Putin’s Peace Prize

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There are days when it seems that the Nobel Peace Prize should just go home and put their feet up, ask the home-help to make them a cuppa and to bath them and then they can be put to bed and tucked in. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee has done some daft things in the past, like giving the European Union the 2012 prize when in actual fact it should never have had it since it cannot be given in to an entity or a group, but only to one individual and anyhow: since when did the EU actually stop (it starts, doesn’t it?) wars? Europe has based its peace on waging wars and maintains peace through simple sheer military force and nothing else in the past decades since World War II. Now, we discover that Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Admittedly, it was before they actually knew he was officially going (had gone?) into Ukraine, guns ablazing in true Yanky fashion to ‘blast the brains out of the baskets’.

Candidates

There have never been so many candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. Either that means they are having a hard time choosing who should be the winner of the SEK 8 million ($1.24 million) prize money or they are spoilt for choice in a peaceful world. There are 278 candidates and to boot there are 47 organizations for the 2014 prize. Having said that, they decided to meet on Tuesday this week to confirm the candidates. Do they read the newspapers, watch television even or do they know what is happening on their very doorstep? Did they see that Putin has been in Ukraine officially since the start of this week gung-hoing it? Putin did actually enter the Crimean region on February 22nd 2014 straight after President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted from power like a bad smell. Forgive me for saying, but the West and the East are currently hotting up and having a war of words for the moment on whether or not Putin can actually do something or not. Although, the Russian leader was actually very right when he said that it wasn’t the West that should be giving lessons to anybody about invasion and least of all the USA (the last bit was thought so loud you could hear it).

The Nobel Prize Committee stated that the reason they met on Tuesday was as follows: “Part of the purpose of the committee’s first meeting is to take into account recent events, and committee members try to anticipate what could be the potential developments in political hotspots”. Obviously the Siberian wind has been blowing over that hotspot for them to miss it. It’s not so much that Putin might have been nominated as a candidate as the reason why we allow the deceit, the imposture, the farcical waste of time at the Oslo Committee to continue dictating who they believe to be the best example of peace. The final list selected on Tuesday was narrowed down to between 25 and 40 candidates.

USA

Anyhow, the National Security Agency also got nominated. Wow! They really did accept that? Still, we could say that they gave President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize too back in 2009. At the time he stated that he was ‘surprised’. We can confirm that we were too. Did a man really deserve to get given a prize, apparently for having done nothing, in the hope that it would encourage him to act peacefully? I’ll do almost anything if yougive me the prize first. So would most people. Would you want the National Security Agencygetting the Nobel Peace Prize? What for? Pray do tell!

Europe

The Nobel Peace Prize has been handed out since 1901. There are sad times when it is done for political reasons (are there any other sorts of times?). There are times when it is downright ridiculous, such as the 2012 prize for the European Union. We all know that most of the wars in the world have either been started for geopolitical, commercial, exploitation or colonization reasons by either the five permanent members of theSecurity Council of the United Nations or by the leading countries in the European Union. Europe never maintained peace in the world. It has participated in every single war and conflict that has ever taken place since the wonderful founding of the machinery that was meant to maintain peace.

The Committee

The five members of the Nobel Prize Committee are appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting. It’s impossible for it not to be political. But, at least make us think that it is! One of those members is the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Another is a Public Affairs Advisor. The third is a lawyer and President of the Norwegian Bar Association. The fourth is the Senior Political Advisor to the Progress Party’s Parliamentary Group. The Last is a University Professor.

So, we have a whole array of what is absolutely impartial. Politics, Law, Public Advisory Sector and Academia. We certainly have every chance of gaining in impartiality.

Can you name a war in the world that hasn’t be started by one of the countries in the western world or that was actively participated in by them? So, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee could be just about as daft as they have always been and actually give Putin what they want. What’s more worrying is that Putin, wasn’t exactly Mr. Peace before he went into Ukraine!

But, maybe they should change the name. It’s not a Nobel Prize, but a NOVEL one. Very novel indeed.

Originally posted: Putin’s Peace Prize

 


    



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Proposed Maryland Law Could Lead to Confiscation Of Guns from Noncomplying Folks with Criminal Records

As J.D. Tuccille has
noted here regarding Connecticut
, people don’t tend to want to
give up weapons they already own just because it is now technically
illegal for them to have them.

Maryland is contemplating testing this out when it comes to
people legally
barred from gun ownership
because of their criminal records, as
Associated Press reports via CTPost.com:

The House
of Delegates
 is considering a bill that would link
Maryland’s gun registry to its criminal database.

State law requires gun owners to surrender their weapons if
they’re convicted of felonies or any violent crimes, but
Del. Luiz
Simmons
, D-Montgomery, said Maryland
State Police
 lack a systematic way of enforcing
this…..

State Police estimate that if they linked the databases, they
would find 10 percent of registered gun owners — about 110,000
people — would be disqualified. They estimate a rate of 1 percent
each year thereafter.

Under Simmons’ plan, police would run a systematic check at
least twice a year.

The Department of Legislative
Services
 believes it would cost about $300,000 to create
the database. The department also anticipates a need for seven new
full-time troopers to investigate findings from the new database,
with a cost of more than $1 million a year for salaries
and equipment…

Several independent gun advocates submitted written testimony
before a Tuesday hearing. They argued against the measure, calling
it unnecessary and potentially invasive.

“This smacks of a police state mentality,” said a resident
named Ronald
Smith
.

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Russia Today Anchor Liz Wahl Resigns Live On-Air Over “Whitewashing” of Putin’s Actions in Ukraine

no moreTV
journalist Liz Wahl
resigned live on-air
from Russia Today today, saying that she
could not “be a part of a network funded by the Russian government
that whitewashes the actions of Putin,” that she was “proud to be
an American and believe[s] in disseminating the truth.” Wahl began
her comments by referencing her colleague Abby Martin, who took
time at the end of her show earlier this week to condemn Russian
military intervention in Ukraine. Wahl explained that her personal
background informed her decision: her grandparents fled from the
Soviets during the Hungarian revolution, her father was a U.S.
veteran, and her partner is a physician on a U.S. military base,
where he sees “the ultimate prices that people pay for this
country.”

Watch Wahl’s live on-air resignation below:

As of today, it doesn’t appear RT’s YouTube page includes this
clip or Abby Martin’s from earlier this week.

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Are You Crazy To Continue Believing In Collapse?

Submitted by James H Kunstler via Peak Prosperity,

It’s nerve-wracking to live in the historical moment of an epic turning point, especially when the great groaning garbage barge of late industrial civilization doesn’t turn quickly where you know it must, and you are left feeling naked and ashamed with your dark worldview, your careful preparations for a difficult future, and your scornful or tittering relatives reminding you each day what a ninny you are to worry about the tendings of events.

Persevere. There are worse things in this life than not being right exactly on schedule.

Two simple words explain why more robust signs of an economic collapse have hung fire since the tremors of 2008: inertia and fraud.

Never in human history has there been such a matrix of complex systems so vast, dense, weighty, and powerful for running everyday life (nor a larger population engaged in it). That much stuff in motion takes a while to slow down. The embodied energy has kept enough of it running to give the appearance of continuity. For instance, agri-biz still sends its amber waves of grain and tankers of corn-syrup to the Pepsico snack-food factories, and the WalMart trucks still faithfully convey the pallets of Cheetos, Fritos, Funyons, and Tostitos from the Pepsico loading dock to the big box aisles of glory. The freeways still hum with traffic even though oil is pricey at $100 a barrel. The lights stay on. The gabble and blabber of Cable TV continues remorselessly in the background of life. All of that is due to inertia. It gives the superficial impression of the old normal carrying on. Things go on until they can’t, in the immortal words of Herb Stein

The fraud is present in the abuse and misrepresentation of official statistics used as metrics in government policy, in the pervasive accounting chicanery of that same government in its fiscal dealings, as well as in our leading financial institutions and corporations, including control fraud in banking, interest rate rigging, mortgage and title fraud, front-running, naked shorting, re-hypothecation, money laundering, pumping-and-dumping, channel stuffing, the endless innovation of swindles, and, most importantly, the fundamental mispricing of the cost of money, which reverberates through everything else, most particularly real estate, stocks, and bonds. Beyond that, in the shadows of the shadowland known as shadow banking, a liminal realm of secrets and intrigues, only a few are privileged to know what is going on, and you can be sure they only know their end of the trade — while immense sums of ever more abstract “money” slosh through the derivative sewers on their way to oblivion in the ocean of failed trust.

So, don’t feel bad if this colossal armature of folly still stands, and have faith that the blinding light of God’s judgment will eventually shine even unto the watery depths where failed trust has sunk. Sooner or later the relationship between reality and truth re-sets to the calculus of what is actually happening.

Meanwhile, the big questions worth reflecting upon are: What is the shape of the future? How might we conduct ourselves in it and on our way to it; and how will we think and feel about all that? It’s very likely that the journey to where we’re going will be rougher than the actual destination, once we get there. There is a hearty consensus outside the mainstream financial media and the thickets of academia that the models we have been using to understand the economy look more broken each month, and this surely adds to the difficulty of constructing our own mental models for how the everyday world of the years ahead will operate.

Some of the commentators in blogville and elsewhere like to blame capitalism. Capitalism is a phantom adversary. It isn’t an economic system. It isn’t an ideology, really, or a belief system. If the word means anything, it describes the behavior of accumulated surplus wealth in concert with the known laws of physics — the movement of energy through time and space — and the choices we make organizing society in relation to that.  The energy is embodied as capital, represented in money for convenience. Interest expresses the cost of money over time and the risks associated with lending it. By the way, interest rates work the same way under all political systems, despite attempts in some societies to criminalize it.

During the high tide of the industrial expansion, when fossil fuels were cheap and we accumulated the greatest wealth surplus ever in history, humanity made some very bad choices, squandering this possibly one-time bonanza. We fought two world wars, and lots of wasteful lesser ones. Russia and its imitators attempted to collectivize wealth under gangster government and only succeeded in impoverishing everyone but the gangsters. America built suburbia and Las Vegas. The one thing that no “modern” culture did was plan for a future when the fossil fuel orgy and the techno-industrial fiesta might wind down, which is exactly the case now. Instead, we opted for the Julian Simon folly of crossing our fingers and hoping that some unnamed band of genius wizard innovators would mitigate the problems of resource scarcity and population overshoot just in time.

The demonizers of capitalism propose to remedy our compound predicament by just getting rid of money. But the idea of a human society without money leaves you either up a baobab tree on the paleolithic savannah, or in some sort of Ray Kurzweil techno-narcissistic masturbation fantasy multiverse with no relation to the organic doings on planet earth. I suspect as long as there are human societies there will be things to exchange that have a quality we call “money,” and as long as that’s the case, some individuals will have more of it than others, and they will lend some of their surplus to others on terms. What most people call capitalism was a model of economy derived from a particular transitory moment in history. It seemed to describe reality, but after a while it didn’t because reality changed and it was, finally, just a model. Nothing lasts forever. Boo-hoo, Karl Marx, J.M Keynes, and Paul Krugman.

What’s cracking up first is the complexity and abstraction of our current money operations, sometimes loosely called the financialized economy. If we blame anything for our problems with money, blame our half-baked attempts to mitigate the wind-down of the techno-industrial cavalcade of progress by issuing ersatz surplus wealth in the form of debt — that is, promises to fork over hypothetical not- yet-accumulated wealth at some future date. There are too many promises now, and too few trustworthy promisors, and poor prospects for generating the volumes of wealth as we did in the recent past.

The hidden (or ignored) truth of this quandary expresses itself inevitably in the degenerate culture of the day, the freak show of pornified criminal avarice that the USA has become. It only shows how demoralizing our recent history has been that the collective national attention is focused on such vulgar stupidities as twerking, or the Kanye-Kardashian porno romance, the doings of the Duck Dynasty, and the partying wolves of Wall Street. By slow increments since about the time John F. Kennedy was shot in the head, we’ve become a land where anything goes and nothing matters. The political blame for that can be distributed equally between Boomer progressives (e.g., inventors of political correctness) and the knuckle-dragging “free-market” conservatives (e.g., money is free speech). The catch is, some things do matter, for instance whether the human race can continue to be civilized in some fashion when the techno-industrial orgy draws to a close.

In Part 2: How Life Will Change, we sort out the new operating principles that will matter more in the future than the trash heap of current cultural norms. The society that emerges from the post-growth economy will surely require a new moral compass, a set of values based on qualities of behavior and things worth caring about — as opposed to coolness, snobbery, menace, or power, the current lodestars of human aspiration. 

Click here to access Part 2 of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).

 


    



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Reason Needs Temporary Proofreaders

ReasonMake an awesome
publication even betterer bettir butter better than it
already is!

Help bring Reason magazine’s history into the
future.  Reason is looking for temporary proofreaders
to help clean up and finalize articles from Reason’s
archives that have been imported for display on the web. We
are looking for hourly workers who can work remotely or at our D.C.
office. Students and individuals with an interest in
Reason’s mission are encouraged to apply.

More here: http://ift.tt/NxFFQB

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Mark Spitznagel Warns “Fed’s Frankenstein Markets Are Totally An Illusion”

"The market is an artificial fabrication," Universa's Mark Spitznagel warns in this brief but revealing interview, adding that "to think this can persist is simply naive." Talking to Maria B on FOX, Spitznagel thinks the market could be cut in half if the Fed stepped away now and points out the fallacy of a belief in any persistent tapering as the Fed will step right back if the market goes down. The gap between the market's "alternate reality" and actual reality is something that simply cannot persist and explains now is the time to be out, to prepare for when the market reprices (as opposed to suggesting people short the market) which is exactly what traders are not doing – as it would be irrational to think longer-term, "if they don't make their next week, month, quarter; they won't be around."

"Asset markets now are totally an illusion… they are pricing in an alternative reality that is so different what is going on"

 

"The reason for this is the Fed – the modern day Victor Frankenstein – who have created this thing that otherwise wouldn't live"

 

"We are led to believe there is this vigor out there, whereas in reality, if the Fed pulled out, the market would be cut in half"

 

"Japan is a crazy science experiment… it's a scary scary place [to invest]"

This brief clip covers a lot of ground but is well worth the price of admission as Spitznagel explains why the Fed is making the short-termist perspective of everyone from traders to corporate managers far greater…

 


    



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Hello HillaryCare: ObamaCare Deadline Extended Beyond Obama’s Term

In what is becoming an epic embarrassment, the WSJ reports that the Obama administration announced today that consumers can keep insurance plans that don't comply with the federal health law for another two years, pushing a potential firestorm over cancellations and broken promises that "you can keep your health plan". As The Hill adds, the unprecedented move will protect vulnerable Democrats in the midterm elections by staving off a wave of cancellation notices and for some consumers, rather stunningly, Obamacare will not be in place for all Americans when President Obama leaves office. Sickeningly, the administration explicitly gave cover to 13 vulnerable Democratic lawmakers by saying the extension was developed in “close consultation” with those members.

 

Yet another extension (Via WSJ),

The Obama administration announced Wednesday that consumers can keep insurance plans that don't comply with the federal health law for another two years, pushing a potential firestorm over cancellations until after midterm elections.

 

Previously, some consumers could keep insurance plans that didn't comply with the 2010 Affordable Care Act until roughly the end of this year, as long as their state regulators and insurance company allowed it. Now, consumers will have up to an additional two years to do so, putting their plans in place until roughly 2016.

But the farce gets worse (Via The Hill),

The policy also means that one of the key features of the Affordable Care Act — minimum healthcare benefit requirements — will not be in place for all Americans when President Obama leaves office.

The administration's spin…

Senior administration officials insisted that the change will not substantially alter the Affordable Care Act and emphasized that their focus was on flexibility for individuals.

But the reality is politics as usual…

President Obama and many Democratic lawmakers made promises that consumers could keep their current coverage under the healthcare law, and Republicans were eager to use those statements as leverage in their effort to retake the Senate.

 

The administration explicitly gave cover to 13 vulnerable Democratic lawmakers such as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) by saying the extension was developed in “close consultation” with those members.

Meaning that you can keep your health plan (well beyond the Tea Party's original demands that were so rancorously disavowed last year by the Democrats)…

The policy prolongs the administration's “keep your plan” fix from last fall and applies to the individual and small-group insurance markets, potentially affecting 12.5 million people, officials said.

 

The timetable will allow consumers to renew old health plans for the last time on Oct. 1, 2016, meaning some plans will continue into 2017 under the next president.

 


Administration officials denied that the 2016 campaign season will see its own wave of cancellation notices, predicting that most people will have migrated into the new marketplaces by then.

Welcome to HillaryCare…

Source: Cagle


    



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Sanjay Gupta Pushes Even Further in Support of Medical Marijuana

Somebody's off the DEA's Christmas card listLast August, CNN’s Chief Medical
Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta completely
reversed his position
on the use of medical marijuana. He was
once an opponent, buying into the flippant claim from government
prohibitionists that the plant had no medical value. Then he
discovered
Charlotte Figi
, the little girl whose life-threatening seizures
resisted all treatments other than medical marijuana. He came
around and even apologized for his previous position, realizing he
hadn’t done enough research.

Now, he says he’s
“doubling down”
on his support for medical marijuana (though if
we’re going to abuse gambling metaphors, I’d say he’s going “all
in”). He’s been continuing researching medical marijuana and will
be airing a new documentary on Tuesday, March 11, on CNN. He
writes:

More remarkable, many doctors and scientists, worried about
being ostracized for even discussing the potential of marijuana,
called me confidentially to share their own stories of the drug and
the benefit it has provided to their patients. I will honor my
promise not to name them, but I hope this next documentary will
enable a more open discussion and advance science in the
process.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, defined as
“the most dangerous” drugs “with no currently accepted medical
use.”

Neither of those statements has ever been factual. Even many of
the most ardent critics of medical marijuana don’t agree with the
Schedule I classification, knowing how it’s impeded the ability to
conduct needed research on the plant.

Acknowledging that marijuana’s Schedule I classification is
utter nonsense is a nice touch. Read what else he has to say

here
. He has interviewed several of what he calls “cannabis
refugees” – families who have had to move to Colorado in order to
get access to medical marijuana because they could get arrested for
drug trafficking if they tried to bring it back to their home
states.

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What The Russian (And Chinese) Papers Are Saying About Ukraine

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

“Putin: Unconstitutional coup is taking place in Ukraine. The U.S halted military cooperation and trade negotiations with Russia”

That’s the headline from a Beijing newspaper– and no surprise that it leans slightly to the Russian side.

Beijing Paper What the Russian (and Chinese) papers are saying about Ukraine

The article goes on:

“Russian president Putin said on 4th March that unconstitutional coup is taking place in Ukraine and Russia will only use the army to Ukraine under “the most extreme situation”. This was the first time that Putin declared this publicly since the escalation of the situation in Ukraine.”

 

“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened on March 2nd that the U.S and allied countries will take a series of actions including visa ban, capital controls, economic and trade sanctions, etc.”

 

“The White House issued this in a joint statement signed by the Group of Seven member countries and accused Russia of violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The White House also declared temporarily not to participate in the preparation for the G8 summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia.”

– and of course :

“Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations Liu Jieyi called for dialogue of all sides to resolve differences and maintain regional peace and stability. The united nations security council held an emergency meeting on the Ukrainian situation. Liu Jieyi said in the meeting that China is deeply concerned about Ukrainian situation and condemn the extreme violence in Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Russian newspaper Itar Tass had this headline (loose translation):

“Putin: Those [foreign nations] who are talking about imposing sanctions on the Russian Federation should first consider the impact of those sanctions”

Russian Paper What the Russian (and Chinese) papers are saying about Ukraine

The article goes on:

“President Putin told reporters that the damage to all countries involved is mutual:

 

“We can cause damage to each other– mutual damage. And this needs to be thought about. . . We believe our actions are fully justified. And any threats to Russia are counterproductive and harmful.”

 

Mr. Putin added that Russia is still preparing for upcoming G8 meeting.

 

“If [the other countries] do not want to come, they don’t have to,” he told reporters .

 

The Russian President also expressed the opinion that the U.S. has historically created its own geopolitical goals, and then dragging along the rest of the world underneath them:

 

“Our partners, especially in the U.S.– they always clearly formulate their geopolitical interests and pursue them very aggressively. Guided by the well-known phrase, “you are either with us or against us,” they drag the rest of the world along, underneath them. And whoever doesn’t go along is beaten and usually killed,” the President told reporters.

 

He emphasized that Russia’s actions come from legitimate grounds.

So on one hand, the Chinese are essentially making the West out to be the belligerents, the Russians to be defending their interests, and the Chinese as the strong diplomats who are pushing for peace.

And on the other hand, the Russian papers are highlighting the utter hypocrisy of US foreign policy– it’s OK for America to invade whatever country it likes, but not for Russia to defend its own interests.


    



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