The Best Health Care You Can Afford

“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

“No, I mean I’m sorry that you’ve inherited such a miserable, collapsing Old Country. A place where rich Bankers own everything, where you’ve got to be grateful for a part-time job with no benefits and no retirement plan, where the most health insurance you can afford is being careful and hoping you don’t get sick…

Cory Doctorow; Homeland

“Until fairly recently, every family had a cornucopia of favorite home remedies–plants and household items that could be prepared to treat minor medical emergencies, or to prevent a common ailment becoming something much more serious. Most households had someone with a little understanding of home cures, and when knowledge fell short, or more serious illness took hold, the family physician or village healer would be called in for a consultation, and a treatment would be agreed upon. In those days we took personal responsibility for our health–we took steps to prevent illness and were more aware of our bodies and of changes in them. And when illness struck, we frequently had the personal means to remedy it. More often than not, the treatment could be found in the garden or the larder. In the middle of the twentieth century we began to change our outlook. The advent of modern medicine, together with its many miracles, also led to a much greater dependency on our physicians and to an increasingly stretched healthcare system. The growth of the pharmaceutical industry has meant that there are indeed “cures” for most symptoms, and we have become accustomed to putting our health in the hands of someone else, and to purchasing products that make us feel good. Somewhere along the line we began to believe that technology was in some way superior to what was natural, and so we willingly gave up control of even minor health problems.”

Karen Sullivan;  The Complete Family Guide to Natural Home Remedies: Safe and Effective Treatments for Common Ailments  

No, I haven’t abandoned Uncle Volodya, or shifted my focus to American administration; what follows is a guest post on the American healthcare system, by our friend UCG. As I’ve mentioned before – on the occasion of his previous guest post, in fact – he is an ethnic Russian living in the Golden State.

As an American in America, naturally his immediate concern is going to be healthcare in America; but there are lessons within for everyone. Don’t get me wrong – doctors have done a tremendous amount of good, and medical researchers and many others from the world of medicine have made tremendous advances to which many of us owe their lives. Sadly, though, once a field goes commercial, the main focus of attention eventually becomes profit, and there are few endeavors in which the customer base will be so desperate. While there are obvious benefits to ‘socialized medicine’ such as Canada enjoys and American politicians scorn as ‘Commie’ – enough to earn the admiration of many – it results in such a backlog for major operations that those who don’t like their chances of dying first, and have the money or can somehow get it, often flee to America, where you can get a good standard of medical care without running out of time waiting for it.

Without further ado, take it away, UCG!!

Healthcare in America

This article is my opinion. My hope is that others will do their own research on America’s Healthcare Industry, because this is an issue that needs to be addressed, and for this article to be a mere starting point in this research. The reason for my citations is so that you, the reader, can verify them. Once again, this is my opinion. I write this in the first paragraph, so that I can avoid stating “in my opinion” before every sentence.

Let’s start with Owen Davis who was charged $14,018 for going to a hospital because he sliced his hand, and they fixed it.  A study published by Johns Hopkins showed that for $100 of ER treatment, some hospitals were charging patients up to $1,260.  A redditor claimed that:

I tore my ab wall a month ago and didn’t think much of it until my pain kept worsening. I went to an immediate care facility to rule out a hernia (I had all the symptoms) and they told me to get to ER ASAP. I go to the ER and they give me a CT scan and one x-ray and say it’s not a hernia and let me go. Fast forward to today and I got a bill for $9,200 and $3,900 of it is out of pocket. $9,200 for two tests???? No pain meds were administered; it was literally those two tests. What should I do to contest it? I will be calling tomorrow to demand an itemized bill, but is there anything else I should do in the meantime?

All of these took me a few minutes on Google to find, and another few minutes to post. The reason I chose that reddit, is because one of the readers offered an ingenious solution: Next time you hurt yourself – book a return ticket to NZ – go to accident and emergency, say you’re a tourist and you hurt yourself surfing, pay nothing – fly home and pocket $8,000 in spare change.  If that was me, I’d spend at least $2,000 on tourism in New Zealand. You guys have that system, so you clearly deserve the money! Anyone interested in a startup?

But I am not done with examples just yet. Shana Sweney described her experience in the emergency room: I delivered in 15 minutes. During that time, the anesthesiologist put a heart rate monitor on my finger and played on his phone. My bill for his services was $3,000. $200/minute. I talked to the insurance company about it – and since I ran my company’s benefit plans, I got a little further than most people, but ultimately, that was what their contract with the hospital said so that’s what they had to pay. Regardless of if he worked 15 minutes or 3 hours.  Similarly, my twins were born prematurely and ended up in the NICU for 2 weeks. While the NICU was in-network for my insurance, for some mysterious reason, the neonatologists that attended the NICU were out of network. I think that bill was $16k and they stopped by to see each kid for an average of about 30 min/day.

Almost done with the examples, just please bear with me. How would you like a hospital billing you $83,046 for treating a scorpion sting, if a Mexican ER might have treated you for the same type of sting for $200?  Perhaps being charged $546 for six liters of saltwater is more to your liking?  $1,420 for two hours of babysitting?  $55,000 for an appendicitis operation?  $144,000 to deliver a perfectly healthy, albeit quite impatient baby?  According to my interpretation of the sources linked, all of these actually happened. I encourage you to do your own research.

The World’s Biggest Legalized Corruption (IMHO)

$984.157 billion. That’s $984,157,000,000. That is how much money I believe the United States wastes on Healthcare. Not spends; wastes. As in money down the drain. The astute reader figured out that equates to five percent of America’s 2016 GDP. Said reader is absolutely correct. How did I estimate such a gargantuan amount? According to the OECD data, in 2013 the United States spent 16.4 percent of its GDP on Healthcare; the two next biggest spenders, Switzerland and the Netherlands spent 11.1 percent.  Even if one was to give the United States the benefit of doubt, and claim that the United States healthcare is just as efficient as that of Switzerland or the Netherlands – which is most likely not true according to an article from Business Insider,  but even if it was – that meant that the United States wastes 5.3% of its GDP on healthcare. Wastes. I just want to make sure that the amount of this alleged legalized corruption, which will most likely reach a trillion dollars by 2020, is noted.

Let me place those funds into perspective: it’s almost as much as the amount that the rest of the World spends on the military, combined.   The SCO member states, including China, Russia, India, and Pakistan spent roughly $360 billion on the military.  The wasted amount is equivalent to the GDP of Indonesia, and greater than the GDP of Turkey or Switzerland.  In 2016, the US Federal Government spent $362 billion, or 36.8% of the wasted amount, to run all Federal Programs, including the Department of Education and NASA, with the exception of Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, Veteran’s Affairs, the military, and net interest on the US debt.  All other Federal Programs were covered with the $362 billion. The US Federal Debt stands at $20.4 trillion, meaning that the debt can be paid off in 30 years, merely if the Healthcare Waste is eliminated.

But why stop there? The US Housing Crisis started partly because loans were allowed to be taken out without the 20% down payment. Could this funding, if applied directly to the housing market, stop the 2008 Great Recession? Absolutely, and all the Federal Government had to do was to gear these funds towards down payment on subprime mortgage loans to meet the 20 percent barrier.  I can go on and on about what can be accomplished, like making collegiate attendance free, or at least very inexpensive, or drastically improving the quality of education, paying off the national debt, reinvesting into the economy, reinvigorating the rural sector, and so on, and so forth. A trillion dollars is a lot of money.

Lobbyists, the Media and the Waste

Any guess how much was spent on lobbying by the Healthcare, Insurance, Hospitals, Health Professionals, and HMOs? How about 10.5 billion dollars?  I knew that was your guess! That’s a lot of money, and that does not include “speaking fees”, or when a politician who constantly made calls beneficial to the Healthcare Lobby gets $150,000 to speak in front of an audience after they retire from politics. Obama made a speech in front of Wall Street, netting $400,000.  And by pure coincidence, only one Wall Street Broker was jailed as a result of the scandal.  That $10.5 billion is just a tip of the iceberg, because “speaking fees” are notoriously hard to track, and not included in said amount.

Obama genuinely tried to reform US Healthcare to the Swiss Model. He was going to let Wall Street slide, he was going to let Neocons conduct foreign policy, just please, let him have healthcare! First, the lobbyists laughed in his face. Second, they utilized the Blue Dog Coalition to block Obama’s attempt at Healthcare Reform,  until it was phenomenally nerfed, and we have the disaster that we have today.  As a result, Obama’s Legacy, Obamacare is having major issues, including the rise of racism.

Obamacare helped the poor, (mostly minorities,) at the expense of the middle class, (mostly whites,) thus transferring funding from whites to minorities. While the intent was not racial, it is being called out as racial by the mainstream media.  This probably suits the lobbyists, because if the debate is about racism, one cannot have a genuine discussion about Healthcare Reform.

Racism strikes both ways. Samantha Bee came out with a “fuck you white people” message right after the election.  Jon Stewart, without whom she probably wouldn’t have her own show, pointed out that it was simply economics, like the healthcare insurance premium increase, that brought Donald Trump to power.  Interestingly enough, James Carville made the same argument when Bill Clinton beat George Bush, but when Hillary Clinton lost, Carville was quick to blame Russia. These delusions on the Left are letting the Right mobilize stronger than ever before. And all of this takes away from the Healthcare Debate.

In an attempt to blame Trump’s Election on white racism, rather than basic economics, numerous outlets simply fell flat. For instance, Eric Sasson writes: white men went 63 percent for Trump versus 31 percent for Clinton, and white women went 53-43 percent. Among college-educated whites, only 39 percent of men and 51 percent of women voted for Clinton… What’s more, these people hadn’t suffered under Obama; they’d thrived. The kind of change Trump was espousing wasn’t supposed to connect with this group.

Did this group thrive? The collegiate debt went from $600 billion to $1.4 trillion under Obama’s Administration,  while the health insurance increased from $13,000 to $18,000 per family. This is thriving? Was the author experimenting with medical marijuana when said article was written? Nevertheless, the parade of insanity continued, with Salon assuring us that it was blatant racism that gave us Trump.  The Root, which also claimed that Russians attempted to hack election machines, pointed out that Russia exploited America’s racism, and thus Trump won the election.  Washington Post claimed that racism motivated white people more than authoritarianism.  Comedian Bill Maher tried to sway the discussion back to economics, by pointing out that outrage over Pocahontas or Halloween should not stop the Democrats from working for the working man.  Sadly, Maher and Stewart are in the minority, and instead of a Healthcare Debate, the US is now stuck in a debate over racism, which isn’t even three-fifths as effective. Meanwhile the US continues to waste almost a trillion dollars on healthcare. 

Who Benefits?

Let’s start with the banks. Medical students graduate with an average of $416,216 in student debt.  The average interest rate on said loan is seven percent.  Roughly 20,055 students go through this program, per year.  Presuming a twenty year loan, the banks are looking at about $7.185 billion in interest payments. It really is a small fraction of the cost. Prescription drug prices are another story. In 2014, Medicare spent $112 billion on medicine for the elderly.  Oh la la! Cha-ching. I would not be surprised if at least half of that was wasted on drug price inflation. You know the health insurance companies? It’s a great time to be one, since profits are booming – to the tune of $18 billion in projected revenue for 2017.

Of course the system itself is quite wasteful, with needless hours spent on paperwork, claim verification, contractual review, etc, etc, etc. Humana’s revenue was $54.4 billion,  Aetna’s was $63.2 billion,  Anthem’s was $85 billion,  Cigna’s was $39.7 billion,  and UnitedHealth’s was $184.8 billion.  Those are just the top five companies. None of them ia a mom-and-pop shop or small business store. Do any of these insurers support Obamacare? Even if they do, it is without much enthusiasm.  They are leaving, and leaving quite quickly. Thirty-one percent of American counties will have just one healthcare insurer.  Welcome to a monopoly that is artificially creating itself. And despite the waste, 28.2 million Americans remain uninsured.  Mission accomplished!

Who else benefits? Those who hire illegal immigrants instead of American workers, since illegal immigrants cost the United States roughly $25 billion in Healthcare spending.  Meanwhile those who hire them can avoid certain types of taxes and not have to cover their Healthcare; communism for the rich, capitalism for the rest of us. Of course that is just a rough estimate, since this spending is also quite hard to track.

The Future

The problem with changing Healthcare is that too many people have their hands in the proverbial pie. There is not a single lever of power that isn’t affected by Healthcare, and most of the levers that are affected, benefit quite a bit. Insurance companies will fight to the death, because Universal Healthcare will be their death knell. Banks will defend it, because who doesn’t want to make billions from student loans? Medical schools too – since it lets them charge higher and higher tuition. Pharmaceutical companies can use the increase in Healthcare expenditure to justify their own price hikes, even though a major reason for those price hikes is artificial patent based monopoly.

What is an artificial monopoly? In my opinion, it’s when a patent is utilized to prevent competitors from manufacturing the same exact drug. In less than a decade, the price of Epi-Pen soared from $103.50 to $608.61. When asked the justify said increase, one of the reasons provided by the CEO was that the price went up because we were making investment; as I said, about $1 billion over the last decade that we invested in the product that we could reach physicians and educate legislatures.  “Reaching” doctors and legislators; I wonder, how was said “education funding” spent? According to US News, a website that is extremely credible when it comes to internal decision making within the United States, drug companies have long courted doctors with gifts, from speaking and consulting fees to educational materials to food and drink. But while most doctors do not believe these gifts influence their decisions about which drugs to prescribe, a new study found the gifts actually can make a difference – something patient advocates have voiced concern about in the past.  Do you feel educated? Would you feel more educated if I paid you a $150,000 consulting fee? What about $400,000? What? It’s just consulting; no corruption here!

Everyone knows that this is going on. But there is not going to be change. Why not? The same reason that there was not change with Harvey Weinstein, until Taylor Swift came along. Remember how I said that almost everyone has their hands in the Healthcare Pie? It was not much different with Weinstein. Scott Rosenberg explained why it took so long for people to speak out against Harvey, and the reasons were numerous.  First, Harvey gave many people their start in Hollywood, and treated all of his friends like royalty. That drastically increased their loyalty. Second, he ushered the Golden Age of the 1990s, with movies like Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, Clerks, Swingers, Scream, Good Will Hunting, English Patient, Life is Beautiful – the man could make phenomenal movies. Third, even if one was willing to go against his own friends, workers, mass media, and so on, there was no one to tell. There was no place to speak out. Fourth, some of the victims took hefty settlements.

That fourth reason enabled mass media to portray rape victims as gold diggers. Rape Culture is alive and well. In California, a Judge gave minimal sentencing to a convicted rapist, because he was afraid a harsher sentence would damage the rapist’s mental psyche for life.  Uh dude, from one Californian to another, he, uh, raped. His mental psyche is already damaged; for life. That’s the kind of pressure that Rose McGowan had to deal with. She had a little kerfuffle with Amazon, and she thinks it was partially because of Harvey Weinstein.  How many times had the word “socialism” been thrown around to describe Universal Healthcare? Switzerland has it – are they Socialist?

Enter Taylor Swift. In order to destroy allegations that women are filing sexual harassment claims as gold diggers, she sued her alleged sexual assaulter for a buck; one dollar. She won.  Swift stated that the lawsuit was to serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.  On top of that, Weinstein was no longer as popular as he used to be, and an avenue to tell the story, an outlet was created. The additional prevalence of the internet caused the stories of Weinstein’s sexual abuse to leak. Within a month, the giant fell.

Something similar is needed to change Healthcare in America. But until that comes along, racism will increase, the cost of Healthcare will rise, emergency room costs will most likely double every ten years, and the future remains bleak. As if that was not enough, more and more upper class Americans, (like yours truly,) are seeking treatment abroad. It cost me less money to lose five weeks of wages, spend three weeks partying in Eastern Europe, (Prague to be more specific,) after my two weeks of treatment, buy a roundtrip plane ticket, and stay in a five star, all-inclusive hotel, than the cost of the same treatment in the US. If anyone wants to utilize this as a startup – let me know!

Of course its effects on Healthcare will hurt, since it is a huge chunk of business that will be traveling across the Atlantic. But what can be done to stop it? One cannot stop Americans from traveling to other countries. One cannot force the poor to work for free. Perhaps this is the change that is needed to make those who benefit from the Healthcare Waste realize that this cannot continue. Perhaps not. What we do know, is that Obamacare insured the poor, at the expense of the middle class.  And that is regarded as a failure in America.



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386 Responses to The Best Health Care You Can Afford

  1. Patient Observer says:

    There was a debate regarding the significance of RT being declared as a foreign agent in the US. It was claimed that only a holding company (or something similar) was declared such thus RT itself would not be adversely affected. The reality was, as expected by most who commented, quite different:

    A congressional committee in the US has revoked RT America’s accreditation on Capitol Hill, citing its ‘foreign agent’ status. RT America received a letter, informing the network of the decision and asking it to return “credentials to the Senate Sergeant.”

    • kirill says:

      Russia needs to grow a pair and list all NATzO MSM outfits as hostile foreign agents and clamp down on their 5th column enabling activity on its soil. Let NATzO poop its pants with shrieking about human rights. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

    • marknesop says:

      It is totally up to the US government if it wants to restrict what its people are allowed to see and hear. But it must not squeal when Russia does the same thing.

      I said Washington was looking for a way to get RT off the air two years ago.

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    Le grand sacandal within tight and friendly ranks of Russian monarchists:

    Poklonskaya refused the order and the “noble title” because of “Matilda”

    “State Duma deputy Natalia Poklonskaya in Facebook announced that she was refusing the Order “For the Preservation of Peace on the Crimean Land” because of the position of the head of the Russian Imperial House regarding the film “Matilda”.”

    “Three years ago Poklonska was awarded the Order “For the Preservation of Peace in the Crimean Land” by Maria Vladimirovna Mukhranskaya-Hohenzollern, the head of the Russian Imperial House.

    “I made a decision to return to Maria Vladimirovna Mukhranskaya-Hohenzollern the award once handed to me along with the” granted” to me “noble titles” which I do not need,” – wrote the member of parliament.

    According to her, this decision is connected with the position of Mukhran-Hohenzollern and her official representative Alexander Zakatov, who refused to oppose the film “Matilda”.

    The deputy expressed her confidence that Maria Mukhranskaya-Hohenzollern and her representatives belonged to the category of people who, at the beginning of the last century, were complicit in conspiracies against Nicholas II.

    This is the true face of such associations, profiteering on the royal family. It is very similar to the situation in 1907-1917, when the Sovereign was not simply criticized but has also being targeted by plots of his closest relatives seeking to discredit and overthrow him,” – announced Poklonskaya.

    Previously Princess Maria Vladimirovna Mukhranskaya-Hohenzollern and her representative stated that they did not see any reason to ban the scrrenong of Alexei Uchitel’s “Matilda”. According to her, “no person, even saints and heroes, can be turned into a sacred cow”

    P.S. “Matilda” was the most expensive movie in the history of Russian cinematograph with the budget 1.5. billion rubles of budget money. Nearly a month after its premier (for which the premiers of other blockbusters, like “Thor III: Ragnarok” were postponed) it managed to earn just 500 million rubles. Given that the movie theatres get half the money, we can safely say it right now – “Matilda” also became the greatest money pit in the history of Russian cinematograph.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Monarchism and the “crunch of the French bread”. Expectations:

      And reality:

      ^ “Porqua, Natalie?!”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Better: Warum, Natalie?

        Maria Vladimirovna Mukhranskaya-Hohenzollern, who also styles herself as a Russian “Grand Duchesss” and “head” of the “House of Romanov”, is the former Frau of the “King of Prussia”, hence the “Hohenzollern” tag on her family name!

        Warum nicht, dicke Sau?

    • yalensis says:

      Well, this is what happens when directors make bad movies – everybody suffers!
      The moral of the story: Please people, start making good movies!

  3. Northern Star says:

    Some Stooges appear to be particularly taken with the imagery of howling north sea whipped ocean blasts against a submarine conning tower…where you stood ..iron jaw to the icy wind…

  4. marknesop says:

    Please, Sir; may I have some more reforms?

    The head of Ukraine’s council of judges Valentina Simonenko said in a statement that the incident was the “logical result” of the government’s failure to address complaints about inadequate security in courts.

    Yes, of course: that’s it. It couldn’t be that ordinary people perceive they cannot ever get justice in Ukrainian courts.

  5. marknesop says:

    More Ukrainian squalling about the Aggressor Country, dragging it down and preventing it from becoming the blooming flower of Europe.

    After the clear European choice the Ukrainians had made and the Russian military aggression that followed, Ukraine lost about 20% of its industrial potential, while the volume of GDP in the dollar equivalent decreased by several times. Moreover, Russia, traditionally a key market for Ukrainian goods, in addition to military aggression and occupation of part of Ukraine’s territory, has closed access to a significant part of Ukrainian exports. Besides, in violation of the norms of international trade, Ukraine’s northern neighbor began blocking transit of goods to the countries of Central Asia through its territory.

    After being spat upon and reviled, being blamed for every single thing that goes wrong in Ukraine, after being framed with crude dog & pony shows by Ukrainian actors, after Yatsenyuk’s ranting about building a wall to keep the dirty Moskali out…it transpires Russia was still supposed to buy lots of Ukrainian goods, and make it easy for Ukrainians to trade with other countries across its own territory. After being labeled ‘the Aggressor Country’ and treated in every way like Ukraine’s always-enemy, blamed for every moral and economic failure…

    Russia remains Ukraine’s biggest foreign investor, pumping $1.67 Billion into Ukraine’s economy last year. The next-closest competitor was Cyprus; at $427 million, only a quarter of what Ukraine received in Russian investment.

    It sounds, from the lead article, like the EU is growing a little tired with getting nothing for its money but more Ukrainian smirking and excuses.

    • marknesop says:

      See what I mean? The Guardian – after doing yeoman service for Ukraine by whitewashing its civil war and sniping at Putin on its behalf, pens one article that offends the Ukrainian government’s smug self-image. And who’s to blame?? You guessed it.

      While the article is supposed to tell the audience about the healthcare system of Ukraine within the framework of a touching story of the British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh and his assistance to the Ukrainian colleagues, its red line, Ambassador Galibarenko says, “turned out to be a mixture of the Russian propaganda slogans which the Kremlin is spreading extensively in the Western societies as an instrument of its dirty propaganda”.

      • marknesop says:

        And what do those western backers want to see from Ukraine? More Russophobia.

        “The challenge for Ukraine today is not simply to defend itself, not simply to prevail in war and current conflict,” said James Sherr, an associate fellow at Chatham House, a British-based think tank.

        “(Ukraine has) to demonstrate, both to the West and in the end to Russia, that (it) is not a part of Russia’s cultural and historical bloodline, but that Ukraine is Ukraine. And that the war that Russia started in eastern Ukraine has made it more Ukrainian that it was before.”

        Dance, monkeys!!! Dance!!! Ahh ha ha hahahahahahaha!! Show me how much you hate the Aggressor Country, and I’ll see if I can get the boys upstairs to throw down a couple more handfuls of silver.

        How stupid are you, really, if you keep running to fetch the stick that is used to beat you?

  6. marknesop says:

    Yet again this year, Ukraine pays far more to buy Russian gas from Europe than it would have just buying it from Russia. But that would not have been showing its European backers that Ukrainians and Russians have no common bond, and might have implied Ukrainians were not the dirty Moskals’ genetic and intellectual superiors. Oh, and that Ukraine is not more united – and Ukrainian – than it ever was. Also.

    That kind of show doesn’t come cheap. So Ukraine paid $172 Million more for its gas. I think the year before it was something like $72 Million. I remember remarking at the time that it was of little consequence how much they overpaid when the EU gives them money to buy gas. I can’t help wondering if they will be such big spenders when the free lolly runs out. And it will.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Off topic:

    Just found this stunning work of performance art by she who, according to one of her California admirers, speaks as though she has “1000 years of philosophy in her head”:

    I did not wish to paste it because it really is, from my uneducated point of view, a vulgar, tasteless waste of space.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Oh bollocks!

      It has been pasted.

      I thought I had just posted the link.

      Well, as they say in the USA: Enjoy!

      (Is that an order?)

        • yalensis says:

          No, no, this is true art. The rhymes are right up there with the best of Longfellow:

          “Put your pussy on a diet.
          We gonna start a riot!”

          And not shying away from partial rhymes, as mandated by Osip Brik and the other great futurists, for example the daring decision to partial-rhyme “pussy” with “cookie”.
          And then, in the very next verse, throwing in the full rhyme with “bookie”. Brilliant!

          The whole experience of this chef d’oeuvres — the music, the lyrics, the superb acting, the shocking use of a child saying potty-mouth things, the daring flirt with porn — nobody else ever thought of combining philosophy with pornography, this is a remarkably original concept — and just the general edginess of this piece… a true classic of our time.
          If this masterpiece doesn’t win some kind of international award, then there is no justice in our universe, and we should all hang ourselves in protest!

    • marknesop says:

      Inspired by her, maybe. She’s not in it anywhere. And she probably could have 1000 years of philosophy in her head – God knows there’s plenty of room.

      • Jen says:

        Question is whose philosophy and whose head or where that head is.

        Oops …


      • Moscow Exile says:

        She is in it.

        She’s at 0:21, right at the start, and she’s in the nun outfit at 1:19 and at 1:59 and so on.

        She’s the bloody Mother Superior of her gang of weirdos.

        It’s her voice as well: I recognize her cute accent.

        Look at 3:09 when she takes off her balaklava.

        It’s her hair style that’s different, but that’s Tolko — or whatever her pals now call her.

        Look at 3:22 and at 3:58 and 4:09 and 4:14 with her rubber duck!

        “This is how we all came into the world”, intones a male voice at the end.

        Has she just discovered the function of the birth-canal and its accoutrements that she was born with?

        Has she only just found out about what old St. Augustine of Hippo stated so succinctly over one-and-a-half millenia ago, namely:

        Inter faeces et urinam nascimur

        Old Gus did a fair amount of shagging in his time, by the way, before he became holy.

        That’s what they say, anyway.

        And Tintin says it is her in the nun outfit as well:

        Pussy Riot celebrate the vagina in lyrical riposte to Trump

        The Russian punk band’s latest video Straight Outta Vagina, released on Tuesday, features Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova wearing white clerical robes and trademark balaclava, plus a chorus line of men and women sitting in toilet cubicles and standing at urinals. There is also an inflatable duck.

        Well, old Lukey boy should know, for it takes a cnut to spot one!

        • Jen says:

          Well Tolokno should know what a vagina is for – she’s the mother of a child.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yes, you never hear of her child now, a daughter, who was toted around Europe and the USA by her father when Tolokonnikova was inside. In fact, the “artist” appealed for parole on more than one occasion, I am sure, on the grounds that her child was being deprived of her loving mother as a result of the custodial sentence she had received for arsing around in a cathedral.

            Tolokonnikova’s fellow inmate, Maria Alyokhina, did the same as regards her child as well. (Lukey boy calls Alyokhina “Masha” ‘cos he must be dead pally with her, see.) But now it seems that Alyokhina is an actress.

            I wonder if her daughter tours with her?

            If rightly recall, she used to describe herself up to and during her trial, as well as during her incarceration, as a student of journalism, yet now she is treading the boards.

            And I wonder what Pyotr Verzilov (aka “Porky Pete” and “Pete the Pedo”), Tolokonnikova’s husband, is up to these days?

            Five years ago, “Nadya” and “Masha” seemed none too pleased with Verzilov:

            Pussy Riot: Petr Verzilov is a fraudster! His interviews are lie [sic] and provocation!

            Fraudsters all, in my opinion, albeit that of an insignificant Englishman.

            “Bullshitters” is a more apt term, I should imagine.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, it’s perfectly normal to change careers several times, and Masha chose another one, evidently, where she ‘faces detention for protesting against the regime’. Poor souls, they never know where they will be from one day to the next; at home being loving mothers to their children, or in jail.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                It’s been forgotten by most now, I suppose, but I recall some scandal occurring before Tolokonnikova achieved infamy, but clearly after she had simulated sex in a museum with her husband whilst heavily pregnant, when the social services took her baby daughter off her and Porky Pete.

                They must have still both been pretending to be students of philosophy then at MSU, though Pete had got the old heave-ho from there long before the doting mother Nadezhda did.

                The child was taken by the social services because of reports of criminal negligence by the mother: the child had fallen of a table or something and had got knocked out, had to be hospitilized for observation or whatever.

                Anyway, as things turned out, one of the baby’s grandmothers took the child into her care.

                That was before Pete started traipsing around Europe and the USA with the child and begging for funds whilst mummy was sewing police trousers in a “colony” in Mordovia.

                • marknesop says:

                  Here’s the waif, with Mumsie, in happier times. She must grow up quickly so she can take the reins of performance art from Mummy, and tell the world all about her pussy and why it controls the world.

                  Sarcasm, of course, although if Mummy remains desultorily in the public eye over the next decade or so, interest will inevitably return to the child and whether she is going to be a legendary activist hero like Mummy.

                  She’s a cute little kid; her mother is very attractive, or would be if she didn’t have a streak of self-centered cunning a mile wide. With a little luck she will grow up without knowing who her parents are.

                  And yes, that is her in the video; she’s changed her hair again. Impressive how much English she’s learned, isn’t it? but then, the Russian word is the same, just pronounced differently.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Yoko Ono presented the ‘LennonOno Grant for Peace’ to Pyotr Verzilov in New York, September 21, 2012. His daughter, Gera, was then 4 years old.

                  Any questions?

                  As regards my stating that he and his talented and heavily pregnant wife simulated sex in public during an “event” held in a Moscow museum, here’s a question from the above inked site:

                  What are some of the sassier stunts you’ve pulled?
                  At the height of Russia’s economic crisis, Voina—an art collective I’m affiliated with—projected a skull and crossbones on the parliament building. We mock-lynched gay activists and migrant workers from Central Asia to highlight the homophobic and xenophobic policies. We staged a punk concert in a Russian courtroom during a trial that tried to indict art performers. We released thousands of cockroaches into a courtroom. I had sex with Nadya at a public museum in a stunt to protest then-president Medvedev’s faux presidency.

                  Were you actually having sex, or just pretending?
                  It was the full deal. We wanted to liken the physical act of love with pornography and the way democracy compares to the imitation of democracy in Russia.

                  Oh why wasn’t I gifted with such outstanding artistic talent as Pyotr has?

                • marknesop says:

                  I wonder if ‘the physical act of love’ for him involves him fiddling with his bits to get himself…ummm…fit to perform, or whether that’s just whenever he decides to carry out ‘the physical act of love’ in a public place. Verzilov has shown me the way! The physical act of love does not need to be private – the truly free do it wherever and whenever they feel like it! What a blast of freedom for their fellow citizens! Those who have passed the capability for the physical act of love can stand on the sidelines and do a rhythmic chant of encouragement, or something.

                  Curiously enough, one of the few occasions in which the vote in Russia – in their faux democracy – did not almost exactly match the way advance polls said it was going to go was the re-election of Boris Vodkovich Yeltsin, an event celebrated in the west as a triumph of real democracy. Russian dissidents must have been so proud. Not Pete, of course; he was only 9 then, and probably democracy, not to mention rogering the missus in a public museum, was far from his thoughts.

        • marknesop says:

          I accept your judgment – I really don’t want to look at it again. I just watched the principal ‘singers’, and was quite sure she was neither of those. The more celebrations of western ‘values’ I see, the more disgusted I become.

        • Jen says:

          @ Moscow Exile: I’d be interested in hearing ME Junior’s rapping efforts and seeing any music videos he might have made and posted online. Does he have a bandcamp page or a Youtube channel? Or is he willing to let you post a link to his music here? Thanks.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            @ Jen:

            Vladimir Denisovich says “OK”.

            Here’s a link to hear some of his works.

            Please note that I no longer bear any responsibility for what he says or does as he turned 18 years of age on July 31 of this year.

            Enter at your peril.

            You have been warned!

            His little ditty “Winston Boy” is the one that has most hits. It’s called “Winston Boy” because he smokes “Winston”.

            And there was I thinking that his English genes may have been the reason for the title.

            Alas, it seems that his mother’s Mongol-Tatar- Finno-Ugric genes are the dominant ones in his biological blueprint.

            • Cortes says:

              Good luck to your #1 Son, ME.

              Here’s another stellar Winston:

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Very funny! I had never heard of this sitcom before and the stage show that gave rise to it, such is one of the many penalties that ensue from my self-exile.

                Those three Glaswegian pensioners are, in my opinion, much funnier than those three that appeared in the English sitcom “Last of the Summer Wine”, which sitcom I did occasionally see in the ’80s and never liked.

                Folk used to rave about “Last of the Summer Wine”, situated in the Yorkshire West Riding village of Holmfirth, but I didn’t. And none of the actors who played the three main characters in that sitcom were Yorkies either, but Londoners, albeit one, former Ghurka Major Michael Bates, was born in the British Raj.

                I suppose they had to do that — I mean have Londoners playing 3 Yorkshire pensioners.

                At the start of the daily meeting on some park bench, a conversation between 3 real Yorkshire curmudgeon pensioners would go something like this:

                — Mornin’!

                — ‘Ow do?

                — Nah then?

                Followed by silence for 1 hour.


                • Cortes says:

                  Yes, LOTSW was singularly unfunny, following the tradition of such “greats” as Morecambe and Wise and Terry and June.
                  The “fast forward” sketch is a true classic. Many a time I could have used it to deal with Mrs C, whose narrative system is reminiscent of a tangled ball of wool. Even with the patience of a saint I have been reduced to bellowing “FFS! Get to the effing point!”
                  “Still Game” is a sitcom with very funny episodes. The guys made it after the success of their sketch show “Chewing the Fat.”
                  The very best British sitcom ever was “Early Doors” by some of the people who made “The Royle Family””; ED is set in the crappiest pub in greater Manchester and is fantastic. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

            • Jen says:

              I heard several songs already. I actually think they are very good. Your wayward heir has an ear for melody and rhythm and even though he is probably composing on software with built-in effects and rhythms, he really does know which combinations and layers of effects, rhythms and melodies work for him to get the mood he wants. Plus he is doing all this in a pop-song format of no more than three minutes in length. He’s not a bad singer either and he could probably do with some training for a stronger singing voice.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                He has a fan base, and not only in Mordor: he chats away with folk in Sweden, Finland, Germany and other places — Italy as well, I think. There’s no judging taste!

                My wife told me last night that some sad youth had recently emailed Vova in order to tell him that one of my son’s dirges was so filled with emotion that he had attempted to slash his wrists whilst listening to it.

                I kid you not!

                Vova had told her about this, apparently with some satisfaction over the fact that the emotive content of one of his works had been proven.

                I said to her: “What did he say to you: ‘Wow! —I’ve almost had my first suicide’?”

                • Cortes says:


                • Jen says:

                  Depressive music is very popular among young people these days. There are genres in metal that specialise in depressive emotions and feelings. Most of the music isn’t great either and much of it is formulaic. A lot includes acoustic guitar strumming and I did notice acoustic guitar samples in some of your son’s songs. I’m not saying that acoustic guitar music by itself is “emotional” or “depressing” – it’s just the way it is played – but it looks as if a lot of youngsters these days associate acoustic guitar music with “emotion” and negative feeling so that when they hear it, they start to feel sad. Quite scary to think that young people have been subjected to that kind of unintentional mind programming!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  That was Vova playing the guitar. He used to play the oboe as well.

  8. saskydisc says:

    What follows is a translation of a follow-up by Max van der Werff regarding the hit-pieces in NRC; I was out of town last weekend, and thus did not have time to translate this piece. I should also make another comment; in previous translations, I misidentified Omtzigt as a cabinet member. The term used was Kamerlid, which would be directly translated as Chamber Member. As there was no distinction made, I assumed that a cabinet was intended, as opposed to a parliament or senate; this assumption was wrong [this piece indicates to which chamber Omtzigt belongs], and there are two chambers. The first chamber is akin to a senate, and the second chamber, to which Omtzigt belongs, is akin to a parliament.

    From NRC to polder*-PRAVDA

    *A polder is a piece of land reclaimed, typically from the sea and below sea-level, typical of the Netherlands; thus polder-Pravda is Dutch Pravda.
    Posted on November 24, 2017

    Bad Fact checks, a story based largely on an untrustworthy informant, limited and often absent opportunity to provide response, improper use of source protection/anonymity, misrepresentation of facts, misquoting colleagues, violation of one’s own ethical code. These are merely a few of the criticisms made of NRC Handelsblad on social media.

    Purpose of this article: factchecking that is prompted [suggested] by the NRC-claimed Russian influence.

    NRC Handelsblad:
    From within Russia, all sorts of disinformation is spread regarding the perpetration of the MH-17 disaster and the wars in Ukraine [missing article in Dutch…] and Syria. That also has consequences in the Netherlands. NRC investigated where in the Netherlands we may find such theories.

    The investigation resulted in a series of four articles:

    – How doubt is spread regarding MH17.
    – Relatives of MH17 victims are harrassed by disinformation.
    – Pro-Russian activists try to play public opinion in the Netherlands.
    – Trolls fight to affect politics.

    10 November, part 1: “How doubt is spread regarding MH17.”

    “Regarding the cause of the disaster with flight MH17, information is spread that is demonstrateably wrong. CDA politician Pieter Omtzigt played an important role in this.

    Very quickly, diverse news professionals made devastating criticisms in the way in which NRC connected second Chamber member Pieter Omtzigt with Russian disinformation.

    [Tweet from Pieter Klein]
    And, for the recording of history: I first warned this NRC journalist off the record of what I found on reading the publication.
    Yet he wanted to cite.
    I said, OK, but only if you clearly mention my substantial criticism.
    Well, [that thus] did not [happen]
    [End Tweet]
    [Response Tweet from Ton Elias]
    But Pieter, among Dutch journalists, such conduct is common.
    [End Tweet]

    Some time ago (fully half a year ago! [sarcasm]), Omtzigt got involved in a Babylonian speech confusion [Tower of Babylon]. During a short meeting, he talked with a translator who had to translate everything for Aleksandr [here vd Berg uses the Russian form]. This meeting was organised by Jeroen van Rijsbergen. I knew that this van Rijsbergen had already interviewed this witness in February 2017, and that he knew that the witness had not been at the crash site on the fatal day of 17 July 2014. Why van Rijsbergen still kept on sending this witness for his statements is a great mystery. Until now, no-one has managed to get an answer from him [van Rijsberg—vd Werff sarcastically capitalises the ‘van’ in van Rijsberg throughout].
    In no way could Omtzigt and the witness directly communicate, and the translator was no translator. NRC neglected to ask the witness and the translator for their respective versions of events. How do I know that? Because Marcel van den Berg en I had done exactly that, and in this way came to know that NRC hadn’t heard from either. The tolk acknowledged in knightly fashion [sarcasm], “I made mistakes in the translation.”

    Two weeks after the appearance of this NRC-article, neither the authors nor the main editor of NRC Handelsblad answered the basic question:

    What precisely constitutes the Russian influence in the events in this article?”

    Factcheck. Indicated Russian influence: none whatsoever.

    13 November, part 2:
    “Relatives of victims of MH17 repeatedly harrassed [burden attack] with disinformation.”

    NRC Handelsblad:
    Doubt sowers. Relatives of MH17 victims are continuously harrassed by people who claim to know who is responsible for the disaster.

    In the article, four people are named: Julia Stefanini, Josef Resch, Billy Six and Constantin Karmanov. We revisit what NRC had mentioned about these individuals.

    *Julia Stefanini. NRC:
    “Politics attracted her and it shows: Julia Stefanini’s real name is Adriana Hendrica J., who was arrested in 2010 for fraud and swindle. The Public Ministry warned all relatives of survivors regarding Stefanini, in an email. All information that ‘Stefanini’ would have, would be from open sources. The woman [Stefanini] does not want to react.”

    Factcheck. Indicated Russian influence: none whatsoever.

    *Josef Resch. NRC:
    “He seeks attention. He made the pretence that he would inform relatives who was really responsible. But when the group [of relatives of victims] arrived in Keulen, it became obvious that Resch merely sought attention: he seeks that the relatives ask him to publicly reveal his findings. ‘I became very angry,’ told Fredriksz. ‘I said: either you tell us now what you know, or we leave.’ That was the last.”

    Nota bene. NRC itself wrote: “What drives Resch is unclear.”

    Factcheck. Indicated Russian influence: none whatsoever.

    *Billy Six. NRC:
    “Another German, amateur investigator Billy Six, who claims that Russia had nothing to do with the disaster, had sought contact with her [Silene Fredriksz] a year before. He asked her to sign a letter in which then presidential candidate Donald Trump was requested to initiate a new investigation into MH17, as the work of the Dutch investigation board was not ‘independent and not compelling.’ Trump also appears to doubt the Russian role.”

    Claim of NRC: Billy Six is of the opinion that Russia had nothing to do with the disaster.

    My question to Billy Six [15 November 20:52 Fb chat]:

    Hi Billy, so what is your official position what happened to MH17? NRC wrote you are sure Russia has nothing to do with it. Have you ever said or written this?

    Answer from Billy Six [17 November 3:28 Fb chat]:

    “Hi Max!
    Billy Six
    I can not remember to have said that “Russia has nothing to do with it” … in my documentaries I have criticized the Russian information policy and contradictions in their statements on MH17. What I say is the same as German airforce general Dr. Hermann Hagena: It is much more likely the MH17 to have been attacked from the air than from the ground. But the ones who did it can only be discovered by an official investigation, using satellite and radar images. I don´t have such material.”

    Question: On what does NRC base the claim that Billy Six would be of the opinion that Russia had nothing to do with the disaster?

    Factcheck. Indicated Russian influence: none whatsoever.

    *Constantin Karmanov. NRC [full quote]:

    “Constantin Karmanov, a philosopher from Maarssen in Utrecht, also repeatedly shows up at meetings of relatives of survivors and Chamber debates regarding MH17. He then presents himself as the official representative of the Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer Antonov, in the Netherlands. And he tells them [relatives of survivors] that they are being lied to.

    Karmanov had set up a three page report in which he tried to indicate that the aircraft was thrown down by a storm, a so-called ‘clear-air turbulence’. All the evidence regarding the Buk missile is manipulated, according to him.

    ‘It is angering’

    His efforts cause unease for relatives of victims. ‘After I spoke with Karmanov at a conference, he sent me his report via mail,’ told relative of victim Piet Ploeg. ‘It is angering nonsense. I became quite upset from this. What does he seek to achieve with this?’ Although he [Ploeg] does not believe Karmanov’s theory, it did cause him more uncertainty. ‘The only support that you have as relative of a victim, is the international investigation. But precisely that investigation is being brought into doubt from all sides.”

    Constantin Karmanov is also not who he claims to be, as it became apparent to NRC when [we] twice met him, [namely] in Almere and Maarssen. He claimed to be a Ukrainian, but was in fact born in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. Antonov has also indicated that he is no representative. When NRC asked Karmanov where he obtained his information regarding the airplane disaster, he said that he was informed by someone at the Russian ministry of Defence.”
    [End of NRC quote; rest is van der Werff’s comments.]

    I too was present at the evening in question. After the presentation, I spoke with this man, and could make no head or tails of what he had to say. After appearance of part 2 in NRC, I sought contact with him via email. From the corresponce, I wrote this little article.

    Karmanov sent me photos of which it appeared that he in fact had real ties to aircraft manufacturer Antonov.

    Thereafter I obtained evidence from him regarding his mandate:

    First official Mandate of Antonov Design Bureau
    Date 20 March 1997
    Function: Technical representative of Antonov
    Registration number 54/1563
    Deposit number 001517

    And [warempel—shock and outrage], when sought in Cyrillic script, he indeed appears in the search results. Clearly connected to Antonov.

    What does this mean? Is the allegation of NRC that Karmanov was lying and that he is no representative of Antonov, false? I asked him three times. I obtained no clear answer that allowed me to go forth.

    Let us turn the matter around. Not even one specialist takes the “clear-air turbulence” theory of Karmanov seriously. NRC claims that Karmanov lied about his nationality and ties to Antonov.

    Why then does NRC believe him regarding where he obtained his information? Is it not then more probable that he is also lying about this?

    Karmanov himself claims to have never claimed that the Russian ministry of defence was his source of information. Karmanov also claimed that he only met once with the journalist Kouwenhoven. After more invasive inquiry, Karmanov acknowledged that he had met the journalist a second time, at home in Maarssen. The trustworthyness of this gentleman: 0%.

    Factcheck. Indicated Russian influence: unlikely/dubious.

    I became the most angered at the third part. That part I leave for last.

    15 November, part 4: “Trolls fight to influence politics”.

    NRC Handelsblad:
    “The Russian information war — Russia is executing a struggle for political power: who has no joyous message for the world, can be satisfied with the sowing of confusion and division. Last month, the Russian news site RBC published a revelatory investigation. The famed ‘troll factory’ in Saint Petersburg, where many hundreds of young Russians (‘trolls’) busy themselves with the manipulation of public opinion via the internet, has had an ‘American division’ since 2015, according to RBC. Total employees: roughly ninety. Budget in the last two years: 2.3 million dollars.”
    [End of NRC quote]

    Wow! 2.3 million dollars! For comparison: Proctor & Gamble spent in 2016 alone, 73 million dollars to promote toilet paper [google search in original link]. From the piece [NRC article] of Steven Derix, one may fit fourteen in a dozen. (It is thanks to Steven that I [vd Werff] embraced the name ‘Kremlin Troll’.) When googling “troll factory St Petersburg,” one obtains 191,000 hits.

    Incidentally (not), the newly minted minister Ollongren warned during the same week that the article series [Google search in original] in the polder Pravda [NRC] appeared prior to fake news from Russia.

    Are there really people who take this nonsense seriously?

    If you seek information regarding how intelligence services try to manipulate online discourse, and try to controle same with extreme tactics of misleading and character assassination, then read this piece by Glenn Greenwald.

    14 November, part 3: “Pro-Russian activists try to play [like a violin; musical analogy; control] public opinion in the Netherlands.”

    In the NRC series regarding Russian influence, the first two parts concern MH17. NRC correspondent Wilmer Heck contacted me in precisely this regard. But he trashes me in this third part, that concerns pro-Russian activists.

    “Playing public opinion — A network of pro-Russian activists try to play public opinion by organising demonstrations and using the internet to agitate against the ‘demonisation of Russia’.”

    In the article Stench does not stink, I laid out my objections against the manner in which NRC dealt with me. Here I will not repeat myself. I limit myself here to a pair of observations. The annotated and complete correspondence between Wilmer Heck and myself is available here. On the basis of all the evidence that I had given the NRC correspondence, he found he could have written:

    – Max spent thousands of hours on MH17 research. No-one paid him for this.
    – Max was never paid by Russian people nor organisations.
    – There is no indication that Max worked in a shady fashion with Elena Plotnikova.

    That he did not do at all. Wilmer Heck wrote:

    “Max van der Werff, amateur investigator of the MH17 disaster, is in contact with the network [of pro-Russian activists]. He has been heard repeatedly by the Joint Investigation Team that is investigating the perpetrators. Van der Werff was a signer of a letter to Donald Trump of the USA, in which a new and independent MH17 investigation is requested. The pro-Russian activist [feminine ending] Plotnikova is named on the website of Van der Werff [erroneous capitalisation in Dutch] as a transator [feminising suffix] of his work. NRC is in possession of the correspondence of Plotnikova, from which it appears that she had placed Van der Werff [erroneous capitalisation in Dutch] in contact with an eyewitness who tells another story regarding the origin of the disaster [Alexander, who was not present; see above, and my previous translations in the comment thread of the previous article on Mark’s blog; Heck deliberately fails to mention that this ‘witness’ is precisely the witness that NRC uses to call Omtzigt an enabler of Russian propaganda, and moreover about whom the NRC lied—see above—the translator ‘mistranslated,’ and this suggests that the ‘translator’ is part of the same team as NRC’s Wilmer Heck in this disinformation campaign]. Thus asked, Van der Werff [erroneous capitalisation in Dutch] confirmed that he is in contact with Plotnikova [see especially my translation of the correspondence between Heck and van der Werff to see how dishonest Heck is being here], but that he is not influenced by her.”

    Heck’s purpose was always to connect me, at any cost, to Elena Plotnikova, the woman whom he described as “notable as outspokenly pro-Putin, in an activist fashion.” Heck could go no further than, “The pro-Russian activist [feminine ending] Plotnikova is named on the website of Van der Werff [erroneous capitalisation in Dutch] as a transator [feminising suffix] of his work.” And Jeroen van Rijsbergen, the person through whom Omtzigt got into trouble, got the information from Plotnikova, that I had spoken to the witness [Aleksandr/Oleksandr] and found the witness uninteresting. Van Rijsbergen gave this information to NRC. It is notable that NRC ascribes the whole Omtzigt story to this Van Rijsbergen [sarcastic capitalisation], who works with the pro-Russian activist [feminising suffix] Plotnikova.

    Dutch citizen Elena Plotnikova is made into the spider in the web of Putin’s propaganda machine in the Netherlands. Who and what is Elena in fact? On twitter, she is @Cosmopolitka. What does she think of how NRC has presented her? Her whole statement is available in PDF format here. The most important points in her statement, as filtered by me:

    – Heck wrote that I am involved with the activities of Break the System, which comes purely out of his alternative universe. The truth is that I have never participated in the activities of Break the System.

    – Earlier this year, Wilmer Heck called me a fake Ukrainian, without checking.

    – After NRC confirmed that they were in error in this regard, NRC declined to correct their disinformation.

    – Thus I did not want to cooperate when Heck called me this month with the request for an interview for “the Russian perspective” (as fake-Ukrainian, again apparently).

    – Many reacted in the same way, while others did communicate [with Heck]. The conclusion from the appearance of the article: whether you tell your side to Heck or not, NRC publishes what they have claimed before.

    – Heck continues to struggle with my national identity. He brings me into the category of “Russian Dutch” with Natalia Vorontsova and Nikita Ananjev, while I have repeatedly informed him that I have never been a Russian citizen.

    – Heck framed me as the “Bow Image* of the SP-campaign”. The SP created no Bow Images, but united people for whom the values of human dignity, equality and solidarity is important. [SP is de Socialistische Partij, a socialist party. Note that Plotnikova is a socialist Dutch citizen of Ukrainian background.]
    *Bow Image as in a Viking ship, to frighten sea monsters…

    – In which universe does Heck live, if the involvement of Dutch citizens at a public debate must lead to trial?

    – Citation/quotation should be done in a responsible manner. The past weeks, I have repeatedly had to check and found that NRC is rather free in their manner of citation, especially when they can thus frame someone. For example, a citation of a Russian senator in Die Einheit. The words are cut. [Implication of misrepresentation by selective quotation.]

    – Fact checking should again become part of the routine of journalism. In this manner, the publication of damned lies can be prevented, as wel as the existence of the Dutch task [likely typo—probably branch, tak rather than taak] of the German party, or my fake Ukrainian identity.

    – Pro-Russian activities have been taking place decades and even centuries prior to the war in the eastern Ukraine in 2014. Thus we had another Dutch-Russian friendship year with a program rich in events.

    Factcheck. Indicated Russian influence: unlikely/dubious.


    Total results of factcheck. Indicated Russian influence:

    2x unlikely/dubious
    4x none whatsoever.


    No Style checked. NRC Canard newspaper breaks own code [of ethics] in Affaire Omtzigt. [No Style is a website]

    [Text is ambiguous: we do it by correcting our mistakes, but could also be read as we do it by making our mistakes truth]

    The character assassination attempt on Pieter Omtzigt was a part of an orchestrated campaign. [Google search in original]

    NRC flanked the article directly with a barrage of ‘indications’. A few examples:

    1) “The position of Pieter Omtzigt has become untenable“.
    2) “Is it really possible: liking both Putin and Holland?
    3) “Warm tears for Omtzigt” deserves a separate mention. Frits Abrahams accomplished not only the writing but also the publication, of

    “In America they struggle with a 70 year old fundamentalist Christian Republican, Roy Moore, who would like to become a senator, but takes even more pleasure in sexually assaulting teen-aged girls. And in the Netherlands, we have, also Christian, Chamber member (of the CDA party), Pieter Omtzigt, who used a fake Ukrainian witness regarding the flight disaster of MH17.”

    Should you imagine that the newest of quality newspaper NRC cannot go any lower, we are served by an analysis of Joshua Livestro. Take it as demonstrated that this subject [Livestro] is financised by foreign capital [google search on Livestro and Soros], the newspaper may report that Omtzigt is a recidivist, and his “blunders” are part of a pattern. [Note: the NRC hit pieces do not require registration to read, unlike their usual fare…]

    Hours before Joshua’s publication, I sat with citizen journalist Marcel van den Berg and gloated. Somewhat triumphantly and arrogantly, I made a prediction regarding the future of the direction of the argument [regarding NRC/Omtzigt et alia], and why it would not work:

    [Tweet by Marcel van den Berg]
    Another hour or nine until the column by amen** corner** Joshua Livestro regarding Omtzigt becomes available for reading. Can’t wait. [Can’t wait in English]
    [End tweet]
    **Spout 11 also produces mud; amen corner as translation for Spout 11. In other words, Livestro will simply repeat the propaganda of others…
    [Response Tweet by Max van der Werff]
    *Yawn*. This tweet was deleted by Pieter [Omtzigt] as it is systematically misinterpreted by the sponsored freaks who seek to damage him.… next
    [Start tweet quote of Pieter Omtzigt]
    CTIVD (governing body of intelligence services) confirmed: according to services, only Ukraine had function BUK systems in eastern Ukraine on 17/7
    [end tweet quote]
    [End tweet]

    NRC Handelsblad cannot completely negate the devastating criticisms on social media, and thus published, on 23 November, a letter sent by MH17 specialist witness Marco Langbroek. The newspaper “edited” the letter to 310 words. Marcel van den Berg published the entire letter, with annotation. Langbroek spares no span of Joshua Livestro’s handiwork.

    [Response tweet by Pieter van der Meer to Omtzigt and others]
    I am myself a relative of a victim and NOT angry toward Omzigt. Stichting MH17 is not the voice/bullhorn of relatives of victims.
    [End tweet]

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks for doing this, Sasky! The bottom line is, Russia did it. Anything that detracts from or attempts to turn aside that statement is ‘Russian Disinformation’. The Dutch have no evidence, nor does anyone else, which will stand up to scrutiny and which demonstrates Russian culpability, and Ukrainian culpability is brushed aside by the simple expedient of never mentioning the possibility, but concentrating on the probability of Russian guilt by poking holes in everything Russia says and inventing Russian attempts to evade justice or mislead the public. Very much like the McLaren ‘Investigation’ into Russian doping, the hope seems to be that Russia will just admit to it from weariness in the hope that the persecution will stop and everyone can move on.

      ‘Clear-air turbulence’ is a new one for me, and patently ridiculous. The plane obviously was attacked by something.

      • saskydisc says:

        I suspect very much that Antonov’s governmental masters arranged for that fellow to get either the necessary residence in order to spread that story to discredit those questioning the party line, or if he were already present in the Netherlands, that he be given the same unpleasant task—does Kiev perhaps have some hostages?

        Once the penny drops on actual responsibility, it would be interesting to hear again from Langbroek, to know if he really is that dismissive of alternative theories, although his surgical destruction of NRC is already a joy to behold.

    • saskydisc says:

      Relatives of survivors should be relatives of victims…

  9. saskydisc says:

    What follows is the letter to which van der Werff refers, which NRC Handelsblad declined to publish in full. It was published in full, with commentary, by Marcel van den Berg.

    Letter sent to NRC from an MH17 specialist indicates factual errors in NRC column by Joshua Livestro

    NRC Handelsblad published a letter from Marco Langbroek, on the 23rd of November; this letter was a reaction to the column of Joshua Livestro which was published on Monday 20 November in NRC.

    In the column, Livestro attempted to show that Omtzigt is a “recidivist when it comes to making false claims regarding the MH17 disaster”. In the column, Livestro gave several examples to make his case.

    This week, Geenstijl [No Style website] gave an extensive critique on this column, titled “Read Closely! NRC clamps itself to the latest Livestro straw (and where is this Omtzigt audio?)” [I translated kloosried as “read closely” as it seems to be an Anglicism, and does not appear in dicionaries].

    Marco Langbroek also reacted to the column through a letter sent to the NRC. On the 22nd of January 2016, Langbroek was invited as a witness, by the commission on foreign affairs of the second chamber [parliament] to give a presentation regarding spy satellites. This was in regards the MH17 disaster. In this session, things were said that are contradicted in Livestro’s column.

    [Start Joshua Livestro Tweet]
    Omtzigt is a recidivist when it comes to false declarations regarding the MH17 disaster—with many examples from others of false declarations spread by him.
    [End tweet]

    Langbroek sent an extensive letter to NRC in which it is clear that Livestro wrote rubbish. NRC requested that the letter be shortened to 250 words. Eventually, the letter was published in 310 words.

    Following is the complete letter, that was not published in NRC.

    [Start letter]
    To: Editors of NRC Handelsblad
    Regarding: opinion piece. Fact check of Joshua Livestro’s column, “Omtzigt blunder is part of a pattern”

    Honoured editors

    In the NRC Handelsblad of 20 November, Joshua Livestro uses his column, “Omtzigt blunder is part of a pattern,” to launch a new attack in regards MH17, on second chamber member Pieter Omtzigt.

    Livestro presents three tweets by Omtzigt, which according to him, “proves” that repeatedly spread disinformation. But do these [tweets] do that [prove spreading disinformation] when placed in their proper context?

    The tweet which is most burdensome, according to Livestro, came from the context of the hearing session “Policy reaction [to the] Investigation reports [regarding] MH17 [of] Investigation commission for safety [Dutch Safety Board]” of the fixed chamber commission [of] foreign affairs [on] 22 January 2016.

    I was present at the hearing session. I myself was heard, on the invitation of the second chamber, on another subject, as a specialist. Livestro was, to my knowledge, not present, and appears not to be aware of the content of the report of the hearing session, that may be found here:

    In the avenged [by Livestro] tweet, Omtzigt wrote that the CTIVD had found that according to the intelligence services, only the Ukraine had operational BUK systems in the eastern Ukraine, on the 17th of July 2014. And that is true: during the hearing session, the chair of the CTIVD, mister Harm Brouwer, made the following pronunciation (page 25 in the report [link above]), as an aside to earlier pronunciations:

    “I must make an aside, I realise. The information and safety services had information from their partners that the separatists had, at the end of June, obtained a BUK system from the Ukrainian army when they conquered a military airport in the neighbourhood of Donetsk, but this was assumed not to be operational. We checked and confirmed that. We saw who the partner services were that could confirm that. It was confirmed from many sides that the system was not operational and was thus could not have been used, and thus that they were not in possession of BUK systems.”

    The content of the tweet by Omtzigt is thus factually and content-wise entirely correct: the chair of the CTIVD did indeed state loudly and clearly that the separatists had no operational BUK, such that within the Ukraine, functional BUK systems remained only in the hands of the Ukrainian army. The point that Omtzigt made in his tweet is of evident importance for the implied perpetrator: if the separatists themselves had no operational BUK, then the option that remains, upon excluding the Ukrainian army (and the probable firing location indicates the probability of them being excluded), namely that the BUK came from Russia, was delivered by Russians [he refers to the Higgins theory].

    That Livestro called Omtzigt’s tweet “false information,” indicates deficient knowledge of the dossier and his own tunnel vision. Aparently he did not bother to check what in fact the CTIVD said. Seeing the strong accusation that he made against Omtzigt, it is already appropriate to call him negligent. Livestro himself here [in his column] is distributing false information.

    The other two cases that Livestro presented also do not demonstrate anything [do not cut any wood]. Take the tweet regarding air traffic controllers, his introductory case. Omtzigt reacts in that tweet to a question, with the observation that the Dutch Safety Board had not heard from Ukrainian traffic controllers, which he found strange.

    The Dutch safety board listened to tapes of radio contacts between air traffic controllers and MH17, but did not hear from the air traffic controllers themselves. In brief: Also this tweet of Omtzigt is entirely factually correct. Livestro shows anew his deficient dossier knowledge and does not appear to be up to date regarding this letter from the Dutch safety board to the second chamber:

    Click to access 20160225_Bijlage_bij_Brief_aan_Tweede_Kamer_inzake_vragen_MH17_OvV-16500272.pdf

    In contrast to what Livestro suggests, there is absolutely no suggestion of “acceptance of the premises” of the questioner. Omtzigt does not call the not existing air traffic controller “Carlos” from the tweet of the questioner at all. If you sought to scrape the bottom of the barrel, you could perhaps hold it against Omtzigt that he did not say anything at all about “Carlos”. But at the time, a tweet was allowed only 140 characters; the number of tinfoil hat tweeters regarding Carlos, Soros and airplanes was high, and Omtzigt responded normally with accurate information: the real core of the matter and factually (and content-wise) point that responds to the core of the matter. Those who know Omtzigt, know that this is typical for him.

    In closing regarding Omtzigt’s tweet with a link to an internet article by Robert Parry ( In opposition to what Livestro said, the core of the article is entirely not the allegation that “American high resolution satellite photos would have indicated that the Ukrainian military was present at the missile installation which had fired the rocket”. That concerns only two sentences in a much longer article. (Parry wrote here in another article extensively and indeed not credibly.)

    Parry’s article in fact concerns in particular the question why the US is so eager to point the finger to the rebels, and even directly after the shoot-down loudly and clearly claimed to have irrefutable evidence for this claim, yet has still not delivered this evidence. This constitutes the “interesting observations” to which Omtzigt refers. To me, these are also fair observations, even if you find (as I [Langbroek] do) that Parry’s views regarding MH17 are not otherwise credible. In the hearing of 22 January 2016, I discussed the desirability that the satellite data be released, and the important role that such release would play in pointing out the perpetrators.

    In conclusion: I state that Livestro used his column to take two factually correct statements by Omtzigt, as well as an opinion regarding an article, completely out of their context. All three causes [tweets of Omtzigt that “gave cause” to Livestro for his column] fall apart [for Livestro’s case] when placed in their appropriate context and test the content against the facts.

    The column makes Livestro’s lack of knowledge regarding the MH17 dossier painfully obvious. Yet he seeks to make severe accusations against Omtzigt. I find it shocking that the NRC also published [his column]. It is not the kind of matter in which one can plead lack of intent, especially as this was an upping of the ante after the first set of accusations by NRC, considering that the column was not first presented to someone who at least knows the MH17 dossier.

    What is strongly missing in this entire affair, is dossier knowledge, proper context and nuance. It speaks volumes that several people know the MH17 dossier well enough and even were present at the original events (e.g. the jurist[feminising suffix] Marieke De Hoorn and RTL News editor Pieter Klein), and had indicated that they experienced the events very differently and from their knowledge interpreted the events very differently from NRC. The NRC would do well to accept this message: these are people who have first-hand knowledge. Now, with the publication of this [Livestro’s] utterly misleading column, a depth has been reached in this affair.

    Dr Marco Langbroek

    • Jeremn says:

      This fact about the security services knowing that only Ukraine had operational BUK systems in the region in the summer of 2014 is of the utmost importance.

      We have official and amateur videos of Ukrainian batteries and dozens of launchers all over the region. And yet, if we are to believe they did nothing wrong, the above information forces us into putting all our money on Russia delivering a single launcher into Ukraine. Yet we have nothing to show it entering or leaving the country. And poor evidence when it comes to spotting it in the vicinity of any launch site.

      And yet the free media of the west just won’t look into this paradox. You really have to wonder why. Are they afraid?

      This is the only article I have seen on Ukrainian BUK movements, and it isn’t exactly mainstream:

      • saskydisc says:

        IMAO, the whole rent-a-BUK story was developed to avoid responsibility for the conduct of their Ukrainian puppets and thereby get some shut eye.

        • marknesop says:

          I’m afraid I disagree there – the ‘rent-a-Buk’ theory is the only way they can make Russia responsible. The Ukrainian Army demonstrably had Buk systems in full, launchers/radar/command vehicle. The ‘rebels’ demonstrably had not, as even their current inquisitors admit, in writing. The problem – in order to avoid the unavoidable conclusion that Ukraine shot it down, since it obviously was not shot down from the Russian side, it was out of range – how do we get an SA-11 capability into the hands of the rebels? Russia sneaked a system in to them!! But….wouldn’t somebody notice a convoy of, what, six vehicles (four TELs, a radar truck and the command vehicle)? Well, then, it was just a single TEL!!! The problem with that is a single TEL could not have accomplished it, the route established by Bellingcat is nonsense and there is as much doubt about the photography offered as there is confidence.

          • Jeremn says:

            And once they have stated their position, they can’t go back on it. No matter how absurd it seems. To question that absurd emperor’s new clothes narrative gets you hounded as a Putin apologist. The western media has covered for Ukraine on this one, and still does by targeting dissenters as cranks.

          • saskydisc says:

            Indeed, the photos and video are demonstrably fake. Any camera that has position dependent modulation transfer function, with the consequent blurriness of the trucks against a crisp background is a farce, and doubly so when the blurriness follows the truck as it moves.

      • kirill says:

        Even if Russia staged the ridiculous operation to supply and then retrieve a single Buk system to the rebels, so what? How is Russia, and Putin in particular, some Satanic murderer and not the Kiev ATC that directed the aircraft over a war zone full of Buk systems. There was intrinsic risk of the regime shooting it down and not just the rebels. I hear nothing about the responsibility of Kiev in this case. That by itself proves foaming at the mouth anti-Russian bias. That and the absurd news coverage of MH-17.

        The western public is a collection of credulous sheep that can be manipulated with brain dead propaganda. They actually can swallow and savour the shit that Russia supplied the Buk (regardless of whether it did or did not) just so that some civilian aircraft could be shot down. This is just demented hate and not rational thought. If Russia, and Putin, got off on killing civilians then they could easily engineer many such events. And I am sure that there are NATzO nutjobs who think Russia is responsible for every aircraft crash.

        • saskydisc says:

          If it were the case that Russia had supplied the system, putting aside the improbability, they might try arguing negligence—although serious court would likely dismiss a murder charge. But negligence would raise the obvious question of why the airspace was not closed, and hence why the Ukrainian government would not be a codefendant, not only on the basis of failure to close the airspace, but also by using the same airspace to attack Donbass civilians.

          But I cannot see them bring Higgins to the stand. He is a living farce, and if the prosecutor were to call him to the stand, a dismissal with prejudice becomes likely. The Dutch Safety Board and Joint investigation Team’s videos and photos are demonstrably fake or tampered with (the variable yet object dependent modulation transfer function), so at this point the Russian missile complex is pure assertion.

          • marknesop says:

            I don’t think it will ever get to a trial, because at a trial they would have to show their evidence to the defense, and they don’t have any. I suppose Russia might have been justified in supplying an air defense system, since the Ukies were caught shooting up Lugansk and killing civilians with anti-tank ammunition, the use of which against personnel is a war crime. I think that was after MH17, though. But there were plenty of instances of the Ukrainians using their air advantage to shoot up the east until aircraft began to be shot down. But most of those were with MANPADS, and that’s really all the rebels needed. They were not in much danger from aircraft which flew too high for MANPADS to reach them. There was no real need for a system like the Buk.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Result of air assault of Ukrainian air force on separatist city of Lugansk, Lugansk Region, Eastern Ukraine. Filmed on 2nd June 2014.

              Disturbing images 18+

              MH-17 was shot down over 1 month later, on 17 July, 2014

              Remember those images when Porky and the Wetstern media talk about the deaths that have occurred during this conflict, which is never described as a civil war but as the consequence of Russian aggression.

              When did the Russian air force last strafe civilians in Lvov, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kiev …?

              When have separatist “terrorists” ever attacked Ukrainian cities, towns and villages outside their “pro-Russian” region?

              • marknesop says:

                Yes, I suppose I could have looked it up, but it was quite late. There was absolutely no doubt who did this, although Kiev quickly tried to shift blame with a cockamamie story that the rebels had been trying to shoot an anti-air missile out of a window, and its seeker had been attracted to the heat from an air conditioner on the building opposite – it was so blatantly stupid I’m surprised western papers even printed it. The plane was filmed and was easily identified as an SU-25, and the actual attack was filmed from another perspective in which you could see the line of impacts march across a small park before hitting the base of the administrative building. The carnage caused was horrific. But the Ukies denied it, and the west let them, and nothing was ever done and they completely got away with it.

                Nonetheless, that aircraft and others had to come in low to carry out an attack, and would have been well within the envelope of a MANPADS missile system. Once Ukrainian aircraft began to fall out of the sky, the air strikes dialed way back and even now are very rare, although Ukraine still has an air force. Especially helicopters, which are comparatively slow and can’t fly high.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I remember Tintin of the Grauniad writing in one of his articles that separatists” inside the building may have brought the attack upon themselves or that they had even caused the deaths in the street below by clumsily trying to shoot down the Ukraine aircraft from a window in the block that was fired at.

                  Tintin was relaying this, I guess:

                  The authorities in Kiev denied its planes had been involved. Initially, the anti-terrorist operation said the explosion originated from inside the building, then that an anti-aircraft missile operated by the separatists had misfired, reacting to heat from an air-conditioning system on the outside of the buildingCNN

                  The Kyiv government tried to explain away the massacre as a rebel friendly fire incident, with a separatist’s surface to air missile accidentally homing in on the heat signature from an air conditioner on the building as he tried to take down the jet.A Massacre, Remembered

                  I also faintly recollect an article in the Russian media that stated that they had found out the identity of the Ukraine air force pilot who had murdered his fellow countrymen.

        • marknesop says:

          Russia did not shoot down MH17 with just a single TEL. There is a reason it operates as part of a system, and if Russia were going to supply the weapon they would have supplied it all. I am sure the Ukrainians shot it down, and the west is covering for them. If it had actual evidence, it would have introduced it. Instead, it just talks about having irrefutable evidence, so it can obtain a conviction in the media.

          Ukraine’s position is that Russia supplied the weapon for the purpose of shooting down an airliner and then blaming it on Ukraine. They only shift to the story that Russia supplied it to the rebels, who did it, maybe by accident, when they are pushed. They much prefer the story that Russia did it, and even when they switch to the rebel narrative they sometimes insist a Russian crew helped them.

          • kirill says:

            That is the propaganda scheme that NATzO has concocted. But it is absurd on its face. Framing Kiev for the shootdown would not even produce a splash in the NATzO media. They will assert “shit happens” in a war zone and move on. Just like with the Iranian passenger jet shoot down. Russian “propagandists” would be well aware of this so they would not even try.

            The above tin foil hat BS begs the question: what about all of the other Kiev regime war crimes, like shelling civilians? Kiev claims that it is all one massive false flag operation by the rebels. So Donbass residents are too stupid to know who is shooting them. Again, has the average western media consumer ever heard of the Doppler effect? Shells and missiles coming from Ukr positions will be quite distinguishable to the residents being shelled. The western media ignores these war crimes systematically so why would some shoot down of an airliner make any difference?

  10. saskydisc says:

    Also regarding MH17, John Helmer had a piece up a few days ago, regarding Billy Six and Chris Black amongst others:

  11. et Al says:

    Moon of Alabama: North Korea: “The Missile Program Is Now Complete”

    Last night the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched another nuclear capable missile. It was a new type never shown before. Its name is Hwasong-15 and it is a beauty.

    The new missile is huge. Note Kim Jong Il in his black coat on the left. He is 5’7 or 1.70 meters. The transporter-erector vehicle with the missile must be nearly 20′ or 6 meters high and the missile must have a diameter of 2+ meters.

    The vehicle is a modified copy of a Chinese WS51200. North Korea once bought 5 or 6 of these to “haul lumber from the mountains”. All were of course used as missile transporters. A ninth axle has been added to the original design to carry the additional load of the huge missile and its firing table. The vehicle is not a TEL, a transporter, erector and launcher, but a TE. The missile is erected and set vertical on the firing table. The vehicle is removed for the launch….

    More at the link.

    Deterrence first, then talks. Lesson learned. The West has taught the rest of the world a valuable lesson: don’t believe a F(£*ing word they say, their promises or ‘agreements’ they sign. Everything is open to interpretation when the time is right.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Last night the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched another nuclear capable missile. It was a new type never shown before. Its name is Hwasong-15 and it is a beauty.”

      See? What else proof do you need to admit, that the Ukraine is a space power, as claimed by its fearless Sun-Faced leader Petro Poroshenko? SUGS!

  12. et Al says: Pentagon Indefinitely Delays Cluster Bomb Ban

    According to officials, the Pentagon’s planned ban on older types of cluster bombs, scheduled to go into effect at the start of 2019, has been delayed indefinitely, with the leadership arguing that they haven’t found a replacement yet…

    …The 2019 ban wasn’t intended to eliminate the bombs from the US arsenal, but to replace them with a new type they assumed they’d discover by then where the bomblets would almost all explode instead of just being scattered on the ground.

    The discovery never came, and the Pentagon memo is arguing that not using the old style of weapons could risk “mission failure” in some of America’s various wars. The memo argued it was unacceptable to risk soldiers’ lives by not using arms that endanger civilians.

    So is this an admission that Sensor Fuzed Weapons, aka a fancy ‘smart’ version of the old ‘dumb’ cluster bomb don’t work as advertized, and/or, far more expensive and cannot be bought in enough quantities to be sufficiently effective? Even with the USA’s astronomic defense budget, its forces have still suffered in all sorts of places affecting the reliability and operational status of its weapon systems (F-18/B-21/F-22 for starters etc. etc.). Either way, the plan to keep using cluster bombs under their new moniker is at least delayed indefinitely.

  13. et Al says: Coalition: Over 400 US Marines to Leave Syria

    According to the US-led coalition fighting ISIS, some 400 US Marines and accompanying artillery have been ordered back to the United States , with their involvement in the capture of the Syrian city of Raqqa over…

    …What this does to official US troop levels in Syria isn’t clear. Obviously the US claim that 502 troops are in Syria was false, but the coalition statement is an official one, and might oblige the US to claim they’re now down to 100, despite there being well in excess of 1,000 US troops in the country in actuality.

    A bit more at the link.

    It’s hard to believe that it is anything less than a bait and switch, with more troops being added somewhere else. On the other hand, it depends on whether the US is actually trying to extricate itself and keep face or will remain to STB (Shit the Bed). It’s hard to imagine the US just walking away, as like the Aesop’s scorpion, it’s their nature.

    • yalensis says:

      On some rare occasions, though, the pindosi do just walk away (or run away).
      One example being Lebanon (under Ronnie Reagan), after the attack on the marine barracks there.

  14. et Al says:

    Neuters via China pushing billions into Iranian economy as Western firms stall


    All at the link.

    Sanctions in a globalized world? Ooops!

    • kirill says:

      She is a Russia hating nutjob who thinks that classifying Russia as the “unwest” is some epic denigration. Russia can be proud to be the unwest. Also, the west clearly has some sort of demented obsession with Russia so clowns like this get paid to do their stand up routines.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Wonder what she thinks of her biological great-grandfather who also became her adoptive grandfather following his adoption of her mother, whose father, namely Nina Khrushcheva’s grandfather, had fallen during the great Patriotic War 1941-1945?

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    Еврокомиссия отказала Украине в помощи на €600 млн

    The European Commission has refused the Ukraine €600 million in aid
    01.12.2017 | 15:53

    The European Commission will not transfer to the Ukraine the third tranche of €600 million, reports a Commission press release.

    It has been specified that the Ukraine has not fulfilled its four commitments.

    “Against this background, the Commission cannot pay the last tranche of the current programme. We urge the Ukraine to keep up the momentum of reforms that have been successfully advanced in many areas”, the European Commission said.

    Earlier, the representative of the IMF in the Ukraine, Yosta Ljungman, said that the fund has proposed four requirements to the Ukraine for its obtaining the next tranche.

    Boo-Boo Bear voice as in Yogi bear cartoon:

    What you gonna do now, Porky?

    • marknesop says:

      That was more or less a foregone conclusion, as European institutions have increasingly expressed displeasure at how things are going in Ukraine. All except the United States, I suppose, which is still mulling the idea of sending them $47 Million worth of weapons and kit so they can crush their dissident neighbours and fellow citizens. Oops; I meant ‘the terrorists’, who have launched so many terror attacks against the peaceful people of Ukraine. It’s fairly easy to see why they’re withholding the money, as well; two of the major non-judicial reforms insisted upon are unbundling NaftoGaz and repealing the restriction on selling agricultural land to foreigners. The west knows perfectly well Russia is not going to attack Ukraine, but it is also not going to do anything to help the west make a success of it. So the best it can do is to suck it dry, so that when it collapses it will not be any use to anyone.

      And here’s the distraction, right on time. The people must be given some hope, to occupy their minds.

    • et Al says:

      It’s something that Euros with a colonial habit are well practiced at except here we see it practiced at a supranational EU level. When you have possessions (colonialism), divide and rule (with a rod of iron when necessary). When you have to give up those possessions, carrot and stick (bribery/greed). When you want possessions, make endless promises and always ask for a bit more – don’t forget the stick, whether real or figurative. I wouldn’t fixate on the €600m figure. It’s pocket change. And it is kabuki theater for domestic EU audiences to show that there is accountability. BS in short.

      As long as they want to join your club, i.e. it is voluntary, then you can really take the piss. This last one is what we see most clearly between Brussels and Belgrade. Vis Kiev, the regime has no other promise to its faithful than being ‘part of the West’. If that dream is quashed, then goodnight Vienna. Brussels has them over a barrel unless they just give up. Clearly bad, super bad and mega bad aren’t bad enough. Unfortunately it seems like nothing but rock bottom will do (like everyone else). The problem with that is, you really have to start from scratch, not just pretend. It still has to get worse to get better.

  16. marknesop says:

    Nice. Islamic State releases a video of its freedom fighters burning a captured Syrian pilot alive while he is chained to a tree. Nice allies you got, Uncle Sam.

    Please note, the ‘Syrian Opposition’ agreed to talks without preconditions, and then announced they would be happy to help form a government, just as soon as Assad steps down. No cards left in their hand, but no change in their position.

  17. marknesop says:

    Rumors persist – despite denials – that Tillerson is being moved out of the SecState billet in favour of CIA Director Michael Pompeo. It is important to note that these things are often leaked deliberately, to get them in the news cycle.

  18. Cortes says:

    Martha Kelner’s dismal pieces in the Guardian are beyond parody. Here’s old chum “Shaun” of the dead on the venues for England at the group matches in FIFA 2018:

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Zrada! BBC is one step from being “lustrated” by the most democratic site “Mirotvorets”:

      Look at Crimea!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      On the ticket sales windows in the Moscow metro there are already signs that read: ENGLISH SPOKEN HERE.

      It warmed the cockles of my long exiled patriotic heart to see that the background to said information is the Union Flag.


      • Cortes says:

        Your heart will be warmed by the following example of le vice anglais [hypocrisy]:

        • marknesop says:

          God, that made me laugh so hard. Sometimes I was just gaping in astonishment, unable to believe what I was reading was not satire! Unbelievable. The British state defended the police when they wrestled that poor Brazilian to the ground in the tube tunnels and filled him full of lead, just because he ran when they shouted at him and he was wearing a heavy jacket, but now that it is a political figure’s hide on the line, their impartiality is not worth a cup of spit and they are acting on their own. I’m confident nobody believes this and it reeks of desperation. Defending the right of the British political class to do little all day but download jerk-off pictures; I never thought I would see the day.

          As an aside, what I really dislike about Sputnik is the way their pages capture your browser and flood the ‘back’ button with mirrors of the page you are already on, so your only option is to punch out and go back to the page you were previously on from square one.

          • Cortes says:

            Re your final point…It may not be Sputnik’s fault. I’ve been having the same issue with this site for the last three days.

            • Cortes says:

              Sorry, I misread your comment.

              The difficulty here is interference spamming offering “freebies” and it takes multiple encounters with it to get through. Apologies. Please delete these comments as you wish.

            • marknesop says:

              That’s possible, but I have known it to happen for some time with both Sputnik and RT. Perhaps it’s some sort of deliberate deterrent to cut down on their traffic.

  19. Patient Observer says:

    The EU speak strongly against continued arming of Saudi Arabia by EU states:

    Sounds good but now, the rest of the story:

    This is not the first time the EU parliament had called for an arms embargo against the Saudis. A similar appeal to the EU authorities was included into another its resolution on the situation in Yemen adopted in February 2016.

    Meanwhile, some EU states continue to actively supply the Saudis with weapons and military equipment despite the Kindgom’s involvement in the war in Yemen. In mid-November, the German government revealed that the total value of its arms sales to Saudi Arabia has grown fivefold in the third quarter of 2017 comparison to the same period of the previous year.

    Deceptions and duplicity is alive and well in the EU nations.

    • et Al says:

      On the plus side, none of this equipment is effective in the hands of the Saudis (apart from killing scores of civilians), on the minus side, it is much more so the foreign mercenaries (killing scores of civilians) they pay to fight for them and when Saudi implodes, much of it will become available to proper terrorists to use against the West. An embarrassment of deadly riches. I wonder what the plan is by the West when it goes? KSA has so many weapons so one would assume that the higher grade stuff would be carried off first…

  20. Lyttenburgh says:

    In response to Ryan Ward’s questions here (got too narrow on the last page).

    “So I think it’s worthwhile, before accusing Poland’s current government of being “fascist”, to clarify what precisely “fascist” means.”

    Where did I say that the current government of Poland is “fascist”? Poland, as a country, still have what appears to be a “vanilla edition” of the “Western Liberal Democracy (export edition)”, i.e. a bourgeois democracy with the democratic elections from two of more candidates, the constitution, that toes all necessary liberal lines, and free market capitalism.

    It is within this framework that the current governing power in Poland (which is more than just PiS) is taking steps away from the so-called “liberal internationalism”, that dominate the mainstream of the Western political discourses, and into its opposite – good ol’ ordinary fascism. It’s only in the begging of the process, but that it is marching there is without doubt.

    What lies at the core of the fascist ideology? The corporatist state and complete, violent denial of the class struggle. Workers, ergo, should not fight against their exploitation, because, really, all their troubles stem from the “unfortunate” fact, that “wrong” people became the political/financial elite. Currently in the West, there are two “options” offered to the people – either have as your exploiters people of the same ethnicity/nationality espousing “traditional” values, or have as such multi-tokenism members of the “adorables” and various minorities. In short – the working class is offered the proverbial “two chairs”, one of which is absolutely arbitrary appointed “right-wing”, while another is incorrectly labeled “left-wing”. That’s fascism.

    Petite bourgeoisie, elements of the working class and de-classified elements support this and serve as a fuel for it. They are the first to be fucked over. Good example is provided in UCG’s article, when he describes ho the so-called Middle Class of America got screwed over by the Medical Policy of Obama. The simply reality lies in the fact, that so-called Middle Class of America, who might imagine itself as the “backbone”, as the “citizens” of their precious “Republic” and vote “with their heart” – they are expendable. Now, the unrestraint torrent of the cheap workforce, that have very limited aspirations, works basically for free and is virtually unprotected – that’s what is really valuable!

    All of this is coupled with the real anti-Left sentiments. I note – “real anti-Left”, because the Left is not about “inclusiveness” or “tokenism” – it’s about the masses against the elites. The existence of the USSR allowed the rehabilitation of the fascist ideology (and, to a certain degree – of Nazism) in the West. Using Overton’s Window methodology of “anti-communism” allowed them to slip into the handshakable mainstream of the politics. Poland and Baltic limitroph states exemplify it as none other, but the Ukraine is surely taking all necessary steps in that direction. There they achieved the knee-jerk reaction from the vast majority of the populace, that “socialism” = bad, that anyone espousing the socialist views wants to resurrect Stalin and massacre poor, innocent and long suffering Titular Nation into oblivion.

    What is happening in Poland is just a localized confederation (good ol’ Polish noble tradition) of the local elites against pan-European. Polish “economic miracle” still is fully dependent of the foreign (mainly – German) funding. Deep down the Brussels is okay with these as long as Poland remains in NATO. No matter how “undemocratic” Poland becomes, it does not matter, since the turn to fascism is still preferable in the West than the true alternative – i.e. the turn to the socialism. And these marches, flares burning… The fascist states always possess the pent up volcano worth of anger, so it must be channeled. Either in the form of the marches, or football hooliganism… or targeting Russia and its symbolism, which is handy, because allowed the greatest psychological con in the history to take place – to equate “communism” with “Russians”, which allowed to pursue absolutely Russophobic policy therein and in the rest of the Butthurt belt of Europe, disguised as “combating oppressive communistic past”. It is doubly profitable for the West, because it allows for the revision of the WW2 aftermath and, possibly, of excluding Russia as the inheritor of the USSR from the ranks of the victor nations, with everything it entails.

    Now, my turn to ask questions Ryan – why are you so defensive of Poland in all its time periods? Does it have something to do with your own sympathies to the Spanish falangism?

    • kirill says:

      Why the need to explain. NATzO acts like a pack of fascist hyenas led by the top mutt, Uncle Scumbag who is clearly a fascist (even has fasces carved in the faced behind the Senate speaker’s chair). Most normal people should care less how democratic the Poles are to themselves. They should be judged by their democracy to others. Poland is backing the Nazis in Kiev. Poland is basically frothing at the mouth racist against Russia (regardless of some Slav commonality). As far as I am concerned Poland is fascist.

      • cartman says:

        An example of how Poland sees itself:

        • et Al says:

          Went to the Polski sklep with the g/f this afternoon. If anybody knocks polish ogurki, then you’ll have to deal with me! 😉

          Plus, she got the last Politika on the shelf.

          Plus plus I get quite excited at the meat counter.

          • kirill says:

            Polish food is something that needs not be knocked. German and Italian food was great during the 1930s.

          • marknesop says:

            Our Polish deli has started up again; the one we regularly patronized in town shut down about two years ago owing to a disagreement between the owner and the owner of the building. They have wonderful sausage, and were one of the few places where you could buy real Russian buckwheat, although it was hideously expensive considering it’s only buckwheat. I haven’t been to the new place yet, but mean to check it out soon.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Bah! Ukraine had been selling such things for ages! Here you go – “Globe of the Ukraine” (160 mm) Kiev. 86 gryvnias. But there are several zradas here on that page alone. First – everything is in Russian! Second – if you look at the bottom-right corner of the page, you’d learn, that this globe was made in… Poland! Oh, kurwa!

          Actually – that’s a lie. The idea that the Earth is round is nothing more than another example of the hybrid warfare by the “Aggressor Country” ™. Everybody knows that our world looks like that:

          • marknesop says:

            I recommend, in the interests of political correctness, that people stop referring to Ukraine as ‘Ukraine’ – so as to avoid that whole do-I-use-an-article-or-not potential embarrassment – and refer to it instead as ‘Victim Of The Aggressor Country’, or VOTAC.

    • Ryan Ward says:

      Now, my turn to ask questions Ryan – why are you so defensive of Poland in all its time periods? Does it have something to do with your own sympathies to the Spanish falangism?

      You got me, that’s absolutely it. And you see, that’s where the trouble began. That smile. That damn smile.

  21. Warren says:

    Kaspersky Labs: Warning over Russian anti-virus software

    The British government has issued a fresh warning about the security risks of using Russian anti-virus software.

    The National Cyber Security Centre is to write to all government departments warning against using the products for systems related to national security.

    The UK cyber-security agency will say the software could be exploited by the Russian government.
    Security firm Kaspersky Labs, accused in the US of being used by the Russian state for espionage, denied wrongdoing.

    Kaspersky Labs is widely used by consumers and businesses across the globe, as well as by some parts of the UK government.

    Around the world, 400 million people use Kaspersky products.

    BoJo is supposedly to visit Russia in 3 weeks time. UK government’s smear campaign against one of Russia’s most prestigious technology companies isn’t going to help repair strained relations between the two countries.

    • kirill says:

      But it’s OK for the US government (NSA) to be able to exploit basically any internet attached computer?

    • marknesop says:

      Of course, if the the United States does it, Britain must immediately do it, too. That Special Relationship.

      • et Al says:

        Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Barclays axes free Kaspersky product as a ‘precaution’

        Barclays has stopped offering free Kaspersky anti-virus products to new customers following an official warning about Russian security software.

        The bank emailed 290,000 online banking customers on Saturday to say the move was a “precautionary decision”…

        …But officials stressed they were not saying members of the public or companies should stop using Kaspersky products, which are used by about 400 million people globally.

        Barclays told customers it would no longer offer free Kaspersky software “following the information that’s been shared in the news” – but advised people with the software already installed that they did not need to take any action.

        It wrote: “The UK government has been advised… to remove any Russian products from all highly sensitive systems classified as secret or above.

        “We’ve made the precautionary decision to no longer offer Kaspersky software to new users.

        “However, there’s nothing to suggest that customers need to stop using Kaspersky.”

        It went on: “At this stage there is no action for you to take. It’s important that you continue to protect yourself with anti-virus software.”…

        Passive/aggressive British Bear Baiting?

        A) Costs nothing, wins brownie points from the very naughty Barclay Brothers; b) Moscow reacts which proves that Kaspersky is an arm of the КГБ = win-win.

        Proper response from Moscow. Nothing. Barclays has just ruled itself out of business in Russia & China. Ooops!

        • marknesop says:

          Looks good on them, and they wear it well. For my part, I would not trust any Microsoft or Google product not to be sending customer data back to its own servers, and thence to the US government. It’s just too tempting, and we all know how good the US government is at resisting temptation and observing privacy rules when it comes to surveillance and ‘national security’. What software is allowed more discretionary review of your files than your antivirus program?

  22. yalensis says:

    Check out this photo from VZGLIAD, it’s the real deal, not a photo-zhaba.
    It shows President Putin meeting with President Assad in Sochi.
    Maybe we should have a caption contest.

    My caption would be:
    Assad: “Thank you for everything you did, my friend! The cameras shall capture our hug and give Matt an embolism.”

  23. Lyttenburgh says:


    All right, Ryan. I will humor you and attempt to answer your question as if I expect from you honest debate, without you concentrating on irrelevant issues and trying to derail it. You want to talks – seriously – about fascism and its definition? Let us talk! Not sure, whether we will bore other commenters here immediately or a bit later. Well – here goes nothing. Again, your words:

    “So I think it’s worthwhile, before accusing Poland’s current government of being “fascist”, to clarify what precisely “fascist” means.” (c)

    And here we (at least – me) run into our first hurdle. What is “definition” aka “the meaning of the term”? Can we before engaging further agree on one thing? Can we define the term “definition/meaning of the term” as the following:

    “The “definition” is a quality that is immanent to the phenomenon _throughout_ its development, and is defined through the negation of one’s own negation.”

    Also, I would like to whether you agree or not that any given phenomenon is not just a collected set of its (inherent) attributes/traits, but, first of all, essence which remains the same during its development throughout any length of time.

    After that we might proceed with trying to define the “fascism”.

    • yalensis says:

      Here is my own (feeble) attempt to define fascism:

      A mass political movement, whose base mostly consists of the petit-bourgeois and lumpen-proletariat, in weird alliance with Big Capital. Supports capitalist property relationships and traditional (patriarchal) family values, opposes socialism/communism, is hostile to trade unions, professes “individualist” values; promotes the concept of “the (titular) nation” as either an ethnic-based or sometimes more abstract concept; reocgnizes the existence of the class struggle; but seeks to ameliorate or sublimaite it into ethnic/racial conflict.

      This definition is not perfect, probably needs more work and refinement, but it’s a start…

      • marknesop says:

        If you apply the official definition of fascism, which includes a marked reverence for order and discipline and the trains running on time, many elements of it reflect the values of American Conservatives. And in fact most democratic-nation political parties include fascist ideals in their platforms – not because those parties are evil (or at least it is a matter of degree), but because not all fascist ideals are bad. Some make perfect sense and are, in fact, necessary to any society which would not give itself over wholesale to debauchery and hedonism. Western societies could use a little fascism, although they need not be entirely fascist. It’s mostly just a convenient insult.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “Some make perfect sense and are, in fact, necessary to any society which would not give itself over wholesale to debauchery and hedonism. Western societies could use a little fascism, although they need not be entirely fascist. It’s mostly just a convenient insult.”

          Mark, but I’m making a different point. I’m saying that any phenomenon (like the “fascism” in this case) is not simply a sum of its parts. Saying otherwise means engaging in the intellectual dead-end positivism. See what it did to you – you in your comment took some elements (external traits) of the fascism for being integral for fascism alone. This made you proceed further angry that, yeah, “western societies could use a little fascism”. But that’s wrong. Fascism is not “trains are running on time”. That’s the external trait, not the essence of the thing.

          But I’m still waiting for Ryan’s response, because, who knows – maybe he can successfully argue against my definition of the term “definition”, before we proceed further.

        • Jen says:

          Reverence for order and discipline and making trains run on time are not in themselves fascist – it’s the context in which these values are conceived and the ends to which they’re applied that make them look fascist. As Lyttenburgh says, you look at the agenda of the government or the organisation – which admittedly may be hard to find, if the entity doesn’t want its aims to be public knowledge – and you would be able to determine from that if the entity is fascist.

          Fascist governments in Italy and Germany made a big deal of orderliness and discipline because they came to power in a context of uncertainty. Both nations were still new and regionalism was still strong. There was not one overarching set of values that could be identified with the concepts of Italy and Germany as nation-states.

          From this, it’ll follow that US-style fascism will look different from the fascism of 1930s Italy and Germany. But the agenda behind American fascism may have similar goals as Italian and German fascism: the goals will be to shore up the domination of a small elite over a large mass of people by whatever means (cultural, political, economic, military, whatever) are available.

        • Ryan Ward says:

          Western societies could use a little fascism, although they need not be entirely fascist. It’s mostly just a convenient insult.
          I think, whatever the validity of “fascism” as a theoretical concept, properly refined and defined, this is true of “fascism” as the word is used in 90%+ of normal conversation. The method is pretty simple. Find some resemblance (which is pretty easy to do, since pretty much everything resembles everything else in some way or another) between something you don’t like and “fascism”, then say on the basis of that resemblance that the thing you don’t like IS fascism, and bang, you don’t have to bother making a real or substantive argument.

          • marknesop says:

            I agree, although I should probably have clarified that western societies could use a little fascism insofar as it is defined as respect for centralized authority, a belief in the functionality and necessity of law and order and low tolerance for special-interests groups’ activism.

      • saskydisc says:

        As I understand negation of the negation, it comes from dialectics. Understanding “contradictions” as opposing tendencies, one may understand a phenomenon as a consequence of opposing tendencies, that together tend to make the phenomenon persist. The opposing tendencies may be phenomena in their own right. As the phenomenon being defined breaks down, other phenomena may step in to re-establish the phenomenon (control and social systems; higher level thesis from negation of the negation).

        Interpreting negation of the negation in terms of a mechanical system makes the issue obvious. A shaft that is made to rotate is subject to a centrigual force (thesis, primary tendency), which leads to a deformation of the shaft; the deformation of the shaft leads to a counter-acting (interatomic) force, that tends to resist the disintegration of the shaft (antithesis, opposing tendency). A short term synthesis (scarcely measurable deformation during operation) and a long term synthesis (disintegration due to metal fatigue) are present. Thus we can define steady state rotary motion using negation of the negation, as the first is an obvious case of negation of the negation. The second becomes a new thesis, which could lead to a “higher” negation of the negation (the part gets replaced), or the dynamic stops (society breaks down, or for other reasons e.g. new technology the part is not replaced). Thus negation of the negation may let the object of the (phenomenal) definition (rotary motion in this example) broaden, so as to capture non-obvious aspects of rotary motion, which a technician could appreciate. Note that many aspects of a phenomenon might not be obvious from a valid definition, even though they would be necessary consequences.

        Thus you gave a phenomenal description rather than a definition of fascism. I will give a definition of fascism, that need not be correct let alone complete, but will be an example of negation of the negation. A group exercises desired relative power based on continual development of material wealth based on preferential access to resources (thesis), which leads to ruination of resources and hence reduction of capacity to produce wealth (antithesis). As power is desired, they further constrain others’ access to resources (synthesis), reproducing the original thesis, or negation of the negation. Then different means of further constraining others’ access to resources can be included as examples of the thesis, e.g. war, corporate control of trade unions or dismantling of same, wages not keeping up with productivity gains, debt build-up, etc.

        This leads to a new set of antitheses, e.g. oppositional activities and economic inefficiencies. A synthesis for the first would be stirring resentment against out-groups (divide and rule), and for the second would be conquest of more resources and thus again war. These syntheses reproduce the thesis directly. Other syntheses are new technology, to obtain greater efficiency in use of resources, and destruction of the powerful group, whether by complete ruination of resources or by other means. These latter syntheses would not (in the short term at least) be negation of negation, and thus show how one might terminate the phenomenon. Note the correlation between fascist and futurist political tendencies, going back at least to the 1920s, regarding technology; one may interpret it as a desire to maintain the thesis without the antithesis.

        • yalensis says:

          That’s pretty deep analysis!

          Somewhat relevant: In one Computer Science class I took, we studied systems that were “stable but wrong”, for example a queuing type network system, which is too slow to be of any use (like, one bit per second, or something ridiculous like that), and yet, after some initial thrashings and fluctuations, settles into this stable (but useless) state.
          Which is the undesired Synthesis.

          • saskydisc says:

            As a background to dialectical reasoning, I suggest that you brush up a bit on formal logic (modus tollens and modus ponens, de Morgan’s theorem, predicate logic and the like—two profs from my alma mater wrote a nice book, the first three chapters of which would help: Logic and Discrete Mathematics: A Computer Science Perspective (Grassman and Tremblay).

            I also suggest you read up a bit about ODEs, although that is not strictly necessary.

            Then try to understand social and physical phenomena (ODEs especially for the latter) in terms of other phenomena, that tend to work in opposition, producing variously equilibria and cyclic tendencies.

          • saskydisc says:

            Another example of wishing away the antithesis as typical of fascistic sympathies:

            Life (thesis) begets death (termination of life, antithesis). The synthesis is procreation, thus life continues in the presence of death. To do away with the antithesis (death), apply radical life extension.

            Also, note an important difference between e.g. Zen Buddhism and Dialectics. Zen Buddhism says something is of a dependent arisal, and thus is not real. Dialectics says something is of a dependent arisal between conflicting phenomena, but what is the character of the dependent arisal?

            That was just an excuse to post this cartoon:

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          saskydisc does excellent job of explaining the dialectical approach here in one particualr example (which is our topic)… but he does it in fewer words than I would! 😉

          But, yes, yalensis – you concentrated too much on the outer things. Many people who tried to define the fascism via them exclusively (from Hayek to Umberto Eco) became regarded as “authotiries”… yet they were either deliberately, ideologiacally motivated wrong (like Hayek in his “Road to Slavery”) or simply mistaken (like Eco, who fell into a positivist trap in his “Ur-Fascism”).

          P.S. Still waitin’ for Ryan!

          • Ryan Ward says:

            P.S. Still waitin’ for Ryan!

            Real life gets in the way sometimes 😉 But I’ll be able to post a response to the comments so far tomorrow.

      • Ryan Ward says:

        This definition is not perfect, probably needs more work and refinement, but it’s a start…
        I think this definition is fairly good as a “phenomenological definition” as I discuss in my post below.

    • Ryan Ward says:

      “The “definition” is a quality that is immanent to the phenomenon _throughout_ its development, and is defined through the negation of one’s own negation.”

      If the section “and is defined through the negation of one’s own negation” means that all definitions have to be dialectical in form, this “definition of definition” is hoist on its own petard and refutes itself. The reason being that this definition itself is not dialectical in form. I would say rather that a proper definition can be (and if it’s a definition of a social phenomenon, often will be) dialectical, but there’s no necessity that it be so. But since, as I just said, I’m sympathetic to dialectical definitions in the sort of area we’re talking about, this is a small disagreement.

      “Also, I would like to whether you agree or not that any given phenomenon is not just a collected set of its (inherent) attributes/traits, but, first of all, essence which remains the same during its development throughout any length of time.”

      I would say rather that there are two kinds of definitions, depending on their purpose. One could be called a “phenomenological” definition that simply lists a phenomenon’s distinctive traits. This kind of definition is sufficient for many purposes (eg. for deciding if a specific particular is an instance of the general phenomenon or not), and is in any case necessary groundwork for any “deeper” definition, so it shouldn’t be thought of as an improper or wrong, but rather as a preliminary and incomplete, definition.

      As for “essence”, I would add the reservation that theoretical knowledge (which includes definitions of phenomena) is not an unmediated intellectual access to things “outside of us”. Rather, it’s a dynamic process of interaction between subject and object. So it makes no sense to say a definition in words, then insist that this definition “is” the essence of a phenomenon. Rather, the “essence” of something will depend critically on the role that things plays in the model we build of it. And it’s not necessarily the case that one model will necessarily be reducible to another. There are many cases when the same phenomenon is properly defined in two different ways for the purpose of different models. But with that proviso, the definition of a phenomenon will have to identify a stable “essence” (otherwise, there’s nothing to define), so again, I think any disagreement there might be here is a small one.

      • Ryan Ward says:

        What lies at the core of the fascist ideology? The corporatist state and complete, violent denial of the class struggle. Workers, ergo, should not fight against their exploitation, because, really, all their troubles stem from the “unfortunate” fact, that “wrong” people became the political/financial elite. Currently in the West, there are two “options” offered to the people – either have as your exploiters people of the same ethnicity/nationality espousing “traditional” values, or have as such multi-tokenism members of the “adorables” and various minorities. In short – the working class is offered the proverbial “two chairs”, one of which is absolutely arbitrary appointed “right-wing”, while another is incorrectly labeled “left-wing”. That’s fascism.

        So should I take this as the proposed definition of fascism?

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    World Cup 2018?

    What about this World Cup?

    Rugby League World Cup Final — Australia vs. England

    Kick-off at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, in 15 minutes (midday, Mordor time, 09:00 GMT).

    Betty than that pansies’ game!


    • Moscow Exile says:

      Better FFS!

      Lots of big girls’ blouses that would better be called “Betty” rather than “Billy” will be playing the Drama Queen at World Cup 2018 here, though.

      No cry-babies here:

      This year’s semi-final: Tonga 18-20 England

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Damn and blast! An Aussie try already.

        • davidt says:

          It was a very physical match with little between the sides. (There was only the one try and it was touch and go whether the last pass was forward.) I think we lack a bit of flair in the centres and I did notice a few comments from Australian supporters saying that we are boring to watch. On the other hand, it was a very hard fought match, both teams were up for the match and the English players were gutted not to have won given the effort they put in. (Wayne Bennett, Australia’s most successful club coach, was the England coach.) Cameron Smith, the Australian captain, said it was probably the hardest game that he has played. Perhaps he is just getting old, but it certainly didn’t look like a stroll in the park to me.

    • Cortes says:

      Just for badness…


      Odd that there’s the interest in Rugby League from the Russophobic chief sports writer of the Grauniad…is there a relationship?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Ashton will be a Wigan RLFC supporter if she follows rugby league in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, where she lives, which I find difficult to imagine — I mean her being a rugby fan, not her living in St. Albans, which latter is eminently understandable.

        She was born about 4 miles away from where I was dragged up.

        Upholland is just up the road from Wigan’s ground, which it now shares with Wigan Athletic football club after Wigan RLFC had sold of its Central Park ground to a supermarket chain.

        Central park was, as its name implies, right smack bang in the middle of Wigan.

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    Damn, damn, double-damn, two “bloody hells” and a “bugger”!

    Australia won for the 11th time in 15 finals.

    Australia 6: England 0.

    Only one try in it.

    Well, at least it wasn’t a win by a cricket score.

  26. Warren says:

    Big Think
    Published on 8 Oct 2017
    Americans are inherently a little crazy. But now the crazy is being enabled by politicians in the White House and by the internet. How exactly did it get so bad?

  27. Evgeny says:


    Track “Родина” from a recent album by Russian alt-rock band Bi-2:

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    Mr. Lincoln’s effigy with each hand on a bundle of fasces

    Dedicated in 1922, the same year as when Benito’s chums marched on Rome and took over Italy, eventually bringing untold misery to Italians.

    Mussolini did not take part in the march, but his Blackshirt pals did.

    I think he did not march so as to cod everyone that he really was a moderate Mr. Nice -Guy in a business suit, as he is wearing above, and to disassociate himself from the fascists ruffians.

    But I ask you, would you buy an ice-cream off that man?

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Massive kiddies’ rally in Pskov today!

    400 turned up.

    • kirill says:

      If the youngest Russian generation is buying into liberast BS and these events are any indication of such a trend, then dark times are ahead for Russia.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Nah, they only go for the freebie balloons.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The thing is, though, is that he talks crap!

        Six months ago, even Sobchak had him over a barrel as regards his policies.

        He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Navalny speak with forked tongue!

          She reminds him of what he said live on air to Shagger Nemtsov:

          If I were president, then the Crimea would become Ukrainian.

          Up to her reminding him of what he had said to Nemtsov, he has been trying to wriggle out of questions that she has being posing as regards his Crimea policy.

          He has said to her that she thinks people are stupid and that they do not understand that there are some questions which cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”.

          She persists: Would he give back the Crimea?

          “Oh what a thing to ask!” he complains at one instance.

          And then she shows him what he said to Nemtsov in a TV studio live — in a Ukrainian TV studio.

          Navalny then says that he only said that about the Crimea because he was in a Ukrainian studio; if he had been on air in a Russian studio, he would have said something else.

          Roll up! Roll up! Get your free, red Navalny balloons!

        • Cortes says:

          The main picture there makes me wonder how the nonsense about the “blinding” could ever have taken off. His eyes, generally, are those of a nutcase. Not only those images originated in the Dark Side. He just looks manic.

    • et Al says:

      Is each one wiling to sacrifice themselves for Navalny or be banned from social media for a week?

      Which is worse?

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Feldman, Navalny’s court photographer, is indeed a talented person, who comes close to make a crap look like something else, or, in this instant, to create an impression that there are indeed yuuuuge crowds of the “faithful”, ready to listen to the great and wise sheikh Leheim an-Navali, (astugfirullah!).

      Unfortunately, there is this one totally haram invention, known as “drone”, which allows to take photos of Alex and his ummah as it is:

      I guess in the “Beautiful Russia of the Future” under El Duce Navalny civilian drones would be banned.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        And to end (for now) with Navalny and his cultists – this video clip:

      • Patient Observer says:

        Excluding obvious security personnel, I count about 160 within the cordon. The pep rally at the local high school draws more – wonder why no global news coverage.

    • marknesop says:

      They really look in the throes of inspiration – exalted, even.

  30. Warren says:

    RT America
    Published on 26 Nov 2017
    Alfred McCoy, Harrington Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains the decline of the United States as a global power and the rise of the Chinese empire.

    • Warren says:

      Prize-winning historian Alfred W. McCoy first came to prominence with his 1972 book, “The Politics of Heroin in South East Asia”. His latest book “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power”, explores America’s rise as a world power–from the 1890s through the Cold War–and its bid to extend its hegemony deep into the twenty-first century through a fusion of cyberwar, space warfare, trade pacts, and military alliances and analyzes the marquee instruments of US hegemony–torture, client elites, psychological torture, and worldwide surveillance. McCoy exposes a military and economic battle for global domination fought in the shadows, largely unknown to those outside the highest rungs of power.
      Professor McCoy was in Seattle when he gave this rousing talk.
      Thanks to Elliott Bay Books
      Recorded 10/25/17

  31. Patient Observer says:

    An interesting video on the Kornet E Russian ATGM with a brief comparisons to the Javelin:

    The Kornet E advantages include a much longer range (10+ km versus 2.5 km) and apparently greater armor penetration power and greater portability. The Kornet has little trouble taking out M1 tanks base on a number of videos of the missile in action in Yemen and other areas.

    • marknesop says:

      The operator also does not have to expose him/herself to the enemy in order to acquire the target, as you do with the Javelin. The Javelin also is widely exported with many foreign operators; as well, the Army General Accounting Office reported in 2003 that it could not account for 36 Command Launch Units which were not in inventory but whose disposition was not recorded. Therefore they have no idea where those units went.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Looks 99% BS with such gems as:
      Until 1941, when Hitler decided to attack the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany (not the US) was communist Russia’s chief ally.

      • kirill says:

        Funny, but Russia did not participate in the 1938 Munich conference where the precious west kissed Hitler’s ass. By this “logic” Poland was a chief ally of the Reich and even got a piece of Czechoslovakia. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was a brilliant delay maneuver by Stalin. It bought the USSR precious time to redeploy factories to the Urals and grow its military potential. Between 1939 and 1941 the USSR increased its war fighting capacity by 40%. If the war started in 1939, then it is possible the Nazis would have won.

        Poland showing its real face at critical moments in history.

  32. Northern Star says:

    “Among the most significant facts disclosed in the special prosecutor’s case against Flynn is that the second call with Kislyak was initiated at the request of a “very senior member” of the transition team—identified by various sources as Jared Kushner—to secure Russia’s cooperation in squelching or postponing a vote by the United Nations Security Council to censure Israel over the expansion of illegal Zionist settlements in the occupied West Bank. The Obama administration had signaled that, for the first time, the US would not veto such a measure. In the end, the vote went ahead, with the US abstaining.
    The US media has largely glossed over this issue, either omitting any mention of the Israeli connection or making no analysis of its significance. That the Trump transition team was intervening on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not Putin, cuts across the narrative of Moscow’s supposed meddling in the 2016 election and the anti-Russia propaganda campaign that is bound up with both war preparations abroad and the suppression of free speech and democratic rights at home.
    From the evidence presented so far, outside of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice, any underlying offense would fall under the Logan Act, a law drafted in 1797 that bars private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments or subverting the policies of the US government on their behalf.
    No one has ever been prosecuted under this law, despite the interventions by then-Republican candidates Richard Nixon to scuttle Vietnam peace negotiations in 1968 and Ronald Reagan to delay the release of US embassy hostages in Iran in 1980, in order to influence elections. Any prosecution of the Trump administration would be problematic given the connection to Israel, whose interests are regularly promoted by politicians of both major parties.”

  33. kirill says:

    I like these little language history videos. But this one got under my skin. Suppose that Russian genocidalists and ethnic cleansers were really as claimed. Then there would be nothing left of this zone of 50+ languages. There would only be one language and one ethnic group, which is the definition of ethnic cleansing. The Circassian “genocide” is clearly a special case. I want to see all the western bleeding hearts cry rivers of tears over the Apache and the Comanche.

    Then we have the boiler plate BS about Sochi costing too much. It cost $9.5 billion US and made a profit of several hundred million dollars. Don’t lump BADLY NEEDED infrastructure projects as merely part of the Olympic event. The Olympics is long over but the infrastructure is facilitating economic development and tourism. Several million people visit the ski resorts of the Sochi area every year. This is the Russian Alps.

    This video demonstrates how ingrained is anti-Russian BS in the west. Any discussion of Russia is tainted with PC tropes and memes generated by MSM propaganda.

  34. Moscow Exile says:

    A coffin on wheels? Glory to the heroes!

    The Ukrainian army armoured-train “Stepan bandera” controlling the situation on the Crimea border. The Vatniks are scared of getting too close to the Ukraine. Glory to the heroes!

    Yeah, those Russkies are scared shitless, especially when they realize that the Pindosi are on the other side of the frontier:

    Fat California National Guard Major General David Baldwin barely able to squeeze into a Ukrainian army tank:

    A visit to the Ukraine of a delegation of the National Guard of the State of California, USA, led by Major General David Baldwin, is underway. The other day they were at Training Centre 169 “Desna” of the Ukrainian Army land forces.

    Training hard to launch assaults against civilians who happen to be their fellow countrymen? Baldwin states that he was very impressed with these NCOs who were bringing back their experiences to the training centre.

    Experiences gained from fighting the Russian army, of course, and not armed, east Ukrainian civilian “terrorists”.

    And don’t forget, those Ukrainians can teach the Pindosi a thing or two, for as the Ukraine Minister of Defence pointed out the other week, the Ukraine army is the only one with up-to-date experience of fighting the modern Russian arm, and successfully at that!

    Alright, I confess: the “armoured train” is not on the Ukraine-Crimea frontier, it’s at the “Desna” training camp in the Kozelets district of the Chernigov Province of the Ukraine, way up north from the Ukraine.

    Chernigov Province in red.

    In the contraption, they play at being in an armoured car.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      First reply to that You Tube clip above about Baldwin’s visit to the Chernigov Province training camp:

      The Russians invaded the Crimea because they were afraid that US troops would be so close to the Russian Federation…

      Well, what’s this I see? Chernigov Province is twice as close to Moscow than Simferopol is, AND actually IS near Russian border.

      So much for the Russkies ruining their own economy, foreign relations, and actually getting the scary USA NATO soldiers much closer.

      Fail of the century!

      Khokhol svidomite dickhead!

      No mention of the Sevastopol naval base, which by treaty was still a Russian Black Sea Navy base when the Russians “invaded” the Crimea and still remains so, thanks to the “invasion”, and which the US was clearly set on making their own.

      And as a result of this “invasion”, the Russian economy is ruined?

      News to me!

      At the same time, the Ukrainian economy is booming, of course, thanks to the “Revolution of Dignity”.

      When is the Ukraine going to become an EU member state, dickhead?

      Has Porky any news for you about this momentous event yet?

      • marknesop says:

        Well….they’re gonna have a referendum, any day now. Can’t sample the people’s opinion too often, you know; that’s how it’s done in a progressive state.

        In fact, it’s done quite frequently when Kiev receives bad news, so as to create the impression that things are moving ahead smartly. Doesn’t cost much, all you need is a bunch of ballots which can be recycled right after they’re used.

        Naturally, though, according to the British press, this is causing ‘panic’ in the Kremlin, as Putin trembles with terror at the very good chance that both institutions will say, “Well….they did vote…I guess we have to allow them to join!”, just as if that’s all it takes to ‘join’ the EU and NATO – a simple vote by the population.

        Here’s my headline – “Panic In Kiev as Russian Federation Votes to Join EU and NATO Ahead of Ukraine”.

        Brussels has said several times that EU membership for Ukraine is simply not in the cards under the present circumstances, and fuck-all has changed for the better since then. Therefore the British press is simply carrying Poroshenko’s water for him by holding out the illusion that success is not only possible but a strong probability. Idiots. And what’s the point of leading off with an explosive headline like that when the body contains these paragraphs:

        NATO membership, even if supported by a national referendum, remains unlikely for Ukraine. The organisation does not accept countries with unresolved territorial conflicts, ruling Ukraine out due to the situation on its border and in Crimea.

        EU membership is also unlikely given Brussels’ already-numerous internal issues. EU leaders are unlikely to want to add to this by taking on a fight against Russia – especially after already securing a free trade and free movement agreement with Ukraine.

        What about that situation is causing panic for Putin? Do those writing the headlines and those writing the stories work for different companies?

        • Cortes says:

          Were the EU to admit Ukraine, perhaps the Regime of Sauron could (imitation being the sincerest form of flattery) take up one of DJT’s ideas and put a tax (? 20%?) on all remittances home from the gastarbeiters from God’s Own Paradise?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The svidomite ain’t that smart on geography:

        Chernigov Province is twice as close to Moscow than Simferopol is, AND actually IS near Russian border.

        You can swim across the Kerch strait to the Russian mainland. The Russian border was half-way across the strait. And when the Kerch bridge is completed, you will be able to walk to Russia from the Crimea, just as you now can from the Chernigov province … that is, if the Great Wall of the Ukraine has not yet been completed.

        So when the Crimea peninsula was governed from Kiev, part of the Crimea coastline bordered Russian territory, just as part of the border of the Ukraine Chernigov province does.

        Yes, the Chernigov province is closer to Moscow than is is the Crimea peninsula, and …?

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Проект «Навальный» закрыт

    “Project Navalny” closed

    Mr. Navalny’s business has suffered three simultaneous blows:

    1. The Moscow Savelyovsky District Court has found for blogger Navalny’s former supporter, Mikhail Kostenko, as regards a lawsuit made by him against Navalny, and ordered that Volkov (Navalny’s agent) pay the plaintiff all the funds previously transferred by Kostenko in support of the “presidential candidate”, namely 50,100 rubles together with the state duty payment of 1,700 rubles…

    ” … All this proves that it has been recognized that the Fund For the Struggle Against Corruption has no right to collect money for the presidential campaign, because Navalny will never be registered. And to raise money for an unattainable goal by our laws is an act of fraud”, commented the claimant’s lawyer, Ilya Remeslo.

    One of the grounds for the refund was the fact that on his website Navalny has not said anything about his criminal record, which prevents his nomination for the presidency.

    Now all those who have given money to the “pseudo-candidate” Navalny can demand that the scammers return it. Although there is no such case law, this court judgement demonstrates that such cases can and should be won.

    2. Almost simultaneously, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has confirmed that persons with outstanding convictions cannot be candidates for the presidency and participate in an election for at least ten years after the termination of their criminal record.

    The press service of the Constitutional Court recalled that the constitutionality of the ban was established by the court back in 2013 and since that time has been confirmed more than once. The Constitutional Court unequivocally stated that these decisions were final and not subject to revision.

    3. And finally, the appeal made by the lawyers of the “lawyer” Navalny to the ECHR has been turned down, namely that the court bring forward the date of his appeal, which, theoretically, though highly unlikely, the ECHR could have done, which action would have allowed Aleksei to register himself as a presidential candidate. Therefore, the last hope that Navalny had for registering as a presidential candidate is now dead and buried.

    Now Aleksei Navalny:

    a) has no right to claim that he is a candidate, because this is false information, which, in the presence of monetary interests, may constitute fraud;

    b) has no right to collect funds for the “election campaign”;

    C) will be forced to return the money to all who deem themselves as having been deceived and who sue Navalny for the return of monies.

    Alyoshenka — this is a fiasco!

    Translation note: using the diminutive form “Alyoshenka” (Алёшенька) is definitely taking the piss.

    Some diminutive forms are used when talking to a naughty child or a bloody stupid adult, although a very, very close friend of Navalny might well say “Alyoshenka” when on the piss with him, but not taking the piss out of him — if you know what I mean.


    My mocking diminutive is Deniska (Дениска) — Deniskins, in English.

    The last time I was called Deniskins was when I was about 5 years old — by my mother.

    If someone called me “Deniskins” now and I did not know him, he would be taking the piss: sort of like a cop saying to me on New years Eve, “Now then, Deniskins, have we been drinking?”

    • marknesop says:

      The Kremlin had to take action against him, because they knew he would have been unbeatable.

      That’s all right; don’t worry. Putin will never beat Sobchak, without availing himself of administrative resources.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Today, 3 December, Samara.

      550 turned up.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Unsanctioned rally and the social network hamsters are squawking about its organizers having been arrested before it took place. They say it was unlawful to ban the meeting without offering an alternative venue — not that they ever have, to my knowledge, accepted any alternative venue offered to them.

        • marknesop says:

          Since when do the hamsters write the laws? And how are they still squawking on social media? I thought their only means of communication was samizdat? Or notes passed at dead-drops, since the Evil One crushed their freedoms.

          • et Al says:

            Since when do the hamsters write the laws?

            Since they rose up and cast their wheels aside! Rise, Planet of the Hamsters!

      • marknesop says:

        Is the object to get arrested again, then? How tiresome.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Of course it is, because the fraud has promised his hamsters that if any of them are arrested, then they can sue the authorities over infringement of their constitutional right to freedom of assembly and they can take their cases of wrongful arrest to the ECHR. He says he has never has made such promises, but he is mistaken — some may even say he is lying.

          Freedom of assembly is a wonderful human right that we all must respect — it’s as respected as Martini: any time, anywhere, any place.

  36. marknesop says:

    Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli says that reforms have still not improved the life of most Ukrainians who remain poor, adding that it is necessary to take steps to lift the moratorium on land sales. In addition, he stressed the importance of passing the draft law on privatization in its second reading next week.

    Can someone explain to me how lifting the moratorium on land sales, so that Ukraine’s agricultural land can be sold to foreign corporations, is going to improve the lives of poor Ukrainians? Are they all major landowners, or something? Would the funds realized be distributed among the poor? Pull the other one, mate.

    I am encouraged that the EU is reduced to bluster and threats, because if Kiev was moved to give in on this, it would have done so long ago, it is so greedy and shameless. Poroshenko must know that if he caves on this, he’s done. But Europe wants its payback for kingmaking.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      By means of “the trickle down effect”, whereby the enriched rich have so much extra lucre that some of it is bound to trickle down to the ever-grateful impoverished masses.

      Stands ter reason, don’t it?

  37. marknesop says:

    Oh, dear; former US Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer pours cold water on the patently silly notion that Ukraine can simply vote itself into the EU and NATO. Can it be that the western string-pullers are losing patience with Poroshenko’s increasingly-clumsy bait-and-switch attempts? Can it even be possible the west is growing unwilling to continue providing cover for his loopy distractions, as he struggles to hold on to his kingdom for just a little longer, wring a few more bucks out of it? Because he and his family would probably not be safe there if he were removed in a coup, and there would be no further need to be delicate about his plundering and continuing self-enrichment. The Poroshenkii would have to flee – and where? Somewhere in Yurrup would be my guess. He seems to have abandoned any possibility of remaining active in Ukrainian politics after his time is up – one way or another – in favour of accelerated moneymaking while he is still top dog. I’m afraid the next administration will hold him up as yet another sad example of how the voters’ trust was misplaced – tsk, tsk; who could have seen that coming? Once again the bumpkins will be wandering dazedly through another rich man’s palace and marveling in their yokel way at the excesses of the dizzyingly wealthy. And then rush to the polls to vote for Yulia Tymoshenko, probably.

    It is best, as I think and understand, for you to follow me, and I will be your guide, and lead you from here through an eternal space where you will hear the desperate shouts, will see the ancient spirits in pain, so that each one cries out for a second death: and then you will see others at peace in the flames, because they hope to come, whenever it may be, among the blessed. Then if you desire to climb to them, there will be a spirit, fitter than I am, to guide you, and I will leave you with her, when we part, since the Lord, who rules above, does not wish me to enter his city, because I was rebellious to his law.

    Alighieri Dante, from The Divine Comedy

  38. Lyttenburgh says:

    On the “now NATO troops are as close to Russia as ever – all because of Crimea!” meme. You know where else now there NATO troops a-plenty? In brave Poland – the last Bastion of the Civilization. And then – this happens.

    It was pure comedy gold! Near great city of Lubiń (Wielkopolskie voivodate) several American military transports flew off the road and got stuck in a ditch. They tried to pull them out with a military mule, but it fell there and got stuck too. Then another of their military tractors fell into the same ditch.

    Russia is apparently to be blamed soon. Comrade .praporshik of GRU Ivan Susanin to be promoted to the senior praporshik for his service. At the award ceremony, I. Susanin modestly denied that he did anything out of the ordinary, claiming “that I have plenty of experience when it comes to the Poles”.

    P.S. And now for something completely different.

    The unique bridge that simultaneously does not exist, is impossible to built, is about to collapse and currently stifles the Ukrainian maritime navigation of the Azov sea. Oh, and something about ruining eco-system of the Kerch straight, EU, plox, pass a resolution to ban it’s construction!

  39. Patient Observer says:

    Regarding the recent loss on the Soyuz rocket, it does appear to be human error but due to arcane considerations involving gyroscopes, a new launch location, initial rocket orientation and misinterpretation of gyroscope data by the flight control systems.

    In the Soyuz rocket, the gyro platform normally rotated from 174 degrees back to a zero position, providing the correct guidance. However on the Fregat, the shortest path for its platform to a zero-degree position was to increase its angle from 184 to 360 degrees. Essentially, the platform came to the same position, but this is not how the software in the main flight control computer on the Fregat interpreted the situation. Instead, the computer decided that the spacecraft had been 360 degrees off target and dutifully commanded its thrusters to fire to turn it around to the required zero-degree position. After the nearly 60-degree turn at a rate of around one degree per second, the Fregat began a preprogrammed trajectory correction maneuver with its main engine. Unfortunately, the spacecraft was in a wrong attitude and, as a result, the engine was fired in a wrong direction.

    Glad it was not sabotage this time as the Russians should have eliminated further such acts given previous experience. Space flight is difficult and complex. Bad things happen.

  40. AndrewScerm says: эл двигатель аир 80


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