Seasons Greetings From the Masters of Illusion

Uncle Volodya says, “When people complain of your complexity, they fail to remember that they made fun of your simplicity.”

Nolan Peterson, perennial Ukraine optimist and is-the-glass-half-empty-or-are-you-not-listening-to-me guy, feels like the country has turned a corner. Yes, by God, things are looking up. Ukraine might not be able to look forward to EU membership, but hey! It has visa-free travel, so if you have enough money for a vacation, you can go to the EU and see what it would be like to live there. Ukraine might not be able to look forward to NATO membership, but there are a few NATO troops in Ukraine training the country’s soldiers so that they can get a feel for what it would be like to be a NATO soldier, sort of.  I mean, apart from getting paid, and stuff.

And the country’s GDP growth might be an anemic 0.2%, the Balance of Trade might have been relentlessly negative for more than a year, so that Ukraine is digging itself into a deeper hole every month by buying more than it’s selling – worse yet, nearly all of it with borrowed money – and the Government Debt to GDP ratio might have more than doubled from Yanukovych to Poroshenko. Running the economy is like juggling flaming tar. But never mind that. Sit down for a minute, because Mr. Peterson has big news, the kind of news that is going to make you want to pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. You’re going to want to jump in the air – proof, incidentally, that you are not a Moskal – and click your heels together.

Ukraine now has Christmas.

Yes, isn’t that great??? Petro Poroshenko the inspirational leader, moved by a compulsion to give his countrymen a gift that all could enjoy, signed it into law – December 25th is now a public holiday, just like it is in the west! Now Ukrainians can experience – vicariously, at least – the joy of sharing a holiday with the west: not like those bearded Orthodox wierdos. In fact, that’s what makes it the best! Russia doesn’t have it!!

You might think I’m being sarcastic, but I assure you I’m not. Establishing an ever-more-obvious difference between Ukrainians and Russians who share the same genetic makeup is sufficiently important to Mr. Peterson that he put it in the headline. In Ukraine, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And a lot less like Russia.

I suppose we should have expected this, because it’s the kind of thing westerners – especially Americans – do in their eagerness to spread their culture of consumerism. The Moscow Times, a western-oriented newspaper with an American editor, based in Moscow, mounted a spirited campaign for a couple of years to get Hallowe’en to catch on in Russia, and was scathing in its denunciation of the government and the Orthodox religion for their resistance. I don’t really understand why this is so important, but it just seems as if the ‘democracy activists’ believe if they can get foreign populations to adopt western commercial holidays – which virtually all of them now are – they will respond more readily to exhortations to throw themselves into the kind of ridiculous spending frenzy holidays in the west imply, and docilely allow themselves to be managed by corporate advertising.

Holiday surveys in America predict the average American will spend between $950 and $1,200 on Christmas shopping this year. Some can afford it. Quite a few can’t.

Well, in that respect, Americans and Ukrainians are already just like brothers. You can sort of tell from the throngs of eager shoppers you can see in the picture accompanying Mr. Peterson’s smug article. At first glance, I would say Santa has his work cut out for him. According to state statistics, the average monthly wage across Ukraine in July 2017 was $276.00 USD. Right off the top of my head, I’m going to predict the average Ukrainian will not be spending a minimum of $950.00 on Christmas, because that represents almost three and a half months’ wages.

A big part of consumer research in the west is dedicated to finding out where people spend their money, and then developing advertising which will persuade them to spend it on targeted products instead. So what do Ukrainians spend their money on? Well, mostly – some 94% – goes on  food, transport, essential goods and communal services. According to a popular Ukrainian news site, Ukrainians have only 6% of their wages available for savings. Or…er…Christmas shopping. Gee; what a dilemma.

Say; you know, maybe there’s a lesson here. Maybe Ukrainians don’t need to be herded into aping westerners’ consumer habits quite yet. Perhaps they don’t need to be pawns in a one-upmanship game where western ideologues take a poke at Russia and then giggle behind their hands, waiting for a reaction. Maybe they need help breaking out of a system in which the country’s 50 wealthiest citizens control 85% of the nation’s GDP – because their president sure as hell isn’t going to help them there. Maybe instead of just blindly pumping money into the country without any accountability, so that much of it ends up in wealthy citizens’ offshore accounts and shell corporations, they need local agencies distributing aid money directly to small businesses and farmers and tradesmen under conditions of strict oversight and monitoring. Maybe the grinding noise of being crushed by poverty is making it hard for them to hear the jingling of sleigh bells and the prancing and pawing of each little hoof, if you get my drift.

Instead, westerners busy themselves thinking up ways in which Ukrainians can show that they are different from the dirty Russians, which plays into the fantasies of a tiny fraction of the population, and those the most ideological and least stable. Instead, westerners invent barriers which caused Ukraine to lose the Russian market for its goods which was more than a third of its GDP. In their minds, western ideologues are still missionaries, going amongst the heathen to save their souls for the real God.  And he’ll likely have them soon enough: Ukrainians’ life expectancy has faltered and stumbled, and they are dying faster than new Ukrainians can be born. If it were happening in Russia, it’d be ‘a death spiral’, because the Russians are our enemies and we like to think about lots of them dying. We don’t talk that way about our friends, though, so it’s a big mystery, although Ukrainians themselves have a pretty good idea why.

“This is a serious problem for the country,” Alex Ryabchyn, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament, told The Daily Signal. “People are dying due to bad living conditions, declining environmental standards, or the war. Another problem is that the most active workforce is considering emigration..More people are dying than are being born in Ukraine. In 2016, every birth in Ukraine was matched by 1.5 deaths, according to a January report by the State Statistics Service of Ukraine.

Where did we learn that? Why, from Nolan Peterson; the same guy who thinks a little ho-ho-ho is just what Ukrainians need to chase away those winter blues.

“They are Man’s and they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

Charles Dickens; A Christmas Carol

 

 

 

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1,921 Responses to Seasons Greetings From the Masters of Illusion

  1. Warren says:

    Ukraine kidnappers release hostage after $1m bitcoin ransom paid

    Male employee of UK-registered cryptocurrency exchange ‘safe, but stressed’ following capture by gunmen

    Kidnappers in Ukraine have released an employee at a UK-registered cryptocurrency exchange after getting more than $1m (£750,000) in bitcoin as a ransom, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister told Reuters on Friday.

    Pavel Lerner, a leading analyst and blockchain expert, was seized by masked abductors on Boxing Day, according to a statement by his company, EXMO Finance, on its website.

    “This is the first such case in Ukraine linked to bitcoin,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to interior minister Arsen Avakov, said in a text message.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/29/ukraine-kidnappers-release-hostage-after-1m-bitcoin-ransom-paid

    Ukraine’s descent into lawlessness and anarchy continues unabated. It wouldn’t surprise me if the kidnappers turn out to be Banderite militiamen.

  2. Matt says:

    http://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/iran-blames-foreign-agents-for-death-of-two-protesters-521459

    Iran blames foreign agents for death of two protesters

    An Iranian official said two protesters previously reported killed in the city of Dorud on Saturday night during anti-government demonstrations were targeted by foreign agents and not the police.

    “Violent clashes broke out in the illegal demonstration in Dorud on Saturday and unfortunately two people were killed. No shots were fired by the police and security forces. We have found evidence of enemies of the revolution, Takfiri groups and foreign agents in this clash,” Habibollah Khojastehpour, the deputy governor of Lorestan province, said in an interview on state television on Sunday.

    They’re all the same! Russia, Maduro, the Iranian regime: when you screw-up, blame da Yankee imperialists!

  3. Matt says:

    Perhaps the most explosive news story I’ve read all year:

    https://thebell.io/en/arrest-russian-intel-top-cyber-crime-expert-american-elections/

    Incredible. It confirms that Russia did hack the DNC (and that it was responsible for the attacks against Estonia), and lays it all out in meticulous detail. Top-notch investigative journalism!

    Unfortunately, that people like Mikhailov, who fight corruption/crime and do the right thing, are arrested, shows that government attitudes towards corruption and crime will not change.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Farewell. You can see above why.

    I very much doubt that I shall be back.

    Farewell means “farewell”: no baby-talk “bye-byes” from me.

    Three and a half hours to New Year 2018 here.

    Enjoy 2018 and the take over of this site and its spamming if you can.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Best Wishes to you and your family for 2018! You have brought an abundance of balance, wit and insight to this site. Trolls come and go.

      • Jen says:

        Happy New Year to all Kremlin stooges for 2018! May you all have the best of fortunes this year!

        Wishing ME’s family a holy Orthodox Christmas and a peaceful and stress-free New Year. Make sure you remember the important deadlines, ME!

        And wishing ME Junior good luck in his rapping career! (Erm … don’t encourage any suicides among your fans.)

      • davidt says:

        On the previous page I have posted an old video on the Isdeliye 30 engine that you might not have seen.

    • Matt says:

      The anti-Navalny guy once again “leaves”. He doesn’t like it when his delusions about the mythical Georgian snipahs in Ukraine are debunked, nor when Russia’s lies about MH17 are exposed. No siree, Navalny is always bad!

      You are no doubt well-aware of the abundance of videos from Russia showing brainwashed schoolteachers and/or principals criticizing students for being pro-Navalny or taking part in protests. They believe and repeat the usual stuff about Maidan, foreign agents, da Great Pootin, Navalny being some puppet, etc. It’s actually incredible. Not even RussiaGate has conjured this level of hysteria in the U.S., and yet, when it happens in Russia, everyone here collectively shrugs or just ignores it.

      I know you will continue to read my posts in the future, which expose your flawed thinking.

      Calling me a “troll” for posting my opinion will never change the simple facts stated above.

    • yalensis says:

      Happy New Year to Moscow Exile and all the other Stooges.
      Jen: I LOVE YOU!
      M.E. – don’t give up the fight just yet!
      We seem to be in the middle of a Chekhov play, but that doesn’t mean it can’t end differently…. Nothing is pre-ordained!

    • cartman says:

      I think Mark is gone for the holidays. I hope he sorts out the password issue soon, because I cannot stand to be around here while his blog comment sections are spammed to hell by Matt and Averko. I’ll check back in a few days to see what’s happening. It would be better to contact WordPress and tell them their verification system blows and that this is his blog before creating a new one.

  5. Matt says:

    Once again: calling me a “troll” for merely posting an opinion in contradiction to your own is quite cheap. Of course, many of the good people have essentially left, including niku and Ryan.

    If you disagree with me, then that’s fine. But there’s no need to insult. I had a lengthy and respectful discussion on off-guardian about the moon landings and RT’s FARA registration. Everyone was respectful. Why? Because the moderators weren’t biased and didn’t allow one-way insults to flow. Everyone was treated equally and fairly.

    Can’t say the same about this place.

    • Patient Observer says:

      You are a troll as you have been asked to stop posting by the blog master as well as everyone who has voiced an opinion. Your efforts to date have convinced no one of your views and you have damaged the quality of this blog by your dubious debating techniques (no need to provide an example here as this topic has been thoroughly explored in earlier posts).

      Can you offer reasons why you generate a blizzard of posts despite being unwelcomed and, by all indications, to be entirely ineffective? The only reason that makes sense to me is you are simply trying to ruin this blog because you do not agree with the prevalent views and analysis.

      • Matt says:

        No, I am a “troll” because I make posts that prove other people here wrong. You keep repeating the line that “[my] efforts to date have convinced no one of [my] views” but you know this is incorrect. On other blogs, I have great and long debates with those I disagree with. The difference there is that the moderators don’t allow insults to fly around. Here, when someone would insult me (due to their frustration of being wrong), I would insult back, but only I’d be the one demonized. Again, this is the only place where this happens.

        “by your dubious debating techniques (no need to provide an example here as this topic has been thoroughly explored in earlier posts).”

        Ah, is that when words are put into my mouth or my statements completely exaggerated, upon which I correct the poster and am thus labelled someone who “keeps changing the goalposts”? Yes, I am well aware of this accusation. But there are zero examples of me ever doing what you claim.

        “Can you offer reasons why you generate a blizzard of posts despite being unwelcomed and, by all indications, to be entirely ineffective?”

        The reason is because people here fall for fake news. Due to their own arrogance, they believe the lies spoken by the Russian government and its associated proxies online, in the West, and in the media.

        I gave, as an example, the “Maidan Georgian Sniper” hoax, in a previous post to you. Do you remember how everyone, uniformly, believed the hoax, choosing not to notice the glaring problems? It is for precisely that reason that I come back.

        And I haven’t posted much here over the past few weeks. So what “blizzard of posts” are you referring to?

        • Patient Observer says:

          No, I am a “troll” because I make posts that prove other people here wrong. You keep repeating the line that “[my] efforts to date have convinced no one of [my] views” but you know this is incorrect.

          No one seems to accept your lonely assertions that your posts “prove other people are wrong”. And I most certainly do not agree whatsoever that “you [I] know this is incorrect”. You see, you apparently believe that we all secretly accept your views but simply can not admit your superior arguments. I can only speak for myself but that is definitely not the case.

          I am well aware of this accusation. But there are zero examples of me ever doing what you claim.

          Why, just today regarding the Fort Knox topic you did a cheap debating trick. You added in and, in fact, made the “trustworthiness” of the bullion guy as a centerpiece of your argument. The topic, however, was Fort Knox, whether is was a commercial competitor with other gold storage services and whether there was an audit. You did add useful information about the audit but we both agreed it was of dubious quality and value.

          The reason is because people here fall for fake news. Due to their own arrogance, they believe the lies spoken by the Russian government and its associated proxies online, in the West, and in the media.

          So, you are on a mission to save us from “fake news” when in fact we do not wish to be saved and have made such abundantly clear to you. I added boldface above to highlight your view that apparently organizations or groups that finds credibility in the Russian position must be controlled by Russia!

          So, why do you post here? As far as I can tell it is to SAVE US FROM FAKE NEWS!

          But we do not want your services and you have been asked to stop posting here. So, we are back to this: The only reason that makes sense to me is you are simply trying to ruin this blog because you do not agree with the prevalent views and analysis.

          Hence, you are a troll, a hard working troll, but still a troll.

          • Matt says:

            You finally elaborated. This makes it easier to address your claims.

            “No one seems to accept your lonely assertions that your posts “prove other people are wrong”. And I most certainly do not agree whatsoever that “you [I] know this is incorrect”. You see, you apparently believe that we all secretly accept your views but simply can not admit your superior arguments. I can only speak for myself but that is definitely not the case.”

            Indeed, you can only speak for yourself. How do you know that other posters here, and lurkers, have never, ever had their minds changed by me?

            “Why, just today regarding the Fort Knox topic you did a cheap debating trick. You added in and, in fact, made the “trustworthiness” of the bullion guy as a centerpiece of your argument. The topic, however, was Fort Knox, whether is was a commercial competitor with other gold storage services and whether there was an audit.”

            No, the whole point of my post was that the guy was untrustworthy because he had ulterior motives. This was LITERALLY in the first post I made! Right here:

            “Is it possible that those who work at these companies benefit from making it look like Fort Knox is not the right place to store Gold? Think people, think.”

            “I added boldface above to highlight your view that apparently organizations or groups that finds credibility in the Russian position must be controlled by Russia!”

            What? This is an excellent example of me being accused of something I never said. No, I don’t believe that pro-Russian entities are “controlled by Russia”, my dishonest friend. By “proxies” I was talking about the state sponsored propaganda factories, which even you can’t deny exist in Russia.

            “But we do not want your services and you have been asked to stop posting here. So, we are back to this: The only reason that makes sense to me is you are simply trying to ruin this blog because you do not agree with the prevalent views and analysis.”

            You still did not address the single counter-example I gave about the mythical “Georgian Snipers” during EuroMaidan. Why not, I wonder?

  6. Matt says:

    My country has become a laughing stock:

    http://www.euronews.com/2017/12/28/venezuela-maduro-accuses-portugal-of-sabotaging-christmas-following-failed-pork-deliveries

    “Maduro accuses Portugal of sabotaging Christmas following failed pork deliveries”

    Venezuelans have taken to the streets in poor parts of Caracas to protest a shortage of pork for their traditional Christmas dinner. President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government had promised to provide subsidised meat to Venezuelans, but in many parts it did not materialise and frustration has boiled over. Maduro, who has been alleging a foreign-led “economic war” against his government, went on state TV to blame Portugal for failing to deliver pork imports in time for Christmas:

    “What happened to the pork? They sabotaged us. I can name a country: Portugal,” Maduro said.

    “We bought all the Pork we had in Venezuela. We bought everything,” he continued.

    “But we had to import and so I gave the order, signed the agreements but they pursued the bank accounts of the boats,”

    “We were chased by two giant ships that came and sabotaged us, but only for now”.

    “With or without sabotage, no one will take away the happiness of Christmas from the people,” Maduro said.

    —————————-

  7. Matt says:

    A fellow Reddit user has helpfully compiled a list of people/states Maduro has blamed Venezuela’s problems on:

  8. Warren says:

    RT
    Published on 31 Dec 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 2.2M
    2018 is just around the corner. We celebrate the holiday every year, but every time we see in it something new, something kind, so we welcome it. We believe that everything we wish for in this moment, all of our hopes and dreams will come true. For us, the New Year is, above all, a family holiday. We celebrate it the same way we used to when we were children. It is a day of gifts and surprises, a day of warmth and affection, a day when we expect change.

  9. Matt says:

    More disinformation to weaken the U.S. economy:

    US gold of low purity & that’s why audit of reserves will never be allowed – expert tells RT

    https://www.rt.com/business/414610-us-low-quality-gold/

    Who is this “expert”? BullionStar’s precious metals “expert”, Ronan Manly.

    What services does BullionStar provide? “Buy, sell and store your precious metals with BullionStar.”

    Is it possible that those who work at these companies benefit from making it look like Fort Knox is not the right place to store Gold? Think people, think.

    How pathetic. I find RT has been posting more and more anti-dollar conspiracy theories, involving its collapse, the petrodollar, bitcoin destroying it, of Gold in Fort Knox being of “low purity” or missing, etc. There’s one article every few days about any one of these topics.

    If educated people fall for these lies, then they are truly brainwashed.

    • Patient Observer says:

      I can only conclude that you make inane statements in order to draw a response. In that regard, you are occasionally successful. Regarding your claim:

      What services does BullionStar provide? “Buy, sell and store your precious metals with BullionStar.”

      Is it possible that those who work at these companies benefit from making it look like Fort Knox is not the right place to store Gold? Think people, think.

      Fort Knox only stores gold for the US government and is not a competitor with BullionStar or any other similar company. Or, are you claiming that BullionStar is making a pitch to become the new Fort Knox? Really?

      In addition, the question was never about whether Fort Knox is the “right place “to store gold, it was about the quantity, purity and general conditions of the gold bullion.

      You managed to get everything wrong about a rather simple article.

      However, the continued refusal to allow an audit should be a matter of concern. Picture a large company that refuses to allow a financial audit over a many year period of time. Its investors, employees and debt holders would rightfully be concerned.

      If you respond, please stay on the subject.

      • Matt says:

        I’m aware that FK stores only government gold.

        “Or, are you claiming that BullionStar is making a pitch to become the new Fort Knox?”

        Pretty much. They want to delegitimize FK so that private depositories like their’s can store Gold. Don’t you get this impression upon reading the following: ?

        https://www.bullionstar.com/vault/

        “However, the continued refusal to allow an audit should be a matter of concern. Picture a large company that refuses to allow a financial audit over a many year period of time. Its investors, employees and debt holders would rightfully be concerned.”

        Refusal to audit? The Gold is audited every year. BullionStar submitted a FOIA request for the documents relating to yearly audits from 1993 to 2008:

        https://www.bullionstar.com/blogs/koos-jansen/us-mint-releases-new-fort-knox-audit-documentation-the-first-critical-observations/

        They found some accounting errors and other mistakes (like misreading the decimal point when weighing the gold), but apart from that, zero issues with its purity or anything. Reading their above report, it’s obvious they tried hyping up the minor issues in the audits.

        As with all conspiracy theories, it’s important to keep ’em alive. People always profit from them. Like those conspiracy theory websites who claimed Obama will impose martial law or how the country will collapse when the USD collapses. They have links on their webpages to products they sell, including “survival kits!”

        • Matt says:

          Also pay close attention to the author’s deception. He massively blows some minor mistakes out of proportion, and concludes:

          “We must wonder if these people would be capable of tying their own shoelaces. In any case, the fact the US government chose to assign very inexperienced people widely opens the possibility that the audits are a complete hoax.”

          He also spends an incredible amount of time discussing the emails he had with U.S. Mint, dishonestly attempting to cast them as liars and deceivers. He claims that since U.S. Mint never cashed his check, since the number of pages was not 1200 as they had previously claimed, and since it didn’t take as long as U.S. Mint had estimated to find the documents, that this is evidence of them being liars. Of course, he leaves out the fact that none of these documents have ever been digitized before, so U.S. Mint could not just magically give an accurate estimate as to how long it would take, or how many documents there were. Just see how obvious it is that he has agenda to make U.S. Mint look like liars:

          “After the Mint pretended the check was missing for a few weeks…”

          “I sent several emails and called the Mint three times, but time and time again I was maintained with false excuses….”

          But it gets even better. He then uses a FOIA to get the emails of the people tasked with finding the above documents themselves! The emails are completely fine and yet, he goes insane trying to make them look dubious:

          “At first sight it seems Noziglia and his office stick to prudent protocols. But possibly this email is a veil, meant to deceive me if I would ever read it. Actually, yes, I think it’s a cloak and I’ll share my theory.”

          “Noziglia must have known my inquiry could be simply honored by sending just a few pages of documentation, as he was a co-author of the documents in question.”

          Uh, just because he helps out with the audits, doesn’t mean he magically knows exactly which documents to submit in response to the FOIA request and where these documents are.

          “Firstly, with the benefit of hindsight we know Noziglia was lying in his email because by now I have the documents that count only 134 pages, and he was the coordinator of the annual inspections of custodial gold at the Mint. He must have known there were no “1,200 pages in 80 boxes” and so his $2640.00 dollar estimate is a hoax. I think Noziglia wrote the email expecting I would NOT pay the ludicrous amount of dollars, but possibly DID submit a new FOIA to view the Mint’s internal emails.”

          Again, just because he coordinated the audits, how was he supposed to know exactly how many pages the documents from 1993-2008 were supposed have? This is a ridiculous statement, but remember, the author’s goal is to keep the conspiracy theory alive.

          “Sixth, Noziglia’s estimate is $2.640.00 dollars, but I have no emails that clarify why $504.96 dollars were added for a total of $3,144.96 dollars I was charged. This indicates, Mint staff communicated in person or through phone calls to finalize my request, and so could have done likewise to handle it in general. Concluding, Noziglia’s email doesn’t paint the full picture of the internel communication.”

          So, he uses the fact that the estimate changes as evidence that the staff communicated orally, and then insinuates that the emails themselves are not trustworthy. Keep in mind, he has to discredit the emails, because they lay everything out clearly. The trick he uses is to look at very minor things, and then twist them. Here’s a prime example:

          ——————

          “Seventh, please read what Noziglia’s colleague Grimsby replied to him after 4 minutes.

          “Great email”? Why would Grimsby praise Noziglia for his email? If Grimsby would have written,“I agree”, I can understand. But, “great email”? Perhaps Grimsby meant to write, “great calculation that makes no sense, but is likely deceive an ignorant FOIA requester if he would ever read it!”? It sure looks like it.

          My guess is that Noziglia, Grimsby and Saunders-Mitchell met in the hallway in the afternoon of 15 August 2016 and agreed for Noziglia to write a phony email that arrives at an amount of dollars aimed to scare me off.”

          ————————–

          You can see Noziglia sent the email about the estimates to two people: Saunders-Mitchell and Grimsby. One of them, Grimsby, replies by saying “Great email”, which is referring to the detailed cost breakdown given by Noziglia. The author twists this simply felicitation to make it look suspicious, and then makes up his own random interpretation of the thank you:

          “Perhaps Grimsby meant to write, “great calculation that makes no sense, but is likely deceive an ignorant FOIA requester if he would ever read it!”? It sure looks like it.”

          He then uses this to conclude

          “My guess is that Noziglia, Grimsby and Saunders-Mitchell met in the hallway in the afternoon of 15 August 2016 and agreed for Noziglia to write a phony email that arrives at an amount of dollars aimed to scare me off.”

          Need I say anymore about this dishonest company?

          • Patient Observer says:

            No, you did a fine job of ignoring the relevant data, misrepresenting other data and adding in a barrage of opinions and pejoratives.

            Having been through several financial audits, I find the data, from a quick review, rather odd. The duration of the audits, apparently over many years, is weird. True, auditing a lot of physical gold is a challenge, but an audit is to provide a snap shot of the financial conditions and a multiyear effort can hardly do so.

            As such the audit results (with errors whch simply should not happen in a competently done audit) from my limited experience (and your apparent zero experience) simply is not a convincing effort. Is there more to this story beyond a poorly done audit? I don’t know and nor do you.

            • Matt says:

              I am not challenging the fact that the audits were poorly done. That is entirely true and something I do not disagree with.

              Re-read my post, because I make clear that my issue is with the dishonesty of the author of the FOIA submission. He clearly goes out of his way to present the folks at U.S. Mint as conniving to deceive him. You never bothered addressing any of this.

              • Patient Observer says:

                My interest in this topic is not whether you feel that guy was trying to deceive. One of your main points was that he was pitching his company as a substitute for Fort Knox. I think even you would now consider that to be an absurd interpretation.

                The poorly done/sloppy audit should be redone by a different and more independent audit agency. Only when that is done and the results are made public will the Fort Know gold question be definitively settled.

                You did miss his most obvious motivation for the bullion guy – to gain publicity for his company’s services with no other grand agenda. This is the norm for TV “experts”. Whether they are pitching a book, their organization or simply because they are paid to do so by their employer, they are not there out of pure altruism. The information that they provide such be judged on its own merits.

                What we did learn was that there was a sort of an audit that stretched over many years but its results are dubious due to sloppy and inaccurate work. Again, no one can say at this point if there is more to the story.

                • Matt says:

                  OK, that’s fair. I admit I was wrong about the person’s motivations. But we agree that “they are not there out of pure altruism.” The guy was clearly trying to make those FOIA emails look suspicious – and this is why I think he shouldn’t be trusted.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  My comments were not based on a perceive “trust” of anyone nor was “trust” relevant to the amount and condition of gold at Fort Knox. “Trust” was an extraneous factor introduced for the purpose of misdirecting the discussion.

                • Matt says:

                  ““Trust” was an extraneous factor introduced for the purpose of misdirecting the discussion.”

                  No, it was not. “Trust” was an issue from my very first post about the topic:

                  “Is it possible that those who work at these companies benefit from making it look like Fort Knox is not the right place to store Gold? Think people, think.”

                • Patient Observer says:

                  A really bad example – your premise that the bullion guy was offering his company as an alternate to store the gold in Fort Knox gold was absurd.

                • Matt says:

                  “A really bad example – your premise that the bullion guy was offering his company as an alternate to store the gold in Fort Knox gold was absurd.”

                  And I already admit I was wrong. But my main point stands: this person said these things for promotional purposes.

                  I already listed the article about the audit, where the employee said some fairly funny things in an attempt to further the conspiracy theory that U.S. Mint was conniving against him. When even the emails received via FOIA did not show anything remotely like this, he proceeded to literally make stuff up. That much is true. And this proves my main point of this company using conspiracy theories to promote itself and its services.

      • Northern Star says:

        That’s right…keep talkin’ to this cocksucker…..keep trying to reason with the POS..

        And according to you…..**I’m **an embarassment..a turd…???? Really PO..

        Are you that goddamn gullible?????

    • Cortes says:

      Here we go:

      Praljak is not the first defendant to die in ICTY custody at The Hague. The former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babić killed himself at the nearby Scheveningen detention centre in 2006. Another Croatian Serb, Slavko Dokmanović, was found hanging from the door of his cell in 1998

  10. Chet says:

    Among other things, hopefully 2018 will bring about less cronyism in Russia related coverage.

    As is, too many folks are playing out of position from their actual abilities.

  11. Warren says:

    TheRealNews
    Published on 28 Dec 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 211K
    On Reality Asserts Itself, Thomas Frank says the Democratic Party must acknowledge that in 2008 the crash and the discrediting of Bush, created conditions for much a more progressive policy – but Obama did not step up; with host Paul Jay

  12. Warren says:

    New China TV
    Published on 31 Dec 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 142K
    In his new year speech, Xi said China’s great achievement of development was made by the people and for the people. #XiSays

  13. Warren says:

    CGTN
    Published on 31 Dec 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 282K
    Leaders around the world have issued their new year messages with expectations for 2018. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britons would feel “renewed confidence and pride” in 2018; German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed hope that 2018 would help to strengthen ties that unite Germans; Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered a New Year message, wishing Russians “changes for the better.” And French President Emmanuel Macron Vows to Keep Up the Pace of French Reform.

  14. ucgsblog says:

    Happy New Year!

    And this is why the Democrats are continuing to lose on the political front:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/joe-biden-apos-win-overwhelmingly-133822742.html

    “Joe Biden Would ‘Win Overwhelmingly’ Against Trump in 2020, Former DNC Chair Ed Rendell Says”

    Wow – can someone be anymore aloof of the public’s opinion than that?

  15. Warren says:

    CGTN
    Published on 1 Jan 2018
    SUBSCRIBE 282K
    After 40 years of reform, opening up and development, China is standing in a “new era.” The ultimate goal of this period is the “great rejuvenation of the nation,” a blueprint set forth by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who plans to push his country forward in a “new era” during which “no one must be left behind.” GuanghuaStudio

  16. Patient Observer says:

    Mercouris does a good job in dissecting the NTY “bombshell” on what prompted the FBI investigation of Trump:

    http://theduran.com/nyt-russiagate-story-george-papadopoulos-unbelievable/

    Comments made by a 28 year old, heavily inebriated, kid, “rediscovered” many months after the fact (and after the Steele dossier was revealed as largely worthless) simply is not a credible explanation for the Trump investigation. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    • et Al says:

      Moon of Alabama too: NYT Writes Epic Cover For Comey’s FBI – Its Sole Source: “Officials Said”
      http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/01/nyt-writes-epic-cover-for-comeys-fbi-its-sole-source-officials-said.html

      In July 2016 the FBI under its director James Comey launched an investigation against the Donald Trump campaign and “Russian influence” on it.

      Comey and the FBI is under pressure to explain why they launched this investigation. The assumption has been that the Steele dossier, fabricated by a former British agent hired by the Clinton campaign, was handed to the FBI and led to the launch of its investigation.

      If that is true (as it likely is), the FBI and Comey are in deep trouble. The dossier was full of hearsay and abstruse rumors. It was obviously made up and fake stuff paid for by Trump’s opponent. To use it to launch an investigation and to get FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign stinks of partisan motives and may well have been a criminal offense.

      On Saturday the New York Times came up with a story that is designed to usher the question away and to give cover to the FBI….
      ####

      More at the link.

    • Mikhail says:

      It didn’t help for Trump to bring someone like that on.

      During the campaign, Trump said he’d look for bright foreign policy people who aren’t establishment propped. He hasn’t looked well enough.

      😉

  17. Iranian Maidan underway? Hopefully the rebels/protesters will lose.

    When will the Eurasians learn not to fight against each others? The only beneficiary is the West.

  18. Mark Chapman says:

    Hey, everybody! Happy New Year!! I’m back up, here:

    https://thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com/

    It’s rough at present and needs a lot of tweaking; I’m not entirely happy with the theme (the original, ‘Twenty Ten’, is no longer available) and may change it, and I still have to re-do the blogroll and some details. But it’ll do for the moment. Hope to see you all soon. Well, almost all of you. A few who have been having a field day while I no longer have Admin functions will be gonzo, but I don’t think there will be too many tears from the majority.

  19. Matt says:

    The sweet, sweet irony of the guy who banned me from his blog getting blocked out of the very same blog.

    The Georgian Sniper story has been debunked. I wonder where all the people are, who earlier brainwashed themselves into believing his hoax? Surely, being the humble and neutral folks that they are, they will admit to having been wrong and question themselves as to what precisely caused them to fall for the hoax? Was it their prejudice and predisposition to conspiratorial thinking?

    I exposed all of you. You fully deserve what happened, Mark. Think of it as as karma for having written a slanderous blog post about me, where, instead of admitting to having been wrong about North Korea, Venezuela, MH17, Maidan snipers, and a whole host of other topics, you casted me as some “troll”.

    https://images.8tracks.com/cover/i/000/617/681/youreapwhat_you_sow-1552.jpg?rect=0,0,500,500&q=98&fm=jpg&fit=max

  20. Matt says:

    THIS NEW YEAR’S DAY WAS AWESOME!

  21. Warren says:

    TheRealNews
    Published on 1 Jan 2018
    SUBSCRIBE 211K
    Low interest rates, “quantitative easing,” and the mitigation of antitrust laws led to more mergers and acquisitions in 2017, but that’s only going to fuel greater wealth inequality and tighten the corporate grip on the political system, explains economist Michael Hudson

  22. A western organized regime-change is ongoing in Iran: http://theduran.com/irans-top-general-now-in-mossads-crosshairs/

    The leadership of the protest movement has been hijacked by the Western and Israeli agents, according to the story.

    If they succeed, it is game-over for Russia in Syria and in the Middle East.

    If Iranian leadership has learned anything from Syria, Libya and Ukraine, they should repress the violent protesters and terrorist with brutal force. No negotiations, no concessions.

    • According to the story the USA has also instructed Israel to assassinate Iran’s top military officer, Iranian Revolutionary Guards al-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.

  23. Chet says:

    The following observations shouldn’t be confused with Matt.

    More like the below linked runs away from the valid counters to some of his preferences:

    https://thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/first-blog-post/comment-page-1/#comment-25

    Lobbing pot shots from a censored venue is the opposite of cerebral.

  24. Russia airbase in Syria attacked, seven jets destroyed: https://lenta.ru/news/2018/01/03/syria/

    A major setback.

  25. Matt says:

    So-called “anti-imperialist” filth support this:

  26. Matt says:

    The level of anti-Americanism in Russia has gone into lunatic overdrive:

    https://meduza.io/en/news/2017/12/28/meet-russia-s-diabolical-diabetes-nonprofit

    ————

    Following a complaint by a local university student, officials in Saratov are suing a regional organization that helps diabetics, trying to get the outfit added to Russia’s foreign agents registry.

    Saratov police consulted historian Ivan Konovalov, who concluded that the Saratov Regional Public Organization for Diabetics “supplies foreign partners with information about so-called ‘hot spots’ in the region, especially regarding medical services rendered to the public, that could be used to instigate protest sentiment in society.”

    —————

    You heard it here first, folks: a diabetes-focused NGO supplies the CIA with information about public medical services in Russia, that could be used to instigate protest sentiment in society, and thus, overthrow Putin in a Maidan-style putsch.

    Now, we really wouldn’t that to happen, right?

  27. Chet says:

    It was brought to my attention that someone uncritically posted the below link at a BCO (Blog Censoring Oaf) venue, with a kudos to Wrangel on a false premise.

    Contrary to what’s said in the video, Wrangel did work with Poland (as is well documented, beyond any reasonable doubt) for the purpose of defeating the Bolshes. This has been noted by some White and Red sources alike. Earlier, the Poles and Bolshes secretly worked with each other for the purpose of strengthening their respective position at the expanse of the Whites.

  28. Pingback: RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 18 JANUARY 2018 – Russia Observer

  29. Pingback: Russian Federation SITREP, 18 January, 2018-Times of News Russia

  30. Matt says:

    Here’s another image of Old Zacky:

    Ewwwwwwwwwwwww!

  31. Jes says:

    The Wus who begged the BCO (Blog Censoring Oaf) that he’d be good and not troll if given another chance.

    Quite pathetic.

  32. Matt says:

    Good documentary:

  33. Matt says:

    Another “photoshopped” image created by those big, bad ‘Murican meanies!

    /s

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DVYQ3BVW4AELaMd.jpg:large

  34. US air strike kills more than 100 SAA soldiers in Syria: http://theduran.com/breaking-us-bombs-syrian-army-east-euphrates-river/

    No response or retaliation to be expected.

  35. Matt says:

    So last night the Venezuelan government announced officially that presidential elections will be held April 22. Campaigning will only be allowed between April 2 and April 19. Many potential opposition candidates are either jailed or ruled ineligible. Maduro needs to have these elections quickly and without electoral reform because that’s the only way he can win.

    China is 1984 in real life:

    https://qz.com/1200908/mercedes-benz-just-got-a-crash-course-in-chinas-basic-principle-of-doing-business/

  36. Chet says:

    Try finding a better piece on the Olympic farce with Russia than this one:

    https://www.eurasiareview.com/09022018-western-chauvinism-against-russia-gone-berserk-oped/

  37. Lenta: 11 Russians among dead in the US bombing raid in Deir ez Zor:

    https://lenta.ru/news/2018/02/14/vagner/

  38. Carl says:

    Excellent article that concerns the Olympics and some other issues:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/02/21/overhyping-us-russian-differences.html

  39. Americans down a Russian military plane in Syria. 32 Russian soldiers dead:
    https://www.rt.com/news/420608-russian-plane-crashed-syria/

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