Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

Indeed, let this year be happy. Slightly less violence (yeah, right), slightly less turbulence (I know, I know) and more stability (nah, I am screwing with you). But still, against all odds, let's hope. So, Happy New Year to all of you and your dearest people and have fun. Let us be as persevering and as steady in achieving our goals as this (now very famous) Russian fisherman who never gave up:))))

Let it be all "Nomal" (c). Happy new 2020 year. 

You May Read Me on Unz Review Too.

Here is the full list of articles by me at Unz Review. 
               Andrei Martyanov Archive at Unz. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

A Chronic Illness.

It seems incurable in the US. I was reading Kunstler's predictions (I don't make "predictions"--it is a silly business) today and bang, here it was: 
Ahh, no.  In one phrase, immediately, two major mistakes which are so symptomatic of the America's mental health this very same James Kunstler writes about:
Of course, this matter has even greater significance for correcting the meta-problem of America chronically lying to itself. RussiaGate and its spinoffs was such a gargantuan edifice of malicious dishonesty that it must be deconstructed in the courts, or the mental health of the nation may not recover.
Getting their numbers straight could be a good start. In fact, let's take a look at numbers. 

1. Will start with this tired thesis of Texas' economy being either larger or the size of Russia's economy. The brief look at the size of the Texas economy reveals, based on US government data, that its GDP was in 2018 $1.803 trillion.  Mind you, with Texas (as is the case with the US), does NOT have PPP index because it doesn't exist for the US or, rather, equals its nominal GDP which is denominated in US Dollars for global economy--a travesty of unimaginable scale. But still. This is not to mention the fact that out of those 1.8 trillion, huge chunk is "contained" in well known to us "industries" such as FIRE and other unspecified services. 
Go figure. Of course, Kunstler forgets another teeny-weeny fact, that Texas is an organic part of the US economy at large, and no matter how large Texan egos are, Texas without the United States will be immediately reduced, if viewed as a separate nation (well, they think themselves there in Texas), to a rather economically insignificant entity whose economy will immediately lose core industries required for the United States as a nation--how about aerospace? You get my drift. 

Now, we, of course, have to get to this damn Russia which not only produces practically everything on her own, but has an economy which ranked 5th ( I propose, and I have the argument, that it is 4th) globally and its actual size in accordance to IMF--another belch of a dysfunctional American financial voodoo system, well, judge for yourself, for 2019:
So, Russian actual economy dwarfs that of Texas, plus, which comes as an insult to injury for Texas, Russia produces things which Texas doesn't, and if taken as a separate "economy" will never be able to produce. Texas will never be able to produce within, let alone without, the United States nuclear icebreakers, space vehicles, whole spectrum of aviation from combat to commercial, to...Ah, here comes this second thesis by Kunstler:

2. Russia is "not economic rival" for the US. It is NOT black and white, because there are few critical fields in which Russia is not only a full fledged rival for the US, but actually THE ONLY competitor. I, of course, may start with this trivial puny hydrocarbons issue, which is also partially in the foundation of US non-stop economic sanctions on Russia, because Russia is clear and present danger to only one resource the United States needs desperately to export to EU and this is natural gas. In fact, what we observe currently is America's full blown economic warfare against Russia (and EU) precisely because Russia's massive hydrocarbons industry which is not only immensely competitive with the American one, but, actually, threatens US "plan" for EU. 

Then, of course, comes nuclear energy field, but here US nuclear energy is simply not competitor to a monster of Rosatom and its gigantic portfolio (from Rosatom 2018 report). 

And then come weapons... Here, not only Russia is not just "economic rival", she is a clear and present danger for the US. For a simple reason, she produces a spectrum of weapons systems Texas (even integrated into the US economy) will not be able to produce, especially from concept to R&D to a full manufacturing cycle. And then, of course, Russia offers weapon systems which the United States (let alone Texas) simply do not have. I do not like SIPRI (they are very questionable source of data) but even this dated (2017 chart) shows who real bosses in the global arms trade are. 
I omit here, of course, quality of weapon systems and in terms of cruise missiles, air-defense systems and combat aircraft, to name a few segments, US is losing ground pretty fast. 

So, is Russia economic rival to the United States? Oh, yes, she is. Especially when one peels off layer after layer of the American financial BS which passes as a GDP and faces a rather not that huge (large still) actual GDP, or, let's put it this way, value US real economy produces. In the end, this significant piece of news shouldn't have escaped Kunstler's attention, because it is yet another confirmation of upcoming Discretionary Spending crunch in the US of which so many people warned for years.
All this is not just the realization of the dramatic change in the warfare, which I termed a Real Revolution in Military Affairs, with massive tactical, operational and strategic ramifications, but also the fact that current military spending by the US is NOT sustainable, especially for a minuscule amount of bang for a buck US military was getting in the last couple of decades.  

These points which I outlined in this post are the main reasons for the United States initiating a Cold War 2.0 with Russia, which American elites always viewed in XX and XXI centuries as a threat and the only viable and capable impediment for their plans on global domination. Hence mental breakdown. Russians are keenly aware of what is going on with America and, as I pointed out earlier this year Russians can relate, as Irina Alksnis so brilliantly encapsulated:

Sunday, December 29, 2019

This Is More Like It.

This is how it is supposed to be. 
Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have talked on the phone, with the Russian president thanking his US counterpart for sharing intelligence that allowed terrorist attacks to be prevented in Russia, the Kremlin said.A “range of issues of mutual interest” was discussed during the conversation, which was initiated by Moscow.The Federal Security Service later said that the information provided by their US counterparts led to the arrest of two Russian citizens who planned terrorist attacks at public places in St. Petersburg during New Year’s celebrations.The two leaders agreed to maintain bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the statement from the Kremlin added.
Things like that MUST be a rule, not the exception, and it is very heartwarming to recognize that cooperation in this immensely important field is close and ongoing. Way to go. Kudos to the United States intelligence services who did their job and did it really well.  This type of news should be reported more often:
Two years ago, Washington warned Moscow about a planned bombing at one of the main cathedrals in St. Petersburg, while Russia actively assisted the US investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
They do create a positive background and that is what really matters in a large scheme of things. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Mixed Feelings.

It is with the mixed feelings that I write this post, because I know how adults and, in the United States, baby-boomers, failed them--in some sense they are victims. On the other hand what did one expect? I am talking about millennials. I was going to write about this for some time, because I think it is a huge problem, especially when I saw this some time ago. 

Make no mistake, I probably will have same reactions as this dude when teaser trailer to Denis Villeneuve's Dune will come out next year, but you know my background, not that I am any standard next to which public discourse should be judged or serve as an embodiment of an adulthood--I am definitely not. But this dude is dedicated, he has his life at the altar of the nauseatingly long and increasingly talent-less liberal "woke" public announcement also known as Star Wars money squeezing machine, which long ago lost it, if it ever had anything to really lose, any charm and dreaminess it enjoyed through Episodes 4 through 6. I feel for this guy and the problem is not him personally, the problem is that he is not alone. Robert Bridge writes in his painfully succinct piece:
Increasingly open to astrology, magic and sorcery while happy to virtue signal on behalf of any PC-saturated issue, the entire millenial generation seems wholly unequipped to face the daunting challenges of adulthood.They may not know how to change a flat tire, cook a simple meal or stop living in their parents' basement, but Millennials – the tech-savvy demographic typically born between the years 1981 to the early 2000s – seem increasingly preoccupied with subjects of a less practical nature ever since graduating from college. Whether it is symptomatic of Trump Derangement Syndrome, some kind of New Age mysticism or perhaps spending four long years studying impractical liberal arts courses, it’s hard to say. But many people are looking to empower themselves with alternative techniques once ridiculed as sheer quackery.
I know what Bridge is talking about. First hand. No, not my children, they were brought up differently, being subjected from the earliest age to the idea of a respect to the labor--a real one. And if my daughter's path through economics' degree was somewhat expected in an uber liberal and woke Seattle (and then Milan), my son, certainly went, with approval from both mom and dad through this. Almost literally. 
And this is the key. Millennials are the product of the both America's catastrophic de-industrialization and ideology of being hip being shoved down their throats behind which is not just the fad of suicidal wokeness, a consequence of a degenerating education in fields which are useless, but of the complete removal of a productive labor as an honorable undertaking to be aspired to from whole generation's idea of a JOB and substituting it with the idea of being a office plankton at best, being unemployed, at worst as the normal state of the affairs and, in fact, things to be desired. 
That is why we have today almost a whole generation of 30-35 years old boys and girls, who see their realization in life in trying to make careers in cosplay, writing poetry, creating shitty music, being political activists promoting bizarre and ignorant causes, and, in the end, going full occult, while not being able to solve basic everyday tasks which grown up normal men and women solve without any problem. 
This speaks volumes about the mindset of the Millennial generation, which has been raised on an unhealthy diet of liberal radicalism and political correctness gone stark-raving mad. Because a president was elected that they didn't like, they now believe that the summoning of mystical forces will change things. This is an act of desperation, and attests to the type of education many of these young adults are receiving at some detached, tree-lined college where ‘queer and gender studies,’ for example, oftentimes substitutes for the time-honored classics of Western philosophy and history. Meanwhile, the study of science only seems to have merit when it confirms their exceedingly warped worldview. For example, that there are some 13 gender types to choose from, or that the planet and all of its life forms are about to succumb to man-made climate change. 
You all know this, you did experience this, most likely, yourself. Yet, here is even more damning, for the United States, thing: 
Only 39 percent of the current workforce is under the age of 45. And while jobs in the aerospace and defense sectors are seen positively by the majority of young professionals, only 1.5 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. have a science degree. Taken together, the challenge is obvious to the authors of the report: Aerospace and defense companies are “faced with a shortage of qualified workers to meet current demands as well as needing to integrate a younger workforce with the ‘right skills, aptitude, experience, and interest to step into the jobs vacated by senior-level engineers and skilled technicians’ as they exit the workforce.”  
Well, duh! What did they expect in the country where occupations of stock broker, entertainment star or useless celebrity for decades are considered as most desirable and involve no actual labor to get to at least some material and moral satisfaction benefits those positions allegedly provide. In the nation where the opinion of some dumbfuck from Hollywood who is payed huge sums of money to pretend to be other people is valued more than opinion of people with skills, knowledge and authority, it is no surprise that what would have been considered even 30 years ago as the state of being a loser is, today, extolled as a life's success today. This is not an environment which generates aspirations to get one's ass into some advanced manufacturing program to get a AAS in CNC Operations or become jet-engine mechanic, not to mention get at least a start with degree in fundamental science or engineering. Nah, this is hard and requires an effort. You know, mobilization of moral and physical forces inside oneself to achieve a tangible goal and become a productive member of the society, sometimes well-paid. That requires work, a hard work which makes one a real person. And Bridge is correct:
Perhaps the best takeaway for the more liberal-minded Millennials is to remember that what you learn in a classroom and what you experience in the real world are two completely different things. The higher institutes of learning would do well to remind their students of that difference, while allowing for a climate of frank and open discussion on all subjects. Even if the subjects bring discomfort, which is the way the real world works. No amount of magical spells or charms will change that.
The world outside doesn't need "philosophers" and political "activists", it needs people with knowledge and skills, people who can make a decision on their own and who can take responsibility for their actions, it needs people who can work hard, especially in a productive field and who, at some point of time, when shit hits the fan, and it will, can behave themselves as what modern generation failed largely to deliver--adults.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and we can only hope that things will not get worse. Most importantly--take care of your health. The rest is kind of an attachment to it. As you know, me being a rocker and once in a while a head-banger, I do appreciate good guitar playing and good phrasing. So, here is wonderfully talented and gorgeous Sophie Lloyd for ya all. Enjoy. 


Friday, December 20, 2019

On The GDP, Yet Again.

It seems this GDP question does not want to die.  First, out of the blue Michael Kofman and Richard Connolly of Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) write this:
Well, it seems they read my books at CNA. In fact, I would dare to say that Russia's economy is, actually, fifth largest economy in the world. How so? Here is a demonstration in the most profound way--yes, I am not going to be talking about military hardware, where Russia gets a gigantic bang for a buck--by giving visuals for comparison of things people do not need special skills to understand. Here is one:

This is the house for sale in the hell of a nice community near....Mashkov Lake near Moscow (no, not Moscow, Idaho), 75 (47 miles) kilometers from the Red Square, near highways, beautiful established community with school, stores, the works. The house is on almost half-acre of land, has the area of 190 sq.meters or around 2050 square feet. It is on sale for R5.8 Million, that is, converting directly to USD, R5.8 million/62.2 = $93, 247. 

As you can see, if I would have been American economist I would immediately try: 

1. To find rough equivalent of this house in the United States around the city with such massive gravitas which could at least remotely compare to that of Moscow. Let's try in D.C. suburbs, right? The only thing remotely comparable to this house in Russia I found at Virginia Beach, VA.
2. As you can see, this house is 4.5 times more expensive than the Russian one, and it is 154 miles (as crow flies) from the US Capital. As you may expected, driving highways will be even longer distance. 

So, let us calculate GDP created by building these two houses in Russia and in US. Right! As you may have guessed it already, the United States created 4.5 times more GDP than Russia by building comparable house in a place which, let's be frank, is not exactly Moscow. Mind you, that Russia builds all kinds of real estate, from apartments to houses, like there is no tomorrow. In fact, the house like that near Moscow, near Krasnoyarsk or Voronezh would cost you less, much less. While in the United States for $93,000 you can buy, even in affordable Spokane, WA, this:
What a lovely charmingly decrepit piece of...history. Here is how PPP (Purchase Power Parity) GDP works, or, rather confuses most Western think-tank free-loaders who do not understand that most of what they know about the world outside is a baloney or a caricature. Like the fact that China's real middle class which has incomes comparable to that of the average US income is larger than the whole population of the United States. That is a good hint. In the end, for the same $439,900 in Virginia Beach, VA, one can always buy this IN Moscow:
And enjoy life on a full acre of nature with around 6,000 square feet of living space. Mind you, you will still have money left to not only furnish this thing but to host a huge housewarming party. I am sure if you are on the extravagant side, there will be money left on strippers too, good ones.

Now, can you scale down, or scale up, Russia's and American economies? Difficult still but it shows you, at least, what all those proverbial $22 Trillion of the US GDP are worth. Not as much as you may have thought before. Nor the argument that Russians do not earn as much is entirely valid. Yes, many Russians do not earn as much and that is ongoing problem, but, say, R60,000 which roughly converts into $965, gets you pretty comfortable living practically everywhere in Russia bar some places like Moscow or Sochi, especially if you own you apartment--very many Russians do and by own I mean OWN, not paying mortgage. There is a lot of what is going into those economic considerations. But it has to be understood today that nominal numbers in USD are absolutely meaningless and, in fact, dangerous because they create a false sense of confidence. But then, there is the other factor--a suppressed complex of inferiority. Shanghai skyline today can outshine anything out there, while many people from Western world, who partook in Western propaganda, upon ending up as tourists in Moscow, St. Pete, Sochi or any other major Russian city and cultural center are often subjected to a cultural shock and severe cognitive dissonance. Why do you think Moscow won tourist Oscar this year?  

And then, of course, comes this ever important factor--as Patrick Armstrong calls it--Russia is a full service economy, she produces literally everything from socks and shoes to refrigerators, space ships, cars, TV sets and advanced diagnostic medical systems. And, of course, Russia produces weapons, very advanced weapons and at least some people are beginning to get the message:
Russian procurement dwarfs that of most European powers combined. Beyond delivering large quantities of weaponry for today’s forces, Russia’s scientists and research institutes are far along in development of hypersonic weapons, such as Tsirkon and Avangard, along with next-generation air defense systems like S-500. This volume of procurement and research and development should not be possible with a military budget ostensibly the same size as the United Kingdom’s. When theory checks in with practice, the problem with the approaches that return such answers is plain for anyone to see.
But you read me for the last five years, didn't you (wink, wink)? Such admissions are extremely important since infuse a much needed cold fresh air of reality into the stale atmosphere of the Western echo-chamber of the military-political analysis wrought with risks of at some point of time BSing policy-makers into the suicidal belief of the invincibility of the American military which may start a war resulting in catastrophic material and reputational losses for NATO forces and thus creating conditions for dangerous "saving face" escalation to a nuclear threshold. THIS must be avoided at all costs and giving Western policy-makers more realistic impression about what they are dealing with in Russia is a good start for finding peaceful arrangements in this new multi polar world. In the end, Kofman and Connolly admit:
Russian military expenditure, and as a consequence the potential for Russia to sustain its military power, is much more durable and less prone to fluctuations than it might appear. The implication is that even at its current anemic rate of economic growth, Russia is likely to be able to sustain a considerable level of military expenditure, posing an enduring challenge to the United States for the foreseeable decades. While ours is an exploratory analysis, it suggests that Russian defense spending is not prone to wild swings, nor has it been dramatically affected by changes in oil prices or U.S. sanctions. Given the disparity in national budget allocations, even as European allies increase their defense spending, Moscow is not going to struggle in keeping pace. 
Their piece is a good indicator of Kofman doing at least some homework, unlike it was earlier, when I criticized Kofman, and that is a movement in a right direction. Russia doesn't need to be loved or appreciated, Russians already made their civilizational choice, Russia needs some overly hot-shots in the West to get a shot of the reality for avoiding the confrontation in which the West cannot win militarily. After all, Russia's military history speaks for itself. But do not forget, however, that IMF (which is run by the US) doesn't even include Russia into the list of a countries with Advanced Economies, while Lithuania and San-Marino are there. Good grief.

P.S. I thank the guys from Colonel Lang's forum who pointed me to this piece by Kofman and Connolly. 

The Hell You Say. Say It Ain't So.

James Antle of TAC arrives to the conclusion that: 
"Inadvertently"? Really? Well, if one considers a density of lunacy in both parties, that, theoretically, could be somewhat true. But Antle himself makes a very good point after that:
Nobody will be impeached for lying about Afghanistan. There will be no intelligence community whistleblower setting in motion an impeachment inquiry over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In fact, the same Nancy Pelosi who ultimately caved to the Resistance shut down antiwar Democrats who wanted such hearings into George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. But here John Bolton, an advocate of preventive presidential war during this very administration, may finally get his wish of being greeted as a liberator.
As I repeat ad nauseam--look who is running the country? Of course, I can wax "Marxist" (in reality it is REAL realism) here, if I need to, all I want but I will invoke here good ol' anti-war wisdom by Bronislav Malinowski (hardly a Marxist) "that like the charity, aggression starts at home". We always have to remember that the American war, an expeditionary warfare with relatively low costs in life for the US that is, while undeniably being a very lucrative affair for many contractors, is also driven by people with all their views, beliefs, misconceptions and even psychological and psychiatric disorders. Consider the Crusades--while there is very little denial of the fact that those were driven in a large part by desire for loot and highly valuable real estate, one cannot discount the issue of faith in them--it was there too and it was manifested on many occasions by and in crusaders. People in charge or near the current US war machine also have their beliefs and disorders. Sadly, many of those beliefs and disorders are extremely dangerous. The further those people are removed from battlefields the more aggressive and hysterical they become. 

It is only natural for them, because they convinced themselves that sacramental Samuel Johnson's patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel doesn't apply to them. It, however, fully does--most of them (not all, some exceptions do exist) are scoundrels. US forces behind America's disastrous military adventurism are usually people who do not know the difference between the FOB, as in commerce shipping, and FOB as in Forward Operating Base, forget about explaining to them the difference between tactics and operational art, not to speak of combat networks and weapon systems' integration. They have neither mental faculties to grasp it nor are interested because they think that they can control things of which they have no idea. This is in general a psychological portrait of people in US "high places", such as House of Representatives or US media, who unleashed Cold War 2.0 with Russia--they believe in a number of falsities in the foundation of this new Cold War, plus, being petulant infantile children, it is for them the only way to lash out in their not completely internalized and understood, but surely profoundly felt, desperation when things do not go their way. So, behind hysterical Russophobia of the US political elite, the reason of a massive geopolitical assault on Russia as a way to preserve US hegemony is very important but not the only defining factor, by far the most important one is a rotten to the core moral fabric of the American elites or, speaking in plain language, many of them being just self-serving ass-holes. In other words, one has to be a decent man or a woman to make different decisions and have different non-hysterical reactions. US power politics attracts primarily people with a very specific psychological profile--a profile of sociopaths who only see their self-realization through power and aggression, especially if the actual fighting is done by someone else. Plus, they all lie, non-stop. 

All politicians, everywhere, lie, but it seems that only in the United States as of lately lying all the time became a strict requirement for pass to the power "elite" Parnassus. It is one thing to lie about Russia, but to lie to oneself--this is something new. When even a WaPo--a professional lie-generating organization--is forced to report on Afghanistan catastrophe, that shows how bad things are getting:
Lie permeates the Washington's corridors of power, it is everywhere, it oozes from the pages of news papers and magazines, it is dissolved to a dangerous poisonous levels in the economy statistics, it is being squeezed from non-stop useless public opinion polls, lies penetrated even into decision making levels of military and even manufacturing. No wonder the US can no longer shake off this sticky feelings of things not going right. They don't and it cannot be other way because everything is being fueled by lie. They lied about Iraq, they lie about Afghanistan, they lie about Russia. They need a cover for their gigantic egos and disproportionately puny abilities which feed those egos. And they do it in full consciousness because that is who they are. Once American meritocracy was killed, this outcome was inevitable--the trash moved in. But one cannot lie non-stop and those bubbles of lies, big and small, are beginning to pop practically non-stop. And this popping sound generates more and more aggression in a desperate attempt to prevent popping of the biggest bubble of them all--a myth, which is one of the iterations of lie, of the American omnipotence. Cold War 2.0 in their opinion can give them, as they thought would be with, now completely discredited, Russiagate, at least some new lease on life in their privileged positions. But they are wrong, after all, in that they lied not only to the public but to themselves too. They can not do anything else anymore and release of the papers on Afghanistan and 3-year long exhibition of a collective madness in sabotaging American governance, however inept, and Constitution, illuminated a staggering scale of rot and corruption of the Empire. Now it is just a matter of time before house of cards comes crushing down. Something built on lies in our modern world doesn't live that long. Not to mention when being run by ass-holes. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Dmitri Simes Is Not Stuipid.

Despite being one of the people behind The National Interest magazine which is, for all intents and purposes, a tabloid and a laughing stock due to its utterly ridiculous opinions (bar few far and between competent ones) on matters of warfare. In fact, Dmitri Simes was one of the victims of slander by the Russiagate-mongering media whores. But Simes' problem is a bit more complex--for years he was commenting on US polices to Russian audiences and that is where I always had issue with him and points of view he was trying to present as some kind of range of interpretations of views by some invisible Washington elites who arrived to those views as a result of rational thought based on understanding of the American national interest (no pun intended). Each time I watched Simes trying to explain this I had an urge to tell him to drop the pretense of expertise and face the reality that the United States is run by literally imbeciles and corrupt petulant sociopaths. 

Here is Simes yesterday at Putin's press-conference where he asks a question about START's extension. Watch how Putin comments on that.
It is extremely instructive and both implicitly and explicitly underscores a total lack of credibility of the United States in any issue of the international relations. Comments on Ukraine are especially amusing, because they are true.  So, I don't know Simes' thought process but today any talk about sensible arms limitations treaties with the United States is a complete exercise in futility, as it was starting from Russia getting Crimea back as a result of US (and EU) sponsored bloody coup in Kiev in 2014. We are inside the increasingly hard global geopolitical clash the declining United States initiated as the last resort in trying to save it increasingly ethereal hegemony. The obvious problem, of course, is the fact that the US doesn't have any resources for such a serious clash. Before financial noose tightens completely--different analysts only vary in the time frame, not the ultimate outcome--Russia has all the time she needs to play "the forms must be obeyed" game, making sure that no global conflict erupts, that is NOT initiated by increasingly desperate United States. After that? I don't know, I don't think anybody knows, least of all American political class most of which never worked a day in productive capacity or served in any way or form in the military to have experiences with the real world, be that inside the US, let alone outside where the ignorance of American politicians became legendary. I guess, the look at Dmitri's face by the end of Putin's response could tell the story, even when considering the fact that Simes is generally not very emotional and is rather on a grim side most of the times. Dmitri Simes is not a stupid man by far but he should have seen what was coming and about what I warned five years ago. 
After that, I just needed to document this defeat. I do owe one clarification, however, to my readers here--I take no joy in seeing the country, which gave us shelter and became our home in the times of humanitarian catastrophe in Russia (former USSR to be more precise) in 1990s and whose founding ideas shone so attractively then, degenerating into the third world dysfunctional politically and economically clone of some African or Latin American failed states. But maybe there is a degree of a poetic historic justice in that. I don't know. 

Now thanks to our reader Eduardo, who provided the link (Thank you) to Phil Giraldi's blazing account of the state of the US military, I want to quote some. As you may understand and I never hid it, in fact, I spoke about it openly--my background prevents me, for ethical reasons, from too much of a focus on the actual state of US military. Phil does have this right, fully deserved. This is what he has to say:
Bakken even disputes the widely held view that the military academies have high academic standards. He describes how the “system” pays to get potential athletes and accepts students nominated by congressmen commensurate with donations made to fund re-election campaigns. Swanson sums it up by observing how the academies offer “a community college-level education only with more hazing, violence, and tamping down of curiosity. West Point takes soldiers and declares them to be professors, which works roughly as well as declaring them to be relief workers or nation builders or peace keepers. The school parks ambulances nearby in preparation for violent rituals. Boxing is a required subject. Women are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted at the three military academies than at other US universities.” Bakken concludes that appreciating the fundamental structural flaws in the US armed forces “leads to a clearer understanding of the deficiencies in the military and how America can lose wars.” In fact, he does not even seek to identify a war that the United States has won since World War 2 in spite of the country being nearly constantly engaged in conflict. Together the Bakken book and the Afghanistan Papers reveal just how much the American people have been brainwashed by their leaders into believing a perpetual warfare national narrative that is more fiction than fact. Donald Trump may have actually appreciated that the voters were tired of the wars and was elected on that basis, but he has completely failed to deliver on his promise to retrench. It suggests that America will remain in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future and the inevitable next war, wherever it might be, will be another failure, no matter who is elected in 2020.
Read it in full. It is worth reading. I said many times--political scientists do not make good geopolitical analysts because they do not have instruments required for understanding the main factor which shapes geopolitical balance--military power and warfare. Phil Giraldi has those instruments.    

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Lavrov, Help! Again!

In the kingdom run by imbeciles this is possible, in fact it increasingly becomes not only highly probable but reaches a finite probability of happening of 1, or of 100%. 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers of both parties are pressuring the White House to extend the last remaining restraints on U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons deployments by demanding intelligence assessments on the costs of allowing the New START treaty to lapse. The demands, contained in three bills that may be harmonized this week, reflect doubts about whether the Trump administration has done sufficient analytical work on how China and Russia may respond to the 2010 treaty's expiration in February 2021. New START restricted the United States and Russia to deploying no more than 1,550 nuclear warheads, the lowest level in decades, and limited the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers that deliver them. It can be renewed for up to five years if both sides agree. Moscow has offered to immediately extend the treaty. Washington still is considering the issue. U.S. President Donald Trump and his aides have argued that New START does not cover all Russian nuclear weapons and said they want to bring China, which they increasingly view as the primary, long-term threat, into a wider arms control framework. Some lawmakers and arms control experts view the proposal as a "poison pill" to kill New START, ending restraints on U.S. strategic nuclear weapons deployments, because China rejects the idea.
Firstly, these cretins do all they can to sabotage any kind of cooperation with Russia, including by means of national treason, accusing already incompetent POTUS of being Putin's personal asset, no less. Then they accuse Russia of some absolutely bizarre Orwellian shit, they insult Russia and Russian people non-stop and now, all of a sudden it dawns on at least some of them that you need to talk to Russia on START issues and you need to do it soon. La-dee-fvcking-da. Secondly, China is not interested and rightly so, she is nowhere near Russian and American levels of strategic weapons and any attempts to include China into START are foolhardy at best. Trump and his infested with neocons and chicken-hawks administration might have been more-or-less flexible and reasonable on this issue if not  the position POTUS was put into thanks to House's own crowd of psychopaths who do sincerely believe that Russia is evil incarnate. Any attempts by POTUS to find sensible strategic weapons accommodations with Russia will inevitably be interpreted as an impeachable offense. 

But thirdly, some "revelations", Putin did offer inclusion of Kinzhal and Poseidon into discussion on extension of START. It is obvious that Russia is not going to refuse these programs, especially when Kinzhal is already in its full combat capability and is operationally deployed. But Russia will be willing to discuss some limitations on these systems in numbers and a mode of deployment, What Russia is NOT going to negotiate is her brand new Sarmat and, such technologies as Peresvet. And here is one interesting speculative (read attentively--spe-cu-la-ti-ve) point I want to make. I seldom speculate but here it is, from the news piece:
Lawmakers, congressional aides and former officials say they are unaware of the administration conducting any formal intelligence estimates of the implications of New START's expiration either before or after Trump unveiled the idea. Nor are they aware of extensive inter-agency deliberations on devising a negotiating stance with China, or even whether any negotiations with China have occurred.
I am positive there are some estimates but they are not released because this will create a massive political crisis (not that this Impeachment catastrophe is not bad enough) when it will be disclosed that the United States lost any edge in strategic weapons and lost arms race and are absolutely not defended from any strike. Russia's interest in START is purely security driven--the fewer nuclear weapons the United States have smaller is the probability of this technology going "rogue". Economic consideration is the important secondary one--Russia simply doesn't want to spent more money than necessary on matters of defense, while maintaining a serious technological edge. Ah yes, Peresvet. This month, Peresvet is officially combat deployed (in Russian). As Valery Gerasimov described this system when talking to military attaches from many nations:
«С начала декабря месяца осуществляется боевое дежурство лазерных комплексов "Пересвет" в позиционных районах подвижных грунтовых ракетных комплексов с задачей прикрытия их маневренных действий»
Translation: since the beginning of December laser combat complexes Peresvet are combat deployed in the positional areas of the mobile ground missile complexes (ICBMs) in order to cover for their maneuvers. 

This is a very "loaded" statement for a reasons which pull very slightly the veil of secrecy over Peresvet's capabilities. There was very little doubt, once Peresvet was unveiled, that it would be more than capable to "blind" just about anything out there and, very likely, even recon satellites. But here is a trick--positional areas of mobile missile complexes such as RS-24 Yars, are a highest priority targets for US counter-force strategic weapons in first strike (Russia is not going to attack first). One can totally conceive here that in case of (God forbids) exchange when the US will lose targeting data from her recon satellite it wouldn't take much to launch at the positional area into the "last known" position of such system as Yars. Take the best case scenario of Yars' vehicles immediately reaching (not likely in real life) their maximum speed of 45 km/hr and having a map of possible roads of area, plus around 25-30 minutes of flight time by missile, so we are looking at a sector of the circle with the radius of 20 kilometers which could easily be "forked" by a few MIRVs from Trident-II D single missile. Do you get my drift? Yes, Peresvet is there to not just fight satellites, it is to allow all those mobile Topols and Yarses to launch undisturbed by means of not allowing MIRVs to get to them. How? Don't ask me. Russians, however, already announced that modernized and much more compact Peresvet will be paraded at the Red Square on May 9, very soon (in Russian). And this statement is also loaded. 

Ask yourself a question now, how can one present US political top with an intelligence "assessment" which blows out of the water the whole notion of the American technological superiority, especially in the field which all those war-mongering creatures who never served a day in military uniform love to masturbate to--modern warfare. It is not Russia's capabilities, now generally well-known, and discussed million times in US media, in a feeble attempt to self-medicate, which matter, it is the lack of such in the US. Yes, of course, the United States still can annihilate the world several times over, the US Navy can still wreck havoc on the geographic fringe of any continent but that doesn't change the fact that if such a calamity visits upon the humanity, the United States will be annihilated with 100% probability under any existing scenario of global conflict, that is when the United States initiates it. Others will not do such a thing globally, certainly not Russia. In this particular case it becomes clear that it is both in US and world's interests to see START extended, if not--I write about "Revelation Mode" non-stop for the last couple of years

Just to add to this topic. US News And World Report just recently published (yet another) power ranking of the nations. Russia came in second, obviously, behind the US. I just want to say--imbeciles: nations with GDP of $1.6 trillion do not make what Russia makes, especially in military field, and, yes, China's GDP is not $12.2 trillions, China's real economy dwarfs that of the US. But that just underscores my point--US elites are incompetent, ignorant and are not fit to run the country which they continue to push into the abyss. As long as the stock market driven by buybacks grows, I am sure, everything will be OK, right?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Now It All Becomes Clear.

Russiagate, Ukrainegate, war in Syria, Impeachment--all that was and is the cover for this unfolding national emergency. 
The last two years have been good ones for Lyon Distilling. At the small rum producer in St. Michaels, Maryland, a town on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay, production has jumped from 4,000 bottles a year to 40,000. Four employees have become 15. Explosive consumer demand explains some of that growth, said Jaime Windon, the company’s chief executive and co-founder. But she attributes most of it to a steep cut in federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, which Congress passed at the end of 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. “We used to be tiny,” she said. “Now we’re running like a machine.” Thousands of small distilleries, breweries and wineries have similar stories. But their fortune may end soon, thanks to congressional paralysis: The tax cut, known as the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, is set to expire on Dec. 31, and legislators have until Friday to extend it. If they don’t, distilleries like Lyon will face a 400% tax increase, with the first payment for many due on Jan. 15. That has craft-beverage producers scrambling. “The anxiety level with these small distilleries is high,” said Chris Swonger, chief executive of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Industry representatives expect that many small companies will have to lay off employees or close entirely, a turn that could undermine the country’s boom in craft brewing and distilling.
This is what they were trying to keep away from public's attention. The depth of evil in these plans is startling, as is a cover-up campaign. So, as the story goes:
“Who doesn’t like the idea of a craft brewer getting a break?” said Adam Looney, a tax expert at the Brookings Institution who has criticized some elements of the tax cut. “It’s an indictment of Congress’ ability to do the basic elements of its job.”  
You may, at some point of time, bid adieu to some nice beers and even quirky bourbons. Well, I guess, there is always Stella Artois and Jack Daniels to fall back to.  Nice Christmas "present".

Lavrov To The Rescue.

Yes, he is the only man who can convey this: 
No comments are necessary. 
Goldman Sachs will decline financing for new Arctic oil exploration and production and for new thermal coal mine development or strip mining in its updated environmental policy.According to the Wall Street giant’s revised policies, “We will decline any financing transaction that directly supports new upstream Arctic oil exploration or development. This includes but is not limited to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” “For transactions directly financing new thermal coal mine development or any mountaintop removal mining, we will decline the opportunity,” the investment bank’s policies further read. Goldman Sachs will also sit down with companies whose revenues come chiefly from thermal coal mining production to understand their strategies to diversify away from thermal coal mining before considering financing that involves any such companies.“With this policy revision, Goldman Sachs becomes the first major US bank to establish explicit restrictions on financing for any part of the oil and gas sector. It is also the first major US bank to rule out direct finance for thermal coal mines and plants worldwide,” Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said, commenting on Goldman’s new policies.
Deliveries of Champagne to Kremlin saw sudden unexplained growth in the last 24 hours.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Wait A Minute!

Why distance oneself from Russiagate? No, this is not how it works. 
The Slippery James Comey Gets Nailed. Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton gave us “it depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” James Comey has now given us it depends what the meaning of “vindicated” is. The former FBI director sat down with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday over the weekend, and it didn’t go well. Wallace repeatedly pressed Comey on critical findings in the Horowitz IG report, and Comey shimmied and dodged, in a master class in slipperiness and evasion. 
Honestly, what a tool.  Get this:
Off the bat, Wallace juxtaposed Comey’s claim that the IG report was a vindication with Michael Horowitz’s congressional testimony that no one who had anything to do with the FBI’s handling of the investigation should feel vindicated. Hence, Comey’s posture, “Well, maybe it turns upon how we understand the word.” He relied repeatedly on such mincing distinctions. Questioned how he can square his past statement that the Steele dossier was “part of a broader mosaic of facts” supporting the Carter Page FISA application with Horowitz’s finding that it was “central and essential” in deciding to seek the FISA order, Comey said there was no contradiction. This is absurd. It’s true that the application literally had other things in it. But Comey’s “mosaic” characterization clearly minimized the role of the dossier, whereas the Horowitz report finds that the FISA application “relied entirely” on information from the Steele reports regarding Carter Page’s alleged coordination with the Russians. The report also notes that Justice Department officials “accepted the FBI’s decision to move forward with the application, based substantially on the Steele information.” As for the Steele dossier itself, Comey rejected Wallace’s statement that the FBI had concluded early in 2017 that it was “bunk.” According to Comey, “they didn’t conclude the reporting from Steele was bunk; they concluded there were significant questions about the reliability of some of the sub-source reporting.”
But the main issue here, of course, is the fact that, apart from his enormously damaging for putschists report, Horowitz testified to the cameras and it didn't go well for Dems, to put it mildly.
The Horowitz report also staggered the monster lurching across America, though it took a few days to absorb the blow of countless incriminating details in the fine print. UkraineGate maestro Adam Schiff went on TV Sunday to declare that he had been “unaware” of abuses in the FISA warrant process. Gee, ya think? We are left to wonder who exactly pulled the wool over his goggle-eyes. In fact, his self-unawareness extends to virtually every utterance flying out of his pie-hole since 2016. The IG report left the FBI and DOJ in such a shambles of criminal odor that it dispelled all the narrative curses conjured by sorcerers in the news media for three years running. And as everyone in the country knows now, the IG report is hardly the end of the story. Mr. Horowitz labored under — as they say — an extremely narrow purview that will not constrain the legal audit to come.
My issue here is that throughout all this slow murdering of a due process in the United States not a single low life from US media resigned in shame for promoting not only entirely false narrative but in admitting the responsibility for undermining whatever is left of the Republic and, most importantly, through sabotaging the office of POTUS, destroying Russian-American relations and unleashing a Cold War 2.0. The damage is already done and it is massive. Until criminal clans of Obama and Clinton are not purged from US body politics, until the Democratic Party is not purged of psychotic "progressives", but in the end, until the United States finds new elites, I don't see how badly damaged, leaking and listing ship of the American statehood can be righted up. I don't see it, period. Neither neo-liberal nor so called "progressive" models are valid--both of them, while sticking different labels on themselves and against each-other, are dead ends of civilization because they go against human nature and the fact that the world is on fire today is just one of many proofs of the systemic crisis and, eventually, a complete implosion down the road of the system which was imposed on the world in the wake of WW II. Current Western "elites" have zero chance of producing people of vision, honor, integrity and courage who can save Western Civilization. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Real Economy In Action, Or How To Create Zircon.

I love these alive graphics but here is one very fresh which gives some insight into things which really matter--growing real elites. 

Here is more:


Karen On Ukraine.

Remember me half-a-year ago? 
Ukraine can go to hell and enjoy her status as parents of Sumerian civilization and diggers of the Black Sea. She eventually will be completely de-industrialized and will, finally, reach her desired status of a complete independence from Russia. Although, I have to correct myself--for the first time on my memory--I can say that Russia finally gained her independence from Ukraine and for that one has to thank profoundly and sincerely Vladimir Putin and those people from his circle who made the only correct decision in 2014--not to move a single battalion on Kharkov. After all, unlike in Caucasus in 1980s and 1990s, the numbers were simply not there and Kharkov deserves to lose monuments to Zhukov and its other famous people most of who considered themselves either Soviets or Russians.      
Here is Karen Shakhnazarov speaking, don't forget to turn on CC. 

Daniel Larison And The Idea He Reviews...

Are wrong, dangerously wrong. In discussing the piece by Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim, Larison arrives to an astonishingly shallow conclusion:
This is one of few minor reasons but it is not the main one no matter how much judicial or moral spin one puts on it. America fights wars because she always fights them there and relatively on cheap. Period. I will, if I may quote myself: 
While speaking to the US military at Fort Bragg after the official conclusion of US operations in Iraq in 2011, in what can only be described as an acute case of myopia and ignorance, President Obama doubled down on a his dubious “finest fighting force in history” claim, assuring all that “we know too well the heavy cost of that war.” Here was the problem: America doesn’t. With the exception of those who fought and died or were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and their immediate families, America, as it was with every American foreign war, never knew the real costs. Even as bodies of American GIs started to arrive in coffins into the US from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans continued, as if nothing really happened, to go to work, buy lattes at espresso stands, sell and buy cars, go on vacations, travel around the world and pay their mortgages. Normal life went on as if nothing of significance happened.
That, together with the war being highly profitable for corporations involved, are the main reasons for the United States fighting those wars--they have very low immediate (long terms is a completely different story) costs. I can declare here whatever I want while exercising in futility of calling on International Law and ethics "taking front stage" in considerations when starting a war, but until the body count is in relatively low thousands over protracted period of time, and there is no draft and body-bags arrive to a very few well-guarded locations, things will continue like that. This situation is also a part of America's cancerous affliction of exceptionalism because wars are fought THERE, on TV, not HERE, as it was on 9/11. In real war, such nine-elevens would be multiplied many times and that is how one of very few mechanisms for preventing war looks like. Well, this and a complete depletion of the resources which we observe today--in the long term it finally caught up with America. We don't want a real war in US proper, but ongoing (it will get much worse as time goes by) crisis may provide some additional options for some cleaning of the act. We will see soon, I hope, if that is the case

So, while intent of Larison is noble, truth is--he, and authors of the article still reside in an exceptionalist bubble--only pain, only conditioning by suffering are strong enough stimuli to completely change America's clock work wound for war. This, in the end, may require a dramatic change of the elites--present ones are utterly corrupt, incompetent and, in the end, do not know what real war is. In this sense, it is very important that some sort of soul-searching and initial political mobilization is happening. 
Under Trump, who applies “maximum pressure” to all foes foreign and domestic, American militarism is more perilous than ever. It is also more undeniable. That is one reason the current moment is surprisingly hopeful. The call to end “endless war” continues to rise on the flanks of both parties, even as it is flouted by leaders of each. More and more Americans insist that, whatever interests are served by endless war, their own are not. More than twice as many Americans prefer to lower than raise military spending, according to a 2019 Eurasia Group Foundation survey. Veterans support Trump’s pledge to bring Middle East wars to a close: A majority of vets deem the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria not to have been worth fighting. The Afghanistan Papers ought to strengthen the consensus. Americans deserve a president who will act accordingly.   
These are those long-term effects and costs which we may be witnessing now and while I reserve my opinion about Trump, let us hope that, in the end, it will be the voice of a majority of Americans who may put a stop to all this madness, not a catastrophic military adventure which will make all America's wars to date combined look like a stroll in the park. I, certainly, hope so.