Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Yesterday in Odessa, Ukraine, more than 30 anti-Kiev protesters were burned alive, as a US-backed pro-Kiev mob set fire to the trade union building into which they ran to escape the pro-Kiev crowd. It was the largest loss of life in Ukraine since the US-backed coup in February, and it may well be a turning point in the east versus west struggle that ensued.
The pictures from the scene were ghastly (warning: graphic), as desperate protesters tried to claw their way out of the building as they were burned alive. Also ghastly were the photos of the young girls happily making the molotov cocktails that were thrown into the building.
More ghastly still, was the US media coverage of the savage event. Even when 25 minutes video availableclearly demonstrated what happened in Odessa, clearly demonstrated who was responsible for the incineration of unarmed protesters, the US media all hewed to the State Department line that pointedly refused to pin any blame on the pro-Kiev mob supported by Washington. Said the State Department release:
The events in Odesa that led to the deadly fire in the Trade Union Building dramatically underscore the need for an immediate de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine. The violence and efforts to destabilize the country must end.
Contrast this to US government’s very different position when violence broke out in Kiev in February: even as evidence pointed to much violence committed by the protesters, the US nevertheless blamed the then-Yanukovich government exclusively.
And the US media was not far behind the State Department in its Odessa spin.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
Thirty of the victims died of smoke inhalation after a fire was set in the central trade union building, where pro-Russia separatists reportedly had taken up sniper positions to fire on pro-unity demonstrators.
LA Times spins it like burning more than 30 protesters alive was a purely defensive measure. But if they were all snipers, why did they not shoot their way out?
In lock-step with the State Department, the NY Daily News reported that:
…for reasons still unclear, a fire broke out in a trade union building and the death toll started to climb.
This even though their own article features a photo of a pro-Kiev protester tossing a firebomb into the building!
As to be expected, the New York Times followed the State Department line of avoiding any real reportingthat might damage the US-backed regime in Kiev, preferring to present the act of mass murder as some sort of tragic accident:
Violence also erupted Friday in the previously calmer port city of Odessa, on the Black Sea, where dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists
There are too many more examples of the US media’s lock-step reporting on this event to cover here.
But even the virulently anti-Russian and pro-Kiev Kyiv Post could get the basic reporting correct:
A mob shouted “Glory to Ukraine” and “Death to enemies” as the building burned with people inside.
That makes it pretty clear who did the torching and who did the dying.
Continued the Kyiv Post:
Photographs circulating on Twitter and Facebook show people – some presumably in their teens – mixing explosive concoctions in discarded beer bottles before lobbing them into the building.
Why did the US media not report any of this? Because they did not want the American public to see any possibility other than the US government official line, which is that the post-coup government in Kiev and its supporters represent the legitimate and democratic will of the people and anyone who protests against that government or its supporters is a Russian agent and a terrorist.
The US mainstream media marches lock-step with the US government, even to the point of covering up a most vile mass murder. It is only alternative sources and networks like RT (and RPI) that dare to cross the State Department line.
No wonder the US State Department has declared war on RT.
Credit to Infowars
A month ago, it was alleged, that Ukraine - under cover of night - loaded its gold reserves onto a plane and shipped them off (for safekeeping) in the US, as the potential price of 'liberation'. So how ironic that, given the massive gas debts that Ukraine owes to Russia (and prepayments pending), and sizable bond maturities pending, the first thing that Ukraine's National Bank governor will be buying with his freshly minted loan from the IMF is... buy a billion dollars of gold.
We presume Gazprom still gets its payment and bondholders get paid off - because that seriously impair 'investor confidence' which is, as they note below, is what is crucial to stabilize the nation's economy... but it seems the Central bank has other priorities...
Kiev will use the first portion of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for augmenting its gold and currency reserves in order to stabilize the financial situation in the country, National Bank Chairman Stepan Kubiv said on Monday, May 5.“Over $1 billion from the first portion of the loan will go into the gold and currency reserves of Ukraine, which will strengthen the financial system of the country. The remainder will go to the budget to stabilize the macroeconomic and financial situation in Ukraine,” he said.Kubiv believes that the IMF loan “will send a positive signal to foreign investors and domestic entrepreneurs, improve the investment climate in the country and stabilize the hryvnia”.On April 30, the IMF Board of Governors approved a two-year standby credit facility of $17 billion for Ukraine. The first portion will amount to around $3.2 billion.
What is odd is that Ukraine's gold reserves have been soaring in recent years - so it's hardly been a confidence-inspiring move for Ukrainian entrepreneurs and foreign investors so far?
So the big question we are left wondering is - whether all the IMF is doing is "giving" Ukraine money so it can buy gold as proxy for the NY Fed...
with that next batch of gold also set to be confiscated by the Fed and shipped off to Germany (and maybe even Switzerland) to cover their growing repatriation demands.
with that next batch of gold also set to be confiscated by the Fed and shipped off to Germany (and maybe even Switzerland) to cover their growing repatriation demands.
One wonders if this news has anything to do with the fact that since the approval of the IMF "loan" gold has had its best 2 days in 4 months...
CRedit to Zero Hedge
The latest episodes of violence in Ukraine constitute a genocide against the Russian and Ukrainian people, Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said during a Balkan forum Tuesday.
“We are dealing with the real genocide of both Russian and Ukrainian people,” said Naryshkin, commenting on the tragic events in Odessa on May 2, when 46 federalization activists were killed in clashes.
He added that Russia was shocked by the massacre in Odessa and mourns the victims together with their families.
“In the 21st century such things happen not only due to the fault of a bunch of political adventurists – they are not worth much on their own, they will get what they deserve from their people. The main problem is that the horrific truth is being kept from the whole world,” Naryshkin said.
According to the speaker, Kiev’s authorities initially based their policy on civil confrontation. They have now demonstrated their unwillingness to find and punish those responsible for the numerous crimes that have been committed in Ukraine in recent months, he added.
Pro-federalization rallies have swept southeastern regions of Ukraine since March. Kiev’s current authorities launched a special operation to crack down on protesters in mid-April. Dozens of activists have died in subsequent clashes. The highest death toll was recorded in Odessa, where 46 people died and 214 were injured during a fire in the House of Trade Unions on May 2.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the events a result of the “criminal irresponsibility of the Kiev leadership indulging insolent nationalist radicals, including Right Sector, who are staging a campaign of physical terror against supporters of federalization and real constitutional changes in Ukrainian society."
Credit to RIA Novosti
“WE ARE NO LONGER A NATION RULED BY LAWS”
Pulitzer prize winning reporter Chris Hedges – along with journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, activist Tangerine Bolen and others – sued the government to join the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans.
The trial judge in the case asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys.
The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge.
The trial judge ruled that the indefinite detention bill was unconstitutional, holding:
This Court rejects the government’s suggestion that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention.
But the court of appeal overturned that decision, based upon the assumption that limited the NDAA to non-U.S. citizens:
We thus conclude, consistent with the text and buttressed in part by the legislative history, that Section 1021 [of the 2012 NDAA] means this: With respect to individuals who are not citizens, are not lawful resident aliens, and are not captured or arrested within the United States, the President’s [Authorization for Use of Military Force] authority includes the authority to detain those responsible for 9/11 as well as those who were a part of, or substantially supported, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners—a detention authority that Section 1021 concludes was granted by the original AUMF. But with respect to citizens, lawful resident aliens, or individuals captured or arrested in the United States, Section 1021 simply says nothing at all.
The court of appeal ignored the fact that the co-sponsors of the indefinite detention law said it does applyto American citizens, and that top legal scholars agree.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the case, thus blessing and letting the indefinite detention law stand unchanged.
The court of appeal’s Orwellian reasoning may sound – at first blush – like it might be a good thing. After all, the court said there’s no indication that the indefinite detention provision will be applied against U.S. citizens.
However, by refusing to strike down the law and insist that any future laws explicitly exempt U.S. citizens, it leaves discretion in the hands of the executive branch.
The effect of the decision will be to allow the U.S. government to kidnap and indefinitely detain U.S. citizens who protest or dissent against the government … and the courts will never hear any legal challenge from the prisoners. The detainee will not get to say:
The courts said the indefinite detention law isn’t written to apply to U.S. citizens, so you have to let me go!
And he won’t get to say:
You’re confusing me with another John Smith, and I can prove it!
After all, prisoners can be held under the indefinite detention bill without trial, without being allowed to present evidence or hearing the evidence against them, without letting the citizen consult with a lawyer, and without even charging the citizen with any crime.
So – if you’re thrown into a hole somewhere – no one will even hear your story.
Chris Hedges noted in November:
If [the indefinite detention law] stands it will mean, as [the trial judge] pointed out in her 112-page opinion, that whole categories of Americans—and here you can assume dissidents and activists—will be subject to seizure by the military and indefinite and secret detention.
Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead agrees:
No matter what the Obama administration may say to the contrary, actions speak louder than words, and history shows that the U.S. government is not averse to locking up its own citizens for its own purposes. What the NDAA does is open the door for the government to detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker. According to government guidelines for identifying domestic extremists—a word used interchangeably with terrorists, that technically applies to anyone exercising their First Amendment rights in order to criticize the government.
As does constitutional attorney William Olson:
The personal freedoms of Americans are now in tatters following the refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal to knock down the National Defense Authorization Act, constitutional and election law attorney William Olson says.
“This is a rather remarkable shredding of the Bill of Rights,”…. he explained that the language of the act is so “loose,” that anybody can be picked up for any reason.
“The president of the United States … [has] this power to detain indefinitely without charges, without trial, without an arrest warrant, without a grand jury, just to be able to hold someone who they think might be a threat of some sort,” Olson said.
“How are you going to challenge it when the black SUV rolls away from your house and no one even knows where you’ve been taken?”
If you think they’re crying wolf, just remember that the CIA director relabeled “dissidents” as “terrorists” in 1972 so that he could continue spying on them … and nothing has changed.
Daniel Ellsberg notes that Obama’s claimed power to indefinitely detain people without charges or access to a lawyer or the courts is a power that even King George – the guy we fought the Revolutionary War against – didn’t claim. And former judge and adjunct professor of constitutional law Andrew Napolitano points out that Obama’s claim that he can indefinitely detain prisoners even after they are acquitted of their crimes is a power that even Hitler and Stalin didn’t claim.
Access to justice is already being severely curtailed in America. Even when the prisoner is afforded a trial, it is becoming more and more common for the government to prosecute cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant, his lawyer … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case. The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorismcharges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even to assassinate people. And see this and this. Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are not even allowed to read their own briefs. Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret.
But prisoners under the indefinite detention bill have it much worse: they don’t get any trial or opportunity to talk to a judge, any access to a lawyer … or perhaps any information about what they’re even accused of doing or why they were nabbed in the first place.
Chris Hedges notes today:
The U.S. Supreme Court decision … means the nation has entered a post-constitutional era. It means that extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by our government is legal. It means that the courts, like the legislative and executive branches of government, exclusively serve corporate power—one of the core definitions of fascism. It means that the internal mechanisms of state are so corrupted and subservient to corporate power that there is no hope of reform or protection for citizens under our most basic constitutional rights. It means that the consent of the governed—a poll by OpenCongress.com showed that this provision had a 98 percent disapproval rating—is a cruel joke. And it means that if we do not rapidly build militant [Washington's Blogbelieves in non-violence] mass movements to overthrow corporate tyranny, including breaking the back of the two-party duopoly that is the mask of corporate power, we will lose our liberty.
“In declining to hear the case Hedges v. Obama and declining to review the NDAA, the Supreme Court has turned its back on precedent dating back to the Civil War era that holds that the military cannot police the streets of America,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who along with Bruce Afran devoted countless unpaid hours to the suit. “This is a major blow to civil liberties. It gives the green light to the military to detain people without trial or counsel in military installations, including secret installations abroad. There is little left of judicial review of presidential action during wartime.”
The law went back on the books [after the court of appeal reversed the trial judge's decision]. My lawyers and I surmised that this was because the administration was already using the law to detain U.S. citizens in black sites, most likely dual citizens with roots in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen…. Government attorneys, when asked by Judge Forrest, refused to say whether or not the government was already using the law, buttressing our suspicion that it was in use.
In refusing to hear our lawsuit the courts have overturned nearly 150 years of case law that repeatedly holds that the military has no jurisdiction over civilians.
Credit to Blacklisted News
Did you know that there are nearly102 millionworking age Americans that do not have a job right now? And20 percent of all families in the United States do not have a single member that is employed. So how in the world can the government claim that the unemployment rate has "dropped" to "6.3 percent"? Well, it all comes down to how you define who is "unemployed". For example, last month the government moved another988,000 Americans into the "not in the labor force" category. According to the government, at this moment there are 9.75 million Americans that are "unemployed" and there are 92.02 million Americans that are "not in the labor force" for a grand total of 101.77 million working age Americans that do not have a job. Back in April 2000, only 5.48 million Americans were unemployed and only 69.27 million Americans were "not in the labor force" for a grand total of 74.75 million Americans without a job. That means that the number of working age Americans without a job has risen by 27 million since the year 2000. Any way that you want to slice that, it is bad news.
Well, what about as a percentage of the population?
Has the percentage of working age Americans that have a job been increasing or decreasing?
As you can see from the chart posted below, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has been in a long-term downward trend. As the year 2000 began, we were sitting at 64.6 percent. By the time the great financial crisis of 2008 struck, we were hovering around 63 percent. During the last recession, we fell dramatically to under 59 percent and we have stayed there ever since...
And the numbers behind this chart also show that employment in America did not increase last month.
In March, 58.9 percent of all working age Americans had a job.
In April, 58.9 percent of all working age Americans had a job.
Things are not getting worse (at least for the moment), but things are also definitely not getting better.
The month that Barack Obama entered the White House, we were in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and only 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job.
Since only 58.9 percent of all working age Americans have a job now, that means that the employment situation in America is still significantly worse than it was the day Barack Obama took office.
So don't let anyone fool you with talk of an "employment recovery". It simply is not happening. The official unemployment rate bears so little relation to economic reality at this point that it has essentially become meaningless.
Look, how in the world can we have an "unemployment rate" of just "6.3 percent" when 20 percent of all American families do n0t have a single member that is working?
Here is how that 20 percent figure was arrived at...
A family, as defined by the BLS, is a group of two or more people who live together and who are related by birth, adoption or marriage. In 2013, there were 80,445,000 families in the United States and in 16,127,000—or 20 percent–no one had a job.
So if one out of every five families is completely unemployed, then why is the official government unemployment rate not up at Great Depression era levels?
Could it be that the government is manipulating the numbers to make them look much better than they actually are?
Why don't they just go ahead and get it over with? They can just define every American that is not working as "not in the labor force" and then we can have "0.0 percent unemployment". Then we can all have a giant party and celebrate how wonderful the U.S. economy is.
And don't be fooled by the "288,000 jobs" that were added to the U.S. economy last month. For workers under the age of 55, the number of jobs actually dropped by a whopping 259,000.
If we were using honest numbers, the official unemployment rate would look a lot scarier. John Williams of shadowstats.com has calculated that the unemployment rate should be about 23 percent. I don't think that is too far off.
Meanwhile, the quality of the jobs in our economy continues to go down. The House Ways and Means Committee says that seven out of every eight jobs that have been "added" to the economy under Barack Obama have been part-time jobs. But you can't raise a family or plan a career around a part-time job. To be honest, it is very hard for a single person to even survive on a part-time wage in this economic environment.
As the quality of our jobs goes down, so do our incomes. The median household income has declined for five years in a row, and the middle class is falling apart.
Without middle class incomes, you can't have a middle class. Considering what we have been watching happen, it should be no surprise that the homeownership rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in 19 years or that the number of Americans receiving money from the government each month exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million.
For many more statistics like this, please see my previous article entitled "17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine".
At a gut level, most Americans understand that things are much worse than they used to be.
The Pew Research Center recently asked people what "class" they consider themselves to be. The results were shocking.
Back in 2008, only 25 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be "lower middle class" or "poor".
Earlier this year, an astounding 40 percent of all Americans chose one of those designations.
We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline, and no amount of propaganda is going to change that.
But based on the "happy numbers" being trumpeted by the mainstream media, the Federal Reserve is slowly bringing their quantitative easing program to an end.
When quantitative easing is finally totally cut off, we shall see how the financial markets and the U.S. economy perform without artificial life support.
Personally, I don't think that it is going to be pretty.
Credit to Economic Collapse