Business As Usual

This post is a continuation of the theme and/or themes developed in the Follow The Money post here and the Call The Bluff post here. Despite the hyped and provocative rhetoric from the political establishment in this contrived East/West strategy of tension crisis over Ukraine, behind the scenes it’s very much business as usual and full sails ahead. But you wouldn’t know it from the headlines and ensuing discussion in the comment sections of the plethora of political and social commentary publications and blogs. Internet spaces like the mainstream press usual suspects such as the NYT, The Guardian, The Washington Post, CNN, Fox…..you name it, are incessantly monitoring and reporting on every breath, and shit, taken on both sides of this faux East/West standoff over Ukraine. And the commentariat at these respective internet spaces amplify this ludicrous hyper-vigilance as they zealously build mountains out of molehills in securing their next fix like the obvious political junkies they’ve become.

It’s not just the mainstream press either, it’s also the alternative media and oftentimes the alternative media can be worse because many of these blogs can focus solely on the current “crisis” exclusively unlike mainstream publications that serve a broader audience than just foreign affairs addicts.

In the aforementioned two previous posts I introduced three such alternative media blogs that are devoted to making this contrived Ukrainian crisis contrived and all it can be; Moon of Alabama, The Vineyard of the Saker and Sic Semper Tyrannis…and there are so many more that haven’t received honorable mention. Not only is no stone left unturned in their eager and earnest efforts to stoke fear & loathing in Europe’s Breadbasket, if no stones can be found, they’ll make some out of thin air and turn them in continuance of their futile attempts to breath life into this Burning Man Frankenstein they’re working tirelessly day in and day out to create. Such dedication. They truly are made in their God’s image and their work is likened to the Creator’s work recounted in the Bible’s Book of Genesis. And the Bloggers said, let there be civil war, and there was civil war in Ukraine and the Bloggers saw that it was good. And the Bloggers said, let there now be World War III, and there was World War III, and the Bloggers saw that it was good. Then Cold N. Holefield came along and said, “yo, what’s in the bowl, bitches,” and the Catcher In The Lie saw that the bowl was empty and slapped those who said it was full of fear & loathing in Ukraine (not Vegas this time…sorry for the change of venue…what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but what doesn’t happen in Ukraine doesn’t stay in Ukraine) and said, “wake the hell up you freaks and get a real job like the hard-working Ukrainians you’re attempting to destroy with your conjured crap.”

As an example, the NYT today, on the front page, has the headline U.S. Announces More Sanctions Against Russia. We”ll see in a moment why that headline is a joke and propaganda. A look at many other publications, mainstream or alternative, covering foreign affairs shows play by play reporting in an effort to conjure an environment of conflict where none existed previously. Very similar, in fact identical to, the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Except this time it’s Ukraine, and thankfully the Ukrainians aren’t cooperating like the Yugoslavians did, however reluctant they may have been at first. For any objective and independent Ukrainians reading this, don’t get caught up in the contrived conflict. Haters of many stripes want you to do their fighting for them. Don’t spill your blood. It’s what they want…it’s why they’re hyping every trivial event and making more of it than it is. They want to ignite the conflict and they’re furious right now it’s not working. They will resort to other measures after a while since this direction isn’t paying dividends, but understand no one in this faux conflict has your best interests at heart. Behind the scenes, it’s Business As Usual.

What do I mean when I say Business As Usual? It’s pretty much self-explanatory, but it equates to the growth in the rate and extent of wealth concentration despite smoke screens like the fabricated Ukrainian crisis meant to obscure and redirect your focus if you have any focus (something of a rarity these days). Per the Follow The Money thread I linked to earlier in this post we learned that despite the so-called growing tension and friction between the East and West, and more specifically Russia and America as their respective proxies in this Kabuki theater production, back stage deals are being struck and business relationships are being maintained, bolstered and forged even though, if we’re to believe the rhetoric amplified by a complicit press disseminating propaganda for the WWON (World Wide Oligarch Network), Russia is the enemy who’s Hitleresque expansionist behavior could start World War III. I highlighted Siemens as an example of Business As Usual in the Follow The Money thread, but to further emphasize the point I’ll link to the article again and quote it because it’s pertinent to what’s going on back stage in plain sight for those who have eyes to see and aren’t adverse, or reluctant, to updating their memes. Here’s the link to the article about Siemens. It’s behind a pay wall, so I’ll post the snippet I posted in the earlier thread:

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country recently was ousted from the club of the world’s most developed nations, received a vote of confidence from the chief executive of one of Europe’s biggest companies.

Siemens AG SIE.XE +0.99% CEO Joe Kaeser met Mr. Putin at his official residence outside Moscow on Wednesday. The executive told the Russian leader that Siemens will continue making long-term investments in Russia, the country’s Interfax news agency said.

Mr. Kaeser, as part of a group of business representatives, reaffirmed the German company’s intention to invest €1 billion ($1.4 billion) in its Russian operations, Siemens said. The visit was planned after Mr. Kaeser met with Mr. Putin in October and was part of continuing discussions over Siemens activities in Russia, the company said.

Mr. Kaeser also met Alexei Miller, chief executive of OAO Gazprom, GAZP.RS -13.62% to discuss business opportunities, Siemens said.

“In politically difficult times, it is important not to break off dialogue,” a Siemens spokesman said.

Russia has been hit by sanctions from the West and was excluded from the Group of Eight leading nations after the country annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea…..

Isn’t that considerate of Mr. Kaeser? Good friends like this are hard to come by these days, you must admit. Friends who, despite your intentions to use nuclear weapons if you feel threatened in any way, are willing to stick by you through thick and thick (no, not thin because the profits are always thick and that’s the glue that binds…there is no other moral or ethical principle that takes precedence over that golden rule).

But it’s not just Siemens, it’s also Big Oil as is witnessed by this excellent article in Foreign Affairs. From the article:

Russia may have become an international outcast in the wake of its annexation of Crimea and continued destabilization of eastern Ukraine. But for one group of powerful multinationals, Russia these days is less pariah than promised land.

Big Western oil companies from BP to Shell have not just stayed the course in Russia in recent months — many have essentially doubled down on oil and gas investments there and built even closer ties with Russian energy firms. Taken together, the deals could send billions of dollars flowing into the Russian economy just when Barack Obama’s administration is trying to hammer it hard enough to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to reverse his annexation of Crimea and stop menacing eastern Ukraine.

It’s unclear how successful the American efforts will be if giant multinational energy firms continue investing in Russia. The deals are a boon to Putin and a blow to President Obama for reasons that go beyond mere dollars and cents. The Western companies that sign the agreements also bring much-needed technical know-how, which is critical to Russian efforts to tap oil and gas in an array of inhospitable sites.

“Basically, they are torpedoing whatever the United States and the EU are trying to do, which is rattle Putin’s cage,” said Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. “I’m very surprised the oil companies are going out of their way to assure Russia and Putin that they are going to do business as usual.”
Indeed, international oil firms are flocking to do more business in Moscow despite international outrage at the annexation of the Crimean peninsula, fears about Russia’s use of natural gas exports to blackmail Europe, and growing signs that Russia is trying to stir up tensions in eastern Ukraine as a prelude to a potential military incursion there.

The continued Western investment in Russia reflects the simple fact that the country’s energy potential is simply massive, with still-untapped deposits of oil and gas in Siberia and the Arctic and a huge Asian market for energy exports just next door. The prospect of getting in on the ground floor of the opening of Russia’s liquefied natural gas export market is especially attractive to many firms, which see demand for gas in China, Japan, South Korea, and India as a guaranteed market for years to come.
As a result, a parade of Western CEOs have made clear that they have no plans to end, or even delay, their joint projects with Russia. Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden, for instance, met with Putin at the latter’s residence outside Moscow on April 18. According to Bloomberg, van Beurden told Putin that his company is “very keen to grow our position in the Russian Federation,” including through fresh investments to increase the capacity of the Sakhalin offshore gas field and export terminal in Russia’s Far East. Kelly op de Weegh, a spokesperson for Shell, told Foreign Policy that the company’s commitment to Russia hasn’t been diminished by recent events.

You have to be a wonk to find this information. It’s not plastered all over the front pages because it would interfere with the hyped propaganda used to manufacture a conflict from thin air and fill that previously thin air with thick smoke so the rubes can’t and won’t see the ruse through the blinding fog.

Increasingly, corporations are sovereign and transcend any notion of Nation-States. In fact, Nation-States become divisions of their Too Big To Fail organizations and it is from these behemoths that Nation-States take their marching orders. Siemens and Big Oil are not alone. According to this article from Automotive News, Renault-Nissan sees bright future in Russia as it relaunches Datsun. Per the linked article:

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn sees great potential in Russia despite a slowdown in car sales in the country and the crisis over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Ghosn said the geopolitical situation is “bumpy” but is “not going to last.”

“We have no hesitation about the potential for the Russian market, he said. “At a certain moment it will be behind you. Our strategy doesn’t take into consideration short-term bumps but has to take into consideration trends and long-term potential.”

Ghosn was speaking to reporters after unveiling the on-Do sedan, which is being launched in Russia by Nissan’s revived Datsun brand.

Russia has a growing middle class with disposable income, low car density and an aging fleet on the road — all factors that should support future sales. However, car sales have faltered as economic growth has slowed, causing people to put off large purchases.

Car sales fell 5 percent in 2013, according to lobby group AEB, which is forecasting another weak year because of the fragile economy.

Ghosn said he took a longer-term view. “I’m bullish on the market, I recognize the fact the market declined last year and will probably decline this year, but when we invest, we engage not for this year but five, 10, 20 years down the road,” he said.

Ghosn said that the Renault-Nissan-AvtoVAZ alliance aims to take a 40 percent market share in the Russian market, although he did not give a time frame. Renault, Nissan and AvtoVAZ currently have a combined share of 32 percent, according to figures from the AEB.

Interesting. Ghosn sounds rather confident, wouldn’t you say? As though he knows something all the dire fearmongers don’t. The message of the fear & loathing cheerleaders doesn’t square with the irrational (or is it rational?) exuberance of the business community. Two sides of the same profitable coin are being played, or I should say this is tantamount to burning both ends of the candle.

I’m betting McDonald’s hasn’t closed its doors in Russia yet except for Crimea, much to Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s feigned chagrin. In fact, in keeping with the theme of this post, not only is McDonald’s going strong in Russia, but so enamored are Russians with American consumerism, Russian NBA basketball player Andrei Kirilenko (who plays for the Brooklyn Nets) is bringing Hooters to Russia where he’s planning on opening five locations in the next few years, the first of which is opening today. Instead of big breasts on display, it will be big calves in Russian Hooters since Russia is known for women with huge calves. Like breast implants (boob jobs) in America, Russia’s equivalent is calve implants (calve jobs). Certainly this seems bizarre and wrong to us Westerners, but if you change your perspective, you learn to appreciate, love and covet women with big calves and soon enough you can’t get enough of them. Considering that, maybe they should come up with a better name for Hooters in Russia. Calves, perhaps? Either way, I’m sure it’ll be a huge success and Zhirinovsky one of its greatest fans when he settles in there for a few beers and some lecherous calve-watching after a hard day of raping pregnant women who aren’t at home cleaning the bathrooms. Here’s what the linked article had to say:

The restaurant chain Hooters announced last week that it will open its first Russian location, in Moscow, on Monday.

Why would anyone in Utah care, you ask?

Because former Utah Jazz star Andrei Kirilenko, who now plays for the Brooklyn Nets, is teaming up with Hooters to open five locations in the next few years. The Moscow location has hired dozens of Hooters Girls to serve up the brand’s famous chicken wings.

“Like Americans, Russians are huge sports fans that are excited about an upbeat dining experience that combines sports, delicious food and, of course, the Hooters Girls,” Kirilenko said. “Hooters is the perfect fusion of all three, so it only makes sense to bring this legendary concept to my home country.”

Kirilenko said many Russians know of the Hooters brand from Hollywood films, and acknowledges it will be a challenge to dispel the nation “that it’s a strip bar.”

Irina Shayk, the cover model for Sport Illustrated’s 2011 swimsuit issue and the girlfriend of Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo, said she would work as a waitress at the Moscow Hooters for a week after it opens, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“Russians and Americans are more alike than different — huge sports fans who are looking for great food and good times,” Kirilenko said. “When you’ve got waitresses that look like ours, it’s a slam dunk.” (Pun probably intended.)

Kirilenko may not make Monday’s grand opening as his Nets play at home Sunday, then travel to Toronto for Wednesday’s game.

Kirilenko’s wife, famous for giving him a yearly “free pass,” seems to be on board. Masha Lopatova, who is a pop singer in Russia, has promoted the Moscow Hooters grand opening on her Instagram account.

I’ve already offered numerous examples that emphasize, despite the dire headlines about the contrived crisis in Ukraine and looming World War III implications, it’s Business As Usual when you clear the smoke away. But see, that’s the problem. Most aren’t able to clear the smoke away because the smoke just keeps coming. The provocateurs who have taken control of comment sections everywhere are blowing smoke up people’s asses in hopes they’ll never see the light of day. That’s where this blog and a few others provide a valuable service…free of charge. We provide smoke vision goggles so you can see regardless of how much smoke’s being blown in every direction. Like this fretful smoke over at Pat Lang’s blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis in the post entitled, get this, Four Ways The Ukraine Crisis Could Escalate To Use Of Nuclear Weapons. Here’s a few comments from those gathered around the Colonel’s campfire for the spooky stories of nuclear annihilation:

VietnamVet said in…

Washington DC is insane if it thinks NATO and Russia can fight a war and not end up destroying the world. Ukraine is proof that the West and Russia have been and will always be in conflict and it is in our genes to lord it over others. I am for anything if it will get through to the 0.01% and their ideological handmaidens and get them to realize they will all be dead unless they back down from destabilizing Russia. If not, 2014 will be the end of our time on earth.

The Twisted Genius said…

I remember the furor over that movie. The Reagan Administration did not want it to be aired fearing it would lessen our resolve to wage nuclear war. They preferred that we unhinge our doors and grab our shovels and revel in the mushroom clouds. I still don’t know whether they believed that crap or were just trying to “send a message” to the Soviets that we were crazier than they were.

The naiveté of that “60 Minutes” you described is shocking. Cluelessness is so in vogue. I wish ABC would have the stones to rebroadcast “The Day After” again. They should allow all networks to broadcast it simultaneously. Maybe that would slap some sense and outrage into the American public. The neocons and R2Pers will, of course, brand such a broadcast as un-American cowardice. Screw all those sons of bitches

They’re living in a completely different reality, and in fact, if their reality were the reigning one, which it’s not, there would be a nuclear world war precisely because of their intense focus on one. Instead, we just have the same old boring Business As Usual and people making up stories to spice up their otherwise dull lives.

That’s all for now, folks. Until next post, happy lying…and living.

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5 thoughts on “Business As Usual

  1. Dear Cold,

    Please read this exchange I had with the Public Editor of the NY Times and amend your ways accordingly:

    To public@nytimes.com

    Mar 18

    Ms. Sullivan,

    The NY Times, it appears, has come down in favor of Ukraine while others go with “the Ukraine.”

    As a junior wordsmith I am interested in knowing how the country above the Black Sea came to be known by many as “the Ukraine.” Are both versions equally correct? And why not the Spain, the Germany, or for that matter, the New Jersey?

    Sincerely,

    Q. Shtik

    nytimes, public
    To Me

    Mar 18

    Dear Mr. Shtik,

    Thanks for taking the time to write. The Times uses “Ukraine” which is the appropriate usage. Here is an article explaining that usage: http://www.ukrweekly.com/old/archive/1991/499102.shtml

    Best,
    Jonah Bromwich

    Office of the Public Editor

    The New York Times

  2. Cold,

    As follow-up to my comment above, please do not bother hassling me about “the Netherlands,” “the Philippines,” etc. I would write the Times Public Editor about those as well but I don’t want to wear out my welcome.

    • Ha! I know I’ve worn out my welcome…if I was ever welcome, which I highly doubt.

      Point taken about “Ukraine” versus “the Ukraine.” If you look at some of my early writing, on this blog at least, I was using “Ukraine” without the “the.” After investigating the history of the name and the territory referred to as “Ukraine” or “the Ukraine” I came to realize it very much resembled the Borderlands between England and Scotland. The area switched back and forth between the two countries and for a time was a rough and rugged no-man’s land where only the battle-worn survived and thrived, if you could call it that. Just like “Ukraine” or “the Ukraine” it was, as Ukraine is now, a transition area serving as a nexus between two significant geopolitical regions. If Ukraine truly wants to be a sovereign nation, it would be prudent to call itself something other than the English translation of “Borderland.” Otherwise, I still consider it legitimate to refer to it as the Borderland or the Borderlands as the Soviets did. In fact, perhaps it’s more fitting since it appears as though the Ukraine will be divided up ultimately like Yugoslavia was.

      What is the difference between Ukraine and the Ukraine?

      “Ukraine is a country. The Ukraine is the way the Russians referred to that part of the country during Soviet times … Now that it is a country, a nation, and a recognized state, it is just Ukraine. And it is incorrect to refer to the Ukraine, even though a lot of people do it.”

      I’ll think about switching back to “Ukraine” versus “the Ukraine,” but not because the NYT considers it the right thing to do, but because I don’t want to lend any more credence to the anti-American pro-Russian Putin-lickers who would like to see Ukraine carved up into unrecognizable, insignificant and easily manipulated, with minimal effort and resources, statelets.

  3. Alright, Q. Shtik. I’ve made the change to all references to Ukraine in this post. From here on out, in support of the good people of Ukraine who do not wish for their sovereign nation to be carved up, I will, until that time, refer to their country as “Ukraine” versus “the Ukraine.”

    Thank you for directing my attention. Words matter. Long Live Ukraine!

  4. Regarding Hooters in Moscow:

    Setting aside my personal preference for the large female breast (I might almost say the bigger the better), if I had to choose between big calves and bird leg calves a la Angelina Jolie I’d definitely take big calves. But “huge” can be a calf too far.

    Take, for example, the calves of Jodie Foster…you can get a few glimpses of them in the movie Elysium and they are ridiculous. I think their over-development has something to do with the angle of her feet when walking; specifically, if you drew a straight line through each foot those lines would converge behind her at roughly a 90 degree angle. I think she is also what I call a “toe springer.”

    None of this, of course, has anything to do with whether the trouble in Ukraine is, as you allege, a deliberate concoction of journalists.

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