Inevitably the crazy old morons remain

Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, March 14th, 2018 - 164 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, humour, International, Satire, us politics, winston peters - Tags: , , , ,

In his usual dignified way, Donald Trump announced that he was sacking Rex Tillerson, the American Secretary of State in a tweet. And so the round of musical chairs that marks the White House’s descent into even more incompetence continues.

It appears that the proximate reason was the dimwitted Donald’s inability to separate the needs of America from the requirements of his own narcissistic yearnings. In this case I suspect that Donald’s simple lack of understanding of the world outside of his personal chaos was the cause. He appears to have gotten into a state that considers any negative commentary on Russia to be a personal attack on his assisted election in 2016.

What did for Mr Tillerson? In a subsequent press conference, the president said they “got along actually quite well. But we disagreed on things.” There had been a significant illustration of this the previous day, after Mr Tillerson strongly condemned the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent who was poisoned with a nerve agent in Britain last week. The then secretary of state, like the British government, blamed the Kremlin. “It came from Russia,” he said on March 12th. “I cannot understand why anyone would take such an action. But this is a substance that is known to us and does not exist widely.” Mr Trump, in what seemed like a remarkable lack of support for one of America’s closest allies, had at that time said nothing on the attack.

Having had a long read about the provenance of the particular nerve agent used (the most interesting article is this one), I’d have to agree with the assessment that Tillerson made. It is extremely difficult to see how anyone apart from a Russian state operator or one of their plausible deniability minions could have gained access to this rare nerve agent. It is even less plausible that anyone outside of the political or security centres in Russia would have wanted to assassinate this particular target in an act of pure terrorism.

It appears likely to me that Vladimir Putin wanted to send a message to opponents, ahead of his sham election this week about who is the boss.  Bearing in mind that his campaign has been targeting the only viable alternative Alexei Navalny with some interesting campaigning techniques – notably arrests on spurious charges to bar him from standing. The kind of paranoia about opposition in government plus the kinds of overseas circuses the Russians have been using to distract their citizens in recent years suggest that the kleptocracy of the Russian state is has started to become increasingly unstable.

For Winston Peters to try to push us to get into a trading relationships with either of the asylums for crazy old fools that are the governments of these two countries risks putting himself in the same light. If we are going to get into bilateral trading relations, then lets avoid the unstable ones and concentrate our efforts on the states with stable governing structure that we can build long-term with.

In the meantime, in the US, I’m watching the farce of the race for the weirdly gerrymandered 18th congressional district with interest and vast levels of amusement.

PA-18 should be a shoo-in for the Republican Party at a special election on March 13th. Tim Murphy, the Republican congressman who represented the district for eight terms, did not even have an opponent when he ran in 2014 and 2016. The avid pro-lifer, who was popular with the district’s churchgoers, was compelled to resign last year after revelations that he asked a woman half his age to abort their unborn child. This triggered the special election.

You’d have to say that displays a level of distasteful hypocrisy that even the Republicans had issues with. That plus the current levels of popularity for both Trump and his Republican party mean that vast amounts of money*, largely Republican, has poured into a district that previously the Democrats didn’t stand in. And as the Economist article wryly points out:-

Whoever wins on March 13th will have only a short time to savour his victory. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania imposed new congressional-district lines for the primaries in May and the general election in November. Neither candidate lives in the new district that will be formed according to the court’s plan. The winner will have to decide whether to run again in a new district in just two months.

 

 

  • My estimate is that the 18th district has required more than the bill for the last two kiwi elections.

 

164 comments on “Inevitably the crazy old morons remain”

  1. lprent 1

    I tagged this post with “satire” and then wrote a fact driven post with just a touch of opinion.

    The satirists may be the next profession on the scrap heap. I don’t think that they can compete with real life.

    • Stunned Mullet 1.1

      “The satirists may be the next profession on the scrap heap. I don’t think that they can compete with real life.”

      How can Southpark compete in the modern world…. won’t anyone think of the satirists ?

    • Wonderpup 1.2

      Go see “The Death of Stalin” and see if you still agree: Iannucci is a master, someone who can lampoon Beria, and not underplay the tragedy that was the Stalinist regime.

      • dukeofurl 1.2.1

        Ive seen some opinion that getting rid of Beria was a mistake, as he wanted to end the communist system far earlier, maybe for a type of government now used in China.

        • tracey 1.2.1.1

          Now used in China… So he coukd keep torturing and killing those he didnt lime or was threatened by then?

      • tracey 1.2.2

        Best. Movie. For. A. Long. Time.

    • francesca 1.3

      Satire your cup of tea?
      Try this then
      Real life is more ridiculous by the day

      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/the-novichok-story-is-indeed-another-iraqi-wmd-scam/

      • Bill 1.3.1

        So “anyone” can make the stuff….if it was ever successfully developed….which the international community severely doubts.

        Thank you for the link.

      • D'Esterre 1.3.2

        Francesca: “Try this then”

        Many thanks: that’s a great link! I’ve passed it on to a relative who is interested in this matter.

        Personally, I’m still putting my money on Fentanyl being the culprit in the Skripals’ poisoning. Probably self-administered.

        • francesca 1.3.2.1

          I’d love it if it was seafood poisoning
          The risotto was dodgy
          Apparently back in Russia there’s concern that friends and relatives are unable to get any updates on the Skripal’s condition They don’t even know if they’re alive or dead.
          Meanwhile the Porton Down chemists are working day and night to produce something from an organophosphate insecticide(I’m guessing ) that they can doctor up with a bit of dill(the Russian reference you see) so poor old May can present something to the OPCW
          I’m wondering at what point was it realised that these people were Russian and political assets, and was this when a nerve agent first made its way in to the story
          Most witnesses thought they were out of it on something, and the lady doctor who treated Yulia on the bench had no concerns about nerve agents.
          She was close up and personal too, clearing Yulia’s airways., but feels absolutely fine
          France has been utterly sensible about it , “We don’t do fantasy politics”, as has Corbyn

          Moonof Alabama expands on it a bit

          http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/theresa-mays-novichok-claims-fall-apart.html#more

          I’m hoping the Skripals survive this, I bet many are hoping they don’t

          • joe90 1.3.2.1.1

            I bet many are hoping they don’t

            Some are reveling in their pain, too.

            #Russia's state TV:Vladimir Koshelev, former senior official with Russia's foreign military intelligence agency (GRU), who says he personally knew #Skripal, is on state TV show '60 Minutes.' Koshelev says about Skripal: "May he live, may he fear and may he suffer." pic.twitter.com/oxoe7Pt3UB— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) March 14, 2018

            https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews/status/974037588754550785

            • francesca 1.3.2.1.1.1

              Yep, there’s nothing like seeing your mates killed because of someone else’s love of money
              And those guys in the military in any country(witness our own over the “revenge raid”) dont have much truck with the milk of human kindness

            • D'Esterre 1.3.2.1.1.2

              joe90: “Some are reveling in their pain, too. ”

              You know the extent of Skripal’s betrayal, right? No love for him in many quarters in Russia.

              And he didn’t even have the excuse that he was recruited in Soviet times.

          • D'Esterre 1.3.2.1.2

            Francesca: “I’d love it if it was seafood poisoning
            The risotto was dodgy”

            Haha, lovely! Much raucous laughter at that in this household.

            “I’m wondering at what point was it realised that these people were Russian and political assets, and was this when a nerve agent first made its way in to the story”

            Early on, I saw some reportage making a similar point: if they hadn’t been who they were, it’d have been a local story: another couple of people wasted on Fentanyl. Or in the throes of food poisoning… Wonder if they had an anaphylactic reaction to seafood? Allergies of that sort run in families. As we know all too well.

            “the lady doctor who treated Yulia on the bench had no concerns about nerve agents.
            She was close up and personal too, clearing Yulia’s airways., but feels absolutely fine”

            When they were breathlessly reporting tosh, I pointed out to RNZ that they themselves had reported that fact in an earlier bulletin. That woman by herself gives the lie to this “the Ruuusians poisoned them with nerve agent!” furphy. Unless of course it was bad cooking?

        • joe90 1.3.2.2

          Personally, I’m still putting my money on Fentanyl being the culprit in the Skripals’ poisoning.

          Well, Pooty’s thugs do know a thing or two about killing people with Fentanyl.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_hostage_crisis_chemical_agent#Suspected_agent

          • francesca 1.3.2.2.1

            That was interesting , thanks
            Particularly the bit citing the Annals of Emergency Medicine, an American body

            “Under the heading “Lessons Learned,” the authors state “It seems likely that the 800 hostages were about to be killed by Chechen rebels. To rescue them, the Russian military used a calmative agent in an attempt to subdue the rebels. The intent was likely to win control of the theater with as little loss of life as possible. Given the large number of explosives in the hands of the hostage takers, a conventional assault or the use of more toxic chemical agents might have significantly increased the number of casualties. Although it may seem excessive that 16% of the 800 hostages may have died from the gas exposure, 84% survived. We do not know that a different tactic would have provided a better outcome.”

            • joe90 1.3.2.2.1.1

              Just like Bến Tre – kill the hostages to save the hostages.
              /.

              • D'Esterre

                Joe90: “Just like Bến Tre – kill the hostages to save the hostages.”

                A little-reported aspect of that situation is that Russia was actually dealing with a very early instance of Islamist jihadism. We’ve all now seen what that looks like, having unwillingly watched its atrocities in the Middle East. Russia has been pretty successful in suppressing jihadism in its territory.

                • joe90

                  a very early instance of Islamist jihadism

                  Arse.

                  Self proclaimed Jihadis went global in the 1970’s.

            • D'Esterre 1.3.2.2.1.2

              Francesca: “That was interesting , thanks
              Particularly the bit citing the Annals of Emergency Medicine, an American body ”

              Don’t you love it when Russophobes post links that they haven’t read properly, and that inadvertently undermine the point they were wanting to make? It’s happened quite often to me.

  2. Zorb6 2

    Satire is definately doomed,if you have to point it out!
    Winston expressed a high opinion of Tillerson,and a willingness to engage with him.

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    I wonder if Trump could find a use for Nick Smith.

    • Stunned Mullet 3.1

      …or Winston

      • savenz 3.1.1

        David Parker seems good at undermining democracy. Love the 2 week submissions for TPPA must have picked it up from the Natz! Go Labour and NZ First! The race to double speak while undermining democracy to the bottom begins, which party wins.

        Also notice lying like Key, has become popular!

      • dukeofurl 3.1.2

        Peters was only pointing out, but not including details, that US has shot down civilian airliner( Iran Air Fl 655) along with Ukraine.( Siberia Airlines Fl 1812)
        For all those passengers it doesnt make it Ok

        What isnt explained is why in an area where the rebel forces were using BUK missiles to shoot down Ukrainian military jets, western airliners were still using the overflight corridors.

        • D'Esterre 3.1.2.1

          Dukeofurl: “What isnt explained is why in an area where the rebel forces were using BUK missiles to shoot down Ukrainian military jets…”

          The rebels weren’t using BUKs: they had anti-aircraft weapons. It was only a few months since the Ukrainian military had instigated hostilities in the Donbass; rebels were still using fairly basic weapons at that stage. We could see this from reportage at the time. Here’s a technical explanation of why the rebels couldn’t have shot down MH 17. This from a relative: apologies for its length, but you need a few words to explain it:

          “The radar on the nose of the Buk launcher is not designed to act as a surveillance radar; that job is done by a separate vehicle which carries only the search radar. The Buk complex typically consists of a control vehicle, a surveillance-radar vehicle and four launchers, for a total of six. The radar on the nose of the Buk launcher is highly directional, consisting in layman’s terms of a narrow beam pointed at the sky, like a flashlight held at arm’s length. It’s there to guide the missile to the target, by fixing on it and remaining locked on it throughout the missile’s flight. The radar accepts ‘pointing’ commands from the surveillance radar, which initially acquires the target and then tells the subordinate radars on the launch vehicles where to look in order to find it, in azimuth, range and altitude. Once the launcher radars have the target, the surveillance radar’s job is done. The missile is launched, and accepts commands from the launch vehicle which tell it where to fly in order to arrive at the target, since the launch vehicle’s narrow directional beam is constantly ‘painting’ the target and knows where it is in space and time because it is providing constant updates to the missile.

          If the target were not moving, you probably could find it eventually with the guidance radar, if you knew roughly where to look. But the search aperture window is so narrow – because the beam is designed to send all its concentrated energy in a single direction instead of splashing it all over the sky like a surveillance radar – that you effectively could not find a moving target with it in time to lock on and get a shot away. The Boeing is moving at about 400 knots at 30 kft, and will only be in range for maybe a minute and a half. Figure in time of flight for your missile, and you probably – roughly – have about 45 seconds to find the target before a shot is no longer viable. That’d be lots of time if you knew where to look and locked it up as soon as it came within range, you could even take 10 seconds or so to let your firing solution firm up before firing. But you wouldn’t be able to find a moving target with the missile-guidance radar on the nose. You’d have to be constantly slewing the nose around manually, searching, whereas the launcher radar is designed to respond to directional commands from the surveillance radar and should slew automatically to the proper bearing and elevation.”

          You’ll recall that Bellingcat – among others – claimed that the rebels had a BUK launch vehicle; as you can see, they’d have needed much more gear than just a launch vehicle. Which they clearly didn’t have, nor were they ever reported as having. A fortiori, they were civilians: not trained to use such weaponry, even had they possessed it.

          MH 17 was shot down by the Ukro military; they’ll move heaven and earth to prevent that coming out, but they were the only ones in that area with the requisite equipment.

        • D'Esterre 3.1.2.2

          Dukeofurl: “….western airliners were still using the overflight corridors.”

          In the month immediately following the shoot-down of MH 17, we flew from Japan to Europe. Our flight would have used that Ukrainian corridor; but fortunately, the IAA had redirected all such flights over Russia. Our flight went almost as far north as Archangelsk, before we turned for central Europe.

          You’ll also recall that, immediately following the shoot-down, Obama announced that the US had radar trace and other evidence which enabled it to say who had shot the craft down, and from where the missile had been fired: evidence, it must be pointed out, that the US has never since made public. Almost straight away, commentators began to claim that Russia was responsible; yet here we were, all these flights from Japan being redirected over Russia.

          I doubt that the IAA would have taken such a step, were there evidence as claimed that the Russian military was in the habit of taking potshots at passing domestic airliners.

          I’d add that we flew back to Japan via the Russia route, and made the same trip (there and back) five months later. And we’re still here….

      • dukeofurl 3.1.3

        Winston was right.

        Obama put tariffs on Chinese tyres, Ok that affect us
        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-tariffs-has-the-u-s-tried-in-the-past-and-how-did-they-work-out/

  4. francesca 4

    Navalny the only viable alternative?
    At less than 2% even if his conviction didn’t disqualify him
    I would have thought Grudinin , who state pollsters have at 7% would be a more viable candidate.
    Unfortunately he represents the Communist party, who have a strong following
    apparently this is the man who worries the Kremlin more, but sadly his policies don’t meet with the approval of western governments, so yeah, Navalny’s our man, just not Russian’s
    If I could vote in Russian elections I’d be very tempted by Pavel Grudinin
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-08/russian-candidate-pavel-grudinin-too-popular-for-kremlins-liking/952620

    Just a little fact about the Novichok group of nerve agents,( supposedly 8 x the lethality of VX, but hey just wash your clothes)
    It was produced in Uzbekistan, now independent. The US were quick to come and help to decommission the factory. Does anyone honestly think they wouldn’t keep samples for themselves , or share with Israel?
    From Wiki

    One of the key manufacturing sites was the Soviet State Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) in Nukus, Uzbekistan.[15] Small, experimental batches of the weapons may have been tested on the nearby Ustyurt plateau.[16] It may also have been tested in a research centre in Krasnoarmeysk near Moscow.[15] Since its independence in 1991, Uzbekistan has been working with the government of the United States to dismantle and decontaminate the sites where the Novichok agents and other chemical weapons were tested and developed.[15][16]

    In 2002, the United States Department of Defense dismantled the major research and testing site for Novichok at the Chemical Research Institute in Nukus, under a $6 million Cooperative Threat Reduction program.[

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/09/10/exclusive-does-israel-have-chemical-weapons-too/

    • francesca 4.1

      Something went wrong with the link to Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin

      http://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/article.aspx?id=265286&cat=1032&fm=newsmain%2Cnarts

      Hopefully a different source helps
      He’s an interesting guy

    • lprent 4.2

      Just a little fact about the Novichok group of nerve agents

      Yes, I understand that will be the official Russian line.

      It is line with their previous plausible deniability exercises over the last decade, including their invasion of Crimea using unmarked troops and their ‘patriot’ Russian troops volunteering for the battles in the Ukraine.

      However I simply don’t believe it because it is remarkably like a similar pattern of behaviour in recent decades.

      Russia’s current leadership appears to have abandoned anything apart from a sham of civilized behaviour. They need to be treated accordingly.

      I’m certainly not interested in us getting involved in any trade deals with them. Mind you, I also not interested in ones with the US at present either – it’d reactivate the worst trade restricting clauses of the TPP.

      • francesca 4.2.1

        So you think the Wiki article represents the “Russian line”
        Here’s the “American line”

        https://www.rferl.org/a/1091987.html
        And I would think the Americans would have been derelict not to take samples….,taking the most charitable option….. for the same reason Porton Down still produces VX. To develop treatments and antidotes

        • lprent 4.2.1.1

          What wiki article?

          My point is that I can’t particularly see a reason for the anyone else apart from Russians to attack a ‘traitor’ to Russia in the UK. I can’t see anyone else having a motivation – even the russophobic idiots in the US security services.

          Anything is possible with where nerve gas samples wound up. That really isn’t my point.

          It is frigging unlikely that that particular nerve agent would have been used in this particular case except to cause humiliation to a traitor (if you read up on the effects you will see what I mean) and to strike terror amongst Russian dissidents to the current regime.

          It also fits exactly inside a pattern of behaviour that the Russian government has been following for many years. You’d have to be pretty deluded not to acknowledge that this is probably another instance.

          Basically I’m pretty sure it was the Russian government, and support almost anything that gets done to them and their institutions to deter them from similar incidents.

          • francesca 4.2.1.1.1

            Iprent
            What Wiki article?
            The one I pasted from , prefaced by… From Wiki:
            Previous form…as presented and promoted by the western media… doesn’t meet the burden of proof for me
            The UK and Russia are signed up to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides for situations such as this
            Which Lavrov is asking the Brits to comply with
            I’d like to see a proper and transparent..hah..investigation before fucking the world up some more with knee jerk reactions and further feeding of military budgets

            • dukeofurl 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Great background info francesca

            • lprent 4.2.1.1.1.2

              Explains it. Unquoted, unlinked, and obviously not your opinion. Therefore automatically ignored as some kind of rubbish.

              Basically with the numbers of comments I get to read every day if something can’t be easily checked for accuracy and doesn’t express someone’s thinking…. Well I scanned straight past it.

              But I must compliment you on how closely you have been studying RT and Fox techniques of misinformation.

              Perhaps you could trying linking and quoting rather than undermining whatever credibility your opinions might otherwise carry.

              • D'Esterre

                Lprent: “Ah. The “they did it too” defense…

                Yeah like that is going to impress me.

                Fool.”

                And this to Francesca: “Explains it. Unquoted, unlinked, and obviously not your opinion. Therefore automatically ignored as some kind of rubbish.

                Basically with the numbers of comments I get to read every day if something can’t be easily checked for accuracy and doesn’t express someone’s thinking…. Well I scanned straight past it.

                But I must compliment you on how closely you have been studying RT and Fox techniques of misinformation.

                Perhaps you could trying linking and quoting rather than undermining whatever credibility your opinions might otherwise carry.”

                The more of this sort of response I read, the more i am reminded why I stopped visiting Whaleoil and Kiwiblog. And Cactus Kate….

                This isn’t argument: it’s vituperation. People put time and effort – and in many cases, a coherent argument – into their comments. And this is the response they get. This suggests that you don’t have a countervailing argument. In which case, just get out of the way and let other people debate.

            • D'Esterre 4.2.1.1.1.3

              Francesca: “Previous form…as presented and promoted by the western media… doesn’t meet the burden of proof for me
              The UK and Russia are signed up to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides for situations such as this
              Which Lavrov is asking the Brits to comply with
              I’d like to see a proper and transparent..hah..investigation before fucking the world up some more with knee jerk reactions and further feeding of military budgets”

              Thank you for posting sane and rational comments. As is usually the case when you comment, I agree with everything you say on this thread.

              However. I’m sure that it hasn’t escaped your attention that you’re talking to Russophobes – in particular the author of this post – here. We’ve been down this road countless times, you and I: there’s no convincing them of the wrongheadedness of their perspective. They aren’t seeing the world as it is: you might as well try to convince a psych ward denizen that he is not being gangstalked by aliens from the crab nebula.

              Give up and let them wallow in their own bile – you’ll be happier for it. And you won’t have spent frustrating hours sweating over a keyboard and locating links. Which they don’t read anyway. God forbid that they should see anything that might challenge their prejudices. A lost cause, I’m afraid.

              • francesca

                Thanks D’Esterre
                I’m not too dismayed by the responses, but I am surprised, and interested in a strange anthropological kind of way, in the lack of depth, the bigotry, and the abysmally lame acceptance of the ridiculous caricatures we are fed
                A Punch and Judy show for the masses, and they lap it up
                It pisses me off that I forever seem to be championing Russia when its the clearly (to me ) obvious propaganda against it that sticks in my craw.
                I am heartened though , when I encounter others with similar views to ours, often in unlikely quarters….an endicrinologist I met astounded me with his ardent criticism of the whole Russophobic surge in foreign policy recently.

      • dukeofurl 4.2.2

        You mean ‘unmarked troops’ like these ?

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3365394/US-Special-Forces-photographed-time-secret-mission-Libya-embarrassingly-told-leave-local-commanders-shortly-arriving.html

        Sorry its Daily mail but they do have good photos but to make it ‘official’ heres the Guardian version
        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/17/secret-us-mission-in-libya-revealed-after-air-force-posted-pictures
        Lets keep it real. Even NZ has its special forces as ‘unmarked troops’ at times. Its the way these things work

      • Adrian Thornton 4.2.3

        What about trade deals with China?

        • lprent 4.2.3.1

          I couldn’t really fault the CFTA, and believe me when I say I looked.

          It was pretty transparent, the benefits and costs laid out for both sides and the benefits and downsides were reasonably distributed across our society.

          The Chinese since its introduction, despite the massive power imbalance, have acted in accordance with the treaty. The biggest hassle has just come from inadvertent effects. Like the flood of black money affecting property prices here.

          I had (and still do) far more questions about CER back in the day.

          I have nothing against trade treaties except when they carry baggage. In the case of the TPPA the excessive impositions of foreign law restraining trade. With the Russian governments their apparent levels of untrustworthiness of their kleptocracy in particular with respecting laws – even including their own.

    • Exkiwiforces 4.3

      You might want to read this link?

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-14/only-russia-could-be-behind-uk-poison-attack-toxin-inventor-says/9546298

      The those that know bugger all about CBRND Warfare. Every Chemical, Biological and Radioactive materiel have their own DNA just like our own DNA. The Boffins at Britain’s Porton Down Research Facility would be 100% correct on their findings that this Nerve Argent is a Soviet era Nerve Argent.

      • Ed 4.3.1

        The mainstream media lies.

        • tracey 4.3.1.1

          So all msm news shoukd be regarded as fake news?

          • Ed 4.3.1.1.1

            The vast majority serves an agenda .

            • Stuart Munro 4.3.1.1.1.1

              And RT doesn’t. Whiter than white.

              • mauī

                RT provides some critical analysis of the west. For example, Chris Hedges, Thom Hartmann, John Pilger, Media Benjamin, Max Keiser.

                If you want to make a comparison NZ tv has hosking, hilary barry & duncan garner.

                • Stuart Munro

                  RT has gone off the reservation since MH17. I used to watch their stuff – but in relation to Russian interests they rarely have any substantive content any more.

                  Every news service reflects the cultural norms of their society to some extent, journalism consists in not representing these without some factual basis. Hosking & Garner are merely rubbish – RT makes stuff out of whole cloth. The ‘expert BUK denial panels’ were the last straw for me – I’d been following the data journalism trail on Bellingcat that debunked Moscow’s falsified evidence as fast and sometimes faster than RT could put it up.

        • Exkiwiforces 4.3.1.2

          Want me to pull something from Janes Defence or from CBRND monthly then?

      • francesca 4.3.2

        And yet this article from the Atlantic, a notably anti Russian publication asserts that Russia was not able to secure its chemical weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
        Conditions were chaotic and the Russian military was weak.
        The whole state was dismantled with nothing to replace it yet Russia kept a tight hold on its chemical weapons?
        This is what happens when a society collapses

        https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive
        /2015/10/moldova-nuclear-weapons-isis/409456/

      • Ed 4.3.3

        I respect Galloway ‘s opinion.
        Armies and governments lie.

        • rhinocrates 4.3.3.1

          Except Russians. Why are they the exception? If you’re so cynical, why this huge blind spot?

          • D'Esterre 4.3.3.1.1

            rhinocrates: “Except Russians. Why are they the exception?”

            Nobody is suggesting that they are. But in this case, I think we are seeing an illuminating example of what Ed said above: governments lie. And May is lying like a flatfish. In addition, once one applies the “cui bono”? test, the entire clumsy episode stinks of false flag, poorly-executed. Or – as I think likely – it was Fentanyl, which they themselves took, whether or not they understood its toxicity.

            Note May’s braying about “military grade” nerve agent: stupid bitch! As if there’s a domestic grade. And – if it’s (what was it?) 10 times as toxic as vx, as she claimed – it’s a mystery how the Skripals and the police officer are still alive, let alone the woman who tended to Yulia, including clearing her airway, without suffering any side effects. If a story looks like bollix, penny to a five quid note it is bollix.

            And we are at pains to point out that neither the UK nor the US are beacons of shining honesty. Both have “form” for duplicity, going back centuries.

            Joe Public has been comprehensively propagandised by western msm, at least for all of my fairly long life. The Watergate scandal started to rip the covers off, and of course the Iran Contra scandal some years later; but it was really only being in the academic system, coupled with the arrival of the internet, that woke me up to the extent to which we’d been lied to.

      • dukeofurl 4.3.4

        exKF, if you knew anything about ‘DNA’ you would know that its doesnt provide the ‘ family history’ you think it does. Especially when you have a descendant but dont have the ancestor.

        • Exkiwiforces 4.3.4.1

          Thank you, For correcting me and I should’ve said finger print instead plus I’ve should’ve gone back over my CBRND notes/ PP side before hitting the reply button to double check.

          Yes I know sweet F all about DNA, it did sounded nice at time. Lol

          Sent from IPad

  5. dukeofurl 5

    The Trump announcements about the steel ( and aluminium) tariffs fits into the GOP campaign to hold the 18th district.
    The 18th currently covers the suburban and rural area around Pittsburgh, but avoiding the city itself, once the steel capital of the USA. ( Plus HQ of Alcoa)

    The area has more in common with neighbouring western Ohio and cities like Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown than the eastern areas of Pennsylvania

  6. mauī 6

    So in what looks like a very complex murder case, a week after it happens official sources are telling us they have found the murder weapon, and the culprit i.e. – Russia, and they’re already got a good idea of punishments. One of which is to ban a media channel RT from the country. Shouldn’t all of this raise a few questions…

    • dukeofurl 6.1

      Plus the site where it could have been developed, as Francesca says, which is now Uzbekistan was decommissioned with the help of the US.

      • Macro 6.1.1

        And of course the US would have kept a few samples so that they could use it to murder Russian dissidents.

        • dukeofurl 6.1.1.1

          Ah No . It just means the doubt about who has access to some very specialised chemical weapons.

          remember the ‘slam dunk’ about the CW that Sadaam had ready to use ?

    • Bill 6.2

      The only question I tend to ask these days is “People still believing this shit?”

      Interestingly, from what I can gather in snatches of conversation, the answer is increasingly “No”.

      A sixty odd year old guy who Russia had swapped out for ten sleepers some years back – who obviously can’t be bloody well spying anymore – gets a doze of some ‘orrid shit not more than a stone’s throw from Porton Down… and even the initial articles didn’t explore any possibility linked with that laboratory.

      Then we get “developed by the Russians!” …. leaving out that it was developed in the 1970s. And also leaving out the minor details about Uzbekistan and decommissioning of the lab by the US.

      But sure.

      It must have been Russia. And it was probably ordered by Putin because…because…bumping an irrelevant ex-spy enhances his prospects of re-election (he only leads polls by huge margins after all) and well, we all know how stupid Russia and some of its Middle Eastern allies when it comes to courting international opinion…. and chemical weapons.

      Since everyone’s going all conspiracy on it these days and it seems de riguer to relax ones sphincter and speak from rattling arse cheeks, I’m going to go full blown and suggest the only people with anything to gain are the war mongers of the west who are seeking, not just Putin’s downfall, but the elimination of Russia from the world stage.

      So bump an old Ruskie who’s of no use any more. Do it with chemicals because Russia/Syria/chemicals. Make the link to the Russian government dead easy for the brain dead – so, y’know, a bit like those fingerprints all over that apparent hacking. Say “Russia” a lot in a way that suggests “Kremlin” (so lots of Putin footage).

      And apart from the fact that people in general seem to be finding the proposition rather ludicrous, it’s a sure fire winner!

      Result. Turn those screws tighter. Stack more shit on top of the dubious Magnitsky Act and pretend that sanctions are not a weapon. No siree! Sanctions are the civilised route taken by good guys confronted by bad guys. And keep that look of innocence solid if questions about “messing in another country’s elections” comes up. Not that it will. 🙂

      • francesca 6.2.1

        and the only explanation to do such a daft thing?
        Sending a message apparently
        If I’d just finished destroying my stocks of chemical weapons , verified by the OPCW, and greatly acclaimed by it

        https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-marks-completion-of-destruction-of-russian-chemical-weapons-stockpile/

        I don’t think I’d be “sending a message” using the legendary Novichok nerve agent

        Why even bother going to all that trouble to be accepted as a responsible member of the world community to fuck it all up 6 months later?

        My main beef is …Am I meant to just swallow all this shit?

          • Brigid 6.2.1.1.1

            “If London does have serious reasons to suspect Russia of violating the CWC – and the statement read by distinguished Ambassador Peter Wilson indicates directly that this is so – we suggest that Britain immediately avail itself of the procedures provided for by paragraph 2 of Article 9 of the CWC. They make it possible, on a bilateral basis, to officially contact us for clarifications regarding any issues that raise doubts or concerns.”
            “A fair warning, we will require material evidence of the alleged Russian trace in this high-profile case. Britain’s allegations that they have everything, and their world-famous scientists have irrefutable data, but they will not give us anything, will not be taken into account. For us, this will mean that London has nothing substantial to show, and all its loud accusations are nothing but fiction and another instance of the dirty information war being waged on Russia.”

            Dammit I do like it.

            Though, I personally have little faith in the OPCW, They couldn’t organise themselves to obtain material from the last so called ‘Syrian Gas Attack’ but accepted samples from an identified source, collected from ….some place.

            “An advance team for the FFM was deployed within 24 hours of being alerted to the incident. For security reasons, the FFM was unable to visit Khan Shaykhun. The rapid deployment to a neighbouring country, however, enabled the team to attend autopsies, collect bio-medical samples from casualties and fatalities, interview witnesses and receive environmental samples.”

            https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-fact-finding-mission-confirms-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-khan-shaykhun-on-4-april-2017/

        • Bill 6.2.1.2

          Am I meant to just swallow all this shit?

          Yes you are.

          I honestly think that “our betters” are at a bit of a loss when it comes to understanding why more and more people these days ain’t swallowing nothing that they have on offer.

          It’s them Russians and their facebook and RT an’…..stuff. It must be! 😉

    • So in what looks like a very complex murder case, a week after it happens official sources are telling us they have found the murder weapon, and the culprit i.e. – Russia…

      What’s complex about it? It was pretty clear early on that it involved a nerve agent of the kind usually only available to governments, so they would have been testing immediately to find out which one. As for likely suspects, well, duh – another one of Putin’s enemies dies in mysterious circumstances, in this case very similar to Litvinenko, who certainly was killed by Russian agents. But, uh, yeah, sure – maybe it was the Americans or something, I mean what are the odds the Russian government would kill people it regards as traitors?

      • Bill 6.3.1

        A washed up, once jailed and then traded ex-spy in his sixties living in England because he probably can’t gain entry into Russia is …. (wait for it!) “Putin’s enemy”.

        ffs – do you not think the fact he was caught, jailed and swapped “never to return” might mean he was already “dealt to” and no longer any kind of enemy worth so much as the time of day?

        Now Bill Browder. There’s an enemy! Funnily enough, there’s a fair few Russians fall into his orbit and wind up dead. But that’s okay, right? Coz he ain’t Putin and he ain’t Russian and anyway, we’re talking dead Russians and we can finger point Putin and the Kremlin for any and all dead Russians.

        The latest one is Nikolai Glushkov btw, in case you missed it. He was a close friend of Boris Berezovsky who died and – guess what? – media speculated that was down to Putin too. And so it goes.

        • tracey 6.3.1.1

          Why would you use a non washed up young agent? Would make plausible deniability laughable.

          I do hope we are not suggesting Putin is an innocent full of compassion and without malice kinda fulla?

          • Bill 6.3.1.1.1

            No more an innocent full of compassion and without malice kinda fulla than say…well, more politicians and leaders then we could reasonably shake a stick at 🙂

            edit – just to add that Skripal is an ex British spy 😉

        • Psycho Milt 6.3.1.2

          Your reckons about Putin’s motives and what Americans might or might not get up to will have value to you but not to me. Of value to me is what evidence we have so far – which is that Skripal was poisoned with a Russian nerve agent in similar fashion to the last guy the Russian government is known to have murdered in the UK. If we were on a jury that’s fuck-all evidence to convict on, but I don’t operate an evidential standard of beyond reasonable doubt. Until some evidence to the contrary turns up, top suspect is one Vlad Putin of Moscow.

          • Macro 6.3.1.2.1

            Exactly. Occam’s razor applies here.

            • Bill 6.3.1.2.1.1

              You do know there’s a difference between Occam’s Razor and zombie reasoning, right?

              Occam’s Razor is about common sense and reason – not jumping on board with dumb fuckery because it’s either easy (though senseless) or popular (though senseless)

              • Macro

                Bill my degree is in philosophy, logic and mathematics – I know zombie reasoning when I see it, and a closed mind when I see it. I have seen Russian propaganda from the time when I was a youth, and i know what it looks like.

                • Bill

                  I have seen Russian propaganda from the time when I was a youth, and i know what it looks like.

                  On the assumption you’ve lived “since your youth” in the west, I’m picking that to be a bullshit statement. Propaganda is like weather. Fairly localised. So unless you lived in Russia, it’s very unlikely you’d have been exposed to Russian propaganda. Like the rest of us, you’ve been fed western interpretations of Russia and Russian affairs – ie, western propaganda.

                  Seems (with the above caveat) you’ve lived your life not actually knowing what it was that you were looking at.

                  • rhinocrates

                    On the assumption… Seems (with the above caveat) you’ve lived your life not actually knowing what it was that you were looking at.

                    Ah, “seems.” A euphemism for “I would like to believe.”

                    Propaganda is like weather. Fairly localised.

                    Nope. Like climate, the techniques are global.

                    It’s not a good idea to assume what a person knows from their whole life, has experienced, or what expertise they have from a few contacts on social media. You claim special knowledge by having a “Russian friend.” Let’s see how that goes.

                    You’re grasping at some very soggy straws now.

                    • Bill

                      “Seems” is because I’ve no idea whether Macro has lived in Russia or not and allows for me having made an assumption.

                      Techniques may be universal, but messaging is localised.

                      I know it’s never an idea to assume what someone knows, that’s why (going around in circles now) I’m honest about making the assumption (ie – the word “seems” and the reference to fucking caveats)

                      I never claimed any special knowledge. I merely stated I’d ask a Russian friend his opinion/observation/experience about the general situation for segments of the population.

                      Now about those soggy straws. Get a fucking grip there rhinocrates…if it’s not beyond you.

                      Engage (disagree all you like) with opinions and interpretations, but disengage from the snide personal bullshit.

                    • rhinocrates

                      Good advice. Care to take it?

                      I presented some clear examples of logical fallacies and their refutation. You’re the one who resorted to personal insults. Have a look at your own comments. I didn’t call you an “utter twat”.

                      If you assume that I am making personal insults, then let me offer a real one: hypocrite.

                      Now ban me.

                    • rhinocrates

                      I would have to say, satirically suggesting that someone’s sources might have a very silly hairstyle would be a unique precedent in being banned from The Standard.

                  • Macro

                    In NZ in the 1950’s there was a very active Communist Party, and as my father was a president of a Union he would be regularly given pamphlets, magazines, and other items brought in from Eastern Europe and Russia. These magazines were glossy for the time, attractive to look at, and had many articles about the wonderful life in the Soviet Union. They were distributed to those sympathetic to the cause. The man who gave them to my dad believed he was a “Useful Idiot” , but dad wasn’t to be fooled. Even though he had been to Murmansk in 1917 at the time of the Russian revolution, and had participated in a seaman’s strike on his return to Britain. (The shipping company had refused to pay the men off, because they had not returned to the port at which they had signed on. The ship they had originally been on had been iced in and had caught fire).
                    The fact was this programme of propaganda was to create dissent in the Western World. And soviet sympathisers would infiltrate all Unions around the country. As President dad had had enough of these rabble rousers who were all to strike at the drop of a hat. The fact was that over the years under his Presidency The Rubber workers Union of NZ achieved one of the higher rates of pay for factory workers in the country. He was President for over 20 years.
                    So yes I have seen Russian propaganda, and I have seen a lot of it.
                    In the 1960’s my wife travelled through East Germany, Poland and on to Moscow. The reality of what she saw in a carefully guided trip was nothing like the images of the propaganda magazines.

                    • rhinocrates

                      Thank you, Macro. Opinions are cheap, so it’s good to hear from someone with long experience.

                    • Macro

                      I was very fortunate in my father. He was born in Liverpool in 1899 –
                      the 11th child of the family, and lived to be 95. He never received any schooling beyond primary as the family could not afford for him to go on to secondary and was apprenticed as a pattern maker at the age of 13. But after a year – just prior to WW1 he signed on to a ship as a cabin boy and went to sea. New York, Galveston (and a Hurricane), South America and sailing up the Amazon, Africa and the Congo and then Convoys to Russia. After the episode referred to above he and his mate had had enough and were just in time to be enlisted to the Army as 18 year olds and head off to France. He was wounded by a German sniper (which in some ways was probably the luckiest moment of his life, for he survived a bullet through his left arm and chest and was in receipt of a British Army disability pension for the rest of his life). On discharge the MO said – “well you will be ok to wash dishes” so he realized there and then there was to be no future for him in the UK and immediately emigrated to NZ.
                      He educated himself and was hugely capable. He taught me a great deal.

                    • rhinocrates

                      My paternal grandfather was born in Cowdenbeath, Fifeshire, Scotland in 1899. In January 2003, I managed to visit the street on which he was born. The sight of the actual place was an anticlimax, because a “new” building has been built on the site in 1910, about the time he and his family came to NZ. They’d been from coal-mining stock and looked for a better life. Nonetheless, it has meaning, because I was able to tell my father about my visit, something he’d always wanted to do. He died the next day.

                      Honestly, Fifeshire is a VERY boring place, but Edinburgh is where I’d like to live if it wasn’t Dunedin – which is the old Gaelic name for the place. Socialism, and the working class, have a heritage and we don’t read it in the histories of kings and battles that we’re taught.

                      By the way, anyone visiting Dunedin must see http://www.toituosm.com/ if you want to see both a history of Maori settlement of NZ and the experience of the early settlers. It’s one of the best museums.

                      We learn a lot from our ancestors; what they endured and what they hoped for.

                    • Macro

                      My grandparents on my mothers side were from the other side of Scotland – Kintyre. I visited there last year in the spring when the rhododendrons were in flower. The Isle of Gigha is where my great grandparents lived, and spoke only the Gaelic. The town of Campbeltown had over 30 distilleries 🙂 and Andy Stewart had a song about Campbeltown Loch and wishing it was whisky 🙂

                    • Bill

                      “Communist” propaganda from the Soviet era is irrelevant in terms of modern day Russia.

                      You missed 1991 and everything that followed?

    • McFlock 6.4

      Damned fiendish plan – undermine Putin by assassinating all his enemies in ways pretty much only a nuclear and sophisticated chemical weapons-producing power can manage.

      • Bill 6.4.1

        C’mon McFlock! The game plan (as always) is to land those sanctions in the hope people tire of their leader or leaders and choose ones more amenable to “the west”.

        Dead Russians offer up leverage to impose more sanctions. Dead Russians who died from chemical poisoning are leverage, sledgehammer and dump truck all in one 🙂

        • McFlock 6.4.1.1

          Sanctions? Those work towards Putin’s nationalistic power base.

          So either it’s Putin shitting on his enemies in order to suppress internal dissent, or it’s the West killing and threatening his internal opponents as an excuse to provide an external threat (that will actually shore up his regime’s internal security) in the hope that someone they haven’t killed for him will take over.

          • Bill 6.4.1.1.1

            An aging guy living in exile in England is some leading light in Russian internal dissent? How’s that work? The guy was no-one’s “enemy” or “opponent” any more than you or I were John Key’s “enemy” or “opponent”.

            I agree sanctions don’t have the effect intended by our political masters. But as we well know, they are fine ones for doing the same thing over and over regardless of how often or obviously their theories get confounded by reality. (Free trade anyone?) 🙂

            • McFlock 6.4.1.1.1.1

              Yeah, it’s how the organised crime worke to keep people in line, too. You turn on them, you watch your back for the rest of your life. Make it public so nobody wants to copy them, but deniable enough that you don’t pay for it (or only some of your peons do).

              • Bill

                Why didn’t you just link to all the mainstream tosh if all your’e going to do is parrot their flailing explanations and reasonings McFlock?

                • McFlock

                  Parrot? All I know from MSM is a flipped spy from Russia has been poisoned with a rare and difficult to acquire agent that apparently the Russians knew how to make. Like litvinenko before him. And one or two others.

                  Must just be a case of the bleeding obvious being bleeding obvious except to people who want to pretend Putin is a kind and popular leader who is simply in the fortunate position that his enemies keep killing each other to try to make him look bad..

                • rhinocrates

                  “Mainstream” Do you want artisnal avocado on toast with your alt.media?

                  So someone who’s wrapped some tinfoil around their man-bun is reliable?

                  Why the variable standard of evidence?

                  If you’re going to divert to the “It’s mainstream” defence, then considerse red flags for busllshit in science:

                  https://scienceornot.net/2013/03/19/false-balance-cultivating-counterfeit-controversy-to-create-confusion/
                  This tactic is promoted by peddlers of bad science and pseudoscience and is often taken up by journalists and politicians. In discussing an issue, they insist that “both sides” be presented. Many journalists routinely look for a representative of each “side” to include in their stories, even though it might be inappropriate. Groups or individuals who are pushing nonsense or marginal ideas like to exploit this tendency so that their point of view gains undeserved publicity.

                  Of course the alt.media loves this one:
                  https://scienceornot.net/2012/02/21/persecuted-prophets-and-maligned-mavericks-the-galileo-gambit/
                  Users of this tactic will try to persuade you that they belong to a tradition of maverick scientists who have been responsible for great advances despite being persecuted by mainstream science. They will compare themselves with scientists they imagine are part of it The most popular draftee is Galileo, and for that reason this tactic is usually known as the Galileo Gambit.

                  This one is the favourite of creationists – if there are gaps in the fossil record, then the WHOLE of creationism must be correct. A classic example of variable standards of proof:
                  https://scienceornot.net/2012/04/25/duplicity-and-distraction-false-dichotomy/
                  In this tactic, people assert that there are only two possible (and usually opposite) positions to choose from, when in fact there are more. They try to argue that if one position is shown to be false, then the other must be correct.

                  First, We are never going to know the whole truth in matters of espionage. To demand otherwise is simply insane.

                  Second: Things Vladimir Putin is: brilliant, utterly ruthless, pragmatic, a former KGB colonel, a mafia boss, as significant historically as Napoleon, someone who has said that the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical catastrophe, a Russian patriot determined to restore Russia’s standing in the world as a superpower and largely succeeding. Things Vladimir Putin is not: a teddy bear, nice, a vegan, Satan.

                  Third: “They did it too!” Yeah, so what?

                  • Bill

                    Do fuck off with your insinuations there rhinocrates. I mean, I know it’s unthinkable to utter twats that someone can think a thing without that thing having first been peddled by some reliable (or otherwise) source of “news” and opinion….seeing as how we’re all babes in bibs waiting for our spoons of goo.

                    • rhinocrates

                      “Fuck off”? Really? Are you going to ban me again? Calm down. As for the rest, you’re being utterly childish. Stop digging.

                      Let’s see: “utter twat” “liberal Stalinist” “petal” “poppet”. Really, I’ve been called worse by better people than you and Adam (mostly exes, I have to say).

                    • Bill

                      You’re coming across like a warped door swinging in an ugly breeze this evening rhinocrates. So I’m taking myself away. Evening to you.

                    • rhinocrates

                      I love you too.

                    • Bill

                      big hugs

            • rhinocrates 6.4.1.1.1.2

              Pour encourager les autres, hence the highly theatrical and public nature of the assassination.

              • Bill

                You saying the British state killed on of its own ex spies to “encourage the others”? I mean, I guess since the original use was in relation to the execution of Admiral John Byng it is perhaps a rather British thing to do 🙂

                • rhinocrates

                  Oh FFS. Gosh, aren’t you witty today? Show trials are a very Russian thing to do, and show executions are much more economical.

                • Exkiwiforces

                  Bill, Do you really know the true story about the execution Admiral John Byng? and if you do know its not at anyway related to the Ex- Spies being knocked off.

              • Ed

                Do you repeat everything the corporate media tells you?

            • Ed 6.4.1.1.1.3

              You are a voice of reason and sanity.

          • francesca 6.4.1.1.2

            McFlock
            Yes, and the other advantage of sanctions is that they cut out trading competitors
            The US would love nothing better than to force Europe to buy its expensive LPG, and take over Russia’s market in Europe

        • tracey 6.4.1.2

          How is life really looking, economically for Russians on or below median wage under Putin?

          • Bill 6.4.1.2.1

            Good question. I have a Russian friend (Did you hear those liberal heart beats skip and quicken?) I’ll ask next time I speak with him.

            I suspect things are better than under Yeltsin (low bar) and not as good as under Party rule. Those oligarchs had many sunny days under Yeltsin to make hay 🙁

            • tracey 6.4.1.2.1.1

              I also have a Russian friend. The bar was pretty low. Putin has cloaked it well but no changed it. For those on median incomes or below.

              Do you accept the Russian state sanctioned doping or is that a Western msm beat up too?

              • Bill

                I’ve no idea if the Russian state sanctioned doping of athletes, and couldn’t give a fuck (not given it any thought and not othered to read any stories or articles). Athletes all over the world dope and, to reiterate, I don’t really give a fuck. (shrug)

                • North

                  Bill takes over where CV left off. Well done Bill. Selfish narcissistic bastard.

                  • Bill

                    In your head perhaps North.

                    How long have I commenting and writing here?

                    My politics and attitude are the same now as they were when I first became involved with the site. So go figure

                    And I’ve never cared about sport very much or paid much attention to whatever sporting drug scandal might have been on the go at any given time.

                • tracey

                  It’s part of a totalitarian pattern Bill, whereby a leader believes his people are, well, his, to do with as he pleases, and does.

          • Stuart Munro 6.4.1.2.2

            The expats I know certainly aren’t intending to return.

            https://www.ft.com/content/cbeae0fc-f048-11e5-9f20-c3a047354386

            • francesca 6.4.1.2.2.1

              Expats tend to be like that
              Here where I live, we have 20% Germans, not intending to return
              A large number of UK , not intending to return
              Quite a number of South Africans, Canadians, Americans, not intending to return

              You get that when people upsticks to live in another country

            • rhinocrates 6.4.1.2.2.2

              Well if we want to make it a pissing contest, I’ve Russian, Slovak and Hungarian friends – none of who want to return. I also have a German friend who’s old enough to remember Nazism. So there.

          • francesca 6.4.1.2.3

            You mean after the sanctions and the drop in oil price
            Certainly much improved since Yeltsin’s time , and life expectancy has risen dramatically under Putin
            Men about 71 years, women, 77
            Home ownership of 87.1% helps
            99.7% literacy rate’s not bad
            54% of adults achieving tertiary education 25-64 year olds places Russia very highly compared to other countries
            Sanctions and counter sanctions(meaning less imports) mean that Russia has had to develop home industries and food production.Not a bad thing
            The part of Putin’s recent speech not reported covered the deficits in living standards with policies for improvement.

          • Ed 6.4.1.2.4

            How is life really looking, economically for Americans on or below median wage under Trump?

            • tracey 6.4.1.2.4.1

              Really? Are they being rounded up for being homosexual, and thrown in prison? Scared to “be” homosexual in public and in some instances in private? Scared to go on a protest march in case they get arrested, or disappeared?

              • joe90

                Things ain’t too flash for women, either.

                In January last year, Russia’s domestic violence laws were changed. Some forms of violence were decriminalised, first by the lower parliament, known as the Duma, then endorsed by President Putin.

                Now, if you batter your wife – or indeed any family member – but not severely enough to hospitalise them, and it’s your first recorded offence, you no longer go to prison for two years, as was previously the law. Instead, you’ll receive a fine of anything between 5 and 30,000 rubles (around £375), or up to 15 days in prison. In addition, some women are being forced to pay the fines handed down to their abusers, with unpaid fines often taken from shared bank accounts.

                […]

                Critics fear the introduction of ‘the slapping law’ has already normalised increased levels of violence against women, with the mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city reporting a dramatic uptick in incidents since the change.

                Indeed, it’s estimated that more than 600 Russian women are killed a month in their own homes, and that up to 36,000 women a day are being abused. And for some who do want to leave, the story doesn’t end with the brief sanctuary of a refuge, as it has for Veronika. In December last year, 34-year-old Maxim Gribanov battered his common-law wife, Anastasia Ovsiannikova, so hard she fell into a coma and died. He now faces up to 15 years in prison.

                http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/0dd0ab91-145a-4137-bf87-28d0498c8d56

    • Ed 6.6

      Cui bono?
      Not the Russians…

      • mauī 6.6.1

        Who benefits? Exactly Ed, Russia have an election and the fifa world cup coming up and this kind of world attention is probably the last thing they want.

        • dukeofurl 6.6.1.1

          FIFA World Cup in Russia in 3 months time.

          Now who would want to disrupt that ?
          Do I see a boycott coming ? Does the sun rise every morning

      • rhinocrates 6.6.2

        “All politics is internal” – Tip O’Neill. Who benefits internally? Guess.

      • Stuart Munro 6.6.3

        Who benefited from the Litvinenko killing Ed? You can make the same argument about that one if you like, Putin did it anyway.

      • Psycho Milt 6.6.4

        Cui bono?

        Hmm, yes. Let’s have a think.

        Perhaps Teresa May thought her government really needed to be made to look weak and ineffectual right now and this was just the right way to do it?

        Maybe she thought sending a message to all Putin’s enemies in the UK that they can be blatantly murdered with impunity would further the UK’s interests?

        Could be that highlighting how isolated the UK is from its US and EU allies right now was a key motivator for the British government?

        Possibly, May thought that giving the Russian government insights into how the British government would deal with an attack like this might be of great strategic benefit to the UK?

        Those damn Tories!

  7. francesca 7

    I hesitate to link to RT(attracting derision from the yah boo sucks! school) but this article presents several interesting facts to consider, plus a tweet from Mirzayanov, the Russian whistleblower chemist, involved in the production of the Novichok group, now living in the US

    https://www.rt.com/news/421200-uk-novichok-agent-allegations/

    And Yes, no apologies, I do look at RT, where else am I going to get the official Russian point of view?

    • lprent 7.1

      I hesitate to link to RT..

      Hey – there is no real harm in linking to what I consider is a ‘reality’ entertainment channel that intermixes obvious lying with other commentary to placate the bigoted sensibilities of the dedicated followers.

      I can’t recall limiting propaganda links from Fox either.

      The only time we have actually limited links to anything was when we have spates of trolling dropping links all over the site to promote other sites – in other words astro-turfing.

      Generally the equally deluded arse licking devotees from Whaleoil before he became unfashionable to them by losing all of the time.

      I often link to The Economist and other magazines despite being fully aware of their editorial biases. It is just that their bullshit to fact ratio is far lower than RT, Fox News, or Whaleoil. In the case of RT, I’d rate them as being good for interesting video and far worse at dealing in verifiable facts than Cameron Slater.

      In fact with RT it is usually hard to discern any facts beyond the sly and meaningless insinuations.

    • Ed 7.2

      The BBC is also a state broadcaster

      • dukeofurl 7.2.1

        And ABC , CBC etc etc. . Oh TVNZ , RNZ.

        • rhinocrates 7.2.1.1

          And yet somehow, Alex Jones or someone in a tinfoil hat is beyond question. Hubris is an even bigger motivator than cash.

          Really, why is this scepticism so selective? Let’s see you apply the same standards of truthiness to them.

    • D'Esterre 7.3

      Francesca: “And Yes, no apologies, I do look at RT, where else am I going to get the official Russian point of view?”

      As do I, Francesca, as do I. Unfortunately, I don’t have the Russian language skills that would enable me to access Russian TV. Which – at least for current affairs and politics – is, I’m told, a great deal better than anything we have here. Not saying much, I know…

      Keep going to RT, say I! Just – for the sake of your sanity – don’t come here. At least not when the Russophobes are out to play.

  8. Chris T 8

    Lol

    I have to say Trump may be like an insane uncle, but he ain’t half entertaining (in a morbid way).

    He is like a walking parody of himself.

    The SNL and other comedians must find it hard to take the mick out of him when it’s impossible to exaggerate his nuttiness

  9. Graeme 9

    When I heard the interview after 9 on NatRad this morning I thought, “Oh, something’s coming down to the wire, he’s changing the the point person to the bad cop”

    It’s a common business negotiation tactic, and typical Trump. Bait and switch.

    But that’s just the sunny side up explanation. Time will tell.

  10. RedLogix 10

    Kind of anxious about this to be honest; Tillerson was the only grown up in the entire Trump administration. This on-going debacle is making thuggish totalitarian regimes like China and Russia look more credible as each ugly month passes by.

    Oh and right now I’m working in the middle of this crazy:

    Nothing neo about these Marxists.

    • alwyn 10.1

      ” Tillerson was the only grown up in the entire Trump administration”.
      That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?
      Among the really important ones Mattis at Defence actually seems to be a pretty good pick.

  11. joe90 11

    It appears that the proximate reason was the dimwitted Donald’s inability to separate the needs of America from the requirements of his own narcissistic yearnings.

    Thread.

    As I’ve often talked about, I’ve seen Trump’s narcissism up close. It’s as familiar as an old movie, so let me put today in some context…1/— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) March 13, 2018

    https://twitter.com/HoarseWisperer/status/973680611150979078

  12. SPC 12

    Trump expected that as a head of Exxon he would be anti the Paris Accord and for isolating Iran (as this would increase the value of oil assets outside Iran and the Gulf – such as in Russia where Exxon did business and for which reason Putin gave him an award).

    Tillerson got in the way of a campaign to isolate Qatar (they share half a gas field with Iran and their finance to develop this field would benefit Iran – Israeli policy is to restore sanctions on Iran to weaken it economically).

    https://www.jta.org/2018/03/04/news-opinion/major-jewish-gop-donor-moves-sights-trump-special-prosecutors-investigation

  13. rhinocrates 13

    A useful lesson for the left:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00gxqwn

    Edward Said should be well-known to all progressives. Here he looks at the moral and intellectual compromises one has to make – or not – when our idols gain political power and right away turn into tyrants.

    This admiration of Russia by poseurs trying to get credibility in progressive circles simply because it is not America would be comical if the stakes were lower.

    • adam 13.1

      I’m struggling to find anyone on here who admires Russia politically. That said, what’s not to like about Russians, good literature, good liquor and they lock up all the good people.

      You get there is a difference arguing against vilifying a whole people to justify war and conflict. Verses worshiping at the altar of putain.

      Seems in the time people have been arguing on here, the Tories have actually declared war.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/russian-vladimir-putin-theresa-may-economic-war-sanctions-salisbury-nerve-agent-a8254626.html

      It seems being anti-war, or anti-militarism seems to anthem to the left these days.

      Maybe we should just turn the lights out, and wait for the bombs to drop.

      • Exkiwiforces 13.1.1

        Well Adam, “Looking on the bright side of life” it will solve the climate change problem then the poor old greenies won’t have something to complain about. As he whistles “Always on the bright side of life” as the bombs drop and his B side is “My little Ray of Sunshine” as reaches for his Iodine tablets drinking the last of his single malt scotch and his fat cuban cigar.

    • D'Esterre 13.2

      rhinocrates: “This admiration of Russia by poseurs trying to get credibility in progressive circles simply because it is not America would be comical if the stakes were lower.”

      Who on earth are you talking about? Who are these poseurs? And which progressive circles? As far as I can discern, people in this part of the world who call themselves “progressive” are Russophobes. That’s my experience. They’ve been propagandised, continue to believe the propaganda, even though evidence is absent or shaky, and seem unable to get their heads around the fact that they’re wrong.

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