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Posts Tagged ‘Putin’

You Don’t Know Whether to Laugh or to Cry. The EU Now Has a Masterplan to Hit Putin Where It Hurts

Posted by M. C. on May 6, 2022

Given that some EU member states have made it pretty clear that they don’t have the means or resources to look for alternative sources of gas, for example, it’s hard to see how an EU directive is going to make any differences.

By Martin Jay
Strategic Culture

Hit Putin where it hurts? He’s more likely to hurt himself from laughing. Try harder, Ursula.

The EU is about to unveil its own sanctions plan to wean its own member states off Russian oil. But getting backing from all EU governments might be harder to push it through. Try not to laugh.

On the foreign policy circuit the EU doesn’t have an impressive track record. For anything. More, if anything, for leaving a trail of havoc in its wake when it dabbles in international politics. The problem is simply that the EU, while quite capable at agreeing on new directives for the size of your windscreen wipers, or the size or shape of a given piece of fruit, struggles with the big stuff. There simply isn’t the support from member states yet to hand over to Brussels how those same governments unilaterally deal with conflict around the world. The result is actually quite comical as who can forget Federica Mogherini’s offer to both President Assad of Syria and opposition fighters of cash from the EU to stop the war? Or for the same office to suggest using British frigates off the coast of Libya to literally blow out of the water smuggler boats laden with African migrants trying to get to Europe. Or that unforgettable foray into conflict resolution on the Chad border in 2001 where French officers under a so-called peacekeeping mission from the EU fled for their lives when rebels actually started firing live rounds at them? Imagine. Live rounds.

And then there was the EU police force in Afghanistan which was so terrified of the streets of Kabul that they simply decided it would be safer for them, even though they were armed, to stay in their barracks. And then the fiasco of Covid where the EU couldn’t even get an agreement from its own governments on how to proceed with a rescue plan and so did nothing, while thousands of its own citizens died. Even Brexit was a catastrophe for the EU, given that after all that drama over the negotiations and the empty threats by Brussels, Britain turns out to be not merely a survivor but a champion with economic growth the envy of the 26-member bloc.

The list just goes on and on. Someone really should write a book about the EU’s comical attempt to be a superpower and how it fails every single time.

And it will be the same with the latest escapade from the European Commission’s own President who seems to have set a new record for being especially ineffective – even for European Commission presidents. Ursula von der Leyen, an unremarkable German politician, bereft of any real dynamism and a particularly obscure foreign minister when she held the post, is grasping the nettle and facing Russia head on. Oh yes she is. Dear Ursula has a new draft directive which will ensure that all EU member states will abandon their deals with Russia oil, or at least phase them out over a period of time. We don’t know what the timeline is but the ambitious plan will have to have the support of all member states and this where it might run into some obstacles. Given that some EU member states have made it pretty clear that they don’t have the means or resources to look for alternative sources of gas, for example, it’s hard to see how an EU directive is going to make any differences. Some might argue that an EU directive is a by-product of a lack of unity in the first place and so the failed superstate needs to look to the bureaucrats to find a fix. But contrary to popular belief, the EU Commission isn’t as powerful as it likes to believe and cannot impose draft legislation on member states or the European parliament for that matter.

Realistically, the Russia move is an act of desperation following the EU’s grotesque support for U.S. and British objectives in Ukraine, i.e the toppling of Putin. The announcement shouldn’t therefore be taken seriously and given the recent Covid ordeal which lost von der Leyen considerable credibility it’s hard to see how she can galvanise opinion across 26 member states. What’s more likely is that this latest ruse will be a rod for her own back as more independently-minded EU member states who have made the headlines of late for not getting in line, will use it as a political tool to hit back at Brussels. And time is also a factor. If, say, it takes a year to be adopted – which is fast tracked – has the Commission president considered the present financial hardship that many EU citizens themselves are facing due to the Ukraine war and the political blowback that this directive would have, if adopted? While Joe Biden says remarkably stupid things like the U.S. is looking to Qatar for a solution to Europe’s energy dependency (they haven’t got any spare capacity to ship to Europe), it seems the EU is duty bound to follow the trend of talking nonsense and producing fake news. Hit Putin where it hurts? He’s more likely to hurt himself from laughing. Try harder, Ursula.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Copyright © Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal http://www.strategic-culture.org.

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Blame Powell, Not Putin or ‘Greedy’ Corporations, for Price Hikes

Posted by M. C. on April 19, 2022

The crisis could still be avoided, but only if Congress becomes serious about cutting spending, starting with the military industrial complex. Congress should also start to reform monetary policy by auditing the Fed, legalizing alternative currencies, and exempting precious metals and cryptocurrencies from all capital gains taxes.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/pricehike-116021?e=4e0de347c8

Apr 18 – The Biden administration and its allies continue to use Russian President Vladimir Putin as the convenient excuse for their economic failures. The most recent falsehood is that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused March’s 8.5 percent year-over-year increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Prices were surging long before Russian troops entered Ukraine. Furthermore, Putin did not stop exporting food and gas; it was the Biden administration and Congress that imposed sanctions, making US consumers suffer additional price increases. The blame for the economic effects lies with the US government, not Russia.

The United States has for years been meddling in Ukraine’s affairs with the explicit goal of moving US and NATO military forces ever closer to Russia. The most notorious example was the 2014 US-orchestrated coup that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected government.

Russia has a legitimate grievance over the US supporting expanding NATO to include Ukraine, despite the US having promised not to support expanding NATO beyond Germany’s borders during negotiations over how to end the Cold War. Foreign policy experts, including George Kennan, the architect of the Cold war “containment” strategy, warned that Russia would respond adversely to NATO expansion near Russia.

Before the Ukraine conflict, Biden and his fellow Democrats blamed price increases on “greedy” corporations, going so far as to claim that increasing antitrust prosecutions would somehow bring down prices. Then Putin became the new excuse.

The main culprit behind rising prices is neither Putin nor “greedy” corporations. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues are to blame. Starting in September 2019, when the Fed panicked over a spike in interest rates in the “repurchasing” market that banks use to give each other overnight loans, the Fed has engaged in an unprecedented spree of money creation. The Fed further stepped up its easy money and low, and even zero, interest rate policies in response to the lockdowns. Increasing prices are the direct result of the Fed’s policies.

The Fed is planning to try to tame prices by increasing interest rates and reducing its balance sheet. This will likely tip the economy into a recession. Increasing interest rates will also cause the federal government’s debt payments to increase, which is a reason the Fed will not increase rates to anywhere near where they would be in a free market.

The best-case scenario may be a return to 70s-style “stagflation.” The worst-case scenario is that the Fed’s failure to rein in inflation, fueled by Congress’s failure to stop spending, combined with the continued resentment over the US’s hyper-interventionist foreign policy, will cause a rejection of the dollar’s reserve currency status and lead to a major financial crisis. Such a crisis could result in widespread poverty, as well as violence, crackdowns on liberties, and even the rise of a totalitarian government.

The crisis could still be avoided, but only if Congress becomes serious about cutting spending, starting with the military industrial complex. Congress should also start to reform monetary policy by auditing the Fed, legalizing alternative currencies, and exempting precious metals and cryptocurrencies from all capital gains taxes. The welfare-warfare-fiat money system will end. What is not known is when it will end and whether it will be replaced by an even more authoritarian government or by a return to limited, constitutional government.



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Copyright © 2022 by Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Don’t blame Putin or petroleum companies for Biden’s pump pain

Posted by M. C. on March 22, 2022

Now, as they beg OPEC, Venezuela and Iran for help to reduce onerous price and inflation consequences of their own policies ahead of 2022 midterm elections, they are likely to discover that maybe Putin and petroleum companies really aren’t their biggest problems after all.

https://www.cfact.org/2022/03/20/dont-blame-putin-or-petroleum-companies-for-bidens-pump-pain/

By Larry Bell

As his administration now scrambles to solicit supply oil shortages from OPEC, Venezuela, and Iran to reduce skyrocketing energy costs ahead of Democrat congressional mid-term election casualties, let’s remember this contradicts former 2019 candidate Joe Biden’s campaign pledge that “I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels.

Let’s also recall that President Biden then inherited an America that was not only energy independent, but also a leading global oil and gas exporter, and that gas prices began going up long before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine recently provoked a bipartisan ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports.

That ban was likely influenced by a March 8 Reuters/Ipsos poll which found that 80% of all likely voters surveyed responded that the U.S. “should not buy oil or gas from Russia during this [Ukraine] conflict, even if it causes American gas prices to increase.”

Simultaneously, inflation over the past year has risen to a 40-year high of 7.9%, most all occurring prior to the Ukraine conflict catastrophe.

Also, recall that immediately upon taking office, Joe Biden revoked a permit essential for the Keystone XL pipeline to deliver oil from Canada.

Shortly thereafter, his administration launched an effort to overturn an oil drilling program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, and empowered Department of Interior regulatory efforts to delay drilling permits.

Blaming U.S. companies—not Biden policies—for not producing more oil and gas, White House press secretary Jen Psaki asserted that there are 9,000 available unused drilling permits, while only 10% of onshore oil production takes place on federal land.

A big problem here, is that the companies first must obtain additional permits for rights of way to access leases and build pipelines to transport fuel, a requirement that the Biden administration’s Interior Department has made more difficult.

Next, the companies must build up a sufficient inventory of permits before they can contract rigs – requiring added regulatory difficulties of operating on federal lands.

For example, it takes 140 days or so for the feds to approve a drilling permit versus two for the state of Texas.

See the rest here

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Is There a Peace Deal Putin and Zelensky Can Accept?

Posted by M. C. on March 15, 2022

If this war continues to unfold in a manner that is slow, painful and ugly, China and Russia are likely to establish far better relations with each other than either has with the United States.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In an interview with Reuters, Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman for decades, made a startling offer. Moscow could end the Ukraine war immediately, said Peskov, if four conditions were met.

Ukraine should cease all military action, recognize Crimea as part of Russia, accept the independence of the Luhansk and Donetsk separatist enclaves, and enact a constitutional commitment to “neutrality,” which would prevent Ukraine from ever joining NATO.

Were this to be done, said Peskov, the war “will stop in a moment.”

As this would restore the situation in Ukraine to the “status quo ante” that existed before Putin ordered the invasion, Peskov’s offer seemed not to be believable.

Yet, according to The New York Times, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky “seemed surprisingly open to the idea.”

Zelensky “said he had ‘cooled down’ on joining NATO, saying it was clear the western alliance ‘is not prepared to accept Ukraine.’”

As for Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimea, said Zelensky, “We can discuss and find a compromise on how these territories will live on.”

Monday, Ukraine and Russia held a fourth session of peace talks, and expressions of optimism were heard from both sides.

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak volunteered that Russia is beginning to talk constructively. “I think that we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days.”

Yet, Russia’s strategic goals, manifest in its unfolding military action, seem to go far beyond the moderate demands of Peskov.

Three weeks into this war, what do Russia’s goals appear to be?

First, besiege and bring down the Kyiv government of Zelensky and replace it with a Russian client regime.

Second, divide Ukraine along the lines of the Dnieper River, which bisects the country north to south, and create an East Ukraine as a pro-Russian state.

Third, seize and occupy the entire coast of the Sea of Azov, turn it into a Russian lake, and capture all of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast from the Donbas to Mariupol, Crimea, Kherson, Odessa and Transnistria, the last a slice of seceded Moldovan land Moscow now controls.

This would leave a landlocked rump state of west Ukraine, which would be a buffer between NATO nations Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland — and Russia-backed East Ukraine.

The Wall Street Journal said Monday that Russia’s realization of these goals would be tantamount to victory in Putin’s war:

“A Ukraine divided in two, with Russia in control of the east, and a rump, Western Ukraine cut off from the coast might look like a victory to Mr. Putin — especially if sanctions are removed in some cease-fire agreement.”

With this kind of peace in hand, Putin could then warn the NATO nations that if they attacked East Ukraine directly, or indirectly by arming insurgents, they would face “consequences you have never seen.”

As no NATO nation risked war to save Georgia from Russia in 2008, or to save Ukraine from the Crimean and Donbas amputations of 2014, it is not likely NATO would risk war with Russia, and a potential third world war, if Russia declared a truce once it got full control of eastern Ukraine.

Where would that leave the West?

The Americans and British would likely treat Putin as a pariah and never meet with him again. But would President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany cut off all communication with Russia, when they have been making daily phone calls to Putin and regular visits to Moscow, even as Putin’s war of aggression was raging?

If Russia and Ukraine reached a ceasefire and a truce, would the EU and NATO nations of Europe not swiftly stand down themselves, rather than keep the Ukrainian resistance fighting?

If Kyiv falls to a Russian strategy of encirclement and strangulation, capitulation and conquest, how long would it be before EU nations seek an end to Russia’s isolation and a new era of detente?

Or would the continued existence of a regime headed by Putin mean permanent hostility?

Three years after Nikita Khrushchev sent Soviet tanks into Budapest to crush the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Soviet premier was riding up Pennsylvania Avenue in an open convertible with Dwight Eisenhower to spend the night at Blair House before a 12-day tour as the guest of the president of the United States.

As of now, the winner of this Russia-Ukraine war appears to be China.

Given the severity of U.S. sanctions and the ostracism of Russia from the West, China is the only partner nation and economy to which Moscow can turn to recoup its losses.

If this war continues to unfold in a manner that is slow, painful and ugly, China and Russia are likely to establish far better relations with each other than either has with the United States.

But how is China, which is engaged in cultural genocide against its Uyghur minority of 10 million, a racial and ethnic persecution featuring reeducation camps, rapes, forced abortions and sterilizations, a morally superior regime to Putin’s?

Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever See his website.

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Price Inflation Hit a New 40-Year High in February. No, It’s Not “Putin’s Fault.”

Posted by M. C. on March 12, 2022

In early 2020, the economic was weakening after more than a decade of remarkably slow economic growth and rising reliance on monetary expansion to prevent the implosion of Fed-created economic bubbles. But then covid happened, and the Fed blamed the disease for the economic collapse and inflation that followed. Now the war will provide yet another way for the Fed and its economists to claim they were doing a great job, and it would have all been a great success if not for the Russians.

https://mises.org/wire/price-inflation-hit-new-40-year-high-february-no-its-not-putins-fault

Ryan McMaken

According to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, price inflation in February rose to the highest level recorded in more than forty years. According to the Consumer Price Index for February, year-over-year price inflation rose to 7.9 percent. It hasn’t been that high since January 1982, when the growth rate was at 8.3 percent.

February’s increase was up from January’s year-over-year increase of 7.5 percent. And it was well up from February 2021’s year-over-year increase of 1.7 percent.

A clear inflationary trend began in April 2021 when CPI growth hit the highest rate since 2008. Since then, CPI inflation has accelerated with year-over-year growth nearly doubling over the past 11 months from 4.2 percent to 7.9 percent.

feb

For most of 2021, however, Federal reserve economists and their PhD-wielding allies in academia and the media insisted it was “transitory” and would soon dissipate. By late 2021, however, economists began to admit they were “surprised” and had no explanation for the inflation. (What one actually learns while obtaining a PhD in economics apparently has nothing to do with understanding money or prices.) Jerome Powell then declared that the Fed would prevent inflation from becoming “entrenched.”

Now, high level economists have changed their tune again with Janet Yellen admitting this week that “We’re likely to see another year in which 12-month inflation numbers remain very uncomfortably high.” Yellen had earlier predicted that CPI inflation would drop to around 3 percent, year over year, by the end of 2022.

Yellen was also careful to attempt political damage control by insinuating that price inflation is a result of uncertainty over the Russia-Ukraine war.

Never mind, of course, that the inflation surge began last year and that January’s CPI inflation rate was already near a 40-year high. The current crop of embargoes and bans on Russian oil imports implemented during March were not drivers of February’s continued inflation surge.

Few members of the public, however, will bother with these details, and this will benefit both the Fed and the administration. As far as the Fed is concerned, the important thing is to never, ever admit that price inflation is really being driven by more than a decade of galloping Fed-fueled monetary expansion (aka money printing). This was done largely at the behest of the White House and Congress to keep interest on the debt low and government spending high.

So, we can expect the administration to portray inflation as “Putin’s fault.” In a Friday speech to Democratic activists, Biden even claimed the high inflation rates are not due to “anything we did.” The tactic will no doubt work to convince many. But it’s unclear how many.

Workers Are Getting Poorer

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Is Putin the New Coronavirus?

Posted by M. C. on March 8, 2022

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2022/march/07/is-putin-the-new-coronavirus/

Written by Ron Paul

President Biden’s “maskless” State of the Union signifies the near-end of the COVID tyranny we have lived under for the past two years. Fortunately for Congress, the President, and the Federal Reserve, the Ukraine-Russia conflict is replacing COVID as a ready-made excuse for their failures and a justification for expanding their power.

Even before politicians began declaring the end of the pandemic, polls showed that rising prices were the people’s top concern – particularly the increase in gas prices. Since Russia is one of the world’s leading energy producers, sanctions imposed on Russia, as well as Germany’s decision (made under pressure from the US) to shut down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, provide a convenient excuse for rising gas prices. This is the case even though the US, citing the “instability” in world energy markets created by the Russian-Ukraine conflict, has yet to officially ban imports of Russian oil.

The Federal Reserve has been planning several interest rate increases this year, even though some fear that rate increases could decrease growth and increase unemployment. The Russian crisis allows the Fed to either postpone rate increases or blame Russia for any unemployment that accompanies the rate increases. Either way, the Fed can use the crisis to deflect attention away from its responsibility for our economic problems. As of now, it appears the Fed will go through with at least a modest rate increase this month, but because of the Ukraine crisis, the increase will be smaller than previously expected.

The Ukraine crisis also provides an excuse for Congress to do what Congress does best: increase federal spending. President Biden has requested Congress provide an additional $10 billion in emergency military aid to Ukraine. Congress will likely quickly approve the President’s request. This will not likely be the last time Congress rushes billions of “emergency” money to Ukraine.

It is also certain that lobbyists for the military-industrial-complex are already “explaining” to a very receptive Capitol Hill audience why the Ukraine crisis justifies increasing the military budget to “counter the threats” from Russia, China, and whoever else can serve as a convenient boogeyman. It is unlikely there will be much resistance in Congress to a further increase, even though the US already spends more than the combined defense budgets of the next nine biggest spending countries.

Over the past two years, many leading Internet companies did the government’s bidding by “de-platforming” anyone who expressed skepticism of vaccines or promoted alternative treatments — even when they presented evidence to support their claims. These companies are once again helping the government by de-platforming those who question, or are suspected of questioning, the official narrative regarding Ukraine. Yet these companies’ concerns with “fake news” have not led them to stop people from sharing widely debunked stories supporting the US-backed Ukrainian government.

The lockdown and mandates did more harm than the coronavirus itself. They were based on lies promoted by the government and its allies in the “private” sector. Yet too many Americans refuse to even question the US government’s claims regarding the Ukraine crisis or question whether Russia is really responsible for our economic problems as opposed to a spendthrift Congress, successive spendthrift Presidents, and an out-of-control Federal Reserve. The only way to stop authoritarians from using crises like these to grow their power is to make enough people understand a simple truth: authoritarian politicians will always lie to the people to protect and increase their own power.


Copyright © 2022 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Poland Is Playing A Dangerous Game

Posted by M. C. on March 8, 2022

The U.S. and Ukraine are manipulating everyone for the Globalist agenda, damn the consequences.

NATO is a paper tiger that has never been tested. When the day comes that it is finally tested, when the shells start flying and the laser guided bombs flatten buildings, Poland is only ensuring that it is her cities and her people that are flattened first.

They’d better follow Hungary’s lead and dispense with their America-as-savior fantasies and historical differences with Russia in a hurry. Western hyenas will keep poking the bear into a darker and darker corner. Putin has shown tremendous patience with these bloodthirsty animals over the years, but every bear has his limits.

https://thegoodcitizen.substack.com/p/poland-is-playing-a-dangerous-game?s=w

Good Citizen

Update March 8: Does Tucker Carlson read The Good Citizen?

In Carlson’s monologue last night he begins by showing the CBS Blinken interview on Sunday that also inspired this piece. Blinken goes on TV and nonchalantly sells out Poland as ground zero for a NATO war with Russia. Despite Poland’s relentless insistence that the WILL NOT be sending any fighter jets to Ukraine, Blinken callously ignores them on live TV. This is how the U.S. treats its allies, with reckless disregard and back stabbing PR diplomacy. Tucker also shows the Lindsay Graham rah rah speech to Ukrainian soldiers from 2016 I embedded at the end of this piece yesterday, where he says war with Russia is coming and the U.S. has their back.

On September 11, 2002, the Bush anniversary speech of 9/11 I recall hearing him name Saddam Hussein and Iraq in the speech and knew right then and there he was manufacturing consent for an invasion of Iraq despite the country have zero connections to the 9/11 attacks. I explicitly remember yelling to family members around me that the U.S. will invade Iraq next. They were so wrapped up in the superficial emotionalism of the speech and the moment, they told me I was crazy and to sit down and shut up. Family, eh?

When I watched the Blinken CBS interview Sunday, I got the same chills I got watching the Bush speech that day. It made me sick. This is how the U.S. psychologically manipulates its population into wars and in this case uses Poland as a sacrificial lamb for what would surely be a destructive global conflict. According to one analyst Tucker cites in his monologue, who war gamed a U.S.-Russia conflict in 2019, it would result in a billion dead. A billion.

Turns out the coronavirus and jabs didn’t do enough on the depopulation front, so it’s on to steps 2, 3 and 4. War, energy crisis, and mass starvation. Those Georgia guide stones aren’t going to be realized on their own.

The whole 22 minute Tucker piece is worth the watch as he shows how the blood thirsty hyenas explicitly wanted Russia to invade and do not want the war to end. Strangely the entire rest of the western corporate media completely ignore this Poland sell-out story even though it may be the first public signal from the U.S. of a desire to start World War Three.



Dancing with The Globalists

The propaganda is endless and everywhere. The images of babies and elderly people fleeing war blasted across western “news” sites with unsubtle headlines like:

PUTIN HAS THIS BABY’S BLOOD ON HIS HANDS!

There was once a masterful art to effective propaganda as psychological manipulation. Subtlety is no longer required with so many eager to assimilate to the latest media created madness, socially conditioned to reveal their stupidity in the comment sections: “Putin is the next Hitler! Someone needs to stop him at once!”

The citizens are seamlessly assimilating to this prepared Ukrainian Borg, happy to outsource their brains to a western corporate media who command them to only devote their emotions to the cause and nothing more.

Everything is designed to pull at the heart strings of people to manufacture consent for this conflict that should never have started and could be immediately ended with Ukraine disavowing NATO membership and allowing three majority Russian regions to rejoin their mother.

This is what the west wants, more war, more refugees, more propaganda to be used for their efforts to topple Putin in Russia. The warring neoliberals and neocons have been planning this for years and are loving every minute of the show.

See the rest here

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So, Are Putin and the Russians as Good as These Guys? You Decide – – –

Posted by M. C. on March 5, 2022

Wars are good if you are the “good guy”.

By L. Reichard White

April, 2004: In the attack on Fallujah, which ended after 3 weeks in defeat of the “coalition”:

Forces bombed the power plant at the beginning of the assault; …The town was placed under siege; the ban on bringing in food, medicine, and other basic items was broken only when Iraqis en masse challenged the roadblocks. … After initial instances in which people were prevented from leaving, U.S. forces began allowing everyone to leave except for what they called ‘military age males,’ men usually between 15 and 60. Keeping noncombatants from leaving a place under bombardment is a violation of the laws of war.

The main hospital in Fallujah is across the Euphrates from the bulk of the town. Right at the beginning, the Americans shut down the main bridge, cutting off the hospital from the town. … This hospital closing (not the only such that I documented in Iraq) also violates the Geneva Convention.

In addition to the artillery and the warplanes dropping 500, 1000, and 2000-pound bombs, and the murderous AC-130 Spectre gunships that can demolish a whole city block in less than a minute, the Marines had snipers criss-crossing the whole town. For weeks, Fallujah was a series of sometimes mutually inaccessible pockets, divided by the no-man’s-lands of sniper fire paths. Snipers fired indiscriminately, usually at whatever moved. Of 20 people I saw come into the clinic … only five were ‘military-age males.’ I saw old women, old men, a child of 10 shot through the head…

One thing that snipers were very discriminating about every single ambulance I saw had bullet holes in it. Two I inspected bore clear evidence of specific, deliberate sniping. Friends of mine who went out to gather in wounded people were shot at. When we first reported this fact, we came in for near-universal execration. Many just refused to believe it. Some asked me how I knew that it wasn’t the mujahedin. Interesting question. Had, say, Brownsville, Texas, been encircled by the Vietnamese and bombarded … and Brownsville ambulances been shot up, the question of whether the residents were shooting at their own ambulances, I somehow guess, would not have come up. Later, our reports were confirmed by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and even by the U.S. military.

The best estimates are that roughly 900-1000 people were killed directly, blown up, burnt, or shot. Of them, my guess, based on news reports and personal observation, is that 2/3 to 3/4 were noncombatants.

Fallujah and the Reality of War,” –Rahul Mahajan, CounterPunch, Nov. 6, 2004

Act II

A hospital has been razed to the ground in one of the heaviest U.S. air raids in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Witnesses said only the facade remained of the small Nazzal Emergency Hospital in the center of the city. … A nearby medical supplies storeroom and dozens of houses were damaged as US forces continued preparing the ground for an expected major assault.

U.S. strikes raze Fallujah hospital,” BBC, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2004

In a series of actions over the weekend, the United States military and Iraqi government destroyed a civilian hospital in a massive air raid, captured the main hospital, and prohibited the use of ambulances in the besieged city of Fallujah.

Fallujah: U.S. Declares War on Hospitals, Ambulances,” by Brian Dominick, Antiwar.com, Nov. 10, 2004

NEAR Fallujah, Iraq Nov. 12, 2004 — Hundreds of men trying to flee the assault on Fallujah have been turned back by U.S. troops following orders … ‘We assume they’ll go home and just wait out the storm or find a place that’s safe,’ one 1st Cavalry Division officer, who declined to be named, said Thursday. … Army Col. Michael Formica, who leads forces isolating Fallujah, admits the rule sounds ‘callous.’ But he insists it’s key to the mission’s success.

Tell them ‘Stay in your houses, stay away from windows and stay off the roof and you’ll live through Fallujah,’ [Army Col. Michael] Formica, of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade, told his battalion commanders in a radio conference call Wednesday night. …

Troops have cut off all roads and bridges leading out of the city. Relatively few residents have sought to get through …On Wednesday and Thursday, American troops sunk boats being used to ferry people … across the river. …

— “GIs Force Men Fleeing Fallujah to Return,” Associated Press, Nov. 16, 2004

Insurgent attacks across Iraq stretched American forces to their limits yesterday when rebels appeared to be in control of at least two cities, and the operation in Fallujah entered its most dangerous phase. … Some of the toughest street fighting encountered so far erupted during the day as rebels reemerged in areas already secured by U.S. Marines in the north of the city. Gunmen resumed positions on the roofs of mosques which had earlier been cleared…

‘I’m supposed to shoot into the houses before our troops go in,’ said Marine Cpl. Will Porter…

— “U.S. troops stretched to limit as insurgents fight back,” Robin Gedye, Nov. 13, 2004

Her shins, shattered by bullets from U.S. soldiers when they fired through the front door of her house, are both covered by casts. Small plastic drainage backs filled with red fluid sit upon her abdomen, where she took shrapnel from another bullet.

Fatima Harouz, 12 years old, lives in Latifiya, a city just south of Baghdad. Just three days ago soldiers attacked her home. Her mother, standing with us says, ‘They attacked our home and there weren’t even any resistance fighters in our area.’ Her brother was shot and killed, and his wife was wounded as their home was ransacked by soldiers. ‘Before they left, they killed all of our chickens,’ added Fatima’s mother, her eyes a mixture of fear, shock and rage.

Slash and Burn, Dahr Jamail, November 17, 2004

Journalists with the troops speak of a city that is gradually being devastated. Scarcely a single house does not bear some form of weapons scar and many have been rendered uninhabitable.

Tactics handed down from years of urban warfare in Israel mean that troops sometimes search rows of buildings by punching holes through walls with high velocity bullets rather than moving from house to house through doors, thus reducing the risk of booby traps and increasing the element of surprise.

— “The Telegraph: U.S. troops stretched to limit as insurgents fight back,” Robin Gedye, Nov. 13, 2004

The 33-year-old Associated Press photographer [Bilal Hussein] stayed behind to capture insider images during the siege of [Fallujah] … In the hours and days that followed, heavy bombing raids and thunderous artillery shelling turned Hussein’s northern Jolan neighborhood into a zone of rubble and death. The walls of his house were pockmarked by coalition fire.

‘Destruction was everywhere. I saw people lying dead in the streets, wounded were bleeding and there was no one to come and help them. … U.S. soldiers began to open fire on the houses, so I decided that it was very dangerous to stay in my house,’ he said. … Hussein moved from house to house — dodging gunfire — and reached the river. … ‘I decided to swim … but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river.’

He watched horrified as a family of five was shot dead as they tried to cross. …’I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some U.S. snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim.’

— “AP Photographer Flees Fallujah,” Katarina Kratovac, Nov. 14, 2004

No outside aid has reached civilians in the city since the offensive began last Monday, and yesterday U.S. forces kept an Iraqi Red Crescent aid convoy of seven trucks and ambulances waiting at the main hospital near a bridge on the edge of the city. … Reports from within Fallujah yesterday said bodies lay in the streets, homes and mosques were destroyed, and power and telephone lines were down. …

However, [Marine] Col. [Mike] Shupp said the Red Crescent did not need to deliver aid to civilians in Fallujah and questioned whether there were any. He said: “There is no need to bring supplies in because we have supplies of our own for the people. …

[U.S.-chosen Iraqi Prime Minister] Mr. [Iyad] Allawi also said he doubted reports of civilians in the city. This contradicted accounts from residents inside the city …

‘Our situation is very hard,’ said one resident [Abu Mustafa] contacted by telephone in the central Hay al Dubat neighborhood. ‘We don’t have food or water. My seven children all have severe diarrhea.’

‘One of my sons was wounded by shrapnel last night and he’s bleeding, but I can’t do anything to help him.’

It is thought about half of Fallujah’s 300,000 people fled the fighting in the city. … In April, 2,000 U.S. Marines fought for three weeks and failed to take Fallujah. This time, six times that number were sent … Major General Richard Natonski of the U.S. Marine Corps: ‘We had the green light this time and we went all the way.’ … [M]ore than 20 different types of planes were used in bombing swarms … as U.S. soldiers began clearing weapons and fighters from every one of Fallujah’s 50,000 buildings, bands of insurgents were still roaming freely in some neighborhoods.

— “Bodies litter streets in rubble of Fallujah,” Calum MacDonald, Nov. 15, 2004

[T]he command in Baghdad thought there were at least 2,000 insurgents, and perhaps as many as 5,000. But the coalition forces have failed to find large clusters and now think that there might have been less than 1,000, military sources said yesterday. The senior defense official said some generals now think there might have been 600 or fewer.

U.S. suspects many insurgents have fled,” Rowan Scarborough, Nov. 12, 2004

Fallujah has been under relentless aerial and artillery bombardment and without electricity since Monday. Reports have said residents are running low on food. An officer here said it was likely that those who stay in their homes would live through the assault, but agreed the city was a risky and frightening place to live.

U.S. military says it does all it can to prevent bombing buildings with civilians inside them.

— “GIs Force Men Fleeing Fallujah to Return,” Associated Press, Nov. 16, 2004

You read about precision strikes, and it’s true that America’s GPS-guided bombs are very accurate when they’re not malfunctioning, the 80 or 85 percent of the time that they work, their targeting radius is 10 meters, i.e., they hit within 10 meters of the target. Even the smallest of them, however, the 500-pound bomb, has a blast radius of 400 meters.

Fallujah and the Reality of War,” –Rahul Mahajan, CounterPunch, Nov. 6, 2004

Once the battle ends, military officials say all surviving military-age men can expect to be tested for explosive residue, catalogued, checked against insurgent databases and interrogated about ties with the guerrillas. U.S. and Iraqi troops are in the midst of searching homes, and plan to check every house in the city for weapons.

— “GIs Force Men Fleeing Fallujah to Return,” Associated Press, Nov. 16, 2004

[A]ll the excuses Mr. Bush gave for attacking the people of Iraq were either wrong or lies. … We’ll only mention in passing that the domestic price for ‘our’ sarkar attacking Iraq, a country with no WMD, no al-Qaeda links, and no connections to 9/11 so far has been $87 billion, a good chunk of our civil liberties — and 1,239 or so American soldier’s lives, not to mention a minimum of approximately 8,000 more wounded and/or maimed.

— L. Reichard White, “The Only Way to Make Your Vote Count,” Oct. 31, 2004

So, are Putin and the Russians as good at invading countries and murdering men, women and children as these guys?

>HERE for updates, additions, comments, and corrections.

AND, “Like,” “Tweet,” and otherwise, pass this along!

L. Reichard White [send him mail] taught physics, designed and built a house, ran for Nevada State Senate, served two terms on the Libertarian National Committee, managed a theater company, etc. For the next few decades, he supported his writing habit by beating casinos at their own games. His hobby, though, is explaining things he wishes someone had explained to him. You can find a few of his other explanations listed here.

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Biden’s Cuban Missile Crisis

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2022

Biden is no JFK. It is clear Biden does not possess an iota of Jack Kennedy’s intelligence, courage, nerve, vigor, or idealism. He is a lifetime political grifter and partisan hack who parasitically attached himself to the DC establishment. That such a nonentity could even sniff the US Senate, much less become president, is an indictment of our system. But at the moment he is, or appears to be, the voice of reason against the John Boltons of the world.

https://mises.org/power-market/bidens-cuban-missile-crisis

Jeff Deist

Joe Biden’s perverse legacy, if that term even applies anymore, may well be determined in the coming weeks by his handling of events in Ukraine. He can improve it by showing restraint against the relentless neoconservative chorus. One wonders what the results of a pure popular vote on the question of going to war with Russia over Ukraine would be, versus a vote solely within the DC beltway. 

Note: Biden was silent on the recent imposition of emergency martial law by the Trudeau government in Ottawa (a few hundred miles from Washington, DC), but has plenty to say about Kiev (4,881 distant miles). This is not coincidental. As journalist Glenn Greenwald puts it, we are required by Western propaganda to denounce actions by Vladimir Putin (such as freezing the bank assets of political opponent Alexei Navalny) while cheering the same actions taken by the Canadian government against money donated to truckers. Crackdowns in “democracies” are subject to a more enlightened standard:

[W]hen these weapons are wielded by Western governments, the precise opposite framework is imposed: describing them as despotic is no longer obligatory but virtually prohibited. That tyranny exists only in Western adversaries but never in the West itself is treated as a permanent axiom of international affairs, as if Western democracies are divinely shielded from the temptations of genuine repression. Indeed, to suggest that a Western democracy has descended to the same level of authoritarian repression as the West’s official enemies is to assert a proposition deemed intrinsically absurd or even vaguely treasonous.1

Much of today’s Western rhetoric about the former USSR employs this language of treason, accusing war skeptics of siding with Putin. American politicians and media often veer into outright Russophobia, sometimes with a not-subtle racial animus. This flows in large part from the 2016 election of Donald Trump, which somehow had to be the result of Russian interference and not Hillary Clinton’s shortcomings. It was remarkable to see so many politicians and pundits risk resurrecting a Cold War with a nuclear power simply to hurt Trump politically. But it worked: they got rid of Trump, and now the Cold War is back.

At this writing, Putin has declared the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent and autonomous from Ukraine. Russian forces have entered Ukraine and launched missiles; deaths and injuries are reported. Those troops reportedly have control over the Chernobyl power plant. Ludwig von Mises’s birthplace, today called Lviv, is threatened. 

In response, Biden today announced retaliatory sanctions against Russia and promised severe economic consequences for Putin’s actions. Military and aerospace technology will be blocked, while Russian banks will be shut off from international markets. US and EU officials also have considered the more severe option of removing the country from the SWIFT system of international payments, which would cut off foreign-currency purchases of oil, gas, and other Russian exports. 

Still, Biden has shown restraint. Let’s hope he keeps to this commitment made earlier today:

“Our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict,” he said. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine but defend [sic] our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the east.”

There will be plenty of voices in Biden’s ear demanding more, much more. The subcurrent to Biden’s election in 2020 was the return of neoconservatism with a vengeance. Many of the worst foreign policy hawks, from David Frum to Max Boot to Bill Kristol, have found their home in the Democratic Party. The GOP, for its part, is scrambling to outdo the Democrats in their bellicosity for Putin in a nauseatingly transparent effort to make Biden look weak for the upcoming midterm elections. Hence the sorry spectacle of former Trump national security advisor John Bolton—among the worst war promoters in modern history—solemnly lecturing us on MSNBC about Biden’s failure to have placed US troops in Ukraine weeks ago. Unless Putin’s foray is short lived, rest assured that Congress, the Pentagon, the spy agencies, Biden’s cabinet, and his own party leaders (mindful of polls) will call for US military strikes. Some will call for American troops to defend Ukraine on the ground.

President John F. Kennedy faced similar pressures in his brief years as president. Regardless of one’s views on Camelot, Kennedy was a New England liberal and idealist—not a neoconservative. He sincerely abhorred the possible use of nuclear weapons in a conflict with the Soviets. He communicated clandestinely with Nikita Khrushchev to avoid just such a conflict and managed to bring the US back from the brink of an ugly tank standoff in Berlin during 1961—stating, to the chagrin of the Cold Warriors, that the Berlin Wall was “a hell of a lot better than a war.”

Kennedy similarly resisted calls by the Pentagon, CIA, and Joint Chiefs for the US to back a puppet government in Laos. He was reasonably firm in his opposition to escalations in Vietnam, denying repeated Pentagon requests for thousands of ground troops. Time and again he imagined his reelection in 1964 would free him politically to remove America completely from Southeast Asia.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the pressure on Kennedy to use nuclear missiles against that tiny, impoverished country was intense. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, CIA deputy Richard Helms, the Joint Chiefs, and one particularly bloodthirsty general named Curtis “Bombs Away” LeMay all pressed hard for action. They considered JFK’s Cuban blockade disastrously weak. One CIA operative called his failure to launch a nuclear strike “treasonous.” LeMay compared it to appeasement in Munich. And of course his own vice president, Lyndon Johnson, was never an ally when it counted. Kennedy’s only firm and trusted confidant throughout all of it was his own brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Like Trump, JFK faced almost mutinous attacks and subterfuge from within: by his own cabinet, administrative agencies, military commanders, and especially the CIA. 

Biden is no JFK. It is clear Biden does not possess an iota of Jack Kennedy’s intelligence, courage, nerve, vigor, or idealism. He is a lifetime political grifter and partisan hack who parasitically attached himself to the DC establishment. That such a nonentity could even sniff the US Senate, much less become president, is an indictment of our system. But at the moment he is, or appears to be, the voice of reason against the John Boltons of the world.

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Hyenas In The Kitchen

Posted by M. C. on February 24, 2022

Cooking up enemies and conflict with lies and propaganda has never been so obvious.

US foreign policy is a racket. The war designers in the MIC, the government, media and think tanks will never suffer consequences of their treachery and stupidity. The EU has agreed to a suicide pact with the U.S., which will require it buys U.S. natural gas at inflated prices rather than from their neighbor and friends in Russia whom they recently asked to build more pipelines to supply cheap energy to the continent. With friends like the U.S., who needs enemies?

https://thegoodcitizen.substack.com/p/hyenas-in-the-kitchen?utm_source=url

Putin Swings Back
Listening to Putin’s recent speech that preceded the declaration to recognize the independent republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, it was difficult not to notice that something was incredibly off about his claims. They simply did not match what the western corporate press, those dutiful stenographers for NATO power have been reporting for years. Putin gave the world a history lesson, pulled back the curtain on western lies and hypocrisies, (only some of them, there are a thousand curtains that need pulling back) and showed the world he’s not going to be pushed around by the little hyenas of the European prairie any longer.

In some middle eastern folklore hyenas are referred to as symbols of treachery and stupidity. In other mythologies they are known as vampire creatures who stalk and suck the blood of their prey. The phrase ‘laugh like a hyena’ dates back centuries in English literature including Shakespeare, and now embodies the number two position of the American executive branch. More on hyenas later.

Putin’s speech corrected the hyena’s revisionist attempts of events in Ukraine the past eight years and revealed a man who, having watched his nation get pushed to its limits with broken promises and door mat NATO diplomacy, showed that he’s simply had enough. And good for him. In our new multi polar world of geopolitical chess the bear and dragon are ascendant, and realist foreign policy doesn’t require the permission of any community, particularly a deceitful paper tiger like NATO or useless cabal of globalist order-takers at the EU or UN. While there’s little to celebrate with these new circumstances for global conflict, a convenient distraction from the last engineered global conflict, we must recognize the chance for lasting peace and alliance between the west and Russia was denied by the U.S. every step of the way.

All that remains is brutal realism and the flexing of power, the kind of realism rooted in self interest to serve the people of a nation and defend it from encroaching hyenas. Twenty years of poking the bear has consequences, but hyenas don’t know anything beyond their instincts, treachery and stupidity.

Media A-Z
Given the role of the global corporate press in engineering a pandemic and all the crimes that followed the past two years, it’s astounding that people who know their lies and propaganda were constant and shameful watch the same servants of power report on Russia and Putin and believe what they are saying is the truth. But that’s how that saying goes: fool me once here and twice there, happy to get fooled again and again.

Everything they’ve reported since the U.S. backed coup in Ukraine of 2014, from the “dignity revolution” where Neo-Nazi nationalists from western Ukraine were mobilized as shock troops to overthrow the Yanukovych government with US Aid (Soros), and brutally attacked any Russian loyalists, burning forty alive in a building in Odessa, to the annexation of Crimea whose population prefers Russia, to the constant violations of the Minsk agreement by Ukrainian forces along the cease fire lines, to claims of “Ukrainian democracy” when it’s at best a dysfunctional corrupt Oligarchy, has all been one stream of endless lies.1 Add to that the domestic lies of Trump-Russia collusion, set up through CIA and FBI attempted coups of a democratically elected President at home engineered by the opposition party, while constantly vilifying anyone who asked any questions at all as “Putin’s Puppet” or a “Russian sympathizer” and you have one of the biggest psychological operations ever unleashed on western populations, not to mention grotesque acts of overt treason.

Yet still, many who know that the media and government pandemic lies are terrifyingly real, still believe the stories about Putin and Russia. But that’s how logic works: if A was lying about everything regarding X, they’re certainly telling the truth regarding Y and Z.

Russia is a dictatorship because they have state-run media that parrots the Putin regime propaganda. Not like America, where we have a totally free press 😒

— Christina Pushaw 🐊🚛 (@ChristinaPushaw) February 23, 2022

War Chefs
If there was ever anything noble in war, the courage, bravery, facing one’s mortality, the tactics and maneuvers of battles that required out-smarting one’s enemy, Sun Tzu’s art, all that is lost to advanced technology and a desire to manipulate public sentiment above all things. They call them hybrid wars, asymmetric wars, psychological wars, information wars and has been proffered on this outfit the most evil of all where victims are unsuspecting innocents believing their governments have their best interests in mind – Silent Wars – atrocities by states against their own citizens.

Today wars are not fought, they’re curated like an exhibit at a museum. They are designed like a tapestry or an exotic dish on a cooking show. A little bit of false flag fava beans, julian propaganda peppers, sliced projection potatoes, a splash of historical revisionism radishes, piles of intel leeks and you have the makings of war by design. Put it all into an oven where your enemy feels the burn and acts in a way you can claim was their true evil nature all along, and you have a nice dish of cooked up conflict. When you control the global media machine who work for the head chefs designing this war dish, it makes it effortless to serve up this heaping load of detestable horse shit as reality. Millions will rush to obediently eat and regurgitate it.

See the rest here

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