Saturday, October 29

Democrats depend on censorship so they will try to destroy Elon Musk

Elon Musk, Twitter's new boss, has freed Twitter from censorship by firing the censors at his company. The Democrat-controlled journalism profession in America will not take this lying down. 

Tucker Carlson: Propagandists lost protection from Twitter - YouTube


Thursday, October 27

War update: Ukraine losing the initiative, Russia on the march

The first part of his discussion is about Russia's air war. Kiev has announced that about 40 percent of Ukraine's energy system is now inoperable due to Russian missile attacks on the energy infrastructure.  Blackouts are increasingly routine in cities across the country.  Photographs show that tonight much of Kiev is in darkness; here is one "Million people tonight are without electricity in Kiev" / Twitter
At the beginning of the air blitz, Dima at the Military Summary Channel analyzed Russia's strategy. Ensuing events showed that his analysis was correct, so I'm now sorry I didn't link to the report. But Alexander gives a fair summary of the strategy in his update today.  And he emphasizes a point he's returned to many times, and which by now is well known to Ukraine war-watchers: 
 " . . . the Western powers have neglected development of surface-to-air missile defenses because they have relied excessively on assumptions of air superiority because of the size of their air forces, And that has now put them in a position where they're going to struggle to meet Ukraine's needs in order to resist this Russian missile offensive that we're seeing now. "

 Alexander's summary of major events in the ground war starts at the 19:07 minute mark.  


"Industries finding it increasingly difficult to continue operations in Europe."

So how are those Russia sanctions working out for the Europeans and Germany in particular? 

Europe on Its Knees as Biggest Chemical Plant Dumps Germany for China | Europe Energy Crisis - YouTube = FirstPost (India) 4:23 minutes - October 27


Wednesday, October 26

"Steady as she goes, right over the cliff."

 The Duran analyzes Britain's new prime minister:

Globalist, technocrat Prime Minister - YouTube

Rishi Sunak was installed, not elected, and by only a faction in the Conservative Party; the rest were locked out. 

Sunak, Britain's first Hindu PM, might have a surprise up his sleeve.  It depends on how committed a Hindu he is. If he's a Hindu version of the Christians who go to church twice a year -- Easter and Christmas -- then Britain's defense policy will continue to advance to the cliff, as The Duran's Alexander Mercouris predicts.  However, he took his oath of office as an MP in the House of Commons by placing his hand on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita.  

So, need anyone ask why he was actually the Conservative Party's very last choice for PM despite his obvious qualifications for the post and Britain's desperate financial situation? The British government despises the Hindus, Narendra Modi, and India's Hindu-oriented BJP in that order. We'll see how much Sunak despises Modi. 

On the other hand, although he is of Indian ethnic heritage, he was born and raised in British-controlled Kenya. He is very British -- as British as an Indian is allowed to be.


Western democracies becoming autocratic as U.S. moves toward open war with Russia UPDATED 10/26 7:30 ET PM

It keeps getting worse in the United States, almost by the day -- a situation mirrored in the European Union and Britain. Tucker Carlson has been chronicling the American descent for many months. Here is his October 25 report at Fox News, in which he points out that the 'wrong' thoughts can be illegal in the USA. "Question the system and they haul you away."

UPDATE 7:30 PM ET October 26

Message from YouTube:

This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.

 Okay, here is the link to Tucker's opening discussion; we'll see if that works:

 Tucker Carlson: Are the wrong thoughts now illegal? - YouTube


Why haven't more American risen to protest?  Colonel Douglas Macgregor answered the same question, put to him on October 25 by Judge Andrew Napolitano during their update on the Ukraine war.  In this case they were talking about Washington's 'war party' inching the U.S. toward open armed conflict with Russia. 

Macgregor replied, "The people who govern in Washington are really accustomed to a quiescent compliant public. How often do people take to the streets to object to what we do overseas with the American military?  ... It took years before [Americans] took to the streets to object to Vietnam."

The op-ed they reference is Macgregor's Playing at War in Ukraine - The American Conservative, published October 24.    


Monday, October 24

Happy Diwali!


If words could kill, Russia would be defeated in Ukraine by now.

John Batchelor and Michael Vlahos, in their roles as Gaius and Germanicas, ponder the West's "war fatigue and desperation" as it faces a defeat in Ukraine after months of promising a victory over Russia:

 John Batchelor Show / #Londinium90AD: Gaius and Germanicus consider the ruthlessness of Russia at war. Michael Vlahos. #FriendsofHistoryDebatingSociety (

John warns that Russia can be very ruthless in war, but I don't think ruthlessness is the issue, if I may jump into the conversation. 

The feedback loop in battlefield war is very short; it's very long in political war.  The West has tried to fight in the political realm against Russia's battlefield war. This has led to a profound disconnection between what is actually happening in Ukraine and public perceptions. This has made is relatively easy for Russia to walk away with the store, as we say in the USA. They managed to destroy a big chunk of Ukraine's military and divide the rest into what Alexander Mercouris calls "penny packets," as Ukraine split its forces to chase Russian troops from pillar to post. 

Yet the West doggedly continued to orchestrate a war that didn't exist outside the political realm.     

Could the eerie situation touch off a nuclear war, now that the West is contemplating Ukraine's defeat on the actual battlefield? This is John's concern, one that should be shared by every reasonable adult.

It would be easier to scale back the threat if Western societies understood that modernity has allowed them to get away with actions that depend on a long feedback loop.

Many situations in the modern era allow us to stave off the consequences of bad decisions until the inevitable feedback happens. Many jobs have become less dependent on short feedback loops. An example is piloting a plane; it used to be that if the pilot made a serious mistake, the plane would crash. Fast feedback. Technology has to a great extent allowed pilots to compensate for mistakes, obviating the fast feedback loop. 

Such compensations are a great achievement for humanity. The hidden downside is that they've created a way of thinking that tends to ignore longer-term consequences. This has led to the widespread idea that reality is what one says it is. 

The public in Western democracies insists on addressing social problems in political and moral terms rather than epistemological ones. So, it's not easy to convey that survival for the human race now depends on a keen awareness that reality doesn't care about politics or questions of good and evil. Yet it takes time to get the point across.

At the moment, we'll have to depend on Russian President Vladimir Putin's lessons on short feedback loops to do much of the arguing, as one national government after the other finds him to be far more reasonable than Nato and the American president.


Sunday, October 23

Russia's air campaign permanently crippling Ukraine's crucial infrastructure and reports of large-scale Russian troops to Kherson

 Ukrainian Power Outages, the US 101st Airborne, and Russia's Next Big Move - YouTube -- War update today from Brian Berletic at The New Atlas.

And from Intel Slava Z:

While someone is dispersing [sic] that the Russians are leaving Kherson, local publics report on large-scale transfers of Russian troops to the territory of the Kherson region. A lot of soldiers and a lot of equipment. The troops go both to the left and to the right bank. Most of all - it is on the right bank, in the Berislav region.
Oct 23 at 05:51

Summary in one sentence:  Russia is thinking long-term, Ukraine is thinking short-term.


Tuesday, October 18

Ukraine's energy system teetering due to massive sustained Russian attacks

I would guess the following report at Intel Slava Z, posted October 18 around 3:46, was filed before all the effects could be calculated from last night's Russian drone attacks across Ukraine targeting energy facilities. So, the damage to Ukraine's energy system could be considerably more than 40 percent at this point.

Our source reports that damage to the energy system of Ukraine is already 40%.

Colleagues correctly write that the unified energy system is facing the risk of complete collapse. If the Russians continue to hit non-stop, then in a week there will be nothing left.

Add to this the shortage of spare parts and components, and you will understand that Ukraine will soon be in a “complete blackout”. That's when the hardest times begin. This also applies to western Ukraine, which hoped that they would carry over and all the hardships, as usual, would fall on the south-east of Ukraine. [END]

Several more posts with videos at ISZ on the drone strikes; including this post today:

Zelensky said that since October 10, 30% of Ukrainian power plants have been destroyed

See also:

LIVE UPDATES: Air Raid Alerts Go Off Throughout Ukraine – Local Media - 18.10.2022, Sputnik International ( (4 hours ago, being updated now)

Also at Sputnik:

2 hours ago
Ukrainian Media Report Explosions in Kiev
3 hours ago
Kharkov Subway Reports That Trains Have Been Suspended
3 hours ago
Energy Infrastructure Facility Hit in Dnepropetrovsk - Authorities

Monday, October 17

Congratulations to Microsoft Edge for making itself unusable

 They keep adding so many gee-gaws that it's not worth it for me to stay with them.  It's very clear that they try to condition users to accept protocols that are not useful except to Microsoft, which seemingly can't resist imposing on the user's browsing. I'm returning to Chrome. 


Sunday, October 16

Turns out Andrei Martynov's old-fashioned view of America is right on time

"A few years ago, it would have been fashionable to dismiss this sort of materialist analysis as old fashioned. Pundits argued that the growing weight of the service sector in the American economy was a good thing, not a bad thing, a sign of progress, not decline. But today, with supply chains collapsing and inflation raging, these fashionable arguments look more and more like self-serving bromides every day."

A big tip of the hat to Bernhard for pointing out this article in The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2022-175 (

How Russia Views America - American Affairs Journal

by Philip Pilkington
Foreign Affairs Journal Fall 2022 issue
Disintegration: Indicators of the Coming American Collapse
by Andrei Martyanov
Clarity, 2021, 286 pages

In invading Ukraine, Russia acted in a way that few in the West predicted. Intelligence agencies did warn of Russian troop movements on the Ukrainian border in the weeks leading up to the attack, and a general wariness toward Russia has been prevalent among Western leaders for years. But few expected an outright invasion in early 2022, and seemingly little preparation was made for such an eventuality. Since hostilities commenced, the West has scrambled to cobble together military and economic responses, with mixed results. And despite high casualties and numerous setbacks—which some Western analysts pre­dicted would lead to a political crisis in Russia, and perhaps the fall of Putin’s regime—Russian forces have continued their campaign. At the time of this writing, they appear close to occupying all of the Donbas.

If the last few months have shown that we in the West have misapprehended Russia, then perhaps it is because we have misunderstood how Russia, in turn, perceives the West, particularly the United States. Perhaps Russia is attuned to weaknesses that the West has for too long failed to address.

The Evolution of Russia’s View of the West

In assessing Russia’s view of the West, most commentators look to President Putin’s “Munich Speech,” delivered in 2007. That speech was a protest against Western—and especially American—hegemony over the world order. In it, Putin said, “One state, and first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.” The Western response was, effectively, “what are you going to do about it?”—which was understandable, at the time, given the way the deck was stacked. But the deck has been shuffled since then. Putin’s speech is now fifteen years old, and a lot has happened in those fifteen years.

In fact, the Russian view of the West has changed dramatically. In 2007, the Russians were annoyed at what they viewed as Western overexpansion, but they were making this case as a smaller country pleading with a unipolar hegemon. Today, however, the Russians view the West—and especially America—as being in a state of terminal, ever-accelerating decline.

This narrative has been bubbling under the surface for some time. By the mid-2010s, Russian propaganda began to home in on what it claimed was evidence of American decline, and Chinese propaganda moved in a similar direction. Russian intellectuals like Aleksandr Dugin were soon saying the same thing, often in metaphysical and even theological terms. Dugin now routinely refers to the West as the “Anti-Christ.” Then, in the late-2010s, President Putin jumped on board. “Thank God, this situation of a unipolar world, of a monopoly, is coming to an end,” Putin said in a speech at the 2018 Valdai Forum, “It’s practically over already.” This is a very different narrative than that of the 2007 Munich Speech.

Nor is this view reducible to a shallow, vague criticism of imperial overreach, or a suspicion that President Biden lacks the will or energy to defend U.S. allies, as some have suggested. Rather, the Russian view is multidimensional: the Russians see America as weak economically, diplomatically, and militarily—or at least weaker than it superficially appears—a country locked in a process of decline and disintegration. Russia’s decision to launch an overt, full-scale war in eastern Europe appears more comprehensible in this light.

Cultural Disintegration

In 2021, a Russian military specialist and graduate of the prestigious Kirov Naval Red Banner School named Andrei Martyanov released a book entitled Disintegration: Indicators of the Coming American Col­lapse. The book is perhaps the most insightful statement of contemporary Russian attitudes toward America available in English. Martyanov has lived in the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s; he is thus a competent observer of both Western political developments and the Russian perception of these developments. He is also a sophisticated thinker, with a strong grasp of both economic and military matters. Tying all these issues together is Martyanov’s diagnosis of a sharp decline in the quality of the West’s leadership class—a failing elite—which he views as being at the root of these developments.

Let us start with Martyanov’s views on American culture. It should first be said that, while Martyanov is not especially impressed with contemporary American culture, he appears to have a warmness toward the American people, whom he portrays as kind, open, and inviting. Martyanov clearly feels alienated by American culture, but he does not appear to be alienated from the community in which he lives.

What he finds most disturbing about contemporary America are the deep divisions that exist in the country. He notes that this was not always the case. When he first arrived in the United States in the early 1990s, he found it, in contrast to the collapsed Soviet Union, remarkably stable. “Each time I returned from Russia,” he writes,

which at that time was a ruined country run by criminal gangs, I would go to the nearest airport bar and would order fried chicken wings, beer and then light my cigarette. Whenever I got to those bars, the TVs hanging there would show Cheers. The opening tune and the whole aura of Cheers was at that point in time so counter to my Russian life experiences—many of which were terrifying, to put it mildly. American television projected a free and decent people, a pop culture but a culture nonetheless, and very American.

But Martyanov no longer feels this way about his new home. “A long time has passed since my Cheers transitions from one world to another,” he writes. “America is different today. The country has lost the spirit which made it so attractive, and this loss is even more menacing than its catastrophic deindustrialization. America today is dysfunctional, deeply unhappy, and not a free country.” Strong words.

Martyanov is shocked by the racial divisions which have become so acute in the country. In general, he finds modern American life lawless and chaotic. He says that many American people feel scared to express themselves in public, a situation that reminds him of his early life in the Soviet Union.

Some of Martyanov’s more eccentric observations are aesthetic in nature. Martyanov has a fondness for certain aspects of pop culture. He portrays earlier developments in rock music as lauda­tory. He contrasts the obviously talented “musical virtuosos” of 1970s bands like Deep Purple with what he views as the degraded pop music of today. Ulti­mately, he traces this decline in standards to postmodernism and the demise of meritocracy. “In the world of post-modernism and fuzzy abstracts meritocracy cannot exist,” he writes, “because talent, ethics and morality cannot be defined.” Indeed, the nature of meritocracy is a major theme for Martyanov. And while some of his complaints echo the standard lines of Western conservatives, his critique of American meritocracy grows more profound and complex as the book continues.

A Waning Military Superpower

The sections of the book on American military prowess are where Martyanov’s expertise really shines through. Martyanov claims that a revolution in military affairs has already destroyed the foundation of American post–World War II hegemony and that America simply has not yet awakened to this reality. This is due to the fact, Martyanov says, that the United States has “lost both its competitive edge and its competences in some crucial fields such as building complex machines, commercial aerospace, and shipbuilding.” Effectively, he argues, the United States has already lost the arms race. Martyanov compares the efficacy of America’s Tomahawk missile with Russia’s Kalibr. He argues that both weapons have seen ample usage in recent years, and Russia’s missile is far more effective against missile defense. He points out that 70 percent of Tomahawks launched at Syria in April 2018 were shot down.

But this is not Martyanov’s core critique, which is that the American military is simply not tailored to the needs of today’s world. It is structured for incursions against much weaker opponents—such as Iraq in 1991 and 2003. But it is not in a position of strength when faced with a peer that can compete in terms of troop deployment and firepower.

Critical in this respect is America’s continued reliance on aircraft carriers to project power across the globe. “The American super-carrier died as a viable weapon system designed for modern war with the arrival of the long-range supersonic anti-shipping missile,” Martyanov writes. This renders “the 100,000-ton displacement mastodons of the US Navy obsolete and very expensive sacrificial lambs in any real war. Modern Russian hypersonic missiles such as the Mach-9 capable aero-ballistic Kinzhal have a range of 2000 kilometres and are not interceptable by existing US anti-missile systems.” In fact, if an advanced enemy decided to sink a U.S. carrier battle group, it could do so with the push of a few buttons. These missiles cost a few million dollars to make in countries, like Russia, with low labor costs. A carrier battle group, by contrast, costs about $30 billion and has around 6,700 hands on deck. Martyanov seems genuinely concerned that the Pentagon does not recognize the scale of this problem and could deploy a carrier battle group against a competitive peer in the near future. The enormous, immediate losses that would result might force the United States to use nuclear weapons in response.

Finally, Martyanov points to the shortcomings of U.S. missile and air defense systems when measured against their Russian equivalents. He notes that this makes America’s military increasingly vulnerable against even smaller nations like Iran, reminding readers of the September 2019 attack against Saudi Aramco oil refineries where Western-made missile defense systems failed to protect the infrastructure.

Martyanov traces the failures of U.S. military technologies back to the nature of the U.S. military-industrial complex. He reminds readers that this is effectively a for-profit enterprise, and so what ends up being built is not always what is best in terms of defense capabilities, but rather what will make the most money for commercial actors.

Now that we have a large-scale land war, how has Martyanov’s anal­ysis played out? Martyanov’s prediction that the structure of America’s military is only suited to relatively small wars against far weaker powers appears accurate in retrospect. Western weaponry and covert intelligence support has certainly helped Ukraine achieve some real successes on the battlefield. But as the war drags on and artillery capacity becomes decisive, the situation appears far more perilous.

Alex Vershinin at the UK’s Royal United Services Institute has estimated that the Russian military has been using around 7,176 artillery shells a day. He then compares this with American productive capacity. His conclusions are stark: “US annual artillery production would at best only last for 10 days to two weeks of combat in Ukraine,” he writes. “If the initial estimate of Russian shells fired is over by 50%, it would only extend the artillery supplied for three weeks.”1

In June, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, admitted the gravity of the material challenges. “This is an artillery war now,” he said, “Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery prices. . . . We are losing in terms of artillery.” Skib­itsky then asked that more munitions be sent from the West, but as Vershinin’s analysis shows, it is likely that we simply do not have them in sufficient supply and cannot produce them. As early as April, Germa­ny’s defense minister Christine Lambrecht admitted as much: “In the case of deliveries from Bundeswehr stocks, I have to be honest, we have now reached a limit,” she said.

Vershinin believes that the United States no longer has the arms manufacturing capacity to act as the “arsenal of democracy.” The Russo-Ukrainian war, like World Wars I and II, has been fought on an indus­trial scale. To fight it, the resources of a strong industrial economy must be deployed. Needless to say, the West has allowed its industrial capacity to erode considerably, having outsourced much of its manufacturing to poorer regions of the world. This is also visible in another surprising recent development. After putting a great deal of effort into lobbying the Australian government to buy submarines from the United States under the aukus deal, it was recently revealed to Congress that the United States does not actually possess the manufacturing capacity to produce these submarines in a timely fashion. Martyanov argues that the structure of America’s post­industrial military reflects its postindustrial economy. It is to this that we now turn.

A Hollow Economy

The book really comes into its own in the long sections on the American economy. These chapters seem especially prescient after Western sanc­tions against Russia failed to stop the invasion or decisively cripple the Russian economy, while causing increasing strains in the West. In a word, Martyanov views American prosperity as largely fake, a shiny wrapping distracting from an increasingly hollow interior.

Martyanov, reflecting his Soviet materialist education, starts by discussing the food supply. He recalls the limited food options available in the old Soviet Union and how impressed émigrés were by the “over­flowing abundance” of the American convenience store. But Martyanov notes that today such abundance is only the preserve of the rich and powerful. He references a 2020 study by the Brookings Institution which found that “40.9 percent of mothers with children ages 12 and under reported household food insecurity since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.” And while some of this was driven by the pandemic, the number was 15.1 percent in 2018. Martyanov makes the case that these numbers reflect an economy that is poorly organized and teetering on the edge. In the summer of 2022, when the food component of the CPI is increasing at over 10 percent a year and rising fast, Martyanov’s chapter looks prophetic.

Martyanov then moves on to other consumer goods. He recalls the so-called kitchen debate in 1959 when Vice President Richard Nixon showed Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev a modern American kitchen. During this debate, Nixon explained to Khrushchev that the house they were in, with all its modern luxuries, could be bought by “any steel worker.” Nixon explained that the average American steel worker earned about $3 an hour—or $480 per month—and that the house could be obtained on a thirty-year mortgage for the cost of $100 a month. Martyanov points out that this is impossible in the contemporary American economy. As vital goods have become less and less affordable for the average American, debt of all types has exploded. He notes that the flip side of this growing debt has been a decline in domestic indus­trial production, which has been stagnant in nominal terms and falling as a percent of U.S. GDP since 2008. “The scale of this catastrophe is not understood,” he writes, “until one considers the fact that a single manufacturing job on average generates 3.4 employees elsewhere in non-manufacturing sectors.”

Needless to say, Martyanov does not believe that America has the most powerful economy on earth. Deploying his old school materialist toolkit, he surveys core heavy industries—including the automotive industry, the commercial shipbuilding industry, and later the aerospace industry—and finds U.S. capacity wanting. He points out that in steel production “China outproduces the United States by a factor of 11, while Russia, which has a population less than half the size of that of the United States, produces around 81% of US steel output.”

Martyanov is particularly critical of GDP metrics as a basis for determining the wealth of a country or the power of its economy, because they assign spending on services the same weight as spending on primary products and manufactured goods. He believes that the postindustrial economy is a “figment of the imagination of Wall Street financial strategists” and that GDP metrics merely provide America with a fig leaf to cover its economic weaknesses. In a separate podcast that Martyanov posted to his YouTube channel, he explains why these metrics are particularly misleading from the point of view of military production. He compares the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class fast-attack sub­marine and the Russian Yasen-class equivalent. He argues that these are comparable in terms of their platform capabilities, but that the Yasen-class has superior armaments. Crucially, however, he notes that the cost of a Virginia-class submarine is around $3.2 billion while the cost of the Yasen-class submarine is only around $1 billion. Since GDP measures quantify economic output (including military output) in dollar terms, it would appear that, when it comes to submarine output, Russia is pro­ducing less than a third of what it is actually producing. Using a purchasing-power-parity-adjusted measure might help somewhat here, but it would still not capture the extra bang for their buck that the Russians are getting.

A few years ago, it would have been fashionable to dismiss this sort of materialist analysis as old fashioned. Pundits argued that the growing weight of the service sector in the American economy was a good thing, not a bad thing, a sign of progress, not decline. But today, with supply chains collapsing and inflation raging, these fashionable arguments look more and more like self-serving bromides every day.

Next, Martyanov looks at energy. While many American pundits believed that the emergence of fracking technology would make Russian oil and gas less and less important, Martyanov views the shale oil boom as “a story of technology winning over common economic sense.” He believes that America’s shale boom was a speculative mania driven by vague promises and cheap credit. He quotes the financial analyst David Deckelbaum, who noted that “This is an industry that for every dollar that they brought in, they would spend two.” Ultimately, Martyanov argues, the U.S. shale industry is a paper tiger whose viability is heavily dependent on high oil prices.

Martyanov is even more critical of “green energy,” which he views as a self-destructive set of policies that will destroy the energy independence of all countries that pursue them. He also points out that China, Russia, and most non-Western nations know this and, despite lip service to fashionable green causes, avoid these policies.

Finally, Martyanov returns to the collapse of America’s ability to make things. He recites the now familiar numbers about falling manu­facturing output and an increased reliance on imports from abroad. But he also points to the collapse in manufacturing expertise. Martyanov cites statistics showing that, on a per capita basis, Russia produces twice as many STEM graduates as America. He attributes this to a change in elite attitudes. STEM subjects are difficult and require serious intellectual exertion. They often yield jobs on factory floors that are not particularly glamorous. “In contemporary American culture domi­nated by poor taste and low quality ideological, agenda-driven art and entertainment, being a fashion designer or a disc jockey or a psychologist is by far a more attractive career goal,” he writes, “especially for America’s urban and college population, than foreseeing oneself on the manufacturing floor working as a CNC operator or mechanic on the assembly line.”

Rotting from the Head Down

Martyanov’s economic analysis may reflect his Soviet materialist education, but ultimately, he views America’s core problem as being a crisis of leadership. He traces this problem back to the election of Bill Clinton in 1993. Martyanov argues that Clinton represented a new type of American leader: an extreme meritocrat. These new meritocrats believed their personal capacities gave them the ability to do anything imaginable. This megalomaniacal tendency, Martyanov observes, has been latent in the American project since the founding. “Everything American,” he writes, “must be the largest, the fastest, the most efficient or, in general, simply the best.” Yet this character trait has not dominated the personality of either the American people or their leaders, he says. Rather, the Ameri­can people remain today “very nice folks” that “are generally patriotic and have common sense and a good sense of humour.” Yet in recent times, he argues, something has happened in American elite circles that has let the more grandiose and delusional side of the American psyche run amok, and this has happened at the very time when America is most in need of good leadership.

Martyanov believes that America’s extreme meritocrats vastly over­estimate their capabilities. This is because, rather than focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of the country they rule, they have been taught since birth to focus on themselves. They believe that they just need to maximize their own personal accomplishments and the good of the country will emerge as if by magic. This has led inevitably to the rise of what Martyanov characterizes as a classic oligarchy. Such an oligarchy, he argues, purports to be meritocratic but is actually the opposite. A proper meritocracy allows the best and the brightest to climb up its ranks. But an oligarchy with a meritocratic veneer simply allows those who best play the game to rise. Thus, the meritocratic claims become circular: you climb the ladder because you play the game; the game is meritocratic because those who play it are by definition the best and the brightest. Effectively, for Martyanov, the American elite does not select for intelligence and wisdom, but rather for self-assured­ness and self-interestedness.

This creates an echo chamber in the halls of power. The elite incentive structure does not allow for self-correction when error is detected. Rather, when mistakes are made, they are ignored and forgot­ten. To illustrate this phenomenon, Martyanov recalls the popularity of the phrase “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone” on Wall Street in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. Since the incentives are set up for people to focus wholly on themselves and their own careers, there is no reference to any common good to be defended, and so anyone who points out mistakes risks career suicide. Ensuring that the mechanism securing elite individual gain is upheld and insulated from criticism is more important than ensuring that it works. As with late Communism, most effort is expended on producing self-reinforcing narratives that justify the sys­tem itself, and there is little energy left for addressing genuine problems.

Martyanov posits that this is how American leaders are viewed in much of the rest of the world, where he contends that leaders are selected along more genuinely meritocratic lines. “American [public] intellectuals come across as feeble and unconvincing, if not laughably incompetent and trite,” he writes, “when measured against the best minds from Russia, China, Iran or many other regions of the globe.”

Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with Martyanov’s assess­ment of the American elite, his view has explanatory power if it is widely shared outside of the West and especially in Russia. Given that Russia, China, India, Brazil, and most of the Global South appear to have broken with the West in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, we can infer that their leaders share at least some of Martyanov’s views of Western elites.

America at a Crossroads

If Martyanov’s book provides a reasonable overview of how Russian elites view America—and I think that it does—what can we take from it? For one, Russia does not fear America. The Russians view the United States as a country in the process of collapse. They view its economy as precarious and its military power as outdated. Whether or not we agree with these assessments, they can help us understand their actions.

What is so striking about Martyanov’s book is that he has actually lived through the collapse of a society before. So too have most of the Russian leadership and the most influential Russian intellectuals. One could argue that this trauma colors Martyanov’s worldview and the opinions of his generation—that the trauma of the breakdown of the Soviet Union has led them to see collapse around every corner. But this would be unfair. For one, Martyanov clearly saw his new home as a beacon of stability in the 1990s, a viewpoint shared by many Russians of his generation.

Moreover, Americans increasingly see their country in this way. A recent poll published by YouGov on June 13, 2022, asked Americans: “Do you think it’s likely or unlikely there will be a civil war in your lifetime in America?” Among those surveyed, 46 percent said they thought it was likely; only 36 percent thought it was unlikely. Martyanov’s views are not merely those of a traumatized refugee of a collapsed superpower; they are the views of nearly half of Americans.

Read in this light, the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent alliance between Russia and China makes sense as part of a larger scheme to hasten ongoing American decline and accelerate the emergence of a multipolar world. Going forward, the core strategy of America’s rivals—already reflected in Russian rhetoric and diplomacy—will probably be to convince the rest of the world that their assessment of America is the correct one.

The key question now is, how will America’s elite respond to this spreading perception of the country’s decline? Will they become belli­cose and aggressive in an attempt to prove that they are still a power to be reckoned with? Or will they examine some of the weaknesses that their enemies believe they have found and attempt to get the country back on track? The former seems risky and could well accelerate the decline. The latter seems like the more reasonable response. But it is also the more difficult one, especially if Martyanov’s assessment of the current U.S. elite is correct.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume VI, Number 3 (Fall 2022): 102–12.

1 It is also worth noting a perhaps surprising disparity in the number of available artillery pieces. Russia, North Korea, China, South Korea, and India have large numbers of artillery pieces at 26,121, 17,900, 17,700, 11,258, and 10,774, respectively. Western countries like the United States, France, and Germany have relatively few at 8,137, 758, and 159, respectively. These numbers do not reflect quality or the capabilities of other forces. Still, the Russo-Ukraine conflict has shown the importance of artillery, and the gap is significant.


Saturday, October 15

Tuesday, October 11

Scott Ritter talks today about Ukraine developments

 Ritter - The Bridge - The Russian Response- It's a New Game (

Tucker Carlson interviewed Tulsi Gabbard tonight about her leaving the Democratic Party

The interview starts around the 10 minute mark, after Tucker shows the flipflop Democrats did when they realized they couldn't control their rising star. 

Tucker Carlson Tonight 10/11/22 FULL | BREAKING FOX NEWS october 11, 2022 - YouTube


Negative test readings now Normal

T-Shirts with this message have gone viral. Here's one source.

 I Had My Patience Tested I'm Negative - Angry Cat - NeatoShop

Tulsi Gabbard talks about Democratic Party's betrayal of key American principles

Broadcast by CNN-News 18. She speaks clearly on a wide array of issues. This explains in detail why she has left the Democratic Party, which she did today. And it is the first edition of the Tulsi Gabbard Show, which will discuss in depth the issues she addresses tonight and many others. 

The live broadcast has ended so you should be able to listen to her talk from the beginning at the CNN 18 site via YouTube; if not, you can listen to her discussion at her website.

The podcast is also at Rumble:

The Tulsi Gabbard Show (

Zelensky has been very useful to Russia's military

"The West is out of heavy weapons to send to Ukraine"

Brian Berletic at The New Atlas has been describing the situation in detail for weeks.  Here he is today, making the same points after he contrasts BBC reporting on the Ukranian attack on the Crimean bridge with their reports on Russia's attacks on Ukranian infrastructure..

Russia Responds: Missile Strikes Across Ukraine & What May Follow Next - YouTube

 The situation is catastrophic for Ukraine, and President Zelensky has done a great job of draining weapons and ammunition from NATO stockpiles -- including the American one. 

[shaking her head] What a mess the Biden White House has made. 


Can Tulsi Gabbard save the United States of America?

One person, even a U.S. President, can't do it but Americans who agree with her can. All signs are that the number of such Americans is large and growing larger by the week.

Tulsi Gabbard leaves Democratic Party, denounces "control of an elitist cabal of warmongers"
by Cami Mondeaux, Breaking News Reporter
October 11, 2022
Washington Examiner

Former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced she is leaving the Democratic Party, denouncing lawmakers on the Left for promoting policies that “[racialize] every issue & stoke anti-white racism.”

In a video announcement released on Tuesday, Gabbard called on other members of the party to abandon the Democratic Party, accusing the Left of only protecting the “powerful elite.” It’s not clear what party Gabbard plans to join next or if she intends to remain independent.

“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoke anti-white racism, actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms, are hostile to people of faith and spirituality, demonize the police and protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, believe in open borders, weaponize the national security state to go after political opponents, and above all, dragging us ever closer to nuclear war,” Gabbard said. 

“If you can no longer stomach the direction that so-called woke Democratic Party ideologues are taking our country, I invite you to join me.”

Gabbard, a one-time presidential hopeful for the Democratic Party, retired from the House in 2021. Since then, the former Hawaii representative has been publicly critical of the party, particularly toward President Joe Biden.

“I believe in a government that is of, by, and for the people. Unfortunately, today’s Democratic Party does not. Instead, it stands for a government of, by, and for the powerful elite,” Gabbard said. 

“I’m calling on my fellow common sense independent-minded Democrats to join me in leaving the Democratic Party.”



All kinds of great info from Alexander Mercouris re Ukraine war!

Much more than the title suggests, including discussion of the micro-missiles Russia is using. 

Russia Continues Missile Strikes, Targets Ukraine Energy System; Collective West Out of Options - YouTube

Be there or be poorly informed. 

I don't want to hear complaints about the length of the video. You can spend 52 minutes with Alexander, or you can spend hours on the internet trying to chase down what's actually happening in the war. 



They're from Barcelona


Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, Anthony Blinken, Victoria Nuland.

If you don't see their connection to Barcelona, I guess this means you didn't watch the video I posted the other day.  Here it is again, all 3 minutes and 2 seconds of it.

Pundita: The rat hunt begins


Monday, October 10

"Kremlin sends a warning" as events explode

Kremlin sends a warning w/Tim Kirby (Live) - YouTube - The Duran; Kirby reports from Russia.  

See also this very important report:

Details Of Attack On Crimean Bridge Revealed. NATO Appears InvolvedSouth Front - October 10

Two trucks were involved in the attack and the surviving driver is testifying. The Russians now know exactly how the attack was planned and carried out.  


Russia strikes energy, military command and communications facilities across Ukraine UPDATED 9:10 AM Eastern Time


At 6:45 Intel Slava Z published a longer list of cities struck:

The result of today's missile strikes:

▪️The following cities were hit:
- Kiev
- Dnepropetrovsk
- Kharkiv
- Zaporozhye
- Ternopil
- Odessa
- Krivoy Rog
- Lviv
- Zhitomir
- Rivne
- Nikolaev
- Krapivnitsky
- Kremenchuk
- Konotop

▪️Strikes on important objects:
- Glavk SBU (Kiev)
- CHPP-5 (Kiev)
- CHPP-6 (Kiev)
- Lviv CHP (Lviv)
- Burshtynska TPP (Ivano-Frankivsk region)
- EU Advisory Mission (Kiev)
- Department of law enforcement agencies (Kiev)

▪️Metro in Kiev and Kharkov stopped

▪️Light [Electricity] gone:
- Lviv
- Zhitomir
- Sumy
- Kharkiv
- Khmelnitsky
- Poltava
- Ternopl
- Lutsk
- Rivne
In many cities of Ukraine, there are problems with water supply and the Internet

Telegram: Contact @intelslava 

More details in a series of posts at ISZ, which will probably continue throughout the day; Google users might have to scroll down for the most recent posts. Microsoft publishes the most recent posts first.  ISZ's comment on all the activity against Ukraine this morning: "Let the stone age begin." 


The strikes are in major cities, including Kiev. One target in the capital was the SBU, the Security Services of Ukraine.

Major cities across Ukraine reported attacks against critical infrastructure on Monday morning, with Kiev, Kharkov, Dnepr, Odessa, Krivoy Rog, Zhitomir, Ternopol, Khmelnitsky, Konotop, Lvov, and other cities reporting explosions, often followed by the loss of electrical power.

Putin: Russian High-Precision Strikes Target Infrastructure in Response to Kiev's Terrorism - 10.10.2022, Sputnik International ( - 3 hours ago

See also:

LIVE UPDATES: Russian Defense Ministry Says All Designated Objects in Ukraine Hit, Goal Achieved - 10.10.2022, Sputnik International (

Regarding the "goal achieved," it seems there will be more strikes, or that more strikes happened after the first phase of the strikes. Fog of war.   


Looks like Ukraine could concede Bakhmut.

From Intel Slava Z published today at 00:41:

It is reported that today a command was given for an urgent evacuation of the Artyomovsk [Bakhmut] fire station. Tomorrow the police are expected to withdraw to Kramatorsk.

It looks like the Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing to surrender the city.

Telegram: Contact @intelslava 

I'll be darned. After all that back and forth during the last 24 hours about what's going on in Bakhmut.  

Well, what does this mean?  For starters, ISZ is so confident that the takeover of Bakhmut is imminent that they're now referring to the city by its Russian name.  And it would mean that the Great Battle of Bakhmut won't happen if the Ukranian military cedes. That would be wise on the part of Ukraine's leadership, given the huge number of troops and materiel they would lose in a vain attempt to hold the city.  But as they have consistently acted unwisely, they might still try to get themselves massacred in large numbers. It's become a habit with them. 

Again, we'll just have to wait and see.


"US army loots new batch of Syrian oil as fuel crisis deepens"

According to the Syrian Oil Ministry, US forces have stolen more than 80 percent of the country’s daily oil output, amounting to around “66,000 barrels of oil every single day.”

American troops have been stealing Syrian oil for years and oversaw Turkey's theft of the oil for sale in Europe. Remember the fuel tanker convoys to the Syrian/Turkey border that ISIS controlled? The Obama White House and NTAO stood by and did nothing, until Putin called them out at a G20 meeting and showed photos of the convoys.  

US army loots new batch of Syrian oil as fuel crisis deepens ( - October 8. Below is the entire report:

In the middle of a fuel supply crisis, the US occupation army is stepping up the theft of Syrian oil

US military forces occupying Syria looted a new batch of oil on 7 October from the country’s Jazira region, local media reported.

According to local sources in the Al-Yarubiyah countryside, “a convoy of 50 tankers belonging to the American occupation, loaded with stolen Syrian oil, left Syria through the illegal Mahmoudiya crossing in batches towards Iraqi territory.”

In just a few short months, the US army has stepped up its oil looting operations in Syria, transporting hundreds of tankers loaded with stolen Syrian oil from the Rmelan fields of the Jazira region into its bases in Iraq, with the aid of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Just at the end of last month, US occupation forces smuggled 79 tankers loaded with Syrian oil from the fields of Jazira region to Iraq.

An exclusive investigation The Cradle details the process of the oil smuggling operation by US forces and the use of several illegal border crossings leading to the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

According to the exclusive, there are usually no less than 70 to 100 tankers transporting Syrian oil during each journey.

According to the Syrian Oil Ministry, US forces have stolen more than 80 percent of the country’s daily oil output, amounting to around “66,000 barrels of oil every single day.”

In late August, Damascus reported that its oil and gas sectors have incurred losses of up to $107 billion since 2011 as a result US-sponsored war which began in 2011.

The recent surge in US oil looting operations in Syria could likely be related to the severe energy crisis battering the west since the imposition of sanctions on Russia. Moreover, its likely that the recent decision by OPEC+ to cut output production levels will create a pretext for the US army to loot even more Syrian oil.

In late August, Damascus reported that its oil and gas sectors have incurred losses of up to $107 billion since 2011 as a result US-sponsored war which began in 2011.

The recent surge in US oil looting operations in Syria could likely be related to the severe energy crisis battering the west since the imposition of sanctions on Russia. Moreover, it's likely that the recent decision by OPEC+ to cut output production levels will create a pretext for the US army to loot even more Syrian oil.