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Strobe Talbott: Islamic extremists to attack Russia in 2015

Strobe Talbott [wiki] is a key figure in the top think tanks which are responsible for providing continuity to US foreign policy over the years.

In an op-ed a few days ago, Talbott predicts the eventual collapse and dismemberment of the Russian Federation, with next year as the key turning point.

Specifically, he predicts that Islamic extremists, including our love-hate tango partners from Syria and Iraq, will be the attackers in this coming round of fighting against Russia. Presumably this is a way to kill 2 birds with one stone: the Islamic extremists would redirect their energies against Russia, leading to the destruction of both of our enemies, while the “moderates” would stay behind in Syria, as originally planned.

Link:  http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/12/16/in-2015-vladimir-putin-may-witness-his-empires-death-knell/

musical interlude LXI

So our leaders are war criminals … that can’t possibly do any harm

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/12/19/greenwald-dick-cheney-should-be-federal-prison-not-meet-press

U.S. Supreme Court Says Ignorance Of The Law Is An Excuse — If You’re A Cop

peteybee:

connecting the dots… rule of law is fading.

Originally posted on Stop Making Sense:

Nicole Flatow reports for Think Progress:

police lights‘There is one simple concept that law students learn in their very first weeks of criminal law class: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. This principle means that when an individual violates the law, it doesn’t matter whether or not they knew what the law said. If it’s a crime, and they are found to have committed the elements of that crime, they are guilty.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the same standard doesn’t necessarily apply to police. In a splintered 8-1 ruling, the court found that cops who pulled over Nicholas Heien for a broken taillight were justified in a subsequent search of Heien’s car, even though North Carolina law says that having just one broken taillight is not a violation of the law.

The ruling means that police did not violate Heien’s rights when they later searched his…

View original 144 more words

Russia currency collapse and reponse

I don’t have much insight into this, this is mostly for the record, to mark the events of the past week. US-EU sanctions combined with the oil price collapse have hit Russia hard, leading the Ruble to collapse in value. Not much risk of default, since the Russian government and corporates are well capitalized.

However, the flight out of the Ruble has accelerated to a pace so fast that most businesses (a) can’t offer commercial credit because of inflation and (b) some businesses (those connected to international commerce) have a hard time setting prices, which is when (ruble-denominated) commerce in those sectors shuts down, and if that spreads far enough, the result is the kind of thing you think about in disaster-preparation, if you’re into that. Maybe the equivalent of having your entire country flooded, lets say… that’s where it had potential to go, and fast.

Central bank responds raising rates to 17% (!). This makes Ruble-denominated borrowing unaffordable, but if successful at stabilizing exchange rate, Ruble-denominated commerce can continue in pay-cash mode. Lots of fallout to come already, story is ongoing…

Image

Built Ford Tough?

terrorist-truck-texas

the best advertising money can buy? Hmm. https://autos.yahoo.com/news/texas-plumber-ford-truck-ends-terrorists-133033518.html

Congress earmarks $350M for weapons to Ukraine, to attack civilians and crush dissent [updated]

Continuing with our tradition of stepping into foreign conflicts, identifying the most unprincipled party, and giving them weapons — a bill was apparently passed to give the Ukraine’s government lethal aid, and declare it a “major ally”.

In the past year, the government which came to power in the wake of the Maidan coup d’etat fought but failed to win a civil war with separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk. The breakaway provinces declared independence from the post-coup Kiev government, which the heavily Russian-cultured local population felt was undemocratic (the Kiev government banned opposing political parties), and violently ultra-nationalist (much of the state security function was turned over to privately sponsored militias manned by extremists. This was likely in part due to infighting among Ukraine’s oligarchs over who gets to take over the former turf of ousted former president Yanukovich, and in part because Ukraine’s regular army didn’t really support the post-Maidan government’s policy of attacking its own citizens.)

During this civil war, Kiev’s main tactic was artillery fire against densely populated civilian areas, widely considered a war crime. Our taxpayer dollars are now going to directly support more of this.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/12/ukraine-welcomes-prospect-us-military-aid-2014121382958449175.html

Update – here’s the actual text. Reads like a declaration of war — not kidding:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hres758eh/pdf/BILLS-113hres758eh.pdf

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