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.

This entry was posted in Corruption, Economy, Europe, Government, Law and Order, Politics, Saakashvili, Strategy, Trade, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,090 Responses to It Looks as if Your Dead Horse Could Use a Touch of the Lash.

  1. J.T. says:

    My list of “things not to do when writing about Russia” expands again:
    And just for fun, I debate with myself over whether it’s OK to turn heads of state into fictional characters:

    • Cortes says:


      A couple more for you:

      Dr Francia of Paraguay is the subject of Augusto Roa Bastos’s “Yo, el Supremo/ I The Supreme One.

      Manuel Estrada Cabrera of Guatemala is considered the model for Miguel Ángel Asturias’s “El Señor Presidente/His Excellency the President.”

      Spoofs of Obregón of Mexico include Valle Inclán’s “Tirano Banderas” and Ibarguengoitia’s “Los relámpagos de agosto/August Lightning.”

      • Jen says:

        Vaguely recall reading a novel ages ago about Simon Bolivar on his last legs by Gabriel Garcia Marquez but couldn’t remember the title. I had to look it up on Google – yes it’s called “The General in His Labyrinth”.

        Yes I also recall reading Augusto Roa Bastos’s novel “I, the Supreme” in English translation – it was a real whopper and much of it went over my head because it delves quite a lot into Paraguayan history, a dictator’s use of language to maintain power and how language can also be used by others to resist and overcome that power.

        • Cortes says:

          “El general en su laberinto ” is one of Garcia Marquez’s that I couldn’t finish.

          A couple of non-fiction items:

          Augusto Céspedes “El presidente colgado/The Hanged President” (Bolivia)

          Carlos Franqui “Retrato de familia con Fidel/Family portrait With Fidel” a very amusing depiction of the Cuban inner circle in the early days; the Fidel/Raul dynamic is hilarious.

      • Cortes says:


        As a footnote to your study I’d include a reference toómulo_Gallegos

        His “great” novel Doña Barbara describes the taming of the wilderness of the Venezuelan plains by Santos Luzardo (Holy Shining Light) . Yes, really. President after the “first clean election” 🙂 for a few months.

    • Cortes says:

      I forgot James Elroy’s “American Tabloid” and de Lillo’s “Scorpio” on the assassination of JFK.

      I haven’t read it, but there’s a novel by Marguerite ¿Duras? on the Emperor Hadrian.

      And if Toussaint L’Ouverture counts, there’s a novel by Alejo Carpentier, possibly “El siglo de las luces”/”The Age of Enlightenment.”

  2. Patient Observer says:

    Does this appear to be as big as it seems?

    China will prevent the US and South Korea from carrying out strikes on North Korea and trying to overthrow the leadership there, but will remain neutral if Pyongyang launches missiles at American targets first, the state-run Global Times said.

    Beijing should make it clear that “if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral,” the Global Times wrote.

    But if the US and its ally South Korea take on Pyongyang and try to “overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so,” the paper stressed.

    A very diplomatic way of saying war : China will prevent them from doing so.

    I don’ think that the above is China’s official position … yet.

    • marknesop says:

      I agree with you; it is almost certainly a mistranslation, perhaps deliberate (as in the “Israel must be wiped off the map” fiasco) for the purpose of making America seem to be a beleaguered victim whose hand is being forced. But they have to play it carefully, because it is at the same time essential to portray America as being the leader of a group of like-minded allies, strong and surrounded by friends rather than isolated by unpopular policies. Hard to do that and simultaneously play victim. I note the article referenced is an editorial, and states what the author thinks the Chinese government should project rather than what that government has said are its intentions.

      Whatever the case, it is definitely a precedent-setting assertion of Chinese power, although I imagine the actual statement was more like China will intervene if it perceives that is necessary to prevent war, not that it will forestall America but allow Kim free rein. It is probably allowed to remain out there – in a country which is careful what it allows the world to see – as a quiet warning which can still be taken back, as it was not the government who said it.

      We will see if it brings more ‘fire and fury’ nonsense from Trumpet. Because it should be clear that the USA would quickly run out of both. China is not North Korea, by any metric, including the reality where it holds enormous reserves of US dollars as well as a substantial portion of American debt.

  3. Lyttenburgh says:

    Suddenly – a decent article-confession on the pages of the “Groaning Man”. It is important as an opportunity to “peek” into the mindscape of the vast majority of those who, unlike the author, remain unrepentant and even blissful supporters of the Exceptional Nation:

    “We were all patriotic, but I can’t even conceive of what else we could have been, because our entire experience was domestic, interior, American. We went to church on Sundays, until church time was usurped by soccer games. I don’t remember a strong sense of civic engagement. Instead I had the feeling that people could take things from you if you didn’t stay vigilant. Our goals remained local: homecoming queen, state champs, a scholarship to Trenton State, barbecues in the backyard. The lone Asian kid in our class studied hard and went to Berkeley; the Indian went to Yale. Black people never came to Wall. The world was white, Christian; the world was us.

    We did not study world maps, because international geography, as a subject, had been phased out of many state curriculums long before. There was no sense of the US being one country on a planet of many countries. Even the Soviet Union seemed something more like the Death Star – flying overhead, ready to laser us to smithereens – than a country with people in it.”


    We were free – at the very least we were that. Everyone else was a chump, because they didn’t even have that obvious thing. Whatever it meant, it was the thing that we had, and no one else did. It was our God-given gift, our superpower.


    When my best friend from Wall revealed one night that she hadn’t heard of John McEnroe or Jerry Garcia, some boys on the dormitory hall called us ignorant, and white trash, and chastised us for not reading magazines. We were hurt, and surprised; white trash was something we said about other people at the Jersey Shore.


    I was a child of the 90s, the decade when, according to America’s foremost intellectuals, “history” had ended, the US was triumphant, the cold war won by a landslide. The historian David Schmitz has written that, by that time, the idea that America won because of “its values and steadfast adherence to the promotion of liberalism and democracy” was dominating “op-ed pages, popular magazines and the bestseller lists”. These ideas were the ambient noise, the elevator music of my most formative years.


    In Turkey and elsewhere, in fact, I would feel an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional discomfort, while trying to grasp a reality of which I had no historical or cultural understanding. I would go, as a journalist, to write a story about Turkey or Greece or Egypt or Afghanistan, and inevitably someone would tell me some part of our shared history – theirs with America – of which I knew nothing. If I didn’t know this history, then what kind of story did I plan to tell?

    My learning process abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about America’s role in the world; and I was also slowly understanding my own psychology, temperament and prejudices. No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism, I still perceived Turkey’s and Greece’s economic advances as progress, a kind of maturation. No matter how deeply I understood the US’s manipulation of Egypt for its own foreign-policy aims, I had never considered – and could not grasp – how American policies really affected the lives of individual Egyptians, beyond engendering resentment and anti-Americanism. No matter how much I believed that no American was well-equipped for nation-building, I thought I could see good intentions on the part of the Americans in Afghanistan. I would never have admitted it, or thought to say it, but looking back, I know that deep in my consciousness I thought that America was at the end of some evolutionary spectrum of civilisation, and everyone else was trying to catch up.

    American exceptionalism did not only define the US as a special nation among lesser nations; it also demanded that all Americans believe they, too, were somehow superior to others. How could I, as an American, understand a foreign people, when unconsciously I did not extend the most basic faith to other people that I extended to myself? This was a limitation that was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. This was a kind of nationalism so insidious that I had not known to call it nationalism; this was a self-delusion so complete that I could not see where it began and ended, could not root it out, could not destroy it.


    The words “take that for granted” gave me pause. Having lived in Turkey for more than a year, witnessing how nationalistic propaganda had inspired people’s views of the world and of themselves, I wondered from where the belief in our objectivity and rigour in journalism came. Why would Americans be objective and everyone else subjective?..

    …American exceptionalism had declared my country unique in the world, the one truly free and modern country, and instead of ever considering that that exceptionalism was no different from any other country’s nationalistic propaganda, I had internalised this belief. Wasn’t that indeed what successful propaganda was supposed to do? I had not questioned the institution of American journalism outside of the standards it set for itself – which, after all, was the only way I would discern its flaws and prejudices; instead, I accepted those standards as the best standards any country could possibly have.

    By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America’s misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.


    “It is different in the United States,” I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. “We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion.”

    “Wow,” a friend once replied. “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?

    It was a quiet kind of fascism that would mean I would always see Turkey as beneath the country I came from, and also that would mean I believed my uniquely benevolent country to have uniquely benevolent intentions towards the peoples of the world.”

    • Jen says:

      Much of what Suzy Hansen says about Americans could apply to Australians as well. We may not have pummelled into our brains from birth that we are the greatest or that we are free-thinking, but a narrative about Australians as always being on the side of moral right and decency when abroad in the world (as soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq, let’s say) is ever present, in what our news media chooses or is forced to ignore as much as what it reports. Our history as a former British colony with British political and cultural institutions also blinds us to how other people, particularly Aboriginal people and other people brought to Australia as forced labour, might perceive us.

    • marknesop says:

      Wow. That’s a great catch, and it is uniquely valuable to hear it from an American.

    • Cortes says:

      Actually, the paradise of post Bolivarian Brazil has had an airing in the Grauniad, also:

  4. davidt says:

    I think that there is also a fairly open cynicism, both in the community and government, about our intervention in Afghanistan and the Middle East. I think it is quite generally recognized that we indulge in such military interventions solely to keep the US on side. I remember old C.P. Fitzgerald saying that when Australians look at the globe they see Asia above them, and thus imagine the Asian hordes dripping down on them by gravity. Although, due to travel and migration, the country has moved on that observation still remains a useful metaphor. Today, China gets a relatively benign press as our economic well-being is tied so much to theirs. (On the other hand, by the universal consensus of the media, it is doubtful that there is a single Australian with the moral turpitude of Putin.)

    • davidt says:

      Sorry, this was meant to be a comment on Jen’s comment.

      • Jen says:

        On the other hand though, so much of what Australians learn and think they know about other countries comes from or is filtered by the BBC and mainstream American news sources like the New York Times. The irony is that if you follow so-called “quality” news media in Australia, you may actually be more exposed to lies and propaganda about countries like Syria, Russia and China among others than if you stick to the commercial news channels which, after the litanies of traffic accident and crime reports, football results, weather updates and interest stories from the US, don’t have much time left over for the brainwashing.

        From what I have read about Vladimir Putin at this blog and on other websites, he appears more moral than most other political leaders. I certainly do not think recent British Prime Ministers like Theresa May and David Cameron (whose family was mentioned in the Panama Papers) before her can compare to Putin. I am not saying that Putin is an angel or that he is on the side of angels but his actions as President in various situations (in Syria and Ukraine for example) seem to me to reflect sound if calculated judgement and to have results that at least earn Russia respect, even if such results have yet to work out fully and leave long-lasting effects.

        • davidt says:

          I essentially agree with what you say. My only point is that I don’t think that many people think that there is much idealism in Australia’s foreign policy.
          Putin is a phenomenon- Russia seems to have got lucky for once. I suppose he is not an angel for otherwise Lyttenburgh wouldn’t be on his electorate.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            ” I suppose he is not an angel for otherwise Lyttenburgh wouldn’t be on his electorate.”

            Ooooooooo! Cryptic! 🙂 Are you saying that I will vote only for “bad boys”?

            For the record – if Putin decides to run for the president, I will vote for him. For the first time in my life.

            • davidt says:

              It was just my little joke. It was prompted by an incident with an earlier PM of Australia. At a public meeting a heckler called out: “Menzies, I wouldn’t vote for you if you were the Archangel Gabriel .” Menzies responded: “If I were the Archangel Gabriel, you wouldn’t be in my electorate.” (Of course, I meant “in”.)

              • marknesop says:

                Quite a bit like the alleged exchange which was said to have taken place between the longtime Premier of Newfoundland Joseph ‘Joey’ Smallwood and an unidentified heckler, on the occasion of the former’s stepping down. Smallwood ran Newfoundland ‘virtually unchallenged’ for 23 years, and so enduring is his legacy that all male Smallwoods in the Maritime Provinces are automatically nicknamed ‘Joey’ no matter what their real name is. I served with one such for all my East Coast career and knew him for long after that, but it was not until after his retirement that I learned his name was really Chris. With their rough dialect and labour-dominated economy, Newfoundlanders are regularly the butt of jokes for the rest of Canada, but they are truly among the finest people Canada can offer. They are also fond of plain speaking.

                Anyway, winding up his emotional speech, Smallwood is said to have posited, “My friends, I love Newfoundland. If Newfoundland were a woman, I would marry her!”

                Whereupon a male voice from the back is said to have retorted clearly, “An’ only right that ye should – ye bin screwin’ her more’n twenty year”.

  5. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    The Raqqa battle goes on:

    Not a bad result, all told – both the Derkas and America’s proxies get chewed up in urban fighting while the SAA enjoys some (relatively) easy advancing over open country.

    • marknesop says:

      The closing paragraph is the most sensible part of the entire article:

      This is where the United States, since as early as 2001, has consistently failed to recognize the error of its approach in the Middle East whereby it always turns – directly or indirectly – one given demographic (be it ethnic or sectarian) against the all other demographics within a country it chooses to intervene.

      It is apparent throughout that English is a second language for the writer, and we must make some allowances for that. And certainly the Washingtonian template of identifying – or manufacturing – an opposition and then taking its side goes much further back than 2001. But Washington must wince now every time a US warplane drops a bomb on Raqqa, because Raqqa was going to be the wedge, the ‘rebel capital’ of a partitioned state. Assad was going to be forced to accept a partitioned Syria which might contain more than one statelet, and in which Assad controlled only Damascus. Any time Washington wanted a flare-up which would make Syria forever uncontrollable, all the elements would be in place.

      That wasn’t even the preferred option, which was that Assad would simply be rolled over and a handpicked ‘rebel government’ put in place by the State Department. Following that disappointment, Aleppo was going to be the ‘rebel capital’. In Raqqa, Uncle Sam is pretty much down to his ride hand. The USA is just letting the game play out and hoping for a lucky break.

  6. Patient Observer says:

    Calling Niku – I have wondered about how children would fare in Ayn Rand’s reality. Weak, helpless and easily exploited for “happiness” whatever that may mean to twisted fucks. eh? How would children be raised when pursuit of personal happiness/satisfaction is all that matters? Here are reviews of movies intended for children by Ayn:

    “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

    An industrious young woman neglects to charge for her housekeeping services and is rightly exploited for her naïveté. She dies without ever having sought her own happiness as the highest moral aim. I did not finish watching this movie, finding it impossible to sympathize with the main character. —No stars.


    The biggest and the strongest are the fittest to rule. This is the way things have always been. —Four stars.

    “Old Yeller”

    A farm animal ceases to be useful and is disposed of humanely. A valuable lesson for children. —Four stars.

    “Lady and the Tramp”

    A ridiculous movie. What could a restaurant owner possibly have to gain by giving away a perfectly good meal to dogs, when he could sell it at a reasonable price to human beings? A dog cannot pay for spaghetti, and payment is the only honest way to express appreciation for value. —One star.

    Raise children for personal sexual pleasure? For food? To exploit for wealth? To sell to slavers? Seems all reasonable if not demanded, no?

    I would appreciate your thoughts.

    • niku says:

      You know, the first necessity for understanding anyone is sympathy with his/her thought (or him/her). If you wished to, could you not think of more charitable explanations for the above? (And if you aren’t able to do so, I will do so.)

      She does use too stark terms, and often in inappropriate places. And that is for the sake of expressing the idea in a clear form. The ideas opposing them have been expressed in a stark form (e.g., “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” — does this make concessions for the case where the drunkard is “un-able” because, you know, he likes his drink?). The opposing ideas need to be expressed in a stark form too.

      • Patient Observer says:

        A little evasive but I do agree that empathy is needed for understanding. You seem apologetic for her asinine comments. At what point do we conclude that she is, indeed, an ass?

        Anyway, what rules do Randites follow in raising children? How do they contribute to personal pleasure, wealth and power? Just asking and spare me the evasiveness and riddles.

        • niku says:

          I don’t mean to be an ass, and I would answer your question, but lets inject some Randism into the business.

          It would take me a lot of time to explain. I note that you withdrew from a conversation earlier saying that you have no time to explain.

          Do you believe I gain something by showing you that Rand is not an ass? (i.e., that I am an evangelic?) If you do, you are mistaken.
          Are you paying me for it? If you didn’t note, you aren’t.

          So, please be more polite.

        • niku says:

          Just asking and spare me the evasiveness and riddles.

          Really, this is very interesting, as Lyttenburgh said it too. More “evasiveness and riddles”: Do you not want to think? I would have thought that allowing others time to think and form their own opinions is more polite and more useful, than writing up my own opinions and going home. The former even uses up a lot more time (my time). If you didn’t notice, earlier, I asked you to define ‘bookish’, but because I was exhausted with the discussion then, I defined it myself and “went home”.

          You seem apologetic for her asinine comments.

          I am not. I said that while her comments are stark, and she often uses them in inappropriate places, they are required. (If you thought I was apologetic when I said ‘inappropriate’, you are still mistaken. By saying that “she often uses them in inappropriate places”, I was referring to what may be called “ignoring good manners”. You see, she is doing others a favour by presenting them a new point of view; others should be grateful to her, whether she follows appropriate social conventions or no.)

          Anyway, what rules do Randites follow in raising children? How do they contribute to personal pleasure, wealth and power?

          I think I will just answer this question, and then “go home” (as far as this discussion is concerned).

          I don’t know what Rand thought of it, but to me, children seem to be perpetuation of one’s own life. This is not in the sense of producing a “copy” similar to the parents, but producing a new human who would learn to think for himself, and (hopefully) create a place for himself.

          Personal pleasure: It is pleasing to see children growing up, in a form one approves of. (Again, because it may not be obvious: “the form one approves of” is a strong, lively, and what may be called a noble form; opinions come later.)

          Wealth: More “evasiveness and riddles”: Is wealth only money? How is that for a non-materialistic philosophy! (“e. and r.” closed; I have answered my question.)

          Power: The question only makes sense if you define ‘power’ as ‘ability to coerce others to do your petty deeds’. If ‘power’ is defined as ‘an ability to shape the world around you’, children may be making you more powerful in many ways. (For one, by making you “immortal”, they may be making sure that you are always around — culturally, if not genetically.)

          So, to what rules do ‘Randites’ follow or wish to follow (not that I think of myself as a ‘Randite’) in raising children: well just make sure that they are healthy, well-developed (well-developing) children, who are ready to think for themselves, but also learn appropriate respect for the work done by others.

          • Jen says:

            “… Personal pleasure: It is pleasing to see children growing up, in a form one approves of. (Again, because it may not be obvious: “the form one approves of” is a strong, lively, and what may be called a noble form; opinions come later.) …”

            A Randite may not necessarily wish to see his/her children grow up to become potential competitors especially if the children are vital, lively and opinionated. Would it not be in the Randite’s interest to bring up offspring to defer always to parental authority, even as adults, and not to think for themselves if their thoughts result in behaviour that threatens the parents’ power and ability to shape their environment? Children who think for themselves may come to less than favourable opinions of their parents, perhaps believe that because of their Randite beliefs the parents pose a threat to the children’s well-being, to the extent that the children might challenge the parents and prevent them from doing and living as Randites. For example, the children might turn the parents over to police if they suspect them of breaking the law.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Yes, Randism is thick with such inconsistencies making a Randian society a living hell (if society could ever develop in that direction) quickly followed by collapse.

              This philosophy seems to appeal to those who have had sheltered and isolated lives, who are inwardly focused and otherwise feel powerless. That quote from Rogers comes to mind.

              • rkka says:

                I think Rand’s economic ideas are at the center of what is happening in the Baltic States:

                Low taxation overall, but especially light taxation on property and capital.
                Low wages, and no labor movement to speak of.
                What taxes there are fall mostly on wages and consumption.
                A wonderful place to have a business! Government bends over backwards to foster and facilitate businesses! A veritable Galts-Gulch-on-the-Baltic!

                Except… they’re bleeding young people who find that they cannot start a family there, so they move abroad, nearly all never to return. For what do young people starting out and forming young families do? They earn wages, and they consume, both activities heavily taxed, and they just can’t make the numbers work.

                As a result of this bleeding, the Baltics as a whole have suffered a 25% population decline since Soviet Genocide ended there, and seem locked in on a 50% decline by 2050. In 2016, deaths there exceeded births by 1.3 to 1. But in Rand’s terms, this is nothing more than a dispensation of economic Providence and it would be impius to question it.

                So it appears that governments that take Rand’s many paens to businessmen seriously sign a slow death sentence for their society.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Interesting and telling. thanks.

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s extremely perceptive. I don’t know why governments pay fortunes to think-tanks for analysis when they could get it for free.

                • yalensis says:

                  Who is John Galt?
                  (ha ha, just kidding…)

                • rkka says:

                  “I don’t know why governments pay fortunes to think-tanks for analysis when they could get it for free.”

                  What Western government will pay a cent to know that the peoples on the Frontier of Freedom (TM) are being wiped from the face of the earth by Freedom? Any think tank that so informed them would rapidly become an ex-think tank.

                • shargash says:

                  “I don’t know why governments pay fortunes to think-tanks for analysis”

                  They don’t pay for the analysis. They give the analysis to the think tanks and then pay to have it propagated.

            • yalensis says:

              Well, we have an actual example: Ron Paul (a Randite) begat and raised his son, Rand Paul.
              How did Rand turn out?
              Well, Ron seems like the better man, overall, his son turned out to be kind of a dud.
              But at least Ron didn’t sell him to slavers.

              • Patient Observer says:

                Many of those who may unknowingly implement the Randian philosophy in its full glory inhabit jails and penitentiaries. Society is just not ready for those whose only goal is the maximization of pleasure and power over others. Those not in jail become the liars and deceivers who inhabit Washington and Hollywood.

                Wait, just thought of a solution – drugs! Randites may choose to be on a continuous drip-feed of opium, hallucinogens and cocaine. They can fantasize about power over others as well as limitless wealth and feel intense personal pleasure. Go for it.

                • yalensis says:

                  Here is an apropos quote from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
                  It’s one of the many political rants of her major character, Auguste St. Clare, a genteel slave-owner from New Orleans, and also the father of Little Eva:

                  “Alfred [Auguste’s twin brother] who is as determined a despot as ever walked, does not pretend to this kind of defence;–no, he stands, high and haughty, on that good
                  old respectable ground, _the right of the strongest_; and he says,
                  and I think quite sensibly, that the American planter is `only
                  doing, in another form, what the English aristocracy and capitalists
                  are doing by the lower classes;’ that is, I take it, _appropriating_
                  them, body and bone, soul and spirit, to their use and convenience.
                  He defends both,–and I think, at least, _consistently_. He says
                  that there can be no high civilization without enslavement of the
                  masses, either nominal or real. There must, he says, be a lower
                  class, given up to physical toil and confined to an animal nature;
                  and a higher one thereby acquires leisure and wealth for a more
                  expanded intelligence and improvement, and becomes the directing
                  soul of the lower. So he reasons, because, as I said, he is born
                  an aristocrat;–so I don’t believe, because I was born a democrat.”

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Yalensis – that is a powerful quote.

                • yalensis says:

                  It’s a powerful book.
                  Stowe has many other great quotes just like that. She uses her characters to expound her ideas in highly effective form.
                  You should read what she says about the difference between Southern and Northern racism, it’s so spot on the mark!

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              I think you are not going far enough, Jen. Randites with children brought up on Randite “values” would dump their parents either into a retirement home (which would be, naturally, a private paid institution) or sell on organs.

              “Randite family values” mean social cannibalism, and a brave return to much more primitive state of human organization. Or LARPing of the “Logan’s Run”.

              • yalensis says:

                Except, the organs of the elderly are not worth anything on the market.
                Cannibals want only organs of the young and healthy.
                Hence, Randite children would insist their parents (once past working age) step into the “incinerator” as per Logan’s Run. The very most that the elderly could contribute at that point is to have their body fat supply an ounce of fuel for the Randite elite.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Actually, it would be true to Randian form for children to be breed as sources of organs; perhaps kept in a stupor or with a lobotomized brain until the organ(s) are needed. The relatively close genetic match will be a big plus.

              • Cortes says:

                In reality, during the heaven-on-earth of the UK under Thatcher, dumping of Aged Ps ™ with dementia, stripped of all identification, was not uncommon in the “enlightened” zones of SE England and London. Poor, disoriented, babbling creatures were a regular sight at the entrances to NHS facilities.

                • yalensis says:

                  In the American medical establishment, these types of people are referred to as “GOMERS” – as in “Get Out (of) My Emergency Room”.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Bookish is perhaps the kindest description of your response.

            You ended up simply evading the question about Randites and children. A reasonable extrapolation of Randism is that children, whether your own or others, are to be exploited for personal pleasure and wealth. After exploitation of said children is no longer profitable (e.g. no longer able to provide sexual pleasure, no longer of commercial value, no longer suitable as personal servants), they are to be discarded.

            Another “philosophy” collapses into a stinking pile of crap.

            I ,too, am done with this conversation.

          • marknesop says:

            I personally think much of the acrimony directed toward Rand and Objectivism is a reaction to the behavior of its devotees, who are very often influential politicians and who may have put their own spin on it. That’s not meant to justify her perceived coldness and asceticism, but in the end ideas are just ideas.

            • Jen says:

              Former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan had been a devoted follower of Ayn Rand since the early 1960s and applied her ideas in his agency’s supervision (or not) of US financial markets for nearly 20 years until the GFC in 2008 put paid to the long-term effects of deregulation and allowing banks, insurance companies and other major financial institutions to “regulate” themselves as they wished. In turn, that deregulation has surely had pernicious effects on the US economy generally, in allowing the financial economy to dominate the economy that is concerned with producing goods and services in response to customer needs (what used to be called the “real economy”) and pushing the US into a perverted economy in which the only things that sell are real estate, loans and war.


              Ideas may be ideas but they can have serious consequences.

              • marknesop says:

                Well, I hope we can agree there that it was not the ideas themselves which put America on the path to institutionalized self-interest, but greedy and unprincipled bureaucrats and their servants. Ironically, those more possessed of the altruism Patient Observer mentioned could have constructed successful fiscal policies from America’s circumstances which would have been broadly beneficial to society without necessarily being socialist. They would likely have been quite a bit like investing in bonds or some other slow-but-sure vehicle rather than a risky grab-the-cash-and-run venture, but it is very possible the USA could still be at the top of the world’s financial tree instead of riddled with debt to its very underpinnings. I love the title, “Alan Shrugged”; that’s so appropriate, because he was one of the most opaque fiscal kingpins the world has ever seen. He continued to maintain everything was under control and going perfectly according to plan until it was all completely out of control.

                Businesss, financial institutions, and investors throughout the economy rely upon derivatives to protect themselves from market volatility triggered by unexpected economic events. This ability to manage risks makes the economy more resilient and its importance cannot be underestimated. In our judgment, the ability of private counterparty surveillance to effectively regulate these markets can be undermined by inappropriate extensions of government regulations.

                They should have been suspicious upon noticing he could not even write in what is presumably his only language. When he writes, “This ability to manage risks makes the economy more resilient and its importance cannot be underestimated”, he is saying the importance of this ability to manage risks is so tiny and inconsequential that it would not be possible to award it a value which is small enough – likely the polar opposite of what he intended, which was to say its importance is massive and cannot be overestimated.

        • marknesop says:

          I would not say that she was an ass, and the lavish praise for her ideals by a certain segment of the western leadership (conservatives, mostly) could not have had much of an effect on her ego since the most public of it took place after her death. It’s hard to boil her philosophy down to a few simple sentences, although it was itself quite simple and direct – if I had to do so, I would say that she loathed sentimentality and believed it had no place in decision-making. You can easily see why that approach would appeal to politicians.

          • Patient Observer says:

            She loathed empathy – gets in the way of deception for gain and exploitation. Everything else she said or her adherents maintain is superfluous to that..

          • Jen says:

            Ayn Rand actually started becoming quite popular in the late 1950s among college students who had read some of her books and who formed the so-called Objectivist movement (after her philosophy, known as Objectivism). The group became known as the Collective (I kid you not) and included Alan Greenspan the future chair of the US Federal Reserve, Canadian-American psychotherapist Nathanael Branden (who became Rand’s lover for a while, even though he was already married to another Collective member) and others who seem to have hero-worshipped her. Some online articles I’ve seen (such as the one below at all but flatly state out that the Collective operated as a cult.

          • rkka says:

            She did get to visit President Ronnie Raygun in the Oval Office.

            But then, so did the Afghan terrorist groups the US has been fighting since 2001…

      • Jen says:

        From, a quotation by Ayn Rand:

        “If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.”

        This from a woman who spent the last several years of her life depending on Medicare and social security so that the escalating medical bills she was incurring for her lung cancer treatment didn’t destroy her and her husband financially. And surely Rand could appreciate that the high medical bills were, among other things, a product of the kind of self-interested medical system or medical insurance system that produced an elite group of physicians, physicians’ groups, hospitals and insurance companies preying on the vulnerable?

        I’m not sure that I have to empathise that much with what Ayn Rand says to understand some of her “philosophy”.

        • niku says:

          Jen, it would be nice you’d distinguish between the ideas and the man. Be grateful for the ideas, but let the man himself rest in peace.

          If one wish to dig into the matter, one could find out other details and justifications. (E.g., she probably paid into the mandatory medical insurance, whether she wanted to not. So, why should she not get its benefits.) These other details may bolster or weaken the case. But all this would be useless — her ideas would not be weakened because she failed to live up to them.

          Kipling’s The Appeal:

          It I have given you delight
          By aught that I have done,
          Let me lie quiet in that night
          Which shall be yours anon:

          And for the little, little, span
          The dead are born in mind,
          Seek not to question other than
          The books I leave behind.

          • yalensis says:

            So, “failing to live up” to her own ideas, because she chose longer life over a quicker death?

          • Patient Observer says:

            her ideas would not be weakened because she failed to live up to them. A philosophy in which its author and chief advocate can not follow seems deeply flawed.

            People who may have achieved a degree of adherence includes serial killers and rapists who appear to place personal pleasure and power over others as the only purpose of life. Their only limitation is fear of the police and the criminal justice system which has no place in a Randian society.

            • Jen says:

              Mark Ames, formerly of The eXile, wrote an article on Ayn Rand’s own gushing admiration for – wait for it – a 1920s murderer called William Hickman (who kidnapped and dismembered a 12-year-old girl) on whom she based main character John Galt while writing “Atlas Shrugged”.

              PO, you spoke truer than you knew.

              • Patient Observer says:

                What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: “Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should,” she wrote, gushing that Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel ‘other people.’”

                This echoes almost word for word Rand’s later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: “He was born without the ability to consider others.”

                Yes, Randism is a cult that attracts sociopathicly inclined individuals seeking a cover or at least justification for their behaviors. To be fair, some are likely attracted by its simple message and its promise of transforming its adherents into “superheros” but quickly move on once the full implications become clear.

                Thanks for the link and the analysis.

              • Cortes says:

                And Hickman’s crazy crime is not that unusual, regrettably. Very similar to the killing of “sweet Fanny Adams” in Kent by Frederick Baker, whose diary entry for 24 August read:
                “Killed a young girl. It was fine and hot.”
                Ayn Rand was a sicko.

          • Jen says:

            It must be said that Rand actually didn’t want to accept Medicare and social security payments and had to be persuaded to do so. If she had been true to her ideology, she would have spurned the argument that she was entitled to Medicare and social security because she had previously been forced to contribute to them through her taxes. A true Randite would not stoop that low but would accept the consequences of her past behaviour; after all, she chose to smoke and that was her decision alone. Even if the consequences included financial ruin as result of huge medical bills to treat her lung cancer. (Better still, why did Rand submit to having treatment for her lung cancer?)

            • yalensis says:

              Well, that just shows how a “perfect Randite” society could never be created on our planet. Randism only works for people who are young, rich, smart, and in perfect health.
              That cuts out the rest of the 98% of the planetary population.

              And even if a Randite is rich, smart, and in perfect health, sooner or later s/he will get old, and age is the true equalizer. I reckon a consistent Randite would not care for their elderly parents; nor would they want their own children to care for them when they got old. Because that would be mooching.

              • et Al says:

                My €0.02 worth. It seems to me Randism is strictly a luxury. That it became popular in the 1950s during America’s golden age and atomic dawn of becoming a massive new super power (yet to take over from the Euros in the Middle East for example), tells me all I need to know. I wouldn’t expend much effort on it at all as it is as superfluous as filling children’s balloons with helium, except for the historical aspect.

                The Roman empire after all, crashed and burned whilst lots of very smart people were pontificating and farting about their greatness. The same looks quite true of the United States. How it manages its decline is critical. It may be gentle (!) or increasingly violent. The latter looks more likely considering a steady chain of deeply unpleasant events that appear to be increasing. It certainly started long ago but is evident in the Going Postal fashion (also a book by Mark Ames), but my hope is that the US doesn’t take us all down with it. I wouldn’t count on common sense, pragmatism. Randism can kiss my ass.

                • marknesop says:

                  I remember reading somewhere (I can remember reading it, but not where) that no Empire has ever lasted longer than 300 years. America’s bicentennial celebration was 1976. By the law of averages…

                  Okay, I quickly looked it up, and it is featured at the end of the introduction in “Legacy of Ashes”, a history of the CIA. It actually says, “No Republic has lasted longer than 300 years”. And the USA is a Constitutional Republic.

                  Mmmm. The more I look into it, the more interesting it becomes. I can’t find any exact attribution for the quote, and the closest I can get to it is “the average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years” (in which case, if accurate, America is already living on borrowed time), from the following quote by Alexander Tyler in 1787.

                  A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

                  The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

                  Pungent, to say the least. If it had a beat, you could sure as hell dance to it.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Tytler, old boy: Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, a notable Scot of the Scottish Enlightenment.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Tytler believed that “a pure democracy is a chimera”, and that “all government is essentially of the nature of a monarchy”.

                  I have long been of the same opinion, but I usually say something like “democracy, or what you think is ‘democracy’ is a load of crap”, which causes the hackles of the liberal righteous to rise and accusations of “fascist” fly.

                  They, my accusers, cannot recognize how much they are being deceived by those who endlessly repeat the phrase “freedom and democracy” in their political claptrap.

                  “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

                • marknesop says:

                  Lots of slagging of democracy going on there, what, what? Thanks for the correction. i don’t think it’s so much that democracy is a bad system as it is the American propensity for calling any system imposed by Americans ‘democracy’.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Further to above comments as regards Kimmy’s looks, I think he is rather pretty:

  8. Northern Star says:

    “Even more important to the Pentagon than the utility of the tech giants in waging war abroad is the use of their communication infrastructure to shape public opinion and block the expression of antiwar and oppositional sentiment. A major player in this sphere is a think tank called Jigsaw, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

    ****Jigsaw is headed by Jared Cohen, a former State Department advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.**
    {Zionist whore tool of two fascist cnt war criminals…one a blk bitch..the other.. white trash)

    Jigsaw’s most prominent project is a web commenting censorship system called “Perspective API,” which it calls “a new tool for web publishers to identify toxic comments that can undermine a civil exchange of ideas.”
    Developed in cooperation with major US newspapers, Jigsaw has already been implemented to flag comments for deletion in the New York Times comments section. This week, WikiLeaks noted that a comment containing the language “The CIA armed Islamists in Syria, killing thousands” would be flagged as 66 percent “toxic” by Perspective API. A comment declaring that “the US government is wonderful” is labeled zero percent “toxic,” while “the US government is corrupt” is flagged as 71 percent “toxic.”

    I can’t help but wonder how well Mattis would have fared up against Field Marshalls or
    SS-Oberst-Gruppenführers commanding forces that were approximately evenly matched with the
    American units under Mattis.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I can’t help but wonder how well Mattis would have fared up against Field Marshalls or
      SS-Oberst-Gruppenführers commanding forces that were approximately evenly matched with the
      American units under Mattis.

      Most likely the same as they did in 1943 when they came across Erwin Rommel at the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia. And contrary to Western belief, Rommel was not a top Wehrmacht field commander.

      • rkka says:

        Agreed. Rommel was a brilliant division commander way overpromoted.

        His much-praised ‘up-front leadership’ was ridiculous. He had battalion commanders for that. He should have been back contemplating how he was going to support his moves over the next month, since he was operating in a theater totally dominated by distance and logistics.

        Its indicative of his generalship that after he captured some Brit transport & fuel at 2nd Tobruk that he thought he could take the Suez Canal. The man was on drugs, and that decision put him at the wrong end of a 1,500 mile 2 lane road fed by 6 ship berths in Tripoli.

        You crafty Brits gave him just enough rope to hang himself 😉

        I hope your exile from your place of exile is brief, and passes quickly.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Thanks! Most of my time here in the UK will be spent waiting: waiting for my invitation to work in Mordor (2 weeks), albeit that I have legally lived and worked and paid tax there for 23 years, then waiting for the arrival of my visa (1 week) if my application for one is successful.

  9. Patient Observer says:

    Doesn’t really matter who did it:

    Seven member of the Syrian White Helmets rescue group were shot dead by unknown gunmen on Saturday, sparking a manhunt and deep suspicions in the rebel-controlled province of Idlib.

    The men were killed in their operations centre in the village of Sarmin at dawn on Saturday. Two of their vehicles as well as several of their distinctive white helmets were stolen, the group said.

    • kirill says:

      May the rest of these poser jihadi vermin be rubbed out soon.

    • Jen says:

      Seems that these seven Syrian White Helmet guys were taken out by fellow takfiris who might belong to a rival jihadi organisation, and who would be planning to masquerade as White Helmet members too if the need arises (such as trying to cross the border between two countries and being accepted into the destination country by border guards and officials).

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha! “Several of their distinctive white helmets were stolen”. Quite apart from a prepackaged excuse for anything the White Helmets may do which jars the public picture carefully built of them – oh, that must have been the group that stole their helmets, trying to attack their credibility – those are only white plastic construction helmets. I could buy a dozen of them within a 10-minute drive from here, and I daresay they are not hard to come by anywhere. Branding is a cult in the west, but it’s starting to get ridiculous.

  10. Warren says:

    Published on 13 Aug 2017
    Why is now the “best time” in China-Russia relations? What’s the meaning of the China-Russia “comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination” and that the two nations are “most trustworthy strategic partners”? What are the economic, diplomatic, military implications? Is there a China-Russia Alliance in formation? Are there consequences for China-US relations? Don’t forget that Russia and China have different strategic interests.

  11. Warren says:

    Published on 13 Aug 2017
    Stunning air show marks 105 years of Russia’s military aviation forces

  12. Patient Observer says:

    Found this relatively balanced story on NK in the Popular Mechanics newsletter:

    North Korea sees the United States as an existential threat.

    It knows that if it is going to be taken seriously, it needs to have a credible military deterrent. Its strategy for years, if not decades, has been to attain that by building long-range missiles that can carry nuclear warheads to targets on the U.S. mainland. It’s not good enough just to claim to have that capability — it must be demonstrated.

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zitung

    Gute Quartalszahlen
    Russlands Wirtschaft wächst und wächst

    Trotz Sanktionen und des Einbruchs des Ölpreises wächst die russische Wirtschaft so stark wie seit Jahren nicht. Nur ein Sektor schwächelt.

    Good quarterly figures
    The Russian economy is growing and growing

    Despite sanctions and the oil price collapse, the Russian economy is growing at a rate that is not as high as it has been for years. Only one sector is weak.

    (or waxes and waxes if thou willst!)

    According to German experts from the German National Bureau of statistics, in the second quarter of 2017 the Russian economy grew by 2.5% as compared with the same quarter of 2016.

    The only weak sector is, surprisingly, agriculture — where production volumes have decreased.

    I should imagine the so called summer of this year has something to do with this: another storm is predicted for Moscow this coming Monday — with hail!

    Such conclusions reached by German statisticians are based on Rosstat data (prepare for accusations of false data!) With the end of 2016, the pace of growth of the Russian GDP has increased following a protracted decline over the past seven quarters (before winter 2016).

    Earlier, the Russian Minister of Economic Development, Maxim Oreshkin, said that the sanctions “did not stop the country’s economy from entering a growth phase” and helped tackle internal economic problems. Low oil prices caused by reduced demand and increased shale production in the United States, also failed to significantly inhibit growth.

    So eat shit, US Congress!!!!

    • marknesop says:

      One swallow does not a summer make, as they’re fond of saying – but it’s a good sign, and even a period of zero growth would still repudiate the ridiculous and pompous sanctions, which were meant to wreck the economy. Congress might want to start acquiring an appetite for shit, as it is going to be eating more of it.

    • cartman says:

      Some growth optimism from the Russian regional data

      Per Bofit: “Industrial output in Russian regions rises, while consumption gradually recovers.” This is important, because regional recovery has been quite spotty and overall economic recovery has been dominated by a handful of regions and bigger urban centres.

      “Industrial output growth continued in the first half of this year in all of Russia’s eight federal districts,” with production up 1.5–2% y/y in the Northwest, Central and Volga Federal Districts, as well as in the Moscow city and region. St. Petersburg regional output rose 3-4% y/y

      Here is why these news matter. As I noted above, the recovery in Russian economy has three phases (coincident with three key areas of potential economic activity): industrial production, consumption and investment. The first stage – the industrial production growth stage – is on-going at a moderate pace. The 0.4-0.6 percent annual growth rate contribution to GDP from industrial production and manufacturing can be sustained without a major boom in investment. The second stage – delayed due to ruble devaluation taking a bite from the household real incomes – is just starting. This can add 0.5-1 percent in annual growth, implying that second stage of recovery can see growth of around 2 percent per annum. The next stage of recovery will involve investment re-start (and this requires first and foremost Central Bank support). Investment re-start can add another 0.2-0.3 percentage points to industrial production and a whole 1 percent or so to GDP growth on its own. Which means that with a shift toward monetary accommodation and some moderate reforms and incentives, Russian economy’s growth potential should be closer to 3.3 percent per annum once the third stage of recovery kicks in and assuming the other two stages continue running at sustainable capacity levels.

      • marknesop says:

        Meanwhile the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) countries are getting their heads together for talks, to which we have sent our descendant of Nazi collaborators, Chrystia Freeland – who remains Canada’s Foreign Minister despite exposure of her family past, and official silence suggests government policy will be that you should just forget about it when she bleats about freedom and democracy and Russian aggression. Editorials I have read on the subject pose the rhetorical question of why we are even attending; Trump’s stated intention is to put the USA on a trade-surplus basis with all its NAFTA partners, where we buy more from the USA than it buys from us, thus supporting its excesses. Canada’s market share in the USA has shrunk steadily since the early 2000’s, although we remain America’s largest energy supplier. If this continues, there will be little or no incentive for Canada to blindly go along with the USA’s policies.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I should imagine the so called summer of this year has something to do with this: another storm is predicted for Moscow this coming Monday — with hail!

      Дождь подмочил цены
      Снижение урожая грозит инфляцией

      Rain dampens prices
      Reduced harvest threatens inflation

      The Central Bank has made a reminder of the possible impact of the bad weather on an price increases. According to the regulator, in the coming months there is a risk of increasing food inflation owing to a decline in crop yields, which is bad for the inflationary expectations of the population. In this regard, the Central Bank has recommended maintaining moderately tight monetary and credit conditions.

  14. marknesop says:

    “This is a great example for all the singers, who want to perform and make money in Ukraine. You all need to respect the law and territorial integrity of our state. Otherwise, such musicians should be banned from entering our territory and forget about the concerts in Ukraine,” Belotserkovets wrote.

    Oooooooooohhh! Now that was an amazingly stupid thing to say. German techno band Scooter performed in Crimea at ZBest festival, and incurred the wrath of the Ukie media for not asking permission of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, ‘despite warnings’. Now Belotserkovets compounds the idiocy by throwing down a marker that anyone who does this will be banned from performing in Ukraine. I think I hear the scratching sound of ‘Ukraine’ being crossed off concert lists. The Ukrainian government continues to posture and prance and make life ever more difficult for its own citizens. I guess pride comes first.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      For the record: “Thank you, The Scooter, for our, Russian children of the rough 90s, happy childhood! :)”

      And to commemorate it:

  15. Warren says:

    Published on 30 Jul 2017

    BAKU – After nearly two decades Putin came to power, many are still trying to figure out the man behind the name. All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin by Mikhail Zygar addresses this question in an unprecedented and compelling manner.

    While most books on Russian politics focus extensively on Putin and merely rehash familiar stories, Zygar focuses on the people surrounding the President. As such, his book gradually dissolves the image of Putin and reveals a gripping narrative of the decision-making procedures in the Kremlin.

    • davidt says:

      Young Mikhail just might have a substantial ego and like a little bit of flattery. He was certainly keen to rubbish Putin when he recently visited Oz, and, needless to say, he was given many opportunities to do so.
      I would be interested to know who and what organisations decide which Russian “scholars” should be invited, or not invited, down under.

      • James lake says:

        This guy has been on the BBC a number of times – I first saw him in 2016 promoting his book
        He is brought on to give anti- Putin views.
        He is the “clean cut” type the media like to use to spread their anti Russian message – and it is coming directly from a Russian – so it must be true!

    • J.T. says:

      No! No spoilers! This has been on the ‘review’ list since its publication.

      As an aside, Zygar isn’t the first to “explain” Putin through his entourage – he’s just one of the few who got their books translated to English.

      • davidt says:

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to be a spoiler. My problem is that Zygar presents himself as a “player”, rather than a “scholar”. On a book program his most insightful remark, apropos nothing as far as I could understand, was “Putin is no Pushkin”.

        • J.T. says:

          ‘ My problem is that Zygar presents himself as a “player”, rather than a “scholar”.’

          Or maybe someone trying to pitch something? Either way, it’s not good.

          ‘On a book program his most insightful remark, apropos nothing as far as I could understand, was “Putin is no Pushkin”.’
          Of course Putin is no Pushkin – unless of course he writes poetry in his spare time, in which case can we see some of it, anonymous sources close to the Kremlin?

  16. Patient Observer says:

    The preliminary investigation points the finger at the US Navy:

    Preliminary findings in the investigation into the collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine cargo ship off the coast of Japan in June suggest the accident was caused by multiple errors by the Fitzgerald’s crew and a failure to take action in the minutes leading to the collision, according to two defense officials.
    “They did nothing until the last second,” one official said. “A slew of things went wrong.” A second official said the crash “will wind up being our (the US Navy’s) fault.”

    • marknesop says:

      In a situation like that, it is almost always the navy’s fault by default, unless the commercial vessel did something totally unexpected like change course at the last minute. Commercial vessels much more than twice the size of naval ships commonly carry a crew of only about a dozen people, and there might only be three on the bridge including the quartermaster, who is steering. On a navy destroyer there will be around 250 crew, with a full radar/sensor watch in the operations room as well as bridge radar. There is a common radio channel for navigation, and while it must be acknowledged there will be language barriers or occasions when the radio doesn’t work, the destroyer can usually contact the ship before they get too close and inquire as to its intentions, and recommend an approach which will allow them to pass well clear of one another. A navy destroyer is capable of hard maneuvering and rapid acceleration, for a ship, and can usually maneuver clear of a clumsy cargo vessel even if it does somehow get close, as it might in restrictive waterways where there is heavy commercial traffic.

      I imagine the navy’s conclusion will include – once again, as such accidents often have before now – that junior officers must never be afraid to call the Captain to the bridge if in doubt about a navigational problem.

      I don’t know why journalists even bother to contact public affairs any more; their releases are carefully parsed to tell you absolutely nothing, while urging you not to speculate, so I guess their recommendation is to forget about it and if they think there’s anything you need to know, they’ll tell you. The job of spokesholes is to protect the organization, no matter what it is, while everyone else in the organization is sternly warned to keep their mouths shut if they are not authorized to comment. So I guess I answered my own question. It’s all about message management, that’s very big these days. If the public had all the information, it might reach unsavoury conclusions.

      The accident should not suggest the USN is a menace – navy ships routinely go about their business year-round with no incidents; I was in the seagoing navy for much of my life and was never involved in a collision, although I did see the immediate aftermath of a bad one between HMCS KOOTENAY and MV NORD POL in the late 80’s.

  17. Lyttenburgh says:

    Meanwhile in Charlottesville:

  18. Drutten says:

    Bridge today:

    • Cortes says:

      Thanks once again.

    • marknesop says:

      It looks busy, and you can really see it coming together. It makes me laugh that the Ukrainian government continues to insist Russia return Crimea to Ukrainian control, as if they actually expect it to happen. The western insistence on continuing the charade is almost as funny – why do they think Russia continues to forge ahead with the bridge; so they can install a Ukrainian checkpoint at the center of the span? It will be a great day for Crimea when the first commercial vehicle rolls across the bridge, and that’s the day Ukraine can really kiss it goodbye forever. Then their silly border games will be only to amuse themselves.

  19. Cortes says:

    A few fascinating replies to the Unz version of the Saker article on supplies of US equipment to Banderastan:

    Fill yer boots!

    • marknesop says:

      Indeed. It is immensely annoying to see things like “The US is giving up on the Minsk Agreement” since the USA was never a party to it, and in fact has sought since the formation of it to discredit and destabilize it. It is typical of the America of the last couple of decades that it simply invites itself in, throws its weight about and writes self-congratulatory history suggesting it was a welcomed liberator.

      As I have suggested before, here and elsewhere, the only effect of openly supplying Ukraine with ‘lethal weapons’ will be a sharp increase in the number of dead Ukrainians. The term ‘escalation dominance’ is a useful one, and indeed Russia has it by virtue of proximity and an open border.

      But more important than any of that is the clear indication that the west is not serious about capturing Ukraine. Its intention is to ruin and despoil it. Perhaps not so much the Europeans as the American neoconservatives, but European leaders are weak and vacillating and bound to preserving the order they know, so they go along with it. If the west was serious about Ukraine as a project, they would be investing in it to build up its industries, weeding out those which are unprofitable and wasteful, supervising and guiding grants to ensure the intended recipients received the funds and were accountable for how they were spent, and buying Ukraine’s products to cushion the impact of its losing the Russian market. Above all and Job One, it would remove the Ukrainian oligarchy or put a barrier between it and its near-total control over Ukrainian GDP. But it does none of these things. It doles out emergency money in dribs and drabs and stands by idly as it is stolen and diverted to the powerful and achieves zero result. There is no indication the west – principally Europe – is going to pick up an increased share of Ukrainian exports. They’re just keeping it on life support and hoping for a lucky break, like Putin suddenly dies or something.

  20. karl1haushofer says:

    Central Asians caught in planning a terrorist attack in Moscow:

    • Cortes says:

      Odd resemblance of the author’s name to that of Mrs Dubose in “To Kill a Mockingbird”; she’s the elderly neighbour of the Finch family who weans herself off morphine in the weeks leading up to her death from cancer. A literary spoof? Or mere coincidence?

      Here’s a cheery song on the subject:

    • yalensis says:

      I wonder if the book includes a chapter where the Kasparov character gets check-mated by a blind-deaf-dumb giant adding machine.

  21. Special_sauce says:

    Ukraine supplies NKorea with missiles!

    • marknesop says:

      Of course Newsweek blames Russia, too – it’s a reflex.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Per Wikipedia the facility that makes the engine in question is under Ukraine government control and was facing bankruptcy after Russia suspended joint projects in 2015:

        In February 2015, following a year of strained relations, Russia announced that it would sever its “joint program with Ukraine to launch Dnepr rockets and [was] no longer interested in buying Ukrainian Zenit boosters, deepening problems for [Ukraine’s] space program and its struggling Yuzhmash factory.”[1]

        The firm imposed a two-month unpaid vacation on its workers in January 2015. With the loss of Russian business the only hope for the company was increased international business which seemed unlikely in the time frame available. Bankruptcy seemed certain as of February 2015.[2] As of October 2015, the company was over 4 months late on payroll. The employees worked only once per week, the last space related product were shipped in early 2014. 2014 revenues (in severely depreciated Ukrainian Hrivnas) are 4 times less than 2011.[3]

        Hmmm, … the only hope for the company was increased international business,,,

        • kirill says:

          Wikipedia is spewing revisionist trash. Russia did not cut off collaboration with Banderite Ukraine. The Banderatards passed embargo laws preventing Ukrainian companies from doing business with Russia in military and other spheres.

          I am trying to Google for links to the Ukr ban on military trade with Russia but all I get is a spew of revisionist tripe like the Wikipedia drivel. I clearly recall the Rada passing a law banning such trade in 2015.

          The last link is the key one. Banderastan cut off its own nose to spite its own face.

          • Patient Observer says:

            I cited this article to counter the claims in Newsweak and PBS that the engines may have been in Russia or in a factory in “pro-Russian territories”. That had to be the case because the Ukraine government said so as the PBS expert concluded.

          • marknesop says:

            But Russia did sever the bulk of its trade links with Ukraine by default when it removed Ukraine from the list of countries it trades with at preferred-nation status, without tariffs or taxes. This was done for solid and substantiated reasons, because it was very apparent Brussels intended to use Ukraine as a stovepipe for European manufactured goods into the Russian market at prices which would make them very competitive with domestic products. Looking back, the Anglosphere might well have known it was going to make a grab for Ukraine when it admitted Russia – finally – to the WTO; that would give it leverage to prevent Russia from cutting off trade ties. But I doubt it has that much strategic vision.

            Whatever the case, Russia dropped Ukraine’s preferred-partner status and put it on the same tariff basis as non-Eurasian-Union states. And Ukrainian goods simply were no longer profitable. Kiev made a big show of cutting off trade ties, but it was kind of like theatrically breaking up with your girlfriend in front of the whole school after she already gave you your class ring back.

            • kirill says:

              Removing favourable tariff terms is not the same thing as a total cut off in trade. Banderastanis were the ones making grand gestures with total cut offs. This killed Antonov and likely every major Ukrainian company dealing with military production and space. Russia did not embargo Antonov and these companies.

              • marknesop says:

                Yes, that’s a fair assessment. But I think it’s important to differentiate between the well-founded Russian action (to prevent Europe from flooding the Russian market with cheap goods made attractive by low cost, which would be achievable thanks to tariff-free importation, pretending to be Ukrainian goods) and Kiev’s poncy grandstanding, which had no basis and was simply a sop to please the nationalists.

        • marknesop says:

          I don’t think there is any real doubt who is responsible. But it has become a Newsweek knee-jerk to include Russia in the headline- for those who only read headlines – so as to create and stoke the impression that Russia is at the bottom of all the evil in the world. So saith the world’s biggest arms dealer by a ridiculously wide margin.

      • Patient Observer says:

        A cruise missile attack may be in order.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      The NYT article was translated into Russian first on Anatoly Shariy’s site. He already filmed a short video about that. The Official Kiev’s reactions are predictable:

      – Bloody Pastor O. Turchinov (he is still – somehow! – the head of the Ukrainian Council of the National Security) addressing his flock, denied all allegations of the “Ukraine’s transfer of technology or rocket engines to the North Korean Regime” (c). Also, he said: “This information is not based on any grounds, provocative by its content, and most likely provoked by Russian secret services to cover their own crimes,”(c). That’s not the first time the Ukrainian official accusing the NYT to be a Kremlin’s stooge.

      – Meanwhile – Julia Timoshenko attacked Poroshenko, claimed that he, in pursuit of quick money, DOOOOOOOMED the entire country to the Western sanctions. Aka – vote for Yulia!

      – In the UkrNet a series of fecal volcanos erupted and the whole thing now resembles a chaotic massacre with PorokhoBots, YulyaBots, NatZionalists, Zradniks etc, etc, accusing each other of being Kremlin’s agents (Operation Shatun 2?).

      – Everyone ignores WHAT is written in that NYT article:

      “[S]ince Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was removed from power in 2014, the state-owned factory, known as Yuzhmash, has fallen on hard times. The Russians canceled upgrades of their nuclear fleet. The factory is underused, awash in unpaid bills and low morale. Experts believe it is the most likely source of the engines that in July powered the two ICBM tests, which were the first to suggest that North Korea has the range, if not necessarily the accuracy or warhead technology, to threaten American cities.

      “It’s likely that these engines came from Ukraine — probably illicitly,” Mr. Elleman said in an interview. “The big question is how many they have and whether the Ukrainians are helping them now. I’m very worried.”

      Bolstering his conclusion, he added, was a finding by United Nations investigators that North Korea tried six years ago to steal missile secrets from the Ukrainian complex. Two North Koreans were caught, and a U.N. report said the information they tried to steal was focused on advanced “missile systems, liquid-propellant engines, spacecraft and missile fuel supply systems.”

      Investigators now believe that, amid the chaos of post-revolutionary Ukraine, Pyongyang tried again.”

      And that’s ignoring a classic third-party-transfer scheme (aka Ukraine supplies engines to the Mongolian space program… who then resold them to Iceland… who resold it to Somalia… who…). The article DOES NOT accuse the Ukraine directly (hey – it’s still NYT, and they know what is handshakable and what is not!).

      The juciest part of the article, that no one is noticing so far?

      “Last month, Yuzhmash denied reports that the factory complex was struggling for survival and selling its technologies abroad, in particular to China. Its website says the company does not, has not and will not participate in “the transfer of potentially dangerous technologies outside Ukraine.”

      American investigators do not believe that denial, though they say there is no evidence that the government of President Petro O. Poroshenko, who recently visited the White House, had any knowledge or control over what was happening inside the complex.


      “I feel for those guys,” said Mr. Elleman, who visited the factory repeatedly a decade ago while working on federal projects to curb weapon threats. “They don’t want to do bad things.”

      Dnipro has been called the world’s fastest-shrinking city. The sprawling factory, southeast of Kiev and once a dynamo of the Cold War, is having a hard time finding customers.”

      • kirill says:

        This story only has value as Banderastani betrayal of their masters in Washington. If Russia supplied NK with the parts, then there is no story since American paranoia does not get to decide the foreign and trade policy of every country on the planet. I would give NK all the tech it needed to tear Uncle Scumbag a new one in case he tries for yet another bloody regime change.

      • Eric says:

        This article to me seems obvious bullshit and exists solely to give some badly needed PR to the Ukrainian Military-Industrial complex and also the US intelligence services ( “sabotaging the NK supply chain on assembling an ICBM” and “hacking into the systems to successfully disrupt an ICBM test-launch”.

        • Eric says:

          AND like clockwork……………………….

          Quite embarrassing that the President’s own official Twitter account is writing this, considering the subject matter.

          • marknesop says:

            When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade! On that note, we have now narrowed down the supplier of the rocket engines to North Korea, and it was almost certainly Russia. How do we know that? Why, because the Ukrainians said they didn’t do it, and it was probably the Russians. The word of the most corrupt country in Europe still goes a long way in the west, like that of a favourite child who can steal right out of your pocket and you just laugh, because he’s so cute.

            But Ukraine denied supplying the engines to North Korea, raising the possibility Russia might have played a middleman role in delivering the powerful engines to Pyongyang, Radio Free Asia reported.

            So according to this article, Russia was not considered as a potential supplier until the Ukrainians said it wasn’t them, at which point the finger of blame pointed at Russia. Please note the lubricious reach-around given to Ukraine on the trustworthiness of their word, courtesy of the US State Department.

            State Secretary spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Ukraine had always complied with its commitments and prevented the shipment of prohibited materials to North Korea.

            “There have been a lot of UN Security Council resolutions, and they obligate all nations, including Ukraine, to prevent transfers of sensitive technology to the DPRK. In the past, I know that Ukraine has prevented the shipments of some sensitive materials to nations that we would be certainly very concerned about. We have a good, solid relationship with Ukraine,” she said.

            Poroshenko showed up in the Panama Papers, which were supposed to finger Putin, and still has not sold any of his assets in Ukraine despite a clear conflict of interest in being a wealthy businessman and President at the same time. The IMF is getting into the impatient-foot-tapping phase over the slow pace of reforms despite Poroshenko’s glad-handing about ‘fighting corruption’ even as he remains the wealthiest President in Europe. But Ukraine only has to open its eyes up real big and look innocent and say, “Wasn’t us, boss”, and that’s as good as Gospel for Vickie Nuland’s staties.

            Meanwhile, Elleman wishes he had never heard of ballistic missiles, and has gone underground; I’m would not be surprised if he has to make a full apology to Ukraine. It has been exposed that his wife is Russian, and going after the family is always a reliable silencer. If you were looking for signs of Romanesque Republican decay, there went one.

    • marknesop says:

      Where’s the blitz of articles about a ‘culture of hate’ in America which nurtures white supremacy, laced with sly insinuations about ‘connections’ between racist leaders and the White House? I know that would happen if the incident took place in a certain other country, perhaps several certain countries who are strategic targets of Washington’s foreign policy.

      This is a terrible incident, but not really symptomatic of broad racism in America, which is fairly tolerant of racial differences in most areas. The incident was quickly turned into yet another referendum on Trump and how insensitive he is. This appears to be the sum total of the Democrats’ playbook; capitalize on every current event to make the Trump White House scramble to ‘splain itself. I’m pretty far from a Trump fan, but he’s not going anywhere willingly and by the time he makes it through a single term, the USA will be so divided it will be close to another civil war.

      • Northern Star says:

        “This is a terrible incident, but not really symptomatic of broad racism in America, which is fairly tolerant of racial differences in most areas. The incident was quickly turned into yet another referendum on Trump and how insensitive he is. ”

        Beg to disagree Mark….
        it’s not his supposed “insensitivity”…it’s his fucking racist bent.
        If it looks like a nazi racist POS….quacks rationalizations and apologies for nazi white
        supremacist vermin…and burlesque chorus line goose steps with vermin like Bannon and and shitstain Stephen Miller..(Who BTW is..believe it or not..jewish)
        Yup…it’s a nazi white racist.

        Trump can either plead amnesia, idiocy and mental defect in his failing to act to proactively suppress these motherfucking Storm Troopers who use their Tiger Tank vehicles to run over hapless people OR he can admit to being in covert collusion with them all along and-if convicted after a fair trial-swing from the same gallows as they will.**

        “After months of deliberate planning and coordination with the police, the Nazi “Unite the Right” rampage in Charlottesville, Virginia reached its deadly apogee Saturday afternoon when a 20-year-old Hitler admirer from Ohio drove his car through a crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing 32-year-old Bernie Sanders supporter Heather Heyer and wounding 14 more people.
        The corporate press has focused on Trump’s failure to verbally condemn the violence of the far right. But the American media’s handwringing over Trump’s statements is not only naive.

        *****It deliberately covers up the extent to which the White House was involved in encouraging and inciting and even planning the Nazi mobilization in Charlottesville. The White House is crawling with pro-fascist operatives. Why would Trump condemn the actions of those whom he and his pal, Steve Bannon, view as a critical political constituency?*****

        This Nazi riot is not an aberrational event in American politics. It is the product of Donald Trump’s strategy to build an extra-constitutional fascist movement outside the framework of the two parties, itself an expression of the putrefaction and collapse of American democracy under the weight of staggering levels of social inequality.
        In the past three weeks, Trump and his advisors—Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka—have escalated the administration’s efforts to whip up support among fascist elements who form the core of his political base.

        • marknesop says:

          If you say so.

          This Nazi riot is not an aberrational event in American politics. It is the product of Donald Trump’s strategy to build an extra-constitutional fascist movement outside the framework of the two parties, itself an expression of the putrefaction and collapse of American democracy under the weight of staggering levels of social inequality.

          Is that you talking, or World Socialist Website? Because I am here to tell you both, it is an aberrational event in American politics. Incidents of Nazi-worshiping white supremacists driving into crowds of protesters are almost unknown in America. But don’t take my word for it – check the actuarial tables for insurers and see where “Being driven over by a Nazi-worshiping white supremacist” falls in terms of risk. And I submit that “Trump’s strategy to build an extra-constitutional fascist movement outside the framework of the two parties” is long on florid rhetoric and short on evidence. Trump is not always going to be the President – almost certainly he will be gonzo in three years – and he still has to live in America. He’s not surrounding himself with Nazis, and WSWS is getting a little carried away with itself.

          I suppose it’s just a coincidence that Heather Heyer was a Bernie Sanders supporter. Or that the reference thought that was relevant. Remember the kids who died at Sandy Hook Elementary when Adam Lanza mowed them down? How did their parents vote in the preceding election? Anyone know? Was it relevant? Why not? What did Obama do, prior to the disaster, to prevent the easy acquisition of semi-automatic firearms in America? Let me help you – fuck all. What effect did his denunciations of gun violence have on the ease of acquiring a gun since then. Hey, I live to serve – fuck all. Could it be that Obama’s denunciations of gun violence were not sincere, and that he was secretly building a coterie of gun nuts in the White House? Comes to that, why did Hillary Clinton not make purging America of racism a centerpiece of her campaign? That she did not is a matter of public record, so she must not care about it – is perhaps even now stomping up and down with a swastika armband.

          Of course I am exaggerating, and once again – so nobody gets the wrong idea – I am not a Trump supporter. I personally think he is a useless boob. But it seems pretty clear to me that the pile-on over how weak his statement was and that he is not denouncing racism stingingly enough is all much of a muchness with the constant pressure on him to apologize for this and say he’s sorry for that.

          I just heard him, not ten minutes ago, on the radio, saying there were two groups opposing one another, and that each offered violence to the other. Is that a fact, or is it not? Was the group of which Heather Heyer was a part entirely peaceful, or were some of them armed with clubs and weapons of convenience?

          • Northern Star says:

            “Is that you talking, or World Socialist Website?”

            I myself and my WSWS comrades speak with one voice!!!!


        • yalensis says:

          Yo, have to agree with Northern Star on this one.
          The White Supremacists and Klan types never really went away, they went underground (temporarily). Whenever a Republican enters the White House, they become more emboldened, as they just feel more comfortable under a Republican Adminstration.
          Trump may be an unknowing idiot, but it’s a fact the White Supremacists feel like he is their champion. How much of this is just their delusion, is uncertain.

          But white racism in America never really goes away. It ebbs, and then returns. It’s like a C. diff infection. (google that, whoever needs to!)

          • yalensis says:

            P.S. – as to the “Bernie Sanders supporter” issue — it’s my understanding that this wasn’t just a random thing like Sandy Hook. There was an explicit confrontation here between racist and anti-racist forces, and one of the warring sides chose to drive an automobile through the other side.

            • marknesop says:

              And that’s evidence of the White House’s collaboration with white supremacist groups, and Trump’s strategy to build a fascist coalition outside the two established parties?

              I absolutely agree the latest event was not random. It’s debatable how random the Sandy Hook incident was as well – certainly, Lanza planned it beforehand. But what do we know about the organizer of the Charlottesville incident? Not really very much.

              • yalensis says:

                That’s interesting about the shady character Kessler. This sentence jumped out at me: There are direct connections between one of the neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville and a Soros-supported Ukrainian nationalist political party.

                That Soros helped to fund Ukrainian Nazis in Ukraine is no secret. Is he now plying his trademark trouble-making inside the U.S. itself?

                As for Trump, I don’t personally believe he is trying to build any political movement, fascist or otherwise. He went into the White House on a lark.
                My only point is that American fascists and racists usually feel more “comfortable” under a Republican administration. That has been the case since the Nixon era. That was when the great switch occurred, and the South started voting Republican, as part of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”.
                It’s all just about the big politics, both blacks and whites are pawns in this Great Game, namely, the internal wars among the various plutocrats, and the uneasy peace that has reigned in the U.S. ever since the Civil War. But this new development feels slightly different, and one has to wonder what Soros is up to, really?
                My guess is, that he is working for the Hillary camp and putting some unsavory plays into the field, in order to discredit Trump and lead to the latter’s impeachment.

                Which is not that difficult to do, actually, since Trump, God bless him, actually does hang out with some odious ALT-Righties.

                • marknesop says:

                  That may well be true – about the unsavory nature of some of Trump’s pals – but very often in the parlance of the modern press, ‘direct connections’ often amount to no more than you were seen talking to that person at a fund-raiser or some other public event, the substance of the conversation being completely unknown. The current hot-button issue is whether or not you have any ‘direct connections’ with Russia, and as we have seen, a meeting with a Russian lawyer is as good as putting your feet up on the coffee table with Putin himself.

                  The same American fascists – which sometimes is thought to mean just American Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, but if you actually look at the definition of fascism you will; see it has a great deal more in common with avowed Republican principles in general than with the same of Democrats – were just as comfortable under the reign of George W. Bush. Few apparently remember that Bush claimed to have seen into Vladimir Putin’s soul, and perceived there a man with whom America could do business. You would think that there was a perfect opportunity for the Sorosian Democrats to pin Bush to the mat as ‘Putin’s man’, and in bed with the Russians. But they never did. This is just a device the Democrats have chosen to get rid of Trump, and they know very well that ‘the Russians’ did not ‘tamper with the American election’. Had they done so, as numerous people have pointed out, it is hard to imagine they were so devilishly clever as to release damaging information against Clinton while still allowing her to win the popular vote, and defeating her with the more-or-less-impenetrable Electoral College.

                  There is not a dime’s worth of difference, by the way, between American Republicans and Canadian Conservatives, both of whom admire firm rule by a centralized government which keeps the trains running on time, just like the Nazis did, and grants short shrift to the bleating of social-safety-net liberals.

                  Several sources, including this one, point out that the catalyzing 9-11 disaster, which so changed the American legislative landscape where civil liberties and the right to privacy are concerned, did not result from inadequate laws but from a failure on the part of intelligence services to note, categorize, process and act upon obvious clues that a major terrorist effort against the nation was underway. The legislative reaction – the PATRIOT Act – actually placed a greater burden on the intelligence services, by bogging them down with myriad domestic surveillance responsibilities, while severely curtailing civil liberties and privacy rights and simultaneously granting enormous powers to the executive.

                  Very few dared at the time to suggest it was as fascist as it could be. Nobody that I recall said it was dictatorial, like Russia. No, these new measures were ‘tools we needed to have to protect us from terrorists’, made easier to swallow with the usual old bromide, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about”. Therefore, if you had anything you wanted kept private, you had something to hide.

  22. Bill says:

    A good one on pre-Soviet Russia from an established academic:

  23. Northern Star says:

    Send in the Clowns..Oh..wait..He’s already here….splainin’ and sayin’ he’s sorry…

  24. Northern Star says:

    “The corporate press has focused on Trump’s failure to verbally condemn the violence of the far right. But the American media’s handwringing over Trump’s statements is not only naive. It deliberately covers up the extent to which the White House was involved in encouraging and inciting and even planning the Nazi mobilization in Charlottesville. The White House is crawling with pro-fascist operatives. Why would Trump condemn the actions of those whom he and his pal, Steve Bannon, view as a critical political constituency?”


    The cocksucking nazi loving faggot in the WH masquerading as POTUS needs to be exposed….

    “In the past three weeks, Trump and his advisors—Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka—have escalated the administration’s efforts to whip up support among fascist elements who form the core of his political base.”

    Gorka..another piece of dog shit….chasing its shit stained tail!!!

    Bannon..Miller ??
    These guys are well known racist vermin.

      • Northern Star says:

        “The events in Charlottesville and Trump’s drive to develop an extra-constitutional fascist movement are a warning to the working class in the US and internationally. The program of the fascists in the White House and on the streets of Charlottesville is for genocidal war abroad and the mass internment and murder of immigrants, LGBT people, Jewish people and socialists at home.
        Fascism is the excrescence of the decaying social order of American and world capitalism, which, in the figure of Donald Trump, has vomited up a fitting expression. It will not be stopped through moralistic appeals to the political establishment, but only through the mobilization of the working class united across racial, national and ethnic lines and politically armed with a revolutionary program for the socialist reorganization of the US and world economy.”

        Me?? Time for some of that Warsaw ’44 action right here in “Murica….
        Running over hapless people with a car??
        …Let’s see how these nazi motherfuckers hold up in pitched battles …street to street..basement to basement…hand to hand..

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “Time for some of that Warsaw ’44 action right here in “Murica….”

          You are aware that the Nazis successfully put it down, right?

        • Patient Observer says:

          Regarding the Warsaw uprising, “freeing themselves” rather than being freed by the Soviets had important political implications. The Nazis were clearly destined for defeat so
          the uprising could be viewed as an ill-timed political move and not a fundamental rejection of Fascism. The many Poles who died may not have seen it that way but the intention of the leaders could be exactly that.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, I’ll be damned – they did go with a White House connection!

      • Jen says:

        With all due respect for and Northern Star, I’m not really sure that Trump and the White House can be connected to the events in Charlottesville and I have a feeling that these events could have been manipulated by others on both sides, that is, the alt-left sides as well as the alt-right sides. Especially as the Antifa movement was involved in the riots and the groups associated with this movement do have a history of violence.

        Incidentally the riots were sparked off because conservative and other right-wing groups were protesting the removal of Confederate and Confederate-related symbols and statues from public spaces. Had there been any prior public discussion about whether the removal should go ahead? Where were these symbols supposed to go after their removal? Like it or not, these symbols are part of the history of a large part of the US and to remove them from the public space and stash them somewhere secret or even destroy them is itself a denial of significant history that has made the US what it is now.

        • yalensis says:

          Never thought I’d be quoting Reuters, but this piece explains some of the history:

          “The efforts by civil rights groups and others to do away with Confederate monuments gained momentum two years ago after avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine African-Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The shooting rampage ultimately led to the removal of a Confederate flag from the statehouse in Columbia.”

          Since then, at least 60 Confederate symbols have been removed in various states.

          As always, there are 2 sides to every conflict. But anyone who has ever travelled in the American South knows, that the incessant monuments to Confederate “heroes” and the Confederate flags and so on, is an insistence on the part of the locals, that they refuse to accept their defeat in the Civil War. It would be like in Russia, if every street corner in certain cities had White flags and monuments to the likes of Kolchak, Denikin, or Kornilov. That would be making a certain statement.

          No matter how artistically fine some of those statues are (and I personally do not approve of vandalism, in any case), the fact is that they are symbols of a losing side that refuses to accept that it was defeated.
          And the original sin here was not just slavery, but the fact that the Civil War did not settle the issue once and for all. The defeated side simply refused to accept defeat. For decades white southern children were taught to chant in school: “The South will rise again!” Rise — to do what?

          Those statues and flags belong in museums, not on street corners, IMHO.

          Having said that, I agree with Jen that the whole way that this is being done, arouses suspicions and criticisms. Why now? Those statues have been standing there for 160 years. It’s time for those communities to have a serious debate about their past, and come to grips with the realities of the modern world.

        • Northern Star says:

          “Like it or not, these symbols are part of the history of a large part of the US ”
          You conflate the concept of a generic “symbol” with objects whose purpose is to commemorate monsters and/or their hideous acts of mass depravity.
          Study these “symbols Jen….commit them to memory…cuz’ if you were to go to Germany and wear anything like them…you would be thrown in the slammer.

          Go to Israel Jen and see how many “Arbeit Macht Frei” shopping Malls there are in Tel Aviv or Haifa..Hmmmm?
          How many granddaughters of Korean comfort women want a statue of
          Tomoyuki Yamashita in Seoul???

          Your arguments are as specious and ridiculous as those of the KKKlown in Chief.

          • Jen says:

            As Yalensis said, the statues and symbols have been in the public domain for 160 years. They may symbolise mass depravity to you but to other people, they may symbolise something else and there should have been public discussion about this and other aspects of these symbols before the decision to remove them went ahead. Otherwise resentment among those who support keeping the symbols can go underground and erupt later into something more serious. People who believe that by removing these symbols from public view, they can force change of a particular kind or their ideology onto others unwilling to accept this change or another belief set, are not necessarily more virtuous than the people they want to change.

            The fact that Nazi imagery and Holocaust denial are banned in many parts of Europe does not mean that these have gone away: they have gone underground and because they are underground, no-one can know for sure how popular neo-Nazism and Holocaust denial really are, no-one can debate these issues seriously without being accused of favouring neo-Nazism and Holocaust denial, and when they come out into the open, everyone is surprised at how intense and virulent they have become.

    • Ryan Ward says:

      Accusations of Bannon’s supposed racism are certainly common. Real demonstrations of it are however, severely lacking. “Racism” is just the slur uncreative establishment types use to tar anyone who opposes neo-liberalism from the right. People who come at things from the Left might not mind such tarring, but should remember that this is part of the same bag of tricks that get pulled out to similarly marginalize any systematic critiques of neo-liberalism from the Left as well.

      • Northern Star says:

        As Völkischer Beobachter editor I guess Rosenberg was just misunderstood….actually he wanted to make the Jews Happy and Free..
        Somehow that got mistranslated into judenfrei….

        “At the Nürnberg trials Rosenberg was adjudged a war criminal and was hanged. ”

        Que sera..sera..!!!!

        • Ryan Ward says:

          When I challenge you to provide a single piece of evidence in favour of the claim that Bannon is a racist, and instead you go on a semi-coherent rant about Alfred Rosenberg, you reinforce my point 😉

  25. Bill says:

    Most recent example of establishment realism:

    Excerpt –

    “By punishing Russia for its unacceptable aggression against Ukraine by cutting off all communication and cooperation with Russia—including joint actions to secure nuclear weapons and materials in Russia and other countries, and communication between commanders in Europe and the Middle East whose military forces were operating in close proximity—did Washington decrease or increase the level of risk?”

  26. Bill says:

    RT lacking:

    Lavelle goes on a likely August vacation and that station does reruns instead of having a sub for its seemingly flagship show. Same holds true with at least one other RT show.

    That’s not how the main Anglo-American 24/7 TV networks operate – a sign that RT functions on a comparatively limited funding.

    • Patient Observer says:

      I don’t know if that is the most likely reason. Many organizations, especially in Europe, simply shut down in August. Everyone gets a vacation, not just Lavalle.

      • Patient Observer says:

        No, my point was a little more subtle. They are not chasing ratings and the associated revenue. RT may simply be more laid back than profit-driven MSM. I suspect that it has nothing to do with cost savings efforts. Moreover, the vast majority of their news gathering/reporting efforts continue unabated.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Again, my point is that the freedom from chasing ratings and meeting ad campaign contracts (which could include NO RERUNS) may be the difference between for-profit MSM) and RT.

          In addition, if RT were severely financially constrained, one would think that expensive overseas operations would be curtailed,, not studio produced shows using Skype-like video calls for guest appearances. As I think more about this, other than Lavalle’s salary, CROSSTALK should have a very low cost of production. Finally, assuming Lavalle has paid time off, there would be negligible cost savings with reruns.

          If you wish to prove RT is in a financial struggle, show me that they are reducing news coverage, overseas operations or documentary production. I’m not saying you’re contention must be wrong (anything is possible), just that your evidence is irrelevant.

      • Jen says:

        One can always tell when Australian TV networks are running on shoestring budgets and loads of prayers: instead of getting rid of channels that very few people watch, they do reruns of famous old 1960s American sitcoms. One channel (SBS Viceland: it’s a partnership between SBS and Vice) is rerunning the old “Batman” TV series on a weekly basis.

  27. Cortes says:

    Chechens seeking asylum in France arrested over brutal death of young Italian in Spanish tourist resort disco:
    Obviously their adherence to Wahhabism doesn’t extend to avoiding decadent Western fleshpots or kicking people to death.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Obviously their adherence to Wahhabism doesn’t extend to avoiding decadent Western fleshpots or kicking people to death.”

      But-but-but! Were they the long suffering “Chechen gays” ™ from the “Kadyrov’s death camps” ™? If “Oui”, then in the spirit of the tolerance and multi-kulti they must be forgiven. [nod-nod]

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Note how in the Western press the 3 accused are “Russians”:

      Spain: Police arrest 3 Russians in killing of Italian

      Они — россияне, а не русские!

      • Cortes says:

        The Spanish (well, Catalan) paper gets it right.

        Its comments section is full of anti-Schengen sentiment and scepticism about peaceful asylum seekers. From the language used I’d say that the greater number of people commenting are young.

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    This drawing appeared in the
    Times, which pointedly did not catch sight of the swastikas on the Kiev Maidan, where the marches of local Nazis were perceived as “manifestations of democracy”

    • Cortes says:

      There’s the creeptastic use of “conversation” again. First time I heard it personally was from an HR harridan who reminded me somewhat of the evil Diana. No, not that sappy cow!
      Diana! Queen of “V.”

      • et Al says:

        Maybe she meant ‘conversion‘? I don’t think English is her first language. Then again, she is a fully paid up citizen of O-bomber’s (now Trumpos) exceptional mythical state of Fucktardia. A pretzel is the shortest route between two points you know.

        • Cortes says:

          No: “conversation” is the creepy word used to intimidate.

          Usually expressed along the lines of “we need to have a conversation about xxxxx.” Where Interlocutor #1 represents TPTB.

        • Jen says:

          “We need to have a conversation about …” is becoming an idiomatic expression for thrashing out an issue, often when something unpleasant or unwanted has occurred, and usually between a determined protagonist who sees a problem (which may or may not exist, or may be something completely different from the real problem) and an unwilling antagonist.

    • marknesop says:

      Fuck off, Molly McKew. Fuck right off, today.

    • shargash says:

      Apparently we’re having that conversation. Richard Spencer and His Kook-Right Ilk Are Agents of Russian Influence

      “Kremlin intelligence is manipulating the far-right. It’s time to push back.”

      America has serious mental health issues. I fear Trump’s election has triggered a full-on psychotic episode.

      • marknesop says:

        Oh, my, yes – if it’s bad, it’s Russian. It’s a symptom of exceptionalism that those stricken by it cannot get over themselves, and believe everything is all about them. Like Russia has time to give American children toothaches, make old American ladies fall down and break their hips, cause American dads to lose their jobs and meddle in podunk politics.


        • yalensis says:

          Well, Russia in general, and Putin in particular, have become “the blind man’s elephant” – each sees there whatever he wants to see. To the Hillary crowd, Russia is the puppet-master manipulating racists and fascists in the U.S.
          The one grain of truth in this nonsense is that there are, indeed, some “Russophiles” and Putin supporters who do, indeed, see Putin as the champion of the white race. Their view of Russia is completely cock-eyed, and if they ever went there, they would be deeply disillusioned, to see the real Russia, a multi-ethnic nation, in which people inter-marry freely.

          In the minds of certain naive American ALT-Righties, they believe that Russia is a lily-white nation led by one of their own. With Putin the champion of the White Race and of Christians in general.

          A less naive ALT-Rightie, Anatole Karlin, knows better than that. He is a believer in “scientific racism” and eugenics, but he knows too much about Russia to have these delusions. That’s why he went back there, to oppose “Putlet” and try to stir things up for the local Nationalist crowd.

          Americans on the other hand, knowing very little about geography or other peoples…
          Mark, remember ThatJ, who used to infest your blog. I warned at the time that types like him would end up discrediting Russophiles. ThatJ was a follower of American racist Kevin Macdonald, he supported every vicious racist in the book, he hated African-Americans and Jews, and he even called for a return to Jim Crow segregation of the races. His hero was Putin, and he believed that Putin’s mission was to save the world from cucks and darkies. Again, the blind man’s elephant.

          ThatJ was obviously just some individual kook, but, like I said, he sort of provided the template for the kind of propaganda we see in the linked piece. Thanks to people like him, propagandists can point to the rioting racists and claim they are being directed by the Russian government. And the American people in general will nod and go along with this, because it will seem logical to them. If A=B and B=C, then obviously 2+2=5.

    • Special_sauce says:

      Came across this critter recently. Her tweets recapitulate the Thoughts of Matt, almost word for word.

  29. et Al says:

    A brief Hello from me to the fellow stooges this 15th of August. I’m at my g/f’s family home in the sticks outside Rszeszow. It’s a national holiday:

    …The Day of Assumption is connected to the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, fought from August 12-25 in 1920, during the war between the Poles and the Bolsheviks. This battle was considered a breakthrough battle – it decided not only Poland’s independence but it also blocked the spread of communism and Soviet totalitarianism in Europe during the 1920s. August 15 also honors the Catholic belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death. It is the principal feast day of the Virgin Mother…

    Like members of my family, memory is flexible, the above information excluding the fact that a western coalition invaded Russia to get rid of the Bolesheviks, regime change, and got their asses whupped, hence the Bolshevisk making their visit to Warsaw…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Kadr z filmu “1920 Bitwa Warszawska”

      A frame from the film “Battle of Warsaw, 1920”

      Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum!

      Et cum spiritu tuo! — yer bible-punching twat!

      Woden rules!


      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Another war that they started and lost.

        I suspect that Poles walk on their knuckles when they think nobody’s watching.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Harrumph! Poles engaging in the funny little heresy known as phyloteism! Plus, they claim that St. Mary IS the queen of Poland.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Before most of them became Protestants, the English used to claim that England was the “Dowry of Mary“.

        When I was a child, I never used to know what “dowry” meant and I vaguely thought it meant “dairy” and I had a a notion of Our Lady milking cows.

        All a load of bollocks, anyway.

        And then I found Woden.


        • et Al says:

          I found woden when I first saw my girlfrend. Pnarrrr! 😉

          Just enjoyed and outdoors barbecue with kolbasyie, homemade bread, varous sauces including one which was paprika based and alcohol based on ‘Spiritus’. I’m bushed.

          On another note, I was in central Rszeszow today and visited the church there. Just outside it is a dark, bronze plaque dated 2008 commemorating the polish victims of the UPA-OUN from 1939 to 1947. Whatever public political hardon ‘Europe’ and the US has for the Kiev regime, the shit is still real here in south east Poland.

          And on this point, a massive fuck you to the Washington Post and New York Times (and those American Jewish leaders) who now whinge about Holocaust denial an revisionism. They’ve actively whitewashed the Croatian Ustašta all the way to the Banderites in the Ukraine and now somehow they are surprised that the Jews arenow considered as only one of many who have been victims of massive genocide. Eat my *&^£ you mofos! You sleep with scum, you are scum.

          • et Al says:


            W LATACH 1939 – 1947
            MIESZKANCY RZESZOWA 2008

            There are multiple versions of this plaque in Poland all featuring the same image save some differences in the text.

            I’m off to a priest barbecue this afternoon. That is, a barbecue with priests, NOT a barbecue of priests…

        • marknesop says:

          Well, ‘the dairy of Mary’ would have been some pretty sweet rapping. I’m surprised Fifty Cent didn’t think of it. Or ‘Fitty Cen” as he prefers to call himself.

        • Cortes says:

          Dowry is, I think, related to “tocher” as in place names like Duntocher. And to this untutored eye, “tocher” doesn’t seem vastly different from “daughter.”

          Been wrong “hunners” ™ a times. Prolly wrong here.

          • marknesop says:

            It’s also not vastly different from “todger”. Excuse me for pointing that out; it was an excess of colloquial correctness which motivated it.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            “Tochter” auf Deutsch, mein lieber Schotte!


            • Moscow Exile says:

              The word “dowry” is derived from the Latin dotarium, whence “dower”, a “provision accorded by law, but traditionally by a husband or his family, to a wife for her support in the event that she should become widowed. It was settled on the bride (being gifted into trust) by agreement at the time of the wedding, or as provided by law” — source Wiki.

              The bribe for the bride was the “dowry”.

              Come to think of it, I gave my sister away in church at her wedding. Our father had died when she got wed.

              Nobody offered me a brass farthing for her.

              • yalensis says:

                Correct etymology. And “dotarium” in turn is related to the Russian dat’ to give — dan’ – a tribute.
                All words one and the same from Proto-Indo-European dōmi, “to give”.

                Not sure, have to do more research, but I think in an even earlier form, when Indo-Aryan and Hittite were still one language, there may have been a laryngean consonant, which dropped in the I-E dialects, to be replaced with a long vowel.
                If I’m not mistaken, Indo-Hittite proto-language only had syllabic structures of CVC for roots. If the final consonant was a laryngeal, then it dropped off in I-E, and the preceding vowel lengthened. Most famous example: Proto-I-E-Hittite *peH-ter (“father”) which became I-E “pater”, with a long /a/.

              • marknesop says:

                Huh. I had always thought it was the bride’s family who put it up, to sort of sweeten the deal, as it were. Whatever the case, when significant sums of money were at issue there was also significant maneuvering for a strategic marriage.

                • Ryan Ward says:

                  Depends on the culture. Dowries go both ways. In cases where they’re paid to the bride’s family, in addition, they can be either primarily for the bride herself (as a means of support if she’s widowed or divorced), or to her family (as a way of partially compensating them for taking their daughter after they went to the trouble and expense to raise her). In modern times, it’s often also somewhat nominal where it survives. When I get formally married, for example, I’m going to pay a dowry, but it’s just a few hundred dollars and some fruit and nuts. More of a symbol than anything.

                • marknesop says:

                  Where does this culture still survive? I imagined it to be maybe India, Nepal, like that – not that those are backward regions in any way; we have learned that cultural practices persist for their own reasons, and have little to do with modernity.

                • Ryan Ward says:

                  Dowries given to the bride’s family persist in China, Vietnam and (among the “African”, as opposed to “White” and “Cape Coloured” communities) South Africa (although being fairly nominal in the Vietnamese and South African cases). Dowries given to the bride in case of divorce or widowhood are practiced around the Islamic world, and as I understand, dowries to the husband’s family are still practiced in some very rural places in Southeastern Europe. Those are the ones I know of. I’m sure there are more, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Indian subcontinent is one of them, given the fact that a lot of the elements of the traditional cultures there have been maintained.

                • Jen says:

                  @ Mark: Dowries are what the bride brings to the marriage and the groom’s family. Depending on the culture, the dowry is compensation to the groom’s family for taking in the bride or can be used in event of divorce or her widowhood. What the groom gives to the bride and her family is called “bride price” or “bridewealth”.

                  My understanding of dowry in the way it’s practised in some countries today, like India (where it’s actually illegal), is that it actually has little to do now with tradition or history and is a form of social / economic competition among families in the same social class. Contrary to what most people might expect, there are academics who say that in India, customs like dowry and sati (where a widow immolates herself on her husband’s funeral pyre) actually increased during the period of British colonial rule because they came to be associated with the upper classes, and that traditionally most people in pre-British India paid bride price instead.

                  In India, middle class and upper class families are the ones who insist on continuing dowry. There have been cases where brides have been killed by their husbands’ families because they didn’t bring large enough dowries or the money they brought in their dowries was used up by their in-laws who wanted more. Also the nature of the dowry itself has changed: whereas it used to be money, clothes and jewellery the bride herself needed, now the dowry is expected to include cash for the groom’s education among other things, a car, furniture or even an apartment for the newly weds to live in. The burden of the dowry institution is one reason why so many couples strive to have baby boys to the extent of aborting baby girls, with the result that in some parts of India the gender ration is heavily skewed against girls and it’s not unusual for some communities to exist with no girl children at all.

                • marknesop says:

                  Very interesting and informative – thanks, Jen!

                • yalensis says:

                  Ryan, you told us a while back, that you were getting married.
                  Have you set the date yet?

                • yalensis says:

                  P.S. – in the U.S. the traditional custom is known as the “shower”, in which the bride-to-be and her friends and relatives shamelessly grub for expensive gifts., while making it out like the invited “guests” must be so terribly honored by this opportunity to be separated from their cash.
                  In many cases on behalf of people they barely even know!

                • Ryan Ward says:

                  When I mentioned it before (back in January), it was because I was getting legally married then. So technically, I’m married already 😉 But my full formal wedding is planned for next September. 🙂

                • marknesop says:

                  Congratulations!!! When we speak of birthdays, we normally say “many happy returns”. But marriage is something you really ought to do just once. Best wishes for your lifelong happiness.

          • Special_sauce says:

            Time for my favo(u)rite word-derivation fact. I never tire of repeating this: the word daughter comes from the sanskrit “dhu”, namely, she who tends the goats.

  30. yalensis says:

    Just posted my latest, this is a ripping historical essay translated from Argumenty i Fakty, about the life of “Tonya the Machine-Gun Girl” in Nazi-occupied Bryansk.

    The piece raises many disturbing issues about the flexibility of human nature.

    • Eric says:

      Nice work yalensis….but when are you going to write about Anton Mamayev…perhaps the greatest story ever told, one of those ‘only in Russia’ type of stories?

      Man with muscular dystrophy and an inexplicably hot girlfriend/wife partakes in robbery on an ex Russian spetsnaz, gets sentenced for a long time …but is reduced to a fine because of his condition.

      From what I heard of the case, as embarrassing as it is for the “victim” given his previous profession, and the inevitable allegations that this was him using his status unscrupulously……it looks to me that the accusor was telling the truth and Mamayev did do this crime.

      Also the Russian justice system did show compassion and , for a guy with his illness, he looks well looked after, well-spoken and has a good quality of life…so the Russian social system appears to have worked well in this instance

      • yalensis says:

        Eric, I never even heard of this guy! (Many lapses in my knowledge.)
        I will gladly write a post on him, if you think it’s important.

        • Eric says:

          Ha!- don’t worry Yalensis. I think it’s important that I don’t rudely make requests of what you should or shouldn’t write about on your excellent blog, so no real need for you to write a post about it.

          I think the reason you have never heard of this guy is because the idiot section of the western press (their Russian department) , curiously decided to not make any fuss about this case. Strange when you consider their russophobia always thirsts for this type of story , their cretinism constantly inflates non-stories of fake “human rights violations” , his condition and the fact that originally he was sentenced to 9 or 10 years . My guess ( pure speculation) is that a few liberasts and western journalists in Russia got massively embarrassed over the recent story of the boy getting arrested in Moscow for allegedly reciting Hamlet.(you wrote excellently on that). Once all the strange things about his parents, what he was doing, who was the conveniently placed opposition journalist on hand to record the incident and other peculiarities came to light, their initial over-enthusiasm when the story occured to put something on the “Putin regime” ..badly backfired on them.

          This case with Mamayev also had the possibility of having complexities and embarrassing them further…so they decided to play it safe, at least in the english language section on Russia,although I think the Russian opposition/liberast media also did the same.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            As regards the Moscow “Hamlet” boy who was most definitely begging and who performed so well after his having been asked to accompany police officers to a local police station, as did a “passer-by” who, whilst going into hysterics, at first claimed to be the boy’s acquaintance, then his neighbour, but who then turned out to be the live-in partner of the boy’s father, the following may prove to be of interest.

            As many of you no doubt know, I am now in exile in the UK from my Moscow exile, awaiting documentation that will alow me to return to my home and my wife and 3 children in Mordor. Included in this necessary documentation that I await is a “police statement” to show that I have no criminal record and without such “statement” I shall not be allowed to apply once again for a residency permit in Russia, albeit that I provided the Russian authorities with such a “statement” 15 years ago in order to apply for my now annulled residency permit, since the granting of which I lived continuously in Russia until 11 August this year and committed no crime there. Nevertheless, the Russian immigration authority demands that I yet again provide evidence that I have no criminal record in the UK.

            The UK organization that provides such evidence is run by a QUANGO known as the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), a “a not-for-profit private limited company” that “has contributed to the development of policing practices in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland”.

            There is no national police force in the UK; there is, however, a national police records computer.

            In the UK, if one has been convicted of a “category C” crime and received a custodial sentence of 6 months or less, then one’s criminal record is “stepped down” 15 years after one’s conviction: one is then classified as not having a criminal record.

            I am classified as such a person: I was convicted in 1985 and my record was “stepped down” in 2000, so, officially, I now have a “clean sheet”.

            To help me In the endless bloody form filling in order to receive my “police statement”, ACPO, in the kindness of its collective heart, has provided me with this downloadable PDF file:
            Retention Guidelines for Nominal Records on the Police National Computer

            It makes interesting reading, I think. It should certainly be of interest to Russian liberasts and kreakles.

            As regards the “Hamlet” boy incident in Moscow, consider the following “class C” crimes as listed in the above linked document:

            5.11.2………..Causing or allowing child to beg
  ……..Causing child to beg
  ……..Allowing child to beg

            The crimes listed that are concerned with public demonstrations and assemblies make interesting reading as well.

            There really are some gems in that list of “category C” crimes. Amongst my favourites are:

            5.10.283……………Selling a live badger
            5.10.284……………Offering live badger for sale

            Although on many occasions in my nefarious past, when frequenting shady pubs I have been approached with offers of crates of whiskey, cartons of cigarettes, packages of huge Angus steaks etc. that have all mysteriously fallen of a wagon, nobody has ever sidled up to me in such places and whispered in my ear: “Wanna buy a badger?”

            I must have been associating with the wrong sorts of people.

            • Jen says:

              Aren’t those laws against selling or offering a live badger for sale relics of a time when people used to gamble on fights that involved a badger being attacked by dogs and the badger fighting back?

              • Moscow Exile says:

                They are against badger baiting, which still goes on in the sticks. “Possession of badger tongs” is another class 3 conviction, as is disturbing a badger set.

                See below:

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              Oh, noes! Not the badgers!

          • yalensis says:

            Dear Eric: Thank you for saying those nice words about my blog.
            And, of course, you can always suggest posts on specific topics, I do take suggestions!

  31. marknesop says:

    Remember when I said the west really doesn’t care a tin shit about Ukraine, and is only holding on to it so it won’t fall back into Russia’s orbit? And that the west will wreck it altogether before it allows that to happen?

    Humanitarian partners face multiple challenges in their efforts to meet the growing humanitarian needs, including limited access in NGCA due to bureaucratic constraints and underfunding. As of 15 August, the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is only 21 per cent funded. Underfunding not only prevents partners from implementing the planned programmes, but also forces some to cease their operations. Meanwhile, the Logistics Cluster is on verge of closing if the funding situation does not improve soon. Lack of funding also means that some of the critical seasonal projects are not being implemented, which may impact people’s livelihood opportunities in the long run. Additional funding is urgently required to jumpstart and sustain the much-needed winterization support in anticipation of the upcoming winter, which in Ukraine is regularly quite harsh.

  32. Lyttenburgh says:

    Averko again. You can easily spot him – there are certain topics that “trigger” him. The answers are all the usual blah-blah.

  33. J.T. says:

    A continuation of the August booklist, for interested parties:

  34. Northern Star says:

    The latest from Berchtesgaden West AKA Trump Tower:

    “In an event without precedent in American history, the president of the United States on Tuesday openly defended the neo-Nazi demonstrators who went on a violent and deadly rampage last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, while lashing out against anti-fascist counter-protesters.”

  35. Warren says:

    Published on 16 Aug 2017
    US criticises Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for lack of religious freedom

    US President Donald Trump’s administration says the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant group remains the biggest threat to religious freedom around the world.

    The US State Department says the murders of Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims at the hands of ISIL amounted to genocide.

    The annual report says almost 80 percent of the world’s population continues to live under threats limiting freedom to worship.

    The countries criticised include US allies Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

    Al Jazeera’s Mohammad Vall reports.

    About time the US critcise and publicise Saudi repression, discrimination and hypocrisy.

  36. reinaldo says:

    hello, Mark. Would the Disqus commenting system help you avoiding the boring trolls pestering us all?

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