Ooobie on Everything

McCain Wins. Trump Succumbs to Terminal Stupidity, Taunts Russia to Strike Back

This is the straw that broke this camel’s back. Trump will never get my vote again. I won’t be voting for his communist opposition, but that won’t help Trump.

I voted for him because he said he was sick of seeing the US fight phony wars for phony reasons. We needed to bring the troops home, secure our border. He has done none of any of it. He isn’t a pragmatist, a realist, a thinker, he is a deal-maker, and boy, is that ever what we are getting. Lots and lots of deals with Democrats, a supine GOP-controlled (hah!) Congress and a fool for a president. Frankly, he deserves what is coming for him, because he proved an utter loser as a leader.

We are on the brink of war. Putin has said that Russia will blow the missiles and the carriers that launch them out of the air and sea. Trump says, oh, yeah? We have lots of missiles and can blow you and Syria to smithereens! Go home, Russia! Or else! And behind him stand small the UK and France, co-conspirators in this farce, and all those other countries like Germany who wouldn’t mind heading by tank to Moscow, again. In the end, what they all want is the stupid Americans to settle their centuries-old quarrels. Forget that Russia has been invaded by Poland, Sweden, France, and Germany multiple times. Russia should shut up and enjoy it. A moan of pleasure would be appreciated.

So in the end, Trump actually swallowed the Russian conspiracy theory. Think about it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel truly sanguine about this. Here is an illegal military bloc (our guys, of course) banding together  on a cooked up cw incident (their favorite kind, always impossible to prove!) to wage war and risk nuclear war. The latest pronouncements from the US are so inflammatory and provocative (as they have been now for two years) that any nation would be forced to respond forcefully. As in the bogus Skripal cw poisoning in the UK, Russia is asked to confess, this time that the US is right about long-term ally Assad and accede to another US illegal war. Absent any form of evidence that there even was a cw attack, other than a spurious video of suffering children. Trump told Putin to get his guys out of the area or get destroyed by the US. And what do you think Putin is going to do?

I read that Theresa May is hesitant to go to war against Russia based on cw claims. Understandably, having been snookered by UK and US intelligence in the faux cw attack on England, she might want to see something more than a video made by a personal phone. Especially when the Russians have been to the site and assert there is no cw trace, no victims, no reported respiratory emergencies that were cw-related. Especially since the OPCW that is supposed to stop the use of cw, even by US proxies, has agreed to Russian and Syrian demands for an urgent investigation at the site allegedly hit with who knows what. Chlorine, or even maybe it could be chlorine and a nerve agent, also unknown. There’s the bottom line: unknown. We know squat other than that somebody brought a heart-rending video and spread it around among the Agit-Prop corps on CNN and MSNBC. This made Americans so sad, used as they are to Hollywood tripe, that they supposedly now are ready for war with Russia. The Russian Government alleges that the rush to military action is intended to strike the area at issue and leave nothing behind with which to conduct an OPCW investigation. It makes me sick to know that I think they’re right.

I have a big announcement for the war-makers of America: the era is over when the US can decide who is bad, what he can and cannot do, when he has to leave government and who can govern in other countries — when we ginned up false flag operations to pave the way for a long-anticipated war. As the Russian UN ambassador said, who named the US world policeman, jury, executioner? I’ll tell you who. The military-industrial complex and all the US officials in all branches whom they have put in place with their war booty. Why do you think Arlington and Fairfax Counties, snuggled up and sucking at the Federal teat in Virginia, are the richest places in America? Coincidence?

I’m getting this out before they shut down the internet for security reasons, which would be to stop the outpouring of anger at Trump’s stupidity in capitulating to the McCains of America. The internet it hopping with the outrage of people who were led down the garden path by the bungling Trump, led to believe his wishes for a better US-Russia relationship and an end to regime change. As Trump has demonstrated with China as well, he’s pretty contemptuous of the other guy unless the other guy goes along with Donald. This kind of relationship may hold for a moment, while the other guys recalculate and rearm massively, but eventually it ends in conflict.

If there were an anti-war movement in America, I would be part of it. Instead I hear only rabid jingoism from our media, barring OAN and Tucker Carlson. Americans are frothing at the mouth in a mindless hysteria, wanting to wreak havoc on Russia. Our Russophobia, so helpful to the arms industry and its many tentacles, is destroying international stability. But if that’s what it takes to open up some new arms sales, and to launch the bombs, so be it. The Agit-Prop agents won’t talk about the likelihood that the cw attack was false or the reality that we Americans go to war when the Generals tell us to. And the Generals’ armorers.

This is really the twilight of the American Empire, the glory of which once shone out to Americans as a reason for optimism. We squandered the greatest power any empire ever knew, gifted to us for our persistence in simple defensive military and political/diplomatic policy that allowed the natural demise of the grotesque Soviet system to occur. But we took it as some Iwo Jima moment, look, we won! we won! We were arrogant and pushy and greedy and totally oblivious to the damage we were leaving in our wake, as we decided who could rule and who could not and used our military to make it happen. Now we have decided it is time to cage Russia in and punish it “very bad,” as our ignorant president says. But our Congress has decided it is not a big enough issue to open to debate and a vote for war. Trump has limited war-making powers, and they say this with a straight face knowing the potential that it is not only limited, but full out war. Let us see what happens.

Death of an Oligarch

boris berezovskiyUK authorities are going into hyper-drive to discover if Boris Berezovskiy, one of the greatest thieves in history, was done in by the evil forces of Russia. They think he might have been because a) he was one of the greatest thieves in history; b) he was a pal of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko who undoubtedly was done in by Russians of one kind or another; and c) he talked endlessly about bringing down Putin. In fact, his fights over money made him a lot of enemies beyond the Russian Government and he was in no condition to ever make good on his threats against the Russian President, or Prime Minister, depending on the month. When you live your life on a high-wire, Putin isn’t the only man you don’t want to cross, and I imagine Berezovskiy crossed as many people as he had to in pursuit of fabulous wealth. After an incredibly long run with other people’s stolen wealth, Berezovsky had fallen on hard times. He was past his prime, had lived fabulously well but had counted his chickens before they hatched. Of late, or so they say, he was – gasp – worried about money. His lawyer said that “”[a]ll he had was debts…he was practically destroyed. He was  selling his paintings and other things.” Berezovskiy’s money woes were linked in part to a suit brought in the UK against fellow Russian super-thief Roman Abramovich over Sibneft Oil.  (Sibneft is a Russian acronym that stands for Siberian Oil, hence the name Siberian Oil Oil). Berezovskiy claimed he was intimidated into selling his shares to Abramovich cheap, getting only 650 million dollars when it was worth twice as much. Unfortunately for Berezovskiy, the UK court was convinced only that Berezovskiy was a shameless liar and the ruling went against him. Here is what the judge had to say when the trial came to a close:

On my analysis of the entirety of the evidence, I found Mr Berezovsky an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be moulded to suit his current purposes…At times the evidence which he gave was deliberately dishonest; sometimes he was clearly making his evidence up as he went along in response to the perceived difficulty in answering the questions.

So much for the champion of truth and justice.

Fox News online described Berezovskiy as mathematician-turned-Mercedes dealer.  Ha ha. That’s like calling George Soros a poor Hungarian Jewish boy turned real estate agent and coin collector. (Capitalist vulture Soros, by the way, also had a falling out with Berezovskiy, whom he described as a robber baron. No comment.)

I grabbed from Wikipedia the following bits I know to be true about Berezovskiy’s life and his incredible journey from shabby mathemetician (all Soviets were perforce shabby, as nothing but shabby was available to them in stores) to billionaire.

Berezovsky made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s when the country went through privatisation of state property and “robber capitalism”. He profited from gaining control over various assets, including the country’s main television channel, Channel One. In 1997 Forbes magazine estimated Berezovsky’s wealth at US$3 billion. He was at the height of his power in the later Yeltsin years, when he was deputy secretary of Russia’s security council, a friend of Boris Yeltsin‘s influential daughter Tatyana, and a member of the Yeltsin “family” (inner circle). In a 2000 article in the Washington Post Berezovskiy proclaimed the right of “oligarchs” to meddle in the nation’s politics, arguing that in the absence of civil society “it is acceptable — indeed, necessary (for the rich) to interfere directly in the political process” in order to “protect democracy.”

I bet even my readers who know nothing about Russia can smell the ripeness of that last bit of high-minded baloney from Berezovskiy, who had as deep an attachment to democracy as Josef Stalin. Democracy was useful to him because it allowed him to carry on his shady dealings without being hauled off to the hoosegow without due process. Ask yourself, how does a mere mathematician, even one who was a member of the prestigious Soviet Academy of Sciences, become a billionaire practically overnight? It seems to have been pretty easy to do for a whole slew of vultures who were able to fatten themselves up magnificently on the carcass of the Soviet Union. Illustrious Americans from Harvard helped Russian officials set up the infamous “voucher system” whereby everybody in Russia got a bit of paper in exchange for everything they had endured under communism; with these pieces of paper, they could claim anything from a room in a communal apartment to a factory– but believe me,  most got the room in the communal apartment. The problem was that many people looked at the piece of paper they  held in their hands as just more paper, or perhaps more accurately, just more promises. Having lived under communism they were not willing to trust that the paper was actually worth anything. Many sold their rights for immediate cash, at a much-discounted sale that allowed them to survive by eating with what they got in exchange. But the smart guys, the number guys, the mathematicians and friends of Tatiana Yel’tsin, for example, managed to accumulate millions of such pieces of paper and to take over whole industries. Berezovskiy started out pillaging the Russian automobile industry, airlines, media, and then moved on to the really big time, oil. The last venture proved to be a big bust, because the one thing the Russian powers would not tolerate was the loss of their biggest asset, their hard-currency earner, the sine qua non for Russia’s survival.

As I believe I mentioned in an earlier post, the so-called oligarchs, a euphemism for thieves as the Russian public well understood, later fell afoul of the Russian Government when the befuddled and alcohol-ruined Boris Yel’tsin — who had his own quarrels with Berezovskiy, by the way — ceded supreme power to the tough ex-KGB agent Vladimir Putin. Putin was willing to tolerate the oligarchs, they had their uses, but not their political meddling — especially when the meddling was done through stolen State media assets. It may be a long time if ever before we know exactly what propositions were put to these billionaires, but I would guess it went something like this: there will be no more stealing; there will be no using of the stolen wealth to buy power; and if you don’t like it — there are other avenues of action. Some of the men, like Roman Abramovich, seem to have made peace with the new regime and he continues to live high. Others, like Mikhail Khodorkovskiy and Boris Berezovskiy, refused. Khodorkovskiy is still in prison (he was also involved in the Sibneft shenanigans) and Berezovskiy fled to the sanctuary of England, where he made headlines selling himself as a champion of liberty in Russia who was being persecuted as a Jew and a reformer. And now he is gone, perhaps by another’s hand or perhaps by his own. It doesn’t matter in the long run.

Who knows what the Brits will turn up under all those rocks during their investigation. Maybe they will find that the same shady guys who bumped off Litvinenko with polonium also took care of Berezovskiy, but it doesn’t make that much sense. The reality is, Berezovskiy vastly over-extended himself, counting on the great democratic nation of England to save his bacon with the Sibneft suit. It failed, and Berezovskiy was in over his head. He may have been under threat from people he owed money to. Whatever the case, Berezovskiy has gone to meet his Maker. I think he won’t be telling any fibs this time.