Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 22, 2022

The MoA Week In Review - (NOT Ukraine) OT 2022-70

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

> Above all, this is an operation of necessity for Russia, not of choice. Paradoxically, the choice was entirely up to the US and NATO to appreciate that there is nothing like absolute security. Wasn’t it the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who once said, “Absolute security for one state means absolute insecurity for all others.” <

Other issues:


Crypto scam:


Use as open (NOT Ukraine) thread ...

Posted by b on May 22, 2022 at 11:56 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

@Bad Deal Motors On #76
Not clear what you are trying to say: Greece isn't really hosting 4 new US bases?

As for Global Cooling: When Newsweek published its eponymous edition, the scientific consensus back then was in fact for cooling.

The change occurred after 1976 when the number of papers saying warming vs. cooling balanced out (as the cooling stopped, unsurprisingly).

Your view is no doubt due to the Scientific American article which accessed the usual garbage climate science "meta study" by Peterson, Connolley and Fleck in 2008; others have looked at both their database of papers and a larger database of papers from 1967 to 1979 and concluded:

1. The 1968-1976 period when cooling papers greatly outnumber the warming papers (85% to 15%), if we ignore the neutral papers (as was done in the Cook et al (2103). The 85% to 15% majority is an overwhelming cooling consensus. Additionally, this is probably the period when the 1970s “global cooling consensus” originated because cooling was clearly an established scientific consensus – not the myth that PCF-08 contend.

2. The 1977-1979 period when warming papers slightly outnumber the cooling papers (52% to 48%) – a warming majority but not a consensus.

I remembered looking through a significant number of the articles in the database - sufficient to validate the above conclusions source

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 14:47 utc | 101

Dearest people of Taiwan,

Please review the trajectory of Ukraine's economy from 2012 to the present, taking special note of it's condition post-US sponsored 2014 fascist coup, and think very carefully about whether or not becoming the poorest nation is Asia is what you really desire.


Posted by: nwwoods | May 23 2022 14:48 utc | 102

@Tom_Q_Collins #80
Yes, the 1970s were all about noting how crap alternative electricity sources like solar PV and wind are in addressing real world demand; that the costs for excess electricity are non-zero (and in fact around $16/MWh); that the installation of renewable energy has a direct correlation with higher electricity costs; and that despite decades of time and hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, wind and solar PV are still a small fraction of the electricity supply.

But don't let that stop you from parroting the same old bullshit - especially since the billions of dollars spent by NGOs like Greenpeace, NRDC, EDF, WWF etc are not counted as lobbying, nor is the literally hundreds of billions of US federal dollars alone spent per year on climate science and alt-e considered a market effect.

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 14:50 utc | 103

From b's Awful Avalanche link above:

A fleet of buses and luxury coaches had to be chartered to take everybody, because Russians are nicer people than the Japanese in WWII, who just made prisoners walk to their own doom. Now they can take a bus

Oh, the ironies of incarceration. A week or so ago while ambling around the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, its magnificent chambers adorned by the finest artisans, their high ceilings graced by paintings by the likes of Titian and Veronese, the many spoils of a very wealthy merchants town, I crossed over the Ponte Dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), which conveyed convicts from the judiciary to the stone-cold prisons. This afforded them a last glimpse of the sun-splashed lagoon and St. George island and freedom in the distance.

The sun don't shine
The moon don't move the tides
To wash me clean

Why so unforgiving and why so cold
Been a long time crossing bridge of sighs

And following the etymology, and for my fellow incorrigible rockers, I couldn't omit this more modern classic. Deliciously foreboding.

Posted by: john | May 23 2022 15:12 utc | 104

@Henry Moon Pie #94

You must have done graduate work in obfuscation. This point alone is so full of misdirection that it's worthy of some attention.

You must have the brain of a peanut to not even attempt to critique the scientific, social and economic basis behind demands of literal complete societal change. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence; massive societal upheaval requires even more than that.

a) Are humans really the majority factor?

What is the importance of that? "Are humans a contributing factor" is the relevant question. If humans contribute 49% of climate change, then we're fine?

As you apparently can't understand that I was specifically referencing the "consensus science" behind doom-mongering climate change, this has now been spelled out for you.

b) And if so, is it really CO2 (as opposed to land use, ecological displacement etc) that is how humans are changing the climate?

The answer is all of the above. Greenhouse gases absorb photons from the sun before they can escape the atmosphere and return to space. This retains energy in the atmosphere. You can read all about it here. If there were no greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it would be too cold for us delicate humans. If there is too much greenhouse gases, the atmosphere retains too much energy and climate changes from the relatively benign state of the Holocene and becomes less stable and more violent.

It's a reinforcing loop.

At literally almost any given spot on Earth, temperature changes by 10x or more vs. the supposed impacts of doom-mongering climate change.

Nor is your assertion of "too many" greenhouse gases the least bit credible. The Earth has had CO2 levels in the multiple thousands of ppm - that's why doom-mongering climate change activists always carefully focus on 800K or more recent time periods. In fact, the majority of Earth's history, CO2 levels were way over 2000 ppm. Thus the notion of "excess" greenhouse gases is garbage. If there was a "tipping point" or "reinforcement" as you say, it would have triggered long ago.

Your lame attempts to invoke science are sad, at best, because you are really, really late to this party.

Meanwhile, we are busily destroying the balancing loops that keep greenhouse gases and the climate in check. Trees and other plants take CO2 (but not NH4) out of the atmosphere--a balancing loop. But human development has been busily paving over paradise for decades. When human development destroys forests, much of the carbon they have stored is released into the atmosphere. We have managed to change the Amazon forest from one of the largest carbon sequestering forests on the planet into a net carbon emitter--in large part to raise cattle for life-shortening hamburgers.

The boreal forest, another balancing loop that had been removing CO2 from the atmosphere, is losing its positive impact in a less direct way. While logging is an issue and works the same way as clearing Amazon jungle, global impacts on climate are changing patterns in the boreal that will release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere if they're not reversed. The boreal climate is already warmer and drier than in the pre-industrial era. That's leading to more frequent fires, and more frequent fires are leading to big carbon releases.

And some of the Earth's balancing loops continue to operate but have severe and damaging side effects. Carbon dioxide dissolves in the oceans. The problem is that dissolving CO2 in water produces an excess of hydrogen ions PH -) and a surfeit of carbonate ions (PH +), both of which are detrimental to ocean life.

There is nothing you have written above that has any basis in objective reality. The Earth has been greening, not declining in vegetation due to "disruption of balancing loops" or whatever other garbage notions you are trying to convey. The annual CO2 cycle is increasing in amplitude, consistently and in response to the increasing CO2 levels. Even discounting the historical record, there is zero indication of any balances being broken.

There are elements of truth in your posts on this topic. It's true that there is no way to retain current energy consumption levels with so-called renewables, much less continue to meet exponentially increasing demand. There is no solution without very large decreases in consumption among the world's wealthiest 10% who are responsible for 50% of carbon emissions.

Are you talking countries or demographics in specific country's populations? If the former, false as China is the biggest emitter in the world today and they are NOT the wealthiest 10% of countries.
If demographics in a specific country: I actually doubt that is true also. While Bill Gates pumps out a lot of CO2 in his private jet, I still don't see that matching the 300 million other Americans even with 29.999 million of his cohorts. You are no doubt making the same fallacious equating of consumer use of energy vs. overall societal use. Hint: consumers only use about half of overall energy. The rest goes into roads, buildings, bridges, power plants and other societal goods.

And I've seen you say something along the lines that the only way that consumption will be reduced is revolution (please correct me if I've misstated your view). It will require a revolutionary change in worldview, though that need not lead to widespread violence. There are two primary obstacles standing in the way of such a radical change in worldview:

1) obfuscation of the realities of what we're doing to the planet along the lines of what you engage in here; and

2) relentless pressure to consume exerted by capitalist economies.

What I've said previously is that the notion that existing and near-future alt-e technologies cannot and will not replace existing fossil fuel energy sources.

The consequences are multiple and all bad: less food, less transport, less energy, and the result is less people via starvation and war.

Most people think starvation and war is bad - so they're not going to go for it. Hence notions that we can "change" if we want to - we're not going to want to.

And while I am a technologist (or actually, because I am), the notion that technology will solve the problem is false. I call this world view technotopianism: that peculiar breed of person who thinks that advances in information technology will replicate into real world activities. No.

You offer no solutions to our situation, preferring to blame it on some god, the Earth, the sun, innate and unchangeable human propensities or some other cause beyond our control. So at least quit blocking the hall with your pointless obfuscation.

Why do I need to offer a solution when I don't see one that is acceptable to societies and people? There is a solution: nuclear power. China is building 164 new nuclear power plants by 2030 - that's their solution. But the green movements in the US and Europe are adamantly against nuclear.

All other non-nuclear solutions:

All I say is: if you want less people, say so and do something about it. Because ultimately that is the real problem that must be solved. Organic farming, alt-e, blaberty blah are all just dancing around the core issue.

But when implementing these non-nuclear solutions: don't expect people to meekly acquiesce or not shoot back.

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 15:14 utc | 105

@PleaseBeleafMe #98
You said:

It seems to me that those advocating severe policies to tackle climate change think that if we do what needs doing to make a difference that we could all live in a big happy garden of eden if only we could muster the collective will to do so. Sure there are things that each individual can do to make a difference in that regard but for most of us it will bring about severe economic and political consequences. How many people in a globalized world will have to suffer and die to bring about real change? Do you seriously believe that our governments have a sane and realizable plan to bring us to the promised land?
How many wars/social strife would severe climate change policies lead to?

Exactly correct.

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 15:16 utc | 106

As Mercouris/Christoforou yesterday and NC today notes:

Head of Bank of England warns of apocalyptic food prices -

A quarter of Britons have resorted to skipping meals amid worsening inflationary pressures and food scarcity concerns, according to one survey.

More than four in five people in the U.K. are worried about rising living costs and their ability to afford basics necessities over the next six months.

The findings come after Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey pointed to a forthcoming “apocalyptic” food crisis.

I noted months ago that the UK utility prices were going to jump - they increased 54% on April 1 and are expected to jump another 54% on October 1.

I noted some time ago that the UK imports 46% of its food - only 2% less than Egypt.

So which part of sanctioning Russia and throwing a gigantic monkey wrench into world trade, should surprise anyone that it turns out to hurt Britons?

Mercouris went on at length about there are literally no British politicians that he can see that might act on the above realities. That is the key: the political oligarchies in the US, UK and EU have executed groupthink and capture to such an extent that they clearly believe they have achieved TINA.

We will see.

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 15:21 utc | 107

US lifts some sanctions on Venezuela

Washington will start to relax restrictions placed on U.S.-based oil company Chevron with regards to its crude business in sanctioned Venezuela.

Chevron will soon be able to negotiate directly with the Venezuelan government and its state-run oil company, PDVSA, with the final details of the new arrangement expected to be complete as early as today.

Will Maduro/Venezuela be stupid enough to fall for this latest American Lucy football invitation?

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 15:23 utc | 108

@ c1ue | May 23 2022 15:23 utc | 108

Well, I suppose Venezuela could always demand advance payment in Bolivares, or in gold held at the Bank of England . . .

Posted by: malenkov | May 23 2022 15:31 utc | 109

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 23 2022 5:22 utc | 82

Thanks for this link, uncle tungsten. You have reminded me that in the last part of the Pepe interview with the Press Project posted at Saker yesterday Pepe talks about the new allied groups springing up - he mentions the Quad in passing as one of these new projects. That Australia's new leader has immediately gone to that forum might be a good thing, do you think?

Posted by: juliania | May 23 2022 15:32 utc | 110

Nor is your assertion of "too many" greenhouse gases the least bit credible. The Earth has had CO2 levels in the multiple thousands of ppm - that's why doom-mongering climate change activists always carefully focus on 800K or more recent time periods. In fact, the majority of Earth's history, CO2 levels were way over 2000 ppm. Thus the notion of "excess" greenhouse gases is garbage. If there was a "tipping point" or "reinforcement" as you say, it would have triggered long ago.

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 15:14 utc | 105

I guess those high CO2 levels might be just fine if you were a bacteria, but humans, and human civilization prefer something a little lower. That's why the focus is, quite reasonably, on the Holocene, the last 10,000 years, when humans began agriculture and widespread civilization.

Here's a chart of atmospheric carbon levels during the Holocene. Nothing remotely close to 2,000 ppm on that chart.

Are you really incapable of understanding that humans have flourished only in a very limited time period when the climate was stable and mild compared to those periods when carbon content of the atmosphere was so high? And that's not even talking about the effect of warming, habitat loss, etc. on plants and animals, plants and animals upon whom we depend for a thousand different things.

Have you ever heard of the precautionary principle? It really isn't a good idea to jump off a cliff into the water just because no one has yet proven to your satisfaction that the hard rock bottom lies only six inches under the surface.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 23 2022 16:02 utc | 111

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 23 2022 16:02 utc | 111

Thank you for all your very readable posts, HMP! And my answer to your penultimate question would be "Apparently yes, not to mention discourteous. [It, not you.]"

Best to ignore, I think. A chill in the air has me wondering whether this coming summer those levels will be hard to cope with in unforeseen ways.

Thanks again also to b for providing such variety of subject matters for discussion here.

Posted by: juliania | May 23 2022 16:24 utc | 112

I remembered looking through a significant number of the articles in the database - sufficient to validate the above conclusions source
Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 14:47 utc | 101

Heartland Institute, huh? Enjoying your Lucky Strikes? I guess you do believe in diving off cliffs into murky waters.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 23 2022 16:41 utc | 113

Murray Bookchin always resisted the attempts of Randians like the Heartland Institute to sell themselves as "libertarians" even though human liberty meant nothing to them. He dubbed them Propertarians because all that mattered to them was the right of the propertied to impose their will on the rest of us.

So "freedom" in the U. S. has been defined down to driving your gas guzzler wherever you want, wearing your .357 Magnum on your hip when you go to the grocery store and coughing in someone's face, unimpeded by a mask, when you have Covid. Principles worth dying for, no doubt.

I prefer FDR's definition of freedom:

The first is freedom of speech, and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 23 2022 17:01 utc | 114

@99 c1ue

" In fact, what I am working on is precisely how to make lemons out of this giant shitpot of lemonade."

That #99 piece is full of items I want to respond to; I am momentarily pressed for time.

I also want to say that the making lemonade item above caught my attention. I hope that IP issues won't preclude general discussion on the subject.

While I certainly do not agree with your (apparent) assertion that C02 is benign, and human behavior is incidental to / only partly resp. for climate change....

I do agree that:

a. Pixie dust and emotional appeals are not making great progress right now. Problems accelerating away from solutions.
b. Proposed solutions have to work for people (actually meet their core needs) and they have to be feasible. There is some disagreement between us re: definitions of "needs" and "feasible", but there may be some overlap and that should be identified
c. Adaptation means devising, testing, and implementing solutions. Whining and posturing etc. don't change anything, waste time. Most are grumbling and expecting someone else to do the adapting.
d. The making of solutions requires solid grounding, individually or as a team in physics, chemistry, biology, the mechanical arts & tech, up thru human realm in sociology, psychology. The full stack stretching from the elements to we the people. Math and language as communications / vetting mechanisms. Solutions have to run the full gauntlet, and the sooner and better they get vetted, the easier and faster the implementation. That's why I say "c1ue is useful". C1ue as "gauntlet". Useful.
e. Nukes have some strong advantages. Dis-advantages well-discussed, hoping for them to be overcome. I'm not knowledgeable enough yet to condemn or accept.


Tom's ideology is "Technotopian nonsense combined with climate doom-mongering."

We'll see.


In a day or 2, hopefully next open thread, I'll reply.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | May 23 2022 17:34 utc | 115

Proposed solutions have to work for people (actually meet their core needs) and they have to be feasible.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | May 23 2022 17:34 utc | 115

Thanks for your previous comment, and agree with much you write.

As an amendment to what you wrote above, I'd quote Wendell Berry:

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.

With that as a guide, human technology can begin to do more good than harm.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 23 2022 17:54 utc | 116

Global cooling was never the consensus. but if people are using the "Heartland Institute" as a source, they are already blind on the subject.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 23 2022 18:15 utc | 117

Finally, a public health official I can trust.

‘Deputy Minister of Health of the Russian Federation Alexandra Dronova during the 75th Session of the World Health Assembly:

🔹 The world countries, through collective efforts with the coordinating role of the World Health Organization, were able to overcome the acute phase of the pandemic. We have moved on to the recovery phase.

🔹 We regard the WHO as a reliable partner in ensuring equal and full-scale access of the population affected by conflicts to health services. In current conditions, the principle of "do not leave anyone behind" is more relevant than ever.

❗️ At the same time, with deep concern we have recently been taking note of politicization attempts of the Organization's work, as well as deviations from the principle of "impartiality" in its work. In this regard, we call on the Director-General to prevent the WHO from becoming a political platform and to act in strict accordance with the Charter.’

Posted by: financial matters | May 23 2022 18:17 utc | 118

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 23 2022 18:15 utc | 117

At a certain point, it's hard to assume good faith when they're involved. The place is like a parody of the whole idea of shilling for billionaires. An over-the-top parody like "Don't Look Up."

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 23 2022 18:19 utc | 119

juliania #110

You have reminded me that in the last part of the Pepe interview with the Press Project posted at Saker yesterday Pepe talks about the new allied groups springing up - he mentions the Quad in passing as one of these new projects. That Australia's new leader has immediately gone to that forum might be a good thing, do you think?

Thank you for your reply, I guess the incoming PM just carried on with the diary engagements of priority from the outgoing PM. Watch what is said closely and especially the India/Oz interactions. If Albanese appears close and friendly toward India moreso than the other two morons then that might be some signal to Asia that Oz seeks friendly business.

I don't expect Albanese or Wong to cold shoulder the Japanese and US pair but any video of their interactions will be informative. Read their press statements carefully.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 23 2022 22:28 utc | 120

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 14:36 utc | 99

Other examples: Is the number of miles driven by the US affected by the price of gasoline? Look at the historical data: the answer is "not much": Federal Reserve data of miles driven in US, historical

Do you see the impact of the Oil Embargo? It is barely detectable...

C1ue demonstrates how his remarks are what the ancient Romans called “NON IMPEDITI RATIONE COGITATIONIS”

The oil embargo would not be evidence of how miles driven affects gas prices. It would be the opposite - evidence that gas prices affect "miles driven".

To understand how miles driven effect gas prices one has to look at events that caused miles driven to decline and then look at gas prices. (I suspect I could explain that easily to a 6 Year old child but never succeed in explaining it to c1ue)

To see that miles driven have huge impacts on gas prices all you have to do is look at when miles driven dropped and then look at what happened to gas prices. In 2001 after 9/11 miles driven dropped slightly but prices dropped a bunch. After the 2008 crash miles driven dropped from over $4/gal to around $1.6. That was the result of a 5% decrease in the yearly average miles driven. The 2020 covid pandemic also caused a decrease in miles driven which caused a disproportionate drop in gas prices.

What is evident from looking at miles driven and the price of gas is that a steady predictable price of gas coexists well with a steady predictable rate of miles driven. A slight change in either can result in huge market disruptions. The Oil Cos know this and have expended enormous resources in avoiding any change.

Posted by: jinn | May 23 2022 23:07 utc | 121

Report: In 1st, US refuelers to take part in major Israeli drill for strike on Iran
Collaboration involving Israeli fighter jets and American refuelers seen as message to Iran regarding potential for US assistance in an actual Israeli attack


17 May 2022, 10:41 pm

The United States will participate in Israel’s largescale drill simulating a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities as part of the broader Chariots of Fire exercise later this month, Channel 13 reported on Tuesday evening.

According to the unsourced report, the US Air Force will serve as a complementary force, with refueling planes drilling with Israeli fighter jets as they simulate entering Iranian territory and carrying out repeated strikes."

Posted by: daffyDuct | May 24 2022 0:36 utc | 122

Will Germany remain neutral? Will it lead "Europe's" charge against China, in the transatlantic alliance? Germany is building up its armament with a crescendo of billions.

German arms companies were already pushing to have a share in the weaponized ring around China, to "keep China down" from the sea. In the western alliance, Germany is reinforcing that ring, as West Germany before, when it shared logistics and technology, but above all, lots of money and the racist depiction leading to a slaughterhouse in Vietnam.

Germany is not neutral. It is about to join the front.

However, unlike before, today's weapons can reach Berlin directly from Asia's battlefield. ... Don't be deceived.

Posted by: denk | May 24 2022 4:12 utc | 123

Scott Ritter yarns with Richard Medhurst on oil.

US begs Venezuela for oil and hints about sanctions. "Scott Ritter: This Is Why US BEGS Venezuela & Maduro for Oil"

One of the commenters suggests they pay for it in Rubles :))

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 24 2022 9:40 utc | 124

Russel Brand bags the USA Disinformation Board and celebrates its stillborn demise.
The US Department of Homeland Security is “pausing” its plans for a Disinformation Governance Board. But how are we gonna stop disinformation now? #Biden #Disinformation #DHS

Rumble, ten minutes.

The hat is truly f*ing ridiculous.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 24 2022 10:05 utc | 125

United States Agency for Global Media

What? I just came across this front for oppression in a great utoob piece from The New Atlas: US Sees Anti-China Setback after Philippine Elections. twenty seven minutes utoob


The mission of United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) is to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.

The Agency’s mission is reinforced by those of the individual entities that are overseen by USAGM.
Voice of America

President Gerald Ford signed the VOA Charter (Public Law 94-350) into law in 1976. It protects the independence and integrity of VOA programming.

The long-range interests of the United States are served by communicating directly with the peoples of the world by radio. To be effective, the Voice of America must win the attention and respect of listeners. These principles will therefore govern Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts:

VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive. VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions. VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.

These are the low life POS out to kill Julian Assange and make us all feel good about it too, I guess.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 24 2022 10:31 utc | 126

Is Bulldog Durham finally delivering some bites?

Hillary approved it, Sullivan was in the room , Posdesta and co too, the swamp dam wall seems to be correctly mined and set to be drained. Including the massed media monkeys dancing to the fascists slave owners tunes.

Posted by: DunGroanin | May 24 2022 10:59 utc | 127

A downside to the Labor victory in Australia is New Zealanders will no longer be able to automatically smugly smirk when thinking of Oz's political leadership.

Here's a couple of NZ (author is Oz born) articles, interesting and entertaining. Brilliant photos!

Posted by: tucenz | May 24 2022 11:00 utc | 128

Is there a military coup happening in Sweden?? (Sensational clickbait is allowed in this thread, I hope)

Disgruntled pilots -

On Feb. 19, a Google search revealed to me that an objective Nordic specialist, working for Human Rights Watch, penned an opinion piece calling for Sweden to impose sanctions on the Burmese (or [Burmese] ?) military

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 24 2022 11:22 utc | 129

tucenz @ 128

Thanks for the links, those brightened up my morning. More MDMA in need, indeed!

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 24 2022 11:43 utc | 130

@Henry Moon Pie #111
Are you so stupid as to not understand that humans live in buildings that regularly have CO2 levels of 1000 ppm or higher?

This idiocy with "ideal" conditions for humanity is utterly inane.

I do not, and will never, understand how being a hunter-gatherer from 100,000 years ago - with a life expectancy in the 20s and 30s - is in any way ideal or relevant.

As I said before and say again: this doom-mongering climate crap is literally a recycling of Rousseau-ian Noble Savage nonsense.

Posted by: c1ue | May 24 2022 14:18 utc | 131

@Henry Moon Pie #113
No, it isn't Heartland Institute.

But you have already demonstrated that you don't have the brains of a peanut;
you don't actually look at core data or draw your own conclusions;
you are nothing more than an ideological hack.

Posted by: c1ue | May 24 2022 14:20 utc | 132

@Henry Moon Pie #114

Utterly amusing how you take FDR's statements and conflate them with present policies - which accomplish precisely the opposite.

Expensive = not freedom from want. Or maybe you missed the many articles I've posted showing how Americans, Britons etc etc are directly suffering from high utility bills?

Posted by: c1ue | May 24 2022 14:22 utc | 133

@jinn #121
I was amazed by your past idiocies - this latest one raises the bar for dumb-assery even higher.

Apparently you cannot even comprehend English anymore.

The Fed graph clearly shows that high oil prices do not actually affect miles driven, not the reverse - which is what I specifically stated.

But then again, why should I expect anything better from your consistent stupidity?

Posted by: c1ue | May 24 2022 14:25 utc | 134

Further to the sensational clickbait I posted above… some choice words from Dmitry Polyanskiy (less restraints on him than Nebenzya perhaps?)

In reply to a Tweet by Anders Aslund, who declares the UN unsalvageable:

“A very illustrative advice reflecting unwillingness to find compromises and negotiate. Much easier is to create a cosy “democratic playground” aka rules based intl order. Either way, supporting UN or undermining it, US will have to admit one simple truth: Pax Americana is over.”

And a few words on Poland, responding to a Tweet by Dmytro Kuleba:

“The Polish dream to have Ukrainian neighbors as cheap labor and control and exploit their land (Kresy Wschodnie)as they did in 1918-1939 has come closer. It’s up to Ukrainians to assess their leaders of course.But the prominent place at the dustbin of history is reserved for them.”

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 24 2022 14:36 utc | 135

@Tom Pfotzer #115
I have never stated CO2 is benign.

The scientific revolution is premised on the existence of a null hypothesis: that there is no requirement for a positive, negative, or any other slanted view of a given situation.

What I stated was that it is not at all clear to me that anthropogenic CO2 is the majority cause of warming. This is one of the core pillars behind Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change.

It is also not clear to me that higher CO2 levels are net negative to human existence - which is a related but different proposition. This is another of the core pillars behind Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change.

As for the lemons: I've already stated it. I am working on a solution to take advantage of the ginormous amounts of alt-e electricity which is being curtailed by California, Texas, China, Germany and UK (and likely others).

It employs a proven technology; the difference is entirely business model. This isn't going to change the lemon equation but will reduce the secondary losses to a significant degree - even as it throws off useful output.

I have progressed to the point of hiring a Texas consultant to outline when/where/how ERCOT can make use of this. With this information, I can then design the specific technology embodiment to fit their need. I am now interviewing kids who have dabbled in the base tech so that the one chosen can do a reasonable initial exploration of the updated tech to better inform the next stage and to be the granular technology lead.

The next step after this is another contract to an industrial design firm because the solution is going to require a manufacturing line, even as the sales and fundraising process runs in parallel. I am building a list of possible firms to solicit bids from in the US and Russia.

But there is no pixie dust future tech, no reliance on government R & D and/or capital expense subsidies, no need for ginormous new government or utility bond issuances to pay for all this.

Preliminary biz model shows an under 3 year capital cost repayment - i.e. 33%+ ROI even with 11% ROIC, but of course this is simply margin for how the real world degrades estimates.

On the plus side of the ledger of variables, the secondary production (behind usage of said curtailed electricity) is in such high demand and will benefit directly from the commodity supercycle as well as general international economic direction. The economics are such that actual ROIC costs for capital might very possibly far lower.

Posted by: c1ue | May 24 2022 14:46 utc | 136

No, it isn't Heartland Institute.

But you have already demonstrated that you don't have the brains of a peanut;
you don't actually look at core data or draw your own conclusions;
you are nothing more than an ideological hack.

Posted by: c1ue | May 24 2022 14:20 utc | 132

LOL. So you gave us a link to as your go-to source on the real lowdown on this climate hoax:

I remembered looking through a significant number of the articles in the database - sufficient to validate the above conclusions source Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 14:47 utc | 101

Now you tell us that the link you cite at #101 has nothing to do with the Heartland Institute.

The proprietor of is Anthony Watts. Here is a page from the Heartland Institute about their "senior fellow for environment and climate,"
Anthony Watts and his wonderful website,

Your pitiful attempt to deny the Heartland Institute connection is essentially an admission of that organization's sordid history, first as paid shill for Big Tobacco and now for Big Oil. I have little hope that you will own up to what is either a lie or gross negligence in sourcing, but barflies can make their own assessments. I'm finished interacting with someone whose bad faith is so obvious.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 24 2022 16:27 utc | 137

As promised, here's the complete machine translated transcript of Lavrov's Speech and answers to questions as part of the Primakov Gymnasium's 100 Questions for a Leader project:

Nice to see you. I do not visit here often, but regularly. Every time it is pleasant to be charged with energy from you. Eleventh graders literally tomorrow will have to choose a life path. The rest (who study in the eighth, ninth, tenth grade) also did not have long before they get to the same milestone.

It is important to understand how you live, how our society will live within the framework of professional trends that will accompany employment and becoming in life. I hold such meetings not only with schoolchildren. I regularly communicate with MGIMO students. They do not allow those who are engaged in practical politics, which should be built in such a way that those who come next, see the prospect, understand that the course laid out by their predecessors reflects their interest.

Question: As far as I know, you write poetry. How did you come to this?

Sergey Lavrov: I did. Since I work as a Minister, I limit myself only to "couplets" for the birthdays of comrades, comic songs. Although there are detailed works. He began to write poems as poetry at the age of 15. There were some thoughts going on at school. Then at the institute we went to the construction team. Songs dedicated to certain corners of our vast Motherland were born there.

A.A. Voznesensky said: "Poems are not written – they happen like feelings or sunset. The soul is a blind accomplice. I didn't write it, it happened."

Question: Your predecessor, Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire Alexander Gorchakov, said that "the great powers do not need recognition." Is this phrase relevant these days?

Sergey Lavrov: I think it is relevant. Human nature does not change, despite technological progress, the emergence of innovations in information and other spheres. A person always wants to defend his interests. If he is strong, purposeful, to a certain extent stubborn, then it will be easier for him to achieve that he is perceived as such.

It's a similar story with states. Only here it is more noticeable when the country is large, rich, there is a people who know, love and continue the history of their ancestors. Perhaps this was what A.M. Gorchakov meant. The Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation is the largest state in the world in terms of territorial coverage. A country that has traditions. It is unlikely that they can be found in other states. I am referring to our multi-ethnic, multi-confessional people. The Russian Empire, unlike others, did not subordinate other peoples to its aesthetic and moral requirements when it spread its influence. Everyone preserved their language, faith, traditions. Different parts of the empire had different status to reflect the specifics of a particular people who joined. In the U.S., it's a different "melting pot." They melted everyone down, they all immediately became Americans. As my friend said, "We are all Americans. On the forehead is written "human rights". The palette of our national composition is richer. This is the heritage of the country, as well as the territory, natural resources.

As for how A.M. Gorchakov's prediction was refracted after the creation of the USSR, no one recognized it for several years either. Then they admitted. It was a reality that had been created and would not disappear. Everybody understood that. The same thing is happening now, when they are trying to force the Russian Federation to live by the "rules", and not by international law. The West has not uttered the term for several years. They call on everyone to observe a "rules-based world order." No one saw the "rules", no one participated in their writing. There is no answer to our reasonable question as to why they are not satisfied with the rules called the UN Charter. But we know him. This answer does not suit them, because they twist all the "rules" as they need today. They wanted to destroy Yugoslavia, they took and recognized Kosovo. They said that this is the right of peoples to self-determination. Moreover, Kosovo did not hold any referendums. Even the International Court of Justice had ruled that it was not necessary to have the consent of the central authorities to declare the independence of a Territory.

There was an unconstitutional coup d'état, and people came to power in Ukraine who said that it was necessary to abolish the status of the Russian language, enshrined in the laws until 2014, to "throw out" Russians from the Crimea. In response to this, the Crimeans held a referendum. Openly, transparently, overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence from Ukraine and accession to Russia. The West does not recognize this. It seems that the rule is the same – the self-determination of the people, but the position of the West is different.

Now the West is reacting furiously to the fact that Russia is protecting its absolutely legitimate, fundamental interests. Russia has said that its security interests are being undermined every time THAT NATO, contrary to all promises, has expanded eastward five times, coming close to our borders. They warned that the inclusion of Ukraine and other former Soviet republics in the alliance was a "red line." We warned that we see what plans the United States and other NATO countries had for deploying weapons in Ukraine, pumping it with modern types of weapons, creating military and naval bases on Ukrainian territory. The new Kiev authorities after the coup d'état tried to suppress by force the will of those in the Donbass who refused to accept the results of the coup, they were declared terrorists. And they simply did not accept the results of the coup d'état, asked to leave them and let them sort it out for themselves. They didn't attack anyone, but they were attacked.

It took a year to understand the futility of the "massacre" of the new Kiev regime. The Minsk agreements were reached. Everything is simply written there: special status should be granted to the territories not controlled by Kiev, the right to use their native (Russian) language, to have their own law enforcement agencies and special economic relations with neighboring territories of the Russian Federation. For eight long years, in parallel with the fact that we warned OUR NATO colleagues to abandon the advance of the alliance to the east, from attempts to "swallow" Ukraine by including it in the composition, we urged them to send a tough signal to Kiev about the need to implement the Minsk agreements. Uselessly. As we say – "against the wall of peas". The West only "nodded" and pretended that it was trying to help the settlement. In fact, he encouraged the arrogant position of the Kiev regime, which, through the president and his ministers, publicly stated that they would not implement the Minsk agreements.

The expansion of NATO, the refusal to comply with the Minsk agreements, in parallel year after year, the legislation of Ukraine banned the Russian language in the field of education and media, TV channels (both Russian and Ukrainian in Russian language) were closed. The last version of the next law forbade the use of the Russian language in everyday life. If you contact the seller in the store in Russian, and not in the state Ukrainian language, you can incur administrative responsibility.

Another block of legislation encouraged neo-Nazi theory and practice, including not only the glorification of those who collaborated with A. Hitler and were recognized as criminals during the Nuremberg Tribunal, but also the encouragement of torchlight processions, the use of Nazi symbols (swastika, emblems of battalions, regiments and divisions of the SS "Dead Head", etc.), the creation of national battalions that, with the help of Western instructors, trained and educated their fighters in the spirit of neo-Nazi ideology. We have seen the full range of threats posed on our borders. For many years, we have been explaining this to our Western partners. They didn't give a damn.

Since 2009, we have repeatedly proposed to conclude a special agreement that will guarantee the security of all countries, including Ukraine, without the expansion of NATO and other military-political alliances. In 2009, it was rejected. In 2021, President of Russia Vladimir Putin once again put forward this initiative, and we sent treaties to the United States and NATO members. Again, they refused to guarantee security beyond the enlargement of the North Atlantic Alliance. It was unacceptable to us. They knew that very well.

There is a list of specific threats to the security of the Russian Federation, not only in the physical sense, but also in terms of culture. A huge part of the Ukrainian population is legally deprived of the opportunity to continue to live using their native language, to raise children in a Russian cultural way and in Russian language, etc. Because of this, after many years of warnings, having no other way out, we began to protect the interests of the security of the Russian population in the Donbass. You can see the reaction of our Western colleagues. They signed that they cannot and do not know how to live as written in the UN Charter, namely, that the Organization is based on the sovereign equality of states. For them, it is only the sovereignty of themselves.

I described how long we tried to "reach out" to our Western colleagues with these threats that they posed to us. The United States, not on their borders, but across the ocean, 10,000 km away, suddenly saw a threat in Yugoslavia. They bombed the country, created Kosovo, imposing their vision of this part of Europe. Then they saw a similar threat in Iraq. They said there were weapons of mass destruction there. Bombed. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed. Basically, the Americans and the British "led" in this campaign in 2003, a few years later it turned out that there were no WMD there. Then-British Prime Minister Thomas Blair said, like, they made a mistake, with whom it does not happen. They destroyed the country, and it still cannot restore statehood. Then, "on the other side of the Earth," it seemed to them that not everything was "okay" with human rights in Libya. Bombed a prosperous country. There were no poor people there. The territory prospered economically. Yes, there was an authoritarian regime. But to depose him, they "put" hundreds of thousands of times more people than those who suffered under this authoritarian regime. Libya is now not a state, but a territory on which several political and military forces are located. Every man for himself.

When they have a feeling that someone is threatening them, they do not explain to anyone, do not ask them to take action. They just decide, send the military and compare them to the ground just like the cities in Iraq, Syria. These are their "rules".

Once again, we are now living through such a period in our history. They say that Russia must "be defeated", they must "defeat Russia", ensure that Russia "loses on the battlefield". I am sure that you know history better than Western politicians who cast such "spells". I guess they didn't do well in school. They draw the wrong conclusions from their understanding of the past and what Russia is.

I am convinced that all this will end. The West once again recognizes the reality that is being created "on the ground." It will be forced to admit that it is impossible to constantly attack Russian vital interests, Russians, wherever they live, with impunity. There is a lot of talk about Ireland now, because in Northern Ireland (part of the UK) the party that wants to reunite with the rest of the Irish island won. If they suddenly banned the English language? The Ukrainians banned Russian, and there – English. Would French be banned in Belgium? Is it Swedish in Finland? It's impossible to imagine. The West "swallowed" all this, as if it were necessary.

We "knocked" on the doors of the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. They "lamented", but could not stomp their feet and demand from the arrogant ultranationalists who came to power as a result of the coup d'état, so that they did not dare to violate the rights of the Russian-speaking national minority (although the overwhelming majority of Ukrainian citizens speak Russian), as required by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

These are Western "rules." They can't even think about infringing on some European language. Here, since Ukrainians have "sworn an oath" of allegiance to the West and unquestioningly fulfill what it advises them, it means that they can do anything.

They recognize reality. Otherwise, it cannot and will not be. We will strive to protect the rights of Russians (wherever they live), the Russian-speaking population in accordance with the conventions to which all Western states are signed. We will ensure that Russia's security interests are not ignored, as happened long after the Soviet Union ceased to exist. We were lied to in the face that NATO would not move an inch.

Question: French politician Charles de Gaulle said that a person can have friends, but a politician cannot. What is your opinion?

Sergey Lavrov: I am almost sure that the great Frenchman Charles de Gaulle, when he said this phrase, meant the same person.

Any normal person, no matter what profession he chooses, no matter what he does in life, should have friends. Otherwise, it's an anomaly. When a person who is a politician meets with his friends, he ceases to be a politician. With them, he's like a buddy, a classmate, a classmate. At least, this is what I feel when I meet with the guys with whom I graduated from school, went to construction teams, rafted on Siberian rivers. I'm not a minister there at all. They won't even see me point-blank if I try to make a minister out of myself. We are friends. That's the only way we communicate.

Question: Do you have a dream? If not, was it? Have you achieved it?

Sergey Lavrov: You can either answer briefly or talk endlessly. At each stage of his development, a person wants to achieve some results. It is good to finish school, go to college, get an interesting job. These can be called dreams. And we can proceed from the fact that this is a normal state of a person who sets goals for himself and strives to achieve them.

If the dream is in a more "romantic" way, then someone can dream of impossible things. As the folk wisdom says, dreaming is not harmful. You just need to see your interest, who you want to make yourself and move towards this goal. Those who graduate from the Primakov Gymnasium have much more chances than graduates of other educational institutions. I don't want to offend anyone, but you have a high school.

Q: Is there a question you've never been asked but would like to answer?

Sergey Lavrov: There are no such questions. But that doesn't mean you haven't hit the nail on the head. When I have the desire to answer a question, I make it so that I am asked it. Believe me, it's not difficult. You have to be friends with journalists.

Question: Since March-April of this year, there has been talk of limiting Russia's veto power in the UN Security Council. We have already been expelled from the UN Human Rights Council. Will the system of international relations change in the near future? Or will it remain unchanged due to current events? Do we need to reform it?

Sergey Lavrov: They left the Human Rights Council on their own. We were going to be expelled from there, to suspend our membership. We decided to do it ourselves. The Council discredited itself long before the current situation around Ukraine began.

Let me remind you that there used to be a UN Commission on Human Rights attached to the Organisation's Economic and Social Council. The Americans criticized it in every possible way. In their opinion, she was not aggressive enough towards the "violators". Largely (if not decisively) on their initiative, the current Human Rights Council was created, which is elected by the UN General Assembly. It is the highest representative body of the Organization.

The reformed regulation on this Council has incorporated the principle, based on the sovereign equality of States, according to which each country is subjected to a periodic review of its human rights practices after a certain period of time. A commission is created, questions are asked, the country is responsible. On an equal basis, after a certain time, everyone must report to the others. This seemed to solve the problem of fairness in considering the "track record" of a particular state.

This did not seem enough to the West. Each time, in violation of an equal process, at sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, they threw a resolution that directly condemned a particular country. From the point of view of achieving a result, this does not give anything. The language with which these resolutions were written was rude and offensive. If you want your advice to be heeded, you need to talk to people in a different way. Such are the manners of the modern West. They can't be fixed.

We independently withdrew from the Council of Europe, which has degraded from the structure dealing with ensuring the unity of the pan-European legal space, to the structure that has become an instrument of the United States (although they are not even members of the Council of Europe, but observers). Recently, the Americans (this began five years ago) have seen a course towards "privatization" of the secretariats of international organizations. They put their people in leadership positions. Unfortunately, they have influence on countries that vote for certain personnel decisions. Americans are "rushing" around the world. What is the sovereign equality of states there? Russia has said why it is doing what it is doing. The Americans and the West have expressed their attitude. Why can't others be given the opportunity to determine their position on their own? Which they did. No one, except the West, practically joined the sanctions. But the Americans, EU members, and the British are "rushing" around the world most quickly, demanding that countries "connect" to anti-Russian sanctions. What kind of equality and respect is there? No.

The Council of Europe has followed the same path. The culture of consensus, which has always been the essence of the work of a pan-European organization, has been destroyed. It has always made it possible to "steer" to mutually acceptable decisions that reflect the balance of interests of the participants. For a long time, they began to subject issues of interest to the West to voting. Pushed the overwhelming majority in the Council of Europe. Moreover, the EU behaves interestingly in the Council of Europe. When there was a problem with human rights in any EU country, Brussels said that yes, there is a problem, but there is no need to worry about it, because within the European Union, outside the Council of Europe, there is its own procedure for monitoring how EU member states fulfill their human rights obligations. They fenced themselves off from the Council of Europe, saying that what they have inside is themselves, and what happens to the former Soviet republics, which are now independent states and participate in the Council of Europe, they will meticulously consider it. It's an arrogant display of a sense of self-superiority. I think that they are destroying the Council of Europe, as well as many other organizations where they are trying to act not on the basis of equality, but on the basis of dictate, ultimatums and direct blackmail. When they need to get the result of voting in the same UN, my colleagues told how they are forced to vote the way the West needs. They hint to a specific person (a country's U.N. ambassador) that there will be a vote tomorrow, that they will vote like this, and encourage others to do the same, reminding them that they have an account in an American bank, and the children are in college or university. I'm not exaggerating. I know people who told me this. I believe them.

As for the UN Security Council. No one can change anything unless a decision is made that must be ratified by all permanent members of the UN Security Council, including the Russian Federation. In other words, it is impossible to change the status of any of the five permanent members.

We are now talking about reforming the UN Security Council. There are several directions here. The main direction is the numerical composition. Negotiations in the General Assembly have been going on for twenty years, if not more. Initially, a resolution was adopted that proclaimed the need to expand the number of members of the UN Security Council and to do this so that the reform is based on broad agreement. That's not consensus. One hundred percent consensus is hardly possible in this kind of thing. There will always be one or two states that distance themselves from consensus. Therefore, the resolution that launched the reform process read "on the basis of broad agreement" (general agreement).

Now there are two groups of countries. One group of countries is in line with the "four" (India, Brazil, Japan and Germany), which declared their claims to permanent membership in the UN Security Council and rallied on this basis. On the same basis, the countries of other regions are "processed", mobilizing them for their support, believing that there must be new permanent seats. The second group of countries is quite the opposite. They believe that permanent membership (as our Mexican colleagues once put it) is "an injustice embedded in the foundation of the UN." This foundation cannot be changed, but this injustice should not be multiplied. Let's add a certain number of non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, but we will not create permanent seats. These are two irreconcilable approaches. At a certain stage, people realized that it was impossible to "marry" diametrically opposed points of view and came up with the idea of looking for a compromise, which would consist in the fact that we would create not additional permanent places, but new "semi-permanent" places. Now the country, which is elected to the UN Security Council for a non-permanent seat, does it for two years. Moreover, after these two years, she cannot immediately be elected again. There was a proposal to make a third category (there are permanent and non-permanent, and there are semi-permanent), which will be selected from a limited circle of states (30 states were designated) for ten years with the right of immediate re-election. It's not developed. I show how irreconcilable points of view sounded that they even gave rise to such a compromise idea.

So far, this process is underway. The Quartet wants to put the matter to a vote and resolve it by a two-thirds vote. In fact, the UN Security Council Charter says that two-thirds of the votes are on important issues. But the very decision to launch this process requires not two-thirds, but broad consent. That's more than two-thirds. While the conversations are going on.

Something else is fundamentally important to us. We explain this to our colleagues from the developing world. It has been said publicly on many occasions that both India and Brazil are more than worthy contenders for permanent membership in the UN Security Council, if it is decided that it is necessary to create new permanent seats. But at the same time, we cannot, for obvious reasons, say the same about Germany and Japan. First, out of fifteen members of the UN Security Council, the West now accounts for six. It's not fair. Look at the politics of Germany and Japan. Japan is also a Western country in terms of the positions they occupy. Now neither Germany nor Japan is doing anything that would go against the line of the United States, Great Britain and France. This means that the UN Security Council will not receive any added value from the membership of these two countries. The state where developing countries are underrepresented is serious. It's only going to get bigger. Therefore, we clearly say that in order to reform the UN Security Council, it is necessary to expand it at the expense of developing countries. We can easily agree to new permanent seats, we can also agree to non-permanent ones, as long as this decision is made on the basis of broad agreement. If a vote is to be cast, a two-thirds vote is required from the point of view of legal procedure. But one-third is not rogue states. In the "group" that is against the creation of new permanent places, Scandinavians, Mexicans, Argentines, Spaniards, Italians. These countries, firstly, have a reputation in the UN, and secondly, they are donors. And many programs are funded. To antagonize these countries just for the sake of voting... Moreover, they will vote, split the UN, and "this" must then be ratified. It is imperative that all five permanent members ratify such an amendment to the UN Security Council Charter.

The topic of the West's attempt to further strengthen its position in the UN Security Council to the detriment of developing countries is quite serious. No one will deprive the permanent members of the right of veto. This is written in the UN Security Council Charter. An amendment aimed at changing this will not pass. Everybody understands that. It's a reality. The very reality arising from the wisdom of A.M. Gorchakov.

There were other attempts. The French have long proposed a decision according to which the permanent members of the UN Security Council will assume voluntary restrictions and will not use the veto in situations where we are talking about gross massive violations of human rights, international and humanitarian law, crimes against humanity. Sounds nice.

We asked when the French first put forward this initiative, what it would look like in practice. What is a "gross massive violation of human rights or international humanitarian law"? This is determined by the court. And the UN Security Council acts according to its own rules of procedure. The very posing of questions by the French and their supporters forces them to ask direct and sloppy questions. Ok. You say that we will not use the veto when there are "gross mass violations". And at what level does the "massiveness" of these gross violations begin? One hundred? One hundred and twenty? And ninety-nine is possible? And one hundred and nineteen is possible? That is, it is an almost unrealizable thing. It is used exclusively for such propaganda, PR purposes.

There's a lot of talk going on around that. The intergovernmental mechanism considering the reform of the UN Security Council, in addition to the membership, is concerned about the topic of the veto. We need to look for realistic agreements. Now it is fundamental for everyone to agree that the main defect of the current UN Security Council is the lack of proper representation of developing countries in it. That's our position.

Question: Are there any people in your life from whom you still take an example, despite the fact that you yourself have achieved a lot in life and are an authority for a large number of people?

Sergey Lavrov: When I was at your age, even younger, I had people I wanted to look up to. Starting at school.

I entered MGIMO relatively by accident. There were exams a month earlier than in other universities. I had a dream – to enter the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI), because we had a teacher of physics and mathematics S.I. Kuznetsov (the kingdom of heaven), whom I idolized. He was a great teacher and friend. S.I. Kuznetsov was not much older than us (about eight or nine years). He went hiking with us, went to different places, really made friends. I looked up to him. Sergei Kuznetsov told me that he understands that physics is interesting, but at the same time he believed that my mindset was more humanitarian. I was even offended. He explained that he thought I was okay with him as a teacher, so he decided to follow his path. But it turned out that MEPhI and all other universities had exams from the first of August, and MGIMO from the first of July. My mom told me to give it a try. I wouldn't be sitting here with you right now.

The institute also had teachers whom we loved and appreciated. The Sinhala language, which I was safely "given" for five years, was taught by A.A. Belkovich (he is also no longer alive, unfortunately). This man had never been to the island of Ceylon, which is now called Sri Lanka, but taught the language that this island spoke. It's not spoken anywhere else. We played football with him. After the institute, we had a couple of tongues, then we went to the next yard near MGIMO, where there was a hockey box. They were "running around" there. He brought his friends.

In the Foreign Ministry, my first head was R.N. Nishanov. He's still alive. I was an ambassador to Sri Lanka, where I ended up going with my Sinhala language. I still know how to draw letters. The list goes on and on.

It is necessary to mention E.M. Primakov. A man who, during his short stay in the Ministry, did a lot to ensure that the Foreign Ministry returned to the rails of national dignity and began to pursue a line that is worthy of the Russian Federation. Personally, he was a fantastic man. They played "cabbages" when Russia and other countries cooperated with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). For ten years now, they stopped doing this. And when meetings were held, each delegation staged a "cabbage", songs or sketches. He participated with great pleasure. He was really a "lump." No wonder a monument was erected to him at the Novodevichy Cemetery in the form of a block. It's apt and clear. On the question of a politician or a friend, it's also about him. I was never a politician when going to birthday parties or meetings of friends. There are many people in our country to look up to.

Question: The Foreign Ministry's press releases and statements constantly say that Western countries are our colleagues, that is, such a positive subtext. In a personal conversation, without starting from diplomatic etiquette and protocol, would you call, for example, the United Kingdom our colleague? Do you believe in a secret world government?

Sergey Lavrov: We need to get an explanatory dictionary. If I remember a colleague correctly, he is a person who is engaged in the same profession as you. In this sense, it is not a comrade, not a partner, although sometimes we say "our Western partners", mentally meaning in quotation marks. Sometimes we say "our so-called Western partners". Of course, this is not a partnership. It's arrogance that strikes over the edge. This is an irreparable confidence in one's own rightness always and everywhere, a sense of one's own superiority, a complex of fullness. You can characterize it in different ways.

I was amazed at the speed with which, after the start of a special military operation, the West took a Russophobic position, encouraging Russophobia at the household level. This means that what they thought about Russia, starting from the 16th-17th-18th centuries, did not disappear anywhere. Now, under the influence of this Russophobia, political scientists have begun to draw attention to Western descriptions of Russia of that period. At the beginning of the twentieth century, American political scientists wrote about Russia as barbarians. And this is all that happened after the end of the Cold War, all this pompous talk about universal values, that now everything will be built from the Atlantic to the Urals, and then to Vladivostok, evaporated overnight. I don't want to think badly of people, but one way is to explain: it was deeply seated, the mask was "glued" on top. Now, however, there are sound voices when people are indignant at the decisions to ban the teaching of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy in Western schools, and to change street names. We note the attempts of Western governments, at least in the world, many of them to "play along" with Russophobic manifestations at the everyday level, and even to "play" on negative and shameful feelings. It's disturbing. Look at how Latvia speaks. They say that they will take away from the Russians the money that they have frozen, confiscate and use for the needs of Ukraine. But they also need to take themselves (Latvians). They say that they were occupied by the Soviet Union. As it were, compensation for the occupation. Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki tells Norway that they have earned a lot, oil prices are good, let's share with them. Similarly, the leaders of Ukraine say that they are owed, that why germany is turning so slowly, that some kind of "liverwurst" "leads" Germany. Until recently, it was impossible to imagine this.

People believe that they are the masters of life. They were told that they could do anything if they spoke out against Russia and everything Russian. Here is the Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany Oleksandr Melnyk. The entire Internet is full of boorish demands on the government of the host country. He personally insults German politicians. Now it is becoming fashionable that those who are "for the Americans" are allowed everything. The Americans openly declare that they cannot allow any bipolar world, that they must defend a unipolar world. US Treasury Secretary J. Yellen (former head of the Federal Reserve System) directly stated that it is necessary to reform the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, World Bank), the WTO, because China has moved too far, the United States is beginning to "squeeze". Allegedly, it is necessary to carry out a reform. That is, it recognizes that China has reached its current economic power and continues to develop at an accelerated pace based on the rules that the West laid in the foundation of the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. He beat the West on his field. The West immediately began to say that it was necessary to change the rules. That's all the philosophical reflection on what Western rules are. Moreover, they declare that the rules for the IMF and the World Bank, the WTO should be written by the United States and Europe. The rest will then be explained how to play in a new way now.

We must be aware that this situation reflects the deep opinion in the world. For more than five hundred years, the West "ordered music", conquered colonies, "civilized" them, organized "orders" there, and divided countries by ruler. Look at the borders in Africa – a ruler in the middle of one ethnic group was drawn with a pencil, and this part of the ethnic group was in one country, and the other in another (often in a warring one). The West wants to keep it, but it won't work. Objectively, we can see how China and India are developing. It is no coincidence that now they are trying to drag India into anti-Chinese formats. A meeting of the QUAD quartet is taking place in Japan. It was created a couple of years ago – the USA, Japan, Australia and India. Our Indian friends are well aware that these are rather incorrect games. They advocate that within the framework of this Quartet they are ready to engage in economic projects, but will in no way support giving a military dimension to this quartet.

Then they began to create a military alliance: Australia, the United States, Great Britain (which cares about everything, as you understand). Named AUKUS. Now they are trying to "drag" Japan and South Korea there. They are trying to split ASEAN and other countries to pull up to the military bloc. Thus, destroying those universal structures that existed in the Asia-Pacific region for forty years and in one format ensured the participation of both THE ASEAN countries and their partners, including all major powers (China, India, the USA, Russia, Japan, Korea, Australia). Everyone was together.

And now it is necessary to "split" these formats in order to create accountable only to oneself, where there is no need to look for any consensus, to come up with compromises where they will promote forceful approaches, including to containing China, at the same time russia. Russia is also a Pacific power.

We need to be patient, but at the same time build our own mechanisms of international communication. There are the SCO, BRICS, EAEU, CSTO, CIS.

Now the center of world development has shifted to Eurasia. At this time, we have the most extensive network of partnerships in the Eurasian region. We must rely on them in the further development of our country, its transport, transit and logistics capabilities.

I am convinced that this is the right way to go. To hope that McDonald's will return (I describe it so crudely) means to sit again and do nothing, to wait for spare parts, some components, semiconductors to come and us. No, our Western partners have proved, and not for the first time, that they are non-negotiable.

We were always told that we were trying to turn away from Europe and go to the East. We didn't turn away from anyone. Europe was humiliated by those who committed the coup in Ukraine in February 2014, which took place a day after Germany, France and Poland guaranteed the achievement of agreements between the then president of Ukraine and the opposition. She did not give a damn about these signatures and committed a coup d'état. The West (in Russian speaking) is "lost". Then he began to present this opposition as not putschists, but as "part of the democratic process."

Only "swear allegiance and you will be forgiven" – that's their logic. The European Union cut off all relations with us. At the time of 2014, we held two annual summits with the European Union, almost the entire Russian Government and the entire European Commission met, we built four common spaces, twenty sectoral dialogues from energy and transport to human rights. There was a partnership project for modernization, where Hightech projects were implemented. A huge number of branched structures provided the "fabric" of our relations with the European Union. Overnight, everything was abandoned.

Even then, sanctions began to affect trade. Naturally, if our neighbors in the West do not want to continue to actively look for opportunities to deepen the partnership, and there is one in the East, then this is purely physically how it works. It so happened that Eurasia is becoming the most promising region of the world. We need to deal with its arrangement, not using someone else's tools like the dollar, the SWIFT financial messaging system, but creating our own. It's not that hard to do. We are already significantly increasing the share of trade that is served in the national currencies of partner countries: Russia-China, Russia-India, Russia-Iran, and within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. We need to look ahead. Yeah, it's a challenge. It is necessary to be much more actively engaged in the development of one's country. But this is a huge plus, and opportunities.

Q: What are the goals of your foreign policy towards China?

Sergey Lavrov: To develop friendly relations with our closest neighbour. We have doctrinal documents that characterize our contacts as a strategic partnership and multifaceted interaction. We have a long border with the People's Republic of China and common interests in upholding the principles of justice and multipolarity in international affairs. Economically, the mutual benefit is obvious. Now that the West is a dictator, our economic ties with China will grow even faster. This, in addition to direct revenue to the state budget, gives us the opportunity to implement plans to raise the Far East and Eastern Siberia. The main number of projects with China are developing, being implemented there. This is an opportunity for us to realize our potential in the field of high technologies, including nuclear energy, but also in a number of other areas. China has developed information and communication technologies. No worse than in the West. Much here provides mutual benefit.

In the international arena, both China and I are interested in the West ceasing to hinder the natural processes of democratization of international relations, the establishment of genuine multipolarity, reflecting the real weight of states in a changed world. When we say that we are in favor of more democratic international relations, we are not trying to write any new rules, as the West is doing, but we emphasize that it is possible to ensure democracy at the international level by returning to the origins of the United Nations. Everything is written in the UN Charter. This is the sovereign equality of states. Once we ensure this in practice, there will be full democracy not within countries, as the West is doing, but in the international arena.

When we were negotiating with the West, they said: let's write that we are for democracy in every country. We answer that it is good, only each country should determine its own democracy. Let's also write down that there must be democracy in the international arena, as stated in the UN Charter. They no longer need sovereign equality, but "a world order based on their rules," as they say publicly.

Question: How and where did you spend your childhood? What fond memories do you have?

Sergey Lavrov: "Hot" memories. I spent my childhood near Moscow, in the city of Noginsk, where I had grandparents. Mom went on a business trip. I lived with my grandparents. This city used to be called Bogorodsk (beautiful name). Now I am actively lobbying the leadership of the Moscow Region to call this city Bogorodsk again. We lived in completely ordinary wooden houses. I lived there in second grade. Then I moved to Moscow, but every weekend I "rushed" there to my friends, played football, in the winter - in hockey. The Spartak stadium was very close, which predetermined my "unfortunate" fate as a fan. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to communicate with these guys for a long time. One of them went to Belarus, the other to the Far East. Everyone was "swept away".

Memories are such little children's pranks, on the verge of hooliganism, like everyone else in the yard. It was a good time. But I assure you, any time in a person's life is good. You'll understand that. I'm convinced of that.

Question: How often in the life of a politician are there moments when you have to make difficult decisions, often contrary to personal beliefs? At the same time, these decisions must be made. How hard are they to accept?

Sergey Lavrov: If personal convictions conflict with the decisions that need to be made, it is better not to make such decisions. If their acceptance is inevitable, but it conflicts with personal beliefs, then a choice must be made: either remain in office or step aside. It can't be otherwise. At least for me.

Question: Which book has had the greatest impact on you and helped you in your life?

Sergey Lavrov: "The Master and Margarita".

Question: You said that you graduated from MGIMO. And I'm just going to go there. I wanted to know your subjective opinion as a person, not as a politician. What do you think, what are the prospects for a girl to build a successful career in diplomacy or is it the prerogative of men?

Sergey Lavrov: In Soviet times, it so happened that a woman in diplomacy is a rarity. When I became a minister, the situation changed significantly. Now we hire about 120 recruits in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs every year, almost half of them are girls. This has been going on for years. The proportion of women in the Ministry is growing constantly and proportionally. There are now many girls in the positions of deputy directors of departments. This means that soon the ranks of ambassadors will be replenished at the expense of women. In New York, Russia's deputy permanent representative to the UN is a woman, as in a number of other places. Not enough, of course, yet. But soon quantity will turn into quality.

Each person has his own individuality. To give a "recipe" that women do not need to go to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but only men is wrong. It's up to you. There is no single piece of advice.

Question: In 2015, at an interview with Radio Rossii, you said a good phrase: "Now there is such a situation in the world in the era of globalization, in the era of interdependence, that if they lower the Iron Curtain, they can inadvertently pinch something for themselves." I believe that in this situation, Western countries have not only "pinched" something for themselves, but have already amputated it. Do you think Western countries will establish diplomatic relations with us and when can this happen?

Sergey Lavrov: It depends entirely on Western countries. When they survive their "frenzy" and decide that there is Russia, it has not gone anywhere and, I am convinced, is strengthening every year. If they want to offer something in terms of resuming relations, they will seriously think about whether we need it or not. We are now creating not just a certain process of import substitution. We must stop in any way depending on the supply of anything from the West to ensure, develop critical industries for the security, economy and social sphere of our Motherland.

We will rely only on ourselves and on those countries that have proven their reliability, and which do not "dance to someone else's tune". If Western countries come to their senses and offer some forms of cooperation, we will decide.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24 2022 17:38 utc | 138

Today, Putin held a meeting discussing the development of certain areas of the transport complex that I mentioned in a comment on the current thread. I'm sure several barflies would like to read the complete machine translated transcript and thus learn more about the nature of Russia and its future plans aimed at enhancing the lives of its people and the entire Eurasian region:

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.

Today we will consider topical issues of the development of Russia's transport complex, determine the priority tasks and our further actions in this area, the most important area.

In particular, I propose to discuss separately the implementation of transport projects in the south of the country. We should have colleagues from Dagestan and the Astrakhan Region in touch where major logistics hubs are developing – the seaports of Makhachkala, Astrakhan and Olya. These are the most important points on the route of the North-South transport corridor, which uses the potential of the Volga and the Caspian Sea.

At the end of last year, an instruction was given to deepen the bottom of the Volga-Caspian Canal so that the intensity of traffic on this section increases, and the canal could serve more capacious vessels that are in demand by business. I hope to hear today how this work is progressing and when concrete results will be achieved.

But before we move on to the agenda, I would like to note the following.

Infrastructure development is one of the main drivers of our economy, indeed, of any economy. Over the years, we have been consistently and systematically building up Russia's logistics capabilities, and we are doing this with a view to the future, to a long-term effect for Russian business and our citizens.

In the coming years, we need to accelerate this area of work. We have already increased direct budget expenditures on the development of transport infrastructure and formed a programme of infrastructure budget loans.

Year after year, the volume of construction, renewal of the network of roads and railways, river and sea infrastructure, transport arteries, which not only connect the regions of Russia, serve as the basis for the development of industry and agriculture, but also help our companies and enterprises to increase foreign trade, to develop foreign markets, should also grow.

I have already said and I would like to emphasise again today that the Russian economy will certainly be open in the new conditions. Moreover, we will expand cooperation with those countries that are interested in mutually beneficial cooperation.

A whole range of issues is important here. This is the organization of convenient payment infrastructure in national currencies, the establishment of scientific and technological ties and, of course, an increase in the capacity of logistics chains, increasing their efficiency and creating new routes for cargo transportation.

In recent months, the strategic importance of this work has increased markedly. The actions of some countries, their desire to close themselves off from Russia – not to close Russia, but to close themselves off from Russia, even to their own detriment – have shown how important it is in the modern world to diversify traffic flows and expand corridors towards predictable, responsible partners.

In this regard, I would like to focus on two fundamental considerations. They concern not only projects in the south of Russia, in the Azov-Black Sea and Caspian basins, which we will discuss in detail today, but also in other important areas.

First. As I have already noted, the situation in the global economy, in the system of world economic relations, is changing rapidly – we see all this. Russian business is adapting to these changes, restructuring production and logistics chains, and actively establishing new ties with foreign partners.

Our plans to develop transport infrastructure and to debottle the so-called bottlenecks should move forward at the same high and dynamic pace.

I want to be heard at the federal level and by colleagues in the regions and on the ground: it is necessary to get rid of any red tape that slows down the pace and delays the implementation of transport projects. It is absolutely unacceptable to disrupt the deadlines for the creation of infrastructure.

On the contrary, it is important, as I have already said, to accelerate the launched construction projects, as well as to speed up the development and launch of new initiatives in the transport sector as much as possible. In particular, it is necessary to actively use the mechanism of parallel design and construction, of course, while complying with the requirements for the safety and reliability of the facilities being commissioned – this goes without saying.

Here, additional adjustments to the regulatory framework, the procedure for preparing project documentation and construction regulations may be required. We are talking about this not only not the first month – not the first year. I look forward to hearing proposals in this regard today.

Second. The development of sea and river ports, railways and roads, of course, should take into account the real demand for transportation and objective load forecasts.

But what would I like to note in this regard, even just remember? At one time, not so long ago, we had sharp and lively discussions on the development of the Eastern Railway Range and the specific parameters of its capacity.

Yes, there were conditions then, and then there were some even skeptical assessments on this matter, about the fact that it is possible to expand, to invest huge funds – hundreds of billions of rubles were planned for this – to lay new roads, and there will be nothing to carry along them, since there may not be a cargo base.

Time has shown that these estimates were inaccurate, to put it mildly. Today, the eastern direction is most in demand. Its loading is guaranteed for years to come. And we see the same trends now on the southern routes, where the volume of cargo transportation is growing sharply, and, as experts say, bottlenecks are beginning to appear – "bottlenecks".

I think it is right to abandon the inertial scenario in the development of transport infrastructure, when, based on current needs – only from current ones, the cargo base is assessed, and then, based on these assessments, routes are designed and built, their capacity is laid: then it is not enough. If we act in such a static logic, we will always be catching up, the bandwidth will always be lacking.

Infrastructure should be guided by the requirements of tomorrow, open up a space of opportunities for business initiative. And practice shows that as soon as new corridors appear, the goods that will go through them will necessarily appear. It's like, you know, always: the road appears – life begins around it, there is no road – and there is nothing. In other words, it is infrastructure projects that form new cargo flows.

And I would like to stress once again that this is especially important now, when the situation on world markets is changing dynamically, trade flows and all global economic activity are switching from the West to more interesting, growing regions. Actually, this has been happening for several years, we all understand this well.

But it is important to see and understand this prospect, to lay new routes and prepare transport projects, as they say, with a margin of capacity. That is, already at the design stage, it is necessary to lay the opportunities for expanding and modernising the infrastructure, so that in a short time with minimal costs it will be possible to increase its capacity, to open new supply channels for Russian producers, exporters and buyers of foreign products in our country.

Let me repeat that this applies to transport projects in all regions of our country. I am referring to the development of the Eastern Railway Range, the Northern Latitudinal Railway, the seaports of the Arctic, the Far East, the south and the North-West, including the modernisation of the Murmansk transport hub and so on.

I would like to ask you to fix such a proactive and proactive approach to the design and development of the transport infrastructure of ports, roads and railways in the list of instructions following our meeting today.

Third. Separately, I want to say about border checkpoints. Colleagues from the business community – you know this for yourself – constantly talk about how much time is spent on cargo clearance and border crossing, especially at those points where there is a lack of modern equipment, infrastructure or specialized specialists, where more efficient cargo handling regulations are needed.

It is important to accelerate the construction of new and modernization of existing checkpoints on the border in order to ensure faster, more convenient for business passage of customs, phytosanitary and other types of control.

I would like to draw the attention of the relevant services to the fact that this applies not only to land checkpoints, but also to seaports, as we discussed at a recent meeting on the development of the oil industry. I instruct the Prime Minister to take these issues under his control.

And in conclusion, another very important topic. In a week, the calendar summer will come, the traditional time of holidays. Many of our citizens plan to spend this time at sea, to go to the resorts of the Krasnodar Territory or the Crimea, someone by car, someone by train or plane.

To date, a number of southern airports are temporarily closed. As a result, the demand for railway tickets has increased. I know that Russian Railways has already launched additional flights from the central part of the country to the Black Sea. And it is very important that in the summer period passenger traffic in this direction works clearly, stably, without failures and in the required volume.

Judging by what I see now, there is already not enough capacity there, so I would like to ask Vitaly Gennadyevich to say this and the head of RAO Russian Railways.

Let's get to work.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24 2022 19:01 utc | 139

Did anyone post this yet?

Something none of us here would have been the slightest bit surprised:

The invasion had some vociferous backers in the room, including Mauricio Claver-Carone, senior director of the National Security Council, and Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security advisor. Esper felt Claver-Carone’s judgment was clouded by his personal investment in undermining Latin American socialism, being as he was, a member of the virulently anti-communist Miami-Cuban community. Often called “the capital of Latin America,” Miami is full of emigres who push Washington for a more hawkish stance on Cuba, Venezuela, and Latin America more generally. Bolton’s book also paints Claver-Carone and O’Brien as hawks.

Esper, however, was alarmed by the prospect of a military quagmire and suspected that Guaidó was far less powerful than he made out to be. As Esper told Trump, the Venezuelan opposition would only “fight to the last American.” When he asked Guaidó directly whether “his people” would be willing to organize, train and fight, the response amounted to “It would be so much easier and quicker if the U.S. would do this for us.”

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 24 2022 22:41 utc | 140

Question: Which book has had the greatest impact on you and helped you in your life?

Sergey Lavrov: "The Master and Margarita".

Thank you, karlof1 | May 24 2022 17:38 utc | 138

Made my day!

Posted by: juliania | May 24 2022 23:11 utc | 141

Question: Which book has had the greatest impact on you and helped you in your life?

Sergey Lavrov: "The Master and Margarita".


Thank you, karlof1 | May 24 2022 17:38 utc | 138

Made my day!

Posted by: juliania | May 24 2022 23:11 utc | 141

. . . and the thing is, I'm inclined to believe him. Two of my most indelible impressions of the Soviet Union from my visit there in the mid-1980s:

1. Everyone one the subway was reading, and often they were reading thick books. Most definitely not my experience in Germany or Austria (Bild or Kronen-Zeitung at the most), to say nothing of the USA.
2. Everyone I spoke to had a healthy skepticism of state propaganda -- both theirs and ours.

Posted by: malenkov | May 24 2022 23:23 utc | 142

On a previous open thread I raised questions about life in Mexico, and got some decent answers from a fellow reader "c1ue".
Now that I've thought about it, I thought I'd ask some more questions.

* At one point in the US it used to be a thing where parents could ask their children to go out and run errands such as grocery shopping, and it was probably safe to do so. I once came across a Not Just Bikes YouTube video talking about how (at least pre-COVID) children can (could?) safely explore the streets of a typical Dutch city/town unattended (whereas in the Anglosphere it'd cause a scandal). It still appeared to be a thing in Japan pre-COVID as well, last I heard.
I remember reading some anecdotes from readers of Consortium News saying that they felt safe walking alone at night in Russia. That's when I began distrusting any statistics and indices (presumably of Western/US origin) claiming that murders, corruption, etc. are worse in Russia than in the US.
How safe is it in the avg. Mexican town/city to walk around at night, CIA-run drug cartels notwithstanding? Is it safe enough for children to walk alone, especially at night? Is it also a thing for children to buy groceries unattended?

Thanks in advance once again.

Posted by: joey_n | May 24 2022 23:56 utc | 143

I've looked at the prices of some everyday products - bread, vegetable oil - in two ways: once as measured in the official consumer price index and once as seen in the shops where I buy everyday goods. Prices increase faster in the shops than in the official consumer price index.
My guess is that real inflation is 15-20%; double the official value.
If the inflation is underestimated then official gdp growth is overestimated because an increase in price is counted as an increase in production.
If official gdp is too high, then official debt - as percent of gdp - is too low. We're more indebted than we think we are.

A situation with high inflation and no gdp growth is called stagflation. It's hard to get out of such a situation.
If you wish to tackle inflation by increasing interest rates, the economy flounders.
If you wish to revive the economy by printing money and injecting cash in the economy, inflation soars.
Another way to lower inflation might be to drop trade sanctions. Dropping sanctions against oil-producing countries - Venezuela, Iran, Russia - would lower gas price at the pump. But dropping sanctions seems politically infeasible.
So the standard way to solve stagflation is to sit it out; like flu.

Posted by: Passerby | May 25 2022 9:47 utc | 144

Here’s a bit of a weird story about a friendly soccer match, upcoming in Vancouver, between Canada and Iran. (Or maybe soccer/football’s just like this. I wouldn’t know, I don’t follow it.)

Details in this brief report from CBC’s the National -

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 25 2022 13:21 utc | 145

Yes, indeed, malenkov | May 24 2022 23:23 utc | 142. You can't fake it - and I love the silence after he answered also- these are students; they haven't reached this point, this plateau. But you can bet they were scribbling in their notebooks and they will tackle "The Master and Margerita" over their next vacations -- they will!

Lavrov's entire presentation here, graduated towards the students and spiced with his own personal memories just enough to make the connections, emphasizing the teachers that were and are important to him -- it's delightful. Plus it's not talking down to them, but his rephrasing broad categories to make them understandable is helpful to us as well. One segment has this fundamental clarity:

When we say that we are in favor of more democratic international relations, we are not trying to write any new rules, as the West is doing, but we emphasize that it is possible to ensure democracy at the international level by returning to the origins of the United Nations. Everything is written in the UN Charter. This is the sovereign equality of states. Once we ensure this in practice, there will be full democracy not within countries, as the West is doing, but in the international arena.

And also,he beautifully frames his earlier explanation of events: "...The expansion of NATO, the refusal to comply with the Minsk agreements, in parallel year after year, the legislation of Ukraine banned the Russian language..." so that any student who has as a child lived through it not fully understanding, can grasp what has been happening. Bravo, Lavrov! There are awkward passages in the machine translation that would not be there in the original more flexible language (I had to read through twice,) but the gist is there. Lucky students!

Posted by: juliania | May 25 2022 13:54 utc | 146

Sorry -- "The Master and Margarita" it should be.

Posted by: juliania | May 25 2022 13:56 utc | 147

"The Master and Margarita" it should be.
Posted by: juliania | May 25 2022 13:56 utc | 147

Forgive me for excerpting wiki -- possibly other barflies might also be intrigued:

The story concerns a visit by the devil to the officially atheistic Soviet Union. The Master and Margarita combines supernatural elements with satirical dark comedy and Christian philosophy, defying categorization within a single genre. Many critics consider it to be one of the best novels of the 20th century, as well as the foremost of Soviet satires.

This is the first I've heard of the author or the book -- despite being somewhat well-read, compared to most folks I meet. We're ignorant beyond belief, or perhaps by belief, here in USA. Our exceptional identity desperately depends on securing impenetrable, inviolable barriers to knowledge -- in general, since you never know where you might bump into some dangerous knowledge.

I've encountered Sergei Bulgakov (1877-1944) -- in Andrew Louth's Modern Orthodox Thinkers. Any relation?

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 25 2022 14:20 utc | 148

@ Aleph_Null | May 25 2022 14:20 utc | 148

And then there's the granddaddy (and quite possibly the best) of all modern dystopian novels, Zamyatin's We.

Posted by: malenkov | May 25 2022 14:37 utc | 149


Well, it appears that Russia won't be lacking new buyers of its deeply discounted Urals any time soon.

Refinitiv Eikon via Reuters has just reported that Greece has emerged as a new hub for Russian oil via ship-to-ship (STS) loadings. According to the report, April shipments of Russian fuel oil with Greece as a destination clocked in at nearly a million tonnes, about double March levels, and are expected to reach new highs in May.
Related: Gasoline Prices Are Set To Spike This Week

Russia has been increasing fuel exports to Greece, with shipments set to jump to about 2.5 million barrels, according to data from oil analytics firm Vortexa.

Trading Russian crude and oil products remain legal for now because EU members cannot seem to agree on the methodology of a complete ban.
I may offer some non-expert explanations.

Greece does not have many cutting edge industries, but it is a big power in shipping. It used to be that shipping tycoons were "larger than life", Onassis marrying JFK widow, and Greek merchant fleet was one of the largest in the world. I am not sure how it is today, with ownership and registration of ship being very intricate, but they are very much in business.

There is a certain excess of oil tankers, during COVID they were used for storage -- with good rates -- this business is gone, and the rates paid for shipping went down while fuel costs went up. Greek oil tanker owners need customers. In the same time, Bosphorus is narrow and if Russia wants to send oil outside Europe, the oil should be moved to large tankers, otherwise there would be not enough of small tankers, and the costs would be higher (long distance tankers are huge for a reason). The bottom line is that Greeks get badly needed business and Russia can ship oil with no particular problems.

Banning European shipping services for Russia would hit Greece badly, and the country lacks borrowing capacity.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 25 2022 14:51 utc | 150

Zamyatin's We.
Posted by: malenkov | May 25 2022 14:37 utc | 149

Dystopial therapy, perhaps: stretching all the way back to the original while sliding inexorably into the eventual MOAD (other of all dystopias). Strange reading habits for strange times.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 25 2022 15:15 utc | 151

@Henry Moon Pie #137
Peanut brains don't have the capability to actually look at the data.

Unlike you, I have actually read the IPCC reports; I actually look at the details of what people on all sides of the climate change debate say.

While there are definitely conservo-tards on the anti-climate change side - they are nothing compared to the climate doomtards on the consensus side.

Nor am I impressed with your attempt to brandish the Heartland Institute as some sinister cabal - their annual budget is $3.7 million.

Compare this with say, the NRDC: $182 million
EDF: $221 million
Sierra Club: $116 million (2016)
Greenpeace: 85.33 million euros contributed by Greenpeace daughter orgs worldwide.
WWF: $256.8M (2018)

Any single one of these orgs has literally 20x the revenue of Heartland; in total, these 5 orgs alone are raising and spending over $850 million a year vs. Heartlands $3.7 million. Yes, Heartland is the Goliath all right.

And this doesn't count what governments are spending.

CBO report on US Federal spending on climate change

From 1998 through 2009, appropriations for agencies’ work related to climate change totaled about $99 billion (in 2009 dollars); more than a third of that sum—$35.7 billion by CBO’s estimation—was provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (see the figure below).

$99 billion dollars in 12 years - that $8.25 billion a year average, or merely $5.75 billion a year up until 2008 with a $35.7 billion kicker at the end.

And that only goes up until 2009. There are triple digits of billions spend from 2009 to 2021.

Then toss in the UNFCC budget which is 178.2 million euros for 2022-2023.

That's what so laughable about morons who don't actually look at the numbers.

Posted by: c1ue | May 25 2022 15:21 utc | 152

Natural gas can kicking not likely to work

Natural Gas market hurtling toward historic winter shortages

Global demand will hit 436 million tons in 2022, outpacing 410 million tons of available supply, Rystad Energy said in a note this month. Although soaring consumption has spurred the greatest rush of new projects worldwide in more than a decade, most new supply will only come online after 2024, it said.

Traders are diverting LNG shipments away from Asia, and choosing to sell into Europe instead where prices are more attractive. Germany is fast-tracking the construction of floating import terminals, with the first one slated to start as soon as this year. In the meantime, however, it will turn to the tight spot market, likely at the expense of developing nations like India and Pakistan.

“There’s no surplus capacity across the global gas complex, leaving Europe and Asia in a tug-of-war for available supply,” said Michael Stoppard, global gas strategy lead and special advisor at S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Posted by: c1ue | May 25 2022 15:24 utc | 153

That's what so laughable about morons who don't actually look at the numbers.
Posted by: c1ue | May 25 2022 15:21 utc | 152

Can't you see what you're saying about c1ue here? This is a person whose main diversion in life, evidently, is laughing at morons. Only they're not very good at distinguishing actual morons from, say, intelligent people who happen to disagree.

You might have interesting information, at times, but you present it in a way which utterly degrades its value. You've taught me to scroll through MoA threads backwards, so that I can more easily skip over the garbage.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 25 2022 15:38 utc | 154

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2022 15:21 utc | 107

A most interesting comment.

Alas the food issue in broken and bankrupt UK. Dates back to one of their own self creation. Caused by "Brexit issues" .

As for oil and gas. Have you noted the vicious decline in production from the UK Oil and gas sector in the North Sea. This gives rise to question. Has the UK prepared for the eventual trash removal at a cost estimated minimum of 100 billion air pounds ! After, 2027??????????

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | May 26 2022 10:27 utc | 155

@Aleph_Null #154
Ad hominem is the last resort of morons.
Thank you for self identifying.

Posted by: c1ue | May 26 2022 14:27 utc | 156

@Bad Deal Motors On #155
I am 100% sure Brexit made no difference whatsoever to how much food the UK imported.
I am less sure if the UK pays more for this imported food post-Brexit; my gut says yes but the agro-lobbies in the EU are extremely powerful so it isn't guaranteed. Food imports into the EU are discouraged via massive subsidies to EU growers, particularly France.

What Mercouris said specifically was that the UK is a trading nation - and a trading nation which sanctions itself out of a significant part of the world market is an own goal.

That, I agree with.

Posted by: c1ue | May 26 2022 14:31 utc | 157

SC 5/28 Editorial for those being blocked:

In an incredible feat of hypocrisy, the United States and European Union are accusing Russia of using food exports and global hunger as a weapon.

Just when you think you’ve heard the most absurd smear, the Western powers outdo their own perverse ranting and Russophobia.

Previously, Russia has been accused of weaponizing energy trade and mass refugee flows in waging a dastardly “hybrid war” to “undermine Western democracies”. Oh, those evil, evil Russians! Cue the James Bond villain caricatures, please.

Never mind that Russia has for decades been a reliable supplier of economical oil and gas to the European Union crucial for the bloc’s civilizational existence. Even during recent geopolitical tensions and insults, Moscow has ensured full delivery of its contracted hydrocarbon resources to drive Europe’s economies and heat European households. Russia has long invested in developing infrastructure to underpin its strategic role as an energy supplier to Europe. And yet when Russia provides even more reliable pipeline infrastructure in the form of Nord Stream 2 under the Baltic Sea it has incurred nothing but foolish and insolent accusations of using energy as a weapon. It is the United States and its lackey European governments who are using the vital resource as a weapon and politicizing economic relations for selfish strategic reasons that end up riling dangerous warlike tensions and conflict while jeopardizing the well-being of ordinary citizens.

Likewise, when Europe was facing a migration crisis in recent years from millions of displaced people fleeing to the European Union from the Middle East and North Africa, it was Moscow that ended up being accused of “weaponizing refugees”. The dislocation of millions of people from Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, among other countries, was and is directly caused by U.S.-led NATO wars. And yet again, Russia was blamed for weaponizing the phenomenal mass migration in an alleged plan to destabilize the EU. Let’s remember that it was Russia’s military intervention in support of Syria against a covert war for regime change sponsored by the U.S. and its European NATO allies that put an end to that criminal war. If the United States and its NATO accomplices had succeeded in completely destroying Syria as they had done elsewhere, it is a fair assumption that the refugee numbers flowing to Europe would have been even greater.

Russia’s alleged ability for “hybrid warfare” – is based on a thoroughly debased prejudice among Western imperial powers that is echoed in the dutiful Western propaganda system known as the “news media”. To accuse Moscow and in particular Russian President Vladimir Putin of such heinous machinations is a betrayal of the diseased minds that prevail in the Western powers, diseased by Russophobia and their imperial arrogance. There is also a large factor of guilt projection whether conscious or not. That is, the U.S. and its NATO lackeys accuse Russia of the very crimes that they have committed on a world-beating scale.

And so, we come to the latest manifestation of malignant doublethink and hypocrisy – accusing Russia of starving the world.

This week U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen both leveled the allegation that Moscow was blocking exports of wheat and other staple foods to the world market, thereby causing crippling shortages and price inflation. That, in turn, is inflicting hunger on the world, especially among food insecure poor countries. The United Nations has warned of an impending global food crisis.

Ominously, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board urged a naval intervention by the U.S. and its allies to “escort shipping” in the Black Sea. That would result in an overt escalation by NATO powers based on a disingenuous pretext: NATO goes to war to feed the world! In a similar cynical fashion to past pretexts of “protecting human rights”.

Can Russia be possibly portrayed as any more evil and monstrous than that, as per Western propaganda narratives of Russophobia?

The war in Ukraine has certainly impacted critical exports of wheat and other staple grain products. Russia and Ukraine account for about a third of the world’s supply of wheat. The Black Sea shipping of agricultural and other commodities has been disrupted since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24, over three months ago.

But this conflict was primarily created by the U.S. and NATO policy of weaponizing the far-right Ukrainian regime to attack Russian people and destabilize Moscow. After eight years of deadly provocations, President Putin ordered an intervention to preempt the growing hostility.

If agricultural exports have been halted and world prices impacted, then the Western powers should be the ones held responsible for recklessly stoking a war in the first place. Secondly, the ports of Mariupol and Odessa have been mined by the NATO-backed regime in Kiev. This is why civilian shipping has been hampered. That amounts to criminal conduct by the NATO side, not Russia.

Thirdly, Blinken and Von der Leyen complain that Russia is deliberately with-holding exports of wheat and other foods. The fact is Russia is being subjected to economic warfare in the form of illegal and unilateral sanctions on its ability to conduct international financial transactions. Russia finds itself in an “existential challenge” from Western imperial powers who are waging a “total war” to destroy Moscow’s government. And yet, Russia is accused of not exporting food to the rest of the world.

The arrogant Western powers betray a mentality that is tantamount to a robber berating a house owner for not leaving doors and windows wide open for his convenience.

The fact is reckless Western elites have hit their own citizens and societies with unprecedented problems over migration due to their criminal wars and with spiraling living costs due to their aggravation of relations with Russia over energy and other trade. The Western ruling class are the ones waging hybrid war – against Russia, China, and others, as well as against their own populations.

If the Western powers had any concern about food security and hunger (they certainly don’t) why are they funneling weapons worth hundreds of billions of dollars and euros into Ukraine to intensify the conflict? Washington and its European vassals are deliberately thwarting any political, diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine and more widely with Russia. They are the culprits for endangering the planet, not just from mass hunger, but also from world war.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 28 2022 20:18 utc | 158

Here's Zakharova's answer:

Question: A number of foreign officials continue to accuse Russia of creating problems in the field of food security, including by preventing the export of grain from Ukraine by sea. Could you comment on these accusations?

Maria Zakharova: We note that at present there is an alarming situation in the global food market due to problems with the supply of agricultural products. As the largest supplier of wheat to international markets, this is extremely worrying. Attempts by the West to blame all the troubles on a special military operation and accuse Russia of blocking foreign ships in the ports of the Black and Azov Seas are absolutely groundless. The jump in prices for agricultural products occurred in 2020 and is by no means a consequence of a special military operation. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to serious disruptions in supply chains and a significant increase in the cost of food transportation services.

FAO experts have repeatedly noted that prices reached a record high level until February 2022, so, from 2019 to February 2022, the food price index increased by almost 50%. This happened not through the fault of Russia, but because of the pandemic money emission, high prices for energy, fertilizers and other agricultural resources.

The main catalyst for the existing negative trends was the anti-Russian sanctions of the West, which led to the severance of ties in the field of global logistics and transport infrastructure. The United States and the EU have banned ships under the Russian flag from using their coastal infrastructure. The world's largest cargo carriers have joined the sanctions against Russia, their ships do not enter Russian ports. The EU sanctions list includes the Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, through which up to 50% of Russian grain was previously shipped for export. The EU has introduced a quota regime for the import of fertilizers. All this – together with sanctions against the transportation of goods from Russia, difficulties with payment for supplies, bans on transactions and customs problems – led in March this year to a reduction in the shipment of Russian fertilizers to the EU countries by 40%.

As a result, the prices of wheat, maize and barley, which were already at record highs, rose even more. According to the UN, by the end of March 2022, the cost of food exceeded last year's figure by 24%, and in the EU countries the price of wheat soared by 70% over this period.

The zeroing of duties on grains, corn, oilseeds made in the EU led to the fact that the Ukrainian authorities organized a daily mass export of their agricultural products to Europe.

The United States and the EU intend to export 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine within 2.5 months, allegedly for their transfer to the countries of Africa and the Middle East in order to prevent a food crisis. However, in reality, grain is transported to warehouses in Europe. Rail, road and river routes have been organized for its delivery to destinations in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria.

The statement of US President Joe Biden on May 10 of this year on the need to find opportunities for the export of 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine coincided with the signing of the law on Ukrainian "lend-lease". It turns out that Kiev will pay for weapons with wheat. In fact, the Americans themselves are provoking a food crisis in Ukraine, depriving it of grain reserves.

As for the statements made yesterday by official representatives of foreign states about the "blocking" of foreign vessels by the Russian military in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas, they do not correspond to reality. The port in Mariupol resumed work after the military of Russia and the DPR gained control over it, the fairway was unblocked, and conditions were created for the exit of ships.

The Russian armed forces daily from 08:00 to 19:00 open two maritime humanitarian corridors - safe lanes for the movement of ships. In the Black Sea, a corridor 80 miles long and 3 miles wide is opened in the Black Sea to exit from the ports of Kherson, Mykolaiv, Chornomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny in a south-western direction from the territorial sea of Ukraine. Since May 25 of this year, a corridor in the Sea of Azov has been operating, which is a safe lane for the movement of ships from the assembly area in the immediate vicinity of Mariupol to the disbandment area at the confluence of the Kerch Strait into the Black Sea. The length of the humanitarian corridor is 115 nautical miles, the width of the lane is 2 miles.

At the same time, the Kiev authorities refuse to cooperate with representatives of foreign states and shipowners to ensure the safe exit of blocked vessels, in fact taking them and crews hostage.

Russia continues to be a responsible participant in the global food market. We intend to continue to faithfully fulfill our obligations under international contracts in terms of export supplies of agricultural products, fertilizers, energy carriers and other critically important products. We are well aware of the importance of such supplies for ensuring the socio-economic sustainability of various regions of the world.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 28 2022 20:41 utc | 159

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