Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Oh my God, I'm nauseous. Cameron didn't say that to some bloggers from Mold. Cameron said that to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels. 

You know how I say bloggers don't like spikes? Major spike there.


"We run the risk of repeating the mistakes made in Munich in '38. We cannot know what will happen next.This time we cannot meet Putin's demands. He has already taken Crimea and we cannot allow him to take the whole country."
-David Cameron, Prime Minister Great Britain.

You know how I say I always try to put myself in the shoes of the person I'm writing about? If Putin is Hitler, I have put myself in the shoes of Neville Chamberlain. Ouch. Major ouch there.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Very nice.

Say cheese!

That's different. Those guys are laughing.

The girl at left is laughing, the one in the background, not so much. Laughter is by definition spontaneous, no? It happens instantaneously. Laughter is prompted just as "say cheese" photos are, as the Talking Funny guys were, but it is without guile, it's uncontrollable. We hesitate a little to say the girl at right is laughing only because she is looking right at the camera. She could be mugging, posing. 
Same two girls. The dark-haired girl is camera-aware, she is posing, that is a "say cheese" smile. The lighter-haired girl may have been prompted by the brunette, the brunette may have photo-bombed into a posed photograph of the lighter-haired girl but that is a real laugh by the lighter-haired girl. 

Smiling and laughing. Both very nice. Laughing is better.

We Are...Mold!

Had a visitor yesterday from Mold...No, really. Mold is a city of 10,000 in Flintshire...Never heard of that either, in Wales. Finally. Heard of that. Notable residents from Mold include Raymond Davies Hughes, "Nazi collaborator and Welsh language broadcaster." According to Wikipedia.

And a pilgrim today from the Council of Europe, the whole Council, which is located in Strasbourg, which I have heard of on account of my Protestant ancestors fled to that there place from Paris where they were being persecuted by the Catholics. Catholics, hiss, pfft, pfft.

Putin: "If I want, I will take Kiev in two weeks."

Mikhail Popov, deputy secretary of Russia’s military Security Council, called the expansion of NATO “one of the leading military dangers for the Russian Federation.”

Mr. Popov said Russia expected that leaders of NATO would seek to strengthen the alliance’s long-term military presence in Eastern Europe by establishing new military bases in the region and by deploying tanks in Estonia, a member of NATO that borders Russia.

“We believe that the defining factor in our relationship with NATO remains the unacceptability for Russia of plans to move military infrastructures of the alliance to our borders, including by means of expanding the bloc,” Mr. Popov said.

Russian foreign policy has long focused on NATO as a threat. Speaking at a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said a recent initiative by the Ukrainian government to shed its nonaligned status and to join NATO could scuttle efforts to negotiate a peace settlement between Kiev and separatists in southeast Ukraine.

Before a NATO summit meeting begins in Wales on Thursday, President Obama is expected to visit Estonia to highlight the United States’ commitment to the military alliance and the alliance’s determination to protect all 28 members from aggression — from Moscow or elsewhere.

“We wanted to support the residents of Crimea, but we also followed certain logic: If we don’t do anything, Ukraine will be drawn into NATO sometime in the future,” Mr. Putin said, adding that “NATO ships will dock in Sevastopol, the city of Russia’s naval glory.”
On Tuesday morning, an aide to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia played down but did not deny a report that Mr. Putin had told José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, “if I want, I will take Kiev in two weeks.” -
New York Times.

True statement by Putin there! And for Obama, as Estonia (population 1,300,000) goes, so goes America (population 318,600,000)!

"Did he do the whistle?"

Ricky Gervais, laughing so hard he's crying, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Louis CK, laughing so hard he's crying.

They laughed for 13 seconds straight, couldn't talk. Ricky Gervais, the host, got up out of his seat he was laughing so hard, Louis CK kicked his right leg up in the air he was laughing so hard. Chris Rock, collapsed to his left, laughing so hard. Jerry Seinfeld, who delivered the impenetrable question to Louis CK that set off this explosion, buried his head in his hand for some seconds before the image at top, laughing so hard.

These are four of the greatest stand-up comics of our time. The show is Talking Funny. All four are highly intelligent. They are students of their craft and humor can be difficult to understand, much less explain. For 45 minutes they talked seriously at times, laughing half the time, one here, the other there, sometimes a couple or three. Out of context, the ignition to the explosion is impenetrable. Even in context, they were bandying about a crude joke that Louis CK had heard at a dive delivered by a fourth-rate comic going for a cheap laugh, they were discussing why that joke worked despite being crude and taking the easy cheap route. But it did! Whether because, as Ricky Gervais suggested, Louis CK saw it and projected "irony" onto something that was not "objectively" convulsing. Seinfeld disagreed but could not articulate why the joke worked except it did. "There's something there," he said to Louis CK. Louis was responding seriously to Seinfeld, he had an point he wanted to make but in the middle of his first sentence of explanation, Seinfeld delivered the neutron bomb. The others immediately started laughing but it took Louis CK a second to switch gears. He began delivering his explanation again, got 2-3 words out and then closed his eyes in uncontrollable laughter and collapsed to his left. I was not expecting this frisson in all four simultaneously. It was the first and only time in the show that all four reacted instantaneously and in unison. These are funny, funny men and to see these greats literally rise from their seats clapping,

kick their legs out,

unable to speak for :13 and laugh so hard that at least 2, maybe Seinfeld was a third, they were crying, hearing Ricky Gervais' amazing, cackling laugh, this was an awesome thing to witness and I laughed long and hard seeing these amazing men laugh uncontrollably in unison. A transcendent moment. I will never forget it. I have replayed it a few times already. It will stay with me forever. These guys improve the soul. 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Labor Day.

It is Labor Day in the United States of America, a day set aside to honor the American working man and woman, a day of rest for them, us, me. Not me, not this Labor Day, but I am a "professional," I work for myself. Myself can be a demanding employer but I make my own hours, come and go largely as I please. No boss. My "professional office" is closed today. My two employees and my one business partner don't work today. Government employees have the day off. Good, that is good, that is as it should be.

A lot of other "real" working men and women, those who work for private employees don't have the day off. The business of America is business, always has been. When I go to get something to eat later I will be flabbergasted if my latin cafe is closed. The dozen or so waitresses there have to work today, punch the timeclock, sign in, or whatever they have to do but they will have to work. The convenience stores, the supermarkets are open today, their employees have to labor on Labor Day.

There is no Google doodle today in honor of the American working man and woman; he and she are, no doubt, laboring in Mountain View this Labor Day. There is no "Labor" section of any major daily newspaper anywhere in America, no "Workers" or "Employees" section, no regular segment on television or radio news, yet in all of those you will find separate sections or segments devoted to "Business," "Markets," "Money." The working men and women of America work today and everyday in the pursuit of happiness, their bosses.
Uncommon posts and countries of readers have made the TOP X now, today, this week and the month just ended:

Outliers now:
New Zealand, 2.
Poland, 2.

Poland is 6th.
Switzerland is 7th.
Paraguay is 9th.

This week:
Poland is 4th.
Switzerland is 9th.
Thailand is 10th.
"SAO Barquin Shooting Close-Out Memo," June 25, 2009 is second among posts read.
"Happy New Year," Jan. 1, 2012 is seventh.

This month:
Poland, 6th.
Slovenia, 7th.
South Korea, 8th.
Turkey, 10th.
"SAO Barquin...", 4th.
"Is Barack Obama Clinically Depressed?", Aug. 24, 2013, 6th.
"On Gilded Pond," Aug. 12, 2014, 8th.
"Police Shootings," August 20, 2014, 10th.

3,197 total pageviews in August. About 100/per day has been the norm the last 3-4 months.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Putin Urges Talks on Greater Autonomy for Eastern Ukraine."-New York Times.

Lol. Unlike in Crimea however, Putin doesn't want a referendum, he wants the Ukraine government to negotiate directly with the Putin-supported, invasion-supporting rebel leaders. 

Questions, Answers.

U.S. Senator John McCain answers a couple of the questions in the preceding post differently.

Does the West's punishment fit Putin's crime? "And as far as Vladimir Putin is concerned, put strong sanctions (in place.) If you're looking at it from Vladimir Putin's viewpoint... he's doing pretty well with a minimum of penalty and as long as the Europeans are on his energy supplies, they're not going to do much."

Do we wish to revisit the decision not to supply arms to Ukraine? "For God's sake, can't we help these people defend themselves? This is not an incursion, this is an invasion.Give them the weapons they need, give them the wherewithal they need, give them the ability to fight. They will fight.

McCain went on to say that Putin was "establishing a land bridge all the way to Crimea and he may then threaten Moldova and the Baltics if he continues to succeed."

Putin: "It's best not to mess with us. Russia a leading nuclear power."

A transcript of President Putin's remarks to a youth group at Lake Seliger Friday is not available that I could find. Uniformly reported however are these remarks, which are taken from Reuters:

"Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts. We don't want that and don't plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia."

"Russia's partners...should understand it's best not to mess with us. Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers."

He said eastern Ukraine did not agree with Yanukovich's removal and was now subjected to "crude military force" from government planes, tanks and artillery.

"If those are contemporary European values, then I'm simply disappointed in the highest degree. Small villages and large cities surrounded by the Ukrainian army which is directly hitting residential areas with the aim of destroying the infrastructure... It sadly reminds me of the events of the Second World War, when German fascist... occupiers surrounded our cities." 

Putin used the term "Novorossyia," "New Russia," to refer to eastern Ukraine. If not literally the first time, it is one of the first times he has used the term in public.

And so there it is, ladies and gentleman. By his actions and his words Vladimir Putin is laying claim to eastern Ukraine as part of Novorossyia and he is going to get it. It is not precisely clear if Putin's nuclear threat is aimed at Ukraine or the West, if his vow to repel aggression towards Russia encompasses further Western sanctions, Ukraine joining NATO, Western arming of Ukraine. If those remarks were directed toward his paranoid fear that NATO was going to attack Russia over its actions in Ukraine, well, the man is so far out of touch anything he thinks and says is possible. In other words, it is not clear if Putin is drawing a "red line" somewhere or speaking hypothetically.

Putin's actions and his words, that is, his transparent lies, have been consistent to his purpose. The West, once again, is in denial. Putin's remarks Friday were not even reported in America's quasi-official New York Times. I do not know if Official Washington is in denial but quasi-official America seems to be. All should awaken to this reality rationally and strategically. Churchill said in the run-up to World War II "There it all was, laid out in precise detail, in prose as turgid as any in the Koran." Churchill was referring to Mein Kampf. Official and quasi-official America have been in denial about the Koran too but that is a subject well-covered here and a debate lost.

Today, we have a nationalist, expansionist, militarist leader of a major nuclear power who has invaded a sovereign nation and who is rattling his conventional and wmd military capability in casual remarks. The West has imposed economic sanctions against him, "costs," it puts it, for his wrongdoing. The sanctions were intended to be corrective and are temporally limited. They have been effective in costing this dangerous leader but have not proved corrective. We should take him at his word and his actions and ask ourselves some direct questions:

Are the sanctions punitive? Yes. Corrective has left the building. The outcome is pre-determined, Putin will get what he wants in Ukraine, it will just cost him some money to get it. Further sanctions will cost him more money.

Do the nations of the West have the right to punish Russia? Yes. They are sovereign states, they may trade or forbid trade as they wish, permit or deny travel as they wish.

Does Russia have the right to punish the West for its punishment of Russia? Yes.

Does the West's punishment fit Putin's crime? Yes. Both Official America and Official Russia have stated publicly that Russia has felt the costs. For the West, the cost is for the crime of invasion. That is the truth. For Russia, the costs are for no crime. That is a lie. Because the costs cannot be precisely determined there is some risk that the sanctions will impose too great a cost even in the West's view for the crime. The West would not wish to turn Russia into Cuba. Nudging the Russian economy into recession seems the greatest punishment the West is willing to inflict.

Does the West still wish to proceed with another round of official punishment against Russia for the non-official invasion? It does.

Do we wish to revisit the decision not to put American troops into Ukraine? We do not.

Do we wish to revisit the decision not to supply arms to Ukraine? We do not.

Ukraine has asked again to join NATO. Do we wish to revisit the decision to reject Ukrainian membership? We do not.

Is the West still willing to sacrifice Crimea, eastern Ukraine, all of Ukraine possibly to Putin's Novorossyia? Yes. Russia, pay your money at the toll gate.

Those are the components of the strategy for dealing with the Russian invasions laid down early and often by President Obama. He will not go woolly in the knees over those. Good for him.

Should the West, NATO and the U.S. Strategic Command be war-planning for full nuclear war with Russia? Yes. That is only rational to Putin's words and actions.

Is "Greater NATO" the new, final red line for America and the West? Yes. By treaty. Obama has said it is too.

I opposed NATO expansion early, often and vigorously and as with the Koran and Islam that debate was lost. America is committed to nuclear war with Russia, if it comes to that, if Putin's Novorossyia comes to encompass Vilnius, as surely if it came to encompass Washington, D.C. Were I president I would have the damnedest time making the decision to proceed with nuclear war with Russia over Vilnius, Lithuania. I, as president would be committed by formal treaty, law, engage in that war. To fulfill my legal obligations under that treaty I would sacrifice millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of Americans and western Europeans to fulfill a treaty to 3,000,000 Lithuanians. It is entangling alliances like NATO's expansion that formed the links in the chains that bound the European nations together and dragged them like slaves into World War I exactly 100 years ago this summer. I don't know what I would do if I were president and Putin invaded the Baltic states that the U.S. is chained to. Obama, the real president, surely is thinking of this. Isn't he? No...No, I would not do it.  If I were president in that eventuality I would ignore the NATO treaty. I would not engage in nuclear war with Russia over the Baltics. I would ignore the treaty just like Obama ignored the law on Egypt's non-coup coup.

Those are my answers. What are yours?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sporting News.

Updates! We have updates!

Tennis: The guy hits the ball it goes over the net the other guy hits the ball IT goes over the net the first guy hits the ball BACK over the net...

Soccer: manchestercity0stoke1. sonofabitchfriggingstoke.stokeitinyourfriggingarse.

And that concludes our Sporting News updates! (6:30 pm)

They're still playing that tennis tournament. Instant updates here.

In America this week scholars began playing tackle football. Menz. On Thursday night the University of  "South Carolina Must be Destroyed"...was. In the sport of "watching the grass grow" the Boston "Red Sox" suck.

And in Albion just now, an early relegation battle between Chevrolet United of Manchester and  Burnley (The "Clarets.") saw the two XI's wheeze to a scintillating nil-nil draw. Oh, and Angel di Maria, who CUM bought from Real Madrid for a record $99,000,000 and was playing his first match, went down to the turf clutching his leg and had to be taken out injured. First match.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Truth or Consequences.

There is no doubt of it, the CNN photo above shows it, NATO says there are about 1,000 Russian troops involved, in addition to the tanks, the artillery batteries, the military transports: Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Kremlin of course denies it; Lavrov said NATO's photos were from a computer game, but there is a reluctance to call an invasion an invasion even in the West. The American government's "quasi-official"* house organ, The New York Times, puts it this way:

"there is no longer any doubt: Russian troops are in Ukraine..."

Yes...Yes, that is true, however, it is like saying a burglar is in your house or a rapist is inside a woman. Lack of consent is missing from the Times characterization and that is a distinction with a difference! When a friend or guest is in your house we do not call that a "home invasion." When a woman has consensual sex we do not call that a "personal invasion," rape.  The Times, following the lead of President Obama, refuses to use the "I"-word:

QUESTION: Do you consider today's escalation in Ukraine an invasion? 

OBAMA: I consider the actions that we've seen in the last week a continuation of what's been taking place for months now. As I said in my opening statement, there is no doubt that this is not a homegrown, indigenous uprising in eastern Ukraine. The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia. Throughout this process, we've seen deep Russian involvement in everything that they've done. I think in part because of the progress that you had seen by the Ukrainians around Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia determined that it had to be a little more overt in what it had already been doing, but it's not really a shift.

NATO uses a different "I"-word, "interference." German Chancellor Angela Merkel characterizes it as:

"reports of an increased presence of Russian soldiers"

That's a double avoidance. "Reports" suggests "not confirmed" and "increased presence" is too many house guests.

Why? Different reasons for different seasons. For Putin, it is not only the moral component of invading another country. Admitting you are invading another country is a confession of wrong-doing. Soviets and Nazis never admitted to invading other countries. But the present season is not as cold as the season was in Hungary in 1956, nor during "Prague Spring" in 1968. Those were cold, that was the Cold War. Putin, a former Soviet KGB officer, knows cold. Putin is a Soviet Cold War veteran, Putin is a lot of things, but Putin is now the democratically elected head of the Russian state. He cares about what his constituency thinks. They think a lot of him now, 83% approval, up 29% since before Crimea. But a similar poll shows that only 5% of Putin's constituency favor sending Russian troops into eastern Ukraine. And there's this: most Russian people get their news from TV, which in Russia is state-controlled, and most Russian people believe Russian state-controlled TV. So
the Russian people believe Lavrov's lies, Putin's lies, the Kremlin's lies. If Putin admitted to an invasion of Ukraine, that would be, like, covered on Russian TV and Poot-poot's popularity would be

For official and quasi-official Europe, so dependent on Russian trade, so dependent on Russian-controlled energy, so afraid of Russia and of war, they don't want any more sanctions, they had to be cajoled into the sanctions now in place--for three months!  If it's called an invasion, new sanctions kick in automatically. For Europe this is unpleasant. Make it go away.

For America, for Obama, there is real moral angst, it is most unpleasant, it shows up Obama's sanctions to restrain Russia as having failed, but there is real commitment to that strategy. Rightly, the president has stated clearly and often that America will not go to war with Russia over Ukraine. Obama has his constituency too and the American people would not have that.

There is then, in Russia, in official and quasi-official Europe, in official and quasi-official America, denial. They are in denial. They are all playing the same game. Nobody except Russia wants a Russian invasion of Ukraine and nobody, including the Russians, wants to call an invasion an invasion. The consequences are most unpleasant for Russia and for Europe. But what unpleasant consequences are there for America?

The game of denial is a game of deceit. When we deny reality we deceive others and ourselves. We deny truth. Most of us believe most of the time that that is immoral, at least amoral. Obama's denial of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is identical to his denial that the Egyptian military staged a coup in 2013. The consequences with Egypt were said to be a loss of American influence because American taxpayers would not be giving the Egyptian military billions of dollars in annual aid. ? That was unconvincing. We had to look after our own interests in Egypt, that was another consequences of calling a coup a coup. Same ? with that one. We had to "get the most out of the situation," that was another one articulated by another quasi-official American government mouthpiece at the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman. That was just craven. All those consequences were viewed as more undesirable than the undesirability of engaging in deceit, in refusing to call a coup a coup.

I don't know what consequences the Obamas feel are more undesirable than again engaging in transparent Big Brother doublespeak and deceit in refusing to call the Russian invasion of Ukraine an invasion. I don't see it. We are already sanctioning Russia. We are not going to get militarily involved. One undeniable consequence, a casualty, of both denials is the truth. That is seldom good for democratically elected leaders because their constituencies don't like to be deceived. It undermines legitimacy. With Russia, how does America playing the denial game help it's strategy of sanctions? Pravda does not even have to censor the remarks of the president. If Obama doesn't say it's an invasion, that helps Putin! Obama does not want to help Putin. It seems to me, an idiot blogger, that there is no downside to calling an invasion an invasion. It has the comfort of being the truth and it would seem to help the case for additional sanctions. Not calling it an invasion undercuts the case for additional sanctions. It seems to me.

*"Yes, I’ve heard about the notion that I should be nominated as Treasury Secretary. I’m flattered, but it really is a bad idea...the main point, as I see it, is that it would mean taking me out of a quasi-official job that I believe I’m good at...The New York Times isn’t just some newspaper somewhere, it’s the nation’s paper of record...being an op-ed columnist at the Times is a pretty big deal...and those who hold the position, if they know how to use it effectively, have a lot more influence on national debate than, say, most senators."


In addition to Paul Krugman, scholars from the following have read this page avidly in recent times:

That's...My God, that looks like Krugman. There is...a clear resemblance...

See, even Krugman sees it. The facial structure--clearly both highly intelligent men--the facial hair is almost identical, but it's also the faces generally, similar noses, eyes similarly spaced, mouths, Krugman seems to have his open more, well, his mouth is open more, he doesn't look as intelligent as the other one because of the open mouth. Open mouth~stupid, no? Si. Similar smart dressers. Both athletic physiques. Wow. Who'd a thought?

We are proud to welcome, the State of Alabama (the whole state), which is sufficient explanation for Updyke's pic, no? Si. "Roll Tide!" Paulie, come on, join me and Harvey, "ROLLL Tide!"

And the government of Lower Saxony, the whole government.

THE California State University at San Marcos.
GRRROWL! Go Cougars. Never heard of them. Never heard of the school. Heard of San Marcos! 
Bananas! Woody Allen! Loved that movie. I guess I owe Dylan Farrow an apology.

The Catholic University of...Eichstatt Ingolstadt? Go Catholics!

The University of Beavers.

A SUPER computing center at some Bayer aspirin factory. Evidently.

The University of Snowflake. Willkommen.

Ni hao, Nihon.

And the University of Pennsylvania.
Welcome all scholars!

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Nothing new! Don't want to get any hearts racing.

I love checking in on this thing once every several weeks, long enough that it tickles me that there's still "news" about it. From, who else? CNN:  Some member of the ground crew in Malaysia tried to call the plane after the last "handshake."--Oh yeah, "handshakes!" We learned through this that airplanes have handshakes. Cool. I initially mis-read this, I thought the handshake, excuse me, the phone call was made by somebody on board. Wasn't there something about that? I could understand the significance of that. But no. This one was made by some Malaise on terra firma.
Apparently, because it was a satellite phone? I don't know, man but somehow this friggin phone call from the ground has led to a...Hold onto your seats!...a "refined" search area. :) This refined search area is still on the seventh arc though...Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, the "seventh arc"?  What do you mean the seventh arc? What the hell is the "seventh arc?" I don't remember a Seventh Arc. "When the plane is in the seventh arc, and Jupiter aligns with Mars..." The Fifth Dimension! Age of Aquarius! Come on!  Seventh Seal? Arright, fine.

Now the Aussies, who unfortunately for them have taken the lead on this search now ("We MUST find the plane.") have NOT found the plane, not a molecule of it but they still have to give the press conferences. Imagine these press conferences. Omg.

Truss (Some Aussie) said ongoing mapping of 87,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor had uncovered “quite remarkable geographical features” including the discovery of new undersea volcanoes up to 2,000 metres (6,562ft) high.
“In one place in particular … the sea depth is as little as 600 metres and then falls away in just a very short distance to 6,600 metres,” he said.

Oh man, poor Truss. Poor reporters. "Remarkable geographical features!" Lol.

Russia Has Invaded Ukraine.

The United Nations Security Council will meet in emergency session at 2 pm Eastern Time in New York.
Russia has invaded Ukraine.

Paul Krugman Just Had An Orgasm.

The French government of Francois Hollande has fallen. The French government has fallen because of the pain caused by EU, i.e. German, fiscal austerity. Paul Krugman, who would have been U.S. Secretary of the Treasury if his New York Times column wasn't already read so avidly by administration officials thus rendering their firm tender of "NO OFFER" moot, I say Paulie has been banging the anti-austerity drum slowly and vigorously for years. And when Krugman bangs, people notice:

“We have to prioritize growth. We shouldn’t focus solely on the deficit. You have Nobel economists — Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman — as well as Gerhard Schröder all of them are arguing that it’s impossible to reduce the deficit without growth."
                 -Arnaud Montebourg, Hollande's FORMER economy minister.