The Unbearable Unseemliness of Partnership

Uncle Volodya says, "However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.”

Uncle Volodya says, “However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.”

Well, sometimes the faster it gets
The less you need to know…

The Tragically Hip, from “Blow at High Dough

Jim Hoagland, at The Washington Post, is upset. Not furious, or anything – it would never do to get angry at such a solid, reliable and inspirational ally as Germany. No, it’s more….miffed. The kind of vague disquiet you feel when a good friend suddenly reveals a side of themselves you didn’t know existed. It’s kind of like Germany got sloppy drunk at an international party and threw up on the carpet, or in the punch bowl. The kind of embarrassing performance that will probably fade with time, but good friends should step in immediately and set Germany straight, in case there’s a deeper problem that foreshadows, say, a precipitous descent into alcoholism. That’s kind of how Mr. Hoagland views Germany’s unseemly insistence that going into business on a pipeline deal with Russia is just a straight commercial arrangement (thanks for the tip, Warren).

Pardon me while I segue sharply away from this subject for just a moment, but I promise all will be made clear. In the sidebar to the referenced article, from the very same newspaper, is a piece entitled, “It’s Time to Curb this Widely-Committed Journalistic Sin“. The sin referred to is the contempt in journalism for the requirement that disputable assertions be backed by reasoned argument or reference to a reputable source. Use of the passive voice, such as “it is widely believed” is not good enough on its own and is often a cover for something the author would devoutly love to be true, but cannot prove is true. Curiously, the author goes on to assert, in the very next paragraph, that a statement such as “it is widely believed that MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists” is an example of a reasonable statement…because almost everyone believes it. The author does not touch upon this widely-held belief being the direct result of a massive campaign of deliberate disinformation, and an investigation in which a major suspect was allowed unrestricted access to all of the evidence and a seat on the investigation.  But we can only do so much in one post, and we simply can’t take that one on right now.

Anyway, where I wanted to go with that is to appoint you all members of a sort of jury panel. We’re going to look at Mr. Hoagland’s piece, and I want you to watch for examples of occasions in which Mr. Hoagland makes a disputable assertion that is not backed up by facts – just an “ask anyone” kind of substantiation. Ready? Let’s go.

Oh; just a bit of stage-setting first – Mr. Hoagland is part of a growing lobby group which is putting pressure on Germany to back out of its deal with Russia’s Gazprom and other shareholders to twin the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which would double the available supply of Russian gas to Germany, making Germany a significantly more-important gas hub for Europe. It would also result in Russia sending only domestic supply through Ukraine’s pipeline network, for Ukrainians’ use so long as they pay in advance, and not subject to transit fees. Every article on the subject mentions that Ukraine reaps $2 Billion annually from Russia for transit fees for basically doing nothing except letting Russia use its pipes, and Washington and Brussels are becoming increasingly worried that this payment might be lost to the Ukrainian economy. This is at the heart of their objections to the new pipeline capability and the deal with Germany. The Anglosphere knows it is useless to appeal to Gazprom, and so is concentrating a full-court press on Germany.

While it’s true that Germany has earned the world’s respect for its overall performance since World War II, I’m going to draw the line at “repeatedly taking the moral and political high ground”. Is that so? Was the Siemens scandal, in which the company – which was German last time I looked – paid €2.5 billion in fines for bribery a good example of the moral high ground? How about Deutsche Bank’s £840,000 fine plus £1.5 million in compensation for funneling mortgage loans exclusively through mortgage brokers to people with poor credit history, and then wiping them out with made-up fees when they fell into arrears? I’m sure even those of us with the shortest memories can recall Volkswagen’s deliberate installation of test-cheating software in over 11 million cars which would sense when a test was being conducted and supply bogus emission figures which made it compliant with regulations, but otherwise would allow the engine to emit as much as 40 times the allowable pollutants – which have been linked to respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and emphysema – in the interests of achieving better mileage. Pretty hard to see that as an example of the moral high ground, what? Nobody is dumping on the Germans, and every country has an element which is more interested in making money than just about anything else you can name, but Germany no more fits the mold of gilded saint than anyone else.

So why is Germany ‘risking its hard-earned reputation’? As an aside, that is kind of comical coming from the country which systematically blew the basement out of its international reputation in the past 5 years with its deliberate and open instigation of rebellions in countries around the world as an excuse to send in the western military to sack and ruin those countries – Ukraine and Syria are only the most recent examples. But let’s leave that for the moment. The implication – hell, it’s spelled out – is that if Germany persists with this deal, it will sacrifice its international reputation for decency. That’s not even close to true, and it is laughable for Hoagland to suggest the rest of Europe is going to look down its nose at Germany when it is Germany who underpins the European Central Bank, which bails out European spendthrifts and idiots who cannot manage their own money. Pack yer bags; we’re goin’ on a guilt trip! No, we’re not. Don’t even think about it. Yes, Washington will be pissed off to see its own efforts to control the European gas distribution network come to naught, but is that something that should keep Germany awake nights? Where’s the substantiation for his statement that “the vast changes in the global energy markets of the past year have made the Russian deal obsolete, as well as damaging to European unity”? Ukraine is not part of the European Union, and it is Ukraine which is squalling loud and long for Europe to help it because Russia is about to take it out of the gas-transit business. How is the ‘Russian’ deal (the pipeline is actually owned by five major international shareholders, of which Gazprom is one, and Gazprom itself is owned by the Russian state just to a sufficient degree to constitute a majority, 50.002%) ‘obsolete’? Is Europe now in a position to do without Russian gas? It certainly is not. What are Hoagland’s grounds for saying “the pipeline deal with Vladimir Putin is seemingly corrupt”? What is Putin’s involvement in the pipeline? Zero. What makes it “seemingly corrupt”? Ask anyone. Everybody knows it is. Lastly, why should the United States government get involved – at the Presidential level, no less – in a business deal between Germany and Russia to which it is itself not a party? Let me ask you this, Mr. Hoagland – is there anything, anything in the wide world that the United States considers not its business?

We have a pretty good idea why Washington objects to a new pipeline deal which will bring gas to Europe, and not even more of it (twinning Nord Stream will replace Ukraine’s transit, not augment it), which is the whole point – Washington and Brussels want Russia to be on the hook for subsidizing Ukraine to the greatest degree possible, because every dollar that doesn’t come from Russia has to come from the IMF or other western donors. Similarly, for so long as Ukraine is Russia’s buffer transfer zone between it and its European gas markets, Russia has to care to some extent for Ukraine’s well-being. It can’t let Ukraine fail. Whereas if Ukraine is no longer necessary to Russia’s gas operations, it is totally a western responsibility to heal the shattered country whose civil war the west cheered so enthusiastically, and no skin off Russia’s nose if it collapses into complete ruin. Also just by the bye, the United States government still nurtures a dream whereby it will itself become a major supplier to Europe of gas through LNG tankers and terminals. I’m not going to go into detail again on what a stupid idea that is, I did so here more than a year ago. Forcing Russia to continue supplying gas to Europe through Ukraine forces Russia to take an interest and an active hand in stabilizing and rebuilding Ukraine, although Europe means to keep it forever within its own sphere of influence.

Anyway, let’s get back to Mr. Hoagland at The Washington Post, before this turns into a book. Here we go again, with “Putin’s objective”. Is there any detail about the conduct of business in Russia that Mr. Putin does not run personally? Granted, producing far, far less of the resource you depend on to heat and light your homes, power your industries and a thousand other things means that you are going to have to come to terms with whoever has it for sale, and in Europe’s case it boils down to either Russia or the creaking Frankenstein’s monster the United States is trying to cobble together, which is a combination of ocean-transit LNG by tanker and a pipeline from devoted toady ally Qatar through Syria to Turkey, which the current stubborn clinging to the seat to which he was elected by Mr. Assad makes moot.

And at this point, my friends, Mr. Hoagland stepped off the edge of reason. Indulge me, for a second. Journalists regularly consult experts, it gives their copy authenticity. It seems reasonable they must have lists, in descending order of reliability. In the case of economists, the first page should be headed, “Reliable Economists”. Anders Aslund will not be found on this list. Page 2 could be headed “Less Reliable Economists”. Anders Aslund will not be found on this list. The third page could be titled, “Idiots Who Can Barely Add, But Who Are Nonetheless Convinced That They Are Smart”. Anders Aslund will not be found on this list. The last page could be headed, “Disturbed Whiny Attention Whores Who Are To Economics What The Reverend Jim Jones Was To Organized Religion”. Anders Aslund is on this list. More correctly, Anders Aslund is this list. Who is the economist Mr. Hoagland relied upon to underpin his case? I rest mine – Anders Aslund.

Anders Aslund tells Mr. Hoagland that the Nord Stream pipeline does not make economic sense. Why not? Well, because “Consumption of natural gas in the European Union has fallen by 21 percent over the past decade, and the existing Gazprom pipeline under the Baltic Sea is now operating at half capacity. And Gazprom is no ordinary state corporation. It pursues Russia’s geopolitical goals, cutting supplies or raising prices when the Kremlin wants.

I sometimes wish I were King Henry, so that all I had to do was shout “Who will rid me of this troublesome economist???”, and some knights would ride off to Georgetown University and hack off his head with a sword (although in light of its dense wooden composition, a bow saw might be more practical). Then his chowderheaded foolishness would be stilled forever. It seems that the bigger a coruscating DayGlo neon megawatt idiot you are, the more anxious journalists are to draw upon and broadcast your elitist ramblings, or perhaps he is the only one who will do it for free.

Yes, Anders, you bright spark, you – EU consumption of natural gas overall decreased; in 2014, by 10.7%. Does that mean the EU is importing less gas? Well, no, actually, you effing hammerhead, it does not – in fact, over the same period, reliance on imported gas increased 2.8%. How can those two realities coexist? Why, because EU domestic production fell by 10.6% in 2014. The decline in some countries was abrupt and dizzying; in France it dropped by 96.1%, in Spain the decline was 58.2%, in Bulgaria by 35.3%, a drop of 18.7% in The Netherlands and 14.3% in Germany. Only the Czech Republic and Romania increased production. The ‘energy boom’ in Norway – a major producer of EU supplies – passed its peak in 2009 and is in rapid decline. EU overall consumption may have declined, but not as rapidly as domestic production, which means the EU is more reliant on imported energy than ever. You can rearrange pipelines and delude yourself as much as you like, but you will not change that fact. Of course, it doesn’t impact your pontificating one bit, because you don’t see it. Aslund, lest we forget, is the author of “How Ukraine Became a Market Economy and Democracy“. Has been since 2009, apparently. Let’s skip over a few highlights, shall we? “Ukraine is today an undisputed independent state. It is a democracy and has transformed into a market economy with predominant private ownership.” I’ll say – 70% of its GDP is controlled by its oligarchs. “Ukraine’s postcommunist transition has been one of the most protracted and socially costly, but it has taken the country to a desirable destination.” I don’t quite know what to say to that. Not without resorting to the worst kind of profanity. In fact, Aslund’s vision is quite a bit like a hypothetical situation in which the west captured a former hardcore fascist country, didn’t change a God-damned thing except the leader, and then assured the citizenry that its former practices were actually signs of democratic progressiveness. A big feature – in terms of publication by Ukraine, not numbers of attendees – of the Holiday Season in Ukraine this year was torchlight parades celebrating the birthday of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. How many other European market democracies held similar celebrations? The idea that Ukraine is closer today to a desirable destination than it was in 2009 stupefies comment.

Why is Nord Stream operating at half capacity? Anders Aslund and several of his fellow dunderheads would have you believe it is because of a declining appetite for Russian gas, and they say as much. I guess that would be reflected by a decline in Gazprom’s exports to Europe. Uh, oh – I see a problem. Gazprom’s exports to Europe in 2012 were 149.9 BCm. In 2013 they were 172.6 BCm. That was the highest over a 9-year period – almost the decade that Aslund describes, in which the EU is allegedly consuming less gas. And it is: just not less Russian gas, and the reliance on the figure which shows declining consumption is a classic bait-and-switch. The EU is using less gas because it has less gas. You can also see why the UK is among the countries attracting hysterical western pushback for stonewalling on the Nord Stream deal; exports by Gazprom to the UK went from 3.8 BCm in 2005 to 16.6 BCm in 2013.

In 2014, Putin addressed a letter to the heads of Europe, in which he highlighted the growing unreliability of Ukraine as a transit country – this should have been seen as a direct warning that Russia intended to eliminate further risk of transit through Ukraine, as Gazprom has indicated on previous occasions. About 50% of Russia’s gas exports to Europe as a whole go through Ukraine. When Ukraine is taken out of the equation, not only will Nord Stream need every cubic centimeter of capacity, it will need more than the current pipeline can handle. And then there is the absurd European Third Energy Package requirement that any company which owns the pipeline cannot also own the gas that goes through it, and must reserve 50% of its capacity for “competitors”; the EU is okay for a single company to build a pipeline at its own expense, but then wants that company to give its competitors a free ride.  Gazprom got around that by forming an international consortium, which will build and own the pipeline. Gazprom is a shareholder. Nord Stream II should not fall under the Third Energy Package, as it is a supplement to an existing and already-approved line, although Donald Tusk continues to insist the pipeline must comply with every European regulation he can find plus whatever he can make up. The Poles, for obvious reasons, are very supportive of an independent and prosperous Ukraine – because they will be pressured to take a significant share of the economic refugees if it collapses. But the signal from Merkel – AKA “The Chancellor of the Free World” – looked pretty clear in her reply to Putin’s letter, which read (in part), “There are many reasons to seriously take into account this message […] and for Europe to deliver a joint European response. When we take all these steps, we can be sure that we have reached a joint response for the countries that face this problem because they are getting gas from Gazprom. European states would like to be good clients but we would also like to be sure Russian gas supplies are not interrupted.

But there’s another fly in the ointment, one that is not mentioned in polite circles: over 50% of Ukraine’s domestic gas supply comes from Russia, and Ukraine’s own supply peaked years ago. It has been in steady decline ever since. There was never a question of who would pay for that so long as Europe’s supply went through the same pipes. Ukraine regularly stalled on payment, argued over the price after it had already taken the gas, and when Russia said “no more for you until you pay”, just laughed and siphoned off gas intended for European customers for its own use. So long as European gas goes through Ukraine, Ukraine has Russia over the proverbial barrel, as already discussed. But it is important to note that once Europe’s supply no longer goes through Ukraine, Russia has no incentive to keep Ukraine from economic collapse. That means that if Ukraine can’t pay for its own domestic supply, up front, then it’s a hard old world, Ukraine. The latest western democracy project will be caught between the loss of its transit fees, loss of its tax-free preferred-trading-partner status with Russia as a potential member of the Eurasian Union (and with it, its Russian markets), a cratering currency, loss of a third of its tax base, and a partnership with a multinational entity that insists on reforms and the adoption of grinding austerity policies in exchange for lending it anything more than emergency starvation cash.

And Ukraine, indisputably, is an unreliable partner. Part of that is not its fault, because its western sponsors encourage it to hate and cheat Russia at every opportunity which presents itself, and it openly gloats over its achievements when it rips off Russians, rationalizing that they are all thieves themselves and too drunk to notice. Kiev protests that it only cheats Russians, and is otherwise as honest as the day is long, but it is easy to see that it considers anyone fair game who does not support their vision of Ukraine. The “Soyuz” main pipeline supplying natural gas to Hungary and Croatia from Russia via Belarus and Ukraine blew up a couple of days ago, inside west Ukraine, and there is good reason to believe it was a deliberate act of sabotage by Ukrainian activists, who have threatened before on repeated occasions to attack pipelines carrying Russian gas. If they were indeed responsible, it was a bit of an own goal, since that’s the line that is used to reverse-flow gas to Ukraine from Hungary. Ukrainian activists recently blew up some of the power pylons carrying nearly the entire electrical supply to Crimea, apparently frustrated by the country’s inability to achieve a military victory in the civil war against its own eastern regions.

From Brussels and Washington’s point of view, it is essential that Russia participate in the rehabilitation of Ukraine as a prosperous monument to NATO expansion. Because it frankly cannot be done without it. Russia is understandably unwilling to cooperate under those circumstances, the scenario being what it is. Ukraine will therefore be taken off the board as a transit country, and its entire livelihood is now in peril. The west is trying to rectify its enormous blunder by bullying Russia into continuing to send European gas through Ukraine, and it is not working. One of Ukraine’s greatest failings is its inability to see who is leading it into ruin, because it is so much fun to stick out its tongue at Russia and pull faces. Have fun, Ukraine.

Anybody want to sum that up in a couple of trenchant lines? Oh, look: Jarod Kintz, author of “The Titanic Would Never Have Sunk if it were Made Out of a Sink“, would like to.

“The only gift I have to give, is the ability to receive. If giving is a gift, and it surely is, then my gift to you is to allow you to give to me.”

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1,012 Responses to The Unbearable Unseemliness of Partnership

  1. marknesop says:

    Oh, dear; another European analyst goes off the reservation and opines (1) the recovery against ISIS is attributable to the Russian intervention, for which the west should be grateful, (2) hopefully relations will be normalized in 2016 and the sanctions dropped, and (3) it was a terrible idea to offer Ukraine an Association Agreement.

    Bremer Landesbank Chief Economist Folker Hollmayer said, “The adventure of the EU association with Ukraine, which did not and does not begin to meet the standards for association or membership with the EU, is expensive and a failure.” Sorry, Porky.

    I wonder how long it will be before an official statement is rushed out that he is “servile to Putin“, as happened with Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer.

    The Atlanticist bootlickers are scrambling to plug holes in the dike, but make no mistake – these people are not outliers, but the vanguard of a building wave of discontent. Too late, though: Russia will never be caught in such a vulnerability again, and there will be no more economic or trade arrangements in which Russian interests are not sufficiently leveraged. Unfortunately, that means the end of fat exploitative profits for foreign firms in Russia and external firms who trade with it.

    • Jen says:

      Apparently the economist’s name is Folker Hellmayer (I tried looking him up on Google) and the fact that he is with a regional German bank based in northern Germany rather than a global bank like Deutsche Bank AG might explain why he can afford to speak his mind and why Berlin is likely to ignore his advice.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, I didn’t bother to look him up, but the reference article included his name spelt both ways.

        I’m not sure Germany can afford to ignore his advice – according to this excellent and thought-provoking article from Oriental Review, 2016 will be decision time, the cliched point of no return at which America must decide if it will accept the “soft landing” it has been offered, whereby it will be able to preserve some of its influence and assets in exchange for receding hegemony…or continue with confrontation, and collapse.

        The author argues that the Second World War allowed the USA to escape its crisis, which was in many ways similar to the one it faces now. That might explain why it is endeavoring to stage a limited and controllable reprise of that noted unpleasantry – so as to escape its crisis once again. A very good read; highly recommended.

        • Oddlots says:

          Yeah that’s some first-class, clear-headed thinking right there.

          Here’s what worries me: the reference to resource use, while piquant obviously, is also a little sloppy to my mind. The US has been willing to run huge trade deficits with the attendant loss of employment for its citizens for decades now. Putting aside how corrupt this is in a purportedly democratic society, in structural terms I suspect that someone had to play this role for China to deal with its problem with providing employment for its massive population, a problem that heaved into view around 30 years ago.

          Putting it another way, if America has played the role of the “buyer of last resort (meaning on credit)” who is in a position to step into those shoes either ideologically or practically?

          Really what I want to see is China, especially, recognize that the model’s finished net-net and embrace the fact that it urgently needs to see the development of internal demand.

          Bit off topic but it occurred to me that the simplest way for the Chinese to do this would be for it to nationalize the provision of healthcare. Apparently the Chinese hoard money like mad in anticipation of their own or their parents’ health care costs. Take that fear away and you will see a giant rise in consumption along with massive efficiencies as with all single-payer systems.

          • Jen says:

            That problem regarding China’s provision of employment for its workers hove into view because Deng Xiaoping’s modernisation push begun after Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 meant dismantling the social welfare state and selling off most state-owned enterprises. This threw people out of work at a time when there was still substantial poverty in the country.

        • Cortes says:

          The Ischenko article IS excellent. One shudders at the thought that perhaps too few of the leaders of allies/vassals of the USA have the intestinal fortitude to recommend the soft landing and as a consequence we are all locked into a Berlin 1945 “Downfall ” script with Wagner as mood music.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The Germans have even coined a derogatory turn of phrase to describe those horrendous persons in their midst who refuse to demonize the Evil One: Putin-Versteher —literally: “Putin Understander”.

      See this rant:

      Die kleine traurige Geschichte der Putin-Versteher

      The little sad story of the Putin-Versteher

      Ideologically blinkered, the Putin-Versteher run around with their fantasies, one of which being that the West had promised Moscow that there would be no eastwards expansion

      For a T-shirt:

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The above Putin-Versteher comment should have followed on to a comment in the previous page about the Bremerbank boss who will, no doubt, be now categorized as a Putin sycophant.

      • marknesop says:

        Ideologically blinkered!! Ha, ha. ha!! Would you like some freedom and democracy with that? How about a side of humanitarian intervention, with a sprinkling of no-fly-zone?

        The Germans would do much better to be figuring out their place in the new Europe rather than making up cutesie terminology for Putin. But liberal students who don’t yet have to support themselves always have plenty of time to be clever. A couple of years of genteel ideological poverty usually puts them right, especially when they realize who they have been working to enrich.

        • kirill says:

          It’s a universal syndrome. The self-entitled, bitter welfare bum. And no, I am not a Rush Limbaugh lover. This syndrome is the reason why Ukraine is in the toilet it is today.

          It is sad that humans react to socialism (this includes the pampered campus life) in such a nasty way. Instead of appreciating it, they begin to think that someone else is obliged to wipe their ass for them.

  2. dany8538 says:

    I am not sure how much people love russian music around here but for me there are 2 essential bands in the Russian World: Любэ and Leningrad. I Love listening to them and i recently discovered this song from Leningrad which captures some humor in the recent rise of russian patriotism.

    ME, care to translate ? I bet thats a fun exercise

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      I can’t stand “Любэ” since my time in the Army. Every bloody ПХД-day we had to listen to one of their disks set on the “loop play” while working in kungs or repairing the vehicles. It was our then Acting Comander personal favorite. The moment he set his foot away from the vehicle park, other officers changed the disc for something more pleasing – in that case it was a collection of late 80s – early 90s Russian disko-pop, like Мираж.

      As for the song and its content – its a dialog between a “spherical net-vatnik in vacuum” ad his wife, where he says how Russia is stronk, while his wife complains that he spends too much time in the net, and that he’d better took away the garbage.

      • et Al says:

        Голубые береты anyone?

        Raclette time!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I have a similar reaction to Vysotsky’s musical rants that I almost suffered every day back in the USSR in the student hostel where I shared a broom cupboard with two Russian lads. When I complained, suggesting they play something different for a change, they said one needed a “Russian soul” in order to feel the Vysotsky vibes, something that I clearly did not possess.

        The Russian students whom I seriously boozed with at the weekend — all former Afgantsy — were rather over fond of Rosenbaum, especially his song “Caravan”.

        You can never get used to the silence
        At war, at war, at war
        Silence is only a lie, just a lie
        On a twisted path
        In a stranger’s land
        We step out as a caravan

        A caravan is the joy of victory and the pain of loss,
        Caravan, I’m waiting to meet you
        Caravan, and Afghanistan turns rosy with blood
        Caravan, Caravan, Caravan

        You can never get used to a civvie life
        Over there, it’s all clear, there’s a friend and a foe
        But here, it’s hard to see the souls of people
        Through the fog
        And it’s a pity your friend
        Isn’t here
        He was taken by the caravan for good

        The caravan is a flask of water
        And without it, you’re dead
        The caravan, it means you CAN
        The caravan – killing the “shuravi” is ordained by the Quaran
        Caravan, Caravan, Caravan

        You can never get used to not having your shoulder
        Weighed down by the AKM
        To roadside bushes not being mined,
        There are no “spiritual” gangs here
        But somewhere over there,
        In my footsteps,
        Someone’s stepping into the caravan

        The caravan is a hundred grenades
        That missed
        The caravan is salt on your face
        The caravan. The third toast. A moment of silent.
        Someone’s lost, someone’s won . . .
        Caravan, caravan, caravan.

        Tears all round, depending on the degree of intoxication.

        • et Al says:

          Thanks for that ME! I’ve still to complete my Vysotsky Легенды vinyl collection (not that I could understand most of what he sang), but what a voice! Very fags* and booze afflicted. I assumed they edited out his phlegm spitting..

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          До слёз!

          Great classic, ME!

          Tastes of my fellow soldiers were way too simplier – “Sektor Gaza”, “Leningrad”, some currently popular pop (which, unfortunaltely, mean “Gungam Style” by Psy and “Mosa” by Michel Telo), with some “peppering” of Russian hard-rock and any (ANY!) song about dembel’ soon to come. Like this one classic:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Dear dany8538,

      Didn’t notice your request earlier as regards a translation of the above. Here’s one — not my own, I may add, but proofread by me. I wanted to get my son, Vova, to do it. He’s become, much to my annoyance, a Russky Repper. He’s still in bed, but I’ll ask him to check this translation out later.

      By the way, your beloved Moscow (and mine, I should add!) was hit by a humdinger of a blizzard on 11th and is now blanketed in deep snow. A real Moscow winter at last — the last two were pretty much non events.

      Translation of “Garbage”:

      What is there to argue about? Everything is clear,
      Everything has been explained to everybody.
      Explained very clearly
      And specifically: either… or…
      We are better, smarter,
      Kinder and wiser than all the others!
      Let the two-headed eagle fly
      Over the expanse of all the seas.

      You are wasting on the Internet
      So much time and effort.
      (So what?!)
      You praise Russia all the time,
      But it would be better if you took out the trash…

      There can’t be any mistakes
      Only the enemy can be wrong.
      He’s like a serpent, cunning and flexible,
      He spreads darkness!
      And we’re fuckin’ bringing only light
      Out of love and kindness.
      And those who are not sure,
      Should shut their mouths.


      Our fairness is known to all!
      If not, then fuck them!
      Now we’ll our fairness everywhere
      Honestly fucking-well spread!
      Let the media press away with their presses,
      Pouring out buckets of plain lies.
      Who’s the fucking aggressor?
      Where the fuck? Who the fuck? Prove it!


      End of translation

      • marknesop says:

        This is the 110,000th comment, and time to give away another Novorossiyan tin soldier. Moscow Exile is a previous winner (from when I was giving away coffee mugs, I think he had the second one, the first was won by Alexander Mercouris. Or the other way around, I forget) and cannot win again. Moreover, since he helped me obtain the tin soldiers, he has ready access to them himself. Therefore, he gets to designate the winner, and at that time I will supply the list of what’s left. Congratulations, Dennis!!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Thanks again, Mark!

          I’ve got so much time on my hands now and that’s why I have been tapping away frequently on my keyboard to your site and others.

          The reason why I have so much time? Those indolent, wastrel, alky sub-species of humans, namely the Russkies, have still not got their collective arses into gear. Today is, after all, New Year’s Day — again!

          However, I have to confess that we, the Family Exile, celebrated Old New Year last night as well.

          I have only “worked” for 2 hours so far this week (I shall do another 2 this evening). One Russian lounge lizard even sent me an SMS on Monday cancelling his appointments with me, excusing himself by saying that he has still not recovered from the holidays.

          Russia is doomed, I tell you!


          In any case, the weather is pretty harsh now: there was a big blizzard Tuesday/Wednesday and it’s still snowing fitfully now, so I’m stopping indoors for the time being.

          Anyway, seeing as I won the prize second time round for replying to another Moscow Exile, as it were, who is now suffering Exile in the USA, having left the Preobrazhensky district of Moscow, I nominate dany8538 as the recipient of the prize, or, as they would say po-russky:

          Я Вам дам, Дан!

          [Ya Vam dam, Dan! — I shall give to you, Dan!]

  3. Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      Oh, dear God; are we going back to that again, where Putin ‘menaced’ Merkel with his dog, knowing she is terrified of large dogs?? I thought the media had given up on that silliness years ago.

      • Jen says:

        That particular dog Konni has passed on. At the time the photo was taken, Putin did not know that Merkel was afraid of large dogs and he later apologised to her.

        Here’s another photo of Merkel and Konni:

        These days Putin has his Bulgarian canine mammoth (which he should train to fight Ukrainians) and a smaller Japanese dog:

  4. Northern Star says:

    Cue Dragnet Theme:

    It was the Winter of 2016..another NATO/EU nation heist was underway…Russkie squad car pulls up..doors slam as occupants exit…

  5. Warren says:

    Video of the raid that captured Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman:

    • Cortes says:

      Hopefully Mr. Penn is 1. Well endowed with life insurance and 2. Has very robust lawyers.

      • Warren says:

        El Chapo’s ego and desire for fame got the better of him. He should’ve never agreed to be interviewed by Penn – it’s obvious the US tracked El Chapo from following Penn’s movements and communications.

        I think Penn has to look over his shoulder from now on! His stupidity and carelessness has cost the world’s feared drug lord his freedom and possibly his life! I’m equally surprised that no one had tipped off El Chapo regarding the surveillance and planned raid. I would have assumed that the Sinaloa Cartel would’ve had moles, informants and agents within the Mexican security services and military that had prior knowledge of the raid?

        The Mexican authorities are supposedly planning to extradite El Chapo to the US a la Manuel Noriega (though he was captured by the US forces), Mexico traditionally has been reluctant to extradite major drug cartel figures – Mexico is very sensitive of its sovereignty (losing half of its territory in 1848 to its northern neighbour may explain why?).

        • Oddlots says:

          From what I’ve read about a third of police cadets in Mexico are being put through cadet training by the cartels themselves. The only logical conclusion is that the cartels AND the police and government have no more use for him.

          • Cortes says:

            The Zetas, originally formed of members of Mexican special forces, now seems to be dominant in Mexico and increasingly active in southern USA. A modern quis custodiet ipsos custodes situation but maybe they took their cue from former Langleyites who have been the biggest traffickers in narcotics since, erm, the Hongs of HK, fine upstanding Presbyterian fellows all.

    • Warren says:

      Published on 13 Jan 2016
      John Mill Ackerman says the real problem facing the rule of law in Mexico is Obama’s blind support for the Nieto government

  6. Warren says:

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    don’t let Russian scum be born

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:


      The Ukrops’ antics aren’t even shocking anymore.

      • marknesop says:

        Especially since it’s the same little group of hate-filled wierdos. If it were not Russians it would be Jews or Chechnyans or someone else. They have to hate someone to feel that they have a purpose on earth. I hope someone is keeping track of who are they are so that even if things do stabilize, they can be quietly snuffed one by one.

      • kirill says:

        This garbage is serious. Even if it is lame and old, it is the same Rwanda and Nazi Germany style hate media indoctrination facilitation and hate affirmation. That these rabid welfare bums have such hate for ethnic Russians (and not just Putin) must be clearly identified by Russian society and the Russian government. These maggots need to be contained and their NATzO sponsors targeted for *long term* retaliation.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Talk is cheap, and their capacity for committing genocide as opposed to blogging about it is minimal. Yarosh and his rabble have had almost two years to stage terrorist attacks inside Russian territory, and in that time they’ve done exactly squat.

          Occurs to me that I might have been mistaken in assuming that this came from the Ukrops’ camp. It could just as easily be from the Russian opposition.

          • kirill says:

            You mean the non-Russian “Russian” opposition. That would be Banderite samples like Navalny. Poseurs of “ethnic Russian” nationalism but rooted in Banderastan and serving Uncle Scam.

          • yalensis says:

            Well, it would be helpful, when posting this hate-speech, to also include the sources and links.

    • yalensis says:

      Is that from Vita Zaverukha’s Facebook page?
      Oh wait! – she’s still in the slammer without her Facebook any more.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Oh I don’t know – maybe they’ve let her have her iPhone/iPad because she has been behaving very well whilst on remand and looks like a little angel whenever she has to appear in a courthouse cage.

        Looks like another one of them Yukie Tatars in the last picture — not a Crimean Tatar, but one of them pure Slav Yukie ones.

        • marknesop says:

          Yeah? Well, remember that crude picture she posted regarding the Odessa fire? It read, “I remember. And I am proud”.

          I daresay a few others remember as well. Jail is a good place for her. She’s not right in the head.

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    -— Where is the Ukraine situated?

    — Now or in general?

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    An army may shoot at its own people
    the next time it shoots at them,
    then it is already shooting at
    ANOTHER nation!

    • marknesop says:

      Amen. That’s a lesson they just don’t seem to get. Perhaps it has something to do with looking at the Donbas as a Ukrainian possession rather than the territory of fellow citizens. I should remind at this point that the west does not care, and the inner circle considers its mission a success. If it cannot seize Ukraine for itself, a secondary objective is to wreck it. Mission accomplished.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Reagan loved the line “The evil ________ [Soviet Union, Iraq, Serbia, etc.] government is attacking its own people”. No such description for Ukraine.

        A wrecked Ukraine is indeed upon us. But its usefulness as a wound in the side of Russia is slighlty overblown in my opinion. Russia is adjusting its supply chain to do without Ukraine and the human capital of Donbas will eventually be a strong positive for Russia.

  10. Moscow Exile says:



    I am pretty sure this photograph was taken the last time the prick was arrested in Moscow, and he was locked up for a short while in a local bridewell with all his other chums. Only a few hours he was there whilst his papers were sorted out: the usual procedure anywhere, in my experience. And while he was there he was given food, which he described as uneatable and was allowed to send out an order for something more suitable for his delicate palate — ME

    Garry KASPAROV, chess player: 16 years ago on January 12, 2000:
    “Time will tell whether Putin will become a good president, but it is now clear that in this situation Yeltsin has made the right choice.

    In my opinion, the presidential elections on March 26, raises only one question: will Putin be able to enlist sufficient support to win in the first round? Putin’s victory will lead into power a new generation of young, pragmatic politicians, not interested in continued confrontation with Western democracies. How will Putin’s team cope with the growing economic difficulties facing Russia? – this question remains open. But one thing is certain: they will be looking for solutions to the problem in the framework of the Constitution, thereby reinforcing the triumphant historical role of the first President of Russia”.
    (Vedomosti, 12.01.2000)

    Five years later:
    “I think the country is heading in the wrong direction, so we need to help Russia, to help Russian citizens make the country comfortable, just and free… I will do my best to resist Putin’s dictatorship”.
    (, 11 March 2005)

    “In our country rules a regime that contradicts the interests of Russia as a whole and practically all of its citizens…

    Today for many it is clear that the continued reign of Vladimir Putin will, ultimately, inevitably lead to the utter degradation of our state and its imminent collapse…

    … there’s a reason we called the new organization the ‘front’. We are not just in opposition to the regime of Vladimir Putin, we in principle do not recognize the current regime as legitimate. Vladimir Putin was not originally elected, but appointed by the president, and came to power through a rough manipulation of public opinion by means of the most cynical and bloody technology: war in Chechnya…”
    (“Manifesto of the United civil front”// “Novaya Gazeta”, may 30, 2005)

  11. Cortes says:

    Dr Pangloss is posted missing:

    In my best Pte Fraser voice “Doomed! I tell ye, Mainwaring!”

  12. PaulR says:

    My latest: I have been quiet recently, due to having one hand in plaster and bruised ribs after falling off a ladder – a traditional Canadian winter injury: falling while removing Christmas lights.

    • yalensis says:

      Oh, that’s awful, Professor! You need to be more careful.
      Remember: Safety is the most important thing.
      I’m not joking.

    • Jen says:

      Best to rest and recover. Hope you get better soon!

    • Oddlots says:

      Arrgh. That sounds like you’ve been christened. As a Canadian I mean.

      Speedy recovery.

      • marknesop says:

        He meant removing Christmas lights from his neighbour’s house. While his neighbour was in Toronto. And he was shot by a neighbourhood watch vigilante. He was lucky it was just his hand – stealing Christmas lights is a serious offense in Canada. Capital punishment for it was abolished only in 1984.

        • Cortes says:

          Yes, but Canadian law thoughtfully provides a “get out of jail free card” in capital cases:

          • marknesop says:

            Mmmmm….sleepwalking over to your neighbour’s house to remove his Christmas lights; a novel defense. It’s apparently amazing what people can get up to while sleepwalking, activities you would be sure would wake them. But I think it’s quite rare and I have never met a real case. Anyway, seriously, I hope you feel better soon, Paul, and that last piece was excellent; great expansion on the known facts, and well-substantiated conjectures.

            • yalensis says:

              Maybe Paul’s neighbour deserved to have his lights shot out one by one, with a Glock semi-automatic pistol, in the dead of night when everyone was sleeping.
              Maybe this neighbour was really annoying, decking out his house like a combination of Times Square and Las Vegas on steroids.
              Maybe Professor Paul couldn’t sleep because the lights were so bright. And they just made awful images in his head. So he ended up in a state of somnambulism.
              Later he couldn’t remember what happened, but he woke up with a broken rib, a missing kidney, and Lost Time which he couldn’t explain.


    • Cortes says:

      Falling from a ladder was a plot device in Garcia Marquez ‘s “Love in the Time of Cholera ”

      At an elderly age, Urbino attempts to get his pet parrot out of his mango tree, only to fall off the ladder he was standing on and die. After the funeral, Florentino proclaims his love for Fermina once again and tells her he has stayed faithful to her all these years. Hesitant at first because of the advancements he made to a newly made widow, Fermina eventually gives him a second chance. They attempt a life together, having lived two lives separately for over five decades.

  13. Patient Observer says:

    How dare THEY of all people insinuate that the exceptional nation may have done wrong and may not be what all nations aspire to become!

    It is long overdue recognition of the US contribution to genocide (not to mention slavery).

    A genocide of 15 million native Americans puts the US right up there. Wikipedia and several other “genocide” sources can not agree on anything regarding genocide except the Holodomar was huge and there was no genocide of Serbs or Russians in WW II but there was a genocide conducted BY the Serbs in Srebrenica.

    The Vatican gets off scot-free. The 20+ million Russian civilians murdered by the Nazi’s somehow did not qualify as a genocide either. Here is a typical list:

    1. Mao Zedong (Responsible for 34,300,000-63,784,000 deaths)
    2. Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin ( Responsible for 23,000,000-60,000,000 deaths)
    3. Adolf Hitler ( Responsible for 6,000,000 deaths)
    4. Hideki Tojo (Responsible for 5,000,000 deaths)
    5. Pol Pot (Responsible for 2,500,000 deaths)

    Can’t comment about Mao but to charge Stalin with up to 60,000,000 deaths is insane. The impact on demographics would have been devastating yet not supported by historical data. I see Hitler is tagged with the 6,000,000 or so Jews but seems pardoned for the deaths of 30,000.000 Slavs.

    Its time for the Slavic civilization to start writing its own history rather than letting the West do so.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s pretty funny, and by a coincidence I was reading an old post yesterday in which it was mentioned that the Americans had re-named the street on which the Russian Embassy is located “Andrei Sakharov Plaza”. This, of course, met with the enthusiastic approval of the ball of self-loathing formerly known as Garry Kasparov, who co-authored the article. This is just the Russians doing exactly the same thing. It’s all political brinksmanship, sandbox politics, but America was given plenty of time to stop it. Besides, there’s no harm in letting official America know how disliked it is in Russia, so long as it reflects reality.

      Any support, do you think, for re-naming the street on which the Turkish Embassy to the United States is located “Can Dundar Plaza?” Can Dundar is the Editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper Cumhurriyet, which reported in January 2014 that Turkish security forces had intercepted a truck convoy crossing into Syria from Turkey which contained weapons and ammunition being sent to rebels fighting Assad. Erdogan personally filed a complaint against Dundar and demanded he serve multiple life sentences. Where I come from, we call that “undemocratic”. According to the Turkish opposition, more than 770 journalists were fired because of their reporting, while 156 were detained and 32 remain presently in prison, all just in 2015. Quite a record.

      Okay, I tried to submit it at “Dissidents Squared“, but it did not appear to have worked. I recommended Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, DC be re-named “Can Dundar Plaza”, based on the folowing justification; “Can Dundar is the Editor-in-chief of Cumhurriyet newspaper, which reported in January 2014 that an agency of the Turkish government was sending weapons and ammunition to Syrian rebels fighting the Assad government. President Erdogan personally filed a complaint against him and demanded he be awarded multiple life sentences. More than 700 journalists were fired for their reporting, 156 detained and 32 remain imprisoned, just in 2015.” Perhaps a clue is provided in this paragraph: “The goal of our Dissident Squared project is to rename streets fronting the embassies of closed societies – Iran, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Syria – for imprisoned or murdered dissidents.” I’ll try again when I get home.

    • kirill says:

      I agree 100%. Every western drone always dismisses sources that are not from the precious west. I say fuck them all. They can believe whatever masturbatory self-delusions and feel good propaganda they want.

      The death toll attributed to Stalin routinely includes the deaths from the civil war after the revolution. That would be Trotsky’s responsibility and not Stalin’s. But all of these numbers are pure fiction.

      The above is a real research article on the subject that exposes all of the western pop-fiction “literature” on the subject for what it is.

      • Patient Observer says:

        I downloaded the article. It’s interesting and seems well-researched. Not implying a full equivalency but the current US prison population of around 2.2 millions is about the same as the total prison population at the height of the purges. Note that the US is not subjected to massive foreign subversive efforts. Our prison population is an unfettered product of its political and economic system and will remain a permanent part of our society.

        Oh, Obama forgot to mention in his SOTU speech that the US imprisons more of its own citizens than any other country both in absolute numbers and per capita.

    • yalensis says:

      Oh, they should do it, by gum!

      And they should do it right. They should put out a competition and invite artists of native-American ancestry (any valid tribe) to compete for the winning design.
      And the winning design should include artistic references to all the known tribes and peoples who were exterminated by Whitey.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      1. Mao Zedong (Responsible for 34,300,000-63,784,000 deaths)
      2. Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin ( Responsible for 23,000,000-60,000,000 deaths)

      Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Oh, comedy gold! Pricelessly. I didn’t know that there were so much people in the entire Wermacht, let alone in its armies fighting in the Eastern Front.

      Oh, and these number are way too low! The world famous Light of Wisdom and the Pillar of Honestry Alexander SoLZHenitsyn in his 1978 intervies named a number of 110 millions dead via repressions.

      • kirill says:

        He must have been counting all the lost potential births. That’s a number that just keeps on giving and would be over 500 million by 2050.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          On the most Honest, Independent and Liberal radio “Ekho Moskvy”, live, on 8.05. 2010 had a chairman of the “Memorial” grant-sucking NGO – Nikita Petrov. This particular, ah, “performance” became infamous for Mr. Petrov’s repeated claim that in the period from 1937 to 1938 the Bloody Regime ™ had arrested “more than one thousand and a half millions”. And then repeated this number several times, adding “about 100 000 per month”.

          Given the ugly fact, that in late 1930s the total population of the planet Earth was just 2.2 billions of humans, this means that “Bloody Stalin” put into his “gulags” about 68% of the entire human race in a span of just 1 year.

          And Lev Nathanovich Sharanksiy, his party KPSS (Kreativnaya Partiya Svobodi Sovesti), plus all the regulars of the “Matryoshka” pub on Brighton Beach, NY have found the ultimate One and True Number of the total victims of Stalinist repressions: 1 billion 760 millions.


          Oh, and just to be clear. The author of the phrase “Death of one man is a tragedy.. Death of millions is a statistic” was not comrade Stalin, but Erich Maria Remark

          • yalensis says:

            Yes, I accept Lev Natanovich’s number. It is very scientific and meticulously researched.
            And after personally murdering each one of these 1 billion 760 million people, Stalin also personally spat on the corpse and then danced a little jig on the grave.

  14. marknesop says:

    Dear me; another bombing in Istanbul – Erdogan seems to have his hands full. It goes without saying that the suicide bomber was a Syrian – might as well get some use out of it – whom they decline to identify although they say they know who it was. The domestic situation in Turkey seems to be hotting up somewhat. Not a good time to be Erdogan.

    • et Al says:

      This is a tactical victory for ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever (i.e. killing foreigners) but a catastrophic strategic event for them. Whatever excuse Turkey has had to support them, if Erd & Dav’s Excellent Adventure refuses to do anything about it, they will be totally f/ked far sooner rather than later. I only wonder whether the coup will be from within the ruling AKP party, a coalition of parties or the military.

      It’s hard to see it as anything but a massive own goal by ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever.

      I would expect Turkey to call on NATO to help it, and NATO will use it as leverage to re-engage attacks in Syria. Speaking of which, it was reported that the UK has started attacking ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever in Syria with ‘civilian friendly’ Brimstone missiles (UK pimped US Hellfires), the first time since they last dropped the 14 odd bombs a few weeks ago.

      • marknesop says:

        But the violence, regardless who caused it, should be a chill of sobriety on the EU Commission’s brow, because Turkey has shown itself to be extremely volatile, and it is a big part of the EU’s love child, the Southern Gas Corridor. The latter project has to cross Turkey, and it was only this past fall that the PKK blew up the pipeline in Posof Province, near the Georgian border. It did not cause the hoped-for conflagration because there was no flow in the pipe at the time, it had been purged for maintenance. But it stresses the vulnerability of pipelines crossing Turkey unless Erdogan conmes to some sort of political settlement with the PKK, which I cannot imagine him ever doing. And then there is the issue of Azerbaijan’s alleged corruption. But of course these will be ignored, because the Southern Gas Corridor is a BP project, just as Nabucco was an American project. The EU and Washington are totally obsessed that Russia is eebil to the point that they will put their energy eggs in Aliyev and Erdogan’s basket just so long as they offer a degree of freedom from Russian gas.

        • et Al says:

          ..unless Erdogan conmes to some sort of political settlement with the PKK

          I’m not so sure. We’ve seen him previously say and do one thing to only say and do the total opposite later. As much as I’d like to write him off, he does still have some political nous remaining. If it is a choice between him and his neo-Ottoman project being out on his ear and staying in power even if he is a total dick, I would put money on the latter.

          • marknesop says:

            I devoutly hope he does, as his allies will never dare to trust him completely, largely because he is such a total dick. Consequently Turkey will lose a good deal of influence because its best friends will be wary of entering into any arrangement where Erdogan’s stability is critical to success, and he will be a security nightmare for NATO. If there are internal rebellions, Erdogan can probably be relied on to slap them down brutally, providing more bad press for himself and NATO.

    • Jen says:

      The news I have heard is that of those 10 foreigners killed in the Sultanahmed district in Istanbul, nine were German tourists. The suicide bomber was an ISIS guy of Saudi birth who came from Syria. Erdogan is pretty likely to use that incident to push for an invasion of Syria, by saying the takfiri was Syrian only.

      Jeez, I’d been thinking one day I might visit Sultanahmed district … it’s the major tourist area in Istanbul and the oldest part of the city.

      It was founded in ancient Greek times as Byzantium and over time the immediate area came to be the city’s sports centre. Among the more colourful events in a colourful history was the burning of the famous hippodrome by sports fans leading to the Nika riots in 532 AD that lasted a week and in which 30,000 people died.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, the original reports – which were sourced from Turkish authorities – merely said the bomber was Syrian. I’m not sure Erdogan will push for an invasion of Syria; things are still a little touchy over his alleged support of the same organization the bomber allegedly belonged to, and for that and other reasons he might want to keep his military forces nearer home. The BBC reported that most of the tourists killed were Germans, a few hours after the initial report. It will be interesting to see Germany’s reaction. They won’t want to openly criticize a NATO ally, but the rest of NATO must be getting pretty fed up with Erdogan, and will have the added pressure from the German public to do something. I hope Turkey was not relying on too much income from tourism this year, as they’ve already lost the Russian trade and this will doubtless have a chilling effect.

        • et Al says:

          ..NATO must be getting pretty fed up with Erdogan..

          Totally, but the most important factor about NATO is that its credibility as a military alliance is its first and foremost raison d’etre, oh, and its much fabled, much papered over ‘unity’. The moment anyone challenges or questions these it comes out trousers down and balls swinging and gets itself involved to prove the point rather than any semblance of sanity or intelligence.

          Does anyone recall PPNN reports of serious disagreements between NATO members? They are few and far between because if there is anything they are actually capable of doing, it is closing ranks.

          In reality its just a senile old gentleman’s club that cannot quite remember what it is for and periodically jumps from the chesterfield arm chair brandishing an elephant gun to take on the fuzzywuzzies, because that is all it can handle, and certainly not a huge elephant brandishing a giant gun back at itself.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “I’m not sure Erdogan will push for an invasion of Syria; things are still a little touchy over his alleged support of the same organization the bomber allegedly belonged to…”

          Naaaaah! What a preposterous claim! After all, the USA have themselves cleared him from any charges – and we surely can trust the US intelligence, right?

          Uhm, right?

      • Oddlots says:

        “Among the more colourful events in a colourful history was the burning of the famous hippodrome by sports fans leading to the Nika riots in 532 AD that lasted a week and in which 30,000 people died.”

        I hope the peasants got a “regime change” out of that.

        • Cortes says:

          They didn’t. The two surviving giant Circus factions the Greens and the Blues were putty in the hands of manipulators. Footnotes to the Penguin edition of Gibbon chapter provide a decent amount of background. Robert Graves ‘s “Count Belisarius” gives a fictional but excellent version.

    • yalensis says:

      I don’t believe a word of it.
      That wasn’t a Syrian bomber, unless he was some mercenary temporarily residing in Syria.
      I bet $$$ that it was ISIS who dunnit.

  15. Some speculation here that the oil price might bottom to $10 per barrel this year:

    “With reserves at record levels, investment banks are revising their already pessimistic forecasts lower. The Financial Timessays Morgan Stanley has become the latest bank to predict prices would fall to $20, while Royal Bank of Scotland credit analysts capped an ultra-bearish forecast for markets with a call for a low of $16 – and Standard Chartered said the market could reach $10.”

    • PaulR says:

      Anybody able to explain this (ever-lower prices) in easy to understand language? The fall in the price is disproportionate to any over-production, so there must be something else going on. Speculation??

      • One possibility is that someone is flooding the market with oil either for free or for heavily discounted price. Might be Saudi Arabia? Might be Libya? And this is done to hurt Russian economy?

        The price of $10 would be drilling in Russia unprofitable so Russia would have to stop exporting oil altogether. Even the current price cuts the Russian profits very severely.

        • And the big question is how long do they have an ability to flood the market with cheap oil? Months? Years? Decades?

        • marknesop says:

          Not necessarily; Gazprom’s profits were up, in the first quarter of 2015, 71% on the previous year. Gazprom sells its product in dollars, although that might change once the crisis abates and things settle down. But I don’t think Russia will stop production altogether, and it might even take steps to keep the ruble low if it should start to recover, since it has a perfect excuse.

          I wonder where Libya’s stolen gold is, and whether it might be being used to manipulate the energy market?

          • Is Gazprom’s profit measured in dollars or in rubles?

            If the profit is measured in rubles then the profit will naturally go up, because one ruble is worth a lot less than it was before.

          • yalensis says:

            Funny you should mention the stolen gold.
            Just a few minutes ago, I happened to check my blog.
            I did the post on the gold a couple of days ago.
            It must have resonated, because I saw a monstrous stat today of 801 views! In one day! Just for that one post from a couple of days ago.
            I’m not trying to advertise myself, I am just astounded that I had so many views, I usually only average around 50 per day, this must be a bigger story than I thought.

            • Jen says:

              If those views came after 1:48 am on 12 January 2016, they must be looking at that gold bar.

              • yalensis says:

                Hoo hoo! Jen is trying to take the credit, because of her awesome comment!
                I wonder if could be true, though.
                Maybe I am trying to appeal to people’s conscience, and instead just awakened their passion to hunt for treasure!

            • marknesop says:

              Congratulations, that’s a good day! Check your referrers to see where they’re coming from; often someone discovers your info and posts a link to it on another blog or news site. Well done! There must be a lot of curiosity on that issue.

      • Jen says:

        One possibility is that global demand for oil is dropping rapidly. Among other things, commercial shipping depends on oil and if for some strange reason cargo ships between North America and Europe stop (as they have done apparently), well, they’re just not guzzling up as much oil as they used to do.

        “Historic First: North Atlantic EMPTY of Cargo Ships in-transit – ALL anchored along coasts; none moving”

        As the article says:
        ‘ … The reason commerce has stopped is simple: People are not buying things. When people do not buy things, retailers do not sell things, so they do not order more goods for stock.

        When retailers do not order goods, manufacturers don’t make anything because there are no orders to fill. When manufacturers do not make goods, they don’t order raw materials for manufacturing.

        When there are no orders for raw materials, commodities sellers do not sell raw materials. When no raw materials are sold, there is no shipping by large cargo ships, (or railroads or tractor trailers) to move anything.

        Put simply, the global economy is LITERALLY stopping. Right now. Today.

        How things go from this point forward is simple: Without sales, retailers are not even “turning dollars” so they will have to layoff employees and close stores. Without orders, manufacturers will have to layoff employees and shut down. When manufacturing shuts down, suppliers of commodities will have to [lay off] employees and cease operations. As all of this economic activity comes to a halt, then the disaster REALLY takes off:

        When businesses are not even “turning dollars” they cannot pay back their loans. Retailers, manufacturers and commodities suppliers will begin defaulting on bank loans within 30 days. When enough of them default, it begins taking-out banks. As banks begin to fail, others will run to their banks to withdraw money for fear THEIR bank will fail too; and therein starts “bank runs.”

        In the meantime, stock values plummet and people’s life savings in retirement accounts, 401-k’s, IRA’s and the like, get wiped out of existence.

        We are literally standing at the edge of an abyss …’

        Of course in the first place people are not buying because (among other things) their wages are not keeping up with the cost of living, their jobs have been outsourced to Third World countries and a huge proportion of their wages is probably going into mortgage or rent payments and payments for utilities (gas, electricity, water) which themselves are going up in costs as they become privatised.

        Another report of North Atlantic shipping slowing down:

      • Oddlots says:

        I can’t promise anything like a simple explanation but the most thought provoking take I’ve seen is from hedge-fund manager and father of MMT, Warren Mosler. It’s summarized quite well here (though FFS don’t surmise from that that Agora is a fount of wisdom. It’s not: a pump and dump stock kiting scheme with kick ass copywriters.) Regardless, I have a lot of time for Mosler. He has very rewarding unconventional views:

        • marknesop says:

          That is a very interesting explanation. But there is a great big hole in it, reasoning-wise, and that is, why does the USA continue to put up with this? Two of its oil companies are among the ten most profitable entities in the world, and they can’t be happy with the Saudis’ largess. You could see the USA letting it go on for as long as it possibly can, considering it makes the U.S. dollar stronger for consumers, if and only if the core of very rich and very powerful people who run the United States were happy with a situation in which corporate profits were halved, but the people were giddy because their dollar buys more pots and pans and vacations and gasoline and picnic baskets. Are they happy with that situation, do you think? Are the two biggest energy companies in the USA – Exxon-Mobil and Chevron – happy with an economy in which the big boys take home a lot less, but the rubes are in clover? And not even that the rubes make more, because they don’t – it just buys more.

          Call me a cynic, but I can’t see them being happy with that. In fact, I can’t see America’s corporate heart, after they went to all the trouble of declaring that a corporation is legally a person and can therefore contribute an unlimited amount to political campaigns, being happy with a situation in which oil costs around what it did in the 1960’s. Especially when that situation could end at any time, and they do not have any control over when that time is. They were probably okay with it while they thought it was going to destroy Russia, but it’s not – not before the United States is itself destroyed. And long before either of those countries cries “Uncle!!” there is going to be a wave of poverty and bankruptcies such as the world has never seen.

          We’ll see. But back in 2011 there was fear – you’ll love this – that Saudi Arabia was not going to be able to keep a lid on prices at $100.00 a barrel, according to Wikileaks. They based this on an alleged overestimation of Saudi reserves by about 40%, that overstating having been introduced deliberately to spur foreign investment. Here’s my favourite quote, I love this one; “Our mission now questions how much the Saudis can now substantively influence the crude markets over the long term. Clearly they can drive prices up, but we question whether they any longer have the power to drive prices down for a prolonged period.” Well, I guess that one was answered, wasn’t it?

          The following year, Mining Weekly ran a story which suggested the overestimation of The Kingdom’s reserves might go as high as 70%. They meant all of OPEC, but Saudi reserves would have to be overstated by more than 40% to make that true. Business Insider suggests that it is elementary the Saudis are fibbing about their reserves – but it also says oil may have peaked in 2005 and ‘production might start to fall in the next year or two”. That was in 2011.

    • marknesop says:

      What’s that going to mean to the American economy? Three of the ten most profitable companies in the world are oil companies, and of them two – Exxon-Mobil and Chevron – are American. Chevron’s profits in 2014 were $33.6 Billion, and even that was a drop of 40% over fiscal year 2012/13. For how long can the American economy sustain that kind of hit? For how long are they going to allow their OPEC allies to continue pumping at maximum capacity into a glutted market? It is an obvious radical departure from the former careful balance of supply and demand, which was supposed to be a clever plan to make Russia collapse. What if it makes America collapse instead? Of the vaunted most profitable companies, the remaining American star is Appple. Are people going to want an Apple watch or a new Smartphone if the economy starts to falter?

      • I would say the low oil price benefits the American economy since it is a net oil importer. Their economy eats a lot of oil. In fact the USA is still the biggest net importer of oil in the world even with their “shale revolution”.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, that’s true on the consumption side, so low prices are a boon to homeowners and consumers in general. But what is it doing to corporate profits? Exxon and Chevron are used to turning a profit on oil sales in America, too.

          Gasoline is finally starting to fall at the pump, down more than 12 cents over the past couple of weeks here.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Karl, its not that simple. Hundreds of billions of dollars were invested in the oil fracking effort. alternative energy projects and other technologies that banked on high energy costs. The incurred debt would take many years or decades to pay off. However, a relatively short term drop in oil prices can drive the debt holders out of business. Massive loan defaults and hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs will be lost. The ensuing drag on the economy can exceed the benefits of lower oil prices, at least in the short term. Up and down energy prices are likely more harmful than steady high prices on long term economic development.

          If oil prices were to remain low for, say, 5 years, then the net economic gain can become significant. Don’t bank on that being the case.

      • shargash says:

        The American tight oil boom was almost entirely financed by junk bonds and only made financial sense at oil prices a lot higher than they are now. There is going to be a lot of pain as those bonds get defaulted on and the companies that issued them go bankrupt. However, the big question is what kinds and amounts of derivatives were leveraged on those bonds, and who is going to blow up when those bonds blow.

        My personal take is this is going to be a very, very bad year. There are no bright spots that I can see anywhere in the world. It is going to get very ugly out there, and the US is no exception.

        • marknesop says:

          Unless the USA withdraws its sponsorship of The Kingdom, and lets Saudi Arabia collapse from its internal problems. God knows America has learned a lot about the regime-change game considering all the practice it’s gotten.

  16. Syrian army captures the strategic town of Salma:

    This is apparently very good news for the Syrian military and government.

    • marknesop says:

      It’s good news in terms of controlling territory from which you might have been attacked, but I can’t help wondering where Syria is going to find the money to repair the appalling and widespread destruction. Many of these towns are little more than ruins by the time they’re recaptured. With oil prices in free-fall, how is Syria going to be able to afford to rebuild? I can’t see the IMF hustling to the front of the line with generous loans. Maybe the new Asian Development Bank? Or the BRICS?

    • yalensis says:

      I just skimmed the comments – this is astounding!
      Virtually 100% of the Yahoo commenters on this piece are pro-Russia, pro-Assad, anti-rebel, etc. Not a Pentagon troll in sight.

      Whatever happened to Yahoovians? Did they stop drinking the Brawndo?

      • Patient Observer says:

        I liked this comment n particular because of his pen-name:
        ” Ralph Kramden:
        AFP and “Yahoo News:” Rather sad, neither of you has a SINGLE correspondent based in Syria, not ONE. You rely on this pathetic single guy based in Coventry, England. You always glorify this person by calling him “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.” One person, and I must tell you he is no IF Stone or Emile Zola, individuals who courageously defied their own governments—this guy always and cowardly plays to whatever the Brits want him to say. “Human Rights” gives him away as a propagandist. Enough of your journalistic cowardice, own up to it and maybe then you will gain some credibility. ”

        The great majority of comments are pro-Russia/anti Empire for most Russian related articles. I don’t know what to make of it but it is a good antidote to the utter rubbish of the news articles in question.

        • yalensis says:

          Maybe the “CIA trolls” are just giving up, because they don’t have any good rejoinders.
          The “Kremlin trolls” are not always educated-sounding, but they do sound like real people making real points which they believe in, and also a variety of talking points.
          Whereas, the “CIA trolls” usually just repeat a couple of memes, or fall back on invectives. They are clearly not winning the “debate” on these issues, armed against people who have been doing some reading out there..

          • Patient Observer says:

            I agree, the pro-Russian trolls suspiciously sound like ordinary people. They have various takes on world situations and varying levels of education. Their common themes are US/Western media sells lies as truth, are incompetent and that Russia seems to be the better hope for us all.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Ralph Kramden!!!!!

          Hurrah! You’ve jogged my memory …

          A while ago when Lyttenburgh and Yeltsin were querying the existence of American culture and the seemingly abhorrent obsession of many in the Great Republic of idolising monarchies and the “elite” and the powerful, “successful” robber barons of this world, I thought to myself: It wasn’t always thus! — for I remembered when I first got an insight into the USA for the “ordinary guy”.

          It was in the mid-’50s. I was only a kid when independent (not state run BBC) TV started in the UK, and to grab audiences, they imported loads of US TV series, which not only included the great TV Western series of that time — Rawhide, Wagon Train, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke etc. — but also some series that gave a glimpse into the nitty-gritty of everyday life for the ordinary Joe. And that Jackie Gleeson show, in which he played Ralph Kramden, was about a bus driver who lived in a pretty run-down apartment because Kramden was by no means affluent. But I couldn’t remember the name of the lead character.

          And I remember “Just give me the facts, ma’am” Dragnet. Joe Friday used to deal with ordinary folk — and they weren’t all stinking rich!

          But then this obsession with achieving wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, so to speak, began, and there appeared those TV series about really shitty, rich people, their dirty deals, immorality — and immense wealth. I am talking about series such as Dallas and its ilk. I used to say to my old workmates: Have you not noticed that in US TV series everyone is beautiful and stinking rich?

          What happened? When and why did Dragnet, with its shitty city precinct and ordinary, hard working honest cop Joe Friday, metamorphose into 77 Sunset Strip?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Oh yeah! And another telling point about Gleason’s show “The Honeymooners”, in which he played Kramden, was that it was performed in front of a live audience.

            And then came the shows with the canned laughter …

            • Patient Observer says:

              The old Western TV series were generally good, even when viewing 40 years later. Wyatt Erp was another good series. Needless to say, they would flop with most of today’s youth who could not possibly understand any story that is not based on superhero comic book themes, crazy CGI and lots of gratuitous sex and violence.

              Yes, today’s television is pure escapism – little potential to relate to the characters or themes. Its mostly rich good looking lawyers, sexy policewomen and wealthy businessmen living in luxury sharing none of normal concerns of life. Of course there are exceptions. I personally thought that “The Office” (US version) was funny as heck with consistent and well-developed characters. There are certainly other good TV entertainment as well, its just not as commons as it was years ago.

          • yalensis says:

            You just called me YELTSIN????!!!!!!
            If we lived in more civilized times, Sir, I would have to challenge you to a duel.

            • Jen says:

              Must be a Freudian slip, eh?

            • Moscow Exile says:

              ‘Pon my soul, you are right, sir!

              My most profound and humble apologies!

              This dreadful slip could be interpreted as a veiled insult or a “Freudian slip” by some, but I assure you, sir, that was not my intent: in no way did I intend to compare you to Yeltsin, for that man was incomparable as regards his low intellect and sly, drunken, oafish and boorish behaviour.

              The simple fact of the matter is that both Yeltsin and Yalensis’ names begin with the same letter. And perhaps my smart-arse computer, not recognizing “Yalensis”, altered that name to that twat’s from Ekaterinburg province: I have very recently updated to windows 10 and I believe this is a feature of the new OS, namely it recognizes one’s keyboard errors and “corrects” them.

              However, back in my Window 7 days, I recall once intending to write “Putin” and it came out as “Pushkin, but I think that indeed was a case of my very own, installed in 1949 and since then never updated, OS not functioning properly. I should imagine that this is a typical symptom of one’s dotage.

      • Northern Star says:

        A good deal of Yahoo news has been liberated Comrade..but there remain pockets of fanatical resistance…

    • Jen says:

      Given that the Syrian military and govt are being aided by a clapped-out rust-bucket ex-superpower that sits on the sidelines when Kiev invades and fights Donbass, and apparently gives away its gas for free when verbally walloped by the Porkyshenko regime, that would be very good news indeed.

  17. PaulR says:

    For Poklonskaia admirers, here she is appearing in public for the first time in a general’s uniform:

    • marknesop says:

      Of course that link results in a “host not resolvable” on a work computer, so I shall be ajitter with impatience until I get home so I can see it.

      • yalensis says:

        If they had a contest for “Cutest General”, she would win!

        • marknesop says:

          She makes me regret, a little, that I did not choose to be a criminal. Not that that would have gained me anything, because prosecutors seldom date the crooks that they are prosecuting. Besides, I’m sure she has a staff, and I would probably go rob a store or something, just to meet her, and end up with the meanest and ugliest prosecutor from that staff.

          • Cortes says:

            Hahaha! Reminds me of the restaurant scene in “LA Story” where the maitre d’ (Patrick Stewart) practices “the New Cruelty “. La Poklonskaia would probably elect to interest herself in some ugly, deformed Davros style monster of criminality, unless the irresistible Saakashvili were around, naturally.

          • yalensis says:

            Natasha’s only flaw is that she is not winsome enough:

  18. marknesop says:

    Italy reverses its position on Nord Stream II, and asks to participate in the project after Renzi’s telephone conversation with Putin. I don’t know how reliable this source is, haven’t seen it anywhere else, although it stands to reason it would be under-reported or ignored by the Anglosphere.

    The final line is a bit of a curiousity: “On January 11, Bulgarian media, citing Russian TASS news agency, announced that Russia is set to continue with the South Stream pipeline project in a matter of few weeks.” I don’t know if that was left over from a previous story, or if the Bulgarian government is still on some sort of acid trip. Or maybe they meant Nord Stream.

    • kirill says:

      It is a bad acid trip. There is no negotiation between the EU and Russia over South Stream. Eu-tard Eurocrats killed that project stone cold dead. Nord Stream II is superior since there are no transit countries. South Stream had too many transit countries.

  19. Warren says:

  20. Warren says:

  21. et Al says:

    Old Sukhoi Superjet news from November 2015:

    In December Cityjet announced it would take on six options:

    Not to forget that Belgium’s VLM is to take 14.

    In more recent news (via flightglobal), 2016, Cityjet plans to lease 15 of the Superjets from a Russian owned leasing company based in Ireland and has apparently been approached by ‘several European carriers interested in wet leasing the aircraft’ and will initially be used for chartering services for crews to get used to operating the aircraft.

    Best of all, it is being cleared for steep approaches (up to 7.5 degrees) which will give it access to London City Airport:

    I can see it replacing aging Bae RJs in to other tricky airports too, so it has pretty good potential.

    • marknesop says:

      “We looked at a number of aircraft types in the 100-seat range to see which would give the best passenger experience, flexibility in short-to-medium range destinations and low operating costs – the SSJ100 LR won hands down,”

  22. marknesop says:

    I tried that “Dissidents Squared” site again – at work, the submission form just shows as a bunch of blank fields, but there is actually guidance for what goes where; no wonder it didn’t work. So I filled it out, requesting to honour Can Dundar by renaming Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, and when i went to submit it, I got an error message that says, “An unknown error occurred”.

    Sure. The error where the “country at issue” field says something other than Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria or Russia.

    • yalensis says:

      Once you figure it out, we just HAVE to get Dealey Plaza in Dallas renamed to “Patsy Plaza”. The universe itself demands this:

      • Jen says:

        Simples, Lee Harvey Oswald was hanging upside-down, Spiderman style, from the corner of the ceiling inside that building just above that window and aimed his rifle above and beyond the car where the Kennedys were sitting so that the bullet would ricochet off the streetlight at the correct angle and hit the President in front.

  23. Special_sauce says: great vid, taking down Merkin spies in Russia.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s pretty funny. I especially liked the one where Fogle is lying on the floor of the car, out of sight, and then pops out and starts changing clothes and reversing his magic backpack. Probably there are some spies who are very good and know how to stay in character, but Fogle was just a boob asking to get caught.

  24. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    Couple of things.


    Ukrainian media reports meeting between Poroshenko and Boris Gryzlov in Kiev.

    Chernomyrdin, Zurabov, Gryzlov – why is it that the Russian government only entrusts relations with Ukraine to morons? Do they believe that their representative to Ukraine should be someone that Ukrainians can relate to?


    Viktor Medvedchuk – apparently untouchable because of his personal ties to Putin – laments the continuing degradation of law and order in Ukraine.

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    America has got the biggest dick in the world — nobody comes anywhere near it in comparison… — official.

    President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address

    Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ’90s; an unemployment rate cut in half. Our auto industry just had its best year ever. Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters. Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction…

    I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin. Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead — they call us.

    No nation dare attack Russia as well, chump, including your exceptional one.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      By the way, chump, although it goes without saying that other armies are no match for yours, in a different league altogether, nevertheless, in the EU league your pal Porky reckons the Yukie excuse for an army is one of the top five:

      Ukraine’s army is one of the five strongest in Europe thanks to the battlefield experience brought on by the start of Russia’s war a year ago.

      See: Poroshenko: Ukrainian army among five strongest in Europe

      • marknesop says:

        It took pretty much the whole of the United States Army to subdue Iraq – a country, Bush loved to recount (probably because it was one of the few geographic facts he had learned and was able to retain), the size of California. The US government negotiated with other countries to take over the bulk of the Afghanistan duties because it was not able to fight both actions at once. And so far as I can tell, Iraq remains a trouble spot, I don’t know if it could be called “tamed” just yet, while substantial US forces remain there as well as the largest US Embassy complex in the world.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.

      Last week, American economists said that in their exceptional country this year began with the largest collapse of the stock market that has been recorded over a period of 119 years.

      The Dow Jones fell by more than 5%. Experts fear a repeat of the financial crisis of 2008. This four-day decline in trading so early in the year has been the worst on record — ever. At least, that’s what economists have said.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Its starts with denial, then anger, followed by deal making and then acceptance – the four stages of death for the American empire. The US seems to be well engaged with the first stages in dealing with its demise.

      Obama’s chest-pounding boastfulness is sickening for a head of state.

      “…when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead — they call us” So says POTUS. Serbia, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and countless other countries may take exception to that claim.

      • kirill says:

        It is disgusting on many levels. One of these levels is that blacks are 2nd class citizens in this utopia. America’s economy may be the greatest for some, but is 100% not the case for millions of others. The income distribution in the USA is that of an upscaled and exaggerated 3rd world toilet. Obama is one of the infinitesimal number of blacks who are not at the bottom together with most of the whites. Obama is orders of magnitude worse than Nixon.

      • marknesop says:

        Realistically, what would anyone expect him to say? “Instead of recovering the image of a benevolent giant which was so badly besmirched during the Bush presidency, I actually made it worse during mine, and now the only way we can keep our allies with us is a combination of smoke and mirrors, and frightening them with apocalyptic visions and the dirty secrets we have accumulated through spying on them”.

        It was a foregone conclusion that this oratorical walk on the wild side would attract derision, and it has – read Deena Stryker’s evisceration of it at Russia Insider.

        In fact, Americans make a lot of money available to the president as well as a lot of prestige so that he can get up there once a year and say “The state of the union is stronk”. It’s rare for a president to say anything else, because that’s not what they pay him for.

    • marknesop says:

      What a lovely dream. Obama’s critics once said of him that his sole talent was in making beautiful speeches, soaring flights of oratory which would lift people out of their miserable surroundings and transport them to another place and time, at least temporarily. It appears they were right.

    • Jen says:

      This section of O’Bomber’s 2016 State of the Dis-union speech enters the realm of speculative fiction and fantasy:

      ” … Priority number one is protecting the American people and going after terrorist networks. Both al Qaeda and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people, because in today’s world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage. They use the Internet to poison the minds of individuals inside our country; they undermine our allies.

      But as we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands. Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped. But they do not threaten our national existence. That’s the story ISIL wants to tell; that’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit. We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious, nor do we need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world’s largest religions. We just need to call them what they are — killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed.

      That’s exactly what we are doing. For more than a year, America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their vicious ideology. With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons. We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria.

      If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, you should finally authorize the use of military force against ISIL. Take a vote. But the American people should know that with or without Congressional action, ISIL will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them. If you doubt America’s commitment — or mine — to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden. Ask the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, who was taken out last year, or the perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell. When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit …”

      He’s managed to insinuate a message that the US should invade Syria, even after leading a coalition of 60 countries – which of course fights alongside David Cameron’s beloved 70,000 “moderate Syrian rebels” – and conducting 10,000 air strikes, wherever they are.

      • marknesop says:

        Not to mention his contention that his office gives him the option to act with or without Congressional approval. Because of his commitment to see that justice is done.

        “We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria.” You heard it here first, folks – the US government is training, arming and supporting the Syrian government! Because that’s the only group in Syria that is reclaiming territory. Oh, maybe it is also training, arming and supporting the Turkish government, because it is doing its level best to reclaim territory in Iraq, although it doesn’t belong to them. Turkey frequently carries out air strikes in Iraq against Kurdish rebels. But Turkey says Putin detonatedaq bomb in Istanbul as an act of revenge. Who thinks the PKK has more motivation to set off a bomb in Istanbul than Putin does? That’s what I thought. And wasn’t Turkey setting up a training camp, in Iraq, to train the Kurds, and wouldn’t leave even after Iraq told it to get the fuck out? Will somebody tell me what the hell is going on?

  26. Moscow Exile says:



  27. Moscow Exile says:

    Get ready for the usual Western accusatory chorus to strike up with full accompanying orchestra!

    Оппозиционер, критик Путина Владимир Прибыловский найден мертвым в Москве

    Opposition leader and Putin critic Vladimir Pribylovsky found dead in Moscow
    The circumstances of the journalist’s death still unknown

    Today at 11:39

    Found [dead] in his Moscow apartment, the well-known publicist and one of the authors of the book “The Corporation: Russia and the KGB in the times of President Putin”, Vladimir Pribylovsky. The cause of death is still unknown, although, according to his wife, signs of violent death were found.

    Everyone who criticizes Putin dies!

    That’s an irrefutable fact!

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:


      • Moscow Exile says:

        I’ve just come back from the shops and everyone is in a state of shock over this latest killing on Putin’s orders, for an illegal killing it surely must have been, for not only was — what was his name again? — a “leading oppositionist”, he was also a Putin critic and a journalist.

        The shock is almost as great amongst the general public as that which I witnessed when news of Nemtsov’s murder on the orders of Putin broke.

        Funny title for book which the murder victim was a joint author, though. I wasn’t aware that there has existed an organization known as the KGB “in the times of President Putin” — and by that, I assume the authors meant Putin’s first consecutive 4-year ministries, 2000 – 2008, and his present ministry, which began in 2012 and is limited to a duration of 6-years.

    • marknesop says:

      Just as everyone who dies and didn’t like Putin is an “Opposition Leader”. I never heard of him before, and Boris Nemtsov was just a skirt-chasing old fool by the time he died – he was far from an “Opposition Leader” that anyone listened to. The western media makes its own reality.

    • Jen says:

      Well I guess from looking at photos of Vladimir Pribylovsky, he must have struggled quite hard in his sleep to breathe and probably choked which would explain the signs of violent death.

      Pribylovsky was the former leader of the Russian Subtropical Party whose party platform was introducing minimum temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius across the country.

      ‘ … Pribylovsky himself has experience as a radical, even if he isn’t much of an activist. His party was formed in 1993, when he spotted, on his way to work, a gang of policemen beating someone up near the Krasnopresnenskaya Metro station. “I understood then that the root cause of everything was the temperature,” he said. “People were getting violent because they were just too cold. I [figured], if we just had a more temperate climate, like Texas, we wouldn’t have any of these problems.”

      So together with a few colleagues from Panorama [Pribylovsky’s think-tank], he formed a loose political group called the Subtropical Russian Party. Aside from the 25 degree minimum air temperature, he and his colleagues called for the reduction of the boiling point of water to 50 degrees celsius (with the aim of saving money on energy costs) and the sale of Gazprom to Iceland.

      “Once it’s warm here, we won’t need Gazprom,” he said. “Iceland can have it.” …’

      This next bit explains why Pribylovsky was the darling of the Russian kreakly opposition movement:

      ‘… Due to a typo in the party charter, there is no mechanism for changing the leadership of the party. According to Pribylovsky, the leader of the party must therefore always be named Vladimir Pribylovsky, even if Pribylovsky himself dies…’

      So there we have it, Mordor is what it is because its climate isn’t like Texas’ climate.

  28. et Al says:

    crAP: With Russian help, Syrian army pushes into rebel bastion

    Backed by relentless Russian airstrikes, Syrian troops and allied militiamen on Wednesday pushed deeper into a major rebel stronghold in the northwestern province of Latakia, a day after seizing a key rebel-held town in the strategic region overlooking the coast, the government and opposition activists said.

    The insurgents in the opposition-held area near the Turkish border were collapsing after the town of Salma fell to government loyalists late Tuesday. Salma’s fall marked one of the most significant military victories by the Syrian military since Russia began airstrikes in the country last September to shore up President Bashar Assad’s forces….


    Oh, the Pork Pie News Networks seems to have suddenly forgotten about Russia’s QUAGMIRE! in Syria that has been reported for the last 3+ months.

    Isn’t some sort of rule being broken here, i.e. ‘No credit where credit is due’ with regards to Russia aka ‘ Bismillah, No!‘?

  29. Patient Observer says:

    Some months ago, they said they would do it and now they have:
    I would say pretty impressive biotechnology.

  30. et Al says:

    The Intercept: Al Jizz Error America Terminates All TV and Digital Operations

    …The announcement marks a stunning and rapid collapse of what, from the start, has been a towering failure…

    …From the start, the project was beset with massive failures, from bitter internal strife and employee discrimination lawsuits to minuscule ratings and distribution failures. AJAM and Gore ended up in a protracted, embittered lawsuit with one another. Ratings were so low as to be almost unquantifiable; even by 2015, the network was averaging a tiny 30,000 viewers in prime-time and at some points had literally a zero rating in the key 25-54 demographic.

    From the start, employees complained vociferously that network executives were paralyzed by fear, believing they had to avoid all hints of bias and opinion in order to steer clear of what these executives regarded as the lethal stench of the Al Jazeera brand for American audiences…AJAM journalists typically blame one AJAM executive in particular, Ehab Al Shihabi, its executive director of international operations. Al Shihabi, whose background is in business and not journalism, was widely regarded as the prime author of the network’s identity problems and obsession with voiceless content…

    ..AJAM has been losing staggering sums of money from the start. That has become increasingly untenable as the network’s owner and funder, the government of Qatar, is now economically struggling due to low oil prices. The decision was made recently to terminate AJAM, which allows the network to terminate all of its cumbersome distribution contracts with cable companies, and re-launch its successful Al Jazeera English inside the U.S…

    What a crushing loss. When it was launched, it was a bright new hope and attracted some very good journalists. That didn’t last long…

    • Patient Observer says:

      In comparison with Al Jazeera’s US results:
      “In 2011, RT was the second most-watched foreign news channel in the United States (after BBC World News),[110] and the number one foreign network in five major U.S. urban areas in 2012.[111] It also rates well among younger Americans under 35 and among inner city areas.[111] ”

      Oddly, the most recent entries in a preliminary Google search on RT’s US popularity are around 2011. One can presume that RT ratings have improved since then. Perhaps RT is fueling the pro-Russia commentary so prevalent in Yahoo comments section. RT is also the number one news organization in the world regarding youtube video hits (or something like that).

      They are tapping into the important demographic segment of people who are tired of media lies and misdirection. RT’s relative high viewership in inner city areas is particularly interesting.

  31. Cortes says:

    Interesting blowback from the Bamako attack in November:

    I think Fern posted a link showing three senior Chinese railroad executives plus six representatives of a Russian heavy airlift transport company were among the victims.

    • marknesop says:

      Name that chump: “Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead — they call us.”

      And while his statement about world standing is true, America’s median approval standing is still about 45%. I would not say that is very impressive considering the world is subjected to a non-stop propaganda barrage about how great America is.

  32. astabada says:

    Did Obama show this picture at the SOTU?

  33. Warren says:

    Cold War: How Moscow gets rid of snow

    Snow storms have hit central Russia this week, including the capital Moscow, where nearly half the January norm fell in just one day.

    The BBC’s Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg braved the cold to see how the authorities have been coping with all that snow.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      They dump the snow straight off the tipper trucks into the river right near where I live. They do it from special tipping areas on the river embankment. And sometimes on Krestyanskaya Zastava Square, where our local metro station is situated, they erect a huge metal container into which tipped snow is loaded. The container is a big snow boiler fired by propane gas. The water from the thawed snow is piped straight into the local main surface water drain that leads to the river.

      Pictures taken by me at 09:10, Wednesday morning, 13 January, 2016, the morning after the blizzard hit Moscow, from the 50th floor office of Renaissance Capital offices in the Naberezhnaya Tower, Moscow City.

      That’s the frozen surface of the Moskva River in the foreground.

  34. Warren says:

  35. Warren says:

    Vladimir Putin tops primary school exam – in Uganda

    A Ugandan child named after the Russian president is among the country’s top pupils.

    Vladimir Putin was one of those who got the highest possible marks in the primary school leaving exams.

    The BBC’s Patience Atuhaire in the capital, Kampala, says it is common in Uganda for parents to name their children after famous people.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    First and Final addresses to Congress

    Yes he could?

    I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary. This administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security. It is not. There are no shortcuts to protecting America.

    Double Talk:

    Humility and Power
    “…our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please… our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint” – First inaugural address, January 2009.

    “We’re the largest, most powerful country on Earth… [America] is going to be the indispensable nation for the remainder of this century” – January 2015, interview with Vox magazine

    “Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law?“ – Candidate Obama in a June 2008 speech in Berlin, Germany

    “We tortured some folks… We did some things that were contrary to our values” – August 2014 news conference.

    Bullshit from beginning to end!

  37. Warren says:

    Russia highway robbery: Official ‘stole 50km road’

    A senior prison official has been detained in Russia accused of stealing a 50km (31-mile) length of highway.

    • Cortes says:

      Last couple of paragraphs ruin the story. The BBC (state owned, but not controlled – aye, right) just can’t help itself.

      • Drutten says:

        Good god, it just won’t fucking end! How many times does a particular rumor invented out of the blue have to be thoroughly debunked until media finally gets it?

    • marknesop says:

      What a pity; it would have been the perfect place to hide the forest Navalny stole. And again with the caviar road – this time attributed to Russian media. The first person I know to have mentioned it was Julia Ioffe, and it was never introduced, to the very best of my knowledge, in the Russian media. She said she got it from “Russian Esquire”, which is a Hearst publication of the United States, edited by David Granger, the former Editor of GQ. “Printed in the Russian language” and “Russian media” are two very different things.

  38. et Al says:

    In case you missed it:

    New Eastern Outlook NEO via the Land Destroyer Blog: Washington Quietly Lifts Sanctions on Russian Rockets

    …Popular Science also hints toward another reason that might be behind the lift of sanctions on Russian rockets:

    ULA has long had a monopoly on military payload launches. SpaceX recently got permission to use its Falcon 9 rocket to launch military payloads as well, right around the time ULA dropped out because of the ban. If the ban is lifted, it means ULA and SpaceX will take part in the first competition for a military launch since 2006–and that could translate into savings for the U.S. government.

    Ironically, a desire by ULA (a joint venture between defense industry giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin) to maintain their monopoly and all the unwarranted power and wealth associated with it, has forced them to do business with one of the nations it and a collection of other special interests on Wall Street, in Washington and in London have been attempting to undermine, divide and destroy for decades…

    …And it seems that both in short-term and long-term regards, the strategy of these special interests on Wall Street, in Washington and in London, is incoherent and self-defeating. As it attempts to isolate and undermine Moscow, it finds itself threatened by disruptive business models and innovators at home in America. To tamp down domestic competition, these interests have ended up rolling back sanctions against foreign competitors.

    Impotent and incoherent, it appears that the US has managed to do more harm to itself than to Russia. While Russia is certainly suffering from sanctions, should it overcome them, it will come out stronger and more self-sufficient on the other side. For the US however, win or lose against Russia, it is clearly harming itself in the process.

    And if I recall correctly Orbital Sciences has signed an agreement with Russia for RD-181 rocket engines too, though I think Russia stipulates that they are only for commercial purposes. The problem here is that just about any satellite now can also be used for military purposes (weather/geographical/disaster tracking etc.).

  39. Patient Observer says:

    The Power Ball was not good to me:(
    It’s also a swindle for most Americans per RT:

    “”In 2009, lotteries in 11 states brought in more revenue than the corporate income tax,” wrote Judd Legum and Bryce Covert for Think Progress. “And thus the lottery acts like an implicit 38 percent tax on mainly the poorest people.”

    The lottery is one of the few remaining “get rich quick” schemes and, as such, has gained mass popularity among impoverished Americans.

    Players earning less than $10,000 per annum were found to spend the highest percentage of their annual income on lottery tickets, a staggering $597 (6 percent) according to studies.”

    The American Dream is dead dead dead. Power Ball, fantasy football and other forms of gambling are yet another opiate for the masses or at best, a desperate shot in the dark to escape an otherwise bleak future. For me, this is one of the most convincing pieces of evidence that the US is dying.

    • marknesop says:

      You wouldn’t say that if you won.

      34% of Canadians and 21% of Americans plan to fund their retirements by winning the lottery (although the latter link suggests the percentage of Canadians is only 12%, don’t know where he got his figures).

      • Patient Observer says:

        Maybe I would based on these unfortunate winners:
        Many other Americans are hoping that their children will become big sports or media stars and much of the rest will need to work until carried out feet first. But we have the comfort of knowing that we are indispensable. No one else can say that!

        • Jen says:

          ” … Many other Americans are hoping that their children will become big sports or media stars and much of the rest will need to work until carried out feet first …”

          Partly explains why, among other things, the US has become such a major force (with a deep talent pool to boot) in women’s gymnastics in the last 15 – 20 years. I’ve seen an old CNN TV documentary on the Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center (located in Allentown, a working-class town in Pennsylvania) and the physical and mental toll it imposes on young girls and the sacrifices their families make to get their kids enrolled and keeping up training. What the documentary doesn’t say (or deliberately glides over) is the fact that these families see gymnastics as their daughters’ major or only hope of escaping unemployment and low-paying jobs with no career prospects.

          The transcript of the documentary notes that the girls at elite gymnast level train 6 days a week with only 2 weeks’ vacation in a year, and that these girls are home-schooled.

          It seems to me that there is plenty of scope for physical and mental abuse by coaches of these girls and I imagine the fall-out rate of girls suffering from injuries (some of which will last their whole lives) is extremely high. This is even after scandals like Christy Hendrich’s death 20 years ago from anorexia nervosa and the legacy of Bela Karolyi who was as famous for his brutal methods and bullying as he was for producing Olympic and world champions.

          • Patient Observer says:

            That is sad. Same with basketball in the inner city. For every NBA player a hundred, no, thousands of kid’s dreams end with the realization that minimum wage jobs await them if not a jail cell.

    • yalensis says:

      It’s so sad, and so true!
      Ordinary Americans whom I work with every day, are always talking about what they’ll do whenthey “win the lottery”. Whole conversations are taken up with the debate, whether or not they will quit their job, etc. Or whether it is better to win “only a million” or hundreds of millions.

      Sometimes I try to insert myself into the conversation, saying something like, “You know that you’re not going to win, right?” And they look at me like I have 3 heads.
      And these are fairly intelligent people, with college educations, in white collar jobs.
      And they are all convinced that they are going to be millionaires at some point in the future.

      I think the American education system failed these people, because it was never explained to them how statistics/probabilities actually works.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I worked with a bloke who, when asked what he would do if he won “the pools” (a betting pool based on predicting the outcome of top-level UK association football matches taking place in the coming week), replied that he would stop working overtime.

        As long as I knew him, he worked weekends: he almost lived at work.

  40. Special_sauce says:

    On RTcom right now 11:15 MTN flame war extraodinaire. Comrade Stalin getting some props along with the usual “Evillest Man Evah” tropes(?) memes(?)

    • Cortes says:

      Stalin’s Georgian/Ossetian/Caucasian background should be hyped up big style by the RF. Reference to the security services ought to contain the expression “founded by the Pole …” Etc

  41. et Al says:

    Independent via Unz Review via Istanbul Attack: Isis May be Concluding Turkey Is No Longer a Place Where It Need Tread Carefully

    Patrick Cockburn

    …If Isis was behind the bombing it is important to know if this is a one-off or the start of a new campaign. In July its suicide bombers killed 30 Turks going to help rebuild the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani and in October they killed a further 100 peace demonstrators outside Ankara railway station.

    By doing so, Isis succeeded in setting the political agenda by provoking a resumption of hostilities between Turks and Kurds and setting the scene for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan success in the parliamentary election on 1 November.

    Isis targets civilian targets with such frequency that it is possible to read too much into a single explosion. It was presumably aimed at Turkey’s $21 billion income from tourism with an implied threat of more to come….

    One off or not indeed!

    • cartman says:

      They attacked German tourists, just like they attacked Russian tourists in Egypt. Merkel has decided that Russia is the big evil, while her own people are killed and raped en masse by people she is trying to accommodate.

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    Porky forgets his mother tongue – or, at least, he forgets how to say “purse” in Ukrainian:

    • yalensis says:

      “He who steals my гаманець steals trash. He who steals my бумажник on the other hand — that dude is dead to me!” (William Shakespeare)

  43. et Al says: From Sarajevo to Madaya: Starvation as Propaganda

    by Nebojsa Malic, January 14, 2016

    …In truth, the last convoy of food to reach Madaya was promptly seized by the anti-government rebels holding the town. The rebels have been selling the looted food at exorbitant prices, to the few locals who could still afford to buy. One of the residents spoke to RT of $30 for a kilo of rice; it was even worse, it turned out, with prices running as high as $250.

    All of this is striking a personal note for me. Before there was Madaya, there was Sarajevo, Bosnia, circa 1992. …

    …But the delivery of food spoiled the plans of political players who banked on the starvation crisis to leverage foreign military intervention. Unable to fight and win the war with cannons, they turned to cameras, using the suffering of their own civilians as a bargaining chip with the “international community.” Time and again, like clockwork, utilities repaired by UN-aided crews would mysteriously break down and food deliveries would cease whenever peace talks were about to begin. ..

    …The influx of food, blankets and other materials intended for civilians enabled the regime to raise an army. We knew some of the supplies would be seized, but it was only when we saw the UN directly distributing food to refugees that we realized we were getting maybe a third of the intended rations, if that. Later on, even that dried up; entire convoys were simply directed to government warehouses, where officials and officers could help themselves, while the people they “protected” had to pay black market prices with whatever hard currency they could scrounge by selling off their possessions…

    Some more at the link.

    I had many of the same thoughts when the ‘Starving Syrians’ meme started to be pumped out. The fact is that the rebels in the ‘siege’ are almost out of military options, so rather than negotiating a withdrawal in the interest of the civilians (as has recently happened elsewhere where there is absolutely no hope of being helped), they’ve been told that if they hold on they can gain additional political support and build leverage against Syria in the not upcoming peace talks that the ‘opposition’ now refuses to attend as it now has a laundry list of extra conditions that need to be fulfilled before it will attend, you know, to build ‘confidence’ in the blood thirsty Syrian dictator aka Assad.

    Yet again, the West simply doesn’t five a flying f/k about civilian lives, only as to whether they can be used to further their political conclusions. What a bunch of serially evil mofos. The ‘funniest’ of the lot is that (%*”)(*”)(^ Samantha ‘Genocide‘ Powers, US Ambassador to the UN and former ‘journalist in Bosnia’, is not only well acquainted with the ‘starving civilians’ schtick, she more than happy to peddle anything ‘humanitarian’ that is in the US’s interest to intervene.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s a good piece. Somebody should nail Samantha Powers’ hide to the door, and force her to acknowledge that what she is spreading is deliberate propaganda. Such a high official should not trigger on every news report until it has been substantiated, but she’s just pushing a narrative. Barack Obama struck a blow against women in government by appointing such bad choices as Samantha Power and Susan Rice – gone are the pipe dreams that women are more reasoned and impartial than men, more compassionate and deliberate. Rice and Power are more partisan and venal than most men I could think of.

  44. Moscow Exile says:

    Порошенко признался, что координирует блокаду Крыма
    Сегодня в 21:25
    На своей первой в новом году пресс-конференции президент Петр Порошенко признал, что координирует действия организаторов блокады Крыма.

    «Когда мы говорим, что блокада Крыма на сегодняшний день обеспечивается гражданскими активистами, то должны признать, что они делают свое очень важное дело. Я регулярно встречаюсь с представителями крымскотатарского народа – и с Мустафой Джемилевым, и с другими активистами не только для того, чтобы поддержать, а для того, чтобы скоординировать действия. Поэтому правительство приняло решение запретить движение грузового транспорта».

    Poroshenko admits that he co-ordinates the Crimea blockade
    Today [14 January, 2016 — ME] 21:25

    At his first press-conference of the new year president Petr Poroshenko admitted that he co-ordinates the actions of the Crimea blockade organizers.

    “When we say that to date the Crimea blockade has been undertaken by civil society activists, we must recognize that they are doing their very own important business. I regularly meet with representatives of the Crimean Tatar people — with Mustafa Dzhemilev and other activists — not only to support them but also so as to coordinate their actions. For that reason, the government decided to ban the movement of trucks”.

    • yalensis says:

      Nobody could have ever guessed that Porky was involved in the Crimea Blockade.
      This is a completely unexpected and shocking plot twist.

      • Jen says:

        Glad to hear that Porky Pig supports Mustafa Dzhemilev. One suit of Porky’s could provide enough material to make 10 suits for Dzhemilev.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, a couple, anyway. Mustafa has a fondness for wearing suits which are a great deal too large for him, either fancying this is an exhibition of sartorial elegance, or that it somehow makes him look like a bigger man.

  45. et Al says:

    euractv: ‘South Stream’ to become ‘Bulgarian Stream’

    Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said the defunct project of bringing Russian gas across the Black Sea to the EU known as ‘South Stream’ should be transformed into ‘Bulgarian Stream’, with 100% Bulgarian ownership over the pipes.

    Speaking in the Bulgarian parliament yesterday (13 January), Borissov said the options for the supply of Bulgaria with Russian gas would be discussed on 27-28 January in Sofia, at a session of the Bulgarian-Russian intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation, which had not met for the last five years…

    …“I am speaking precisely of Bulgarian Stream, not about a 50-50 project with a Russian company, but a project with 100% Bulgarian ownership of the pipes,” Borissov responded…

    …“It will be Bulgarian Stream, if the Russian side agrees to sell its gas at our border, they are welcome. And we will abide by the Third Energy Package and the sanctions of the European Commission,” he said.

    Borissov revealed plans to bring Russian gas across the Black Sea during the 17-18 December EU summit. …

    …Commentators quoted by Dnevnik, the EurActiv partner in Bulgaria, said that Russia was unlikely to embark on a project to bring gas to Bulgaria under the Black Sea, given the falling prices of energy and declining gas demand in Europe.

    Russia, however, is believed to want to build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, which would bypass the Bosporus. A package deal including both large infrastructure projects is likely to satisfy both Sofia and Moscow.

    Considering that Bulgaria is the only EU member state that was part of the South Stream project that objected, then the proposed pipeline should really be called Brussels Stream.. After all, it is Brussels that calls the shots in Bulgaria.

    I am also surprised that no one asked the obvious question: “Who will pay for the construction of the pipeline through Bulgaria?, let alone the rest of the old route if Gazprom isn’t there to pick up the bill anymore. Sure, the EU has some spare cash, but certainly not enough and certainly not in this political climate. Yet again, the reality is that Russia has time on its side and other customers for its gas. The EU doesn’t.

    How is it this story still has any traction when it only comes from Borissov? Not a peep from Russia. Just because the Russians have economic relations with Bulgaria is neither here nor there.

    • Cortes says:

      PM Borissov is suffering from an RF boykott.

      Shame. On him and his spineless colleagues.

      • If Bulgaria wants to build this pipeline with their own money let them do it. It would give Russia another route to bypass Ukraine nonetheless.

        • marknesop says:

          And all the headache of complying with TEP rules will be Bulgaria’s. But I doubt Russia will be interested in anything of the kind – perhaps a minor pipeline to supply that region, for domestic use rather than onward transit. Strategy sessions with advisers would tell the Russian government that Bulgaria would be exactly the same kind of unreliable partner Ukraine is, and if it were once set up as a gas transit nation, no matter who owned the pipeline, it would start to leverage its status for concessions. And Brussels would likely not only let it do that, but would encourage it. Bulgaria had its chance to stand up, and it chose to lick Brussels’ toes instead.

    • marknesop says:

      There is not ‘declining gas demand in Europe’. There is declining gas production in Europe, with some economies, but no significant decline in the importation of gas.

  46. Patient Observer says:

    The water debacle continues for Flint, Michigan
    A once prosperous city has now achieved 3rd world status including corrupt officials, technical incompetency and poisoned people now dealing with an outbreak of contagious disease.

    • Northern Star says:

      Hilarious….not a peep about this from the moron ‘journalists’ on Radio Fascist America…..

      But don’t worry soon as the immediate crisis is sorta resolved..they’ll have the dumb fks on GMA or Today in cowboy hats singing a rap version of :

  47. Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      “Serbia, a traditional Russian ally, has officially sought EU membership, but has been struggling to overcome strong opposition from Kremlin-backed nationalists.”

      Who is struggling? Brussels-and-Washington-backed self-interested ‘democracy’ activists and corporate whores hoping to get rich so they can live in London? Let’s have a little truth in journalism for a change, what say?

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