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Monday, 10 November 2014

Petrodollar panic? China signs currency swap deal with Qatar and Canada

The petro-dollar system is the heart and soul of America's domination over the global reserve currency, and their right to make all nations have to purchase U.S. dollars to be able to buy oil in the open market. Bound through an agreement with Saudi Arabia and OPEC in 1973, this de facto standard has lasted for over 41 years and has been the driving force behind America's economic, political, and military power.

But on Nov. 3 a new chink in the petro-dollar system was forged as China signed an agreement with Qatar to begin direct currency swaps between the two nations using the Yuan, and establishing the foundation for new direct trade with the OPEC nation in the very heart of the petro-dollar system.

While this new agreement between China and Qatar is only for the equivalent of $5.7 billion over the next three years, Qatar becomes the 24th nation to open its Forex market to the Chinese currency, and solidifies acceptance of the Yuan as a viable option for the future in the Middle East.

China's central bank announced Monday that it has signed a currency swap deal worth 35 billion yuan (about 5.7 billion US dollars) with the central bank of Qatar.

The three-year deal could be extended upon agreement by the two sides said a statement on the website of the People's Bank of China (PBOC).

Also on Monday, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on Renminbi clearing settlement in Doha. China agreed to extend the RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor scheme to Qatar, with an initial quota of 30 billion yuan.

The deal marked a new step forward in financial cooperation between the two countries, and will facilitate bilateral trade and investment to help maintain regional financial stability, the statement said. - China Daily

It is perhaps no coincidence that the term for the new agreement is set for three years, and is within the exact time frame being predicted by the director of the Finance Institute under the Development Research Center of the State Council, Zhang Chenghui for the Renminbi to become fully convertible in the global financial system.

The need for new markets and a more stable trade currency in Qatar could be tied to a new report issued last week by French bank BNP Paribas which showed that petro-dollar recycling has fallen to its lowest levels in 18 years, signifying that even oil producing nations in the Middle East are finding it difficult to trust the U.S. dollar, and facilitate its use in trade due to its depreciation since the advent of the Federal Reserve's massive QE programs.

Nearly every week now, China, Russia, or one of the BRICS nations are finalizing agreements that supersede the old system of dollar trade and reliance on the petro-dollar system. And as many countries begin to reject the dollar due to the exported inflation that is growing in nations that are relegated to having to hold them for global oil purchases, alternatives such as the Chinese Yuan will become a more viable option, especially now that the Asian power has taken over the top spot as the world's biggest economy.

Defending the indefensible: Dempsey bucks Obama line by praising Israelis for Gaza tactics

General Martin Dempsey

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, went against the Obama administration's own line when he said Thursday that the Israeli military acted "responsibly" and went to "extraordinary lengths" to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties during Operation Protective Edge last summer.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed Friday during a daily press briefing in Washington that the administration still believes "Israel could have done more to prevent civilian casualties" during the offensive on the Gaza Strip.

She made the remarks in direct response to a question that referenced both the general's declaration and the State Department's condemnation of Israel's Aug. 3 shelling of a United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency school in Rafah. Psaki issued a statement after that attack, saying that the US was "appalled." She described it as "disgraceful."

"The coordinates of the school, like all UN facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces," she said. "The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians. We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA schools."

Dempsey made the remarks at a Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs conference in New York. He praised widely-criticized tactics, claiming that Israel's dropping of leaflets and its "roof-knocking" sufficiently warned civilians of impending attacks.

"They did some extraordinary things to try to limit civilian casualties, to include calling out, making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure," Dempsey said.

"It's an incredibly difficult environment, but I can say to you with confidence that I think that they acted responsibly," he added.

Roof-knocking, which refers to the firing of a blank shell at the roof of a targeted structure to allegedly warn of an impending attack, has been panned by human rights groups.

"There is no way that firing a missile at a civilian home can constitute an effective 'warning'," Phillip Luther, Amnesty International's Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program said in July, at the start of the assault. "Amnesty International has documented cases of civilians killed or injured by such missiles in previous Israeli military operations on the Gaza Strip."

In November, Luther elaborated, saying that the possible presence of militants in civilian homes "would not absolve Israel of its obligation to take every feasible precaution to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the fighting."

"The repeated, disproportionate attacks on homes indicate that Israel's current military tactics are deeply flawed and fundamentally at odds with the principles of international humanitarian law," he added.

Mahmoud Abu Rahma, coordinator for the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, echoed Luther's July condemnation when he told CNN that the warnings are meaningless.

"Imagine you are in Gaza and there are airstrikes everywhere, and many families are in the bottom floor of their home," he said. "Families miss the sound of the 'warning' missile because it sounds like just another explosion."

The network noted that homes which weren't targeted were severely damaged in strikes on neighboring homes that received "roof knocks", and that some civilian homes were targeted and destroyed without receiving any warning.

Videos taken during Protective Edge have also shown that some warnings came only about a minute before the final strike.

Abu Rahma also told CNN that leaflets warning of attacks were meaningless when all infrastructure in Gaza, including UNRWA structures, were targeted by the Israeli military without evidence they were being actively used to shelter Palestinian militants.

"These are more threats than warnings," he said.

The entire premise of the Israelis avoiding civilian casualties through warnings is questionable considering the alleged defensive aims of Protective Edge and the flimsy at the heart of the justification for the operation. Before tensions flared, the Israeli government had launched aggressive operations against Palestinians after accusing Hamas officials of orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of three teenage Israeli settlers in the West Bank. reported on Sept. 4 that the Israeli investigation into the triple murder tendered "no evidence that the top leaders of Hamas directed or had prior knowledge of the plot to abduct the three Israeli youths."

On Sept. 1, the United Nations said that 2,104 Palestinians, including at least 1,462 civilians, were killed in Israel's assault on Gaza, and that 66 Israeli soldiers and 7 civilians were killed in Palestinians' response.

Among the dead Palestinian civilians were scores killed after an indiscriminate assault on the Shujaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City. According to Al-Jazeera, the assault was described by an unnamed US military official as being designed to "kill a lot of people in as short a period of time as possible."

No charges for DEA agent who shot innocent grandmother during botched raid

botched_dea raid

© Unknown

Manchester, New Hampshire - A DEA agent who shot an innocent grandmother during a botched raid on her home will not face any charges.

New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster announced last week that the shooting was accidental, therefore no charges will be filed against the agent involved.

The search warrant was served as part of a series of 13 raids to investigate several people allegedly selling prescription painkillers without government authorization.

Lillian Alonzo, 49, was shot through the arm with the bullet lodging in her torso in her Beech St. apartment on Aug. 27.

She survived the wounds, however the bullet remains lodged in her ribs and she has limited function of her arm.

According to the official investigation, the handgun of DEA Agent Michael Connolly accidentally discharged when the agent tried to kick Alonzo's bedroom door in.

The report states that Connolly kicked the door, but it would not open. The third kick ended up breaking through the door, at which point Connolly's foot was caught, causing him to fall back.

As he stumbled backward, he heard a gunshot. Once he regained his feet, Connolly saw his left arm was locked and the handgun looked extremely black.

"He saw his trigger finger along the slide of the gun. He did not remember feeling recoil. 
 He felt time slow down and wondered if the shot he heard was from him. He wondered how that happened," the report reads.

As Connolly regained his hearing, he realized that his fellow officers thought they were being shot at. Connolly holstered his gun and told his fellow officers he had an accidental discharge.

According to Daniel Nunez, Alonzo's son, based on the layout of the room, it is impossible that his mother could have been shot by someone facing the door.

Alonzo's apartment was subsequently torn to shreds in fruitless attempt to locate drugs. "They should give my mom the help she needs. They destroyed everything; they tore up the apartment," Nunez said. He said the DEA should apologize for its actions.

Alonzo is still trying to recover from the injuries sustained from the gunshot. According to Nunez, Medicaid is refusing to pay for Alonzo's physical therapy, which she needs to regain control of her arm.

"She says she was innocent," Nunez said his mother told him after the shooting. She then added: "I don't know why they came to my home."

Nunez said his mother has nothing to do with drugs and doesn't even drink alcohol.
 "That woman has killed not even a cockroach," he said

Alonzo's daughters and her two grand-children were also in the home at the raid, luckily the children were not shot.

According to the Union Leader, the raid coincided with the arrest of two of Alonzo's adult daughters and others on trafficking charges involving oxycodone. The family has said no drugs or weapons were found in Alonzo's Beech Street apartment.

Alonzo, the sole resident of the Beech St. apartment, has not been charged with anything and federal prosecutors have said that charges against her are unlikely.

Unfortunately this is just another terrible side effect of the state's attempt to control personal choice, otherwise known as the war on drugs.

Law enforcement, with the blessing of law makers, lay waste to the lives of others who they claim to be "protecting" in some relentless, immoral, and completely futile attempt to regulate what people can and can't do with their own blood and flesh.

New York doctor now Ebola free, will be released from hospital

Dr. Craig Spencer, shown here in a photo from his LinkedIn profile, is now Ebola-free.

Dr. Craig Spencer, who was diagnosed with Ebola in New York City last month, is now free of the virus and will be released from the hospital Tuesday, city officials said.

"Dr. Spencer poses no public health risk and will be discharged from the hospital tomorrow," the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation said in a statement Monday.

Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician, became the first person to test positive for the deadly virus in the city when he was diagnosed last month after returning from treating patients in Guinea.

Officials said Spencer, 33, was hospitalized after developing a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue.

He has been in isolation at New York's Bellevue Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment.

Word that Spencer went for a jog, traveled the city's vast subway system and went bowling before his diagnosis sparked fears that the number of Ebola cases could grow in the city, but authorities stressed that the risk of him spreading the virus was low.

After being released, he is expected to go to his apartment in the New York City neighborhood of Hamilton Heights.

New York's mayor, hospital and health officials are scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday to discuss the doctor's discharge. Spencer is also set to speak, officials.

The physician, who is employed at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, began work on a number of projects in Africa in recent years, including in Rwanda where he worked to help develop an emergency care teaching curriculum.

He completed his work treating Ebola patients in Guinea on October 12 and left Africa two days later via Europe, arriving at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on October 17. He was diagnosed with Ebola on October 23 - the same day he contacted Doctors Without Borders to report that he had a fever.

Spencer is one of several Americans who've been diagnosed with Ebola, successfully treated in the United States and released from the hospital.

Nigeria school blast in Potiskum kills 47 students


Medics are treating the wounded though reports say the hospital is overcrowded.

At least 46 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said.

A suicide bomber dressed as a student is believed to have caused the blast at the boys' school in Yobe state .

Police suggested the militant group Boko Haram carried out the attack.

Yobe state's governor has shut all public schools around Potiskum and criticised the government for not tackling the group.


In a statement governor Ibrahim Gaidam said: "Urgent action must be taken right now to restore a fast-waning public confidence by doing whatever it takes to stop the escalating violence."

Boko Haram has targeted schools during a deadly five-year insurgency aimed at establishing an Islamic state.

It is waging a sustained campaign to prevent children from going to school. It believes girls should not attend school and boys should only receive an Islamic education.

However thousands of people, not just schoolchildren, have been killed by the group.

On 17 October the Nigerian government claimed to have negotiated a ceasefire with Boko Haram.

But two weeks later the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, denied these claims and said in a video: "We have not made ceasefire with anyone. We did not negotiate with anyone. It's a lie."

'Devastating attack'

The explosion ripped through the assembly hall at the Government Science Secondary School.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told the BBC Hausa service the attack had left 47 people dead, including the suicide bomber. Another 79 were wounded.

Dozens of students were injured so severely medics were unable to save them.

The Big Question: How Will the 99% Deal with 70 Million Psychopaths?

© sott.net

Psychopaths rule our world. 6% of the world's population are born genetic psychopaths. Do you know what that means for the rest of us?

Did you know that roughly one person in a hundred is clinically a psychopath? These individuals are either born with an emotional deficiency that keeps them from feeling bad about hurting others or they are traumatized early in life in a manner that causes them to become this way. With more than 7 billion people on the planet that means there are as many as 70,000,000 psychopaths alive today. These people are more likely to be risk takers, opportunists motivated by self-interest and greed, and inclined to dominate or subjugate those around them through manipulative means.

Last year, the Occupy Movement drew a distinction between the top 1% and the remaining 99% - as distinguished by measures of wealth and income. Of course, this breakdown is misleading since there are many top income earners who sympathize with the plights of others and are not part of the problem. Now the real defining metric reveals itself: 1% of the global population is comprised of people who exhibit psychopathic tendencies.

The global economy we have today is built on a deep history of top-down hierarchies that promote domination and control. There have been plenty of feudal lords, warrior chieftains, and violent dictators throughout the last 6000 years of burgeoning civilization. The modern era saw the ascension of "corporate personhood" as an amoral entity enshrined into law by an 1886 ruling of the US Supreme Court. This provided a new mechanism for mobilizing capital by the moneyed elites to deploy their wealth into the realm of public policy and civil society - creating the dysfunctional economic system we must now contend with as we struggle to address global challenges. We find ourselves in a situation where economic philosophies that celebrate selfishness can be implemented through a web of legal and financial tools that elevate and reward those individuals with psychological tendencies toward self-interest - the same people who also have a predisposition to game social contexts to their advantage regardless of impacts on others. Thus the psychopathic corporation was forged as a Frankenstein monster that enabled the constant flow of psychopathic blood, continuously replenished by the 1% of the population born into psychopathy in each new generation, to rise into positions of power as stock traders, corporate executives, and corruptible politicians.

What can we do collectively to contain and manage this small minority of people who are driven by selfish motives with no concern for others? How must we include them in our plans so that global civilization can transition to a configuration of peaceful cooperation and environmental balance? This is the defining question for global financial stability and environmental sustainability. It runs right to the core of our inability to garner collective action on such systemic challenges as climate change, global poverty, and corporate corruption. It is the central issue of political power that has so far eluded our environmental and social justice movements.

We can start to sketch out the solution by drawing on cross-disciplinary research about human nature and our evolutionary past. The key questions are:

What are the evolutionary advantages for having psychopaths in the gene pool? How did our ancestors keep their anti-social tendencies in check? What is the positive role for psychopaths that needs to be preserved in the new economic system?

Partial answers to these questions can be found in the pioneering work of anthropologist, Christopher Boehm, in his recent book Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame. Professor Boehm has dedicated much of his career to the study of primates in an attempt to explain where pro-social behaviors originally came from. Along the way he realized that a critical piece of the puzzle was how hunter-gatherer tribes dealt with would-be cheaters and dictators in order to maintain an egalitarian ethos in their social groups. Every hunter-gatherer society has a long history of democratic governance that provided cohesion and stability to the small bands of humans who had to cooperate in order to survive long periods of climatic instability and changing landscapes.

These small bands had particular difficulty with their psychopaths when it came to hunting big game. They depended heavily on the wealth of nutrients provided by large animals, yet were unable to successfully acquire meat without cooperation. It was in this context that the cheaters and bullies had to be suppressed - through a consensus process amongst tribal members with the power to ostracize or, in extreme cases, execute these typically male would-be upstarts. They did this to keep them from disrupting the social order that enabled the group to survive and thrive.

Things changed with the invention of agriculture and its associated patterns of human settlement and increasingly sophisticated economic structures. The rise in population size, combined with a division of labor into social castes, enabled the would-be upstarts to sow division in the ranks and rise in power through physical and political domination. The checks-and-balances of tribal society no longer held them in place. And so it happened that the psychopaths in our midst were able to begin the process of consolidating power and manipulating the masses for personal gain.

But why were there psychopaths in the first place? What possible advantage could they bring to the genetic mix that promotes human flourishing? It is vital that we keep in mind that being psychopathic is NOT the same as being violent or criminal. A psychopath is simply a person whose brain does not register stressful feelings when they observe harms inflicted on others. Someone with this characteristic might be more likely to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain, but they quite often are aware of social sanctions (and the punishments that follow) and so constrain their behaviors accordingly.

On the positive side, a person who experiences less emotional angst about harm to self and others is well suited as a risk taker whose attempts to 'rise in the ranks' of material wealth bring pioneering innovations to the group. They also handle the hardships of war and stressful negotiations with other tribes without the compounding harms of emotional trauma that would be inflicted on a more sensitive soul. In today's context, such a person would be a great fit for working as a field medic during times of war (or in the aftermath of a natural disaster) since they could operate on many people without accumulating post traumatic stress disorder.

Such benefits to society may be small in comparison to the harms they inflict upon us all when their power goes unchecked. But the stubborn fact remains that they comprise a persistent part of our progeny - regardless of their perceived worth to the whole - and must be included in our thinking about how to build robust political and economic systems in the future.

With this goal in mind, I'd like to offer some preliminary thoughts about how we can make use of insights like these to both accurately diagnose our root problems and engage in active redesign of global civilization to enable humanity to cooperate on the scales necessary for our long-term survival. First, a few reflections on the nature of the problem:

The primary issue of concern is one of design oversight that failed to include psychopathic tendencies as a parameter for political and economic systems. We simply did not know how to handle them when civilization began 6000 years ago, and have yet to update contemporary global systems to mitigate the potential harms they might cause.

In recent centuries, a set of legal instruments were put in place that encourage and reinforce psychopathic tendencies through a system of incentive structures that reward selfish behaviors. This enabled the misguided philosophies of neoclassical economics and neorealist politics to gain undue influence over our thinking about social policy and institutional design.

A profound gap now exists between what needs to be done to ensure a prosperous future for humanity and the current trajectory of civilization. We must contain the innate psychopathic tendencies that comprise a small portion of the human gene pool if collective action is to be taken that harnesses real economic and political power to tackle global challenges like climate change, human insecurity, and corruption.

Taken together, these observations begin to paint a picture for what the solution looks like. Not only must we stop celebrating greed (and enabling it to run rampant through our policy choices), we also have to provide supports for pro-social cooperative behaviors that embody the altruistic and compassionate aspects of human nature that are expressed through the remaining 99% of us.

A sketch of the solution might look like this:

Gather together the best knowledge we have about human nature - as it emerges from the cognitive and social sciences - to inform the design of institutional policy, legislation, incentive structures, and regulatory bodies. Employ it to critique long-standing assumptions about economic behavior and political power.

Diagnose the current global economy to reveal pathways where psychopathic tendencies are expressed. Target these areas for policy reform as a "damage control" measure while engaging in broader debate about how to build replacement structures.

Create policy-development frameworks that promote cooperative behavior amongst people and with the broader environments on which we depend for our survival. This includes new metrics of success (e.g. replace Gross Domestic Product with more systematic measures like General Progress Indicators or Gross National Happiness), greater investments in societal infrastructure (e.g. public education, medical research, Earth monitoring systems, etc.) that enable us to integrate our increasingly sophisticated knowledge about global change into the management of social and economic systems.

Introduce incentive systems (with clearly defined and enforceable punitive measures) that enable our psychopaths to participate in society in a more beneficial and less disruptive manner. We need to recognize that people with these behavioral tendencies will likely always be part of the societal mix. Helping them find ways to participate as productive members of society will go a long way towards containing the harms they might produce and promoting social cohesion across our pluralistic societies where past harms remain to be fully healed.

I have intentionally set out these parameters at a broad conceptual level because this topic is too nuanced and complex for any one person to hold all the answers. Hopefully what I've written here will encourage you to think more deeply about what is happening in the world - and what role(s) you might fill in helping to create a new economic system that serves us all. It is safe to assume that I've made significant omissions and that much more needs to be brought into the conversation before we can begin to implement the solutions I recommend or any others which improve upon them.

For now, it is my hope that the ideas presented here create new insights for us as we struggle to articulate the path beyond the political impasse that has stalled action on financial reform and climate change in recent years. Perhaps these thoughts will also inform our next steps as we ponder how to improve upon the Occupy Movement and Arab Spring of 2011 to elevate and meld together the social movements of the world into a coherent new economic and political system capable of delivering complex outcomes for our interconnected and rapidly changing world.

Can we contain the 70 million psychopaths in the world today? Only if we come together and create effective sanctions on their destructive behaviors before it's too late. The future still resides in the strength of our communities as we struggle together to find solutions that match the severity of existing threats during these turbulent times. As a recent political slogan decried, "Yes we can!"

And, ultimately, we must if we are to deliver our children into a livable world.

Culture2 Inc., a culture design lab for social good. He is a former fellow of the Rockridge Institute, a think tank founded by George Lakoff to analyze political discourse for the progressive movement.

The Council Of Foreign Relations Apologizes For The "Greenspan Glitch"

CFR has apologized...

To Whom It May Concern

Thank you for pointing out the gap in the video and transcript of our October 29 meeting with Alan Greenspan.

The error was the result of a glitch in our live stream. Full-length CFR event video, audio, and transcripts are posted unedited.

We have reposted the video and transcript of the event.

The audio, which was posted without gaps on October 29, can be found here.

Please excuse the inconvenience.



Jake Meth

Communications Coordinator,

Global Communications and Media Relations

Council on Foreign Relations

Thanks Jake. And we most certainly understand: transcript "glitches", especially when the former Fed Chairman is praising gold over the US Dollar, happen all the time. You are excused.

SOTT FOCUS: Warmonger George Soros on Ukraine: A fascinating insight into the deranged thinking of the Western Empire builders (with commentary)

George Soros: "I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now." Comment made to Fareed Zakaria on CNN, May 25, 2014

The high and mighty George Soros recently published an article about the Ukraine crisis in the New York Review of Books. It is so full of lies, manipulations, and false assumptions that reading it makes your head spin. However, given George Soros' prominent position in Western strategic circles, his article's publication presents a rare opportunity for those of us in the 'reality-based community' to see what the enemy is up to, and what it might do next. And so we've taken some time to 'truth-ify' Soros' anti-Russian screed by picking apart his steaming pile of propaganda.

Let's start with the title:

'Wake Up, Europe'

Soros better hope European politicians and people don't wake up to what's going on or it'll be game over for Washington and the Western global 'elite'.

Europe is facing a challenge from Russia to its very existence.

What??? How can Russia challenge the 'very existence' of a continent, a continent of which it is a part? What in God's name can he mean by this?

Neither the European leaders nor their citizens are fully aware of this challenge or know how best to deal with it. I attribute this mainly to the fact that the European Union in general and the eurozone in particular lost their way after the financial crisis of 2008.

Yeah, thanks in large part to greedy financial terrorists like George Soros.

The fiscal rules that currently prevail in Europe have aroused a lot of popular resentment. Anti-Europe parties captured nearly 30 percent of the seats in the latest elections for the European Parliament but they had no realistic alternative to the EU to point to until recently.

Okay, we guess by "Europe," then, he means the European Union, not the continent. Firstly, the EU, in its current form, is essentially a US-controlled organization. Its economic and fiscal policies are based on the 'Washington Consensus'; its foreign policy and military adventures are based on 'American exceptionalism'; its military-intelligence structures were created by - or taken over by - NATO, MI6 and the CIA. So if one is to criticize 'the EU', as it is, then one is criticizing Washington.

Secondly, the sharp rise in popularity for anti-EU parties across Europe is a reaction to said ideological subservience to the US, not an expression of 'anti-Europeanism' per se. It's natural and logical that Europe as a region would come together and tend towards ever closer integration. What is foreign and unnatural is that that integration would lead to such undemocratic monstrosities as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a US 'CorpGov' project to cement their 'Atlantic Empire'.

We say 'undemocratic' because it in no way reflects the will of the people, who have not once been consulted about whether or not they'd like to live under such a regime. In fact, the EU simply stopped consulting the people when referenda held in France and the Netherlands in 2005 on the proposed EU Constitution returned strong rejections. The EU that Europeans can't stand is the EU that people like Soros were instrumental in shaping.

This is the man whose 'Quantum' hedge fund made $5.5 billion last year, the highest ever, while the vast majority of people in Europe (and the US) have to tighten their belts because speculators like George bloody Soros keep gambling with other people's money.

Now Russia is presenting an alternative that poses a fundamental challenge to the values and principles on which the European Union was originally founded.

Well, this may be true. It all depends on what one considers the "values and principles" of the EU to be. Is it the elevation of an elite technocratic class that eliminates national sovereignty, works in the interests of corporations, and which overrules popular democracy in favor of 'oligarchic democracy'? One which caves in to the demands of the US military empire? One which, in its economic policies, imposes 'austerity' (poverty) to enrich the banksters? Well then, putting forth an alternative to that doesn't sound so bad... unless you're George Soros.

The suggestion he's making here is that the EU is democratic and Russia is not. We'll stand aside and let Putin comment on this:

[The American Empire] is based on the use of force that manifests itself in repression at home and aggression abroad, as opposed to the rule of law.

"Repression at home"... like the evisceration of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Or the horrific Odessa massacre by the Kiev government installed by Western oligarchs like Soros? As for "aggression abroad," which country is responsible for bombing Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan, Libya, and Syria?... no doubt we're forgetting some. If we add covert, 5th generation warfare-style covert aggression, the list expands considerably: Ukraine, Georgia, Venezuela, China, Iran and probably several others we don't even hear about. Remember all those "color revolutions" instigated by the CIA/Neocon-backed National Endowment for Democracy or Soros's own Open Society foundation? Here is a good description of 5th generation warfare, from a Russian perspective:

Arab Leaders Briefed on New Russia Doctrine

Awad Mustafa, Defense News, June 3, 2014

Delegates from 41 nations and international organizations have been briefed in Moscow on the new emerging Russian national security doctrine, which focuses on the global uprisings and revolutions that have affected the Arab world and other regions like Ukraine.

The doctrine holds that the US and its allies are engineering revolutions and uprisings in key areas around the world to destabilize governments and replace existing regimes in order to establish control and exploit natural resources. Furthermore, the doctrine treats the US as a dangerous nation that seeks to dismantle Russian statehood...

Shoygu said the US and western operations through special operations forces, information operations and private military companies have worked together to cause these uprisings, which he called "color revolutions."

Karasik said that in Moscow, Russian security elites are formulating a new Russian security and foreign policy doctrine based on the need to identify and alert the world to US and western desires to capture key states for geopolitical expansionism.

He added that the Arab Spring has caused fractions across the region and now is spreading to West Africa. "Mali is indeed a color revolution where there is a western imposed revolution [that] is breaking up Mali."

Back to Soros:

What is shocking is that Vladimir Putin's Russia has proved to be in some ways superior to the European Union - more flexible and constantly springing surprises. That has given it a tactical advantage, at least in the near term.

Yes, Putin's Russia is "springing surprises" because it has the awareness, the will, and the creativity to counter the imperialist machinations of Western elites. And this has those elites totally enraged to the extent that, like Soros, they are resorting to increasingly desperate and hysterical anti-Russian propaganda campaigns.

Europe and the United States - each for its own reasons - are determined to avoid any direct military confrontation with Russia.

At first glance, this statement would appear to fly in the face of reality: Western elites, by their actions in Ukraine - to say nothing of their callous false-flag MH17 operation - appear to be seeking open military confrontation with Russia. Russia has shown admirable restraint in the face of incessant provocations.

But in fact, this statement confirms something we've been saying for some time at SOTT.net: there will be no actual war because of nuclear 'mutually assured destruction', nor any 'conventional war', because the US might lose - and the US only 'risks' carpet-bombing opponents when it knows they've little or no means of fighting back. What will continue to happen, however, is incessant and desperate efforts to create the illusion that a 'Russia-caused war is imminent'.

Russia is taking advantage of their reluctance. Violating its treaty obligations, Russia has annexed Crimea and established separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine.

It's not so much "taking advantage of their reluctance" as it is 'calling their bluff'.

As for "Russia's annexation of Crimea", whatever happened to the self-determination of peoples, a principle of international law enshrined in Article 1, Chapter 1 of the UN Charter? Russia only "annexed" Crimea after its citizens voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine, then applied to join the Russian Federation. The only reason that referendum in Crimea happened in the first place was because George Soros and friends ushered in a regime of terror in Kiev, which turned around and crushed mass demonstrations against the coup d'état. If ever there was a classic case where Article 1, Chapter 1 of the UN Charter applied, it was this case.

The Crimean peninsula has long been a part of Russia. Soviet Premier Khrushchev, for bureaucratic reasons, transferred Crimea in 1954 to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was a key and committed part of the Soviet Union. Had Khrushchev thought that one day the USSR would dissolve, and that the Ukraine would be 'worked on' to turn it against its natural allegiances, he most likely never would have done that.

Digging a little deeper, Ukraine - which means 'borderlands' - has never been united. If people like George Soros were truly interested in what's best for the people of Ukraine, the people of Europe as a whole, and the cause of world peace, then probably the best solution to this civil war would be to separate eastern and western Ukraine. The US and UK sliced Sudan in half just a couple of years ago, so it's not exactly unfamiliar to Western strategic thinking. Western Ukraine could go its own way, align itself with the West and continue hating all things Russian. Eastern Ukraine could become completely autonomous or follow Crimea into the Russian Federation.

Russophobic Ukrainians, by the way, are descendants of those who fought with the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I and who fought with Hitler in World War II. To illustrate how disunited Ukraine has been historically, 250,000 Ukrainians fought under the Austrian army with the Central Powers in WW1, and 3,500,000 Ukrainians fought with Russia for the Triple Alliance. Just as with any region under the sway of great powers, there is no rarely any "nation" in any natural sense.

Taking Europe as an example, if each and every more-or-less distinct 'ethnic' grouping were designated its own nation-state, the map would look far more broken up than it already is; a veritable patchwork quilt of hundreds of 'nation-states'. The nation-states that have survived down to today were created through bloodshed and ethnic cleansing. Is that what Soros is proposing will make 'the new Ukraine'? How, after the atrocities committed against those in the east, can there be a functioning nation-state called Ukraine?

In August, when the recently installed government in Kiev threatened to win the low-level war in eastern Ukraine against separatist forces backed by Russia, President Putin invaded Ukraine with regular armed forces in violation of the Russian law that exempts conscripts from foreign service without their consent.

"Low-level war"? We don't think what the Kiev regime is doing in Eastern Ukraine to their own citizens can be considered "low-level."

In any event, the great Soros of Oz has it completely backwards: the Donbass rebels - undoubtedly with covert Russian support (hey, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?) - had gained the upper hand by August. This "invasion by Putin's regular armed forces" was in fact an "invasion" of humanitarian aid convoys.

Also, note that Soros uses the term "recently-installed government in Kiev". Not elected, "installed", and by whom do we suppose? The Nuland-Pyatt phone call makes that very clear, and also makes clear the fact that the Kiev government is more of a 'junta' than a representative government. We would also point out that the "installed" Prime Minister - Arseny Yatzenyuk - was later "elected". How convenient (for Washington) is that?

In seventy-two hours these forces destroyed several hundred of Ukraine's armored vehicles, a substantial portion of its fighting force. According to General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, the Russians used multiple launch rocket systems armed with cluster munitions and thermobaric warheads (an even more inhumane weapon that ought to be outlawed) with devastating effect.*

Ooh, an asterisk. Let's see what Soros says in the footnote...

*I am deeply disturbed by a report in The New York Times quoting Human Rights Watch that subsequently - on October 2 and 5 - Ukrainians also used cluster bombs, which I condemn. NATO should clarify both alleged Ukrainian and Russian use of such munitions.

Good to know he's "deeply concerned" about that. But of course, he's only "deeply concerned" about casualties in the east because their suffering at the hands of barbarians made a rare appearance in the New York Times.

No doubt about it, the rebels' advances in August were spectacular. The fact remains, however, that for all its pre-eminent surveillance infrastructure, the best evidence of direct Russian military intervention that NATO and the US State Department could come up with were poor-quality satellite images of what they said were Russian military vehicles parked in fields.

The local militia from the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk suffered the brunt of the losses because they were communicating by cell phones and could thus easily be located and targeted by the Russians. President Putin has, so far, abided by a cease-fire agreement he concluded with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on September 5, but Putin retains the choice to continue the cease-fire as long as he finds it advantageous or to resume a full-scale assault.

Full-scale assault? Even if we accept Soros's premises, a full-scale assault by the Russian military would look rather different from the events that unfolded in Eastern Ukraine. It would look a lot more like the Red Army moving towards Berlin, but with much better weapons. So, at worst, Putin was supporting proxy fighters who opposed Kiev's anti-Russian government because their cause meshed with Russian concerns about NATO encroachment on its borders after the US State Department had overthrown democratically-elected leaders allied with Russia. Which is exactly what the U.S. would do, at minimum, if Russia overthrew the government of Canada or Mexico and tried to get them into some version of the old Warsaw Pact.

George Soros' "new Ukraine"

In any event, Soros' reading of the situation is way off. Since the rebels gained the upper hand, Putin instigated the cease-fire and appears to have ensured the rebels will uphold their side of the bargain, despite non-stop infringements of the Minsk agreement by Kiev forces. It will not be Putin's decision to "resume a full-scale assault": assuming for a minute that he can exercise control over the rebels, then any decision he makes will be on whether or not to defensively re-engage with the Kiev forces, who have not let up their attacks for one minute.

In September, President Poroshenko visited Washington where he received an enthusiastic welcome from a joint session of Congress.

And what a sight it was! Porky-shenko must be a principled statesman to receive such a warm welcome from a joint session of Congress. Oh wait, so did Bibi Netanyahu:

He asked for "both lethal and nonlethal" defensive weapons in his speech. However, President Obama refused his request for Javelin hand-held missiles that could be used against advancing tanks. Poroshenko was given radar, but what use is it without missiles? European countries are equally reluctant to provide military assistance to Ukraine, fearing Russian retaliation. The Washington visit gave President Poroshenko a façade of support with little substance behind it.

'Liberal' Soros should team up with those 'conservative' Republicans who want to send Kiev's Nazi brigades more weapons. Soros may wish for more death and destruction in Ukraine than there has already been, but it appears that the focus for now has shifted to Washington's other proxy war down in the Middle East. It could be that the Washington Crazies can't push things too far in Ukraine because saner heads in Europe can see that they risk losing the country altogether, chiefly by precipitating its complete economic implosion. But that could be giving the Western oligarchy too much credit in the 'common sense' department. More likely is that this was a tactical decision based on current assessments of the global situation. There was a slow build-up over 4 years with respect to the proxy war against Syria, so there is time yet for Washington to 'step on the gas' in Ukraine.

Soros and friends have been playing a long game in Ukraine. Listen to him explain on CNN in May this year how he had 'stay-behind' NGOs in place there 25 years ago, before Ukraine declared independence:

Zakaria Fareed: During the revolutions of 1989 you funded a lot of dissident activities, civil society groups in eastern Europe; Poland, the Czech Republic. Are you doing similar things in Ukraine?

Soros: I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now.

So Soro's foundation in Ukraine played an important part in the creation of conditions that led to a civil war in Ukraine, were Kiev forces have indiscriminately murdered men, women and children, and apparently Soros is proud of that fact.

Equally disturbing has been the determination of official international leaders to withhold new financial commitments to Ukraine until after the October 26 election there (which will take place just after this issue goes to press). This has led to an avoidable pressure on Ukrainian currency reserves and raised the specter of a full-blown financial crisis in the country.

Voting has since taken place. The results were predictable, and the elections a farce. Total turnout was officially 52%, but that result was likely inflated to mask turnouts of 30% in many regions.

By the way, that "full-blown financial crisis" in Ukraine was a long time coming; it was the inevitable result of the IMF sinking its teeth into the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union - and George bloody Soros was party to that (see here for the backstory to 'IMF involvement in Ukraine'). While the current regime's psychopathic short-sightedness has destroyed the industrial heartland of the country in the east, successive Kiev administrations since 'independence' in 1990 have been increasingly beholden to Western and 'nouveaux riche' Ukrainian oligarchs:

The Ukrainian Weekly of December 10, 1995, reported on [Soros'] key involvement in the American-Ukrainian Advisory Committee (AUAC):

The American-Ukrainian Advisory Committee met in New York on November 17-18 [1995] and reiterated its strong conviction that a resilient Ukraine is in the interest of European stability and thus also American security.

Among other things, the AUAC called upon the U.S. Congress, USAID, the IMF, the World Bank, and the EU to shower the Ukrainian government (then run by former Communist Leonid Kuchma). It also encouraged the Ukrainian government to hasten "privatization" by selling "blocks of equity to private investors." Kuchma followed their advice and, as in the former Soviet Union, his false "privatization" scheme transferred enormous state assets into the hands of select former Communist Party members, creating instant billionaire oligarchs, who have dominated Ukraine ever since. Sitting on the UAUC with Soros were one-world CFR heavyweights Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, Frank Carlucci [Carlyle Group], and Michael Jordan [chairman, Westinghouse Corp]. The same one-worlders are pushing the same agenda today, two decades later.

So when Soros is lecturing Ukraine on how to "avoid a full-blown financial crisis", he is neglecting to mention that HE is partly responsible for creating that crisis.

There is now pressure from donors, whether in Europe or the US, to "bail in" the bondholders of Ukrainian sovereign debt, i.e., for bondholders to take losses on their investments as a precondition for further official assistance to Ukraine that would put more taxpayers' money at risk. That would be an egregious error. The Ukrainian government strenuously opposes the proposal because it would put Ukraine into a technical default that would make it practically impossible for the private sector to refinance its debt. Bailing in private creditors would save very little money and it would make Ukraine entirely dependent on the official donors.

You wouldn't happen to be one of those private bondholders, now would you George?

Sovereign debt default is the most sensible option for Ukraine. What Soros absolutely does not want to happen - and take note here of how he speaks for "the Ukrainian government"! - is for Ukraine's debt to be held by other countries ("official donors"), i.e., a mix of Russia, EU countries and possibly the US - to the exclusion of private donors - because that would cut vultures like him out of the loop. Instead the Russian government, as a major creditor of Ukrainian debt, would necessarily be involved in co-managing Ukraine until such time that it again becomes solvent.

In other words, it would put Ukraine back in the exact same boat it was in before last November's US-sponsored, EU flag-waving Maidan movement was initiated... and that came about because the US-EU attempt to rush Ukraine into an 'EU Association Agreement' - which Yanukovich was about to sign until Putin talked sense into him - that would have left the country at the complete mercy of said Western bondholders.

The country today is at the mercy of those bondholders, but only because of that manipulated, bloody coup in February.

To complicate matters, Russia is simultaneously dangling carrots and wielding sticks. It is offering - but failing to sign - a deal for gas supplies that would take care of Ukraine's needs for the winter.

Well excuse Russia for asking for payment for its services!! Of course Russia is wielding sticks: it's up against a Western horde that is wielding sticks, sanctions and a full-scale information war. Unlike the Western leaders wielding sticks, however, Russia is extremely circumspect about it uses those sticks.

Regarding a short-term gas deal to ensure Ukrainians (and European countries) don't freeze this winter, left out of Western narratives is the fact that Gazprom, the Russian government, and Russian banks are owed some $11 billion by Ukraine. Putin has been very lenient towards the extremely hostile Kiev regime and understands perfectly well that if Western powers wanted to give Ukraine sufficient loans with which to repay some of its most pressing outstanding debts to Russia, they could. Putin explained the situation in detail during the recent Valdai Club Q&A.

At the same time Russia is trying to prevent the delivery of gas that Ukraine secured from the European market through Slovakia.

Short of shutting off the gas valves, Russia can't do anything to to physically stop these 'reverse-flow' gas deals from happening. Contracts between Gazprom and European recipients include a 'non re-export' clause that means gas received in individual countries should actually be utilized there for downstream purposes. So far, Slovakia, Germany, and Poland have said they would re-export Russian gas to Ukraine. Russia responded on October 1st by halving gas exports to Slovakia. The Great Winter Gas War of 2014-2015 appeared to be on... until the EU brokered a deal last week that appears to have secured Ukrainian (and thus European) gas supplies this coming winter.

Similarly, Russia is negotiating for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor the borders while continuing to attack the Donetsk airport and the port city of Mariupol.

Did we miss something? Did the Russian army cross the border and attack the Donetsk airport?

Does Soros really believe his own bullshit? How can he acknowledge full Russian cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) while simultaneously expect us to believe that the Russian military has been fighting in Ukraine? Wouldn't someone from the OSCE have noticed that by now?

What actually happened at Donetsk Airport is that Kiev forces began using it as a drop zone for bringing troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine at the beginning of its 'Anti-Terrorist Operations' against the mass uprising in Eastern Ukraine in May. Novorossiyan forces responded to the launching of Grad missiles on the city of Donetsk from the airport by storming it over the summer. Kiev forces dug in at one end of the airport and since the September 5th ceasefire have continued attacks against the city and positions held at the airport by Novorossiyan forces.

It is easy to foresee what lies ahead. Putin will await the results of the elections on October 26 and then offer Poroshenko the gas and other benefits he has been dangling on condition that he appoint a prime minister acceptable to Putin. That would exclude anybody associated with the victory of the forces that brought down the Viktor Yanukovych government by resisting it for months on the Maidan - Independence Square. I consider it highly unlikely that Poroshenko would accept such an offer. If he did, he would be disowned by the defenders of the Maidan; the resistance forces would then be revived.

Is that a threat, George? No doubt you could see to it that "Maidan forces would be revived." Whatever say Moscow has in who becomes Ukraine's PM, as a primary creditor of Ukraine's black hole economy, it is damned well entitled to its input. For now, Yats has no intention of going anywhere, which means that he - as the US State Department candidate - still has Western backing.

Putin may then revert to the smaller victory that would still be within his reach: he could open by force a land route from Russia to Crimea and Transnistria before winter. Alternatively, he could simply sit back and await the economic and financial collapse of Ukraine.

Indeed, Putin has no need to, nor shown any intentions of, 'grabbing territory' in Ukraine. Why would he, given that Ukraine's collapse in inevitable. Soros is projecting onto Putin the intentions of his own vulture class: to pick Ukraine apart and cement a permanently weakened vassal as a 'forward-operating base' from which to launch information, economic and military warfare against Russia.

I suspect that he may be holding out the prospect of a grand bargain in which Russia would help the United States against ISIS - for instance by not supplying to Syria the S300 missiles it has promised, thus in effect preserving US air domination - and Russia would be allowed to have its way in the "near abroad," as many of the nations adjoining Russia are called. What is worse, President Obama may accept such a deal.

It's very interesting that Soros should link these two 'war theaters'. It's no coincidence that 'ISIS' exploded onto the Middle East scene just as Putin sucker-punched the Western Empire in Ukraine. Obama would be wise to accept such a deal, just as when Putin offered him a way out in August 2013 by brokering the deal that saw Assad agree to 'plead guilty' by destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile in exchange for the U.S. calling off airstrikes. Putin saved the US (and Israel) from making a potentially catastrophic error, but still the Neocon and Neoliberal hawks interpreted it as a 'failure'.

Note also that Soros says that Russia could "help the US against ISIS ... by not supplying Syria the S300 missiles". Correct us if we're wrong here, but the Syrian government is fighting against ISIS, so why would the lack of S300 anti-aircraft missiles in the Syrian government armory be seen as helping the US against ISIS? Unless, of course, the US government is using ISIS as a pretext for finishing its 'regime change via phony civil war' in Syria.

That would be a tragic mistake, with far-reaching geopolitical consequences.

You can almost hear Soros, Brzezinski, Albright and other Russophobic neoliberal hawks screaming in unison: "NNNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Don't let Russia escape! We will dominate Russia one way or another!"

Whether he fully realizes it or not, Soros senses US world domination slipping away. This is why, for him, a face-saving climb-down from World War III is a "tragic mistake", not a sensible choice. The "far-reaching geopolitical consequences" would be the end of Western hegemony, 'American exceptionalism', 'manifest destiny' and all that 'chosen-by-God' ideological nonsense masking their boundless greed.

Without underestimating the threat from ISIS, I would argue that preserving the independence of Ukraine should take precedence; without it, even the alliance against ISIS would fall apart.

Translation: 'Ukrainian independence is really Ukrainian dependence on the US, and it must be preserved at all costs. The only reason we created the ISIS mercenary monster in the first place was to use it as a bargaining chip to prevent Russian trade encroachment on 'our Middle East', so if the Ukraine crisis is resolved in Russia's favor, then we no longer have any use for ISIS.'

Ukraine never had much independence, and it certainly has none now. The strings are being pulled by the U.S. The best Ukraine can do is to decide which side they want to be dependent on until they recover. Forget its immediate debts: some analysts calculate that Ukraine needs up to $1.5 trillion to rebuild its economy.

The collapse of Ukraine would be a tremendous loss for NATO, the European Union, and the United States. A victorious Russia would become much more influential within the EU and pose a potent threat to the Baltic states with their large ethnic Russian populations.

In other words, the era of US military and financial-economic domination of Europe would be over. The "potent, existential threat" Soros refers to is the threat that Europe will naturally integrate with its neighbours, and forget all about its paranoid, warmongering North American cousins.

Instead of supporting Ukraine, NATO would have to defend itself on its own soil. This would expose both the EU and the US to the danger they have been so eager to avoid: a direct military confrontation with Russia. The European Union would become even more divided and ungovernable. Why should the US and other NATO nations allow this to happen?

NATO's "own soil"? Right there you get a glimpse into how US empire-builders perceive US military presence in Europe. It's absurd for Soros to say that if the US gives up the ghost on Ukraine, and simply consolidates what it has already acquired, then it will lose everything in Europe. Just cut your losses and revert to the pre-November 2013 status quo! How difficult would that be?

But they can't 'just let go' - they are constitutionally incapable of 'just letting go'. The timeless irony here is that it is precisely because psychopathological Western oligarchs like him are so hell-bent on isolating, regime-changing, and eventually carving up Russia that, with every move they make, the stakes become ever higher for them. The more they give expression to their boundless greed, the more Russia can hold up the mirror, the more Europeans wake up and look east, not west. In this way, yes, Europe becomes increasingly divided and ungovernable... for the anglo-American empire.

Soros' insidious assumption that Russia has 'expansionist' designs on Europe is further contradicted by history. Russia's posture towards the West has always been defensive, and for good reason: Western countries have invaded Russia repeatedly, starting with Napoleon and continuing through 1917 and World War II.

The argument that has prevailed in both Europe and the United States is that Putin is no Hitler; by giving him everything he can reasonably ask for, he can be prevented from resorting to further use of force. In the meantime, the sanctions against Russia - which include, for example, restrictions on business transactions, finance, and trade - will have their effect and in the long run Russia will have to retreat in order to earn some relief from them.

Soros - whose Jewish family experienced Nazism in 1930s Hungary - has some gall to compare Putin with Hitler after his adopted country unleashed born-again Nazis in Ukraine. The only way in which this situation is comparable to the appeasement of Nazi Germany is that modern Germany is appeasing US proxy and economic war against Russia.

In Soros' 'reality-creator' mind, Russia will eventually bow to Western sanctions. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the West's ruling class, Russia is aligning with China and the BRICS. The long-term 'writing on the wall' is that Russia's re-actions will pull the plug on the debt-ridden United States and the stagnating European Union. Moves are afoot to challenge the U.S. dollar's role as the world's main reserve currency. It would be wise for the U.S. and NATO to back down now, while they can, but they won't because they are locked into this ideological mindset that is focused on one single goal: 'WE WANT IT ALL!'

These are false hopes derived from a false argument with no factual evidence to support it. Putin has repeatedly resorted to force and he is liable to do so again unless he faces strong resistance. Even if it is possible that the hypothesis could turn out to be valid, it is extremely irresponsible not to prepare a Plan B.

..."false arguments with no factual evidence to support them" perfectly sums up Soros' article. Think about what he's trying to convince readers of here: that there's no evidence that Putin is not 'a Hitler'! On the contrary, the overwhelming factual evidence suggests Putin is a rare breed: a strong leader with a conscience.

There are two counterarguments that are less obvious but even more important. First, Western authorities have ignored the importance of what I call the "new Ukraine" that was born in the successful resistance on the Maidan. Many officials with a history of dealing with Ukraine have difficulty adjusting to the revolutionary change that has taken place there. The recently signed Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine was originally negotiated with the Yanukovych government. This detailed road map now needs adjustment to a totally different situation. For instance, the road map calls for the gradual replacement and retraining of the judiciary over five years whereas the public is clamoring for immediate and radical renewal. As the new mayor of Kiev, Vitali Klitschko, put it, "If you put fresh cucumbers into a barrel of pickles, they will soon turn into pickles."

Oh boy, Soros is quoting former World boxing champion Vitali 'Do-Your-Homework-Klits' Klitschko! As evidenced by the paltry turnout in Ukraine's 'free-and-fair democratic elections', the radical change Ukrainians (of all stripes) want is a radical break from the radical Nazi nutzoids the US put into power.

Contrary to some widely circulated accounts, the resistance on the Maidan was led by the cream of civil society: young people, many of whom had studied abroad and refused to join either government or business on their return because they found both of them repugnant. (Nationalists and anti-Semitic extremists made up only a minority of the anti-Yanukovych protesters.)

Maybe... but the Nazi element provided the muscle and took over the internal security posts in the new government. Nowhere in all of these color revolutions has the neoliberal "cream of civil society" been able to seize power on their own or accomplish anything that actually benefits said 'civil society'. If that were the case, then the U.S. wouldn't have had to bring in the fascist militias and the 'unknown snipers'.

They are the leaders of the new Ukraine and they are adamantly opposed to a return of the "old Ukraine," with its endemic corruption and ineffective government.

...caused by Western oligarchs turning it into a Mafia State in the 1990s. If Ukrainians ally themselves with the West, they will get more of the same: IMF austerity, exploitation by big banks and corporations, and ineffective government. The IMF always insists on ineffective governments; otherwise they couldn't do what they always do.

The new Ukraine has to contend with Russian aggression, bureaucratic resistance both at home and abroad, and confusion in the general population. Surprisingly, it has the support of many oligarchs, President Poroshenko foremost among them, and the population at large.

Well don't that just beat all!? Oligarchs who support the 'new' and 'democratic' Ukraine! Yes, George, they support it because they see in it 'a place where we can do business without the silly conventions of those other people [i.e., human beings] getting in the way'.

There are of course profound differences in history, language, and outlook between the eastern and western parts of the country, but Ukraine is more united and more European-minded than ever before. That unity, however, is extremely fragile.

What kind of schizoidal, paralogical nonsense is that? If there are "profound differences in history, language, and outlook," then how can Ukraine be more united than ever before? How in God's name can Soros call a country in the midst of a bloody civil war "united"? Then he calls this extremely divided and bloody "unity" "extremely fragile"? Why is anyone listening to this decrepit old crook? He should stay at home praying for a happy death and give us all a rest from his ramblings. Go write your memories George, and make believe that anyone gives a damn.

The new Ukraine has remained largely unrecognized because it took time before it could make its influence felt. It had practically no security forces at its disposal when it was born. The security forces of the old Ukraine were actively engaged in suppressing the Maidan rebellion and they were disoriented this summer when they had to take orders from a government formed by the supporters of the rebellion. No wonder that the new government was at first unable to put up an effective resistance to the establishment of the separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine. It is all the more remarkable that President Poroshenko was able, within a few months of his election, to mount an attack that threatened to reclaim those enclaves.

That may be how Soros thinks it played out from the vantage point of his castle in the sky, but down here in objective reality, it actually played out like this: in reaction to the February 21st US-backed cup d'état in Kiev, there were anti-Maidan protests across the country, with the largest and most determined being in the east. The new Kiev junta then launched 'anti-terrorist operations' against these popular eastern uprisings, leveling whole towns. Raiding police and military depots, just as Right Sektor fascists had done in and around Kiev, these rebels took up arms to defend themselves from Kiev's NATO-and-EU-backed onslaught of Ukrainian oligarchy-and-NATO-funded fascist militias, conscripted Ukrainian Army troops, and mercenaries from Poland, the US, Czech Republic and elsewhere. As a result of these attacks, the rebels in the east declared "separatist enclaves", and have successfully fended off blunt and ineffective assaults from Western forces, with some degree of covert (military) and overt (humanitarian aid) Russian assistance.

To appreciate the merits of the new Ukraine you need to have had some personal experience with it. I can speak from personal experience although I must also confess to a bias in its favor. I established a foundation in Ukraine in 1990 even before the country became independent. Its board and staff are composed entirely of Ukrainians and it has deep roots in civil society. I visited the country often, especially in the early years, but not between 2004 and early 2014, when I returned to witness the birth of the new Ukraine.

Uh oh, now he's going the full Thomas Friedman on us. Next he'll tell us about a conversation he had with a taxi driver on the way to the hotel from the airport. Say no more George, we get it: you got the ball rolling on this regime change operation back in the 1980s and want to claim ownership of it. You witnesses the birth of something in Ukraine this year for sure, but it wasn't a 'new and democratic society', it was more of a grotesque monster, the hideous progeny of NATO warmongers and atavistic Ukrainian Nazis.

I was immediately impressed by the tremendous improvement in maturity and expertise during that time both in my foundation and in civil society at large. Currently, civic and political engagement is probably higher than anywhere else in Europe. People have proven their willingness to sacrifice their lives for their country. These are the hidden strengths of the new Ukraine that have been overlooked by the West.

Here's an idea George: why don't you pay a long overdue visit to Ukraine and talk to these women whose sons and husbands sacrificed their lives for your 'civil' regime. Ask them what they think of your bloody revolution.

The other deficiency of the current European attitude toward Ukraine is that it fails to recognize that the Russian attack on Ukraine is indirectly an attack on the European Union and its principles of governance.

How can it be said that Russia is "attacking" Ukraine by giving much-needed aid to people who would otherwise have been completely slaughtered by now? People in the West should know that Russian nationalists were angry with Putin, who has been very restrained, for not doing more to protect Russians in eastern Ukraine. The Russian government has gone out of its way to change public sentiment in Russia from a pro-war footing to pro-peace.

In his twisted, psychopathic way, what Soros is getting at here is that the EU's "principles of governance" are synonymous with US "principles of governance" - which amount to 'ride roughshod over anyone anywhere on the planet, then smear the blood-stained walls with a thin veneer of freedom and democracy' - and that said "principles" are under threat of being ditched by the EU if its member states 'go over to the dark side' (in truth, the 'good' side) by recognising objective reality, 'which side their bread is buttered on', and aligning themselves with Russia.

It ought to be evident that it is inappropriate for a country, or association of countries, at war to pursue a policy of fiscal austerity as the European Union continues to do. All available resources ought to be put to work in the war effort even if that involves running up budget deficits.

So get this; old psycho George is scolding the EU for imposing austerity measures on its citizens after the bankers stole all the money, NOT because it has impoverished millions of EU citizens, but because it has also led to a reduction in EU military budgets which, according to George, should be increased be cause the EU is "at war" with Russia! Hey George, here's a great idea, why not further eviscerate social security budgets in EU countries and spend the money on weapons to defend against the impending Commie invasion! All those families and pensioners will feel so much more secure! Soros can take his "do as we do: spend, spend, spend! Print money if you have to! It doesn't matter if you run up trillions in debt! You'll be first in line for handouts from US, rulers of the world!" ideology and shove it.

The fragility of the new Ukraine makes the ambivalence of the West all the more perilous. Not only the survival of the new Ukraine but the future of NATO and the European Union itself is at risk. In the absence of unified resistance it is unrealistic to expect that Putin will stop pushing beyond Ukraine when the division of Europe and its domination by Russia is in sight.

Altogether now, on three... THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!

This is completely insane; a classic case of pure psychopathic projection. NATO has been expanding to Russia's borders for twenty years now and has begun trying to destabilize Russia and China. So it makes sense that those in charge of this effort, and Soros has been right at the center of this, would project their own pathological drives onto other leaders. Putin must drive them crazy! Which is, in the end, heartening. We do love to see psycho warmongers like Soros squirm.

Having identified some of the shortcomings of the current approach, I will try to spell out the course that Europe ought to follow. Sanctions against Russia are necessary but they are a necessary evil. They have a depressive effect not only on Russia but also on the European economies, including Germany. This aggravates the recessionary and deflationary forces that are already at work. By contrast, assisting Ukraine in defending itself against Russian aggression would have a stimulative effect not only on Ukraine but also on Europe. That is the principle that ought to guide European assistance to Ukraine.

This is the worst possible advice Soros could give Germany (and the EU as a whole). Remember what we said about Ukraine's economy being a black hole? The "assistance" Soros has in mind would come in the form of IMF loans attached to 'structural conditionalities', whereby Ukraine would be restructured along lines dictated to it by Washington and Wall Street, who expect EU countries to just 'take a hit for the team' by bailing out Ukraine and nose-diving their own economies deeper into recession. The money Ukraine receives would be in the hands of people who are conducting genocide against their own people and are more than happy for the conflict to spill over into Russia. In fact, recently 'democratically-elected' Ukrainian MPs are calling for launching a terror campaign in Russia. If the EU assists the Kiev regime in this endeavour - whether directly or indirectly - while maintaining an economic war-footing with Russia, then it is falling on its own sword for Soros and the Anglo-Zio-American 'reality-creators', with absolutely zero gain for its own interests.

Germany, as the main advocate of fiscal austerity, needs to understand the internal contradiction involved. Chancellor Angela Merkel has behaved as a true European with regard to the threat posed by Russia. She has been the foremost advocate of sanctions on Russia, and she has been more willing to defy German public opinion and business interests on this than on any other issue. Only after the Malaysian civilian airliner was shot down in July did German public opinion catch up with her.

His use of the passive voice here is interesting. Even in such an inflammatory 'analysis' as this, Soros could not explicitly state that Russia shot down the Malaysian airliner. Such evidence that has leaked out points to the "defenders of Maidan" being responsible, although ultimate responsibility undoubtedly lies with the 'reality-creators' in Washington and London. Soros has the luxury of not needing to regurgitate the lie that Russia directly or indirectly had anything to do with MH17 being shot down because that lie has already run its course and served its purpose: to sway European public opinion against Russia, the truth or innocent lives be damned.

The remainder of Soros' article lays out his plan to 'save' the "new Ukraine" by having the IMF essentially re-mortgage Ukraine's debt with the 'full faith and credit of the US dollar'. In other words, by doing whatever it takes to avoid the country going into sovereign debt default and thus under the management of state institutions (foreign and domestic) rather than private bankers. Soros reckons, correctly, that the "new Ukraine" he and his kind have created is sufficiently compliant to fully cooperate with Western oligarchs who will asset-strip the country and use it as a base of attacks against Russia.

Arguably the truest thing Soros writes is that it is "high time for the European Union to wake up and behave as [though] indirectly at war." Yes, a proxy war is underway, but no, the Russian government is not the EU's enemy: the American regime is. There is as yet no war between Europe and Russia, as much as Soros would like there to be by repeatedly stating this to be the case. In conclusion, Soros writes:

It is also high time for the European Union to take a critical look at itself. There must be something wrong with the EU if Putin's Russia can be so successful even in the short term. The bureaucracy of the EU no longer has a monopoly of power and it has little to be proud of. It should learn to be more united, flexible, and efficient. And Europeans themselves need to take a close look at the new Ukraine. That could help them recapture the original spirit that led to the creation of the European Union. The European Union would save itself by saving Ukraine.

No, the EU will destroy itself by 'saving' the US-imposed regime in Kiev. What is "wrong" with the EU is that it is insufficiently malleable to Anglo-American interests. Soros' "new Ukraine", where Nazism is officially sanctioned, embodies precisely the opposite spirit to that which led to the creation of the European Union: 'Never Again!' And yet, here we are again, with the anglo-American Empire attempting to push the Europeans and Russians into another continental conflagration.

The contradiction Europe finds itself in today vis-à-vis Russia is that it is under US control, but isn't yet ready to either acknowledge or confront that fact. As large as it is, the EU is currently a vassal of the American Empire; its true interests are not in alignment with the interests of those who control the Empire. It is certainly in the EU's interest to maintain good relations with Russia, but they are being led by the nose by the Empire and people like Soros to fight a war with Russia (not to mention fighting the Empire's wars in the Middle East) - whatever the costs.

WHATEVER the costs. The Washington Crazies will take Europe down with them before seeing it secede and integrate within Eurasia. Just ask Christophe de Margerie, the French Total oil magnate whose pro-Russian, anti-dollar stance brought him to an abrupt end on a Moscow runway.

Soros has it completely wrong: the American Empire, not 'Europe', is facing "a challenge from Russia to its very existence", and its about time.

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Ferguson police gear up for worst-case scenario resulting from Michael Brown grand jury decision

ferguson riot

USA Today is pointing out the obvious - that anxiety over the grand jury's yet-to-be released decision over the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown is growing. A response is mounting to the potentially explosive news:

No matter what a grand jury decides in the case of a white Ferguson police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, people will take to the streets, whether in anger or celebration.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III has said he is preparing for "all worst-case scenarios" when the grand jury finally speaks. Police are gearing up for riots. Since August, police have spent more than $100,000 stocking up on body armor, tear gas, handcuffs and other crowd control items.

The [Don't Shoot] coalition created a list of 19 demands they dubbed "rules of engagement," including a plea to police to avoid using armored vehicles, tear gas, rubber bullets or rifles, and to don riot gear only as a last resort.

Police, however, are not ruling out riot gear in an area that has already seen violent protesters, and in turn, heavy handed tactics against protesters and members of the media.

St. Louis County police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schellman said:

"We hope that there are peaceful protests and that there's no violence, but if there is violence or criminal activity that breaks out of the peaceful protests, we have to be prepared for that as well."

Recently, hacktivists from Anonymous released leaked information claiming that Darren Wilson will NOT be indicted, and said that 'virtually every local police agency as well as the National Guard and all local jails are on high alert,' seemingly supporting the case for no charge and an uncivil public reaction:

On or about November 10, 2014 the Grand Jury decision will be announced. Darren Wilson will NOT be indicted on ANY charges related to the murder of Mike Brown. All local police Chiefs and jail commanders have been notified to begin preparing for major civil unrest. Governor Nixon has been notified of the impending announcement and has ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin preparations for a possible re-enstatement of the martial law that was declared at the beginning of the Ferguson protests.

If you thought all hell had already broken loose in Ferguson, get ready.

Five surprising health benefits of sweating

© Robert Hays, Airplane

Sweating can be embarrassing if you're at school, work, or spending a night out on the town. Sweat marks and the stench could leave you in a pit of embarrassment but could also be beneficial to your health. The almost 1 liter of sweat our bodies produce per day can strengthen our immune system and give us healthy-looking skin.

Dr. Adebola Dele-Michael, a dermatologist at Radiant Skin Dermatology and Laser in New York City told Medical Daily in an email: "Sweating is the way the body and the skin protects itself from overheating. Sweating also increases the blood circulation in the body." The drips of perspiration is proof our body has a built-in mechanism for keeping cool, which can help open up and unclog pores. The droplets consist primarily of water, as well as concentrations of sodium and chloride, and potassium to an extent, according to HowStuffWorks.

Don't be afraid to sweat it out with these six health benefits that actually don't stink.

1. Boosts Endorphins

Prolonged sweating is expected to occur at the gym during an intense workout or even brisk walking in the sun. Exercising increases the level of the "feel-good" endorphin hormones that are naturally released during physical activity. A 2009 study published in the journalBiology Letters found group workouts actually increase endorphin levels and cause less pain for those who work out together than those who train alone. Sweating it out during a group exercises like Zumba or hot yoga can help put a smile on your face.

2. Detoxifies Body

One of the most efficient ways to detox your body - without the juicing - is to sweat. Sweating can flush the body of substances of alcohol, cholesterol, and salt. The body releases toxins by using sweat as the conduit. "Sweat purges the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes," Dele-Michael said.

A 2011 study published in the journal Archives of Environmental and Contamination Toxicologyfound many toxic elements appeared to be excreted through sweat. Induced sweating appears to be a potential method for the elimination of many toxic elements from the human body. Researchers believe sweat analysis could be considered as an additional method for the monitoring of toxic elements in humans rather than just blood and/or urine testing.

3. Lowers Kidney Stone Risk

Sweating can be an effective way to sweat out the salt and retain calcium in your bones. This limits the accumulation of salt and calcium in the kidneys and urine, which is where the stones come from. It is no coincidence people who sweat tend to drink more water and fluids, which is another prevention method for kidney stones.

A study presented at the 2013 American Urological Association conference in San Diego, Calif., found even walking for a couple of hours a week could cut the risk for developing kidney stones. Mild to moderate activity changes the way the body handles nutrients and fluids that affect stone formation. Sweating helps flush out the system more efficiently because it demands more hydration from the body.

4. Prevents Colds And Other Illnesses

Perspiring can actually help fight tuberculosis germs and other dangerous pathogens. Dr. Diane De Fiori, a dermatologist at the Rosacea Treatment Clinic in Melbourne, Australia, toldMedical Daily in an email: "Sweat contains antimicrobial peptides effective against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. These peptides are positively charged and attract negatively charged bacterial, enter the membranes of bacteria, and break them down."

A 2013 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences proved dermcidin is a highly effective tool to fight not only tuberculosis germs but other dangerous bugs. The researchers believe these natural substances are more effective in the long-term than traditional antibiotics because germs are not capable of quickly developing resistance to them. The natural antibiotic is naturally activated in salty, slightly acidic sweat.

5. Zaps Zits

Your pores open up when you sweat and that releases the buildup inside them. According to Dele-Michael, "Sweat purges the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes."

These skin benefits only apply to mild or moderate sweating. Excessive sweating, formally known as hyperhidrosis, can actually predispose individuals to skin infections such as warts and tinea. "Eczema and rashes occur more often in people with hyperhidrosis," De Fiori said.

Sweating does have its pros and cons when it comes to your health. To avoid sweating profusely, avoid triggers such as caffeine and wearing natural materials, De Fiori said, and opt for possible treatments like prescription antiperspirants, and even Botox. Remember, it's OK to sweat it out when you dance or workout.