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Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “Spoon-feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”

Well, then can I walk beside you? I have come to lose the smog;
And I feel myself a cog in something turning:
And maybe it’s the time of year; yes, and maybe it’s the time of man
And I don’t know who I am, but life is for learning.

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We are stardust, we are golden; we are billion-year-old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden…

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, from “Woodstock

Life is for learning. Occasionally, as events of great moment pass us by without destroying the world, as they may have had the potential to do, we sigh with relief, and say, “There was a lesson that came at tremendous cost – I just hope the right people learned something from it”. And if the disaster was one which resulted from an unsafe situation such as a badly-planned intersection or a highway with inherent dangers, there’s every chance the right people will have learned something, and that the situation will be quickly addressed; municipal or federal governments frequently get sued for safety situations, often successfully.Rami SB 1 43 - Double Phaeton 1908

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The Mueller Report, recently released, tried its best to imply that there was collusion even as it stated baldly that the investigation had yielded no evidence of collusion. But what struck me with the most force was the manner in which the Democrats – and the entire crowd which has so much invested in having had an illegitimate president foisted upon them by the Godless Russians – simply shook its head, took a deep breath…and went right on blathering the same lunatic narrative. The Russians interfered with our democracy. Nothing is safe. Russia is the enemy of democracy, and will not suffer a democracy to live. Get the kids and pack up enough food for traveling, Mabel; we’re headed for the mountains – it’s “Red Dawn”, babycakes.

Amazing as it will sound, America has learned nothing. Ixo Press 1 43 - Lamborghini Diablo Red

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Wink
Uncle Volodya says “As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

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A glance over trade statistics suggests this was a wise choice for the Exceptional Nation – the year before the Glorious Maidan, Revolution of Dignity, the USA did around $3 Billion worth of trade with Ukraine, selling it $1.92 Billion worth of goods and services, and buying $1.03 Billion worth of goods and services from it, posting an American trade surplus of $888 Million. Last year the USA did around $4 Billion worth of trade with Ukraine, selling it $2.46 Billion in goods and services, and buying $1.35 Billion worth of goods and services from it, handsomely increasing the American trade surplus to $1.13 Billion. Considering Ukraine is impoverished and living on handouts, while the per-capita GDP has fallen by more than 6% despite the country having lost about 3 million people (Ukraine’s population today is almost exactly what it was in 1960), that’s quite an achievement.

Per-Capita GDP 2009-2018

Ukraine GDP per capita PPP

Population of Ukraine 2009-2018

Ukraine Population

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In that spirit, we’re going to take a look at Justin Lynch’s “Ukraine’s Election Is a Mess—and That’s Exactly What Putin Wants”, for Foreign Policy magazine.

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Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “The more a man knows, the more willing he is to learn. The less a man knows, the more positive he is that he knows everything.”

“Make way, we are coming! Give us every right and don’t you dare breathe a word before us. Pay us every sort of respect, such as no one’s ever heard of, and we shall treat you worse than the lowest lackey… Why, you are so eaten up with pride and vanity that you’ll end by eating up one another, that’s what I prophesy.”

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“Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch…”

Nazareth, from Hair of the Dog”    

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So I say, thank God for Mike Pompeo. Because it’s mean to wish for someone to fail. But somehow, whenever you hear the former CIA Director and current American Secretary of State blathering about how great and mighty America is, you don’t feel bad for wishing God would turn him into Mimi Bobeck’s bicycle seat. Image result for mimi bobeck

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In fact, it feels pretty good.

Before we get into the latest thing the Scintillating SecState said that made me wish he had his ears pop-riveted to a corkboard in front of a punching machine with an uninterruptable power supply (UPS), a little background. Scene-setting, if you will.

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Stephen Blank has a Tantrum

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “No sound is so ominous as the silence of a patient man.”

“It is cruel to discover one’s mediocrity only when it’s too late. It does not improve the temper.”

W. Somerset Maugham, from “Of Human Bondage”

Stephen Blank is upset; in a bit of a pet, as the English of years ago would say. Gosh-darn it, those thickheaded Yurrup folk know nothing of loyalty – you always buy from friends, even if their product costs more, and its logistics for delivery are shaky. You know: those friends who threaten to sanction you until you can’t see straight if you don’t do as they want you to. Because in the end, it’s about freedom, damn it all.

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Instead, I’d like to focus on the petulance.

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Mr. Blank draws on every trope, every stereotypical insult and childish squall he can muster, and if it is a measure of his frustration, he must be wound tighter than a Timex. I have to say, I’m kind of enjoying it. Let’s look, shall we?

Since seizing Ukrainian territory, Mr. Blank tells us, Russia has waged systematic warfare in an attempt to destroy Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state energy company. Do tell. I don’t suppose there’s any sense in repeating that Crimea was always Russian, was given to Ukraine as a gift by a decree of the Russian president, and then was taken back – to the obvious delight of the great majority who live there – when it became evident Ukraine would not be satisfied with merely being independent, but wanted to be an enemy. A little like the Sally of “Mustang Sally” fame; remember that old song? “Bought you a brand-new mustang/ nineteen sixty-five/when I come around, you signify, woman/You won’t let me ride.” Okay, perhaps that’s not the best example, since the ‘ride’ in that instance has a tongue-in-cheek double meaning. But I think the context is pretty clear. Ukraine made an ostentatious big deal about its non-Russianness, and seized upon every opportunity to express its contempt and hatred, just as it continues to do now. Why should Russia allow it to keep the gift which was bestowed when they were fraternal brothers? Continue reading “Stephen Blank has a Tantrum”

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Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself.”

…hitched a ride on a monkey’s back;
headed west into the black,
I’m goin’ to dizz knee land

DaDa, from “Dizz Knee Land”

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However, what are we to make of the alleged contention of Yehor Bozhok (the contortions Ukrainians go through to make sure their names do not sound Russian always crack me up, in this instance resulting in one that sounds quite a bit like the pessimistic donkey from “Winnie the Pooh”) that the world has the sanctions imposed against Russia by Washington and Brussels to thank for peace? For the reality that forces of the Russian Federation are not currently rampaging through the seas, fields and cities of the Free World?

The gospel according to Yehor (Head of Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service, the SZRU) is that the west’s economic sanctions – leaning heavy on the word ‘economic’, because that is what they are – are negatively impacting President Vladimir Putin’s ability to wage war around the world, including in Ukraine. It is assumed that’s what he wants to do, more than anything, and that only the sanctions (and the might of the Ukrainian Army, of course, Geroyim Slava) hold him back. Continue reading “See Russia Starting Any New Wars? Thanks, Washington.”

The Candy Clouds of the Dreamweaver do Battle with the Battering Ram of Reality

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Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “The real world is where the monsters are.”

Dreamer, you’re nothing but a dreamer
Well, can you put your hands in your head? Oh no
I said, “Far out, what a day, a year, a life it is”
You know, well you know you had it comin’ to you
Now there’s not a lot I can do…

From “Dreamer”, by Supertramp

As this tumultuous year grinds to a close, I wonder what future historians will say of it? Surely it will never be seen as a year of advancement for mankind; a year of stability, an affirmation of the bonds of brotherhood which draw us closer together. Instead, it must be viewed by the dispassionate eye of objectivity as a year of upheaval, of reversals and setbacks and chaos. A year of celebration of mean-spirited goading and provocation, a year of the drawing-together of jealous alliances seeking to preserve a world order which always worked out very well for those so allied, thank you very much. A year of cynical lip service paid to the cause of peace and understanding, trumped by disinformation, propaganda and reality-shaping. If you can’t have world peace, pray enjoy yourself with the vinyl inflatable substitute, anatomically correct for your pleasure.

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The first, by Andrew Wrobel at Emerging Europe (where he is a founding partner), postulates that BuB Mobile 1 87 Fiat 500, Pink Mega RAR Limited 96 – as, no doubt, it will; I am surprised it has staggered all the way to this point. But much of the article is spent in talking of events of the past year. Let’s take a look.

According to Wrobel, the current government of Ukraine is making serious headway upon a progressive agenda. The economy is stabilizing, President Poroshenko has pushed through a series of reforms to tackle corruption, and the resumption of international ‘lending’ to Ukraine signifies international approval of its progress. Continue reading “The Candy Clouds of the Dreamweaver do Battle with the Battering Ram of Reality”

The Piker at the Gates of Dawn; Yearning to be in the Big Leagues, the Beaver is Crushed Between the Eagle and the Dragon.

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Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, but leave him when he is wrong.”

Hey, you; out there in the cold
getting lonely, getting old – can you feel me?
Hey, you; standing in the aisles
with itchy feet and fading smiles – can you feel me?
Hey, you, don’t help them to bury the light…
Don’t give in without a fight.

From, Hey You, by Pink Floyd

The arrest and detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver International, as she was changing flights for Mexico, was a deliberate slap in the face to China. The fact that it was executed even as US President Donald Trump – I still can’t say that phrase without a vertiginous feeling of unreality, like “Marriage Counselor Harvey Weinstein”, or “noted philanthropist Imelda Marcos” or “Senator James Inhoffe” – was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to get the latter’s agreement to a truce in the trade war between the two countries makes it appear to have been a carefully-coordinated backstab meant to extract the maximum in humiliation. It infuriated China and its people, and the effects are only beginning to make themselves felt. To get a little perspective, imagine the American reaction if China had arranged to have the late Steve Jobs arrested in Singapore for jaywalking, and insisted on its right to extradite and try him.

Before we go any further, let’s put the conclusion before the analysis – this is all about kicking the feet out from underneath Huawei in North America. Huawei was already blowing the doors off of Apple in smartphone sales, and it cannot be allowed to get a 5G network foothold in North America. To quote the voice of America’s wireless community, CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker, “The race to lead the world in 5G is on, and the competition is intense. Every country knows wireless leadership creates jobs, investments, and innovation. They’re taking action because they want to win. We do too.” She further forecast that 5G would add three million jobs and $500 Billion to the US economy. The sort of prize Washington would do just about anything to keep for itself. Huawei is a direct threat to Apple, and Apple was the USA’s most profitable company for the third year in a row in 2017. It’s not that America will not tolerate competition in a fair market – it will just not tolerate competition from China, which it considers a heretic enemy. Unfortunately for America, many of its most lucrative expansion opportunities for American companies – like Apple – are in China, so it mostly kept such thoughts to itself. Until recently.

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