Happy Mardi Gras, Y’all!
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Just in case Obama’s Friday message of “costs” should Russia invade Ukraine, which it did, was lost in translation, here is NATO with the clarification, and more harsh language:
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen convened an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels on Sunday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
Ahead of the meeting he issued the following statement:
I have convened the North Atlantic Council today because of Russia’s military action in Ukraine. And because of President Putin’s threats against this sovereign nation.
What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter. It threatens peace and security in Europe. Russia must stop its military activities and its threats.
Today we will discuss their implications, for European peace and security, and for NATO’s relationship with Russia.
Afterwards, we will meet in the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
We support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We support the right of the people of Ukraine to determine their own future without outside interference. And we emphasize the need for Ukraine to continue to uphold the democratic rights of all people and ensure that minority rights are protected.
Ukraine is our neighbour, and Ukraine is a valued partner for NATO.
We urge all parties to urgently continue all efforts to move away from this dangerous situation. In particular, I call on Russia to de-escalate tensions.
And just in case both Obama and NATO were misunderstood, here is Kerry appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation laying down the law, and even more harsh language:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine and threatened “very serious repercussions” from the United States and other countries, including sanctions to isolate Russia economically.
“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” Kerry told the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
Kerry, however, added that Russia still has “a right set of choices” that can be made to defuse the crisis.
“It’s an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President (Vladimir) Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations,” Kerry added.
Kerry said U.S. President Barack Obama told Putin in a 90-minute phone call on Saturday that “there will be serious repercussions if this stands. The president … told Mr. Putin that it was imperative to find a different path, to roll back this invasion and un-do this act of invasion.”
Kerry said G8 nations and some other countries are “prepared to go to the hilt to isolate Russia” with a “broad array of options” available.
“They’re prepared to put sanctions in place, they’re prepared to isolate Russia economically, the ruble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges,” Kerry said, as he also mentioned visa bans, asset freezes and trade isolation as possible steps.
Some great soundbites: we can’t wait for the White House to release the obligatory photo op, which we assume would look somewhat different than this.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Sunday when asked for a response to harsh words from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine. “No comment at the moment,” Peskov said.
via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/OPVe7a Tyler Durden
The term “identity
politics” is typically used less as a designation than as a sneer:
disapproving shorthand for Balkanized multiculturalism. Arun
Kundnani’s new book The Muslims Are Coming! sees the
subject through a different lens. For Kundnani, as Noah Berlatsky’s
review explains, identity politics isn’t something the left does to
get goodies from the government. It’s something the government
does to justify and expand the power of the national security
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With less than 6 hours left until FX trading opens, no resolution to the Ukraine crisis is in sight. Instead the situation has devolved even more and overnight Ukraine has ordered a full military mobilization in response to Russia’s build-up of its forces in Crimea. Prime Minster Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the country was “on the brink of disaster.” Several other measures were announced on Sunday by national security officials:
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Sunday that his country was “on the brink of disaster” and personally blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for bringing the two nations to the verge of war. Speaking to reporters at the Ukrainian parliament, Mr. Yatsenyuk called on the international community to rein in Mr. Putin and pressure him to remove troops from the Crimean peninsula, where a majority of residents are ethnic Russians but have Ukrainian passports.
“If President Putin wants to be the president who starts the war between two friendly and neighboring countries, he has [almost] reached this target,” Mr. Yatsenyuk said. “We are on the brink of disaster. There was no reason for the Russian Federation to invade Ukraine.”
Western diplomats doubt that the Ukrainian armed forces would be able to match up to the Russian forces already in control of the critical infrastructure and border points in the Crimea.
Ukrainian leaders say that Russia has already sent an additional 6,000 troops to Crimea since tensions arose in the peninsula last week. The two countries have a military agreement that allows Moscow to base forces in the region, but Ukrainian officials accuse Moscow of violating that treaty by not informing Kiev of additional troops, and by moving forces without prior notice. Moscow says that it is in compliance of the accord.
Earlier Sunday, Ukraine’s interior minister said Russian officials had approached Ukrainian officers remaining in Crimea and offered them immediate Russian citizenship.
“Across the entire territory of Crimea, Russian emissaries and military officers have invited the remaining Ukrainian interior ministry troops to take Russian citizenship and immediately receive Russian passports,” Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. “This appeal has been aimed at upper and middle officer corps troops.”
Mr. Avakov denied that Ukrainian forces had threatened the Russian-speaking population on the largely pro-Russian peninsula, and blamed Russian forces for the sharp militarization of the region.
“In Crimea, there are no forces from the interior ministry or the regular army threatening citizens of the Russian Federation or the Russian-speaking population,” he said. “And also no self-defense units from Maidan have arrived from Kiev. All destabilization in the Crimea has come from and been masterminded in Russia.”
The BBC adds that it has seen what appear to be Russian troops digging trenches on the Crimean border. Furthermore, a standoff between Ukrainian troops who have fortified a base in the crimean city of Privolnoye, borth place of the late USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, and Russians who have surrounded them, may be the match that set it all off. Fox reports that hundreds of unidentified gunmen surrounded a Ukraine’s infantry base in Privolnoye in its Crimea region Sunday. The convoy included at least 13 troop vehicles each containing 30 soldiers and four armored vehicles with mounted machine guns. The vehicles — which have Russian license plates — have surrounded the base and are blocking Ukrainian soldiers from entering or leaving it.
This is the current state of the standoff:
— James Mates (@jamesmatesitv) March 2, 2014
— Ottawa Stare™ (@OttawaStare) March 2, 2014
In response, acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the move by Russian forces to surround military bases in Crimea was “a declaration of war.”
His comments were echoed by acting president Oleksandr Turchynov, who said Ukraine had closed its airspace to non-civilian aircraft. Among the other statements by Yatsenyuk, as reported by the WSJ:
All told, some 6,000 extra Russian troops and 30 additional armoured vehicles are now in Crimea, Ukrainian Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh said on Saturday.
An interactive map of the key Ukraine battlefields is shown below:
Finallly, there was the traditional escalation in Western diplomacy with both France and Britain announcing they are putting on hold their plans for participation in the G-8 conference to be held in Sochi. And then this:
Well if nothing else stopped Putin, this surely will.
via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1db2PWx Tyler Durden
His business of providing email was sabotaged by the NSA–and by
law, he was forbidden to talk about it. This week, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison told Reason
TV why he decided to shut down his company, and delete the emails
of 400,000 customers, rather than comply with the government’s
demands to compromise their privacy.
The video, “Lavabit’s Ladar Levison on Snowden, Why He Shut
Down, and How to Beat the NSA,” was first released on Feb. 28,
2014. The original text follows:
“Let me put it this way: If one year from now, you’re
not using Dark Mail, it’s because you enjoy knowing the NSA is
reading your emails,” says Ladar Levison, founder of Lavabit, the
email provider used by former National Security Agency contractor
After Snowden’s identity became known, Levison shut
down Lavabit, posting the following message on the company
“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to
become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away
from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After
significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I
wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my
decision. I cannot.”
Levison was prohibited from discussing any details of
the case until last October, when the court unsealed a portion of
the documents. The unsealed records reveal that the FBI was
demanding access to Lavabit’s Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) keys,
which would essentially allow the agency access to all messages on
Lavabit’s server. While the FBI was ostensibly targeting only a
single user, Levison was unwilling to sacrifice the privacy of his
other 400,000+ users.
He is still not allowed to discuss the identity of the
user the FBI hoped to target.
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Should the government coercively sanction
business owners who, out of apparent religious conviction, refuse
to serve particular customers? While such behavior is repugnant,
the refusal to serve someone because of his or her race, ethnicity,
or sexual orientation is nevertheless an exercise of self-ownership
and freedom of nonassociation. It is both nonviolent and
nonviolative of other people’s rights. If we are truly to embrace
freedom of association, logically we must also embrace freedom of
nonassociation. The test of one’s commitment to freedom of
association, like freedom of speech, is whether one sticks by it
even when the content repulses. But does this mean that private
individuals may not peacefully sanction businesses that
invidiously discriminate against would-be customers? No, writes
Sheldon Richman. They may, and they should. Boycotts, publicity,
ostracism, and other noncoercive measures are also constituents of
freedom of association.
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The Answer is 42
Come visit a uniquely different website and enter the mind of Cognitive Dissonance
One would think that the answer is entirely dependent upon the question, and normally I would agree with that logical deduction. But when pondering sticky questions, particularly those that involve Cognitive Dissonance, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s famous “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” answer (“The answer is 42”) seems just as apropos as anything you or I could, and regularly do, pull out of our bums.
For example, why is there near universal agreement that politicians, (governmental) institutions and other ‘author-ity’ figures (those who author their own justification or rationalization to receive/take our power) lie, cheat and steal, with special emphasis on lie, yet we eviscerate them when they actually tell the truth? Worse, when they actually admit to lying (supposedly to keep the peace) why do we derisively condemn them every which way to Sunday?
I suspect people tend to panic when confronted with the truth because we’ve been so conditioned to accept their lies that when told the truth (which incidentally we intuitively know is the truth without seeking an external authority for confirmation) we panic, logically thinking that it must really be bad if they are being ‘honest’, or as close to honest as they can get without becoming tongue tied. I now understand that the answer to my question is (obviously) 42.
Case in point, a while back Jean-Claude Juncker, former Luxembourg Prime Minister and Head Euro-Zone Finance Minister, was quoted as saying “When it becomes serious, you have to lie.” For this little moment of clarity and truth he was unmercilessly pilloried in the mainstream press, blogs, opinion pieces and various international pancake houses for speaking the truth about lying when the shit hits the fan.
If his lips are moving………
Of course the bastard lies, and often for the very same reasons our children lie to us and why we lie to our friends, children, bosses, spouses, strangers and ultimately ourselves. To save our asses from immediate consequences, if only for a short period of time
Bottom line the perceived benefits of (self) deception are often considered to be much greater than the perceived consequences of being caught, regardless of whether the perceived benefits are in fact ‘real’ or just imagined. For example, think about the benefits of having your bias confirmed as an ‘imagined’ benefit that supports further self deception. I’m getting that tingling feeling between my toes just thinking about it.
We all conduct a quick mental check before deciding to lie or not, a sort of Ben Franklin Close (aka The Balance Sheet Close) where we list the so-called benefits on one side of a sheet of paper and the costs on the other, though it is often done in real time with lots of presupposed assumptions (beliefs and ideologies) and outcomes plugged into the variables.
Often when the ‘believed’ consequences of lying are small (or the social acceptance of our little ‘white lie’ is high) the cognitive path to (self) deception is not only cleared, but there’s a tail wind blowing our lie in for a safe three point landing.
Other than becoming the laughing stock of the world for a day or so, exactly what consequences did Juncker suffer? Was his pay reduced or his bonus pulled after he admitted that he lies? Did he lose his position of power and influence? Was he sent to the nearest corner for some down time to reflect upon his transgression?
None-of-the above is the proper response here because Juncker suffered no lasting consequences and, dare I say it, might even have received some (extra) consolatory loving from Mrs. Juncker (but most likely his Mistress because he is European banker after all) for being so brave.
Before the Ponzi and its supporting control system became so blatantly obvious (to us we tell ourselves, everyone else still being too stupid to see the blatantly obvious) one needed to look and listen closely for the flaws in the control system. Nowadays the insanity is on display for all to see 24/7/365 and the proof is the endless material for WilliamBanzai7 to hit out of the ballpark at least twice a day here on ZeroHedge.
Let’s take a look at another example. Why is it that we can clearly see when foreign politicians are pandering to their ‘electorate’ (or indentured economic slaves as the case may be) for local consumption, yet we fail to recognize the exact same behavior when we are pandered to by ‘our’ own politicians? The answer (naturally) is 42. It never ceases to amaze me how brilliant we are when recognizing other people’s stupidity and how utterly stupid we are when failing to recognize our own idiocy.
How often have we read about this or that foreign diplomat or politician delivering a troubling speech berating those evil Americans/French/English/Germans (insert your own nationality here)?
The G8 Liars Club
Now…..if it was ‘our’ enemy doing the berating the politician/writer/news anchor would assume the proper righteously indignant tone of voice and declare the bastard our national enemy number one…..who was (of course) lying through his teeth to his own people about ‘us’.
By the way, since when did I personally piss off Kim Jong-un or Hugo Chavez (may his lying ass rest in peace) enough that they became ‘my’ own personal enemy? I have a hard enough time dealing with that prissy checkout girl at the local Wawa without worrying about some lying fool half way around the world whom I never met.
However if the foreign leader insulting ‘us’ is our ‘friend’ (I certainly don’t remember ‘friending’ the bastard, but what the hell) the politician/writer/news anchor assumes a consolatory tone of voice and soothingly assures us that the poor foreign leader, our bosom buddy and lifelong pal, was simply delivering a speech ‘for domestic consumption’ and really didn’t mean it. In other words, s/he was lying through his/her teeth to the local population in order to pander to the idiots, so ignore what s/he’s saying.
Ultimately we should be asking ourselves why we tolerate lies from complete strangers who just happen to be ‘our’ leaders. Or why we tell ourselves we don’t believe a lying word out of their mouths, then jump all over them for telling the truth about the fact that they lie to us. To be perfectly honest (pun most definitely intended) the reason we tolerate lies from others is because we want them to tolerate our lies. What goes around (hopefully) comes around, at least when it comes to lying.
Most dysfunctional relationships, and there is no doubt that the relationship we have with ‘our’ leaders is the epitome of dysfunctional, requires and encourages mutual lying in order not to be held accountable to each other while presenting the facade that we are. And make no mistake about it, accountability works both ways, not just from the top of leadership down to ‘us’ peons.
Old School Psychopaths
Who reading this right now is actually willing to run this country, let alone try to ‘fix’ it, considering the present state of psychosis nearly everyone, not just ‘our’ leaders, are suffering from? Only a madman, a sociopath or someone suffering from NPD (narcissistic personality disorder in case you’re wondering) would beg to be put into the type of position where not only must they go along to get along, but they need to enable the other madmen and sociopaths or they might just find themselves taking a long walk off a short pier.
I’m not quite sure what is more outrageous, the fact that politicians lie to ‘us’, the fact that they actually desire the type of position that requires them to speak anything but the truth to the public or the fact that we tolerate, and at times enable, all of the above.
In fact I wonder why I’m outraged at all considering I’m just as insane as the rest of ‘us’ inmates in The Insane Asylum. The answer (naturally) is 42.
“The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.”
-The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863.
Yeah…..what he said.
<What did he just say?>
via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1dOw668 Cognitive Dissonance
As the West Wing tweeted earlier, the White House released this photo of president Obama on the phone with Russian president Putin. Because there is always a professional photographer handy when the fate of a nation is on the line, so to speak.
And inquiring minds want to know just how does this fit in to the equation, if at all?
via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/OOFXUi Tyler Durden
All the latest major headlines on the Ukraine crisis.
via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1d8ZbfJ Tyler Durden
The was a time when everyone loved making fun of GOP vice presidential canidate Sarah Palin. It’s her turn to get the final laugh.
As CBS recounts, in October 2008, after Russia’s invasion of neighboring Georgia emerged as a foreign policy flashpoint in the homestretch of a heated campaign, Palin told an audience in Nevada, “After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”
Just as amusing was the response to Palin’s comments by foreign policy experts, Foreign Policy magazine, which said, “As we’ve said before, this is an extremely far-fetched scenario. And given how Russia has been able to unsettle Ukraine’s pro-Western government without firing a shot, I don’t see why violence would be necessary to bring Kiev to heel.”
Coming just a few months after subprime turned out not to be contained despite everyone’s fervent belief that it was, this is not all that surprising.
And now it’s time to gloat: “I’m usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as ‘an extremely far-fetched scenario’ by the ‘high-brow’ Foreign Policy magazine,” Palin wrote Friday.
“Here’s what this ‘stupid,’ ‘insipid woman’ predicted in 2008,” she added, before rehashing her prediction.
Talk radio host Mark Levin tweeted, “Palin not only knows where Russia is, but she knew what Putin would do to Ukraine with Obama as president.”
Then again, back in 2008 a lot of people were also talking about hope and change. Five years later people have to look up the definition of hope, as for change, the best place to find it is in the 11 million people who have dropped out of the labor force in that time.
via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1pMIgF8 Tyler Durden