Thursday, January 22, 2015
Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia on Wednesday of sending 9,000 troops to back separatist rebels in the east of his country, and the IMF chief said she backed extra financial help for Kiev as the conflict inflicts severe economic damage.
Moscow challenged Poroshenko to present facts to prove his allegations. However, he won support from NATO, which said the amount of heavy military equipment used by Russian troops in eastern Ukraine had increased, and the alliance repeated its call for the forces to withdraw.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Poroshenko made one of Kiev's boldest assertions yet that Russia's military is directly involved in a conflict in which more than 4,800 people have died since last April.
Russian troops were backed by a range of heavy weapons, including tanks, heavy artillery and armored vehicles, he said, adding: "If this is not aggression, what is aggression?"
Poroshenko also called on Moscow to comply with a peace plan agreed in Minsk, Belarus, last September between Ukraine, Russia and pro-Russian separatist leaders to end the conflict.
"The solution is very simple -- stop supplying weapons ... withdraw the troops and close the border," he said. "If you want to discuss something different, it means you are not for peace, you are for war."
The Minsk plan provides for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of foreign fighters and military equipment from Ukraine. But the ceasefire has been very shaky from the start and hundreds of people have died since September in clashes Kiev says have involved regular Russian troops.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tried to fend off the accusations, saying he hoped for progress at talks on the conflict on Wednesday despite the renewed fighting.
"If you allege this so confidently, present the facts. But nobody can present the facts, or doesn't want to," Lavrov told a news conference before heading to the peace talks in Berlin with the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Germany and France.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, warned against expecting too much from the talks. "I don't want to get hopes up too much," she said. "It is clear that the ceasefire is getting more and more fragile."
In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news briefing that the Western alliance had monitored Russian troops in Ukraine for several months and seen an increase lately in numbers of tanks, artillery pieces and other heavy equipment.
Credit to Reuters
It is hard to believe that the White House was caught by surprise over House leader John Boehner’s unusual invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address Congress on Feb. 11. After all, prior arrangements must have kept the Israeli embassy in Washington busy for weeks in a city, whose life blood is kept flowing by the mining and trading of information and secrets about friends and rivals alike.
All the same, it suited the four parties involved in this extraordinary event – Republican and Democratic lawmakers, the White House and Netanyahu - to pretend they were taken aback on Wednesday, Jan. 21 by the Speaker’s announcement of the prime minister’s coming address on "the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”
He accused President Barack Obama of "papering over" these threats over in his State of the Union speech a few hours earlier.
The White House said the invitation breached "typical protocol" but the administration would reserve judgment until they heard from Netanyahu about his plans.
The assumed air of astonishment greeting the invitation added an element of drama to the event. It also had the effect of further polarizing the camps for and against the Obama administration’s insistence on banking solely on diplomacy for containing Iran’s nuclear program.
Obama and Netanyahu, who could never stand each other, have been at loggerheads for most of the six years of the former’s presidency over what is widely seen as the dead-end US Middle East policies he pursued in most major arenas such as Iraq, Yemen and Libya, the futile US air strikes against marching Islamist State soldiers, the unending Syrian conflict and the Palestinian issue.
The showdown building up for years between them may now be at hand. It will catch Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry fully engaged in a desperate pursuit of a comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the Six-World-Powers group. This deal could then be presented as an unquestioned success of Obama’s Middle East policies – indeed the only one.
Together with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohamed Zarif, US officials have roughed out a draft accord. But most American nuclear experts and Israel’s top political and military leaders view this paper as a bad agreement, because it would leave Tehran with the freedom and resources to jump back from low-grade enrichment to full-dress production of a nuclear bomb and missiles when international and economic circumstances were more convenient.
But Obama and Kerry are counting on the ayatollahs holding their horses until the end of 2016, when the US administration changes hands. The Iranian nuclear deal’s inevitable breakdown would then land squarely on the shoulders of the next president and secretary of state taking over in Washington, while Obama would have formally honored his commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.
Khamenei between two compulsions
But this plan faces an outsize impediment: Rouhani and Zarif are holding back from putting pen to paper because of the strong objections posed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards military chiefs.
Earlier this month, the issue reached boiling point in Tehran, DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report: The Guards threatened to unseat Khamenei by a military coup if he let Rouhani and Zarif sign the draft into a comprehensive, binding nuclear accord.
Khamenei, never lost for a devious maneuver, began weaving between the two compulsions – American demands for more concessions to finalize the deal and demands by hardliners at home not to give way. The move he made was to throw a bone in the form of an offer to cut down on the number of centrifuges used in uranium enrichment.
Obama and Kerry hailed this as a breakthrough toward a deal, although the experts dismissed it as meaningless.
Obama propositions Netanyahu
On this basis, Obama phoned Netanyahu Monday night, Jan. 13, to ask him for Israel’s support for the evolving comprehensive nuclear accord with Iran.
In return, he offered closer US cooperation in various areas of interest to Israel, such as the Palestinian issue, if the prime minister would withhold or cool his support for US Senate sanctions legislation:
The Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Robert Menendez seek to enact new sanctions on Iran if nuclear negotiations fail to meet their June 30 deadline for an accord.
Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- supported by Republican Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain -- is pushing for legislation which does not contain sanctions but would require a Senate vote on any pact that is agreed upon in Geneva.
Netanyahu rejected Obama’s proposition.
The US President was therefore adamant in his State of the Union references to the Iranian nuclear issue: “New sanctions on Iran would all but guarantee that diplomacy fails, heightening the prospects of war.” He said.: “Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran, secures America and our allies – including Israel – while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict.”
Obama did not elaborate on the parties who would take part in this hypothetical conflict, or explain why he limited himself to only two extreme scenarios – either a deal with Iran or tighter sanctions that would precipitate war.
Israel takes direct aim at Iran
It was no accident that two days before this speech, Obama had his answer from Israel. Sunday, Jan. 19, Israeli Air Force drones struck an Iranian-Hizballah military convoy near the Syrian Golan town of Quneitra. Six Iranian officers were killed, led by Gen. Mohamad Ali Allah Dadi, as well as the same number of high-ranking Hizballah operatives.
This was a dual threat: Israel would not stand by if Iranian and Hizballah forces moved into the Syrian Golan right up against its frontier. But in the wider context, Binyamin Netanyahu was signaling Obama in Washington and Khamenei in Tehran, that he no longer had any qualms about striking Iranian military targets if the two rulers failed to forge a workable, credible accord for keeping nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands.
The Israeli action added military muscle to the US Senate legislation on Iran - in the face of Obama’s reluctance to embrace tactics he believes would be disincentives for Khamenei to play ball on the ongoing multilateral nuclear diplomatic track in Geneva.
It also explains why John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress on Feb. 11.
However, until then, Iran, Hizballah, Syria and even Israel may not stand idle. And the Obama administration may also decide to round up its assets in a bid to spoil the prime minister’s run for re-election on March 17.
Credit to DEBKAfile
US Senator John McCain stated Wednesday that the positioning of American and NATO troops in countries sharing a border with Russia could ultimately result in the collapse of the collective security alliance.
WASHINGTON, January 21 (Sputnik) — Failing to implement a stronger US-NATO force presence in the Baltic states could ultimately result in the collapse of the collective security alliance, US Senator John McCain told Sputnik on Wednesday.
“If they [the Russians] move into the Baltics… and there is no tripwire there, I doubt if there would be a reaction. And it would be the end of NATO,” the Senate Armed Services Chairman told Sputnik, following a hearing on US national security challenges.
The concept of a tripwire, McCain explained, is the positioning of American and NATO troops in countries sharing a border with Russia, in order to deter a Russian invasion, a scenario some leaders in the United States and NATO anticipate. Such a tripwire would involve a greater military presence than has been designated under NATO’s Readiness Action Plan, a program implemented in 2014 which increases troop rotations and readiness in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, McCain said.
McCain also agreed with statements delivered by former National Security Advisor for the Jimmy Carter administration, Zbigniew Brzezinski who said that that if Russia were to make a military incursion into a NATO state it would indicate "the end of NATO.”
Instead, Brzezinski proposed creating a “tripwire” in Estonia or Latvia “that communicates clearly to Russia that NATO will be involved, that the United States in particular is present.”
However, Former National Security Advisor in the Ronald Reagan administration, Brent Scowcroft dismissed the notion of a Russian incursion into neighboring NATO states. “I don’t see that happening,” Scowcroft told members of the Senate during the Wednesday hearing, adding that “there won’t be such a reaction” on the part of Russia’s leadership.
Since the civil unrest in Ukraine, the United States and NATO have accused Moscow of interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs, including multiple allegations of Russian troops' presence in the country. Russia has repeatedly denied these allegations.
Since March 2014, the NATO alliance has focused on a Readiness Action Plan to “deter Russian aggression," according to the alliance. The plan includes troop rotations along Russia’s western border, increased joint military exercises, and additional training and equipment to NATO partner states.
Under the NATO charter, the 26 member alliance is bound to a collective defense doctrine, stipulating that an attack against one or more of the partner states will be considered an attack on all.
Credit to Sputnik.com
Day after day, mainstream media proclaimed December the month to be in stocks: seasonals, Santa Claus rally, and performance-chasing funds would 'guarantee' upside. For Owen Li, former Raj Rajaratnam's Galleon Group trader, and the clients of his Canarsie Capital hedge fund, December 2014 will never be forgotten. According to CNBC, from around $100 million in AUM in March 2014, Li told investors in a letter, the fund had lost all but $200,000 and he was "truly sorry," for "acting overzealously" in the last 3 weeks.
A hedge fund manager told clients he is "truly sorry" for losing virtually all their money.Owen Li, the founder of Canarsie Capital in New York, said Tuesday that he had lost all but $200,000 of the firm's capital—down from the roughly $100 million it ran as of late March 2014."I take responsibility for this terrible outcome," Li wrote in a letter to investors obtained by CNBC.com"My only hope is that you understand that I acted in an attempt—however misguided—to generate higher returns for the fund and its investors. But even so, I acted overzealously, causing you devastating losses for which there is no excuse," he added....Li said in the letter that he made a series of "aggressive transactions" over the last three weeks to make up for poor returns in December. He said he bet on stock price options, predicated on the broader market rising. But stock indexes instead fell, causing the huge losses along with several undisclosed direct investments, according to the note.
Li is a former trader at Raj Rajaratnam's Galleon Group, which collapsed amid insider trading charges.
Li's lieutenant at Canarsie is Ken deRegt, who joined in 2013 after having retiring as the global head of fixed income sales and trading at Morgan Stanley.
To Mr. Li's less than sophisticated investors we have a short clip summarizing what just happened:
As for Mr. Li, we look forward to his next "hedge" fund reincarnation so that we too can give him some of our money to manage because it really is not easy to find someone who can blow through $100 million in less than a year. And who knows: if someone is willing to fund a guy that dumb and that clueless, next time he actually is due to hit it out of the ballpark.
Credit to Zero Hedge
Citizens of Israel should be gravely concerned over an impending “crushing response” to the killing of an Iranian general and several Lebanese Hezbollah fighters in a January 18 airstrike in Syria, a high-ranking commander in Iran’s army said Wednesday.
Major General Mostafa Izadi, the deputy chief of staff for logistics of the Iranian Armed Forces, asserted that recent comments by unnamed Israeli officials, who claimed the Iranian officer had not been the target of the attack, were propaganda and derived from fear.
“They thought that they will get a good result, but now they know that they will receive a crushing response and because fear and fright is intermingled with their nature, they make these remarks,” Izadi said, according to the semi-official FARS news agency.
“Muslim fighters will take a firm and powerful revenge for the blood of these martyrs… and the Zionists’ remarks are only desperate propaganda,” he concluded.
Several Hezbollah and Iranian operatives were killed in a strike on a convoy in Syria on Sunday near the border with Israel. Hezbollah said Jihad Mughniyeh, a commander in the group, was killed along with five others, and Iran confirmed Revolutionary Guards commander Mohamed Allahdadi died in the strike along with five Iranians.
Lebanese Hezbollah supporters carry the coffin of Jihad Mughniyeh during his funeral in a southern Beirut suburb on January 19, 2015. (photo credit: Joseph Eid/AFP)
Israel refused to comment on Sunday’s incident, but has ramped up alertness along the northern border, deploying Iron Dome anti-missile batteries and canceling leave for some soldiers in anticipation of a possible retaliatory strike by Hezbollah.
On Tuesday, a host of Iranian officials threatened harsh retaliation against Israel for the Sunday strike. Revolutionary Guards chief Mohammad Ali Jafari said that Israel should anticipate “devastating lightning,” according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency, and that Iran would widen its support for Muslim fighters in the Middle East “until the final collapse of the Zionist regime.”
Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani accused Israel of being behind “all acts of terror in the Middle East,” particularly in Syria, according to a Press TV report, and said that “necessary measures should be taken in these cases.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also joined the chorus of Iranian officials blaming Israel for the airstrike.
A Twitter feed associated with Khamenei shared photos of him and Mughniyeh.
The post by @khamenei_ir described the pictures as “unseen photos,” which appear to have been taken during a 2013 meeting of Mughniyeh and Khamenei.
One of the photos shows Khamenei and Mughniyeh embracing and Mughniyeh kissing the supreme leader on the cheek.
According to a semi-official Iranian Fars news report, Soleimani and Mughniyeh, the son of senior Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, had a relationship “deeper than that of a young man with his father’s friend, and those who didn’t know, imagined that he was indeed his son.”
Imad Mughniyeh himself was killed in 2008 in an operation widely thought to have been ordered by Israel.
Credit to The Times of Israel
Read more: Iran warns Israel of 'crushing response' to Syria strike | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-warns-israel-of-crushing-response-to-syria-strike/#ixzz3PYgU3bib
Obama Criminalizes Independence
America Is Witnessing the Manifestation of Agenda 21
More Agenda 21 Insanity
Who Are the Real Terrorists?
President Obama delivering the 2015 State of the Union address
President Obama’s state of the union address was loaded with sweet delights meant to bedazzle America’s long-suffering middle class as he signaled economic prosperity for all is waiting just around the corner.
But the author of a New York Times-best-selling book about America’s future in a post-Christian society was not impressed.
He sees dark storm clouds closing in on Obama’s rays of sunshine, citing “harbingers” that the country is sliding headlong toward a collapse – with blindfolds securely fastened.
“Listening to the president’s State of the Union address, I was reminded of ancient Israel,” said Jonathan Cahn, author of “The Mystery of the Shemitah” and “The Harbinger,” which draws parallels between America’s falling away from God and a series of judgments that will come as a result.
“The people (of Israel) convinced themselves that they were coming back stronger than before,” Cahn told WND. “And then it all collapsed, and the judgment came.”
Cahn sees warning signs of potential judgment coming to America as the current Shemitah year nears the halfway point.
The Shemitah comes once every seven years. In biblical Israel it brought a canceling of debts, a resting of the land from sowing and reaping, and a resetting of financial accounts. The seven-year Shemitah cycle was meant as a blessing as long as the Israelites followed God and observed his ways, but it could manifest as judgment if the nation turned to its own devices and removed God from its culture and legal system.
The specific avenues of potential judgment Cahn is watching are the economy and the rise of ISIS as a new terrorist threat to America. The last two Shemitah years — 2000-2001 and 2007-2008 — brought the 9/11 attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the historic stock market crash of September 2008.
Notably missing from Obama’s speech was any mention of radical Islam or Islamic terrorism, even as the issue has taken center stage in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France and subsequent arrests of militants in France, Belgium and Germany.
Taking a back seat to China?
Cahn speaks of the American age that began in 1871 when the U.S. surpassed Britain to become the strongest economic power on earth.
“I’ve warned in ‘The Harbinger’ and as I’ve spoken across the country that if this nation doesn’t return to God, its crown as head of nations will be removed,” he said.
Two weeks into the Shemitah year, which began in Sept. 25, 2014, Cahn said the first sign of America’s removal as the pinnacle of economic power was already apparent to those who were paying attention.
The American age that began more than 140 years ago, quietly came to an end.
According to a report by the International Monetary Fund, China’s economy had for the first time surpassed that of the United States and now claims the distinction of being the world’s largest economy, according to an October report by Business Insider.
“America’s crown as the strongest economic power on earth was removed. It passed to China,” Cahn said. “The word Shemitah can mean ‘the fall.’ That alone would constitute one of the greatest falls in modern history – the end of the American age.”
The IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power, reported Business Insider.
“On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world’s biggest economy,” BI reported on Oct. 8, 2014. “By the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48 percent of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the U.S. will make up just 16.28 percent (or $17.416 trillion).”
Marriage case on docket, terrorists lying in wait
As the year of the Shemitah grinds toward its climax on Sept. 13, 2015, Cahn is also watching the Supreme Court.
“The harbingers have continued to manifest and America’s apostasy from God has only accelerated. In April of this year, in the midst of the Shemitah, the Supreme Court will hear a case that will likely end marriage as we know it,” Cahn said. “The verdict will be released in June. That will mark a critical point in America’s fall from God.”
Another one of the harbingers is that of the terrorist has resurfaced in the form of ISIS, he said.
“The judgment and destruction of Israel was carried out by the Assyrians, the fathers of terrorism,” Cahn said. “The emergence of ISIS and its conflict with America is ominous.”
As for the economy, destabilization in the currency markets and disruptive oil markets are creating a springboard for turbulent times ahead.
Whether America’s economic judgment comes with a sudden, painful jolt or as a slow, grinding down until it becomes subservient to other nations, remains to be seen. But either way, the messianic Jewish rabbi from New Jersey believes America will be knocked off its perch atop the world order, especially economically, if widespread repentance does not occur.
“There’s an eerie kind of unease,” he said. “The stock market has been hit by strange waves of volatility and violent swings. And it actually began the very first week of the Shemitah.
“I believe we’re watching a house of cards. It could implode at any time.”
For sure, Cahn is not the only one one who sees hard times ahead for America.
Shell shocked by oil, currency ploys
Two “black swan events” have financial experts reassessing their forecasts.
One is the falling price of crude oil and its corrosive effect on Russia’s economy. The other is Switzerland deciding last week to decouple the Swiss franc from the Euro, resulting in billions of dollars in losses for large banks and currency traders.
The oil price shock started out with most economists predicting a short-term “blip” that would quickly reverse course, only to see prices further plummet with no end in sight.
That is driving economic indicators and propelling economies in directions not previously forecast.
Russia, for instance, is under extreme pressure, as is Iran and Venezuela. Saudi Arabia stands to gain market share at the expense of Russia and the burgeoning U.S. shale-oil industry.
The United States meanwhile continues to chug along with low interest rates and what some analysts see as a bloated stock market ripe for a fall.
Michael Snyder, who writes the Economic Collapse blog, put it this way in a recent article:
“As I have written about previously, we are moving into a time of greatly increased financial volatility. And when we start to see tremendous ups and downs in the financial world, that is a sign that a great crash is coming. We witnessed this prior to the financial crisis of 2008, and now we are watching it happen again.
“And this is not just happening in the United States.”
Chinese shares plunged about 8 percent Monday after the country’s securities regulator imposed margin trading curbs on several major brokerages, a sign that authorities are trying to rein in the market’s big gains, Snyder reported. It was China’s largest drop in six years.
“Sadly, most Americans have absolutely no idea what is coming.
They just trust that Barack Obama, Congress and the ‘experts’ at the Federal Reserve have it all figured out.
“So when the next great financial crisis does arrive, most people are going to be absolutely blindsided by it, even though anyone that is willing to look at the facts honestly should be able to see it steamrolling directly toward us.”
Snyder concluded that the relative stability experienced over the past couple of years is about to come to an unexpected halt.
“I hope that you are getting ready for what comes next,” Snyder told his readers.
Snyder posted another article in which he postulates that the price of copper, which recently hit five-year lows, is a leading indicator for a stock market crash.
China is the world’s biggest buyer of copper and it has cut back drastically on its consumption as its economy has slowed. This could push back a Fed rate hike and impact the U.S. economy, CNBC reported on Jan. 15.
Shock waves across oil country
An unexplainable, lightning-swift fall in the price of crude oil over the past month has left Texas and other oil-producing states, which had been among the few growth spots and success stories in the U.S. economy in recent years, poised for a dramatic shift in fortunes. Hundreds of layoffs could soon be in the offing and in fact have already started, according to an article in the Washington Times.
Henry Resources President Danny Campbell says the company will cut activity by up to 40 percent.
“We’re not cutting back in one area, we’re cutting across the board,” he told the Midland Reporter-Telegram, adding that no one had expected prices to fall so low and so quickly.
Credit to WND
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/01/rabbi-jonathan-cahn-sees-biblical-warnings-in-obama-speech/#2q1bZYKqBMuUoKIX.99
We are so brainwashed by centralized models of state authority that few can even imagine a system where the solution is not one centralized monstrosity ruled by a political/financial Aristocracy but a competing profusion of opt-in, transparent solutions.
Many readers ask me for solutions to the current arrangement's many ills. Seeking solutions is a healthy and positive direction, for highlighting what's broken is not only much easier than proposing solutions, it's a dead-end. Pointing out what's broken is only the first step in crafting solutions.
But I've noticed that what most people want is not a real solution--they simply want what's easy, which means leaving the Status Quo in place but magically making it cheaper and more convenient for them. If the solution requires inconvenience, getting less, accepting more responsibility and making major trade-offs--then it can't be a solution because politicos have overpromised for so many decades that people expect everything to get cheaper (for them, not the system) and easier (for them, not the system).
For example, I proposed a simple solution to the unsustainably costly U.S. healthcare system: The "Impossible" Healthcare Solution: Go Back to Cash(July 29, 2009).
This solution would definitely lower costs and impose discipline on patients and providers alike--and for that reason, it is seen as "impossible," because the last thing patients and cartels/state agencies want is discipline that forces hard choices and rigorous changes in behavior, diet, fitness habits, etc.
Broadly speaking, the first step in any healthcare solution is to radically reduce preventable diseases that result from lifestyle choices by making patients responsible for the consequences and costs of their lifestyle choices.
The next step is to make the real costs of treatment and coverage transparent, so people--patients and citizens-- can see the real costs and make decisions based on the limits of cost, effectiveness, etc.
Both of these steps are absolute anathema in the current system.
I have addressed the systemic ills of U.S. healthcare (a.k.a. sickcare because it profits from sickness rather than from health), for many years, most recently inObamaCare: The Neutron Bomb That Will Decimate Employment (February 22, 2013). Over the years, I have presented a number of options to the present unsustainable, fraud-ridden, costs-twice-as-much-per-person-as-other-nations system that ObamaCare leaves intact:
A Sustainable National Healthcare System: Prevention Only (August 20, 2012)
How to Cut America's Healthcare Spending by 50% (August 21, 2012)
Nobody likes any of the practical solutions because everyone wants unlimited care and unlimited choice. Expectations in a system where the government can just borrow another $1+ trillion to pay the bills are unrealistically high, and the feedback from reality, i.e. price, has been eliminated in the current cartel/state-fiefdom system.
Everyone talks about "reform," but real reform is impossible in a bought-and-paid-for "democracy" like ours: Why Reform Won't Work (February 7, 2013).
Even more profoundly, the Central State and ObamaCare are the wrong unit size to provide healthcare that is transparently priced, accountable to the consumer, adaptable and decentralized.
What If ObamaCare, Too Big To Fail Banks and the State Are All the Wrong Sized Unit?(February 25, 2013)
We are so brainwashed by centralized models of state authority that few can even imagine a system where the solution is not one centralized monstrosity ruled by a political/financial Aristocracy but a competing profusion of opt-in, transparent solutions.
Rather than a single top-down system, we need dozens of transparent opt-in choices.
Centralized, top-down systems are quickly stripped of innovation and cost control as the political and financial Aristocracy soon capture the regulatory and governance machinery for their own benefit.
As I noted in The Pareto Economy (February 18, 2013), 80% of the benefits could be reaped for 20% of the money squandered on our corrupt, fraudulent, ossified centralized systems.
We suffer not just from a systemic failure of imagination, but from a child-like desire for what's easy and convenient. This is a theme I have explored many times:
Questioning "Progress" and the Poverty of our Imagination (June 11, 2010)
Our Dust Bowl Economy (November 20, 2012)
When the present path cannot possibly lead to success, regardless of the labor and treasure poured into the effort, then risking the unknown by trying something different is the only way forward.
What If We're Beyond Mere Policy Tweaks? (February 6, 2012)
Spoiled Teenager Syndrome (January 3, 2013)
A good first step would be to admit to ourselves that we don't really want solutions; what we want is magic: financial magic that makes healthcare free and affordable, medical magic that fixes all our lifestyle ills without forcing any rigorous adult routines and limits on us, political magic that transforms our system from its current corrupt crony-capitalist paradise into a functioning, transparent democracy and economic magic that makes all the unpayable debt vanish so we can borrow another $50 trillion, or $100 trillion, with no restraints on our spending or cronyist corruption.
I have no idea what it will take to jolt us from our preference for magic over realistic, difficult (i.e. adult) solutions, but I suspect a crisis that threatens to completely unravel the Status Quo will be part of the process.
Credit to Zero Hedge
WASHINGTON – Moscow could be preparing to move nuclear weapons into the Crimean Peninsula, which it annexed last year, and also position them around the strategic Russian enclave of Kaliningrad near the periphery of NATO countries, in possible violation of the 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, according to a WND source.
The move would send a message to NATO to limit its eastward progression, in line with the new military doctrine Moscow released in December.
A source who has worked in past U.S. administrations on nuclear-weapon issues told WND that such a buildup in Crimea could include nuclear weapons, and there is a question whether it would be a violation of the 2010 START treaty, since Crimea has been annexed by Russia.
If not strategic nuclear weapons, Moscow could move tactical nukes into Crimea, the source said.
Moscow may already have moved nuclear weapons into Kaliningrad and Crimea, but WND was unable to independently verify the reports.
A May 16, 2002, Congressional Research Service report released by Wikileaks suggests the presence of nuclear weapons already in Kaliningrad, the non-contiguous Russian coastal territory surrounded by Poland and Lithuania.
U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove, who heads U.S. European Command and is NATO supreme allied commander in Europe, said last November that Russia’s military buildup on the Crimea Peninsula includes cruise and surface-to-air missiles, allowing Moscow to assert military influence in the region.
When Moscow announced its new military doctrine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov staked the claim that Russia has the right to station nuclear weapons in Crimea.
“Crimea was not a non-nuclear zone in an international law sense but was part of Ukraine, a state which doesn’t possess nuclear arms,” Lavrov said. “Now, Crimea has become part of a state which possesses such weapons, in accordance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
“In accordance with international law,” he said, “Russia has every reason to dispose of its nuclear arsenal … to suit its interests and international legal obligation.”
Preparing for nuclear war
Peter Vincent Pry, former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, said Moscow has been preparing for a nuclear war, but its intentions have been largely unreported by the establishment media.
“For years, Russia has been embarked on a massive program modernizing its strategic and tactical nuclear forces,” Pry said
Pry, who also is executive director of the congressional advisory Task Force on National and Homeland Security, said Moscow’s preparation for nuclear war with the U.S. are frequent themes on Russian television, “as if preparing the population psychologically.”
He noted Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 6, 2014, told a French television audience that Russia has global nuclear superiority and “is the first in the world in nuclear weapons.”
“Unfortunately,” Pry said, “Putin is right.”
Pry said Moscow is giving strategic nuclear forces the highest priority in its defense budget. He said the Strategic Rocket Forces, as during the Cold War, is “still Russia’s elite service.”
Russia also has a major advantage over the U.S. in tactical nuclear weapons, Pry said, since the U.S. has dismantled virtually all of its tactical nuclear weapons with just a few hundred “obsolete gravity bombs” bunkered in Germany.
Russia has thousands of tactical nuclear weapons, variously estimated at 3,000 to 20,000, he said.
Pry said the Obama administration has tried to “low ball” the numbers and the significance of Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons, which he said “is a grave mistake.”
He said Russia’s advantage today in the nuclear balance is “unprecedented.” The advantages, he said, give Russia “escalation dominance,” which allows Russia to commit aggression unopposed by the U.S. and its allies.
Moscow’s large-scale military exercises aimed at European NATO and the U.S., Pry said, go unanswered, “even by so much as a diplomatic protest.”
The new military doctrine, however, stresses more of a “non-nuclear deterrence” against information warfare and an increase in Special Forces and intelligence to deal with terrorism from Islamic jihadist groups. The threat includes groups resident in Russia’s southern provinces of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, which have many fighters now in Syria.
However, nuclear deterrence will remain part of the new Russian military doctrine, along with maintaining a strong military presence in Kaliningrad and in the Arctic region to stake a claim on valuable untapped energy and mineral resources.
Credit to WND
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/01/russia-positioning-nukes-to-confront-nato/#QOdB8meePGdvYPLj.99