Puppet Masters

2 + 2 = 4

DPR restores railway in Debaltsevo, Ukrainian media responds by calling them 'terrorists'

© AP Photo/ Sergei Chuzavkov
Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko has confirmed that the DPR has restored the railway junction in Debaltseve in a matter of 12 days, following earlier reports that it had been completely destroyed and turned into "the surface of the moon."

"The Debaltseve railway junction has been restored. On March 3rd, ammunition was seen being unloaded from trains," Lysenko stated on Friday, cited by Ukraine's Podrobnosti.ua.

On February 19, Lysenko had reported that the Debaltseve railway junction had been destroyed. "The strategic Debaltseve railway junction has ceased to have any significance for the local region. The entire railway hub has been turned into the surface of the moon: everything has been destroyed."

Comment: The Debaltsevo cauldron proved the effectiveness of the combined rebel forces in Ukraine. For more info, check out:

Grand analysis of the Battle for Debaltsevo
Defeat in Debaltsevo: Kiev's Stalingrad

And for more on the overall situation in Ukraine:

Q & A with Putin in Hungary (excerpts) Situation in Debaltsevo was predictable, compliance with Minsk essential
Interview with The Saker: Ukraine as we know it is gone forever

Life Preserver

Greek government offers free food and electricity in first legislation

greek homeless

Athenians, once enjoying an ordinary life, are now homeless
Greece's government submitted a bill to offer free food and electricity to thousands of poverty-stricken Greeks as its first legislative act in parliament, in a symbolic move to address what it calls a "humanitarian crisis".

Athens, which got a four-month extension of a financial rescue from the euro zone last month, has sought to assure its lenders that such measures will not burden the budget while showing Greeks that it is sticking to pre-election pledges.

"The deep recession due to austerity policies and the economic crisis in the past six years had a dramatic social impact," said the bill, which was tabled late on Tuesday. "This draft law aims at tackling the humanitarian crisis through measures which ensure access to basic goods."

During a cabinet meeting last week, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that improving living conditions of those hurt by the crisis was the government's "foremost duty", but reiterated Athens was still committed to a balanced budget.

The government's first bill foresees the restoration of electricity connections in primary residences by the end of 2015. The long-term unemployed and families with young children will have priority. About 300,000 Greeks will get food vouchers.

A rent allowance of up to 220 euros a month for 30,000 households is also included in the bill, whose total cost is estimated by the government at about 200 million euros.

Comment: Despite Germany's/EE's war against Greece, and the opposition within the country, the new government has so far been able to implement programs that will at least relieve the huge humanitarian crisis that the "bailouts" caused.

IMF's Director Batista spills the beans: Greek bailout was 'to save German and French banks'

Snakes in Suits

Nuland accuses Russia of invading Ukraine (Video)

© radixjournal.com
The US is increasing its claims against Moscow to a new level - with fresh accusations about thousands of Russian troops in Ukraine. At a congressional meeting, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland stated as fact that there had been an invasion. RT's Gayane Chichakyan has the details.

Comment: The lies spewing from Nuland's mouth are jaw dropping.


SOTT Exclusive: Ukraine 'information army' fail

mind bullets
I reported on Ukraine's new 'information army' last month, here. Launched by Kiev's Ministry of Information Policy to combat the alleged "Russian occupation on the information front", it's hard to decide whether to laugh or cry.

While the source in that article says the number of recruits for the first day couldn't have topped 13,000, in the eyes of Ukraine's minister of information policy Yury Stenets, that's close enough for horseshoes to 35,000. For some strange reason, in Kiev a small or non-existent number (like the number of Russian troops in Ukraine) is always large, while a large number (like the number of their troops killed or wounded in action) is always small.

In a 'country' whose media has led the vanguard in total disconnection from reality - presenting outright lie after outright lie as indisputable truth - it's still a shock to read something like the following from Stenets:
We are not going to create fake news, we are not going to talk nonsense and we will not speak untrue things. As soon as one starts doing that, it becomes ineffective.
Puhleeze! But then, he's kind of right. So far, Kiev's policy of just making shit up has proven itself to be totally ineffective. Their ass-like stubbornness against publicly admitting that thousands of their troops were trapped in Debaltsevo resulted in the loss of the vast majority of their heavy weaponry there, not to mention the deaths of thousands of the troops. (But Kiev doesn't care much about the troops - that's why they had troops to kill the troops trying to escape from the non-existent cauldron. Just more cannon fodder in the epic battle against evil Russia.)
Gold Coins

Ukraine bans gold transactions over $125

Today the National Bank of Ukraine announced new capital controls on currency transactions. All Interbank Transactions Over $10,000 are Banned.
The national Bank of Ukraine has expanded the list of administrative restrictions for stabilization of the hryvnia, in particular, completely prohibiting the withdrawal of foreign dividends and limiting the purchase of foreign currency on the domestic markets.

Resolution No. 160 is effective from March 4, 2015 and is valid until June 3, 2015.

Previously, prohibitions did not target dividends on securities that are traded on stock exchanges.

The NBU has also introduced limits on the balance of banks' operations on the interbank market at the end of the day and banned financial institutions from using currency derivatives on stock exchanges.

These restrictions apply to customer's accounts over $10,000 as valued by the official rates.

Gold Buying Prohibited

In addition, the NBU banned precious metal transactions in amounts over 3,000 UAH [about $125], and also the transfer of currency abroad in excess of 15 thousand UAH [about $625].

Comment: Ukraine seems to be in a death spiral.

Star of David

Congress's 'loyalty' to Netanyahu stuns media who still refuse to consider why

protest Netanyahu
© Peter Voskamp
Demonstrator outside the Capitol during Netanyahu's Congress speech.
In the Emperor's New Clothes, only the little boy can say that the emperor is naked. The good news about yesterday's speech by Netanyahu to a joint meeting of Congress is that lots of media are taking on that boy's role, and pointing out the nudity: exclaiming over the fact that a foreign leader came into our house of government to try and overrule our president on foreign policy. Chris Matthews was especially forceful, describing it as a takeover. While a New York Times article said that Democrats have to choose between "loyalty to the Jewish state" and the president.

But journalists have a bigger job than merely exclaiming. They must explain to readers why this outrage took place. Why did Netanyahu get this platform? The answer is the power of the Israel lobby inside our politics. And while there was some talk about the Christian Zionist component of the lobby compelling Republicans to show up, no one could explain why so many Democrats - about 175 of them - sat still for this insult to the president. They did so because of the importance of the Jewish part of the lobby inside the Democratic Party, epitomized by Alan Dershowitz in the gallery. This was surely obvious to viewers. But the media were silent on that score.

Here is some of the coverage I'm talking about. A piece at the New York Times saying that Netanyahu had issued an effective policy challenge to Obama pointed out the strangeness of the spectacle -
Mr. Netanyahu's hotly disputed address constituted a remarkable moment in Washington: a foreign leader taking the podium before members of the House and Senate to argue strenuously against the policies of the sitting American president. In doing so, the Israeli leader was essentially urging lawmakers to trust him — not Mr. Obama — when it comes to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon...
Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear then openly spoke of Democrats whose "loyalty to the Jewish state" is competitive with their support for the president:
For Democrats who have long viewed themselves as supporters of Israel, Mr. Netanyahu's speech sought to impress upon them the likelihood that they will eventually need to make an awkward, painful choice between the president of their country and their loyalty to the Jewish state.
Why is that choice awkward and painful? I would like to hear why those Democrats feel that "loyalty." Why aren't we hearing about Haim Saban and other leading funders of the Democratic Party? Why aren't Chris Matthews, Jon Stewart, Anderson Cooper and Chris Hayes interviewing John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, the scholars who wrote the book The Israel Lobby?

Stewart did a lot of Jewish shtick about the Netanyahu speech yesterday. He called it the longest blowjob a Jewish man has ever received. But he tried to put it on the Republicans - "the state of the union speech the Republican wanted." Hold on. As the Times informed us: "Some Democrats who are strong supporters of Israel praised Mr. Netanyahu's speech."

Comment: Nice that some more Americans, are waking up to the degree of power Israel has over the actions of the US. The media has been well aware of it, though speaking out before now, however quietly was pretty much a career ender. Bibi's performance was so outrageous, they had to say something. So, yes, progress. But money (Sheldon Adelson) and being able to deliver votes (Alan Dershowitz and AIPAC) still buy the game. Every congresscritter who wants to keep its seat knows it. Voting is actually kind of pointless.


Russian investigators have images of Netsov killers' faces

REN TV announced that the investigative group working on the Nemtsov murder has images of suspected killers' faces. They were obtained after a thorough study of the killers' departure from the crime scene. After detecting the ZAZ Chance car which was used by the killers to make their getaway, investigators requested all materials from the Potok surveillance system along their route, and also surveillance video recordings. They also requested that drivers of other cars who were driving on the same streets at the same time be identified, so that any dashboard camera recordings might be studied.

"These measures allowed us to get several images. They are only in the possession of the investigative group, which now includes specialists from the Counter-Extremism Center, the most experienced operatives of Moscow criminal police, representatives from the FSB and the SKR. We have images of at least two individuals. One can readily tell from the images that they were most likely born in the southern parts of Russia," said REN TV source.

FSB Director Alenksandr Bortnikov said that the investigators have identified suspects. Of course, he added that there are always suspects.

Congressman: U.S. weapons may fall into hands of oligarch-financed part of Ukraine army

© AP Photo/ Lauren Victoria Burke
US defensive weapons may become part of the arsenal of an oligarch-sponsored part of the Ukrainian army if Washington decides to provide military assistance to Ukraine, US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said.

"Do we see any of these weapons becoming part of the arsenal of that part of the Ukrainian army, which I believe the third of the Ukrainian army now that is in conflict, that is financed by the oligarch, a private citizen who happens to be a multi billionaire," Rohrabacher asked US Assistance Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at a hearing in US Congress on Wednesday.

Rohrabacher query came as many members of US Congress are advocating that the United States provide defensive weapons to Ukraine.

The United States has been assisting Ukraine with economic and non-lethal military support since the Kiev government began a military operation against independence supporters in Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk last April.

In December, US Congress authorized the allocation of $350 million to arm the Kiev government. However, US President Barack Obama has not enacted the legislation.

While members of the Obama administration and US Congress have stated their support to arm Ukraine, US NATO allies Germany, France, Spain and Italy have opposed the measure.

Comment: There's plenty of speculation that the U.S. is already providing lethal arms to Ukraine, either covertly or through back channels:

Post-It Note

What's the punishment for avoiding Obamacare?

© unknown
Now that April 15th is on the horizon, many taxpayers are bracing themselves for the inevitable penalty that will hit them if they don't sign up for Obamacare. It's estimated that at least 3 million households may have to pony up 1% of their income, or $95 per adult, if they don't have insurance; a number which is poised to expand to 2.5% for the 2016 tax year.

However, for all its bluster and intimidating language, the Affordable Care Act might not have any teeth. Recently, a tax expert writing for Forbes noticed that Obamacare, while far-reaching and burdensome in terms of what it demands from the American people, offers little to no repercussions for anyone who would be tempted to avoid it.

It seems that when the bill was first being drafted and it came time to outline the penalties for failing to comply, somebody got cold feet.

Comment: It is only through threats that many people signed up for this program in the first place. It has been fraught with difficulties since it was launched.


Senator: U.S. 'obsessed' with giving lethal arms to Ukraine

© AP Photo/ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
The United States has become engrossed in the debate over providing lethal arms to Ukrainians, US Senator Chris Murphy said at a US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

"We are obsessed with this question of providing arms to the Ukrainians," Murphy stated on Wednesday. "It matters, but it is obsessive within the American context because [providing weapons] is one of the few tools we have to try to blunt and combat Russian aggression in the region."

The democratic Senator generally supports efforts to provide the Kiev government with weapons, but still has reservations as such US action would be "relatively unprecedented" in the history of US relations with Russia.

Murphy explained that a decision on the part of the United States to arm Ukraine "would be a change in the policy we have traditionally observed over the long course of the past 100 years" toward Russia.

"Let's just acknowledge that during the Cold War... we didn't do this," Murphy noted, referring to US restraint in providing "overt arms" to opponents of the Soviet Union during the Hungarian uprising and the war in Afghanistan.

In December, the US Congress authorized $350 million to arm Kiev. However, US President Barack Obama has not enacted the legislation. Other pieces of legislation are currently pending in the US Congress aimed at putting additional pressure on the Obama administration to provide arms.