It Looks as if Your Dead Horse Could Use a Touch of the Lash.

Uncle Volodya says, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question.”

Let’s see…who will we hold up to ridicule today for their fanciful portrayal of current or past events in a manner which is strongly reminiscent of a certain story, in which one ate from different sides of the same mushroom to make one tiny or gigantic, and there was a lot of falling down rabbit-holes? I was sorely tempted to pick Luke Coffey’s entry, Ukraine’s Future is Brighter Than You Think, for The National Interest. You all remember Luke, former US Army officer turned think-tanker, perhaps for his public and very enthusiastic endorsement of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili as a Swiss-army-knife solution to Ukraine’s corruption problems. Yes, it was hard to keep from laughing; I talked a bit about it here. Suffice it to say that here we are, a little better than two years down the road from that embarrassing moment, and Ukraine has made zero realistic progress. Its tubby oligarch President is still owner of all the businesses he promised to sell back when he was elected, is richer than ever, still hasn’t learned anything about running a country, and for its part the country was recognized – a year after Coffey’s exhibition of slobbering devotion – as the most corrupt country in Europe. Saakashvili was obviously about as useful as a chocolate teapot at fighting corruption, and now he has been stripped of his last remaining citizenship by Ukraine’s portly font of corruption himself, Petro Poroshenko. He’s currently hanging out in The Land of the Free, where he frequently couch-surfs between bouts of doing nothing about corruption in Ukraine, terrifying the fast-food population and adding to his gross tonnage. Lest you think I am gratuitously mocking him, see if you can name one useful thing he ever did to fight corruption in Ukraine – one official who was successfully prosecuted for corruption thanks to his whistle-blowing. Oh, I know he can generate no end of audio over his ‘reforms’, but that’s because he speaks fluent Washingtonian and knows all the ideological buzz-words.  Word is he may have to seek asylum there. That was likely his plan since some time back, and he’s just testing the waters, because his support in Ukraine is even lower than Poroshenko’s. You can hardly swing a dead cat by the tail in Washington without hitting some exiled leader-in-waiting, and the regime-change auditioning steadily adds to their number, but I suppose there’s always room for 1.8 more (Saakashvili is almost two people, and has the chins for three).

The article in question is low-hanging, juicy fruit, packed with counterintuitive, crackpotty and easily disprovable assertions, such as that the macroeconomic situation in Ukraine is now stable. I guess he threw that big ‘macroeconomic’ word in there – six syllables!!! – so you would not guess that he does not know what ‘stable’ means. In fact, Ukraine is running a trade deficit of $442 million USD, unemployment is as bad as it was at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 and headed north at a brisk clip, the country remains dependent on IMF handouts for its survival, and the forecast for GDP growth is regularly revised downward as the time for it to surge up into happiness figures draws nigh. The national debt as a ratio of GDP has doubled since the glorious Maidan. Ukraine  is to stability what mud pies are to haute cuisine.

Exports are up, Coffey tells us. First off, I don’t know how he would know that, since economic data typically lags by nearly a year and he provides no figures. But in 2015 Ukraine realized twice as much money from exports of sunflower oil and seed as it did from agglomerated iron ores and concentrates, and metals are one of the fields he cites as growing. That same year, Ukraine exported $ 38,127 million worth of goods, and imported $ 37,516 million. Did I mention the balance of trade had worsened since 2015, which – all things considered – was actually a pretty good year for post-Maidan Ukraine?

Anyway, as I said, it was tempting. We could have had a lot of fun, making fun of Luke and his saccharine daydreams. But in the end, I let it go, in favour of thisDer Spiegel’s apocalyptic view of conditions in the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics…as they understand them from known crackpot and former Ukrainian SBU member Alexander Khodakovsky, whom they contacted via WhatsApp.

Yes, we all know – to our great sorrow – that journalists rarely go to the countries on which they report anymore, and are apparently satisfied to just call activists in war zones to see how the situation is shaking out. And Der Spiegel has a legitimate excuse – it sought accreditation for the Donbas back in March, and was refused.

I want you to imagine, for a moment, that you’re calling the Turks and Caicos, and you speak for a half-hour or so to the village idiot from Bottle Creek. You ask him how your offshores are doing, and he tells you they blew the roof off the bank, you’re richer than Bill Gates.

Would you call up your boss, tell him to go fuck himself, you don’t need his two-bit job any more because you’re a billionaire? I devoutly hope not.

It is remarkable how journalists appear to harbour no suspicion when a source is telling them exactly what they want to hear, and then some: losses on the front lines of the DNR are horrific. The military situation is deteriorating, and if not for Russia’s direct help, they would have had to give up a long time ago. All the plants which were nationalized by the government of Novorossiya were placed under the control of a company registered in South Ossetia, called Wneschtorgserwis, to cover up Moscow’s involvement and escape international sanctions. Russia is in it up to its ears, organizing, supplying, helping, advising and planning. The DNR leaders are basically just paper cutouts with Putin’s men standing behind them. All, all exactly the kind of stuff that makes western leaders go “A-HA!!!!! I knew it!!!!”

Curiously, the only mention of ‘Wneschtorgserwis’ is in the subject article. Companies whose names are close and which might indicate a transcription error, such as “Nestor Servis”, are based in the Netherlands and Serbia. No mention of any such company in South Ossetia. Graham Phillips – who actually did spend quite a bit of time in Donetsk and its environs –  wrote a piece back in May of this year, cautioning against any attribution to Khodokovsky and citing material written by him in which he claims 100,000 Russian soldiers are in the DNR and if not for them, the whole place would have been rolled up like a carpet. Moscow is running everything. The rebels did have a Buk system – it was brought in from Lugansk, and then returned to Russia after they used it to shoot down MH17: Khodokovsky, with his thumb firmly positioned on the pulse of current events, knew all about it.

Even that veteran vampire of Russophobia, Catherine Fitzpatrick, was drawn from her box of dirt by the maddening inconsistencies in Khodakovsky’s storytelling. After allegedly having affirmed, in an interview with Reuters, that the rebels had possessed a Buk system which was brought in from Lugansk, that he absolutely knew all about it…he almost immediately said that he had never mentioned Buks in the interview, never told them anything of the kind and that he had a recording which would prove it. I wouldn’t doubt it, given the SBU’s ‘magic’ with recordings of conversations.

Except he also said it was the Ukrainians who shot down the airliner, and that they knew the rebels did not have any Buks. At about this point in the conversation, the word ‘Buk’ should have begun to lose all meaning for you, to become nothing more than a nonsense syllable, or a conversational overture from a chicken.

Alexander Khodakovsky is an attention-seeking charlatan, the ‘Curveball’ of Novorossiya. And Der Speigel got a scoop from him – Ukrainian factories are being dismantled and sold to Russia, masterminded by Surkov. Even though nobody knows anything about ‘Wneschtorgserwis’, Der Speigel is comfortable that it ‘knows’ – reportedly – that the company has delivered 140,000 tons of iron ore to steel mills in the Donbass region since April, for $18 million, and that it has begun exporting steel to Russia from there, as well as anthracite from the mines. That’d be from the steel plants which are all sitting idle with their workers sent home jobless, or broken up like Kuwait’s incubators and carted off to Russia under the acquisitive eye of Surkov. Khodakovsky almost set up an interview with the mysterious South Ossetian company’s ‘PR Representative’ – just what you need when you’re trying to fly under the radar and avoid sanctions; a local PR rep – Viktor Nikolayenko, but Moscow got wind of it and shut him down. Damned Putin – he never sleeps and he knows everything.

I can hardly wait for their sequel, in which a leprechaun leader rises to claim the throne of Donbas, and leads the cheering people to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And they all lived happily ever after. Jesus Christ.

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1,088 Responses to It Looks as if Your Dead Horse Could Use a Touch of the Lash.

  1. Patient Observer says:

    Matt, is it correct to assume that you are bilingual? Do you consider Spanish your native tongue? Or English? How did you come to write in colloquial English?

    • Matt says:

      Yep, I’m bilingual (even know some French!). Spanish is my mother tongue.

      I already knew some English back in Venezuela and have spent enough time in Canada to write fairly well, by virtue of the university setting.

      But written form can be deceiving: my speech is far worse.

      • Special_sauce says:

        Hey, if your chosen career path doesn’t pan out, mebbe you can pick up a few extra loonies denouncing Reds to the RCMP. For Freedom and Democracy, of course.

    • Special_sauce says:

      Whoop-de-doo! He’s a bilingual liar. Excuse me while I genuflect.

  2. Matt says:

    Here is a comment I wrote on Reddit a while back, on NK. I’m linking it here because it has a bunch of hyperlinks already formatted into it:

    • Matt says:

      Gah, I was hoping the text would show. Here’s the comment itself:

      The best person to follow on this topic is Joshua Stanton, a North Korea expert who has helped write the extremely-complex sanctions against North Korea. A summary of his views (edited by me):

      ————————————————

      The U.S. has tried negotiating multiple times in the past: George W. Bush’s ill-fated 2007 agreed framework or Barack Obama’s even more ill-fated 2012 Leap Day deal, Bush’s 2005 Joint Statement, which didn’t work out.)

      American diplomats have been chasing North Korea for one deal or another for the last several decades. In the last eight years alone, President Obama sent former President Clinton and Stephen Bosworth to Pyongyang in 2009, sent Joseph DeTrani twice in 2012, and sent James Clapper in 2014. In 2011, Bosworth met North Korean diplomat Kim Gye-gwan in New York. Next came the Leap Day 2012 freeze agreement, similar to what engagement advocates call for today, and which Pyongyang reneged on shortly after signing it. Obama tried to send Ambassador Robert King to Pyongyang in 2013, but North Korea canceled the visit at the last moment. There were various Track 2 meetings between former U.S. officials and North Korean diplomats as recently as last year. In the weeks leading up to the first 2016 nuclear test, U.S. and North Korean diplomats discussed the parameters of a peace treaty negotiation, but Pyongyang insisted that its nuclear program would not be on the agenda. As recently as last June, U.S. diplomat Sung Kim met North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui in Beijing.

      Another strawman is that that all of these talks went nowhere because of the stubborn precondition that Pyongyang commit to nuclear disarmament. According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, in 2014, the State Department got Japan and South Korea to agree to “a moratorium on nuclear weapons development” in exchange for “timed infusions of economic assistance and international treaties.” This means the U.S. and its allies have already dropped any and all preconditions.

      Pyongyang has already broken an armistice, the trilateral safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1977, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1985, the IAEA safeguards agreement in 1992, the 1992 inter-Korean denuclearization agreement, two agreed frameworks about disarmament in 1994 and 2007, the 2005 Joint Statement in which North Korea again agreed to disarm, a 2012 nuclear and missile freeze, and six U.N. Security Council resolutions.

      The Obama administration decided, sensibly enough, that it wasn’t going to negotiate with Pyongyang and offer it valuable concessions as long as North Korea continued to insist it would never denuclearize, and even wrote that into its constitution.

      Can we learn to live with a nuclear North Korea that sold missile technology to Iran, built a nuclear reactor in a part of Syria now controlled by ISIS, and threatened to sell nuclear weapons to terrorists? That attacked our South Korean treaty ally or U.S. forces stationed in Korea in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1976, 1983, 1987, 1998, 2002, 2010, and 2015, killing 50 South Koreans in 2010 alone? That sends assassins to murder human rights activists and dissidents in exile? Who have conducted a number of abductions (a North Korean Ambassador was once thrown out of Moscow after an abduction operation)? That has launched cyberattacks against banks, newspapers, nuclear power plants, and the Seoul subway? That launched another cyberattack against a Hollywood movie studio, made terrorist threats against movie theaters in the United States, and chilled the freedom of expression that Americans cherish and have given their lives for? That bombed airliners, assassinated people they saw as dangerous, and tried to destabilize South Korea through guerilla operations and attempted assassinations of prominent political leaders (at least three attempts on the lives of South Korean presidents are currently known about)? That murdered the half-brother of its tyrant with a deadly nerve agent, in a crowded airport terminal, in the capital city of a friendly nation, 5,000 miles away?

      —————————————————————–

      • Special_sauce says:

        And all Kim has to do is gobble a little Yanqui chorizo. Then Freedom^tm will soar like great eagles do.

      • Special_sauce says:

        “This means the U.S. and its allies have already dropped any and all preconditions.”

        You are a fucking liar. Keeping their own nukes and denying NK’s is one hell of a precondition.

        • Special_sauce says:

          Oops, not liar(though you obviously are) but simpleton, moron, crazy person will suit.

        • Special_sauce says:

          Oh wait. Those aren’t your lies but someone else’s. Carry on.

          • yalensis says:

            The Moral of the Story:

            And when the ball was over, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother took her aside and whispered: “My dear, if you want to keep your sovereignty and your maidenhood, then NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER give up your nukes!”

      • Patient Observer says:

        I was hoping to see at least a passing acknowledgement of the deal reached and then broken by the US that we discussed earlier. Perhaps I missed it in the above. If it was indeed omitted then it brings into question the veracity and balance of the entire article.

        The biggest problem is that it painted the US and allies in angelic terms tirelessly seeking peace and harmony. That is gaggingly absurd. Citing that article as a basis of your conviction was damaging to your position.

        The odd thing for me is that, until this topic came under intense discussion at this blog, I would have tended to partially agree with your interpretation. Now, I tend to think that NK, perhaps slightly unhinged, is nevertheless the victim of ruthless if largely hidden attacks by the West. And, as discussed, Hilary and Madeline are more unhinged than NK leadership.

        • yalensis says:

          Boys and girls, let’s play the game, “Who is worse?”
          Today’s contestants: Hillary and Kimmy.

          Hillary: “Kimmy, you’re FAT!”
          Kimmy: “It’s true that I’m pudgy, but I can try to lose some weight. You, on the other hand, Hillary, are both FAT and UGLY!”

          [I know that was beneath me, but this is what I have become, blame Matt, he has worn me down.]

          • Patient Observer says:

            Matt has a binary, black/white, view of things. This is not a putdown as many start adult life with simplistic understandings. In this case, there was a need to determine who is worse – Kim or the West which then morphed into Kim vs Hilary. I did find the discussion helpful in that I thought the unthinkable (good to do every so often) – could Hilary be crazier than Kim? And, it didn’t stop there! No, I then thought, my god, she is crazier than Kim!

            • yalensis says:

              Ha ha! I know, I was just kidding around.

              Actually, I don’t even accept the “personalization” of politics.
              I think the American establishment invented this way of portraying the world, because (A) it’s simplistic, and (B) it suits the American mentality, which was raised on comic book super-heroes and super-villains. This makes it oh-so-easy for the American imperialists to target a nation, by pretending to care about its people and all they want to do is just sweep away this evil ruler who is oprressing and killing “his own people”.

              And the zombified American public always go along, baying for the blood of the “most evil man” on the planet, be it Saddam, Qaddafi, Assad, Maduro, or Kimmy. And when that guy is swept away, and the country he ruled descends to hell, then the imperialists always have a new target, a new Evil Guy, on their bucket list.

              My personal guide and North Star in navigating through the complexities of geo-politics is to look, Marxian-wise, at the classangle. Every political leader, whether good, bad, or ugly in his person, represents the interests of an economic class. For example, Hillary represents the interests of international Finance Capital and a section of the American bourgeoisie.

              Whereas Fat Kimmy represents Korean workers and peasants, albeit in a “deformed” and “degenerated” Thermidor/Bonapartist/Stalinist kind of way (to employ Trotskyite phraseology).

              • Patient Observer says:

                You are spot on regarding how Americans are told to view the world. Fortunately, a large fractions of Americans reject such characterizations simply based on life experience but, unfortunately, do not have other means to filter out the noise/lies/misdirection of the MSM. They become the deplorables – those who do not buy East and West Cost liberal values but are left wondering what the hell is going on.

                I shun using economic class to sort out the good and the bad. I prefer “psychological” classes. The question to me is not: Are you or have you ever been a member of the 1% but rather Are you or have you even been a psycho/sociopath?

                I would be the first to agree that the 1% is way over-represented by psycho/sociopaths but the underlying issue is how people treat/empathize with other people whether next door or in a far away country.

                • yalensis says:

                  Dear Patient Observer: Good comment, but I should have clarified:
                  I don’t use economic class as a measure of good or bad people.
                  That would be a different kind of measure, like the field of morality or ethics.
                  I use class as a guiding litmus test to explain geo-political conflict, the class war, military wars, etc.

                  Obviously, as a socialist I root for a particular team, and one always hopes that one’s own team consists of only the best and sparkling people.

                  Even when that isn’t the case (which it often isn’t), one still tends to root for one’s team.
                  Based on class interests and political ideology.
                  And everybody does this, but most won’t admit it, especially in America, where children are taught that classes don’t exist, and that people are just individual atoms in a Consumer Society.
                  Based on these false ideas, the children, while growing up, are not able to perform any kind of real analysis of politics or international relations, or wars, and that’s why they just fall back on discussion of personalities, or even the lower level, of people’s physical appearance. As in: Kimmy’s fat, Saddam has a moustache, etc.

            • marknesop says:

              This is a characteristic of American neoconservative thinking since a long time back – Americans, by definition, are always the good guys, with wholesome objectives and benign intentions. When America decides a country needs regime change because ‘the dictator’ is oppressing his people, the neoconservatives tell themselves their aim is to enable and uplift the people, and they perhaps even believe it (all but the most cynical). But increasingly, corporate lobbyists have skin in the game, and pitch regime change where corporate interests perceive an advantage. Meanwhile, because America is intrinsically good, a government which opposes America’s harmless and altruistic tinkering is, by definition, bad.

  3. Special_sauce says:

    “Never go full retard” he says. I don’t usually but you are such a pustule, there’s really no other choice.

    • Matt says:

      Whoa there, tiger!

      You unleashed a barrage of childish insults instead of answering the question I posed earlier regarding Kim allowing reunification and giving up power.

      You have no valid response, because you already know the answer as I do: Kim will never give up power, even to allow reunification and lift millions out of poverty. That is why he wants nuclear weapons, not to prevent a “holocaust” as you claim.

      • Special_sauce says:

        Kim’s a dead man if he gives in to the United$hit$. His people will be working for fish heads and rice at Samsung. And I said “another holocaust”.

        Pain is a good teacher and Korea has learned its lesson well.

        My insults aren’t childish; they’re succinct and well-deserved, cunt.

        • Matt says:

          Exactly right: Kim is finished without nukes and the South would gain access to a large source of cheap labour, which would increase the prosperity of North Koreans, transforming the North completely.

          To use the first Korean War as an excuse for the Kim regime to have nukes shows how gullible you are.

          Kim doesn’t want to give up power, even if that means having Korea split in two. That’s why he wants nukes, not to prevent a Korean War 2.

          You still haven’t answered the question I asked twice earlier: why doesn’t Kim allow the North to reunify with the South?

          • Special_sauce says:

            “which would increase the prosperity” So you’re a psychic now. You forgot this part: increase the sale of cheap, wide-screen tvs so fat Merkins and Canadians can slurp their Budweisers and gobble baby-back ribs while they gawp at football.

            Korea is one nation. Always has been. It is a typical lie, oft-repeated by you and the swine you support, to say Kim is against reunification. I’m sure he IS against it under the terms set by the United Skulls of Heartbreak and Disease.

            Here’s the result of US Bombardment of Pyongyang. A. Deliberate. Holocaust. There’s no other word for it. They knew well that Korean houses, made of paper Nippon-like, would flash over, incinerating the inhabitants.

            And you weep copious alligator tears for the poor babies. By God, that’s not going to happen again provided the North stands firm. Juche!

            Now fuck off. Find yourself a quiet spot with a comfortable chair and ask yourself: Am I not, perhaps, a perfect ass.

            • Special_sauce says:

              ?

            • Matt says:

              “It is a typical lie, oft-repeated by you and the swine you support, to say Kim is against reunification. I’m sure he IS against it under the terms set by the United Skulls of Heartbreak and Disease.”

              Seems you’re the one who thinks he’s a psychic now. How do you know Kim wants reunification? And how are you “sure” that he objects to the non-existent “terms” set out by the U.S. and South Korea?

              You just created a random strawman, whipping it out your ass, going on about “terms” set by the U.S.

              Kim’s regime is a despotic one and the people of North Korea deserve better. Your unhinged cheering for Kim and his Juche ideology only shows how imbalanced you are.

              It’s clear you are a deeply troubled individual, who resorts to childish insults when “debating”.

              I find people like you quite fascinating: you think Kim is a great guy and loves the North Korean people.

              The internet allows people like you you exist in dangerous echo chambers. Very bad.

              • Special_sauce says:

                It’s clear you are a deeply troubled individual, who resorts to childish insults when “debating”.

                Whatevs. I didn’t lie.

              • yalensis says:

                Matt, nobody believes your crocodile tears about the Koreans, nobody believes you give a rat’s ass about the Korean people and their well-being. You have stated before that you are a Soros supporter, your words show you to be an unthinking apologist of American Exceptionalism. Ask the Vietnamese how they succeeded in unifying as a people — by delivering a kick-ass defeat to American imperialism, that’s how.

                The Korean situation can only be resolved by the Koreans themselves. The U.S. and their ideological shills, like yourself, are only interested in conquering new territory for imperialist exploitation.

                • Matt says:

                  “You have stated before that you are a Soros supporter, your words show you to be an unthinking apologist of American Exceptionalism.”

                  I merely said it’s good that Soros donates to progressive causes like BLM, Media Matters, OCCRP, etc. That does not mean I support him personally.

                  “Ask the Vietnamese how they succeeded in unifying as a people — by delivering a kick-ass defeat to American imperialism, that’s how.”

                  These are two different situations – Vietnam and Korea. Don’t be dishonest when comparing the two.

                  “The Korean situation can only be resolved by the Koreans themselves. The U.S. and their ideological shills, like yourself, are only interested in conquering new territory for imperialist exploitation.”

                  Both Koreas acknowledge your first sentence and have released numerous statements saying they don’t want outside interference. You say that the situation can only be resolved by Koreans themselves, but what does the solution entail? It involves Kim giving up power and allowing reunification, with the result being a democratic Korea. I already mentioned the proposal by Kim il-Sung in the early 1970s for the two Koreas to “reunify” by keeping their own form of governments. In other words, North Korea gets all the benefits of reunification, including economic aid and a lifting of sanctions, but the people of North Korea continue to be ruled by the dynastic Kim family, living in a dictatorship.

                  Thus, you can only repeat standard Marxist, dogmatic words about the Korean issue, hence your use of the term “imperialist exploitation”.

                  The reality is that you are too afraid to admit that the main issues behind Korean reunification are NK’s nuclear weapons and the desire of NK to maintain its dictatorship of a government. It is simple as that. To deny that is to delude yourself.

                • marknesop says:

                  There’s nothing wrong with a policy which says sovereign decisions are a matter for the country’s people to decide…but to offer a helping hand to encourage ‘good behaviours’ which are likely to result in a minimum of disruption and possibly danger to a nation’s neighbours. And here is where the slippery slope comes in. Devotees of American exceptionalism argue – often with good conscience – that this is all Washington is doing; trying to help ease the transition to a market economy, or whatever, pick your meme. It is difficult to prove that the aim is really to make a transition to corporate governance and enable exploitation for wealthy American conglomerates, and a lot of people on both sides get to throw the ‘conspiracy theorist’ term around.

  4. Matt says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_reunification#United_States

    “The United States officially supports Korean reunification under a democratic government. Mike Mansfield proposed that Korea be neutralized under a great-power agreement, accompanied by the withdrawal of all foreign troops and the discontinuation of security treaties with the great power guarantors of the North and South.”

    Sounds good, right?

    • Patient Observer says:

      Matt, really? I don’t think that you are so naive as to take such proclamations at face value. The US also officially supports freedom and democracy as it installs and supports dictators of every sort.

      The NK topic seems to have been discussed enough. I learned a lot and thank all those who added facts and logic to the discussion including you.

    • yalensis says:

      The United States government also pledged (many times) to Native Americans that they are not out to grab more aboriginal territory. Just trust us! See how that went.

      The United States also pledged to the Soviet Union (Gorbachov) that they would not expand NATO up to Russia’s borders, if only Russia would allow Germany to reunite. Just trust us! See how that went.

      Naive Russians learned a lesson: That pindosi speak with forked tongue and always lie.
      American government are not to be trusted, any more than you can trust the word of a scorpion.

  5. firuza says:

    Matt is just talking air. I just scroll past because he’s a waste of energy. Didn’t he go away forever or something like that?

    • Cortes says:

      Exactly.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, I wouldn’t say that. I believe he is completely earnest in his arguments, and only dislike them when he gets snarky and contemptuous or pretends to a great intellect above reproach. His arguments just happen to spring from the polar opposite school of thought of many commenters here. There is, sadly, little possibility of any common ground being found when our worldviews are so far apart. With no wish to oversimplify – since I am speaking for someone else – ‘Matt’ seems to believe western intervention is always or nearly always benign and munificent and absent of ulterior motive, and that a corporate model is infinitely preferable to a socialist one. There is much in this viewpoint of neoconservative ‘trickle-down’ theory or ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’, in that if you will only let the big corporations in there to set up factories which provide jobs for the poor and so forth, it will attract investors and everyone will benefit. Consequently it is a form of stealing to nationalize strategic assets and industries, because it is nearly always better to open them up to benign foreign investment; it’s just part of free trade! I did say it was hard to do without oversimplifying, and doubtless ‘Matt’ will castigate these statements and retort that this is not what he believes at all.

      • cartman says:

        His posts read like they are from someone very young and naive. Well worth scrolling past.

        • Jen says:

          He not only sounds naive but much of the information he offers suggests he is being fed by other people whose approval he desperately needs. That could be why he seems “earnest” even when he constantly backtracks or goes sideways on topics and gives many people here the impression of being a slippery eel. My imagination may be running away but to me he seems like a North American boondocks call-centre worker whose job it is to flood websites and blogs like KS with constant drivel and who gets paid peanuts by the hour.

          • Matt says:

            ” he seems like a North American boondocks call-centre worker whose job it is to flood websites and blogs like KS with constant drivel and who gets paid peanuts by the hour.”

            This is great. You are now relying on fantasy to cope with your inability to prove your claims about Venezuela and North Korea. Geez, looks like I really touched a nerve or something.

          • marknesop says:

            Well, he’s good for business. Commentary picks up handily whenever he appears. I should say here, gratefully, that spirited commentary is not one of our problems, and we are blessed with an expressive following. But a little bit of infield chatter never hurt.

      • Matt says:

        “‘Matt’ seems to believe western intervention is always or nearly always benign and munificent and absent of ulterior motive”

        Considering I criticized the Iraq and Libyan interventions, your statement is a lie.

        “and that a corporate model is infinitely preferable to a socialist one. There is much in this viewpoint of neoconservative ‘trickle-down’ theory or ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’,”

        The only time I ever criticized the socialist model was when I referred to the nationalization of key industry in Venezuela, decreasing efficiency, and when I referred to that chart of poverty reduction happening after world markets opened up. That’s not to say I think nationalization is always bad or that a corporate model is always better. But there are many examples of nationalization not having the intended effect. Simply pointing this out doesn’t mean I am now a “neocon”.

        “doubtless ‘Matt’ will castigate these statements and retort that this is not what he believes at all.”

        Indeed I have. But writing this at the end of your paragraph, with remarkable self-awareness, does not mean it’s OK for you to exaggerate or oversimplify what I think.

        • marknesop says:

          I believe I did point out that it’s difficult to speak for someone else, especially someone you’ve never met and don’t know. And I can point to many instances in which small qualifiers such as ‘seems to’ and ‘probably’ were quite enough for you to wiggle away, saying “I never said xxxx”. Like Kim is a dictator who exerts absolute power over his people, whereas the USA merely ‘has influence over’ South Korea. It’s almost like two different languages.

          There are, indeed, many examples of when nationalization did not have the intended effect – like Mossadeg’s nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, for example. But there is a pretty good reason that didn’t work, and amazingly enough, it was an admitted CIA coup mounted against him which drove him from power and foisted another decade or so of the Shah on the Iranians.

          Nationalization is not, in and of itself, a magic bullet, and it doesn’t always work. But it is always, always perceived by the corporatists as a thumb in the eye of free trade, even when it is selective as Russia’s is and only protects key strategic industries such as the energy sector. What is different about Washington is the close relationship between captains of industry and the national intelligence services.

          Given the contempt you sometimes express for others when you get giddy with your imagined killer arguments, I think a little exaggeration and oversimplification of what you might think should not put your nose too far out of joint, you poor shy thing.

  6. kirill says:

    The US is trying to ignite WWIII in North Korea. The NATzO fake stream media likes to bleat how Russia destabilized Georgia after it responded to the naked aggression of Suckshitvilli in 2008, but pretends that the aggression against North Korea on Russia’s border is some sort of saintly humanitarian do-good-ing.

    China is afraid of millions of refugees surging from a destroyed North Korea (and maybe even South Korea). Russia has to be afraid of the same thing. American exceptionalists don’t get to dictate to the rest of the planet what is and is not allowed. North Korea is sovereign and we see here a very good reason why this sovereignty must be respected. Starting wars is the ultimate war crime. Killing Koreans in the name of saving them is the same grotesque BS that the US was spouting during its invasion of Vietnam.

    • Patient Observer says:

      I suspect that the US wants a war on the Korean peninsula IF it can significantly damage China and/or Russia. Japan would be OK with the war if they can avoid serious collateral damage. The US has shown a combination of increasing ineptitude and risk taking in foreign policy as amply discussed in recent articles at MOA and the Saker blogs.

      One scenario is that the US initiates attacks against the Donbass through its Ukraine proxy, does something aggressive in Syria and conducts a military strike against NK. Russian leadership, they could think, would be paralyzed by too many threats. The US wins “on the cheap” on multiple fronts and the world order is restored. Total speculation on my part and I think Trump would not allow such nonsense if it were to be proposed. However, if Trump is successfully impeached, such a scenario becomes more likely.

      • yalensis says:

        I don’t know about the other 2 scenarios, but it seems highly PROBABLE that the U.S. will attack Donbass militarily via its Ukraine proxy. And in the not too distant future.
        There have been a lot of disturbing indicators that such an attack is imminent, including U.S. weapons transfers to Ukraine and an increase in American troops in Ukraine.
        Tillerson also made a lot of noises about this recently.

        I might try to pull together the various links and do a post on this.

        • Patient Observer says:

          If that were attempted, I would expect Russia to intervene to the degree sufficient to repel the attack. Not sure of the EU’s take. Would it be be in lock-step with the US or would this be the final affront resulting in a serious break with the US? I think Trump needs to be removed from office before such a plan can proceed.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Meant to be a reply to Yalensis. In addition, Russia could grant citizenship to the Donbass residences which would draw the red line regarding a possible attack. Shutting off gas transit via Ukraine could be the last non-military resort by Russia to stop any aggression. Just speculation as the number variables and options (many unknown) preclude predictions of how an attack would play out.

      • Jen says:

        PO, I think you will find this short video article by Japanese freelance journalist Yoichi Shimatsu on the THAAD deployment in a US missile base near a fruit-growing community in South Korea very enlightening.
        http://www.4thmedia.org/2017/06/a-video-presentation-on-us-deployed-thaad-battery-site-in-south-korea/

        Among other things, the missile base seems to be having a harmful effect (through sonic vibrations and raised levels of electro-magnetic radiation?) on the community’s ability to grow and harvest fruit and flowers.

        • Matt says:

          “through sonic vibrations and raised levels of electro-magnetic radiation”

          That video has no scientific basis whatsoever. How could you, a Westerner, would fall for such pseudo-science?

          But the name “Yoichi Shimatsu” sounded oddly familiar to me. Turns out this guy believes in the fake #PizzaGate hoax and I remember reading one of them.

          In one of his articles, he repeated the debunked claim that the Podesta brothers were behind a the kidnapping of a child in Portugal.

          He makes claim here: http://rense.com/general96/pizzagateyoichi.htm

          You see, paintings of the suspects’ appearances were released in 2013 and conspiracy theorists went ballistic about this in late 2016, because the two paintings vaguely resembled the Podesta brothers. One problem, however: the paintings were of one man, provided by two different sources, so it’s impossible it was the Podesta brothers. So there’s no proof the kidnaper of this child was Podesta, and not a single fake news website has retracted these claims, including Shimatsu.

          Anyway, just goes to show this guy isn’t even close to being trustworthy.

          Now, on to the outlet he works for, the supposedly “independent” website 4th media. Please read this excellent analysis of the website:

          http://kremlintrolls.com/t/20150830-harmonic_convergence.html

      • Matt says:

        I’d prefer a precision strike on Kim. Get his location, perhaps through satellite or spying, drop a bomb on the bastard’s head and its high flying from there!

        After Kim is killed, his generals will be faced with the tough decision of launching a war all because of a dead man, who fancied himself a God.

        The West can then tell ’em: “Look, Kim’s dead, no need for millions to die over a dead guy pretending to be a descendant of the Sun King. Reunify with the South and you’ll live a lot better.”

        Oh, the so-called “anti-imperialists” will whine like a bunch of babies. If China launched a war to take Taiwan and the U.S. helped the latter, the “anti-imperialists” would side with China against the Yanks! Such is their one-sided thinking.

        • saskydisc says:

          Considering that the western powers have a few orders of magnitude more blood on their hands than the Kim dynasty, is it safe for me to hold my breath until you call for, *ahem* precision strikes upon western leaders?

          • Matt says:

            The precision strike would have to stop the dynasty of familial succession and allow the reunification of two countries. No such equivalent exists in the Western world.

            • saskydisc says:

              Do I understand you correctly that succession, dynasties and coethnics (members of the same nation, often from the same precolonial kingdoms) separated by borders constitute a greater evil than massacres, genocides and the like?

              Even if I were to accept that, where does that leave legally unspecified power structures, such as that wielded by think-tanks, militaries and the like, over foreign power? Or for that matter, the dynastic regimes supported by the west such as the AQ/ISIS sponsoring dynastic powers (Jordan, Saudi, Qatar)?

              Your argument also works for anschluss between Germany and Austria, Namibia and Angola (Vambo), South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe (Tswana; Venda are part of the broader Shona), most of Latin America, much of west Africa, much of North Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea (Tigray) and Somalia (Ogaden being heavily Somali) and Kenya (North East is Somali, although they supported Kenya when Somalia tried to take that region), much of Asia (your argument works for forcing reunification of China and Taiwan by force), et cetera. We could have a few centuries of war with such suggestions.

              • Matt says:

                Perhaps not worse than mass genocide, but still a tragedy. The reason NK exists is because of the Kim family. There is no other reason for them to keep half of the Korean to themselves to themselves, in a pseudo-state, with horrible economic conditions and the human capital squeezed out of its inhabitants for the sake of protecting the ruling dynasty.

                The dynastic regimes aligned with the West, like those in the M.E., also need to be reformed or toppled. They should transition to an honorary role, like the monarchies in Europe. Or, in order to mediate in the Islamic rifts, act like Japan’s Emperor and play a special role in society.

                Regarding Germany/Austria, and the other examples you cite, I think these situations are far different than the one on the Korean Peninsula. Citizens of Germany and Austria can travel freely between both countries, enjoy a similar standard of living, and live in very similar, free societies. My point is that there is no injustice facing them despite being separated by a border. In NK, the people live in a society much worse than its Southern sibling’s, and all for one reason: because its government’s head does not want to give up power. The same logic can be employed towards China and Taiwan: Taiwan has a very high standard of living, higher than most parts of China, is one of E. Asia’s most vibrant democracies, and is a free society that polls indicate wishes to stay independent. Regarding Africa, my knowledge about that continent is very low and I can’t comment. But with Latin America, the societies of most neighbours are not so different that one should absorb the other.

                • saskydisc says:

                  Your last sentence is incoherent—it would be the similarity that would be the argument for amalgamation. The timing of the concern over North Korea is interesting—why now, that the economy is growing at about 6%?

        • yalensis says:

          Matt, you are a highly immoral and violent individual. You are proposing murder and assassination.
          Besides, there is no such thing as a “precision strike”, especially where the Americans are concerned.
          In the past, they attempted such an assassination of Gaddafi, and ended up murdering his baby daughter.
          You are inciting cold-blooded murder, there is a place in Hell for people like you.

          • Matt says:

            “Matt, you are a highly immoral and violent individual. You are proposing murder and assassination.”

            Violent? Gimme a break. Hitler and the Nazis were violent man and they were killed. Would you say your ancestors were also “cold-blooded murderers”? They did good and likewise, killing Kim would do the people of NK much good.

            As for the killing of the children of a dictator, that would help ensure the chain of succession coming to an end. Guess it goes back to that internet meme: “Would you kill a baby Hitler”?

            If that means saving countless lives, then hell yeah, I’d say.

            • saskydisc says:

              Saving countless lives gross, perhaps, but net, you would be grossly in the red. I saved that child’s life—wiping out the population of the province was worth it.

              • Matt says:

                Stopping Kim is a risky manoeuvre. One course of action would be to evacuate the population of the Greater Seoul area, perhaps to its underground bomb shelters. And then strike Kim and leaving it at that. I doubt very much the military would at that point consider responding, with only (hopefully) a single casualty, regardless of that person’s importance. And if they did strike, the populace in danger in SK would be safely underground.

                Of course, realistically, NK would detect these mass evacuations as a precursor to an eventual strike and perhaps launch its own preemptive strike. Kim would also probably be hidden away.

                Maybe another course of action would be to simply assassinate him covertly. That, however, is extremely difficult, considering the closed nature of North Korea.

                • yalensis says:

                  Matt, you’re insane, as well as immoral.
                  Sheesh, what a psycho!

                • saskydisc says:

                  No such strike would be limited; US practice speaks for itself. The US conduct, when initiating their genocide in Rwanda, involved 600 US SEALS (iirc) invading from Burundi, to prevent Hutus from fleeing Kagame’s genocidal violence in that direction, as well as support from Tanzania to prevent Hutus from fleeing in that direction. They would again destroy North Korea. The practices have not changed. Case in point: Mosul. Comparisons with Aleppo are warranted.

            • marknesop says:

              The price…the price, we think, is worth it.

        • Jen says:

          Your mania over North Korea, more than your obsession with Venezuela, demonstrates that you have come to Kremlin Stooge with an agenda to flood the blog with propaganda rubbish to disrupt our conversations and perhaps to dissuade Google and other search engines (not that they need much encouragement) from referring new readers from the blog by overloading it with keywords like “Venezuela”, “Maduro”, “North Korea” and others. You refuse to properly engage with commenters by always claiming the high ground; accusing us of referring to or being brainwashed by “biased” or “propaganda” sources while referring to your own highly selective sources and links as “balanced”; and throwing in non sequiturs, switching the subject or making personal attacks when you are unable to counter people’s arguments.

          By calling for Kim Jong-un’s death in such a cold-blooded and idiotic manner, you have shown yourself as more than a troll and an outright liar claiming supposed family ties with Venezuela – you are beyond contempt.

          • Matt says:

            “you have come to Kremlin Stooge with an agenda to flood the blog with propaganda rubbish to disrupt our conversations and perhaps to dissuade Google and other search engines (not that they need much encouragement) from referring new readers from the blog by overloading it with keywords like “Venezuela”, “Maduro”, “North Korea” and others.”

            Huh? Jen, my dear web SEO expert, how in God’s name can a single guy like me “dissuade” Google from referring to this website? Do you have any remote idea how search-engine optimization works? Or any evidence that my posts have significantly altered the search rankings of this website? Learn about the accusations you are making against me. You know nothing about this topic.

            “throwing in non sequiturs, switching the subject or making personal attacks when you are unable to counter people’s arguments.”

            I haven’t made a single “personal attack” against someone on this blog who didn’t first do it me. Not one example. Unless you can find one such example, and if you do, I promise to never post here again. Nor have I switched the topic in the midst of a conversation with someone if I couldn’t counter them. Again, baseless accusations.

            Likewise, nobody provides sources for anything here. Only Mark provided a source for his claims, after I explicitly asked him, and I debunked that Mintpress article. You see, I am perfectly willing to consider “sources” but only if they are provided. Otherwise, what is there for me to reject?

            Your accusations are not just evidence-free, but are the result of psychological projection. You are the one who called my earlier sources about Venezuela “propaganda”, without even addressing their allegations. Have you already forgotten?

            • yalensis says:

              Matt, you’re not just callng for Kimmy’s assassination, but for the murder of his family.
              Seconding Sasky’s point, how do you feel about the Saudi “royal family”, by the way?
              Should they be nuked, for the greater good of humanity, and to prevent dynasties from emerging?
              For that matter, how about targeted strikes against Jeb Bush and Chelsea Clinton? Wouldn’t want to give them the opportunity to slide in there.

              Your argument about Hitler is B.S., by the way, and the very worst use of Godwin’s law.
              The Soviet army did not fight to assassinate Hitler as an individual, they fought a defensive war against the German army.
              If they had been able to capture Hitler alive, they would have put him on trial for war crimes.
              I repeat that you have proved yourself to be a very sick, detestable, and immoral person.
              Unless you’re just screwing with us, which is also a possibility, given your trollish attributes.

              • Matt says:

                “Matt, you’re not just callng for Kimmy’s assassination, but for the murder of his family.”

                yalensis, how utterly devoid of self-awareness must you be in order to miss the fact that Kim ordered the murders of his own uncle and brother. In other words, his own FAMILY!

                Kim has done more harm to his family than me.

              • Matt says:

                “The Soviet army did not fight to assassinate Hitler as an individual, they fought a defensive war against the German army.
                If they had been able to capture Hitler alive, they would have put him on trial for war crimes.”

                Actually, the reason the Soviets didn’t assassinate Hitler is because Stalin blocked two attempts to kill him, fearing that his replacement would make peace with the Western Allies:

                http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/7765731/Stalin-blocked-two-attempts-to-kill-Hitler-Russian-general-says.html

                In other words, Stalin’s crazed, neurotic paranoia was the only thing that stopped the Soviets from trying to kill Hitler!

                • saskydisc says:

                  Neurotic paranoia, when not only high ranking members of the German state failed to kill Hitler, but when they were finding out about Operation Sunrise as well? Most of the western states did make use of Nazi personnel after the war, e.g. the French in Indochina. The western Allies did make repeated economic attacks against the Soviet Union, and plans for a post-war invasion have surfaced: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-early-days-world-war-ii-britain-france-planned-bomb-19691

                • Fern says:

                  Mmmmm, not really “crazed, neurotic paranoia” on behalf of Stalin to recognise that the lilkey consequences of an early peace between Hitler-lite and the Western Allies (sans Soviet Union) would be their joining forces for a combined attack on the Soviet Union, as indeed, many were anxious to do in 1945.

                • Jen says:

                  Indeed, one of the reasons that Stepan Bandera was assassinated in Munich by the KGB was that he had been working with American, British and German intelligence agencies to run emigre Ukrainian agents into Ukraine to collect information and influence underground Ukrainian opposition against Soviet rule.
                  http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/122778

                • marknesop says:

                  Be careful about quoting from alternative news sites. They quite often supply speculation or bogus information.

            • marknesop says:

              Oh, dear; that’s a lie. I have sourced many more of my contentions. There are several which you have just abruptly dropped as subjects of conversation. Therefore you must allow speculation that you do so because their content makes you uncomfortable or otherwise hurts the credibility of your argument.

          • objekt56 says:

            I agree.
            Do not engage.

  7. Drutten says:

    Main span on the move.

  8. yalensis says:

    To Jen, ME, and Niku, resuming the thread on the will/shall issue:

    I can’t claim to be an expert in American dialects, but I believe that most Americans don’t use the word “shall” any more, except for special effect. With “will” just being the future tense, regardless.

    Special effect:
    “I SHALL return!” when leaving the room and trying to get a laugh by sounding pompous.
    Although typically your average American will get an even bigger laugh if he just goes with “I’ll be back,” spoken in a thick Austrian accent, like the Terminator.

    When people do say “shall” it’s when they’re trying to sound archaic or Biblical (as in King James Bible). ME’s example, of the song “We shall overcome” does not refute, actually supports, this example. This particular folk song, which is of the genre, “gospel-folk”, was composed in 1900 by a preacherman, and it is supposed to sound Biblical and preachy. (The composer, Tindley, was also the guy who wrote “Stand By Me”.) The title of “We shall overcome” was based on the passage from Galatians 6:9, “Ye shall overcome if ye faint not.”

    It’s no accident that African-Americans would adopt a song that sounds so Biblical. But most African-Americans (as far as I know) don’t actually use the word “shall” any more, unless they are preaching from the Bible. (Or trying to get a laugh.)

    • niku says:

      On language, I am ultra-conservative. So, as long as I am understood while using ‘shall’, I will use ‘shall’.

      On an unrelated issue:

      Karl is a real troll; Matt is/was not. Matt has his own point of view, and perhaps he has copied his point of view wholesale from the Western press, but why do people here regard this a crime? Talking to him may be exasperating, but why hound him? Just because something is “obvious” to you does not mean that it is obvious to others too. As for him not willing to learn, who exactly is willing to learn when he meets a new idea or opinion for the first time? (People learn only eventually.)

      I understand that most people here are not so much Russian, as pro-Russian. But, you too suffer from the most serious Russian disease, namely, the inability to tolerate dissent. (Notice a Real Russian, Lyttenburgh, whose solution to all political differences is, “hang them from the lampposts!” {I am not belittling Lyttenburgh comments in general — his are the most interesting.})

      • niku says:

        Also, I feel somewhat like what yalensis said to Matt, but in the reverse direction. (“[y]ou have succeeded in completely turning me off to any possible sympathy I might have felt for the people on your team.”) Even upto a couple of months ago, I had zero sympathy for Navalny and friends (and I have been following the issue for some years now). But when I see the ham-fisted way the state deals with them, I feel sympathy, if only for their courageousness.

        http://tass.com/society/957043 : Russian court sentences March protest participant to 2.5 years in jail
        2.5 years in jail, for causing “pain” to a policeman. (Though Tass’ translation could be bad; the judgement may have mentioned “injury”.)
        I understand that the protestors purposefully try to create nuisance, and that they ignore the authorities’ offer for other protest venues. As far as I understand currently, if they succeed, they will create chaos in Russia (intended or not). Still, the alternative is not to just crush them as if they were offending bugs.

        • Patient Observer says:

          I can only speak about America. Any injury to a police officer is harshly punished. 2.5 years for injuring a policeman would be viewed as a very light sentence.

          If a policeman feels a sense of stress or danger he has the right to use deadly force. Over 5,000 US citizens have been killed by police violence in a little over 4 years:

          http://killedbypolice.net/

          That is a disgraceful figure and speaks volume about violent basis of American society and the severity of police response.

          Navalny, IIRC, should be in jail for various frauds, violation of terms of sentencing, etc. I can assure you that in the US, such an individual would be in a Federal Penitentiary for a very long time and rightfully so.

          • niku says:

            The US figures are alarming, and I have been reading outrageous cases, with more and more frequency. But note one special US feature: the pervasiveness of guns. Check the following article from someone who is himself alarmed at (and has actually given up hope about) the state of liberty in the US:

            https://fredoneverything.org/test-yourself-in-a-dark-alley/ (Why Cops Shoot: Test Yourself in a Dark Alley)

            Navalny, IIRC, should be in jail for various frauds, violation of terms of sentencing, etc.
            Probably, but this is a separate issue.

            • Jen says:

              Niku, you did mention Alexei Navalny first up and you stated that you felt sympathy for him and others like him because the Russian state deals with him in a “ham-fisted way”. For someone who has been convicted of embezzling funds from a state-owned timber company in Kirov province by setting up his own company to buy timber at reduced prices from Kirovles and selling the timber to Kirovles’ clients at prices Kirovles would have charged, and who has also broken Russian law on receiving most of his election funding from foreign sources during election campaigns, Navalny has been a remarkably free man in roaming around the streets in Moscow and being photographed publicly when he’s supposed to be under house arrest. Is that an example of the Russian state treating a professional “dissident” in a ham-fisted way?

              I would say that most of us if not all of us have not hounded “Matt” – we have only asked, repeatedly, that he treat our arguments and the sources we use and quote with respect; that he engage with our comments and criticisms of his arguments instead of accusing us of being brainwashed, demeaning us and dismissing our arguments as propaganda; and that he not flood Mark Chapman’s blog with rants, invective and slander against political leaders like Nicolas Maduro and Kim Jong-un whose countries have come under recent heavy pressure by the US and its allies to conform to US demands. In the case of North Korea, the country is being pressured to give up a military policy that actually acts as a cost-effective deterrent to a joint US-South Korean invasion which could easily morph from any one of the annual military exercises these two countries undertake every year, usually during the periods of rice-sowing and rice-harvesting which are labour-intensive and require North Korea’s conscript soldiers to assist farmers.

              http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/the-reason-behind-north-koreas-nuclear-program-and-its-offer-to-end-it.html

              https://www.cfr.org/blog/motivations-behind-north-koreas-pursuit-simultaneous-economic-and-nuclear-development

              • niku says:

                Jen,

                About Navalny’s embezzlements being overlooked:
                Navalny is a “celebrity” now, for his followers and the Western media. More “martyr-hood” for him would not serve the state.

                I have no sympathy for Navalny and friends on the merits of their opinions. (I think they are misguided at best.) And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that much of what is alleged against him (including the things you mention) are true. I believe that the fraud and embezzlement issues are relevant for his political persona, as they show that he is not so against “corruption” when it serves him.

                About the North Korean issue: I am in agreement with what you say.

                About Matt: I didn’t follow most of the discussion you and others had with Matt. I did note, though, that he has not yet learnt how to have productive online conversations. (That one should take things point by point, clearly express agreement when one does agree, and perhaps other things.)

                What I objected to was the attitude others had when talking to him. For one, hinting that he is getting money for disrupting a pro-Russia forum is no better than saying that people who make pro-Russia comments are being paid by the Kremlin. Does the latter not sound you as crazy? I think I would hunt up a quote about this!

                • niku says:

                  I am in agreement with what you say –> I agree with what you say.

                  (And from yesterday: not intended per se –> not intended )

                • marknesop says:

                  Yeah, I agree with that – pulling the “You are a paid troll” card always sounds to me like “Get him off me!! He’s tearing me to pieces!” I see no reason for it in this instance, as his arguments were not particularly compelling; although he is obviously educated, he suffers a bit from ideological blindness. For me his most annoying traits were a tendency to gleeful rudeness when he believed he was winning the argument easily, and deft redirection when substantiation which suggested he was wrong was presented.

              • niku says:

                The promised quote about impugning motives, from the Memoirs of, again, Ludwig von Mises:

                Böhm-Bawerk [the finance minister of Austria in the 1910s] instructed me in the causes of the banks resistance. A portion of the proceeds from the obligations invested abroad, he reported, was credited to a special, secret account, which was at the disposal of the banks governor alone. Already highly compensated bank officials, government officials who supervised the bank, journalists, politicians, and others received attractive payments from this secret fund on occasion. Böhm-Bawerk had learned about the fund by chance when the Hungarian finance minister complained that the share going to Austrians was too large compared to that going to Hungarians. The whole affair pained him to the highest degree, and caused him to loathe his position as well any other within the administration. But his wish to put and end to the antics was resisted by the Hungarian finance minister. I feel obligated to make these facts known to you, in order that you may understand the background of the current struggle, Böhm remarked to me. I had to promise him that I would remain silent about the matter unless I should hear about it from other sources. I’ve remained silent until today, although the former press secretary of the bank told me most openly about the use of the fund a few years after the war. The actual amounts were more modest than those of Bismarcks famed Reptilienfonds. They were nevertheless ample enough to explain strong opposition on the part of the banks management and others to a reform that would have caused the source of the fund to run dry.

                When Böhm-Bawerk revealed to me the secret of the banks special fund, I was faced with a new problem. At this point I had been established, so to speak, for many years. I had worked in the treasury and in the office of the public prosecutor for many months; I had worked in the court for two years, and had been with the Handelskammer since 1909. I recognized the corruption that is an inevitable concomitant of interventionism; I knew very well that it extended to the highest positions of the state. But it was the first time that I faced opponents whose motives were not objective within the context of a scientific exchange. After long and in-depth consideration of what position I best take, I at last arrived at a clear response.

                The economist must deal with doctrines, and not with men. It is for him to critique errant doctrine; it is not his charge to uncover the personal motives behind heterodoxy. The economist must face his opponents under the fictitious assumption that they are guided by objective considerations alone. It is irrelevant whether the advocate of a false notion acts in good or bad faith; what matters is if the stated notion is true or false. It is the charge of others to reveal corruption and enlighten the public concerning the same.

                https://mises.org/library/memoirs

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s startling; I can’t believe I had never heard of it before. Although on reflection it is typical of bankers, to whom money is like blood.

              • Jen says:

                @ Niku: I did have very strong suspicions about Matt’s comments, their subject matter which he pursued (relentlessly to my mind) and the strange way in which he kept advocating for Kim Jong-un to be killed rather than be subjected to the rule of law in North Korea or to international conventions and laws for having killed family members (assuming that is what he has done) when past US presidents have passed laws sanctioning invasion, drone attacks or Fallujah-style punishments in foreign countries that resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians with apparent impunity. Matt’s behaviour seemed so odd that I had to voice my misgivings about him for other commenters to take note.

                • yalensis says:

                  And rightfully so, Jen.
                  Matt shed crocodile tears about Kimmy’s Uncle, but shed no tears over Gaddafi’s baby daughter, murdered by American drones.

      • Patient Observer says:

        At the risk of being labeled as dissent-intolerant, I disagree.

        I find the level of discourse and patient explanation at this blog quite refreshing. Folks like Matt have no interest in understanding the view of others, He came in here like a wrecking ball delivering a blizzard of questionable information and rarely engaged in a useful dialog.

        As an example of his approach, when I respectfully informed him that I will no longer engage in a dialog with him. his response was petty, mean-spirited and immature.

        You mention that Russia/Russians do not tolerate dissent. I find it remarkable that the political spectrum in Russia is far more diverse and richer than in the USA. Communists, centrists and liberals exist more or less peacefully while in the USA, there are only two political parties of relevance. These parties are ideologically near-clones yet generate copious amounts of animosity. If you are looking a countries that does not tolerate dissent, look no further than the USA. There may appear to be dissent but that dissent is tolerated only if has has absolutely no potential to matter.

        I can not think of another country that has gone through a greater range of political changes than Russia yet you say that they do not tolerate dissent. Indeed I would think that Russian’s problem is that there is too much dissent that has interfered with an orderly development of its society.

        I think that you are sincere in your comments therefore I would appreciate an explanation of why you believe that Russia and Russians are less tolerant of dissent than other countries.

        • niku says:

          The more fundamental issues may be difficult to explain, but I will try to do so (eventually!). For now, starting from the simple point:

          Folks like Matt have no interest in understanding the view of others, He came in here like a wrecking ball delivering a blizzard of questionable information and rarely engaged in a useful dialog.
          I confess that I read only a couple of Matt’s comments. But if you don’t agree, and think talking is useless, why not just stop talking? Why do you have to drive him away? (“you” in plural.) Let him talk to himself.

          As an example of his approach, when I respectfully informed him that I will no longer engage in a dialog with him. his response was petty, mean-spirited and immature.
          I just read those comments. Being petty and mean-spirited are not crimes, leave alone immaturity. Also, check how others (not you) often talk to Matt.

          If you are looking a countries that does not tolerate dissent, look no further than the USA. There may appear to be dissent but that dissent is tolerated only if has has absolutely no potential to matter.
          This is probably true. (The case of Trump, where the establishment is united against him, is an example.) But, is there any point in comparing Russia with the things you believe are wrong and bad? The US establishment is calling Trump Fifth Columnist/Siberian Candidate with even lesser justification than the Russian establishment calls Navalny and friends Fifth Columnist. But so what? It proves nothing.

          I can not think of another country that has gone through a greater range of political changes than Russia yet you say that they do not tolerate dissent.
          You are right in gross terms, but if you look at the details, things become muddy.

          The state has always remained quite strong, at least theoretically. (I mean, both the elite and people have believed that the state should be quite strong, though in practice they may have occasionally failed.) Compare with the US, where even now many want a minimalist state. (Has there been any Russian philosopher who called for a minimalist state?)
          Russians have always agreed that the state has the right to determine the lives of the citizens to a large extent. (Has any Russian ever asserted the “right to ignore the state” {–Spenser}?)
          Did Russia every practice laissez faire?

          Here, I recall some comment (which I could look up if you wish) which observed that in the 19th century, the French cycled through all the various forms of government, but almost nothing actually changed on the ground.

          Anyway, that they have gone through political changes does not prove that they tolerate dissent. Developments may come despite suppression of dissent. (Actually, a theory says that when dissent is suppressed, revolution becomes inevitable.)

          I think that you are sincere in your comments therefore I would appreciate an explanation

          As I said, I will try to explain later. (It requires some thought.) But already, even in the above sentence, we can see what I want to say.

          Why do you have to go for the jugular at once? If someone disagrees with you, should it be (in general) because he is insincere?

          • Patient Observer says:

            Here are my comments to for your thoughtful response:

            Why do you have to drive him away? (“you” in plural.) Let him talk to himself.

            Call it the benefit of the doubt. He was given numerous opportunities to better express himself. Once it was clear that he had nothing more to offer than rants about NK and Venezuela, several of us did indeed excuse ourselves. More were certain to follow. It should be abundantly clear that Matt needs an audience and he was losing that audience (both in terms of losing credibility and dialog). Also, there was reason to believe that he was here to stir the pot – not an individual wanting to engage in dialog.

            I just read those comments. Being petty and mean-spirited are not crimes, leave alone immaturity.

            There are many examples of strongly expressed disagreements (Yalensis and Kirill come to mind). Yet, we all get along and learn to avoid hot topics that are not germane to Mark’s focus. Matt’s immaturity and mean-spirited behavior can be likened to a very rude guest at a dinner party. He may not have “committed a crime” but he is spoiling an otherwise positive event for everyone else.

            I mean, both the elite and people have believed that the state should be quite strong, though in practice they may have occasionally failed.)

            Why do Russians want a strong state? Several reasons come to mind. First, Russia has been invaded many times with devastating losses. The invasion of Russia/USSR in WW II stands out in human history perhaps as the single greatest loss of life and destruction of a country. The foremost duty of the State is to protect is population from outside aggression. Yes, I would want a very strong state with the most powerful military possible given what Russia has experienced from its neighbors to the west.

            Second, the state is nominally elected thus reflects the will/direction of the people. When was the last time we elected our wealthy? This is particularly significant as the wealthy have an undue influence over the direction of a country. During the 90’s, the wealthy ran Russia and in the process destroyed millions of lives in every sense of the word. A strong state representing the best interests of the people saved Russia. I hope that the US will one day have a government that is more powerful than the unelected wealthy.

            Third, those who seek “less state” in this country are usually associated with seeking more personal wealth. The excessive accumulation of personal wealth is wrecking this world from an ecological perspective and from denying full development of human potential. This last observation is personal and may not reflect values in Russia.

            I do not have time to address your other points. Nevertheless, I appreciate your observations.

            • niku says:

              Why do Russians want a strong state? Several reasons come to mind. First, Russia has been invaded many times with devastating losses. […]
              I don’t disapprove of Russians wanting or having a strong state. (For that matter, I believe a strong Russia is currently playing a highly positive role in the world, and perhaps a similar statement could be made about the Soviet Union.) What I was trying to say is that as far as I can see, while the forms of the government has changed, much of the content has remained the same. (I have been interested in Russian history too, though only mildly!) Also, many Russians think so. I have come across statements like, “the leader — call him Czar, Supreme Commissar or President, according to the fashion of the time — etc.”.

              Second, the state is nominally elected thus reflects the will/direction of the people. When was the last time we elected our wealthy? This is particularly significant as the wealthy have an undue influence over the direction of a country. […] [And also,] Third, those who seek “less state” in this country are usually associated with seeking more personal wealth. […]
              I agree with what you say — as long as the “field” for discussion is not open to question! (I don’t know the technical term for this.) But I wish to formulate the whole issue in other terms! I am saying something similar to what you said to yalensis about not thinking in terms of “class”, but I mean it in an even deeper manner.

              About Matt, and specially, Matt’s immaturity and mean-spirited behavior can be likened to a very rude guest at a dinner party:
              It could be that I projected my general opinions about the Russians’ intolerance (arrived after some thought) onto the discussions with Matt, which made my judgement inappropriately harsh.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Niku:
        Matt has been commenting freely on my own blog. I don’t censor him or hound him. I just try, in my own way, to argue with him. It’s true that I lose my temper sometimes, I got really upset when Matt started calling for targeted political assassinations. To me, that crosses a certain line of human ethics and morality.

        I have other people commenting on my blog, like Ryan, who has completely different political ideology than my own (closer to Matt’s, actually). Ryan and I get along okay, because Ryan is civilized, I know who he is, and I know where he is coming from. He presents his ideas in a logical fashion, and we can engage in dialogue, even when we disagree.

        I feel all kinds of suspicions about Matt’s sincerity, on the other hand, because he is just a slippery eel sort of fellow. For example, his reddit nik is “Down with Assad” and he refuses to change it, although he claims he does not support the anti-Assad opposition.

        • niku says:

          [H]is reddit nik is “Down with Assad” and he refuses to change it, although he claims he does not support the anti-Assad opposition.
          I didn’t know this. I did know his reddit nick, and I imagined, as I said, that he had swallowed the Western propaganda about the region.

          I should have gone through much of the discussion with Matt before coming to a conclusion. I may have jumped to conclusions, but I don’t mean to abandon my general position!

          • yalensis says:

            Dear niku:
            It’s okay, reality is complicated, conversations are complicated too.
            One thing I have to mention is that Jen made an excellent point about Navalny and his criminality and corruption.
            Among the anti-Navalny blogosphere, Navalny is almost like a funny guy, he is often compared to the literary crook Ostap Bender. Navalny is a non-violent criminal, his specialty is being a scam-artist, just like Ostap. People follow Navalny’s adventures and how he keeps evading punishment, time after time, like some kind of non-violent Al Capone.

            During the KirovLes thing I wrote extensively about the case, I believe I know quite a lot about it, down to minor technical details. Mark may even still have a post I wrote for him about Navalny’s appeal. I translated and paraphrased much of the text of the appeal, so that people could make up their own minds. In the end, the appellate judge supported the trial judge, Blinov, and upheld the conviction, while mitigating the punishment.

            Although there were two sides of the issue (Navalny’s followers believed he was shafted, and that he was completely innocent), none other than eminent legal mind Alexander Mercouris took my side in the debate and supported my conclusion that Navalny was technically guilty of embezzlement.

            Hence, even though I would never venture to debate you on Indian history (of which I know very little), I feel completely confident in discussing KirovLes and the justice of Navalny’s conviction. Down to the most technical details of the case.

            You might also not be aware that Navalny is politically a Russian Nationalist aka Fascist. Have you seen his video in which he advocates shooting Central Asian migrant workers?

            • niku says:

              Hello yalensis

              Studying the case myself (even if well documented by you) would take a lot of effort, and as of now I’d gain nothing by convincing myself of Navalny’s fraud. For now, I am going to take your word about the issue.

              Please note that I don’t know much about Indian history! I have been greatly interested in the culture, though in that too, my interests are very selective. (In this context: while I agreed with Jen’s statements about the British Raj yesterday because I myself had read the same things, later I wondered how much I could trust those accounts. For works containing “summary” of events and “conclusions”, wouldn’t all authors have their own agenda to push? Real judgements, then, ought to come only after painstaking study and weighing of the details.)

              I did read about Navalny’s comments about the Central Asians on this very website! I haven’t yet seen the video though.

            • marknesop says:

              Indeed those posts are still very much available. The original was posted way back in August of 2012 (seems like a million years ago now), and the follow-up was posted more than a year later, in November 2013.

        • niku says:

          Also, sorry for hijacking your thread!

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Notice a Real Russian, Lyttenburgh, whose solution to all political differences is, “hang them from the lampposts!””

        Please, niku, show us all where I’ve been arguing for such treatment of “all political differences”. I’m still a greater proponent of what is called in Russian “трудотерапия” (“work-therapy”), ideally – open-air one, in the closed institutions in the picturesque places of Russia 🙂

        I also think that most humans are redeemable, if you apply the right set of the tools to them. So, the death penalty should be applied only very sparingly, for such grievous crimes, that, literally, cross the moral event horizon. In this I include all forms of treason.

        • Patient Observer says:

          I can personally testify to the many benefits of “work-therapy”. A voice inside my head (semi-seriously) said that I needed hard physical outdoor work (no other instructions or explanation).

          We have a woodlot behind our house that was devastated by the emerald ash borer. Deadfall, leaners, and dying trees probably constituted 30+% of the growth. I’m using a chainsaw, pruner, and a 4-wheeler to clean the area, making huge piles of slash for burning and generally opening up areas for new growth. I have never felt physically better in my life. Lost some weight and sleep better at night. There is something magical about working outside in a natural environment.

        • niku says:

          I exaggerated your statements, obviously. But there is a kernel of truth in what I said. You allow “legitimate” political difference — as long as you get to define ‘legitimacy’. The rest have to be suppressed, one way or another.

          Also, work-therapy would not solve the “problem” of political differences.

          So, the death penalty should be applied only very sparingly, for such grievous crimes, that, literally, cross the moral event horizon. In this I include all forms of treason.

          I don’t include treason into “crimes that cross the moral event horizon”. I remember reading Soviet stories where it is shown (“shown”) how crimes against the state are the worst class of crimes. (In one story, it is shown how stealing from a neighbour is obviously bad, but stealing from the state is a crime of much higher order.)

          I propose a vote on the above topic! You will find that only Russians consider treason to be crime which is irredeemably bad.

          Anyway, who gets to define ‘treason’? The masters of the day?

          • niku says:

            “irredeemably bad”: I meant to say, “crimes for which the offender has to be put to death, full stop”

            • marknesop says:

              I would say that treason is a very serious crime indeed, because the degree of freedom the state can allow its citizens depends to a large extent on how far it can trust them. We see in regime-change attempts, all the time, how the first effort is to ‘grow’ a political opposition, and one of the first responses is that some of them are arrested. The authorities often say – sometimes accurately, sometimes not – that it is because they are colluding with foreigners to overthrow the government, which the western media promptly runs with as ‘oppression’. All part of the plan.

              It is harder, as you say, to define ‘treason’. Under the Official Secrets Act in Canada, the offense of Spying for the Enemy carried the death penalty when I first joined the military, and so far as I know the death penalty had been abolished for all other offenses – I was surprised to read (on a decal posted on the door of my workspace) that it remained for this offense. And Canada was and is a very free country indeed. I am sure spying for the enemy would fall under ‘treason’. How about colluding with a foreign government to help overthrow your own? I would say yes. Throwing a rock at a policeman? Probably not. Throwing a rock at a policeman during a demonstration in which the thrower is participating and which advocates the overthrow of the government? Different thing altogether. Shades of grey, I’m afraid.

              • yalensis says:

                The whole concept of “treason” can be an iffy thing.
                Elizebethan pundit John Harington coined the phrase “None Dare Call it Treason” target=”_blank”, which accentuates the irony (or is it paradox?) of the fact that states can be overthrown by the elites within.

                In short, one man’s traitor is another man’s national hero.

                I wonder about this sometimes because, technically, I am an American citizen (not my own choice, my parents decided this when I was still a youth), and yet I hate America with a white-hot passion. (Not Americans, whom I love, but the American government and its rotten foreign policy.) In short, I am the most anti-American person on the planet.

                Does this make me a traitor? I wonder sometimes, and I don’t know the answer to that question.

                • marknesop says:

                  Probably not; freedom of thought and expression, and all that. Do you incite others to indulge anti-American feeling? Not that I’ve ever noticed.

                • niku says:

                  The problem only arises if you adopt a State-über-alles point of view. From my point of view, disagreeing with your government is healthy, and expressing the disagreement is healthy.

                  How else is the situation expected to improve? Should you just passively watch while the state does things — in your name! — that you strongly disagree with?

                  Mark:
                  Do you incite others to indulge anti-American feeling?
                  That is too little. A more relevant question would be, “do you incite others to take up arms against the US”? An affirmative answer to that would bolster the case for ‘treason’.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, on reflection I agree. Simply inciting others to share anti-Americanism is not really treason, although it might very well get you arrested for treason in the USA and if conducted on any serious scale it would most certainly result in a visit from Homeland Security or the FBI. But in situations where there is doubt, it is often helpful to just look it up.

                  In so doing, you may find that public expression of anti-American sentiments might be construed as providing aid and comfort to the enemy. To wit:

                  The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.

                  Therefore, subversive language might be considered treasonous. But only in time of war. So yalensis is safe, unless (1) there is a formal declaration of war against Russia, and (2) Putin says in a television interview or in another similar public forum, “That yalensis is a real patriot. I feel comforted by what he says”.

                • yalensis says:

                  That’s what I am most worried about: If U.S. declares war against Russia, then by definition I would be a traitor, since I would not agree with such war, and would agitate against it.
                  Not calling for deaths or terrorism, of course, but just agitating for American soldiers to lay down their arms and refuse to engage in unjust war.

                  Hello, Gitmo!

                • marknesop says:

                  Orange is the new black.

                  Looks like the food is pretty good, too.

          • niku says:

            If I throw a rock at a policeman, is that treason?
            If I kill a policeman, is that treason?
            If I print subversive ideas, is that treason?
            If I incite others to break laws towards the goal of destabilizing the state, is that treason?

            I suppose your answer will get to ‘yes’ at some point.

            But didn’t your beloved Bolsheviks do all this against the then existing state? Should the then state be given the right to apply your laws?

            Or perhaps, if your party does all this, it is merely ‘patriotism’!

            • niku says:

              “parenthesis for asses” 1: I am not saying that all this is right, and I have never done all this. It is merely a thought exercise.
              “parenthesis for asses” 2: I believe that intentional murders should be punished with death.

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “If I throw a rock at a policeman, is that treason?
              If I kill a policeman, is that treason?
              If I print subversive ideas, is that treason?
              If I incite others to break laws towards the goal of destabilizing the state, is that treason?”

              First of all – each and every country/society possess its own history derived culture, and, therefore, set of ethnics/morals, which guide them in the creation of the laws. How can I answer these questions, if I don’t know from which country’s POV should these questions be viewed?

              I can only give a rough answer, based on Russian legislation, which, I remind you, does not morally apply everywhere – but all other answers will have the same lack of universalism as well.

              1) No, that’s an attack on the legitimate representative of the law-enforcement. Art 318 of the Criminal Code of RF – depends on the damage inflicted. From the fine of 200 000 rubles, to, in the most grievous cases, up to 10 years in prison.

              2) No, that’s an attempt on life of the legitimate representative of the law-enforcement. Art 317 CC RF – such murder is automatically classified as the “grievous” (rus. “особо тяжкое”, close to the “1st degree”) and you are therefore referred to the Art 105 p. “b”, part 2. – from 8 years to life.

              3) Define “subversive ideas”. Depending on the answer it might be either “no” or “see anti-extremist legislation”. Extremist activity is not a treason though.

              4) Art 275 deals with the treason in RF. It chiefly focuses on the detrimental interactions and lending of assistance to the hostile foreign powers. What you described could be, at best, qualified as extremism.

              “I suppose your answer will get to ‘yes’ at some point.”

              See? You guessed wrong. Why? Probably, because you have another definition of treason than me.

              “But didn’t your beloved Bolsheviks do all this against the then existing state? “

              Bolsheviks as the most numerous and influential members of the Soviets were the State. It’s unelected ministers of the Provisional Government who had less claims to the legitimacy than them.

              “Should the then state be given the right to apply your laws?”

              Which laws? What state?

              “Or perhaps, if your party does all this, it is merely ‘patriotism’!”

              No, Patriotism is not tied to any particular party. It’s tied to your country. Note – country, not a nation. One can be like late and unlamented Anton Nosik – a staunch Zionist who despised his country of origin and residence (Russia). Such person is your typical nationalist. OTOH we have general Issam Zahreddine. He is an ethnic Druze yet a patriot of Syria. Druzes in this regard are most telling examples – they are not Kurds, i.e. they are no obsessed with the creation of their own ethno-state, instead they remain loyal to whatever country they live in. Hell, there are even Israeli high ranking Druzes!

              • niku says:

                First, thanks for the explanations.

                I was thinking of ‘treason’ is broad terms. If defined narrowly, namely, as conspiring with a foreign state towards the goal of overthrowing the state, death penalty does not seem so outrageous. [1]

                “But didn’t your beloved Bolsheviks do all this against the then existing state? “

                Bolsheviks as the most numerous and influential members of the Soviets were the State. It’s unelected ministers of the Provisional Government who had less claims to the legitimacy than them.

                “Should the then state be given the right to apply your laws?”

                Which laws? What state?

                I meant to say, weren’t the revolutionaries (leading up to the October Revolution) committing treason against the Czarist state? That question remains valid even in the light of the narrow definition. The German government probably helped Lenin somewhat. And if it didn’t, just suppose it did. It is not difficult to conceive Lenin gratefully receiving help “towards what he wants to do anyway” (i.e., he is not going to change his actions to suit people who are paying him; they are paying him just because they think what Lenin wants suits them too). Another: suppose I, the ruler of tiny Nikuistan (really, I am just a foreign individual, but we are going to hide this fact from everyone), helped Lenin. Is that not treason by Lenin? And anyway, what is ‘help’? Suppose I fed Lenin when he was hungry and starving?

                Next, what is a ‘state’? Is Transnistria a state? From the Moldovan point of view, are the people of Transnistria committing treason against Moldova?

                Another: If I capture a part of a neighbouring country, and the people living in that part feel loyalty towards the old country, are they being treasonous? (Also, remember that the boundaries are fluid, and that nearly every two state has a boundary dispute.)

                And so on!

                Does it make sense to automatically condemn people to death on such shaky grounds?

                Also, one could argue that whole conception of treason is not based in Natural Law (which would cover things like, “no murder except in self-defense”). First, you have to construct the idea of the state, then you have find people and convince them that they are to be loyal towards the state, then you can suddenly spring upon them your law that everyone who is disloyal would be killed. (By the way, in this context, ‘state’ is even more unnatural than ‘nation’. At least, one can feel some loyalty towards one’s family, and somewhat lesser towards one’s tribe, and it may be stretched — even in the “natural” context — to cover one’s nation. ‘State’ — in the context of Natural Law — is an arbitrary construct.)

                More in the reply to your other comment.

                [1] I recall a recent case where a Russian woman texted about the movement of Russian troops towards Georgian border to a friend living in Georgia, and prosecutors charged her with treason, which the Russian court agreed with. So, the above narrow-est definition is not really used by the Russian state.

                • Lyttenburgh says:

                  “I meant to say, weren’t the revolutionaries (leading up to the October Revolution) committing treason against the Czarist state?”

                  Are you aware of the February Revolution? Who were the plotters, who “boxed” Nicholas II while he frantically ordered his command tran to and fro, who demanded his resignation, who made up the Provisional Government?

                  Hint: not the Bolsheviks.

                  And, no, the Provisional Government that got (part of the) Power in 1917 was not “Czaris state”.

                  “The German government probably helped Lenin somewhat.”

                  They didn’t.

                  ” And if it didn’t, just suppose it did. “

                  Why? Why should I suppose something which didn’t happen?

                  “And anyway, what is ‘help’? Suppose I fed Lenin when he was hungry and starving?”

                  I honestly don’t follow you. Have you read what I wrote? I provided definition of the treason in Russia as of now. In 1917 the legislation and even the source of law’s legality were different. Why should I apply modern norms and modes to the past?

                  How about you cut the chase and simply state your position, instead of using abstract “what if” questions? Two can play this game to no end.

                  “Next, what is a ‘state’? Is Transnistria a state? From the Moldovan point of view, are the people of Transnistria committing treason against Moldova?”

                  Yes, Transnistria is unrecognized state. Just as North American colonist rebelling against their legitimate Sovereign and Monarch were traitors (from the British governments POV) and, for a time being, their state was unrecognized.

                  “If I capture a part of a neighbouring country, and the people living in that part feel loyalty towards the old country, are they being treasonous? (Also, remember that the boundaries are fluid, and that nearly every two state has a boundary dispute.)”

                  This is covered by the modern international law which explicitly condemns wars of aggression and unilateral annexations. And, no, Crimean analogy won’t run here.

                  “Does it make sense to automatically condemn people to death on such shaky grounds? “

                  They are shaky only to those who are ignorant of the Law and has no desire to study it. There are professional people who do know and study it though and, therefore, are qualified in its interpretation and enforcement. It’s your totally relativist way coupled with the proverbial widening of Overton’s Windows, which results in the line of logic, that all laws are unnecessary.

                  “Also, one could argue that whole conception of treason is not based in Natural Law “

                  That assumes that there is indeed such things as “natural law” or “natural rights” in the first place. “Rights” are a social construct that we use to signify the fact that, sometimes, trying to stamp out a certain kind of societal behavior is counter-productive and causes more problems than it solves, so the best course of action is to let that stuff happen.
                  To say that you have a “right” to do something immoral, is to say that the state allows you to do that thing because it is the lesser evil at the moment. However, rights must be understood in the same way as all other laws. They are not special, they are not inviolable, they are not unchangeable, they are not “natural”, and they are certainly not “God-given”. They are simply useful laws that, for practical reasons, should be made especially difficult to change. People should indeed have their lives protected, and should have dignity of work, and should have dignity of living, and so on. But there is no metaphysical entity called a “Right to Life” for example. It is simply a good thing for people to not die, and therefore governments have a duty to protect people from untimely death, and this can be phrased as a “right to life”.

                  Also, the state’s actions are not equivalent to a private individual doing the same thing of his own accord. Every single moral and legal philosophy – except for anarchism – recognizes a very clear distinction between state actions and individual actions. Are you an anarchist?

                  “I recall a recent case where a Russian woman texted about the movement of Russian troops towards Georgian border to a friend living in Georgia, and prosecutors charged her with treason, which the Russian court agreed with. So, the above narrow-est definition is not really used by the Russian state.”

                  She was pardoned. By the Russian state. Also, recall the exact wording of her verdict and the punishment. Oh, and one more thing. Russian law does not operate on precedence principle.

                • niku says:

                  Are you an anarchist?
                  No.

                  I thank you for the long explanation of your point of view. I have come to recognize it as the “Russian point of view”, and I hope you would agree with me on this.

                • niku says:

                  Sorry, forgot to answer the questions at the top.

                  Are you aware of the February Revolution?
                  I have studied very little of this.

                  I only wanted to show that any revolution has to break the existing laws in serious ways, and that there is at least one revolution you approve of.

                  ” And if it didn’t, just suppose it did.“
                  Why? Why should I suppose something which didn’t happen?

                  I was trying to construct a general case. But we are talking past each other.

                  In 1917 the legislation and even the source of law’s legality were different. Why should I apply modern norms and modes to the past?
                  Because, to me, if the Law keeps changing, it does not seem very legitimate.

                  Anyway, I thank you again for the detailed description of your point of view.

                • niku says:

                  Correction to my statement:
                  I have come to recognize it [Lyttenburgh’s point of view] as the “Russian point of view”
                  On further thought, the “Russian point of view” is similar, but not this.

                  Lyttenburgh’s point of view is probably the unadulterated Socialist point of view.

                • Lyttenburgh says:

                  “I thank you for the long explanation of your point of view. I have come to recognize it as the “Russian point of view”, and I hope you would agree with me on this.”

                  That would imply that Russians possess a hive-mind. So – no. This is a Russian point of view. My point of view. Not sure how many do subscribe to to it or articulate it in such way. So, please – no generalizations here. Let other Russians present here speak out.

                  “I only wanted to show that any revolution has to break the existing laws in serious ways, and that there is at least one revolution you approve of.”

                  Because my family, my ancestors, my entire country (and, by extension, the entire world) benefited from that. That’s what grants legitimacy to any Revolution – the acceptance by the people. Revolution not just “breaks laws” – it reformats the whole system and installs a new one. That’s it chief difference from the coup.

                • Lyttenburgh says:

                  UPD
                  “Because, to me, if the Law keeps changing, it does not seem very legitimate.”

                  Why? The Laws are products of the historical moment describing society in the here and now. If the society changes the laws change as well. What supposed “legitimacy” has to do with that?

                • niku says:

                  That would imply that Russians possess a hive-mind. So – no. This is a Russian point of view. My point of view. Not sure how many do subscribe to to it or articulate it in such way. So, please – no generalizations here. Let other Russians present here speak out.

                  Very interesting! Did you not write a whole article debunking just the above just a few months ago? You said, or at least, that is what I understood and recall, that a “people” does exist, and they may be said to hold common opinions! (If I misunderstood that article, my apologies!)

                  I believe that the while individuals have to considered one at a time, in most (if not all cases), the milieu which they have grown up in and which they now live in, provides a good starting point.

                  That’s what grants legitimacy to any Revolution – the acceptance by the people.

                  Our positions differ so much from each other that we would never end talking!

                • niku says:

                  >>> In 1917 the legislation and even the source of law’s legality were different. Why should I apply modern norms and modes to the past?

                  >> Because, to me, if the Law keeps changing, it does not seem very legitimate.

                  > Why? The Laws are products of the historical moment describing society in the here and now. If the society changes the laws change as well. What supposed “legitimacy” has to do with that?

                  In the above case, we are talking of fundamental things. You know, like who can be killed “legitimately” and when. In that context, I would rather like to see eternal laws!

                • marknesop says:

                  And American ‘journalist’ Geraldo Rivera drew a map in the sand, on camera on live TV, reflecting the movement of American troops in Iraq whilst the invasion was ongoing. He was promptly bundled up and kicked out of the country and had his journalist’s pass revoked. There was a good deal of talk about treason then, too.

                  As to what constitutes a state, I can help you there with a little guidance from that political firebrand, Radoslaw Sikorski. While the Foreign Minister of Poland, he penned Poland’s response – the first Slavic nation to do so – to the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo. It is enlightening.

                  According to Mr. Sikorski, “a state is commonly defined as a community which consists of a territory and a population subject to an organized political authority; that such a state is characterized by sovereignty…the existence of the state is a question of fact, the effects of recognition by other states are purely declaratory. A declaration of independence is merely an act that confirms these factual circumstances, and it may be difficult to assess such an act in purely legal terms…”

                  He went on to say, or his speechwriter did, that Kosovo could by definition stand on its own as a state because it boasted a distinct society and had many of its own institutions of statehood, such as its own central banks and local government. That, apparently, is good enough. Oh; unless you are Crimea, in which you are a part of the central state forever even if your official title a priori was “The Autonomous Republic of Crimea”.

                • Lyttenburgh says:

                  “Very interesting! Did you not write a whole article debunking just the above just a few months ago? “

                  Not last year. And, no, nowhere did I say there that Russian people possess “hive-mind”. Withing broader consensus there are still different opinions.

                  As to “how” and “why” – go and re-read the article. Then go and read some polls. Is there a common trend in the opinions expressed by the people? Yes. Are they 100% uniform? No. Could it be said that the views expressed by me here are shared by the bigger fraction of the people than the views of my ideological opponents? To a degree – yes.

                  “Our positions differ so much from each other that we would never end talking!”

                  That’s two humans talking. Now imagine First Contact with the aliens. Surely, we are doooomed! 😉

                  “In the above case, we are talking of fundamental things. You know, like who can be killed “legitimately” and when. In that context, I would rather like to see eternal laws!”

                  State doesn’t murder. At all. It executes. Like the arrest is not a “kidnapping”, search via warrant – not “breaking’n’entering”, and confiscation of the property and taxation are not the “theft”. When a traffic cop stops you and makes you pay a fine, it is not a “highway robbery”. Just like killing enemy soldiers in war in not a murder. Not all killing is murder, and not all taking of someone-else’s-property is theft. Murder is unlawful killing. Theft is unlawful seizure of property.

                  Why? The State does it in a way agreed upon by the society – aka in the lawful way. As the societies change, the definition of what is acceptable and, therefore, lawful, also change.

                  If you want to see eternal laws – refer to Commandments. Actually, they might not satisfy you, because they are not Laws – you can’t “amend” them. They are, indeed, objective (as long as you accept the Source which gave them to the people as such) orders of conduct, eternal, unchangeable.

                • niku says:

                  First, Russians who hate socialism (as I do) would consider my generalization that “Russians are still socialists” a calumny. My apologies to them; I should be careful when making such generalizations.

                  “Our positions differ so much from each other that we would never end talking!”

                  That’s two humans talking. Now imagine First Contact with the aliens. Surely, we are doooomed!

                  Or, we could try to agree on a bare minimum, and agree to disagree on the rest so that we don’t get to blows. The bare minimum, between you and me, and also Aliens and Humans, could be based on the ideas like “you may evangelize, but not try to force others to adopt your opinions” (i.e., a difference of opinions should be consider a problem which is to be solved), etc.

                  State doesn’t murder. At all. It executes. […]
                  “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
                  By any other name would smell as sweet.” –Shakespeare.

                  Why? The State does it in a way agreed upon by the society – aka in the lawful way.
                  So “what the Society has decided” is now law, transgressions against which are to be punished. But you say right next,
                  As the societies change, the definition of what is acceptable and, therefore, lawful, also change.
                  I suppose your idea is that path-breaking, far-sighted, individuals would have to offer themselves as sacrifices, so that, even though these may be punished, others would see see things far better. (Recall that when the socialists wanted a new form of government in Russia, they moved far away from “the law as the society has decided it”.)

            • niku says:

              @Lyttenburgh:

              “You allow “legitimate” political difference — as long as you get to define ‘legitimacy’. The rest have to be suppressed, one way or another.”

              That’s correct. And I’m hardly unique in that regard. It’s more interesting how one can argue for the opposite, i.e. that all political stances (“differences”, they are) should be a priori viewed as legitimate.

              I meant to say, you allow “legitimate” political difference, as long as you — the Right Thinking, the Upright people — get to define ‘legitimacy’. Suppose the Czarist government declared that socialist thought is subversive, that no Right Thinking person can have anything to do with it, and therefore it is banning it. Would it be all right with you? Or would you — then! — use your own opinions and own judgements? If you can conceive you doing thing which are ‘illegitimate’ (and obviously, illegal) from the point of view of the existing state, why can you not grant others the same right when your side is in power? You may say, “we are powerful, and therefore, we decide”, which is fine, but do not call the stand ‘moral’.

              Are all ideas ‘legitimate’? See Milton’s quote below (or read the whole linked defense of free speech).

              E.g. – take wahhabi and salafi groups. Should they be considered “legitimate”? Radical nationalists – they are legitimate too in your book?
              I would rather not answer your question directly. I’ll just say that expression of the idea should rarely or never be forbidden. See Milton above, and more right below.

              Fascism is unique in that it’s not simply an ideology that uses violence as a tool, but an ideology of violence. […] In the real world, this means that fascist propaganda and marches are an incitement and prelude to violence – there is no way to peacefully express fascist views, because fascism is a rejection of peace. Therefore, people (primarily – the State) need to contain them, by force if necessary[.]

              Your points are valid, but I would add a rider. I would like to distinguish between (i) thinking “wrong thought” and expressing them, (ii) publishing them with the goal of incitement, and (iii) incitement (e.g., pitching it to a mob), and (iv) execution. The state certainly has to stop (iv), likely (iii), perhaps (ii), but not (i). Also, please ponder over the following:

              “Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief, and if believed it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between the expression of an opinion and an incitement is the speaker’s enthusiasm for the result.”
              –US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in Gitlow v United States, 1922. (http://www.scmidnightflyer.com/supreme.html)

              [work-therapy] If applied in adequate measures to the right people, it might ventilate their crap infested heads.
              I dislike the point of view where “the head which thinks wrong thought” is thought as suffering from some problem.

              The Law. Nothing else can. Yes, the State determines the Law. The State uses Violence to uphold it. And the people are okay with this. Well, most of the people (*coughcoughlibtardiansscough*)
              And from the other comment,
              No, Patriotism is not tied to any particular party. It’s tied to your country. […]

              I will explain my point of view about this if you wish. It has something to with the “libtard” ideas.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “Suppose the Czarist government declared that socialist thought is subversive, that no Right Thinking person can have anything to do with it, and therefore it is banning it. Would it be all right with you?”

                Once again – abstract thought constructs won’t lead you anywhere. What do you mean by “all right with YOU”? How is this possible to ask such a question? I do not live in the Czarist Russia. I didn’t even grew up during it. I’m a product of another time and set of morals/ethic. Should *I* grew up in that time, there won’t be *me*. There would be another person, with his own unique lifetime experience, upbringing and sets of morals more in sinc with the period. But it won’t be “me”. So – go and ask him instead. 🙂 Most likely than not (or if we apply some kind of “family line reincarnation” thingy) he’d be a peasant. He won’t know what are these “sosyalisti” are. He, most likely, will blindly trust the Czar’s decision. And he will demand most bitterly about the lack of the land and the need to its just redistribution.

                If, OTOH, I to be transported via space-time continuum and become a “popadanets” in the times of later Imperial Russia, I will be no different than a foreigner in a strange land. Sure, for my own safety I ought to respect the local laws, but I doesn’t mean that I will like them. Don’t know about you, but foreigners are subjects to foreign laws. For their own safety they ought to respect them.

                “You may say, “we are powerful, and therefore, we decide”, which is fine, but do not call the stand ‘moral’.”

                The state is the higher form of organization of the society. Society possess its own, tried and tested modes of social conduct – morals, ethics, traditions. Therefore, the state is explicitly granted the right to command moral edicts and to judge those who do not follow them. The distinction between legal and moral requirements is not one of principle, but one of expediency: the reason why the state shouldn’t attempt to enforce all moral rules on everyone all the time is because it would be impossible and counter-productive to attempt to do so – not because it would be wrong. It would not be wrong at all.

                “I would rather not answer your question directly. I’ll just say that expression of the idea should rarely or never be forbidden. See Milton above, and more right below.”

                How Western Liberal.

                “Your points are valid, but I would add a rider. I would like to distinguish between (i) thinking “wrong thought” and expressing them, (ii) publishing them with the goal of incitement, and (iii) incitement (e.g., pitching it to a mob), and (iv) execution. The state certainly has to stop (iv), likely (iii), perhaps (ii), but not (i).”

                The thought that “words does not kill” is a silly one. With the development of the New Media the distance (or even the difference) between (i) and (ii) is disappearing fast. Everyone now can be a “journalist” and mass media source. Hiding your head in a sand won’t make this problems go.

                “I dislike the point of view where “the head which thinks wrong thought” is thought as suffering from some problem.”

                Dislike it or not, it doesn’t matter. Even the mere fact that you “dislike” it means that you have a certain set of morals which you, naturally, take as being more preferable (“superior”, no?) as any other.

                “I will explain my point of view about this if you wish. It has something to with the “libtard” ideas.”

                Yeah, sure.

                • niku says:

                  Even the mere fact that you “dislike” it means that you have a certain set of morals which you, naturally, take as being more preferable (“superior”, no?) as any other.
                  Of course I have a set of morals. And I do consider them superior. But, again speaking abstractly, as long as you don’t try to force your opinions/morals upon me, we can get along with each other.

                  The thought that “words do not kill” is a silly one.
                  It is nevertheless true!

                  With the development of the New Media the distance (or even the difference) between (i) and (ii) is disappearing fast.
                  It is this context that I supplied the quote from Oliver Wendall Holmes.

                  Once again – abstract thought constructs won’t lead you anywhere. What do you mean by “all right with YOU”? How is this possible to ask such a question?[…]

                  You and I have fundamentally different conceptions of the Law, the State, the Government, the Society and Justice. You start from the State, and everything follows. I start from the naked individual, and I construct the rest from that.

                  I did understand what you are saying.

                  “I would rather not answer your question directly. I’ll just say that expression of the idea should rarely or never be forbidden. See Milton above, and more right below.”

                  How Western Liberal.

                  I am not Western, and I disagree with the general ‘liberal’ platform on many things. If you insist, I will answer your question. You asked,
                  E.g. – take wahhabi and salafi groups. Should they be considered “legitimate”? Radical nationalists – they are legitimate too in your book?
                  If you define ‘legitimacy’ (note, not ‘legality’) as “do these ideas have a right to live”, “should they get a place under the sun”, “should they be included in encyclopedias”, then my answer to your question is yes. The ideas are original and interesting; Right or Wrong, Beneficial or Harmful comes next. I will still consider them as ‘legitimate’ even if it were inevitable that a fraction of the people exposed to them would become fanatics. Where the law has to interfere is when these fanatics execute (or plan to execute) their designs.

                  “I will explain my point of view about this if you wish.”
                  Yeah, sure.

                  My point of view only in outline! For details, I would have to refer you to books.

                  First comes the individual, naked (as I said), standing alone, and facing the universe. Next, he sets out to shape his environment to better suit him. He finds other people, animals and things, and depending on his ideas and opinions (including morals) and conditions around him, fights or cooperates — and generally finds a way to live.

                  In the above, he discovers that there are many others like him, and with them, in general, cooperation would be most beneficial. Lo and behold, this is Society! The mores and customs that they hold together is the Law! As for the State, it is either something arising out of Society to punish transgressions of the Law, or a small, powerful group making itself the master over the rest. (Perhaps real States lie between the two extremes.)

                  All this may seem too abstract to you, so let us make it more relevant for “everyday life”. While the above individuals are born into a world which already contains much structure (family, existing laws, etc) — so he won’t have, and perhaps cannot, construct things from scratch as pictured above — the above abstract picture does provide a guide on how to see things! So, a Law which is “unjust” — according to whose opinions? Yours. — is not a real Law. You may not break it because you are afraid of the retribution by the State/the lawgiver, but that is another matter. And so on!

              • marknesop says:

                There is a certain point at which reason is expected to take over, and you cannot legislate everything down to its lowest common denominator, else your lawbook will require a tractor to haul it around and some of the laws therein will have begun to contradict themselves. A helpful example is that of harassment, in which ‘a reasonable person ought to have known’ the remark or action would be offensive, or the concept that ignorance of the law is no excuse for not obeying it.

                • niku says:

                  There is a certain point at which reason is expected to take over, and you cannot legislate everything down to its lowest common denominator, else your lawbook will require a tractor to haul it around[.]
                  And nobody could conceivable know the law. (Nobody could study and remember it all.)

            • yalensis says:

              Dear niku: The Bolsheviks were NOT Russian patriots and never pretended to be.
              As Marxists, they believed (well, Lenin at least, and he was very consistent about this, to the point that he called for Russian defeat in the Russo-Japan war of 1905) that the proletariat has no country. Lenin was anti-Russian before he became pro-Russian, which happened after the Bolshevik Revolution.

              It’s complicated.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “You allow “legitimate” political difference — as long as you get to define ‘legitimacy’. The rest have to be suppressed, one way or another.”

            That’s correct. And I’m hardly unique in that regard. It’s more interesting how one can argue for the opposite, i.e. that all political stances (“differences”, they are) should be a priori viewed as legitimate. I think this approach reeks of relativism and postmodernist proud lack of morals.

            E.g. – take wahhabi and salafi groups. Should they be considered “legitimate”? Radical nationalists – they are legitimate too in your book?

            And if we try to seriously, without any reduction ad Hitlerum look at the fascism and its offshoots – what would you say? Fascism is unique in that it’s not simply an ideology that uses violence as a tool, but an ideology of violence. Fascist philosophers like Mussolini described the ideal fascist end-point as a constant purification process, killing off anything (and anyone) undesirable in order to constantly drive the human race to greater heights. There is no point in fascism where the killing is over and we enter some happy utopia – that would involve stopping, while fascism is all about eternal, frantic progress.

            In the real world, this means that fascist propaganda and marches are an incitement and prelude to violence – there is no way to peacefully express fascist views, because fascism is a rejection of peace. Therefore, people (primarily – the State) need to contain them, by force if necessary, and make those marches as little fun as possible so that as few people as possible are willing to turn out for them.

            “Also, work-therapy would not solve the “problem” of political differences.”

            Are you sure? 🙂 If applied in adequate measures to the right people, it might ventilate their crap infested heads. When you genuinely tired after a day of such work, you have less inclination to write about “Russian bydlo”, “Bloody Regime”, or burst into “funny” verses like Dmitry Bykov. The last one will benefit the most of all, losing his enormous girth.

            “I propose a vote on the above topic! You will find that only Russians consider treason to be crime which is irredeemably bad.”

            Again – that’s the other side’s problem and, once more, I’m more interested in the opposing side’s reasons as to why it might NOT be an irredeemable crime. Something to do with the prevalent radical individualism, I wager to assume.

            “Anyway, who gets to define ‘treason’? The masters of the day?”

            The Law. Nothing else can. Yes, the State determines the Law. The State uses Violence to uphold it. And the people are okay with this. Well, most of the people (*coughcoughlibtardiansscough*)

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “First comes the individual, naked (as I said), standing alone, and facing the universe. Next, he sets out to shape his environment to better suit him. He finds other people, animals and things, and depending on his ideas and opinions (including morals) and conditions around him, fights or cooperates — and generally finds a way to live.”

          Nicely sounding. But totally wrong.

          The very fact that we are born into this world naked and helpless, and that we are therefore required by our very nature as the social creatures to rely on others for our existence, is precisely the reason why individualism (especially its modern radical Western forms) is fundamentally wrong.

          Human individuals cannot exist in the absence of human communities. We are utterly dependent on each other. Even people, who go to live alone in the wilderness as hermits, are able to do this only after they have been raised to adulthood by a human community.

          We do not “pop up” from a bubble into the world. We are born into it. Are you going to renounce your own parents, claiming that they are alien to you? How do you suppose to survive till such a moment when you could, on your own, “face the universe” and “shape the environment”? Unless you are a modern age Mowgli, you don’t need to “find” other people – you are already found by them. You are not “introduced” in the society – you live and breath it every waking moment since you birth. Can’t really switch it “off” or pretend it’s the other way round.

          “As for the State, it is either something arising out of Society to punish transgressions of the Law, or a small, powerful group making itself the master over the rest. (Perhaps real States lie between the two extremes.)”

          Less abstract example. Dark Ages. A bunch of dudes with weapons and armor come to village and say to the locals: “Nice place you have here. Would be such a tragedy if SOMEONE burns it down”. Yeah, there are more villagers than the dudes with weapons and in armor. But they are peasants, and these are warriors, who’ve spent their entire life not sowing and plowing, but fighting. So, yeah, the villagers here pay up. And villagers in the hamlet nearby, and those folks down the river. BAM! You have feudal state.

          There are many reasons for the formation of the states – the need for unity to resist the external threat, or the failure to resist such threat with the subsequent subjugation of the people under other’s rule. But it’s usually something in between this two, not what you said. Can you say that a stone-age tribe has a “State” just because it has the Law? No, that’s not enough. And Law applied on such small-scale local level is more of Tradition, Superstition and Custom anyway. It’s when you have to deal with larger formation when there might arise a conflict between different traditions, you must invent an overall universally applied to all subjects Law. But for that you have to unite several such “societies”, usually via those two ways I mentioned above.

          “While the above individuals are born into a world which already contains much structure (family, existing laws, etc) — so he won’t have, and perhaps cannot, construct things from scratch as pictured above — the above abstract picture does provide a guide on how to see things!”

          But… why? Why do this? You just admitted that such construct is as abstract as the proverbial “spherical horse in the vacuum”. How can you form a worldview based on that?

          “So, a Law which is “unjust” — according to whose opinions? Yours. — is not a real Law.”

          Where did I say that? Just because the law is not “Just” doesn’t make it unreal.

          • yalensis says:

            Wow, this is a really good philosophical discussion, mostly over my head.
            All I can contribute is that I think Lyt is right, that the “naked individual facing the universe” is total B.S. That’s not how the human “hive” works.

            And everybody should read or re-read Engels.

          • Jen says:

            “First comes the individual, naked … standing alone, and facing the universe. Next, he sets out to shape his environment to better suit him. He finds other people, animals and things, and depending on his ideas and opinions (including morals) and conditions around him, fights or cooperates — and generally finds a way to live.”

            Ooh, um, looks and sounds as if it’s out of one of Ayn Rand’s writings.

            That’s the same Ayn Rand who had to rely on social welfare and Medicare when she was told she had lung cancer, caused among other things by smoking too many cigarettes.

          • niku says:

            Lyttenburgh

            At least finally you have made good points, but I still disagree, obviously!

            Human individuals cannot exist in the absence of human communities. We are utterly dependent on each other. Even people, who go to live alone in the wilderness as hermits, are able to do this only after they have been raised to adulthood by a human community.

            The above would be equally valid for all animals. Also, I think most animals can’t live without being taught what to eat. (I have read that chicks die if their mothers don’t teach them what is edible and what is not.) Yet, nobody has yet suggested that animals in general have a Society. (For ants and bees, yes.)

            There are many reasons for the formation of the states – the need for unity to resist the external threat, or the failure to resist such threat with the subsequent subjugation of the people under other’s rule. […]
            So, you acknowledge that States arise out of conflict. Keep that in mind!

            “[T]he above abstract picture does provide a guide on how to see things!”

            But… why? Why do this? You just admitted that such construct is as abstract as the proverbial “spherical horse in the vacuum”. How can you form a worldview based on that?

            You have put your finger on the crux of the matter.

            Why? I suppose in the end, because of personal tastes. I don’t like to see myself as “as good as everyone else!”. I see myself as better, or at least, aspire to be better. I don’t desire to live following the consensus — I would rather use my own mind. (I may have to follow the consensus to an extent given scarce resources [1], and given that it is an objective limitation — natural/God-given, and not created by humans — I don’t mind it.) I don’t equate the “will of the people” with the “voice of god”. [2] (And perhaps some other points.)

            [1] “Wants are unlimited, resources scarce”.
            [2] I am an atheist, by the way. I am only comparing the two points of views.

            “So, a Law which is “unjust” — according to whose opinions? Yours. — is not a real Law.”
            Where did I say that?

            I was expressing my opinion there.

            yalensis
            I will try to read Engels’ book. I confess that I occasionally tried to read Marx too, but always failed. (The lack of rigour and logic puts me off.)

            Jen
            You smoked me out. You have finally talked to a real, live, fan of Rand! (Though the book where such things are written, namely the Anthem, is not amongst her books I like.)

            • yalensis says:

              Aha! An actual Randite! A rare species indeed, in the wild.
              Good catch, Jen!
              This is interesting, if a Randite can bring himself to read Engels, then some fun things might happen.

              • niku says:

                @yalensis

                First, do you mean to defend the Engels book, or were you just passing a suggestion?

                I skimmed the book.

                Much of it seems to be a recitation of facts, though with an agenda. (History? Sociology?) Those things may be true or false, I don’t know (but I am assuming that they are true). The lack of rigour that I complained about earlier is present here too.

                Anyway, I am not convinced of anything, and in general, I am tempted to say, “what is sensible there is not original, and what is original is not sensible.”

                A few particular comments though:

                The end of Chapter 4 (last two paras, before the footnotes) is far more closer to “my theory” of the origin of the State, than that of Lyttenburgh.
                https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/ch04.htm

                I suppose the core of the book is Chapter 9, and nothing there makes sense to me. The following — chosen at random! — is all crazy. I am it is not even scholarship, but “mob oratory”.

                Civilization consolidates and intensifies all these existing divisions of labor, particularly by sharpening the opposition between town and country (the town may economically dominate the country, as in antiquity, or the country the town, as in the middle ages), and it adds a third division of labor, peculiar to itself and of decisive importance: it creates a class which no longer concerns itself with production, but only with the exchange of the products–the merchants. Hitherto whenever classes had begun to form, it had always been exclusively in the field of production; the persons engaged in production were separated into those who directed and those who executed, or else into large-scale and small-scale producers. Now for the first time a class appears which, without in any way participating in production, captures the direction of production as a whole and economically subjugates the producers; which makes itself into an indispensable middleman between any two producers and exploits them both. Under the pretext that they save the producers the trouble and risk of exchange, extend the sale of their products to distant markets and are therefore the most useful class of the population, a class of parasites comes into being, “genuine social ichneumons,” who, as a reward for their actually very insignificant services, skim all the cream off production at home and abroad, rapidly amass enormous wealth and correspondingly social influence, and for that reason receive under civilization ever higher honors and ever greater control of production, until at last they also bring forth a product of their own – the periodical trade crises.
                https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/ch09.htm

                May I suggest a book on the issue of economics and society?
                https://mises.org/library/human-action-0/html (Mises’, Human Action)

                • niku says:

                  Correcting two tying mistakes in my comment above:

                  The end of Chapter 4 (last two paras, before the footnotes) presents a theory for the origin of the State. This theory is far more closer to “my theory” of the origin of the State, than that of Lyttenburgh.

                  It is not even scholarship, but “mob oratory”.

                • niku says:

                  tying –> typing
                  Somebody ought to shoot me.

                • niku says:

                  “It is not even scholarship” : But you already expected a ‘Randian’ to say that, didn’t you? (Not that I think of myself as a Randian.)

              • yalensis says:

                Dear niku:
                Yes, I defend the Engels book. I think Engels pretty much nailed it.

                • yalensis says:

                  P.S. Engelsism and Randism are polar opposites.
                  That’s why I thought it might be fun for a Randite to comment on Engels.
                  I appreciate the fact that you (niku) stated your philosophy. I respect that.

                • niku says:

                  I am sorry for condemning the book in such harsh terms without even reading it. So, here is the whole of what I have to say about the book:

                  “I went through the book. The parts where the author presents his theory were not rigourous enough. (rigourous: where all statements in a theory are proved, and the ones not proved are clearly labelled as ‘conjectures’).”

                • yalensis says:

                  Well, in Engels defense, sociology is not as exact science as, say, Mathematics.
                  Ayn Rand didn’t exactly “prove” her postulates either, in that sense.
                  If she had been able to prove that “Man is a complete and total individual”, all chest-beating and “RRRRRROOOOAAAAAAR!” then she wouldn’t have needed to go on Medicaid to treat her lung-cancer.

                  Again, the primary context is the socio-economic class structure of the dominant class system in the society into which a person is born. “ROOOAAAAAR!”

                • marknesop says:

                  Did you see the interesting story on the statue of Engels which was found cut in half in Ukraine, and shipped to Manchester, England, where it was restored for display?

                • moscowexile says:

                  Where I shall soon be whiling my time away in exile from my Moscow exile is Salford, which some think is part of Manchester, but it is not: Salford and Manchester are twin cities situated on opposite banks of the river Irwell, a sort of Lancashire Buda and Pest, Salford having being the most important of the two right through the middle ages and up to the onset of the Industrial Revolution, when Manchester became “Cottonopolis”.

                  Anyway, Friedrich Engels from Barmen (now part of the city of Wuppertal, where I was also once a resident) in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, managed his dad’s and partner’s mill in Weaste, a grubby, heavily industrialized part of Salford. It was when in Salford as a millowner’s son/manager of a cotton mill that Engels wrote in 1845 his “Condition of the Working Class in England”.

                  At the same time, he was shacked up with one of his mill-hands, an Irish girl, and he also spent part of his leisure time riding with the Cheshire Hunt.

                  So old Fritz wrote about the travails of the workers, whom he and his papa were exploiting, whilst shagging one of them (though she was not English) and rubbed shoulders with the Cheshire toffs as he rode with the unspeakable chasing the uneatable.

                  I remember that mill well. It was still standing well into the ’70s. In white brickwork along its chimney stack could be read “Ermen & Engels”, Ermen having been papa Engel’s business partner.


                  Ermen and Engels Mill. The railway line is the historic Liverpool and Manchester Rlwy., opened 183, the first pasenger railway and inter-city line in the world.

                  The site of that mill is not a cock-stride from where I shall soon be biding my time until I get the call from Mother Russia.

                  My sister does not live in shit-hole Weaste, though: she lives in a posh part of Salford called Irlam’s o’ th’ Heights, which looks down on Weaste, both geographically and socially: it’s all downhill walking from the heady heights of th’ Heights to the wasteland that is now the de-industrialized Weaste.

                • yalensis says:

                  When Engels was chasing foxes, he might have been the source for Samuel Butler’s thoughts (in “The Way of All Flesh”) that:
                  “Some people run with the foxes, others run with the hounds.”

                  Politically, Engels ran with the foxes, but I guess culturally he ran with the hounds!

                • marknesop says:

                  I like to run with the bulls. Not politically, though. They know bubkes about politics.

                • moscowexile says:

                  typo

                  The railway line is the historic Liverpool and Manchester Rlwy., opened 1830, the first pasenger railway and inter-city line in the world.

                  Smart as the Roman Empire military engineers may have been, I doubt that in the year 183 A.D. in the imperial province of Britannia they built a railway line between Mancunium and Liverpool.

                  Between Mancunium and Deva Victrix, maybe, which latter is now known as Chester and was HQ of the XX Legion, but not between Mancunium and Liverpool, chiefly because there was no Liverpool then.

            • Patient Observer says:

              “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
              – John Rogers

              • niku says:

                ” ‘Tis not the property of a poet to relate things just as they came to pass, but as they might or ought necessarily or probably to happen. For a historian and a poet don’t differ in that one writes in prose, and the other in verse; for truly Herodotus’s history might very well be put into verse, and ‘twould be no less a history when in verse, than ’tis now in prose. But they differ in this, that a historian writes what did happen, and a poet what might, or ought to have, come to pass.”
                http://writing.yodelout.com/aristotle/
                http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0056%3Asection%3D1460b

              • yalensis says:

                Woooooo! You made me laugh my ass off, Observer.
                Thanks, Dude, I really needed that.
                I have been having a tough week over on my own blog, being driven to exasperation by our lovely Matt.
                I wish some of you Stooges would come over there and help me, instead of leaving me “naked and alone” (in the words of a Randite) to fight this evil of Moochatory Banality!

              • niku says:

                Uncle Volodya says, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question.”

                • yalensis says:

                  Well, I’m still not sure I want to end up like Socrates!

                • niku says:

                  @yalensis: He had got old, and he went out in style. [1] His friends proposed to smuggle him out of the prison, but he refused. (By the way, Plato got into a similar scrap when he was young, and he did escape!)

                  [1] How much better it reads in history books that he was condemned to death!

    • niku says:

      Quote from Milton’s Areopagitica:

      Truth indeed came once into the world with her divine Master, and was a perfect shape most glorious to look on: but when he ascended, and his Apostles after him were laid asleep, then straight arose a wicked race of deceivers, who, as that story goes of the Egyptian Typhon with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the virgin Truth, hewed her lovely form into a thousand pieces, and scattered them to the four winds. From that time ever since, the sad friends of Truth, such as durst appear, imitating the careful search that Isis made for the mangled body of Osiris, went up and down gathering up limb by limb, still as they could find them. We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons, nor ever shall do, till her Master’s second coming[.] There be who perpetually complain of schisms and sects, and make it such a calamity that any man dissents from their maxims. […] They are the troublers, they are the dividers of unity, who neglect and permit not others to unite those dissevered pieces which are yet wanting to the body of Truth. […]

      Well knows he who uses to consider, that our faith and knowledge thrives by exercise, as well as our limbs and complexion. Truth is compared in Scripture to a streaming fountain; if her waters flow not in a perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition. […]

      http://monadnock.net/milton/areopagitica.html

    • moscowexile says:

      That’s right!

      In US English, “shall”” is so rarely used in normal speech that it is now used, if used at all, as an emphatic “will”.

      Witness McCarthur’s “I shall return”, presumably to kick Japanese Empire arse.

      A British general in similar circumstances would have said: “I will return!” namely using what is called the “determinate future”: the person saying this is expressing subjective volition to return.

      “I shall return” just means that the speaker fully expects this to happen as part of the natural course of events, and if a British general said “I shall return” as did McCarthy when explaining to Congress the loss of his army in the Philippines, the response off most British speakers of English would be “I should bloody well hope so!”

      McCarthur was using “shall” in the US fashion in order to emphasize his determination to return.

      Compare the response to a man who said to his beloved “I shall love you to my dying day!” instead of “I will love you to my dying day!”

      She, his beloved, would not be too pleased with the “shall” version. (“Of course I shall ‘love’ you, you stupid cow, because you have millions in the bank!”)

      Classic use of English “shall” and “will” by a specialist in classic English oratory:

      Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.

      Of course we shall not flag or fail etc.!

      No volition in this whatsoever: that’s the true nature of the “Bulldog Breed”; it is what fate decrees and what God has ordained; it is fully expected that under such circumstances we shall fight on, to the end if necessary.

      Not “We do not intend to flag or fail”, i.e. “We will not flag or fail”! There is no volition in this behaviour: it comes as naturally as does death, that’s why I say “One day I shall die”.

      And hypothetically sure prediction, using the subjunctive of “will” which is “past tense” in form, that if the UK were defeated, the fight would go on: the US and the British Empire overseas would fight on until the 100% certainty (Churchill’s, in any case) that “the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old” — present tense for future certainty, such as “I am 30 tomorrow”.

      Time and time again I see books for non-native speakers of English where it is stated that “shall” is no longer used, is old fashioned etc. So how does one explain this:

      It is in the light of the unparalleled presumption of respect for religion that I make my own disclaimer for this book. I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently than I would handle anything else…

      I shan’t pursue the matter here, but I think a case could be developed that some kind of theory of other minds, which could fairly be described as dualistic, is likely to underlie the intentional stance – especially in complicated social situations, and even more especially where higher-order intentionality comes into play.

      From “The God Delusion”, Dawkins, 2006.

      Old fashioned?

      When I worked at KPMG about 4 years ago, young Russians there used to ask me time and time again to explain “shall” and “will” usage, they having been told at MGU that “nobody says ‘shall’ now”.

      The thing that really perplexed these young Russians, who were all highly competent in English, was the use of “shall” and “will” in contracts, and in US contracts to boot!

      Be that as it may, only a couple of years ago, a US citizen on a US English language for learners web site categorically and vulgarly stated to any interested parties that “anyone who says ‘shall’ is an asshole”.

      I for my part thought that he who uttered such nonsense was a bit of an arsehole himself.

    • niku says:

      Anyone desirous of reading an anti-Lyttenburgh point of view is welcome to check Bastiat’s The Law.

      http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

  9. Matt says:

    Reply to Patient Observer:

    You stated that the U.S. “controls” South Korea, but to control a country is far different than to have influence over it. You mention the THAAD issue but Moon initially opposed its deployment and tried to derail it through “environmental assessments”. Only after his naive hopes were dashed by NK’s tests did he change his mind.

    He’s even begging the U.S. to increase the maximum range South Korean ICBMs can go, per the ballistic missile guidelines.

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

    “South Korea, in a shift, wants more military firepower against North Korea”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/south-korea-in-a-shift-wants-more-military-firepower-against-north-korea/2017/07/29/9fe5e678-7427-11e7-803f-a6c989606ac7_story.html

    ———————————————-

    The South Korean government wants greater firepower to counteract the growing threat from North Korea’s missiles, which have apparently led the new liberal government in Seoul to prioritize tougher action against Pyongyang over diplomatic engagement.

    The catalyst for the sudden change was North Korea’s second launch in a month of an intercontinental ballistic missile technically capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

    As part of a flurry of phone calls after the launch, South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, called his American counterpart, H.R. McMaster, to seek revisions to their countries’ bilateral ballistic missile guidelines.

    Under an agreement written in 1979 but revised in 2001 and 2012, South Korea is limited in the capabilities it can pursue with its own missile program. The guidelines limit South Korean ballistic missiles with a range of 500 miles to carrying a half-ton payload, but the Moon administration is now seeking to double that to one ton.

    South Korean officials have been concerned about the growing “missile gap” between South and North Korea, but any increases are likely to alarm China in particular.

    ——————————————————

    And even then you have to be specific: what about the U.S. is causing the two Koreas to not reunify? The only demand the U.S. had made, IIRC, is that the new Korea be a democratic state. Surely that’s reasonable, since SK’s system of governance is vastly superior than its Northern sibling’s? Thus I don’t see how the U.S. is at fault for the two Koreas not reunifying.

    It’s true that the U.S. reneged on the 1994 Agreement (amidst the famine, they thought the regime would collapse), but even that could be explained by partisan politics – the Republican-controlled Congress defunded the building of the reactors and other things. And that was only one agreement. My point of repeating Mr. Stanton’s points was to reiterate the large number of agreements broken by North Korea and its crimes towards the South (3 known assassination attempts against SK’s President) and citizens of Japan (kidnappings and force marriages), amongst many other things.

    This is a good chronology of the history of U.S.-North Korea agreements:

    https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/dprkchron

    At the end of the day, Kim wants to stay in power, even if that means mobilizing millions of Koreans for this.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Matt, this monomania is getting too much. Regarding THADD, it will be absolutely useless against s short range missile attack including missiles with nuclear warheads. Seoul and all northern regions of SK would be devastated by such missiles as well as long range artillery. SK is not a free country when it comes to foreign policy.

      You are way too full of yourself. You approach these matters like a born-again preacher spouting fire and brimstone as you dismiss anything contrary to your world views. I can partially understand you passion on Venezuela given your purported family ties but the rest?

      No offense intended, but I will no longer read, much less respond to your posts,

      • Special_sauce says:

        It must rankle Matt not to enjoy the easy “upvotes” from his fellow psycho-phants on Reddit.

      • Matt says:

        “No offense intended, but I will no longer read, much less respond to your posts”

        That’s OK, PO. I already pointed out Kim wants nukes to stay in power and that he’d allow reunification if he loved his people. I also pointed out that NK wants to retain its dynastic government even if reunification were to occur. Unable to respond to this, you conjured a strawman of NK not wanting to reunify because of the U.S. Such strawmen are easy to conjure but but difficult to prove.

        At the end of the day, you managed to blame NK not reunifying on the U.S.! This is typical of most “anti-imperialists”. The editor of antiwar.com managed to blame, without proof, the recent India-China border standoff on the U.S., because, according to him, the latter secretly instructed the India to provoke China! Just an example.

    • Special_sauce says:

      OMG! He’s “mobilizing”! What a Brutal Tyrant who Hates Freedom and Kills-His-Own-People!

    • moscowexile says:

      I came back from my country estate at 6 o’clock this morning in order to visit that Hell-Hole on Pokrovka Street yet again.

      Wonder of Wonders, I was in the building at 9 o’clock and out at half-past nine. Business done! I was instructed to pick up my transit visa on Thursday, any time office hours. I can now fly off as scheduled on Friday morning.

      My next nagging worry is getting through passport control and before that, even, checking in.

      They can always knock you back at the entry/exit point if they don’t like something. It is the same in the UK: you may have a visa, but they have the right to refuse entry at “border control”.

      And I really hate just checking in with an electronic ticket, with just a piece of paper with your name and ticket number printed on it that you have printed out yourself from an email that confirms your booking: it never seems like a real ticket to me.

      But as regards the country: I’m heading off off back there this afternoon for my last 2 days in Russia before leaving at 06:00 on Thursday for Moscow, where I shall get my visa and then go “home” and pack.

      I shall leave my wife and children in the country: no sad farewells, I hope. They will be asleep when I creep off.

      When I shall return, I know not. Hopefully, in less than a month.

      Beautifully quiet back there at the dacha. The apples are now weighing the trees down in our garden, as are the plums. My wife and I have already gathered the berries and she has already started making varen’ye. Gherkins a-plenty in the greenhouse, as well as eggplant.

      But I must go because I broke administrative law after having legally resided her for 23 years.

      • Cortes says:

        Keep well and “don’t let the….”

      • marknesop says:

        I am sure you will be able to return in the shortest period administration allows. Bear in mind that the Americans have been accused of deliberately slowing the processing of visas to go to the USA from Russia, in hopes that angry people so inconvenienced will rise up and throw out the tyrant Putin who is certainly responsible – didn’t he expel all those nice Embassy workers who were, until then, so efficient? I would not therefore be at all surprised to learn there has been a slowdown in visa processing, both ways, in all western countries where the visa involves Russia. And to be fair, Russia might be a little bit pissed off itself, and be reacting in kind. But yours is a very, very minor offense and I am sure any delay will be artificial. Don’t weaken and take up pipe-smoking again whilst you are in The Empire.

        • moscowexile says:

          I am now back in Moscow. I came back from the dacha on the first train in order to get my transit visa. They told me on Monday, 7 August, that the transit visa would be ready today, 10 August. My wife decided to travel to Moscow with me. We left at 06:30.

          The visa office opened at 09:00. My wife and I were there when it opened.

          The visa was not ready.

          They said it was going to be prepared for tomorrow.

          I created a fuss. I fly off (supposedly) tomorrow at 10:00.

          They got it ready. Their error.

          Outside in the bright sunshine, I could read properly what was printed on the visa, although Natasha and I had checked it in the visa office.

          They had spelt one of my names wrongly.

          In Russian, my Christian names, as written on the transit visa in Cyrillic, is:

          Деннис Майкл

          but written below in the Latin alphabet was

          Dennis Maikl

          Dickheads!

          The name must be exactly as the same as in the passport, namely “Dennis Michael”.
          My second name had simply been transliterated from Cyrillic into the Latin alphabet.

          If I had shown that transit visa at the airport tomorrow, they would not have let me through passport control.

          I got it changed.

          All this is very stressful.

          When we arrived at the visa office, my wife started telling me not to be so nervous, everything would be fine.

          I told her it would not be fine, that something always goes bloody wrong: “It’s called ‘Sod’s Law’ in English” I told her.

          She thought I was being neurotic.

          I was proven right.

          I hope to arrive at Manchester airport tomorrow afternoon as per schedule.

          • moscowexile says:

            Oh yeah, and I got a reply this morning from Ministry of the Interior as regards the complaint that my wife had made to Putin’s office as regards that ministry turning down my appeal against the refusal to extend my permanent residency permit.

            Putin’s office had forwarded the complaint to the ministry about which the complaint had been made.

            The ministry reply just reads that it is not possible to extend my permit because I had been in breach of rule blah-blah-blah.

            The letter ends by saying that in accordance with the laws of the RF, I have the right to apply for a temporary residency according to the usual procedure, all of which was what the fucking complaint was about in the first place!

            I am back to square one every time!

          • marknesop says:

            Godspeed, and best of luck for a speedy MacArthur.

  10. Matt says:

    Venezuela is finished. The new “assembly” includes Maduro’s wife AND son! What a farce!

    But it’s get even better!

    “Venezuela pro-government assembly fires dissident prosecutor”

    ——————————–

    Venezuela’s chief prosecutor was fired on Saturday and ordered to stand trial, less than 24 hours after a newly elected legislative superbody was installed with sweeping powers to strengthen President Nicolas Maduro’s grip on power.

    The prosecutor, Luisa Ortega, had become Maduro’s main challenger from within the ruling socialist movement since the opposition started a round of protests in April.

    She accused him of human rights abuses and of exaggerating the turnout in last weekend’s election of the new 545-member constituent assembly.

    His loyalist Supreme Court sent a letter to the assembly informing it of an indictment against Ortega, accusing her of “alleged commission of serious misconduct,” without further outlining the charge.

    Earlier in the day, Ortega’s office was surrounded by armed National Guard officers who refused to let her enter. Ortega told reporters she was roughed up as she tried to enter her office, claiming that one officer hit her with his body shield. She left on a motor bike amid the chaos.

    ————————————

    What’s funny (if I can call such a situation funny) is that Ortega used to be one of the most pro-government people out there. She was, and still is, a Chavista. For years, she supported legal action against dissident Leopoldo López, who was jailed in 2014. When she turned on Maduro, her daughter and grandson were kidnapped and held for three days as punishment.

    When the announcement of Ortega being replaced with Maduro’s ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, was read out, it brought applause and shouts of support from the new assembly. The announcement also contained a pledge to “restructure” her office. The new assembly didn’t just strip her of her job, they even barred her from leaving the country.

    But you won’t hear a hint of criticism of this on so-called “anti-imperialist”, “independent”, “alternative” media websites. Nope. They only criticize the U.S. and anyone the U.S. criticizes is in turn supported by them. Reverse psychology, in a manner of speaking.

    • saskydisc says:

      Where does that leave Canada, what with the Right Honourable Jean Crétien’s nephew coordinating the Ugandan/Rwandan attack on Congo-Kinshasa, and the massacres against fleeing Hutu civilians? This was while Crétien was prime minister.

      The practice is quite common.

      • Matt says:

        Do you have any good sources (articles/books) detailing the above events?

        • kirill says:

          Hypocrite. None of your sources for anything have been good. Instead it has been one big spew of propaganda BS. If you are offered sources that don’t conform to your propaganda bubble, they you will, predictably dismiss them. As noted by several others, you are a fanatic who automatically rejects “heresy” and thus it is pointless to have any discussion with you. You are just another troll jerking off in a public forum and deliberately wasting people’s time.

          • Matt says:

            Sources? What sources? So far only one person has provided “sources” for their claims and that was Mark, who posted a Mintpress article, which I dissected and debunked. Other than that, nobody has given any sources backing up their claims.

            So there’s nothing for me to “reject”.

            Nice strawman, though.

      • saskydisc says:

        Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, Robin Philpot, Baraka Books. Robin is the brother of John Philpot, an attorney at the ICTR. The book includes a discussion of an interview that he had with Raymond Crétien. Read that, then I can give you other references in that regard.

        • Matt says:

          Thanks for the source. It seems that Raymond Chrétien, who was Ambassador to France and a special envoy of the UN Secretary General, admitted that the November 1996 operation resulted in at least one million deaths. That’s what the free preview of the book states.

          I haven’t been able to find any copies of the book online. Could you give a summary of the interview?

          • saskydisc says:

            That is the substance. It is also the only part quoted, though the book is available as an e-book online, for $20 Canadian. For an older version of the book, excluding the revelations that occurred e.g. at the ICTR Military II trial, the interviews (detailed) with peacekeepers and others who worked under and with Dallaire, and iirc an interview with Akayesu [fraudulently convicted of rape at the ICTR, in a conviction condemned even by investigators for the prosecution], and USA/Canada sponsored Kagame’s genocidal violence in DRC, go here.

            The part regarding Raymond Chrétienis here. The bulk of the chapter is an analysis of his role. He helped to subvert the mission to protect Hutu refugees (fraudulently denounced as “genocidaires”), thus giving Kagame and friends a free hand, resulting in such things as the violence against refugees at Goma, and later the Kibeho massacre.

    • yalensis says:

      Sounds great to me, Matt, I hope Maduro and his people get a chance to kick ass of the kind of people YOU support.
      Congratulations, you have succeeded in completely turning me off to any possible sympathy I might have felt for the people on your team.
      I think the tipping point for me was when you called for assassinating the head of a government which you don’t agree with.

      • Matt says:

        So this is the true face of an “anti-imperialist”. Killing/hurting innocent people just because they have the sympathy of people you don’t like.

        I’ve asked countless time here for proof behind the Maduro regime’s claims. Mark posted an article from one of them “alternative” news websites and I promptly debunked it. Not a single piece of evidence proving the U.S. is behind “economic sabotage” of Venezuela or that the opposition is full of violent, right-wing, neocon, warmongering, neoliberal, whatever-da-fuck-term-you-want-to-use, etc.

        • yalensis says:

          Maduro didn’t kill her, he fired her from her post.
          You are the one calling for killng people.
          Nice projection, though.

          • Matt says:

            I am calling for the death of Kim, yes, because he HAS killed people. Why are you conflating Kim with Maduro? It’s because you then have to account for Kim’s own murders, including the execution of his uncle and brother.

            Such hypocrisy.

        • marknesop says:

          Oh, yes; you ‘debunked’ it; I was forgetting. I must remember that approach for future use. “Your source is rubbish – be careful of using information from alternative news sites”.

          What about the reference which reports various western sources are pumping something in the order of $40-50 Million into Venezuela yearly, to fund the opposition? The World Movement for Democracy is an NED-funded project!! How much more credibility – from a regime-change-advocate point of view – does it need? Yet you continue squawking “Not a single piece of evidence!” like Polly Parrot.

    • marknesop says:

      What’s wrong with letting Venezuela handle it? The violent protests suggest Maduro does not hold absolute dictatorial sway over the population. If the situation is as farcical as you say, I’m sure Venezuelans are smart enough to see it – are you the only smart Venezuelan? The problem I have with it is the west can never resist the urge to help out the opposition a little bit, with money and ‘training’ that teaches them how to leverage civil disobedience, and make the leader look foolish so that everyone laughs at him. There is no problem at all tracing the cookie-cutter alikeness of ‘social movements’ which have brought about regime change, usually started among students, from OTPOR in Serbia to Kmara in Georgia to Pora in Ukraine. All part of a pattern. But don’t take my word for it.

      http://en.e-notabene.ru/wi/article_15311.html

      Quite an interesting and informative piece. Allow me to quote briefly from the section on Venezuela:

      A color revolution in Venezuela is possible, moreover, it is inevitable. The fact is that due to the credibility and popularity of Venezuela in the Latin American world, the use of brute military intervention by the United States can be ruled out, as it was in Grenada and Panama. Therefore, in the quest to destroy the gains of the Bolivarian revolution and to undermine the pursuit of freedom by the people of Venezuela, the United States will use the “soft power,” “soft” coup technologies, disguised as spontaneous acts of political processes and popular revolutions, the way it was organized in Tunisia, Libya, Syria. Libya, particularly, is an illustrative example, where the color revolution turned into a civil war, and the last one turned into the intervention by France and Great Britain, as well as the United States that later came to the rescue. Of course, Venezuela is not Libya, and here the Americans will use a special scenario, based on all the same basic scheme similar for all the color revolutions. Most likely, the scheme, repeating an armed rebellion of 2013 – 2014 in Ukraine will be applied in Venezuela, which began with “Euro Maidan.”

      But it’s not hopeless. If a colour revolution is a template process, so too can a defense be evolved against it. And the model thus far looks like this:

      The first group of measures is aimed at detecting and blocking financial flows going to finance the protest movement.

      The second group of measures is aimed at involving the social base of the protest movement, young people aged 18 to 35, in the activities of the non-governmental organizations of pro-government orientation.

      The third group of measures is to create “valves to let off steam” a society to relieve tension that would not allow a society to “overheat” like a steam boiler, and then throw out the accumulated energy in the form of a social explosion.

      Obviously, from credible material I have already posted, there’s no use laughing mockingly at Maduro’s alleged crazy dreams that the CIA is trying to overthrow him. It is, although it is just one of several organizations funding and propping up the political opposition. Hey, you ever notice something? When Washington wants a leader gone, they always fund the opposition. What would be wrong with approaching the leader (except that they don’t like him, because he’s too “anti-American”) and saying, look; you’re doing this all wrong. Here’s a simple but powerful progressive plan which will kick-start your economy, and here’s a bunch of money to get it off the ground. No, no; no thanks necessary – just get out there and save your country. That’s basically the way Washington treats Poroshenko, even in the face of clear evidence that he is a greedy oligarch who is using outside funding to strengthen his personal bottom line. The whole world – except Ukraine – agrees Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe. So why isn’t Washington funding the opposition and trying to get a coup going which will overthrow Poroshenko and put somebody in office who will fight corruption? That’s sort of a rhetorical question, because I don’t think you could find anybody in Ukraine who knows the first thing about fighting corruption, but I think you see my point.

      Once more, I am not wedded to Maduro, nor is anyone here. If Venezuelans genuinely want him gone, I have no objection so long as his replacement is chosen democratically by Venezuelans, and not engineered into place by the State Department Color Revolution specialists, as Temer was in Brazil. Much to Brazilians’ sorrow, I should point out.

  11. yalensis says:

    Don’t worry, Sauce, we get it!
    I can’t get that damned TM to work either.
    Curses on you, Lyt and Moscow Exile!

  12. kirill says:

    Regarding Venezuela, I find it amusing how the US right claims that it was a prosperous country. Not before Chavez it wasn’t. Chavez actually spent oil money on the 70% poor that made up the country’s population before he took power. Venezuela also had very high inflation before his arrival. That is, it was a 3rd world basket case. Even today, with all the crime and shortages most people are better off. Perhaps some of the rich are much worse off. Cry me a river. It is their hero Uncle Scumbag who is fostering the crime and strife in order to engineer regime change.

    Unfortunately, Maduro is a waste of space who simply can’t fill Chavez’ shoes. If Chavez was still around, Venezuela would be in much better shape.

    • Matt says:

      “Even today, with all the crime and shortages most people are better off. Perhaps some of the rich are much worse off.”

      Your statement is not backed up by statistics. What proof do you have of this? Today, Venezuelans are starving to death en masse. Attempting to say that only some rich people are worse off is a deliberately dishonest statement.

      “It is their hero Uncle Scumbag who is fostering the crime and strife in order to engineer regime change.”

      Aha! This is a new accusation. Now, apparently the Gringos are even behind Venezuela’s sky-high crime rate too! Is there anything bad in Venezuela the bastards aren’t responsible for? I coin this disease “U.S. Derangement Syndrome” (U.S.D.S). Or perhaps “America. Derangement Syndrome” (A.D.S) sounds better?

      “If Chavez was still around, Venezuela would be in much better shape.”

      No difference. The crisis in Venezuela happened because various administrations failed to diversify the economy away from oil. It was politically easier and and cheaper to simply tax oil exports at a time of high oil prices and give the poor subsidies. Even if Chavez were alive, what difference would it make? The country’s economy would still have been reliant on oil exports and it still would have crashed in 2014 when oil prices plunged.

      • saskydisc says:

        Malnutrition until 2009: http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/venezuela/malnutrition-prevalence
        A clear declining pattern is observable. If Caritas is to be believed, malnutrition has risen back to 10%. Many countries have much higher malnutrition rates—would you say that Venezuelans were starving to death in the early 80s?

        • Matt says:

          Caritas states “11.4 percent of children under five are suffering either from moderate or severe acute malnutrition…. The Caritas figure rises to 48 per cent when under-fives at risk or already suffering lower levels of malnutrition are included…. “In some places we surveyed, the child malnutrition level was as high as 13 percent,” said Susana Raffalli, a humanitarian specialist in food emergencies working for Caritas in Venezuela. “In October it was 8 percent. It is progressing at a worryingly high rate”…… The Caritas report shows one in twelve households were eating “from the street” – scavenging for leftover food from restaurants and rubbish bins.”

          http://www.caritas.org/2017/05/children-face-hunger-crisis-in-venezuela-as-malnutrition-soars/

          From your first link, in 1982, malnutrition was at 8.90%. This means even back in the early 1980s, malnutrition wasn’t as severe as it is now. The assumption is that the 1980s was a period of normalcy, but it wasn’t. This report from the year 1999 sheds more light on the matter (keep in mind it was written in 1999, so when it says “12 years ago”, it’s discussing the ’80s):

          ————————-

          Venezuela used to be considered a miracle country. Until the early 1980s, it was one of the only four Latin American countries certified by the World Bank as an upper-middle-income economy. It was also a stable, center-left democracy, quite an oasis in a region plagued by authoritarianism, insurgency, or unrest.

          Today, Venezuela is in ruins. It is one of the few Latin American countries to have had, not one, but two “lost decades:” the 1980s and the 1990s. Never really able to recover from currency and debt crises in the 1980s, Venezuela plunged further into economic chaos in the 1990s (see table). Inflation remained indomitable and among the highest in the region, economic growth continued to be volatile and oil-dependent, growth per capita stagnated, unemployment rates surged, and public sector deficits endured despite continuous spending cutbacks. Real wages today are almost 70 percent below what they were 20 years ago. In eight of the last 12 years, Venezuela suffered some sort of economic emergency-a critical fiscal deficit, a banking crisis, a currency crisis, an economic recession or a combination of these. More than two-thirds of the population now live below poverty levels. A recent report estimates that, for an average Venezuelan with 12 years of schooling, the probability of ending up poor is 18.5 percent, up from 2.4 percent only a decade ago. Education-a common antidote against poverty-has simply ceased to work.

          ————————-

          The 1980s was one of the worse times for Venezuela, other than the last few years. So, I would say that many Venezuelans were indeed starving in the early 1980s.

      • marknesop says:

        Matt, you have not provided a single piece of evidence that people are starving en masse. That study you provided danced around and said Venezuelans were ‘losing weight’, and went into considerable mockery over the ‘Maduro diet’. Several sources have been provide which specifically state that Venezuelans are not starving, and that Chavez cut poverty in half. You said nothing. If there was another of your magical debunkings, I must have missed it.

        • yalensis says:

          Okay, I really really really really don’t want to sound facetious here…

          Having said that, is it possible that a lot of poor Venezuelans are actually eating more nutritiously now? Latin Americans, especially, native Americans, have genetic issues with the modern diet and with sugars. Hugo Chavez himself was a bit on the chubby side.

          If the diet included more fresh vegetables and meats and less sugars and corn, then maybe some people actually ARE eating more nutritiously now and building more lean muscles.

          I’m just throwing this idea out there for discussion, please please nobody accuse me of being like Marie Antoinette… “Well, let them eat veggies instead of cake…”

          • marknesop says:

            I don’t think so. I imagine there genuinely are food shortages, although they seeem to be of the nature which concentrates on staples rather than across-the-board shortages, and it is a valid point that Venezuela is still a relatively poor country where the poor cannot simply elect to buy a different product which is more expensive. And I did provide evidence that certain wealthy Venezuelans are behind the shortages and introduced them deliberately because of a perceived vulnerability in which Venezuela relies too heavily on cheap imports – the importers have the government by the balls. But ‘Matt’ just ignored it, and went on to say I only ever provided one article from MintPress in substantiation, which he easily debunked.

  13. Matt says:

    Reply to saskydisc:

    “Your last sentence is incoherent—it would be the similarity that would be the argument for amalgamation.”

    But I propose that the disparity in wealth and similarity in ethnicity is why SK should absorb the North.

    “The timing of the concern over North Korea is interesting—why now, that the economy is growing at about 6%?”

    If the North’s economy continues to grow, it will only embolden Kim to not reunify with the South. In a few decades, one of his descendants, feeling emboldened due to wealth, could even attack the South. The Kim family ought to be stopped now, while NK is in a weak state.

    • saskydisc says:

      By parity of argument, every country on earth should be attacked. It was the failure to attack UK and France that led them to install ISIS and AQ in Libya, now with black African slave markets to boot. If USA could have been invaded, then the invasion of Iraq could have been prevented, and had USA been invaded earlier, the genocides in Rwanda and DRC would have been prevented as well. At the small cost of a nuclear war.

      • Matt says:

        You make a good point. I suppose a popular uprising is the only viable option, like the one experienced by the South a few decades ago.

  14. Cortes says:

    And so beginneth another day on Matt’s blog.

    • Cortes says:

      Apologies for answering my own post but…

      I know I’m a guest here and feel embarrassed if I recognise that I’ve posted too often. Do trolls ever experience that sensation? My guess is that the goal is to utterly scunner (good Scottish word, possibly also Canadian?) contributors as Jen stated supra.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Cortes: In truth, I sometimes feel like I post too many comments on Mark’s blog, and certain people (like Karlin) even accused me of being a troll. But I just get intellectually engaged, and I enjoy the discussion. That’s my excuse!

        As for the likes of you, I think you should post more comments, not less!
        And please feel free to post more comments on my blog as well.

  15. Matt says:

    Farewell, my dear friends. I will stop posting here, considering I’ve exhausted the topics of NK and Venezuela.

    Au revoir, again!

  16. Patient Observer says:

    The manic compulsive has depleted himself. Or, perhaps he’s back on his meds. Wishing him a speedy recovery from whatever has destroyed his soul.

    • Fern says:

      Wow, I’m sure we’ve all grown as a result of being exposed to an intellect like “Matt’s”. I personally feel humbled. I’m sure he is to Venezuela what Pot Noodles are to Chinese cuisine. No doubt a bright future at the Brookings Institute or similar awaits. Maybe his turn here is part of an internship there?

      • Patient Observer says:

        Yes, there is a suspicion that he is pitching himself for a position in such an organization. Perhaps the KS was a summer assignment for his internship. He did quit twice showing a lack of mettle. Perhaps his advisor told him to complete the assignment or risk receiving an incomplete. I would, if grading him, give him an “A” for effort and an “F” for effectiveness.

        • yalensis says:

          Yeah, I still don’t believe for one second that Matt is actually a Venezuelan, or indeed any Latin American.

          He probably posts on a different forum, under a different name, and claims to be a starving North Korean.

          • marknesop says:

            Anything is possible, although he sounds more to me like the scion of a wealthy Venezuelan family, the demographic which has the most investment in western intervention which results in ‘enlightened socialism’ – paying lip service to the concept while practicing unbridled corporatism in which everything is for sale. The wealthy are at home wherever they live, and don’t have to live in a country where everything is for sale and foreigners own everything worth having.

            It is possible that model could work, but it would take a leader like Putin and a policy under which investors would be obligated to invest a substantial portion of their profit in the country where they took it. Because the beauty of sucking a country dry is that you can use the money you make to increase your power and influence back home, where you choose to live, and forget about Country A once you’ve made your fortune and it’s no longer needed. But the corporatists would fight such a system forever, because the nature of corporatism is to extract and keep as much wealth as possible.

            • yalensis says:

              Well, Matt’s English seemed a bit too perfect to me. He even used colloquial American expressions like “Whoa Tiger!”
              Do people in Canada say Whoa Tiger?

              He also prevaricated and seemed to keep changing his story. Like, his relatives back home in Venezuela were starving. Then, when I challenged him why didn’t he send them money, he said he did. But I guess it wasn’t enough, because they’re still starving!

              Then I asked him how they could afford to send him to school in Canada, and he said they had some money before they became poor and started starving.
              But, logically, since he hasn’t graduated yet, wouldn’t they still be paying his tuition?
              Maybe that’s why they’re starving — they have to send all their money to him!

              Oh, well, I reckon each and every one of Matt’s relatives had to lose 19 pounds apiece in order to save the money to send him to school in Canada. Uh huh.

              • Patient Observer says:

                I commented on his use of colloquial English as well. He, she, it is likely not what is portrayed. On the other hand, I am simply glad that the boorish presence has shuffled off.

                • yalensis says:

                  Yeah, he shuffled off HERE, but now he’s tormenting ME on my blog.
                  Oi……
                  Oh well, like my dear old Mum says, “We all have our crosses to bear, Dearie…”

          • Patient Observer says:

            If only Venezuela had nukes…. Just kidding!!

      • moscowexile says:

        I took no part in the discussion with him after his having crushingly humiliated me in public by labelling my opinions concerning Russia and Russians as being those of an “insignificant Englishman”.

        Interestingly, the person who stated that about me took offence at being described on here as “arrogant”.

        Perish the very thought!

    • marknesop says:

      Hey, PO; did you receive your T-shirt? I never heard back from you by email.

  17. Russia and China did not use their veto-right against new sanctions against NK. Wonder what are their motives for not vetoing against the sanctions? Very disappointing move nonetheless.

    • James lake says:

      Though I have sympathy with North Korea – it is not clear why they think their behaviour will achieve their objective, which I assume is talks.

      1. Does anyone know what diplomatic relations exist with its neighbours – who could really help them.

      2. The constant missile testing is not productive; this appears to have alienated China /and ASEAN nations. Duerte criticised him strongly for example

      3.They had the chance in recents weeks – and rejected it – to talk to the new president of South Korea who was elected on the basis of the sunshine policy

      4.China negotiated the UN resolution with the US. I am not clear on the content beyond the headlines – they appear to be harsh

      5. will sanctions work? What is the incentive for NK? Only time will tell

      • Patient Observer says:

        Russian and China are proposing a mutual de-escalation by NK and USA/SK.
        https://www.rt.com/news/398774-russia-china-north-korea/

        Moscow and Beijing are against any missile launches carried out by North Korea and are at the same time calling on the US to halt military drills in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.

        I think the timing here is key. NK seems fairly close (1 to 2 years?) from fielding a credible nuclear deterrent. They likely feel a strong imperative to cross the finish line given the resources expended to date and the fear of invasion. I think that once they have the nukes and delivery systems in operation, dialog with China, Russia and SK can become productive. NK leadership will need to a switch from a siege mentality to peaceful coexistence and the US/SK need to stop regime change schemes for this situation to peacefully resolve itself.

        • kirill says:

          American exceptionalists are so full of shit. If NK is a threat to the USA it is a bigger threat to Russia and China. Yet Russia and China have no desire to foist regime change on NK. Thus, the whole basis for the NK “threat” to the USA is null and void. In fact, the aggression by the USA against NK is a clear reason for NK to develop a nuclear deterrent. In other words, the USA engages in aggression against NK and then uses its response as an excuse for the aggression.

        • marknesop says:

          Balanced against that is the western imperative to exercise control – oops; I mean, ‘use influence’ – over a reunited Korea. And I can easily see Uncle Sam whispering in SK’s ear about how cool it would be to rule over a country which was suddenly more than twice as big.

      • marknesop says:

        Sanctions absolutely do not work. They are by definition calculated to cause pain to the population, and so use the population as an instrument to remove the leader. They might work in instances where the population genuinely lives in hatred and fear of the leader, which it always does in Washington fantasy – and what is the mainstream press but a great big fairy tale at Gramma Washington’s knee? The more likely effect every time is for the population to rally around the leader as it sees he is the target of pressure by the Great Regime-Changer, which has a terrible record of knocking over administrations and then walking away, to leave a power vacuum into which the worst elements in the society gravitate. The USA very frequently has to move to a direct military attack simply because the sanctions which were imagined would bring an easy-peasy cheap solution failed to have any discernible effect. But Washington keeps trying them, I suppose because they seem so majestic and detached, and make them feel omnipotent. But they don’t work, and they absolutely will not work on NK, which is even more paranoid and suspicious of the west’s motives than an average country.

    • marknesop says:

      Because Kim is an absolute dictator who rose to the position through inheritance rather than anything like competence, and his war talk against his neighbours is unnecessarily belligerent and unhinged. I cannot think of a single redeeming quality about him as a leader – I just object to his being unseated from without and replaced by the west, which has quite a few leaders who need replacing as well. When North Koreans are fed up with Kim, they’ll get rid of him and it is their prerogative.

      • Patient Observer says:

        With a little help from China – not regime change but filling the vacuum with something better than what they have currently and stabilizing the economy. I don’t see China having a primary interest in economic exploitation such as, say, SK or the US. I hope it would be more of a family/cultural reunion. Not to mention, China had its own taste of extreme leadership in the form of the Great Leap Forward. In addition, old civilizations such as China ought to be more humane to weaker neighbors.

      • Jen says:

        Hmmm … getting rid of Kim Jong-un could take a while for the North Koreans to achieve if this short film of Pohang market in Chongjin City (in northeastern North Korea) is anything to go by. The North Korean government is actually allowing people to run private businesses including driving taxis and running bath-houses, restaurants and market stalls. In addition, merchants who operate market stalls pay daily fees to the government so as long as the government itself benefits from having free markets, they are in NK to stay.

        https://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk03200&num=14503

        • marknesop says:

          That’s possible, although the filmmaker’s amazement at seeing clothing for sale which is actually in bright colours instead of the standard grey or black or earthtones suggests progress is not too astonishing just yet. For his part, Kim plays to the gallery of his haters with his deity-like posing and preening, as if he really does believe he is a God brought to earth. I suppose a good deal of what we read about him is exaggeration, since he is on the list of leaders the west wants gone, but it is certainly true the North Korean military is very confrontational, and any brush with it on the part of South Korean forces usually results in shots fired, as if a permanent state of barely-suspended war exists.

          In any case, the matter is for the North Koreans to decide, and if Kim is relaxing restrictions and promoting internal trade and more freedom that is all to the good. It is unfortunate that when the west starts baying for freedom and democracy, it usually signals another agenda entirely, one which is driven by its own interests. But that’s the way it usually is. I can’t help noticing how close Korea is to the Russian Far East (since I used to fly in there regularly from Seoul) and how advantageous it would be for the west to drop a few military bases in a reunited Korea. NATO loves to create situations in which it could – theoretically – invade by simply charging across a border. It creates psychological encirclement even if it is not much of a real threat.

  18. Cortes says:

    Nothing like an enthusiastic customer:

    https://sputniknews.com/europe/201708061056237519-poland-usa-lng-prices/

    And the Poles seem nothing like enthusiastic customers.

    • James lake says:

      The Poles could be just trying to negotiate to drive the price of LNG down.

      The US would have to sell at a loss, but if they successfully stop the Russian pipelines due to sanctions and cut out Qatar via sanctions for terrorism for example – they could secure the market and after a while push the price up as Europe would have no alternatives.

      As has been stated here before high energy costs will make them uncompetitive and annoy the citizens.

    • marknesop says:

      The entire suggestion is a complete about-face from previous writing on the subject – first, there were not going to be any ‘contracts’: dear God, what an antiquated concept! Where are we, Russia? No, no, gas was to be sold on the spot market, where in theory a cargo could be resold while it was still in transit if it could fetch a higher price elsewhere on the same or a similar route. Now the Poles are talking contracts, what the fuck? No end of effort was expended to force the Russians away from long-term contracts tied to oil prices, and now the Poles look like they are ready to jump right back into the frying pan. Well, cheer up – after Noodles Nuland or one of her contemporaries head-butts them into submission, the Poles will sing a different tune.

      The Americans know very well that if this comes down to who can supply it cheapest, their ass is punched like a doughnut. They have had every possible kind of warning that Gazprom can get under them no matter how cheap they market it, and pipeline gas is by nature cheaper than shipborne LNG because its costs are far less. I said it a million times, and as far back as 3 years ago – the Americans will not do it if they can’t make a profit. And they can’t make a profit if that means selling it cheaper than Russia can sell it.

      This kind of stupidity is inexcusable.

  19. Lyttenburgh says:

    I’m still mostly away from the net (and will remain so for the rest of the Summer). Absolutely shocked about ME’s situation. I read on BBC-Russia blogs about similar “hoops-jumping for the FMS” story, but it’s another story when such horror happens to a person you can relate and know. Reading it all now… simply, no words to express all that I felt. I’m also sorry, that I happened to read it only now, post factum.

    All advices were sound here – raise a stink and go above petty pen pushers heads up to the top brass. Well, maybe petitioning Putin was an overkill. Also, I’m not familiar with the migrant related stuff so I can’t even offer any advice here on whom to bribe. I’m not suggesting anything just, you know – keep your options open, ME.

    I also join other very concerned Stooges in wishing you best luck in resolving this situation. Let the All-Father watch over you with his one unlidden eye!

    P.S. Also, I still think that “Matt” userperson must be banned – for the sake of the Order and Peace. People who come to other’s blogs to wage a war instead of having a conversation must be treated accordingly and don’t whine about it afterwards. If he wants to spread his bullshit – let him make his own blog and we will see how’d he manage on his own, without parasitizing on other people’s comment sections.

    • Special_sauce says:

      L’burgh, rumo(u)r has it, you know how to do the superscript thing in this version of HTML, e.g. tm(trade mark), please tell us how.

    • Special_sauce says:

      I lean to non-banning. It makes us as bad our tormentors, although “Matt” was particularly pernicious. His own hang-out Reddit has a system of up/downvotes. If you get more than five downvotes, your post disappears. Complaints to the hall monitorsmoderators can get you kicked off the board altogether. That happened to me a lot thanks to hasbara who run a pretty tight ship when it comes to the Shtetl “State”Israel.

      • Special_sauce says:

        *as bad as

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Never was on Reddit. I avoid all these new media outlets like a plague (obligatory “hurr, durr, kids these days!”).

        Yes, I was banned in a loooooot of places! Mostly for ideological reasons. Personal attacks of the people were never reasons for my banning/DEAT elsewhere. As for showing uncharacteristic mercy in this particular case – why? I see where we differ in our worldviews.Do you think that in a political/ideological struggle you should try to be “better” than the enemy, to refrain from “stooping to their level”? I think that’s silly idealism. In a political struggle, you should try to win. Nothing else matters. And if you are fighting for those you genuinly believe are on the receiving end of injustice by the globalists Powers That Be (let’s use this euphemism for the moment) – it’s even more important to win at any cost. Those people aren’t going to get any less dissed and targtede by You Know Who, if you prove yourself “better” than the enemy. Only victory can help them. So… win.

    • moscowexile says:

      I fly off, Lyttenburgh, on Friday morning, August 11, leaving behind my wife and three children.

      Well, two children now, as the judge pointed out to me in court: my son was 18 on 31 July, so I have told him to look after his mum and sisters because I cannot exactly say when I shall be back.

      🙂

      • yalensis says:

        That sucks.
        The system failed you, ME.
        How’s your littlest one doing? does she understand? Is she okay?
        Well, at least she has her mom.
        Try to get back to her as soon as you can.
        The teenagers should be okay.

        • moscowexile says:

          Funny thing is, Yalensis, that Sasha, who is 9, seems too busy playing with her pals back in dacha-land to comprehend the circumstances in which I find myself: Vova is too busy in Moscow making his bloody awful rap recordings in Moscow studios, though he says he’ll make me an invite as a Russian citizen to be his guest in Russia. The one who is really upset about my coming absence is my elder daughter, Lena, who is 16.

          My two girls were fast asleep when I left the dacha for Moscow this morning. I did not want to wake them up.

          Vova is here in the flat with his headphones glued to his head, as usual.

          I spoke today with the chief accountant at my firm. She is doing the business as regards my invitation by my firm back to Moscow.

          The problem is that my passport validity ends February 2018, so having arrived in the UK, I must immediately get a new passport. I can get that done fast-track in one day. I need a new passport because one’s passport validity must be at least 6 months longer than that of one’s visa. I hopefully shall be given a year’s multi-entry visa with work permit. The accountant said that as soon as get my new passport, I should copy it and mail the copy to her. She will then set the invitation ball rolling. Fast -track takes 8 to 11 days. She will send the invitation to me by courier. Then, having received the invitation, I have to go to a government outsourced visa centre in order to apply for a Russian visa. At the London visa centre, they do the business on the same day: in Manchester the application takes 5 days because they post it to the London visa office.

          I also have to get a statement that I have no criminal record, without which document I cannot apply for residency in Russia.

          They know that I have no criminal record, though, because I gave the bureaucrats here such a statement in 2004, when I first applied for a residency permit and since which time I have lived permanently in Russia, where I have never been arrested and charged and convicted of any crime.

          Bureaucrats! Don’t ya just love them?

          • marknesop says:

            It’s all about having the right piece of paper at the right place at the right time. How little their lives are.

            It seems like a lot of running around, but you might as well be involved in a full-tilt paper-chase; it will pass the time more quickly, and it’s better than being sat there brooding.

            • yalensis says:

              Having just re-read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” for the umpteenth time, I can assert that the “little piece of paper” is EVERYTHING in human society.
              In the final chapter of the Stowe’s novel, one of the “good white guy” characters, George Shelby, writes out “freemen” tickets to all the slaves on his plantation. With this single act, he enables them to marry legally, to keep their own children, and to find other work, if they so desire.

              Previously, in the story, we had suffered through the (completely unnecessary) agonies of the titular character, Uncle Tom himself. Tom’s benevolent owner, Augustus St. Clare was within a week of writing out freeman papers for Tom. But because Augustus was lazy and procrastinated, he got killed in a freak accident before he had a chance to sign the papers.
              This left Tom at the mercy of the slavers, who sold him to Simon Legree; and the rest is history.

              Moral of the story: That piece of paper specifying your legal status within a particular society — is VERY IMPORTANT!
              (Which is why I keep my own citizen certificate in a very safe place…)

              This is something that Randites will never understand, they just take it as a given that they are Free Citizens of the Empire (cives Romanes).
              And they don’t need no stinking papers, because they stand naked and unafraid against the forces of the universe — snicker snicker.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                As regards the legality of my presence in Russia, I have just recalled that thanks to one of my wife’s “uncles” I was positively vetted by the FSB.

                The old goat, her “uncle”, was rather wary of me when she told him that I was to be her husband and he had “contacts” in the FSB check me out, or so he said.

                He only told her of this a few years after we had got wed, which bloody annoyed me at the time. And on information that he had received from his “contacts” in the FSB, he told my wife that I had done time in the UK, but for nothing too serious and that, basically, I was sound.

                So contrary to what the FMS knows about my past in the UK, namely that I have no “record”, the FSB certainly does know that I was sent down in 1985 shortly before the end of the miners’ strike in the UK.

                Before my conviction, for about -months I was even forbidden by local magistrates to approach National Coal Board (the UK state mining authority) property closer than half a mile, which meant that in my old neck of the woods, I could not really venture very far from my garden gate.

                When I did my time, my crimes had to be stated when applying for work etc. for a period lasting for 5 years. That’s why I buggered off to Germany: no work for me any more in Merry England.

                That was 32 years ago and so my slate has been wiped clean and officially, I now have no record.

                But the FSB knows I have one, don’t they!

                What they don’t know is not worth knowing.

                🙂

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  typo

                  Before my conviction, for about 4 months I was even forbidden by local magistrates to approach National Coal Board (the UK state mining authority) property closer than half a mile, which meant that in my old neck of the woods, I could not really venture very far from my garden gate.

              • marknesop says:

                Just as important in modern life is the online electronic identity of your life, which can be hijacked and stolen by the unscrupulous. The best example of that I can recall is “The Net”, a fictitious film starring Sandra Bullock, quite dated now. It’s not so much the threat of it happening – because the probability of that if you take even simple precautions is really pretty low – but the desperate struggle you will have to make officialdom accept what seem to you to be self-evident facts is genuinely scary and has quite a parallel in what is happening to our friend. Also, quite a parallel exists between the seemingly blockheaded stubbornness of Russian bureaucracy and officialdom anywhere, in that the latter is predisposed to accept the truth of what it sees on its monitor and reluctant to accept any contradictory information. Take a moment to think how you would prove that you were yalensis if someone stole your identity online, or even by another method. Depending on the behavior of your new alter-ego, officialdom might well take the view that everything you can supply as proof could be forged, or suborned testimony.

                • yalensis says:

                  Well, I hope my readers would know it wasn’t really me, if I started saying stupid things!

                • marknesop says:

                  Good one. But the success of the scheme in ‘The Net’ was bolstered by the fact that the thieves had also created a parallel identification for the Sandra Bullock character, which came up in routine police checks and featured her as a small-time crook of low character. The assumption that she was ‘trying it on’ would be a natural one.

                  If I were a scammer, I would also create an identification linked to your photograph, in which you were a mental-institution escapee. The mind perceives what the manipulator pushes it toward.

                • Cortes says:

                  There’s a fairly decent Will Smith movie “Enemy of the State” in which the great Gene Hackman sort of reprises the role he had in Coppola’s “The Conversation”;.

      • Patient Observer says:

        That really sucks to use common American parlance. Hope it’s a very short exile.

      • Jen says:

        That is just so strange, that you have to fly out of Russia back to the UK and stay there for an undefined period of time because of an inflexible bureaucracy. I’m hoping you don’t suffer any other complications on your trip and that your wife and children are coping as well as they can. I can well imagine everyone would be extremely upset.

  20. Lyttenburgh says:

    And now for something completely different.

    Glorious PEREMOGA! Five Day That Shook The World! An epic event, that could only be compared to the Moon landing! Triple SUGS!

    For the first time in 14 years a barge full of watermelons travelled via Dniepr river from Kherson to Kiev!

    Yes, that were the big news in the Ukraine this entire week. All Free and Independent Ukrainian Media ™ did everything in their power to make the citizens of the Proudly Independent Country ™ пiщаться for such tremendous feat. With сльози in their eyes, and with гiмном on their lips.

    The entire world shook and learned a new Ukrainian word! Turns out, “watermelon” is really a “кавун”, not some Moskalian “арбуз”! Today, we are all kavuni! Kavuns – today, “Javelins” – tomorrow!

    Breathtakingly, entire country was watching the progress of the barge 24/7:


    Kiev city Rada deputies were present at barge’s arrival:

    A concerto and kavun-fest were quickly set up for the jubilant peremoga stricken crowds of Kiev:

    All thanks to this TOTALLY NOT DRUNK man:

    Так переможемо! Everything will be Ukrajina!

    P.S. You might ask yourself – “WTF, how is this even newsworthy?!”. Ha! You should share in pride and joy of the (again) democratic Ukraine, because the launching of this mega-barge became only possible thanks to the USAID funding and assistance. If you are Americans, know, that your taxes money had been spent really well!

    • Cortes says:

      Hahaha!

      That trumps (¡!) the original most exciting story ever:

      http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2017/02/01/oj-simpson-car-chase.cnn

    • marknesop says:

      Huzza!! trade links are restored!

      I am just overcome with sorrow at the thought of all those plastic trees that had to die to make Poroshenko’s helmet. Holy God, he has a huge head. Maybe when he dies they can make a coffee table from his skull.

    • moscowexile says:

      Well blow me down — pigs really can fly!!!!

    • moscowexile says:


      Barge bringing watermelons to Kyiv harbinger of resurrected river travel in Ukraine

      The Dnipro has been an established water artery from the medieval times of Kievan Rus’, when, as the legend goes, the three brothers Kyi, Shchek, Khoryv, and their sister Lybid founded the city of Kiev after arriving on its shores via a boat from the north. In Soviet times, the river was used for both cargo transport and cruises, but the river fleet didn’t withstand the turbulent times of Ukraine’s independence.

      Today, a barge full of watermelons could be the harbinger of the revival of this cost-efficient transport along the Ukraine main water channel. The Ukrainian south and especially the Kherson Oblast are famous for their juicy watermelons that ripen in August. Up until 1993, they were regularly transported to the Ukrainian capital by river. In 2003, there was an unsuccessful attempt to restore this way of transporting the famous Kherson berries up north (and watermelons are berries by biological classification).

      The first barge carrying 250 tons of watermelons departed from the Hola Prystan port in Kherson Oblast on 31 July and is almost in Kiev.

      This pilot project is the result of cooperation between 6 local farmer companies, Nibulon, one of the largest grain companies in the Ukraine, USAID within the framework of the project “Supporting agrarian and rural development,” and the Silpo supermarket chain, where the watermelons will be sold at cheaper prices.

      As the business portal svb.ua reported, road transport prices grow by 2-2.5 times during the high season in the Ukraine, because alternative modes of transportation are lacking. Difficulties with logistics and sales result in approximately 30% of the watermelon harvest going to waste in the field. There are other problems arising from transportation by lorries: approximately 10-13% of the product is mechanically damaged, and the heavy vehicles deform the hot summer asphalt on their way.

      On the barge, the watermelons will be packed in special containers which will reduce the transportation losses from 10% to 2-3%. As a result, farmers will receive significant savings, and the consumers a better product.

      Patrick Reider, a project manager at USAID, noted that small farmers usually do not have the opportunity to cooperate with trading networks since they produce relatively small volumes of production. According to him, the watermelon barge project will help agricultural producers of the Kherson Oblast unite, form large batches of crops, and build a new efficient supply chain from the Kherson Oblast fields to the largest supermarket networks. Modern international logistics and packaging standards will be applied, and consumers will receive a better quality and fresh watermelon, said Reider.

      The project will use the new berth constructed by Nibulon, and the transportation of not only watermelons but also cereals, peppers, onions, tomatoes, other vegetables, and fruit to Kiev and Belarus is planned, too.

      In autumn, the company plans to purchase a third FUCHS MHL385 grapple reloader manufactured by the Austrian company TERREX, which will handle loading and unloading operations at the branch of Hola Prystan, including those with vegetable products from the Kherson Oblast. In the future, warehouses will be built for the accumulation and formation of ship batches for further transportation by river transport. The company is also exploring the possibility of installing refrigerated containers on the existing fleet, which will allow transporting products that spoil easily for longer distances.

      Ha! That’ll show those those shitty Vatniki!

      How’s your bridge coming on, Russian arseholes?

      Har, har, har ….

      🙂

      • moscowexile says:

        Bollocks! I thought the original was in Ukie, so I proofread it.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “On the barge, the watermelons will be packed in special containers which will reduce the transportation losses from 10% to 2-3%.”

        and

        “Modern international logistics and packaging standards will be applied, and consumers will receive a better quality and fresh watermelon, said Reider.”

        It’s what we call “cardboard”. If this is “modern” to the Ukraine, then I have so much ideas of business startups that are bound to be successful in the Ukraine, given their “novelty”. How about – VHS cassets renting and video-salons?

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “The Dnipro has been an established water artery from the medieval times of Kievan Rus’, when, as the legend goes, the three brothers Kyi, Shchek, Khoryv, and their sister Lybid founded the city of Kiev after arriving on its shores via a boat from the north.”

        Reconstruction of the event:

        Ось цэ так и було!

        • yalensis says:

          Google says that watermelon fruit is native to Africa.
          Dubious that Kievan Rus would have eaten watermelons.
          And please no racialist jokes.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “Google says that watermelon fruit is native to Africa.
            Dubious that Kievan Rus would have eaten watermelons.”

            It came from Westeross:

            • marknesop says:

              Ha, ha, ha!!! This is turning into as good a meme as the Maidan tires was. Remember that photo of the American aircraft carrier with its upper deck covered with a huge load of old tires?

          • Jen says:

            According to the Wikipedia article on watermelons, they originated in southern Africa, were known to Ancient Egyptians and by the 10th century CE (or 10th century AD if you prefer) were being cultivated in China. So it is possible that watermelon cultivation could have reached the Black Sea / Caspian Sea regions about the same time that it reached China but we need documented or archaeological evidence from that time period.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            You can’t stop me

            хохол любит арбуз
            ха-ха-ха-ха
            хохол любит арбуз
            ха-ха-ха-ха
            Арбуз лучше кормить голодного хохола

            God forgive me

        • moscowexile says:

          But whence had they come if from the North?

          North of Kiev is the Baltic and Finno-Ugric land and Sweden.

          And Chernobyl.

      • marknesop says:

        One of the surest signs of rapid progress and elevated living standards is when you start resurrecting methodology from days of yore and waxing sentimental about the way things once were. Who knows; perhaps watermelons will join sunflower oil as one of Ukraine’s principal moneymakers in trade with the west!

        Seriously, we should not mock anything that gets people to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and any effort to boost internal trade is commendable. It’s just sad that mighty Ukraine cannot manage even so small a project now without help from the Americans.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “Seriously, we should not mock anything that gets people to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and any effort to boost internal trade is commendable.”

          Mark, you forgot the First (Murphy) Law of the Ukraine: “Every Peremoga turns into Zrada”. These watermellons that took 5 days to deliver from KHER-son to Kiev? According to the (Ukrainian) messages in the yet unbanned social networs are still “green”. Which is hardly surprising – their “harvest season” begins closer to the third week of August (google or search for Y-Tube videos with the names like “How to choose a watermellon and do not die afterwards”)

          In Russia, traditionally, first watermellos come from Astrakhan – which is situated more to the south than Kherson. So there is also a chance that these legendary “kavuni” are not only un-ripe, but chemicals infested as well.

          2Cortes:

  21. karl1haushofer says:

    Terrorists from Central Asia planned a terrorist attack against a moving train in St.Petersburg: https://lenta.ru/news/2017/08/07/sapsan/

    A pressure to kick these people out of Russia keeps growing…

  22. James lake says:

    Saw this on antiwar.com

    “Tillerson says he’s told Russia that US will respond by Sept. 1 to Moscow’s move to expel US diplomats.”

    Are we in for more sanctions? or more diplomats being expelled?

    It’s actually getting pretty pointless talking to the Americans as they want the Cold War 2.

    • marknesop says:

      They’re apparently studying the situation in search of a response which can seem proportional and measured, and yet which will hurt ordinary Russians most. They have to be careful there, because they just got finished wailing about how the expulsions at the American Embassy would result in mostly – if not exclusively – Russian citizens losing their jobs. Therefore it would look pretty cynical if they countered with a measure which would result in more of the same. And in a few narrow areas – such as rocket engines and titanium supplies – the USA significantly depends on Russia; Russia might shut those off itself even if they were not sanctioned.

      Part of it also is the diplomatic instinct to bat second if given the choice; if you have time to respond, use every bit of it. A hasty response is usually not the best one you could have come up with.

      I doubt Washington will kick out more Russian diplomats, although it is interesting to note Washington’s practice of employing locals at its Embassies abroad – I’d be willing to bet there are not too many Americans working at the Russian Embassy in the USA. It should be clear by now that Moscow is all done fooling around, and if more Russians are expelled, more Americans expelled will quickly follow. The USA will not want to draw down its Embassy in Russia too far because it allows such a valuable portal for spying and for providing direct support to the NGO’s which remain. In fact, if I were Moscow, that’s where I would direct my next reaction. There is perhaps one Russian NGO in the United States. There are still quite a few American and western NGO’s in Russia, although the most controversial have had to submit to the ‘foreign agent’ label. I would start sizing some of those up for expulsion, and I expect Washington has seen this vulnerability as well. It’s not really as much of a vulnerability as all that, since Washington imagines (with its typical appetite for fantasy) that the seeds of revolution are there in its pet dissidents. But because of that imaginary leverage, it would hurt Washington to see, say, the Carnegie Moscow Center cleaned out. Who would western journalists consult for a juicy soundbite if there were no Masha Lippman?

      • kirill says:

        Russia needs to stop with the BS appeasement. Foreign sponsored NGOs are de facto meddling in not just elections but in Russian civil society. These operations need to be shut down ASAP. If Russians really need the purported services offered by these Trojan horse outfits, then they can go and establish Russian NGOs filling the same function.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, the current policy is not actually appeasement. Some NGO’s were actually shut down. Others were obligated to register as foreign agents, and did; still others decamped and took up residence in neighbouring countries. But the law now on the books closely parallels the USA’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), and says that if (a) your activities are political in nature, and (b) you receive foreign funding, you are a foreign agent and must register as such as well as marking all your printed material in a prominent and approved manner as having originated with a foreign agent. No ‘or’, though. If there’s an ‘or’, you are permitted to continue your activities.

          But just the definition as written sent a shiver through the ranks of western NGO’s in Russia, and when the shiver subsided there were not as many as there had been a short while before. There still are quite a few – compared with how many Russian NGO’s there are in the USA – but the new law empowers the government to watch them all pretty closely and to revise their status if, say, political activity is observed in an agency which is known to receive foreign funding.

          But I would kick the feet out from under one of them, just to make it clear the way things are. Maybe GOLOS, Lilia Shevtsova’s pet project, which Washington uses to substantiate its allegations that Russian voting is all rigged.

  23. ucgsblog says:

    Guys, I was going through the sanctions, and I think that Russia should thank Congress. Thus far the sanctions accomplished quite a bit:

    1. Nullified Obama’s agreement with Iran, thus effectively making Russia the most powerful country in the Middle East
    2. Showed what unchecked Capitalism brings to Eastern Europe via Ukraine, and how far the US/EU is willing to support it
    3. Forced the Russians to continue to reform the banking sector to make it more sleek and efficient
    4. Forced the Russians to continue to reform the agricultural sector to make it grow and prosper
    5. Effective transfer of the Opal Pipeline to Russia
    6. Gave the EU a choice – whether to stand up for the people’s interest, or the politicians’
    7. Explained to SCO nations why they need to cooperate
    8. Forced Russian Oligarchs to spend their hard-looted money in Russia
    9. Ensured that Ukraine stays on life support, which Russia can end at any time
    10. Did to Germany what Germany did to Greece

    At this point – Russia needs to ask: “what can we do to upkeep these sanctions?” Speaking of them, are you sure it as the presidential election that the Russians allegedly rigged? Just asking.

    • Patient Observer says:

      11. Increases the resolve to dump the dollar from international trade.

    • Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt says:

      Dimitry Orlov said something similar on his fb page. Along the lines of “It is not binding on the executive branch. Trump called it “flawed” and so it is most likely a dead letter. If you look at the actual text, in key places it uses the word “may” instead of “shall.” Everything is left up to Trump’s discretion, and it would appear that his discretion is to ignore it.” He says more about it on his fb page.

  24. Northern Star says:

    birthday coming up later this month….

    dedicate to all real super muy muy hot women on planet

  25. Northern Star says:

    “While more sweeping economic sanctions had been proposed, the crisis and shake-up in the Trump White House have delayed the measures. White House chief of staff John Kelly, a recently retired Marine general and former head of the US Southern Command, which oversees US military operations in Latin America, reportedly wants to personally direct the escalation of US aggression against Venezuela.
    The other issue is that the imposition of sanctions against Venezuelan oil, the main economic lever at hand for US imperialism, would be a two-edged sword. Last year, the US imported some $10 billion worth of Venezuela crude oil to feed American refineries. While a cutoff of these imports would likely force Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA into default and further sink the country’s already plummeting economy, it would also spell higher gasoline prices in the US itself.”

    Reichsfuhrer Kelly needs to be personally placed on the Hague ICC docket as a war criminal.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/08/07/venz-a07.html

    • marknesop says:

      The US government is so cavalier and blasé with its deliberate and unrepentant efforts to wreck other countries’ economies, it would be nothing but poetic justice to see the US economy in ruins. The message is clear – we will support your aspirations to grow your economy so long as there is something in it for us, and so long as you do as we say and ‘elect’ the governments we would like to see in charge. Otherwise, we will whip out our sanctions and give it to you.

      Pity the WTO is silent on all these transgressions of the rules. But the United States has made it crystal clear that it does not feel itself bound in any way by international rules in the WTO. Get it? Washington hollers like it got its tit caught in the wringer if it perceives that anyone else is breaking the rules – on anything – but rules are not for Americans. ‘Cause Americans are exceptional.

      US ignorance of globally agreed trading rules could trigger a “trade war,” a Chinese government official said on Thursday, responding to recent statements from the White House that the Trump administration wouldn’t feel bound by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) decisions…Last week, the United States Trade Representative wrote in a letter to Congress that the White House had reviewed the terms under which the United States joined the WTO when it was founded in 1995. In the founding document, “Congress had made clear that Americans are not directly subject to WTO rulings,” the review concluded. The text – which is entitled “The President’s 2017 Trade Policy Agenda” – also said the US government would “aggressively defend American sovereignty over matters of trade policy.”

      For how much longer is the world going to put up with this rogue state? It recognizes no authority but its own, and no rules except for those it made to govern the conduct of others.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Perhaps that is the fundamental source of this conflict; there can have only one “exceptional” country at a time and it can’t be NK.

        • marknesop says:

          It would not piss me off as much as it does if the USA’s official attitude was “The rules are just guidelines”. But it isn’t. You can find no end of American squawking about Crimea and the Budapest Memorandum, and Russia’s gross violation of international law, even though the Budapest Memorandum is not international law – Washington is ever quick on the trigger when it believes it has caught someone else in a violation. It insists everyone else adhere to the letter of the law, and is a zealot for punishment of lawbreakers; it veritably dances with fury while holding forth at length on the subject of the rule of law, and how it is all that sets us apart from the animals. But on the subject of obeying the law itself, it’s more “Meh. If I feel like it”. And it goes without saying that if Russia ever put a declaration in writing that it would not be bound by the law, it’d be Katie, bar the door.

  26. Patient Observer says:

    Mark – the “package” has arrived! Looks great and fits well. What is the English translation of the text?

    Thanks!

  27. Patient Observer says:

    The SAA continues to roll up territory and victories:

    http://theduran.com/syrian-army-planning-to-surround-remaining-isis-fighters-north-west-of-al-sukhnah/

    One gets the sense that the US (at least the non-CIA part) has thrown in the towel. Nothing short of a massive military intervention by US/NATO appears able to reverse the SAA progress. There is that little problem with the Kurds and the US could still seek to partition Syria with a Kurdish region. Yet, the biggest players, Syria and Turkey, would not accept such a plan. Perhaps Syria can work out something less than autonomy for the Kurds while providing officially recognized national and cultural identify.

    It may take another year to exterminate the last of the organized terrorist but the rebuilding of Syria has already begun so, in a sense, the war is effectively over.

    • kirill says:

      Daesh is collapsing and without doubt Russia has made this possible. By squeezing out the US and its minion air operations over Syria and basically controlling the skies, Russia has flipped the advantage from Daesh to the SAA. Even though Syria has an air force and does conduct operations, they are not anywhere near as effective as the high altitude bombing by Russian forces and as we have seen it was easy for the USA to shoot down Syrian jets so Syrian air operations were restricted before late 2015.

  28. marknesop says:

    Oh, my goodness. Not everything is going as well as the fight against corruption in Ukraine is, I’m afraid. There are still troubling instances of nationalist gangs following and beating the shit out of dark-skinned foreigners, for example: the students involved were upset not only that they were singled out for a serious beating, but that – surprise! – the police did nothing. This is the sparkling new Eurostyle police force, remember; the Yanukovych-era police have all been canned.

    Oh, and educational reform isn’t doing so well either, sad to say. This past winter the minister responsible for higher education in Ukraine proudly announced a grant of $340,000.00 for education – about what the World Bank gives African countries to build a single school. But, mysteriously, although state funding for research has been steadily declining for decades, the number of defended dissertations and awarded doctoral degrees keeps growing. The Ukrainians have somehow discovered a way to achieve higher education without spending any money on it – hail, Poroshenko!

    But because Ukraine is a nascent democracy and almost free, no need to report such things in the mainstream press. Booga-booga!! Russian aggression!!

    • Drutten says:

      That entire police thing was literally putting lipstick on a pig. What they did was essentially:

      1. Rename the national police, from “militsiya” to the somewhat friendler “politsiya” (something Russia itself did more than six years ago, and actually as part of some real reforms – and this somehow without needing Nuland cookies and a complete breakdown of society – strange magic is at work indeed)

      2. To buy a big bunch of brand new cars, including for some reason hideously overpriced SUVs and hybrid ditto, probably some nice US/EU-brokered deal that. Most of these cars have been sold off/traded unofficially, crashed or otherwise been damaged since, no joke, they managed to crash 500 of them in the first 6 months of 2017 alone: http://glavcom.ua/news/za-dva-roki-ukrajinski-patrulni-policeyski-rozbili-mayzhe-pivtisyachi-sluzhbovih-mashin-dokument-428822.html

      3. Bought twenty thousand new NYPD-style caps, those “angular” ones, whatever they’re called. Because that’s important, you know, for photoshoots.

      Meanwhile, as is clear as a day nothing has changed in their everyday conduct, with the corruption and what have you. If I were Ukrainian I’d be fuming at this stage.

  29. Drutten says:

    Both of the “jack barges” recently built in Sevastopol and specially designed to hoist the central part of the bridge into place have arrived in Kerch now. Quicker than I thought. The railway arch has already been moved out from where it was built, onto two long piers, soon to be lifted onto these barges for its final journey.

    Since the two arches were constructed north of the bridge and the railway is the southern part, the railway arch has to be lifted into place first. That’s why the two main railway pillars are at a more advanced stage of construction – more or less finished, actually.

    In essence, the process is very similar to this bridge built in Nijmegen, the Netherlands:

    Albeit at a far larger scale.

    The automotive arch will soon follow, everything’s on schedule and seems to be going smoothly. An interesting point is that once the first (railway) arch has touched down on its pillars, you can technically walk from Russia to Crimea and vice versa. It would involve a fair bit of ladder climbing too I suppose, but what I’m saying is that you won’t need to get on a boat or anything at any stage and that’s a bit of a symbolical breakthrough.

    • Drutten says:

      Recent photo, to help clarify my last statement:

      Even though the road and railways leading up to the central portion aren’t quite there yet, the “technical bridge” used for material and equipment has been in place for a good two years so essentially you could cross the strait by foot once there is something spanning that fairway in the middle. And now it’s just a matter of days, really.

  30. Patient Observer says:

    Did some digging regarding LNG pricing for Europe using Amercan shale gas versus Russian pipeline gas: Here is the summary:

    – US cost or production (presumably after gas processing to meet quality requirements): $4 mmbtu. Does not include cost to transport to LNG terminal or cost of liquification. Production cost base on analysis of balance sheet and income statements (not one-off Potemkin village claims)
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/arthurberman/2017/07/05/shale-gas-is-not-a-revolution/#757a22d731b5

    – LNG tanker charge – $1.25 mmbtu. The tanker burns LNG which comprises a large fraction of its operating costs. The shipping cost is based on $4 mmbut cost. Does not include cost to change LNG to gaseous LNG nor cost of delivery to destination within Europe.

    – Cost of Russian gas delivered to Germany’s border ranges from $4-$5 mmbtu over the past 6 months.

    Based on the above, LNG delivered to a nominal destination in Europe would cost at least $7.00 with reasonable assumptions on cost of liquification, gasification and internal pipeline transportation. Admittedly, some guestimates here. But:

    https://www.rt.com/business/398934-us-lng-europe-expensive-uniper/

    According to Schaefer, US shipments are 50 percent more expensive compared with European reference prices.

    “Nobody wants to pay such a premium,” he said.

    Note that LNG tankers will always return empty which makes them especially costly – a 50% utilization rate basically doubles their operating costs relative to cargo ships that off-load and load at the same port achieving something closer to 100% utilization.

    A 50% increase in gas would be a big drag on the European economy. If Europe were to be put in that position, It could be very attractive for Russia to heavily invest in plastics and petrochemical production that use gas as feed stock as Europe would be in an noncompetitive position. KSA is doing something like.

    Apologize for the lack of links but lost much of my research was lost in a tragic keyboard mistake.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Sorry for the bad/choppy grammar – so much to think about, so little time.

    • marknesop says:

      Off the top of my head those figures are ballpark correct. But an important factor I did not ever consider was that LNG tankers – being purpose-built – would return empty. You are perfectly correct that this makes them much less cost-efficient, operations-wise.

  31. Lyttenburgh says:

    2niku (cuz up there it became too narrow)

    “First, Russians who hate socialism (as I do) would consider my generalization that “Russians are still socialists” a calumny. My apologies to them; I should be careful when making such generalizations.”

    Yes, there are Russians who “hate” socialism. As there are Russians who “hate” waffles, pickles, canned fish, hockey, football and Mondays. And there could be a number of reasons for them to “hate” all these things – a person who is allergic to the fish has different reason to hate than someone, who simply don’t like all those little bones and is genuinely afraid to choke on one. So-called Russian so-called “liberals” has different reasons for the hatred of the “socialism”, as, say, the Monarchists.

    But what the statistical data says to us? According to the “independent” polling agency (and recognized foreign agent) Levada CENTer, 68% of Russians want the recreation of the USSR AND the socialist system, with only 31% being resolutely opposed to that (2016).

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.” –Shakespeare.

    Will Shakespeare is terrific poet and playwright. That’s his area of expertise. He’s not a statesman, or philosopher or a lawyer. So viewing his witticism as a Holy Writ, that could be applied elsewhere is erroneous.

    Words have meanings. We, humans, think in words. By mutating the definition of the word, of the term, you can effectively kill it, or warp it to your needs. Again – Overtone’s Windows, ahoy! First you broaden the definition of the term as wide as possible, then you claim that only one (selected by you) definition from this artificially widened spectre is the true one. Or, worse yet, you murder (assassinate, even) the term – just like you did, with you applied “Nothing Is True – Everything Is Possible” principle of the ultimate subjectivity of everything.

    It doesn’t matter what you think. Definitions exist. Just because you find them not up to your tastes, doesn’t mean that they will go away. It will be you at the disadvantage here, as our whole conversation showed. You lack strict defections for the terms we are arguing here, and you can’t, thus, express yourself in such a manner, that others would understand you. You’d have to “compromise” and come to common terms with the “society”, you, lone individual.

    “So “what the Society has decided” is now law, transgressions against which are to be punished… I suppose your idea is that path-breaking, far-sighted, individuals would have to offer themselves as sacrifices, so that, even though these may be punished, others would see see things far better.

    People begin seeing thing “far better” not because of some individuals “sacrifices”, but because of the overall structural changes in the society. No slave revolt in the Antiquity succeed in abolishing the slavery – it was done by the stagnation of the Roman Empire, which brought the crisis of the slave-owning mode of production and then paved the way to the feudalism.

    “(Recall that when the socialists wanted a new form of government in Russia, they moved far away from “the law as the society has decided it”.)”

    Which socialists are you talking about? Narodniks, Bakuninites, early social-democrats, eSeRs, Bolsheviks, Jewish “Bund” members? Or, again, some abstract “spherical socialists in vacuum”, with no ties to time and space? 🙂

    I’d advice you to study the events of 1917 in Russia. To learn, what were the Soviets (“Councils”) of the Worker and Soldier Deputies. They were the form of the Government, because the February Revolution resulted in the Diarchy of the Soviets and the Provisional Government. From then till October there was a constant struggle between the two, which the PG finally lost. Soviets in their capacity as the local power throughout Russia were representatives of the society. Their decisions were the Law. If the Soviet decides to, say, order the allocation of 20 crates of chalks to the local school – it would be done. If the same Soviet orders that from now on all officials must singing instead of “God Save the Czar” la Marseillaise (actually happened!) – it was also totally peachy. But then Bolsheviks will become the majority in the Soviet and denounce la Marseillaise singing as solidarity with the imperialist power waging imperialist War, and instead order the singing of “l’International”. Again – totally okay.

    Revolution wouldn’t succeed without the support of the People, of the society, and the formation of the Revolutionary situation.

    “Of course I have a set of morals. And I do consider them superior.”

    Pardon me for saying that, but that’s spectacularly arrogant approach.

    “It is nevertheless true!”

    The Law disagrees with you. Not just Russian – recall the recent case when in the US someone was persecuted for the cyber-bullying, which resulted in the suicide? If “driving to suicide” is a crime, then, yes – “words do kill”. But there are many other examples.

    “If you define ‘legitimacy’ (note, not ‘legality’) as “do these ideas have a right to live”, “should they get a place under the sun”, “should they be included in encyclopedias”, then my answer to your question is yes.”

    Only I do not define “legitimacy” in such a way.

    “The above would be equally valid for all animals. Also, I think most animals can’t live without being taught what to eat”

    No, it’s not. The chief difference between humans and various fauna, that we, humans, in the course of our development shed nearly all instincts. Instincts are pre-packaged programs. They are not taught – they are already here. No beaver goes to the Beaverton School of the Social Engineering to learn how to build their damned dams. Even if we to raise a baby beaver in captivity, in some sterile lab, surrounded only by humans, and then release it back to the wild, the beaver will still know how to build dams.

    “Yet, nobody has yet suggested that animals in general have a Society. (For ants and bees, yes.)”

    Totally wrong. Insects represents absolutely different approach to the development as the species than humans. They are all instinct driven. They don’t have “societies” – the hives are actually nature-made bio computers, with the various pheromones acting in the way of the program code.

    By shedding the instincts humans became more versatile, because now we can learn. Society is a must for the better learning and accumulation of the knowledge. There is only as much you can learn as one “naked and lonely” individual, facing the entire world.

    “Why? I suppose in the end, because of personal tastes. I don’t like to see myself as “as good as everyone else!”. I see myself as better, or at least, aspire to be better. I don’t desire to live following the consensus — I would rather use my own mind.”

    Once again – extremely arrogant of you. Old Russian adage says: “Spit on a collective and it will easily wipe your spit. But if the collective spits on you – you will drown”. If your position is “I’m all in white and like D’Artagnan, and all of you are in shyte!” don’t expect sympathy. Society/Collective will surely much prefer for you to be more accommodating and useful. And Society as a whole has more power than you.

    • niku says:

      You allege that I am thinking in too abstract terms. To me, however, it appears that you are thinking in too narrow terms. You have adopted a theory, and you set out to look for justifications. (Do you know that you can always find them?) I start from the opposite end — thinking in general terms coming to a conclusion.

      Words have meanings. We, humans, think in words. By mutating the definition of the word, of the term, you can effectively kill it, or warp it to your needs. Again – Overtone’s Windows, ahoy! First you broaden the definition of the term as wide as possible, then you claim that only one (selected by you) definition from this artificially widened spectre is the true one.
      A quote from Bertrand Russell (about two people disagreeing): “I am ‘firm’, you are ‘stubborn’, and he is ‘a pigheaded son of a bitch’.
      The only fundamental difference between the terms ‘murder’ and ‘assignation’ is that one of the terms has a negative connotation, and the other has a neutral connotation. Fighting for definitions seem to me an unproductive thing to do. As far as I am concerned, you are welcome to construct all terms you want from scratch — the only catch being that mere difference in your approval of something should not result in a new term.

      You lack strict defections for the terms we are arguing here, and you can’t, thus, express yourself in such a manner, that others would understand you.
      That is just not true. I am ready to define everything I propose. Moreover, it won’t even by “my definition” — I can support them with well-established precedents. But because these precedents won’t be socialist, you would reject them.

      By the way, do you know that in Law and in Physics, people have to define the terms they are using all the time?

      It will be you at the disadvantage here, as our whole conversation showed. You lack strict defections for the terms we are arguing here, and you can’t, thus, express yourself in such a manner, that others would understand you. You’d have to “compromise” and come to common terms with the “society”, you, lone individual.
      I think you did not understand me because you are wedded to your theory. Can you conceive of someday abandoning ‘socialism’, or would the world get senseless and meaningless then?

      As I said above, it is wrong to imagine that one has to start from well-established definitions to talk or make sense of things. Legal contracts start by defining things. (Why do that if the “general” definitions are “set in stone” anyway?)

      I can see that my being too abstract bothers you, and you want me to become more “concrete”. But, obviously, you would wish me to become more concrete on your terms. Why would I agree to this?

      People begin seeing thing “far better” not because of some individuals “sacrifices”, but because of the overall structural changes in the society. No slave revolt in the Antiquity succeed in abolishing the slavery – it was done by the stagnation of the Roman Empire, which brought the crisis of the slave-owning mode of production and then paved the way to the feudalism.
      Aha, the famed “historic inevitability”! And why did it change precisely when it changed, and not a decade before or a decade later? Do individual actions not count?

      Soviets in their capacity as the local power throughout Russia were representatives of the society. Their decisions were the Law. If the Soviet decides to, say, order the allocation of 20 crates of chalks to the local school – it would be done. If the same Soviet orders that from now on all officials must singing instead of “God Save the Czar” la Marseillaise (actually happened!) – it was also totally peachy. But then Bolsheviks will become the majority in the Soviet and denounce la Marseillaise singing as solidarity with the imperialist power waging imperialist War, and instead order the singing of “l’International”. Again – totally okay.
      You know, I too had never talked with a real, live, socialist. Your explanations are highly illuminating. So, thanks for that.

      “Of course I have a set of morals. And I do consider them superior.”

      Pardon me for saying that, but that’s spectacularly arrogant approach.

      Really? You reproach me for an “everything is relative” approach, and you say that you have standards. But when I have standards, I am being “spectacularly arrogant”. Is it only because I am thinking for myself, while the “collective” does the thinking for you?

      The Law disagrees with you. Not just Russian – recall the recent case when in the US someone was persecuted for the cyber-bullying, which resulted in the suicide? If “driving to suicide” is a crime, then, yes – “words do kill”. But there are many other examples.

      Lets have a more concrete case. If I tell you, “go kill yourself”, and you do so, should I be persecuted for it? [1]

      You are starting from some extreme case, where there is persistent harassment, with encouragement to suicide, and then you jump to say, “words do kill”, and therefore you (or your collective — it is the same to me) should have the right to choose which words are to be banned.

      The chief difference between humans and various fauna, that we, humans, in the course of our development shed nearly all instincts. Instincts are pre-packaged programs. … They don’t have “societies” – the hives are actually nature-made bio computers, with the various pheromones acting in the way of the program code.
      We are again getting bogged down in a difference of definitions.

      Note that you keep doing the following (as I said above too). I said, “bees and ants may be said to have a society (society in Lyttenburgh-sense)”. I meant to say, “bees and ants have a highly developed structure of living, and they can’t live outside it (and that is Socitey in Lyttenburgh-sense)”. You change some features here and there and — it is no more Society, it is a plain old Hive! So, you may as well define ‘society’ as “a highly developed structure of living, outside which the members can’t live — as long as it applies to Humans”. Anyway, bees and ants are not directly relevant to my argument.

      My argument was that all animals are dependent on each other, at least when they are very young, but nobody thus claims that “they are fundamentally dependent on a ‘society'”.

      You said that humans are different because they have mostly shed their instincts. This is true, but it does not invalidate my point. As I said, instincts don’t teach the chicks which food is edible, and which is not — and this fact alone is enough to support my argument.

      Society is a must for the better learning and accumulation of the knowledge. There is only as much you can learn as one “naked and lonely” individual, facing the entire world.
      Of course. You had asked me for the relevance for “a model which is not real” (namely, of a radical individualistic model). I told you that the model has features which are useful for the “real world” too. (Do you know that all models are abstractions, and hence ‘unreal’?)

      I don’t wish to live in a jungle. I appreciate company and talking, and I greatly appreciate the accumulated human knowledge. What I was saying is that the “radical individualistic model” is not an irrelevant way of looking at the world.

      Old Russian adage says: “Spit on a collective and it will easily wipe your spit. But if the collective spits on you – you will drown”.
      And therefore you should conform, right?

      And by the way, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” –George Bernard Shaw.

      [1] If I tell you, “go kill yourself”, and you do so, should I be persecuted for it?

      I know how you would proceed on this! You would say, “what do you mean, ‘should be persecuted'”. If the Law of the land says that you are to be persecuted, you would be persecuted.

      But, this is not my approach to the issue. I am looking for fundamental, eternal, common-sensical laws.

      • niku says:

        ‘murder’ and ‘assignation’ –> ‘murder’ and ‘assassination’

      • niku says:

        persecution –> prosecution
        Also earlier, I used “summary judgement” in a somewhat wrong sense.
        https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/summary_judgment

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “You allege that I am thinking in too abstract terms.”

        No, I’m not alleging that you are *thinking* in abstract terms. I cannot ever know what are you thinking. I can only comment on what you write, in how you use the words, construct sentences and .arguments you make. You yourself used the term “abstract” when talking about your own writings. Am I wrong then to say that you

        “To me, however, it appears that you are thinking in too narrow terms.”

        See? The game “fun with definitions” continues! The words we use to describe something inevitable shapes our perception and attitude towards them. You call my “thinking” (not knowing for sure what and how am I thinking) as “in too narrow terms”. I would say instead, that when engaged in debate I want to establish common strict definition of the terms uses to avoid misunderstanding and not talking past each other. If you think that people who don’t know what they are talking about (i.e. they have totally different understanding of the words and the subject at hand) can SOMEHOW succeed – please, provide examples. For me such too broad approach is no different than a tale about 7 blind men and an elephant.

        “You have adopted a theory, and you set out to look for justifications. (Do you know that you can always find them?)”

        1) What makes you think so?
        2) I’m not looking for “justifications”, but for proofs and evidence.
        3) No, you can’t, if there ain’t any. Thinking otherwise is anti-intellectual and anti-scientific approach.

        “I start from the opposite end — thinking in general terms coming to a conclusion.”

        Really? So far you have just showering us with quotes from various famous dead people and pushing the line that you hold anti-socialist (quasi/crypto)libertarian views. You are projecting, methinks.

        “The only fundamental difference between the terms ‘murder’ and ‘assassination is that one of the terms has a negative connotation, and the other has a neutral connotation.”

        Wrong. Nothing neutral. This just shows that you don’t know their definition in the first place. “Murder” is the general term denoting the crime of illegal depriving of the human being of life. “Assassination” is just a particular type of the “murder” and is synonymous to the “contract killing”. The differences between the two are the same as between the term “snakes” and “vipers”.

        “Fighting for definitions seem to me an unproductive thing to do.”

        How can you hope to be understood and understand others than? The linguistic war is wages constantly and has no bystanders. Simply accepting approach of “everything flies” and siding with those who argue for murder of the terms you already picking a side.

        “As far as I am concerned, you are welcome to construct all terms you want from scratch — the only catch being that mere difference in your approval of something should not result in a new term.”

        1) Where am I doing this? Where did I invent “new terms”?

        2) Are you fine for the “water” to mean “fire”?

        “That is just not true. I am ready to define everything I propose.”

        Only you don’t. You first state, then argue, and only now we came to a moment when you are having to step back and offer some definitions.

        Remember how it all started? You claimed that I, Lyttenburgh, is the one arguing to “hang people on the lampposts”. You conceded without fight. Then you claimed that I would “inevitably” name one of those actions you used as examples as “treason”. You were proven wrong. You are the one who makes sweeping generalizations and who claims things that are simply not true. So, yes, if you begin with picking your words more accurately and defining the common terms you use more precisely, that would be better for anyone.

        Unfortunately, we, probably, shouldn’t raise our hopes too high, because next you said:

        “Moreover, it won’t even by “my definition” — I can support them with well-established precedents. But because these precedents won’t be socialist, you would reject them.”

        See? You are using typical fallacy here, “special conditions” and a bit of “appeal to Galileo”. You already claimed (without proof) that I’m going to disagree with your argumentation due to who (you think) I am. That’s not just puts you on a Higher Moral Ground – you also brought a Soapbox with you, from which you plan to climb upon your High Horse. Wow! How about climbing down, stop making (repeatedly) erroneous predictions and argue in true faith?

        “By the way, do you know that in Law and in Physics, people have to define the terms they are using all the time?”

        “All the time”? Do you have anything to support this claim?

        “I think you did not understand me because you are wedded to your theory.”

        I do not understand you because you use too broad terms – or do not define them at all. This has nothing to do with my political views. Again, I’m not talking about the way you *think*, but asking rhetorical questions doesn’t help in any way this debate.

        “Can you conceive of someday abandoning ‘socialism’, or would the world get senseless and meaningless then?”

        Can you? We already established that you do have your own political views which you consider to be superior. Again – I think you are projecting here.

        “As I said above, it is wrong to imagine that one has to start from well-established definitions to talk or make sense of things.”

        Why?

        “Legal contracts start by defining things.”

        Really?!

        “Why do that if the “general” definitions are “set in stone” anyway?”

        Because otherwise people won’t understand each other properly. And while the definitions are not set ins tone, they evolve slower than you think. E.g. the word “punk”.

        “I can see that my being too abstract bothers you, and you want me to become more “concrete”. But, obviously, you would wish me to become more concrete on your terms. Why would I agree to this?”

        Again, you employ this fallacy – “Look, I’m oppressed!”. Stop that. If you can argue and support your position with irrefutable facts – do that. Don’t scream “You are meanie, it doesn’t matter what I gonna say, you still be meanie!”.

        Why should you agree to providing proof and evidence? For the sake of the honesty. Or are you claiming that I’m dishonest? That I argue in bad faith? That my claims are bogus? Go ahead – disprove me!

        “Aha, the famed “historic inevitability”!”

        I never used that term. You did.

        “And why did it change precisely when it changed, and not a decade before or a decade later? Do individual actions not count?”

        1) The process of change and other processes that lead up to it happen during such long period that a talk about decades is meaningless.

        2) Examples, when *individual* actions did count.

        “You know, I too had never talked with a real, live, socialist. Your explanations are highly illuminating. So, thanks for that.”

        Does labeling me a “socialist” makes you coping with the facts (easily available from the history books) any easier? I didn’t say anything radically new. Only facts.

        “Really? You reproach me for an “everything is relative” approach, and you say that you have standards. But when I have standards, I am being “spectacularly arrogant”. Is it only because I am thinking for myself, while the “collective” does the thinking for you?”

        Aaaaaaand our collection of fallacies is enriched by another example – “strawmaning”. Please, point out, prove it that ““collective” does the thinking” for me. Or that I argue for such approach. In insist.

        You claim to be better than others. Why? What are you criterions for that? Why do you think that you are better than others? Because it is “you”? Because you think that your particular views are somehow better than theirs? Why are they better than theirs? Why are right and why are They wrong? What if some other individual rises up claiming that HE is better than both the Collective and you?

        “Lets have a more concrete case. If I tell you, “go kill yourself”, and you do so, should I be persecuted for it?”

        Woo-hoo! More rhetoric questions and an abstract! Yay!

        That will depend on a lot of factors and results of the criminal investigation. That’s the only answer your lacking concrete details question deserves. Want more than that? Be more precise.

        “You are starting from some extreme case, where there is persistent harassment, with encouragement to suicide, and then you jump to say, “words do kill”, and therefore you (or your collective — it is the same to me) should have the right to choose which words are to be banned.”

        Not dwelling too much on already mentioned fallacy of yours, you are lying, claiming that I want some words banned. You. Are. Lying. There are no other words to describe that. Given your past behavior – this is a persistent tactic of yours. You are not arguing in good faith. You claim other people doing/saying things which they didn’t. Are you even interested in a meaningful conversation? Then drop it. Or I will start doing the same, concerning your person.

        “We are again getting bogged down in a difference of definitions.
        Note that you keep doing the following (as I said above too). I said, “bees and ants may be said to have a society (society in Lyttenburgh-sense)”. I meant to say, “bees and ants have a highly developed structure of living, and they can’t live outside it (and that is Socitey in Lyttenburgh-sense)”. You change some features here and there and — it is no more Society, it is a plain old Hive! So, you may as well define ‘society’ as “a highly developed structure of living, outside which the members can’t live — as long as it applies to Humans”. Anyway, bees and ants are not directly relevant to my argument.”

        And now YOU are moving goalposts. Your actual words: “Yet, nobody has yet suggested that animals in general have a Society. (For ants and bees, yes.)”. Not: “bees and ants may be said to have a society (society in Lyttenburgh-sense)”. So you either are lying (which won’t be the first time you doing that) or you proving yourself incapable of expressing your own thoughts. I do not read your mind – remember? I can’t deduce what you “actually” meant, if you fail to write sentences in coherent way. I also never defined the Society in a way you claim I did – more strawmanning from you. Both the society and a hive of insects have definitions – I didn’t invent them. All this just shows that you, when erroneously resorting to real-life concrete examples (and being proven wrong afterwards) can’t concede that you might be wrong after being proven wrong.

        “My argument was that all animals are dependent on each other, at least when they are very young, but nobody thus claims that “they are fundamentally dependent on a ‘society’”.”

        Because animals lack society. You, OTOH, tried to argue that ants and bees have it. I proved you wrong.

        “You said that humans are different because they have mostly shed their instincts. This is true, but it does not invalidate my point. As I said, instincts don’t teach the chicks which food is edible, and which is not — and this fact alone is enough to support my argument.”

        No, its not. See above.

        “Of course. You had asked me for the relevance for “a model which is not real” (namely, of a radical individualistic model). I told you that the model has features which are useful for the “real world” too. (Do you know that all models are abstractions, and hence ‘unreal’?)”

        What? A plastic model of a plane is very real. See? That what happens when you are careless with the words. Try again. Inject reality.

        “I don’t wish to live in a jungle. I appreciate company and talking, and I greatly appreciate the accumulated human knowledge. What I was saying is that the “radical individualistic model” is not an irrelevant way of looking at the world.”

        Why? Looks like parasite’s approach.

        And by the way…

        Did you accept George Bernard Shaw (blessed be His name!) as your personal Prophet, Guru and Savior? If not, why accept his witticisms as a Gospel? Here you are, niku – abstract inquiries and appeal to the authority. But where is *you*, the person in all of this?

        “I know how you would proceed on this!”

        We already had enough examples of you guessing wrong. Maybe it’s a cue, that you should adapt via learning?

        “But, this is not my approach to the issue. I am looking for fundamental, eternal, common-sensical laws.”

        And how do you determine that hese things might be “fundamental, eternal, common-sensical laws”?

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Lyttenburgh:
          In this ripping debate I might have missed the reference to George Bernard Shaw.
          It is highly dubious that Shaw can be claimed as a hero by the Randites.
          Shaw had one of the keenest minds when it came to the utter relentnessless of the English class system.

          I bring you my favorite quote from Pygmalion, and if this isn’t quasi-Marxism, then I don’t know what is:

          [Eliza Doolittle to Colonel Pickering]: “The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she’s treated.”

          That one sentence sums up the entire essence of the Human Condition.
          I ask you, is not that a profound quasi-Marxist statement of reality? An individual is defined PRECISELY by how he (or she) is treated in human society.

          And I reckon, in the words of Benny Hill, ants and bees does that too.

        • niku says:

          I would like to clear some misunderstandings:

          (i) About definitions:
          ‘Are you fine for the “water” to mean “fire”?’

          Yes, as long as you define both the terms upfront and don’t mix them afterwards.

          “Fighting for definitions seem to me an unproductive thing to do.”

          How can you hope to be understood and understand others than? The linguistic war is wages constantly and has no bystanders. Simply accepting approach of “everything flies” and siding with those who argue for murder of the terms you already picking a side.

          I mean, lets not fight about them. I am ready to accept your definitions, with the catch I mentioned. See right below.

          State doesn’t murder. At all. It executes. Like the arrest is not a “kidnapping”, search via warrant – not “breaking’n’entering”, and confiscation of the property and taxation are not the “theft”. When a traffic cop stops you and makes you pay a fine, it is not a “highway robbery”. Just like killing enemy soldiers in war in not a murder.

          This I won’t agree with. Define terms by acts. ‘Murder’, ‘assassination’ and ‘execution’ are all exactly the same acts. They are just used in different contexts so that we don’t have to explain everything all the time. So, what I would like to see is:

          1) Definition: Murder := premeditated killing of one man of another
          2) “I, Lyttenburgh, further argue that ‘murder’ when done by the State is above reproach, due to reasons A, B and C.”
          3) “For the sake of convenience, I, Lyttenburgh, propose that we use ‘execute’ for ‘murder done by the state’, and we both keep my proves in (2) in mind whenever I use ‘execute’.

          (ii) As far as I am concerned, you are welcome to construct all terms you want from scratch — the only catch being […]”

          Where am I doing this? Where did I invent “new terms”?
          You didn’t. I said that you are welcome to.

          (iii) I also never defined the Society in a way you claim I did
          Your actual words: “Yet, nobody has yet suggested that animals in general have a Society. (For ants and bees, yes.)”. Not: “bees and ants may be said to have a society (society in Lyttenburgh-sense)”.
          Not dwelling too much on already mentioned fallacy of yours, you are lying, claiming that I want some words banned. You. Are. Lying. There are no other words to describe that. Given your past behavior – this is a persistent tactic of yours. You are not arguing in good faith. You claim other people doing/saying things which they didn’t.

          If you notice, I keep changing my words too. (For example, I offered an apology for “Russians are still socialists”, but I had never said that.) And I do keep putting words in your mouth all the time.

          I was doing all this for the sake of saving time. When I put words in your mouth, I expected you to do either of the two, (i) pass it in silence — if you agreed with the sentiment, or (ii) say that this is not what you really meant — if you disagreed with the sentiment.

          Seeing that it bothers you, I won’t do that again when talking to you.

          (iv) “You have adopted a theory, and you set out to look for justifications. (Do you know that you can always find them?)”

          1) What makes you think so?
          2) I’m not looking for “justifications”, but for proofs and evidence.
          3) No, you can’t, if there ain’t any. Thinking otherwise is anti-intellectual and anti-scientific approach.

          I am skipping (1). For (2) and (3): You see, man is a rationalizing animal. If you wish to find justification for a particular point of view, you will always find them. (“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” –Sherlock Holmes) I know that it is true for me, and I know that others have said that it is true for them too. (As for it being ‘anti-scientific’, the problem plagues science too, though in science education, people are taught to keep the above the mind. For an example, check the case of Millikan’s oil drop experiment in the Feynman’s “cargo-cult science” link on the previous comment page.)

          (v) “Can you conceive of someday abandoning ‘socialism’, or would the world get senseless and meaningless then?”

          Can you? We already established that you do have your own political views which you consider to be superior. Again – I think you are projecting here.

          Yes I can, and I have often done it. Starting from when I was in mid-teens, I have more or less ‘adopted’ almost all known political theories at some point or another. This is why I am so opposed to the idea of banning propagation of theories — one learns more, and one’s views often change. Whereas, had you banned some theories, I would have never learnt what is wrong about them.

          If I didn’t hold my political views to be superior, I wouldn’t hold them! What other criteria is there?

          (vi) You had asked me for the relevance for “a model which is not real” (namely, of a radical individualistic model). I told you that the model has features which are useful for the “real world” too. (Do you know that all models are abstractions, and hence ‘unreal’?)”

          What? A plastic model of a plane is very real. See? That what happens when you are careless with the words. Try again. Inject reality.

          I used model in a scientific sense — I thought it would be clear without any explanation given the context of our discussion.
          https://www.britannica.com/science/scientific-modeling
          https://utw10426.utweb.utexas.edu/Topics/Models/Text.html
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_modelling (though in general I avoid Wikipedia).

          (vii) The linguistic war is wages constantly and has no bystanders. Simply accepting approach of “everything flies” and siding with those who argue for murder of the terms you already picking a side.

          I agree with it, but I don’t think this argument is relevant here.

          (viii) Remember how it all started? You claimed that I, Lyttenburgh, is the one arguing to “hang people on the lampposts”. You conceded without fight. Then you claimed that I would “inevitably” name one of those actions you used as examples as “treason”.

          Concerning the ‘treason’ questions, I said, I suppose your answer will get to ‘yes’ at some point. (I did not use ‘inevitably’ because I didn’t know how strong my guess was at that point.

          Concerning, “hanging people on lampposts”, if I remember correctly, you have used the term in the past to say what you want to do with the Russian “non-systematic opposition”.

          (ix) Did you accept George Bernard Shaw (blessed be His name!) as your personal Prophet, Guru and Savior? If not, why accept his witticisms as a Gospel? Here you are, niku – abstract inquiries and appeal to the authority. But where is *you*, the person in all of this?

          The idea is that if someone has said something I wish to say in good language, it may be used. You know, benefits of society!

        • niku says:

          Regarding models:

          A model is not a description of reality, it is only an approximation. (“The map is not the territory.”) One chooses some features out of the reality, and one constructs a model covering this. All theories are models.

          In a model toy plane, the only feature chosen is that the top looks like the real airplane. In a map, the map maker chooses the aspects one at a time (physical map, political map, contour map, etc.). But even all maps taken together would not equal the territory! No map would mention a rock placed right at my foot.

          All theories are like this, they do not cover all aspects of reality. So, Newton’s theory of gravity and Einstein’s theory of general relativity seek to describe the same phenomena in grossly different terms, and have varied degrees of success.

          In the above, the individualist model is a model, and the collectivist model is another model. They both try to model the human society. Neither cover all aspects of reality. I said that the individualist model is a better description of reality than the collectivist model — at least from my tastes. [1] I readily acknowledge the limitations of the individualist model, but I said that the limitations do not make the model irrelevant as a picture of the human society. And I, hereby!, readily acknowledge that the features which the individualist model does not cover (namely, the condition of human when young, etc) and the features which the model does not cover very nicely (namely, the accumulation of knowledge, human desire for company, etc) are nicely — even natively — covered by the collectivist model. But merely this does not make the collectivist model superior. For one, there are features which the collectivist model does not cover well, e.g., the desire for people to put their own interests above the “collective interest”, etc. (For the proponents of the collectivist model, this is merely the result of “bad education” — they will correct it out of human psyche, given enough time!)

          [1] Actually, it is a far better model, but lets not argue about that right now!

          Please, point out, prove it that ““collective” does the thinking” for me. Or that I argue for such approach. I insist.
          Here:
          “If the Soviet decides to, say, order the allocation of 20 crates of chalks to the local school – it would be done. If the same Soviet orders that from now on all officials must singing instead of “God Save the Czar” la Marseillaise (actually happened!) – it was also totally peachy. But then Bolsheviks will become the majority in the Soviet and denounce la Marseillaise singing as solidarity with the imperialist power waging imperialist War, and instead order the singing of “l’International”. Again – totally okay.”

          The collective decides what is to be sung and what is to be not sung, and you are going to do it. Because “it is the law”, and straying from the law will get you punished. You may argue that just because you are going to do something does not mean that you agree with it. But that — in this context — would be splitting hairs.

          “Did you accept George Bernard Shaw (blessed be His name!) as your personal Prophet, Guru and Savior?”

          The idea is that if someone has said something I wish to say in good language, it may be used. You know, benefits of society!

          I think I have only used a quote in the the sense you allege in one context, namely, when I quoted Aristotle as saying that poets have to describe not the what which is, but the world which ought to be. You could fairly say Aristotle’s opinions about it prove nothing. (And do not influence your own views about what a poem should do.) But, I used it — consciously! — in response to Patient Observer’s quote which too used an “argument to authority”. Just because John Rogers opines that Ayn Rand’s young fans are in adulthood “unable to deal with the real world” proves nothing. What seems to Rogers as “immaturity” must seem “superiority” to the those people.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Niku, Rogers was not presented as an authority. He just had a nice way capturing the psychopathology of Rand that matches my assessment. No offense but you do appear to be quite bookish so perhaps the quote felt like a personal attack. It was not intended as such.

            • niku says:

              PO, I didn’t take it as a personal attack (on me, that is). I was saying that if you can bring in an authority, so can I.

              Rogers’ quote looks like an observation, but it is not a very good observation. He says that a lot of Rand’s fans have a “lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world”. But none of those descriptions are good — testable — descriptions. As I suggested, what looks like a “socially crippled adulthood” to him may (and probably does) look like an “socially adequate adulthood” to ‘Randians’ — not that I think of myself as a ‘Randian’. (A better — testable — comment would be that “a lot of Rand’s young fans later turn out to be sociopaths”. This may or may not be true, but at least, ‘sociopath’ has a meaning which everyone can agree on, namely, “a person who has no empathy for strangers”.) Anyway, I don’t mind exaggerations, so I didn’t really mind the quote.

              • Patient Observer says:

                Logical analysis of human behavior can only be performed by ignoring the infinitude of variables that shape human behavior (DNA, gene expression, chemical exposures, known and unknown environmental factors, possible quantum influences, etc2). Hence, the need for lab rats to keep graduate students busy as they postulate one absurdity after another.

                Randites seem to be people who were not fully successful at integrating their ego with the world at large (in truth, I suspect that this is not fully obtainable but still an absolute imperative to express human potential).

                Most ideologies and philosophies melt into a stinking pile of crap when encountering the real world including Rand’s. A few survive to some degree (Buddhism and some aspects of Christianity come to mind and there are certainly others as well), but still remain imperfect models of the greater reality.

                • niku says:

                  Do you like socialism (as expounded by Lyttenburgh)? I would find it surprising, as it would be inconsistent with all your other views.

                • marknesop says:

                  The only consistency I could find in Randian theory was its making no allowance for impulse. Everything is predetermined and one’s course is always clear because, for those serious enough about life to make and even seek the tough choices, there can be no hesitation. Leaders who subscribe to Randian discipline have made the most egregious errors in the belief that they are simply choosing between right and wrong, and that pursuit of an ideal permits no second-guessing.

                • Jen says:

                  Myself, I’ve never read any of Ayn Rand’s writings but the impression I have of them is that they revolve around characters who seem supremely sure of themselves and their paths in life, so much so that they could be borderline sociopaths. Whatever obstacles they encounter, be these physical, mental or societal, such barriers or issues have to be overcome or smashed through. They cannot be negotiated and the central characters do not compromise or reconsider that their goals and plans may be flawed. The characters are driven by subconscious urges or impulses they may not be aware of or be able to explain to themselves or others (which would make them, in effect, much like serial killers and not at all “free”, in the sense that they are able to recognise and deal with, or ignore, their subconscious drives). This sounds like a very particular and insidious form of fascism.

                  Rand’s writing must surely reflect what many Americans past and present like to see in themselves and it is possible Rand herself tailored her writing and thinking to cater to what she herself saw in what Americans thought about themselves. No wonder that from time to time, I come across strange stories about US college students having to study Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” or “The Fountainhead” as part of a compulsory reading and study schedule or about the odd US state politician calling for her novels to be compulsory study in high schools in his/her particular state.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  @ Jen – yes, we were forced to read the Fountainhead as a freshman at college. Randites can best be described as somewhere in the sociopath-psychopath spectrum. Randian philosophy dovetailed nicely with anti-Sovient/anti-Russian beliefs. I suppose fascist and racists can find comfort with Rand’s rejection of empathy and compassion.

                • yalensis says:

                  Jen: I did read “Atlas Shrugged” at one point in my life, when I was still in college and had more time to read the “classics”.
                  That was the same year I read “Les Miserables”. Hugo’s story made me cry like a baby, especially when Fantine died.
                  Whereas Rand’s characters made me laugh my head off.
                  Well, laughter is beneficial too.

                • niku says:

                  Everything is predetermined and one’s course is always clear because, for those serious enough about life to make and even seek the tough choices, there can be no hesitation.

                  First, some clarification. “Everything is predetermined and one’s course is always clear [i.e., there is no hesitation] because […] there can be no hesitation.” You are merely saying that Rand’s heroes have no hesitation.

                  The novel is a simplified world [1]. The novelist chooses some things she wants to emphasize, and ignores the others. Rand’s novels may seem greatly different from most novels because most novels emphasize the hesitation, the difficulty in choosing, the “wretched human situation” [2], and as Rand would add, “the inability to be happy”[2]. According to these other novelists, this is the main “problem” the novel is considering.

                  Rand rejects this “everything cutting both ways” idea. Of course there are hesitations, but these hesitations do not rule out the possibility of making a clean choice, where you can be at peace with your consciousness (according to Rand). It just requires a clear mental picture of the world.

                  Compare it with others who have a clear mental picture. For example, pious religious people “always know what to do” too. They have a clear idea of what they want, and everything unclear can be settled out after some thought. So, if you see a man freezing in the cold, you would have to think what to do about it, because you have too many variables to consider (including, if he would commit a crime if you invite him to your house for a while). Not the pious people — they have already considered all this. They already believe that it is better to suffer a crime than to let another man suffer.

                  Also, Rand allows for people to change their opinions and get clearer ideas as they progress. (It happens all the time in her novels.) So, it would be wrong to say that her characters start without hesitation, or that they are always without hesitation. What is true is that Rand believes that as long as one is not shrinking away from thinking, one can always “solve” these problems (so, for one, these problems are not “insoluble” — making the human situation “wretched”), but also, that the solutions found will be found quite satisfactory — covering all the aspects to your satisfaction.

                  [1] Did a novel ever show people brushing and bathing? And if one did, would anyone ever wish to read it?
                  [2] as they see it

                  As for others (her followers) citing her opinions to justify their actions, Rand is hardly to be blamed for it.

                • niku says:

                  at peace with your consciousness –> at peace with your conscience
                  […] shrinking away from thinking –> shirking from thought

            • niku says:

              The quotes from Aristotle and Uncle Volodya were intended to tell Rogers’ (and you) that if it is true that Rand’s fans are ill-adapted to their surroundings, it is to Rand’s (and her readers’) credit. If Rand makes people dissatisfied, she is helping them by showing them new perspectives.

              As for me being “bookish”, first you’d have to define ‘bookish’.

            • niku says:

              Actually, I don’t wish to wait for a reply, so I will explain it. Given the dictionary definitions below, some aspects of it are true about me, the others false. The Webster 1 definition is true most of all. TheFreeDictionary 2 definition is false, as far as I know.

              book·ish (bo͝ok′ĭsh)
              adj.
              1. Given to, characterized by, or resulting from the habitual reading of books; studious.
              2. Relying chiefly on book learning rather than practical experience; impractical or unworldly: a scholarly but not bookish instructor.
              3. Literary, formal, or erudite. Used of language.
              http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bookish

              Bookish Book”ish, a.
              1. Given to reading; fond of study; better acquainted with
              books than with men; learned from books. “A bookish man.”
              –Addison. “Bookish skill.” –Bp. Hall.
              [1913 Webster]
              2. Characterized by a method of expression generally found in
              books; formal; labored; pedantic; as, a bookish way of
              talking; bookish sentences.
              [1913 Webster]

              • niku says:

                Hold on, Webster 1 itself packs a couple of different ideas:
                Given to reading — TRUE
                fond of study — TRUE
                better acquainted with books than with men — I don’t know.
                learned from books — whatever.

                • marknesop says:

                  I’ve never actually looked up the definition myself. But I would not have imagined there was any possibility to use it in an insulting manner, and I doubt it was intended as such. You simply speak like an educated person, perhaps even an academic. That is frequently seen in one for whom the language is a second or not native, in which the user has applied considerable effort to learn it properly.

                  As I mentioned, I learned English from books; just not schoolbooks. I think I speak it quite well – I should, it’s my native language – but I know only the most basic building-blocks of English grammar; noun, verb, adverb, adjective, with some contractions thrown in when I want to get wild and crazy. I couldn’t tell a participle from Parmesan. I suppose I could therefore be considered ‘bookish’, because I learned from reading books. But I would be otherwise pretty far outside the dictionary description.

        • niku says:

          I acknowledge that my reply just preceding your last reply was a bit harsh. Sorry about that.

        • niku says:

          If you wish to find justification for a particular point of view, you will always find them.

          May a suggest a novel for precisely this topic? It is Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. I learnt the above from that book.

          And how do you determine that these things might be “fundamental, eternal, common-sensical laws”?
          It is a good question. May I refer you to books where people study the differences between Natural Law and Positive Law? I may be able to point out a few.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Yes, as long as you define both the terms upfront and don’t mix them afterwards.”

        wat…

        You are saying, that you are completely okay to mislabel “water” for “fire” as if there are no definitions for these two words ALREADY IN EXISTENCE? I mean – raise your hands people, who do not know the meaning of either “water” or “fire”! Even this is just and “abstract” for you, niku? Or you genuinely do not know what the words mean? Or you think that you can somehow convince the people to believe, that “water” means “fire” and vice versa?

        What is you point?

        “I mean, lets not fight about them. I am ready to accept your definitions, with the catch I mentioned. See right below.”

        What, there is some special, unique, “niku-ian” meaning of the “water” out here? Does the “fire” mean something different for you? What kind of new arrogance is this – “Meh, I gonna pretend to accept you definitions, but I disagree with that”. That’s an admission of either a lies (“pretense”, if you like) and desire not to have an honest conversation at all.

        “This I won’t agree with. Define terms by acts. ‘Murder’, ‘assassination’ and ‘execution’ are all exactly the same acts.

        Question – is rape and consensual sex same acts for you too? Don’t rush take your time. The answer might enLYTTEN you to the differences that exist between those terms I’ve mentioned. Well, unless you are bloody positivist, who sees only the form of the thing and denies the essence of them altogether. In that case – my sincere consolations to you.

        “1) Definition: Murder := premeditated killing of one man of another”

        You can murder someone “non-premeditatedly”. But “depriving of one person of life by another” us a mouthful. Yet it’s the core. All other terms – murder, assassination, execution – are one word derivatives that despite describing the same act have different context and, therefore, different essence. You are mixing common with particular. You are proclaiming one particular to be in fact common. No – you are wrong. Python, viper and grass snake [natrix natrix] are particular types of snakes. Only one of them is poisonous. Does it mean that all other types of snakes are non poisonous? No. Does it mean that all of them ARE poisonous. Nope again. You have to study it case by case. Which you seem to be unwilling instead resorting to lazy sweeping generalizations.

        You mention Foucault’s Pendulum. There is passage in that book about “fools”. You know, when it says that the fools claim that because dogs are pets and that they bark, then the cats, who are also pets, must bark as well.

        Also:

        ““The lunatic, on the other hand, doesn’t concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits. For him, everything proves everything else… You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.”

        You are hardly any different, niku. We had a discussion about your regrettable positivism in the past.

        “You didn’t. I said that you are welcome to”.

        Why? What for?

        “If you notice, I keep changing my words too. (For example, I offered an apology for “Russians are still socialists”, but I had never said that.) And I do keep putting words in your mouth all the time.
        I was doing all this for the sake of saving time. When I put words in your mouth, I expected you to do either of the two, (i) pass it in silence — if you agreed with the sentiment, or (ii) say that this is not what you really meant — if you disagreed with the sentiment.
        Seeing that it bothers you, I won’t do that again when talking to you.”

        So you are admitting of debating in bad faith because you are out of your already shallow depths.

        […]
        […]
        […]

        How about you stop this intellectual onanism right now?

        2) I’m not looking for “justifications”, but for proofs and evidence.
        3) No, you can’t, if there ain’t any. Thinking otherwise is anti-intellectual and anti-scientific approach.
        “I am skipping (1)”.

        Why?

        “For (2) and (3): You see, man is a rationalizing animal. If you wish to find justification for a particular point of view, you will always find them. (“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” –Sherlock Holmes) I know that it is true for me, and I know that others have said that it is true for them too. (As for it being ‘anti-scientific’, the problem plagues science too, though in science education, people are taught to keep the above the mind. For an example, check the case of Millikan’s oil drop experiment in the Feynman’s “cargo-cult science” link on the previous comment page.)”

        None of this:
        – answers my questions
        – makes any sense.

        Once. Again. Less logorrhea, more concrete answers. Maybe you, userperson, niku, is disengenous enough to see confirmation for your own biases and deep held beliefs when there are no whatsoever. Just don’t judge the others by the same yardstick. Somehow, people no longer believe in such “scientific theory” as phlogiston. You ARE proposing this scientific “oh, you can’t ever know that!” approach in the most blatant manner as possible. Could it be done because you, generally speaking, know very little of the things you are talking about, instead having to hide behind the Big Names and abstraction? By reducing the value of all knowledge (which you attempt to do) you will thus make your own ignorance treated equally.

        Nuh-huh. No chance here. Facts, proofs, evidence – or GTFO.

        “Yes I can, and I have often done it. Starting from when I was in mid-teens, I have more or less ‘adopted’ almost all known political theories at some point or another

        I’m inclined to believe that. You sure posses a veritable vertigo of bits and pieces inside you head when it comes to various views. Nothing concrete though.

        “This is why I am so opposed to the idea of banning propagation of theories — one learns more, and one’s views often change. Whereas, had you banned some theories, I would have never learnt what is wrong about them.

        Intellectual fascism of our modern era so beloved by the so-called “progressives” and “liberals” – that ALL ideas are somehow equal. Why? Oh, they claim that they all are “true”. If everything is true than nothing is true.

        Fuck, this approach disgusts me the most! This willy-nilly proclamation that there is no truth, that “everyone is special”. At the same time – by sheer coincidence! – no one truly follows this approach, for only “correct” views are deemed handshakable. Moral fucking relativism. The surest way for the atomization of society. And why should society commit a suicide? It will combat it tooth and nail. That’s it – a healthy non-suicidal society. And that society will surely be stronger than individual or a group of individuals.

        Newsflash! You can learn what’s wrong with ideas even if you ban their open propagation.

        “If I didn’t hold my political views to be superior, I wouldn’t hold them! What other criteria is there?

        Plenty of them. It could be convenient for you. You might think it’s more profitable for you. You might thus express your conformity (even in the “non-conformist” way!). You still didn’t explain – why they are superior? Because it is YOU who holds them? You are the only measure of the superiority of ideas? What if I tell you that your ideas are shit?

        “I used model in a scientific sense — I thought it would be clear without any explanation given the context of our discussion.

        We will add it to the list of things you assumed wrong about me. It’s already impressive. And now answer the question.

        “I agree with it, but I don’t think this argument is relevant here.”

        And I disagree with you. Now, how do you plan to have a meaningful conversation?

        “Concerning the ‘treason’ questions, I said, I suppose your answer will get to ‘yes’ at some point. (I did not use ‘inevitably’ because I didn’t know how strong my guess was at that point.

        Weak dodge. Very weak. Another instance of arse-covering via moving goalposts. But we already established that you are either liar, who can not argue in honest way, or an ignorant fool – full of himself.

        “Concerning, “hanging people on lampposts”, if I remember correctly, you have used the term in the past to say what you want to do with the Russian “non-systematic opposition”.

        And I told you to find this post of mint. Either this or shut up. Because what you are doing is called slander and libel. I’m at the end of my patience not to go personal at you and start using the same tactic. You began that, not me, by making a sweeping statement. You did not apologize for that, neither did you attempted to defend your initial argument, no – you issued an entire torrent of new sweeping generalizations, demonstrating to everyone how little do you know about, well, everything.

        “The idea is that if someone has said something I wish to say in good language, it may be used. You know, benefits of society!

        More incoherency. WHAT?! No, really – what? Why should anyone treat witticisms unsupported by hard data as the Holy Truth?

        “Actually, [individualism] is a far better model, but lets not argue about that right now!”

        No, lets argue about it! Go and prove to me, that it is better! What are your arguments besides “I, userperson niku, like it more”?

        “The collective decides what is to be sung and what is to be not sung, and you are going to do it.”

        I described the situation in 1917. Are you that dense to understand the context? Besides, that was the Soviet (i.e. a legal body) deciding what to sign as the anthem. You know – legislations are doing it all the time. Would you actively disobey the Laws adopted by your country’s (which one, btw?) if you are oh so super individualistic? Would your bowing down to these decisions a sign that you are compromising your fucking superior individualistic model?

        “May a suggest a novel for precisely this topic? It is Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. I learnt the above from that book”

        Then you understood jack shit about the novel. It talks about this particular “lunatic” way of looking at world – the worldview of idiots, hacks and conspiracy theorists. You seem to completely embracing it.

        “It is a good question. May I refer you to books where people study the differences between Natural Law and Positive Law? I may be able to point out a few.”

        No. I doubt that someone as ignorant as you can really point me anywhere. How old are you, niku?

        • niku says:

          [About Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum:]
          It talks about this particular “lunatic” way of looking at world – the worldview of idiots, hacks and conspiracy theorists

          There are four kinds of people in this world: cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics.”

          “And that covers everybody?”

          “Oh, yes, including us. Or at least me. If you take a good look, everybody fits into one of these categories. Each of us is sometimes a cretin, a fool, a moron, or a lunatic. A normal person is just a reasonable mix of these components, these four ideal types.”
          https://sorbusaucuparius.blogspot.in/2012/08/umberto-ecos-four-types-of-idiot.html

          Anyway, thanks for closing the conversation.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “Anyway, thanks for closing the conversation.”

            I take it as your admission of being an ignorant fool and a liar. Слив засчитан.

            • marknesop says:

              I don’t know how we got to this point over a philosophical disagreement, but you’re going to have to work on that confrontation thing. Like psychiatry, there was never any victory to be had in ‘winning’ this argument because there are no wrong answers. but as soon as things get to the name-calling stage, any possibility of keeping things at the harmless-discussion level evaporates. And this started out as a harmless discussion. There doesn’t have to be a winner.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                Mark, it all started not as “a philosophical disagreement”. Niku accused me of being some kind of mass-murdering maniac. He said, and I quote: “Notice a Real Russian, Lyttenburgh, whose solution to all political differences is, “hang them from the lampposts!””. THAT was a personal attack. I proceeded very, very patiently, trying to pry one simple answer from niku: “can he support such claim?” Instead, I ended up in more accusations and strawman attacks by niku. The philosophical angle is a byproduct of enormous offtopic. Notice, that in this discussion I do not resort to dismissing niku’s arguments via “labeling” him Randite or otherwise. He, OTOH, resorted just to that “name-calling” me a “socialist”, and replying in a way of “oh, because you are socialist, you’d surely dismiss all my arguments – ta-ta!”.

                Niku failed to support his philosophical position other than hiding behind Big Names and engaging in demagoguery and sophistry, yet I did not accuse him of that. All the time I asked him of one thing only – to answer for his own words. He failed to do that. I do not want to “convert” him or anyone else to “my ways”, neither am I “driven” to go beyond above and beyond simple discussion. BUT! If *I* am the target of the spurious accusations, I have to defend myself. Seeing as niku admits of arguing in the bad faith and fails – constantly – to support his own words with facts, let alone his original accusation, I had to ask him to be more clear. He chose to dodge the answer and stop the discussion. The End.

                Granted, my last comment was, probably, unwarranted. Probably. Still, it doesn’t make it less true, given what niku already said.

                Tl;dr – not having a “winner” in a philosophical debate I can live with. Only the main argument was not about philosophy – it was about what kind of person I am, according to someone.

                • yalensis says:

                  Mark: Lyt has a point. I enjoy a good philosophical debate, and I bear no animus to niku.
                  But technically, niku did start the fight, with that comment about “hanging from the lamposts”. And by calling Lyttenburgh a “real Russian”, and then coupling that with the insinuation that “real Russians” are not capable of any kind of civilized debate, other than hanging their opponents from the lampposts.

                  As an ethnic Russian, I object to that insinuation too.
                  I think a compromise could be reached, if niku were to apologize for that stereotypical evalution. And then we could just get on with the more fun part, namely arguing about Randism vs socialism.

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s an eminently fair solution, worthy of Solomon.

                • niku says:

                  @yalensis
                  You misunderstood ‘Real Russian’. Sorry for that, though it is not wholly my fault. I knew that you are an ethnic Russian (and I supposed that you knew that I knew that), so by not including you, I had supposed that the correct sense of the term would be clear to everyone.

                  You are not a Real Russian to me as you are not a Russian attached only to Russia. You are a Russian-American. (If all your spiritual connection to Russia were broken, you will probably become a Real American.) What I said was a cultural characterization. Ultimately, it is a question of self-classification though, and the term is used in this sense by others too. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

                  As for “hang them from the lampposts”, I found the post I remembered:
                  This unfunny critters don’t understand that the very moment so despised by them Army and Police would disappear, ordinary Russins will start hanging them, stupid ungrateful bastards, on lampposts.
                  https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/on-the-art-of-noticing-the-obvious-and-invisible-people/comment-page-5/#comment-134464

                  I haven’t checked Moscow Exile’s link for which he said this. It is possible that Lyttenburgh said it in a “moment of heat”. If so, I apologize. (I won’t accept the excuse that it was a joke. Such jokes are not funny, especially when tensions are running high.)

                  By the way, I have known many ‘Real Russians’ (in the above sense) personally, and I liked most of them. (I think it was mutual.) My impressions of Russians was that they are ‘warmly friendly’. But I am now happy that we never talked politics.

                • marknesop says:

                  Lyttenburgh is a resident of Moscow – although if I recall correctly he was born elsewhere in Russia – and so far as I am aware has never lived anywhere else. His command of English might suggest he is a western resident who is ethnically Russian, but he is a ‘real Russian’.

                • yalensis says:

                  Dear Niku: I understand your point.
                  I wouldn’t call myself a “Russian-American”, though. Or any kind of American, really, except anti-American.
                  I’m one of those people who refers to the country I live in as “this country”. Equivalent to the Russian kreakles in Russia – heh heh! Aint’ that something…

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, I suppose that’s fair enough. I just don’t want us as a community to start seeing trolling behavior popping up everywhere. Frequently a disagreement is just a disagreement.

                • yalensis says:

                  Yes, Mark, we should definitely try to be more civilized in our comments and disagreements.
                  Certain people have certain buttons, if you push one, even inadvertently, then BAM!

                • Lyttenburgh says:

                  And so, userperson niku finally bothers to find out the original quote! Took him JUST day.

                  I won’t refuse the ownership of my own words which were: “This unfunny critters don’t understand that the very moment so despised by them Army and Police would disappear, ordinary Russins will start hanging them, stupid ungrateful bastards, on lampposts.

                  When niku claimed: ““Notice a Real Russian, Lyttenburgh, whose solution to all political differences is, “hang them from the lampposts!””

                  I ask ONE MORE TIME: where did *I* called for “haging people from the lampposts” as the “solution to all political differences”?

                  Niku demonstrates time and again his inability to understand other human beings, distorting their words, misquoting, putting his own words into their mouth. Either he does it deliberately in pursuit of a certain agenda (i.e. he is a “liar” ) or he is genuinely incapable of empathy and understanding (i.e. a “fool”). Given his self-confession of being partial to Anna Rosenbaum’s aka Ayn Rand’s works, both are possible.

                  Niku – where are you from? From what country? It’s not an idle question. The mentality do play a major role in the thought process of the people – and language as well. Also, again – how old are you?

                  As for the “Real Russians” quibble – not for you to judge. There are some resident “Russians” who are hardly “Real” (e.g. – most of the demszhizoid liberast opposition), and there are those Russians who are not residents of the country, but, nonetheless, are more than real (e.g. – the people of the DNR and LNR fighting for their freedom).

          • yalensis says:

            I myself never read Foucault’s Pendulum.
            But I DID read Poe’s “Pit and the Pendulum”, which is one the hairiest, scariest fucking stories ever written!

  32. Northern Star says:

    Olive branch to the Asian person

  33. Patient Observer says:

    New from the world of heavy aviation:

    http://theduran.com/russia-unveils-new-giant-cargo-aircraft/

    The new cargo aircraft (pictured) looks similar to the AN-124 but is actually bigger and has a longer range.

    Allegedly it will be able to ferry 150 tonnes of cargo over 7,000 kilometres (twice the distance of the AN-124 with the same load) whilst the maximum load will increase from the 150 tonnes of the AN-124 to 180 tonnes for the new aircraft, which the new aircraft will however be able to ferry over a distance of 4,900 kilometres.

    Use of geared turbofans, as indicated in the article, is a big deal due to a large decrease in fuel consumption. This is challenging technology to master given the very high power transmission levels, need for compact size and weight and high reliability.

    No more Antonov’s. Sad but deserved.

    • marknesop says:

      All of that might have been Antonov’s work, had the previous cooperative relationship prevailed. Instead, Kiev should change its name to Esau – for, like that biblical character, it sold its birthright for a mess of pottage. ‘Esau’s bargain’ has become synonymous with short-sightedness, and moved Byron to satirize,

      “Thou sold’st thy birthright, Esau, for a mess;
      Thou shouldst have gotten more, or eaten less.”

      Sound advice is so frequently delivered after the ship has sailed, or perhaps it was just drowned out by the western cacophony of lofty promises.

      Every once in awhile, I reference an older post from here, for one reason or another. When I do, as I read it over I sometimes see how wrong I was about this or that. Sometimes I see how right I was, and when that happens I am always surprised, because I’m just guessing, same as everyone else. This post is an example of the latter, written before Yanukovych declined to sign the EU Association Agreement, and the Maidan erupted. I have to say, things unfolded just about the way I said they would.

      • Cortes says:

        Having re-read the September 2013 piece, Mark, I’m just amazed that you haven’t (have you?) been offered squillions to work with major investment funds. It’s so comprehensively on the money it’s scary.

    • kirill says:

      It is an impressive upgrade to the 1970s design of the AN-124. The PD-35 looks to be a world class geared-turbofan and the doubling of the range for the same 150 ton payload is a certain bet. Russia has developed world leading carbon-carbon composite materials which it is using in the MC-21 and PAK-FA (Su-57) so this element is not an exaggeration either.

    • GreyHog says:

      It could well still be “Antonov”, albeit only in spirit, in the sense that:

      1) It looks like a straight-up “deep” upgrade from An-124, the way Su-35 is “deep” upgrade from Su-27, and,

      2) I think I have heard a report about Ukrainian aircraft company workers who moved to Russia after either resigned or being laid off, and subsequently being employed by UAC (apologize that I cannot seem to locate the link to the report). Who is to say that some former Antonov employees do not have a hand in building this new transport? (although I will keep telling myself that they are, because I love Antonov planes, and am really sad to see the company destroyed)

      • marknesop says:

        Agreed. I take some comfort in knowing it was dismantled by foolish Ukrainian leaders for nationalist reasons, and that it did not fail from slow erosion of the quality of its product. But once it is replaced in Russia by domestic industry, that will well and truly be the end of it, because Europe will never acknowledge that a Soviet-era company produced better aircraft than European designs.

        I couldn’t find anything so specific as saying Antonov workers had gone to work in Russia – although that stands to reason – but I did find this interesting tidbit:

        Antonov State Company, formerly the Antonov Aeronautical Scientific-Technical Complex (Antonov ASTC), is a leading Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing and services company. Antonov’s particular expertise is in the fields of very large aeroplanes and aeroplanes using unprepared runways. It employs 13, 5 thousand people. The workers demand to put dismissed Director Dmitry Kiva back in office again. The government dismissed him as he was maintaining active contacts with Russian producers. He understands the company is doomed without cooperation with Russia. Thanks to workers support he is back again. The decision of Antonov Design Bureau’s works council was unanimous and fully supported in a resolution by the members of the general meeting of the firm’s employees. “Step back from your decision and re-employ Mr Kiva in his role as Director of Antonov Design Bureau,” reads the declaration addressed to Kiev’s rulers by the staff. The recent workers meeting took place on August 4. The government’s incompetence resulted in falling production. At the same time Aviaster aircraft producer in Ulyanovsk is expanding its industrial capacity. The enterprise is capable of producing An-124-100 Ruslan legendary transport aircraft. The top management says Aviaster is ready to give jobs to 3 thousand Antonov workers, no clerks and managers, but qualified workers and engineers. The company is implementing its own house building program. It plans to provide its personnel with 5 thousand apartments till 2020.

        and, further down, in the concluding paragraph;

        The so called punitive measures taken by Ukraine in reality open new prospects for the Russian economy. The brain drain entailing exile of qualified Ukrainian workforce to Russia is inevitable. Ukraine is the only one to suffer damage. The Kiev rulers don’t value such things as hard labor, professional aptitude, it they need no gifted people. It needs obedient trigger happy shooters and dishonest spin doctors.

        Kind of makes you feel sorry for the Ukrainian workers who just wanted a decent-paying, steady job and wanted to stay the hell out of politics. That was written almost exactly a year ago. No word that I could find on how many took Aviastar (for such it is, not Aviaster) up on its offer, but I would think the number was probably significant. The company got contract work to upgrade three aircraft, one last year and two this year.

        • kirill says:

          The claim that Antonov is a “Ukrainian” company is dubious. It was founded in Siberia and moved to Kiev during the USSR era. Since Banderatards reject all things Soviet, they have to reject Antonov. It is definitely not “one of ours”.

          • marknesop says:

            Maybe not, but Antonov did good work while headquartered in Ukraine and grew to be identified as a Ukrainian company. It certainly had mostly Ukrainians working for it. It is certainly possible that Kiev deliberately ruined it because of its Soviet heritage; I found the back-story concerning the dismissal of its director quite interesting.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Doubtful that it is a deep upgrade as the fixtures, jigs and dies to form the plane’s major structural components will surely remain in Ukraine. If there is a resemblance, it may be due to the fact that the original design represented a good optimization with little room for improvement. The huge performance gain appear mostly from more efficient engines, lighter weight construction, refined aerodynamics and improved controls.

        • marknesop says:

          They may also have used stronger alloys which allowed them to employ lightening holes in the frame, since the Antonov was built strong for rough runways but is enormously heavy.

  34. Murdock says:

    Fantastic article Mark! As pleasantly vicious as it is entertaining. I realize I am a bit late to the party but I am glad I had the opportunity to catch up. I have been traveling for business and am just finishing up the comments over a lovely pint of IPA in an airport terminal.

    I am very sorry to hear about what is going on with you, ME. I was hoping that the Russian state would treat you, and your family, better than this. Having been through the Russian bureaucracy wringer myself I do not envy your position but I am glad that things seem to be turning out ok-ish. I wish you a good stay in England and a speedy return to your family and estate!

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, Murdock, and welcome back!

      • niku says:

        @Mark: Also, I would like to say that your language is wonderful. It is always nice to read you.

        • marknesop says:

          Thank you, niku; that’s very kind of you to say. I don’t have much education in grammar, but I love to write and to read, so nearly all of my grammar knowledge comes from copying the sentence structure of stories I read as a child and not from proper education in the parts of speech. When the missus and I were still living apart (we were married in 2002 but did not live together continuously until 2005), she asked me once by email what an adverbial modifier was, and I had to tell her I had not the slightest idea. She was appalled – how could someone make it as far as high school and not know what an adverbial modifier is? I had to tell her I thought the faculty was so glad to see the back of me that they passed me to get rid of me.

          • niku says:

            Actually, I wonder if many native speakers learn the grammar. Moscow Exile is likely an exception. (For that matter, I, a non-native speaker, learnt very little grammar too!)

            I would add a comment to what I said about “higher education” earlier. At this point, the only positive thing “higher education” does for the students is to show them that there is very little there! (And I don’t mean it as a witticism. I really mean it.)

            • niku says:

              The other thing is that one gets a lot of time to think, to try new things away from home, etc, which is fine.

            • Jen says:

              I’ve heard there was a period in the 1960s – 70s when teaching grammar was discouraged in schools and universities in Australia at least, with the result that a generation of young people grew up not knowing what concepts like “adverbial modifier” mean. Even I had to pause at Mark’s comment about “adverbial modifier” and look it up just to be sure (it’s a word or phrase that does the work of an adverb).

              • marknesop says:

                But the missus was an English teacher in Russia – albeit of the lower grades, the younger children, beginner students – and she was also gearing up for her Test Of English As A Foreign Language (TOEFL), and she was expected to know things like that. And English is rather lazy and uncomplicated in its grammar; Russian is a lot harder.

            • moscowexile says:

              I learnt grammar at school because I am bloody old! They stopped teaching English grammar in schools after I had left school in the mid-60s. Sometime in the early ’70s they, pedagogues, started saying that “grammar” inhibited creative thought, which is what I would of thought they would of said, innit, and if I was them, I would of said the same.

              I had an English colleague (well, not English really: she was from Liverpool) some 40 years younger than I am, who once asked me to give her an example of a passive gerund phrase as the subject of a verb. A Russian student had asked her this, and her class questioned her competence when she was unable to answer. My colleague spoke perfect English, of course — for a Scouser! 🙂

              “Being asked grammar questions pisses me off”, I told her.

              • marknesop says:

                A man after my own heart. I know how to talk good, I just dint learn it in school, like.

                I blew through English without learning hardly nothing about grammar, because most of our tests and exams were on the order of “What’s wrong with this sentence?”, and you only needed to know proper speech to make that out. The French literacy test (for the Public Service) is much harder, as I think I mentioned before, because their “Trouvez l’erreur” (Find the error) questions often employed tricks such as putting an English word, spelt correctly, in the sentence, and your English brain just didn’t pick it up. Tricks like substituting “dance” for “danse”, or capitalizing the first letter of the month, which is not done in French.

                I also did well in history and geography, but sucked like a black hole at mathematics, physics and chemistry. Easy to see a picture emerging of someone who has little problem with the arts, and stinks out loud at the sciences. I’ve become much better at languages, though; I was a marginal student in French in high school and barely passed it, which is why I was astonished at how much I remembered when I took it up again as an adult.

  35. Northern Star says:

    Christ on a freakin’ Bike….

    Are there nothing but cretins and morons in the State Department,Congress and the Pentagon??

    I think the Russkies should send lethal weapons to Kiev…..SDOD….Special Detonation On Delivery

    “Sending lethal weapons to Ukraine has one further downside — it would cause a rift between the United States and its main European allies. Germany and France have been leading diplomatic efforts to find a diplomatic solution for Donbass — and both have long opposed sending lethal weapons to Ukraine because of its potential to escalate the conflict.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/08/07/why-giving-ukraine-lethal-weapons-would-be-a-massive-mistake/

    • marknesop says:

      There are plenty of American administrative figures, both in politics and the media, advising caution and a little pause for reflection. But the pedal-to-the-metal crowd currently has the ear of the president. And that ear appears to be connected to a brain in which not much of anything is going on. Official America has decided it is time to put its foot down – no more insubordination will be tolerated, and the world fucking well better sit up and pay attention, or it will be the worse for it. Once upon a time, openly challenging a nuclear nation – never mind one with the biggest nuclear arsenal on earth – would have been criminal recklessness. Now, it’s necessary for American pride to last the night.

      All the people who see such a policy as foolishness writ bold point out that Russia can – and probably will – supply the east with whatever weaponry it needs to nullify any short and temporary advantage conveyed upon Kiev by the Americans, and that all it will result in is a lot more dead Ukrainians, a lot quicker. And there’s something else Ukraine’s leadership and American conservatives have in common – neither could care less.

  36. marknesop says:

    Oh, look! The United States Navy has started building a Maritime Operations Center in Ochakov, which it says will be used to host regular multinational exercises. But Washington pretended NATO was not interested in Crimea, and only wants it to be re-united with Ukraine for sentimental reasons pertaining to Ukrainian cultural yearnings.

    I guess you will have to settle for the consolation prize, boys.

  37. Cortes says:

    An excellent (if depressing) article about the population of Ukraine since 1996:

    http://theduran.com/ukraine-hollows-out/

    Some coldly Malthusian “reform” measures allied with incompetence and ideological zeal combined in Project 20 million.

    • Eric says:

      This takes me back to the “Orange Revolution” in 2004. Apart from all the fake Soros-funded polling giving Yushchenko a decent lead, and all the unscrupulous western government meddling before,during and after the election( and his “poisoning”)……there were all these accusations used against Yanukovich (about districts in Donetsk and Lugansk receiving turnout over 100%), but how can it be trusted that in as badly organised a country as Ukraine is, that they had an accurate or even semi-organised electoral register… and weren’t always deliberately underestimating the numbers of people living in the Donbass and its huge workforce requirements, so as to promote places like Kiev and Lvov and at the same time satisfy their American masters?

  38. Northern Star says:

    I didn’t pay much attention to Trump’s latest bellowing mass murder threats to NK
    But…this is more serious than I thought:
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/08/09/pers-a09.html

    This could quickly deteriorate into WW3…
    http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-north-korea-threatens-to-turn-u-s-1502294652-htmlstory.html

    The NKs also need to STFU……taunting Murica is a bad idea…

    • James lake says:

      Regarding the North Korea and USA issue.

      The North Koreans said They are “examining plans” to hit Guam. In spring and autumn.

      This is in response however to the US & South Korea “practice plans” for decapitation strikes on NK.

      Seems like tit for tat?

      The media however report only the seemingly random threats from North Korea – but not The actions of the other side.

      I do agree that the North Koreans should not engage in the threats and counter threats

      Trump is a failing president and may just bomb them for the ratings – like he did Syria.

      • Patient Observer says:

        and to prove his “flexibility” with the Deep State.

      • marknesop says:

        It’s like having Ron Jeremy for president – an enormous dick. Mind you, Kim is a bit of a dick himself; Clash of the Dicks. But I doubt it will escalate beyond bellicose rhetoric. Things could change, however, if the USA decided to probe North Korea’s alertness by flying a reconnaissance patrol into their airspace, or sending an American warship into their territorial waters to draw a response. The North Koreans are notoriously trigger-happy. There is little doubt in my mind that they would shoot. I would only hope in this case that Russia and China would be watching very closely and get photo/satellite evidence of an American provocation. It would have to be conclusive to stop a deliberate American escalation, because the neocons would very much like a war in Korea. It’s right beside Russia, and anything could happen, while it’s far from Exceptionalland. And war is good for the economy.

  39. Jeremn says:

    Interesting article on the EU External Action Service and how it funds the disinformation review (an outlet that would not exist if relations with Russia were good, and therefore whose entire goal is to make relations with Russia bad):

    https://gefira.org/en/2017/08/07/the-creepiest-eu-initiative-yet-registering-dissent-as-russian-propaganda-under-soros-direction/

    Also an interesting article on the Tusk family, something I knew nothing about:

    https://gefira.org/en/2017/08/07/donald-tusk-and-his-son-in-the-centre-of-a-fraud/

    • marknesop says:

      Just about every time you find a project under the rubric of ‘Freedom and Democracy’ which, if successful, will hand more influence over a sovereign nation to Washington and Brussels, you will find George Soros at the bottom of it. I wonder if he is a Medal of Freedom recipient? Surely regime change can have had no more loyal foot-soldier.

      Great catch; well done.

  40. karl1haushofer says:

    Serbia to hold military exercises with NATO, the same countries that bombed them just 18 years ago: http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/08/something-doesnt-stack-up-serbia-to.html

    • Patient Observer says:

      Keep your enemies close.

      • Fern says:

        “Keep your enemies close” – this extremely sensible advice could well explain why so many countries seem to want to join the Naturally Aggressive Terror Organisation. The only way you can guarantee NOT being attacked by NATO is by being one of its members.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Yes, the Empire has entered a state of convulsions and it would be best to wait it out by keeping on the inside rather than on the outside in the danger zone, so to speak.

  41. Fern says:

    Moscow Exile, I know you fly off soon (tomorrow, I think) for the UK, so I just wanted to wish you safe traveling and I really, really hope your sojourn in our grey and miserable land is the shortest possible and you are homeward bound soon. I’m sure all the Stooges will join me in wishing you the fastest possible return to Russia, hearth, home and family. I’m still shocked that this has happened to you – that a simple oversight can have such consequences. It has shown that in one respect and one respect only western memes about Russia are correct – its bureaucracy is dreadful. Even a broken clock is right twice a day etc, etc. Safe journeys and a speedy return.

    • moscowexile says:

      Thanks, Fern.

      The sun’s cracking the flags here as I write and I during my very brief sojourn that I have just spent at our our dacha before winging my way westwards tomorrow morning, I was becoming even more bitter about what has happened to me as a result of my oversight and the stubborn, pigheadedness of Russian bureaucracy.

      In recent years I have become ever fonder of living in the country. For the past 2 days I did a lot of the usual gardening work and I crept off very early this morning so as not to wake my girls because it would have been extremely difficult for me if they had seen me and started wailing.

      My wife insists that I take as gifts for my sister jars of jam and salted gherkins that she has prepared from our dacha crop. I couldn’t tell her that my sister would very likely not eat the preserves and pickles. I will, though.

      I land first at Heathrow and then, after a 2 hour layover, I fly off for Manchester, landing there at 3 o’clock, and then Russia, the place that I have considered to be my home for 23 years, will seem so very far away…

      • Jen says:

        I’m hoping and wishing for the best for you, ME, and that you’ll be back with your family very soon.

      • davidt says:

        I’m very sorry that it has come to this. Hopefully, you will be able to return very soon. The unfortunate reality is that government bureaucracies worldwide can be very stubborn, even cruel. In the meantime, try to keep your pecker up. Best.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and moral support.

        Going through passport control at Sheremetevo this morning, even the bloke checking my passport was puzzled as to why I had residency permit extension stamps in my passport (in effect, they function as 5-year multi-entry visas) and at the same time a freshly minted transit visa stuck on one of its pages. I explained the situation to him. He just shook his head in amazement, saying: “And they are making you leave?”

        I am in England now, so ….

        Большой привет всем из Англии!

  42. Gang of “teenage assassins” have been arrested in Moscow: https://lenta.ru/news/2017/08/10/banda/

    Teenagers have robbed and killed several people in Moscow region.

    Needless to say, they come from Central Asian republics.

  43. moscowexile says:


    How many shat their pants has not yet been ascertained.

  44. moscowexile says:

    Udaltsov’s out after doing four and a half years inside … and he’s got a lot of not very nice things to say about charlatan “oppositionist”, criminal and Washington’s man Navalny:

    Удальцов обвинил Навального в намеренном провоцировании арестов

    Udaltsov has accused Navalny of deliberately provoking arrests

    At the first press conference after the release of the leader of the “Left Front”, Sergei Udaltsov accused oppositionist Alexei Navalny and former State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev of consciously striving for provocations during the protest actions of 2011-2012, reports an RBC an correspondent.

    “Some of the opposition behaved strangely. Ponomarev was running around saying we must break through [the police lines — ME]. The day before this event, Navalny had proposed placing people in front of the “Udarnik” cinema. You just cannot deliberately place people in such a position that they will be arrested”, said Udaltsov. At the same time, he gave assurances that the leaders of the “Left Front” had done everything so as “not to expose people [to arrest}“. “I will meet Navalny, I have certain questions. Why do they expose people to repression”, the leader of the Left Front promised…

    In addition, Udaltsov said that Navalny had not helped him during his stay in a prison camp. “I did not ask [for help], and Navalny did not help while I was in prison”, he explained.

    • Eric says:

      Udaltsov on Russian tv afew years ago:

      I only mention this because the lying dickheads of the western political scene, media etcetera – keep on projecting lies against the Russian media.”Opposition banned from appearing on state tv” and all this other lying horseshit

      Here it is , Udaltsov, at the height of these overblown protests, is on one of Russia’s most popular political shows, giving his views against the authorities

      Same thing with Ponamaryev before he fled after the accusations against him….he was extensively interviewed for afew years on Russian TV and radio and many others.

  45. Cortes says:

    https://www.rt.com/usa/399240-trump-north-korea-graham-congress/

    So, contrasting opinions about the powers of the POTUS emerge in the wake of the ever-so-clever Congressional tying of Trump’s hands over sanctions. In the shoes of DJT I’d be sorely tempted to interrupt the recess and call for the Congress to express its wishes regarding the exercise of foreign policy. It’s not like he’s going to forfeit much goodwill by so doing.

  46. Regarding earlier TheDuran article about depopulation of the Ukraine, the plan is working like a charm. The USA/EU is succeeding in what Hitler failed: getting lebensraum from the East. Once the stupid Slavs die out in Ukraine the Ukrainian lands can be taken over by Western agricultural companies.

    Ukraine is important for the West for three reasons:
    1. It can be used as a tool threaten, sanction and destabilize Russia. The West did not succeed completely here, but they did manage to sanction Russia and strip Ukraine (minus Crimea and Donbass) away from Russia for good.
    2. Controlling Crimea is the key in controlling the whole Black Sea and threaten Russia from the Sea. Luckily Russia acted fast enough here.
    3. Ukrainian lands can be used in the future to feed Europe. Once Ukraine is depopulated and in a great debt to Western banks these lands can be easily taken over by Western companies.

    • moscowexile says:

      “…they did manage to sanction Russia and strip Ukraine (minus Crimea and Donbass) away from Russia for good”.

      So you think every Ukrainian east of the Dnieper is a dyed in the wool Svidomite?

    • Patient Observer says:

      Once the stupid Slavs die out…
      Gotta love the Karl; such a way with words.

      • moscowexile says:

        Always has Russia’s best interests at heart though.

      • Jen says:

        At least Karl is consistent whereas “Matt” could claim to believe a thousand different and contradictory notions and was only really himself when discussing how the West should hit Kim Jong-gun with a precision-strike drone.

    • marknesop says:

      Ukrainian lands can be used in the future to feed Europe. Once Ukraine is depopulated and in a great debt to Western banks these lands can be easily taken over by Western companies.

      Why isn’t Ukraine selling carrots and tomatoes and cucumbers to Europe? Because Europeans grow plenty of those things for themselves, and have tariffs and subsidies in place to protect their domestic agriculture. They also are a net exporter of agricultural produce. The Ukrainian black earth is a wonder, but Europe does not really need or want cheap produce wrecking their domestic agriculture.

      I agree the USA (Monsanto) probably planned something like that so as to flood Europe with their genetically-modified produce. But the giant TTIP free trade deal was never signed, so agri-saboteurs like Monsanto would not be able to use law to force Europe to accept their Frankenstein vegetables and fruit, and Europeans are most definitely not going to buy them voluntarily.

  47. Cortes says:

    Mea máxima culpa:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/08/nyt-russia-stifles-its-innovation-by-pursuing-fraud.html#comments

    I thought the poster from Vancouver was our host… -:(

    Nevertheless an interesting story.

    • Jen says:

      Makhanko makes the point that just because a change or an alteration is called an “innovation” (according to NYT’s definition of the term) does not in itself make that change innately beneficial. Had the change been made in the US rather than in Russia, the change would have been called something other than an “innovation”: it would have been called for what it is, a “removal” and the NYT would have immediately found it suspicious.

    • marknesop says:

      ‘Twas not I – I live on Vancouver Island, but not in Vancouver, city of. There’s one in Washington State, as well.

  48. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, I started a new blogpost on the Matilda movie.
    I know, I know, I just HAD to go there…

    • moscowexile says:

      Caught a glimpse somewhere in the “Kremlin controlled media” yesterday that Moscow authorities have given the green light to the showing of the “controversial” film in the capital.

    • Drutten says:

      I agree with Pavlo – had all of these monarchist butthurtians just ignored this film it would soon have been forgotten by the masses anyway. But now, thanks to Poklonskaya & Co, the infamous “Streisand effect” can clearly be seen at work.

      By the way, I myself very much welcome Russian historical dramas about Russian historical figures on the big screen, including the occasional controversy/debate they cause for whatever reasons. It’s a breath of fresh air after having been fed American/British takes on all these things for decades, that are so abysmally bad and distinctly non-Russian that they do not elicit any emotions whatsoever in anybody.

      • Drutten says:

        Also, for the same reason I hope there will be more Russian films about various periods of the USSR, whatever the plot/setting.

        I saw “Child 44” a while ago and was absolutely stunned by how ridiculous it was. The historical inaccuracies are too numerous to count even after the first 15 minutes into the film, and literally everything revolves around old-school U.S. propaganda stereotypes, all cranked up through the roof. It’s snowing all the time, you have a bunch of Western actors that are usually okay but here they’re making fools out of themselves, totally over acting and speaking in ridiculously contrived “Russian” accents…. Everything’s always bleak and muddy, everyone’s either depressed or harbor some kind of primitive animalistic aggression (sometimes both), murder investigators are being sent to the GULAG for having the audacity to investigate murder (because murder supposedly doesn’t exist in the USSR, or something) and so on and so forth.

        Apart from the gross distortions, historical inaccuracies and general factual errors I spotted immediately, I felt compelled to do some more research on things of which I had only the haziest knowledge. For instance, not knowing much about USSR crime history apart from the string of infamous serial killers of the 70’s and 80’s, I read up on it after having seen the film.

        Indeed, that big “point” the movie made turned out to be false too – there are plenty of official records of murders in the post-war period during Stalins waning years, including at least one bigtime serial killer (the “Leningrad Maniac” in post-war Leningrad) and these things were indeed investigated properly, and the perpetrators were trialled and sentenced.

        However, crime as a whole was indeed at a surprisingly low level for various reasons and Soviet authorities at the time blamed murderous behavior on either mental disease or bourgeois greed, as proper socialists wouldn’t resort to murder (which may or may not be true in theory, but certainly not in practice and it’s still not the same thing as denying the existence of it)

        Apropos – today, the first trailer for the French-American comedy (!) “The Death of Stalin” was released, with Steve Buscemi as Khrushchyov etc… I’m not expecting anything better.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Let’s remember that various American serial killers got years and years of free hunting because law enforcement authorities were happy to write off missing teenagers as runaways.

          • Fern says:

            Indeed and also not forgetting the huge numbers of prostitutes, drug addicts and street people who have gone missing in the US, at least some of whom will have died at the hands of predatory killers.

        • Fern says:

          Drutten, I couldn’t agree with you more about “Child 44”. The whole film seemed to have been shot in the dark – I’m sure the Soviet Union, with its oil, gas and coal industries was able to light homes, streets, villages, towns, cities etc. I’m a big fan of Scandi-noir and spotted quite a few Swedish & Danish actors – so much so, that it looked as htough the producers had acquired a job lot – you probably spotted a few more. And yes, the awful accents, the officials seizing random folk and shooting them in the head, the constantly repeated meme that “murder couldn’t exist in paradise” etc, etc, just pure propaganda. In fact, I suspect that movies made during the Cold War were actually more sophisticated – remember “Three Days of the Condor”, “Capricorn One” and “The Parallex View” which turned quite critical eyes on the US. It would be virtually impossible nowadays to make a film like “Escape from Sobibor” (1980’s) which shows the Russians as heroic characters.

          And the great shame is, that properly handled, “Child 44″ could have been a good story, worth telling. But the novelist knows that penning any rubbish nowadays can get published if it hits the right notes. And what’s more marketable than Russophobia? The movie of the children”s classic “Swallows and Amazons” released last year (I think) had an entirely extraneous part added to it to showcase Russian baddies.

          • Bill says:

            The movie based on a novel Gorky Park and the short lived CBS series Living In Moscow weren’t so accurate.

            There’s a recently aired in the US documentary on Stalin highlighting Katyn, (which involved the Soviet murder of Poles, (contrary to some Sovok claims) with very slight mention of the 1920 Polish-Soviet war, minus the thousands of Red Army POWs who died under horrible conditions.

        • J.T. says:

          speaking in ridiculously contrived “Russian” accents….

          ^THIS. This annoyed me SO MUCH. Why opt to have the actors use thick Rashan accents when the entire movie is set in the USSR?!

          • Patient Observer says:

            Because it fits the cultivated stereotype that Russians and Slavs in general are stupid, stupid to the point that they can not speak their own language without a heavy accent and poor grammar. I liked that way Japanese dialog was handled in the movie Tora Tora Tora . The Japanese characters spoke perfect English as it matches the clarity of the Japanese language spoken among Japanese. The same should be done for Russian characters portrayed as speaking Russian in movies for English speaking audiences.

            I find it amusing that US news shows often have translators slowing speaking in thick Russian accents; I guess to drive home the idea that those Russians are slow, plodding and of low intelligence. The contrast is stark as, for example, Putin can be heard in the background speaking fluidly and with an almost musical cadence.

            • J.T. says:

              I find it amusing that US news shows often have translators slowing speaking in thick Russian accents; I guess to drive home the idea that those Russians are slow, plodding and of low intelligence.

              I’ve never noticed that! Probably because I don’t watch U.S. news shows anymore.

          • Patient Observer says:

            I have a question for Russian speakers familiar with US leaders – how does Putin come across to Russians – not his message but his style. Is it Regan? Clinton? Carter? Trump? Clint Eastwood? Schwarzenegger? Mr. Rogers? Or someone else? Just curious.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Bit like Kennedy to me: clipped, brisk, straight to the point, knows what he is talking about and not slow and languid and going all round the houses to explain something. Also, occasionally vulgar, but not too near the knuckle. A Petersburg-Bostonian, sort of!

              🙂

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “s it Regan? Clinton? Carter? Trump? Clint Eastwood? Schwarzenegger? Mr. Rogers? Or someone else? “

              That implies we are familiar with their speech-style here in Russia 🙂

              Putin is not an orator. He is not a demagogue. He is not a passionate speaker, that can fire up millions. He doesn’t need too. And, besides – what good would it serve you in the long run? I mean, year, both Obama and Trump can talk the talk and their (very different) crowds will surely go “Awwwwwwwwww!”, but – so what?

              Putin simply delivers pre-written speech when he needs to. As to the question – to what degree it’s the product of his own or of his speech writers, I don’t know and don’t care. But – the moment when Putin really shines is in Q&A sessions. With anyone. No matter how hostile, opinionated or prepared. Here he demonstrates a true class. He can employ here basic demagoguery and give a long-winded “answer” that is, basically, empty, to the completely stupefied interlocutor. He can also “nail” the opponent with the facts – in our time of super reliance on easily googlable data this is a plus. He easily throws the people off balance with little, innocuous comments and questions, often such simple as “What’s your name, again?”.

              Whatever the MSM claims – Putin is incredible reserved and calm. Sardonic and deadpan, yes. Very emotional and “prone to rage” as they imply – no. He does not descend to the lowest intended level of the audience – no “yo, wassup?”, like in Navalny’s clips.

        • yalensis says:

          The truth is in the numbers. It’s not that violent crime didn’t exist in the USSR, it’s just that the rates were surprisingly low.
          Statistics don’t lie!

      • yalensis says:

        I’ll watch the movie when it comes out on DVD.
        I hope it has a lot of actual ballet sequences.
        I’d personally rather watch Matilda performing turns and lifts, than see her shagging Saint Nicky – ugh!

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