The Quality of Mercy

Uncle Volodya says, "The darkest secret of this country, I am afraid, is that too many of its citizens imagine that they belong to a much higher civilization somewhere else.”

Uncle Volodya says, “The darkest secret of this country, I am afraid, is that too many of its citizens imagine that they belong to a much higher civilization somewhere else.”

“Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time everywhere”

-George W. Bush

The western press, and the political systems it serves, are rousing themselves to a frenzy of effort to stop the Syrian government forces from re-taking the Syrian city of Aleppo, which the west would very much like to see the ‘rebels’ retain as the capital of a federalized opposition state within Syria.

The Washington Post is a good example of the outrage flooding the net, chucking out articles like it was a snowball fight, each vying with the last to explore new heights of this-must-not-stand noble fury at the Russian/Syrian military operation to drive Islamic State from  the last major city in Syria in which it has a significant presence. If Assad’s forces are successful, as they will be without a direct western military intervention on behalf of the al Qaeda affiliates, the IS insurgency will be reduced to terrorizing small villages and spray-painting its tags on mailboxes.

Consider Richard Cohen, figuratively dancing with rage, beside himself with fury at the Russians’ temerity in supporting Assad – who is the democratically-elected leader of Syria, who retains the loyalty of a convincing majority and who would win easily in free elections.

According to Cohen, what is going on now in Aleppo is murder, plain and simple, and that it is being allowed to continue is a symbol of American weakness. Cohen implores the United States to gird itself for battle, and issue forth and save the al-Nusra Front, Islamic State and whatever other al-Qaeda splinter groups might be in Aleppo, from defeat. Well, them, too – but he’s mostly concerned about the civilians, especially the children. Because, in the end, it’s for the kids, right?

This is not Kerry’s failure. It is Obama’s. He takes overweening pride in being the anti-George W. Bush. Obama is the president who did not get us into any nonessential wars of the Iraq variety. The consequences for Syria have been dire — perhaps 500,000 dead, 7 million internal refugees, with millions more surging toward Europe like a tsunami of the desperate.

Syria had a pre-crisis population of just over 21 million, so according to Cohen, a third of the Syrian population has either been killed or internally displaced. But the west is just now getting extra-concerned. Cohen’s anguish certainly speaks well of him; I will do what I can to put him in touch with an agency that will send a Syrian refugee family to share his accommodations. I sure hope he doesn’t live in one of the states that has refused to take Syrian refugees, especially considering the death toll appears to have doubled in less than a year; in November 2015 it was guessed to be around 250,000. But Richard has shown us how to arrive at a more sensational number – you just put ‘perhaps’ in front of it. In reality nobody has much of a clue, since the UN takes its numbers directly from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. As I have pointed out many times before, this is one guy working out of his living room in England, funneling figures from his network of activists in Syria. Nobody checks anything, and the one time the UN tried to verify the numbers it was successful in doing so for less than a dozen casualties.

Nor is Cohen the only one, of course; just the Washington Post alone is alive with articles damning the Syrian government and the Russian Federation, and imploring western leaders to do something, anything, just doitnowtheresnotimeforanalysis. We’ll sort it out later, which might make a dandy epitaph for western policymaking as a whole. International news sources likewise bewail western stasis, while the French have arrived at an ecstacy of choler, a new altitude for dudgeon, and are demanding a UN resolution ordering a cease-fire – anyone who doesn’t vote for it is a war criminal. No, I’m not kidding.

Say – does anyone remember the war in Libya, when the French war criminals were airdropping weapons to the Benghazi rebels? Without consulting any authority, or even their allies? Airdropping weapons to the outfit, eventually victorious once NATO agreed to act as its Air Force, that raised the al Qaeda flag over Benghazi the instant NATO pulled out of Libya? How’d that turn out? Prosperous western-leaning market democracy? Not so much. Oh, well; plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, right, France? You cannot make ze omelette wizzout you break ze eggs, n’est-ce pas?

The serving French government is a dick pudding whose main ingredient is dick, sans doubte, and Francois Hollande has earned the right to have the next newly-discovered invertebrate named after him. The French seem to have forgotten already how the US State Department screwed them over with the Mistral Amphibious Assault Carrier sale to Russia, which cost them a quarter of a billion Euros. And then Egypt – the eventual buyer – outfitted them with new Russian helicopters. But here comes France, carrying Uncle Sam’s golf clubs again; I guess they never learn.

Well, as much fun as it would be to talk about French fumbling all day, that Cohen thing is still bugging me. General Cohen’s insistence that Washington stop futzing around and get in there and stop Putin from slaughtering innocents strikes a jangling chord with me. And I just realized why.


Starting in November 2004 and over the course of a month and half, the British and United States military hammered the shit out of Fallujah, in Iraq. Oh, they didn’t say that, of course – they called it Operation Phantom Fury, because that sounds more organized and neat than simply blasting the city to rubble. And you know the funny thing? American accounts of the battle in the popular press do not mention civilian casualties. Or bombing hospitals. Or cutting off all electrical power, or turning back Red Crescent humanitarian aid or turning back all ‘military-age males’ attempting to flee the city. The US military served notice that everyone who was not an insurgent should get out of Fallujah, and about 80% of the population, according to some estimates, left. The remainder were treated as if they were all insurgents.

Before the offensive commenced, the population was estimated at more than 250,000. That suggests that at least upwards of 50,000 people remained in the city during the ensuing bombardment. But American reports reflect that there were at most 4000 insurgents among the population in the city. Simple mathematics resolves that if those figures are accurate, more than 45,000 civilians remained in Fallujah.

What was it like for those inhabitants, once the offensive commenced? Bear in mind that the offensive itself followed weeks of aerial bombing. But once the Marines and soldiers started going block-to-block, house-to-house, what was it like for them?

“Burhan Fasa’a, an Iraqi journalist, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not speak English. “Americans did not have interpreters with them, so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English. They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and shot people because [the people] didn’t obey [the soldiers’] orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a word of English.” Abu Hammad, a resident of Fallujah, told the Inter Press Service that he saw people attempt to swim across the Euphrates to escape the siege. “The Americans shot them with rifles from the shore. Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white clothes over their head to show they are not fighters, they were all shot.” Furthermore, “even the wound[ed] people were killed. The Americans made announcements for people to come to one mosque if they wanted to leave Fallujah, and even the people who went there carrying white flags were killed.” Former residents of Fallujah recall other tragic methods of killing the wounded. “I watched them [U.S. Forces] roll over wounded people in the street with tanks… …This happened so many times.”

Preliminary estimates as of December of 2004 revealed that at least 6,000 Iraqi citizens in Fallujah had been killed, and one-third of the city had been destroyed.”

Many people will not want to believe this happened, that people who might be their neighbours could do such things. And there’s a tendency to assume the speaker must be lying, must be, because he is an Iraqi with an incentive to make the west out to be wicked and depraved. And you know what? This is the wages of deception, of constant spin and fabrication in the effort to twist public perception of events. The end result is that people will only believe what they are comfortable believing. Because there is no group or entity upon whom we can rely to tell us the truth. Here’s a great example – a video clip which most likely originates with the lyingest group of individuals in Syria – the White Helmets. It is purportedly a scene of chaos in an East Aleppo hospital, one of the few surviving, because the Russians carefully seek them out and bomb them because they love killing people. The atmosphere is chaos, with women wailing loudly and what appear to be orderlies trying to deal with the flood of casualties. Keep your eye on the guy on the right, pretending to nurse a head wound. Since he is around the corner from the ‘action’, he figures it’s safe to laugh at the absurdity of it all, until he realizes the camera is on him – whereupon he quickly adopts the mien of suffering victim.

Anyway, back to Fallujah. British officers professed themselves to be appalled at the wilful destruction carried out by American forces.

“In the assault US commanders largely treated Fallujah as a free-fire zone to try to reduce casualties among their own troops. British officers were appalled by the lack of concern for civilian casualties. “During preparatory operations in the November 2004 Fallujah clearance operation, on one night over 40 155mm artillery rounds were fired into a small sector of the city,” recalled Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, a British commander serving with the American forces in Baghdad.

He added that the US commander who ordered this devastating use of firepower did not consider it significant enough to mention it in his daily report to the US general in command. Dr Busby says that while he cannot identify the type of armaments used by the Marines, the extent of genetic damage suffered by inhabitants suggests the use of uranium in some form. He said: “My guess is that they used a new weapon against buildings to break through walls and kill those inside.”

The legacy of the siege of Fallujah continued long after the battle had ended, with a 12-fold increase in cancer in children under 14, likely due to the use of depleted-uranium ammunition. After months of denials, Washington finally admitted in 2005 that its forces had used White Phosphorus (AKA ‘Willy Pete’) as an incendiary weapon against Iraqis in Fallujah, which is a war crime and was so assessed at the time although nothing – repeat, nothing – was ever done about it. If White Phosphorus makes contact with skin it will continue to burn independent of oxygen all the way to the bone. But Washington insisted it had only used it against enemy insurgents, wink, wink. Why the hedging?

Because using White Phosphorus against enemy troops is not a crime. As a matter of fact, American lawyers have penciled in an escape clause for occasions when American troops kill civilians. And it is ‘They didn’t mean to’. That’s right – how does it go, Samantha Power? “There is a moral difference between setting out to destroy as many civilians as possible and killing civilians unintentionally and reluctantly in pursuit of a military objective.”

Ah; of course there is. And so now you see how simple it is to argue that forces of the Syrian government and the Russian Federation always do the former – because they get a thrill out of killing civilians – while the forces of the United States and its allies always do the latter. And while proving it would be virtually impossible, proving otherwise would be just as impossible. Moral victory, United States.

Somebody was so reluctant and unintentional about killing 21 people in Fallujah, whose bodies were unearthed from a mass grave found in Al-Maadhidi cemetery, that they took the trouble to blindfold them, tie their arms and legs, shoot them and then place the corpses in body bags with English letters and numbers on them and bury them. The mayor and the Chief of Police both said the bodies were from the 2004 Fallujah offensive, and that they had been killed by US forces. But the aforementioned US forces declined to comment, so I guess nobody knows.

US forces unintentionally and reluctantly bombed a Red Crescent maternity hospital in Baghdad, unintentionally killing some civilians, including those who burned to death in their cars.  The US Air Force reluctantly bombed a chicken shack in Baghdad with four satellite-guided ‘smart bombs’, but they must not have been top of their class, because they hit houses near the restaurant and killed 8 civilians, including 3 children. None of them were Saddam Hussein and his two sons,  whom a tipster had apparently told the US military were inside enjoying a chicken dinner. I hope that’s how it went, and that they were not just guessing. At any rate, the super-high-precision bombs missed the restaurant, only blowing out its windows with the blast. The people it did hit were pretty dead, though.

Anyway, you see how it works. You just make up the name of some bad guy you were trying to get, and you can safely bomb the shit out of anything you want, while keeping your moral authority unsullied. You didn’t mean to. The USA always has an excuse (bad people have celebrations, too) when it kills civilians in the pursuit of some military objective, but it will accept no excuses whatsoever from its enemies when they kill civilians in pursuit of a military objective, and their intent to deliberately kill civilians is consistently assumed.

Let’s put this in perspective. The United States not only had no business in Iraq at all, it deliberately fabricated the excuse it used to invade Iraq. Various studies estimate Iraqi deaths in the Iraq war at 1 million. The US Defense Secretary characterized the resistance to American conquest as ‘a few pockets of dead-enders’, probably not more than 10,000 fighters. Either the USA killed each of them 100 times over, like something out of Blackadder Goes Forth, or  it killed a lot of civilians. You can minus off a few who were likely killed by other Iraqis, but the main target of Iraqis was US forces. You can cut the figure down by, let’s say, 100,000, for Iraqi soldiers who were killed in the initial war, while there still was an Iraqi Army. That still leaves about 850,000 unexplained civilian deaths. The USA announced that it was in total control of Iraq, and exulted over the way the Iraqis had to coordinate everything with their American occupiers. After the Fallujah offensive commenced, US forces fired indiscriminately into the city although it still contained thousands of civilians, used prohibited weapons against the civilian population and did not provide safe exit corridors for those fleeing the barrage. The US military cut the power to the city so that medical facilities which did not have a generator capability had no electricity.

Syria is fighting a foreign-backed insurgency in Aleppo, in which many of the fighters are Islamic extremists recruited from abroad who are not Syrians. It is a war to return Syria to the unified, secular country it was before the western-instigated regime-change effort commenced. Syrians who lay down their arms and surrender may be amnestied under Syrian law, and even foreign fighters may leave by safe corridors, with their weapons. Those civilians who fled Aleppo are being housed and provided for as best the government can manage under the circumstances, and will be provided with assistance to return to their homes when the fighting is over if their homes are not destroyed in the violence. The Islamic extremists Syria and Russia are fighting are trained, armed and supported by Washington and its allies, and Washington refuses to differentiate between ‘moderate’ rebels and al Qaeda affiliates as it has agreed to do in cease-fire agreements. The USA is in Syria at its own insistence, ostensibly to fight Islamic State, although circumstantial evidence demonstrates it is actually supporting  extremist groups as proxy forces in the hope they will topple the Syrian government. Anyone who doubts this should read the interview between the German newspaper Focus and the commander of al Nusra, published two days ago.

Richard Cohen sees Aleppo as Guernica, because – he claims – Guernica, like Aleppo, was bombed by fascists deliberately seeking to inflict as many civilian casualties as possible. Let’s be clear; Washington does not give a tin weasel about civilian casualties except for those killed by its enemies, and has written legalese which guarantees civilians killed by American forces will always have been killed as a result of a reluctant accident. Those killed by Washington’s foes will always have been murdered for no justifiable reason. Fallujah was more like Guernica, but those deaths don’t matter, because nobody meant to kill them.

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes

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2,542 Responses to The Quality of Mercy

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    FBI definitely run by the KGB FSB Putin!

    FBI sends heavily redacted Clinton interview documents to Congress

    Heavily redacted files relate to a 2001 investigation into the William J. Clinton Foundation.

    One week before the election!

    Hillary should have kept her big gob shut instead of making public accusations against the FBI.

  2. Northern Star says:

    The Killary Fall Collection….Chic criminal ensembles available for the Designing corrupt lying Fashionista…..Worldwide

  3. Cortes says:

    Further to the discussion on the new heraldry issued by the Ukraine, I refer for the information of stooges an article about the use of the owl as a demonic symbol in the works of Hieronymous Bosch:

    Much as I’d love to be able to ascribe awareness of this to my vast erudition, I saw a reference in a Michael Connelly novel “Darkness More Than Night ” and followed up by finding the linked article.

    • yalensis says:

      If I recall, Dan Brown also wrote a lot about the owl symbology in his latest Professor Langdon book “Inferno”. Which I read a few months back, and thought was terrific.
      I am looking forward to the movie starring Tom Hanks.

      This comment brought to you by the Hollywood Actors Guild.

  4. Lyttenburgh says:

    On the matter of our on and off discussion of the liberalism, elites and responsibility.

    Mr. Lytt goes to Rantswille

    So yesterday’s morning by pure chance I decided to partake of the Beautiful and Eternal and to watch Kultura TV. For those of you who don’t know – “Channel Kultura” is federal prime TV channel owned and run by Russian Ministry of Culture (which is, as you all know, part of the “Regime”). TV program is notable for the prevalence of “high culture” – you have operas, theatrical spectacles, concertos of the classical music, “golden classics” of the cinematograph, with the occasional “bold” experiments like jazz concertos or the screening of the experimental “authors” films, renowned among the specialists and true connoisseurs of true art. News programs cover first of all cultural events of “appropriate” nature. Various talk shows gather the “best people of This Country”, and both the hosts of various TV programs and the people who run this shining example of True Culture embody the ideals of Russian Intelligentzia.

    There are no commercials on TV Kultura. At all. You can watch a concerto, movie or a documentary – both Russian and foreign made, there is no discrimination – without interruptions on annoying ads. Because the channel needs no outer source of income – it receives all of its funds from the budget. We, Russians, all of us, pay for it. Because the Ministry of Culture sees fit to do that.

    Last week 2 big issues were making rounds in RuNet and Russian “thinking” society. One of them – what an actor (and one enormous buzzhound) Alexei Panin did to his dogs. Another one concerned the comments of director, actor, producer Konstantin Raykin (son of the legendary Arkadiy Raykin) during all-Russian theatrical congress. The resonance in the society was so significant, that even a week later it caused a very lively discussion during the regular morning program on Kultura TV. Among the guests were:

    – 2nd most senior deputy of the Minister of Culture in his dark blue jacket.
    – Sully introvert-type director of one of Moscow’s theatres.
    – Chubby extrovert-type director of one of Moscow’s theatres.
    – Old guy, who’s the deputy head of the all-Russia’s theatrical association, who liked to remind everyone that he is much older than them and in all this business since 1963.

    They were discussing – noticeably avoiding an elephant left by Raykin’s words – the potential vectors of development of the thespian art in This Country. Now, I remind you again. It was on “state-owned” TV channel, Live, without commercials or any interruptions. 1 hour of pure, concentrated handshakability. And for this one hour I, an Intillegent in 3rd generation, Putinoid, sovok and bydlo, could not divert my gaze from what took place on the screen. Squashed hedgehog was left half-eaten, and a bottle of the glass-cleaning liquid – only half empty. I watched, and listened and only blinked from time to time.

    Because our Russian (in the most… generous… definition of this word) Intelligentzia views itself as one, true and only “Aristocrats of the Spirit” ™. The State must fund them. Must. No matter what. It must. They need the money – the more the matter, because only they, people of the Art, know how much they are truly worth. In exchange the State shouldn’t have any say in what they do. At all. The same applies to the spectators from narod – they must attend their performances and appreciate them. Again – they must. It’s their duty.

    The state has duties and obligations before the Artistic Intelligentzia. The People has duties and obligations before the Artistic Intelligentzia. Artistic Intelligentzia has no obligations, responsibilities, duties or dues before the state, the society, before anyone.

    In short – they are essential liberals, only transplanted on Russian soil and mutated into monstrous things. They are liberals who’d love nothing better than employ truly feudal morals.

    That’s what I gathered from the independent contributions of various guests to this TV program. The introvert-type unshaven and balding theatrical director whined, that he is:

    a) Introvert artistic persona.
    b) He has to work “hard like no one” to produce his stunning works.
    c) He has no time for the cultural events beyond hosted by him and don’t want to mingle not only with hoi poloi – but with fellow directors as well.
    d) The authorities and civil servants could pay more attention to his wonderful theatre!
    e) We, artistic people, need love, hugs and money. Especially money.

    The Old Man praised the fact that he no longer lives in the time “of ideology” and “censorship”, but bemoaned that now it all boils down to the profit – which is a big no! Theatres, according to him must never be closed – this is a Sacrilege. He insisted that the theatrical Art is beyond the base demands of indifferent and non-understanding bureaucrats of the Ministry of Culture, or the “crowd” – only, and I quote, some sort of professional Areopagus of the theatrical dignitaries (like – hint-hint! – the one he is heading right now) could know how to allocate the funds.

    Chubby extrovert director suggested, very shyly, that the theatres could be also judged by the reaction of the Enlightened Spectators – members of the True Inteligentzia – who’s opinion is also very important. This suggestion alone was a borderline heresy, but what made his colleagues (read: rivals) foam with fury was the following: to institute a “transparent” rating system for theatres, which would take into account such matters as the attendance rate, theatrical reviews, the results of tours and the professional awards. Something tells me that his particular well-fed director was dead sure that his own theatre would score very high in such a system – and get most of the funds. Naturally, his opponents were in disagreement. According to them even a poor scoring theatre needs all of its funding – in the name of the Art, which scoffs at any form of the hard data. And even if they do score bad – what is he suggesting to do to improve their rating? And who is going to do any supposed “improvements” – surely, not the state?! Because all of these smacks of the dreadful Censorship.

    The deputy of the Minister of Culture blew my mind even further in the depth of the astral. He, a soulless faux-intelligent with only 2 Higher education diplomas (theology and airplane drives construction) provided us with the despicable hard data. Like – there are 100 state funded theatres in Moscow alone (which more than twice as many as the number of the theatres in NYC). About 20 of them the general public hears only rarely (translation: 20 theatres are unpopular, unknown and do nothing to improve that). All of these theatres are headed by the long entrenched “thespian aristocracy”, which grabbed the reins of power in the times of Perestroika and Rough 90s. Nothing, short of death, can result in the management change in these theatres. The situation is such, that directors in his or her 50s are referred in these circles as “the young ones”.

    Yearly, Russian Ministry of Culture spends 9.4 billion of rubles on them, plus additional sums (in hundreds of millions of rubles) on various theatrical events, premiers, renovations, anniversaries, etc, etc. The total budget of the Ministry of Culture for Moscow is about 50 billions of rubles. In provinces local theatres (some of them – even not state owned) are heavily funded by the states, with the amount ranging between 3 to 22 millions per oblast of the direct budget money, plus whatever the local authorities can allocate.

    If we go beyond what he said during this program, and just go to the Ministry of Culture WikiPedia’s page, we’ll a long (and not quite complete) list of museums, theatres, libraries, concert halls, cinema studios etc that are directly funded by it. By the money of all Russian’s money.

    And that’s a hell of a money. The Aristocrats Of The Spirit ask, nay, they *demand* to be given these mind-boggling amount of funds… for what? For Art? For themselves, as a new priesthood of Art? Looks like it to me.

    So, I ask you, my fellow Stooges – what is the situation with the High Culture in your respectful countries of residence? What are the relationships between the Artistic Intelligentsia there and both the State and the Society? What can you say about your own local Aristocrats of the Spirits, Priests in Apollo’s Temple, etc?

    Because something tells me – here, in Russia, we have a sick, perverse situation. When yalensis posts new article about MET’s opera premier I always have first to overcome the suspension of disbelieve. I mean – they did all this grand opera stuff… without state budget money. How?! Maybe, we are doing something wrong?

    • Cortes says:


      I think I’ll search the archives for my copy of Gladkov’s “Cement.”

    • Jen says:

      Not much good High Culture here in Australia, I’m afraid.

      From what I can find out, opera and theatre companies get the bulk of Australian federal funds (about 40+% of total funding) that go to the arts. Whatever money they get that doesn’t come from the State, they get from staging musicals and other commercial shows guaranteed to pull in the crowds. Generally the more politically conservative the government, the more it shells out to traditional arts and music forms and institutions and the less it gives to newer or more experimental arts and music. The homegrown film industry in particular gets short shrift which explains why so many Australian actors end up in Hollywood alongside British actors.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I reckon Germany must be top of the pile when it comes to arts funding. That certainly seemed the case when I was living there.

      Because of the fact that up to 1871 Germany was a fragmented nation with dozens of princedoms, small bishoprics, little kingdoms etc., and each local ruler wanted his own mini-Versailles and opera house, you have a great choice of arts venues in the Vaterland.

      I lived in Wiesbaden for a spell, which provincial city and Federal State capital has, of course, its very own palace and opera house etc. That’s where I first watched an opera, more accurately a Singspiel, namely Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Sreaglio).

      I could go to the opera in Wiesbaden because I could afford to buy a heavily subsidized ticket there. There was no way I could have afforded to go to the opera in the UK: apart from the high cost of opera tickets in my native country, I would have had to travel to London, where I would have had to stay overnight after the performance, and return north the next day.

      Down the road from Wiesbaden is Frankfurt-am-Main, where there is another opera house, a huge one.

      Also down the road from Wiesbaden is the city of Mainz, where there is the Staatstheater Mainz, in which opera and ballet and drama are also performed.

      Published 2014:

      Culturally Impoverished: US NEA Spends 1/40th of What Germany Doles Out for Arts Per Capita

    • yalensis says:

      Yes, as far as I know, the the Met doesn’t receive government funding. It does receive a lot of philanthropic funding. At each show the host or hostess mentions that ticket sales don’t provide near enough enough revenue for these big hootenannies, and then they thank this private group called the Neubauer Foundation.

      To me, this is what a good NGO should be, just giving $$$ for the arts. That’s my idea of a true philanthropy – so thanks, Neubauer people!

      Having said that, I don’t see anything wrong with government funding of the arts. Provided the government doesn’t interefere in the content.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Thank you for your answers! I did some additional google-fu on the matter:

        1) Germany. There is no special Ministry of Culture in the FRG. GDR had it, but since the reunion/annexation by the FRG this vile legacy of the communist regime had been abolished. AFAIK, local governments in each of constituent “lands” of the FRG also lack any equivalent of such ministry. So, how the funding is done here?

        If the Berlin State Opera is anything to go by, it’s by a private sponsors association . Given the fact, that this organization pulled in 2009 a huge renovation project and Berlin’s Opera is hardly some provincial music hall, I’d say that’s a fine example of private initiative in funding the Art. Especially, when the name of one of these “Maecenates ”is BMW. Wiesbaden’s State Theatre is no different. Correct me, if I mistranslated the German there.

        2) Australia. I was surprised that here, no one is planning to deal away with the existing equivalent of our Ministry of Culture. In this or that form it’s been in existence for nearly 45 years. Judging by their site they are indeed no different in their allocation of funds than our own analogue. Granted – in a much, much lesser scale. Sydney Opera House does not depend solely on the state funds, for example.

        3) USA. No, no such a thing as the ministry of Culture here, sonny! Invisible Hand of the Market for the Win! Somehow – it works. Rich folks back in states, apparently, are willing to part with yuuuge sums of cash to support all sorts of High Art via various funds and associations (or their spouses are shacking them down for that?). It’s a wide stereotype portraying American financial elite either attending baseball or basketball or football matches (too plebeian even to think about it for our Russian intelligentzial Elfs!) instead of going to opera or theatre. Maybe its all because of some tax reduction incentives, or because of vanity of having a plaque with your name on it… or because it somehow introduces you into a closed caste-like inner society of Masons the long-entrenched moghuls, part of the Tradition and an Initiation Ritual? I don’t know. But it works.


        In Russia it’s a sad story. Really. There are 173 theatres in Moscow and 100 of them receive their funding from the state. In total, about 10% of the entire Ministry of Culture’s budget is spent on them. Thanks to that (in theory) the buildings are renovated, salaries for the staff, scene crew, admin and actors are paid, utility bills are covered and the price of the tickets kept low, so that the target auditory – intelligentsia – could afford them. Russian High culture is deliberately loss incurring. Theatres, now fiercely independent from the State’s Dictat ™ are completely irresponsible and see no fit to acquiesce to any demands from anybody. Maybe they are right, that their particular theatre needs more funds – but there is no way to determine that, because they won’t allow the jackbooted thugs from the Ministry of Culture to come and audit them. The fact that such a situation with virtually all of state funded theatres headed by power-clinging gerontocrats breeds immense corruption is no big surprise.

        Konstantin Raykin, who kickstarted this still simmering scandal (yes – people even forgot about Alexei Panin and his poor, no more innocent dogs!) inherited his theatre, “Satyrikon”, from his father in 1991. He was also “mainstream” (so mainstream that in 1990 he converted to Russian Orthodoxy) and not a dissident type. Mediocre actor and director, who done absolutely nothing worth mentioning in the cultural field since 1991. He was fierce zaputinets since early 2000s. Last year, his theatre (1000 seats, btw!) received from the state 240 million rubles. As to where most of these money ended up could possibly hint shopping and entertainment center “Raykin Plaza” built not far away from his own theatre. This is just one of the businesses owned and operated by Raykin. Raykin Plaza as well as several other buildings were constructed with violation of the existing legislation, and the people of Moscow’s district, where both the “Satyrikon” and “Raykin Plaza” are situated decided to appeal to the Mayor of Moscow Sobyanin.

        Immediately, Konstantin Raykin was transformed into a fiery Scourge of the Regime. He cursed both the Censorship and the Grey Masses, who are Suppressing the Freedom of Art in This Country. How is this done in his case I don’t know. Last year, his theatre (who used to be, you know, a comedy and miniature theatre during his father – not a dramatic one like now) premiered with a play “50 Shades Of Blue”. Blue in Russian slang context, i.e. about the spiritual sufferings of the underage male gay teen. No one banned that. No one withdrew the funding of his theatre. No one was trying to prevent the staging of this “masterpiece”. Although, As Everyone Knows, here in Mordor we are daily killing scores of innocent gays and feed their bodies to our bears.

        And now – this. A scream of a person, who no longer wants to Live By A Lie. A bullshit artist who just wants some attention and money. But the people, the society of Russia, is still abuzz. We still discuss one theme only – what to do with our art? What to do with our intelligentsia? Should there be any responsibility?

        Let’s be honest here – so-called artistic intelligentsia in all lands and times thought too much about itself. Also true would be to say that they were also dependent on the good graces of someone else. There were no such a thing as “free artists” – only “artist” and “starving, soon to be dead artist”. Those who chose to sponsor them did it for two/one reason – propaganda and/or prestige. In ages past artists, going by whatever name was appropriate, understood that. They could no allow themselves to simply embezzle the pay for the project and/or to produce something not to the liking of their patron – at least, not without consequences for them. Thus, there was also a censorship – in varying degrees.

        In that ages past the customer was always right ™, and the artist, understanding this very well, did everything a good businessmen does to score some profit. Rembrandt’s Night Watch came into being not because of the Divine Intervention, but because the people painted on it paid for that. Apparently, they were satisfied with the end work and the amount of the money they paid was enough for the artist to cover his needs (like the cost of production of the original painting, salary for his assistants, bills, etc) and, maybe, even allow him to pursue his own personal projects.

        Will Shakespeare, always a keen businessmen, had seen an opening for himself and his theatre when in 1694 the Earl of Essex decided to improve the amourous life with his beau (aka the Good Queen Bess) with some good old fashioned anti-Semitism. The leib-medic of the Glorianna, “Portuguese” Doctor Lopez (who all those years faithfully proclaimed each year that the Queen of England is – believe it or not! – a virgin) died a traitor’s death for “plotting” to poison his monarch… on Spanish behalf. He died a cruel and unusual death, Jews were porgomed and expelled from England, and Will Shakes got his block-buster – The Merchant of Venice (which’s 100% not a plagiarism from Marlowe’s earlier work, noooope!).

        March of the time, the formation of the mass-culture and the Great October’s Socialistic Revolution totally changed the established order of the things. Despite their reputation (primarily – among the anti-Sovietists) for being ruthless and savage destroyers of the ancien regime and everything that symbolize it, the Bolsheviks were not idiots – they more than anyone else understood the power of the culture and propaganda. From now one – the State bankrolled every single writer, artist, actor, sculptor and cinematographer. They received constant, uninterrupted stream of funds, privileges and preferential treatment (way high above average Soviet citizens). In exchange they had to deal with new management and submit to its “dictat”. Over the years, the intelligentsia became more and more insular, entrenched and started to take for granted those unprecedented liberties and high level of life which they all enjoyed. Oh, and it began dissatisfied with the Management, which desired for them to produce both the High Art (but in particular boundaries) and the Mass Culture (but totally unlike the one in the West). Because they, for the most part, were not brave enough to rebel against that, they “suffered” in silence… and relative opulence.

        Perestroika and 1991 brought joy to the kreaklian masses and ruin to their country. With that they lost stable source of funds for all their projects. The rough 90s proved that in those years passed since 1917 they turned into pampered nightingales, who spent their entire lives in gilded cages and who, now free in the wild world of the Capitalism (c’mon, you wanted it!), they proved to be incapable of living by its laws. Strangely enough, Russian culture before 1991 (with various levels of Dictat and Censorship) produced world-class masterpieces that enriched the entire humanity. New Free Russian Culture post 1991 failed to do that.

        Again we see history repeating itself. Nearly starved kittens of the 90s became since 2000s a bunch of ungrateful fat cats, who, indeed, forgot nothing and learned nothing. They, once again, deem themselves an Aristocracy of the Spirit with no duties and responsibilities. They were indeed successful in browbeating the State (the greatest offender was the former Minister Schvydkoy) into “hands off – only cash!” approach, which allowed them once again to live even more opulent lives and do whatever they wanted on their stages, cinema studios and art galleries.

        Russian people suffered from such cognitive dissonance for a long time. On the one hand – they were finally free to worship and express their faith. At the same time – state owned museums and art galleries started to host provocative exhibitions that, indeed, could offend those people. Since the school people were tough what is the High Art, how it’s important to attend theatres, concertos etc. And then state owned (and funded) theatres and operas began hosting extremely avant-grade, border-line pornographic production. People came knocking to these state, i.e. people funded cultural institutions and told them that they, the people, would like something else. Aristocrats of the Spirit told the rabble to sod off. That’s their vision! No one can influence them – neither the state nor the filthy peasants like them.

        So we have this – Russian Revolt, senseless and merciless. People are fucking tired with the fact that the self proclaimed Elite is not listening to them and views them as the Grey Mass. They don’t want for their money to be spent on something like Pussy Riot, “artist” Pavlensky or “exhibition manager” Marat Guelman. They have no legal way to express they dissatisfaction and influence the repertoire of the culture they are offered.

        When, years ago, I went to the Theatre on Malaya Bronnaya with 2 of my, well, less High Art friends (a married couple) on the local production of the Faust. I was ashamed. I knew from now on that these self centered “experimentators” killed off forever any desire to attend anything theatrical in my 2 friends AND perverted a classical masterpiece by Goethe. Another facepalm inducing thing was when some exalted “lady of the Balzac’s age” ™ in the audience would scream “Brave!” apparently enjoying long, silent tapdancing, Greta’s brother in the uniform of the Bundeswehr, Homunculus in the costume of large condom and, and, and…

        I’m trying to say this. There must be some sort of control from both the society. There must be responsibility from the artistic intelligentsia. As the old slang expression goes – “who orders the music also dances the girl”. 10 ounces of prevention worth several pounds of the cure, so in order to prevent large-scale negative societal resonance and ugly questions about the fate of the money there must be monitoring. Call it censorship if you like. Those who are chaffing under such strict borders are free to go sole and find independent sources of income. Some even survived and prospered. Kudos to them.

        But that’s mine, totalitarian vatnik perspective. How’d you organize things culture-wise in your countries? What would you suggest Russia should do, what it must adapt from your countries?

        • marknesop says:

          In Canada, funding of the arts may be very generous or downright stingy – it’s hard to tell, because the criteria are fairly broad. In order to be called an ‘artist’ and maybe qualify for a government grant, you must demonstrate that you are someone who,

          1. has specialized training in the field (not necessarily in academic institutions),
          2. is recognized as such by peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition), and
          3. has a history of public presentation or publication.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I believe it costs an arm and a leg for a massively renovated and refurbished Bolshoi Theatre ticket now: it always has.

          I wonder if the ticket touts still operate around its ticket office? Last time my wife and I were at the Bolshoi was in 2000. We watched “Tosca”. And the last time she was there was in 2006, when she took my sister and two nieces to watch “Swan Lake”. On both occasions, my wife bought black market tickets. They were not cheap.

          My wife and I basically stopped theatre going because of the three sprogs and the expense of hiring child minders.

          The last time I was at the theatre was one Christmas about 5 years ago, when I took my two eldest to watch “Nutcracker”. That was bloody expensive as well, though not at the Bolshoi: it was closed then, in any case, for major reconstruction.

          My children go to the theatre a few times each year. though, on heavily subsidized school excursions. And they go to the circus as well, sometimes on school trips too.

          I believe the circus is passé now in the so lovey-dovey, animals-have-their-rights-too West. Still popular here. though. Russian beasts!

          • marknesop says:

            Ironically, this makes them more attractive to foreigners, with the advantageous exchange rate. The last time Sveta was in St Petersburg (she is there now,of course), she and the little ‘un attended a performance at the Mariinsky and she also took our youngest niece, Yulia; because, she said, the tickets were such a bargain.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              That’s what theatre-going Russian acquaintances have been telling me this year: the Bolshoi is only for the native “elite” and foreign tourists.

              • yalensis says:

                It’s not right that high culture in Russia became expensive and exclusive.
                I wish the Bolshoi would start doing what the New York Metropolitan does, and stream the shows to mass audiences in movie theaters.
                That’s really the way to do it, IMHO.
                And I absolutely guarantee that the masses will take to this like fish to water.
                Ordinary people crave culture, and they shouldn’t be fed shit instead.

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Lyt:
          You compiled this amazing research, with lots of ideas there, why not post it on my blog?
          We could post it under “Opera and Culture” themes.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            No, yalensis – for me it seems like a rant, not a “research”. I did nothing more than googled… and survived about 3.5 hours of various talk shows on different (but state-owned!) Russian channels.

            I came here to ask – what to do? What’s the right way? A mean streak within me whispers – do unto them what Gary Johnson and other liberatarians want to and let the Invisible Hand of the Market ™ sort out the mess. But there is no guarantee that we won’t end up without culture as the aftermath.

            Do you really think I should rework it into article?

            • yalensis says:

              Absolutely I think you should rework it into article.
              This is an important issue!
              And Russians need to put their thinking caps on and start thinking how to promote high culture. There is enough low culture and degenerate kreakle culture to satisfy everybody’s need, but what we need is more HIGH culture.

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    Donald Trump overtakes Hillary Clinton for first time since May in ABC poll

    • et Al says:

      That is really, really wierd for ABC as they are considered to conduct the least realiable polling of all, only last week putting Clinton clearly ahead. Something is up. Is this just a case of them trying to rescue their reputation or just in case Trump wins? Whatever. The corruption of the Pork Pie News Networks has clearly been on show during this election. So much for being professional.

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    A feature film “Matilda” about the relationship between the then Tsetsarevich, the future Emperor Nicholas II, and the ballerina Matilda Kshessinskaya, is considered by activists of a movement that calls itself “King’s Cross” as “anti-Russian and an anti-religious provocation in the field of culture”.

    The activists have turned to duma delegate Poklonskaya for help so that she have started an investigation as regards the director of this scandalous film and others who have participated in its making.

    Poklonskaya has said that she is currently preparing a request that “all those involved in the making of this film” be investigated.

    “В настоящее время мною оформляется депутатский запрос провести проверку в порядке статьи 144, 146 Уголовно-процессуального кодекса в отношении всех деятелей, которые создавали этот фильм. И, если действительно будут установлены признаки оскорблений религиозных чувств православных и пока не закончится проверка, соответствующее исследование этого фильма — а будет проверяться и культурное историческое обоснование — фильм, конечно же, не пойдёт в прокат” сказала Поклонская Лайфу.

    “At the moment there is being processed a deputy’s request that, in accordance with Article 144 and 146 of the Criminal Procedure Code, all those involved in the making of this film be investigated. And if evidence of abuse of Orthodox believers’ religious feelings be definitely established, and not before there has been completed an investigation, an appropriate inquiry into the film — and its cultural historical justification shall be checked — then the film will certainly not go out for rental”, Poklonskaya told “Life.

    She doesn’t seem to be such a cutie-pie now, does she?

    See: Поклонская просит проверить фильм Алексея Учителя “Матильда”

    Poklonskaya asks for an investigation into Aleksei Uchitel’s film “Matilda”

    The delightful Mathilda Feliksovna Kschessinskaya, with whom Nicky just loved to waltz.

    Kschessinskaya had been involved with the future Nicholas II, from 1890, when he was a grand duke and she was just seventeen, having met him in the presence of his family after her graduation performance. The relationship continued for three years, until Nicholas married Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt — the future Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna — in 1894, shortly after the death of his father, Tsar Alexander IIIWiki

    The name for that monarchist movement made me smile!

    King’s Cross is a mainline terminus railway station in London, whence one travels northeast to Edinburgh and beyond.

    King’s Cross is also the name of a district in Sydney, Australia.

    I don’t know about now, but 30 years ago, King’s Cross, London, used to be swarming with prostitutes. I believe that the Sydney King’s Cross was also not so salubrious a place as well.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Well, the movement is literally called “Tsar’s Cross” in Russian, but the name made me think of King’s Cross in London.


    • yalensis says:

      And as all good Marxists know, the Bolshevik Revolution started in Kshesinskaya’s Palace:

      On 5–6 July, attacks were made on the editorial offices and printing presses of Pravda and on the Palace of Kshesinskaya, where the Central Committee and the Petrograd Committee of the Bolsheviks were located. On 7 July, the government ordered the arrest and trial of Vladimir Lenin. He was forced to go underground, as he had been under the Tsarist regime. (etc.)

      All that time, during those terrible July Days, Kshesinskaya remained loyal to the outlawed Bolshevik Leader, Lenin. Not only did she host him in her palace, but she regularly served drinks to the socialist delegates, and even put on private dancing shows for them.

      [That last bit a joke, obviously. Kshesinskaya had long ago fled to Paris, once things started heating up for her and her pineapple-eating kind!]

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – Moscow Exile:
        It was sad that you had to go into exile to get away from those atrocious English monarchs.
        Wouldn’t it be even more sadly ironic if your new homeland restores the monarchy? Well, at least Poklonskaya would make a cuter queen than those buck-toothed English ones. Sure, she’s mad as a hatter, but between herself and King Putin, they should be able to breed some handsome-looking heirs to the throne!
        Ha ha!

    • Jen says:

      Kings Cross in Sydney has had its colourful days: during the 1930s, it was Australia’s answer to Prohibition-era Chicago, with all the gang warfare; and it was also host to a bohemian artistic scene. During the 1940s it became an R’n’R place for US servicemen and from there developed the red light district and the organised crime scene and police corruption that accompanied it. It still has adult shows and strip clubs, and junkies and alcoholics still hang around the train station, but whatever crime exists there now is very low-key and it’s now mainly known as backpacker mecca and tourist attraction. It is close to all the main attractions in Sydney by train and bus and is right on the edge of the ritziest parts of Sydney (to the immediate north are Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay; to the east, Edgecliff and Double Bay; and to the south, Paddington and Darlinghurst).

      The Guardian has its main offices in Kings Cross in London though I believe there’s been talk of moving to cheaper digs.

      • Cortes says:

        But Nicky and Matilda feature in a classic Australian song:

        • Cortes says:

          NB: Why poor, to the layperson innocent Matilda ends up in Hell “would be a theological question ” as The Very Rev. Father Ted Crilly might say.

      • marknesop says:

        I visited King’s Cross in the mid-90’s and did not reckon it was up to much; far more suggestion than reality. We visited a strip club where there was meant to be a live sex show, according to the tout out front. Some strippers came on first, but it was hard to enjoy the performance as their unwillingness to be up there was more than evident, and they kept rolling their eyes toward the door as if they intended making a run for it. They doubled as cocktail waitresses when they weren’t ‘dancing’, which I must say was very efficient. Finally the main event took the stage, accompanied by clouds of dry-ice smoke. They could have been making a salad up there for all the audience knew, considering you couldn’t see anything but a cloud of smoke, from which issued groans and squeals that may have been pleasure; hard to say.

        The strip clubs in Victoria (BC) are much nicer, or at least they were; I haven’t been to one in donkey’s years, although when I was a seamanship instructor at the school we used to go regularly for lunch. The girls looked much healthier, not like drug addicts (although they may have been for all I know) and were much more engaged with the audience.

        It’s not a great way to make a living, but if you can keep your sense of humour I understand it pays pretty well. I never saw anyone behaving rudely toward any of the girls.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, she’s still a cutie-pie; it will take a lot to change that, including the revelation that she is actually a man. But she is indeed shaping up to be a bit of a driven nut. I wonder why Kiev does not make more of this – they must loathe her to the marrow of their bones.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        There’s been a warrant out for her arrest for yonks issued by the Kiev regime.

        If the Crimea is the Ukraine, why didn’t they just toddle off down there and run her in?

        Anyway, she’s in hell now. Must be awful.

      • Jen says:

        At least the anime versions of Natalia Poklonskaya haven’t yet had their heads turned by monarchy.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Hiya toots!

        — And are you really a Patriotic War veteran?

        — But of course I am, my dear! Let’s go to my boudoir and I shall show you my grapeshot scars.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Bear in mind, if he had been a Patriotic War veteran at the time of that picture above, namely in the 1890s, he would have been at least 90 years old!

        • yalensis says:

          Ha ha!

          And this in regard to Poklonskaya’s scandalous bearing of Nicky’s portrait during the “Immortal Regiment” march.

          Which was supposed to be just Great Patriotic War veterans.
          In other words, Cutie-Pie cheated, in order to promote her own Monarchist ideology.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “And if evidence of abuse of Orthodox believers’ religious feelings be definitely established…”

      Oh, wow! Wow, I say!

      You know, several other monarchs also attained the status of the Saints, you know. In Russia, e.g., we have Saint Equal to Apostles Vladimir and Olga. I guess now it would be an “abuse of believer’s religious feelings” to shoot any historically accurate movie about them. Because, in case of Olga, it’s require to depict her epic-level revenge on Drevlyans, which involved her “Rain-of-Castamering” her would be Drevylan suitors not once, but three times, then performing fiery exterminatus upon their capital town using innocent homebeaconing (and flammable) birdies, and then, to preent any futher misunderstandings, by taking Drevlyanian prince Mal’s 2 surving kids as hostages.

      And as for Vladimir, well… It’s one big saga of sex, revenge, politics, sex, brother-on-brother wars, sex, conquests, intrigues, sex and sex. Did I mention sex? Because the good people who gave us The Primarily Chronicle surely do, even going to so far as to compare Vladimir and king Solomon, at least in the number of concubines. Well, chronicles are exaggeratting here – these wenches were not concubines. More likely they were pretty enough to earn themselves a one night stand with the Prince while he was in their locale. And the occasional “fertility ritual” to honour pagan god Yarilo.

      And I’m only half joking here – because a movie (“Russian blockbuster”!) about prince Vladimir is about to premier soon-ish:

      Should we also worry about it?

      I guess these folks are suffering from the acute case of the proselything zeal and the general lack of knowledge about their own religion and tradition. Saints were not 100% sinless angelic beigns. They were humans, with everything that it entails. That’s the whole point.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        It’s not one’s sins in themselves that are judged and punished accordingly after one’s death but the lack of atonement for them. That’s what Christians reckon, anyroad.

        Come to Valhalla! It’s much more fun there, they say: brawling and boozing and shagging! You can’t whack it!!

        I remember an Orthodox priest explaining that the the reason why Nicky and his murdered family and servants were promoted to sainthood was because they were “Passion Bearers” in that they had accepted death with resignation in a Christ-like manner.

        However, details of the shootings of the Romanovs were given freely by their killers or alleged killers in the ’20s, but then they were hushed up.

        One alleged detail I recall reading about 20 years ago was that the last tsar’s final words uttered when he realized what was going to happen were: “You can’t kill me! I’m your …”

        That ain’t very Christ-like!

        The rest is history.

        • PaulR says:

          ‘I remember an Orthodox priest explaining that the the reason why Nicky and his murdered family and servants were promoted to sainthood was because they were “Passion Bearers” in that they had accepted death with resignation in a Christ-like manner.’

          This is the Orthodox concept of kenoticism. Saints Boris and Gleb are the archetypes. When their usurping brother sent assassins to kill them, they didn’t resist but accepted their fate, thus revealing their Christ-like humility. Suffering is good for you is part of the message, and those who suffer are holy. Nicholas II is thus a saint not for anything he did as Tsar but for the fact that he suffered and was murdered.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yeah, but who cried out in his death agony: ” Eli, eli! Lama sabachthani?”

            And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

            Matthew 27:46

            Doesn’t sound like resignation to me.

            It’s Aramaic that Jesus allegedly spoke in his death throes, which suggests to me that it was his mother tongue. He probably spoke Koine Greek as well, and maybe a smattering of Latin, but most certainly Hebrew because he used to give the rabbis good talkings to about the meaning of their “holy scripture”, which was and still is in Hebrew.

            And Jesus simply must have spoken Yukie, because, as everyone knows, Yukie is the number one language in the whole wide world.

            Here’s Jesus Brian showing what a crappy command of Latin he had:

          • yalensis says:

            Boris and Gleb were resigned to their fate, because they didn’t have much choice in the matter.

          • Jen says:

            It must be said that (in the Protestant tradition anyway) Christ only accepted his death after spending the previous night in the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed to God and agonised over what he knew was to come. The cup refers to the trial, the punishment and torture, the jeers and humiliation, and the painful death that are to come. There is some resistance to his fate in Christ’s actions and prayers.

            Matthew 26: 36 – 46 (New International Version)

            36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

            39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

            40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

            42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

            43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

            45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

            • yalensis says:

              I think Protestantism is the superior ideology here.

              Catholicism proposes passivity and fatalism when presented with a danger.
              Protestants are more “get up and go” types, they’re like, “Keep on fighting as long as you can, rah rah!”

              I like that “Never say die” attitude. It’s so … well… Captain Kirkish!

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Calvinism maintains sinners are doomed, predestined from the word go, because almighty god knows everything so either you are one of the lucky ones or you aren’t, so there’s nothing you can do about. However, you should strive to follow the boss’s orders just in case you are one of the chosen.

                Why bother?

                Be a pagan!

                Miles more fun!

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                Eh, Protestantism is not something monolithic. It’s a proverbial kitchen sink of various denominations, often at odds with each other. You have here anything from the “Bible thumpin’, fire’n’brimstone preachin’, Qur’an burnin’. God Hates Fags! screamin'” Westboro Church, “Feel Good” and “Buddy Jeasus” new and “hip” pseaudo Christian establishments and “We Are Kinda Like Catholics – But Only With 2/3 of Gilt!” Episcopalians and COE types.

                Plus – what ME said about Calvinists and their splinter groups about Predestination and all that jazz. One of said splinter groups were the Scottish Presbyterians, who, in a way, influenced greately one certain Adam Smith, who performed a nice trick of theologicla and logical gymnastics, by basically saying that “Greed is Good”, thus laying down the foundation for the idealogical basis for the capitalism. IMO, Protestants are more than anyone else tend to believe that God Lord directly intervenes in their daily lives. Therefore, if their life is good, they are rich, fat and happy – that’s because they are good Christians! Ain’t this a neat excuse?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Lyttenburgh, for splinter group protestants, the Wee Wee Frees in Scotland take some beating.

                  They are so hard line their website is closed down on Sundays.

                  Po-faced buggers!

                • yalensis says:

                  I read somewhere that Calvinists’ belief in predestination actually predisposes them to work hard and make lots of money. Don’t know if it’s true or not, maybe that’s just stupid capitalist propaganda.

                  But the thought is, and it’s sort of Hegelian in its union of opposites:
                  If your fate is predestined, then you have to really hustle and bustle to prove that you are one of the “saved”.
                  A paradox, no?

                  Anyhow, I agree with Moscow Exile that Paganism is ultimately the superior religion, if one must have a religion. Atheism is even better, but you still have to believe in something, even if it’s just, like, mentally superior aliens, or Borgs, or whatever. Since our human lives are so sad and very shabby, ultimately.

                • Cortes says:

                  I refer stooges to James Hogg’s very creepy but great “The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Poklonskaya has really caused a big stink over this that she has posted today on the eve of tomorrow’s state holiday, “Day of National Unity”:

      Государь Николай II не нуждается в заступничестве, его прославил Сам Бог

      Emperor Nicholas II does not need intercession: he was glorified by God Himself

      Tomorrow we shall celebrate the historic day of national unity, which coincides with the great Orthodox holiday of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God.

      In 1612, our ancestors, people of different social classes, different religions and nationalities became united in order to save Holy Russia and bequeathed her to us, their descendants, so that we preserve and strengthen her.

      It is with the Miracle Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary that Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky and a militia set out to protect the Orthodox faith and the Fatherland.

      Before this image of Our Lady prayed Peter the Great and his army for victory before the Battle of Poltava; Suvorov — for deliverance from the French; Kutuzov before battle.

      The Our Lady of Kazan icon saved us during the Great Patriotic War, and saved us all — atheists, and those who are of other faiths.

      This is the spiritual uplift of unity, which all have experienced!

      In the spring of 2014, during the referendum period in the Crimea, we too experienced this; we prayed to God and His holy saints, to save our country and its honour and now the entire country prides itself over this.

      Our faith gives great power and makes us invincible.

      Of course, not everyone likes this.

      So there has recently been a very wide public outcry caused by the theme of the forthcoming shooting of the film “Matilda”.

      According to the makers of the film, its theme concerns the alleged immoral relationship between the Tsesarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich (the future Emperor Nicholas II) and the ballerina Mathilda Kshesinskaia. The film poster presents the film as a kind of Romanov dynasty “mystery”.

      The authors state that the film is still in the production stage. But already there is a trailer of the film that has widely appeared on the web and which has caused many questions to be raised and has outraged people.who have seen it. Moreover, the film is called an “historical blockbuster”. People have raised questions about this film with me, a deputy of the State Duma.

      People already regard this film as an anti-Orthodox provocation and have the right to say so, because they are expressing their opinions.

      In the words of the Patriarch, “the truth about the sacrificial heroism of Emperor Nicholas II has sprouted through the concrete slab that was laid on top him with his name”.

      In history there is no statesman who has been so maligned as the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas Alexandrovich. For many decades, people have heard only mockery and hatred about their murdered tsar. Party ideologists, journalists, writers, artists, scriptwriters and directors have competed with each other in an effort to discredit the holy name of the Emperor.

      If the Emperor toughed it out and fought the revolution, the Left called him “bloody”; if he opened a Duma assembly and allowed freedom, the right called him weak-willed. As regards their Sovereign, Niklolay Alexandrovich, the main thing for radicals of all hues, for thinkers and writers and statesmen, was that they should most definitely keep quiet about this: the railways, the world’s lowest taxes, education accessible to all, the most democratic of labour legislation, the glorification of the Saints, the construction of churches and monasteries, the preservation of the identity of Russia; that Nicholas II represented the freedom and honour of the Motherland!

      That unprecedented pace that Nicholas II gave to his reforms — the modernization of Russian economy and industry, education, health and agriculture — was not only comparable to Peter I’s reforms, but in many ways superior to them. The results of the Emperor’s unfinished reforms of the country have been distorted in every way by or wrongly assigned to the revolutionaries.

      Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov has said: “There was a silent reproach made of Emperor Nicholas II, of his family and of his godly life, by members of high society, who certainly did not live such a life themselves”.

      The tsar wanted to defend the identity of Russia and at the same time greatly modernize her. But “society” wanted out of Russia — to “do” France or Switzerland.

      Murderers and detractors called the Emperor “weak”, “weak-willed” and “bloody”, and in response to this the whole world heard:

      “My father asked me to tell all those who remained faithful to Him and those on whom they may have some influence, that they are not to avenge Him, because He has forgiven and prays for all that they not avenge themselves and remember that the evil that is now in the world will be even stronger, but that no evil will conquer evil, only love”.

      Today, when the miraculous icon of the Emperor and his family is anointed with myrrh, the Orthodox pray before the holy image of the Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich and his family; every year from 16 to 17 July in Orthodox churches around the world are held church services in honour of the martyrdom of the Emperor and his family and a vast procession of people in Yekaterinburg (Russian Calvary) increases every year.

      On the night of 16 of July 17, 1918, in the basement of the Ipatiev house, the Emperor with his family were massacred. The children (14-year-old Tsesarevich Alexei and the Princesses) were tortured before the eyes of the Emperor and the Empress.

      Paradoxically, the monsters of the twentieth century (Lenin, Trotsky, Hitler, Mao Zedong), who let flow an ocean of ​​human blood, have not brought upon themselves such repugnance as has that kind and gracious emperor who was murdered with his family, who dramatically improved the welfare of his people, and who, with his family, was elevated to sainthood at the end of the twentieth century.

      You can observe this phenomenal event — the reaction of a vampire writhing in the sun’s rays at dawn, its demonic fear of the light that is the sanctity of the Emperor.

      This is what Nikolay Guryanov has said: “It makes them sick even to hear the holy name of the Tsar mentioned. He holds against them the great power of God”.

      It is lining up Lenin with Hitler that has angered many.

      She is a headbanger, clearly.

      And she has a strange idea of events in pre-1917 tsarist Russia under the last Romanov.

      What a wonderful place it must have been!

      Apologie for in the above translation: done quickly, but I hope I have captured the gist of what that clearly obsessed woman has written.

      But all her rambling is unimportant: she has the right to her own stupid opinion. It’s the Lenin thing that bugs many.

      And me!

      Bloody cutie-pie!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Another thing!

        I saw a Russian blog yesterday where a blogger wrote he had done some investigation as regards this “Tsar’s Cross” outfit: at last count it had 457 members!

        That’s the organization that appealed to cutie-pie in the State Duma that this film should be banned as it is a threat to state security and offends the beliefs of the Orthodox faithful.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Poklonskaya has put Lenin on a par with Hitler. Someone should tell her that Lenin’s carcass is still in the mausoleum with all the amenities.

      • yalensis says:

        Oi yoi yoi!
        Cutie-Pie can’t attack Lenin like that. Lenin is still revered by at least 45% of the Russian citizens. She can express her personal opinions, that’s her right.
        But not in her official capacity as a government employee.
        Previously we had this vigorous discussion about the MGIMO student who needed to be expelled for expressing anti-Russian sentiments.
        Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
        As a government employee, Poklonskaya should be fired for her slandering of 70 years of Russian history and her defamation of the national leader (=Lenin) by comparing him to Hitler.
        Once fired from her job, then as a private individual she has the right to say whatever she wants.

        • yalensis says:

          And P.S. – an organization that has 457 members has no right to dictate to the rest of the Russian population which films they can or cannot view.
          Freedom of Speech – dudes!

          And P.P.S. – if both Moscow Exile and I agree on something, then it HAS to be correct!

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Actually, I’m pretty sure that there is a law (and a bloody bad one, in my opinion, that should be repealed) , whereby one may be prosecuted if one attempts to make revisions to history in order to denigrate/manipulate Russian historiography.

            Found it!

            It’s the “Public Rehabilitation of Nazism” that is illegal.

            She’s certainly not rehabilitating Nazism, but I think she’s sailing close to the wind in that her stating that Lenin and Hitler were as bad as each other, could lead to to the conclusion that both states founded by Hitler and Stalin were two sides of the same coin — one begat the other etc. — and that the USSR brought upon itself, and deservedly so, the horrors of the greatest bloodletting in modern history, in that Lenin was the cause of Hitler’s rise to power, and she is, therefore, liable for prosecution,

            Everything would have been far more rosy under the benevolent rule of Nicky and his frumpish Frau, tsaritsa Alix!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Yeah, but she’s since said that her opinion is one privately expressed in a blog and not in her capacity as a State Duma Delegate.


          She writes in her Lenin-was-just-as-bad-as-Hitler Live Journal blog:

          Авторы заявляют, что фильм еще находится в стадии производства. Но уже сам рекламный ролик, широко растиражированный в сети Интернет, вызывает множество вопросов и возмущение зрителей. Причем фильм называется «историческим блокбастером». С этими вопросами люди и обратились ко мне, как к депутату Государственной Думы.

          The authors claim that the film is still under production. But even a promotional video, widely circulated on the Internet has raised many questions and has outraged viewers. Moreover, the film is called a “historic blockbuster”. With these questions, people have turned to me as a Deputy of the State Duma.

          My stress!

          Not as cutie-pie have they turned to you, my dear, but as State Duma Delegate Cutie-Pie!

      • marknesop says:

        Ha, ha!! She’s a lawyer, for sure; she writes, “People already regard this film as an anti-Orthodox provocation and have the right to say so, because they are expressing their opinions.”

        Is she not doing the same? Expressing her opinion?

        But you’re right. She has a real bee in her bonnet with this Tsar thing.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I supposed she believes that Lenin was the one ultimately responsible for her beloved Nicky’s death, which legally he was, I suppose, and was, therefore, evil incarnate.

          She is probably of like mind to those who demanded that those responsible for the trial and execution of another idiotic and irresponsible monarch who believed that he should have absolute rule over his domains, namely Charles Stuart I of England, Scotland and Ireland (he also claimed to be king of France as well), should be brought to justice, which, upon the restoration of the English and Scottish and Irish monarchies, the powers that be duly set about doing, including the disinterment of Oliver Cromwell’s corpse and its public hanging, drawing and quartering.

          Cromwell had died in 1658.

          • marknesop says:

            The ‘drawing’ part must have been somewhat futile.

            • yalensis says:

              “To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1351 a statutory penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reign of King Henry III (1216–1272). Convicts were fastened to a hurdle, or wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution, where they were hanged (almost to the point of death), emasculated, disembowelled, beheaded and quartered (chopped into four pieces). Their remains were often displayed in prominent places across the country, such as London Bridge. For reasons of public decency, women convicted of high treason were instead burned at the stake.”

              • yalensis says:

                After which all this, they were taken away to be tortured.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  There seems to be 2 interpretaions of “drawing”…

                  Nay, Yalensis. In London, many say “drawring” not “drawing” as I do (and I also pronounce the “g” as well), e.g. “This is a drawring book”.

                  They say “lawr ‘n’ awe-dah” as well, instead of “law and order”.


              • marknesop says:

                That’s what I mean – the ‘drawing’ refers to the disemboweling, or the drawing from the body cavity of the internal organs while the luckless victim is still alive. I should think it would be more a case of ‘pouring’ in Cromwell’s case; his organs must have been pretty soupy, if there was anything left of them at all.

                • yalensis says:

                  But according to the wiki interpreation, “drawing” doesn’t mean running the gut.
                  It means the horse and cart “drawing” the victim to his place of execution.
                  “Draw” as in “draft” as in “draft horse”. As in “carrying” (?)

                • marknesop says:

                  I’ll be dipped; you appear to be right. We always seem to clash on the subjects of which I am most sure, and I very frequently appear to be wrong. That one is a belief I harbored since high school, which was a loooonnng time ago. I checked several articles, including Capital Punishment, which went so far as to say the punishment as described is even in the wrong order, as you must be ‘drawn’ before you are hanged, since that’s how you get to the place of execution. I’m afraid I still think it’s very possibly a misinterpretation, since only in the case of crucifixion were the prisoners made to walk, carrying their own cross. We never, for example, see those executed by hanging as having been ‘drawn and hanged’, although they are uniformly bound or otherwise immobilized and drawn there in a cart or tumbrel, since pelting by the mob with offal and rotten vegetables is part of the punishment.

                  It’s also possible, though, that the conveyance is significant enough by its very meanness as to be considered a punishment; Brittanica pictures it as little more than a few sticks lashed together, upon which the prisoner lies. But another Wiki site backs my version, specifically describing the punishment of disembowelment as ‘drawing’. So even Wiki is conflicted on the subject. I think we would have to get into some really old texts to be sure, but we seldom disagree on trivial matters – in this case, even Capital Punishment UK is confused enough to suggest the punishment is not written properly, being in the incorrect order as written. This could be big!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Nay, it means gutting the man alive after his partial hanging almost unto death, hence the order of the sentenced: you shall be hanged, drawn and quartered, thus

                  which is what happened to Guy Fawkes and associates as a result of their failed attempt to blow up King James I of England (VI of Scotland)together with the peers of the realm whilst he was opening parliament.

                  The plot was discovered on 5 November, 1605, which discovery is still celebrated in most parts of England today, the 5th of November, because the anointed king was almost miraculously saved at the last minute from almost certain death. Praise the Lord!

                  In fact, Fawkes & Co. had been set up by the govt., as the plotters were all Roman Catholics who had got brassed off with the then new king and successor to “Good Queen Bess” as a result of his not easing off prohibitive laws against the RCs in England which had been introduced during Elizabeth I’s reign, something which they seem to have thought the king had intended to do, not least because his Danish wife was a Catholic.

                  After the most fortuitous “discovery” of Fawkes hiding away in Westminster Palace alongside barrels of gunpowder (dud powder at that, supplied by govt. agents), it was open season for a couple of hundred years against RCs, who were the collective Putin of those times: everything that went wrong was blamed on traitorous Catholics.

                  Where I lived as a child, very many most certainly did not celebrate “Guy Fawkes Night” as they were 3rd or 4th generation Irish. My father certainly didn’t celebrate it, as his mother was a Fenian from Co. Cork and made no secret of it either.

                  I remember my dad saying to me when I was about 5 years old and was getting excited about the oncoming fireworks and bonfires of 5 November: “You do know that they killed Guy Fawkes because he was a Catholic, don’t you?”

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, that’s very much my own opinion – drawing is the act of drawing the organs from the body by cutting open the stomach of the living man (and it was always a man, women were not punished thus, being instead burned at the stake, for the sake of ‘decency’) and pulling the organs out in a pile. But Yalensis is on solid ground, too, because several sites allow that that is a huge misconception, including that Capital Punishment site, which appears to specialize in that subject.

                  Incidentally, this appears to be the punishment they were beginning to inflict on Mel Gibson in “Braveheart”, as he shouts the trademark “Freeeeedddoommmmm!!!” They are cutting open his stomach to torture him, although they did not hang him first. However, it is not historically accurate because drawing was not used to extract a confession, but to punish the convicted.

                • yalensis says:

                  There seems to be 2 interpretaions of “drawing”, I don’t know which one is historically and etymologically accurate.
                  A third possible interpretation:
                  The prisoner had to sit still for a couple of hours while his portrait was sketched by an artist of the court?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The full sentence passed upon those convicted of High Treason up to 1870 was as follows : “That you be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution where you shall be hanged by the neck and being alive cut down, your privy members shall be cut off and your bowels taken out and burned before you, your head severed from your body and your body divided into four quarters to be disposed of at the King’s pleasure.”

                  It seems that the term “to draw” is now held by some to refer only to the dragging of the condemned person to his place of execution.

                  Be that as it may, the condemned person was still disembowelled whilst alive.

                  I have read of some executioners who allowed the condemned person to die by the rope when there was sympathy in the crowd for him (this sometimes happened with old RC priests: saying mass in Merry England was once held to be an act of treason, as indeed was simply arriving in England as a priest of the Roman church), but by law, the execution of the sentence consisted of disembowelling whilst still alive. In fact, before the disembowelling — or “drawing” as with a chicken, if you will — the private parts of the condemned man were first cut off and shown to him.

                  Once there, the prisoner(s) were hanged in the normal way (i.e. without a drop to ensure that the neck was not broken) but cut down whilst still conscious. The penis and testicles were cut off and the stomach was slit open. The intestines and heart were removed and burned before them. The other organs were torn out and finally the head was cut off and the body divided into four quarters. The head and quarters were parboiled to prevent them rotting too quickly and then displayed upon the city gates as a grim warning to all.

                  At some point in this agonizing process, the prisoner inevitably died of strangulation and/or haemorrhage and/or shock and damage to vital organs.

                  Now, because many now seem to stress that the “drawing” in the sentence refers to the drawing of the condemned on a hurdle pulled by horses to a place of execution, that does not mean that there was no “drawing”, as with a chicken, namely disembowellment of the condemned whilst he still lived and breathed, unlike a chicken that is being drawn.

                  See: Hanging, drawing and quartering

                  I still think that this idea that the “drawing” in the death sentence simply and only meant being transported to the gallows by a means of a hurdle is wrong: it is just that the verb “to draw” has different meanings in different contexts, e.g., one “draws” a picture because one “pulls” a line across paper with a pen or pencil; and the sliding trays in a chest of “drawers” are pulled out, or drawn; and one “draws” a deep breath, i.e. pulls air into one’s lungs.

                  This confusion in the meaning of the terms all stems from the fact that later sentences for treason put the “drawing” first, meaning transportation. But everyone was “drawn” to the gallows — or guillotine in revolutionary France, though not on a hurdle, but in a tumbrel so as to cause ridicule towards the condemned: a farm cart in France and a hurdle in England, upon which latter the condemned was dragged through the streets as though he were some beast.

                  See also: Hanging, Drawing and Quartering: the Anatomy of an Execution

                  The sentence of being ‘drawn’ is perhaps the one that causes most confusion as to its meaning. There are two basic definitions: that of being drawn or dragged to the place of execution (usually by horses and on a hurdle) or of being cut open and disembowelled. Most hanging victims were drawn to the place of their execution anyway, so I feel it would be a little odd to emphasize this as part of the punishment. Also, the term ‘drawn’ is usually placed after ‘hanged’, implying that the actions also took place in that order (it wouldn’t make sense the other way around). So, in my opinion, whenever you see the sentence as ‘Hanged, drawn and quartered’, the meaning is of being eviscerated. However, there are also examples (much later in history) of the sentence being given as ‘Drawn, Hanged and quartered’, in which case, I think the alternative definition is meant.

                  Hugh [le Despenser, 1st Lord Despenser, also referred to as “the younger Despenser”, was the son and heir of Hugh le Despenser, Earl of Winchester] was sentenced to be disembowelled because he had ‘procured discord between our lord the king and our very honourable lady the queen, and between other people of the realm’ (The Greatest Traitor, Ian Mortimer, p.162). Many medieval scholars believed that once a man was corrupt, then that corruption dwelt in his heart and bowels. The heart was also associated with love and passion, so quite possibly the message that was being sent out here was that Despenser’s notions of love for his king – both in the sense of as a subject and as a lover, were corrupt and corrupting – especially to the king’s marriage. Le Bel and Froissart saw it as the place where he contrived his evil schemes. By cutting him open and pulling out his heart and entrails, his corruption was therefore being made visible to the crowd. When they were then thrown into the fire before him, it was so that the corruption could be both destroyed and purified in his sight. In other words it was a rather extreme exorcism of the evil considered to reside within him. It was also, most possibly the last thing he saw.

                  Hugh le Despenser, 1st Lord Despenser (c. 1286 – 24 November 1326), was, I think, the first in England to be executed after this fashion.

                  He rose to national prominence as royal chamberlain and a favourite of Edward II of England. A series of subsequent controversies eventually led to him being hanged, drawn and quartered.

                  In Froissart’s account of the execution, Despenser was then tied firmly to a ladder, and—in full view of the crowd — had his genitals sliced off and burned in his still-conscious sight, then his entrails slowly pulled out, and, finally, his heart cut out and thrown into the fire. Froissart (or rather Jean le Bel’s chronicle, on which he relied) is the only source to describe castration, where all other contemporary accounts have Despenser hanged, drawn and quartered (which usually involved castration).

                  The execution of Hugh le Despenser, from a manuscript of Jean Froissart.

                • Jen says:

                  I would say that in those days, not very many Londoners would be familiar with the full details of the decomposition process. Belief in vampires and other undead beings in many parts of Europe at the time is one demonstration of this ignorance. The “execution” of Oliver Cromwell was performed as much for theatre as it was for a settling of scores. My guess is that his executioners either exhumed a much fresher body and made it up to look like Cromwell (I doubt that in the days before photography and newspapers, not too many people could remember what he looked like in life) before carrying out the hanging, drawing or quartering, or Cromwell’s corpse was outfitted with fresh animal organs and wrapped in thick clothing before it was executed.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  It’s not big at all!

                  It just means that the dipsticks who blog “Capital Punishment” or contribute to Wiki simply do not know what “to draw” an animal means as regards its preparation for the table.

                  There are people now who, if they eat meat at all, do not eat it as regards it being recognizable as having been part of a living beast, e.g, heart, liver, kidneys, tongue,ox tail, ribs etc.

                  They only eat burgers, meatloaf and suchlike.

                  They would swoon if they saw a butcher at work. (Such a swooning I once witness when a dainty English girl once accompanied me to a Moscow meat market.)

                  They do not go into butchers’ shops. Everything is pre-packed in supermarkets.

                  And they have discovered the old term “to draw” in the sense of “to convey” and with this discovery, they have put 2 and 2 together and come up with 5: their new theory.

                  To draw a man whilst he was still alive was part of the sentence.

                  He was drawn after having been drawn to the place of execution.

                  I shall now withdraw to my study.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, I was being sarcastic when I said “This is big!!”.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I am bloody sure that if I said to anyone younger than 40 in the UK: “I have shot some hares. I shall have to hang them and then draw them later” they would think I, for some reason other, wished to hang the dead beasts on a gallows and to then later make a drawing of them.

                  As it happens, in the backwoods where I was brought up, my uncles and the rest, all coal miners, regularly shot hares where we lived. It was real hillbilly country! And then you hung (not “hanged”: that means to hang them by the neck until dead — and may the Lord have mercy on their souls! God save the Queen!) the hares until they were really off, otherwise their flesh didn’t taste right, and then, when you could pull clumps of fur off them, you cut their head and paws off and drew the buggers!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  And yet another meaning of “to draw”: draught beer — “draft beer” for some — is drawn off directly from a beer barrel.

                  In other words, you take out the insides of the barrel.

                  Likewise a draught horse pulls a wagon: he pulls it away.

                  Again,I shall withdraw to my drawing room, not to that room where I draw pictures or gut dead animals, but to that place to where I choose to withdraw myself in search of privacy and formerly called the “withdrawing room”.

                  In other words, the place to where I go when I wish to take myself out of my immediate company.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Lucky Guy!

              After a brief trial, Guy Fawkes was sentenced, along with the other surviving chief conspirators, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered< in London. On January 30, 1606, the gruesome public executions began in London, and on January 31 Fawkes was called to meet his fate. While climbing to the hanging platform, however, he jumped from the ladder and broke his neck, dying instantly.

              My stress.

              See: The death of Guy Fawkes

              • yalensis says:

                That was a smart thing for Guy to do!

                In the Mel Gibson movie, William Wallace’s girlfriend, who happens to be the Queen of England, tries to sneak him some drug in the prison. So if he drinks it he won’t feel any pain while he is being castrated and disembowelled.
                But Billy manfully refuses the drug, because he wants to enjoy the full experience and show the mob that he can take it without screaming in pain.

                • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                  Not yet Queen Isabella would have been at most ten years old when Wallace was executed. And the actual Wallace would have taken great umbrage at being depicted as a beardless prettyboy (more likely to be of interest to the future King Edward II than to his queen).

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            Also, while speaking about king Charlie I the Half-Ready. Well, how to put it.. There are these folks: Society of King Charles the Martyr. They want pretty much the same thing as Nicky’s II ghost… and they are waiting in line for that much much longer!

        • Jen says:

          “People already regard this film as an anti-Orthodox provocation and have the right to say so, because they are expressing their opinions.”

          Poklonskaya is almost begging the question when she says people have a right to question the merits of the film. But would she also give the time of day to those who deny that the film has an anti-Orthodox or anti-monarchist bent?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Поклонская подыгрывает бандеровцам?
          Is Poklonskaya playing the Banderite tune?

          I had nothing against Poklonskaya, but I was always alarmed by her activities that are, frankly speaking, destructive for the country, especially her making heroes out of the Whites, who have been tainted by their complicity with Hitler. While she lived in the Crimea, these “quirks” were inconspicuous, notwithstanding the fact that the Crimea is a strategic region for Russia. But after the last State Duma elections made her a politician at the federal level, her destructive activities now threaten Russia.

          Many saw on Thursday how all the top posts had this statement from Poklonskaya’s blog:

          “Paradoxically, those monsters of the twentieth century (Lenin, Trotsky, Hitler, Mao Zedong), who let flow a sea of human blood, have not been rejected as much as has that dear, kind Emperor who was murdered with his family and who dramatically improved the welfare of his people and who, at the end of the twentieth century, was elevated to sainthood”.

          This statement, by the way, was made before National Unity Day and the Day of the October Revolution. Can it be possible that Poklonskaya does not know that more than 60% of citizens positively assess the role of Lenin? She is just spitting in the faces of these people.

          Whose mill is all this grist to?

          Let me remind you of a similar statement by Oleh Tyahnybok, a leader of the Ukrainian Banderites, as regards monuments to Lenin in the Ukraine:

          Do you think there is a monument in Berlin to Hitler? Must we preserve for history butchers who exterminated millions of people?

          It is obvious that the positions of Tyahnybok and Poklonsky coincide on this issue. But is not equating the USSR and Nazi Germany something that is persistent in the West —including the bandera-ized Ukraine? On the one hand, our politicians are indignant about the destruction of Soviet monuments in Poland and the Ukraine, yet on the other hand they allow statements made by Poklonskaya in the spirit of the Ukrainian nationalist leaders?

          Indeed, in Russia the activities and rhetoric Poklonskaya are very similar to those of the Ukrainian Banderites:

          First, a fierce anti-Sovietism.

          Second, the glorification of the Whites, who fought on Hitler’s side. (Remember, in the Crimea there has been installed a monument to the “Black Baron” Wrangel)

          Thirdly, cooperation with the descendants of the Whites, who supported Hitler.

          In 2014, Poklonskaya was awarded an order by Grand Duchess [sic] Maria Vladimirovna Romanova, whose father, Vladimir Kirillovich Romanov, openly supported Nazism and Hitler. After World War II, the Maria Vladimirovna Foundation “Emperor” has already been engaged in the very specific integration of the Russian North with the Scandinavian countries of Europe through the establishment on our territory of some kind of Pomor identity.

          Poklonskaya made the erection of monuments to Nicholas II very memorable for the Crimeans. Is she now going to put up throughout Russia monuments to that monarch who caused a collapse of government? That would be so uplifting for the citizens of our country?

          Let me remind you that as well as Lenin, she also called Mao Zedong a bloody tyrant. Xi Jinping’s father was one of Mao’s comrades in arms and he became a victim of his repression. Despite this, Xi Jinping is not engaged in the debunking of Mao and the yuan continues to have portraits of Mao on it. Monuments in China to Mao are in excellent condition and new celebrations still continue in his honour. The importance of China for us in terms of confrontation with the West is obvious, so such statements [made by Poklonskaya] are absolutely unacceptable. In addition, they are false.

          We have to protect our values that have been slandered by Poklonskaya and her White Guardist associates.

          You are all invited to a rally, to be held on November 7, 2016 at 17:00 on Krasnopresnenskaya Zastava Square near the monument to the “Heroes of the 1905 Revolution”, organized by “Sut’ Vremeni[Суть времени — “The Essence of Time”] and dedicated to the memorable date of the 99th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution:

          The logo of the movement “Essence of time”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Typo above! (I was rushing to get ready for my evening stint.)

        Should have read: Apologies for any errors in the above translation: done quickly, but I hope I have captured the gist of what that clearly obsessed woman has written.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    The shit hit the fan in Banderastan after statements of earnings and possessions were declared the other day by the privileged ones in their midst.

    Of course, their “politicians” don’t give a flying fuck about the hoi-polloi dismay.

    Semyon Semenchenko, who in 2014 took out credit so as to buy a cell phone, has declared he has 45,000 bucks in cash

    But that’s only chump change that Semenchenko has declared.

    Many of the bastards have declared possession of large amounts of cash in hand, explaining that the insecurity of Yukie banks forces them to have large stashes under their mattresses. For example, according to information recently disclosed by the electronic filing of declarations of public officials, Kernes keeps 42 million UAH in cash, and Filatov’s overcoat cost over 140 thousand UAH.

    See: Декларации мэров: Кернес хранит 42 млн налом, а у Филатова пальто за 140 тыс. грн

    And Porky?

    He has in cash $60,000 and 900,000 hryvniya

    See: The “Very Modest” Income Declaration of “Poor” Petro Poroshenko

  8. et Al says:

    Why have a real job when you can produce shite like this?

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Russian media’s love affair with Trump

    By Steve Rosenberg

    Donald Trump has called the American media “disgusting”, “corrupt”, “biased” and “dishonest”.

    If he could read Russian, I suspect he’d appreciate the way the media here have been covering the US election.

    Pro-Kremlin newspapers have waxed lyrical about Donald and, at times, torn Hillary to shreds.

    “I officially declare that Clinton is a cursed witch,” wrote Russian MP Vitaly Milonov recently in the popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda. “That’s why even a funny guy like Trump looks more reasonable in comparison.”

    The Russian press has portrayed Clinton as a raving Russophobe.

    “Russia is already fighting on two fronts, in the Donbass and in Syria,” wrote the pro-government Izvestia…

    Mark, your stuff is obviously much, much better than this and you do it for free! Surely the BBC would rather pay you to produce good reporting than waste money on someone like Rosenberg who even makes the worst bloggers look good.

    Don’t forget to check out his little fiim ‘Steve Rosenberg looks at how relations between Moscow and Washington have become so tense‘ – I will offer absolutely no prize to anyone at all to the first person to mention what gigantic elephant in the room Rosenberg omits from it.

    Normally I wouldn’t bother, but I had BBC World News on the tv as I was ironing my g/f’s t-shirts and trousers and I couldn’t quite believe what I had seen in Rosenberg’s report. It was followed by a short questions to RT’s Anissa Nouari & CFR’s Something Something about what relations with Russia will be like afterwards and what Russians prefer. Anissia pointed out that for Russian diplomats, Clinton is a known and predictable quantity. Trump is not.

    • Cortes says:

      I’m too lazy to check but suspect that Rosenberg benefits from the same nepotistic culture favouring the Dimbleby, Magnusson (ought to be Magnusdottir), Mates, Snow and other multigenerational media postings in the top money slots in the UK. If he’s unrelated to Joshua Rosenberg I apologise in advance of any writ.

    • et Al says:

      The elephant is of course Bill Clinton’s decision to expand NATO. Maybe I should email Rosenberg to let him know because it looks like he missed it.

  9. et Al says:

    12:17 GMT
    Turkish FM ‘ready to apologize’ to downed Russian Su-24 pilot’s widow

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says he’s ready to personally apologize to the widow of the pilot of the Russian Su-24 jet downed by Turkish forces and to provide compensation, Sputnik reports. A Turkish F-16 fighter shot down the Russian Su-24 combat jet near the Turkish border in Syria on November 24, 2015. The family of Oleg Peshkov, who was killed after the downing, said earlier they would not accept any compensation from the Turkish government. Cavusoglu also was quoted on Wednesday as saying that Ankara had asked Russia for documents confirming the guilt of Turkish nationalist Alparslan Celik, who bragged about killing the pilot.

  10. et Al says:

    RT: US merely creates impression it perceives Russia as threat – FM spox Zakharova to Anissa Naouai

    The host of RT’s InTheNow show asked the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman some tough questions during a 26-minute interview.

    Anissa Naouai wanted to know if Russian media are following a narrative from the Kremlin to counter BBC and CNN propaganda, and what is the difference between Russia supporting the Syrian opposition to the US doing the same.

    I don’t read RT. But, I usually have a look when a story of linx from elsewhere take me there. What I particularly like is the term ‘Spox’, for ‘Spokesperson’ which shows how thoroughly modern RT is (along with its4 billion youtube hits), unlike its western competitors,

  11. et Al says:

    RT: Russian reactor running on weapons-grade plutonium from warheads named ‘top plant’ by US magazine

    The influential US magazine on energy industry, Power, has chosen the BN-800, Russia’s new fast-neutron breeder reactor, for its annual ‘Top Plant’ award. The reactor was signed for commercial operation on Monday.

    The BN-800 reactor located at the Beloyarsk power plant was selected for Power Award’s Top Plants category, which honors recently-commissioned facilities “that exhibit some unique design or technology that will be of general interest to the power industry.” The Russian facility was honored alongside the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania…

    …Until recently, Russia and the US had a deal on weapons plutonium reprocessing, which would require both nations to build MOX-fuel manufacturing facilities and reactors to consume it.

    After the US failed to stick to its part of the bargain, Russia suspended the deal in protest, but said that in practical terms it intended to stick to it. ..

    I’ve heard about this before (inc. the protoype sodium cooled reactor that the US ran for a few decades), but it is nice to see it here.

  12. et Al says:

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Amnesty International’s Moscow office ‘sealed by authorities’

    Arriving for work on Wednesday, they found official seals placed across the office entrances, the locks had been changed and the power was cut off.

    The human rights group says it was given no warning but hoped there was “a simple administrative explanation”…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Simple explanation: they’re going to be told to fuck off.

      I hope.

      • et Al says:

        Apparently not.

        Neuters: Russia makes U-turn after evicting Amnesty from Moscow office

        Human rights group Amnesty International can return to the Moscow office it was evicted from this week, a Kremlin human rights adviser said on Thursday after discussing the matter with President Vladimir Putin…

        …Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Russian Human Rights Council which formally reports to the Kremlin, told Reuters he had met Putin and discussed the matter.

        “The lease has been restored completely. They (Amnesty) will be able to return to the office in the nearest future. Putin was informed of this,” Fedotov said.

        Soon after that meeting took place, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe director, told Reuters that the group had been contacted by Vladimir Yefimov, head of the Moscow city property department, who said there may have been a mix-up…

  13. et Al says: via Slate Publishes Bombshell Report on Secret Trump-Russia Communication (Too Bad It’s Complete BS)

    The curent front-page story of Slate certainly is suggestive: “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?” it asks. The piece by former New Republic editor Franklin Foer is clearly the result of weeks (if not months) of investigative work. The ground-breaking story: a server registered to the Trump Organization has been receiving messages from a pair of servers registered to the Russian, Putin-connected Alfa Bank, seemingly corroborating allegations that Donald Trump is collaberating with the Russians….

    …It sure would be embarrassing if after immediately publishing this story, another publication reported that the whole thing was above-the-board, huh? Because, yeah, that’s what happened….

    …What’s especially amusing is that in his piece, Foer cites the fact that Times reporters are investigating the server story. The same two reporters Foer cites, Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers, are also the authors of the Times piece reporting that the FBI looked into and dismissed the story. So Myers and Lichtblau’s reporting is worth citing when it looks bad for Trump, but when they write a piece downplaying the story, Slate pays them no mind.

    Now, it isn’t entirely true that Slate hasn’t updated the piece. There is an update on the bottom: “The article has been updated to make clear that The New York Times reporters learned of the logs independently, not from [a] Reddit thread.” Clearly, THAT was what needed an immediate correction.

    And still, as of this writing, the Foer story is the leading story on Slate’s homepage at the moment. It’s almost, almost, like Slate’s motivation for publishing the piece had nothing to do with informing its readers…

    The thing is, if you click on Franklin Foer’s bibliography for Slate, it gives you a pretty good indication why he ran with it. He has form:

    Sept. 27 2016 1:38 AM
    Making It Up as He Goes Along
    Donald Trump’s genius for improvisation and why it failed him at the first debate.

    July 27 2016 7:55 PM
    Donald Trump Isn’t a Manchurian Candidate
    Trump and Putin are using each other.

    July 26 2016 11:24 AM
    The DNC Hack Is Watergate, but Worse
    The email dump isn’t a high-minded act of transparency. It’s a foreign power attempting to swing an election for its favored candidate.

    July 22 2016 12:49 AM
    Donald Trump’s Un-American Acceptance Speech
    There was no reference to the nation’s history, its values, or even its armed forces. There was only Trump.

    July 21 2016 12:46 PM
    The Real Winner of the RNC: Vladimir Putin
    The Trump campaign continues its terrifying effort to cozy up to the Kremlin.

    July 21 2016 9:50 AM
    Putin’s Puppet
    If the Russian president could design a candidate to undermine American interests—and advance his own—he’d look a lot like Donald Trump.


    So it goes well above Foer to the editors and those that run Slate. Self-inflicted, mofos!

  14. et Al says:

    Daily Beast via WikiLeaks Reveals Team Hillary’s Libya Spin: It Would Be Syria Without Clinton’s War

    In the lead-up to Hillary Clinton’s marathon testimony before Congress on Benghazi in October 2015, her presidential campaign prepared to make some eye-popping claims—including that Libya would have turned into Syria without U.S. intervention.

    That’s according to an internal talking-point memo released in Tuesday’s dump of WikiLeaks emails. WikiLeaks says those emails were hacked from the inbox of Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta. The Clinton campaign is not commenting on whether or not the emails are doctored, and blames the Russian government for the hack.

    The memo was sent to Podesta by his assistant, Milia Fisher, on Oct. 21, 2015. That was one day before Clinton’s testimony in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

    “Had we opted for inaction, we would have been rebuffing our allies and turning our back on the Libyan people in the face of a murderous dictator,” read one talking point in the document that Fisher sent Podesta. “The truth is that if we hadn’t acted, Libya would look something like what Syria looks like today. So is the unrest in Libya concerning? Of course. Is it better than the alternative? Absolutely.”…

    …But as then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates later told The Daily Beast, no one inside the administration knew what the French plan for post-Gaddafi Libya was.

    “We were playing it by ear,” Gates explained with resignation….

    • Jen says:

      Yes, without US intervention, Libya would have ended up looking like Syria, notwithstanding the fact that Gaddafi became Libyan leader in 1969 and Hafez al Assad became Syrian President in 1971. But now with US intervention, Syria can look like post-Gaddafi Libya!

      Chaos, sectarian violence, religious fundamentalism, schools and hospitals bombed to hell … all better than a one-man government any day!

  15. et Al says:

    Euractiv: EU-Mercosur deal hits fresh setback

    Jorge Taiana, head of the trade bloc’s parliament, complained that the negotiations, which resumed about seven years ago, are taking far too long, but added that in the absence of a “balanced agreement”, nothing should be signed.

    The Argentine said that the EU’s offer of “small tolls on unprocessed products” and its demand that “Mercosur open up its industries and services” would negatively affect “integrated and balanced development”.

    He also added that he is “not optimistic that there will be progress” as a result of the economic recession that has hit Europe…

    So good news for LatAm then. Bend Over for Berlin shall not pass in its current form. See, the EU still has that old romantic colonial undercurrent for Masters & Servants.

  16. PaulR says:

    The Ottawa Citizen warns that President Trump might invade Canada. And if he does, it’s because Putin inspired him. Hard to make this stuff up.

  17. Northern Star says:

    IF…IF this is factually correct and IF Trump’s people can get this stuff through the concrete in the heads of many American voters ….Killary is potentially in deep shit on November 8….

    If Trump wins the popular vote ..but Killary manages to get the electoral college vote…..I think that real issues may arise as to whether she could govern as POTUS……

    • yalensis says:

      “If Trump wins the popular vote ..but Killary manages to get the electoral college vote…..”

      then Killary will be Prez. That’s the way the rule works.
      There won’t be any riots, or any Maidan. Americans will accept it with bitter resignation.
      It happened in Bush vs Gore. Gore got more votes, but Bush still became Prez.
      Because the American Prez is chosen by 270 electors.
      That’s what the rule says.

      The situation has only happened a couple of times in American history, and when it does happen, people say, “Something oughta be done” and there is talk of abolishing the electoral college and going to a popular-vote system. But then nothing happens and people forget about it… till the next time.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        This is not normal year – if it were, the Trump presidency would still be a throwaway joke on a mediocre Simpsons episode, instead of a serious impending possibility.

  18. Northern Star says:

    I’m bringing this up-probably again on KS- because Killary bots and Killary herself over the past few days have been on MSM yakkin’ about Russkie hacks of Killary and/or DNC servers:
    Just in case you were wondering whether or not there exists definitive incontrovertible PROOF that the Russians hacked the DNC or Killary::

    “Obama, Clinton and the mainstream media all say that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and released emails to throw the election to Trump.
    But former CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee security expert Fred Fleitz notes:
    Only two intelligence entities – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – have weighed in on this issue, not 17 intelligence agencies [as Hillary Clinton had claimed]. And what they said was ambiguous about Russian involvement. An unclassified October 7, 2016 joint DNI-DHS statement on this issue said the hacks”
    Even MSM TPTB mouthpiece PBS casts some doubt :

  19. TruthSeeker says:

    Not sure if someone already posted this eye-opener, but here it is. US writer experiences in Moscow something he never knew even existed – free wifi in the Uber vehicle (happened to be a “sleek BMW”).

    And of course, near perfect Moscow roads put NYC to shame.

  20. et Al says:

    What’s good for the goose!!!

    Business Insider: The State Department is fuming over Russia’s ‘ludicrous’ and ‘insulting’ comments about Mosul

    … “It’s absolutely not the same, and to compare the two is frankly insulting,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Monday, noting that Secretary of State John Kerry “feels exactly the same way.”

    “I mean, in Aleppo you’ve got the regime laying siege to a city with the support of their biggest backer, Russia. In Mosul you have an entire coalition of some 66 nations who have planned for months, so with the vast support and legitimacy of the international community, to retake a city from Daesh over a period of months in support of Iraqi Security Forces,” Kirby said. ..

    … “In Aleppo, you have the specific targeting of innocent civilians, first responders, and infrastructure – hospitals – that are specifically being targeted and destroyed, whereas in Mosul the air power that’s being used by the coalition is very precise, very discriminate,” Kirby said.

    “Great care is taken to avoid civilian casualties, and certainly there is going to be no concerted effort, as there is in Aleppo, to destroy civilian infrastructure.” …

    … An estimated 5,000 ISIS fighters are inside Mosul, which is home to about 200,000 to 300,000 civilians. Military operations there, according to Kirby, “are being done in such a way that if they don’t feel threatened, civilians can stay.” …

    Simply delicious. It’s great that Mark Kitty is getting so bent out of shape. But we are exceptiona’! + foot stomp! DickinZipperstan is a magical place with ponies and shit and everyone is happy! he went on to add.

    From the USDoS transcript of the 31 October Press Briefing:

    ..QUESTION: Go to Syria?

    MR KIRBY: Sure.

    QUESTION: Okay. Over the weekend, there were attacks by the opposition on western Aleppo. About 84 people were killed, many of them children and so on, so – allegedly. And so do you have any comment on that? Are you aware of it?

    MR KIRBY: Yeah, we’ve seen those reports, Said. And I mean, obviously, if it’s true, these kinds of attacks on civilians in Aleppo are always reprehensible. And so if these particular reports are true, they would likewise be reprehensible and completely non-defensible. We’ve made clear that what we want to see is the violence stop there in Aleppo so that we can create the conditions for a peaceful political transition. And we will, as we have, continue to condemn the targeting of innocent civilians and civilian infrastructure, for that matter, as a result of what’s going on in Aleppo.

    QUESTION: Now I have just a couple of follow-ups on this. The Russians are saying that this makes – or I mean this makes the militant groups, including Nusrah, a fair target in eastern Aleppo. Do you concur? Do you agree with that?

    MR KIRBY: Al-Nusrah has always been outside the cessation of hostilities.

    QUESTION: But it is located in eastern Aleppo. I mean, it is proudly in neighborhoods where civilian population is concentrated and so on.

    MR KIRBY: And what you’re asking, that we think it’s okay to target eastern Aleppo and not western Aleppo?

    QUESTION: Yeah, right.

    MR KIRBY: No, we don’t – al-Nusrah has always been outside the cessation and so, as I’ve said before, remain fair targets as a UN-designated terrorist group. But in the pursuit of Nusrah, or Daesh, for that matter, there’s no excuse for targeting innocent civilians or damaging civilian infrastructure in the effort to go after them. I mean, look at how the coalition works in Iraq and the care and the attention that we give to —

    QUESTION: How is – I’m sorry to interrupt, but how is that different from what is happening in Mosul? How is in Aleppo —

    MR KIRBY: It’s radically different.

    QUESTION: — targeting militant groups in Aleppo is different —

    MR KIRBY: It’s radically different, and I’ve seen comments by the Russian foreign ministry, in fact, I think Foreign Minister Lavrov in particular about how it’s the same. And it’s absolutely not the same, and to compare the two is frankly insulting. I mean, in Aleppo you’ve got the regime laying siege to a city with the support of their biggest backer, Russia. In Mosul you have an entire coalition of some 66 nations who have planned for months, so with the vast support and legitimacy of the international community, to retake a city from Daesh over a period of months in support of Iraqi Security Forces.

    In Aleppo you’ve got – yes, al-Nusrah is in Aleppo and al-Nusrah has been resisting the regime. They are in relatively small numbers. But the bulk of the resistance in Aleppo is coming from opposition groups, moderate opposition groups, and civilians. And they are becoming the victims of the attacks by Russia and the regime. In Mosul you have Daesh, which have basically taken over the city more than two years ago, and the civilians obviously have been persecuted, punished, tortured, and rendered basically slaves in their own city to Daesh.

    In Aleppo, as I think we’ve just talked in the last few minutes, you have the specific targeting of innocent civilians, first responders, and infrastructure – hospitals – that are specifically being targeted and destroyed, whereas in Mosul the air power that’s being used by the coalition is very precise, very discriminate. Great care is taken to avoid civilian casualties, and certainly there is going to be no concerted effort, as there is in Aleppo, to destroy civilian infrastructure. In fact, quite the opposite; we’re going to try to preserve as much as we can after so much has been laid waste by Daesh over the last two years.

    As a matter of fact – and this is another big difference – unlike in Aleppo, the coalition and the Iraqi Government are working towards post-campaign stabilization. We’re actually working on building contracts so that people can go in and clean up what rubble there is from the campaign and repaint buildings, and restore electricity and water services, and get people back to work. You don’t hear anything like that coming from Assad and from the Russians with respect to Aleppo.

    Another big difference – humanitarian assistance. So civilians are being told or ordered by the regime to leave Aleppo. To go where? To what?

    QUESTION: Go to western Aleppo.

    MR KIRBY: To go where?

    QUESTION: They can go – couldn’t they conceivably leave to western Aleppo?

    MR KIRBY: In Mosul, actually, while civilians who believe they are in harm’s way and are unsafe certainly will be – their departure will be facilitated as much as possible by the Iraqi Security Forces, there are camps that are being set up all around northern Iraq to receive them in the tens of thousands, and there is lots of effort by the international community and by the Iraqi Government to provide a place of refuge for them while the fighting goes on.

    And oh by the way, the military operations that are being conducted in Mosul are being done in such a way that if they don’t feel threatened, civilians can stay. They can stay because there’s going to be – there’s going to be procedures put in place to try to protect them if they decide to stay. Now, obviously, if they feel threatened and they want to leave, they can leave, but there’s a place to go to. There’ll be some camps that will be prepared to receive them and their families with food, water, medicine.

    So look, I mean, I could go on and on. The differences are vast and great. And any suggestion by the Russian Government that there are – that they’re one and the same is ludicrous. And I can tell you the Secretary feels exactly the same way.

    QUESTION: My last point on this: But is it true that at the end of the day, in both areas, you have a civilian population that is holding a civilian – that is being held under the gun by militant groups that need to be dislodged from there?

    MR KIRBY: Well, I think in Mosul, certainly, the population of Mosul has been under the jackboot of Daesh now for about two years or a little bit more. There’s no question about that. In Aleppo, Nusrah’s present but in relatively small numbers, we believe. And the opposition groups there are actually working on behalf of – the moderate opposition groups are working on behalf of the Syrian people, the Syrian citizens of Aleppo, to try to free them from the assault that’s coming by their own government.

    You still have – Said, you mean, in Aleppo you still have barrel bombs being dropped on people and hospitals. And that’s not happening by any stretch in Mosul. So again, radically different situations, and again, any comparison is absolutely insulting…

    • TruthSeeker says:

      Americans are “fuming” a lot lately. Their athletes are cheaters, their military is just a bunch of war criminals, and now their politics are proven to be nothing more than a den of liars and thieves. I’d be fuming too.

    • Cortes says:

      Kirby ought to have polished his act by now. He’s had enough time. Here’s how he first appeared in public:

    • marknesop says:

      I tried to read it all, I really did. But I only made it as far as “the vast support and legitimacy of the international community”, and I burst out laughing so hard I must have had an embolism of some kind. I woke up on the floor by my chair the next day, and I appeared to have wet myself. Only exceptionotwats like Kirby actually believe the ‘international community’ conveys any manner of legitimacy any more – it abdicated legitimacy when it signed on to Uncle Sam’s bobsled ride to hell.

  21. Patient Observer says:

    Nine million American men of working age have disappeared from the work force who spend their lives watching TV and the internet:

    When you are regarded as obsolete, of no value and not a member of the creative class, you tend to lose enthusiasm for participation in the American Dream. Our human infrastructure is just as dilapidated as our streets. Verily, the end is nigh.

    • Patient Observer says:

      And here are facts related to the 9 million non-workers.

      In a reversal of earlier trends, death rates among white non-Hispanic Americans in midlife increased sharply between 1999 and 2013, according to a new study by economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton, winner last month of the Nobel Prize for economics. The increased deaths were concentrated among those with the least education and resulted largely from drug and alcohol “poisonings,” suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis. This midlife mortality reversal had no parallel in any other industrialized society or in other demographic groups in the United States.

      Case and Deaton’s analysis, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also shows increased rates of illness, chronic pain, and disability among middle-aged whites. The findings have important implications for American politics and public policy, particularly for debates about economic inequality, public health, drug policy, disability insurance, and retirement income. The data also suggest why much of American politics may be taking on an increasingly harsh and desperate quality.

      To paraphrase Reagan: The US has declared war on its own people

      • Cortes says:

        Not altogether surprising. Ties neatly in with the much-ridiculed RT essay from a few years ago about the “unexplained ” 10m gap in the demographics in the USA during the 1930s. But hey and ho, what’s the loss of a few million here and there when you can have Busby Berkeley musicals? The real effects of today’s disasters will only be truly glimpsed through the modern equivalent of William Saroyan ‘s “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze”, I think, because the MSM is even more lame than in the past.

    • yalensis says:

      I wish I could spend my life watching TV and internet, but I am forced to work for a living.
      I wonder who is supporting those 9 million men who live in idleness?
      I am not condemning them, I’m just curious how they do it.

      • Patient Observer says:

        A little of this, a little of that. Disability claims, kindness of relatives, odd jobs, perhaps petty crime, etc. They exist at a minimum energy state thus require very little to survive. I suspect drugs and porn fill much of the day for many. Others may be writing the next Great American Novel. In other words, their life has ended and they are mostly waiting to die.

        Certainly many of these men are fathers so what is the future of their children?

        • Patient Observer says:

          Should have added, many are not waiting to die as the rapidly increasing rate of suicide indicates a certain impatience.

          This situation is in some ways similar to Russia in the 90’s with the loss of hope among a huge swathe of the population.

        • Jen says:

          A lot of these men are probably living off the grid in terms of Internet connection and how much interaction they have with the official economy that brings them into contact with government agencies. It’s possible that some have gone completely off-grid and are living off the land by hunting and growing their own food, especially if they live in fundamentalist Christian communities. The problem is that in some parts of the US where people might be hunting for food is that chronic wasting disease (similar to mad cow disease) seems to be endemic among wild deer and there’s a risk that these men (and their families as well) might contract CWD from eating contaminated meat.

          The prominence of alcohol poisoning, cirrhosis and other liver diseases as causes of death indicates that most unemployed men are drinking themselves into oblivion. I should think that from dawn to dusk every day, every week, every month, every year, they are in a permanent mental twilight zone. Ice and strong forms of marijuana along with a poor diet high in sugar which can affect mood don’t help either.

          • Patient Observer says:

            It’s spiritual and physical carnage. But, it makes most 1%ers feel smug about themselves. Its all about contrast.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    Ukraine stunned as vast cash reserves of political elite are made public
    New wealth declaration system shows officials owning Fabergé eggs, weapons collections and huge stashes of currency

    I should worry?
    (above) The Ukrainian prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, who declared $1.2m and €460,000 in cash, as well as a collection of luxury watches.

    Mikhail Dobkin, an opposition MP, declared 1,780 bottles of wine, while Roman Nasirov, the head of the state fiscal service, declared that together, he and his wife owned Swiss watches, diamonds, fur coats and held more than $2m in cash.

    The current president, Petro Poroshenko, is a billionaire tycoon

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Apparently, no readers’ comments allowed to the above linked Guardian article.

      • yalensis says:

        Of course they don’t allow comments. The Putinbots would have a field day!

        • Jeremn says:

          I have a feeling that this “campaign” against the Ukrainian elite is because that elite is resisting EU and US pressure to legalise the sale of arable land. The Rada ruled against it a week or so ago. A kind of internal war, with a compliant media used to shame or undermine those that don’t listen to their master’s voice.

          • marknesop says:

            I think that analysis is probably pretty close to the truth. Washington owns the current Ukrainian government, and is quite willing to either expend it or prop it up, depending on if it is getting its way or not.

          • Jen says:

            The Pravy Sektor folks who act as enforcers for the Kiev regime will not stand for selling off Ukrainian land and if such sales go ahead, the oligarchs will have a rebellion to deal with, apart from what they would face from the public.

    • marknesop says:

      Which calls to my mind the rather pathetic quote from some guy on the street on the eve of the election which brought Poroshenko to power; his name might have been mentioned, but if so I forget it, and it’s not important. He accompanied announcement that he was voting for Poroshenko with the hypothesis that perhaps he wouldn’t steal so much, since he was already so rich.

      I can’t think what the rationale was for publishing that – perhaps the author thought it showcased a new era in Ukraine, in which it would shake itself free of the corruption of Yanukovych as yet another wealthy oligarch led it to general prosperity and happiness. If so, that author was as much a simpleton as the person quoted. In most countries, progressive and less so, the leader is not necessarily the richest of its citizens, but in no country I can think of is the leader from among the poor to middle class. Poroshenko has obviously used his office to increase his personal wealth – and incidentally that of his claque of advisors and colleagues – in direct contravention of Ukrainian law, but nobody is going to do anything about it.

      Anyway, I guess if I had to express it all in a single phrase, it would be “What did you think was going to happen?”

  23. Moscow Exile says:

    Harding going great guns in Guardian of November 1st:

    Russian dissident Ildar Dadin accuses prison staff of torture

    “Over the course of that day, I was beaten a total four times, by 10-12 people at once. They would kick me,” he writes. “After the third beating, they lowered my head into a toilet right there in the holding cell.”

    He goes on to describe being cuffed and hung from the ceiling. “Being suspended in this manner brought about terrible pain in the wrists, twisted out my elbows, and caused horrible back pain. I was suspended like that for half an hour.

    “Then they took off my underwear and said they would bring another prisoner to rape me unless I stopped my hunger strike.”

    The prison boss later allegedly told Dadin that if he complained his beatings could be made worse, and he could be killed and buried “under the fence”.

    And to add icing to the cake, enter Browder:

    Bill Browder, the chief executive of Hermitage Capital investment fund, said Dadin’s treatment was reminiscent of that meted out to his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky was jailed and died in prison in 2009 after uncovering a $230m (£188m) tax fraud carried out by senior Kremlin officials.

    Browder said those responsible for torturing Dadin should be put on the Magnitsky sanctions list, introduced by the US and several EU countries. The act freezes the assets of Russian officials who violate human rights.

    “What shocked me is that they hung him up by his wrists. It brought me right back to seven years ago when Sergei Magnitsky was killed,” Browder said. “I pray it doesn’t happen to Dadin.”

    Yeah, they hung Magnitsky up by the wrists just like that! Browder was there! He saw it all. And when he visited his imprisoned “lawyer”, Magnitsky told him how he was being tortured.And Magnitsy wrote all about this to his poor old mother and then they murdered him. In prison.
    Hang on though!

    • marknesop says:

      Bill Browder, still trying to ride the rotted corpse of Magnitsky to immortality. Now anytime he needs to get the Magnitsky List (and, by extension, himself) back on the front page, he just has to appropriate the narrative of some other ‘dissident’.

  24. Patient Observer says:

    Informative video on Russia’s nuclear fuel processing capabilities:

    And Russia’ manufacturing recovery seems well entrenched:

    • Patient Observer says:

      Are you positive?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Estonia has the highest HIV infection rate in EU

      Latvia has the second highest rate of HIV infection in the European Union (EU), while Estonia has the highest rate, as Jana Feldmane, senior official at the Public Health Department of the Health Ministry, said while opening a HIV awareness campaign on October 19th, reports LETA.. [2015]

      59 new HIV cases diagnosed in Estonia in early 2016

      According to World Health Organization standards, the rate of infection in Estonia has reached levels qualifying as epidemic.

      • yalensis says:

        Come on, Latvia, you can do better.

      • Jen says:

        The high HIV rate must be a result of the fentanyl addiction problem. Estonia has the highest per capita death rate from drugs in Europe and most such deaths are caused by fentanyl overdoses.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Them there Finns had better be careful then!

          When I used to arrive in Tallinn late each April at 9 o’clock in the morning on the night train from Moscow, I always saw loads of Finns milling around in the main square of the Old Town, waiting for the bars to open.

          The Finns had come from Helsinki by means of a fast ship to Tallinn, where they then got pissed out of shape before heading back to the Land of the Lakes.

          By 2 o’clock in the afternoon, they used to be rolling around town.

          I had to go to Estonia each year in order to get a new multi-entry visa to Russia. All that ended around 2004, when I got a full residency permit for a foreign national.

        • marknesop says:

          Lord love you, Auntie Beeb! “…produced in clandestine laboratories across the border in Russia.” Wouldn’t be a Beeb international article without an effort to get Russia in the gunsights, would it? I daresay Russia does produce some – it’s not innocent where international crime is concerned – but Fentanyl was first synthesized by a Belgian in the 1950’s (as an opiate pain medication, at which it is quite effective), and the illicit supply chains were first set up by China, which remains the major world producer and distributor.

        • Drutten says:

          Yekaterinburg has a huge drug problem as well, though I believe it could be largely rectified with a different approach than Western darling Roizman’s plans to date.

          • yalensis says:

            Dear Drutten: What do you think the right approach should be? There are lots of ideas out there, like clean needle exchange, legalization, etc.
            I don’t know if scientific studies have been done re. effectiveness of different approaches.
            I am interested in this issue, because I am a strong believer in public health systems.
            But don’t know much about it, unfortunately.

            • Drutten says:

              I don’t believe in legalization myself, but decriminalization of objectively lighter drugs (marijuana first and foremost) is something that has worked in Europe as a means of keeping kids out of the harsh environment usually associated with illicit drug trade, and it helps keep dangerous substitutes at bay, such as so-called research chemicals (i.e. yet-unscheduled drugs freely traded online) and the highly troublesome marijuana substitute “spice”.

              Needle exchange keeps HIV down and I believe there are good studies on this in the Netherlands and Denmark, and certain opioid replacement therapies should be seriously considered in Russia IMO. I know that it’s a very infected topic not only in Russia, and Russia’s made a number of excellent points on why it’s not a big fan on buprenorphine and methadone therapy, preferring a “cold turkey” detox approach with other medical aids to ease the heavy discomfort of withdrawals… But I do honestly think that with the proper safeguards in place to minimize second-hand trade and OD potential (buprenorphine is rather safe in that regard by the way), a lot of opioid dependency-related deaths could be avoided in the long run. Especially considering the dirty and lethal fentanyl business that has been on a sharp rise in the past decade, as opioid addicts stop at literally nothing to get their fix.

              Obviously, these things wouldn’t solve jack shit on their own, but together with the existing programmes, ongoing crackdowns on distribution and so on I think it could significantly reduce the problems in the long run.

              Sweden’s been incredibly restrictive on drugs for the longest time and I can’t help but to draw the conclusion that this has (among other things, of course) contributed to the fact that we have a surging fentanyl (150 deaths or so, this year alone) and “spice” problem too. A far higher number of drug-related deaths overall compared to say Germany where marijuana is largely decriminalized, there are syringe exchange programs and opioid replacement therapy is widely available. The latter’s available in Sweden too, but it’s been really badly managed here, so there’s something to learn from that too.

              • yalensis says:

                Thanks for that information, Drutten!

                I would like to see the Russian government take an objective approach to this problem, based upon scientific research, empirical studies, and scientific methodology, to determine success rates, recidivism rates, etc.
                Unfortunately there are also political factors including, for starters, a general sense of denial that there even is a problem.

                But my research (sparse as it is) indicates that there IS actually an HIV problem in Russia. And it’s not really a gay problem, per se, although that might be the common misperception. It has mostly to do with drugs and needles.

          • Patient Observer says:

            My take is that children are the barometer of society. Rebellion is a sign of a disconnect between between what they are told and what they see. The disconnect can be on the family level, on the societal level or both.

            Drug abuse seems a very common form of rebellion. Facilitating use of drugs via legalization in an effort to mitigate adverse consequences to society (e.g. crime, medical costs, etc.) is wasting an opportunity to find the root cause of the disconnect. Allowing kids to drug themselves into numbness is not a solution at all but it does allow the lies of our society to go unnoticed to some degree.

  25. et Al says:

    Alternet: Obama’s Pentagon Is Using a ‘War on Terror’ Slush Fund to Bankroll Dangerous Military Buildup Near Russian Border

    The Overseas Contingency Operations fund allows the military to sidestep budget caps and political debate.


    From which one could conclude that the Islamic State and terrorist attacks against western targets really are not so important after all. Why do one well when you can do both badly? I call it the F-35 Syndrome

  26. et Al says:

    The Independent: Iraq ‘Ready For War’ With Turkey Over Who Should Control Mosul After Isis

    Patrick Cockburn

    Iraq and Turkey are threatening to go to war with each other over who should hold power in Mosul and the surrounding region after the defeat of Isis. Turkish tanks and artillery have deployed along the border and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that while Iraq “did not want war with Turkey” it is ready to fight one if necessary.

    The confrontation is sharpening as the Iraqi Army enters eastern Mosul and Shia militia known as the Hashd al-Shaabi advance towards the town of Tal Afar, threatening to cut Isis’s last escape route from Mosul to Syria. Turkey sees itself as the protector of the Sunni Arabs of Mosul and northern Iraq, a community left vulnerable by the likely defeat of Isis by Shia and Kurdish forces backed by US-led airpower….

    More at the link.

    So who will the USA back or will they just be spilling more weapons in to the zone for bux? I don’t see how this works out for ‘Plan B’ either. Plenty of potential for going well beyond the usual SNAFU.

  27. Northern Star says:

    Maybe if the lying corrupt sow is formally elected..the ‘Murican sheeple will bellyache and grouse a bit..and that will be the end of it.. maybe
    However Trump’s entire campaign has been one anomaly after another….Moreover Gore’s people like Bernie’s ..were big mouths…ultimately shown to be big female genitalia when push came to shove…Trump’s core??..Well that’s another matter….if enough ‘Murican’s get a bellyfull of the corrupt piece of pathlogical lying white trash and her (parttime) bed wench of a pervert sidekick….all bets are off….

    • yalensis says:

      Hi, Northern Star.
      Well, hopefully we won’t have to find out whose prediction is correct, if Lying Sow (LS) is “elected”.

      I don’t WANT to be right! You think I LIKE being right all the time? Oi yoi yoi!

  28. et Al says:

    The Groaning Man: Thirty civilians die in airstrike called to protect US and Afghan troops

    Attack in Kunduz came after two US service members were killed and had been aimed at breaking siege

    As many as 30 civilians were killed in an airstrike on Thursday morning called in to protect US and Afghan troops involved in heavy fighting with the Taliban near Kunduz.

    The airstrike, requested after two US service members were killed, had been meant to break a siege around the village of Bouz Kandahari, three miles from the centre of Kunduz, according to Saeed Mahmoud Danish, the spokesman for the provincial governor.

    He said the civilians got caught up in the line of fire because the Taliban were using their houses as cover….

    Hi, I’m the Guardian! I love the USA, EU, Human Rights and justice for all, unless of course you are my enemy. When my friends kill people, it is ‘defense’ & an ‘accident’, when my enemies do it, it’s a war crime.

    My hobbies are circle jerk, hypocrisy and hand wringing. I’m really flexible to. You don’t even have to ask me, I’ll write it just like that.

    So, come over and read me sometime. Just leave a comment on any of my articles that allow it, and if it passes my censor test (I agree with it), I might get back to you. If not, you don’t exist!


    The Guardian

    P.S. My journalism is like me in bed. I’m a TIGER!

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    day of National Unity

    Reminds me of my earlier lifestyle …

    Ah, those were the days at Royal Ascot with my Bullingdon chums!

    • Cortes says:

      Caviar with your chip butty, Sir?

    • yalensis says:

      Get with the program, Exile!
      In a “normal, civil society”, like the one that Sakharov/Bonner promised us, the capitalist and the worker are equal members of society.
      The capitalist enjoys the right to sit in his counting house counting out his coins, while the unemployed worker enjoys the right to sleep under the bridge. Everybody is equal, see.
      Under the benevolent rule of Tsar Nicky and his luscious courtesans!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        But even when I was a horny-handed son of toil, I was skint most of the time.

        I think the term to describe my condition at that time is “wage-slave”.

        Bear in mind, I believe that the real cause of my regular financial embarrassment was my feckless, inebriate nature that resulted in my guzzling away most of my earnings in various bars and hostelries at weekends after my having been paid on Friday afternoons, which payment was always received with a grateful tugging of the forelock, of course!

    • marknesop says:

      You just have to shake your head slowly, in amazement. Mrs. Clinton is running out of people she can throw under the bus, but another of those who might have to step down as Wasserman-Schultz did is AG Loretta Lynch. Get back, Loretta!

  30. Moscow Exile says:

    The Russian blogoshere is becoming awash with irate comments off folk who consider this woman to be a headbanger.

    See: Жизнь за царя

    The above linked blog says that crazy Poklonskaya has adopted the crazy person role previously monopolized by the State Duma deputy Irina Yarovaya.

    This is Irina:

    She used to be one of Cheburashka’s pals:

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Ah, c’mon! Yarovaya is not that bad. Big deal that kreakls raised the stink after her “Yarovaya package” of laws. Oh, and Shapoklyak at first was the foil to the crocodile Ghena and Cheburashka, and only later she became a goodie.

      No, the crown of the most… controversial… female legislator up to recently belonged to Mizulina (“Anti-Gay-Laws! Aiiiiiiiiiiiii”), but since then she got promoted from a lowly State Duma’s deputy to the Senator in the Council of Federation.

      Poklonskaya has no competition in this department!

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Day of National Unity — 4 November

    And no, there are no “first nations” here that live on reservations.

    • kirill says:

      Reservations are ghettos created as part of an ethnic cleansing and assimilation program. The Canadian Residential Schools were set up to kill native languages and “tame the savage”. (The British did something similar to the Welsh a century earlier). Run by pedophile priests and nuns (yes indeed) they were hell holes of child abuse. To this day Canadian reservation ghettos are afflicted by 3rd world living conditions, high suicide rate, high alcoholism and drug abuse rates and are run by corrupt banana republic style chiefdoms that serve to enrich a tiny elite at the expense of the vast majority.

      Big bad Russia never had such programs since it never viewed ethnic minorities as something to remove to grab their lands and resources. Both under the Czars and under the Soviets, ethnic minorities were treated as constituents of the country with equal rights.

      It was utterly grotesque when Joe Clarke’s wife went to the USSR to wag her finger about aboriginal rights. Shameless, bloody hypocrisy. I was also very disappointed in David Suzuki when he peddled some BS story about Laplanders in the USSR being mistreated. Never to the Canadian level even under Stalin!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Suddenly! Kurds in Moscow on the Unity day:


  32. et Al says:

    Let me apologize for posting anything from WP… Warning. Usual suspects within.

    Washington’s Pissed: From ‘reset’ to ‘pause’: The real story behind Hillary Clinton’s feud with Vladimir Putin

    By Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung

    In one of her last acts as secretary of state in early 2013, Hillary Clinton wrote a confidential memo to the White House on how to handle Vladimir Putin, Russia’s newly installed and increasingly aggressive fourth president. Her bluntly worded advice: Snub him.

    “Don’t appear too eager to work together,” Clinton urged President Obama, according to her recollection of the note in her 2014 memoir. “Don’t flatter Putin with high-level attention. Decline his invitation for a presidential summit.”

    It was harsh advice coming from the administration’s top diplomat, and Obama would ignore key parts of it. But the memo succinctly captured a personal view about Putin on the part of the future Democratic presidential nominee: a deep skepticism, informed by bitter experience, that would be likely to define U.S.-Russian relations if Clinton is elected. Her lasting conclusion, as she would acknowledge, was that “strength and resolve were the only language Putin would understand.”…


    In short, Hillary a bit spiky, Putin fighting ghosts in his mind. The piece is interesting because it is painting Hillary as the ‘Realist’, not the ‘Warmonger’ that she’s been selling herself as since she left the USDoS and preparing the public for her flip when she becomes prez. Being a ‘warmonger’ and a ‘realist’ is not being seen as a contradiction here, which reminds me of what Anissa Naouai of RT said on al-Beeb s’allah nov. 2 that Russian diplomat’s prefer Clinton because she is predictable.* It’s also a hit job on Obama’s foreign policy decisions, or considered lack thereof.

    So, though there appears to be the barest sliver of recognition that the USA could have done things better, it completely skates over Washington’s catastrophic strategic errors as being in any way Clinton’s fault. Funnily enough it seems to me that it shows that Clinton never really accepted Obama as her boss, and that it should have been the other way around with her as the experienced realist president and Obama as the newbie which if it had been the case, these ‘mistakes’ would never have happened. Everyone knows that there’s no love lost between Obama and Clinton and that they have come together for the sake of having another Democrat president, but it is fascinating to see see Obama & Michelle’s odes to Clinton, any rumor other wise being dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

    The Putin painted in the piece is of course the pure caricature of Washington invention that segues effortlessly with the years of western propaganda as someone who needs personal respect – read vain – , easily angered and in short a tin pot dictator, not as a leader who is standing up for Russia’s strategic interests. Like the piece I posted early by al-Beeb s’Allah’s Steven Rosenberg, it omits key facts, issues and background and presents the same side of the coin that Putin/Russia’s demands are unreasonable, they always over react and that the West has been patient with the needy and demanding child. Nowhere do either accept that Russia now is not the Russia of the 1990s where it begged on bended knee for the West’s most wise advice and is desperate for its money and trade.

    Whether Washington understands that its own self-made decisions are much of the reason for what has happened I suspect that we will never see in full, only in drips and drabs like the piece above which is really more like that answer to the the interview question “What are your weaknesses? to which an interviewee says “a perfectionist..blah blah blah“.


    Anissa is referring to a comment made by the other interviewee who said there were ‘Riots’ during the 2011 presidential election in Russia.

    Can’t find the video but it went out on November 2, the same day as Steve Rosenberg’s hit piece (posted above).

    • Fern says:

      Reinforces, yet again, how there is not one iota of professionalism in the US’s supposedly diplomatic class and why, to most discerning observers, the Russians appear to be the only adults in the room.

    • marknesop says:

      Few would think it odd that the United States follows a doctrine of permitting no threats to itself to exist on the planet. It’s a big, powerful, influential country, and its people expect their country to look after their interests and protect them. Nothing surprising there at all.

      What would be surprising to many, if they thought about it, is what constitutes ‘a threat’ in Washington’s assessment. Most would assume it’s what you say and what you do that makes you a threat. If you say “I hate you, and I want to kill you”. Or if the flag of your army reads “death to America”. Simplistic stuff, easy to grasp. But what about when it’s what you are that makes you a threat? What about a situation in which just being prosperous and influential without being ideologically aligned with the United States, obedient to its wishes or awed by its wealth and power is enough to get you classified as a threat to America? That seem fair? I thought not.

      Washington never seriously thought Russia was going to attack it when it imposed sanctions against Russia through its toadies and lickspittles. It simply could not get its own way in Ukraine, despite successfully launching a coup to topple the leader and installing a western suckup as president. And Russia, more by accident than by design, got in the way of American foreign-policy objectives and prevented them from being carried out to America’s satisfaction.

      That was enough to make Russia a threat. Because while Washington claims the perfectly fair right of America to exist, simply existing is no anywhere near enough for Washington – it must dominate and rule. That’s ‘existing’ in Washington. If something you’re doing hinders that realization, you’re a threat.

      • kirill says:

        The problem with this hubris airhead thinking is that America will break its teeth and its neck trying to take out Russia. The mistake is made to scale the US war capability by the nominal dollar value of its military budget. The actual US capacity is nowhere near that much larger than the next competitor. America cannot win neither a conventional nor a nuclear war against Russia. That its leaders and elites are entertaining the thought exposes them as insane.

        America does not deserve the respect it gets from all corners. Its attempts to foist colour revolution on Russia have been a total and complete flop. This is not because it bet on the wrong horses. The US has been actively recruiting malcontents in Russia and engineering regime change from within likely since Putin showed up on the scene and the Harvard Boys lost their influence. Yet it has failed.

        The current nuclear sabre rattling looks like a loser tantrum. They can’t get their way with the “soft” power chicanery so they will go for brute force. All that mobilization of NATzO army assets and deployment on Russia’s borders is supposed to achieve what? A blitzkrieg that Hitler couldn’t pull off? I guess they can siege St. Petersburg much faster this time around. But they will not get to Moscow any faster and will likely not even get as far as the Nazis. Russia promised to use tactical nukes on invading armies. But even without tactical nukes, the modern Russian army is well past the chaos of the 1990s and is vastly better prepared than the Soviet army in 1941. Jet vs jet, tank vs. tank, artillery piece vs. artillery piece, machine gun vs. machine gun, NATzO has no distinct advantage over Russian forces. Any numbers advantage is irrelevant thanks to tactical nukes.

        The only chance the lunatics running NATzO have is some sort of nuclear first strike on Russia which is not accompanied by instantaneous counterstrike. Maybe in 1999 they had Russia fully compromised and could sabotage its command and control at will while leveraging Russia’s loss of early warning radars and satellite detection systems. I just don’t see this being achievable today. Putin has had over a decade to purge the Russian intelligence services and to clean up any compromise of command and control. Russia is essentially back at full strength in terms of early warning radars and more than likely other systems as well. Clearly it did not lose the scientific and industrial capacity to not just rebuild these systems but even make them more sophisticated.

        So if actual war on Russia is not in the cards, assuming that the lunatics are not running the asylum, then we have some species of cold war left. In this case history is already repeating itself as a farce. Uncle Scumbag cannot polarize the world as he could with communism because Russia is exporting no ideology and is not grabbing colonies. You will note how stories are being spread about direct Russian invasions of Canada, Brazil and wherever. This is loopy BS that will not have a long shelf life. The commie bogeyman was way more credible and effective since there were local facts on the ground (e.g. rebels fighting fascist elites).

  33. et Al says: Up to 3 yrs in jail: Russia’s new anti-doping law includes criminal responsibility

    Russian State Duma has passed a new anti-doping law that will criminalize the inducement to doping activities by coaches and medical staff. In some cases, there will be prison terms of up to three years.

    The law, which was adopted by the Russian Parliament in a third reading Thursday, will still need to be approved by senators in the Federation Council and President Vladimir Putin to come into force.

    According to the law, “the inducement to use any substances or methods that are prohibited in sport” will be punished by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles (about $4,700) or the equivalent of six months’ salary, and the person will be barred from holding certain positions in sporting organizations for three years…

  34. et Al says: Turkmenistan is eyeing revived ties Russia

    Turkmenistan, the most reclusive nation in Central Asia, moved to revive relations with Russia. However, both nations seem to remain slow to find common grounds on energy and security issues.

    This week, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov traveled to Russia seeking revival of bilateral ties. During a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on November 1, Berdymukhamedov hailed relations of “strategic partnership” between Russia and Turkmenistan. In a perceived exercise of Central Asian flattery, Berdymukhamedov promised to remain a reliable partner of “great Russia.”

    In response, Putin noted remaining “unsolved issued” in relations between Russia and Turkmenistan. He also said that bilateral trade was down if calculated in US dollars, but refrained from disclosing any numbers….

    More at the link.

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Paging Finland!

    Palmyra – ISIS – Russian helicopter.

  36. kirill says:

    Re: Poklonskaya

    After watching the “60 minutes” program on Channel 1 yesterday things became more clear. The kreakls are still running the Russian arts scene and on half a trillion roubles of taxpayer money no less. They are screaming that Putin is not saving them from various activists that protest their “masterpieces” and disrupt their presentation.

    The kreakls are still trying to run Russia by any means possible. Art is a powerful element in shaping public perceptions and norms. NATzO may think that gay makeovers of classics is normal, but I and many Russians it seems think it is just grotesque unoriginal meddling. Come up with new classics (gay or not) if you are such big talents.

    The Russian kreakls are not happy that others have freedom of speech and expression. They demand that only they have these rights as the entitled creative elite. Yet in the USA it is considered acceptable for picketers to target abortion doctors and others and the police do not come and haul them all off to jail. But poor Russian kreakls can’t tolerate dissent to their “art” spew.

    It seems that there is a natural backlash against kreakls in Russia and it is led by fringe Orthodox elements. They see these kreakls for what they are: NATzO’s 5th column that serves antagonize the population against their legitimate government with all sorts of BS insinuations and accusations. Poklonskaya experienced NATzO meddling first hand and has joined this movement in Russia. The affinity for the Czars is a direct response to the “progressivist” kreakls and their western “values”.

    I do not personally support some revanche of the autocratic, feudal past. But at least I can see what this is all about. The kreakl bacilli are creating the backlash and fulfilling their historical role of undermining Russia directly or indirectly. The Russian government needs to stop funding these scumbags ASAP. Let them sink or swim based on ticket sales.

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    Scraping the barrel?

    Clinton recruits the world famous and amazingly talented female punk rock band to “perform” anti-Trump work of art:

    “Make America Great Again”

  38. Northern Star says:

    A link from within a link posted by Cortes…..Worth reading..(Thanx Cortes)

    “In the United States today a critical presidential eletion is in process in which not a single important issue is addressed. This is total failure.
    ***Democracy, once the hope of the world, has totally failed in the United States of America.”***

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      No way – shocked, I’m shocked! The guy finally gets it! In the so-called “bourgeoisie democracy” it’s the big business that calls the shots and owns the democracy! In capitalism it’s the capital that exercises its dictate. Oh, if only there was someone else, before that, who’d warn us that such a thing is indeed possible! Anyone! ANYONE!

      • marknesop says:

        Jesus, that’s sad to read.

        • et Al says:

          Second dat!

          I’m not so sure about the comparisons with the Soviet Union (infrastructure for example), but if Trump is elected, I think regardless of how successful or unsuccessful he may be in one or two terms, he is part of the shift and is the medium for it.

          I suspect that the American supertanker will start turning away from bearing down on the island without rudder control much sooner than with Clinton as Pres. She’ll just keep on doing more of the same as the pressure beneath continues to bubble and grow until it bursts, set of by one or several crises. The spark? Who knows, but I’m watching the Black Lives Matters campaign and the series of deaths by Police as that may reach a congruence, not to mention the new wave of targeting police officers, which seems to be a multiracial thing. Something must give. When, where and what is anyone’s guess, hence my somewhat tongue in cheek ‘Untied States of America’. We’ll see.

          • Cortes says:

            The Orlov book is very persuasive, documenting with the eyes of an engineer, elements of the infrastructure which are deteriorating.

  39. Northern Star says:

    It occurs to me that the oft discussed Russkie Crimean ‘cutie pie’ may in point of fact be Bipolar….
    As a matter of fact a few Stooges come to mind as being likely Bipolar candidates …
    Of course I mean the ‘good’ Bipolar opposed to the more ‘certifiable’ variety….

  40. et Al says: Nusra Front, Allies Attack Fellow Syrian Rebels in Aleppo

    Fastaqim Positions Overrun, Fighters Detained

    With the Nusra Front-led rebels in Aleppo still engaged in a major offensive against government forces in the western part of the city, they also found time to launch a whole separate offensive against another faction of rebels with which they used to be allied in the city.

    Nusra and its still remaining allies attacked and overran a number of positions belonging to the Fastaqim force, which like the other Nusra allies, is presented as “moderates” who are nominally aligned with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as well as the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra.

    Fighting was reported to have ended and there are negotiations ongoing among the factions, though some reports suggest Fastaqim lost the majority of their positions and that a large chunk of their fighters have been detained, though the group’s leadership downplayed the losses….

    • marknesop says:

      I very much doubt it, but several people said here – just after the news broke that Egypt was buying the ships – wouldn’t it be funny if Egypt sold them to Russia. I would personally be surprised if there was not a clause in the contract which forbids sale by the end user to any other party, and that is not unusual. In many instances, it’s the only way some buyers can get their hands on western hardware. This is a better deal for Russia, anyway; it gets to sell the Egyptians helicopters, and Russians will have whatever access to the ships they want. And it provides a perfect excuse not to buy any military equipment from Europe again, ever, no matter what kreakl minister shouts about a Russian aversion to quality western defense equipment. The Europeans simply can’t be trusted.

  41. Cortes says:

    The pretension of being a “newspaper of record” must, Shirley, be thrown out not only for its shillary role but also the love-in with Wall Street?

  42. Patient Observer says:

    Random thought – even the MSM reports the numerous suicide car or truck bombs used by the “rebels” in Aleppo. What sort of “moderate” rebel sharing western values and love of democracy use suicide bombers? Looks like smoking gun proof that radical Jihadists are at doing the fighting but the MSM is again oblivious to the obvious.

  43. et Al says:

    Curiously Russophobes have dumped a large number of protsthetic limbs outside the Russian consul in London (which funnily enough I haven’t seen in western news yet) whilst there’s been a pretty large and (a bit violent) demonstration against Turkey by Kurds outside its embassy with some claims that some may have tried to ‘storm the embassy’.

    In the former, they have to resort to cheap propaganda tricks because they can get no-one to turn out for a protests, and fully fits British foreign policy of the Red Scare. In the latter, Kurds are fighting Al-Queda/ISIL/ISI/DAESH/Whatever on the west’s behalf and dying whilst also being killed by Turkey, but that is just a mere distraction from the Russian threat. Shit is seriously f/ked up.


    There seem to be complaints that Russia is ‘shrinking’ the British embassy in Moscow, so this seems to be part of an on going low level tit-for-tat between the UK & Russia which has just spiked.

    • cartman says:

      The British Embassy is too big. They should move into a used refrigerator box.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The new British Embassy housed the British Consulate, which dealt with visas etc.

        I had to take my children’s birth certificates there to have my offspring become British citizens, and before I married Miss Spot Welder USSR 1973, aka Natalya Vladimirovna (she welded all her sequins onto her wedding dress), I had to swear an affidavit there that I had no other wife, partner etc. etc. in the UK.

        The old British Embassy had become much too small for processing the huge upsurge of visa applications etc after 1991, that is one reason why a new tailor-made place was built (the old embassy had previously been a sugar millionaire’s mansion) with a very large visa and passport dept.

        And then, only a short while after the new place had been opened, they began to outsource all this bureaucratic work and the new consulate and passport dept. etc, fell into disuse. In the embassy courtyard you can still see where long lines of visa applicants used to shuffle towards the windows, behind of which consulate employees spoke to them by microphones: it was like the check-in at an international airport on a bad day.

      • marknesop says:

        And there would still be room for floor lamps.

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