Putin is Weaponizing Popularity: Newsweek is not Amused.

Uncle Volodya says, "Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

Uncle Volodya says, “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

“The mind, placed before any kind of difficulty, can find an ideal outlet in the absurd. Accommodation to the absurd readmits adults to the mysterious realm inhabited by children.”

 – André Breton

How appropriate, to say nothing of au courant,  to kick off this post with a quote from André Breton; a French poet, writer, and author of “The Surrealist Manifesto”, he is best remembered as the founder of Surrealism. And oh, Mama; surreal is what we have for you today. Yes, having weaponized everything from refugees to referendums, Putin has finally rolled out his magnum opus: he has weaponized his own popularity. Except it is somehow a secret. What a good thing that we have Newsweek to brief us on how that works, because at the outset I confess I am puzzled as to how secret popularity could function as a weapon.

I hate to give away right at the beginning how numbingly idiotic the piece is, but I am afraid most of you would guess as soon as you learned that the primary source upon which Newsweek relied for its breathtaking Kremlin insights was that old ‘Kremlin insider’ himself – Gleb Pavlovsky. Epiphany Number One: the overriding reason the west has Russia so wrong is that it keeps tapping the same sources for instruction and inspiration – Fiona Hill, Clifford Gaddy, Gleb Pavlovsky, Yulia Latynina, Stanislav Belkovsky, Edward Lucas, Julia Ioffe, Miriam Elder, Garry Kasparov, the late and mostly unlamented Boris Nemtsov…a phalanx of sycophancy that always tells it what it wants to hear. Thou, O Queen, art fairest still. Gleb Pavlovsky affects to know everything that goes on in Russia as if it were all unfolding to his own plan, and nobody ever seems to notice when he is catastrophically wrong or that he has been predicting Putin’s collapse for a decade. Here he is, running his mouth in The Guardian, four years ago: “[Putin] thinks man is a sinful being and it is pointless to try to improve him. He believes the Bolsheviks who tried to create fair people were simply idiots, and we wasted a lot money and energy on it … So Putin’s model is that you need to be bigger and better capitalists than the western capitalists. And more consolidated as a state: there must be a full, maximum unity of state and business.”

For Pavlovsky, United Russia’s collapse in the polls in December was obvious. “It was nothing more than a telephone system for conveying the Kremlin’s orders. It transmitted a signal. It has absolutely not independence and can not act on its own. It needs full instructions – 1,2,3,4,5. If 3 and 4 are missing, it stops and waits for instructions.”

The masses, in Putin’s mind, cannot be trusted to rule. Pavlovsky said: “What is the Putin consensus? It is a construction of a pact between the ruling elite and the main groups of society in which society is guaranteed a degree of social distribution and an elite which feels free to move across borders. This state has no ideology. It will be a state without ideas oriented on common sense, the average man, the citizen. Nonetheless the masses must not be given access to power.”

The Putin consensus began when Putin decided he was the sole bearer of that guarantee and he controlled the whole situation. But it ended at precisely point he decided to return to power as president: “That was his mistake. His decision to return was a certain delusion of grandeur, ” Pavlovsky said.

Just pause for a moment with me, and ponder the irony of a Newsweek article on Putin’s weaponization of his massive popularity, in which it relied heavily on a source who only four years ago announced that Putin’s return to the presidency was based on delusions of grandeur. That was quite the fucking mass delusion, wasn’t it, considering the complaint now is that he’s too popular, it simply can’t be real?

You know, it’s bad enough to start out being not particularly good at solving global puzzles. But how much worse you make it for yourself by ruling out all sources of information whose product is unpleasant to hear, because it conflicts with your vision of yourself as all-seeing, all-knowing, a benevolent giant who is forever a force for good. What you are left with is rows of bobble-headed yes-men who just tell you whatever will keep the NED cheques coming. The west did pretty much exactly that with Mikhail Dmitriev, when he authored the famous ‘Dmitriev Report’. Published in 2011 – and actually titled “Political Crisis in Russia and the Possible Mechanisms of its Development” – it told the west that Russians’ trust in the government was falling sharply and that the trend appeared irreversible. This generated nearly as much excitement in the west as reading that the face of Ronald Reagan had appeared in the burn patterns on a tortilla. But when Dmitriev later co-authored “A Farewell to Poverty” with Svetlana Misikhina, in which the two reported that the Putin government had eradicated poverty in Russia for the purposes of statistical significance, he got the ‘Mikhail who??’ treatment.

Well, no use preaching to The Church Of I Know Everything. Let’s have a look, and see what Newsweek‘s complaint is.

Well, basically it seems to be that Putin’s popularity is all a sham. He’s not really popular, and he knows it. So whenever his pseudo-popularity looks to be fading, he holds the Olympics or starts a war with somebody. Then his ratings ease back up into comfortable territory. Remember, this is someone who works for a polling agency who is telling this to Newsweek.

You know what? Putin should tell Obama how that works. Because Obama is forever starting a war with somebody, tidying up the remnants of a war he inherited from the previous administration, threatening to start a war with somebody or just showing up with his planes and Special Forces somewhere that a war is going on to which the United States was not invited, and announcing that they are playing, too, because the USA called dibs. And his ratings are still in the tank. So obviously it is not as easy as just throwing a big spectacle or a tantrum  for the folks whenever they start to mutter, there must be a trick to it.

Putin’s ‘reiting’ – which is merely a Russian rendering of an English word, although Newsweek manages to invest it with the mystery of code – ‘rules supreme over all of the nation’s political and economic decisions.’ So when Putin’s rating dips, he does not dare to make decisions which might bring the people into the streets with torches and pitchforks (I know, we’ve heard that a million times, but it’s still funny for me), and instead picks a fight with someone or holds an impromptu Olympics which was actually awarded to Russia years ago. Anyone buying this?

Putin’s rating – excuse me, ‘reiting’ – touched 61% in November 2013. Quick as a flash, Putin annexed Crimea, and his cratering reiting rebounded. What a planner, if you’ll excuse me a moment of frank admiration; Putin had to arrange for the Maidan protests to spin out of control into violence, forecast the rise of the opposition in Kiev – considering Tiahnybok and Klitschko were next to invisible before that- position snipers on the rooftops and flood Kiev with western politicians, all to provide the flashpoint which terrified Crimeans into abandoning the sinking ship! I submit he deserved good reitings after such a masterpiece of manipulation.

The Kremlin has spawned a vast new monitoring body with the aim of spotting and crushing dissent. Let’s call it “Tentacle”, or maybe “The Burning Eye”.  Well, we might, except it already has a name – according to The Moscow Times, it’s Putin’s ‘secretive’ Federal Guard Service (FSO). Its job is to conduct non-stop polling to determine levels of discontent, and dole out subsidies to areas the polls show are discontented. Sinister.

Let’s look at it as if it were in, sayyyy….England. “Her Majesty’s Government announced today the creation of a new domestic polling service, under the supervision of the Foreign Office. The purpose of this new office will be to constantly sample the public mood, establishing areas in which ineffective economic policies or uneven distribution of government subsidies have resulted in pockets of discontent, so that aid can quickly be channeled to address the problem”. Gee – that sounds completely different, doesn’t it? It’s all in how you spin it. Newsweek – and The Moscow Times – want you to see it as just more oppression and totalitarianism. This is a technique from journalism known as “Having Your Cake and Eating It” . If the government is too much of a busybody, it’s authoritarian and oppressive. If it isn’t, it’s out of touch with the people. There is no middle ground.

I propose we do an exchange, to promote understanding. Putin will show Obama how to start wars and gain good reitings. Obama will explain to Putin that if you want to gauge the public mood, there’s no need to stand up big agencies to do polling. Just have your intelligence service record their phone calls or watch them through their laptop webcam, and you will know exactly what they’re thinking, with the plus that they are more natural because they don’t know they’re being monitored. That’ll bring down that old ‘terror of the state’ barrier, at the same time resolving the innate dilemma of a ‘secretive’ service which conducts public polling.

Epiphany Number Two: you will never overthrow or successfully promote regime change in a country which is proud of its institutions and traditions by writing lies about it. You cannot make Russians feel ashamed of themselves by inventing horrible things they have done and then saying they ought to be ashamed of themselves, see, because they know you are lying. Battalions of Russian soldiers have invaded Ukraine. Russia was hiding Saddam. Russia shot down MH-17. Russia manipulated Brexit. If you oppose Putin, you will disappear. You can’t be gay in Russia. Navalny is popular in Russia, so the government had to crush him. Putin owns large blocks of shares in Russian energy companies and a string of palaces. Russian athletes can’t win a medal unless they are doped up. All these are ‘truths’ the western media has fed to its readers and demanded they internalize, or be branded a ‘Putin apologist’.

Vladimir Putin’s reiting is a reflection of Russians’ confidence in his leadership, and faith that he will continue to lead the country in the right direction, spotting pitfalls before the country can tumble in and dodging western sandbags dropped in its path, all without whining for mercy or prostrating himself in obeisance. Barack Obama’s reiting, and the evident pre-distaste for Hillary Clinton, are a measure of the American peoples’ fear that American leadership is increasingly dysfunctional, directionless and self-absorbed.

Where is America’s Vladimir Putin, the leader who will restore American pride and confidence, national direction and unity, and remake America’s poisoned relationships with the world’s nations? You can only rewrite reality for so long before the power of illusion fades.

This entry was posted in Alexei Navalny, Boris Nemtsov, Corruption, Economy, Europe, Government, Law and Order, Military, Politics, Russia, Strategy, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2,623 Responses to Putin is Weaponizing Popularity: Newsweek is not Amused.

  1. Warren says:

    Published on 28 Jul 2016
    Political economist Aleksandr Buzgalin says that Turkey’s relative independence from NATO is of interest to the Russian elite

    • et Al says:

      Lockheed Martin hasn’t got the memo:

      Lockheed confirms Turkey’s F-35s in early stages of production

      …Turkey would receive its first two jets in Lot 10 of low-rate initial production (LRIP). Lockheed is not assembling those aircraft yet in the factory, but assembly should begin within the next six to 12 months, Lockheed spokesman Mike Rein confirmed to FlightGlobal.

      “However, there are parts for LRIP 10 jets being built as long-lead items in the supply chain,” he said.

      The F-35’s programme schedule calls for LRIP 10 aircraft to be ordered in Fiscal 2016 and delivered two years later….

  2. ucgsblog says:

    For those who want a peek into the thoughts of a Bernie Sanders voter who is voting for Clinton: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-moore/5-reasons-why-trump-will-_b_11156794.html

    Quite a few aren’t. I think most aren’t, Moore thinks most are, but numbers, at this point, aren’t important, that could change. What is important, is the passion and the arguments:

    I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November… Here are the 5 reasons Trump is going to win:

    Midwest Math, or Welcome to Our Rust Belt Brexit. I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin… it’s because he’s said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states. When Trump stood in the shadow of a Ford Motor factory during the Michigan primary, he threatened the corporation that if they did indeed go ahead with their planned closure of that factory and move it to Mexico, he would slap a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States. It was sweet, sweet music to the ears of the working class of Michigan, and when he tossed in his threat to Apple that he would force them to stop making their iPhones in China and build them here in America, well, hearts swooned and Trump walked away with a big victory that should have gone to the governor next-door, John Kasich…

    The Last Stand of the Angry White Man… There is a sense that the power has slipped out of their hands, that their way of doing things is no longer how things are done. This monster, the “Feminazi,”the thing that as Trump says, “bleeds through her eyes or wherever she bleeds,” has conquered us — and now, after having had to endure eight years of a black man telling us what to do, we’re supposed to just sit back and take eight years of a woman bossing us around…

    Can we speak honestly, just among ourselves? And before we do, let me state, I actually like Hillary – a lot – and I think she has been given a bad rap she doesn’t deserve. But her vote for the Iraq War made me promise her that I would never vote for her again… Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary. She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected. That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage… no independent is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. And because this election is going to come down to just one thing — who drags the most people out of the house and gets them to the polls — Trump right now is in the catbird seat…

    The fire alarm that should be going off is that while the average Bernie backer will drag him/herself to the polls that day to somewhat reluctantly vote for Hillary, it will be what’s called a “depressed vote” – meaning the voter doesn’t bring five people to vote with her. He doesn’t volunteer 10 hours in the month leading up to the election. She never talks in an excited voice when asked why she’s voting for Hillary. A depressed voter. Because, when you’re young, you have zero tolerance for phonies and BS. Returning to the Clinton/Bush era for them is like suddenly having to pay for music, or using MySpace or carrying around one of those big-ass portable phones. They’re not going to vote for Trump; some will vote third party, but many will just stay home…

    the anger that so many have toward a broken political system, millions are going to vote for Trump not because they agree with him, not because they like his bigotry or ego, but just because they can. Just because it will upset the apple cart and make mommy and daddy mad. And in the same way like when you’re standing on the edge of Niagara Falls and your mind wonders for a moment what would that feel like to go over that thing, a lot of people are going to love being in the position of puppetmaster and plunking down for Trump just to see what that might look like. Remember back in the ‘90s when the people of Minnesota elected a professional wrestler as their governor? They didn’t do this because they’re stupid or thought that Jesse Ventura was some sort of statesman or political intellectual. They did so just because they could. Minnesota is one of the smartest states in the country. It is also filled with people who have a dark sense of humor — and voting for Ventura was their version of a good practical joke on a sick political system. This is going to happen again with Trump.

    • shargash says:

      “voting for Ventura was their version of a good practical joke on a sick political system”

      And just look what happened to Minnesota after their joke candidate was governor. I mean, it is a wasteland today, bearing a closer resemblance to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” than to an American state.

      Oh, wait. Wikipedia says, “As governor, Ventura oversaw reforms of Minnesota’s property tax as well as the state’s first sales tax rebate. Other initiatives taken under Ventura included construction of the METRO Blue Line light rail in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, and cuts in income taxes.”

      The horror! And Trump will probably be even worse!

      Moore makes some good polemical movies, but he is a shill for Democrats. He does this “fear the non-Democrat!” thing every so often. Just move along. There is nothing to see here but a middle-aged man making a fool of himself.

      • Cortes says:

        Regular reports from a friend who had to uproot about six years from southern England to Michigan as a result of her scientist husband being given an ultimatum – move or your job will be as gone as the 1,800 others – paint a very depressing picture. A roommate of the older girl who started turning tricks for local businessmen because of student loan debts; meth lab garage explosions; increasing use of heroin; making up food packs on Thursdays for Friday distribution to high school students whose families are jobless and homeless.
        No wonder people will vote for Trump. Moore just can’t help sneering at the poor whites with their folksy names. He shares the contempt felt by elites for ordinary people.

      • ucgsblog says:

        I partly disagree. While you’re spot on about Moore’s “fear the non-Democrat” movement, and, btw, thank you for pointing it out and clarifying it, as well as defending Ventura, Moore’s letter highlights several key issues. Namely:

        “it’s because he’s said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states.”

        He’s right. The reason that Billary is in trouble in those states, is precisely because of support of the TPP. Of NAFTA. Of moving jobs abroad. That’s a key issue that will hurt the Clinton campaign, quite badly. Especially in the swing states, like Pennsylvania.

        “She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected.”

        Again – spot on. It won’t be just Trump v Clinton, it’ll be “we’ll try anything” vs “the system” and I doubt that the system will carry this election. The economy, booming in 2007, has yet to have a record year like 2007. It’s been almost a decade, and by election time, it’ll be a decade. That’s going to hurt the Dems, the party in power.

      • marknesop says:

        The antenna she keeps pointing out does look like a Wifi antenna rather than a white-noise generator. But I buy the convention seat manipulation – it is absolutely critical to Clinton’s success that she squash any impression of dissent, and project the image that both the party and the democratic voters have united behind her. The party is not a hard one, because that’s true – the party organization never really saw any other candidate. But the voters is a much different story, so it will have to be rigged.

    • Patient Observer says:

      The collapse of the USSR (where talent was systematically identified and promoted), the economic crises of 1998 and 2008, the recent sanctions – all these provoked a serious brain drain in Russia, with scientists, artists and other professionals leaving the country in search of a better life.

      The above seems a mish-mash of weakly correlated claims but the biggest unsubstantiated claim was the alleged 2008 brain-drain. The world and certainly the US was in a total economic meltdown which hardly would make the US (or Western Europe) a desirable refuge.But, its good to see that Russia is taking such steps.

  3. Fern says:

    In ‘cat among the pigeons’ news, a French lawmaker has visited the Crimea and made the non-handshakeable comment that Tatar rights are better protected there than are the rights of ethnic Russians living in the Baltic States….uh-huh


    • marknesop says:

      Well, think of that! General Breedlove will not be best pleased to hear the cowardly Frenchie opinion. I think there is going to be a massive shakeup in Europolitics in the next couple of years – France has an election coming up next year, and Hollande stands as much chance of being re-elected as Victor Hugo does. If Le Pen takes it, there are going to be some surprises.

  4. Fern says:

    The New York Times seems to have noticed that Kosovo isn’t a thriving, pluralistic democracy. Strangely and, for the paper-of-record, inexplicably, it seems to be a hot-bed for the Islamic State.


  5. Warren says:

    • kirill says:

      Xenophobic paranoia from the UK. As usual.

    • PaulR says:

      Can anyone who has access provide the key quotes?? I don’t subscribe but would be interested in reading this apparent nonsense.

      • Jen says:

        Can’t imagine there’d be very many people here commenting or reading KS who subscribe to the London Times. It’s part of News Corporation Ltd ie it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch.

      • Warren says:

        Will the Daily Mail do?

        How Vladimir Putin is waging a propaganda war on the UK and the West using a Kremlin-backed news agency based in SCOTLAND

        Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3715869/How-Vladimir-Putin-waging-propaganda-war-UK-West-using-Kremlin-backed-news-agency-based-SCOTLAND.html#ixzz4FwOBcPXP
        Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

      • Warren says:

        The Sun has something on this too.

        PUTIN’S WAR OF WORDS Russia accused of infiltrating Britain’s top universities to pump out pro-Moscow propaganda


      • Warren says:

        Copied and pasted the article:

        Putin wages propaganda war on UK
        Kremlin launches campaign from Edinburgh

        Dominic Kennedy, Investigations Editor
        July 30 2016, 12:01am,
        The Times
        <image of Putin standing
        President Putin’s news service, Sputnik, published a report suggesting that Jo Cox’s murder was part of a plot to sway the EU referendum result


        President Putin has launched a secret propaganda assault on Britain from within its own borders, The Times can reveal.

        The Kremlin is spreading disinformation through a newly opened British bureau for its Sputnik international news service, and is infiltrating elite universities by placing language and cultural centres on campuses.

        Analysts said that the push was part of Russia’s military doctrine, which specifies the use of “informational and other non-military measures” in conflicts.

        Moscow’s intelligence agencies were accused by US cybersecurity experts this week of hacking the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee, which has nominated Hillary Clinton as its candidate in November’s presidential election.

        The release of 20,000 stolen emails, many of them embarrassing to the party’s leaders, was blamed on the Kremlin after retrieved data suggested the documents had passed through its computers. It has led to suspicion that Russia is trying to subvert the US political system and gather support for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

        The Russians’ main British target is Edinburgh, which has been chosen as the UK headquarters of Sputnik. Since opening in the city, the news agency has published reports suggesting that the Labour MP Jo Cox may have been killed because of a plot by supporters of the European Union to sway the referendum result, a conspiracy theory that has run on Russian television. It also peddles the myth that the West agreed never to expand Nato to Russia’s borders, a key plank of Moscow propaganda to excuse its 2013 invasion of Ukraine.

        Sputnik’s bureau is in an office building where tenants have minimum leases of five years. Although it is a fringe broadcaster, its stories are picked up by respectable media and politicians. Its immediate predecessor, Russia’s in- ternational news agency RIA Novosti, used Scotland as a testing ground for a black propaganda exercise by claiming that the 2014 referendum vote to stay in the UK had been rigged. The spoof story led to a 100,000-name petition for a recount.

        It can also be revealed that the University of Edinburgh accepted £221,000 from the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) Foundation to host Britain’s first Moscow-sponsored language and cultural centre. The foundation has also opened centres at Durham University, which accepted £85,000, and St Antony’s College, Oxford.

        Russkiy Mir and Sputnik were created by decrees issued by Mr Putin. Sputnik, which was set up in 2013, is the international wing of a government-controlled news agency. It is headed by Dmitry Kiselyov, who is notorious for his homophobic pronouncements and has been put on an EU sanctions blacklist for being the central propagandist for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

        Russkiy Mir was launched by the president in 2007 and is run by Vyacheslav Nikonov, a former assistant to the head of the KGB, the Soviet Union’s spy agency. Vladimir Yakunin, a long-standing member of Mr Putin’s inner circle, sits on the board of the foundation.

        Professor Nikonov, a dean at Moscow State University who outflanks even the president in anti-western rhetoric, is the grandson of Stalin’s deputy Vyacheslav Molotov, whose 1939 pact with the Nazis led to the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states. The agreement that Professor Nikonov signed with the university, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2012, gives his foundation the right to be consulted on staff appointments at the learning centre in Scotland.

        A Nato source accused Russia of “operationalising information” from within Britain. “The Russian information effort is to muddy the waters, to create uncertainty,” he said. “Sputnik is part of an overall effort [to] present a Russian view.”

        Mr Putin backs the concept of a “Russian world”, in which the millions of speakers of the language inside and beyond its borders have a shared “living space”. His invasion of neighbouring Ukraine was under the pretext of defending the rights of Russian speakers in Crimea, leading to a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

        Scotland is an attractive strategic target for Russia, which sees Britain — a nuclear power and permanent member of the United Nations Security Council — as a check on its ambitions.

        The Scottish National Party’s desire for independence from the rest of the United Kingdom is compared favourably in Russian media with Crimea’s departure from Ukraine. The Trident submarine missile system, which is opposed by the SNP, is based on the River Clyde at Faslane. President Duda of Poland has warned of marked consequences for Nato of Scotland leaving the UK. Scotland also has a ban on fracking. Some analysts have suggested that a vote for independence would make the country dependent on natural gas from Russia.

        The University of Edinburgh said it was working with the foundation on the Russian centre as “part of our wider commitment to increasing the understanding of different parts of the world”. The centre “should be judged by its academic and cultural activity, which demonstrates its progressive vision, academic rigour and an evidence-based critique of the regime in Russia”.

        Sputnik said: “We have no preference towards one political force.”

        The Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames said: “If people are stupid enough to be suckered by the Russians, that’s their lookout.” dkennedy@thetimes.co.uk

  6. Warren says:

    Published on 29 Jul 2016
    Al-Nusra Front is one of the largest and most effective rebel groups in Syria. It controls territory in the north, west and south of the country.

    The group has always said it prioritizes getting rid of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    It was, until now, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, making it a target of both Russia and more recently the US.

    Now the group has decided to cut ties with al-Qaeda in what appears to be an amicable split.

    This move has many implications for the armed opposition in Syria and the way al-Nusra fighters are viewed abroad.

    Inside Story looks at whether the split is just a name change or a substantive change of stategy. And asks, how will it affect the situation on the ground?

    Presenter: Sami Zeidan


    Hassan Abu Haniyeh – expert of Islamic movements.

    Haid Haid – Syrian researcher who focuses on conflict studies and Islamic movements.

    Monzer Akbik – Syrian opposition figure and former member of the Syrian National Coalition.

    • marknesop says:

      They might have saved themselves the trouble and the hit on the budget – it is pretty clear that it’s just semantics so as to be able to receive international funding. If there were real ideological differences there would not be an amicable split – this is just wink-wink you are no longer intolerant fundamentalist Wahhabi radicals, you are now inclusive democratic moderate freedom fighters, wink-wink. I hope nobody with any brains is actually fooled by this. The goal is to get rid of Assad, and after that the western backers would pretend to be surprised that the people they backed had not actually changed their theological philosophy at all, it was all a trick to get money and kill Assad! Oh, well – this is no time for finger-pointing, we all have to work together to support the new Syria, this is so exciting, let’s pick a government!

  7. Warren says:

    Политика здесь и сейчас

    29 июля 2016
    Федор Лукьянов

    О том, что означает резкое сближение Турции и России

    Фёдор Лукьянов – главный редактор журнала «Россия в глобальной политике» с момента его основания в 2002 году. Председатель Президиума Совета по внешней и оборонной политике России с 2012 года. Профессор-исследователь НИУ ВШЭ. Научный директор Международного дискуссионного клуба «Валдай». Выпускник филологического факультета МГУ, с 1990 года – журналист-международник.

    Резюме: Кульбиты российско-турецких отношений способны сбить с толку даже искушенного наблюдателя. Этапы сменяются калейдоскопически, и каждый следующий как будто отменяет предыдущий. Сбитый осенью прошлого года самолет перечеркнул чуть ли не всё, что кропотливо сооружалось предшествующие два десятилетия. Извинения Эрдогана стерли сокрушительные обвинения.


  8. Warren says:

    • Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      I can’t believe anyone is still treating Trump’s remarks about Hillary’s emails as a possible invitation for Russia to hack her accounts. It was a throwaway remark, Trump was trying to be funny and I thought he was funny. Hillary would have nothing to be sensitive about if she wasn’t guilty as not charged in every respect of mishandling classified material and – more importantly – of concealing information from investigators in which they have only her say-so that the content was personal. Given her venality and self-interest in every single walk of life, what are the chances that the most incriminating material was destroyed?

      Glenn Greenwald is a superbly clear thinker, and I envy him his ability to instantly draw a parallel that fixes the discussion in context. Indeed, hacking personal email accounts and exposing wrongdoing is analogous to whistleblowing. And they have more than that in common – both are given lip-service support by the government (that’s why you are supposed to use a government server for your email if you work for the government, so it can be recovered for accountability purposes, and anyone who thinks the U.S. government does not give its highest-level employees enough leeway to manipulate the system so that they must keep government communications secret even from the government should scare the shit out of everyone) but are secretly condemned and punished for it.

  9. Warren says:

  10. More troubles ahead if Killary is elected: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/29/hillary-clinton-will-reset-syria-policy-against-murderous-assad/

    Hopefully Russia and Syria can finish off the “rebels” before she is elected.

    • marknesop says:

      Oh, dear; Obama was ‘too constrained’, and with Hillary, it’ll be ‘gloves off’. Then the United States can stand revealed as the self-interested pugilist it actually is, and beat the living shit out of every country on the planet that does not kneel in the dirt and do as it’s told. More votes for Trump, I trust. Keep ’em coming, boys – the American voters love ‘A vote for Clinton is a vote for endless war’ stories. If you don’t want your country shot down in the street like the rabid dog it is turning into, vote Trump. You can get rid of him when Clinton is no longer a contender.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Karl, by now most of us know that when you say “hope Russia can …” you really expect that they will not. The “hope” part is just an attempt to placate.

      When Russia does the bold (and dare I say beautiful) action like they did in Syria, I do not recall you expressing great approval, relief, providing supporting links or any other acknowledgment of their success. Rather, you then are disappointed that they did not use nuclear weapons or do some other craziness.

  11. Truthseeker wrote: “The seeds may have been planted by Germans and Austrians, but this monstrosity grew into 50 million – strong polity due to the tender care of the Russians themselves. They are the ones who assembled all of its fragments into a unitarian Ukie state, and even endowed it with the land that should legitimately belong to Russia ”

    Russians are great at war-time but crap at peace-time. They can achieve heroic things during war (like defeating the Nazis), but make unbelievably stupid and sort-sighted policies during peace-time. Creating and nourishing the Ukrainian statehood was one of the biggest peace-time mistakes the the Russians (or the Soviets) ever did, as was the whole dissolution of the Soviet Union. You should never, ever voluntarily give away land.

    • kirill says:

      Banderastan is the fruit of the Bolsheviks and the Nazis (and their predecessors during WWI). It is a tragedy for the Russian people like the 1917 Revolution and all that ensued. If there was no Revolution there would be no Banderastan aside from possibly the core Uniate part in the west. You can’t put this mess at the feet of Russians. It problem belongs to the Ukrs and to scum that created the Ukr SSR, including Khruschev.

      Banderastanis have made their bed, with the hand of Uncle Scam firmly up their ass flapping their muppet jaws, and now have to lie in it. They, and their NATzO handlers, are under the delusion that Russia will be subsidizing them indefinitely. That is why we have all the Nord Stream II and South Stream song and dance. NATzO and the Banderastanis are tragically mistaken.

      BTW, U-rope is digging a nice energy hole for itself:


      Since they are shutting down coal plants that leaves only natural gas to fill the major gap being created (the UK atomic power plant fleet is going to be decommissioned by 2025 since it is well past its expiry date). Solar and wind are boutique power solutions that simply do not provide a baseload. Solar does not even produce peak power when it is needed and wind is just too intermittent. And the cherry on top of this turd cake is that there is no large scale storage technology which could make solar and wind functional even it they could achieve the needed capacity.

      These f*ckers smear Russia with shit but create more demand for Russian energy. US LNG will not fill the gap and would be twice as expensive regardless.

      • yalensis says:

        “Banderastan is the fruit of the Bolsheviks and the Nazis…”
        Once again, total ahistorical crap from Kirill, who lumps Communists and Nazis together and sees a vast plot that is fruit of his own rabidly insane imagination.

        “If there was no Revolution there would be no Banderastan…”

        Hey! if Kirill gets his “what-if time machine”, then it’s only fair that I get to have one too. How about this, this is what my own “what-if” machine tells me:

        If there was no Russian Revolution, then instead of modern Ukraine, we would have modern Ruthenia, the fruit of wars and the collapse of the Russian Empire.
        Ruthenia, being a Catholic-Uniate state, would naturally have become an ally of the Catholic German Reich. Without Slavic Ukrainians (a brother nation to Russia) as a buffer between Germany and Russia, the Germans (with or without Hitler) would have militarily conquered a very weakened Russia and turned it into a vassal state.

        Once again, I am forced to stress the complete ludicrosity of Kirill’s comments. How can Lenin be responsible for Stepan Bandera? People do what they think is the right thing at a given time. The creation of the Ukrainian entity seemed like a good idea at the time, and nobody can deny that it served as a stabilizing factor for many many decades.
        In fact, Ukraine was one of the “victor nations” which helped to defeat the Nazis in WWII.

        The monster that Ukraine has turned into since then is not the fault of Lenin, or even of Stalin.
        It is the fault of Gorbachov and Yeltsin. If you have to blame somebody, then blame them.

    • marknesop says:

      You cannot stand in the way of a unilateral declaration of independence which has the majority support of the population, and then claim to be all about the people’s right to choose. Ukraine had the same chance to thrive and prosper as any other state, but it fell into the clutches of an oligarchy far more corrupt than Russia’s worst, and that situation prevails to this day – why do you think the anti-corruption ‘reforms’ are going nowhere and achieving nothing significant? Because between 70% and 80% of Ukraine’s GDP is under the direct control of a handful of wealthy people. It certainly didn’t have to be that way, but it’s not Russia’s responsibility to fix it, either. Russia did not ‘create’ Ukrainian statehood – Ukraine demanded it by a resolution, and Russia let them go.

      • yalensis says:

        Karl also shows his true colours when he says “You should never, ever voluntarily give away land.”
        What a totally ridiculous statement!
        Over the millenia many many peace treaties were signed when people either conceded, or swapped, land.
        It’s typical of Karl’s “ultra” position: Never give an inch, fight to the death, etc.
        Except that it’s always the other guy who stands and dies. Never the Karls of this world.

        • Patient Observer says:

          By extension, seizing the land of others is the ultimate indicator of a successful nation or empire. Karl’s prescription for the world is continuous war to sort out the winners and losers with the clear assumption that the Western civilization has been and always will be the winner.

          What a hellish world our Mr. Karl wants. I imagine that he may be a “loser” in his personal life but he takes comfort that he is part of the winning team. No Karl, I’m not trying to bait a response. This is simply an observation of the psychology of racists – they often under-perform in life but, by gum, they are made of the right (genetic) stuff, so there!

    • Jen says:

      ” … You should never, ever voluntarily give away land.”

      Not even when someone is nice enough to give you seven metres of a mountain peak to celebrate 100 years of independence?


      • marknesop says:

        The whole argument is a red herring – Russia did not ‘give away’ land; it agreed that it belonged to its inhabitants and that it was not Russia’s to give, and did not stand in their way when they demanded independence (although it did keep and pay their debt for them). Ukraine is still not Russia’s, and if the current dispute ended, even amicably, nobody would expect it to be folded into the Russian Federation. But the EU clearly intended to re-engineer it as an enemy state of Russia. and still intends to if it can pull it off. They just can’t figure out how to do that while keeping Russia as a trading partner of their fireship.

  12. et Al says:

    Groaning Man: Donald Trump and Russia: a web that grows more tangled all the time

    Peter Stone, David Smith, Ben Jacobs, Alec Luhn and Rupert Neate

    At its masturbatory russophobic best. I wonder which one shot their load first?* If there was ever proof that the established media has nothing to do with serious journalism, I’d like to enter this article as evidence. The irony is that their non-stop shit slinging is the best possible motivation for readers to go elsewhere and read other ‘non-traditional’ news sites and blogs. Of course Putin made them do it…

    * Rhetorical question, innit?

    • kirill says:

      The people that get off the NATzO MSM tit all become “Putin’s trolls” and “Putin’s useful idiots” or “Kremlin stooges”. The NATzO MSM wants to take a dump on people’s heads and have them smile with glee at their new “hat” at the same time. Thankfully not all humans are such spineless victims.

      • yalensis says:

        Once again with the crude language: “off the tit” and “taking a dump”.
        Even on the rare occasion when I might agree with one of Kirill’s points (like being anti-NATO, or whatever), I still have to disassociate myself from his lunatic.

        Kirill’s single-minded focus on body functions show that there is something very wrong with this individual. Russophiles don’t need such a voice in their midst.

        • marknesop says:

          Everyone has his/her own way of expressing himself/herself, and I am convinced of Kirill’s sincerity. And I would be quite a hypocrite if I were to hold a disagreement over historical facts against him, since when I started this blog I was more abysmally ignorant than any of you. I certainly do not intend that to suggest I am now an academic whiz-kid; although I have learned a lot, there are still a lot of historical gaps for me, and I focus mostly on the Brezhnev-and-beyond era.

          The premise here, mostly – although the discussion does get eclectic – is that Russia gets a raw deal from much of the western world, and that many perceptions of it are the result of ignorance deliberately stoked and broadcast by western elites, with the naughty corner mostly occupied by the United States and Britain. On that point, you and Kirill are in complete agreement. Your areas of violent disagreement mostly centre around major Russian historical figures like Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky, and the historical role of the Bolsheviks. It’s a focus of interest that seems to be just between the two of you, and few of us have any real Russian historical background to challenge either assertions; Paul Robinson, certainly, and probably Moscow Exile, a few others.

          I think we should express solidarity with those of mostly Ukrainian extraction who do not buy into the ‘Ukraine is the new Europe’ line of bunk. Hopefully there are a lot of them, and when it all falls apart – as you know it will – somebody is going to have to pick up the pieces and try to move beyond it. I don’t feel like I have to necessarily agree with anyone’s viewpoint, though I sometimes do and sometimes do not, to enjoy the discussion; I mostly enjoyed Peter’s sardonic appearances, except for his deliberate and malicious attack on Alex, and I rarely agreed with anything he said. It was fun to have that clodhopper Jim Kovpac on here for a brief appearance, and Curly Doodle with his cocaine ruminations was also a very amusing and entertaining diversion. And they both were totally opposed to pretty much everything discussed here.

          • yalensis says:

            Oh, I have no doubt that Kirill is sincere in his beliefs.
            I just think he happens to be demented.
            And also has an anger-management issue….

  13. titus987 says:

    Putin visited my neck of the woods today – that is, Slovenia. I am usually not fond of venturing personally identifiable information, but RFE/RL decided to write a horribly inaccurate article on the matter. Even if you keep your expectations low, the following oeuvre is just inaccurate: http://www.rferl.mobi/a/putin-seek-divide-slovenia-eu-on-sanctions-during-visit-july-30/27889575.html

    The first problem with the article lies here:

    “Slovenian President Boris Pahor told Russia’s TASS news agency that Putin’s visit is a chance to build trust and dialogue.”

    Boris Pahor is not the Slovenian president. Rather, Boris Pahor is the full name of a well-known writer. Our president’s name is Borut Pahor. Someone’s fact checker has obviously been asleep.

    The weightier problem with the article, and the heart of my complaint, lies here:

    “Putin’s visit has been slammed by Ukrainians living in Slovenia, which is bracing for protests. Ukraine’s ambassador to Slovenia, Mykhailo Brodovych, said Putin’s visit was “negative.” ”

    How to put it bluntly? We were NOT “bracing for protests.” In fact, I’ve checked the media, and there are NO reports of protests, mass or otherwise. In point of fact, the visit was received positvely: According to a public opinion poll, 33,7% of respondents had a positive view of the visit, and 25,5% a very positive view of it. A further 22,3% had a neutral view of the affair, while only 6,7% had a negative view of it, with another 4,3% holding a very negative view, for a total negative view of 11%. No opinion was registered by a further 7,4%. Here’s the link to the survey, if you care to translate and check: http://www.24ur.com/novice/slovenija/javnomnenjska-anketa-kako-gledamo-na-obisk-putina.html

    The reason that little comment on RFE/RL’s site got my blood boiling was that the “bracing for protests comment substantially misrepresented the public mood over here by implication – and I do not believe that was unintentional.

    Okay, the grump has passed my system. Carry on. 🙂

  14. et Al says:

    So Hillary Clinton is going to do something about “Assad’s murderous regime”. I hope that a lot of Americans will be even more frightened by her behavior and and not vote for her or stay at home.

    Any chance the HIllary camp won’t accept the election result if she doesn’t win? (No). After all it is a gig that the US has used around the world for well over two decades.

    Here’s my third totally random prediction for this sweltering summer (its 36c here). The US will be hit by a series of large disasters relating to failing infrastructure (Putin’s fault of course). Very little of it has neither been modernized nor replaced since Ike’s great campaign to build freeways across America to protect the USA from Russian invasion*. Not only has PW&C written a report about this ages ago, the Institute of American Engineers has more recently sounded the warning klaxon. Climate swings and extreme weather events will play their role too.

    * Is this actually true? I didn’t know about the ‘freeway revolt’ White men’s roads through black men’s homes

    The Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways

    • shargash says:

      I’m afraid that’s what all the “Putin did it!” hysteria is about. They’re trying to set the stage to question the validity of Trump’s presidency, if he does win. Expect to see breathless stories about voting machines being hacked by Russia. It will also serve as a Get Out of Jail Free card to anyone who actually does hack into voting machines.

  15. ucgsblog says:

    McLaren’s squirming: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2016/07/30/doping-investigator-faces-deluge-of-requests-on-russians/87772938/

    McLaren said his ongoing investigation includes developing evidence which may be used in the future to sanction individual athletes. “At this stage, I will not release any of the specific information I currently have concerning any athletes,” he said. “To do so would compromise the ongoing investigation.”

    Oh really? It’s ongoing? So you called for bans on athletes, as a result of an investigation, that hasn’t even been completed yet?! WTF? Does he not realize that this isn’t just going to go away?

    • et Al says:

      Richard ‘Dr. Frankenstein’ McClaren* has done his ‘research’, but has yet to do a bit of grave robbing himself and has so far relied upon some characters of dubious moral rectitude to do it for him. With these parts he has sort of declared habeus corpus, but like the monster, it has yet to pass won’t pass the smell test of the suspicious villagers…Let alone a court.

      * Fukus wittus majorus.

      I’m looking forward to WADA & the IOC being sued by Russian atheletes who have been excluded on suspicion yet not found with any evidence of having doped. It is inevitable. Then the blame game begins and the floodgates open. Pistols ready at dawn.

    • marknesop says:

      As someone pointed out earlier, he won’t name any athletes because if he does he will probably be sued. So long as he keeps it general, he probably won’t. I don’t believe he has any evidence at all; what he has is the Stepanovs, singing like birds, and Rodchenkov. But it doesn’t matter now – the damage is done. The best thing that can happen is for McLaren and WADA to be caught in a huge politically-motivated lie, and disgraced thoroughly.

  16. et Al says:

    The Intercept via Antiwar.com: Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists

    Secret FBI rules allow agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval from two internal officials — far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures.

    The classified rules, obtained by The Intercept and dating from 2013, govern the FBI’s use of national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. They have previously been released only in heavily redacted form.

    Media advocates said the documents show that the FBI imposes few constraints on itself when it bypasses the requirement to go to court and obtain subpoenas or search warrants before accessing journalists’ information.

    The rules stipulate that obtaining a journalist’s records with a national security letter (or NSL) requires the signoff of the FBI’s general counsel and the executive assistant director of the bureau’s National Security Branch, in addition to the regular chain of approval. Generally speaking, there are a variety of FBI officials, including the agents in charge of field offices, who can sign off that an NSL is “relevant” to a national security investigation.

    There is an extra step under the rules if the NSL targets a journalist in order “to identify confidential news media sources.” In that case, the general counsel and the executive assistant director must first consult with the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

    But if the NSL is trying to identify a leaker by targeting the records of the potential source, and not the journalist, the Justice Department doesn’t need to be involved…

    More at the link.

    Democracy? Shedding its staples in a naked quest to maintain power and gain dominance in the 21st century. A funny word Transparency. It only seems to apply to you, With western governments demanding transparency from governments around the world while themselves going after morally conscientious whistleblowers seeking to maintain the credibility of democratic values, their gall is galling! The US and UK lead the way, but we’ve seen that even itty bitty nations like Notaxemburg have their vindictive streak too.

  17. Cortes says:

    The Richard Gutjahr reference on the last but fourth paragraph is interesting:


  18. et Al says:

    UPI via Antiwar.com: Putin merges Crimea into Russia’s southern federal district

    Russian President Vladimir Putin consolidated the country’s Southern and Crimean federal districts into the united Southern Federal District, shuffling and replacing several governors, local representatives and one ambassador….

    …- Sevastopol governor Sergei Menyailo was appointed presidential envoy to the Siberian Federal District, replacing Nikolai Rogozhkin, who was dismissed by Putin’s decree.

    – Oleg Belaventsev, the former representative for the Crimean Federal District, was appointed to the same position in the North Caucasus Federal District. He is replacing Sergey Melikov, who was appointed deputy director of the Russian national guard.

    – Nikolay Tsukanov, governor of the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, was reassigned as representative to the Northwestern Federal District. Evgeny Zinishev, head of the regional branch of the Federal Security Service, was appointed acting governor in Tsukanov’s absence.

    – Vladimir Bulavin, former Northwestern representative, was appointed head of the Federal Customs Service to replace Andrey Belyaninov, who resigned on Thursday amid a smuggling investigation.



    & Neuters via Antiwar.com: Three killed in a missile explosion at a plant in Ukraine

    Three people died, including a NATO representative, in an explosion at a military installation in northern Ukraine, the Ukrainian defense company Ukroboronprom said on Friday.

    The explosion occurred on Thursday afternoon while a missile was being unloaded from a vehicle, the company said in a statement. It said two other workers were injured.

    Local media said the NATO representative was an Ukrainian who monitors the disarming Soviet-era weapons, a process partly financed by NATO.

    Ukraine, the western-most outpost of the former Soviet Union, inherited thousands of tonnes of obsolete ammunition and weapon which is due to destroy.

    Please complete:

    If I had a hammer, I’d…

    It reminds me of a story from about a decade ago where a scrap metal guy in Birofeld was bashing a supposedly intert ex-military missile and it went off.

    • Cortes says:

      Once upon a time bureaucracies like the British Civil Service limited tenure in a posting to three years or less, to avoid the creation, or appearance of creation of potentially corrupt relationships.
      Depressing to observe the RF adopting standards abandoned in the UK…

  19. Patient Observer says:

    The monument is more than a hundred feet high. CNN jokingly included it in their list of the ugliest attractions in the world, but later apologized when they found the Belarussians did not regard a solemn monument to the courage of dead soldiers as a laughing matter.


    Popular Mechanics magazine continues to run positive stories about Russia or the Soviet Union with minimal disclaimers or negative commentary typical of MSM aimed to dispel the notion that there could be anything at all positive about Russia or related to Russia.

  20. Cortes says:

    My bestie ( (c) Yalensis ) was a very smart, talented guy…Wrapped himself around a tree inside a car about fourteen years ago. His grandfather was a terrific musician. His parents were as radical as scorzonera, horse-radish or good old Uncle Joe.

    I hope his little sis ( a great musician) is not still working for the “liberal” Guardian ( they’d all be ashamed of her):


    • marknesop says:

      “The plan has already had a frosty reception from western powers, with US secretary of state John Kerry sharing concerns that the offer could be a “ruse”. The UN envoy for Syria has snubbed Russia by describing the creation of humanitarian corridors as “our job”.

      Yes, of course; the west does everything better. What he really means is ‘humanitarian corridors have to be set up in such a way that they provide access routes for western-backed radicals into the cities and other targets’. The west always talks ‘humanitarian corridors’ when its proxies are losing and they need to either get them out or provide a route they can use to get in where the defenders can’t bomb them.

      I imagine this reaction is an effort to terrify the remaining civilians in the city so they will not take advantage of these Russian-established corridors.

  21. Warren says:

    Published on 23 Jul 2016
    In this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges explores capitalism in crisis with Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. From Brexit, to labor protests in France, to Italy’s financial woes, they discuss the effects of austerity on the working class. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the fallout of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

  22. Warren says:

    Published on 28 Jul 2016
    Vijay Prashad explains how the Turkish pivot towards Russia is propelled by the failure of relationship building with Europe and the war with Syria

  23. gencha says:

    Apparently, US’ drug problem is Russia’s fault! Is there anything the US takes responsibility for ever?

    • marknesop says:

      Mark Galeotti again – he’s becoming almost as much a go-to source for Russia commentary as Gleb Pavlovsky, the perennial “Kremlin insider”. If it was not for that, I would have thought the article was satire, it’s so foolish. Russia’s refusal to accept that drug abuse is just part of life, and to start ‘reforms’ like needle exchanges and safe-injection sites and decriminalization is hurting American efforts to make it easier for druggies to access and use drugs. What she really means is that Russia’s hardass law-enforcement approach to drug use is hampering American efforts to destabilize Russian society by infiltrating it with plentiful supplies of heroin and other drugs. It is a matter of public record that – astonishingly – the most effective group at attacking the poppy crop in Afghanistan was the Taliban, which nearly eradicated it in only two years. Badda-bing, badda-boom, America kicked out the Taliban, and opium production soon reached its previous levels. It’s too valuable a tool for attacking youth populations in targeted countries to do away with it.

  24. Warren says:

    Published on 29 Jul 2016
    SHOW NOTES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=19393

    From the Turkish Armed Forces’s Chief of Staff hanging the plot on Erdogan to the drama at Incirlik and the NBC psyops, Christoph Germann of the New Great Game blog is here to update us on all the latest news, views and reactions to this month’s failed coup attempt in Turkey.

  25. gencha says:

    Not sure if this bit of news was already posted on this thread but it’s funny! Apparently, team USA uniform for the Olympics opening ceremony looks like Russian flag!

  26. marknesop says:

    A couple of interesting pieces from ZeroHedge; one, Hillary surges in the polls to take a six-point lead. Her backers were expecting her to get a bounce post-convention, but it wasn’t materializing. So what happened? Reuters ‘tweaked’ its polling, eliminating the ‘Neither’ choice from the former ‘Neither/Other’. This tends to silence ‘soft’ Trump supporters, who prefer not to make a choice yet. And Clinton is pouring on the coal to sew up Sanders supporters by promising whatever it takes, and hammering on her new Democratic Unity theme. But if it’s all smoke and mirrors, it won’t be sustainable. Let me just say here that Trump’s results at this point are nothing short of remarkable, considering the entire political establishment of the USA – Democrat and Republican – is working against him, and America’s allies loathe him. Incredible.

    Also, the top three U.S. oil companies released their financials today, and the results were completely awful. Exxon Mobil was the only one of the three that still made a profit for the first half of the year, however it was down a stunning 62% compared to the same period last year.

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