Monthly Archives: May 2016

Bullshit kills

The Boxer Rebellion of 1900 was one of the most important events in modern Chinese history. The rebellion pitted a secret organization known as the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists against Western and Japanese colonists who had been gradually forcing more and more concessions out of the ruling Manchu Qing dynasty. As the name of the secret society implies, members practiced traditional martial arts and thus Western observers labeled them the “boxers.”

One naturally wonders why so many young men would be attracted to a movement which planned to take on the most advanced arms of the day with traditional, often hand-to-hand modes of combat. The answer, as it so happens, lies in belief. The boxers were told that once they rebelled against the foreign devils, they would be joined by millions of spirit warriors from heaven. Yeah, just like in LOTR: Return of the King. More than that, they were taught that through diet, rituals, and martial arts practice, they would be invincible to the modern weapons of the Westerners and Japanese. One reported recruitment method involved a boxer teacher firing a musket loaded with a blank at one of his pupils. The audience of ignorant peasants would be awed by the pupil’s miraculous ability to withstand bullets. Sadly for those who bought into that little demo, the Germans, Austrians, Russians, Americans, Italians, French, British, and Japanese all elected to use live ammunition as opposed to blanks, and the results were predictable.

The moral of the story? Bullshit kills. Yeah sure, sometimes it’s just harmless wishful thinking, but there are times when the failure to think critically has real, concrete, and sometimes lethal consequences. Take the various conspiracy theories and misconceptions related to the HIV virus and AIDS. AIDS has ravaged many populations in Africa, for example, largely due to a lack of education and understanding about the disease. Determined not to be shown up by Africa, Russian “experts” have concocted their own way to exacerbate Russia’s long-standing problem with HIV.

A group of Kremlin-backed think tank wonks have recently declared that the HIV epidemic in Russia is part of…get ready for it…the information war against Russia! Yup, everything is an information attack nowadays, even the indisputable fact that Russia has had and still has a serious problem with HIV. Oh yes, let me deliver you the highlights…

“She defined the Western method of fighting HIV as made of “neoliberal ideological content, insensitivity towards national sensitivities and over-focus of certain at-risk groups such as drug addicts and LGBT people,” Kommersant reported.”

Does this moron even know what the word “neoliberal” is supposed to mean? How is medical knowledge based on years of study “insensitive” towards national sensitivities? Sounds like political correctness to me! And what kind of utter cretin would state that the best way to fight a disease is to ignore the most at-risk groups? It’s not like Russians deny these groups are at risk for HIV.

“The Russian model “takes into account the cultural, historical, and psychological characteristics of the Russian population, and is based on a conservative ideology and traditional values,” Guzenkova said.”

Gee, thanks for admitting from the get-go that your approach has an ideological basis and isn’t rooted in objective science.

“Study co-author Igor Beloborodov claimed that condoms were one of the factors causing the spread of the disease.

“The contraceptive industry is interested in selling their products and encouraging under-aged people to engage in sex,” he said.”

There it is, folks- the killing bullshit. The same kind of nonsense the Catholic church preaches to Africa and Latin America with disastrous results. Condoms don’t encourage under-age people, or anyone for that matter, to engage in sex. People engage in sex; it’s what they do. They’ve been doing it for a while now, and chances are in that time period when you think everyone was so prudish and upright they were actually engaged in acts dirtier than you can imagine. Condoms encourage responsibility.

This might be a good time to have a look at the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the developed world. Russia has steadily refused to teach sex education on the grounds that it will encourage teenagers to have sex (because there’s absolutely no way to find out about sex in a country where many people live in small quarters with thin walls). Naturally this plus Russia’s “strong traditional values” must surely mean that teen pregnancy in Russia is pretty low. Oh…waaaaait…noooo. In fact, as of 2014, 40% of girls in Russia lose their virginity by 15, one year before the age of consent. Must be another information attack!

So what is the secret of the conservative, national, patriotic, spiritual, Russian soul-filled solution to the HIV epidemic?

“Beloborodov said that the best form of protection against HIV was to “be in a heterosexual family where both partners are loyal to each other.”

Well let’s see, the first part of that solution might be problematic for people who are say, gay, or perhaps people who live in locales where there is an obvious lack of quality mates. As for the part about loyalty I’m sorry, what country do you live in? There’s a reason why Russian women have to specify “no married men” on their dating site profiles. And I can also tell you that plenty of ladies in this country are getting side action as well. I strongly suspect that Russia isn’t far removed from many other European countries in this respect, but the point is that it’s hardly the land of marital bliss and unshakable monogamy.

Just once I’d like to see Mr. Beloborodov have the balls to go on Russian TV and try to convince Russians, both male and female, to abstain from all sex until marriage. See that shit will play in the US where you have fundamentalist Christians who believe that faith entails a little more than wearing a cross around your neck, but it’s not going to fly here. Heterosexual family? No condoms? How will the Russian ruling class maintain their sanity if they don’t have their mistresses and call girls?

All joking aside, this kind of shit drives me up the wall because these hypocrites and dilettantes claim to represent Russia, to speak for Russia, and of course they are always “patriots.” Meanwhile they are engaging in activities which literally harm and in this case, potentially kill Russian citizens. Sex, underage or otherwise, will not increase in Russia just because schools start teaching kids about the risks and how to protect themselves. We have plenty of data from the US and various European countries to prove this. By contrast, the promotion of pseudoscience and the unwillingness to talk about the problem openly literally kills people. How do you call yourself a patriot while you not only lie to your own people, but your lies actually physically harm them, and what is more you get funding from wealth that ought to belong to them? Hell, the outrage doesn’t even stop there, because if any Russians get upset about these dipshits killing their fellow citizens, they’ll be branded traitors and agents of the State Department.

This particular story took place in Russia, but don’t think for a second that your country is safe from bullshit. The anti-vaccine movement in the US has led to a reemergence of diseases that had been all but eradicated decades ago. Pseudo-history helps sustain and legitimize far right movements not only in Russia or Ukraine, but also Croatia, Serbia, Poland, and many other countries. Donald Trump is now a serious contender, if not a favorite, for the White House, largely because of the boundless proliferation of paranoid, conspiratorial bullshit.

In many cases our hardwired mental biases, the product of millions of years of evolution, no longer serve us in the modern world and in many cases work against us. Now we can suggest a new evolutionary imperative- learn to think critically or die. In the modern world, bullshit kills, and if we don’t adapt it could one day end up killing off our entire species.

 

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What if…? No.

Strap yourself in for a long one today, folks. We’ve got a lot of unpacking to do. You’ve been warned.

If I haven’t pointed it out before, I’ll do it now. If you want to do good satire, your premise has to be rooted in some concrete truth. This is why, for example, South Park’s political satire often fails miserably for anyone older than 25; the writers rarely seem to have any understanding of the issues being discussed and so you’re left with this preachy “both sides have a point/are stupid” message.

American conservative political cartoons are another example of failure to root satire in truth. In such a cartoon we might find “jokes” about Obama reading from The Communist Manifesto to learn about “redistributing wealth” and plotting to disarm law-abiding citizens. Conservatives find this hilarious but of course Obama has never preached anything close to Marxism and he did virtually nothing to limit 2nd amendment rights in anyway. In fact, gun rights technically increased under Obama. Of course every time you hear a joke based on nonsensical, incorrect claims, it’s always you’re fault for correcting the person. “Come on! It’s just a joke! Lighten up!” No I get that it was a joke, it’s just not funny because it’s not rooted in any reality. This isn’t hard, people. Take an actual fact and then add a funny observation, challenge it, or take it to absurd conclusions for humorous effect.

Needless to say, the Kremlin media hasn’t seemed to figure this out either. Who could forget the time RT made a parody video mocking claims nobody ever made and justifying their multi-million dollar budget by “angering” a handful of politicians and think tank wonks? There’s no way you could forget that; it had a live bear in it for Christ’s sake. Well guess what, folks…it happened again. This time the attempt at satire comes from Russia Beyond the Headlines, a once-relatively-sane publication.

In short, the satire is basically a role reversal situation where the US is Russia, China is the US or possible the US and Europe since vatniks can’t get their head around the fact that European countries are in fact sovereign, and the two sides are in a spat over the fate of Canada, which is a stand-in for Ukraine. Russia doesn’t seem to exist in this hypothetical 2041, which stands out as the most realistic aspect of the story.

At first glance you might think this is whataboutism, but that isn’t quite it. “What if” is more appropriate. The “what if” argument is a bit different because it sort of admits wrongdoing but justifies it by acting like everyone else would to the same in that situation, which typically leads to a hilariously incorrect equivocation. If you’ve never heard this kind of argument before, it goes something like this:

“Yes, fine, Russia has intervened in Ukraine. But what would the US do if there were unrest in Mexico and US citizens were threatened?”

Right out of the gate the argument falls flat on it’s face because:

-There has been major unrest in Mexico for several years, far more violent than anything Ukraine experienced during Maidan prior to the Donbas war. The Mexican government’s war on the cartels had a direct impact on American society and American citizens have been killed in cartel-related violence. At no time did the US move to invade and annex Baha California so as to secure the rights of American college students on spring break.

-Russia claimed to be protecting Russian speakers. This is odd because a huge part of Ukraine, including Kyiv, speaks Russian. In any case, the majority of the people they came to protect were not Russian citizens.

-It assumes the US would somehow be angered by the overthrow of a corrupt Mexican government.

This “satire,” of course, is far more comprehensive. It tries to elicit empathy but in the process it inserts Kremlin talking points into the narrative and ends up being unintentionally hilarious due its implications and omissions about Russia, the West, and Maidan. I’m not going to cover the whole thing, but rather just the best bits, and what better place to start than with the intro?

“Why are Moscow’s arguments in favor of what Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls “polycentric architecture” for the world and its insistence that there will be no more “business as usual” with the West, especially with the United States, constantly either misheard or misinterpreted? Perhaps it is worth placing the U.S. – using a simulation model – into the shoes that Russia has been forced to wear lately.”

Oh boo-fucking-hoo. Poor old Russia, always being “misunderstood” and “misinterpreted.” Lavrov’s “polycentric architecture” sounds like a re-branding of the “multi-polar world” concept these people are constantly babbling about. I’ve covered this before but there are several problems with this concept. First, the world already is more or less “multi-polar.” Russian officials and theorists can’t understand this because in their fantasy world, any time nations side with the US or Europe instead of doing whatever Russia tells them, it’s because their puppets of Washington. Moreover, Russia basically only recognizes “great powers” as being truly sovereign. Lastly, the only other “pole” these folks care about is Russia, which they believe deserves automatic and eternal respect as a “great power,” complete with its own sphere of influence around its borders. The problem with this is that apart from nuclear weapons, Russia really isn’t a superpower. It could have been, but Putin and his buddies thought it would be a better idea to rob their country blind, fork all that money over to the West, and then use their vast media bullshit factory to give people the illusion of being a superpower when it all went south.

The line about the “…shoes Russia has been forced to wear” is also very telling. Nobody forced anything on Russia. Russian leaders could have realized a long time ago that in order to be powerful and successful they would have to tackle corruption, create strong institutions, and install a functioning democratic system where authorities could be held accountable in some way. Instead, the thieving midget and his buddies, awash in cash thanks to high oil prices, decided to do a little trade off- consumer goods in exchange for giving up democratic norms and freedoms. Of course this didn’t work out so Putin had to come back and play real dictator to make sure he and his friends would never be held accountable for their thievery. Not satisfied with repressing his own people, Putin insisted that the Ukrainian people also tolerate a kleptocrat in power, and when they didn’t, he invaded their country and started the largest war in Europe since the wars of Yugoslavian secession. Nobody forced Russia to wear any shoes. Putin put on combat boots. Cute little combat boots for his tiny feet.

Now let’s dig into this “simulation” in earnest:

“In the ungraceful year of 2041, a quarter of a century after the flamboyant incarnation of Senator Tuft, a convinced isolationist, was derailed and trumped on the final leg of the election trail, global politics have utterly spun out of control, turning the United States into an effectively besieged fortress.”

Okay do I even need to point out how this is obviously a backhanded endorsement of Trump? Yeah, just another example of “anti-fascist” Kremlin media cheering on a candidate beloved by neo-Nazis. “Tuft” loses the general election, Hillary is elected, and over the next 25 years global politics totally spin out of control. You know I figure a Hillary presidency will suck, but I’m not expecting global politics to “utterly spin out of control.”

Do you see what I mean when I say that the problems just compound and multiply from the very beginning? Why is the US a “besieged fortress.” How did that happen? Is this implying that Russia is a besieged fortress? Who was besieging Russia, a country whose people routinely took vacations abroad, and whose elite owned major property in Western nations, not to mention the fact that Russia invests in US debt? And don’t give me this “NATO” bullshit either. NATO had touched the borders of Russia since 2004. And do read a little bit about NATO deployments in Europe prior to late 2014-2015; the idea that this somehow threatened Russia is simply ludicrous.

Now let the real bullshit begin!

“It all started with popular unrest evolved into revolt in neighboring Canada, where ultra-nationalist paramilitary units were instrumental in bringing down a legitimate prime minister and paved the way for what the U.S. saw as a coup d’état.”

Okay where do I even begin to tackle this? First of all, why is there popular unrest in Canada? Canada is a leading country with some of the highest living standards in the world. I know it’s supposed to be 25 years later, but please give us a hint at what the hell happened to turn Canada into the equivalent of post-Soviet Ukraine, a country with horrible standards of living and plagued by endemic corruption bleeding the nation dry.

Now about those nationalist paramilitary units who were “instrumental” in bringing down a legitimate prime minster. If you actually bother to count how many fighting people Svoboda and Praviy Sektor had in the Maidan self-defense companies, you’ll see why this is problematic. It would also require a major political shift in Canada, which tends to be far more progressive than the US in the eyes of most people. Again, what the hell happened. And I should point out that they omitted something about the “legitimate prime minister.” To be an accurate comparison, we must assume that this prime minister had been robbing his country blind, abusing his power, and that his police acted with undue brutality against peaceful demonstrators (which is what led to subsequent demonstrations being less peaceful).

Lastly on this passage, it doesn’t matter what the US thinks about this move. If the US has somehow been reduced to a kleptocratic basketcase which sees itself as a besieged fortress, it still doesn’t have the right to invade Canada and annex part of it.

Well-organized and financed political activists occupied the main square in Ottawa and demanded a drastic change of foreign policy alignment with an immediate signing of the association status agreement with the China-led Asian Union.

If this article were a machine gun and delusional claims were bullets, this piece would be an MG-42. Rapid fire idiocy here. Where to even begin?

Perhaps let’s start with the “well-organized” part. They were largely students, “organized” by social media. Lots of protests have used methods like this for years now. Was Occupy in the US “well-organized and financed?”

One of the funnies things I find about people who buy into the coup narrative is that they can rarely explain how the protests actually began, or as you can see here, why people were protesting in the first place. You can read about the beginning of the protests here, straight from the man who was largely responsible for it in spite of his modesty. Note his skepticism and disdain for the country’s entire political establishment, not just with the Party of Regions or Yanukovych. This sentiment is fairly common in Ukraine.

Then there’s the nonsense about demanding a “drastic change of foreign policy alignment with an immediate signing” of what is obviously a stand-in for the European Union Association Agreement. This is another thing Putin fanboys can rarely explain properly. As in this case, it is presented as if the “well-financed” protesters just started demanding this.

In reality, European integration was Yanukovych’s own project, and he was very supportive of it. Shortly before the protests Yanukovych himself said: “An alternative for reforms in Ukraine and an alternative for European integration do not exist.” He then went on to say that Ukraine would not be changing it’s course on the path to European integration, stalling on signing the agreement, but not writing it off completely. In fact, even after protests had begun Yanukovych’s government claimed it was still in the process of negotiating the EU deal.

Now at this moment it’s a pretty good idea to check out what was happening on the Russian front in the lead up to that fateful meeting when Yanukovych suspending the signing of the EU agreement. See the common assumption, one which even some Western media outlets often disseminated, was that this was a struggle over whether Ukraine would “join Europe” or go with Russia, and Yanukovych was supposed to be “pro-Russian.” Not only was Yanukovych not necessarily “pro-Russian,” but the Kremlin wasn’t exactly pro-Yanukovych either. In the run up to signing of the EU agreement, Russia had begun to put pressure on Ukraine via trade restrictions. Russia even threatened all sorts of dire consequences, including potentially violent “separatism” and a possible redrawing of borders if Ukraine, under Yanukovych mind you, signed the deal. Nice little country you’ve got there. Be a shame if something were to…happen to it.  But yeah, basically Russia had absolutely no intentions of invading or partitioning Ukraine and their reaction was solely a response to the “coup” in Kyiv. Sure.

Washington accused Beijing of interfering in the internal affairs of its northern neighbor, claiming that the 35 billion renminbi (around $5 billion) reportedly disbursed “to support democracy” in Canada had been channeled to pro-East campaigners bent on rupturing all ties and contacts with the U.S. and keen on joining the China-led economic and military alliances.

Yet another humanitarian convoy of bullshit has arrived! Here we have the idiotic myth that the US paid for the “overthrow” of Yanukovych. First of all, the $5 billion spent in Ukraine goes back to 1991, when the country became independent. A large portion of that was spent on disarmament and the disposal of nuclear weapons, which Ukraine had at the time and which is quite expensive I’d imagine. Here’s an infographic that breaks down the spending. Note that Russia received far more money and yet hasn’t suffered a “color revolution.”

usaid

Now obviously something like “democracy” pretty vague, but I urge people to actually look up where this money goes and find out what it actually funds. Here, for example, you can see a list of various NGOs funded by USAID in Ukraine. Note the curious absence of “paramilitary training camps” or “guerrilla warfare training courses.”

Basically, if you’re claiming that the US paid for a coup in Ukraine, the burden of proof is on you to explain how. Which organizations masterminded this coup? Show that US aid went to training paramilitaries and football hooligans prior to 2013, seeing as how the Russian narrative says they played an “instrumental role” in the whole thing. Don’t just say “State Department” or “Soros.” Show your work. The US has been involved in many coups for decades. None of them looked much like this at all. Why it’s almost as if…Ukrainians actually have human agency and form their own political views. As if they didn’t want to just keep living under a government that was steering their country off a cliff.

In the last part of that passage it talks about supporting people who were “keen on joining the China-led economic and military alliance.” Again we see the typical Kremlin delusion. The EU agreement, which Yanukovych totally supported, was a trade agreement. It wasn’t about joining the EU and it certainly wasn’t about joining NATO, something that had been considered totally off the table and which a solid majority of Ukrainians opposed until several months after somebody invaded and began partitioning their country.

Of course there’s another problem with this analogy. The US stand-in here is China, whose meteoric rise over 25 years is as odd as America’s simultaneous decline, particularly in light of the former’s current economic woes plus the impending demographic problems they face. The “well-financed” protesters want to join China’s bloc, but as we all know, Euromaidan was about a EU trade agreement. Is this just a mistake or is it just the vatnik delusion that the EU is just a puppet of the United States, the only other sovereign country in the world? Who knows?

I could go on and on about this intro but here’s the bottom line. We’re meant to buy into the Kremlin’s US-funded “coup” narrative. At the same time, and perhaps most importantly at all, we’re given no reason why anyone in poor U-Canada sees China as a better bet than the United States.

In the delusional minds of Putin, Lavrov, and a whole host of pro-Kremlin “political technologists” and “geopolitical analysts,” the only reason why countries side with America is because their people are weak-willed and bought off. The only way to avoid such a label is by doing whatever Moscow asks of you. This is called “standing up to the West” or some such nonsense. The fact that countries aren’t exactly hammering on Russia’s door to join their half-assed military alliance or cheap EU knockoff is only proof that the US cheated somehow.

Meanwhile, here in the real world, there is a very good reason why countries prefer to cooperate with the US. The Kremlin hacks themselves claim that after the collapse of the Soviet Union the world became unipolar. They imply that is the case today. So then who is that “pole,” the one at the top of the pyramid? Oh right- the United States. The US means investment, consumer goods, access to some of the best higher education and cutting edge technology and science. This isn’t patriotism- it’s just a plain fact.

This is where were come back to that old analogy about the nice guy and the pretty girl. Nice guy’s totally in love with her, in fact he’s in love with any attractive female who makes eye contact. But he never manages to land a girlfriend because according to him, they’ve all been “brainwashed” by the media and feminism so that they don’t “appreciate” his unique qualities. Instead they chase after “bad boys” and “brainless jocks or pretty boys.” In reality, women don’t choose Mr. Nice Guy because one, he’s not really all that nice, and two, because he just doesn’t have anything to offer. The good looking guy is not only good looking, he’s got a good job. Maybe he is actually smart and wittier than the nice guy. But Mr. Nice Guy doesn’t want to hear that because he doesn’t want to modify his behavior.

So it is with Putinist Russia. It sits around all day playing video games (siphoning money and spending what’s left on stupid shit), whining about its unjust plight (information war), and yet it can’t understand why the girls (other countries) aren’t attracted to this. They don’t have agency. In order to prove they are actually intelligent and not ditzes or “sluts,” they must spurn those better off, superior men for Mr. Nice Guy, or in this case, they must give Russia whatever it wants otherwise they’re filthy whores bending over for the United States. And after repeating this meme dozens of times in public settings, somehow opinions about Russia in Europe actually haven’t improved. Unbelievable!

So I’m going to skip over some bullshit for a bit, but I couldn’t help noticing this line:

“In Ottawa, some hotheads bent on revenge have demanded retribution, referring to the war hawks around U.S. President James Madison, who initiated an assault against Canada back in the 19th century.”

This makes little sense but I’m highlighting it only for the sake of showing you the kind of projection pro-Kremlin folks engage in all the time. Only vatniks hold onto grudges that long. It’s like that time Kiselyov claimed that Swedes were upset at Russia because they lost their empire to the Russians after the battle of Poltava in 1709. No, dear viewers! Russia isn’t the only country that makes up a long list of slights and spats with other nations going back for centuries! Every country is just as butthurt about things like that. You’re totally normal!

“For the moment, Chinese top officials have turned down the idea of fueling a Cold War between Canada and the United States by supplying state-of-the art armaments and have limited military assistance to sending instructors to train the Canadian army.”

I had to read over this several times because there’s something odd here. Check the original text yourself, but I haven’t left out the key element. Did you catch it? Yeah, Chi-merica is sending “state-of-the-art armaments” and advisers to train the Ucanadian army. Uh…Why? What happened?

Essentially the author, who is implying that this is the Russian POV on this topic, has suggested that the US started supplying Ukraine with military aid and instructors before the annexation and war in the Donbas. Nice try. Also the US hasn’t really supplied much in the way of “armaments.” Again, you’ll have to try harder than that to slip something by me.

“In this way the Chinese leaders have responded to pleas by the pro-East government in Ottawa to enhance their defense capabilities in view of what they claim is clandestine military support being rendered by the United States to Anglophone rebels in Quebec.

Ooooh! So that’s what happened! Well then why didn’t we hear about that first, and then the Chinese arms and advisers afterward? Oh wait, I got it! Maybe this is supposed to be non-linear, like one of Oliver Stone’s films!

The English-speaking insurgents in this French-dominated province revolted and took up arms after the government of Quebec reacted to the ouster of the prime minister in Ottawa and the formation of a newly nationalist parliament by voting to prohibit the use of the English language in the province, thus trampling on the inherent rights of ethnic minorities and turning English-speaking residents of Quebec into de facto second-rate citizens.”

The Rada after Yanukovych was not “nationalist” and they did not vote to prohibit the use of Russian in the Crimea or anywhere else in Ukraine. They were voting on the repeal of a law that protected Russian as an official language in certain regions, and then that repeal was itself quickly repealed.

And Quebec? If anything France should be invading Montreal and holding a referendum to make it part of their country. This writer knows less about Canadian politics than I do, and I’m terrible at Canadian politics. Take a look at English speakers versus French speakers in all of Canada some time. This is as stupid as claiming that leaders in a country whose capital is a Russian speaking city would want to ban the Russian language.

“China has confirmed its full commitment to act as a security provider for all the democratic nations in the region, including Canada, which many U.S. politicians have viewed throughout history and still view as “America’s backyard” and part of its sphere of strategic interests.”

Okay this is pretty confusing. Does this mean the US is now not a democracy, and China is? And what does it matter what this non-democratic, obviously economically fucked up America thinks is its “backyard?” What did America do to attract the goodwill of those nations in its backyard? Are they saying that real-life America was right to intervene in the political affairs of many Latin American nations, often supporting actual coups and repressive regimes, all because these nations were at one time considered to be in America’s backyard?

Boy this hypothetical America is a total asshole! It’s much worse than actual America!

“Moreover, it was announced at the recent meeting of ministers of defense in the capital of Guatemala that Beijing would deploy in Central America 250 MBT-3000 main battle tanks, PLL05 self-propelled mortar-howitzer systems and other military equipment.

Apart from the military hardware depots, China is to triple its rapid reaction forces in the region and create six coordinating headquarters in Central America, notably in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Cuba by the end of the year.”

Keep in mind this analogy is about the US moving heavy armor and artillery back in to Europe- all moves which occurred after Russia started a war in a neighboring country and started running all kinds of snap drills with numerous airspace violations that continue to this day. But yeah, poor Russia is a “besieged fortress.”

At this point I have to ask what exactly Putin and his fanboys expected. From 2012, really 2007, they have been moving towards an open policy of “fuck the West,” and yet they don’t seem to understand why the Western response hasn’t been terribly welcoming. Again it’s that attitude, i.e. “Hey you degenerate, soulless, limp-wristed Sodomites! We can nuke your countries into oblivion! Look at all our jets and rockets! Tanks don’t need visas! See you in Berlin, faggots!  Oh by the way, if it’s not too much trouble would you keep investing money in our country, selling us your products, buying our products, and allowing our corrupt officials to launder their money in your banks and real estate markets? What? NO?! HOW DARE YOU!

“There has been an ongoing outcry among conservative politicians in Canada and Central America on their own failure to put up a viable resistance and block the outreach of U.S.-disseminated false interpretations of global news. This untruth is produced by the U.S. official media, in particular, the TV channel America Today, broadcasting in Chinese, English and Spanish under a slogan of “Query More.””

Huh. That’s odd. Futuristic Shit America lost all its major privately-owned media corporations and replaced Voice of America with a state-owned version of Fox News. By they way, do look at the hilarious illustration if you haven’t already. This is actually spot on, especially as it has a quote by a US State Department official on the bottom. This being America Today, you know he won’t be challenged or questioned in any way. I really wish they would’ve expanded on that. I’d like to see America Today finding some obscure fringe blogger in China and interviewing him on the air as a “political analyst” or “geopolitical expert.” Hell, maybe they can find a totally anonymous guy who claims expertise as an ex-Chinese intelligence operative, yet who writes about issues as though he has virtually no background knowledge whatsoever.

“Recently, the United States rejected calls to abandon its present foreign policy and, once this precondition is met, to re-join the major world powers. The U.S. administration believes that the East is guilty of using every trick in the book, from bullying to recruiting agents of influence, to ensure its dominant position in global affairs.”

Gee, the United States comes off as sounding really delusional and paranoid here. Maybe the US leaders should focus on building up their own country’s infrastructure and economy instead of stealing billions of dollars to buy luxury homes in Shanghai.

“In fact, he was echoing the statement of the head of U.S. foreign policy that the war of sanctions that has seen finances being used as a political weapon, the creeping deployment of additional Chinese units and military equipment close to U.S. borders, as well as the overall disregard of legitimate U.S. security concerns constitute a structural crisis in international relations.”

Remember folks, the only creeping going on in Europe before Russia’s actions in 2014 was the US creeping out of the continent. Well that and there was Graham Phillips.

“The government of the United States stands firm in its belief that imposition on any nation of so-called “Eastern values” by use of force or hybrid warfare is a blatant breach of the letter and spirit of international law.”

Ah yes, but if the US wants to impose “Western values” on other countries, it should be allowed to do so as long as they are in a region that they consider to be their “backyard.” That’s basically what Russia’s been saying. And again, if we look at what actually happened in Ukraine with Maidan, we see how idiotic it is to say that the US was “imposing Western values” on Ukraine. And international law? Please. Bring up international law in connection with the annexation of the Crimea and any Putin asskisser will immediately tell you that self-determination is more important. Except when it isn’t, like in Russia where public statements advocating more autonomy or self-determination for ethnic minorities is literally a violation of the law since, ironically enough, 2014.

So at long last we reach the end. What do we have to show for it? Well I think one of the funniest things about this is how unintentionally revealing it is. Even if we accepted some of the deliberate propaganda claims about funding a revolution, right-wing nationalists, etc., you can’t help but think that Future America is really acting like a total asshole, and its leaders come off as paranoid. And again, we’re never given any reason why China is more influential or why countries seem to be abandoning America.

In the delusional mind of Moscow’s “political technologists” and “geopolitical experts,” there’s no real qualitative difference between Russia and America. Okay maybe Russia’s economy isn’t quite as good but that’s only because America cheated and there are traitorous fifth and sixth columnists are somehow wrecking the economy. The president doesn’t know anything about this, but he’s a great leader and the only leader for Russia, and we must all support him to help stand up to the West and punish those dastardly nameless bureaucrats!

The difference, if there is any, certainly cannot be attributed to high-level corruption so acute that it deprives the country of anywhere from a quarter to over a third of its annual GDP. That’s all just a Western information attack! Or maybe it’s true but it’s true of all countries! That happens in the US too! The US also treats its citizens like children. I’m sure that you can get fined in the US if you write the words “Islamic State” or “Al Qaeda” without a disclaimer stating that these are illegal organizations in US territory!

In reality, the narrative this story tries to tell via analogy is in fact false, and therefore America comes off as even more of an asshole, and insane to boot. It deserves the treatment it gets because instead of trying to improve and make friends, its leadership instead elected to rob their fellow countrymen and crack down on their rights to prevent them from doing anything about it. Future China apparently busted a grape and now nations are rushing to take advantage of the benefits to be derived from good relations with the Chinese.

Like I said at the beginning- if you want to make good satire, root it in truth. Or at least don’t root it in utter delusions.

*Incidentally there was an even more thorough dismantling of this kind of “what if” argument, written by the Twitter personality Darth Putin on his old blog. Luckily the true voice of Russia’s president has restored the blog, but as of this writing it hasn’t been posted yet. I will update this post when it is.

The Expendables

So it finally happened. Nadia Savchenko was released from Russian captivity today and sent home to Kyiv in exchange for two captured spetsnaz soldiers Aleksandrov and Erofeev. What you are reading here is the article I had planned to write for roughly a month, after there had been rather hopeful talk about her release in late may, i.e. now. Of course I could have written this same article regardless of when she was released, so long as she was released at any point before actually serving out the 22-year sentence the court had given her.

If you’re not familiar with Nadia Savchenko, you can read an explainer here. You can also read some key testimony (which was never heard in court) here. For those of you who want the gist right now, Savchenko was captured by forces of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” and layer conveyed across the Russian border. She would later be accused of killing two Russian journalists by directing mortar fire on them. If you want the prosecution’s basic case, it goes something like this:

Nadia Savchenko, motivated by hatred of Russian-speaking people, somehow managed to deliberately direct mortar fire onto two Russian journalists. She then decided that she, hating Russian-speakers so much, should attempt to flee into Russia claiming to be a refugee. That part about being motivated by hatred of Russian-speakers was actually part of the charge, and the second part was the story behind the charge of illegally crossing the Russian border. Every major point in this narrative, the hatred of Russian-speakers, the “murder” itself,” and the sudden decision to escape the detested Russian-speakers by illegally entering Russia, is borderline insane. But this is a political trial, so naturally Savchenko was convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy she’s free, but this exchange demonstrates how sinister and cynical the Russian government can be towards its own citizens. For starters, let’s actually take the Russian side at its word. All throughout the trial, pro-Kremlin media, blogs, comment trolls etc. all labeled Savchenko a murderer long before the trial was over. If anyone showed sympathy for her plight, some pro-Kremlin jackass would angrily remind you about how she murdered two innocent journalists, thus displaying a total lack of knowledge as to how mortars work. Having declared her guilty, the court officially labeled her a murderer. As far as I know, Russian authorities insist their courts are legitimate. Hence, as far as the Russian government’s concerned, Savchenko murdered two of its citizens and then illegally crossed their borders.

And then they just let her go. Exchanged her, to be sure, but they let her go. Also while rather hasty official explanation today said that the journalists’ widows asked Putin to pardon Savchenko, this doesn’t hold much water seeing as how this exchange had been alluded to much earlier. In fact I can’t say for sure now but I’m pretty sure that people had been speculating about a Savchenko/spetsnaz exchange well into last year. Russia just let her go, not after say, dropping the charges in the middle of the trial due to any number of plausible excuses, but after they had convicted her and labeled her a murderer of Russians.

This really is an injustice. Thanks to the Russian show-trial, we may never know the exact circumstances regarding the journalists’ deaths. Whether on the part of their bosses or the “rebel” fighters, negligence could very well have been a factor. And of course, there would have been no war had it not been for Putin and his clique. But if we draw the line below Putin and those responsible for coordinating the Donbas insurgency and subsequent war, there is a possibility that these journalists were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and nobody can truly be blamed. Yet even if we look at their deaths as nothing more than a random tragedy, they didn’t deserve to be used as the basis for a political trial against a person who was simply defending their homeland. Nor should their widows have been cynically used in a pathetic attempt to make Putin look merciful and wise.

Do you see the lesson yet? Have you learned something about the value of Russian life to Putin and his parasitical clique? Unable to show accountability for the deaths of two journalists killed in a war the Kremlin started, they decided to use those deaths in order to punish this Ukrainian woman, to make her an object of hate. And when this whole thing became a political mess- presto! She goes free, in spite of her conviction. Journalists? What journalists? Russians aren’t citizens, deserving rights. Like the victims of the Odessa massacre and the citizens of occupied Donbas, they’re all just props in the Kremlin’s reality show.

In case it wasn’t clear to you before, it ought to be now. Putin and his billionaire clique intend to fight down to the last Russian citizen rather than be held accountable for robbing their nation. Journalists Anton Voloshin and Igor Kornelyuk, from the perspective of the Kremlin, were expendable.The people of Russia are expendable.

 

 

Oh the irony

Just a quick little update today. Prime minister and badminton champion of The Shire Dmitry Medvedev ruffled some feathers recently when he told pensioners in the Crimea that there wasn’t any money to raise pensions to keep pace with inflation. You can read about it here. There are a couple insanely ironic points about this little exchange which must be noted.

-One of the major motivations for people in the Crimea (and other parts of Ukraine) to side with Russia was the promise of higher pensions (and salaries in many cases). How do you like that “self-determination” now?

-The annexation of the Crimea and Russia’s campaign in Eastern Ukraine are both major contributing factors to Russia’s current economic woes, and both continue to cost the state a lot of money directly. There’s no money for a pension increase, but there’s always money for more rockets and shells to lob at the “Banderites,” not to mention the poor persecuted “Russian speakers” whose salvation apparently means being bombarded almost every night.

-To be honest, these people wouldn’t necessarily have been much better off were they still in Ukraine now, but at least under such a government they could organize, protest, and agitate for a redress of their grievances. I highly doubt many Ukrainians would come out in force against better pensions. Now, however, they’re in Russia, so they don’t get a say. If they make too much trouble, they’ll be labeled as traitors paid by the US State Department and thus fair game for harassment by thugs of all sort, not to mention spurious prosecution.

Apparently Medvedev reassured the poor peon pensioner that the government would do something when they “find the money.” I suggest you start looking in Panama, Bilbo.

 

Patriotic Fiction Corner: The Maidan – Chapter One

Nikolai knew something was wrong. He just couldn’t put his finger on it. Something about the world seemed…artificial. It was as if he could blink his eyes and for an instant it was as if everything around him was nothing but a movie set. Blink again and everything was in order. Was he going insane? He’d struggled with the question ever since the feelings began, but now he could no longer remember exactly when that happened.

It began with the dreams, ultra-realistic visions of political revolution in Russia. The Putin government had been overthrown by a collection of hipsters, creative class workers, LGBT activists, and neo-Nazi thugs. Into the vacuum left by Putin came the NATO occupation regime. The tricolor over the Kremlin was replaced by an American flag with rainbow stripes, signifying the conquest of Russia by Sodom. The Russian language was to be removed from public life- schoolchildren would be taught Ukrainian. The dreams didn’t come every night, but whenever they did Nikolai would wake up in a cold sweat.

As disturbing as the nocturnal visions were, they weren’t initially cause for concern insofar as they were completely logical. Nikolai frequently watched the news on television and read “patriotic” websites on the internet. With the constant flow of information about the US-led Euromaidan coup in Ukraine, the war, and the machinations of the State Department-controlled fifth column in Russia, it was only logical to see such visions when the conscious mind is at rest. No, the dreams only began to bother Nikolai until they were joined by the waking visions. The “blinks.” Those strange visual hallucinations that were almost too fleeting to catch. A sign, seen in peripheral vision, would appear to be written in some other language than Russian. A flag would appear to have frozen in mid wave, its colors would change. Then Nikolai would rub his eyes and there would be nothing out of the ordinary.

It was early, maybe three in the morning, but Nikolai couldn’t sleep. The dreams had once again forced him to wake up screaming. Now he sat on the edge of his bed staring at the wall, on which a Russian imperial flag hung next to a picture of Putin wearing sunglasses. Rain pounded the Moscow streets outside. He looked at Putin, the man who’d raised Russia from her knees and saved it from American invasion. Lighting flashed in the window. For a split second Putin’s face seemed to change. There was still a bald man in the picture, but he didn’t look like Putin. The vision was far too short-lived to tell exactly who it was, but it definitely wasn’t the president.

Suddenly Nikolai was shocked out of his stupor by the rousing melody of “Holy War,” that Second World War-era call to arms. Who could possibly be calling at this hour? Nikolai snatched up the phone and said “Allo,” expecting a profuse apology from a caller who must have dialed the wrong number. For a moment he heard little more than quiet breathing. Someone was listening to him, but they weren’t speaking.

“Hello? I know someone’s there,” Nikolai said. “What do you want?”

That’s when the silence on the other end of the line was broken by a deep voice.

“It’s not about what I want, Novorossiya Warrior, but what you want.”

Nikolai jerked his head away from the phone. Why did the man refer to him by his internet handle? How could this stranger connect him with it? Who was he? He brought the phone back to his ear.

“What I want? How do you know what I want,” Nikolai demanded.

“For some time now you’ve come to realize something is very wrong with your world, Novo. You’ve seen things. You’ve heard things. But you can’t understand them. You want answers. You want the truth.”

Nikolai’s heart was pounding. How did this man know about the visions? He’d never told anyone, not even his own family. Could this be an agent from the CIA, or worse, the dreaded US State Department? He decided to try a bluff to see if he could expose his interrogator.

“But I know the truth,” Nikolai replied in a shaky voice, unable to hind his uneasiness. “I don’t just watch TV you know. I also read RT in Russian. Their info actually comes from Western experts like Alexander Mercouris and think tanks like Global Research. How are you going to tell me something I already know?”

There was silence. Then the voice began to speak again with an almost patronizing tone. Nikolai’s act had failed miserably.

“Novo, please, you cannot get the answer you’re seeking from those sources. You want to know what it is. I am giving you one chance to find out. Meet me on the corner down the block from your house, in front of the Kroshka Kartoshka. You have ten minutes. After that, I can promise you nothing.”

Nikolai attempted to interject but the man had hung up. Ten minutes. Could this be a trap? Somehow Nikolai felt it was real. He had to do this. He scrambled to put on his clothes and shoes and burst out of his apartment block into the pouring rain. As he approached the Kroshka Kartoshka, now closed for hours, he couldn’t see a single soul anywhere in the vicinity. Could he have arrived to early? Or too late?

Luckily an adjacent shop had an awning under which Nikolai could take shelter from the rain. He decided he’d wait there at least five minutes, hoping he hadn’t fallen for some elaborate prank. We waited. And waited. He was sure five minutes had passed. Just for good measure he decided to extend the deadline by lighting up a cigarette. If the man didn’t show up before the cigarette was extinguished, Nikolai would go home. After generously allowing the tobacco to burn almost all the way to the filter, Nikolai dropped the butt on the ground where it was doused by the rain. He turned back towards his home.

“Leaving already, Novo?”  It was the voice!

Nikolai spun around in the direction of the voice but couldn’t see anything. A figure slowly stepped out of the darkness and the rain and into the circle of light under a street lamp. There now stood a rather large man clad in a long dark trench coat. The man wore reflective sunglasses in spite of the rain and the night. Nikolai took a few cautious steps towards him.

“Wh-who are you?”

“The question you should be asking,” the man began, “Is who are you? But you can call me Krokodil.”

“Okay then who am I?”

“First of all you are Novo. Nikolai Sergeyevich Kuznetsov is a lie. Novo is the truth. You seek the truth, so start with yourself.”

“Alright,” Novo replied. “So I am Novo. What’s this truth you say I’m after?”

“You tell me, Novo,” the man said, moving no muscle other than his mouth. “What is that thing you can’t stop thinking about. The thing that keeps you up at night?”

Novo struggled to imagine what the man could possibly be referring to. He searched his memory for everything he’d been obsessing over for the past three years. America? Homosexuality? Ukraine…Ukraine! Yes, there was something about that fake, non-existent country invented by Vladimir Lenin that had been on his mind throughout his entire struggle.Something happened there, and after that, the dreams began.

The man began to speak again as though he could read Novo’s mind and see him coming to the answer.

“That’s it. You want the answer, but first you have to ask the question.”

Novo felt the words forming on his tongue almost as if some spirit were speaking through him.

“What is the Maidan?”

The man smiled.

“Yes, Novo, you know the question. But nobody can be told what the Maidan is. You have to actually see it for yourself.”

“Show me,” Novo replied, again as if he had no control over his own words.

“That is what I have come to do,” the man said.

Just then a black car pulled up next to the curb. The man motioned toward the car.

“Get in, Novo. You’re in for a long ride.”

 

 

 

How I became The Guardian

Life has been full of surprises lately. Yesterday I found out I was published in The Guardian. Today I learned that I am The Guardian. In fact, I am the “Western mass media.” Yeah I know, weird huh? It’s true though, at least according to the prestigious Russian news site Ridus.ru (yes, that Ridus.ru), who just today ran a story featuring yours truly bearing the headline “British Guardian accuses the Western mass media of idiocy.”

Yes, we have yet another case of one source being labeled as the “X mass media,” in this case British, but this time I happen to be the source. Well I guess it wouldn’t be the first time Russian media over-hyped some lone blogger.

In the article there are no direct quotes from the article in question. Nor are there any links to the article. Instead it says:

“Джим Ковпак в статье «Сталин, водка и ядерное оружие: как не надо писать о России» перечислил мифы, используя которые иностранные журналисты оказываются в положении полных идиотов.”

“Jim Kovpak in the article “Stalin, vodka, and nuclear weapons: How not to write about Russia,” lists myths whose use makes foreign journalists look like total idiots.”

It  then goes on to say that I wrote that Western media coverage gives the impression that Russia is full of prostitutes.

Before I tackle this I should point out that The Guardian piece is heavily edited to be more concise. The original article appeared on Russia!.

Once one sees both articles it ought to be clear that it isn’t necessarily aimed at journalists. It certainly isn’t aimed at Western Russia correspondents, many of whom I know personally and who in many cases have far more background knowledge and/or experience in Russia than the expat Putin fanboys out there. Many of those types flat out tell you they “knew nothing about Russia” prior to chasing down some girl they met on the internet or whatever.

Of course these cliches certainly can apply to people who are by definition journalists, but these types are most likely those who for whatever reason find themselves writing about Russia without actually being in the country or even visiting it. They may work for some news aggregator site, they could be some kind of travel journalist, or someone just reporting on pop culture phenomena throughout the world. I did specifically refer to expat writers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean journalists. They could be bloggers or even novelists. Also in the long version I occasionally point out that some of these cliches apply to Ukraine as well. And lastly, nowhere in either article did I “accuse the Western media of idiocy.”

It wouldn’t seem like a big deal if I didn’t just get a call earlier in the evening from the state-run NTV about an interview regarding this article. Even if I had the time and were so inclined, I’m afraid they’d be disappointed if the reason for their interest was the wholly inaccurate Ridus article.

But there’s a good lesson to be found in the unusual level of interest that the Russian media paid to this. First of all, the Guardian piece had been up for roughly a day, maybe a day and a half before I was told about the Ridus story. I got the NTV notification about two hours later. Is it not curious how the Russian media constantly paints the “mainstream Western media” as nothing more than a propaganda machine bent on waging information war on Russia, and yet the second they find something in that “mainstream media” they think they can use, the jump all over it? Also, The Guardian is pretty “mainstream,” and it is particularly hated by the Kremlin media and Putin fanboys the world over. To be fair, that no doubt is largely due to the publication’s association with intrepid super spy Luke Harding. Still, The Guardian is definitely “Western” media, so it’s a little odd that Western media would accuse Western media of idiocy, isn’t it?

The other funny aspect of this, perhaps the funniest of all, is that this long-time Kremlin media tactic of referring to “Western/American/foreign mass media” in order to back up some claim, whether it is a matter of gross distortion as with my article or misrepresenting an author’s expertise or credentials in other cases, is essentially a tacit admission that the Russian media isn’t trustworthy. See every time they do this the message is always the same, “Look! A Western says this! If they say that, it must be true!” It’s as if they know they must somehow attach themselves to Western sources because otherwise they have no credibility, or at least Western sources seem more credible to their audience, even if they too generally believe the ideas behind the story and buy into the “information war” conspiracy.

Western media doesn’t appear to operate by these rules. They don’t need to constantly throw up some Russian source and say, “Look! Even the Russians themselves support us and say what we’re writing is true!” Okay, sometimes it seems like Paul Goble is doing that, but he’s hardly “MSM.” Otherwise there is some concept of journalistic ethics and its expected that a reporter will go out and speak to sources and make every effort to confirm their stories while also striving for objectivity. If they interview opposition sources, for example, it’s because there’s a political or human interest story here and you’re supposed to let the sources speak for themselves. The idea isn’t to say “Look, even the Russians themselves admit that Putin sucks! Obama is right!”

Does the system of journalism always work that way? Of course not. For one thing journalism is, for most major Western outlets, a business. Thanks to the internet it has become a rather cutthroat one at that. But as I’ve said plenty of times in the past- just because one system has flaws doesn’t mean we should adopt another one that is worse. And if the Kremlin owned media wants to protest the implication that it is worse and not, as they sometimes claim, equal in terms of credibility, maybe they should stop and ask why they have to constantly invoke the “Western media” as backup for their claims.

UPDATE: They apparently really love that piece because a more accurate translation of the article was published on RT’s Russian site. So yeah, now I’v finally been published on RT. Unfortunately it would seem that RT failed to recognize my Guardianship. Have no doubt in your minds, I am The Guardian, and I shall rule this world that is rightly mine! 

RT and Sputnik commentators may be replaced by homeless men due to budget cuts

MOSCOW- Ronald B. Wallace, once a homeless man in his native Baltimore, finally has a roof over his head. Thousands of miles away in a residential district of Moscow, Wallace has been provided with a room in a small flat that also doubles as a studio for his own news talk show. Pacing back and forth across the old Soviet parquet floor and muttering to himself, he is mentally preparing to “go live” and begin a new career in TV journalism.

“You see people, it’s all there,” Wallace says at one point, going over his own script that he wrote in a coffee-stained spiral notebook. “They’ve had this planned out since 1776, maybe longer. The New World Order is here, I’m telling you. Open your eyes.”

Wallace is one of several dozen homeless Americans lured, some say kidnapped, to Moscow as part of a new pilot program of the state-run media. Because Russia’s foreign language media such as RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik News often require foreign staff and operate outside of Russia, their operational costs are considerably high, and worse still- numbered in hard currency such as dollars or euros. Faced with budget cuts in the wake of Russia’s worsening economic situation, some enterprising officials in the presidential administration believe they have found the solution. Vladimir Frolov, one of the Kremlin’s so-called “political technologists,” is one of those.

“Basically the problem is this- we need to maintain Russia’s soft power throughout the globe, but with the collapse of the ruble and the economic downturn it’s difficult to justify the huge operating costs that go with such efforts,” Frolov explained.

“I was tasked with evaluating the content of outlets such as RT and Sputnik, and suddenly it hit me. Why are we paying these foreigners such ridiculous salaries when I knew for a fact that we could find other foreigners, even native English speakers, who will do the same job for far less money and no noticeable decline in quality?”

An idea made in the USA

Frolov’s found his inspiration while on his annual family vacation in Miami, where he owns a luxury condominium.

“I was waiting for my Uber ride near a bus stop, and there was this dirty homeless man waving a tattered book in one hand and ranting at anyone who passed by. I heard him talking about the NWO, secret plans to rule the world, and he was constantly referencing the CIA and NSA. That’s when it dawned on me- this guy sounded just like one of our pundits! I offered him dinner at a nearby fast food establishment and the rest was history.”

Frolov took several additional weeks off to do research at bus stations, libraries, and public parks up and down the East coast. When he’d finally seen enough, he pitched his new idea to his kopeck-pinching superiors.

“Why pay some useless long-term expat 200,000 or 300,000 rubles a month to write long, incoherent rambling op-eds full of 9/11 conspiracy theories, alleged CIA plots, and lavish praise of Putin as a defender against the global hegemonic Anglo-American-Zionist imperialist NWO, when I can just stick some of these homeless guys in an apartment and hook them up with some booze and hot food from the nearest McDonald’s or KFC? What’s even better, about half these guys don’t even realize they’re in another country,” Frolov explained.

Escape from the CIA

Wallace was chosen for the project back in April and said that he initially had some misgivings about the project.

“I was on the street corner telling the truth, the truth that those in power don’t want you to hear, that which remains untold, and suddenly these guys come out of the bushes and grab me,” Wallace said,staring at the floor as he spoke. “I screamed that I was being taken by the CIA. I’d been waiting for this moment. I was sure they were the CIA Conein division; those are the guys that do all the black ops and wet work. I kept screaming this but nobody came to my aid. They are sheep, still trapped in the Matrix.”

Eventually the Russian operatives were able to convince Wallace that they were not, in fact, CIA agents, and Wallace agreed to be taken to their “secret arctic underground base,” where he was assured that he would be kept safe from what he dubbed the “Conein division.”

“You’ve got to understand, the CIA Conein division has been after me for years- decades even,” Wallace explained. “So when these men told me that they work for Vladimir Putin, the only man in the world who would know how to stop them, I naturally agreed. For once I can sleep soundly at night.”

Showtime

During the pilot, Wallace sits behind an IKEA desk with a green sheet draped behind him. To the viewer the broadcast would appear not far removed from a typical program on RT. The producer gives a signal, and Wallace begins his program without the aid of a teleprompter.

“Good evening and welcome to The Hunt for the Truth,” Wallace stares into the camera with laser-like focus, still clutching his ragged notebook in one hand.

“I’m your Paul Revere. I’m Prometheus. I’m Morpheus. I’m here to tell the untold, the knowledge they don’t want you to have. The CIA Conein division boys have been hunting me for years because they know what I know- I know all about the population control, the mainstream media Matrix, the chemicals they’ve been adding to our food and water to make us mindless, dull consumers who can’t care about anything but reality TV and professional sports. But thanks to Vladimir Putin, the NWO’s number one most hated opponent, I can broadcast the truth into your homes and none of their micro-jamming satellites can block the signal!”

Throughout the broadcast, Wallace dazzles his audience with complex diagrams explaining what he calls the “Luciferian New Genesis Agenda,” a conspiracy which has allegedly been in progress for centuries, if not millennia.

“Most experts, almost all of whom have been assassinated throughout history, acknowledge that this conspiracy goes back at least 300 years,” Wallace says, standing in front of a white board which he uses to map out the various connections between world events and leader involved in the alleged plot. “But it may go back even further, to the times of ancient Egypt or even earlier. There’s evidence to suggest that the Biblical Lucifer was in fact a man, and the legend about him being cast out of heaven was actually allegorical. Since then, Lucifer and his followers have been attempting to create their own ‘Garden of Eden.’ That Eden is the NWO- the New World Order.”

Winners and Losers

Not everyone is pleased with Frolov’s new cost-cutting measures. Some Western expats who work for the state media see the writing on the wall. Adam Tudesky, a frequent guest commentator on the Kremlin’s international satellite network, had dreamed of getting his own talk show but now says that he’s “in the sights of the cost-cutters.”

“I have always been an admirer of Putin’s style of rule and leaving the decaying, degenerate third world America for a resurgent Russia was the best decision I ever made,” said the 25-year-old political analyst, who moved to Russia in the summer of 2014 after leaving graduating college with a degree in Russian studies.

“I started talking to some people about NATO aggression against Russia, the fascist CIA coup in Ukraine, and color revolutions- all these things I’d heard about on RT. Two months later I’m a geopolitical expert and a little later I become a board member of the Institute of Eurasian Geopolitics and Hybrid Warfare, a prestigious Russian think tank.”

But Frolov’s new project has got Tudesky worried.

“I mean who are these guys, really? Are they real patriots? Could the CIA slip one of their agents in here as a homeless guy and start a color revolution? What if one of them says something on the air which casts doubt on Putin and his brilliant foreign policy? What then?”

Apart from concerns about the quality of the broadcasting, Tudesky admits he has his own personal interests as well.

“I’m not going to lie. I feel threatened by this move. If they go through with this my choices are teaching English to little kids or doing the unthinkable- moving back to the US and trying to figure out how I’m going to survive when the dollar collapses. Hopefully when that happens I can use my speaking skills to assist Putin in creating a Russian enclave on the continental US, but I don’t know what I’m going to do in the meantime.”

The next generation

Wallace admits he feels sorry for expats whom he might replace if the project get the go ahead, if only because they will, according to him, “no longer be safe from the Conein division.” But he also said this wouldn’t stop him from performing what he considers a “duty to wake people up.”

“People need to know the truth. They need to wake up and break free of the Matrix. When the UN troops show up on your doorstep to drag you off to the FEMA population control camps it’ll be too late. That’s why I do what I do. I’m sounding the alarm.”