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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1,923 Responses to Seasons Greetings From the Masters of Illusion

  1. Cortes says:

    Quite the week of Ancient History here the last few days, what with Lesbians torn between the Spartans and the Athenians (!) and the daddy of Western lawgivers, Solon, has snuck in.



    Here’s the article author’s “bio”:

    Seems (selon Solon as they’ll be saying at Charlie Hebdo) that those cuddly White Helmets really ARE good guys in the parallel universe Guardian readers are thought to inhabit. The Russians done calumnify those latter day saints.

  2. Northern Star says:

    (Following Comments are by Ellsberg)

    “In fact, the joint chiefs couldn’t really get the targets out of General LeMay at the Strategic Air Command.
    And there was a good reason for that: They were insane. They called for first-strike plans, which was by order of President Eisenhower. He didn’t want any plan for limited war of any kind with the Soviet Union, under any circumstances, because that would enable the Army to ask for enormous numbers of divisions or even tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the Soviets. So he required that the only plan for fighting Soviets, under any circumstances, such as an encounter in the Berlin corridor, the access to West Berlin, or over Iran, which was already a flashpoint at that point, or Yugoslavia, if they had gone in—however the war started—with an uprising in East Germany, for example—however it got started, Eisenhower’s directed plan was for all-out war, in a first initiation of nuclear war, assuming the Soviets had not used nuclear weapons.
    And that plan called, in our first strike, for hitting every city—actually, every town over 25,000—in the USSR and every city in China. A war with Russia would inevitably involve immediate attacks on every city in China. In the course of doing this—pardon me—there were no reserves. Everything was to be thrown as soon as it was available—it was a vast trucking operation of thermonuclear weapons—over to the USSR, but not only the USSR. The captive nations, the East Europe satellites in the Warsaw Pact, were to be hit in their air defenses, which were all near cities, their transport points, their communications of any kind. So they were to be annihilated, as well.

    So, I drafted a question, which the aide to McGeorge Bundy, Bob Komer, sent to the joint chiefs in the name of the president. And the question was: In the event of your carrying out your general nuclear war plans, which were first-strike plans, how many will die? First I asked, in the USSR and China alone, in the thought that, by the way, they’d be embarrassed to discover—to say, “We have to have more time. We’ve never really calculated that.” I was wrong. And my friends were wrong in the Air Force. They came back with an answer very quickly: 325 million people in the USSR and China alone.

    Well, then I asked, “All right, how many altogether?” And a few days later, 100 million in East Europe, the captive nations, another 100 million in West Europe, our allies, from our own strikes, by fallout, depending on which way the wind blew, and, however the wind blew, a third 100 million in adjoining countries, neutral countries, like Austria and Finland, or Afghanistan then, Japan, northern India and so forth—a total of 600 million people. That was a time, by the way, when the population of the world was 3 billion. And that was an underestimate of their casualties—a hundred Holocausts.”

    This is Ellsberg commenting today (2017) on the situation in 1961.

  3. Northern Star says:

    “Neither Robert Mueller’s team nor the US Senate Intelligence Committee has bothered to contact WikiLeaks or me, in any manner, ever.” — @Julian Assange, Twitter, September 20, 2017

    This one tweet completely invalidates the notion that Robert Mueller has been conducting a legitimate investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. Regardless of the degree of suspicion in which Assange is held, there is absolutely no excuse for the people responsible for investigating Russia not to have had any interaction of any kind whatsoever with one of the central characters in the official narrative about what Russia is supposed to have done.

    “Prosecutors have been avoiding Assange because he has said multiple times that the Russian government is not the source of the DNC leaks.”

    If his job was to find out what actually happened last year, Mueller would have spoken with Assange personally, and he would have done so long ago. But finding out what happened last year is not Mueller’s job. Mueller’s job is to enforce a pre-existing narrative. It is painfully obvious at this point that the Senate Intelligence Committee and Mueller’s team have been avoiding Assange the way Hillary Clinton avoids personal responsibility because Assange has said multiple times that the Russian government is not the source of the DNC leaks or the Podesta emails released last year.

    If this is an actual investigation into an actual alleged crime, then Assange is necessarily either (A) a source of useful information, (B) a person of interest, or (C) a suspect in the crime itself. None of those allows for any excuse for not speaking to him. If it’s either (A) or (B), he’s a potential goldmine of information for their investigation to make use of. If it’s (C), they can grill him and try to get him to give something up. Even someone caught on video committing a murder eventually gets interviewed by the law enforcement officials responsible for investigating their case to establish the accused’s side of the story; if they didn’t, they’d be committing malpractice. Since they did not seek to question Assange early and extensively, this cannot possibly be an actual investigation into an actual allegation.

    “If his job was to find out what actually happened last year, Mueller would have spoken with Assange personally long ago.”

    The fact of the matter is that Russia has been America’s Public Enemy Number One since the end of World War Two, and for that reason there is a longstanding tradition in the United States of tarring political enemies with baseless accusations of Kremlin ties. Establishment loyalists have been accusing WikiLeaks of being in bed with Russia since long before any election meddling accusations surfaced, despite the organization’s long and continued record of publishing critical documents related to the Russian Federation. They have been doing so not because there is any basis for such accusations, but because WikiLeaks is their political enemy. There is nothing more hostile to America’s pernicious unelected power establishment than unauthorized truth-telling, and WikiLeaks is currently the world’s leader in unauthorized truth-telling. It is that simple.

    Mueller’s investigation has no interest in finding the truth. Mueller’s investigation is actively avoiding all potential sources of truth. The US intelligence community to which Mueller is loyal is the right arm of America’s unelected power establishment, and due to conflicting economic and geopolitical interests things have been coming to a head with Russia for a long time. The neoconservative ideology which governs America’s foreign policy is geared first and foremost toward preventing the rise of another rival superpower, and the former seat of the Soviet Union will always be first on the list of suspects.
    “WikiLeaks is currently the world’s leader in unauthorized truth-telling. It is that simple.
    Mueller’s investigation has no interest in finding the truth.”

    Things are not going as planned for America’s true rulers. Not in Syria, not in North Korea, and certainly not in Russia.

    ***People’s unprecedented ability to network and share information due to rising internet literacy and access has caused a severe breakdown in the propaganda machine which holds their entire prison together, and people are waking up to their manipulations***
    (Hence the move to eliminate net neurtrality as I posted supra)

    These creeps are on the back foot now. Keep fighting and wrest control of the world away from the plutocratic sociopaths who are trying to deceive and enslave us”

  4. Northern Star says:

    Horrific deadly Amtrak train derailment in Washington State today. A CBS news commentator matter of factly remarked that one of the reasons hampering America in HSR development is the condition of the aged, decaying, crumbling state of the RR infrastructure including the tracks themselves. But it’s not that simple:

    • Jen says:

      Yes, in some of the PDF documents (Sarah Feinberg) attached to the article that last link refers to, there is mention that high-speed rail has to be justified by more than simply providing another form of train travel and the economic development that might be stimulated. Another issue is that the PDF documents concentrate on HSR in the most densely populated and urbanised areas of the US where probably what’s really needed in those areas is upgrading the current transport networks and linking them to HSR. There’s no mention of other parts of the US (the Midwest, the Mississippi River region) that might benefit from HSR. For the HSR network to get off the ground in the US, I think it really needs sustained backing from Congress lasting several presidential terms and maybe also to posit itself as an alternative to air travel. It needs a vision as well that transcends the purely political, economic and pragmatic reasons in its favour to justify the huge investment required.

      • Patient Observer says:

        HSR has been proposed many times in the US but nothing other than studies or artists renderings to date. I think that the US simply does not have the industrial capability to build and operate for a meaningful HSR network. Environmental issues, real estate acquisition costs and legal issues kill such projects before they begin.

        There is an effort to build a new bridge across the Detroit River from Canada. Canada is financing the cost of construction to be recovered by a portion of the tolls. The US side is delaying the project by years due to legal and real estate issues. Insiders were buying up rights of way and adjacent properties before the bridge location was announced. The owners of the current bridge (only privately owned international crossing in the US if not the world) has been launching a steady stream of legal obstructions.

        The bridge was to have been completed in 2016 but nary a shovelful of dirt to date. Can’t help but compare to the vastly grander Crimea Bridge project.

  5. Drutten says:

    On the topic of how connected Crimea is to Krasnodar krai by now, I made this little ugly graphic:

    It must be said that the ferry line falls far short of its theoretical maximum capacity due to how sensitive it is to bad weather.

    But anyway, as you can see there already are power lines, telecommunications cables, gas pipelines and all.

  6. Warren says:

    Trump: Russia and China ‘rival powers’ in new security plan

    US President Donald Trump has outlined his new national security strategy, labelling China and Russia the primary threats to US economic dominance.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s it; get that useless waster Trump out of there, and get Obama back in the White House. When Obama left, Russia was friendless and alone, without allies, and its economy was in tatters. Trump has barely had the job five minutes, and already Russia is half of America’s problems with achieving economic dominance! What the hell is going on??

      It explicitly states that “the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to violations, cheating or economic aggression”.

      Lucky for America that other nations and blocs turn a blind eye to economic aggression, or America would be dead a thousand times over – there is no more economically aggressive nation on the earth. What would you call sanctions imposed – supposedly for the benefit of Europe – which Washington will now not let Europe back away from, and stubborn efforts to block an advantageous energy pipeline to Europe so that the USA has a better market for its own product? I’d call that pretty aggressive.

  7. davidt says:

    Bad moon rising? Alastair Crooke has a rather alarming article concerning the possibly violent push-back by the assorted crazies in the US. With regard to the Middle East he writes: “President Putin it seems, has read the runes correctly, and is pre-emptying the new US Deep State ‘purpose’ to protect the Middle Eastern (suddenly opening) ‘void’ by announcing a part Russian military withdrawal from Syria. Putin is not ‘looking for trouble’ there.”

  8. Cortes says:

    Are the fromageniks of the RF aware of the crisis in London?

    Is there no end in sight for this suffering?

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    Daily Telegraph UK (behind wall):

    Exclusive investigation: World 100m champion Justin Gatlin embroiled in new doping scandal

    Justin Gatlin, the world 100 metres champion, is at the centre of a new doping scandal after members of his team offered to illicitly supply performance-enhancing drugs.

    Gatlin and his entourage are now being investigated by sports and doping authorities after a Telegraph investigation uncovered how members of his team offered to provide prescriptions in a false name and smuggle the substances to the United States.

    Undercover reporters visited Gatlin’s Florida training camp where his coach and an athletics agent offered to supply and administer testosterone and human growth hormone for an actor training for a film. The products were to be provided via a doctor in 
Austria. The total fee for the project was to be $250,000 (£187,000).

    • marknesop says:

      Here’s the state to which British championship cycling has fallen – “The greatest ever, or just another drug cheat? After all the bullshit, why should we care?”

      An illuminating excerpt:

      Given the list and nature of his ailments, it is no surprise that supplements are his friend: protein drinks and fish oils, beetroot juice and energizer greens. He has used Tramadol but only for back pain, an anti-histamine called Loratadine for an allergy to sun creams; Fluticasone, a preventative spray for asthma, and Ventolin (Salbutamol) when he’s racing and about to make an effort.

      “Is that not using the inhaler to boost your performance?” I asked him once.

      “I eat breakfast before a long race,” he replied. “Is that not boosting my performance? If I don’t eat I won’t have any energy; if I don’t have my inhaler before a really big effort I’m probably not going to be able to breathe very well. I know I’m not going to breathe very well.”

      “But is that (health) not the essence of competition?” I suggested.

      “Inhalers are not performance-enhancing,” he said. “If any normal person who doesn’t have asthma takes an inhaler, they’re not going to ride any faster. Their lungs are not going to open any larger than they were before. But someone who does have asthma, the airways are going to close up and that inhaler just helps them to close less. It just helps me to be more normal and I definitely don’t see that as an unfair advantage.”

      But that depends, obviously, on how much is used.

      And another:

      Yep, it’s business as usual folks, no hint of any problem . . . until a call from the newspapers sounds the alarm and now he’s reaching out on Twitter: “Thank you for all the messages of support this morning. I am confident that we will get to the bottom of this. Unfortunately, I can’t share any more information than I already have until the enquiry is complete.”

      That enquiry will drag for months and there’s a chance he’ll be exonerated. And there’s a chance he will win the Giro next year and add a fifth Tour de France. But the problem for Froome is that we’ve been here before. Is he just another cheat or the best we have ever seen?

      This is the point at which we have arrived in professional sport, the fork in the road that obtains when athletes on one side are allowed to dope, because it is perceived as that important to national prestige that they go on winning. Athletes from no-no countries, meanwhile, are blanket-accused of state doping to deflect attention from the coddled ones, and to reaffirm a fundamental divide between good and evil.

  10. Patient Observer says:

    One can only be dumbstruck by the breathtaking arrogance and stupidity of this woman:

    “What we witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said after the vote, adding that it was the first veto cast by the United States in more than six years.

    “The fact that this veto is being done in defence of American sovereignty and in defence of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council,” Haley said.

    Yup, she’s taking names.

    • marknesop says:

      Oh, dear; America is isolated! How did this happen?

      The Trump administration must have had a feeling it would go badly, and Haley must have prepared a response to go with using the American veto; she’s just not that good at thinking on her feet. Politics One-Oh-One: never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer.

      Keep it up, America. You are pissing off Europe to the point it is asking itself, why are we friends with this jerk? We’re not there yet – the USA still has lots of money, and too many European leaders perceive that the bloc could not survive without lovely American money. But the progress is incrementally in that direction.

    • Jen says:

      I’d like to see her taking all fourteen names – she’ll probably need a lifetime taking them.

    • yalensis says:

      Nikki is a modern-day Margaret Dumont defending her beloved Freedonia:

  11. Patient Observer says:

    Puerto Rico’s governor vowed to re-examine its official death toll from Hurricane Maria after independent investigations placed the number of storm-related deaths at roughly 15 times higher than the territory’s findings, The New York Times reported.

    The island has reported just 64 storm-related deaths, while independent reviews by media outlets estimate the number to be around 1,000 when comparing deaths on the island from the same time in previous years.

    Seems like a 3rd world disaster including the lies over true level of fatalities yet Puerto Rico is a US territory with its population US citizens.

    • yalensis says:

      Yes, this Puerto Rican situation practically amounts to a crime of negligence.

      When I was at work yesterday I overheard some people at the job talking about it, it was in the context of some charity they had heard about, to send toys to Puerto Rican children so they wouldn’t miss out on Xmas, etc… Everyone was feeling very sorry for the poor little Puerto Rican children who are living without water or electricity; this is typical average Americans, by the way, they are genuinely good-hearted and want to help people, but they have no clue about the larger picture, or why things happen; or how to fix things in a proper way. Their thoughts always turn to individual endeavors, one child, one toy, send this family a blanket and their lives will transform into a “Hallmark Christmas Special”. If you mention that people actually need MONEY more than toys or blankets, then they look at you strangely, like you’re being crass.

      I had to bite my tongue not to scream at these well-wishers: “Shouldn’t the Federal goverment be sending a fleet of engineers and aid workers to help rebuild their own colony??!!”
      Not to mention the billions of dollars required to put that island back on its feet.

      • Patient Observer says:

        The comments and concerns about helping the children were likely genuine only to the degree of kidding themselves to fulfill an expectation to publicly express such sentiments. These same folks would equally as easily say a country should be bombed, blockaded or invaded to fulfill an expectation to publicly express such sentiments. In other words, what they say is meaningless babble.

        I had an ugly confrontation with “good suburbanites” who would say nice things but were ready to kill over the degree of leaf raking. My experience suggests that the fraction of “good Americans” who care enough about others to actually provide help to the point of personal inconvenience in any form is perhaps less than 20% of the population (and mostly non-white or immigrants I might add).

        • Ryan Ward says:

          The real question here is, compared to what? It’s easy to measure any country against some theoretical ideal of “altruism”, then say because they don’t match that, it’s all just fake. But the fact remains that a lot of people give both money and time (for more well-to-do people, the latter is often a greater inconvenience) to support various philanthropic causes. And looking at the stats, the United States was #2 in the world in terms of charity in 2015, and generally hovers around first and second spot.

          Of course, once you get into the more specific sectors of America, you see a variegated pattern. The self-righteous “limousine liberals” who crow insincerely about various vaguely leftist and pseudo-leftist causes are fairly stingy, while the “American bydlo” of the old South are much more generous.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Generally agree with the added thought that those who have suffered most tend to be the most genuinely open to help others. In my younger days, the people most likely to help you if your car were broken down were people who drive old cars or were clearly not of the wealthier set. The Caddies and Lincolns would swerve away and the drivers would pointedly ignore your plight.

            Agree on the limousine liberal assessment as well and especially when it comes to carbon footprints. They scream the loudest about climate change (which I think is real) but will do little to change their conspicuous carbon consumption unless there is a personal upside.

          • marknesop says:

            Yes, that’s true; Americans are among the most generous people in the world when there is a disaster or misfortune, and seem to genuinely want to help. Unfortunately, they are frequently taken advantage of in this impulse. As a broad group, their greatest flaw is their capacity to be easily led by their government, and to rally ’round the flag when another wretched president has gotten the country in trouble.

            • yalensis says:

              I don’t think that the people who express these charitable sentiments are hypocrites, I think most of them are sincere; and many do contribute money, food, toys, etc.

              It’s the best they can do, and in many cases, really all that they are capable of doing.

              I just happen to believe that personal charity is a mostly-worthless endeavour.
              We’ve discussed these issues before, on this blog. The most effective way to help people is to infuse massive amounts of money that is well-managed by professionals who know what they are doing and how to direct the funds for maximum benefit.

              The character flaw in most Americans is not a lack of empathy, it’s simply ignorance, and the fact that they don’t question the government or media, who hype these individualistic efforts as a deflection from real solutions to massive social problems.

              • Patient Observer says:

                As a US citizen who has spent his entire life in the mid-West I disagree regarding America’s alleged generosity as representing a deeply ingrained spirit of giving and sharing. If such a characteristic were more than superficial fluff, Americans would not tolerate, much less support, the numerous wars, blockades and general nastiness of the US government.

                I do not accept the ignorance argument as we know in our hearts the true values of the American ruling class. It’s just that we are very good, perhaps the best on the planet, of averting our eyes and finding a thousand ways to ignore the elephants. Our alleged generosity may be an act of unconscious effort of atonement for the evil we have flung across the world. Truly generous people can not at the same time be supporters our our ruling class or our foreign adventures. We are the masters of self-delusion.

                • marknesop says:

                  Maybe so. But Americans are consistently in the top 5 for nations which give the most money to charitable causes. And frequently they are Number One.

                • yalensis says:

                  I understand your point, Patient Observer. It jars me a little that you refer to Americans and American actions as “we” and “our”. I am an American citizen too, but I have never uttered those pronouns in relation to “this country”. Even in casual conversation, I say, e.g., “The Americans did this, or the Americans did that…” I never say “we”, because I don’t want to be a part of all that.

                  I reckon I am the equivalent of the Russian kreakles who say “this country” – LOL.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Yalensis, I say “we” to drive the point him for me personally that I am still responsible for the actions of my country to some degree, if nothing more than paying taxes and obeying the law.

                  Also, I am sure I still have many self-delusions and perhaps am afraid to see the world of man as it really is. Something/someone out there is fucking with our minds to rob our humanity. Forget which pill it is; the red or the blue?

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “And looking at the stats, the United States was #2 in the world in terms of charity in 2015, and generally hovers around first and second spot.”

            Yeah, about that… How about breaking up this number and see, what amount of that “charity money” came from big businesses, which made those donations only/primarily because of the guaranteed tax breaks ? Thus the biggest contributors to the charity in the Western countries are not common people, but big capital.

            So phrases like “Americans are more charitable as the people/nation based on the amount of money donated yearly” is akin to claiming that “in the hospital ward #6 al 50 patients have light form of flu, because the average body temperature of theirs is 37.2 C”.

            • marknesop says:

              I think, from what I know of America, that Americans are generous by nature and that more people in the USA routinely give money to charity than do a lot of other countries, certainly far more on a per capita basis than European countries do. Their contributions might well not be as large as big companies who do it for tax breaks, but if it is true that every little bit helps, Americans in general are more likely to add a bit to their grocery bill to help the homeless, or those whose livelihoods in another state were destroyed by wildfires, that sort of thing.

              All western countries undergo bouts of charity fatigue, especially when there is another instance of the donated funds being diverted or misappropriated.

            • Ryan Ward says:

              “Thus the biggest contributors to the charity in the Western countries are not common people, but big capital.”

              This is wrong in a number of ways. Firstly, it considers only money, not time. The figure I posted before is based on a formula that considers volunteer time as well as money (although America is near the top in terms of pure money as well). Of course, volunteer time by definition comes from individuals rather than corporations, and it also tends disproportionately to be provided by the middle class rather than the rich. Secondly, it doesn’t distinguish in any clear way between donations by the rich and donations from corporations. If the claim is that corporations donate more than individuals, it’s clearly false. Individuals are responsible for 3/4 of charitable donations in the US ( Thirdly, if we look at individuals, it ignores the difference between absolute numbers and percentages. Of course the wealthy are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the donations on an absolute basis, because they have a lot more money (obviously). But as a percentage of income, the wealthy do not give more than other classes. Actually, as a percentage of income, the lower classes are actually the most generous. But what makes more of a difference than income is practiced religion (note that that’s practiced religion, so religion measured not by survey self-identification, but by active involvement, eg. by attending religious services). This difference is noted at all levels of the income spectrum.
              So the idea that American charitable giving is just a matter of “capital” dodging taxes is literally wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s wrong in implying that corporations are a major force in giving. It’s wrong in suggesting that the rich are more likely to donate than the poor. And it’s wrong in obscuring the much more significant factors that influence giving, like practiced religion and cultural context (As I mentioned before, the preening liberals of California and New York are pinchpennies, while the rednecks of the Old South are quite generous)

              • Ryan Ward says:

                As an aside, the idea that rich individuals and corps give money “just to avoid taxes” is not only false, but silly. The tax exemptions that people get from giving don’t nearly cover the giving. Charitable giving is an abominably bad investment. At best you get back less than half of what you give.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  It has non-monetary value such as for public relations (e.g. advertising) and other indirect benefits including the potential, in some cases, recapture some of the money. Corporations, from my experience, rarely do anything based on altruism – but they will spend money to convince otherwise.

                • Ryan Ward says:

                  “It has non-monetary value such as for public relations (e.g. advertising) and other indirect benefits including the potential, in some cases, recapture some of the money”

                  No argument there. When it comes to corporations, charity is primarily a form a advertising, but like all advertising, it has a cost (although the cost can be somewhat limited by tax considerations, and obviously the corp hopes to get the rest back and more in increased sales). When it comes to rich individuals, I think the matter is a little more subtle. Most rich individuals don’t have the same kind of direct monetary interest in their “brand” that corporations do. In any case, you can be a rich pinchpenny, like Donald Trump for example, and get away with it just fine. But, if you run in the right circles, “that sort of thing is just not done”. It’s a matter of social conformity more than anything else among individuals of the “1%”

              • Patient Observer says:

                Agree again (mostly). What bothers me from a spiritual perspective (if that word is allowable) can be expressed by this meme from the Vietnam war era:

                US soldiers could cut a father in half with machine gun fire and then hand a now-orphaned child a lollipop.

                I wold like to expand on the concept of damage to charity ratio but time does not permit at the moment.

              • Ryan Ward says:

                I just realized I accidentally posted the same link twice. The second link was supposed to be this one


  12. marknesop says:

    Oh, look; isn’t that sweet? The IOC is going to hold a medals ceremony at Pyeongchang, at which athletes who were deemed to have been cheated out of medals by the doping dreaming-of-Stalin Russian athletes at Sochi will be recognized as the champions they would have been. Probably. So if you won bronze, you might get that upgraded to a gold like anti-doping crusader Beckie Scott did. You know, that’s what makes me so proud of the west; they don’t just accept it when they’re beaten – the tough get going, baby, and they simply hold a new medal ceremony and award themselves medals. They’ll want to get their upgrades quickly, before ‘Curveball’ Rodchenkov’s latest database story falls apart and they have to admit once again that they have nothing. And hey; it’s a Canadian tradition – if you don’t win, just make a big stink until you are awarded a medal, too.

    Anything to further provoke and humiliate the Russians. I can’t imagine what measures will be taken to ensure Russian athletes do not win any medals at Pyeongchang – perhaps they will have to start 5 seconds after the rest of the field, as a further justified penalty for their cheating. Or wear one sneaker and one boot.

    • yalensis says:

      Mark, you were right to link that 2002 Olympics when Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze were forced to share their gold medal with the Canadian pair. Who should have been satisifed with the Silver, but decided to throw a big tantrum, like two big babies.
      When the Olympic Committee gave in to the Canadians (who were backed by Uncle Sam on skates), that was the moment when Pandora’s Box was opened all the way. Prior to that, I think the rule was pretty much, that judges decisions are final. Unless you can prove that the judges were bribed, then their word should be final. Especially in this case, where the judges could prove with chapter and verse why Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze performed a superior program and earned more points.

      By the way, I have met both Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze, they are wonderful people as well as brilliant skaters. And my taking their side against the Canadian pair is not because they are Russians, either. My conscience is clean in this regard.
      Because when the opposite happened, and Russian skater Plushchenko tried to dispute his loss to the American Evan Lycasek, I took Lycasek’s side.
      Plushchenko’s argument was, in essence, “Well, I had a quad in my program, and Evan didn’t, so I should get the gold.”
      Lycasek didn’t have a quad, but he compensated for it by racking up more points in other parts of his program. He won fair and square, and Plushchenko showed poor sportsmanship at the time, he should have simply walked up to Lycasek and shaked his hand.

      Similarly, the two Canadian twats argued that their program was superior to Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze because they “skated cleanly”, and the latter had one little bobble on one landing of one jump. It doesn’t matter. Berezhnaya could have fallen on her ass and still won, they racked up more points with more difficult elements. Plus, their skating was superior in general, they had more flow and better edgework.

      It’s all about the points, which is why people should not second-guess the judges. The judges are the experts here, not the public, nor even the skaters themselves.

      • marknesop says:

        I don’t really want to blame the Americans, because it seems even to me that I am doing that a lot lately and I am trying conscientiously to be fair. But I believe that without American backing and encouragement – as well as that of other western nations – the Canadian pair would have stopped whining and accepted the decision. I wouldn’t say Canada was particularly beloved of the USA; they were simply a means to an end, which was to prevent Russia from a clean win. I thought the Canadian pair skated a very clean and professional-looking program – flawless, even – but it was unquestionably a safer and less complicated one.

        How sad is the world when even figure skating must be weighed in its political impact?

  13. marknesop says:

    As the Pyeongchang Games kick off in February, it will also mark five years since American Olympian Kara Goucher alerted USADA to doping at The Oregon Project, Nike’s program for training American distance runners for the Olympics. Five years since USADA was tipped off, two years since the scandal was publicly announced, and what? What do you think – the investigation is still ongoing. I’ll tell you what – get Richard McLaren, Dickie Pound, Gunter Younger and the WADA road show in there – it only took them a couple of days to find the ‘evidence’ in the Moscow database, which it allegedly received ‘from a whistleblower’ according to the New York Times and from Rodchenkov himself according to other sources, conclusively proved at last that Russia had a state-sponsored doping program. But investigations of the Land Of The Free in The Land Of The Free…well, they take much longer. It’s a time zone thing, I think.

    • James lake says:

      The controversial decision to award the 2021 World Athletics Championships to Eugene, Oregon, is being investigated by the FBI and the Criminal Division of America’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the BBC has learned.

      The US city was awarded the event in 2015 with athletics’ governing body the IAAF bypassing the usual formal bidding process.

      French prosecutors investigating corruption within the IAAF launched their own inquiry into the awarding of the event in 2015.

      Former IAAF president Lamine Diack, who is now effectively under house arrest in France over corruption allegations, was at the centre of the decision.

      Eugene was handed the event despite strong interest from the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

      The Oregon city is closely associated with Nike, whose birthplace is only a few miles away.

      Nike funds much of the University of Oregon’s sports facilities, where many of Eugene 2021 events will be held.

      A BBC story in November 2015 suggested the IAAF president Lord Coe may have lobbied his predecessor over the bid, and revealed he had discussed it with a senior Nike executive.

      At that time Lord Coe was paid £100,000 a year as an ambassador for Nike. Lord Coe denied he had lobbied anyone on behalf of Eugene’s bid.

      However, he stepped down from his Nike role – which he had held for 38 years – later that month saying accusations of a conflict of interest were “a distraction” and “not good for Nike or the IAAF”.

      Bjorn Eriksson, who was the head of the Gothenburg team denied the opportunity to stage a rival bid, said it had been a ‘violation of fair play.’

      Now, the BBC understands, the American authorities – including tax investigators at the IRS – are seeking to investigate if there has been any wrongdoing committed in the US, bringing to total number of agencies investigating the awarding of the championships to three.

      A spokeswoman for the IAAF and Lord Coe said she was unaware of any FBI and IRS probes.

      “The IAAF team has not received notification from the FBI or IRS. However we are committed to working closely with any key investigation, as we do with the French investigation team, and will take action if proof is found of any wrong doing in an IAAF bidding process.”

      Both the FBI and IRS have yet to respond to the BBC.

      The FBI famously investigated corruption in football’s world governing body Fifa, resulting in guilty pleas from numerous high-ranking officials.

      The background

      The Eugene bid was led by Vin Lananna’s TrackTown USA, another organisation with close links to Nike.

      The 2015 BBC investigation uncovered emails which claim Coe – an ambassador for sports giant Nike and then vice-president of world athletics – “reached out” to Diack with his support for Eugene’s bid.

      After of losing out in a bid to host the 2019 championships to Doha, Lananna and TrackTown USA quickly turned their attention to 2021, and began lobbying the IAAF.

      Coe had been on the IAAF evaluation commission which visited Doha, Eugene, and the other unsuccessful bidder for 2019, Barcelona.

      An email sent by Nike executive Craig Masback to Lananna suggested that Coe lobbied on Eugene’s behalf.

      The email, titled ‘2021’ and in which Coe is referred to as “Seb”, reads: “I spoke with Seb this morning. We covered several topics but I asked specifically about 2021.

      “He made clear his support for 2021 in Eugene but made equally clear he had reached out to Diack specifically on this topic and got a clear statement from Diack that ‘I am not going to take any action at the April meeting (in Beijing) to choose a 2021 site’.”

      Yet it was at that April meeting of the IAAF’s council that Diack announced the surprise vote on giving the championships directly to Eugene.

      Coe told the BBC he “did not lobby anyone” over Eugene’s bid, but “encouraged them to re-enter another bidding cycle as they had a strong bid”.

      Other emails seen by the BBC revealed that Lananna made at least one trip to Europe to visit Diack a few weeks after this email was written.

      And by 15 April 2015, the campaign had paid off.

      Several IAAF council members have told the BBC that Diack made clear his support for Eugene, and urged his fellow members to follow suit.

      The secret vote was carried by 23-1, with one abstention.

      //wonder if anything will come of this!

      • marknesop says:

        I highly doubt it; if the investigation is taking place in America, that self-righteous persecution thing tends to disappear in favour of ass-covering. They may have been a ball of fire investigating FIFA, but FIFA is not headquartered in America.

  14. marknesop says:

    Russia withdraws its monitoring officers from a joint Russian-Ukrainian monitoring center which was set up in 2014.

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    18 Dec 2017. Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Moscow Helsinki group Lyudmila Alexeyeva during a ceremony of presenting state awards in the field of philanthropy and advocacy.

    No show without Lyuda!

    SeeВладимир Путин: Колокол, в который звонил Герцен, еще долго будет нужен в нашей стране
    Vladimir Putin: The bell that Herzen rang will still be needed for a long time in our country

    • yalensis says:

      Herzen was a degenerate jerk.
      And I say this not as an ignoramus, but as somebody who actually read the guy’s long-winded autobiography!
      The fact that Putin likes Herzen is also indicative, that Herzen was a fake socialist, especially towards the end of his life. I would call him more like a bourgeois liberal.
      Like Putin himself! (Or Alexeeva.)

      • Nat says:

        Just wanted to put things in their context regarding Putin “liking” Herzen. Putin was not the one mentioning him first, he was replying to Alexeeva who mentioned him. That is what Alexeeva said: “В XIX веке Александр Герцен писал, что России, чтобы стать свободной страной, нужно два «непоротых поколения». Одно такое поколение уже выросло – я вижу это, глядя на молодёжь в нашем гражданском обществе, на тех, кому сейчас около 25. Но в XXI веке история движется гораздо быстрее, чем во времена Герцена, и для созревания нашего гражданского общества не понадобится ещё 25.” (transl: In the 19th century, Alexander Herzen wrote that Russia needs two “unwhipt generations” to become a free country. One such generation has already grown up, I can see it looking at the young people in our civil society, at those who are about 25 now. But in the 21st century, history is moving much faster than in Herzen’s time, and we will not need another 25 years for our civil society to ripen.) . To which Putin replied: “Сен-Симон и другие социалисты-утописты, а потом и другие люди, которые искренне стремились к добру, мечтали о городах Солнца, но таких городов нет и вряд ли когда-нибудь будут. Поскольку городов Солнца не предвидится, то всегда будут востребованы такие люди, как вы. И дело не в двух «поротых» или «непоротых» поколениях. Колокол, в который звонил Герцен и его единомышленники, всегда будет нужен в любом обществе, и в нашей стране он ещё долго будет востребован.” (transl:Saint-Simon and other utopian socialists, and later other people, who sincerely aspired to goodness, dreamed of cities of the sun, but these cities do not exist and are unlikely ever to appear. As we cannot expect any cities of the sun to appear, people like you will always be in high demand. It is not about two “whipt” or “unwhipt” generations. “The Bell,” which Alexander Herzen and his allies rang, will always be needed in any society, and it will be in demand in our country for a long time.”. So he not only disvows Herzen’s quote (“It is not about two “whipt” or “unwhipt” generations”) , he also calls him utopian. Not sure that’s a ringing endorsement.

        • kirill says:

          It seems nobody in America can get their facts right on anything pertaining to Russia. Thanks for the correction to the smear attempt by the resident thought police.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            The Komsomolskaya Pravda article that I linked below the picture of Putin with Alekseeva quoted Putin as Nat has done and translated, but what is quoted in the KP article is not prensented as Putin’s reply to the US citizen Alekseeva:

            This year’s state award for achievements in human rights and charitable activities has been awarded. This is only the second time such an award has been made, and everyone who came to the Kremlin for the solemn ceremony, willingly or unwillingly recalled the first winner, Elizaveta Glinka, who received the award a year ago and was tragically killed in a military Tu-154 aeroplane crash in Sochi, .

            In December last year, Dr. Lisa stood in the same room and said:

            “Tomorrow I’m flying to Donetsk, and from there — to Syria, as do dozens of other volunteers who are engaged in humanitarian activities. We are never sure that we shall come back alive, because war is hell on earth — and I know what I’m talking about. But we are sure that goodness, compassion and mercy work harder than any weapon”.

            All who came to this Monday in the Kremlin, remembered her words.

            “On the way to those who needed her help, she died two weeks after having received the award”, laureate of this year, the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alekseeva, said with tears in her eyes. “I beg you, take Doctor Lisa’s fund under your patronage so as to facilitate the carrying out of its business.”

            “It is very important that with each passing year people are becoming more and more, caring and becoming involved. And so our society is becoming more mature, more humane”, said Vladimir Putin, referring to the human rights activists and beneficiaries sitting in the hall. “These people are different, of course, in appearance, profession, age, and wealth too; but what they have in common are their moral values and attitude to life, their willingness to help those who really need it, to take responsibility and to generously share the warmth of their heart.

            The human rights activists proved that they are willing to stand up for human rights in any situation when, during an informal 15 minute talk with the President, they literally demanded that a general amnesty be granted in honour of the presidential election .

            “I might think it over”, concurred Putin.

            Vladimir Vavilov, who received the state award for achievements in charitable activities and head of a fund to help children with leukemia, gave his sincere thanks to the president. The fact that he received the award is a sign of the state’s real attention to the problem. Seventeen years ago, a bus driver in Kazan lost his two-year-old daughter, who died of leukemia. In her memory, he created a children’s hospice and now deals with sick children’s problems. For him, the visit to the Kremlin was more than just a reward.

            “When our hospice staff saw on television that you are running for president, they asked me to convey their support to you,” Vavilov concluded.

            “Saint-Simon and other socialists sincerely dreamt about cities of the sun, but there are no such cities”, Putin said with his hands raised as he approached the platform for the final word. “And since cities of the Sun are not expected, then people like you will always be in demand. The bell, which Herzen and his supporters rang, will be needed in any society. And in our country, it will be needed for a long time. Together we, the public and the state, will do everything for the welfare of the citizens of Russia.”

        • yalensis says:

          Nat, thanks for the factual correction about Putin’s remark; and please ignore the tin-foil frothings of that Canadian emigre who calls himself “Kirill” and who is obsessed with “thought police” operating via blog comments – LOL.

          I could probably bet money that said ignoramus “Kirill” never read a word by Herzen
          Everybody needs to remember that Kirill is that same idiot who claimed, in all seriousness, thumping like chest like a gorilla, that NO EUROPEAN LANGUAGE has any palatal consonants. And then refused to back down when presented with linguistics facts.
          What a sad joke for a human being, sheesh!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “No show without Lyuda!”

      Yup! I’m awaiting for her to join #MeToo movement any moment now. Like that:

      ^”Weinsten started with me!”

  16. Warren says:

    Defense & Aerospace Report
    Published on 18 Dec 2017
    Gen. Riho Terras, Estonian Army, commander of Estonia’s Defence Forces, discusses lessons learned from Russia’s Zapad 2017 exercise, deterring the country, increasing interoperability, countering disinformation and more during a November 2017 interview with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the 2017 Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada.

    • kirill says:

      In a real war, these clowns and the rest of the conventional NATzO forces along Russia’s border would be bombarded with tactical nukes. Good luck with all that conventional warfare planning, dipshits.

      • Northern Star says:

        They will walk shielded and unscathed through the Russian attacks with the protection born of the blessing and prayers of Murica’s Bible Belt Christian Fundamentalists….and Bana

      • Warren says:

        General Hodges the NATO Europe Supremo disputes RAND’s assessment that Russia could defeat NATO and regain the Baltic region withing 36 to 60 hours.

        Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO’s Eastern Flank
        Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics

        • kirill says:

          But it’s a strawman argument. Russia has negative interest in seizing the Baltics. The only reason that the USSR “seized” them before WWII was that back then, land buffers had military value. Land buffers as small as the Baltics have zero value in the missile era. Of course, NATzO hate propaganda would have everyone believe that the USSR of the 1930s was like the Nazis and Russia today.

          And Crimea is not any proof of Russian “land grabbing”. The Baltics are not indigenous Russian lands. The closest historical case that Russia has to any Baltics lands is on the former Principality of Polotsk. This Kievan Rus era principality was a narrow strip of land on both size of Lake Peipus but not extending to the Baltic Sea shore.

          Given the amount of hate Estonians have for Russians, I would prefer that the Polotsk lands be taken from them as punishment for their hate. But everyone who isn’t a paid liar or idiot knows that no such land adventures are forthcoming from Russia.

        • marknesop says:

          I see. So because he wrong in his assessment that Russia would never ‘attack’ Crimea (which it actually didn’t), he has modified his thinking so that now Russia is likely to attack anybody. Let me just ask – does an analysis of interests come in here anywhere? Because Russia has nothing much to gain by retaking the Baltics. They are customers for Russian energy, and relied heavily on Russian shipping and transport services as well until their big mouths got them in trouble. Is there something Russia wants from the Baltics? How would it gain from seizing them?

          Trench warfare?? In open country?? From a nation that has had its greatest successes from its mobility? Against a nation that relies on air power at least as much as the USA does? Whose plan is this?

          • Jen says:

            Trench warfare would make sense if you assume that the US is planning a long-term, low-level conflict designed to tie up and weaken Russian forces after an initial clash of opposed forces that results in a stalemate where territory between them gets traded back and forth. This would be an opportunity to keep feeding small arms and fighters into a small but prolonged war whose ulterior purpose is actually to enrich military suppliers and their shareholders.

            • marknesop says:

              Trench warfare made sense before the broad adoption of the aeroplane. Trench warfare made sense when you just shot at each other with small arms over the berms at the top, while artillery to the rear walked up and down the trench lines. Trench warfare makes zero sense when a plane like that horrid little SU25 can fly down the trench line with its anti-tank gun chewing up a couple of hundred soldiers at a sitting. Trench warfare makes zero sense in a conflict where a group of tanks can just drive over you. Remember the US Army’s drive to Baghdad? One evening they were talking about it, next morning they were there in time for orange juice. How might that have gone had they decided to dig long slit trenches within rifle range of the city, and line up in them and shoot at the Iraqis as opportunity offered?

              Trenches might be a withdrawal position for forces that are driven back while trying to advance. And a force which plans to use them is a force that plans to lose. An army which is not advancing is an army which is either digging in for a protracted exchange of artillery because it can’t advance any further, or a group of guys who should have circled something different at the employment office.

              • Jen says:

                But trench warfare is prolonged warfare done on the cheap and that might actually suit a long-term agenda aimed not at winning or capturing strategic territory but at wearing down the other side if you can’t beat it. Plus you can keep throwing in losers whose full-time jobs would be queuing at the employment office.

                • marknesop says:

                  Trench warfare would only work if there was not a war. If the west could dig trenches within rifle-shot of Russian territory and fire at Russians, and the Russians would oblige by firing back from the same range but never try to advance, sure; you could keep it up forever. But that would be a pretty unusual conflict. Does NATO not plan ever to advance into Russia to fight? Is it just going to move up to effective rifle range, on the Baltic side, and dig trenches? Because Russia is certainly not going to commit to that sort of battle plan, just to please NATO. Staying in one place for long is fatal in modern infantry warfare, because as soon as you take a position in the open where you have no cover from overhead, aircraft are going to come in and waste your sorry ass. Meanwhile, living in a slit trench all winter is not putting pressure on anyone who is out of rifle range.

                  Trench warfare, though, largely prevails on the dividing line of east Ukraine and what is left of Ukraine, because the DPR/LPR don’t have any aircraft. It may be this battlefield that NATO is training the Baltics for.

                • Jen says:

                  Using trench warfare in the Donbass would make sense if that region’s resources (shale oil reserves, coal, chernozem soils) were the goal. Last thing you want is for the soils to be contaminated with toxic chemicals, DU missile fragments and cluster bombs. The US could just as easily send old warplanes to the Yukies to help strafe the Donbass fighters (and perhaps at some point in the future when the conflict resumes and ratchets up the Americans may just do that) and the Ukrainians have used fighter jets to attack Lugansk before so why both sides have resorted to trench warfare needs some explanation.

                • marknesop says:

                  The Ukrainians in Ukraine use fortified positions – not actually trenches, but established positions with very little movement – because it minimizes their casualties and because the easterners have no aircraft. The easterners use fortified positions, although they change them more often so as not to present too easy a target for artillery, because they are defensive in nature and are not interested in lightning advances into Ukraine proper to seize more territory. Ukraine still has a functioning air force – it just doesn’t use it because it is too vulnerable to man-portable missile systems, because you can’t bomb accurately or strafe ground targets from above the missile envelope.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  When a Ukrainian journalist at the recent Putin live talk-in spoke about the presence of Russian armed forces in the separatist areas of east Ukraine, the Dark lord momentarily lost his rag, saying to him that there were no Russian armed forces in those areas. However, he did revealingly add that there were units of the Russian armed forces at the ready to counter the Ukraine armed forces should they choose to launch an all-out assault against those separatists areas with the aim of seizing them outright.

                  I presume Putin was talking about the Russian air force, based in Russia of course. And I can quite well imagine that if Kiev decided to launch such a mass assault, the heroes of the Ukraine (all glory to them!) — both on the ground and in the air — would get well and truly bounced in short order by the Russian air force.

                • marknesop says:

                  He is more than likely talking about rapid-deployment ground forces, some of which could be airlifted to be dropped behind the front lines in a battle such as the one you describe, so the Ukrainians would be trapped between Russian forces and the Donestsk militias. Realistically, considering Russia is probably watching carefully what goes on in that region, the latter would only have to hold against a major assault for a couple of hours and reinforcements could be there, even traveling in their infantry vehicles. The border is not far away.

                  I wish he would not say things like that – it actually encourages the United States, which would very much like to draw Russia into a war in Ukraine. That’s because it believes all its own hype and ‘one of ours is worth ten of theirs’.

                • Jen says:

                  I suppose also that both sides have to abide by the Minsk II agreement with regard to pulling out heavy artillery from the conflict zones in Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts and in this respect units of the Russian armed forces are close by to ensure the Ukrainian military obeys. But Kiev is still not prepared to give up war to enforce its control over these areas.

                  Thanks very much for the information on current trench warfare in eastern Ukraine.

                  By coincidence, Nolan Peterson (embedded with a Ukrainian unit) had a December 2016 article in Newsweek on “everyday life” with Ukrainian soldiers in the trenches:

                • marknesop says:

                  Along the front lines, Ukrainian troops are dug in and ready for combat. As one soldier put it: “This is my life now.”

                  That’s pretty funny. How can you be simultaneously ‘dug in’ and ‘ready for combat’? Are you going to charge, taking your trench with you? If the enemy does not storm your trench, you are not going to see very much combat. A lot of territory captured via trench warfare, was there?

                  That’s very interesting; thanks for posting it.

                • Jen says:

                  How Ukrainian troops hunkered down in the trenches and combat-ready will end up fighting:

          • Moscow Exile says:


            I’ve said it before: that’s what they want, nay, yearn for, obscenely desire from the Baltics.

            This is proven by what happened only a couple of days ago: Russia lifted the ban on Baltic state sprats:

            Russia lifts 2-year ban on sprat products from Latvia, Estonia

  17. Lyttenburgh says:

    Hey-hey-hey! What looks like a Christmas reunion of all awful characters of the past episodes in some bad comedy series on TV? This article on the “hot” topic1 What not to love here? Grab a drink – and get ready to the literary feast!

    Katy Lally (remember her?) via WaPo: The two expat bros who terrorized women correspondents in Moscow
    Matt Taibbi and Mark Ames trafficked in hideous stereotypes and body-shaming.

    “Twenty years ago, when I was a Moscow correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, two Americans named Matt Taibbi and Mark Ames ran an English-language tabloid in the Russian capital called the eXile. They portrayed themselves as swashbuckling parodists, unbound by the conventions of mainstream journalism, exposing Westerners who were cynically profiting from the chaos of post-Soviet Russia.

    A better description is this: The eXile was juvenile, stunt-obsessed and pornographic, titillating for high school boys. It is back in the news because Taibbi just wrote a new book, and interviewers are asking him why he and Ames acted so boorishly back then. The eXile’s distinguishing feature, more than anything else, was its blinding sexism — which often targeted me.

    At the time, the paper had its defenders, even those who acknowledged its misogyny and praised it anyway. A Rolling Stone article by Brian Preston in 1998 described the eXile’s “misogynist rants, dumb pranks, insulting club listings and photos of blood-soaked corpses, all redeemed by political reporting that’s read seriously not only in Moscow but also in Washington.” A 2010 Vanity Fair reminiscence by James Verini wrote: “They call Ames and Taibbi, singly or in combination, children, louts, misogynists, madmen, pigs, hypocrites, anarchists, fascists, racists, and fiends.” But “what made The Exile so popular, and still makes it so readable, was its high-low mix of acute coverage and character assassination, sermonizing laced with smut — a balance that has also characterized Taibbi’s work at Rolling Stone, where he has been a contributing editor for the last five years.” Taibbi still writes for Rolling Stone; Ames, too, works in journalism, running a podcast on war and conflict.

    I remember the eXile as a mishmash of nightclub listings (rated on how easily a man could get sex), articles on lurid escapades (sex with a 15-year-old girl, an account Ames now says was a joke), political pieces (“Why Our Military Shopping Spree Has Russia Pissed Off”) and press reviews savaging mainstream Western journalists. It ridiculed one female reporter as a “star spinster columnist” and mentioned women’s “anger lines” and fat ankles. The paper even had a cartoon called the Fat Ankle News , about a woman who tweezes her nose hairs and gorges on doughnuts while editing a story. Some male reporters came in for scorn as toadies or morons or liars. But their outrages concerned their minds and not their bodies.

    I came into the eXile’s sights because David Johnson, a Russophile living in Washington who edited an online news group devoted to serious writing about Russia, asked his readers whether he should circulate the eXile’s press reviews. “I’d like to encourage some discussion,” he wrote.

    Accepting his invitation, I replied. “Let a thousand flowers bloom, let Matt Taibbi print whatever he wants,” I began. “But why reprint it? . . . In a recent eXile, the editor [Ames] wrote about how he dealt with his pregnant girlfriend when she refused to get an abortion. She wouldn’t listen to reason, so he threatened to kill her. That worked! Then he muses on forever about another pregnant acquaintance who aborted and about his relief that this child — who would have been a ‘sloped-head idiot’ — was instead a dead fetus properly wallowing in the sewers.”

    The Chicago Reader , in a review of the 2000 Taibbi-Ames memoir, “The eXile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia,” described what happened next. “They decided to give [Lally] the treatment. They had a female friend call her and, posing as an anti-Exile sympathizer, ask her to help shut the paper down by giving a statement” to a reactionary Russian intelligence agency.

    I remember getting a call from a woman whom I couldn’t quite understand over a crackling Russian phone line. I had never heard the acronym for the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information. We got many odd calls at the bureau, some from the mentally ill, some from those with serious grievances, some from people with mysterious motives. I tried to put her off pleasantly by telling her I’d “think about it.” It was a bogus sting, and its aim was to humiliate me.

    The eXile published what it said was a transcript, which didn’t sound at all like me. The paper quoted me agreeing to organize a boycott of the eXile’s sponsors and saying I would consider being a witness in a criminal investigation of Taibbi and Ames. I don’t remember my words of 20 years ago — I made an effort to forget the eXile and its editors — but I never had any intention of organizing a boycott. And all I ever said about the eXile publicly was in that email to Johnson. But after that, Ames and Taibbi seemed certain I wanted to shut the paper down, censor them and oppose free speech generally. They ridiculed me in the eXile and, later, in their memoir.

    When I wrote an article about advertisements that used sex to sell cigarettes — new for Russia — Taibbi addressed my Baltimore Sun editors in his eXile column: “Lally’s article is pathological, illogical, inaccurate, makes no point, and is insulting and hypocritical besides. . . . Lally’s gaffes may be comic, the wild meanderings of an aging woman nearing derangement.” Once, the eXile declared me the winner of its “Gnarliest Elephantine Ass on a Journalist With No Ethics Award.” Another time, it published a cartoon showing me in bed with my editor.

    I wondered if I should write a story about the eXile, and I started asking Western correspondents what they knew about it. Taibbi had accused a friend of mine of being paid by Russian oligarchs to write favorable stories, so I thought it was worth asking about the eXile’s connections. Do you think any oligarchs are financing them? As a reader, can you tell the difference between what they are making up and what they are not? Are they here on journalist visas? Who are their journalistic role models? I never pursued it, but Taibbi found out about my queries. In the eXile, he described “a full frontal attack by, of all things, a matronly middle-aged American print journalist.”

    Of course I was angry and upset. I worried about my daughters; the older one was in high school. She had to watch her mother’s character assassination unfold — witnessed by her classmates.

    When “The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia” came out, the memoir had a few more surprises in store. “We dragged . . . Lally’s charred [corpse] through the dust-and-fly-infested streets of our newspaper for all to have a laugh,” Ames wrote. In the most unexpected anecdote, Taibbi said that another reporter, Fred Weir, described in great detail how the eXile had made me cry. “Good!” Taibbi describes himself shouting. I was aware of Weir; probably we had bumped into each other at news conferences. But I didn’t know him. I couldn’t imagine why I would ever have wept in front of him.

    I didn’t think about Taibbi and Ames for years; my self-esteem remained intact and my life moved along. Then, just as more and more men were being drummed out of public life for long-ago behavior, Taibbi landed in the news, bringing Ames along with him. Taibbi recently published a book about the death of Eric Garner, “I Can’t Breathe,” and in an interview about it, an NPR host asked him about the eXile years and a passage, written by Ames, in their memoir that described routine sexual harassment of women.

    Taibbi apologized on the program and later on Facebook. “The behavior [Ames] describes is reprehensible. It is also, like a lot of things in the eXile, fictional and not true.” He said he regretted putting his name on a book “that used cruel and misogynistic language to describe many people and women in particular.” In a second Facebook apology, he wrote: “The eXile did have a satirical idea, at least in the beginning. It was supposed to be an obscene send-up of the Americans who stood behind the crooked Yeltsin government.” Ames recently told reporters that the eXile was obviously satire and complained that he is being smeared for that satire.

    But so many of their sins were real. Taibbi once wrote in the eXile that women had no business wearing “painter’s pants and sneakers” when they ought to be more like Russian women, with “their tight skirts, blowjob-ready lips, and swinging, meaty chests.” Ames described going to the senior prom of an international high school with a 17-year-old date he called his “Jew-broad”; he was 34. Back home she would be “jailbait,” he wrote in the eXile , but Russia “permits sex with a fourteen-year-old, so long as you had reason to believe she was sixteen, the legal statutory age.” A photo shows Ames in the front row with his date.

    Before I became a favorite target, Taibbi and Ames took regular aim at Carol Williams, the Los Angeles Times Moscow bureau chief in the late 1990s. After she wrote about terrible Moscow roads in 1997, they proclaimed her the “ultimate press villain.” They said she was “translator dependent,” even though, she told me, she was the “only one in the four-person bureau to travel without a translator. They were trying to provoke me. They were making up stuff and accusing me of complicity with bad actors in the Russian government. It was completely false. They were pigs.”

    At the time, silence in the face of its bullying seemed the best way of dealing with the eXile. Criticizing it only brought on attack. But now women are regaining their voices, and I’ve found myself regaining mine.

    First I sent the memoir’s passage about my tears to Weir, the alleged source for that anecdote. He remembered me. “That is a totally invented conversation,” Weir wrote back. “I can’t recall you ever calling me up in tears or otherwise.” He hadn’t read the book and had no idea that the authors had attributed the tale to him. “If that sounds odd to you,” he said, “just consider how bizarre it is that you yourself are only just bringing it up with me.”

    Then I got in touch with Taibbi and Ames, neither of whom has ever met or spoken to me. Ames did not reply to requests for comment. He has, however, described his stories of sex with 15-year-olds as satire. In a Facebook exchange with me, Taibbi gave some ground. “I certainly would not go about things now the way I did back then,” he wrote. “And I apologize for the physical descriptions. That was gratuitous and uncalled for.” But before he stopped answering my questions, he took some jabs, complaining about the “efforts to get us removed from the Johnson’s list.”

    Finally, we are confronting men who have abused and sexually harassed women for years. That reckoning has been too long coming. But you don’t have to grope a woman or force a kiss on her to humiliate her, to make her doubt herself, to silence and diminish her. Bullying, treating women with contempt, freezing them out of the lunches and meetings that build networks and authority: All are damaging, insidious and difficult to root out. That will take time — and more women who call men out. That’s why I’m saying #MeToo.

    P.S. There is Russian slang expression, a profane version of the “pot calling cattle black” – “how toad fucked viper” (rus “ебала жаба гадюку”). This whole jolly exchange of pleasantries and revelations surely reminds me of this:

    • yalensis says:

      Good comment from somebody named Ciocarlia puts the matter in perspective:

      “It doesn’t matter whether it’s 1990s Moscow or 2017 USA. It’s about being a decent human being. And if you want to be seen as a journalist, it’s about not making stuff up.”

      • yalensis says:

        I also like this comment, it is right to the main point:

        ” (…) But note, this is NOT just [sexual] harassment– this is also about journalists who made stuff up! (the incident where supposedly the writer was reduced to tears, and spoke to someone who had never met her?) They made stuff up to make themselves more important. Whew, that can taint the whole body of a journalist’s work. What use is a “journalist” whose every utterance has to be fact-checked?”

        The issue in question is about Ames/Taibbi making a claim of fact about Fred Weir, which Weir himself does not corroborate.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          In my opinion, one of the functions that eXile served was to act for some Russians as an up-to-date source of American obscenities. Some Russians whom I was working with almost 20 years ago regularly used to quiz me as regards the new vocabulary that they had came across in that rag. I well remember one very seriously asking me to explain to him the meaning of “douche bag”.

          They knew the whole set-up was vulgar and tasteless, of course: that’s what had attracted them to the rag in the first place. I use to get quite annoyed at times with their sometimes seemingly obsessive desire to be au fait in US English vulgarities, and once I blurted out to some colleagues (at Philip Morris, as a matter of fact): “You know, it’s your girls, your sisters and mothers, who this bastard is bragging about fucking each week!”

          Am I a prude, I wonder?

      • yalensis says:

        Ames is full of shit. He may be right about one important thing (Lally’s support for the Clintonian occupation of Russia and destruction of Russian economy), but he is wrong about everything else. His own writings prove him to be a pig, a criminal, a liar, and a piss-poor journalist.
        Even his “proof” of Lally’s willingness to collude with the KGB to shut down the Exile, doesn’t look like proof at all. Quite the opposite. This transcript of his prank call to Lally does NOT support his case, it actually corroborates Lally’s side of this story. In which she wrote (in her op-ed) that she was approached by somebody (she didn’t know it was a prank call), and despite the attempt to trap her in a mis-statement, she did NOT call for a boycott, nor for the police suppression of their free speech:

        eXile: May I speak to Kathy Lally please?
        Lally: This is she.
        eXile: Hi, Mrs. Lally, my name is Wendy Helleman, and I’m calling because I’m part of a group that is working to close down the eXile newspaper. I read your name on the Johnson’s List, where my husband published a critique of the eXile, and I thought I’d try to enlist your support.
        Lally: I completely sympathize with you. Frankly, I wish they’d just go away. That…the newspaper is an awful thing, they give the Western press a bad name. What they publish is just dreadful!
        eXile: Well, that’s why we’re working to get them closed down. We’re sort of working on doing a two-front approach. One is that we’re trying to organize a boycott, and the other is that I’m working with some officials from FAPSI [the ex-KGB surveillance agency that snoops on everyone’s communications, equivalent to the NSA] and they said that they could go ahead and press charges against the editors under article 117 of the criminal code, but that they’d need three experts for what they call ‘independent opinions.’
        Since I saw your piece on the Johnson’s List, I thought you might be willing to help us out and appear as an expert witness for FAPSI’s case.
        Lally: Hm. I’ll have to think about it. I’m not sure how my newspaper would feel about it if I acted in such a role, but I certainly do sympathize with you.
        eXile: Well, if not, would you be willing to participate in an organized boycott of the newspaper? We’re going to start by boycotting the eXile’s advertisers and distribution points to force people not to carry or sponsor the newspaper.
        Lally: You know, I’ve spoken to someone about that—I’ve personally thought about calling advertisers myself. Although I don’t read the newspaper myself[!], I have heard that they used my name as a phony byline in an article last week. I’m outraged…As for participating in the FAPSI investigation, what exactly would one need to become an ‘expert’ or offer an ‘independent opinion’? What do I need to do, exactly?
        eXile: They just need an independent opinion, you know, to get another Western journalist to testify on the language, since it’s in English.
        We’re trying to convince them that the eXile broke the criminal code which bans literature that incites hatred or violence. [Note: this is roughly the same law later used by the Putin regime to close The eXile and chase me out of the country.]
        Lally: Well, I’ll think about it. Please call me tomorrow.

        After which, Lally probably hung up and consulted with her editor. The closest she came to calling for a boycott (let alone collaborating with the KGB), is that she admitted she had been thinking about complaining to the advertisers. I personally don’t see that she did anything wrong there. People should have complained to the advertisers about the vile and criminal hate speech laid out on the Ames/Taibbi rag.

        Lally’s “wrongness” is that she is an imperialist spokesperson, but does that make Ames/Taibbi angels of light because their political opinions are more correct?
        Highly dubious.
        Especially now that all their previous writings about Russia from the 1990’s have to be re-classified from non-fiction to either “fiction” or “a new genre mixing fiction with non-fiction”.

        As one of the commenters to the WAPO piece said, these two clowns will always have an asterisk next to their names, now that their own past scribblings have come back to haunt them.
        Their only possible hope for redemption is to fess up and describe exactly what they did back then: What was fiction, and what was fact. And if they committed crimes against underage girls, then they need to submit themselves to the Russian authorities for the appropriate punishment and penance.

        • et Al says:

          While I agree that the transcript isn’t proof, it does look to me that her claim she did not support censorship is a lie of omission based on her not openly supporting it. A normal journalist (particularly an American one, let alone one American about another one) would have said that while they “..don’t like the eXile, censorship has no place in the mediascape and that they do not support it…”. She simply could have ruled it out, but she didn’t.What is it they say about memory? Every time you recall it, it changes a little until what you remember doesn’t pass as accurate? She claims she doesn’t remember from twenty odd years ago yet she is super sure of other stuff. None of this is to excuse the eXile’s behavior, real or imagined, but the whole #metoo thing as well? WTF? There’s plenty of guilt to go around and I have zero sympathy for the foreign press corp in Moscow at the time (I was there in ’94 & ’96) who peddled fairy stories when I was living with Russian families struggling to survive whilst they were having a good time and enjoying all the nice things at convenient hand. Well fuck them journos all and then some.

          • yalensis says:

            Memory is faulty, but apparently the documented record still exists. And it does not support Ames/Taibbi. Could they not have just debated Lally’s political views and journalistic oversights in the Moscow scene in a calm and reasonable manner, without resorting to hate speech and building a type of “Serial Statutory Rapist Boys Club” ?

            Besides, the record appears to show that Lally was appalled, not so much by the anti-Yeltsin political views of these two criminal clowns, as by afore-mentioned hate speech, and their personal attacks against her. She waited a long time to get her revenge, and may have achieved it.

            Lally has a good argument against these sociopaths, and it is sticking. American Liberals are in disarray. They tried to destroy Trump with the misogyny thing, and their own anti-humanism is coming back to bite them.
            Already Taibbi is suffering consequences, he had risen far as a media celebrity, schmoozing with the likes of fellow narcissistic Liberal woman-haters such as Bill Maher.
            It’s kind of fun to watch these egotists sweat it out.

          • marknesop says:

            I can’t stand Kathy Lally, and I suspect she was far more dudgeoned by the eXile’s scorn directed at the size of her ass than its ‘journalists’ debauchery at the expense of Russian womanhood. But she is right on this issue; they tried to trick her into going much farther than she would have done on her own. And it is fairly apparent the conversation with Fred Weir was invented as well. I generally disagree with almost everything he says, but he would not lie about something like that.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              She’s probably doolally.

            • yalensis says:

              The other sneaky thing that Ames is trying to do, is to infer a “connection” between Lally and his subsequent ouster from Russian by “Putin’s thugs” in 2008.
              He quotes the wording under which he was expelled, and claims it is almost identifical to the fake telephone conversation that he himself concocted as a prank against Lally.
              And thus infers that SHE had something to do with his expulsion 10 years after the incidents involved in the feud beween the two of them. Heck, maybe the Russian government just got sick of these degenerate “gonzo” journalists who were making shit up and abusing everyone around them.

              Oh, and by the way, their new line of defense: They’re satirists, just like Charlie Hebdo.
              Which is a poor comparison, for them; since some of their “journalism” at the time was actually good; and nothing that Hebdo writes or draws is even remotely good.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                They were closed down because of their association with “Limonov” and his banned “National Bolsheviks” I believe. And there was some questionable financing of the rag, so around came the auditors and the eXile staff buggered off whence they had come, pronto.

  18. Warren says:

    Al Jazeera English
    Published on 19 Dec 2017
    Donald Trump’s latest announcements on national security showed he still has a wary eye on the international stage, most notably, China and Russia.

    Yes, Iran and North Korea are still seen as threat but Trump said China and Russia are “competition”.
    This was all part of the unveiling of Trump’s “National Security Strategy” in a speech in Washington on Monday.

    In it, he criticised past administrations for not looking out for the interests of American citizens, and made it clear that his way forward would involve competing with other countries, rather than co-operating with them. In the President’s own words, “we will stand up for ourselves and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before”.

    But, by singling out Russia and China, how will these plans for US national security affect its international standing?

    Presenter: Kamahl Santamaria


    Inderjeet Parmar – Chairman of the Obama Research Network and Professor of International Relations at City University of London.

    Scott Lucas – Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham.

    Oliver McGee – Professor at Howard University.

  19. Northern Star says:

    Fuck what Iraqi people want….

    “In 2011, talks on keeping U.S. troops in Iraq broke down over the issue of guaranteeing legal protections for the U.S. so they would not be prosecuted for crimes related to their use of force. Iraq’s government rejected the agreement amid political opposition to a long-term U.S. presence.
    This time, U.S. and Iraqi officials hope to avoid a political standoff.
    **Instead of a formal agreement that would need the approval of Iraq’s parliament, the U.S. military said it could operate under an existing memorandum of understanding between the two countries, according to one of the U.S. officials.***
    The memorandum has been in effect since 2014, when American advisers were deployed to Iraq to help local forces battle ISIS.”

    Stooges..Believe it or not as soon as I read the above, the 2002 AUMF-the American legal fiction concocted to justify Operation Iraqi Freedom- came to mind as something these MFs would now grasp at in order to rationalize a continuing USA military presence in Iraq.
    Yup!! Sure enough:

    “Mieke Eoyang, vice president of the national security program at the Third Way think tank, called the idea of staying in Iraq against the desire of Baghdad “insanity.”
    At that point, the U.S. would be considered an invading force by the Iraqis and would become a target not only of ISIS, but the Iraqi Security Forces,” said Eoyang, a longtime Democratic staff member on the Hill.
    “That’s from a practical perspective. From a legal perspective, they’re on even shakier ground. ISIS didn’t exist when they passed the 2001 AUMF and the 2002 AUMF was to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions. They don’t have that here. Tillerson needs to go talk to Mattis and his lawyer before he commits to that position.”

    …Just a few advisors…just a few….move along folks ..nothing to see here…

  20. Northern Star says:

    Hmmm…SF appears to be a right thinking outfit….
    The comments are sometimes hilarious besides being informative:

    “RichardD • 25 days ago (November 24)
    So far there haven’t been any specifics on how the government is going to reestablish administrative control in SDF held areas. If Russia can close Russian airspace to NATO with a multi layered air defense system. Then it can do the same thing in Syria on an as needed basis. That’s probably what needs to be done to prevent secession by the SDF held areas. So that the reunification of Syria can take place from a position of strength. And the Jewmerican, Mossad, IDF and other uninvited and unauthorized Jew world order elements present in the SDF Israelistan secession areas can be removed with a minimum of conflict.” “Israelistan”..LOL!!!

    “So that the reunification of Syria can take place from a position of strength. ”
    No two ways about THAT!!!

    “NobodysaysBOO • 3 hours ago (December 19)
    lets TALK about the OIL and GAS in the GOLAN heights?
    Who gets the SYRIAN, GOLAN OIL and GAS?or exactly how many US citizens ,US Mercinaires and Isralies have been KILLED or CAPTURED inside SYRIA?
    not talking? **then the survey says**: HUNDREDS? (LOL!!!)
    bet they LOST some f-22 and f-35 alone the way, with the missing TRILLIONS!”

    • Northern Star says:

      Hmmm..Check out this SF article comment..Good to know….IF true

      “Rob • an hour ago
      Very interesting development for Syrian nation.
      Assad have banned American grain. No grain will be imported from America.
      The grain will be imported only from friendly countries like Russia.
      Assad have banned American contractors in Syria. No contractors from America are allowed to participate in Syrian reconstruction or open any kind of NGOs in Syria.

      All civil and military engineering contracts will be allotted to only friendly countries like Russia and Iran. New residential blocks, electricity generation plants and oil and gas refineries and steel mills will be constructed on priority basis to strengthen Syrian economy. All military hardware, fighter jets and commercial jets will be overhauled locally in Syria. The first nuclear power plant of the type PWR 1100 megawatt will be constructed in Latakia by the help of Russia”

  21. Pingback: RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-229 :: Saturday, 9 December 2017 – Johnson's Russia List

  22. Northern Star says:

    Lots of facts worth considering on the NK situation
    “North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published Monday a commentary titled “Trump Should Cool His Jets and Face Up to Reality.” Citing foreign media reports, including Newsweek’s coverage of a poll that found nearly two-thirds of U.S. citizens were against going to war with North Korea, the state-run outlet called on Trump and his administration to rescind their threat to forcefully disarm supreme leader Kim Jong Un’s nuclear and ballistic arsenal, which has continued to grow despite increased U.S.-led diplomatic, economic and military pressures.”

  23. Warren says:

    The list that’s freaking out everyone in Moscow

    Congress ordered the Trump administration to submit a roster of Russians tied closely to the Kremlin. Used wisely, it can be a powerful tool.

    By ANDERS ÅSLUND AND DANIEL FRIED 12/18/17, 12:51 PM CET Updated 12/19/17, 1:31 PM CET

    Congress hit a nerve in Moscow last summer when it passed (and President Donald Trump signed) H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.” Beyond the law’s many sanctions, its Section 241 requires the administration to submit to Congress a detailed report identifying “the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth” within 180 days.

    So much for due process. The US will once again demonstrate to the world how arbitrary and discriminatory its legal system is.

    • marknesop says:

      Ahhhhh….that was as satisfying as a thick chicken stew with floury dumplings. Speaking of cooking, if you wanted to make “Aaaagghhh!! How the fuck did this go so wrong????”, you would have to start with a double heaping measure of Anders Aslund. He probably puts on his wife’s shoes in the morning, his getting absolutely everything wrong probably goes that far. And the western ‘analysis’ community never says “Hey – you remember what happened the last time we listened to this dickhead?” Never. He gets a free pass for more of his drive-by derangement. And mark my words – this will end in tears. And not for Russia. The United States, confronted by a brush fire, seems to think that pouring gasoline on will quench it. But you have to laugh with delight to see Uncle Sam thump his chest and scream like a gorilla. The USA is so caught up in its own self-importance that it seems to actually believe revoking Russia’s club pass is going to make it collapse with grief. Big fucking deal. What is most likely to happen is that wealthy Russian international businessmen will repatriate their wealth or reinvest it in countries where they are confident the US government cannot reach and freeze it. And the day is fast approaching when US allies, who see themselves ordered about like schoolchildren in a manner which puts them at maximum risk while serving exclusively American interests, will simply ignore US ultimatums. And what will they say then?

      “Aaaagghhh!! How the fuck did this go so wrong???”

  24. Warren says:

    Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
    Published on 14 Dec 2017
    TARAS KUZIO received a BA in economics from the University of Sussex, an MA in Soviet and Eastern European studies from the University of London, and a PhD in political science from the University of Birmingham (UK), and was a post-doctoral fellow at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. Kuzio is a research associate at CIUS and a non-resident fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Kuzio has been a consultant to different branches of the US government, including team leader on a USAID assessment in spring 2015 of democracy, governance, and human rights in Ukraine. His most recent books are Ukraine: “Democratization, Corruption and the New Russian Imperialism” (2015) and “Putin’s War against Ukraine: Revolution, Nationalism, and Crime” (2017).

    • kirill says:

      The more that Banderite Ukrs cut themselves off from Russia, the more rabid their anti-Russian bleating becomes. WTF, you fucktards? Aren’t you enjoying the good life without the “Russian yoke” (i.e the $300 billion US dollars that Russia subsidized Ukraine between 1991 and 2014)?

  25. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    A friendly reminder that there is no such thing as a non-Nazi German:

    • kirill says:

      The year was not 1953 but 1956 and it was the Hungarian uprising. For a long time I was told (in the west) that 50 to 60 thousand Hungarians died during the “repression of freedom” by Hungarian and Soviet forces. After the end of the cold war, Hungarian sources started to update the figure to 2,400. And it was clear that this “freedom uprising” was nothing more than former fascist elements organized by the CIA and MI6 trying to stage a coup.

      So the T-34 was only a “tank of repression” in the rabid, fascist-lover fantasies. The Cold War was the direct result of Hitler failing to win against the Soviets and subjugate Russia. This cold war is still ongoing as we see in 2014 and the creating of Banderastan. Apparently, Ukrs were oppressed by their own duly elected government. So now they can breathe free under the heel of Banderite Nazis, fully backed by NATzO. NATzO is the de facto 4th Reich.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Yeah, one can comfortably dismiss both the Berlin and Hungary incidents as Nazi terrorism rightfully quashed.

        One periodically encounters descendants of Hungarian migrants who just love to weep and wail about muh occupation and muh 1956. Since it is God’s will that these space aliens from planet Retard should be bullied, I ask them whether they prefer Miklos Horthy or Ferenc Szalasy – this usually occasions blank stares.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Hungary, in co-operation with Germany, occupied huge swathes of the USSR for a while.

        • Ryan Ward says:

          Yeah, one can comfortably dismiss both the Berlin and Hungary incidents as Nazi terrorism rightfully quashed.

          You can also dismiss the Bolshevik revolution as a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. Funny how words work that way; you can use them to say any outrageous thing you want. But until you provide actual evidence for the claim (as in real evidence, not “I can tell this story without blatantly contradicting myself, therefore it’s true!”) you’re just engaging in tinfoil-hattery.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “You can also dismiss the Bolshevik revolution as a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy”

            Novgorodian-Masonic conspiracy! [nod, nod]

          • yalensis says:

            I think I can find the so-called “middle ground” here.
            The Berlin and Hungary incidents were similar to recent Syrian events, in that an actual popular rebellion (sparked by whatever causes) was utilized and exploited by Uncle Sam, as part of regime-change effort.
            And Uncle Sam being in cahoots with, and funding, Nazi remnants.
            Hence, the rebellions, however “noble” their original purpose, were amplified and turned in a counter-revolutionary direction, with all kinds of unsavory players involved.
            Not unlike Banderite Ukraine.
            See, it’s not as complicated as people think.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:


            The CIA trace is hardly a secret, nor is the fact that the CIA relied heavily on repainted Nazis and eastern European chauvinists. Combine that with the Nazi-esque slogans of the Berlin rioters, and the tinfoil hats can confidently be set aside.

            Why would you think otherwise? Did you think the Nazi populace of Germany or Hungary had undergone some metamorphosis? Hitler’s regime fell from favour not because the people of Germany rejected the malignant nationalism it stood for, but because the regime was defeated. The Nazi mindset is abundantly obvious in almost every German alive today, regardless of ostensible political persuasion, and Hungary barely even bothers to feign contrition.

            Eastern European potato-people don’t have noble aspirations, and they generally understand ‘democracy’ and other such concepts as figleafs to wear and war totems to carry as they destroy their tribal enemies.

      • Ryan Ward says:

        And it was clear that this “freedom uprising” was nothing more than former fascist elements organized by the CIA and MI6 trying to stage a coup.

        That’s a pretty bold claim. Any actual evidence for it?

        • kirill says:

          How about you put up or shut up with evidence in favour of the NATzO narrative.

          Operation Paper Clip.

          Now why would NATzO freedom lovers need Nazis?

          • Ryan Ward says:

            Firstly, there’s no “NATzO” narrative (and, as an aside, if you want people to take you seriously, I would suggest you stop using the term “NATzO”. It’s childish, and makes you sound like a fucking mouth-breather). There are the public and undisputed facts of the case. There were riots in East Germany and an insurrection in Hungary. Both were put down by some mixture of local communist forces and Soviet troops (More of the first in Germany and more of the latter in Hungary). Those are the “bare bones” of the two cases. Now, you’ve added to this base of publicly visible facts the claims that

            a) the rebellious elements in both countries were primarily composed of former fascists.
            b) the rebellious elements in both countries were led and organized by the CIA and MI6.

            These are both positive claims. Positive claims need evidence. And evidence means real evidence, as in statistical analyses of known insurgents, CIA or MI6 documents, etc. not “That’s the sort of thing those evil bastards would have done, therefore they did it!” or, “Since people who ask me for evidence don’t answer my demand that they (impossibly) prove a negative, that’s as good as proving a positive!” You’ve made two clearly positive claims, and rather bold ones at that, so until you provide at least some evidence in favour of them, you’re talking out of your…..hat.

            • yalensis says:

              Ryan: I believe the facts do show that the CIA was involved in these various rebellions in Eastern Europe. Maybe post-facto.

              However, even though I disagree with your overall point here, I do sympathize with your frustration regarding debating with “Kirill”. Who, when asked to produce facts, is only capable of violent ripostes such as “Put up or shut up.”
              He is a tool, that’s true. And Operation Paperclip is an issue completely separate from the Hungarian uprising of 1956. So that point of his is irrelevant.
              But this is Kirill, after all, so what can you do?? Consider yourself lucky, that he didn’t threaten you with rapey anal sex or forced fellatio, that’s his usual response to comments he doesn’t agree with!

            • Patient Observer says:

              A simplistic analysis but I will offer it nevertheless. The Nazi deep state, as Pavlo powerfully described, was/is alive and well in Germany. The upper management shakeup in West Germany (i.e. the end of WW II) scarcely touched the financial, industrial or commercial elites. Denazification was sought by FDR but was not pursued IIRC from various articles on the subject.

              The Nazi’s nicely adjusted to life in West Germany; just needed to learn to be more deceitful as their British mentors no doubt taught them. In East Germany and Hungary, Nazi’s were not welcomed at any level and it stands to reason considering the carnage that was orders of magnitude worse than in Western Europe not to mention that extermination thing about Slavs. Hence, some Hungarians, excluded from power due to a Nazi past, were ready to “rebel” after any degree of prodding and promises by the West.

              As should be well known, the West had a strong desire to save Nazis regardless of their genocidal past (or perhaps because of it). Operation Ratlines comes to mind.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, I couldn’t speak to CIA involvement. It is, however, a matter of record that Radio Free Europe did everything it could to imply that American forces would intervene to back up the Hungarians if they would only get the ball rolling. I suppose it’s true they never actually said that in so many words, but it seems clear that is what Hungarian patriots inferred from its encouragement. And it was the State Department which transmitted to Tito, after the revolt was well underway, “The Government of the United States does not look with favor upon governments unfriendly to the Soviet Union on the borders of the Soviet Union.” Eisenhower sort of condemned the Soviet action, but only said the American people were very sad about it and would do all in their ‘peaceful power’ to help them. I think the message that there would be no military assistance was pretty clear. Moreover, when Franco decided to send weapons to Hungarians and secured an agreement with Adenauer to refuel the Spanish planes in Germany, Eisenhower pressured Adenauer and got the agreement canceled. The Hungarians certainly felt official America had betrayed them.

        • Northern Star says:

          Read the first comment…the one by William Raymond Smith

          • Ryan Ward says:

            It’s well-known that Radio Free Europe encouraged uprisings in Eastern Europe, and that they specifically gave Hungarians the idea that they would support them if they rose up. Everyone already knows that. That’s also entirely unexceptional, being the kind of agitprop that both sides of the Cold War engaged in routinely. That’s an entirely different matter from actually orchestrating the uprising, and it has (if possible) even less relevance to the question of whether the insurgents were former fascists.

            • yalensis says:

              Most of the insurgents were NOT former fascists, they were ordinary people who didn’t like what the new government was doing.
              The issue is about how all of this evolved, and the the amorphous “leaders” and their connections to the CIA.
              The best comparison for the 1956 Hungary thing is the later thing in Poland, the “Solidarity” movement, and so on.
              Real actual industrial workers, but, behind the scenes, CIA pulling all of the strings.
              No kidding.
              People really need to figure this out, because at some point in the future, there will be an actual Revolution, and we need to make sure it stays clean.

              • Northern Star says:

                “Most of the insurgents were NOT former fascists, they were ordinary people who didn’t like what the new government was doing.”
                So EXACTLY what were they doing in WW2 (GPW)?

              • Northern Star says:

                Hungary’s fascist past has deep roots ,extending to 2017.
                It is not necessary to (foolishly) argue that every man, woman and child in 1956 Budapest was fascist.
                However Hungarian **actions** post WW1 define an obvious embrace of fascism by the
                overall society which certainly did not vanish by 1956.

              • Ryan Ward says:

                “Real actual industrial workers, but, behind the scenes, CIA pulling all of the strings.
                No kidding.”

                It’s important to be clear what “pulling all of the strings” actually means in this context. As far as I’m aware, there’s no evidence of CIA involvement in Hungary except for the RFE broadcasts, and no evidence of CIA involvement in East Germany at all in 1953. The trouble is that it’s easy to use any scrap of CIA involvement as an excuse to avoid the uncomfortable implications that the “workers’ states” of Eastern Europe never commanded the loyalty of the actual flesh-and-blood workers. But this is really easy to do, and can be done on all sides. This is the same kind of thing that people do from the ideological opposite side in saying that, because the Donbas rebels have received critical assistance from foreign Russian volunteers and Russian material support (as well as, in very limited quantities, Russian troops). This is a dodge, but the key point is that it’s a dodge on both sides. Getting back to the Hungarian example, the CIA (through RFE) had one and only one impact on the events, to make the Hungarian people forget their fear. If there were real solid local support for the Communist government, rumours of American support for revolution would have mobilized both sides. The loyalists to the regime would have mobilized to protect their government from “Yankee imperialists”. But no such thing happened, because the actual principled support for the Communist regime in Hungary was negligible. A real legitimate Hungarian government wouldn’t have needed Soviet tanks to prop it up.

            • Northern Star says:

              “the question of whether the insurgents were former fascists.”

              Considering that the uprising took place in 1956….and assuming that most of the participants were adult males in WW2….

              Doing the math….Yeah… I think we can safely infer that many were fascists and/or tolerated fascist rule in Hungary….which was an ally of the Reich.

              As I think about it…more than a few were not only fascists in some politically abstract sense but fought alongside the nazis in Barbarossa:

              • yalensis says:

                Honestly, I don’t know what proportion of the Hungarian rebels were fascists. I am sure there were a lot of fascists who joined up later and were egged on, etc.

                But the matter is way more complicated than that. As in most Eastern European counter-revolutions, the matter began, not with the fascists, but with malcontents within the Communist Party itself.
                Apparently Rákosi did the usual Stalinist thing of purging his own (Communist) Party of dissidents, etc. Estimates are, that around 7,000 Communist Party members were purged. Which doesn’t necessarily mean executed, but at least arrested, lost their jobs, etc.
                These types of rebellions in the Communist world, usually start as an inter-Party thing.
                If people could cut a break and keep their jobs and Party membership, then they would remain a force for stability in society.
                But the Stalinists often seem to have a problem maintaining employee satisfaction among their cadre. Party leaders have a habit of using their political position as a way to settle personal scores. Then things get out of hand. This is what happened in Hungary, and it could have all been prevented, I think.

              • Patient Observer says:

                We may be ignoring the religious element which may be ever more important than the fascist element. The Vatican was a key player in the anti-communist/anti-Soviet efforts in eastern Europe. I don’t think anyone can dispute that. So, if the discussion is expanded to include the role of the Vatican, then Western influence in the Hungarian revolt can be better appreciated.

                • kirill says:

                  The USA was also busy installing various juntas in Latin America during the 1950s. Let’s not forget that. The US simply has no record of fostering democracy abroad. In the name of goodness it engineered dozens of bloody coups and uprisings around the world. Anyone with a functional brain can see that this was motivated by economic and power self-interest and not selfless sacrifice for the good of humanity.

                  BTW, the British were training Ukr Nazi collaborators after 1945 to stage insurrection in Ukraine (I knew one such Ukr). This was a full alliance with the worst sort of scum to engineer regime change. There is no credibility to stories that the Hungarian “uprising” was spontaneous and had nothing to do with Nazi elements boosted by the USA and the UK. The fact that the death toll was faked up by a factor of 25 is supporting evidence of this. A death toll of 2,400 is very small considering the intensity of the combat. This figure was not the result of machine gunning of peaceful protestors. If a true uprising happened in 1956, then the scale of public participation and deaths would be vastly higher. This is what the NATzO propaganda about “up to 60,000 deaths” was based on.

                • yalensis says:

                  Patient Observer, that’s a very good point about Vatican involvement.
                  We see that on steroids during the Solidarity events in Poland.
                  Which also started small, as an actual strike of industrial workers, and then got out of hand.
                  There was a very healthy faction within the Polish Communist Party which did a lot to help preserve social stability, which were able to mollify the real workers with their real economic concerns, and could have been successful in the end; but the unhealthy elements overwhelmed them, egged on by external enemies.

                  And again, this is partly a problem of the Communist Parties themselves, the way they opened themselves up and became mass parties, allowing in all sorts of riffraff, careerists and class enemies, who were willing to switch sides on a dime.
                  We see this same phenomenon 10 years later, in Russia itself (Gorbachov-Yeltsin).

                  If Communist Parties want to be taken seriously ever again, then they need to be willing to make themselves smaller, and idea-driven. Not career- or money-driven.

                • Jen says:

                  Don’t forget too that during the 1980s and 90s the Pope was the Polish priest formerly known as Karol Wojtyla. He very likely interfered in Polish politics more than he should have given his position as Pope. During his reign as Pope, the liberation theology movement in Latin America that developed among some Catholic priests and theologians and which had grassroots support among the poor was crushed by right-wing governments in that region. Pope John Paull II was known to have opposed liberation theology because it was partly based on Marxist beliefs.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I never really took to Lech Wałęsa, really.

                  Few did in my home town: he looked too much like Alex Murphy, aka “Murphy the Mouth”, former local scrum-half rugby hero and Rugby League coach.

                • Ryan Ward says:

                  “So, if the discussion is expanded to include the role of the Vatican, then Western influence in the Hungarian revolt can be better appreciated.”

                  This is a completely different matter. There’s nothing meaningfully “Western” about the Catholic Church in the context of Eastern Europe. The Catholic Church is the indigenous religion of most of Eastern Europe. Ironically, in Poland and Hungary, it was the Communist governments, not the Catholic resistance, that was “imported” (at bayonet-point, for that matter).

                • Ryan Ward says:

                  *Sigh* I’m not sure why I’m bothering to still respond to this nonsense when there’s actual intelligent conversation going on, but here’s one last comment, not that I’ll actually need to say anything really new….
                  The USA was also busy installing various juntas in Latin America during the 1950s….BTW, the British were training Ukr Nazi collaborators after 1945 to stage insurrection in Ukraine (I knew one such Ukr). This was a full alliance with the worst sort of scum to engineer regime change.
                  What in the universe does any of this have to do with Poland or Hungary? This is exactly the sort of dreck I identified before, “This is the kind of thing those evil bastards would do, therefore they did it!” It’s a piss poor argument, and if you had any real evidence for your assertions about Poland and Hungary, you wouldn’t resort to such rube goldberg devices.

                  There is no credibility to stories that the Hungarian “uprising” was spontaneous and had nothing to do with Nazi elements boosted by the USA and the UK.
                  And here we go again. That’s not a “story”. That’s the legitimate null hypothesis. To claim that the US and UK were involved (beyond the RFE broadcasts that everyone already knows about) is a positive claim. Positive claims require direct evidence to be credible. And despite being asked three times now to provide the slightest scrap of direct evidence for your assertions, you’ve failed to do so.

                  The fact that the death toll was faked up by a factor of 25 is supporting evidence of this.

                  For anyone intelligent enough to tie their shoes in the morning, this isn’t supporting evidence of anything. By this logic, the Stalinist purges and the Cultural Revolution in China were Western operations. What is the evidence you ask? Westerners exaggerated the death tolls involved! Doesn’t that make it obvious?

                • Ryan Ward says:

                  There was a very healthy faction within the Polish Communist Party which did a lot to help preserve social stability, which were able to mollify the real workers with their real economic concerns, and could have been successful in the end; but the unhealthy elements overwhelmed them, egged on by external enemies.

                  A couple comments here. Firstly, to talk about “the real workers” is the purest “No true Scotsman”-ism. Workers are workers, whether they adopt political views you (or anyone else) find congenial or not. As to “mollifying” real economic concerns, another (and more accurate) way of putting it, is buying workers off. The Polish Communist Party held no real loyalty among the workers of Poland, and only kept them quiet by artificially suppressing prices using borrowed funds. The first major thrust of the Solidarity movement at the turn of the 80’s took advantage of discontent among the workers when the government tried to raise prices (to stop bleeding money on loans). To the extent that the government managed to buy peace for a few years, it was only by lowering prices again, and paying for it with a credit card. This was not a principled response to the unrest, and those workers who were “mollified” by it were the most mercenary and least principled of workers. This is why the whole rotten edifice crumbled so easily in 1989. No one really cared about defending it if it would actually cost them anything to do so. Time-serving bureaucrats paid off time-serving workers, and as soon as the bill came, everyone had a sudden urge to head to the washroom.

                  Secondly, again, the Catholic Church was not an “external enemy”, least of all in Poland. The Poles themselves were always much more loyal to the Church than they ever were to bureaucrats imposed from Moscow (again, it wasn’t the church, but the government, that was really foreign). And the fact that the Pope at the time was a Pole made the Church more, not less, hostile, to the Communist governments of Eastern Europe.

  26. Cortes says:

    WADA ya know part #2017:

    I mean, it’s not like the guy has a (cough) track record…

  27. Moscow Exile says:


    I’ve said it before: that’s what they want, nay, yearn for, obscenely desire from the Baltics.

    This is proven by what happened only a couple of days ago: Russia lifted the ban on Baltic state sprats:

    Russia lifts 2-year ban on sprat products from Latvia, Estonia

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution Condemning Crimea Human Rights Violations

    The resolution was approved by 71 member states, including Canada, the United States and the EU. Twenty-five countries, including Russia, China, Iran, India and Syria, voted against the measure, while 77 delegations, mainly from Latin America and Africa, abstained from the vote.

    “[The resolution] condemns violations, abuses, measures and practices of discrimination against the residents of the temporarily occupied Crimea, including Crimean Tatars, as well as Ukrainians and persons belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, by the Russian occupation authorities,” the resolution said on Tuesday.

    This resolution on the Crimea is immensely powerful. Pressure on Russia in # Crimea is intensifying. A big thank-you to all who supported. #CrimeaIsBleeding

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Link: UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution Condemning Crimea Human Rights Violations


      The terrible consequences of donning beer goggles.

      The evening before …

      The morning after: I’m packing in drinking!

      • Jen says:

        Well, er, guess whose teeth look a little discoloured?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Сенатор от Крыма дала оценку резолюции ГА ООН

        The Senator from the Crimea has given an assessment of the UN General Assembly resolution

        The Senator from the Crimean Peninsula, Olga Kovitide, has reacted to the UN General Assembly resolution, in which RF is called “an occupying power”.

        Earlier, the Press Secretary of the President of Russia, Dmitry Peskov, said the wording of the UN General Assembly resolution on the Crimea as wrong.

        “We believe this language is incorrect and do not agree with them”, the Kremlin representative told reporters whilst commenting on the document.

        Kovitide said that the Russian Federation had clearly stated that the issue of the Crimea is closed. “The Crimea is not a problem: the Crimea is Russian territory, and any decisions and resolutions that are contrary to the legitimate will of the Crimean people shall never be accepted”, the politician said in comments to the portal

        They just don’t seem to get it, do they?

        The people have decided, not arseholes in Kiev or at the UN or EU.

        Does not the term “We, the people … ring a bell deep in the canyons of the collective historical memory of those Western “democrats”?

        We the People of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do hereby recognize the Constitution of the Russian Federation and with sound mind and a clear conscience do declare that the aforementioned republic is now a member state within that Federation and that the citizens of that self-same republic shall henceforth be citizens of the Russian Federation.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Turkey voted for the resolution — dear friend Turkey that ambushed and shot down a Russian warplane that had allegedly infringed Turkish airspace.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        CIS states that voted against the UN resolution that the Crimea is “occupied”: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.

        Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan did not to vote for this uncomfortable anti-Russian resolution (or could not?). They are not listed even among the abstentions.

        The big ones that voted against were China and India.

        Also against: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, The Philippines, Serbia, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia, Burundi, Cambodia, Eritrea, Myanmar, South Africa, The Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

        So it is clear that Russia must face the facts and must immediately start moving out its occupation army from the Crimea in preparation for handing back the peninsula to the Ukraine — or else!

        So as long ago promised, there will soon be a Ukrainian victory parade in Simferopol!

        What joy!

        Source: Кто они – 25 друзей России, не признавших что Крым «оккупирован»

        Who the 25 friends of Russia are that do recognize that the Crimea is “occupied”

    • marknesop says:

      The Ukrainian politicians always reckon everything which goes in their favour is ‘immensely powerful’, and always make sure to publicly thank countries for even the slightest acquiescence, so as to make clear that they unquestioningly support Ukraine and its position. It’s just their way of ‘penciling in’ friends and annoying Russia.

      China voted against it rather than abstaining. Driving China and Russia into an alliance was the biggest mistake the USA ever made, because there is no way NATO could defeat both.

      • James lake says:

        There was also the annual vote regarding the glorification of Nazis.

        Ukraine and the US voted against and 133 voted for the motion.

        • Jen says:

          Canada voted against as well. Yeah I … sneaked that in.

        • Ryan Ward says:

          What people generally don’t mention in connection with these yearly motions is that they not only condemn the glorification of nazism, but call on countries to take steps to ban pro-Nazi speech and organizations, so the US has principled reasons to vote against it.

          • yalensis says:

            Which opens up the whole discussion about the limits of speech, and what constitutes hate speech and incitement to violence.
            And also, strangely enough, lines up, in the grand geo-political scheme of things, the two opposing sides of WWIII.

          • marknesop says:

            Yes, that’s true; whenever the issue comes up, as it does regularly, both sides should print the text of the resolution and then defend their positions. Because America is frequently selective in its championship of free speech. It is afire with indignation because Russia will not allow ‘punk groups’ to scream about shit and bitches in Orthodox cathedrals during service hours. It insists on the right of Nazi groups to express their philosophy, and it seems – to me, at least – that it does so for a joint reason: partly to showcase how very free it is in America, and partly because American ‘pragmatists’ do not think that anything the Nazis did was so bad. The United States refused to act against the Westboro Baptist church when members picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, who was beaten, robbed and tortured by homophobes and tied to a fence and left to die, which he did, a week later, from head injuries. Some of the church members carried signs which read “No Tears for Queers” and “Fag Matt Burns in Hell”, which no doubt magnified his parents’ grief a hundredfold. But the Westboro Baptist Church was entitled to free speech.

            But if you dispute a position taken by the U.S. government, well – that’s something different. I well remember the days when Wormtongue-look-alike (but with less hair) Ari Fleischer was the White House spokesman, and more specifically the occasion when talk-show host Bill Maher said on his show “Politically Incorrect” that it was inaccurate to characterize the 9-11 terrorists as cowards because they were willing to die for their cause. He then speculated how much moral courage it took to lob cruise missiles at other countries from 2000 miles away, and that some might see that as cowardly. The White House’s spokesman, when asked about those remarks, famously said “Americans need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.”

            He later tried to argue that he had not said anything like that, but it is a matter of public record. Major media outlets tried to give him wiggle room. But the fact is, he said plainly that when America is at war is no time to criticize the government for actions it takes in pursuit of that conflict. What does that leave? Either shut up, or say something positive in support.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        The obnoxious idiocy of Trump and his foreign policy team continues to pay dividends.

    • kirill says:

      This is the typical cold war propaganda drivel how minorities in the USSR were badly abused. As opposed to the USA where aboriginals were always coddled and given everything they wanted. The phony “representatives” of the Crimean Tatars are like the UNA-UNSO Banderites that NATzO designated the true leadership of Ukrainians. How come we see no Crimean Tatar refugees fleeing oppression? And since when does a minority of less than 15% determine the self-determination of a region? Are Russians and Ukrainians who number over 85% of the population being oppressed? What is it that this vast majority would want? To go back to Banderastani poverty? Maybe they don’t have enough “freedom” to vote for Banderite Nazis, ergo their human rights are being violated.

      Cry me a river, NATzO. The USSR imploded from within due to serious systemic issues. You NATzO clowns did not win the cold war. Don’t expect to win the new cold war you have relaunched. Crimeans are not going to be your bitches.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Britain’s new 3 billion pound warship has a leak

    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest ever warship, the new 3.1 billion pound ($4.2 billion) aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, has a leak and needs repairs, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Tuesday.

    Remember with what unfettered glee the British press harped on about the smoke belching from Admiral Kuznetsov’s funnel, a warship that the former British Minister of Defence Michael Fallon labelled as a “ship of shame”, saying: “We will keep a close eye on the Admiral Kuznetsov as it skulks back to Russia” ?

    That big wet fart and waste of space Fallon also crowed in the Telegraph about HMS Queen Elizabeth, writing that after having seen the old, dilapidated Kuznetsov sailing through the Channel a few months ago “I think the Russians will look at this ship with a little bit of envy”.

    Yes, quite, “Sir” Michael!

    Новейший британский авианосец «Королева Елизавета» дал течь через две недели после спуска
    Владычица морей разучилась делать авианосцы?

    A fortnight after having been launched, the latest British aircraft carrier “Queen Elizabeth” is leaking
    Has the Mistress of the Seas forgotten how to do aircraft carriers?

    When our aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” decided to pass with a swagger through the English channel, issuing black smoke as she sailed by, the Western media did whatever it could to mock the “grandfather” of the Russian fleet! Loudest of all scoffed the Americans and the British. At the same time, the USS Freedom LCS–1 in the Bay of San Diego was in such a state that the buildings at the shore base were blackened with its soot. And as U.S.Navy admirals opened their eyes wide in praising the super-destroyer “Zumwalt”, she infamously stalled in the Panama Canal and had to be towed to the shore. Then there was a failure of most of the electrical system of her younger sister-ship, “Michael Monsoor”, whilst she was at sea.

    Now the latest British aircraft carrier “Queen Elizabeth” has fallen into disgrace: a fortnight after her ceremonial descent of the slips, she has been sent for repairs: The ship sprang a leak and took on so much water that she had to make a distress signal. The “Queen” has also “thrown” one of the blades from one of her “screws”. In British government military departments they are shouting blood and thunder: the ship is estimated to have cost £3.1 billion and is now out of commission without even having had time to “smell the sea”.

    Кто смеется последним — смеется дольше всех!

    • marknesop says:

      That’s pretty funny. I was going to point out that all ships ‘leak’, to the extent they all have water in their bilges. But this sounds like considerably more than the normal condensation, if she was actually taking on water.

      The western nations – generally speaking – and certainly their leaders have forgotten humility, and don’t do it any more. Now it’s a lot of swaggering and we-will-shake-the-earth-with-our-tread. That’s not the way to do it. Speak softly and politely, and let their military experts tell their leaders what you can do if you are of a mind to. But western leaders routinely set the country up for embarrassment with their bragging and trash talking.

      • Patient Observer says:

        The ship sprang a leak and took on so much water that she had to make a distress signal. The “Queen” has also “thrown” one of the blades from one of her “screws”.

        Losing a blade from a prop is a major failure. The unbalanced rotation could have seriously damaged the shaft seal allowing serious flooding to the point of overwhelming the pumps. That is a lot of water.

        Also, the bearings in “shaft alley” could have suffered serious damage. This type of failure suggests the possibility of serious quality and/or design issues.

        • kirill says:

          This is what those Russia hating f*cks get for pissing on Russia all the time. I do not recall any Russian Navy ship throwing screw blades. That is just banana republic level rubbish. But Russians are the low IQ, mud hut dwellers that can’t keep up with NATzO “high tech”. It gets under my skin how NATzO “journalists” who can’t even do basic mathematics, let alone abstract mathematics, preach about intellectual inferiority of people (Russian engineers, scientists) who outclass them by orders of magnitude. These NATzO propagandist scumbags don’t even have the mental capacity to write pulp fiction.

    • Jen says:

      The Mistress of the Seas has also forgotten how to give the most wondrous names to its aircraft carriers. Whatever happened to names like HMS Indefatigable?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Or HMS Indomitable?

        A local brewery (local, that is, for me over 30 years ago) once made a brew of that name. It was a good pint an’ all: extra strong. But I’m certain the brewers were having a laugh on the local piss-yeds, because try saying “A pint of Indomitable, please” when your cup runneth over.

        I used to be creased at times watching local ale-cans trying to get their tongues round that brew’s name.

  30. Moscow Exile says:

    Isn’t she just wonderful!!!!!

    • marknesop says:

      Dear God. ‘God promised this land to Israel’. ‘Israel is the only country in the ME where they have freedom of religion’. ‘Take names and cut their funding’.

      How can we be headed anywhere but to Armageddon?

      • yalensis says:

        Preacherman says:
        Yea verily it is factual that God promised this land to Israel. But under a strict set of conditions. Which they were never able to follow, according to the rantings of their own prophets.
        Therefore they lost their lease, and God righteously punished them by driving them, yea, unto the nations of the Earth.
        Technically, the (((((you-know-whos))))) weren’t even supposed to be allowed to come back until their new Messiah was born.
        Which hasn’t happened yet.
        Unless it turned out to be Donald Trump (hm….)

        Therefore, according to their own Book, they are squatters, yea verily upon land that belongeth to somebody else!
        Repent! Repent! I say unto all ye sinners….

    • Ryan Ward says:

      I’m really happy about this. The reason being that the mask is completely off. Nikki Haley is the most honest UN rep America has had in a long time. Look at the exact words. The clear meaning is that the UN (and associated international law) is, in the American view, most emphatically not an association of equal nations bound by common rules. It’s a protection racket where little countries can be bullied by big ones, but big ones (most especially the US) are accountable to no one. And it’s an insult to even suggest that the UN might have standing to criticize the US the same way it criticizes smaller countries. Everyone knew all this before, but it’s refreshing to see it expressed so honestly.

      • marknesop says:

        I absolutely agree, and the more America shits itself right in front of everyone, the better I like it. Because it is burning all its soft-power bridges; carrots are out and the stick is in. But quite a few countries don’t care for that sort of threatening, and some among those might even say “Or what? Like, what will you do? Impose sanctions against us? Because you are running out of trading partners already, fuck-stick, so just keep it up and you won’t have any”.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Me too.

        • kirill says:

          Don’t be too quick. Here the OP is happy that US exceptionalism is being forced down the world’s throat. It is clear that the UN and most other “international organizations” such as WADA, IOP, etc, are US puppets. For some reason, such organizations were trying to act impartial during the previous cold war. During the current cold war they have no impartiality whatsoever. So some pancake house waitress can spew all sorts of “refreshing” BS and the “united nothings” are supposed to eat it with a smile.

          I recall lots of wailing in the NATzO media before 1990 how the UN was “ineffective”. They must be all wet with glee that the current UN is nothing more than Washington’s tool.

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    МФВ требует поднять цену на газ для украинцев

    IMF demands that the price of gas be raised for Ukrainians

    As reported by the permanent representative of the International Monetary Fund in the Ukraine, Jost Longman, the Kiev authorities should increase Ukrainian gas tariffs to the level of import parity. Longman argues that an increase in gas prices will have a positive effect on the development of the free market and will teach the Ukrainians to use natural gas economically. “In the end, the final goal is the implementation of a free gas market. On the way to this, it is important to continue to adjust the price of gas in accordance with the price of imports”, said Longman. “One price for all types of consumer also eliminates the space for corruptio,” he added.

    That’ll learn ya, you Yukies!

    Ain’t the free market just wonderful!

    Happy Freezing New year, suckers!

    • marknesop says:

      Raising the price of household gas supplies to European parity and eliminating subsidies has been a long-term goal for Ukraine of the IMF. And examined with a certain focus, and using concrete examples, it’s true that some Ukrainians who received gas almost free were incredibly wasteful with it, and that generous subsidies provided slack in the budget which did indeed offer opportunities for corruption. So they’re not totally talking out their arse. But Ukrainian income is so far below European standards that it cannot be disregarded as a significant factor. There’s a pretty clear line between learning economies of scale and freezing to death because otherwise you will starve.

      • kirill says:

        Whatever the previous deal, Banderastan will be sure to blame Russia for these price hikes. They have to divert attention from their new bestest friends. The BS story will go that Russia is gouging in the EU, so the EU is forced to spread the pain. And of course, Banderastan is basically a part of the EU (Ukraina, tse Evropa!).

  32. Moscow Exile says:

    On the other hand:

    Porky is always waiting for the next downpour of pennies from heaven:

  33. J.T. says:

    Heyyy, it’s another movie script disguised as a Russia thriller!

    • Cortes says:

      Sounds, er, great. Hold me back from buying multiple copies.

      On the decline in quality from the first book, I’ve suspected for some time that publishers convert successful authors into franchises. I’m not talking about those like the overt new issues in, say the James Bond or “The Girl With the…” series or even James Patterson who has plenty of titles written with A.N. Other. Best-selling authors with a great track record and suddenly the quality declines, sometimes very quickly. The creative juices may have been all used up. Or, perhaps, a hack writer is continuing the series using stock characters and plots and not doing a very good job but shifting lots of books for fans of the series.

  34. et Al says:

    Neuters: Exclusive: Russian oil firm Tatneft ran Crimea fuel station, despite sanctions risk

    Anton Zverev, Gleb Stolyarov

    One of Russia’s biggest oil companies, Tatneft, has been doing business in Crimea despite the risk of being placed on a U.S. sanctions blacklist, according to company documents and a source close to Tatneft.

    Most big Russian oil firms pulled out of Crimea after Washington imposed sanctions over Moscow’s annexation of the region from Ukraine in 2014 and threatened to put any company operating on the peninsula on its list of sanctioned entities. …

    Additional reporting by David Axelrod in SEVASTOPOL, Crimea, Agnieszka Barteczko in WARSAW, Wojciech Zurawski in KRAKOW, Joel Schectman in WASHINGTON and Alexei Yarkovoy and Olga Yagova in MOSCOW, Editing by Timothy Heritage
    Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

    Neuters, acting as an arm of the United States government, hunting high and hunting low for Russian subterfuge of United States imposed sanction, in this case a lonely Crimean fuel station. Such groundbreaking investigative reporting of the highest order! Prize nominations for Neuters on the way. Not a shred of shame. Standards & Principles my ass!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      You do know Tatneft is Tatar oil, don’t you?

      Based in Tatarstan, autonomous republic within the Russian Federation.

      • et Al says:

        Indeed I do! There was the fear in the early 1990s that it might have voted for ‘independence’ as Chechnya did (Tartarstan did not sign the initial Russian Federation
        agreement in 1992 & their referendum on ‘sovereignty’ passed in 1993), but thought better of it and got quite a sweet deal with Moscow instead which was supposed to be up for renewal/renegotiation quite some years ago but I’ve not heard of since. Tartarstan is quite the performer in aerospace and engineering technologies, the Kazan Aviation Factory (Tupolev):

    • marknesop says:

      On the one hand, the western press sermonizes, hands folded to convey pathos, on the terrible plight of the Crimeans – mistreated, misguided, struggling. On the other, it does everything in its power to ensure nobody can do business there, and says nothing when Ukraine attempts to starve and freeze them into submission.

  35. Warren says:

    Published on 20 Dec 2017
    Austria’s new coalition government will press ahead with plans to offer citizenship to the German-speaking minority in Italy, but pledged to consult with Rome.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Lest any forget, the Guardian reports today that:

    Homophobia is not unusual in Russia, where teaching about homosexuality in schools is banned. There have been many cases of gay foreigners being attacked because of their sexuality.

    See: Russian censors wanted to remove gay character from Mrs Brown’s Boys

    • kirill says:

      I am sure that they were attacked for acting like dicks and not because they were gay. Westerners are trained from birth to look down on Russians. I can see some of them not hiding this indoctrination too well.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The Grauniad states that “There have been many cases of gay foreigners being attacked because of their sexuality” but the linked story within that statement is about Chechen homosexuals allegedly suffering systematic harassment, arrest and torture by law officers of the Autonomous Chechen Republic within the Russian Federation. In that linked article, there is no mention of foreign homosexuals being targeted in Chechnya, Russia or elsewhere. Or perhaps the writer of the article thinks that Chechens are not “Russians”, albeit that Chechnya is “an administrative unit of the Russian federation”?

        Well, they are not — but they are!

        It’s that old russkiy and rossiyanin thing again.

        The article is an opinion piece from the infamous “Comment is Free” feature. I dare say that anyone who might have pointed this out freely, as a comment, to the piece, would very likely have had his comment removed.

  37. Warren says:

    Financial Times
    Published on 20 Dec 2017
    The US and China have broached the once taboo subject of how to work together in the event of a collapse of the Pyongyang regime, a sign that Beijing is taking seriously the threat of war on the peninsula.

    • Northern Star says:

      “We promise not to occupy NK and withdraw to below the 38th parallel”

      Yeah..that assumes they get a few kilos beyond the 38th to begin with.
      Exactly what troops will comprise the attacking force? There are only 30,000 USA troops in SK. Are we to assume the SK army is capable of rolling over the North Korean forces?
      Will nukes be used against NK targets???
      Will China play an active combat role in the invasion,coordinating her attacks on North Korea with American/SK forces?
      Moreover Any military alliance betwen the US/SK and China would be very problematic since a common enemy doesn’t make adversaries any less adverrsarial.

      “The most dangerous aspect of a Chinese invasion of North Korea is if it is launched concurrent with a U.S. and South Korean assault northward from the demilitarized zone. While the U.S. and South Korea would operate with the same objectives in mind, they would likely be very different from China’s. The possibility of fighting breaking out between those armies marching north and those marching south would be very real.”

    • Patient Observer says:

      Wasted 2:34 minutes of my life watching a fake news production thick with unnamed analysts and sources. What we do know is that high level Chinese officials have gone on record stating a Western invasion on NK would result in China fighting the invaders. No FT BS changes that.

      In any event, the Saker gave a fairly detailed analysis of what it would be like for a US/SK invasion of NK. In short, a freakin’ military disaster for the invaders and massive civilian causalities in SK even if the war does not go nuclear. If NK rolled out a few nukes against SK and lobbed a few into Japan, the carnage would be unimaginable.

      For the above reason, no one in their right mind would try such an attack. The FT is on hallucinogens in trying to pave the way for such thinking.

      • kirill says:

        The NATzO Reich media is the bully pulpit designed to lead the masses to war. Make no mistake, the NATzO MSM is outdoing the German MSM of the 1930s in hate propaganda spew and spreading of delusions about invincibility and the power of righteousness on the size of the collective fatherland.

        Look at every single military adventure by the NATzO Reich over the last 30 years and longer. It is always primed by hysterical MSM campaigns trumpeting moral authority and the “depravity and wickedness” of the enemy du jour. Truly, nothing is new under the Sun.

  38. Warren says:

    Published on 20 Dec 2017
    The ‘nuclear option’ of being stripped of EU voting rights is hanging over Poland, after Brussels activated Article 7 for the first ever time in its history. The EU says Poland has violated democratic values with proposed judiciary reform. READ MORE:

    • marknesop says:

      Uh oh. That is likely to be a serious mistake. Poland’s government has significant public support, especially for an EU country. I suspect Theresa May would be pretty happy with support at 52%, for example, considering hers was only 34% a month after the General Election.

      Note, also, who supports the Polish government:

      According to CBOS, the government has the strongest support among people with only basic education, those on low incomes, among residents of rural areas and those aged 55 and over.

      The idiots, the poor and the elderly support the government, in other words. Leaving the intelligentsia and the kreakl hipsters to form the opposition. Sound familiar? How do countries with this sort of electoral division react to threats and sanctions? See capitulation on the horizon? I don’t.

      • kirill says:

        This kreakl hipsters would be the first rape victims of the hordes of middle eastern immigrants they want to import. There is a maximum immigrant absorption capacity for any country. The EU bureaucratic regime pretends that there are none. In reality, such thinking leads to 97% migrant unemployment and a large increase in crime.

        Poland has not realized that the west is a phantom of delusion. It is a cold war propaganda figment of the imagination. Like Ukrs, Poles think that the west is some reservoir of goodness. It is no such thing. Poles should realize that there is not such thing as a free lunch. If they want the mythical western good life, then they need to achieve it at home all by themselves. Cleaning toilets and having German companies run your economy is not a good start on that road.

  39. Warren says:

    Kaydrov seems unperturbed by being sanctioned by the US Empire.

  40. Nat says:

    Sobchak latest “press-conference” with the Ukrainian media. Main points:
    – Crimea is Ukrainian and Putin should never have annexed it. Now that he did, the only way out is to organize an international (?) referendum where Crimeans, Ukrainians and Russians would participate (???).
    – Russia should apologize to Ukraine, pay compensations to the families of the dead soldiers and withdraw its troops from East-Ukraine.
    – Russia should earn back the trust of the civilized world.
    – Putin could be handed over to the Hague tribunal if such a demand is made and the decision should be made by the Russian parliament as Sobchak intends to make Russia a parliamentary republic.
    – The first visit abroad of President Sobchak would be to Ukraine.
    – Putin is running for presidency not because he wants to continue his work, but because he fears for his life if he’s not president anymore. She would not give him any guarantee concerning his safety or immunity from trial, but even if she were to give him any, he does’t trust anyone.
    – Russia main goal should be to join not only the EU, but NATO as well.

    “Enjoy” the full interview here:

    • davidt says:

      I must say that as a “glass half empty” sort of guy this has cheered me up immeasurably.

    • marknesop says:

      Sobchak could promise everyone would get a pony if she were elected, because she knows she won’t be and therefore she can make all the exorbitant promises she likes.

    • kirill says:

      What a retarded clown. Imagine a western politician spitting on the 64% majority of their own countrymen in this context. The most that this cunt should be doing is to push for some sort of special privileges for the 21% Ukrainian minority wrt to Ukraine. Instead she fully ignores both the illegal annexation of Crimea by Ukraine in 1991. Yeltsin’s vodka dealings with Ukraine’s leadership did not legally transfer Sevastopol to Ukraine in 1991; Sevastopol was not part of Ukraine before 1991 and was not transferred by Khruschev in 1953. And Crimeans had a legal vote to restore their autonomous republic status in 1990, which nullified Khruschev’s illegal transfer. She also ignores completely the ICJ backed right of the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea to self-determination. You can’t have Kosovo go by one set of rules and Crimea go by another. All that this waste of space does is to parrot NATzO propaganda talking points. And this is considered by NATzO the “democratic opposition”. I guess how NATzO considered the Nazi revanchists in Hungary to be “democrats” in 1956.

  41. Warren says:

    Vesti News
    Published on 20 Dec 2017
    Subscribe to Vesti News
    An automobile bridge across the Kerch Strait is almost finished. The bridge is now at the launching stage. As soon as it’s over, the Taman and Crimean coasts will be connected. The only things left would be the bridge joints, asphalt, barriers, and lighting.

  42. Warren says:

    Published on 20 Dec 2017
    President Donald Trump delivered a speech on the White House lawn to celebrate the passing of the GOP tax overhaul.

  43. Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      I believe all the S-300’s will be phased out and replaced with the S-400, and the S-500 is already in development.

      Correction: the S-300 will be replaced, at least in part, with an upgrade called the S-350. The S-500 is said to be able to track stealth-technology airframes.

      In that light, early replacement of these S-300’s with the S-400 could be a warning.

  44. James lake says:

    Reports in Washington post that the US will sell arms to Ukraine

    “…According to The Washington Post, “administration officials confirmed that the State Department this month approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million. These weapons address a specific vulnerability of Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian-backed separatist movement in two eastern provinces. There has been no approval to export the heavier weapons the Ukrainian government is asking for, such as Javelin antitank missiles.”

    Trump proves how weak he is that he has been soundly beaten by the bro-cons. All the blather and bluster about non intervention and working with Russia are out the window. We just have more war mongering.

    I am not in any way an expert on weapons technology – but this is the green light for more war .

    I hope Donbass is prepared.

  45. Warren says:

    Published on 20 Dec 2017
    Trump’s America First Security Strategy released this week is a defensive response to old rivals, China and Russia reasserting their position in the world, says scholar Vijay Prashad

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    The Ice Queen cometh!!!

    В “Путешествие в Рождество” – на метро: в московской “подземке” запустили праздничный поезд

    On a “Journey to Christmas” — by metro: the Moscow metro has launched a party train

    That’s right, you stupid mercenary prick who reports from the Ukraine, we don’t do Christmas in Russia.

    God, how I had a crush on that Soviet cartoon Ice Queen.

    Still do!

    • yalensis says:

      Is this you as a little boy with the Ice Queen?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yeah! If I had been Kai, I would have told Gerda to bugger off when she arrived to rescue me from that lovely, cold lady.

        It’s the “Snow Queen”, actually, but I always think “ice Queen”.

        She was cold as ice, but had a warm heart, I’m sure: a sort of Arctic “Minnie the Moocher”.

        I’m not kidding, by the way: when I was a kid, I really did find the Snow / Ice Queen erotic.

        Trouble was, I didn’t know the word “erotic” then, but I had a kind of feeling then that felt like what erotic meant, if you know what I mean.

        I must have been a freakishly precocious kid.


  47. J.T. says:

    Hm. I didn’t know Kevin Rothrock had a podcast on Soundcloud.
    Prolly not going to listen.

  48. Ryan Ward says:

    Just a bit related to the discussion of Eastern European revolutions above (I decided to write a new comment rather than replying because it’s a general point, and also the comments are getting a little narrow on the screen).

    This “advice” might seem a little suspect, given that it’s coming from a social democrat/communitarian who’s not sympathetic to the Soviet system, but I think there’s a really important point of principle at play. People with socialist leanings/sympathy for the Soviet system often criticize Western countries, and most specifically America, for imposing its social system on other countries by violent means. The key point here is that this criticism is often framed not only on the basis of the type of system imposed, but because of the imposition itself. The idea is that neoliberal capitalism is bad in itself, so it’s bad for any country to have that system, but it’s even worse for a country to have that system because it was imposed by another country by force. The force itself is treated as an evil in addition to the ends to which that force is put.

    This creates a huge problem for any attempt to defend the Communist governments of Eastern Europe. With the exception of the governments of Yugoslavia, Albania and (partially) Czechoslovakia, these governments were 100% foreign impositions, brought about by force of arms, violence, murder and compulsion. If the expression “puppet regime” has any meaning at all, it describes the governments of Poland, Hungary, Romania, etc. perfectly. The trouble here is that you can’t have it both ways. You can go the Stalin route and say that every powerful country imposes its system “as far as its armies can reach. It cannot be otherwise.” Then you can criticize America for imposing CAPITALISM, but you can’t criticize American for IMPOSING capitalism. Alternatively, you can criticize America for both, but then you’re not going to have any ground left to defend what the Soviet Union did in Eastern Europe.

    Looking forward, what’s important for “leftists” of all stripes is to formulate a program that works for the future. But you’re going in with one boot off if you shackle yourself to the worst aspects of the past. Even the most abysmal of neoliberal hacks can admit that America’s record is far from flawless in Central America (for example). Why should it be so hard for people sympathetic to the Soviets to do the same?

    • Patient Observer says:

      Just a quick lunch time reply. The Soviet Union pretty much left alone Eastern European countries prior to WW II – no attempt to impose their will on countries that were hostile to their very existence. (contrast with the US actions in Latin America).

      The invasion of SU from the West (Germany, Romania, Italy and other less overt allies) left devastation and death on a scale unprecedented in human history. A major purpose of the invasion was the murder/enslavement of the Russian population. So, this was a rather unique situation facing SU leadership. How do handle neighbors who are psychopaths (Germany and its allies clearly fit that description)? What to do?

      Any sane national leadership, having survived that murderous attack, would be expected to remove the root cause of that attack. Again, before WW II, the SU was comfortable with its neighbors, but after, the attempted genocide/enslavement, not so much.

      Ryan, what would you recommend for the SU after WW II? Allow the same forces that sought their total destruction back in business at its borders? A nuclear armed adversary possibly allowed to set up military bases next door (actually pretty much what we have today)?

      As far as I am concerned, Germany and eastern Europe got off easy. No reparations for the SU – just military confrontation with its former alleged allies. The SU did what it had do to. It can be rightfully argued that it could have been done better, but its general actions were generally justifiable in my opinion.

      As an aside, Yugoslavia would have been much better off if the SU had “imposed” itself there. But we ended up with Tito, a monster who eagerly did the bidding to Britain which included hiding the Serbian holocaust and allowing its perpetrators to escape justice.

      • Ryan Ward says:

        I’ll deal with the rest later (including the absolutely absurd attack against Tito), but firstly, I want to address a factual error.

        “As far as I am concerned, Germany and eastern Europe got off easy. No reparations for the SU – just military confrontation with its former alleged allies.”

        This is simply false. After WW2, the SU extracted reparations from East Germany, Hungary and Romania. These reparations were only canceled in the 1950’s after Stalin died. Additionally, the Soviet Union set up the “SovRoms” in Romania, which systematically looted the country, forcing Romania to buy German equipment at inflated prices. Meanwhile the Soviet Union was directly taking over 90% plus of various important German industries. This was the definition of a Carthaginian peace.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Bring it.

          • Ryan Ward says:

            Glad to do so 😉 The reason why I called the accusation against Tito “absurd” isn’t because Tito is above criticism.It’s because anything he can be criticized for doesn’t hold a candle to what was going on at the same time in the Soviet Union. The differences are many, and all in Yugoslavia’s favour. The Soviet Union completely disempowered the workers, forbade emigration, and left almost no room for dissent. On the other hand, if socialism means the control of real workers over the means of production, Yugoslavia is the only country in history that’s made a real go at it. The experiment wasn’t completely successful (for example, Yugoslavia struggled with unemployment more than its neighbours did), but as an economic model, it was both more humane and more successful than the model used in the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc (with the partial exception of Poland and Hungary, which were both somewhat ideosyncratic, and outshone their neighbours economically). The problem of unemployment was mitigated by the fact that workers were allowed to travel to find work, and most of them did so, rather than cutting off ties with Yugoslavia and just disappearing in the West. Yugoslavia bested the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc at the most basic test of providing for the people; it could trust them not to all rush for the exits the moment they were given the opportunity. Finally, contrast the Soviet response to even the slightest dissent to Tito’s response to the student protests in 1968. Can anyone imagine Brezhnev or even Khrushchev saying “the students are right,” and actually addressing their concerns? The question answers itself.
            And the idea that Tito “eagerly did the bidding of Britain” is a malicious slander. Tito was one of the central figures in the non-aligned movement, which was by no means captive to Western interests (Kissinger actually complained of the exact opposite, that despite their claims of neutrality the non-aligned countries tended to tilt in the Soviet direction). As for the “Serbian holocaust”, without denying that the activities of the Ustase in particular really were genocidal, the track record of WW2 in Yugoslavia is more complicated than that. While not as bloody as the Ustase, the Chetniks’ hands were hardly clean either. Faced with trying to hold together a country with a history of bloody ethnic conflict, Tito decided to let sleeping dogs lie and try to move forward. It can certainly be questioned whether that decision was the best one. But it’s overheated rhetoric to suggest that Tito acted the way he did out of some fundamentally sinister motive. He made a hard decision in difficult circumstances, and given what came before and after him, there’s a good case to be made that he might have been onto something.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Frankly I do not know even where to begin in a response but I will touch on one statement: that, in my experience as a mature man, is simply the most absurd string of words I have had the misfortune of reading:

              As for the “Serbian holocaust”, without denying that the activities of the Ustase in particular really were genocidal, the track record of WW2 in Yugoslavia is more complicated than that. While not as bloody as the Ustase, the Chetniks’ hands were hardly clean either.

              Really, Mr. Ward? Per Widipedia:

              The Jasenovac concentration camp (Serbo-Croatian: Logor Jasenovac/Логор Јасеновац, pronounced [lôːgor jasěnoʋat͡s]; Yiddish: יאסענאוואץ‎) was an extermination camp established in Slavonia by the authorities of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. The camp was established by the governing Ustaše regime and not operated by Nazi Germany.[4] It was one of the largest concentration camps in Europe[5] and the camp has been referred to as “the Auschwitz of the Balkans” and “the Yugoslav Auschwitz”.[6]

              Croatian authorities and Western sympathizers, as to be expected sought to minimize the number of victims. However, the most plausible numbers is 750,000 victims, the great majority Serb men, women and children as well as significant numbers of Jews and Roma.

              Your claim of implied equivalency of the resistance of General Mihailovich and the Chetniks against fascism to Croatia’s genocide of the Serbs is breathtaking. Even the worst of Croatian apologists have never advanced such an argument to my knowledge.

              Mr. Ward, you are a contemptuous hack of the worst sort sort in this matter and an apologist for genocide.

              More to follow.

              • Ryan Ward says:

                I’ve clearly rustled some jimmies here 😉 But you’re misrepresenting what I said. I didn’t say that there was an equivalency between the Ustase and Chetniks, and pointed out explicitly that the Ustase was more bloody than the Chetniks. Of course, how much of this difference was a matter of different intent between the two, and how much was simply a matter of the Ustase being much more powerful, and therefore having the capability to do what they wanted, is an open question.

                But to talk about “the resistance of General Mihailovich and the Chetniks against fascism” is a complete whitewash of the Chetniks. The Chetniks “resisted fascism” for a few months, then became an ethnic militia in full collaboration with the Nazis. Usually I wouldn’t quote the Espresso Stalinist as an authority, but in this article, it’s pretty much all direct reference to primary sources. There’s no room for reasonable doubt. From the end of 1941, the Chetniks were a fully collaborationist pro-Nazi militia, devoting more effort to fighting Tito’s partisans than anything else, and explicitly adopting a program for an “ethnically pure” Greater Serbia. This is backed up by Mihailovich’s own words, the testimonies of German officers, and pictures.

        • Patient Observer says:

          28 million dead, the bulk of their economic base devastated. And what was the amount of these “reparations”? My wife, from Romania, did recount the story of her parents experience after WW II, so I do have so fairly direct information on this topics. There was some confiscation, some distributed to the poor and some likely taken back to the SU. But to claim that these “reparations:” came anywhere close to the damage done to the SU is simply absurd. To repeat, Germany and its allies got off easy.

          Just a data point per Wikipedia:

          Most heavy industry (constituting 20% of total production) was claimed by the Soviet Union as reparations, and Soviet joint stock companies

          Presumably, this was in East Germany which makes it likely a tiny fraction of what was destroyed in the SU.

          Per Wikipedia, the allies initially began to confiscate German industry and then switched to the Marshal Plan to restore German industrial power. Wonder what SU thought about that.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          We must be talking about a different Carthage.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        No, no, no!

        As Yatsenyuk (remember him?) once said on German TV, “all of us still clearly remember the Soviet invasion into Ukraine and Germany”.

    • yalensis says:

      Ryan, you open up a very good political debate, here is my two cents into it. And this is coming off my own marathon posts about the Stalin-Trotsky war, so I have that under my belt.
      During my researches of the Trotskyist movement, I learned that Trotsky and his followers did not believe that the Stalinist system of government was even physically capable of spreading “revolution” and/or the Soviet economic model to other countries. They saw a track-record of betrayals (mostly the two examples of China and Spain). It seemed that Stalin (and the Stalinists in general) really took their motto of “Socialism in one Country” very seriously, they nurtured zero ambition to spread the model, even to those willing to receive it, let alone impose it. And every empirical evidence does show that, prior to WWII, the Stalinist government much preferred dealing with liberal bourgeois democratic governments than all the muss and fuss of proletarian Revolution. Which is why the Third International (the Comintern) was castrated and turned into just another wing of the Soviet Foreign Office. The main focus of the Stalin administration was on restoring and building up the Soviet state, not exporting revolution.

      After the war (and Trotsky was dead by then, of course), the Trotskyist movement had to revise parts of their core theory to accommodate the new realities of “socialist” states being set up/imposed, whatever, on Eastern European nations. So, it seemed like there WERE times when Stalinist-type parties would agree to spread the joy to other lands.
      Quite reasonably, I think, the new theory accounted for this new reality much the same as Patient Observer’s comment, above. Namely, that the Soviet Union was subject to the same geopolitical constraints as any other great power, socialist or otherwise; and simply felt it had no choice except to create “buffer states” along its border. The Soviet government felt they could not truly trust any government that was not completely in the Soviet orbit, body and soul. About which, they were absolutely correct!

      That was, and remains, the most logical explanation of this phenomenon.

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – with Finland and Austria being the 2 counter-examples, of course.
        Which 2 nations were considered “trustworthy” (at the time) in their promises of neutrality.

      • Ryan Ward says:

        The invasion of SU from the West (Germany, Romania, Italy and other less overt allies) left devastation and death on a scale unprecedented in human history. A major purpose of the invasion was the murder/enslavement of the Russian population. So, this was a rather unique situation facing SU leadership. How do handle neighbors who are psychopaths (Germany and its allies clearly fit that description)? What to do?

        Any sane national leadership, having survived that murderous attack, would be expected to remove the root cause of that attack. Again, before WW II, the SU was comfortable with its neighbors, but after, the attempted genocide/enslavement, not so much.

        Quite reasonably, I think, the new theory accounted for this new reality much the same as Patient Observer’s comment, above. Namely, that the Soviet Union was subject to the same geopolitical constraints as any other great power, socialist or otherwise; and simply felt it had no choice except to create “buffer states” along its border. The Soviet government felt they could not truly trust any government that was not completely in the Soviet orbit, body and soul. About which, they were absolutely correct!

        Since these comments are similar, I put them together for purposes of my response. I have two comments to make in response to this general “angle”.

        Firstly, it seems that, even if these considerations justify the Soviet Union in its actions, they place the actions of Eastern European rebels in a favourable light. If the justification for the imposition of these regimes is that it was in the legitimate interests of the Soviet Union to impose them, then it makes perfect sense for any patriotic German or Hungarian to be eager to throw off these puppet rulers as soon as possible.

        Secondly, while these types of considerations may have some applicability to “guilty” countries like Hungary, Romania and East Germany, it’s unclear how they apply to other countries, like Poland. In proportional terms, Poland suffered more in WW2 than the Soviet Union did, and was certainly innocent of any aggressive actions against the SU (while, ironically, the SU wasn’t innocent of aggressive actions against Poland). So why (other than simple great power politics, eg. might makes right) did the Soviet Union have the right to impose itself on Poland, a country that had fought more doggedly against the Nazis than any other in Eastern Europe, and that had done nothing to deserve being treated that way?

        • Patient Observer says:

          Again, what would you have recommended for the SU after defeating the Western invasion by the skin of its teeth? Keep in mind that the Western powers now had nuclear weapons that were used (twice) against a helpless civilian population. Keep in mind that the war against the SU was a war of civilizations in which the openly stated purpose was the utter extermination of the SU and enslavement of those who were allowed to live. This was not a war for economic advantage or royal intrigue, it was a war intended to murder an entire population. Keep that difference in mind.

        • yalensis says:

          Ryan, one factor that you are missing, is the class factor. In each of these countries there was an underlying base for Communist social policies. Even in Poland! Granted, the Communist and Leftist parties did not form a political majority and probably wouldn’t win a fair election. But still, there was a base. Enough to form Left-coalition governments and recruit functionaries, etc. Effective administrations were put in place.

          Also, the underlying superiority of socialism would shine through in the subsequent rebuilding of these countries. They were not stripped and impoverished like colonies, they were built up, industrialized; schools and hospitals were built, etc. Art, music, and literature flourished. With universal health care and a progressive family policy (extended leave, preferences to women and families, etc.,) the populations grew and were healthy. There was full employment, everybody was guaranteed a job.

          The Soviet government, on rebuilding these countries, did not know any other model except to build copies of themselves. But those copies were not all that bad! I reckon there are many ordinary people in those countries today who would prefer to live in such social-democratic conditions, and not under raw capitalism, where they are forced to go abroad in search of work.

          • Ryan Ward says:

            I have three primary objections to this approach. The first is that, to defend the assertion that there’s a significant class angle in support for or opposition to communism in Eastern Europe, there would have to be evidence that the working classes in these countries actually tended to support the communists, and I’m not aware of any such evidence. Of course, if having any number of supporters at all constitutes a “base”, then it’s true that the Eastern European regimes had “bases”, but that can be said of almost any occupation. There are always collaborators.
            My second objection goes back to my initial point about whether the imposition of a government is bad in itself. If the defense of the Eastern European regimes is not that they weren’t imposed, but just that the Eastern Europeans were lucky to have such regimes imposed on them, then again it becomes hard to criticize “imperialism” as such. On this line of reasoning, “imperialism” isn’t really bad in itself, but only if the system it imposes is bad.
            My third objection is the same one I recently mentioned in connection with Yugoslavia. If the Eastern European governments were so great, why was it so impossible for them to command even the slightest loyalty from their populations? The list of rebellions against communist governments in the East is pretty long (East Germany 1953, Hungary&Poland 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Poland 1979, then finally and most notably, everywhere in 1989). The Berlin Wall, of course, was built to keep East Germans in, not West Germans out. What kind of government needs to build walls to imprison its own people? And then in 1989, it was one of the most unusual events in history. Rebellions simultaneously broke out in seven countries of Eastern Europe, and they all fell, with barely a drop of blood. The Provisional Government in 1917 put up more of a fight than the communist regimes of Eastern Europe did. The reason why I think this is so significant is that I think it shows how shallow the support for communism in Eastern Europe was. As long as it was backed up by the force of the Soviet Union and there were big consequences for opposing it, the communist governments were attractive options for time-servers looking for cushy posts. But as soon as the Soviet backing disappeared, the regimes all crumbled simultaneously without a fight.

            • yalensis says:

              Ryan, you are confusing terms. It is incorrect to dub as “collaborators” the Communist Party functionaries who formed governments in the Eastern European countries after the war. Collaborating with what? In each country, the new leaders had been longtime Communist Party members and in many cases Comintern functionaries. They regarded the Soviet Union as a geopolitical ally, not an occupation force, based on political and class-based ideology.

              If you regard such people as “collaborators”, then I would like to know your opinion of the pro-American and emigre elites which the United States moved into positions in these very same countries, after they had pushed the Russians out. In many cases, the new ruling classes even have American citizenship, especially in the Baltics.
              Do you regard such people as collaborators of the American occupation?
              I do.
              See, it all depends on whose ox is being gored.
              The difference between us, Ryan, is that I openly accept that people make judgement calls based on their class and political biases; whereas you pretend to “above the fray” and speaking for all mankind.
              Your grandiosity is starting to irritate me.

          • Patient Observer says:

            My wife, as a teenager in the 70’s, really enjoyed Romania. The standard of living was rapidly improving, people were friendly, lots of parties, etc. Her family had a private business that was quite successful. The 80’s were a different story as Romania took a turn for the worse economically.

            I find it disturbing but illustrative of the degree of narcissism/self-absorption that nations are rated by the level of desire of having “stuff” for the individual (often confused with “standard of living”). The actual amount of stuff is not as important as the desire for “more”. The key is that there is never enough.

            My wife and I now has vastly more stuff than when young yet little of it has contributed to family happiness. We both laugh at media commercials that make the strong link of having stuff (snazzy new cars, loaded smart phones, high-end vacations, erections on demand from a blue pill) somehow makes one happier. Nope, it does not work that way. And there in is one of the great weakness of the Western mentality created by those who rule us. We exist for food pellets earned by running in the hamster wheel. We find a degree of solace with our families but that is being taken away by social media and other diversions aimed at the young. Some of us, to some degree, stop averting our eyes. This web site is an example of such.

            Please disregard of the foregoing as I need to do some last minute shopping:)

  49. Warren says:

    Ukraine accuses government interpreter of spying for Russia

    Stanislav Yezhov (centre) pictured between Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and UK Prime Minister Theresa May

    Ukraine’s main security agency has arrested a senior government translator and accused him of being a Russian spy.

    With a name like Yezhov what else do expect?

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