Flirting With Disaster

Uncle Volodya says, “It’s like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.”

…Speeding down the fast lane, honey
Playin’ from town to town;
The boys and I have been burnin’ it up, can’t seem to slow it down.
I’ve got the pedal to the floor, our lives are runnin’ faster,
Got our sights set straight ahead,
But ain’t sure what we’re after…

Molly Hatchet, from Flirting With Disaster

Any Darwin Awards fans out there? For those few who have never heard of them, the Darwin Awards celebrate those individuals who have rendered a significant service to mankind by taking themselves out of the global gene pool. In preparing to discuss today’s subject, I am reminded of unfortunate 1999 award-winner ‘James’ from Missouri, who became so fixated upon his love interest that he tried to lop off his own head with a chainsaw to demonstrate his commitment to an outcome on his terms. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful on both counts, he did fatally injure himself, and died in hospital. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust.

My intent today is to demonstrate clear destructive similarities between the above emotional decision and the equally simpleminded decision of the US Senate to impose further economic sanctions on Russia, this time explicitly tying them to penalizing of European companies which do business with Russia – moreover, in a clear attempt to stop the latter from proceeding with the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project. This, in turn, is clearly an attempt by the USA to make Europe a captive market for its own energy products, in the form of shipborne LNG. Significantly, that goal is also finally becoming clear to Europe; or at least to the parts of it that matter, such as Germany (thanks for the tip, James!)

Try to put aside, for the moment, the insufferable arrogance of American meddling in Europe’s energy market, with a view to restricting its choice while – laughably – pretending it is broadening European energy options.

The readers and commenters of this blog will be well aware, since it has been a topic of discussion for years here, that a critical underpinning of the western plan to seize Ukraine and wrest it into the western orbit was the premise that Russia would be forced by simple momentum to go along with it. As long as events continued to unfold too quickly to get ahead of, Russia would have to help supply the sinews of its own destruction. And a big part of that was the assumption that Russia would help to finance Ukraine’s transition to a powerful western fulcrum upon which to apply leverage against it, through continued trade with Ukraine and continued transit of Europe’s energy supply through Ukraine’s pipeline system.

But Russia slapped a trade embargo on most Ukrainian goods, and rescinded its tariff-free status as it became clear Brussels planned to use it to stovepipe European trade goods into the Russian market, through Ukraine – thus crushing domestic industries which would not be able to compete on economically-favourable terms. The armchair strategists nearly shit a brick when construction of the South Stream pipeline commenced, bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of about $2 billion annually in transit fees. But pressure ultimately forced Bulgaria to throw a wrench into the works, and the pipeline plans were shelved, to much victory dancing in the west. There was not quite as much happy-dancing in Bulgaria, but they were only ever a pawn anyway.

Sidebar for a moment, here; while the $2 Billion annually in transit fees is extremely important, Ukraine’s pre-crisis GDP was $163 Billion. The funds realized for transit fees are important because (a) Russia has to pay them and (b) the west will have to come up with the equivalent in aid if Ukraine loses out on them. But the real value intrinsic to Ukraine as a transit country is its physical reality as an interface for Russian gas transit to Europe – what is a bridge can be easily turned into a wall. Any time Washington thinks Russia needs some more shit on its face, Ukraine can be prodded to announce a doubling of its transit fees, or to kick off some other dispute which the popular press will adroitly spin to make Russia appear to be an unreliable supplier. Therefore, it is essential to western strategy that significant amounts of Russian gas continue to transit Ukraine. Sufficiently so that Europe continues to evolve ever-more-desperate contingency plans in order to keep receiving gas through the country which was known to have provoked the previous shutoff of European supplies by siphoning Europe-bound gas for its own use. That’s despite the assurances of Germany and western partners of Gazprom in the Nord Stream line that it will mean cheaper gas prices for Europe.

But we knew this was coming, didn’t we? Yes, we did, because as recently as last month, Democratic senator Jean Shaheen, who sits on the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on European Affairs, announced that the United States was considering involving itself in the Nord Stream II pipeline project, with a view to killing it stone dead. The purpose, as already mentioned, is to make way for LNG cargoes to Europe, cutting Russia out of the business, on the assumption that without energy sales the Russian economy will crumble and the country will collapse. Destroying Russia remains Washington’s overriding strategic objective.

So the stakes are high; high enough to provide context for Washington’s bizarre and aggressive behavior, and for its continued ridiculous insistence that Russia tampered with the 2016 US presidential election. What are the chances Washington will succeed with its latest adventure in global bullying?

Not good, according to multiple sources. Let’s take a look at how Platts views the prospects; Platts, a division of S&P Global, is headquartered in London and employs over 1,000 people in more than 15 offices worldwide. These include global business centers such as New York, Shanghai and Sao Paulo, and major energy centers such as Houston, Singapore and London, where Platts is based. Having hopefully established the firm’s credentials as someone who knows what they are talking about in the energy business, let’s see what Platts has to say about the potential American LNG market in Europe.

Mmmm….the review is mixed. At the outset, Platts is admiring of Cheniere Energy’s go-to-hell expansion. But a couple of things about that are cause to curb enthusiasm. One, only 8 American LNG cargoes had gone to Europe so far; that was as of April this year, when the report was released. Of those, 4 went to Spain, 3 to Portugal and 1 to Italy. Two, the Iberian Peninsula is acknowledged by Platts as not particularly significant in terms of gauging Europe’s welcome of American LNG.

“Indeed, the fact that Portugal and Spain were the first European countries to import LNG from the US is telling…The Iberian Peninsula is considered an “island market” with poor interconnection to the rest of Europe, so the delivery of US LNG into the region is not likely to be seen as a sign that it will take hold in the wider European market.”

The same passage points out that Russia does not supply the Iberian Peninsula with pipeline gas, and so is unlikely to be very concerned about the impact of US LNG on that market.

Three, Cheniere’s rapid expansion has come at a terrifying cost, and the company is currently – as of fall 2016 – overleveraged with approximately $20 Billion in long-term debt. It is unprofitable, with interest payments representing 60% of revenues, the living embodiment of ‘bicycle economics’; the second you stop pedaling, you crash.

For what it’s worth, few great business breakthroughs have occurred without risk, and while Cheniere is plunging ahead with what seems like recklessness, it could just as easily pay off with complete domination of the North American export market. That’s a hell of a debt load, though; not much margin for bad news. That does expose a flaw in the American strategy, as well – wrestling control of the European supply market from Russia would be frighteningly expensive.

Consider; apart from the ruinous expense of constructing LNG terminals and processing facilities and getting planning and development permission (which I imagine could be shortcut pretty quickly if such a juicy prospect as seizing control of the European market seemed an achievable possibility), you need tankers to ship your product. The average LNG tanker which can dock at most terminals (remember, the tanker has to be able to get to the terminal as well as berth alongside it, so you may need to dredge a channel all the way through a shallow harbour) can hold a little better than 3 Billion Cubic Feet (BcF) of natural gas, which is mostly methane. That equates to about .85 Billion Cubic Meters (BcM). But Europe uses about 400 BcM per year. That would be more than a full tanker cargo every day, assuming LNG could supply the whole European market, which is of course unrealistic. Especially considering the entire global LNG shipping fleet consists of about 410 vessels. No LNG carriers are currently registered under the US flag, and if the USA plans to be a serious exporter it is going to need about 100 new LNG carriers over the next 30 years, something which is frankly not practically achievable considering it takes about 2 years to build one, at a cost of about $200 Million apiece. Of course, miracles can be made to happen if you pour enough money into them. But we’ve already somewhat nervously mentioned how much all this is costing – how does the likely return on investment shape up?

Well, what the fuck? Platts comes right out and says that Russia has the option of cutting its prices to ensure it undercuts LNG costs in order to keep its share of the European market!

“Russia clearly does have the option to undercut the US LNG price to ensure it keeps its share of its key European markets and could flood the market with cheap gas, maximizing revenues and cash flow at a time when producers worldwide are suffering from the impact of such low prices.”

So, let me get this straight. All the attempts by the west, led as usual by Washington, to force energy prices down and keep them low…actually benefit Russia by putting the USA in an unacceptable profit/loss loop so that it cannot afford to sell its LNG to Europe and still make money? That appears to be pretty much how it shakes out.

“Russia, thanks to the bearish oil price environment and an enhanced export strategy from Gazprom, increased its exports to Europe by 15% (through the Nord Stream, Yamal, and Brotherhood pipelines) to 118 Bcm, taking back its place as Europe’s largest gas supplier in the process.”

Wait! I think I see a solution. All the USA needs to do is apply its global leverage to make energy costs rise!

“But US LNG could face problems of its own – the current low prices are forcing ever growing numbers of US producers into bankruptcy. According to a recent report by Haynes and Boone, 90 gas and oil producers in the US and Canada have filed for bankruptcy between January 2015 and the start of August 2016.”

Oh, hey; I just realized – if forcing energy prices back up were an option, how is that  going to hamstring an opponent who was already able to undercut you at the lower price, and still turn a profit?

Platts closes out this dismal synopsis with the consolation prize that, while US LNG is less competitive with pipeline gas given narrow Henry Hub-NBP spreads, it is coming to Europe regardless. More of that old American can-do. It will have to be, though, on what is described as a short-run marginal cost basis. Would you feel comfortable with that forecast if you were carrying, say, $20 Billion in debt?

And it’s not just Platts who sounds a warning; Forbes has a similar, if slightly more mocking outlook of the situation.

“Most of this is just political posturing and noise. The U.S. is not now and nor will it be in the near future a key resource for Europe’s energy needs…According to EIAs Annual Energy Outlook, published in April, the United States remains a net importer of fuels through 2040 in a low oil price scenario. In a high oil and gas price scenario, the United States becomes a net exporter of liquid fuels due to increased production by 2021. A lot can happen in seven years. By then, Exxon will likely be back to its deal with Rosneft in Russia’s Arctic Circle.”

As well, Forbes adds the interesting perspective that foreign sales of American gas will be a tough sell domestically if the pressure remains on the American leadership to achieve greater energy self-sufficiency and reduced dependence on foreign sources. This situation can only be exacerbated by a rise in anti-American sentiment around the world, and is likely to spike if energy prices rise. But if they stay low, American LNG exports won’t make any money. If they go up, pipeline gas will undercut LNG prices and make it noncompetitive. Jeez, we just seem to be going around in circles. Say, did you notice that little item in there, in which the author mentions the only possible way the USA could compete with Russia in the natural gas market in Europe would be if it had national rights to substantial supplies of gas abroad? Did that give your memory a little tickle, and make you think of Burisma Holdings, and Hunter Biden?

The Brookings Institute, for God’s sake, warned that US LNG could not compete price-wise before the first LNG cargo ever left the USA. Given its sympathies, it seems probable it was intended as a sobering restraint meant to keep the United States from doing something stupid that might expose it to failure and even ruin; it is much less likely to have been an endorsement of Russia’s global business practices.

As so often happens, an unhealthy fixation on taking down a largely imagined enemy results in increased risk-taking and a totally unrealistic appraisal of the likelihood of success – it becomes worth doing simply to be doing something. The costs in this instance have included the alienation and infuriating of Germany, the European Union’s anchor economy, and angry murmurs from the Gulf States that Washington negotiated production cuts simply to make its own product more competitive. All for nothing, as it happens, because a nation with surplus swing production can always undercut your price, and the nation with the world’s lowest production costs should be last on your list of “People I Want To Start A Price War With”.

If you were opposed to official Washington’s swaggering, bullying modus operandi, this whole unfolding of events probably seems pretty delicious to you. But I’ve saved the most delicious for last – Trump dares not make any effort to overrule the Senate vote, or get it reframed, because of the successful media campaign to portray him as Putin’s secret agent. Any effort to mollify Germany’s fury will be seized upon by the reality-challenged Democrats as an opportunity to further discredit the Trump government, by making it appear to be negotiating in Russia’s behalf.

You couldn’t make it up.

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953 Responses to Flirting With Disaster

  1. Northern Star says:

    “The threat of direct Russian-American confrontation in Syria escalated on Monday after Moscow said it would treat any plane from the US-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates river as a potential target.”

    When was the last time the American air force was up against a power with only approximately equally matched pilots and planes????

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/19/russia-target-us-led-coalition-warplanes-over-syria

    Hmmm;…
    https://www.rbth.com/blogs/continental_drift/2017/04/27/korean-war-how-mig-15-put-end-american-mastery-over-skies-751633

  2. Warren says:

    Next installment of Buzzfeed’s Russian Murder Mystery.

    • kirill says:

      People in the west are really mentally deficient if they swallow this pap. How would some scientist link a murder to Putin? You would think that an actual crime investigation would establish some facts that pointed in a certain direction from which one could surmise Putin’s involvement as head of state. But why would a single scientist achieve something that a whole investigation couldn’t? Did he find Putin’s finger prints on Litvinenko’s throat with some previously unknown procedure? Finger printing the Polonium is BS unless this scientist had reference samples from various nuclear reactors around the world and could establish an isotope profile. Why would he have such samples? You can’t buy them on the internet and no government would share them willy nilly. This also assumes that the Polonium had other reactor product contaminants in measurable amounts and was poorly isolated.

      The mere fact that Polonium was smeared in an aircraft that made routine trips to Moscow from the UK indicates a frame up job. This is clearly an attempt to fake up the provenance of the Polonium since the investigators at Scotland Yard and the FBI could not establish an isotopic finger print for the radioactive elements in Litvinenko’s body. So why would some scientist in the UK be murdered to cover up “revelations”. Those revelations would be available to Scotland Yard and the FBI and not just to one scientist.

      • marknesop says:

        We’ve been over this – the sole customer for Russian polonium from Russian reactors is the USA, and it buys about 8 grams per month. That would be enough, in a murder trial, to establish reasonable doubt.

    • Warren says:

      Final installment of Buzzfeed’s Russia Murder Mystery.

      This time GCHQ intelligence officer with expensive and deviant sexual proclivities was allegedly killed by the Russian special services.

  3. yalensis says:

    Continuing from above the “Belomor Canal” thread and polemic between Lyttenburg and ДжММ:

    I found this English-language source which actually seems fairly factual and not just hysterical like the Solzhenitsyn crap:

    To build the canal connecting the White and Baltic Seas initially it was planned to use mostly free labor, but then the decision was made (urged by Yagoda) to use mostly prison labor.
    Yagoda (head of the OGPU) was also fully in charge of the canal project. A convenient person to blame so that Stalin always comes out smelling like a rose – ha ha!

    With the project’s approval, the Special Committee ordered the
    beginning of construction. The OGPU began a massive transfer of
    prisoners, making its correctional labor camp the largest supplier
    of workers. In mid-1931, according to the report from Yagoda, the
    number of prisoners rose to more than 100,000 from 72,000 and
    continued to grow. In 1931, a total of 1,438, or 2 percent of the
    annual average number of prisoners, died. The death rate rose
    toward the end of the year because of the increasing industrial losses
    and deteriorating food supply. A letter from Yagoda to Stalin and
    Molotov, dated December 31, 1933, explained the reasons for the
    sharp rise in the death rate.

    (….)

    goes on to list the food rations allocated to the prisoners. The lack of sufficient food appears to be the reason why several thousand prisoners died. (Not millions, just a few thousands.)
    It doesn’t seem like they were deliberately starved to death. More likely, bureaucratic ineptness and corruption. Rations probably being siphoned off, etc.

    What I can’t find in the literature is how many of the prisoners were true criminals (like thieves, murderers, etcv.), and how many were politicals. I know that lots of Trotskyists and other factional Opps were put in labor camps, but I don’t know if this was a factor in this specific case… Don’t know if any Trotskyites or Bukharinites ended up in Belomor – anybody out there know?
    Needs more research, I reckon.

  4. Cortes says:

    An interesting (if, perhaps, rose-tinted?) outline of developments in the SCO, including the removal of recognition of Taiwan by several countries seeking better relations with the PRC.

  5. marknesop says:

    You have to laugh at the things Ukrainians are willing to say on the record. Check out the Mejlis leader (and Ukrainian RADA member) Refat Chubarov, as he fire-and-brimstones his way through “200,000 Russians will have to leave Crimea when it is returned to Ukraine”, and “It will be a ‘purge’ of the peninsula” and “all those goblins who betrayed Ukraine” will have to go as well…and then winds up with, “”I would like to be understood correctly: It’s not about kicking thousands of people out like Stalin did.”

    No, I guess not. Nothing like that.

  6. Moscow Exile says:


    These are Americans …. And these are Pindosy


    Diplomats are people who, instead of using the word “Pindosy”, have enough willpower to say “AMERICAN COLLEAGUES”.

    I feel I should add that I had a good pal here who was a US citizen. He was from Tucson, Arizona.

    The (nominative) singular of the word transliterated into the Latin alphabet is “Pindos” [Пиндос]; the (nominative) plural in Russian is Пиндосы, which transliterates into the Latin alphabet as “Pindosy”.

    However, I think that for native English speakers the spelling “Pindosi” renders a closer resemblance to the Russian pronunciation of the Russian plural than does the spelling “Pindosy”, as I should imagine that this latter variant might be pronounced by some so as to rhyme with “sigh”.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Porky hamming it up in Washington

    And of course….

    the compulsory kneeling down and crossing oneself.

    Note solo violinist in background.

    • Jen says:

      It’s a wonder all the buttons on Porky’s suit didn’t ping off and scratch the memorial.

      Yeah, yeah, no good being catty, I know.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Their memorial looks like a urinal.

      Somebody notify the DC homeless – a good pissing spot like this shouldn’t go to waste.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yeah, I thought that when I first saw a picture of it with Mrs. Poroshenko in front of it on both knees: one bloody long piss-stone.

        Below: Porky stroking the tablet on which is embossed the big Banderite lie

        FAMINE-GENOCIDE IN UKRAINE
        In memory of the millions of innocent victims of a man-made famine engineered and implemented by Stalin’s totalitarian regime.

        Millions?

        Man-made?

        In London there was erected a monument, called appropriately “The Monument”, in memory of the Great Fire of London,1666. On the plinth is embossed in Latin are details of the devastation caused by the fire, the history of the construction of “The Monument” and the Aldermen and Mayors of London responsible for its construction.

        On one side of the plinth is the story of how the fire started and how it was finally extinguished, the tale ending with the unequivocal statement that it was started by Roman Catholics:

        In the year of Christ 1666, on the 2nd September, at a distance eastward from this place of 202 feet, which is the height of this column, a fire broke out in the dead of night, which, the wind blowing, devoured even distant buildings, and rushed devastating through every quarter with astonishing swiftness and noise. It consumed 89 churches, gates, the Guildhall, ‘public edifices, hospitals, schools, libraries, a great number of blocks of buildings, 13,200 houses, 400 streets. Of the 26 wards, it utterly destroyed 15, and left 8 mutilated and half-burnt. The ashes of the City, covering as many as 436 acres, extended on one side from the Tower along the bank of the Thames to the church of the Templars, on the other side from the north-east along the walls to the head of Fleet-ditch. Merciless to the wealth and estates of the citizens, it was harmless to their lives, so as throughout to remind us of the final destruction of the world by fire. The havoc was swift. A little space of time saw the same city most prosperous and no longer in being. On the third day, when it had now altogether vanquished all human counsel and resource, at the bidding, as we may well believe of heaven, the fatal fire stayed its course and everywhere died out. But Popish frenzy, which wrought such horrors, is not yet quenched.

        That last sentence above was added in 1681 after maliciously spread false stories of a “Popish plot” had gripped England and Scotland and there those words remained long after the Catholic conspiracy had been exposed as a falsehood and long after the poet Alexander Pope, who was a Roman Catholic with an appropriate family name, wrote in the 1730s:

        Where London’s column, pointing at the skies,
        Like a tall bully, lifts the head, and lies.

        The words were chiselled out in 1830 following the Catholic Emancipation Act..

        I wonder how many years must pass before those blatant lies on the so-called Holodomor memorial in Washington are erased?

        • yalensis says:

          It will take a new, great American poet to come along and pen the immortal verse:

          “Where Porky’s trotter, pointing at the skies,
          Like a big fat bully, lifts his head, and lies. ”

        • marknesop says:

          Wait for the Grenfell Tower memorial.

          “In memory of all the innocent lives lost in the fire June 2017, which started and raged due to unknown causes although it was probably by Vladimir Putin”.

        • Cortes says:

          The story of Titus Oates, star of the “Popish Plot” is, regrettably, little-known in today’s Britain. Mind you, lots of folks still believe in the “Gunpowder Plot” – the original for 9/11.

    • kirill says:

      The real fake Holocaust. The Golodomor narrative attempts to paint Ukraine as a unique victim. This is pure revisionist blood libel. Any and all deaths in Ukraine during the 1930s were the result of forced collectivization, the associated backlash and other factors such as poor weather (not a funny since famines were routine in agricultural regions around the world including in the Russian Empire and as far away as Indonesia). The “Golodomor” spanned from Ukraine to Kazakhstan and included the Volga region. The “raskulachevanye” meant a disruption in farm production: this included passive effects such as missed planting and more direct blowback such as the burning of crops and killing of livestock by farmers to prevent them falling in the hands of the state.

      Ukrs were not a special ethnic target. Kulaks and Kurkuls in the USSR were the target for liquidation. The attempt by mostly Banderite Ukrs, who did not suffer through forced collectivization since they originate from western Ukraine which was under Polish rule after 1920 and until WWII, to grab all victimhood is grotesque and obscene. This is especially true since the Banderites want to exterminate the people of the Donbas who actually lived through the Golodmor. The Banderites have concocted a hate fiction designed to justify this genocide: they claim that the people of the Donbas are squatters settled on Ukr lands after Ukrs living there died from the Golodomor. Of course this blood libel is insane fiction since the Donbas is not some ancestral part of Ukraine and was the gift of the Bolsheviks to their newly concocted creation called the Ukrainian SSR. This memorial is US meddling to further its geopolitical ambitions. It is not even worthy to piss on.

    • et Al says:

      I think I can see Han Solo in it!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      That’s a monument to the Great Famine in Dublin, Eyre.

      Now imgaine for moment a world where the Нiзалэжна Free and Independent Irish Republic demands the erection of such monuments in every single country where they have a diaspora. Where they demand from the UK to build such monuments all across big cities, fell on their knees and “pay and repent” for centuries to come. Cuz they are fookin’ sassenachs, that’s why!

      Imagine them taking pride in the fact that during the Great War Kaiser Willie was propping up their freedom fighters – as were Napoleon, French and Spanish in previous centuries. Imagine staging yearly “pride” honoring such “legionaries”, with obligatory beating the crap out of some local “separs” who fail to show their enthusiasm.

      Imagine Eyre starting a campaign of “de-Englization”, of banning books written in English, of introducing quotas on TV and Radio content in English (say – 25%).

      Loads of fun! And, surely, the entire Civilized World ™ would support every single initiative of theirs.

      • Cortes says:

        To Eyre is Romantic, to correct Devine:

        Eire.

        I’ll get me coat.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        There are some Irish people, not very many and mostly “Irish-Americans”, I should imagine (about which group of US citizens Bob Geldof once said “An Irish-American is as Irish as is a Black-American an African”), who maintain that the Great Hunger in Ireland was an attempt by the “English” to exterminate the Irish nation through starvation rather than the natural disaster incompetently dealt with by the British government that it was.

        That noted Irish caterwauler and historian and “Catholic” priest as well, Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor, has voiced that opinion.

        The complexities of famine relief in the mid-19th Century were great, but Britain’s response to the crisis certainly sent tens of thousands of Irish peasants to a needless death. The British government allowed the 1846 Irish grain harvest to be exported, with devastating effect. In 1847, Parliament established a law that denied food or work relief to anyone owning more than a quarter-acre of land–thus encouraging land clearance and emigration. This act also led to the death of thousands and to what one historian called “the disintegration of the fabric of rural society.” From 1847 on, British policy insisted that Ireland alone pay for all famine relief, rather than the entire United Kingdom.

        Britain at that time was in the grip of laissez faire economic philosophy, so there was no strong government response. In addition, a widespread providentialist religious mood in Britain viewed the famine as God’s revenge on a slothful and uncivilized race. Charles Trevelyan, Treasury undersecretary and the man responsible for famine relief articulated this deadly logic by describing the famine as “a direct stroke of an all-wise and all-merciful Providence, the sharp but effectual remedy by which the cure is likely to be effected”.

        Last year, Irish rock singer Sinead O’Connor created a controversy that raged through the Irish press when she recorded a song about the famine that many said irresponsibly dredged up an anti-English attitude that had dissipated. O’Connor’s song described a nation still emotionally and intellectually reluctant to face the famine’s horror, leaving the country in a state of social amnesia, unwilling to deal with the collective trauma.

        See RELAND : The Power of History: The Famine and Peace

        A claim was made by a US professor of law, Francis A. Boyle that the Famine was genocide by the British against the Irish, meaning that the famine was part of a deliberate policy of planned extermination. One US historian, James Mullin, insists that what happened can be described as genocide, sometimes accusing other historians, statisticians and researchers who state otherwise of pushing a British point of view, or of revisionism, rewriting history to make excuses for British imperialism. However more US, British and Irish historians, such as Professors F.S.L. Lyons, John A. Murphy, Roy Foster, and James S. Donnelly, Jr, as well as historians Cecil Woodham-Smith, Peter Gray, Ruth Dudley Edwards and Cormac Ó Gráda have denied claims of a deliberate policy of genocide. All historians generally agree that British policies during the Famine (particularly those applied by the ministry of Lord John Russell) were misguided, ill-informed and counter-productive, and that had a similar crisis occurred in England instead of Ireland then the government’s response would have been very different.

        See: Legacy of the Great Irish Famine

        As an à propos, this year it seems as if there is going to be no summer as such in Western Russia: temperatures are well below average, snow and frost occured as late as May, and there have been storms and torrential rain. There is already talk of harvest failure this year and a rise in the prices of agricultural products.

        What is Putin going to do about this?

        Nothing!

        The heartless monster!!!

        >

        • marknesop says:

          I read the famine was mostly owing to the fact that the cultivation of the potato – quite new at that time – with its cheap nutrition allowed the Irish to have large families where there might not have been enough food to support so many children prior to its arrival. Consequently the potato blight left them with nothing to eat. Still, there is no denying the Irish were little better than slaves in their own land, and much land and great estates were granted to titled English nobility. I think I might resent that a tad myself, were I in their place.

          • Jen says:

            The context in which most 19th-century Irish families quickly adopted the potato as their staple crop is that most of the best land in Ireland was owned by English landlords who used it to grow export crops. The Irish either owned very small plots or had to rent them at high cost. The potato was ideal because it is starchy, has lots of nutrients for its size, and doesn’t need a lot of space to grow in. (I’ve heard that you can grow potatoes in a stack of tyres – though trying to turn the vegetables into French fries a l’Ukrainienne by setting the tyres alight might not be advisable.)
            http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/fact-sheets/in-the-garden/herbs-fruit-and-vegetables/potatoes-in-tyres-the-french-alternative/

            British government reaction to the potato blight and the starvation caused was indeed incompetent due to a mix of ignorance and ideology: ignorance about the dire economic straits most Irish lived in, failure to connect recent British policies encouraging conversion of land used to grow food to grow cash crops and denying work relief to those owning more than a certain amount of land, a belief that the Irish were lazy and trust in free market ideology to rectify the situation. There was also a failure to learn from history: in the 1770s, British government and East India Company policies that exploited impoverished people in eastern India and the destruction of the Indian textile industry by quotas and various restrictions by the East India Company, which meant hundreds if not thousands of textile workers ended up unemployed and forced to try their hand at farming, led to a huge famine which resulted in the starvation deaths of millions.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Bengal_famine_of_1770

            • Moscow Exile says:

              most of the best land in Ireland was owned by English landlords
              No Scots or Welsh involved then?

            • marknesop says:

              My mother-in-law used to grow tomatoes that way at the dacha, in Russia. Tires are ideal; they keep the vegetables in a neat and manageable space, and the material heats up slowly during the sunny day and stays warm much of the night so the vegetables do not suffer from temperature swings. She used Kamaz truck tires, which made a sizeable tomato plot.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            And while the famine raged in the West of Ireland, wealthy Irish cattle farmers in Co. Meath, for example, were exporting their livestock to Britain.

            There were plenty of titled Anglo-Irish landowners around as well — more exactly Anglo-Norman-Irish who were Hiberniores Hibernis ipsis — their common denominator being their protestant faith.

            See Estate ownership and management in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Ireland

            [Downloadable pdf file]

            The Anglo-Irish usually get bad publicity from Hollywood and uneducated nationalists, which is rather sad, I think, because very many of them, Protestants though they were, fought and often gave their lives for Irish independence from British rule.

            Author Jonathan Swift (1667–1745), who was a minister of the Church of Ireland (the former “established” church in British ruled Ireland), spoke up strongly about the poverty and subjugation of Irish peasants, who were all “Papists”; Irish nationalist heroes such as Henry Grattan (1746–1820), Wolfe Tone (1763–1798), Robert Emmet (1778–1803), Sir John Gray (1815-1875), and Charles Stewart Parnell (1846–1891) were all Protestant Irish nationalists. The Irish Rebellion of 1798 was led by members of the Anglo-Irish and Ulster Scots class.

            Robert Emmet is a good example of such paradoxical Anglo-Irish Protestants: though coming from a wealthy Anglo-Irish Protestant family, he, together with the rest of his family, sympathised with the unjust treatment of Irish Catholics and their lack of fair representation in Parliament. The Emmet family also sympathised with the rebel colonists in British North America.

            In 1803, the 25-year-old Emmet was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering, the usual punishment for traitors to the Crown.

            His gruesome sentence was not carried out according to the letter of the law, though: they publicly hanged him until he was quite dead, then cut off his head just to make sure.

        • Cortes says:

          Ruth Dudley Edwards is a notorious “West Britisher” whose rentaquotability ensures plenty of airtime.
          cecil woodham smith the great hunger Is a great book with horrifying details of the unfolding disaster. The outline of the fate of the emigrants in both mainland Britain and North America goes some way to make understandable downstream attitudes. It certainly colours my view of the Liberal Party and its offshoots. The most enlightening parts were the explanations of why relatively few people could make a living from the sea: a real eye opener for the knee jerk anti British, in my opinion.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yes, I read “The Great Hunger” when still at school 42 years ago.

            Irishman Brian Inglis, another “West Briton” from Dublin and former presenter of Granada TV series “All Our Yesterdays”, succinctly summed up Irish attitudes towards the famine and the struggle for Irish independence when he wrote in his “The Story of Ireland (London: Faber 1956)”:

            If the British chose not to consider Ireland part of Britain, when such an emergency arose, they could hardly complain if the Irish did likewise.

            I shall have to read this again:

            The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism

            Kee was not Irish, though. Still a good read. Read it when it was first published paperback in 3 volumes

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Another à propos by the way!

              🙂

              I have often wondered if Cecil Woodham-Smith (née Fitzgerald, an extremely honourable “Old English” Anglo-Norman family name in Irish history) is unique in that she was the only woman in the whole wide world to be called Cecil?

              Nope!

              Here’s another: Cecil Castellucci

              I first came across Woodham-Smith’s works over 50 years ago in the school library when I discovered her “The Reason Why” (1950) when I was 14.

              I shall have to read that again. I think it is a standard on the “glorious” cock-up that was the charge of the British army light cavalry brigade at Balaclava, 1854.

              A review from Library Thing on Woodham-Smith’s “The Reason Why”:

              At the time of the Crimean War in 1853, the British army was run by incompetent aristocrats who had purchased their commissions. Not only were the officers with actual battle experience on the Indian subcontinent not promoted according to their ability, they were openly despised by many of the upper echelon. It was thought that keeping the military in the hands of the propertied classes would prevent revolutionary fervor from spreading through the ranks, as it had in other countries. Because the Duke of Wellington had been both a duke and one of the finest soldiers in the history of the world, the system had seemed to work just fine.

              The Reason Why relates the stories of the two main players who led the famous Light Brigade’s charge at Balaclava. Lord Cardigan, who commanded the brigade, and Lord Lucan, the division commander. Cardigan was a disciplinarian, undeniably brave but prone to ridiculous squabbles with his men over the most mundane details of uniforms and protocol. Lord Cardigan had no sense of proportion or distance. Every minor grievance was of terrible import, even years after. Even less impressive: on campaign in the Crimea, he anchored his private yacht nearby and spent his evenings away from his men, sleeping in his bed and being attended to by his servants. Lord Lucan, on the other hand, was unpleasant in an entirely different way: a landlord in Ireland during the Great Potato Famine, he showed an extraordinary lack of kindness and sometimes outright cruelty, such as literally pulling apart the houses of starving people who had not paid their rent. It is worth noting this was nasty even by the standards of other nobles; his behavior was specifically challenged in The House of Lords.

              The first two-thirds or so of Ms. Woodham-Smith’s masterpiece sketches the lives of this not-so-delightful pair. They couldn’t stand each other either and quarreled constantly while on campaign–their squabbles handled about as poorly as possible by the Commander-in-Chief Lord Raglan.

              The Crimean War itself was a strange business. Supposedly at issue was mistreatment of Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land but probably more to the point was the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Russian desire for a warm water port.

              From an operational standpoint, the British expedition was a disaster: not enough food, not enough water, not enough room on the ships, bad reconnaissance (when there was any at all), and rampant disease. The successes the British did enjoy, such as forcing a crossing of the Alma, were due entirely to the courage and fighting ability of the soldiers themselves.

              The last third of the book details the campaign leading up to the famous charge. It’s one of the finer battle narratives I’ve ever read.

              Someone had blunder’d indeed. When captured British guns were in danger of being pulled off the battlefield, Lord Raglan ordered an attack to a re-take them. His order was so purely worded however as to invite disaster, and disaster accepted. Raglan didn’t specify which guns to attack and Captain Nolan, who delivered the order, indicated the cannon at the far end of what Tennyson aptly called the “Valley of Death.” The nearer guns were obscured by the terrain—something Raglan didn’t know because he was observing the battle from a heights nearly 600 feet above the battlefield.

              In his order, Raglan also failed to give his commanders any discretion at all. General Lee is still sometimes criticized for adding “if practicable” to his attack order at Gettysburg nine years later, but Lee often add that prepositional phrase, specifically to avoid the sort of debacle, Lords Lucan and Cardigan found themselves in: galloping into the mouths of cannon with enfilade fire pouring into both flanks.

              I used to have a strange prejudice against older works of history, feeling that newer books had more complete evidence and access to more scholarship on the subject, etc. etc. I’ve long ago dropped this silly idea–contemporary histories have their own biases, their own prejudices. It’s depressing to consider if I hadn’t and I would’ve spent my life missing out on books like these.
              numbernine | Apr 4, 2013 |

              I should imagine that Woodham-Smith’s interest in the doltish and cruel Lucan may have been stimulated by her knowledge of his vile behaviour towards his Irish tenants.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Balaclava Lucan’s descendant Lord “Lucky” Lucan was, apparently, another Grade-A prat.

                The Earls of Lucan seem to have been standard for what was (and still is, believe it or not!) known as the Peerage of Ireland — for example, there’s still a bloke going round who calls himself the Earl of Limerick FFS!!!

                Anglo-Irish peer Edmund Christopher Pery (born 10 February 1963), a former director of Deutsche Bank, has been 7th Earl of Limerick since his father’s death in 2003.

                The 7th Earl of Limerick is a barrister since his having been admitted to Middle Temple in 1987 at the ripe old age of 24, thereafter he pursued a career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office until 1992, following which latter employment he was then employed as a solicitor with various firms until 1996, when he was 33.

                I don’t know what he does now. I reckon by 1996 he was waiting for his dad to pop his clogs and, having inherited the 6th Earl’s title, he just fucks around in general, though probably not in Limerick, Ireland, a fine place that I know quite well.


                The Seventh Earl of Limerick, Edmund Pery, with his wife Lydia on their wedding day

                He seems, for some reason other, to have been wearing 19th century Turkish smoking apparel on his wedding day, or is it Uzbek gear?


                An Uzbek tifter

                See: There once was an Earl of Limerick …
                … who wrote a poem about why he should be elected to the House of Lords. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the kind of verse you might have expected:

                The Upper House knows none so queer
                A creature as the Seatless Peer.
                Flamingo-like he stands all day
                With no support to hold his sway.
                And waits with covert eagerness
                For ninety-two to be one less.
                Then on to hustings he must pace
                Once more to plead his special case.
                Noble Lordships, spare a thought
                For one so vertically distraught,
                And from your seats so well entrenched,
                Please vote that mine may be embenched.

                I once worked for the British Council here in Darkest Mordor, where they used to charge top dollar pound for Russian students of English to learn (amongst other things) that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a parliamentary democracy which has a constitutional monarch as its head of state.

                I used to tell my students that there was neither a written British constitution nor were members of the the “upper house” of the UK bi-cameral legislature “democratically” elected, but no matter.

                I did not work long at the British Council in Russia.

                Did not want to either, not with that prat Neil Kinnock’s son being at the time a top-dog in the BC in Russia.

                See Harding of the Grauniad frothing away in British Council row escalates as Russia arrests director

                Lukie Boy, cub reporter for the Grauniad, par excellence:

                The arrest of Kinnock, the son of the former Labour leader, on apparently trumped-up charges [sic] is likely to infuriate the British government and lead to a further escalation in the deepening row between London and Moscow.

                He can’t punctuate properly!

                How did Harding know that Kinnock had probably not been drinking when his car was stopped?

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                Thank you, ME! I knew that I heard about Lord Lucan before, I only was not sure if it was the same person.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Concerning the Great Famine in Ireland. I’m not a person, who could be accused of any sympathy to the Perfidious Albion, given the history of this country’s messing in all things Russian, but, still, I’m also obliged to stick to the facts and combat clearly ideology spin of the facts about the past.

        – People totally overlook other events taking place during the Famine, namely “Young Ireland” rebellion. It, eh, “culminated” in the so-called “Battle of widow MacCormack’s cabbage garden” (1846), a battle so ferocious and glorious, that it resulted in the death of 2 (two) rebels and the arrest of the (Protestant!) leader of the rebels, William Smith O’Brien.

        – Peculiarities of Irish farming cycles (as opposed to say, Russian ones of the period). On the one hand – Ireland is much warmer, which allowed them to start planting potatoes as early as April and May (here we, traditionally, start potato planting no earlier than various May holidays). The harvest time is the same – August, and the amount grown should make them last through the winter. Also note that potato spuds could be used to feed to the lifestock.

        During the summer peasant families had to survive by buying oatmeal – aka “the summer hunger” (nothing atypical here). Why it was still a hunger? The rent to the landlord was, indeed, so high, that what you were left with was often not enough for you and your family.

        – The point about population explosion in Ireland is valid – it went from 4.5 mln. in 1800 to 8 mln. in 1845.

        – It was not at first obvious that the fungus did attack the crop – on the outside the potato bushes were looking ordinary, and that they were “sick” became apparent only when you dug out the spuds. In 1846 there was a crop failure again – and only then the government reacted. First soup kitchen were established in January 1847. It produced a mixed results – people were given cooked food there, which they hoarded with the aim to resell to the other unfortunates (hmm… what does it remind me?).

        – Most of the people didn’t died from the hunger – they died from various sicknesses, such as typhus or dysentery. This situation allowed the local landlords to “shine” – all in accordance to the laws of the capitalism and the free market, they just threw away their sick, hungry tenants, who were unable to pay the rent. So they had to offer their unskilled labour to the sweatshops of the working houses, where they were both worked to death and where the epidemics were also rampant. But, because it was done “naturally” by the capitalism “reality”, who’s gonna accuse its proponents of the genocide? I mean, the fact that working houses “lodging” most often lacked clean water, access to the medicine or just fire for the people to warm their bodies – well, once again, it was “unfortunate”, but surely not a “crime” of the capitalism!

        One particular example was in Mayo county, where the local landlord Lucan owned 60 000 acres (24 000 hectares) of land. He began to do what any capitalist does – “improving” of his means of production, by throwing out starving tenants, to make room for larger and more profitable farms Did anyone said… “kolkhozes”? Nah – that’s not kolkhozes for you – just ordinary kulak tactic. Anyway, up to 10 000 local Irish peasants were evicted from the land without rencompense or warning, and a number of Scottish farmers were brought in – who were forbidden to hire local Irishmen. Cuz, said lord Lucan, those Irishmen were Catholics.

        Alfred, lord Tennyson, a representative of the Victorian creative class and member of artistic intelligentsia, furiously handshaked and praised lord Lucan efforts. He even wrote: “The Irish are all furious fools. They live in a horrible island and have no history of their own worth any notice… Couldn’t someone blow up that horrible island with dynamite and carry it off in pieces – a long way off?” . Well, this proves it – the kreakls were the same no matter geography or time! Oh, and among other things – Alfred Tennyson amused his likeminded friends by sitting down and pretending to take a crap.

        – Forced relocation was another option to combat the Great Famine (deportations, anyone?). One category of the people were criminals, who resorted to the theft of food in order to survive – Australia for them. It meant a 4-5 month long journey with the mortality rate being “just” 1:100. Oh, and age didn’t matter much. In theory, no one younger than 14 were supposed to be transported, but… You know! There were exceptions to that and children as young as 8 could be sentenced to years of “forced resettlement” for sealing loaves of bread or silver spoons. Remember – in the capitalism property and money cost more than human life.

        Another category of the “deportees” were tenant peasants, whom their landlords gave a unique opportunity to come to America – or to kick them out outright, which will result, most likely, in them dying from disease and starvation, or resorting to a life of crime, which will result in them either hanged or deported. But, see – they were provided with a “choice”! Which makes the “coffin ships” all the better, obviously! Oh, and because we are talking about crossing Atlantic, well – shit was bound to happen. Like – sixty or so ships sunk.

        – And the Murika back then was not all Milk and Honey either. When the state deports and resettles you it takes responsibility over your fate. Here – you are on your own, with no one taking two shits about your life. Well, not caring about you in a good way. The Irish deportees (I just can’t bring myself up and call 1 million of them “emigrants”) were relegated to the slums – d’uh, naturally! There were also actively discriminated on the local legislative level: they were taxed for being Irish (Pennsylvania), banned from carrying weapons (New York), barred from holding official jobs and made to swear an official oath against the Pope (New Hampshire). But even this was not enough! Without any prison walls and sadistic prison guards, without “gulags” – America killed them. Riots and violence against the Irish was nothing new – the largest riot was in 1844 in Philadelphia, when 40 people were lynched and their church burned down. And the trend only increased in late 1840s.

        – The British had no experience of famine relief before that. So, naturally, they often screwed up, not out of malice, but stupidity. They decided to employ a “work gang approach”, mobilizing people to build roads (from nowhere to… anywhere). Employing large groups of already half starving people (women and children including) with weak immune system in the hard labour… Well, it resulted in more deaths – this time, caused by the government actions. In the winter of 1846-47 there were reports of as many as 150 dying daily in some towns.

        – Some anti-British myth need to be busted though. First of all – the British didn’t “bleed dry” Ireland by exporting food. First of all – it was not in British government’s power to involve themselves so outrageously in the “free enterprise” of the local captains of industry. So it was them who kept exporting their food, for which they, from the legal standpoint, were totally entitled. In fact, the government did send more food into Ireland these years then there were exported for it. The whole cost of the famine relief food was £8 millions. Queen Vic gave £5000 from here personal savings.

        How much it in the modern money? Well, ordinary clerk in the Bank of England made £75-500 per year, a butler made £40-100 per year, a schoolteacher £75+ per year. To be considered a “middle class” a family ought to have a yearly budget of £500 per year. So, yes – that’s a lot of money.

        – And while we are at it. The common trope among the nationalist narratives is to emphasize their own suffering, claiming that others “had it light” and NOTHING could compare to the, poor lambs, suffering great and unique injustice. The Great Irish Famine is no different. Because at the same time there was a Great Potato Famine in Scotland. Does it get the same recognition? Of course not! It was Britain’s “proper”! Doesn’t matter that thousands died there and that the causes were similar, that the government reaction was as clumsy as elsewhere. No. It goes around the narrative and, thus, must be ignored. It’s amazing how the same crimes in the name of the greed were perpetuated by the different people, separated by the sea. E.g. the clan chieftain of MacDonalds collected the money from his fellows clansmen to go and buy cheap food in Liverpool… only to resell it to them for the price twice over! Naturally, not everyone could afford that. Well, I guess they just “failed to fit into the market” (c)

        • yalensis says:

          Excellent comment, Lyttenburgh!
          One needs constant reminding that these so-called “ethnic” conflicts and famines often boil down to to the hard rules of capitalism itself.

        • Jen says:

          Thanks Lyttenburgh for the extra info. I didn’t realise there’d been a similar blight in Scotland and that the demographic effect of the potato harvest failure was similar.

          It’s just occurred to me that the arrival of the potato in Europe in the 19th century and how it blew everyone away with its ease of cultivation and nutritional benefits has in its own way something in common with financial bubbles: everyone wants a piece of the action to the extent that alternatives and warnings are ignored; and when the bubble finally bursts, the crash creates havoc and upheaval. It exacerbates any underlying structural problems of a political / social / economic nature and those problems magnify the effects of the initial crash.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            The 1840s were known in England as “The Hungry ’40s”. There was a famine at the time in my home county, Lancashire, where capitalist Manchester cotton mill director (owner’s son), a certain Friedrich Engels, was prompted by the social destitution that surrounded him to write in 1845″ “The Condition of the Working Class in England”.

            They were “hungry” years because there was a “decline in trade”, an event that they then recognized as cyclical but could not really explain.

            They can now, though — allegedly.

            I can as well: it’s called “capitalism”.

            The 1830s in the UK were boom years, the first railway boom years, and resulted in a massive speeding up of the pace of industrialization in Great Britain, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution — and capitalism. And then in the next decade there was a huge slump and bankruptcies of even the mightiest railway barons.

            At the time in Lancashire — coal mines, cotton mills, chemical works, shipbuilding, railway engineering etc. — they ate a concoction known as “grass pudding”.

            I think it was grass fried in grease.

        • Cortes says:

          Work on relief projects such as road building was often dependent on conversion from Catholicism. Crass opportunistic schemes like Reverend Nangle’s “colony” on Achill Island (Mayo) did produce practical benefits not least in inducing the RC church to introduce its own relief scheme. Nevertheless to this day the term “soup taker” is used pejoratively.
          Mayo is probably a special case anyway due to the extent of blanket bog and hilly terrain leaving much of the population reliant on “lazy bed” potato cultivation. Even in the mid-1950s Heinrich Boll, in his “Irish Journal” wrote:
          “Now the Irish have a strange custom: whenever the name of County Mayo is spoken (whether in praise, blame, or noncommitally), as soon as the mere word Mayo is spoken, the Irish add: “God help us!” It sounds like the response in a litany: “Lord have mercy upon us!””

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yes, Mayo and Sligo are often considered by some “Jackeens” (Dubliners) to be piss-poor and beyond the limits of civilization.

            Sligo men are often respected though. I recall from my travels in Ireland tales that began “There was this big Sligo man …”

            A quiet funeral for a brave man the big boys could not bury

            What’s this I see: corruption?

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Come to think of it, in the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels, doesn’t former United Irishman member Maturin, associate of Jack Aubrey, ship’s surgeon to HMS Surprise, physician, natural philosopher and laudanum slugger (“moderate dose” is “a thousand drops”), have a gentle giant of an Irish assistant or “loblolly boy”, a certain “Padeen”, who has a cleft palate and can only speak Irish and who becomes a morphine addict after helping himself to Maturin’s stash, a big bloke from Sligo — or is it Mayo that he comes from?

              I don’t know what Irish sounds like when spoken by someone with a cleft palate, but it’s still a bugger to understand when spoken by such a delightfully looking Irish woman newscaster as this one shown below

              • Cortes says:

                Padeen was from Co. Clare (which was the origin of Abe Grady, one of Muhammad Ali’s forbears, as well as Che Guevara’s mother’s Lynch family). Clare is home for the bizarre town of Lisdoonvarna which is worth a read about). The Belmullet peninsula of Mayo was where Maturin first saw some bird.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Oh yeah, I’ve been to Clare. I used to do a lot of mooching around Western Ireland in the early ’70s — Counties Cork, Clare, Kerry, Galway, mostly, boozing all the way there and back from Dublin. And I remember a catchy song back then about Lisdoonvarna:

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  By the way, both my Irish paternal grandmother and my mother’s paternal grandfather were from Irish speaking parts of Ireland: the former from County Cork and the latter from County Waterford.

                  They were both born in the last quarter of the 19th century and moved to England in search of better employment. They were not immigrants, though: they had just as much right then to live and work in England as did a Welshman or a Scot.

                  The present Co. Waterford Gaeltacht is now unique in that it is the only Gaeltacht on the east coast of Ireland, the other remaining Irish speaking areas being situated on the Atlantic coast.

                  My Irish maternal great-great grandfather was from a place called Dungarvan. His family name and, therefore, my mother’s maiden name, was Burke, which is an Anglo-Norman (de Burgh) or “Old English” Irish family.

                  My great-grandfather’s forebears were probably not Normans, though: more than likely they took as their family name that of their Norman overlord in much the same way as black slaves in the United States often took as their family name as that of their “owner”.

                  Но я — англичанин!

                  🙂

              • yalensis says:

                Thanks for the clip, spoken Irish/Gaelic sounds pretty cool!
                Here is the wiki entry on Irish phonology.
                The catalog of consonantal phonemes does not seem to include any palatal consonants.
                Hence, I suppose one could say that the Irish language follows “Kirill’s Law”, also known as “anti-Trotskyist Phonological Theory”.

                I know, I know… I just can’t resist the temptation to keep clobbering Kiril for his gross ignorance on all matters Linguisticl…

                • Jen says:

                  I vaguely remember meeting my second cousin’s grandmother who was from Galway when I was nine years old. I asked her if she knew Irish and she did – she spoke it very fluently. Her daughter (my cousin’s mum) could also speak Irish. What they said to each other sounded very much like the newsreader’s speech.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Irish is learnt by everyone at school in Ireland, it’s compulsory, sort of like Ukrainian in the Ukraine, though I must say that most Irishman whom I have known and associated with and who was schooled in Ireland and who had, therefore, to learn Irish at school, was glad when he could stop learning it formally.

                  The vast majority of Irish speak Hiberno-English. There are, however, some pockets of Ireland known as Gaeltacht, where folk speak Irish as their mother tongue. I spent on and off quite a while in one such area, the Dingle peninsula, Co. Kerry, made famous as the setting of the film “Ryan’s Daughter”.

                  There are some who really work hard at perfecting their Irish, though. I had an English teacher at school who was an Irishman and he sported a small gold ring sewn into his jacket lapel. It was only years later that I learnt that the ring signified that the person wearing it was fluent in Irish. My Irish teacher, by the way, was an excellent teacher of English. Hardly surprising, really: some of the greatest men of letters in the English language were Irish.

                  Those in Ireland who want to perfect their Irish language skills visit these Gaeltacht areas in order to attend Irish language courses there or simply for total Irish language immersion.

                  I picked up bits of Irish during my travels in western Ireland: the first Irish expressions I learnt was how to introduce myself, which wasn’t difficult, because my Christian names, Dennis Michael, are common in Ireland. (I was named after my father who was named after his Irish mother’s brother who was lost at sea — whilst serving in the Royal Navy, by the way: he must have got drowned about 1880 or thereabouts.)

                  My Christian name is also quite common in Russia, so when I get asked (often very brusquely by some jumped up petty-bureaucrat or чиновник) for my “family name, name and patronymic” (фамилия, имя, отчество — ФИО on documents), for my name and patronymic I give Деннис Денисович just to keep them happy, albeit I have no patronymic. If I don’t do this, they sometimes record my second name as my patronymic, which sometimes caused some confusion in the past; not now, though, but in Soviet and immediate post-Soviet times, some of the pen-pushers here found it strange that I had two names and they just assumed that “Michael” was my patronymic.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I need to brush up my English!

                  I should have written:

                  most Irishmen whom I have known and associated with and who were schooled in Ireland and who had, therefore, to learn Irish at school, were glad when they could stop learning it formally…

                  My errors corrected above remind me of the time when some bastard on the laughably labelled Grauniad feature “Comment is Free”, after endlessly slagging me off as a “Putinbot” etc., conceded that “for a Russian, your English is quite good”.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            I’m glad that my (typically!) long commentary was of any use, despite the usual number of silly typos – aarrgh!

            Anyway, as for concerning the subject that Cortes brought up here. You know, at first I did want to address it (you can see this by my “First of all” beginning of the sentence where talking about the myths and biases surrounding the perception of the British government’s reaction to the famine). But then I decided to cut it out – the comment was already too long and I didn’t want to appear gloating too much, while talking about the complicated relations between Catholic and Protestant subjects of the English Crown. But, seeing as this subject is already mentioned, I can only offer my remaining two-penny wisdom for what’s it worth.

            True, at the moment of the Great Famine’s beginning, there was a number of Sola Scripturist preachers going around and trying to “convert the heathens”. To no one’s particular surprise, many of them were Americans. E.g. Ms. Asanath Nicholson (no, really – her name itself screams “Murikan 19th c. born-again Christian”!) and her group of preachers were at the time in Ireland to give away Bibles and Talk About Our Saviour ™. Instead, they became witnesses to the truly Apocalyptic desolation, which later served as the source for William Carleton’s (a controversial figure, to be honest) book “The Black Prophet, a Tale of Irish Famine”. And while her account mentions “talking about God” and other preachy stuff (and no mention of these American tourists contributing to the famine relief) there are neither mentions of them trying to forcefully convert anyone.

            As for the British Protestants forcibly converting Irish Catholics in exchange for food – this was generally not the case or even a “centralized policy”, but there were indeed such instances. More often the Protestants running soup kitchens would instead give the food after the starving Irish attended their obligatory Bible classes. And some of these Protestants serving in Famine Relief deliberately served meat on Fridays and during the Lent.

            P.S. One of the men sent by the British government to help fight the Scottish Famine by ensuring that extra food supplies were delivered to the needs was Sir Edward Pine Coffin. He was of little use to the Scottish – they buried their Famine dead in the blankets [ba-dum tss!]

            • Cortes says:

              Cemeteries in the Western Isles are curious. A mix of religious affiliations (RCs planted one way and various Protestants the other way vis a vis – or pied a pied – the Ocean) and occasional boasting monuments to Gaelic speakers who’d “cleaned up” thanks to the East India Company… perhaps Yalensis can confirm my suspicion that they enjoyed an easy integration into the Indo-European part of the subcontinent?

              • yalensis says:

                Dear Cortes: Unfortunately I know almost zero about the Gaelic languages.
                All I know is that they are Indo-European (Indo-Aryan), from the kentum branch.
                The kentum-satem split was the earliest know bifurcation of IE into 2 major language groups.
                So-called by the pronunciation of the common IE word for “hundred” which was originally something like *k’entum (Latin “centum” pronounced /kentum/ and then certain dialects starting pronouncing the *k’ (palatalized K) like an S, or something like that.
                Gaelic went with the kentum branch.

                Dialects like Persian, Sanskrit and Balto-Slavic went with the satem branch.
                Hence, the Slavic word for 100, evolution something like *k’entum –> *suntum –> *sutu –> Russian sto

                So fascinating that words evolve just like plants and animals – isn’t that cool?

                🙂

                • Cortes says:

                  I suspect that variation in languages begins with the emergence of a new dominant figure whose style of speech is markedly different from general usage and intimates/courtiers modify their own usages so that the innovator isn’t made to feel awkward or a defective speaker. In turn, the spheres in which the intimates/courtiers are themselves dominant cascade the innovation.
                  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonological_history_of_Spanish_coronal_fricatives contains riveting abundance of detail about the ceceo and the seseo in Castilian (Spanish). Included is a dismissive reference to King Pedro [“Origins” Section]. The issue with Pedro is that his reign predates emergence of the ceceo.
                  A monarch whose accession to the throne exactly coincided with the ceceo is the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V whose grandmother was Queen Isabel of Castile. Charles was a Habsburg and a condition of his accession to the throne of Castile was that he speak Castilian competently….
                  Anyway I like the idea. Sorry for boring.

                • yalensis says:

                  Dear Cortes:

                  There are several theories about why languages diverge and evolve. As with any complex system, there are many possible factors.
                  I personally tend to go with McWhorter’s hypothesis, whereby the main cause of sound changes (systemic changes which alter the phonological structure of a language) are usually due to external influences. Primarily to adult speakers entering the language sphere and bringing with them their own phonemic habits from a completely different language or even language group. (For example, there are entire websites devoted to the issue of whether of not proto-Germanic has a “Semitic substratum” from Phoenicians intermingling with, and intermarrying with, proto-Krauts in the Scandinavian area.)

                  Here is a thought experiment: Imagine that you are an adult brought up speaking German as your native language. Then you are captured as a slave and brought to England, where you must learn a new language. Unable to pronounce the sound “th” you pronounce it as “z”. As in “ze” instead of “the”. You learn the new language, but have a marked accent.
                  Now imagine that there are a whole bunch of German slaves just like you, and you form your own subculture. Your children grow up speaking English, but with your accent. And thus, in this part of the country, the phoneme /th/ evolves into /z/.

                  This is one theory about how it happens: Migrations of large numbers of groups, a lot of adult speakers who can’t pronounce the words properly, a couple of bilingual generations, etc.

                  It could have happened that way. I personally support that theory because it makes logical sense, but nobody really has any proof.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          See: Know Nothings

          The Know-Nothing Party, also known as the American Party, was a prominent United States political party during the late 1840s and the early 1850s. The American Party originated in 1849. Its members strongly opposed immigrants and followers of the Catholic Church…

          Anti-Catholicism had been a factor in colonial America but played little role in American politics until the arrival of large numbers of Irish and German Catholics in the 1840s.[3] It then re-emerged in nativist attacks on Catholic immigration. It appeared in New York politics as early as 1843, under the banner of the American Republican Party.[4] The movement quickly spread to nearby states, using that name or Native American Party or variants of it.

          If you’re Irish, come into the parlour, there’s a welcome there for you?

          Much prefer this:

          🙂

          Funnily enough, LA band “House of Pain”, though “fashioning themselves as rowdy Irish-American hooligans” had a member, “DJ Lethal”, who is a Latvian immigrant.

          Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore …

          including Latvians???

          🙂

  8. PaulR says:

    I’ve written a long piece deconstructing the Buzzfeed articles about an alleged string of Russian murders in the UK. You can read it here: https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/murder-most-foul/

  9. Lyttenburgh says:

    And now for something completely different.

    The Groaning Man:Britons detained in Finland after crossing into Russia to drink beer

    Four hobbits men who celebrated end of orienteering event with 15-minutes crossing likely to be charged with border offences

    “Four British tourists who were detained in Finland after illegally crossing the border into Russia to knock back a few beers are expected to face charges.

    The unidentified men, who had been competing in an orienteering event in south-east Finland, were driving back to the nearby town of Joensuu when they decided to take a 46-mile (75km) detour to the border, state broadcaster Yle reported.

    The men, who have been allowed to return to Britain, parked their car by the side of the road and made their way on foot across the Finnish border zone and into Russia, where they celebrated their achievement with a beer or two.

    “They were on the Russian side for maybe 15 minutes. Across the border they had drunk several cans of beer,” the lead investigator of the Finnish border guards’ crime prevention unit, Timo Häkkinen, told the broadcaster.

    The 800-mile Finnish-Russian border mostly runs through sparsely populated forest and is protected on both sides by border zones between o.6 miles and 4.4 miles deep that that require a permit to enter.

    There is heavy electronic surveillance on the Finnish side, concentrated mainly on the southern end of the border. Crossing is allowed only at official checkpoints where most travellers must present at least one visa.

    Having spotted their parked car, a guard patrol picked up the men when they crossed back into Finland and detained them on suspicion of border offences, Häkkinen said.

    The four – who admitted to illegally crossing the border – said they had seen and understood the many multilingual warning signs approaching and inside the border zone, but had decided to press on and cross the border because they were “strongly tempted to go to Russia”.

    A Finnish prosecutor is expected to charge the men with border offences, which generally carry a fine. Häkkinen said they were fortunate to have been detained where they were, rather than across the border.

    “If Russian border guards had come across the men in Russia, they would have been detained there to answer for their deeds,” he said.

    The offence was the second such incident in a week. Ilta Sanomat neswpaper reported that four young Germans on a Finnish adventure holiday were briefly detained in Savonlinna after also illegally crossing the border to spend “about six minutes” in Russia.

    Häkkinen told the paper the excitement of being close to Russia had plainly proved too much for the group. “If the Russians had found them, their stay would have been quite a bit more adventurous,” he said. ”

    Of course! You know – those brutal Russian prisons!

    • Jen says:

      That’s hilarious – the more Russia and Russians are demonised, the more curious some ordinary people become and the more tempting ducking across the Finnish border into the Land of Mordor is. Did the British and German tourists get scrubbed down and put into quarantine for 40 days to see if they developed any strange maladies from their experience?

    • yalensis says:

      Great movie!
      My favorite line: “In Soviet Russia Pepsi drinks YOU!”

  10. et Al says:

    Australia has stopped flying its F-18s anywhere near Syria. I wonder why? Aren’t American allies supposed to throw themselves on their own sword for the greater good???

    Al Jizz Error: Australia halts Syria air strikes after Russia warning
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/australia-suspends-air-operation-syria-170620074009807.html

    Suspension is ‘precautionary measure’ amid rising tensions between Russia and US over downing of a Syrian jet.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Hahaha. Australia has stopped flying its F-18s anywhere near Syria.

    • yalensis says:

      Aussies are CHICKENS?

      • Jen says:

        Whaddaya mean we’re chickens? That is our usual instinctive ostrich-head-in-the-sand reaction. The Danes can throw themselves on their swords if they want for the Americans.

    • marknesop says:

      What does Karl ‘Russia Weak’ Haushofer have to say about this cowering? Nothing, I suspect.

      It is merely a sensible precaution observed by cooler heads who have no wish to be the bolshie prick who starts a war proving how tough he is. But you can be sure that if the Americans feel the same way, they will be goaded into action by neoconservatives at home who run no risk and are outraged that somebody is giving the Leader Of The Free World an ultimatum.

      If I were in charge, I would not shoot them down (disclaimer; I also am in no danger myself, so you can take what I say I would do for what it’s worth). I would light them up with missile-tracking radar as soon as they crossed the river, and I would send a couple of my best pilots up in the fastest and most maneuverable fighter at my disposal (I confess to a fondness for the SU-30) to scare the shit out of him and chase him all the way back.

  11. Northern Star says:

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/20/pers-j20.html

    “As for the Times, it has no reservations about serving as a conduit for fact-free propaganda from the US intelligence agencies. This points to the newspaper’s putrefaction in recent decades, seen above all in the fact that its leading personnel, particularly on its editorial pages and foreign affairs staff, consist of ex-officio spokesmen for US imperialism, including a stable of CIA flacks such as Nicholas Kristof, Roger Cohen and Thomas Friedman.
    The editorial page editor, James Bennet, is the brother of right-wing Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and son of Douglas Bennet, a top State Department official in the Carter and Clinton administrations, whose career includes a stint heading the Agency for International Development (AID), a frequent instrument for CIA provocations.
    The Times, channeling the intelligence agencies, has a definite political agenda. Powerful factions of the ruling class want to continue and intensify the anti-Russian foreign policy adopted by the Obama administration, particularly in the wake of the 2014 campaign to bring down the elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine and install an ultra-right, pro-US stooge regime.”

    FYI:
    http://freebeacon.com/issues/mexican-billionaire-carlos-slim-becomes-top-owner-of-new-york-times/
    http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/The-Mexican-Billionaire-Even-Ex-Presidents-Fear-Talking-About–20151201-0019.html

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    The man who wants to be President of Russia…

    ATO scumbags voice their support for Navalny:

    In Kiev, a number of representatives from the volunteer battalions and veterans of the ATO, as well as community activists, held a rally in support of Russian “opposition” protests.

    As reported by Radio Liberty, the coordinator of the Kiev meeting, chairman of the public organization “The Ukraine National-Patriotic Movement”, Mikhail Kovalchuk, and veterans and participants in the hostilities in the East, decided to support the anti-corruption campaigns of the Russian “opposition”, about which they had learnt on social networks the day before .

    “Today we gathered with our brethren and decided to support Russians who want to be free, who are fighting for the truth and who respect other nations. Amongst us – veterans of the ATO – , have come activists, people who are not indifferent to this issue”, said Kovalchuk.

    About fifty people took part in the event that took place in the Park of Glory”, said Kovalchuk.

    Glory to the park! To the park — Glory!

    • marknesop says:

      This could be the breakthrough that Navalny is looking for, to make him popular in Russia. And what wonders it will do for his anti-corruption credibility; you have to admit that Ukrainians know corruption when they see it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Nay, the ATO filth in reality work for the Kremlin.

        That’s what some knobhead has commented to the above clip:


        сергей о 6 days ago
        Бойцы АТО в очередной раз показали, что они агенты Кремля. Большей антирекламы, чем поддержка бандеровцев для Навального сложно представить.

        ATO combatants have shown once again that they are Kremlin agents. It is hard to imagine more negative publicity for Navalny than this Banderite support for him.

        The flag is that of Donetsk Oblast’. I guess Sergey O, who penned the above, is a Donetsk resident. though not a separatist.

        • marknesop says:

          I guess it’s liberating, in a way, to abandon the requirement that what you advance as facts must make sense. Although if what he meant to suggest is that their actions work in the Kremlin’s interests, he’s correct. In fact, the more I think about it, the more it does make sense – if not for the posturing and slobbering of the Banderites and their little displays of unreasoning hatred, Russia would get less sympathy than it does. If Ukraine had settled down to try and be a modestly prosperous European democracy associated with the EU instead of capering around and making an ass of itself, there would be tremendous pressure on Russia to accept the inevitable, and help them out.

  13. Lyttenburgh says:

    I dedicate this video to our resident unapologetic Wotanist – Moscow Exile 😉

  14. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    Alexievich outdoes herself.

    http://www.kp.ru/daily/26693/3718245/

    Death camps for Russophobes – it really is the only solution.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Who pays the piper?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        “It was not a coup. This works well Russian TV. … the change of government was the will of the people. I was in the Ukraine, went to the Museum of the ‘heavenly hundred’, and ordinary people used to tell me about what it was. They have two enemies — Putin , and a private oligarchy, the culture of bribery.”

        Sounds like Nudelmann’s line. When on the Maidan, she only witnessed lovely old grannies and families there who were engaged in their “Revolution of Dignity”.

  15. Warren says:

    Published on Jun 20, 2017
    Lyndon LaRouche at his finest—the only statesman alive today who pulls no punches identifying the British Empire and their centuries old means of subverting nations. Here, an excerpt from a September 2009 webcast.

  16. yalensis says:

    Natalia Poklonskaya (who is a Deputy of Russian Duma) is calling to ban a film by director Alexei Uchitel.
    The film is called “Matilda” and has not been released yet. Nobody has seen it yet, including Poklonskaya.
    The film is about the ballerina Matilda Ksheshinskaya and her love affair with Tsar Nicholas II.
    Poklonskaya claims that the film (which she has not seen) is sure to offend the sensibilities of Russian Orthodox believers.
    (As if Nicky was a holy preacher man?)

    Meanwhile, check out the product — good toe turnout, but she seems kind of short by today’s standards:

    • Eric says:

      You’ve phrased your comment exactly as Uchitel did to Putin during “Direct Line”. He was as bemused by Poklonskaya’s actions as most people are. …and that’s despite him meeting with Poklonskaya recently.

      Similar things have happened before. The Italian-American community was in uproar when it was announced “The Godfather” was to be made into a film. The producers make some concessions to the storyline, filming locations and even featured a cameo by a notorious mob boss during the wedding party scene as part of the process to allow the film to be made to a standard they wanted.

      Problem here is the canonization of Nicholas the 2nd by the Russian Orthodox Church. That should never have happened but, given that it has, Poklonskaya is well within her rights to feel it is her religious duty to stop the film.
      I can’t see anyone in Poland or Europe being allowed to make a film about Pope John Paul the 2nd that wasn’t deferential about him or made allegations about his romantic life.
      On the other hand there have been loads of satirical films or cartoons about Jesus and other biblical figures!

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Any number of saints and martyrs had sinful personal histories, some egregiously so. What matters is that for all their weakness and sin they could accept suffering and death in the name of Christ.

        She’s defending a political image of Nicholas II, and she really ought to know better than to disguise her political standpoint as a defense of our faith.

      • yalensis says:

        Somebody SHOULD make a film about Pope John Paul, how he harbored Nazi sympathies, and protected child molesters.

        • Cortes says:

          That was the counterfeit JP.

          Every fule kno ((c) Private Eye) the true JP was murdered [by the KGB].

          • yalensis says:

            Yes, but there was a plot twist within a plot twist!
            Slab-faced KGB agents hired Ağca to kill the anti-Communist Pope, little knowing that Ağca was already working for the CIA as a false-flag operation.
            The true mastermind behind this plot turned out to be none other than (gasp!) Turkish crime lord Keyser Söze!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          How about a Hollywood blockbuster entiled:

          The Hitlerjugend years: Pope Benedict and his part in Hitler’s Downfall


          Gott mit uns?


          Youth serves the Führer
          All ten-year-olds into the HY

  17. ucgsblog says:

    Two announcements from this side of the Atlantic. First, the Democrats lost a Congressional Seat because they ran a district outsider. Who did they blame? Nope, it wasn’t Russia, it was an attempted murderer. Oh DNC, when are you going to take responsibility for your own actions?

    For those who don’t know, the DNC ran Ossoff against Handel in a Southern District. The problem? Ossoff actually lived outside of the district he ran, and that’s a huge deal in California, so I can only imagine what it’s like in Georgia. Let me repeat: the DNC ran someone who did not live in the district, for said district’s Congressional seat, in a close race. That’s just dumb. That’s like putting in your back up goaltender for a competitive game, while mixing up your lines. So when the DNC lost, yet again, they blamed the attempted murderer of Scalise. If you’re not seeing a connection here, you are not alone. But if you follow DNC logic of blaming popular, yet irrelevant stuff for DNC’s failure, then, and only then, it makes total sense. Next up: Dems will blame Chuck Norris for losing the 2018 Congressional Elections.

    Second, the Senate is bewildered by German refusal to shut up and take it up the ass, since Germany’s and Austria’s response was not very nice:

    “We cannot accept the threat of sanctions against European companies that want to contribute to the expansion of European energy supplies! Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, not for the US! Foreign policy interests must in no way be linked to economic interests! There is still enough time, and opportunity, to prevent this!”

    Note the exclamation marks on the end. Add to this Ukraine’s hilarious statement: “From a commercial standpoint, Gazprom should continue using the Ukraine system — it is very flexible and very reliable. Commercially, they should need the Ukrainian system, but we’re not sure they are driven by commercial interests”

    Why doesn’t GazProm see NaftoGaz as a reliable partner? Could it be because NaftoGaz is constantly suing GazProm while siphoning off gas? Yeah, that might be it. NaftoGaz seems rather flexible when suing Russia on how to sue, and very reliable at siphoning off Russian Gas. Congressional Republicans, who, despite their failings understand basic economics, figured out that the US taxpayer might end up paying, and that they’re going to be up for reelection – blocked the deal. Tyler Durden, tell us more:

    “After recruiting Trump, the KGB and Moscow have clearly also managed to make all House Republicans their puppets, because the Senate bill that passed last week and slapped new sanctions on Russia (but really was meant to block the production on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and which Germany, Austria and France all said is a provocation by the US and would prompt retaliation) just hit a major stumbling block in the House.” At least that’s our interpretation of tomorrow’s CNN “hot take.”

    Shortly after House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that House leaders concluded that the legislation, S. 722, violated the origination clause of the Constitution, which requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House, and would require amendments, Democrats immediately accused the GOP of delaying tactics and “covering” for the Russian agent in the White House.

    “House Republicans are considering using a procedural excuse to hide what they’re really doing: covering for a president who has been far too soft on Russia,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. “The Senate passed this bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 98-2, sending a powerful message to President Trump that he should not lift sanctions on Russia.”

    Chucky, Chucky, Chucky, this ain’t about Russian Sanctions. This is about the American Taxpayer. You see Chucky, most of us, US Citizens, live outside of Wall Street’s Financial Resources, and understand that money is finite. We don’t want to bankroll Ukraine. And Congressional Republicans grasp this, while Congressional Democrats… see the example of the race above. Anyone have good popcorn?

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, Trump is so soft on Russia thus far that the USA and Russia are closer to war than at any time during Obama’s tenure. But the Democrats have their hobby-horse, and they’re gonna ride it right into the ground.

      • ucgsblog says:

        Ahh, but Obama was a peace nerd by Democratic Standards. Clinton almost started WWIII. LBJ bombed the shit out of Vietnam. Truman dropped two atomic bombs on surrendering Japan, allegedly to scare the shit out of Stalin. Carter was a one term wimp. Democrats are just as war hungry as Republicans, but they lucked out with Iraq being a Republican issue, and so tried to get as many political points as possible from it. Obama’s Foreign Policy wasn’t popular with the Democratic Leadership, but it energized the youth voters, so they stayed silent. Under that context, Trump is indeed soft.

        Truman used atomic bombs to bully Russia out of Japan and Western Berlin. LBJ fought by proxy against Russia in Vietnam. Clinton ordered a war with Russia over Kosovo. Obama was the outlier. Also, it certainly helped his candidacy against McCain, and the Democrats in the midterms. After Obama was reelected, it was Arab Spring, I mean business as usual. What did Trump do? Lobbed a few missiles at the Syrians, and shot down a single plane. Just one?! What a softy! The DNC Leadership needs to realize that the World isn’t in the 1990s anymore, but I doubt that they will, and that’s an issue that will cost them the 2018 midterms.

      • ucgsblog says:

        “Georgia has provided further proof if any were needed that the Russiagate scandal is failing to gain traction with the US public. Over the last few two months a frenzied campaign has been underway in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, which the Democrats have been hoping to win in the expectation that the US public is turning against President Trump and the Republicans. There were reasons why the Democrats had particularly high hopes of this district. It is a well off, well-educated suburban district with a demographic profile expected to favour the Democrats.

        Instead, after the most expensive Congressional contest in US history, the Republican candidate Karen Handel saw off the Democrats’ Jeff Ossoff, who with 48% of the vote failed to improve on the vote won in the district by Hillary Clinton in November. If this was intended as a referendum on Russiagate and on President Trump, then he won and the Democrats lost.”

        And that’s the wrong thinking on part of the Democrats. It wasn’t about Trump. It wasn’t about Russia. It was about issues vital to the district. In California, we have a Congressman – Dana Rohrabacher, very pro-Russian. My Democratic friends, (I have friends on all sides, I don’t talk much about politics IRL,) told me that he’s going to get ousted because of Putin. I told them that, (having actually been to his district,) no one there will give a shit about Trump or Putin. One way or another.

        This election is the same. To the districts and the voters – local issues matter. Who’s funding out highways? Our major roads? Mercouris nails it:

        “The reason for this failure is in fact not difficult to see. Russiagate is and always has been an elite obsession. Here is what I wrote about it on 30th July 2016, during the scandal’s very earliest manifestations, whilst the Presidential election was still some months away… More to the point I don’t think they think much about him or consider him or Russia dangerous. On the contrary they see jihadi terrorism – which unlike Russia has actually carried out terrorist attacks on US and EU soil – as the enemy, and are open to the idea floated by Putin and Trump of the US and Russia joining forces to fight this common enemy. Issues like Ukraine and the Baltic States by contrast are remote and far away and barely interest them… Until the Democrats realise that and stop obsessively harping about a story which is of no interest to most Americans they will continue to lose.”

        Ukraine has yet to interest anyone, especially after Tesla’s corruption report on Ukraine. It’s going to come up in the news again, negatively, considering the Senate-Germany scandal.

      • yalensis says:

        I clicked on it thinking Alex was talking about Gruzia!
        No, he was actually talking about the American state of Georgia!

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    Shoigu was flying to Kaliningrad earlier today, so the US air force decided to fly close to the aeroplane transporting the Russian defence minister to Russian territory whilst the Russian aircraft was in international airspace over the Baltic.

    This is what happened next:

    See: Russian Su-27 warns off NATO F-16 trying to approach defense minister’s plane over Baltic

    The alliance was not aware that the Russian Defence Minister was onboard, a NATO representative told TASS, stating that the F-16 made a “standard” check as Shoigu’s plane had not identifed itself.

    “We consider the actions of Russian pilots during the encounter as safe and professional”, the representative said.

  19. Sputnik: NATO is training jihadists in Kosovo and Albania, and they will be unleashed against Serbia with NATO’s support: https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201705311054159721-jihad-balkans-next-nightmare/

    The ultimate goal is to draw Russia into another war.

    • marknesop says:

      If the latter is so clear to you, and you really hope for Russia’s survival as a state, why do you regularly advocate that Russia do exactly what will hasten war?

  20. Northern Star says:

    Lying racist ,moronic vermin….
    But wait!!!…they’re the pieces of shit owned by the corrupt Western elite owners of MSM….passing themselves off as ‘journalists’…..
    “As well as naming Behailu Kebede, a father of one, originally from Ethiopia and employed as a taxi driver, the newspaper published five photos. One of the captions on a photo of Kebede stated that his ‘faulty fridge started the Grenfell Tower inferno. …”
    The Mail tracked down Kebede, who they reported was in “emergency accommodation close to the scene of the disaster.”
    An indication of the impact of the Mail reporters’ intrusive behaviour is given by the quotes from Kabedi: “‘I am very upset’. Asked whether the fire started in his flat, he replied: ‘I’m busy, I’m busy. Goodbye’.”
    According to all reports, after the fire began, Kebede immediately raised the alarm and tried to alert as many people as possible. One of Kebede’s neighbours is even reported by the Mail, in the same article in which it disclosed his identity, as stating, “‘He knocked on the door, and he said there was a fire in his flat. It was exactly 12.50 am because I was sleeping and it woke me up. ‘The fire was small in the kitchen. I could see it because the flat door was open. There was no alarm’.”
    Kebede cannot be blamed in any way for the fact that Grenfell was turned into a towering inferno within minutes in the early hours of June 14. Citing BBC Panorama, on Monday, the Mail, as part of an effort to distance itself from its earlier report, wrote, “Firefighters who successfully tackled the fridge fire that started the Grenfell Tower thought their job was done and began to leave—only realising how quickly it had spread when they stepped outside. Units were called to what they believed to be a standard fridge fire at the doomed high-rise, and within minutes told residents the fire was out in the flat.
    “The crew was leaving the building when firefighters outside spotted flames rising up the side of the building. …”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/21/mail-j21.html
    More….
    “The Grenfell Tower inferno reveals the appalling human cost of the UK’s “light touch” regulation celebrated by successive Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat governments.
    For almost 40 years, the assault on health and safety regulations has gone hand in glove with Margaret Thatcher’s notorious dictum that there is “no such thing as society.”
    One of Thatcher’s first acts was to prevent local authorities from building homes on the grounds that the “market” would provide. This cleared the way for the huge growth in land and housing prices—and rampant speculation—that has turned London into the world’s fifth most expensive city.
    Accompanying this has been the dismantling of housing and planning regulations to reduce the cost “burden” to business.
    In 1986, the Thatcher government scrapped the London Building Acts. This originated out of the Great Fire of London in 1666, which destroyed 80 percent of the city. Fully 70,000 of London’s then 80,000 inhabitants lost their homes or premises. The exact loss of life is unknown.”

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/21/bonf-j21.html

    • Fern says:

      Mr Kebede’s ‘fridge exploded which is not the career path white goods are meant to follow so clearly what exactly happened to bring that about should form part of the public inquiry. Some of the spectacularly incomptent work done on the flats resulted in power surges which had caused problems with electrical equipment before the fatal fire so that may be the explanation. It seems the ‘fridge was next to the kitchen window so it appears the flames must have set light to the cladding – it was probably just smouldering while the fire-fighters were in the flat otherwise they would have noticed it. Within minutes, however, flames were racing up the outside of the building.

      In the original refurbishment spec, the cladding was intended to be purchased from a company with an excellent reputation in fire safety. Their product is considered the gold standard for fire retardation. They were replaced, however, by another company offering a product 20% cheaper with lower fire resistance. Ths product in its turn was replaced by the cladding actually used which was £2 per square foot cheaper and as fire resistant as tissue paper. Who actually took these decisions to go with the cheapest product from the cheapest supplier and who signed off on them is key – want to bet how many shredders are currently in use to destroy the paper trail?

      • Cortes says:

        At present the public mood is almost guaranteed to see a successful prosecution for corporate manslaughter. Moreover, the DUP may have overplayed its hand and another General Election would be a gift for Corbyn. In my view.

      • marknesop says:

        I’ll bet they can’t. Destroy the paper trail, I mean; because records will be in the hands of the seller as well as the buyer, and God only knows how many electronic invoices. That’s not the same thing, though, as saying the culprit will be brought to light – depends on how well-connected he or she is. There is a great desire politically to have someone to blame the whole mess upon, but nearly as great a desire to move on and forget it.

        • Jen says:

          If the transactions involved email communication, electronic invoicing and payment, there may be a metadata trail that investigators can look for.

  21. Evgeny says:

    Very slightly off topic. Mikhail Kazinik making a case that Russian state should spend more on culture — in Russia’s Federation Council:

  22. Northern Star says:

    Appears to be a moron:
    “Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson from the Obama administration told the House Intelligence committee that Moscow’s high-tech intrusion did not change ballots, the final count or the reporting of election results.

    Johnson described the steps he took once he learned of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, his fears about an attack on the election itself and his rationale for designating U.S. election systems, including polling places and voter registration databases, as critical infrastructure in early January, two weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    “In 2016 the Russian government, at the direction of (President) Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election — plain and simple,” Johnson said.”

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/ex-obama-homeland-security-chief-face-intelligence-panel-074831923–politics.html

    Nope !!….IS a moron:

    “In January 2011, Johnson provoked controversy when, according to a Department of Defense news story, he asserted in a speech at the Pentagon that deceased civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., would have supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite King’s outspoken opposition to American interventionism during his lifetime.[28] Johnson argued that American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq were playing the role of the Good Samaritan, consistent with King’s beliefs, and that they were fighting to establish the peace for which King hoped.[29][30] Jeremy Scahill of Salon.com called Johnson’s remarks “one of the most despicable attempts at revisionist use of Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve ever seen,” while Justin Elliott (also of Salon.com) argued that based on Dr. King’s opposition to the Vietnam War, he would likely have opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the covert wars in Pakistan and Yemen.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeh_Johnson#Experience_in_the_9.2F11_attacks

    • yalensis says:

      “Johnson provoked controversy when, according to a Department of Defense news story, he asserted in a speech at the Pentagon that deceased civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., would have supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq…”

      He lies! My what-if machine (what I have in my basement) tells me that Dr. King would have opposed, in the most militant manner possible, the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars!

    • marknesop says:

      “In 2016 the Russian government, at the direction of (President) Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election — plain and simple,” Johnson said.”

      He’s half-right – the idea certainly is simple. Just like him.

      Modern-day political figures seem more and more like some of the characters on “WKRP In Cincinnati”; people who, as the receptionist explained “would otherwise not be able to get jobs”.

  23. Northern Star says:

    “21 June 2017
    In the wake of Sunday’s US shoot-down of a Syrian fighter plane and the following day’s warning from Russia that it will treat all American warplanes flying west of the Euphrates River as targets for its surface-to-air missiles, the threat of an armed confrontation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers is now greater than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly 55 years ago.
    This threat, which carries with it the grim prospect of the annihilation of humanity, is the product of a calculated escalation on the part of US imperialism.
    The downing of the Syrian fighter marked the first time in this century that a US warplane has shot down the plane of another country. The last instance of such aerial combat took place in 1999 during the US-NATO war against Serbia, when an American fighter plane shot down a Serbian MiG.”

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/21/pers-j21.html

    • marknesop says:

      And a ‘calculated escalation’ is a nice way of saying ‘a set of circumstances deliberately entered into with the intent of sparking a war, which would rapidly boil down to alliances and suck the rest of the world into a massive conflict’. All to protect the American way of life. Who’s in?

  24. Lyttenburgh says:

    Meanwhile new darling of the non-systemic Opposition Ludmila “Lucya” Stein, strikes fear into the hear of Siberian khan Sobyan[in], who dares to demolish lovely and artistically pleasing to any kreakl khruschovki of Moscow. She did it with this:

    These, ah, “warding talismans” reputedly can prevent the demolition of said housed – or so Lucya says. Although she claims that it’s “her breasts” depicted on this example of the material culture, a number of knowledgeable artistic critics (yours truly included) disagree with that. Judging by Lucya’s own photo sets in the “nu” style, these breasts are bigger than anything possessed by her.

    #ебатьтулюсю

    • kirill says:

      She forgot the most important talisman. Perhaps she could get a plaster casting of her own special part.

    • kirill says:

      Neocon going back to his Trotskyist roots. How easily the belief system is flipped like a mask shows how deep the real commitment is. Communism tomorrow, fascism today. Power is the real goal.

      • yalensis says:

        And here we go again with the anti-Trotsky blood libel.
        Krauthammer was never even a socialist let alone a Trotskyist revolutionary communist.
        According to his wiki page , he shunned left-wing politics even in his youth:

        At the time [of his college studies], McGill University was a hotbed of radical sentiment, something which Krauthammer says influenced his dislike of political extremism. “I became very acutely aware of the dangers, the hypocrisies, and sort of the extremism of the political extremes. And it cleansed me very early in my political evolution of any romanticism,” He later said: “I detested the extreme Left and extreme Right, and found myself somewhere in the middle.

        Prove from any of this, Dear Otto, that Krauthammer was ever a Trotskyist or is currently a Trotskyist.

        What you actually mean is that the (admittedly odious) Krauthammer is Jewish, and that in your eyes, ALL JEWS ARE TROTSKYITES!

        Isn’t that what you mean?
        I think I have you figured out, Otto, you’re nothing more than a street-corner two-bit Jew-hater.

        Now please run back to your asylum and start writing up more theses on “The Phonology of European Languages” !

  25. Cortes says:

    Keeping the band on the road. Jake and Elwood were at base a couple of altruists. The new band should be called “The Greenback Brothers”: Messrs Chabak and Colton perform their signature version of the classic “Gimme Some Lovin'” in the latest from John Helmer:

    http://johnhelmer.net/everyone-poses-a-guide-from-a-state-department-warfighter-and-a-us-navy-war-college-consultant-on-why-russians-who-crave-american-love-deserve-it/#more-17770

    It has a marvellous neologism by the hard-living band founders.

    • marknesop says:

      Americans (in Washington and in the think tanks) see themselves as Lucy in Charles Shultz’s “Peanuts” comic strip, and the Russians as Charlie Brown. No matter how many times the USA has lied to Russia, disparaged it, lied about it, cheated it….when America says, “Hey, let’s play football! I’ll hold it, and you come running up and kick it!” Russia will still fall for the old dodge, and come running and try to kick it, only to have it snatched away at the last second so it can fall on its ass.

      I really hope Russia has learned its lesson. It does no good to talk with Washington, as it only and always means Russia harm. Despite the popular aphorism, “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war”, there is no reason Russia must choose one. Any overtures by Washington – including and especially to re-open the deconfliction channel in Syria – should be met with polite non-commitment, and a vague promise to look at it, then…nothing.

  26. Cortes says:

    Stoogesite Exclusive!

    Revealed for the first time: The Donald Meeting His KGB Handler:

  27. Moscow Exile says:

    Happy midsummer!

    Today is day with the longest daylight hours — a good time for killing lots of people in a well planned surprise attack, in fact


    June 22
    Day of Remembrance and Mourning

    Sunrise in Moscow today was at 03:44: sunset today is at 21:17.

    Hitler’s armies together with those of his allies, Italy, Romania and Hungary, attacked the USSR at 04:00, June 22, 1941.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And it’s pissing it down here today:


      On the Day of Remembrance and Mourning and in pouring rain, Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

      No bloody summer here this year!

      I bet that was once a nice suit that he was wearing.

  28. Northern Star says:

    Could the Grenfell debacle/horror POSSIBLY become any more rife with elitist corruption, racism, classism and the unbridled arrogance of TputrescentPTB..??
    Yes:
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/22/vict-j22.html
    “Those who perished in horrific deaths and the survivors of the Grenfell Tower inferno—which has killed at least 79 people—are overwhelmingly poor and working-class.
    Their deaths were the result of the policies of successive governments, going back nearly four decades, through which the social rights of working people, including the right to safe housing, have been eviscerated.
    Numerous representatives of the political elite and their media backers have engaged in handwringing and mock indignation over the fate of the victims. Their real attitude, however, is shown in the way that the survivors and their families have been treated by the authorities, with undisguised class hatred and contempt.
    This is sanctioned from the very top of government. For days, there was no governmental or local authority assistance for the victims. It took two days for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to make a 30-minute visit to the site, where she was kept away from the public on “security” grounds. Only after the awareness of growing anger in London and nationwide finally hit home in ruling circles was an emergency relief fund initiated. This was after public donations had already raised more than £3 million—totally independently of the government.”

    Unbelievable…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4603286/Strangers-offer-food-help-homeless-tower-fire.html
    One can’t read this stuff without becoming filled with rage and sorrow….lose you loved ones..your life’s belongings…then be placed in a gym to sleep on a mat on the floor..WTF..WTF….
    Well at least some of the ordinary down to earth Londoners have good hearts and are helping out the victims as best they can..

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/grenfell-tower-survivors-not-wanting-10653582

    “On Tuesday evening, almost a week after the fire, Sky News reported that a number of survivors were still sleeping in the Westway Centre. They feared, it reported, that if they went elsewhere council officials would wash their hands of them entirely and prevent them from being rehoused in the borough. Sky reported that it had been told that a number of people were sleeping in cars and even in parks since the fire and had received no assistance.
    The callous disregard for human suffering by the powers that be and the humiliating treatment that survivors have been subjected to over the past week is an object lesson in the real priorities of the ruling elite.”

  29. Northern Star says:

    Australian monkey pet of USA see….Australian monkey do…

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/22/auch-j22.html

  30. Northern Star says:

    “Tillerson called on China to make greater efforts to halt “illicit” revenue streams to North Korea that allegedly help fund Pyongyang’s military programs. Just last week, he told a congressional committee the Trump administration was “at a stage” where “we are going to have to … start taking secondary sanctions”—that is, penalise countries and corporations that engage in economic activities with North Korea.
    Unilateral “secondary sanctions” imposed by the US would, above all, fall on Chinese companies. China is, by far, North Korea’s largest trading partner. US officials and the media have repeatedly accused Beijing of failing to do enough to choke off trade and finance with the Pyongyang regime. Any penalties against Chinese individuals or entities would quickly sour relations between the US and China.”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/22/usch-j22.html
    http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/06/20/532915180/why-is-china-snatching-up-australian-farmland

    Next to Japan ,Australia is ‘Murica’s biggest lapdog in the Western Pacific
    Aussie **elites** are obviously hungry for mucho Renminbi

    Obvious question: Do any of the moron USA foreign policy makers have a grasp of freshman logic???

    • marknesop says:

      I will be extremely surprised if Washington takes any steps which result in sanctions against China. For one thing, a staggering number of American brands and corporations have factories and manufacturing assets in China, and pissing off the Chinese risks hurting the bottom line. For another, China is one of the few countries with money to lend which can match the American appetite for borrowing.

      It seems patently obvious to me that countries which find themselves the target of American sanctions should immediately react by kicking out American businesses in their country and embargoing American goods for import. The United States does not make very much which is so unique and rare that you could not find it anywhere else. American businesses and corporations will react with fury to trade actions taken against them because of posturing by the government. Do I have to think of everything?

    • Jen says:

      Curious article at NPR.org – most articles I’ve seen put China in 5th place behind the UK, the US, the Netherlands and Singapore. Philippines, Switzerland, Jersey, Indonesia and Japan round out the top 10.
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-06/uk-owns-biggest-proportion-of-foreign-owned-farmland/7820854

      I’d be more concerned about Jersey owning a significant chunk of Australian land because Jersey (part of the Channel Islands) is a major tax haven. So a company or organisation or investment fund based in Jersey that has land holdings in Australia is colluding with its shareholders or investors in stealing and using money that should be paid to the governments where they normally do business and earn incomes.
      http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/061716/why-jersey-considered-tax-haven-c-cs.asp

      The list doesn’t tell you though where the land is owned or the sizes of the farms owned. In northern and central Australia, farms are likely to be very large and fit only for cattle grazing because the physical geography is harsh – so one farm there could be a million hectares and any company that bought that would catapult the country of its shareholders close to or into the top 10 list.

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Do I detect a “ha ha ha” from anyone out there?

    Some dickhead comments to the above Russian Defence Ministry Tweet

    Are you sure this isn’t footage of American warships.

  32. Moscow Exile says:

    And the heavens cried …

    • marknesop says:

      I do wish they would give up that straight-leg goose-step style of marching. It just reminds me of fascist dictators, although it was probably not even Germany who introduced it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Prussia, as a matter of fact.

        Russian Emperor Peter III was so besotted with the Prussian military that he even ceased hostilities with Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, during the Seven Years’ War after his aunt, Empress Elizabeth, had croaked and he had become emperor and even though Frederick was considering topping himself at the time as he saw little chance of winning the war.

        This sudden change in fortunes for Frederick became known as “The Miracle of the House of Hohenzollern”.

        By the end of 1761, Prussia was losing the Seven Years’ War. Its coffers and manpower were spent. During the war, Prussia had lost 120 generals, 1500 officers, and over 100,000 men. All seemed lost.

        Frederick himself said,

        “The Austrians are masters of Schweidnitz and the mountains, the Russians are behind the length of the Warthe from Kolberg to Posen…my every bale of hay, sack of money or batch of recruits only arriving by courtesy of the enemy or from his negligence. Austrians controlling the hills in Saxony, the Imperials the same in Thuringia, all our fortresses vulnerable in Silesia, in Pomerania, Stettin, Kustrin, even Berlin, at the mercy of the Russians”.

        In January 1762, though, a miracle occurred. Elizabeth, Tsaritsa of Russia, died. She had been one of Frederick’s most implacable foes, second only to Maria Theresa [of Austria]/.

        Not only that, but she was succeeded by her nephew, Peter III, a man of whom it may be fairly said that he worshipped Frederick. Peter detested the Russians and lionized Prussians, even going so far as to wear the uniform of a Prussian soldier, even as tsar. Peter III immediately made peace with Prussia and concluded an alliance with Frederick. With the abandonment of Russia, the other nations against Frederick no longer had the motivation nor the ability to conclusively finish the war, and by 1763, the Seven Years’ War was over, with Prussia having miraculously survived.

        Source: The Miracle of the House of Hohenzollern

        Hitler thought a similar reversal of fortunes for the “Thousand Year Reich” would happen when Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945.

        It didn’t.

        Eight days later the Red Army began shelling Berlin and singing “Happy Birthday, dear Adolf”.

      • yalensis says:

        I kind of like the goose-step. I connect it with Russia and not with the Nazis.

      • Jen says:

        There are different styles of goose-stepping ranging from styles where the straight leg is brought up to no more than knee height to styles where the straight leg can rise higher than waist height. According to Wikipedia, the goose-step is used by the military in over 70 countries.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goose_step

        Greece:

        Iran:
        http://content.ngv.vic.gov.au/retrieve.php?size=1280&type=image&vernonID=58846

        North Korea:

        Turkey – now, now, no jokes about geese and turkeys here!

        I’m sure this wouldn’t remind our KS host of fascist dictators:

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Chileans are shit hot at it too. It’s because if a sizable Fritz 19th century diaspora there and also that the Chile army was trained by Bismarckian-Germany military advisors, just as Nippon’s modernised 19th century army was.

          And take a dekko at this

          As though it were straight from 1870, when German armies of the North German Confederation under Prussian leadership whupped the Frog armies in the field in just over 6 weeks (19 July until 2 September) and then besieged Paris until the end of the war on May 10,1871.


          Herzliche Grüße aus Frankreich!

          Reminds me of the time when I was in Stuttgart and I was standing on the main square there, reading the inscription on the plinth of a monument in memory of the Franco-Prussian War and which had been erected not long after the great victory.

          My Fritz chum, Joachim, had walked on ahead, having not noticed that I had stopped to read the inscription, so while I was engrossed in reading the lengthy panegyric inscribed in dated German, he came up behind of me and whispered in my ear “That’s the last one we won!”

        • marknesop says:

          You had me at the little white leather sidearm belts.

    • Lyttenburgh says:


      ^”He is not a Dimon for you!”

      • Jen says:

        I see the point being made by the sequencing of the photographs plus the hidden meanings they suggest but I think in the circumstances someone should have been beside Putin with an open umbrella, if only to shield him while he was standing, not necessarily while he had to move to place the wreath.

        • marknesop says:

          I think it signifies that he has a different idea of paying respects to the fallen from that of western leaders, or other leaders in general. It’s not about you being comfortable, and you should observe the ceremony in whatever conditions prevail, just as they lost their lives in whatever conditions prevailed at the time.

          There are no provisions for military members to carry umbrellas during the Remembrance Day ceremony, or in fact at all while they are in uniform exempting only those who are spectators. If it is raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock, the Admiral will be standing in it like the rest of the sailors. I was once part of an Honour Guard for David Collenette, when he was Defense Minister, and it was pissing down like biblical. The minister and his retinue of official guests waited under a tentlike shelter until the inspection, and Collenette carried an umbrella as he inspected the Guard. You could almost smell the contempt from the rank and file. Or maybe it was steam; it was just barely warm enough to rain, so we had our wool greatcoats on, which were soaked through and we could barely march off because we must each have weighed about 250 pounds.

          He was a po-faced beggar, as well, apparently not glad to be there. That might have been foreknowledge of what was to come, as he lost his job only a couple of weeks after.

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    Russian “oppositionist” Yashin and friend …

    Met Ilya Yashin — Russian oppositionist and close colleague of Nemtsov

    And don’t forget folks: Yashin is on the side of freedom and democracy and aims to make Russia a better place to live in, just as is the filth standing to his right is with the regards to the Ukraine.

  34. Moscow Exile says:

    Talk in the Banderastan state legislature pig trough about impeaching Porky:

    В Раде готовят импичмент Порошенко

    The impeachment of Poroshenko is being prepared In the Rada
    The party of Yulia Tymoshenko intends to push through a bill in the Rada for the removal from power of the President of the Ukraine and to run the appropriate procedure

    Several parliamentary factions of the Ukraine intend to launch an impeachment procedure against President Petro Poroshenko. “Izvestia” has been informed of this by “Batkivshchyna”, the party of Yulia Tymoshenko, which is the initiator of the procedure.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Азаров: Раде не удастся отправить Порошенко в отставку

      Azarov: The Rada will not be able to send Poroshenko into retirement

      In an interview to RT TV channel, the former Prime Minister of the the Ukraine, Mykola Azarov, said: “I have known Tymoshenko for more than twenty years. She has an insatiable lust for power: everything that she does is focused on achieving power by any means. So for her, opposition slogans are not worth anything except the desire to come back to power. She was twice been in government and has twice collapsed the economy of the country: she is now tearing it apart for a third time”.

      At the same time, according to Azarov, all this is simply a typical PR campaign. “Impeachment in the Ukraine is impossible because of the absence of a law of impeachment. One can talk about it, but it is actually impossible to achieve …”

      • yalensis says:

        Azarov is right.
        Like it or not, Porky is in a stable situation right now. He could be in power for years.
        (I hope I’m wrong, but Nostradamus whispered in my ear.)

    • marknesop says:

      Let’s see what the western media thinks of it. I’m sure everyone is at least peripherally aware by now that what Ukrainians want has absolutely nothing to do with who rules Ukraine, and that depends very much on who the Kingmaker/Queenmaker west throws its support to. This is just Yulia floating a trial balloon to see if Washington and Brussels are going to latch on with any force. Without western approval of the notion – which I can’t imagine will be forthcoming, but the parties mentioned just now are both stone-cold crazy so you can never tell – it won’t go anywhere.

  35. Warren says:

    Published on 22 Jun 2017
    The Conservative Party contracted a secretive call centre during the election campaign which may have broken data protection and election laws, a Channel 4 News investigation has found.
    Subscribe for more: bit.ly/LtASif.

  36. Titus987 says:

    Brian Whitmore suddenly discovers that Putin’s foreign policy views are by no means far from the Russian mainsteam, and is, to use a technical term, butthurt about it:

    https://www.rferl.org/a/the-morning-vertical-june-23-2017/28574962.html

    https://www.rferl.org/a/podcast-the-empires-new-clothes/28575396.html

    • et Al says:

      Joining him will be…. Mark Galetotti.

      ’nuff said!

      • yalensis says:

        But the way he formulates his statements is a complete twisting of reality.
        For example, he interprets Russian support for Crimean integration as support for “colonialism”.
        Even in Tsarist times, Russia never had economic colonies.
        And in the modern period it is certainly incorrect to use the term “colony” or “colonialism” in regard to Russia.
        Once again, this is just people from nations which actually had colonies and engaged in colonialization, deflecting/reflecting their reality onto a Russian history which is a completely different animal.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It’s the same as regards the mistaken application of the term “serf” when describing Russian peasants before 1861. They were not serfs in the feudal, Western European sense, nor were they slaves in the Black American, pre-1865 sense: though owned by their landlords and obliged to work his land, they still paid taxes to the state and were also subject to conscription in the Imperial Russian Army.

          A comparison of slavery in the USA and “serfdom” in Russia (cannot recall the source, book at dacha, written by Russian professor at University of Southampton, UK, who died young and was the son of a Hungarian emigré to the USSR):

          When one draws a parallel between Russian “serfdom” and the similar but better known contemporaneous institution of Negro slavery in the USA, it would be no exaggeration to say that the legal and social positions of Russian and Negro slaves were remarkably similar: both were chattels; both could be bought and sold – if need be separately from their families; neither enjoyed any legal, political or civil rights; neither could own property, though in practice both sometimes did; the offspring of both were slaves in perpetuity; in both cases, a free person entering into marriage with a slave automatically became a slave.

          There were divergences, of course, that often blind observers to the basic identity of both “institutions”: Negro slaves were outside society, whereas Russian slaves were regarded in some weird fashion as subjects of the emperor, even though they took no oath of loyalty: they were liable to military service, which in reality meant their expropriation by the state for a term of 25 years, and they paid taxes.

          The most obvious difference, of course, was the colour of their skins: a Russian slave was the same colour and race as his owner.

          However, in one vital and surprising respect, a Negro slave in the USA was superior to that of his Russian counterpart: under Russian legal theory and practice, a slaveholder (pomeshchik) was not accountable for murdering a slave. In contrast to this, after the American Revolution all slave states in the USA passed laws imposing the death penalty for the murder of a slave.

          There is a strange silence in Russian letters and literature, apart from some of the works of Radishchev, Saltykov-Shchedrin, Turgenev and Goncharov, about the condition of slavery in Russia, a condition which 90-odd percent of Russian “citizens” endured: in the golden age of Russian literature there were written marvellous books about the intelligentsia, the clergy, the petty officials, the merchants and the aristocrats, but precious little was written about the peasants and as regards detailed descriptions of a Russian slave’s life we know next to nothing, whereas we have at our disposal a mountain of records and descriptions concerning the life of a Negro slave in the USA.

          And there’s the rub! For Negro slaves in the USA never made up more than a fifth of the total population of the USA; on the eve of the War Between the States, Negroes constituted only one-eighth of the USA population. In Russia, however, at the height of the bondage of Russian peasants, more than nine-tenths of the population were enslaved.

          It has often been remarked that Negro slavery in the USA warped that country’s historical development and created the gravest of social problems, many of which still remaining unresolved to this day. With much more justice, might this not be said of Russia, where slavery was general, lasted at least as long and where it came to an end almost simultaneously with that of the Negro in the USA?

    • marknesop says:

      You’re going to love the next post, co-hosted by Lyttenburgh. Meanwhile, thanks for the tip.

      A quarter of a century after the Soviet Union collapsed, large and stable majorities of Russians believe that Moscow still has a legitimate claim on the territory of its neighbors.

      There is nothing whatever in the Pew Survey to support this statement; no question such as ” Do you believe Moscow has a legitimate claim on the territories of neighbouring states?” was ever put to survey participants. In fact, it is more likely Whitmore being ‘triggered’ by this statement: “Today’s rosy outlook mirrors the mood in April 2014, immediately after Russia’s takeover of parts of Ukraine.”

      There you have it, folks – Russians are broadly satisfied with the state of affairs in Russia, as much as they were back in April 2014, just after Russia stole Crimea. Therefore, Russians approve of Russia stealing Crimea, and want to see more of that kind of stealing. A logic chain much on the order of my favourite example: a dog has a nose; you have a nose – you’re a dog.

      This disgraceful extrapolation is symptomatic of western media techniques which attribute attitudes to Russians which were never established, and there is absolutely no reason to believe Russians so polled would react in the manner described.

  37. ucgsblog says:

    I was surfing through YouTube and found this little gem, enjoy Stooges! Pay special attention to 0:46 – 1:35:

  38. et Al says:

    It’s been a while since we’ve heard from professional muckraker on Russia, Karen Dishwasher (because that is how she creates her theories, cherry picks facts with bs, throws them in to the dishwasher, then divines from the result), so without further ado, here she is in Q&A format:

    Vice of Americaaaa: Russia Scholar: Oliver Stone Touts False Data in ‘Putin Interviews’
    https://www.voanews.com/a/putin-critic-weighs-in-on-putin-interviews-qa/3912689.html

    Oleg Sulkin

    NEW YORK —

    As the dust from Oliver Stone’s politically explosive (or not, depending upon which American you ask) “Putin Interviews” begins to settle, Russian viewers were just finishing the concluding episode Thursday.

    In the United States, where the controversial series—four hourlong episodes—was made available to Showtime subscribers June 12-15, critics largely panned it as blatantly hagiographic….

    …A: My own assessment is that Putin has a big problem with his image in the West. He has a huge problem with multiple rounds of sanctions, and now [very likely] a third set of sanctions. He needs to do something to get his sanctions lifted, because they are really hurting his economy. And what Stone said … [about] how well the Russian population is doing under Putin, that’s completely wrong. And of course Putin was thrilled that Stone should come up with these numbers, because they don’t reflect at all what Russia’s actual figures are. … ..
    ####

    More at the link… if you can bear it!

    • cartman says:

      • kirill says:

        The sanctions induced structural adjustment in the Russian economy is starting to bear fruit. By the end of this year NATzO pundits and assorted other mouthpieces will be in a frenzy trying to paint Russian GDP statistics as fake.

    • kirill says:

      Pathologically deluded retards. These clowns simply have no idea of what Russian economic and social reality is and think their rabid hate fantasy projection is the truth.

      Russian businessmen appeal to Putin not to pull back on the counter sanctions in case NATzO drops them at its end. Some Russians even appealed to Merkel to not drop the sanctions. The 95% of normal Russians (not the liberast 5th column) could give a flying fuck as to Putin’s image in the precious NATzO west. The NATzO west demonizes all Russians and not just Putin.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Repeat daily 1,000 times:

      …they are really hurting his economy

      • Eric says:

        This statement simply can’t possible be true. 8% in 2years? Even 3% in 2 years cant be true. Repeatedly the Russian Government and international institutions have said growth for this year is in the region of 1-1.5%, there was a recession of 4% last year and in the first year of sanctions there was small growth of the Russian economy.

        As things stand I can’t see how the Russian economy stops being stagnant in the current set of circumstances. Sizeable growth isn’t possible without significant foreign investment. Russia can and is still receiving investment from abroad but not in the numbers they would like, due to companies being under pressure from the American and anti-Russian part of the EU establishment.Those people wont stop being dickheads.

        Some industries in Russia will grow, others won’t. The only good news is that Ukraine and Georgia and Moldova will continue to be basket-cases

        • kirill says:

          The 8% was derived by taking the difference between the peak and trough values on the monthly GDP graph in the link. This is not the correct way to compare GDP growth and only the annual values should be compared.

          On what basis do you claim that Russia needs foreign investment for GDP growth? Russia’s GDP grew in large annual increments after 1999 without such investment. In fact, Russia’s GDP growth is due to domestic demand and not exports or foreign investment.

          The term stagnation is not applicable to Russia’s economy. There is always a near-zero “stagnation” going from recession to growth. Stagnation means prolonged negligible growth. You can thank Nabiullina and the CBR for suppressing Russia’s GDP growth with their extortionate 10% ***prime rate***. Even though inflation has dropped to near 4% the CBR is still maintaining a rate near 10%. High interest rates disrupt normal business activity since companies cannot operate on accumulated cash reserves and need to borrow on a continuous basis. This is due to rapid market trends which require expensive retooling. If a company waits several years to accumulate cash to retool, it will be driven out of business. Small Russian business operators openly complain about the CBR since the extortion interest rate is driving up their costs by over 30%. This number is nothing to laugh at; it means less jobs and a serious handicap in a competitive market.

          Russia is a land of absurdity in many ways. It imported Marxism and screwed itself over (with generous foreign support). It has imported monetarism and is the only country on the planet that actually tries to live by this voodoo economics model. The CBR should be purged ASAP if Putin wants healthy Russian GDP growth. The prime rate should be as it is in the west, CPI-2%. That is, instead of 10% it should be 2%. The main reason that the Russian banking sector is underdeveloped is that Russian borrowers find foreign sources that charge tolerable interest rates (4% or less). If the CBR set a 2% prime rate then Russian banks could charge 3-4% and Russian companies could get all their financing in Russia. Bank assets are their loans.

    • marknesop says:

      Then what are ‘the actual figures’, Karen, and where’d you get ’em? Western media pundits uniformly ask you to just trust that they know what they’re talking about. And what they want you to believe is that sanctions are enjoying great success at wrecking the Russian economy, and that dissatisfaction with Putin’s leadership is gathering steam. Neither of those has any merit whatsoever. The sanctions were the best thing that could have happened to Russia short of the west suddenly deciding to treat Russia as a respected friend, and that was and is never going to happen. Instead, Russia embarked on a course of hardheaded realism which has as its base the realization that the west is not going to do anything for Russia unless Russia has something that it wants; a natural offshoot of that is that Russians need not give it to them unless and until the maximum concessions have been wrung from the west in an exchange satisfactory to Russia. Otherwise, no deal, fuck you very much. No more ‘gestures of good faith’.

  39. et Al says:

    CrAP via Antiwar.com: In Yemen’s secret prisons, UAE tortures and US interrogates
    https://apnews.com/4925f7f0fa654853bd6f2f57174179fe

    Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme — including the “grill,” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found.

    Senior American defense officials acknowledged Wednesday that U.S. forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses. Interrogating detainees who have been abused could violate international law, which prohibits complicity in torture….
    ####

    Well there you have it folks. After the shame of running secret black sites in Europe (no doubt places like Diego Garcia etc.) to torture whomever they see fit, they just keep going but at only one degree of Bacon. It’s addictive!

    & this:

    Corporate Nutters Network via Antiwar.com: The images Saudi Arabia doesn’t want you to see
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/21/middleeast/yemen-malnutrition-cholera-crisis-images/index.html
    Batool Ali is six years old, though you would never guess that from her huge, haunted eyes and emaciated frame. Ribs jutting out over her distended belly, Batool weighs less than 16 kilograms (35 pounds). She is one of nearly half a million children in Yemen suffering from severe malnutrition.
    In another hospital, Ali Annhari sits with his daughter Isra in his lap. Her eyes are glazed, an IV drip in her hand. She is suffering from cholera.
    “I am scared of course,” Annhari says, “three of my children had cholera. Your children are your world. I have been eight months without a salary, so we are struggling and borrowing money … the treatment is so expensive.”

    Yemen is in the grip of a vicious cholera outbreak and a near famine that have coincided to create one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet.
    ####

    You have to be impressed how CNN sees absolutely no American culpability at all in this. They managed to mention Donald Trump, but this has been going on for plenty long under the Messiah (aka ‘Barack Obama’). Why has CNN bothered now when US networks almost to a rotten stinking journalism free lot have either played down the growing crisis or ignored it? F/k ’em all.

    • marknesop says:

      Gee; that first story is kinda sorta just like Abu Ghraib, where America got its fingers burnt but decided it felt too good to let it go. Can somebody ‘splain me how you interrogate somebody in accordance with all due observation of their human rights? ‘Cause I think it would be sort of like just asking them, maybe over a coffee or a pizza, if they did this thing that is the subject of the ‘interrogation’, and if they say “No; nuh-uh, I sure didn’t”, that’s the end of it.

  40. Northern Star says:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/putin-launches-deep-water-phase-turkstream-gas-pipeline-143410466.html

    One of the best comment people on Yahoo:

    “oldgeekMA 2 hours ago
    Truth is Russia has been looking for an excuse to get out of the business of Shipping Natural Gas to the West and the South, altogether and these US Sanctions and EU Complaints about Gazprom Pipeline Construction, may just be the out they have been looking for. In Jan 2016, Russia completed 7 Massive High-Pressure Gas Pipelines, 2 to India and 5 to China. The ones to India make 4 total Gas Lines to India, but the 5 to China are the first time China, has had access to Russian Natural Gas. The contracts India and China signed with Gazprom are 50 years, and the price of NG starts at more than double the highest rate Gazprom charges in Europe, the icing on the cake however is that the currency is not US Paper Promissory Notes(Petro Dollars), but Gold Bullion. At full capacity those pipelines can use every single NG resource Gazprom, has at the present time, and all future NG resources. So, Gazprom would be foolish not to want to cut all off its Western and Southern pipelines off, and divert Maximum Flow East. In addition to these NG Pipelines, there are Crude Oil and Diesel pipelines under construction, going to China and India – Completion date scheduled for between November 2017 and January 2018. Chinese and Indian Construction Crews completed their internal distribution pipeline networks in 2016, and have 7 Oil Refineries in various stages of completion. —– All American III Percenter and Combat Disabled US Veteran”

    Now..remind me …what was this stuff about ‘Murica shipping LNG to europe???
    LOL!!!!

    • marknesop says:

      That would indeed be delightful if there were even the whiff of truth about it; but, unfortunately, there is not. Europe is still Russia’s most important gas market by far. Numbers on the Russia-China gas deal are hard to come by and reporters who quote the price China will pay are just guessing because nobody has officially disclosed that figure and will not; it is strictly confidential.

      However, the China-vs-EU figures are not even close; starting next year, Russia will export 30-38 BcM annually to China, and that might go as high as double as the agreement evolves. So, say 65 BcM annually, in a couple of years. That’s still far less than half what Gazprom exports annually to Europe – 178.3 BcM in 2016, a significant jump over the previous year’s 158.6 BcM.

      Moreover, nearly all the increases in the past decade have been to imports by western Europe. Despite all the preaching in the media, the only countries which seem to be seriously trying to wean themselves off of Russian gas – with little to limited success, it must be said – are eastern European countries. One of the biggest yappers in the west is the UK…but the UK went from zero imports of Russian gas in 2003 to the fourth-biggest European importer in 2013.

      That little quick-reference pocket guide is actually chock-full of useful facts which you can whip out and quote whenever some pea-brained bucket-mouthed know-nothing is trying to blizzard you with blue-sky bullshit. Here’s a few:

      1. All the blather and angst about reducing Europe’s dependency on Russian gas imports conveniently ignores one buzzing fly in the ointment – long-term contracts. Of 178.6 BcM imported by Europe in 2013, 166 BcM of it was under 30-year contracts. By far the most of it. And you know what would happen if the EU broke a contract in order to reduce its imports, even if it could practically do so under conditions in which domestic sources of supply are rapidly drying up, which it can’t. Also, contract supplies are by definition sanctions-exempt.

      2. Home-grown Shale gas is not going to ride to the rescue. Even if Europe could tap supplies which are not sour with so much nitrogen that you can’t even burn it, in order to reach shale gas supplies of only 28 BcM annually Europe would have to drill 800-1000 new wells every year for 10 years. Let’s see that spun as fiscally viable, or sensible in any way, shape or form.

      3. Blabber about the Southern Gas Corridor was always nothing more than that – supplies from Azerbaijan to Europe were never expected to total more than 30 BcM, about what Russia expects to export to China starting in 2018, and it would have taken until 2030 to reach that capacity.

      4. LNG actually holds the best promise of undercutting Russian supply, and Europe’s regassification terminals actually could handle more than the combined total of Russian imports now; 200 BcM. But LNG supplies to Europe depend entirely on whether they can be profitable, and all current objective studies find that Russia can keep LNG away as long as it likes, simply by consistently pricing its pipeline supplies lower than LNG. Given what it would cost Uncle Sam to get his supplies to market, Gazprom can still easily do that and turn a handsome profit.

    • et Al says:

      I thought there was a plan to pipeline NG from Nakhoda to Japan? What happened to that, or was it simply to be an LNG terminal but got shifted?

    • marknesop says:

      I’m glad you brought that up; quite apart from the very interesting information contained in the article itself, it is a springboard to a larger discussion – is Russia equally committed to reducing its dependency on European pipelines as the Europeans are? Some say yes: Russia’s $27 Billion icebreaking LNG Carrier project is an eye-opener which has been more or less entirely left out of energy discussions. And its target market is Asia.

      Yamal is projected to double Russia’s share of the growing global LNG market by the time it reaches full capacity of 16.5m tonnes a year — equivalent to more than 80 per cent of China’s annual demand — by 2021. Construction is three-quarters complete and production from the first phase of the project is due to commence by the end of this year.

      More than 95 per cent of Yamal’s expected output has already been sold through 15 to 20 year contracts, with customers mostly in Asia and Europe.

      • et Al says:

        That’s hardcore! Thanks Mark. So the Chinese stepped in to take up the slack created by US sanctions against Timchenko’s Novatek part of the project. Another US epic fail.

        It’s curious that the West’s interpretation of ‘globalization’ hasn’t turned out as expected. They saw it as western globo-corporations buying in around the world, but globalization has naturally progressed as ‘multi-polarization’ of global power, away from the US & the West’s dominance. The Chinese stepping in is a perfect example. It shows that Russia has real options which it is building and if needs be, at some point in the future, tell the ‘No thanks!’.

  41. kirill says:

    The Middle East back in the 1950s under the Baathists. Compare to today under head chopping Wahabbi scum. Thanks America, you f*cking pile of stinking excrement. This is your “freedom and democracy” that you claim to be fighting for while succoring and raising jihadi maggots.

    • Cortes says:

      Truly depressing, Kirill.

      I’d seen that before but thanks for re-posting.

      The effort to produce the current clusterfuck has had a decades-long gestation. If one accepts that premise then the argument put forward by The Saker, for example, regarding the short term focus of western MSM in service of the long term goals of the elite becomes more comprehensible. No reason to consider thinking people in “the West ” as somehow less savvy than the elites of the RF or the PRC. Short term focus is merely throwing coloured paper into the air for the distraction of the masses.

      The western long term strategy has been sussed, I think.

    • Jen says:

      Actually that’s Egyptian President Gamal Nasser. Egypt didn’t officially adopt Ba’athism as a political philosophy though I can imagine Nasser and other Egyptian politicians of his time may have been sympathetic towards it or parts of it. It was Arab nationalist and secular in character and preached religious tolerance. Ba’athism was mainly important in Syria and Iraq in the 1950s and 1960s. Of course what confuses the issue of Ba’athism is that there was a time when Egypt and Syria agreed to form a short-lived union called the United Arab Republic.

      • yalensis says:

        The trend was clear, though. All the big, important Arab nations were evolving towards being modern, more secular states.
        The Soviet Union was also a player at that time, supporting secular, moderate Arab nationalism.

        Then the trend turned backwards toward medievalism. I believe the turning point was in the mid-1970’s. A Combination of Israeli triumphalism and the U.S. (under Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski) placing their stake on Saudi Wahhabism, to counter Soviet influence.

      • kirill says:

        Thanks for the correction. I recall that Iran was also secular and democratic (not Baathist) until Americans foisted regime change on it in 1953. America has been subverting independent democracies around the world for decades. They do this while screaming about spreading democracy. The de facto one-party state USA has a perverted idea of democracy.

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    The European command of the U.S. army (EUCOM) has published a photo taken onboard a reconnaissance RC-135 aircraft at the time of its interception by a Russian Navy Su-27 fighter over the Baltic Sea.

    The American reconnaissance aircraft was flying over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea near the border of the Russian Federation. To intercept it was sent a fighter aircraft of the Baltic fleet. When the aeroplanes approached, the RC-135 made a provocative change of course in the direction of the Su-27 , reported the Ministry of Defence. The Russian pilot reacted to the manoeuvre of the US aircraft and continued escorting it until the American reconnaissance aeroplane had turned away from the border.

    The Americans were quick to accuse the fighter pilot of approaching within “dangerous proximity” — the Su-27 allegedly came within 1.5 metres of the aircraft. EUCOM has published photos which show that the distance between the aircraft was a lot more than this.

    “As for the alleged ‘provocative’ flight, we should like to emphasize that after just 10 minutes there entered this zone yet another RC-135, which was also intercepted by a Russian Su-27”, the Russian Defense Ministry noted.

    Intercepts of NATO aircraft near the Russian borders has in recent times increased considerably. In mid-May over the Black Sea and near the Russian frontier there flew a US air force anti-submarine P-8 Poseidon aircraft; an Su-27 of the Black Sea fleet was scrambled and moved closer to the stranger and escorted it to its proper position. On June 6, yet another Su-27 chased off from the Russian frontier an American B-52 strategic bomber and on June 21, a Russian air force fighter had to drive away a Polish F-16 fighter from the aeroplane in which the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was flying to Kaliningrad.

    Source Появилось фото перехвата истребителем Су-27 американского разведчика

    Hahaha?

  43. Moscow Exile says:

    That bridge


    Model of how the railway arch of the bridge is to be transported to its installation site in the centre of the fairway

    Yukies are very distressed and are making an appeal to the International Maritime Organization

    Deputy Minister of the infrastructure of the Ukraine, Yuriy Lavrenyuk, said that Kiev plans to approach the International Maritime organization as regards the construction by Russia of a bridge across the Kerch Strait.

    According to Mr. Lavrenyuk, Moscow has not made an agreement with Kiev concerning the construction of this crossing. In particular, the Ukraine has not agreed to the closure of sections of the Kerch Strait for 23 days in August-September 2017 during the installation of the bridge arch. Thus, according to the Deputy Minister, Russia has violated the requirements of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and an agreement between the Ukraine and Russia on cooperation in using the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, as well as a number of other international agreements and documents, reports TASS.

    They still don’t get it in the Ukraine, do they?

    It’s all Russian territorial waters adjoining Russian territory now, you morons, so fuck off with your whining!

    Source: ,a href=”http://atrizno.livejournal.com/9784072.html”> Как Украина дрочит на Керченский мост

    How the Ukraine is getting totally pissed off with the Kerch bridge

    (Well, literally, “wanking off over the Kerch bridge”, but here the meaning is that the bridge upsets them, somewhat, in Kiev — bunch of wankers though they are!)

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Drat! Didn’t change my keyboard back to Latin so the link was bolloxed.

      Try again:

      Source: Как Украина дрочит на Керченский мост

      How the Ukraine is getting totally pissed off with the Kerch bridge

    • kirill says:

      Russia is legally entitled to close off the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea. It is doing those Banderastani ingrates a favour.

    • Drutten says:

      The best part about this recent outrage is that many Ukrainian television viewers were mighty surprised to find out that the bridge is real and that it’s seemingly nearing completion at that.

      For the past two years, Ukrainian television and print media has featured countless “experts” dismissing the feasibility of a bridge, calling it an impossible project on technical grounds, finacnial grounds, environmental grounds… Basically one reason or another, a good few hilariously contrived.

      These stories have regularly had tied in footage of the Kerch construction site the way it looked when the first soil probing and test piles were driven in 2014, accompanied by endless snarky remarks on how this is all those vatniks have managed to do over all these years.

      With this brand new story on how dreadful and unacceptable it is that the lifting of the main span archs will restrict maritime traffic through the strait for a week or two later this summer, Ukrainian viewers found it all a wee bit confusing.

      No, this is not a joke, by the way.

      • kirill says:

        Since Russia has ports in the Sea of Azov as well, why would it build a bridge that disrupts shipping? The whole hysteria is yet more Banderastani anti-Russian hate. But it is funny to see these windbags trip over their own propaganda.

        • Drutten says:

          Well, the two large arches will have to be moved into place on huge barges and then lifted up, that operation takes a little while and will restrict traffic quite significantly. The bridge itself, once finished does not restrict any traffic. It’s the same height as the westernmost bridge on the Don (that by far most Azov shipping pass under, as Mariupol and Taganrog et cetera are dwarfed in comparison to Rostov).

          Anyway, there are hundreds of crazy stories being constantly floated in Ukrainian media and on the Ukie-internet. Shortly after the news about this temporary restriction aired and Ukrainians finally learned that the bridge actually exists and that everything their media has said in the past were lies, they quickly invented some new stories.

          The latest one I heard was that apparently while Russia is indeed building the bridge, they’re building it out of radioactive scrap from abandoned nuclear reactors so people driving across it will be glowing in the dark by the time they reach Kerch. I shit you not.

          Some kind of timeline over these Ukrainian stories really needs to be preserved for the future. From how they kept moving the “goalposts” earlier on, to how they completely lost it when they accidentally acknowledged that the bridge was real and nearing completion.

          I recall I detailed the moving of goalpost thing earlier, many months ago. They kept saying that everything about the bridge was impossible and each time some information about construction progress leaked, they quickly reassured everybody that surely this time they’ve reached a dead end and anything beyond this point is just for show to fool silly all Russians and the Crimean traitors.

          It went from “there won’t be any piles” to “okay, there are piles but they’re useless and thus no actual supports will be built” to “okay, they’re building supports but only on land because building them in the water is impossible” to “okay, they’re building supports in the water but they will sink down any minute” to “okay, they seem stable enough now but just watch when the winter ice will wreck everything” to “okay, they didn’t budge over the winter but the next storm will capsize everything” to “okay, they weathered out a gazillion storms but the volcanoes and crazy seismic activity will ruin it any moment now” to “okay, we might have exaggerated that but at any rate they’ve run out of money so nothing will be built from this point and on” and so on and so forth.

          And now, okay, it’s all there but hey – it’s radioactive. Hahahaha.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            The technology is nothing new: Brunel in the UK raised the arches for the Royal Albert Bridge over the Tamar at Saltash using hydraulic jacks, and that was in 1858/9. The span was raised at an average of 6 feet per week (1.83 metres).

            Might be new to salo scoffers, though.

          • marknesop says:

            I guess when all else has failed, they will have to fall back on “There’s a curse on the bridge, and all who pass beneath it or upon it will die before their allotted years run out”, or something suitably apocalyptic and desperate like that. More importantly, as I suggested earlier, the bridge will complete a symbolic link with Russia that will make the west’s continued croaking that Crimea is still part of Ukraine look simpleminded and sad. And it’s more than that – it’s the high-water mark, thus far, for western fuck-ups where regime change is concerned and highlights how quickly things can go sideways from your naive tunnel-vision plans. In western planning, nations which are the object of regime change always fall over like dominoes as the populace dances into the streets with their arms full of flowers and candy. The more times it backfires with dreadfully serious consequences at least and ruin at worst for the target nation, the less willing populations so targeted will be to go along with it. And as sorry as we may be for the Ukrainians who got caught up in the cyclone without being 100% committed, they did little to arrest the course of events, and let it happen. Now they must suffer the consequences.

            As I also mentioned in another comment, if Ukraine continues its suicidal ideological crusade to pretend it is on a different continent than Russia, Russia may begin to restrict the flow of Ukrainians into Russia. The west would be delighted to see the two former friends so bitter against one another, since that was the object of the glorious Maidan, but giddy Ukrainians who keep cutting off more and more of their own nose to spite their face have overlooked that the west is not interested in taking it on as a partner in any but the most abstract sense – it is far more interested in using it as a stone frigate against Russia, and maintaining it at near-collapse is ideal for that purpose. The government does its part by blaming Russia for the state of affairs.

            Zarobitchane, Ukrainian guest workers in Russia, sent home $9 Billion in 2014, the year of the glorious Maidan. Just groove on that amount for a moment or two – Ukraine is frantic to try and stop the completion of Nord Stream II by any means possible…over $2 Billion annually in transit fees it stands to lose. This is more than four times that amount. It’s also more than three times the total foreign investment in Ukraine the following year, 2015. And the biggest foreign investor in Ukraine is Russia.

            The fact is that if Russia really wanted to strangle Ukraine economically, without firing a shot, it could do it in less than a month. The west would shriek from the sidelines, but do nothing to help. It wouldn’t dare, because it has been true all along that without Russian support, Ukraine is the walking dead.

    • marknesop says:

      They paid little attention to it while they were still listening to the naysayers in their leadership and technological ranks who said it could not be done – let the Russians waste a bunch of money with their silly dreams. They are only kicking up a stink now that it is obvious it is not only possible, it is nearly a reality. And they know well that once Crimea is directly connected to the Russian mainland, it’s all over. There is nothing more they can do to starve or strangle Crimea in an attempt to force its obedience. They have lost it forever. And Poroshenko needs to shake the international bushes to distract them from his glaring inability to get it back, as he promised he would do. ‘Cause he’s a uniter, not a divider.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I tell you what I should love to See!

        Remember how some prat in Kiev a couple of years back said there would soon be a Yukie Victory March held in Simferopol when the Crimea returns to the loving arms of Banderastan?

        Well, after the bridge has been completed, how about marching across it some elite Russian regiments accompanied by some armoured units, which military shall then proceed to Simferopol so as to hold a Victory Parade there?

        In fact, the units could do a tour around the peninsula before they enter the Crimea capital, sort of like what the Pinderosy like doing in Eastern Europe — you know, their risable “Dragoon” tours of “former Soviet bloc states”.

  44. et Al says:

    Al-Beeb s’Allah: The secret lives of young IS fighters
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/is_fighters

    …But he takes pride in his work. He notes practice runs in converting coordinates from Google Maps to actual targeting coordinates. He draws compass degrees as well as the curved graph course of mortar rounds.

    Importantly, in the munitions section and in his own handwriting, he lists “chemical munitions” as a weapon..
    ####

    Apparently IS/ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever fighters to handle chemical weapons isn’t the key story in all of this, but then again anything that confirms what Syria, Russia and others have been saying about it that ocntradicts the west’s narrative that only Syria uses chemical weapons and is beyond IS/ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever, is not relevant. MOFOs.

    • yalensis says:

      “Islamic prohibition of the depiction of the human form.”

      Certain things I don’t understand: Are photographs okay?
      Because these ISIS terrorists take selfies and stuff and even publish them on the internet.
      Am I missing something? (Ignorant about theology.)

      • marknesop says:

        I think they mean ‘depiction of the human form’ in a sexually provocative manner. You notice Islamic men generally do not dress that way, either; don’t look for King Abdullah II to show up on a state visit in ball-hugger jeans and a wife-beater T-shirt. But Muslims frequently have large families; it is apparent there is no discouragement of fornication – just stay within prescribed boundaries.

      • Cortes says:

        Fundamentalist Moslems definitely have an issue with sculptural representation of the human form and, regrettably have destroyed much work, including the giant Buddhas in Afghanistan, and the historic areas of Palmyra recently.
        The other day I passed by one of my favourite places in Glasgow – a terrace of fin-de-siecle Victorian townhouses some of which have amusing little caricatures of the architect’s family and friends carved above the doors. One of the faces has been obliterated and others are sporting fresh-looking damage. A shame if it’s deliberate but I’ll check with an acquaintance who lives there.

        • marknesop says:

          Islamic fundamentalists have a problem with almost everything related to being a human. I guess it’s supposed to be a painful exercise in self-denial.

      • Jen says:

        As I understand it, Islam (if interpreted and adhered to narrowly and strictly) prohibits all forms of figurative art extending to photography and even film.

        I have heard and seen some reports and articles that suggest many if not most ISIS fighters don’t know anything about Islam at all and have had to be taught the basic beliefs and doctrines once they join up.

        • yalensis says:

          The context was that the writer on that piece (which is an excellent piece of reporting, IMHO), surmised that the defacing of the picture of the baby (from an anti-fungal advertisement) was due to the Islamist prohibition of depicting the human form. And yet these same ISIS “militants” take selfies and other photographs to glorify their exploits.

          I sensed a contradiction there, which I think you have confirmed.

  45. et Al says:

    Independent: Saudi Arabia says it has foiled Ramadan terror plot to blow up Mecca Grand Mosque
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-grand-mosque-mecca-suicide-bomb-ramadan-terrorists-isis-a7805976.html

    Suspect ‘blew himself up after exchanging gunfire with security forces

    ####

    The only surprise is that it happend so soon. There is clearly a pattern of attacks within the KSA these last few years and it is hardly a surprise that the Gulf states and its western allies creation of IS/ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever has gone for the most corrupt moslem country on the planet, Saudi Arabia who have amongst other things (2014) seems to have planned to move the Prophet Mohammed’s grave to drive up Mecca’s marketability and KSA’s place as being synonymous with Islam and the only correct version of it. A great perversion. The ‘war on terrorism’ is coming home to Gulf. The coming disruption has the potential to be massive, particularly if oil installations and networks are targeted. Get ready to boogie.

  46. Northern Star says:

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/korean-war-begins
    “The result of a North Korean regime collapse would be catastrophic and may trigger a dangerous race between China and the US-ROK (Republic of Korea) forces attempting to secure strategic and symbolic locations such as the Yongbyon nuclear facility and Pyongyang,” Andrew Injoo Park and Kongdan Oh wrote for the National Bureau of Asian Research.
    China worries about both of those, especially the latter.
    Beijing values Pyongyang as a strategic buffer between itself and US-allied South Korea. If North Korea were to fall, it could lead to a US-allied unified Korea, with US troops right on China’s border.”
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/22/asia/north-korea-war-devastation/

  47. Cortes says:

    Latest doping mockrage piece at The Guardian revving up for removal of FIFA 2018 from the RF:

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jun/24/russia-2014-world-cup-squad-fifa-doping-investigation

    Just like the Stones, the kings of comedy Pound n McLaren roll back onto stage.

    • marknesop says:

      “The state-sponsored doping and cover-up in Russia are well known but this is the first time top-level footballers in the country have been placed under investigation, although there is no proof of any anti-doping violations.”

      Pure comedy gold – the “there is no proof” appearance of even-handedness in the same sentence as “The state-sponsored doping and cover-up in Russia are well known…” when in fact they are nothing of the sort. The cover-up is in fact the thrashing about of WADA to try to pretend the Pound/McLaren show was anything other than a vendetta.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      There are ads everywhere in the Moscow metro system recruiting speakers of English for the metro stations. Pays well, too: regular job, flexible hours, free public transport travel etc. The recruitment drive is so as to help football fans who will arrive here to watch that daft game.

      I keep telling my son and heir, Vladimir Denisovich, to shift his arse down to the metro station so as to sign on, but as I have written before, he has become a Grade-A lounge lizard and since he finished school last week (“graduated” as they say in North America) and received his “attestat” for completing his secondary education, following which ceremony he celebrated at an all-night thrash at the State Kremlin Palace (a so-called “prom”) and was dancing the light fandango on Red Square, he has been sleeping for 12 hours every day, literally: stays up all night and sleeps all day. He must be a nocturnal lizard.

      He’s managed to skive off doing military service though, which can’t be bad.

      He starts his higher education in September. Don’t know where.

      • marknesop says:

        Youth are on a different metabolic cycle than the rest of the world, and sleep opposite from the patterns of the very young and the…ahem…older. Although it often seems to hold only for young men, for some reason. I’ve raised two daughters and the elder is in her 30’s, and I don’t recall her ever staying up half the night only to blink stupidly through classes the next day. The remaining young man in our household, 23, often stays up until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning on weekends and sleeps until after lunchtime the following day. But this should be his last year with us; he is itching to move out, and we certainly don’t oppose it. Then he can do exactly as he likes, which is why young men leave home.

      • Jen says:

        If Junior Exile finished school only recently, he’s surely entitled to bum around a bit for the rest of June. As long as he has something to occupy him during July and August: travel, volunteer work, part-time work maybe?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          If I had become his father at when I was, say, 25 years old, which was around the average age of marriage for male proles in my old neck of the woods in the ’70s, instead of when I was turned 50 in 1999, he would now be drawing for me in my stall “deahn pit” — and I don’t mean drawing pictures!

          🙂

          • Moscow Exile says:

            This is where he was on 23rd June, where he had been bused off with his classmates after they had received documentation that they had finished their secondary education:

            VII Всероссийская премия “Выпускник 2017”. Москва. Кремль. 23.06.17

            He’s there somewhere!

            First some hoofing in Aleksandrovskiy Garden and then into the Kremlin for a show in the State Kremlin Palace and all night thrash and dancing on Red Square too.

            In the Kremlin Palace foyer before things really kicked off, 23 June, 2017:

            A big fireworks display.

            What a scandalous waste of public funds!

            And I have just found out that the “Kremlin Prom” knocked me back to the tune of 8,000 rubles [£106 / $135]: Prom in the Kremlin in 2017

            Mrs. Exile never mentioned that little detail to me!!!

            We shall now have to cut down o the rotten fish heads for a month or so, I reckon, so as to keep our heads above water. …

  48. marknesop says:

    Here’s a dandy roundup of goings-on in that Krazy Kountry to the south of Russia.

    First up, Oleksandr “Dr. Evil” Turchynov announces that soon Russians who wish to cross the border into Ukraine will need to have biometric passports. Kiev is also working hard to introduce a visa regime for ‘the aggressor country’ as well, obviously to make it as difficult as possible for Russians to get into Ukraine. I think it would be pretty funny if Russia immediately responded in kind, and then Ukraine would have to deal with all its refugees living and working in Russia, and find them all jobs or put them on the non-existent dole.

    Next, an incredible story in which Wired‘s investigator in Ukraine not only discovers that Russia’s hacking of everything in Ukraine, so that the poor government is left looking like it doesn’t have any money and can’t provide services when in reality it’s doing a great job but Russia just hacks its generous power grid as soon as the government gets it working again, it’s so tiring – not only does he find this out, but he discovers that all the hacking attacks are really trial runs for Russia to spread its hacking tentacles to public services in the United States!! You’re next, you freedom-loving motherfuckers! You have to read it to believe it, and then you’ll still be shaking your head in amazement, America truly has gone out of its mind, and is pissing-your-pants crazy.

    Last, but not least, the terminal losers in Ukraine are going to have a crack at appealing the judgment that an English court handed down on a case it found so glaringly deficient on Ukraine’s part that it refused to even hold a trial. Yep; Ukraine is appealing the judgment that said its $3 Billion debt to Russia is a sovereign debt which must be repaid, and not a commercial instrument on which it could default without repercussions, Legal experts point out that this is exactly what you would do if you didn’t have tuppence to pay anyone anything bigger than lunch money, and wanted to delay things for as long as humanly possible, hoping to catch a break. They sure are learning great lessons about democracy and freedom and are shaping up to be a great addition to the EU – can’t wait.

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