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Rocket

Cranking the war machine: U.S. to develop 6th-generation jet fighters to outrun Russia and China

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© Flickr/ Mario Sainz Martínez
The US Air Force and Navy plan to pursue the development and acquisition of sixth-generation F/A-XX fighters; they consider the fleet of existing jets incapable of handling their Russian and Chinese fifth-generation counterparts, something which they feel constitutes a real threat to national security.

The Chinese Chengdu J-20 and the Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA are becoming a real threat to the US Air Force and Navy, according to The National Interest, an international affairs magazine.

"When you see these next-generation fighters, the PAK-FA out of Russia and the J-20 out of China, and some of their new missile technology, our advantage is dwindling," the magazine quotes one senior industry official as saying, without disclosing his name.

Neither of the two jets currently in service with the US Air Force and Navy, the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, can adequately handle new threats like the Chinese Chengdu J-20 or the Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA, the magazine cites "some industry insiders with deep knowledge of both jets" as saying.

Cult

Those who collaborate with the Empire

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Traitors from developing countries unite!

It is much easier to rule over those people who have lost all their dignity.

There is no reason to fear resistance where cynical consumerism, lack of knowledge, and constant anxiety are shaping the behavioral patterns of a nation; of most of its citizens.

The West made an art form out of controlling the world. Its once rough and simple 'divide and rule' tactics have reached, with time, great virtuosity. What Richter, Rostropovich or Argerich did for the art of Western classical music, people like Brzezinski, Kissinger and Negroponte matched with their brilliance in the art of destruction and terror.

In today's world, everything is upside down. Brothers fear brothers, guerilla fighters are made to spy on each other, and heroes who are fighting for the survival of the planet are labeled by Western regime as demagogues, strongmen or even terrorists.

The Empire successfully mobilized the most regressive elements in each society that it controls. It upheld religions, archaic family compositions and feudalist power structures in order to make rebellion almost impossible.

Comment: Vitchek does a spot-on job of explaining a rather large part of the global psychopathic contagion in political, social, and economic terms. The Elites who facilitate the aims and processes of Empire are in for a rather nasty ride, however. Among many, their gaping maw of greed, oppression and destruction has become more obvious than ever. And when their dam truly breaks, it will be broken Irrevocably.


Snakes in Suits

Hillary Clinton: What to know about her recent controversies, scandals

© Reuters / Eduardo Munoz

Hillary Clinton, a former US secretary of state (and senator, and First Lady), will (has) reportedly announce her 2016 presidential run Sunday via social media. Expect these recent Clinton scandals to surface again (and again) for the duration of her candidacy.

State Department emails

The latest Clinton controversy stems from her use of a private email account and server -- which was found to be insecure for at least three months -- to conduct official business as US secretary of state. Clinton has said she used her private email account -- just as past secretaries of state have done -- as a matter of convenience.


Comment: Yup, this is the kind of person that will probably be chosen to lead the Democrats. Since she takes orders from the Council on Foreign Relations, she will be a shoo-in.




Document

Russia SITREP: Rising rubles, Western 'values', and Nazi confusion

WESTERN VALUES™. We're sure learning the difference between reality and rhetoric, aren't we? Constitutional order: Yanukovich leaves town and loses his position, Yemen president leaves town, keeps his. "I'm not going to draw parallels here" says Harf as she proceeds to. Freedom of speech: pianist cancelled because of her tweets or, as they might say, "Charlie? Qui est-il?".

AN ESSENTIAL READ. I highly recommend Vladimir Golstein's essay "Politics, Bullshit, and Ukraine". Putin & Co are telling the truth or lying; but in either case they believe there is a factual reality to be addressed. The other side is simply bullshitting: reality is whatever they say it is (vide Harf above). BS engenders conspiracy theories: obviously last year's coup was not about improving the life of Ukrainians so it must be about something else (my entries here). But read the whole essay, it's very illuminating.

THE RUBLE. Remember when it was on its way to complete destruction? Well it's now the best performing currency of the year. The Russian economy is stabilising. Predicting is tough - what you want to see often gets in the way.

Vader

Oil and geopolitics deadly mix in Yemen

© Reuters/Gary Cameron
Life goes on in war-torn Yemen
Everything about the war on Yemen is a smokescreen. Concealed behind the smoke is a tale of geopolitics and petro-politics that aims to control the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden.

The House of Saud and a military coalition that consists mostly of anachronistic monarchies are claiming to bomb Yemen as a means of saving the Yemenite people and their transition to democracy. The irony should not be lost on observers that recognize that the Saudi-led coalition — consisting of the Kingdom of Morocco, the UAE, Kuwait, Kingdom of Bahrain, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Qatar, Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia itself — is comprised of an unhealthy mixture of backward family dictatorships and corrupt governments that essentially are the antithesis of democracy.

Just as important to note, the Saudi-led war on Yemen is a criminal act. The military attack on Yemen was not authorized by the UN Security Council. Nor can the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia justify its bombing campaign under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, because Yemen and Ansarullah (the Houthi movement) pose no threat of war to Riyadh and never had any intentions of igniting a war in the Arabian Peninsula. This is why the Kingdom's war on Yemen is categorically a violation of the Charter of the UN and international law.

The Houthis never wanted to aggravate Saudi Arabia let alone start a war against the Kingdom. Days before the Saudi-led war on Yemen, the Houthis had stealthily sent a delegation to Riyadh to establish an understanding with the Saudis and to calm them down.

Instead of opposing the illegal war on Yemen, Washington and its allies, including Britain, have thrown their political support behind the bombing of Yemen by the malfeasant Royal Saudi Air Force, which has committed war crime by intentionally bombed civilian infrastructure, including refugee camps and children's schools.

It is no coincidence that most of the victims in Yemen are civilians. This is part of a Saudi strategy of establishing rapid military dominance, which is colloquially called "shock and awe." Ring any bells? This is a strategy taken right out of Uncle Sam's playbook that intends to demoralize resistance and scare the opponent into surrendering.

Bulb

Britain's Green Party announces plans to raise income tax for wealthy 1%

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© AP Photo/ Alastair Grant
Britain's Green Party announced on Sunday plans to raise the top rate of income tax by 15 percent.

The party suggested pushing the rate of income tax for the richest UK citizens from the current 45 percent to 60 percent.

"The 60p tax will raise money to fund crucial public services, contributing towards the reversal of the failed policy of austerity that is making the poor, the disadvantaged and the young pay for the greed and fraud of the bankers," the party's leader Natalie Bennett was quoted as saying on the Green Party's website.

According to Bennett, this measure will help raise some 2 billion pounds (almost $3 billion) annually, acting as a disincentive to companies that pay "excessively high" salaries.

"For too long now the economy in this country has worked for those at the top, while failing everyone else," Bennett said.

The 45-percent tax rate concerns those whose income is more than 150,000 pounds a year. According to the Green Party, the tax rate affects only the top one percent of earners.

Take 2

Secret U.S. memo reveals Washington may not consider UK "relevant" to political agenda

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© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
A secret memo prepared by a Congressional think tank and seen by the Daily Mail says that the US may need a "reassessment of the special relationship" with its key economic partner, Britain, "because its geopolitical setting has been changing."

Winston Churchill's 1946 speech to Westminster College, in Fulton, coined the phrase "special relationship" to describe the exceptionally friendly political, diplomatic, economic, military and cultural relations between the United Kingdom and the United States.

Some 69 years later, when PM David Cameron last visited the White House in January, he quoted President Barack Obama as saying that "the special relationship is stronger than it has ever been privately and in public and I agree."

However, a classified document dated April 2015 and prepared for the for members of US Congress reportedly states that "the UK may not be viewed as centrally relevant to the United States in all of the issues and relations considered a priority on the US agenda."

The congressional memo, edited by Derek E Mix, the CRS's chief European affairs analyst, is meant to brief the Senate and House of Representatives on the impact of Britain's upcoming May 7 general election.

Sheeple

Kissing up to the Empire: President of Estonia calls for larger NATO presence in country

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© AFP 2015/ Raigo Pajula
A larger number of NATO troops on the territory of Estonia would be "reasonable," Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves told The Telegraph.

At the moment, the only NATO contingent in the country is one company of US infantry comprising 150 servicemen.

"One hundred and fifty soldiers is not a lot, so we do think that further stationing of troops at a higher number is only reasonable," Ilves was quoted as saying by the newspaper on Saturday.

At the 2014 NATO summit in Wales, the alliance revealed plans to deploy a high readiness task force in the Baltic states, consisting of 5,000 troops. But Ilves said that the five-day period that it would take for the task force to be deployed was too long in case of an emergency.

Network

China's AIIB approves five new founding members

© Reuters/Takaki Yajima
China's President Xi Jinping (3rd R) meets with the guests at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank launch ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2014.
The founding states of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have approved the applications of Brazil, Georgia, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands as founding members, the Chinese Finance Ministry announced Saturday.

"With the consent of the existing founding members, the Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Georgia and Denmark officially became founding countries of the AIIB on April 12," the ministry said in a statement on its website, adding that the total number of founders has now reached 46.

The founding members have a priority over others, as they possess the right to establish the rules for the bank's activities.

Bulb

Maduro to Obama: "I respect you, but don't trust you"

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© Reuters/Mariana Bazo
The Venezuelan and US presidents, whose strained relations cast a shadow over the Summit of the Americas in Panama, held a private meeting for the first time in an attempt to alleviate tensions over US-imposed sanctions.

"It was a serious and sincere encounter," Nicolas Maduro said of the meeting, which was held behind closed doors. "We told the truth and I would say it was cordial," he added.

Hours earlier, speaking at the summit, he was harsher on his US counterpart.

"I respect you, but I don't trust you, President Obama," Maduro told the summit, although at that moment the US president was absent from the room, holding bilateral talks with Colombia's president.
"@VTVcanal8: #EnFotos | Intervención de @NicolasMaduro en la VII Cumbre de las Américas http://t.co/CG3MuPFDcn pic.twitter.com/CSOCox5Y1e"

— Tareck El Aissami (@TareckPSUV) April 12, 2015
A consistent critic of Washington, Venezuelan President arrived to Panama City with a petition condemning sanctions against his country. Maduro claimed the petition was signed by 13 million people.