NO ROSATOM REACTOR SALE TO SOUTH AFRICA, NO EVRAZ SALE OF HIGHVELD STEEL, NO COINCIDENCE

sa_rabbit

By John Helmer, Moscow

After almost a year of inconclusive negotiations with a secretive South African group called Nemascore, Evraz, the Russian steelmaker and miner, has announced to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange that negotiations have opened to sell its control stake in Highveld Steel & Vanadium to new buyers. The notice to the exchange last week said Evraz informed the Highveld board that “it is, in addition to Nemascore (Proprietary) Limited, currently engaging with other potential bidders with a view to disposing of its 85.11% stake in the Company. The independent board of the Company has agreed to allow these potential bidders to conduct a due diligence investigation into the affairs of the Company.” The Evraz notice added that the talks are “incomplete, confidential and non-binding, hence there is no certainty that a transaction will take place.”
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CAMELFLAGE — TAJIK PRESIDENT EMOMALI RAHMON AND JAMES FABIANI HIDE EXPENSIVE WASHINGTON LOBBYING SECRETS

camel_rahmon

By John Helmer, Moscow

Not every despotic and corrupt ruler of a former Soviet state is the target of US Government plots to overthrow him, not even those whose taste in interior decoration and jewellery is as awful as Victor Yanukovich’s, the ex-president of Ukraine.

Emomali Rahmon (image), the president of Tajikistan since 1992, has been the target of corruption allegations by the US Government in the past. But for the time being he is protecting himself with a Washington lobbying campaign costing at least $100,000 per month. For his exterior decorator Rahmon has hired James Fabiani, a former congressional staffer turned public relations agent. His eponymous lobbying company employs an Englishman named Alex Botting to arrange meetings with US Government officials, US Congressional staff, and also, according to Botting, Washington-based executives of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
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GHOST ATTACK ON CRIMEA — THE FINANCIAL TIMES REPORTS THREAT OF RUSSIAN MILITARY INTERVENTION, BUT FAILS TO DETECT US NAVAL OPERATION

ghost_attack

By John Helmer, Moscow

A Russian declaration of war and the despatch of troops to secure the Crimea would be very serious things, if they materialized.

The Financial Times reporter, Kathrin Hille (image), is the only person in the entire world who claims to have been told by “a senior government official”: “If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war. They will lose Crimea first [because] we will go in and protect [it], just as we did in Georgia.” Hille not only keeps the name, rank and authority of this official secret, but she refuses to provide evidence to substantiate that the official exists and said the quoted words with the meaning Hille’s newspaper claimed in its story headline: “Russia rattles sabre over fate of Crimea”. Hille’s claim that a Russian government threat was issued last week to move forces into Crimea appears to be a fabrication.
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LENTA’S SECOND TRY AT IPO — TPG AND DAVID BONDERMAN DO WHAT THEY KNOW BEST, AND HEAD FOR THE EXIT

lenta_exit

By John Helmer, Moscow

Would you buy a used car from David Bonderman (lead image), Dmitry Shvets, and Jan Dunning if you knew they registered their businesses in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, and Bahamas; kept their takings out of their companies and in their pockets; and were more heavily indebted to the state than any of their competitors?

Bonderman is one of the principals of the TPG Group, an equity investment fund in San Francisco; Shvets works for him as the head of TPG’s Moscow office; and Dunning, a Dutchman, is chief executive of Lenta, a Russian supermarket and hypermarket operator. Together, they are trying to sell their shares on Lenta’s second attempt at an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The story of the failure of their first attempt can be read here. This time, they are more confident of selling about one in five of Lenta’s shares and pocketing about $1 billion for themselves. Unlike most Russian IPOs in the international market, not a penny of this share sale will be invested in the future of Lenta’s business.
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RUSAL ORDERED TO TRIAL WITH NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT OVER SALE OF NIGERIAN ALUMINIUM SMELTER, BUT $2.8 BILLION DAMAGES CLAIM DELAYED

rusal_batman

By John Helmer, Moscow

United Company Rusal, the Russian aluminium monopoly headed by Oleg Deripaska (image right), has won a fresh round in its battle to keep control of its Nigerian aluminium smelter, and ward off claims from a Nigerian-American group whom it defeated in the privatization of the asset almost a decade ago. For the time being, the Nigerian government, headed by President Goodluck Jonathan (left), will neither support Rusal, nor act against it. The indecisive Jonathan lost majority control of the Nigerian House of Representatives in December, and he faces an uncertain presidential election in a year’s time.

In a ruling of Nigerian High Court Justice Jude Okeke, issued in Abuja on January 27, the Nigerian Government’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice were ordered to face trial with Rusal in the corruption and damages claim by BFI Group Divino Corporation (BFIG). Rusal had asked the court to join the government to the case. BFIG opposed, arguing that in a separate proceeding the Nigerian courts had already ruled against the government, and in favour of BFIG. According to BFIG’s lawyer in court, Rusal’s move threatened to “open a floodgate for everyone who seeks to interrupt proceedings.”
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VICTOR PINCHUK KICKS UP DUST — BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON TAKE $13 MILLION BUT PINCHUK ADMITS TO GIVING MILLIONS LESS, AS RUSSIAN PROSECUTORS OPEN INVESTIGATION OF FRAUD

pinchuk_duck

By John Helmer, Moscow

Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the former and wannabe presidents of the US, say they have accepted more than $13 million from Ukrainian pipemaker Victor Pinchuk since 2006. But Pinchuk says he’s given the Clinton Foundation only $7.6 million.

It won’t help to employ accountants to ask where the missing $5.4 million was originally trousered, if not the Pinchuk Foundation, then which branch of Pinchuk’s business. That’s because the Clinton Foundation’s auditors – an Arkansas firm called BKD – have turned up this much money in revenues, and also in expenditures, which the Foundation’s annual report inexplicably fails to report and regularly understates. The Pinchuk Foundation also refuses to answer questions about discrepancies in its annual accounts, whose auditors are reported by Pinchuk’s organization to be Ernst & Young. Their signature is reproduced in the Pinchuk Foundation annual reports, although no copy of their financial reports and notes has been published.
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US BONKS BLOW — KLITSCHKO AND TYMOSHENKO LOSE GROUND TO PRESIDENT VICTOR YANUKOVICH

us_bonks_blow

By John Helmer, Moscow

The latest independent polling of Ukrainian voters reveals that opposition strategy and political loyalties have been split by US government intervention. As a result, Ukrainian support for Vitali Klitschko, head of the UDAR opposition party, is weakening. UDAR, the acronym, stands for the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform; in Russian the word means “punch”. In English reporting, Klitschko’s organization is called BLOW.

According to new voter polls, instead of the weakening Klitschko (image centre), the opposition candidate the US wants to keep in prison, Yulia Tymoshenko (2nd from left), has been gaining voter support. But the embattled President, Victor Yanukovich (right), is recovering votes at the expense of both of them.
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ZIYAVUDIN MAGOMEDOV TO IGOR SECHIN, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? ROTTERDAM OIL TERMINAL TO ROSNEFT FOR THE ASKING

rotterdam_negotiations

By John Helmer, Moscow

If Ziyavudin Magomedov hadn’t persuaded a Moscow business newspaper to report yesterday that he is in negotiations with Rosneft, world’s largest publicly traded oil producer, the news that Vitol, world’s largest oil trader, has abandoned a 3-year old venture to build a new Rotterdam oil terminal with Magomedov would have been bad news indeed. Magomedov has a knack for exaggerated deal releases, though, and the Rotterdam press coverage of the latest episode makes this one look worse for Magomedov than if he had said nothing at all. Who in their right mind broadcasts that he has asked Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, for money until after Sechin has said yes.

In Magomedov’s case, an appeal to Sechin also means that not even the financier of Magomedov’s last resort, David Bonderman of US-based TPG Group, is willing to put up his dime.
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PORK THE EU! RUSSIA BANS EUROPEAN FEVER

pork_the_eu

By John Helmer, Moscow

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to pork sausage. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our profitability.

If Europeans do that, it’s classical from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. If Russians do it, it’s trade war. Oleg Tyagnibok, the Ukrainian oppositionist whom the US Government is promoting into power in Kiev, hasn’t been asked yet what he thinks of the Russian ban on European pork imports. But he’s bound to blame the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” because he’s blamed them before, though not exactly for trying to enforce the kosher code.
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THE QUIET AMERICAN — “FUCK THE EU”, AND OTHER ARRANGEMENTS FOR “MIDWIFING” THE NEW UKRAINE

quiet_american

By John Helmer, Moscow

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland (right), was born in 1961. She is too young to have read Graham Greene’s book, The Quiet American, published in 1955 to explain why US attempts to liberate Vietnam by inventing a “Third Force” of locals would end in death and destruction for the Vietnamese; failure for the Americans. The US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt (left), born in 1963, is two years younger than Nuland, and that much more innocent of the meaning of The Quiet American.
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NEW YORK TIMES UNCOVERS DOG PLOT AGAINST SOCHI OLYMPICS AND PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN — SHARIK AND OLEG DERIPASKA SAVE RUSSIA’S REPUTATION, BUT NOT IN TIME TO SAVE DERIPASKA FROM VLADIMIR POTANIN

dog_plot

By John Helmer, Moscow

A reporter for the New York Times has scooped the global press in Sochi. Named David Herszenhorn, the newspaper’s specialist on the New York City borough of Queens, the reporter has uncovered a plot to kill a group of stray dogs – by poison darts causing suffocation — in front of the main venues of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. The dog death plot, according to Herszenhorm, was intended to “undercut the image of a friendlier, welcoming Russia that President Vladimir V. Putin has sought to cultivate in recent months.”

Herszenhorn (image, centre) also reveals that a counter-plan to save Sochi from televised images of violent canine death is being financed by Oleg Deripaska (image, left), chief executive of United Company Rusal. “Mr Deripaska, an industrialist who largely made his fortune in aluminum, provided $15,000 to get the shelter started on land donated by the local government. He has also pledged about $50,000 a year for operations.”
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HOW TO CHOP WOOD IN UKRAINE — YULIA TYMOSHENKO AS AXEMAN

chop_ua

By John Helmer, Moscow

A new Ukrainian opinion poll of voter intentions – measured across the country between January 17 and 26, and just released — explains why the Ukrainian opposition, the US, and the European Union (EU) have dropped their demand for the release from prison of Yulia Tymoshenko. For the background to that story, read yesterday’s report.
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THREE NAÏVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF UKRAINE

timoshenko_kerry

By John Helmer, Moscow

Not since the British started the Δεκεμβριανά in Greece in 1944, and not unless you count Na Trioblóidí in Northern Ireland until 1998, has the possibility of civil war in civilized Europe loomed so gravely. No wonder the mailbox is brimful of questions, for which there are no obvious answers.
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LONDON COURT RULING DISQUALIFIES LAWYERS, VICTOR PINCHUK KNOCKED OUT

pinchuk_box

By John Helmer, Moscow

A UK High Court ruling on Friday has struck a surprise blow against Ukrainian pipemaker Victor Pinchuk (image), as he fights to stave off bankruptcy claims from international Eurobond holders, international and Russian banks, and Ukrainian suppliers. The timing could not be worse for the Ukrainian, who has been paying Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, and a group of European politicians to back him in the current Ukrainian political crisis.
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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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