Article 77 – ‘No turning back’ Part I

Hi, welcome to Taiga Bonzai our aim is to discuss bonsai horticulture and relevant associated topics, geopolitics is not our usual mandate, but when blatant stupidity affects us we voice our thoughts to the full. We are now in another crisis, which is causing catastrophic consequences on a global scale.

Introduction – the incessant madness of the bourgeois elite – who impose laws and restrictions on their people without referendum is in reality a totalitarian dictatorship. (a) Centralised control by an autocratic authority, (b) the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority. If this is the consensus which it is, then democracy in the true sense of the word does not exist. This is not a new phenomenon it has been in existence for eons, wars and revolutions have been waged with ‘bloody’ results to halt the red mist of totalitarianism. Yet the bourgeois elite still persist in causing havoc, unrest and disruption amongst the people, here is just one of the countless examples.

Wat Tyler & the peasant revolt 1381

Wat Tyler – leader of the peasant revolt in England 1381 led a group of rebels from Canterbury to London to oppose the institution of a poll tax and to demand economic and social reforms. The revolt was not only about money, but increased liberty and other social reforms, in that each labourer be allowed to work for the employer of his choice; the end of serfdom and other rigid social demarcation. The peasant demands were opposed by a significant part of English society including nobility and wealthy religious establishments. Tyler was murdered by officers loyal to King Richard II during negotiations at Smithfield in London.

What does this tell us? – history is our biggest teacher, which we should learn from, but do we – in short the answer is no we continue in the same idiosyncratic vane, making decisions that come back to haunt us. The politicians state that their policies will achieve prosperity for all, but this is complete nonsense because as John Lydgate of Bury (c. 1370 – c. 1451) stated. “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

Empirical dominance – history has shown that nations can become empires inflicting their superior dominance on others creating social inequality, purloining their assets where they become impoverished societies, but all empires eventually fail resulting in disaster. Libraries and the world wide web are awash with literature written by prominent historians and academics on this subject, the writing is on the wall for all to see yet we fail to acknowledge it.

The cold war – a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc, which began following the end World War II in May 1945. It ended on December 26th 1991 when the Soviet Union itself dissolved into its component republics. But the threat of tension did not abate because the political, economic, propaganda ideology between the east and west were worlds apart.

Moreover, the west gave assurances that the North Atlantic Treaties Organisation (NATO) would not expand past the Elbe and written documents to substantiate this fact exist, many state that NATO should have been disbanded at the same time the Soviet Union collapsed. Professor Michael Kimmage argues in his Foreign Affairs article January 17th 2022 “Time for NATO to Close Its Door. The Alliance Is Too Big and Too Provocative for Its Own Good.” But will it, this has yet to be determined. (link below)

The Scandinavian fiasco – goading Sweden and Finland to become members of NATO is not a recent event, it has been going on for years. In Finland the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance signed on 6th April 1948 also known as the YYA Treaty was the basis for Finno–Soviet relations from 1948 to 1992. It was the main instrument in implementing the Finnish policy called Paasikivi–Kekkonen doctrine. Under the treaty, the Soviets sought to deter Western or Allied Powers from attacking the Soviet Union through Finnish territory, and the Finns sought to increase their political independence from the Soviet Union; ensuring Finland’s survival as a liberal democracy.

Today’s Finnish government led by Sanna Marin (a woman totally divorced from reality) and her cronies together with weak president Sauli Niinistö pushed through parliament their application to join NATO, which is a gross error of misjudgement. This decision goes against the constitution because there was no referendum, denying the Finns their rightful say in the matter. If the application is successful the government has stated that under no circumstances will there be any NATO troops or bases on Finnish soil. However, due to the government’s disastrous policies it is highly likely that the Marin entourage will be ousted when the next elections in April 2023 are held or earlier if Parliament is dissolved ahead of schedule.

Finland has enjoyed autonomous relations with Russia, Finns reside in Russia and visa versa so why destroy these relations? Finland is not a democratic nation, rather a weak vassal state of Europe told to do what is mandated by the EU, Juha Korhonen senior journalist stated recently that Finland had no voice and publically burnt the NATO flag in the capital Helsinki in protest. Moreover, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the Turkish president has stated that he opposes Sweden and Finland’s entry to NATO citing the two countries affiliation with terrorism, but Erdoğan is unpredictable can he be trusted to keep his word?

Nonetheless, if Finland does join NATO it is highly unlikely the latter will come to Finland’s aid, because it will mean foreign troops and military hardware on Finnish soil and Russia will respond accordingly. Finland will have to face the consequences on their own, defending the 1300 km long border between the two countries, This is unachievable because Finland has no military defence force to speak of, their air force is minimal at best as is their navy and their army is made up of conscripts and geriatric reservists who have no experience of modern warfare. Finns have had enough of war and do not want another conflict, yet the cretin Stoltenberg persists in doing his utmost at the behest of the US neocons to antagonise Russia by moving to up to it’s border; leaving Finland vulnerable – a very dangerous and stupid tactic.

US hegemony – in a recent televised statement Biden (a ‘crash test dummy’) claimed that problems in the US were due to “Putin’s price hike and high taxes” which is a complete nonsense. The US’s problems started when he (Biden) assumed office on January 20th 2021 mandating a host of ludicrous policies including the closure of the Keystone pipeline causing the loss of oil production, disruption and social unrest amongst the US population and rest of the world. He (Biden) said that oil and gas imports would cease, then why has he approached Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia to ask for an increase in production? he also ordered US petrochemical companies to do more; the latter’s response was that they could not. 

Biden made other rash antagonistic remarks including president Putin “Should be removed from power” and if China caused disruption in Taiwan the “US would retaliate” statements that were quickly refuted by his administration. Such rhetoric proves he is not in control of his faculties as evidence shows, he is not a leader but a mere court jester a complete fool out of touch with reality. Biden is the US president in name only and he is not the ‘sharpest knife in the drawer’ – a mere senile cretin devoid of a brain cell incapable of running a country; his time in office will be short lived due to his incompetent senseless behaviour.

The neocons and deep state are the ones in control and they are making a complete mess of the economy with prices soaring out of control, inflation, shortage of food and energy. These morons are aware of this fact, but do they care? apparently not they are only interested in causing hardship on the Russian state by imposing sanctions, which by definition are a ‘hysterical reaction’ that are rebounding back. Look at the state of American economy now, it is almost as bad as the depression that began on September 4th 1929.

Mitchell B. Feierstein a British-American investor, banker and writer stated on the 1st June 2022 that the “US dollar will lose its dominance as the important international reserve currency within the next five years.” and there are signs that this is the case. The American Federal Reserve system, which acts as the nation’s central bank can print money indefinitely, but in reality it worthless because it is not backed by gold or any other precious metal. A gross error of judgement by president R. Nixon when he announced the severing of links between the dollar and gold as part of a broad economic plan on August 15th 1971.

Practice what you preach – revolutionary governments in the colony-states of America and the Second Continental Congress tired of king George III’s tyranny cut ties with Britain one by one and at length, on July 2nd 1776, congress speaking for all America, severed the last one declaring “these United Colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states.” How ironic and hypocritical this statement is, since their independence 246 years ago the US has been engaged in 102 wars 3 of which are ongoing the intervention in Yemen, Syria and second intervention into Somalia. The US is called the ‘Land of the free’ if this is truly the case then America give one good reason why other nations are refused the same autonomy.

Remembering the first intervention into Somalia that was a complete debacle and a defeat for the US, the commanding general, Thomas Montgomery was dismissed because of his incompetent actions resulting in the loss of lives and equipment. You know of Mark Robert Bowden the American journalist and writer best known for his book Black Hawk Down: A story of modern war about the 1993 US military raid in Mogadishu, Somalia. The film directed by Ridley Scott is a bleak portrayal of the almost flawless and historically accurate telling of the Battle of Mogadishu. Is the second US intervention into Somalia going to be Mogadishu 2.0? – We wait with bated breath.

The US is failing in its attempt to remain the dominant power, other nations see through the US hegemonic mindset and refuse to follow this dictat. Many countries across the globe now go their own way forging amicable relations and trade treaties with each other, whilst the US stagnates. If we compare Biden’s actions to one of Rome’s emperors, Maximinus Thrax comes to mind. Thrax loathed by all brought Rome to near ruin with his exhaustive military campaigns. In reality Biden bears the same attributes as Thrax because he has always been an advocate of conflict during his political career, hence a cretin with no conscience or integrity.

Diplomatic advice – according to Ambrose Evans Pritchard of the ‘Daily Telegraph’, “Veteran US statesman Henry Kissinger has urged the West to stop trying to inflict a crushing defeat on Russian forces in Ukraine, warning that it would have disastrous consequences for the long term stability of Europe.”

The former US secretary of state and architect of the Cold War rapprochement between the US and China told a gathering in Davos “that it would be fatal for the West to get swept up in the mood of the moment and forget the proper place of Russia in the European balance of power.” “The war must not be allowed to drag on for much longer” and came close to calling on the West to bully Ukraine into accepting negotiations on terms that fall very far short of its current war aims.

Kissinger also added that “Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome. Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante. Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.” Kissinger told the World Economic Forum that Russia had been an essential part of Europe for 400 years and had been the guarantor of the European balance of power structure at critical times. European leaders should not lose sight of the longer term relationship and nor should they risk pushing Russia into a permanent alliance with China.

“I hope the Ukrainians will match the heroism they have shown with wisdom,” he said, adding with his famous sense of realpolitik that the proper role for the country is to be a neutral buffer state rather than the frontier of Europe. The comments came amid growing signs that the Western coalition against Vladimir Putin is fraying badly as the food and energy crisis deepens and that sanctions may have reached their limits.

But others have different opinions, “We’re seeing the worst of Europe,” said German vice-chancellor Robert Habeck in an angry outburst in Davos, accusing Hungary and other recalcitrant states of paralysing attempts by the rest of the EU to craft a full-fledged oil embargo on Russia. Mr Habeck, who doubles as economy minister, said Germany is more or less ready to endure the shock of a total cut-off in Russian oil imports, but others want to carry on as if nothing had changed. “I expect everyone to work to find a solution and not to sit back and work on building their partnership with Putin,” he stated.

But Habeck self opinionated as he is, does he really know the facts of the matter why this present conflict with Russia and Ukraine came into being, has he taken steps to understand the problem? No he has not, if there is an embargo on Russia then there will no oil or gas for Germany. Industry cannot function hence a decline in production resulting in a failed economy and hardship worse than what happened during the second world war. The people will not stand for this, they will protest and riot if need be because their standard of living will decrease to an unacceptable level. Habeck is completely out touch with reality.

President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered his usual tour de force in a video address to the forum, saying “this is the year when we learn whether brute force will rule the world”. If it does, he added with his trademark touch, there will be no point in any more World Economic Forums in Davos. He said that Russia should be shut out of the civilised world entirely and that all trade should stop until Russian forces are driven from Ukraine. He added that“Sanctions should be maximum, so that Russia and every other potential aggressor that wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbour would clearly know the immediate consequences of their actions.” (Full article link below)

In the next article (out July 10th) the discussion continues revealing more facts of blatant stupidity causing high inflation, economic downturn, hardship and famine on the African continent; due to the bourgeois elite and collective west’s incessant madness. Until next time, BW, Nik.

Article 76 – ‘Design: a discussion’ Part 6

Hi, welcome to Taiga Bonzai in this article we return to the subject of design due to the response we have received from our followers. Design has meaning and message conceived in the mind of the artist regardless of the genre.

Introduction – to remind you of two opinions from bonsai masters Utsubo Monogatari and his written work ‘The Tale of the Hollow Tree‘, (circa 970) ‘where the tree’s beauty can only appear when shaped by the hand of man‘ and John Yoshio Naka “Don’t turn your tree into a bonsai, turn your bonsai into a tree.” A tree that resembles its wild counterpart, but times have changed, although traditionalists will predominantly adhere to the old ways modernists will opt for another path; we now look at some other examples of design. Sokan and Shakan

Sokan – known as twin trunk is quite common in nature but it is said not so much in bonsai design, the two trunks derive from one particular root method, where they trunks may split immediately above the roots, (nebari) or rise as one from the soil and then split after a few centimetres. The two trunks will each differ in diameter and height, the dominant trunk is relatively upright, whilst the secondary trunk will develop away from the main trunk which can be slightly slanted. Each trunk will develop their individual branches and foliage with each having a single crown or canopy.

Sokan or twin trunk example

Styling two trees into a single composition does require some consideration as both have to rise in close proximity from the nebari. Therefore, the nebari has to be exposed to show that the two trees are actually connected failure to do this renders the style incorrect. In addition, there should not be reverse taper where the two trunks split, branch selection is another factor in reducing any potential voids in the overall composition.

In this next image we see a Rowan/mountain ash Sorbus aucuparia in training, a large tree in the ‘Omono Dai‘ class (the first category for large bonsai trees 100 centimetres or 40 inches) and because of its height styling is a little more difficult to attain compared to trees of smaller sizes due to branch placement and amount of foliage produced. The right hand trunk is secondary to the left the (primary) yet both trunks are growing in close proximation curving to the left then taking a different path.

This tree collected in 2015 did not flower and fruit until 2021 and then only on the left hand trunk did this occur, (orange berries) hence it might prudent to refrain from pruning the right hand trunk’s branches to see if it will also flower and fruit. As the image shows there sufficient branches available that can be wired towards the centre to fill the void. This is a deciduous tree that will take a number of years to reach its potential.

Shakan – or slanting is a style having many designers in constant debate of where the design begins and ends as the case may be. According to the book of styles Shakan should be tall to show the trunk’s shape and movement, which may be slanting either right or left. The foliage should be minimal and would be in accordance to give the appearance of balance, stability and strength as would be found in nature. (shown in the following image)

Shakan or slanting example

However, some contend that the leaning style of a tree should grow at an angle of about 60 – 80 degrees relative to the ground, but if this is the case then not only has the Shakan style been completely changed from the original concept. It can be argued that it is not in keeping with the true Shakan style, so where is the dividing line if there is one. A tree’s shape (apart from the artist’s manipulation) is the result of element onslaught for example.

A tree subjected to wind blowing from a constant direction will be bent low to the ground, but much depends on the wind’s severity and strength described in article 69 ‘Design: a discussion’ part 1, this style is classed as Fukinagashi, (windswept) it is not Shakan. Take a look at the image below, the tree is quite remarkable considering it is a ceramic product listed on the website of ‘Dragon Art Studios’ – Poland under the title Sztuczne drzewko bonsai Sosna wykonanw W stylu ‘shakan’.

What is it’s design? – The trunk although slanting left is straight with what can be determined as a ‘live’ vein starting at the base, curling upwards presumably around the trunk (light brown on dark brown) then bending down and slightly back descending into the foliage. Looking through the catalogue of styles this design has Myoggi (informal upright) traits but this is ruled out due to foliage characteristics, the only other style that could be applicable is Han kengai (semi cascade) as the foliage descends below the rim of the pot, but this is also ruled out because of the straightness, height and length of the trunk.

At this juncture all we can say is that it is a remarkable creation in a design all of its own that attempts to mimic the art of bonsai culture, what it is is yet to be determined but it is certainly not in the Shakan style. Bonsai design is constantly changing as we have stated previously, traditionalists are adhering to the ways of the old masters whilst modernists progress along their own path.

But if these new styles are accepted how can they be categorised and who has the mandate to assume such responsibility, one cannot change the historical art and horticultural practices that have been in existence for over 6 centuries; we leave you to ponder on this. Until next time, BW, Nik.