Who Needs Luck When Your Enemies Are Stupid?

Uncle Volodya says, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

Uncle Volodya says, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

“People always call it luck when you have acted more sensibly than they have.”

-Anne Tyler

“Luck is a word the bitter teach the ignorant”

-Steve Maraboli; “Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience”

Perhaps this would be a good time to dispel any misconceptions about the quote which is attributed, each post, to Uncle Volodya.  See, how it works is, I make an assessment of what is the overall theme of the post: betrayal, ignorance, overconfidence, whatever. And then I search for “Quotes about…whatever”. Goodreads is a very good source, and probably the bulk of them come from there; it combines pithy aphorisms from history – Franklin, Roosevelt, Bonaparte – with modern authors, so long as they are all talking about the same aspiration, human failure or behavioral habit. Occasionally, I simply make them up myself. The only thing all of them have in common is that Putin did not ever say any of them, unless by some chance he was quoting the same source I am.

Today’s Uncle Volodyaism is actually from Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the greatest of American statesmen, orators and free thinkers. And indeed there is likely a causal link between luck and hard work. And because I am a wiseass who derives a good deal of enjoyment from seeing pompous prognosticators infuriated by the world’s unwillingness to conform to their fortune-telling, it needs some context to showcase the rich irony that is apparent to me. And here it is.

“Putin has the luck of the devil,” said Mark Galeotti, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “He can just sit back and watch this richer, more powerful and legitimate values-based bloc tear itself apart.”

Here’s the thing about being cast as the villain – the more successful you are, the more determined the self-appointed do-gooders of the world harden themselves to have nothing to do with you, the while they happily disport themselves with dictators of the Arab monarchies, hole-and-corner coup winners and fabulously wealthy despotic oligarchs, just as long as all those people avow – publicly, at least – western values.

And Putin has been  successful. “But he’s just a little thug, my dears!”, western leaders and their pet presshounds squeal whenever opportunity affords itself. He is, in fact, nothing of the sort. He has a reputation, probably well-deserved, for political ruthlessness when it is needed, and he has dismissed many officials without explanation, although few seemed to come forward to plead their case afterward. But per-capita GDP adjusted for PPP in Russia doubled between 1998 and 2008. How did his two mouthiest critics do? Neither achieved anything even close to that, and all three were assessed by the same authority; the World Bank. So the leaders of the UK and United States of America were less successful at raising living standards for their populations than a little thug was, I guess. Hard to draw any other conclusion, isn’t it?

Let’s take a look at the ‘legitimate values-based bloc’ Mr. Galeotti spoke of. But just before we do, I’d like to point out that the ‘legitimate values-based bloc’ he is referring to made not a murmur of demurral while Ukraine cut off electricity and water supplies to Crimea, in an attempt to make its inhabitants so miserable that they would revolt and come back to Kiev’s welcoming arms. Article 54 of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions provides, in part;

2.   It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.

Not only did the legitimate values-based bloc not say fuck-all about this gross violation of international humanitarian law, it took no steps whatsoever to rectify the situation for those whose supplies had been illegally cut off. Instead, it continued to yammer its official position, which was that ‘President Poroshenko has a right to protect his country’. A right that transcended international humanitarian law, apparently. Instead, it fell to the little thug to fix it. And he did.

The UK? Implemented a new law last summer which allowed the government to recover tax debts directly from citizens’ bank accounts. There’s your values-based safety net, kids – since the government determines what you owe in taxes, and then just goes straight into your pocket and takes it; sort of cuts out the middleman, what? The Netherlands proposed a law which would make keeping the password of your home computer a secret from the police punishable. They got around to releasing the draft proposals this year; the Netherlands is the most phone-tapped country in the world, with about 26,000 phone taps approved every year, although the freedom to communicate privately is guaranteed by the Dutch constitution. France adopted – without a vote – a new labour law which mandates longer workdays, easier layoffs, weaker unions and enables employers to let an employee go if they can find one who will work for less money. Sounds progressive, doesn’t it? More of that values-based leadership which lends the bloc its legitimacy. The legitimate values-based bloc cannot even get its stories straight: calling the EU “useless, corrupt and riddled with fraud“, former Thatcher press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham announced that the EU’s auditors had not signed off on its spending for 20 years. The state-funded BBC threw itself bravely on that grenade, reporting that the European Court of Auditors had signed off its accounts every year since 2007. But they must be talking about different procedures altogether, because the EU Observer announced in November of 2014 that the European Court of Auditors had refused to sign off on EU spending for the 20th year in a row, just as Sir Bernard said. They further disclosed that almost €7 billion of the EU budget was illegally spent in 2013.

But enough about the ‘legitimate values-based bloc’. Galeotti appears to be bitter and furious at Putin…why? Because he made all this happen? Because the richer, more powerful and legitimate values-based bloc is tearing itself apart because of something Putin did? Pretty clearly not, or he would not have said Putin could just sit back and watch while it tore itself apart. But Putin is assessed to have ‘the luck of the devil’, because Russia is not being torn apart like the EU is.

Well, that puts the whole thing in an entirely different light, doesn’t it? Watch the video clip which accompanies the article. Here’s the piece the host is talking about, by Ruchir Sharma, from Morgan Stanley. Try to forget for a moment that somebody from Morgan Stanley is praising Russia’s return to fiscal responsibility, considering that in the third quarter of 2015 Morgan Stanley’s revenues fell 13% while its profits were down 42% year-over-year.

We learn that despite an orchestrated campaign of international sanctions which were intended to crash the Russian economy, Russia is ‘in much better shape than other leading oil producers such as Saudi Arabia’.  The Russian government – led by a thug, don’t forget – made ‘what is, in retrospect, a smart move’ by abandoning its efforts to prop up the ruble, and letting it devalue against the dollar.  Indeed it was, since Russia extracts energy resources in rubles and sells them for dollars. The country which is led by a thug and was the focus of a concerted effort by the two biggest power blocs on the planet, the United States and the EU, paid down more than $200 Billion in foreign debt in 2014 and 2015.

“The economy is much more stable than it would have been had Mr Putin not listened to the advice of his technocrats, who advised restraint. With the help of tighter fiscal and monetary policy, inflation has fallen to an annual rate of 6 per cent, down from 15 per cent in 2015. Russia’s sovereign debt is only 11 per cent of GDP, and the premium to hold that debt, demanded by investors, is falling.

That suggests foreigners now see Russia as less likely to default. Russians are no longer shipping money out of the country quite so fast, either. Net capital outflows reached more than $60bn in 2014, as the country’s oil-induced problems became clear but have turned positive in some recent quarters.”

Uhhh….I have a question; what is a thug doing listening to anyone? ‘Cause, you see, I thought Putin was a dictator who didn’t listen to anybody, too busy prancing around with no shirt on and crushing everyone’s will to live to pay attention to advisers who are all members of his family anyway. You mean that’s, like, not true?

In fact, the ‘legitimate values-based bloc’ touted by Galeotti went along with the effort to destabilize and ultimately wreck Russia because Uncle Sam arm-twisted them into it, but the bloc’s leaders went along willingly enough because they are all part of the same circle of golden-child wastrels and pampered assrockets who are tearing apart their own clubhouse with their incompetence and hubris. While that was happening, Putin did not lose his temper and scream in frustration or hammer on the table with his shoe, or make any threats about burying anyone. He said Russia was willing to talk when the rest of the world was finished acting like Mrs. Simmons’ Grade Three class, and then he and his government advisers spat on their hands and got down to work making lemonade from the lemons they had been handed by their enemies. And now the west is reduced to pointing and squawking “Russia’s economy is showing weak growth!!” Gee, you think? Against what was supposed to happen, what kind of a result is that, would you say?

Which brings us right back to Thomas Jefferson, and how the harder you work, the more luck you have. The luck of the devil, you might say. But it helps if your enemies destroy themselves with their own stupidity.

 

This entry was posted in Corruption, Economy, Europe, Government, Investment, Politics, Russia, Strategy, Trade, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

714 Responses to Who Needs Luck When Your Enemies Are Stupid?

  1. Northern Star says:

    A bit of comedy to start off the week….
    http://paulapriesse.com/la-la-land/
    (Hillareen night is worth a chuckle if not knee slapping guffaws!!!)

  2. Evgeny says:

    A surprisingly reasonable article in the Atlantic (or perhaps ‘surprisingly’ is a wrong adverb considering the article was written by a Moscow-based author):

    The Time Is Ripe for Détente, 2.0.

    • Evgeny says:

      By the way, do you perhaps remember that journalist, Rachel Bauman, who has written an acidic response to William Browder a couple months ago? That’s what she writes now:

      “These three instances are representative of a broader trend in the Western media to offer sensationalistic and misleading coverage that exacerbates poor relations with Russia. The most recent example of the media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, moving from reporting on events to becoming outright propagandists came during the run-up to the Iraq War. Today, coverage of Russia is starting to resemble the unanimity of opinion that prevailed over a decade ago on Iraq and it is seeping into a variety of outlets.”

      Russia, Trump and Manafort: A Test of the News

      I would say: a good job!

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    Head of the International Paralympic Committee Philip Craven has said that he was “disgusted by the Russian mentality that places medals above morals”. By the way, the bearer of this mentality appears to be the Russian nation. Does this mean that he is disgusted by the Russian nation? Racism? Russophobia? Well whatever — it’s just all part of the fight against doping.

    • kirill says:

      This ban is collective punishment. The alleged doping program, based on the word of one crook, was not applicable to the paralympians (*). So Craven and his Uncle Scam bootlicks took it upon themselves to punish Russia.

      1) Russia needs to pass legislation that sets criteria for what it considers international organizations. NATO fronts such as this one do not qualify as international so Russia should declare them as such and its athletes could not participate in the events of this club under the Russian banner. Privately they can do whatever they want, including moving to NATO if the don’t like such legislation.

      2) Russia should establish a pool of money to support litigation, including personal suits, against these organizations and their members individually. Russia can afford a few billion dollars in legal costs. Of course NATO based courts need to be employed where possible.

      (*) The stereotype is that Russians don’t care about the disabled. So why would there be a doping program for them.

    • marknesop says:

      Here’s some more countries that place medals above morals – including that of privileged pudding Sir Philip. Britain does not pay a premium for medals won, true; but it cuts or altogether deletes funding for sports at which Britain does not win medals! Imagine that – fie, Sir Philip: for shame. Feel free to offer us an alternate explanation for that practice, you bounder.

      Oh, wait; we can’t really blame this scion of the House of Toads. According to the cited article and UK Sport, a survey in Britain revealed that 70% of the British public agreed medal success should be a key goal.

      The article proposes a radical alternative to the current methodology, one which might result in more equitable funding of athletics – take medals out of the equation entirely. What say you, Stooges?

      • Eric says:

        In this case I think that the IPC and the IAAF are actually good people, not puppets, and don’t want to harm Russian sport. Their problem has been to view themselves as ignorant and accept everything McLaren says in his BS report….as if he is a neurosurgeon..and they know nothing about neuroscience…and thus should accept everything he says as if they were a patient.

        The most galling this is that a 12 year-old should have good enough critical thinking skills to see the glaring holes in this report. I don’t see how this idiot could have made the ridiculous conclusions about the bottles, based on a secretive, theoretical and unprovable bottle-opening technique of the FSB (how does he definitely know it was the FSB?)

        The real problem is WADA and these semi-retired judges who must be crooked with some anti-Russian organsation or company

        • marknesop says:

          It seems to me nothing more complicated than that WADA is an American-dominated entity with a political agenda, and that McLaren was chosen because he had proven himself with the Sydney whitewash. I can’t really say for sure that is the case, but I will say that it has proved impossible for me to find a transcript of his report, and if he had the kind of evidence against the Russians that he had against the Americans, he could rightfully brag of having an airtight case.

          Before the Sydney Olympics even started, USOC Anti-Doping director Dr. Wade Exum came forward – whistleblower, anyone? – to announce that more than half the American athletes who were caught doping before the Atlanta Games went unpunished, were allowed to compete and some won medals.

          They [the US Olympic Committee] came to me and asked me to participate in a project in which they wanted to give athletes what they called ATP injections — that’s aginicent triphosphate.

          That’s the fuel that muscle cells actually operate on and I refused on the basis that I thought it was unethical to give people things in a non-medical fashion for non-treatment, but just to see if it would help performance.

          I also thought that even if that substance wasn’t directly named or on the IOC list, that it was at least aiming in the direction of doping.”

          That sure sounds like a state-sponsored doping program to me. What’d WADA say about it? Let’s ask Dr. Ken Fitch: (An Australian doctor and Professor, School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health, Faculty of Life Science University of Western Australia. Dr. Fitch wrote the original rules for TUEs in 1991 for the IOC, chaired the IOC’s TUE Committee for 20 years, chaired WADA’s interim committee (2001-2003) that established the initial International Standard for TUE (2004) and chaired Australia’s national TUE Committee for 22 years.) Dr. Fitch?

          “There are always going to be bad eggs in their own paddocks and these bad eggs are unfortunately going to cause us some grief, particularly if we point the finger at other people.”

          Is that so? WADA was not so complacent when it argued strenuously for banning the entire Russian Olympic team, in which case they were all ‘bad eggs’ whether they had ever tested positive or not. In the 2000 instance, other Australians did not necessarily see things that way; here’s John Coates, of the Australian Olympic Committee (at the time).

          “We in Australia have been less than impressed with the efforts in America and if you were to do a survey of the athletes, they’ll tell you the country that’s the major problem.”

          The country that’s the problem. Again, that sounds awfully like state-sponsored doping to me. Simon Baker, of the Australian Athletes Commission, agreed.

          “They’ve got the facilities, they’ve got the research, they’ve got the motivation to be using drugs across the board in many different sports…Within the Olympic sports then we think it backs up all our own suspicions about US athletes.”

          But who’s the country struggling against a concerted effort to ban it from international sport? Russia. Who is the instigator who is clamoring for a ban? The cheatingest country in Olympic history, the United States of America.

          Consider. Victor Conte, the mastermind behind the biggest drug scandal in history – BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative – claimed that all 8 100-meter finalists at the Sydney Olympics were doping cheats. He also suspects world champion Usain Bolt. Mr. Conte should know – he was the supplier to Marion Jones, who lied about her doping for 7 years and was finally outed by leaks in the press and Mr. Conte. Therefore, obviously, she was not implicated in any way by Professor McLaren’s report – which few if any ever saw, because the case files were suppressed by the US Track and Field organization. Two years after the Sydney Olympics, despite direct orders from IOC President Jacques Rogge, US Track and Field (USATF) still refused to reveal the name of the American athlete who tested positive for steroid use a year before the Olympic Games in Sydney. The athlete competed at the Olympics and won a medal. Was it Marion Jones? We’ll never know, because that information never saw the light of day. USATF just refused to reveal it. You can only imagine the reaction of WADA to that kind of defiance from Russia. What’d McLaren do about it when the USA ignored the IOC’s orders? Fuck all. What was WADA’s response to Conte’s offer to provide WADA with expert advice on doping protocols, names, addresses?

          “We can’t trust someone who’s been sentenced”.

          But they trust Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov. Here’s Dr. Caitlin, performance=enhancing drugs legend. “I was deeply disappointed to learn that Grigory Rodchenkov, someone I had called a friend and a colleague, had become a central figure in the Russian doping scandal that has spanned many years. In an in-depth interview with the New York Times in May, Dr. Rodchenkov revealed his role in doping Russian athletes. He did this by providing cocktails of drugs that were designed to clear the system quickly, aiding Russian agencies in a scheme to cover up positive test results, and in the case of Sochi testing he participated in an elaborate sample switching scheme enabled by the FSB. Dr. Rodchenkov remained in the lab from midnight to dawn. He knew which samples were positive. He passed those through a hole in the wall to an FSB agent, who used a new technique to open the tamper proof bottles and replace the positive urine with a clean sample. The bottles were closed and passed back to the lab for testing. It is hard for me to stomach that kind of deceit from someone I had known for many years. Thankfully, most of the lab directors in the WADA system are dedicated and ethical scientists who work hard to defend anti-doping and clean sport.”

          What’s the difference between Rodchenkov and Conte? Well, Rodchenkov is a Russian who is helping the USA to take down Russia. WADA is not interested in anyone who could help prove to the world that the USA is an international sports dope cheat.

          Dr. Caitlin is the founder of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory. You know, the one who did the drug testing for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Need a refresher? The UCLA lab identified 9 positives from the samples they were given from the final 2 days of the 1984 games. The results were never made public, and a decision was made at the highest levels of the IOC to suppress them. Dr. Caitlin acknowledged this, and just said he ‘never knew why’. I guess he’s just not the curious type. Secrecy is okay, as long as the suspects are not Russians.

          Hey, here’s one for all you lawyers out there. You might see it again, like after the Rio games are over. Was anyone else wondering what CAS stands for? The press just tosses the term around without elaboration, as if everyone is supposed to know. Well, it’s the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This is the arbitration final judgment in the matter between Russian rower Ivan Balandin and FISA/IOC, an appeal. Mr. Balandin’s appeal was denied. I’d just like to draw your attention to the following passage, from page 7:

          “Additionally, no reliance can be made on the McLaren Report as evidence, as it is not complete, it has secret parts that were not shared with or available to the Athlete and there was no date of the sample taking in the information provided by Mr. McLaren.”

          The date on which the sample was allegedly collected was helpfully provided by the UK.

          But on the same page, it reports, “FISA applied the criterion and was satisfied that the Athlete was ‘clearly implicated’ by the McLaren Report and was therefore excluded from the Rio Games.” Wha…wha…what??? The reference which did not meet evidentiary standards was relied upon in the decision?

          Oh, dear; on Page 11…“Additionally, Mr. McLaren, in his amicus curiae, while not providing the emails on grounds of confidentiality, revealed to the Panel the exact date and times of the message from the Moscow laboratory that the screen of the Athlete’s A sample revealed positive for the prohibited substance GW 1516 and the response from the Deputy Minister to change the positive into a negative, following the DPM. While these additional details were not before FISA (primarily due to the lack of time) they have been considered by the Panel in this de novo procedure”.

          FISA and the Panel both made decisions based on evidence furnished by McLaren that they never examined or even saw. There are holes in this procedure you could drive a Kamaz through.

          • Fern says:

            Stonkingly good post, Mark. it’s the first I’ve heard about McLaren and Sydney – not featured in the MSM anywhere, as far as i can tell. Why are unpaid bloggers running a so much better public information service than (over) paid journalists? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

            • et Al says:

              Seconded. Worth a post all of its own Mark (hint hint).

            • marknesop says:

              Thanks, Fern! The more you dig, the more you find, and there is plenty of evidence scattered around that sporting organizations within America have disproportionate power and WADA is in their pocket. The USADA, as well, with the ubiquitous Travis Tygart, is in the business of being a zealot for clean sport where others are concerned and blind as a bat to American doping.

              Conte made an interesting point in one of the referenced articles, that it is the height of fantasy to think you will catch an athlete doping at the Olympics now, at least nowhere near on the scale it is going on. The time to check is a month or so before the event, which I took to mean the performance enhancements are on a downward trend and by the time the event is underway they will not be detectable, although their effect will still be present. But there is plenty of evidence also that the American sports organizations will step in to protect their people in the event of suspicion, and the test results will just disappear or the agencies will refuse to release them. And that WADA will go along with whatever the Americans want, although it is nominally Canadian, being headquartered in Montreal.

              A couple of questions remain unanswered. One, how would you test and catch an athlete for blood doping? As I best understand it, it is just a transfusion of the athlete’s own blood, albeit fresh and uncirculated and high in red-cell count, so that it boosts endurance and shortens recovery time. Two, doesn’t all Rodchenkov’s cloak-and-dagger stuff about mouse-holes and FSB agents undercut his story of a state-sponsored doping program? If Moscow controlled the lab where the tests were done, why would all that be necessary? In fact, it would greatly and unnecessarily increase the chances of getting caught. If they had developed a foolproof way of switching the samples so that the switch was undetectable, the lab would be the place to do it, while switching them before they were tested suggests the lab was not in on it. For that matter, Rodchenkov being in the center at Sochi by himself from midnight to dawn also suggests nobody was in on it but him and – according to him – the FSB. Why it would have to be the FSB, who have no expertise in such matters, I don’t know. And how did they swap the samples of the athlete for clean pee, which presumably was the athlete’s own, since it would otherwise not match for DNA? You can’t just use anyone’s urine, and if the athlete had been a doper all their career their urine would theoretically always contain traces.

              I still think Rodchenkov’s story is a crock from start to finish, and that the whole thing will collapse like a house of cards once people start pulling it apart. The Russian state would know it would be under scrutiny like never before at Sochi, and that their enemy, America, would have a consuming interest in discrediting them by whatever means it could find. That journalists and their cameras would be everywhere. Yet they apparently kept an FSB agent sitting outside the building on a chair with nothing else around, guarding the mousehole, from midnight to dawn.

              I also don’t understand how McLaren is getting away with such sweeping accusations while not showing any of the decision-making bodies his ‘secret evidence’. If there’s any justice at all, it will all fall in on him like the collapsing Great Wall after this is over, and he and that reprehensible Dick Pound will be held up for the charlatans they are, whatever it costs in Canadian credibility.

              • et Al says:

                One, how would you test and catch an athlete for blood doping?

                Surprise doping tests:

                Groaning Man: Kosovan Olympic judo gold medallist refused drugs test before Games
                https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/08/majlinda-kelmendi-kosovo-judo-olympic-champion-refused-drugs-test

                • Majlinda Kelmendi could face ban in France where incident took place in June
                • Kosovan team insists the new women’s 52kg champion is clean

                The Kosovan gold medallist judoka, Majlinda Kelmendi, could face a ban on competition in France after refusing an unscheduled drugs test, the International Judo Federation (IJF) has confirmed…

                …The IJF said: “A control was done in June in France. The procedure is contested by the athlete and her coach and looks questionable at the level of the IJF. If sanction would be given, it would only apply on the French territory.”

                It seems Kelmendi refused to take part in an unscheduled, out-of-competition urine test conducted by the French anti doping agency (AFLD), when she was at a training camp in St Cyprien in southern France on 16 June.

                Agron Kuka, Judo team leader for the Kosovan Olympic team, confirmed to the Guardian that Kelmendi had refused the drugs test but insisted she was clean…

                …He added: “I don’t know the reason why they are making a big deal out of it. It’s nonsense.”

                Asked if Kelmendi was facing a potential ban in France, Agron said: “The French, they can do whatever they want in France. But that’s not correct, it’s not fair.”..
                ####

                Yup, that’s a stereotypical Albanian for you. Forever the victims with everyone else out to get them. Ain’t done nuffink wrong, eva!

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, but how does a drug test of an athlete’s blood sample which reveals only the athlete’s own blood catch someone who received a transfusion just prior to the event? You kind of expect to find the athlete’s blood in the athlete’s veins. But a transfusion of fresh blood has been demonstrated to be performance-enhancing, and it helped the US Men’s Cycling team win 9 medals at the Los Angeles Olympics in 84. The technique was banned in 1985.

                  You can do all the spot tests you want – if there were a way to make time stand still, you could test an athlete while the event was in progress – and you will still find nothing in a blood doper but blood, which you expect. The US cyclists made some mistakes and the transfusions made some quite sick because it was not actually their blood, but they learned a few lessons as well. The athlete’s own blood can be stored and used in a transfusion to shorten recovery and restore an athlete who is flagging from exhaustion.

                  I think the only way you could legitimately refuse a drug test, if you are an Olympian, would be if you could show that by repeated and unnecessarily frequent testing, the testing agency was trying to weaken the athlete by drawing so many samples. Or you could do like Serena Williams, and pretend you thought the tester was an intruder and lock yourself in your ‘panic room’. I wonder if that is a standard feature of LA homes? My house did not come with one. The author claims not to know if Williams submitted to the drug test, but in fact she did not. Too distraught, you know. She might have done later, but as we have learned, some stimulants have a persistence of only a few hours. There is also considerable speculation that she faked an injury to her foot so as to withdraw from the US Open, for reasons of her own.

                • et Al says:

                  Ah, OK, I get you Mark. That is a good question, but I would say that it is an arms race, measure v. countermeasure. Doping techniques have to evolve to avoid being caught out by the laboratories. It is not as if the medical world is not coming up with new ways of detecting such techniques, though it takes longer to certify that such techniques can be reliable (i.e. boosting tiny fragments of (even old) DNA to allow for detecting matches and being admissable in court) as British police forensic scientists have pioneers. Hang on a sec, haven’t we been around this bush before?!! Methinks at least once somewhere on your blog.

                  Sometimes suspicion is aroused not by the sample itself but by statistical analysis of patterns (and multiple samples) that may specifically arise out of certain techniques.It could be the absence of something expected that alerts the authorities (it affects something else in the body), which then allows you to narrow the surprised test window with a better chance of catching them with something still in the system. Not to mention that an archive of samples is kept for years which though at the time evidence may not be detectable, later on may be and thus lead to the medals being stripped.

                • et Al says:

                  I should have done a search first. it’s called autologus blood doping when you do it with your own.

                  https://www.wada-ama.org/en/questions-answers/blood-doping#item-596

                  . Which forms of transfusions can be detected?

                  A test for homologous blood transfusions (HBT) was implemented at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.

                  WADA is funding research projects aimed at developing a test for autologous transfusions.

                  In order to further improve detection of abnormal blood profiles, WADA is leading the development of a strategy against doping in sport called the Athlete Passport, which is based on following athlete’s biological variables over time. The objective of this strategy, which will be added to other anti-doping strategies including “traditional” testing, is to detect abnormal variations of determined biological variables in order to better target testing and/or sanction those found with abnormal variations.
                  ####

                  From 2011 adding a full paper with much more detail to the above:

                  Blood doping and its detection
                  Wolfgang Jelkmann, Carsten Lundby
                  http://www.bloodjournal.org/content/118/9/2395?sso-checked=true

                  ####

                  One of the other links pointed out that if you use pharmaceutical ‘enhancement’ to you own blood, it can be detected if manufactures add a ‘marker’ and even tiny quantities can be detected (in the trillionths), though it said that such manufacturers were ‘reluctant’ to add such markers…

                • marknesop says:

                  Very informative; thank you. WADA is leading the development of a biological passport, huh? Which Russia already has – it’s what caught Yulia Stepanova.

                  It’s kind of funny to read that now, with its high-flown rhetoric – WADA and the United States plainly expected that Stepanova would get an Olympic shot, completing Russia’s humiliation as its entire national team was banned thanks to Stepanova’s ‘whistleblowing’. Passages like this are pure gold:

                  “Some countries, like Britain, Canada and the United States, have antidoping bodies with the funding and political capital to police doping effectively, to test and punish athletes who cheat. But others, like Russia, pay lip service to antidoping measures while fostering a culture of cheating.”

                  Nobody does finger-pointing like the Americans, and their state-of-the-art ‘doping police’ consistently fail to catch their own dopers, which are the most numerous of any country. Of this ‘Top Ten’ Track and Field Doping Scandals of All Time, six are American athletes. Meanwhile, its national sports agencies cover up test results, withhold test data and make up excuses for athletes who fail drug tests, and its powerful Olympic Committee conspires to have positive test results annulled and for known dopers to be permitted to compete in international events. Clean sport does not matter to the USA, which should not be misconstrued it does not matter to any Americans, because there are plenty to whom it does matter very much, just as Canada’s position on sport should not be defined by duplicitous Russophobes Pound and McLaren. What matters to the USA is winning, and winning.

                  “As we see from the allegations about how antidoping tests at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics were an elaborate charade, it is only through the efforts of principled inside informants like Ms. Stepanova that the truth can come to light. It would make a mockery of the Olympic movement to deny an athlete who has taken enormous personal risks for the cause of clean sport the ability to participate in the Rio Olympics. To do so would, in effect, punish her for speaking the truth and upholding the World Anti-Doping Code and Olympic ideals.”

                  As we see from the allegations; yes, my, my – that’s a phrase it looks like you’re going to hear more often in today’s jurisprudence, where allegations have the same weight as proof, and the veracity of the one making the allegation is determined by how valuable to the prosecution his or her allegation is. The west is in love with Yulia Stepanova, she’s an example of courage and integrity; check out this astonishing testimonial from CBS. Stepanova – formerly Rusanova – consistently tells the story that she was only caught doping after she ‘lost the protection of the Russian system’ because she was injured. But that’s not what happened, is it? Rusanova (as she was then) was disqualified two years after the event in Paris.

                  Stepanova/Rusanova might well have a cell-phone video of her coach giving her steroids – she admitted to taking various drugs over a period of 5 years (2007-2012). For part of that time, her husband knew and concealed it. He also recorded his conversations with Rodchenkov without Rodchenkov’s knowledge. But now everyone is encouraged to believe it was all done out of nobility, and he and his missus can now be trusted to tell the absolute truth. And none of what they have offered so far is evidence of a state-sponsored doping program.

                  The battle-lines are being drawn, and there is going to be a blowout sometime after the Rio Olympics. WADA and probably the full weight of the USA and its toadies has Thomas Bach in its sights, and likely envisions replacing him with Reedie owing to his resolute rejection of Stepanova competing under a special ‘whistleblower’s exemption’ after the insistence that nobody who had failed a drug test could compete at Rio.

                  It was all about getting up Russia’s nose, and humiliating it and pushing its face in the dirt, just as it always is. But they’ve left themselves wide open, and are relying completely on the truthfulness of the Stepanovs – who, as everyone probably suspected, were the ones behind the German documentary as well, except probably most of us did not know that WADA sent them there, and then capitalized on the documentary exposure to spring its trap.

              • Eric says:

                Mark, thanks for a series of excellent posts on the subject. About 80% of the things you wrote about I hadn’t known before.

                • marknesop says:

                  Thanks, Eric! I’m the same, and a lot of what I link here I have learned from others, although each of us has our occasional lucky find. I mean to consolidate much of it in a new post soon.

      • Jen says:

        I doubt that we can rely on a survey conducted by UK Sport which pursues the policy of funding sports on the basis of how many Olympic Games medals those sports bring back to the UK.

        “… In the wake of funding cuts for sports such as basketball and volleyball, there was criticism from some who said the medal-centric funding approach that had underpinned Great Britain’s rise from 36th in the medal table in Atlanta in 1996 to third at London 2012 had gone too far and was damaging grassroots sport.

        Critics, including a House of Lords select committee, argued that focusing disproportionately on sports such as cycling, sailing and rowing had meant those such as basketball risked withering on the vine because they were unable to demonstrate they would win a medal at either of the next two Olympics.

        In response UK Sport decided to hold a wide-ranging public consultation to inform its approach from 2017 onwards.

        But it said that 86% of the sports it funds and 70% of public respondents said it should continue to focus on Olympic and Paralympic medal success as its key goal. Instead, in a minor change of emphasis, it will factor in participation and the number of medallists to help prioritise sports of equal medal potential …”
        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/mar/19/uk-sport-funding-medals

        Did UK Sport limit its survey only to those respondents who participate in the sports it funds? Did the agency include in its sample sports it doesn’t fund, and did it include non-Olympic sports as well as Olympic sports? If we don’t know who was and who wasn’t included in the survey, we should doubt the figures that UK Sport uses to support its approach: the survey could have been designed to support the end goal.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      Garry Kasparov – an anti-Russian stooge who lives in the US, writes for Wall Street Journal, and shills for the US government – is on record saying that Russia’s “Olympic scandal” is a totally political affair initiated by the West in order to punish Putin. If that’s not disgusting, I don’t what is. Craven definitely lives up to his name.

  4. et Al says:

    Land Destroyer Blog: US Think Tank Admits US Carving Out “Safe Havens” in Syria
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.be/2016/08/us-think-tank-admits-us-carving-out.html

    Since the onset of the war in Syria, corporate-financier funded think tanks engineering American and European foreign policy made it clear that establishing no-fly zones and “safe havens” in Syria would be an incremental step toward achieving regime change and rendering the nation divided and destroyed as US policymakers had done to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya beforehand.

    In particular, The Brookings Institution has – for years now – published paper after paper regarding the establishment of such “safe havens” in Syria under a variety of geopolitical, strategic, and tactical ploys.

    As early as 2012, in a Brookings paper titled, “Assessing Options for Regime Change,” its policymakers would state (emphasis added):

    An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts…
    ####

    More a the link.

    Crack to the Future? They’ve truly run out of ideas if the best they can do is go back to what they tried to peddle a quarter of a century ago in Bosnia…

    • marknesop says:

      The problem is it could still work, if Assad is so foolish as to agree to it. The USA will at a minimum want a rebel city, like Aleppo, from which to plot and scheme and instigate, as Benghazi was to Libya. If Assad were so trusting and naive as to allow the establishment of Aleppo as the opposition capital, Washington would have what it needs to continue plotting his overthrow, and eventually – through persistence and stubbornness – they would succeed.

      Assad must insist that all of Syria belongs to Syrians, and keep an eye on any tendency for the opposition to congregate in any one place; their message is considerably diluted if they have to live among the general populace.

      Washington is determined not to give up, but it will if the price looks too high.

      • Jen says:

        I’m sure I have seen interviews of Assad on Youtube in which he has more or less said (or similar words to the same effect) that there is no place for sectarianism in Syria, that Syria is an inclusive country and will not be like Lebanon. The Syrian government’s offers of amnesty to rebel jihadis who will surrender and lay down their weapons, and the reconciliation / reconstruction plan it has ready to go once war ceases are in line with Assad’s stance.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, he offered to pardon the ‘rebels’ in Raqqa, but they chose to be bussed away in a Syrian version of ‘catch and release’. I don’t think Assad is stupid, but it must be wearying to have to be smart all the time, considering Washington only has to catch him in a stupid moment once.

  5. et Al says:

    A UK Labor party update:

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Labour leadership: Party to appeal against voting rights ruling
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-37009871

    The party lost a legal challenge to its rules banning anyone who joined as a member after 12 January from taking part unless they paid an extra £25.

    Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour’s appeal was “disappointing”.

    The party said it would defend the right of its governing NEC “to uphold the rule book”.

    The court’s decision, handed down on Monday, could add between 126,592 and 150,000 people to the list of those eligible to vote in the contest – according to different estimates.

    The ruling is thought likely to benefit leader Jeremy Corbyn over challenger Owen Smith, who earlier branded Mr Corbyn “useless” and said he had “fractured” the Labour Party…
    ####

    It’s almost amazing that those in the Labor party who pushed for new members being banned in a leadership contest think that they are serving democracy. Just as those in the USA’s Democratic party have fundamentally undermined their own credibility by outright voting fraud and extensive dirty tricks to get HIllary nominated, why would a normal person see either party as credible when democracy only counts if the right person is to lead it? How totally f/ked up is that? And who are the politicians going to blame? Certainly not themselves. They did the same thing with BREXIT. Everyone else is responsible except themselves. It buggers belief!

  6. et Al says:

    BMPD @LIvejournal: Новый удар Ту-22М3 по целям в Сирии
    http://bmpd.livejournal.com/2058826.html

    Как сообщило Управление пресс-службы и информации Министерства обороны Российской Федерации, «8 августа 2016 года шесть дальних бомбардировщиков Ту-22М3, взлетевшие с территории Российской Федерации, нанесли сосредоточенный удар осколочно-фугасными боеприпасами по объектам террористической группировки «Исламское государство» в районах восточнее и северо-западнее Пальмиры, вблизи населенных пунктов Эс-Сухне и Арак.

    В результате удара вблизи города Эс-Сухне уничтожен пункт управления и крупный полевой лагерь боевиков. В районах Пальмиры и Арака уничтожены пункты управления и скопления террористов, подземный склад боеприпасов и вооружения, 3 боевых машины пехоты, 12 автомобилей повышенной проходимости с крупнокалиберными пулеметами, большое количество живой силы противника.

    После успешного выполнения боевой задачи все российские самолеты вернулись на аэродром базирования»

    Quik ‘n’ dirty trans:

    8 August 6 Tu-22M3s struck the ‘Islamic State’ in eastern and northwestern Palymyra region, near Ais-Suhne (sp?) and Arak, hitting a military camp, weapons and military materiel, with all aircraft returning to base (Russia).

    • yalensis says:

      Just posted a piece by Krutikov, includes updates on all the various fronts of the Syria war. The Palmyra thing is because the terrorists are trying to worm their way back in to Deir ez-Zor, with aim of re-taking Palmyra. It’s one of those wars where one can never rest on one’s laurels, it just never ends.

      • et Al says:

        I’m not so sure. Others have made the point that ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever doesn’t necessarily have an unlimited supply of soldiers and that they have committed quite a number to ‘break the siege’ at Aleppo, many of whom are being splattered with low loss to the Syrian side (tactical withdrawals). If you know an attack is coming and are prepared, sometimes it is better to let them in to pre-prepared kill boxes where they will be concentrated – quite a good way of avoiding civilian casualties too.

        A collapse doesn’t seem likely but I wouldn’t rule it out. The RuAF has been grinding away at supply lines heavily so it all has an effect. What’s the chance that Deir es-Zor is a feint/recon?

      • marknesop says:

        “…it just never ends.”

        As proxy wars never do, so long as there is a limitless supply of ragtag fanatics at the pointy end and a limitless supply of money and ammunition in the rear. That’s the nice thing about getting extra-national and often stateless religious nuts to do your fighting for you – no empty seats around the dinner table back in The Home Of The Brave, and no activists shouting that the war must end because the price in lives is too high. Unfortunately, just about everything in Syria except for Damascus and any areas where there can be shown with a fair degree of certainty to b e no ‘rebel’ presence is probably going to have to be bombed to little bits, because so long as they can find four walls and a roof to conceal them they will keep coming. It’s a dreadful shame that they have fixed on Aleppo as their stronghold – isn’t it the oldest city in Syria, and one of the oldest in the region? It must have priceless historical sites. But the only way they will ever rid themselves of the fleas infesting it is to bomb it flat. Cue American and British activists wailing that Russia cares nothing for history and knows no recourse but savagery. That’s after the ‘rebels’ (as I have frequently mentioned, many or most of whom are not even Syrian and would not remain in the country if they were victorious) have been offered amnesty time and again as well as multiple cease-fires, which they gave used every time to regroup and resupply, and recommence the attack.

        • et Al says:

          The Armenians of Aleppo were smart enough to get out in the beginning. That’s when I know it was going to be baaad.

  7. Jen says:

    BTW, for those still interested in the Rio Olympics, the Russians have done well in the men’s gymnastics team competition earning a silver medal behind Japan.

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/f042c1fe9f4720da9430803bd168eb31953b0044/0_0_852_386/master/852.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=602fdd6b522668252dd433085646175d

    Well, erm, guess who came in last by a long margin behind the 7th place-getter?

    • Fern says:

      I work with an American guy who’s a big gymnastics fan and he thought the appearance of the guys in the US team was (a) alarming; and (b) probably not owing solely to long hours spent training.

      • yalensis says:

        What’s so alarming? Only one of them has tattoos, and it’s not a swastika. (I think.)

      • Jen says:

        Individual male gymnasts sometimes do look big around the neck and shoulders but as a team they shouldn’t look like Serena … er, too bulked up.

        Japan’s team (who won the gold medal):

        Teams at the Russian national championships in 2016:

        Individual all-round winners at the same Russian nats:

        American team (who came 5th in the team competition):

        Yes I see what your colleague is concerned about. Those Americans do look too big.

    • marknesop says:

      Imagine that. Can you think of a time or two when the western press drew specific inferences from the deaths of certain ‘dissident’ Russian journalists and other public figures? I knew that you could.

      • Jen says:

        Almost makes you think that every time something strange supposedly happens in Russia and the blame gets sheeted home to Putin, the same thing has happened or will happen in the US. It’s psychological projection writ large on a global scale.

      • Eric says:

        By the way…….has anybody heard,read or seen anything at all about Nuland in the last months upto a year? I can’t remember a single thing. I wonder if she is a Grey Cardinal for the monstrosity that is the US policy towards Russia and former Soviet States…….or if she has been fully sidelined. If so……they why is she still in the job?

  8. et Al says:

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): UK special forces pictured on the ground in Syria
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37015915

    It is the vehicles that first stand out. The open air, Thalab long range patrol vehicles are built for harsh terrain and are favoured by special forces.

    In this case it is British special forces, seen for the first time on the ground, inside Syria, in photographs obtained by the BBC.

    The pictures, which date from June, follow an attack by the so-called Islamic State (IS) on the moderate rebel New Syrian Army base of Al Tanaf on the Syria-Iraq border. The British soldiers appear to be securing the base’s perimeter.

    According to eyewitnesses, they were there in a defensive role. But they are carrying an arsenal of equipment including sniper rifles, heavy machine guns and anti-tank missiles….

    ####

    A lovely beeb chest bashing piece. You scratch mine, I’ll scratch yours…

    • Fern says:

      Yeah, I think we can rely on the Beeb not to press too hard on the question of on what legal basis are British ‘special forces’ in Syria? Did I miss Assad’s invitation?

    • marknesop says:

      You can’t trust the British or the Americans in this war because both – well, the Americans, really, and the British are just doing as they are told – are backing both sides, the rebels and the Syrians, all the while looking for an opportunity to get Assad and bring him down or kill him. If they could just get rid of him, there would have to be a change of government and it would be relatively easy for NATO to steer that the way it wanted so that it ended up with a big-talking ‘reformer’ in charge who would let Washington have a free hand to dabble and dabble as it pleased. For its part, Washington would do an Oscar-worthy performance about regret and healing and offer to put everything necessary at the disposal of the new leader so Syria would know who its real friends are, and it is not the dirty Moskali who bombed so much of its beautiful country. And before you could say your-best-friend-in-the-Gulf, there would be a Qatari gas pipeline snaking its way across Syria. That’s assuming they could get Turkey to play, since Erdogan’s nose is a little out of joint with Washington these days. But I’m sure they have lots of skeletons from his closet that they could trot out to frighten him into submission, if he didn’t just go along gladly.

  9. et Al says:

    Sputnik: Who’s the Secret Buyer of Ukraine’s ‘Grom’ Tactical Ballistic Missile System?
    http://sputniknews.com/military/20160807/1044029566/grom-ballistic-missile-system-analysis.html

    …However, Andrei Frolov, the editor-in-chief of Arms Export magazine, said he was very doubtful about Grom’s prospects, pointing to a long list of failed projects previously announced by Ukrainian authorities, and Ukrainian designers’ habit of putting a new label on old systems.

    With regard to the possible foreign sponsors, Frolov suggested that these could be Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.

    Moreover, Frolov recalled that “in March 2015, information appeared in the media that the Saudis are interested in the delivery of the first stages of the R-36M rocket (NATO classification SS-18 Satan)…As for Belarus, I do not think their budget could afford to purchase SRBM systems following the development of the Polonez. Moreover, if Minsk took such a step, it would receive strong pressure from Russia.”

    Ultimately, the analyst warned that if Ukraine does manage to finish development of the Grom and actually build the system, its primary targets will be the rebellious regions of the Donbass.
    ####

    While Frolov is probably right in suspecting Saudi Arabia or the UAE, we do know from recent news that the An-132 is being upgraded with money from the Gulf and is probably one of several projects.

    https://www.zawya.com/story/Ukraine_Saudi_Arabia_trade_volume_growing-ZAWYA20160124034721/

    http://www.arabianaerospace.aero/saudi-signs-mou-to-take-antonov-deal-to-the-next-stage-with-10-aircraft.html

    So what has changed? Syria, innit? The Gulf has been sending weapons to Ukraine too (as in the RT piece above) and also the gulf can get hold of some hardware that will not be dependent on the United States, who despite still selling tens of billions of dollars of weapons, are still not trusted.

    Why should be worried about the ‘Grom’? The Saudis paid for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. If they want them, Pakistan has to deliver them. Saudi only has a bunch of rather old Chinese ballistic missiles which may or may not have been modified to take the Pakistani nukes, but a short range nuclear laden vehicle like the ‘Grom’ might be attractive to Saudi for use against their enemies nearby, say Yemen, where they have singularly failed to ‘win’ in a year and a half and there have been numerous successful attacks against Saudi troops. Add to that Saudi Arabia could be the ultimate prize of the Islamic State – and those militants could well consider SA a corrupt and unpure version that needs to be cleansed – then SA may well think it needs an the vehicle, even if it is actually pointless.

  10. et Al says:

    The Aviationist: Five U.S. Strategic bombers conduct simultaneous missions around the North Pole and over Alaska
    https://theaviationist.com/2016/08/03/five-u-s-strategic-bombers-conduct-simultaneous-missions-around-the-north-pole-and-over-alaska/

    Dubbed “Polar Roar” the latest show of force saw U.S. bombers flying to the North and Baltic Seas in a Cold War-style exercise.

    …Interestingly, during their trasit through the European region, the Danish F-16s supporting NATO’s continuous Baltic Air Policing mission, along with JAS-39 Gripens from the Partnership for Peace nation of Sweden. Additionally, Typhoons from Great Britain – one of the Baltic Air Policing detachments – were airborne in western Estonia training areas while the bomber transited the Baltic Sea off the Estonian coast…

    ####

    Does anyone remember Russia screaming through every orifi about this? Thought not.

    • marknesop says:

      The Russians know what is their airspace and what isn’t – unlike NATO, where you only have to ‘approach’ it to be considered ‘in’ it. Also, the presence of airborne NATO fighters nearby suggests Washington was hoping a Russian fighter element might come out to ride them off.

  11. TruthSeeker says:

    Meanwhile, while Russians are continuing to fight through adversity, non-existent Ukrainian fighting spirit (MIA for 800 years) was on display once more in Rio. The pathetic clowns just quit.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/08/09/ukraine-ends-mystery-over-controversial-olympics-gymnastics-strategy/

    • Cortes says:

      About a decade ago, along with mysterious floodlight failure at several high-profile televised top-class football matches in England (linked finally to East Asian betting syndicates), there were murmurs about players betting on the timing of various match events: first throw-in, first corner, bookings etc.
      The Ukrainian gymnast thing stinks of betting scam.

      • TruthSeeker says:

        I doubt any far-reaching conspiracy. All I see is Ukraine simply being Ukraine. Weak, cheap, dishonest and full of crap.

  12. et Al says:

    AP via Witchita Eagle: Putin and May speak over the phone, agree to meet
    http://www.kansas.com/news/nation-world/article94622202.html

    The Kremlin says Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has spoken to British Prime Minister Theresa May for the first time since she took office.

    In Tuesday’s call, both leaders “expressed dissatisfaction with the current parameters of cooperation in both the political and economic sphere,” according to the Kremlin…

    …The Kremlin said Putin and May agreed to develop a dialogue between security agencies on issues related to aviation security, and made plans for a personal meeting in the “near future.”

    It noted that May confirmed Britain’s intention to participate in ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first British WWII convoy in the Russian city Arkhangelsk this month.
    ####

    So kidz, what does this news not tell us? YES! Who initiated the call! Or more precisely, who ordered their underlings to put out the feelers for a call. Curious no?

    What else? Timing and what’s new. Theresa May that is. Europe is under assault from the ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever and it is my opinion that TM has decided the UK needs Russia at minimum as not diverting British resources that could be more effectively used against ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever, and at best an ally, unofficially of course. There’s no actual information out there to go on but its sparsity speaks volumes, particularly from the usual vocal British side, so I think it is fair to say that something is afoot.

    Now, if it is the British government that has reached out, the next obvious question is that is it playing proxy for the United States? If so, it may be to extricate the US from Syria and speed up the end game before the next president it elected, who has said she will escalate. That loops back to the first question, but also does it show light between Obama & Hillary and that for all the happy smiles together, there is clear water between them or that he is just tidying up behind himself.

    A very curious development indeed. The other thing that is new is InSultin’ Erdogan in in Russia, but I don’t quite see how that it a factor yet, if at all.

    Maybe the United States despite openly backing the Gulf jihadists work in Syria do not actually want them to take Aleppo, now that the West has taken Libya on to its plate, something which will escalate. Political, financial and human resources only go so far, so maybe the choice has finally been made… Or not.

  13. TruthSeeker says:

    Can add “Luck favors prepared mind” to your quotes on top of the entry.

  14. Cortes says:

    The linked article on the (cough) “unfortunate demise” of Milosevic is referred to at the end of Patrick Armstrong’s Sitrep article at Russia Insider:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-murder-of-slobodan-milosevic/2542

    • marknesop says:

      What a disgrace. It’s amazing how often something that happens in a western country or at the behest of NATO makes me say that. Amazing and depressing.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Truly the work of evil. Milosevic was winning the case according to legal experts despite having the deck stack against him. He defended himself brilliantly but he could not possibly be acquitted as the entire NATO /US propaganda blitz centered on his as the leader of the criminal Serbian government. His murder was a foregone conclusion.

      The question that has not yet been answered is why the US/NATO made the destruction of Serbia their primary focus for over a decade.

      • Jen says:

        The two countries in SE Europe that resisted and fought hard against Nazism are the countries that have been brought down on their knees by bombing (Serbia) or the economic screws (Greece).

  15. Patient Observer says:

    Russia is in it for keeps:

    Today (August 9th), Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma a proposal on the permanent deployment of the Russian air group in Syria.

    Moscow and Damascus in the last year agreed to the indefinite placement of the air combat group. The document has been approved by the Russian government, now the agreement must be ratified by the parliament.

    The text of the agreement states that Russia has been donated the base, will have at its disposal the airfield Hmeymim with all its infrastructure. In this period, the deployment of Russian aircraft and helicopters is not limited.

    http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/08/a-firm-syrian-commitment-putin-proposes.html

    A little logical extrapolation suggests that Russia is there to guarantee a free and intact Syrian nation – no partitions, no “safe zones” and certainly no “no-fly zones”.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      In geopolitics people say one thing, almost always mean the exact opposite. Only time will tell what Russians really want. But what they absolutely DON’T WANT is pretty clear – namely, a giant pipeline running through unified, pacified Syria, transporting humongous quantities of Iranian natural gas to Europe. To them there is no difference as to who would be wrecking their business, Doha or Tehran. And there lies a great conundrum, preventing complete alignment of Russian, Syrian and Iranian interests.

      • Jen says:

        Why would Russia not want a pipeline running from Iran carrying Iranian natural gas through Iraq and Syria to end at Latakia or Beirut, and for that gas to then be transported to Greece or Italy through another pipeline or by ship? If natural gas can be supplied more efficiently and cheaply to southern Europe that way, that is the business of Iranians, Syrians and southern Europeans. Syria could have a stronger economy and that would be in Russia’s interest, to have a strong partner instead of a weak one swallowing up Russian and Chinese investment money with nothing to show for it.

        It’s not necessary for Russia to be a monopoly supplier of natural gas to Europe. That is actually what the US wants for itself, to do this and be able to dictate price and supply to the Europeans, and through that dominate the continent and its policies. Moscow does not have that attitude any more if it ever did.

        • TruthSeeker says:

          Russia is not a monopoly – it supplies only 1/3rd of European consumption – but neither it wants its market share to be eroded much further, and be a subject of ruthless price arbitrage, when Moscow and Tehran are forced to endlessly undercut each other. European market is not limitless. Entrance of another big player means smaller cut for the existing ones. Some will be squeezed out completely, and Russians would be right to suspect that the West would want that to happen to them.

          • Jen says:

            It’s more likely that Moscow and Tehran will agree to split the European market between them based on economic cost considerations: Russia to supply northern Europe (and southeast Europe if Turk Stream goes ahead) and Tehran to supply southern Europe and possibly northern Africa. The pricing of the gas would be negotiated between them and any other potential suppliers. This is why cartels like OPEC form in the first place, to regulate the supply and the price of energy commodities.

            Also Europe is not the only market for Russian natural gas, China is a major market as well.

            • marknesop says:

              Europe is a big player, no question, but I agree a bargain is more than likely to be the result of talks between Iran and Russia, quite possibly one such as you describe (you would make a hell of a foreign minister). I base my agreement on that fact that while European consumption is decreasing slightly as the government makes a few economies and awareness makes the population more efficient, the decrease is far smaller than the rapid decline of its domestic supplies. The cap on the Groningen field is kicking hell out of their production, but they dare not increase capacity because of the fear of earthquakes – fracking, same-same. Europe is growing increasingly dependent on foreign gas supplies whether it likes it or not, although its leaders would not be Europeans if they did not deny reality for a decade and dither for another. There is enough room in the European market for several suppliers, and it can be increasingly profitable if those suppliers have a pricing agreement between them such as you allude to. Iran and Russia are fairly friendly, and if it could be sold as cutting the Great Satan and its Gulf toadies out of the supply picture I believe Tehran would be more than ready to deal.

              Truthseeker is quite correct, though, of course, that Washington will not like any such overtures and will seek to drive a wedge between Moscow and Tehran to prevent any agreement. But Washington is not kindly remembered in Tehran – no more is England – and I imagine its attempts to get its hands on the spigot will fall flat. America is awash in cheap LNG – let’s see it work. That’s what it has been boasting, and I’d like to see how they plan to support such an industry and turn a profit at the same time. I say it can’t be done, but that is just an invitation for the Exceptional Nation.

        • et Al says:

          It’s not necessary for Russia to be a monopoly supplier of natural gas to Europe.

          Language is a curious thing. Despite all the complaints from Brussels, EU capitals and Washingtong, Russia suppies ~30% of gas to Europe. Dominance, as ascertained by the European Commission is ~60% (depending on variables) – sic Google/Microsoft.

          So, despite Russia being nowhere near this level and certainly not ‘dominant’, the West is behaving as it is, even projecting in to the future something that hasn’t happened and as if Leviathan and other sources, not to mention growing renewable sources (north African solar farms etc.) don’t count.

          ‘Monopoly’? Nope. Only in the the West’s propaganda fantasies. It’s another case of language being pretzeled out of of all recognition and repeated.

      • Patient Observer says:

        In addition to Jen’s comments, it seems that you may have misunderstood other methano-political factors. The Qatari’s and Saudi’s have been trying to force a pipeline through Syria (with strong US support) for decades as previously discussed in this blog. The US would not be supportive at all of Iranian gas flowing to Europe given the relationship of the US and its GCC client states with Iran. Also, as Jen pointed out, Russia is not looking for gas hegemony in Europe but given that it is the lowest cost supplier, its market share will be substantial and profitable.

  16. yalensis says:

    Here is something interesting:

    Ukrainian fine arts critic and scholar Igor Kuryliv claims that Beethoven’s String Quartets were based upon Ukrainian folk melodies. Kuryliv points specifically to Beethoven’s contacts in Vienna with Russian diplomat Andrei Razumovsky, who helped Beethoven organize a chamber group. Kuryliv claims that the melody to the Ukrainian song Ехал казак за Дунай (“Yekhal Kazak za Dunai” – “The Cossack galloped by the Danube”) was at the heart of the European music world of this era.

    To test Kuryliv’s theory I spent long and untold seconds searching on youtube. Here is the Cossack song:

    And here is the Razumovsky string quartet Opus 59, No. 1:

    Note in watching the string quartet, the four talented musicians take quite a long time to seat and compose themselves. When they finally start playing their instruments, I was half expecting them to leap up and start prancing around the stage singing “Yekhal Kazak za Dunai!”

    • yalensis says:

      Correction: HERE is the string quartet.
      But since one influenced the other, it doesn’t matter much that I mixed them up.

      • TruthSeeker says:

        Since according to Ukrainian nationalists, Ukrainians invented and discovered everything, that was not entirely unexpected. Much more to come, for sure.

      • marknesop says:

        Come on – those two pieces sound identical. There is no mistaking the influence of the one over the other. If there was just an accordion in the String Quartet, everyone would get it, but that’s not allowed because the accordion is not a string, it’s a free reed aerophone.

        • yalensis says:

          Well, the String Quartet should henceforth include a giant balalaika.
          That’s kosher, because it’s still a string instrument.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            What, like this one?

            I once chanced upon a bloke plucking away at a similar huge balalaika when I was on honeymoon in Paris in 1997. He was part of a balalaika band, which was performing on the square in front of the church of Saint-Eustache in the city centre.

            • marknesop says:

              I saw a similar performance in Vladivostok, at the childrens’ music festival at year-end. This seems to be a very big deal in Russia, and every seat in a large auditorium was filled. Some of the performances were very, very good.

          • marknesop says:

            That’s getting there, but the accordion is really the driving force behind that piece of music. Kind of like Hendrix playing ‘Purple Haze’ on a harpsichord.

            I couldn’t find an example of that, but here’s what it sounds like on fiddle and accordion. Kind of catchy. Here’s the original, for comparison. Neither show any significant Ukrainian influence, I’m afraid; Palliser is as Irish as tatted lace and Hatlak is Slovenian. Hendrix was…ummm…not Ukrainian.

    • marknesop says:

      “When they finally start playing their instruments, I was half expecting them to leap up and start prancing around the stage singing “Yekhal Kazak za Dunai!”

      Or “Slava Ukrainy!! Geroyim Slava!!!”

  17. Northern Star says:

    “King, who beat the twice-banned Russian in the 100 metres breaststroke final on Monday, showed her displeasure at Efimova competing in Sunday’s heats, wagging her finger at the Russian before she called her a drug cheat.”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-3730831/Michael-Phelps-defends-Lilly-King-s-attitude-Yulia-Efimova.html

    What a pretentious little buttwipe…..no class..no dignity..this is NOT what a sportswoman would do
    ..and as for Phelps….
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Phelps#Controversies
    Pride goeth before a fall….
    This isn’t about Efimova…it’s about two arrogant spiteful snarling American athletes who don’t know when to STFU

    • Eric says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I’ve got a lot of admiration for Efimova to have swam as well as she did in those conditions and an immensely chaotic build-up period to the Olympics for her.

      As for the American….nobody wants to stereotype…..but that obnoxious , scumbag behaviour is wholly unexpected from plenty of their sportspeople. I should enlarge that to all their main sportspeople and Foreign Policy “experts”. Strangely enough, Mike Tyson, when he’s not biting off anybody’s ear, can be one of the most respectful and gracious sportsmen in victory or defeat I’ve seen!
      Efimova swam her personal best time I see……the other one ( I can’t bother to remember that cretin’s name) has, from nowhere ,recorded a miracle time far exceeding anything she did in the heats or before that……..but all the idiotic “doper” comments from the US following lemmings are aimed at the fantastic Efimova.

    • Fern says:

      Aren’t there a number of US convinced dopers who’re competing in the Games? Be interesting to see whether Lilly King and Michael Phelps have the same attitude towards folk who are their team mates. Would they support the crowd booing those particular drug cheats? Have I missed the interviews saying how ashamed they are of being in the same team as dopers? Best not to brag about ‘cleanness’ in US sport, I should have thought.

      • et Al says:

        convinced dopers . What a great typo. Maybe there is truth in error!!!

        • Fern says:

          That’s nothing Al.. One of my all-time-greats was early in my career when I was entrusted with proof-reading a company report before it was sent to the printers. The sentence should have said “Mr X’s role is growing more important’ but, unfortunately, it went out with ‘impotent’ instead.

    • marknesop says:

      Exactly the sort of arsehole performance that makes people around the world smile when a prominent American gets kicked to the Olympic curb, as just happened when Serena Williams had her ass handed to her by a 20th-ranked Ukrainian, Elina Svitolina.

      Michael Phelps is a known jackass, but it’s hard to rebut what he says as completely as it could be, as the actual number of American drug cheats who were allowed to go on and win medals because their sports association strongarmed the IOC or WADA covered up for them will never be known. but what is not mentioned in that article is that King was asked if her American drug-cheat teammates should be there at the Olympics. Again, we don’t know if she was trapped and didn’t know what to say, but her answer suggests she knew what to expect, and she said no.

      “I have to respect (the track authorities’) decision even if it is something I don’t necessarily agree with,” King said. “No, do I think people who have been caught doping should be on the team? They shouldn’t. It is unfortunate we have to see that.

      “It is just something that needs to be set in stone that this is what we are going to do. Let’s settle this and be done with it. There should not be any bouncing back and forwards.”

      USATF was quick to respond, and they obviously did not like it, as it put them in the unfortunate position of having to defend Russians’ right to participate.

      “In the United States, it is a matter of law. If you are not under a ban, regardless of what you may have served in the past, you are fully eligible to be on the team.”

      When they had King in the spotlight, it would have been a good opportunity to ask this world-wise cosmopolitan if she thought it would be appropriate for the crowd to boo every time Gay or Gatlin took the field.

      • Cortes says:

        I’m looking forward to the Eurovision Song Contest and the UEFA “Champions'” League about 2018, because the sight of LA Galaxy beating CF Barcelona or Bayern Munich or Celtic will be the evidence that the USA = Gollum.

        “My precious!”

        • marknesop says:

          I see Russia has moved up into 4th place, while China – with 154 less athletes than the USA – has taken the lead with 8 gold medals to the USA’s 6. The Chinese must all be doping.

          The USA will probably top the pile in the end; they have the biggest team and will have one or several athletes competing in every event. But it is nice to see someone else scare them a little, and it is now clear to everyone else that this event is all about America’s grudge feud with Russia and not about sport. The allegations against Russia are unproven and therefore unfounded at present, and there is little doubt it is American and her toadies who are booing Russia. In a just world, they would pay full measure for their ignorance, and perhaps they will. We will see.

      • Fern says:

        Ok, that’s fair enough – at least Ms King appears to be consistent in her views. I don’t think, however, she would want to see any US athlete being treated in the same way as Yulia Efimova has been – barracked by the crowd with other athletes endorsing the behaviour and commentators rushing to defend the boorishness by saying, ‘well, it’s all very regrettable but what can you do? People are angry that these cheats have been allowed to attend; they shouldn’t be here”.

        Addressed to or about US competitors? Unthinkable, I would have said.

      • Erika says:

        Wasn’t Michael Phelps suspended for a short time because he had smoked weed?

        Weed a banned substance.

        If we followed King’s point of view, then Michael Phelps should have been suspended for life.

        • marknesop says:

          Weed was actually not banned. The IOC was quick to take Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebegliati’s gold medal away from him for smoking pot, but had to return it because marijuana is not on the banned list. It’s not performance-enhancing. Rebagliati founded Ross’s Gold, a medical marijuana company. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is on the banned list now, but only in certain concentrations and only if they can demonstrate it was used during competition. Phelps got a three-week suspension and lost a couple of endorsements.

      • Northern Star says:

        “It’s obviously disappointing but, you know, she played really well and I think the better player won today,” Williams said.
        “I can’t wait for the next time and I know next time it’s going to be a really good match. I’ll look forward to it.
        “It didn’t work out the way I wanted to, but at least I was able to make it to Rio. That was one of my goals.”

        Well…. Williams was certainly a sportswoman showing dignity and grace in the aftermath of her defeat….

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, it’s a start. I wonder if she would have said the same if she had been beaten by a Russian, or if she would have fallen back on the ‘dope cheat’ rhetoric. But let’s just take it at face value, and indeed it was a fine example of sportsmanship. Upsets like that happen in tennis all the time, and Serena will probably retain her number one spot for some time to come, while this will serve to greatly heighten interest in the rematch.

    • Chinese American says:

      One of the comments under Fort Russ’s write-up of the affair also linked to this summary about Yulia Efimova:
      https://rossiyasport.com/2016/08/09/hatred-of-yulia-efimova-shows-the-effectiveness-of-propaganda/
      The website, Rossiya Sports, calls itself “an American run sports website that is the only Western sports site that covers Russian sports in a truthful way”. It has some interesting articles.

      A similar insult was inflicted on Chinese swimmer Sun Yang by the Australian competitor Mack Horton, and which has been occupying media frontpages in China for several days by now. (The so-called “drug cheat” was a heart medication that Sun did not know was added to the banned list–so a situation very similar to meldonium. The ban was only for three months, which suggested that the international aquatics federation agreed it was an innocent mistake.) The Australian media threw themselves behind Horton with continuing spiteful name-calling, with even less pretend-class than the American media. And of course, in this situation, there is the racial angle involved.

      If anything, this has been quite, shall we say educational towards those in the Chinese public who still harbored illusions about the “civilized west”…

      • Jen says:

        Yes I read about Sun Yang’s case in (surprisingly, given that it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch) The Australian. The doctor who gave Sun Yang the medication was suspended because he should have known that the drug had been banned. Plus I think Sun turned himself in when he discovered the medication was a banned substance. Yet most of the media here keeps calling Sun a cheat even when the facts about his suspension are available.

        • marknesop says:

          It should escape nobody that this behavior is self-destructive, and will only serve to harden hatred of America in these countries. It is not going to make their leaders fall or inspire admiration for America or western ways. Even worse, it must be inspiring astonishment in some quarters in Europe, as the world watches the United States psyching itself up for an attack on some more sub-humans.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Bizarre spectacle of Ukrainian athlete showing more grace than the drugged-up baboons America sent to Rio.

      • Northern Star says:

        “drugged up baboons”….
        Oh Please!!!!!…… Do not insult those wonderful -and very intelligent-animals…by comparing them to ostentatious ‘Murican morons!!!!
        OK?
        :O)

        “So are we in modern industrial societies smarter than such creatures? Not, I would argue, if we persist in pressing strategies of dominance that separate rich from poor, men from woman and humans from nature—in the face of the historical fact that human empires have barely eked out a few centuries before collapsing whereas societies based on cooperation have survived for thousands of years. And we are not very smart if we use domination to amass wealth and power to the neglect of other social goods, like knowledge and belonging.”
        https://holdenma.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/are-we-humans-smarter-than-baboons/

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Alright, chimpanzees then.

          The most human of all primates.

        • yalensis says:

          Well, I think I read somewhere that baboons are the most violent and hierarchical of all the primates. Most humans would feel right at home in their society. Too bad humans had to descend from apes. I think we’d all be nicer people if we were descended from nice animals… trying to think of a nice animal… like, maybe chipmunks. They’re nice critters, no?

          • marknesop says:

            They are extremely cute, but not very adaptable (they’ve been all but eradicated in Canada, and while they were common in my childhood in Nova Scotia I think they’re completely gone there and I’ve seen only one here in British Columbia since I moved here in 87), and they are a little rodenty. Mind you, we don’t look much like the apes we allegedly descended from, either. Most of us don’t, anyway. For which I am thankful.

      • marknesop says:

        That’s good to see.

    • yalensis says:

      Lily King is the very worst example of the worst of the worst, just a classic pindosi arrogant little shit. The favorite of those zombified morons who sit at their TV sets chanting “USA! USA!” like a bunch of robots.
      Speaking of which…
      Here is my post for today, the Life News story is highly critical of King, and with very good reason.
      Notice, though, how the Russian writer makes a very clear distinction between King, “the bad American”, and Travis Stevens, “the good American”.
      This is typical Russian mentality, I believe — to make these distinctions and not dump all the chickens together into the same pot. A quality which many Americans — alas! seem to lack.

      • Chinese American says:

        I am starting to feel that the need to feel superior to others is a very strong psychological need in a lot of Americans. Of course, one can argue that some tendencies like this is probably a part of human nature, but I think there has been a specific and conscious attempt to condition it into Americans from childhood, via both media and education. After all, it is the very basis for American exceptionalism. And a big part of it is the refusal to see others as individuals.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It was once a very strong need amongst very many Germans.

          I feel it still is amongst very many of my fellow countrymen.

          The other day I was listening to this talk given by an “inter-cultural communications expert” on making presentations in English. Here is part of what she said:

          …Also remember how important intonation is. English is the language of Shakespeare, after all, so we have that capacity to produce all sorts of light and dark shades into our voices and add interest and get the audience paying attention.

          Yeah verily that which she sayeth be true, English — early modern English to be exact — was that which the Bard spake, but ‘sblood! Knoweth she not that Russian is the tongue of Pushkin, albeit his grandam’s father was a Blackamoor? Marry, hath she never heard of the Russian Golden Age of literature? Doth she truly believe that those whose mother tongue is not English are lesser mortals that can only utter grunts and snorts?

          [exit stage left, sobbing]

          • yalensis says:

            Well, to be sure, unless there is more to that quote, it doesn’t sound like she was comparing English to other languages, or chauvinistically putting down the latter. Just waxing on about intonation.

            • Jen says:

              Not so long ago in Britain, the way people pronounced their words, and the particular intonations they used, all were indications of their social status. If a speaker spoke in a certain way, s/he was identified straight away as upper or lower class and treated accordingly. That attitude might still exist in some parts of the country and at certain social levels as well. When you see what’s coming out of the film and TV industry in Britain these days, you might despair that that attitude is coming back.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Her “English is the language of Shakespeare, after all, so we have that capacity to produce all sorts of light and dark shades into our voices” suggests to me at least that she believes we speakers of English have some special characteristic in “our” language that may be lacking in others.

              • yalensis says:

                Still not seeing the chauvinism in that quote. Somebody could write this, and it wouldn’t be chauvinistic:
                “Russian is the language of Pushkin, after all, so we have that capacity to produce all kinds of meaningful inflections…”

                Jen might be more on track with her suggestion that “intonation” is a class thing. One recalls Shaw’s Pygmalion, and the attempt to re-make a simple cockney girl into a high-society lady. Where it was all about accent and intonation.
                But even this doesn’t speak to me of chauvinism. Within any given society, the literary language (often decided arbitrarily among a coice of dialects) has a social prestige; therefore it behooves everyone who lives in that society to learn the “standard” way of speaking, if only as a second language/dialect. While still being able to speak their own patois/regional dialect at home. It’s a matter of snobbery, yes, but it’s also a practical thing, since it’s easier, say, to get a good job in the big city if one is able to speak the standard dialect and intonation.
                And none of that has anything to do with “correct speech”, or right and wrong speech, as linguists know It’s just a practical matter of being able to communicate at a high level within one’s own society..

                • marknesop says:

                  Funny you should say that; I’m reading Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge”, and had just got to the part where Henchard is correcting his stepdaughter’s speech so that she says ‘Bumblebees’ rather than ‘Dumbledores’ (I wonder if it wasn’t an inspiration to JK Rowling, as well; Hagrid is in there too, only as ‘hag-rid’, meaning ‘hag-ridden’, like the way you appear when you have spent a sleepless night), ‘wild hyacinth’ rather than ‘greggles’, ‘stay where you are’ rather than ‘bide where you be’, and so forth. They’re all spoken in the same accent, but the one sounds ‘comming’ while the other is refined. For the time, I suppose. And indeed, it is a matter of snobbery as class warfare and always has been. American blacks have managed to turn the technique on its head, and their colourful terms often quickly become part of the hip white lingo, like ‘bling’ and ‘whup-ass’. And as soon as trendy whites start using it, the blacks drop it.

        • marknesop says:

          Again, well said, and very perceptive. The American media has been very successful, through several generations, at casting certain groups as ‘other’ and therefore to be despised, and the Soviet Union was at the top of the list.

          Curiously, a major American strategy at one time was to prevent a Russo-Chinese alliance, and to split China off as an American commercial partner, likely with the intent of neutralizing China’s growth through infiltration of American-dominated multinational corporations. That seems to have been abandoned, or at the very least taken up by forces who are completely incompetent. The net effect is to push Russia and China ever closer together. It will be funny if America sacrifices its entire long-term strategy for dominance in international sport, just in time to see international sport collapse.

        • Special_sauce says:

          All Americans, black, white, brown, beige or plaid. Male, female, rich, poor; are taught from before they leave the womb, Merka is the finest, freest, fairest place in the history of the entire Solar System! And the whole damn rest-of-the-planet resents it.

          • yalensis says:

            Yes, this is a true statement, unfortunately. I can attest to that.

            A lot of it is that Americans never actually hear a different opinion. Somebody saying “Wait a minute, there!”
            Although I did see a preview of te new Michael Moore film (haven’t seen the actual film), and he seems to be going around trying to tell people that other countries have good points and in some ways are superior to America. That’s what Americans really need to hear, IMHO, that they are just regular people, and not so special.

      • marknesop says:

        What Lilly King is is little more than a child, imbued with a child’s unassailable self-righteousness which she gained through western propaganda. She probably honestly believes that if non-western countries were barred forever from international sport, it’d be magically clean and fair. She is likely unaware that her own country is the biggest drug cheater by a wide margin, and that efforts in sport in America are focused not on how the human body can achieve a higher level of performance unassisted, but how to make doping undetectable while still reaping its benefits. It’s not fair to blame King – her disillusionment is all ahead of her.

  18. Drutten says:

    Apropos hacking and what not – few days ago a new hacker group was announced as having been discovered near-simultaneously by the top security firms Symantec and Kaspersky Labs. This new group is called “Strider” in a Lord of the Rings-reference, and has been using highly sophisticated methods for spying on Russia, Sweden, China and Belgium among others.

    Apparently the discovered traces, malicious lines of code etc are similar to that seen in the previous “Stuxnet”, “Duqu” and “Flame” worms, that were used to target Iran, Russia, China etc for spying and/or outright sabotage of computer systems in these countries.

    All of these things have all been tied to the NSA, together with the creepy-as-fuck “Equation Group” hackers (who among other crazy things were found to have intercepted actual physical media such as DVDs in regular postal transit between people and covertly injected spy software into them, in the US)…

    All this is just the tip of the iceberg, obviously. The U.S. without a doubt runs the by far largest, most sophisticated and most powerful “offensive” cyber warfare program of all countries in the world, and Snowden only scratched the surface regarding the extent of their cyber surveillance operations too. Think about that next time some U.S. pundit fumes about the alleged “Russian” DNC hacks (which probably were an inside job anyway).

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, CNet mentioned that group last year, and said at the time that the business of infecting hard drives has been going on for at least twenty years. Another report from even earlier described how the American surveillance services work together to intercept laptops and other computer accessories purchased online so as to implant surveillance software on the products before they are shipped to their purchaser. I find it best to just assume some third party is watching everything I do, and therefore they would not discover in secret something about my beliefs that I have not expressed publicly. So far as I know, that’s still not against the law.

      • yalensis says:

        I think the NSA files away into a giant database all this information about people’s personal beliefs and contacts.
        Then they form maps and models of connected social networks, based on ideological preferences.
        The “7 degrees of separation” and so on, except that none of this is really about Kevin Bacon.
        The Linked-In social network is a model of this.

        In this way, even though there are roughly 7 billion humans on the planet, it is not such a daunting task after all to drill down to a single person, based on just a few hops through the social network. For example, even just navigating a binary tree of relationships, you can navigate through 7 billion people down to a single person, in just 33 hops.
        And the network maps the NSA are building are way more complex than just a binary tree. They literally want to have every single human being pegged, as to their beliefs and preferences; and all of their social networks.
        That way, if a particular individual is targeted for extermination, then they can find all their friends and family as well, quite easily, based upon the database they have constructed.

        • marknesop says:

          Certainly possible, thanks to the magic of computing power. Remember Donald Rumsfeld? “Go massive. Sweep it all up; things related and not”.

          But you can’t live your life as if you are being watched all the time, and know it. If anything, it just makes you look more weird and suspicious.

  19. Warren says:

    Russia-UK relations: May and Putin pledge to improve ties

    Theresa May has spoken on the phone to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for the first time since she became PM, Downing Street has confirmed.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37029507

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Is this the face that would launch a thousand missiles
      And immolate tens of thousands of innocents
      Whilst razing the topless towers of Mordor?

      • Warren says:

        I hope May and Putin’s first meeting whether in China or Russia, will be as friendly as Cameron’s. I doubt Putin will be impressed by May’s stern matron act.

    • marknesop says:

      What horseshit. The UK’s nose is out of joint because of things like ‘Russia’s support for the Syrian regime’, as if the proper thing to support would be to stand aside while a US-led coalition of regime-changers destroyed it with proxy forces and outright national military intervention? Washington thinks it has discovered the magic key to get around international law on the sacrosanct nature of national sovereignty, by using international mercenaries rather than its own forces with just a soupçon of push by its own special forces, wearing the livery of the mercs for deniability. And England’s official position is that that ought not to meet with any resistance, perhaps because it’s inherently good. There’ll be no thaw in relations under her supervision if that is going to be her attitude. And the whole air-deconfliction business could be sorted in a couple of sentences: “Show me your invitation to fly your fighters in Syria. Don’t have one? You’re in violation of national airspace, and my advice to you is get the fuck out”.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I really do not think one should address a vicar’s daughter after such a fashion.

        Bear in mind, this lady judge gave some foul-mouthed idiot what-for the other day in Merry England:

        Swearing judge launches four-letter response after being abused by racist defendant in court

        John Hennigan, 50, was involved in a slanging match with Judge Patricia Lynch QC at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday.

        Hennigan was being sentenced … when he said she was a “bit of a cunt”.

        Judge Lynch replied: “You are a bit of a cunt yourself”. When Hennigan shouted back: “Go fuck yourself”, the judge replied: “You too”.

        She then sent him down for 18 months.

        • marknesop says:

          You could do a lot of fucking yourself in 18 months.

          I like his lawyer; that must be a novel defense – “Don’t send my client to jail; it’s not worked in the past and is unlikely to work in the future”. What’s the alternative, then – shoot him?

      • marknesop says:

        I won’t hold my breath. Britain officially remains chronically Russophobic, the most so in Europe, and an attitude like that does not change in the blink of an eye no matter who is the leader. It remains to be seen to what degree May will bootlick to Washington but I think it’s safe to say that policy will continue to some degree – consequently, her part in any such meeting should be viewed from the perspective of her trying to advance western interests and gain an advantage which would be put to use for Russia’s discomfiture at the first available opportunity.

        Backstabbing ain’t elegant, but it’s all we got. Some mood music.

  20. et Al says:

    Over at Moon of Alabama), one of the commenters mentions that some sort of Armenia/Azerbaidjan deal may well be part or the Erd/Put meeting*.

    Moon of Alabama: Who Now Leads The War On Syria – The CIA Or Turkey?
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/08/who-now-leads-the-war-on-syria-the-cia-or-turkey.html#more

    * http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/08/who-now-leads-the-war-on-syria-the-cia-or-turkey.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b8d20ef6c0970c

  21. Patient Observer says:

    Recalled a story some weeks ago about Russian anti-tank missiles being able to open up the M1A1 tank like a “can opener”. Apparently Iranian supplied anti-tank missiles can do the same:

    http://www.defenseone.com/business/2016/08/us-tank-deal-exposes-saudi-losses-yemen-war/130623/

    The U.S. State Department and Pentagon Tuesday OKed a $1.2 billion sale of 153 Abrams tanks to Saudi Arabia Tuesday. But that’s not the real news.

    Turns out: 20 of those tanks, made in America by General Dynamics Land Systems, are “battle damage replacements” for Saudi tanks lost in combat.

    Twenty Abrams tanks destroyed (at a minimum) is pretty heavy losses. One must presume that losses of other, less armored ,vehicles must be high as well.

    • et Al says:

      I think it would be fair to say that quite a few of those tanks simply failed, i.e. that such hot and dusty conditions took their toll on the gasoline powered Abrams tanks and that ordering brand new ones is a far faster and more efficient way of maintaining (replenishing) combat effectiveness than shipping them back to the USA for repairs (tha would take some time) and then returning them back to the Gulf.

      The US could even just hand over some of their current tanks with desert mods much more quickly than providing ordered tanks, say from stocks that are now being returned to Europe against the ‘Russian threat’.

  22. Patient Observer says:

    Murder most foul:

    https://www.rt.com/usa/355361-murdered-dnc-staffer-assange/

    The whistleblowing organization Wikileaks wants to catch those responsible for the murder of Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich and are now offering a $20,000 reward for information.

    The group’s co-founder Julian Assange suggested on Dutch television that if Rich is the source of the 20,000 emails exposing the party’s sabotage of the Bernie Sanders campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton, he may have been killed over it.

    It would be sweet indeed if the Russian government were to draw up a “Rich List” of US officials suspected of involvement in the assassination of Seth Rich.

    • marknesop says:

      A commendable effort, but $20,000.00 is peanuts and no incentive at all for someone to reveal what they may know when chances are good they will also conveniently have an accident. I need hardly mention the press and government reaction to this happening in Russia, because we’ve seen it over and over whether the Kremlin had any reason to want the individual dead or not. A reason was simply invented, as it was in Nemtsov’s death – he was going to expose the Russian state’s official participation in the war in Ukraine. Sure he was.

    • Warren says:

      The US always sells substandard Abrams to its “allies”. The Abrams M1A that the US has sold to Iraq and Saudi Arabia lack the armour protection (tungsten panels) M1A & M2A tanks in service with the US Army and Marines have.

      • kirill says:

        It is hard to tell what the US really has in terms of reactive armour for the Abrams. I would not assume it is the best in the world. The US fights 3rd world weaklings all the time and its military industrial complex is a cesspit of corruption.

        The Abrams is a very heavy tank and adding proper protection to it will make it heavier. It is impressive that the Armata T-14 weighs less than 50 tons. The Abrams approaches 70 tons.

    • kirill says:

      Imagine if something like this went down in the wake of a United Russia conference. There would be fresh Magnitsky type legislation and hysterical self-affirmation in NATzO.

  23. Patient Observer says:

    Smells of desperation:

    https://www.rt.com/news/355385-fsb-ukraine-terrorist-attacks/

    The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR MOU) was preparing to target the Russian peninsula’s critical infrastructure, the FSB announced on Wednesday.

    A group of infiltrators was discovered near the town of Armyansk in northern Crimea near the Ukrainian border in a special FSB operation over the weekend, the agency said, adding that fire was exchanged as the terrorists were being apprehended.

    One FSB officer was killed.

    Other terrorist attacks were also thwarted per the article.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Be that as it may, one of my Russian colleagues has just returned with his family from the Crimea, where he spent his holidays, and two more colleagues are heading off with their families to holiday in the illegally annexed peninsula this month, not to mention the fact that my son and heir Vladimir was there in June.

    • Northern Star says:

      http://www.redstate.com/streiff/2016/08/07/former-cia-director-mike-morrell-lying-liar-video/

      Also..I guess Morrell thinks that if his proposed Russian/Iranian wet jobs(dreams)-covertly carried out mind you-actually come to pass..then neither the Russkies nor the Persians will put two and two together by remembering who proposed the occurrence of the ‘mysterious’ deaths to begin with!!!

      Hey Mike..who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb..??… Freakin’ moron

    • marknesop says:

      Mmm hmmm….so a major figure in the American intelligence services is calling for American military forces to begin bombing Syrian government offices and facilities in Syria, a country in which the American presence is neither invited nor welcome. Right after the addition of a permanent Russian military presence is announced. How long would it be after that started that a direct confrontation between Russian and American aircraft ensued?

      As usual, the ones who would get to stay at home and push buttons are the ones shouting loudest for war. I hope everybody is taking note of the behavior of the world’s peacemaker.

  24. titus987 says:

    Russia accuses Ukraine of planning (freshly foiled) terrorist operations in Crimea: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37037401

    Salient points:

    – According to Russia, a FSB worker and a soldier were killed in the operation.
    – Ukraine denies the accusations, calling them “fake information.”
    – Russia claims Ukraine wanted to disrupt critical infrastructure
    – Ukraine claims that “it does not seize and does not recover by force its territory.”

    • marknesop says:

      There was a companion article to the RT piece on the same subject, which accused the Ukrainians of using the OSCE missions in Donbas as cover for military intelligence-gathering and planning of sabotage. They had a prisoner who was co-opted by the SBU after he began working for the OSCE, probably as a translator or in some such capacity. He apparently confessed to his role and named his handler in the Ukrainian intelligence services.

    • kirill says:

      The regime in Kiev lies and makes all sorts of bizarre claims all the time. What would be Russia’s need to make this incident up? The question is never posed: what is the motive. In this case the Kiev regime, with its explicit claims of wanting to take Crime back by force, has zero credibility. Kiev has plenty of motive to disrupt elections in Crimea and to sow strife.

      The incident did happen and over the russia defense forum the Crimea resident poster who used to post at the defunct military photos forum is confirming that a major clean up operation went down. The Russian media was ordered to stay quiet so this incident has the “conspiracy theory” air to it since we never got footage of arrests and Ukr equipment on Crimean soil.

  25. Northern Star says:

    More eau de Hydrogen Sulfide from Killary and Bubba:
    “In 2009, amid mounting evidence that the Alavi Foundation was a front for terrorist activity and funding, federal prosecutors moved to seize the Piaget Building in New York City. In 2008, another entity with close ties to the Alavi Foundation- ASSA- was designated a terrorist entity by the Justice Department. Just two days later, they made a donation to the Clinton Foundation.”
    http://www.redstate.com/diary/davenj1/2016/08/10/hillarys-ties-iranian-government/

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    Well who’d a thowt!

    The 25-year-old jackanapes on the left is Hugh Grosvenor. He is soon to become the next Duke of Westminster and Britain’s youngest billionaire after his father, Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster, died the other day aged 64. The deceased duke was the third richest man in the UK. He suddenly fell ill on his Abbeystead Estate and died at the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire.

    This is Abbeystead:

    It is described as a “hunting lodge”, part of the duke’s 22,000-acre sporting estate in my home county. The Duke of Westminster estate has another country cottage, the dukedom’s family seat, Eaton Hall, near Chester.

    As the only male among four children and heir to his father’s dukedom, Earl Grosvenor (that’s Hugh Grosvenor) is set to inherit his father’s estate, worth an estimated £9bn.

    So why is Pushkin’s picture next to the picture of soon to be Duke of Westminster Earl Grosvenor?

    Well here’s why —

    That’s the dead 6th duke with his wife, Hugh Grosvenor’s mum, Natalia, and one of Hugh’s sisters, Viola.

    Natalia, Duchess of Westminster is one of Pushkin’s great-great-great granddaughters.

    See: Потомок Пушкина стал самым молодым миллиардером Британии

    Pushkin descendant has become the youngest billionaire in Britain

    Touch of the tar brush?
    🙂

    As matter of fact, the recently deceased Duke of Westminster wasn’t a bad sort: he was a philanthropist (well, he had plenty of spare cash) and like horse racing and shooting game birds, which is what many oiks are also fond of doing.

    • Northern Star says:

      “Touch of the tar brush?”
      These are obviously two pure as the driven snow white women..so your tiresome racist artistic allusion is misplaced…
      :O)

      • yalensis says:

        Sorry for always plugging myself but I did a 4-part post on Pushkin’s daughter Tasha . I think Tasha might be involved in this particular genealogy, unless it was the other daughter.
        Anyhow, this new twit, Hugh, well obviously his skin is veddy white – but check out the nose and the mouth! He’s the spitting image! (Almost.)

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Natalia Alexandrovna Pushkina, Pushkin’s daughter, 1849.

          She is the new Duke of Westminster’s great-great-great-great grandma, who became Countess of Merenberg (1836–1913) after her marriage to Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau (1832-1905).

    • marknesop says:

      Mrs. Duke has nice legs.

      • Northern Star says:

        “The infamous Red Book, which reveals the membership of the upper-class Right Club, was written more than 60 years ago. It offers a chilling insight into the virulence of the anti-Semitism which was rife among peers, MPs, knights of the realm and other leading society figures at that time.
        ***Those listed include the 5th Duke of Westminster,****
        the second Baron Redesdale (the father of the Mitford sisters) and the famous aviator Lord Sempill who was later suspected of spying for the Japanese. ”
        http://www.rense.com/ufo6/nazisym.htm
        As a matter of fact that p[articular flower of UK based Nazi fascism may still be in bloom today!!!
        https://rightwingreview.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/the-red-book-reopened/
        But 2G is a LOT to spend to get a peek at the thing:
        https://www.amazon.com/Red-Book-Membership-List-Right/dp/1905742029
        Hmmmm…I wonder if there is a (legal) work-around to this …difficulty

        • Northern Star says:

          Update…forget the $$2G Sakia Red Book…The full listing in the RAMSAY Red Book is what we want: (assuming the link is accurate)
          “The problem with the Saikia book, is that the actual Ramsay Red Book listed almost 6,000 names, including Prince George, Duke of Kent who was dispatched by the father of my source under instructions from Churchill. Prince George died in a flying boat “accident” in Scotland in July 1941. The official narrative was that the prince, an officer in the RAF was on a “secret mission” when the accident occurred. However, the secret mission was as an emissary for the British Establishment to conclude a peace agreement with Hitler to overthrow Churchill, and join Nazi Germany in taking on the Soviet Union.
          The real problem I have is that with the publication of Saikia non book, there will be no release of the real membership list when the 100 year rule expires, circa 2039 – now only 25 years hence.
          What we have, I suspect, is a perpetual cover-up of this entire affair because the approx. 5,750 missing names from the membership roster are still viewed as being significant enough names to still rock the nation to its core.”
          https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?13477-The-Red-Book-British-Nazis#.V6tuIhJTLQc

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I told you he was secretly one of the lads and not a real toff ‘cos it appears he was a chain smoker and it was the ciggies that put paid to the duke in the end when his ticker suddenly gave in when he was at his hunting lodge.

  27. Warren says:

    Was report on bad guy Russia’s military superiority deliberately leaked to score MoD funding?

    https://www.rt.com/uk/355414-uk-russia-army-report/

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    An exceptional tosser from the exceptional nation:

    If he wants to kill Russians, why doesn’t come on over and try it?

  29. Warren says:

    Published on 9 Aug 2016
    Russia has always maintained it is not involved in a ground offensive inside Syria.

    But former Russian mercenaries have given Sky News first-hand accounts of experiences on the ground in Syria, fighting for the Assad regime.

    They say they were recruited by a secret private military company, given basic training in firing guns, and then flown into Syria.

    Sky’s Moscow Correspondent John Sparks has this report.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      If they are mercenaries, the Russian denials of involvement in ground offensives in Syria holds: Russia has stated that members of Russian state armed forces are not involved in ground operations. Being a Russian citizen who is acting as a mercenary is something else.

      • Warren says:

        NTV says the Sky News “world exclusive” is fake, and that putative Russian “mercenaries” are actors! It’s so hilarious and predictable that at an Atlanticist propaganda outlet would cite Pavel Felgenhauer as a credible source on Russia’s military. It’s like citing Mark Galeotti as an “expert” on Russia’s spooks.

        http://www.ntv.ru/novosti/1649903/

      • et Al says:

        I’ve read multiple sources elsewhere that Russia, like the USA, now uses private contractors to do stuff that it cannot do officially. If it works for the Yanks, why not? Official denials of Russian armed forces involvement are true. Sorted. I don’t see what the issue or even the problem here is. Or is it that the Russians should not have the temerity to use best practice when necessary?

    • Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      That’s not an official state military deployment – mercenaries fight for private interests, and the USA is making profligate use of them in Syria already. This is the same accusation as in eastern Ukraine – if there are any Russians there, it constitutes state involvement and is therefore an invasion by the Russian state. Ridiculous.

  30. Warren says:

    Published on 9 Aug 2016
    Em visita a Araxá, Jair Bolsonaro conheceu a produção de Nióbio pela CBMM. Tal mineral, em abundância no Brasil, desde que, estudado, poderá em muito, agregar valor e divisas para o País. Muito ainda temos que aprender sobre essa incalculável riqueza existente no Brasil.

  31. marknesop says:

    From your lips to God’s ears, Jen!!

    Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan to create new natural gas cartel

    The headline is more optimism than fact at present, and the article merely says the subject is at the center of important discussions. But all seem to see the wisdom of uniting against western efforts to pick off individual states one by one, and such a gas cartel would swing considerable weight given western strategies to pit them against one another. It would also force Europe to acknowledge, “Okay; when we say ‘competition’, we mean competition from people we like”. The trouble with that preference is, it isn’t always people you like who have what you need, and maybe it’s time Europe grew up enough to internalize that and inform its policies accordingly. Not under the current leadership, I think we’re agreed, but there are signs that some of them will disappear in the short-term future.

    Like I said, you would make a hell of a foreign minister, and you certainly called this one.

  32. marknesop says:

    Every time I try to rise above piggery, something like this comes along, and I’m right back to oinkland. I can’t help it; womens’ hips are just so…loose.

    • Cortes says:

      Blondes, but ugly. Botoxed lips also (at least I hope Botox was involved). Lead one should have no problem smacking the lips to create suction against the glass ascending all the way up to the platform on Trump Tower to prevent It’s My Turn Hellary from losing the election.
      Suckers? One born every minute, said Sister Mary Ignatius of the Bon Secours.

  33. et Al says:

    Groaning Man: Vladimir Putin may believe time is ripe for another invasion
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/10/vladimir-putin-may-believe-time-is-ripe-for-another-invasion

    ####

    I saw the headline and before I clicked through, I bet myself the author is Luke ‘I’m a plagarist and paranoiac’ Harding. Oh, and how right I was. See, there’s an Olympics on and it’s August. What further proof do you need? All in all, it is an extremely poor (and short) effort by Harding but I guess he is on holiday with the family in the south of France or somewhere similar and on keeping his eye on the news, thought he’d fire off a missive to Guardian HQ before they popped in to town for a bit of shopping at the local farmers market and a drink.

  34. et Al says:

    OK, here’s my sixth totally amateur prediction (I have no fear!). Syria will be wrapped up within a year, Assad will still be in power and ISIL/ISIS/DEASH/Al-Queda/whatever will be off with their tail between their legs. Why? Because I am reading everywhere that “Syria is a war without end”. Well f/kit, I’m going to be the canary down the coal mine smoking a cigar. I hate consensus and f/k the consequences.

    In a bit more detail, it seems to me as if events are approaching a nexus on mulitple points. We have the US elections coming up, we have Erdogan in Russia (whatever that means), we have a major offensive in Aleppo, we have UK & Russia talking etc. The wind, my intuition tells me, has changed. And no, I did not have any beans this evening.

  35. Warren says:

    Published on 10 Aug 2016
    For the first World Social Forum in the Northern hemisphere, many activists in the Global South are struggling to participate due to restrictive visa policies.

  36. Warren says:

    Published on 10 Aug 2016
    Journalist Patrick Cockburn says the rebel group is ideologically identical to the Islamic State, and its recent break with Al-Qaeda is likely a PR move that will allow countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to support them without being accused of being allied with Al-Qaeda

  37. Northern Star says:

    17 MILLION WW2 era mines in NW Egypt…..150 Bedouin killed or maimed just since 2006!!!
    “For most Bedouin, however, their real ire is reserved for those who planted these killing devices. “They’re getting away from their responsibility,” says Ahmed Amer, head of the Land Mine Survivors Association in Marsa Matruh, which lobbies for victims’ rights, referring to the European powers that were responsible for laying most of the munitions. “They can’t just come here and then go away,” he adds. “They must clean this up”
    Merkel…May…..should receive absolutely no respite from being besieged with demands for their respective nations to clean up this lethal mess of THEIR making.
    http://www.newsweek.com/isis-hitler-islamic-state-egypt-world-war-ii-land-mines-jihad-bombs-explosives-488927

  38. ucgsblog says:

    And in the comedy section we have NBC’s Olympics Coverage being so utterly pathetic, that it even pissed off Leonid Bershidsky. Have a laugh at NBC’s expense: http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-10/jingoism-is-the-ugly-side-of-olympic-competition

    “Commentators on NBC in the U.S. have been accused of sexism on rather flimsy grounds, but rarely of overzealous patriotism — and the station is as guilty of it as it was in 2012. This year, NBC dwelled on the victorious U.S. women’s gymnastics team, but dropped the men’s team from prime time because they weren’t expected to win a medal for the country… The TV channels that win the rights to show the Olympics, whether public or private, pander to audience nationalism and perpetuate it by concentrating on events that feature home-grown athletes. It’s difficult to follow the British team if you’re in Germany or the Russian one in the U.S. — and it’s even more difficult to see, in real time, the events where a sporting miracle is happening or expected to happen unless the home nation’s athletes are involved.”

    I know I’ve disagreed with Bershidsky before, but NBC’s coverage of the Olympics is, objectively, just plain sad. This year, in my randomly selected sample, NBC showed more advertisements and interviews than actual events, even events where the Americans played.

    • marknesop says:

      Disgusting. A policy of medals over morals. Thanks for the slogan, Sir Philip.

    • Patient Observer says:

      I have watched perhaps two hours in total of the Olympics on NBC (no other choice). It is all about pandering to US nationalism except for perhaps 45 seconds. That occurred when several NBC commentators stated that the ban on Russia in the para-Olympics was unfair and unreasonable then they went back to regularly scheduled BS.

      • marknesop says:

        I watched about 40 minutes of it at lunch, because we were in a restaurant and it was playing on their screens. I saw the USA gymnastics routine, and it was spectacular – they fully deserved the high scores they got. Russia took bronze, and was lucky to get that as one of their athletes failed every landing in her routine. It happens; she is very young, and her trainer must have known landings were her weak spots; her flips were powerful and amazing, she just couldn’t control her momentum. The American athletes looked massive compared to the rest, with huge, powerful thighs and muscular arms. But obviously they are not doping – everybody must have passed the most stringent tests this time around. So, bottom line, the American performance was dazzling, disciplined and controlled, and they deserved to win – and if you are huge and muscular it does not necessarily mean you are doping. Sometimes it just suggests the workout routines you emphasize, or your trainer does. The Russian athlete who stumbled so many times was tiny and not muscular at all, but her leaps and flips reflected the same release of power as her American counterparts. Her routine just was not nearly as good as theirs. And that’s sport.

  39. Fern says:

    Does anyone know what’s happened to Lyttenburgh?

  40. Moscow Exile says:


    Yulia Efimova and Lilly King. Perhaps Lilly behaves in such a way because of a personal complex connected with her appearance?

    Uncalled for personal comment?

    Why not?

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, Lilly King is no beauty, but that has nothing to do with her athletic ability. And while I am sure she has noticed the difference between her own appearance and Efimova’s, I imagine her self-righteous denunciation was motivated more by the constant anti-Russian propaganda she hears than anything else.

      All to the good, in the long run. America is Russia’s enemy, and actions like this go further to ruin ties between the two and remind Russia that America desires its destruction. America was never much of a long-term thinker, although it fancies itself a great strategist (especially considering all the advantages with which it was gifted) and it has been getting worse in recent decades. Now it lunges at all the cheap victories. But this, too, will rebound upon it.

      • yalensis says:

        Well, I for one do think it is out of bounds to go after a swimmer’s physical appearance. Lily did win the gold medal, after all, she is a great athlete, and this was not the “swimsuit section” of a Miss Universe pageant. Where facial beauty is a requirement.
        Speculating on Lily’s “personal thoughts” and possible jealousies towards another, more physically attractive, woman, is unscientific and unchivalrous.

        In the piece that I translated for my own post, from Life News, the writer did call Lily a couple of names, including “swollen” which presumably refers to her slightly bloated-looking face. I translated this as “chubby”, but “swollen” is probably a better match. And the Life News writer also compared her to an unpleasant character in a film.
        I thought even that was out of bounds, but I still translated it, because I am not a censor. But still thought it was unchivalrous and unnecessary.

        Not that I am any fan of Lily’s — like I said, I think she is an arrogant shit and a typical American chauvinist.
        However, I should point out that Lily apologized to Efimova, I saw it in the headlines this morning. That apology should be noted, in Lily’s favor.
        It could be that athletes, especially just after a victory, when the adrenaline and testostrone is pumping away (even in women), they might get belligerent and say the wrong thing out of impulsiveness.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, ‘unchivalrous’ is an excellent word for it; it has been Russia’s policy thus far to take the high road, and I think we will be well-served to do the same. Especially since the whole Russians-are-dope-cheaters thing is an exercise in goat-getting, and the more foamy and furious Russians are over it the better America likes it, since that was the purpose. It’s nice if it persuades other allied countries to go along with its astounding display of classlessness, but in the main it is aimed at Russia, and shutting them out of international organizations while America rides on top, laughing and smiling. This is the big conflict of our age, and whether it ends in war or not, it will be a far different world when we die than it was when we were born. The USA has gone too far to pull back now and pretend it was all just a joke, and it means to press on to the finish.

          If Ms. King had been gracious and congratulated her opponent on a fine performance, the issue of her appearance would likely not have ever come up. Consequently it is an inappropriate check on her bad behavior. To give her credit, she rolled right into the discussion of American doping without trying to deflect, and promptly ran into the brick wall of another American sports organization – one of the dirtiest of the lot, as well. If she really believes that sport should be cleaned up across the board, then bravo. Naive, though, because it never will be so long as there is such fierce pressure to win medals for national prestige. So long as that system exists and becomes ever more political, athletes will continue to seek an edge over their competitors. And all the legal ones are gone.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Her swimming skills may have been developed as compensation for deficiencies in other areas.

    • ucgsblog says:

      IMHO, it was uncalled for, before King’s commentaries. But since she threw herself into the fray, willingly, now it’s fair game. Don’t dish out that, which you cannot take.

  41. Moscow Exile says:


    A pitiful parody and the unrepeatable original

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s