THE BEAR’S BREAK

We need the rest to sharpen up for autumn, and let the squirrel alone to wag his tail and collect his nuts – back soon.

RUSSIA EXPORTED MORE THAN 250,000 CARATS OR $50 MILLION WORTH OF DIAMONDS TO GUINEA LATE LAST YEAR , BUT NOBODY CAN EXPLAIN WHO BOUGHT THEM, OR WHY

By John Helmer in Moscow

In the last three months of 2009, according to the federal Ministry of Finance in Moscow, Russia exported about 250,000 carats of rough diamonds, produced by Alrosa, to the west African republic of Guinea. There is no known diamond cutting or polishing facility in Guinea, and Russia has never exported diamonds to Guinea before. However, illicit sales of diamonds (aka blood diamonds, conflict diamonds) have been reported as using Guinea as a transit point between the mines in Africa and the markets in Israel, Europe, the US, or elsewhere.
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MEANWHILE, ON THE WEST SIDE OF AFRICA, GUINEA TESTS ITS GRIP — CHALCO, RIO TINTO TRY MINE PARTNERSHIP DESPITE CONAKRY WARNING – RUSAL HOLDS ITS BREATH

By John Helmer in Moscow

China’s metals giant, the Aluminum Corp of China Ltd. (Chalco aka Chinalco), tied another knot for its future mining plans in the Republic of Guinea with London-based Rio Tinto in a signing ceremony in Beijing today. But Guinea’s Mining Minister Mahmoud Thiam told Business Day this will not deter the government in Conakry from revoking Rio Tinto’s mining concessions in Guinea if the company fails to comply with the mining law and its concession obligations.
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WORLD BANK DELAYING KENYAN ROAD PROJECT FOR DERIPASKA INVESTIGATION

By John Helmer in Moscow

A $200 million road construction project in Kenya, one of the country’s biggest infrastructure investments, is being delayed by a World Bank investigation of the involvement of Oleg Deripaska.

The due diligence investigation of Deripaska now under way at the World Bank is the first acknowledgement by the multilateral global lender, based in Washington, DC, that Deripaska’s track record in the aluminium and other businesses; civil and criminal court records in the UK and Spain; and US Government reports have raised corporate governance and credit eligibility concerns.
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GENERALOV TAKES A $900 MILLION HOLIDAY, FITS HIMSELF OUT WITH A NEW SUIT

By John Helmer in Moscow

After selling out of its container business, the Far Eastern Shipping Company (Fesco), owned by Sergei Generalov (right image), has announced it is taking an August time-out, and will return in September with an announcement of its “near-term strategy”. It isn’t known where Generalov will take his holiday, but if it’s Fantasy Island (left image) the financial details of Fesco’s reorganization and the terms Generalov has apparently accepted to continue in business will require a strong dose of reality to be understood. Since the heavily indebted, loss-making concern has been unable to date to arrange share sales to strategic or ordinary investors, it has been covering its debts by selling off assets, reducing substantially its fleet operations and eliminating much of its port terminal business.
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BP PICKS ROBERT DUDLEY, THE MAN WHO MADE HIMSELF A FOOL AND A LAUGHINGSTOCK IN THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT OIL-PRODUCING REGION IN WHICH BP OPERATES – RUSSIA

By John Helmer in Moscow

Among the squares of 17th century London, St. James’s is one of the least pretentious, even if several of the buildings on the square have made a reputation for themselves as pretenders to such things as wealth management, war-fighting, and diplomacy. For them, the equestrian statue of King William III, set in the centre of the square’s garden, is an ill omen. For in 1702 William died of complications from falling off his horse.
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PUTIN GOES FOR THE OUTHOUSE AGAIN, BUT TELLS TWO STEEL OLIGARCHS TO RELAX

By John Helmer in Moscow

The first time Vladimir Putin made the outhouse a lever of state policy was in 1999. Referring to Chechen secessionists and terrorists, he said: “If we can find them in the outhouse, we will whack them in the outhouse.”

On Friday, in Chelyabinsk, he did it again. Only this time the target was the governor of Chelyabinsk region, Mikhail Yurevich, and municipal officials. Microbial organisms are the governor’s specialty, for Yurevich made a fortune buying up much of the yeast production of Russia before serving terms in the State Duma, and then becoming Mayor of Chelyabinsk; he was elevated to the governorship early this year.
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VEKELBERG’S AIRFORCE FLIES TO THE RESCUE OF (WAIT FOR IT, READ ON)

By John Helmer in Moscow

Noone who knows and loves Victor Vekselberg doubts his philanthropy towards the country of his birth.

He has helped finance the return of the original Danilovsky Monastery bells, sold to the US in 1930, and then donated to Harvard University. He allows his collection of Faberge eggs to tour Russian provincial museums from time to time.
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ZYUZIN’S BOOK — HOW TO MAKE MECHEL’S WEAKENING POSITION LOOK THE OPPOSITE

By John Helmer in Moscow

Mechel, the coking coal and specialty steel group controlled by Igor Zyuzin, has released its production report for the second quarter ended June 30. By the simple device of comparing the latest output figures for the six months ending June 30, 2010, with those of the first half of 2009, the Mechel release is a model of how to mislead the unwary shareholder and encourage meretricious brokerage analysts promoting share sales.
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THE PATER NOSTER, ACCORDING TO RASHNIKOV

By John Helmer in Moscow

Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK) has just announced that it has abandoned both the Ohio and Oregon steelmill projects in the US, which the company, owned by Victor Rashnikov, has been considering for several years.
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MESSAGE IN THE BOTTLE — RUSSIA’S SAFETY DICTATOR STRIKES AGAIN

By John Helmer in Moscow

Gennady Onishchenko, the Russian government’s chief health inspector, has issued a new diktat, claiming that bottles of imported wine have been found to contain dibutyl phthalate. There’s a catch, though. Onishchenko’s spokesman refuses to say if he has also banned pencil erasers, plastic toys, and nail polish, all of which have been found by European Union and US inspectors to contain harmful levels of dibutyl phthalate if sucked; they have been banned from consumer sale in those markets for at least five years.
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THE DOK-DO OPTION – THE TUG OF WAR OVER RUSSIA’S NEW HELICOPTER CARRIER GOES INTO ROUND 2

By John Helmer in Moscow

It has become the biggest tussle over a shipyard contract ever fought out in public in Russia.

Roman Trotsenko, chief executive of the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), told Fairplay today that negotiations are under way for USC to buy the designs, shipboard technology, and production licences for the building of Russia’s first amphibious landing and helicopter carrier in Russian shipyards.
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SNAP, CRACKLE, POP — THE SONG WE LOVE TO SING

By John Helmer in Moscow

There are some memorable accounts of returns and arrivals in Russia. Vladimir Nabokov in Speak, Memory (1951), for example, remembers his return from university in England, when, as he wrote, the sound of the snow and ice crystals crackled under his feet as he stepped off the train at St. Petersburg.
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MEDVEDEV HITS OVERLOAD BUTTON FOR US CHICKEN IMPORTS — $300 MILLION IN THE MINCER

By John Helmer in Moscow

When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided at the original button ceremony in Geneva on March 6, 2009, on the button she presented Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was written the word, in Latin letters, PEREGRUZKA. In Russian, that doesn’t mean RESET, as much of the subsequent reporting of the button has suggested. What the button originally meant was OVERLOAD.
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WHITES V REDS – SECHIN AND TROTSENKO TRY TUG OF WAR WITH THE DEFENCE ESTABLISHMENT

By John Helmer in Moscow

In the history of Russia it has never happened before that the oligarchs would take on the military establishment in a tug of war over billion-dollar assets.

This couldn’t have happened in the past, because asset power and military strength were the same thing — boyars were warlords. Or else the Communist Party commissars kept officers and troops on a very short leash, and Stalin shot those he didn’t like. Russia has come a way since then.
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RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP — ALROSA’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE TRIES NEW APPROACH TO SUBMARINING

By John Helmer in Moscow

Fyodor Andreyev was appointed chief executive of Alrosa, the state-owned Russian diamond monopoly and world’s second diamond miner after De Beers, a year ago, after the Kremlin decided to change the diamond concession. Ousted were the chief executive Sergei Vybornov and Otar Marganya, mediator and fixer between the company, the Sakha government, the federal treasury, and the Minister of Finance, Alexei Kudrin, who doubles as Alrosa’s board chairman. The Sakha president Vyacheslav Shtirov asked to go at the time, but was told to wait. He departed at the end of May this year.
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ALL THE FUN OF THE CIRCUS – A LOUD RINGMASTER, ELEPHANTS DOING TRICKS ON COMMAND, AND BUCKETSFULL, IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT

By John Helmer in Moscow

If this wasn’t Russia, the amount of negative scrutiny the Evraz steel group, owned by Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, is getting lately from the federal government would signal that the owners are in trouble with the rulers.

Also, if this wasn’t Russia, assurances from stock brokerages calling on investors to bid up and buy Evraz shares would sound so counter-intuitive and self-serving as not to be worth the credibility risk of publishing. But this is Russia: if Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his deputy, Igor Sechin, are beginning a shakeup of oligarch concessions in the mining and metals industries, there isn’t a steel analyst or an investment banker in Moscow who believes they are serious. More shakedown than shakeup is how the brokers and bankers think of it.
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AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT STARTS TO REVEAL HELMER ATTACK SECRETS

The Australian foreign ministry, known as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), has released 350 pages of documents in connection with the investigation in Canberra of the attempted attack on John Helmer, which took place on December 28. A total of 178 documents with classifications ranging from CONFIDENTIAL to SECRET SENSITIVE have been released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
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A HOLE IN THE GROUND AT THE END OF THE WORLD — EBRD WON’T EXPLAIN INVESTING $30 MILLION TO DO SOMETHING IN RUSSIA WHICH IS FORBIDDEN – MINE COBALT

By John Helmer in Moscow

Kosh-Agach is a steppe word meaning ‘so long, tree’. It’s the world’s end, the driest and direst place in fareastern Russia at a remote corner where the frontiers of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China meet. It is also the location of a large reserve of rare metals, including cobalt. So rare is cobalt that since 2008 Russian law doesn’t allow foreigners to dig it out of the ground, sell it, or export it without special permission.
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RED HAS TURNED YELLOW – THE GREEK AND CYPRIOT COMMUNISTS ARE FLYING A DIFFERENT FLAG IN THE UKRAINE WAR



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Ukraine war is splitting the communist parties of Europe between those taking the US side, and those on the Russian side.

In an unusual public criticism of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and of smaller communist parties in Europe which have endorsed the Greek criticism of Russia for waging an “imperialist” war against the Ukraine, the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) has responded this week with a 3,300-word declaration:  “The military conflict in Ukraine,” the party said, “cannot be described as an imperialist war, as our comrades would argue. It is essentially a national liberation war of the people of Donbass. From Russia’s point of view it is a struggle against an external threat to national security and against Fascism.”

By contrast, the Russian communists have not bothered to send advice, or air public criticism of the Cypriot communists and their party, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). On March 2, AKEL issued a communiqué “condemn[ing] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories….[and] stresses that the Russian Federation’s action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.”

 To the KPRF in Moscow the Cypriots are below contempt; the Greeks are a fraction above it.

A Greek-Cypriot veteran of Cypriot politics and unaffiliated academic explains: “The Cypriot communists do not allow themselves to suffer for what they profess to believe. Actually, they are a misnomer. They are the American party of the left in Cyprus, just as [President Nikos] Anastasiades is the American party of the right.” As for the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza – with 85 seats of the Greek parliament’s 300, the leading party of the opposition – the KKE (with 15 seats), and Yanis Varoufakis of MeRA25 (9 seats), the source adds: “The communists are irrelevant in Europe and in the US, except in the very narrow context of Greek party politics.”

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IF IT SMELLS ALLURING, IT’S RUSSIAN – IN WARTIME L’ORÉAL (FRANCE) AND ESTÉE LAUDER (US) MAKE A BAD SMELL



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The war plan of the US and the European allies is destroying the Russian market for traditional French perfumes, the profits of the French and American conglomerates which own the best-known brands, the bonuses of their managers, and the dividends of their shareholders. The odour  of these losses is too strong for artificial fresheners.

Givaudan, the Swiss-based world leader in production and supply of fragrances, oils and other beauty product ingredients, has long regarded the Russian market as potentially its largest in Europe; it is one of the fastest growing contributors to Givaudan’s profit worldwide. In the recovery from the pandemic of Givaudan’s Fragrance and Beauty division – it accounts for almost half the company’s total sales — the group reported “excellent double-digit growth in 2021, demonstrating strong consumer demand for these product categories.”    Until this year, Givaudan reveals in its latest financial report, the growth rate for Russian demand was double-digit – much faster than the  6.3% sales growth in Europe overall; faster growth than in Germany, Belgium and Spain.    

Between February 2014, when the coup in Kiev started the US war against Russia, and last December, when the Russian non-aggression treaties with the US and NATO were rejected,   Givaudan’s share price jumped three and a half times – from 1,380 Swiss francs to 4,792 francs; from a company with a market capitalisation of 12.7 billion francs ($12.7 billion) to a value of 44.2 billion francs ($44.2 billion). Since the fighting began in eastern Ukraine this year until now, Givaudan has lost 24% of that value – that’s $10 billion.  

The largest of Givaudan’s shareholders is Bill Gates. With his 14%, plus the 10% controlled by Black Rock of New York and MFS of Boston, the US has effective control over the company.

Now, according to the US war sanctions, trade with Russia and the required payment systems have been closed down, alongside the bans on the importation of the leading European perfumes. So in place of the French perfumers, instead of Givaudan, the Russian industry is reorganizing for its future growth with its own perfume brands manufactured from raw materials produced in Crimea and other regions, or supplied by India and China. Givaudan, L’Oréal (Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent), Kering (Balenciaga, Gucci), LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy), Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clarins – they have all cut off their noses to spite the Russian face.

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THE WAR AGAINST FOOD – WHO IS TO BLAME



By Nikolai Storozhenko, introduced and translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

This week President Joseph Biden stopped at an Illinois farm to say he’s going to help the  Ukraine ship 20 million tonnes of wheat and corn out of storage into export, thereby relieving  grain shortages in the international markets and lowering bread prices around the world.  Biden was trying to play a hand in which his cards have already been clipped. By Biden.  

The first Washington-Kiev war plan for eastern Ukraine has already lost about 40% of the Ukrainian wheat fields, 50% of the barley, and all of the grain export ports. Their second war plan to hold the western region defence lines with mobile armour, tanks, and artillery  now risks the loss of the corn and rapeseed crop as well as the export route for trucks to Romania and Moldova. What will be saved in western Ukraine will be unable to grow enough to feed its own people. They will be forced to import US wheat, as well as US guns and the money to pay for both.

Biden told his audience that on the Delaware farms he used to represent in the US Senate “there are more chickens than there are Americans.”  Blaming the Russians is the other card Biden has left.  

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EXILE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The problem with living in exile is the meaning of the word. If you’re in exile, you mean you are forever looking backwards, in geography as well as in time. You’re not only out of place; you’re out of time — yesterday’s man.

Ovid, the Roman poet who was sent into exile from Rome by Caesar Augustus, for offences neither Augustus nor Ovid revealed, never stopped looking back to Rome. His exile, as Ovid described it, was “a barbarous coast, inured to rapine/stalked ever by bloodshed, murder, war.” In such a place or state, he said, “writing a poem you can read to no one is like dancing in the dark.”

The word itself, exsilium in Roman law, was the sentence of loss of citizenship as an alternative to loss of life, capital punishment. It meant being compelled to live outside Rome at a location decided by the emperor. The penalty took several degrees of isolation and severity. In Ovid’s case, he was ordered by Augustus to be shipped to the northeastern limit of the Roman empire,  the Black Sea town called Tomis; it is now Constanta, Romania. Ovid’s last books, Tristia (“Sorrows”) and Epistulae ex Ponto (“Black Sea Letters”), were written from this exile, which began when he was 50 years old, in 8 AD, and ended when he died in Tomis nine years year later, in 17 AD.  

In my case I’ve been driven into exile more than once. The current one is lasting the longest. This is the one from Moscow, which began with my expulsion by the Foreign Ministry on September 28, 2010.  The official sentence is Article 27(1) of the law No. 114-FZ — “necessary for the purposes of defence capability or security of the state, or public order, or protection of health of the population.” The reason, a foreign ministry official told an immigration service official when they didn’t know they were being overheard, was: “Helmer writes bad things about Russia.”

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IN THE FOG OF WAR THERE’S THE GUTERRES CERTAINTY AND THE CADIEU CERTAINTY – GORILLA RADIO SEES THROUGH THE COVER-UP



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), who attempted last month  to arrange the escape from Russian capture of Ukrainian soldiers and NATO commanders,  knowing they had committed war crimes. He was asked to explain; he refuses.   

Trevor Cadieu is a Canadian lieutenant-general who was appointed the chief of staff and head of the Canadian Armed Forces last August; was stopped in September; retired from the Army this past April, and went to the Ukraine, where he is in hiding. From whom he is hiding – Canadians or Russians – where he is hiding, and what he will say to explain are questions Cadieu isn’t answering, yet.

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DID UN SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES COMMIT A WAR CRIME AT AZOVSTAL?

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, is refusing this week to answer questions on the role he played in the recent attempt by US, British, Canadian and other foreign combatants to escape the bunkers under the Azovstal plant, using the human shield of civilians trying to evacuate.

In Guterres’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on April 26 (lead image), Putin warned Guterres he had been “misled” in his efforts. “The simplest thing”, Putin told Guterres in the recorded part of their meeting, “for military personnel or members of the nationalist battalions is to release the civilians. It is a crime to keep civilians, if there are any there, as human shields.”  

This war crime has been recognized since 1977 by the UN in Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention.  In US law for US soldiers and state officials, planning to employ or actually using human shields is a war crime to be prosecuted under 10 US Code Section 950t.  

Instead, Guterres ignored the Kremlin warning and the war crime law, and authorized UN officials, together with Red Cross officials,  to conceal what Guterres himself knew of the foreign military group trying to escape. Overnight from New York, Guterres has refused to say what he knew of the military escape operation, and what he had done to distinguish, or conceal the differences between the civilians and combatants in the evacuation plan over the weekend of April 30-May 1.May.

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THE LAST DITCH IS POLAND – RUSSIA’S PHASE-3 PLAN FOR WESTERN UKRAINE



By Vlad Shlepchenko, introduced & translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The more western politicians announce pledges of fresh weapons for the Ukraine, the more Russian military analysts explain what options their official sources are considering to destroy the arms before they reach the eastern front, and to neutralize Poland’s role as the NATO  hub for resupply and reinforcement of the last-ditch holdout of western Ukraine.

“I would like to note,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, repeated yesterday, “that any transport of the North Atlantic Alliance that arrived on the territory of the country with weapons or material means for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces is considered by us as a legitimate target for destruction”.  He means the Ukraine border is the red line.

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THE MATLIN PLOT, THE BROWDER PLOT AND THE NEW YORK TIMES PLOT



By Lucy Komisar,  New York*
  @bears_with

Here’s a story the New York Times has just missed.

US politicians and media pundits are promoting the targeting of “enablers” of Russian oligarchs who stash their money in offshore accounts. A Times article of March 11   highlighted Michael Matlin, CEO of Concord Management as such an “enabler.” But the newspaper missed serious corruption Matlin was involved in. Maybe that’s because Matlin cheated Russia, and also because the Matlin story exposes the William Browder/Sergei Magnitsky hoax aimed at Russia.

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YELLOW COAL, THE FUEL MADE OUT OF RACE HATRED — MAY DAY MESSAGE FROM SIGIZMUND KRZHIZHANOVSKY, 1939



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In 1939 a little known writer in Moscow named Sigizmund Khrzhizhanovsky published his idea that the Americans, then the Germans would convert human hatred into a new source of energy powering everything which had been dependent until then on coal, gas, and oil.

Called yellow coal, this invention originated with Professor Leker at Harvard University. It was applied, first to running municipal trams, then to army weapons, and finally to cheap electrification of everything from domestic homes and office buildings to factory production lines. In Russian leker means a quack doctor.

The Harvard professor’s idea was to concentrate the neuro-muscular energy people produce when they hate each other.  Generated as bile (yellow), accumulated and concentrated into kinetic spite in machines called myeloabsorberators, Krzhizhanovsky called this globalization process the bilification of society.

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IS CAESARISM THE PROBLEM, THE SOLUTION, A FANCY DRESS COSTUME, OR A PROPAGANDA CARTOON?



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In imperial history there is nothing new in cases of dementia in rulers attracting homicidal psychopaths to replace them.  It’s as natural as honey attracts bees.

When US President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke on October 19, 1919, he was partially paralysed and blinded, and was no longer able to feed himself, sign his name, or speak normally; he was not demented.

While his wife and the Navy officer  who was his personal physician concealed his condition, there is no evidence that either Edith Wilson or Admiral Cary Grayson were themselves clinical cases of disability, delusion,  or derangement. They were simply liars driven by the ambition to hold on to the power of the president’s office and deceive everyone who got in their way.  

The White House is always full of people like that. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution is meant to put a damper on their homicidal tendencies.

What is unusual, probably exceptional in the current case of President Joseph Biden, not to mention the history of the United States,  is the extent of the president’s personal incapacitation; combined with the clinical evidence of psychopathology in his Secretary of State Antony Blinken;  and the delusional condition of the rivals to replace Biden, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Like Rome during the first century AD, Washington is now in the ailing emperor-homicidal legionary phase.  But give it another century or two, and the madness, bloodshed, and lies of the characters of the moment won’t matter quite as much as their images on display in the museums of their successors craving legitimacy, or of successor powers celebrating their superiority.  

Exactly this has happened to the original Caesars, as a new book by Mary Beard, a Cambridge University professor of classics, explains. The biggest point of her book, she says, is “dynastic succession” – not only of the original Romans but of those modern rulers who acquired the Roman portraits in marble and later copies in paint, and the copies of those copies, with the idea of communicating “the idea of the direct transfer of power from ancient Romans to Franks and on to later German rulers.”

In the case she narrates of the most famous English owner of a series of the “Twelve Caesars”, King Charles I — instigator of the civil war of 1642-51 and the loser of both the war and his head – the display of his Caesars was intended to demonstrate the king’s self-serving “missing link” between his one-man rule and the ancient Romans who murdered their way to rule, and then apotheosized into immortal gods in what they hoped would be a natural death on a comfortable bed.

With the American and Russian successions due to take place in Washington and Moscow in two years’ time, Beard’s “Twelve Caesars, Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern”,  is just the ticket from now to then.

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