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Missouri gubernatorial candidate dead in apparent suicide

© Wikipedia
Tom Schweich
Missouri auditor and gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich has been found dead in an apparent suicide, according to local media reports.

Schweich, considered a leading Republican contender for the party's 2016 nomination for state governor, died Thursday after being transported to a hospital in the wake of a "medical situation" at his home. Police told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he died from a single gunshot wound and that they are inclined to believe Schweich committed suicide.

"What we know at this point suggests an apparent suicide," Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said on Thursday. However, he added that an autopsy and investigation still need to be conducted.
I am very sad and hurt so much for Tom Schweich's family. Good man. Dedicated public servant. Hug those you love.

— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) February 26, 2015
Schweich spokesman Spence Jackson released a statement regarding the auditor's death, though he did not comment on reports of a suicide.

"It is with great sadness that I confirm the passing of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich today. Please keep in mind his wife Kathy and two children," he said.
Light Saber

Senator throws snowball on Senate floor during speech criticizing global warming scam

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) does not believe that humans contribute to global warming, and on Thursday he took to the Senate floor with some hard evidence in tow: a snowball. Then he threw it.

In a speech criticizing the "hysteria" around global warming, Inhofe - who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works - pointed to a particular snowstorm five years ago that set a new record at the time, seemingly suggesting that heavy snowfall is proof against climate change.

Then he pointed to a snowball he brought into the chamber in a plastic bag.

"In case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair, do you know what this is?" Inhofe said as he took the snowball out of the bag.

"It's a snowball. And it's just from outside here. So it's very, very cold out. Very unseasonable. Here, Mr. President, catch this."

Inhofe then threw the snowball towards Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who was presiding over the Senate.

Inhofe is a well known opponent of the idea that humans are affecting the global climate, though he did recently vote to agree that climate change is real and not a hoax. Inhofe explained his vote by arguing that the climate changes all the time, though not because of human activity. Later Senate amendments that linked climate change to human activity did not earn his vote.


Comment: It's good to know that there is at least one politician who sees past the lies we all have been fed about global warming. Earth may be experiencing climate change, but it's global COOLING that we should be worried about, not human-caused warming.

Stock Down

U.S. take note: When Russia's economy takes a hit, politicians get their salaries cut

moscow
© RIA Novosti / Evgenya Novozhenina
The Russian president has ordered salary cuts of 10 percent for all members of his administration, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, who is also deputy head of the administration, has told reporters.

Peskov added that the announcement was made personally by the president at the Friday conference with the permanent members of Russia's Security Council. The press secretary noted that the salaries' issue was not on the agenda of the meeting.

Earlier this week, State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin told fellow lawmakers that he intended to address the president with a request to cut their recently increased salaries as part of the Russian government's budget optimization.

Representatives of all parliamentary parties supported Naryshkin's suggestion in mass media comments, but no decision has been made yet.

Comment: Good luck getting the White House to agree to a 10% wage cut (not to mention a ban on receiving other sources of income)! Obama's administration, in contrast, received up to 14% more in pay in their first 3 years.

Quenelle

Putin: Russia can handle all pressure coming from outside the country

© RIA Novosti / Alexei Druzhinin
Russia will always find an adequate response to any pressure coming from the outside, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a gala-show ahead of the upcoming Defender of the Fatherland Day, which honors those who served in the armed forces.

"Nobody should have any illusions that it's possible to achieve military superiority over Russia - or put it under some sort of pressure - as we'll always have an adequate response to such reckless schemes," Putin told the audience.

The President said that Russian "soldiers and officers have proven that they are ready to act decisively, coherently, professionally and courageously, performing the most difficult unconventional tasks, as befits a modern, experienced, combat-ready army, which values its traditions and military duty."

Defender of the Fatherland Day is an annual holiday in Russia celebrated on February 23. The holiday honors those who serve or have served in the military. It is also often referred to as Men's Day (though the Russian military do not exclusively consist of men) to act as a counterpart to International Women's Day on March 8.

According to Putin, a lot has been done in the country in recent years to improve the effectiveness of the military administration.

Comment: While the West may have charming notions of taking over control of Russia due to the events surrounding the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Bear has grown stronger and smarter since that time. The West may find that it has overplayed its hand and be forced to retreat.

Bulb

Russian MP suggests revising statute of limitations in pedophilia cases

© RIA Novosti/Vladimir Trefilov
Yelena Mizulina, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children
The head of the State Duma Committee for Family, Women and Children has proposed a revision of the existing statute of limitations in criminal cases that involve sex offences against minors.

"It is necessary to review the statute of limitation in starting criminal cases on all crimes of pedophiles," MP Yelena Mizulina (Fair Russia) tweeted on Thursday.
Необходимо пересмотреть сроки давности привлечения к уголовной ответственности по всем преступлениям педофилов: http://t.co/y9tUA9u5Cb

— Елена Мизулина (@emizulina) 26 февраля 2015
Russian law allows for a statute of limitations of between two and 15 years depending on the gravity of the crime (which is determined by the maximum punishment ordered for it in the Criminal Code).

In 2012, Russian authorities seriously increased the punishment for sex offences against children, raising the maximum penalty for such crimes to 15 years in prison and introducing the possibility for chemical castration of convicts. However, the statute of limitations for such crimes remained in place, despite criticism from some members of the community.

Comment: The West ought to follow the lead of Russia and also start enacting harsher penalties for pedophilia cases.

Light Sabers

Chinese diplomat lectures U.S. on Russia's security concerns in Ukraine

© Reuters / How Hwee Yong
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping
Western nations should heed Russia's legitimate security concerns over the volatile situation in Ukraine, a top Chinese diplomat has said in a rare public statement on the crisis that has damaged relations between Russia and the West.

Qu Xing, China's ambassador to Belgium, said the Ukrainian crisis came about due to the ongoing "game" - a metaphor similar to that used by US geopolitical strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, who referred to it as the "grand chessboard" - between Russia and the West, which has not abated despite, or because of, the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Arguing that outside interference by various powers inflamed the Ukrainian situation, Xing said Moscow would naturally feel threatened unless Western powers engaged in a more constructive approach.

Xing advised Western powers to "abandon the zero-sum mentality" in their efforts to deal with Moscow and the Ukraine crisis and "take the real security concerns of Russia into consideration," Reuters reported, quoting state news agency Xinhua.

China in the past has urged all involved parties to sit down and negotiate for peace.

The Chinese ambassador, whose Brussels office is in the same city as NATO's headquarters, then offered some insight as to what motivates the United States on the international stage, and what could lead to its possible decline.

Folder

OSCE 'welcomes' artillery withdrawal in Ukraine, won't confirm the obvious without a lot of red tape

donetsk osce
© Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko
A car of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is seen at a checkpoint controlled by the Ukrainian army near the town of Debaltseve, Donetsk Region August 6, 2014.
The OSCE welcomes the withdrawal of heavy artillery from the demarcation line in eastern Ukraine by both sides of the conflict, the deputy chief monitor of the OSCE mission told RT, adding that the organization needs to know where the weapons are heading.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) "welcomed that both sides are now indicating that they are taking steps to comply with these responsibilities," Alexander Hug told RT after news emerged that Kiev troops had begun their withdrawal.

Meanwhile, the rebels have moved 90 percent of heavy weaponry from the demarcation line, according to a statement by their leader, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, on Thursday.

Hug added that the OSCE needs to know the location, routes, and storage spaces of the heavy artillery before it can officially confirm anything.


Comment: While the withdrawals may not have been 'verified', they have been observed. And according to these observations, the vast majority of NAF artillery has been moved, and only a small fraction of Kiev's.


DPR PM Zakharchenko has given Kiev an ultimatum: begin withdrawal of heavy weaponry today (which Kiev is still using to shell areas like Donetsk and Mariupol), or the Minsk agreements are null and void.

UPDATE: The DPR is reporting that they have completed their withdrawal:




Chess

Greek economist: 'Economic center of gravity shifting eastwards' as Greece develops ties with Eurasian Union


"Alexis, let's get out of here!"

"Yes, but let's do it carefully; we don't want to act until we're sure the plan works."
The member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union as well as India and China are displaying sizable growth and are playing a greater role in global economy

Whether western European countries want it or not, the center of economic gravity is shifting eastwards, and the member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union as well as India and China are displaying sizable growth and are playing a greater role in global economy, the President of the Greek-Eurasian Business Council, Dr. Spyros Kouvelis said on Thursday.

He said it at a ceremony devoted to the start of the organization's activity.

"We're making steps towards an expansion of cooperative ties with the Eurasian Economic Union," he said adding that unless Greece took account of the persistently growing role of the region in the world economy it might lose a big part of this important market.

Dr. Kouvelis voiced the conviction that business ties should be untied from politics.

Comment: A somewhat more elucidating article appeared in the Financial Times last month:

'Alarm bells ring over Syriza's Russian links' - January 28th 2015
Soon after Syriza, the Greek radical leftwing party, swept to power this week, alarm bells began ringing in the capitals of Europe. However it was not finance officials who were rattled but Europe's defence and security chiefs.
Naturally! Take note, however, that when the Financial Times here says "Europe", it really means the 'Two Towers' of the Atlantic Alliance: Washington and London.
The day after his election as Greece's new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras threw a grenade in the direction of Brussels: he objected to calls for further sanctions against Russia as a result of rising violence in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Athens went further. "We are against the embargo that has been imposed against Russia," said Panagiotis Lafazanis, the energy minister and leader of Syriza's far-left faction, according to the semi-official Athens News Agency. "We have no differences with Russia and the Russian people." [...]

While some diplomats and analysts see Mr Tsipras's intervention against more sanctions as an opening gambit in forthcoming negotiations over Greece's international bailout and debt burden, others point to it as another example of spreading Russian influence in southeastern Europe.

European and Nato intelligence officials are now poring over links between the Kremlin and senior figures from Syriza and its coalition partner, the Independent Greeks party.
"European and Nato intelligence officials"... In other words, the CIA and MI6.
The fact that the first foreign official Mr Tsipras invited to the Maximos Mansion in Athens on Monday was Andrey Maslov, Russia's ambassador, speaks to their concerns.

Mr Tsipras's previous comments on the Ukrainian crisis are also clear enough: in a trip to Moscow in May, he chief accused Kiev of harbouring "neo-Nazi" elements and denounced sanctions against Russia.

"It's a regression for us to see fascism and the neo Nazis entering European governments again and for this to be accepted by the EU," Mr Tsipras said at the time. "The EU is shooting itself in the foot with this strategy."

Other members of Greece's new government harbour similar views. Nikos Kotzias, the foreign minister, and Panos Kammenos, defence minister, have both been cultivated by figures close to Russian president Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

Mr Kotzias — a former Piraeus university professor — has espoused increasingly nationalist positions, developing a relationship with Alexander Dugin, the Russian nationalist philosopher, during several visits to Moscow, according to a colleague who declined to be identified.

Mr Dugin, who is close to several figures in the Moscow security establishment and last August called for a "genocide" of Ukrainians...
Not quite. Dugin is certainly brutally blunt at times, but he's not really calling for genocide. Here's what he actually said:
"Ukraine should be cleared of the idiots. Genocide of the cretins is suggested. The evil cretins are closed to the Voice of the Logos, and deadly with all their incredible stupidity. I do not believe that these are Ukrainians. Ukrainians are beautiful Slavic people. This kind of appeared out of manholes as a bastard race."
... in reference to the cretins running the country in to the ground, and the Nazi thugs who have been running riot across the country, not just in the Donbass/Novorossiya.
...was invited by Mr Kotzias to speak at an event in the Piraeus campus in 2013, where he extolled the role of Orthodox Christianity in uniting Greeks and Russians.
He said much more than that: Geopolitics of Russia. Athenian lecture. Alexandr Dugin
Mr Kammenos [Greece's new Minister of Defence, and from among the right-wing independents who teamed up with Syriza to form the new government] has also been a frequent visitor to Moscow. A picture shows him in the Russian capital two weeks ago, meeting the chairman of the Russian Duma's foreign affairs committee and the deputy chairman of its defence committee.

Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeyev, a sometime ally of Mr Dugin, and another pro-Kremlin figure who has developed close ties with radical European political movements, said he also knew Mr Kammenos.

Mr Malofeyev is subject to EU and US travel bans and wanted by Kiev for allegedly financing pro-Russia separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

"I used to travel to Athens often — before the sanctions," he told the Financial Times. He said Greece has lived "under a long enslavement by the troika [of international lenders — the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank]".

"It is in the interests of Greeks for relations with Russia to normalise . . . For the Greek economy, for the Greek people, friendship with Russia is necessary," he added.

Anton Shekhovtsov, a Vienna-based analyst of Europe's radical political movements, has studied links between Russia and populist parties such as Syriza. "Russia will certainly be looking to capitalise on the win of Syriza and pro-Kremlin sentiments that are fairly widespread in Greek society but especially in these parties," he said.

Figures such as Mr Dugin have become very active in developing ties with radical populist European movements, Mr Shekhovtsov added, from the National Front in France to Austria's FPÖ. "The Greek case is perhaps the most dangerous in terms of its potential implications for the EU and sanctions policy. There is also the issue of Nato's information security."

Fears over the links of Greece's new political establishment with Moscow are part of a growing set of concerns among European security agencies.

"The question of [Russian] influence in fringe politics is definitely a worry," said one British diplomat who declined to be named. "It's something we and others are certainly looking at."

Syriza campaigned two years ago for Greece's exit from Nato but has since toned down its hostility towards the alliance.
Leaving NATO, more so than leaving the EU, would be a VERY challenging thing to do. Many Greek governments have wished to do so since the 1970s. When you sign up to NATO, you essentially hand over control of your armed forces and security/intelligence services to 'the higher power'. All of Greece's military hardware is American or British-made, which can be remotely deactivated from 'homebase'. NATO's 'stay-behind' agents are always on stand-by for generating mayhem-and-madness (the NATO euphemism for which is 'stability'). The new Greek 'government' would first need to conduct a successful coup d'etat to take power from the real 'government within'...

Colosseum

Reprehensible! ISIS goons destroy ancient relics in Iraq

mosul museum
© AP
The Islamic State has posted a video online showing a group of militants destroying ancient statues and other artifacts, saying they are symbols of idolatry. Some of the objects date from the seventh century BC. Specialists say the damage is incalculable.

The video, which appeared online on Thursday, shows monuments and relics of the Assyrian era - including a winged deity - being smashed with sledgehammers and an electric drill. The militants placed the statues in a large exhibition room and shattered them on the floor, breaking the smaller sculptures to pieces.

The attackers do not state their location, but it is believed to be a museum in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which was seized by the Islamic State last June.

The statues, described by ISIS leaders as "idols," and must be removed is a part of the militant group's policy.


Comment: Only a person without a conscience can destroy items of such value. ISIS is succeeding in finishing what the U.S. started when they did nothing to prevent the looting of Baghdad's museum in 2003. American troops couldn't have cared less about Iraq's cultural heritage. ISIS is no different.

Chess

What the BRICS plus Germany are really up to?

BRICs Leaders
© Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino
Winston Churchill once said, "I feel lonely without a war." He also badly missed the loss of empire. Churchill's successor - the 'Empire of Chaos' - now faces the same quandary. Some wars - as in Ukraine, by proxy - are not going so well.

And the loss of empire increasingly manifests itself in myriad moves by selected players aiming towards a multipolar world.

So no wonder US 'Think Tankland' is going bonkers, releasing wacky CIA-tinted "forecasts" where Russia is bound to disintegrate, and China is turning into a communist dictatorship. So much (imperial) wishful thinking, so little time to prolong hegemony.

The acronym that all these "forecasts" dare not reveal is BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). BRICS is worse than the plague as far as the 'Masters of the Universe' that really control the current - rigged - world system are concerned. True, the BRICS are facing multiple problems. Brazil at the moment is totally paralyzed; a long, complex, self-defeating process, now coupled with intimations of regime change by local 'Empire of Chaos' minions. It will take time, but Brazil will rebound.

That leaves the "RIC" - Russia, India and China - in BRICS as the key drivers of change. For all their interlocking discrepancies, they all agree they don't need to challenge the hegemon directly while aiming for a new multipolar order.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) - a key alternative to the IMF enabling developing nations to get rid of the US dollar as a reserve currency - will be operative by the end of this year. The NDB will finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects not only in the BRICS nations but other developing nations. Forget about the Western-controlled World Bank, whose capital and lending capacity are never increased by the so-called Western "powers." The NDB will be an open institution. BRICS nations will keep 55 percent of the voting power, and outside their domain no country will be allowed more than 7 percent of votes. But crucially, developing nations may also become partners and receive loans.
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