First, my most heartfelt gratitude to all of you
Today, I want to begin by thanking you all for your donations (be they in the form of money, expressions of support, or prayers. I am immensely grateful for your financial help which came in many forms, from PayPal to checks, and even with Amazon cards. I wish I could thank you all personally, you sure deserve it, but physically I don’t the time to do that, not even for those of you who have been most generous. Besides, I don’t want to have a one policy towards those who donated a little, and another one towards those who donated a lot because I know that most of you have very limited means and because in the end, even an email with just a few kind words can do more than any sum of money.
There might be some of you who are disappointed that I did not acknowledge their support or express my gratitude personally and they might note that other blogs do that. Please keep in mind that the Saker Blog is pretty much a one man show with limited means, whereas other blogs typically have a major sponsor and several people working on the blog.
So all I can do is thank you here, which I do from the bottom of my heart!
Next, I want to update you on how the blog is doing.
“State of the blog report” – the good news
I think that the blog is doing absolutely great, better than my wildest expectations in fact. I attribute that to three key factors:
- A truly world-class “GUEST ANALYSES” section
- The excellent job done by the moderators
- The excellent job done by the Saker Community translators
Let’s look at each one.
First, try to make a list of all the guest contributions this blog enjoys, note the topics and where the contributors are from, and you will see why I am so proud of the “GUEST ANALYSES” section. Frankly, I consider my contributors to be the most precious treasure of this blog and I can only thank God for having directed such interesting people to my blog. While a minority of obtuse visitors like to get angry and wonder “how could you post this?!” because they don’t like the fact that this blog does not have “ideological purity” and posts a host of different point of views, I think that most readers very much appreciate this true diversity (minus a few, select, ideologies such as Nazi, Zionist or Latin/Papist articles). I sure learn a lot every day from these amazing contributions and I am most grateful to each of these authors who, in spite of not being professionals (with a few exceptions), manage to provide a type of information and viewpoint rarely found in “ideologically pure” media outlets.
Next, I want to repeat again and again: without our moderators I would have no other option than to completely shut down the comments section. Not only do I most emphatically NOT have the time to moderate myself, I also believe that this blog has come under a sustained attack by trolls, paid or not. I will write more about that below, because that is a very important issue which will only get worse with time.
Finally, I want to express my deepest thanks to our tiny group of translators initially 3, now mostly only 2 people! Not only are their translations superb, I also know that all my translators are not exactly swimming in free time or money and yet, they keep producing superb translations day after day after day. This staying power is what is the hardest in our struggle, and yet they keep up their work. They are SO dedicated to their job, that they don’t even wait for me to ask for help – they spontaneously suggest documents for translation. Let me tell you, if these guys were working for a government or a corporation, they would get either a medal, or a pay raise, or something else to acknowledge their superb work. All I can do is to thank them and also convey the following to all of you, especially the Russian speakers:
Translating Russian documents, articles and videos from Russian into English is still one of the most important things we can do to prevent a war and to help Europe and the USA free themselves from their current occupation (Europe by the USA, the USA by Israel). I KNOW there are A LOT of Russian speakers reading this blog and I assume that a few of them would have the time to help with translations, even if it is just one hour per week. So here is my appeal: if you speak Russian, PLEASE contact my Director of Research, Scott, at email@example.com to see how you can help not only us, but Russia, Europe and even the US!
That is not to say that we don’t face difficulties. So let’s look at them next.
“State of the blog report” – the not so good news
First, the US deep state has been very active in suppressing pro-Russian blogs, and mine is no exception. Since YouTube is not crucial to my work, and since I don’t monetize the blog in any way and since we pay top dollar to host our servers away from where they could be simply disconnected (sorry, can’t go into details), the Saker blog was probably hit less hard than others. Still, it is pretty clear that US search engines have pushed the Saker blog way down from where it used to be and that has resulted in fewer new readers than before. No biggie, really, as I truly don’t care about quantity but only about the quality of the audience we reach. Yet, in spite of all that, our readership is pretty constant, fluctuating most depending on the international situation: more in times of crises, less in times of relative peace. All in all, this issue is not a worry for me.
Second, much more worrisome to me is the very steady increase in the efforts of trolls to sabotage the comments section. Here is a sample of the kind of methods I have observed them doing:
- Hijacking the comments section by posting off-topic (and typically inflammatory) comments.
- Saturating the comments sections with a tsunami of comments.
- Creating “straw-man” arguments and then attacking them. Typically, such troll comments begin with “in other words what you are saying” or something similar: thus, the true meaning of the posted article is obfuscated.
- They like to write stuff like “Saker, this is unbearable, get an editor” or “that article is machine translated and not real English” to try to discourage a new guest contributor. They apparently don’t care that in my submission guidelines it is clearly stated that “please do not worry too much about your knowledge of the English language. English is my 3rd or 4th language (out of six) and I make tons of mistakes: grammar, typos, verb coordination, etc. Contents are far more important than form, so worry first about contents and second about form. After all, this blog is about ideas, not language. Try to make your text clear and understandable, but don’t try to sound like Shakespeare (it won’t work anyway)“. All I have to say to these pretend well-wishers is this: if you want to help, help by offering your help with editing (so far, only 1, clearly sincere, person has done so). And, just to be sure, let me explain that being an editor for a blog like the Saker blog is hard because 1) the turnover time must be very short (we are mostly event driven and time is critical) and 2) editing without corrupting the original meaning is hard, especially if you do not know the mother tongue of the author (and I strongly suspect that those who bitch about “poor English” speak only one language, hence their need to pontificate about this). Finally and crucially, please keep in mind that the author’s English is probably A LOT better than your knowledge of his/her mother-tongue! Show a little understanding and humility and remember that the expertise these authors share with you, is something you get FOR FREE. If that is not good enough for you, get a refund! :-P
- Last, but most certainly not least, most trolls love to engage in ugly ad hominems and generally nasty comments. I think of it as their “signature” of sorts. But some are very smart and avoid that. We still know who they are, trust me!
Herb, my wonderful friend, CTO, IT guru and head of moderation and I already have a long list of names/aliases and IP numbers which we have banned and I can tell you that if not for that concerted effort at pushing trolls away the comment section would go to hell almost instantly.
So, here is my second appeal:
Friends, we ALWAYS need more moderators. Always. Ideally, we would want to have moderators available 24/7 365 days a year, but this is very hard to achieve, if only because that often means finding people living in very different time zones. So, again, if you can, PLEASE contact Herb at firstname.lastname@example.org and see with him if you can help. Again, even if only for a few hours per week!
I will be honest with you: moderation is a thankless job because you hardly ever get a thank-you and you always will be the first one blamed if a comment is not posted soon enough or if you dare to actually enforce the moderation rules. Yet, thankless as it is, it is an ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL position.
[Sidebar: while assorted trolls, imbeciles and other low-IQ folks constantly whine about the Saker blog being “censored”, I can tell you that a lot of key supporters of our community have expressed to me their admiration for how the comments section is moderated. I can’t tell you how often I heard the comment “your comment section is the best, high-quality comments section on the Internet” but it is A LOT. I will say that I fully agree with this opinion and I am aware that the credit for that goes ENTIRELY to Herb and his team].
Next, a few interesting and potentially important questions to you:
There are a number of ideas floating among some of the core-members of the Saker community (about 20 people or so) and myself which I want to share with you and get your feedback. Here they are in no specific order:
Podcasts: I have not recorded a podcast in eons; do you miss them? Do you want me to resume them? If I do, they will have to be shorter, on one specific topic. Q&As are also an excellent option and is the one I would prefer.
Articles on Patristic Christianity aka True Orthodoxy: from time to time I leave the realm of this secular world and like to go into spiritual issues. Is that interesting for you? Would you want me to either post good texts on this topic I find elsewhere, or I could, from time to time, write such a text myself. Is that a good idea?
Articles on other religions: I have always had a passion for comparative theology. Over the years, this has turned to a real passion for Dvaita Vedanta and Islam. While I myself will always remain a traditionalist Orthodox Christian, I do not find the study and understanding of other religions impious in the least. In fact, I submit that ignorance is NEVER pious in any way, shape or form. Hating other religions does not make you better, it only makes you more ignorant. Oh I know, there will always be those who will accuse me of apostasy as soon as I dare write something they either disagree with or, more often, don’t understand. Tough luck! After all, there is a very good reason why I wrote in the submission guidelines that “Please assume that the target audience has a graduate-level college education or equivalent. I am fairly sure that most of my readers are over 40 years old, most of them are well read and well-traveled“. If you realize that the articles posted here are “above your pay grade” (as they say in the USA), then I suggest you stop commenting and expressing your frustration with your inability to “get it”.
Anyway, would the rest of you be interested in more articles about comparative theology?
I happen to think that far from being “dead” – religion might well become a crucial factor in this new 21st century and that intelligently (not using sources likes “Jihad Watch” for example) discussing them would be a great asset for this blog. But your opinion is the one which will decide that (I can still do that on my own, so-called “free” time).
Please keep in mind that if you convince me to try out any of the ideas above, that would give me even less time to do what I already do now. Unless I suddenly get a generous sponsor, I have to keep my full-time and day-time job and all my work for the blog will be done on my so-called “free time”.
My initial thought was to post a poll in the comments section, but they decided that I should be convinced by the quality of comment rather than by any quantitative measure. So no poll. Just this question:
What I do ask you is to tell me in the comment section whether any of these ideas are of interest to you and, if yes, why?
Next, my dire warning:
A look into 2021 – brace for impact as a perfect storm is forming on the 2020 horizon
My friends, I am sorry to say that I think the next year will probably be a perfect storm! I have explained in many articles why I think that, so I will just summarize it all here:
- In the USA the next Presidential election will most likely be a disaster. The Dems are dead set to use any and all lies and tricks to try to remove Trump, while the GOP hopes that by selling out to Israel it will remain in power.
- The US is tanking on so many levels that I will only mention a few crucial ones: politically, socially, economically and militarily. The Trump-disaster has shown beyond doubt that this is not about personalities or who gets to sit in the White House. It is about a system which is profoundly 1) corrupt 2) dysfunctional and 3) unreformable. From now on it’s all “down” for the USA. I love this country and many of its people (even while I hate its ruling elites) and I take no pleasure is observing this. In fact, I would argue that folks like myself and many, many others (I think of Dmitry Orlov, Ron Unz or Andrei Martyanov) have truly done all we can to avoid that outcome, but we were too few and too isolated. Now it is too late.
- The EU is in absolutely TERRIBLE shape. Frankly, the Europeans deserve a lot of that pain because instead of defending their own national interests, they preferred prostituting themselves to the United States and the AngloZionist Empire. Now the the chickens have come to roost and it hurts. Besides, the EU is just as corrupt, dysfunctional and unreformable as the USA. This will get worse before it gets better.
The bottom line is simple: the Empire is dying and this puts the entire planet at risk of war. Why? Because war is typically what myopic, ignorant and messianic leaders like to use as a way out from a crisis.
Do not worry too much about Russia: she is fine ready for everything and anything the Empire might throw at her. She is ready politically, economically and, most crucially, militarily. It is now becoming obvious to me that the hyper-cautious, some would say “flaccid”, policies of Putin towards the endless stream of sanctions and provocations by the West has given Russia the time she needed to prepare for every contingency, including full scale nuclear war. Russia made it there now, and she is so far ahead that no amount of promises of miracle weapons systems will allow the West to catch up for, AT LEAST, a full decade.
This is a comical way to express this new reality:
The above is obviously meant as a joke, but it also expresses a huge sense of self-confidence by the Russians. And whether you appreciate the humor or not, it is also an expression of a profound change in the dynamic of international relations.
The US leaders probably understand that, but they still might harbor illusions about some small and triumphant war against, say, the DPRK, Iran or Venezuela (especially since the latter, unlike Russia, cannot strike the US mainland directly).
The “show” is also over for the puppet President in the Ukraine and for his neo-Nazi masters (see here for a discussion).
Latin America is in deep turmoil. Uncle Shmuel has successfully ousted the legitimate leaders of Brazil and Bolivia, and the reaction is felt (I think I even saw a news item saying that the Colombian FARC will resume their armed struggle – don’t take this to the bank, but my feeling is that this might be true).
As for Africa, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent – they are all under various degrees of crises.
The bottom line is this:
I believe that next year a major political crisis in the USA is inevitable. Furthermore, both Europe and the Ukraine are on the brink of major political and economic problems. And, finally, there is, in my opinion, a real possibility for a large scale war involving the USA and Israel: a war they will inevitably lose, thus creating a huge risk of nuclear strikes (at least in the Middle East).
What does that mean for us?
Well, first I strongly suggest that you prepare for a major crisis. Make sure that most of your money is not in any bank (get small silver or gold coins; ammunition and medicines will also become currencies if things get really ugly), prepare emergency food rations. Stock up on weapons (handguns and/or rifles) and the needed ammo if you can. If possibly, try to locate/organize some place you can go and remain for a month or so (no less!). The worst places to be in case of a severe crisis are 1) big cities 2) isolated rural cabins/homes. I know that some survivalists advocate the “bug out” option, but in reality, unless you are in a group and well-armed, I consider this a dangerous option. The safest place is to be in a community, preferably a small town, where you have friends and you know and trust your neighbors. If you do not live in our native country, be ready to evacuate to safety on very short notice.
Second, assuming that we don’t have a full-scale war or major social violence, prepare for economic hardship: even if you keep your job, your income will likely go down. If you are self-employed, make sure to stock on whatever goods you need to provide your services. If you work for somebody else, prepare a “plan B” in case you get laid-off.
I am not an economist, so take that with this caveat in mind, but all my contacts in venture capital firms and traders all tell me that the US and EU economy are so enmeshed that if one collapses, so will the other. Some say that if either the Euro or the Dollar drop in value, the other one would become a reserve currency. That might be true if the fluctuations come from speculative moves, but if the entire economy crashes or some major disaster happens, then I would not trust the stability of any currency (though the Swiss Franc might do way better than the Euro).
Last, but not least, while we cannot prevent what must happen from happening, it is still our moral obligation to try as hard as we can. To me this means that I got to keep this blog going. Oh no, not because I have any illusions that this might change anything, but simply because, as Roger Waters sang, “each small candle lights a corner of the dark” and because each of us has to at least strive to be that “small candle”.
God willing, things look worse than they really are and, by the prayers of the Holy Theotokos, we will all survive the next year without any major cataclysm. But, as they say in the USA – “prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and settle for anything in the middle“.
No matter how small our role is, we have to try to play our part with dignity and courage!
In spite of all of the above, I sincerely wish you a very happy new year (that is, if you celebrate it on Dec 31) and all the best for the next year. God willing in December of 2021 we will look back on the year passed, enjoy a big sigh of relief, and thank God for His protection!
Kind regards, hugs and cheers!