes or No please….

    • Tim Owen says:

      That Democracy Now interview is, by turns, enraging and laudable. Enraging first…

      I just love how every foreign leader that’s been subject to a smear campaign (and we can call it this because, in complete isolation from whatever successes they might have achieved even by the yardstick of their own people, as evidenced by democratic support no less, these will never be mentioned in “polite company” WHILE heinous crimes in utterly undemocratic regimes are as assiduously overlooked) can only be mentioned with this tic-like caveat that Assad or Putin is a terrible dictator etc. The peak frustration was when Hersh decried “what Putin is doing in Ukraine.” Errr… What is that exactly Hersh? Not allowing the eastern Ukraine to be subjected to the same kind of bloodbath you seem to foresee in Syria?”

      It’s likely a slightly naive comment as I’m sure Hersh is quite constrained in what he feels he can say while still making sure his reporting reaches the maximum number of people. But at heart he still seems trapped within a frame of reference that is extremely constrained and America-centric. Disappointed me. And I frankly think Democracy Now has been completely negligent in their coverage of Ukraine. The group-think on the subject seems to have totally infected them.

      But here’s the real crux of the matter to me:

      – the Hersh article tells one side of a battle between two forces at war in the American government
      – it also tells a story in which the side Hersh is a mouthpiece for has apparently lost (Dempsey and Flynn have been replaced or retired respectively)
      – it also says that Obama seems to have come down on the other side to the JCS and the military
      – it says almost nothing about who the other side in the clash is and, therefore, who is in the ascendancy.

      Maybe I’m making too much of this as I guess anyone reading it would assume it is the CIA on the other side of the teeter-totter but surely that’s the real upshot from the whole article as whoever “they” are they are now in the catbird seat.

      • Northern Star says:

        “as whoever “they” are they are now in the catbird seat.”
        maybe..maybe not….shit happens….especially in the shifting landscapes of TPTB
        If what Hersh says is more or less on point -accurate-then it was the CIA that was thwarted by the JCS et al..not the other way around…real power is seized..not annointed nor appointed.

        “it also says that Obama seems to have come down on the other side to the JCS and the military” So WTF…who cares….!!!.

        As for Goodman…the point of my post was the JCS/CIA split…not Amy Goodman’s shortcomings…of which there are several..

  27. Erika says:

    Decipher the prophecy Rothschild 2016
    http://best.kp.ru/msk/world-2016/

    • Special_sauce says:

      I don’t read Russian. Maybe you can undo the cipher.

      • yalensis says:

        Oi, I just glanced at it, and this Rothschild prophecy is longer than all of Nostradamus’ quatrains put together!
        I just have a simpler method: The people with pink faces will be still alive, and the people with grey faces will be zombies by then.

  28. PaulR says:

    A couple of BBC stories for you all to chew on:

    1) ‘At least 200 civilians were killed in Russian air strikes in Syria in the two months to the end of November, an Amnesty International report says.’ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35162523
    2) ‘A Russian court has placed ex-oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky on an international wanted list over the 1990s murder of a Siberian mayor.’ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35167571

    • Putin thinks he can get Khodorkovsky back after he pardoned him and allowed him leave the country?

      • Drutten says:

        Why do you think it’s about “Putin”? You think the whole Yukos debacle was a cunning Putin plan to get rid of a dangerous political opponent, too?

        Khodorkovsky’s Yukos goons clearly took one for the team (perhaps unwittingly) when they were incarcerated for these murder and extortion plots back in the day. It only stands to reason that Khodorkovsky himself is questioned, too, if they’ve dug up more since then.

        They only managed to nail him Al Capone-style by finding irregularities in his paperwork back then, but clearly things run way deeper than that. He’s clever. It’s just a matter of what you can dig up.

      • Jen says:

        All that has been done is that Russia has asked Interpol to issue an arrest warrant for Khodorkovsky. This means Interpol just tracks Khodorkovsky’s movements on its databases and tells police in other countries to keep an eye and an ear out for his presence in their jurisdictions.

        Khodorkovsky is likely to apply for asylum in Britain. That’s sure to drag the UK’s reputation down deeper in the mud for hosting criminals.

    • Drutten says:

      The Russian ministry of defense spox brought it up in this big briefing:
      http://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12072315@egNews

      Apart from what they say, I also really think that the Russian Air Force is receiving a lot of blame for what the Syrian Arab Air Force is doing here and there. In fact, I know it to be so: Only a week ago two Syrian MiG-23’s (as exceedingly evident by the available footage tied to the incident, a plane that hasn’t been in Russian service for 25 years) dropped a bunch of bombs on a militant-infested part of Eastern Ghouta, outside Damascus, causing dozens of ostensibly civilian victims. That was immediately blamed on Russia by these “activists on site”, and made the rounds on social media.

      I say ostensibly because it is also well-known that militant deaths are often reported as civilian by certain “groups” (like the “SOHR” guy).

      It’s also known that the militants are mixing with real civilians whenever possible, which was a perfectly good excuse for the civilian casualties when the Ukrainians were shelling residential neighborhoods in the Donbas. If I recall correctly, even the US Department of State referenced that.

    • yalensis says:

      Personally, I don’t believe anything the BBC says, unless they offer iron-clad proof.
      This piece is full of phrases like
      “Quoting witnesses….” [which witnesses? Name them!]
      Amnesty said it had “researched remotely” [i.e., via youtube videos? provided by FSA?]
      “It had interviewed by phone or over the internet witnesses to the attacks, and had audio and video evidence, as well as “advice from weapons experts”. Amnesty said.
      [Again, if they have factual audio/video evidence, then let them authenticate it and present it to the public.]
      “It said there was evidence that….” Russia uses cluster bombs. [again: Cite the evidence and the sources!]
      “A local activist group said….” [was this group of activists named, by chance Al Qaeda?]

      Oh, I don’t doubt there is probably collateral damage goint on, like there is is any air war.
      But I am not going to believe it from the BBC unless they offer better evidence than this B.S.

      And let me remind people how during the Soviet-Afghan war, when Soviets were fighting Al Qaeda, the Western press published this type of baseless allegation, including scandalous claims that the Soviets DELIBERATELY disguised unexploded mines as children’s toys. Why would they do that? Why, to murder innocent Afghan children, of course! And where did this evidence come from? Because Osama bin Laden and Zbigniew Brzezinski said so.

      • et Al says:

        They’re just catching with the technique used by the International Criminal Tribunal Yugoslavia in the Hague. You make an accusation based on flimsy evidence and have the suspects detained from wherever because it is terrible PR to let them go about unmolested. Then you throw at them all sorts of third hand evidence offering the person/s charged a plea bargain and others who are under charge a plea bargain to offer evidence against the other.

        Here, Amnesty has refined the technique made popular by other parties such as those epic failures and unofficial branch of the UK government Bellend Cat – he’s apparently an ‘ex-government employee (and remember the head of Amnesty, along with quite a few other top jobs, are people who have come straight from or via Human Rights Watch – an organization that couldn’t be a better cousin of the State Department).

        1: Make accusation through social media. Because it is repeated and picked up by the Pork Pie News Networks, it must be true, at least partly.

        2: This is designed to force a response from the targeted party.

        3: Use that response to build additional material to your case. The fact that you have received a response means that your accusations have garnered further credibility.

        4: Deploy to ‘friendly governments’ in order to pressure the supposed subjects of the accusations. This is useful for the West as it adds another bow to their ‘we can’t lift sanctions yet’ quiver and adds to their negotiation possibilities.

        5: Even if sweet fa comes out of it, it makes for great PR and fundraising opportunities, bringing new converts and reassuring the moral faithful.

  29. Warren says:

    Published on 23 Dec 2015
    “Crotch-groping” fights, water-throwing arguments and a public war of words inside the Ukrainian government are all damaging for public relations image of Ukraine abroad, Taras Kuzio, senior fellow at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, warns Hromadske. Sitting next to Sasha Borovik, a deputy of the Odessa governor, Kuzio warns him as well by saying that Mikheil Saakashvili’s team has chosen the wrong man for their corruption attacks. It is not Prime-Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk they should publicly challenge, but their own boss President Poroshenko: “the responsibility of fighting corruption in Ukraine is not in hands of Prime-Minister Yatsenyuk, it is in hands of President Poroshenko. He wants to be in charge of the Prosecutor General’s office, he wants to be able to control the prosecutor, he wants to control the Security Service of Ukraine, then take the responsibility!”, Kuzio says by adding that the Ukrainian president shows unwillingness to fight corruption in his own country.

    Defending the factual base of corruption allegations against Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, Borovik says that those corrupt connections, uncovered by his team, control ‘75% of the Ukrainian GDP, and the Ukrainian prime-minister controls those schemes’. At the same time, the Odessa governor’s office struggles to get necessary governmental support to launch an official investigation into those allegations, according to Borovik.

    When challenged why does he think it is a job of a regional governor to be so heavily involved into national matters, instead of doing his job at provincial level, Borovik points out, that many problems in different regions are connected to corrupt central government in Kyiv, so you need to change things there first. Answering the question does it mean that Governor Saakashvili is aiming at prime-minister’s job himself, Borovik says: “Saakashvili team is ready to step up and take responsibilities, in case they will have such opportunity.”

    Hromadske’s Ian Bateson and Nataliya Gumenyuk talked toTaras Kuzio, senior fellow at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta and Sasha Borovik, a deputy of the Odessa governor on December 17th, 2015 in Kyiv.

  30. Lyttenburgh says:

    It’s amazing, how some… people… are wiling to bite “the hand that feeds them” ™ nowaday. It’s equally amazing when some. ha-ha, “respectable” outlets suffering from ages long case of the tunnel-vision SUDDENLY become extreamly perceptive… the very moment their collective arse is bitten.

    The Washington Post, a frontrunner of the “MURIKA FIRETRUCK YEAH!” propaganda campaing is starting to notice that, perhaps, something is wrong with its long-time darling – Poland.

    Poland’s new right-wing leaders have crossed a line

    By: Editorial Board.

    I guess it’s unnecessary to remind my fellow stooges that WaPo is a stomping grpund of one certain Ann Applebaum… wife of the (now former) Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorskiy.

    Some excerps:

    “FOR TWO decades Poland has been a leader among the post-communist nations of Central Europe, with a rapidly growing economy and mounting influence as a member of NATO and the European Union. So the sudden eruption of a political crisis in Warsaw that senior political and legal figures say has endangered the country’s democracy has delivered a shock on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The right-wing Law and Justice party, which won a majority in Parliament in an Oct. 25 election, has in a matter of weeks prompted the head of the European Parliament to talk about a “coup,” while tens of thousands of Poles have joined demonstrations by a newly organized Committee for the Defense of Democracy. The alarms were triggered partly by controversial appointments, including of a chief of security services previously convicted of abuse of power, and by suggestions that the new authorities will seek to purge the media or prosecute former prime minister Donald Tusk, now president of the European Council, the European Union’s highest body.

    The government’s most disturbing actions, however, have been its attempts to gain control over the Constitutional Tribunal, which rules on the legitimacy of laws Parliament passes. Within days of taking office, Law and Justice sought to push through the appointment of five new justices while invalidating appointments the previous Parliament made. When the tribunal ruled this move unconstitutional, the government refused to recognize the decision. Now it is rushing new legislation through Parliament that would effectively paralyze the court by requiring that its decisions be made with a two-thirds majority.

    […]

    …Mr. Kaczynski and his party are hostile to Russia and distrustful of Germany, but they are broadly pro-American. That may give the Obama administration an opportunity to influence the government’s course. It should tell Warsaw’s leaders that weakening judicial checks, purging critics from state-owned media and pursuing the prosecution of political opponents will quickly sour relations with Washington — and undermine the Polish success story.”

    Yeah, I know – the last paragraph is comedy gold!

    But what is especially “jiucy” is actually not the article – its the comments, primarily from Polish (I guess) users. We have such gems like:

    “templar70
    8:06 PM GMT+0300
    It’s Angela Merkel who is guilty of all that mess! If she didn’t force us to accept islamic refugees, people wouldn’t vote for nationalists. That is the result of wrongful Angela’s politics.”

    Or this revelatory comment:

    “northernliberal1
    5:58 PM GMT+0300
    The UN should establish an school to teach new populist governments how to troll on the internet. They would learn how to vary the content, quality and quantity of comments so that it was not apparent that they were actually government or party employees. Untrained trollers erode the effectiveness of their work by being repetitious, a waste of government effort that the UN should be interested in reducing. I don’t know why this article prompted that thought.”

    BY Jove, my shanovniy pan! Are you actually suggesting that such staunch democrats and Atlanticists as L&J can employ… “troll factories”?😉

  31. Warren says:

    Published on 23 Dec 2015
    Mixed martial arts fighter Jeff Monson is the latest sports star to receive Russian citizenship after legendry boxer Roy Jones Jr. was given a Russian passport. Monson is set to take part in his first fight for his new country on Christmas Day.

  32. Warren says:

    Russian ex-tycoon Khodorkovsky may seek UK asylum

    Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, says he is considering applying for political asylum in the UK and feels safe in London.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35172909

    • marknesop says:

      Notice how everyone who has an axe to grind against Putin is a “fierce critic”? Navalny and Yashin have each been awarded that title at least once, as have Latynina and Bershidsky. I wonder, if I were to write in some grubby little provincial newspaper – say, the Times-Colonist, which probably has a similar circulation to Novaya Gazeta, “Justin Trudeau is a turd – it is only a matter of time before the people rise up in all their righteousness, and cast him out”, if they would refer to me as a “fierce critic of Trudeau”.

      So far, he is doing okay, I just used him for an example, and I don’t think he’s a turd. Not yet, anyway.

      I’m sure Khodorkovsky does feel safe in London; it’s a very friendly city to wealthy lawbreakers and Russian oligarchs. For some reason, when they buy a palatial home in a London suburb instead of in Moscow, that’s construed as a signal that London is a far better place to live, even though the British press couldn’t say enough rotten things about the oligarch in question when he lived in Russia.

      • Cortes says:

        Well, Mark, I’d like to set a trend, as a “faint hearted ” critic of Putin:

        VVP: screw them properly, no more MR NICE GUY!

      • Jen says:

        Khodorkovsky might feel very safe in this Berkshire mansion, temporarily anyway, until he comes to use the bathroom.

    • et Al says:

      May I suggest a slightly altered headline?

      Russian ex-tycoon Khodorkovsky may seek UK lunatic asylum

      • et Al says:

        And just after I clicked the ‘send’ button, I realized that unless you are properly mental and very likely to kill someone, let alone yourself, the British practice ‘Care in the Community’. So, the next time you visit the big smoke and see those sleeping rough, there’s a pretty good chance they are part of the Care in the Community policy. A good way to save money no? Remember kids, The Conservatives care. For themselves.

        • Cortes says:

          A few years ago I spoke with a guy working with people with mental health problems and a very illuminating chat it was. For him, no thatcherite, care in the community is a good policy since, as he pointed out, institutional treatment of any but the most dangerous individuals sanitises society in a manner which is itself unhealthy. Dangerous individuals undoubtedly exist, but most people don’t exhibit dangerous behaviour; irregular, yes, bizarre, at times, but generally with idiosyncratic conduct familiar to the community which is able to monitor them.
          The big problem has been ASSAULT ON COMMUNITY. In large urban areas few people know their neighbours. Where neighbourhood exists it is under threat. The mentally fragile are expected to take their chances in a milieu which is being deliberately targeted for atomisation.
          Rant endeth.

          • et Al. says:

            He is right. Locking away all and everyone is wrong, but putting them out without adequate support (£££) is as good as an early grave and that is exactly what has happened so that the Conservatives can use it to reduce taxes to induce people to vote Conservative. It’s like the reminisce for the time of Charles Dickens.

  33. Jen says:

    English-language transcript of the Avakov-Saakashvili sledging match here:
    http://southfront.org/sensational-government-session-in-a-european-country-a-historic-precedent/

  34. Warren says:

  35. Warren says:

  36. et Al says:

    AlJizzError: Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of all-out ‘war’
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/armenia-accuses-azerbaijan-war-151222134855846.html

    ####

    I wonder what the Gulf & the US have promised that other scion of democracy and great friend of the west, Alijev, coz Russians are dumb and cannot focus on more than one thing at the same time…

  37. et Al says:

    PTI via Asia Times: Russia remains India’s principal partner in defense, says Modi
    atimes.com/2015/12/russia-remains-indias-principalgggg-partner-in-defense-modi/

    ####
    I’d love to see Russia and India building an Mi-24 replacement, the Indians having asked Russia, but had no interest in following up.

    In related news, Indian Su-30MKIs had come in for quite some stick for their reliability with blame being placed on the Russians, yet from the horses mouth:

    Defense News.com: India’s Auditing Agency Punches Holes in Russian Sukhoi
    http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/2015/12/21/indias-auditing-agency-punches-holes-russian-sukhoi/77688164/

    …The Su-30MKI suffers from technical problems in the fly-by-wire systems and radar warning receivers, the IAF official said.

    The poor serviceability is mainly on account of lack of spares, which come from Russia. IAF has lost six Su-30MKI since it received the first batch in 2002…

    …”IAF has changed the maintenance drill of the Su-30MKI after finding that there are maintenance problems with the engine. So far, around 35 engine failures in the Su-30MKI have been noticed, including failures on account of power plant,” another IAF official said…
    ####

    You simply cannot cut corners on equipment like this. There was some Chinese moaning about their Su-27Ks which turned out to using substandard, non-certified equipment, lubricants etc. in order to save some money. You also get spares if you pay for them and have a reasonable stock on hand. Russian kit is tough, but it cannot run that long if you treat it badly.

    I was encourage to see that they are also setting up maintenance centers outside of Russia and going after all those airframes that have been left unservicable, but restorable. In very dry, non-humid conditions, they’ll be in very good conditions and considering how robustly designed and built Mil helicopters are, there is plenty of business to go after.

    • Drutten says:

      The Indians are crashing or suspending due to tecnical errors their fighter/attack aircraft at a far greater rate than anybody else operating the very same types, whether Western (SEPECAT Jaguar, Dassault Mirage 2000, BAe Sea Harrier) or Russian (MiG-21 Bison, MiG-27, MiG-29K, Su-30MKI). Indian Sukhoi Su-30MKI’s have a rather abysmal record, the Sukhoi Su-30MK’s of other countries have not (Russia, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, Algeria etc)…

      In fact, I saw a pretty comprehensive table on this about a year ago. The difference in actual flight hours between these countries does not even come close to explaining their respective failure rates. India is way up there for some reason, and India’s Su-30MKI’s are assembled in India… Go figure. How come India’s homegrown let’s-save-the-day fighter “Tejas” hasn’t gotten anywhere in the past decade? Russia’s fault again, huh? Let’s not even start with China…

      • et Al. says:

        I would blame it on the British bureaucratic system that they fully kept on after independence. Sure, if it aint’ broke, don’t fix it, but that’s not an excuse to not modify and improve it as time goes a long

        From the article, you will note that any venture will probably be with Tata Industries, the same group that has bought and turbocharges LandRover, and happes to be private, rather than the long state established HAL which used to be the only way to do anything aeronautical for decades. HAL is the problem with its ingrained tendencies and bureaucracy and hence direct political meddling. The Russians tried, and to be honest they didn’t exactly have a great track record throughout the 1990s and early 2000s when they promised one price up front, only to increase it massively later, i.e. the Admiral Gorshkov.

    • marknesop says:

      As I’ve mentioned before, if you are in the market for a naval gas turbine powerplant, GE will sell you the LM-2500, one of the most widely-used military marine gas turbines. If you want the maintenance package, it’ll cost you nearly as much as the engine. But if you don’t want it, that’s up to you – you don’t have to take it. But if it fails because you did not follow proper maintenance procedures or did not use the recommended materials or fuels or lubricants, GE will consider itself to bear no responsibility whatsoever. It’s a tough old world.

  38. Northern Star says:

    http://breakingenergy.com/2015/12/23/the-turkish-russian-military-balance/
    Thought this guy is Turk…his analysis appears to be fairly detailed..or are we misled.??
    I just didn’t think of Turkey as a credible real opponent to the Russian military at any level of engagement…

  39. Tim Owen says:

    A great detailed summary of the witness statements and their misuse or non-use regarding the Houla massacre.

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/12/dirty-war-syria-houla-massacre-revisited.html#more-52729

    • et Al. says:

      Thanks for sharing Mr. T.! Good to see it in detail but there is no chance we will see it in the PPNNs any time soon.

      Anyone with half a brain knew it was a rewarmed Bosnia Gambit, those impartial journalists holding their tongues if they knew it would get a result.The only difference between the 1990s and 2012 was that Russia was on its knees in 2012.

  40. kirill says:

    A gem of liberast inanity. They compare Russia’s GDP and incomes in 2015 and 2012 and use the ruble devaluation to attempt to frighten the children with stories of economic doom since the Russian economic parameters in dollars look bad.

    Consider this: Russians pay for goods and services in rubles and not dollars. Looking at the 2015 inflation rate of 16.5%, one sees that the spending potential of a given income has gone down by 16.5% and not 100% as the ruble to dollar exchange rate would imply if, being idiots, we believed it actually meant something. Note the 33,278 ruble average income of Russians in 2015. A 16.5% inflation means that it is like earning 28,565 rubles in terms of spending potential. But in 2012 Russians earned an average income of 27,000 rubles. This implies that in 2015 Russians earned more than in 2012 even accounting for the inflation spike. They *did not* earn $475/$857 = 0.55 or 55% of what they earned in 2012. They earned 33,278/27,000 = 1.23 or 23% more. Inflation has eaten into this extra, but has not reduced Russian incomes by 50%.

    Of course I am ignoring the cumulative inflation in 2013 and 2014. But the use of dollars to compare Russian incomes and GDP is just retarded and/or malicious.

  41. Moscow Exile says:

    The show goes on:

    I was a born a Ukrainian; I shall die a Ukrainian.

    Who is saying she wasn’t?

    Who is saying she shan’t?

    See: Солнечное алиби: российский астроном подтвердила в суде невиновность Надежды Савченко

    Solar alibi: a Russian astronomer has confirmed in court Nadezhda Savchenko’s innocence

    Russian scientist-astronomer Olga Voziakova has confirmed in court that the Ukrainian flyer Nadezhda Savchenko was captured before the death of Russian TV employees, in whose murder she is accused of participating.

    Her innocence has not been confirmed at all.

    The “expert evidence” presented by the astronomer has been presented in court as testimony for her innocence.

    • Cortes says:

      Not good for the bereaved families, but it would be funny if the court declared her not guilty by reason of insanity and deported her to Banderastan.

      • marknesop says:

        It would be a laugh indeed, but Kiev – and, by extension, the western press – would interpret it as a cop-out because Russia could not support any serious charges, and so released her but tried to put as negative a spin on it as possible. Personally I think Kiev is covertly glad to have this fire-breathing nutjob radical safely in Russia and not running around Kiev, but if she was actually found not guilty by reason of insanity and released to Ukraine, they would still give her a huge victory parade because to do otherwise would contradict the propaganda narrative that she is a Ukrainian hero.

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