Absolute geniuses and, yes, probably in the top 3 of the most underrated bands ever and still 47 years later continue to produce absolutely top-notch music. Long....
Sunday, January 31, 2021
Absolute geniuses and, yes, probably in the top 3 of the most underrated bands ever and still 47 years later continue to produce absolutely top-notch music. Long....
Saturday, January 30, 2021
You know my stance on the ACT/SAT "testing". It is primarily IQ-driven shit which ignores knowledge as such and "tests" kids on the level of the 8-9th grade level of public school in any developed country. Academically, these tests as far as math is concerned is a complete BS. But no worry.
The sudden explosion in demand for these and other big-name schools is another ripple effect of the coronavirus pandemic that could reshape college admissions for many years to come. The pandemic has given huge — and in some places, decisive — momentum to a movement to reduce or even eliminate the use of admissions testing at highly competitive colleges and universities. That, in turn, has lured more applicants to the upper tier of the market. U-Va. and Harvard were among a large bloc of schools that temporarily suspended their requirements for SAT or ACT scores because the public health emergency prevented many college-bound students from taking the exams. Students could choose whether to send scores to these schools under a policy known as “test-optional.” … Harvard said Friday it will be test-optional for one more year — covering those who are now high school juniors — and reiterated that those who do not submit scores “will not be disadvantaged in the application process.”
So, basically the idea is simple. Let's dispose of testing, pathetic as it always was, altogether as UC-Berkeley did. Wow, the steep dive towards Idiocracy is now a free fall. While such backgrounds as "poetry" or "political science" hardly require any serious cognitive abilities, let alone knowledge of anything of substance, I cannot conceive how the acceptance to engineering, medical and fundamental with natural sciences will proceed from this point? We already had the instance of the plane which was "designed by clowns and supervised by monkeys". Now, what? A heart surgeon performing surgery with a shovel and a crowbar? An engineer with the ability to design... nothing? I am sure the racial and gender quotes will be satisfied as will be alternatively gifted students. I know the degrees in this, whatever it is, do exist already.
Board Card and Role Playing Games Major. Description: A program that focuses on the rules and techniques of participation and skill-building in competitive activities of skill or chance, such as board games, card games or role-playing activities.
I am not sure what is it, but it kinda has a whiff of those Law Degrees from COSTCO. Probably degree in furthering already wide-spread psychosis and other psychiatric and social disorders among many who are addicted to alternative reality of internet and gaming. Great. It is clear that education in the United States as such is being destroyed, ranging from kindergarten to colleges and universities, but to see it turning to shit and a bona fide third (or fourth) world cesspool with such a speed is absolutely stupefying.
Remarkably, this insanity is directly related to Putin's Davos speech recently. A lot has been said about it but it has to be understood that at the core of what Putin proposed is a world which actually, apart from being built around common sense, requires a great deal of multi-aspect competencies, among which actual education from the earliest age to university graduate degrees is an absolute must. Otherwise the new world is impossible. That means only one thing--meritocracy, which is a euphemism for achievement judged by the strictest and long-ago established and reliable criteria free from any political agenda. There is no alternative to it, none whatsoever. Otherwise, it is a descend into this.
Friday, January 29, 2021
Following reports that the more virulent strain – which reportedly originated in the UK – had arrived in Beijing, the Chinese government has boosted its testing regime both in the capital and in a handful of northern cities. But it isn’t just using the standard nose and throat swabs.Using anal swabs “can increase the detection rate of infected people,” a doctor at Beijing’s Youan Hospital told local media, explaining that “traces” of the virus stay longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract. A video demonstration of how to perform the swab surfaced on Twitter on Friday.
Bye, bye China and my possible visit there. Before that, I simply never seriously contemplated visiting China, now I developed a decisive, resolute rejection of such plans because... you know. The terrifying procedure was already performed on unsuspecting passengers of some of Chinese airlines. As you might expect, a hilarious hell broke loose in both Chinese and international comments. Hypothesis like this sounds pretty convincing to me:
No doubt big tech will adopt this policy, too. Only way to get verified in the future will be to send Jack an anal swab.
I say, why wait, if you know what I mean. We all can start early. My only quarrel with all that is that what is known as a "big tech" is not really "tech". It is a bunch of social networks and other internet "platforms" ran by people with a maturity level of teenagers. Boeing is a "big tech", Intel, GE--that's "tech". But never mind. While at it, you may "enjoy" the other piece of "advice" from Mr. Lukyanov. You may remember this guy from here. Now he came up with a new stratagem. He proposes to:
The best way to repair the Russian/American relationship is for both sides to minimise contacts, and keep out of each other’s way
It is a piece rich in platitudes and feeble attempts to hide his lack of any understanding of the nature of power--a feature of political "scientists"--and America's (geo)political kitchen. The only item I can agree with Lukyanov is in the very end of his piece and it reads like that:
The old US-Russian diplomatic experience has little more than academic value.
This I can agree to. But for the rest of his pseudo-academic drivel--I would rather take an anal swab for Covid-19.
It seems that the butt-hurt level in US media re: Russia is off the scale lately. When I say "I told you so", I do it not to feed my ego, however large, but to make a point that to speak on matters of practical geopolitics, let alone modern warfare, military and engineering background, not to speak of human and professional integrity--the only filter which separates facts from propaganda--is a must. No, it is a MUST. But that is precisely what modern, not just American but European, Russian etc. pop-military "analysis" and military porn sphere lacks. Luckily, my blog and my books keep the record straight in terms of how basic analysis applies and speak ad nauseam about necessity to have a clue. Here are some examples of what I am talking about from this week.
Will start with out famous and highly "competent" US military "analyst" (nah, I am screwing with you) Kyle Mizokami, who "analyzes" things for a number of news outlets and here is his take on the "sensational" story from Libya which The Times broke yesterday. Mizokami, being very excited, concludes that the S1 Pantsir captured by whatever faction fights in Libya is a, quoting Mizokami:
Last summer, a secretive U.S. military flight to Libya spirited away one of Russia’s most modern air defense weapon systems. The U.S. Air Force flew the Pantsir S-1 surface-to-air missile system, which Libyan government forces captured, out of the country on a military transport flight for parts unknown. The acquisition of a Pantsir, designed to defend against U.S. and NATO aircraft, is a windfall to the U.S. intelligence community.
This little bit alone contains a couple of open lies and that is the level of "reporting" in the US whenever dealing with anything Russia related. For starters.
Lie 1. Reports of three S1 Pantsirs being captured in Libya appeared as early as May 2020 (in Russian) and it was clear that once Turkish-supported forces took air base Al Watyia, which contained quite a few items of hardware transferred to General Haftar's forces by United Arab Emirates, there was very little doubt where the only intact AD complex will end up.
Lie 2. There is no "a windfall" to US "intelligence community" since those UAE's S1s are export versions of this famous AD complex--that means they are significantly less capable than the Russian ones--and they are not new, like in old. Why? Very simple: the United Arab Emirates started to take delivery of S1s in 2003 and, as news have it, started to upgrade them in 2019, which is a testimony to the fact that these were older export versions of S1s which, in the words of Lieutenant-General Bizhev, a former Deputy Commander of Russia's Air Force Air Defense, is nothing to get worked over it. I quote:
"Большого ущерба для нашей боевой готовности не будет. Война есть война. Бывают трофеи. Бывает, что и нам что-то достается. Техника, которая идет на экспорт, отличается от той, что поступает в наши Вооруженные силы. Американцам придется долго изучать "Панцирь" и долго думать, чтобы сделать копию. Из-за ряда моментов и нюансов точную копию им не сделать. Думаю, что "Панцирь" восхитит американцев, но аналог им не сделать "
Translation: There will be no serious damage to our combat readiness. War is war. Trophies are expected in wars. Sometimes we also get trophies. The equipment which goes for export differs from what is delivered to our Armed Forces. Americans will have to study this Pantsir for a long time, as well as think for a long time on how to make a copy. For a number of reasons they will not be able to make an exact copy. I think Pantsir will create admiration among Americans, but they will not be able to make an analogue.
Why? Just a single fact--not only export versions DO differ from domestic ones, both in hardware and software solutions, but many key software solutions are literally hard-wired, making them useless for anyone who gets to them. Remarkably, the excitement in Western media re: this "secret" (I kid you not--it is "secret" alright) operation--sure, load a truck into the transport plane and fly it anywhere you want--shows a huge hardon as well as implicit admission to the superiority of Russian-made AD systems, which are in the league of their own. Don't believe me? Ask Turkey, a NATO member, what she thinks about S-400, export version no less.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said it would be “very problematic” for Ankara to turn back on its purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems but expressed hope that a dispute with the United States on the issue could be resolved through dialogue. Akar also reiterated that Turkey was in talks with Russia on obtaining a second consignment of the S400 defence systems.
You will not find this news in Anglo-sphere unless you specifically look for it and even then--it takes some effort to find it from Al Arabya, no less, because no US media outlets will not touch it since US media are into propaganda and the butt-hurt management, not news reporting. This brings us to another point. Here is a delivery of the first serial SU-57 to a units of Russia's Air Force. You don't need to know Russian to see it.
Is Russia’s defense industry too busy to take on another fighter jet project? As Jim Kerry would say:
But they continue:
According to Ruslan Pukhov, the director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the primary focus of Russia’s defense industry is to develop that engine. That main effort takes away much-needed resources for the new plane, he explained.
My question at this stage is this: these people from CAST couldn't find their own ass with both hands in a brightly lit room and have zero competencies in any issue pertaining Russia's real economy, military industry, military technology, tactical, operational and strategic problems, yet they pass opinions on the matter of which they have zero understanding. I recall this very same Pukhov trying to scare Russia that, Russia cannot win war with the US but can deal serious damage (in Russian). Recall me constantly pointing out to the "Revelation Mode" in Russia's rearmament and changing defense posture. From what I gather, for all very real Russia's economic problems, only Russia and China restored industrial production and, in fact, started to grow, with Russia increasingly shifting towards processing and complex manufacturing (in Russian). So, what is the real size of Russia's real economy and, by implications, of her military-industrial complex? Your guess is as good as mine, the only thing which I can tell for sure is that the record of Russia's rearmament speaks for itself and we all can be damn sure that projects of such import as MiG-41 will get done.
You know, the same as this 3M22 Zircon thingy whose state tests are to be finished this 2021 year and it will start serial deliveries in 2022, TASS reports. Believe me, I recall how for years, decades really, I had discussions, including among my classmates and acquaintances, many of them senior officers, many with a serious command experience, that future of Russian Navy will be in anti-shipping cruise missiles which will be hypersonic, AI-driven and will have a stunning range. I also debated some from this very CAST, especially when they tried to tell me fairy tales about... the US Navy. As it turned out, not only Russia's military-industrial complex was able to produce truly revolutionary weapon systems, but in a relatively short time remake Russia's Armed Forces into a deadly, super-modern, mighty fighting machine. All that, despite constant "opinions" of armies of those "experts" in Russia whose level of expertise was primarily of high school graduates. Now, when all this is happening in a front of our own eyes, be that Russia's return to a superpowerdom, to the United States finding itself in a deepest political and economic crisis, to a massive remake of the world order (sorry, Samuel Huntington), I kinda want to reiterate: "I told you so".
Meanwhile, Kerch shipyard Zaliv just floated yet another pr. 22160 patrol ship Sergei Kotov.
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Bang, today--another iteration by Tucker and Glenn Greewald of this simple idea, which so much has been written and talked about, especially by Michael Hudson, that "financial capitalism" and system it produces is basically a BS which not only does not produce anything but metastasizes into political instability both internally and abroad.
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics on Thursday commented for the first time on Intel's decision to outsource more of its chipmaking, but declined to talk about any possible partnership with one its key rivals. Intel, one of the few remaining firms that both designs and makes its own chips, said last week it would lean more heavily on outside factories, or foundry manufacturers, and could even licence technology from outside firms.
It is clear the United States is being demolished as an industrial country and, if to follow a rather convincing, albeit not perfect, theory that the United States is merely a vehicle for global finance then it inevitably leads us to a conclusion that the life of the United States as a useful economic vehicle is over and the demolition is in progress. This view, certainly, has its merits. I am sitting here with a bucket of pop-corn waiting to see the sequence of the largest cognitive dissonances in the camp of fanatic libertarians and laissez-faire enthusiasts, primarily from GOP--I do not count Democratic Party as sane political organization--who will have to now try to defend a real economy's demolition by the ideology which is in the foundation of their MO--making money, anyway they can. Again, let's recall that day in 2000.
A good friend of mine sent me a piece, plus Laurent also mentioned it. Here is the excerpt.
WASHINGTON: For the first time in three years the Navy has sent three ships – including two destroyers – into the Black Sea, just days after President Biden confronted Vladimir Putin about Russian policy. The move is sure to be read by Moscow as a statement of intent as the United States looks to confront Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, attempts to assassinate political rivals and reformers at home, and continuing acts of violence against Russians in NATO countries, as well as the persistent threats Vladimir Putin’s regime has made against NATO countries.
For starters, they read how Russians will "read", let alone "for sure" such a "message". Apart from it being, as usual, a complete crap, Russians will read it in only one way they can--as a "target rich environment". Not to be accused of being unnecessarily harsh towards "military analysts" who write such a bogus propaganda, here are some last 48 hours reactions by Russians, who respond as usual by deploying necessary assets to detect, track and target US assets in the Black Sea and you don't need to know Russian language to understand what and how is being deployed. First, Victoria Kosoglyadenko is hard at work to be hurt by SU-30SMs of the aviation of the Black Sea Fleet, a feature of journalists of Zvezda TV, and pay attention to X-31 Mach=3.5+ missiles under the wings of the aircraft which flew to "meet" one of the US Navy's DDGs (I believe it was USS Donald Cook) and pilot explains in details how remote encounter happened in international waters.
Why am I describing this? Very simply put to explain that it doesn't matter who is in the White House or whatever pathos-ridden declarations from the US Secretary of State about restoring American "leadership", somebody needs to explain this lawyer turned "diplomat" that the only "leadership" the United States may provide today is either for emasculated Europeans or third world shitholes, with the armed forces and economies of a... well, third world shitholes. The only "messaging" the United States can provide to Russia is as American as baseball, flag and apple pie:
1. Destabilization of Russia's near abroad, including, but not limited to supporting both Neo-Nazi element and radical Islamism, including terrorist and separatist movements;
2. Continue to finance Russia's "fifth column" by means of NGOs;
3. Economic sabotage;
4. And, traditionally, spreading BS and, may be, killing one or two expedient "opposition" cretins to blame it on bloody tyrant Putin.
That is it. There is nothing more the United States can do, to quote one former Colonel of the General Staff of Russia:"We don't even sweat about NATO". But if it makes somebody feel good, and that is what this all is about, hey--sure. The risks of something going bad increase, but here is my point--the last American institute which maintains serious competencies is US military, which can assess risks competently and that leaves a possibility of them not committing a suicide. In related news:
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Boeing has received a licence from the U.S. government to offer its F-15EX fighter jet to the Indian air force, a senior executive said on Thursday. Boeing will compete with Sweden's Gripen and France's Rafale among others for the Indian air force's plan to buy 114 multi-role aircraft to replace its Soviet-era fleet.
So the admission is hidden in the news itself--F-35 is pretty much a flying turkey--but we knew this all along, and reemergence of a venerable F-15, albeit in a new make-up, only signifies a technological and fiscal disaster, not to mention embarrassment, F-35 has become. I guess, looking back at the American combat and civil aviation of the last few years one has to admit that those all are indications of the loss of competence by once the premier aerospace industry in the world. But never mind, once the US gets "green energy" going, boy, it will automatically right itself and make America great ag... oops, wrong slogan.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
She is a mighty fine governor, but let's be honest--when she speaks with the straight face that "Trump's legacy" is what America "needs", like support (I mean licking boots) of Israel, tax breaks for filthy rich, "business deals" which accelerate American industrial decline and other anomalies, like cowardice, she is right--continuing to consider these "accomplishments" as a positive legacy and talking about why GOP "failed" is exactly the reason why it will continue to fail because GOP is a party of quislings whose only function now is to negotiate with Democrats how main constituency of GOP, people who give money to it, may hold on to its riches for a little while longer.
For starters, let's drop the pretense that GOP is a "conservative" party--I am on records for years, there is nothing conservative about GOP. It is not and hasn't been since the times William Buckley "sold" himself as intellectual, same goes for a neocon cabal, which in a classic rabbinical tradition demagogued its way into the Republican pseudo-intellectual Parnassus pushing the only button which matters for main GOP contributors--greed, and tawdry sloganeering which passed for decades as "conservatism". Evidently rooting for New England Patriots, or Texas Cowboys, being addicted to laissez faire and peeing one's pants (or wetting eyes, or both) from seeing innocent countries and scores of innocent people being killed is considered somehow "conservative". As Kristi Noem proved in her interview, this is precisely what GOP intends to do, while feeding deplorables all those "issues" of abortion, Israel and "trade deals" which somehow should address their unenviable fate. Remarkably, MAGA and Trumpism is exactly the vehicle which may break the Republican camel's back and stop its gravy train of congressional dealings, which is ironic, really--one fraud being broken by another. But then again, normal people in America have no political and ideological sanctuary to run too. One chapitaue, left from the road, populated by Democratic Party, is the one containing Room 101 and face recognition check-points, where straight white humans need not apply or approach, until they brought there in shackles and on their knees. The other one is a circus of political treason, corruption and pathos-ridden BS being sold as a virtue, which, in the end, is merely another stop before being delivered into the "rehabilitation" camp being built behind first chapiteau --your choice, America, of how you commit suicide.
So, while I respect governor's farming background and her hard work at getting her degree in political "science" and then getting elected to US Congress and governorship, I have to really question her grasp of the current situation and how GOP will continue--it is not even for a debate--to betray its main constituents who still believe that GOP somehow represents their interests. Poor people. So, MAGA is perfect for separating GOP from power, which it doesn't need anyway, since it is the party of deserters, plus, considering the "intellectual" level of its "top" and what passes for its ideological machine--no hope for it to do anything what benefits the core of the American people. MAGA, for it also being a fraud and populist demagoguery, at least breaks, for now, the ideological impasse to which GOP led majority of its constituency, trying to sabotage any change of direction towards substantive questions about America's nationhood, real economy, GOP helped to obliterate, declining wages, loss of jobs, violence, dramatic social stratification, unchecked immigration, debilitating and criminal foreign wars, corrupt political discourse, insane cultural practices and destruction of educational system. You know, all those secondary, to support of Israel, tax cuts and abortion, issues which have absolutely no bearing (wink, wink) on lives of the majority of people. I see NO people with enough intellect, integrity and awareness in the so called Republican cultural milieu, who can provide any viable definition of conservatism and lead the party between Scylla of neocon foreign policy and neoliberal economics of GOP establishment and Charybdis of MAGA populist bullshittery, which, in the long run, is even more damaging because it cannot deliver, as Trump's presidency demonstrated so vividly, even when adjusted for DNC and media's sabotage of his chaotic reality TV show. There are NO people in GOP which can defeat democrat's insanity, because they cannot generate ideas without betraying the real nature of GOP--a party of good ol' boys who are into it to make money. Or serve Israel, like popular "conservative" Ben Shapiro, who, and you guessed it, is a lawyer and political "scientist"--a precise category of people who led the United States down the road of ruin. As Thomas Sowell succinctly put it:" Road to hell is littered with Harvard degrees."
In related news, another wowser from Boeing:
But it's not just the pandemic that is dragging down Boeing. The company is facing a huge challenge with its new 777X, a longer variant of the widebody 777, taking a $6.5 billion write-off on the still unfinished aircraft. Test flights of the 777X began a year ago, but safety regulators are demanding design changes to address safety concerns. And with the market for such giant, long-haul jets evaporating during the pandemic, Boeing is now pushing back the plane's entry into commercial service into late 2023. Boeing has also had a slew of other design and production problems with the 787 Dreamliner and the KC-46 midair refueling tanker for the Air Force.
Read the whole thing. Honestly, my heart bleeds for Boeing's commercial division, for people who worked there, in the end for company itself which was a leader in commercial aviation for such a long time. Now it faces a de facto financial ruin and I don't know what is the outlook. I doubt that even the term "foggy" really applies to its future as is true to the whole United States. Just to confirm that things proceed apace. Aw, poor-poor dear Teddy Cruz as if he didn't know what was coming.
No shit, genius. Ask your party what it was busy with the last five years. Or fifty, for that matter. I am sure GOP's sterile "conservative intellectuals" will explain it to you. Or not.
Monday, January 25, 2021
Oh, goodness. More than four years ago I reacted to Captain Hendrix's statement when he proposed that:
Of course, this statement was utterly false already in 1980s with SS-N-19 Shipwreck (P-700 Granit) and P-1000 Vulkan being main strike anti-ship weapons of the Soviet Navy, capable of ranges in excess of 600 kilometers, with Vulcan being capable of the range of 800 kilometers (in Russian). But that was some time ago. Since then, Captain Hendrix had to face some serious, in fact revolutionary, changes in the whole outlook of the naval warfare and he wrote a book, which was reviewed in a good ol' neocon rag National Review, which never ceased on this nauseating narrative of the United States being the best thing ever in the universe. But this time, Hendirx, who employs a Mahan's template in justifying his thesis based on the "lessons" from history, has a much more somber tone. Jim Talent, who reviews Hendrix's book, notes that Hendrix offers "the best explanation of "naval presence" Talent has ever seen:
US Navy ships . . . possess a distinct advantage over their land contemporaries in that they can exert influence ashore without having to be physically tied to the land. Not only does sovereignty move with each commissioned ship but also through the effects of its sensors and weapons; it can project influence simply by being present offshore. Think of this influence as an incandescent lamp moving about upon the sea. As it approaches an object, its influence can be understood as the degree to which [its] sensors and weapons fully “illuminate” or make clear the local strategic environment while demonstrating US interests at the local area. . . . Ships moving toward an area of interest cast a “bow wave” of influence ahead of them as they approach, projecting their capabilities and potential for action well prior to their arrival, yet ships departing an area also leave behind influence in the good will and stability they fostered but also because of the implicit promise that they can, and will, return.
Sure, this works, for nations which have no viable armed forces and are primarily small economically and geographically. Moreover, the US navy today has no monopoly on sensors and, in fact, some nations (wink, wink) can see and track Carrier Battle Groups before they even form, let alone set sail to "local area" to "demonstrate US interests". After that, Talent notes:
Unfortunately, as Hendrix explains in lucid detail, American naval primacy is now largely a thing of the past. The defense budget was reduced by over a third in the 1990s, forcing the Navy to cut 200 ships. The situation got even worse in the first 15 years of this century. All pretense of meeting naval requirements was dropped, and the Navy lost another 100 ships. Our NATO allies reduced their fleets even more than the United States did during the same period.
This is where both Talent and Hendrix make a huge mistake. US Navy's problem is not fiscal. Or budgetary. It is doctrinal and technological. It is doctrinal because this "bow wave" of interest, as Hendrix puts it, is not that large anymore thanks to this little teeny-weeny fact that it is only Missile Technology Control Regime which kept the range of, say, Russian-made export variants of anti-shipping missiles to 300 kilometers. Obviously, nothing prevents Russia to consider a sale of her 800-km range capable P-800 Oniks to China, or, depending on how Russian-Chinese relations develop, even 1,500 km range 3M54M Kalibr, if China asks Russia pretty-pretty please. I doubt Russia will sell, for now, any 3M22 Zircons, with their 1000+ kilometer range, to China. But who knows. Under all these conditions, including Indians who have their Brahmos capable of 800 kilometers, who knows what else is out there and with what ranges.
Common for all those missiles from Oniks to Zircon, apart from their velocities, are the ranges which are either equal or exceed, and by far, any ranges of carrier aviation when considering this carrier aviation operating in the dense ECM and modern Air Defense environment. This means only one thing--carriers will be stationed outside of zones where they can deploy their airwings. In case of the nations capable of deploying the long-range aviation, carriers will be pushed not only out of the near sea zones, but way out into the ocean where they represent nothing more than fat juicy targets and are absolutely useless in any "power projection" role. Hendrix recognizes this, however grudgingly and under utterly wrong title of "filling the gap":
America’s armed forces aren’t and shouldn’t be the main tool of our foreign policy, but they are the foundation of all the other tools; they give credibility and energy to the diplomatic and economic influence of the United States. As American naval presence has declined, Russia and China have been quick to fill the gap. Although, as Hendrix notes, Russia and China have traditionally been land powers, they have developed modern naval forces fully capable of challenging American power. They are using their navies, along with their arsenals of land-based precision missiles, to extend their influence and even their sovereign control over the seas far beyond their shores.
1. I don't see Russia "filling any gap" with moving around Middle East and Maghreb and blowing legitimate governments out of the water. Russia projects power in a very different way than the United States ever did.
2. Hendrix is also wrong that Russia and China have been traditionally "land powers". Chinese sea fairing started millennia before the United States came into existence, same goes for Russia, whose Navy is older than the United States as a country.
The fact that Russia can sink anything, including any combination of large surface combatants, including aircraft carriers, in the distance of 2-3,000 kilometers from her shores doesn't mean that Russia somehow "extends her influence". In fact, what Russia does, based on historic record of America's aggression around the globe, she limits America's influence. Simple as that. That is why those weapons have been created in the first place. Not to "extend the influence" but not to allow to be "democratized" and have modern Western "values" shoved down her throat. Then, of course, comes the issue of Arctic, but I am not going to delve too much into this issue, because for now the United States is irrelevant in the Arctic and bar patrols of the US SSNs in the near-Russia Arctic waters and under the polar ice-cap, has little influence over Northern Sea Route, which Russia claims as its own. But Hendrix finds the way to address it, as he thinks:
Hendrix’s solution to this challenge is, unsurprisingly, a large expansion of America’s Navy from the current 295 ships to 456. He does not shy away from the cost of that, but Pentagon reformers will be pleased to read that he wants to re-envision the structure as well as the size of the fleet. He thinks we need lower-end, less costly ships that can sustain presence even in smaller and shallower ports around the world. And those who are frustrated by the long and costly land engagements of the past 20 years will be pleased to read that Hendrix sees the new Navy as the linchpin of a new maritime focus in American involvement in the world.
Here is where Hendrix misses the whole point. Modern day and age, numbers alone in case of conflict mean very little. Even if to assume that the United States is able (it is not) to produce "lower-end, less costly" ships which he thinks are needed "for presence". Modern weapon systems are capable to destroy highest-end and astronomically expensive US Navy's surface assets at the cost of a few million dollars. It is a simple engineering and industrial truism that, say Russia, or China are capable to produce something like Oniks with the rate of production orders of magnitude greater than construction of new "lower-end, less costly" ships. They will be detected, tracked and sunk in case of any serious conflagration and this should be avoided by all means. As for numbers, boy, I heard this story before, legendary Arleigh Burke while talking to Elmo Zumwalt stated that "we need numbers". Burke wanted at that time 900 major combatants, which was beyond whole America's industrial capacity. Now, the story repeats itself. Or, maybe not. Modern America is not the United States of 1950s and 1960s, nor building ships just for "presence" makes any military sense other than providing modern states with a variety of targets in the areas where the United States and the US Navy have no business to start with.
The warfare changed. It changed dramatically, in a revolutionary way. High-supersonic and hypersonic anti-shipping missiles with mind boggling ranges are already here. Even longer range missiles are coming. This changed everything tactically, operationally and strategically, but still many in the US are trying to grasp the last straw of hope that the halcyon days of gigantic CVNs and carrier aviation were perceived as the embodiment of the American military might and global influence could still be prevented from fading into the obscurity. Sorry, folks, this cannot be done. Swarms of hypersonic AI-driven missiles, forming own instant combat networks, plugging into the globally positioned and space-based reconnaissance and targeting assets, with immense signal processing power and augmented reality of the global battle-space, these are not fantasies anymore, it is reality which spelled the doom for Pax Americana and with it to the United States Navy as we know it. Time to rethink both military and security strategies away from a delusion of American exceptionalism and aggressiveness and a broken record of America's greatness. If not, the country itself is lost and that is a much bigger problem than the number of the ships.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
But people sent me "news" and "opinions" about slight skirmishes in Russia related to "opposition" rallies in defense of Alexey Navalny. My first message to all: it was a pathetic show of a few thousand infants, including many children, who were controlled and, inevitably, dispersed. As US Police Telegram Channel wrote to Russian colleagues:
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs already called on US Embassy to visit Ministry where American "diplomats" will be talked to for taking an active part in helping underage children get "politically active" (in Russian). That brings us to the whole Navalny's "poisoning" affair as, primarily, a desperate attempt by the combined West on PR action (aka operation of influence) against Russia. Assuming, which is a really risky assumption, that not all people in Western intelligence-"diplomatic" establishment are complete morons, it is clear that no sane person would expect actions of this type to undermine "Putin's regime". Provide some TV picture for brainwashed Western public? Sure. But that's about it. Russia's political reality is such that it requires an apocalyptic event to change her and even then, it wouldn't be towards the outcome desired by the West. As per Alexey Navalny--everyone in Russia with IQ higher than the room temperature knows that he is an asset of Western intelligence orgs and his support base is within the statistical error, when counting votes during elections. Today's events demonstrated this perfectly. Criminal cases are being now opened as I type this (in Russian). Move along, move along--nothing to see here. Putin again "escaped" the wrath of minuscule minority of Russia's alternatively gifted teenagers and elementary school kids. Talk about "revolution".
Friday, January 22, 2021
Or why American "conservative" (lack of) thought is as fake as GOP's "conservatism". OK, let me "come out of the closet" immediately. Learning anything from Edmund Burke, a holy of the holiest, a designated person of worship for American "conservatives" makes as much sense as applying lessons of Peloponnese Wars to netcetric warfare and resolving targeting issues for stand-off weapons in dense ECM environment. Sounds funny, but that is exactly what they ("conservatives") promote as a foundation for their neoliberal economic agenda which is in the foundation of the America's decline. The American Conservative decides to pull the owl over the globe and comes up with a contrived piece on a new book about Edmund Burke, trying to show how it is "relevant" today. Sure, the guy who lived in 18th century knew all about it. The author of the piece writes:
Evidence such as this demonstrates that in Burke, we do not find ourselves dealing with a market fundamentalist of the Reaganite variety, much less a Malthusian or Randian devotee of the iron laws of supply and demand. After all, Collins notes, Burke frequently violated these laws through his numerous acts of charity to friends and tenants, and insisted that public laissez-faire must be complemented by strong obligations of private charity.
No shit, pardon my French. I wonder how Burke would resolve the issue of automation and, inevitable, removal of the labor force from the most productive and, by implication, well-paid industries. You know, those damn 18th century Anglo-Irish robots and Computer Numerical Control machining centers. They influenced Burke so much when he was writing about markets. The next pearl is this:
Burke has a great deal to offer to conservative political economy today. Most crucially, Burke recognized that the virtues of free markets rest upon an underlying foundation of traditional order and virtue, without which markets will grind to a halt or run off the tracks. Commerce depends on manners, and manners depend on religion, custom, tradition, and good laws. As he wrote in the Reflections: “Even commerce, and trade, and manufacture, the gods of our economical politicians, are themselves perhaps but creatures; are themselves but effects which, as first causes, we choose to worship. They certainly grew under the same shade in which learning flourished. They too may decay with their natural protecting principles” (quoted on 490).
Really? And what is this "conservative political economy"? What is this, is there a "conservative" physics (I know there is a liberal one) or mathematics? Don't these contemporary "conservative" people learn a simple fact that American "conservative" political economy is nothing more than a free trade fundamentalism and laissez-faire which work in the 21st century as effectively as Burke's platitudes about "good laws" and preaching of good morals and "virtues." The surrealism of constant, in fact nauseating, references to some Whig guy who lived in England in 18th century by American "conservatives" is preposterous and it is not surprising that TAC article arrives to this conclusion.
A true conservative, then, must learn how to cherish the offspring—free markets—without allowing it to devour the mother—traditional virtues.
Yes, and I am Mother Theresa and all my life I fight for everything good, against everything bad. No, this is not a definition of conservatism--it is a definition of pretentious Mammon worshipers covering their greed with a fig leaf of absolution every Sunday morning at church. REAL conservatism is an obverse side of sober nationalism, which sees its primary purpose in preservation of the nation and promoting its well-being by formulating a framework of true national interests--a task no American "conservative" is capable to perform. As I said--they are afraid to give definition to a nation, American nation that is, and face consequences for standing their ground on this fundamental issue. Thumping Bible or Torah over the heads of others and trying to convince them that this is a virtue is not conservatism.
Conservatism starts with a question of "what is good for my people", not class, not stockholders but people, as a whole. How this good is defined in economic terms is a completely different matter, which has nothing to do with American conservatives' sellout to Wall Street and stripping America of her remaining economic livelihood, granted, preaching on the way "traditional virtues". Ah, yes, in conclusion--there is no such thing as "free markets". Never existed. But I am sure Edmund Burke also expressed his opinions on this matter, including modern geopolitics defined by immense destructive power of modern nuclear and conventional weaponry and constellations of satellites. As for charity--any chance I can get some donations from Bill Gates, personally? I need a Ferrari to fill my life with meaning. While at it, I will not be against a nice second home in Hawaii./s
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Because it is true. This is the funniest shit I saw in quite a while. Yes, it is cringe-worthy. It also shows a complete lack of culture in US MSM. I mean it, culture being a combination of intellectual honesty, ethics and principles which translate into class. US main-stream media are a pathetic parody, a collection of clowns, however evil. Give RT a hand, it deserved it here, LOL.
Among many "accomplishments" of Donald Trump in what passes in the United States for foreign policy and national security, one of the major achievements was exiting pretty much most arms control treaties with Russia, among them START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) being most notable. As I pointed out not for once, Russia's being rather nonchalant about Trump effectively demolishing arms control regime has its reasons. The main of those reasons is Russia having a decisive qualitative advantage over the United States in delivery systems, especially in the field of stand-off high precision weapons which changed the nature of modern war and deterrence dramatically. Yet, keeping not just the United States but the world, through keeping nuclear strategic arsenals under control, from ruinous and unnecessary investment into nuclear strategic weapons, which realistically are not the weapons of war. Upgrading them, keeping them in a working order? Sure. As simple logic goes: makes no difference how many times over can the United States and Russia obliterate each-other--5-6-7, makes no difference. So, some news from POTUS, a new one.
President Joe Biden has decided to accept Russia's offer to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty for the full five years and is proposing that the two sides "explore new verifiable arms control agreements" in the future. The overture could be a bright spot in an otherwise tense relationship in the opening days of the new administration. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which caps Washington and Moscow's deployed nuclear weapons at 1,550 each, is set to expire on Feb. 5 unless both sides agree to keep it in force. "The United States intends to seek a five-year extension of New START as the treaty permits," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday. "The president has long been clear that the New START Treaty is in the national security interests of the United States. "This extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is as adversarial as it is at this time," she added. "New START is the only remaining treaty constraining Russian nuclear forces and is an anchor of strategic stability between our two countries."
The explanation of this change of heart is rather simple. No, it is not because Biden ran on this agenda in his bid for the White House. No, such an explanation is akin to explaining a wind as a result of the movement of the trees' branches. The answer is much-much simpler. And is looking at us from the news.
The Biden administration also says it hopes to use the extension to begin talks on a new series of arms control measures.
There we go. Plans within plans, within plans. Granted, those plans are rather obvious and are not surprising. It is the only way for the United States to get anywhere near technologies which the United States doesn't have and, highly likely, will not develop anytime soon. Sure, the United States may create a system somewhat reminiscent of the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle and, possibly, some sort of analog of the aero-ballistic Kinzhal, but in terms of multi-platform genuine hypersonic cruise missiles similar to 3M22 Zircon I doubt the United States is anywhere near to mock-up, forget technology demonstrator, not to speak of weapon nearing IOC. That's the secret to all that. Once one takes into account such system as Poseidon, let alone Peresvet capable to disable incoming MIRVs one sees immediately America's intentions in terms of START. Obviously, The National Interest's own alternatively gifted Michael Peck comes up, yet again, with self-medicating cretinism of, say, Poseidon being developed because... Russian submarine technologies are lacking, but then again, for the guy who proposed to fight hypersonic anti-shipping missiles with a standard Aegis-SM-6 package, one can also expect a proposition to fight cancer with Band-Aid.
Obviously, a "combat" clown David Axe is not far behind, inventing all kind of amateur shit about subjects he has no clue about, but it shows an interesting pattern with the two of the most hilarious America's military "analysts" having 2018 piece reprinted (Peck) and one new published (Axe) today, precisely when the news about Biden willing, quoting Eric Zoolander, to continue talking about conversation on START, broke. This is not accidental. I want to stress it again, START by itself is not anymore about classic strategic deterrent--it is about the United States gaining any kind of insight into the technologies which drove real revolution in military affairs and, if possible, trying to squeeze as much of strategic benefits as possible. Sure. As Russia stated before--she is ready to continue talking about this conversation (c) and is even ready to consider some weapon systems, such as Poseidon, at the negotiating table. Probably, Russia may agree limiting deployed Avangards to a single division. What Russia is not going to talk about is RS-28 Sarmat, and Zircon and related systems. This is not negotiable. Sarmat is a strategic missile, but it is a substitution for ageing Satana R-36 ICBMs, while Zircon is an ambivalent weapon capable of having a strategic impact even in conventional variant.
So, I have a bucket of pop-corn and am getting ready to observe this whole dance around the main issue which is at the core--if Russia will rub copious amounts of salt (pun is intended: SALT) into the American wound from the necessity to negotiate from an extremely weak position. We'll have to wait and see how this plays out but Russia nowadays is extremely business-oriented and, unlike the United States, has a crispy clear understanding of her national interests. There is even a school of thought that Russia may "exchange" something for Nord Stream-2. I don't know about that. You know, I hate to speculate. Russia can freeze NS-2 for a very long time since she is increasingly involved, hydrocarbons-wise, with the Asian markets and Europe is not anymore a priority. In the end, it is primarily in Europe's interest, not Russia's. Let EU deal with it. Russia has more important business to attend to. How about keeping the world peace.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Late Soviet-Russian philosopher and social scientist Richard Kosolapov quotes, in his 2002 book "Let's Stalin Speak", his friend a former member of the Presidium of the Central Committee, a philosopher and a professor of Moscow State University, Dmitri Chesnokov who had a conversation with Stalin shortly before Stalin's death in March of 1953. In this conversation, Stalin, speaking about formalism and bureaucratization of the Party, almost pleaded with Chesnokov, when stated:
«Вы вошли в Президиум ЦК. Ваша задача – оживить теоретическую работу в партии, дать анализ новых процессов и явлений в стране и мире. Без теории нам смерть, смерть, смерть!»
Translation: You are now a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee. Your task is a revitalization of the theoretical work in Party, to provide the analysis of new processes and phenomena in our country and in the world. Without theory, for us it is death, death, death!
These are some of the most powerful and dramatic words from a man known for always keeping his cool and not yielding to panic even under the most pressing circumstances of the early stages of the Great Patriotic War. Yet, here it is--stressing an utter urgency. Why so? The answer, is quite obvious--classic Marxism of the 19th-early 20th Century simply ran its course and stopped being adequate and Stalin knew it, even if to assume some theoretical probability that Stalin's formulation to Chesnokov is somewhat exaggerated, albeit I doubt it--in many respects, events of 1940s-1950s and Stalin's character leave no doubts that such a conversation, with such emphasis, did take place. His no less dramatic statement to Shepilov, a famous economist and chief editor of "Pravda", in which Stalin warns about lack of scientific approach to preparation of economic and political elite in USSR and where he also uses hyperbole of historic urgency and of death for the country, only confirms Chesnokov's episode.
Stalin recognized that times changed, he also recognized a profound effect of the scientific revolution on the society, not just Soviet, but global and that no matter how useful Marxist analytical apparatus was, the theory was increasingly becoming outdated. It was difficult to apply economic views formed in the times of belt transmissions and steam to economic and industrial reality which already in early 1950s saw a revolutionary spread of radio-electronics, mass means of communications and early computers with increase automation of production. Some Russian Marxists today even dare to assume--the view I happen to share with them--that Stalin didn't have a theory of Socialism (in Russian). Not only I share such a view, but seeing where the Soviet Union was going in 1970s and 1980s I dare to state that nobody had. It is of course, a matter for debate and "what if" scenarios when trying to predict if Stalin could have saved the USSR, or could a working theory be realistically developed, but there is no doubt whatsoever, that market relations were already emerging in the USSR as early as 1940s even within the framework of an extremely strained by war mobilizational economy. Such a theory should have accounted for the human nature which, even with the most sophisticated and effective ideological education and upbringing, couldn't be changed, especially against the background of a country which, on Stalin's watch, was becoming the most educated country in the world. One is forced to recall a famous sociological truism, about marriage and family, which emerged early in 20th Century: the higher is the educational level of a woman, the higher is her professional qualification, the wider her circle of personal and public connections, the more self-reliant and independent such a woman is, the higher will be her requirements for marriage.
This truism is fully applicable to a nation as a whole and could be reduced to a simple formula--the more educated is a nation, the higher will be its requirements for economic well-being. Humans are many things, and they are not exclusively Homo Economicus, but they ARE Homo Economicus among many other things and that is one of the factors which Marxists decided "to solve" by means of creating "a new man"--highly educated and highly tempered in his (her) economic demands. What they forgot, of course, were the sources of wisdom which for millennia spoke about human sin, ambition, jealousy, envy and, generally, what came to be known as an individual "pursuit of happiness". They forgot that human nature is hard to change and that to find this "golden path" to both high living standard and sensible consumption is a hell of a task. The ideas were sound, the execution, as is always the case with most ambitious undertakings, left a lot to be desired. Those details which contained those proverbial devils interfered. Marxism was and is well suited to use as an analytical tool, but as a stand alone economic theory--it doesn't work, or, works as not intended. It either leads to a dead-end or stops being Marxism in its original meaning. And here we can draw--and you know that I am extremely uncomfortable with this drawing--parallels with modern severest crisis of the capitalism unfolding in a front of our eyes and which is being prevented from unleashing a global war to resolve its gigantic insurmountable contradictions largely due to Russia's massive nuclear and conventional fire power.
Remarkably, it is also Russia which, yet again, is playing with a fascinating mix of some Marxist, free enterprise and economic nationalism ideas, trying to create a new model which will lead out of the dead-end neoliberalism led humanity into. Stalin may not have had theory of "socialism", but modern Western "thinkers" do not have the theory of "capitalism" either. Same as Soviet communists, or rather, party "thinkers", who got caught in the peculiarities of the ideology and could not see the way out, modern Western thinkers are in no position to criticize--these were they who justified and helped to implement the economic ruin of the West in general, and the United States in particular, by means of creating an alternative socioeconomic universe, or wonderland, which turned out to be even more bizarre than the most outrageous visions by Marxist fundamentalists. So, here we are today facing the existential crisis of the combined West and de facto disintegration of the United States which cannot produce both effective national idea and save its economy from a complete implosion. Make no mistake, Wall Street will do just fine, for a little while longer. But with the US Dollar being stripped of its hegemony as a main reserve currency and inability of the United States to enforce its parasitic lifestyle which such status of US Dollar provided it for decades, the issue of the real wealth-creation in the United States remains unsolved. It will stay as such for a foreseeable future because not only America doesn't have an economy which can overcome such a challenge without a massive social upheaval, but because American, so called, intellectual class has no theory and is not capable of developing it. In the end, it is not that intellectual to start with.
As Dmitry Orlov sarcastically noted, while illustrating his thoughts with one of the most ridiculously funny and... accurate memes I ever encountered:
But perhaps most importantly, it must be understood that repatriating production to the US and redeveloping the industrial base will not be a profitable venture, at least not initially. At the outset, and for at least the duration of the first Five-Year Plan, it will definitely lose money. Borrowing it is a bad idea; the federal government is already $21 trillion in debt. Instead, this money needs to be confiscated from the top 1% of the population which owns close to 40% of the country’s wealth. Doing so will yield roughly $50 trillion—more than enough to fund this project. This is best done as part of a Cultural Revolution: round up the one-percenters, make them wear dunce caps and march them through the streets while pelting them with fruits and vegetables and heaping verbal abuse on them. Oh, and take away all of their money and sentence them to a lifetime of free public service.
American social and political structure is not designed to deal with this issue. No, sure, there are many voices which shame and even accuse America's 1%, but they only are capable to implement the consumption restrictions for the overwhelming majority of deplorables, who do not have that much to start with. One-percenters will remain impervious to any economic and social changes and will continue to buy US one-party Congress, which will do as told while American intellectual class, which is incapable of learning, will continue to create all kinds of garbage such as Critical Race Theory or Gender Studies, on one hand, while trying to debunk those on the other hand, and nearly no one (with some minor exceptions), as empirical evidence shows, will start developing some practical view on the state of the affairs, which is based on the economic realities and the way wealth is distributed. It is a very hard intellectual and scholarly work. I know 99% of present crop of what passes in the United States as intellectuals are utterly unqualified and incapable of developing sound theories. Pseudo-scientific BS and sophistry they produce aplenty, sensible solutions--a number of thinkers who could be counted on fingers of one hand.
Soviet Union failed to develop the theory of socialism and because of that it failed. The United States failed to develop a theory of capitalism, bar some monetarist BS, and because of that the US is failing and is in at the end of the historically unprecedented de-industrialization. It is difficult to argue with this:
A new report by EPI Senior Economist and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Research Robert E. Scott finds that President Trump’s trade policies have failed to curb offshoring—and they have not addressed the root causes of America’s growing trade deficits and the decline of American manufacturing... “The Trump administration has taken credit for ‘reshoring’ manufacturing jobs, but the data show that isn’t true. Nearly 1,800 factories have disappeared under Trump between 2016 and 2018,” said Scott. “Additionally, the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods rose significantly between 2016 and 2019. In fact, the real U.S. trade deficit has increased in every year since 2016, reducing GDP growth by roughly 0.25% annually over the past three years. Compounded with the devastation left by the coronavirus pandemic, the blue collar manufacturing workers need serious help from policymakers.”
Even if to "adjust" data for anti-Trump sentiment in media and all kinds of think-tanks, there is absolutely no doubt about continuing offshoring of American jobs. Trump promised a lot, as does every US politician when it is the time to (re)elect oneself. Usually, nothing is done or if done--achieves often an opposite to intended result. It is a systemic flaw. It is not some combination of some factors here and there, which is always the case, but it is an indication of system simply not working as intended, or not working at all. It surely works in terms of profit for very few who own companies but it is not going to change, even when some traditional monetary and trade remedies are applied: taxes, tariffs, political pressure etc. They are increasingly useless and, in fact, often--detrimental to survival of the remaining true economic capacity. And there is no theory which is capable to balance out healthy profits, competition and national interest which is the interest of the majority of people in the nation. It is especially difficult to do in the country where nationhood is a cuss word and has a whole "intellectual" class being busy, both on nominal "left" (which is not left) and nominal "right", hard at work inventing essences (many a Ph.D theses and books are written on that) which will allow to keep the people who populate the country of the United States of America from formulating their true national interest. The only way to do so is to prevent them from coalescing into a true nation.
Let's harken to 1977, so called Brezhnev Constitution:
Translation: This society--society of mature socialist public relations, in which, based on convergence of all classes and social strata, judicial and de facto equality of all nations and peoples, their brotherly cooperation a new historic community of people has formed--Soviet people.
Boy, talk about delusions. 11 years later this whole "new historic community of people" started to kill each-other based on racial, ethnic, religious and other grounds. Believe me, I was there when shit hit the fan. Boy, I thought to myself, when the first tanks started to roll in Baku supporting us, already stretched thin Baku garrison, desperately trying to stop chaos and violence, the theory sucks. It doesn't work. It worked neither socially nor economically, Stalin was right when stated that "without theory it is death, death, death." He was prescient. So, in the world of Critical Race Theory, and Facebook and Twitter being considered an economy, ask yourself a question: does the United States need a theory or will it go down in flames of economic and social chaos. Don't look at me, I am no theoretician, I just call shit as I see it.