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Ukraine's Poroshenko vows to rebuild Donbass

© Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko talks to military staff in Kiev February 14, 2015.
Ukraine's President Pyotr Poroshenko congratulated Donetsk residents with Donetsk City Day on Sunday and vowed to restore the buildings and infrastructure destroyed by the Ukrainian army's shelling.

"I congratulate Donetsk residents with their City Day. We'll necessarily restore the towns and villages that were destroyed. Donbass is and will be Ukrainian," Poroshenko wrote in his Facebook account.

Donetsk residents were earlier congratulated by Head of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko.

"I congratulate you heartily with the City Day holiday, which we're celebrating for the first time as residents of the capital of an independent state," Zakharchenko said.

"I'm convinced that Donetsk residents' industriousness and courage, their firm character and love for their home city will help restore Donetsk and soon a new stage will begin in the development of the Donbass region," Zakharchenko said.

Comment: Poroshenko vows to rebuild Donetsk but apparently only after he has completely destroyed the city.


Bad Guys

'In an endless war on terror, we are all doomed to become Palestinians'

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© (Jonathan Cook)
Jeff Halper leading one of his ICAHD tours in E1, an area of the West Bank just outside Jerusalem. Halper and others accuse Israel of planning to build Jewish settlements there to destroy any hopes of a Palestinian state
For 18 years Jeff Halper has been on the front lines of the Israel-Palestine conflict, helping to rebuild Palestinian homes in the occupied territories demolished by Israel. As he prepares to step down as head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), he is publishing a new book on Israel. Halper's main conclusion is disturbing. Israel, he says, is globalising Palestine.

The former anthropology professor's wide-ranging research has forced him into an expertise he is not entirely comfortable with: the global arms industry. Halper argues that Israel is cashing in - both financially and diplomatically - on systems of control it has developed in the occupied territories. It is exporting its know-how to global elites keen to protect their privileges from both external and internal challengers.

In a world supposedly mired in an endless war on terror, we may all be facing a future as Palestinians.

Halper's book, entitled War Against the People, due out next month, suggests that Israel provides a unique window on some of the most important recent developments in what he terms "securocratic warfare". The book's central thesis emerged as he tried to understand why tiny Israel hits way beyond its weight economically, politically and militarily. How does Israel have so much clout - not only in the US and Europe but, more surprisingly in countries as diverse as India, Brazil and China?

None of the usual explanations - Holocaust guilt, the power of lobbies, even the growth in Christian fundamentalism - seemed to provide a complete answer.

Card - VISA

Financial Times calls for abolishing cash in order to "to give more power to central banks"

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The Financial Times has published an anonymous article which calls for the abolition of cash in order to give central banks and governments more power.


Entitled The case for retiring another 'barbarous relic', the article laments the fact that people are stockpiling cash in anticipation of another economic collapse, a factor which is causing, "a lot of distortion to the economic system."


Comment: People should be stockpiling cash, precious metals and all sorts of supplies in anticipation of a probable economic collapse. The only "distortion to the economic system" will be in the distorted minds of individuals who experience a sense of loss of control over individuals who would seek to protect themselves and persevere through the turmoil to come.


"The existence of cash — a bearer instrument with a zero interest rate — limits central banks' ability to stimulate a depressed economy. The worry is that people will change their deposits for cash if a central bank moves rates into negative territory," states the article.

Complaining that cash cannot be tracked and traced, the writer argues that its abolition would, "make life easier for a government set on squeezing the informal economy out of existence."

Comment: You do not need to buy in to the biblical interpretations of the following video to see that some valid dots are, indeed, being connected:




Eye 2

Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff claims US run by 0.001% of American population

© Sputnik/ Igor Mikhalev
US politics is determined by about 400 people with a combined wealth of trillions of dollars who control government decision-making from the backstage, Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, said in an interview with Radio Baltkom.

Thus power is concentrated in the hands of about 0.001 percent of the US population, Wilkerson told the Latvian radio station, stressing that it is great inequality.

According to the former official, US foreign policy has generated catastrophic results, particularly in the Middle East. Wilkerson told Radio Baltkom that the 2003 US invasion of Iraq disrupted the balance of power that had been maintained in the Persian Gulf for over 50 years.

Comment: While this admission by Wilkerson isn't really a revelation, it is good to hear from former officials confirming what has been known throughout history. Now who hands those 400 wealthy people their marching orders?


Blackbox

Minsk 2.0 salvaged? Hollande and Merkel back Putin's ceasefire plan

Hollande and Merkel have made public statements in support of Putin's proposal's today to return to the Minsk II Agreement process on September 1st, next Tuesday. The European commitment to salvage Minsk II was reported by Reuters, AP, Tass, and other international news agencies around the world.

These statements follow an emergency telephone conference held today, Saturday August 29th, by the three leaders.

This comes on the heels of a meeting with Poroshenko on August 24th with the de facto EU leaders.

On the 24th, media reports conflicted.

A number of US outlets cited Poroshenko's comments on Independence day that "the times of pacifism" are "over". These went with other reports from Ukrainian officials that Germany would back Ukraine's efforts.

This painted a general picture that the US had prevailed in its attempts to end Minsk II, and that the German position had changed.

Comment: History is repeating. Luckily, this time it is not as violent. The events that led up to Minsk 2.0 saw a major UAF offensive against DPR and LRP that resulted in thousands of Ukrainian troops trapped in a cauldron in Debaltsevo. With no military solution, Poroshenko signed the Minsk protocols. This time, however, Kiev didn't even manage to get past the initial assaults of a major new offensive. And so, when they encounter defeat, they turn to diplomacy, not out of any shred of humanity, but simply because they have lost and don't have any other options. For more context, see:


Arrow Down

Joe Biden's son blames "Russian Agents" for Ashley Madison profile

© Associated Press
Hunter Biden.
Last night we heard the best 'excuse' yet if you are caught with an Ashley Madison account, from Dan Loeb - "due diligence."

Today, not to be outdone by a married hedge fund manager, Vice-President Joe Biden's son "Hunter" has unleashed his own set of excuses for member ship of the extramarital affairs website, as Breitbart reports - Biden thinks international agents, possibly Russian, who objected to his board membership with a Ukrainian gas company set up a fake account to discredit him.

However, IP mapping suggests otherwise...

As Breitbart reports,

Comment: You're a member of the US elite caught with your pants down?

Easy solution: blame Russia!

See also: 'Ashley Madison' hacked, Rentboy.com raided - Are the Feds cleaning dirty laundry, or using it for blackmail?


Dollar

Looting made easy: The $2 trillion dollar buyback scam

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© jaymallin.com
Corporations are taking the retirement savings of elderly public employees and using them to inflate their stock prices so wealthy CEOs and their shareholders can enrich themselves at the expense of their companies. And it's all completely legal. Under current financial regulations, corporate bosses are free to repurchase their own company's shares, push stock prices into the stratosphere, skim off a generous bonuses for themselves in the form of executive compensation, and leave their companies drowning in red ink.

Even worse, a sizable portion of the money devoted to stock buybacks is coming from "massively underfunded public pension" funds that retired workers depend on for their survival. According to Brian Reynolds, Chief Market Strategist at New Albion Partners, "Pension funds have to make 7.5%," so they are putting their money "in these levered credit funds that mimic Long-Term Capital Management in the 1990s." Those funds, in turn, "buy enormous amounts of corporate bonds from companies which put cash onto company balance sheets...and they use it to jack their stock price up, either through buybacks or mergers and acquisitions...It's just a daisy chain of financial engineering and it's probably going to intensify in coming years." ("How a Public Pension Crisis Is Driving an Epic Credit Boom", Financial Sense)

So, once again, ordinary working people are caught in the crosshairs of a corporate scam that could blow up in their faces and leave them without sufficient resources to muddle through their retirement years.

The amount money that's being funneled into buybacks is simply staggering. According to Dave Dayen at the Intercept:
"Last year, companies spent $553 billion to repurchase outstanding shares, just short of the record $589.1 billion in 2007. Large companies like Apple, General Motors, McDonald's, Pfizer, Microsoft and more have engaged in buybacks in recent years.

Returning profits to shareholders through buybacks and dividends accounted for 95 percent of all earnings in 2014. As a result, each additional dollar of corporate earnings now translates to under 10 cents of reinvestment, according to a study by J.W. Mason of the Roosevelt Institute."

("SEC Admits It's Not Monitoring Stock Buybacks to Prevent Market Manipulation", Dave Dayen, Intercept)
This explains why business investment (Capex) is at record lows. It's because the bulk of earnings is being recycled into buybacks, over $2.3 trillion dollars since 2009 to be precise. And it's all connected to the Fed's zero rate policy. Zero rates have created an environment in which corporations no longer look for ways to grow their businesses, expand operations, hire more employees or improve productivity. Instead, they look for the quick fix, that is, load up on debt, buy more shares, goose the stock price, and walk away with a bundle.

USA

Psychopathic U.S. mass surveillance mindset infects 'democracies' worldwide

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© Sputnik

Comment: From Andrew M. Lobaczewski's book, Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes:

"Pathocracy is a disease of great social movements followed by entire societies, nations, and empires. In the course of human history, it has affected social, political, and religious movements as well as the accompanying ideologies and turned them into caricatures of themselves. This occurred as a result of the participation of pathological agents in a pathodynamically similar process. That explains why all the pathocracies of the world are, and have been, so similar in their essential properties.

Identifying these phenomena through history and properly qualifying them according to their true nature and contents - not according to the ideology in question, which succumbed to the process of caricaturization - is a job for historians.

The actions of [pathocracy] affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every town, business, and institution. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country creating a "new class" within that nation. This privileged class [of pathocrats] feels permanently threatened by the "others", i.e. by the majority of normal people. Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man."


The German intelligence spyware scandal illustrates how the US "collect it all" domestic surveillance philosophy has infected other democracies around the world, US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower William Binney told Sputnik on Friday.

In April 2013, according to leaked documents, Germany's domestic security agency, the BND, agreed to provide the NSA with intelligence in exchange for a highly effective spy software program called XKeyscore, media reported on Wednesday.

The idea of mass domestic surveillance, Binney explained, is being adopted by Germany and other governments that have the resources and capabilities to carry it out while violating privacy rights that are supposed to be sacred in democratic societies.
"The impact is the loss of privacy around the world," Binney argued. "Countries that adopt this totalitarian procedure of population surveillance with the subsequent loss of privacy would find it hard to call themselves a democracy."
The practice of using technology to conduct mass surveillance has spread across the globe without limitation, including countries like Russia, which has an equivalent program called SORM, he claimed.

Stopping the state surveillance contagion, Binney noted, will require clear rules, stiff penalties and mechanisms to monitor violations.

Comment: More from NSA whistleblower William Binney:

Ex-NSA analyst describes the depths of NSA surveillance as "Stasi on steroids"


Bad Guys

Tensions escalate as Venezuela closes its gang- & US-infested Colombian borders

© REUTERS / Jose Miguel Gomez
As the diplomatic dispute between Venezuela and Colombia continues to escalate following the closure of the border earlier this month, with Bogota and Caracas announcing the recall of their respective ambassadors on Thursday, Sputnik tries to get to the bottom of the growingly bitter conflict between the two countries.

The conflict ostensibly began earlier this month, when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of Venezuela's long and porous border with Colombia after gunmen opened fire on a border guard patrol carrying out an anti-smuggling operation, critically wounding three soldiers and a civilian. The president also declared a temporary, 60 day 'state of exception' in the Venezuelan border state of Tachira, a term since defined by Venezuelan officials as being similar to a state of emergency, but without the measure of rescinding human rights.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos fired back, demanding that Venezuela reopen the border, suggesting that Maduro's response was overly aggressive, and noting that Caracas should have tried "more effective collaboration with Colombian authorities." However, following an outburst of further violence in the border area, including an attack on a Colombian border patrol unit last week, Bogota too shut its side of the border.

Comment: Hopefully they'll be able to clean up this infection.

Check out: Latin America uniting in solidarity against US assault on Venezuela


Bad Guys

One of the greatest cons in central banking history


Janet Yellen, leading a band of money printers
One of the greatest con jobs in history was convincing ordinary people that Central Bankers care about the "economy" or Main Street.

Aside from the complete lack of relevance that Main Street has for Central Bankers from a professional perspective (more on this in a moment), when do you think was the last time that Janet Yellen or her ilk spent an evening with non-banker/financial types? Years ago? Decades ago?

Yellen lives in a super-affluent, gated part of Washington DC. And even within that subset of the US population she lives in a higher echelon: her entourage of security annoys her wealthy neighbors... though I suspect part of the annoyance stems from jealousy.

Comment: It's obvious that these people don't care about the consequences of their actions. That's because they're basically parasites, and central banking itself, as it is practiced today, is the ultimate con:

Book review: A History of Central Banking and the Enslavement of Mankind