What Does Freedom Mean to You? Putin at Valdai, 2016

Uncle Volodya says, "The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.”

Uncle Volodya says, “The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.”

American protest songs, lyrically at least, showcase that as an expression of national consciousness, Americans lost their understanding of what freedom means somewhere in the early 1970’s. Sentiment against dictatorships and enslavement of populations gave way to more America-centric problems, dominated by the war in Vietnam and, to a lesser extent, national race relations and the problems associated with getting a job. In latter decades the media honed its skills at what has become known as the politics of division, and became adept at turning whole segments of the population against one another, always dangling the illusory concept of freedom just out of reach.

What is freedom, really? Is it the liberty to make mistakes while pursuing greater goals, knowing that you still must bear responsibility for the consequences – unintentional and potential – of those mistakes? Or is it simply the removal of all restraints on one’s personal behavior, as Jen suggests here?

This and other issues is discussed here in a provocative guest post by the inimitable Aussie contributor, Jenifer Hor, in her analysis of Putin’s speech to the attendants of the final plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club at Sochi, last month. For me, it reaffirms that Vladimir Putin remains committed to a united global problem-solving approach which emphasizes frank and open discussion of world problems, while the west remains mired in creation of wedge issues for its own benefit and discrediting all sources which do not correspond to its worldview. Permit me to offer my accolades in advance for a solid and perceptive first-line analysis. Take it away, Jen!

Vladimir Putin’s Valdai Speech at the XIII Meeting (Final Plenary Session) of the Valdai International Discussion Club (Sochi, 27 October 2016)

As is his usual custom, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the final session of the annual Valdai International Discussion Club’s 13th meeting, held this year in Sochi, before an audience that included the President of Finland Tarja Halonen and former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki. The theme for the 2016 meeting and its discussion forums was “The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow” which as Putin noted was very topical and relevant to current developments and trends in global politics, economic and social affairs.

Putin noted that the previous year’s Valdai Club discussions centred on global problems and crises, in particular the ongoing wars in the Middle East; this fact gave him the opportunity to summarise global political developments over the past half-century, beginning with the United States’ presumption of having won the Cold War and subsequently reshaping the international political, economic and social order to conform to its expectations based on neoliberal capitalist assumptions. To that end, the US and its allies across western Europe, North America and the western Pacific have co-operated in pressing economic and political restructuring including regime change in many parts of the world: in eastern Europe and the Balkans, in western Asia (particularly Afghanistan and Iraq) and in northern Africa (Libya). In achieving these goals, the West has either ignored at best or at worst exploited international political, military and economic structures, agencies and alliances to the detriment of these institutions’ reputations and credibility around the world. The West also has not hesitated to dredge and drum up imaginary threats to the security of the world, most notably the threat of Russian aggression and desire to recreate the Soviet Union on former Soviet territories and beyond, the supposed Russian meddling in the US Presidential elections, and apparent Russian hacking and leaking of emails related to failed US Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s conduct as US Secretary of State from 2008 to 2012.

After his observation of current world trends as they have developed since 1991, Putin queries what kind of future we face if political elites in Washington and elsewhere focus on non-existent problems and threats, or on problems of their own making, and ignore the very real issues and problems affecting ordinary people everywhere: issues of stability, security and sustainable economic development. The US alone has problems of police violence against minority groups, high levels of public and private debt measured in trillions of dollars, failing transport infrastructure across most states, massive unemployment that either goes undocumented or is deliberately under-reported, high prison incarceration rates and other problems and issues indicative of a highly dysfunctional society. In societies that are ostensibly liberal democracies where the public enjoys political freedoms, there is an ever-growing and vast gap between what people perceive as major problems needing solutions and the political establishment’s perceptions of what the problems are, and all too often the public view and the elite view are at polar opposites. The result is that when referenda and elections are held, predictions and assurances of victory one way or another are smashed by actual results showing public preference for the other way, and polling organisations, corporate media with their self-styled “pundits” and “analysts” and governments are caught scrambling to make sense of what just happened.

Putin points out that the only way forward is for all countries to acknowledge and work together on the problems that challenge all humans today, the resolution of which should make the world more stable, more secure and more sustaining of human existence. Globalisation should not just benefit a small plutocratic elite but should be demonstrated in concrete ways to benefit all. Only by adhering to international law and legal arrangements, through the charter of the United Nations and its agencies, can all countries hope to achieve security and stability and achieve a better future for their peoples.

To this end, the sovereignty of Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, Syria and Yemen should be respected and the wars in those countries should be brought to an end, replaced by long-term plans and programs of economic and social reconstruction and development. Global economic development and progress that will reduce disparities between First World and Third World countries, eliminate notions of “winning” and “losing”, and end grinding poverty and the problems that go with it should be a major priority. Economic co-operation should be mutually beneficial for all parties that engage in it.

Putin also briefly mentioned in passing the development of human potential and creativity, environmental protection and climate change, and global healthcare as important goals that all countries should strive for.

While there’s not much in Putin’s speech that he hasn’t said before, what he says is typical of his worldview, the breadth and depth of his understanding of current world events (which very, very few Western politicians can match), and his preferred approach of nations working together on common problems and coming to solutions that benefit all and which don’t advantage one party’s interests to the detriment of others and their needs. Putin’s approach is a typically pragmatic and cautious one, neutral with regards to political or economic ideology, but one focused on goals and results, and the best way and methods to achieve those goals.

One interesting aspect of Putin’s speech comes near the end where he says that only a world with opportunities for everyone, with access to knowledge to all and many ways to realise creative potential, can be considered truly free. Putin’s understanding of freedom would appear to be very different from what the West (and Americans in particular) understand to be “freedom”, that is, being free of restraints on one’s behaviour. Putin’s understanding of freedom would be closer to what 20th-century Russian-born British philosopher Isaiah Berlin would consider to be “positive freedom”, the freedom that comes with self-mastery, being able to think and behave freely and being able to choose the government of the society in which one lives.

The most outstanding point in Putin’s speech, which unfortunately he does not elaborate on further, given the context of the venue, is the disconnect between the political establishment and the public in most developed countries, the role of the mass media industry in reducing or widening it, and the dangers that this disconnect poses to societies if it continues. If elites continue to pursue their own fantasies and lies, and neglect the needs of the public on whom they rely for support (yet abuse by diminishing their security through offshoring jobs, weakening and eliminating worker protection, privatising education, health and energy, and encouraging housing and other debt bubbles), the invisible bonds of society – what might collectively be called “the social contract” between the ruler and the ruled – will disintegrate and people may turn to violence or other extreme activities to get what they want.

An English-language transcript of the speech can be found at this link.

 
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2,431 Responses to What Does Freedom Mean to You? Putin at Valdai, 2016

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    UK Defence Minister Fallon on Saudi Arabia:

    ““We can’t keep moralising in public about Saudi Arabia. If you want to bring about change in Saudi Arabia then you have got to work with Saudi Arabia and we are doing that”.

    See: Michael Fallon calls for end to ‘moralising’ on Saudi Arabia

    UK Defence Minister Fallon on Russia:

    UK Defence Minister Fallon, speaking to Parliament’s Defence Committee and referring to former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Sir Alexander Richard David Shirreff’s book “2017: War with Russia”, which Fallon described as “very good”, Fallon stated:

    “I don’t agree that war with Russia is likely next year. I think that is too extreme”.

    Fallon added: “We have seen much greater Russian aggression this year, and in previous years, in terms of long-range aviation, in terms of submarine activity, and the carrier task group that sailed through our waters, the role of Russia in Syria, and elsewhere. But I don’t think that presages an open conflict next year”.

    Having cautioned against Shirreff’s scenario of imminent war, however, Fallon then stated that the UK armed forces would soon be fully prepared to participate in a military conflict with Russia.

    Pressed if the UK would be ready for war with Russia in 2018, or 2019, Fallon replied: “Yes, we would be ready to increase the tempo in that kind of situation, which I don’t immediately foresee”.

    He added: “And, of course, we will not be doing this on our own. We will be doing this as an active member of Nato, and presumably in some kind of Nato scenario”.

    Earlier, Fallon stressed that Britain’s armed forces were central to the ongoing NATO encirclement of Russia.

    Asked about “the realistic prospects in a crisis of being able to deploy a division to a front-line NATO state”, he replied that the UK was already “deploying to the eastern border of NATO. The RAF [Royal Air Force] have been there three summers running. We are putting troops in Estonia next year and we are putting troops in Poland and we are deploying the RAF to Romania”.

    Giving more details on the deployment of 800 troops to Estonia, Fallon said: “The whole point of forward deployment to Estonia is to arrange… an earlier tripwire so the force there doesn’t have to wait for tension to escalate. The force will be there from next spring in any event, in all three of the Baltic states”.

    See: Defence Minister Fallon declares UK ready for war with Russia

    No moralising there, is there?

    And no suggestion of the necessity of working with Russia so as to bring about policy changes, just a declaration the the UK is willing to go to war with Russia (with the help of others) to effect changes in Russian policy.

    A word in Sir Michael’s shell-like ear would not be amiss, I think:

    • marknesop says:

      Indeed. Although one could hardly expect him to say otherwise, given he is Defense Minister, as a negative response to the question would surely have encouraged annoying questions like, “Well, why won’t they be ready? Does this reflect neglect of the Armed Forces by your administration, do you think?” Like most DM’s, I imagine he plans to get through his tenure by spending as little on the military as can be conveniently arranged – leaving more funds for legacy projects, which the military is not unless there actually is a war – and praying there will not be a crisis which highlights unpreparedness on the part of the military.

  2. Lumpy Gravy says:

    Has the plotting, conspiring, treasonous last leader of the USSR finally gone gaga?

    Mikhail Gorbachev: A new Union is possible

    Just contrast the man’s twisted perception of reality and of history as it happened not so long ago with Evgeny Krutikov’s essay about The Decline And Fall Of The KGB over on yalensis’ blog. Gorbachev doesn’t seem to remember anything correctly and of course he sees himself as perfectly innocent. But what else would one expect? Leaders who are personally responsible for a disaster always play down their own role in bringing it about and they always dissociate themselves from the catastrophic effects of such an event. And this particular disaster, the willful destruction (not the collapse) of the USSR, has had a global impact and will be felt for a long time to come.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      He’s right about Yeltsin. I remember when he was chucked out of the Politburo, where he had been a candidate member. He had earlier made a big show of resigning from the Politburo in protest over the tardiness of reforms. Nobody had ever attempted to resign from that august body before. He then made out he had tried to kill himself and was taken to hospital. He was summoned from his sick bed and had the shit thrown at him by Gorbachev and others. Gorbachev said he was politically immature and irresponsible. He must have also known that he was a drunken demagogue. He used to ride about Moscow on public transport so as to impress the oiks. He pleaded with Gorbachev for re-admittance. That’s why he had it in for him and denigrated him publicly at the podium when he returned from the Crimea after the putschists had been sorted out.

      I remember my very last day in the Soviet Union in June 1990. I had spent my last night there at Hotel Universitetskaya, Moscow,having arrived from Voronezh the evening before. I and others had ordered a banquet so as to celebrate the end of our stint in the USSR. I got talking with the major domo whilst negotiating the booze. (It was deficit, of course, but I slipped him a few bucks and the vodka miraculously appeared.) He asked me what I thought of Russia, and I told him I was very sad to leave, which was true: I had left behind in Voronezh my first Russian paramour. But I told him the truth: I thought Russians fine folk, the land exhilarating but that the system stank. He checked no one was listening, and then said: “You are right! They are bastards and it’s time for them to go. But Russia is the best!”

      They hated the privileged nomenklatura, the way they had fixed it so that they always got the best yet grossly mismanaged the economy; they hated the restriction on travel: they always yearned to be able to travel abroad, to see Paris, Rome etc. but seldom did they want to leave for good. In short, they believed the USSR, the republic, had been a good idea, better than the autocratic empire, but they loathed the one-party state machine. They believed they deserved better, and they were right.

      And Gorbachev sold them out.

      And so did Yeltsin, the drunken peasant gobshite boor that he was.

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    The country awaits the Messiah with bated breath!

    Навальный объявил об участии в президентских выборах в 2018 году

    Navalny has announced his participation in the presidential elections of 2018

    13.12.2016 | 12:56

    Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has announced his participation in the presidential elections of 2018. He announced in his address.

    “I have been thinking about whether I should participate… I have came to the conclusion that yes, I shall stand for election as President of Russia. I shall go to the polls, and I will fight for victory”, he said.

    The Navalny presidential campaign has launched a website.

    Earlier the Russian President’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on statements about alleged attempts to use the “Kirovles” case in order not to allow Navalny to participate in the election campaign of 2018. Also Peskov said that the Kremlin has no opinion concerning Navalny’s prospects as regards his participation in the upcoming presidential election.

    In turn, lawyer Olga Mikhailova said that after a decision of the Russian Supreme Court, Alexei Navalny has the right to stand for election to the highest levels of power.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      IMHO Lyosha just wants some money to embezzle. There are still enough stupid kreakls and liberasts to donate for his cause. If anything, so-called Russian liberal “independent candidates” demonstrated their one and only forte – a supernatural ability to make the donated money disappear without delivering any results.

      Examples? Jill Stein. I admire her chutzpah. I really do. I have a soft spot for the con artists and “great combinators” (c) who can pull out crap like this.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, fellows, but Stein just expropriated several millions of dollars in absolutely legal way. What she did was as lawful and as moral as what all those mediums/psychics do – i.e. absolutely legal and absolutely disgustingly amoral. Psychics prey on people’s tragedy – they offer a way to contact a deceased loved ones from beyond the grave. And people desperate and gullible enough (but, mostly desperate) come to them, often paying exorbitant sums of money to have chance to reconnect with dear departed.

      This is all a con. They hear what they want to hear. They even might to understand deep down that that’s not their loved ones talking here in the smelly “magick parlor”, but just a person with a rudimentary knowledge of human psychology pulling all the right strings – it doesn’t matter. They want it. They need like a junky needs a fix.

      That’s what Jill Stein did. She offered dumbfounded, crying, triggered beyond measure bunch of Adorable as chance to contact the deceased spirit of “Hilary’s Presidency”. They, always eager to demand “TO DO SOMETHING!” fell for it. They were already borught up to be in constant denial of the reality – what’s yet another act denial for them?

      Same goes to the so-called liberals everywhere. Here in Russia, kreakls, hipsters, shy and modest intelligentzia, gays and democratic journalists just can’t accept the reality of This Country and This (wrong one, obviously) Narod. They are like those mice from the anecdote, which cried, got cuts from the thorns but continued to chew on cactus. Or, to borrow another expression, Navalny can literally piss them right into their naive eyes and they still will claim that’s not a piss, but God’s dew.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        What surprises me is that Navalny is not debarred from standing for pres because of his criminal record.

        Has he got one?

        I’m sure he has, or does the Kirovles retrial nullify the previous verdict? And what about his French perfume company scam? The one for which his brother is now doing bird whilst Lyosha, as per fucking usual, got a suspended sentence?

        But in the constitution it reads:

        Article 81

        1. The President of the Russian Federation shall be elected for six years by citizens of the Russian Federation on the basis of universal, equal, direct suffrage by secret ballot.

        2. Any citizen of the Russian Federation not younger than 35 years of age and with a permanent residence record in the Russian Federation of not less than 10 years may be elected President of the Russian Federation.

        So you can be a thieving twat and still stand for president.

        Whoopee! I could stand for pres if I applied for Russian citizenship. Scotland Yard’s Criminal Records dept. can go fuck itself sideways.

        Vote for Denis Denisovich!

        • Patient Observer says:

          According to PBS, Navalny is being tried for fraud and if convicted, would be disallowed from running for President. Hence, he is creating a poison pill defense, convict him and the West will have an orgasm of righteous indignation and score propaganda points. Find him innocent and it will send a message that he is immune to law.

          • kirill says:

            The west can scream all it wants. It’s moving towards war with Russia regardless of what is happening. “Facts” are fabricated out of thin air to create anti-Russian hysteria. There are supposedly millions of kreakls in Russia, why is only Navalny a viable candidate?

      • yalensis says:

        Ha ha – great comment!
        Ostap Navalny was among the first of the kreakls to figure out how to raise money online via yandex. Politics can be a never-failing source of income for this Great Combinator.

        The best part: If Navalny loses the election, then he never has to account for all the “campaign donations” he pocketed. Is a scheme worthy of Max Bialystock.

    • marknesop says:

      Here we go again, with chittering-excitement puff-pieces from RFE/RL on Navalny’s presidential campaign.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Another proof that cretinism and inability to learn from the past mistakes (multiplied by the fanatical trust into yet another democratic el duce) is universal – the outcome of Navalny’s “presidential campaign” crowdfunding:

      Yes, yes – that’ Leonid Volkov, horny piece of crap, Navalny’s right hand (after George Alburov’s departure), Max Katz’s arch-nemesis and the chief gesheftmacher of their whole sect:

      https://vk.com/photo178161177_456242197

      So, in just 3.5 hours – SUDDENLY! – Navalny and co gathered “1 million rubles” – 55% via “Yandex koshekyok”, 30% via PayPal and 15% via… BitCoins. Yes, that’s right – Russian so-called democratic opposition accepts BitCoins, despite that fact that they are banned in RF.

      This happens 1.5. years before the elections. Hmm, I wonder, what are the chances that Lyosha just wanted some money from his fellow cultists, and has no real plans to run for the president? Or, better yet, what if this whole affair is just a way for the USAID/StateDept to give him one last money grant via such “donations” before the seemingly eternal source of Eternal Grants will dry out after January 20?

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Plagiarism! Alexei Navalny stole from yours and ours Lev Nathanovich Sharansky his battle call – “так победим!”. For him and his “presidential CON/-paing” it should be: “Пришёл, Увидел, Навалил!”.

        • marknesop says:

          What, pray, is going to be Lyosha’s centerpiece campaign issue? Healing ties with the west, and getting the sanctions lifted? When he’s already widely perceived as a western agent and asset? I can’t imagine that getting much play in Russia outside the children-of-the-intelligentsia circles that have always admired and adored Lyosha, and there are nowhere near enough of them for him to even get elected mayor, never mind president. So what is going to be his issues platform?

          • Jen says:

            Let me guess what Alexei Navalny will campaign on ..

            … more sanctions on Russia for interfering in the US presidential elections?
            … Russia being forced to give up the right to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018?
            … Gazprom to be forced to abandon North Stream and continue sending gas through Ukraine?
            … Russia to be barred from participating in the Eurovision Song Contest?

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “What, pray, is going to be Lyosha’s centerpiece campaign issue? Healing ties with the west, and getting the sanctions lifted? When he’s already widely perceived as a western agent and asset?”

            Hmmm… “Make America Great Again” as Navalny’s electoral campaign slogan?!

      • yalensis says:

        And remember that Volkov, himself a Great Combinator, was the genius who figured out that his friend Ostap didn’t even HAVE to raise nickels and dimes online.
        Volkov simply got a big oligarch to finance Navalny’s Moscow campaign, and then the kreakl suckers simply donated their cash into the oligarch’s bank account.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Know why this is especially funny?

          There is no officail electoral bank account yet. All these money (and bitcoins) are going into… somewhere which, probably, has nothing to do with the elections. At all. And there is, as usual, no transparency or accountability within the Sect of Saint Navalny.

          I have only one question though – given how early and how successful this con proved to be, will Lyonya Volkov grab all the money and run away with them? He is not above such a trick.

  4. et Al says:

    Neuters: Exclusive: Top U.S. spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russia hacking – sources
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trump-intelligence-idUKKBN14204C?

    The overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Republican President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election, three American officials said on Monday.

    While the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) does not dispute the CIA’s analysis of Russian hacking operations, it has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, said the officials, who declined to be named….

    …An ODNI spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

    “ODNI is not arguing that the agency (CIA) is wrong, only that they can’t prove intent,” said one of the three U.S. officials. “Of course they can’t, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow.”

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose evidentiary standards require it to make cases that can stand up in court, declined to accept the CIA’s analysis – a deductive assessment of the available intelligence – for the same reason, the three officials said…

    ####

    Well, this is shit all over the Washington Post’s face yet again. #FFakeNews! Will WaPo apologize for lying to its readers? Probably not.

    • marknesop says:

      But all of them, without exception, accept that the Democrats’ server was hacked by Russia, and that it was Russia who leaked the information through Wikileaks, and that Russia also hacked the Republicans but declined to release incriminating or influential material it had in its possession. There is, to my knowledge, no evidence of this, either.

  5. Lyttenburgh says:

    As you probably know, Bloody Regime ™ captured Aleppo and drove out peaceful human-rights activist from Jaish al-Islam and (former) al-Nusra. I know what all of you are asking yourself now – BUT WHAT ABOUT BANA?! Fear not, my fellow Stooges – Bana will live!

    [And there was much rejoicing. Yay!]

    She and her family ,anaged to evacute in a nick of time… with all of their furniture:

    I mean – that’s the most logic thing to do! Everyone saw hundreds of refugees evacuated from their homes, carrying the bare necesseties – bookcases, chairs, all books by J.K. Rowling and other important stuff… that had been previously routinely dombed into nothingness during 100500 Russian/Assad bomb-raids.

    Oh, yes! The most natural reaction in the world – when one of your parents (or the daughter) gets injured/killed, you immediately twitt about it – not forgetting all necessary hash-tags. After all – you have a verifyied account (registred in the UK), no Internet, no electricity and hundreds of thousands of guilable idiots asking for more.

    P.S. Zadornov was right. They are morons.

  6. et Al says:

    In more fake news spread by the Pork Pie News Networks ’82 civilians have been shot in their homes in east Aleppo’ based on the usual reliable sources. Surely it is time for barrel bombs full of chlorine to be dropped on school children and hospitals again? What about cannibalism? All sources only mention ‘rebel fighters’, not a f/king squeak about Al-Nusra and other jihadi groups supported by the Gulf States and the West.

      • et Al says:

        Meanwhile, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Moscow was fed up of calls from the US to halt the fighting. “We are tired of hearing this whining from our American colleagues in the current administration,” he told journalists.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Lavrov also voiced his displeasure with the EU yesterday:

          Lavrov notes Moscow is aware of EU’s guide on statements concerning Russia

          “I think it is secret to no one if I say that we know about written instructions in the European Union as to how each country, including candidates to join it, should speak publicly at any mention of Russia,” the diplomat said.

          “It is written there that it is an absolute must for all these countries to pronounce as mantra the terms ‘annexation of Crimea’, ‘occupation of Donbass’ and so on,” he said. “It seems that this instruction is binding,” he added.

          The kreakl with whom I have to work told me yesterday in all seriousness that Lavrov is only foreign minister because he does everything Putin tells him to do.

          He must think that a minister of state should act independently of and contrary to the wishes of the chief executive of the administration of the state.

          That’s what he must think they do in the Golden West.

          • yalensis says:

            Nostadamus predicts, and Baba Vanga concurs:

            One of these days the uber-polite Lavrov is just going to lose it. He is going to throw away all diplomatic niceties and and start screaming in a high-pitched voice at Westie leaders and media:

            “FUCK ALL OF YOU IN YOUR RANCID ZOMBIE EYEPITS, YOU RELICS OF AN ABORTION GONE TERRIBLY WRONG!”

            • Jen says:

              That has to be in rhyme, Nostradamus always couched his predictions in quatrains (four-line poems).

              On hearing of yet more failed Western attacks
              on ISIS , strengthening only those takfiri pawns,
              venerable Sergei forgets the presence of ladies and cracks:
              “FUCK ALL OF YOU IN YOUR RANCID ZOMBIE EYEPITS, YOU RELICS OF AN ABORTION GONE TERRIBLY WRONG!”

      • Jen says:

        A poorly written article cobbled from bits and pieces (that look like the usual blah-blah PR propaganda) which makes me wonder if this Kareem Shaheen who writes for The Guardian from Beirut or Istanbul is a real person.

  7. et Al says:

    Sorry, “women and children killed on the spot”. Hey, it can’t be verified Al Beeb s’Allah is telling me, but who cares?

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    Oh yes! The government troops are killing women and children, says the BBC, citing UN observers who have “reliable evidence” of this allegation:

    Aleppo battle: UN says 82 civilians shot on the spot

    However, according to the BBC:

    The Syrian government’s ally Russia, which has rejected calls for a humanitarian truce, earlier said any atrocities were “actually being committed by terrorist groups”, meaning rebel forces.

    But we all know that the Russians are lying bastards, don’t we?

    Why, they are responsible for far, far more deaths than were the Nazis, who were, after all, only defending Europe from the Russians ….

    • Patient Observer says:

      My take was that the terrorists are doing what they do best, kill civilians knowing that the murders will be pinned on Syria and Russia.

  9. et Al says:

    So Tillerson, ex-Oil cheese & apparently ‘pro-Russian’, is nominated USDoS honcho by Trump.

    On the other hand we have Trump trolling China over Taiwan. In this case, it to me looks more like asymmetric diplomacy or ‘hybrid warfare’ as others may call it, as the US cannot take on China financially, Trump’s strategy is to threaten to unpick all those things that China holds dear, such as the ‘One China’ policy to push Beijing out of its comfort zone and try and destabilize its decision making. An interesting strategy that won’t work.

    But, by making apparently pro-Russia, anti-China choices it looks like a divide and rule strategy. The US cannot take on both Russian and China, and it has been China that has been backing Russia solidly politically and economically against the West’s threats. By offering sanctions relief, Washington would expect something in return… maybe distancing itself from China… The thing is, not only have the sanctions done quite a bit of damage, but how is lifting them actually that useful any more now that (yet again) a threat from the outside has made Russia carry out fundamental changes it should have already made before (developing domestic produce industry etc.) and even sabotaging those nascent industries for western imports? In short, if it is Trump’s strategy, too little too late.

    I think though that a strategy of opportunistic disruption would continue. What I would like to see from Trump is a rolling back of NATO and removing US nukes from Europe permanently in return for a new nuclear arms agreement and a de-escalation on the continent. What exactly does Washington get from a riled up EU and its constant squealing for US support but without pay up? None as far as I can see. Hopefully this is NATO’s last hurrah.

    • marknesop says:

      Washington cannot offer sanctions relief without coming out into the open as the EU’s puppetmaster. Although we know that to be true, not everyone does, or not everyone will stipulate to it, and the sanctions imposed by Washington as purely American are harmless. It is the EU’s sanctions which cause trade damage, and as you accurately point out, many of those markets will never again reach their former potential. I imagine there would be a prompt return to trade with Europe if EU sanctions were lifted, but quite a few people have lost their taste for European products considering what false friends the Europeans have turned out to be, and Russia likely fears their spinelessness would bring new sanctions at Washington’s bidding. I don’t think European sales to Russia will return to their previous levels, perhaps ever, and Russia will always have a backup plan in future so that loss of European products will not hurt it.

    • Chinese American says:

      Many people in China feel that Trump trolling China over Taiwan is not a bad thing. At least, maybe it will finally knock away the illusions about America that many in the government still have. (There are plenty of those illusions, in part because the generation of Chinese currently between 40 and 65, overall, are probably the most shall we say “psychologically disadvantaged” toward the West.

  10. Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt says:

    Might be of interest. Reality Check, one of the English language programmes broadcast by the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation). Today’s programme; Assad and Aleppo and his scorched earth policy followed by Russian Hackers.

    [audio src="http://files2.orf.at/vietnam2/files/fm4/201650/fm4_reality_check_161213_487993.mp3" /]

    Assad takes Aleppo
    Military analyst Paul Beaver discusses the likely next moves by the Syrian government, as the city of Aleppo is now in their hands.
    Arab Youth and Conflict
    Dr Jad Chaaban from the American University of Beirut discusses his report on young people in the Arab world, and why conditions may be right for new uprisings.
    International hacking tactics
    Cyber security expert Mikko Hypponen explains the workings of international cyber hackers, and how the USA can be relatively certain that Russia hacked both major parties during the presidential election campaign.
    Will the Greens turn populist?
    Political analyst and populist movement expert Reinhard Heinisch discusses the future for Austria’s Greens, and how they need to reposition and rebrand themselves to have a realistic chance of power.

  11. Patient Observer says:

    We live in a sea of lies. Per NPR this morning – French officials are demanding that Russia stop the intense bombing of the huge masses of civilians seeking shelter in the last remaining rebel areas in Aleppo. They demand that a humanitarian corridor 5 kilometers wide be created for their escape [where to, I wonder] protected by NATO/EU troops. The barbarity of the Russians and Syrians are is simply impossible to describe per the report.

    NPR and other MSM channels have adopted a relatively clever strategy – they simply pass along reports from important sounding organizations like the Observatory for Human Rights while ignoring any alternative information sources. They sort of learned their lesson from the WMD fiasco – don’t manufacture the lie, let someone else do it. So the MSM is simply a component in the supply chain of lies.

  12. et Al says:

    Independent: Labour MP claims it’s ‘highly probable’ Russia interfered with Brexit referendum
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/russian-interference-brexit-highly-probable-referendum-hacking-putin-a7472706.html

    Ben Bradshaw said it would fit a pattern of meddling from the Russian state

    …Ben Bradshaw said Moscow’s likely interference in the vote would fit a pattern of meddling in other nations’ affairs, following the CIA’s accusation that Russian hackers tried to influence the recent US elections.

    Speaking in the Commons debate on Aleppo, Mr Bradshaw also claimed that the huge flows of migrants into Europe had been deliberately encouraged by Russia to destabilise the EU.

    He said: “I don’t think we have even begun to wake up to what Russia is doing when it comes to cyber warfare.

    “Not only their interference, now proven, in the American presidential campaign, [but] probably in our referendum last year. We don’t have the evidence for that yet. But I think it’s highly probable.”…
    ####

    Fake news brought to you by real MPs. Don’t they you that you should ‘never go full retard’?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Just noticed that what I posted below about Bradshaw’s whinging has been posted here.

      Bradshaw is officially the Right Honourable Benjamin Bradshaw, a title he may bear for life because he is another one of those Royal Privy Council members.

      He doesn’t like Putin, probably, because Putin is a “homophobe”, allegedly.

  13. et Al says:

    Moon of Alabama: MSM Create #Fakenews Storm As Rebel Aleppo Vanishes
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/-msm-create-fakenews-storm-as-rebel-aleppo-vanishes.html

    I have not ever experienced a #fakenews onslaught as today. Every mainstream media and agency seems to have lost all inhibitions and is reporting any rumor claim regarding east-Aleppo as fact.

    Consider this BBC headline and opener:

    Aleppo battle: UN says 82 civilians shot on the spot

    Syrian pro-government forces have been entering homes in eastern Aleppo and killing those inside, including women and children, the UN says.

    The UN’s human rights office said it had reliable evidence that in four areas 82 civilians were shot on sight.

    1. A UN human rights office does not exists. What the BBC means is the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR). That commissioner is the Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, a Hashemite educated in the UK and U.S. and a relative of the Jordanian dictator king. That is relevant to note as Jordan is heavily involved in the supporting the “rebels” against the Syrian government.

    2. The office has not “said” that “82 civilians were shot” or other such gruesome stuff. It said that there were “sources” that have “reports” that such happened. From its press statement today:

    Multiple sources have reports that tens of civilians were shot dead yesterday in al-Ahrar Square in al-Kallaseh neighbourhood, and also in Bustan al-Qasr, by Government forces and their allies, including allegedly the Iraqi al-Nujabaa armed group….
    ####

    More at the link.

    #FFakeNews! #FMSM!

  14. Northern Star says:

    Well folks the main feature: SkanKillary’s RECOUNTORAMA 2016 epic is over..but we do still have a few cartoons that can segue into the next adventure of those two lovable batshit crazy gals…..Killary and her wacky sidekick Jill:
    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/12/13/stein-to-recount-donors-vote-on-how-you-want-me-to-waste-your-money-next/

    * Grammar Nazis:
    http://grammarist.com/spelling/lovable-loveable/

  15. et Al says:

    Groaning Man: International concern over claims of chemical weapon attack in Syria
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/13/international-concern-over-claims-of-chemical-weapon-attack-in-syria?google_editors_picks=true

    At least 93 reportedly killed and hundreds injured near Palmyra, with witnesses saying many child victims suffocated

    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is seriously concerned about claims that at least 93 people were killed by a gas attack in central Syria when airstrikes hit a cluster of five villages.

    Up to 300 people were also reported to have been injured in the strikes on Monday morning around 130 miles west of the city of Palmyra, which was retaken from Syrian forces by the Islamic State group. Witnesses to the attacks say that none of those who died had blast injuries…

    …The high death toll is not consistent with the spate of chlorine gas attacks across Syria in recent years, which have killed scores of people in total but have not caused mass casualties at this scale.

    Photographs purportedly taken after the attacks show rows of children lying on the ground. All appear to be dead and foam is apparent near the nose of one young boy.

    The images resemble those taken in the aftermath of an attack that killed more than 1,300 people in the suburbs of Damascus in August 2013, which the United Nations said was ‘indisputably’ caused by sarin gas. On that occasion the US, UK and France blamed the Assad regime. The UN said the sarin used had probably come from regime stockpiles…
    ####

    So it didn’t take so long after all. ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever can kill as creatively as they wish and the Pork Pie News Networks will consistently report is as being done ‘by Assad’. ISIS forced them in to cellars then gassed them, only to have ‘sources’ present it as an air attack. Yet again.

    • Chinese American says:

      The mention of Palmyra in the article is pure obfuscation: 130 miles west of Palmyra is the suburbs of Damascus. Specifically, East Ghouta, where the well-known false flag chemical attack took place in 2013.

  16. cartman says:

    How a Fictional President Is Helping Ukrainians Rethink Their Absurd Politics

    “Only the [English-language] Kyiv Post dared to print political cartoons back then,” says Dmitry Chekalkin, a Kiev-based media expert, who created a rare Internet political satire series that ridiculed then-President Viktor Yanukovych in the early 2000s. “One of the primary objectives [of our show] was to get rid of this Soviet way of thinking that everything is out of your control, that you are powerless,” says Chekalkin. If you can laugh at something, he argues, it automatically becomes less intimidating and you become more powerful.

    Is this guy Ukrainian? Yanukovych didn’t become president until 2010.

    • Cortes says:

      I expect Elroy and De Lillo books will be listed as history sources soon.

    • cartman says:

      Another fun one:

      And Washington Post national security reporter at Adam Entous told BBC this week that a CIA official claims that Russia hacked the Brexit vote, and the vote in Ukraine (starting around 1:09:58).

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-13/not-just-america-germany-and-other-countries-blame-russia-losses-status-quo

      How does that work, when Ukrainian elections are done with paper ballots? I accidentally bought some milk the other day that was one day from expiration. Russians hacked my groceries!

    • marknesop says:

      Coincidentally, the ‘make your enemy ridiculous and make people laugh at him’ is straight out of the Gene Sharp Regime Change Playbook.

      The media is lazy and stupid. Fortunately, many of its readers are also.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      First thing to know about Kvartal 95 – they are owned by Kolomoyski. As such, they are just a puppet-show to lambast his enemies (read: oligarchs other than him, Russia and, from recently, the current government in Kiev). That’s it! See:

      “The 1+1 media group, which has exclusive rights to show Kvartal 95’s productions in Ukraine, is owned by business magnate Ihor Kolomoisky, a staunch opponent of President Petro Poroshenko. Critics have accused the show’s writers of focusing on the failings of the president in Servant of the People in order to make Poroshenko appear especially ineffective. But Kvatral 95 has editorial independence, says Zelenskiy. Oligarchs and politicians are both harshly criticized on the show, which uses made-up characters instead of current political figures.”

      I watched these series. Pretty mediocre with lots of wishful-thinking, out of the blue miraclous solutions, cheap production (hey – that’s Ukraine for you!) and overly long gags.

      “In creating Servant of the People, the show’s writers leaned on the Soviet genre of the anekdoti, says Zelenskiy. In the Communist era, friends traded these pithy stories to vent their frustrations with the system. “

      Ah, yes! They never did it to, you know, actually laugh at something non-political. No-no-no! Only in the Free West the people do that.

      “Leonid Kuchma, president from 1994-2005, clamped down on press freedom and summarily sold off media outlets to the new oligarchic class. “

      I thought that as a punishment people got “summarily executed”. Turns out there is another punishment – to be “summarily sold”! But… ain’t it the Invisible Hand of the Market ™ in action?

  17. Northern Star says:

    A little time travel interlude….

  18. Northern Star says:

    You know who the F is behind this…..

    http://colombiapeace.org/

  19. Cortes says:

    On watching the “Keiser Report ” on the imperial blowback against independent media, it strikes me that the MSM are as to the Papacy as the new media are to Martin Luther:

    https://www.rt.com/shows/keiser-report/370114-episode-max-keiser-1005/

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Many civilians have tried to flee as government forces take over Aleppo

    Reads the subtitle to a picture in this morning’s Independent.

    Read that as you will!

    Flee from whom and to where why?

    Try to flee?

    Were they successful in doing so, and if not, then why not?

    And no mention of the activities of any of the forces present.

    And this story as well, just to keep the Lebedev pot boiling:

    Labour MP claims it’s ‘highly probable’ Russia interfered with Brexit referendum
    Ben Bradshaw said it would fit a pattern of meddling from the Russian state

    which story gets lambasted by commentators as “fake news” — probably.

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    A typically BBC non-story about the Empire of Evil:

    Soviet ‘NKVD’ restaurant name triggers Moscow row

    …a chilling echo of the Stalin-era communist terror…

    The restaurant sports a big portrait of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin….

    The controversy over the “NKVD” name featured in Russian Vesti TV news – one of the main broadcasts on the state-controlled Rossiya 24 channel….

    But some Russians voiced alarm at what appeared to be more whitewashing of history and an insult to Stalin’s many victims….

    One of those who “voiced alarm”:

    “It’s in central Moscow. Maybe it would have been more cool to call it ‘The Five Executions Char Grill’.”

    Very drole, Fagin, I’m sure!

    Now fuck of and find some sucker to “defend” in court!

    And the article ends:

    Public displays of Stalin portraits were taboo in the last decades of the Soviet Union – but they have reappeared in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

    Yeah? So they’re on every street corner, are they?

    Tell you what, I’ve got a fridge magnet of Stalin. Does that make me “evil”

    You can even buy them in the U.S. of A:

    Stalin Refrigerator Magnet

    The BBC concedes at the very end that “Mr Putin has emphasised the sacrifices made by the USSR in World War Two. But he has also acknowledged that Stalin’s security apparatus committed terrible crimes”, but goes on to give links concerning Stalin’s alledged rehabilitation in Russia,reporting that “The sign caused a stir when human rights lawyer Mark Feygin tweeted a photo of it on 9 December”.

    Fuck off, Feygin: very few here give a rat’s arse what you think!

    • kirill says:

      Russians apparently are not allowed to make fun of the 1930s even though they were the PRIMARY VICTIMS (in absolute and per capita terms). FUCK everyone who criticizes the right of Russians to do as they please with their own history. If I was in the game I would open a restaurant called the Belomor Canal. I would just have to figure out an appropriate menu slant.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        There was a Honecker nostalgia cafe in Berlin if I rightly remember.

        Ostalgie is a German term referring to nostalgia for aspects of life in East Germany.

        Welcome at the most Eastern GDR Design Hostel in Berlin

        OSTEL Hostel Berlin

        Just imagine that it is the year 1978 and the Berlin Wall still exists.

        Erich Honecker would be in power with his really existing Socialism. We warmly invite you to the OSTEL Hostel Berlin, to a journey back in time to the East Berlin of the seventies and eighties.

        Discover in our beautiful rooms the craziest side of East German room design.

        Is there no Berlin Feygin-type SJW out there to voice his displeasure over such nostalgia about a bloody regime?????

        Putin must be behind of all of this!

    • Cortes says:

      His boyish looks are receding in tandem with the hairline. Best rake in the readies while you can, “Mr President “

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “His boyish looks are receding in tandem with the hairline. Best rake in the readies while you can, “Mr President “”

        Nah, he’s just Yeltsin in the making. Look!

        • yalensis says:

          Well, there’s that old gag about Russian leaders, with a “hairy” one always succeeding a “bald” one.
          Examples from the 20th century: Lenin (bald), Stalin (hairy), Khrushchev (bald), Brezhnev (hairy), Gorbachev (bald), Yeltsin (hairy), Putin (bald), ????
          Navalny still has some hair.
          But just to be on the safe side, Russians needs to elect Viktor Alksnis as their next President:

    • marknesop says:

      A western dream…Lysosha looks so sensitive! And he would be delightfully out of his depth among world leaders, and so grateful for advice, and one could snicker privately – in the kindest way, of course – at anyone who would wear a sports jacket with a T-shirt. Western leaders prefer their Russian counterparts to be a little gauche and wide-eyed.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    What a fucking slag!

    (ad hominem fully intended!)

    In response, Vitaly Churkin advised his colleague from the United States to remember the actions of her own country.

    “The weirdest speech to me was the one by the US representative which built her statement as if she is Mother Theresa herself. Please, remember which country you represent. Please, remember the track record of your country.”

    “I shouldn’t want to remind this Western trio [France, US, UK] , which has called for today’s meeting and carried it out in a raised voice, about your role in the creation of ISIS as a result of US and UK intervention in Iraq”, Churkin said.

    “I don’t want to remind these three countries about their role in unwinding the Syrian crisis, which led to such difficult consequences, and let terrorists spread in Syria and Iraq.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The above translated Churkin quotes are from CNN.

      Churkin’s actual words re the Mother Theresa wannabe, namely “Outraged” Powers:

      “Особенно странным мне показалось выступление представителя Соединенных Штатов, которая построила свое выступление, как будто она мать Тереза”, — заявил он.

      Especially strange to me appeared the speech by the representative of the United States, who constructed her statement as though she were Mother Theresa”, he stated.

      [You see, Denis Denisovich uses the subjunctive mood, unlike those CNN dickheads! :-)]

    • marknesop says:

      Russia’s public positions are getting progressively less ‘diplomatic’ and more direct. The west has been inviting Russia to take a swing with deliberately insulting language for a long time, but Russia is beginning to answer in kind. I smell a lifelong enemies situation, and that’s unfortunate because Russia cannot be said to have not tried repeatedly to keep things civil.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Mother Samantha – the patron saint of the moderate jihadis

      • Fern says:

        Classic, Lyttenburgh, very droll. I hope Churkin was able to negotiate a pay increase or some sort of bonus for himself for having to sit through and reply to Samantha Power’s rants. For a professional diplomat it must be beyond painful to try and work with her and her ilk.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I wonder if she prays for the souls of those innocents, about whose estimated half-a-million lives, sacrificed as a result of US sanctions imposed by the USA on Iran, were infamously considered by her fellow countrywoman as a “price well worth it” as regards the furtherance of the the policies of the “Exceptional Nation”?

        • Fern says:

          Moscow Exile, yes, it’s interesting what examples she picks as the epitome of evil that stains consciences – Halabja, Rwanda, Srebrenica etc. All of them non-western. How about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Agent Orange (the gift that’s still giving today), the saturation bombing of Cambodia, the extraordinary destruction wreaked on North Korea, the genocides of South and Central America carried out by those trained and shielded by the US and so on and so on – is she unaware of the history of her own country?

          • Northern Star says:

            Halabja, ****Rwanda,*** Srebrenica etc. All of them non-western.

            Ummmm …but the USA through the machinations of Susan Rice ..the corrupt whore/lackey of Bubba had a hand in Rwanda…

            http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB511/
            http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/06/05/5-highlights-from-susan-rices-diplomatic-career/
            http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/04/16/genocide-under-our-watch-rwanda-susan-rice-richard-clarke/

            and let’s not forget the French connection:
            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-38152791

            • Fern says:

              Indeed, Northern Star, the US along with many of its allies had a hand in all of the examples of ‘irredeemable evil’ Powers named. My point was that she chose examples where the immediate perpetrators were not western actors.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, well…that’s a bit of an eye-opener, what?

              • et Al says:

                Remember that back in the early 90s onwards the US was quite hostile to the UN. As one articles posted above pointed out, the US owed the UN $1billion for UN operations.

                Also recall that the US and the west were quite aggressively pushing the UN to get actively involved in Bosnia on behalf of Sarajevo, but UNSG BB Ghali refused to give UN coverage for western military intervention. But Kofi ‘Give Boutro’s job to me’ Annan ultimately did.

                The US openly complained about ‘waste’ and ‘corruption’ at the UN for quite a few years and demanded ‘reforms’, which of course would have been in favor of the US and the west to lock in a permanent advantage at the UN level.

                This was long before they tried to formalize it again under R2P – Responsibility to Protect, some twenty years later.

                It looks to me as if the US wants/ed to run the UN as its own business in its own interests. Africa wasn’t one of them… until China piled in actually building infrastructure. The US only saw the continent as a resource drain so it didn’t give a shit apart for an easy place to bomb when necessary to gain easy brownie points.

          • marknesop says:

            She and others like her, such as Admiral (Ret’d) Kirby, have explained those several times – they were well-intentioned accidents in which a few people, unfortunately, were killed.

        • Jen says:

          Not to mention of course that 7-year-old boy her motorcade knocked over and killed while she was racing to a photo-shoot in Cameroon. The child’s family did get compensation but you wonder how much guilt Samantha Power feels over an incident that would never have occurred had she not been so eager to meet and be photographed with former Boko Haram victims just so she could have bragging rights among the Washington social set.

      • Jen says:

        Jeez Lyttenburgh, she resembles John Kerry in that nun’s habit.

        Perhaps that’s what working for Barrack O’Bomber does to people after four years … they all end up looking exactly alike.

  23. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS ‘cyberattacks’

    If you want to know what Washington is doing at any given time, just look at what they’re accusing the competition of.

    • yalensis says:

      As the Worm Turns!
      For all those Amurican rubes out there who beleived that Homeland Security was protecting them against foreign terrorists – ha hahahahahaha!

  24. Northern Star says:

    The First Amendment …at least according to Bammy and Killary bots!!!!
    http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/12/14/professor-in-hiding-donald-trump-comments-lah-pkg-erin.cnn

    Was there a legally sutainable expectation of privacy on the part of Cox or the other students in the classroom???
    https://www.rcfp.org/photographers-guide-privacy/california
    But that may not matter,since according to the following links:
    “California’s education code says electronic classroom recordings are prohibited — and students in willful violation face disciplinary action.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4017786/Professor-draws-ire-telling-students-Donald-Trump-s-election-act-terrorism-president-elect-white-supremacist.html#ixzz4SrXu8qdT
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/11482/teachers-union-threatens-sue-student-posting-james-barrett
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4017786/Professor-draws-ire-telling-students-Donald-Trump-s-election-act-terrorism-president-elect-white-supremacist.html#ixzz4SRLv4G7R

  25. Cortes says:

    Ernst Blofeld, Dick Dastardly, Dr Evil, step aside for the Daddy:

    http://theduran.com/forbes-names-vladimir-putin-worlds-powerful-person/

  26. Jeremn says:

    Sounds like a clever media ploy that little Alabded Bana in Aleppo? Yes, it does.

  27. Moscow Exile says:

    Юнкер назвал наивными предложения ввести санкции против РФ из-за Сирии

    Juncker has called proposal to impose sanctions against Russia over Syria naive
    International panorama December 15, 2:52 UTC+3
    the Head of the European Commission explained that the EU is trying to improve the situation by diplomatic means, although this may not always help in solving the problem

    MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Suggestions by some European politicians to impose additional sanctions against Russia because of the situation in Syria are naive and do not contribute to the resolution of the conflict in the middle Eastern country, said the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, on the German TV channel ZDF.

    “Anyone who thinks that the introduction of additional sanctions will help to resolve the Syrian drama takes a special form of naivety. This does not make any impression on Russia”, said Juncker, commenting on the proposal of the head of the leading faction of the European Parliament, Manfred Weber of the European People’s Party, to toughen sanctions against Russia because of the situation in Aleppo.

    The head of the European Commission explained that the EU is trying to improve the situation by diplomatic means, although this may not always help in solving the problem.

    “I don’t want to say that diplomacy is a toothless tiger. This is a beast that does not always bite where it is needed”, expressed Juncker figuratively.

    Earlier, the EU high representative for foreign Affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, said that the European Union would not discuss sanctions against Russia over Syria. According to her, no country that is part of the Union had put forward this proposal.

    Yeah, but the Ukraine had, hadn’t it? And the Ukraine is Europe, is it not?

    Only yesterday, that vile pig Poroshenko had been mouthing it off during a conversation with the head of the European Council, the Polack Tusk, proposing to him that sanctions be imposed upon Russia because of Aleppo.

    The drunken twat seems to have got egg-on his face again!

    The pig jumped straight in with both feet, thinking such a proposal would go down well with the European filth. Well, he got his answer today off Juncker and indirectly off Mogherini: Not fucking interested!

    His arse-licking of Tusk no doubt pleased the Pole: the rest are pissed off with the Ukraine though they dare not say that in so many words.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Положение в Алеппо никак не касается Порошенко

      The situation in Aleppo has nothing to do with Poroshenko

      I am always surprised when people who have nothing to do with the Syrian conflict in general and to the situation in Aleppo in particular, try to criticize Russia and to use our activities in Syria to their advantage.

      I am talking specifically about the President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, who suddenly decided that he had the right to invite the European Union to impose sanctions against Russia because of the current situation in Aleppo. During a telephone conversation with the head of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Poroshenko, in addition to coordinating his positions before the meeting in Brussels, did not miss the opportunity to bait Russia. You see, he is not satisfied with the Minsk agreements, which our country has, allegedly, not fulfilled. And his concern over the humanitarian situation in Aleppo has no effect whatsoever, apart from giving rise to laughter Why does he not concern himself with that which is happening in his own country? Clearly, the situation in the Ukraine will become ever more problematical. But it is easier to talk about others than to engage oneself in one’s own affairs.

      Poroshenko should not be concerned about hypocrisy, because the best thing he does is to accuse our country of all sins, such as the violation of the Minsk agreements. I think that Poroshenko should be the last person to talk about the situation in Aleppo, not least because he has done nothing to resolve the conflict in Syria. Even for his own country he has not been doing half of what he should have been doing.

      Unfortunately, the author of the above piece clearly does not recognize the patently obvious fact that Porky is a world politician who has occupied centre stage in international relations these past two years and more.

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    U.S. officials: Putin personally involved in U.S. election hacks
    2016 independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, a former CIA operations officer, talks with Chris Hayes about the mounting evidence Russia tried to influence the American presidential election.

    “I have to say whether Putin would have directed this or not: of course he knew about it and of course he directed it…”

    Well there you are then! Irrefutable evidence of Putin’s guilt: of course he knew about it; of course he directed it!

    Stands to reason, goes without saying, everyone knows this, let’s face it …..

    McMullin, a former CIA officer, is now an independent congressman.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      #EvanMcMullinIsGay

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I thought he was a Jehovah’s Witness.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          He’s an unmarried Mormon over 25 years of age. The inference is inescapable, even without his family history and his succession of intense male friendships.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Mormon!

            Right, I always get them buggers mixed up.

            When they used to come to my old front door back in Merry England wanting to bring me the good news from some bloke they called “Christ Jesus”, I use to love fucking them off.

            My sure fire killer punch was that I was a Marxist and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. I used to tell them that the working classes needed no mystic saviour, it needed a party — preferably every Saturday night with loadsa booze!

          • Jen says:

            Mormon obsession with families – and huge ones at that – really seems intense. These are the folks whose fundamentalist strand emphasises polygamy, so much so that in some communities all the available women are monopolised by older men and young men either have to leave to find wives or remain unmarried for the rest of their lives. They’re big on genealogy and family history as well, and encourage marriages between living and dead people in the belief that marriage is eternal and survives beyond death itself. So people literally can be married forever.

            Most unusual then for a Mormon man aged 25+ years to voluntarily stay single in situations where unmarried Mormon women are available.

            • yalensis says:

              I delved deeper into this issue by hacking McCullin’s secret wikipedia page:


              Social issues[edit]
              (…)
              On same-sex marriage, McMullin said in 2016 that he believes in the “traditional marriage between a man and a woman” but he “respects” the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (which found that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry) and thinks it is “time to move on” from the issue.[42] He also stated that he would not make appointments to the Supreme Court with the intent of overturning Obergefell.[42]

              Personal life[edit]
              McMullin is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is unmarried.

              Additional fact: He is 40 years old, and lots of Mormon lassies out there pining for a husband…
              So, is he gay?
              As Judge Dredd might say: “I’ve heard enough – guilty as charged!” – ha ha!

              • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                Not quite convinced? Have a butcher’s at this:

                http://www.sltrib.com/home/4506207-155/who-is-evan-mcmullin-an-unorthodox

                ‘”He was elected sixth-grade class president at Lake View Elementary with the slogan “man with a plan.” His buddy Curt Leonard remembers McMullin’s platform was to clean up a nearby park.

                “He was a very intense person, even when we were young,” said Leonard, now an attorney living in Washington state. “He was very passionate about what he believed in.”‘

                ‘For fun growing up, he’d play backyard football with his buddies and when they got older, Leonard and McMullin would take the bus to Seattle to go to Mariners games and grunge rock shows in the 1990s, seeing bands like Nirvana. McMullin never had a steady girlfriend, but he had a pack of loyal friends, all were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’

                ‘[McMullin] knows people wonder why he hasn’t married, particularly in Utah, where many find a spouse in their early 20s. He says he’s “hopeful and optimistic that that will happen soon. … My greatest aspiration is to be a husband and father.”‘

                (Note that he doesn’t say he wants a wife)

                All I’m saying is, if he’d lie about his penchant for buggery, what else would he lie about?

                • yalensis says:

                  But the counter-argument:
                  The same article notes that McMullin’s mom became gay and married another woman, despite the Mormons looking down their nose on gay marriage.
                  His mom’s situation could explain McMullin’s tolerance towards gays, since he loves his mom.
                  When he says he wants to be a “husband and father”, I suppose it is possible that he is talking about marrying another man, although he still says he is technically opposed to that.
                  To me, it seems like he is probably gay, but still keeps one foot inside the closet!

            • Cortes says:

              Isn’t there a correlation between areas of desert and polygamy?

              The genealogical libraries do a roaring trade for the Mormons, I believe, though when I looked at them a while ago they appeared to conflate radically different names under a common English heading. “Ross” > “Rose” struck me as absurd.

              • yalensis says:

                The Mormons used to be the only “genealogical” game in town, they have massive databases stored in Salt Lake City libraries as well as a humongous physical archive literally stored in a vault underneath a mountain.
                Nowdays, though, ho hum, online genealogical services are a dime a dozen, and the Mormons no longer have a monopoly.
                As for the “desert-dweller = polygamy” theory, that is actually quite intriguing, I never heard that theory before, but maybe there is something to it!

                From what I understand of “core” Mormon theology, it is basically as laid out in the television show “Battlestar Galactica”. The Mormons believe (in their secret inner-circle theology) that the gods and angels are actually Cylons or super-beings who are made of flesh and blood but with an android component that makes them immortal. If their bodies are damaged, they can download their brains into a new body. I kind of like that idea myself, I wish it were true and not just ridiculous fantasy.

                Mormon elders also believe that Mormon “heaven” is really the planet Kobol in another galaxy, where these Cylons pretty much run the show.

                I kid you not.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  So where does Jesus fit in with all of this and his sacrifice to save mankind?

                  I’ll stick to Woden and the gang: much more fun!

                • Jen says:

                  The correlation between polygamy and desert societies probably exists because in these societies, people’s time and energy are taken up with finding food and water over large distances (desert-based communities usually have large territories where they can wander according to season-based schedules) so their social networks and institutions are of the most essential kind and these are usually family and clan-based networks. Polygamy in these contexts is a basic form of social welfare for vulnerable individuals like the elderly, the very young (especially orphans) and women in societies where females exceed males across most age groups.

                • yalensis says:

                  There probably IS a correlation between desert societies and polygamy.
                  On the other hand, I suddenly remembered that the Mormons instituted polygamy BEFORE they moved out to the Utah desert. In fact, they were based in Ohio and Illinois when Joseph Smith had his “revelation” from God, telling him it was okay to take in a teenaged “trophey wife”. But the point still stands because, for some reasons, Mormons even from the beginning had more men than women. Maybe because the menfolk kept getting lynched.

                  As to M.E.’s question, “where does Jesus fit into this?” well, He doesn’t, really.
                  Mormons are not really that much into Jesus, although they go through the motions of being “Christians”, and that’s their usual introduction to get their foot into the door.
                  But, in their view, Jesus is just a son, literally, and God is The Big Cylon in the Sky.

                  Mormons also believe in the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, although I never could quite figure that one out. A lot of core Mormon theology is “secret”, not even known to their own members, but just to the inner clique in the Salt Lake City Temple board rooms.
                  And the “core theology” is apparently science-fiction based, not unlike Scientology!

    • marknesop says:

      That’s because nothing of any consequence happens in Russia without Putin knowing about it and directing it. He’s in charge of the traffic police, too, did you know? He didn’t get to be World’s Most Powerful Person by letting other people get a share of the spotlight.

      America is just making a huge fool of itself.

      • shargash says:

        Not all of America, fortunately. In this poll — http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/14/fox-news-poll-majority-says-russian-hacking-made-no-difference-in-2016-election.html (yeah, it’s Fox, but Fox didn’t conduct the poll) — only 32% of Americans think “Russia’s attempts to influence 2016 presidential election” helped Clinton. Since 31% of Americans are registered Democrats, I think we pretty much know who’s been making fools of themselves.

        The American people voted overwhelmingly in 2006/2008 for hope and change, and they got Obama. The American people have been punishing the Democrats ever since. If Hillary is installed as president by the CIA, 2018 will be an interesting midterm election. 25 of the 33 senators up for re-election are Democrats. American midterm elections are historically very bad for sitting presidents, even when they are popular. 2018 could be epic. There might not be enough Democrats in the Senate to make a Starbucks seem crowded.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Want another zrada?

          Poll: Republican Favorability of Putin Spiked After Election

          “Republican voters have apparently warmed to Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Wiki Leaks in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, according to data from a new You Gov/Economist poll. President-elect Donald Trump’s electoral win was followed by a dramatic spike in favorability for Putin by GOP participants in the poll. Democratic participants, meanwhile, now disapprove of him more than they did before November 8. In July 2014, Republicans viewed Putin with a -66 net favorability; and now, in December 2016, they view him with only a -10 negative favorability.”

          Westie commenters who saw this piece reported turned into typical khohols in their reaction. So far, the best one is: “Got to hand it to Putin. Everyone thought his ass was grass in ’14 when he took Crimea and got sanctioned to hell and back by the west.”

          Silly Westies! Only *you* thought that, not “everyone”.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Vladimir Putin ‘personally directed Russian hack of US election’

    Intelligence officials say they have a “high level of confidence” that the Russian president took charge of how material stolen from the Democrats would be leaked.

    The officials said they have compelling evidence that Mr Putin was involved, and that the operation could not have gone forward without authorisation from the most senior leaders within the Kremlin.

    What foul beast lies in its lair plotting with its zombie-like acolytes the downfall of the Exceptional Nation?

    Who can save the world from this festering canker embedded deep in the frozen wastes of Mordor?

    Rouse the Shire!

    To arms To arms!

    • marknesop says:

      Of course! The guy who they were laughing about not being able to use the internet, only 4 or 5 years ago, who would be easy meat for Navalny and his hipsters, now personally directs sophisticated international hack operations.

  30. Lyttenburgh says:

    New 1937 is upon us! Hanshakable female durnalist with good face Iulia Loffe fell a shahid’s death while combating the encroaching tyranny of Trumputin!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      From “Forward”, which styles itself as a being “quick reads through a Jewish lens”:

      Julia Ioffe Fired Over Obscene Ivanka Trump Tweet

      Ioffe reacted to her firing on Twitter, saying “I guess my phrasing should have been more delicate.”

      Last month Ioffe was named as one of the Forward 50 list of influential Jews in 2016.

      Well, her phrasing may have left much to be desired, but at least she knows how to pronounce Шереметьево.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Ioffe reacted to her firing on Twitter, saying “I guess my phrasing should have been more delicate.””

        That’s her excuse – “should’ve been more delicate”?! Instead of “fucking her” she should’ve “was having a regular intercourse with her” and everything would be fine?! That’s her logic?

    • yalensis says:

      “Ioffe reacted to her firing on Twitter, saying “I guess my phrasing should have been more delicate.”

      Ivanka and her family:

      • yalensis says:

        Oi veh! M.E. and I posted same link at exactly same time!
        Well, Ioffe is a pill, for sure, and she shouldn’t say such nasty things about people, unless she has proof.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It’s a bloody awful wicked thing to say about a father.

          If I were Trump, I would take her to the cleaners: libel laws (English ones, anyway) are tailor made for obscenely rich rascals such as Trump.

          • cartman says:

            He might have if he were not about to become POTUS. Julia Ioffe should be very grateful now that Donal Trump is president.

            • marknesop says:

              It’s still an inexcusable insult; freedom of speech does not mean you can say anything you like unless you have what it takes to back it up – either evidence, or pots of money to defend your freedoms. If Yulichka has proof that Donald and his daughter are getting it on, let her bring it forth. If not, let her be sued until she either abjectly and publicly apologizes and pays a hefty fine to teach her a lesson (sometimes called ‘damages’), or until she and her family have been drained of every penny.

              I’ve said it before, and will again – Julia Ioffe misinterprets a foul mouth as being edgy and hip. It’s not.

          • yalensis says:

            Julia’s problem is that she hangs around with potty-mouth degenerates like Tolokonnikova. I’m sure this is the way these subcultures talk among themselves within their cliques. They live in such a bubble, it never occurred to them that regular people out there have completely different attitudes and different mores.

    • yalensis says:

      More on Julia’s tweets. Note the progression, within a 2-hour timeframe, from defiance to obeisance:

      5:00 PM: We have a president-elect who popularized “saying what everyone is thinking,” but I guess my phrasing should’ve been more delicate.

      5:59 PM: In Russia, the Kremlin rarely has to make the call to media organizations. The media bosses anticipate and do the censoring themselves.

      6:20 PM: All that said, I do regret my phrasing and apologize for it. It was a crass joke that I genuinely regret.

      6:37 PM: It was a tasteless, offensive tweet that I regret and have deleted. I am truly and deeply sorry. It won’t happen again.

      • yalensis says:

        Note the commenters to this piece, most of them express disgust with Julia, and rightfully so. Among the generally good comments, one that particularly stands out is this one, from somebody named Kim Dent Stagg:

        “Politico has put out so much crap in the past, that she may have been unclear of where the line is drawn.”

        So true….

  31. Lyttenburgh says:

    A development to a story I mentioned earlier that showcase the efficiency of the EU institutions and principles.

    Freiburg murder suspect may have attacked young woman in Greece

    “A new report published on Tuesday sounded alarm bells across Germany over allegations that Greek police knew that the man suspected of killing a medical student in the city of Freiburg had a violent past. According to the magazine “Stern,” a man thought to be the suspect known as “Hussein K.” was convicted of attacking a female student on the island of Corfu in 2013.

    The magazine wrote that Hussein was sentenced to ten years in prison. If it is the same man, how he regained his freedom remains unclear. Stern claimed that he told authorities at the time he was 17, the same age reported by authorities in Germany three years later.

    According to Freiburg-based newspaper “Badische Zeitung,” local police are investigating this report. They cautioned, however, that they will need to work with Greek authorities and that such a task could take some time. Police spokeswoman Laura Riske told the paper that they had already compared the suspect’s DNA to a Europe-wide database and had not found any matches.

    Riske added that in the two weeks he has been in detention, the suspect has not given the police an official statement.”

    And one more piece of information:

    “Police have told the press that Hussein came to Germany as an unaccompanied minor in 2015 and had already been placed with a German foster family.”

    Okay, let this sink into you. A… “minor”… at the moment of his coming to Germany in 2015 was (probably) convicted of attacking a female student when he was also a minor (in 2013). And then he was put into a foster family that had a girl.

    Once again – what amazes me most here is the reaction of Westerner (mainly – German, of course) commenters, who try to brush the whole thing under the rug and wail about horrible AfD. But after this piece of information they went an extra mile, saying that “poor boy should not be deported – it’s not safe in Afghanistan!”. Ahem, since 2001 the so-called West invested a crapton of money into “rebuilding” of Afghanistan (a sum of 100 bn € is mentioned – dunno if I should trust it). Because they still screwed up in this epic endeavor they now decided to double down and ALSO start taking care of Afghan refugees, some of whom (like this boy) grew up knowing nothing but tender mercies of the Western democratic occupation.

    Speaking about Afghanistan – I was literally dumbfolded by this uncharacteristically “realist” article, discussing the American failure to properly reconstruct the country:

    Elephants in Afghanistan: The Military’s Counterinsurgency Failure

    “This inability to design and position outposts that might actually be useful for the Afghans was the result of two factors. First, we never trusted the Afghans with the money or authority to decide what kind of bases would work best for them. We also managed the construction process via an ad hoc system of engineers, contracting officers, combat advisors, Afghan leaders, and tactical unit commanders. Each of these actors typically worked for a separate chain of command and rotated through the country on separate timelines, guaranteeing that there would be neither unity of effort nor continuity in the process. As a result, the only actors with continuity and a direct incentive around these projects were the contractors and sub-contractors tasked with building them — and their only incentive was profit.

    Ironically, the actors most able to navigate these contracting processes and with the incentive to build what was best suited for the Afghan security forces were those we trusted the least: Afghan military leaders. That we did not trust them with contracting dollars was not without reason. In a society that has gone decades without effective governance and functioning bureaucracies, the people of Afghanistan have relied on patronage networks to survive, and those networks still drive the allegiances of Afghan military officers. At first blush, the continued presence of these networks appears to reflect a moral failure, but this is a shallow conclusion. The people of Afghanistan only survived through seemingly endless years of warfare and the collapse of the Afghan state by relying on familial, tribal, and ethnic relationships. Of course they still rely on patronage networks.

    I never met a senior Afghan officer who had not paid a “tribute” to secure his position. In 2013, the going rate to be a kandak (battalion of 300 to 500 personnel) commander in the border police was the equivalent of $50,000. This meant that each officer was similarly incentivized to take pay from those under his command and to use his position to recoup his payment. Such payments are foreign to Americans and distasteful to our sense of propriety, yet are an understandable byproduct of blindly pumping billions of dollars into an undeveloped, war-torn country governed by patronage networks.

    So while a newcomer may recoil from these arrangements in disgust, it is worth asking which is more absurd: the continued presence of these patronage networks or the idea that after being part of the fabric of Afghan life for decades that we can just wish them away as we build a security apparatus designed for a state and society that simply do not exist?

    And despite our distaste for the existence of these patronage networks, the Afghans know how to manage the churn of American officers passing through Afghanistan. Even those with egregious corruption charges against them could sustain the trust of American officers, so long as they appeared to aggressively go after the Taliban. Over a third of the senior leaders I dealt with in the Afghan Border Police in 2012 and 2013 had spent time in jail on some form of corruption charge. All were ultimately cleared after a few months or years in prison, their arrests most often a temporary appeasement of the Americans or a byproduct of infighting over lucrative jobs.

    The goal of the counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan was to develop sustainable security solutions for indigenous forces. Doing so effectively requires an understanding of existing power structures, but officers rotating through on short rotations have never had the time to move beyond the most simplistic understanding of Afghan culture. It is telling that at no point have we ever attempted to account for these patronage networks, either in shaping the Afghan military or in determining why the chain of command does not work like we think it should. Instead, we have opted for disgust and righteous indignation.”

    Tl;dr: “Corruption, ladies and gentlemen, for the lack of the better word – is Good”. Now Lyosha Navalny is heard crying in his corner.

    • Cortes says:

      The levying of “presents” from obscenely well remunerated football players in top leagues including the English Premier has been the subject of great speculation about several top managers over recent years. “Pay to play ” English style.

  32. et Al says:

    For those that wring hands over Aleppo and should have ‘done something’ before, I say:

    Why have Aleppo, when you can have Libya?

    Or..

    What did we want? Libya!

    What did we get? Aleppo!

    For all those squealing to get involved in Aleppo and intervening, I think that by law, on the next occasion it comes up those people and their families (not pets) should be the first ones to go over. It’s all nice and safe to pontificate and blow rhetoric out of their backside, but to put your own life on the line for your beliefs would actually mean something. Somehow I don’t see anyone from the Houses of Parliament giving up their comfy life, tooling up and shipping out to whoop some foreign ass…

    • Fern says:

      The hand-wringers, of course, persist in perpetuating the myth that ‘we’ (i.e. the West) have done ‘nothing’ in Syria and it’s our inactivity which has resulted in the dire state of that country. The reality, of course, is that ‘we’ have done an awful lot to ensure an Al Quaeda/ISIS/whatever they’re calling themselves this week/ victory.

      • et Al says:

        Yes, it’s quite disturbing. Slain Labor MP Jo ‘The Saint’ Cox was also one of the many ‘Do Something’ crowd willing to fearlessly send British Boys & their bombers over there to save the ‘civilians’ There’s nothing like an international crisis far away, in some god forsaken s*&thole or some country where they are super poor and super different from Westerners, that brings out all the moralizing.

        Say, how’s South Sudan doing since George Clooney & friends saved it from the evil rulers in Khartoum to give it independence, freedom and love? It’s on the brink of inter-ethnic civil war again. Send in Bob the Builder, because he can fix it

        Has anyone else noticed the almost total silence from the Pork Pie News Networks about all the jihadis? Apparently there aren’t any. That is what they want, but they refuse to say it of course. They are taking full advantage of ‘the moral high ground’ in criticizing the SAA, RuAf, Hezbollah, IrG etc. removing this scum from the face of the earth, but quite happy privately for them doing the job that the West has been pretending to do these last few years. Maybe it is better for those EU citizen terrorists to be sent back home for their own countries to deal with them….

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    Pampered Euro-shit politicians acting like soft kids at the EU summit:

    Giving May the cold shoulder.

    Those shits think they are intelligent.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Oh, and the shits shown above have just agreed to extend sanctions against Russia for another 6 months.

      Moscow. 15 Dec. INTERFAX.RU The Leaders of the EU have decided to extend sanctions against Russia for another six months, reported on Thursday European diplomatic sources to journalists in Brussels

      This decision was adopted at the EU summit in Brussels. As expected, the formal decision to extend the sanctions will be approved at the beginning of next week.

      It was expected that the European Council would discuss and make a decision today on extending economic sanctions against Russia in accordance with a proposal by the President of France, Francois Hollande, and Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.

      On the eve of the EU summit, Merkel spoke about the need for a further extension of sanctions against Russia. In turn, the President of France, Francois Hollande, said that as there had been no progress on the Minsk agreements, sanctions would be renewed.

      At the same time, Western media, citing the words of a senior official in the German government, reported that there was no expectation that the leaders of the EU member countries would impose against Russia additional sanctions because of its role in the Syrian conflict.

      EU sanctions already imposed against Russia are to remain in force until the end of January 2017.

      • et Al says:

        More like the EU has voted to keep sanctions on its own companies for another six months. This is the best of ‘Do something’ that apparently has no cost. Except that it does…

        • cartman says:

          It’s going to be impossible to resume normal business relations anyway. The Western financial system is built on the fallacy that it is a stable, secure place to store your wealth. Although I do not understand Iran’s desire to deal with Boeing. The risk is incredibly high that they would be left with unserviceable planes yet again depending on the moodiness of Washington.

          • et Al says:

            The I-raninans are very canny operators. They would not be buying all the Boeing planes outright with their own money. They will borrow money from western institutions to pay for them directly, via ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ leases from western airlines. The whole point is that at any point in the future if the US pulls the plug, it not only damages I-ran, it damages a host of western companies and financial institutions. The same thinking is behind splitting the buy with airbus. Everybody would have something to loose. Clever buggers!

            • yalensis says:

              The Persians didn’t get to where they are today (and have one of the oldest histories on the planet, even successfully defying the Roman Empire!) by being stupid.

      • marknesop says:

        Good. It will reinforce the turning away of the Russian market from Europe and the establishment of new market partners and alliances, will strengthen Russian domestic industry, and will ensure Merkel is soundly repudiated in the next elections while Hollande will be lucky to escape with his life. Better look for a new hair stylist in Washington, Francois, where you’re appreciated.

    • Northern Star says:

      No different than their narcissistic shitass American counterparts…..
      I fear it will take a bloodbath to bring them to recollect some modicum of sense and reason…

  34. Northern Star says:

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

    “billeagle511 week ago
    Nicely put. Have you ever seen the movie..”Miracle in the Rain”? A real tear jerker. U couldn’t be more right, with age comes sentimentality and fondness. I miss my Father so much, and when he was alive, I took it for granted that he’d be near always. As I have said, when I hear this song, my heart does a number. And today is Dec 2nd, and always around Christmas my Father would always be a little sad, but toward the end of his life, he would finally would say (maybe with some deep hearted regret) “It was 32 years ago that I was in the Battle of the Bulge, eating, sleeping, and seeing people die in snow”..the words were always more in the eyes, than the words…will never forget that.”

  35. Northern Star says:

    For all you 40s nostalgia stooges:

    (Damn………..those women were waaay Hot!!!!!)

  36. Northern Star says:

    “Assad hailed the fall of Aleppo as a historic turning point. In a video released by his office, the Syrian president said: “What is happening today is the writing of history.”
    In a philosophical and whimsical message, he talked about the fall of Aleppo in the context of the birth of Christ and the fall of the USSR. The reclaiming of Aleppo would be of similar historical significance and a key turning point in the conflict, he said.
    The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, summoned the Iranian and Russian ambassadors to convey his “profound concern” over the humanitarian crisis, telling them that they had failed to uphold their obligations under international law, specifically by failing to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians during the siege.

    “They deserve no credit for the fact that an evacuation appears to be under way today,” Johnson said, adding that it was vital that the UN now oversaw the evacuation process and that all civilians and non-combatants were not punished. Johnson said he was deeply disturbed by reports that some of those being evacuated had been taken away by government forces.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/15/syria-ambulances-on-the-move-as-aleppo-evacuation-operation-begins

    • et Al says:

      The PPNN is now singing from the “Well you’ve won that battle, but you haven’t won the war!” songsheet in unison, pointing to the loss of Palmyra as evidence. Well, didn’t a certain President, and then the whole of the western media also say in unison that Russia’s ‘adventure in Syria would be a quagmire’? Vicki Pollard “Yes but no but yes but no but…” to a T. F/kwits.

  37. et Al says:

    A frog tv documentary on France 2 claims that at the G8 summit in 2007 that the supposedly drunk Sarkozy was not in fact drunk but stunned. Why? After lecturing Putin on deaths in Chechnya & the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Putin told Sarko that he’d knock his block off if he continued talking to him in a tone like that, or he could just stop. Sarko was stunned in to silence. So we are now told.

    Enjoy the ‘re-enactment’ showing ‘Putin’ fingers interlocked like a mafiosi!

    • yalensis says:

      Putin should have behaved like a REAL Mafioso, Al Capone.
      He should have whipped out a baseball bat and just pounded on Sarkozi’s skull.
      Actually, that’s probably what he did. Which explains everything.
      Sarkozi wasn’t drunk, he was just punch-drunk!

      • et Al says:

        How about a secret, untraceable poison that can be triggered on demand, making Sarko his puppet? If I see it in the British papers, we’ll know it is true.

        • yalensis says:

          Yeah, like a zombie poison.
          From a puffer fish, or something like that? Could be inserted in a sashimi platter.
          Brillialnt!

          • Jen says:

            Making a gift of a kitten infected with a modified form of toxoplasmosis to Sarkozy would do the trick. The main issue though is to ensure that Sarkozy himself cleans out the kitty litter pan for him to be properly infected; if he delegates the job to someone else then the infection process is slower and more difficult to follow and monitor.

        • yalensis says:

          Paging Captain Higgins, the parasitic flatworm! If the Capt’n can turn an ANT into his slave, then he can surely do the same to the weasel Sarkozi, who is a much lower lifeform.







  38. Drutten says:

    From Reuters, no less. Aleppo “rebels” hoarded food, stole aid intended for the civilians etc.

  39. Northern Star says:

    OK you 40s freaks…it’s the weekend…break out the Courvoisier and enjoy!

  40. et Al says:

    Moon of Alabama: The “Elite” Coup Of 2016
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/elite-coup.html


    There is an “elite” coup attempt underway against the U.S. President-elect Trump.
    The coup is orchestrated by the camp of Hillary Clinton in association with the CIA and neoconservative powers in Congress.
    The plan is to use the CIA’s “Russia made Trump the winner” nonsense to swing the electoral college against him. The case would then be bumped up to Congress. Major neocon and warmonger parts of the Republicans could then move the presidency to Clinton or, if that fails, put Trump’s vice president-elect Mike Pence onto the throne. The regular bipartisan war business, which a Trump presidency threatens to interrupt, could continue.
    Should the coup succeed violent insurrections in the United States are likely to ensue with unpredictable consequences.

    The above theses are thus far only a general outlay. No general plan has been published. The scheme though is pretty obvious by now…
    ####

    More at the link. It chimes with my comment (last week or so I think) that electors not casting their states Trump vote will face backlash that could well spiral into revolt, thus the National Guard being called in etc.) all the way to implosion. Sure, its a tinfoil hat theory, but without a doubt we live in extraordinary times. With BREXIT, Trump and other stuff, clearly all bets are off. Still unlikely, but not so impossible.

    I don’t think the center is actually that strong, and it depends on the support, or at least the passivity of most of the population to keep on keeping on. They are assuming that support will remain and is solid. I don’t think it is.

    There are a lot of angry Americans out there and serious polarization, especially when ‘facts’ don’t count. My worry is not so much the implosion, but that the policy makers may decide to do, i.e. the tried and tested measure of going to war with another country. It would require quite the most spectacular attack a la Pearl Harbor, electronic or otherwise to prep the rush in to war, but it would also give them the excuse to declare all US debts to China null and void. In for a penny, in for a pound.

  41. Northern Star says:

    “There is strong opposition on Capital Hill to this deal and strong opposition on an incoming basis with the new administration to this deal. I think the likelihood of those Boeing planes ending up in Iranian hands diminishes by the day,” Congressman Peter Roskam, one of the deal’s chief opponents, said Monday.”
    http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/12/news/companies/boeing-777-iran-air-production-cut/

    There is NO justice…dumb bastards get to make probably at least 100k/year…..passing themselves off as erudite and intellectually above the common cut…

    • et Al says:

      It also means vetoing Airbus’s deal. After all, what good is it denying I-ran the glory of Boeing if I-ran gets the glory of Airbus? That will really f/k the euros off.

      • Northern Star says:

        I dunno…maybe the euros would simply tell the USA to F-off…in view of the money at stake.
        Besides..why does Airbus need the USA’s imprimatur to sell to Iran??

        BTW…I was referring to the ignorance reflected in ;
        “There is strong opposition on Capital Hill “

      • marknesop says:

        While the United States has relaxed many of its sanctions against Iran, Washington still demands that even non-American manufacturers wishing to sell to Iran obtain an export license if their products include materials made in the United States. Airbus, based in Europe, buys more than 40 percent of all its aircraft parts in the United States.

        Sure sounds like using trade as a weapon to me.

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    What are you going to tell them now, Porky?

    Europe has refused Kiev the status of EU candidate membership

    “The agreement [on Association] does not grant the Ukraine the status of a candidate country for EU membership and does not oblige the provision of such status to the Ukraine in future”, is stated in the final Declaration of the EU summit on the Ukraine. Moreover, the leaders of European countries agreed that the agreement also does not give Kiev guarantees of collective security.

    The EU-Ukraine association deal does not stipulate granting Ukraine a status of a candidate country for joining the union, does not provide Kiev with guarantees for military or financial assistance, or a right for its citizens reside and work freely within the EU territory, the European Council said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — hile seeking to enhance the mobility of citizens, the EU-Ukraine Agreement does not grant to Ukrainian nationals the right to reside and work freely within the territory of the Member States.”

    “While aiming to establish a close and lasting relationship between the parties to the Agreement based on common values, the Agreement does not confer on Ukraine the status of a candidate country for accession to the Union, nor does it constitute a commitment to confer such status to Ukraine in the future,” the European Council said in a statement.

    See: <a href="https://sputniknews.com/politics/201612151048617709-eu-association-ukraine/&#039;

    And this agreement, already rejected in a Dutch referendum, has yet to be ratified by the Netherlands.

    What are you going to say, Porky?

  43. Moscow Exile says:


    You keep telling ’em, Porky!

  44. Moscow Exile says:

    Views from the black heart of Mordor:

    Just got back home after taking Sasha, my youngest daughter, to school. It’s now 08:45, daylight is breaking and the temperature is minus 20C, which hurts!

    For a change, Sasha didn’t dawdle going to school and kept up with me, walking briskly and in total silence.

    Some pictures from this morning’s Komsomol’skaya Pravda showing Muscovites psyching themselves up for the New Year fun:

    ​The picture immediately above is of a big ice-slide at the Christkindlmarkt on Manezh Square next to Red Square. The Russkies began copying these “Christmas Fayres” off Fritz long, long ago. You can see some of the market booths in the background.

    The slides are called “ice hills” in Russian: they’re often made out of blocks of ice, as is this one. They use these inflatable lifebelt type things now for sliding, but they used to use little mats before.

    The really high “ice mountains” are wooden constructions.

    You won’t get many skating at the rink shown in the video below, though!

    It’s the most expensive rink in Moscow, situated at the top (354 metres / 387 yards) of one of the towers in the Moscow “City” business centre, the one called “The Eye” [Око].

    It costs 5,000 rubles to go skating up there!

    That’s £65!!! ($80).

    Nice view!

    See the frozen Moskva river?

    And a typically stunning Russian woman doing the presentation!

    🙂

    Speaking of the above average good looks of Slavic women, I spotted this the other day on the Russian web:

    Well, I thought it was funny.

    Mrs. Exile has not, thank Woden, reached that final stage yet!

    I hope to be in Valhalla before she gets like that!

    🙂

  45. Moscow Exile says:

    Russia — tremble!

    Obama vows action against Russia over election hacks

    “I think there’s no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact on the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action and we will, at a time and a place of our own choosing.

    “Some of it may be explicit and publicised. Some of it may not be.

    “Mr Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it.”

    Well, you have got 5 weeks to do it, whatever “it” may be, dickhead!

    Being attacked, personally, by that White House charlatan brings to mind the comment made by Denis Healey MP concerning star Westminster wimp Geoffrey Howe after he had verbally attacked Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons: “I must say that part of his speech was rather like being savaged by a dead sheep”.

  46. et Al says:

    I’ve been wondering for the last few days why the PPNN & now the Shite Ho’s insist that Russia ‘interfered’ in the US elections and ‘hacked’ the DNC despite the total lack of any evidence offered and it being a leak from inside Washington.

    It seems to me that it is all designed to flush out this Washington leak, and the latest upping the ante by Obama is to raise the stakes to either make the leaker come forward or make someone who knows who the leaker is to panic and come forward or push the leaker to come forward. I think detectives call it ‘shaking the tree’, something you do if you have no evidence and no other options. Note that Obama left the sanction and the timing open. Why? Why the pussyfooting around and playing coy? Does he understand that he has to deliver at some point and not some half-assed crap?

    • et Al says:

      And what of timing? Why now? If this was all know back in april??? It seems to me that the US is capitalizing on outrage over Aleppo to amp up the anti-Russian rhetoric, which I can only assume is to maybe divert attention from something else or assist something that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Come on, why now?

      • shargash says:

        I think the answer to “why now” is that the electors meet on Monday. The Democratic president, in conjunction with the Democratic party, and the (Democratic-controlled) CIA is trying to “hack” the US election. Accusing someone else of doing exactly what you are doing is standard disinformation stuff.

        I do like your idea about “shaking the tree,” but I suspect that would be secondary to the soft coup.

        • yalensis says:

          Civics 101 .

          Dear Abby: “What are the qualifications to be an Elector?” (Sincerely yours, Virginia)
          Dear Virginia: “The qualifications to be an Elector are the same as to be a referee at a FIFA soccer game: You must be blind, deaf and dumb, and have no conscience.”

          Dear Abby: “How can I become an Elector?””
          Dear Virginia: “You can’t. Any more than you can become a famous movie star. Just suck it up and learn to accept that basic fact.”

  47. et Al says:

    Neuters: After Aleppo, a chapter closes on Turkey’s ambitions in Syria
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-idUSKBN14422U

    Blah blah blah blah….

    …But Turkey’s support for the Syrian rebels withdrawing from their last major urban stronghold is far from over, as it intensifies a campaign to drive Islamic State and Kurdish militia fighters from a strip of Syria’s north.

    Some of the rebel brigades from Aleppo are expected to be redeployed as part of “Operation Euphrates Shield”, an offensive launched by Turkey four months ago to secure a roughly 90-km (56-mile) stretch of Syrian territory across its border.

    “The work on this is already under way,” said a senior official from the Turkmen Sultan Murad brigade, one of the Turkish-backed groups pulling out of Aleppo. Fighters would initially join Turkey’s effort to drive Islamic State from the city of al-Bab, around 40 km northeast of Aleppo, he said….

    …”Syria has turned into a training ground for terrorist organizations,” a senior government official said. “Our Syria policy is adjusting according to the realities on the ground.”..

    …The official from the Sultan Murad brigade said rebel fighters withdrawing from Aleppo to Syria’s Idlib province would be vetted by Turkey before being sent to join the Euphrates Shield operation as quickly as possible.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the aim was to flush out members of the Nusra Front, which is among the rebel groups fighting Assad but was until recently affiliated with al Qaeda. The Nusra Front is considered a terrorist group by both the United States and its NATO ally Turkey.

    “It won’t take a lot of time, definitely not weeks. The al-Bab operation is vital for Turkey, and from there it wants to move onto Manbij,” the Sultan Murad official said, referring to a town 50 km (30 miles) east of al-Bab which Erdogan has said he wants brought under control of the Turkish-backed forces…
    ####

    Little more than a Turkish puff piece, but some interesting tidbits. It’s fairly hilarious to say that Syria is a base for terrorists when Turkey itself has been training terrorists for years. The Turks are taking a leaf out of the west book of accusing their enemies of exactly what they themselves are doing.

    Oh, and the ‘Sultan Murad’ brigade – three were several of them, one had his organs buried in Kosovo, but to have a brigade so named shows how far In-Sultin’ Erdogan the Great’s dream of a new Turkish empire throughout the middle east is indicitive.

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

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

    …Aleppo

    The Sultan Murad Division was formed in early 2013 and mainly operates in the Aleppo Governorate, claiming to process around 1,300 fighters as of 2016. There groups include the Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror Brigade, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror Brigade,[24] Sultan Murad Brigade, Martyr Zaki Turkmani Brigade, Ashbal Akida Brigade, Hamza and Abbas Brigade, Ahli Sunnah and Community Brigade, Yarmouk Regiment, 1st Regiment and the Turkmen Martyrs Brigade…
    ####

    ‘Moderates’:

    Sultan Murad Brigade kidnaps 4 people and asks for ransom 08.10.2016
    http://en.hawarnews.com/sultan-murad-brigade-kidnaps-4-people-and-asks-for-ransom/

    …Mercenaries of the Sultan Murad Brigade which is one of the outstanding factions taking part in the so-called” Euphrates Shield” have kidnapped 4 people from al-Rai town and they are” Nazem Habib Hasan, Abdo Osman Qader, Adham Darmash and Muhamad Thuraya Darmash”.

    After kidnapping them, the mercenaries have asked for a considerable ransom for their safe return according to families of the kidnapped, as (M.H) received a call from a mercenary of Sultan Murad demanding a considerable amount of money in return for his brother’s release and other hostages.

    (M.H) appealed to human rights organizations to interfere in order to set their relatives free, particularly that the kidnappers are threatening of killing the hostages if their demands are not met.

    The kidnapping took place in one of the refugee camps east of al-Rai town three days ago while the fate of the kidnapped is still anonymous.

  48. et Al says:

    So, British lawmakers and other squealers in the West have been arguing that they should have ‘intervened more forcefully in Syria earlier on, despite Libya. Well, isn’t the growing crisis in South Sudan the perfect example for them to the courage of their convictions in to practice?

    Neuters via Antiwar.com: Hatred spills beyond South Sudan along with refugees
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southsudan-uganda-refugees-idUSKBN1441QU

    AFP via Antiwar.com: UN divided over US measure on South Sudan
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/un-divided-over-south-sudan-mission-renewal-195922349.html

    …The council in August adopted a resolution to bolster the peacekeeping mission with a 4,000-strong regional force but Russia, China, Egypt and Venezuela abstained, citing concerns over South Sudan’s sovereignty.

    A Security Council diplomat said the latest US-drafted measure was opposed by Russia, China, Venezuela and more importantly, the three African countries on the council: Angola, Senegal and Egypt…

    …Russian Ambassador Petr Iliichev cited concerns in the draft resolution on tighter provisions for sanctions and the use of drones “which the government does not support” in Juba.

    He also rejected a proposal to request reports on the establishment of the AU hybrid court, saying “the UN has nothing to do” with the proposed war crimes tribunal…

    …The struggling talks on the draft resolution came as the United States, Britain and France continued to face opposition at the Security Council from Russia and China on imposing an arms embargo on South Sudan.

    Angola’s Ambassador Ismail Gaspar Martins said the council must adopt measures to engage with South Sudan’s leadership to try to end the war, signaling his opposition to sanctions.

    “We cannot repeat the same resolution that was adopted some time ago,” he told AFP.

    “It has to be something that takes account of the situation and gets people in South Sudan engaged in working on a plan which brings about a more peaceful situation in the country.”..
    ####

    The US and allies as ever are trying to turn and inch in to a yard. The irony here is that it is the West that backed the rebel South Sudan army to the hilt against Khartoum to get it independence and now they’re not so happy with their protoges. What’s that about being friends with the US being more dangerous than being an enemy???

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