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    The West’s Reckless Rush Towards War with Russia

    We're taking big risks for unclear reasons
    by Chris Martenson

    Thursday, July 31, 2014, 2:54 PM

For reasons that have no rational explanations at this time, the US and Europe have embarked on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict as it's been since the Cold War, a time hardly memorable to many in the current crop of our elected officials.

Within hours of the MH-17 plane crash, the United States pinned the blame on Russia generally, and Putin particularly. The anti-Putin propaganda (and if there were a stronger term I'd use it) has been relentless and almost comically over-the-top (see image above, and those below).

The US and the UK in particular, are leading the charge. Indeed, the UK's Daily Mail managed to crank out an article on the MH-17 affair within just a few hours on the very same day it occurred with this headline:

The blood on Putin's hands…

Jul 17, 2014

The world may have averted its gaze towards Israel and Gaza, but this week the rumbling warfare in eastern Ukraine has been erupting into something growing daily more dangerous.

Meanwhile the Russian bear, still pretending to be an innocent party despite blood dripping from its paws, has begun stealthily rebuilding its forces on the border.

Now we may well have witnessed the kind of shocking event that happens when heavy armaments are placed in the hands of untrained and desperate militias.

That's really an amazing piece of journalism to have managed to have figured out the who, the what and the why of a major catastrophe without the benefit of any evidence or investigation.  One wonders who the author's source was for obtaining what have become very crisp talking points that both the US and Europe are echoing as they exert increasing pressure on Russia?

Nearly two weeks later, neither the US nor Europe has provided substantial evidence of any sort to support their assertions that Ukrainian separatists and/or Russia are to blame for the MH-17 catastrophe. There's literally been nothing. 

In the meantime, very important questions surrounding the shoot-down have gone entirely unaddressed by US officials and the western media. Why? Perhaps because they raise the possibility that there could be an alternative explanation:

So far, the entire case made by the US State Department and Obama administration boils down to a few highly-questionable social media clips gathered right after the incident, plus several out-of-date low-resolution satellite photos taken from a private company (DigitalGlobe) along with a bevy of 'trust us' statements.

Nonetheless, despite the lack of solid, verified and credible evidence, the current narrative has now been embedded firmly in the media cycle and nearly everyone on the streets of the US, UK and most European nations will tell you that Putin and/or Russia was responsible. 

Similarly, in 2007, years after all the facts were verified and known, when asked  "Do you think Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was directly involved in planning, financing, or carrying out the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001?"  41% of Americans answered 'yes' when the proper answer was (and remains) 'Absolutely not.'

It's a fact of modern life that most people really don't pay close attention to important world events. Due to that lack of engagement, even the most patently obvious lies can quickly become entrenched in the public mind as truth if touted by mainstream news outlets. 

Here now in July 2014, there is a rush towards war similar to those that proceeded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Important questions are not being asked by the media, our once again missing-in-action fourth estate, and unsubstantiated and unverified political talking points are simply being reprinted as facts.

But this time the war fervor is being directed at a nuclear powerhouse, not a derelict Middle East country. And the stakes could hardly be higher. For Europe, even if things don't progress much further than they already have, economic damage (we don't know how much yet, or how much worse it may get) has already been done to its fragile recovery. The people of Europe really ought to be asking what exactly they're hoping to achieve by attempting to box Putin into a corner. 

After all, that might not even be possible. He enjoys an 83% approval rating in Russia, a level beyond the fantasies of most western politicians, plus his country supplies a vast amount of Europe's natural gas and a hefty percentage of the world's exported oil. Temporary loss of either would be a painful body blow to Europe, while a sustained loss of oil exports would be crippling to the world at large.

In all of the thousands of column inches I've read demonizing Putin over the developments in Ukraine and MH-17, I've yet to identify a single compelling answer to this question: What vital US interest is at stake if Russia keeps Crimea and helps to defend the Russian-speaking people along its border?  To my knowledge, it's not yet been articulated by anyone at the State Department or White House. 

At this stage, all we know is: the West thinks that Russia is bad, and Putin is worse. But, given the stakes involved, we all deserve to know more than that.  A lot more.  We deserve proper and complete answers.

There's a lot of context to this story. It involves broken promises, desirable resources, power plays, and a dangerous lack of diplomatic sophistication by the current US administration.

Diplomacy and Statesmanship

My greatest concern in seeing this rush towards judgment before the facts are in — or worse — war, is that the people running the show in the White House and the US State Department are not cut from the same cloth as the old-school diplomats that preceded them.

After all, extremely dangerous conflicts transpired in the past (the Cuban Missile crisis, anyone?) and yet talks between sides were held and resolutions reached, preventing the more dire of outcomes from coming to pass. 

In that spirit, I found this recent piece by Pat Buchanan (someone I've not always agreed with in the past), to be spot on:

Is Putin Worse Than Stalin?

When then did this issue of whose flag flies over Donetsk or Crimea become so crucial that we would arm Ukrainians to fight Russian-backed rebels and consider giving a NATO war guarantee to Kiev, potentially bringing us to war with a nuclear-armed Russia?

From FDR on, U.S. presidents have felt that America could not remain isolated from the rulers of the world's largest nation.

Ike invited Khrushchev to tour the USA after he had drowned the Hungarian Revolution in blood. After Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba, JFK was soon calling for a new detente at American University.

Within weeks of Warsaw Pact armies crushing the Prague Spring in August 1968, LBJ was seeking a summit with Premier Alexei Kosygin.

After excoriating Moscow for the downing of KAL 007 in 1983, that old Cold Warrior Ronald Reagan was fishing for a summit meeting.

The point: Every president from FDR through George H. W. Bush, even after collisions with Moscow far more serious than this clash over Ukraine, sought to re-engage the men in the Kremlin.

Whatever we thought of the Soviet dictators who blockaded Berlin, enslaved Eastern Europe, put rockets in Cuba and armed Arabs to attack Israel, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush 1 all sought to engage Russia's rulers.

Avoidance of a catastrophic war demanded engagement.

How then can we explain the clamor of today's U.S. foreign policy elite to confront, isolate, and cripple Russia, and make of Putin a moral and political leper with whom honorable statesmen can never deal?

(Source)

That's really an amazing piece of context. Past US presidents managed to hold dialogs with Stalin, who killed millions, and Khrushchev, who directly threatened the US with nuclear missiles.

What exactly has Putin done to surpass the excesses of past Russian/Soviet leaders? What the US still refers to as the "illegal annexation of Crimea" was actually the result of a heavy turn-out vote by the Crimean people where 97% of the votes cast were in favor of rejoining Russia.

So, to recap, Crimea's people voted overwhelmingly to shape their future in the way they best saw fit, and not one life was lost during the annexation. That sounds pretty peaceful and democratic if you ask me. What would Washington DC prefer? To undo that particular vote and have the people of Crimea be forcibly reunited with Ukraine? For what purpose? To prevent map makers from having to once again redraw Ukraine's wandering borders?

More likely — and this is the part that concerns me — is that the current people in power in Washington DC are just not the equals of the statesmen of old.

In researching this piece, I came across this 1998 interview with George Kennan that I found both illuminating and troubling:

His voice is a bit frail now, but the mind, even at age 94, is as sharp as ever. So when I reached George Kennan by phone to get his reaction to the Senate's ratification of NATO expansion it was no surprise to find that the man who was the architect of America's successful containment of the Soviet Union and one of the great American statesmen of the 20th century was ready with an answer.

''I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,'' said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home.

''I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.'' 

''What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was,'' added Mr. Kennan, who was present at the creation of NATO and whose anonymous 1947 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, signed ''X,'' defined America's cold-war containment policy for 40 years.

''I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don't people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime. 

''And Russia's democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we've just signed up to defend from Russia,'' said Mr. Kennan, who joined the State Department in 1926 and was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow in 1952.

''It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are — but this is just wrong.'' 

(…)

As he said goodbye to me on the phone, Mr. Kennan added just one more thing: ''This has been my life, and it pains me to see it so screwed up in the end.''

(Source)

The master statesman pretty much nailed it.  Instead of bringing Russia into the fold, a petulant strain of 'diplomacy' took over that goaded and threatened Russia and now we are, in fact, being treated to endless repetitions of oh you know – that's just how Russians are. Instead we might also note that the current debate seems superficial and ill-informed.

As I recently wrote in the piece on the Ukraine Flashpoint, the expansion of NATO to the east towards Russia happened even though the US had previously struck an explicit agreement not to progress any further. Not one inch, was the vow. That vow was consciously and repeatedly broken.  So who exactly is it that has cause not to trust the other?

The West had the opportunity to bring Russia and its extensive abilities and resources closer into partnership. But for some reason (Military industrial complex anyone?  Campaign contributions from same?), the decision was made during the Clinton administration to violate the NATO agreement instead and move many millions of inches eastward. 

The last encroachment both brought NATO right to Russia's borders and placed millions of culturally-Russian people under the heavy-handed rule of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. Some of these same ultra-nationalists were caught on tape recommending that the 8 million Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine should be "nuked".

Perhaps an idle threat. However, one of the first actions of Kiev's new government this February was to immediately revoke legal equality for the use of Russian language:

Perhaps the most obvious of the new Kiev government's mistakes came last week, when deputies in the nationalist party Svoboda, or Freedom, pushed through the cancellation of a law that gave equal status to minority languages, such as Russian.

The previous law had allowed regions across the country to use languages other than the official national language, Ukrainian, on commercial signs, in schools and government documents. When it passed in 2012, it was seen as a victory for the areas where Russian was the dominant language, particularly in the east and south. 

(Source

Suffice it to say, there's a very long list of very good reasons why the Russian-speakers in the east of Ukraine might want nothing to do with being under the rule (thumb?) of western Ukraine.

Propaganda

Propaganda is information that is designed to mislead and provoke an emotional response. The covers of western newspapers and magazines have been absolutely choked with anti-Putin propaganda. After such yellow journalism, what sort of dialog, what rapprochement, can be proposed with Putin?

Would not Obama (or any other leader) be seen as 'siding with the enemy' if he engaged in dialog with Putin after all this?

That Newsweek cover with the darkened face and mushroom clouds reflected in the glasses is especially ominous.  Exactly what's the message being represented there? Well that's easy. It's Armageddon.

Before you take Newsweek's views too seriously, you need to know that the once respectable publication went through some hard times, went out of print for while, was bought and is now run by these folks:

Moonies, Messiahs and Media: Who Really Owns Newsweek?

Aug 4, 2013

On Saturday, news broke that IBT Media, a company that runs the online business (at least, in theory) newspaper International Business Times, had purchased Newsweek from IAC. So IBT Media now owns Newsweek. But exactly who controls IBT Media?

IBT Media’s corporate leadership site lists two cofounders: Etienne Uzac, the company’s CEO, and Johnathan Davis, its chief content officer.

But some say that the company is actually controlled by—or at least has very close undisclosed ties to—someone whose name appears nowhere on the site: David Jang, a controversial Korean Christian preacher who has been accused of calling himself “Second Coming Christ.”

Before founding IBT, Mr. Davis was the journalism director at Mr. Jang’s Olivet University

(Source)

So Newsweek may or may not have a larger agenda to push beyond just getting the facts out. It's another case where knowing that an editorial slant exists can be helpful in maintaining a healthy stance of skepticism.  

But beyond Newsweek, the entire suite of publications ranging from the NYTimes, Washington Post, Financial Times, and nearly every other main pillar of the Fourth Estate have been running with the "Putin's responsible" meme.

And, it bears repeating, all without any solid evidence, none(!), plus a host of legitimate serious questions that are being met with zero investigative vigor by the mainstream media and complete radio silence from the government agencies that should be examining and addressing them.

This relentless campaign of propaganda directed against Russia (generally) and Putin (specifically) is now at a fever pitch. My caution to you is that you should be actively suspicious of any media outfit that chooses to run this propaganda.

Perhaps their travel and dining sections can be trusted; but I'd advise reading the front section with a huge grain of salt.

Poking the Bear

With all of that background, we're now at the point where we can understand just how annoyed Russia must be at the sanctions that have been recently levied against it, various of its industries, and in certain cases, specific wealthy and influential citizens.

Since the MH-17 downing and all of those resulting accusations of Russian responsibility, Russia has been accused of firing artillery and rockets across its border into Ukraine. The only "evidence" to this is the aforementioned crude satellite photos taken by a private company. These photos were then drawn upon (literally) to show trajectories the missiles *could* have followed. These very non-rigorous images were then tweeted out of the account of one Geoffrey Pyatt as hard fact. If his name isn't familiar to you, he's the US Ukrainian ambassador who was famously caught on tape with Victoria Nuland (Asst. Sec. of State) discussing the imminent coup against then-Ukrainian President Yanukovych.

Next, a western tribunal in The Hague suddenly ruled that the former shareholders of the dismantled Russian oil giant Yukos were entitled to $50 billion in compensation to be paid by the Russian government. Surprise!

In chilling response, a person close to Putin reportedly said,  “There is a war coming in Europe. Do you really think this matters?”

Following that, the US accused Russia of violating the 1987 nuclear arms treaty by testing ground based missiles in…wait for it…2008. I'm sure the timing of this is in no way connected to the dust-up over Ukraine…

And most recently, both the US and the EU levied additional sanctions on Russia and certain Russian individuals:

Obama Joins Europe in Expanding Sanctions on Russia

Jul 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Obama announced expanded sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, just hours after the European Union imposed its most sweeping measures yet penalizing Moscow for its role in supporting separatists in neighboring Ukraine.

The latest American actions took aim at more Russian banks and a large defense firm, but they also went further than past moves by blocking future technology sales to Russia’s lucrative oil industry in an effort to inhibit its ability to develop future resources. The measures were meant to largely match those unveiled earlier in the day in Europe.

“Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says and we will rally the international community in standing up for the rights and freedom of people around the world,” Mr. Obama said on the South Lawn of the White House.

(Source)

While one could be forgiven for thinking that the "rights and freedom of people" might include the freedom to vote for the future one wants, and the right not to be ruled over by people hostile to one's language and customs, apparently the Obama administration has other ideas for the people of Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

The final act of hostility by the US towards Russia that bears mention here concerns a Senate bill introduced by the ranking member of the foreign relations committee, Sen. Bob Corker, that outlines what would happen if Russia does not 'comply' and leave Crimea and Ukraine entirely within seven days of the act's passage:

A GOP Ultimatum to Vlad

Jul 29, 2014

Corker’s bill would declare Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine “major non-NATO allies” of the United States, move NATO forces into Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, accelerate the building of an ABM system in Eastern Europe, and authorize U.S. intelligence and military aid for Ukraine’s army in the Donbass war with Russian-backed separatists.

U.S. aid would include antitank and antiaircraft weapons.

S. 2277 would direct the secretary of state to intensify efforts to strengthen democratic institutions inside the Russian Federation, e.g., subvert Vladimir Putin’s government, looking toward regime change.

If Putin has not vacated Crimea and terminated support for Ukraine’s separatist rebels within seven days of passage of the Corker Ultimatum, sweeping sanctions would be imposed on Russian officials, banks and energy companies, including Gazprom.

Economic relations between us would be virtually severed.

In short, this is an ultimatum to Russia that she faces a new Cold War if she does not get out of Ukraine and Crimea, and it is a U.S. declaration that we will now regard three more former Soviet republics – Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia – as allies.

(Source)

Poor George Kennan. Once again the US Senate is operating without the benefit of either humility or historical perspective.

The people of Russia are not in any mood to be bullied by the US Senate, just as the US Senate would refuse to be dictated to by the Russian parliament.  That's just common sense.

It's completely obvious that the impact of any such Act passed by the US legislature would be to further erode, if not collapse, relations and economic ties between Russia and the US.

The main conclusion here is that not only is the US poking the bear, but it is doing so with increasing frequency and upping the ante dangerously with each step.

In Part 2: How The Coming Confrontation Will Unfold, we examine the most likely scenarios for where the current tensions between the West and Russia may head. Whichever path we head down, there will be at least some degree of pain experiences by the West, which Europe will feel first and worst (though the US will not be immune). And, sadly, it's safe to say that this East-West conflict will only accelerate the coming correction of the unstable over-leveraged, bubblicious world markets.

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

 

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78 Comments

  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 3:01pm

    #1

    Chris Martenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4738

    This is a very important piece of writing....

    This is a very important piece of dot connecting and everyone should be paying close attention to the events now transpiring.  

    I've got a lot more information to add, and we'll be doing that as events unfold.

    But please, use your time wisely, continue with your preparations, and remember to breathe deeply along the way.

    I am personally activating myself to a higher level of readiness and activity based on what appears to be a rush towards war.

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 4:15pm

    #2
    Doug

    Doug

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    Posts: 1374

    Thanks Chris

    This is the best post you've written in some time.  It is chilling to think how close we are not only to another cold war, but to a hot war.  Someone needs to put a leash on this administration and the neocons that are ardently promoting these insane policies.

    One quibble, I don't share George Kennan's benign view of past administrations and their state departments, although it's true those administrations were better at practicing "Real Politik" as our relations with the USSR was characterized in those days. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realpolitik

    We must remember that our international relations in those days were absolutely amoral and based solely on power.  IOW, the neighborhood bully school of international relations.  And we musn't forget the abuses of those administrations like the made out of whole cloth Tonkin Gulf Resolution that lead to Vietnam, 58,000 American deaths and probably millions of Southeast Asian deaths.  Or how about the CIA backed coup in Chile and installation of Augustus Pinochet as resident dictator and mass murderer as well as the Chicago school of economics.  And don't forget the totally criminal Iran-Contra affair that unleashed CIA backed, trained and financed death squads roaming Central America slaughtering anyone the US ptb considered enemies and anyone else who got in the way.

    Bottom line, we have over 50 years of one disaster after another in US foreign policy, this being only the latest, though possibly the most disastrous.

    Doug

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 4:25pm

    #3
    Time2help

    Time2help

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    Posts: 2268

    More Tit-for-Tat

    Russia And India Begin Negotations To Use National Currencies In Settlements, Bypassing Dollar

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 4:36pm

    #4
    jennifersam07

    jennifersam07

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    clarification

    The Daniel Henninger editorial in the WSJ today, The Winds of War, Again compares the isolationism of the early part of 20th century to the situation today, and Kerry to Chamberlain in negotiating meaningless treaties with tyrants. 

    I very much appreciate Chris' historical context to these current events; however I wonder what he thinks should have been the world's response to  Hitler and Mussolini to prevent those wars? At a certain point, the war became inevitable, and it seems like this is what is happening again. Very disturbing.

    The narrative is, 'If the U.S. doesn't protect the world from tyrants, then who will?' Doesn't that question require some kind of answer, even if the U.S. has been an admittedly imperfect and morally suspect policeman for the past several decades?

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 5:27pm

    #5
    Thetallestmanonearth

    Thetallestmanonearth

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    Posts: 313

    Peace

    If we seek peace there is a language of reconciliation and understanding that can align the interests of even the most dissimilar parties.  It requires dialog, patience and compromise.  Seeking war is much less complicated.  All one must do is beat their chest, point and yell "Bad man kills babies!".  In truth, if all parties would have a sane conversation and consider the toll of war on their babies and ours, we could likely find common ground.  It is clear from the tone of the rhetoric that our side at least has chosen war.  I would be interested to get a similar perspective from someone in Russia.

    I do worry a little bit that at some point in the future expressing views like this will come back to bite me and result in labels such as "enemy sympathizer".  Let me be clear incase these comments are ever drawn on by the NSA to make a case.  I am not on team Russia.  I am a proud American.  My America is the people within my sphere of influence including friends, family, neighbors and business partners.  I want what is best for Americans and I strongly feel that peace is the best outcome.

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 5:44pm

    #6

    Arthur Robey

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 1814

    Interconnectedness of Modern Civilization.

    My mind kept thinking "EMP" right through the article.

    One EMP strike would send the iFone generation back to the stone age. That would be enough to break the thrall.

     

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 6:23pm

    #7

    Aaron M

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    Posts: 790

    Bravo...

    Dave,

    Outstanding contribution…

     

    Aaron

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 6:23pm

    Reply to #4

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3207

    overthrowing tyrants

    jennifer-I think anyone who imagines that America is "isolationist" has been living under a rock since about 1938.  We have military in 138 countries around the world.  The US is the least "isolationist" nation on the face of the planet.
    Now then, your question was, "If the US doesn't protect the world from tyrants, the who will?"
    I'm going to invoke the Dave Doctrine.  (Never heard of it?  Ok, I confess, I just made it up)
    "If its quick, easy, they are engaging in serious war crimes against their people, and we have a national interest in the region, you can count on the US to dethrone tyrants everywhere."  (Except for the ones we put into power, of course)
    But if said tyrant runs a nuclear armed nation, and the power we are talking about "protecting" is a hopelessly corrupt former state of said nuclear armed nation – sorry.  Don't call us, you're on your own.  We'll send a Stiff Protest Note, recall our Ambassador for Consultations, and perhaps we'll bring up a Resolution of Censure in the UN, but that's about it.
    We Don't Dethrone Tyrants that have Large Nuclear Arsenals.  (Or, it turns out, even small nuclear arsenals).
    That's the Dave Doctrine.
    Going to war over the Ukraine is an act of sheer insanity.  Nothing in that country could be considered our national interest.
    Its not like we don't have enough to do at home.
    Now, if we were talking about Poland, you'd have an argument.  But under the Dave Doctrine, we still wouldn't be dethroning any tyrants.  We'd choose to deter them, just like we did in the long ago past of the Cold War.  Hey, it worked great for 50 years.  Nothing like a historical success to recommend a strategy.
    So until the Bear comes knocking on the doors of a NATO country, why not let Russia be responsible for an impoverished, highly corrupt country on its doorstep that it used to own.  Honestly, I suspect it doesn't really want the Ukraine.  What on earth will it do with it anyway?

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Reply to #4
    aladinangel

    aladinangel

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    US protecting the world from tyrants

    Before pontificating about US protecting the world from tyrants, Americans might want to check how that democracy thing is working in their own backyard. I do not believe that Obama's regime is in any way superior to Putin's (morality included). It looks (increasingly convincing) like America is aching for a fight. Some would say that all this is done to mask the financial collapse inexorably brewing in the background. Fortunately, regardless of its reasons, America is too bankrupt to go to war, especially with a combined Russia-China axis. America might try to lead again, but the rest of the world won't follow (despite the politically motivated approving noises coming from Western Europe or Canada). The idea of "war for no reason" might have been proved popular 100 years ago, but for all practical purposes is dead in the water today, and no amount of propaganda will be able to change that.

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 7:01pm

    #8
    JohnH123

    JohnH123

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    Posts: 38

    The US could win this

    Tell me what you think about this:

    The price suppression of precious metals has become a national security issue. The government and the Fed can secretly create unlimited amounts of money to buy equities, and short metals. So, the stock market can continue to go up, up, up, while metals stay flat.

    The US will likely succeed in starting a war with Russia, while blaming it on Putin.  The US has the most powerful economy, military, spy network, covert operations, and propaganda machine in the world and is able to continue to force other world leaders to go along with the US agenda. A war with Russia will collapse the European economy, driving a rush to safety into US stocks and the dollar, propping up the US economy perhaps for a long time.

     

    Is my thinking clear here? If not, what am I missing?

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 8:27pm

    Reply to #8

    Tycer

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 26 2009

    Posts: 206

    JohnH123 wrote:Tell me what

    [quote=JohnH123]
    Tell me what you think about this:
    The price suppression of precious metals has become a national security issue. The government and the Fed can secretly create unlimited amounts of money to buy equities, and short metals. So, the stock market can continue to go up, up, up, while metals stay flat.
    The US will likely succeed in starting a war with Russia, while blaming it on Putin.  The US has the most powerful economy, military, spy network, covert operations, and propaganda machine in the world and is able to continue to force other world leaders to go along with the US agenda. A war with Russia will collapse the European economy, driving a rush to safety into US stocks and the dollar, propping up the US economy perhaps for a long time.
     
    Is my thinking clear here? If not, what am I missing?
    [/quote]Mushroom Clouds

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 8:36pm

    Reply to #4
    JohnTurnbull

    JohnTurnbull

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    Posts: 2

    Unbelievable

    You poor brain washed sod!The US IS the world's tyrant!
    It invaded half of south America. It invaded Vietnam. It invaded Afghanistan. It invaded Iraq. It bombed the sh1t out of Libya and it supports and provides the arms for Israel's butchery in Gaza.
    But hey, Russia provides a few arms to people who are being butchered by a tyranical illigitimate Kiev government and suddenly Putin is being compared to Hitler!
    Shame on you!
     
     
     
     

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 8:43pm

    #9
    JohnTurnbull

    JohnTurnbull

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    Posts: 2

    Obama fools no one!

    The US of A is a bankrupt, has been, down and out and no amount of foul mouthing and war mongering can hide that fact.

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 9:17pm

    #10
    efarmer.ny

    efarmer.ny

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    Posts: 12

    Budapest Memorandum

    Any chance that Russia violated this term of the Budapest Memorandum, perhaps by annexing Crimea?

    The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

    Source

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 9:50pm

    Reply to #4

    ckessel

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 12 2008

    Posts: 170

    tyrants

    The US also maintains around 700 military bases around the world the last I heard. (Sorry I don't have a fact link here)Nice post Dave.
    Coop

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 9:58pm

    #11
    climber99

    climber99

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    Posts: 184

    Remember WMDs

    The media has a track record in misinformation.  They propagated the myth of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.  They couldn't define what constituted WMD but they were sure Iraq had them, even without any evidence.  I lost all respect for the main stream media at that point.  The staggering thing was that that they later claimed that they were mislead.  Unbelievable.

    Then in Syria, after the chemical attack, the media again called for regime change.  Again no evidence it was Assad.  Fortunately the general public in the UK said NO, we don't believe you any more, we don't want another foreign invasion. The US followed the UK lead and Russia brokered a deal with Syria to get rid of its chemical arsenal.

    I think the public are beginning to see though the lies of the mainstream media a lot more.  I feel there is disconnect between the people and the media.  If you ask the average man on the street "is Russia to blame? is Putin evil? the most probable reply would be on the lines of  "I don't understand what is going on in Ukraine" or "we are just as bad".  Overwhelmingly they want us not to interfere in other people's wars (even though, ironically, this is a war that we the West initiated).

    PS I hope Putin is playing the long game. I think he holds all the aces.

     

     

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 9:58pm

    #12
    Trun87114

    Trun87114

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 79

    Bases

    Coop, that number is hugely exaggerated, if by the word "base" you mean a large installation with hundreds to thousands of troops.  Even in our Reagan "heyday" years it was no where near 700.  Now, if you count embassy guards, advisors, exchange officers, and other ones and twos you could probably get to 700 locations.

    no link either but I am a recently retired USAF officer.

    P.S. The Dave doctrine was spot on!

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 10:02pm

    #13
    rmarshasatx

    rmarshasatx

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    Posts: 1

    How to conduct a relationship with a Superpower

       While we all are grateful that the Soviet Union is gone and the Cold War is history, one characteristic of that era that we really miss is the clarity of the relationship between the two superpowers. The USSR was recognized as the "other" superpower based on widely recognized and accepted criteria, and that forced the US to conduct a relationship with the USSR by historically accepted means. Today, US and European leaders don't readily accept and treat Russia as a superpower and that results in all sorts of behavior and actions that are worse than counterproductive.

       No matter the views that the US and Europe held towards Russia/USSR throughout history, at the end of WW II in the fall of 1945, the USSR was recognized as the other superpower by virtue of its partnership in the defeat of Germany, its occupation of Eastern Europe, and the size and quantities of its land armies.Its seemingly quick change from Allied partner to belligerent (real or perceived by the West) alerted US government officials (at least the ones that came into daily contact with Soviets such as George Kennan, to the nature of the USSR and of the (only) type of relationship that the USSR would have with the West. Specifically, that the USSR did not accept Democracy, was in competition with the West for world resources, would only cooperate with the West then the USSR believed it was beneficial to do so, etc. etc.

       The world situation prior to WW I had seen some similarities. While many in Europe accepted Norman Angell's assertion in "The Great Illusion" that a World War couldn't happen, would be too expensive, Kaiser Willie listened to General von Bernhardi who wrote "Germany and the Next War" and who argued for Germany's "World Power or Downfall". European (non-German) leaders had to take the Kaiser at his word, and drew up the alliances that would pull them into war. During the cold war, the US had to for the NATO alliance and conduct cold war. The atomic, and soon thermonuclear, bombs made the West's relationship to the USSR a cold, rather than hot, competition.

      But as FDR once said: "Jaw, jaw is better than war, war". So the US and USSR exchanged cultural troupes, held aviation traffic control planning sessions, established protocols for handling ship collisions, played each other in basketball. The NATO Jupiter missiles in Turkey were removed in 1963 for a number of reasons, but perhaps because after Cuba, America realized that the USSR might feel encircled. 

      In 1963, America felt its mortality after Cuba, and believed that Cuba was on its backdoor, and no place for the USSR. Today, why shouldn't we believe the Crimea is Russia's backdoor? Is it different that we are extending NATO into Eastern Europe, or would it have been OK for the Warsaw Pact to provide a nuclear umbrella to Cuba? 

       The US was wary in its relations with the USSR. Was it only that we worried that the Soviets were "different" and didn't care about life and would use the bomb? Do we regard Putin and Russians as more "human", more rational, and therefore less likely to resort to nuclear war? If you believe that, if you think we are more safe and can take bigger risks, I suggest that you read the pdf Still Thinking About the Unthinkable: Maintaining Nuclear Stability Through Times of Transition by Los Alamos Senior Fellow Houston Hawkins.

       You maintain a relationship with a Superpower the same way you treat a feuding neighbor: with respect, caution, by broadcasting your intentions and actions, by eliminating any actions that are provocative, by planning for the worst case, and by recognizing that unless you can end the feud, your risk of injury is non-zero and had better be worth it to continue.

     

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 10:43pm

    #14

    jonesb.mta

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 11 2008

    Posts: 77

    Ukraine

    There's an article on Investment Watch about German experts showing that the plane was shot down by 30mm guns. The comments have photos that show where the 30mm slugs hit the wing and then the cockpit. Pretty convincing that it was shot down rather than hit by a missle.

    http://investmentwatchblog.com/new-mh17-sensation-german-experts-point-finger-at-ukrainian-air-force-jets/#ioeIkteidQAMIEhw.99Read

     

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 10:52pm

    Reply to #14

    Aaron M

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 22 2008

    Posts: 790

    jonesb.mta wrote:There's an

    [quote=jonesb.mta]
    There's an article on Investment Watch about German experts showing that the plane was shot down by 30mm guns. The comments have photos that show where the 30mm slugs hit the wing and then the cockpit. Pretty convincing that it was shot down rather than hit by a missle.
    http://investmentwatchblog.com/new-mh17-sensation-german-experts-point-finger-at-ukrainian-air-force-jets/#ioeIkteidQAMIEhw.99Read
     
    [/quote]
    This brings up an interesting point – what if, similar to the revolution we fomented, it is found that the U.S. supplied the equipment to Ukranian rebels? How will NATO react to that?
    Subtle glances, increased anti-Russia rhetoric or will WE have to face the music?
    Cheers,
    Aaron

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 11:12pm

    Reply to #4

    LesPhelps

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 484

    jennifersam07 wrote:The

    [quote=jennifersam07]The narrative is, 'If the U.S. doesn't protect the world from tyrants, then who will?'
    [/quote]
    if the US isn't a tyrant, who is?

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  • Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 11:35pm

    Reply to #8
    aladinangel

    aladinangel

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    Posts: 10

    The US could NOT win this.

    As a matter  of fact JohnH123, you are missing quite a bit. That's almost natural considering the kind of (dis)information conveyed as "news" by mass media over the last, say 20 years. I'll try an explanation structured along the most important points of interest:1) Financially, you tend to confuse currency (a medium of exchange) with money (a medium of exchange AND a store of value). While it is true that US can print any amount of dollars, those dollars represent just currency, and ceased a long time ago to be money. As US ramps up the printing press, the purchasing power of said USD is proportionally decreasing. Now ask yourself, why would a foreign entity agree to hold on to dollars when pretty much the only use for them are world imports and purchasing of American debt ? Russia has a lot of natural resources to sell to the rest of the world. On top of that it makes some very good military hardware too, efficient and much cheaper that its American competition.
    What if one day Russia decides to accept (or even require) a different currency for its resources, say rubbles with an option for gold ? That would offer a convenient alternative to all those who don’t have dollars, to buy its products. All they’ll have to do would be to buy rubbles instead of dollars, or offer some convenient merchandise in exchange (of course there is also gold but I doubt many countries will be willing to sell it for “stuff”). Those who do have dollars could always sell their dollars for rubbles and still buy Russian products, though in the process they might be surprised by the market value of their currency “reserves”. The same mechanism could be used by China for its manufactured product (and yes, China does manufacture pretty much anything under the sun).  In such a situation, I suspect that the “demand” for US dollars would decrease substantially, since it would become just another currency not universally accepted across the globe.
    Now, both Russia and China would need dollars to buy US and Western products. But what is America exactly selling nowadays anyway, that those countries “need” to buy ? Food maybe, but it’s not like those countries cannot grow their own food (and US isn’t the only supplier in the world, and most of it is GMO anyway). “Technology” would be another immediate answer, but what technology is the US selling that the Chinese or the South Koreans won’t be able to offer for a better price ? Before opening a list, better think it through as the dynamics of the high-tech world have changed spectacularly in the last 15 years. Other than that, I defy anybody to show me what else has US to offer.
    2) Gold. It is true that US institutions are manipulating the gold price on an almost daily basis, but I suspect that the rest of the world goes along only because quite a few countries are taking advantage of the artificially low prices to accumulate physical bullion. When this process will end due to the inevitable scarcity of physical metal, the whole charade will be blown to pieces and gold will practically regain de-facto its money status (as in store of value). Let’s not forget that currently, the gold price is “fixed” in a paper market, dominated by futures contracts backed up by paper currency. One could try a little personal experiment, and buy a contract with a physical delivery clause. Chances are that it will be settled in currency, regardless of buyer’s preference for physical. At the same time it is worth remembering that Shanghai Gold Exchange became over the last few years an alternative market with a much higher emphasis on physical delivery than the traditional ones (25% in SGE vs. less than 5% in COMEX). To conclude, the current scam involving the so-called “price” of gold will unravel as soon as it will out-live its usefulness. That is probably a couple of years away at most, as the Western reserves are being depleted quite rapidly by the great Asian vacuum which keeps asking for (and receiving) physical deliveries. Incidentally, one reason why China stopped buying US Treasuries is because a decision was made to buy gold instead…
    3) US military might is “awesome”. This is probably the greatest legend floating around, and for good measure. US gov has every reason to make people believe it, but the reality is different. US military became awfully inefficient over the last two decades. The price paid for each of the relatively minor wars it got involved in, did increase spectacularly. One might ask what has US military to show for all the money spent in Serbia/Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq (especially in the light of the latest events) ? Despite all the media stories and propaganda, US was not able to convincingly influence any desirable outcomes neither in Libya, Syria, or Egypt, nor against Iran. US military became increasingly unaffordable for its supporting taxpayers which is why is being gutted despite the increasingly challenging international environment. You can thump your chest all you want chanting “we are the best”, but the reality is that most of the functional military hardware has been designed in the 80s, manufactured in the 90s, and is quickly becoming obsolete. On top of it, most of the replacing products have an outrageous price tag while being far from convincing in the field (for a quick example both F-22 & F-35 programs come to mind, as US military came to rely almost unconditionally on air superiority in any sort of intervention). I would argue that, right now, both Russian and Chinese hardware are offering a better ROI than the American equivalent equipment.
    Compounding the problem, US is increasingly seen as an unreliable ally, prone to erratic decisions and willing to sacrifice long term relationships for short term political gain. The recent reactions from both Egypt and Israel regarding their traditional alliance with US, are symptomatic.
    4) US as a powerhouse economy. Well, not so much. Not anymore, anyway. Once you subtract debt from nominal GDP, the remaining number (much closer to the real growth) becomes painfully negative for the last couples of decades. This has been amply documented on various economic blogs (like The Market Ticker and Zerohedge) so I won’t insist upon it. Despite the much touted official statistics (presently almost as reliable as the official stats of the now defunct USSR), the regression in purchasing power, unemployment, quality of work, and quality of life, for a vast majority of Americans, is quite visible to all those able and willing to notice it. In short, as US is facing huge economic challenges at home, I find it hard to believe that it could seriously support some ravaged economies in other parts of the world. The good old days of the Marshall Plan are long gone, never to return.
    To conclude (as this is getting already too long), the present narrative of “American exceptionalism” and “most powerful this and that” looks more like a very successful propaganda exercise, great for internal consumption, but increasingly irrelevant for the rest of the world. A conflict between the Western world (led by US) and a Russia-China axis (with Iran as an ally, proxy to Gulf oil) would be much more damaging for “us” than for “them”, mainly for two reasons:
    a)      WE are nowhere as good, moral, or strong as we think we are;
    b)      THEY happen to live in more resourceful, more self-reliant and, above all, more RESILIENT societies.
    We better regain our common sense, and back-off while we still have time. This is a fight that we can’t win. Besides, it's not like many people (apart from some hot headed elites) are willing to start it anyway. How many Americans do you think would be willing to physically man the front lines in a war with Russia ?

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 1:38am

    #15
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 03 2014

    Posts: 526

    Don't worry about war!

    DOW takes a huge hit – Argentina defaults on it's loans – Margin debt highest it has been for a while; Don't think we have to worry about Putin getting involved, cause we'll do it to ourselves. However, if Putin does warm things politically or militarily, the U.S. can just forgive student loans for enlisting in the U.S. Army. That's got to be worth about $1.2 trillion. and youth unemployment will be solved! Simple

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 1:45am

    Reply to #4
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 885

    What on earth will it do with it anyway?

    eat it.. there are alot of hungry folks milling around bored and Ukraine was the largest exporter of grain in the ….http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-27/ukraine-grain-exports-exceed-last-year-with-china-sought.html
     
    Ukraine…."the breadbasket of europe"

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 4:00am

    #16
    treebeard

    treebeard

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    Joined: Apr 18 2010

    Posts: 553

    All too predictable

    As the veneer of American exceptionalism crumbles away, the raw drive for power and control has become more and more apparent.  The flimsy propaganda dressing of making the world "safe for democracy" is disappearing as the years and mountains of evidence build of our brutal foreign policy of assassinations, covert wars, support of brutal dictators, and relentless support of extractive economic policy dressed up as "free enterprise".

    The poorly constructed propaganda has always been this shoddy and ridiculous, but it seems that we never had the courage to look ourselves in the eye, so that we can save what is truly great and beautiful about our country.  I hope that we can recover our moral outrage and courage to hold ourselves and those in power accountable for all these misdeeds.

    Regardless of the political state or time in history, it has always been a few power hungry crazies at the top who have taken advantage the good natured hard working citizens who give their trust and blood too cheaply for a handful of slogans.  But the time to blame someone else is over.  We have the power to transform our world with the economic choices that we make on a daily basis.

    One thing we can count on is that our leaders are cowards, they will trade their citizens blood cheaply, but there own wealth and power not so much.  We have invested in our military and police state, but have neglected our economy.  Force will not win this battle, we have squandered our resources and are no longer the economic center of the planet. We can no longer dictate the terms of every agreement.

    The economic consequences of a European conflict will collapse the dollar by destroying what little support it still has as the worlds reserve currency.  The rest of world no longer sees us as the preserver of freedoms, but as the greatest threat to world peace.  The resource wars (all wars are always resource wars) can no longer be won by force and if we continue down this road we will be putting our heads in a noose.  The friendship the world feels for the American people is being worn thin by their hatred of our government and economic elites. Lets hope our courage prevails over our leaders cowardice.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 6:14am

    #17
    Andrea Ostrov Letania

    Andrea Ostrov Letania

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 01 2014

    Posts: 1

    JEWISH WAR ON RUSSIA.

    [Hidden – Jason]

    Let's have the courage to call this by its real name: JEWISH WAR ON RUSSIA.

    If not Jewish control of the West, none of this would be happening. 

    Jews hate Putin because he's a goy leader who proudly leads his goy people. Jewish elites and oligarchs(many with ancestry in the Pale of Settlement) want to take control of Russia like they took over US and UK. Jews think white goy nations exist only to serve Jews. 

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 6:17am

    Reply to #1
    bogsik

    bogsik

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    Posts: 1

    paranoia

    ChrisJust joined so few brief points.
    As you point out, western attack on Russia borders on paranoia. What is important to note is that former soviet vassal states follow it or even exaggerate it, and their media controlled externally are claiming their state will be the next after Russia takes over Ukraine.
    Poland is being manipulated into a conflict and the risks are clear, but with zero potential gain. Some German voices who call for calm and non aggression are described as collaborators with Russia pointing to preWW2 pact between the two.
    The angle that is totally absent from the analysis above is the high level involvement of prominent zionists and their potential motives for the control of Ukraine. History abounds with important facts!

    Please note!
    The rich text editor is not compatible with tablet typing.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 7:56am

    #18
    Mario8282

    Mario8282

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    Posts: 1

    Fabricating narratives - explained by an expert

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels quotes

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 8:06am

    #19
    rudig

    rudig

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    Must Read

    This explanation makes good sense.  US fears a strong Europe/Russian relationship.  

     

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/15/putin-ukraine-and-the-future-of-europe/ 

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 8:07am

    #20
    rudig

    rudig

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    Posts: 2

    Must Read

    This explanation makes good sense.  US fears a strong Europe/Russian relationship.  

     

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/15/putin-ukraine-and-the-future-of-europe/ 

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 9:30am

    #21

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3207

    awesome to see examples of paid opinion-generators

    I guess Chris's article got enough play that we are now attracting the paid posters.

    I wonder, if we asked nicely, would they tell us how much they are paid?

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 9:42am

    Reply to #21

    thc0655

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 1519

    Me too

    I wonder if WE could get paid at the same rate.  Where do I sign up?

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 11:13am

    Reply to #21

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 222

    davefairtex wrote:I guess

    [quote=davefairtex]
    I guess Chris's article got enough play that we are now attracting the paid posters.
    I wonder, if we asked nicely, would they tell us how much they are paid?
    [/quote]
    Dave,
    Which post are you referring to as coming from a paid opinion generator?  Other than the rather wimpy post from jennifersam07 that was quickly pounced on by some regulars, they all seem to support or further explore Chris' perspective.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 11:48am

    Reply to #1
    Abandon Ship

    Abandon Ship

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    Posts: 19

    Its being deliberately manufactured

    Chris, thanks for your your insightful article. Having been an increasingly concerned person since the financial disaster in 2008, like you I have been tracking all of the non-MSM but credible sources of information to try and understand the true state of affairs.Recent events are extremely worrying because I think that the US now senses that its the end game for US dollar hegemony and its superpower status. The only thing it has left is its military. So, if you are the US Government and you know that all of the bogus financial voodoo you have tried is not working and you know that you have backed your self into a corner, then perhaps the only way out is to engineer a way of blaming someone else for the coming collapse. Russia and Putin could offer this "solution". If they can provoke Putin into turning off the gas to Europe or even firing off a few missiles, then they can blame him for the market crash that would also accompany such events (perhaps also engineered).
    If the people can be persuaded to point the finger of blame away from their Government and towards an "evil foreign power", then you get to keep your top dog position for a bit longer.
    But I suspect that Putin knows this and he also knows that all he has to do is wait for the collapse to happen naturally. He may even go out of his way to absorb the provocation to achieve the strategic gain of US dollar failure.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 1:04pm

    Reply to #8
    eb_riesling

    eb_riesling

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    Posts: 20

    Well Said

    Bravo, 
    Well stated and informative.  Second only to Chris's original view on the issue.
     
    E
     

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 1:11pm

    Reply to #21
    VeganDB12

    VeganDB12

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 18 2008

    Posts: 112

    Paid opinions

    I am not Dave but want to respond.It's not nice to call people's posts wimpy :). Can't we avoid unnecessary namecalling today? Please?
    Anyway, paid opinion posts, to me, look like this:
    newly joined member with repetitive posts that are very short and don't directly follow the flow of the discussion but give a clear bias, sometimes a provocation.
     

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 1:13pm

    #22

    HughK

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 06 2012

    Posts: 571

    97% is an suspect result in an election.

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for another great report.  As usual, I agree with almost everything.

    However, I have a question about this part:

    cmartenson wrote:

    What exactly has Putin done to surpass the excesses of past Russian/Soviet leaders? What the US still refers to as the "illegal annexation of Crimea" was actually the result of a heavy turn-out vote by the Crimean people where 97% of the votes cast were in favor of rejoining Russia.

    So, to recap, Crimea's people voted overwhelmingly to shape their future in the way they best saw fit, and not one life was lost during the annexation. That sounds pretty peaceful and democratic if you ask me…

    The 97% figure is what the Crimean election commission reported.  I assume that most of us here already know that it’s very unlikely to have such a high percentage of people voting one way in a free and fair election.  So, the 97% number alone should raise eyebrows.

    But, even the USA Today article did not print that number as fact.  Rather, it said that the 97% number came from Crimea’s election commission.

    The most relevant parts of the USA Today article that you cited reads as follows.  (The bold is my emphasis.)

    Ukrainians in this nation's capital prepared themselves for war after results from the disputed referendum in the Crimea showed an overwhelming majority in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

    Crimea's election committee said that 97% of voters backed a union between the largely ethnic-Russian peninsula and the huge neighboring country.

    Further down the article contains this:

    Some who opposed Crimea joining Russia did not vote because they said the referendum didn't give them any option.

    "There's no choice to vote against joining the KGB-run government," said Nikolay Vasilyevich, a Ukrainian professor in Simferopol. "How can you vote with Russian troops around? Crimea will never join Russia, it will lead to war."

    Mikhail Malyshev, head of the referendum's organizing commission, told news agencies there were no voting irregularities. But local media reported instances of voter fraud.

    There were also reports of pressure on voters and journalists. Tatyana Tkachenko, a native-Russian freelance reporter from Cyprus, was held at gunpoint and arrested after a local defense squad stormed the apartment of a pro-Ukrainian activist she was interviewing in Sevastopol.

    "I was thrown to the floor and they held a gun to my temple. It was very cold," she told USA TODAY. "They questioned me until 4 in the morning and threatened to jail me for espionage. Then they let me go without any explanation."

    After reading the whole article, not to mention more in-depth sources on the Crimean election, it seems that the 97% number is probably not representative of the wishes of the Crimean people.  

    Now, I do believe that a majority of Crimeans were in support of the referendum based on what I know.  Nonetheless, reporting the 97% number as fact almost certainly gives one a biased impression of the Crimean referendum.

    In this article, you deconstructed the propaganda and bias of the West, and that is a much-needed reality check for all of us exposed to the warmongering by big media and politicians.  I don’t support a war with Russia, nor the expansion of NATO, and I am also very skeptical of the Western version of the MH-17 incident.  

    Nonetheless, we need to be careful to not allow other types of propaganda to creep into our understanding of events, because we are all striving to develop the clearest and most accurate picture that we can of what is actually happening, independent of our preconceptions and beliefs.  

    This is actually one of the most beneficial parts of hitting limits to growth and the shattering of paradigms that go with those limits:  the smudgy windshield of preconceived notions breaks – at least in part – and we have a chance to see things more clearly.

    You have spoken of the importance of digging deep, yet you reported the 97% number as fact – something that your source did not do – and you accepted at face value the figure of an ad hoc government body (the Crimean electoral commission) very likely to have been under Putin’s influence. 

    My question is why the acceptance of the 97% figure when it is almost certainly exaggerated and which also fits into the Russian propaganda narrative?  

    The article could have made all of the great points that it contains without presenting this suspect number as fact.

    Cheers,

    Hugh

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 1:15pm

    Reply to #21
    jennifersam07

    jennifersam07

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    Joined: Oct 14 2012

    Posts: 115

    hey wait a minute

    I want to protest wimpy. I think some posters seem to have a rather simplistic view of things here. While Dave's doctrine sounds good it may be challenging to implement. It's certainly satisfying to go from 'US is always the hero' to 'US is always the tyrant' it isn't helpful for future global policy. And further, I wasn't equating Putin with Hitler. Just responding to WSJ editorial. Geez.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 1:32pm

    Reply to #21

    Chris Martenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4738

    Putin and Hitler Comparison

    [quote=jennifersam07]I want to protest wimpy. I think some posters seem to have a rather simplistic view of things here. While Dave's doctrine sounds good it may be challenging to implement. It's certainly satisfying to go from 'US is always the hero' to 'US is always the tyrant' it isn't helpful for future global policy. And further, I wasn't equating Putin with Hitler. Just responding to WSJ editorial. Geez.
    [/quote]
    Jennifer,
    I dismissed the WSJ comparison between Hitler and Putin because it was also an over-the-top comparison meant to frame the conversation in terms that I find premature and unacceptable.
    Once you buy the initial framing of the WSJ article, you have to then consign yourself to debating how much the current situation resembles that of the age of appeasement that allowed Italian and German fascism to take firm root.
    Do you think it's 0% similar?  28%?  100%?  See? We are now stuck comparing the two times, even if we say 0%.
    That's the essence of 'framing a debate.'  You get people into your sandbox and then you've won, no matter where their argument goes next.  In this case the sandbox is how much is Putin like Hitler?
    Well, as an experiment let's just flip that and see how the alternative feels…see if this next statement seems fair, slightly over-the-top or just plain inexcusable.
    The flip is this;  Obama is behaving exactly like Hitler and therefore the EU actions of laying sanctions without evidence on Russia have the same elements of complicity of Chamberlain's appeasement of a tyrant.
    Ouch.  Seems rather strident to be jumping to such a comparison does it not?  Especially since there's almost zero similarity between the specific circumstances of the 1920' and 1930's that led to fascism and the circumstances of the 1990's and 2000's that have brought us to this moment.
    Instead of hearkening back to a prior time of history that has been largely re-written and therefore colored in clear moral terms by the victors we'd do better to examine our own recent actions through the more difficult prism of honest self-introspection.
     

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 2:48pm

    Reply to #16

    Oliveoilguy

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 29 2012

    Posts: 535

    Exceptionalism in America still exists

    [quote=treebeard]As the veneer of American exceptionalism crumbles away, 
    [/quote]
    Treebeard, I can't get past your premise without comment. Exceptionalism in America still exists and is at our core. It has always been more than a veneer.
     
     
     

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 3:42pm

    #23
    Sean_R

    Sean_R

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    Posts: 6

    Putin's speech today at Russia's new First World War monument

    The website of the President of Russia posted an English translation of President Putin's speech today at Russia's new First World War monument, built in time to mark the 100th anniversary of Germany's declaration of war on Russia. I mention the speech because Putin makes the point several times that the events of a century ago should be instructive to those in power today:

    World history gives us so many examples of what a terrible price we pay for refusing to listen to each other, or for trampling on others’ rights and freedoms and lawful interests in the name of our own interests and ambitions. It would be good if we could learn to open our eyes and to calculate at least a step ahead.

    http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/22756

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 5:41pm

    #24
    Time2help

    Time2help

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    Posts: 2268

    Looking forward to the next article!

    …so that I don't have to look at that Newsweek cover with the Putin-Nuke-Sunglasses.  Am I the only one who finds it particularly disturbing?  (note to Newsweek editor:  A+ for effort on the propaganda).

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 5:57pm

    #25
    Time2help

    Time2help

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    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2268

    .

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 6:33pm

    #26
    Time2help

    Time2help

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    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2268

    G-7 Nations Said to Oppose New World Bank Russia Projects

    G-7 Nations Said to Oppose New World Bank Russia Projects

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 6:45pm

    Reply to #24

    HughK

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 06 2012

    Posts: 571

    yes

    Yes, T2H, the grey skin and dark eye holes as sunglasses achieve a very nice skull effect, with a couple of mushroom clouds for glowing pupils.  Very over the top…so much so that I wonder if a lot of people will look at the cover and say, "this is clearly propaganda."  Wishful thinking on my part, maybe.We're at war with Eurasia and therefore we've always been at war with Eurasia.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 7:10pm

    Reply to #21

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 222

    I'm sorry.

    [quote=jennifersam07]I want to protest wimpy. I think some posters seem to have a rather simplistic view of things here. While Dave's doctrine sounds good it may be challenging to implement. It's certainly satisfying to go from 'US is always the hero' to 'US is always the tyrant' it isn't helpful for future global policy. And further, I wasn't equating Putin with Hitler. Just responding to WSJ editorial. Geez.
    [/quote]
     
    I'm sorry.  You deserve an apology.  Wimpy was an inappropriate word choice.  What I meant is that your's is the only post that seemed to take an opposing view and not a very strong one at that.  I didn't see what Dave's mention of paid posters was referring to.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 7:20pm

    Reply to #14
    ReginaF

    ReginaF

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    Not only the German expert

    Not only the German expert spokes about bullet holes – but also a senior OSZE Member, who was at the crash site in the first days:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ze9BNGDyk4&feature=youtu.be

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 7:36pm

    Reply to #21
    jennifersam07

    jennifersam07

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    Apology accepted

    Not a paid poster, just a fellow traveler on the road of Life trying to understand what's going on.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 7:43pm

    Reply to #21
    jennifersam07

    jennifersam07

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    thanks Chris

    Instead of hearkening back to a prior time of history that has been largely re-written and therefore colored in clear moral terms by the victors we'd do better to examine our own recent actions through the more difficult prism of honest self-introspection.

    I heartily agree with this approach. Easier said than done when the 'facts' about these actions are so elusive, as you have rightly pointed out so often. Thanks for staying alert for PP readers.

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 8:49pm

    #27

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3207

    paid posters

    I wasn't referring to our friend jennifer.  Some other posters, who do not engage in conversation, but rather post things (for their very first post) that advocate clearly and directly for government positions of one sort or another.

    The friendly note about where to find an English translation of Putin's latest speech, and how people in power might find it instructive, for example.

    I also saw a post a few weeks ago about Bank Espiritu Santo that seemed to be very authoritative – so much so that once again it made me sit up and take notice.  Someone was an expert on this particular Portuguese bank, and decided for their very first comment ever at the site to write something that could have come from the Bank's own spin doctors.  The fact that the bank blew up two weeks later just inflames my suspicions further.

    These things are happening more and more often here.

    Either that, or I'm starting to channel JimH…  🙂

     

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 9:50pm

    #28
    Kaisdad

    Kaisdad

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    Posts: 7

    Great article Chris..I did

    Great article Chris..

    I did want to add a little data found on number of US bases, 

    the best i could find was the number of 700-800 worldwide is probably accurate, 

    I think it would be about semantics and what one constitutes a "base", is each destroyer a base? what about bases that are US supported? In the end we have WAY to many, and this crowd knows we know we can not afford them.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/14/ron-paul/ron-paul-says-us-has-military-personnel-130-nation/

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  • Fri, Aug 01, 2014 - 11:41pm

    Reply to #27

    Jim H

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 08 2009

    Posts: 1798

    Swing away davefairtex

    You are a welcome addition to the troll finders club.  Double points if you can name the movie line reference above.   

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 12:02am

    Reply to #27

    HughK

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 06 2012

    Posts: 571

    Good to mention this, Dave.

    [quote=davefairtex]I wasn't referring to our friend jennifer.  Some other posters, who do not engage in conversation, but rather post things (for their very first post) that advocate clearly and directly for government positions of one sort or another.
    The friendly note about where to find an English translation of Putin's latest speech, and how people in power might find it instructive, for example.
    I also saw a post a few weeks ago about Bank Espiritu Santo that seemed to be very authoritative – so much so that once again it made me sit up and take notice.  Someone was an expert on this particular Portuguese bank, and decided for their very first comment ever at the site to write something that could have come from the Bank's own spin doctors.  The fact that the bank blew up two weeks later just inflames my suspicions further.
    These things are happening more and more often here.
    Either that, or I'm starting to channel JimH…  🙂
     
    [/quote]
    Thanks for posting that, Dave!
    I also noticed that suspect post promoting Putin's speech, Dave, and there is this one with the link to a Counterpunch article as well.
    If course, it may also be that people interested in an alternative narrative regarding the Ukraine conflict found this article, joined PP, and posted honestly; hard to tell.  But the fact that both of the posters made short plugs for the pro-Putin position without any other comment does suggest that they were more interested in promoting that agenda than expressing concern for the danger of war, or for their own situations.  They also didn't engage in any conversation, and I don't have enough experience to say that this is atypical in a first or second post, but it may be that both posters were intent on posting lots of short posts in lots of places (e.g. ZeroHedge) for promotional purposes.
    What is undeniable is that Putin has his own well-funded propaganda strategy in the English-speaking world, including Russia Today (RT), funded directly by the Russian government, which, while not as sophisticated or pervasive as mainstream western propaganda, can also be quite lurid and compromised. For example, why are virtually all of the female anchors on Russia Today young and sexy?  While this may attract more male eyeballs, it isn't really a testament to journalistic integrity, as it's unlikely that young beautiful women are the only competent female journalists.  Any time a media outlet seems to be targeting my limbic system instead of my frontal cortex, it tends to put me on guard.  There is a place for emotions, of course, but it's probably not the most helpful thing in most cases when trying to make sense of the facts in a particular geopolitical question.
    That's why I prefer Democracy Now as a better alternative to the mainstream narrative of the West; it accepts no government funding.  And the main anchor – Amy Goodman – is 57.  She's there for the journalism, and so are the people who watch her show.
    Democracy Now is doing a great job covering the Gaza tragedy and it also has at least one decent interview questioning the Western narrative regarding MH-17.  
    Democracy Now is also doing groundbreaking journalism regarding the expansion of the surveillance state, with lots of interviews with people associated with Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, including Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.  
    Some here may disagree with the liberal aspects of Democracy Now, such as its coverage of illegal immigration or Obamacare, but one thing that unites civil libertarians on the right and left is a concern that the U.S government overreach of its surveillance and police powers.
    Here are links to DN's pages on:
    the National Security Agency
    and
    Domestic Spying
    Of course, it's better to draw from a wide range of both mainstream and alternative media sources, and almost every source has some helpful information to offer, but some sources are definitely less compromised and more independent than others.
    Cheers,
    Hugh
    P.S. I did find it ironic that you brought up the possibility that those posters may be paid advocates of some sort, considering that you have been accused of the same here, but I think we can all look back at that and laugh now.  I continue to enjoy and benefit from your daily and weekly market commentary.  The weekly analysis should be especially interesting this time around – looking forward to it!

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 12:06am

    Reply to #27

    Wildlife Tracker

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 14 2012

    Posts: 405

    Troll fighters club

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 1:36am

    Reply to #27

    SagerXX

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 11 2009

    Posts: 397

    Jim H wrote:Double points if

    [quote=Jim H]
    Double points if you can name the movie line reference above.   
    [/quote]
    Tis of course the pivotal line from "Signs"…  A movie of which I am perhaps irrationally fond…
    Viva! — Sagher

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 1:42am

    Reply to #27

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 222

    davefairtex wrote:I wasn't

    [quote=davefairtex]
    I wasn't referring to our friend jennifer.  Some other posters, who do not engage in conversation, but rather post things (for their very first post) that advocate clearly and directly for government positions of one sort or another.
    The friendly note about where to find an English translation of Putin's latest speech, and how people in power might find it instructive, for example.
    I also saw a post a few weeks ago about Bank Espiritu Santo that seemed to be very authoritative – so much so that once again it made me sit up and take notice.  Someone was an expert on this particular Portuguese bank, and decided for their very first comment ever at the site to write something that could have come from the Bank's own spin doctors.  The fact that the bank blew up two weeks later just inflames my suspicions further.
    These things are happening more and more often here.
    Either that, or I'm starting to channel JimH…  🙂
     
    [/quote]
    Thanks for the clarification Dave.  I leapt to the conclusion that a paid poster would be supporting the USA government/MSM position.  I didn't think about supporting the Russian position.  I think I did this partly because Chris' efforts to counteract the MSM spin on MH17 can appear to be a support of Russia's position to the casual reader and so those posts seemed to be in agreement with Chris' perspective at first glance.  
    I hope to join the troll fighting club, but I'm not sure I can add anything useful to the fine credentials and track record of it's founding members.  I'll give it a try, though:  I notice that one of those suspect posts as made a 4 AM eastern time, noon Moscow time.

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 1:50am

    #29

    Montana Native

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 17 2009

    Posts: 56

    Putin is based

     

    I'm very thankful that you are taking the time to cover the demonization of Putin and Russia by Western media. I've often worried about your affiliation with RT Chris. Whether or not the news anchors on RT make my pulse rise really isn't my interest. To paraphrase Hillary Clinton as she spoke to Congress in her information war speech a year or two back… We are losing the information war , RT is quite instructive. Besides a little interest from PBS and some Yahoo Finance stuff, RT seems to be the only bigger news outlet showing much interest in Chris' work laid out in The Crash Course. Earlier in the year I took the time to watch an older CBC documentary on Putin. "The Putin System" was a very interesting introspective look into the man and his plan for Mother Russia. The one thing from the show that really stuck out to me was a quote from one of his early meetings with Bush. At the time I replayed the quote a couple times and wrote it down. "Whoever controls the production, the distribution, and the price of oil controls power in todays world." Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

    The recent buildup in Russia's gold reserves is probably just coincidence. Maybe Putin is working on a Russian translation of The Crash Course as we speak. Seems as though Putin has a baseline on what really makes the world go round. That is one of the most dangerous things he possess.
    /sites/default/files/users/u11455/unknown.jpg

     

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 3:03am

    Reply to #27
    ommm

    ommm

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    Posts: 30

    SagerXX wrote:Jim H

    [quote=SagerXX]
    [quote=Jim H]
    Double points if you can name the movie line reference above.   
    [/quote]
    Tis of course the pivotal line from "Signs"…  A movie of which I am perhaps irrationally fond…
    Viva! — Sagher
    [/quote]
    You beat me to the punch.  One of my favorites as well.  "Merrill … swing away."

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 4:38am

    #30
    alexros

    alexros

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    Posts: 3

    Clarifying some facts

    While very good overall, Chris article doesn't present a full picture of some events. I was a bit surprised that Chris never mentioned that the law about cancelation of special status for Russian language was never put into effect as it was vetoed by the Ukrainian president. In fact when the new Ukrainian president Poroshenko came to power he immediately promised wide ranging autonomy to the Russian majority regions.

    The truth is always in the middle.

      

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 5:40am

    Reply to #16
    treebeard

    treebeard

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 553

    Perhaps the wrong term

    And maybe the wrong phrasing, maybe not.  Any group of people who believe they are above the rest of humanity, above natural law, or spiritual law, who's actions are above question, who believe they have privileges and rights that others do not have by virtue of their birth are the antithesis of exceptional.

    Although the term does not necessarily imply superiority, many neoconservative and other American conservative writers have promoted its use in that sense.[3][4] To them, the U.S. is like the biblical "City upon a Hill" — a phrase evoked by British colonists to North America as early as 1630 — and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries

    Are we a shining city on a hill? One in three of our young women are sexually assaulted before they reach adulthood, our veterans sleep homeless on our streets, at under 5% of the worlds population we are the world biggest consumer of elicit drugs and produce half the worlds weapons of mass destruction.  Young adults walk into schools and shoot small children, on a seeming regular basis.  Our mass entertainment is filled with characters like lady gaga, our financial system is rife with unprosecuted corruption, we are now on the bottom lists that rate infant mortality, educational scores, and social mobility.  Our fragile democracy is descending into a policy state, people like Ron Paul are mocked and ignored by our mass media.  What nationality would I drag to our shores triumphantly and shout to, look what we have wrought, follow our example!
    My family has been here 400 years and I have no intention of ever living anywhere else, nor would ever give up on our potential as a country.  But it is time for us to tend our own gardens, they are full of the weeds of neglect. It is a time for self examination, not chest pounding. We must certainly stand our ground, but let it be on our own shores, not the lands of every other nation on the planet.  Let's save our own democracy before we pretend that we are capable of saving anybody else's.

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 1:31pm

    Reply to #1
    ommm

    ommm

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    Posts: 30

    Specific examples, please

    [quote=cmartenson]I am personally activating myself to a higher level of readiness and activity based on what appears to be a rush towards war.
    [/quote]
    Chris,
    Could you give us an example of what you mean?  Specifically, what are you doing now and/or how are you doing it that differs from what you would have done if there were not this rush to war.  In other words, what kind of actionable advice can you give us apropos to these latest developments.  Thanks.  

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 2:14pm

    #31
    BeingThere

    BeingThere

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    Posts: 53

    The new old cold war

    Two schools of thought,

    1)(Trilateral)Zbignew Brezhinsky's The great game theory in his book "The Grand Chessboard." all about ginning up the cold war.

    2)(Neocon)The Wolfowitz Doctrine. We can't allow any challenge or competition in the US-unipolar world hegemony. Paul Craig Roberts has been writing incessantly about the Wolfowitz doctrine which even believes  in a limited nuclear war.

    Take a look at t he choices we're making—need I say more?

     

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 3:01pm

    Reply to #27
    Sean_R

    Sean_R

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    Posts: 6

    Re: Putin's paid posters

    The friendly note about where to find an English translation of Putin's latest speech, and how people in power might find it instructive, for example.

    I'm guessing you're referring to my earlier post? Yes, it was my very first post at this site, and yes, it did point readers to the official website of the President of Russia but, no, you don't have a paid agent on your hands here.
    I'm not a paid agent but I do find this recent and widespread theory of paid Russian internet agents to be interesting. It seems to interest the mainstream media as well. Here's a conversation with a Guardian reporter on the CBC about this very topic: Russia vs. Ukraine: the battle for the comments section. Similar articles have appeared in Le Monde and Figaro newspapers of France, at German news sites and I'm sure in many similar places. If there is a Russian campaign of paid online advocates then it's being carried out across the West and at websites big and small.  I myself don't think Russia could possibly have the resources or deep talent pool required to pull off such a massive online campaign. Sure they could get Russian volunteers to post one or two lines of cheerleading in broken English, French, German etc but could they really have the time and resources to create a back-story for their thousands of online agents and IP addresses to match? At mainline websites, the "pro-Putin" comments are almost always made by people who've clearly shown, in previous and subsequent posts, a native's interest in local politics and current events. Do the Russians really have that deep a pool of agents who can pass for native Brits, Canadians, Frenchmen etc? If they do then they're wasting their talents just posting comments online.
    I'm hammering on about this because I think both the pro-Russian comments all over the web and the theory about them point to a much bigger and more interesting phenomena. I think people are legitimately surprised and confused by the wave of support Russia has been receiving online from westerners; it is unprecedented and could seem fishy but I think there's a reason. I think this year is when the web made the West's wobbly political culture really go off in a new direction. The last decade gave us all one reason after another to question the competence and goodwill of our western "elite" and this year those doubts have matured into vocal opposition online against the West's handling of the Ukrainian crisis. Our foreign policy establishment, media and political classes have plotted an anti-Russian, anti-Putin course but more and more of us small ships in the convoy are refusing to follow. They've led us into too many misadventures recently for us to trust them or really even like them.  I think if it wasn't this anti-Russian scheme it would have been some other crisis that would have shown "our" political class in the West that they no longer had the public following along nicely behind them. The recent EU elections were another clear indicator that things are getting weird and wobbly for the establishment after decades of consensus on anything that mattered.
    Anyway, that's my theory about the recent popularity of the "Putin's paid posters" theory. The politics institutions of the West are losing their base of support and have thrown out this theory to explain for themselves one symptom of their much wider and deeper crisis of legitimacy. So Russia may be paying people to post at the Peak Prosperity site but I tend to doubt it. The truth is far more interesting anyway.
     
     

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 10:45pm

    Reply to #27

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3207

    more on paid posters

    I think there are sources of well trained english writers in the world that are available for relatively small amounts of money.  India, for instance.  If US companies are outsourcing entire call centers to India, why not staff a propaganda effort there too?I might also point out that RT has a large staff of excellent native English speakers.
    This has nothing to do with the specifics of whether I find Putin alarming, or the prospect of people supporting Putin and/or Russia alarming or surprising.  I respect Putin, and I know he's engaging in a long term plan to reconstitute the Soviet Union, and since a campaign to influence opinion the west is something I'd do if I had his goals, I assume he's doing it as well – presumably on a budget.
    Its the whole "preparing the battlefield" tactic they used to have the Spetsnaz for.  New battlefield, new spetsnaz.
    And – newly joined member, first post is on this subject, promotion of a link to content at kremlin.ru, all the marks of someone come with a purpose.  Instead of links to the sale of viagra, some commissioned insurance product, or a nigerian swindle, we get Putin's WW1 memorial dedication speech.  Which, incidentally – the first part was fine, but the stuff about "it is long since time that humanity learned and accepted the single great truth that violence breeds violence" left me completely unconvinced.  Given he was in command during the Second Chechen War…Mandela he isn't.
    Perhaps it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, but is in fact something else.  It will be interesting to see if you have non .ru comments going forward.  I'm fully prepared to abase myself at your feet and beg your forgiveness if over time you prove to be a fine upstanding member here at PP.  🙂

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  • Sat, Aug 02, 2014 - 11:04pm

    #32

    thc0655

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 1519

    Distrust

    I think the most significant issue is the dramatic and surging lack of trust in our leaders: govt, economic, media, religion, medicine, science, education, etc. Shoot, I even see deteriorating trust in our spouses, parents, children, coworkers, and neighbors. Society, family and economy can't survive without a relatively high level of trust. I think we in the US and the West are rapidly approaching the tipping point where lack of trust becomes one of the main drivers of our collapse no matter what else is done to stave it off or fix it. The only solutions to lack of trust are spiritual and moral. Individuals will need to be reborn (or rebooted to use a computer concept). Society will be reborn/rebooted when enough of its individuals are. And Treebeard has it right: rebirth begins with a searching and fearless moral inventory OF OURSELVES.

    Tom

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  • Sun, Aug 03, 2014 - 1:55am

    Reply to #27
    Sean_R

    Sean_R

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    Joined: Jul 30 2014

    Posts: 6

    Time to earn my vodka ration, I suppose

    Russia, the Ukrainian crisis and the West's reaction to both interest me greatly at the moment, so I probably making a few more posts on these topics. Hopefully I'll add something to the conversation.HughK earlier mentioned the remarkably high "yes" vote in the Crimean referendum on reuniting with Russia. I myself thought at the time it might be too high be credible but someone else online pointed out that such remarkably one-sided results have been quite common when it comes to votes on independence. Check out the Wikipedia page on the matter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_referendum
    Some of the overwhelming "yes" votes for independence over the years:
    Norwegian separation from Sweden, 1905: 99.95%
    Iceland, 1941: 99.5% & 98.5% (on independence and a republican constitution, respectively)
    Algerian independence, 1962: 99.72%
    Rhodesia, 1964: 90.5%
    Croatia, 1991: 93%
    Even the 1991 vote for Ukrainian independence was lopsided, with a 91% "yes" vote:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_independence_referendum,_1991
    Note though the lowest turnout and lowest "yes" votes in '91 were in Crimea, Sevastopol City, Odessa and the regions in the east that rose up this year against the new regime in Kiev. It's also worth noting how sharply split Ukraine's presidential and parliamentary elections have been since independence. One map after the other shows the southeastern half of Ukraine voting for one bunch and the western half voting for another. The point being that the country has been dangerously divided since independence and was in no condition to have the US and EU jump up and down on it to get their own way on the trade deal.
     

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  • Sun, Aug 03, 2014 - 8:39am

    Reply to #8

    RNcarl

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 13 2008

    Posts: 179

    why?

    [quote=aladinangel]As a matter  of fact JohnH123, you are missing quite a bit….
    <snip>
    a)      WE are nowhere as good, moral, or strong as we think we are;
    b)      THEY happen to live in more resourceful, more self-reliant and, above all, more RESILIENT societies.
    We better regain our common sense, and back-off while we still have time. This is a fight that we can’t win. Besides, it's not like many people (apart from some hot headed elites) are willing to start it anyway. How many Americans do you think would be willing to physically man the front lines in a war with Russia ?
    [/quote]
    All it would take is another 9/11. That brings to mind, ever wonder how convenient that the date the "attack" happened was the same as the American emergency number 911? How could anyone forget?
    C.

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  • Sun, Aug 03, 2014 - 1:39pm

    #33
    funglestrumpet

    funglestrumpet

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 29 2011

    Posts: 20

    Russia

    What a tragedy that we have such poor quality politicians that they have not taken advantage of the peace that broke out in the 80s. Perhaps it is because they have not understood the developments that have taken place in nuclear missile technology. Can it be that they are unaware that, in short, we have moved from facing each other with 'blunderbusses' (Polaris, Poseidon, Trident C4) to facing each other with 'sniper's rifles' (Trident D5, Minuteman). We have moved from MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) to preemptive first-strike (where the side that fires first, wins and does so conclusively). I do not know what X-Ray pin down capability Russia has for the Minuteman silos, but any that it does have can only lend confidence to any decision to launch a preemptive first-strike.

    If only we had used the peace that is rapidly riding off into the sunset to negotiate the banning of any missiles being first-strike capable. To achieve that, we would need to ban MIRV technology, ban ground burst detonation and also have a minimum CEP. (I accept that only the first one – banning MIRV – is easy to monitor, but where there is a will, there is a way.) As it is, if Russia detects, possibly mistakenly, that the Trident fleet is moving to launch stations, it might well fire first. (It would be a mistake to think that submarines are somehow 'invisible' once submerged. so don't expect Trident submarines not to be targetted.)

    If the GOP thinks that the Cold War can come back in its previous form, it is even more out of touch with reality than it is with climate change, if that is possible. Or can it be that they do actually understand just how dangerous climate change is and generating a nuclear winter is their preferred strategy for tackling it. With that lot, nothing would surprise me..

    We have to remember that in the previous Cold War, no matter how many indications there were that we had incoming missiles, the leadership could wait and see if the risk was real (That we survived, is testament to that being true on more than one occasion). If it was real, the launch infra-structure would still be available to launch a retaliation. With today's missiles, the only available responses are to either put one's hands over one's ear and hope they miss you, or launch on warning (i.e. before they arrive and be ready to say 'Oops!' if it was a mistake). Waiting to see if the warnings were real is not an option because the launch infrastructure will be among the primary targets. The GOP takes a risk with all our lives if it thinks Putin is likely to put his hands over his ears and wait. If nothing else, he is a fighter and an intelligent one. He would not be at home in the GOP, which is a pity because they obviously don't understand him.

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  • Sun, Aug 03, 2014 - 2:32pm

    Reply to #16

    Oliveoilguy

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 29 2012

    Posts: 535

    Exceptionalism

    Treebeard. I can't disagree with all the problems and flaws you have pointed out, but I can still see the exceptional core of our society. I can also see exceptionalism in many other corners of the earth for example in Asian immigrants who have strong family ties and children who excel academically. Or in Hispanics who have been dealt a pretty bad hand but advance themselves and their families through a strong work ethic.Exceptionalism in my humble world is earned through achievement by work and sacrifice. It is strongly evidenced in this great country, and must be acknowledged.
    It's ok to be exceptional. And it's ok to be a "shinning beacon". I would guess that as an architect you strive for exceptionalism through hard work, honesty, and achievement. If you are among the best it's ok to recognize your success. Young people will look up to you and you will make a positive difference.
    As a builder I have done well by trying to put out an exceptional product. I believe my success is due to my focus on the positive side of my work and not on the flaws of my competitors. People come to me to solve problems in my small area of expertise.
    To focus on the good and spend one's hours building a better world is how greatness evolves. 
    My wife and I gave up TV so that we can give our precious time and energy to tending our own gardens and not glorifying "Lady Gaga". 
    So…..Is America Perfect? Not in my opinion. Is it Exceptional? …..Absolutely. We choose to focus on the positive and continue ( just like PP) to build models that will reinforce the exceptional aspects of our society.
     

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  • Sun, Aug 03, 2014 - 2:47pm

    #34

    SagerXX

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 11 2009

    Posts: 397

    War and the Fourth Turning

    For those that haven't read it, it might be instructive:  "The Fourth Turning" (Strauss/Howe) posits that history goes through a four-generation cycle.  I won't go into details here except to say it's a quick read, quite toothsome (albeit repetitive in places), and instructive.  Need I mention that we are into the Fourth Turning of which they write (wherein War comes to call)?  It's been 69 years since VE/VJ-day.  If one pegs a generation at just under 20 years, Strauss & Howe are juuust about right on the money vis-a-vis war being on deck.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd like to think we have evolved and can skip the bullets-flying bit this cycle.  But I'm not sure we've grown up and are willing to learn in any way but the hard way…

    Live, love, and prep like hell.

    Viva — Sager

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  • Sun, Aug 03, 2014 - 6:38pm

    Reply to #34
    Sean_R

    Sean_R

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 30 2014

    Posts: 6

    The East-West Generation Gap

    "The Fourth Turning" does sound like an interesting book. It was the interview with its author that brought me over to this site from YouTube. I too was thinking about how this generational cycle applies to the current misunderstanding with Russia and decided there's a generation gap between Russia and the West. I mean that Russia and the West are out of rhythm with one another. Judging by his birth date Putin is a Boomer but he's clearly no Boomer by nature. The collapse of the Soviet Union would have knocked Putin's generation out of sync with the Boomers of the West, if they were ever in sync to begin with. This was the "tragedy" that Putin refers to and is constantly quoted without sympathy or context. Here he is himself on the matter: Interview with Time Magazine, December 19, 2007It's worth noting too that Putin and Angela Merkel of Germany seem to get along relatively well. They've both been taught the other's language during their East Bloc schooling and young adulthood and might both find western Boomers to be a little alien? I don't know.
    It's worth noting too that Merkel's government just arrested two German citizens for spying for the Americans, asked the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country and made it known the German intelligence service would now treat both Britain and the United States as possible intelligence threats: 'Worst crisis in US-German relations since WW II'
     

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  • Mon, Aug 04, 2014 - 12:38am

    Reply to #1
    ommm

    ommm

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 08 2014

    Posts: 30

    Here's trying again

    [quote=ommm][quote=cmartenson]
    I am personally activating myself to a higher level of readiness and activity based on what appears to be a rush towards war.
    [/quote]
    Chris,
    Could you give us an example of what you mean?  Specifically, what are you doing now and/or how are you doing it that differs from what you would have done if there were not this rush to war.  In other words, what kind of actionable advice can you give us apropos to these latest developments.  Thanks.  
    [/quote]
    Any possibility Chris could respond to my inquiry?

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  • Mon, Aug 04, 2014 - 2:41am

    Reply to #1

    SagerXX

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 11 2009

    Posts: 397

    Hey ommm

    I think the answer to your question would include the following:
    1.  Food supplies (top off your storage food/canned food/etc. — esp. any specialty items that are important to you [chocolate?  coffee?])
    2.  Are your water filtration devices prepped? (i.e. filters, back up filters, and back-up-back-up filters [and/or buy up a buncha bottled water])
    3.  Power:  get a generator (and/or check up on/tune up your previously-purchased gennie), and put a bunch of fuel for same back — 30 gallons is a good start?
    4.  Money:  have ~ 1 month's expenses worth of cash on hand (outside the banking system).  
    5.  Money, part deaux:  if one has any illiquid investments that would not do well in an upheaval (or stand to be devalued if trapped inside the financial system during an upheaval), it would be well to move them to a more liquid status prior to an upheaval
    6.  If one were deep deep deep intro prepping — and therefore perhaps in the middle of a bunch of resilience-related projects (i.e., solar panels on roof, second well to be drilled [with manual hand pump!], bee hives on hand but bees not ordered/chicken coop on site but chicks not ordered) — one would do well to IMMEDIATELY put all these resilience-related projects on the largest and frontmost burner.
    I'm certain Dr. Chris could answer this question better, but here's enough to keep you busy for a day or two. And I bet in 9 collapses out of 10 you'd do well to follow my humble 6-point plan as enumerated above…  <smile>  
    And no I am not a financial advisor and so forth, so please do disregard my advice for surely it will cost you $$$…
    Live, love and prep like hell!
    Viva — Sager

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  • Mon, Aug 04, 2014 - 1:19pm

    Reply to #12

    ckessel

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 12 2008

    Posts: 170

    Trun,Thanks for the

    Trun,
    Thanks for the clarification. Your take sounds much more accurate.
    Coop

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  • Mon, Aug 04, 2014 - 11:14pm

    #35
    Petkov

    Petkov

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 04 2014

    Posts: 1

    USA's lies

    Good article but the reason for all this lies(not propaganda, sorry, but bold faced lies) is pretty simple: Russia and China are directly challenging USA control over the world via the dollar. And NOBODY does that and lives. Saddam, Kadaffi tried it and we know what happened to them. Therefore Russia MUST be smashed down to size.
    Of course USA will lie. USA has ALWAYS lied. USA is based on lies. "freedom" while it uses slaves. Redman killings white settlers. From the lies about WWI to WWII and Japan to Hiroshima to Vietnam USA has ALWAYS lied. Dont people remember the lies USA said about Saddam's imaginary "weapons of mass distraction" to Iran's non existant "nu'lear program" (that they NEVER showed ANY evidence of) ALL USA ever does is lie and lie and lie again. No surprises. The surprises are all the sheeple who still believe the lies. Or are they just shill? Or are they just stupid?

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  • Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 12:37am

    Reply to #16
    treebeard

    treebeard

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 18 2010

    Posts: 553

    Political vs individual

    I agree that we should not put our light under a bushel basket nor apologize for our achievements or not strive for excellence.  Certainly we as Americans have many exceptional people among us.  Each of us has a gift to give to the world, it is important that we develop our gifts so that we may give those to those around us.I believe that each of the peoples of planet earth have a collective gift to give to the world as each of has on an individual basis, to the extent that development is thwarted, we are collectively worse off.  When we as individuals or a collective get to the top of our game, then it is time to mentor, pass on what we know to those around us, transcend our individual ego.  I'm not to sure that we are there yet.
    We as Americans are though, a model for the world in many ways.  Here many peoples of many races work and live together in relative peace and harmony, the same people that in other parts of the world are at each other throats.  Our tolerance and diversity make us collectively an exceptional people which has generated a dynamic and creative culture that is wonderful in so many ways.
    But we stand at a cross roads, we need to look at and deal with our dark side, if it continues to fester untreated, disaster awaits us. Exceptionalismlike Manifest Destiny is very different than striving for excellence, which is based on introspection and continuing and ongoing effort, rather than a privilege handed to us at birth.  Humility comes from strength, I hope we can find our strength to get through the enormous difficulties that await us before we reach what seem to be dimming prospects for a brighter future.

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  • Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 1:36am

    Reply to #35

    HughK

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 06 2012

    Posts: 571

    Hello Petkov

    [quote=Petkov]Good article but the reason for all this lies(not propaganda, sorry, but bold faced lies) is pretty simple: Russia and China are directly challenging USA control over the world via the dollar. And NOBODY does that and lives. Saddam, Kadaffi tried it and we know what happened to them. Therefore Russia MUST be smashed down to size.
    Of course USA will lie. USA has ALWAYS lied. USA is based on lies. "freedom" while it uses slaves. Redman killings white settlers. From the lies about WWI to WWII and Japan to Hiroshima to Vietnam USA has ALWAYS lied. Dont people remember the lies USA said about Saddam's imaginary "weapons of mass distraction" to Iran's non existant "nu'lear program" (that they NEVER showed ANY evidence of) ALL USA ever does is lie and lie and lie again. No surprises. The surprises are all the sheeple who still believe the lies. Or are they just shill? Or are they just stupid?
    [/quote]
    Hello Petkov,
    This bold faced lies are everywhere.  Maybe we are shill
    but we're not such shills that we don't know the difference between sincere and respectful criticism and unreasonable posts designed to serve the agenda of a nation-state and/or its leader.
    Most – including Russia – also suffer from a lot of hypocrisy and no country is free of a past filled without both tragic sin and great accomplishments.
    I teach at a school where each year I work with several American and several Russian students, among students from many other nationalities.  Your use of English, your rhetoric, and your username make it pretty likely that you're from the Russian-speaking world.  I like Russians very much; like I said, I have worked with many over the course of years teaching here, and I am happy to say that I am still in touch with many of my former Russian speaking students.  Russian students come in all types – just like people from other parts of the world.    
    Just because I try to accept all types, doesn't mean that I accept all behavior, and I take issue with your post on the following grounds:
    One meme that some Russian-speaking students tend to expound when talking about politics is how any country – especially the US – that has ideals is a hypocrite.  Of course, this is true.  We have been deeply hypocritical in many ways.  That, however, doesn't mean that we shouldn't have ideals.  We all benefit from having ideals, and striving towards them.
    Even if we have leaders that don't follow them, we need ideals that we strive to live up to, just as we need goals that – even if we don't attain perfectly – still keep us heading generally in the right direction.  
    Don't make the mistake of thinking that because a certain country didn't live up to all of its ideals that all politics is about power and violence.  It's a lot more complicated than that, and shared values and ideals have been as much a part of the story as violence and raw power since humans started sitting around fires together.
    I disagree with a lot of what my government does.  But, when I see an outsider – whether a poster on a website or a commenter on a news channel – who seems intent on making me feel bad or down because it serves some other national leader's political agenda*, then I don't accept the suggestions or projections coming from that person.
    I prefer my constructive criticism to be homemade – or at least sincere – by people who have ideals, and not by people who claim that all ideals are subsumed by hypocrisy.
    Cheers,
    Hugh

    *Since 2005, the Russian government has increased [Russia Today's] annual budget more than tenfold, from $30 million (€22.6 million) to over $300 million. Russia Today's budget covers the salaries of 2,500 employees and contractors worldwide, 100 in Washington alone. And the channel has no budget cuts to fear now that Putin has issued a decree forbidding his finance minister from taking any such steps.   Source

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  • Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 2:03am

    Reply to #1
    ommm

    ommm

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 08 2014

    Posts: 30

    Should I ask a third time?

    [quote=SagerXX]I think the answer to your question would include the following:

    1.  Food supplies (top off your storage food/canned food/etc. — esp. any specialty items that are important to you [chocolate?  coffee?])
    2.  Are your water filtration devices prepped? (i.e. filters, back up filters, and back-up-back-up filters [and/or buy up a buncha bottled water])
    3.  Power:  get a generator (and/or check up on/tune up your previously-purchased gennie), and put a bunch of fuel for same back — 30 gallons is a good start?
    4.  Money:  have ~ 1 month's expenses worth of cash on hand (outside the banking system).  
    5.  Money, part deaux:  if one has any illiquid investments that would not do well in an upheaval (or stand to be devalued if trapped inside the financial system during an upheaval), it would be well to move them to a more liquid status prior to an upheaval
    6.  If one were deep deep deep intro prepping — and therefore perhaps in the middle of a bunch of resilience-related projects (i.e., solar panels on roof, second well to be drilled [with manual hand pump!], bee hives on hand but bees not ordered/chicken coop on site but chicks not ordered) — one would do well to IMMEDIATELY put all these resilience-related projects on the largest and frontmost burner.
    I'm certain Dr. Chris could answer this question better, but here's enough to keep you busy for a day or two. And I bet in 9 collapses out of 10 you'd do well to follow my humble 6-point plan as enumerated above…  <smile>  
    And no I am not a financial advisor and so forth, so please do disregard my advice for surely it will cost you $$$…
    Live, love and prep like hell!
    Viva — Sager
    [/quote]
    Thank you Sager for taking the time to reply.  I appreciate your efforts to pinch hit for Chris.  However, I really would like to hear his response but it's somewhat embarrassing to have to ask a third time. 
    All these things and more I have done and would assume many on this site including Chris have done.  I guess from what he wrote, I was expecting something a bit more than the steps I would assume most preppers have already taken.
    If I may, I'd like to offer some information to supplement what you have provided. 
    I think it is wise for folks to have a (1) electrical/electronic prepping option and (2) a non-electrical/electronic or pre-modern age option.  The latter would assume that an EMP, CME, grid failure, or similar event has taken out many, if not all, options based on electricity.  In that case, one would have lighting options (like oil lamps and candles), cooling options (like a cold cellar, ice blocks in saw dust, channeled cold water source through basement), heating options (like wood or coal), transportation options (like a freight bicycle or beast of burden), etc. that would operate in the absence of electricity, much as one would have functioned in the 18th century.
    I think it is also wise for folks to have solar not as a primary electricity source but as a back-up and in  portable form for several reasons.  A permanent roof top or pillar mounted system may very well attract undesired attention from both the populace and from the government.  More importantly, many potential disaster scenarios involve situations that would compromise solar.  Windstorms or hailstorms or vandals could damage panels.  A nuclear winter, super volcano eruption, celestial object impact, etc. would serve to eject massive amounts of particulate matter into the atmosphere and result in failure of solar as a viable power source.  Also, generators tend to be noisy and even with larger in-ground fuel storage tanks, their running time is limited.  For that reason, I prefer a particular type of water flow system as my primary source for power generation.  I'm willing to discuss my particular arrangements more but I'll wait to hear from Chris.
     
     
     

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