Junta's western-backed "ludicrous demands" may derail the Ukraine Ceasefire says Moscow ~ link ~
Kiev has been making unrealistic demands for the rebels to meet before pulling back their heavy weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. It appears that some politicians in Ukraine and the West want to derail the Minsk ceasefire, he added.
The Minsk peace deal has produced a noticeable reduction of violence in Eastern Ukraine, which is confirmed by OSCE observers on the ground, Lavrov said Thursday. But the progress may be reversed if the authorities in Kiev and their foreign sponsors maintain the confrontational stance they have now, he warned.
Washington has effectively destroyed the Trust Between Nuclear Powers - Thus raising the specter of WAR ~ link ~
Ambassador Jack Matlock made an important speech at the National Press Club on February 11. Matlock served as US ambassador to the Soviet Union during 1987-91. In his speech he describes how President Reagan won the trust of the Soviet leadership in order to bring to an end the Cold War and its risk of nuclear armageddon. http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2015/2015_1-9/2015-08/pdf/10-14_4208.pdf
Reagan’s meeting with Gorbachev did not rely on position papers written by staff. It relied on a hand-written memo by Reagan himself that stressed respect for the Soviet leadership and a clear realization that negotiation must not expect the Soviet leaders to do something that is not in the true interest of their country. The way to end the conflict, Reagan wrote, is to cooperate toward a common goal. Matlock said that Reagan refused to personalize disagreements or to speak derogatorily of any Soviet leader.
Matlock makes the point that Reagan’s successors have done a thorough job of destroying this trust. In the last two years the destruction of trust has been total.
What happens if the US Dept. of Homeland Security shuts down ~ link ~
The reason: as soon as tomorrow, the one part of the US government which to many is a manifestation of all that is broken with the current US "big brother" state of pervasive, ubiquitous surveillance and broken immigration policies, the Department of Homeland Security which was created in response to September 11, and which houses the agencies with jurisdiction over immigration law, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may be shut down.
As ABC explains, the reason is that unlike the rest of the government, the DHS is subject to stopgap funding and "since September, Republicans and Democrats haven’t been able to agree on a full year of funding –- instead, twice since then they’ve agreed to fund DHS for a couple of months, each time hoping to reach a deal on a full year of funding. Time runs out again Friday night, but no deal is in sight."
Child poverty is at devastating levels in American cities and states ~ link ~
Reports issued over the past week suggest that child poverty in America is more widespread than at any time in the last 50 years. For all the claims of economic “recovery” in the United States, the reality for the new generation of the working class is one of ever-deeper social deprivation.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation publishes the annual Kids Count report on child poverty, which was the source of state-by-state reports issued last week. These reports use the new Supplemental Poverty Measure, developed by the Census Bureau, which includes the impact of government benefit programs like food stamps and unemployment compensation, as well as state social programs, and accounts for variations in the cost of living as well.
Is this what the world has come to? ~ link ~
The fate of the euro -- and, effectively the European Union -- could rest on what the political and financial powers within the union itself decide to do regarding the new Greek government's push to restructure its debt and end the austerity measures imposed upon it as part of a 2012 bailout agreement.
As noted by Michael Snyder over at The Economic Collapse blog, Greek leaders have already met with EU officials to discuss what the next economic steps forward will be for their country. But prior to the meetings, new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, head of the far-left Syriza party, had stated that he was not prepared to accept an extension of the current bailout agreement. In fact, Tsipras was elected on promises to end the austerity measures altogether, even though the Greek economy has not appreciably improved.