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The Flea to the Bear: Obama warns Russia of 'costs' in Ukraine

© Reuters/Maxim Shemetov
President Barack Obama is warning Russia "there will be costs" for any military maneuvers it launches in Ukraine, a move U.S. and Ukrainian officials say they believe to be already underway.

Officials say Obama may retaliate by canceling a trip to Russia this summer for an international summit and could also cut off trade discussions with Moscow. But it's unclear whether those moves will have any impact on Russia's calculus in Ukraine, which is at the center of what many see as a tug of war between East and West.

"Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing," Obama declared Friday in a statement from the White House. Such action by Russia would represent a "profound interference" in matters that must be decided by the Ukrainian people, he said.

Separately, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that while he would not address specific U.S. options, "this could be a very dangerous situation if this continues in a provocative way." Asked about options in a CBS News interview, he said that "we're trying to deal with a diplomatic focus, that's the appropriate, responsible approach."


Best of the Web: Anti-Semitism comes full circle: Israeli Defence Forces unit led fascist militia in Kiev - How much involvement did Israel have in neo-Nazi coup d'état?

© 'Delta'/JTA Delta, the nom de guerre of the Jewish commander of a Ukrainian street-fighting unit, is pictured in Kiev earlier this month.
Delta, a Ukrainian-born former IDF soldier, headed a force of 40 men and women, most of whom are not Jewish, against gov't forces

He calls his troops "the Blue Helmets of Maidan," but brown is the color of the headgear worn by Delta - the nom de guerre of the commander of a Jewish-led militia force that participated in the Ukrainian revolution. Under his helmet, he also wears a kippah.

Delta, a Ukraine-born former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, spoke to JTA Thursday on condition of anonymity. He explained how he came to use combat skills he acquired in the Shu'alei Shimshon reconnaissance battalion of the Givati infantry brigade to rise through the ranks of Kiev's street fighters. He has headed a force of 40 men and women - including several fellow IDF veterans - in violent clashes with government forces.

Comment: Just how deeply is Israel involved in this coup d'état?

Given the veneration for Nazi collaborators and tendency towards historical revisionism among participants in the Ukrainian putsch, are these what the Jewish elites, when castigating dissenters among their ranks, would call "self-hating Jews"?!

Hardly. And especially not with the Israeli ambassador's involvement in this.

Remember, the Second World War produced the deaths of 65 million people, but in the version of events they've worked so hard to cement, that war was first and foremost a project to eliminate the Jews!

Assuming then that that was the case, what on earth is going on here? We saw one of the leading French Jews, Bernard Henri-Levy, lend his considerable support towards making this situation come about. And now it turns out that the IDF were instrumental in leading these neo-Nazi revolutionaries??

If such things can't shake ordinary Jews from the death grip of their psychopathic elites, we don't know what can. "Remember the holocaust!" they cry at the slightest hint of criticism. Yes, we are remembering it. Have YOU suddenly forgotten??

Whatever game the Zionists, NeoCons and Imperialists in New York, Washington, London, Tel Aviv and Paris are playing in Ukraine - or think they're playing, with either planned or unexpected consequences - this is, at the very least, more evidence of the way in which certain types of character-disturbed people - found among all creeds, races and classes - naturally identify and align with the destructive principle under the guise of "making the world a better place".

Indeed, a "better world" for their subjugation of humanity under fascist, totalitarian control.

Light Saber

MEPs call U.S. drone strikes unlawful: European Parliament votes to ban them

yemen drone strikes
Models of US drone and missiles displayed in Sanaa, Yemen
Europe's politicians have voted by a landslide to propose a ban on US drone strikes that have killed thousands in Yemen and Pakistan, calling the killings "unlawful".

The European Parliament voted by a majority of 534 to 49 MEPs to support a resolution demanding that EU Member States "do not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states", and calling on them to "oppose and ban practices of extra judicial targeted killings."

Green MEP and chair of the Parliament's sub-committee on human rights Barbara Lochbihler said: "The European Parliament has today raised serious concerns with the use of military drones and the deaths of thousands of civilians resulting from drone strikes.


Propaganda Alert! Crimean checkmate is payback by Putin for Ukraine's revolution

crimea parliament
© David Mdzinarishvili/ReutersRussian flags outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol.
Days after the end of Vladimir Putin's Sochi Olympics, the borders of Europe are shifting. Or, more accurately, military forces suspected of acting on Moscow's orders are creating a new cartographic reality on the ground.

Overnight, alleged undercover Russian special forces seized control of Simferopol airport, in the administrative capital of Crimea. The move comes less than 24 hours after a similar squad of shadowy, well-armed, Russian-speaking gunmen seized Simferopol's parliament building and administrative complex. If anyone was in doubt what this meant, the gunmen left a clue. They raised a Russian flag above the parliament building.

Comment: This last sentence is a most unenlightened piece of nonsense, considering that the US/Nato/EU are, and have been, engaged in landgrabs all over the world for centuries, with the Ukraine only the latest in a long line of victims. Russia meanwhile, is vilified by puppet journalists and media mouthpieces for any slight move made in self defense. We are seeing the most desperate western propaganda attempts since the Cold War.


The global parasites: 26 top American corporations paid no federal income tax from '08 to '12

© AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson

Twenty-six of the most powerful American corporations - such as Boeing, General Electric, and Verizon - paid no federal income tax from 2008 to 2012, according to a new report detailing how Fortune 500 companies exploit tax breaks and loopholes.

The report, conducted by public advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), focuses on the 288 companies in the Fortune 500 that registered consistent profit every year from 2008 to 2012. Those 288 profitable corporations paid an "effective federal income tax rate of just 19.4 percent over the five-year period - far less than the statutory 35 percent tax rate," CTJ states.

Comment: For more in-depth information on the enormous scandal of corporate tax avoidance (which still probably only scratches the surface), check out the book: Treasure Islands, by Nicholas Shaxson.

Treasure Chest

The greatest propaganda coup of our time? Absolving the Fed of any accountability for what is likely the crime of the century‏

federal reserve
© n/a
There's good propaganda and bad propaganda. Bad propaganda is generally crude, amateurish Judy Miller "mobile weapons lab-type" nonsense that figures that people are so stupid they'll believe anything that appears in "the paper of record." Good propaganda, on the other hand, uses factual, sometimes documented material in a coordinated campaign with the other major media to cobble-together a narrative that is credible, but false.

The so called Fed's transcripts, which were released last week, fall into the latter category. The transcripts (1,865 pages) reveal the details of 14 emergency meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in 2008, when the financial crisis was at its peak and the Fed braintrust was deliberating on how best to prevent a full-blown meltdown. But while the conversations between the members are accurately recorded, they don't tell the gist of the story or provide the context that's needed to grasp the bigger picture. Instead, they're used to portray the members of the Fed as affable, well-meaning bunglers who did the best they could in 'very trying circumstances'. While this is effective propaganda, it's basically a lie, mainly because it diverts attention from the Fed's role in crashing the financial system, preventing the remedies that were needed from being implemented (nationalizing the giant Wall Street banks), and coercing Congress into approving gigantic, economy-killing bailouts which shifted trillions of dollars to insolvent financial institutions that should have been euthanized.

Light Sabers

Socialism's critics look at Venezuela and say, 'We told you so'. But they are wrong‏

© The IndependentThe Venezuelan people have taken to the streets in huge numbers against a human rights-abusing regime
I once wrote about the "hierarchy of death" - the macabre process by which the newsworthiness of death is ranked. The fame or influence of the deceased; whether they are a Westerner or not; the colour of their skin; whether they are affluent or poor: all are crucial factors. But the perceived political significance of death is important too, as the latest wave of political turbulence in Venezuela illustrates.

Here's the right-wing narrative. The Venezuelan people have taken to the streets in huge numbers against a human rights-abusing regime. The response has been murderous repression, with each death damning evidence of a monstrous autocracy. The government's economic policies have caused nothing but ruination for the population, demonstrating once again that "socialism" is an abject failure. Those who challenge this narrative, like myself, are nothing but dupes, useful idiots, the modern-day equivalents of the Fabians who went to Stalin's Soviet Union and lauded it as a new civilisation.

Comment: Venezuela: It's the opposition that's anti-democratic

Bad Guys

Prelude to World War?‏

© Unknown
On 24 February 2014 US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held a press conference to announce some of the details of Pentagon's 2015 budget. Beyond the news of cuts in war fighting machinery and personnel - and the pox of "irresponsible" sequestration on the federal government - Hagel made a point of indicating that the world is becoming an increasingly volatile place. He also seemed to express a bit of disgust for nation building of the type attempted by the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those sentiments are directly at odds with the core element of US national and global security strategy in operation since the late 19th Century. Those strategies employ the USA's considerable instruments of national power to: 1) actively destabilize "elected" governments (Ukraine, Venezuela) through the use of NGO's, intelligence agencies and proxy groups; 2) prop up brutal regimes (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt) through a US congressionally approved program, executed by the US military, called Foreign Internal Defense; 3) information operations conducted via the printed press, social media, radio, television and film that seek to shape the cognitive local to global environment in favor of US national interests.; and 4) existentially destroy foreign governments through direct military action in conjunction with the weaponry of finance capitalism to create new markets.


Best of the Web: Obama's dumbest plan yet: The coup in Ukraine

© Telegraph
"Washington and Brussels ... used a Nazi coup, carried out by insurgents, terrorists and politicians of Euromaidan to serve the geopolitical interests of the West." - Natalia Vitrenko, The Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine

The United States helped defeat Nazism in World War 2. Obama helped bring it back.

As you probably know by now, Obama and Co. have ousted Ukraine's democratically-elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, with the help of ultra-right, paramilitary, neo-Nazi gangs who seized and burned government offices, killed riot police, and spread mayhem and terror across the country.


Ukraine's protests: The context

© libcom.orgLeader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok.
Western corporate media outlets have been noticeably reluctant to delve too deeply into the neofascist wing of the Ukrainian protest movement.

The protests against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych have been presented as essentially a resurgence of democratic pro-European values against a corrupt Kremlin-backed regime.

The truth is more complex, combining geopolitical rivalry between Russia and the EU with mass impoverishment following the Soviet Union's collapse.

Comment: For more background on the rise of the extreme far-right in the Ukraine and it's support by Western powers read:
Geopolitical dimensions of the coup in Ukraine, and why fascist militias are necessary for Western powers
The extreme right emerging as the dominant voice in Ukraine
Is the US backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine?