Monday, March 10, 2014

US Justice Department protocols include sweeping attacks on press freedom

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In an order published by Attorney General Eric Holder on February 27, the Obama administration granted itself unprecedented powers to spy on and prosecute journalists. The new policy announcement directly violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom speech, or of the press…”
Last year, the administration announced it was preparing a series of “reforms” after it was caught wiretapping the phone lines of journalists with the Associated Press. In what has become the standard practice of the administration, however, the banner of “reform” has been used to obscure the establishment of the legal foundations for a police state.
Although the administration presents the new protocols as protective of democratic rights, the content of the order represents a significant escalation in the attack on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
As an initial matter, the order is an assertion by the executive branch that it has the power to regulate itself on pressing constitutional matters. Under the separation of powers doctrine, however, the U.S. Constitution proscribes precisely such conduct. If the executive branch has the right to determine for itself the constitutionality of its own actions, then presumably the judicial branch exists simply to rubber stamp the executive’s decisions. This implies that there are no limits to efforts by the executive to expand its powers.
The regulations announced by the administration in themselves amount to an assertion of massive repressive powers. Under the new rules, the power of the attorney general to use “certain law enforcement tools, including subpoenas, court orders…and search warrants to seek information from, or records of, non-consenting members of the news media” is greatly expanded.
Among the protocols that ostensibly limit the power of the executive branch to rummage through journalists’ papers and documents, one regulation stands out. The Department of Justice order standardizes a process of government intimidation through which journalists will be given the opportunity to “voluntarily” hand over their communications and notes through what the Department of Justice calls “negotiations.” The order sets forth that the government will be allowed to exercise a subpoena or search warrant only after negotiations have taken place.
The imposition of such a “negotiation” requirement has chilling implications for freedom of the press. Under this requirement, officials from the executive branch will visit journalists in their homes and workplaces and bully them into handing over communications and work product under threat of prosecution and subpoena.
Aside from being forced to break source confidentiality, members of the “fourth estate” will now be obliged to carry out their investigations under the constant threat of a phone call or visit from government “negotiators.” Journalists will operate under a climate of fear in which only the most courageous will consider making connections with whistleblowers, and only the boldest will work to expose government lies and crimes.
For the Obama administration, these are not unintended consequences. To the contrary, the administration sees quashing all exposures of government illegality—such as the revelations of massive government spying by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—as a central goal. Fearful of the impact the leaks by Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have had on the political consciousness of the population, the administration hopes that the imposition of a “negotiation” requirement will force journalists to think twice about publishing information that runs counter to the interests of the state.
Even the supposed restriction on government surveillance and persecution of reporters in the form of the negotiation requirement can be easily evaded. The rule that a negotiation must occur between the government and a journalist before a subpoena or warrant is issued can be overridden if “the Attorney General determines that, for compelling reasons, such negotiations would pose a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation, risk grave harm to national security, or present an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm.” This is a loophole wide enough to drive the proverbial truck through.
The order also carves out a rule of general exception in cases related to “national security.” For example, any requirement that the government give notice to journalists before it violates their First and Fourth Amendment (banning unreasonable searches and seizures) rights does not apply where the journalist “is or is reasonably likely to be…committing or attempting to commit a crime of terrorism,” or is “aiding, abetting, or conspiring in illegal activity” related to “terrorism.”
It should be noted that the criterion defined by the phrase “reasonably likely” is extremely loose, giving the government license to spy far beyond the scope of the “probable cause” standard spelled out in the Fourth Amendment. The decision to apply this exception, moreover, will be made unilaterally by the executive branch, without any review or sanction from a court of law.
This exception is clearly intended to apply to journalists such as Assange and Glenn Greenwald, who work with (“aid and abet”) whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden (“criminals” under the Espionage Act of 1917). In effect, this means that any journalist who helps publish leaked material is engaging in activity that is related to a criminal investigation and therefore forfeits both his or her First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights.
The order also includes the “restriction” that the attorney general himself expressly authorize subpoenas, warrant applications and court-ordered seizures. But this is not a genuine limitation. To the contrary, it is an expansion of the powers of the chief federal law enforcement official.
Even this requirement is watered down by exceptions. Lower-ranking officials in the Department of Justice will be able to issue subpoenas to journalists and news organizations for “information unrelated to ordinary newsgathering activities,” “for information or records relating to personnel not involved in ordinary newsgathering activities,” and “for information related to public comments, messages, or postings by readers, viewers, customers, or subscribers.”
In other words, journalists can be brought before a court under oath to testify on the content of forum posts made by readers.
Perhaps the broadest language in the order comes in the section pertaining to the role of the intelligence apparatus in directing the Department of Justice to pursue certain journalists. The attorney general may subpoena members of the news media in “investigations of unauthorized disclosures of national defense information or of classified information, where the Director of National Intelligence, after consultation with the relevant Department or agency head(s), certifies to the Attorney General the significance of the harm raised by the unauthorized disclosure and that the information disclosed was properly classified and reaffirms the intelligence community’s continued support for the investigation and prosecution.”
In such circumstances, the government need not show probable cause in order to obtain the content of the private communication of a journalist. It need only offer “specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of a wire or electronic communication, or the records or other information sought, are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.”
These unprecedented attacks on press freedom are being carried out by the Obama administration on the basis of the pseudo-legal argument that democratic rights must be “balanced” against national security needs.
The only legal justification provided by the administration throughout the entire order is the assertion that the government must “strike the proper balance among several vital interests: (1) protecting national security, (2) ensuring public safety, (3) promoting effective law enforcement and the fair administration of justice, and (4) safeguarding the essential role of the free press…”
Such a balancing test is unconstitutional on its face. There is no asterisk at the conclusion of the Bill of Rights—no caveat that “some restrictions may apply.” To the contrary, the basic democratic rights of the population were declared “inalienable” by the signers of the Declaration of Independence. But these rights find no defenders within the contemporary political and media establishment.

No Jobs, No Economy, No Prospects For Peace Or Life

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Over the decades various administrations, seeking to improve their economic record, monkeyed with economic statistics to the point that the statistics are no longer meaningful.
According to Friday’s (March 7) payroll jobs report, the US economy created 175,000 new jobs in February. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’ll let you have at a good price.
Even if 175,000 jobs were created in February–remember now, February was a cold month whose low temperatures are used to explain poor housing and retail sales performance, yet somehow created 40,000 more jobs than needed to keep up with population growth–that is an insufficient amount to drop the unemployment rate.
To see how screwed up US economic statistics are, consider the reported unemployment rate (U.3) of 6.7 percent in comparison with the fact that there are about 6 million Americans who have been unable to find a job and are no longer counted as unemployed. These millions of unemployed are not included in the reported rate of unemployment.
John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports that the true rate of US unemployment is around 23 percent.
Rather than examine the issue, the presstitute financial media trumpets the government’s propaganda. In America there is no more of a financial media, except for Pam Martens and Nomi Prins, than a print and TV media.
The Economic Policy Institute reports that there are 1,360,000 unemployed men and women under 25, 2,8000,000 unemployed men and women aged 25-54, and 1,640,000 unemployed men and women 55 and over who are not counted as unemployed, because they have been unable to find a job after searching a long time and have given up looking.
Just as “your” government and “your” prostitute media lie to you about Ukraine, Putin, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Palestine, NSA, spying, torture, 9/11, Obamacare, and literally everything under the sun, “your” government lies to you about the economy and hides from you the perilous state of your economic existence. If you are not among the One Percent, you have no future in America.
Let us have a look at the 175,000 claimed jobs. Are these the promised high-paying jobs of the “New Economy” that Washington and its economists pimps guaranteed us would take the place of the offshored manufacturing and tradable professional service jobs?
Afraid not. In the many years that I have been observing the monthly payroll jobs reports and the BLS’s future jobs projections, I have never seen even one of the “New Economy” jobs. They simply do not exist. Yet, the economics profession, an extremely deluded collection of morons, still believes in these jobs.
Again–how many times have I reported this same result–here are the jobs of the “New Economy”:
Of the 175,000 jobs claimed, 13,000 are taxpayer-supported government jobs.
Of the 162,000 private sector jobs claimed, a mere 22,000 or 13.6% are goods producing jobs of which 15,000 or 68% are in construction The other 140,000 are service jobs.
Are these service jobs the promised high-pay “New Economy” jobs? No, but judge for yourself. 14,800 are jobs in wholesale trade. Food and beverage stores accounted for 12,000 new jobs. The Federal Reserve accounted for 7,800 jobs in order to continue rigging every financial market, thus replacing capitalism with Federal Reserve Central Planning. Accounting and bookkeeping services (it is tax time) gave the economy a short-lived 15,700 jobs. There were 24,400 temporary help jobs. The old standby, education and health services, delivered 33,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality produced 25,000 jobs of which 21,200 are waitresses and bartenders who live on tips.
This has been the jobs profile of the “world’s only superpower” for the entirely of the 21st century. Washington, wallowing in its arrogance and hubris, is unconcerned with its economic base. Washington believes its own propaganda about the (non-existent) recovery and America’s economic power.
Consequently, the ignorant and stupid American government is now challenging Russia with a strategic intervention in Russia’s back yard.
Keep in mind that the “superpower” was unable to occupy Iraq after 8 years and has been defeated in Afghanistan after 12 years of blowing up women and children, weddings, funerals, health centers, aide workers, farmers and their homes and villages, kid’s soccer games. These deaths are the products of the “superpower’s” infallible high technology which only targets and kills “terrorists,” by which Washington means everyone who resists American hegemony plus all sorts of collateral damage such as kids’ soccer games and weddings and funerals.
Now this same, totally incompetent, “superpower” thinks it is going to take over Ukraine and put US missile bases on Russia’s southern border.
If the utter fools behind this “policy of insanity” actually go forward with it, life on the planet is about to cease to exist.
No greater threat to life on earth exists than the utter fools in Washington.
The American sheeple who belong in the streets more than the people in any other country are content to suck their thumbs while “their” government destroys not merely their economic future but also the prospect for life for themselves and their progeny.

Columbia, South Carolina Charges People $120 to Feed the Homeless

Judge: All right for NYPD to spy on Muslim-Americans; not all right for Journalists to reveal it

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A federal judge ruled Thursday that the NYPD's secret spying on Muslims in schools, restaurants, and mosques with no evidence of wrongdoing is perfectly legal, and it was the media's exposure of this surveillance that was the real cause of harm. The decision prompted outcry from civil rights and racial justice advocates.

"The idea that the only harm was that you found out you are being spied on is ridiculously absurd logic," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in an interview with Common Dreams. "When a judge says it's okay for a government to do any level of spying on a religious community, that has a chilling effect," 

U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, New Jersey on Thursday tossed out the lawsuit Hassan v. City of New York, brought against the NYPD by a group of New Jersey-based Muslims — including an Iraq war veteran and the former principle of a Muslim girls' grade school — who had been directly targeted by the surveillance. In a complaint filed by the civil rights organization Muslim Advocates and counseled by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the plaintiffs charged they had been unlawfully targeted on the basis of race, religion, and country of origin, causing them direct harm.

Martini — a Bush appointee and former Republican congressman — rejected their argument, writing, "The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies."

The judge went on to argue that the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Pressinvestigations of the NYPD's spying on Muslim communities — not the surveillance itself — caused harm to the plaintiffs. He wrote,

None of the Plaintiffs’ injuries arose until after the Associated Press released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents. Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not “fairly traceable” to any act of surveillance.

"Martini essentially said that what the targets didn’t know didn’t hurt them,"writes Dan Froomkin for The Intercept.

Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy slammed the ruling: "In addition to willfully ignoring the harm that our innocent clients suffered from the NYPD’s illegal spying program, by upholding the NYPD’s blunderbuss Muslim surveillance practices, the court’s decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion."

Since 2002, the NYPD has spied on Muslims in "20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools, and two Muslim Student Associations in New Jersey," according to a statement from CCR. This has included sending paid infiltrators and informants into Muslim communities, capturing video and photograph surveillance, and community mapping. The NYPD also identified "ancestries of interest" when determining which communities to target. These people were surveyed with no indication of wrongdoing, and to date there is no evidence that the spying has made anyone more safe.

Critics warn that the Thursday ruling strikes a dangerous blow to civil rights.

“The ruling is a modern day version of the discredited Korematsu decision allowing the wholesale internment of Japanese Americans based solely on their ancestry," said Azmy. "It is a troubling and dangerous decision.”

A similar lawsuit by the ACLU, and legal proceedings filed by civil rights lawyers, are still pending. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs in this case vow to press on.

“The fight is not over by any means," said Glenn Katon, legal director of Muslim Advocates.
"The surveillance program violates the Constitution, and we are confident that this decision will not hold up to review upon appeal."

Global Capitalism Has Written Off The Human Race

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Economic theory teaches that free price and profit movements ensure that capitalism produces the greatest welfare for the greatest number. Losses indicate economic activities where costs exceed the value of production, thus investment in these activities is curtailed. Profits indicate economic activities where the value of output exceeds its cost, thus investment increases. Prices indicate the relative scarcity and value of inputs and outputs, thus serving to organize production most efficiently.
This theory doesn’t work when the US government socializes cost and privatizes profits as it has been doing with the Federal Reserve’s support of “banks too big to fail” and when a handful of financial institutions have concentrated much economic activity. Subsidized “private” banks are no different from the former publicly subsidized socialized industries of Great Britain, France, Italy, and the former communist countries. The banks have imposed the costs of their incompetence, greed, and corruption on taxpayers. Indeed, the socialized firms in England and France were more efficiently run and never threatened the national economies, much less the entire world, with ruin as do the private US “banks too big to fail.” The English, French, and communists never had to print $1,000 billion dollars annually to save a handful of corrupt and incompetent financial enterprises.
This only happens in “free market capitalism” where the capitalists, with the approval of the corrupt US Supreme Court can purchase the government, which represents them and not the electorate. Thus, the taxation and money creation powers of government are used to support a few financial institutions at the expense of the rest of the country. This is what is meant by “markets are self-regulating.”
Several years ago Ralph Gomery warned me that the damage done to US labor by jobs offshoring was about to be superseded by robotics. Gomery told me that the ownership of the technology patents is highly concentrated and that breakthroughs have made robots increasingly human in their capabilities. Consequently, the prospect for employment of humans is dismal.
Gomory’s words reverberated with me when I read RT’s February 15, 2014, report that computer and robotic experts at Harvard have constructed mobile machines programmed with the logic of termites to be self-organizing and able to complete complex tasks without central direction or oversight.http://rt.com/news/self-organizing-termite-robots-172/
RT doesn’t understand the implications. Instead of raising a red flag, RT gushes: “The possibilities are vast. The machines can be made to build any three-dimensional structure on their own and with minimal instruction. But what is truly staggering is their ability to adapt to their work environment and to each other; to calculate losses, reorganize efforts and make adjustments. It is already clear that the development will do wonders for humanity in space, hard-to-reach places and other difficult situations.”
The way the world is organized under a few powerful and immensely greedy private interests, the technology will do nothing for humanity. The technology means that humans will no longer be needed in the work force and that emotionless robotic armies will take the place of human armies and have no compunction about destroying the humans on whom they are unleashed. The picture that emerges is more threatening than Alex Jones’ predictions. Faced with little demand for human labor, little wonder thinkers predict that the rich intend to annihilate the human race and live in an uncrowded environment served by their robots. If this story has not been written as science fiction, someone should get on the job before it becomes ordinary reality.
The Harvard scientists are proud of their achievement, as no doubt most of the Manhattan Project participants were about their achievement in producing a nuclear weapon. But the success of the Manhattan Project scientists was not very nice for the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the prospect of nuclear war continues to cast a dark shadow over the world.
The Harvard technology will prove to be an enemy of the human race.
This outcome does not have to be, but free market ideologues think that any planning or foresight is an interference with the market, which always knows best (thus, the current financial and economic crisis). Free market ideology stands in the way of societal control and serves the short-term interests of powerful and greedy private groups. Instead of being used for humanity, the technology will be used for the profits of a handful.
That is the intention but what is the reality? How can there be a consumer economy if there is no employment? There cannot be, which is what we are gradually learning from the offshoring of American jobs by global corporations. For a limited period an economy can continue to function on the basis of part-time jobs, drawing down savings, food stamps, and extended unemployment benefits.
However, when savings are drawn down, when the heartless politicians who demonize the poor cut food stamps and unemployment benefits, the economy ceases to provide a market for the offshored goods that the corporations bring home to sell.
Here we see the total failure of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Each corporation in pursuit of greater managerial “performance bonuses” as determined by profits did its part in producing the destruction of the US consumer market and greater misery for all.
Adam Smithian economics applies to economies in which capitalists have some sense of commonality with other citizens of the country like Henry Ford did, some sense of belonging to a country or to a community. Globalism destroys this sense. Capitalism has evolved to the point where the most powerful economic interests, interests that control the government itself, have no sense of obligation to the country in which their business entities are registered. Except for nuclear weapons, international capitalism is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.
International capitalism has raised greed to a determinant force in world history. Unregulated greed-driven capitalism is destroying the jobs prospects of First World labor and the ability of Third World countries, whose agricultures have been turned into export monocultures serving the global capitalists, to feed themselves. When the crunch comes, the capitalists will let the “other” humanity starve.
As the capitalists declare in their high level meetings, “there are too many people in the world.”

How Govt. Hides the Poor: Formula for Measuring Poverty Dates to When a Loaf of Bread Cost 22 Cents

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The Holy Triumvirate

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When it gets complicated and confusing, when you’re overwhelmed with too much information, changing daily; too many explanations, some contradictory … try putting it into some kind of context by stepping back and looking at the larger, long-term picture.
The United States strives for world domination, hegemony wherever possible, their main occupation for over a century, it’s what they do for a living. The United States, NATO and the European Union form The Holy Triumvirate. The Holy Triumvirate has subsidiaries, chiefly The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court … all help to keep in line those governments lacking the Holy Triumvirate Seal Of Approval: the IMF, WB, and WTO impose market fundamentalism, while foreign leaders who act too independent are threatened with being handed over to the ICC for heavy punishment, as the United States imposes sanctions on governments and their leaders as only the King of Sanctions can, lacking any sense of hypocrisy or irony.
And who threatens United States domination? Who can challenge The Holy Triumvirate’s hegemony? Only Russia and China, if they were as imperialistic as the Western powers. (No, the Soviet Union wasn’t imperialistic; that was self-defense; Eastern Europe was a highway twice used by the West to invade; tens of millions of Russians killed or wounded.)
Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been surrounding Russia, building one base after another, ceaselessly looking for new ones, including in Ukraine; one missile site after another, with Moscow in range; NATO has grabbed one former Soviet Republic after another. The White House, and the unquestioning American mainstream media, have assured us that such operations have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO some years ago, “is this is a military organization? Yes, it’s military. … Is it moving towards our border? It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 
The Holy Triumvirate would love to rip Ukraine from the Moscow bosom, evict the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and establish a US military and/or NATO presence on Russia’s border. (In case you were wondering what prompted the Russian military action.) Kiev’s membership in the EU would then not be far off; after which the country could embrace the joys of neo-conservatism, receiving the benefits of the standard privatization-deregulation-austerity package and join Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain as an impoverished orphan of the family; but no price is too great to pay to for being part of glorious Europe and the West!
The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants  … a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months.  … the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”  … neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles. 
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help. 
All in all a questionable gang of allies for a dubious cause; reminiscent of the Kosovo Liberation Army thugs Washington put into power for an earlier regime change, and has kept in power since 1999.
The now-famous recorded phone conversation between top US State Department official Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to the Ukraine, wherein they discuss which Ukrainians would be to Washington’s liking in a new government, and which not, is an example of this regime-change mentality. Nuland’s choice, Arseniy Yatseniuk, emerged as interim prime minister.
The National Endowment for Democracy, an agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against states not in love with US foreign policy, is Washington’s foremost non-military tool for effecting regime change. The NED website lists 65 projects that it has supported financially in recent years in Ukraine.  The descriptions NED gives to the projects don’t reveal the fact that generally their programs impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized. 
The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”  
NED, receives virtually all its financing from the US government ($5 billion in total since 1991), but it likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO. Its long-time intervention in Ukraine is as supra-legal as the Russian military deployment there. Journalist Robert Parry has observed: 
For NED and American neocons, Yanukovych’s electoral legitimacy lasted only as long as he accepted European demands for new “trade agreements” and stern economic “reforms” required by the International Monetary Fund. When Yanukovych was negotiating those pacts, he won praise, but when he judged the price too high for Ukraine and opted for a more generous deal from Russia, he immediately became a target for “regime change.”
Thus, we have to ask, as Mr. Putin asked – “Why?” Why has NED been funding 65 projects in one foreign country? Why were Washington officials grooming a replacement for President Yanukovych, legally and democratically elected in 2010, who, in the face of protests, moved elections up so he could have been voted out of office – not thrown out by a mob? Yanukovych made repeated important concessions, including amnesty for those arrested and offering, on January 25, to make two of his adversaries prime minister and deputy prime minister; all to no avail; key elements of the protestors, and those behind them, wanted their putsch.
Carl Gershman, president of NED, wrote last September that “Ukraine is the biggest prize”.  The man knows whereof he speaks. He has presided over NED since its beginning, overseeing the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004), the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005), the Green Revolution in Iran (2009), and now Ukraine once again. It’s as if the Cold War never ended. 
The current unbridled animosity of the American media toward Putin also reflects an old practice. The United States is so accustomed to world leaders holding their tongue and not voicing criticism of Washington’s policies appropriate to the criminality of those policies, that when a Vladimir Putin comes along and expresses even a relatively mild condemnation he is labeled Public Enemy Number One and his words are accordingly ridiculed or ignored.
On March 2 US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine (Crimea) and threatened economic sanctions. “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”  
Iraq was in the 21st century. Senator John Kerry voted for it. Hypocrisy of this magnitude has to be respected.
POSTSCRIPT: Ukraine’s interim prime minister announced March 7 that he has invited the NATO Council to hold a meeting in Kiev over the recent developments in the country. “I invited the North Atlantic Council to visit Kiev and hold a meeting there,” Arseny Yatsenyuk said during a visit to Brussels, where he met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU officials. “We believe that it will strengthen our cooperation.”