Wednesday, 31 December 2014


Falic Fanatic

The name Sheldon Adelson, the right-wing, pro-Israel casino mogul who has bankrolled the Republican Party, rings a bell for close observers of American politics. But how about the Falic family?

The Falics should be just as well known. Members of the family have donated millions of dollars to pro-Israel U.S. politicians from both parties. Beneficiaries of their largesse include GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney; Democrats Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Eliot Engel; the Republican National Committee; and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In addition, the family hasgiven hundreds of thousands of dollars to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political campaigns.

They have made their money through Duty Free America, which operates stores in airports around the U.S and the world where consumers buy tax-free products.

Leon Falic and his brothers bought the company in 2001. The Florida-based Falic Family Private Foundation, which receives the bulk of its funds from Duty Free Americas, has given money to a variety of pro-Israel causes, including West Bank settlements. And on December 28, the family is set to donate a Torah to Ariel University’s synagogue in honor of Fima Falic, who died in 2012. Israeli politicians will join the family in a ceremony that day. Nily Falic, the wife of the late Fima, is the national chairperson of the Friends of the IDF, a multi-million dollar operation that gives tax-free donations to the Israeli army.

The Falics are one of a number of wealthy, right-leaning Jewish American families that fund Israel’s and America’s right-wing politicians and illegal settlement projects. Hundreds of millions of dollars from U.S. tax-free foundations are poured into Israeli West Bank settlements every year. Taken together, the funds that originate in the U.S. are used for everything from infrastructure to business to security, solidifying Israeli control over the West Bank and putting a Palestinian state further out of reach.

A Duty Free Americas’ employee told me over the phone the Falics were not available for comment until Monday.

In addition to boosting the coffers of Netanyahu, Romney and Wasserman Schultz, the Falic Family has sponsored students to take a Zionist Organization of America-sponsored trip to Israel, where they visited the Falic-owned Psagot Winery, located in the settlement of Psagot, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. After Fima Falic died, the Zionist Organization of America released a statement extending “condolences to the entire Falic family on the sudden passing of Fima Falic, true Zionist and generous Israel supporter.” And as Mondoweiss’ Allison Deger reported in 2012, the family also funded an archeological dig in the settlement of Shiloh.

Tax forms I reviewed provide more details on the Falic family’s wealth, but the only detailed accounting of where donations went is in the records for fiscal year 2006. That year, the foundation gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a range of groups related to Israel, including: $43,000 to the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, which funds East Jerusalem settlements; $15,000 to the American Friends of Likud; $104,000 to a U.S. charity that funds a yeshiva in the Hebron settlement of Kiryat Arba, populated by the most extreme Israeli settlers; $85,000 to the Central Fund of Israel, another settlement fundraising vehicle; and $63,600 to Manhigut Yehudit, the Jewish Leadership movement run by Member of Knesset Moshe Feiglin, who has proposed paying Palestinians to move out of Gaza and called for the “conquest” and “annihilation” of people in Gaza.

On December 28, the Falic family will make another show of support for West Bank settlements. Nearly 20 Falic family members are set to participate in a ceremony at Ariel University marking the donation of the Torah, according to a press statement sent by Ariel University. The family members who will participate include Nily, national chairperson of the Friends of the IDF, and Simon, the chairman of Duty Free Americas. Also participating in the ceremony will be Likud Member of Knesset Limor Livnat (who announced her retirement earlier this month), the mayor of Ariel and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the religious leader for the Western Wall.

Ariel University is in the mega-settlement of Ariel, located deep in the occupied West Bank. In late 2012, the Israeli military recognized the university as an accredited Israeli school, the first school in a settlement to receive that recognition. (The Israeli military has authority to over the West Bank, which includes the granting of accreditation for schools.) That decision led 165 professors to publicly calling for the boycott of Ariel University.

In September, Ariel University’s administration fired an Israeli professor named Amir Hetsroni after he penned articles in Haaretzthat criticized settlements, including Ariel.

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2014: Two Events that Shook the World

The year 2014 has been a sensational year. It is the year that some hasten to bookmark as the year World War III began unobtrusively, stealthily, inexorably – involving as-yet indeterminate contestants. The tumultuous arrival of the Islamic Caliphate spearheaded by the Islamic State, the outbreak of the Ebola virus, kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram – the year has had its fair share of blood-curdling events.
It has been the year that the US economy showed credible signs of recovery, but in which the US also admitted defeat in a half-century old campaign to bring the Cuban revolution down on its knees. Truly, the ascendancy of right-wing Hindu fundamentalism in India, a country of 1.3 billion people, makes it an important year for a turbulent region.
All these are significant things to be noted in their own ways, but their enduring consequence to the world order remains unclear and the probability is that they may turn out to be ephemeral, although arresting at first sight for the present – ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’, in the ultimate analysis.
However, it is two major international developments that form a cluster by itself because of their profound impact on the future trajectory of world order. They are: the crisis in Ukraine and the emergence of China as the world’s largest economy.

Ukraine crisis

No single international development in the year 2014 sent such shock waves through world politics as the crisis that erupted in Ukraine following the US-sponsored ‘regime change’ in Kiev in February. At times it seemed that the international order has begun unraveling or is galloping uncontrollably toward such a process, with the United Nations reduced to a hapless observer.
At its core, the Ukraine crisis underscores that the US-led security order has been most seriously challenged by a rising non-Western power – Russia. Second, the European order has come face to face, even if implicitly, with an organizing principle based on legitimizing spheres of influence, which, having sheltered under the umbrella of a military alliance, the West never needed to explicitly accept.
Again, on an international normative terrain, the Western ideas of international order have been contested in Ukraine. The heart of the matter is that while superficially professing respect for international law, the US and Europe have been freely acting outside it to advance their interests – which, essentially, was what Kosovo, Iraq and Libya have been all about – and Russia has held out a mirror at this essentially illiberal world order, finally, and is demanding a realistic, rational calibration, failing which Moscow will offer resistance in political terms as well as through military deterrence if it becomes necessary.
Clearly, the world has not taken the West’s side in the Ukraine crisis. Even Western allies have not all joined the standoff with Russia – Italy, Hungary, Japan, Turkey or South Korea, for example. On the one hand, the non-western countries’ (the ‘Rest’) stance of equivalence between the controversial ‘regime change’ sponsored by the West in Ukraine and the subsequent Russian actions in Ukraine is tantamount to a rejection of the West’s self-identification as the guarding of the ‘liberal’ order, while on the other hand it is also a reflection of the non-Western countries’ perceptions that the West enjoys an unjustified position of privilege in the international system.
The point is, the West’s propensity to ‘weaponize’ the international system at its will through financial sanctions, asset freezes and collective embargos and boycotts has long been resented by the ‘Rest’. The Ukraine crisis promises to be the beginning of the denouement of economic sanctions as a key instrument of contemporary US coercive power.
The attention of the western media has been on the travails on the Russian economy, which blithely overlooks that the country was already entering a period of recession by the end of last year and if anything, the western sanctions have lent urgency to the Russian leadership regarding critical need of a profound economic restructuring. On the other hand, the US has overreached by going for Russia, the world’s ninth largest world economy, and this may well become the economic counterpart of the kind of military overreach that American power encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The probability is high that the urge to impose the sanctions on Russia and to drag a reluctant EU into the enterprise would only systemically affect the future potency of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, since, ironically, Europe too might join the ‘Rest’ to question the desirability of being exposed (as it has been during the Ukraine crisis) to the predilections and political moods of the US Treasury.
The possibility cannot be ruled out that there is a US-Saudi hidden agenda to inflict pain on the Russian economy by engineering the dramatic drop in oil prices by half. The agenda will never be acknowledged and it cannot be conclusively established, but it cannot be ruled out, either. At any rate, the drop in oil prices has consequences all around for the world economy.
Equally, Ukraine crisis is accelerating the European strategy to reduce energy dependence on Russia, while on the other hand the decline in demand in the European market in combination with a long-term strategy to tap into the fast-growing Asia-Pacific market is prompting Russia to ‘look East’ for energy exports. The prospects for a serious Middle East energy pivot for Europe remain unclear as of now, and may prove elusive, but Russia’s ‘pivot’ to the Asian region is gaining traction and its impact on world energy politics cannot be underestimated.
Finally, the very future of the Western consensus hangs in the balance today due to the Ukraine crisis. The US’s trans-Atlantic leadership, European unity and the NATO’s future crucially gained due to the escalation in Ukraine. Having said that, these strategic ‘gains’ have been achieved through enormous political pressure from Washington.
However, European unity, in particular, is showing signs of fraying at the edges. No doubt, it is fragile and is lacking in leadership. Simply put, Ukraine crisis has exposed that Europe lacks a format for crisis management or a long-term strategy towards Russia.
This is already manifesting as relatively low-common-denominator reactions to the developments in Ukraine on the part of the European Union and the competing streams of opinion in Brussels in determining the EU policy in the future. All this makes the current Western consensus increasingly difficult to sustain.

End of American Century

In plain terms, America ceased to be the world’s number one economy in 2014. As Christmas was approaching, the Chinese economy just came from behind and overtook the US economy to become the largest in the world. The International Monetary Fund reported in December that when the national economic output is measured in ‘real’ terms of goods and services, China will have produced $17.6 trillion compared with America’s $17.4 trillion in the year 2014.
Put differently, China now accounts for 16.5 percent of the global economy when measured in real purchasing terms, compared with 16.3 percent for the US. If one recalls that last year China also surpassed the US for the first time in terms of global trade, it is at once clear that there has been a tectonic shift in the balance of power this year with a high reading on the Richter scale.
What it points at is that China is showing a growth rate despite the recent slowdown, which no other ten nations can match, and the trend is pointing clearly at a widening gap in coming years.
History shows that economic power is ultimately the crucial determinant of political and military power. The rise of Imperial Britain was inextricably linked to its emergence as the world’s workshop in the 18th century and the subsequent rise of colonialist capitalism, while its relative economic decline accounted for its fall by the middle of the last century, thanks to the de-colonization and the loss of captive markets that gathered momentum after World War II. Other hegemonic powers in modern history – Portugal, Spain or France – also have similar tales to tell.
Of course, 2015 will arrive in a natural course and nothing much may seem to have changed. China, in fact, is only too eager to project that it still lags far behind the US and is a mere developing country.
Clearly, what China wants to do with its new status becomes as much its business as the world’s concern. The issues are many: How to combine continued growth – and the stability that is needed for that – with the influence that befits the rise in China’s stature? As for China’s Leninist leadership, how is such phenomenal change to be reconciled with the stasis at home? How to keep the grip on political power in a society that is undergoing mammoth transformation? How to tamp down belligerent nationalism while insisting on legitimate self-assertion?
Most certainly, China does not subscribe to the imperial view of the world as a source of tribute and in modern times it has embraced the Westphalian principle of sovereign states distinguished by their wealth and power but not by qualitative hierarchy. Yet, China also happens to be a civilization pretending to be a state and may want to do something more and, at the very least, take back the place that foreigners stole from it. The Silk Road initiatives announced this year seem to fit into this paradigm.
Even China’s worst detractors do not allege that it harbors notions of global domination. Indeed, China’s preferred parish remains Asia and its engagement with the Middle East or Africa and Latin America – even Europe – is transactional and there are no imperial overtones there. At the end of the day, there are more poor people in China than anywhere else in the world – except India, of course. And the Chinese leadership’s priorities are clear when 160 million people in the country still eke out a livelihood from $1.25 a day. It is only natural that China wants to have minimal engagements abroad save those that burnish its image as a great power.
Meanwhile, China has also studied and learned lessons from the havoc wrought by the militarization of American foreign policy. It is therefore clear-headed about how far to go on Syria or Ukraine. The first idea in conflict resolution in the world arena is seldom, if ever, China’s.
Nonetheless, China’s small Asian neighbors will forever worry that China is a big country and «other countries are small countries and that is a fact». The year 2014 may be seen as the turning point when China’s quest to regain its centrality in Asia – economically and militarily – may have progressed in large measure, which it enjoyed through much of history. But China still lacks the power of attraction and remains largely an enviable development model. China stands on the verge of greatness as it leaves 2014 behind.
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Sheikh Imran Hosein :Destruction of American Empire, Russia and UK,Israel New Super Power

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Larijani from Iraq Vows Iran to Stand by Iraqi Gov’t in ISIL Fight

Iran’s Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said Tehran will continue to stand by the Iraqi government and nation in the fight against ISIL terrorists.

Larijani in Iraq“The Islamic Republic of Iran has been trying to help establish democracy and a national unity government in Iraq since the beginning of the new era in the country and now that Iraq suffers from the scourge of the ISIL terrorist grouping, the Islamic Republic considers it a duty to help its Iraqi brothers,” Larijani said during a meeting with Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi in Tehran on Tuesday.

Larijani added that Iran has stood and will stand by the Iraqi government and people.

The Iranian official said big powers created terrorism in a bid to undermine the trend of development and democracy in Syria and Iraq and now the scourge threatens the entire region.

Larijani also praised the reinforcement of the national unity government in Iraq and said solidarity among different Iraqi groups would help resolve problems and tread the path toward development.

For his part, Obeidi, praised Iran’s help to his country in different areas. He also said Baghdad is resolute in wiping out terrorists in the country.

The Takfiri ISIL militants hold some parts of Iraq and Syria under their control.

Iraqi forces, supported by the nation, have made gains against the terrorists in different parts of the Arab country, liberating towns and villages.

Source: Press TV
31-12-2014 - 11:35 Last updated 31-12-2014 - 11:35 

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US vetoes Palestinian statehood bid at UN Security Council

“Israel” to Open Proximity Talks with Security, Water Demands and 187,000 Israeli Homes Planned in Occupied Jerusalem

SYRIA 360°

Posted on December 30, 2014 
RT logoThe UN Security Council has failed to adopt the Arab coalition’s bid calling for the creation of a Palestinian state and an end to Israeli “occupation”. The US and Australia voted against the move with 5 abstentions.
The draft resolution gathered only 8 votes in favour, so it was automatically defeated. The US however still used its veto power and voted against the resolution. Another veto power state, the UK, along with Lithuania, Nigeria, Korea and Rwanda have abstained from the vote.
An official bid for statehood was submitted to the Council Tuesday by a Jordan-led Arab coaltion. The bid featured a revised draft resolution of a similar proposal submitted earlier this month. Delegates voted on the measure Tuesday afternoon.
Highly opposed by the US and Israel, the first version of the draft resolution was submitted “in blue” to the UN Security Council last Wednesday. The Council includes five permanent members who hold veto power and ten additional members who serve two-year terms.
The resolution gives 12 months for a “just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which it regards as the creation of a “sovereign and viable” Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, as well as the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the occupied territory by 2017.
Its text had already seen several amendments that concern East Jerusalem as capital of the future state of Palestine, Israeli settlement building, and Palestinian refugees’ right of return, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Abu Yousef told Asharq Al-Awsatnewspaper.
According to the current draft, Jerusalem is regarded as the capital of both Israel and Palestine, but the role of East Jerusalem in a future Palestinian state is not specified. “International legitimacy is our ceiling on this issue, and we cannot drop below this ceiling,” Yousef told the paper.
“I think there is very little doubt that any resolution in the Security Council that actually created a Palestinian state or called for real statehood would be vetoed,” US activist and journalist Phyllis Bennis told RT. “I think there is a big question whether the drafts that are now circulating actually do that. The French amendments in particular significantly weaken the idea that this is something that would actually create the Palestinian state.”
Bennis explained that “there is no consequence named. The resolution is not taken under either Chapter 6 or Chapter 7, which are the coercive chapters of the UN charter.” These chapters imply the use of military force and putting pressure against the state, such as sanctions.
On Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his administration would “no longer deal” with Israel in case of the resolution’s failure. “If the Arab-Palestinian initiative submitted to the Security Council to put an end to [Israeli] occupation doesn’t pass, we will be forced to take the necessary political and legal decisions,” the Algerian APS news agency quoted Abbas as saying.
Last Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called a UN bid for Palestinian statehood an “act of aggression.”
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is adopting measures whose sole aim is to attack Israel, with no benefit for the Palestinians,” Lieberman said in a statement.
This summer, tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank escalated, leading to the 50-day conflict between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinians. Operation Protective Edge claimed over 2,200 lives – most of them Gaza civilians.
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The Year Ahead by Stephen Lendman

by Stephen Lendman

Understanding what’s ongoing is perhaps the best way to assess what’s coming. What’s happening in real time is grim.
So is next year’s outlook. More of the same and then some. Wars without end. Punishing neoliberal harshness.
Police state crackdowns on nonbelievers. Big Brother watching everyone. Freedom eroding in plain sight.
America bears full responsibility for horrific global conflicts. Rogue EU collaborators and Israel share it. Partners in high crimes against humanity.
Under or unreported. Largely out of sight and mind. Ongoing without end. In multiple war theaters. Washington’s dirty hands manipulating things.
Permanent war is official US policy. One country after another is attacked, ravaged and destroyed.
Turned to rubble. Killing millions. By wars and their aftermath. Including human exploitation. Deep impoverishment. Extreme deprivation.
Preventable diseases. Many lethal when untreated. Starvation. Daily post-war violence. Appalling human misery.
America is the greatest threat to world peace. The “greatest purveyor of violence in the world,” said Martin Luther King.
Using its resources irresponsibly. Inordinately for militarism. War-making. Corporate handouts. Benefitting its super-rich. Trillions of dollars down a black hole. Unprecedented grand theft.
While essential homeland needs increasingly go begging. In the world’s richest nation. Including healthcare. A fundamental human right. Martin Luther King saying:
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Neo-Malthusaian and then some.
Mandating no public sphere. Unrestrained corporate empowerment. Controlling nonbelievers repressively.
Inside the bubble it’s paradise. Outside is dystopian hell. Ordinary people increasingly on their own out of luck.
In the United States of inequality. Bipartisan complicity mandates it. America increasingly a ruler-serf society. Neofeudalism and then some.
Casino capitalism replaced free enterprise. At the expense of fundamental human rights. Ordinary people are swindled.
Their welfare and futures stolen. Few benefit at the expense of most others. Hardwired injustice defines America. Beautiful for its privileged few alone.
Republicans and Democrats in lockstep. On issues mattering most. Washington’s criminal class is bipartisan. Public and private corruption is rampant.
In Obama’s first term, America’s top 1% got 95% of the gain in household income. Most others got lump of coal harshness. Protracted Main Street Depression conditions.
Getting worse, not better. Around 70 million Americans rely on Medicaid for healthcare. Expiration of the so-called Obamacare mandated “fee bump” means fewer services for enrollees.
For many when most needed. Because amounts paid participating doctors will be nearly cut in half. Many won’t accept new Medicaid patients. Some may abandon current ones.
Increasingly they’ll be on their own when ill. Unable to receive a fundamental human right when most needed.
Americans can have whatever they want. Based on the ability to pay. At increasingly higher costs. With stagnant or lower incomes in inflation-adjusted dollars.
America is the United States of I don’t care. Serving its privileged class exclusively. At the expense of all others.
Inequality is institutionalized. Families struggle to get by. Human suffering is real. Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, hunger, and despair affect growing millions.
The world’s richest country doesn’t care. Imperial priorities take precedence. So does redistributing wealth to bankers, other corporate favorites, and super-rich elites.
America was never beautiful. For sure not now. A year ago article said expect 2014 to be bloody. More global death, destruction and human misery.
Merchants of death profit more than ever. Corrupt politicians benefit at the expense of their constituents.
Polar opposite what Americans deserve. Democrats in lockstep with Republicans. On issues mattering most.
Pro-war. Pro-Wall Street. Pro-business. Pro-privilege. Pro-super-wealth. Anti-dissent. Anti-democracy.
Anti-civil and human rights. Anti-labor. Anti-environmental sanity. Anti-government of, by, and for everyone equitably and just.
Monied interests alone matter. In 2014, 3.6 million jobless Americans lost extended unemployment benefits. When most needed.
Expect millions more to lose theirs in 2015. On their own unable to find work. Highly touted recovery is fake.
Main Street Depression conditions persist. Bipartisan indifference makes things worse. Help when most needed is denied.
Obama is a serial liar. His yearend press conference repeated one canard after another. Ludicrously calling 2014 “a breakthrough year for America.”
His touted jobs recovery doesn’t exist. Numbers are fake. Manipulated to show more than actually created.
Available jobs are mostly low pay/poor or no benefit part-time or temp ones. The kinds most Americans shunned decades earlier. Two or more needed to get by.

As of December 30, the national debt exceeded $18 trillion. An all-time high. Increasing by $2.4 billion daily.

Paul Craig Roberts call Western economies and Japan’s “a house of cards.” Their economic policy opposite of what’s needed.
Supporting “over-sized banks, sovereign debt, and the US dollar.” While their “economies and the ability of populations to cope have deteriorated.”
Obama didn’t explain. Instead touted his Affordable Care Act. A healthcare rationing scheme. A boon for insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains.
Ripping off millions. Leaving many uninsured. Most underinsured. “(A)round the world, America is leading,” claimed Obama. Waging war on humanity he left unexplained.
Challenging Russia irresponsibly. Moscow considers US-dominated NATO a major threat.
Expanding east in violation of international law. Close to its border. Nuclear armed missiles target its heartland.
Three frightening Stop NATO reports should scare everyone. Headlined:
“Kiev: Poroshenko Signs Law Paving Way for NATO Absorption.” What Russia made clear it won’t tolerate.
“Ukrainian Official: Impose Martial Law, Join NATO.” Escalate war on Donbas. Challenge Russia belligerently perhaps.
“Mobilization: Ukraine Junta Prepares For ‘Continental War.’ ” Neo-Nazi national security and defense council head Okeksandr Turchynov intends greater mobilization.
Likely at Washington’s behest. Irresponsibly challenging Russia. Risking open confrontation.
Obama’s new friends are lunatics. In Europe’s heartland. One fascist regime supports another.
Is the unthinkable possible? Perhaps likely? Will global war erupt in 2015? Will Washington initiate it?
Will Americans experience homeland war for the first time since mid-19th century civil conflict? Will cities like New York, Chicago, Washington and Los Angeles be destroyed?
Will millions of Americans die? Making the world safe for monied interests. In bunkers until things subside.
Perhaps a wasteland awaiting them. An irradiated one won’t sustain human life.
Washington already wages political and economic war on Russia. With illegal sanctions. Perhaps more to come.
Manipulating oil prices lower. Attacking the ruble. Henry Kissinger once said: “Control oil and you control nations. Control food and you control people.”
Maybe Obama intends starving millions of Russians to death. Maybe by irradiating arable land. Making crop yields toxic.
America plans global dominance through two pillars and one commodity:
  • Unchallenged military power.
  • The dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
  • Global control of oil and other energy resources.
Waging permanent wars to achieve imperial aims. Risking mass annihilation. Perhaps humanity’s survival.
America is the real evil empire. Unmatched in human history. An out-of-control killing machine. Unrestrained. Ruthless. Run by lunatics. Stomping on people relentlessly.
One genocide follows others. Winning hearts and minds doesn’t matter. Death squad diplomacy eliminates nonbelievers.
At home and abroad. Madness defines US policy. Police state harshness criminalizes right over wrong defenders.
Democracy is America’s most dangerous export. Washington tolerates the real thing nowhere. For sure not at home.
Fear-mongering persists. Enemies are invented. Crime bosses make policy. Monied interests own them.
Rule of law principles don’t matter. Nor democratic values. Or fundamental human and civil rights. Or societies fit to live in.
Dominance assures capital’s divine right. Plunder guarantees obscene profits. Money is used to make more of it. A villainous cycle persists.
Expect more of the same in 2015. Perhaps worse than ever. Continued wars without end. Greater than ever wealth disparity.
A race to the bottom leaving ordinary people increasingly on their own. Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, hunger, homelessness and deprivation worse than ever in America.
Bipartisan complicity assures it. Social safety net protections increasingly eliminated. Freedom disappearing in plain sight.
The American dream is more illusion than reality. George Carlin once said you have to be asleep to believe it.
Expect no change for the better next year. Expect more of the same and then some.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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Putin: It Is Time to Play Your Ace in the Hole

"You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done."

"The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers

December 28, 2014 "ICH" - "Market Oracle" -  The entire world is watching Putin play poker with the Western politicians lead by Obama and followed by Washington quislings in London, Brussels and Berlin. America's goal since the end of the Cold War has been to weaken by financial, economic and, if necessary, military means any real competition to its global financial and resource domination through the petrodollar and dollar world reserve currency status.

The current trade and economic sanctions against Russia and Iran follow this time-tested action that is never successful on its own, as we know from the 50-plus-year blockade of Cuba. But this strategy can lead to opposition nations retaliating by military means, often their only alternative to end blockades etc., which are an act of war and allow the US and other democracies to bring their ultimate superior military power to bare against the offending sovereign state. This worked for Lincoln against the Confederate States of America, by Woodrow Wilson against the Central Powers before World War One, against the Japanese Empire before World War Two, Iraq, Libya – the list is endless.

Recently the US has created the oil price collapse, working closely with its client state Saudi Arabia, in order to weaken the economic power of both Iran and Russia, the two main nations opposing US hegemony, foreign policy and petrodollar policy. Yes, this will play havoc with the US shale oil industry as well as London's North Sea oil industry but oil profits pale in comparison to the importance of maintaining Western power over Russia and China.

I hope Putin realizes the US is not playing games here, as this is a financial and strategic game to the death for Washington and it's Western allies that have foolishly followed the Goldman Sachs/central banking cartel's deadly sovereign debt recipe and for growth and prosperity. The time is up; the debts can never be repaid and sooner or later must be repudiated one way or the other.

China is waiting in the wings as the new world economic power and while it is too big to challenge, US strategy is to take out its top two allies, Iran and Russia, to buy time for Wall Street and Washington. The strategy might be a competitive economic course of action but the risk of military consequences and even a third world war loom on the horizon and no country has ever defeated Russia in a land attack. This is risky brinkmanship just to protect our banking and Wall Street elites and their profits at the expense of the American people, I might add, but the US has done this before.

Is This Just a Repeat of the Versailles Treaty, Russian-style?

This has all happened before. It's the same old game with different players. I fear we are watching a repeat of the Versailles Treaty, Russian-style. If you look closely at real history rather than the establishment-directed propaganda dished out to the public, you'll realize that the Western financial elites and central banking cartel seldom change tactics. Why should they? Their financial empires continue to grow during all major wars and financial crises and if they should guess wrong, then they get taxpayers to bail them out.

The Goldman Sachs, Rothschild and Soros types control the Western democracies as well as the financial markets and use paid or blackmailed cheerleaders and front men to advance their best interests to the populace as acceptable economic or political policies.

For example, Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points statement given on January 8, 1918, claiming the war and US intervention was a moral cause to advance peace in Europe after World War One, was one of the leading reasons the Germans sued for peace. In hindsight, we know that American intervention was really instituted to prevent an Allied loss or negotiated settlement that could make it impossible for French and British banks to pay back their massive loans to the US banking establishment and thereby bankrupting our leading banks of the day.

Once the war was over the platitudes about freedom, self-determination and making the world safe for democracy dissolved into the Treaty of Versailles, probably one of the most vengeful and unfair peace treaties ever forced on a defeated foe. The entire Austrian-Hungarian empire was totally destroyed except for the small area of present Austria and Germany, which was stripped of much of its territory and subjected to a vengeful, unpayable war debt comparable to America's current national debt today. Sadly, the treaty created the public anger and economic chaos that eventually brought Hitler to power and set the stage for the Second World War.

So Where Does Russia Go from Here?

First, the US cable pundits are suggesting that Putin might retaliate by invading Ukraine. Why would Russia want Ukraine? Except for substantial agricultural resources that can be purchased on the open market, this is a bankrupt country with a long list of failed governments. The country has become a pawn in the battle between East and West, and its people have already suffered so much. Now Russia might move in the East to protect Russian-speaking areas and could be willing to suffer the additional economic consequences of creating a land bridge to Crimea but the military option appears quite limited and counter-productive at best.

No nation will win a shooting war between the US, UK and EU versus Russia and China. The consequences are too horrible to be contemplated but Russia has an ace in the hole that can win the financial and economic battle going on today.

First, Russia should join with China in a new gold, oil and natural resource backed monetary union as an alternative to the failed debt democracy model pushed by Wall Street, the central bank cartel and self-serving politicians in the West. It simply does not work in the long term to finance prosperity and improved standards of living through mountains of debt placed on future generations.

Washington has destroyed every tax haven and bit of personal and financial privacy in the world because of its desperate need for revenue. Every financial haven has caved, including Switzerland, because they cannot hope to prevail against the US, UK and EU. The US intends to make Russia a pariah state and cut it off from trade, funds transfer, banking and Western credit markets. It will not relent until Putin is overthrown and Russia is compliant with and a supporter of the New World Order. Next in line following Russia will be China. Thus, a monetary union could provide the needed support for Russia necessary to guarantee the independence and self-determination of China.

Second, Russia should act offensively rather than defensively on the financial front by creating corporate tax-free/low income tax zones and welcoming corporations, successful individuals and entrepreneurs to take up residence and create jobs and prosperity. The Hong Kong model does work to create industry, service industry and free-market prosperity and to win, Russia needs far more than a resource-based economy.

Russia needs more population and a larger middle class and should offer residency and citizenship opportunities to productive and successful workers, entrepreneurial businesses and corporations etc. with the right of reasonable financial and corporate privacy along with the low tax benefits.

Canada, the wonderful country I live and work in today, offers permanent residency benefits and citizenship to hundreds of thousands of foreigners wanting to work and immigrate to Canada together with low corporate tax benefits.

Russia can and should do the same, although the market will require bargain prices as Russia does not have the long history of rule of law, security and peace like Canada does. Russia should look at good climate areas like Crimea and other areas around the Black Sea and maybe Kaliningrad in the north directly in the middle of the EU.

Competition, free markets, minimal regulation and low taxes are the 21st century solution to military aggression, over-indebted and resource-hungry empires. Putin said it best in his news conference last week.
"They won't leave [the bear] alone. They will always seek to chain it. And once it's chained, they'll rip out its teeth and claws. The nuclear deterrence, speaking in present-day terms. As soon as this happens, nobody will need [the bear] anymore. They'll stuff it. And start to put their hands on its Taiga [Siberian forest belt] after it. We've heard statements from Western officials that Russia's owning Siberia was not fair." – Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin, now is the time to play your ace in the hole. Russia can win the financial and economic war being waged against it but not by playing the same old game of poker where cheating prevails. Show the world that Russia is worthy of 21st century leadership in a peaceful and competitive manner by using the debt, currency and banking weaknesses of the West to defeat an opponent out to chain Russia as it has the rest of the world into surrender and serfdom.

If you are as concerned as I am about where the world is headed, consider securing a second home internationally in the right location as a means to protect you and your family. Think of it as lifestyle insurance.

Ron Holland [send him mail], a retirement consultant, works in Zurich and is a co-editor of the Swiss Mountain Vision Newsletter.

As some readers are already aware, High Alert is building an exciting new community in South America. I strongly suggest you watch this short video presentation. After viewing, simply complete the information request form and I'll be happy to personally speak with you and share specific details about the community – click here now.

Additionally, I will be joining Jim Rogers, Anthony Wile, Wendy McElroy and others speaking at the New Colombia Conference May 13-17, 2015. Space is limited, so if you are interested in attending, click here now.

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