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CIVIL SOCIETY. If you believed the Western media you'd think that Putin did everything in Russia from writing editorials to planning the state doping program and that whatever feeble civil society existed was the creation of selfless foreign NGOs now suffering "squeezing"and a "devastating" "crackdown". One of the authors sent me the report "Indigenously Funded Russian Civil Society". In this researched and balanced picture of the state of play we learn that 1) foreign NGOs never funded much (a high of 7% in 2009); 2) there's quite a lot of civil society activity; 3) there are quite a few sources of funding from government, businesses and private individuals. Read it: a summary of an important subject that gets mostly propagandistic treatment. Russians are doing things on their own at an accelerating pace.

PRESIDENCY. Putin said he'll run again. This will be his last term – he will be 72 at the end – so, apart from anything else, he will be grooming a successor. He will be elected. And for good reason: you'd vote for more of the same too. Quick summary of today's press conference. English. Russian.

CORRUPTION. According to the Procurator-General, since 2014 corruption has cost Russia about US$2.5 billion; 122,000 corruption-related crimes have been registered, more than 45,000 sentenced, of whom 4500 were law enforcement staff, 400 were politicians and 3000 were officials.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. The story so far. "Wife of DOJ Deputy Was Fusion GPS Employee, CIA Research Aide, and Applied for HAM Radio License Month After Contracting MI6 Agent Christopher Steele… ". Oh, maybe he and they went a little too far. I think we're getting close to the exposure of the whole rotten conspiracy. "What in the hell is going on with the Department of Justice and the FBI?"

RUSSIA INC. "Expert" predictions of doom fail again; tiny budget deficit and foreign reserves up.

EU-USA. The German Foreign Minister has called for more independence from Washington. In particular he mentioned the damage done by the Congressional sanctions and the fear that abrogating the Iran agreement could be dangerous.

PROBLEMS WITH THE NARRATIVE. The Western Official Narrative is getting harder to spin. Apparently Ukraine is a disappointment in its "fight against corruption" (Washington, IMF). Well, duh: if you replace crooked oligarchs with different crooked oligarchs what would you expect? Meanwhile the BBC says British taxpayers subsidised Daesh. US too. Unintentionally. Of course.

SYRIA. Putin says it's basically over. The BBC gives an entertainingly grudging report, Fox, USA Today, France 24, Haaretz, New Yorker ditto: lots of only helping blood-soaked dictator, killing civilians, chemical attacks, US coalition did the real work. Washington alternately claims credit or says the declaration is premature. French Foreign Minister ludicrously says Russia "misappropriated the victory". Washington says it will stay: not a good idea. Bad losers all: complete defeat.

NATO EXPANSION. NATO made a promise. It broke it. Moscow has no reason to ever believe it.

IOC. Doping! What's that got to do with it? US Senator says we have to stand up to Putin the bully. Thereby giving the whole game away. A very flimsy case – based, in fact, on a single source.

NEW NWO. Putin's trifecta: Assad, Sisi and Erdoğan all on the same day. Trapped in their misinformation bubble most Westerners can't see it, but Moscow is establishing a reputation in the rest of the world for competence and reliability. China ditto. The world is readjusting itself. We approach a tipping point, I think, in which the reality can no longer be hidden. I am stunned by the speed of the decline: only a quarter of a century ago the West was triumphant in everything.

MUST READ. Gilbert Doctorow's presentation of his book Does the United States have a future? He starts: "I will explain why a book about the United States failing on the world stage deals so largely with what is happening in Russia." The neocons and their liberal allies, in their overreach, had to attack Russia "Because it has been the only major power to publicly reject the US global hegemony both in word and in deed." Their attempts, ranging from "colour revolutions" to sanctions to regime change in neighbours to Olympic boycotts, have made Russia stronger, more united and more determined and brought Russia and China into close partnership. The ricocheting failure feeds the crescendo of hysteria that is tearing the US polity apart. And the losing wars go on and on. My readers will have noticed that these Sitreps lately have had more to do with Russia-in-the-world and less with Russia internally: Doctorow explains why Russia is now so very central in the geopolitical rebalancing. That was very much not the case when I began the series twenty years ago.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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  1. Anna says:

    Competence and reliability are in short supply among the US “deciders” and this has become the main problem for this country. Sigh.

  2. US has no monopoly. Consider Merkel — if it had been your aim to destroy Germany, what would you have done differently from what she has done?

  3. rkka says:

    I disagree with Doctorow in only one thing. The decision to break Russia was made when Truman signed NSC-68. Once the USSR collapsed, the US moved in for the final kill, with horribly destructive economic advice to the new Russian government. After a decade of this, it had nearly succeeded:
    “The unstoppable descent of a once great power into social catastrophe and strategic irrelevance.”
    This article was a powerful, truthful description of Russia’s condition at the time, under the ruthless, rapacious, concienceless oligarchs that ‘FreeMarketDemocraticReform’ had established and enriched. And the US government was satisfied that it had rendered Russia permanently irrelevant.
    The USG got its first clue that Russia might come back when Mr. Putin or exiled arrested the most ruthless and rapacious of Russia’s oligarchs, especially Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was about to sell half of his oil company Yukos to a Western oil major, and the US information war against Putin personally began, and has never stopped escalating. First came the accusation that Khodorkovsky’s prosecution was purely political, and this continues to this day despite the fact that in May 2011 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Khdorkovsky’s lawyers had failed to substantiate that accusation, that his guilt was supported by credible testimony and evidence, and his punishment fit the crime.
    Still, the USG remained confident that Russia’s armed forces were an irrelevant pile of rust. Then came the 2008 Georgia war, initiated by Saakashvili, but ended by Russia, which is still cited as evidence of ‘Russian aggression’ despite the fact that loony Saak was the one who turned trivial local small arms skirmishing into full-blown multi-brigade combined arms offensive operations.
    And its escalated from there.
    My point is, the US has sought to make Russia irrelevant for decades, came so close, has totally failed, and is now in a frenzy of shock & frustration at its failure, and blind hatred for the agent of Russia’s recovery, Mr. Putin.

  4. irf520 says:

    кто с мечом к нам придет, то мечом погибнет.

  5. Kooshy says:

    Patrick thank you for this new Russian reality Sitrep updates. IMO, Russia’s weak point specially ever since the collapse of USSR is her never ending desire to be included and accepted by Pax Americana as an equal partner, or at least a subordinate partner like France and UK with UNSC seat. Although I must admit that desire changed was to some extend boxed in 2014/15 Syrian events. IMO, Russia regardless of her governing system being an imperial, a communist or a federal, will ever be strategically accepted in Pax American western system. Except in times of western desperation for resource, to be invaded when they are waring each other

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If not Putin, it would have been some one else.
    But to your point, I well recall Richard Nixon on US television, stating that Russia is down but not out. “That we need to treat them with respect.”

  7. Who comes to us with a sword will die by the sword

  8. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Not just by USA. It was not accepted by The NAZI Empire, by German Empire, by French Empire. She has forced herself into the Real Europe, West of Diocletean Line, and they keep on trying to push her out.

  9. rkka says:

    “If not Putin, it would have been some one else.”
    Maybe, though facing down murderous oligarchs took no small courage & determination, and not everyone has that.
    But my real point is that anyone who did foster Russia’s recovery was going to reap the hatred of the US government.

  10. catherine says:

    Lack of competence is a understatement. If there is a single person connected to US government who has a grain of sense, they are singing this song.
    ♫”Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
    I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
    I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
    And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
    Clowns to the left of me,
    Jokers to the right, here I am,
    Stuck in the middle with you ♫

  11. GeneO says:

    From Saint Alexander Nevsky. When Rus was invaded by Teutonic Kights and he kicked their butts at the Battle on the Ice. There is a great film by Sergei Eisenstein from 1938. During Operation Barbarossa 699 years after that historic battle, Eisenstein’s film stiffened the resolve of many a Soviet Lieutenant, NCO and soldier.

  12. catherine says:

    The strategy of the US seems to be to gather ally countries that are mostly weak and or corrupt and dependent on us for aid or protection.
    Imho if I wanted to control the world or ‘stabilize’ the world and or regions of the world I would seek out strong allies such as Russia,Iran even China.
    Such a power sharing arrangement would dissuade certain countries from ‘playing us’ and would also make it very risky for them to attack each other as they wouldn’t be able to pit one super power against another.

  13. Harlan says:

    I made a comment a few post back that “Russia is Carthage”. I don’t believe that, however, the establishment that rules the West is behaving just like the ruthless bastards in the Roman Senate during the run up to the Third Punic War.
    I do believe that the intent of the Western Establishment(Borg) after the dissolution of the USSR was the complete economic subjugation of Russia and the eventual break up of that state into smaller pieces with the ultimate goal of eradicating forever the thermonuclear threat to the New Rome of Europe and the United States.
    What the Borg did to the people of Russia in the 90s is unconscionable. If we had leaders the past 25 years who were visionary then Russia today would have been one of our strongest allies in the Western alliance.
    That time is past. What the West stands for any more is debatable. Ever since the fall of communism, the iron hand has emerged in the silk glove, neoliberalism or what use to be called the Washington consensus. John Keynes was right. A failed ideology from the past has arisen like Dracula. Go travel the devastation called the Rust Belt in the US. Stock market up but its not getting better. My region lost 15,000 jobs out of 45,000 during the 2008 crisis and they haven’t come back and this is the deep south where there are plenty of immigrants, low wages, and no labor rights.
    If this elite consensus and ideology that doesn’t give a damn about his fellow man continues then the epic concentration of wealth at the top will make it all but impossible to change course. The year 2217 will be an elite with almost God like qualities due to the anticipated progress in the medical field especially genetic manipulation.
    I’m a realist and understand for a large if not majority of people on Earth the life here traveled has been difficult if not hellish ever since the cave days.
    As an idealist I always hope for better.

  14. kooshy says:

    yes , i agree that’s what i mean by Pax American, US and her subordinate allies. losing side on intra European wars, like to use Russia as a back room logistic depot. And US, wants to bitch Russia in a strip poker. No more of that, with Vladimir Vladimirovich, one can only hope for sake of the world.

  15. Peter AU says:

    Russia’s main desire under Putin is to be respected as a sovereign country that trades/interacts with the world. It will not accept a position as a subordinate. Many things US and Russia could have partnered in – fighting terrorism for starters.
    Instead, US has chosen to try and isolate Russia from the world. To break out of this, Russia now has to isolate US from the world. That is starting to take shape now in the middle east. Russia and China have now formed some sort of alliance for the first time in history as far as I know. joint missile defense exercises recently. Russia/China no longer using the US dollar in joint trade, and this is spreading.
    In the longer term, I suspect the US would have been better of accepting Putin’s terms of friendship rather making Russia an enemy of choice.

  16. Will.2718 says:

    Matthew 26: Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
    Alexander Nevsky film

  17. fanto says:

    …”damage done by the Congressional sanctions ” — in Germany these sanctions are really bad for economy, Siemens is letting go of almost 7 Tsd.people, over 3,000 in Germany alone. The extent of damage to Germany is evident from the statistics recently published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the damage is much worse than for the US, French or british economy.

  18. Anna says:

    Sounds like the main symptoms of schizophrenia — delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking and speech.

  19. Adrestia says:

    I’m curious why this is your opinion?
    IMHO Germany is very successful. The EU has a lot of properties that favor Germany:
    * Germany is the economic engine of Europe
    * The Euro is a weaker currency than the German mark would be.
    * Eastern europe offers cheap labour
    * Germany basically controls the EU ecomically
    Germany also seems to have a long term strategy. Both economic and military
    * Germany still keeps good relations with Russia (eg former kansler Schroder is director of the board of Rosneft and is very cautious with negative claims.
    * Endpoint of OBOR in Leipzig (if somebody can clarify the importance of Leipzig I would be much obliged. I’ve seen several maps which specifically have Leipzig as an endpoint for the rail connection. Leipzig does have Porsche assembly and is an aerial cargo hub from Russia to Europe)
    * Although the current defense spending is low and Bundeswehr is relatively weak, it does have several strategic assets such as a SAR satellite network and is developing navy assets for worldwide littoral missions. The European GPS system is also significant
    * Pooling of European defense assets (amphibious operations, air transport, tanker aircraft etc)
    * Germans being Germans, the scaling up of the Bundeswehr can be done with relative ease. IMO Germany is following the same strategy the Russians used in the 90s. Keep R&D capacity alive with limited funds and develop assets that can be mass-produced
    If you are of the opinion that Germany should reform the EU I agree. The current economic constellation will break up the EU unless Germany starts redistribution (of about 5% of GDP) to the weaker countries (which is basically what all nation-states do internally).

  20. Seamus Padraig says:

    It’s the same all over the West. Show me a Western ruler anywhere who’s worth a damn. Victor Orbán, maybe? Is Hungary considered Western?

  21. Seamus Padraig says:

    The only time Russia will ever be accepted by the West is when she is needed to fight Germany.

  22. Peter AU says:

    Regarding Current Russia partnering with the US.
    From Putin’s recent press conference…
    Vladimir Putin: This is one area of work where we could really join efforts with the United States. If we could work together here, these efforts could really be more effective.
    We see the growing threat in Afghanistan from international terrorists and we see that radical armed groups are taking control over more and more sections of the Afghan border in the north, bordering former Soviet republics. This applies to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Naturally, we are greatly concerned by this, considering, among other things, the presence of Russia’s 201st Military Base in Tajikistan and an airbase in Kyrgyzstan. We are closely watching these developments. We see that the central government in Kabul needs support from the international community and we are ready to provide this support, as we did in previous years, including training national law enforcement and military personnel and supplying essential weapon systems and military equipment.
    Without economic aid, Afghanistan is unlikely to resolve all its problems, including combating drugs, drug production. As you know, unfortunately, it has to be said that Afghanistan is the world’s biggest producer of drugs, including hard drugs. Some of them get to the Russian market and this is definitely a cause for concern. Together with the Afghan government and the United States, as well as other governments concerned, we are ready to work to meet these challenges.

  23. Heros says:

    By protecting and saving Syria, and the remnants of the millennia old Christian culture there, Putin had already eclipsed the entire west as leader of the Christian faith.
    Now, he and Kurril are planning the restoration of these Churches and the communities that supported them.
    Contrast this to the US, sponsors of AQ, Isis, Al Nusra and SDF. Creator of fake chemical weapons attacks and attacking the SAA whenever they were most vulnerable. Making cargo drops to support these head hackers for years at a time. The US and Nato, and their Saudi/UAE allies, tried to destroy Syria and its Christian heritage the same way they are trying to destroy Christmas. They may have succeeded. I wonder if they will ever be charged with genocide?
    Meanwhile, at the White house, Jarred and Ivanka, the Kabbalists, are pushing their Hanukkah on the US sheeple through the MSM that they claim to hate. Donald Trump is receiving US evangelists who are whispering in his ear that he is the reincarnation of Cyrus, and it is Trump’s divine mission to create the third temple in Jerusalem. This third temple is also a sacred goal of Jarred and Ivanka, and all the Rabbi’s staying in the white house.
    Putin, blacklisted from Sochi for his resistance to queerification of Russia, is not dropping the flag. He is defending his people and his church and resisting the homosexuals and feminists and other useful idiots.
    The contrast could not be clearer. Putin is the defender of Christianity, and Christians are slowly waking up to that fact. In Poland, Christianity is on the march too.

  24. Sanctions and immigrant/fake refugees. Everything you describe is what was there before her (and much of it still remains. But the sanctions have lost a big market (and it’s lost a lot of it for good) and the second case is eating away at the place. Germany isn’t doomed, but it’s getting there.

  25. Orban is coming under attack as not being a “good European”. Proof, of course, of what you say.
    But here, as an early Christmas present, have a laugh
    “Biden Hails Trudeau, Merkel as Last Liberal Leaders Standing”

  26. kooshy says:

    Yes one only can wish Russia and Russians can come to term with this. IMO, western Russians, should be thought and realize ( for Russia’ sake) that Russia is not solely a European country but truly a Eurasian Country with almost more interests in her less developed under belly and eastern side.

  27. Alex says:

    Great Roundups. Patrick Armstrong. seems I am a fan by now.
    I am vaguely wondering if the supposed Russian interference in elections, exhibit Montenegro, caught your attention?

  28. I heard something but didn’t pay much attention. There are a number of subjects on which almost everything in the MSM is a conscious lie — Ukraine, Russia, Syria, North Korea, Iran are some. I guess my shortest and snappiest retort to the Russian election influence/mind control panic (just the latest in a very long string of charges of the moment) is that if the Russians were so good at influencing people, why can’t they do a better job in Ukraine?

  29. Anna says:

    Wonder, who is in command of the US air force in Syria — Israelis or the US?
    “According to the report from CNN, after several violations of the line of demarcation, the American F-22 fired several warning shots, after which the Su-25 left the area.
    Framing the story back to reality, the Russian defense department confirmed the warning fire by American aircraft, but they stated the incident realistically – according to the Ministry’s version, the F-22 simulated an air confrontation and prevented the Russian military reconnaissance aircraft from destroying a stronghold of ISIS terrorists, and disappeared after the appearance of the Su-35.”
    Preserving the ISIS for some useful missions that would please Israel?

  30. Kooshy says:

    In line with your thought, apparently yesterday’ UN Hillbillies show, was to reverse UNSC resolution 2231 that cements JCPOA, but also forbidding Iran of exporting missiles or technology for missiles. PM Zarif went right to the point ridiculing and comparing her to Collin’ UN early show back then. Fun and funny show to watch.

  31. Patrick Armstrong,
    More problems with the Russians. Undersea cables.

  32. Lyttenburgh says:

    “CIVIL SOCIETY. If you believed the Western media you’d think that Putin did everything in Russia from writing editorials to planning the state doping program and that whatever feeble civil society existed was the creation of selfless foreign NGOs now suffering “squeezing”and a “devastating” “crackdown”.”
    Please,can someone explain to me, what the West means by the “civil society”, which Russia, apparently, lacks so much?

  33. Lyttenburgh says:

    “I made a comment a few post back that “Russia is Carthage””
    A perpetually dysfunctional merchant republic talassocraty? No – that’s not true about Russia, but more apt description of the US.
    No use to resort to the historic parallels and really hope that history will magically repeat itself again.
    ” If we had leaders the past 25 years who were visionary then Russia today would have been one of our strongest allies in the Western alliance. “
    That’s a fine sentiment… but how do you imagine this happenning? What would this require from both the West and Russia?

  34. SmoothieX12 says:

    ever since the collapse of USSR is her never ending desire to be included and accepted by Pax Americana as an equal partner, or at least a subordinate partner like France and UK with UNSC seat.
    You have to update yourself a little bit on current events (in Russia). The combined West committed a cultural suicide in 2014 for overwhelming majority of Russians. Secondly, Russians are more interested in exporting gas and oil to Europe and… that’s about it. Eurasian affairs nowadays are too important to consider any “integration” with the West. On a pure geopolitical merits I don’t know in what sense France or Germany, or them both are “equal” to Russia which economically is equal to Germany (in fact is larger) while militarily–well, I don’t even want to go there. So, no.

  35. Ordinary stiffs doing things on their own without waiting for some authority to tell them to: charities, model airplane makers, cycle clubs, dog fanciers, etc — look around wherever you live, they’re all over the place.

  36. Kooshy says:

    Yes, thank you for the reply, and I agree, I did mention this desire (for being accepted in Western System) somewhat changed due to 14/15 events, also in another later comment I wrote Russians for Russia’s sake, should be thought and encouraged to see and like Russia as a Eurasian country rather than a Western European one. For sake of the world and Russia’s one can just hope a possible trip to Mar-a-Lago, won’t end up to be like the visit to the Crawford ranch.

  37. Lyttenburgh says:

    “Ordinary stiffs doing things on their own without waiting for some authority to tell them to: charities, model airplane makers, cycle clubs, dog fanciers, etc”
    Yes, but why does the West understand it very narrowly, i.e.
    – Some eco-activists are “civil society” for them, but, say, the people who rallied against the Mannerheim’s plaque (or – more controversial example – againt the movie “Matilda”) are not?
    – Why the foreign agent “Memorial” foundation is the civil society and the people who gather money for the monuments to Stalin are not?
    – Finally – what’s the “magic(k)al” power of the so-called civil society if it is a must have for any “true democracy”? I.e. it is argued that it acts as a check on the government in case it goes to war – given the events of the last 30+ years does it meant that the co-called “civil society” is dead in the US?
    I’m honestly want to know! Everyone around me likes to talk (or kvetch – or gloat0 about how Russia lacks the civil society, but no one seems to come to the common definition of it1

  38. LondonBob says:

    Germany won’t rearm, this is too sensitive an issue, power is exerted through the EU.

  39. You know why “The West” only sees certain things in Russia.

  40. Babak Makkinejad says:

    On the current path that they are, they will have to rearm. Additionally, major EU cities will have to deploy anti-missile systems as their posture against Iran deepens and expands. They hate Islam and Iran in Germany, just like fly-over America in any case.

  41. rjj says:

    by way of ECC (epistometer calibration curve):
    On what do you base your perceptions (and your perceptions of the West’s understanding) of civil society?

  42. Ulenspiegel says:

    Fanto, you are spinning the truth, do not get too confused. 🙂
    Siemens reduces the production of turbines, this is not a result of the sanctions. GE does the same, as the global demand shrinks. Think more about REs and try to understand their impact.
    At the same time Siemens is hiring, think about offshore wind turbines. Overall no net loss for Siemens. However, it is an issue in the affected eastern German states.
    The overall effect of the sanctions is very low for the German economy, we will see in 2017 an increase of exports. 45 billion EUR are peanuts when we talk about 1200 billion EUR export volume.
    Your post is not so clever propaganda.
    You (and P. Armstrong) would do a better job by defining the issues of the Russian economy and discuss the long term impact of the sanctions. 🙂

  43. Ulenspiegel says:

    “Endpoint of OBOR in Leipzig (if somebody can clarify the importance of Leipzig I would be much obliged. I’ve seen several maps which specifically have Leipzig as an endpoint for the rail connection. Leipzig does have Porsche assembly and is an aerial cargo hub from Russia to Europe)”
    That sounds a little bit fishy. Most freight trains which arrive from China via Transsib end in western German cities in the Rhein-Ruhr region, Duisburg is the by far most important, or in Hamburg:
    A more natural endpoint of a wide gauge railway track is Vienna which is an important logistic hub. (The project is actually discussed in Austria).

  44. rjj says:

    Everyone around me likes to talk (or kvetch – or gloat0 about how Russia lacks the civil society, but no one seems to come to the common definition of it.
    Maybe listen elsewhere? The people who actually do the heavy lifting of civil society tend to talk about what needs doing and how to best get it done.

  45. aleksandar says:

    We should see some interesting deeds coming from Czech republique also.

  46. Kooshy says:

    That doesn’t explain or cover, the markets German companies are loosing to Chines and Russian companies in Russia and elsewhere. Exact same damage, forced on Europeans companies doing business in Iran, after US’ policy dictates on thier governments,. A French diplomat said to me US is sanctioning both, us and Iran equally. And personal business experience tells me once you loose a client it will be hard and expensive to replace.

  47. fanto says:

    you write dismissively that I am spinning propaganda; but what should one make of the juxtaposition of your statement …The overall effect of the sanctions is very low for the German economy,….
    and the recent statistics about the impact of Russia sanctions on German economy, as reported by the german press
    I think you are defending by attacking (attack is the best defense).
    As far as Siemens is concerned – the problem is not only the turbine business, which did suffer because of the pressure on Siemens (by whom you know) in aftermath of Siemens delivery of turbines to Crimea. Siemens could have been doing much more turbine business with Russia if not for caving in to sanctions mantra.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Your Frech interlocutor was being disingenuous; the Europeans agreed with US policy with regards to Iran, they still do.
    But it is much easier to blame the Bad Bad Americans.

  49. LeaNder says:

    Interesting: Talatta, Talatta …
    wasn’t familiar with the word.

  50. Kooshy says:

    He frankly and clearly told me, on Iran Europe has no choice but to closely fallow US policy.

  51. I think we’ve wandered too far away, so I’m closing the comments. See you in a couple of weeks.

Comments are closed.