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 determinedly 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.

 

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

  1. ucgsblog says:

    Yikes: http://www.businessinsider.com/turkey-us-coup-anti-american-sentiment-2016-8

    Turkey’s president on Tuesday accused the West of “supporting terror and standing by” those who plotted last month’s attempted coup, just 24 hours after the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff traveled to Ankara in an attempt to diffuse tensions between the NATO allies. The incident is the latest indication that Washington is underestimating the degree to which Turkey’s leadership genuinely believes that the US is complicit in the coup attempt, not least because of its willingness to harbor an exiled cleric and former political leader accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of plotting the uprising… “Talking to locals where I live here in Istanbul, it seems to have already become accepted wisdom among many that the United States was behind the coup,” Armstrong wrote.

    The Turkish public’s reflex to sympathize with conspiracy theories “goes back almost a century, to the end of World War I, when the West carved up the defeated Ottoman Empire,” Tim Arango, a Middle East reporter at the New York Times, wrote on Wednesday. “A Western plan to divide what became modern Turkey failed after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country’s founder, waged war against the occupiers. But the effort forever ingrained in the Turkish psyche a fear of Western conspiracies.” Haluk Taylan, 48, a shopkeeper in Istanbul, told Arango that “the US is behind the coup, no doubt. The deep state of the US, the C.I.A., had a role in it.”

    Istanbul-based software developer Bekir Karabulut seemed to agree. “I think it would be naïve to say that the US has no involvement in the coup attempt,” Karabulut told Arango. “The US likes to meddle in our business, and the CIA has supported Gulen for years. They helped him flee from Turkey.” That penchant for conspiracy theories, combined with the optics of harboring a man the Turkish people are generally united against, could ultimately be what drives the US-Turkey relationship to a “critical watershed” — especially as the West continues to “obsess” over contextualizing every event in Turkey around Erdogan’s steady march toward one-man rule. It has become similar to how many within Turkey contextualize major domestic and international events around the seemingly limitless capacity of US power.

    • et Al says:

      It doesn’t matter if it is true or not. The purpose it serves is to stop the US from sanctioning Turkey though fear of Turkey dropping out of NATO, restricting Washington’s actions in the region or something else. It’s just a tool. Anything that eases InSultin’ Erdogan’s rise to untrammelled power is fair game.

      I think the whole Gulen thing is overblown considering how incompetent the ‘coup attempt’ was. After all, for someone who has built up a network of support over decades, it’s a very sloppy and embarrassing result. It seems contradictory to me, though that is not to say it wasn’t a ‘now or never’ moment before Erd became too powerful.

      Still, the next time they won’t make the same mistake. I bet it will be a lone gunman/insider or an IED that will ultimately take InSultin’ Erdogan out, probably supported by an ally he has burnt.

  2. Warren says:

    Published on 2 Aug 2016
    One of the biggest causes of economic crisis is asset price bubbles. So, how do asset bubbles cause crisis? It’s not terribly difficult to understand how they cause the problem, but it is hard to see the problem given modern economic thought and theory.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Good technology, good planning, good execution and a tough individual did the trick.

      • Jen says:

        Trusting in the icon of the Virgin Mary and a cross containing the relics of 60 saints as opposed to Richard Branson trusting in the Virgin logo slapped across the envelope (and failing in his trans-global attempt) gave Father Konyukhov that extra edge.

        • yalensis says:

          Okay, so what Father Konyukhov accomplished was an impressive feat.
          But my vote for CRAZIEST SHIT EVER still goes to American skydiver Luke Aikins who jumped (and landed!) 25K feet WITHOUT A PARACHUTE, and right into a net!

          As one commenter noted , “What kind of plane is powerful enough to lift such gigantic brass balls into the air?” -Woooooo!

        • Fern says:

          Gosh, that takes me back, Jen. There was a time when whenever you turned on the news, there was Richard Branson trying to sail the Atlantic on a bread-board or some such. We were all grateful when his mid-life crisis passed.

          • Cortes says:

            Yes, and then his crappy sweaters receded into the golf course shops where they belong.

          • Patient Observer says:

            His Virgin Galactic fiasco continues unabated. First scheduled to fly in 2009 with commercial business starting soon after, Space Ship II seem to be no closer to provides tourist sub-orbital flights than 5 years ago (and the name Space Ship II reeks of arrogance and self-importance much like Branson himself).

            Unleash the power of capitalism they say! Once the marketing BS recedes, capitalism seem to have, overall, a shabby track record.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Galactic

            The only galactic size aspect of Branson’s effort is the hype of the marketing and the massiveness of his ego.

  3. PaulR says:

    Ed Lucas and Peter Pomerantsev have a new report out, providing advice on how to counter the threat of ‘Russian propaganda’. I have summarized some of the more egregious conclusions on my blog here: https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/another-shot-in-the-propaganda-war/ But if you prefer, you can read the whole thing here:https://cepa.ecms.pl/files/?id_plik=2706

  4. Warren says:

    Published on 2 Aug 2016
    What You Need To Know:

    ✅ “Trump is surrounded by people close to Russia in a way that is very unusual not only in American politics but in American business as well;”

    ✅ While Applebaum does not think that Trump has a direct relationship to Putin, the American Presidential Candidate has been using lines from Russian propaganda, which suggests that he is probably getting the information from his staff;

    ✅ Applebaum says that it is rare for another country to influence U.S. politics, and Trump’s campaign was only interested in the Ukraine platform and not much else;

    ✅ DNC hack: “the use of illicitly stolen information to affect and shape politics is something that the Kremlin has been working on for a decade.”

    “He is surrounded by people close to Russia in a way that is very unusual not only in American politics but in American business as well,” says Anne Applebaum, an award-winning author and Washington Post columnist, when speaking about Donald Trump and his entourage. Paul Manafort and Carter Page , two individuals who manage and advise Trump, both have ties to Russia.

    While Applebaum does not think that Trump has a direct relationship to Putin, the American Presidential Candidate has been using lines from Russian propaganda, which suggests that he is probably getting the information from his staff.

    “He seems to have a special interest in Russia and Ukraine. I’m guessing because of who’s around him.” Applebaum says that it is rare for another country to influence U.S. politics, and Trump’s campaign was only interested in the Ukraine platform and not much else.

    Applebaum also touches upon the recent DNC hacks and says that all fingers point at Russia: “the use of illicitly stolen information to affect and shape politics is something that the Kremlin has been working on for a decade.”

    Hromadske’s Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke to Anne Applebaum, award-winning author and Washington Post columnist via Skype on July 31st, 2016.

    • marknesop says:

      I couldn’t watch it; as soon as I saw Applebaum’s horsey face come up on the screen I felt queasy and had to turn it off. I did stay long enough to hear her characterize Manafort’s work for Viktor Yanukovych as perhaps the defining moment in his career, working for Ukrainian oligarchs.

      Somebody better let Tony “shirtfront” Abbott know that he might be establishing the defining moment in his career. Because that’s what he’s doing; working for Ukrainian oligarchs. And Applebaum did not seem to intend it as a compliment. Mustn’t forget Tony “War Criminal” Blair, or Anders “Fogh of War” Fogh Rasmussen.

      The Democrats and their supporters – and we should remember there was a time when Annie Applebaum would not cross the street to spit on Hillary Clinton if she burst into flames, because Annie is as Republican as they come – have to keep up the noise about Putin hacking the DNC so that voters do not ask, “Yeah, but is the information that was released true? And why do political figures have a right to hide that stuff from us? Don’t they work for us?”

      • Warren says:

        Apfelbaum is far more restrained in this interview, than she is on her twitter feed and her Washington Post column. Where she repeatedly insinuates that Trump is a Russian agent, plant, spy or a “Siberian candidate”.

        Tony “the Geordie” Abbott, Tony “JP Morgan” Blair and Anders Fogh “cartoons” Rasmussen are all good and noble Atlanticist, therefore one cannot equate them with Paul Manafort – a professional influence peddler. This how Apfelbaum would rationalise the difference and draw a distinction.

        Whether Apfelbaum is a Republican or Democrat, I don’t know. She has worked outside the US most of her career and adult life, her interests are foreign affairs. And when it comes to foreign policy, the two US parties pursue exactly the same policies and objectives – that of expanding US power and maintaining US ascendency.

        Apfelbaum’s hatred of Trump, and that of Atlanticists, stems from the fact that Trump does not share the Atlanticists’ aggressive foreign policy agenda. The founding tenet and pillar of Atlanticism – is implacable hostility to Russia. Trump deviates from that, hence the reason why Trump is so loathed and viewed as a heretic by Atlanticists.

        Trump’s opinions and statements on Russia, Ukraine, Crimea and NATO has made Atlanticists apoplectic – as any US-Russia detente or rapprochement would ruin the careers of countless Atlanticist DC policy wonks, hacks, academics, and propagandists.

    • Northern Star says:

      So *exactly* what are the credentials of this Jewess insofar as Russia is concerned..
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Applebaum

      • marknesop says:

        Well, she wrote a book about the gulags which received ‘critical acclaim’. She is married to Radislaw Sikorski, onetime Polish Foreign Minister and who was once under consideration for NATO Secretary-General, and who is now a member of Petro Poroshenko’s ‘Foreign Advisory Council’. She hates Russia as if she were a native Pole. And that’s…about it. She loved Georgie Bush enough to bear his children if he had asked, and in general she is a big fan of America kicking sand in everybody’s face all around the world and making them eat dirt with its big, powerful military. As I said, she is a diehard conservative – but these are strange times, and the Republican candidate has refused to say how much he loves Israel and hates Russia, while there is by far a better chance that America will return to its ass-kicking ways under Hillary Clinton, so that’s the way Annie is leaning this time around.

      • yalensis says:

        She graduated from Yale, ’nuff said!

    • Jen says:

      ” … Applebaum says that it is rare for another country to influence U.S. politics, and Trump’s campaign was only interested in the Ukraine platform and not much else …”

      I guess Annie Apples doesn’t read DailyCaller.com much, does she?

      http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/11/exclusive-persian-gulf-sheikhs-gave-bill-hillary-100-million/

      Not to mention the numerous sources of information on how Israel influences US foreign policy and how often Satanyahu flies to Washington to lecture O’Bomber on what he’s supposed to do.

  5. Warren says:

    Published on 3 Aug 2016
    London-based economist John Weeks says the current struggle in the Labour party will continue whether the party remains hierarchical and neoliberal or becomes mass-based and social democratic

  6. marknesop says:

    I wonder if there is an implied threat here; “Russian sports chief says McLaren’s doping report to be thoroughly studied after 2016 Rio”

    Moscow knows very well that McLaren has no real evidence, and is pinning everything on Rodchenkov’s and the Stepanovs’ testimony – he has said as much. Will their wild tales hold up? We’ll see. But the public rift between the IOC and WADA, and increasing talk about reform at the latter does not spell confidence in WADA’s allegations to me. It would be pretty sweet if their whole case fell through and Russia took WADA to court. They’ve been strutting around throwing bans and cutting a wide swath as Washington uses them as yet one more of its political tools, but just maybe they have overstepped this time.

    I notice WADA was not able to reward its star nightingale, Yulia Stepanova, with an Olympic slot. The IOC put paid to that proposition, as their quarrel gets more public.

    Speaking of WADA, Russia appears to have goaded its president, Craig Reedie, into announcing that WADA was ready to reveal the names of the Russian athletes who allegedly took performance-enhancing drugs during the Sochi Olympics. That is a slippery slope in which WADA is putting all its eggs in the Rodchenkov/Stepanov basket. If they are lying or cannot furnish any real evidence, the case is in serious trouble, and it looks like it is only going to heat up after Rio rather than dying down.

    • et Al says:

      I think the legal route will be pretty well inevitable unless WADA rows back. It doesn’t actually have to go to court, as you have pointed out their rather whimiscal ‘evidence’, that I highly doubt would pass the legal smell test to even get beyond a hearing. I would expect that WADA & the IOC may simply be happy to drop the ban with little or no fanfare and ‘no comment’, after Rio if possible.

      Those re-tested samples would need to be tested even again…

      I suppose the question is what happens to those officials in WADA who backed & demanded the ban. I don’t see how anyone could have further confidence in WADA if they remain in place. They may pretend not to be responsible or take any blame but I don’t see how they could stay (apart from their government’s insistence) without all credibility being lost.

      • marknesop says:

        If I remember correctly, Dick Pound is not part of WADA any more, or any Olympic organization – he’s retired, just (allegedly) ‘well-respected’ and a former WADA official. He’s a co-founder of WADA and a former president, and he had several jobs in both the Canadian and international Olympic committees. but now he’s just an international busybody without portfolio, and obviously possessed of the belief that the Russians are what is wrong with clean sport and everything they ever won, they cheated to get. conversely, North America represents everything that’s right with clean sport, and has an international obligation to squeeze out those Russian state-sponsored dopers and everyone else who shames their nation. The United States is happy to use him and McLaren because they like to internationalize their Russophobia.

        I’m sure there are good reasons for Russia to just bow its head and accept it for now, and probably that’s the best thing in the long run, especially if WADA ends up discredited. And hopefully Russia will press it hard once the Olympics is over. But I would be hurt and angry if I were in charge, and I would withdraw from the Olympics, do everything I could to damage it as an institution and it would never see another dime out of me.

        I would be exactly the kind of reactionary leader Washington wishes was in charge in Russia. Because the USA would be delighted to see Russia as isolated as it is trying to make it. Here’s a very interesting Canadian policy document on the drive for medals in international sport, and how much it means politically. It specifically cites how much Russia spends on sport, and I am sure I’m not speaking out of turn when I say screwing Russia out of medals is a western objective, and one that would not be necessary if they could be easily beaten just by superior athletes. Here’s a teaser:

        “International sporting success has many outcomes, which I would argue are beneficial and far reaching. Governments seem to agree with what appears to be a continuing and increasing “arms race” with the hopes of further medals. As but one example on October 11, 2014, Russia announced a new federal funding program worth RUB70 billion ($1.8 billion) to further develop physical education and sports. Understanding how to best invest these funds in any country is difficult, however, as creating world champions is a complicated algorithm. In part, it was this recognition that led to the creation of the Canadian Sport for Life Long-Term Athlete Development (CS4L–LTAD) pathway.

        Another way to help answer the question of how to best invest in sport is SPLISS (Sport Policies Leading to International Sporting Success), a theoretical model for understanding (as the name suggests) what policies administrators can influence that will lead to medals in Summer Olympic Games. This model has evolved following rigorous study that began in the early 2000s. At that time, researchers from Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom recognized that other models were too anecdotal or descriptive in their attempts to understand how to better invest for medal success.”

        Forget that ‘just do your best; you can do no more’ shit. It’s about international prestige and winning lots of gold medals gives you a bigger dick to swing around on the world stage. And that’s what it’s all about.

        We’ve spoken before about the limitations of the human body set against the expectations that new world records will be set at every Olympics. The body can only do so much, and there are thresholds for human performance. These are young people in the prime of health who train every day, and it is not unrealistic to imagine at some point a person is going to lift the greatest weight of which a human is capable of lifting without taking some sort of drug to boost his strength or dull the pain that warns him he is destroying something. At the next Olympics, somebody will still win a gold medal in that event, but they will not be able to break the record, and that will be disappointing because it will force everyone to acknowledge that humans have limits.

        Interestingly, Craig Reedie is not only President of WADA, but Vice-President of the IOC. He is British, unsurprisingly – he had to be either that or an American because nobody hates the Russians like the British and the Americans do. So the IOC smackdown is a double kick in the sack. I guess we know who the “1” was in the 84-1 vote, or whatever it was.

        • et Al says:

          I think you’ve just failed your job interview with Vladimir Putin! 😉 Never mind.

          Let’s look at this dispassionately. For all the slurry WADA, the US and its allies have spread in the direction of Russia, two thirds of (now angry) Russian athletes are going to the Olympics. By not winning a ban, they have already lost. It was the best they could do and there was no way for them to square the circle short of declaring that Russia does not exist and thus cannot be present a the Olympics.

          Then there’s the longburn that we’ve all discussed and heavily speculated upon. Who knows how it is going to shake out, but what we do know is that Putler takes his time and likes to serve his revenge cold, and usually indirectly with little fanfare. It may not garner headlines, but it will be an obvious slap in the face with a large fish a la Asterix to Russia’s opponents.

          I’m not for keeping Russian athletes at home. This is about history. It will be another chapter in a series of attempts by the West to pawn Putin that he handles with his usual Judo throw/chess move, at his timing and choice. This will be stuff taught to new cadres of diplomats as textbook ‘handling dat shit and then some’. No one is perfect and certainly not Putin (disbanding the firewarning/volunteer service for example), but it is a master class of playing whatever cards you’ve got their best advantage.

          • et Al says:

            Wada’s that stuck in your throat, Groaning Man?#

            https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/04/thomas-bach-russians-ioc-soul-searching-rio

            …“For me was that after this decision you have to be able to look into the eyes of all the athletes and during my many visits to the village here in Rio I have been looking into eyes of many athletes.”

            McLaren has accused the IOC of misrepresenting his findings, with several Russian athletes challenging bans based on their inclusion within the report. But Bach defended the process, which left those Russian athletes who did travel in limbo until the eve of the Olympics.

            “I think this is a very thorough, strict and clear procedure and you will see the results of the individual analyses and on the application of justice in order to ensure a level playing field here at the Olympic Games,” he said.

            As he has since the beginning of the saga, he said that while the presumption of innocence had been reversed, “natural justice does not allow us to deprive human beings of the right to prove their innocence”.

            Bach pointed to the near unanimous support he received from members at the IOC decision, with only Britain’s Adam Pengilly voting against. ..

            • marknesop says:

              Still a lot of mouth from the western press against the IOC, and although I think Bach’s position is secure, you can bet that an effort to muscle him out and a compliant toady into his position will depend on how further investigations into the McLaren report go after the Olympics are over. For the moment McLaren seems pretty cocky, saying the IOC misrepresented his findings, but he got all of his testimonial evidence from WADA and its president is vice-president of the IOC! What’s the chances of that being true, do you think?

              I think WADA is going to end up getting its peepee slapped. I certainly hope so, anyway, and I hope Reedie comes through on naming athletes fingered by WADA’s ‘whistleblowers’ because that will leave both the ‘whistleblowers’ and WADA open to lawsuits.

          • marknesop says:

            Ha, ha!!! That’s a great pity; and I did have my heart set on the Foreign Ministry once Lavrov coughs it. Although I hope that will be many years yet – I can wait.

            Speaking of Putin, I was in the grocery store this evening and saw that he has made the jump now to greeting cards; he certainly is versatile. It was a birthday card, and featured a sharp-dressed man sitting between two very attractive young ladies in the back seat of a limo; Putin’s face had been photoshopped onto the gentleman’s body. The front read, “How would you like to party with a couple of Russian beauties on your birthday?” Inside was the same Putin face, and the text, “Of course I was just Putin you on. Hope you choke on your decadent western birthday cake”. Very comical; I would have been delighted to receive it for my birthday.

      • Chinese American says:

        Yet one more quick note: I think the article where WADA head Craig Reedie said he is ready to reveal the names of the athletes at Sochi who allegedly used performance-enhancing drugs is this link:
        http://tass.ru/en/sport/892135

        However, in the Australian article studied by Alexander Mercouris, WADA chief executive Olivier Niggli was quoted to say that “[McLaren] gave the international federations everything he had, every name.” So in other words, if McLaren had, or thought that he had, or thought that he could make it remotely look like he had anything on a Russian athlete, then his or her name should have already been given to the corresponding sport federation. So…Have the Sochi athletes’ names, which Reedie claims to possess, been given to their federations already? (As of July 25, the Ice Hockey federation was still asking for the names of the Russian hockey players that McLaren claimed he had.)

        • marknesop says:

          It’s possible that it might not constitute an actionable legal case until the names are made public, but I would think if Russian athletes could demonstrate their names were revealed to the IOC as dopers when they were not, and decisions were made taking into account that information, they might have a case.

          This is just Washington trying to make the statement “Russia is isolated” true by getting it banned from all world organizations. The tactic does not seem popular in Europe, and I am only sorry Canada got dragged into on the Americans’ side. Hopefully Pound and McLaren both will be caught up in the fallout of the disgrace post-Olympics, and if the O,lympics competition collapses a lot of people who don’t deserve to be employed will be out of their jobs.

      • Fern says:

        Looks like the wheels are coming off the WADA wagon and McClaren is getting a tad worried hence the somewhat hysterical tone of this:-

        “I have the evidence, I have it secured. I have the evidence backed up by forensic analysis of databases, sample bottles, I have laboratory evidence of some of those samples. It’s true I haven’t revealed,” he said.
        “But if you conduct a proper investigation, you don’t put the evidence out there to create misinformation. I was at the stage where I could say what I knew beyond reasonable doubt. I wouldn’t put anything in the report that I didn’t have evidence of and wouldn’t meet the criminal standard in any court around the world,” he added.

        I don’t know what standard of jurisprudence he’s used to but it’s a mighty odd one. How can he really have established the provenance of any samples his ‘whistleblower’ presented him with? Other than the word of his informant, what actual evidence has he got of the involvement of the Russian state? Why did McClaren make no effort to discuss his ‘evidence’ with Russian officials?

        Let’s hope Russia goes after WADA and McClaren once the Games are over – let’s see how well his ‘evidence’ stands up in an actual court rather than the fictious one he seems to have created in his mind.

        • marknesop says:

          He looks to be sweating in the picture. I’d say he should get used to that. He just admitted to convicting an entire country on secret evidence that he has shared with nobody else.

          • yalensis says:

            Yeah, but he said that it appeared that way to him beyond reasonable doubt.
            If that’s good enough for this one-man judge-jury-executioner, then it should be good enough for the rest of us.

            • marknesop says:

              He said he had secret evidence that nobody had seen but him, and that the purpose of his report was never to establish individual guilt, but to demonstrate that there was a state-sponsored doping program. He admitted publicly before he commenced his research that he had no such evidence, so he must have obtained it between the time he announced he had none and the time his report was released. Did he actually go to Russia to obtain the samples he alludes to having? If not, I hope he has a chain of custody for them, because they could have come from anywhere and he probably got every bit of it from Rodchenkov. He’s just saying nobody else has seen it to avoid saying where he got it, and a conviction in which the accused was not permitted to challenge the veracity of the evidence would not stand up anywhere else in the world except for America, where they are just so exceptional that they can do things that any other country would be condemned for doing. And rightly so.

        • Chinese American says:

          Alexander Mercouris just put out a good summary of some of the new developments:
          http://theduran.com/russian-olympic-doping-scandal-mclaren-report-sexed-implicated-clean-atheletes/

          Apparently, the IOC and WADA are starting to point fingers at each other, and it’s starting to get reported in the Western press.

        • Patient Observer says:

          You got to love this line:

          But if you conduct a proper investigation, you don’t put the evidence out there to create misinformation.

          • marknesop says:

            I’m not sure he meant it the way it sounded – for someone supposedly so well-educated he is very poor at expressing himself, especially when he doesn’t get his own way – but the line is arresting, for sure. Let’s not ruin the purity of the investigation with too much evidence.

            • Jen says:

              Naah, you follow the way forged by the Dutch Safety Board in investigating what brought down MH17: you decide that the Russians are to blame and then you look for and put out the evidence that leads to your chosen decision and ignore all other evidence that leads away from your belief.

              • et Al says:

                Well that’s what the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague did with Milosevic. The ‘surprise’ finding in the Karadzic judgement that one of the Stooges posted recently is anything but surprising, but that’s not the point. It is neutralising a ‘threat’ for a determined time frame to take them out of a political equation and make way for more pliable actors.

                MH17 was just another opportunity to justify sanctions against Russia. Tank the Russian economy, promote a coup. Innit? Except the West and particularly the US are stuck in their own echo chamber.

                Anyone even mildly critical of their strategy had seen the way the wind is blowing or has been forced out. Thinktankland has been gutted of critical thought, ironically to the detriment of the US itself. A great example of perfect short term thinking that dominates western thinking and long term thinking based on false premise.

      • marknesop says:

        “Professor Richard McLaren said the IOC, which did not speak to him or his team about their findings before controversially deciding to let Russian athletes compete in Rio subject to certain conditions, have turned his conclusions upside down. Meanwhile, he said, the debate about the issue and the future of the anti-doping system had become “political and hysterical”

        But a concerted effort to ban the entire Russian national team, including athletes competing in sports in which performance enhancements are extremely unlikely to ever be used, was not political. Of course not. And the concerted effort by WADA to get Stepanova a competition slot under the Olympic flag, just to rub Russia’s nose in it, was not political. Of course not.

        You can see McLaren does not want to name names. And what the fuck is he talking about, secret evidence that nobody has seen except him? Where did he get it, then? Did he discover it himself, from someone who never saw it? The IOC seems to be unconvinced, and Bach seems unruffled by the immediate and predictable decision to smear him as another of Putin’s minions. Since taking down the IOC would possibly entail taking down the Olympics along with it, I don’t see a downside. But I hope the pin that fucker McLaren right to the mat, because he has nothing substantive and he knows it. If he saw the IOC was wavering, why didn’t he whip out his secret evidence, and convince them?

  7. marknesop says:

    Oh, my! Ukraine resumes reprocessing its spent nuclear fuel through Russia, and making its payments. What’s the matter; wasn’t Uncle Sam able to come to the rescue? There’s another successful corruption investigation wrapped up, folks, let’s give Kiev a round of applause.

    As usual, Russia says it’s no big deal, and makes excuses for Ukraine’s bizarre behavior.

  8. marknesop says:

    Why does Nord Stream operate at less than 100% capacity? Because of capacity restrictions imposed by Brussels – just remember that the next time that poxy twat Sefcovic starts blabbering on about why do we need Nord Stream II when the original pipeline only operates at half-capacity? And he will, be sure of it. If Nord Stream could operate at 100% capacity, it would be half the cost of transiting through Ukraine. Just how much charity is Russia expected to offer, especially considering Ukraine imposed a transit rate hike last year for the privilege of using its leaky, whistling, rotting pipeline network?

    Expect this issue to take center stage in the coming months, because northwest Europe, with declining production of its own gas, is going to need a reliable solution, and should be getting pretty tired of propping up Ukraine, Romania and Poland the perennial malcontents. At the present time Poland’s regulatory commission is holding up Nord Stream II just because it can – but don’t expect that to last. The EU is soon going to be faced with the choice of a Russian gas pipeline in whose operation they will at least have input and in whose construction European companies will share some of the lolly – or a Russo-Turkic pipeline in which they have no say at all and the gas delivery point is at the border.

    And really, the EU’s arguments make it look like it was dropped on its head as an infant. If Turkish Stream goes ahead, the story goes, it will increase dependency on Russian gas, but block Caspian supplies. How? Caspian supplies (Azerbaijan) are supposed to come via the Southern Gas Corridor, which the EU keeps saying it is pressing on with but has yet to lay a foot of. Remind you of the talking-shop that Nabucco became? How much money was pissed away on that, and they didn’t build any of it. But the argument seems to be that if Turkish Stream is built, the Southern Gas Corridor cannot be. Why not? What’s stopping you?

    Price. The EU is scared it cannot do it as cheaply as Russia. And it probably can’t. How does that bear on the consumer? Sefcovic already told you – it’s not all about price. What price freedom, my friends? Aren’t you willing to pay more for your gas so you can say it is Azerbaijani gas instead of Putin’s gas? What do you say, European consumer? But it keeps going on about how Turkey and everybody else will get cheap gas, but is still trying to frighten Europeans that if they depend on Russian gas it will go up. Why would it, if it’s costing Russia less to ship it?

    Kiev should be getting scared. Because there is an increased chance Brussels will cave on the Nord Stream II issue, considering the factors I’ve already laid out. Or else Putin will build Turkish Stream, and the EU will have to build its own infrastructure to hook up at the border, and either solution will bypass Ukraine – through which, incidentally, transit was up 21% in the first months of 2016, as the Ukrainians try to showcase what reliable partners they are. But that route fails on price. Wah wah wahhhhhh….sorry, Kiev.

    • Jeremn says:

      I think EU dithering will force the price of gas up, and then the US will rush to save us with LNG and fracking. But, then, I’m a pessimist.

      • marknesop says:

        But even if the price of gas did rise due to EU dithering, Russia could still undercut American LNG price. It comes down to how much are you willing to pay to proudly say “No thank you, Mr. Putin”? It’s like Sikorski and his Polish LNG terminal, where he said it costs more, but at least it flies the Polish flag, or like how you could probably sleep with the starlet of your dreams…if you were willing to do anything to get her. Prostitute yourself, sell drugs, move to another country, completely change your lifestyle, whatever it took. A lot of things that are attainable in the abstract are simply not worth it. the UK might be able to get by with no gas imports at all – it still has a little, and they could go back to coal and wood-burning fireplaces like on “Upstairs, Downstairs” (my ex loved that program”, and theoretically they could do it, with just a little of that famed British pluck and a stiff upper lip. But nobody wants to do it, because the illusion of independence is not worth behaving so stupidly. It has become a game to see who can get their people deeper in self-denial so that their leader can thumb his nose at Putin.

        • Jeremn says:

          It is a bit like Hinckley Point – the UK can’t be reliant on Chinese involvement for security reasons (although the French suffered too when the agreement was frozen). Our elites try to get away with it by keeping the population in a state of fear. But they also reward their own chums with contracts, no matter what the cost.

          So, yes, I do think they’ll try to get away with it, whatever the cost (they’ll just blame the utility companies).

          • marknesop says:

            There would be the entry of an opposition political figure, telling the populace as much as it would listen to about how an alternate source which is cheaper is available but our political masters make us pay more in order to score political points with their master and perhaps advance themselves and their positions…if the situation were reversed and Russia were dependent on European gas, and Putin was trying to wean the Russians off of it in favour of a more-expensive but more exclusionary alternative.

            In my opinion, Russia needs to do that more. Sponsor opposition politicians in enemy countries, I mean. It’s a go-to western tactic.

        • et Al says:

          Expect Brussels to accuse Russia of ‘dumping’ gas on the EU market, regardless of any truth. Russia could still reduce price and make a profit, ergo not ‘dumping’ in any sense. I would then expect all those new gas reservoirs being built by Germany, Gasprom and others to fill up on cheap Russian gas.

          I have a question though. If gazprom fills up its CEEC/Balkan reservoirs when gas is X price at X time, is that the fixed price of the gas or if the world price drops, it can sell it for less without it technically being ‘dumping’? Does anyone know what the mechanism is?

    • Fern says:

      Here’s those good ole western values again on display here, this time directed at the peons in Europe. You wouldn’t know it from our posturing politicians but fuel poverty is a massive problem in Europe affecting between 50 to 125 million people. The health consequences are dire from thousands of excess deaths in winter’s maw to increases in chronic lung and respiratory diseases. And would you believe it but the Baltic chihuahuas, ever-reliably yapping at all things Russian, have large numbers of their populations living in fuel poverty. Ever read anything by Edward Lucas on this? No, me neither. So, I couldn’t really do justice to how angry the behaviour of these morons makes me….people die before their time every year because they can’t afford to properly heat their homes and these geniuses in Brussels paid for by us are totally OK with rocketing fuel prices as long as they can say they poked a finger in Vladimir Putin’s eye.

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    Kreakl humour:

    This 14-year-old Russian girl has been disqualified from the Olympics

    How drole, how very drole!

    But explain this, smart-arse:

    The American woman above left (and that is not a spoof photo, unlike the “humorous” one at the top) has most certainly not been disqualified from participating in international tennis competitions, whereas the Russian sportswoman on the right …

    • yalensis says:

      The difference is that steroids make you BIG, whereas Meldonium makes you skinny.

      • marknesop says:

        And Serena Williams has won way more tennis tournaments than Sharapova ever did. Their ranks went up and down over the years, but Williams scored a lot more championships. So they didn’t even have the suspicion that Sharapova was doping because she won an extraordinary amount of contests, far more than an ordinary woman could have done unassisted by drugs. However, she crushed Williams in endorsements and glamour, and I think she might have been the wealthiest female sports star in those terms.

        And we couldn’t have that.

        • ucgsblog says:

          She is the number one female athlete in promoting her brand, according to Forbes. That said, Serena works out quite a bit, so let’s stop trying to pretend that she’s doping. The bigger issue in tennis is sexism. Sharapova was on her way to beat the men’s tennis stars, like Murray and Federer, when it comes to endorsements and branding. Hmm, I wonder, which males supported WADA? It’s almost as if there’s a butthurt sexist coincidence there… “that bitch left the kitchen, so let’s ban the only drug that enables her to overcome her birth defects and compete, that’s not sexist at all!”

          • et Al says:

            Hear Hear UCG! At least for men, working out increases the body’s production of testosterone and I would guess for women too. She puts in the hard work, she gets out the results with dollops of psychological aggression. If I were being rude I would her anger is because she is American! 🙂 McEnroe anyone?

            Considering what happened to FloJo, it makes absolutely no sense to do the same and then drop dead and leave a tainted legacy.

            • marknesop says:

              I would certainly not say it is out of the question that she is doping, her thighs are massive and she has a body like a man and a lot of it is muscle bulk rather than just tone. but even if she is clean as a whistle, WADA and the USADA have done a piss-poor job of getting that on the record, letting her skip drug testing and indulging her fancy. And that whole I-stepped-on-some-broken-glass-in-a-German-restaurant thing has never been satisfactorily verified. I agree with commenters on sports forums who say the Tennis Association just does not want to know. Perhaps steroid use which leads to massive muscles like that is detectable long-term, but knowledgeable sources have pointed out that tests administered days before the event rarely find anything and a test for doping might turn up negative dependent on hours, not days. Many performance-enhancing drugs are not persistent at all.

              • Eric says:

                She serves faster than many men…doesn’t seem to me to be a great tennis player skillswise (nor her sister). On a “pound-for pound” basis I don’t think they would be top 300 in the world. The Womens game shouldn’t be about serving 20 aces a game. Definite doper, for me.

          • Fern says:

            Mmmmm, I’m not totally convinced Serena Williams’ muscle-tone comes from working out – are you sure there’s no pharmaceuticals involved,ucgsblog?

            • Patient Observer says:

              I agree. Also, did not Serena have a fading career for a bit and then came back stronger than ever? If my memory is correct on this, it would not be the first time a fading athlete discovered the fountain of youth, so to speak, and then come back better than ever.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Remember Tiger Woods? His golf prowess collapsed after his personal scandal. There are persistent stories that he was doped fairly heavily up to that time:

            https://lannyhgolf.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/is-the-pga-hiding-tiger-woods-link-to-biogenesis-and-steroids/

            After the scandal, his commercial value dropped significantly and he may have been under too much scrutiny to continue the doping route (especially given that there may have been insufficient financial motivation for the PGA to look the other way).

            The above article suggests that Tiger Woods is where Lance Armstrong was 10 year earlier – all of the insiders knew he was doped but the monied people did not want to upset the gravy train.

            The reverse logic could certainly work against Sharapova – she was too successful and too pro-Russian. With the full-court press against all things Russian, her days were numbered. I say she was pro-Russian based on her TV commentary related to the Sochi Olympics which is my only basis for that conclusion.

            • ucgsblog says:

              I doubt it. To most of the common people I know, Russia is an enigma, and Sharapova is an amazing woman with great personality, brains, and looks. WADA could not have possibly chosen a worse target. If she wants to sue, the lawyers would be lining up to take up her case. As would PR managers, social media experts, analysts, etc. If you’re successful from an enigma, you’re pretty much Supergirl. And Supergirl’s quite popular.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, Sharapova never competed for the USA although she lived there and – according to La Russophobe – learned everything she knew about tennis there. She always competed for Russia and gave every indication of being proud to be Russian although she came from very humble beginnings.

              Cycling is an endurance and power sport in which performance enhancement would give an athlete and important edge. I can’t see what difference it would make in golf. I mean, Tiger Woods could be a juicehead, sure – but I’m not sure it would help his game at all. Comes to that, I don’t know how much difference it would make in tennis, which is a strategy sport in which you try to position your opponent far from where you intend to send your next shot, except for the raw power of the serve.

              • Patient Observer says:

                The same argument was made for baseball players blasting homers to the moon – drugs do not improve hand-eye coordination for players like Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire. Even assuming the claim about hand-eye coordination is true and there is no improvement in reaction time, the added muscle strength from doping certainly allows the most to be achieved from the natural talent that they had. The same could be said of tennis.

                Woods was noted for his strength and long drives. One of the allegations was that he partook of human growth hormone which is very hard to discern from natural levels. Also, perhaps like many pro players, he had eye surgery that gave him better than 20/20 eyesight (the lens was reshaped to account for natural variations in the shape of the retina).

                Also, who is to say that there are no drugs that do improve brain reaction time and coordination? I believe even lowly caffeine helps in that area. Given the billions of dollars at stake, every conceivable drug will be developed to increase the changes of a player and their sponsors to win and for regulating agencies to look away.

              • Jen says:

                Sharapova learned her tennis basics while living in Sochi as a small girl. Her family sent her to a tennis clinic run by Martina Navratilova in Moscow when she was 6 years of age. Navratilova recommended that she train in the US (at a tennis academy in Florida) and from then on her family scrimped and saved to fly to the US and enroll her at the academy. The story about how the family agreed to split and Dad and Maria journeying to the US alone, and Dad taking up jobs like washing dishes in restaurants to raise the money to put his little girl into tennis school, is the stuff of legend except perhaps to Yulia Latynina.

                If Tiger Woods had been a juicehead, any drugs he took would be to steady his nerves while he was teeing up shots and working out the direction to hit them in, how to set up his hits in advance and controlling his movements while under mental and time pressures to stop jerking and trembling. These kinds of drugs (beta blockers) are banned by the IOC in archery, pistol-shooting and any other Olympic sport where balance and steady aim are required.

                • yalensis says:

                  In the figure skating world (and I am not going to drop any names, but there is a particular person I am referring to), there were rumors that this Russian athlete got took a snootful of vodka before performing. Counterintuitive, but the vodka calmed his nerves and stagefright; and did not adversely affect neither reaction time nor focus.
                  Not sure if alcohol is a banned drug in sports world. If they tested for it, and found positive, would they revoke the medal? I don’t know the answer to that question.

                • marknesop says:

                  I don’t think so, and as far as I can make out from this it is only rumor anyway.

                  But while we are talking about sport, quelle dommage! Poor Yulia Stepanova’s dream (and WADA’s) of participating in the Olympics at Rio as a ‘neutral’ athlete is all spoilt, and the Stepanovs are dropping their appeal. Poor Stepanovs! they are victims of political discrimination. Who ever thought such a thing could happen, after their escape to the free world?

                  “We understand that the (International Olympic Committee) has discretion to invite whomever they choose to the Games. We believe that in exercising this discretion to deny Yuliya a place in the competition, it sends a message that the World Anti-Doping Code and the values of Olympism are merely words on a page.”

                  Because the IOC would not allow a known doper to participate, they are pissing on the values of Olympism. After Yulia made the ultimate sacrifice of betraying her country, shouldn’t she be entitled to a little compensation? She’s changed, folks!! that was another Yulia, the bad Yulia. This is Yulia Clean Sport.

                  “We believe that the IOC’s focus on Yuliya’s past sanction for doping shifts the spotlight away from the real issue, which is that the IOC took no action against Russia for punishing Yuliya for being a credible whistle-blower by refusing to put her on Russia’s Olympic team,” the Stepanovs said. “At no point did the IOC, unlike the IAAF, demand publicly from the Russian sports authorities that they recognize our whistle-blowing as an important and valuable contribution for clean sport in Russia. This amounts to political discrimination in direct violation of the Olympic Charter and was nowhere mentioned in the IOC’s decision.

                  “Our disappointment and sadness is huge.”

                  Poor Stepanovs! They overestimated the ability of the United States to make dreams come true.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Jen, that was interesting info on the use of beta blockers in sports.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Per the link, some US Olympic athletes are using a electronic “brain stimulator” to improve reaction times; perfectly legal of course.

                  https://www.rt.com/sport/354921-us-athletes-using-brain-stimulation/

                  I guess the law on doping is that anything goes until it is banned. Another approach is that nothing is allowed until approved but that would take away a major advantage that a well-funded sports program.

                  Next, the brain stinulator device could include sensors to detect, say, the sound of the starting buzzer, and then zap some neurons to give that first kick. jump or whatever. The potential is unlimited! Coming soon: the Borg Olympics!

                • marknesop says:

                  Anything goes until it is banned, and the United States Olympic Committee and the United States Anti-Doping Agency appear to collude on such occasions to ensure it is not banned until after the completion of the Olympics which is current at the time, so as to ensure the protection of American medals won. The US men’s cycling team in 1984 won 9 medals it did not earn. But blood doping was not banned until the following year. But USADA is extremely zealous enforcing bans since of substances whose effect is exactly the same, and loudly supporting the punishment of athletes found guilty of using such substances. Perhaps medals should be awarded on the basis of countries to whom winning medals is most important for their egos and perception of their place in the world. Countries should supply a letter prior to the Olympics describing the lengths to which they are prepared to go to win all the medals, and then the most needy, spoiled and insecure country should just be awarded all of them. Saves a lot of money wasted on sports training and equipment, and completely obviates the need for a massive security presence in the host country because there does not need to be any actual competition.

                  In what I hope will be the final Olympic Games, I see Russia is on the board with a Gold in judo and a silver in shooting.

                • et Al says:

                  …Others to have tried brain stimulation include Hafsatu Kamara, a 100m sprinter from Sierra Leone and Mikel Thomas, a 110m hurdler from Trinidad & Tobago.

                  Halo’s new technology has also been picked up by US Defense, who are exploring whether brain stimulation could have benefits outside of sport…
                  ####

                  So not just ‘Americans’. Dual use technology is good for the United States, bad for everyone else of course. The problem is that almost anything even if designed for a civilian use can have some sort of military application, if you are creative enough. Like the ‘brain stimulation’ fing in the post, whether it is hokus pocus or not is hardly relevant. It is a tool. If others perceive that you have and advantage, then not looking in to it cannot be passed up. Maybe simply another psychological war trick in the sports box…

                • Jen says:

                  @ Yalensis: We had a case in Australia where a pentathlete was banned from continuing competition in the 1988 Seoul Olympics because he drank something like 10 – 12 cups of coffee and 2 cans of Coca-Cola in 12 hours during the fencing event. He was hit with a life ban but was later able to clear his name in time to qualify for the Barcelona Olympics.
                  http://www.aph.gov.au/binaries/senate/committee/ecita_ctte/completed_inquiries/pre1996/pos_drug_aw/01commrep.pdf

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I remember how in the ’70s during my rugby playing days we were given some sort of glucose drink before a match and at half-time as well. Can’t remember what it was called: Energen or something like…

                  On the label was some guff about electrolyte and carbohydrate replenishment.

                  My favourite electrolyte and carbohydrate replenisher, however, used to be about 12 pints of bitter in the clubhouse after a match.

                • yalensis says:

                  I recommend that all elite athletes drink Brawndo, “The Thirst Mutilator.”
                  Because it has electrolytes.
                  Which is what both Plants and Athletes crave.

    • kirill says:

      Since this 5th column slime can’t produce a single photograph of a Russian athlete that looks like they do steroids, they need to produce a brain dead imitation. They actually make the case that doping by Russian athletes is nothing to yap about.

  10. Warren says:

    Published on 3 Aug 2016
    Down with Gender-bending! HD with English Subs. Blockbuster Russian 2015 documentary extremely critical of LGBT Agenda

    • Special_sauce says:

      But girl on girl will always have a special place in my fantasies

    • yalensis says:

      Somehow the nicer Twin City Gomorrah always gets overlooked.

      • Cortes says:

        Except by the Bard of Avon

        Gomorrah and Gomorrah and Gomorrah

        (Ding Dong)

        • Cortes says:

          And since we must pay homage to Sauron, stage direction…

          (exit, pursued by a Bear)

        • yalensis says:

          Is that from King Lear?

          • Jen says:

            It’s from Macbeth.

            “She should have died hereafter.
            There would have been a time for such a word.
            Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
            Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
            To the last syllable of recorded time,
            And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
            The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
            Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
            That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
            And then is heard no more. It is a tale
            Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
            Signifying nothing.”

            It’s during the scene when Macbeth is told his wife has died. After the speech, a messenger comes to inform Macbeth that he has just looked out the window and, blow me down, he thinks Birnam Wood is moving.

            • yalensis says:

              Shakespeare never actually explains how Lady McScottish-Person dies. One moment she is haunting up the place and roaming through the castle saying crazy things, and next thing you know – oh yeah, she died.
              From fear? Nuttiness? Heart attack?

              • yalensis says:

                P.S. – you should not have spoken the actual name, Jen.
                Now you are cursed for bad luck unless you perform the purifying ritual.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, always refer to it as “The Scottish Play”.

                • Jen says:

                  I still got that black hole following me around like a trusty little dog after I insulted Moscow Exile’s personal deity (called it Wotan or something worse) and that was about two years ago at least. Shakespeare’s play can’t do me much harm. My little dog needs a playmate anyway.

                  As Elvis Presley knew, ev’ry man (and woman) has his black star and I suppose I have mine too.

                  Speaking of Elvis Presley, I only found out the other day that Scotty Moore who played lead guitar on Presley’s early recordings, and who was the hero of a generation of British rock guitarists, died just over a month ago. RIP Scotty Moore.

              • marknesop says:

                They came, they saw…she died.

                • yalensis says:

                  Lady MacScottish-Person took the easy way out and committed suicide.
                  If Macduff had gotten his hands on her, I think he would have sliced her heart out!

  11. Russian economy still continues to decline: https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russias-economy-still-falling-after-hitting-rock-bottom-report-54813

    With oil prices falling again this year is set to be another down-year for Russian economy. The GDP decline is almost certain. Hopefully next year there will be growth.

    • kirill says:

      It is falling by an amount that is within the usual revision noise for the US GDP in percentage terms. They should give error bars on GDP numbers since they are, after all, estimates.

      The main thing for Russia is that its economy is undergoing a serious and much need transformation. From an import dependent one created by the Yeltsin regime to one which localizes production on its soil, including that by foreign companies:

      http://sputniknews.com/russia/20160804/1043930053/austria-bakery-russia-production.html

      If the Russian government was serious about GDP growth, it would shoot the 5th column clowns at the CBR who set a 10.5% prime rate (all others are generally higher) when the inflation is 7.2%. Following NATO practice, the CBR should set the prime rate at 5.2%, i.e. 2% below the CPI. The 10.5% rate is a loan shark rate and since Russian companies have been cut off from cheap foreign borrowing this is hitting Russian business activity like a ton of bricks. It is a wonder that the economic contraction is not much worse.

      • astabada says:

        I agree that interest rates were very high, but is it possible that the high interest rates from the CBR were set to discourage speculation against the Ruble on the forex?

        • kirill says:

          One of the best things the CBR did in late 2014 was to stop guiding he ruble into a trading band. That is, they allowed a full free float of the currency. So the speculators lost the predictable CBR interventions to prop up some exchange rate target and basically gave up trying to attack the ruble. It appears that 65 rubles to the dollar is the true market exchange rate.

          A high interest rate tends to increase the value of a currency since foreign capital is attracted by such rates (portfolio investment) which increases demand for local currency. I do not know how much of such capital is actually invested in Russia. I expect that it is not large enough to really create enough demand for rubles. Other countries, that happen to be banking centers, can play many games with flighty foreign money.

          Right now a low ruble serves Russia’s economic interests. It offsets the oil price decline and creates the best natural barrier to imports (no border control and tariffs can compete with consumers not being to afford high priced imports). So worrying about the exchange rate must come second to worrying about normal business banking activity which for Russia is a big thing. Companies cannot operate without short term borrowing. It is not efficient for them to accumulate cash at the expense of market opportunities and the flexibility to respond to market pressures. So borrowing to retool production pays off by being able to sell one’s product and then having the revenue to pay off the short term loans. Waiting two or three years to retool can leave the company with a much smaller market share. Loans are not all bad and are actually vital for modern economies. So a 10.5% rate in a country which is not in an inflationary regime is absurd. The CBR talks inflation up to justify its rates, but it never demonstrates that Russia is unstable in an inflation sense, i.e. that dropping the rates would lead to a surge in the CPI.

          Putin and his government should put serious pressure on the CBR to prove its case. Even if it is supposed to be “arm’s length” from government meddling, it should not have the freedom to engage in any loopy experiment it wants. There should be a tight leash on this dog.

        • Jen says:

          @ Astabada, Kirill,

          You may like to read what William Engdahl has to say about the Central Bank of Russia and the economic ideologies that inform CBR officials’ decision to keep the interest rate at 10.5% in their plan to lower it to the target 4%, and his meeting with the Stolypin Club who have proposed alternative economic strategies to counter the CBR and stimulate investment in Russia.
          http://journal-neo.org/2016/07/02/russia-s-achilles-heel-reflections-from-st-petersburg/

    • Patient Observer says:

      You (Karl) are true to form. You reports what you regards as bad news for Russia (rarely good news) and then tacks on a “hopefully it will change” to cover your tracks. No, you don’t hope it will change. Your pleasure is to report bad news, that’s all you got.

  12. Cortes says:

    “Crazy Norwegian Syndrome” blights Blighty’s Police and MSM:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/04/woman-killed-in-russell-square-attack-was-american-citizen

    Nothing to see here, please move on…

    • Cortes says:

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/04/russell-square-victims-chosen-at-random-say-met-police

      So, to summarise: a “Norwegian” (aged 19) of Somali origin has been resident in London since …2002. Yep, works for me.

      • yalensis says:

        Hm… so doing the math, this Somali kid moved to Norway when he was around 4 or 5 years old. Lemme guess, he was radicalized in some Mosque and joined the caliphate?

        The key to a lot of these “random” attacks, not necessarily this one (some of them could just be a coincidence) is that ISIS and their handlers ordered their followers abroad to just “go at it” and kill people randomly whenever they had an opportunity. In order to stir things up in Europe, for whatever reason. Most likely to induce Europeans to go on a crusade against the Syrian government.

        This kid, some most of the others, is probably just some patsy who thought he was doing what he was supposed to do.

      • marknesop says:

        The politics of misdirection.

  13. ucgsblog says:

    Russia is collapsing! All indicators show otherwise, but Russia is collapsing: http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-inflation-july-2016-2016-8

    “Russia’s inflation just plunged to its lowest level in over two years. The headline inflation figure fell to 7.2% year-over-year in July, down from 7.5% in June, according to the Federal State Statistics Service. This is the lowest rate since March 2014 — around when Russia annexed Crimea — and below economists’ expectations of a slight dip to 7.4%.”

    Looks like Putin’s staff just thugged inflation. What a thug!

    • kirill says:

      It was clear in March of 2015 that Russia was not prone to inflationary pressure. It recovered the weekly rate it saw in March of 2014 only four months after the massive ruble devaluation on the forex markets in late 2014. Recall that the 7.2% is a running average and includes the tail from the early 2015 price spike associated with the forex rate drop. So the actual inflation rate (weekly x 52) is lower.

      Since the ruble forex rate is still above 65 to the dollar this is impressive. The localization of production of formerly imported goods has been very effective.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Weaponizing the inflation rate?

      • ucgsblog says:

        That thug! How dare he! Next step, he’ll weaponize reality! He must be stopped at once! If people start believing in reality, than they’ll fall into the trenches of pragmatism, and Crimea’s Bloodless Annexation will be recognized by everyone!

        • kirill says:

          Yes, if only reality and not fantasy ruled the minds of men.

          Annexation is a BS term for Crimea. Russia never lost legal rights to it in 1991. It was Ukraine that annexed Crimea in 1991. Due to its former and restored autonomous status before the breakup (i.e. the voice of the people actually matters) Ukraine had no legal claim. Khruschev’s gift was annulled. And Sevastopol was never even gifted to the Ukrainian SSR. So the annexation of Sevastopol is 100% clear.

          • ucgsblog says:

            It’s not a b/s term. For instance: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/annexation

            “To incorporate (territory) into an existing political unit such as a country, state, county, or city.”

            It’s not a bad term. Crimea was an unwilling part of Ukraine in the 1990s. Annexation, on its own, is not a bad term. The problem is that some people are idiots, some are on the IPC, but I repeat myself, and they instantly equated a Bloodless Annexation with Annexation by Murder, i.e. they compared Crimea to Sudetenland, which is like comparing buying a car to stealing a car, since in both cases you acquire it. I always referred to Crimea as a Bloodless Annexation, meaning that it had the people’s support, otherwise it could not have been bloodless.

            I know that some in Russia want to believe that Crimea was never a part of Ukraine, but that’s not true. Crimea paid taxes to Ukraine, (including money from the rent of the Sevastopol Base,) hosted Ukrainian military bases, like Feodosiya, etc. Granted, it was a relationship that Crimea was always looking to leave, but it was still a relationship. We have to acknowledge the past, even if it was not moral, or right, or just.

            You’re absolutely right, Sevastopol was never legally transferred to Ukraine, and Crimea’s transfer was highly illegal, under Soviet Law. However, after the fall of the USSR, Soviet Law no longer worked, and Ukraine illegally annexed Crimea, an annexation that was later, de facto, recognized by a drunkard in power in the Kremlin.

            But Crimea’s past should not affect the decision that Crimea’s People made, and that decision is Union with Russia. If we are to claim that we live in an Age of Democracy, we must respect Direct Democracy, i.e. the Referendum Process. And according to the Crimeans, the Referendum was Legitimate.

  14. Cortes says:

    Shamir on the US Presidential campaign and why he supports the Donald:

    http://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-unwilling-enemy/

    Another elegant and invigorating piece.

    • Northern Star says:

      “The story is clear: this man died for the US war machine in a war of aggression that killed (and continues to kill) millions of Muslims and Christians in the Middle East. He died, in effect if not in intention, to bring the Islamic State to power.
      ***His father disgustingly used his son’s death to promote his son’s ultimate killer. ****”
      EXACTLY….I posted words to that effect here…..I think…maybe I was on yahoo ranting and raving!!!!

    • yalensis says:

      “We knew that US elections are not for vegetarians.”
      That’s a good line, Mr. Shamir!

      (And if I were an Unz-bot I might add the nasty but witty: “Fruitatarians, maybe…” –
      I patented that one, while also disclaiming it…..)

    • Cortes says:

      Having briefly hovered through the comments, I recall Greg Palast’s summation of the Chilean Chicago Boys….

      Sick puppies.

    • marknesop says:

      That is indeed a good piece. A vote for Hillary is a vote for endless war, and people should think, before they vote, if they want to be jointly responsible for that.

  15. Warren says:

    Cameron ‘cronyism’ symptomatic of Britain’s ‘corrupt & decaying democracy’ – former adviser

    Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s rewarding of Tory donors in his resignation honors list symbolizes a “serious type of very British corruption,” a past 10 Downing Street adviser says.

    Cameron was accused of cronyism this week when a list nominating 48 political allies, aides and donors for honors was leaked. Those on the list include his wife Samantha’s stylist and two of his former drivers.

    https://www.rt.com/uk/354581-cameron-corrupt-honors-list/

  16. Northern Star says:

    “Just days before the Olympic Games, the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria, according to a 16-month study commissioned by The Associated Press.”

    “In light of the findings, biomedical expert Valerie Harwood had one piece of advice for travelers to Rio: “Don’t put your head underwater.”

    “The situation is so dire, the World Health Organization has warned athletes participating in open water sports to not swallow water, to cover any open wounds during competition and to wash off immediately after exiting the water.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/olympic-beach-water-includes-high-levels-bacteria-found/story?id=41104152
    http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/expert-rio-athletes-dont-put-head-water-41037457

    …..Wonder why this did not warrant at least as much concern as doping…

  17. et Al says:

    Two pieces by M.K. Bhadrakumar,

    AsiaTimes.com: Russia’s Asia pivot many-splendored thing
    http://atimes.com/2016/08/russias-asia-pivot-a-many-splendored-thing/

    Only two weeks ago, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman had ostentatiously marked distance from voicing support for China in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea when she said, “I will remind you that Russia… has no intention of getting involved. We consider it a matter of principle not to side with any party.”

    Yet, media reports appeared in the weekend that Russia and China propose to hold naval exercises in the South China Sea. These may seem contradictory tendencies, but in reality they are not….
    ####

    What I would like to see is South Korea sending goods in quantity via RussianRailways to Europe. The Norks have not been helpful in this respect, but if some sort of basic agreement between China, Russia & South Korea can be worked out, it would kick out another pillar of the US’ Asian Swivel.

    AsiaTimes.com: EU on edge as Putin, Erdogan set to meet
    http://atimes.com/2016/08/eu-on-edge-as-putin-erdogan-set-to-meet/

    The secretary-general of the Council of Europe (CoE), Thornjorn Hoagland, gains distinction as the first high-ranking European official to visit Ankara after the abortive coup of July 15. Hoagland’s is a recce mission to fathom the mood in Ankara, which is of course very ugly.

    It is not as if EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini remains indifferent. She is dutifully awaiting the green signal from Washington, but that may have to wait until Vice-President Joe Biden visits Turkey in the coming weeks, hopefully.

    After the talks in Ankara, Joagland caved in to render an abject public apology on behalf of all Europeans….

    …Reuters has reported that EU officials and diplomats are worried and are “watching warily” the Turkish-Russian rapprochement…

    …It’s the TurkStream, stupid!…

    …All in all, therefore, the forthcoming summit between Putin and Erdogan next week becomes a defining moment impacting several key templates of the New Cold War…
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    I would be rather more circumspect than the author. Insult’n Erdogan will do his best to have his cake and eat it as in his head offering business to Russia means that he can continue supporting terrorists in Syria. None of us Stooges see Russia giving him such a free pass. If I was PootiePoot, I would want him to deliver in Syria first (what’s a few months wait on TurkStream?) to gain a strategic and fundamental military advantage. After all Russia’s hard work, it makes no sense to accede to this, after all it is Turkey that needs friends.

    So, I predict (I must be crazy with all these predictions) that there will be some big deals signed but that they will take some time to come to fruition if at all. It is far more likely that Erd’s actual goal is to use such announcements to scare the shit out of the EU & Washington and buy time to cement himself in power. There is no real strategic shift towards Russia except where it suits Turkey which will renege on such deals at the drop of a hat if it gets what it wants from the West.

    Putin knows this and the West probably knows this, but the latter thinks it has more to loose, which it does. Turkey is NATO’s most important European member for starters.

    • Cortes says:

      Thanks for posting, et Al.

      The first article complements our host’s earlier post about gas pipelines very well, including info about the “Israeli” Leviathan field and the frustration of the Qatari scheme by Assad.

      The second piece provides useful info about the complexity of the RF’s partnerships in East Asia.

      Thanks again.

  18. Cortes says:

    Another recap on Hellary, with echoes of the Warning by Orlov, The Saker et al:

    http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/war-or-peace-essential-question-american-voters-november-8th/ri15970

    • Northern Star says:

      • Northern Star says:

        Notwithstanding the above pix….Both vids provide worthwhile fact based info

      • marknesop says:

        There were a couple of eureka moments in there. One was when that black gentleman – sorry, I don’t know who he was – pointed out that a dictator (as Gadaffi was painted to be) does not arm his people as Gadaffi did because there is a possibility they can be induced to rise against him. Another was Dave ‘the Hog Fancier’ Cameron pontificating, “We cannot allow this regime to use milit’ry force against its own people”. I guess the British leadership is okay with that now, though, since it enthusiastically approves of Ukraine doing it. I have no doubt that’s why they can’t mention it without pointing out that it is an anti-terrorist operation against Russian troops.

        • Northern Star says:

          “sorry, I don’t know who he was ”
          Louis Farrakhan
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Farrakhan

          • marknesop says:

            I should have known, when he said Gaddafi was his friend. Farrakhan always had very controversial political opinions, but you can’t really argue with his reasoning on that point. In fact, it is amazing the USA allows the degree of private gun ownership it does considering the possibility the people could turn against the government.

            • yalensis says:

              I think the American people WILL turn against the government at some point.
              But then they would just be waving guns against tanks and drones, so it’s kind of hopeless.

              • marknesop says:

                Tanks have reduced effectiveness in an urban-warfare scenario as their maneuverability is curtailed, and drones would be less effective also so long as they are being controlled from inside the country – as, if the ‘rebels’ are aware of the location from which they are being controlled, they only need to take that out.

                But you’re right that even the police are armed like shock troops.

                • Jen says:

                  Yes, you could have a scenario where rebels capture and reprogramme an enemy drone and use that to trick enemy tanks into entering a narrow street or a cul-de-sac and the tanks are stuck because they can’t turn around. Then people inside the tanks have to come out and at that point fighters in the buildings above can pick them off, or the fighters block egress at both ends of the street or the opening to the cul-de-sac with a well-aimed grenade or two. The fighters in the buildings then escape through other routes.

  19. Warren says:

    Published on 4 Aug 2016
    The Peruvian city of Lima is the fake dollar capital of the world, according to the U.S. Secret Service. For the past four years, the U.S. government has declared Peru the world’s leading producer of fake US currency.The fake dollars are usually smuggled by plane, or post to the US, Venezuela, Argentina and other Latin American countries.Since 2009, local police has seized about $75 million in fake bills. It is believed that a gang can print between $3 million and $5 million in fake bills every week.Many choose the industry as the profit is even higher than cocaine production. Each $100 counterfeit bill can be sold in the black market for up to $20.Correspondent Dan Collyns travels to Peru’s capital. One counterfeiter gives him more details of the clandestine world.Watch Dan’s piece to see what is behind Peru’s counterfeit money production industry.

    Published on 28 Mar 2016
    Peru is the number one producer of counterfeit US dollars in the world. In 2015, just over 16 million forged bills seized in the US were of Peruvian origin, according to the US Secret Service. Millions of counterfeit euros and Peruvian soles have also been seized by police in Peru.

    The forged dollars are finished by hand, giving them an exceptional quality which has earned the country its top spot as leader of this illicit global trade. And for the criminal gangs counterfeit money is cheaper to produce than cocaine.

    Fernando Lucena goes undercover for VICE News to expose the illegal trade in counterfeit money and gets rare access to the criminal forgers who show us how these bills are made.

  20. ucgsblog says:

    Even more signs of Russia’s isolation: http://www.newsweek.com/putin-be-main-guest-g20-summit-says-china-487245?rx=us

    “Vladimir Putin will be the guest of honor at the next G20 summit, hosted by China, a Beijing official told Russian state news agency Itar-Tass.”

  21. Cortes says:

    Get yer twofers here!

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/05/rio-2016-russian-diplomat-shoots-dead-robber-who-tried-to-mug-him

    Now the honorary consul type in the car jacking incident is named as a Brazilian lawyer but hey and hohoho it happened in Rio.

    • marknesop says:

      “One suspect broke the driver’s window on the car – believed to be a BMW X6 which cost several times more than his annual salary – with the gun and demanded the man hand over his watch which cost several times more than his annual salary. But the man grabbed the attacker, hauled him into the car and the suspect was killed with his own gun. The other motorcyclist fled.”

      It was probably Putin, flaunting his wealth and his penchant for thuggy violence for the peons.

      Actually, this was a twofer for the God-Lives-In-Washington Grauniad, because the western co-conspirators have nothing good to say about Brazil, either. At least until they knock over Rousseff, after which it will become a progressive market-oriented paradise.

      A couple of examples, from the Graun;

      ‘Welcome to Hell’: Rio police protest financial disaster ahead of Olympics

      Rio 2016: Olympic torch skirts riots and drug gang clashes in host city

      Police swarm Rio slums in search of gang rape suspects

      • Jen says:

        Just in case people reading KS aren’t already aware, the legitimate Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was suspended in May 2016 after both houses of the Brazilian Congress voted for her to be impeached for supposedly overseeing and abetting corruption while she was in charge of the state energy corporation Petrobras some years before she became President. (Even though there’s apparently nothing that ties her directly to the corruption that’s been part of Petrobras since the day it was founded, and many if not most of those pushing for her impeachment have fraud, embezzlement and bribe-taking all over their CVs.) Since then, Michel Temer has been playing at being “leader” and brought in austerity programs that slashed or eliminated many if not most social programs and other spending that Rousseff and Lula da Silva before her had started. The result is that state budgets have been cut and Rio de Janeiro’s budget for a lot of public spending (including the police) has been cut. The “economic downturn” that The Guardian refers to could be in part due to Temer’s slash-n-burn policies.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        And Russian athletes clamour to be allowed to visit this sewer.

        Idiots.

        There is no downside to this WADA farce – between it and everything else Temer’s mob are deprived of any glory that might have rubbed off on them from the Rio Olympics, a generation of Russian athletes are spared the obligation to bury themselves in the diseased anus of South America, and Brazil gets a much-needed remember that it will never be a serious international player until Rio is expelled from the federation or burned to the ground.

        • yalensis says:

          Brazil gets a much-needed remember that…
          Et tu, Svoloch?!
          Everybody in America is starting to use verbs as nouns, but I didn’t know this disease had spread to New Zealand as well.
          For example, just the other day my boss said to me, “I have a big ASK for you…”
          And I responded tartly: “You have a big ass for me?” (pretending not to understand his ludicrous words….)

          Jever mind, I’m just kidding around. I know this trend will bother Mark, but it doesn’t bother me. I am a trained and cunning linguist, so I expect language to change. Verbs become nouns, nouns become verbs, cats and dogs living together, whatever…

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            That should have been reminder.

            Я завжди п’ю і пишу

          • marknesop says:

            I think his mind just detached from the conversation for a microsecond, and he meant “reminder”. And of course we live in a world of change; now we have a significant number of North Americans under 20 who do not identify as either gender, gay marriage and Pride parades, just as long as they don’t complain about the minimum wage or owners’ profit-taking. Are those positive changes, though, do you think? It’s quite possible that we will relapse as a society to one that communicates in grunts and squeals and gestures, as we did when we shamelessly went naked and fought mammoths. Is change an end in itself, and the gradual and progressive abandonment of all standards a goal, or are we obligated to pursue positive change?

        • marknesop says:

          Well, I wouldn’t say that. I have no doubt its standards are considerably lower than those of Europe and North America, but there are plenty of such places the western press glosses over because they are loyal allies; Qatar, for example, brags that it is the USA’s best friend in the Gulf. Few sources mention that the reason Qataris can just sit in their car and honk the horn at a fast-food restaurant and someone will run out to take your order is that its growth is driven by a constant influx of poor labourers, mostly Asians, who wipe the bums of the wealthy; Qatar’s per-capita GDP is approaching $150,000, and it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Its 35 legislative seats are all held by men, and always have been.

          The western press has a hard-on for Dilma Rousseff in particular and Brazil in general, because Rousseff canceled a visit to Washington over NSA spying and took what measures she could to blind the Washington eye on Brazil’s internal affairs; and Brazil is a charter member of the BRICS, an alliance Washington would like very much to break up and scatter.

          It is in Russia’s interests to get Brazil back on the growth track, let them sort out their own infrastructure problems unless fellow BRICS members wish to get involved in those as well, and prevent the installation of a Washington toady as leader.

          • Jen says:

            Yes that’s a problem with calculating per capita GDP that never occurred to me before until Mark mentioned the Qatar example: per capita GDP only uses actual citizens as the base for calculating per capita GDP and not everyone residing in the subject nation at the time the statistic is done. So temporary workers imported from overseas are not counted even if they’ve been in the subject country longer than most of its citizens have been alive.

  22. Cortes says:

    How unfortunate that the stifling presence of the homogenising tendencies of corporate USA often blinds us to the abundance of quirky but essentially North American artists. So, in a tribute to John Fahey, one of his “pupils”, Glenn Jones:

    [audio src="http://www.strange-attractors.com/Fahey%27s_Car.mp3" /]

  23. Jeremn says:

    Some thoughts on the hacking “scandal”. This article

    http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2016/07/how-putin-weaponized-wikileaks-influence-election-american-president/130163/

    blames the Russians thus:

    “On June 14, cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, under contract with the DNC, announced in a blog post that two separate Russian intelligence groups had gained access to the DNC network. One group, FANCY BEAR or APT 28, gained access in April. The other, COZY BEAR, (also called Cozy Duke and APT 29) first breached the network in the summer of 2015. Cybersecurity company FireEye first discovered APT 29 in 2014 and was quick to point out a clear Kremlin connection. “We suspect the Russian government sponsors the group because of the organizations it targets and the data it steals. because of evidence from FireEye.”

    Crowdstrike – their Co-Founder, Alperovitch, is an Atlantic Council fellow. The other firm, FireEye, has the CIA as a stakeholder:

    http://venturebeat.com/2009/11/18/cias-in-q-tel-funds-fireeye-anti-botnet-security-firm/

    Should give pause to thought that the intelligence services are interfering in US democracy?

    No?

    FireEye is also interesting as it, along with the US Department of Defense, funds the CEPA (publsihhers of Ed Lucas’s and Pomerantsev’s screed on figting Kremlin influence):

    • marknesop says:

      I recall the FireEye story well – they used the exact same logic; the code was written on Cyrillic-keyboard machines and during Moscow working hours. Their conclusion was “It just looks so much like something the Russians would do that it must be them”. No allowance for the possibility that someone else did it who wanted the USA to arrive at exactly that conclusion. Someone who has done it before, lots of times, and who makes a science out of picking fights on Uncle Sam’s behalf.

      In the case of both FireEye and Crowdstrike, they would stop looking as soon as they arrived upon a conclusion which suited them anyway.

    • ucgsblog says:

      Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear? Is there proof that they actually exist? I mean real proof, not WADA proof.

      • Yonatan says:

        They are just code names given by a particular security outfit. Different outfits will use different names for the same entities, much in the same way that a given virus/trojan/etc will be given different names by different AV corporations.

        The names reflect observable characteristics such as threat type, coding style, code structure, distribution network, similar earlier threats, etc rather than a specific single person.

  24. Jeremn says:

    Something rather odd – the EU’s head of foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, at the Democratic Convention. Praising Hilary and Madeleine “Inspiration” Albright. So much for any EU political neutrality.

    http://www.federicamogherini.net/at-the-democratic-national-convention-philadelphia/?lang=en

  25. ucgsblog says:

    Waaa! Waaa! Waaa! http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/08/05/poland-takes-aim-at-putins-pipe-dreams/

    “This summer hasn’t seen a lot of setbacks for Russia, not even for its Olympic hopefuls. Crimea has been annexed and fully absorbed, with the blessing of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who also calls NATO “obsolete.” Russian intelligence services have allegedly been pawing through the emails of U.S. political parties, and releasing them at their leisure. Turkey, in the wake of a failed coup attempt, is rushing to mend fences with Moscow.”

    Couple of things, my unfellow whiner. First, Crimea has been annexed and absorbed prior to Trump’s statement. Ergo it could not have happened with his blessing, since his blessing could only come after the events took place, but what’s temporal physics to a “journalist” from FP? Second, at this point I think it’s safe to conclude that every intelligence service of any powerful countries studied those e-mails, no need for allegedly. And we don’t know if it’s the Russians that are releasing them. Third, Turkey rushed to mend ties with Moscow before the coup, not after, but then again, what’s temporal physics to a “journalist” from FP? This article promises to deliver mirth, let’s read on!

    “All of which makes last month’s decision by the Polish antitrust regulator to file a formal objection against Russia’s proposed “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline more noteworthy. That regulatory spanner could be Europe’s last and best chance to halt construction of a pipeline that critics say will divide Europe, beggar Ukraine, and reinforce Moscow’s energy dominance for another generation.”

    That’s a big deal? Poland’s opposition to Nord Stream 2 has been well document throughout the ages. Ukraine is already beggared, but let’s all blame that on Russia. Moscow’s energy dominance comes from the EU being a voracious money swallowing pit, and not enough solar/wind/nuclear powerplants being built, due to, wait for it… lack of funding! Those funds are in places like Syria and Iraq. Oh, and won’t the lack of construction divide Europe? Cause I doubt that Russia’s going to prop up Ukraine, so if Southern Europe has no gas and Northern Europe has some, won’t that be divisive?

    “For years, Russia has sought to keep Europe dependent on its exports of energy, especially through natural gas pipelines. But Moscow is also desperate to cut out potentially meddlesome middlemen, like Ukraine, which sits smack between Russia’s natural gas fields and millions of European consumers. That gives Kiev the ability to interrupt Russian gas flows headed to Europe, infuriating Moscow, but also earns Ukraine billions of dollars in much-needed transit fees.”

    Oh really? So Kaliningrad’s border with EU member states are somehow attached to Ukraine? Intriguing, very intriguing, did someone skip his geography class?

    “A decade ago, Russia enlisted former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to help it build a pipe across the Baltic from Russia to Germany, sidestepping Ukraine: Nord Stream. Then Russia tried to build another pipeline, “South Stream,” across the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria, also bypassing Ukraine, but that was quashed by the European Union in 2014. Then, Moscow invented the idea of a “Turkish Stream,” another proposed Black Sea pipe, one landing in Turkey, outside of Brussels’s reach. But last fall, Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian jet, and with it hopes of any immediate Russo-Turkish energy cooperation.”

    Really? Because in the beginning, the article claimed that “Turkey…is rushing to mend fences with Moscow.” So they’re rushing to cooperate, ergo there won’t be cooperation? Stellar “journalism” absolutely stellar.

    *drops mic*

    • Jen says:

      ‘… But the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection last month determined that Nord Stream 2 — which wouldn’t even touch Polish territory — could harm consumers. “The Office found that the concentration might lead to restriction of competition,” it tentatively concluded, adding that the project could “further strengthen” Gazprom’s “dominant position.” …’

      Looks as if the Poles and the FP writer have a strange idea of what free market competition is. Their idea seems to be that the more middlemen there are, taking their cut, oops, share of the transit fees, and passing the costs down the pipeline, the more competition there is. Plus the journalist fails to see what’s wrong with Ukraine interrupting the flow of gas from Russia to the EU to get transit fee income, unless of course he thinks extortion is a legitimate way of doing business.

    • Patient Observer says:

      So many succulent quotes but my favorite is:

      That gives Kiev the ability to interrupt Russian gas flows headed to Europe, infuriating Moscow, but also earns Ukraine billions of dollars in much-needed transit fees.

      So, when Ukraine interrupts gas flow to Europe to “infuriate” Moscow, Europe is not infuriated to contend with a crippling gas shortage? And how long is Russia expected to rely on a transit country that likes to infuriate its customer? Gawd, this guy is stupid.

      • marknesop says:

        No kidding; Kiev’s ability to interrupt gas flows to Europe – which the west previously would not even discuss, since it was obviously Russia using energy as a weapon – is presented as just kittenish playfulness, and such an interruption is not a big problem because it’s so amusing to watch the clever Ukrainians tweak Moscow’s nose. All in good fun, of course, and transit fees are a right. There’s just nothing about going around Ukraine to prevent that from happening which could be described as good fun, or tweaking Kiev’s nose. Because the Ukrainians are cute, and the Russians are savages.

        It looks like Russia is not going to be told that it must continue transiting gas through Ukraine, although Ukraine has been on its best behavior where transit is concerned over the last little while (to show how reliable it can be), and transit through Ukraine has actually increased, a fact they lose no opportunity to point out (as if to say, you need us now more than ever). But Kiev reserves the right to hike the transit fees whenever it needs a little more struttin’ money, and while the obstructive talk is on hold for now, the Ukrainians love to shoot their mouths off and have made it clear they will simply take gas intended for Europe if Russia restricts Ukraine’s supply (although they have brought their Russia supplies way, way down by buying Russian gas from other European countries, bought with gas money given it by the IMF.

        Russia would very likely agree to continue supplying Ukraine through its own pipeline network, probably even at a quite attractive price – but if Ukraine started any of its special-needs antics, Russia would not have to worry about Europe’s supply going through Ukraine’s decrepit pipeline system. Ukraine could be cut off without a second thought, as any reasonable supplier would do if it is not getting paid or is otherwise abused by its customer – and as Europe would do in a second if it were the other way round and Russia was spending billions for European gas transited through Ukraine, which the Ukrainians poached at their leisure.

  26. cartman says:

    U.N. to Probe Whether Iconic Secretary-General Was Assassinated

    “U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki­-moon will propose reopening an inquiry into allegations that Dag Hammarskjold, one of the most revered secretaries-general in the organization’s history, was assassinated by an apartheid-era South African paramilitary organization that was backed by the CIA, British intelligence, and a Belgian mining company, according to several officials familiar with the case.”

    Reminds me that today a former head of the CIA endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in the NYT. This is the same woman who joked after watching a video of a man getting raped to death with a knife. “We came. We saw. He died. *cackle*” I never watched the video because I (and most other decent people) can’t stomach gruesome acts intended to destroy humans.

    • Northern Star says:

      “This is the same woman who joked after watching a video of a man getting raped to death with a knife. “We came. We saw. He died. *cackle*”

      The actual footage of her in this episode is in one of the ‘Exposed’ videos I posted supra

  27. marknesop says:

    Sayyyyyy…..didn’t someone here theorize, right after the news broke that the DNC’s emails had been hacked, and Hillary blamed the Russians so people would forget what she and the rest of the coven did to Sanders, that the actual attacker was more likely someone much closer to home?

    Enter the Disgruntled US Intelligence Worker. According to US government whistleblower William Binney, somebody in the NSA released Hillary’s and the DNC’s emails, infuriated at Teflon Hillary’s non-stick escape from any accountability for her hijinks.

    The headline suggests he knows, but the body of the story suggests he is just speculating, though. But it raises a valid point – the NSA probably has all those emails, including the 30,000 she deleted on the grounds that they were ‘personal’.

    • yalensis says:

      Maybe Ed Snowden was just the tip of the iceberg.
      Maybe there are many more people working for NSA who have a conscience.

      • Jen says:

        Indeed, methinks ’twas Snowden himself who warned that there was a second Snowden working in the NSA who likely hacked into the Klintonator’s private email server.

        • marknesop says:

          Could be. For my part, I think now that someone offered the opinion it was likely someone in the USA during a conversation at Russia Insider, not here.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Didn’t Snowden recently tweet to the effect that is time for something “really big”? The interpretation was a call to arms for other whistle blowers.

    • Cortes says:

      The following piece by Andrew Napolitano speculates on what might have triggered a disgruntled NSA person to leak materials:

      http://www.unz.com/anapolitano/lessons-from-the-deep-state/

      At some point between now and November, is anyone in the media going to put the questions about the likelihood of NSA possession of, and therefore ease of FBI access thereto, the “missing” emails to Director Comey? Or will TPTB just smile grimly and pray no further leaks arrive to shatter the Narnian alternative reality world they inhabit?

      • marknesop says:

        What an excellent article, quite a bit more authoritative than the one I cited although it helpfully offers the same source, and it shapes some more pieces of the puzzle which now make more sense. The compromising of intelligence personnels’ identities was something that, to the best of my knowledge, was never discussed in any stories on her email peccadilloes. Intelligence agencies quite properly despise anyone who casually blows the cover of its operatives. It makes me wonder if we ought not to be discussing Clinton in the frame of “The Ego Candidate”. It’s tempting to characterize Trump for that label, given his boastfulness which does seem to be part of his character. But for all that, Trump comes across to me as mostly law-abiding, and someone who recognizes and observes limits. Clinton neither recognizes or observes anything of the kind, and she is limited only by what she cannot get away with.

        Thanks for posting that revealing corroborative piece.

  28. yalensis says:

    Just finished posting my 3-part series on joint Russia-China naval exercises in the South China Sea.

      • Patient Observer says:

        The shkval torpedo could certainly be directed by an inertial guidance system. The predicted location of the target would be programmed before launch but given the torpedo’s speed of 100 meters/second, the target would have little opportunity to take evasive action. With such speed, it also could be equipped with an armor piercing warhead given the relatively thin skin of aircraft carriers.

        • marknesop says:

          The target has little ability to take evasive action anyway, since the weapon’s range is less than 10 miles and it is capable of more than 200 mph. There has been a good deal of talk about a guidance system, but I don’t think it has any; passive acoustic guidance would be a non-starter owing to the noise of supercavitation directly ahead of the weapon, and a wire-guided system for such a short-range weapon is not very practical; you don’t want to stick around after you fire it, guiding it to target, because a common countermeasure is for the targeted unit to fire a torpedo of its own down the noise bearing to try to make you cut your wire and avoid. I think the Skhval is a straight-runner, and only its speed makes that practical.

          A better anti-carrier option is the wake homer. It does not need to be fired directly at the target, as it cuts the wake of the ship you want it to kill, sampling it as it does to detect in which direction the signal is stronger. It may do this a couple of times to compile more data and confirm its decision, then it will just travel straight up the wake until it impacts the ship which is generating it. Aircraft Carriers generate a huge wake, although it is of course dependent upon speed, and Aircraft Carriers typically do not carry any sonar of their own because their self-generated noise means they wouldn’t be able to hear anything anyway. A wake homer has a range of about 25 miles.

          A better option yet might be China’s ‘Carrier Killer’ semi-ballistic missile. American analysts were initially quite alarmed about this weapon, but were soothed by Roger Cliff at the Rand Corporation, who told the world that its terminal-guidance signal could be jammed or spoofed. And maybe that’s true, but you’d have to be seriously on your toes and also have reason to believe it had been fired at you – it might re-enter right over you, and it is extremely fast. You wouldn’t have a hell of a lot of time. Those who pooh-pooh it as a threat use a lot of ‘assumptions’ and ‘suppositions’ regarding how good it is, and in short nobody really knows because it has not (to the best of my knowledge) been tested on a moving ship.

  29. et Al says:

    Prediction number 5:

    Gulen will be encouraged to emigrate to… Canada!

    Why? Because Insultin’ Erdogan will seek to milk Gulen’s residence in the United States as much as possible and will come up on each and every single opportunity.

    I don’t see how the United States could extradite him to Turkey even if there is some vaguely passable ‘evidence’ the possibility that he would be executed, even if Turkey says it won’t, not to mention the opprobrium from the US’ own human rights industry.

    The US could always play hard ball and hold back F-35s ordered by Turkey and other such options but then tit-for-tat would paralyze the US at Incerlik airbase and their ‘strategy’ for Syria etc.

    Now if Gulen is in Canada, where they take human rights even more seriously than the US(!), Problem solved.

    So, that’s my total amateur prediction.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Wait, wait. Hold back F-35s would be viewed as punishment?

      Also, Gulen seems to be a US asset so it would very unlikely he would be extradited to Turkey unless there were some serious concessions made by Turkey.

      I think you must have been jesting when you indicated that concerns over human rights would be a consideration. The US “human rights” noise generator is a political apparatus of the US government and will remain silent or generate noise as required.

      • et Al says:

        Yes, you got me PO. This is all about wielding tools, ‘human rights’ or whatever they might be. There is plenty said that is purely for domestic consumption and keeping Gulen out of Turkey would be an much easier for InSultin’ Erdogan as the variables remain. The moment he is charged & possibly sentenced to death makes certainties that even the West would find impossible to ignore. Sending him to Canada doesn’t upset the balance nor the benefits for either side.

  30. kirill says:

    Regarding Russia, WADA and the Rio Olympics. The current Russian approach seems optimal. Russian athletes have managed to clear the hurdles set up before them and will participate. That is a major fail for Uncle Scam and his WADA cronies. They were hoping for Russia to knee jerk with indignation. It is something I would have done. But any knee jerk withdrawal, boycott, etc., would “prove” Russia is covering up its “misbehaviour” and is a “sore loser”. Right now, the Russian athletes in Rio cannot be smeared with the same brush.

    I am really hoping that multiple legal actions are launched against WADA and any enablers of its libel. This is the right medicine for this scum. They have no legal case and use some two bit propaganda report to smear all Russian athletes. This report will not stand up in court and that is where it should be challenged. Challenging it in the public political space is doomed to failure since the average sheep does not have enough IQ or desire to evaluate such reports on their merits and simply defers to the “authorities” and their “evidence”.

    • Fern says:

      I was watching the Games’ opening ceremony from Rio on the BBC and when the Russian team appeared in the parade, we had a quick re-hash of the doping ‘scandal’. Then one of the commentators did something surprising – she said, of course, many of these athletes are probably clean and we wish them well. I suspect someone has raised the issues of defamation, slander and libel and possible future legal action and commentators have been warned to take care in what they say.

      Here’s another interesting point I learned from last night’s BBC coverage – Thomas Bach, newly-labelled as a Putin-stooge for not enforcing a ban on the whole Russian team, was in competition for his post against a Ukrainian. I wonder whether the plan to ruin Russia’s Olympics was hatched a while back with the West hoping it would have a Ukrainian in the key job?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I too watched the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics. On the appearance of team USA, the Russian commentator immediately pointed out the colours of the shirts they had on beneath their jackets:

        Two Russian flags, one on top of the other with white, blue and red horizontal stripes.

        Putin’s weaponizing of the Russian flag?

        • marknesop says:

          More likely the USA expected there would be a total ban on Russian athletes’ participation, and the sporting of Russian colours by the American team would serve to drive the point home and rub their noses in it. Although they do share the same colours; it’s just the arrangement that makes it look Russian.

      • Eric says:

        Fern…in this case Sergei Bubka….one of the all-time great Pole-Vaulters, is more likely to be labelled “pro-Kremlin” than an anti-Russian, Ukrainian lunatic.

    • Patient Observer says:

      I had the same initial reaction as you and now agree with your conclusions. Russia has also consistently used a similar “high road” approach in its foreign policy decisions with great results.

      Of course, it takes a savvy (and moral) domestic population to understand the strategy. It would seem that a majority of Western populations would not be able to comprehend, much less support, such actions. They have grown to expect if not demand bellicose, insulting and vindictive actions by their governments over the slightest real or imagined challenge to US hegemony.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      What’s Russkie for Splish Splash??????

      шлёп-шлёп

      (shlyop-shlyop)

      My little girl sang this song at a concert and some recording studio asked my wife if they could record her singing it.

      The song is about a naughty rain cloud that gets everyone pissed-wet through and then buggers off. (Rough translation)

      In the song, you hear “shlyop, shlyop, shlyop”.

      Виноватая тучка (The Blameworthy Rain-Cloud)

  31. Northern Star says:

    @Jen & Yalensis…I would be interested in either of your KS perspectives on this,since (implied) expressionistic subtleties play such a recurring role on Mark’s blog

    https://www.edge.org/conversation/lera_boroditsky-how-does-our-language-shape-the-way-we-think

    • Jen says:

      The notion that the structures and concepts of your native or first language influence the way you think and how you perceive your world is an old one and is known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis after the two linguists who proposed the idea. The author of the article in the link, Lera Boroditsky, happens to fall into the camp that believes in the hypothesis. So when you read her work claiming to find evidence in experiments she does that supports Sapir-Whorf, you’d want to know if these experiments have been replicated elsewhere by independent researchers and what results they got. It’s possible that she’s making a bigger case for particular languages influencing or passively directing thought processes along particular paths than it actually merits.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lera_Boroditsky

      One problem with conducting studies and experiments dealing with Sapir-Whorf is that you need to find subjects who not only speak certain languages that have or don’t have certain concepts but you also have to know if your chosen subjects are monolingual and have had no contact with any other languages. If people in your study have not been monolingual since childhood – and I think it would be very difficult these days to find people, even in very remote parts of the Amazon, who are not monolingual. Even very remote tribes have at least some contact with other groups who speak different languages and whether they communicate with those groups in their own languages or the other groups’ languages depends on the situation (for example, are they meeting to conduct a religious ceremony or are they meeting to exchange goods). Sapir-Whorf assumes (or tends to assume) a mostly monolingual world when the reality may be that for most of human history, people have tended to be more multi-lingual than monolingual. This is where Sapir-Whorf falls down.

      • Jen says:

        Ah shit, I meant to say: “If people in your study have not been monolingual since childhood – and I think it would be very difficult these days to find people, even in very remote parts of the Amazon, who are not monolingual – then the study is going to be affected and even compromised by the subjects’ bilingualism and their desire to please the researcher and second-guess what the researcher wants”.

        At the end of the day, just because English doesn’t have a native word or expression for Schadenfreude doesn’t mean that English-language speakers don’t understand the concept the word describes.

        • Cortes says:

          Or even “are completely monolingual”?

        • Cortes says:

          But the remarks about spatial awareness of Native Australian groups has resonance when taken with the remarkable spatial awareness and cartographic skills displayed by Inuits in Norman Lopez’s “Polar Dreams”. May it not be that in very small societies spatial awareness assumes a larger place in our thought patterns and language? If one must be self reliant perhaps we must grow into different people?

          • yalensis says:

            Well, one can compromise by allowing that special needs engender special linguistic tools.
            One is reminded of that old saw about Inuit languages having 100 different words for “snow”.
            And people who live out in the bush and don’t have GPS – well, it goes without saying that they would need to invent a lot of words and possibly even grammatical endings to express various cartographic concepts and facts.
            But it has to be understood that language is just a tool. Like a hammer or a screwdriver, its purpose is to get the job done. The job being, to express thoughts and communicate important things about material reality.
            Without language, we would still be able to function, more or less, but we’d be like Tarzan, just grunting to Jane, something like: “Me have big Ask of you, Jane, me like with you wacka wacka.”

            • Cortes says:

              The mindset is important: the placement of the pictures according to the POV of the subject is fascinating and is almost saying…
              Nah, Wittgenstein you’re wrong: the world you inhabit determines your language and not viceversa.
              Don’t think we’re far apart on this.

              PS “Dust bunnies” comes nowhere near expressing Mater’s hatred for “ooss”.

            • marknesop says:

              There might be something to that, because Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs teaches us that man begins to introduce the nice-to-haves after the absolutely-necessaries have been satisfied. You would not find too many jive-talking metrosexuals among the Cornish farmers of the 1950’s, for example, because the workday did not allow much free time for moisturizers and schmoozing. As soon as people have enough money and free time, they start messing with the standards in hope of amusement. It actually makes a good case for keeping people at a bare subsistence level; they’re better people for it. When I am King….

              • Patient Observer says:

                Back in the hippy/dippy days of college, we learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It seemed simplistic and subject to prejudicial views of what exactly is a “higher” development of human thought . I agree with you that, for example, a harsh environment can create a society that may have little apparent physical wealth but have much in the form of deep philosophical comprehension.

              • Jen says:

                If you studied Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you probably also know Lawrence Kohlberg’s Six Stages of Moral Development as illustrated in the story of the violinist whose wife is dying of cancer and who needs a drug that is available only from a particular drug firm that intends to sell it at 10 times its production cost to make a profit and won’t take a deposit or accept credit when the violinist pleads his desperate situation. So the violinist resorts to stealing the drug. People’s responses as to whether the violinist is right or wrong in stealing the drug, and the rationales they provide to justify their responses, are then used to judge their level of moral reasoning. There have been many criticisms of Kohlberg’s theory, one being that it is based on Western cultural standards and expectations, and tends to judge non-Western values, especially collective values, as stuck at the level of social conformity and low moral development.

                • marknesop says:

                  Nope, I had not heard of that one. I studied Maslow as part of my Senior Leadership Course, it was a feature of leadership training. Kohlberg does present an interesting moral dilemma, though. I would side with the violinist, because he is not doing it for himself and often we will take risks for those we love we will not take on our own behalf, and because the company’s motive seems to be purely profit. I imagine that’s quite a predictable response.

                • Jen says:

                  Whether the violinist was right or wrong in doing what he did is not that important, as the scenario is only a thought experiment; it’s how you justify your answer and the reasoning behind it that is taken to determine your level of moral maturation. Your answer would be considered at Stage 5 level of development (Stage 6 being the highest and most abstract, and one reached by extremely few people, according to Kohlberg’s own studies). Congratulations!
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg%27s_stages_of_moral_development

                • marknesop says:

                  Now I feel smart. Look out; that’s usually the onset of moral decay.

          • Jen says:

            Spatial awareness in groups like Inuit and indigenous Australians is tied to their need to move around in their territory to find food and shelter at particular times of the year. Their myths and legends and other stories support and reinforce their need to move regularly – because at certain times of the year, some kinds of plants are in bloom and produce food in one part of their territory and at other times of the year, another section has more food so groups have to move there at the right time. Since their territories might cover hundreds of square km and (especially for Inuit) there may not be very many physical reference points in the landscape, the only way they know when to move and where is to look up at the sky and use weather and climate patterns, and the positions of the planets, the stars, the galaxies and the constellations to guide them. Their native astronomies are often very sophisticated (though to us they might not appear so, because the knowledge is expressed through creation myths and stories with god, human and animal characters) and it’s this knowledge that gives them their spatial abilities.

            • marknesop says:

              There also is a reduced need for language in such circumstances; I don’t imagine the Inuit to be a chatty people, pulling the snowmobiles off the trail to shoot the shit about what happened on last night’s “The Young and the Restless”. It seems to me to be one of those situations – frequently observed in isolation where everyone can be assumed to be about as well-informed on insider gossip as well as current events as everyone else – in which less chit-chat is needed to communicate essential elements of information.

              • yalensis says:

                in actuality, and counter-intuitively, linguists have noticed a pattern, in which the more isolated and materialistically primitive a people are, the more complex their language.
                This phenomenon is called “ornamentation”.
                When people are isolated and have a lot of free time, they tend to “ornament” their lives.
                For example, carving and decorating, developing all sorts of crafts, etc.
                Similarly, isolated languages tend to develop bizarrely complex grammars with numerous inflections and much more fine-tuning than is actually needed to communicate what is necessary in everyday life. Oral poetry flourishes, along with excessive development of the verbal centers of the brain. People become very chatty, in other words; inter-personal communication becomes the foundation of their lives, and there is competition to become verbal virtuosos.

                So, in essence, when it comes to language, everything is opposite of what people assume to be the case. Primitive peoples don’t grunt or speak in monosyllables, they wax excessively poetic.
                Whereas people living in materially complex “First World” societies tend to start speaking in simplified Creoles.
                In conclusion, isolated and “backward” peoples tend to ornament their languages to such a degree, that an outsider can never become fluent.
                Examples: Basque, Caucasian languages, many African languages (excluding Swahili, which is a creole), many native American languages….

              • Jen says:

                The traditional Inuit culture was actually quite rich and a lot of it revolved around making tools for hunting animals, carving whalebone, walrus ivory and soapstone into weapons and toys, making dogsleds and boats, sewing clothes, constructing shelters (hide tents in summer, igloos in winter) and moving with the seasons. They had music as well – they have big wide drums that they beat from behind with sticks – and lots of singing, quoting poetry and vocal games (especially women’s vocal games).

                I suppose these days a lot of Inuit don’t like to talk much as they are probably blighted by the same problems that afflict Aboriginal people in Australia and other First Nations people around the world: alcohol, family and community violence, and having had children taken away from them and shunted into orphanages in the past which means traditional culture and language are not passed down from one generation to the next and so those are eventually lost, to be replaced by endless reruns of soap operas on TV. Otherwise that crack about Inuit not being chatty – well, they would probably have Nunavut.

        • Patient Observer says:

          It is odd that there is not an English equivalent of schadenfreude as it may be one of the most important emotions in the Western world. ( gloating has been suggested as a weak equivalent). It drives consumerism and fashion; an effort to one-up your neighbor/colleague to create a sense of superiority in oneself and a feeling of failure/inadequacy in the target. Perhaps this “unspeakable” emotion is the biggest elephant in a living room full of elephants in Western society.

          • Cortes says:

            Morbo in Peninsular Spanish is aaaalmost equivalent to Schadenfreude, but has sports like “Derby” connotations..

      • yalensis says:

        Totally agree with Jen.
        The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis has been fairly debunked over the years.
        Oh, of course language has a slight influence on the way people think, but nothing like what it was cracked up to be.
        In fact, I doubt if any scholarly linguists still believe in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

        The authors meant well, it was a valid and ground-braking hypothesis, it’s just that reality doesn’t bear it out.
        Even people who only speak one language (and, believe me, there are TONS of Americans who fit this criterion) can comprehend both concrete and abstract “thoughts” and “concepts” which are not necessarily encoded in their language.
        Any thought or concept which has meaning in people’s lives, people can somehow find a way to express what they need to, even if their language is not necessarily optimized to make those fine distinctions.
        Here is an example, a joke which plays upon the fact that German has, or had, a “reported reality” type subjective mood:

        There is a knock on the door. Mom whispers to her little daughter: “I don’t want to see anyone. Tell them I’m not at home.”
        The little girl opens the door. The salesman asks: “Is your momma at home?”
        The little girl replies: “Mutti wäre nicht zu Hause.”

        In English there is no direct equivalent, but the little girl, if she was an English-speaker, could say: “Mommy says she’s not at home.”
        A correct translations would be, something like, “Mommy is alllegedly not at home.” or “I did not perceive with my own eyes that Mommy is not at home.”

        Turkish languages (and also Bulgarian) have something similar, a set of verbal inflections which English doesn’t have, but can easily work around. Russians can throw in a word like якобы to make the same point.

        The point being, that people’s everyday lives are what is primary for them. By whatever accident of birth or emigration they speak a certain language, cannot ultimately determine the way they think or the way they live their material lives.

  32. What happened in Aleppo today? Yesterday the SAA had the city besieged and today, after a big defeat, the SAA is in danger of being besieged itself.

    • SAA seems to be pretty bad. They cannot defeat Nusra even with the help from Russian air force.

      • marknesop says:

        All is lost. They should just surrender, and Assad should agree to step down and let Washington pick a new president, somebody reliable and inclusive like Bassma Kodmani.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Trying to infuriate us, Karl? Yes, SAA must be pretty bad and Russian air strikes are even worse. Now, just go away.

      • Jen says:

        When I checked SyrianPerspective.com just now, these were the headlines that greeted me:
        August 3, 2016: TERRORIST ATTACK CRUSHED IN ALEPPO; CITY LIBERATED; CANTHAMA REPORTS ON THE TERRORISTS’ OFFENSIVE IN WESTERN ALEPPO AND THE FATE OF THE WAR OF AGGRESSION AGAINST SYRIA
        August 2, 2016: 800 RODENTS KILLED IN SW ALEPPO BY SAA AND RUAF; TERRORIST SHAMAN OFFERS 74 FEMALE ANGELS IN PARADISE TO THOSE WHO VOLUNTEER TO DIE IN ALEPPO; AND THEY WILL DIE! HANDARAAT ABOUT TO FALL TO SAA
        August 1, 2016: THE BATTLE FOR ALEPPO IS HEATING UP AS TERRORISTS HEAVE A LAST BREATH TO LIFT THE SIEGE; TERRORIST LIES IN MEDIA REBUTTED WITH SYRIAN SUPPLIES OF FOOD AND MEDICINE FLOWING INTO ALEPPO
        July 31, 2016: ZANGI CHILD KILLER WENT TO HELL; NATO’S TERRORISTS SURRENDERING BY THE HUNDREDS IN ALEPPO; IT’S COMING TO AN END, FOLKS

        Well Karl, who am I to believe: you reading the former Sanoma-owned The Moscow Times (whose sister newspaper in St Petersburg closed down in 2014) with your lack of evidence and no links to the relevant information, or Ziad Fadel who lives close to the action and who provides maps and photos of the SAA’s offensives against the takfiris?

        • Patient Observer says:

          The terrorists seemingly are making human wave attacks including a considerable number of suicidal bombers as a last ditch effort to break the siege. They will run out of bodies long before the Russians run out of bombs or the Syrian army loses it will.

          Moreover, if Turkey does tighten up its border, the terrorists are truly finished as an organized threat to the Syrian government. I suspect that Aleppo will be their last hurrah.

        • Chinese American says:

          By throwing a large part of their forces at Aleppo, the terrorists, after a week of attacks and major casualties, appeared to have cut open a small gap in the siege at the south side of Aleppo yesterday (Aug. 6). But whether they will be able to hold it open is another matter. As often is the case, to destroy the “effective strength” of the enemy is the more important thing, and the terrorists, by concentrating themselves near Aleppo, also make for better targets.

  33. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://112.ua/obshchestvo/tatyana-chornovol-telefony-komandirov-tornado-soderzhali-video-iznasilovaniya-mladenca-330058.html

    Chornovil clutches her pearls over the antics of her brothers in arms.

    Too little and too late.

    • yalensis says:

      According to Chornovil, the heroes of the “Tornado Battalion” made videos (on their phones, of course) of their exploits. Namely, raping underaged girls, and even forcing a young mother to have sex under threat of killing her baby. Which baby was forced to witness the ordeal.

      These people are all psychos. Mass psychosis among Ukrainian nationalists.
      Commenters ask: “Is Chornovil waking up from this delusion finally?”

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        What, and repudiate her entire adult life’s work? If she gives up the delusion, what is left for her but despair and suicide?

      • marknesop says:

        You can never reintegrate people like that into a general and inclusive society, such as if Ukraine were somehow to uneasily re-unite. Once you’ve crossed that line into what is right being entirely at one’s own discretion, a certain type – and it’s much more common than you might think – can’t come back from it and spends the rest of its life seeking out situations in which it can repeat the experiences which made it feel that way. Those are the people who consider themselves bound by the law only when the law is watching. If Ukraine is lucky, they will all be killed in the war. Since it has not shown itself to be at all lucky in living memory, they will likely form its violent crime element when hostilities have ceased.

        If Chornovil wants to do something to help the untermenschen of East Ukraine, she could offer herself to Tornado Battalion to blunt their violent appetites. But she would have to learn to scream and struggle, because it’s no fun for them otherwise. I’m sure she’s equal to the task – we already know she’s quite an actress, to say nothing of being not quite right in the head.

  34. Cortes says:

    Just as well the sole survivor of recent EU “incidents” has been tagged as a teenage Norwegian with mental health issues, eh? Otherwise we might’ve thought something dodgy was going on…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36998449

  35. et Al says:

    euractiv: China, Russia steel hit with EU anti-dumping duties
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/trade-society/news/china-russia-steel-hit-with-eu-anti-dumping-duties/

    …“In the wake of the global steel overcapacity crisis, the Commission is applying the trade defense instruments to re-establish a level-playing field between EU and foreign producers,” a statement read.

    The duties range from 18.7% to 36.1% for Russian companies and between 19.7% and 22.1% on Chinese firms Angang Group and Shougang Group….
    ####

    For whys? There’s barely a word about Russia. Just another excuse to impose yet more sanctions?

    Link to further detail (langs):
    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2016.210.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2016:210:TOC
    ###

    From an extremely brief look at above (YAWN!), it looks like the Commission made its calculations and when the exporters complained, the Commission said “GIve us more information to change our mind” but didn’t find such information ‘convincing’ enough to do so.

    • marknesop says:

      Curiously, when a country ‘can’t make anything’, the west rolls about and mocks and ridicules it for its perceived inadequacy. When it makes a quality product that western companies want to buy at a price with which western producers cannot compete, western governments erase that advantage so as to force their consumers to buy domestic product. I guess that’s democracy and freedom and progress. Gee; it smells funny.

    • Cortes says:

      Looks like Felipe Marlo Shamus, only licensed Taurine P.I. In Franco’s Spain, who ran with the Bulls in Pamplona wearing trench coat and fedora.

  36. Patient Observer says:

    Least we forget what the British empire was about then:

    In 1839, England went to war with China because it was upset that Chinese officials had shut down its drug trafficking racket and confiscated its dope.

    Stating the historical record so plainly is shocking — but it’s true, and the consequences of that act are still being felt today.

    https://warisboring.com/to-understand-chinese-expansionism-look-to-the-opium-wars-fc96e2bba94#.3h4zarnzv

    Unlike a fine wine, there is no reason (or proof) that the British Empire has improved with age.

    • yalensis says:

      From Charles Dickens “Our Mutual Friend”, the heroine Bella Wilfer is fantasizing about her beloved Papa becoming a rich opium trader:

      “Now Pa was going to China in that handsome three-masted ship, to bring home opium, with which he would forever cut out Chicksey, Veneering, and Stobble, and to bring home silks and shawls without end for the decoration of his charming daughter.”

    • Cortes says:

      Most of the traffickers were (possibly still are?) fine upstanding Scottish Presbyterians.

      Jardine, Matheson et cetera.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And well established English chocolate manufacturers (for example Fry and Cadbury) were not only Quakers but also slave plantation owners.

        My old workmate used to have a derisory term that he applied to skinflints and in which he compared them to Presbyterians. His terminology always tickled me:

        “Yon mon’s tighter than a Presbyterian’s foreskin!”

  37. Warren says:

    Rio Paralympics 2016: Russian athletes banned after doping scandal

    Russian athletes are banned from competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics following the country’s doping scandal.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/disability-sport/37002582

    • kirill says:

      Russian paralympians were doping? Really now. This sideshow is clearly under different and Uncle Scam dominated management. What ridiculous theater.

    • Chinese American says:

      The President of the IPC is Sir Philip Craven, a Brit. Why am I not surprised?

      • Fern says:

        No, me neither. The members of the IPC are:-

        President Sir Philip Craven (GBR)
        • Vice President Andrew Parsons (BRA)
        • Member Mohammed Alhameli (UAE)
        • Member Ann Cody (USA)
        • Member Rita van Driel (NED)
        • Member Patrick Jarvis (CAN)
        • Member Duane Kale (NZL)
        • Member Jairus Mogalo (KEN)
        • Member Kyung-won Na (KOR)
        • Member John Petersson (DEN)
        • Member Miguel Sagarra (ESP)
        • Member Yasushi Yamawaki (JPN)
        • Athletes’ Representative* Todd Nicholson (CAN)
        • Chief Executive Officer** Xavier Gonzalez(ESP)

        There is no Russian member and most of the above are from countries that are not known for taking an independent line with Uncle Sam.

        Craven’s report was cleverly worded. I’m quoting from memory here but he says something along the lines that the Russian government has ‘catastrophically let down paralympic athletes. This culture of medals above morality disgusts me.” Which is good of him to tell the dumber members of our free and independent media what part of the report to quote and how to spin this decision. The average person will feel that this banning of a whole team of disabled athletes is immensely unjust and that can’t be permitted. So the spin is that Sir Philip and his band of merry men have stepped in to try and save Russia’s disabled athletes from the wickedness of their own government constantly bombarding these unwitting victims with cocktails of drugs that makes them faster, higher, further and all that at the cost of their long-term health.

        Now watch the media, all in unison, bark at the tree to which they’ve been pointed.

        • marknesop says:

          Medals above morality disgusts him. He can safely say that, since Britain does not reward its athletes with any monetary compensation for winning a medal. But plenty of Britain’s allies do. Canada established a special fund for it, paying medal winners $25,000.00 apiece for gold medals. If you don’t win any medals, you get your travel, accommodations and meals like everybody else. Who has a culture of medals above morality? Well, The Guardian is enthusiastic that medals might be awarded to Great Britain athletes who were beaten out in 2008 by “Russian dope cheats”. It is alleged that 14 Russians are among 31 athletes whose samples allegedly tested positive in retesting of samples from the Beijing games. No other athletes of any other country are mentioned – just the Russian dope cheats. Yet they constitute less than half the number of accused. Some of the suspected Russians are named although the official position of the IOC at the time was that those guilty would not be named until testing was complete. And the Guardian honoured that position – except for the Russians.

        • yalensis says:

          Sir Craven?
          Are you sure this is not some parody written by a partnership of Charles Dickens with Monty Python?

    • marknesop says:

      A great triumph for Washington – and, by implication, for Ottawa, since Canada’s staunch support of its ally has resulted in our being linked to Washington’s meddling mendacity, as it hoped would happen. Travis Tygart is absolutely ecstatic, praising the decision as “inspiring…strong leadership”, as America always does when things go its way. Now it can hold up its head proudly, having snatched the opportunity to compete away from the people least able to understand that it is all just politics. To the best of my knowledge, no Russian athlete has ever been caught cheating at the Paralympic Games. However, American Brian Frasure, “the world’s fastest amputee”, has. German skier Thomas Oelsner has, and Azerbaijani powerlifter Gundus Izmailov, as all had to return medals unjustly awarded. Spain’s basketball team faked their alleged disabilities. But all of them, I notice, will be competing. Russia will not, because the country has a state-sponsored doping program that nobody has successfully proved exists, whose chief protagonist insists must exist just because it must. I guess the message is, if you want to be a successful Paralympian, be an obvious spaz. Because the criticism of the Russian Paralympians is they must be doping or not be disabled at all, because they are too good for that not to be the case. What a triumph for politics. Oops; I mean clean sport.

    • Cortes says:

      If you’re eligible for the Paralympics, certain categories of competitors must be on medications, surely?
      A dopey decision .

  38. My response to above posters. I’m not supporting the Syrian rebels/terrorists, but they have proven to be a capable fighting force. Unfortunately more capable than the Syrian Arab Army and its allies. Nusra and others don’t have an air force like the SAA has, but they managed to win in Aleppo in spite of thousands upon thousands of air strikes against them.

    Face it, the SAA sucks. If Russia wants to win this they will have to commit ground troops to fight Nusra.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Still at it Karl. Lets face it, you want anyone who fights Russia or its allies to win, even the child-beheading liver-eating Al Nusra. Oh wait, perhaps its more complex than that, the reason you want Al Nusra to win is because they are backed by US/NATO which confers a mantle of power and domination which you admire. Either way, you seem to be a hateful simpleton but then again most racists/fascists are.

      • et Al says:

        Am I the only one on this blog that does not read Karl’s posts?

        Iz it coz iziz a nutta? Or maybe I’m not a sado-masochist. Just sayin’…. 😉

        • Patient Observer says:

          That is a good question. A weak answer I admit but perhaps if we could have Karl question just one one second the nutty assumptions that lurks behind his statements, then it could have been worth it. You know, saving his soul, helping to free himself from the chains of ignorance. But, alas, willful ignorance is powerful and generally lasts a lifetime.

          I will agree to this – henceforth, I will not be the first to respond to his posts.

      • They are child-beheaders and a competent fighting force at the same time. The fact that they managed to break this siege without air support speaks volumes.

        One thing that they have going for them is that they are not afraid to die while the SAA seems to run away too often. Without Russian help these beheaders would have crushed SAA and Assad a long time ago.

        • Fern says:

          Well, Karl, there is the matter that Russia has been conducting airstrikes in Syria since, when? September/October of last year? and the SAA has been battling the jihadists and those standing behind them, supplying the money, weapons, intelligence etc for five long years. Were the SAA as feeble as you depict, it wouldn’t have survived this long. And a rag-tag collection of jihadists, mercenaries, adventure-seekiers and common criminals doesn’t become, as you describe, a ‘competent fighting force’ unless somebody, somewhere, is investing a fair amount in training programmes.

          • Cortes says:

            Brian Cloughley’s articles about assorted towel headed misfit ragtag combatant units first holding off then regularly winning encounters against “first world” forces have been required reading for me over at Counterpunch and Unz. The author has a military career behind him and seems not to be a think tank warrior.
            The resurgence of the Taliban has been a constant feature in his analyses of the failures of neocon policies.

        • cartman says:

          From what I hear, their “competency” involves them punching their own tickets to Hell.

        • Jen says:

          Karl, I presume you also think that dragging 13 or 14-year-old boys out of school, giving them basic pilot training, doping them up past the eyeballs in alcohol and shoving them into planes to hit warships in kamikaze suicide attacks is a justified fighting strategy.

          Throwing fighters into battle without a proper strategy to use them properly and keep as many alive as possible, as the jihadis do, is not just suicide, it’s disrepectful to the fighters themselves. Good fighters should not be used literally as cannon fodder.

          • It’s not justified. But apparently it works.

            • Jen says:

              You really are no tactician and I am beginning to think there is something creepy and dangerous in your thinking that nations should just throw at each other whatever is available, no matter what the cost is in human lives or other damage. Effective military tactics isn’t about throwing people and equipment at a brick wall and hoping something sticks to it.

              • Patient Observer says:

                Mr. K has hinted many times that truly WHITE people would, with cleverness, cause all of the sub-humans (particularly Russian) to exterminate themselves through war and famine. His hands would be clean and the superiority of his beliefs confirmed if such were to happen.

    • marknesop says:

      Has al Nusra proven to be a capable fighting force on its own? Or has it proven capable at using the weapons gifted it by its regime-change uncle and with the support of the USAF and American Special Forces?

      Natalya Nougayrède hits all the familiar high points in this typical hagiography – Putin is in Syria because he wants to show everyone his penis, and avenge the catastrophic defeat of Soviet forces in Afghanistan while restoring Russia’s image as a serious military power. Putin was in the KGB. It has absolutely fuck-all to do with the article, but Putin was in the KGB, just to be sure you know. It was terribly embarrassing for the Soviet Union to be defeated by a ragtag army of Afghan Mujaheddin, but apparently it is not embarrassing at all for America to experience the profound failure of its military policy in Afghanistan. Or perhaps it is embarrassing, since it dares not leave.

      But despite her love-letter to western imperialism, Nougayrède seems quite clear that Assad is not losing, although she plainly would be delighted if that were the case. She also points out that Aleppo is the last remaining significant opposition stronghold. If al Nusra is such an awesome fighting force, why are they surrounded in the last significant objective they hold? Why are they not spreading out and taking more territory?

  39. marknesop says:

    Although the USA has 268 more athletes in Rio than Russia has, and is competing in events in which no Russians will be allowed to compete, Russia is right behind the USA in the medal count, and far above duplicitous Canada and the hapless Great Britain, both whom have larger Olympic teams than Russia has.

  40. Fern says:

    I came across this guy, Rick Sterling, being interviewed on RT about the ban on Russia’s paralympic team where he mentioned that he’d produced a critique of the McLaren report. It’s a substantial analysis and worth reading:-

    ”The report concludes that Rodchenkov is credible and truthful with little demonstrated proof.  In contrast, the November 2015 Independent Commission report concluded that Dr. Rodchenkov was not credible. The fact that Rodchenkov knew techniques of manipulating test results is not evidence of “state controlled doping program,” especially since he was the main culprit. The information spread in previous reports on Russian doping that Rodchenkov was involved in extorting money from athletes – this information suggests opportunism on his part rather than integrity. The former director of Moscow Laboratory has admitted his involvement in urine sample swapping, design of a steroid cocktail not easily traced, and more. He was instrumental in helping some athletes cheat the system. He is also the person with most motivation to implicate others, even if unjustly.  His testimony obviously needs careful scrutiny and cross-checking.”

    http://theduran.com/heres-russian-athletes-unfairly-banned-olympics/

    • marknesop says:

      That’s a excellent article; good catch. I wrote to the Canadian Minister for Sport about it and urged her to revisit Canada’s position on this, which is to essentially act as a spear carrier for Washington. I am sure there is going to be an independent legal review of the McLaren Report after the Olympics is over, and that it will find it a shambles. The ‘Independent Commission’ was McLaren, Dick Pound (who has already made his feelings on banning Russia from the Olympics quite clear), and Gunter Younger, who was just appointed WADA’s Chief of Intelligence and Investigations this past June. A reward? I wonder. Whatever the case, you could hardly imagine a more ideological and biased team of ‘investigators’.

  41. Patient Observer says:

    Isn’t it interesting that the communists of China are seeking a long-term partnership with Russia – a nominally capitalist country? Of course, Russia is seeking the same with China.

    July 1, China marked an important date on July 1. It was the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Chairman Xi Jinping addressed the solemn meeting devoted to this event. In addition to the praises of “Long live!” (And deservedly so, since the CCP has much to be proud of) there was Chairman Xi’s speech which was short, but very important.

    “The world is on the verge of radical change. We see how the European Union is gradually collapsing, as is the US economy — it is all over for the new world order. So, it will never again be as it was before, in 10 years we will have a new world order in which the key will be the union of China and Russia. “

    http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/08/china-openly-offers-russia-alliance.html

    If the above translation is accurate I wonder what is meant by …key will be the union of China and Russia. In any event, it appears that ideology is not at the core of the unity; its something much deeper and more resilient. I offer that it is a shared view that embraces a realization that the world can no longer accept global hegemony from the West otherwise catastrophe is virtually certain in the form of (pick one or two): nuclear war, financial or ecological collapse. Their mission is basically to save the world from Western insanity which handily trumps anything that may separate them.

    And, I think that the Chinese and Russians are far too wise to seek global hegemony for themselves. The trick for them will be taking down the Western house of cards without triggering a catastrophic miscalculation by the West. …Whew, now time for an hot fudge sundae.

    • marknesop says:

      I think it’s mutual disgust with the USA’s blatant and shameless rigging of the playing field in every contest. If America can’t win, then it’s a loss for all of mankind. And it blabbers constantly and loudly about its values, and then does things which completely contradict those supposed values, and never appears to notice anything unusual or untoward about it.

    • yalensis says:

      I don’t know a word of Chinese, so whatever word they used which was translated as “union” could be a mistranslation. Xi probably meant something more like “alliance”.
      Dubious that he means the two states will merge into a single entity.

      And speaking of which, just by coincidence, I had some healthy comments on my blog this morning about my series on Russia/China and the South China Sea.
      My commenter Ryan Ward laid out his thoughts on Chinese hegemonism. Ryan is a graduate student studying history of this region, as far as I know he still lives in Vietnam where he is on a study grant. So he is something of an expert in this region, but I did my best to reply to him. Ryan believes that China is waning and on the verge of economic collapse. Like I said in my counter-comment, he could be right, he could be wrong.

  42. Cortes says:

    The narrative for the opening chapter of WWIII beginneth like this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/07/iran-executes-nuclear-scientist-shahram-amiri-returned-country-from-us

    Persian nukes? Check

    R2P? Check.

    Crazy mullahs? Check.

    Et cetera

    • marknesop says:

      The subtext is that it was Clinton’s carelessness with classified material which got him killed. And the probability that the reason for his return to Tehran was that his minders had assessed it was now safe for him to go back and be Washington’s ear in Tehran.

  43. Evgeny says:

    Curious analytics in Hurriyet Daily News. No revelations, but a nice idea of Turkey’s position. Sounds like Turkey is testing waters.

    What happened in Armenia?

    • marknesop says:

      That’s an interesting piece; so, from the same source, is this – conviction that the USA was behind the coup attempt in Turkey continues to grow, and Incirlik was briefly closed to NATO forces so that Turkey could ‘reestablish control’. The interesting part, though, for me was the lengths to which the USA is prepared to go to rein in any Turkish ambitions to independent decision-making. Students of diplomatic speech will know that the USA is throwing around some very tough talk indeed, although it sounds mild, and while they would never kick Turkey out of NATO, threats that Turkey’s actions may ‘harm its NATO relations’ are by no means just casual banter.

      Was the CIA really behind the coup? Not likely, and few outside Turkey seem to think so, either, although the idea seems to have acquired broad support in Turkey itself. The extent to which I would go is that Washington might have had advance intelligence that it would occur, and chose not to warn Erdogan. That in itself is almost as bad as starting it yourself, in today’s diplomacy, because much of the strength in diplomatic relations rests in the impression that your friends have your back. What is strange to me is the persistence of the idea in Turkey, although Erdogan is just the sort of strongman the USA prefers; its pearl-clutching over his human-rights record is strictly for the rubes. Not to mention the startling turn of events in which Turkey broadly believes the USA was behind the coup (which it probably wasn’t) while Russia is thought to have behaved like a friend by warning the Turkish government (which is says it didn’t). I suspect there are revelations yet to come.

      • Patient Observer says:

        It was widely believed that the shoot-down of the Russian jet was at the behest of a US-based power center (certainly not the Pentagon nor NATO but possibly a faction in the CIA). That same power center could have encouraged the coup plotters with promises of protection and quick recognition by the US in exchange for a repudiation of any overtures made toward Russia. Remember, no one, NO ONE, walks away from the US and that was exactly what Erdogan appeared to be doing. They tried a violent regime change and it failed.

        Is it just me or does it look like the US has lost that Midas touch when it comes to regime change?

        • marknesop says:

          Well, it certainly looks like it has. But a couple of things should be borne in mind. One, the USA is a bit like the Okinawan Habu snake, in that it can bite even after it appears to be dead. Two, Erdogan is so typically the type of for-sale strongman that the USA loves to have in charge of its assets that it is hard to believe they would ever mount a coup against him. Erdogan knows where a lot of bodies are buried, so to speak, so he could prove extremely embarrassing as an enemy if it so happened that he survived a coup, even if it was successful. And American-backed coups as a general rule do not ever take place except when a replacement figure or group has been identified. Washington could not reasonably want a de facto military junta in charge in Turkey – it could go so many ways and none of them would really benefit anyone.

          The one exception might be if it were intended as a warning; perhaps against his human-rights record, perhaps for his flooding Europe with refugees. In such a case, it might not have been meant to succeed. If so, it was a grotesque failure, because he has come back harder than ever.

  44. yalensis says:

    MIchael Kaufman of the New York Times on the proxy war in Syria.
    Kaufman writes that Russia is winning the proxy war.

    (However, this was written before the jihadis recent astounding successes in storming the breach. [sarc] )

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/world/middleeast/military-syria-putin-us-proxy-war.html?_r=0

  45. Jeremn says:

    I see there is a petition to let Yelena Play

  46. et Al says:

    Haaretz: Russia admits it mistakenly flew drone over Golan Heights into Israel
    http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page//.premium-1.735530

    …In the July 17 incident nearly a year later, the drone flew about four kilometers (2.5 miles) into Israeli airspace.

    The Israel Defense Forces tried to intercept the drone three times. First it shot two Patriot missiles, then a fighter plane fired an air-to-air missile. The efforts failed and the aircraft returned to Syria….
    ####

    !!!! Looks like Russia has done Israel a favor by exposing quite a hole in Israel’s defenses. Then again, we don’t really know how much of this is true. As with all military & intelligence stories, you can be 100% certain that you are not getting it all.

    • marknesop says:

      Not to mention the prowess of the one-shot-one-kill Patriot system. A drone is a small target, but there is no reason to believe the operator even knew the drone was being engaged unless it was directly in his field of view, and it likely took no evasive action, so its course and speed would be predictable.

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