The West is as Thick as the Earth’s Mantle

Uncle Volodya says, “Confidence is ignorance. If you’re feeling cocky, it’s because there’s something you don’t know.”

It’s funny how some posts come to be. Sometimes I stop myself partway through a reply to a commenter on another post, thinking, hey; there’s enough meat in this for a whole post, rather than just a one-paragraph rant. Or sometimes, as is the case with this post, I start out writing a new comment, just to draw the readers’ attention to something I read, and think the same thing – there’s more material here, and it forms a new picture. This could go somewhere. Let’s play with it a little, see if there’s something to it.

Once I decide there is something to it, I start looking for a hook – something catchy which will tie the title in with the post, so that while the connection might not be immediately apparent, it will be revealed within the body of the post.

In this case, a little explanation is called for, because the connection is so roundabout.

First, I ran across an hilarious post on Interfax Ukraine, which I was just going to offer for everyone’s amusement. It featured the 17-year-old CEO of Naftogaz, Andriy (it’s very important to Ukrainians that they spell their names differently from the Russian spelling, because they are not ignorant Slavs like the Russians, but the descendants of billion-year-old-carbon extraterrestrials) Kobolev, blubbering about how Siemens had caved in to pressure from the Russians, and stopped the sale of compressors to Naftogaz that it needed to modernize its Gas Transit System (GTS). He’s not really 17, of course; he just has that Richie Cunningham kind of face that makes him look perennially pubescent, complete with red hair. That’s part of what makes the article funny. There’s more, but we’ll get to that, in a bit.

Then it occurred to me that I’ve seen a loose series of pieces lately which mention Ukraine and gas transit, such as Ken Rapoza’s piece for Forbes (which I mentioned already, in the comments to the previous post), where he unaccountably suggests that Russia has discovered it still needs Ukraine. As I argued on that occasion, Ukraine’s soulful big-eyed caricature of trustworthiness is unlikely to fool anyone in Russia, and merely underscores how important it is for Russia’s continuing progress and uncoupling from the west that it circumvent Ukraine, and not rely on it for anything.

But then I ran across this. The EU is again taking the position, or at least it appears so from the gobbling of the human turkey Maros Sefcovic, that transit of Russian gas through Ukraine after 2020 is a priority. And I thought, holy shit. Are we really going to go through all this all over again? And then I thought, what’s a word for people who are incapable of learning? It’s plain that western bureaucrats see themselves – and I know it’s an analogy I have used before – as Lucy in the Peanuts comic strips, holding the football for Charlie Brown (Russia), only to snatch it away at the last second so that Charlie Brown/Russia falls ignominiously on his ass, to great amusement. What’s a word for people who are so stupid that they believe everyone else is too stupid to see through their self-interested mendacity?

So I searched “What do you call people who are incapable of learning?” This site – somewhat unkindly – suggested “thick”. Fair enough, I thought. Now I just need something really thick. So I searched “What is something really thick?” And the search engine offered the earth’s layers, of which the mantle is the thickest, and the crust the thinnest.

Which gives us “The West is as Thick as the Earth’s Mantle”. See? No mystery at all. But it is actually apparent that the west, embodied in the stubborn slow-learner Sefcovic, is going to take another run at saturating press coverage with what a great idea it would be for Russia to just forget about Nord Stream II, let bygones be bygones, and put its trust in Ukraine – its sworn enemy – as a reliable transit partner for about a third of the gas it sends to Europe.

That is a great idea, like a banana slug is a great tongue depressor. But let’s go back for a minute, back to the beginning and the original post that started us off, with Andriy Kobolev. As I suggested earlier, Kobolev blames Russia for applying pressure to force Siemens to scupper the compressor deal. He says as much. But there is no evidence introduced in the article that Russia even spoke to Siemens about the matter:

“The first batch of compressors was supplied. These were compressors from Siemens, but then Siemens called and said that if they brought more, they would lose the Russian market,” Kobolev announced at the 14th annual YES conference in Kyiv on Friday, September 15.

Well, Andriyusha, let’s look at some other possibilities, just a couple I can name off the top of my head. First, if Russia actually did pressure Siemens into canceling the deal, what makes you think they are going to be pressured by the EC into continuing gas transit through Ukraine, something Moscow plainly does not want to do? I mean, considering they can already make the most powerful country in Europe do what they want?

But it’s probably not as complicated as that. Consider – Siemens is a German company. If Nord Stream II goes ahead, Germany will be the major gas hub for Europe. Or….it could help Ukraine become the gas hub for Europe instead. Ukraine, who just got finished fucking Siemens over by squalling about Siemens turbines which were delivered to Crimea.

Whatever the case, it looks to me like a straight business decision by Siemens, and if they preferred to cultivate the Russian market over the Ukrainian market, that’s probably wise; but even if it wasn’t, it appears to be based purely on Siemens perception of what would be best for the company.

But that wasn’t the part that made me laugh. No, what I found funny was Kobolev’s pouty insistence that Nord Stream II be opposed as a ‘politically-motivated project’. Just as if leaning on the jellyfish President of the European Commission to force Russia to continue transiting Europe’s gas through the slow-motion collapse that is Ukraine had nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Nope, that just stands out as a solid business decision in every way, doesn’t it?

Let’s get something up-front and on deck right now, so that there is no ambiguity to confuse the issue. Washington was behind the Maidan turning into a violent insurrection, and the USA remains behind the scenes pulling the strings at the SBU. A very frank phone conversation between State Department neoconservative cookie-distributor Victoria Nuland and United States Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, in which the eventual composition of the coup government was planned in unambiguous detail should be all the evidence anyone needs that the entire process was manipulated and micromanaged. Lest anyone forget, Nuland’s choice, ‘Yats’ – Arseniy Yatsenyuk – was such a political dung-magnet that he lasted only 26 months in the job. To be fair to him, he was tasked with implementing the IMF’s favourite reform (because it’s the only one the IMF really knows); austerity, in the poorest country in Europe.

And it is the United States of America which continues to have its arm up the back of Kiev’s shirt, making its mouth move. Washington is the big brother Poroshenko turns to when he wants help to stymie Russia’s efforts to build circumferential commercial links around Ukraine, and instead for Ukraine to have an important linking role in Russia’s energy business with Europe – in short, for Russia to continue using Ukraine to transit its gas to Europe.

Why is that, do you suppose? What’s in it for Washington?

Dragging Ukraine into the west’s orbit has long been a goal for Washington, dating back to the late and mostly-unlamented Zbigniew Brzezinski’s ‘grand chessboard’ strategy – a geostrategic imperative, he said, to ensure American primacy in the world. Russia without Ukraine, quoth the pushing-up-daisies Pole, would never attain great-power status. And America has sort of gotten to like the feeling of being the only great power in the world.

The strategic value of Ukraine, then, is manifold. It can be stirred at any time to whip up global ire against Russia. NATO military exercises in Ukraine can be used to parade western might across Russia’s doorstep. But its real value lies in continued gas transit by Russia between the source and Russia.

For one thing, it’s the money – more than $ 2 Billion a year out of Russia’s pocket and into Ukraine’s, in transit fees. Once Russia is committed to continuing to use Ukraine as a transit country, transit fees can always be used as leverage to negotiate sweet energy deals for Ukraine, against the threat of interrupting Europe’s gas supply. Europe would play its part by acting hysterically terrified and victimized. But that’s still pretty small potatoes.

In Ukraine’s current condition, it is at serious risk of collapse. And a country that sends its gas across Ukraine is a country that cannot afford to let Ukraine turn into a failed state, at any cost. Just to put a cherry on top of this splendiferous vision, complications actually can be introduced, at a whim, into Europe’s energy supply, should they get uppity.

There is no room in this sugarplum daydream for an independent Germany which is a gas hub for Europe, perhaps not even with Mutti Merkel at the helm.

Perhaps some sort of medal could be struck for Sefcovic, for his relentless determination to herd Russia into a horrible bargain which would see it constantly bargaining and negotiating with greedy and lawless Ukraine for the expensive privilege of transiting its gas through Ukraine’s whistling, creaking pipelines. In other circumstances, such dedication might be admirable. But I’m pretty confident that nobody in Russia is buying it. Europe has made an increasingly half-hearted attempt to stop Nord Stream II, and has learned instead that if it wanted to make a sensible legal argument, it should never have allowed the first pipeline; that’s what, in the legal business, is known as ‘precedent’.

All of which leads us to suspect that the real remaining antagonist to the Nord Stream II pipeline is somebody whom it should not by rights concern at all, since that entity is neither part of the supply chain nor the end user of the product – Uncle Sam.

This is no time for Russia to weaken in its resolve. But it is also no time for Germany to allow itself to be rolled. Somebody is going to be a major gas hub for Europe, and in the current climate it is going to be Germany…or Ukraine. Germany should ask itself what Ukraine has done for it which would merit such sacrifice.

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863 Responses to The West is as Thick as the Earth’s Mantle

  1. Northern Star says:

    I would love to see the pedophile CS debate Robert:

    Robert 18 hours ago
    The Russian Federation is slowly dislodging the American Empire from its uni-polar claims on the world, and the global interventionist pariahs who are being challenged are not very amused about it. … Let’s make a short list of recent accomplishments: … a) Russia has won a stunning war in Syria, after it had totally collapsed two years ago. Assad still stands.

    **Obama, Cameron, Hollonde, Borraso (EU), Rassmussen (NATO), and all the other jackals who called for his removal are themselves gone** LOL!!!!!!

    . … b) Over the past few months, Saudi Arabia has started cooperating with Russia because of its great success in Syria. Saudis have always desired to be on the winning side. … c) After the Saudi brush with Qatar, Russia came to the aid of the Qatari’s thus opening cooperation between them and partners in the region. The US’s largest airbase in the Middle East is in Qatar and could be threatened if Russia’s support is deemed stronger. … d) Russia has wrested once reliable NATO partner (and once anti-Assad) Turkey from attacking Assad, to cooperating with Russia in defeating the Syria Rebels of all stripes. Turkey has all but sent the USAF packing from Incirlik. … e) Russia’s influence in oil rich Libya is markedly strong. They have helped defeat ISIS and filled in the void. Libyans trust Russia more than the ‘West’. … f) Egypt is now hosting naval drills with Russia, as one could never understate the strategic advantage of holding Suez over the west. … g) The US now expresses concern that Russia is injecting its influence into Afghanistan, while the American military wanders aimlessly. … h) As US relations with Pakistan become more strained, cooperation with Russia is on the increase. … i) While the US preoccupies itself with war in Korea, South Korea and Russia dialogue over extending energy pipelines from Russia in an effort to increase cooperation on the peninsula. Koreans now view Russia as the mature partner, and the US as the short-sighted one. … j) The economic ties of BRICS extend into the African continent and to Latin America where Russian inroads grow by the day. … k) Add in the Eurasian Sovereignty initiative of the New Silk Road (65 countries) and the geopolitical cementing of Russian goals has expanded far and wide. … l) Ros-SWIFT electronic currency transfer is working in 96 Russian banks, immunizing them from any international payment disruptions and providing a platform for currency exchange outside of the US dollar. … Slowly, Russia is disassembling the old order while the world is waking up to a multi-polar reality. … Add in the fact that the half of the American people now viscerally hate the other half to the point of political violence and intimidation, and this is leading to domestic chaos that is tearing the country apart. … There is a determined movement to overthrow the White House in all of this. … Americans need not worry about Russian election interference, but rather their own dissolution as a country.”

    Hey can go over to yahoo and challenge Robert…LOL!!!!

    • Matt says:

      Northern star seems to be obsessed with calling others “pedophiles”. Probably believes in the PizzaGate hoax, kek.

      Anyway, I read that guys comment and busted my left ass cheek from laughing.

      Debunking time, baby:

      “Obama, Cameron, Hollonde, Borraso (EU), Rassmussen (NATO), and all the other jackals who called for his removal are themselves gone”

      I always laugh at this meme, you know the ones with all the people who said “Assad must go” who are now gone themselves. It’s funny because these people were all democratically elected. That Assad, a dictator, has outlasted them all, is nothing to cheer about. It’s not a loss for the Western camp at all. For example, Obama stepped down after serving two terms. There is no “Assad curse” that made him go. And yet, it only proves that dictators stay in power while democratically-elected officials don’t.

      “Over the past few months, Saudi Arabia has started cooperating with Russia because of its great success in Syria. Saudis have always desired to be on the winning side.”

      If the author thinks that SA holding some meetings with Russia means they’ve switched “sides” then he’s even more delusional than I thought. SA is firmly in the pro-Western camp.

      “After the Saudi brush with Qatar, Russia came to the aid of the Qatari’s thus opening cooperation between them and partners in the region. The US’s largest airbase in the Middle East is in Qatar and could be threatened if Russia’s support is deemed stronger”

      I almost died laughing at this. Did you follow this crisis at all, initially? Sure, Russia played a minor diplomatic role, but this was dwarfed by the U.S.’ role, hosting constant meetings from both side of the dispute. Consider this: Tillerson reached a deal with Qatar during a round of shuttle diplomacy aimed at ending the crisis, in which the U.S. will post DoJ officials at Qatar’ state prosecutor’s office as part of a Qatari-U.S. agreement to fight the financing of terrorism. Let me repeat: the U.S. is literally sending its lawyers to work within the Qatari government!

      “Russia has wrested once reliable NATO partner (and once anti-Assad) Turkey from attacking Assad, to cooperating with Russia in defeating the Syria Rebels of all stripes. Turkey has all but sent the USAF packing from Incirlik.”

      The USAF is very much still in Incirlik. Turkey is playing a double game and is most definitely not on Russia’s side.

      “Russia’s influence in oil rich Libya is markedly strong. They have helped defeat ISIS and filled in the void. Libyans trust Russia more than the ‘West’”

      Meh, Russia hasn’t done much in Libya. I don’t get the point of even mentioning this.

      “Egypt is now hosting naval drills with Russia, as one could never understate the strategic advantage of holding Suez over the west”

      This is my favourite part. Wanna know why? This:

      “The US now expresses concern that Russia is injecting its influence into Afghanistan, while the American military wanders aimlessly”

      Again, Russia plays a minor role here.

      “As US relations with Pakistan become more strained, cooperation with Russia is on the increase”

      One military exercise doesn’t mean much.

      “While the US preoccupies itself with war in Korea, South Korea and Russia dialogue over extending energy pipelines from Russia in an effort to increase cooperation on the peninsula. Koreans now view Russia as the mature partner, and the US as the short-sighted one”

      No, polls show that Koreans trust the U.S. more than Russia. And a single discussion on a mythical pipeline to SK is worthless at this point.

      “The economic ties of BRICS extend into the African continent and to Latin America where Russian inroads grow by the day Add in the Eurasian Sovereignty initiative of the New Silk Road (65 countries) and the geopolitical cementing of Russian goals has expanded far and wide”

      I always laugh when people mention BRICS. In reality, the “C” is most important. Russia plays an insignificantly small role in BRICS. China is the master here.

      • Noirthern Star says:

        “Northern star seems to be obsessed with calling **others** “pedophiles”.”


        No!! …you motherfucker…just you!!! LOL!!!

      • Patient Observer says:

        Please be careful as you mentioned that you

        busted my left ass cheek from laughing.

        Was it previously injured?

        Now, I did chuckle at this:

        I always laugh when people mention BRICS. In reality, the “C” is most important. Russia plays an insignificantly small role in BRICS. China is the master here.

        Russia, the only country on the planet with conventional and nuclear forces able to challenge the West but, in your mind, it is insignificantly small in BRICS? Russia is the only country in BRICS with high tech aerospace capability, advanced nuclear power technology, a global agricultural power, high tech manufacturing as well as a cultural power house (excluding rap, rock and twerking).

        Your Russophobia is showing.

        • Northern Star says:

          “busted my left ass cheek from laughing.
          Was it previously injured?”

          intense prolonged rough anal sex would explain the injury

        • Matt says:

          I am talking from an economic standpoint. Russia is dwarfed by China in BRICS. It’s economy basically a rounding error compared to China’s.

      • rkka says:

        “And yet, it only proves that dictators stay in power while democratically-elected officials don’t.”

        Assad is popular for standing up to & defeating Saudi-funded Wahabi headchoppers, for most Syrian Sunnis, to say nothing of other religious minorities, appreciate living in a secular state. You see, most Sunnis don’t want to be told that they’re apostates by a pack of obscurantist nomadic raiders who won a geological lottery.

        And they’ve won.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Gotta generally agree although much work remains to be done. Lets hope that the Western empire will go quietly in the night and the US will an appropriate role in the global community as one nation among many.

  2. Noirthern Star says:

    Matt…Matt….pedo bitch…here’s somethin’ for ya…you are hot for the kiddies…LOL!!

  3. Special_sauce says:

    Somebody mention Eva Barlett?

    • Matt says:

      That hair cut story was debunked eons ago. And it was sourced from the South Korean media, like tabloids. Yet, they make a big deal out of going to Norkea and “debunking” something previously exposed as a tabloid hoax. And of course, whining about the “corporate” media. This nasty hag, Eva, seems to be extremely mentally ill and easily duped.

  4. Special_sauce says:

    And here’s “Haircut”. The fact that I just now heard of this, relentless searcher after Commie Propagander, speaks volumes:

    • Special_sauce says:

      Volumes condensed: Ask yourself – if NorthKorea is such a shitty place where the 99% are enslaved by an elite 1, why aren’t they telling us of this evil propaganda (the Haircut) and by “they”, means the usual “msm”, in TV broadcasts, Yahoo, Reddit, radio? Don’t they want us, their “customers”, “clients”, concerned-citizens-with-freedom-on-their-minds etc, to understand this brutal enemy? Perhaps because it’s accurate and makes sense. That is a definite possiblity. Whereas the official narrative is implausible, jejune and obfuscative? Possible. Conceivable, safely within the realm of a lifetime of unbiased, nay, immersive, experience of cause and effect.

      • Matt says:

        No idea what you’re comment is trying to say. We have a clear picture of North Korea. Nothing “confusing” at all. Entities like the Daily NK, which I know Jen reads, have excellent in-country sources. Are they “corporate MSM” too?

        Did you watch that (ethnic) Russian’s documentary, where the Russian Ministry of Culture paid him to make a documentary in North Korea, which the Norkean squatter government had full control over, in which he exposed the acting, multiple takes, and utter fakery of the scenes? I linked it a few times here.

      • Jen says:

        @ Special Sauce: Needless to say, apart from that one occasion when I linked to the site, I don’t read the Daily NK.

  5. Patient Observer says:

    A rubbish newspaper again tying to weasel out of a propaganda piece:

    Under the headline“Obama sought to prod Facebook on Russia role,” the three-author story alleged that “Obama and his top aides quietly agonized over how to respond to Russia’s brazen intervention on behalf of the Donald Trump” prior to the 2016 election, before the last US president “pulled the youthful tech billionaire aside and delivered what he hoped would be a wake-up call” last November.

    Only this is not what the exchange at the APEC conference in Peru on November 19, 2016 was about – and there was no mention of political interference from Moscow or anyone else.

    Not to worry, WaPo “updated” the story. As becoming obvious to all who can fire two or more neurons, the Russia meddling campaign is collapsing in a stinking pile of crap. But, as has become routine, this debacle will soon be forgotten and replaced with a new bogus story line and the group-think community will nary blink an eye.

    My only post on this topic and awaiting the torrent of obfuscation, misdirection and straw person arguments.

    • kirill says:

      At the end of the day it is not the political system that matters but the people. Americans are too credulous and easily misdirected by the MSM.

  6. Noirthern Star says:

    a little musical interlude…apparently shot in Russia:

  7. Warren says:

    Heroin chic meets punk…………..I’m your drug!

    • Northern Star says:


      Warren..your videos are fuckin’ awesome!!!

      Let’s go to Romania..


      Ummm. .A 9 on the hotness scale of 10…agreed???

  8. Gordon says:

    I used to enjoy reading your site. But Matt’s (very) frequent comments are destroying it. Can I ask other contributors to ignore him completely, please?

    • Jen says:

      We have been advised not to feed the troll and your advice is echoed by a lot of websites on how to respond to trolling.

    • Matt says:

      et Al’s robo posts are far more frequent than mine.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Agreed that Matt has diminished the level of quality and general interest of this blog. Other trolls have come and then gone after their arguments have been refuted or the trolls could not find any allies.

      Matt is a different troll. He seems to be trying out various dirty tricks almost as if he is practicing or even seeking to demonstrate his effectiveness in disrupting a blog community. Another troll, Curt Doolittle, tried the same but his efforts were short-lived. I don’t thank Matt is part of a larger effort to damage this blog but he is driven by, lets say, his own demons.

      I limit myself to one response, if responding at all, to his postings and it seems to work in that I’m not wasting so much time refuting his endless responses involving irrelevant links, shoddy logic or misdirection. The most important step we can take is to continue posting interesting links and ideas without reference to Matt’s agenda.

  9. et Al says:

    McClatchy DC: U.S. does not believe Cuba is behind sonic attacks on American diplomats

    …“No one believes that the Cubans are responsible,” said one source, echoing comments from others who are closely involved in the situation. “All of the evidence points that they’re not.”

    Sources would not say who U.S. intelligence believes is responsible…

    …The Cubans promised they were taking the matter seriously, but raised their own concerns that two Cuban diplomats had been kicked out of Washington despite more proof that the government was involved. Rodriguez said they also want to resolve the matter, which could distract cooperation for the two neighbors…

    …”According to the preliminary results and the information we’ve shared with the U.S. authorities, there is no evidence so far that would confirm the causes or origin of the alleged health problems experienced by the U.S. diplomats and their family members,” a source familiar with the investigation told CubaDebate…

    As the piece I posted earlier via a MoA commenter that it is highly unlikely to be ‘sonic attack’ for all sorts of actual reasons.

  10. et Al says: North Korea’s Rational Nuclear Strategy

    by Ted Snider Posted on September 28, 2017

    The “insanity” label that America attaches to North Korea has a lot of political utility. First, it colors the interpretation of everything North Korea does. The consideration of a rational motivation for undesirable actions can be prevented: the actions are assumed to be crazy.

    Secondly, it makes the target of blame clear. Thirdly, and most importantly, it justifies the claim that rational discussion and diplomacy are pointless and misguided. Since the regime is irrational, it is incapable of listening to reason: the only approach that works is threats, military action and regime change.

    There is a long American history of calling opponents crazy. At times, the installation of a compliant but brutal and insane dictator has even been seen as desirable, since later – when compliance turns to inconvenience – applying the crazy label can justify his removal….

    Plenty more at the link.

  11. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    At 1:34 or so, the Ukrainian flag turns up on the floor.

    Well, Korchinsky himself did call for an alliance with IS.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Floor should be wall.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Бо що побратiмы!

      ^TerrBat “Tornado”

      Some of them are serving in the UkrPolice:

      Verily, veliry I spoke unto you – instead of the “Javelins” or other NATO grade shit, the West must supply the Warriors of Light (c) in the ATO with tankers full of vaseline. Pan Lyashko approves.

  12. et Al says:

    Already covered by others, but anything by Peter van Buren is worth posting. via Ken Burns’s ‘Vietnam War’ is No Profile in Courage

    Though Ken Burns’s 10-part PBS documentary The Vietnam War doesn’t try very hard, he can’t be blamed for failing as a filmmaker even if he had. It can’t be done. There are too many Vietnam Wars to accurately portray in a documentary, even one 18 hours long. So fair enough. But Burns’ real failure is not as a documentarian per se, it is one of courage.

    Burns teases us at the beginning of the series that there will be courage here, a reckoning of sorts, riffing off the final pages of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, showing war footage in reverse, so bombs return to their mother ship’s belly, rockets are sucked out of the bush back onto helicopters, and, in case the point wasn’t clear yet, the 1st Cav walks backwards onto their Hueys and departs the rice paddy. See, it’s an antiwar movie.

    Well, not really, or maybe not also…

    More at the link.

    • Patient Observer says:

      A much better accounting of the Vietnam war:

      Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by just a few “bad apples.” But as award-winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of official orders to “kill anything that moves.” Drawing on more than a decade of research into secret Pentagon archives and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time the workings of a military machine that resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded-what one soldier called “a My Lai a month.” Devastating and definitive, Kill Anything That Moves finally brings us face-to-face with the truth of a war that haunts America to this day.

      The Burns effort will likely be a whitewash; admitting to small transgressions, showing remorse but concluding our heart were in the right place and American is still the exceptional nation and a model for all to follow.

      • et Al says:

        Indeed PO. That’s been on my ‘must buy’ for quite a long time. Turse is regularly cited/covered on of which I have been a dedicated reader from not long after its inception.

  13. et Al says:

    Neuters via Russia to retaliate against U.S. in military observation flights row: agencies

    …The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported on Tuesday that would include restricting Russian military flights over American territory in response to what it said was Moscow preventing U.S. observation flights over its heavily militarized Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.

    Russian news agencies cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Wednesday as saying that Moscow was itself unhappy about Washington’s compliance with the same treaty and would take its own measures against the United States in response to any new U.S. restrictions. ..

    More at the link.

    It seems to me that Trump’s ‘shaking the tree’ strategy is now being more widely applied to any agreement that the US thinks is no longer fair to itself, in short hoping the other side is so afraid of the US pulling out that they will bend to the US’s demands to modify the agreement in Washington’s favor. It is set on the false basis that everyone is overawed and stupid, which they are not. Washington may throw their toys out of the pram, but the moment they actually cancel an agreement, they become fully responsible for the the legal, political and economic consequences.

    All empires rule through fear and particularly agreements in their benefit to keep as many competing elements at bay in return for a bit of peace and a few scraps from the table. Washington’s new strategy shows that this old system no longer works as it considers its own agreements as no longer fit for purpose. It’s a sign of weakness and uncertainty at the heart of the establishment. While the US is busy at war with itself, it seeks further conflict no only with its opponents, but sh*ts on its allies too. Hardly smart.

  14. et Al says:

    Russia destroyed the last stocks of its chemical weapons yesterday.

  15. et Al says:

    Asahi Shimbun via Google News: Asahi poll: 70% not buying Abe’s justification for calling snap poll

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems to have badly miscalculated in calling a snap election next month, with an Asahi Shimbun survey showing that 70 percent of eligible voters are not buying his explanation.

    The poll also found that unaffiliated voters are increasingly drawn to a dark horse party headed by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike over Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

    The Asahi Shimbun conducted a nationwide telephone survey Sept. 26-27 to gauge voters’ opinions in light of Abe’s decision to dissolve the Lower House for an Oct. 22 snap election. Valid responses totaled 1,058, or roughly half of the 2,021 people contacted…

    ….Abe’s proposal to revise Constitution to add a paragraph to Article 9 to spell out the legal existence of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces was deemed “necessary” by 39 percent of respondents, while 45 percent said it was “unnecessary.”

    Among those who support the Cabinet, 63 percent said it was “necessary,” while 68 percent of those who do not support the Cabinet replied “unnecessary,” far out numbering “necessary” given by 21 percent in the latter category….

    Plenty more stats at the link.

    Let’s hope this election blows up in Abe’s face.

  16. Lyttenburgh says:

    This is a glorious peremoga for the Democratic European Ukraine all around:

    1) Jen is right – this saves lots of budget money, by reducing the amount of the ammunition to be stored properly.

    2) This also prevents the legendary Ukrainian praposrshiks (Warrant Officers) from selling it to the potential enemy.

    3) Most important of all – this helps to advance the cause of the rapid de-communization of the Ukraine. These shells were produced in the totalitarian USSR, watered by the tears of the long-suffering Ukrainian workers (who now are liberated from their factories… and salaries). If the town itself will be damaged – all the better! In the bright Ukraine of the Future there is no place for the housings and buildings erected by the Occupational Forces.


  17. Matt says:

    Russian city officials won’t allow an opposition rally because they think the CIA invented rubber duckies


  18. Patient Observer says:

    Not trying to wave a red cape in front of our raging bull but…

    Russophobia has been resurrected. Paranoia and political agendas have paved the way for a culture of fear and mistrust of Moscow.

    The ‘knee-jerk Russophobia’ is being propelled by a furious few, some of them making a very good living from it, thank you very much.

    Simultaneously denouncing ‘misinformation’ – and making up their own stories – underqualified and overzealous Kremlin critics are bringing back decades-old suspicions and stereotypes.

    From announcing the ‘new’ Cold War, to celebrity endorsements… RT rates the top 10 Russophobes.

    Standing by for the obfuscation, misdirection and straw person response for which I will not reply.

    • Matt says:

      If you want my opinion, you could have asked for it more respectfully.


      Many of the people on that list are, IMO, mentally ill. That Molly character and especially Mensch, are full blown Schizo. Especially Mensch. She scares the crap outta me.

      As for the rest, it’s true that McCain is a classic Cold Warrior. Hillary blames Russia for losing. All justifiably bad opinions.

      I hope RT can compile a list of anti-American lunatics in Russia, of which there are a large number. Member fidget spinners, Pokemon GO, rubber duckies, anti-NATO/pro-irredentist cartoons, etc? Just a small sample.

  19. Warren says:

    Al Jazeera English
    Published on 28 Sep 2017
    The United States and two of its closest allies are in the middle of a major trade dispute.

    Washington has threatened Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier with heavy tariffs, and Canada said it may cancel a $5bn order for fighter jets.

    The US move could cost thousands of jobs in Canada and the United Kingdom.

    Al Jazeera’s Daniel Lak reports from Toronto.

    • Warren says:

      The National
      Published on 27 Sep 2017
      SUBSCRIBE 131K
      Bombardier CSeries jets have been hit with a 220 per cent duty by the U.S. Department of Commerce, almost three times what its competitor Boeing asked for. What does this mean for NAFTA negotiations and the U.S.-Canadian relationship?

      Welcome to The National, the flagship nightly newscast of CBC News

      The US has no hesitation in humiliating its vassals, no I mean “allies”. For all the talk of “special relationships” or being “cousins” – the US will always resort to naked protectionism whenever US companies cannot withstand competition. This is not the first time the US has imposed tariffs that will adversely affect the UK. Dubya imposed tariffs on non-US steel in 2002.

      • Special_sauce says:

        Merka built and stocked the DEW-line, an environmental disaster, and generously offered 100 million to help clean it up with the stipulation that instead of money Canada would get US Mil kit. Canada agreed even though the cost eventually came to 300 million.

        • Patient Observer says:

          That is typical for US foreign aid – the funds must be spent purchasing American materials and services. Can’t say its a bad requirement versus spending in other countries but it boils down to just another way to transfer public money to private hands as does virtually all government spending.

          As a kid, I remember the documentaries on the DEW line, the mid-Canada line and the Pine Tree line of radars strung out across Canada. Seemed all very impressive. Workers would stand in front of the radar antennas in the wintertime to keep warm – the first microwave ovens in a sense.

      • cartman says:

        Russia had the second largest number of orders for the CSeries until Canada’s sanctions ended the financing agreements made with EDC. Russia cut their order by 40%, but I think they would rather get away from the whole thing.

        • Warren says:

          Russia has no need to order the CSeries – Sukhoi is now manufacturing similar mid-sized aircraft.

          • Patient Observer says:

            And better by all accounts:




            We can easily call Sukhoi SuperJet 100 a revitalizer of the Russian aviation and a game-changing, modern, and worldwide certified airliner that delivers a high level of comfort and cabin capacity that is far superior to all of its competitors.

            Superior products and service are not a guarantee of success in any market but it is certainly helping the Sukhoi making progress in a highly competitive market against well-entrenched and well-funded competition.

            • kirill says:

              Aeroflot rated most dangerous company in the world. WTF. I can see that it could have had sub-par service scores, but for fuck’s sake it did not have an anomalous crash rating.


              Aeroflot has had less crashes than Air France and American Airlines in the 20 year period covered in the linked table.

              There is also the distortion that the USSR had one airline (Aeroflot) while the USA had several. A fair comparison requires aggregation of all the American air carriers. So this wiki article is utterly full of shit:



              between 1945 and 2015 the USA had 788 accidents with 10625 fatalities vs Russia with 360 accidents with 7298 fatalities. Excusing this with the US being the busiest is not good enough since the actual accident rate scales with the population. The Russian statistics are skewed by the post 1990 chaos when aircraft maintenance and skimping of fuel increased the crash rate and fatalities. These crashes were not just Aeroflot flights but from new companies which did not have the proper resources.

              • marknesop says:

                Just more distortion and bullshit. No issue is too small or cheap for the west to try it on. I wrote about this some time ago, in 2014, and the information was fairly timely for back then. Official non-partisan industry reporting reflected that Russian aviation was quite safe, while the United States and Europe tied for the highest number of crashes.

                According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the ultimate authority for commercial pilots of the world, the Russian Federation is quite responsible in the air. In its 2013 report on the State of Global Aviation Safety, North America and Europe are almost tied for the highest number of accidents. Ahhh, but Europe probably includes the Russian Federation! Yes, it does – so lets look at who had the most accidents. You’ll find that information in Appendix II (2012 accidents) and Appendix III (2013 accidents), starting on page 41. For 2012 – accidents involving aircraft of: The United States of America (24), the United Kingdom (10), and the Russian Federation (3). While the greatest number of fatalities resulted from Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT), as might be expected, the majority of accidents in 2012 were attributed to RS, Runway Safety. Patrolling aircraft of the Russian Air force are hardly likely to contribute to accidents in either case. The only category in which they might be presumed to have an effect – LCIF, or Loss of Control In-Flight – is by far the lowest accident category.

              • Patient Observer says:

                Yeah, I noticed the bogus claim about Aeroflot safety but included the link as the author was clearly uninformed at best or anti-Russian but still was impressed by the Superjet.

                I sought to cite only Western sources who had no reason to say good things about the Superjet unless true.

                • kirill says:

                  Sorry if I sound like I am offended at you. Your post was perfectly fine, I was “triggered” by the claim in the article.

    • et Al says:

      Maybe Boeing is doing COMAC a solid and hsould be investigated for collusion with China? If Boeing manages to push Bombarider to the wall, then the Chinese will be first in line. They’ve already picked up a handful of US light aircraft manufacturers that eventually went to the wall because of the 2008 financial crisis, Eclipse Aviation the latest example to put a very new light jet out there in to the market. Or maybe it is the senility of a crumbling empire…

      • marknesop says:

        I don’t think Bombardier is going to be pushed to the wall to that extent. It’s fairly diversified, and is a quite-serious player in the flight-simulator field. To be honest I’m not very disappointed to see the Super-Hornet sale turned off, as there is little to be gained in purchased aircraft which are already on the edge of obsolescence. The USA would be glad to sell the Super-Hornet, but if they don’t sell they will just be absorbed into their own fleet as stopgaps, as required, and it’s not as if you could build a new air force on the design. And that’s what we should be looking for. And although I am not a fan of Trudeau, I definitely appreciate his having scrapped the plans to buy the F-35, which would have locked us into decades of dependence on American parts and technical assistance in exchange for a fat, slow fighter that doesn’t do anything particularly well.

        In short, Bombardier is too precious a jewel in the Canadian crown to let the Chinese acquire it. The whole thing made conservative columnist Andrew Coyne so mad that he reckons we should just get out of the Aerospace business altogether, and buy the products of our American friends. I don’t know where the conservatives think all the money will come from, since advocating just buying American everything is pretty much a conservative theme. I note, however, that he mentions Boeing itself collected US$14.4 billion in federal and state subsidies and US$73.7 billion in loans over the past 17 years, according to the Subsidy Tracker website. The conservative defense seems to be “So what? Everybody does it. But the Americans do it better, we suck at it, so we should just buy their stuff”. Ummm….but where are we all going to work if we give all our jobs to Americans?

        I’d love to see Canada buy the PAK-FA-T-50, and I mentioned elsewhere that I bet we could get 100 of them for $16 Billion, while Boeing wanted to sell us about a third that many Super-Hornets for about half that price.

  20. Warren says:

    Al Jazeera English
    Published on 28 Sep 2017
    It’s the side of London many prefer to ignore.

    Anti-corruption campaigners in the British capital have organised a bus tour designed to expose money-laundering by foreigners.

    Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker has been on the latest trip focusing on Nigerian money in London.

  21. Patient Observer says:

    Despite (apparently fact-free) media pronouncement to the contrary, a coroner examination did not reveal signs of torture or physical assault against Otto Warmbier, by NK.

    North Korea has insisted that Warmbier was neither beaten, tortured nor malnourished and that DPRK media teams assisted Warmbier as his health deteriorated.

    A recent coroner’s report conducted by Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco in the United States, concluded that there were no signs that Warmbier was beaten, tortured, suffered head trauma or was poisoned.

    Warmbier’s father seemed to me, based on his media appearances, to be full of holy fire and righteous anger toward NK more so than grieving over the illness and then death of his son. True, people react differently to family tragedies but this guy seemed like he was laying the foundation for writing a book and negotiating movie rights. Again, he has suffered a lose and may be out of his mind.

  22. Special_sauce says:

    According to CBC, Russia is just one of the forces trying to oust ISIS in Syria. Basher is a dictator and Russia is backing him up in his evil ploys. Letting reporters in to take a look is just a psy-op perpetuated by Mordor. Yaddida yaddida.

    Notice, “comments disabled”.

    • kirill says:

      Except there is very little evidence of this. The SDF is the only other force supposedly fighting Daesh but the only action is in Raqqa. The whole front to the north-east of the Euphrates River is inactive. Compare this to the large scale fighting between the SAA and Daesh to the south of the Euphrates River. The recent territorial gain by the SDF against Daesh towards Deir ez-Zor demonstrates collusion since it happened in less than two days (i.e. if the SDF is this good, then why haven’t they cleared out the rest of the Daesh zone to the north-east of the Euphrates).

  23. Special_sauce says:

    The US, where freedom was born, is recruiting internet trolls.

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