Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The neocons who control the US Government are eager to foment a nuclear war with Russia, beginning with beefing up the NATO countries abutting Russia. Needless to say, those countries would be the first destroyed in a nuclear holocaust, and the insane neocons could care less. While the countries of the European Union are currenly vassals of the US, Germany and France are beginning to worry. If Germany were to pull out of NATO and establish a detente with Russia, it would be "game over" for the neocons. Let us pray that this is what will happen.
From Russia Insider, March 23, 2015 Original Here
Jens Wernicke and Dr. Daniele Ganser
This article originally appeared at NachDenkSeiten. Translated for RI by Mihajlo Doknic
The German Chancellery has accused NATO chief Philip M. Breedlove of “dangerous propaganda”. The question: what to think about this critique coming from a government that uses this kind of propaganda technique itself. Jens Wernicke, media scientist and author of several books, talked with the renowned Swiss peace researcher and NATO expert Dr. Daniele Ganser.
Mr. Ganser, the German Chancellery accuses NATO chief Philip M. Breedlove, of “dangerous propaganda”. Breedlove exaggerates Russia’s military involvement in East Ukraine, for example. What is going on here? Is the German government just accusing NATO of war propaganda?
The German Chancellery is right with its critique. In my opinion, something dangerous is happening right now: US generals like Breedlove are trying to provoke a war, where Germans and Russians would kill each other in order to weaken both countries. This is a cynical, actually a diabolical plan. But this is exactly what US strategist like Georg Friedman, director of the Stratfor think tank, are suggesting. United, Germany and Russia are the only power that could threaten the US, Friedman said in a speech in February 2015 in Chicago.
“Our primordial interest [preventing a German-Russian alliance] is to ensure that will never happen,” said Friedman.
“The US, as an empire, cannot intervene in Eurasia all the time,” he explained. Therefore they must turn countries against each other, so they don’t build close alliances. “I suggest something President Ronald Reagan used against Iraq and Iran: He supported both war parties!” Freidman stated. The war between Iraq and Iran between 1980 and 1988 claimed at least 400.000 dead, so from the point of peace science it is frightening what Friedman suggests. “So the Iranians and Iraqis fought against each other and not against us,” explained Freidman in his speech. “That was cynical and amoral. But it worked.”
The USA cannot occupy Eurasia. The same moment we put our boots on European soil, we will be outnumbered due to demographics. In my opinion the radical US generals like Breedlove are trying to implement this strategy, where in future German and Russian Soldiers kill each other in Ukraine, thus destabilizing and weakening the whole of East Europe. That would be a catastrophe. Therefore a peace movement needs to encourage an alternative solution, like the neutrality of Ukraine. No NATO membership and friendship between Germany and Russia.
How is NATO trying to fuel this conflict?
NATO General Breedlove often sticks out by spreading exaggerated and untrue claims. This is how NATO is fueling the war. This is dangerous, because the situation is very tense, as we know. On the 12th of November 2014 Breedlove claimed that Russian toops and tanks have marched into Ukraine! But that wasn’t true and it wasn’t just a little thing. Literally the NATO general said: “We have seen that Russian troops, Russian tanks, Russian artillery and air defense systems have moved into Ukraine.” BBC and other mass media spread that worldwide but it was a lie.
And US General Ben Hodges, commander of the US troops in Europe, also pushes for war by supporting the Ukrainian army. In January 2015 he visited a military hospital in Kiev and handed over a medal for bravery of the US Army to a wounded Ukrainian soldier! That, of course, increases tension.
However, the US General Hodges shows symbolically: The US is an “active party of war” in the Ukraine. It stands by the Ukrainian army that is fighting the Russian supported separatists in East Ukraine. Because Germany is a NATO member, there is a danger that German soldiers are dragged into this war by the US. Similar to Afghanistan after 2001. If that happens, then we have exactly the situation Friedman is asking for: Germans and Russians shooting at each other in the Ukraine. Of course I hope that this won’t happen. However, a peace movement needs to raise this and warn of such dangers in order to avoid them.
Is this a very common thing, I mean, that NATO lies, exaggerates or deceives?
Yes, regrettably NATO has, on a regular basis, combined lies and war. In my book NATO’s secret armies in Europe. Staged terror and clandestine warfare I show how, during the Cold War, NATO had built in Western countries, supported by CIA and the British secret service MI6, secret armies, of which existence the governments and population didn’t know anything.
Especially the US generals are dangerous, because they have been continuously fighting wars in different countries during the last 70 years. As representatives of an empire they are not only used to kill but also to deceive. General Lyman Lemnitzer, for example, who served as SACEUR of NATO (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) between 1963 and 1969, so one of Breedlove’s predecessors, suggested in the 60s that the US should stage a war against Cuba by destroying an American ship at the military base in Guantanamo and by staging terror attacks in Washington, and then for both crimes accuse Fidel Castro in order to get the American public behind the war. John F. Kennedy, however, stopped the operation [Northwoods]. But it shows, how dangerous the officers in the Pentagon are.
Is only the US pushing for wars or are other countries also involved?
NATO has 28 members and unfortunately other NATO countries are involved in war propaganda as well. For example, the Brits! In March 2003, before they attacked Iraq, Tony Blair, the then prime minister, said: “Iraq is in possession of chemical and biological weapons. Its rockets are ready for use within 45 minutes.” That was a lie! The attack on Iraq by USA and Great Britain started, nevertheless, without an UN mandate. So it was illegal!
It was also an illegal aggression when NATO, on the 24th of March 1999, started bombing Serbia. Because NATO didn’t have a mandate of the UN Security Council. Back then it was Germany under the Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the Defense Minister Rudolph Scharping and the Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, that actively took part in the aggression [War on Yugoslavia], together with the US. In the run-up to the aggression lies were spread to get the people behind this war. Later, in 2014, Schröder admitted that NATO violated International Law. “When the question came up how to deal with developments in Yugoslavia and Kosovo respectively, we sent our planes, our Tornados [German warplanes] to Serbia together with NATO and bombed a sovereign state without a Security Council Resolution,” admitted Schröder self-critically.
How come that in those cases nobody raises its voice and we only read the same NATO statements with their arguments?
The mass media in Germany are pushing people into a direct confrontation with Russia, in a way the radicals in the US, like Stratfor director Friedman, are asking for. It means, they fuel animosity towards Russia. And very rarely there is a critical discussion about NATO or about the strategic interests of the US, those powers that are fueling the war in Ukraine.
Many journalists don’t even call the US an empire fearing for their jobs and other things. But it is apparent that the US is an empire of our times, the most powerful nation that, of course, is pursuing its national interests. This fact is rarely raised by the mass media. So many people watching TV don’t even know the term ‚US Empire’ or the strategic interests of this empire in Eurasia. Therefore, critical people disappointed by the TV and Newspapers are trying to inform themselves through alternative media on the Internet.
So, do you think the critique by our [German] government is a sign that they finally try to break the global spiral of violence and distance itself from propaganda in favour of respectful dialogue with Russia? And, is our government more credible than NATO itself?
I am from Switzerland, which is not part of NATO. So I do look at the German policy and Chancellor Merkel from the outside. And I see that many people are concerned with the situation [war] in Ukraine, because of its proximity. And most of the Germans that I know, they don’t want a future, where German soldiers and Russian soldiers shoot at each other! But I am not sure what the German government wants. They move in a zigzag course. One day, as a NATO member, they fuel, together with the US, the war in the Ukraine by increasing tensions with Russia. And sometimes they try to keep the friendship or at least the respect with Russia by publically criticizing NATO war-hawk Breedlove. So which line will be predominant in future its hard to tell.
What is your assessment of the departure of the hawk Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO General Secretary? Will Jens Stoltenberg establish himself as a peaceful successor? To put it differently: How much influence has a Secretary General actually on NATO policies?
If you study the history of NATO it is easy to notice that the post of Secretary General is always staffed with an European, now Stoltenberg, a Norwegian, and before that, Rasmussen, a Dane. But the Europeans should not be mistaken as to who is calling the shots in NATO, it is the US! Secretary General is not the most important post. It is actually the one of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, because here lies the military command. An American, now Breedlove, always holds this position.
Has Stoltenberg publically criticized Breedlove or tried to stop him? No, he is not able to. His job as Secretary General is primarily to give NATO an European face. This is better received in Europe, than having a US diplomat appear all the time.
So I don’t believe that Stoltenberg is able or willing to transform NATO into a peaceful organization. Also because of the track record of NATO in the past two decades: NATO wars and the technique of, Regime Change’ have left countries in ruins and traumatized people, in Libya, in Iraq, in Afghanistan. So I hope that Ukraine won’t be put on this list too!
Thank you for the interview.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
"The only conclusion that informed analysis supports is that Washington is the greatest threat to life on earth. Washington is a greater threat than global warming. Washington is a greater threat than the exhaustion of mineral energy sources. Washington is a greater threat than the rise in world and US poverty from Washington’s policy to enrich the few at the expense of the many." -- Paul Craig Roberts
Lithuanians Under Police State Attack: and the world under Washington’s attack — Paul Craig Roberts
March 25, 2015 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Lithuanians Under Police State Attack
and the world under Washington’s attack
Paul Craig Roberts
According to news reports
https://ltnacionalistas.wordpress.com/angliskai/lithuanian-government-intensifies-persecutions-against-anti-imperialist-activists/ and to this appeal by Kristoferis Voishka https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6MDj2uvyLk
the pro-American government installed in Lithuania is persecuting
Lithuanians who dissent from the anti-Russian propaganda that is driving
Washington’s NATO puppets to war with Russia. Unlike their puppet
government, Lithuanians understand that war with Russia means that
Lithuania on the front line will be utterly destroyed, a result that
would not bother Washington in the least, just as Washington is
undisturbed when its forces obliterate weddings, funerals, and
children’s soccer games.
What is Lithuania? To Washington it is a nothing.
Kristoferis Voiska runs an alternative Internet news site in LIthuania. Not long ago he interviewed me, and the interview appeared in both LIthuanian newspapers and on his Internet news program in video form. I found him to be sincere and well informed. I advised him that interviewing me would bring trouble for him, and he already was aware of that.
As I have said so many times, Americans are the worst informed people on the planet. They are unaware of the growing momentum toward war with Russia. The presstitute media throughout Europe, especially in the Baltic states and Poland, is hard at work creating in people’s minds the fear of a Russian invasion. The orchestrated fear then provides the basis for the American puppet governments to beg troops and tanks and missiles from Washington, and the US military/security complex, counting its profits, is pleased to comply.
But what Russia sees is a threat, not a money-making opportunity for the US military/security complex and payoffs to the corrupt Lithuanian and Polish governments, which are increasingly perceived as neo-nazi like the government that Washington bestowed on Ukraine.
The situation is dangerous, as I keep telling you, a message that some are too weak to accept.
If you care to show support for Kristoferis and the independent media in Lithuania, send emails to him at: email@example.com
In about one week I will be 76 years old. I was born in 1939 as World War II was unfolding as the direct consequence of the Versailles Treaty that broke every promise President Woodrow Wilson made to Germany in exchange for the end of World War I.
I remember as a child Cold War nuclear attack drills in elementary school during which we would cower under our school desks. We were issued dog tags with our blood type just like the dog tags ripped by their comrades off US soldiers killed in the war movies by Germans or Japs (no longer a permissible word) and sent home to the dead GI’s family.
To us it was more romantic than scary. We loved wearing the dog tags. I have no idea what happened to mine. They must be collectors’ items by now.
I have seen a lot. As kids playing war–in those days you could have toy guns without being shot down by the police who are protecting us–we reveled in America’s World War victories. We understood, thanks to our parents and grandparents, that the Red Army won the war against Germany, but we Americans beat the heartless Japs.
That was enough. We knew that the US was tough.
I was 14 when the Korean War broke out. We expected to win, of course, and our expectations, we thought, were proven correct when General MacArthur’s amphibious landings rolled up the North Korean army. But what MacArthur and Washington had overlooked is that China and the Soviet Union were not about to accept a US victory.
Before Americans could cheer, the Third World Chinese Army rolled in and pushed the conqueror of Japan back town to the tip of South Korea. It was a humiliating defeat for American arms. In his dispute with President Truman about the conduct of the war, MacArthur, America’s most famous general, was removed from command.
Washington accepted defeat in Korea and again in Viet Nam where a 500,000 US force consisting of US Army, Marines, and Special Forces was defeated by a Third World guerrilla army.
To these defeats we can add Afghanistan and Iraq. After 14 years of killing, the Taliban controls most of the country. Jihadist have carved a new state out of parts of Syria and Iraq. The Middle East reeks of American defeat. Just like Korea. Just like Viet Nam.
Despite these facts insouciant Americans and their crazed rulers in Washington imagine that the US is a Uni-Power, the world’s only superpower against whom no country can stand. Arrogance, ignorance, and hubris are leading the US into conflict with Russia and China, either of which can destroy the US with ease. And Europe as well. And the stupid bought-and-paid-for Japanese government, a total non-entity, a disgrace to the Japanese people, a collection of well-paid American puppets.
As Andrew Cockburn has documented, the US military is lost in abstractions and is no longer capable of conducting conventional warfare. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/03/24/us-government-us-military-became-murder-inc-paul-craig-roberts/ Any American or NATO army sent to attack Russia will be destroyed almost instantly. Washington cannot accept the loss of prestige from defeat and would take the war nuclear. Life on earth would end.
The only conclusion that informed analysis supports is that Washington is the greatest threat to life on earth. Washington is a greater threat than global warming. Washington is a greater threat than the exhaustion of mineral energy sources. Washington is a greater threat than the rise in world and US poverty from Washington’s policy to enrich the few at the expense of the many.
The only possible conclusion is that unless Washington collapses from its economic house of cards or is abandoned by its NATO puppet states, Washington will destroy life on earth.
Washington is the greatest evil that the world has ever faced. There is no good in Washington. Only evil.
Paul Craig Roberts: "The US military no longer does war. It does assassinations, usually of the wrong people. The main victims of the US assassination policy are women, children, village elders, weddings, funerals, and occasionally US soldiers mistaken for Taliban by US surveillance operating with the visual acuity of the definition of legal blindness."
How The US Government and US military Became Murder, Inc. — Paul Craig Roberts
March 24, 2015 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
How The US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.
Paul Craig Roberts
Andrew Cockburn has written a must-read book. The title is Kill Chain: The Rise Of The High-Tech Assassins. The title could just as well be: How the US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.
The US military no longer does war. It does assassinations, usually of the wrong people. The main victims of the US assassination policy are women, children, village elders, weddings, funerals, and occasionally US soldiers mistaken for Taliban by US surveillance operating with the visual acuity of the definition of legal blindness.
Cockburn tells the story of how the human element has been displaced by remote control killing guided by misinterpretation of unclear images on screens collected by surveillance drones and sensors thousands of miles away. Cockburn shows that the “all-seeing” drone surveillance system is an operational failure but is supported by defense contractors because of its high profitability and by the military brass because general officers, with the exception of General Paul Van Ripper, are brainwashed in the belief that the revolution in military affairs means that high-tech devices replace the human element. Cockburn demonstrates that this belief is immune to all evidence to the contrary. The US military has now reached the point that Secretary of Defense Hagel deactivated both the A-10 close support fighter and the U-2 spy plane in favor of the operationally failed unmanned Global Hawk System. With the A-10 and U-2 went the last platforms for providing a human eye on what is happening on the ground.
The surveillance/sensor technology cannot see human footprints in the snow. Consequently, the drone technology concluded that a mountain top was free of enemy and sent a detachment of unsuspecting SEALS to be shot up. Still insisting no enemy present, a second group of SEALS were sent to be shot up, and then a detachment of Army Rangers. Finally, an A-10 pilot flew over the scene and reported the enemy’s presence in force.
By 2012 even the US Air Force, which had been blindly committed to the unmanned drone system, had experienced more failure than could any longer be explained away. The Air Force admitted that the 50-year old U-2 could fly higher and in bad weather and take better pictures than the expensive Global Hawk System and declared the Global Hawk system scrapped.
The decision was supported by the 2011 report from the Pentagon’s test office that the drone system was “not operationally effective.” Among its numerous drawbacks was its inability to carry out assigned missions 75% of the time. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that in addition to the system’s unacceptable failure rate, the drone system “has fundamentally priced itself out of our ability to afford it.”
As Cockburn reports: “It made no difference. Congress, led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon and Democratic Congressman Jim Moran (whose northern Virginia district hosts the headquarters of both Northrop and Raytheon) effortless brushed aside these pleas, forcing the Air Force to keep buying the unwanted drone.”
Cockburn provides numerous examples of the utter failure of the unmanned revolution ushered in by unrealistic dreamers, such as Andrew Marshall, John Foster, William Perry, and David Deptula, who have done much harm to the US military and American taxpayers. The failure stories are legion and sad. Almost always the victims are the innocent going about their everyday affairs.
The book opens with the story of three vehicles crammed with people from the same village heading to Kabul. Some were students returning to school in Kabul, some were shopkeepers heading to the capital to buy supplies, others were unemployed men on their way to Iran seeking work, and some were women bringing gifts for relatives. This collection of ordinary people, represented on screens by vague images, was willfully mistaken, as the reproduced conversations between drone operators and assassins show, for a senior Taliban commander leading forces to attack a US Special Forces patrol. The innocent civilians were blown to smithereens.
The second chapter tells of the So Tri, an indigenous people in the remote wilderness of southeastern Laos who were bombed for nine years because the stupid American military sowed their environment with sensors that called down bombs when human presence was detected. High-tech warfare misidentified the villagers with Viet Cong moving through jungle routes.
One heartbreaking story follows another. If surveillance suspects the presence of a High Value Target in a restaurant, regardless of nominal restrictions on the number of innocents who can be murdered as the “collateral damage” part of the strike, the entire restaurant and all within are destroyed by a hellfire missile. Remember that the Israelis denounce terrorists for exploding suicide vests inside Israeli restaurants. What the US military does is even worse.
On other occasions the US assassinates an underling of a High Value Target on the
assumption that the Target will attend the funeral which is obliterated from the air whether the Target is present or not.
As the murders are indiscriminate, the US military defines all males killed to be valid targets. Generally, the US will not admit the deaths of non-Targets, and some US officials have declared there to be no such deaths. Blatant and obvious lies issue without shame in order to protect the “operationally ineffective” and very expensive high-tech production runs that mean billions of taxpayer dollars for the military/security complex and comfortable 7-figure employment salaries with contractors after retirement for the military brass.
When you read this book you will weep for your country ruled as it is by completely immoral and inhumane monsters. But Cockburn’s book is not without humor. He tells the story of Marine Lt. General Paul Van Riper, the scourge of the Unmanned Revolution in Military affairs, who repeatedly expressed contempt for the scientifically unsupported theories of unmanned war. To humiliate Gen. Ripper with a defeat in a massive war game as leader of the enemy Red force against the high-tech American Blue force, he was called out of retirement to participate in a war game stacked against him.
The Blue force armored with a massive database (Operational Net Assessment) and overflowing with acronyms was almost instantly wiped out by General Ripper. He sank the entire aircraft carrier fleet and the entire Blue force army went down with it. The war was over. The 21st century US high-tech, effects-based military was locked into a preset vision and was beaten hands down by a maverick Marine general with inferior forces.
The Joint Forces Command turned purple with rage. Gen. Ripper was informed that the outcome of the war game was unacceptable and would not stand. The sunken fleet magically re-floated, the dead army was resurrected, and the war was again on, only this time restriction after restriction was placed on the Red force. Ripper was not allowed to shoot down the Blue force’s troop transports. Ripper was ordered to turn on all of the Red force’s radars so that the Red forces could be easily located and destroyed. Umpires ruled, despite the facts, that all of Ripper’s missile strikes were intercepted. Victory was declared for high-tech war. Ripper’s report on the total defeat of the Blue force, its unwarranted resurrection, and the rigged outcome was promptly classified so that no one could read it.
The highly profitable Revolution in Military Affairs had to be protected at all costs along with the reputations of the incompetent generals that comprise today’s high command.
The infantile behavior of the US military compelled to create a victory for its high-tech, but legally blind, surveillance warfare demonstrates how far removed from the ability to conduct real warfare the US military is. What the US military has done in Afghanistan and Iraq is to create far more enemies than it has killed. Every time high-tech killing murders a village gathering, a wedding or funeral, or villagers on the way to the capital, which is often, the US creates hundreds more enemies. This is why after 14 years of killing in Afghanistan, the Taliban now control most of the country. This is why Islamist warriors have carved a new country out of Syria and Iraq despite eight years of American sacrifice in Iraq estimated by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes to have cost Americans a minimum of $3 trillion. The total failure of the American way of war is obvious to all, but the system rolls on autonomously.
The Revolution in Military Affairs has decapitated the US military, which no longer has the knowledge or ability or human tools to conduct war. If the crazed Russophobic US generals get their way and end up in confrontation with Russia, the American forces will be destroyed. The humiliation of this defeat will cause Washington to take the war nuclear.
Here is Stanislav Mishin’s view of what awaits the foolish West:
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The US government lies about just about everything, and the despicable "mainstream media" typically repeats those lies without researching them. Here one of the biggest lies, namely, that "Russian President Vladimir Putin 'invaded' Crimea and then staged a 'sham' referendum purporting to show 96 percent support for leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia" ...is debunked in a rare moment of honesty by a Western news outlet, Forbes. So any American duped into believing that nuclear war with Russia may be necessary should read this article and pass it on to his/her friends.
Exclusive: In a rare moment of honesty, a Western news outlet, Forbes, admits that the people of Crimea expressed their legitimate will in last year’s referendum when they voted to abandon Ukraine and rejoin Russia, an inconvenient truth for the U.S. State Department and press corps, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry Original Here
A central piece of the West’s false narrative on the Ukraine crisis has been that Russian President Vladimir Putin “invaded” Crimea and then staged a “sham” referendum purporting to show 96 percent support for leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia. More recently, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland claimed that Putin has subjected Crimea to a “reign of terror.”
Both elements have been part of the “group think” that dominates U.S. political and media circles, but this propagandistic storyline simply isn’t true, especially the part about the Crimeans being subjugated by Russia.
Consistently, over the past year, polls conducted by major Western firms have revealed that the people of Crimea by overwhelming numbers prefer being part of Russia over Ukraine, an embarrassing reality that Forbes business magazine has now acknowledged.
An article by Kenneth Rapoza, a Forbes specialist on developing markets, cited these polls as showing that the Crimeans do not want the United States and the European Union to force them back into an unhappy marriage with Ukraine. “The Crimeans are happy right where they are” with Russia, Rapoza wrote.
“One year after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in the Black Sea, poll after poll shows that the locals there — be they Ukrainians, ethnic Russians or Tartars are all in agreement: life with Russia is better than life with Ukraine,” he wrote, adding that “the bulk of humanity living on the Black Sea peninsula believe the referendum to secede from Ukraine was legit.”
Rapoza noted that a June 2014 Gallup poll, which was sponsored by the U.S. government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors, found that 82.8 percent of Crimeans said the March 16 referendum on secession reflected the views of the Crimean people. In the poll, when asked if joining Russia would improve their lives, 73.9 percent said yes and only 5.5 percent said no.
A February 2015 poll by German polling firm GfK found similar results. When Crimeans were asked “do you endorse Russia’s annexation of Crimea,” 93 percent gave a positive response, with 82 percent saying, “yes, definitely.” Only 2 percent said no, with the remainder unsure or not answering.
In other words, the West’s insistence that Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine would mean violating the age-old U.S. principle of a people’s right of self-determination. It would force the largely ethnic Russian population of Crimea to submit to a Ukrainian government that many Crimeans view as illegitimate, the result of a violent U.S.-backed coup on Feb. 22, 2014, that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych.
The coup touched off a brutal civil war in which the right-wing regime in Kiev dispatched neo-Nazi and other extremist militias to spearhead a fierce “anti-terrorism operation” against resistance from the ethnic Russian population in the east, which – like Crimea – had supported Yanukovych. More than 6,000 Ukrainians, most of them ethnic Russians, have been killed in the fighting.
Despite this reality, the mainstream U.S. news media has misreported the crisis and distorted the facts to conform to U.S. State Department propaganda. Thus, many Americans believe the false narrative about Russian troops crushing the popular will of the Crimean people, much as the U.S. public was misled about the Iraq situation in 2002-03 by many of the same news outlets.
Or, as Forbes’ Rapoza put it: “At some point, the West will have to recognize Crimea’s right to self rule. Unless we are all to believe that the locals polled by Gallup and GfK were done so with FSB bogey men standing by with guns in their hands.” The FSB is a Russian intelligence agency.
The GfK survey also found that Crimeans considered the Ukrainian media, which has been wildly anti-Russian, unreliable. Only 1 percent said the Ukrainian media “provides entirely truthful information” and only 4 percent said it was “more often truthful than deceitful.”
So, the people at the frontline of this conflict, where Assistant Secretary Nuland, detected a “reign of terror,” say they are not only satisfied with being restored to Russia, which controlled Crimea since the 1700s, but don’t trust the distorted version of events that they see on Ukrainian TV.
Some of the reasons for the Crimean attitudes are simply pragmatic. Russian pensions were three times larger than what the Ukrainian government paid – and now the Ukrainian pensions are being slashed further in compliance with austerity demands from the International Monetary Fund.
This month, Nuland boasted about those pension cuts in praising the Kiev regime’s steps toward becoming a “free-market state.” She also hailed “reforms” that will force Ukrainians to work harder and into old age and that slashed gas subsidies which helped the poor pay their heating bills.
Last year, the New York Times and other U.S. news outlets also tossed around the word “invasion” quite promiscuously in discussing Crimea. But you may recall that you saw no images of Russian tanks crashing into the Crimean peninsula or an amphibious landing or paratroops descending from the skies. The reason was simple: Russian troops were already in Crimea.
The Russians had a lease agreement with Ukraine permitting up to 25,000 military personnel in Crimea to protect the Russian naval base at Sevastopol. About 16,000 Russian troops were on the ground when the Feb. 22, 2014 putsch occurred in Kiev – and after a crisis meeting at the Kremlin, they were dispatched to prevent the coup regime from imposing its control on Crimea’s people.
That Russian intervention set the stage for the March 16 referendum in which the voters of Crimea turned out in large numbers and voted overwhelmingly for secession from Ukraine and reintegration with Russia, a move that the Russian parliament and President Putin then approved.
Yet, as another part of its false reporting, the New York Times claimed that Putin denied that Russian troops had operated inside Crimea – when, in fact, he was quite open about it. For instance, on March 4, 2014, almost two weeks before the referendum, Putin discussed at a Moscow press conference the role of Russian troops in preventing the violence from spreading from Kiev to Crimea. Putin said:
“You should note that, thank God, not a single gunshot has been fired there. … Thus the tension in Crimea that was linked to the possibility of using our Armed Forces simply died down and there was no need to use them. The only thing we had to do, and we did it, was to enhance the defense of our military facilities because they were constantly receiving threats and we were aware of the armed nationalists moving in. We did this, it was the right thing to do and very timely.”
Two days after the referendum, which recorded the 96 percent vote in favor of seceding from Ukraine and rejoining Russia, Putin returned to the issue of Russian involvement in Crimea. In a formal speech to the Russian Federation, Putin justified Crimea’s desire to escape the grasp of the coup regime in Kiev, saying:
“Those who opposed the [Feb. 22] coup were immediately threatened with repression. Naturally, the first in line here was Crimea, the Russian-speaking Crimea. In view of this, the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia for help in defending their rights and lives, in preventing the events that were unfolding and are still underway in Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkov and other Ukrainian cities.
“Naturally, we could not leave this plea unheeded; we could not abandon Crimea and its residents in distress. This would have been betrayal on our part.”
But to make it appear that Putin was denying a military intervention, the Times and other U.S. news outlets truncated Putin’s statement when he said, “Russia’s Armed Forces never entered Crimea.” The Western press stopped there, ignoring what he said next: “they were there already in line with an international agreement.”
Putin’s point was that Russian troops based in Crimea took actions that diffused a possibly violent situation and gave the people of Crimea a chance to express their wishes through the ballot. But that version of events didn’t fit with the desired narrative pushed by the U.S. State Department and the New York Times. So the problem was solved by misrepresenting what Putin said.
But the larger issue now is whether the Obama administration and the European Union will insist on forcing the Crimean people – against their will – to rejoin Ukraine, a country that is rapidly sliding into the status of a failed state and a remarkably cruel one at that.
----- o -----
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Paul Craig Roberts composed this introduction: "Professor Stephen Cohen, America’s top Russian expert, says that he and other authorities have no input into US policy toward Russia. He says that there is no discourse, no debate, and that this is unprecedented in American foreign policy. He says that the 'ongoing extraordinary irrational and nonfactual demonization of Putin' is an indication of 'the possibility of premeditated war with Russia.'"
Top Russia Scholar Stephen Cohen: War between NATO and Russia a Real Possibility
- Round Table on "Defining a new security architecture for Europe that brings Russia in from the cold" was held in Brussels on March 2.
- The organizer of the event was the American committee for East West Accord.
- Three key presenters were American scholars Professor John Mearsheimer and Professor Steve Cohen, and publisher-editor of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.
- Q&A session was conducted by VIP guest panel which included five Members of the European Parliament from Left, Center and Right party groupings, two ambassadors and other senior diplomats from several missions, a senior member of the EU External Action Service, and Professor Richard Sakwa, author of the recently published Frontline Ukraine.
- The first speech at the roundtable was delivered by John Mearsheimer, which we wrote about previously.
|We are in deep trouble...|
The key points of Cohen's extraordinary speech:
- The possibility of premeditated war with Russia is real; this was never a possibility during Soviet times.
- This problem did not begin in November 2013 or in 2008, this problem began in 1990's when the Clinton administration adopted a "winner-takes-all" policy towards post-Soviet Russia.
- Next to NATO expansion, the US adopted a form of a negotiation policy called "selective cooperation" - Russia gives, the US takes.
- There is not a single example of any major concession or reciprocal agreement that the US offered Russia in return for what it has received since the 90s.
- This policy has been pursued by every president and every US Congress, from President Clinton to President Obama.
- The US is entitled to a global sphere of influence, but Russia is not entitled to any sphere of influence at all, not even in Georgia or Ukraine.
- For 20 years Russia was excluded from the European security system. NATO expansion was a pivot of this security system and it was directed against Russia.
- Putin started as a pro-Western leader, he wanted partnership with the US, provided helping hand after 9/11 and saved many American lives in Afghanistan.
- In return he got more NATO expansion and unilateral abolition of the existing missile treaty on which all Russian security was based.
- Putin is not an autocrat, he's maybe very authoritarian as an ultimate decider, but he is answerable to other power groups.
- Putin is not anti-Western, or as Khodorkovsky said, he is more European than 99 percent of Russians. He has become less pro-Western and particularly less pro-American.
- Since November 2013, Putin has became not aggressive but reactive. For this he has been criticized in circles in Moscow as an appeaser (that is, soft, not tough enough).
- We (opposing academics) don't have effective political support in the administration, the Congress, political parties, think tanks or on university campuses. This is unprecedented situation in American politics. There's no discourse, no debate and this is failure of American democracy.
- There is ongoing extraordinary irrational and nonfactual demonisation of Putin. No Soviet leader was so personally vilified as Putin is now.
- The solution is federation to unite Ukraine without Crimea, which is not coming back, free trade with both the West and Russia and no NATO membership for Ukraine.
- This guarantees must be in writing, not oral premises like they gave to Gorbachev, and must be ratified by the UN.
- The Kiev regime is not a democratic one, but an ultra-nationalistic one. Poroshenko is a diminishing president.
- Unless the Kiev regime changes its approach to Russia or unless the West stops supporting Kiev unconditionally, we are drifting towards war with Russia.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Uber economist Michael Hudson tells us in plain words why European countries are rushing to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Hint: The World Bank presses everywhere for privatization of public utilities and basic infrastructure, and then makes loans to the governments to develop these infrastructures, after which they sell them cheap to American buyers, who will create monopolies and turn those infrastructures into a rent extraction machines squeezing out interest, dividends, and management fees, all of which are paid to the Americans.
Europe Tilts East Towards China (1/2)
Michael Hudson Report: Britain, Germany, France and Italy are among those who joined Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in an expression of their discontent over World Bank polices that force developing countries to depend on the US - March 20, 2015
Michael Hudson is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. His two newest books are The Bubble and Beyond and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents. His upcoming book is titled Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.
Joachim Hagopian, a West Point graduate and former US Army Officer analizes his country's propensity for going to war (222 out of its 239 years) and reports an event that took place last week unnoticed by both MSM and independent sources: British royalty Prince William was sent to China to quietly sign a deal to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) "...a sign that the powers of Europe are seeking a non-violent resolution to its regional conflict that carries the devastating potential of triggering World War III."
Global Shift in the Balance of Power Is Moving from West to East
Posted by Joachim Hagopian on March 19, 2015
A major recent event last week largely went unnoticed by both MSM and independent news sources alike.
By Joachim Hagopian
The British are apparently jumping ship away from the US dollar/petrodollar in an overt effort to align itself more closely with the BRICS alliance as it seeks a new standard international currency.
For several years Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa (BRICS) have been preparing the world for its transition from USD standard international currency to its own alternative-in-the-making. America’s so called mother country England has seen the writing on the wall and knows the global balance of power is rapidly tilting in favor of where the sun always rises in the emerging East.
The European central banking cabal from the City of London, a separate and private political and financial entity apart from the rest of both London and England, sent British royalty Prince William to China to quietly sign a deal to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
This surprising new development is a clear indication that the royal Bank of England is placing its financial bet and future on China and the East as its rock solid anchor. Much of the world has been looking to move away from and abandon the longtime global financial stronghold of the US Federal Reserve, its World Bank and US dollar standard. A US official feebly chastised UK in the Financial Times:
We are wary about a trend toward constant accommodation of China, which is not the best way to engage a rising power.More consternation arose when Germany, France and Italy have additionally made overtures in the same direction. This worldwide trend spells utter defeat for Obama and his disastrous foreign policy.
After Washington’s been exerting strong-armed pressure on Australia as its key allied partner supporting its failing Asian pivot designed to check China’s growing regional and global dominance in the Pacific Asian market, Australia is now also looking to follow suit accepting and embracing China’s lead.
According to international investor and entrepreneur Simon Black, the US is experiencing major economic blowback after two plus decades of aggression as the only global superpower:
… After years of endless wars, spying, debt, money printing, bailouts, and insane regulations, the rest of the world has had enough. And they’re looking for an alternative.Enter the China led BRICS alliance and its New Development Bank and now China’s other investment bank entry AIIB. Simon takes liberty in his interpretation of Britain and Europe’s bold rebellion after decades relegated to being a mere puppet of the US Empire: “Look, you have $18.1 trillion in official debt, you have $42 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and you’re kind of a dick. I’m dumping you.”
Perhaps some Americans may feel a bit betrayed and unsettled by our longtime strongest global allies one by one seemingly abandoning the US dollar and American Empire in its reckoning time of need.
If these geopolitical and economic trends are examined beyond their face value though, the changes occurring now may reflect much more significant, deeper changes than a mere alteration of standard international currency (as impactful as that will likely be for the US). These deep rooted fundamental changes have everything to do with the major global shift now taking place where the West’s ruling power elite itself is losing to the emerging global power rising in the East.
The latest act of bold economic defiance breaking rank with US Empire interests mirrors last month’s bucking trend that Europe exercised when putting the skids on the US campaign for sending heavy armaments to Ukraine and pushing for war against Russia.
The fact is Europe and especially Germany depend on natural gas from Russia and the US imposed sanctions on Russia hurt Europe even more than Russia. That along with wanting to avoid war in their own backyard has nations like Germany and France softening their hardline, US pushed anti-Russian posturing.
Several weeks ago German and French leaders attended meetings in Mink, Belarus to negotiate a peaceful way out of the escalating violence in Eastern Ukraine between the government forces in Kiev and the ethnic Russian separatists seeking autonomy in the Donetsk and Lugansk region.
In the same way Netanyahu attempted to fan the war flames against Iran, the same day Germany and France were gathering in Minsk to meet with Putin and Ukraine leaders, Secretary of State Kerry showed up in Kiev mouthing the same worn out lie of “Russian aggression” in a transparent feeble attempt to sabotage the Minsk talks. Again, the tie-in is the Israeli-US crime cabal constantly at work every chance they get peddling and promoting more global violence, death and war.
For over a year now Washington’s war drums have been beating louder for NATO to join forces with Ukraine, pressuring Europe to submit as it always has in going along with its permanent war agenda, all the while falsely demonizing Russia’s President Putin with outrageous propaganda lies and nonstop false flags not unlike the WMD lies against Hussein in 2002-3 Iraq.
But in a rare gesture of independence, unwilling to start a war so close to home against nuclear powered Russia that Europe relies heavily as a critical source for its natural gas consumption, the powers of Europe are seeking a non-violent resolution to its regional conflict that carries the devastating potential of triggering World War III.
Meanwhile, NATO Supreme Commander US Air Force General Philip Breedlove fashions himself to be a Dr. Strangelove incarnate, making repeated bogus claims and lies of Russian army presence inside Eastern Ukraine in a vain yet persistent attempt to foment war. Having such a deluded and deceitful warmonger in charge of the NATO nuclear arsenal poses a calamitous threat to the entire world.
Yet his commander-in-chief Obama has chosen not to relieve him of command. Instead German leaders have openly criticized Breedlove and the European Union wants to replace NATO with its own continental army. This very public geopolitical conflict over such widely differing Western approaches toward Ukraine seriously undermine American Empire’s global influence and power, again underscoring simultaneous developments around the world that indicate consistent across the boards US foreign policy failures and from the broader context, a rapid US decline as the sole global hegemonic superpower.
Putin advisor Sergei Glazyev nailed it when he said:
The war has been provoked to destroy the Russian World, to draw Europe into it, and to surround Russia with hostile countries. Unleashing this world war, America is trying to deal with its own internal problems.Current economic turmoil reverberating in Japan is in large part due to the notorious corruption of the Abe government that may soon have additional problems to contend with once accusations over a fraudulent past elections get fully exposed.
Abe has been a subservient tool used by the same international crime syndicate controlled by subversive Israeli-American forces. As such, Japan will also be moving away from the USD/West geopolitics and very likely pivoting toward China and a Pacific alliance that excludes the US Empire finding itself increasingly isolated on the outs.
Though incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu is the apparent winner in today’s Israeli election, the despot had to claw and fight for his political life to survive another day. Recent revelations that he’s been a Russian spy surfaced right after his disgraceful debacle in front of the Israeli captured US congressional audience on Capitol Hill two weeks ago and then came the despicable treasonous display of 47 Republican senators threatening letter to Iran.
Bibi’s days of hate, war and paranoia are numbered as the ugly truth about his evildoing will continue to unfold that will soon bring him down. Showing his true evil colors right to the end, the day before the election Netanyahu once again reminded the world that an autonomous Palestinian state will never come to pass while on his watch.
Within the last couple weeks other mysterious events suggesting some cataclysmic, behind-the-scenes development included the apparent disappearance of Vladimir Putin for 11 consecutive days, fueling speculation from an internal political coup to possible sickness and/or death to witnessing the birth of his child at the bedside of his girlfriend in Switzerland.
Because so many monumental breaking stories and developments seem to abound every week, Putin’s normally high profile lifestyle would naturally generate even higher profile speculation over his abrupt, extended disappearance. Of course it begs the question asking if it’s merely coincidental with these other earth-shaking events or very much related.
For years the CIA and US Empire have been hard at work in nations from Eastern Europe through the Caucasus to Central Asia all the way to China courting the favor of corrupt dictators and supporting coups promoting anti-Russo-Sino US puppet governments along the entire corridor bordering Russia and China. Despite such Obama’s plan after the 2008 Russian-Georgia conflict was to a reset relations with Russia.
But with last year’s US-induced Ukrainian coup and Russia’s annexation by consensual vote of Crimea that “reset” plan went out the window. In 2011 Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the economic alliance of the Eurasian Union. Meanwhile, recognizing the strategic importance of the land bridge between Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Putin has made inroads strengthening ties with the three South Caucasus nations.
Putin enticed Armenia to also join the Eurasian Union and has mediated hostilities between Armenia and oil rich Azerbaijan while seeking to repair and realign with Georgia that previously leaned toward the West. US Empire has largely failed to gain a foothold in this part of the world.
Other key geopolitical developments that have been ongoing for some time center in such remote places as western China’s mineral and oil-rich Xinjiang Province. With the powerful US Navy patrolling and to a great extent controlling Pacific waters in conjunction with Obama’s flop of an Asian Pacific pivot, the geopolitics chessboard strategy to hem the two adversarial giants in with hostile neighbors has generally backfired.
Furthermore, the US was not prepared for Russia and China to suddenly renew an ultra-close economic, political and military bond that would effectively counter US Empire’s hegemonic aggression. They promptly signed a $400 billion oil-gas pipeline deal that will span a landlocked pathway, thereby foiling the US plan to seal off the China’s energy access via the Pacific.
Hence, Moslem populated Xinjiang Province that is the proposed pipeline passage route has become a highly contentious target where the West and CIA in particular have been funding and supporting a separatist movement and acts of terrorism as a disruptive interdiction tactic. Overall this covert strategy has failed.
The Western cabal controlled crime syndicate led by the likes of kingpin Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu financed and supported by the likes of multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson and the Saudi royal family along with congressional henchman and ISIS friend Senator John McCain and the rest of his treasonous Republicans, the rogue US intelligence agency the CIA and NATO’s General Breedlove are all bent on plunging the US Empire-NATO forces into World War III on multiple warfronts at every global hotspot – Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the Caucasus all the way eastward to China’s Xinjiang Province and northward to the oil-rich Arctic against the forces of the two most powerful nations of the East – Russia and China.
As a desperate last ditch attempt to retain its many centuries of Rothschild-Rockefeller power and dominance, these evil-minded, megalomaniacal psychopaths know that their hitherto unchallenged global control and strength that have bankrupted and nearly destroyed the planet is fast slipping away. So they seem all the more erratically resolute in seeking revenge by taking the entire earth down with them.
The truth about the horror and destruction these Western oligarchs have conspired and caused worldwide for centuries cannot even be fathomed. They have ensured a permanent state of war (in the US alone 93% of its 239 years) right up to the present Bush crime family-neocon fabrication of the “war on terror,” then under Obama this last year alone wrongly plunging America into another dangerous cold war with Putin’s Russia, and dozens of tragic false flag events like 9/11 designed to demonize Moslems into becoming the instantaneous post-Communist designated enemy of the twenty-first century with the US-Saudi-Israeli creation of al Qaeda/ISIS. These dark malevolent forces of evil that have propagated so much misery and suffering on humanity for so long are finally at last being exposed like never before.
The Western oligarch agenda to inflict a globalized system of absolute totalitarian fascist police state NWO control on every nation and people on earth trapped in hopeless debtor bondage may just be running into a brick Eastern wall as clear losers in the ongoing economic/currency war.
Despite the constant jabbing of Putin and his Russian bear in vain attempts to manipulate him to react with military force in eastern Ukraine and despite the failed overt assault in the form of US Empire’s Asian pivot designed to close in and isolate China from the rest of Pacific Asia, ironically it’s the United States that finds itself increasingly alone as the longtime global village bully that’s finally met its match about to get its comeuppance.
The smarter, economically stronger forces emerging from the East are winning the power war potentially without even firing a single shot against Western oppressors. Hopefully peace will prevail and the international crime syndicate that has long controlled the West will be deposed of as the murderous traitors to both peace and humankind.
As a necessary qualifier, actual real life tends toward shades of gray far more than black and white. Undoubtedly elements of corruption and evil lurk behind all the most powerful nations in both the West and the East. But the forces of China and Russia appear to be seeking a far more rational, humane and even peaceful resolution to the West-instigated West vs. East geopolitical military showdown sinisterly orchestrated by the international crime cabal’s global agenda of polarization, militarization, privatization and unsustainable, insurmountable debt-driven feudalism based on pure theft, deception, exploitation, impoverishment and pervasive planetary destruction.
Seeking to avoid the inevitable bloodbath that would result from world war and possible nuclear annihilation of all life forms on earth, the East appears to be seeking to avert such global disaster by ensuring that this ongoing war is won by successfully transitioning to an international currency backed once again by the gold standard.
The Western central banking cabal consisting of the Bank of England and other European central banks, America’s Federal Reserve Board, its World Bank and International Monetary Fund along with the Israeli-US government crime cabal all stand to ultimately be stripped of their absolute power that have the entire world drowning in debt, crushing destabilization and impoverished despair. But now a light at the end of the tunnel at least is shining a little brighter.
Friday, March 20, 2015
Our government has been cooking the books on employment for many months now. So the 100 thousand Americans who cannot find a decent paying job are blaming themselves for their predicament. In the meantime, Janet Yellen, is planning the Fed's next move based on the false data exposed here. Whatever this leads to can't be good for anyone but the top 1%.
Something Strange Is Going On With Nonfarm PayrollsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2015 17:30 -0400
Let's start with the basics: why is there a majority consensus that the Fed will hike rates after it removes its "patient" language tomorrow? One simple reason: non-farm payrolls. As reported earlier in the month, following the report of March's expectations smashing 295,000 jobs added, there have now been a 13 consecutive months of 200K+ payroll months...
Sadly, as we showed before, wages are not only not rising, but for 80% of the population they are once again sliding.
Falling wages aside (a critical topic as it singlehandedly refutes the Fed's bedrock thesis of no slack in a labor force in which there are 93 million Americans who no longer participate in the job market) going back to the original topic of which economic factors are prompting the Fed to assume there is an economic recovery, without exaggeration, all alone.
Is there nothing else that can validate the Fed's rate hike hypothesis? Well... no.
Below is a selection of the economic data points that have missed expectations in just the past month.
- Personal Spending
- Construction Spending
- ISM New York
- Factory Orders
- Ward's Domestic Vehicle Sales
- ADP Employment
- Challenger Job Cuts
- Initial Jobless Claims
- Nonfarm Productivity
- Trade Balance
- Unemployment Rate
- or Market Conditions Index
- NFIB Small Business Optimism
- Wholesale Inventories
- Wholesale Sales
- IBD Economic Optimism
- Mortgage Apps
- Retail Sales
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort
- Business Inventories
- UMich Consumer Sentiment
- Empire Manufacturing
- NAHB Homebuilder Confidence
- Housing Starts
- Building Permits
- Industrial Production
- Capacity Utilization
- Manufacturing Production
- Dallas Fed
- Chicago Fed NAI
- Existing Home Sales
- Consumer Confidence
- Richmond Fed
- Personal Consumption
- ISM Milwaukee
- Chicago PMI
- Pending Home Sales
- Personal Income
- Personal Spending
- Construction Spending
- ISM Manufacturing
- Atlanta Fed GDPNow
To be sure, economists these days are better known as weathermen, and so they are quick to blame every economic disappointment on the weather. Because, you see, they were unaware it was snowing outside when they provided their forecasts about the future, a future which should be impacted by the snowfall that day, and which they promptly scapegoat as the reason for their cluelessness. Yet one wonders: why didn't the harsh snow (in the winter) pound February jobs as well? Recall last year's payroll disappointments were immediately blamed on the weather which was just as "harsh" as this year. Why the difference?
And yet, today this rising "anomaly" between Nonfarm Payolls "data" and everything else, hit a crescendo, and some - such as Jim Bianco - have had it with the lies anomalies, which prompted him to ask the following:
Why Are Construction Jobs and Housing Starts Telling Different Stories? Is The Problem Non-Farm Payrolls
Bloomberg.com – Housing Starts Plunge by the Most in Four Years
Housing starts slumped in February by the most in four years as bad winter weather in parts of the U.S. prevented builders from initiating new projects. Work began on 897,000 houses at an annualized rate, down 17 percent from January and the fewest in a year, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday in Washington. The median estimate of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 1.04 million. “It was just the weather, basically,” said Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp. in Birmingham, Alabama. Still, “my view of the recovery in single-family housing is that it’s coming more gradually than others think.”
The red line above shows seasonally adjusted housing starts for February plunged by one of the largest amounts in the post-crisis period.
The chart below shows a subset of the February non-farm payroll report, residential construction jobs. Seasonally adjusted these jobs increased by 17,200 in February, the most in two years (Feb 2013 was greater) and the second most in four years.
The vast majority of residential construction jobs are due to new housing starts. Existing housing does not create a lot of construction jobs. So while economists are blaming the weather for the plunge in housing starts, residential construction jobs were fairly robust in February. This makes no sense.* * *
Could remodeling have accounted for this discrepancy? Was there a big rush to redo kitchens in February? In Home Depot’s February 24 investor conference call, they made no mention of an unusual or a big increase in remodeling. Remodeling is so important to Home Depot that they partnered with Harvard University to create an economic series to help track sales (noted in the conference call).
If remodeling was not responsible for this discrepancy, we are left with a theme we have brought up on multiple occasions over the past few weeks. Payrolls data continues to paint a rosy picture of the economy while the rest of the economic data is doing quite the opposite.
Economists seem to start with the premise that the non-farm payroll data is correct and everything else needs to be dismissed by weather and other factors. Maybe we should ask why the non-farm payrolls number is different from everything else.
Here is another way of seeing the above "anomaly":
So, instead of asking why everything else is showing an abnormal - and rapid - slowdown in the US economy (and blaming everything on snow) is it about time that everyone - the Fed included - finally asks: just what is going on with the "data" that is reported every month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics?