—Once upon a time there lived a lovely princess named Snow Yellow…
—Ah! Yes, Snow White. Her mother died when Snow Black was a baby …”
—No, it’s White!
—White, right. Her wicked aunty Patsy wanted to be the most beautiful lady in Texas…
—No! Her wicked stepmother! And it was in a Kingdom, not in Texas!
—OK. The wicked stepmother wanted to be the most beautiful lady in the Kingdom and she would often ask her magic tablet, “I-pad! I-pad! How much is nine by seven?” And the tablet would say, “Sixty three!”
—What? … She would often ask her magic mirror! “Mirror! Mirror on the wall! Who is the fairest of them all?” And the magic mirror would say, “You are, Your Majesty!”
—But one day, the mirror replied, “Red Snow Hood is the fairest of them all!”
—Exactly, but she was Snow White, no hood … and WHITE!
—Yes. And the stepmother sent a maid to buy spaghetti and ketchup to the supermarket, and just as she entered, a wolf met her…
—Aaugh! What a mess! She ordered her huntsman to take Snow White to the forest and kill her! “I want you to bring back her heart,” she ordered. But when the huntsman reached the forest with Snow White, he took pity on her and set her free!
—Exactly. And the huntsman told the wicked stepmother: “I can’t find the ketchup…”
—I say NO! He killed a deer and took its heart to the wicked Queen and told her that he had killed Snow White!
—Yes. And the wicked Queen gave a piece of cake and a bottle of wine to the wicked stepmother and sent her to the grandmother…
—Argh! That’s impossible! Snow White wandered in the forest all night, crying!
—OK. And then she fell fast asleep and she was in her dream and chasing a white rabbit through a small cave…
—I give up! This must be a new classic… And what happens next?
—She said: “Slow down Mr. Rabbit.” But the rabbit said: “I’m not a rabbit. I’m Prince Charming, and I’m looking for seven giraffes.” And Black Riding Hood replied: “Take the subway in Jamaica Street, line F, get down at Kew Gardens, walk to Maple Grove Cemetery. Near the entrance, you will find three steps and 10 dollars under a stone; pick them and buy a Big Mac of pure beef mingled with special sauce on a sesame seed bun and topped with melty American cheese, crisp lettuce, minced onions and tangy pickles. Then go to Grandma’s and give it to her… ”
—You don’t know how to tell stories at all, Dad! You entangled all! But no matter. Would you buy me a Big Mac?
—Well, take this sawbuck and go…
And Dad continued reading the newspaper and lived happily ever after.
. Snow what? – By Dugutigui
In my room the bed was here, the closet there and the table was in the middle.
Until this bored me. Then I put the bed there and the closet here.
For a while I felt chirpy by the novelty. But boredom eventually returned.
I came to the conclusion that the origin of my boredom was the table, or rather, its central and unchanging position.
I moved the table there and put the bed in the middle. The result was nonconformist.
The novelty cheered me again, and while it lasted I was conformable with the discomforting discomfort I had caused. As it happened I couldn’t sleep facing the wall, which had always been my favorite position.
But after a while the novelty ceased as such, and only discomfort lasted. So I put the bed here and the closet in the middle.
This time the change was radical. Since a closet in the middle of a room is more than nonconformist. It’s avant-garde.
But after some time … Ah, if it were not for this “some time.” To be brief, the closet in the middle also stopped looking as something new and extraordinary.
It was necessary to conduct a rupture, to take a forthright decision. If within certain limits any real change can’t be achieved, then you have to transgress those limits. When nonconformity is not enough, when vanguard is ineffective, you have to make a revolution.
I decided to sleep in the closet. Anyone who has tried to sleep in a closet, standing, knows that such discomfort won’t allow you to sleep at all, not to mention the swelling of the feet and the spinal pain.
Yes, that was the right decision. A success, a total victory. As this time “some time” also proved impotent. After some time, because not only I didn’t get used to the change –I mean, the change was still a change–, but, on the contrary, I became increasingly aware of that change, as the pain increased as time passed.
So everything would have gone perfectly except for my physical resilience, which turned out to have its limits. One night I couldn’t take any more. I came out and got in bed.
I slept three days and nights in one sitting. Then I put the closet against the wall and the table in the middle, because the closet in the middle bothered me.
Now the bed is here again, the closet there and the table in the middle. And when boredom consumes me, I remember the days when I was a revolutionary.
Revolution – By S. Mrozek, pertaining to the book “Hard life”
En mi habitación la cama estaba aquí, el armario allá y en medio la mesa.
Hasta que esto me aburrió. Puse entonces la cama allá y el armario aquí.
Durante un tiempo me sentí animado por la novedad. Pero el aburrimiento acabó por volver.
Llegué a la conclusión de que el origen del aburrimiento era la mesa, o mejor dicho, su situación central e inmutable.
Trasladé la mesa allá y la cama en medio. El resultado fue inconformista.
La novedad volvió a animarme, y mientras duró me conformé con la incomodidad inconformista que había causado. Pues sucedió que no podía dormir con la cara vuelta a la pared, lo que siempre había sido mi posición preferida.
Pero al cabo de cierto tiempo la novedad dejó de ser tal y no quedo más que la incomodidad. Así que puse la cama aquí y el armario en medio.
Esta vez el cambio fue radical. Ya que un armario en medio de una habitación es más que inconformista. Es vanguardista.
Pero al cabo de cierto tiempo… Ah, si no fuera por ese «cierto tiempo». Para ser breve, el armario en medio también dejó de parecerme algo nuevo y extraordinario.
Era necesario llevar a cabo una ruptura, tomar una decisión terminante. Si dentro de unos límites determinados no es posible ningún cambio verdadero, entonces hay que traspasar dichos límites. Cuando el inconformismo no es suficiente, cuando la vanguardia es ineficaz, hay que hacer una revolución.
Decidí dormir en el armario. Cualquiera que haya intentado dormir en un armario, de pie, sabrá que semejante incomodidad no permite dormir en absoluto, por no hablar de la hinchazón de pies y de los dolores de columna.
Sí, esa era la decisión correcta. Un éxito, una victoria total. Ya que esta vez «cierto tiempo» también se mostró impotente. Al cabo de cierto tiempo, pues, no sólo no llegué a acostumbrarme al cambio—es decir, el cambio seguía siendo un cambio—, sino que, al contrario, cada vez era más consciente de ese cambio, pues el dolor aumentaba a medida que pasaba el tiempo.
De modo que todo habría ido perfectamente a no ser por mi capacidad de resistencia física, que resultó tener sus límites. Una noche no aguanté más. Salí del armario y me metí en la cama.
Dormí tres días y tres noches de un tirón. Después puse el armario junto a la pared y la mesa en medio, porque el armario en medio me molestaba.
Ahora la cama está de nuevo aquí, el armario allá y la mesa en medio. Y cuando me consume el aburrimiento, recuerdo los tiempos en que fui revolucionario.
Revolución – de S. Mrozek, perteneciente a la obra “La vida difícil”.
“Nostalgia initiates with food,” said Che Guevara; perhaps recalling a juicy Argentinean asado while sharing an insipid yuca with mojo with his comrades in Sierra Madre. Maybe because this nostalgia -the lacón with turnip tops and the octopus á feira in my case- I had decided to spend a few days in my hometown, which by its landscape and peasantry may well be called Galicia. It also had certain influence the realization that I wasn’t in such a good mood long ago, so it come forward the need to move. The problem is that I live by the Mediterranean, and here the sky turns daily to red. Keeping the bones warm, I have to concede. In my native land, on the contrary, the sky is wearing a perennial gray dress. You know, sun rarely rises -glorious melancholy- in mythical countries.
I’d need boots. But going for them I retraced that had thrown them out, in a reverse attack of the same melancholy, the previous year. It may sound exaggerated, but it’s as it’s: you’re never too old to lose hope; so my personal Odyssey was set to start with a visit to the mall two blocks away from my house. It was strange to get out after so long, but everything was familiar, of course. And it was hot, as hot as to pose to me turning around and get back to my lair. However the octopus á feira seemed to fix its suckers on my brain, which didn’t produce me an erection, only salivate, but enough to continue straight to the consumption’s temple. Along the way I expected to see something green, if only a tree, but no luck.
My epos at the mall had all the nuances of an old house’s reforming: I bought a pair of boots. And then I judged necessary to show them first time with new socks, and then with a new shirt, and then with new jeans, and so on until the new briefs. Fucking capitalism! I was only a few feet away from base and I had already spent a fortune. I left there a little pissed, laden with bags, and headed off for home. As consolation I tried to animate the walk back with the reverie of the May’s greens till the sea and the bountiful rains and perpetual winds sweeping the fields of my homeland. In my supernatural world anything is possible … A motorcycle’s horn, coming from nowhere, along with a reasonable “nutter”, abruptly pulled me out of my fantasy. I blamed the octopus á feira for planting the seed of that lunacy. So while some beyond enjoy the rain, others, hither, have no time to dream it rains. I hadn’t seen anything green, but, wow! how many events for a single day! I put, as they were, the bags in the closet, locked it, and cooked a fried egg. The octopus released my brains and seemed to swim away -as octopuses often do. “Every time I get out, I feel more alone than before.” It wasn’t just a nice reflection, but I let it be like that.
I do not know why I’m telling you all this. But among Galician -we all know-, on one hand you know, and on the other, what you want for me to tell you?
“La nostalgia empieza por la comida”, dijo el Che Guevara, tal vez rememorando un jugoso asado de su tierra, al tiempo que compartía una insípida yuca con mojo con sus camaradas en Sierra Madre. Tal vez es por esa morriña -del lacón con grelos y el pulpo á feira en mi caso- que había decidido pasar unos días en mi tierra natal, que por su paisaje y paisanaje bien puede ser llamada Galicia. También debió influir el darme cuenta de que hacía mucho tiempo que no me sentía de tan buen humor, tanto que me entraron ganas de moverme. El problema es que vivo al borde del Mediterráneo y aquí el cielo se tiñe de rojo a diario. Manteniendo los huesos calientes, eso sí. En mi tierra natal, por el contrario, el cielo lleva puesto perennemente un vestido gris. Y es que en los países mitológicos -gloriosa melancolía- rara vez sale el sol.
Necesitaría unas botas, pero al ir a por ellas, me acordé de que las había tirado el año anterior en un ataque inverso de la misma melancolía. Puede que suene exagerado, pero así es: nunca se es tan viejo como para perder la esperanza; así que mi odisea debía comenzar con una vista al centro comercial a dos manzanas de mi casa. Era extraño salir después de tanto tiempo, aunque todo me resultaba familiar, claro está. Hacía calor, tanto calor como para plantearme el dar media vuelta y regresar a mi guarida. No obstante el pulpo á feira pareció fijar sus ventosas en mi cerebro, lo cual no me produjo una erección, solo ensalivar, lo que fue suficiente para seguir derecho hacia el templo del consumo. En el camino esperaba ver algo verde, aunque sólo fuera un árbol, pero no hubo suerte.
Mi epopeya en el centro comercial adquirió todos los matices de la reforma en un caserón antiguo. Compré un par de botas. Y juzgué que era necesario estrenarlas con calcetines nuevos y luego con una camisa nueva y luego con unos vaqueros nuevos y así sucesivamente hasta llegar al calzoncillo nuevo. ¡Jodido capitalismo! Solo me había alejado unos metros de la base y ya me había gastado una fortuna. Salí de allí un poco mosqueado, cargado de bolsas, y enfilé hacia casa. Como consolación traté de animar el paseo de vuelta con la ensoñación de los verdes apasionados de mayo hasta el mar y las ubérrimas lluvias y los vientos perpetuos de los campos de mi tierra. En mi mundo sobrenatural todo es posible … El pitido de una moto, que no se ni de donde salió, junto con un razonable “chalado”, me sacó abruptamente de mi fantasía. Achaqué al pulpo á feira la siembra de ese germen lunático. Así, mientras allende unos disfrutan de la lluvia, otros, aquende, no tenemos tiempo de pensar que llueve. No había visto nada verde, pero, ¡vaya!, ¡cuántos acontecimientos para un solo día! Guardé, tal y como estaban, las bolsas en el armario, lo cerré, y me hice un huevo frito. El pulpo liberó mi sesera y pareció alejarse nadando –como suelen hacer los pulpos. “Cada vez que salgo de casa, me siento más solo que antes”. No fue precisamente una reflexión agradable, pero hice como si nada.
No se porque os cuento esto. Pero entre gallegos -ya sabemos-, por un lado ya sabes, y por el otro ¿qué quieres que te diga?
The beautiful spring light was bathing the pavement among a cluster of prosaic blue slate and grey stone houses of differing heights, with scraps of garden coming in between, boxes with flowers of many colors hanging off the windows and hedgerows with clothes laid out to dry. The opening of the only paved street harbored the village shops, only selling -as all stores in fishing villages- rigs and nets and barrels of pitch. On that lane, with its rural sociability, you could see and hear the slow waggon lumbering along, the women at their doors, the barefoot fishermen, and the strong words, wrapped, like brandy chocolates in silver paper. That small fishing village was a real fishing village. In it only dwelt, with their wives, tough beard and hookah fishermen; hundreds of men that only that craft knew: sailor, seafarer. And in the distance, down the street, after an old-fashioned pewed and galleried church, there was also a beautiful beach full of breeze and bathing huts prepared for the joyous vacationers. There were also crab and roe, and cured tuna and cod, but the cod was already expensive. There was, in short, everything you would expect in those picturesque fishing villages. The only thing there wasn’t was sea. They had forgotten to put it.
When fishermen of that village became aware of this omission, they wept as dead dogs. That was the ruin, the hunger, the mausoleum. Fishermen, that knew only fishing and could not fish because they had no sea and had never even seen it, spent all day at the crumbling doors of tavern, not knowing what to do, starving and incensed. Every afternoon going to the beach to see if by chance they had already put the sea, with the same excitement and fear of children going to the chicken coop to see if the hens have laid an egg. But they had not put it. Didn’t ever put it… Yuck! Yuck! Hunger increased. Thousands of infants were dying of starvation. Women were howling of horror. Somehow it was hilarious. But, as always happens with these things, misfortunes began to happen … He chose the tune carefully. It should be sufficiently catchy and unusual. The next day, at the tavern, he spent all morning whistling it in the ear of his colleague. At night, when his wife came home humming it, his suspicions were confirmed. At the foot of the open Bible -where it was the verse marked in red that would explain everything- he lined the letters: to his wife, the judge, and the friends. After, he drank the poison and lay down on the bed. The supreme horror finally came… And so, the owner of the tavern invented one thing to avoid all that nonsense … With his invention lunacy would end. His invention was to pave the whole place where the sea should be. And they asphalted it. It was a nasty sea. But it was a pleasure to walk around in a car.
. A fishing village – Dugutigui on some work by Miguel Mihura
Time was when all men believed that the earth was flat. It would be difficult now to trace all the errors into which this assumption led the thinking of those days, or to ascertain how many practical comforts and advantages which we now enjoy would have been missed had not this conceit been exploded. The first serious challenge to this theory raised a storm of abuse which came not merely from the vulgar and superstitious but from the leaders of science and religion. It was a grave shock to human vanity to be told that the natural universe did not revolve around the planet which man occupied, that on the contrary, the earth was one of many satellites of a greater sun and that, consequently, there was no solid reason to believe that man was the king of creation.
The material sciences, in which such wonderful progress has been made, have taught us that there is nothing chaotic in the operation of natural forces at play in the universe which are far beyond man’s control, which always operate in the same way and upon whose consistent action man is entirely dependent.
The material sciences have taught yet another powerful lesson, which has led to great achievements. Men have long wanted to fly, but it was not sufficient to manufacture a pair of wings which looked more or less like a bird’s: first they had to discover the natural laws governing the flight of a body through air, having learnt these they had to build a machine which conformed to them. When they succeeded in doing this, they flew. If, however, the aircraft designer failed to conform to natural law, his plane was no better than a stone. In all the material achievements of this age, the principals of progress are the same. First comes the patient search to discover the ways of nature, then the building of machines or the planning of processes in conformity with natural law so that the powerful and consistent forces of nature could work for the gratification of men’s desires.
In face of these established facts, it is strange that people should tacitly accept the view that the relations between human beings in society are governed by chance.
The classical economists during the last two centuries proclaimed their study as a science. The best known and more respected of them reached the conclusion that the poverty and injustice in society were the inevitable result of the operation of natural forces and that nothing could be done about it. Paradoxically, they taught that pestilence and war were nature’s devices for checking the full horror of these natural forces.
Such ideas brought their inevitable reaction. Men came who said that the economists were wrong to call their study a science, it was ridiculous to believe that the operation of these natural forces was inevitable. True, if things were left alone, in accordance with the policy of laissez faire as it was called, these evil consequences would be inevitable, but the task of the economists was constantly to study the tendency of the times and to propose measures for checking its evil inclinations. So the economists set out to do what the physicists, chemists, astronomers and others had shown to be hopeless, they set out to check the operation of natural law. Immediately there sprang up like mushrooms a hundred different quarrelling sects of economists. Acknowledging no principle on which their study operated, their devices were as various as the features of their faces. The result is that today, for every proposition an economist makes, many may be found to contradict him.
It is interesting to observe that the modern schools, which rejected the classical economists because they conceived their study as a science, quietly accept the conclusion of the classical economists that social injustice is of the very nature of things. May it not be that this conclusion was reached as the result of some very grave error of observation or reasoning? May it not be that man has failed to understand the natural forces at work in society or has failed to comply with them?
Certainly the practical action in the social sphere that has resulted from this kind of thought has failed to secure any real advancement. True, many measures have been taken for the alleviation of the suffering of those reduced in poverty. Though the free schools, free medical services and social insurances have improved the health and general standard of life of the people, yet this improvement being slower than that attained in the material sciences, the general standard lags farther and farther behind that which could be achieved. More important, however, with this extension of state services, and even more with the extension of subsidies, quotas and production controls, there has come a decline in initiative, a decline in boldness and the spirit of adventure, and a decline in the level of politics that recently threatened this civilization with disaster.
Clearly, unless men generally come to understand how properly to govern their relations in society, this crisis will recur. They must understand how to use the giant powers which the material sciences have put at their disposal, unless they would continue to be, like boys in a laboratory mixing the coloured chemicals, ignorant and careless of the consequences. To attain this understanding it would seem that a new and more humble approach to the study of social relations is required. First, it is essential to find and measure the natural laws at work in society for they are above man’s control and govern his every activity. An understanding of these laws must reveal the realities of the situation and show the constant factors in social life. Once ascertained, this knowledge will make easy the further understanding of how to shape society so that natural forces may operate to the greatest good.
Man has a freedom of choice for he may choose to do right or wrong. Once having chosen, however, the consequences of his act follow inevitably. The law of gravity is of sovereign good to the whole of natural creation but if a man throws himself from the top of a cliff the operation of this same law will dash him to pieces. In order to progress men must understand the forces which dominate their life, and having understood them they must bring their institutions into conformity with them.
. Man and Nature – Excerpt by Leon Maclaren
Time was set in motion. His parents decided, when their child will come, it should be a free child. Their child came. They offered him their world.
Time passed on. And because he was raised in a Catholic culture he never considered himself to be a totally free human being. His peers sought to join a religious system in order to gain the eternal bliss and freedom of the soul. But belonging somewhere, anywhere is not freedom. Free is the wind. You need to become the wind, not wanting to know how and why, but only to experience this quality of freedom that leads to the original religion, where the soul is finally one, and aligned with anything.
Time passed on. So much precious laughing time was wasted. Once people said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Now his peers were saying, “Make me a slave, just pay me enough.” What is it like to be so free -so trapped, staring wistfully through the window when the door isn’t locked? Something must be radically wrong with a culture and a civilization when its youth begins to desert it. They want him to be a number, trapped in his own script. He was fast in his chains, and yet a slave. “Why was I born a man, of whom to make a brute?” What kind of bird sings only when caught? When he slowly woke up, he thought he must have his own world. Who he was, what he was, had to be unwritten –it gathers dust, give it away. His freedom belonged to lightning, not to electricity. Meanwhile, he tried to bear up under the yoke, “I am not the only slave in the world. Why should I be free? I can bear as much as any of them. Besides I am but a boy, and all boys are bound to some one.”
Time passed on. They asked, “Don’t you want to be happy and good?” “I’m not sure what’s really meant by happy and good. I would like just to be free. To run off of the page altogether, to somewhere secret where words like ‘happy’ and ‘good’ will never find me.” His belief then was that it was easier to die, than to live. He’d rather make friends with Death, as a means to learn a few truths, than to allow life to lead him blindly astray within its subjective views and enraptured sciolism. You break through the veil whenever you strap on a sword or chant the ancient verses. For a second he saw, and seeing this secret, he was the secret. For a second there was meaning.
Time passed on. “Oh, that I were free! Let me be free! Why am I a brute? I will run away. I will not stand. I will get to a place where you forgive people. Get caught, or clear, I’ll try it. I had as well die with this ague. I have only one life to lose. I had as well be killed running as die standing.” He wished to be the freedom’s swift winged angels that fly around the world. “Oh, that if I could go! Oh, that if I were on one of your gallant decks, under your protecting wing! Try it? Yes!” And, loosed from his moorings, the glad ship was sailing; hiding in the dim distance. Betwixt him and you, the turbid waters started rolling. He dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky. “Go on, go on. If I just could fly!”
Time passed on. And contradictorily, he realized, before he had come to Africa he had known about nothing but death. When forced to confront his fears they disintegrate, like illusions when viewed up close. There he had learnt to live, to decide things for himself; he had learnt what it felt like to wash in river in the sunshine until he was clean himself, and what it felt like to satisfy his hunger with primal fruits that tasted natural, and what it felt like to love without possession the gracefulness with which she moved in the battle –like liquid flesh; he had learnt the sound of laughter that was free from cruelty; he had learnt the meaning of beauty; he had learnt to escape when he wrote a tale that brought beauty into the world. As a truly free man there he was not free ‘from’ anything, nor free ‘to’ anything, he was just free. Free within himself. He was never freer than when he became most himself, most human, most just, most excellent…
So time passed on. “What would you think when you’ll die?” The liquid black girl had that tentative half smile, like she was almost embarrassed by what she was asking. “What would you think?” Her voice dropped just slightly and lost even the suggestion of a smile. She was watching him like she wasn’t sure she was allowed to ask the question, as she wasn’t even sure she wanted to know the answer. He can almost see her elders’ words and doubts drifting in her head. On every side of her were the lights and the woods he want to see forever. And if his freedom were real, it would be this place, there, with her. He didn’t say anything, because he just wanted one minute to look at her face before he gave her his last secret. And then he told her. “I’m seeing it now.”
So much time passed on. So, thanks! Because I was born a brute … of whom to make a man.
Humor keeps me alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food –you can go a week without laughing. Food is one of the things I enjoy tremendously. After a good meal one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations. But in this beautiful home of mine there is scarcely ever any evidence of food. It is positively appalling at times. My life, as this blog, is quite artificial. No need of trajectory, coherence or rigor to be lived. I go out for breakfast and lunch. I eat in the restaurant out of consideration for my family –it hurts to eat a big meal and have them watching me. And when I come back, picking my teeth and a little egg hanging from my goatee, I write.
That’s why (my plastic life) perhaps I’m blogging. I simply need being read –and not even that. It’s just being a writer is more difficult. That’s why so many people write blogs. Most of them claim to describe reality –whatever that could be, but in the background blogs are just the outfit in which someone dons for others to have a look. The reality is conveniently distorted. But it is reassuring to know that there are people willing to lie for entertaining, albeit in exchange for some elusive admiration.
Sometimes I’m trolling the blogosphere as you do by Siberia or Tierra del Fuego in Google Earth, knowing they are artifices. But then … then it made me sad when I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiplied that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, flaming away like a blowtorch, writing and posting to their lonely little pages that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting, it kind of broke my heart. If you want to meet interesting people you would rather travel!
But, maybe, with a practice of writing comes a certain important integrity. A culture filled with bloggers may think differently about politics or public affairs, if only because more have been forced through the discipline of showing in writing why A leads to B.
But I’m digressing from the point: Lasagna.
Chloe is here today with a metaphor. She is, as a Volkswagen Bug, a tuned girl. My spoiled small daughter defines her as a female who fell out of the ugly tree at birth and hit every branch on the way down. A minger in laymen’s terms. My daughter is very beautiful, probably misses her mother, and has a point. But I console myself thinking like Sade (the Marquis), “Beauty belongs to the sphere of the simple.” Still, that’s not all. Chloe enthusiastically endorses the roll that today seems to cancel oneself behind hairstyles and accessories with more personality than most of its carriers. Incredibly, to boast being normal is nowadays an anti-system attitude … God, give us back the Rolling Stones and we handle you the Jonas Brothers!
Chloe got under my radar in a party. She was next to a sculptural black girl, full of some strange energy, from Ivory Coast. “I’m a little Bi,” she said, while I was calculating my chances with the African. Since the dawn of humanity, there is not a more effective phrase to attract the attention of a man. I read that 80 % of hetero men have fallen at least once in their life into this trap, to realize that the phrase lacks of practical sense, which does not mean we are not willing to continue trying, in case we hit the jackpot. The mechanics of the trap is the same as in the top scams, to take advantage of the bad faith of the prey to accomplish the swindle. Using this trick, they add to their beauty, at once, the one of the rest of the women in the world, who are the real target of the seduced man.
Ok, let’s be fair. Once, when drunk, she kissed the lips of a girlfriend, perhaps rubbed her tits a little, and now uses it as an excuse to blow out your imagination. Her bisexuality decreases by the day. But it is not much worse than when I commented her that “I never discussed exclusivity” –after I’ve slept with someone else.
Chloe is here today with a metaphor shaped as lasagna. A metaphor because our relationship is layered –not because I make love with her like I make lasagna: with extra meat. But her lasagna, unlike her, looked good. It was overstuffed. It had a pomposity, and an overreach. Its ambitions extended in the direction of not-missing-a-trick, it had a bursting omnipotence up its sleeve, or rather, under its dough. It was pretentious food.
While the bizarre ideas of quantum mechanics befuddled even Einstein, I seldom consider quantum theory when eating lasagna. But as a metaphor, the Many-Worlds Interpretation inspires my imagination, and with equal importance, keeps me open-minded for possibilities that my easily frightened ego may reject with knee-jerk conformity.
Digging with the fork through several layers of her lasagna sheets, alternated with sauces and various other ingredients, it came that reality is a curious lasagna. Lasagna is said to be a structurally and layered meal. Easy to read because the layered structure. However, because of unpredictable interdependencies in segments of dough, a lasagna-society may be difficult to modify without break it.
You live in a quiet layer of meat, sensing through the translucent sheets the ingredients that are hidden in the above and below floors. But if you cut the lasagna with the knife, the ingredients slide between levels, to discover that the neighboring homes are organized exactly like yours, with the same prejudices and values, and always focused on the neighboring level.
I was looking at a perfectly satisfied Chloe, as a flatulent frog, when I came to this lasagna theory: You can be normal and modern, as long as you do not leave your coat, of course. You can also be overtly normal and then be a hero and a stoic and a punk at all levels.
The devil frequently fills our thoughts with great schemes. In my case there’s a capacity for appetite… that a whole heaven and earth of lasagna can’t satisfy.
Year by year, and taking its time to perhaps admit that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again, I learnt to like those transitional days, the moments between those perfect ever-changing dry and rain seasons, that define the face of our native human African land, in which I couldn’t make up my mind, as feeling I was being fooled, led about in a circle, with my eyes fixed on something that turns out to be a moving point in an incommensurable curvature. I learnt to like those days when the intermittent nature of the vlei, then just cracked mud, dry and paler as a melted stone in the heat of the midday sun, suddenly turned wet and green and warm, and the new grass was a clash of sounds, perhaps music. When the deafening crickets, curmudgeons that scramble to find solitude and cover from the light, spread the rumor of change as they felt it was their duty to warn everybody that drought, as everything, cannot last for ever. When the crack and the rumble of the thunders, lashed by startling lightning, have been a cause both of trembling and of hope. When the noises of the streets began to change, diminish, voices became fewer, the music sparse. When blocks and blocks of children, then baked in the warmth of the sunshine, were spirited away by the falling drops, without love or pity. When elders with only the vaguest ideas of who they were becoming and what came next, retreated from the streets into the decrepit dwellings, duping themselves with the ancient songs in which darkness always ends. When noisy and cheerful adolescents moved from the sidewalk to the stoop to the hallway to the stairs, now demure and irritable, and rooftops were abandoned. When the dark came sooner, inched in closer, fell with a greater weight, despite the rarely visible high plump and pale, as a peeled apple, moon, and the dim and scarce multicolored bulbs glinting endlessly in puddles and soggy sidewalks. When the houses put on their rainy faces staring down the acerbic new landscape, seeming, not without bitterness, to have resolved to endure another year. When the sensuous memories of sunlight past moments to be stoic and solitary, sleeping alone on a wooden board with mud cloth sheets and splinters that scratch the skin, give way to mad lust, the untamed delicious and privy wild thing.
Somewhere I’d heard, or invented perhaps, that time cannot be spent. It only can be squandered. For the circle consists of nothing but such transitional points without any extent whatever. There is no duration of motion, and eternity turns out to be not ‘straight ahead’ but ‘merry-go-round.’ Yet, time can be slowed if you live deliberately. If you stop and watch the rain. If you spend time sitting on porches listening to the woods. If you give in to the reality of the seasons. They know not life, who know not this.
In my own shire today, as I am sad, I feel nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land.
I don’t know who the Western spinmeisters think they are fooling. Since the official end of the Cold War and defense spending was scaled back, it did not take the warmongers long to create a new plan to replace the old Cold War and keep those defense contracts flowing.
In what turned out to be a cruel twist of fate, Mao’s Long March, and the old Soviet Union’s claim to world proletariat domination have been replaced by NATO’s march to Russia’s western borders, and America’s Asia Pivot to threaten China’s energy supply lines. It looks like the old Cold War protagonists have switched sides.
Where credible offensive threats were not to be found, phony ones were conjured up to pick the pockets of Western citizens for new high tech and white elephant weapons programs to feed the greedy arms industry merchants.
The same amount of expenditure put into peacetime infrastructure could have gone a long way to preventing the horrible state of the world’s financial condition. There we find the West once again at the head of the pack of looters and raiders, making war on friend and foe alike as an equal opportunity employer.
As I type, the new Ukraine government, the result of a foreign supported coup involving the US and key EU countries, are playing their role claiming they are being invaded by Russia and calling for NATO and monetary help. Ah…the money part. Broke America had already put a blank check on the table for Ukraine, meaning more Americans at home betrayed for some foreign adventure to enrich some elites.
The Western media is playing its dutiful and assigned propaganda role of hyping a false Russian threat of reverting back to its expansionist days and needing to be stopped now. We also know they are smart enough to know just the opposite is happening.
Corporate media had a front row seat for two decades to watch the undermining of the Ukraine as part of the West’s long ‘destabilization’ war program against Russia. Journalists are certainly shills when they want to be, but they are certainly not stupid. That they continue to hide the obvious truth about who the real aggressors are here, that is proof of just how corrupted they have become. But when you look at who owns them that comes as no surprise either.
The farce in all this is if the situation were reversed the West would be doing exactly what Putin and the Russian parliament are doing. They are sending a strong message that they clearly are not going to be intimidated by ‘isolation’ threats as they watch foreign aggression and subversion taking over a former Soviet state. So even though the Olympics are over, the West gets the Gold Medal for hypocrisy on this one.
The media fraud examples are almost too many to mention, but I have to cover my favorite.
When the Russians sent a few hundred Special Forces troops into the Black Sea base, provided for under their agreement with Ukraine, and notified them, this was spun out to the media as an ‘invasion.’ So one of the first major acts of the new Ukrainian coup government was to blatantly lie to the whole world, giving us a clue as to what we can expect from them in the future.
But older Western governments were not to be outdone in the lying and deception department by the new Ukraine bunch. We can see the whole Syrian aggression crowd piling on Putin to give him the ‘Assad treatment’ for messing up their helping Saudi Arabia and Qatar get their oil and gas pipelines through Northern Syria as part of their plan to take over the dominant Russian gas supply lines to Europe.
This is purely payback for the diplomatic victories the Russians earned in their level-headed dealings during the Syria crisis, navigating through the minefield of Western and Israeli provocations which included the staged war crime poison gas attack and several bombings on the Soviet Navy base warehouses…Russia’s only foreign base, and a small one at that. If the West is successful in getting a puppet government installed there, I am sure that closing that base is at the top of the list.
John Kerry entertained us with what will be a famous line. “You just don’t in the 21st Century behave in 19th Century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext.” Now mind you the US is the country that is openly supplying weapons and ammunition transportation for hundreds of renegade militias, mostly terrorist groups who have been savaging the Syria people like Attila the Hun.
Kerry’s State Department has also never denounced the Saudi support for the head chopping, robbing and raping Takfiri brigades. And yet when Putin shifts some reinforcements into the Crimea during a situation of ultra nationalist groups running wild all over the Ukraine after ignoring negotiated settlements and overthrowing the government, the US cries that Russia must be isolated diplomatically and trade-wise. Actually it should be the reverse.
Now we see why the Ukraine was set up, to bait Putin into over reacting so the West could eliminate the diplomatic burr under their saddle who has been blocking much of their economic aggression plans. But surprise, surprise…Putin has not over reacted, and he is not going to. He’s too smart.
He will leave that to the losers in the West to do. They seem to have a never ending talent for it and neither embarrassment nor a conscience for the piles of bodies they are racking up. The biggest terrorist operations being run now are all state sponsored ones, compliments of the US and some Gulf States with Israel as the cheer leading team.
I think an historical footnote is needed here for the flag-waving non questioning patriots. It involves one of the unknown brutal sides of the Cold War, the military contingency plans the US always had on the shelf in case we need to ‘invade’ somewhere.
The typical situation ALWAYS involved doing a major terrorist act that would be then blamed on some selected group inside the country we did not like, and instead of ‘invading’ we would be going in to ‘defend the people’, except for the ones murdered in the terrorist attacks…a war crime by the way.
These plans had to be updated, as the domestic groups you wanted to blame needed to be current and usually included those where you had infiltrated and could set up a patsy. A large numbers of colonels worked on these updates over the years, so that is how the word slowly got out.
But Obama was not about to be outdone by Kerry shooting America in the foot. The president jumped in with his charges of “violating Ukraine’s sovereignty”, and “there being a cost” for any military involvement in the Ukraine.
Dear Mr. President, please explain to me what that cost would be for the Russians and the justification. They have not been supplying terrorist Jihadi groups in the Ukraine, nor have they been recruiting Slavic criminals from the hell holes of the Balkans to unleash on the Ukrainian people.
You have done that with our proxy terror allies in the Gulf and Israel and used them against Syria and now Ukraine. And yes, the cost has been paid by innocent Syrians. So between you and Putin, who has done the most killing? And if dead people could vote, guess who they would pick?
No one has accused the Russians of staging the poison gas attack in Syria, just so they could win a diplomatic victory by stopping your retribution attack. But the US and its allies above have been accused, and we have more evidence that the Lugar Labs in Georgia might have been the source for the gas.
So Sir, thank you for stopping your Syrian bombing attack and not bombing Iran for AIPAC, and pushing ahead with the Iran nuclear talks. But I can’t cut you any slack here on your continuing ground attacks on Syria and now adding the Ukraine to the cannon fodder list for some economic goal you have been sold on…like maybe the gas reserves under the Ukraine.
Oh, you didn’t think we knew that, did you? Well then, I will save the reserves that are under the Western Mediterranean for another day. But in the meantime why don’t you think about dividing up the American military into two groups. Let’s separate those who fight for money in the Neocon and bankster driven commercial wars, from those who fight to defend the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. There is nothing in the military oath regarding eliminating commercial competitors during peace time.
And don’t forget about those ‘domestic enemies’…the banksters, crooked politicians, AIPAC, Israeli espionage…and what else…ahhh…oh yes, as Mr. Kerry put it…“those who would invade another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.”
. If dead people could vote – By Jim W. Dean (Originally titled “West baits Putin but he doesn’t bite.” Jim W. Dean comes from an old military family dating back to the American Revolution. His father was a WWII P-40 and later P-51 Mustang fighter pilot. Jim’s mother was a WWII widow at 16, her first husband killed with all 580 aboard when the SS Paul Hamilton, an ammunition ship with 7000 tons of explosives aboard, was torpedoed off the coast of Algiers. He has appeared on PBS most recently on the Looking for Lincoln documentary with Prof. Henry Lewis Gates and lectured at the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Gordon. His current writing focus is on national security, intelligence, black and PSYOPS, military/Intel history including personal video archives, and the current wars. Jim Dean is the managing editor of Veterans Today).
The Romans claimed to have always fought “just wars.” The fact is they mostly, in the devious road of imperialism, exploited the subjects for the profit of the sovereign citizen.
The imperialism pattern, with minor historical adjustments, always follows the same scrip: to control key human and natural resources and markets.
Basic concepts hadn’t changed that much through History. The modern world has seen a first phase of this devastating enterprise as the conquest of the Americas by European mercantilist powers, and the second phase as the colonial subjugation of Asia and Africa.
However during the twenty and twenty first centuries, we are witnessing the beginnings of a third wave of devastation by imperialist expansion of North Americans and, to a lesser extent because of their own military limitations, Europeans, encouraged by the collapse of the Soviet system and populist nationalism regimes in the Third World. I’m not just referring to certain political policies of aggression, conquest, and foreign control, but more importantly to an economic system, capitalism, that depends upon such policies for its very existence. This is a profound new meaning for the term imperialism.
Globalization, the natural evolution of capitalism, is the intention to create a more integrated and interdependent world economy based on free markets. It is the main target of capitalism in the twenty first century, but it is not even a stage, nor the highest stage: from the beginning, it is inherent in capitalism’s expansion.
To fulfill this promise of global capitalism, all nations must be invited to the global picnic, something that so far is not happening, and is not on the agenda of Western governments. Rather the opposite, the way forward for the U.S. is to transform this republic into a global empire.
In an era of instant global communications, how this perverted project is developing, under your nose, while being ignored by the masses?
The subtlety of those modern empire builders clearly overshadows the Roman centurions, the Spanish conquistadors and the European colonial powers. In their eagerness to progress towards a global empire, corporations, banks and government (the corporatocracy) use their financial and political power to ensure that schools, businesses and the media (90% of U.S. media comes from the same six corporations) support both the concept and its no less fallacious corollary. We have been led to a point where our global culture has become a monstrous machinery requiring exponential fuel consumption and maintenance, to the extent that it’ll eventually devour all available resources and finally have no choice but to devour itself.
Depending on the peculiarities of the targeted country, handsomely paid executives of U.S. engineering and construction firms (with the veiled support of the intelligence community) encourage leaders to become part of the extensive network that promotes U.S. commercial interests around the world. Ultimately these leaders just finish caught in a web of debt, which guarantees their loyalty. The U.S. can use them whenever necessary to satisfy the political, economic or military needs. In exchange they consolidate their political position because they bring to their countries industrial complex, central power generation and airports. Meanwhile the owners of U.S. engineering and construction firms (Halliburton, Bechtel, Brown & Root, Stone & Webster, etc.) become immensely rich.
Those executives diddle billions to countries around the world, channeling loans from the World Bank, the Agency of International Development (USAID), Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, etc. (under the tutelage of the international “aid/controlling” organizations as the IMF, GATT, WTO) to the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a handful of wealthy local families who control the natural resources of the planet. Its tools include fraudulent financial advice, rigged elections, bribery, extortion, sex and murder traps. That game is as old as empires, but takes on new and terrifying dimension in our era of globalization.
Like fellow Mafia, those executives grant favors. These take on the appearance of loans for infrastructure development: electricity plants, roads, ports, airports, or industrial complex. One of the conditions of these loans is that the design and construction must be carried out by companies from the U.S. The result is that, in reality, most of the money never leaves the United States. Essentially it is simply transferred from Washington’s banking empires to construction companies in New York, Houston or San Francisco. A good chunk is lost in the world of the tax-free offshore banking though.
Despite the fact that the money comes back almost immediately to corporations that are part of the corporatocracy creditor, the recipient country is required to fully repay the principal plus interests. If the executives have worked well, that debt will be so large that the debtor is declared insolvent within a few years and unable to pay. When this happens, like the Mafia, U.S. claims its part of the business, which comprises often one or more of the following consequences: captive votes at the United Nations, establishment of military bases, or access to precious resources as oil -or the Panama Canal. The debtor, of course, still owes U.S. the money … and another country is added to the global empire.
However (and this is an essential qualification), when corporations fail, another species much more sinister get involved. The jackals. These are themselves more direct emulators of those historical empires above mentioned. The jackals from CIA and NSA are always there, lurking in the shadows. When they act -see Ukraine recently- the heads of state fall, or perhaps die in violent “accidents” –Allende, Torrijos, Arbenz, Roídos, etc.-. And if it turns out that also the jackals fail, as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq, then the old models resurface. When the jackals fail, young Americans are sent to kill and die.
Finally when all above fails, as in Shah’s Iran or Chavez’s Venezuela, part of the money is lost. But that is not a mayor problem. U.S. prints the bills. The ability to print money gives them immense power. Means inter alia that they can continue to grant loans that will never be repaid … and they themselves can also accumulate a stratospheric debt.
If you are willing to open your eyes, today you could see the devastation resulting from this system. U.S. and European most respected companies are hiring workshops in Asia that exploit labor under inhuman slave-wages conditions. Oil companies carelessly throw their toxins to rivers in the rainforests, purposely poisoning humans, animals and plants, and perpetrating genocide against ancestral cultures. Pharmaceutical Companies deny millions of Africans infected with HIV medicines that could save them. In the United States itself, 46.5 million do not know what they will eat tomorrow. The financial business has led to Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and HBOS. The energy business has led to Enron. The audit business has led to Andersen. The very same day three thousand people were killed by terrorists -on September 11, 2001-, twenty-four thousand died from hunger and other consequences of poverty around the world. And the day before … and the day after. The decade-long American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would end up costing as much as $6 trillion, the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household, where the United Nations estimates 45,000 millions would be enough to provide clean water, proper diet, health services and basic education to all residents in the planet.
The developing world now spends $1.3 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in grants. Nigeria borrowed around $5 billion and has paid about $16 billion, but still owes $28 billion. That $28 billion came about due to bias in the foreign creditors’ interest rates. 7 million children die each year as a result of the debt crisis. In the 52 Jubilee 2000 countries, a total of 1 billion people shoulder a debt burden of £286 billion. It is interesting to note that this is less than the total net worth of the world’s 21 richest individuals. In 1999, $128 million was transferred from the poorest countries to the richest for debt repayments –each day. Of this, $53 million was from East Asia and the Pacific, $38 million from South Asia and $23 million from Africa. Canceling the debts of all 52 Jubilee 2000 countries would only cost one penny a day for each person in the industrialized world for 20 years.
More than half of the “globalized” world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day per head, roughly the same as received in the early 1970s. Meanwhile in the Third World 1 percent of more rich households accumulates between 70 and 90 percent of private wealth and property holdings of their countries (the percentage varies by country to consider).
This is the history of the United States, the first truly global empire. Past has taught us that, or we change course, or we are securing ourselves a tragic end. Empires never last. All have ended very badly. All have destroyed cultures in their career towards greater domination, and all have fallen in turn. No country or group of countries can prosper in the long term by exploiting others.
. Corporatocracy – By Dugutigui (on some excerpts by John Perkins)
Vladimir Putin seems to have lost touch with reality, Angela Merkel reportedly told Barack Obama after speaking with the Russian president. He is “in another world.” “I agree with what Angela Merkel said … that he is in another world,” said Madeleine Albright, “It doesn’t make any sense.”
John Kerry made his contribution to the bonkers theory by implying that Putin was channeling Napoleon: “You don’t just, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.”
Now that Putin has taken Crimea without firing a shot, and 95 percent of a Crimean electorate voted Sunday to reunite with Russia, do his decisions still appear irrational? Was it not predictable that Russia, a great power that had just seen its neighbor yanked out of Russia’s orbit by a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev, would move to protect a strategic position on the Black Sea she has held for two centuries?
Zbigniew Brzezinski suggests that Putin is out to recreate the czarist empire. Others say Putin wants to recreate the Soviet Union and Soviet Empire.
But why would Russia, today being bled in secessionist wars by Muslim terrorists in the North Caucasus provinces of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, want to invade and re-annex giant Kazakhstan, or any other Muslim republic of the old USSR, which would ensure jihadist intervention and endless war?
If we Americans want out of Afghanistan, why would Putin want to go back into Uzbekistan? Why would he want to annex Western Ukraine where hatred of Russia dates back to the forced famine of the Stalin era?
To invade and occupy all of Ukraine would mean endless costs in blood and money for Moscow, the enmity of Europe, and the hostility of the United States. For what end would Russia, its population shrinking by half a million every year, want to put Russian soldiers back in Warsaw?
But if Putin is not a Russian imperialist out to re-establish Russian rule over non-Russian peoples, who and what is he?
In the estimation of this writer, Vladimir Putin is a blood-and-soil, altar-and-throne ethno-nationalist who sees himself as Protector of Russia and looks on Russians abroad the way Israelis look upon Jews abroad, as people whose security is his legitimate concern.
Consider the world Putin saw, from his vantage point, when he took power after the Boris Yeltsin decade.
He saw a Mother Russia that had been looted by oligarchs abetted by Western crony capitalists, including Americans. He saw millions of ethnic Russians left behind, stranded, from the Baltic states to Kazakhstan.
He saw a United States that had deceived Russia with its pledge not to move NATO into Eastern Europe if the Red Army would move out, and then exploited Russia’s withdrawal to bring NATO onto her front porch.
Had the neocons gotten their way, not only the Warsaw Pact nations of Central and Eastern Europe, but five of 15 republics of the USSR, including Ukraine and Georgia, would have been brought into a NATO alliance created to contain and, if need be, fight Russia.
What benefits have we derived from having Estonia and Latvia as NATO allies that justify losing Russia as the friend and partner Ronald Reagan had made by the end of the Cold War?
We lost Russia, but got Romania as an ally? Who is irrational here?
Cannot we Americans, who, with our Monroe Doctrine, declared the entire Western Hemisphere off limits to the European empires — “Stay on your side of the Atlantic!” — understand how a Russian nationalist like Putin might react to U.S. F-16s and ABMs in the eastern Baltic?
In 1999, we bombed Serbia for 78 days, ignoring the protests of a Russia that had gone to war for Serbia in 1914. We exploited a Security Council resolution authorizing us to go to the aid of endangered Libyans in Benghazi to launch a war and bring down the Libyan regime.
We have given military aid to Syrian rebels and called for the ouster of a Syrian regime that has been Russia’s ally for decades.
At the end of the Cold War, writes ex-ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock, 80 percent of Russia’s people had a favorable opinion of the USA. A decade later, 80 percent of Russians were anti-American.
That was before Putin, whose approval is now at 72 percent because he is perceived as having stood up to the Americans and answered our Kiev coup with his Crimean counter coup.
America and Russia are on a collision course today over a matter — whose flag will fly over what parts of Ukraine — no Cold War president, from Truman to Reagan, would have considered any of our business.
If the people of Eastern Ukraine wish to formalize their historic, cultural and ethnic ties to Russia, and the people of Western Ukraine wish to sever all ties to Moscow and join the European Union, why not settle this politically, diplomatically and democratically, at a ballot box?
Is Putin the irrational one? – By Patrick J. Buchanan. Pat Buchanan has been a senior adviser to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. Buchanan has written eight books, including four New York Times best-sellers. He is married to the former Shelley Ann Scarney, a member of the White House staff from 1969 to 1975.
Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone TV series, must be smiling down on us from the hereafter as he watches those of us in our sixties who grew up with his program find ourselves living in a real Twilight Zone….a Theater of the Bizarre.
I have been living in this crazy world long enough to get used to it, but these last few weeks have me a bit worried. The old axiom, “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” comes to mind.
Yes, were pleased to see Obama’s statesmanship in opening the dialogue with Iran to defuse the bogus nuclear weapons hype, which has been exploited for so many years. But then only to be disappointed to see him sink his teeth into the Syrian slaughterhouse with our use of proxy terrorists forces. That is quite a transition.
You will forgive me for saying that I have to think in the back of my mind that we might be dealing with two Obamas, one of whom is the Manchurian Candidate whenever the magic words are whispered in his ear. The good angels told him not to launch airstrikes on Syria, but the bad ones told him to go ahead with the Ukrainian debacle.
The competition in the eyes of the world for which major powers have the best interests of the world at heart has been somewhat up in the air in terms of America having exclusive rights. The cool-headed, non-offensive diplomacy of Russia and Putin has been a growing challenge to the title and seems to have triggered a panic attack in the West.
Obama survived the false flag scenario attack on the unfortunate chemical weapons victims in Syria, which was done solely as a pretext for triggering a US/NATO air campaign. The plan was to degrade Assad’s forces so the Syrian National Council terrorists could enjoy their work more without fear of being killed by the Syrian Army.
Lavrov saved Obama and Kerry’s bacon with the stroke of genius of getting the chemical weapons threat out of Syria to create a climate for a reasonable negotiated settlement. But we saw coordinated attacks by the rebels on convoys removing these weapons, which seem designed to give the Americans an opening to claim breach of faith by the Russian. That was a very cheap shot indeed, and I smelled some growing payback hatred toward the successful Russian diplomacy, which had run circles around the American pretenders.
I did not really catch it back then, but current events have connected the dots for me. Despite Obama’s standing up to our counterfeit Congress who represents Israel first when in conflict with American interests, he pushed forward with the Iran nuclear talks, literally under fire from AIPAC. But someone, somehow, seems to have convinced him that, “We have to get Putin!”
I don’t pretend to know why, as it is totally illogical. But I am sure that what has happened with the Ukraine debacle is not a bad dream. We really did team up with the EU to try to counter Putin’s attempt to stave off our attack on his border region by launching a mini Syria style attack to overthrow the Ukraine government.
When it looked like a settlement was about to delay the West taking over, magically a classic psyops appeared where a crew of hired killers shot up both sides. And without any evidence at all it was accepted by the West as having been done by the targeted government. Game, set, match…we had instant recognition from the West, no calls for an investigation, and promises of $15 billion in new loans. Good gosh, suspicious me…I smelled an orchestrated conspiracy there.
You all know about the Nuland and Ashton intercepts, so I will not repeat those because now I am going to take you into the Theater of the Bizarre. How does the West, who is so patently the aggressor in this situation (all the Intel people agree with this off the record) dodge taking blame for orchestrating a violent coup with the help of nationalist terrorists and Neo-Nazis?
That is simple. You use the Israeli method and blame it on the other guy. That’s right, after years of infiltrating, co-opting and subverting East European governments, we want to move NATO (ie. US missiles, bases and America taxpayer money) right up to Russia’s border for what justifiable reason?
The Russians reacted exactly like we knew they would, by securing their Black Sea fleet and then waiting for a referendum vote to show the Crimean vote would be overwhelming. And when Russia accepted the results from these historically Russian people, the West cries invasion, annexation, and that Putin is starting a new Cold War. And they expect the rest of us to believe this because their staff prepares good lies for them to tell.
Here are a few choice examples from the policy speech writers who are supposed to be so talented they can imprint whatever they want onto our brains. John Kerry made some of the stupidest historical remarks I have ever heard from a Secretary of State, including Hillary. He warned the Russians that THEY are stoking up ‘nationalist fever’ like that which led to WWII when that is exactly what WE have been doing since the Bush/Cheney gang decided to take over the world. Here are his words:
It “doesn’t legitimize just taking what you want because you want it or because you’re angry about the end of the Cold War or the end of the Soviet Union or whatever it is,” Kerry argued. He added that if Moscow believes people in Crimea want annexation, “you need to work through the operative process.”
Dear Mr. Kerry, It does not legitimize your finishing the Pax Americana that the Bush NeoCons and Republicans wanted to do, by hiding it behind being a Democrat. You are even more guilty as more is expected from peace-loving Democrats. You have failed America badly with this Ukraine disaster, but keep up the good work on the Iran talks.
And if the Israelis play hardball on the Palestinian peace talks, go ahead and play that illegal WMD card you are holding, which makes all US aid illegal and demand a full refund. We can sell Israel the next day to the Saudis so they can give it back to the former owners…
Our early-dementia Vice President Joe Biden also weighed in, reading his prepared notes about how Russian’s accepting the Crimean vote was a ‘land grab’ and ‘a blatant violation of international law’. This is almost funny if it weren’t so sad.
This is the same Joe Biden that earlier this week in Poland, again working from staff prepared notes, claimed that as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he had ushered Poland’s entry into NATO. But there was a little historical problem with that as Republican Senator Jesse Helms has been the chairman of the committee at the time in 1999. It’s time for you to go, Joe.
Take your choice…pathological liars, poor staff work, or their senility has rendered them unable to tell the difference. The Russians have been absolutely right with their statements of total irrationality regarding all of the US positions on their Ukraine policy.
And you know what that makes them to all the rest of us?…national security risks. It’s sad day to see your country sink down to this level.
White House goes Twilight Zone – By Jim W. Dean. Jim W. Dean comes from an old military family dating back to the American Revolution. His father was a WWII P-40 and later P-51 Mustang fighter pilot. Jim’s mother was a WWII widow at 16, her first husband killed with all 580 aboard when the SS Paul Hamilton, an ammunition ship with 7000 tons of explosives aboard, was torpedoed off the coast of Algiers. He has appeared on PBS most recently on the Looking for Lincoln documentary with Prof. Henry Lewis Gates and lectured at the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Gordon. His current writing focus is on national security, intelligence, black and PSYOPS, military/Intel history including personal video archives, and the current wars. Jim Dean is the managing editor of Veterans Today.
The West is guilty of the same crimes it accuses Russia of committing.
Russia is not a superpower. Its population was shrinking, and so is its military, political, and economic might. Yes, Russians have their oil money to organise Olympics or buy fancy flats in London, but Russia itself is a far cry from the big nasty “bear” that was invading Afghanistan, when I emigrated from this evil colossus in search of a political freedom so lacking at home. Yet, this cherished western freedom is being threatened by a stifling hypocrisy.
For reasons that are both obvious and complex, Russia, the main heir of the collapsed Soviet Union, continues to be seen as an evil country. So any politician down on his luck – Senator McCain from Arizona is a case in point – is more than happy to invoke the ghosts of the Cold War and use Russia as a stepping stone for his failing attempts to stay relevant. What could be simpler? Just get on the Fox news, or if you are more sophisticated, on the pages of NewRepublic, Weekly Standard, or NYT Review of Books, and pontificate about the need to get tough on Russia. You gain immediate access to the deep recesses of the American psyche raised in constant fear of the Evil Empire. The public is yours to take.
The same strategy works well in Great Britain as well, where anti-Russian phobia runs even deeper, into 19th century with its almost pathological and racist fear of Russia’s rising power. That fear, by the way, has already resulted in the Crimea War of 19th century. (David Fromkin’s 1989 prize winning study, A Peace to End all Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East offers a superb analysis of the power and geopolitical legacy of this fear).
But this combination of opportunism with self-induced blindness, clearly obscures the reality of the situation. Most importantly, Russians feel humiliated as a result of the collapse of their empire. And everyone knows you don’t taunt or mock your defeated enemy. Western leaders, however, are forever ready to do so and while engaging in this morally dubious enterprise, they keep congratulating themselves for their moral uprightness.
“Pussy Riot”, “gay propaganda law”, Olympics and everything else in between are the subject of endless moralizing, while Western scandals and abuses are dismissed as the sign of the healthy democratic process.
The situation in Ukraine reminds of Moliere’s famous play Tartuffe in which the main character is a selfish and manipulative person, who pursues his materialist interests under the guise of piety. Russia falls into its role of Moliere’s gullible Orgon, while the west plays a convincing Tartuffe.
Dealing with such an exotic country as Russia, separated from the West by its unique geography, history, religion, and political system, the West has fully internalised utterly undemocratic and hypocritical attitude captured by the maxim: “quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi” (What is allowed to Jupiter is not allowed to an ox). Furthermore, as late comers to the Western civilisation, Russians themselves seem to accept this unhealthy attitude without challenging it.
This situation has persisted after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite its self-congratulations on the triumphant power of democratic values and its demands that Russia treats its citizens and neighbours with equanimity, the West continues to lecture it on its inadequacies. Consequently, Western militaristic adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, or Kosovo are disguised as some sort of noble and moral endeavours.
Russia’s assertions of its country national interests are presented, however, as an act of blatant aggression. One would expect that the endless amount of economic, political, social, and military abuses that we witness around us would make modern day Tartuffes more modest in their pious claims, but it doesn’t.
Furthermore, if the West preaches equality but treats other countries as second best, why can’t Russia do that too? Why can’t it treat Ukraine in the same way it has been treated by the West? And if Russia is the subject of double standards, was the West lying to the Russians all along, convincing them that there’s nothing to fear and can peacefully disarm and withdraw, while at the same time secretly expanding NATO towards its borders? To push the analogy with Moliere’s play even further, Tartuffe is not just a sanctimonious hypocrite; he eventually tries to repossess the house of Orgon, whose gullibility he uses precisely for that purpose.
I suspect that the collapse of Ukraine has brought this fact to the surface, and Russians – in the manner of Orgon – suddenly realised that they’ve been taken advantage of, that Tartuffe wants to re-possess their house, that all these assurances that Russia is an equal member of G8 were empty talk. It can see nuclear arms at its border, which the West will surely place there after it buys Ukraine out of its economic crisis. Western response? Blame Russian aggression again. It is a classic case of blaming the victim. Now the West will surely surround Russia with nuclear arms.
I hope that the West will come back to its senses, sit at the table and negotiate with Russia a solution to the Ukrainian crisis and create a military neutral space there. Because if it doesn’t, the next Russian political leader might be less accommodating than Putin, whose foreign policy was to give the West everything it wanted while getting very little in return.
Like the US, the UK, and France, Russia has its legitimate national interests that have to be defended. Why should Russia tolerate NATO at its borders and the potential loss of the Sevastopol navy base to the modern-day Tartuffes?
Why do they hate Russia? – By Vladimir Golstein (Vladimir Golstein teaches Russian literature and film at Brown University. He is the author of Lermontov’s Narratives of Heroism (1999) and numerous articles on all major Russian authors. He was born in Moscow, went to the US in 1979, and studied at Columbia and Yale Universities)
People are used to measure the power of a country based on its economic and military power. On this basis, no one seems to question that the USA is the first world power. But perhaps we should analyze all dimensions of today’s American power and reject false approaches driven by propaganda and financial greed rather than the facts.
A little of history:
The USA has either installed by way of coup, engineered revolution or outright military action, or propped up, financed and supported a litany of murderous dictators, while strutting the world hypocritically espousing the virtues of freedom and democracy.
In 1996, the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a huge report entitled “IC21: The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century.” One devastating paragraph read:
“The Clandestine Service is the only part of the Intelligence Community, indeed of the government, where hundreds of employees on a daily basis are directed to break extremely serious laws in countries around the world in the face of frequently sophisticated efforts by foreign governments to catch them. A safe estimate is that several hundred times every day, easily 100,000 times a year, Directorate of Operations officers engage in highly illegal activities according to foreign law that not only risk political embarrassment to the US but also endanger the freedom if not lives of the participating foreign nationals and, more than occasionally, of the clandestine officer himself.”
On other hand, as of 31 December 2010, US Armed Forces were stationed at more than 840 installations in around 150 nations. This staggering statistic shows that the USA has a military presence in over 77% of the world’s nations. One would have to ask why on earth do the Americans need to plant their troops and weapons in three-quarters of the world, if not for the purpose of having an empire and controlling the planet.
It is a matter of fact that John Stockwell, ex-CIA Station Chief who also worked for the director of the CIA under George Bush (Senior), testified before the Congress that during the Cold War era, over 6 million people have died in the CIA covert wars. The world has decried the fact that 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis in World War Two, but the grim fact that the Americans were responsible for the same number of deaths because of the CIA has been completely whitewashed. This alone proves that the USA is the biggest rogue terrorist nation in the world.
Apart from US covert political interference, there is an impressive list of US military interventions that clearly shows that the USA is by far the greatest transgressor in the world when it comes to mostly illegal interference in the affairs of other nations.
If we agreed with the above facts, and contrary to popular belief in the West, the USA hasn’t been the benevolent superpower that is intent on preserving peace and goodwill. In fact the very opposite is true. Since World War Two, the USA has committed many illegal acts of naked aggression against other nations without just cause, has overtly and covertly interfered in the internal affairs of many countries to further its interests and has overthrown many legitimately elected leaders, installing brutal fascist despots in their place.
In fact statistics show that the USA has committed more illegal acts against other nations, including illegal wars since that time, than any other nation by far. Many experts in international affairs, including renowned legal minds, have stated that hard evidence shows the USA to be by far the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism.
Is the USA innately aggressive?
Sigmund Freud tried to cure Viennese women of their neuroses, and Konrad Lorenz made his reputation studying birds, but the two men shared a belief that has become lodged in the popular consciousness. The belief is that we have within us, naturally and spontaneously, a reservoir of aggressive energy. This force, which builds up all by itself, must be periodically drained off –say, by participating in competitive sports– lest we explode into violence.
This is an appealing model because it is easy to visualize. It is also false. As animal behaviorist John Paul Scott, professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University, has written: “All of our present data indicate that fighting behavior among higher mammals, including man, originates in external stimulation and that there is no evidence of spontaneous internal stimulation.” Clearly, many people –and, in fact, whole cultures– manage quite well without behaving aggressively, and there is no evidence of the inexorable build-up of pressure that this “hydraulic” model would predict.
The late Erich Fromm put it this way: “The most primitive men are the least warlike and . . . warlikeness grows in proportion to civilization. If destructiveness were innate in man, the trend would have to be the opposite.”
What is going on?
As usual you have to follow the money. For generations, it has been drummed into our heads that “free trade” is always a good thing and that truly free trade will always benefit both sides in the long run. None of our universities teach that trade can actually also be used as a brutally effective weapon of warfare and that economic warfare can bring down entire societies and countries. None would teach you that it only benefits the greed of the financial system, a very small group of white-collar criminals. And none would teach you that it is a double-edged sword.
The great idol of our time is the free trade. The free trade is a necessary social institution, but it should not be deified. It is not a god; it is a device of mortal men. If we make it an idol, we must sacrifice to it the flower of our youth in coming wars.
And I said above it is a double-edged sword. When it comes to the United States, the goal is to induce big corporations (or even entire industries) to leave the U.S. and set up shop somewhere else. The idea is that the economic infrastructure of the United States will decline while the economic infrastructure of the other nations will be built up. The jobs and wealth creation that once were a benefit to America will now benefit someone else.
Another goal is to transfer wealth from the United States to other countries. Each month the United States buys tens of billions of dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from USA. Each month USA sends those big chunks of their national wealth and they send USA oil and cheap plastic trinkets which USA greedily consumes. As this continues month after month after month, the rest of the world is getting richer while the United States is becoming poorer.
In a desperate attempt to maintain the standard of living, the federal government, the state governments and even the local governments are going into insane amounts of debt. Debt is another tool of economic warfare. As USA continues to borrow trillions of dollars from the rest of the world, the ability of the United States to exert power and control over those nations diminishes.
Another one of the more enduring myths in USA society is that wars are somehow good for the economy. Many people see a great deal of evidence to support this myth, after all World War II came directly after the Great Depression. This faulty belief stems from a misunderstanding of the economic way of thinking.
The American [and European at same extent] financial system have been using during the last 70 years the political and military powers of the nation for their own benefit, as the individual citizen cannot derive any profit from the conquest of a province, engineered revolutions or outright military actions.
Where power resides?
USA military expenditures in 2013 amounted staggering $ 683 bn., while Russia’s was a “modest” $ 116 bn. China’s expenditures in the same period amounted a disclosed $ 249 bn.
But these figures, far from reflecting reality, should be read carefully. The lesson of the infamous “space pen” anecdote about NASA’s spending a small fortune to develop a ballpoint pen that astronauts could use in outer space, while completely overlooking the simple and elegant solution adopted by the Soviet space program (give cosmonauts pencils instead), is a valid one: Most part of USA’s military expenditures finish in the deep pockets of the greedy financial system, while Russian’s [and specially Chinese’s] taxpayer efforts go directly to the military.
Another aspect to consider is that investment in conventional weaponry only serves the war profiteering of US companies in limited conflicts or in the interfering in small countries, and it is absolutely useless in case of a conflict with a mayor power as China or Russia. As a clear proof we can see what is going on in Crimea as I’m writing this, or the major signal to Vladimir Putin that USA would not intervene in Syria in August 2013.
Let alone China growing assertiveness from regional claimants like Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Since 2009, China has stepped up its para-military patrols in the area, with growing reports of Chinese surveillance vessels “harassing”, among others, Filipino as well as Vietnamese ships and fishermen.
In mid-2012, the Philippines and China came dangerously close to an armed conflict over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Equipped with superior military hardware, and backed by intensive diplomatic pressure, China eventually managed to outmaneuver the Philippines by effectively gaining control of the disputed shoal. By mid-2013, China pushed the envelope even further, with Chinese para-military vessels allegedly aiming to overrun Philippine military fortifications in the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, which is eerily close to the hydrocarbon-rich areas off the coast of the Philippine province of Palawan.
An for sure, today the Chinese leadership is also closely following the Ukrainian crisis in an attempt to anticipate possible responses to its own territorial maneuvering in the Western Pacific, which have come under “heavy criticism” by Washington.
In fact, if China today would invade Taiwan, the USA would overnight become a country with limited military power … and a calamitous economy. The West, run by a generation that believes the market is the solution to everything, suddenly would find you cannot outsource strategy; that there are situations in which the Rothschilds and Soros of the world cannot help you; and that the pursuit of legally dubious wars of conquest, by legally indefensible means, flattens the public appetite for force for a generation.
Of course the nuclear option should be considered, but apart from a possible mutual destruction, the balance here is not favorable to the U.S. The exact number of nuclear weapons in global arsenals is not known. With little exception, each of the nine countries with nuclear weapons guards these numbers as closely held national secrets. What is known, however, as for December 2012 is that the total number of Russian nuclear weapons amounts to 8,500 units, while the USA’s may have around 7,700 and China’s 250.
In the view of above facts it shouldn’t come as a surprise that much of the rest of the world absolutely hates USA. They resent its dominance and they are tired of them imposing their will on the rest of the globe. For generations, Americans have been taught to view themselves as “the good guys”, but the sad fact of the matter is that most of the rest of the world does not view them as “the good guys” anymore. In fact, there are quite a few nations out there that would actively like to do them harm.
So… where West’s power resides?
Curiously, the real power of USA [and to a greater extent of Europe] lies in its citizens. In view of all read this far, it may seem a contradiction, but it is not. The paradox is the real power of USA and the West resides, sadly, in the excessive appetite of its citizens to consume.
While the U.S. and Europe remain economically profitable for China and Russia, the illusion of being a superpower can be kept. But if an economic proxy war breaks out between the EU, USA and Russia, and China backs the latter, then we can kiss globalization goodbye … and welcome to a third world economy.
NGOs caught forging documents for war, insider warns all NGOs infiltrated; ‘Independent military observers’ for EU-based group OSCE again turned away in Crimea, OSCE branded one more ‘vulgar instrument’ for foreign interests; and CNN buys the latest State Department hoax.
In this episode of The Truthseeker, RPI Director Daniel McAdams is interviewed about the role of NGOs and state-sponsored “human rights” groups in pushing US foreign policy and training locals in the techniques of coup d’etat and regime change. The episode is a fascinating look into the role of these groups in unrest from Libya to Syria to Ukraine. From the phony “Kony 2012” film to the phony “I Am Ukrainian” film — all produced by individuals with US State Department contacts and backing.
Seek truth from facts with Illinois University Professor of International Law and former Amnesty board member Francis Boyle; Infowars Editor Paul Joseph Watson; Eric Draitser of Boiling Frogs Post; Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams; Ukraine protest organizers; Sliman Bouchuiguir, whose NGO fabricated the claims against Libya; and Asst. Secretary of State Vic Nuland.
The stakes are high in the Ukraine: after the coup, as Crimea and Donbas asserted their right to self determination, American and Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory, both under cover.
The American soldiers are “military advisors”, ostensibly members of Blackwater private army (renamed Academi); a few hundred of them patrol Kiev while others try to suppress the revolt in Donetsk. Officially, they were invited by the new West-installed regime. They are the spearhead of the US invasion attempting to prop up the regime and break down all resistance. They have already bloodied their hands in Donetsk.
Besides, the Pentagon has doubled the number of US fighter jets on a NATO air patrol mission in the Baltics; the US air carrier entered the Black Sea, some US Marines reportedly landed in Lvov “as a part of pre-planned manoeuvres”.
The Russian soldiers ostensibly belong to the Russian Fleet, legally stationed in Crimea. They were in Crimea before the coup, in accordance with the Russian-Ukrainian treaty (like the US 5th fleet in Kuwait), but their presence was probably beefed up. Additional Russian troops were invited in by deposed but legitimately elected President Yanukovych (compare this with the US landing on Haiti in support of the deposed President Aristide). They help the local pro-Russian militia maintain order, and no one gets killed in the process. In addition, Russia brought its troops on alert and returned a few warships to the Black Sea.
It is only the Russian presence which is described as an “invasion” by the Western media, while the American one is hardly mentioned. ”We have a moral duty to stick our nose in your business in your backyard a world away from our homeland. It’s for your own good”, wrote an ironic American blogger.
Moscow woke up to trouble in Ukraine after its preoccupation, nay obsession, with the Winter Olympic games had somewhat abated, — when people began to say that “Putin won the games and lost the Ukraine”. Indeed, while Putin watched sports in Sochi, the Brown Revolution succeeded in Ukraine. A great European country the size of France, the biggest republic of the former USSR (save Russia), was taken over by a coalition of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and (mainly Jewish) oligarchs. The legitimate president was forced to flee for his very life. Members of Parliament were manhandled, and in some cases their children were taken hostage to ensure their vote, as their houses were visited by gunmen. The putsch was completed. The West recognised the new government; Russia refused to recognise it, but continued to deal with it on a day -to-day basis. However the real story is now developing in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, a story of resistance to the pro-Western takeover.
The economic situation of Ukraine is dreadful. They are where Russia was in the 1990s, before Putin – in Ukraine the Nineties never ended. For years the country was ripped off by the oligarchs who siphoned off profits to Western banks, bringing it to the very edge of the abyss. To avoid default and collapse, the Ukraine was to receive a Russian loan of 15 billion euros without preconditions, but then came the coup. Now the junta’s prime minister will be happy to receive a mere one billion dollars from the US via IMF. (Europeans have promised more, but in a few years’ time…) He already accepted the conditions of the IMF, which will mean austerity, unemployment and debt bondage. Probably this was the raison d’être for the coup. IMF and US loans are a major source of profit for the financial community, and they are used to enslave debtor countries, as Perkins explained at length.
The oligarchs who financed the Maidan operation divided the spoils: the most generous supporter, multi-billionaire Igor “Benya” Kolomoysky, received the great Russian-speaking city of Dnepropetrovsk in fief. He was not required to give up his Israeli passport. His brethren oligarchs took other Russian-speaking industrial cities, including Kharkov and Donetsk, the Ukrainian Chicago or Liverpool. Kolomoysky is not just an ‘oligarch of Jewish origin’: he is an active member of the Jewish community, a supporter of Israel and a donor of many synagogues, one of them the biggest in Europe. He had no problem supporting the neo-Nazis, even those whose entry to the US had been banned because of their declared antisemitism. That is why the appeals to Jewish consciousness against the Brown putsch demonstrably failed.
Now came the nationalists’ crusade against Russian-speakers (ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians – the distinction is moot), chiefly industrial workers of East and South of the country. The Kiev regime banned the Communist Party and the Regions’ Party (the biggest party of the country, mainly supported by the Russian-speaking workers). The regime’s first decree banned the Russian language from schools, radio and TV, and forbade all official use of Russian. The Minister of Culture called Russian-speakers “imbeciles” and proposed to jail them for using the banned tongue in public places. Another decree threatened every holder of dual Russian/Ukrainian nationality with a ten-years jail sentence, unless he gives up the Russian one right away.
Not empty words, these threats: The storm-troopers of the Right Sector, the leading fighting force of the New Order, went around the country terrorising officials, taking over government buildings, beating up citizens, destroying Lenin’s statues, smashing memorials of the Second World War and otherwise enforcing their rule. A video showed a Right Sector fighter mistreating the city attorney while police looked other way. They began to hunt down riot policemen who supported the ex-president, and they burned down a synagogue or two. They tortured a governor, and lynched some technicians they found in the former ruling party’s headquarters. They started to take over the Orthodox churches of the Russian rite, intending to transfer them to their own Greek-Catholic Church.
The instructions of US State Dept.’s Victoria Nuland were followed through: the Ukraine had had the government she prescribed in the famous telephone conversation with the US Ambassador. Amazingly, while she notoriously gave “fuck” to the EU, she did not give a fuck about the Russian view of Ukraine’s immediate future.
Russia was not involved in Ukrainian developments: Putin did not want to be accused of meddling in Ukrainian internal affairs, even when the US and EU envoys assisted and directed the rebels. The people of Russia would applaud him if he were to send his tanks to Kiev to regain the whole of Ukraine, as they consider it an integral part of Russia. But Putin is not a Russian nationalist, not a man of Imperial designs. Though he would like the Ukraine to be friendly to Russia, annexing it, in whole or in part, has never been his ambition. It would be too expensive even for wealthy Russia: the average income in the Ukraine is just half of the Russian one, and its infrastructure is in a shambles (compare to the very costly West German takeover of the GDR). It would not be easy, either, for every Ukrainian government in the past twenty years has drenched the people with anti-Russian sentiment. But involvement was forced upon Putin:
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians voted with their feet and fled to Russia, asking for asylum. Two hundred thousand refugees checked in during the weekend. The only free piece of land in the whole republic was the city of Sevastopol, the object of a French and British siege in 1852 and of a German siege in 1941, and the home base of the Russian Black Sea fleet. This heroic city did not surrender to the Kiev emissaries, though even here some local deputies were ready to submit. And at that last moment, the people began their resistance. The awful success of the putsch was the beginning of its undoing. The pendulum of Ukraine, forever swinging between East and West, began its return movement.
The people of Crimea rose, dismissed their compromise-seeking officials and elected a new leader, Mr Sergey Aksyonov. The new leadership assumed power, took over Crimea and asked for Russian troops to save them from the impending attack by the Kiev storm troopers. It does not seem to have been necessary at this stage: there were plenty of Crimeans ready to defend their land from the Brown invaders, there were Cossack volunteers and there is the Russian Navy stationed in Crimea by treaty. Its Marines would probably be able to help the Crimeans in case of trouble. The Crimeans, with some Russian help, manned the road blocks on the narrow isthmus that connects Crimea to the mainland.
The parliament of Crimea voted to join Russia, but this vote should be confirmed by a poll on March 16 to determine Crimea’s future — whether it will revert to Russia or remain an autonomous republic within the Ukraine. From my conversation with locals, it seems that they would prefer to join the Russian Federation they left on Khrushchev’s orders only a half century ago. Given the Russian-language issue and the consanguinity, this makes sense: Ukraine is broke, Russia is solvent and ready to assume its protection. Ukraine can’t pay salaries and pensions, Russia had promised to do so. Kiev was taking away the lion’s share of income generated in Crimea by Russian tourists; now the profits will remain in the peninsula and presumably help repair the rundown infrastructure. Real estate would likely rise drastically in price, optimistic natives surmise, and this view is shared by Russian businessmen. They already say that Crimea will beat out Sochi in a few years’ time, as drab old stuff will be replaced by Russian Imperial chic.
Perhaps Putin would prefer the Crimea gain independence, like Kosovo, or even remain under a token Ukrainian sovereignty, as Taiwan is still nominally part of China. It could become a showcase pro-Russian Ukraine to allow other Ukrainians to see what they’re missing, as West Berlin was for the East Germans during the Cold War. Regaining Crimea would be nice, but not at the price of having a consolidated and hostile Ukraine for a neighbour. Still Putin will probably have no choice but to accept the people’s decision.
There was an attempt to play the Crimean Tatars against the Russians; apparently it failed. Though the majlis, their self-appointed organisation, supports Kiev, the elders spoke up for neutrality. There are persistent rumours that the colourful Chechen leader Mr Kadyrov, a staunch supporter of Mr Putin, had sent his squads to the Tatars to strong-arm them into dropping their objections to Crimea’s switch to Russia. At the beginning, the Tatars supported Kiev, and even tried to prevent the pro-Russian takeover. But these wise people are born survivors, they know when to adjust their attitudes, and there is no doubt they will manage just fine.
Russian Nazis, as anti-Putin as Ukrainian Nazis, are divided: some support a “Russian Crimea” whilst others prefer pro-European Kiev. They are bad as enemies, but even worse as friends: the supportive Nazis try to wedge between Russians and Ukrainians and Tatars, and they hate to see that Kadyrov’s Chechnya actually helps Russian plans, for they are anti-Chechen and try to convince people that Russia is better off without Chechens, a warlike Muslim tribe.
As Crimea defied orders from Kiev, it became a beacon for other regions of the Ukraine. Donbas, the coal and steel region, raised Russian banners and declared its desire for self-determination, “like Crimea”. They do want to join a Russian-led Customs Union; it is not clear whether they would prefer independence, autonomy or something else, but they, too, scheduled a poll – for March 30. There were big demonstrations against the Kiev regime in Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov and other Russian-speaking cities. Practically everywhere, the deputies seek accommodation with Kiev and look for a way to make some profit, but the people do not agree. They are furious and do not accept the junta.
The Kiev regime does not accept their quest for freedom. A popularly-elected Mayor of Donetsk was kidnapped by the Ukrainian security forces and taken to Kiev. There are now violent demonstrations in the city.
The Ukrainian navy in the Black Sea switched its allegiance from Kiev to Crimea, and they were followed by some units of the air force with dozens of fighter jets and ground troops. Troops loyal to Kiev were blocked off by the Crimeans, but there was no violence in this peaceful transfer of power.
The junta appointed an oligarch to rule Donbas, Mr Sergey Taruta, but he had difficulty assuming power as the local people did not want him, and with good reason: Taruta had bought the major Polish port of Gdansk and brought it to bankruptcy. It seems he is better at siphoning capital away than in running serious business. Ominously, Mr Taruta brought with him some unidentified, heavily armed security personnel, reportedly guns-for-hire from Blackwater (a.k.a. Academi) fresh from Iraq and Afghanistan. He will need a lot more of them if he wants to take Donbas by force.
In Kharkov, the biggest Eastern city, erstwhile capital of Soviet Ukraine, local people ejected the raiding force of the Right Sector from government offices, but police joined with the oligarchs. While the fake revolution took place in Kiev under the tutelage of US and EC envoys, the real revolution is taking place now, and its future is far from certain.
The Ukraine hasn’t got much of an army, as the oligarchs stole everything ever assigned to the military. The Kiev regime does not rely on its army anyway. Their attempt to draft able-bodied men failed immediately as hardly anybody answered the call. They still intend to squash the revolution. Another three hundred Blackwater mercenaries landed Wednesday in Kiev airport. The Kiev regime applied for NATO help and expressed its readiness to allow US missiles to be stationed in the Ukraine. Missiles in the Ukraine (as now stationed in Poland, also too close for Russian comfort) would probably cross Russia’s red line, just as Russian missiles in Cuba crossed America’s red line in 1962. Retired Israeli intelligence chief Yaakov Kedmi, an expert on Russia, said that in his view the Russians just can’t allow that, at any price, even if this means all-out war.
Putin asked the upper house of the Russian parliament for permission to deploy Russian troops if needed, and the parliament unanimously approved his request. They will probably be deployed in order to defend the workers in case of attack by a Right Sector beefed up by Blackwater mercenaries. Humanitarian catastrophe, large-scale disturbances, the flow of refugees or the arrival of NATO troops could also force Putin’s hand, even against his will.
The President in exile
President Yanukovych will be historically viewed as a weak, tragic figure, and he deserves a better pen with a more leisured pace than mine. He tried his best to avoid casualties, though he faced a full-scale revolt led by very violent Brown storm-troopers. And still he was blamed for killing some eighty people, protesters and policemen.
Some of the victims were killed by the Right Sector as they stormed the ruling party offices. The politicians left the building well in advance, but the secretarial staff remained behind — many women, janitors and suchlike. An engineer named Vladimir Zakharov went to the besieging rebels and asked them to let the women out. They killed him on the spot with their bats. Another man was burned alive.
But the majority of casualties were victims of sniper fire, also blamed on Yanukovych. The Kiev regime even asked the Hague tribunal to indict the President as they had President Milosevic. But now, a telephone conversation between EC representative Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet reveals that the EC emissaries were aware that dozens of victims of sniper fire at the Maidan were killed by Maidan rebel supporters, and not by police or by President Yanukovych, as they claimed. Urmas Paet acknowledged the veracity of this conversation at a press conference, and called for an independent enquiry. It turned out that the rebel snipers shot and killed policemen and Maidan protesters alike, in order to shed blood and blame it on the President.
This appears to be a staple feature of the US-arranged revolutions. Snipers killing both protesters and police were reported in Moscow’s 1991 and 1993 revolutions, as well as in many other cases. Some sources claim that famed Israeli snipers were employed on such occasions, which is plausible in view of Mr Kolomoysky’s Israeli connection. A personal friend of Mr Kolomoysky, prominent member of the then-opposition, Parliamentarian and present head of administration Sergey Pashinsky was stopped by police as he removed a sniper’s rifle with a silencer from the scene of murder. This discovery was briefly reported in the New York Times, but later removed. This revelation eliminates (or at least seriously undermines) the case against the President. Probably it will be disappear down the memory hole and be totally forgotten, as were the Seymour Hersh revelations about Syria’s sarin attack.
Another revelation was made by President Putin at his press-conference of March 4, 2014. He said that he convinced (read: forced) President Yanukovych to sign his agreement of February 21, 2014 with the opposition, as Western ministers had demanded. By this agreement, or actually capitulation act, the Ukrainian President agreed to all the demands of the Brown rebels, including speedy elections for the Parliament and President. However, the agreement did not help: the rebels tried to kill Yanukovych that same night as he travelled to Kharkov.
Putin expressed amazement that they were not satisfied with the agreement and proceeded with the coup anyway. The reason was provided by Right Sector goons: they said that their gunmen will be stationed by every election booth and that they would count the vote. Naturally, the agreement did not allow for that, and the junta had every reason to doubt their ability to win honest elections.
It appears Yanukovych hoped to establish a new power base in Kharkov, where a large assembly of deputies from East and South of Ukraine was called in advance. The assembly, says Mr Kolomoysky, was asked to assume powers and support the President, but the deputies refused. That is why President Yanukovych, with great difficulty, escaped to Russia. His landing in Rostov made quite an impression on people as his plane was accompanied by fighter jets.
Yanukovych tried to contact President Putin, but the Russian president did not want to leave the impression that he wants to force Yanukovych on the people of Ukraine, and refused to meet or to speak with him directly. Perhaps Putin had no time to waste on such a weak figure, but he publicly recognised him anyway as the legitimate President of the Ukraine. This made sense, as President Yanukovych requested Russian troops to bring peace to his country. He still may make a comeback – as the president of a Free Ukraine, if such should ever be formed in some part of the country, – or as the protagonist of an opera.
Ihor Kolomoisky, oligarch governor of Dnipropetrovsk region
Interests: banking, media, metallurgy, chemicals, energy and airlines. In October, when Ihor Kolomoisky became president of the European Council of Jewish Communities, one Israeli newspaper described his rise to head the organization as a “putsch.”
Serhiy Taruta, oligarch governor of Donetsk region.
Interests: metallurgy, media. Serhiy Taruta and his Industrial Union of Donbass co-founders sold their majority stake in the company in January to Russian investors backed by Russia’s state-owned Vneshekonombank.
The Ukrainian pendulum – By Israel Shamir (Israel Shamir, also known by the name Jöran Jermas and Adam Ermash, is a Swedish writer and journalist. He is a commentator on Arab – Israeli relations and Jewish culture. Originally from Novosibirsk, Siberia, Shamir moved to Israel in 1969)