Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 23, 2019

U.S. Media Bias Creates False Pictures Of Russia

The latest Putin bashing piece in the New York Times is headlined:

It’s Putin’s World. We Just Live in It.
Its economy is sputtering and its young are frustrated, but with America and Europe in tumult, Russia and its leader of two decades are on a roll.

Its first sentence already includes two falsehoods:

Its economy, already smaller than Italy’s, may be sputtering but, two decades after a virtually unknown former K.G.B. spy took power in the Kremlin on Dec. 31, 1999, Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, have just had what could be their best year yet.

bigger

The NYT can claim that Russia's GDP is smaller than Italy's because it only looked at the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of those countries. But nominal GDP like nominal wages are not meaningful comparisons. The question is how much can be bought for each nominal unit.

Andrei Martyanov has recently looked at two quite comparable houses, one near Moscow and one near Washington DC. The Russian house costs some $93,000 while the U.S. one is offered for $440,000:

So, let us calculate GDP created by building these two houses in Russia and in US. Right! As you may have guessed it already, the United States created 4.5 times more GDP than Russia by building comparable house in a place which, let's be frank, is not exactly Moscow. Mind you, that Russia builds all kinds of real estate, from apartments to houses, like there is no tomorrow.
...
Here is how PPP (Purchase Power Parity) GDP works, or, rather confuses most Western think-tank free-loaders who do not understand that most of what they know about the world outside is a baloney or a caricature. Like the fact that China's real middle class which has incomes comparable to that of the average US income is larger than the whole population of the United States. That is a good hint.
...
Now, can you scale down, or scale up, Russia's and American economies? Difficult still but it shows you, at least, what all those proverbial $22 Trillion of the US GDP are worth. Not as much as you may have thought before. Nor is the argument that Russians do not earn as much entirely valid. Yes, many Russians do not earn as much and that is ongoing problem, but, say, R60,000 which roughly converts into $965, gets you pretty comfortable living practically everywhere in Russia bar some places like Moscow or Sochi, especially if you own you apartment--very many Russians do and by own I mean OWN, not paying mortgage. There is a lot of what is going into those economic considerations. But it has to be understood today that nominal numbers in USD are absolutely meaningless and, in fact, dangerous because they create a false sense of confidence.

The GDP of Russia, by purchase power parity, is 4,349,423 m$.
The GDP of Italy, by purchase power parity, is 2,442,768 m$.

So it surely does not look as if Russia's economy is "already smaller than Italy’s". Corrected by purchase power Russia's official GDP (PPP) is about as big as Germany's. But even that comparison is skewed. Russia's official GDP is chronically underestimated as the country has a large unofficial economy. It is estimated that 20-30% of all work in Russia is done in exchange for cash and is never officially registered or taxed.

When one considers that Russia currently has no noticeable population growth its economy growth is still fine. It slowed down this year but it is certainly not sputtering:

Economic growth in Russia will be higher than expected in 2019 and is likely to pick up in the next few years thanks partly to higher state spending and looser monetary policy, the World Bank said on Wednesday.
...
The World Bank, in a regular report on the Russian economy, said it expected gross domestic product to expand by 1.2% this year, up from the 1.0% it projected in October. In 2018, Russian GDP grew by 2.3%.

In 2020 Russian GDP is seen at 1.6% and in 2021 1.8%, versus 1.7% and 1.8% respectively projected in October, the World Bank said.

Unlike the Fed and European central banks, which have pushed interest rates to zero to create artificial growth in unproductive financial markets, the Russian central bank held back and still has lots of ammunition left. And the Russian Federation has a very sound budget and little debt. Should a growth spurt be needed Russia still has, unlike others, the economic ammunition to provide it:

"A less restrictive monetary policy and increased spending on the national projects is expected to help foster growth," Renaud Seligmann, World Bank Country Director in the Russian Federation, said in the report.

The central bank will next meet on interest rates on Dec. 13, where it may consider cutting the key rate, now at 6.5%, for the fifth time so far in 2019.

The rest of the NYT piece is not any better than its very first paragraph. It simply repeats false stereotypes about Putin as an "autocratic leader" or about the non-existing Russian influence on U.S. elections.

Nearly thirty years ago when the Soviet Union broke apart Russia had a deep fall. The liberalization of its economy had catastrophic consequences. But it has since reformed itself. It is now back to its traditional position in the world. A large Eurasian power which is in nearly all aspects independent from the rest of the world and able to protect itself. It must therefore be taken into account when one thinks of global polices. That is simply a fact and not the effect of a "mindgame" that Russia allegedly plays with the "west".

That the U.S. still has problems to understand that is not Russia's fault but the result of the skewed descriptions of it.

Posted by b on December 23, 2019 at 14:32 UTC | Permalink

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Like the NYT, MSNBC's Maddow is being cranked up.

Partly this is a market share turf war. Maddow wants the massly manipulable American muppetry kept as her own private preserve. I'm convinced there's a large segment of the American population that enjoys being manipulated. It appears to tickle them in strange places. An endless loop of gullibility cannot possibly cover the stubborn currency of these living-dead tropes.

Here's another way to mind-bend the Russophobes in your household: Putin and Zelensky are actively engaged in peace negotiations. If Putin controls Trump, is he manipulating POTUS into an irrevocably peaceful solution in the heart of Europe, and if so, should we not open the floodgates of Russia bots to speed the peace process along?

Or does peace mitigate against high-price US LNG sales to Europe and massive MIC sales because "Europe must take on more of the cost burden for its own defense." Trump, Putin stooge, wants to sell pricey missile defense systems into Europe. That's one of the reasons the US dumped the ABM Treaty: to spark a lucrative arms race in Europe. This is all at the behest of Putin who wants to accelerate the incineration of his nation. Trump, dutiful stooge, is of course complying with his master's wishes.

If someone can explain to me how it behooves Russia to expand territorially westward when Nordstream 2 ensures all the (energy) dominance any nation could hope to have over another and a blood-free profit, I'm all ears.

There is no credible analyst not shackled to the MIC trough who ventures such an analysis beyond of course GE's W-2 harpie, Rachel Maddow.

The Western elites have long decided. WW3 is coming. In recent years, the Russians have repeatedly tried to get this message through the western Mediadrome, but to little effect.

The job of the GE spokespeople (Maddow et al) is diversionary/ preparatory spadework i.e. to drill with numbing repetition into the American consciousness who the enemy is. And you can bet the enemy is not who signs their paychecks. Their employers though happen to be OUR enemy.

Thus we find ourselves in the odd position of having Russia's top general attempting to shout through the Maddow racket that our two nations are on a collision course for war. Strange messenger. Or maybe not. They want to live too.

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/…/russias-top-general-warns-wor…

Russia is in demographic collapse. It lacks the human capital to exploit even its own vast resource trove. The western banking system is over-leveraged. The imaginary numbers have gotten too big. Its 'denominator of the real' badly needs shoring up.

Russian resource wealth, Iran's massive South Pars LNG field are viewed with watering eyes as prolongations of the doomed Ponzi. Europe is energy-poor, geriatric and overrun with Islamic jihadists. With all due respect, who would want it at this late stage? At best, it is a funding source --and a battleground-- for WW3.

Meanwhile the Ponzi is ravenous and never sleeps. No growth - negative interest rates is a bell-ringer for WW3. The alternative is deflationary collapse. Maddow's been mysteriously cranked up again: Rushah Rushah!

So we find ourselves in another Goebellian shift: accuse the opposition of your own ulterior motives. They have no designs on us. Our overlords have designs on them.

Americans are just the People in the middle, hostages in a sense yet seemingly feared enough that our minds are still worth battling over. Trump's affinities are too populist. He's a dodgy helmsman for the massive undertaking of a world war where the people are only to be galvanized, not consulted.

Far from a duteous seat-warmer, he's a leader who squeaked through. The Oval Office is no place for leaders. It was thought to have been neutered of all that leadership malarkey post-JFK. Trump's not enough to hold back the MIC. No POTUS is. He either must depart the job or be compromised into executing the plan. But he's a bad Lieutenant. They'll never be comfortable with him.

Then some evil, diseased mind had an epiphany. Don't just Get Trump! Get a twofer! Get Trump and Russah! Weld them together for one kill-shot. Collusion means no daylight and one bullet. Yes, there's a genius to it, a very sick genius.

Posted by: FSD | Dec 23 2019 14:48 utc | 1

A little something Pepe E. If you have time check the link he provides.

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/21/pepe-escobar-you-say-you-want-a-russian-revolution/

Posted by: jo6pac | Dec 23 2019 14:58 utc | 2

The jew York times pumps out propaganda to help keep the usury schemes of the Federal Reserve cartel running. Inflation is high because they keep printing money. The jew York times and ZOG also fear Russia because they booted out the jew oligarchs, and because Russians know the history of jews in their country, and the names of the jew hierarchy in Russia during the October Revolution, which led to the Soviet Union and pogrom. ZOG must keep Americans uninformed to keep their usury, Cultural Marxism, and endless war schemes going. That's one of the tasks of the jew York Times.

Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 15:11 utc | 3

B, great article as usual but disappointed that you didn't write about the latest sanctions on N2.
Another act of WAR by the US. These sanctions now cover the comoany, Allseas, laying the pipeline to Germany. They ceased operations and will not complete the project and Gazprom does not have the expertise. Would love to see your analysis on that.
The NYT propaganda, true to form and loyal to Dem Russophobes just one more attempt to manufacture consent
This is maddening. These crazies are looking for war on Russia. Are the American people stupid enough to give that consent?

Posted by: Annie | Dec 23 2019 15:29 utc | 4

My NYT site has the title "Russia Is a Mess. Why Is Putin Such a Formidable Enemy?"

Some quotes:
---- 1 ----
Under Mr. Putin, Vladislav Surkov, a longtime Kremlin adviser, wrote in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a Moscow newspaper, earlier this year, Russia “is playing with the West’s minds.”

Also its own.
---- 2 ----
All the same, said Gleb Pavlovsky, a political scientist who worked for more than a decade as a Kremlin adviser, Russia under Mr. Putin still reminds him of a sci-fi movie exoskeleton: “Inside is sitting a small, weak and perhaps frightened person, but from the outside it looks terrifying.”
---- 3 ----
Whatever its problems, Mr. Surkov, the Kremlin adviser, said, Russia has created “the ideology of the future” by dispensing with the “illusion of choice” offered by the West and rooting itself in the will of a single leader capable of swiftly making the choices without constraint.

China, too, has advocated autocracy as the way to get results fast, but even Xi Jinping, the head of the Chinese Communist Party, can’t match the lightening speed with which Mr. Putin ordered and executed the seizure of Crimea. The decision to grab the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine was made at a single all-night Kremlin meeting in February 2014 and then carried out just four days later with the dispatch of a few score Russian special forces officers to seize a handful of government buildings in Simferopol, the Crimean capital.
==========
If true, the resources committed to "Crimea takeover" were comparable with what Israel committed to assassinate one person, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, dispatching a team of 33 to Dubai in January 2010. Wasn't the superior productivity the strength of the West?

And this is not a joke. Putin is a maniac for balanced budgets, and compared to the expansive American style, the resources committed by Syria were minuscule. And by all accounts, spend well.

REUTERS. Oct 2, 2015 - U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russia on Friday that its bombing campaign against Syrian rebels will suck Moscow into a “quagmire,” after a third straight day of air raids in support of President Bashar al-Assad. <<-- Obama was well aware that Russia committed a very small number of troops, and smallish air force that his military expert were describing as obsolete. Russia could not be many times more effective than USA, could it?

No sign of Obama's predicted 'quagmire' as Russia's ...
https://www.washingtonpost.com › world › 2016/09/30
Sep 30, 2016 - BEIRUT — In the year since Russia began conducting airstrikes in support of the Syrian government, the intervention has worked to secure two ...

That explains the next quote from today NYT
---- 4 ----
“Maybe he’s holding small cards, but he seems unafraid to play them,” said Michael McFaul, a former United States ambassador to Moscow and now a scholar at Stanford. “That’s what makes Putin so scary.”
=========
Seems that Establishment scours most elite universities, Harvard, Yale, Stanford , Princeton etc. for the dumbest possible graduates. I know from private sources that not all graduates are dumb, many are actually brilliant. Does it occur to McFaul that boldness in playing small cards is even worse than playing large card? Russia (and Assad's partisans in Syria) had to do something well that USA (in government supporters in Afghanistan) did not do at all or did badly.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 23 2019 15:30 utc | 5

FSD, you nailed it, people enjoy being manipulated. It's not important if the lie du jour is believable or not, it's socially convenient to believe in it regardless or face social ostracism. Plays perfectly along with the (typical American) Saturday morning cartoon - like Good VS Bad view.
If you say out loud that Russiagate was a poorly written load of crap, it doesn't matter that you give plenty of proof, you're a Russian agent.
It's like back in middle school, there are things you are expected to believe and behave accordingly or you will be destroyed, socially.

Posted by: Sumguy | Dec 23 2019 15:35 utc | 6

It depends on how you measure wealth. Scrooge looked poor but he had a ton of "dosh" stored in his coffers. Russia has huge wealth in the ground in the form of oil and gas. Indeed, the Russians are about to switch on Nord Stream 2: thus ensuring them an income from this one sourse alone for many decades. Russia also has a large gold reserve which may well be the currency of choice when the dollar goes down the pan. Russia is also preeminent is space and incredible military innovation which many other countries are keen to acquire. Now what's Italy got? Now let me see, well, there's spaghetti and wine and I believe they make some kind of washing machine. Can't think of anything else. The Russians don't have thousands of people defecating in the streets and homeless like they are in LA.

Posted by: john wilson | Dec 23 2019 15:46 utc | 7

PPP-adjusted GDP is better than nominal GDP. But the size of the internal market, property and income distribution, infrastructure are equally important, especially as it affects the profitability of new investment. Russia is not well off in this regard, with dense development increasingly limited to a handful of select areas. Worse, the notion that the budget deficit is important is wrong, indicating the Russian government is not competent. The question is almost always the insufficient profits expected from new development, not budget deficits. Nor do low interest rates by an independent central bank have the effects on general profitability alleged. Russia is outright suffering in the weaker strata, such as the seniors or the weaker areas, like most of the country. And so far as I know the situation overall has never improved so much that population growth has resumed. This strikes me as an indicator of economic stress. (Yes, in other countries like the US or Europe too.) People by and large tend to have children if they can afford them, with no difficulties posed by natural bachelors no matter what that shithead Putin thinks.

The effectiveness of Russian aid to Syria is not due to the genius of Putin, much less his stinginess. It's because when all is said and done, the Syrian people have committed in the majority to a secular national government, rather than the jihadis. The tactical advantages of the defense and outside aid enabled a minority to prolong its campaign. But the jihadis lost mostly because they were outnumbered. In my judgment. A universal blockade of the national government would have strangled it I think, but how likely was that ever to happen? The real question for Putin is not whether the intervention was effective, but, what did he get for it? That's still not resolved.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Dec 23 2019 15:46 utc | 8

Not to rain on anyone

Posted by: Bill | Dec 23 2019 15:51 utc | 9

The imperial lie machine sure is disgruntled that the 1990s attempt to economically and biologically crush Russia once and for all was a failure and Russia has since been reasserting itself. It wasn't "the end of history" after all.

That was the source of the underlying current of Russia Derangement among the US elite classes (political, economic, media, academia, professional etc.), the many provocations, and then the total meltdown beginning in late 2016.

Since it really seems to be a collective mental illness (I mean that literally) afflicting a power group which is already psychotic and violent, and since it coincides with the accelerating erosion of the US imperial position, it's looking more and more likely that this must eventually lead to all-out war. I just can't imagine the US stepping back, any more than I could imagine Hitler doing so.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 23 2019 15:53 utc | 10

@b
I would note that the population of Russia is considerably higher than Italy or Germany. Russia's population is a bit under 2.5x larger than Italy and 1.7x larger than Germany. Even if Russia's economy has 30% untracked activity - I have grave doubts whether Italy's untracked activity is lower...
Core point is still valid though.
Martyanov's point about owning property outright is significantly based on older Russians who didn't sell the property they occupied when the deeds were transferred from the state to individuals in the 1990s.
I haven't seen data on just what percentage of properties fall under this category, but it is likely the largest factor.
Another one is the consistently high borrowing rates for mortgages in Russia militating against buying property with loans - 20% mortgage interest rates don't jibe well with the ability to pay off.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 23 2019 16:01 utc | 11

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 23 2019 15:30 utc | 5

It is/was very depressing to see the low class of the people Obama had selected for him, their main quality being to loudly, hysterically, but not very articulately spout the party line. Trump is no better, and perhaps worse. I think they both were/are uncomfortable around people smarter than they. That's a common problem in politics which Putin doesn't seem to suffer from, and which is very interesting. A lot of intellectual confidence and class. And that does much to explain his success too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 23 2019 16:06 utc | 12

And so far as I know the situation overall has never improved so much that population growth has resumed. This strikes me as an indicator of economic stress. steven t johnson | Dec 23 2019 15:46 utc | 8

Russia and other countries of former European USSR had population decrease ca. 1% per year during the chaotic years of collapse. Russia has now small net growth.

Concerning the Putin's genius in Syria, I would not dismiss it. Syrian army was in desperate straits when Russia send troops and increased military aid. There were fighting on 100 fronts and bleeding heavily. Russian worked closely with Syrians in a way that Westerners are not capable of.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 23 2019 16:14 utc | 13

I'm all in favour of the NYT continuing to follow its Tr-r-raditional Mission Statement aka "All The Tosh That's Fit To Print."
Everything else in the US of A is back-to-front and/or upside-down. Why should the MSM feel obliged to suddenly begin publishing facts instead of factoids?

In fact this story, like so many other factoid-based stories in the US MSM masquerading as News, reminds me of one of Alice's early quips in Alice In Wonderland.

Soon after she crosses the threshold into Wonderland Alice is exploring a path through a sparse forest. As she goes round a bend in the path, she spots Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee standing together on the path ahead of her. The White Rabbit is with them and when he sees Alice he exclaims "See! I told you she was the right Alice!"
But a mouse by the side of the path exclaims "No! She's the wrong Alice!"
Alice spikes the looming debate by asking the mouse...
"How can I be the wrong Alice when this is My Dream?"
..............
The United States of Alice In Wonderland?
Ah-h, the AmeriKKKan Dream. You have to be asleep to believe it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 23 2019 16:28 utc | 14

Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 15:11 utc | 3

I wish you would not use "jew York Times" to refer to the newspaper I also disagree with. I just referred a Jewish friend to this site and this is one of the first comments he will see. While NYT surely has its shortcomings, to put it mildly, it is not reflective of all Jewish opinion. I find your label distasteful on my friend's behalf as it unfairly depicts all Jews in a bad light.

I fear that your label may have just driven a sincere, interested reader and thinker away from this site.

Posted by: Tiger Lily | Dec 23 2019 16:49 utc | 15

In Canada the cost of living outpaces wages by a considerable margin, consumer debt is the highest in the G7, permanent homeless camps are a fixture in major cities and popping up in smaller ones, people, including families, living in their vehicles is becoming normalized, an ongoing opioid epidemic is still killing hundreds of people a month, etc. etc.

But the media keeps telling me unemployment is at record lows and the economy is “red hot” and “booming” so it’s all good, nothing to worry about thank God because the free and democratic media here in the west never lies or traffics in distorted facts and disinformation. It only prints and broadcasts The Truth and I’m really happy about that, very relieved that everything is just fine and wonderful and all the bad things and the bad people and the bad economies are in China, Russia and scary places like that. It’s great living in a place that’s so free and awesome and knows only joy and prosperity!

If Putin was smart and freedom loving he’d get some western economic experts, from Harvard Business School say, to help get the Russian economy booming but he’s paranoid and doesn’t trust the west for some reason.

The uneasiness I feel as I stumble over the sleeping homeless people on my way to the bus stop in the morning is irrational and foolish and was planted in my mind by Russian troll bots on Facebook. I understand this now. Everything is wonderful here, now and always. With Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland at the helm and a first class media dedicated to Truth why would anyone worry or be mistrustful of our great Leaders and our Democratic Institutions? We are the envy of the world and that makes Putin’s Russia jealous and meddlesome. I understand this now and channel all my news through an Atlantic Council Fake News Filter plugin so all the Putinist mind warping stuff on Facebook can’t affect me anymore.

Sorry that was a long post, lol. Anyways my friend I hope you are well even though I am sad that you still have a false paranoia about Our Western Media spreading Fake News. It’s Putin bro, not “us”! I understand this now broke lurker cover to share my insight with you so that you too can learn to speak only Teh Truth. The Russian economy is spluttering badly and here in Canada everything is wonderful! In Germany too! They hate our freedom and therefore it’s always bad there. The Democratic West will save the Putinist economy when Putin learns to love and trust the West like I do (and hopefully you)! Peace out bro and much love, eh, haha.

Posted by: Danny | Dec 23 2019 17:09 utc | 16

FSD @1: Don't just Get Trump! Get a twofer! Get Trump and Russah!

Yeah it's (finally) becoming clear to everyone that Russiagate and the new McCarthyism are related.

But everyone still thinks that getting Trump was primary.

I've been arguing for about 20 months that initiating a new McCartyism was primary - and Trump was likely a part of that conspiracy.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 23 2019 17:10 utc | 17

Can anyone recommend a good book on the privatization of state assets of the former USSR? Particularly one that focuses on how mid-level technocrats, often of a persecuted minority, were able to get the capital to purchase these assets.

Posted by: Kevin | Dec 23 2019 17:14 utc | 18

@ 15 tiger lily... every site on the internet is plagued with this type of behaviour.. it's called hasbara.. the post you reference was probably intent on doing just what they want to do - discourage others from reading this site... it's a post by someone who never posts here too... hopefully b will delete it..

Posted by: james | Dec 23 2019 17:14 utc | 19

@ Tiger Lily 15

As a Sephardi Cohen whose roots hail from Spain 1770, I say to you Oh please, Stop it.!!!

FFS. How about the Palestinians who live in open air squalor and are oppressed by the Khazarians. Yes, that they are Khazarians was acknowledged in the JPost.

Don't get me started.

The once oppressed are now the great Oppressors: Racism abounds and you will not read it in the NYTimes of the SHAMING for the sterilization of Ethiopian Jews. Apologies are not enough.
And of stolen Palestinian lands, stolen tax revenues and stolen gas fields off the coast of Gaza .
Oh for the Joy to see the minute Palestinian people and their lands are liberated.

The pity Uganda was refused.

Posted by: Likklemore | Dec 23 2019 17:24 utc | 20

Also yesterday the NYTimes continued it’s Russian smears, with another front page expose. I only scan this paper to find out what the Deep State is up to. I know the Skripal attack was fake from reporting here, but would be interested in the debunking of the rest.

“How a Poisoning in Bulgaria Exposed Russian Assassins in Europe”

“For years, members of a secret team, Unit 29155, operated without Western security officials having any idea about their activities. But an attack on an arms dealer in Sofia helped blow their cover.”

Posted by: Stever | Dec 23 2019 17:44 utc | 21

I am endlessly amused by all the outlets dissing the Russians. These are tiny little minds who think that they can build themselves up by tearing somebody else (in this case Russia) down. Oh, the Russian economy is smaller than (I've read the Netherlands, Illinois, and now Italy). Nobody ever cites where that comes from. However comma according to the IMF and the World Bank and the CIA world fact book, Russia has the sixth largest economy in the world. This doesn't prevent the economies of the US, the EU, and China from being HUGE by comparison, nor does it prevent Russia from being the world's largest exporter of grain. I'd advise people to start taking care of their countries and stop worrying about everybody else's.

I've been impressed by Russia's ability to peacefully negotiate disagreements with their neighbors and between neighboring countries. That's not something you'll see the US doing. What's really funny is that Zbignew Brzezinski deliberately goaded Russia (the old SovU at the time) into going into Afghanistan to give Russia its own Vietnam (his words). And it sorta worked because Russia was in there for a decade but Zbig's cynical moves boomeranged back on the US and we went into Afghanistan as a direct consequence of the American meddling that got Russia sucked in. So he did give Russia their own Vietnam but he also gave us Vietnam II, this time on steroids. It's good to remember that sort of thing when one starts dissing other countries....

Posted by: Jeff | Dec 23 2019 17:48 utc | 22

The real question for Putin is not whether the intervention was effective, but, what did he get for it? That's still not resolved.by: steven t johnson | Dec 23 2019 15:46 utc | 8 <= I think Putin gained the respect of the world leading his investors into the Syrian Quagmire. Putin showed the world, that he was following and generally respected nearly all elements of International Law! Putin exposed many naive people to the failures and greed of the leadership at the NATO nations it raised with many <= alert and warnings about the intentions of the leaders of the world.

I think the unresolved questions is what have the 8 billion people in the world gained from their participation as governed persons subjected to the whims of leaders in charge of powerful nation states? That nation state system has allowed the few to use the many to extract from all economic resource from the many. It is indifferent to me that the resources, lives and capabilities of the many are in different nations. They still are victim of the viciously led Nation State Stystem.

The nation state system is a divide and conquer structure. It is designed to allow 208 different leaders to manhandle the governed humanity contained within each of the 208 nation state. The investors nation state leaders to pit the governed in one nation state against the governed in a competitor nation state both for profit to the few and to eliminate competition that entrepreneurs in the other nation states present.

War is an investors game, the investors are global, but they use the local nature of nation states to bleed the inhabitants contained therein, and to force the contained masses to serve as cannon fodder so the investors can make a buck.
Creating a false image of a competing nation state is an essential element for investors seeking to get one nation state to force the other nation state to invade, regime change, sanction weaken the target other sovereign nations so investors of the first can make a buck from the other man's back yard. Its all about investors.

Here is a prime example destroy resource collapse nation state protection before invade and take

Posted by: snake | Dec 23 2019 17:55 utc | 23

These sanctions now cover the company, Allseas, laying the pipeline to Germany. They ceased operations and will not complete the project and Gazprom does not have the expertise. Would love to see your analysis on that.

Posted by: Annie | Dec 23 2019 15:29 utc | 4

There were conflicting messages on that. First I read that a Russian pipe-laying barge in the area can complete the job, although slower. Then I read that this barge, Fortuna, has a system for maintaining position that is much less efficient [and does not pass some requirements?], and while Allseas barge could lay 5 km per day, Fortuna can lay 1 km. Russian do lay pipes here and there under sea, so Gazprom can do it, it could be the case of Dannish reviewing permit again or not. If Fortuna is allowed to work, the task for six weeks will extend to six months. But if Fortuna cannot do it, Gazprom can move a pipe laying barge from Far East which would take ca. 2 months.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 23 2019 17:59 utc | 24

The worst thing about the NYT piece is that it is not in the "Opinion" section, but right in the Front Page, as if it were genuine investigative journalism.

To use Krushchev's granddaugher as a source was also a very low blow: she's herself an op-ed "journalist" coopted by the western MSM (I remember reading her pieces when she worked for the Asia Times, and she's for sure not a specialist/expert).

I disagree with b about the "hidden economy" thing. Every capitalist country has a hidden economy; the USA, for example, has by far the largest shadow banking system in the world, which could easily rise its GDP by 50%. Italy recently considered including the mafia business in the GDP calculation so they could officially get out of recession. Having 20-30% of your economy "hidden", therefore, is not an excuse for the Russian Federation for the dire state of its own people.

The NYT is also wrong when it infers Yeltsin was "fixing" the Soviet economy by making it take the bitter pill. The Soviet economy begun to unravel precisely because of Gorbachev's Perestroika - which was the policy designed precisely to reform the system in the first place. Yeltsin made things even worse - far worse than a linear extrapolation even from the Gorbachev era. Indeed, that's why he was toppled in the first place.

It's also false when the NYT stated Russia is some kind of last refuge for oligarchs, mafiosos and terrorists in the world. No, this refuge's name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Thanks to its inumerous tax havens (of which the Cayman Islands are, by far, the largest), many traffickers, terrorists and oligarchs are able to roam freely around the world, with their money laundered. Many of them even buy residence in London and a British Green Card, so they can also enjoy the protections the Crown gives to its subjects. In their free time, they also buy some English football clubs, but that's another story. Switzerland also enjoy many of the perks of being a tax haven.

The USA is also the last refuge of Latin American dictators. More than 3,000 enemies of the State from Latin American countries live in Florida under officially recognized political asylum. Many of them are ex-generals and bankers.

Indeed, Russia is considered a "not free" nation precisely because this kind of financial promiscuity doesn't exist on a systemic-cultural level. Freedom, for the liberals, is nothing more nothing less than being able to freely purchase and use the commodities you bought on the free market with a certain amount of money. Russia (but mainly China) doesn't allow the western oligarchs to do that, so it is kind of a disappointment to the "vital center".

There's also a macabre message in the headline of the NYT article: that it is weird, from the American point of view, that Russia was somehow able to survive the absolute destruction that should have happened with its Shock Therapy during the Yeltsin era. The author indeed seems genuinely puzzled as to why didn't Russia degenerate to a Third World banana republic after the capitalist charge on the newly founded nation sponsored by the USA; after all, it worked in Latin America and many other countries. I've already discussed it here many times, and I stand by my hypothesis: Russia is still able to rest on the laurels of the good ol' Soviet Union. That windfall will soon end, so Putin must think a viable succession scheme and viabilize the five-year plans.

Posted by: vk | Dec 23 2019 18:08 utc | 25

Speaking of PPP, what about the MIC sector.
US $698bn, 1.36m soldiers
China $178bn 2m+ (not including 2.8m reservists)
Russia $61bn 1.01m (not including 2.5m reservists)

Nuclear capacity - reports vary, but some say Russia has a technology lead in Rockets and EW.

As with Winston Smith in 1984, old reports about the Eurasia enemy are being re-written as Eastasia.
Not much cash left for the poor old Russia scare stories. Now it has to be false stories on HK, Xinjiang or "Shanghai prisoners making Christmas cards for Tesco".

For decades British prisoners were made to stitch mail bags for the Royal Mail, hard work but deemed acceptable. Now somehow this is a great front page scandal.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Dec 23 2019 18:09 utc | 26

Forgot the punchline - China and Russia get much more bang for their buck.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Dec 23 2019 18:11 utc | 27

@FSD:
Agreed, but I think we are seeing a strange form of mass psychogenic illness in the West (https://quillette.com/2018/11/02/trigger-warnings-and-mass-psychogenic-illness/), and in the EU and US in particular. I strongly suspect that the farther an farther the mass media push the willingly ignorant bulk of people out into a fictional and counterfactual mental reservation, the more and more people crave distraction that, like a junkie's fix, needs to always get bigger to reach the same effect. I turned on the TV the other day and happened on a show called Masked Singer, which struck me as so insanely manic in its subject and its presentation -- loud music, flashing lights, cartoonish hosts, junkie-like pacing -- that I wondered that anyone can function anymore inside this pin-ball machine world. It's like the entire West is having, especially in its so-called cultural nodes, a collective manic episode with very real danger of self-harm.

Posted by: casey | Dec 23 2019 18:12 utc | 28

Indeed. But here is yet another angle:

Because Russia's population is relatively stable, every small uptick in economic growth is pure profit. With a stable population, even 1% annual growth, compounded every year, can result in substantial prosperity before too long.

But in the United States, with open-borders cheap-labor immigration pushing the population ever higher, the numbers are different. When a population ir forced upwards, the economic demands are even higher than the population growth itself. That's because you need to not just grow the ongoing population, but provide massive investments in new infrastructure. Russia is like a person who's paid off his mortgage, and can devote all income to living and making progress. The United States is like a homeowner with a massive mortgage and who also has to pay massive taxes to pay for more sewers and roads and energy conservation etc.

So 1% annual sustained economic growth in Russia means Russia is making progress, while even 3% annual economic growth in the United States means it is falling behind.

Don't believe me? From 1950 to the present, immigration increased California's population from 10 million to about 40 million. On paper the economy boomed, but the average person is much worse off, the quality of life has tanked, roads are choked, rents are sky-high while wages are stagnant, air quality is down even with massive spending on pollution controls, poverty is the worst in the nation, homelessness is booming, etc.

Posted by: TG | Dec 23 2019 18:21 utc | 29

Tiger Lily #15

It is too bad if your friend is so sensitive that she would be driven away if she sees one item that she doesn't like. She must understand that many types of people post at blogs; fortunately many moderators and blog owners are not draconian in disciplining them.

This last point is a plus.

I don't think anyone who comments here should expect the blog's owner to start disciplining commenters because one new reader might take offense at a phrase or even a whole comment. The new reader will have to decide for herself whether the content of the blog is valuable enough for her to risk getting her feelings hurt occasionally.

I regularly visit a blog that has a number of male chauvinist pig commenters. I do not expect the blog owner to censor them. In fact I am curious as to the awful things some of these characters say about women!

It is a fact, AFAIK, that the New York Times is owned by Jews; it also generally pushes a narrative that supports the Zionist State of Israel. Perhaps your friend, although offended at the words chosen by the commenter, will actually stop and think about whether such language can be seen as grounded any corner of reality, or is merely a symptom of madness.

Posted by: Really?? | Dec 23 2019 18:36 utc | 30

It's my guess Putin doesn't waste time reading the NYTs. Why should he, and for that matter why should anyone? The Times and the other Oligarch rags should be ignored by all. Break the chains. Focusing on God and family a young couple may try homesteading. Ignore the rest.

Posted by: joetv | Dec 23 2019 18:46 utc | 31

vk #25

I had to laugh when I read the "hidden economy" point.
So what??

I have long posited--among all the stats and news heralding the impending kaputt-going of the USA---that the only factor keeping things somewhat humming along must be the "black" cash economy, whereby genuinely self-employed and all kindsn of others do their business in cash.

A lot of people don't even have a bank account.

"Twenty-five percent of U.S. households are unbanked or underbanked, according to a 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Those are people who either don't have a bank account, or have an account, but still use financial services outside the banking system like payday loans to make ends meet.Mar 9, 2019"

A lot of people are homeless and are panhandling. Is that part of the US "economy"?

These are just nasty comments that are slung in there to make it look as though the writer has a solid knowledge base from which to diss VVP.

Yesterday I watched over an hour of Putin's press conference. Remarkable. The NYT and other Russiaphobes are suffering from serious sour grapes. Or, they should be. If they believe the BS about Russia and the Russian people being on the ropes they belong in a looney bin. Russia has problems like any other country, and must prioritize how it spends its money. Putin acknowledges that some serious problems have flown under the radar in Moscow. BUT, providing housing, transportation, medical services for actual people are priorities, are on Putin's radar, and he has the facts and figures on these issues and the intelligence to provide comprehensive explanations to journalists who come from the farthest reaches of the RF and also from her major media outlets.

We should be so lucky to have this kind of leadership in the USA.

Posted by: Really?? | Dec 23 2019 18:51 utc | 32

@ Posted by: Really?? | Dec 23 2019 18:36 utc | 30

Doesn't change the fact that Death... is factually wrong about the connection between the October Revolution and the Jews. This "Judeo-Bolshevik" conspiracy theory was created by the Nazis as a legitimizing narrative that could kill two birds with one stone and was appropriated by the American alt-right for the same reasons (i.e. a narrative capable of fighting, at the same time, the center-left and Wall Street).

Just because some random individuals in position of power are Jew, it doesn't mean the whole institution is automatically Jewish or an instrument of a Jewish conspiration. The story, of course, is completely different with the AIPAC and the State of Israel - both of which are publicly Jewish institutions.

I've already discussed the term "Cultural Marxism" here to the exhaustion, so I'll give here the shortened explanation: those so-called "cultural marxists" are not marxists, but they come from the Non-Communist Left (NCL), which emerged right in the year of the end of WWII in the USA and some Western European countries and formed our contemporary "center-left". Most of them probably never read Marx and none of them have ever claimed to be the even the spiritual successors of Marxism. It is, therefore, a fantasy-term created by the far-right to designate everybody to their left in the Western-style political spectrum (the "vital center") -- also probably created to "kill two birds with one stone" (i.e. exterminate the center-left while already preparing the terrain to exterminate the resultant rise of communism).

Posted by: vk | Dec 23 2019 18:58 utc | 33

Same old never ending story. Stirring up fear, to justify shoveling $ away from "we the people" for needed societal improvements, to the malignant few, who are already wildly rich.

For that to happen, enemies are needed. There is more profit in war, and the threat of war,
than peace.

Posted by: ben | Dec 23 2019 19:01 utc | 34

#15 the 3000 year old Babylonian Talmud, practiced and taught daily by rabbis, is an extremely racist document. Frankly, those crying about my use of free speech need only read the Talmud to know the extreme hatred jews have for all "goyim." Frankly, 90% of the info I've learned about jews comes from jew writers. Here's an excellent example by Israel Shahak - Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of 3000 Years: https://ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/shahak.html. Pay special attention to chapters 5 and 6. Furthermore, jews have been booted from 110 nations in their history not only because of the Talmud, but also because of usury, slave running, they created communism, cultural Marxism, the Torah Nostra, Cultural Marxism, porn, etc, etc. They tried to assassinate Andrew Jackson for ending their central bank, succeeded in killing Lincoln because he wouldn't finance the Civil War at 35% interest while chartering a new central bank, and they're the reason we've basically been fighting endless wars since WW1 thanks to the Balfour Declaration and the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which created a central banking cartel that isn't a federal agency.

So frankly I couldn't care less about your jew friends feeling in consideration of the 3000 years history of jew Talmudic racism and supremacy.

Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 19:02 utc | 35

The link to the Israel Shahak book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of 3000 Years: https://ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/shahak.html or buy the book at Amazon:

Study Traces Ashkenazim Roots to European Women Who Probably Converted to Judaism: https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-ashkenazis-derive-from-euro-women-1.5348602

And if you'd like to talk the Bible we can do that as well. They're not gods chosen people. They're ultra racist Talmudic hucksters or did you think they're just being nice to the Palestinians through brutal apartheid.

Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 19:09 utc | 36

VK 33

"@ Posted by: Really?? | Dec 23 2019 18:36 utc | 30

Doesn't change the fact that Death... is factually wrong about the connection between the October Revolution and the Jews. "

In that case please respond to Death...'s post directly, not to me!

My point in posting was quite different than to have an argument as to the whole history of the Jews and the October Revolution, etc.

Likewise Tiger Lily's friend can respond to the content of Death...'s post rather than just leaving in a huff with hurt feelings.

Posted by: Really?? | Dec 23 2019 19:12 utc | 37

@ Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 19:02 utc | 35

If that's your world vision, then you'll get a bit disappointed with Trump: if everything goes as planned (he's reelected in 2020), then his heir to 2024 is Nikki Haley - zionist darling, Sheldon Adelson's protégée.

P.S.: I know you're a Trumpist because you mentioned Andrew Jackson - Trump's favorite POTUS.

Posted by: vk | Dec 23 2019 19:13 utc | 38

Great assets.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_Bridge
The bridge complex provides for both road and rail traffic. With a length of 19 km (11.8 mi)[c], it is the longest bridge Russia has ever built[17][d] and is often considered to be the longest bridge in Europe.[18][15][19][e]

Posted by: jal | Dec 23 2019 19:16 utc | 39

@vk #33 Lot's of proof the hierarchy of the Soviet Union was jewish. Here's a book on the subject called Behind Communism: http://www.jrbooksonline.com/PDF_Books/Behind%20Communism.pdf

Make sure you note that the book is heavily sourced from jew writers and the jew encyclopedia as well.

Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 19:18 utc | 40

@vk #40, how can I be anti-Zionist, but support an Anglo-Zionist like Trump or Obama or Clinton or Bush Jr, or Bill Clinton, or Bush, or Reagan, etc, etc, etc? I've been eligible to vote for 30 years, and never done it because the kakistocracy running and ruining the U.S. doesn't care about U.S. citizens except for platitudes.

Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 19:24 utc | 41

@ 4 Annie. Check out a very recent R.T. article about this latest drama from the tantrum throwers of U.S. politics. Russia does have the technology and the equipment to complete the NS2. The problem is that the Danish Authorities require certain standards for the equipment on board the pipe laying ships. The ship that does conform to these regs will take 2 months to sail from the far east of Russia to the Baltic. Having said that Russia and The Ukraine have apparently signed a deal that will allow sufficient gas to flow whilst NS2 is completed. Europe also has stocked up on gas reserves so the L. Graham and T. Cruz’s legislation will have no significant effect, other to make them look the utter wankers they really are.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Dec 23 2019 19:43 utc | 42

D @ 35, try reading some Martin Buber. (My favorite is "I and Thou"; I frequently return to it for inspiration.) Merry Christmas!

Posted by: juliania | Dec 23 2019 20:02 utc | 43

Don't forget the corruption factor of the West. In the US it is about 20. Takes 20 dollars to get 1 dollar of product.
Which is why Russia 63 billion dollar Military budget can equal or exceed the US 740 billion dollars.

Posted by: Chuck | Dec 23 2019 20:32 utc | 44

fyi - Russia's economy is larger than many people think. Sanctions certainly hurt but they've adjusted pretty well. here's what the CIA factbook online looks

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rs.html

when you go to the main page on Russia and check out their Economy overview, the agency uses GDP (purchasing power parity) as its first indicator, and for a reason. I'll go with these figures for comparisons with the rest of the world as they do

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/208rank.html#RS
Country Comparison :: GDP (purchasing power parity)


6 Russia $4,016,000,000,000 2017 est.
7 Indonesia $3,250,000,000,000 2017 est.
8 Brazil $3,248,000,000,000 2017 est.
9 United Kingdom $2,925,000,000,000 2017 est.
10 France $2,856,000,000,000 2017 est.
11 Mexico $2,463,000,000,000 2017 est.
12 Italy $2,317,000,000,000 2017 est


Posted by: michaelj72 | Dec 23 2019 20:37 utc | 45

@ Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 19:18 utc | 40

Yeah, sorry bud, but your book is pseudo-science.

I'll repeat what I stated in my last comment: just because there are Jews in your circle, it doesn't mean you're a zionist. Not all Jews were zionists: Zionism was an organized movement of Jews, created at the end of the 19th Century.

Besides, if Bolshevism really is a Jewish institution, then explain to me what happened to Trotsky? Explain to me why Stalin created a city just for the Soviet Jews in the far-east (a move that sparked a lot of anti-semitism accusations from the West at the time).

To make things even worse for you, your book admits Lenin wasn't a Jew. It only accuses Lenin of being part of a circle of Jewish intellectuals during his exile in Switzerland (who published the newspaper Iskra). All the authors theory about a Jewish ethnogenesis of Bolshevism lies on the Iskra group and, in particular, Plekhanov. The problem here is that Plekhanov wasn't Jewish either: he just married a Jewish woman. And not only he wasn't Jewish himself, but he wasn't even a Bolshevik: he was a social-democrat at the opposite side of Lenin during the October Revolution.

And then there's the "Jewish vs Zionist" question. Not only Zionism wasn't equivalent to the entire Jewish race, but it actually sided with the Nazis in the 1930s. So, the far-right not only is wrong in mixing the two, but they are preaching for the extermination of one of its oldest allies!

The reality is much simpler: after the institutions of the old Roman Empire evaporated in the 4th Century, commerce in Europe almost stopped. The only commerce that continued to exist was between mainly Jewish colonies in some Mediterranean cities (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Levant). This commerce kept going until the Mongols liberated the Europeans by reconnecting the Silk Road, which inaugurated the transition to the Modern Age (Low Middle Ages). By the time commerce reflourished in Europe, its Jewish population - most of which were actually converted tribes to Judaism, none of them being descendents of the original people who fled Egypt (an event that most historians accept never happened either way) - had the know-how and the capital to flourish with it.

So, in other words: most affluent and rich people in the West are Jewish for the simple fact they were at the right place, at the right time when Europe flourished again. There is no great conspiracy centered in the Talmud as you claim.

Posted by: vk | Dec 23 2019 20:57 utc | 46

@ Danny 16
Yah, the "numbers" do not show the quality of life. Rarely mentioned for the US is that half the adult population makes $30K or less and cannot afford simple emergencies under $500. Russia now was better maternal survivor rates than the United States. Looks like Canada is suffering the same problem with homelessness. (Homeless problem will get worse as the US Supreme Court ruled that the homeless have a right to camp on sidewalks if no shelters. While maybe compassionate sounding, it removes from local governments the ability to regulate homeless camps.)

Interesting tweet from Bryan MacDonald, an Irishman living in Russia comparing food security issues of both countries.
https://twitter.com/27khv/status/1186586713377988608


By contrast, around 17% of Americans don't have enough to eat (about 24x higher than the Russian figure). But, as the US has a larger middle class, we can assume there's a higher percentage of families there with disposable income beyond essentials.

Posted by: Erelis | Dec 23 2019 20:58 utc | 47

b

Re: #3 Deathevokation

You lose credibility when you allow knuckleheads like this to post. Maybe you should do a bit of moderation.

Posted by: chuck roast | Dec 23 2019 21:06 utc | 48

Brilliant. Lets make sure we steer the conversation away from the main subject towards petty fighting, semantics debate, historical revisionism because hey, its Hannukah..

Posted by: Lozion | Dec 23 2019 21:08 utc | 49

Russians are no different than Americans. From first hand experience in Russia I've noted that Russians are striving to pay their rent/mortgages, enjoy the latest in handheld technology, purchase a decent vehicle and, in general, make ends meet. It is the American mainstream media that would have us believe that Russians hate Putin and that they are unhappy with their lot in life. This could not be further from the truth but, then again, what would we expect?

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Dec 23 2019 21:13 utc | 50

vk #38

"
P.S.: I know you're a Trumpist because you mentioned Andrew Jackson - Trump's favorite POTUS."

Well well well!
This is a double-whammy ad hominem "argument."

First, invalidation by tarring with the "Trump supporter" brush.

Second, "evidence" consists of having mentioned Andrew Jackson, and Jackson is putatively Trump's "favorite president."

I sure would not want you on my debating team, with cracked logic such as this.

I wonder whether Jackson is Trump's favorite (if he is---document?) because he sent Native Americans on the Trail of Tears? Or was it because he invited hordes of the common people into the White House for his inaugural party and they clambered all over the furniture with their dirty boots? Or was it because he vetoed the second bank in 1832? Or was it maybe because he had a super- romantic relationship with the married Rachel Donelson Robards, the woman who then became Rachel Jackson? I am going to vote for the romantic Jackson being the reason he is Trump's favorite president (that is, if he is . . .).

I guess that makes me, too, a Trump supporter!!

Posted by: Really?? | Dec 23 2019 21:35 utc | 51

@ Posted by: Erelis | Dec 23 2019 20:58 utc | 47

I agree with you. It's impossible to live in the USA with USD 30,000.00. You're literally a homeless person if you have that wage level.

Nowadays, you can live in the USA with a USD 50,000.00-60,000.00 household wage. But you live badly and one cyclical business crisis or minor heath problem away to be completely bankrupt. And forget about retiring: you'll work until you drop dead.

If you want to consider yourself "middle class" in America, you're probably talking about USD 120,000.00 household earnings. Hence the term "six figure wage/salary" you hear so often in the USA: this is a codename for middle class wage. Americans don't like to describe themselves as a class-based society, for historical reasons that go since its very foundation, so they avoid the word "class" whenever they can.

To be in the "solid" American middle class, you need to be earning (by household) around USD 300,000.00. That generally means both husband and wife are middle class (i.e. earn the famous "six-figure"). In that band of earnings, the family is in a secure position and will be able to send up to two children to a top college. Only a major financial crisis or a catastrophic health tragedy (one of the breadwinners dying prematurely) would be able to knock this family out of the middle class.

From USD 720,000.00 up, you're already in the "upper" middle class territory. At this level, we're probably talking about a household located in downtown New York and Los Angeles, plus second houses to spend the summer, winter or both. These are the households who have a participation (albeit minor) on the Wall Street pie, and who get richer and richer (albeit on a lower pace and smaller scale) as inequality rises. Only a series of very unfortunate events could knock an upper middle class family off its class. The upper middle class also makes up most of the Ivy League elites (in number terms) and serve as a genetic reserve for the American capitalist class (the elite per se), since they are essentially the only class whose offspring have a realistic chance of marrying into the elite.

Posted by: vk | Dec 23 2019 21:37 utc | 52

VK #46 thanks for the standard mainstream narrative on jews ending in "right place at the right time." Everywhere the jews have gone they've ultimately been banished. They aren't people looking for religious freedoms; they're entrepreneurs looking for the next hustle. Furthermore, you obviously skimmed the book till you found the portions about Lenin otherwise you'd have noted virtually the entire hierarchy of the Soviet Union at the time of it's inception were jews. Marx was a jew as well, and Stalin was part jew too.

I am not advocating violence against jews; I am pointing out their evils and methods.

Chuck Roast #48 you're obviously against the 1st Amendment. How commie of you. The writer of this blog doesn't lose credibility because of dissenting voices or opinions running counter current to established narratives. The writer loses credibility via censorship. Furthermore, nothing I wrote about the New York Time is untrue, and the same goes for the other info I've posted. Y' all object to it because it's not what you've learned, and because many are invested in the financial system of the jews, which runs the daily lives of Americans. Y' all are enablers of racism and genocide. As for the Talmud, here's a few choice cuts from your jew pals:

Moed Kattan 17a: If a Jew is tempted to do evil he should go to a city where he is not known and do the evil there.

Sanhedrin 57a . A Jew need not pay a gentile (“Cuthean”) the wages owed him for work.

Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile (“Cuthean”), there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep.

Baba Kamma 37b. The gentiles are outside the protection of the law and God has “exposed their money to Israel.”

Yebamoth 98a. All gentile children are animals.

Sanhedrin 106a . Says Jesus’ mother was a whore: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.” Also in footnote #2 to Shabbath 104b of the Soncino edition, it is stated that in the “uncensored” text of the Talmud it is written that Jesus mother, “Miriam the hairdresser,” had sex with many men.

Yebamoth 63a. Declares that agriculture is the lowest of occupations.

Sanhedrin 55b. A Jew may marry a three year old girl (specifically, three years “and a day” old).

Sanhedrin 54b. A Jew may have sex with a child as long as the child is less than nine years old.

Kethuboth 11b. “When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing.”

It's nice y' all defend that while attempting to make me the bad guy.

Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 21:40 utc | 53

okay.. hijacked thread thanks to a 1 - 2 punch... sorry i interfered... b's comment - don't feed the trolls applies..

Posted by: james | Dec 23 2019 22:29 utc | 54

@james maybe you're right, the asshole might be hasbara. but there are some secular right wing assholes that push the same nonsense. i don't think carlos slim is jewish, (wiki says his parents were both maronite christians).

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 23 2019 22:32 utc | 55

in other news, a bunch of democrat party con artists, including many from the obama administration, published a letter stating a preference for pete buttigieg for his foreign policy views. maybe the blob is getting ready to throw biden under the bus as the dementia becomes more apparent.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 23 2019 22:36 utc | 56

@ Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 23 2019 21:40 utc | 53

Marx wasn't a Jew. His father was a Jew, but his mother wasn't.

Even his father quickly converted to Protestantism when he received a career opportunity in the Prussian government (which forbade Jews), when Marx was only a kid. That, combined with the fact that it is well documented that Marx received a liberal education since he was very young, strongly indicates he was a secularized Jew, i.e. a Jew by birth only.

As you probably know, you're only a Jew if your mother is a Jew; it's a matrilinear religion.

This Jew Conspiracy theory from the far-right is simply ridiculous. It would be akin to the USA beginning to openly persecute and exterminate Asian-Americans only because this particular ethnic subgroup disproportionally get to the most prestigious colleges and the well-paid, highly specialized jobs in the country under the argument this prosperity is fruit of some kind of worldwide, behind-the-curtains, State-sponsored conspiracy.

I agree that Judaism is a very aggressive, virulent and, ultimately, imperialist religion (indeed, that was probably the main debate between the Jews that gave birth to Christianism). In fact, all the three Abrahamic religions are very belligerent and inherently imperialistic (although the Christians seem to like the infiltration/cooptation method). But that's not the cause of Jewish disproportional prosperity in the 19th-21st Century Western Civilization. Not every modern powerful superstructure is fruit of Jewish intervention -- there are no Jews in China or Japan, for example -- and, even when there is, it happens under a normal capitalist relation, and not under some kind of Old Testament instructions. The exceptions to the rule, of course, are the AIPAC and Israel, both of which are declared Jewish institutions with declared hegemonic aims.

Posted by: vk | Dec 23 2019 22:40 utc | 57

the u.s., predominantly christian, has been the most warmongering nation on the planet since the end of ww2.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 23 2019 22:46 utc | 58

I wonder if it has ever occurred to Mr Higgins to ask the average Italian if they think that this is a sensible proposition: your country is economically more powerful that Russia?

It would be an amusing exercise in Vox Pop to see this dude laughed at by every single passer-by.

I mean, be real:
Write a list of all the things that Russia can - and does - produce that Italy can't.
Then write a list of all the things that Italy makes that Russia can't or doesn't.

The first list will be mighty long.
Would there even be a second list?
Olives, perhaps? Popes, definitely.
Anything else?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Dec 23 2019 23:10 utc | 59

In Italy we have a lot of problems, that's true. As a family we hosted many American aupair girls and I can tell you they discovered a country completely different from the one they knew before coming here.
I repeat myself saying that we have many problems but here, of you have an health problem, you just go to the hospital and there doctors will take care of you for free. You just don't risk going bankrupt.
Our best universities cost as tenth of yours and so students don't have to suffocate under debts. We don't have guns here and you can be sure you are safe in school. We almost don't have homelessness.
We are very different from US and maybe many of you should come here to know us better.

Posted by: Andrea | Dec 23 2019 23:24 utc | 60

@4 Annie …"Gazprom does not have the expertise"...

https://sputniknews.com/business/201605211040013151-gazprom-new-ship-sanctions/

"Gazprom has purchased a pipe-laying ship which would allow the company to build undersea pipelines despite sanctions. The new vessel may be used to build the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline to Europe."

Apparently the Russians think several steps ahead of the Americans.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Dec 23 2019 23:27 utc | 61

The U.S. is a mess; culturally, educationally, economically, socially, governmentally, and politically.
It's failing at every jucture; its weapons are junk and behind Russia's in technology.
Russia has extremely low debt to GDP, a stable currency, and virtually no unemployment.
All the U.S. has going for it is an extensive propaganda network pumping out lies to make itself look just swell...
LOL, as fewer and fewer people believe anything coming out of the U.S.
It's also doing a swell job of alienating the entire rest of the planet...

Posted by: V | Dec 23 2019 23:53 utc | 62

Pretty much the same approach used against China . . .
China detaining millions of Uyghurs?
Serious problems with claims by US-backed NGO and far-right researcher ‘led by God’ against Beijing. Claims that China has detained millions of Uyghur Muslims are based largely on two studies. A closer look at these papers reveals US government backing, absurdly shoddy methodologies, and a rapture-ready evangelical researcher named Adrian Zenz. While CHRD states that it interviewed dozens of ethnic Uyghurs in the course of its study, their enormous estimate was ultimately based on interviews with exactly eight Uyghur individuals.
By Ajit Singh and Max Blumenthal
https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/21/china-detaining-millions-uyghurs-problems-claims-us-ngo-researcher/

Posted by: Ashino Wolf | Dec 24 2019 0:16 utc | 63

Although it has nothing to do with Putin or/and Russia but one could easily say
Only in the U.S.A. . . .

A country that runs a prison system like the #US prison system has any right to call itself civilised, let alone lecture others on human rights and decency.

Today I talked to Willie Simmons, who has spent the last 38 years in prison for stealing $9. He was convicted of 1st degree robbery & sentenced to life without parole in 1982, prosecuted under Alabama’s habitual offender law because he had 3 prior convictions. 1/12

https://twitter.com/bshelburne

In what society do 5-year-old kids have “lunch debt”.
5-year-old pays off lunch debt for over 120 classmates with stand selling cider, cocoa and cookies

https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/474950-5-year-old-pays-off-lunch-debt-for-over-120-classmates-with

Posted by: Ahino Wolf | Dec 24 2019 0:23 utc | 64

I would add; it is my understanding Russia's foriegn debt is just under $400 billion; with cash reserves of over $500 billion; do the math.
Russia also has the 3rd or 4th largest gold reserves on the planet...

Posted by: V | Dec 24 2019 0:26 utc | 65

vk #52

"I agree with you. It's impossible to live in the USA with USD 30,000.00. You're literally a homeless person if you have that wage level."

Is that so.

You state this very authoritatively.

Might one ascertain where you yourself live?

Posted by: Really?? | Dec 24 2019 0:29 utc | 66

Yeah, Right @61--

This article has all one needs to know about Russia/Gazprom's ability to finish the job abandoned by the Swiss cowards, although their ships are apparently still on station. Yes, there'll be a delay, but that won't matter much. Pissing off the Germans was the absolute wrong move!

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2019 0:38 utc | 67

Apropos U.S.A. Justice... aka mendacity - hypocrisy & indeed double standards . . .
The US State Department has declared that Narendra Modi, as India’s head of state, receives sovereign immunity from US lawsuits, even if they allege human rights violations he committed as an individual while Chief Minister of Gujarat and the killing of more than 2000 muslims.
https://chinamatters.blogspot.com/2014/11/is-narendra-modi-leader-of-worlds.html

Posted by: Ashino Wolf | Dec 24 2019 0:43 utc | 68

@vk

Karl Marx's mother was Jewish as well. She was cousin with the Philips brothers from Amsterdam. Dutch-Jewish family, known for founding the Philips Electronics

Posted by: Nick | Dec 24 2019 0:54 utc | 69

Heartwarming election interference from the dastardly Russo-Xmas War of 1966.

Little Timo's Christmas

Posted by: Big Timo | Dec 24 2019 0:57 utc | 70

Really?? @66--

It's not so much of a matter of where one lives as to how one lives/uses that 30K/yr. I've previously provided the family income tool EPI produced at the end of the last century to show what's required to cover all expenses for a "modest yet adequate standard of living," yet many people manage to live in those regions on much less. Most of my adult life prior to turning 40 I lived at or just above the poverty line, but have almost always been comfortable and at ease because I budget well and retained good health until finally attaining a partner. And it's been partnership more than any other factor that has made life good now that I'm in my 60s.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2019 0:59 utc | 71

karlof1 | Dec 24 2019 0:59 utc | 71

Curiously, there has been zero mention of debt in this dialogue.
Most, not all, debt lowers one's standard of living considerably.
Consumer debt being the major financial downfall of most...
In the economic realities/understanding, debt and its costs are the least understood, seemingly, by most individual consumers, IMO.

Posted by: V | Dec 24 2019 1:34 utc | 72

@ Posted by: Really?? | Dec 24 2019 0:29 utc | 66

As a standard, I define "middle class" as the realization of the American Dream as established in the post-war period: big house in the suburbs, two kids, at least one car (two, if the wife works too), white collar job ("smart job"), with both kids being raised with guaranteed chances of also realizing the same American Dream (i.e. elite colleges etc. etc.) and money to spare for one hobby and an annual family travel vacations either in US soil or in another part of the world.

--//--

@ Posted by: Nick | Dec 24 2019 0:54 utc | 69

If memory doesn't fail me, the Phillips were related to Marx's mother by marriage, not by blood (one of the Phillips was married to one of her sisters).

Posted by: vk | Dec 24 2019 1:36 utc | 73

And it's been partnership more than any other factor that has made life good now that I'm in my 60s.
Karlof1

Amen to that, ditto...

Posted by: V | Dec 24 2019 1:36 utc | 74

In Oregon 30,000$ a year will likely lead to homelessness sooner or later, I make 35,000$ a year and it is a constant struggle. The only reason I have a place to live is I do additional work for the person I rent from, as well as pay half my income in rent. It is near impossible to even rent a studio apartment for 30,000$ a year. To add to the working class troubles, 30,000-40,000 a year is considered a good job and isn't easy to come by, much of the population make less.

I worked for a local school district not long ago, and one telling stat was 20-25% of all high school students would be homeless at one point or another. Every park or pull-out has people living in their cars.

In many areas of the midwest 30,000$ a year will get you a quite a bit more, you won't own a home at that income level, but finding a place to rent won't be impossible.

The homeless epidemic is reaching such extremes on the West Coast, many towns are building gas chambers and crematorium for all the displaced pets.

Posted by: Jason | Dec 24 2019 3:28 utc | 75

@71 Karlof1
That reality where one could live comfortably at or near the poverty line is gone by at least a decade, two decade on the west coast, and getting worse. Part of the problem is many baby boomers think the world they thrived in still exists, it doesn't, thusly the term, OK Boomer.

Posted by: Jason | Dec 24 2019 3:33 utc | 76

@ Posted by: Jason | Dec 24 2019 3:33 utc | 75 + 76

Thanks for the reality check from a Boomer.

I didn't make any kids to have to make excuses for the Western world to but still feel motivated to change the world to a public finance based one for humanity's sake.

Please remember, not all Boomers are bad people. Some of us have been beating our heads against the wall of Western Plato's Cave Display propaganda for decades.

Be well....from a fellow Oregonian

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 24 2019 4:05 utc | 77

The imperial lie machine sure is disgruntled that the 1990s attempt to economically and biologically crush Russia once and for all was a failure and Russia has since been reasserting itself. It wasn't "the end of history" after all.

That was the source of the underlying current of Russia Derangement among the US elite classes (political, economic, media, academia, professional etc.), the many provocations, and then the total meltdown beginning in late 2016.

Since it really seems to be a collective mental illness (I mean that literally) afflicting a power group which is already psychotic and violent, and since it coincides with the accelerating erosion of the US imperial position, it's looking more and more likely that this must eventually lead to all-out war. I just can't imagine the US stepping back, any more than I could imagine Hitler doing so.

America's obsessive bashing of Russia (and now China) is suggestive of a deep psychological disorder.

Though the Americans and their allied apologists will insist that it is sincerely motivated by a humanitarian concern for Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights(TM), that is quite laughable given America's concentration camps for undocumented immigrants; its incarceration of immigrant children in cages; or the US Prison Industrial Complex in general, which has been called America's new Jim Crow in that it imprisons millions of African Americans and other minorities and relegates them to a new racist caste system.

No, cut through the barrage of American Moral Supremacism and other delusions, the United States is enraged that, despite its attempt to economically rape Russia in the 1990s through American-promoted Free Market reforms and Neoliberal "shock therapy," Russia is still standing and indeed resurgent.

THAT is what enrages the Americans and triggers them in rug-chewing fits of frenzy.

Posted by: ak74 | Dec 24 2019 4:19 utc | 78

Karlof1 @ 71
"Really?? @66--

"It's not so much of a matter of where one lives"---of course it is.

My question was directed toward VK. You read my post so you surely get the point. VK stated.

"It's impossible to live in the USA with USD 30,000.00. You're literally a homeless person if you have that wage level."

I think it is relevant for vk to state where he lives, because obviously that must be the basis of his rather silly pronouncement as to what one person needs to survive.

Instead vk @ 73 goes into a "let me explain it all to you" riff on what "middle class" means--pretty swank, actually, compared to how I grew up. A total non sequitur in relation to his earlier statement. Vk does not answer the question of where he lives---Vk probably does not live in the United States.

Posted by: Really?? | Dec 24 2019 4:22 utc | 79

Annie @ 4, Yeah, Right @ 61, karlof1 @ 67:

My understanding from reading your comments (and comments over at Mark Chapman's The New Kremlin Stooge blog) is that Gazprom does indeed have the ships to complete the laying of Nordstream 2 pipelines and in fact is almost in the home stretch with about 50 km and 175 km worth of pipeline still to lay down (pipelines are being laid down in parallel).

The major issue is whether the US can pressure Denmark into delaying the completion of Nord Stream 2 using, let's say, some minor environmental regulation and interpreting it very narrowly or in a particular way to enforce "compliance" at a level that would push back completion dates further into the future.

Maybe if the Americans put their feet into their mouths again and try to press Denmark into selling Greenland, we may wake up one day and discover Nord Stream 2 is complete!

Posted by: Jen | Dec 24 2019 4:28 utc | 80

Jen | Dec 24 2019 4:28 utc | 80
...with about 50 km and 175 km worth of pipeline still to lay down (pipelines are being laid down in parallel).

There is just one pipeline being laid at this time; Nordstream 2. Nordstream 1 was laid years before.
Yes, NS 2 is being laid parallel to NS 1.
The U.S. has had to swallow a bitter pill on their failure to stop NS 2; and doing a splendid job of pissing off Germany at the same time...

Posted by: V | Dec 24 2019 6:14 utc | 81

Here's a piece from yesterday on the academic/juridical sources from which the mainstream media often takes its cue for how to formulate its lies on Russia (and on many other things). Especially for the legalistic-minded it's about Crimea's secession from Ukraine and adherence to Russia, from the perspective of "international law."

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/12/23/the-lies-that-are-used-for-denying-the-legitimacy-of-crimeas-breakaway/

The author quotes from three papers. Even the one he calls "the least politicized of the pro-Western (i.e., pro-US-regime) articles regarding the relevant international laws on this topic" is still contemptuous of self-determination:

The theory of self-determination, as justifying the secession of a people from its existing mother state as a matter of last resort only, in situations where the people is oppressed or where the mother state’s government does not legitimately represent the people’s interests

Secession needn't be a last resort wherever a people needs self-determination and has the power to make it good. The legalese is a moot point anyway, since no government legitimately represents the people’s interests, whether the national majority or anyone else.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 24 2019 7:14 utc | 82

Really?? @66--

It's not so much of a matter of where one lives as to how one lives/uses that 30K/yr. I've previously provided the family income tool EPI produced at the end of the last century to show what's required to cover all expenses for a "modest yet adequate standard of living," yet many people manage to live in those regions on much less. Most of my adult life prior to turning 40 I lived at or just above the poverty line, but have almost always been comfortable and at ease because I budget well and retained good health until finally attaining a partner. And it's been partnership more than any other factor that has made life good now that I'm in my 60s.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2019 0:59 utc | 71

The combination of shelter and transportation is very variable. I guess that if you cover that, 10K/yr for a single person is OK. If you are lucky, you live in walking distance from the workplace and the shelter costs under 10K/yr. So 20K/yr in USA can provide OK living. But these jobs are unstable. On the other end of the spectrum, you can pay 25K/yr for a studio apartment and live in walking distance vs 20K/yr with necessity of having a reliable car etc. In other words, no way to survive on 30K/yr in, say, metropolitan Boston, metropolitan northern California etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 24 2019 7:35 utc | 83

The theory of self-determination, as justifying the secession of a people from its existing mother state as a matter of last resort only, in situations where the people is oppressed or where the mother state’s government does not legitimately represent the people’s interests

Secession needn't be a last resort wherever a people needs self-determination and has the power to make it good. The legalese is a moot point anyway, since no government legitimately represents the people’s interests, whether the national majority or anyone else.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 24 2019 7:14 utc | 82

Theory is theory. One should carefully review the secession of North Cyprus, Kosovo and Crimea, and find a reason for very diverse treatment of those cases by "international community" which roughly means NATO.

The rule is: if we, i.e. USA + vassals, are OK with it, then it is OK, regardless of any detailed circumstances. If not, then not.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 24 2019 7:49 utc | 84

michaelj72 @45

STUDY ON RUSSIAN ECONOMY. DIVERSFICATION, MODERNIZATION AND THE ROLE OF THE STATE IN RUSSIA’S ECONOMY

The study reveals a range of impressive indicators on the development of the economy between 2000 and 2013 and the health of the Russian economy:

The share of natural resources rents in GDP (oil, gas, coal, mineral, and forest rents) more than halved between 2000 to 2012 from 44.5% to 18.7%. The actual share of oil and gas was 16%.

Russian industrial production has grown more than 50% while having undergone a total modernization at the same time.

Production of food has grown by 100% in 2000 – 2013.

Production of cars has more than doubled at the same time that all the production has been totally remodeled.

Russian exports have grown by almost 400%, outdoing all major Western countries.

Growth of exports of non-oil & gas goods has been 250%.

Russia’s export growth has more than doubled compared with the competing Western powers.
Oil & gas does not count for over 50% of state revenues as has been claimed, but only 27.4%. Top revenue source is instead payroll taxes.

Russia’s total tax rate at 29.5% is among lowest of developed countries, non-oil & gas total tax rate is half that of the Western countries.

Russia’s GDP has grown more than tenfold from 1999 to 2012.

Public sector share of employment in Russia is not high in comparison with developed economies. State officials make up 17.7% of Russia’s total work force, which situates it in the middle of the pack with global economies.

Russia’s labor productivity is not 40% of the Western standards as is frequently claimed, but rather about 80%.

SUMMARY: New World Order in Meltdown, But Russia Stronger Than Ever

August 30, 2019

The New World Order is in its death throes

What these events have in common is that they amount to an admission that the globalist New World Order project in its present form is dead, or at least in its death throes. It has bumped its head against an impenetrable Sino-Russian wall of resistance. The heated totalitarian propaganda against Russia since 2001 (when the NWO realized that Putin wasn’t their man); regime change and color revolutions in neighboring countries; attempts at Maidan style coups in Moscow; and finally the sanctions since 2014 were key to the Anglo-Zionist empires strategy. They needed to take over either China or Russia to gain absolute world hegemony. Taking over either one, they would have checkmated the remaining one, and after that the entire world. They rightly deemed Russia as the weaker piece and went all out in that direction. The NWO wanted to take advantage of Russia’s weakness in form of its Western minded comprador class and a shell-shocked liberal intelligentsia (dominating media, culture and business, just like in Hong Kong, BTW), which is constitutional uncapable of thinking with their own brains to liberate themselves from Soviet era stereotypes (“Soviet Union/Russia bad, West good”).

They then figured that economic and cultural sanctions (e.g. Olympic ban) coupled with doubling down on the propaganda would break the country. Luckily, the Russian narod, the common people saw through it all and would not play along with the enemy. At the same time, Russia paraded its resurrected military in Crimea and Syria as well as its formidable new hypersonic doomsday weapons. The military option to take over Russia was not in the cards any longer.

Russian economy from strength to strength

And the Russian economy. Believing their own propaganda, they had got that totally wrong. Endlessly repeating their own self-serving talking points they must have truly fancied that Russia’s economy amounted to nothing else than export of fossil fuels, that “Russia’s economy is the size of Holland’s,” that “Russia does not produce anything,” and that Russia was “nothing but a gas station with nukes” (somehow managing to ignore the significance of the nukes part). I seriously believe, that the propaganda had become so complete that the Western leaders and the intelligence people actually had come to adapt their own propaganda as the truth. What is for sure, is that all Western media, including what should be the most respected business journals and all those think tanks, had not published one honest appraisal of the Russian economy in 15 years. Every single piece I read over the years had clearly been written with the aim to denigrate Russia’s achievements and economic development. Nowhere to be found were reports on how Putin by 2013 had totally overhauled the economy transforming Russia into the most self-sufficient diversified major country in the world with all the capabilities of the foremost industrial powers. In fact, I tend to think that even the US presidents from Bush to Obama were fed in their intelligence briefings cooked up fake reports about the Russian economy and the whole nation. Actually, I would go one step further. I bet that the CIA itself in the end believed the propaganda it had given birth to. (It has been said that at some point the genuine Russia analysts had all been dismissed or demoted and replaced with a team specializing in anti-Russian propaganda).

Posted by: pogohere | Dec 24 2019 7:54 utc | 85

Russia's Net Public Debt Falls to Zero

Despite low oil prices, Russia Inc. is accumulating money quickly again as it has become a lot more profitable than it was in the noughties.

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/09/11/russias-net-public-debt-falls-to-zero-a67238

Posted by: Mao | Dec 24 2019 8:51 utc | 86

Drugs And Prostitutes Help Bring Italy Out Of Recession
https://www.businessinsider.com/drugs-prostitutes-add-to-italy-gdp-2014-10

Italy to include sex, drugs in GDP
https://eu.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/05/27/italy-drugs-prostitution-economy-gdp/9631573/

The wages of sin: Why do drugs and prostitution contribute so much more to Italy's GDP than any other European country?
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2976316/How-counting-drugs-prostitution-GDP-boosted-Italy-s-economy-did-European-country.html

28 Shades of Grey: Gross domestic product is getting more gross
https://en.irefeurope.org/Publications/Online-Articles/28-Shades-of-Grey

Posted by: Mao | Dec 24 2019 8:54 utc | 87

@80 Jen It is much too late for the Danes to step in and stop Nord Stream 2.

Their permission was required because the pipe enters their economic zone, but once that permission was given then the pipelaying started on the basis of "good faith". If the Danes attempted to renege then I would imagine that it would be Russia and Germany who would tie up Denmark in legal red-tape, not the other way around, and by the time this got to court the pipeline would be completed and the gas would be flowing.

The USA's only hope now is that its sanctions scare off companies like Allseas, but that hope relies on the western conceit that Russia is too technologically backward to be able to take over and finish the job.

But the Russians are very capable, and extremely wily: if you look at my original post you will see a link from 2016 where the Russians are already spelling out exactly what they intend to do.

They acquired a suitable pipeline-laying ship at last three years. They admitted at the time that they acquired it that it made no economic sense for them to acquire such a ship.

Economics be damned. They bought it because they had to consider the possibility that the USA is run by a bunch of duplicitous shits.

Pretty astute reasoning, as it turns out.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Dec 24 2019 9:02 utc | 88


@ Nord Stream 2

As I'm following the case closely, a few supplements.

The problem with the high tech Russian pipelaying vessel is that it is deployed in the Far East and would need months to get to the scene. The Russian Fortuna lacks the technical permission from the Danes to work in their waters, but it is suspiciously idling at the German Coast. NorthStream 2 could ask Denmark to get a special allowance for the Fortuna to work, and that is not so far-fetched as it seems because Denmark has a new government since last June.

The Fortuna will at least finish the German part of the pipeline. A German court yesterday has turned down a complaint by environmentalists who are worried about wintering birds.

The sanctions are a huge strategical blunder of the USA. Yes, the Germans are pissed off, from the bosses of the chemical industry to the "ordinary people". You can almost hear the tectonic subterranean crack that moves Germany away from the Anglosphere towards Russia.

In German politics, the Transatlanticians are now in the defensive. The most powerful transatlantic institutions are IMO the various intelligence services, BND, BfV and so on. They have certainly initiated the "scandal" about the murdered Georgian djihadist (you remember, two Russian diplomats were expelled immediately) in order to sabotage the Normandy talks and NordStream 2 and push Merkel to distance herself from Russia. This has failed, obviously. Stupid white men.


Posted by: mk | Dec 24 2019 10:03 utc | 89

The necessity of the false stories comes from the Policy established in 1942. This Policy is encapsulated clearly by Stimson as:

“We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand…and of overwhelming power on the other.”

"Overwhelming power" ("power" and "symbol of freedom" are underlined in the original)... If one has overwhelming power then naturally freedom is whatever you say. This policy explains the atom bomb project, and their use and threatened use (nearly consonantly the use is threatened). It explains the plans to liquidate Soviet cities, which continue today but began in 1945.

But to-day the US does not have either quality Stimson wanted. It does not have overwhelming power and the freedom it offers, always a illusion, is generally recognized as a lie.

So the doll-house delusional propaganda has to try to slather some brown slime over the fissures in the tapestry.

The Stimson quote is given in the introduction of "Why We Fight" (Capra)

Posted by: Walter | Dec 24 2019 10:08 utc | 90

One of Russia’s cutting-edge Su-57 fighter jets has crashed during routine factory test flights near the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft plant in the Far East. The pilot ejected safely and was picked up by a Mi-8 rescue helicopter.

https://www.rt.com/russia/476709-russia-su-57-fighter-jet-crash/

Posted by: Mao | Dec 24 2019 10:48 utc | 91

Stratfor, December 2019: The death of the American middle class and, with it, large swaths of the American interior, is no secret. In March, we looked at how globalization, technological change and other factors have decimated the heartland of the country: https://archive.md/mu9cv

Posted by: John Doe | Dec 24 2019 12:33 utc | 92

The USSR was no workers’ paradise. For all its formal allegiance to Marx and Engels, it was a militantly hierarchical class society ruled by a tyrannical state. After World War Two, it held brutal military power over Eastern Europe and East Germany. Still, Soviet-era Russia created an urban and industrialized society with real civilizational accomplishments (including cradle-to-grave health-care, housing, and food security and an impressive educational system and cultural apparatus) outside capitalism. It pursued an independent path to modernity without a capitalist class, devoid of a bourgeoisie, in the name of socialism. It therefore posed a political and ideological challenge to U.S-led Western capitalism – and to Washington’s related plans for the Third World periphery, which was supposed to subordinate its developmental path to the needs of the rich nations (the U.S., Western Europe, and honorarily white Japan) of the world-capitalist core.

Honest U.S. Cold Warriors knew that it was the political threat of “communism” – its appeal to poor nations and people (including the lower and working classes within rich/core states) – and not any serious military danger that constituted the true “Soviet menace.” Contrary to U.S. “containment” doctrine after World War II, the ruling Soviet bureaucracy was concerned above all with keeping an iron grip on its internal and regional empire, not global expansion and “world revolution.” It did, however “deter…the worst of Western violence” (Noam Chomsky) by providing military and other assistance to Third World targets of U.S. and Western attack (including China, Korea, Indonesia, Egypt, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam, and Laos). Along the way, it provided an example of independent development outside and against the capitalist world system advanced by the superpower headquartered in Washington.

To make matters worse from Washington’s “Open Door” perspective, the Soviet Empire kept a vast swath of the world’s natural and human resources walled off from profitable exploitation by global capital.

All of this was more than enough to mark the Soviet Union as global public enemy number one for the post-WWII U.S. power elite, which had truly planet-wide imperial ambitions, unlike Moscow.

The Soviet deterrent and alternative to U.S.-led capitalism-imperialism collapsed once and for all in the early 1990s. Washington celebrated with unchallenged invasions of Panama and Iraq. The blood-drenched U.S. President George H.W. Bush exulted that “what we say goes” in a newly unipolar, post-Soviet world. Russia reverted to not-so “free market” capitalism under U.S.-led Western financial supervision and in accord with the savage austerity and inequality imposed by the neoliberal “Washington consensus.” Chomsky got it right in 1991. “With the collapse of Soviet tyranny,” he wrote, “much of the region can be expected to return to its traditional [subordinate] status, with the former high echelons of the bureaucracy playing the role of the Third World elites that enrich themselves while serving the interests of foreign investors.” The consequences were disastrous for many millions of ordinary Russians.

Source:

How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/19/how-russia-became-our-adversary-again/

Posted by: John Doe | Dec 24 2019 12:47 utc | 93

@Kevin #18
"Can anyone recommend a good book on the privatization of state assets of the former USSR? Particularly one that focuses on how mid-level technocrats, often of a persecuted minority, were able to get the capital to purchase these assets."

PUTIN from Chris Hutchins is a good read that also describes the rise of the oligarchs and how Putin dealt with them. Like one oligarch made a small fortune selling the first western cars in the country and how they bought up cheap shares from the Yeltsin privatisation scheme. Privatized companies changed ownership under treath or even at gunpoint. The oligarchs were simple mobsters at the time. That is about what i vagely remember reading the book a few years back but there is a lot more detail.

Posted by: Joost | Dec 24 2019 13:22 utc | 94

I don't care what Chomsky says, "a militantly hierarchical class society ruled by a tyrannical state..." does not provide economic development that advances the welfare of the majority of the people, much less provide assistance to countries that it can't exploit, which was most of them. A militantly non-hierarchical class society ruled by a democratic state, like the US, would of course be better able to provide those things. Coal miners went on strike against the Gorbachev government and it was shaken to the very core, so much so that the strike was a major step in its dissolution. In democracies, millions can go into the streets and nothing changes. The notion that the USSR was merely another class society is anarchist complicity in the anti-communist crusade. That's why, despite the Chomsky's pieties about true freedom, the fall of the USSR was a step back for humanity. Only depraved people argue the Polish people as a whole, for example, was freed from tyranny. The government of Poland was, and a minority was..but even culturally the end of socialism was a decline.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Dec 24 2019 13:24 utc | 95

Overwhelming Power was the stated war goal in 1942. When that failed because of the Soviets, the Red Victories, and the Red bomb, it become essential to create a false reality where "Everything the American Public believes is false (Casey/Honegger)

Stimson said in '42> “We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand…and of overwhelming power on the other.” (Capra Why We Fight")

If Power is overwhelming, then Power defines freedom. Stimson's rhetoric presents a false equality. A deception. Essentially a lie.

The "Reds" are onto this, however, see VVP's informal disquisition at

http://en [dot] kremlin [dot]ru/events/president [stroke] news/62376

He plans, they say, a formal essay. It's a long read...but worth copying out and spending a holiday time reading.

Best wishes from your "troll" Walter.

Posted by: Walter | Dec 24 2019 14:07 utc | 96

Hierarchy ≠ class society.

There is nothing wrong with hierarchy in and of itself. After all, is seniority to mean nothing? Is demonstrated competence meaningless? Should an individual's efforts to build skill sets be treated as equivalent to the couch potato's efforts to build up an epic Body Mass Index (BMI)? Should notions of winners and losers be banned from athletic competitions and sporting events, along with any associated prizes? Everybody gets a trophy whether they run the race or not?

As I understand it there were plenty of routes through life in the Soviet Union in which people could distinguish themselves, perhaps more than in the West. There were plenty of ways to rise in society's hierarchy. None of those routes resulted in fabulous and opulent wealth, but if some did then the society would necessarily be able to afford fewer such routes.

The only problems with hierarchy in society is if the process of rising in it is corrupt (being born into wealth, for instance) or if the span between the bottom and the top of that hierarchy is larger than what the population considers fair.

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 24 2019 14:13 utc | 97

In every 'great' 'civilization', the rich parade and flaunt their fancy duds and fancy technology and expendable income; the poor learn to be invisible, scuttling from place to place as necessity requires, living and dying as if they were never there at all, invisible even when lying in the street. Such blessed discretion helps us all stay grateful for the blessings of Pax Americana. Prisons for wayward bodies, entertainment for potentially wayward minds and expeditionary forces for global control help keep any mess contained, so to speak. Finance/surveillance binds it all together. It's Progress and even God seems to appreciate the latest cellphone-wondergadget!

Posted by: paul | Dec 24 2019 14:15 utc | 98

@ Posted by: Really?? | Dec 24 2019 4:22 utc | 79

No, I'm not American. My post was based on American people I've talked to, official statistics and what I've read about the ordinary life of contemporary Americans.

With all of these, I made this mosaic of what my impression of American life must be in the 21st Century. To be sincere, I think it is a very accurate picture if you consider I had to reduce it in a small text that could fit into a blog comment.

But my comment was primarily directed for non-Americans. A lot of non-Americans from the Third World lose the sense of scale when talking about how life in the USA must be, and consider to immigrate without thinking straight about what one should be expecting and the full its full consequences.

For example: average income in the USA was circa USD 53,000.00 last time I checked. That would mean R$ 222,600.00 income in Brazil, one that would definitely put you in the 1%er population there (albeit not of bourgeois status yet). Brazilians tend to do these dumb calculations, as if the cost of living in the USA was the same as the cost of living in Brazil, which is patently wrong, and try to immigrate whatever the costs. It is very common in Brazil for people with Law or even engineering degrees to abandon their careers in their home country to try to live as baby sitters or burger flippers in the USA simply because they believe in that simplistic formula.

Posted by: vk | Dec 24 2019 14:23 utc | 99

TG #29
Replacement level fertility” is the total fertility rate—the average number of children born per woman—at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration. This rate is roughly 2.1 children per woman for most countries, although it may modestly vary with mortality rates'

Russia 1.61 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Canada 1.6 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Japan 1.42 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Italy 1.45 children born/woman (2018 est.)
France 2.06 children born/woman (2018 est.)

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/356.html

Posted by: Madderhatter67 | Dec 24 2019 14:35 utc | 100

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